Snowy Hastings…memories of Biba

It has snowed solidly all day so far. I think it is one of the first Sundays I can remember that we have not ventured out of the house at all.  On Friday night we were due down at the Arts Forum to see the opening of the latest exhibition – there is a portrait of our friend Joe Fearn on view – but it was bucketing snow then as well…..   
     Snow looks quite deep now. In this little road, we have to look after ourselves – the Council kindly fills a bin of grit and salt for us to shovel as we please.

     This is our view right now. Where is the sea? Where is the sky?
     This morning, Battleaxe has been occupying herself putting some items on Ebay. A random collection of items, some of the last things left over from our previous life.
     If anyone out there fancies a 30s cheval mirror, a 70s G plan stool, a 50s stool, a 50s lucite lamp with crabs and fishes inside or a 70s Biba poster, go visit ‘Grannystephsattic’ on Ebay – they go on 7pm tonight (Sunday) for 10 days. See, I told you they were random.
Grannysteph has done 895 transactions from her attic since starting the Ebay account in 2006.
     First, it was surplus stock from RetroBizarre, the vintage clothes shop I had in Moseley, Birmingham. Then, we started clearing the Birmingham house – that has never really stopped – until now. I think we are finally at the end.
Here is the Biba poster. I have had quite a few Biba items to sell over the years – another very rare shop display poster, various make-up pots, a tea-tin – and they have all sold incredibly well.
     Apparently this poster was produced for sale in the shop in 1974, but the company went bankrupt before they could be displayed. I used to love wandering round the enormous, ridiculous Big Biba store in High Street Kensington – all mysterious dark purples and midnight blues – in fact, the place was so dark you could scarcely see anything – and customers shop-lifted stuff shamelessly (honest guv, not me). Lots of ostrich feathers, mirrors, fringed lamps, exotic brown and gold packaging, wonderful decadent Deco styling….  
     Newly married to the first Mr Battleaxe (in 1974) I was torn between Biba style, the bright orange, cream and brown Habitat look, or Laura Ashley sprigged florals and Victoriana to do up our first little home in Peckham.  Eventually, Habitat won. Say what you like about the 70s, winters of discontent etc., it was a very vibrant, creative decade.
     There is a major Biba exhibition at Brighton Museum right now – it is on until April. I will persuade Philosopher to take a day out – it is ages since we went to Brighton.

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