MANY A SCRAPBOOK is lovingly compiled, but very few are shown to anyone, let alone included in an exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Even doing the PR for the likes of David Bowie, The Who and Blondie, Alan Edwards never thought his would make it into London’s pantheon of cultural artifacts. However they are part of a new exhibition and series of live events that start today (April 21).
Always Print The Myth: PR And The Modern Age will see the Outside Organisation chief stage a series of talks examining the evolving role of PR over the last 40 years, with the likes of Bob Geldof, Jeremy Deller, Alastair Campbell and more joining him between now and May 9. See below for the full list of speakers.
“The actual conversation with the V&A began as early as 2011 when an art student called Famie was helping archive our material,” Edwards tells MOJO. “She said that I should get an exhibition arranged, so I said she could explore the idea a bit. She came back saying the Design Museum weren’t interested, but the V&A would like to do something. I said, The V&A? As in the Victoria & Albert Museum? I was amazed. That’s where it all really kicked off but the truth is I’ve been collecting all the narrative/visuals since I was a teenager when I was reviewing bands like Dr Feelgood and Kilburn & The High Roads for Sounds.”
“I started filling scrapbooks with football programmes and quickly progressed to music.”
Having started his professional life as a music journalist before moving into PR, Edwards' scrapbooks, diaries, cuttings and his archive will be a key part of the exhibition.
“I started as a school kid by filling scrapbooks with football pictures and programmes and quickly progressed to music memorabilia and anything that caught my eye as culturally interesting,” Edwards eplains. “I’ve worked in music throughout my career and by the ’90s, I had a mass of scrapbooks and diaries and about ten years ago I realised that they represented a unique record of the explosive growth of PR and how music and PR worked together.”
“The idea is to very much get away from that sort of music exhibition where you see a rock star’s guitar behind a perspex case,” he adds. “I loved the one that Mick Jones from The Clash did a few years ago and I got a lot of ideas out of that. Having people like Tony Parsons coming along to talk is crucial – I didn’t want a static lecture of any kind. I’ve know Tony since we were teenagers and shared many a transit van journey with him going to gigs. Tony and I will rove around the room along with the audience chatting about how punk and people like Malcom McLaren embraced the power of PR."
Check out this preview of Edwards’ collection...
For full details visit www.vam.ac.uk. Meanwhile the speakers are: Dylan Jones (April 21), Dan Wootton (22), Tony Parsons (23), Tom Watson (25), Sir John Hegarty (28), Sarah Sands (29), Dennis Morris (30), Alastair Campbell (May 1), Jeremy Deller (2), Hala Jaber (5), Bob Geldof (5) , Lynne Franks (6), Paddy Harverson (7) Lord Tim Bell (8) and Ken Sunshine (9).