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Boring Postcards Hardcover – 1 Sep 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd; Prima edizione (First Edition) edition (1 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714838950
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714838953
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 139,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

As the title of this little book suggests, each of the postcards that fill its pages is, in a sense, quite boring. Stale, often dully composed images of corporate headquarters, roadways, bus station parking lots, convalescent home dayrooms, hospital cafeterias and undistinguished motels. But look carefully and the cards--culled from the collection of artist Martin Parr-- are filled with fascinating little details. As a group, they offer readers the interesting opportunity to puzzle over the collective psyche of the people of the 1950s and 60s (the approximate vintage of the images) who were inclined to create, buy and send these cards. What, one can't help but wonder, could be so scintillating about a room at the Forte Excelsior Motor Lodge near Pontefract, Yorkshire? The singular force of the orange bedspreads, carpet, drapes and walls punctuated by the inexplicably white leather upholstered panel attached to the wall unit behind each of the room's beds. The exterior of the Mirfield Modern School, shot at a distance and unimaginatively placed dead in the centre of the grey sky and green playing field? The building's Bauhaus-like lines. The tarmac of Luton Airport? The pink jumbo jet being towed into the frame from the left. The uniformly shaped trailers parked at the Freshwater Caravan Camp? The hand-written X that presumably marks the sender's location? The chalets at Llandanwg? Arguably, not much. The few 100 images here, unfettered by any explanatory text, offer a far from dull diversion for any readers interested in mid-century design or the mundane details of daily life. --Jordana Moskowitz

Review

'a compelling collection.'
Dazed & Confused

' … far from dull, Parr’s book is a strangely compelling commentary on postwar British architecture, social life and identity … '
Independent on Sunday

' … the funniest book [of the year]'
The Independent

'Its blend of pathos and bathos is hilarious.'
Evening Standard

'silly and poignant'
Tribune

' … Groovy, baby.'
Time --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first encountered this books in a hotel bar in Evesham, England, that kept a large collection of comic books and magazines for the use of the guests. I had to ask the proprietor which he thought the most amusing, and he suggested this book. At first while browsing through I thought it extremely funny. It seemed that I knew many of the places included and how strange to for postcards to be produced of shoppping centres and motorway service stations in the 1950s and 60s. But after continued browsing, the book transformed into a celebration of post war British architchture and reminded me of the optimism of that period. The Public we proud of the regeneration programmes after the war and the bright future presented before them. Today, sadly these places don't look so well manicured.
But more surpisingly for me was to find a toward the end of the book a postcard including a view the house where I grew up. My parents still live there...
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Format: Paperback
When I first picked this book up in a high street bookshop, I was gripped by it immediately! Even having lived through the 1970s, the decade often called the one taste forgot, I couldn't believe the range of subjects photographed. In the '60s when motorways were new and thus considered exciting, perhaps one could understand the desire to picture the M1, and various parts of service stations. But who on earth wanted to buy photographs showing traffic on the A40, or indeed to celebrate Carlton Court Shopping Centre, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol (which I've known for 30 years, and it doesn't look any better now than it did then!). Would people be so proud now of Preston Bus Station as they were then? And would anyone really be keen to buy pictures of Butlins' Reception and Dining Halls, or Travelodge bedrooms.
In creating this book, Martin Parr has reminded readers of a now bygone era, when the now hideous was considered magnificent. I could hardly contain myself. If you're 30+ or into architecture, this book is a must-have. As it is if you're a keen photographer, or just want an easy read to make you laugh.
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Format: Paperback
The title of this book is very misleading, because the postcards are far from boring. They provide a fascinating insight into the architecture, cars and clothing of the 1950s and 1960s, with motorways, shopping centres, suburbia, factories, holiday camps, chalets, caravans and much else. I suspect that quite of a bit of what was then regarded as the best of modern architecture has since been demolished, so there are indispensable historical records here too. Nor are the postcards boring on the technical side: the picture of Budleigh Salterton, with its foreground and background, diagonal lines and a wealth of detail, is a brilliantly composed photograph. The picture of the nuclear reactor at Dounreay is like a piece of modern abstract art, with its blocks, cylinders and sphere. Many of the others are also excellent photographs, which is not surprising, as they must have been taken by professionals. This book is stuffed with art and history, and there is not one boring postcard in the whole collection.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. Very funny but also speaks volumes about how we used to view tower blocks, flyovers, shopping centres etc.; as things to celebrated and commemorated in "boring" postcards. Difficult to single out any particular images, but special mention must go to the picture of a caravan park on which someone has scribbled "Our caravan" with an arrow pointing to one of dozens of identical trailers. Rather moving in a bizarre way.
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Format: Hardcover
This is fascinating in that the postcards were originally released with total sincerity but are now in many cases unintentionally hilarious. There is no text to accompany the postcards, they are allowed to speak for themselves. It doesn't take long to get thru this book therefore but thats probably not the point. The novelty value will probably never wear off with this book. It's good in a historical sense too as we can look back at places from the 1960's that people would otherwise never have thought of taking a photo of (and for good reason). Recommended
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very unusual book, but gripping, holding many many photographs of old postcards from a very dull era of the UK, yet they are fascinating to look at today. How architects and builders got away with some hideous buildings only a few decades ago is incredible. What a long way we have come, looking at the exciting postcards for motorways, service stations, power stations and holiday camps amoung others.
This book is very hard to categorise, but once you've seen it, you'll want it!
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Format: Hardcover
I just love this collection of postcards - they are truly mind-numbing, and as I was leafing through the book, my over-riding thought was WHY??? Why on earth would anyone take a picture of the National Giro Centre, Bootle, Preston Bus Station, numerous Forte motorway restaurants and the Bull Ring centre? Perhaps these buildings and roads were something to be proud of when they were built - a brave new post-war Britain. I can see the point of a few of them, but some are just mind-numbingly boring and just plain odd. The oddest, in fact, is Basingstoke. Three pictures in one postcard, all showing the same view of construction work on a pedestrian precinct.
Ahhh - the pedestrian precinct!! How 60's is THAT!!!!!
A great book to have around and a great conversation starter.
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