“Wish You Were Here” An 80s Photographic Retrospective by Leeds Casuals

Hands up who likes looking at photographs from a time when hearing the word ‘hooligan’  would still give you butterflies of fear and admiration rather than thinking ‘oh just grow up you dick’. Yes the 1980s were a special time, when the working class male started to dress like a cross between Ronnie Corbett and Ivan Lendl whilst stylishly terrorising anyone and everyone who was game at the game of a Saturday afternoon. Since this decade the lads of Leeds (perhaps unfairly overshadowed by the Mancs and Scousers) have always had more than their fair share of clued up dressers, many of whom will be about at tonight’s adidas sponsored Exhibition and Book launch of Wish You Were Here at the White Cloth Gallery. Anyway, here’s the press info, I’ll see thee down there!


Too good to stay in the box’ a reference to the now iconic trainers they wore on the terraces or to the photos of the group of friends that define ‘Wish You Were Here’?

‘Wish You Were Here’ a photographic exhibition of the 80’s casual era created by Andy Pye, Richard Cusworth, Karl Skirrow and Simon Gosling to commemorate friends sadly no longer with us. 

The original event back in February 2011 marked the 25th anniversary of the tragic loss of one of those good friends, Gavin Spelman. 

Its initial success lead to ex-pat friends hosting the event at galleries in New York and Paris, demonstrating the strength of the ‘casual’ youth culture the images portray. 

Rather than let the memories fade the organisers decided to the capture the images in time and bring out a hard back version, its launch will coincide with the return to Leeds of the exhibition at the White Cloth Gallery.  The 132 pages features a brilliant narrative from Pat Slaughter, a smart backdrop for the photos celebrating young friendship, the 80’s dresser scene in Leeds, the days out at football, further afield, the gigs and also the project’s journey some 27 years later. 

Previous ‘Wish You Were Here’ events have raised funds for the Candlelighters childrens cancer charity in Yorkshire. Proceeds from the book will be split equally between Candlelighters  and St Gemma’s Hospice, chosen in memory of Johnny Ruttledge. 

Wish you Were There? We wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Neither should you.” 

The book and its launch is supported by Adidas, without doubt one of the key and most legitimate brands of the casual era. 

The organisers would like to thank them, the friends who donated the photographs and the crew behind the scenes without whom the project wouldn’t be what it is today.  

1 Comment

  1. Toronto Ted / Young Parisian / shoplifter

    Much appreciated the feature.
    Thanks lads

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