BOB MAZZER: LONDON UNDERGROUND in the 1970s and ’80s



Though London's residents may find it hard to admit, today's Underground really is a world-class transport system. Safe, clean and with modern trains running on every line, it provides an environment, that though occasionally uncomfortable, feels absolutely in touch with the needs of the 21st century commuter.

The Tube of 35 years ago, however, was a very differrent proposition, as the photogrpahs of Bob Mazzer demonstrate. 

Mazzer was a projectionist in a porn cinema – not something there's a big demand for any more – and on his way back to King's Cross he'd take pictures of the people and scenes he'd encounter. This was a London before hipsters, organic coffee shops and CCTV, where carriages were filled with smoke and hard lads in Doc Marten's boots, and where drunken violence (and sex) was but a stare away. 

"Every day I travelled to King's Cross and back," says Mazzer. "Coming home late at night, it was like a party and I felt like the Tube was mine and I was there to take the pictures."

Mazzer's shot have now been collated into a new exhibition, Underground, at the Howard Griffin Gallery in London. The pictures show how dramatically the capital has changed since then – not just in the obvious ways like fashion or personal habits – but in the look and behaviour of the people themselves. This a more homegenous London, whiter, less well fed, more anarchic. Dirtier, even.

That's why for anyone with a passing interest in both London transport and social history, Mazzer's exhibtion is a must-see, not least for the fact that his prints are available to buy.

An ideal way to enjoy the Tube of the late ’70s, without having to wash your hands afterwards.

Bob Mazzer Underground runs from June 12th at the Howard Griffin Gallery, London

BOB MAZZER: LONDON UNDERGROUND in the 1970s and ’80s Comments

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