Author Brian Coleman returns with the second volume of Buy Me Boston, a curated collection of local ads and flyers that takes longtime Boston residents back to life between the 1960’s and 1980’s. Coleman spoke to GBH Radio’s Henry Santoro about his archival project. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Henry Santoro: Some of the many things that make Boston unique have been hiding in plain sight, and they've been hiding for some time. They come in the form of old advertisements, everything from restaurants and hair salons to clothing stores and radio stations. There are flyers for bands that don't exist anymore, who are playing clubs that also don't exist anymore. Well, we can credit pop culture kingpin Brian Coleman for gathering up the crème de la crème of these local ads and flyers from the 1960’s through the 1980’s and putting them into books that he calls Buy Me Boston. Volume One came out a couple years ago to rave reviews, also by me — I gave it a rave review too, and now Buy Me Boston Volume Two is out and at just under 300 pages, this is a book that will take you down a rabbit hole you will thoroughly enjoy going down. Brian Coleman, welcome back to GBH and Henry in the Hub.

Brian Coleman: Thank you very much. Great to be with you.

Henry Santoro: Tell us how this original project came to be.

Brian Coleman: I guess I would credit the original one with two different archives, two people. And that would be David Bieber, the renowned saver of all things who has an incredible archive out in Norwood, and Kay Bourne, who was the longtime arts writer for The Bay State Banner. And I had gotten to know both of them better, and started to realize what they had accomplished and what they had done by saving all this. And I think sometimes when you take so much time saving — which is actually the same thing with a lot of university archives — you don't do as much sharing because you're so busy gathering. And so I started to see myself as someone who could help with that sharing process. And then I guess I just fumbled into being a what I would call more of a curator than an author.

Henry Santoro: What do you think these ads in these flyers and these band placards say about Boston during that time period of the sixties to the eighties?

Brian Coleman: I mean, I guess the one thing, and it's not necessarily unique to Boston, but it's just kind of creativity. It's kind of — especially if we're talking sixties into the mid-seventies — there were no rules, necessarily, whether that was visually or kind of textually, the way you would kind of present things. That's kind of what I love about it. I mean, I think my favorite ads, if I had to point to one publication in one era, would be the late sixties’ Boston After Dark because they were meant to blend in with the reading of the newspaper itself, meaning you would kind of read everything. You would read the articles and you would read the ads. And the ads were things that you were meant to take time and look at. There were Boston Tea Party ads where you almost have to decipher what the text is. Like, wait, where is the show and what time is it? And so it was kind of challenging readers, I think, to really decipher it. But what it meant is they understood that people would sit down and read these publications versus nowadays, click through, maybe pay attention for about one second if you're lucky, and then go to the next Instagram post.

Henry Santoro: Brian Coleman is the curator of the Buy Me Boston books of local ads and flyers from the 1960’s through the eighties. Volume two is out now.

Gallery: View some images from the Buy Me Boston Volume 2 collection

AAA Recording.jpg
Bob the Chefs.jpg
Bobby Taylor Double Cocktail Sip 1988.jpg
Boston Rock cover June 1980.jpg
Capn Swing.jpg
Cars Bumper Sticker.jpg
Chuck White Biz Cards.jpg
Crimpers early Paul Mitchell.jpg
Filenes Basement.jpg
Hoodoo BBQ Best of Boston 1982.jpg
King Sunny Ade.jpg
MLK Jr Cambridge 1960.jpg
Movie Listings Clump 1971.jpg
Rock Against Racism.jpg
Say Brother vintage advertisement
Image Courtesy Of Brian Coleman
WMBR Live Wrestling.jpg
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Images courtesy of Brian Coleman.

Watch: Coleman appears earlier this month on Greater Boston

GBH News Intern Charles Xu assisted with production.