With this stunning collection of over 700 retro adverts, photos and articles, sourced from over 50 different magazine titles, Brand New Retro takes a captivating look back at Ireland’s vintage pop culture and advertising from the 1960s to the 1990s. The content is a visual feast, and uniquely Irish, covering fashion, music, brands and sport.
It features the best of the author’s award-winning website, brandnewretro.ie. Since 2011, the site, founded by Brian McMahon, has digitised thousands of iconic images, articles and adverts from an expanding chronicle of vintage magazines and other publications. The result is a fantastic document of Irish life, a smorgasbord of images that embody iconic Irish pop culture.
Brian McMahon is creator and curator of the award-winning website brandnewretro.ie. He has been creating fanzines, DJing and performing with bands since 1978. He is a former member of The Scheme, who supported U2 at the Dandelion Market in 1979 and was a DJ with Dublin’s Jazz FM in the 1990s.
Brand New Retro is a Saturday kind of book. When I was a kid, Saturday was a day for reading comics, eating sweets and listening to the football on the radio. A bit later, working on the stamp collection, following the cricket, and going to the shops with my parents predominated. In my peak teenage years, it involved babysitting for my next-door neighbours. They were about a year older than me, and ran away when I walked in the door. This became a semi-regular gig. The kids’ dad asked once whether I was OK to babysit on a Saturday: he said he knew it was an important day for teenagers. Not for me, it wasn’t; not in that way, anyway. No problem, I told him.
Later, it became a bit more exciting. The anticipation of a night out after a hard weeks’s worth, maybe a few quid to spend, and no idea how the thing was going to turn out. It wasn’t as glamorous as on TV, but it was fun, certainly. Now, with teenage children myself, it’s becoming a bit of a battleground again. And no doubt it will look different again after Covid. And so the world turns.
But if you want to bottle everything that was best about Saturday in the late twentieth century, you could do worse than stick Brand New Retro in the Nutribullet, add some water, or perhaps lager (paper can be a b***h to liquidise), and turn the thing on. I mean it. There are girls, clothes, music, a bit of sport. It pretty much jumps off the page at you. (Come to think of it, there’s not that much sport: maybe room for a follow-up some time.) If you’re of a similar vintage to me, you’ll want a significant other to buy a copy for you. Failing that, you could buy it for yourself. If you don’t like it, and write me a note explaining why, I’ll give you your money back. Promise. Just don’t ask me to babysit the kids.