F is for Faye: 73. The Keep Calm and Carry On Phenomenon

Posted on March 14, 2011 by


If you’ve not seen the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, you’ve been living under a rock. So, for those rock dwellers, this is it:

I love the poster. The poster itself was discovered in a box of books by Stuart Manley, owner of Barter Books, in 2000. It was meant to be used during World War 2 if an invasion occured, but it was never distributed. There’s more about the history here.

I bought the poster from Barter Books a few years ago. I love the history behind it, but also the fact it’s so applicable in day-to-day modern life. Especially when you’re prone to crises like me. Seriously, I have a postcard stuck in my desk at work which I look at at least twice a day.

Which brings me onto something else. It’s spawned a lot of copycats. Just stick the term into google, ebay, etsy or anything else you can think of and it’ll throw up mugs in with the slogan across, posters in more colours than you can shake a rainbow at, mousemats, t-shirts and a whole boat load of crap. There’s even a Tumblr dedicated to it. My favourite is the Keep-Calm-O-Matic, where you can generate you’re own Keep Calm and… images.

The one thing that does annoy me, however, about the Keep Calm and Carry On phenomenon, is that a lot of the copycat posters are stupidly expensive. Whilst at the Trafford Centre on Friday I meandered through Selfridges and came across the Pedlars concession. I liked some of their things and thought I’d take a look at their website and came across this. For those who aren’t link-clickers, it’s a Keep Calm and Carry On poster in a hand-painted frame. FOR £85! £85!

Given that you can pick up the original Keep Calm and Carry On poster from Barter Books for less than ten percent cheaper, I can only assume that the frame it comes in is laced with gold and hand-painted by naked angels of unimaginable beauty.

There’s not much they can do about the copycats – the posters out of copyright as they detail here. Anyway, check out Barter Books and spend your hard-earned cash on the original poster (and the other posters as well, which are also quite cool).

Posted in: F is for Faye