‘A Fresh Clean Smell That Could ONLY Be Masculine!’

Mark Simpson has a sniff around a classic men’s deodorant ad that reveals how far we’ve come – and also how some things never change Back in the 1960s the mass-market ‘grooming’ of men by advertisers wanting to sell them vanity products was only just beginning its warm-up. This rare and pristine copy of a 1968 UK cinema ad for men’s deodorant with the reassuringly martial name ‘Target’ (a brand that seems to have gone missing in the intervening half century) recently posted on the BFI website is […]

Army Dreamers: A Backwards Salute to Recruitment Films

by Mark Simpson, The Guardian As a boy growing up in the 1960s and 70s I was raised to fight The Second World War all over again. Airfix models. Commando comics. Air tattoos in June. Watching The Battle of Britain and The Longest Day on telly with my dad, just so I’d know what to do if I ever found myself pinned down on a Normandy beach or with an Me 109E on my tail. All of which made me easy prey to an RAF recruiting […]

Crims Ain’t Wot They Used To Be

Mark Simpson on the way public information films about policing and justice throw an arresting light on our recent past The London Times Some trace the demise of the British way of life to the day when RAC patrolmen stopped saluting. In fact, as Police and Thieves, a marvellous two-DVD collection of historical documentaries on policing and the justice system from the vaults of the Central Office of Information, shows, the rot set in when bobbies stopped wearing skin-tight white gloves. The reassuring paraphernalia of […]