"Artefacts of the past"

Giving My Bones to the Western LandsNow is an excellent time to sum up your life, to contemplate how you got where you are. And think of things you lost on the way. Memories tend to come up to the surface. They have been stored for decades in the file cabinet, also called the prefrontal cortex. About four years ago I wrote a blog post about a beloved poster, read more here (opens in a new window). In the blog post I overlooked the "Master of Reality" album poster insert. Black Sabbath's third album is regarded as their heaviest. The black and purple album cover look as ominous as it sounded. The insert poster came with as a six-panel fold-out poster, matt finish on heavy weight paper stock. The album format of 12,375 inch allowed a 36-by-12 inch poster. The six-panel poster should not be confused with the reprinted four-panel version, glossy on thin paper. I have always lacked business sense, but after some hard bargaining with a schoolmate I managed to trade my four-panel to the six-panel poster. I adore this poster. The band posing solemnly in the woods, the sky is foreboding, dark and eerie, with flame-coloured streaks in a green and lush foliage. The iconic photo was taken in Black Park (a country park in Wexham, Buckinghamshire, England) by Keith Macmillan, also known as Keef using a twin-lens Mamiyaflex. Keef was involved in the album art on Black Sabbath's first four albums. In an article for the Rolling Stone in 2020 the photographer explains "I do remember the band was very cooperative, and I think the session was very quick because we knew what we were doing... I think that band shot was really quite good. It had atmosphere and a feel to it. It was slightly unusual. In those days, especially in the U.K., record-company–type photography was pretty straightforward, down-the-line stuff. So the opportunity to do something a little bit more interesting with atmosphere was a privilege, really, and very exciting." Original copies of "Master of Reality" with the insert poster intact are highly sought-after by record collectors. And where did my beloved six-panel poster go? I lost it. I don't remember when, where or how. Suppression is a strong defense mechanism.

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