Tart Cards

You stumble into the telephone box and slam the door behind you. You fumble in your pockets, pull out a few coins, jam them into the slot and pick up the phone. You look up and browse the cards. What'll it be tonight...?

Something I'll always associate with my trips to London is the strange sight in the telephone boxes. Anyone who's looked in one of them is most likely familiar with what is known as a 'Tart Card'. Also known as 'Slag Tags', they're small cards used to advertise various services available via the women of the night. The crafty use of language, typography and illustration to outshine the other cards and seduce local punters is really pretty intense.

Below are a few tart cards I made myself, based on research into genuine examples from the 1980s and 1990s. I tried to push a few of them a little bit futher, adding hastily-scribbled notes or changes in phone number to tell a story without an actress.


I stuck my Tart Cards up in a local telephone box (Not in London, sadly!) and took some photos to give some context of where they go. And yes, I took them all down again afterwards!