Monday 18 April 2011

Covered Markets of Olde England - Coventry!

Ever wanted to go to a covered market in 1973? Um, well you can, even if you don't want to because this is the subject of my latest batch of photographs. Upon acquiring them I thought 'Why would anyone actually take these?', but after my recent holiday to Valencia I found myself photographing all sorts of shops and new buildings so I answered my own question : a 1973 version of myself.

But enough. These two had 'Coventry' written on the back of them so I'll start here.

It's warm enough to leave your coat at home, but the gentleman in the foreground has decided to go fully buttoned up - matching suit and tie, even when buying the groceries. No sign of standards slipping there, although I wonder what's on the mind of the be-dungaree'd chap on the right? Robin Askwith or Robin Nedwell? I'll leave that to you. The rotunda caught my eye first, but then I was drawn to the various pieces of British cast-iron peeping through the railings on the roof. I can indentify a TR6, P6 Rover and some sort of Ford estate, lest we forget that once we made and designed things. Any idea about the rest?

The camera is not a passive observer here - it has startled the middle-aged couple in the centre and caused the centre-parted young lady on the right to pretend to look at the fruit and veg stall in order to capture her best side. Things I like; the terracotta ceiling, the uniformity of hanging signage and the presence of the young lady in the blue velour jacket. She's in the first picture too -

Is the photographer's girlfriend tagging along, checking out the bargains whilst he pursues his obsessions with covered markets, or is he doing something else - maybe following someone? I leave you to decide. There will be more Covered Markets of Olde England later. Be seeing you!

Sunday 10 April 2011

Seventies Recreation

These undated photographs show us the range of free time activities available to seventies youngsters - hanging about on the rec, graffiti, go-karts and, er, shopping trolley jousts.

No-one on the swings and no sign of those roundabouts that were banned by councils across the country, but some proto-This is England grafitti on the slide. Nice. Like a crime-scene photograph.

Great care went into siting this playground - on the wasteland behind the estate, near the garages. Note the slide, which appears to utilise the ladder used to climb into a Vulcan bomber.

Nothing really - just hanging around. I do wonder why the photographer took this picture. Is this 'Blow Up'?

Trolley jousting. God help the Bowie fan who walks along here.

Marc Bolen.

Arsenal shit bast. Pre-graffiti culture graffiti is interesting in its banality. There are no 'street names' for Eddie Kelly. Some of it looks as if it were written in blood (that or Cresta).

This is the most fun, and the photograph that conforms most to the nostalgic view of pre-computer childhood. I've no doubt that modern parents would have something to say about go-karting down the middle of the road, especially with pre-crumple zone Austin landcrabs lumbering in the opposite direction.

More slices of pre-digital life to come soon, along with some full-colour covered markets. Get your bargains here, although probably after I come back from holidays. Be seeing you!

Friday 8 April 2011


More Sheffield, and this time we have materialised in 1982. Tumultuous times for Britain but not reflected here on the streets of Steel City, where shoppers rest on uncomfortable benches, old men huddle in the stygian gloom of the Hole in the Road, Reliant Robins wobble through city traffic and guitar-'n-violin buskers entertain Chinese tourists. And I'd fortgotten that WH Smiths' old corporate colours were brown and orange. The one jarring note is the grafitti in the Hole in the Road, something reflected in other grafitti photos I have recently acquired.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Sex Sells ...

... nozzles, tubes and outdoor safety showers.

All of the ads are taken from trade magazines from 1974-5. Women are still used in advertising in much the same way, so not much has changed since these were published, although I doubt you would see smoking now.