Cheap inferior World cup sticker album from 1978. Stickers 76 and 79 are photographs of the same player. He's been given two different names- neither of which is correct.
This link will take you to a 'Resonance FM Podcast' interview with Mehrdad Seyf on 'Six Pillars to Persia'. Mehrdad talks about his earlier projects but at 7 minutes 38 secs he talks specifically about 'Poland 3 Iran 2.'
My dad in the desert (tallest standing on the left) during World War two. Everyone is in their pants but thankfully my dad kept his shorts on.
Chris Dobrowolski on the making of 'Poland- 3 Iran- 2' I ‘d been doing a few performance lectures or ‘slide talks’ as I still liked to call them at the time when I first met Mehrdad Seyf. He approached me after I‘d just come off stage from doing a talk that involved toys that I had as a kid combined with a story about my bedsit that had burnt down. In the narrative I’d also mentioned my father’s history and how he had been deported from Poland during the war by the Soviet Union to Siberia. Dad later got out of the Soviet union across the Caspian sea to the Middle East before he ended up in North Africa and Italy and then the UK. The first country he arrived in was Iran. Many Poles had taken the same route as my father and Iran consequently, even after the war, had a small Polish community. Mehrdad was born in Iran and his father had been taught to swim by a Polish lady in Tehran. This chance personal cultural interaction between Poland and Iran was the basis for his idea of a show- that and the fact that Poland played Iran at football once in the 1970’s.
Retrieving a plastic football figure from the garden shed where I had left it in the 1980's. I think it came free in a cereal packet. I had painted it in Polands colours when I was a kid. - ps. My mother insists on having net curtains in the shed window
I was never a great football fan apart from when I was 10 years old. Like a lot of kids I was (and still am) a great collector of things. At ten years old I was an avid collector of football cards, Subbuteo and stickers for my 1978 world cup sticker albums. It just happened to be the time period Mehrdad was interested in. As I recited the names of the players from my collection, still lodged in my brain from when I was 10 years old, I sounded like an expert. The next thing I knew I’d talked myself (or was talked into) agreeing to a meeting where we would devise this show.
Mehrdad said- ‘We should do it in your style!’. At this point I didn’t realise I even had a style and struggled to work out what this could be, then I realised he meant ‘a slide talk’. My slide talks/shows at this time were notoriously unscripted and often ad libbed. They were also actual 'slide' talks, as all my images were on 35 mm. photographic slides. People thought this gave my shows a retro feel but it was more authentic than that. I was a bit of a technophobe and had only had my first laptop a few months - Analogue was all I knew and the only format I trusted to work. After my first meeting with Mehrdad I realised I needed to go and spend some time learning how to use Powerpoint. This 'style' was a more versatile frame work for the wide range of topics Mehrdad wanted to touch upon in the show- Swimming, chess, love, war, politics and of course football.
My Polish Subbuteo player being fouled by Mehrdad's chess piece. The chess set belonged to his father, was brought with them from Iran and was solid brass.
I went into the loft and sheds at my mum’s house and dug out all my football related paraphernalia including the sticker albums. I had the official Paninni album but also a much cheaper one aimed solely at the British market. As a kid I had quickly realised that a lot of the Polish player's names in the inferior album were spelt wrong or weren’t even on the photograph of the correct player. When I pointed this out to Mehrdad he turned to the Iran page and realised they had done the same thing with the Iranian team. Whoever’s job it was to take the photos and write down the names had obviously thought... “I have a list of long complicated names and a load of photographs of foreigners! Who’ll ever notice if they’re not in the right order?” - That was the seventies for you. Anyway, that was how we started developing the show. That and regular visits to my mum’s loft to find anything that could illustrate Mehrdads narrative. Me and my brother grew up in the 70’s with a lot of 'KTG' (Know The Game) books. I had one on football another on swimming and another on chess and so a lot of the images came from these. This managed to keep a bit of visual consistency to a show that delighted in appearing to be quite disparate. In this way there was a constant reference to 'home' while the plot for show in contrast went all over the world.
Iranian riot police
Mehrdads violent chess pieces
Top Trump card of my chidhood hero- The lanky Polish goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski. I never thought I would grow up to actually be taller than him.