Long before the days of social media and online petitions graffiti has been used as an expressive display against the corporate and political powers that be.
When I say graffiti, I don’t mean the multi-coloured and three dimensional ‘tagging’ and artwork that you see aside canal towpaths and scrapyards, I’m talking about early graffiti, hand written messages and slogans written by anarchists and underdogs across the county.
I picked up a couple of books on this subject ‘The writing on the wall’ by Roger Perry and ‘Graffiti’ by Richard Freeman. These fascinating books show a number of early images of graffiti from the 1960s through to the 1970s. Amongst the nonsensical written messages and slogans, there are pictures of graffiti addressing racism, capitalism, greed and inequality, daubed across the walls and bridges of our inner cities and suburbs.
These images got me intrigued and made me want to dig deeper and uncover more images of this nature. A high number of the images uncovered come from the turbulent Thatcher years, where tensions were high and the disenfranchised youth and unemployed expressed their anger and feelings towards the Tory government and authorities of the era.
There is something about a these images that make you think about the message being put across and what became of the people behind them.
I recently stumbled across an amazing set of photos on Facebook by the late photographer Iain S. P. Reid.
The photos date from around 1977 and feature mainly young Manchester United and City fans attending home matches at Old Trafford and Maine Road.
I’ve recently re-shared some of the images on our Facebook page and they have stirred up some nostalgic memories about the football culture of previous decades, the fashion, the atmosphere and what is was like to be a match going fan long before Sky TV and big money takeovers.
The majority of Iain’s images have not been seen by many, hopefully they can now be appreciated by a wider audience.
I’ve recently been in contact with Iain’s brother Doug who now resides in Australia, he will be kindly sending over a few words about Iain and his love of photography for me to add to the blog, so I will update the page soon.
Manchester’s Northern Quarter has developed rapidly over the years, a sizemic shift from a gloomy forgotten part of the city to pretty much a tourist destination in its own right. A sprawling epicentre of counter culture and street art, a new bar, restaurant or boutique shop seems to open its doors at least once a fortnight.
Back in the mid eighties however it was a different story, the majority of hipsters who now spend their weekends shopping, eating and drinking here were yet to be born and mobile phones were basically breeze blocks with aerials.
Our gallery below transports us back these times, when pet shops, appliance centres and saunas were king, and these now fashionable streets and pavements were much less trodden.
The Blackburn Warehouse Parties of 1989-1990 started off as a handful of likeminded friends and associates, who disenchanted by the lack of scene in their hometown decided to put on their own nights in disused warehouses and industrial units.
Initially outwitting local authority the events were promoted to people ‘in the know’ via word of mouth, flyers were given out with a contact number to be called for rendezvous points and further instructions, often meeting in distant towns and cities (Manchester’s Konspiracy nightclub being one) then travelling en masse in convoy consisting of Vauxhall Nova’s, Fiesta XR2’s and Escort XR3i’s (amongst other classic models favoured by the youth of the era) across to the various industrial estates around Blackburn. The parties rapidly ballooned from a couple of hundred local kids to thousands of revellers from the satellite towns of the North West and beyond.
The early raves were a success and predominantly trouble free, however as the scale of the events got bigger so did the pressure on the Lancashire Police Force to get the parties shut down, police presence increased and a number of arrests were made. One of the last big events was ‘Live The Dream’ in Tockholes, an all-nighter that took place on 16th/17th September 1989, which saw in excess of 10000 people from all over the UK attend.
The images in our gallery below were taken from a Lancashire Telegraph article discussing the raves amongst the local community.
They provide a good insight to these times, a magical and non-pretentious early era of dance music and rave culture that went onto inspire a generation of club promotors, musicians and DJs alike.
I was in contact with the now Derbyshire based photographer Robin Weaver recently and he introduced me to a brilliant collection of images that were taken during his time as a reporter for a local newspaper in South Wales during the 1970’s.
Aside from taking the usual press shots of rugby matches, mayors visits and the occasional flower show, he particularly enjoyed spending his spare time documenting the lives of the everyday Welsh people in and around the South Wales valleys and towns.
The images below are just a selection of Robins photography that capture a different time in Welsh Culture, long before sophisticated computers, mobile phones and on-demand television. These photos take us back to what now seems like ‘a different country’ which is the title of Robins book showcasing his work from that era.