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Foreword for Nothing to write home about by Ben Highmore, Reader in Media Studies, University of Sussex

There are two sides to every story and two sides to every postcard. Postcards tell their stories twice: once as image and once as writing. Hinde postcards,
during the classic period (roughly 1960s to 1980s), produced an aesthetic that pictured holiday destinations and tourist itineraries as hyper‐vivid images.
Through glossy production and colour‐saturated printing, landmarks, coastlines, monuments, resorts, and so on, were animated by the intensity of a style, a look. For the generations that grew up in the 60s, 70s and 80s Hinde images are part of the fabric of memory. Their very vividness gives them a strange, dreamlike quality that provides mnemonic jolts and fleeting glimpses of lost time. Hinde postcards recast the times and places of the past as Technicolor daydreams. Like scenes from The Wizard of Oz, where Dublin or Southend‐on‐Sea has replaced the Emerald City, it is the intensity and quality of the colour that matters.

Yet the pristine image, reproduced by the thousand, always becomes singular: bought, written‐on, stamped, addressed, sent, received, read, discarded, collected, forgotten, or remembered, the postcard is always inscribed by the peculiarity of time, by the particularity of a writer. Postcards in the singular tell stories about the insistence of everyday life: holiday‐time filtered through mundane reminders of daily habits. These written‐on and sent postcards constitute a minor archive of an anecdotal social history punctuated by minor ailments, missed opportunities, and the pleasure of places seen. If the images offer an idealised vision of a leisurely postwar Britain and Ireland, the writing tells another story. The writing carries these images home; it brings them back down to earth.

Michelle Abadie and Sue Beale have put together a collection of used Hinde postcards where the most immediate pleasures lie in the nostalgic recognition
of the image, and in the humour to be found in the holiday makersʹ unguarded messages. But amid these generous pleasures lies buried a secret history. Look carefully and read attentively and you will be alerted to two noble truths. Firstly: eccentricity and idiosyncrasy are not the exception, but the rule. Secondly: the business of British holidaymaking has generated a deep everyday surrealism (it is not for nothing that 1936 saw both the first International Surrealist exhibition in London and the opening of Billy Butlinʹs first holiday camp at Skegness). Here then is a vision of a nation at leisure, characterised by the shared strangeness of holiday destinations, by a democracy of peculiarities.