David Thorpe Photography

Professional Pix

Pictures for Money

This is a cover I did for Techno Twins, in the early 80s. This is the sort of session where you work with the people directly, no expensive stylists or make up artists. Steve Fairnie and Bev Sage were a married couple in the British arts scene. They had the slightly eccentric take on things that British music used to do so well.

I remember the session lasting until the early hours with lots of ideas being brought into play and chucked out and mulled over. In some ways this kind of session is more fun than with the bigger stars because you have more direct input of ideas. Apart from being a Chaplin lookalike, Steve Fairnie was noted for his ability to hypnotize chickens.

Around this time, I had a small office in Fleet Street, in a very old building over the top of the King and Keys and beside the Cheshire Cheese. In the office above was an old guy who made porno films and downstairs was a man who had a tiny travel agency letting flats on Crete, called The Laughing Cretan. Maybe it was an intentionally ambiguous name, I don't know. There was also a woman who ran a German picture agency. It was an eclectic mix, all people who needed a cheap central London office. It's a sham e that ballooning property prices have wiped out these old buildings, these slices of London history with their windy staircases and old wooden window frames. Even the old ones left are tarted up and converted to the uniform bland that everyone seems to admire these days. We may have more money but we are not richer.

I used to pop into the Cheshire Cheese now and then (ahem!) At lunch times a blind bloke used to come in for a pint or two. The staff used to keep some juicy bones back for his Labrador guide dog, so the dog would sit there happily munching away while the bloke chatted to his friends and drank a bit. He worked for a legal company. One lunchtime, I remarked, "see you later" as i went back to my office after lunchtime. "I never know", he said.

It turns out his Labrador got a nice doggy meal every evening when he got home. Much as the guy wanted to go for a pint of Marston's, the dog would resist. It would just go very slowly and keep stopping and take a roundabout route. It would need a great deal of coercing to actually go to the pub. It wanted to get home and get fed. "It feels like having two wives, sometimes", he told me.