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Ellis Woodman on Baggage
25 January, 2024
While renowned for her subsequent career as a broadcaster and newspaper editor, Janet Street-Porter spent two years as a student at the Architectural Association from 1965-67. The first volume of her autobiography Baggage: My Childhood (2004) offers a richly evocative description of the AA at a time of dramatic social and artistic upheaval. Her experiences are coloured by the fact that she was one of only half a dozen women among the annual intake of ninety students. She was also an outlier in terms of class. Baggage includes the story of how Street-Porter and a number of contemporaries at the AA, including her friend Piers Gough, were recruited to appear in Antonioni’s Blow-Up.
(It also includes the story of how she left a party, seduced Terry Farrell and was back at the party within two hours, in order to win a £5 bet, but perhaps we can leave that for the WWA readers to discover for themselves!)