...being the blog of steve kirkendall egomaniac-about-town


The shock of the old

Orchestra at square dance. McIntosh County, Oklahoma, 1939 or 1940. Reproduction from colour slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

I saw these amazing colour pictures of Depression/Second World War era America the other day – amazing, as even though they date from sixty years ago (when the above picture was taken at a square dance in Oklahoma, my late father, also from Oklahoma, would have been 16) the colour and clarity of these shots make them seen like they were taken yesterday.

General view of part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad Chicago, Illinois, May 1943. Reproduction from colour slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Ranging from the Hopper-esque to the heartbreaking, among them was this picture of a railway yard parallel to South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Once upon a time, I worked on South Michigan (as the locals call it) only it looked like this…

Modern day Chicago skyline. Photograph © 2005 Nathan Alderman.

…when I worked there, although this present day shot (note the murky, polluted sky) was taken a little further south. See that funny rusty red building? My old office was the building in front, before we moved to the corner of Lake and LaSalle. But that’s another story…

The photographs are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color.

The picture of modern day Chicago was taken by Nathan Alderman and used without permission. (I’m expecting him to kick my ass anyday soon).

Via @urban75

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The Matinée

While on my hols in Vancouver, my cousin Mark gave me a couple of CD’s of his friend Pete’s roots rock band The Matinée. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but after listening to both CD’s, I really love their music. The Matinée MySpace page references the Kings of Leon, The Black Crowes and old Bruce Springsteen to describe their sound and that’s about right. Since hearing the CD’s I’ve been playing them non-stop and they’ve proven a big hit in the Virgin Money studio too. My favourite song is ‘The Road’ – watch the live version above and enjoy (if you want a little smile to yourself, look at the stop-motion version of ‘The Road’ here). Oh, and iTunes has their album (and other songs including ‘The Road’) if you want to listen to more.

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