Thursday, May 07, 2015

When rock was rock, selfies were rare and something inevitably went wrong

When Mick Watts (he's the one on the right) sent me this pic, he apologised for the quality. Along with Johnnie Walker, Mick's our guest at Monday's Word In Your Ear, talking about his time working for Melody Maker in the 1970s. Tickets here.

Back in the 70s if you did manage to get a picture of yourself with the star you were interviewing, it was inevitably either out of focus or one of you would be partially obscured. Nobody carried photo-taking apparatus in their pocket. And if you did have a picture taken it was imperative that both you and the subject posed in such a way that sent up the very idea that you were having your picture taken. Even then it probably wouldn't "come out".

If you were lucky what you ended up with was a prototype selfie like the one above. While the subject wasn't actually operating the mechanism it was a selfie in that the only person really interested in the picture was the less famous one in the picture. The rarity of the "me with very famous person" snap has been devalued by mobile phone cameras and the increasingly military organisation of the meet-and-greet. Taylor Swift must already have had her picture taken with far more people than Frank Sinatra ever managed in his long career. Nowadays I don't know anybody who hasn't had their picture taken with Bruce Springsteen. It wasn't always so.


  1. And there certainly weren't any night shots. 'I'm not made of flash cubes.'

  2. It was the wait...... for the film to be developed and returned.
    And on the same roll of film you and your "rock star" were sandwiched inbetween your summer holiday pictures and some nan at christmas dinner shots.
    No picture was so important as sending off a roll of film only half exposed..