I’m Jem and in this eclectic collection of posts I share some books, films, art and design and whatever ruminations I’ve been having. I’m a freelance editor who writes a bit and also enjoys graphic design.

I wrote the following explanation when I began blogging in 2012:

I certainly feel more and more that the past is not past, that it never was past. It’s present.

                                                                                             Harold Pinter, 1971

We can all think back to certain books, films, places, pictures or people that once impressed us when young, and that are still influencing us today in the things we choose to read, view or explore… it’s a blueprint for what we enjoy now. I’m digging up the books, films, places, pictures or people that might once have impressed a 1970s child and looking out for their offspring.

There’s a focus on a particular era: somehow I’m drawn to a particular atmosphere from somewhere in the early sixties and up to the end of the seventies – it’s not nostalgia, but an appreciation for a certain set of themes or ideas or ways of design. And what that is, I’m trying to explore…

Books and films and music, art and design, Albion and Ambrosia.

If you’re wondering, ‘Albion’ is just a way to suggest Great Britain in its ancient form: the oaks, the rivers, the stones, those things that laugh last. ‘Ambrosia’ is from the 1963 film of Keith Waterhouse’s book Billy Liar, an alternative land that Billy escapes to in his imagination, away from things that are small, narrow and dull. It’s anything that clears the fog in a sometimes mundane world…


  1. dianajhale · March 23, 2012

    This looks as though it will be an interesting blog! I have always had a soft spot for children’s literature. I shall follow you.

  2. forestfae · April 5, 2012

    Just subscribed to your blog, am going to enjoy reading future posts and of course have a huge backlog to catch up on here 🙂

  3. Sonya Chasey · April 10, 2012

    Very interesting blog – it’s always fascinating looking back at what influenced us. Most of which we don’t realise because of the complexity of life. Still, there is definitely a certain style that goes with a period which we recognise when we look back at it – your examples of the Thomas Hardy covers for example. Actually, I much prefer the photos you’ve taken!

    • whistlesinthewind · April 18, 2012

      Your comment was in spam folder – good to know others find it interesting! It also helps you to edit and focus more I think, looking at influences from way back.

  4. East of Elveden · May 20, 2012

    I have enjoyed reading your blog. As you rightly say, the things that impressed us when young still influence us today. I’m not sure if it is nostalgia or not but, growing up in the late 1960s, TV programmes like The Avengers and The Prisoner and music like early Pink Floyd, Hendrix, Can, psychedelic West Coast etc still have an uncannily emotional effect on me. As you remark, perhaps it is to do with the atmosphere of the late 1960s-70s period. Already it seems almost mythological, although youth, innocence, whimsy and optimism are all contributing factors.
    Love the retro book covers and nice to see otters too: http://eastofelveden.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/the-tarka-trail/.

    • whistlesinthewind · May 21, 2012

      Thanks very much… I’m quite envious as I’ve never seen an otter outside a sanctuary or zoo (barring the acrylic-furred variety in shops). I think you’re completely right with ‘innocence, whimsy and optimism’ – we’re so used to irony and cynicism that anything that strikes those chords seems quite precious. Be seeing you! (to quote Mr McGoohan).

  5. bookishnature · July 11, 2013

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award – a token of my appreciation and enjoyment of your wonderful blog. There is absolutely no obligation to participate, so please accept it as an honorary Liebster Award, if you’d prefer.

    However, should you wish to throw yourself completely into the Liebster pond, the details are here:


    All the very best,


    • whistlesinthewind · July 12, 2013

      Thank you! And great questions too… hope you’re enjoying the summer too. Will ruminate shortly.

      • bookishnature · July 12, 2013

        That’s great! Glad you like the questions! Summer’s a bit of a whirl lately – lots going on. But, hopefully, things will slow down enough for me to stop and smell the flowers sometime soon! Hope you’re getting the chance to make the most of the beautiful sunshine. Looking forward to your ruminations!

  6. emilyardagh · September 25, 2013

    Hi, I love your blog! Looking forward to reading more 🙂

    • whistlesinthewind · September 26, 2013

      Thank you – hope you enjoy it. And what a fantastic selection of poems on your blog… really inspiring.

  7. Polly Fay · December 14, 2013

    Lovely Blog- as a 1970’s child I think I’ll find a lot here. Don’t forget The Childrens’ Film Foundation!
    This is my Blog. http://paulamariafay.blogspot.co.uk/
    Thanks again, Polly.

    • whistlesinthewind · December 16, 2013

      Thanks for dropping by – your blog looks fascinating and think I’m going to enjoy it!

  8. Louisa · February 12, 2015

    oohh, this is so interesting, what a lot of lovely things you have collected here and as Polly says, I too am a child of seventies, so it will be nice to catch a slice of it again 😉

    btw there is a lovely french film called Le Renard et l’Enfant and the title song is called ‘windy whistle’, so I have that song in my head now. You may want to check it out, it is gorgeous.


    • whistlesinthewind · March 14, 2015

      Thanks so much for this comment and apologies for not replying sooner. I will look into the film!

  9. Bridget Flannery · May 8, 2015

    I was thinking about how an aesthetic is built up and nurtured over many years and in many ways and then I came across your blog while searching for information on the 1974 TV series South Riding. Happenstance. Am really enjoying this, many thanks for images and thoughts.

  10. dishpantheism · September 4, 2016

    I just stumbled upon your blog, and I have to say, I am completely over the moon to have done so. It is absolutely lovely!

  11. StudioBlend · June 30, 2017

    Lots of common ground here, lots to read. I found you whilst looking for Watkins Pitchford illustrations to use for a batch of songs; I found the Stanley Donwood engraving on your piece ‘David Pinner Ritual’. I’m looking forward to delving deeper.

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