Near Mint by James Kelleher

Brian McMahon's blog Brand New Retro has spent the past four years making Irish print ephemera a little less ephemeral. He digs through charity shop bins and his gigantic collection of magazines, books, pamphlets and record sleeves, scans the best bits, and posts them for the world to see. The site will either make you very happy that you live in 2015, or make you pine for more innocent days when 'At Home With Mrs. Dickie Rock' was a unit-shifting cover line. 

Like any long-running blog worth its salt, there's a book on the way. Liberties Press launches Brand New Retro – with an introduction by Mr. Pussy – on Thursday 26th November at The Workman's Club

You can also see Brian speaking with Joe Collins and Sinead Kenny at Banter tonight (Wednesday 25th November) at MVP, where he'll be offering up (among other things) a copy of the last ever issue of The Slate as a spot prize. 

Here are a few of my favourite bits of BNR so far – click on the images to see the full posts. 

The Invention of Genre by James Kelleher

I don’t have a problem, necessarily, about reading for improvement. I often choose a book because I think I’m going to enjoy it, but I think also it’s going to improve me in some sense. But when you ask yourself, “Is this going to improve me?” what are you really asking? I think I probably do turn to books for some sort of spiritual and intellectual nourishment: I think I’m going to learn something about the world, about people. But if by “improving”, we mean it would help me go up the class ladder, then it’s not what reading and writing should be about. Books are serving the same function as certain brands of cars or jewellery, in just denoting social position. That kind of motivation attaches itself to reading in a way that probably doesn’t attach itself to film.
— Kazuo Ishiguro

Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation, for New Statesman: Lets Talk About Genre.

Chris Judge has been busy by James Kelleher

Here are some things that Chris Judge, long-time Pilcrow collaborator and occasional upstairs office-dweller, has been up to recently.


He drew the cover and 60 interior illustrations for Roddy Doyle’s new children’s book, Brilliant


David O'Doherty and Chris made a handbook for avoiding danger in a world of infinite peril, Danger is Everywhere, It’s been picked as the 2015 Citywide Read for Children by safety experts Unesco. 


He wrote Brian and the Vikings, a picture book featuring a young Brian Boru, a horde of vikings and a gigantic dragon, with illustrations by Mark Wickham.  


He released his fourth picture book Tin, a robot adventure that does not in any way mirror the plot of Robocop despite what I might think.

He also co-wrote the third season of Netflix exclusive House of Cards, drew all the explosions for Stars Wars Episode VII and washed the dishes “most nights”. None of this should obscure the fact that his winter biathlon skills are – let’s be generous here – middling.