Archive for memorabilia

Like a Beer Tray in the Bar

Posted in Collections, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 3, 2020 by echostains

I have always been interested in metal. All things made of metal, enamelled metal, iron, tins, heavy metal.

I started out collecting tins – and this is where my other collecting interest (old advertising) converged. I started out with advertising tins like ‘Oxo’ and progressed onto biscuit tins.


From biscuit tins, came enamelled advertising signs. I collected a few of these until they became too popular and the prices shot up.


Then in an oasis of calm, came a new passion – old beer advertising trays! These again combine the best of both worlds – metal and advertising. Some of these trays have fascinating history. I am particularly enamoured with the small water trays at the moment.

We now have so many trays we have had to put some on the ceiling of our home bar. I just love the idea of these trays in bustling pubs, some long gone along with the waiters who used them and the people they served.

A natural progression has now been made to Beermats (notice how the advertising medium is getting smaller and less expensive…).

I shall be doing a series about these old beer/bar trays and brief histories of their breweries.

Thanks for images Stevello57


A Bohemian at heart? or an Ass in Bohemia?

Posted in LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by echostains

French House pub and restaurant

Boho’s that we are (at heart) we were Pottering round Soho and popped into the French Bar, Dean Street. Packed out of course. The smokey atmosphere may be gone, thanks to the ban, but the pub still a kind of ‘aura’ lingering over it. This bar has a great history and some very interesting photo’s and art on the wall of bygone customers: all characters, nearly all dead.

The pub itself is lively enough though, full of all different ‘types’. Lol! Wonder what ‘type’ people would call us? (hence the title). Not keen on stereotyping myself: do not wish to join. However, one of the barmen was NOT very pleased about us taking pictures at all, he told us so in no uncertain terms-

‘Do you know, there are actors in here who don’t want to be recognised or photographed’ he said (in a very loud stage whisper lol!)

Actors who don’t want to be photographed or recognised! A novel concept eh …… The beggers should take their chances the same as everyone else! After all it’s a pub, not an exclusive club (like the Colony Rooms, which we tried to gatecrash once… and failed). You’d have to be EXTREMELY ‘recognised’ by the owner to get in there: disguises must NOT be worn



The offended man himself was sporting a large handle bar ginger moustache, glasses and curly hair: a cross between Mr Pastry and Billy Childish (and yes, we have got a pic of him, it would be rude of me to put it on this blog though.. … oh OK then, if you insist: it’s not like anyone is going to see it..)


We did ask him if he WAS Billy, he said he wished he was. So did we. We like Billy, both as an artist (Stuckist) and a songwriter. In fact I must write about Childish later. But I digress as usual.



Earlier on we had gone to Fitzrovia. Now we ADORE Fitzrovia! I prefer it to Soho. All the interesting characters that used to hang round there. So many to write about, so many talented and interesting lives. Favorites include Bacon of course (got to write about the exhibition yet), John Deakin, FANTASTIC photographer and a well, not a nice character, but a character. John Minton, tragic artist. Nina Hamnett: artist in her own right and Queen of Bohemia, Jeffrey Bernard, the journalist.


We went in the Wheatchief which was one of Dylan Thomas’s haunts, though you wouldn’t know it as they don’t exactly draw attention to the fact. I’m sure there used to be a plaque or something over the seats called ‘Poets Corner’ , but that’s gone now. Him and Caitlin had many a Ding Dong in this pub. But then they had rows any time, anywhere.

Back at the French House, before we were interupted by the barman, this is what we were trying to taking photos of.

past customers

Amongst all the memorabilia on the walls, I was rather quite taken with these. Now I don’t know if they are actual little watercolour sketches, pen and ink drawings or just pieces of wall paper, but I just LOVE them and had to snap em! I can recognise a few of the artists in the drawings/paintings.  And I am sure that a lot of them would be really pleased to be remembered…….. and recognised.

gone but not forgotten



Altered Art Book page 6 ‘Plunging the Depths: A Matter of Faith

Posted in MY ALTERED ART BOOK PAGES with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2008 by echostains

page6  Altered Art book

page6 Altered Art book

By page 6  I had ‘taken the plunge’; I had ‘dived in’ .  The swimsuits began to take on the form of an abstract ‘language’ or a game of ‘OXO’ or Noughts and Crosses.  I have a feeling ‘crosses’ will become a regular feature in this work.  Either that, or the book will become a cross I have to bear.

1930s oxo tin

1930s oxo tin


  There is something comforting about old packaging; the designs, the colours: the pure simplicity of the message.  No subliminal brain washing here,  just straight to the point.

War time Morale Booster

War time Morale Booster

 Why should I think of ‘Oxo’? what is influencing me here?  Well the influence isn’t far away, it’s only in the kitchen and I see it every day.

oxo advertising mug

oxo advertising mug

 I have loads of old advertising stuff, I love the feel of the cold enamel, even the rust can tell a tale of all the seasons it’s seen.  Quite a few years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Robert Opie Museum in Gloucester – a veritable treasure trove of bygone packaging.  This museum has now moved to Notting Hill London.  A shame, because the location, Gloucester Docks also featured in another favourite of mine, the late TV programme ‘The Onedin Line’.  That visit was a double whammy.

 But I digress as usual. 
Taking the plunge: diving in at the deep end.  The crumpled brown paper is mirrored literally with the text ‘Black swimsuit’ and ‘dry and brown’: a bit like your skin when you’ve been in the bath too long (though in my case: pink and wrinkled).  You get the idea though? parched: dry versus wet.


Altered Art book p6

Altered Art book p6

Throwing an artist into the mix: David Hockney sprang to mind.  He made a series of pool paintings, with paper pulp and printed as monotypes.  



 By putting the two pages together (5 and 6) the message is clear: It’s Everlasting Life or nothing.  Taking the plunge and trusting the ‘guardians’ seems to imply an act of faith.  The book is beginning to reveal what’s going on in my subconscious…exciting!  

p5-and 6 Altered Book

p5-and 6 Altered Book