Market Days In Brighouse

My scanning project this week takes me back further than I almost care to remember, back to the late 1960s when England were World Cup winners, Carnaby Street was fashionable, and Brighouse still had a Council. At some stage I was walking around Brighouse with my camera, and I went into the Open Market, which, back then, appears to be where the Bus Station is now. The four photographs that resulted seem to capture a different aspect of the 1960s, one that was far removed from the neon lights of the Swinging Sixties. It was a monochrome world of Omo, Ajax and Geest bananas, a time when the cobbled streets were always wet. For each of the four original shots I have produced a reworked version, either in colour or with the help of filters, just to see how they would look.

All sorts of things are evocative of a time, but in this particular case it is the Geest banana boxes and the advert for Worthington beers. They are as dated as the view itself. The Worthington jingle went thus: “What about a Worthington? Britain’s finest beer; What about a Worthington? It makes you want to cheer; It’s clean and bright and full of life …” The final line has been lost in history, but you can make it up without too much effort.

We are still in Brighouse, still in the old open air market. We are still in the time of Ajax and Omo; we are still in the land of plastic rain hats and eggs piled high on trays. It is raining, which is surprising, because it never rained when I was young.

The styles of the coats, the size of the bags and the cut of the headscarves; all proclaim the 1960s.

There is something slightly odd about this final negative scan. Looking carefully at the young chap towards the right of the group of market shoppers, I have the distinct impression that it might be me. But if it is, who took the photograph? I am sure that I was responsible for the rest of the shots on this particular strip of film, but did I have a sturdy tripod and time delay, or an accommodating assistant? However it was done it appears that, like Alfred Hitchcock, I have made a guest appearance in one of my own films.

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