Let us spray

Street Art miniature sheet

Once again I find myself buried beneath an avalanche of boringwork and sadly the blog has gone a bit quiet. But as soon as I caught a chromey whiff of this issue from Australia,  I knew I would have to tell you about it. I give you: Street Art.

Adnate Hosier Lane

Australia has a vibrant street art culture, and full credit to Australia Post for celebrating it with this issue. It has thrilled me since the moment I saw the front cover of the most recent edition of AP’s Stamp Bulletin (a heads-up for philatelic geeks), boasting the same glorious image that appears on the Hosier Lane stamp. I can never get enough of Matt Adnate’s enormous, breathtakingly realistic murals, often paying tribute to Australia’s indigenous peoples. Travelling around our shared hometown of Melbourne, they are a constant source of wonder and inspiration. Take a moment to appreciate the three storeys visible along the right hand side of this stamp to obtain a sense of the scale of his work. A visit to his website is an absolute must. He’s also on Instagram.

As detailed at AP’s Collectables blog, the other glorious artworks featured are Adelaide’s Vans the Omega, Ireland’s Fin DAC, and Melbourne’s Phibs and Rone. AP reports that the Phibs and Rone piece – with its piercing gaze of the female in blue – has been painted over now.

Rone and Phibs Rutledge LaneBut perhaps this image’s destruction fulfills its destiny; Rone’s own website notes that “seeing his artworks gradually worn away by natural and human elements has taught him to appreciate the unexpected beauty of an image as it begins to blend back into its more prosaic surroundings.” The constantly changing canvases on Melbourne’s walls reward those locals who keep open eyes while tracing well-worn paths through the city. How wonderful to have this beautiful work preserved for posterity on a stamp.

I love this issue. I’m not sure what some of the old men of philately will make of it, but I give a whole-hearted Respect to Aussie Post for shredding the notion of which kind of art is Worthy enough to be featured on the nation’s postage stamps. To be honest, I was kinda hoping on some outrage from the right-wing tabloids or radio shock jocks about Australia Post Encouraging This Mindless Vandalism or some such, but I haven’t seen any. That’s either a credit to the cultural maturity of the nation, or an indictment on Australia Post’s publicity department.

I do have one criticism, or a question, at least. Why no artists’ names? If these works are good enough to be selected as feature examples, surely the artists deserve the same credit given to Streeton and Nolan earlier this year? Perhaps it’s a stylistic choice, some nod to the guerilla ethos of street art. I hope it’s not because some fuddy duddy said “We can’t put ‘Vans the Omega’ on a stamp, it would look stupid.” Need I remind you that Australia’s ‘rock posters’ issue featured a stamp that blared ‘Mental As Anything’? (You can spot it in my blog header!)

That aside, it’s worth me repeating this old chestnut: if you’re an Australian, and you’re reading this, remember that you are not obliged to accept the bland postage labels thoughtlessly slapped on your next package by post office staff. That beautiful $4 minisheet at the top of this page is available in post offices and will come in very handy to pay $4+ in postage. Even if it ends up in the bin, you will make this mundane world just a little bit less boring, and what could be a better tribute to the street artists of the world?

Enjoy this post? Spray me on the walls of the world! Like, link, comment, share! Say hello on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! x

 

Queen: 1. Punk: 0.

Australia 2016 Queen's Birthday $2.75 Golden Wattle Diamond Brooch

Australia 2016 $1 Queen's Birthday stampHer Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, turned 90 on April 21st, but she’s stretching celebrations out all the way from April until June, because She’s The Queen So Suck It Plebs.

Last year I wrote about Australia’s tradition of marking Her Majesty’s birthday with a stamp issue. In that post, I may have inadvertently given readers the impression that I’m not a fan, with ambiguous phrases such as “pointless allegiance to Empire”, “another country’s monarch is irrelevant to a nation half a planet away in the 21st century”, and “reliably some of the dullest Australian stamp issues each year”.

Well, didn’t I have to swallow my republican tongue with this year’s issue. I didn’t mention it here when it was released, but I keep seeing it at the Post Office, and it is no less stunning for the delay.

Australia 2016 Queen's Birthday $2.75 Golden Wattle Diamond BroochIt’s all about this Australian Golden Wattle diamond brooch. Continue reading

Aussie Post touches my Special spot

Australia 2016 Love To Celebrate handprints stamp

Australia 2016 Love To Celebrate partial stamp set

Thanks mainly to the recent postal rate hike, Australia Post has been churning out new issues faster than I can keep up with them, albeit still faster than is necessary given that no fucker sends letters these days. Recently we saw a new set of what are known as Greetings or Special Occasions stamps, these ones titled ‘Love to Celebrate.’ Six of the ten are up the top there.

Australia 2016 Love To Celebrate heart stamp

You’re meant to stick these on your mail when you’re celebrating something. Cue birthday cakes, wedding rings, baby toys, lovehearts, and the like. There’s also a strong line in flags and maps and national icons that scream “Look! I’m in/from AUSTRALIA!” which must come in handy when writing to people too stupid to work out why the word AUSTRALIA appears on any other stamp you could have stuck on your mail.

I was a cynic at first. I’m old school. I like stamps to say something about the country they represent, and what shits me to this day about these stamps (and their equivalents from any country) is that they tell you nothing about the nation except that someone is having a birthday/wedding/baby/party/patriotic orgasm in it.

But I’ve softened over time. Most of the designs manage to capture some of the joy of whatever is going on. I even swallowed my pride and stuck champagne stamps on my own wedding invitations. (Yes, sorry boys and girls, I’m taken. For now.)

Australia 2016 Love To Celebrate golden wattle stamp

What’s more, their appearance on the mail usually means someone’s gone to a bit of thought with their postage, which is a rarity in this age of dreary peel’n’stick definitives and boring cash register receipts where stamps used to go on parcels.

Australia Post’s latest lot really caught my eye, which is saying something, because I tend to sniff at minimalist designs. The roses, champagne and rings are all a bit same-old, though I appreciate that they have to look a certain way to appeal to the lucrative wedding market. (And I wouldn’t reject such items so quickly in the flesh. Send them to me c/o WordPress). And to be honest, I’m still trying to work out what the hell that disjointed map is trying to say.

But the balloon stamp is fun and joyous, and the eucalyptus flower makes a refreshing change from the usual cricket-bat-to-the-face jingoism of the Australia themes.

Australia 2016 Love To Celebrate handprints stamp

Took me a little while to work out what was going on in the yellow-and-green stamp, and then I realised it was golden wattle, and then I realised it did a great job of capturing the downy texture of the round, beady flower and its feathery leaf, and then I decided I really liked it, and then I felt like a complete idiot for not seeing it in the first place.

But my favourite is the stamp with the handprints. I guess it means ‘kids’, though one could read some indigenous culture into it without too much trouble. But mainly, it just looks like the kind of fun you’re not meant to have as an adult.

There’s one stamp missing from the illustrations on this page. If you want birthday cake, check out this post.

Respect to Australia Post. Congratulations to design agency Sierra Delta for making me like these stamps, and also for having a name like a classy porn star.

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Another day, another dollar (and fifty cents)

Australia 2015 $2 Golden Rainbow wildflower stamp

Happy 22 days into the New Year, readers!

Sorry I buggered off there at the end of 2015. I was caught up in one of those day-jobs that subsidise my decadent lifestyle choices. Then I just surfed on through the festive season and enjoyed the break. Hope you enjoyed yours, if you’re in any of the countries that had one.

Australia 2015 $1 Love To Celebrate Birthday stampThis site just turned one year old! Thank you for your readership and contributions during 2015. I wasn’t sure if there would be an audience for this odd combination of geekdom and mildly foul-mouthed opinion, but WordPress’s stats wrap-up of 2015 tells me that if this blog were a show at the Sydney Opera House, I would have sold out three nights. Watch out for Punk Philatelist Live In Concert, coming soon to a venue near you! It will be riveting stuff.

Speaking of WordPress, I was chuffed to return from the break to find that I’d scored a mention in The Daily Post, WordPress’s in-house inspiration-meisters, as one of the editors’ favourite blogs of 2015. Aw shucks, thanks Michelle and thanks WordPress! You guys are too kind.

So on into 2016, and there are exciting times here in Australia. Let me explain Australia Post’s recent hi-jinks to international readers and see if you still believe me at the end.

Faced with falling revenue, like all postal administrations, AP just jacked up the domestic letter base rate from 70 cents to a dollar – by far the biggest domestic stamp price rise in our history. But get this: in a stroke of marketing genius, that price hike came with a promise of slower delivery!

Australia 2015 Wildflowers $1 stamps

Continue reading

A very Punky Christmas

Australia 2015 Christmas stamps (religious)

Australia’s Christmas stamps have been out for a few weeks, so let’s see what Auntie Jan is getting on her Christmas card this year.

The first question is: religious or secular? Australia issues both, befitting a country full of people like Auntie Jan, who will defend our Christian heritage until the cask wine gets the better of her and she keels over, but who couldn’t find the nearest church if a magical star hovered above it.

Australia2015ChristmasReligiousStamps

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Pedal to the metal

Australia 2015 Bicycles 70c 1910 Ladies' safety bike

Australia 2015 Bicycle $1.85 1930s men's sprung-frame bike stampI’ve become a bit of a new issues service for Australia Post lately. I didn’t mean to. It’s just that AP has been in great form. Also, I’ve only written about the stuff I love, not the issues that have left me feeling meh. This is the opposite of what writing on the internet is meant to be. You’re meant to ignore good things, while ensuring that anyone in public life who has done wrong knows all about how personally you have taken offence and how much you hate them. (See: many other entries on this site.)

Australia 2015 Bicycles 70c 1888 penny farthing stampI really like this week’s Bicycles issue. It’s unusual for me to be moved by such stark designs, but that’s just the contradictory kind of gal I am and if you don’t like it, you’re going to have to deal. Continue reading

It’s a gas gas gas!

Australia 2015 70c Signs Of The Times Skipping Girl Vinegar

Hello readers! No, I’m not dead. As my laborious day-job contract draws to a close, I’ll pick up where I left off and get back to slagging off stamps and stamp collectors. Only, I can’t right now, because some of Australia Post’s current and soon-to-come issues have me absolutely purring…

Take this Signs of the Times issue that lit me right up on September 1.

Australia 2015 Signs of the Times set

Aussie Post has touched me in the special spot with this tribute to the art of commercial neon. Not only do I love neon art – especially retro-style – but when I was a child, the long drive home from my grandparents’ house was often briefly illuminated by a swing past Melbourne’s Skipping Girl Vinegar sign. I still love catching sight of her jumping her rope, this much-loved icon adored by all despite the fact that she’s a monstrous zombie child with glowing alien eyes and vinegar for blood. Continue reading