The Trickster Prince

Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.

Looking back on 2013

1. Mobile historian Over the past twelve months I have needed history to be a consolation and a solace more than ever. It has been a brutal year in many … Continue reading

December 31, 2013 · 6 Comments

Social climbing, society glamour and confidence tricks (1927)

Compare and contrast: 1. Miss Nancy Kenyon in Henry Cecil’s Book of Beauty (1928): 2. The adventuress, social climber and convicted fraudster Josephine O’Dare in the World’s Pictorial News (1927) Society status … Continue reading

December 20, 2013 · 5 Comments

A porcelain dog’s head whistle (1920s)

A bit of 1920s material culture: a porcelain dog’s head whistle made by the Royal Worcester company. What a fine fellow of a hound he is.

December 19, 2013 · Leave a comment

Hitchcock’s Blackmail and Britain’s first all-talkie film (1929)

Here’s the poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s fantastic film Blackmail (1929) — the first all-talkie full length film produced in Great Britain. Well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it … Continue reading

December 18, 2013 · Leave a comment

Man walks dog in Stockport (1922)

Man walks dog in Stockport (1922) A man walking his dog down Offerton Lane in Stockport in 1922: the most unremarkable postcard ever?

December 17, 2013 · Leave a comment

Love, loss and the sublime experience of the past

“[T]his experience of the past may come into being by a movement comprising at the same time the discovery and a recovery of the past. Historical experience involves, in the first place, a Gestalt-switch … Continue reading

December 17, 2013 · Leave a comment

Everyday Swindles (1921)

For some reason this image disturbs me a great deal: the front cover for John Laurence’s Everyday Swindles, published as a cheap paperback from C. Arthur Pearson in 1921.

December 16, 2013 · Leave a comment