The Smithies Observer June 1969

The Smithies Observer June 1969

Found it! another iconic 'soul stylist' shot that has been doing the rounds since 1969....

Anglozine The Observer 1969

If you have smart leanings then the odds are you've seen the image I'm about to unveil.  It's been in a number of early Xerox photocopied zines from Mod, Skin (or Peanut as its being referred to again ) even the casual soccer ball zines.

To remind you all from outside of the U.K The Observer was under the ownership of the same group that owned The Guardian, it was their Sunday paper. The article as the cover story suggests attempts to put a spot light on the 'male' species and their tendencies to run with crowd.  Which in hindsight 1969 was pretty much the eve of the profound macho and the 1970's medallion man.

It's a lengthy article and pretty much just waffles on about the likes of my older male family members a cross between The Sweeney and The Likely Lads. 

I'm solely fascinated by the photograph of the lads standing on most probably a WW2 uncleared bomb site in Deptford South East London in sharp as you like knitwear and stance. I've seen this image tons of times and with socials the filters get retro graded to hell- so its great to see the real deal.  The shot was taken by Poplar East London born photographer Colin Jones who famously took early photographs of The High Numbers/The Who in their pop-art and Bridget Riley period.  Colin passed away in September 2021 due to Covid and you can see another of his shots from another Sunday paper blog post 'Gear On The War Path' his life was described in his obituary as a blueprint for 'Billy Elliot' a story worthy of looking into and an excellent body of work.


Anglozine suedehead 1969

Chalk and Cheese here City Gents and SE8 Gents

Anglozine The Smithies 1969 Suedehead

The Smithies looking a tad intimidating but also pretty bloody cool in my opinion. Its images like these that would undoubtedly have been put on Barney Platts-Mills story board for Bronco Bullffog film (released the following year).  The knitwear at first stands out, most probably Acrylic it was durable and took colour yarn dye really well. Then the relative neatness and perfect proportion of the garments.  Much like the unuttered sartorial rule in U.S military uniform alignment the 'gig line' that in itself is smart.  Sure the trousers are crumpled and the boots scuffed but they wore this clothing day in day out, and mucked about in derelict buildings.  The icing on the cake has to be the stance its perfectly captured here, you know the rank and file of the Smithies immediately.

In the snippet below on the Smithies they mention a Hulk, unfortunately not an angry green man- but a barge incapable of sailing away. 

Deptford SE8 is within spitting distance of Greenwich, the scene whereupon Del the main character in Bronco Bullfrog is duffed up in the underground walk through tunnel runs from Greenwich to the Isle of Dogs. You'll still witness people getting duffed up in the Greenwich foot tunnel by the likes of Smithies when cyclists don't dismount 

The Observer Anglozine 1969 suedehead style 

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