BLUEY

Collaborative project with Oliver Smith

On 1 March 1941, the air mail service between the Middle East and the UK was started, using a combination of Imperial Airways seaplanes and military transport. The private nature of the air letter ensured its popularity among its users and that popularity, with its lightness, brought about its continued use as today’s civilian air letter (aerograms) and the British military bluey. Today, British troops are supported in operational theatres by the British Forces Post Office (BFPO) which allows them to receive post, at no more cost to the sender than posting to an address within the UK. Information Technology has further evolved the system to allow a friend or relative to type e-blueys at home or work, which can be printed and sealed at the recipients’ warzone base and delivered to them: often within a few hours. In addition, scanners and laptops in dusty huts and tents allow servicemen to send e-bluey-faxes home.
In early 2007, whilst Adam was in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, he and his brother Oliver used this technology to send each other the images in this book. Oliver’s arbitary and banal scenes of life in London, captured on a lo-resolution camera phone, were the compositional basis for Adam's cartoon responses - observations on life at war.