Wish You Were There: Nifty guide to London 1960-66

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

Wish You Were There, the new retrospective guide to the shops, clubs “and sundry diversions” on offer in central London between 1960 and 1966, may be pocket-sized but it’s packed with exhaustive info and fabulously-researched detail.

Produced by Herb Lester Associates (writer/DJ/60s expert Ben Olins and broadcast/publishing creative Jane Smillie), the simple, stylish map/listings format also makes for a delightful artefact.

This is the third map from HLA, whose aim is to create “attractive and interesting publications for companies and organisations”, extending to books, quarterly magazines, journals and one-offs.

“Some years ago I planned to write a book on London clubs of the pre-psychedelic rock & roll period, approximately 1958-66, and did quite a bit of research but couldn’t allocate the time and energy to do it right,” explains Olins. “When we started to produce the maps, I decided to merge the research and interviews into a more easily digestible and manageable package.”

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

We’re pleased to note that THE LOOK was among the sources of background info, though Olins stresses he focused where possible on first-hand testimony from the likes of Lloyd Johnson and Jeff Dexter.

“Jeff’s like Zelig meets the Memory Man,” says Olins. “He’s just incredible and also enormously generous. Jeff, Lloyd and I spent one long day this summer pounding West End pavements, with the two of them pointing out locations and describing what they were like.

“We ate lunch in the premises occupied by (John Michael’s groundbreaking Old Compton Street store) Sportique. ‘At last I can afford to buy something at Sportique!’ said Lloyd, who generously paid for us all. Then, in a moment of circle-closing, we bumped into John Pearse in Wardour Street.”

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

WISH YOU WERE THERE London 1960-66

Wish You Were There is an absolute steal at £4 a copy, available here.

jake morton said,

February 28, 2015 @ 11:52 pm

Ah Sportique! At least a few of us remember it. Maybe the first – together with C Gee perhaps – to have Italian styling?

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