Abandoned Suitcase Reveals A Love Affair

A love affair in a suitcase! Margret:  Chronicle of an Affair May 1969 to December 1970A love affair in a suitcase! Book cover, Margret: Chronik einer Affare Mais 1969 bis Dezember 1970 – Chronicle of an Affair May 1969 to December 1970. Compiled and Published by Nicole Delmes and Susanne Zander; text by Veit Loers and Susanne Pfeffer, at Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Koenig, 2012. ISBN: 9783863352547. Out of print.

White Columns Gallery, in collaboration with Galerie Susanne Zander | Delmes & Zander, presents this unusual and remarkable collection of photographs and ephemera that relate to a love affair which took place between the Cologne businessman Günter K., 39, and his secretary Margret S., 24, in the late 1960s and early 1970s – Is this revenge porn turned arty-farty? The exhibition runs at the White Columns until April 18th 2015 – Also very interesting Galerie Zander Blog.

margret at the mirrorGünther K. “Margret” 7th December 1970; Original Vintage Print 13cm x 9cm.

To be a hairdresser you’ve got to be interested in people, not just fashion; because as a hairdresser you can’t really avoid getting caught up in the revelations and the machinations of other people’s lives. In a way, hairdressers are voyeuristic; we float around our clients like a camera, intently watching and actively listening while we primp and preen and snip and style, and maybe that’s why I found the discovery of ‘Margret: Chronicle of an Affair – May 1969 to December 1970,’ so fucking compelling.

photographs of margrets hairstyle(great hair) Margret S. by Günther K. 9th January 1970 – pages 22-23.

I originally found ‘Margret’ in the Telegraph and I was instantly mesmerised by her Dusty Springfield-esque bouffant hairstyle and the atmospheric photographs that seemed strangely, beautifully familiar.

margrets hair sampleDated, Friday 4th September 1970, has this hair sample been used by Margret’s hairdresser to either test a L’oreal hair colour (Récital was a very popular home hair colour that would fit the code?): 50% .12 + 50% .14 (a reddy-caramel-ish tint) + 6% H2O2 (20 volume peroxide) or was it to be passed on to her normal hairdresser? Just to say, all my colour formulae are my intellectual copyright – apart from Frances’s, which is, Wella Koleston Perfect: 50% 8/0 + 50% 9/0 + 20 Vol!

The photograph of the hair sample, with it’s simple formula, seems so everyday to me – I love it because of the background context it provides to the narrative! I don’t know what it says in the book (which I would LOVE to own) about Margret’s hair; but Museperk says or maybe quotes, “We also observe Günther’s apparent transformation of his secretary from a shy, simple, mousy-haired girl to a modern, sophisticated woman with a fiery red high-maintenance beehive hairdo.”

Galerie Zander says, “Somehow, the ultimate symbol of the man’s control is the absurd bouffant hairdo that the woman wears in almost all of the photos, regardless of how little else she has on. It feels to me like a giant handicap that her culture has foisted on her – a notably stylish ball-and-chain.”

A “high-maintenance ball-and-chain hairdo” was pretty much the norm in the 1960s; it wasn’t until the mid to late 1970s that time consuming sets and comb-outs started to fall out of fashion and the ubiquitous blow-dry came to the fore – Don’t pull time out of joint OUTRAGEOUS blog.

All of these wonderful photographs are courtesy of Galerie Susanne Zander | Delmes & Zander Visit Their Website, and you might want to follow White Columns Gallery on Twitter?

Rita Tushingham with Peter Finch in Girl With Green Eyes (1964)Rita Tushingham with Peter Finch in “Girl With Green Eyes” (1964)

The photographs of Margret and the love affair, remind me so much of Hazel who looked like Rita Tushingham in ‘Girl With Green Eyes,’ a film of the book (published 1962) written by the Irish novelist Edna O’Brien – who’s hair I used to do in the mid 1970s.

Edna O'Brien 1974. Photograph by & courtesy of Fay GodwinEdna O’Brien 1974. Photograph by & courtesy of Fay Godwin.

Hazel lived with her boyfriend in an arty flat overlooking Wandsworth Common. I stayed the night and  went for a beer with her boyfriend and we talked about the art market – he was an interesting and good bloke. In the morning I talked to Hazel about her hair colour while I watched her put her face on in the bathroom mirror; he dropped us off outside the Chelsea fire station on the King’s Road. And she confided in me, “I’m going to ditch him,” which shocked me. And I felt as though in one boozy night, I’d experienced the beginning, middle and end of their love affair! And thus the love affair between Margret and Günther seems almost like a real memory to me.

Remembering Oliver Creasey 1950 – 2008

oliver creasey 1974Oliver Creasey (1950 – 2008) in 1974
Image courtesy of Vidal Sassoon Gallery presented by John Santilli

It was 1974 and it was Ollie’s birthday and he was late for work. Normally there’d be lots of Happy Birthday wishes, cards and cake and maybe a glass or two of wine, but today we, the staff, plotted in the staffroom and decided to pretend that we didn’t know it was his birthday; and if he tried to drop any hints we’d ignore them. All his morning clients were primed at the reception desk and told not to wish him happy birthday. …Until after lunch, when we knew one of his clients would bring in a special pressie.

By 09.30 Oliver was moody. At 10.00 he was cross, irritable and brooding. By 12.30 (about the time) he was gloomy, dejected and downright pathetic.

SURPRISE

Then the old git went the other way, he was ecstatic! Not a pretty sight ;-)

Thinking of you today Oliver
Here is my little tribute to, David Oliver Creasey who helped to shape my career!

Walking Down The King’s Road, Chelsea

Walking Down the King's Road, Chelsea, London SW3
Walking Down the King’s Road, Chelsea, London in the 1970s

This is a blog post in progress, which means I will be adding in extra content!

Hey @LesleyBell55 – how many times did we walk down the King’s Road, Chelsea? I came across an evocative gallery by Klaus Hiltscher entitled, 1976 – London – In a hot and dry August 1976 – Take a gander.

King's Road Blues part two By Dave Walker

And then I stumbled upon this absolute gem, King’s Road Blues part two By Dave Walker, oh-my-god, it makes me so nostalgic.

Red door of 151 Nightclub, King's Road, Chelsea
151 Ricci Burns – Looking Very Tatty via Google Streetmap

Saturday was always the best day to walk down the King’s Road to Sloan Square underground station because it was so unbelievably colourful and frenetic. I was often the last one out of Ricci’s (it’s now a nightclub called ‘151’), I’d lock-up and then poke my head into Quincy Jones next door (Sen, Chinese Herbs. Now L’Eto café), giving the boys a metaphorical ‘Fuck Off’ as they still had another four hours of work. I’d cross over the road and go into the Trafalgar (pub) to see if Natasha, one of our models, was stripping; maybe I’d have a grapefruit juice and slimline tonic – not very rock and roll!

As you look at 151 King’s Road, to the right (West) is Chelsea Manor Street, home of the fabulous ‘Bow Tie,’ a traditional greasy spoon café. It was here one weekday morning that the controversial Lord Longford watched me, in what seemed to be horror, munch my way through a massive bacon, egg and grease sandwich. He sat opposite me and asked me questions on the Berkshire countryside, while a thin film of white fat solidified on his cooling tea.

Bow Tie cafe Chelsea Manor street
Bow Tie cafe 1977 Chelsea Manor street

To the left (East) of Ricci’s is Flood Street, then home to Mrs Margaret Thatcher (number 19)! About halfway down are the Rossetti Studios, built in around 1894, they are absolutely beautiful inside. I worked there in 1975 with the enigmatic and enthusiastic fashion photographer Barney Bosshart (3 Rossetti Studios), very enjoyable.

Sometimes I’d walk straight down to the Picasso Café (127, now called Black & Blue) and have a cappuccino and a poached egg on toast, sit outside and watch the pretty young things walk past, hoping today would be my lucky day. Behind me, some mad witch of a waitress was looking busy and shouting CHINO – It took me ages to realize that she was ordering coffee and not calling for an overworked menial (when I was a junior I identified with this elusive, never to be seen, Chino)!

The Picasso was my Café de Flore (172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris), a little haven, where plain buttered toast and a plastic cup of tea, first thing in the morning, seemed as sophisticated to me as blood orange pressée fraîche and the Sunday Times!
I’d usually walk down (towards Sloan Square) on the right-hand, south side of the road! Passing the Chelsea Potter on the corner of Radnor Walk (drinking hole of Adel Rootstein’s staff – Adel Rootstein 1930-1992) – but I always felt that the Potter was a bit too smart for me. On Wednesday 13th June 1973, Oliver and I walked around to 52 Radnor Walk (of Quorum, Alice Pollock, Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell fame), to talk to someone about a fashion show (I think), they were out! It was lunchtime, so on the way back, we called in at the Chelsea Potter and had an ice-cold glass of white wine. I think that was the only time I went in – although I do seem remember a late night foray after work one night!

Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside (1964)
Chelsea Bird by Virginia Ironside (1964)

I like the fact that The Chelsea Potter appears in Virginia Ironside’s book ‘Chelsea Bird’ (confessions of a sixties chick) – it’s called ‘The Chelsea Weaver’ it was obviously the ‘In’ place in the 1960s too.

Corner of Markham Street 1976 - London - Kings Road, Chelsea
The Pheasantry Arch – Corner of Markham Street 1976 by Klaus Hiltscher

The Pheasantry (North side at 152) was a hideous Georgian mansion built in 1769. The whole time I was at Ricci’s, and beyond, it was in a state of dilapidated limbo and redevelopment from about 1971 – 1981. Basically, ‘they’ wanted to demolish it, and I frankly was indifferent – I think that only the façade remains the same today! It is now a Pizza Express!

It used to be a ‘posh’ members only club and then apartments/flats, and it’s where Germain Greer wrote ‘The Female Eunuch’ – an important feminist publication at the time.

The Female Eunuch (Germaine Greer published 1970)The Female Eunuch (Germaine Greer published 1970)


Yeah, The Pheasantry was the artist’s studio (I think, I’m sure I’m right) in The Party’s Over. I saw it in the very late 1970s at the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill; actually, I thought it was a pretty boring film at the time – I’d probably love the nostalgic Chelsea scenes and crap acting these days!

King’s Road Saturday Market

The slightly tatty Saturday market – Photo: via John Bignell, thank you Dave Walker: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Bignell’s People

On the South side of the King’s Road opposite The Pheasantry was the Saturday Market, during the week it was a car park (you can see the yellow sign in The Pheasantry Arch photo by Klaus Hiltscher. It’s now the entrance to M&S Car Park). I knew one of the Saturday traders, he was just like Adam Faith in Budgie – he sold jeans. The King’s Road Saturday Market closed in about 1976.

The Markham Pharmacy 138A, King's Road, Chelsea, London SW3
The Markham Pharmacy

The Markham Pharmacy (on the North side at 138A) is on the corner of Markham Square. It’s now a cafe, of course, but at it’s fashionable hight it was Mary Quant’s boutique, ‘Bazaar’ (1955 – 1969). An interesting website that talks about Bazaar: Mary Quant, the Miniskirt and the Chelsea Palace on the King’s Road. I used to buy copious amounts of Paco Rabanne eau de toilette from the Markham Pharmacy – what a stink!

Next door was the Markham Arms (hidden by the bus in the photo. Now Santander bank at 138), another pub I never went in! Here is another readable website with a better picture: The King’s Road, Chelsea from Swinging London to Punk – remember that ice-cream van?

Ivana, walking by the Chelsea Drug Store via John Hendy photography
Ivana (1971 – before my time) walking by the Chelsea Drug Store

Well spotted Lesley! Ivana was Head Stylist at Ricci Burns, this photo, taken by the street fashion photographer John Hendy who often stood on the corner of Royal Avenue (the sun behind him) next to the Chelsea Drug Store (Now Maccy Ds). I always loved the look of the Chelsea Drug Store (designed after Le Drugstore, Boulevard Saint-Germain), I bought a pair of cheap Loons from there, they were crap – it was a good place to sit and watch to world go by.

A fascinating read: Alex in the Chelsea Drug Store, analyses stills from Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange (1972 UK).

I’d be disappointed if I didn’t see a skinny old man dressed as Tarzan (in only a loin cloth) KP nuts tucked into his thong-like belt; he’d beat his bare chest and yodel for his mate, sun or rain he rarely let me down.

Interesting article by Paul Gorman: David Parkinson photography retrospective

Happy days.