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Whatever happened to you, whatever happened to me?

Chris Jackson | 13:20 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, protestors were starting to gather at Greenham Common, the first ever space shuttle ventured beyond our atmosphere.

This was 1981.

I mention it because it was the same year that a Tyneside photography enthusiast embarked on a summer project that thirty years on has come back to the fore.

Montage of Elswick self portraits

Montage of the Elswick self portraits

Chris Mearns set up a makeshift photo booth in Newcastle's West End and all sorts of likely lads and lasses came in to pose for their own self portrait.

It is a remarkable snapshot of the times. When we look back each one of us can probably find something different in the 100 faces. Chris now works in the NHS and a fellow health worker noted how virtually none of the children are overweight - something unlikely to be replicated in a similar photo session today.

But he is hoping to repeat the project - if only he can find his original 100 and get them together. Not only would the faces have another 30 years of life etched on to them but there would be the fascinating stories of what has happened in their lives in between 1981 and 2011.

I made a film about his quest for yesterday's Look North (Thursday 08 September 2011) and if he can trace enough of the participants it would be a really interesting event.

You can see the whole gallery at so if you spot yourself or someone you know he'd love you to get in touch.

The title of the blog is the opening lyric to the TV theme tune for The Likely Lads. It goes on to ask "What became of the people we used to be?" It's a great question.

The Likely Lads in a pub scene from teh TV show

Rodney Bewes and James Bolam as The Likely Lads

If you're not amongst the self portraits immerse yourself in more distant memories of 1981. Dolly Parton released "9 to 5", "Chariots of Fire" was the box office hit of the year, oh and there was the small matter of Lady Di and Prince Charles getting hitched.

A lot has happened in three decades.

I'm 50 next week...and after writing this all I can think about is when I was 20. I may have to find a quiet corner and have bit of a sulk.


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