Richmond, south west London, 1976
Roger Perry’s photographs of graffiti in 1970s London were compiled in the 1976 book The Writing On The Wall. Perry (1944 – 1991), a photographer whose work regularly featured in Time Out, The Sunday Times, Vogue and Nova, captured a side of literary London when the city was hit by recession, poor housing and urban decay. As singer George Melly (17 August 1926 – 5 July 2007) notes in the book’s introduction: “In a world of supermarkets, office-blocks, processed chickens, VAT forms, computers, ECT, time and motion studies, what graffiti proclaims is ‘Human beings rule OK!’”
Hampstead Heath, London – tagged by Kix (AKA Lee Thompson) and Mr B (AKA Mike Barson), who became two members of the band Madness. The aforesaid Melly was not fan of their work, writing: ” I came out of my garage recently to find that people had sprayed graffiti on it. If I ever catch that Mr B, Kix and Columbo, I’m going to kick their arses.” “How about that?” said Thompson when he read Melly’s intro intro to The Writing in The Wall. “One minute he wants to kick my arse, next he’s praising me!”
Telford Road, Notting Hill Gate, London, c.1974
“I used to go down to Basing Street a lot because Island Records had their studios there,” says Pearce Marchbank, who designed the book. “It was really rough around there at night. You’d come out of the studio at 4am and it felt like people were sharpening their knives on the corners of buildings, that kind of thing. Now it’s David Cameron, isn’t it? Shops that sell scented candles.”
Elgin Avenue, Maida Vale, London, c.1974
Ladbroke Grove, west London, 1975
Hammersmith and City Line (between Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park), c.1974
Ladbroke Grove, West London
Graffiti on Avon Road in Islington, north London, around 1974.
Basing Street in Notting Hill Gate, west London, c. 1974.
Notting Hill, west London, in 1975
King Henry’s Road, Chalk Farm, London, c.1974
Kentish Town, north London,
King’s Cross station
Clapton, east London
Malden Road in Kentish Town, north London, around 1974.
Buy a new edition of the excellent The Writing On The Wall here.