Art student in the cafe – 1970…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s financial forecast predicts troubled times in the banking community as its members realise that there is nothing available to buy that they don’t already have.

So, I recently came across a little oblong plastic box of 35mm slides from donkey’s years ago. Slides – does anyone remember ‘slides’ or ‘transparencies’? Do people still take photographic ‘slides’? I know some people are still keen on using old-style cameras and actual black and white film, they do the traditional processing and they carefully print the pictures up on nice photographic paper in red-lit mysterious darkrooms. Good for them! The pictures do look very good, and they do have a certain ‘quality’ that you can’t quite get with digital images – hm, perhaps I’m wrong there, I am not really up to date on such things technical…
Me, I never really got on with slides, I found them too fiddly to view, and even with a good  ‘slide projector’ I always found the images a little bit fluffy, or the perhaps the colour wasn’t quite right, and they were quite prone to specks of dust and stray hairs invading the skies and spoiling the picture.
So, I came across this little plastic box of slides – I got a friend of mine who has a rather classy scanner to do me a disc of JPEG files from them.
There were only about a dozen reasonable pictures, taken mostly when I was at Hull Art College round about 1970.
The fine art department was located in an old Victorian school building in a working class area in the east of the city; it had a big school yard with prefabricated huts in it which were used as studio space too. The college didn’t have a canteen or cafe, but opposite the gates there was a ‘working man’s’ place called ‘Dot’s Cafe‘ – big mugs of tea, cheap coffee, steamy atmosphere, the smell of fried food, loud conversation, bacon sandwiches, egg and chips, brown sauce and red ketchup, ashtrays on tables, etc.
Here is a nice slide of a fellow student sitting at a table in there. Atmospheric isn’t it?…

davescan-03I think I can remember this chap’s name – I might see if I can find him on the net… he may never have seen this picture…
Yes, he is out there, and he’s still painting and having exhibitions, but he does seem to avoid social media, perhaps someone who knows him might spot this picture and tell him about it?

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
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9 Responses to Art student in the cafe – 1970…

  1. I do like the sound of “Dots Cafe”. I haven’t used slides or anything like that, but I agree, they are quite fiddly – and you have to hold them up to the light and squint in order to see anything. This chap looks quite fierce, as if he’s ready to have an argument, haha! Imagine not using social media to promote himself, now that’s very unusual, but then again, maybe he is too busy making things to be bothered clicking around.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Oh yes, Dot’s Cafe – it was a proper ‘greasy spoon’ cafe – we’d spend hours in there talking art instead of being at work in our studio spaces.
      I have just put a message on an online advert for a show of his work – perhaps he’ll get to see the picture after all.

  2. Claudia says:

    Love the whole ambience of the pic. Who knows if life was as “ambient” (is that the word?) as the pic portrays, but the lad looks very early 70s. Probably turned into the world’s finest pop artist or something. Thanks for the trip back!

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Yes, ‘ambient’ is an excellent word for that wispy slightly blurred feel to the picture – and of course the 1970s were constantly bathed in that strange warm set of muted colours too… As if…

  3. paul davies says:

    My brother John and sister in law Jan were both there in the late 60’s. I’ll ask them about him. They have stories of Dot, most unprintable.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      I never heard any ‘unprintable’ ones about Dot… Ho ho!…

      • Sheree Shaw says:

        Hi, I was wondering if anyone could help me? Totally unrelated to the artistic side of things, as interesting as they are, I was wondering if you had anymore pictures from Dots Cafe as I. Am the granddaughter of Mavis Tungate (Daughter of Karl Tungate) who owned the cafe at this time and I’d love to uncover any photos of the cafe/her. Many Thanks x

      • Dave Whatt says:

        Hello Sheree, I’m sorry, but that is the only photo I have of the cafe – but good luck with your research.

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