In Loving Memory Of Work by Craig Oldham presents a visual record of Britain’s longest ever industrial dispute: the 1984-85 UK miners’ strike. The book, published by Oldham’s own imprint (Unified Theory of Everything) marks the 30th anniversary of the miners’ return to work. Bringing together political graphics and cultural ephemera alongside first-hand testimonies, it’s a celebration of the creativity of the working class, as well as a re-appraisal of the collective aesthetic of one of most important social & political events in recent history. Moving, witty and at times shocking, In Loving Memory of Work explores the immediate effects of the strike, while vividly demonstrating its continuing cultural (and political) relevance.
Earlier in the week we took a close look at some of the arresting images featured in the book. For this second post we had a proper chat with mastermind Craig Oldham, to get answers to some of our questions…
FFF: Looking back on any historical work can feel a bit removed or diluted, like sifting through collections of punk flyers from the comfort of your sofa in 2015. You talk about the book as a reappraisal, and even a celebration, of the ’84-’85 For UK miners’ strike work thats been wilfully ignored since – how do you think the work in the book has been received this time around by new audiences in a context so removed to that of the mid 80’s when it was produced?
CO: It’s difficult to say, as the book itself is still new. Books need time to settle and find their place; their success isn’t that it gets picked-up off the shelf and bought, it’s that it continues to be picked up by the person who owns it, passed around, shared and such, sometimes years afterwards. But the immediate feedback I’ve had about the book has been overwhelming, and to an extent this definition of success has been happening (I’ve had emails from people all over the country who’ve been bought a copy, or have been passed one, and felt compelled to get in touch). In that respect it’s been a success, and for me personally, I’m proud to have made it—which for me is a success.