Thursday, 17 January 2013


I've been sorting my 'playroom' out where I do my music, photography and occasionally art work. There are folders full of paintings and drawings going back thirty years plus, to be honest not much I'm particularly fond of nowadays. I also have books, boxes and drawers full of memorabilia, or as some people may call it … junk. I'm not including the drawers full of cables, cassettes and old computer CDs just yet. I reckon it may take at least six months to sort it out properly.

I'm trying to make some sense of all this and have decided to scan documents and photographs etc and gradually force them upon my Facebook friends! A book is also planned with 'memorabilia' from the sixties and seventies.

One of the books I came across, in very good condition (for any collectors out there) was The Park Drive Book of FOOTBALL 1968/69. I wasn't particularly sporty but I did have an  appreciation for Manchester United at the time!

Sports sponsorship in all things by tobacco manufacturers was the norm until quite recent times, so a book like this, coveted especially by youngsters, was not out of the ordinary.  It has photographs in colour and black and white, it has league tables and results for the season. It has interviews about teams and players, some of them sporting a large cigar or cigarette. Of course this was also in the days when footballers were paid 'normal' salaries and were often 'just one of the lads'.

How did I happen to own such a tome? A piece of social history? Did I smoke a zillion Park Drive unfiltered cigarettes at the age of ten and send off the packet fronts? Well … no actually. What we did as kids was scour the streets, healthily riding around on our bikes to find as many discarded packets as we could, no matter how grubby or how wet. Thank goodness for the lack of recycling bins in the '60's!
These would then be dried and brushed, put in an envelope and sent off with the anticipation of the book arriving in a few weeks.
I did start smoking later in my teens, everybody I knew smoked.
Twenty cigarettes were about twenty pence if you bought king size.
I stopped smoking in 2006.

'Remember, if you smoke after sex then you're doing it too fast.'

Woody Allen


  1. Wow! - I could have written almost exactly the same text as this about myself. I also had a copy of the same book and collected most of the pack fronts in the same way. My dad used to get me a few from his colleagues at work or would collect them from the floor of the bus as he travelled, he didn't have a car at the time. Reading this blog has brought back so many memories, thanks John.
    Oh by the way, I too started to smoke in my teens, you were the odd one out if you didn't in those days. I managed to stop in 1993 after many failed attempts!!

  2. Thanks for the comment Tommy ... those were the days! Hope you are keeping well, Happy New Year!