1. ‘You are now a member of Rotters Discotheque’.
It was a large flashy room with a big dance floor and a glamourous crowd. Strictly disco. Definately no jeans or trainers. A long time ago it had been the Top Rank Club. Then it was called Baileys, then Romeo and Juliet’s and now it was Rotters. The very use of the word ‘Discotheque’ in an original non-ironic way is, to me, wonderful.
Why did I become a member? It was probably cheaper to get in if you became one. 26 June 1981 (A Friday) was 12 days after my 20th birthday. I don’t think I got around to collecting my ‘Photograph and membership card’ but if I ever did I would no doubt see a picture of myself wearing an Oxfam suit and a skinny tie.
I do love the black plastic cardholder. I wonder what exactly the ‘member’s concession’ was? The Rotters symbol and the dancing couple within look extremely dated even for 1981. The star patterned border is very disco. The Leisure 2000 Organisation with their ‘Global’ logo (Motto: No. 1 in Europe) certainly make their presence felt. I googled them and it seems the company is now dissolved.
2. From Lime Street with Love.
I still to this day adore travelling by rail. In the pre-digital age these information sheets used to be stuck on the windows of all trains. They listed the destination and stations where the train stopped along the journey.
In 1990 I worked at BBC Manchester for 6 months and caught the train from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Oxford Road every morning. Sometimes on the evening return I’d catch the train which had set out from Durham. The rolling stock on this service always seemed to be really old and the carriages had that weary staleness about them that all trains have towards the end of a long journey.
The full station listing is Durham-Darlington-Northallerton-Thirsk-York-Leeds-Huddersfield-Stalybridge-Manchester Piccadilly-Manchester Oxford Road-Birchwood-Warrington Central-Liverpool. A distance of 109 miles. Someone has added Chester Le Street but I have no idea where this fits into the sequence.
The design of this is appealing. Simple Helvetica bold in what looks like pure 100% Cyan. Lovely.
3. For two Augusts running a bunch of us went camping in the south of France.
We’d always take our money in travellers cheques. These receipts from Tuesday 17th and Monday 23rd August 1982 are unremarkable except for the laughably small (by 2012 standards) amount of money I was changing – amounts of £20 and £10.
Also the date of my passport, 3rd August 1982, reminds me that I had one of those simple ‘one year’ ones which you could get over the counter from the post office. And is it just me or does that look like the handwriting of a grumpy French person?
4. Dad was a docker in Liverpool from the 1960s through to the 80s.
One time he hurt his foot and had to see the official docks doctor. This was his appointment card. It amuses me that it says This card MUST BE RETURNED when finished with. Dad told me a few great stories of his time on the docks but I always wish I’d asked him more about his working life before he passed away.
The Margaret Thatcher government contoversially abolished the National Dock Labour Board in 1989.
5. Mr Willie Miller.
This is the scottish footballer Willie Miller who played for Aberdeen between 1972 and 1991 and represented his country 65 times. This image of Miller playing for Scotland against England looks like it’s from 1987. Why I kept this I really don’t know but I love the randomness of it. It’s an appalling photograph.
The card is from a packet of ‘sweet cigarettes’ which were white ‘candy sticks’ with a pink dot on the end designed to look like actual cigarettes and marketed at children. How times change.
6. Plummers was a large wine bar in Hardman Street Liverpool.
I seem to remember drinking there sometimes in the late 80s and early 90s. It attracted a very dressy, suited and booted crowd of professionals. It would be a standard mid-point stop on a night out, after the pub and before a club. Not many people wear suits on nights out these days.
It’s now called Bumper, which promotes itself as a ‘Cool and trendy DJ bar…’ where ‘..you can groove the night away to all the latest hip hop, indie and R&B tunes spun by some of the hottest local DJs’.
This matchbook features the Plummers logo, clearly designed to give the place an air of upmarket sophistication. The fact that it has one match left reminds me of my smoking days. Which places it before October 1992 as I haven’t had a cigarette since then.
7. Found on a christmas cake.
Virtually illegible but you know it says ‘Merry Christmas’. Appearing on classic christmas cakes now and forever. May it always be so.
8. I’m not certain but I think The Rajdoot was in Renshaw Street in Liverpool.
Very good it was too. It’s not there any more. This has a lovely navy and orange palette and ‘hand drawn’ logo with crown detail suggesting a combination of authority, friendliness and exoticism.
9. I once harboured ambitions to create a big, beautifully crafted book about the design, look and feel of the humble ticket.
Which is why I always kept these things. As a Graphic Designer I’m interested, maybe even obsessed, with the industrial texture and colour of the paper stock, the rough bleed of the ink, the recording of the date and the officious tone of voice in the copy. For me, close up and out of context, they take on a completely different feeling and meaning.
Where was I going to on 8th October? And who with?
apart from the joy of being reminded of Leisure 2000 and trying to picture in my mind’s eye the layout of Rotters, the biggest thing here for me is the whole train ticket thing. I take train’s all the time all over the shop and I keep the tickets for claiming expenses; they can be very charming or rubbish. Another one that for me has a dose of chucklesomeness (great word :)) is ‘taxi receipts’.
In Europe they tend to print you one on official paper from a machine but in the UK you get a bit of card advertising something and the drivers scrawls ‘£11-‘ on it and asks you if you want any spares.