The Beatles shook up the pop world with this...
St Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band took 129 days to record, between autumn 1966 and spring 1967, and it changed the rock world. And today A Day in the Life still sounds fantastic, but back then it was astonishing.
A girl from my home town won the Eurovision Song Contest..
Dagenhan born Sandie Shaw won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest with the diabolical Puppet On A String
Playwright Joe Orton was murdered...
Joe Orton (above) was killed by nine hammer blows to the head by his boyfriend Kenneth Halliwell, who also committed suicide at their first floor flat in Noel Road, Islington.
This was on our TV screens...
Patrick McGoohan in The Prisoner, the big TV hit of '67
And the great man of soul died in a plane crash...
Ottis Reading died in December 1967 while flying to a gig in the US.
A big year of change for me. I got married and was now working at Cato/Peters/O’Brien in the heart of London’s West End, surrounded by Ivy League Americans drinking coffee and eating doughnuts for breakfast. I was in heaven. Initially I had turned the job down but was persuaded to change my mind by the extremely persuasive boss Mac Cato.
Three of my co-workers,16 year old secratary Rosemary Wilmot with artworker Bill Cooper. In the background the general studio hand, Dougie at the Albermarle Street studio.
There was another
extremely talented designer at the studio called Richard Tilly, nicknamed
‘Ginger’ because of his mop of ginger hair. He was a scooter-riding Mod,
complete with a badge-strewn, fur-collared Parker. Another member of staff was
Virginia Clive-Smith, a rose-tinted spectacled, multi-beaded, hippy beauty –
she had originally worked at Conran’s design department alongside Barney
Bubbles when he went under the name of Colin Fulcher. She was super bright with
a devastatingly cutting rhetoric. As an inexperienced and rather naive 22-year-old,
I felt rather inferior and gave her a wide berth when it came to any kind of
argument. A lot of the work there was not for me, like soap powder packaging
for Proctor & Gamble with little creative manoeuvrability, as you can see
from this photo of me in the studio and the project on my desk…
Not a happy looking bunny when working on soap packs.
But we also had CBS as a client and, because of my experience of adding type to book jackets, I would often be given album covers to do. I’d just be handed a photo, title and track listing and be told to produce a cover in two hours, because the fee was so small. Outside of this, I had been building up a lot of freelance book cover work, which I would produce in my spare time. I even sometimes collaborated with Ginger, who was also a talented illustrator. From the studio window looking down onto Albemarle Street, we would often see The Beatles,
The Beatles could do no wrong in 1967
whose management offices were just around the corner. Another regular was Francis Bacon, who would go to the same little Italian café close by to his gallery the Marlborough, which was next door to our building in Albemarle Street. My time at Cato/Peters/O’Brien sharpened me up as a designer, particularly working alongside other talented people. For the first time for me, this set up a sense of competition.
Above the Cato/Peters/O'Brien offices in Albermale Street
Just before the company moved to Queensway, another talented individual arrived in the shape of Roger Harris, a man with a beautiful line quality to his drawings and now a successful print maker.
The work of Roger Harris
The company moved in 1968, which coincided with me getting itchy feet and being on the lookout to move onto a greater challenge. The opportunity presented itself when I was picking up a book cover commission from William Heinemann. Their then Art Director Tom Simmons told me he was leaving and suggested I consider applying for the job, which had just been advertised in The Bookseller magazine. I’d never heard of it and had to hunt it down. And that will form the next part of my journey and a wonderful decade in the world of publishing.
My film for that year...
The Graduate directed by Mike Nichols
This my job for that year...
Throughout 1967/8 I was building up freelance work from publishers. For this book jacket, published by Hodder & Stoughton I experimented with photographic distortion.I drew up the concentric circles in black on white on paper, crumpled it and photographed it in my parents back garden. I then created a high contrast 'line' print to use on the cover artwork. All for a handsome £18 guineas fee. (appox £296 in today’s money)
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