Sunday, 17 January 2016

Faces in the Crowd 1967/1968

Following on from the most recent addition to my collection of 'Faces in the Crowd' postings, I've just discovered another example, and this time we're in the South Coast of Devon, and the year is 1967. 

It's early on in the season, and fans of Plymouth Argyle are snapped on the terraces of Home Park when their team were playing in the Second Division of the Football League. Just like all the previous images that I've posted, these photographs were published in the club's Official Programmes - with the highlighted individual winning a cash prize or tickets to the next home match. In Plymouth '67, along with Derby back in '56, the person's head is captured within a white square, as opposed to the more familiar method of using a circle.

However, for the first time, the photographer is actually name-checked - Bernard Prince, who was the official photographer of The Pilgrims (the club's nickname is taken from the religious group that sailed on the Mayflower from Plymouth to the 'New Word' in the 17th Century). 

Interesting also that the club described the feature as a 'competition', and they called it "SPOT THE FACE" rather than 'Faces in the Crowd'...

Mr Prince surely took this photo either before the match or during half-time, given that clearly nobody is looking at the pitch! Note that the club gave the One Guinea prize to the person who'd obviously coughed-up 6d on a programme. Perhaps to encourage more people to buy one?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Delinquents by Criena Rohan


When poet Peter Bakowski visited the UK last year, he very kindly presented me with a reprinted edition of the Australian writer Criena Rohan's wonderful short novel 'The Delinquents' - which was first published in London back in 1962.

Thanks Peter - I loved it, and being a passionate collector of vintage paperbacks, I was intrigued to see what the very first soft cover edition of 'The Delinquents' looked like - as up to now it had not found its way onto the web. Well finally I've tracked down Panther Book number 1638, which came out two years after the Gollancz hardback edition. 

For starters, the author of this classic book is the pseudonym of Melbourne-born Deirdre Cash (1924-1963), who worked as a torch singer and ballroom dancing teacher before turning to full-time writing. Taut social realism, with gritty authenticity, The Delinquents is the tale of Brownie and Lola, young and in love, but up against the stifling conventions of 1950s Brisbane as well as mothers, welfare officers and the cops. The book was made into a so-so film in 1989, in Queensland, with a 20 year old Kylie Minogue playing teen Lola. 

Forget the film, this book deserves every bit of the critical acclaim and recognition from all those Australian writers who still champion the work over 50 years on from its publication. Tragically, Deirdre Cash, only got to write one more novel before dying at just 38 years old. I know neither who illustrated the cover, nor how long the paperback remained in print for, and nor how many people bought the book at the time. But right away it was hailed as "a real find".

Panther Books, published by Hamilton & Co. Brompton Road, London SW3 in February 1964

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Faces in the Crowd 1975 - 1979

I'll begin the New Year with another offering of what has now become something of an AFTER YOU'VE GONE staple - the study of what is most commonly known as 'Faces in the Crowd'. This time it is courtesy of Swansea City Football Club between the years 1975/76 to 1978/79. During these seasons, when The Swans were in Division 4 and then promoted to Division 3, their 'Official Match Day Magazine' presented black and white photos of fans standing on the terraces. 

Just like my previous explorations into these intriguing images of 'Faces in the Crowd', the circle around the head of a selected fan - though out of context looks rather sinister - actually meant they'd won a prize of a couple of complimentary tickets to the next home game. It also meant that many decades on, we have a captivating insight into the fashions of the day sported by Swansea fans on the terraces of the Vetch Field (which would be their home ground until 2005, when the club moved to the all-seated Liberty Stadium).

My previous 'Faces in the Crowd' posts dated from 1956/57 (Derby County), 1961/62 (Leyton Orient), 1968/69 & 1969/70 (Millwall). Here in South West Wales of the mid to late 1970s, we get a candid snapshot of match days from Summer to Autumn, to Winter to Spring. The high waisted flared trousers, the mutton chop sideburns, the white and black bobble hats and scarves, the anoraks, the track suit tops - and not a replica shirt in sight.

Compared to the kitted-out world of today's fandom, the terraced landscape still looks as spartan as it did back in the 1950s. Though one thing is for sure - the flat cap had by now been consigned to history (though if you look hard enough, you can still spot one or two...)

Youths in white flares more interested in the grub than the game..  Published in the Swansea City v Scunthorpe United programme, Saturday 27th September 1975

Season 1976-77. Here comes the Summer!

Watching their team, Football League Division Three, 1978/79

From Swansea v Exeter City, Friday 20th February 1976. A light touch with the dark circle on this one.

April 1977, and this time a much chunkier circle - in white

The 1978/79 Season kicked off with a Football League Cup match versus Newport County. So this photo dated back to the previous season when The Swans won promotion to Division 3. Note the two tone circle!

1978/79 again

Smiling faces in a packed crowd looking at the camera - now spot the circle...

1978. Two grandstand tickets to the man in the duffle coat who isn't looking down the camera  lens. 

Please scroll back to my previous explorations of Faces in the Crowds by checking through 'After You've Gone' posts in May 2013, in May 2014 and in June 2015.

I am keen to hear from readers if they know which other clubs published a regular 'Face in the Crowd' feature in their programmes. It would be great to keep this theme going...