This is what was happening:
Miners’ protest against Ted
Heath’s Tory Party in 1972.
The man who coined the term
‘documentary film’, John Grierson, died.
The Duke of Windsor died
John Betjeman was appointed Poet Laureate
The Watergate break-in first appeared in the news.
Character actor George Sanders dies leaving a suicide note saying 'Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.'
On a personal note, 1972 started off rather dramatically with the premature birth of twin sons. Suddenly, we went from one child to three. It was a worrying time with the boys remaining in hospital for a time encased in little incubators, looking like oven-ready chickens. But in no time they fattened up and came home to our now rather overcrowded house in Epping.
It was also a good year for my time at Heinemann: three of my jackets got into the D&AD Annual and I felt at last I was being recognised. By this time I had met Ken Carroll, who had dropped by my office to show me his work. He was not only very talented but also very engaging, with an air of self-confidence that was unusual in most designers that I’d encountered.
The first jacket that Ken Carroll designed for me in 1972 got into the D&AD Annual the following year.
We found a lot of common ground in design and equally in our love of cinema: we would tend to talk more about that than anything else. He became a regular visitor to my top floor Queen’s Street Mayfair office and, more often than not, we would lunch together at Pizza Express in Coptic Street (the second one to open back in 1972). Our lunches would often be accompanied by several bottles of wine. This would always send me to sleep on my journey back home to Epping, where I lived with my then wife Margaret and our three children…
Me and the newly arrived
twins, Ben and Joe along with my then wife Margaret.
My unofficial mentor, Bill Holden, Heinemann’s publicity director, announced that he was to leave later in the year. I’d grown enormously fond of him, as he was so helpful in assisting me with settling into a world where I felt both educationally and socially inadequate. He’d had some kind of disagreement with the management and decided to call it a day; he had desires to open a bookshop.
Around this time, there was a major US fraud case involving the author Clifford Irving. We had published a book of his called Fake!, about the art forger Elmyr De Hory…
Now Irving had himself been accused of faking an ‘official’ biography on the reclusive eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes. During the trial, the prosecution produced letters from various publishers purporting to be interested in taking the book. In fact, Irving had typed many of them. I recalled that a year or so earlier, Irving had seconded the office of Bill Holden’s secretary, Alana Hornby. It was right next to mine. We didn’t know what he was up to, but there were lots of hushed telephone calls and much typing. But it became clear during the court case that his intricate deceit in fabricating the fake Hughes biography was designed to enable him to secure advances from several major publishers and serial rights from a bevy of international newspapers. However, a little later, it was revealed to be a total scam and he had managed to con $765,000 out of his publishers. He ended up in prison for these antics.
Home life for me had changed wildly now with three children. I was only 28 and
suddenly felt the burden of responsibility and we needed a bigger house.
Towards the end of ’72, there were farewell drinks for Bill Holden. The following week, there was an eerie silence from his room: no sound from the old Remington typewriter or his sudden audible rants, and the smell of whiskey and cigarettes was no more. All was quiet. I missed him greatly.
He was replaced by a much younger and equally personable guy called Nigel Hollis, who took over the reins of publicity. We hit it off pretty quickly and had similar senses of humour and very soon those regular lunchtime drinks reappeared. And 1973 was already looming.
In between all the of the above I was desiging a lot and had also began to illustrate more...
I had got into painting on wood which was ideally suited for the subject of the above jacket.
I also slipped into other styles. There were so many great talents passing through my office I was over stimulated and would want to immediately be them.
My Films for 1972:
Tarkovsky’s response to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey was Solaris, which was a slow, rambling story with poetic moments of great beauty.
John Boorman’s perfect thriller Deliverance, with its ‘Squeal like a little piggy’ moment.
Ingmar Bergman’s deeply emotional Cries & Whispers, with a perfect ensemble of Andersson, Thulin, Ullmann and Sylwan.
And my music for 1972:
My job for that year:
For part 9 of Fifty years on click here