Paul Weller and The Jam’s Sound Affects album cover phone box is in Gravesend

A phone booth that features on the cover of The Jam’s fifth album has been transformed into a tribute to the band.

Gravesend’s traditional red box was photographed for the Sound Affects album by art director Bill Smith, a native of the town.

The telephone box is outside the old town hall

Four decades later, the phone booth – which sits outside Old City Hall – has been given a makeover by artist Duncan Grant.

It was rearranged for the Winter Light Festival which took place a few weeks ago.

Duncan said, “Because The Phone Booth was on the Sound Affects album, the Gravesham council wanted my installation to be a tribute to The Jam.”

The cover of Sound Affects was based on the design of a series of BBC Sound Effects discs.

Frontman Paul Weller asked Bill Smith to recreate it with images relating to songs from their album.

The cover of The Jam's 1980 album Sound Affects
The cover of The Jam’s 1980 album Sound Affects

Bill created The Jam’s famous spray paint logo that still lives on today and also created the covers for five of their albums and 16 of their singles.

The band were working in the studio and using one of the Sound Effects records when Weller, who will be playing the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood in June, came up with the idea for the Sound Affects cover.

Writing in the book Paul Weller: Sounds from the Studio, Bill said: “Each of the Sound Effects albums was numbered, so I called it Sound Affects No.80 because the album came out in 1980.

“With Paul’s idea in mind, I then started inserting the various images for the album cover.

“I took and found some of the photos and photographer Martyn Goddard took the others.”

The phone booth was transformed by artist Duncan Grant.  Photo: Graham Long
The phone booth was transformed by artist Duncan Grant. Photo: Graham Long
Paul Weller will perform at Hop Farm in 2022. Photo: LPH Concerts
Paul Weller will perform at Hop Farm in 2022. Photo: LPH Concerts

Bill – who has also worked with The Cure, Kate Bush, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Genesis and Queen – added: “The phone booth was on a street in downtown Gravesend. I took the picture when I lived there.

“The pylon was in the countryside just outside Gravesend.”

Sound Affects sold over 100,000 copies and spent 19 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, reaching number two in the late 1980s.

Weller has previously declared Sound Affects to be The Jam’s best and favorite album.

Duncan’s artwork, titled That’s Entertainment, features two Mod characters speaking the lyrics to Start! , one of the Sound Affects tracks which was the band’s second number one single in the UK, and his take on the album cover photos.

The Winter Light Festival in Gravesend Photo: Jason Arthur
The Winter Light Festival in Gravesend Photo: Jason Arthur
The festival took people on a trail around the Heritage District Photo: Jason Arthur
The festival took people on a trail around the Heritage District Photo: Jason Arthur

Although the Winter Light Festival is now over, Duncan’s artwork will remain in the phone booth.

The festival was organized by Gravesham Council and aimed to help people see the town in a new light.

The council partnered with local artists and businesses to create the circular trail around the heritage district.

They were supported by a professional architectural lighting company who repaired and installed new lighting around the city to complement the festival and bring out the key features of some of the historic buildings.

There were light installations and projections at St George’s Church Gardens, Town Pier and St Andrew’s Art Centre, among others.

Brigitte Orasinski, Artistic Director of Strange Cargo, the event’s lead arts organization, said: “We were thrilled with the architecture of Downtown and its patchwork of buildings of all sizes and designs in the Heritage District. .

“Gravesend’s history is visible at every turn and as we wandered the arrangement of streets we encountered narrow lanes leading to lovely green spaces with statues honoring past and present heroes of the town in parks and Cemeteries ; and of course, the magnificent Thames.”

You can find the telephone booth outside the Old Town Hall in High Street, Gravesend.

About Elizabeth J. Swartz

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