Wednesday, January 12, 2005


strike another match go start anew

this is a photo of a solid gold dunhill lighter. it's for sale on ebay at the moment and with 7 days to go the last bid was $1,500. i've seen guys using these things in pubs in england: in london, though, and in the 70s. back in the 50s in the north east of england, if you were working class you would never get to hold one of these exotic objects. you might see the boss using one, or your captain if you were in the army. if you were working class back then you lit your fags with something more humble.

i bet you thought that andy's accessories occasional series would be a one off, right? manho won't have the stamina to follow it up, you were saying to yourself. well, you were wrong.

andy's accessories #2: the box of matches

here's andy on the beach, still with the tab in his gob, though. which matches did andy use? well, there's every possibility he never used matches at all, that he just lit the next fag from the previous one. but if he did use matches they're sure to have been these:

made by bryant and may, the biggest match company in england at the time, they were the basic fag-lighting equipment of the northern working class. in the south you got a different class of match, of course: england's glory, made in gloucester. you'd come across them in liverpool now and again, though. the boxes came with a joke on the back:

it was a superior product. i remember not being able to understand the jokes and having to get them explained to me. they were often military jokes, even years after the war finished. jokes about the army stretched well into the late 50s and early 60s: the goon show was practically all jokes that spike milligan remembered from the army.

andy has his military thing too. if you look at how he walks, with that upright back and the arms swinging, that's marching style (i remember my uncle used to walk exactly like that: he had the beer belly, too). guys learnt it in the army and they never forgot it. andy obviously did his national service.

if you think it was easy to find those photos of the matchboxes then you try. this is serious collector freak stuff and it doesn't just pop up in google if you write "nice photo of bryant and may matchbox, please" in the search window. no, you have to enter the sites of the matchbox geeks, and that's scary. while i was in there i came across this nice cover from a book of matches:

got me thinking about what andy used to drink up there in the north east back in the day.

next time.

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