With the forthcoming 20th FIFA World Cup in mind, this morning when I woke up at about 6am my eyes just happened to fix upon a rather remarkable Brazilian book on the bookshelf. Gente Nova, Nova Gente has been squeezed between the same old graphic novels and 1960s TV annuals at my numerous addresses over the past 30 plus years...
Published in Rio de Janeiro in December 1967 and edited by writer Fernando de Castro Ferro, the book is a stylish multi-coloured romp through the arts and cultural scene in Brasil. Pop art sculptures, Bossa Nova stars, experimental dance troupes, with-it photographers, hip playwrights and highlights of the Cinema Novo scene burst out of the 136 colour and B&W pages. Nearly a half century on, this is an intriguing time capsule reflecting the excitement of Sixties cultural life as seen through the eyes of educated and privileged Brasilians.
I came across this 24 x 27.5 cms book in a secondhand book shop in London's Finchley Road that along with the likes of a cafe, a second hand furniture dealer and a car breakers yard were all knocked down in the late 1990's to make way for the ubiquitous urban shopping and cinema complex.
Gente Nova, Nova Gente if I recall, cost me about two quid at the time. Not cheap back then, but I expect very few other copies made their way out of Brasil, so I paid a little extra premium for such a beautiful looking item to end up waiting for me to pick up.
|Front cover - the official date of publication, 7th December 1967|
|the swirly psychedelic back cover|