Funny how the wheel of life turns. Or the CD on the record player of life. Putting the finishing touchs to my cigarette book (blogs passim) I was reminded that Procol Harum made an album in 1969 called A Salty Dog. And that the album sleeve was a primitive pastiche of the original Player's Navy Cut cigarette packet. I'd never heard the album, even though A Whiter Shade of Pale transcends genres and time to still be one of the best pop songs to make the Hit Parade; and I do have an obscure album of theirs called Exotic Birds & Fruit which I bought just for the still life on the cover. So needing a pristine example of A Salty Dog to scan in for the book, I sent off for what I think is a 40th anniversary edition. It arrived yesterday, so I can now tell you that the cover was painted by Dickinson, who, surprisingly, is a lady and married (at least at the time) to the lyricist in the band Keith Reid. I popped it into the player in the car this morning, and have to tell you I had to stop the car in a field gateway and stare out over the wet fields of Leicestershire as the eponymous first track swept over me. I thought it simply brilliant. Which is a good job, after forty two years.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)