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


How exhibitionism stripped me bare

Melbourne 2017 Stamp Exhibition entrance banner

If you’re the kind of reader who usually comes here for the pretty pictures and naughty words, be warned: I am hitting max geek with this one. Street cred be damned.

So a few weekends ago I popped into the Melbourne FIAP Stamp Exhibition, held in my hometown. It led to a rather unexpected journey of personal discovery that may affect the very blog you are reading. More on that later.

I can’t pretend a stamp exhibition is anything but exactly what it sounds like on the lid, but let me talk you through it so that if you ever accidentally find yourself at one, you won’t panic.

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Rhodonites are a girl’s new best friend

Australia 2017 Rare Beauties $1 Rhodonite and $1 Golden Sapphire stamps

Smacking my lips at this issue from Australia Post. Rare Beauties, they’re calling them. They’re all gemstones from the collection of the Australian Museum in Sydney, and what a stunning tribute to the lapidary’s art they are.

The golden sapphire and pink diamond are used in jewellery. The fluorite and rhodonite aren’t, but that’s OK, you can still buy them for me. I simply adore that rich red in the rhodonite.

Australia 2017 Rare Beauties $2 Fluorite stampThe photography of the stones is stunning to start with, but the ‘shadow’ across the geometric background adds a 3-D feel that really makes them pop right out of the stamp.

Y’know what I like about this set the most? The simplicity. When stamp issuers start eyeing off gemstones, for some reason there’s a compulsion to show them in the context of the geological environment in which they are found, or in fugly uncut form (everything is fugly when uncut, amiright ladies), or in the context of an end product like jewellery or industrial product. But there’s no fucking about with this issue. You want gemstones? Fine. Here are some fat fucking gemstones. Straya!

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Bowie’s latest release

UK 2017 David Bowie album stamps

UK 2017 David Bowie 1ST Aladdin Sane stamp

Well this is the most exciting thing to happen this year since I accidentally swiped right on Tinder and he turned out to be a match, a babe, and leaving for overseas two days later.

The UK is releasing a set of David Bowie stamps today!

David has been on a UK stamp before, as part of a Classic Album Covers release in 2010. (You can also spot a wild Bowie issue hiding in this post about tortoise stamps from Namibia. Yes, you read right.)

Now Royal Mail is releasing this fabulous set of six iconic Bowie album covers, plus four photos from live tours combined in a stamp sheet.

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London’s burning

UK 2016 Great Fire of London stamp setHere’s a stamp issue I just have to share with you before 2016 becomes too tiny in the rear view mirror. It was undoubtedly my favourite release out of any that caught my eye last year. And you don’t have to be a stamp nerd to love it, though it’ll help if you are a history buff, comic book geek, or pyromaniac. Continue reading

Australia’s best (and worst) of 2016

Australia 2016 Jewel Beetles $1 Stigmodera gratiosa stamp

…In which I attempt to cover a year of review and bitching in one fell swoop.

Each year, Australia Post holds its annual survey in which stamp collectors can vote for their favourite – and least favourite – issue. This used to be an exercise on paper, with a few variations on a simple ‘What was your favourite?’ ‘What was your least favourite?’ type arrangement, with prize giveaways for random winners. Now it’s gone all high-tech, with a detailed SurveyMonkey page, in which all issues must be ranked in order from 1 to 32.

Australia Posts's Survey Monkey Stamp Poll 2016

On the upside, I enjoyed the OCD-triggering task of putting every single issue in its rightful place. On the downside, no prize giveaways. I guess AP has to pay for its CEO’s $4.8 million pay packet somehow.

I could swear I saw the final results somewhere, but I can’t seem to Google it anywhere, and the survey I’ve linked to above still seems to be open. Surely I’m not so lame that I dreamed it? I saw it in such detail! Maybe I was shown the running tallies when I finished the survey? Anyway, this isn’t your problem. The important thing is that I am going to tell you which were the best stamps and which were the worst, as judged by my own brain, so survey results don’t matter. Why Australia? Because I live there, silly.

In no particular order (and with each issue’s title linking to the extremely commendable Australia Post Collectables blog site for more info), Australia’s unquestionably best issues were: Continue reading

Lost in the System

Well, look who’s come crawling back to her sorry blog! Sorry, punksters, I’ve had a ridiculously busy year in both my top-secret work life and my even more mysterious private life. But it’s time to down tools and return to what I love. I’ve informed Mr Trump that the militia uniform designs would simply have to wait. He still hasn’t paid me for the preliminary design work, anyway, but he assures me the cheque is in the mail.

Given that it feels like I’ve been lost in outer space lately, it seems appropriate to return with one of the many doozies of new issues from 2016 that I missed while I was gone. Regular readers would know I’m mad for a pretty space stamp, and didn’t the USPS fire my rockets in May with its gorgeous Views of our Planets release?


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Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp set

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels stamp setHelloooo! Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. I’m going to make up for my stony silence with loads of pretty pictures, inspired by Australia’s Nostalgic Fruit Label stamps, over which I’ve been soiling myself since their release in June.

They celebrate the paper labels that used to be slapped onto the wooden fruit crates in the olden days before Styrofoam boxes.

What I love about these stamps is that they retain the microscopic details of the original labels. I wonder how many of the three people still using stamps will take a moment to appreciate the artist’s work seen, for example, on this River’s Pride label, and take in the fenceposts, the orchard and the veining on the half-peeled orange.

Australia 2016 Nostalgic Fruit Labels $1 River's Pride stamp

If you, like me, are a little fascinated by oldey-timey culture, it’s not out of the question that something would appeal to you about both these designs and also ye olde schoole world of stamp collecting. You may have been given the impression that it involves a lot of old stamps with kings and queens and presidents on them that cost a lot of money. Well, I have good news. There are no rules. We collect whatever the fuck we want. And one could do worse than start with collecting vintage graphic designs on stamps, because it’s so hot right now. Continue reading

You crazy diamonds

UK 2016 1st Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Album Cover Stamp

UK 2016 Pink Floyd album cover stampsAs the header of my site attests, I love it when music, design and philately collide. And it’s happening again, thanks to the Royal Mail. Attention cool uncles and that boring guy who used to corner me at university house parties: Pink Floyd is being immortalised!

UK 2016 1st Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Album Cover StampLast year marked the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s founding, though it feels like they’ve been around for a lot longer, since every David Gilmour guitar solo goes for 50 years in its own right. Royal Mail’s tribute issue clocks in at no less than 10 stamps, which, much like a prog rock album, is more than anyone asked for and a lot more than was probably necessary to get the job done. Continue reading