There was a spate of IRA bombings during 1973. This one was at the Old Bailey in London
The first mobile phone was introduced
Noël Coward, English composer and playwright, died
The album cover for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon designed by Stom Thorgerson and illustraed by George Hardie
Peter Shaffer’s Equus was on at the National Theatre. It was advertised with this striking poster designed by Moura-George/Briggs, with illustration by Gilbert Lesser
Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? was first screened on the BBC
The annual Pirelli Calendar was attempting to become artistically respectable
by allying itself with the artist Allen Jones, but to many it was just more
exploitative material to hang on garage walls
The poet W.H. Auden died
The cover of the 1973 D&AD Annual illustrated by the brilliant Tony Meeuwiessen
By 1973, I was beginning to get itchy feet. What to do next? I had got my life at Heinemann running like clockwork and I wanted/needed a new challenge. I knew that I’d have to put feelers out to get it.
I’d moved house by this time, but still miles out of London in Essex. And this is a happy family snap, now all 5 five us.
Me and my then wife Margaret with our twin sons, Joe, Ben and daughter Polly
A big responsibility for a 29-year-old.
Back tucked away in my top-floor office/studio in Mayfair, Marie Clair (my secretary) and I would busy ourselves drinking coffee and checking out what was on at the Curzon Mayfair: the most stylish cinema in town at the time. Starting that week was Don’t Look Now directed by Nicholas Roeg. I had seen his first film Performance and rated it highly. I knew nothing about this new one.
The opening of Don't Look Now
We slipped out one afternoon to the Curzon and settled back into the comfy seats engulfed in the intimate darkness. And very dark it was. I was completely overwhelmed by the film’s inventiveness: its imaginative use of editing, camerawork and sound design and its ability to profoundly disturb. I had never seen flash-forwards in a film until that moment. I came out of the cinema shattered and exhilarated in equal measures.
The closing sequence of Don't Look Now
I was straight on the phone to Ken Carroll to tell him he just had to see it. We spent many animated hours chatting about every frame of Roeg’s masterpiece.
By this time, Ken and I had become inseparable: talking on the phone most days, visiting each other’s homes and planning a holiday for the following year. Ken and his then wife Sue had just moved from Camden to Tulse Hill, South London, and he had turned one of the bedrooms into a studio. He had moved out of a shared studio space in Floral Street, Covent Garden, in the building occupied by Rodney Kinsman’s OMK Furniture. This was when Covent Garden was still a working fruit market and rents were cheap.
Covent Garden in 1973: a year before it moved to Nine Elms
Michael Farrell, Keith Davies, John Gorham and John McConnell all worked out of the same building. At the time, John McConnell was doing a lot of work for A&M Records and the company’s art director was Michael Doud, who was commissioning a lot of London designers. I managed to get a few commissions from him. This was for The Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
My album cover design for The Ozark Mountain Dare Devils
It is very much routed in that ‘70s eclectic period, when anything and everything was valid. McConnell was also producing some wonderful work for the photo-setting company Face, which I think he had an interest in. He would often collaborate with John Gorham, who would generally surpass everyone with his astonishing ability to do everything perfectly.
As the year drew to a close, a job opportunity came up advertised in The Bookseller: ‘Art Director wanted for Fontana Paperbacks’. It was to become another important step in my meandering design journey.
My Albums for 1973:
William Friedkin’s The Exorcist caused a mild sensation, with help from Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (below) as part of the soundtrack
In addition to it's disturbing quality Don’t Look Now, containing one of the most graphic sex scenes hitherto shown in mainstream British cinema, was released in a double bill with The Wicker Man (below) not a brilliant film at all but, all these years on, now has a cult following.
My own bookjacket design for 1973...