Saturday, 13 February 2010


During the mid 80's period, when I was on the dole, I used to make Kurt Schwitters style collages. Not being able to afford art materials, I used things like cornflakes boxes, sweet wrappers, carrier bags and so on, the kind of consumer packaging you would normally chuck in the bin. I would cut them up and assemble them into wee pieces of abstract art. This wasn't a career move by the way, it was just for my own creative amusement.
I was living in a city centre flat and used to pay my electricity bills at the Hydro Electric Board showroom in Whitehall Street.
On one occasion when funds were low, I was struggling to pay my bill. Having ignored the reminders and final demand, I received a letter from them that had a large red warning stamped on it that read - SUPPLY DUE FOR DISCONNECTION. CONTACT OFFICE IMMEDIATELY.
The above item is my collage piece depicting this moment, dated 1985.
The top blue square represents my electric fire, with the orange strip showing that only one bar was working at the time!
Below it, is the actual warning that I cut out of the letter.

I ended up arranging to pay the bill in installments.

It's quite funny looking back at those days, with my mind not having any thoughts of domestic comfort. And even when totally skint, was still able to view the situation with a touch of humour!


  1. So who'll start the bidding at £50,000?

  2. I think most of us were in that position in the 80’s. Good old Maggie Thatcher had a lot to answer for. I was made redundant and had 8 months dole with my first child just born. Desperate days, we tend to forget how bad it was!

  3. "We tend to forget how bad it was" - so it was worse than the early 1970s or the state we find ourselves in now?

  4. Don't start complaining now. We said we should have had a revolution!

    Karl & Fred

  5. you paid for electricity !!
    did you never hear of guitar string pushed down the back of the meter to stop the dial going round , or scalectrix power supply with the wires jammed in to reverse the meter making it go backwards!
    I personally never did these things but was aware that some people may have !

  6. Electricity ! Luxury !

    We were living in a tenement up the Hilltoon withoot a roof and using candles and living on stale mothers pride and last weeks auld bridies.