STYLE HISTORY CULTURE
A FREE QUARTERLY SUMMER 2014 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 11
“How people deal with failure is usually more interesting than how they deal with success.”
GAY TALESE www.jocksandnerds.com
41034 CRINKLE GLOSS BOMBER JACKET IN CRINKLE GLOSS, A FABRIC ENGINEERED BY BONDING A SHIMMERING NYLON CANVAS WITH AN OUTER SHINY POLYURETHANE COATING WHICH MAKES THE PIECE WIND AND WATER RESISTANT. THE GARMENT DYEING PROCEDURE LENDS TO THE MATERIAL SURFACE A CRINKLED ASPECT ENHANCING THE COLOUR SHIMMERING EFFECT. SUBTLE BI-COLOUR EFFECTS NEXT OR ON SEAMS DEFINE THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE PIECE. THE SEAMS AND PARTS IN DOUBLE-LAYERED FABRIC ARE LIGHTER IN SHADE, THUS MARKING OUT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GARMENT. ZIP-FASTENING DIAGONAL POCKETS. STRETCH JERSEY BACK BOTTOM HEM AND CUFFS. RAISED COLLAR WITH BUTTON FASTENING. BUTTON AND ZIP FASTENING, WITH TWO SNAP FASTENERS ON THE BOTTOM HEM.
00378 LIGHTWEIGHT LEATHER FELPA HOODED JACKED IN A SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT LEATHER BONDED TO A FINE COTTON JERSEY FLEECE. THE EXPERTISE OF STONE ISLAND GARMENT DYEING TECHNIQUES ENABLE THE COLOURING OF THIS TWO SUPPLE COMPONENTS MATERIAL, ACHIEVING A TON-SUR-TON EFFECT. SNAP-FASTENING DIAGONAL POCKETS. DRAWSTRING ON HOOD. RIBBED JERSEY BOTTOM HEM AND CUFFS. ZIP FASTENING. FLAGSHIP STORE: 79 BREWER STREET_LONDON_W1F 9ZN
BROOKS CYCLE BAGS. STOPPING TRAFFIC SINCE 1866.
Online store www.richardjames.co.uk Shop +44 (0)207 434 0605 Bespoke +44 (0)207 287 9645
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VOLUME 1 ISSUE 11 Cover Gay Talese photographed by Janette Beckman Retouching and colour management by Complete Colour Services completeltd.com Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Marcus Agerman Ross email@example.com Assistant Editor Chris Tang firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercial Director Andrew Chidgey-Nakazono email@example.com
Associate Editor Chris Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial Assistant Edward Moore email@example.com
Commercial Manager Chris Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Editor Janette Beckman email@example.com
Contributing Fashion Editor Marcus Love Staff Writers Paolo Hewitt, Chris May, Andy Thomas, Mark Webster Staff Photographer Ross Trevail firstname.lastname@example.org Designer Colin Christie Subeditor Guy Weress Original Design Phil Buckingham Interns Zoe McArthur Maria Sagun Financial Director Graham Steele email@example.com Publisher Johanna Agerman Ross firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala, Mark Anthony Bradley, Paul Bradshaw, Phil Bush, Jerry Buttles, Alan Clarke, Grant Fleming, Horst Friedrichs, Marine Gastineau, Orlando Gili, David Goldman, Calum Gordon, Lee Vincent Grubb, Robert Harper, Owen Harvey, Ben Harries, Eric Hobbs, Adam Howe, Carl Hyde, Paul Kelly, Elliot Kennedy, Carmela Love.ro, Mariana Maltoni, Karen Mason, Laura Mazza, Mattias Pettersson, Miss Rosen, Joseph Seresin, Richard Simpson, Richard Stow, Juan Trujillo Andrades, Steph Wilson, Robert Wyatt Special Thanks Malik Al Nasir at Fore-Word Press Ltd, Simon Bayliff at Wasserman Media Group wmgllc.com, Stephen Brill at Brooks England brooksengland.com, Charlotte Brophy at Under The Influence utinfluence.com, Robin & Colette at Atomic Festival atomicfestival.co.uk, Neil Fretwell at the Vintage Hot Rod Association vhra.co.uk, Pedro de la Fuenta, the Griffin family, Sangeeta Haindl at Serendipity PR & Media, Will Husband, Gavin Kendrick, Dan Michaelson at The Premises premisesstudios.com, Calvin Morris at Milk Management milkmanagement.co.uk, Bruno Notarnicola, Simon O’Connell, Neill Rydings, Jon & Tea Pollock, Jonathan and Sara Young at the Laindons thelaindons.com Jocks&Nerds Magazine, Tack Press Limited, 283 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AS Telephone +44 (0)20 7739 8188 jocksandnerds.com facebook.com/jocksandnerds Twitter: @jocksandnerds Instagram: @jocksandnerdsmagazine Jocks&Nerds is a free magazine published four times a year, printed by Park Communications Ltd parkcom.co.uk If you would like a copy delivered to your door contact us at email@example.com Postage prices UK £5, Europe £10, North America £12, RoW £14 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed in the magazine are that of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. Jocks&Nerds is published by Tack Press Limited ©2014 s
64-71 HISTORY: Duffer of St George
changed how men dressed in the 1980s 72-77 SPORT: Brian Holm is an ex-pro
cyclist who set up a cancer charity
Contents 12-16 SEEN: Southport Weekender
celebrates its half-century and is still going strong
18-26 NEWS: Our directory for the next
28-36 PEOPLE: Guys we like 38-44 DETAIL: Benjamin Close
Photographs Juan Trujillo Andrades Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala 46-53 MUSIC: Bossa Nova is a rhythmic
style invented in Brazil in the 1950s 54-61 STYLE: Carl Barât
Photographs Richard Stow Styling Phil Bush 62-63 BULLETIN: Dent de Man is
an exotic menswear brand hailing from east London
80-87 STYLE: The Haven
Photographs Alan Clarke Styling Mark Anthony
88-93 CINEMA: Lambert&Stamp
managed the Who in their own wild style 94-101 COVER STORY: Gay Talese
is a bold storyteller; a non-fiction writer without equal 102-111 STYLE: Loveland Farm
Photographs David Goldman Styling Adam Howe
140-141 BULLETIN: Alexander Leathers is a bespoke leather company based in Scotland 142-149 STYLE: David Gledhill
Photographs Ben Harries Styling Steph Wilson
150-155 HISTORY: Dapper Dan styled
112-119 STYLE: Bo Ningen
Harlem’s great and good in the 1980s
Photographs Robert Wyatt Styling Marcus Love
156-157 BULLETIN: Brooks Cycle
120-125 CULTURE: Dennis Hopper’s
photography is on show at the Royal Academy this summer
128-133 SPOTLIGHT: Quiltmaking is a
unique art form in Alabama’s Gee’s Bend 134-139 CINEMA: Lonnie Holley is
an artist and musician working with found materials
Bags marry functionality with style
158-164 SPORT: Green Brigade is on
a mission to bring style and passion back to football stands
166-168 PROFILE: Lennox Brothers
have just finished their first feature film 170-176 CULTURE: Zoot Suit made
a bold statement and caused riots 178-182 MUSIC: Jalal Nuriddin
is the “godfather of rap” p112
184-188 GALLERY: Return of
the Rudeboy celebrates London’s new dandies 190-191 ICON: White T-Shirt changed
how we dress and brand ourselves
Words Mark Webster Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross
In 1987, soul fan and DJ Alex Lowes gambled that there’d be demand in the north of England and Scotland for a weekend of underground black music. So he hired a holiday camp in Berwickupon-Tweed to showcase that scene’s finest UK DJs. Cut to May 2014 and that event – the Southport Weekender – is celebrating its 50th. Now an annual party for 7,000 clubbers from all over the world, and based in Minehead,
Southport has evolved to include frequent biannuals and showcase quality house, jazz, soul, hip-hop, R&B and all stops in between, with an international line-up of DJs and live acts. They travel to Croatia in July for their Suncébeat festival, and will be returning to their spiritual home in Southport in October for a special anniversary “heritage” weekender.
Southport Heritage Weekender is held at Pontins Holiday Park, Southport, from 17-19 October southportweekender.co.uk Suncébeat is held at the Garden Tisno, Tisno, Croatia from 23-30 July suncebeat.com
Paul Trouble Anderson
SEEN | Southport Weekender
Kerri Chandler, producer and DJ kerrichandler.com What’s so special about Southport? Family; it’s all about family. Describe Southport in three words. Always an inspiration. What’s the perfect Southport outfit? Something fucking comfortable. What’s your favourite film? Amityville Horror.
Bob Jeffries, DJ nu-soul.co.uk Omar Lye-Fook, musician omarmusic.co.uk What’s so special about Southport? Soul music. Describe Southport in three words. Three crazy days. Who has been your favourite Southport act? Chaka Khan. What’s the perfect Southport outfit? Loose-fitting. What’s your favourite film? Babylon.
What’s so special about Southport? Old friends, new people. Describe Southport in three words. Family. Musical. Ongoing. Who has been your favourite Southport act? Gregory Porter. What’s the perfect Southport outfit? Sensible shoes for dancing. What’s your favourite film? The Quiet Man.
SEEN | Southport Weekender
Tim Parker, brand agency director Describe Southport in three words. Music. Friends. Dancing. Who has been your favourite Southport act? Marcos Valle. What’s the perfect Southport outfit? Anything you can dance in. What’s your favourite film? Taxi Driver.
Jonathan Rogue, DJ Andy Davis and Terry Jones
What’s so special about Southport? It features the best dance music from around the world. Describe Southport in three words. The most fun. Who has been your favourite Southport act? Sounds of Blackness. What’s the perfect Southport outfit? Nike Air Max, Armani jeans and slim blue rizla. What’s your favourite film? Some Like It Hot.
Literary Walk Eskimo
distributed by WP
Paolo Ventura for WoolrichArt shop on line woolrich.eu
Andrew Almond, founder of Bolt London
Woodstock by Baron Wolman
It’s fair to say Bolt London founder Andrew Almond is a twowheeled enthusiast. He has the friendly, languid repose of a man who’s just alighted from – or is about to get on – a speed machine, whether his hand-painted scooter or a reworked motrobike. Bolt, Almond’s workshop-cum-store at London Fields in east London, feels like his dreams manifest. Here, you’ll find the requisite oneoff bikes, plus clothing by Dawson Denim and Black Skulls et al alongside vintage Lewis Leathers and Belstaff, and limited art editions by guest illustrators. The space inspires the potterer in us all – and if you need it, Almond will make you coffee from his converted 1950s vanette. Clearly not one to sit still, he’s planning a series of in-store music events and gatherings over summer. Bolt London, Arch 3, Fieldworks, 274 Richmond Road, London E8 boltlondon.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang
Woodstock is the daddy of all festivals – an amalgam of hippie ideology, music, youth and good ol’ fashion fun. Almost half a century later, its legacy endures in an age where festivals are two-a-penny; unashamedly profit-making hedonistic ventures. Rolling Stone magazine’s original photographer Baron Wolman documented that memorable weekend in upstate New York. “It was a shock,” he says. “I came up a back road to see either Armageddon or a beautiful experience.” What Wolman captured, unlike other photographers, was unique. “I was less interested in the bands,” he says. “I wanted to document it from the point of view of the kids. They enjoyed being with another. We were together!” This book brings together Wolman’s images from the festival for the first time. reelartpress.com Words Edward Moore
When it comes to practicality, Scandinavians are Olympic gold medalists. So, when Swims founder Johan R left his native Norway for Paris to study in the 1990s, he sensibly took galoshes to protect his Converse Chucks on the slushy Paris streets. Gallic sophisticates may have sniggered from behind their Gauloises, but it didn’t deter Johan from developing a range of weatherprotective footwear that appeals to superior urbanites as much as sensible Northern Europeans. Two decades on and Swims make everything from modern-day galoshes to hi-tech parkas. Swims Apparel will finally available in the UK from August. swims.com Photographs Chris Tang Words Edward Moore Beachcomber Simon Henderson
Eye Respect x A Sauvage
Designer Adrien Sauvage has built a reputation for making clean, elegant clothing that suggests an effortless, evening style – or what Adrien himself calls “DE” (dress easy). To complement his S/S 14 collection, Sauvage has worked with glasses brand Eye Respect to create a 1950s-inspired range of eyewear to reflect his DE philosophy. eyerespect.com asauvage.com Photograph Chris Tang Words Edward Moore Designer Adrien Sauvage Location Forge&Co, 154-158 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 forgeandco.co.uk
Filson x Nigel Cabourn
American outdoor brand Filson is famed for making clothing and equipment that allow very long stays in the wilderness. Equally, Northumberland-based fashion designer Nigel Cabourn is known for his meticulous research into historical garments and a slavish demand for the highest-quality traditional British fabrics. There is almost an inevitability to this collaboration, which highlights comparisons and contrasts in US and British sensibilities – or as Filson CEO Alan Kirk calls it, “Cabournising the classic Filson.” filson.com cabourn.com
Saint Etienne book
Saint Etienne first came to prominence with their first single, Neil Young cover ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ in 1990. Fusing 60s pop, folk and house, Bob Stanley, Sarah Cracknell and Pete Wiggs have now crafted perfect psych-pop for almost 25 years. The band has subsequently made various films, while Stanley writes books on the history of popular music. This new book brings together a wealth of archive photos, stories and an intro by friend and fellow musician Lawrence (Felt, Denim, Go-Kart Mozart). firstthirdbooks.com Photograph Paul Kelly
Photograph Chris Tang Words Edward Moore Musician Chris Peden wildsmiles.co.uk
Kevin Day was a pioneer of the alternative comedy scene in the late 1980s and became one of the most popular comedians in the burgeoning Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the early 1990s – most notably with his bold, funny and touching show I Was a Teenage Racist. Though he has continued with stand-up as well as a range of broadcasting, it’s his writing skills that have kept him in demand, providing material for stalwarts Dave Allen, Bob Monkhouse and even Kevin Spacey, and TV shows Have I Got News for You, A League of Their Own and 8 Out of 10 Cats. This August he makes a long-awaited return to a Fringe stage with his show Standy Uppy at the Gilded Balloon from 30 July. gildedballoon.co.uk Words Mark Webster Photograph Chris Tang Location Broadway Bar&Grill, 474-476 Fulham Road, London SW6 broadwaybandg.co.uk
Duffy Bowie: Five Sessions
Brian Duffy, Terence Donovan and David Bailey made up the legendary trinity of exciting, young, upstart photographers who shook up fashion in the 1960s. Duffy’s dynamic images, coupled with exceptional technical brilliance, no doubt led him to work with David Bowie, the cultural icon of the 1970s. Duffy’s portrait of Bowie on his Aladdin Sane cover has been mimicked and lauded too many times to mention. Bowie and Duffy worked together on five projects in total; this book brings them together, including outtakes and behind-the-scenes shots. antiquecollectorsclub.com Words Edward Moore
What’s Exactly the Matter With Me? Memoirs of a Life in Music
“To many, PF Sloan was a mysterious and elusive character… He was one of the deep ones, all right.” So begins the forward of this book on the oddly cultish singer/songwriter by co-writer SE Feinberg. Best known for penning protest song ‘Eve of Destruction’ for Barry McGuire, from 1965-67, New York native Sloan wrote 150 hits for such names as the Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, the Fifth Dimension and Betty Everett. “I have been seeking PF Sloan, but no one knows where he has gone,” wrote one of his many artist fans Jimmy Webb in his 1970 tribute song ‘PF Sloan’. Little has changed over the years, which makes this book, well, overdue. “Phil was not burned at the stake like John Huss, but he was burned,” continues Feinberg. “The folk world had sanctioned a select few to be their spokesmen. Sloan was not sanctioned. He was a renegade. An outsider.” And it’s with those words in mind that you open the first chapter of this fascinating and brutally honest book. jawbonepress.com Words Andy Thomas Photograph Eric Hobbs
Horse Meat Disco IV
After celebrating their 10th birthday last October, Horse Meat Disco now return with their fourth and possibly best compilation yet, capturing a sweaty Sunday night down at the Eagle in Vauxhall in all its glory. Its success is down to its four residents (plus a list of guests from Derrick Carter to Kenny Dope) and this collection unites some of their more secret disco weapons. strut-records.com Words Andy Thomas
Neighborhood 20th anniversary
Neighborhood was a key part of the wave of young, culturally-referential Japanese street brands that started out in the early 1990s. Shinsuke Takizawa channelled his love of US biker culture into his brand. Setting up in Tokyo’s Harajuku district alongside Tetsu Nishiyama’s Wtaps and Nigo’s A Bathing Ape, Takizawa proudly displayed his love of British punk and street culture with a sign on his storefront: “The Filth and the Fury”. Twenty years later, Neighborhood is revered worldwide. Look out for happenings throughout the year that will celebrate their anniversary neighborhood.jp Photograph Chris Tang Words Edward Moore Fashion PR DK Woon
NEWS Vivienne Westwood biography
With partner and co-conspirator Malcolm McLaren, Westwood created the punk look back in the mid-1970s. Her craft soon evolved into the international label that bares her name today but, still an agitator, Westwood is just as known for political and ecological campaigning. And never one to conform to a stereotype, she’s as comfortable hanging out with friend and collaborator Pamela Anderson as she is cycling through Hyde Park to work. This first official biography by Ian Kelly contains text by Westwood herself as well as numerous associates including Naomi Campbell and Prince Charles. picador.com Words Edward Moore
Thinking Visually for Illustrators
First coming to prominence in the early 1980s at magazines like i-D and NME, Mark Wigan’s distinctive bright, energetic illustrations have been used in everything from clothes to nightclub interiors. Based in Hull in Yorkshire, Wigan also runs the Museum of Club Culture – co-founded with his partner Kerry Baldry – and lectures at Hull School of Art and Design. This book is, he says, “essential reading for illustration students in art schools all over the world”. Thinking Visually for Illustrators is out on 28 August bloomsbury.com wigansworld.moonfruit.com Words Edward Moore
Detonators Car Club Exhibition
As featured in Jocks&Nerds issue five, Ross Trevail’s two-year photo documentation of south London hotrodding club the Detonators is finally on show at the Museum of Club Culture. Museum of Club Culture, 10 Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1TG museumofclubculture.com rosstrevail.com facebook.com/detonators.carclub Words Edward Moore
NEWS Stanley Kubrick. New Perspectives
In 2007, Stanley Kubrick’s extensive archive of research and work was donated to the University of the Arts in London. Much of that fascinating material features in this richly illustrated book of essays on his methods, styles, themes and influences, while an accompanying exhibition shows how his careful research formed it all. Scientific and technological developments, anthropological, psychological and philosophical theories, fine art, music and architecture were scoured to create “psychological spaces overlaying the physical spaces”. Stanley Kubrick. New Perspectives is out now. The exhibition opens at Work Gallery, 10a Acton St, London WC1 on 18 July blackdogonline.com workgallery.co.uk Words Andy Thomas
Scottish brand Lyle&Scott, famed for its knitwear, invited designer Jonathan Saunders and Nottingham label Universal Works to create new garments with its fabrics. They took very different approaches. Saunders, a native Scot, reworked the brand’s bright, multicoloured golf sweaters, while Universal Works creative director David Keyte looked to the style of football casuals, who co-opted Lyle&Scott clothing in the early 1980s. lyleandscott.com jonathan-saunders.com universalworks.co.uk Photograph Chris Tang Words Edward Moore Football supporters Lugh O’Neill and Olan Stephens
An American Odyssey
Prior to the 1950s, much of the world was documented in black and white, and thus we tend to imagine a black-andwhite past; so it is both impactful and exciting to see colour imagery from bygone eras. Early colour process Photochrom was adopted in the 1880s by the Detroit Photographic Co., who used it to create what’s believed to be 30,000 images a year for postcards – and at 1c each, they weren’t considered precious. Photographer Marc Walter collects vintage travel photographs and has the world’s largest collection of Detroit Photographic Co. postcards. An American Odyssey brings together some of this extraordinary collection and shows a long-gone time in brilliant, vivid colour. taschen.com Words Edward Moore
NEWS Filson x Magnum bags
Magnum Photos has arguably the world’s greatest journalistic and documentary photographers on their books; men and women constantly on assignment, living in the clothes they stand up in. It’s therefore unsurprising to learn that many opt for Filson clothing for work – it is hard-wearing, easy to move in, and has plenty of pockets. Photographers also endlessly complain that they can’t find the right bag for their needs, so, when Filson approached Magnum to design bags for photographers, veteran snappers Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey jumped at the opportunity. filson.com magnumphotos.com davidalanharvey.com stevemccurry.com Photograph Owen Harvey Words Edward Moore Smudger Jamie Murray
Reports suggest that 2013 vinyl sales were the highest in 20 years: despite most DJs (and listeners) now using inexhaustible digital formats and streaming, the love affair with vinyl not only continues, but appears to be growing. Events like Record Store Day have introduced a generation born in the digital age to the delights of the 12" disc. Love Vinyl is a new store that brings together the best of vinyl founded by four guys pivotal to London’s music scene over the last two decades: acclaimed DJ and Trapeze owner Stuart Patterson; one-time Reckless Records co-owner Zafar Chowdhry; Another Party co-founder James Manero and Village Vinyl owner Jake Holloway. “I’d like to think of us as tastemakers,” says Chowdhry, “Supplying both old and new generations of vinyl lovers.” The art of crate-digging lives on. Love Vinyl, 5 Pearson St, London E2 love-vinyl.net Photograph Chris Tang Words Edward Moore
The Wallet Shop by Herschel Supply Co.
Previously the preserve of continental teenagers on a school trip, in just five years Herschel Supply Co’s Jamie and Lyndon Cormack have reinvented the backpack. The brothers looked to old military and European knapsacks for inspiration and made a new style for urbanites in need of on-the-go storage for various gadgetry and daily supplies. Less known is the extensive wallet and pouch range that contains a splattering of preppy and classic English influences, all housed under their “Wallet Shop” banner. herschelsupply.com Photograph Chris Tang Words Edward Moore
“You won’t find a single moment of happiness in the tango,” says singer and composer Daniel Melingo. “It speaks of a chiaroscuro world of abandoned lovers, haunted junkies and pimps shining their shoes with hotel-room curtains. It is the Argentine equivalent to rembetika, to the blues, to fado.” Melingo speaks little English, his interviewer less Spanish, but his multilingual French manager is on hand. The threesome, drinking in a Southwark bar, is a modern miniature of the cosmopolitan demimonde which created belle-epoque tango in the porteño, the port area, of Buenos Aires in the 1920s and 1930s, and which coined a polyglotcoded slang, lunfardo, to express tango’s illicit passions. Melingo, whose lived-in voice and nighthawk surrealism has earned him the moniker “the Tom Waits of Tango” – is in London to promote his new album Linyera with his band Los Ramones del Tango. Rooted in the classical tango of 1930s maestro Carlos Gardel, shot through with flashes of Afro-Uruguayan candombe, Brazilian bossa nova, Frank Zappa and Duke Ellington, the album takes tango into new territory while losing none of its essential character. danielmelingo.com Photograph Mattias Pettersson Words Chris May
“Every gig we play is like our last night on this fucking earth.” Words from Dale Barclay, frontman of Glaswegian band the Amazing Snakeheads. The band was formed four years ago; Barclay grew up with bassist William Coombes and met drummer Jordan Hutchinson later; they were neighbours. Then came their recent debut on the Domino record label, Amphetamine Ballads, an album that has shaken the music press with its raw intensity – absent from rock’n’roll for many years. “By the time we came to cut the record we’d been playing for three years, so we were fucking tight,” says Barclay. “We left no stone uncovered, we just fucking went for it and the ideas were coming and the creativity was there and it was fucking beautiful, man. We’ve ended up with an album that we love.” As for influences on their music, Barclay says the band has none. “I’ve always got to have that edge where I don’t care what people think about it because even with the best intentions, if you start taking even the fucking praise, if you take it onboard too much, it starts getting in your mind, it starts affecting your creativity, then you have a filter: ‘OK, who’s listening to this now?’ That’s a creativity killer. “We just want to do our thing and just fucking see where the chips slip.” Amazing Snakeheads play at Secret Garden Party and Stockton Weekender this July facebook.com/theamazingsnakeheads Photograph Ross Trevail Words Edward Moore
Jeb Loy Nichols
‘Countrymusicdisco45’ off Jeb Loy Nichols’ 2012 LP City Country City was inspired by a DJ mixing a Charlie Rich track into a disco set. Schooled on both the Muscle Shoals sound and Sex Pistols as a teenager in Missouri, he arrived in London having gotten into hip-hop at art school in New York in the 1970s. He received another musical education living in a squat with Adrian Sherwood in the early 1980s, inspiring him to form country dub band Fellow Travellers with On-U Sound’s Martin Harrison. “It’s all a road,” he says of his musical border-jumping, “One connecting to the other, all of them intersecting and crossing over.” He has released 10 LPs, mixing soul, country and reggae, and opened ears to white southern-soul singers like Larry Jon Wilson and Travis Wammack with the Country Got Soul compilations. He has published a book of his artwork, a novel and a paperback of poetry about his friendship with Larry Jon Wilson. He lives deep in the Welsh hills and “continues to write, produce art, make music, and plant trees”. The latest results will be released this summer on the LP World Wide Peace. jebloynichols.co.uk Photograph Chris Tang Words Andy Thomas
Alex Lipinski is a young singer/songwriter from southwest England whose look and sound transcends decades. In his biography on Lipinski’s website, journalist Nick Hasted says his voice has “the raw rockabilly excitement of earliest Elvis” and when you hear him on full throttle, you are listening to a singer who knows exactly where he is coming from. Influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan and John Lennon, Lipinski first committed his thoughts and experiences to record two years ago on his solo debut Lonesome Train, and he says “the last 24 months have been gigging and writing”. This not only drew him attention as a live act and recording artist, but caught the ear of a man who’s been there, done that. Former Oasis guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs – now leading band Parlour Flames – says Lipinski’s voice “blew me away”. They got together to try out some ideas, one of which is ‘Phoneys and the Freaks’, which has not only become the name for the collaboration but is also the title of their EP, released in May on Cherry Red Records. Lipinski doesn’t see the partnership with Bonehead as separate to his solo work, but very much part of his music. “It’s a tangent,” he says, “and an opportunity to write and play with some great musicians. It’s not a million miles away, anyway. Good songs, melodies, harmonies. It just felt natural to do.” alexlipinski.co.uk cherryred.co.uk Photograph Chris Tang Words Mark Webster Location 12 Bar Club, 26 Denmark Street, London WC2 12barclub.com
The Catalina (available in Charcoal / Black / Blue)
To view the entire emerald collection visit : eu.elementbrand.com @elementbrand
PEOPLE Ciaran Carleton
Paul Smith is responsible for an array of thoughtfully-designed items – even, indirectly, Push Cycles on Newington Green. The retail and servicing centre was opened in 2009 by Ciaran Carleton, a graduate of Smith’s Floral Street store. “I’d cycle to work every day,” says Carleton, “and in 2007 bought myself a decent bike. It was £400 but I barely got grunted at in the bike shop. I found it uninspiring. It was the complete opposite of Paul Smith. So, after a couple more bad customerservice experiences, I decided to open a bike shop where customers would be treated wholesomely. Paul cycles and we’d often nerd out a bit. When I told him what I was planning he was over the moon for me. We spent an hour talking it through. He’d didn’t have a golden ticket for success but it was uplifting to have someone like him saying that’s a good idea or that’s not such a good idea. He also inspired how the shop looks, the lighting and how it’s laid out.” Carleton is pictured here with a bike he made for Smith’s Beak Street store – a 1951 Pashley butcher’s bike rebuilt with new fittings and a Brooks saddle. Smith’s idea – health and safety permitting – is for staff to use it to make local deliveries. pushcycles.com Photograph Ross Trevail Words Chris May
Luton-born jazz dancer, teacher, choreographer, DJ and club promoter Perry Louis’s mission in life has been to put British jazz dance on the map. He cut his teeth as a teen in the late 1970s at all the legendary southeastern funk clubs, consequently shone at early-1980s jazz-dance nights at the Horseshoe, and hit pay dirt in 1982-83 at nights like the Jazz Room at the Wag, and the Talkin’ Loud Sunday gatherings at Dingwalls. He subsequently danced with legends IDJ and toured with the likes of Courtney Pine, Patato Valdez, the Last Poets, MC Solaar, James Brown and Roy Ayers. A major mover in UK street-fusion jazz-dance, in 1996 he started club night Messin’ Around with fellow obsessive Adrian Gibson at Camden’s Jazz Cafe that featured his group, the JazzCotech Dancers; it ran for 15 years and produced five compilations. Latest venture Shiftless Shuffle is a monthly Sunday session dedicated to “Keeping the Art of Oldskool Jazz Dance Alive” and is attended by the cream of the UK’s jazz dancers. www.jazzcotech.com Photograph Owen Harvey Words Chris Sullivan
The sound of modern gimbri-driven Moroccan music spills out of the tiny office space at the rear of the artistic treasure trove that is Hassan Hajjaj’s long-standing Calvert Avenue emporium. Hajjaj is on a fleeting visit to his east London HQ, fresh from the launch of his book By Hassan Hajjaj: Photography, Fashion, Film, Design, published by Rose Issa Gallery. His modest demeanour belies the fact that his bold 21st-century photo and video works, which blur western and Islamic cultures while nodding to Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, are enjoying a warm critical reception at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Houston’s Fotofest 2014 Biennal: Contemporary Arab Photographic Art. Arriving in north London from Morocco at the age of 12, he later launched his first club night at Titanic in Berkeley Square, and set up RAP to design and sell clothing and accessories. But inevitably, his work took him back to his north African roots. He introduced capoeira to Morocco and has documented three generations of Gnawa master musicians. And post-9/11, the world changed. Whatever he produces as an artist resides in its shadow. Undaunted, he laughs and pulls up a work in progress, a self-styled B-movie portraying a day in the life of one of his Rock Stars, a veiled henna artist. He likes the idea of “a heroine whose face you never see” and says he’d like to screen it as X-rated in France. Hajjaj’s work feistily tests the power of global brands like Nike and Louis Vuitton. His dose of ghetto swagger keeps women central in his projects. Hajjaj creates chic, vivacious images that are a riot of streetwise energy and colour. “I hope my work talks for me – and I want it to appeal to everyone, whether they’re a cleaner or an art critic,” he says. hassanhajjaj.blogspot.co.uk Photograph Janette Beckman Words Paul Bradshaw
Born, bred and buttered in New Orleans, Allen Toussaint began his recording career in the 1950s mentored by Professor Longhair. When Longhair died in 1980, Toussaint inherited his mantle as the Crescent City’s chief musical elder statesman. As hit songwriter, pianist or arranger he has worked with practically every major southern-soul and New Orleans funk artist of note, including the Meters, Art and Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Dr John, Etta James, Ernie K-Doe, Lowell George, and the Wild Tchoupitoulas. Toussaint spends most of his time in the studio, but was in London recently to perform at Ronnie Scott’s. Until 2005, Toussaint’s huge body of work as a songwriter was created without one collaboration. He wrote everything, words and music. “I never thought about that before,” he says. “But yes, I just sat down and wrote. When it’s time, you write. Even when it’s not time, you write.” At a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert in 2005, Toussaint shared the bill with Elvis Costello, for whom he’d written some arrangements in 1988. The pair teamed up two months later, co-wrote five tracks and made an album, The River in Reverse. “Sometimes,” says Toussaint, “you can teach an old dog new tricks.” allentoussaint.com Photograph Elliot Kennedy Words Chris May
Shuggie Otis, Bill Withers, Lewis Taylor. Just three of the singers Andrew Ashong has been compared to since appearing on Theo Parrish’s 2012 underground club hit ‘Flowers’. “Right under my nose were all the essential elements: simplicity, drive, and honesty,” said Parrish on hearing the effortless voice of the Forest Hill singer. Listeners to Gilles Peterson’s radio show agreed, making it 12" Track of the Year at 2013’s Worldwide Awards. Ashong’s EP ‘Special’ fulfils the promise with three tracks of psych-tinged, jazz-inflected soul for the summer. Raised on his older brothers’ soul, jazz and disco records, he has an enviable collection of vinyl himself and his DJ sets are well worth checking out. worldwidefriendlysociety.com Photograph Rob Harper Words Andy Thomas
Jaco wears tracksuit by Adidas.
Fred wears T-shirt, shorts, boots and leggings by Nike.
Photographs Juan Trujillo Andrades Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala Footballers Jaco Norman from Beasts beastsband.com and Fred Valentino from Mr V & the Grooves soundcloud.com/fred-valentino
Jaco wears shirt by Le Coq Sportif. Fred wears shirt by Le Coq Sportif; shorts by Nike.
DETAIL | Benjamin Close
Jaco wears vest, top and tracksuit bottoms by Nike.
DETAIL | Benjamin Close
Fred wears tracksuit by Nike.
Jaco wears T-shirt by Nike.
T H E U K ’ S B I G G E S T P O P - U P D E PA RT M E N T S TO R E “The time is right for Best of Britannia, but we need a lot more British manufacturers and British brands to support it. I want to add my voice, making that happen and to be a part of an independent organisation that is committed to persuading the market to continue its move back home” W AY N E H E M I N G W AY C H E R C H B I / F I N I S T E R R E / C H E A N E Y / M O U LT O N C Y C L E S / N P S S O L O V A I R G P L A N V I N TA G E / F L E T C H E R B O A T S / B R I T I S H F O O T W E A R A S S O C I AT I O N O W E N B A R RY / C H A P M A N B A G S / WA L S H T R A I N E R S
200 of the Best of British brands across 40,000 square feet in one of London’s architectural gems – Menswear – Womenswear – Childrenswear – Footwear – Bags Accessories – Jewellery – Textiles – Furniture – Boats – Cars – Bikes – Pop-Up Male Grooming Salon – The UK’s Best Streetfood – Fine Wine – Craft Beers – Live Music Seminars – Tastings – Art and Entertainment until 11pm 2/3/4 OCTOBER 2014 THE FARMILOE BUILDING — CLERKENWELL — LONDON
To join us at Best of Britannia go to www.bestof britannia.com/tickets @BestBritannia
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Fred wears jacket by Adidas; tracksuit bottoms and boots by Nike.
Rock â€˜nâ€™ roll jewellery handmade in our Soho basement for over 40 years
w w w. t h e g r e a t f r o g l o n d o n . c o m
Bossa Nova The New Trend. Rio. João Gilberto. Antônio Carlos Jobim.
Words Chris May Photographs David Goldman, Carmela Love.ro and Mariana Maltoni
“Stop telling stories,” Dionne Warwick told Brazilian songwriter Ronaldo Bôscoli during a trip to Rio de Janeiro in 1966. “Everyone knows it was Burt Bacharach who invented bossa nova.” We all have Bacharach moments, but if bossa nova was “invented” by anyone, it was João Gilberto, Antônio Carlos “Tom” Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, and the invention was ‘Chega de Saudade’ (No More Blues), written in 1957 by Jobim with lyrics by de Moraes, and released on Gilberto’s 1959 album of the same name. A sensation among avant-garde Rio musicians and enthusiasts looking for an alternative to the boleros enjoyed by their parents, it’s considered a classic, reaching #6 on Brazilian Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Songs. Marcos Valle, interviewed below, speaks for many of his contemporaries when he says, “That record changed everything for me.” It was the first record to include all bossa nova’s signature features: Gilberto’s guitar rhythms were a cool recalibration of samba beats and his vocal style was an antidote to the emotionalism pervasive in bolero; Jobim’s harmonies owed a debt to American west-coast jazz, essential listening on the proto-bossa nova scene; and de Moraes’s lyrics had a poetic dimension rare in 1950s pop songs. Thus it was “bossa nova” – the “new trend” – and instead of moving in a straight line, it swayed elegantly from side to side. Much as bop developed in exclusive, after-hours jam sessions in uptown New York in the early 1940s, bossa nova was created among a group of musicians and composers in Rio who sought approval from each other rather than a wider audience. But while bop was a mainly African-American creation, the scene from which Gilberto, de Moraes and 46
Jobim emerged was predominantly white, and overwhelmingly middle-class and university-educated. Until 1960, when Gilberto released his breakthrough album O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor (Love, the Smile and the Flower), bossa nova stayed underground, primarily heard at invitation-only “reunions” – recitalscum-workshops hosted by the children of Rio’s well-to-do in their homes in the upscale Copacabana and Ipanema neighbourhoods. The ambience was bohemian but well brought-up; there was weed around but the standard drug of choice was Scotch. But bossa nova’s association with sun, sea and the good life belies its creators’ seriousness of intent. “In Brazil, bossa nova was always about more than just cocktails and pretty girls,” says DJ, bandleader and bossa nova historian Nicola Conte. “It was created by intellectuals who were interested in making work of substance. Its most successful lyricists were major poets like Ronaldo Bôscoli, Vinicius de Moraes and Paulo Sérgio Valle. They were at the heart of the artistic movement in Brazil and they collaborated with composers of the same calibre.” By 1961, bossa nova was a major player on the Brazilian scene. Guitarist Charlie Byrd, one of several US jazz musicians who toured Brazil that year, returned home with a bundle of bossa nova LPs, which he then played to saxophonist Stan Getz. Getz was an instant convert and he and Byrd were in a Washington studio within weeks, recording their hit album Jazz Samba. In late 1962, Getz had a million-selling single with Jobim’s ‘Desafinado’ (OffKey) and repeated the trick in 1964 with Jobim’s ‘The Girl From Ipanema’,
for which de Moraes wrote the original Portuguese lyrics. In 1963 and 1964, dozens more US jazz musicians made bossa nova-derived records – among them Grant Green, Quincy Jones, Dave Brubeck, Jimmy Smith, Gerry Mulligan, Coleman Hawkins, Count Basie, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, Zoot Sims, Stan Kenton, Herbie Mann and Cannonball Adderley. In Brazil, bossa nova’s golden age began to fade in the mid-1960s. This was partly a side effect of the military coup of 1964. Although Nara Leão, in whose Copacabana apartment many of the late 1950s reunions had taken place, was one of many Brazilian singers to oppose the new regime – on her 1964 album Opinião de Nara – bossa nova’s association with a less fractious past inevitably led to a perception that it was anachronistic. During the second half of the decade, it was overtaken first by homegrown rock’n’roll, then tropicália, and many of the original wave of artists left for extended stays in the US. João Gilberto returned to Rio in 1980 after a long absence from Brazil. He became increasingly reclusive. Now 83, he obsessively avoids contact with his old friends and the media and only emerges from his apartment in disguise. Bôscoli, Jobim, de Moraes and Leão died long ago, as did many of their colleagues. But there is a happy ending. Within a few years of Brazil returning to civilian rule in 1984, a new bossa nova chapter had begun, jump-started by independent record labels and DJs associated with London’s jazz-dance scene. Back in Brazil, careers were revived, long-deleted recordings were re-released, and a mutant style, nu bossa, began to emerge. >
Photograph David Goldman
Singer and composer Marcos Valle was one of the youngest members of Rio’s bossa nova inner circle in the early 1960s, when he was mentored by older artists such as Antônio Carlos Jobim and Roberto Menescal. Many of his early songs were co-written with his brother, poet Paulo Sérgio Valle. You studied classical piano as a child and took up accordion in your teens, attracted by the baião music of Luiz Gonzaga. What led you to bossa nova and the guitar? It was hearing ‘Chega de Saudade’. It was 1958 and I was 16; I was at a party and somebody put it on. It was utterly fantastic, how João Gilberto was singing and playing the guitar. I immediately fell in love with the bossa nova and I went to a guitar teacher and had a few lessons, because the guitar was the bossa nova’s main instrument. When did you become part of the bossa nova scene in Rio? Around 1961, through my friends Edu Lobo and Dori Caymmi. I had been at school with Edu and one day I met him on a bus. He was carrying a guitar and we talked about music. His father was a famous songwriter, Fernando Lobo. Edu asked me if I was interested in music and I said, yes, it’s my life, I’m studying to be a lawyer but I know I’ll never be one. Edu was a friend of Dori, the son of the singer Dorival Caymmi, one of my biggest idols. The three of us started playing together and found we had everything in common. And through their famous fathers I started to join in the bossa nova reunions. The reunions were where great songwriters like Tom Jobim, Roberto Menescal, Carlos Lyra, Ronaldo Bôscoli and Vinicius de Moraes would get together and talk and play music. I was fortunate, most of these guys were five or ten years older than me, maybe more, but they accepted me. The reunions sound like the Parisian literary salons of the 1930s. How vital were they to bossa nova’s development? They were at the heart of it. We all performed together at concerts but those reunions were very, very important. Everybody would get together and show their music to each other. We would hold a reunion almost every week 48
– sometimes twice. It might be in the house of Vinicius de Moraes or Nara Leão. Later it would also be in my house. Every week we would do it and we knew the others would be expecting us to show something new we had written. You had to be prepared with some new song. And it had to be an excellent song – you were going to show it to other songwriters and you wanted to impress them. We were trying to do the best we could. We didn’t want to do commercial music, but quality music. The reunions, I think, are one of the secrets of the good quality of the bossa nova. They never felt competitive. It was very selective, who could come. You had to have talent and be serious. But once you were there, they would help you. For instance, the one who took me to meet Os Cariocas, who were a very important group, was Roberto Menescal. He told
‘IT WAS THE PERFECT MOMENT FOR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL TO HAPPEN IN MUSIC’ me I must show my songs to them. I was going to be a competitor as a songwriter to Roberto, but he was not afraid of that. People in the bossa nova were generous to each other like that. Tom Jobim too – he listened to my music and he was so happy he would tell other artists about me. It was like a family. So, suddenly, in 1962, I was having my music recorded by the most famous artists. My song ‘Sonho de Maria’ was recorded by the Tamba Trio; I recorded my first album, Samba Demais, and shortly afterwards I was voted the best young composer in Brazil. Once I started to mix with these people at the reunions everything started to happen very fast. I was amazed, because I was a fan of those guys and suddenly they were recording my songs. It was magical to me.
What was Rio like in the early 1960s? It was heaven. It was the perfect moment and the perfect place in Brazil for something beautiful to happen in music. Bossa nova had this ambience because we had the climate, the camaraderie, the creative scene, the beach, the beautiful women. It was before the military dictatorship. We were enjoying ourselves. Everything was going well, the music, the movies, the theatre. I still live in Rio, I still like it, but the Rio of that time was utterly fantastic. It wasn’t as crowded as today, and the beautiful beaches and women and the sun and the surfing. I loved to go surfing. There was a great sensuality to life. For the first few years, I would only be thinking about the melodies and the harmonies and rhythms, but it became harder to do only that after the military came to power. Some artists were more politically inclined than me, at least to begin with, and they would tell me that as artists we should do something, that we should help the people to say something. Because Brazilians didn’t have the freedom of the press anymore. So we started to have a different sort of reunion, where the politically inclined artists would talk about what was happening in Brazil and how important it was for us to help, not in the streets but in our art. So, little by little, the lyrics of our songs – besides the usual lyrics about love and everything – would start to have political meanings. For instance, on my record ‘Gente’ [People], the music was typical bossa nova but the lyrics were about political things, the contrast between the people who have a lot of money and the people who have little. I still wrote bossa nova melodies but the lyrics I sang started to change. And that was risky… Yes. From 1965 we began to have a lot of problems with censorship. They would call us and ask, what are you saying here, what is your target? But we started to get determined to fight back because, little by little, we learnt what was happening – people being tortured, things like that. You had to be subtle in what you were saying – hints here, hints there – so the censors would not really know. In 1969, the police came to my house – I was there with Chico Buarque and Egberto Gismonti – and asked us to
MUSIC | Bossa Nova
Photograph David Goldman
explain things we were doing. You see, there was going to be a festival and we had decided not to participate because of the censorship in Brazil. They let us go but first we had to spend two hours being questioned. It was a consequence of all that which led me to live in the US from 1975 to 1980. Not because I was afraid, but after a time I just became very frustrated. You had to go all the time to the censorship office, for instance. Also I started to feel I was not performing well, that I was not projecting my voice as I should. It was a psychological reaction to what was happening in Brazil. I went to New York because my friend Eumir Deodato was there. But then I started to miss Rio, the beach and everything, so I went to Los Angeles. Then things started to happen. Sarah Vaughan recorded my songs, I worked with the group Chicago. That’s why I stayed so long. But after five years I couldn’t face being away anymore.
You stopped recording in 1986. What led you to return to the studio in 1995? I was still dealing with the fact that I didn’t want to be on stage and maybe, because of that, the invitations I was receiving from record companies were not interesting anymore. They wanted me to just do my old songs again. It was not what I wanted to do. So I decided to stop recording and write for other artists. But little by little I started to get back on stage. Small stages, not big ones. It was like I was practicing, learning to be confident again. Then I met Joe Davis. In 1994, my good friend Joyce Moreno called me and said, Marcos, I have something to tell you about what is happening with your music. I said, what is it? She said, the young people in Europe are getting into your music, it’s being played in clubs and so on. She said, do you like the sound of that? I said, I love it! She said, just be aware that you are going to be called by
some agents and record companies. And she said, I’m going to tell you about Joe Davis, because I know him, he’s a young guy in London, a little bit crazy but in a good way, and he is very interested in your music and wants you to record for his label. Please can you have lunch with him? I said, sure. So Joe came to Rio and in 1995 I participated in his Friends of Rio album, and then in 1999 we released Nova Bossa Nova, my first album since 1986. We’ve done others since, and we’re doing another album later this year. Meeting Joe was exactly what I needed. I was ready to get back on stage but I needed that stimulation. Things always turn out different than I expect – and always better than I expect. > myspace.com/marcosvallebrazil
Photograph David Goldman
Joe Davis founded Far Out Recordings in 1994. The London label releases a range of Brazilian music, including bossa nova. “In the early 1980s in London, there was a real buzz around jazz and jazz-related music from the 1950s and 1960s, and in 1982 I heard a 12” re-release of Astrud Gilberto’s ‘The Girl from Ipanema’. I was only 13 but it knocked me out and I started looking for more of her records. We lived in Greenford in Middlesex and I’d take a bus into Notting Hill Gate and go to secondhand shops. I started to discover people like Marcos Valle and Carlos Lyra and João Gilberto. There was no internet, there was very little information available about Brazilian music, you had to go and dig it out. “In 1986, when I was 17, I decided to go to Brazil and do some serious buying. I financed the trip by selling my Blue Note and Prestige jazz collection to Honest Jon’s in Portobello Road. Jon Clare gave me about £3000. I bought all this bossa nova stuff. The records were so cheap. I came back with 1000 albums, the flight had cost £200 and I still had £2,200 left. “I’ve been to Brazil around 280 times since then, buying for myself when I started DJing, and for other DJs and collectors. I made a lot of money doing that in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Things you’d buy for a few dollars would sell for £300 back here. But I got bored with just buying and selling records. Plus, around 1993, the Japanese discovered Brazil and cleaned out every fucking record shop. But I wanted to do something with the knowledge I’d acquired, so I thought, I’ll start my own label.” faroutrecordings.com
Photograph Mariana Maltoni
Roberto Menescal was prominent among the first wave of bossa nova guitarists and songwriters in Rio in the late 1950s. “One of the guitarists who inspired me to play was Barney Kessel. I heard him on Julie London’s LP Julie is Her Name. Barney was my great master. But I also loved Joe Pass, Tal Farlow and almost all the jazz guitarists of the 1950s. I taught myself to play by listening to their LPs. The songwriters who made the earliest impressions on me were George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. I never studied guitar with a teacher, I taught myself, but I studied composition with maestro Moacir Santos and maestro César Guerra-Peixe. “When we started making bossa nova, we were just young people having fun. We played at parties and university concerts for free. We never thought that one day we could be professional composers. Rio was a magic place and we spent a lot of time enjoying ourselves. The sea was my playground. I was attracted to the new sport of harpoon fishing; it put me in contact with an unexplored and beautiful underwater world. In 1960, when I was becoming a little successful, I bought a share in a boat, the Luanda, to go harpoon fishing off Cabo Frio. Sometimes I would take my group but normally only my songwriting partner Ronaldo Bôscoli would join me, and Nara Leão and my future wife, Yara. My song ‘O Barquinho’ [The Little Boat] came out of those days on the Luanda. “You could catch 800-pound fish off the coast then. Today, the pollution, the incredible number of big boats, the excessive hunting, have all driven the big fish far away. I no longer go harpoon fishing. I’m an ecologist now and I’m paying for my sin. We no longer have the same conditions we had. Things have changed and we need to change too.” robertomenescal.com.br
MUSIC | Bossa Nova
Gilles Peterson has championed Brazilian music for three decades, as a DJ and broadcaster and through his labels Acid Jazz, Talkin’ Loud and Brownswood Recordings. “I got into Brazilian music through DJs like Robbie Vincent and Chris Hill in the late 1970s. But the one who got me into the bossas was Chris Bangs a couple of years later. He used to play the, shall we say, Eric Morecambe version of bossa – ‘The Coffee Song’, Steve Lawrence or Eydie Gormé. Chris always has a fun element in what he does. I discovered Marcos Valle and Sérgio Mendes next. “Marcos is on Sonzeira’s new album Brasil Bam Bam Bam, and Elza Soares does a bossa version of ‘Aquarela do Brasil’. Everybody’s covered ‘Aquarela’ but I thought Elza could pull it off because she’s been the premier singer in Brazil for 40 years and she’s had a tough life. She’s like a cross between Eartha Kitt and Billie Holiday. She sings it in a minor key rather than with the usual happy, happy vibe. It’s dark. It turned out she’d never actually sung it on record before. After about four minutes of her singing to a guitar, it goes into a bossa. For me, as a producer, that track is the highlight of my career. It’s unbelievable. “Until recently I’d have said bossa was the music young Brazilians wanted to run away from the most, because it’s what their grandparents listened to. But it’s coming round again. The first time I was invited to DJ in Brazil, I just played Brazilian music and it went down really badly. Now I find they’re interested in their own music. There’s digging going on.” > Gilles Peterson Presents: Sonzeira – Brasil Bam Bam Bam is out now gillespetersonworldwide.com
Photograph David Goldman
Nicola Conte’s style of beyond-jazz incorporates bossa nova, samba, Italian movie music, lounge and Indian raga. “I discovered bossa nova at university in Italy in the 1980s. It resonated with me strongly on an emotional and an intellectual level. It was swinging and subtle and sophisticated and modern. But it was also connected with ancient African rhythms through traditional samba. And there was a melancholic edge – not sadness as such – that melted into happy, colourful images of Brazil and the good life. I found that combination deeply affecting. “Bossa nova grew out of the middle and upper classes in Brazil and from students, actors, writers and poets. The artistic ambience shared a lot with the Italian cultural vibe that existed during the bossa nova era, and with the contemporary French and Italian nouvelle vague movement in cinema, so I felt connected through that. I felt that European culture had been very much part of bossa nova. The people who started bossa nova were serious, well-read artists and they were familiar with existentialist philosophy, the idea that life is basically a long journey of suffering but one that doesn’t have to be desperate and mean and miserable. I think that is something that is very distinctive about Brazilian culture, and for me it is immensely uplifting.” nicolaconte.it
Photograph Carmela Love.ro
Photograph David Goldman
David Buttle opened the Mr Bongo record store in Berwick Street, London in 1989. The record label followed in 1995. “In Britain, we’ve always been good at finding an obscure form of music that has been unfairly neglected, tracking down the people who used to make it and bringing it to a new audience. Bossa nova has been a bit like northern soul or the funk revival or R&B in that respect. To start with, I preferred instrumental bossa, the ‘hard bossa’ trios of the mid-1960s, because lyrics were lost on me. Once I began to understand Portuguese, my interests broadened. “The nice thing is that partly because of work people like Joe Davis and Gilles Peterson and I did with bossa, singers like Marcos Valle and Joyce Moreno have also been reinvented back in Brazil. Marcos wasn’t really doing that much in Brazil back in the late 1980s and 1990s. But there’s nothing like the reflection of overseas success to reignite an artist at home. So these artists have enjoyed an Indian summer, and loads of their old records have been reissued, which would never have been the case without that foreign interest. And now that Brazil is getting wealthy, they’re getting interested in their musical heritage. They realise these artists have been sitting in their backyard and they’ve been kind of ignoring them.” mrbongo.com
MUSIC | Bossa Nova
Photograph Mariana Maltoni
Sabrina Malheiros is widely regarded as Brazil’s leading nu-bossa singer and composer. “My generation in Brazil is not very into pure bossa nova. Maybe the harmonies are too sophisticated or the rhythm too subtle or it is too jazzy. You only hear a little bossa nova on FM radio. But since I was small it’s been my main influence. When I was seven years old I already had a vinyl collection and wherever I went, to stay at my grandmother’s house or wherever, I would carry my João Gilberto records with me. He was my favourite. Elis Regina was another. She wasn’t just a bossa nova singer but her bossa nova tracks were my favourites. “My father is a founding member of Azymuth, so I also heard funk and other styles from a young age. That comes through in my music. My father says I started singing when I was two; I think he is exaggerating. But when I was five I started piano lessons at the conservatoire and then learnt guitar. I first sang bossa nova in a club with my father when I was seven. I started sitting in with Azymuth when I was 11. I live at my father’s house in Rio and we are always writing songs and playing together. I didn’t really choose bossa nova – I think it chose me.” sabrinamalheiros.com
Jacket and tie by Roberto Cavalli; trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna; shirt by Tourne de Transmission.
Coat and trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna; shirt by Roberto Cavalli; boots by Red Wing Shoes; necklace by SWS of London; broach, stylist’s own.
Carl Barât Photographs Richard Stow Styling Phil Bush Photographic Assistant Ben Parks Styling Assistant Tom McNeilage
Carl Barât’s former band The Libertines play the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park, London on 5 July and Benicàssim Festival on 19 July bst-hydepark.com fiberfib.com Carl Barât & the Jackals release their debut album later this year For This is My Body, a film directed by Paule Muret and starring Carl Barât, is in production facebook.com/carlbarat 55
Jacket by Edwin Jeans x Alexander Leathers; jeans by Edwin Jeans; shirt by Tourne de Transmission; boots by Red Wing Shoes; belt and jewellery, stylistâ€™s own.
STYLE | Carl Bar창t
Jacket by Paul Smith; trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna; shirt by Tourne de Transmission; boots by Red Wing Shoes.
Jacket and belt by Lewis Leathers; jeans by Edwin Jeans; boots by Red Wing Shoes; scarf, stylistâ€™s own.
STYLE | Carl Barât
Jacket, trousers and shirt by Roberto Cavalli; boots by Edwin Jeans; hat by Lock&Co; jewellery, stylist’s own.
Waistcoat and broach, stylistâ€™s own; shirt and trousers by Roberto Cavalli; boots by Edwin Jeans; watch by Nixon.
STYLE | Carl Barât
Coat and tie, stylist’s own; trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna; shirt by Roberto Cavalli; boots by Red Wing Shoes.
Dent de Man
Suit by Dent de Man; shirt by Paul Smith. Artwork by Jaime Gilli.
Photographs Horst Friedrichs Styling Karen Mason Words Edward Moore Designer Adrian Gordon Location Art at Home
East London is probably the most culturally diverse part of the UK – and proud of it. It’s a patchwork of creeds, tastes and attitudes, with foods from every corner of the world. So, it’s hardly surprising to learn that Dent de Man, who opened up shop a couple of years
ago, hails from this place. The bold colours and patterns of Dent de Man work stand out against the drab Victorian brickwork of this area still known for its cloth trade. The designer himself is driven by curiosity and a love for exotic, far-ﬂung places, and as the
brand’s manager Chris Chasseaud explains “a deep admiration for art, music and vintage style”. Mystical, exotic, exciting, vibrant and smart – this is menswear for the modern man. dentdeman.com
Suit by Dent de Man; shirt and shoes by Paul Smith; hat by Lock&Co. Artwork by Renata Fernandez.
Duffer of St George Portobello. Brick Lane. Cat in the Hat. Wide Boys. Wag Club. Masterplan. Lacy Lady. Words Mark Webster Portraits Chris Tang Thirty years after the street-fashion pioneers started out in London, we talk to the men central to the Duffer story.
“When we started, the things we sold were unusual, relative to what was sold on the high street. But I presumed that whatever we went on to do and make out of it, we’d end up in the mainstream, probably with a shop in Ilford. That was not a wish – it was inevitable. But within six months of [our shop on] Portobello Road and the reaction from fashionistas and stylists, the so-called intelligentsia, I realised we were much more. I didn’t know what we were, but we were more than that.” Prendergast’s teenage years in the 1970s, living in east London and regularly travelling up west with his parents, led to his first dabblings in the rag trade. “Some people just wouldn’t go to the West End,” he says. “I was exposed to a world of Americans in loud trousers with cameras around their necks, Europeans wearing Loden coats and cashmere. “I worked in Petticoat Lane when I was 14, but the guy had another stall in the market on Brewer Street. So up west again. It was all hippie clothing, but I was earning, and I was learning.”
The eclectic influences served him well from day one at Duffer, where putting item x next to item y to invent look z became the plan. “We could jumble clothes from different decades, different scenes, to create our own,” says Prendergast. This juxtaposing approach was part of their collective mentality, and it’s best illustrated in how the fledgling team came across its moniker. “In 1985 when we started the first shop, there was a fantastic window of opportunity to buy from charity shops,” he says. “It was the days before pickers and collectors got at it. It worked well. The charities got their money, we got our little mark up. But we also started to get new things made up. We did it with hats. We’d go down Brick Lane with our fabric to S&V Caps. In those days we were calling ourselves ‘Wide Boys’. Well, that didn’t matter so much down Brick Lane, but when we were getting involved in other gentlemen’s attire, it was ‘Er, who?’” “By now we were getting our ‘look’, that is, the 1940s/50s Boy’s Own type. Cricket trousers, blazers, waistcoats, and
we had all those books we used as props. So we’re sitting there one evening, and just couldn’t find a name. So we said, right, the next page, whatever’s on it – that’s the name. So I turned the page, and there it was, this Just William sort of character. He was scrumping apples. He was breaking windows. He was the Duffer of St George’s School.” From a suitcase in Camden Market to a shop on Portobello Road, to Soho, Covent Garden, then Savile Row – that part of the Duffer story finally closed with the brand stocked at Debenhams on dozens of high streets worldwide. All this occurred in just a decade. And as you might expect for a market phenomenon boasting the name of an ephemeral lad from newsprint, there was an element of the three-act play to the Duffer tale as it straddled the 1980s and 1990s. It started with the band of brothers developing effectively from stylists to, on their move to D’Arblay Street, designers in their own right. As Prendergast recalls, “We were considered outsiders because we hadn’t gone down that fashion school > 65
HISTORY | Duffer of St George
route. We were seen as oiky. We weren’t part of their game, yet we were doing wholesale into shops like Jones and Harrods, a smattering of shops in Japan, the odd Scandinavian one. And our clothes were on shelves alongside those brands. After a few years of that, sharing trade exhibition space with them, I think they realised we weren’t going away.” They were the catalyst behind the 1991 Fifth Circle show in Spitalfields Market that featured Duffer alongside Joe Casely-Hayford, Nick Coleman and John Richmond. It was largely ignored by the establishment but very influential. A few years later, at “an opening party for the shop in Shorts Gardens, Paul Smith came. I was so chuffed. There was the recognition. He could have turned his nose up at us – but he didn’t.” Then, as Prendergast “remembers vividly”, what might’ve been the beginning of the end. “In 1994, I handed over the pattern to a Portuguese manufacturer for the ubiquitous Duffer hoodie. And for a while people wanted them because it was us. It was our 66
statement. Then, because it just worked, more people were getting into it because they’d probably just seen some bloke down the pub wearing one. “And it became the tail wagging the dog. In the counterfeit stakes, for example, customs would be capturing containers that were half Nike, half us.” Finally, their ability to continually “make the market, keep a little bit, and hand the rest to the high street” had caught up with them. Duffer had long been able to rely on what Prendergast calls “a huge inverted snobbery. We were shell toes, Puffa coats, baseball hats. That was a real high. That was us. Then we’d move on, to Gabicci, Gucci, checked slacks. Blokes came in saying ‘What’s this shit?’ but then three months later...” In that original manifestation, then, it had all come to an end. But, as it turns out, you can’t keep a great name, or, indeed, good men down. August is the fifth birthday of Prendergast’s Shoreditch shop, Present. “I hoped it would work,” he says. “That I still had some sort of insight. We just opened. After a while,
people were interested. We soon gained a following. People came. Industry came.” And again, juxtaposition. Prendergast’s also overseen the return of one of British fashion’s most influential brands. If Hardy Amies were alive today, “Present is where he’d be shopping, getting ideas,” says Prendergast. “Amies was an interesting chap. He was self-taught, a snob. In the war, he was in the [Special Operations Executive]. His dad ran the Becontree Estate, the world’s largest at that time. He was a ‘confirmed bachelor’ who loved the company of women. And he was dressmaker to the Queen for four decades. But he designed the clothes for England’s 1966 World Cup squad. He did costumes for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He was first to do a male catwalk show, to do music. It’s been a pleasure to create things in his name. It sells in Japan, and in the new Savile Row shop. He’s back in W1, I’m in E1. It’s a London thing. Another classic tale of east meets west.” present-london.com
“I’m a designer. Sorry. I became one,” says Sharpe, correcting his thought. “I started by re-cutting a pair of trousers, and I got good at it.” As a Duffer founder, he fit in nicely. Because he, too, was making it up as he went along. He maintains: “I never dreamt that, where I come from, I’d have been doing what I did. What I’m doing now. But we changed fashion. We changed youth culture. We were the first of its kind. And we fell uphill.” The roots of his part in Duffer go back to age 11, in the heart of London’s East End. “I was a skinhead. When I say skinhead, the first skinheads I saw were black kids – black and proud. Sheepskin coats, cropped trousers, beautiful shoes, beautiful shirts. And they would hang around Electric Store on Petticoat Lane where they sold reggae records. And I wanted to be one of them. I got well into reggae, and when I was living in a kids’ home, my mates were these three black girls. So they’ve taken me to this youth club. And they’re playing reggae there. “But then I’ve heard this record. I was mesmerised. It was like a religious experience. It was ‘Get on the Good Foot’ by James Brown. I’d never heard anything like it. It totally changed my life. I wanted to get into this, I wanted to dance like the kids who danced to it. I started to change the way I dressed. My whole life was turned upside down.” Into the 1980s and this passion led to a meeting with mutual fanatic Lascelle Lascelles, who he teamed with,
DJing at house parties. Lascelle knew a few other fellas who were soul mates – in every sense. “I met Eddie and Marco [Cairns] through Lascelle. We’d go to the same clubs. And I knew them but they didn’t know me. I’d spotted them because they were into the Oxfam stuff. I was into it too. You could go there and buy a Burberry mac. Brogues. Blazers. It was amazing. And we started storing it up. Then selling it.” The summer of 1984 saw the acorn that became the Duffer oak roll onto a pavement in Camden Town. “Me and Eddie had gone down to Camden market one Sunday and the shops were closed,” says Kenneth Mackenzie, “We put down our suitcases, with a receipt we’d got from a shop. When the police came along we’d show them we’d paid for the shopfront. After a while, they accepted we were there. We became part of the furniture.” But 1984 wasn’t just about knocking out clobber. Rene Gelston – later to set up Black Market Records near Duffer in Soho – was running a night at the Wag Club, Blackmarket. He turned to Sharpe and Lascelle. It was the start of a rich, influential vein of music-purveying. He soon found himself both a driving force and shop window for music and fashion. “At the Wag, for example,” he says, “I was up there wearing my Duffer cap on backwards. I got it from those 1920s film directors. No one else did it. People took the piss out of me in the street. But that became the look. Because I was –
we all were – right place, right time. Everything I’d wear on a Friday night you could buy at Duffer on Saturday.” DJing worldwide and running Duffer was ten years of Sharpe’s life, but in 1995 “it was time to move on. We’d sold it. I couldn’t work for the geezer [their new backer]. He didn’t like me anyway. If I was there, it might not have happened for them the way it has. I would have held them back, in a sense.” The break, however, did lead him to a second wind of creativity as a designer. He launched his Sharpeye label, which grew to a couple of shops and several collections before he finally “sold the lease in Notting Hill and got out. I’m 100 per cent creative now,” Sharpe says. “I’m not chasing money. I’ve got no mortgage, so I’ve got my freedom. I get by. I’m ticking over. Bit here. Bit there. “I’m doing a bit of tailoring, a knitwear collection for Sharpeye. I’ve re-recorded Loose Ends’ ‘Hangin’ on a String’ with Carl McIntosh. I’m DJing, doing internet radio, writing a lot, selfpublishing (including biography This Wasn’t Part of the Masterplan). And I’m an activist. I’ll go on the marches. I’m down the Old Bailey every Monday. I do the artwork for their leaflets. And all this, because I want to.” > sharpeye.uk.com
HISTORY | Duffer of St George
“Eddie Prendergast always introduced me as ‘our first employee,’” laughs Mackenzie. He’d arrived in London on a circuitous route, essentially an attempt to “get out of Scotland”. From Dundee, and “into football, and that was about it, really,” he knew he wanted to break away, which led to a fashion-design course at Preston Polytechnic, which provided the chance to garner experience in the trade. In the late 1980s, Mackenzie ended up at Ladbroke Grove, under the Westway, working as part of his course with the label Culture Shock. It put him right in the shadow of Duffer’s fledgling Portobello Road shop. “[Culture Shock founder] Yuzuru Koga took me to their shop to meet them, show me what they were up to. It wasn’t what I was into, but you could see what they were doing was different, unusual. They’d found something. And as for the Duffers themselves, well, we as people were very different. I was going to end up being the lefty, punky uni boy.” It was 1990, when Duffer itself had a big change in personality. It was a West End shop now, with a style created from a mix of design and inspired acquisition. Mackenzie bore witness to this, through sheer coincidence. “I ended up cutting patterns with Chris Bannister, who had
taken the space below the D’Arblay Street shop,” he says. “You could see it all starting to happen. Of course, the boys would come down to the basement, have a cup of tea, we’d always be chatting. The business I was involved in wasn’t really developing, and meanwhile there was new Duffer stock filling up the place. It was starting to explode. What I was doing folded and Eddie said, “We’re busy up here, why not stay on and look after the shop?’” The timing was perfect. “Eddie, Marco and Barrie all had their own basic styles. Good dressers, knew all the best looks. But they had a great eye. They’d always spot what was coming next.” As the front man in the shop, Mackenzie was in the middle of it. “We’d be out together, at the Cat in the Hat [Barrie Sharpe’s club night], people knew who we were, checking what was being worn. They were their own best marketing. And they had a reputation for being, I don’t know, edgy, out there. But what I always saw was a sense of humour. They were always so busy, so I’d become the voice on the phone for Duffer with magazines. That all became part of the image built up around it, too.” Mackenzie is quick to admit his five Duffer years were a connection
and a learning curve that proved indispensable in his career. In 1995, when Duffer hit the high street, Mackenzie saw it was time to move on to his own thing, label Six Eight Seven Six, which he describes as “kind of brutal in its design, but with something, what I have kind of discovered for myself over the years, that echoes back to what is very much at the heart of modernism.” Mackenzie pays attention to detail in materials, features and manufacturing, and utilises the idea of micro-collections and online sales. But to get your label to that point, you have to start out getting down and dirty. “Spending money on big collections, turning up to all the trade shows. I could feel the walls closing in on me,” he says. He utilised a few tricks he picked up in his time on D’Arblay Street. “I’d do a few individual things, take them up to magazines, drop them on people’s desks. Get out there, get it done. That had been the Duffer kind of way, and that was the great thing about them. They spawned so many people and ideas. Because they were normal and made people think they could do it. And I think that’s not a bad legacy.” > sixeightsevensix.com 69
“The careers officer told me they had two jobs lined up,” Cairns recalls. “At the Ford factory and Tate & Lyle [the sugar factory on the Isle of Dogs]. Or, I could do something ‘electrical’ on the council. I thought, I ain’t doing any of that, so I just floated about a bit. I knew I wanted to go into fashion. I was the only one who dressed like me in my school. I was always altering my clothes with a badge or a patch because I didn’t have the money to buy what I wanted.” But with no connections, he simply “wrote to anyone I could in the fashion business. I just wanted a job. I wanted to learn. What are all the fabrics? Where does it all come from? How do you make that shirt? How does it all work?” In the high-turnover world of the rag trade he gleaned the fundamentals of the business. But they couldn’t teach what he clearly had an eye for, and that ultimately included picking out the right people in a crowd. “I was with my mate in this hardcore reggae club in Bow,” he says. “And there was this face across the room, one of the only other white blokes there. And I thought, ‘Who’s that?’ He spotted me and said, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ And I said, ‘Well, what’s the matter with you?’ And that was Eddie. We started going to clubs together – I remember stepping over Sid Vicious at the Lacy Lady in Ilford, before punk was even punk, and hanging out in this mate’s flat in Manor Park. That was the place to go. It’s where we started plotting things.” Barrie’s initiative to start selling their own look in Camden was what solidified the plan. “I thought, bingo – that’s what I want to do! There was no trendy gear there. We were doing something no one 70
else was doing, so I had an inkling there was something special happening. And it was fucking easy! It seemed such a simple idea. It was all about styling. I remember thinking, ‘We’ve got a store now. We’ve really got to show what we can do.’” Classic homegrown clothing was their initial hunting ground. “We were basically going to all these factories that were struggling in Thatcher’s Britain and they were happy to work with us,” Cairns says. Names that are staples again now – Trickers shoes, John Smedley knitwear – got a new lease of life when Duffer got in touch asking about old stock, or long-forgotten designs, while even US brands such as Red Wing and Carhartt found themselves in a brave new world of street fashion once given the call. But there was still nothing like getting their hands dirty. By the 1990s, Duffer was at D’Arblay Street and the hunt was back on. “We were in America, looking for shell toes,” says Cairns of the Adidas Superstar trainer that is one of their greatest reinventions. “Someone said to look down the Lower East Side in New York. We’re looking around, not much luck; we decided to get a cab near Canal Street. And there was this leather shop where we were flagging down a cab, with that yellow plastic in the window to stop clothes fading. And out the corner of my eye, I spot them under the sheet. “So we go in and say we’d like a few pairs if you’ve got them? He says ‘I’ve got a few in the basement’, locks the shop, takes us downstairs, and – fucking walls of Adidas boxes! So we’re like, ‘Oh, OK, they’re just the old Adidas? Hmm.’ We ended up getting them for $2 or $3 each. We were staying at the Chelsea Hotel,
had to get two cabs to take them all back. When we got them back home, we put fat laces in them and just poured them in the shop window. By the second week, people were queuing around the corner!” From the D’Arblay Street days, the Duffer brand took on a variety of shapes and sizes and turned up in all kinds of places, to the point where it became what Cairns describes as “a monster you had to keep feeding”. He “still has the handcuffs on” but admits “I’m still passionate about it.” JD Sports has carried the name now for several years “and the kids that go into JDs are really into it,” Cairns says. “Maybe in the backs of their minds, their brothers used to wear it, or their uncles or dads. It’s a name that’s still out there.” For JD, Cairns points out, “You have to think more commercially,” but the label’s long relationship with Japan has resulted in a new brand that celebrates Duffer heritage across the decades. Not only are there Duffer shops across Japan, the Duffer Japan label is now available in the UK. Cairns couldn’t be more pleased. “It’s a rare opportunity, and reassuring as well, that we’re still getting it right, which I’ve never thought was a problem. Because it’s an instinct. It goes back to the start, about what’s good. I remember we used to get a bit of gear, make a sample, try it on and say, ‘Is it fighty? Do you feel like a geezer in it?’ If you don’t, then there’s something wrong with it.” dufferjapan.co.uk Stroma Cairns’s film Style Brokers about the early days of Duffer of St George will screen in London this September vimeo.com/stromacairns
HISTORY | Duffer of St George
Domestique. La Flamme Rouge. Cancer. Mark Cavendish. Words Mark Webster Portrait Marine Gastineau
Brian Holm is a last-generation pro cyclist –“a reliable domestique for most of his career” as his biography puts it – and a this-generation cycling team sport director. Which means he’s been involved in the sport through, excuse the pun, its highs and lows, its mountain stages and sprints. He loved it then and loves it now. He loved the power it gives you, and the pain. To this day, he loves its freedom. He’s telling me about his five years as a young bricklayer as we wander around the Christiania neighbourhood of his native Copenhagen. This is as singular a place as you’ll find in any European city. Holm grew up nearby and recalls how uncomfortably close that could be when it was the haunt of a feared biker gang. It’s an almost fairytale shanty town of old brick buildings and wooden huts, with little coffee houses, a sprinkling of arriviste chic shops trying to buy into the vibe, and a community most definitely on the edge of society. Holm tells me it is effectively self-governing, and the sign 72
at one end of the village that tells those leaving that they are “Now entering the EU” would seem to underline the point. In the middle of Christiania is an old church where Holm once plied his trade, while at the same time developing his career as a competitive cyclist. Due to the church’s location, it kept him busy. “The acid heads would climb up there,” he tells me, pointing to the top of the tower, “and they’d jump off, you know. They’d always get it wrong, crash into that roof there. We were constantly fixing it.” The young Holm had arrived at this point in his life having tried other sports. “I did boxing for two or three years, athletics, football – absolutely useless,” he says. He decided, in the early 1970s, to take up a sport that was not only a part of Copenhagen’s culture but happened to come naturally to him. What’s more, his mum thought it was the best option, too. “Where I grew up, it wasn’t the best neighbourhood. Once, I wanted to give up cycling, but she wouldn’t let me
because of my friends. She basically thought if I was on a bike, I wouldn’t be spending too much time with them!” From age 16, he trained under the “Danish superstar of cycling, Leif Mortensen. I started winning more than not. And the more you’re winning, the more fun you’re having.” The regime therefore inevitably clashed with bricklaying, which in itself helped instil the total commitment Holm would maintain throughout his cycling career. “I’d start work at 6.30am, so I’d be up at 4.30am to ride. When our first break came, around 11am, I’d always be sleeping under the table. So when the break was over, I’d get a kick to wake me. Then I’d get out a little early for more training, and be in bed by 9pm. I did that for five years. I could only do that because my hod carrier would let me slip off early. I named my son after him, his name was Albert. I really loved him.” All this paid dividends in 1985 when he joined a team, Roland–Van de Ven. It >
Mark Cavendish wearing a La Flamme Rouge U-Boat striped vest With Paul Smith, who has designed various items for Holm’s charity La Flamme Rouge
wasn’t so financially rewarding, as Holm notes: “My first contract was €10,000. As a bricklayer I could earn double that. But how could I refuse?” he laughs, “To not earn big money as a cycling pro, then go out and risk your life?” Is he gilding the lily a little? Not if his very first year in the sport is anything to go by. We’re sitting drinking coffee at a little cafe he visits when riding the hundreds of kilometres he puts in when home in Copenhagen with his wife and young family. It is bordered on one side by dense woods and on the other, a magnificent bay that sweeps in an arc towards neighbouring Sweden. Here, he says, “In my first year, I broke my skull. My mother, my brother Kelvin and my trainer came to see me and I pushed it, because I had to make a bit extra so I could buy them a dinner. I crashed. By the time they got to see me in hospital, I’d been given the last rites. But I woke up after three days. I didn’t remember anything about it. Really, I just had a bit of a headache for a month. They had me lying in a darkened room, but every time I got up, blood would be coming out.” Of course, he came back and plied his trade around Europe, living in France and Belgium for 15 years and working with various teams, trainers and cyclists. It was his desire to build himself into a professional sportsman – and his desire 74
to remain one. “I was all about riding for myself,” he says of how he made himself as individually invaluable as possible in what’s ostensibly a team sport. “You have to do your job, of course. In the big races there were a lot of people who could win, it wasn’t just about you. You have friends but I don’t want to romanticise that – riders come and go. You could be fired if you grew a beard, had a tattoo or wore an
‘IF YOU START TO THINK ABOUT THE DANGER, GIVE UP CYCLING’ earring. If you believe a team employs you because you’re quite nice, you’ll be very disappointed. If they can’t use you anymore, you’ll simply lose your job. “That’s why I had to say to myself, how am I going to survive in this world? So, I thought, OK, not many people like rain and cobblestones. So you convince yourself that you really love this. And you really say that to yourself. Then, enough training, enough rain, enough
cobblestones. You start to love it. Suddenly, I was good at it. So, then the sport director loved me – because I was the only one who didn’t complain.” During our conversation, from time to time, Holm taps his chest, over his heart, by way of emphasising a point. This was him “pushing the little button”, he says. It goes deep into the psychology of him as a man who has chosen such an at times selfish, always self-sacrificing, frequently downright dangerous way to not only make a living, but live life. “When you start, you really have to find that little button. You push it, then you don’t think about it. Or you’re dead. When you’re going downhill at 100kph, if you start to think about the danger, give up cycling. Even now, when I leave my wife and kids for the Tour de France, I push the button. “And when you stop racing, push the little button. I wrote in the kitchen on a piece of paper when I retired ‘everything I didn’t like about cycling’. It was a long list. But it didn’t matter, because I was addicted to cycling. Why do you think Lance Armstrong came back after three years? He missed it. The discipline. The pain in the legs. The team. The races. It’s hard to just stop. And unless you’re careful, it’s what the Belgians call ‘the black hole’. When I retired, I was out of cycling completely, so again [he taps his
SPORT | Brian Holm
Prologue of the Tour of Denmark, 1986
Tour of Flanders, 1998
heart]. I needed the discipline. Every Sunday, I would make a schedule for the whole week so I didn’t fall into that hole. Monday, library. Tuesday, computer classes. Wednesday, training to run a marathon in under three hours. I wasn’t planning on being a bricklayer again! “I gave myself two years. I took a job part-time at a new sports-management company, for no money – basically, I was unemployed. And a pain in the arse. I was divorced from my first wife, 36, and starting to do some catching up. But because I wasn’t working, I called myself a writer. As I’d taken a few classes, I started to write. And that has turned into two books. I still take notes all the time, because I am always preparing for the next one. Then from there came some media, speeches; I was working. “Yet people would be surprised I did all this. They thought I must be able to retire after cycling. I’d always say I made enough money to last me the rest of my life. If I was going to die in five years! I always thought that was a really good joke. Until I got the cancer.”
Holm discovered in 2004 that it is not always just as simple as pushing that little button. He told me the torrid tale of how he doggedly pursued doctors to find out the truth behind the symptoms he was suffering, finally being diagnosed with colon cancer and treated with lifesaving surgery immediately. As soon as possible, he was back in the saddle – but with no cycling career ahead of him, Holm took stock and started charity La Flamme Rouge (the red final-kilometre marker), which raises money for families and provides sporting activities for sufferers of the disease. So, while at home in Copenhagen or on the road in his role as sport director, he is plotting events, and designing clothes and equipment to raise funds for La Flamme Rouge. He shows me a new prototype he’s received from the manufacturer for a base layer shirt he has designed – the thinnest of T-shirts worn under the cycling top. When discussing clothing, or music, he is as eloquent, knowledgeable and enthusiastic as he is about his sport. He mentions a leather jacket bought in 1971
in tribute to Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott that still gets the odd outing, and chats about the blue-and-white Breton-style striped top he’s working on: “Coco Chanel used to wear them in the 1930s and Picasso took it up. But I used to see it on the East German guys in the 1980s when they unzipped their tops; there was this striped layer. I thought that was so cool. Then in the 1990s – once they were Germans and had turned pro – you could talk to those guys, so I asked one to tell me the story behind those tops. Who had the idea to design them like that? And the guy kind of laughed and said, no, it was because everyone had to join the military back then, and these were naval issue. It was just that they were great to wear under their cycling jerseys. Not a fashion thing at all. I called them U-Boat, because the guys would be sweaty on the team coach in them, like in the old submarine films. ” When discussing fashion and cycling, British designer Paul Smith must be mentioned. A famously committed cyclist and lover of the sport – he could have > 75
been a contender, save for injury – it is perhaps no surprise that he is an ambassador of La Flamme Rouge. “I met Brian because of his management of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish,” Smith says, “and we came up with the idea of a collaboration with Paul Smith and La Flamme Rouge with a selection of mountain bikes being made and sold.” There is a cycling clothes range too, meaning shirts on the backs of a breed of sportsman Smith couldn’t admire more. “You have to be so determined and dedicated,” he says. “You have to give up social activities to succeed because today it’s so highly competitive and technical.” Also an ambassador for the charity is the aforementioned Mark Cavendish, who Holm has worked with for much of his pro career. Holm was famously in the Team GB car when Mark won gold in the 2011 Road World Championships in 76
Copenhagen. They are combining their talents again this season, with Belgian team Omega Pharma-Quick Step. On
‘SOMETIMES I MISS IT. THEN IT RAINS. OR IT SNOWS. AND I THINK, THANK GOD!’ the pro circuit, the poacher, Holm, has most definitely turned gamekeeper. “But this generation are so much more educated, so much smarter,” he
says. “They know about food, they know about training. They can follow the news! You still risk your life, that will always be the same. They make much more money these days, but in many ways it’s harder. In my day, there was more racing, but on long stages you’d all take it easy, go steady for, say, 200km. Now TV is watching the race, and they go from the first kilometre! Full speed ahead, over traffic islands, speed bumps. The bikes today have advanced as much since the 1980s as cars have, but a broken collarbone hurts as much in 2014 as it did in 1984. “Sometimes I really miss it. Then it rains. Or it snows. And I think, thank God! But I still compete. I do the training. I know the history. I love it.” laflammerouge.dk
SPORT | Brian Holm Brian Holm and Jesper Skibby Tour de France, 1991
C.P. Company Photographs David Goldman
C.P. Company was set up in Italy in 1975 to make menswear as functional as military clothing and workwear, creating performance garments that were comfortable, hard-wearing and technologically advanced, yet elegant – a “Function and Use” ethos most explicitly communicated by its “goggle” jackets. Under the watchful eye of creative directors Alessandro Pungetti and Paul Harvey, C.P. Company today still focuses on manipulating natural fabrics to work as well, if not better, than performance fabrics. Using British wools and cottons, they make updated, modern takes on classic garments that will withstand inclement weather. Befitting such a specialist organisation, C.P. Company’s following of professional modern men is a very loyal one. These portraits will be shown at the London flagship store until the end of July C.P. Company, 34 Marshall Street, London W1 cpcompany.co.uk
Aitor Throup, fashion designer and art director, wears garment-dyed unlined fishtail hoodless parka aitorthroup.com
John Fendley, presenter and producer at Sky Sports, wears garment-dyed nycra (nylon/lycra) bomber jacket
Andrew Diprose, creative director of Wired magazine and art director of The Ride Journal, wears fantasia-print zip-through goggle cagoule wired.co.uk theridejournal.com
James Pearson-Howes, photographer, wears garment-dyed nylon down jacket jamespearsonhowes.com
Steven Julien aka Funkineven, DJ, wears rubberised cotton canvas trench coat facebook.com/funkineven
Jacket by Evisu; jeans by Leviâ€™s; coat by Tourne de Transmission; shirt by Smith Wykes; boots from Costume Studio.
Photographs Alan Clarke Styling Mark Anthony Bradley Grooming Khandiz Joni at August Management using Paul Mitchell Photographic Assistant Ian Kenneth Bird Actor Richard Keep at John Doe Management
Jacket by Barbour; trousers and scarf by YMC; sweater by Paul Smith; hat by Filson.
STYLE | The Haven
Coat and shirt by Oliver Spencer; trousers by Smith Wykes; jacket by Levi’s; scarf and belt, stylist’s own.
Sweater, shirt and scarf by Paul Smith; jeans by Edwin Jeans.
Coat by Mackintosh; jeans by Barbour; jacket by Filson; shirt by Paul Smith; boots from Costume Studio.
Bleached shirt by Oliver Spencer; trousers by YMC; shirt by Scotch&Soda; boots by Dr Martens; scarf and belt, stylistâ€™s own.
STYLE | The Haven
Jacket by Levi’s Vintage Clothing; jeans by Edwin Jeans; waistcoat by Oliver Spencer; top by John Smedley; boots by Dr Martens; bag by Filson; hat and pin, stylist’s own.
Coat by Tourne de Transmission; tracksuit bottoms by Oliver Spencer; jacket by Smith Wykes; boots by Red Wing Shoes.
STYLE | The Haven
Jacket and waistcoat from Costume Studio; sweater by Edwin Jeans; hat, pin and necklace, stylistâ€™s own; bag by Filson.
I’m the Face. Track Records. Constant Lambert. The Who. High Numbers. My Generation. Words Paolo Hewitt
In the days before rock’n’roll, the children of the wealthy stayed on the straight and narrow. Education took place at prestigious establishments – Eton, Harrow, Oxford, et al. Jobs were taken, usually in the armed forces or the City. From there, the family name propelled them into other prosperous occupations. If you were of that persuasion and able to follow the rules, it was the good life, an easy life, and few rebelled against it. Then modern jazz and Teddy boys and rock’n’roll and modernists came to the UK. New paths opened up; by the 1960s, the young and rich were walking them, none more so than Kit Lambert. People mention the 1960s as the decade where class barriers shattered. They point to the rise of actor Michael Caine or photographer David Bailey as proof. This is, of course, arrant nonsense. The 1960s did not herald a massive class revolution but did bring together, for a brief spell, upper-class dropouts and working-class artists – and the results were often fascinating. The sons and daughters of aristocrats turned up to run key fashion shops on King’s Road, Chelsea, while others entered the music business, keen to get rich, laid, and high. 88
And sod mummy and daddy. Kit Lambert was the son of Constant Lambert, and this is important. Lambert Sr was a musical prodigy writing grand orchestral works at age 13. He attended the Royal College of Music and learned from, among others leading composers, Vaughan Williams and Malcolm Sargent. In 1927, Constant unveiled his masterpiece, “The Rio Grande”, an instant hit that gave him celebrity and success and opened up the world. For the next few years, as conductor for the Royal Ballet Company, he lived the high life. He caroused and drank and bedded both men and women. In 1931 he married a 17-year-old beauty, Florence Kaye, and soon after began an affair with the great ballerina Margot Fonteyn. It was serious stuff. After Constant left her, Fonteyn called him the love of her life. Constant remained unmoved. Four years later, Florence bore a child, an only child, Christopher “Kit” Sebastian Lambert. Two years after Kit’s arrival, Constant left his wife. He would die in 1951 from diabetes and acute alcoholism. Though his relationship with his son was distant, he would cast a long shadow. On one hand, Kit admired his father’s louche
attitude to life and would follow a similar path. But the indifference wounded him deeply. His mother also adored the high life and highballs, so it was left to his grandmother Amy Lambert to raise him. Kit’s was a loveless childhood. A family member later said, “I’m sure Amy cared about him, but he never had any hugs.” At boarding school Kit developed a personality that combined ebullience with artistic curiosity. He boasted that Margot Fonteyn was his godmother and when she visited the school, his standing shot sky high. His work was erratic but Kit knuckled down in his final year and won a place at Oxford. But first he had to undergo national service in the army. Posted to Hong Kong, the tedium of the armed-forces life drove him mad. He confessed to his only friend at the time, Robert Fearnley-Whittingstall, that at least the army would teach him to drive. At this point, cars were of great interest to him. On his return to London, Kit found work in an Earls Court garage before heading to Oxford, where he scoffed at academic excellence and dedicated his life to decadence, creating a persona of a witty, extravagant rogue who did little work but fascinated >
The Who with Kit Lambert recording Tommy, IBC Studios, London, 1968
many. Lambert was leading the rock’n’roll lifestyle before it had been invented. His flamboyant side flared up, uncontrollably. Once, for a performance of the play The Changeling he was involved in, he had hundreds of leaflets printed, hired an aeroplane and threw the leaflets out over the town. He was also brazen about his homosexuality. Film critic and Oxford alumni Philip French recalled Lambert as “a funny, bitchy raconteur, forever joking about his sexual proclivities and bad activities. He was quite corrupt.” He left Oxford with a fourth-class degree and a new passion – the cinema. Naturally, for such a worldly man, Lambert detested provincial English films. His heroes were in Paris and their names were Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais, and both directors taught a film 90
course in Paris. Kit was accepted for the course but left after a year. Boredom had again struck. On his return to London he lived in the family home and found work in the film industry. He bumped into old Oxford friend Robert Mason, recently back from the Middle East and planning an expedition to Brazil. He persuaded Kit to come along and make a film about the trip. Another man, the explorer John Hemming, also joined the party. The trip was – as you might expect – arduous. Hemming returned to Rio at one point, to get more supplies. When he flew back to the expedition, the pilot informed him that one of the expeditioners had died. It was Mason. Brazilian natives had ambushed him, cut off the top his head and left arrows and clubs around the body. Lambert had survived but was severely traumatised by the incident.
He returned to England a broken man. Lambert eased himself back into the film world, taking on jobs as an assistant director. Among the more notable films he worked on were The L-Shaped Room, The Guns of Navarone, From Russia with Love and Michael Winner’s lost gem West 11. But the most important relationship he would make during this period was with Chris Stamp. And it could not have been more unlikely. Writer Nik Cohn said of the pairing, “Kit was an utter maniac who lived off nervous energy, while Chris by contrast was the voice of sanity. Together they fitted like Laurel and Hardy.” Stamp was straight, a working-class boy from London’s East End whose brother was the actor Terence. His father was a tugboat captain. He was cool, hard and stylish and came from the wrong end
CINEMA | Lambert&Stamp of town. No matter. This was the 1960s. The classes could now mingle. They hit it off, seeing something in each other that could, when combined, create a source of power beneficial to both. They were soon living in a flat in Ivor Court, near Regent’s Park, and planning nothing less than the overthrow of the film world. They hit upon the idea of making a film about the British teenager’s love of pop music. Lambert was driving one night when he saw a row of scooters outside the Railway Hotel, Wealdstone. Intrigued, he pulled up and went inside. There he saw a band named the High Numbers (soon to revert to their original name, the Who) playing raw versions of R&B standards to a young Mod crowd. He called Stamp and said he’d found the band they should film. A week later, Lambert had changed his mind. He said they should manage the band. He took Stamp to see them and Stamp later said, “I shall always remember that night we first saw them together. I had never seen anything like it. The Who have a hypnotic effect on an audience. I realised that the first time I saw them. It was like a black mass. Even then, Pete Townshend was doing that electronic feedback stuff. Keith Moon was wild on the drums. The effect on the audience was tremendous. It was as if they were in a trance.” In deciding to enter management, Lambert no doubt had Beatles manager Brian Epstein in mind. Like Lambert, he came from a cultivated background, yet had turned four scruffy working-class Scousers into a worldwide phenomenon. Lambert was keen to follow his example. The problem was his band already had a manager – two, in reality. Helmut Gorden was a German businessman who ran a doorknob business in west London. He supplied the cash. Peter Meaden was a London mod who gave the Who mod clothing and a mod attitude. Within six months of his involvement, they were one of the biggest live acts in London. Meaden also oversaw the recording of first single ‘I’m the Face’. However, its failure to breach the charts hugely damaged his standing with the band. As he sought to repair the damage, Lambert and Stamp showed up. They opened up a two-pronged attack, quickly befriending Townshend, who they saw as the driving artistic force. Lambert’s sophistication
and knowledge in areas like classical music intrigued the curious Townshend. Next to Meaden, Lambert was far more worldly, a man one could clearly imagine bringing success to one’s doorstep. With Stamp along, the effect was magnetic despite Lambert’s lack of pop knowledge. As he later admitted, “The only way I could tell a bass and a lead guitar apart was by counting the number of heads.” Lambert and Stamp now sought to elevate pop to a higher level, and in Townshend they had the perfect composer to make such a leap. Lambert’s other way into the Who was far more obvious. Money. He used money. He promised the band £1,000 a year, each, if they went with him. No contest. Gorden and Meaden were ousted, Lambert and Stamp were in. Lambert’s first ideas were simple.
‘A RACONTEUR FOREVER JOKING ABOUT HIS SEXUAL PROCLIVITIES; HE WAS QUITE CORRUPT’ “Appearance is all” was his motto. He advised the band to run on stage to emphasise their importance. He shot a promo film that was shown before they came onstage and he encouraged them to treat their male-heavy audience “like 13-year-old girls”, thus creating a sexual but ambivalent dynamic that marked the Who out from other bands. He even sent them to make-up lessons. But Lambert’s greatest act was to encourage Townshend to write his own material. Under Meaden’s management, Townshend had been kept on leash, the mod manager preferring the band to play R&B standards. Lambert cut him loose and gave him sound advice, such as to avoid boy-meets-girl lyrics. “He could see I was at my best when dealing with my conscience,” Townshend said of his
songs, “He’d never sneer at me for saying things which were pretentious, or had been said before.” He got to work and emerged quickly with ‘I Can’t Explain’. With the publicity girl’s husband Shel Talmy as producer, the song was recorded in January 1965 and become a landmark in the band’s career. Though at the time it enjoyed only moderate success, it has since acquired the veneer of a classic. Lambert and Stamp also shaped the band’s look, encouraging them to adopt a mod pop-art look that would retain their mod following but attract others. Stamp knew his clobber and was instrumental in shaping the look. Townshend had a Union Jack jacket made in the East End (Savile Row tailors they approached refused the commission on the grounds that such an item was unpatriotic), Keith Moon bought a load of target T-shirts and John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey took to wearing military badges. Second single ‘Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere’ landed the Who a slot on prestigious TV pop show Ready, Steady, Go!. Lambert and Stamp packed the studio out with the band’s west London fanbase. Their ecstatic reaction was heard across the UK. But despite the success, Lambert was struggling financially. Only the generous will of his recently deceased mother allowed him to continue. He had moved, with Townshend, into a Belgravia flat, and took to riding around London in a Rolls Royce to furnish the image of success and prosperity. In reality, he was fighting off the bailiffs and ignoring the official-looking brown envelopes landing at his feet. His drug intake grew in proportion to his debts. Lambert now suggested Townshend write a manifesto for the band’s growing young audience. Townshend’s reply was breakthrough single ‘My Generation’, written in the flat. When Lambert heard the demo he promptly told Townshend to introduce two upward key movements and use a stutter on the chorus to mimic a pilled-up mod. In its first month, the song sold 300,000 copies, charted at #2 and is a defining song of the decade. Lambert and Stamp broke their contract with Shel Talmy and Lambert installed himself as the band’s producer. Townshend quickly realised Lambert knew very little technically, but he was able to squeeze the best out of the band. > 91
“He gave us a real clangy sound,” he later said. “But his production had nothing to do with the records. It was keeping Keith Moon away from booze, me away from any kind of dope I could get my hands on, and to keep the rest of us from fighting each other at any opportunity.” If events turned bad, Lambert would stop the session, take the band to the pub and get them all hammered. They would wake the next day with giant hangovers and guilty consciences for not having recorded anything, and would rush to the studio and finish what they’d started in record time, just as Lambert had anticipated. “He knew human nature and he knew the Who,” Townshend said. But Lambert soon realised that while tied to their record company, the Who would never break free of their debt. Solution: start a label and take the profits yourself. Lambert and Stamp created Track Records in 1966, an independent label (one of the first in the country) to be distributed by a major company. Their first signing was inspired. Jimi Hendrix was an unknown American guitarist who’d arrived in London with ex-Animals bass player Chas Chandler as his manager. Within a week of his arrival, he was on the lips of the hip. His debut single ‘Hey Joe’ sold over 100,000 copies. Track was up and running. Yet the Who was Lambert’s first love – they had become the family he never had. With the Who he found respect, love, and a similar world-view. He revelled in their wild antics. On the road, Moon would smash up hotel rooms, take fire extinguishers to cars, and blow up his drums onstage. Townshend chased drugs, the rest chased girls, booze flowed all day long, and chaos was the only constant. Author and filmmaker Tony Palmer saw the father in the son. “If you think of Constant, the same was true of Kit. He lived on the edge of what to other people would be a precipitous and dangerous existence. Just as Constant did.” Musically, Townshend was moving away from the single as the Who’s art form and towards the album. It was an 92
act prompted by a change of sensibility within rock culture. In 1967, the Beatles released their concept album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Traffic announced they’d go to the countryside to write and record their next album. The album was in – the single was out. Townshend told Lambert he, too, wanted to write a concept album. He’d created a story about a deaf, dumb and blind boy called Tommy. Lambert was overjoyed. He’d always urged Townshend to aim for higher musical traditions, such as opera, and Lambert, in particular, took it upon himself to stand behind his charge every step of the way. He worked on every aspect of the album, producing and making suggestions throughout its long gestation. Chris Stamp also played
‘KIT WAS AN UTTER MANIAC WHO LIVED OFF NERVOUS ENERGY’ his part. As Daltrey said, “They made us believe if we made it dangerous it would work. It was a period when the industry was growing so fast, the business couldn’t keep up. Bands were leading the way; it was driven by the art, not the business. Now it’s driven by the business.” On its release, Tommy sold half a million copies – in a month. Lambert sent the band on tour, brilliantly putting them in the opera houses of New York, Paris, Copenhagen, Cologne, Hamburg, Berlin and Amsterdam. Tommy cleared the band’s debts, healed all the rifts and made the Who a worldwide success. Lambert revelled in the acclaim and the drugs and the sex and the decadence. Then he woke up one day and realised
he was of no more use to the band. Though he shrewdly advised them to follow Tommy up with a raw and vibrant live album, Live at Leeds, his protégé Pete Townshend had found his metier and no longer needed guidance of any sort. First, the prolific songwriter began work on Lifehouse, then the much-acclaimed mod concept album Quadrophenia. He asked Lambert to produce the album but the manager’s drug intake and lack of interest in the band had overtaken him. Stamp, too, was revelling in chemical abuse. “We were out to lunch, no doubt about it,” he later remarked. Both men failed to show up for key meetings and kept everyone waiting for months on decisions. Then Lambert turned against them, denying Townshend cash to build his studio. The band reacted by asking quite reasonably why they were paying 30 per cent of their income to a manager who was never there. The quarrel went to court and Lambert was ousted in favour of Bill Curbishley. His remaining years were spent chasing one high or another, whether in Venice, Mexico or Timbuktu. Stamp, meanwhile, moved to New York. In 1987, he entered drug rehab and got cleaned up. He dedicated the rest of his life to helping other addicts and died of cancer in 2012 in Los Angeles. In April 1981, Kit Lambert fell down some stairs and suffered a fatal cerebral haemorrhage. Pete Townshend led the tributes at the funeral. He opened his speech with: “For a long time now, Kit has been knocking on heaven’s gates.” He was buried in Brompton Cemetery next to his father, the man who had inspired and yet brought him so much pain, a pain no chemical could cure. Townshend said he and Stamp ended up in a seedy, low-rent London bar after the funeral. Everyone was coked up. The songwriter told Stamp he hated the place but Stamp asked him to stay. “Kit would have loved it here,” he said. James D. Cooper’s documentary Lambert & Stamp is playing film festivals
CINEMA | Lambert&Stamp
The Who promoting their debut album My Generation, 1965
Frank Sinatra Has a Cold. The New York Times. Nan Talese. Words Chris May Portraits Janette Beckman
It is, declared the editors of Esquire in its 70th anniversary issue, the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published”. It ran in April 1966, it is titled “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”, it is 15,000 words of perfectly crafted observational reportage, and if you read it, you are in for a treat. “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” was written by Gay Talese. It is one of many masterly stories he has written, along with a dozen or so books. He is one of the great talents of modern American literature. But Talese’s reputation, unlike that of his friend and contemporary Tom Wolfe, is niche. Wolfe now mostly writes novels, for which he is widely feted. Talese strictly writes non-fiction, which is taken less seriously in the salons and sanctums of New York’s literary world. Talese is an Italian-American literary outlier who grew up in a “lower-middleclass family of shopkeepers” in suburban New Jersey. He writes “stories about real people”: actors, athletes, singers, boxers, baseball players, newspaper workers, mafiosi, swingers, masseuses, families, construction workers and beyond. He prefers to write about everyday people rather than celebrities, and tends to find losers more interesting than winners. He learned his craft on student and local newspapers, became a reporter on the 94
New York Times in 1956, wrote his first Esquire feature in 1960 and had his first book published a year later. He quit the New York Times in 1965 and has written books and magazine features ever since. Talese lives in an elegant townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He dresses immaculately, like the tailor’s son he is. His wife of 55 years, Nan Talese, is a respected veteran of the New York publishing world. Talese does not fit the stereotypical image of an outsider, but the idea runs through his life and he says he feels like one still. Quality of prose aside, it is what gives his writing its edge. Talese grew up in a Catholic family in the mainly Protestant resort town of Ocean City. His sense of separation grew more acute in his pre-teens, when the US was at war with Italy and his father had family serving in Mussolini’s army. Later, when Talese became a nonfiction writer, he ran up against a literary establishment which then, as now, venerated the novel as the supreme expression of authorial achievement. His third bestseller, Thy Neighbor’s Wife, an immersive exploration of the sex lives of 1970s Americans, pushed him beyond the margins of polite society for most of the 1980s. And Talese’s approach to his work, which includes extended periods
hanging out observing a subject – from necessity with Frank Sinatra, by choice at other times – has produced further degrees of detachment and objectivity. He was born in 1932 to Joseph and Catherine Talese. Joseph was a tailor from Calabria in southern Italy who had immigrated to the United States in 1922 and become a US citizen in 1928. Catherine was a dress-boutique owner from New York’s Little Italy. Unlike many writers, Talese’s childhood did not involve books. “My father had one book I know he read,” he says. “It was an English translation of the French writer Guy de Maupassant, a collection of short stories. I don’t know why he got Guy de Maupassant in particular, but it was in English and he must have been learning to speak and read English with such books as this. “As a child, I never had books read to me, like most people have mothers reading to them at their bedside, Winnie the Pooh or whatever. I never had any of that. I didn’t read even in high school. When I went to parochial school I was miserable. I hated it. I grew up without any skill in any course they taught me. The things you got judged for – arithmetic, geography, chemistry – none of that could I do well. Even English. >
With his artist daughter Pamela, 1992
“So as a young boy, my assimilation into larger society didn’t come through reading, which is how most intelligent people learn. They read about experiences beyond their own purview, they learn a lot from reading. I learned a lot by watching and listening.” Much of the watching and listening happened in his parents’ shops. “The two things I had going for me,” Talese says, “were that my father was a tailor and my mother had a dress shop, and the outside world came into the stores. As an eavesdropping kid not much taller than the counter, I would watch these different worlds, with different people coming in and out, rather as if it were a theatre. It’s an ever-changing programme – new characters walk in and out, issues arise, conversations are overheard. It was a very rich experience. And it had to do with personal connections; it wasn’t far removed from the world of Somerset Maugham or Graham Greene or Ernest Hemingway. We got the stories firsthand, as my mother talked to the women in the boutique and my father was measuring men in the fitting room. So my background is verbal.” Talese’s parents may not have introduced him to the world of books, but he credits them with several of the qualities that have informed his life 96
as a writer. From observing his mother converse with her customers, he learned never to interrupt or prompt a person he was interviewing, so getting them to reveal more about themselves. From his father, Talese learnt “to write like a tailor – careful, methodical, with a sense of design before I start.
‘I INDULGED MY CURIOSITY ABOUT PEOPLE BY INTERVIEWING THEM’ I pay attention to craft and it comes out of my father’s tailor shop. Measuring the suit properly, making it fit, having it put together in a way that holds up. These are lessons I translated from the tailoring room to my manuscripts or magazine pieces. I looked on my father as a master craftsman; that’s what I’ve aspired to be.” Talese’s sartorialism began with his father, too. “I always had to wear good
clothes and look good from when I was a kid,” he says. “I would wear clothes my father had made because it would bestow disgrace on him in this small town where he had a tailor’s shop if his only son was going to school not dressed well. So I got into the habit young. I didn’t do well at school. But in terms of sartorial splendour, from being a toddler almost, I really carried that through. It was the Italian idea of ‘la bella figura’. “Later, I was conscious that journalists should dress well. Because you’re trying to get your foot in the door. You’re like a salesman. You have to sell people on the idea that you’re worth talking to, and you have to look the part. So I dressed well out of respect for the story and the people I was interviewing.” Through his father, Talese also came across newspapers. “I began reading the New York Times as a schoolboy,” he says, “only because my father read the foreign pages avidly every morning for the war news. He was worried about the Allied invasion up through Sicily and Calabria, because it was like a personal, family issue. It was complex, because on the one hand my father was very much an American citizen, but also he had a great sentimental affiliation with his background and his family who were on the wrong side of the war.”
COVER STORY | Gay Talese With campaigner and former Miss America, Yolande Fox (nee Betbeze) at a civil-rights march
Talese discovered his gift for writing by chance. One summer day in 1947, he helped his high-school baseball coach by volunteering to send the match report to the local Ocean City Sentinel-Ledger. Instead of simply phoning the scores through, as was the norm, Talese typed them out and added contextual detail. Soon he was invited to write a weekly column. By the time he left Ocean City in 1949 to study journalism at the University of Alabama, Talese had written 300 pieces for the paper. “I indulged my curiosity about people by interviewing them,” he says. “Some of them were athletes, some were smart kids. I wasn’t either. I wasn’t an
athlete. I wasn’t a smart kid. But I wrote about sports and I wrote about student activities, people who were president of the class or who won an award for pianoplaying or whatever. So I was an outsider but I was also involved as a writer, a chronicler, an eavesdropping observer. “I haven’t changed the way I go about stories. I think the quality, or lack of quality, about what makes me different or distinguished, or lacking, is consistent from age 15 to age 82. I work the same way. I hang out, I observe, I look people in the eye. And the writing doesn’t come easy. On a good day, I write maybe one paragraph – I hardly ever remember writing a full page that held
up. And I can’t think of a single thing I’ve ever written that didn’t give me grief. But as someone said before me, I enjoy having written.” Rather unexpectedly, as an ItalianAmerican, Talese felt less an outsider at university in the deep south than he had up in Ocean City. “Alabama was one of the sectors of the United States vilified for being on the wrong side in the civil war,” he says. “I found identity in that. Because the Italians were vilified during the second world war. Italian-Americans were seen as associated with two things – the mafia, who were in the newspapers all the time, and the fascists of Mussolini. In the post office in Ocean City, there > 97
COVER STORY | Gay Talese were large posters of Hitler, Hideki To¯jo¯ and Mussolini. Every time I went to mail a letter for my mother or father, I’d see Mussolini there, a fat Mussolini with big jowls, and squirmy little To¯jo¯ and Hitler, and these were the enemy. And I thought, Jesus, one of these guys is in our family. The fat guy is dominating my father’s homeland. But they didn’t know Italians in Alabama. “I loved it. And the people in Alabama, they had a charm about them, they would say hello to you, they would look you in the eye. In Ocean City, it was more grim and rigid. The Protestants were very rigid. “I learned a lot about writing at Alabama. My exemplars were not nonfiction writers. There were few good nonfiction writers that I knew of when I was young. I loved the fiction writers, especially the short-story writers. F Scott Fitzgerald’s Winter Dreams, about a caddy who becomes a success in business, was my all-time favourite. I tried to capture in my articles the spirit of that Fitzgerald story and stories by other writers of fiction I admired – such as Carson McCullers’ The Jockey and Irwin Shaw’s The Eighty-Yard Run and John O’Hara, who wrote a wonderful short story set in the New York Racquet and Tennis Club. “So I wrote stories about real people, using their real names, everything on the record. I also began to write about people who lose more often than people who win, because how people deal with failure is usually more interesting than how they deal with success. And I wrote about ordinary people more often than celebrities. Most celebrities you write about are pretty stupid people. If you want to be a celebrity writer it’s a very bad career move. Really, they’re pretty stupid people. Famous but stupid.” After leaving Alabama, Talese joined the New York Times as a copyboy, left in 1954 for two years’ obligatory military service, and then returned as a reporter. After a decade with the paper he quit in 1965 to pursue magazine writing. “In 1963, there was a big newspaper strike in New York,” he says. “During those three months I learned what it’s like not to have a daily deadline. I went to London for Esquire to interview Peter O’Toole, who’d recently done Lawrence of Arabia. O’Toole said, ‘I can’t talk to 98
Reporting for the New York Times at City Hall, New York, 1964 Photograph Jill Krementz
you here, let’s go to Ireland.’ So I went to Ireland and I had six weeks alone with him. I wasn’t with him all the time but I was with him a lot. Like I say, I usually avoid celebrities but I found O’Toole intellectually fascinating. Anyway, I got spoilt and I thought, ‘Jesus, this is great, I don’t have to write 800 words every fucking day and then they chop out 200 of them.’” In 1965, Talese told Esquire editor Harold Hayes that he wanted to get out of daily journalism. “Hayes said, ‘I’ll give you a one-year contract for the same money as you’re getting at the paper,’” says Talese. “He said, ‘You’ll only have to write six articles and you can choose three and I’ll choose three.’ It wasn’t much money but it was enough to live on, and I had a wife who was an editor – I still have the same wife and she’s still an editor – so we had a little income. “What I wanted was to write about the media, though nobody was calling it that then. But I thought the newspaper people I knew from the New York Times had good stories. The copy readers, copy editors, executives, floor sweepers, window washers, cafeteria workers – all these people were stories. And I thought, most people think the front page is the
paper. But that’s not the paper, the paper is the people inside the building. So I thought, I’m going to write about them, because nobody’s ever written about them. So I told Hayes I want to write about this strange guy who writes the obituaries, Mr Bad News, and Hayes said, ‘OK, you can write about him.’ “Then I said, ‘I want to write about the managing editor.’ Hayes said, ‘No, no, no, you can’t write about him yet, I want you to do Frank Sinatra.’ I said, ‘Oh, Sinatra, he’s overdone, who wants to do Sinatra? There’s been 12 articles this year on Sinatra.’ But Hayes said no: ‘It’s a cover story – I guarantee you the front cover,’ he said. ‘It’s easy, it will only take a week, you go out to California, Sinatra will meet you out there, you get the interview, you come back and then you can do your managing editor guy.’ “Well, you know what happened. I went out there and nothing Hayes said was going to happen happened. I hung out for weeks, but Sinatra doesn’t want to see me, he’s worried about the mafia, he’s worried about his cold, and they wanted to see the article before it was published. All this was a deal-breaker. That turned out to be a disaster but it also turned out to be one of the pieces
I’m best known for. I did it by observing and also by being accustomed to writing about minor characters, such as the people in Sinatra’s entourage.” Talese followed his Sinatra story with one about another Italian-American, the retired baseball star Joe DiMaggio. “That was my idea,” he says. “DiMaggio was more my kind of Italian than Sinatra, in the sense that he was a brooding, lost artist who was past his prime. He was difficult to deal with, too. After I did DiMaggio, Hayes let me do the managing editor. And that made me think, there’s a book here. So at the end of the contract, I didn’t sign with Esquire for a second year. I said, I want to see if I can get an advance and do a book about the New York Times. That was The Kingdom and the Power, which came out in 1969. It took me four years to do that book. It was my first bestseller.” Written more or less concurrently with The Kingdom and the Power was Talese’s next book, Honor Thy Father, the story of the New York crime family led by Joseph Bonanno. The central figure was Bonanno’s son, Salvatore “Bill” Bonanno. As was his normal practice, Talese’s research required him to spend a lot of time observing his subject and his associates. Did he ever feel he was putting his personal safety at risk hanging out with these people? “Sometimes,” says Talese. “One time, the Bonannos were in a war with another crime family, who tried to shoot Bill Bonanno in Brooklyn. They missed him. I knew Bill very well by this point and the day after, he comes to my house in Manhattan, unannounced, and rings the bell. His bodyguards are outside keeping watch. He came in and he said, listen, I want you to do me a favour. I said, what’s that, Bill? He said, they tried to kill me last night and there’s nothing in the newspaper about it today because the cops are siding with the rival gang. He said, I want something in the paper. I said, is there any evidence they tried to shoot you? He said, yes, there’s bullet holes all over the goddamn street. He said, the police precinct there wants me to be killed and they’re still out to kill me now. He said, can you get something in the paper? I said, sure. I called an editor at the New York Times, Arthur Gill. I said, Arthur, I heard there was a
shooting in Troutman Street last night, bullet holes all over the sidewalk and the buildings, because some mafia gang opposing the Bonanno family tried to knock off the son, Bill Bonanno, but the police are keeping it quiet. He said, how did you get this information? I said, I got it from really good sources. Bill Bonanno is sitting there listening to this. So they checked it out and next day, big story. What that meant was the other
‘MOST CELEBRITIES YOU WRITE ABOUT ARE PRETTY STUPID’ mafia guys, now that there was all this publicity, had to back off, and that took the pressure off Bill Bonanno. So he used me and I used him. “And I thought during this episode, here’s this guy, he came into my house, and people were probably following him – there aren’t secrets for very long in that secret society – and you never know. I mean, John Kennedy thought it was a happy, sunny day in Dallas and it’s the
day he got shot. You never know when you’re in danger.” Honor Thy Father was Talese’s first serious money-spinner and it enabled him to buy his house. “I bought it on the mafia book for $175,000,” he says. “But in New York in 1971, the market was down. For the first time in my life I had money that year. I had made money from The Kingdom and the Power. But the mafia book was a few million bucks.” How much is the house worth today? “Maybe seven, eight, nine million.” Talese earned even more on his next book, 1980’s Thy Neighbor’s Wife, around $4.5m, including the film rights. But it cost him, too. Research involved not only hanging out with swingers, pornographers and all manner of sexual adventurers, but also joining in some of their activities, which Talese did enthusiastically enough. As he later said, “You don’t hang out at an orgy dressed for dinner.” For a while, he even managed a Manhattan massage parlour. To a man – and, particularly, to a woman – reviewers were hostile. Worse, many of Talese’s fellow writers turned on him. He was called a pervert, a slimeball and a traitor to Nan (who stood by him). Talese spent much of the 1980s far away from Manhattan, in Italy, researching his next book, 1992’s Unto the Sons, the story of his family and its roots and experiences as Italian-Americans. Does Talese think the Manhattan literary world has now forgiven him for Thy Neighbor’s Wife? > 99
COVER STORY | Gay Talese “I think so,” says Talese. “So much time has passed. I got terrible reviews from everybody. I mean, I’ve got terrible reviews for other things, it wasn’t a unique experience. What really bothered me was when the writers turned on me. I was a member of [freedom-of-speech organisation] PEN International, I was slated to be the next president. But after Thy Neighbor’s Wife, they withdrew my name. These were writers! What about freedom of expression? Not all of them were against me. Kurt Vonnegut was for me, but for women writers, the feminist writers, I was the devil incarnate. Also I was the father of two young girls. They weren’t quite teenagers then and their classmates are repeating to them what their mother and father probably are telling them at the dinner table about this disgusting pervert Gay Talese. But now I’m 82, the book is considered a little classic. And when you think of the great writers – not that I’m including myself – DH Lawrence, for instance, when he wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Jesus, he got even more crap than I did.” As Talese puts it, he has been “ripped apart” by critics at times, but he has been, by and large, extraordinarily successful, critically and financially. Yet a feeling of belonging as always eluded him. “As an Italian-American I feel like an outsider. We are not lettered people in the United States. We have one distinguished novelist who doesn’t write about Italians, Don DeLillo. Then we have a lot of people who make money off the mafia. All the Italian-American actors in Hollywood, they do The Sopranos or The Godfather or Casino or Goodfellas. Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, however distinguished they are, they also made their money from organised crime, from depicting antisocial or criminally-inclined people. The great Italian-American actors are known, not for playing Shylock, as Al Pacino has done successfully, but for being Don Corleone’s son in The Godfather. Robert De Niro is mostly known for being in movies that if not purely mafia, are anti-social. Italian-American popularity, or notoriety, is in its third generation with the mafia. Even if the mafia is old and worn out and pretty much off the main page now, it started in the 1920s, so we have a long history. 100
“Italian-Americans are not part of the world of letters, not part of the literary tea party. Even in journalism. I’m one of the few people who even got a high-level job in journalism. It’s because Italian-Americans never had any experience with writing. Their traditions were singing and being loud and dramatic, which they could convert into acting. But as for the quiet solitude of reading or writing, the Italians are not a solitary people. They’re village people. And most of the people who came to the United States, whether they’re Don DeLillo, Frank Sinatra, Joe DiMaggio, or even Madonna for Christ’s sake – if they’re Italian, they’re not from Rome or Milan or Florence, they’re from Naples and Sicily and the places in between. People like my family. They came from villages of antiquity,
‘I TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN NON-FICTION AND I NEVER WANTED TO WRITE A NOVEL’ where nothing much had happened for three or four hundred years. They’re really places almost out of the dark ages. There was no Renaissance down there. You look at the place, really it’s a Greek culture. Tony Bennett, one of my great friends, he can sing but he can’t write. It’s really a strange thing. I’ve made a living. I’ve never done anything else that gave me any income except writing in English.” Talese has described non-fiction writers as “second-class citizens, the Ellis Island of literature. We just can’t quite get in. And yes, it pisses me off.” Why does he think non-fiction has been so undervalued? “Because of the status conferred upon the form by the gentlemen of letters who run the academies. I take great pride in
non-fiction and I never wanted to write a novel. I could have written novels. I actually wrote a short fiction story once that got published – the first and last I ever wrote – and the magazine wanted more of the same. But to hell with it, I wanted to do something different. There are so many good fiction writers and so few good non-fiction writers. “But the literary world thinks the novel is the ultimate form. Take the late Susan Sontag, for example. She had to be referred to as a novelist, but she never wrote a novel you can remember. She was an essayist. But no, no, she couldn’t be called an essayist, that wasn’t good enough. She had to be called a novelist. Michel de Montaigne was an essayist, but not Susan Sontag. We recently had a writer, Peter Matthiessen – he got awards for non-fiction, he wrote about nature and travel, and won many awards for that. But he had a few novels that no one ever heard about and he called himself a novelist. They want to be novelists who occasionally slum it in the world of non-fiction. Well, fuck them, I say.” Right now, Talese is working on a book about his marriage. It will be titled A Non-Fiction Marriage and is part of an autobiographical trilogy that began with Unto the Sons and continued with A Writer’s Life in 2006. He is keeping the subject matter under wraps, however. He aims to finish it this year and publish in 2015. “It is an extremely secret book,” he says. “Something very dramatic, that I can’t speak about on the record now. It’s about a real person, and I’m working on it full-time. It’s around the subject of voyeurism, the history of voyeurism. Not sexual voyeurism, voyeurism in the sense of intrusion upon privacy, extreme measures. Getting a view of private life. I’ve always been interested in private life. Thy Neighbor’s Wife was about private life. I can’t be more specific because I want the book to be a surprise.” A 50th anniversary edition of Gay Talese’s second book, The Bridge (1964), will be published by Bloomsbury in October 2014 bloomsbury.com randomhouse.com
Photographs David Goldman Styling Adam Howe Casting and Production Jeff Griffin Grooming José Quijano josequijano.com Photographic Assistant Adam Phillips Styling Assistant Henry Stanford Muckers Alex Downie, surfer; Joe Harris, climber; Henry Stanford, stylist; Matt Stephenson, surf coach bigbluesurfschool.co.uk; Jarrah Syvret, student; Bryony Threadgould, student; Benjamin Tooke, cook; and Ig Wilkinson, artist Henry wears jacket by A.P.C. x Kanye; kilt from Griffin Military Archive; shirt by Woolrich; boots by Palladium; belt by Red Wing Shoes; knife and sheath, stylist’s own; socks by Cordings. Ig wears suit by Richard James; shirt by Liberty; shoes by Dr Martens; socks by Uniqlo. Matt wears jacket by Element; trousers by Lou Dalton; sweater by Griffin; trainers by DC Shoes. Ben wears jacket by Replay; trousers by Matthew Miller; T-shirt by Human Made; trainers by DC Shoes. Joe wears jacket by John Boultbee for Brooks England; shorts by A Bathing Ape; sweater by Nudie Jeans; leggings by Uniqlo; boots by La Sportiva; neckerchief, stylist’s own. Jarrah wears jacket, gilet and shirt by Ralph Lauren Denim&Supply; jeans by Topman; T-shirt by Human Made; trainers by Vans. Bryony wears jacket by Carhartt WIP; dress by A.P.C. x Vanessa Seward; trainers by Converse.
Loveland Farm, Hartland, Devon is a working eco-farm and holiday camp owned by fashion designer Jeff Griffin and his wife Karina. lovelandfarmcamping.co.uk griffin-studio.com 102
Bryony wears dress by A.P.C. x Vanessa Seward; jewellery, modelâ€™s own.
Ig wears poncho by John Boultbee for Brooks England; suit by Richard James; shirt by Liberty; shoes by Dr Martens; helmet, stylist’s own; sunglasses, model’s own; socks by Uniqlo.
Alex wears jacket by Baracuta Blue Label; wetsuit by O’Neill.
STYLE | Loveland Farm
Ben wears jacket by Levi’s Vintage Clothing; jeans and shirt by Levi’s; trainers by DC Shoes; belt by Golden Bear.
Henry wears coat and trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna; top from Rokit; braces from Deep Clothing.
Joe wears gilet by Original Penguin; jeans by Leviâ€™s; sweater by Folk; trainers by La Sportiva; belt and bag, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Loveland Farm
Joe wears jacket by John Boultbee for Brooks England; shorts by A Bathing Ape; sweater by Nudie Jeans; leggings by Uniqlo; boots by La Sportiva; hat by Gieves&Hawkes; neckerchief, stylistâ€™s own.
Matt wears jacket by Element; trousers by Lou Dalton; top by Griffin; T-shirt by Big Blue Surf School.
STYLE | Loveland Farm
Jarrah wears jacket, gilet and shirt by Ralph Lauren Denim&Supply; T-shirt by Human Made; hat, stylist’s own.
Benjamin wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans by Christopher Nemeth; T-shirt by Katherine Hamnett. Ig wears jacket by Lou Dalton; glasses, model’s own. Jarrah wears jacket by Griffin. Joe wears jacket by Barbour. Alex wears jacket by Bedwin & The Heartbreakers; jeans by Levi’s; T-shirt by Nudie Jeans.
Ben wears shirt by Bedwin & The Heartbreakers; shorts by St端ssy; T-shirt by Ice Cream; trainers by DC Shoes; socks by Uniqlo.
STYLE | Loveland Farm
Ben wears jacket by C. P. Company; jeans by Christopher Nemeth; T-shirt by Katherine Hamnett; trainers by DC Shoes; socks by Uniqlo. Bryony wears sweater by Bedwin & The Heartbreakers; jeans by Cheap Monday; trainers by Converse.
Bo Ningen Photographs Robert Wyatt Styling Marcus Love Styling Assistant India Trusselle Location The Premises, 205 Hackney Rd, London E2 premisesstudios.com
Bo Ningenâ€™s new album is out now on Stolen Recordings. They are touring throughout the summer boningen.info
Yuki Tsujii, guitar, wears coat by Yohji Yamamoto; jeans by Acne; top by Draw In Light; boots by Justin Deakin. Taigen Kawabe, vocals and bass, wears top by Vivienne Westwood; trousers, stylist’s own; shoes by Justin Deakin; socks by Baracuta. Kohhei Matsuda, guitar, wears coat and shirt by Berthold; trousers by Vivienne Westwood; shoes by Purified. Mon Chan Monna, drums, wears shirt by Casely-Hayford; trousers by Rag&Bone; shoes by Marni; socks, model’s own.
Taigen wears jacket by Azzaro; playsuit by Vivienne Westwood; jewellery by Spark Jewellery. Mon Chan wears shirt by Gloverall; trousers by Yohji Yamamoto.
STYLE | Bo Ningen
Yuki wears jacket by Yohji Yamamoto; trousers by Vivienne Westwood; jewellery by Shamballa Jewels. Taigen wears jacket by Azzaro; playsuit by Vivienne Westwood.
Kohhei wears jacket, trousers and top by Umit Benan; belt by Vivienne Westwood. Mon Chan wears coat by Sandro; trousers by John Varvatos; shirt by Cos; boots by Marni; hat, modelâ€™s own.
Kohhei wears T-shirt by Second/Layer; trousers by Berthold; jewellery by Shamballa Jewels.
STYLE | Bo Ningen
Kohhei wears coat by Cos; trousers and top by Umit Benan.
Mon Chan wears shirt by Issey Miyake; trousers by Vivienne Westwood; hat by Lock&Co.; sunglasses by Dita. Kohhei wears coat by Lou Dalton; trousers by Vivienne Westwood; shirt and shoes by Paul Smith; hat by Lock&Co.; socks, modelâ€™s own. Taigen wears jacket and dungarees by Yohji Yamamoto; shirt by Sandro. Yuki wears coat by Issey Miyake; shirt by Wood Wood.
STYLE | Bo Ningen
Yuki wears jacket by Berthold; jeans by Acne; shirt by Givenchy. Taigen wears suit by Rag&Bone; T-shirt, modelâ€™s own; shoes by Issey Miyake.
The Last Movie. Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. Apocalypse Now. LSD. Words Chris Sullivan Photographs courtesy of the Hopper Art Trust dennishopper.com
It has to be one of the most evocative and iconic movie stills of all time: Dennis Hopper in cowboy hat, fringe suede jacket and shades riding through the desert astride his motorcycle next to Peter Fonda on his chopper. The image sold millions as a poster while the film from whence it came, Easy Rider, released 45 years ago this summer, is one of the most influential cult movies of all time. The story simply tells of two “hippie bikers” driving across the USA or as Fonda put it: “These guys, they smuggle coke across the border, then they get these chops, these wild, far-out bikes and they ride and get high – I mean really high – and at the end of the movie, well, they just get shot. Like that, man, just because they’re there at the wrong time.” Shooting began without a script during Mardi Gras in New Orleans on 23 February 1968. Most of the cast and crew were using LSD heavily, including star and director Hopper, who was on a megalomaniac ego trip. “As far as I was concerned, I was the greatest fucking director there’s ever been in America,” he recalled. “This was my fucking movie and no one was going to take my fucking movie away from me. New Orleans was a nightmare. I was a maniac.” Indeed, perusing the man’s past, it has to be said he was never anything less. He was born in Dodge City, Kansas in 1936 to grocery shop owner-cum-spycum-lay minister Jay (“hard, totally secret man with no words”) and Marjorie Hopper (“she screamed, yelled and threw things at me, but I had total sexual 120
fantasies about her”). After his pa went to fight in the war, his mum told young Dennis he’d been killed, only for him to return unscathed in 1945. She then put Dennis into tap-dancing classes. In 1949, the family moved to San Diego where Hopper joined the Old Globe Theatre, then film noir stalwart Dorothy McGuire’s La Jolla Playhouse. This led to a part in TV show Medic, then a role as teenage delinquent Goon in Nicholas Ray’s bravura 1955 teen flick Rebel Without a Cause, starring James Dean. Hopper became tight with Dean and hung out with a mad gang of teen idols: Anthony Perkins, Sal Mineo, Nick Adams and his 16-year-old girlfriend, Rebel star Natalie Wood. According to Hopper, they tried to outdo Hollywood predecessors John Garfield and Errol Flynn, whose orgies were legendary. “We tried to be as far out as we could man,” he explained. “We partied a lot.” Now signed to Warner Brothers, Hopper was cast under Dean in George Steven’s oil-fields saga Giant. They hung out, smoked dope, took hallucinogenic peyote and drank tequila. Immediately after he finished filming, Dean, aged 24, was killed in a head-on collision, speeding in his Porsche Spyder on Highway 466. “His death blew my mind,” said Hopper. “My life was confused and disorientated for years by his passing. My sense of destiny was destroyed.” Most interviews with Hopper thereafter included at least one elegiac lament for James Dean. Hopper’s career stalled until he got another “big” break in 1958 in Henry
Hathaway’s From Hell to Texas but, after 22 takes of a scene the young actor called the 60-year-old director “a fucking idiot” and stormed off set. Hathaway promised Hopper he’d never work in Hollywood again, Warner dropped him. He went to New York where, in 1960, he holed up in the Chelsea Hotel, joined Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio, hung out with beat poets Peter Orlovsky and Allan Ginsberg, checked jazz artists such as Miles Davis and John Coltrane, and visited the city’s art galleries. He soon met actress Brooke Hayward, the daughter of actress Margaret Sullavan and agent/producer Leland Hayward. “[Hopper] was on the cutting edge,” said Hayward. “If you wanted to know anything about the ‘scene’, Dennis could tell you. He told me he was a superb photographer even though he didn’t own a camera.” She bought him a Nikon and Hopper, until Easy Rider in 1968, was rarely without it. “He was good. The best of anyone I had ever seen,” recalled Hayward. The pair married in August 1961 and moved into Hopper’s LA duplex where he devoted himself to painting, sculpting and showing at local galleries. Disaster struck after three months: the great Bel Air Fire engulfed the house and Hopper lost all his work. He abandoned painting and started collecting pop art. He bought Roy Lichtenstein’s Sinking Sun for $1,100 and an Andy Warhol soup can for $75 and filled his new house with “pop” artefacts like a merry-go-round horse and a dentist’s chair. He dived headlong into photography. “I took photographs >
Irving Blum and Peggy Moffitt,1964
of Martin Luther King, and selected artists I thought would make it. I felt I would be doing history a favour.” Soon he was shooting the likes of Paul Newman and Peter and Jane Fonda for Vogue. These works – plus shots of Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Timothy Leary and 400 previously unseen photographs from the 1960s, discovered in cardboard boxes after the actor’s death in 2010 – comprise Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album, showing at the Royal Academy this summer. “I wanted to document something,” he said. “I wanted to leave something that I thought would be a record of it.” He certainly had time to indulge his passion. TV work was rare and film work nonexistent until 1965 when a guilty Henry Hathaway cast him in The Sons of Katie Elder opposite John Wayne and Dean Martin. Filming among native Americans, he had a film idea, The Last Movie, but after a year’s subsequent work with screenwriter Stewart Stern, the project fizzled. “It destroyed some huge, central part of his ego,” said Hayward. “If it had been made, he would not have fallen into the abyss.” His descent involved peyote, alcohol and strong weed. A poor combination, he was convinced the FBI was shadowing him. “He accumulated weapons,” wrote Time magazine’s Brad Darrach. “At night he’d take a gun and stalk the streets in search of government agents who weren’t there.” 122
Unsurprisingly, his marriage failed. “There was a moment when I became violent with Brooke,” he recalled. He not only broke her nose but jumped on her bonnet and kicked her car’s windshield in while she was inside. In 1969, a court granted her a divorce and a settlement that included their house and part of Hopper’s art collection. “I probably could have gone for half his cut from Easy Rider, but I didn’t want him coming after me with a shotgun,” she said.
‘IF IT HAD BEEN MADE, HE WOULD NOT HAVE FALLEN INTO THE ABYSS’ Released in 1969, Easy Rider was a runaway triumph, a reality that served to increase tensions between those involved. Hopper had convinced himself he wrote it and, though Fonda and Terry Southern share the credit, Hopper wanted the Oscar nomination for himself. “If Den Hopper improvises a dozen lines and six of them survive the cutting-room
floor, he’ll put in for screenplay credit,” said Southern, who is widely credited with its authorship. “I let them share my credit. I had written Candy and Dr Strangelove, I didn’t need it. Out of a sense of camaraderie, I helped them out.” Hopper’s greatest contribution was that he insisted the two riders smuggle cocaine, which on the surface looks like a seemingly small detail, but actually allows the picture its piquant prescience. Easy Rider is thus both a goodbye to an age of hippie innocence and an entrée to a new epoch of class-A drugs usurping marijuana and hallucinogens to create a decidedly more cynical and paranoiac future that Hopper would soon embody. After Easy Rider, the disreputable Hopper, now a counterculture icon, snatched a role in True Grit courtesy of Henry Hathaway’s guilt, and performed well. Things were looking up, until he resurrected The Last Movie, a production he co-wrote, directed and starred in. The story of movie horse wrangler ensconced in Peru after a film shoot, it was shot on location. Awash with fine cocaine, stories of the bacchanal abound as reported by a phalange of journalists from every big mag, including Rolling Stone, the Sunday Times and Life. “There was a mountain of coke and we got through it,” Hopper said. “Everything imaginable went on. It was one long sex and drugs orgy. Wherever you looked there were naked people out of their fucking minds.”
CULTURE | Dennis Hopper
Double Standard, 1961
Perhaps frazzled, Hopper moved to Taos, New Mexico, to get away and try to edit the movie, without success. He brought in young filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky to do the deed. “My edit was fantastic, because the material was fantastic. But he needed to do it himself. And so he destroyed what I did,” said Jodorowsky. “One thing I do remember though, was how strong the smell of his underarm perspiration was. He never changed his shirt, for days upon days. He smelled very strong. That I remember.” Not only did Hopper stink but, according to many, so did his edit. “This is a wasteland of cinematic wreckage,” reported critic Roger Ebert. “It’s just plain pitiful.” Meanwhile, his house in Taos, as Hollywood columnist and frequent visitor Bill Dakota said, “looked like there’d been a continual party for 100 years.” It was a commune-cum-crash pad for all manner of latter-day miscreants, including Nicholas Ray, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Hippies flocked to the town, displeasing its residents. Vigilantes shot at Hopper’s pick-up until it was riddled with bullets, and physically attacked the hippies, while the Taos News (who this year announced a local Dennis Hopper Day) led with headlines “[Hippies] are hollow creatures, and their outward manifestations smell – and they know it.” Hopper simply bought every gun he could find, invited a bunch of Vietnam vet stuntmen to stay, and set up machinegun nests on his roof until the house
looked like a fortress. And in the midst of this madness, in October 1970, he married one of the great beauties of the era, Michelle Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas. The union lasted eight days. Phillips described it as “excruciating”. Undeterred, Hopper married Daria Halprin in 1972, they had a daughter and she left him in 1976. Hopper was now out of work and a serious mess. “I would take lines of cocaine as long as your arm every five minutes just to keep drinking. I was drinking a half-gallon of rum and in case I ran out, a fifth of rum on the side and 28 beers a day.” Despite this, the unstoppable actor was still delivering fine performances; most notably, he was pitch-perfect as the sycophantic drug-addled photojournalist in Apocalypse Now. Still out of control, though, Hopper did himself no favours during the shoot. He laid his apartment to waste, beat up his girlfriend, refused to learn his lines, snorted coke continuously and offended all by refusing baths. Still, “He was fun, everybody loved him,” said co-producer Gray Frederickson. Marlon Brando disagreed and refused to do his scenes with him. “He was an asshole,” said Brando. “He was like a crazy dog. I told Francis [Ford Coppola] that if I saw him again I was outta there.” Coppola had to shoot their scenes together using doubles while Hopper took 30 takes for one scene. Nevertheless, his work (mostly improvised) is some of the best and most memorable of the whole film. He also looks amazingly well for a 40-year-old
Untitled (Blue Chip Stamps), 1961–1967
who had lived like manic for 15 years. He was on the up. Though he did have a public fistfight with co-star Bruno Ganz, he performed well as the dastardly Tom Ripley in The American Friend, based on Patricia Highsmith’s book Ripley’s Game. He played a cook in Dean Stockwell and Neil Young’s Human Highway but, after accidentally slashing actress Sally Kirkland’s arm and severing her tendon, she sued, claiming he was out of control. He then delivered the goods as Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke’s drunken, psychotic father in Coppola’s Rumble Fish in 1983, and followed up in fellow boozer/cokehead Sam Peckinpah’s The Osterman Weekend. Then he drifted into paranoia, believing there was a mob contract on him. At a Texas speedway one night in 1983, he staged a crazy publicity stunt to promote his exhibition – the Russian Dynamite Death Chair Act. “The stunt involves detonating a circle of dynamite around oneself that creates a protective vacuum – but if one fails to go off, it’s curtains!” he said. A witness reported: “Hopper, at one with the shock wave, was thrown headlong in a halo of fire. For a single, timeless instant he > 123
CULTURE | Dennis Hopper
looked like Wile E Coyote, frazzled and splayed by his own [bomb].” Thrilled by his immortality, Hopper took to injecting cocaine and bedding women. He lost his mind while filming B-movie Jungle Warriors in Mexico and was admitted to rehab hospital Studio 12, where his alcohol withdrawals almost killed him. He was dosed to the gills with antipsychotics and roamed the hospital naked for three months. On his release, Hopper accepted an offer to stay in porn king Larry Flynt’s mansion and do Hustler magazine’s first celebrity shoot, while writing a script, with Terry Southern, for Flynt’s girlfriend’s pet project about Jim Morrison. Flynt was hanging out with Native American activist Russell Means, Black Panthers H Rap Brown and Stokely Carmichael, Frank Zappa, LSD guru Timothy Leary and Watergate ex-con G Gordon Liddy, plus a private army of uzi-wielding bodyguards. All looked on as Flynt, paralysed from the waist down after a 1978 assassination attempt, high on prescription drugs and wearing a diaper made from the US flag, raced around on a gold-plated $85,000 electric wheelchair. Eventually, Hopper shot the photo story that involved a bunch of gals making out beneath a big photo of him but, after he insisted they do it for real, it ended in total mayhem. The next day, Hopper awoke to see hordes of FBI agents descend on the house in helicopters and arrest Flynt. Hopper decided to join Alcoholics Anonymous. “Alcohol drove me insane,” he said. “It was alcohol and not drugs that was the problem.” So the booze went and cocaine remained. “I had [14 grams] of pure coke every two days. I did that for a year and no drinking,” he said. “I’d turn up at AA with a half-ounce of blow in my pocket. I knew something was up when I sat in my bedroom alone, my German shepherd chained to the bed, surrounded by guns and all the doors and windows boarded up, ready to shoot the first person who came through the door.” In April 1984, he checked himself into hospital where doctors told his daughter he may never regain his sanity. Producer Bert Schneider obtained his release. “I thought drinking and drugging were all part of being a tragic artist,” said 124
Hopper. “I used to quote Van Gogh, who said, ‘I had to drink that whole summer to find the yellow.’ Now I say it’s because he couldn’t find the fucking paintbrush!” A year after plunging himself into 12-step evangelism, he won the role of Frank Booth in David Lynch’s seminal 1986 film Blue Velvet, which would, in fact, epitomise the excesses he had left behind. As the sadomasochistic, drugdealing gangster pimp who kills people, cuts off ears and gets off while sniffing gas from a tank, the actor is inspired. As Hopper told Lynch. “I am Frank Booth!” His career on track, he was Oscarnominated, graced the cover of Vanity Fair and was the nation’s fave chat-show guest. He directed Sean Penn vehicle Colors, locating the action near his fortress-like home in gang-ridden Venice Beach, and cast real gang members. “The ascension of Dennis Hopper from classic hipster to classic burnout to
‘I’D TAKE LINES OF COCAINE AS LONG AS YOUR ARM JUST TO KEEP DRINKING’ grand old man of the American cinema is at least as crazy as many of the things he has done on the screen, but it’s real,” wrote the New York Times. “His new film Colors proves this beyond doubt.” Hopper took up golf, delivered a few reasonable performances and declared his support for George Bush (both of them). People now questioned his participation in the 1960s hippie counterculture. ‘His involvement might have been little more then a shared interest in hedonistic excess,” says biographer Peter L Winkler. “Especially when it came to the drugs.” In 1989, he married his fourth wife Katherine LaNasa, had a child, Henry, and divorced in 1992. In the early 1990s, though he directed some turkeys, he excelled in The Indian Runner and was
bang-on first as the spaced-out hippie in Flashback and then as a sadistic, bigoted Southern shopkeeper in Paris Trout. Hopper was firing. Next came his unforgettable cameo as Christian Slater’s dad in True Romance (1993), then he was outstanding as the crazed bomber in Speed. It was 1994, the 25th anniversary of Easy Rider, so Hopper spent time on TV talk shows reminiscing about his drug days and sole authorship of the film. He married fifth wife Victoria Duffy, 31 years his junior, who described him as “the most interesting man I ever met”. In 2003, they had a daughter, Galen. Perhaps too content, too straight, his only subsequent film of any merit was Basquiat in 1996 though, convinced of his genius, he continued with art. “My art dealer says I have the mythic eye of the 1950s,” he said in 1988. “He tells me, ‘It wouldn’t matter what you do. People just wanna know what its like to look out your eyes.’ I think he had a point.” Still full of surprises, he declared his support for Donald Rumsfeld in 2005, saying that the disgraced Secretary for Defence “is a hardworking man with a hard job doing the best job he can”. One could almost hear the smashing of 40-year-old bongs all over the US. Hopper was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer at age 73 in 2009 but, typically, did not go gently. He filed for divorce from his wife of 15 years, put a restraining order on her and accused her of stealing valuables worth £1.5 million. Ten days after the divorce on 19 May, 2010, he died, having left a letter banning her from his funeral. “He was like the guy in Apocalypse Now and a little like Frank Booth,” said Devo’s Gerald V Casale, who appeared with Hopper in Human Highway. “He wouldn’t let you alone. He’d chase you around the set giving you his rap whether you wanted it or not. “Devo, you think your shit don’t stink, don’t ya!” You never knew what was going on with him.” An exhibition of his photography, Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album is at the Royal Academy of Arts, London from 26 June – 19 October. A new edition of the book (same title) is out now through Prestel royalacademy.org.uk prestel.com
Untitled (Hippie Girl Dancing), 1967
Le Coq Sportif Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross Rooster Charles Nicholson
French sportswear brand Le Coq Sportif has been on the podium at some of the greatest moments in sport over the past 130 years. The brand’s legacy is intimidating: in cycling (supplying Tour de France jerseys from 1951-1988, and again today); football (Diego Maradona sported the rooster as he ran from midfield to score against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter finals); and tennis (Arthur Ashe – of the tennis shoe, one of the greatest players of all time – plus his protégé Yannick Noah, who won the 1983 French Open, and Richard Gasquet, current world #13, are all Le Coq Sportif players). The brand’s new logo, designed by Ron Arad, is curvier than the original, symbolising Le Coq Sportif as it struts boldly into the future. Le Coq Sportif, 21-23 Earlham Street, London WC2 lecoqsportif.com The 101st Tour de France starts in Leeds, Yorkshire on 5 July letour.com 127
Gee’s Bend. William Arnett. Underground Railroad. Spirituals. Words Andy Thomas Portrait Janette Beckman Photographs courtesy of Souls Grown Deep Foundation soulsgrowndeep.org
In the spring of 2013 drummer Jaimeo Brown took a journey from his home in New York to a small corner of the deep south. There in Gee’s Bend, where the Alabama River curls through Wilcox County, a rural collective of women have been creating brilliantly improvisational quilts for, perhaps, 200 years. They follow in a tradition of African-American quilting that reaches back to slavery. The quilts of Gee’s Bend transcend folk art. Following an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, New York magazine art critic Mark Stevens proclaimed: “The strikingly beautiful quilts just might deserve a place among the great works of 20th-century abstract art.” But it’s not just their beautiful quilts that inspire, because as these women sew, they sing. And it is these spirituals that were used to such stunning effect on Brown’s Transcendence LP. “At that time, for my own spiritual fulfilment, I needed music to be something other than just for the purpose of performance. It has 128
so many other functions,” says Brown. “Going back to the roots down at Gee’s Bend and seeing how these spiritual songs were interwoven into their daily activities and the craft of quilting that really inspired me.” In Mario Tahi Lathan’s documentary that follows Jaimeo Brown to Gee’s Bend, we meet some of those women whose craft has only recently gained recognition. The term quilt comes from the Latin for a stuffed sack, an incongruous name when you consider the beautiful art to emerge from Gee’s Bend. The stitching together of layers of padding and fabric known as quilting has been traced back to ancient Egypt where it was used in various garments. The quilt as we know it today is purely utilitarian, a means to keep families warm. Arriving in the New World with very little, early European settlers in America pieced together old blankets and clothes to make bedding. In their desperate efforts to survive the harsh winters, they weren’t thinking
about art – but in the mid-19th century, quilting became creative. A variety of techniques and styles were developed: the medallion quilt consists of a central motif with multiple borders; the log cabin is made of arrangements of a repeated single block pattern. Quilting also became a communal activity: women came together in what became known as quilting bees. Artistically and socially important, it spread quickly. As early as the 1850s, in Amish society remarkable quilts were created using modernist style abstractions as advanced as they were prescient. Native Americans fused their own artistic and spiritual traditions with the European to create designs like the star quilt, using symbolic patterns for ceremonies and other cultural activities. As well as sewing and stitching for plantation owners, slave women made quilts for their own use, recycling old clothing, flour, tobacco and sugar sacks. One of the best resources on art from the African-American South is the Souls >
Quilts by members of Moultree Kennedy’s family, 1970s Photograph Matt Arnett
Grown Deep Foundation, which has copublished a number of books on Gee’s Bend with art collector William Arnett. In Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt art historian Joanne Cubbs points to the practical roots of African-American quilting: “The tradition was born of scarcity and resourcefulness, arising in times where shortages of cloth called for the inventive salvaging of fabric scraps and remnants.” The practice of recycling shares similarities with the use of found objects in African-American art through the 20th century. It also has echoes of the ancient Japanese textile tradition of boro. In black US communities, the use of old clothing to make quilts also had a deeper symbolic meaning. “Old clothes carry something with them. You can feel the presence of the person who used to wear them. It has a spirit,” Gee’s Bend woman Mary Lee Bendolph told Cubbs. Slave women learned techniques from owners, but quickly established their own syncretic traditions. “It’s a culture that grew out of white European, Native American and African culture and produced something totally unique,” 130
says Arnett. It took improvisation from African culture, as interpretations of traditional American styles created a constantly evolving design aesthetic. Writer and art historian Robert Farris Thompson points to the juxtaposition of
‘THE QUILTS DESERVE A PLACE AMONG THE GREAT WORKS OF 20TH-CENTURY ABSTRACT ART’ strong colours as something other than decorative: “The Bakongo (a tribal group of Congo and Angola) believe breaks in pattern – terraced shifts from white to red to black, for instance – can symbolise
passing through two worlds, the quest for the superior insights and power of the ancestors.” Other African traditions were used as quilting developed as an art form, such as: the use of strips known as “men’s weaving” but taken on by women in the plantations; large shapes and bold colours to distinguish tribes; complex multiple patterning often used to stop copying; and appliqué techniques to tell stories. It is even debated whether quilting was used to send codes for the Underground Railroad. One thing is for sure: in the art of quilting, there resides a strong visual language passed down from slavery. Probably the most famous quilter to emerge from slavery was Harriet Powers. Born a slave in Athens, Georgia in 1837, Powers used appliqué to record historical legends, Bible stories and astronomical events. She was the first former slave to gain recognition beyond her community when white artist Jennie Smith bought one of her quilts and entered it into the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition in Atlanta. At one time, there were hundreds of little communities like Gee’s Bend with deep quilting traditions.
SPOTLIGHT | Quiltmaking
“What contributed [to the depletion of this culture] was the breakdown of the whole small farmer system in the South,” says William Arnett. “It had changed significantly as agribusiness set in and small farmers had to go elsewhere for employment. So these little communities broke up in the migrations to the cities.” Quilting in Gee’s Bend began at the Pettway cotton plantation, and following abolition, the small, poor community of tenant farmers became geographically isolated. “This river has acted more like an ocean, separating Gee’s Bend from the rest of the world,” explains Arnett in The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. This might have complicated travel and modernisation but it created a strong cultural identity and continuation of ancestral arts. This is reflected in the unique quilting styles. “The compositions contrast dramatically with the ordered regularity associated with Euro-American quiltmaking,” wrote African-American art historian Alvia Wardlaw. “It’s a brilliant, improvisational range of approaches that is more often associated with the inventiveness and power of leading 20th-century abstract painters than it is with textile-making.” Like other African-American quilters, the women of Gee’s Bend were known for their improvisations, resulting in a variety of hybrid patterns. “A Gee’s Bend star quilt, for example, is completely different from traditional star pattern, instead yielding an offbeat, pulsating rhythm,” says Wardlaw. Robert Farris Thompson has compared these movements and multiple patterns of African-American textiles with the rhythms of African music and jazz. Spiritual song is central to Gee’s Bend quilters’ creativity. The spirituals, hummed vocalisations and moans are used both for praise and meditation, as well as to energise and give rhythm to their craft. “Quilting is mostly singing,” quilter Nettie Young told Arnett. “So it sound like it ought to be music in that quilt, because that sure the way we make them. Sewing, singing, sewing, singing. It’s in that quilt because that’s what I do when I quilt.” It was these songs that brought Jaimeo Brown to town.
Quilt by Lola Pettway, 1970s Photograph Matt Arnett
“When I first heard those spirituals it became extremely important music to me,” he explains. “But it was very hard to track them down. I had made 40 or 50 phone calls. I remember when I finally heard China [Pettway] on the other end of the phone it really was a dream come true. She was up there with Coltrane on the impact on my life.” He met the collective at a crucial time. “It was very refreshing and inspiring to watch them sing and work,” he says. “I’ve rarely seen such close connections between the visual and sonic side. There are so many things I discovered from how the quilters work. There are different rules in how a quilt is designed and the purpose of the quilt. Some of those rules that I saw visually, I also heard in the music.” What he saw in Gee’s Bend related directly to his own capacity as a bandleader. “Improvisation that happens when you are working with someone else and creating something collectively with cohesion for a singular purpose: they really are masters of that. The way they sing and sew together and the language that was unsaid in how they would interact with each other; that was something that inspired me greatly.” The women of Gee’s Bend also take inspiration from what’s around them.
“Most of my ideas come from looking at things,” Mary Lee Bendolph explained. “I can walk outside in the yard and see ideas all around the front and back of my house.” The patterns and shapes of their environment are reflected in their abstract geometric designs. Steps, windows, roofs and doorways become sources for their art. Quilt names like housetop, chicken coop, bricklayer and rail fence confirm those architectural connections. William Arnett sees a precursor to the abstractions of the great modernists. “We tend to base our art history on the first white person to do something with paint on a canvas. That’s not always where that style or aesthetic started. Mondrian looked out and saw the line between the horizon, water and sky and reduced it to primary colour – but the women of Gee’s Bend had been doing that long before. I went around taking photographs of what the women see when they walk out the front door: roads, buildings, the lines between the roof and the doorway – that’s what they extracted onto these quilts. These women got their ideas from what they saw, not from art books. Why would they need to? They have prototypes in their own community that predate modernism.” > 131
Sewing a quilt, Gee’s Bend, Alabama, 1937 Photograph Arthur Rothstein
The Gee’s Bend women also make comparisons between quilting and the construction of homes. “You can start with a bedroom over there, or a den over here, and you add on until you get what you want,” Mensie Lee Pettway said in Gee’s Bend: The Women and their Quilts. The family lineage of quilting is also a significant part of the craft, as skills and styles are passed down from generation to generation. “I recall I was about five or six years old when I was introduced to sewing,” Loretta P Bennett said. “We were only allowed to thread needles for the quilters in my grandmother and mother’s quilting group. The leftover scraps are what we got to sew and piece together, practicing on how to make a real quilt.” Connecting past to present quilting in Gee’s Bend has also been part of the ongoing struggle throughout the turbulent history of the South. At the height of the civil-rights movement and inspired by Martin Luther King’s visit in March 1965, the Gee’s Bend women took the ferry to nearby Camden to demand voting rights. The response from the authorities was calculated and vindictive. Some women were thrown in jail and the ferry service was immediately cancelled, leaving the 132
community isolated further. “As Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon, in 1969, Gee’s Benders were walking 15 miles to the nearest telephone,” wrote Arnett. “If they needed a hospital or medical treatment they had to drive at least 50 miles.” One of the most poignant works from that period is Irene Williams’s beautifully intricate
‘THIS WAS AN ISOLATED LITTLE PLACE, ALMOST LIKE A TIME CAPSULE’ variation on the housetop style with the word “vote” running through it. A year after the march on Camden, episcopal priest Father Francis Walter came across some quilts on a line while driving through Rehoboth, a small town north of Gee’s Bend. The Freedom Quilting Bee
he helped form acted as a co-operative for local black women. The publicity that followed in the New York Times led to the group making quilts for department stores like Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue. But these assembly-line pieces were a long way from the beautiful art Gee’s Bend became known for. While the women may have been unique as a late 20th-century collective, they are not the only African-Americans to make a name with their quilts. Born Effie Mae Howard in Arkansas in 1936, Rosie Lee Tompkins created designs that were perhaps even more abstract. Her work was discovered in the 1980s when quilt scholar Eli Leon met her by chance at a flea market in California; “completely and utterly flabbergasted” by the display of quilts at her home, he introduced her pieces to museums and galleries. Always a secretive figure, she would not give interviews or let people photograph her. She believed God directed her quilting hand, and was troubled by paranoia until her death in 2006. But she left behind work that deserves its place at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art alongside the modern masters. As curator Lawrence Rinder said when her pieces were displayed at Berkeley Art Museum: “Tompkins’s quilts make an eloquent case for a more inclusive view of contemporary art [that] transcends the boundaries between art and craft and European and African traditions.” There are many more such quilters scattered across America but most of the small communities they were part of are gone. By the 1990s, quilting in Gee’s Bend had also declined somewhat, as younger residents moved to find work and left an aging population to uphold the tradition. Enter William Arnett, who had been collecting southern African-American art for years. “I had spent a number of decades researching and documenting the black culture of the South, which had been totally unrecognised,” he says. “A woman working with me had written a book on African-American quilts and
SPOTLIGHT | Quiltmaking
Jorena Pettway and her daughter making chair covers out of bleached flour sacks and flower decorations from paper, Gee’s Bend, Alabama, 1939 Photograph Marion Post Wolcott
had become interested in the work we were doing. And she had been trying to convince me to go into the investigation of the black southern quilts. I assumed it had already been done as thoroughly as it needed to be. She was telling me “no, it hasn’t” so I looked into where quilts were made and stumbled across Gee’s Bend. I realised I’d found a place that, while not unique in black culture, was unique in today’s history, because communities like this had died out and disappeared in the most part. But this was an isolated little place, almost like a time capsule.” He bought many quilts in Gee’s Bend and in 1996 held an exhibition and launched the two-volume Souls Grown Deep: African-American Vernacular Art of the South. The Gee’s Bend quilt collective became an important part of this story of forgotten southern African-American
art. A number of books and exhibitions followed, including one of over 70 Gee’s Bend quilts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in partnership with Arnett. “When these things were finally shown, people all over the world were like, ‘Oh my God, where did this come from?’ They assumed there was just a little one-off community making these things that looked like Mondrian or whatever. The truth was that, at one time, there were thousands of little communities – they just died out. I have no doubt that it will be recognised as one of the great art traditions in world history. It already is by people who bother to look at it.” Thanks to people like Arnett and Jaimeo Brown, this collective is finally getting the recognition they deserve. And they are leaving a lasting impact on those they touch. “Now I am starting to
interact visuals into the live show,” says Brown. “They have really opened my mind to working with as many mediums as I can. I would say the visual aspect and the vibrancy of the colour within the quilts has really inspired what I want to project on stage. And we are planning a tour with them – a real collaboration with music, but also a way of presenting their stories that reflect a bigger story of American history. It will also include an exhibition of their beautiful quilts. So, I am really excited about that.” Mario Tahi Lathan’s documentary Transcendence is touring film festivals Jaimeo Brown’s LP Transcendence is out on Motéma/Proper Note jaimeobrown.com soulsgrowndeep.org propernote.co.uk 133
Alabama. Recycling. Found Objects. The Sand Man. Dust-to-Digital. Words Andy Thomas Portrait Jerry Buttles Photographs William Arnett courtesy of Souls Grown Deep Foundation soulsgrowndeep.org
Lonnie Holley is a self-taught visual artist turned avant-garde musician whose recycled assemblage and free improvising puts him somewhere between Sun Ra and Robert Rauschenberg. Going by the name the Sand Man, the Alabama artist rose from obscurity in the 1980s to have his found-art sculptures displayed by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His supporters are many: collector William Arnett, who discovered Holley while researching African-American art from the Deep South; more recently, Arnett’s son Matt who, after hearing the primal, spiritual blues on one of hundreds of DIY cassettes Holley horded in his Alabama home, arranged to have the material released; and Atlanta-based documentarian George King who, for 18 years, has followed the creative endeavours of a man whose art was born from a life of hardship and resilience. His artistic path began in tragedy. “I started with art when I made sandstone sculptures as tombstones for my sister’s children,” he tells me over the phone while on tour in New York. It was 1979 when his niece and nephew were killed in a house fire. He was 29. “We didn’t 134
have money to bury the kids or get them grave markers. I was just trying to think of something to keep my sister from being so upset. I went to another sister’s house near a foundry and I came across this core sand. I picked a piece and took it to my grandfather’s house. I started cutting the stone. With the crosscut saw it was such an even and smooth cut, it showed me I could work it easily. This was the first time I had made anything that later I got to know as art.” Looking back now, Holley thinks he’s created art since he can remember. “Pretty much all my life I had been making things. From five years old I was up and down the ditches and creeks as part of my playtime. I didn’t really know what I was doing, or understand it. But I would stack up rocks and take glass and things and put them together. Just the debris, the trash people didn’t want.” Born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1950, Holley was seventh of 27 children. He was taken from his mother at the age of two. At age seven, living with a family called the McElroys, he was hit by a car and spent three months in a coma. When he recovered, he ran away to look for his
mother but ended up in detention. After numerous escape attempts, he was sent to the notorious correctional facility, the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children. “I was almost beaten to death there,” he recalls. “I’d get a whooping every day for not knowing how to pick cotton. Every single day.” Word finally got to his grandma, who picked Holley up and went on to raise him. After the 1979 accident, he entered a period of depression and believes that divine intervention led him to the material that inspired his first works. Within four months of making those tombstone sculptures, he’d created more than 100 pieces. Encouraged by a friend, he loaded his car with some works and took them to the Birmingham Museum of Art. Then director Richard Murray loved both the art and the words Holley used to describe it. He showed photos of the pieces, including Time and Baby Being Born, to a Smithsonian curator, and Holley got his first big break. Over the next decade, he made thousands of small and large-scale works, creating a junk art yard stretching for two acres behind his family’s property. Rusted oil >
drums splattered with luminous paint, plastic flowers, animal bones, burnedout TVs, twisted metal pipes, old door frames and slashed tyres, mixed up to create a wild but magical installation. “This Art Works from the Spirits” and “The Times is Here” read signs tangled up amongst the junk art and sandstone sculptures. One of is visitors was George King. “I went over there with a view to including him in a film I had thought of making on the outsider art movement,” he recalls. “But once I had met Lonnie it was like, ‘Why look any further?’ Suddenly I realised I was making the wrong film. That’s what happened. I started filming Lonnie.” Another important visitor was William Arnett. “When I finally found him, it was like a fan of the 15th century walking into the cathedral at Ghent for the first time and seeing the work of Van Eyck. It was like that, a real ‘eureka’ moment,” Arnett says. “I had started looking in the South for some visual art tradition that hadn’t come to light. I was finding some known folk artists but it wasn’t what I was looking for. I knew there had to be more.” The beauty and depth of the art 136
he found confirmed what Arnett had suspected. “Lonnie was the first artist I met who was doing things I knew were done traditionally all over the South, in yards, out of sight. It was totally hidden. I started looking deeper and I found it everywhere there was a black population.
‘PRETTY MUCH ALL MY LIFE I HAD BEEN MAKING THINGS’ Finding Lonnie Holley was like a magic wand that opened my eyes.” Holley helped Arnett in his search. They travelled the South to uncover a hidden chapter in art history. “He became a partner in this,” says Arnett. “We went around Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee together and found lots
of these artists.” Many would feature in two volumes of Souls Grown Deep: African-American Vernacular Art of the South. “There was all these people who’d been ignored,” says Holley. “Travelling with Bill gave me the chance to meet these artists and help them. They were not only struggling to put food on the table but with what they were doing. Many didn’t know what art was.” The work Holley creates is part of a great tradition of recycling in AfricanAmerican art from the South. “Things people threw away or found. That’s how all this found-object thing materialised,” says William Arnett. “A piece of found wood or machinery was used to make a sculpture because that’s all they had; on the other hand, they attributed meaning and symbolism to these things.” Arnett has traced these traditions of using found objects back to slavery. “Most of it began in cemeteries,” he says. “They made little monuments out of found materials and created a whole form of art that was symbolic and metaphoric.” Holley’s use of found objects carries more meaning: “You learn about human habits, what we use in the process of
CINEMA | Lonnie Holley
Dish of the Receiver, 1983
In Bed with Him (The Old Man and the Young Girl), 1995
living. We try to rid ourselves of it but throw it no further than the trash site. You know what I’m saying? We try to bury it but it will always re-expose itself. Heavier materials – like stone, concrete with steel – don’t degrade, they just lie there and over time Mother Earth does her thing. I’m like an archaeologist, a humanitarian, and an inspector of how humans build. I got a chance to not only find out how things are made but also about their endurance. I’ve never been to the pyramids but I could have a good discussion with professors in that field about deteriorating factors.” King has watched Lonnie develop a close understanding of the environment he works in over the years. “He’s always been fascinated with what’s around him,” he says. “What’s around him is usually trash, streams nobody cares about, the ditches. It’s an urban environment, those little corners where a tree is trying to grow. Lonnie’s watched all those things carefully; in a way he’s like a scientist. He’s studied environmental issues like
drainage and water pollution close up. He’s very knowledgeable, passionate about global warming and recycling and revaluing things. The thing he is also really interested in is how those materials are affected by the world and by time.” Recycling is also central to the work of Thornton Dial. Best known for his mixed-media assemblages, his abstractexpressionism has drawn comparisons to Cy Twombly and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The late Purvis Young is also known among these artists. His Paintings from the Street used rough, uneven discarded materials like scrap wood and cardboard as a canvas for his painterly depictions of ghetto life and black history. There are many others: Ralph Griffin, known for his beautiful tree-root sculptures; the late Nellie Mae Rowe, who made dolls from fabric scraps, chewing gum and marbles; or Ronald Lockett, the youngest, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1998, aged just 33, leaving works like The Inferior Man that Proved Hitler Wrong. Holley is also not unique in
creating junk art yards. Joe Minter made his African Village junk-sculpture park in Alabama as a tribute to the ongoing civil-rights struggle. At one time, such African-American yard art could be found on a smaller scale across the South. Holley forages anywhere for material: construction sites, woods, gutters and landfills. In works he has displayed at galleries you’ll find steel piping, broken chairs, shards of concrete and glass, shoes and kitchen utensils, all pieced together to create both figurative and abstract imagery. Twisted roles of electrical wire become curly locks of hair in No Place to Hide After Your Mother Has You, while Along the Rails, an assemblage of wood and iron shards with coloured paper, is suggestive of the blues. But whether figurative or something more obscure, Holley’s work features political and autobiographical observations on our relationship to nature and technology. Holley is often labelled an “outsider artist” but Arnett takes issue. “Outside of what?” he says. “It’s a totally > 137
Last Door Left, 2000
exclusionary term. These things are not outside of anything, they are very much inside ancient traditions that precede modernism; 20th-century western artists were largely influenced visits to so-called ethnographic museums.” Even now, some in the art establishment reject Lonnie’s art. “They say he is copying Duchamp or whatever,” explains Arnett. “Lonnie is the late 20th-century incarnation of what black culture in the South has been about for hundreds of years: making these incredible metaphorical works out of found materials that are totally abstract.” Holley sculpts, makes assemblages, and paints, incorporating both figurative and abstract imagery. Like his stone sculptures, his paintings often depict facial profiles made using house paint, crayons, pens and chalk, often applied to discarded material. For example, in 2003’s You Keep Me Under Your Feet, lipstick is applied to a facial outline made of foam carpet padding. Despite the various exhibitions, the authorities were oblivious to Holley’s contribution to the community. His art 138
yard was bulldozed in 1997 during an expansion of Birmingham International Airport. “Condemning my property was like them setting their dogs on me,” he says. “I had built it up over 18 years and they bulldozed around 30,000 pieces. If
‘I WANTED TO SHOW PEOPLE THERE WAS SOMETHING BEYOND GOD’ I had work in the Metropolitan Museum and someone came in and destroyed it, they would have gone to prison. But me being a self-taught artist and black, no matter how sophisticated the art was, they still broke it up.” He was invited to recreate his art yard for his biggest exhibition yet, in 2004 in Birmingham
Museum of Arts’ sculpture garden. Arthur Crenshaw’s film The Sandman’s Garden follows Holley as he pieces together the exhibition and provides a fascinating insight into his process. Lonnie Holley’s music is constructed in a similar way to his art. His half-sung spoken-word meditations are assembled from his experiences and observations. “He was always playing music,” recalls George King. “But he wasn’t playing for anyone, not his family or neighbours. He would use music to unwind. He would improvise, channelling whatever was on his mind.” The cassettes he recorded over the years languished in obscurity until Matt Arnett heard them while driving Holley around. “I became more aware of his music in the 1990s when Lonnie and I were doing a lot of travelling together,” he says. “He would often have a tape and he’d put it on. What he was doing was very personal, singing about things in his life and what was going on in the world. The production quality was, of course, hit and miss. What was unmistakable was the haunting voice and the things he was saying, which were as poignant and important as what any of the great songwriters from any canon.” Matt Arnett became as determined to expose Holley’s music as his dad had his art. After recording Lonnie’s first professional demos in a makeshift studio where he documented the disappearing music of the region, Arnett set a small invite-only show in his home. One of those invited was Lance Ledbetter of record company Dust-to-Digital. “That was my way of introducing Lonnie to some people I knew,” says Arnett. “Lance and I had been talking about various projects but when he heard Lonnie live, he said, ‘That is the project we should do.’” Dust-to-Digital had previously only released box sets of rare old music, so this was to be a new venture. Lonnie Holley’s first LP, 2012’s Just Before Music, gained him comparisons to everyone from Sun Ra to
CINEMA | Lonnie Holley
Watching Us Uprooted, 1997
Arthur Russell and Slim Harpo. There are touches of these innovators in his avant-garde otherness and gritty blues aesthetic, but his music is very much his own. Holley’s influences are the “mystery sounds” in the sci-fi films at the drive-in theatres where he worked as a teenager. Perhaps his most important influence is his own art. Just Before Music begins with Holley’s stripped-back voice recounting the day he turned to art for salvation, in ‘Looking for All (All Rendered Truth)’. The events leading to that day he recalls on ‘Fifth Child Burning’, a song based on his very moving 1994 sculpture, made from the scorched possessions of a girl who died in a Birmingham house fire. His second album, Keeping a Record of It (2013) featured Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander and Bradford Cox of Deerhunter. “They were both fans of the work Dust-to-Digital puts out and they also became very interested in the art,” says Matt Arnett. “They knew Lonnie had been recording; they came and met him and spent a day in the studio and it went from there.” Alexander and Cox co-wrote the title track and ‘From the Other Side of the Pulpit’, banging on dog cages, hitting cowbells and breaking
Work for Food, 1997
sticks on this ramshackle African blues. It’s a standout track dealing with Holley’s issues with the church. “What I learned in my life was so important that I wanted people to know,” he says. “I wanted to show there was something beyond God. And the churchmen, the pastors and deacons, they all called me a sinner because of what I was trying to do.” A recent New York Times feature followed Holley supporting Bill Callahan before a crowd that included members of bands like Animal Collective. It is these associations that are helping Holley reach an audience he never anticipated when first putting his thoughts to music. “His whole ethos is about collaboration. He loves the idea of sharing what he does,” says Matt Arnett. “Just last night he played alongside Lizzi Bougatsos from Gang Gang Dance. It turns out she is working on a project at the Museum of Modern Art and had a recording session booked in. She called me and invited
Lonnie down to record with her.” Reaching out to a younger generation through his art and music, Lonnie Holley is entering a new chapter of his life he could only have dreamed of when he first turned his hand to art. “I think Lonnie is happier now than he has been for a long time,” says George King. “He’s in good spirits because he’s finally getting appreciation.” Holley remains as humble as when he first approached the galleries with his found-art assemblages 30 years ago. “The thing I would want on my tombstone is that I did my very best with what I had, to make the future possible,” he says. “I’ve been in the cotton field, now I’m in the technical field.” Lonnie Holley’s Just Before Music is out on Dust-to-Digital George King’s documentary The Lonnie Holley Story is in post-production lonnieholley.com georgeking-assoc.com 139
Alessio with a 1950 Cadillac Coupe Deville
Johnny with a Ford hot rod
Reuben in a 1962 Dodge Polara 500
BULLETIN The Duke on a 1920s Indian Scout
Photographs Horst Friedrichs Words Edward Moore Location Atomic Festival atomicfestival.co.uk Petrolheads Reuben Campbell-Wood, Johnny Diablo lipstickandgearstick.com, The Duke demondrome.com and Alessio Landolﬁ
In the two years Alexander Leathers has been around, the company has built up quite a reputation for its skills and understanding when it comes to sourcing and crafting leather garments – they’ve even picked up both Nigel Cabourn and Edwin Jeans as collaborators – but the brand’s youth actually belies a wealth of experience. “I have been interested
in leather jackets as long as I can remember,” explains head honcho Steve Toohey. “As have all the team. You have to be passionate about creating a leather jacket; every stitch counts in the pursuit of absolute perfection.” An Alexander Leathers jacket is a one-off, completely hand-crafted piece, created using several personal measurements and the best
leather, and will last decades. As Toohey says, “There is a tremendous satisfaction when you have produced a jacket and hang it on the rail knowing it will last a lifetime and be appreciated and admired by many.” With such passion, it’s no surprise to see those rails bulging. alexanderleathers.com 141
David Gledhill Photographs Ben Harries Styling Steph Wilson Grooming Roku Roppongi at Saint Luke using Bumble&Bumble
A feature film We’re Here For a Good Time, Not a Long Time, written by David Gledhill, is out soon goodtimefilm.tumblr.com
Jacket by Acne from Mr Porter; jeans by Acne from Matches; shirt by Marc by Marc Jacobs from Mr Porter; shoes by Soulland; bag by H&M.
STYLE | David Gledhill
Top by Burberry from Matches; trousers by Acne from Mr Porter; jewellery, modelâ€™s own.
Jacket by Levi’s Vintage Clothing Orange Tab; top by Lacoste Live; sunglasses by Finlay&Co; jewellery, model’s own.
STYLE | David Gledhill
Jacket and trousers by Acne from Mr Porter; top by John Smedley; shoes by Purified; sunglasses by Finlay&Co.
Jacket by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing Orange Tab; trousers by Acne from Mr Porter; shoes by Marni; sunglasses by Finlay&Co.
STYLE | David Gledhill
Jacket by Baracuta; trousers by Acne from Mr Porter; sweater by Viktor&Rolf; top by Marc by Marc Jacobs; shoes by Marni; jewellery, modelâ€™s own.
Harlem. Gucci. LL Cool J. Fendi. Alpo Martinez. Louis Vuitton. Portrait Janette Beckman Words Miss Rosen
Janette Beckman and I meet Dapper Dan at his brownstone in Harlem on a sunny April day. We are in the sitting room; the wood is dark, the ceilings are tall, the art is African. On a bench laid before us is a child’s suit in red and white leather, boasting the name “Erika”. Beside it, a red-and-gold cap is perched, with the double-F logo of Italian fashion house Fendi prominently displayed. The cap is an inverted trapezoid, in the style made famous by 1980s MC Just-Ice. The gold F shines bright, catching my eye over and over again, until Dapper Dan enters the room and commands my full attention. He wears a long-sleeve shirt, vest and slacks with spats, all in cream and brown shades; against a skin of rich mahogany, Dap carries the look effortlessly. For those in the know, Dapper Dan is a name of distinction. It stands for quality and style, for a way of living that is equal parts art and business. It is the name that defined the sartorial style of uptown in the 1980s. Dapper Dan is Harlem, from his cap to his spats to the way he stands straight. He is the man who Africanised Europe’s luxury brands. Gucci, MCM, Louis Vuitton; these were the logos and insignias he silkscreened in the studio above his shop, which was open 24/7 on 125th Street for ten years. After printing the skins himself, Dan employed a Senegalese team to create custom apparel for the body – as well as for the car. A haberdasher to the stars of Harlem World, everyone from the streets 150
came calling, whether hustlers, gangsters, hip-hop artists, athletes, or simply those with an eye for the flyest, freshest, most cutting-edge styles. Dapper Dan’s work was worn by everybody: Mike Tyson, Run-DMC, Bobby Brown, Salt-n-Pepa, LL Cool J and Eric B & Rakim. Paid in Full, indeed – Dap gave no discount whatsoever on the merchandise. Dapper Dan’s pieces were as original as his techniques. His most famous, the Snorkel parka, known as the Alpo Coat, was made for Alpo Martinez, one of the most famous drug dealers of the era. It was knee-length, with double pockets in the front, all the better to hide or dispose of something, like a gun. Violent crime in New York was skyrocketing, with the murder rate hitting an all-time high in 1991. Crack was the nexus between money and murder in those days, and as a result, some customers had special needs. Kevlar lining was added to the lining of coats at a client’s request. As Fat Joe recalled in the New Yorker magazine, “I remember going to a club in Manhattan and walking in with my Dapper Dan suit, the red-andwhite Gucci, with my jewelry. They were looking at me, like, ‘Who is this? He gotta be somebody.’ And I wasn’t famous – I was just a nigga with a Dapper Dan suit. And that suit made me famous.” Mark Twain memorably said, “Clothes make the man” and if there was one man who defined the styles of the times, that man was Dapper Dan. I asked
Dap about how Twain’s words made him feel, to which he replied with great heart, “Yo! That’s my thing. You hit it right on the head now! To make people. They knew that. To create something that’s going to make you. You see it every day in Hollywood. They looking for that thing that’s going to make them. You see that Busta Rhymes come here, and Puff Daddy come here, and they say, ‘I want that 1980s look!’ They are looking for that sensation, that crack. I want to give them that crack and they feel like, ‘Whoa, I am here.” Like that Cadillac. “Everybody has that in them. There’s something that’s gonna take them there and fashion does it. It’s instant. You can get fashion quicker than a car or a house. It’s one of the cheaper things you can do that’s artificial, external, not internal. You can get high off some exotic drug and get that feeling, but materialistically, fashion is that instant coffee. I get a big kick out of that. My thing is making people. That feels so damn good, man.” Indeed, at its height, Dapper Dan’s Boutique was making $10,000 a day dressing men, women and children who had to have the latest look or car interior designed. Dap was a man of quality, and on it, his name and business was made. But ask him about it and you will be met with a sudden expression of fatigue as his square shoulders drop under the heavy weight of a remembered workload. He sighs. “Quality control, craftsmanship, that makes me tired. To have to doctor, >
Olympic medallist Diane Dixon at Dapper Dan’s Boutique in a custom mink jacket with hand-stitched Louis Vuitton lambskin-leather trim, 1988 Dapper Dan, 1989
to oversee everything. I had 23 Africans working and I was open 24 hours a day; my reputation rides on everything that comes out of that store. That was tremendous work. I was meticulous about how my garments should look, given the person wearing them.” Despite the intensity of his artistry, Dap’s operation remained open to the public for a decade. It wasn’t until 1992 that he shut his doors after a federal counterfeiting investigation led by now Justice of the US Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor. In a strange twist of events, the shop came under federal scrutiny in 1988 when boxer Mitch “Blood” Green turned up to a press conference with a swollen eye the day after a wild 4am fight on the footpath with Mike Tyson. Photographs began to float around. One was of Tyson in a Dapper Dan piece with the Fendi logo displayed. People at the company took note and put a civil action in place. Sotomayor was assigned to the case. A raid was organised. Racks of garments and equipment were seized. Dap was sued and closed his doors. He took it back to the streets, doing his thing. He resumed business from a secret production facility and his work has been seen everywhere over the years, at the Grammys, in music videos, on boxers in and out of the ring. Even though Dap has remained on the QT, his legacy did not fade. Tributes to his 152
work continue, as exemplified by David LaChapelle’s 1999 photograph of Lil’ Kim, airbrushed on every inch of her skin with the illustrious Luis Vuitton logo. On this day in Harlem, Dapper Dan invited us into his home to speak at length, before giving us a personal tour of Harlem, driving past his boyhood home
THE BIGGEST THING I WANT MY FASHION TO SAY IS, ‘THIS IS POLITICAL’ and the schools he attended. Putting this piece together, I realise there’s nothing I’d love so much as to take Dap up on his offer to come past when his people are around. After speaking at length, Dap concluded the interview by saying, “You don’t want to get me started. It’s a good thing I ain’t got no homies here or we’d blow this thing off right here. I made sure I got enough exercise these past two days, got up early, ate my fruit, took my walk, so I was ready for you.”
Well, then. Let us begin… “Sunday is a good day to talk about this. Sunday our churches are full of Europeans. A lot of the regular people have to get there early just to get seats. But what does that say? There are people coming and looking at us – looking at our culture – who appreciate us. The same thing that’s happening with the churches is happening with me. We’d go there and pray and do the Hallelujah thing. We felt the spirit of Jesus. This is part of our culture. We just did it. “This is what I want to do with fashion. I want us to look at the impact we are having, just like in our churches. I want to associate a consciousness with my brand that says that. By me doing these articles and having y’all look at me, it will make my own people look at me. When we go out on the street right now, I could walk the street, but when people see y’all folk, ‘Uh ohh, these white folks taking pictures of him? They’re doing something!’ When it’s just me, it’s, ‘What up, Dap? There any cops?’ “You understand what I’m saying? When people outside our community start looking at it, that gives it attention, they say, ‘What about Dapper Dan?’ so they look into it. Just like the church. They take the church for granted, so they may have taken what I was doing for granted, until y’all people started looking at me, saying, ‘Damn, look what
HISTORY | Dapper Dan
Walter “Cha Cha” Peterson in a custom black suede trenchcoat with mink collar, trimmed with MCM Japanese plonge leather, with his Suzuki Sidekick with customised MCM interior, 1989
Dapper Dan customers from New Haven wearing custom silk and linen Fendi, MCM and Bally sets, Greek Fest, Virginia Beach, 1988
he did. Look. What. He. Did.’ I didn’t get in Ebony, I didn’t get in Jet, I didn’t get in major black publications. All these magazines I got in here on me, all stacked up, they’re white publications, so by y’all looking at me, it makes us look at me, and that’s us looking at ourselves.” Dap’s prediction played out later that same afternoon, but not in the manner he described, for it was he alone who drew notice from a local. Standing on his corner, Dap cut a dashing figure as he stood tall against the sky. I spotted a distinguished gentleman crossing the street, and I watched him look Dap over from head to toe, before he called out in a neighbourly manner, “Nice shoes!” Dap turned to thank him, then upon seeing his face, immediately asked, “What’s your name?” to which the other answered, “Freddie Jackson.” We gasped. Handshakes were exchanged. The singer of classic 1980s ballads like ‘You Are My Lady’ and ‘Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)’ lived just down the block and he and Dap chatted for a moment before moving on. Dressed in a blazer, button-down shirt, crisp jeans and loafers, Jackson’s casual Sunday attire set the standard for which
Harlem is known. I asked Dap about the styles that influenced him in the early years, when he was coming up. “I remember this like it was yesterday. Me and my brothers used to get up early in the morning to see this guy Robbie Doze and another guy. We’d look out the window to watch them and they would be fly as hell. They was wearing the stuff we saw Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra wearing — the Rat Pack style ruled the street. The way the older guys played the look, even the walk had a lot to do with it, and the way the clothes flowed. It was like a classic look but the way they wore it was so rich. You would see them with alligator shoes, not regular black ones either, they’d have navy-blue alligators but they were cut in traditional styles. That’s what I inherited. You’d see that Wall Street look, and even though they worked on Wall Street – I don’t know what position they had down there – but they were dressing like they were bosses. “By the time it hit my generation, there was more money generated in the street, and it got much more flamboyant. The Wall Street look started to get more Africanised. For example, I will wear my pants skinny-leg, but I will have mine
fall on the shoe to separate me and give it that African flair, that ghetto flair, so that when they look at me they say ‘Ayo’. “Everybody wants to be accepted to get in. The older guys used to criticise things we would wear but once we would become good at what we do in the street and they felt like dressing a certain way, they would trigger a certain trend. Case in point is Alpo. When he used to come to the store, he’d ask me what the older guys was getting. He started out getting that. But then rappers started coming in, I started making these Gucci and Louis [Vuitton] outfits, and he said, ‘I want to wear that!’ So I started making him all these designers, but nobody knew who he was. He was a nice-looking kid, and people used to come back to the store, asking, ‘Who’s this kid that keeps going around to the clubs in your gear?’ He got popular first from the gear. The fact that he was wearing it triggered a trend. In fact, it was Alpo’s friend Chuck who brought LL Cool J to the store. “The styles turn over but they turn over with strong guys from the corner. You can change the style but you’ve got to be a powerful person, otherwise you can be criticised and ostracised. They’ll > 153
LL Cool J with Dapper Dan, 1986
have it so you don’t even want to hang out. I remember the first guy I saw with an afro, even the women was getting on him. He had a super afro and people used to say, ‘Why you got that faggot hair?’ But he was ahead of his time. He was ostracised. You might have to get into a fight to show your manhood. That’s the type of strength it takes to turn styles around in a tough area. “James Brown couldn’t do that. His music became big later on, when he got Black and Proud. But the older guys didn’t accept him. They told us, ‘He’s a faggot, man.’ That was contrary to manhood. You didn’t find nobody in Harlem dressing like James Brown. You’d find them dressing like Smokey 154
Robinson, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, that manhood look. “But the colours, we were always there with them African colours. We took that African flavour. I cannot escape this African thing. Everything I touch is Africanised. I can’t be any other way. It’s not a style, it’s an approach to style. Whatever is hot, you Africanise it. If it’s part of the wave, we grab and change it to fit our personalities. This is what I’m getting from the street. A$AP Rocky and Kanye West, they’re not attracting the grittiest of the street. The grittiest cats are rebelling against that fashion look with the skirts and everything. There’s always a guy who knows how to approach the new style and put that
African touch to it and have everyone far and wide accept it. Kanye and A$AP Rocky can’t do that. They can get people riled up in pockets. It’s too far. It’s too much. It’s too radical of a switch for the street. That skirt ain’t going to happen. “I’d like to do for fashion what Bill Cosby does with comedy. Bill Cosby can make you laugh and he won’t be cursing. He don’t do none of that. Think about the skills that are required for that. It’s really hard to do what Bill Cosby does. To not curse, to not down nobody, and yet he still has you appreciate him as a good comedian. In contrast, you’ll laugh like hell at Richard Pryor, but Richard Pryor was in pain and the aesthetics and word choice of his comedy style reflected that. You were really laughing at his pain and how well he can reflect on it. “That’s what I try to do with fashion. I don’t want to make statements. I don’t want my fashion to say, ‘It’s all right to be gay.’ I don’t want my fashion to say, ‘It’s all right not to be gay.’ I don’t want to go there with that. The biggest thing I want to say, and for my fashion to say is, ‘This is political.’ “We don’t always have to celebrate the body. I want my fashion to celebrate the mind, our thoughts, our ideas, and our culture – I don’t want it to always celebrate the body, although that can be part of it. I want to say, ‘Look at what we did. Look at where we come from.’ “What I would like to do is take stolen legacy and put that in fashion and make somebody say, ‘Oh, that was us?’ If I can make my people think like that, we become more acceptable to all people, because then we show who we really are. I’m sure there are people who recognise who we really are, but to take it to a place where it can’t be denied. “That’s the direction I want to go in, so I can find the proper people to collaborate with. So I need to take one more trip to Africa, one more trip.” dapperdanofharlem.com
HISTORY | Dapper Dan
Dapper Dan wearing custom Louis Vuitton sweater with Japanese plonge-leather trim and trousers, 1985
Brooks Cycle Bags Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross Words Edward Moore Cyclists Chris McGuire, Hugo Ngando and Jacob Sumner chipotle.co.uk
With its 150-year history, Brooks makes products that perfectly marry heritage and function. Famous for its leather saddles, Brooks has been nicely placed of late to respond to the evergrowing legion of city dwellers making bicycles their preferred transport choice. With the company’s knowledge of craft, construction and styling, it’s ﬁtting that 156
they’ve recently started working on a bag range with André Klauser, a product designer and tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. Working closely with the Brooks team, Klauser utilises the brand’s past designs to inspire his own. “We try to have everything driven by function and that’s the same thing I see in their leather
saddles, which are a really beautiful piece of design,” says Klauser. “Not because someone sat down and designed that shape to be beautiful; they designed that shape because it really performs and functions perfectly.” B1886, 36 Earlham Street, London WC2 brooksengland.com
Celtic. Section 111. Paradise. Glasgow. The Roll of Honour. Scottish Premiership. Concept and Styling Richard Simpson Photographs Grant Fleming Words Calum Gordon, Green Brigade member Green Brigade Luke Costello, Rogan Craik, Daniel McCluskey and Connor Scott
The first day of 2014 saw Celtic grind out an unconvincing victory against newly promoted club Partick Thistle. The muffled boos that greeted the game’s conclusion were symptomatic of a funk that had engulfed the Glasgow football club for weeks. Throughout, a group of teenagers had desperately tried to create atmosphere; huddled at the back of Section 111, they were the remnants of a movement recently deemed unwelcome, following an away game at Motherwell during which several seats were damaged and a rogue flare arrived on the pitch. The 20-strong Green Brigade were the subject of the subsequent mock-outrage sparked by some broken plastic and thus their Celtic Park section was disbanded. Formed in 2006, the Green Brigade drew together the most ardent of Celtic supporters – those who hadn’t missed a game for a decade, retired casuals and disillusioned teens, all under one banner. Weary of what supporting a football team 158
in the UK had become, they modelled themselves on the ultras so prominent in Europe and South America. The New Year’s Day fixture was reminiscent of the group’s early days, as a smattering of diehards tried to enjoy their day at the football in spite of the mundane offering on the pitch. Just weeks earlier, the work of the Green Brigade was on full view to the world, as they commanded a section of 500 supporters (officially 300) against AC Milan in the Champions League; the stadium dubbed Paradise lived up to its reputation with an electric atmosphere: constant bouncing, visceral singing and an array of flags filled 111 that night, and were all ignored in the morning newspapers. Subversive movements and the aforementioned institutions have never really gotten along. This time, the Green Brigade’s crime was highlighting the inconsistencies of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012, which
allows police officers to arrest football supporters for any act or utterance that is deemed offensive. It followed a series of dawn raids on members for singing ‘The Roll of Honour’ about the Irish hunger strikers of 1981. To the Scottish media, comparing William Wallace and Bobby Sands – one man’s terrorist being another man’s freedom fighter – was outrageous, offensive. To many, the Act signalled the beginning of the end for Section 111, which for years had brought noise and colour to even the dullest matches. The political aspect to Celtic’s Green Brigade is multifaceted and far-reaching but is largely ignored, until the subject of Irish republicanism arises. There were no front-page stories in the wake of their annual anti-discrimination tournament, which draws together the most diverse sections of Glasgow society for a day of football, food and drinking. The sight of Cameroonians next to Basques and Pakistanis, united by football, doesn’t >
Daniel wears jacket by Woolrich; jeans, model’s own; trainers by Adidas. Luke wears jacket by Penfield; jeans, model’s own; shirt by Fred Perry; trainers by New Balance. Rogan wears jacket by Descente; jeans by Edwin Jeans; shirt by Notch; shoes by Timberland.
SPORT | Green Brigade
Rogan wears jacket and shirt by Stone Island; jeans by Edwin Jeans; trainers by Adidas. Daniel wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; shirt by Stone Island; shoes by Timberland. Luke wears jacket by Descente; jeans, model’s own; shirt by Fred Perry; trainers by New Balance.
quite fit the mainstream agenda. Yet, in a time of economic disparity, with a culture of resentment being propagated against immigrants, for a group that commands the attention of thousands – many of them impressionable teens – to challenge such trends is admirable. Similarly, the club’s hierarchy – which first granted the Green Brigade a section at the ground – couldn’t so much as muster a retweet to publicise the group’s charity food-drive
that pulled in nine vans full of goods for Glasgow food banks. Brigade politics extend far beyond songs about Ireland. It’s easy to forget this is essentially a bunch of lads who love their football club and believe there’s something more to “supporting” than obediently sitting in your seat for 90 minutes, only leaving it to buy a programme and overpriced hotdog. And while such disillusionment with modern football is not uncommon
among supporters across the country, this is a group of people who have challenged the status quo and changed the culture of Scottish football, with a growing number of clubs adopting the new style. Easy to dismiss as little more than continental copycats – as someone who has closely witnessed the evolution of this group, this assertion is inaccurate. The Green Brigade are masters of cultural reappropriation, mixing a look > 161
Rogan wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans by Edwin Jeans; trainers by Adidas. Luke wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; trainers by New Balance. Connor wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; trainers by Adidas. Daniel wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; trainers by Adidas.
founded in the wares of football casuals, with merchandise more reminiscent of early Stussy and Fuct than anything a post-Green Street “casual” would don. It is a nuanced style drawn from a variety of subcultures and movements. In the group’s formative years, olive Fjällräven jackets were the norm, the inspiration being a photo of Livorno’s terrace filled with a sea of uniformed khaki. This heritage look was soon diversified by the appearance of black North Face jackets pioneered by the Green Brigade’s graffiti crew, and reissued Nike runners. It was an amalgam of cultural reference points indicative of member mentality. The same tenets of appropriation are applied to stadium displays, drawing from films like V for Vendetta or the Clash’s London Calling cover, but with an undeniable Celtic spin. Everything from T-shirts to > 162
SPORT | Green Brigade
Daniel wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; trainers by Adidas. Luke wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; trainers by New Balance. Rogan wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans by Edwin Jeans; trainers by New Balance.
SPORT | Green Brigade
Luke wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own; shirt by Fred Perry. Daniel wears jacket by C.P. Company; jeans, model’s own. Rogan wears jacket by Albam; jeans by Edwin Jeans; shirt by Woolrich.
continental-influenced songs has a tribal Celtic overtone. Anyone who encounters this ragtag bunch of fanatics would struggle to deny their authenticity. Despite a ban from Celtic Park, the Green Brigade is very much alive. While it’s possible to prevent individuals from attending matches, their legacy may well be the culture of supporting they have fostered. Those 20 or 30 boys gathered at the back of 111 on New Year’s Day – under the close attention of police and stewards – are testament to that. And it’s more than likely the 80-member Green Brigade will outlast the administrative custodians who have momentarily ousted them from Paradise. ultras-celtic.com 164
Luke wears jacket by Penfield; jeans, model’s own; shirt by Fred Perry; trainers by New Balance. Daniel wears jacket by Woolrich; jeans, model’s own; top by Stone Island. Rogan wears jacket by Descente; jeans by Edwin Jeans; shirt by Notch.
The Lennox Brothers Essex. Amsterdam. Kid Cudi. Propeller Artists. Kid Cudi. Chicane. Toronto Film Festival. Words Mark Webster Portrait Orlando Gili
These are the Lennox Brothers. We’re in the woods somewhere in Essex, close to where Wayne and Lee Lennox grew up. It’s where they once scampered as kids, then ultimately scurried in their youth, so that those first furtive joints could get themselves smoked. And as you can see, not only are they in the woods, they’re also clowns. Wearing suits. They are monochrome clowns, in suits, in the woods. And the reason for that is, they wanted to be. After all, since they were kids who scampered and scurried in the Essex woods, they’ve been picking the location, selecting the frame, conceiving the plot, and casting the characters. Even from an early age, growing up along the Essex estuary, the Lennoxes clearly had something of the Brothers Grimm about them, something that has manifested itself in their forthcoming debut feature film. “We started out really young,” says Wayne. “Our dad would buy these old-school video cameras and we could get our hands on them. Lee was 166
keen on his animation. And I was always trying to get in front of the camera.” “Grandad was the photographer.” says Lee. “He had loads of equipment, he gave us our first cine camera. We made little holiday videos. It started from that.” Lee pursued his love of animation all the way to Newport Film School at the University of Wales and his work can be seen in the Thunderbirds and Catch Me if You Can titles, among others. Wayne spent six years hustling in Amsterdam’s coffee-bar scene, which took his filmmaking along a more itinerant, urban route via hip-hop and skateboarding shorts. To see how their talents combine, their quite personal take on Chicane’s ‘Come Back’ should give you the idea. After Wayne’s Dutch sabbatical, the brothers got back to sharing ideas and work and making films and commercials. They say formally teaming up had a certain inevitability about it. “When Wayne came over and did his videos,” says Lee, “I became his assistant. And
when I was doing mine, he would turn up and assist me. And everybody would just say, ‘Oh, here we go, the Lennox brothers are at it again.’ And we said, you know what, that’s not a bad idea.” “Yeah,” adds Wayne, underlining the point. “Fuck it, let’s just join forces.” Thus, they found themselves making music videos for Kasabian, Coldplay, TV on the Radio, Kid Cudi, Badly Drawn Boy, Robbie Williams and the Rolling Stones, among others, and realising they effectively work as a team. “We’ve got this psychic connection,” says Lee, which causes Wayne to break out in a series of dolphin-speak clicks. “Everybody laughs at it. We laugh at it ourselves. But we literally only have to look at each other in a certain way. We’re a tag team – we take it in shifts.” Wayne picks up the point. “If one of us is behind the lens, setting up the shot, the other’s out there speaking to the performer. We don’t know what the other one is thinking, but we don’t have >
PROFILE | Lennox Brothers
AmStarDam, 2014 Photograph Linda Blacker © AmStarDam the Movie Ltd
to, because they would have made the right decision anyway.” Through this chapter in their career, when the brothers weren’t shooting, they were generating ideas, then pitching them to get more work – and so the cycle continued. Then, as luck would have it, a couple of years or so ago now, they took a minute to log on to Facebook. “There was a message from this fella, nothing about him on his page, that said, ‘I’ve seen some of your work. Would you be interested in making a movie?’ Well, Wayne was like, ‘Oh yeah, right! What’s he really after?’ But he kept going, and we kept ignoring him, but in the end we thought, let’s just phone him, see what this is all about. And he said, ‘I work for William Morris. I’m coming over, let’s have a meal.’ So, as soon as we got off the phone, we googled William Morris – biggest agency in the world.” The boys feared it may turn into a nightmare when they did meet with their friend for a night out in Soho, still British film’s beating heart. “We hit it hard,” says Wayne. “Maybe from nerves or whatever. But at the end of it he was like, ‘I’m a Lennox Brother!’ We got a call from him after a while saying ‘You rock’ and that he wanted us to go out to LA to pitch our ideas.” “The main thing is, he was happy with us being ourselves,” says Lee of the prospect of crossing the pond. “So we thought, well, if he’s happy, let’s just go 168
as we are. And if we fuck up, we fuck up – but let’s at least be honest.” That honesty seemed to include their awareness this might constitute their first and last crack at Hollywood, so why not do it with style? “We hired a convertible Mustang – we were going to live the American dream,” says Wayne. “And
‘WE THOUGHT, IF WE FUCK UP, WE FUCK UP – BUT LET’S AT LEAST BE HONEST’ we hit it hard every night we were there. It turned out we liked the Hollywood nightlife quite a lot! But we had four meetings a day for two weeks – and we made every single one on time.” “We go in deep on that,” says Lee. “We love all that nonsense. We had, like, a paragraph each on six ideas, but we must have been pitching them so well, they were all like, let’s see the script.” But life in the fast lane actually moves deceptively slowly. “A lot of smoke gets blown up your arse,” Wayne
points out. “We walked out of meetings thinking we were going to make the film next week. But when we got back home, we realised it was not going to be happening overnight.” Help was at hand. Wayne’s friend Matt Linnen’s band Vox Empire were managed by London concern Propeller Artists, and the brothers were invited to presented their ideas. “The thing that was clear straight away,” says Propeller’s Simon Liddell, “is they were passionate. Once I read the script idea, I was in.” The Propeller deal gave them time out to complete the script for their first feature, AmStarDam. Lee describes it as “a fairytale about a kid helping his dad get his coffee shop back on the rails”. But as Wayne points out, “It started out as something of a true story, but it was turning into Lock, Stock in Amsterdam – it was too harrowing. We didn’t want to go down that route. We’ve given it an 1980s vibe. Like Goonies or Gremlins.” Shot on location at some of Wayne’s old Amsterdam haunts and on set in the UK, the experience was, according to Liddell, “Full on. Eleven hours a day, six days a week. There were suggestions that to let them loose on this project was high-risk, but they were a revelation. They surprised everyone. We could have spent more, taken more time, but though the schedule was crazy, they were the driving force. It would have been impossible for one individual to work with that intensity. They were the least experienced there, film-wise, but they were captain of the ship from day one.” “It was relentless, full pelt. Two years from start to finish,” says Lee. Wayne continues: “Everyone had faith in us, but the pressure came from ourselves not to wank it up. We had a £1m budget but we think we’ve made something that will look like £15m or £20m. “And though we’ve said to ourselves we’d never make a film in that way again, we’re glad we did. Because everything that could happen, could go wrong, did. But we’ve been through that now.” AmStarDam debuts at the Toronto Film Festival in September propellerartists.com lennoxbrothers.com
Zoot Suit Pachucos. Jazz. The Big Apple. Malcolm X.
Words Chris Sullivan Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Styling Chris Sullivan and Christos Tolera Styling Assistant Zoe McArthur Zooters Alex Maglalang Barrow, musician, the Severed Limb and Malphino theseveredlimb.co.uk, malphino.com, Jimi ‘The Quiff’ Phgura, dancer, the Twilight Players twilightplayers.com and Christos Tolera, artist and musician, Blue Rondo à la Turk
Few articles of clothing have caused riots that resulted in hundreds of arrests, scores of injuries and world headlines. And then again, few have the history or gravitas of the zoot suit, an item that, more than just a jacket and trousers, was a declaration of freedom and selfdetermination by beleaguered minorities that defined its wearer as part of a culture that, unafraid of the consequences, chose to stand outside of accepted society. It basically comprises a wide-lapelled, often knee-length “killer-diller coat with a drape shape and shoulders padded like a lunatic’s cell”, while the deeply pleated trousers, below the “inevitable long, looping watch chain” ballooned to 32" at the knee and 14" at the ankle. Worn with a large felt, feathered fedora and spearcollared shirt, the look, when it appeared on late-1930s hepcats in urban jazz saloons, was radical to say the least – its unmistakable silhouette as confronting as any outfit from the punk era. As US author Ralph Ellison’s narrator in 1952’s The Invisible Man described: “Walking slowly, their shoulders swaying, their legs swinging from their hips in trousers that ballooned upward from cuffs fitting snug about their ankles; their coats long and hip-tight with shoulders far too broad to be those of natural western men.” Exactly who invented the zoot is still debated. The New York Times claimed the first was bought in 1940 from a Gainesville, Georgia tailor by transport 170
worker Clyde Duncan, but claimants abound from all over the USA: Memphis tailor Louis Lettes; Vito Baganto and Charles Klein on Lenox Avenue, and Lew Eisenstein on 125th Street in Manhattan; and Detroit retailer Nathan “Toddy” Elkus. Chicago tailor Harold C Fox asserted he made the first zoot with “the reet pleat, the reave sleeve, the ripe stripe, the stuff cuff and the drape shape” in 1941, influenced by underprivileged urban black teenagers. “The zoot was not a costume or uniform from the world of entertainment,’’ he said. “It came right out of the ghetto.’’ Others have confirmed it was poor black youth in the 1930s who, too broke to buy kit, got their dads’ suits, nipped the jackets in at the waist, left the unalterable big shoulders and length, then took the trousers in at the waist, hips and ankles. Another style born of necessity, the look was smart yet loose enough to dive about while dancing the Big Apple (the gymnastic forerunner of jive) and, as such, became an essential part of African-American culture. The word “zoot” had entered 1930s jazz vernacular to denote all that was extravagant anyway, and thus slipped into 1940s argot to specifically describe said item. Some say, as it was common jazz slang to begin words with a “z”, the suit became a zoot. Others claim it was coined by Mexican-American “pachucos” in “Caló”, their street cant, and evolved
from the Spanish pronunciation of “suit” taking on a “z” sound. All say the zoot is undoubtedly the most bizarre outfit ever worn by the American male. But it spread through the working classes like wildfire and was highly coveted. The tale of a 15-year-old Malcolm X buying his first was likely typical: “I was measured, and the young salesman picked off a rack a zoot suit that was just wild: sky-blue pants 30" in the knee and angle narrowed down to 12" at the bottom, and a long coat that pinched my waist and flared out below my knees. The salesman said the store would give me a narrow leather belt with my initial “L” [for Little] on it. Then he said I ought to also buy a hat, and I did – blue, with a feather in the 4" brim. Then the store gave me another present: a long, thicklined, gold-plated chain that swung down lower than my coat hem. I was sold forever on credit...” And, just as in recent hip-hop times, Mexican-Americans and Hispanics adopted a style that, pioneered by their black brethren, spoke of upward mobility and pride. For sure, due to the amount of fabric used, the zoot was a luxury item flashed only on occasion by sharped-up dudes. It set them apart from the crowd and, rather like skinhead, punk or Ted clothing in the UK, told you all about its wearer’s interests and culture: jazz for African-Americans, and for MexicanAmericans, the pachuco life. Tough and >
Jimi wears suit by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shirt from Albert and Steveâ€™s Vintage Clothing Emporium; vest by Hanes; belt, modelâ€™s own.
Alex wears shirt from Vintage King; trousers by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; braces and jewellery, stylistâ€™s own. Christos wears shirt from Vintage King; trousers by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shoes from Levisons Vintage Clothing; hat by Schoble from Levisons Vintage Clothing; braces and tie, worn as belt, stylistâ€™s own.
CULTURE | Zoot Suit vehemently heterosexual, these urban Hispanic dandies dressed to impress were prone to drug-taking, minor crime and juvenile delinquency; said attire marked you as part of that particular gang or subculture. Ergo, the zoot suit became a manifestation of its owner’s steadfast refusal to kowtow to the racist confines of the US and, like the burqa or hijab worn by some second-generation UK Muslims, voiced their dissatisfaction with the society in which they lived. Thus, the zoot suit, like the styles of many a youth cult that followed, acutely polarised the community. It’s not hard to imagine the hatred felt by some poor white Americans (100,000 families had made for California from the great southwest dust bowls in search of work in the 1930s) as they saw these “upstart dandies parade their finery”. Little did they know, or care, that many of these black and Hispanic zooters had toiled on the lowest rung as busboys, labourers and factory workers and saved every penny to buy their threads. They didn’t spend their money in saloons drinking away their misery. They dressed up instead. The youth of the day also embraced jazz – basically black music. Jazz spoke of sensuality and joy, and defied segregation – its devotees mixed both on stage and on the dance floor, and the zoot suit was the easily recognised uniform of this new jazz ideology that visually challenged the norms of apartheid. But it wasn’t just the rise of scandalous “jazz” that precipitated “the worst mob violence in Los Angeles history”, the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943: a number of factors prevailed. The first was the war. The country, overwhelmed by a surge of nationalism and paranoia regarding fifth columnists, grew agitated by non-white minorities. As the US fought the forces of fascism abroad, at home the pro-Aryan nationalism of the Third Reich thrived. Most blacks were denied civil rights, while anti-Mexican sentiment had long prevailed in the west. In the early 1930s, Los Angeles County sent home more than 12,000 people of Mexican descent – including many US citizens. Those left were corralled in rundown corners of East LA, working for peanuts. In this climate, chicano youth and gang culture emerged while many whites, fuelled by racist newspapers – especially William Randolph Hearst’s –
Alex wears suit by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shirt from Vintage King; shoes, model’s own; handkerchief, braces and jewellery, stylist’s own.
believed pachucos were Mexicans who refused to both speak English and contribute to the war effort.
‘THE ZOOT WAS NOT A COSTUME – IT CAME RIGHT OUT OF THE GHETTO’ Then, in 1942, the War Production Board restricted cloth use by a quarter, resulting in “streamlined suits by Uncle Sam”, so write Esquire magazine. Zoot
manufacture was banned. Underground tailors all over the US still produced them, reinforcing a most visible divide between the mainly white servicemen and black and Hispanic zooters whose outfits, though much of the cloth used was pre-war, was viewed as a scandalous and blatant flouting of wartime rationing by unpatriotic, drug-using hoodlums. The zoot was a red flag to the already miffed redneck bulls. And lest we forget, lynching was still common in the south where many serviceman hailed from; LA, with its proximity to Pearl Harbour, was the US frontline. Another factor was the Sleepy Lagoon Murder. The trial of the gang known as the 38th Street Boys for the 1942 murder of José Díaz – with all 22 defendants making it the largest mass trial in California history – played like a Hollywood noir and captivated LA. > 173
CULTURE | Zoot Suit The Sleepy Lagoon Defence Committee was formed by civil-rights pioneer Carey McWilliams; it consisted of communists, unionists and leftist Hollywooders like Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, all of whose involvement further aggravated the affair. The LAPD usually kept well out of minority murders but felt the need on this occasion to clamp down on what white Angelinos considered a worryingly dangerous, violent zoot-suit subculture. Of course, the trial was a farce. Judge Charles Fricke allowed jurors to go home at night where they read LA journalists’ racist slurs against pachucos, while the usually immaculate defendants were refused haircuts and clean clothes. The result was that 17 defendants were duly convicted, which emphatically reminded LA’s Mexican community that they were second-class citizens who would never be accepted in the land that had been theirs until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Meanwhile, whites, whipped up by press coverage characterising Mexican youth as dark-skinned hoodlums, were becoming paranoid – indeed, terrified – of those in zoots. That some workingclass whites also wore it was immaterial – zoots were regarded as anti-American. Accordingly, many US serviceman and policeman targeted zooters simply as a way to attack anyone who wasn’t white. Altercations broke out. On 30 May, 1943, some sailors and soldiers harassed a group of pachucas (female Mexican zooters) on Main Street in downtown LA and, as a result, were battered by the ladies’ male counterparts. Four days later, sailors were again routed by a gang of zooted chicanos, which caused a mob of off-duty LA cops, calling themselves the Vengeance Squad, to further attack Hispanics. The next day, a barrage of taxis containing 200 sailors turned up in East LA, clubbed a group of mainly 12 and 13-year-old boys to within an inch of their lives, stripped them naked and burnt their clothes in a pile. And thus the riots began. As McWilliams wrote, “Marching through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, a mob of several thousand soldiers, sailors, and civilians proceeded to beat up every zoot suiter they could find. Pushing its way into the important motion-picture theatres, the mob 174
ordered the management to turn on the house lights and then ran up and down the aisles dragging Mexicans out of their seats. Streetcars were halted while Mexicans, and some Filipinos and Negroes were jerked from their seats, pushed into the streets and beaten with a sadistic frenzy.” On one occasion, a gang of sailors dragged two chicano zoot suiters onto the cinema stage and, as the film played, stripped the boys naked and urinated on their clothing. Meanwhile, the press stated the attacks were perpetrated by “heroic serviceman” who were “cleansing their cities of human garbage”. The most heinous violence occurred on 7 June after one LA paper printed a guide on how to “de-zoot”. “Grab a zooter. Take off his pants and frock coat and tear them up or burn them.” That night, 5000 civilians
‘THE POLICE PRACTICE WAS TO WATCH THE BEATINGS AND JAIL THE VICTIMS’ gathered downtown alongside soldiers, marines, and sailors, and headed to East LA and the black Watts neighbourhood, beating up not just zooters but any and all blacks or Mexicans. Time magazine reported that, “The police practice was to accompany the caravans of soldiers and sailors in police cars, watch the beatings and jail the victims.” About 600 chicanos were jailed. One policeman was quoted after the riots as saying: “You can say that the cops had a ‘hands-off ’ policy during the riots. Well, we represented public opinion. Many of us were in the first world war, and we’re not going to pick on kids in the service.” Soon after, Councilman Norris Nelson stated “The zoot suit has become a badge of hoodlumism” and LA City Council criminalised its wearing. To put this into perspective, one must realise that at the height of 1943’s
riots, African-American culture was ascending. The hugely successful black jazz feature films Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky featured zoot suits prominently, while even Laurel and Hardy wore zoots in Jitterbugs that year. The huge 1942 hit ‘A Zoot Suit (for My Sunday Gal)’ was recorded by at least six different artists. The zoot, even though commonplace in non-toxic contemporary culture, still caused riots. Eventually, the authorities contained the debacle, not on any humanitarian basis, but for economic reasons. State Senators in California were concerned about the adverse effect events might have on the relationship with Mexico. As Senator Sheridan Downey declared: “The riots might endanger the program of importing Mexican labour to aid in harvesting crops.” Not surprisingly, the Mexican Embassy formally complained to the State Department and US chiefs had no choice but to intervene and declare Los Angeles off limits to all military personnel, confining sailors and marines to barracks. The press persisted in fuelling the fire. On 10 June, newspapers reported the arrests of three alleged zoot-suit gang leaders: black man Lewis English, 23 (carrying a knife); and Mexicans Frank Tellez, 22 (vagrancy) and Luis “The Chief ” Verdusco, 27 (leading the LA pachucos). This wrongly confirmed racist suspicions that all zooters had avoided the draft, wore clothes that could only be funded by crime, and were black or Hispanic. The fact that many pachucos had enlisted in the forces, many whites wore zoots, and most worked hard to buy their duds went unmentioned. And this wouldn’t be the last time subcultures were targeted by the press with heinous results. In the 1960s, hippies or anyone with long hair were subject to the same diatribe (resulting in maiming and death) while punk rockers suffered the same injustices as incited by UK tabloid pages. LA had calmed after two weeks of confrontation, but riots erupted in Texas, Arizona, Detroit and Harlem, as well as elsewhere in California, and ultimately had an intense effect on a generation of socially underprivileged teenagers who’d then exert an influence on the US itself. Chicano union activist César Chávez (who created the National Farm Workers >
Christos wears suit by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shirt from Vintage King; shoes from Levisons Vintage Clothing; hat by Schoble from Levisons Vintage Clothing; tie, stylistâ€™s own.
CULTURE | Zoot Suit
Christos wears suit by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shirt from Vintage King; hat by Schoble from Levisons Vintage Clothing; tie, worn as belt, stylist’s own; jewellery, model’s own. Jimi wears suit by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shirt from Albert and Steve’s Vintage Clothing Emporium; vest by Hanes; handkerchief and jewellery, stylist’s own; belt, model’s own. Alex wears suit by Chris Sullivan for Crossed Swords; shirt from Vintage King; handkerchief and jewellery, stylist’s own; braces, from Albert and Steve’s Vintage Clothing Emporium.
Association that successfully fought for labour rights) first involved himself with civil rights and local politics because of the beatings he witnessed first-hand; on the other side of the country, juvenile pimp “Detroit Red” aka Malcolm Little, embarked on a political journey after the Harlem riots: as radical leader Malcolm X, he indicted white America severely for its crimes against black Americans. If that’s not enough, the seeds of La Eme, the Mexican Mafia – the most powerful crime syndicate in the US today – were sewn during the conflict. Eme leader Rodolfo Cadena’s father fell victim to navy thugs in 1943 and the mob boss never forgot. The melee gave gang culture an almighty boost as, even though many Mexican and black gangs – such as the Businessmen, the White Fence – already existed, the riots served to validate their existence, strengthen their resolve and attract recruits. This resulted in a massive upsurge in armed ethnic street gangs in the post-war US. Looking back, who can blame them? 176
But as you’re now aware, the furore wasn’t just about a suit. Certainly, it exerted considerable influence elsewhere. UK spivs took to big suits which boasted that, like their Mexican counterparts, they could source and afford the cloth denied others by restrictions during and after the second world war. Jamaicans sported their versions as they alighted from the SS Windrush in 1948, thus influencing young Brits. After the war, Christian Dior launched his New Look for women in which everything went big. US male fashion responded with a style heavily influenced by the zoot – highwaisted pleated peg trousers, heavily shouldered jackets with big lapels, wide kipper ties and spear collars – which became almost a uniform for the stars of film noir such as Alan Ladd, Victor Mature and Jack Palance. This writer subsequently played a bit part in the zoot suit’s journey. In 1980 I formed a latin funk band, Blue Rondo à la Turk, and having read riot-themed mystery The Zoot Suit Murders, I realised
the suit, long a personal favourite, was ripe for revival. In my view, it was no less than 1940s punk. I started a night at Le Kilt in Greek Street, London (the first club to devote itself almost entirely to rare groove) and launched a Sullivan Suits ready-to-wear range. Headlines proclaimed the style’s return; fashion shows followed and I designed zoots for Ultravox, Madness, Spandau Ballet and Adam Ant (who wore one at Live Aid). It still tickles me that a style created by poor black teens 50 years earlier ended up on the backs of chart-topping British acts – I guess it wasn’t the first or the last time. But, as a result of my endeavours, the country was soon festooned with fellas in oversized suits, hand-painted ties, long chains and correspondent shoes. But there were no riots this time around, and hopefully never again. A deluxe edition of Blue Rondo à la Turk’s Chewing the Fat is out now cherryred.co.uk
Last Poets. Hip-hop. Islam. Gil Scott-Heron. Jail Toast. Jazzoetry. Kung Fu. Words Chris Sullivan Portrait Joseph Seresin
Jalal Nuriddin is dressed head-to-toe in black leather, aviators and a woolen hat over his steel-grey fro. He kicks his foot in the air to touch his outstretched fingers and demonstrate his supreme fitness at age 70. This is the man Chuck D described as “the godfather of rap”. A founding Last Poet, Jalal, with his overtly political, socially-aware poems dedicated to raising African-American awareness – stretched tight as a drum over even tighter African percussion, laced with urban funk and jazz – helped create the blueprint from which all rap descended. A young Jalal, offered an early release from jail if he enlisted in the US Army, became a paratrooper. Consequently reincarcerated after refusing to salute the flag, he received an honourable discharge – but his prison time did not go to waste. Inside, he’d learned the art of “jail toast” (prison rap notably performed in ‘The Signifying Monkey’ in blaxploitation epic Dolemite) and converted to Islam. Along with fellow poets Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole and a few 178
others, Nuriddin formed the band on 19 May, 1968 at a Malcolm X birthday celebration in Harlem. They took a loft dubbed The East Wind and performed raps called spoagraphics on the streets, soon attracting the attention of jazz producer Alan Douglas, who signed them to his label and helmed their eponymous debut, 1970’s The Last Poets. It hit #3 on the R&B album chart. The band followed it with This is Madness (1971) and Chastisement (1972), an intoxicating mix of funk and cool jazz beneath a verbal concoction they called “jazzoetry”. Then, under the pseudonym Lightnin’ Rod, Jalal released a rap epic – the seminal but criminally overlooked Hustlers Convention (1973). The reissue brought him to the UK earlier this year. Sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and the Beastie Boys, praised by Melle Mel and Grandmaster Flash, Hustlers Convention was pure proto-hip-hop: “I was snorting skag, while others played tag, and running through bitches like rags to riches,” says opener ‘Sport’, and
what follows is a gaudy representation of the ghetto, a prescient taste of things to come, replete with a shoot-out finale that leaves the protagonists defeated by a system where “the real hustlers were rippin’ off billions from the unsuspecting millions”. Likewise, Nuriddin never did receive the recognition or the financial reward he deserved for the work. “It was probably the most influential record to set off those early Bronx MCs,” says Chuck D. “But very rarely does Hustlers Convention get mentioned in the annals. It’s a missing piece of culture.” Pioneering MC Fab 5 Freddy agrees. “It’s a cornerstone in the development of what is now a part of global culture,” he says. “In the street, somebody recited it and I thought it was amazing, the most epic jail toast of all time. I memorised it and would recite it to friends on my block, then someone told me it was based on a record. I stumbled upon that and passed it on. Hip street guys like Melle Mel knew about it. I could hear the influence in their raps.” >
Live at the Jazz Cafe, London, 2014 Photograph Carl Hyde
We came out of human rights. If you have those, civil rights will follow. If you just have civil rights, that will depend on what people regard as civilization, which differs from time to time, race to race. How do you feel about Barack Obama? He found out that the office dictates his actions, not him. What he inherited was a Titanic listing in the North Atlantic, and he managed to stabilise it. But he didn’t get the credit, he got the blame. That’s what people forget, he came in on the worst economical and political depression in America since the 1930s. We’re in the Year of the Horse, which is a good year for economics, so by summer we should start to see world economies improve. I do a lot of astrology, a lot of kung fu, and a lot of acupuncture. What kung fu do you do? Bak Mei – white eyebrow. How long have you done that? Since my 30s. Now I just do it for selfdefence, to keep the reflexes sharp and stay flexible. I live in an old folks’ home, it’s cheap. I’m the healthiest guy in the building. Everyone else has a wheelchair.
Have you always been a man of music? I grew up in music. I was born in bebop, raised on doo-wop and I put the hip in hip-hop. Hip never plays out. Hop is an ingredient in beer, is what kangaroos and rabbits do and is also a 1950s dance. So I took a quantum leap and made it better. How did the Last Poets’ sound evolve? It was a basic African rhythm combined with an African-American urban voice. My style was based on the blues. I started with jail toast, a combination of fable, fact, fiction, sex and violence. It was designed to make you laugh. Jail toast was various hustlers and players telling their life story. And some was fact, some was fancy. Most of it was exaggerated. It was like dissing rhymes, dirty jokes 180
and X-rated nursery rhymes. There are only two masters of jail toasting: Red Foxx and Dolemite. But nobody was saying anything that needed to be said, or was thought-provoking. Something had to be done that laid down the whys and wherefores of street life, its attractions and distractions. So, in the can, I wrote a few things down and when I got out, we mixed it with an African drum sensibility that was in our DNA.
What about those doo-wop days? Were you a doo-wop street-corner kinda guy? More like council-estate hallway. The acoustics are better. I didn’t aspire to be one but I hung out with doo-wop singers because it kept me from gangbanging and we could go to some other neighbourhoods without being killed. The 1950s were tough in New York. Sure, but the there was a code of honour with choice of weapon. No guns allowed. Either hand-to-hand, or baseball bats, chains or car aerials were the weapons of choice. If you were feeling vicious, you might use acid. But nobody had guns.
How do you feel when people say you were the godfather of hip-hop? Well, they commercialised the art form. It’s just big business.
And what were the prominent gangs in your neighbourhood? My gang, the Fourth Green Chaplains was the most prominent. Including the brother clubs, we roughly numbered around 1500. We had it locked down.
What was the relationship with the Last Poets and civil-rights activists?
Who were your rivals? The Bishops (another African-American
MUSIC | Jalal Nuriddin
gang) from Bedford–Stuyvesant were the main rivals. Other gangs were the Mau Maus and the Sand Street Angels. How about your parents? Mom was a housewife who loved gospel; Pop was a navy veteran from the second world war, shell-shocked, sick on a pension but he was a poker player and did it like a job. He played three hands and lost one. He only gambled to put food on the table. But he didn’t talk. How did you gravitate from doo-wop to the Last Poets? The Last Poets revolutionised things. After us, R&B singers were suddenly like: “You know what? We got to start putting messages in our songs.” Listen to Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’ or ‘The Ghetto’ by Donny Hathaway. I realised doo-wop and soul was fine for the era but it wasn’t no good for the human-rights movement. We needed a rally point, a battle cry. I said, “We need a new art form that reflects where we’re at now, otherwise we’ll be stuck in this mode for the duration.” So, I took jail toasts, which was like the blues, and did my own version, that told of the street. When did you start doing this? I started at a writer’s workshop in 1968 in Harlem. My aunt had a beauty parlour there. Friend of mine told me: “Check it out,” so I went and realised that nobody had what I had. There weren’t no poets. I actually had to go search for somebody else on the same page as me. I found that poetry was in line with bebop. Later, I discovered I could write lyrics to jazz. I’d done gigs with Eddie Jefferson at Small’s Paradise, and Eddie said, “Man, your stuff is good. You can write lyrics.” Did those scat singers influence you? Yeah, well Eddie Jefferson and Babs Gonzales for sure. Was it the way they wrote melodies and poetry to horn solos? Yes, exactly. I met Herb Jeffries, a singer in the Duke Ellington band. He told me, because he was Afro-Italian, that vowels could be elongated. Max Roach [Charles Mingus’s drummer] was another big influence. He was my mentor.
Did those jazz guys influence you most? All those jazz musicians did hugely. One third of my work contained jazz; ‘Bird’s Word’ [from Chastisement] was like a tribute to them. I played with Jimmy Smith, Nina Simone and Miles Davis. He was a Last Poets fan. Later on, I’d meet Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin. Paul Robeson was a huge influence. Then I met James Baldwin in Paris; he passed on the baton. Of course, your first album sold hugely. It went to #29 in the pop charts, which in 1970 meant a lot of records. It was all done by word of mouth. Were you surprised that it sold so well? I was surprised that it was even released.
‘JAIL TOAST WAS HUSTLERS AND PLAYERS TELLING LIFE STORIES’ Where did the band’s name come from? It was taken from a South African poet, Keorapetse Kgositsile [aka Bra Willie], who wrote in 1968 that it was: “The last age of poems and essays; that guns and rifles would take the place of poems and essays. So therefore we must be the ‘last poets’ of this age.” He’d fled apartheid in South Africa and come to Harlem. Is there anyone else you would have liked to work with? Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Was that music around you as a kid? My cousins involved me with Bird and Diz from about seven years; they was up on bebop, I was up on doo-wop. I said to myself as a teenager, “This music requires sitting down, listening and figuring out what they’re doing. I’m not old enough to do that. I need to grow up to get this.” By the time I was 21, I got out the army and then I Iooked at it again.
Were you drafted for Vietnam? They were building up troops, preparing for it. I got in trouble. I was gangbanging and was jailed for assault and battery. Next thing was, “We won’t let you out unless you register for the draft, because your gang is notorious.” Then my mother visited and she was all broke up about it. She don’t deserve that, so I got out and got drafted. Then my homeboy was like, “I’m going into the paratroopers.” I said, “More power to you.” He said, “You’re supposed to have courage. You from Fort Greene, too?” So I volunteered, went in and he didn’t, because he was too physically weak to pass the PT test. So, you just missed the Vietnam War? I missed it by four months. They went in August 1965. I got out in April. Do you think you would have been a conscientious objector? I got out because I was a conscientious objector. I heard what they was getting ready to do! The platoon sergeant told me because he liked me: “Listen, we got two economies. We gotta have a war every 10 years. This way, we put people to war and manufacture more money. We always win and there’s prosperity for the next 40 years. If we pick a fight, then we gotta go back to war.” He’d done 20 years and had one to go, and he got killed! Do you think the powers allowed crack and heroin in the ghettos to destabilise the Black Panthers, Crips and other black-power groups? Hell yeah! Damn right! It was genocide – the systematic destruction of a race of people by the Djinns [a spirit mentioned in the Qur’an and believed by Muslims to inhabit Earth and influence mankind by appearing in the form of humans or animals]. The police turned their heads from the smugglers. As long as it was designated for the ghetto, they was all right. That saved them the trouble of building prisons but it destabilised the community and quashed revolutionary thoughts; the people were too high to care. Prisons is big business now in the US. There’s a whole poisonous industry; whole communities working there are reliant on prisons being full, so the judges and cops make sure that happens. > 181
MUSIC | Jalal Nuriddin Were you ever involved with the Black Panthers? They were trying to shake us down for our purse until we said, “We ain’t nobody you want to mess with. Don’t try shake us down because we’ll fight you. You ain’t gonna tell us what to do!” We were on the same page as far as our objective, which is the liberation of our people; they was in California, we was New York. Tell me about Hustlers Convention. I had to choose my subject matter careful and articulate street life. I wrote it to direct kids who found hustlers glamorous away from the street, but they missed the point. It was a warning. The album went off the market two months after it was released [and sold on the periphery for the next 40 years]. Some thought it gave a bad example – they missed the point. It was written to de-glamorise it. Hustlers Convention itself was hustled; I wrote it to prove a point, that we’re hustling but we are the ones being hustled. Hustlers Convention is the legacy of slavery. Why did you choose the pseudonym Lightnin’ Rod for the album? A lightning rod is two things – it conducts energy when lightning strikes the top of a building. And a lightning rod is the one who blows the whistle when the community is being underserviced, assaulted or lied to. You pulled in some great musicians. Yeah, man – they was the best, but some names your readers might recognise would be Bernard Purdie, Candido, Johnny Pacheco, Eric Gale, Billy Preston, Cornell Dupree and, of course, Kool & the Gang, who are on three tracks. Gil Scott-Heron was a pupil of yours? I gave him one lesson; he took that and he ran with it, he made a career of it. It made him a commercial, mediocre poet: he didn’t master his art, but he did master the business of it. Max Roach told me, “Master your axe.” I spent 25 years mastering my axe. I learned the business through trial and a lot of error. You were in the army at the same time as Hendrix and did a song with him and Buddy Miles, ‘Doriella du Fontaine’. Jimi heard the preview of The Last Poets; 182
he looked at the three poems and said, “I want to be the guy at front with the Afro that wins them riots. I wanna work for him. He reminds me of me. He’s saying what I’m playing.” Jimi and me had things in common. We were young veterans and already in our 20s. We
‘SOME THOUGHT IT GAVE A BAD EXAMPLE – THEY MISSED THE POINT’ were revolutionaries. So he wanted me to use his name to further my career. He didn’t want no royalties. He loved me. He was my fan. I respected him but I wasn’t a fan of his music per se. I was a fan of him being a rebel and a master of his axe. I made that record, a jail toast, with him as Lightnin’ Rod – which was my alter ego – and never got paid. I had to settle for the message, not the money. What part did Malcolm X play in your music, your writing?
Well, Malcolm was the man. He came up all the way from the bottom 100% and his integrity was so intact, that he beat the people he was supposed to beat. He played all the right cards. What next? A Hustlers Convention documentary. It is the grandfather of rap records, I’m the grandfather of rap – the International Herald Tribune gave me that title. And the book? I’m going to record my autobiography that’s in rhyme. So if I live long enough I’ll put it out because I need the money to take care of my old age. I started it in 2000, I finished in 2013. It describes the chronology of the Last Poets, the blackrights and human-rights movements and the black revolution in the 1960s. I break down the government, the presidency, Congress and the Constitution. I go into civics and how it all works. I want to restate how the US government works. I don’t think anybody quite understands that. Aw yeah. They know how it works but they also got to know how it unworks. The Hustlers Convention documentary will be released in August. riverhorse.tv charly.co.uk
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Anthony Ricardo La Touche, aka Mr Hat hatabouttown.com
Return of the Rudeboy Photographs Dean Chalkley Creative Director Harris Elliott Words Edward Moore
Originating in 1960s Jamaica, the rudeboy look was defined by sharp, slimfitting suits and ties, topped off, usually, with a pork-pie hat; but clothes aside, the style was defined as much by the cocky demeanour of the wearer, which fitted perfectly with the musical rhythms of ska and rocksteady – rhythms that lend themselves easily to the lopsided, jagged dancing style known as skanking. And the style spread through the UK as Jamaican immigrants settled here – the smart look and confident attitude resonating with post-war British youth. In the late 1970s, the look and music 184
was popularised again thanks to Jerry Dammers who, with his label 2 Tone Records, mixed rudeboy fashion and music with a post-punk attitude. Thirty years on and rudeboy is inﬂuencing a new generation of natty dressers. Photographer Dean Chalkley and art director Harris Elliott have spent a year documenting this latest revival. So, which defining elements have remained? To Chalkley and Elliott, it’s the upkeep of sartorial values that has ultimately prevailed. “The rudeboy’s rogueish – dare I say, criminal – connection is severed,” says Chalkley, “but it’s distilled into the
presentation and swagger. There’s this overarching sartorial direction and movement, but within that, a fierce individual proposition of style.” Elliott expands: “Living in London and having a ‘rude’ attitude is the only way forward. Being a rudeboy is a statement of intent and a definition for life.” And who can argue with that? Dean Chalkley and Harris Elliott’s exhibition Return of the Rudeboy is on until 25 August at Somerset House, London WC2 somersethouse.org.uk
Daniel, proprietor of We Are Cuts hairdressers, Soho, London wearecuts.com
Martell Campbell, blogger martellcampbell.com Donya-Patrice, blogger and stylist donya-patrice.com
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Sam Mingle, tailor dappersam.com
GALLERY | Return of the Rudeboy
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191 Shoreditch High Street London E1 6HU www.carhartt-wip.com
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White T-Shirt Words Chris Sullivan Photograph Eric Hobbs Styling Laura Mazza Actor and Musician John Patrick Amedori
The humble T-shirt was intended – by its designer or designers unknown – as utilitarian military wear, and was initially doled out to replace the sweaty wool undergarments of US Navy submariners in 1913. Soon after it became US forces PE issue and in 1920, “T-shirt” entered the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. That year, the University of Southern California stenciled “Property of USC” on its PE-issue T-shirts to stop football players misappropriating them to wear off campus. It didn’t work. The epidemic further spread after Life magazine displayed a soldier in a T-shirt printed with the Air Corps Gunnery School’s logo on a 1942 cover. The first recorded sloganeering T-shirt, proclaiming “Dew-it-with-Dewey” accordingly emerged for 1948’s presidential election, and in the early 1950s, Sam Kantor of Tropix Togs in Miami printed Mickey Mouse T-shirts for Disneyland Corp. As the printed T-shirt evolved, the plain variety became hip. GIs attended US colleges sporting their army issue, and the plain T-shirt, like the chino and sweatshirt, was adopted by their younger beatnik acolytes. Elsewhere, it was purely a work shirt regarded as unsuitable for anything else. No surprise, then, that East Village hepcat Marlon Brando should wear a T-shirt on Broadway in 1947 and then on film in 1951 – as the blue-collar, belligerently coarse Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. A hugely divisive style statement, T-shirt sales still totalled $180m by 1953. Brando upped the ante, wearing one as a biker 190
in The Wild One, while James Dean, as troubled and defiant teenager Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, struck a chord with his white T-shirt, blue Lee 101Z Riders, engineer boots and iconic red windbreaker. The T-shirt now suggested danger, drugs, gangs and insubordination, which was all that most self-respecting teenagers could wish for – and the gang connotation has never really gone away. In 2010, Philadelphia Senator Anthony Williams identified “white-T culture” as a major source of power among the city’s white-clad, corner-hanging crims. “We’re penetrating the veil of silence,” he said. Meanwhile, the rebellious 1960s and the T-shirt were made for each other: Vietnam protestors daubed theirs with “Make Love Not War” and the peace sign, and tie-dyed them in LSD-friendly colours. In the UK, Tommy Roberts and Trevor Myles at Mr Freedom in Chelsea took inspiration from pop artists Andy Warhol and Peter Blake in 1969 with T-shirts featuring 1930s illustrations of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. In the early 1970s, the Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Pink Floyd all rolled out their own and the printed T-shirt became a rock merchandise standard. When Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren opened Let it Rock on Kings Road in 1971, they pursued a penchant for all things 1950s, as a reaction to the hippies. Over the road, designer Anthony Price created the tight cap-sleeve T-shirt that, though resembling those worn in Tom of Finland’s 1950s-inspired homosexual illustrations, became a nationwide craze.
Westwood and McLaren, always against the grain, reinvented their shop in 1974 as Sex, and embarked on an anti-retro crusade, selling deliberately contentious T-shirts: Minnie and Mickey Mouse copulating; cowboys naked from the waist down. The T-shirt was now firmly in the hands of the punk. In the 1980s, companies making use of screen-printing innovations spawned billions of T-shirts, displaying band names, generic statements (“I woke up today and feel GREAT”) – or just about anything. Certain elements opted for Katherine Hamnett’s oversized slogan shirts, whereas the groovy went plain T-shirt only. Nick Kamen wore one in his celebrated 1985 Levi’s ad while, in the US, the likes of Mickey Rourke and Matt Dillon pushed the 1950s LuckyStrikes-in-the-sleeve white T-shirt, con Ray-Bans and Bass Weejuns. In 1986, Barnzley Armitage launched a T-shirt range with pirated 1970s Chanel, Gucci and Hermès logos, followed by his Smiley T-shirt. DJ Danny Rampling bought one and used the logo for fledgling one-nighter Shoom, and the Smiley T-shirt was suddenly the emblem for a generation of ecstasy-mad ravers. Consequently, upstanding stylemongers went way back to the 1950s utilitarian (Dave’s Body Shop, etc) and plain worker’s pocket variety, such as Carhartt. And of late, the world has, of course, gone mad. Superlative Luxury sells an “eco-friendly” T-shirt with over nine carats worth of diamonds on its chest, for £250,000.
T-shirt by Levi’s Vintage Clothing; jeans by Levi’s; belt and bandana by Blackboard Cafe
Directory A Bathing Ape www.bape.com A Sauvage www.asauvage.com A.P.C. x Kanye www.apc.fr A.P.C. x Vanessa Seward www.apc.fr Acne www.acnestudios.com Adidas www.adidas.co.uk Albam www.albamclothing.com Alexander Leathers www.alexanderleathers.com Azzaro www.azzaroparis.com Baracuta www.baracuta.com Barbour www.barbour.com Bedwin & the Heartbreakers www.bedwintokyo.com Berthold www.berthold-uk.com Big Blue Surf School www.bigbluesurfschool.co.uk Blackboard Cafe www.blackboardcafe.com Bolt London www.boltlondon.com Brooks England www.brooksengland.com Burberry www.burberry.com Carhartt WIP www.carhartt-wip.com Casely-Hayford www.casely-hayford.com Cheap Monday www.cheapmonday.com Christopher Nemeth www.christophernemeth.co Converse www.converse.co.uk Cordings www.cordings.co.uk Cos www.cosstores.com Costume Studio www.costumestudio.co.uk C.P. Company www.cpcompany.co.uk DC Shoes www.dcshoes.com Deep Clothing www.deepvintageclothing.co.uk Dent de Man www.dentdeman.com Descente www.descente.com Dita www.dita.com Dr Martens www.drmartens.com Draw In Light www.drawinlight.co.uk Edwin Jeans www.edwin-europe.com Element www.elementbrand.com ELMC www.elmc.co Ermenegildo Zegna www.zegna.com Evisu www.evisu.com Eye Respect www.eyerespect.com Filson www.filson.com Finlay&Co. www.finlayandco.com Folk www.folkclothing.com Fred Perry www.fredperry.com Gieves&Hawkes www.gievesandhawkes.com Givenchy www.givenchy.com Gloverall www.gloverall.com Golden Bear www.goldenbearsportswear.com Griffin www.griffin-studio.com H&M www.hm.com Hanes www.hanes.com Herschel Supply Co. www.herschelsupply.com Human Made www.humanmade.jp Ice Cream www.bbcicecream.com Issey Miyake www.isseymiyake.com John Boultbee for Brooks England www.brooksengland.com John Smedley www.johnsmedley.com John Varvatos www.johnvarvatos.com Jonathan Saunders www.jonathan-saunders.com Justin Deakin www.justindeakin.com Katharine Hamnett www.katharinehamnett.com Lacoste Live www.lacoste.com La Flamme Rouge www.laflammerouge.dk La Sportiva www.sportiva.com
Le Coq Sportif www.lecoqsportif.com Left Field NYC www.leftfieldnyc.com Levi’s www.levi.com Levi’s Vintage Clothing www.levisvintageclothing.com Levisons Vintage Clothing www.levisons.co.uk Lewis Leathers www.lewisleathers.com Liberty www.liberty.co.uk Lock&Co. www.lockhatters.co.uk Lou Dalton www.loudalton.com Lyle&Scott www.lyleandscott.com Mackintosh www.mackintosh.com Marc by Marc Jacobs www.marcjacobs.com Marni www.marni.com Matches www.matchesfashion.com Matthew Miller www.matthewmillermenswear.com Mr Porter www.mrporter.com Neighborhood www.neighborhood.jp New Balance www.newbalance.co.uk Nigel Cabourn www.cabourn.com Nike www.nike.com Nixon www.nixon.com Norman Walsh Footwear www.normanwalshuk.com Notch www.notchlondon.com Nudie Jeans www.nudiejeans.com O’Neill www.oneill.com Oliver Spencer www.oliverspencer.co.uk Original Penguin www.originalpenguin.co.uk Palladium www.palladiumboots.co.uk Paul Smith www.paulsmith.co.uk Penfield www.penfield.com Purified www.purifiedfootwear.com Rag&Bone www.rag-bone.com Ralph Lauren Denim&Supply www.denimandsupply.com Red Wing Shoes www.redwinglondon.com Replay www.replay.it Richard James www.richardjames.co.uk Roberto Cavalli www.robertocavalli.com Rokit www.rokit.co.uk Sandro www.sandro-paris.com Scotch&Soda www.scotch-soda.com Second/Layer www.secondlayer.us Shamballa Jewels www.shamballajewels.com Smith Wykes www.smith-wykes.com Soulland www.soulland.com Stone Island www.stoneisland.co.uk Stussy www.stussy.co.uk Swims www.swims.com SWS of London www.swsoflondon.com The Great Frog www.thegreatfroglondon.com Timberland www.timberland.com Topman www.topman.com Tourne de Transmission www.tournedetransmission.com Umit Benan www.umitbenan.com Uniqlo www.uniqlo.com Universal Works www.universalworks.co.uk Vans www.vans.co.uk Viktor&Rolf www.viktor-rolf.com Vintage King www.facebook.com/vintagekingshop Vivienne Westwood www.viviennewestwood.com Wood Wood www.woodwood.dk Woolrich www.woolrich.co.uk YMC www.youmustcreate.com Yohji Yamamoto www.yohjiyamamoto.co.jp
STYLE HISTORY CULTURE
A FREE QUARTERLY SUMMER 2014 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 11
“How people deal with failure is usually more interesting than how they deal with success.”
GAY TALESE www.jocksandnerds.com