I’ve never been a football fan having only been to a ‘proper’ match once and that was enough. It happened because West Bromwich Albion owned the house next door for their managers to use and one year we got tickets from Jimmy Hagan for the directors box for a match on boxing day. It was at bit embarrassing having to ask after fifteen minutes which team were Albion and which were Spurs. PAN appears to have taken over publications from the Football Association themselves sometime around the early 70s and I have added a few of these plus other football related titles HERE I got several of these in a ‘bumper bundle’ and for once I am not going to be a completist for all of them!
Always on the lookout for cover variations I found a few more covers for Grace Metalious. The two from 1974 are not really eye catchers plus the 1971 cover for ‘Peyton Place‘ is just a variation. The one I really want to get is the 1972 edition of ‘Peyton Place’ which matches ‘Return to Peyton Place’ for which I have the artwork but no idea of the artist. The only copies I have seen are on sites in the Far East and the one I’ve ‘sponged’ is from Kuala Lumper and the seller doesn’t ship to the UK!
One of those weird coicidences happened this week when I was really pleased to be contatced by Lyn Kirby, who worked at PAN as Cover Controller from 1979, and who mentioned football as had I. Lyn emailed me her menories of working in the ‘warm, dusty and dark basement’ which you can read about here.
“I started at Pan Books in Cavaye Place in 1979 as a Production Assistant. I had no plan to work in Publishing, but I went for an interview via a recruitment agency and I think I got the job because I actually read books! Not like now when you need degrees, internships and extra publishing qualifications.
I was 18 years old and desperate to work in London for some reason. I started off helping all the different people in the Production department with typing, filing etc and moved on to being Cover Controller within a few months. My bosses were Dennis Crutcher as Production Manager and David Bleasdale who was Production Director.
I worked quite closely with Stan Boswarva who was the sweetest guy imaginable – he gave me a ticket for the QPR v Spurs FA Cup Final because he knew I was a QPR supporter and he got tickets from the Referees Association as I think Pan did their book. And I remember Ken Hatherley well – I loved going over to the Studios on the other side of the road to Cavaye Place. I think it was called Stanley Studios which was a bit of co-incidence
So my main job as Cover Controller was to get all of the new covers repro’d from original artworks or transparencies, proofed and approved. Then decide who out of our 3 main cover printers was going to print them, arrange for them to be uv varnished or in special cases, laminated. I had to ensure they were all delivered to the book printer in time for them to be bound.
Reprints was a case of getting the job bag out from the basement and checking what the last cover was and then reprinting. The first cover I ever did was the graphic representation of ‘Penmarric‘ by Susan Howarth. I was so proud to see it in a bookshop.
The basement was warm and dusty and very dark if someone turned the lights out for a joke. The racks were full of old cover artworks which I used to flick through now and again to admire the bright colours and the then, old fashioned styles.
Some were still in job bags but most were just placed in the racks in random order. If I had known they were going to be thrown out or destroyed, I might have done something about it but I would have been too young and honest to have taken them home!
Sadly I never had anything to do with the artists during my time there and we were moving on to photographic covers by then anyway. I had left for another job in book production by the time the covers were going to be thrown out.
I did meet some very famous authors though when I was lunch relief on Reception imcufing Jackie Collins, Douglas Adams and Barbara Cartland.
I don’t work in Publishing anymore but made it to Production Manager of various publishing companies handling multi million pound printing budgets and being responsible for all book production so not bad for a girl who got the job because she could touch type and had read interesting books!
I’d like to thank Lyn for getting in touch, for her memories of her time at PAN and for kindly attached two photos, one from 1984, just after she left PAN, the other from 1994.