The Hotspur, October 1944. “GOOD-BYE, DEAD-WIDE DICK!”
Two accidental forays into surrealism by British boys’ paper The Hotspur, which amazingly lasted until 1981. I say amazingly, although on the other hand there were lots of British colonial era things that inexplicably carried on into the 1980s and beyond. Not to mention that The Hotspur‘s first issue had on its cover a plane-sized eagle attacking an actual aeroplane, and came with a free “Black Cloth mask” for no immediately apparent reason, so they definitely started as they meant to go on.
The cover above is almost certainly not referring to the fact that this football player has a feature likely to make him popular with the ladies and about 10% of the gentlemen, but instead that he scores goals by kicking unexpectedly wide. As for how and why somebody decided to counter this tactic by installing a gung ho bipedal elephant in football kit… I’ve got nothing. Dick’s certainly surprised, as you would be.
Perhaps it was the same genius who decided to deploy their centre-forward on the roof of a nearby building instead of on the pitch?
The Hotspur, January 1943. THE ROOF-TOP CENTRE-FORWARD.
Magus of Locks: Paracelsus, Renaissance polymath. Magus of Wheels: Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary. Magus of Stars: (Sigmund) Freud, psychoanalyst. Magus of Flames: Novalis (Georg von Hardenburg), Romantic/mystical poet and writer.
Le jeu de Marseille is a Surrealist variation on the conventional deck of playing cards. It was created by a group of artistic refugees awaiting evacuation from France in late 1940. The group included André Breton, André Masson and Max Ernst. While they waited in Marseille (hence the name) for their exit visas, one of the ways they took their overactive minds off of the matter at hand– apart from drinking– was to reconfigure the traditional card game using icons more suited to the Surrealist mindset.
The four suits became black locks (representing knowledge), black stars (dreams), red wheels (revolution) and red flames (love). The court cards were transformed into Maguses, Sirens and Geniuses. I don’t know whether it’s odd or deliberate that these people were mostly Frenchmen fleeing the Nazis and yet their replacement for the court is heavy on the Germans.
I think I first read a passing reference to le jeu de Marseille in a book about the structuralist literary micro-genre of Oulippo. As with all of my HD detritus posts, I no longer have much recollection of why I collected as many images of the cards as possible, even though I did it as recently as 2010.
Siren of Locks: Hélène Smith, medium and automatic writer. Siren of Wheels: ?, perhaps Elise von Lämel the Jewish-Austrian philanthropist. Siren of Stars: Alice (Liddell, of Wonderland). Siren of Flames: “The Portuguese Nun”.