Are you listening?

Some few magazines have snuck onto my shelves just because they have nice covers. I am a cover queen, I admit it. Mostly, I like fashion magazines but this issue of The Listener spoke to me during an eBay search. The style of illustration looked familiar. And when it plopped through my letter box I see that it is by Victor Reinganum. The most information I can find online about Reinganum is, sadly, from his obituary in 1995. He was born in 1907, studied in Paris in the 1920s under Leger (as you do). He successfully pimped himself to the editor of The Radio Times in 1926 and worked for them for 40 more years. He also designed book jackets, record covers and illustrations for London Transport and Shell. Reinganum was a dab hand at black and white illustrations, which he imbued with life and a certain jazziness – if an illustration can have such a thing.

I’ve never had occasion to look through a copy of The Listener before. It was a weekly, every Thursday, BBC magazine. Well, more of a newspaper, really. It was published for a long time, from January 1929 (the really (really) early days of television) when most people listened to the radio, through to 1991. The cover of this issue is by far the most exciting bit of it. Inside it is mainly text. I like text well enough but I like text and pictures better.

This cover, for the Spring Book Number of May 1947, shows a chap reading under a horse chestnut tree, heavy with blossom (the tree, not the chap). Butterflies and swifts play on. There actually isn’t much writing under the spring book theme inside, just a page about books and paper restrictions. The rest is pretty dry and serious and dryly laid out: essays on politics, geography, education, books, faith and adverts from publishers for books coming out soon. The inside back page has a few columns under the title: Advice for the Housewife. Women – who presumably are not to read all the rest of the magazine – are here offered words on ‘making stews attractive’.


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