This is my mum’s brother, Wilfred Camenzuli. Born in Alexandria, Egypt and raised in Tooting, south London.
Back then, everybody in south London carried a shooter.
Wilf was always taking pictures. Here’s one of my mum and dad, looking unbearably glamorous.
He once made me and my sister watch a horror film so he could get a photograph of us cowering.
And here’s another of me and my sister, this time feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square. I wonder how many thousands of similar photographs exist in photo albums around the world?
Wilf also took dozens of photographs of London in the 1970s and early 1980s. I always thought he had a great eye. Here are some of the best.
Battersea Power Station, 1975.
Gamblers/businessman, back office, Old Kent Road.
Fixing a car with champagne, Royal Ascot.
The finishing line, Epsom Derby.
Punch & Judy, Covent Garden.
Street performers, Covent Garden.
Street people, Covent Garden.
Anthony Quinn and Jacqueline Bisset filming The Greek Tycoon, Leicester Square.
Strawberry picking, Epsom.
Tooting with dad.
Posted in Celebrity, Family, Film, History, London, Photography, Sport
Tagged 1970s, Battersea Power Station, Black and white, Camenzuli, Covent Garden, Cutty Sark, Derby, Epsom, Hyde Park, Leicester Square, London, Old Kent Road, photographs, photos, Royal Ascot, Speakers Corner, Tooting
I’m of the generation that doesn’t really get Hallowe’en. Growing up in the South London suburbs, it wasn’t something that happened much. There were ghost stories, and one Great Aunt, who had lived in America for decades, would give us extra sweets while waiting forlornly for local children to come knocking dressed as Communists, but trick or treaters were rarely sighted.
For my kids, though, Hallowe’en is a big deal. And even if the temptation is to dismiss the whole thing as a ghastly imposition from America, you can see the appeal. However, it would be churlish in the extreme not to admire the effort some households go to make it a memorable evening for local children. In Herne Hill, one elderly men had spent hours draping his hedges in cobwebs, while another family had a fake gravestone in their front garden. And then there were the pumpkins. As a Hallowe’en neophyte, many of the presumably age-old American traditions – like leaving lighted pumpkins outside to show you are in on the act – are entirely new to me, which meant I’ve rarely seen anything like the intricate carved pumpkins created by Herne Hillers in a magnificent game of artistic oneupmanship.
A selection follows.
In 1899, Earl’s Court offered interested Londoners the chance to pay 6d to see a Hong Kong ‘opium smoking parlour’, filled with ‘living Chinaman’ and ‘true to every detail’. This reflected an ongoing fascination for the Chinese habit of smoking opium – a habit that had been partly encouraged by the British East India Company and then condemned by British missionaries – and merrily ignored the fact the British themselves had been consuming opium for decades.
The Chinese tradition of smoking looked and felt very different though, and that’s partly because it was so deeply ingrained into society, a ritual to be enjoyed alongside tea and nicotine with a rich material culture, lavish paraphernalia and its own customs, traditions and symbolic meaning. This is explored in an extraordinary exhibition of Chinese opium pipes at Maggs Bros bookshop in Berkeley Square, which I have written about for the Independent on Sunday.
It features a unique collection of 19th-century Chinese pipes and related material that demonstrate the full complexity of the Chinese relationship with opium, as can be seen in some of the following images – and these barely scratch the surface of the incredible collection that can be seen at Berkeley Square from June 5 to the end of July.
Field of opium poppies
Jar for storing opium
Chinese opium smoker
Postcard of opium smoker from Vietnam
Bowl for smoking opium
Smoker with pipe and tools
Bowl for opium pipe
Pipes being burnt by anti-opium reformers
Bowl for opium pipe
Lamp used for preparing and smoking opium
Tray for carrying opium tools
Pink pills for pale people – opium cure
Box for storing opium with erotic carving – opium was seen as an aphrodisiac and was originally smoked in brothels
Bowl for smoking opium
Preparing a pipe
Tools for preparing opium
Opium smoker with cat – pets often became addicted to the opium fumes
Posted in Animals, Crime, Drugs, Exhibitions, History, Journalism, London, Photography, Politics, Science
Tagged China, Chinese, history, India, Julio Santo Domingo, Maggs Bros, needles, opium, photographs, pipes, smoking
These photographs of London in the late 1960s are a wonderful commentary on the scene of the time. Frank Habicht, who also took some great images of the Rolling Stones, is particularly adept at drawing out the contrasts between the carefree young and the more traditional side of the city. Enjoy.
All photographs are from Frank Habicht’s Young London, Permissive Paradise (1969)
Posted in Art, Books, Counterculture, Fashion, London, My London Library, Nostalgia, Photography, Sex
Tagged 1960s, fashion, Frank Habicht, hippies, photographs, Sixties London, swinging sixties
Chaucer Road, SE24 after the 1981 Brixton riots
Chaucer Road, SE24 in 2012
The top picture is taken from Taschen’s superb new book of London photographs, London: Portrait of a City.
Posted in Books, Brixton, Crime, Herne Hill, History, London, Nostalgia, Photography, Politics
Tagged 1981, brixton riots, Chaucer road, Herne Hill, photographs
Some months ago, Russell Miller noticed that London was filled with metal posts that are left embedded in the ground long after the signs they once supported are taken away. So he began to photograph them for his website, taking particular interested in the way people walk past these rusting remnants without even noticing. And then he told me about it.
I think they are great. Here are a few examples, but for more check out Russell’s website – We Do This Because We Forget.