Let’s Stick Together

Let's Stick Together

The orbit of a graphic design student in the pre-digital era was very different from the one we inhabit today. Even that giant pinboard behind Tony is less than stimulating, though at least he’s got his MANUS welfare wall calendar to keep track of things. Note the board he’s leaning on – complete with all-essential ‘parallel motion’ to make sure he gets everything lined up. These all pretty much went on the bonfire by the early-nineties. Note, that he has a tin of Cow Gum to hand. I never used this stuff, just the name put me off but even more so when I put my nose in it, the aroma being not at all dissimilar to Chopper’s bedroom. I was always a fan of the Pritt Stick but the ultimate adhesive and still in pole position today is that enemy of the environment, the royal blue aerosol that goes by the name of Spraymount. At £5 a pop it was about the equivalent cost of six or seven pints, so cans of the precious stuff were closely guarded. I also viewed them with a hint of trepidation, not so much for their effect on the ice-caps, but when Davie Crow gave himself a blast straight in the eye. Is that a metal ruler by his side? Probably not, its more likely a typescale, so he can painstakingly calculate how many words he can squeeze into a particlar space before getting Idris the Dragon, the phototypesetting technician to run out a bit of text for him. Blimey, truly another era. Take heed of that ring-bound Letraset catalogue close to Tony’s right hand. About three hundred fonts in there, all alphabeticised in upper and lower-case for you to trace out and re-size on the grant enlarger. You want colour? Well, unless you were Gene Denham and able to blow your Miami Vice takings on a handful of so-called Magic Markers, you were looking at those big coloured ones from the bargain bin in the Student Union shop, all sorts of weird pastel colours and flesh tones. Not cheap either mind, Manchester had a pound shop, Charlie Ball’s in a corner of Shambles Square, but these were well before the days when you could buy fifty crap felt-tips for £1.99.

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