Fings ain’t wot they used to be………

So wrote Lionel Bart and sang Max Bygraves. But we forgive them.

A year or so back I acquired at outrageous cost some magazines dating back to……… well, you guess. I regard these as social documents to be preserved and they show the times all too vividly. In particular the advertisements.

Who for example would follow this exhortation this today:

Capstan......... or Cancer?

Well maybe a bitter ex-wife but otherwise I suspect not many. Yet only 30-40 years ago my grandmother gave my late father (25 years this week) a tin of St. Bruno flake pipe tobacco every Christmas. She lived to be 97. He to 65. Hmmmm.

But as a keen photographer I was fascinated to see what was on offer this year. Have a look:

Jazz up your iPhone... or something similar

You see! Fancy coloured cameras are not the prerogative of the iPhone generation. And at least at this time they called them by what they are – Vanity cameras. Thank goodness I haven’t bought an ostrich skin or Hermes-styled M9. Frankly, I’d rather buy the whole ostrich. And heavens to Murgatroyd they are aiming the things at women!!! What will they think of next.

At least they weren’t digital but they did want to sell you that old stuff called film.

And please note that Agfa film was “indifferent to under or over exposure”. Good grief, I could do with some of that now. And it gives me “an endless chain of correct results”. That would be something special. Perhaps it had a built in ‘delete’ mechanism. If it sensed a sub-optimal shot it simply edited it out and skipped to the next one?

And finally, as Steve McCurry bangs off the last roll of Kodachrome just remember that Kodak was a global brand even then even if it is soon to shuffle of this mortal coil and join the serried ranks of Chapter 11 entities (allegedly). May it be resurrected and avoid the ignominy of Chapter 22, Chapter 33 etc.

Kodak colour

And of course, with apologies to those on the other side of the pond, I am delighted to see it was “Kodaks in colour“. I did once own a Brownie Cresta 3 – my first ever camera in fact and I suspect there may even be some prints hanging around somewhere that I took on Caldy Island in the late 60s.

Now all these adverts are from 2 issues of the 1929 China Journal (April & December issues to be exact), hence the references to Shanghai, Tianjin & Hong Kong. What amazing times they must have been and if our economic masters have their way, we may be heading back there toot sweet. But  that’s no bad thing if I can buy Mrs. H a Bluebird Vanity Kodak and stuff it with Kodak film with all the advantages of error free Agfa blended in. But if it’s all the same to you, I’ll give the Capstans a miss.

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4 Responses to Fings ain’t wot they used to be………

  1. Corkscrewboo says:

    OMG!!! St. Bruno flake pipe tobacco, now that brings back some memories, my dad used to smoke that and I loved the smell of it, as I remember you could get ready rubbed too, nice one!

  2. 57andrew says:

    My mother always used to say my dad smoked more matches than tobacco. “His” chair was surrounded with little black burn marks where he had fallen asleep and the matches had dropped to the floor :-)

  3. oh no – am i too late to order a cockatoo vanity kodak? ;)

    interesting, andrew

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