Recently I borrowed a book from our library. If it had been read, it had not been read often. It dated from 1976, an edition under the imprint of Catholic Book Clubs.
A couple of bits of paper fell out as I opened it. Someone’s jottings? A letter or postcard? No; rather they were two flyers inserted by the Catholic Book Club—the sort of stuff that comes by forest-load in the weekend papers.
However, they fascinated me. What a marvellous little slice of social history they comprise.
You can see Mammon singing its own siren song here. What tempting treats: jelly and paté(!) moulds, bathmates, deluxe manicure sets in Austrian embroidered cases, a roll-and-bread holder shaped like a flower and of course, the deal-sealer, the hermetically-insulated 1-pint snack jar. The Venus pencil set catches the eye too, and so would easily have snared the wallet. All those posh colours: Lawn Green (or is it Lorne Greene?), Hollywood Cerise, Photo Brown (indeed colour photos from the 1970s went brown very quickly) and Barasota Orange. Very heaven in the austerity Britain of 1976.
Now see if you can find what won the “much-coveted ‘Gift of the Year’ award at recent British trade exhibition.” What a backwater Sydney in 1976 was by comparison. How provincial. How tame.
I cannot think why the Catholic Book Club did not survive.