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Sunday, August 22, 2010

The charisma of a forty-year-old piece of window dressing

This large piece of hardboard is a reminder of just how important record sleeve art once was. This was put in the window of the old HMV shop in Oxford Street in 1973 to mark the release of "Burnin'", the second Island album by Bob Marley and The Wailers. My old friend and colleague Steve Wright rescued it when the display period was over and it took pride of place in various hippified pads in north London. It used to look down on Saturday nights as we returned from the pub to sit round smoking and listening to the new John Martyn album. Anyway Steve moved to Australia and ten years ago when he died a friend and I had the job of sorting out the stuff he'd left in Holloway. We found the Wailers hardboard and, rather than see it on a skip, I took it home. It did stints in the office and at university halls of residence. It has holes in the corner where a cord has been threaded to hang it from a picture rail. It's still in one piece after nearly forty years. Son wants to keep it and is therefore going to get it framed, which seems the most sensible way to ensure its survival. Odd the things that survive.