Brighten Your Book Covers!

A tiny slice of forgotten pop memorabilia, I have put together what information I can find on this curious series of Pop Stamps made in the Sixties by the famous games firm Waddingtons.

Waddingtons Pop Stamps, 1965. Cilla Black.

Waddingtons Pop Stamps, 1965. Cilla Black.

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Hudsons Chesterfield 78 box.jpg

I spotted this non-descript item in a local antique centre, just a card box full of 78 rpm records from the 1920s.  Frustratingly the box was plain (I have a couple which are nicely printed) but when I turned it over I spotted this scribbled in pencil underneath. So what we have is a box used to send a batch of new releases to the Hudson’s record shop in Chesterfield which has somehow survived nearly 100 years. Back then Hudsons were based in the town’s wonderful market hall and I really liked this link back to their early history.  It’s the sort of thing the local museum would probably be the best home for, and in any case the dealer wanted to flog the contents all together.  So I contented myself with a photograph!

Sadly Hudsons is no more, closing in 2012, but I did take a couple of photographs before it shut, which are on the site.

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T Rex UK 71 flyer.jpg

I used to grab bundles of the flyers from our local record shop counters back in the 1970s, and managed to stash most of them away in a box which has made it across several lofts. They also served me as writing paper for many years in the days when this was how people communicated!  I am now trying to make some sense of them all with the idea of a book.  I’ve always loved paper ephemera and at the time it was impossible to get the actual posters as these were always pasted up around town, so the flyers were the next best thing (and took up a lot less room). There are hundreds in the box and they provoke a lot of memories about the music scene at the time, as well as the gigs I actually went to, and the queues for tickets at the box office.  T. Rex were one of those groups most of us at school regarded as somewhat too teeny bopper-ish to be seen going to back then, but this is still a great flyer.  It’s A5 and printed on matt paper with just one deep red colour, and includes all the dates on the 1971 tour. The serif typeface is not what you might expect but does work quite well.  The promoters must have printed several thousand of these to be distributed around the country, although I’ve no idea how that was organised (possibly via the same company who stuck up the posters?).

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Dusty vinyl

dusty springfield and her vinyl.jpeg

After that shot of Kate Beckinsale posing with a record deck I figured I needed to show a real singer, so here’s a brilliant shot I spotted the other day of Dusty Springfield with her 1960s iPod Touch. It looks like it may have been taken while she was on tour somewhere going by the wardrobe rail and travel case.  She has a nice looking portable record player, and a couple of racks of albums and singles. Bit difficult to make out what any of them are but I can see a Springfields album amongst them.  And a cat about to change the single!

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Green and white

kate-beckinsale-record player.jpg

Not, as I thought when I first saw this image recently (I missed it at the time), a rather over the top advert for a Rega record deck (or similar, I’m not a massive hi fi expert!), but a 2009 campaign which “brings the cocktail world to life” in some way.  Looks like those are real albums they’ve coloured up as well. But it still amuses me that twenty years after the supposed death of vinyl, the art directors still chose to use vinyl as one of their themes. Will we ever see compact disc players used in this way?  Only time will tell!  What worries me is that time spent doing this means “critically-acclaimed actresses Kate Beckinsale” is not learning her lines for the next Underworld film… pah.

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Learn Russian

Learn Russian EP talking book.jpg

I’ve looked at vinyl language learning albums on the site before but this unusual 7″ EP is a nice example of the genre. If the cover is a little bland it is fairly typical of instructional records of the time, which went for a functional look rather than some of the more cliched designs on budget language albums. This was sold as a Talking Book record and published by Methuen, but produced and recorded in Germany in 1960. It wasn’t particularly cheap either, 12s 6d (including purchase tax, a forerunner of vat), so you’d need to have been fairly serious about wanting to take up Russian. However there was a lot off interest in Socialist ideals and the Russian state at the time so it probably sold well enough. Stitched sleeves are not uncommon in the Fifties but had mostly disappeared by this time, so a little dated. Thanks to Nick Robinson for the scan.

You can find the other language lesson sleeves from this page on a nice BBC Spanish album cover.

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Record Supermarket

More record shop ephemera in the way of two 7″ paper bags from long since vanished vinyl stockists which rescued from amongst boxes of tatty singles by my brother.  The Great Yarmouth shop – called with very little imagination “The Record Shop“, was on one of the many fascinating Georgian streets in the town, struggling today from the same issues as most seaside towns.  Remarkably though as of 2019 it was STILL  a record shop, ITC Music, buying and selling CDs, games and videos.

The bag is a generic design, preprinted, which could be bought off a wholesalers, then over printed with your own shop details as here. “Imported American and Continental Records” suggests a 1960s date.

Record Shop Yarmouth bag.jpg

The Southport shop bag for “Record Supermarket” is in very poor condition but I rather like this aspect of it, a bag someone has used to store a 7″ single for many years until it ended up in the charity shop.  It is hard to date, perhaps late 1960s or into the 70s; the sort of faded design is actually deliberate. The building itself is still there but now a tanning salon, and it would be hard to see how it rated itself as a supermarket!

Record Supermarket Southport bag.jpg

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Stock taking

Polygram stock bag single.jpg

These two generic bags turned up in a pile of 7″ singles recently, their utilitarian nature suggests they’d be off to land fill if I didn’t intervene!  They would seem to be stock bags, issued by the labels concerned to shops so they could keep track of the stock bought and sold, along with other catalogue information.  It’s the sort of routine work any record shop had to do to keep track of what was coming and going at a time of high sales.  I would date them to the late 1970s on the strength of the slightly uneasy typography of the PolyGram logo which came in around 1976.  Most shops made their own stock bags up using a white card sleeve, either just writing the information on or adding it to a sticker.  There may well be others out there.

RCA stock bag single.jpg

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Hobbies weekly June 1965.jpg

You’d need to be in your Sixties to remember the Hobbies model shops.  I was taken to their Sheffield branch from time to time by my Father who was quite skilled when it came to making things, though with me it was mainly to look at their range of plastic and balsa model kits (I still have the model of the R101 airship made by Frog kits we got their).  But Hobbies offered no end of arguably more practical projects, plus the materials and tools to build them. This issue of their weekly magazine offers plans for a small sailing boat, home built radios, sink drainage boards and a tea cosy!  Not forgetting a saucy photo of Miss Blackpool on the inside cover, the excuse being how to shoot black and white film in the summer.  But I liked this issue (No. 3627, which my brother Joe sent up to me) for the DIY 45 rpm record stand, to hold your very own ‘pick of the pops’. It was after right in the middle of the 1960s and times they were a changing. This practical little project is described over just one page, a simple build which if done correctly ends up looking something like the (rather ropey) illustration on the cover.  I suspect most teenagers preferred the gaudy plastic and wire versions sold in record shop, Boots and Woolworths.  Sadly for the fret workers of Britain the magazine (founded in 1895) closed the same year, and the chain of Hobbies model shops itself went under shortly afterwards (although in Sheffield the name was kept going by an independent model shop who catered for the wooden model aircraft and boat hobbyist into the early 1980s). It looks as if someone still owns the brand name, and operates a web shop service to modellers worldwide from Norwich, which is where the firm were originally based.

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Anarchy In The UKulele

Punk Classics Ukulele Orchestra sleeve.jpg

This is not a record I would have normally given much time to were it not for the excellent and eye catching packaging. I spotted it at a friends house recently and we ended up listening to most of it!  Full marks to designer Philip Powell, who has paid proper homage to the work of Jamie Reid, the Sex Pistols visual artist, in adapting George Formby to the punk idiom. The music is a great fun although the recordings are quite old, and have only been issued recently (to be sold at concerts). It also shows what decent graphics can add to a package, and nice to see them actually going with the special inks for a self published CD rather than skimp. I can see the market for a vinyl edition might not be viable but it would look great full size!

Ukulele Orchestra Pretty Girls CD label.jpg

The orchestra  have issued a lot of self pressed CDs including an early punk themed one (below) which is not credited. My friend Alan saw the Ukulele Orchestra live recently and says they are much more dynamic on stage so we shall make an effort next tour. / thanks to Alan Coventry

Anarchy in The Ukulele.jpg

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