Letraset and Mute Records

Letraset user, 1978

Letraset user, 1978

Some products are inextricably infused with nostalgia. Letraset is one of them. Sheets of film that would be rubbed with the end of a pencil to give way to beautifully formed letters—as long as you had a steady hand and the patience of a saint.

Letraset launched its dry-transfer lettering system in 1961, and graphic designers and architects embraced it with gusto. But so did amateur bedroom publishers, where Letraset became de rigueur for music fanzines and school magazines.

Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type: A Book About Fonts and an early adopter of the technology, writes, “The range included all the standard popular fonts, but there was a sort of anarchic freedom to the wilder designs, something indelibly linked to the 1960s and ’70s, and now much used in retro branding.”

Mute Records first release in 1978 by The Normal, T.V.O.D. / Warm Leatherette

Mute Records first release in 1978 by The Normal, T.V.O.D. / Warm Leatherette. Image courtesy Discogs.

With their DIY philosophy, young punk rockers embraced Letraset for their gig posters and record sleeves. One interesting example is the 1978 Mute Records logo, its “walking man” plucked from a Letraset sheet of architectural symbols. Daniel Miller formed Mute Records as a vehicle to release his own single, “T.V.O.D.”/”Warm Leatherette,” under the moniker The Normal. The label, once home to Depeche Mode and Erasure, continues today—with Mr. Miller as its executive chairman—under the EMI banner.

Letraset history courtesy BBC News
Mute Records history courtesy Ibiza Voice

Austin Anarchist Soccer

Austin anarchist soccerSince 2000, Austin has hosted an “anarchist” soccer game on Sundays. Anarchist soccer has many names worldwide—such as radical, revolutionary, punk rock or community soccer. Why anarchist? Participants usually offer a blank look when asked. According to its website, anarchist soccer is community soccer, which differs from the usual pick-up game in many ways. Organizer “Simon Z” emphasizes that there are rules, just no rulers. The game is open to players of all skill levels and gender (several females play regularly). All that’s needed are a few friends and a ball. Boundaries and usual soccer rules—such as corner and penalty kicks—are ignored, and keeping score is unimportant. Hand balls tend to be followed by a hearty laugh, with the perpetrator subject to mild derision. The focus is on fun, rather than on scoring goals and ball skills to fuel individual egos.

Players are encouraged to sign up for the email list where posts keep players abreast of social events, as well as important world events impacting social issues. Environment is a sincere concern, as more than half of the players ride a bicycle to the match, oftentimes from a great distance. And the anarchists have a standing “leave no trace” rule: Leave the soccer field in the same condition or better than it was.

What seems to be most important to the anarchist players is fair play, fun, gathering, running, talking, falling, laughing, kicking, and building community.

  • What: Austin Anarchist Soccer
  • When: Sundays, 6 p.m. until dark (summer), 2-4 p.m. (rest of year)
  • Where: Rosewood Park in East Austin, 12th Street and Chestnut Avenue directions