Roger Perry’s photographs of graffiti in 1970s London were compiled in the 1976 book The Writing On The Wall. Perry (1944 – 1991), a photographer whose work regularly featured in Time Out, The Sunday Times, Vogue and Nova, captured a side of literary London when the city was hit by recession, poor housing and urban decay.
As singer George Melly (17 August 1926 – 5 July 2007) notes in the book’s introduction: “In a world of supermarkets, office-blocks, processed chickens, VAT forms, computers, ECT, time and motion studies, what graffiti proclaims is ‘Human beings rule OK!’”
“I used to go down to Basing Street a lot because Island Records had their studios there,” says Pearce Marchbank, who designed the book. “It was really rough around there at night. You’d come out of the studio at 4am and it felt like people were sharpening their knives on the corners of buildings, that kind of thing. Now it’s David Cameron, isn’t it? Shops that sell scented candles.”