Monday, 24 April 2017

'Your Attention Please'

Well, at least there’s one good thing about the threat of nuclear Armageddon; it isn’t half inspiring.  I mean – the cover art on this pamphlet drew me in immediately.  



Fabulous graphics!  I found it on the floor of one of the rooms in my late aunt and uncle’s house whilst having a final look around on Friday before the house clearance people come.  It was next to a copy of this, a little bit of light reading from 1948:


and some other literature which I just had to save – like this (far more cheerful) 1951 programme from the Folies Bergère.  



I can’t resist this kind of ephemera, I love the history as well as the aesthetics, the connection to an intriguing past I don’t know.  But the ‘Death Stands At Attention - A Protest against the H Bomb Tests’ leaflet – created and distributed 60 years ago (and what have we learned?) - seems particularly, chillingly, apposite for today.  Click on images to enlarge for reading, if you dare.



Not that I’m wanting to dwell on it, but the idea of nuclear holocaust has been prominent in my psyche before now – if you were hanging around in the anarcho punk scene with Crass and Flux of Pink Indians in the early 1980s, as I was, it was pretty much mandatory.  However, perhaps one of the most haunting and memorable tunes to come out of the doom and gloom of imminent radiation poisoning was from a far more melodic post-punk band, Scars.  

There was something really charming about Scars.  They formed in Edinburgh in the late ‘70s, recorded a session for John Peel in 1980 and a second one in 1981, when they also made just one album, Author! Author!  It was a great album, but sadly the following year the band ceased to be and there were no more releases.

I remember listening to Author! Author! and in particular this song (first put out as a flexi disc that came free with the style magazine, i-D) and really getting the heebie-jeebies; it still sounds incredibly disturbing now.  But proof that the prospect of the end of the world is, as I said earlier, very creatively inspiring, so it's not all bad, eh  - every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.   I just hope with all my heart that this post isn’t too what you might call... erm... 'timely'.

Scars: Your Attention Please

21 comments:

  1. Nice find, The Scars demand further inspection. That song would be perfect in the end credits of a nuclear holocaust film.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you might like the Author!Author! album, Chris - it has some other great tracks on it which are very much of that time and feel. Whenever I hear 'Your Attention Please' I picture an imaginary scene very much like a film. I just hope the imagery I see never becomes real!

      Delete
  2. These graphics are excellent and just have to be preserved. Yes, back in the old days, there was nothing we loved more than the threat of nuclear annihilation, wasn't there? They tell me it will be soon back in vogue. As for The Scars, I well recall a mate of mine spinning their album regularly. Very good band who should have been more popular. Oddly, they entered my orbit again a couple of days ago when I watched an excellent doc about the Scottish scene in the late 70's/early 80's. Chilling track, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Note bizarre unintentional use of double negative. I hate it when that happens and you've aleardy clicked to publish. D'oh!

      Delete
    2. Exactly - I couldn't leave these leaflets behind to be thrown away - in fact the only things I've really kept from the house have been this kind of ephemera, old maps, books and cards, nothing of any value except historical and cultural!

      Great that you remember the Scars too. They do seem to have been overlooked, but deserving of more recognition. I read just now too that Mark E Smith rated them as his favourite band, because they were the opposite of the Fall!

      Delete
    3. Double negatives? I don't not do that all the time.

      Delete
    4. Old maps? Tell us more. I *love* old maps.

      Delete
    5. Oh, if only I'd known, I could've saved a whole box of them for you! My aunt and uncle were avid travellers and kept hundreds of the things, many of them from the '30s and '40s. I had to be selective!

      Delete
  3. A great find C - My loft is full of such things as like you, I don't care about keeping the furniture and kitchenware but graphics like these are a real piece of history. I remember the sheer number of nuclear holocaust films/telly progs/books/warnings in the '80s but we survived it - Cross fingers common sense will win out againg but scary how these images are just so relevant again.

    Enjoyed (if that's the word) The Scars and their Edinburgh accents - don't remember them from first time around.

    And of course enjoyed the Folies Bergere programme - far less threatening although I imagine that back in the day "Outraged of Montmartre" would have had something to say about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked looking at these too, Alyson, and understand the appeal. There are some other little curiosities that I may have to feature here some time - actually an extra bonus to blogging is that it provides a place (and an excuse!) to store things digitally too; scanning these and posting them is another way to preserve them.

      I love those Edinburgh accents (I'm afraid I don't know how to identify different regional Scottish accents, I can hear the variations but I couldn't locate them!) They were more obscure than they deserved to be at the time, but listening to John Peel every night and being into what I was into brought them to my attention.

      The Folies Bergere programme is indeed very charming, featuring ladies who seem really natural and actually quite demure!

      Delete
  4. I love the way you tie art and imagery to songs. That is becoming this blog's USP.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Apologies for using the phrase USP. I used to work in advertising.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't really thought about it but, yes, seems to happen here - just a natural reflection of the things I love I guess. BTW 'USP' OK :-)

      Delete
  6. Scars were great. I wonder how many of those flexis are still in circulation. I'm not sure if beautiful is the right word for these graphics, but I sure can't keep my eyes off of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brian, you've alerted me to the fact that I've mistakenly included a 'The' in the name and, like Buzzcocks, this should not be there. Will edit!
      Indeed, wonder if there are any flexis out there still and, if so, what kind of condition they'd be in now?! I hate flexi discs...
      Yes I think the graphics can be described as being beautiful, in their own way!

      Delete
  7. I bet you could draw a great poster featuring Trump and that North Korean guy with some doves and chicks and Jo Strummer

    ReplyDelete
  8. It caught my attention. We are trying to cut back on televsion, but these days you just never know when something really big, like a mushroom cloud, might come across our screen. No kidding. Your collection is marvelous. I love those types also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very attention-grabbing, isn't it?! Sometimes I feel as if I never want to see or hear the world news again, it can be so depressing and so worrying. We just have to hope that wisdom prevails!
      Glad you like these types of bits and pieces too, I couldn't resist the chance to preserve them.

      Delete
  9. We share a love of ephemera C. I've probably got too many old bits of paper and ancient cuttings than is healthy for a man of my age! We obviously also share a love of Scars. I've recently been rifling through my vinyl and filed away my copy of 'Author! Author!' just yesterday afternoon. Did you know that the band briefly reunited in 2010/11, during which time they played a memorably intense session on 6music? A couple of snippets survive on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1pxdKQpQXk & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea485rFw34w

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's something about this kind of ephemera which is hard to resist, isn't there? - but at least by putting some online (as with your stunning collection of old photos) if we run out of space to move in our respective homes, at least we know some can be stored on here!
      I did hear about Scars' reunion at the time but not about the 6music session, so many thanks.. haven't had chance to listen yet but will make time to do so v soon...

      Delete

Please come in, the door is open

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...