Sunday, 4 January 2015

Selfridges - Bright Old Things 2015, 1975 images

1975 happenings

I worked in Selfridges’ bedspread department for 4 weeks during the Christmas of 1975. I was 18, had just started my accountancy studies degree at Exeter University and everything was exciting and an opportunity.
However, the UK was almost bankrupt, inflation had risen to 24%, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was no.1, bomb alerts and bomb scares were the norm, people were even changing from bedspreads to Scandinavian duvets – you felt that something had to give…

But it was not all doom and gloom. The Sex Pistols had just given their first public performance, punk music was just around the corner, Fawlty Towers aired for the first time, Margaret Thatcher had become the first female leader of the Tory party and the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts were brought in.

So what was I doing, whilst all around me things were changing? 
Well, I was lost in music, cars, girls and, to some extent, accountancy studies.
This led to a successful thirty year career with Deloitte and a great family life. Then, 5 years ago I thought, in the words of Neil Young, I won’t retire but I might retread. So I went to art school.

Now, almost 40 years after my bedspread experience, I have returned as an artist to Selfridges, more experienced but not necessarily any the wiser. My window is a memorial to a 70s record store selling my perfect selection of vinyl records of the 70s – a safe haven from the turmoil outside - everyone with heads full of music.

A couple of photos of me in and around 1975 - I'm on the left in first photo and second from right in second photo.

And copying Cream from 1969 ...

Selfridges' January sale 1976.

Jim Lee's photos for Selfridges 1975 advertising campaign - contrasting the chimneys on top of the store with the fashion of the time.

Magazine Advert Selfridges 1970s

Selfridges had an exhibition in 1975 about the new science fiction series from Gerry and Sylvia Anderson - they of Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet fame - see more images at

At the same time in Selfridges you could meet the cast of Planet of the Apes ... it was clearly the only place to be.

The Shah family "with Galen, Zako and Urko" at Selfridges in London, Winter 1975. (Photo courtesy of Nainesh Shah)

Planet of the Apes. Meet the cast at Selfridges, London. December, 1975. 

November or December 1975: Selfridges, London ('personal appearance', possibly featuring Galen and Urko, attended by Apes fan 'Vanessa' who wrote a series of love-letters addressed to Galen and sent to the newsletter offices. Also in attendance was Apes nut Martin Gainsford, who remembers: 

"I went to the London store Selfridges to see their Christmas grotto which included sets, props and models from the Gerry Anderson show Space: 1999 which I was, and still am a big fan of. The line was pretty long but as I neared the entrance to the exhibit my eyes almost fell out of their sockets as just ahead of me was a huge orange background and in front of it were two guys dressed as gorillas and a guy as, I guess, Galen. I was looking forward to the Space: 1999 thing but actually rushed through it to see the Apes as we left. When it came to it my Mum offered to let me have a photograph done but although looking back I wished I had, I actually declined because up close they were a bit too frightening. I felt a bit of a sissy too considering how much I loved the whole concept but still felt happier at a little bit of a distance.")

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