AUTUMN 2014 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 12
“Clothes have always been important to working-class kids.”
STYLE HISTORY CULTURE
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“A T I E C A N B E F O R A N Y O C C A S I O N ” Jeremy’s Rule No. 5 for living a better life
“ I T ’ S N O T O N LY F O O D T H AT L O O K S G O O D O N T H E TA B L E ” Jeremy’s Rule No. 6 for living a better life
BROOKS CYCLE BAGS. STOPPING TRAFFIC SINCE 1866.
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Literary Walk Eskimo
distributed by WP
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VOLUME 1 ISSUE 12 Cover Gary Kemp photographed by Catalin Plesa, styled by Barry Kamen Suit and pocket square by Richard Anderson; shirt by Brooks Brothers Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Marcus Agerman Ross email@example.com
Associate Editor Chris Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Editor Chris Tang email@example.com
Commercial Director Andrew Chidgey-Nakazono firstname.lastname@example.org
New York Editor Janette Beckman email@example.com
Editorial Assistant Edward Moore firstname.lastname@example.org
Commercial Manager Chris Jones email@example.com
Fashion Editor-at-Large Marcus Love
Junior Designer Anna Holden firstname.lastname@example.org
Staff Writers Paolo Hewitt, Chris May, Andy Thomas, Mark Webster Staff Photographer Ross Trevail email@example.com Music Events Programmer Stuart Patterson Design Consultant Colin Christie, Plumplum Studio plumplumbooks.com Subeditor Guy Weress Intern Maria Tasula Original Design Phil Buckingham Financial Director Graham Steele firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher Johanna Agerman Ross email@example.com Contributors Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala, Mark Anthony Bradley, Vanni Bassetti, Carmen Chan, Roger Charity, Kevin Cummings, Kevin Davies, Felix Friedmann, Horst Friedrichs, Jill Furmanovsky, David Goldman, Lee Vincent Grubb, Tim Hans, Owen Harvey, Eric Hobbs, Adam Howe, Mia Howe, Barry Kamen, Ivan Kaydash, Micke Keysendal, Agnes Lloyd-Platt, Karen Mason, Laura Mazza, Cameron McNee, Ashleigh Mellor, Hidemasa Miyake, Mattias Pettersson, Catalin Plesa, Mischa Richter, Sydney Rose Thomas, Emily Rusby, Richard Stow, Kasia Wozniak, Robert Wyatt, Toni Yang Special Thanks Sadie Adams and Sophie Cabourn at Nigel Cabourn cabourn.com, Martin Barthes, Karim Bashir and Joanna Cook at British Fencing britishfencing.com, Mark Baxter at Mono Media, Bill and Sarah at Oi! Oi! The Shop, John Burlo and Joeye Lee at Nike nike.com, Edward Chiu, Derek Harris, Saaya Nohara and Tim Sabin at Lewis Leathers lewisleathers.com, Malcolm Garrett, Nick Shipton at Hertford House hertfordhouse.co.uk, Grave Vincent at Constable&Robinson constablerobinson.com, Holly Watson, Diane Wilkes at A Child of the Jago achildofthejago.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 published four times a year, printed by Park Communications Ltd parkcom.co.uk To subscribe go to jocksandnerds.com/subscriptions 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
41522 SOFT SHELL-R HOODED BOMBER JACKET IN SOFT SHELL-R, A 3-PLY PERFORMANCE MATERIAL WITH AN 8000 MM WATER COLUMN. THE JERSEY-LOOK OUTER FACE IS LAMINATED TO A BREATHABLE, WATER AND WIND PROOF INNER MEMBRANE, PROTECTED BY A FLEECE-BACKING LAYER. THE JERSEY-LOOKING OUTER FACE GIVES A GREAT FLEXIBILITY AND COMFORT TO THE GARMENT. TWO DIAGONAL POCKETS WITH SNAP-FASTENED FLAP. RIBBED BOTTOM AND CUFFS. ZIP FASTENING. FLAGSHIP STORE: 79 BREWER STREET_LONDON_W1F 9ZN
142–149 PROFILE: Nigel Cabourn
18–22 SEEN: War and Peace Revival
is a military-inspired festival
24–33 NEWS: Cultural happenings
for the coming months
82–87 PROFILE: Joe Corré is a fashion
designer and political activist 88–95 STYLE: Prise de Fer
34–47 PEOPLE: Do it without
compromise. Do it best
Photographs Robert Wyatt Styling Adam Howe
48–52 DETAIL: Mr Cool
96–101 HISTORY: Horst P Horst
& Zesty-Boy Swift Photographs Horst Friedrichs Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala
was one of the first great fashion photographers
54–59 HISTORY: John Simons brought
the Ivy League look to the UK
is the Blitz kid who became leader of the biggest band of the 1980s
60–63 CINEMA: Salvatore Giuliano was
108–117 STYLE: Karina Orlova
Sicily’s most notorious freedom fighter 66–73 STYLE: Dreadnought
102–107 COVER STORY: Gary Kemp
Photographs Cameron McNee Styling Marcus Love
Photographs Roger Charity Styling Mark Anthony Bradley
118–123 SPORT: City Running
74–79 CULTURE William S Burroughs
128–133 MUSIC: Brian Eno is still
was a beatnik in a suit and tie
exploring new ways to make music
80–81 BULLETIN: Dr Martens
134–141 STYLE: Down by Law
celebrates the ‘Spirit of ’69’
is a unique way to bring people together
Photographs David Goldman Styling Richard Simpson
creates beautiful clothes without compromise
150–155 CINEMA: Fritz Lang made
some of the most memorable films in Europe and Hollywood
156–157 BULLETIN: Element x Timber
is a capsule denim collection
158–163 CULTURE: Sylvester was disco’s first star 164–171 STYLE: Landon Liboiron
Photographs Eric Hobbs Styling Laura Mazza
172–177 SPOTLIGHT: Crate Diggers
know true music lives on vinyl
178–179 BULLETIN: Adidas Originals
x Spezial is new range inspired by classic Adidas pieces 180–183 CINEMA: James Brown
pioneered funk and has inspired a variety of musicians
184–188 GALLERY: Jah Wobble
knows that bass is the place
190–191 ICON: Fair Isle Knit hails from
the most northerly part of the British Isles
War & Peace Revival Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross
The annual War and Peace Revival is a five-day extravaganza on the Kent coast. Centred around Britainâ€™s largest gathering of 20th-century military vehicles, the festival is essentially a transient community of reenactment enthusiasts, vintage dealers and car lovers. With several thousand people remaining on site past sunset, the evening becomes a dressed-up affair with attendees moving between a variety of dinners and dances. thewarandpeacerevival.co.uk
SEEN | War & Peace Revival
SEEN | War & Peace Revival
Now approaching its sixth season, the Barbican’s Transcender festival – a celebration of hypnotic, psychedelic and transcendental music from around the globe – opens this month with the London debut of Sweden’s 28-piece Fire! Orchestra. Taking inspiration from astral-jazz pioneers Sun Ra and Pharoah Sanders, the band – co-led by saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werlin – is an adventurous synthesis of groove-centric jazz and outer-limits free improv. “We started as a trio,” says Werlin, “playing free jazz with a groove, with a bassline that just keeps going, going, going. For the orchestra, the idea is to maximise this idea, to make this meditative and powerful bassline as transportive as possible.” Marshalling 28 band members sounds like a challenge, even without factoring in the potential for chaos posed by having three leaders. “Well, we like chaos,” says Werlin, “we think it makes the most beautiful music. But Mats also conducts. He stands in front and keeps all the pieces together, so it is well-organised chaos.” Fire! Orchestra play at the Laundry, 2-18 Warburton Road, London E8 on 26 September thelaundrye8.com earthwindand.com Words Chris May Photograph Micke Keysendal
With a new NBA season looming – this time around with LeBron James back in a Cavaliers jersey for hometown team Cleveland – the US basketball league is working hard on its ‘Global Games’ profile. Heavily represented through September at the World Cup of Basketball in Spain – which features a USA team and many NBA players representing their own countries – the O2 Arena by the Thames in London will once again host a regular NBA season game on 15 January 2015, when the Milwaukee Bucks take on the New York Knicks. Tickets go on sale in October. nba.com theo2.co.uk
Patrick wears vest by NBA; shorts by Adidas. Rickardo wears vest and hat by NBA; shorts by Adidas.
Words Mark Webster Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby Ballers Patrick Cullen and Rickardo Mattocks-Maxwell rickardomaxwell.com
John Waters at the Southbank Centre
There’s little in the realm of creativity that director, author, photographer, artist and actor John Waters can’t do. His films Pink Flamingos, Polyester and Hairspray brought a new level of trash to the silver screen. Waters is also a comedian and will perform his live stand-up show Carsick: This Filthy World Volume Two Live Comedy Monologue on 11 November at the Southbank Centre – where he will also sign copies of new book Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America. Southbank Centre, London SE1 southbankcentre.co.uk Words Edward Moore Photograph Mischa Richter
NEWS Exiles by Josef Koudelka
Czech photographer Josef Koudelka is no stranger to exile. During the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1968, Koudelka, having captured images that would win him the Robert Capa Gold Medal, was forced to seek asylum. He left Czechoslovakia in 1970 and ultimately found his way to England where, with this reputation as a fearless documentarian, he joined Magnum Photos. Exiles, now published for the third time, consists of images from his years spent in exile from Czechoslovakia. thamesandhudson.com Words Edward Moore
France, 1973 © Josef Koudelka and Magnum
Garbstore x Chapman Bags
Garbstore have collaborated with Chapman Bags to create five classic leisure and luggage bags in camouflage fabric and premium leather. Both brands have brought their understanding of traditional design to create bags inspired by Britain’s field-sport heritage, making use of saddler techniques and finishing everything by hand in Carlisle, Cumbria. chapmanbags.com couvertureandthegarbstore.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby
For footwear company Block&Last, it’s all about being ‘Made in Britain’. Using the skills and understanding of a 150-year-old Northamptonshire manufacturer, Block&Last produces quality Goodyear-welted footwear for the discerning individual looking for hard-wearing and functional boots or shoes with outstanding British quality. blockandlast.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby Founder and Creative Director Graham Gordon
Harris Wharf London x Kyoto Montsuki Co. Ltd
Harris Wharf London is a five-year-old family brand with a solid understanding of textiles. Hailing from Turin, sibling co-founders Aldo and Giulia Acchiardi have collaborated with dying company Kyoto Montsuki, making garments dyed in the deepest shade of black. “We chose to work with them because during a trip to Japan we visited the Montsuki dying facility in Kyoto and were fascinated by the artisanship and story,” says Aldo. “We left some fabric prototypes and the results were brilliant.” Harris Wharf London, 295 Westbourne Grove, London W11 harriswharflondon.co.uk kmontsuki.co.jp Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby Artist Tarragon Smith tarragonsmith.com
NEWS Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Magazine Work
His name is synonymous with American pop art, a movement built upon the imagery of advertising, but Warhol himself contributed to the world of commercial illustration, spending a large part of his career working in popular culture – something he always tried to reinterpret with his art. This book brings together his full range of commercial work, spanning 400 issues between 1948-87. Out on 18 September prestel.com Words Edward Moore
Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography It was not until the arrival of the likes of visionaries such as Paul Strand that photography – previously used for generally scientific or novel purposes – could be established as a modern art form. A collection of 4,000 prints taken by Strand – from his emergence as a photographer at the turn of the 20th century to his death in 1976 – has been recently acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and will be shown in an upcoming exhibition and book.
Paul Strand: Master of Modern Photography opens at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia on 21 October. The accompanying book is out on 11 November philamuseum.org yalepress.yale.edu Words Edward Moore The Family, Luzzara (The Lusettis), 1953 Philadelphia Museum of Art © Estate of Paul Strand
Penfield x Baartmans&Siegel and Cape Heights
There are two new releases this season in – and on the periphery of – nearly 40-year-old outdoors brand Penfield. Collaborating with London-based menswear design duo Baartmans&Siegel, Penfield have produced a selection of jackets that blend technical elements with minimal tailoring. Cape Heights, previously a manufacturer of Penfield in the 1990s, will also launch its first complete collection this season. capeheights.com baartmansandsiegel.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby Designer Pasquale Daniel pasqualedaniel.com
NEWS 6876 x Good Measure
As part of the brand’s Black Project, 6876 has collaborated with Good Measure to create a sweater knitted from a variety of black and grey yarns in an old method known as ‘Newcastle’. The project is an ongoing series of collaborations by ex-Duffer of St George Kenneth Mackenzie’s 6876, which invites brands, stores and magazines to produce products, quite simply, in black. This particular garment is an early 6876 design that brings together Good Measure’s expertise in producing quality old-school sweaters in the UK. goodmeasure.co.uk sixeightsevensix.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby IT Technician Chris Fuller
Brighton Photo Fringe
Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals Working between still and moving images, Duane Michals, a man who says “I don’t trust reality”, has made innovative use of the photographic sequence throughout an art career spanning six decades, writing on prints and experimenting with double and triple exposures.
Running alongside Brighton Photo Biennial 2014 and now in its sixth edition, Brighton Photo Fringe is one of the largest photography festivals in the UK. Aiming to be as inclusive as possible by exhibiting new artists to an international audience, the fringe runs under the slogan ‘Everybody can take part and everyone’s invited.’ BPF 2014 will be held at various locations in Brighton and Hove and along the coast to Hastings from 4 October bpb.org.uk photofringe.org Words Edward Moore
Shanghai, 2010 Photograph Rob Macdonald
Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals opens at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh on 1 November. The accompanying book is out on the same date cmoa.org prestel.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang
Untitled (Selfportrait), 1985 © Keith Haring Foundation
Keith Haring: The Political Line
Spreading his heartfelt message of positivity through the streets and subways of New York City, Keith Haring created art for everybody, and fought for the individual over racism, dictatorship and capitalism. It seems strange then that there has never been a major exhibition that addresses the political sentiments in his work. Keith Haring: The Political Line, will be held at San Francisco’s de Young Museum and brings together Haring’s large-scale paintings, sculptures and subway drawings. The exhibition opens at de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco on 8 November. The accompanying book is out on 1 September deyoung.famsf.org prestel.com I Think about Thinking by Duane Michals, 2000
Words Edward Moore
Fela Kuti in his Kalakuta Republic compound, Lagos, 1975 Photograph Janet Grifﬁth
Director Alex Gibney’s Finding Fela, a film about the life and music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, opens this week. The two-hour documentary tells its story mainly through archive footage, much of it previously unseen, of Kuti on stage, in conversation with friends, and meeting the press. Narrators include Tony Allen, drummer in Kuti’s bands from 1963-78; Sandra Izsadore, who befriended Kuti in the US in 1969 and introduced him to African-American political thought; Lemi Ghariokwu, designer of many Kuti album covers; Queen Kewe Anikulapo Kuti, one of 27 women Kuti married simultaneously in Lagos in 1978; Rikki Stein, Kuti’s longtime friend and manager; Bill T Jones, director of Fela! The Musical; and Kuti’s children Yeni, Seun and Femi. The film’s two-CD soundtrack album includes 14 Kuti tracks, from the Koola Lobitos single ‘Highlife Time’ (1964), to material with Nigeria ’70 and Africa ’70, and Egypt 80’s Beasts of No Nation (1989). ﬁndingfela.com knittingfactoryrecords.com Words Chris May
JJ’s Club, London. Photograph Peter Williams
What We Wore
The five-year-old brainchild of photographer Nina Manandhar, What We Wore is the most eclectic archive of UK style to date. Starting as a blog open to submissions, the project soon blossomed into a book filled with pictures of styles and the stories behind them. “It’s been very research-heavy,” says Manandhar. “You have to go and seek out the stories behind hundreds of pictures.” The incredible volume of submissions – still ongoing – have also taught Manandhar a thing or two about UK style. “Subculture is usually presented in a very prescriptive way, where it feels like there’s only one authority. What We Wore is about many voices, not ‘This was a mod’ or ‘This was a punk’ – its more about bringing those little details out like ‘This was a young girl from Manchester who rode a milk cart home the morning after her night out’.” Send images to firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is out on 1 November prestel.com what-we-wore.com Words Edward Moore
King Zulu, 1986 © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Basquiat and the Bayou
Jean-Michel Basquiat is as connected to the streets of New York, where he was raised, as he is to his spiritual roots in the American South. Deeply invested in his African-American heritage, Basquiat made southern-themed work as a response to the African diaspora spawned by trans-Atlantic slave systems. This exhibition and accompanying book bring together these connections to the South in Basquiat’s work. The exhibition opens at Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans on 25 October. The accompanying book is out on 1 October ogdenmuseum.org prestel.com Words Edward Moore
Bringing together classic Ivy League style with technical fabrics, Tracksmith is breathing life into the world of running apparel. The creation of Matt Taylor and Luke Scheybeler, the label combines Scheybeler’s experience as co-founder of cycling brand Rapha and Taylor’s work in the running industry for its products inspired by the birthplace of American running, New England. tracksmith.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Craig Salmon Runner Zandy Mangold
Issey Miyake Store
The technologically progressive Japanese brand Issey Miyake is set to open a new store in Mayfair this October, where its new Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and Bao Bao Issey Miyake for men will be available exclusively. Issey Miyake, 10 Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1 isseymiyake.com Words Edward Moore Photograph Chris Tang Styling Emily Rusby Snapper Edward Cooke edward-cooke.co.uk
Edward wears jacket, trousers and top by Issey Miyake; hat, model’s own.
Albert de Paname
Parisian-born de Paname first set foot in London after the Paris riots of 1968 and slipped easily into its nightlife. “London was the place to be a DJ,” recalls the Gallic dandy. “I arrived and straight away was a DJ at Le Kilt in Soho at night and had a stall on the Portobello in the day. I then DJ’d at La Poubelle on Greek Street, Samantha’s near Carnaby Street, and Scotch of St James.” Subsequently back and forth between the two cities, Albert was the ideal DJ for Paris’s legendary Les Bains-Douches – the regular early-1980s hangout of Grace Jones, Karl Lagerfeld, Roman Polanski, Iman and David Bowie et al, one of the hippest clubs on Earth. Thus, having built up a following, Albert opened his Wednesday night at the Café de Paris in London in the mid-1980s and subsequently DJ’d and promoted his unique soirees at Le Balajo, La Nouvelle Eve and Maxim’s in Paris. Indeed, as de Paname drives through city boulevards in his pink 1956 Cadillac convertible, he seems to epitomise Parisian hepcat nightlife. Apart from DJing at swanky parties the world over, he also now runs a vintage clothing store on Portobello Road. “The funny thing is is that my first stall was right across the street,” he chuckles. “After all these years, I am back where I started.” Albert de Paname Vintage Clothing, 293 Portobello Road, London, W10 facebook.com/albertvintageshop Photograph Owen Harvey Words Chris Sullivan
It can be hard growing up in the shadow of a famous parent, especially if you choose to follow the same career. Ask Rufus Wainwright. Or Martha Wainwright. Baxter Dury is the son of larger-than-life English rocker Ian Dury – that’s Baxter, aged five, standing next to his dad on the front cover of 1977’s New Boots and Panties. He was brought up in a bacchanalian household – one babysitter was the Sulphate Strangler aka Pete Rush, a member of his dad’s entourage. But Dury’s come through it enriched rather than scarred, having also inherited from his dad an understanding of good production. His fourth album It’s a Pleasure, another set of characteristically well-observed songs, is buffered by lustrous and delightfully unfussy audio. One co-producer was his friend Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, Kronos Quartet) and the album was mixed on Silvey’s vintage desk. “There’s no automation on it,” says Dury. “Why would you want to autotune a piece of old beef like me?” It’s a Pleasure is out on 20 October baxter-dury.com pias.com Photograph Kevin Davies Words Chris May
After a few false starts, pioneering London funk band Cymandé’s reunion is happening, with a show at London’s Koko and a new LP on the way. With their roots in various corners of the Caribbean, their black British ‘NyahRock’ was markedly different to that of their funk brothers across the Atlantic; perhaps this difference helped tracks like ‘Bra’ and ‘Dove’ (off their self-titled 1972 debut LP for Janus Records) become b-boy classics in the hands of DJs like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash. They were heavily sampled in hip-hop, most famously by De La Soul. Two LPs produced by John Schroeder – who discovered the group rehearsing in a Soho club in 1971 – followed their debut, and the group’s legendary status was furthered when tracks like ‘The Message’ and ‘Brothers on the Slide’ became anthems on the 1980s rare-groove scene. Everyone from Soul II Soul to Incognito trod the path first walked by Cymandé more than 40 years ago. Cymandé play at Koko, London NW1 on 25 September. Their new album Crazy Game is out in October cymande.co.uk koko.uk.com Photograph Owen Harvey Words Andy Thomas
Steve Scipio, Derrick Gibbs, Adrian Reid, Pablo Gonzales, Sam Kelly, Michael Rose and Patrick Patterson
Having just driven back to England from the south of France in a newly acquired Aston Martin, Merlin McCormack, 20, brings to light that he has “been buying and selling cars since I was 11.” The son of highly respected vintage car restorer and Romance of Rust founder Lance, McCormack Jr was provided a step up into the world of classic cars. Opting out of university, he’s committed to his calling and already possesses the wisdom of a man with many more years in the trade. “I’ve been lucky,” he says. “But more than anything, it’s been through referrals and word of mouth and I think, if anything, that’s the best way to build a business, if it’s possible – make yourself known.” dukeoflondon.co.uk Photograph Ross Trevail Words Edward Moore
H A R R I S W H A R F L O N D O N . C O . U K
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Time was when British jazz was as riven by sectarian disputes as the left opposition during the Thatcher years. In summer 1960, pitched battles broke out between traditionalists and modernists at festivals in Hackney’s Victoria Park and at Baron Montagu of Beaulieu’s Hampshire pile. Back then, straight society’s default position on jazz was febrile: “Jazz fan charged with murder” ran one Times headline. Four years later, mods and rockers replaced jazz fans at the battle lines and in Fleet Street demonology. Preservation Hall Jazz Band – founded 50 years ago with a staunchly traditionalist agenda – is today more likely to bring audiences together than divide them. The band’s gorgeous, raucous, grin-inducing latest album That’s It! crosses Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton with Dr John, Duke Ellington, swamp rock and tango. It was co-produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and PHJB banjo and tuba player Ben Jaffe, whose parents founded PHJB in New Orleans’ French Quarter in 1961. Earlier this year, PHJB opened for My Morning Jacket on tour. “They were rock audiences and it took them ten seconds to recalibrate,” says Jaffe. “And then they went ape for it.” PHJB play at My Morning Jacket’s One Big Holiday 2015 mmjonebigholiday.com preservationhalljazzband.com Photograph Owen Harvey Words Chris May
Grab a white swan, strap on your seat belt and listen to New Orleans-based singer and guitarist Benjamin Booker’s selftitled debut album, out now on Rough Trade. It comes on like an amphetamine-fuelled rocket-ride of primal rock‘n’roll with a high-energy dose of T.Rex boogie at its throbbing centre. “When I was at college,” says Booker, “my roommate had T.Rex’s Electric Boogie. We played it every day for a year. It was definitely one of the main inspirations for my disc.” His self-titled album was recorded at Andrija Tokic’s retrominded Bomb Shelter studio in Nashville, where Tokic has winningly captured the raw energy of the Alabama Shakes, Natural Child and other back-to-basics bands. “We pretty much pitched up, unpacked our instruments and let rip,” says Booker. “We tracked the whole album in less than three days. There are a few overdubs but it’s basically live. That’s how Andrija likes to record. Keep the rough edges in and the technology out.” Benjamin Booker has a string of UK dates this September supporting Jack White benjaminbookermusic.com Photograph David Goldman Words Chris May
www.normanwalshuk.com Walsh is Britainâ€™s only domestically owned, designed and manufactured sports footwear and has been in continuous production in Bolton, Lancashire since 1961.
All Walsh shoes come with a unique pedigree. The above Ensign was first developed for the Bolton Harriers to compete in the 1981 New York marathon.
Park Hill Street Bolton BL1 4AR Tel: 01204 370374
PEOPLE Jim Stephenson
While working once for a New England firm, architect Jim Stephenson was shown a different path. “My boss [Gary Meehan] said if you can spend years designing a building,” he says, “the least you can do is learn to take a decent picture of it.” Stephenson then discovered a zeal for creating architectural films, and now also co-curates Brighton’s Miniclick, giving photographers a platform to discuss their work. “You could buy a photographer’s book and it could be brilliant,” he says, “but you might get more from actually hearing him talk about his work.” Miniclick will host a series of events at Brighton Photo Biennial and Fringe miniclick.co.uk photofringe.org bpb.org.uk Photograph David Goldman Words Edward Moore
The second generation of his family making house music in Detroit, Jay Daniel came along soon after his mother Naomi’s 1993 track ‘Stars’ was released on Carl Craig’s Planet E Communications label. “I think I was three when that came out,” he says. “She had the cassette, that was just crazy. I used to listen to it with my little cousin.” Detroit-bred Daniel, 23, spent many of his teenage years in Maryland with his father, so it was only when he returned to Detroit aged 18 that he was affected by the city’s electronic music scene. “There’s a regenerative, creative energy that keeps Detroit thriving,” he says. “That’s why it keeps turning out these new artists – first of all, the rules are different. People don’t care how it looks, they just care how the music sounds.” With electronic music still the staple for the creative community in Detroit – as it has been for 30 years – Daniel has managed to rise up and be heard amongst a plethora of talent, both old and new. “In order to stand out in Detroit you gotta stretch, creatively,” he says. “You can’t be in a box saying you can only do this. Whatever your resources are, whatever you’ve got, you use that.” Having been involved with house music for just four years – albeit playing around the world for half that time – he knows he has some big steps to make in his career. “I’m still up and coming and I’m going to be up and coming till people stop saying ‘up and coming’, he says. Jay Daniel plays a night curated by Four Tet and Caribou at the Warehouse Project, Store Street, Manchester on 31 October soundcloud.com/jaydaniel thewarehouseproject.com Photograph Richard Stow Words Edward Moore
You could say Ohio-born Dig Wayne is a man for all seasons. He has been a front man for two very successful and credible bands – Buzz and the Flyers and JoBoxers, has starred in West End stage plays such as the Louis Jordan jump ‘n’ jive extravaganza Five Guys Named Moe (written and directed by The Wire’s Clarke Peters) and acted in TV productions such as CSI, Dexter and ER while also knocking out a few feature films like Judge Dredd and Nightcrawler. At present he’s also a journalist, writes and performs his noir poetry, and regularly shows his photographs in LA, where he now lives. “My music informs my poetry, my poetry informs my acting, and my photography informs everything,” he says, dressed in classic 1950s US workwear. “In my photography my passion is to find the repeating patterns of the universe, so I go in as close as I can on rusty patinas of old cars and blow the shots up on canvas – while my poetry tells of the everyday things that we often overlook or take for granted. Growing older is rich with new discoveries.” Wayne played a big part in New York and London hipster counterculture in the 1980s and hangs both his productivity and versatility on one hook. “To be honest, I am deeply narcissistic by my upbringing,” he says, “and have learned that there lies the root of my pain as well as my creativity.” digwayne.com digwayneimages.com Photograph Tim Hans Words Chris Sullivan
Cormega’s sixth studio LP Mega Philosophy comes at a time when hip-hop lyricism is almost a thing of the past. “I remember when lyrics meant everything,” he says. “Lyrics is what defined a great MC, not how much money or how much status you have.” Typically associated with Queens – growing up with the likes of Nas, AZ and Nature – Cormega wasn’t limited to a single New York borough. “I grew up in different places so I was able to absorb hip-hop from Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens...” As a kid, hip-hop was “love at first sight” for Cormega – with the Sugar Hill Gang being one of his primary sources. Before that even, Cormega cites Muhammad Ali as his first lyrical influence. “What he was doing was always cool, that rhythmic display, then when I heard lyrics with a beat, it was amazing and I wanted in.” Getting through a four-year stint in prison and a fallout with Nas and Def Jam Records in the 1990s, Cormega feels he has “less to prove now” and his approach to hip-hop, over a career spanning 20 solid years of music making, has most definitely changed. “I am getting in my driver’s seat and I’m driving, I’m cruising instead of speeding up on a highway.” Now in his 40s with another album already in the pipeline for next year, Cormega is still keeping lyricism alive. “I’m just trying to return to form, you know what I’m saying? I’m just trying to return to form and representing that.” Cormega plays at A3C Festival in Atlanta this October. a3cfestival.com Photograph Janette Beckman Words Edward Moore
In the opening verse of ‘Moving On’, the first track on Tony Allen’s Film of Life, the drummer and bandleader recites the titles of other discs he has made since leaving Fela Kuti’s Afrika ’70 in 1978. He goes on to say that he is taking his music into new territory. “I wanted to keep my Afrobeat thing,” says Allen. “But not keep it in the same raw way.” Psychedelia and electronica enrich the album but, happily for roots Afrobeat enthusiasts, Allen has not moved on too far. Film of Life is another glorious exposition of the groove he developed with Kuti’s band Koola Lobitos in the late 1960s, which became Afrobeat’s cornerstone. The lyrics keep the faith, too. A standout is ‘Boat Journey’, which addresses the same subject matter – the perils and imperatives of underthe-radar economic migration – as ‘Go Back’, co-written with Damon Albarn and released in July. “I’m not saying don’t come,” says Allen. “I’m just saying – be aware the journey will be dangerous and times will be tough when you arrive.” Film of Life is released on Jazz Village on 20 October. Allen and his band play at Village Underground, London EC2 on 20 November jazzvillagemusic.com villageunderground.co.uk Photograph Vanni Bassetti Words Chris May
Earl of Bedlam
Bespoke clothing label Earl of Bedlam celebrates five years in the fashion business next year, and as you’ll see from this picture, they have gathered quite the – what Lady Caroline describes as – “Bedlam family”. Earl of Bedlam are couple Caroline Butler and designer/tailor Mark Wesley. Both come from a staunch West End clubbing background, with Butler having worked in many aspects of the music business and Wesley taking his love of nightlife attire and putting it to creative use by enrolling himself on a foundation course at Goldsmith’s College. They met in Sid and Nancy’s infamous Chelsea Hotel room when Butler was PRing and Wesley designing for a UK label launch, and decided to combine their talents and make clothes that “are Gangs of New York with an Oliver Twist”. The name is derived from the Imperial War Museum, near their home and studio, which was originally the Bethlem Royal psychiatric hospital – long known as ‘Bedlam’. Wesley and Butler are in the foreground on the right of the picture, flanked by two musician “muses”, pianist Theo Jackson and saxophonist Soweto Kinch. Others in the throng – all sporting their own pieces of Bedlama – include singer Andrew Roachford in tie and waistcoat, alongside author Jake Arnott, while astride the horse is Marcela Curbishley, wife of the Who’s manager Bill. Earl of Bedlam will present new Hardy Minnis fabrics at the Bermondsey Square Hotel, where they are tailors-in-residence, on 8 October earlofbedlam.co.uk Photograph Jill Furmanovsky Words Mark Webster
Christopher wears jacket by Vivienne Westwood Anglomania; trousers and T-shirt by Y-3.
Mr Cool & Zesty-Boy Swift Photographs Horst Friedrichs Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala Photographic Assistant Ioannis Kementsetsidis Absolute Beginners Mark Ardisson, guitarist in PHY facebook.com/phyband and Christopher Peter Diaz, PE teacher
Mark wears jacket by Levi’s Vintage Clothing; jeans by Lewis Leathers; shirt by Levi’s Made&Crafted; rings, model’s own.
DETAIL | Mr Cool & Zesty-Boy Swift
Mark wears jacket by Carhartt WIP x Neighborhood; T-shirt by Carhartt WIP; sunglasses by Cutler and Gross; rings, model’s own.
Mark wears jacket and jeans by Dsquared2; shirt by Andrea Pompilio; rings, model’s own.
Christopher wears jacket by Wåven; T-shirt by Edwin Jeans; sunglasses by Cutler and Gross; rings by Delphine-Charlotte Parmentier.
B RITISH M ADE
MANCHESTER | LONDON | TOKYO
Christopher wears jacket by 7 For All Mankind; jeans by Levi’s Made&Crafted; sweater by Andrea Pompilio; ring by Delphine-Charlotte Parmentier.
DETAIL | Mr Cool & Zesty-Boy Swift
Mark wears jacket by Samsøe&Samsøe; jeans by Lewis Leathers; rings, model’s own.
John Simons The Ivy Shop. Far Out Tailors. Harrington. Bauhaus. Cecil Gee. Words Mark Webster Photographs Mattias Pettersson
John Simons, the man often credited with introducing the Ivy League look to the UK with the opening of the Ivy Shop in Richmond – celebrates fifty years in the business in 2015. Jason Jules, leading fashion journalist and pundit for 20 years and an accessories designer in his own right, has celebrated Simons’ satrorial legacy with The Neat Offensive, a documentary featuring the likes of Dylan Jones, Paul Weller, Kevin Rowland and Robert Elms all paying tribute to his work and influence, and Jules has them address an interesting conundrum: “mod or modernism?” It may seem a small, perhaps nuanced point, but it goes to the heart of how chaps have dressed for half a century. So we sat down with Simons and Jules and talked about how it started for them, and what the answer is to this fundamental question of modern style. John, tell us about the beginning. John Simons: The shop actually started in 1964, but the lead-up was at school. I had some pelts of cloth, made up some [pattern] cards, and started my company, Far Out Tailors. A guy in the East End, a tailor, did the measuring. Prior to that, it really began through my uncles, who were then all single guys and into their clothes. They’d always say, “Look, John, I’ve just had this new suit made.” And everyone had their own tailor in those days. My family had a men’s hairdressers on Kingsland Road [Dalston] – very popular – so you’d see lots of really interesting people there. 54
I remember one guy who came in, and he had the first Polaroid camera. Very Americanised! I was a normal kid. I liked toys, playing sports. But I also had this other facet, where I was being exposed to the fashion side of things. Jason, what was your jumping-on point? Jason Jules: The starting point was watching TV as a kid. A place like the Ivy Shop [in Covent Garden by then] would later be a complete revelation to me, so prior to that, very early, it was looking at Fred Astaire; him and Cary Grant, maybe a bit of Steve McQueen. Basically, I know I was into clothes from the age of four because I got my glasses at five and until then I could hardly see anything. So I sat this [puts his hand to his face] close to the TV. When my mum said, “We’re going shopping for clothes, Jason,” I said I wanted to dress like Al Astaire, because I hadn’t been able to read the TV properly! So, I think, like John, very early on I was a pretty normal kid, but clothes were “the thing”. JS: The important thing was that in 1955 I was taken on by Cecil Gee’s display team, an apprenticeship more or less, and I was on day release to go to [Central] St Martin’s. There I was, getting on the 38 bus from Hackney – I’d never seen anything! But boy, was I in the right place at the right time. I saw the pivot of everything that was going on. JJ: So, for you, John, I don’t think it was about nostalgia at all.
JS: You’re right. Coming out of the war, you had the influence of film-star culture, and later, jazz culture, and they wore Ivy League clothes. It quickly became the standard uniform of America. I remember reading a menswear daily out of New York that said “Ivy League had 80 per cent of American males in its grip”. And everyone was long, everyone was narrow. Their presidents, their jailbirds. So, that was the most influential period for me.” Where did this thing modernism start? JS: I was always interested in art and all the modern cultures – you were coming out of the war and looking back at the Bauhaus period that had been stifled by Hitler, so it was ready to flower. In Paris, there was this whole school of painting – abstraction, often very hardedged – and the music and fashion that interwove with it, and there was a mode of thinking. It was the beat generation – Kerouac, those kinds of people – but it was quite short-lived. By 1960 the hairy flarey thing started, and they were eclipsed. But there was this interesting period from 1946 to when modernism really flowered. It was a huge culture in America, and that affected things here. JJ: When you look back at hippies, rock’n’roll, acid house – a lot of it refers directly to that period. Beatniks, Kerouac, Ginsberg, bebop – maybe it’s the simple fact that there was a post-war explosion, and as a result modernism comes up. It’s like all those cultures searched hard and realised that’s really is as good as it gets. >
Paul Weller, 56, musician, wears top by John Smedley; sunglasses by Ray-Ban paulweller.com What does modernism mean to you? Marching forward, mindful of our history, embracing what is good and adapting. Who’s your modernist icon? Yves Saint Laurent. What’s your modernist soundtrack? Blow-Up by Herbie Hancock (1966). What’s your modernist film? Moon. How did you first hear of John Simons? Through the history books!
I suppose this all makes perfect sense, after the muddied waters of world war. JS: At that point, in the 1950s, people were not looking back, they were looking forward to what they thought would be a brave new world. Then when the mods eventually came in, they were the ones harking back to energise their new look. I know how some of it started because we introduced the Harrington jacket and all those iconic garments. But soon the clothes started getting tighter, they started wearing braces, and out of those original modernists, you started to get the suedeheads and the skinheads. Was there a fork in the road between modernism and what would spin off? Because we’ve seen, really, three generations of mod since then. JJ: A lot of mods I’ve come across refer back to modernism eventually. They see where it comes from. You’re right, there’s a fork in the road but somehow they get back to the source. It’s like, as a mod, yes, you’d be youthful and 56
energetic and listen to the Who, but before you know it you have developed a taste for Sonny Rollins. JS: You’re dead right there, Jason.
‘THEY’RE NOT LOOKING FOR GIMMICKS, AND I THINK WE IRRITATE PEOPLE WHO ARE’ How did you interpret that idea, John? JS: People come to us and love that we’ve stayed true to what we did. They’re not looking for gimmicks, and I think we irritate people who are. Some need
that, which is fine – but we don’t supply it. We can sometimes have three generations of family in here. Because there’s a wish-fulfilment going on. So, to a great degree, we’re cleansing back to the origins. I had new ideas, I still do. It’s odd, but maybe because of the influences embedded in me it became almost like walking – I’m never short of a new idea, which to a certain extent is an old idea, really. In terms of the film then, Jason, what is the story you’re looking to tell? JJ: What John is talking about – what he’s all about. It’s a story about style as opposed to fashion, or even style as anti-fashion. In the general landscape you see lots of menswear becoming popular, there’s a boom. As it evolves, it becomes more fashion-orientated, people wearing stuff made for them primarily because brands have to reinvent every season. So, as it goes on, it moves further away from style. That’s what I noticed. I wanted to talk about what style really was – not personal >
HISTORY | John Simons David Rosen, 57, estate agent, wears jacket by Nick Tentis; trousers by Levi’s; shirt by John Smedley; shoes by George Cleverley What does modernism mean to you? Tight! Who’s your modernist icon? John Simons. What’s your modernist soundtrack? Hard-bop jazz and ska. What’s your modernist film? Blow-Up and A Hard Day’s Night. How did you first heard of John? As the cult mythical owner of the Ivy Shop and the Squire Shop on Brewer Street in Soho.
Kevin Rowland, musician, wears shirt and braces, his own; jeans by Freddies of Pinewood; hat by Lock&Co dexysonline.com What does modernism mean to you? It actually doesn’t mean anything to me. I was just interested in the look. Who is your modernist icon? I had a modernist icon when I was a kid, but John Simons is a style hero. How did you first hear of John? I was 15. It was 1968 and a cool kid at school took me to the Squire Shop. I couldn’t believe it. That night I could barely sleep.
Paul Simons, 34, designer, wears T-shirt, shorts and belt by John Simons Apparel Company; shoes by Bass What does modernism mean to you? Form follows function. Who is your modernist icon? Le Corbusier. What’s your modernist soundtrack? Kind of Blue. What’s your modernist film? C’était un rendez-vous.
style, but things that will resist fashion and stand the test of time. And for me, it always goes back to John’s shops, and having conversations with John. Being a modernist, as he is, there’s always a notion of what’s new and what’s relevant, never what’s fashion. He’d point something out that you didn’t think was relevant, and you’d think, that makes perfect sense. It’s a film about that, and talking to people who were really influenced by it. And what’s interesting, everyone is coming from a different place, a different perspective. But what they have in common is the search – something that’s greater than the clothing. It’s like they all have a passport, but everyone’s coming from and going to different places. 58
Fundamentally then, with modernism, it’s the approach that’s never changed? JS: Well, I’m in a business and you have to make the bottom line work. So as well
‘IT’S A STORY ABOUT STYLE AS OPPOSED TO FASHION’ as romantic notions of the time and the hundreds of stories that have been told and untold, we still have to pay the rent. You have to mix practicality and reality with inventiveness and talent. And that’s
a demanding thing. So to answer that question in terms of what we’ve done over the years, the manufacturing continues to evolve – but not really. The trick is to get it as good as it used to be. Paul [ John’s son, who manages the shop] has been working on a range of shirts to go with the GI pants, rainwear and natural shouldered-jackets we’re doing for our John Simons Apparel Company range. And it’s taken a huge amount of work by him just to get the collars right. It’s all about looking back at those original shirts from the US, and making them happen again. John Simons, 46 Chiltern St, London W1 johnsimons.co.uk facebook.com/theneatoffensive
HISTORY | John Simons Jason Jules, 50, fashion expert, wears jacket and trousers by Polo Ralph Lauren; shirt by JC Penny; glasses by Epos; tie by John Simons Apparel Company; pocket square, belt and wristband by House of Garmsville facebook.com/garmsville What does modernism mean to you? A belief that we can all have a positive impact on the world, be it through art, style, music, politics or design. Who is your modernist icon? Nelson Mandela. Whatâ€™s your modernist soundtrack? Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis. Whatâ€™s your modernist film? Weekend. How did you first hear of John Simons? I went with some friends to the Russell Street store, maybe a couple of weeks after it opened. I thought John and the guys who worked at the store were the coolest people on the planet.
Salvatore Giuliano Sicily. Gentleman Bandit. Mafia. Turi. Michael Stern. Words Chris Sullivan
Since his death in 1950, the infamous Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano has inspired dozens of books, including the 1984 bestselling novel The Sicilian, by The Godfather author Mario Puzo, adapted for the big screen in 1987. Most agree, however, that the definitive film about the outlaw is Italian director Francesco Rosi’s 1962 Salvatore Giuliano. Critic Derek Malcolm described it as “almost certainly the best film about the social and political forces that have shaped that benighted island.” It is also one of Martin Scorsese’s favourite films of all time. Shot in a non-linear, documentary style, the eponymous movie follows those involved with the ‘Gentleman Bandit’ who rose to prominence after the Allied invasion of Sicily. A famous, handsome, charismatic and stylish robber, Giuliano hit newspaper front pages worldwide; even Time magazine felt obliged to quote an eight-year-old Roman boy’s bedtime prayer, in 1949: “God bless mother and father, and save Giuliano from the police.” Historian Eric Hobsbawn described him as “the last of the people’s bandits (à la Robin Hood) and the first to be covered in real time by modern mass media.” 60
To understand the man, and bandit culture, or indeed the Mafia that created the environment in which he thrived, one must acquaint oneself with the uncommonly mercurial island of Sicily. First inhabited by the Sicani, possibly from modern-day Spain, it subsequently fell under the rule of at least a dozen foreign bodies: Vandals, Ostrogoths, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Angevin Frenchmen, Aragonese, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Spaniards, Normans Habsburgs, Bourbons, the British and the Italians. It was finally conquered by Giuseppe Garibaldi, who annexed it to Italy during its great 19th-century period of unification, the Risorgimento. Thus, two constants ever in the lives of Sicilians have been criminals and the Mafia. Successive rulers were regarded as foreign interlopers ripe for robbing while the homegrown Mafia were the only ‘rulers’ locals ever kowtowed to. Sicily, as we know it, is a product of this system. Even the mother tongue, more dialect than language, features Greek, Arabic and French words alongside words of its own. No wonder Rosi’s historically accurate movie employs Italian subtitles
– few mainlanders fully comprehended Sicilian even in 1962. When the Allies took Sicily from the Germans in 1943 – the first step in their successful recapture of Europe – they left local Cosa Nostra as administrators, and Sicily continued on its old, chaotic path. A murder a day was not uncommon in Palermo, while gunfights regularly broke the silence both day and night as bandits roamed the country. It was in this atmosphere that Giuliano emerged. Born in the hamlet of Montelepre, outside Palermo, on 16 November 1922 (just after Mussolini marched on Rome) he was one of four children and, in the great Italian tradition, was worshipped by la mamma. Giuliano was described by his teacher as a “quick learner”, devouring every book he could lay his hands on. Nicknamed “Turi”, a Sicilian shortening of Salvatore, he listened to his papa tell tales of the gold-paved sidewalks of New York, his former home. When the Allied forces landed in 1943, Sicilians, most of whom had relatives in the US, rejoiced. However, the invasion did not improve the state of Sicilian life, which was impossible without the black >
market. Rations kept people near starvation and criminal racketeering expanded – roads had been bombed, bridges demolished, the weapons of four armies were freely available, while law enforcement ceased to exist. A law, passed to force the release of hoarded foodstuffs, prohibited grain transportion between provinces. Guiliano, aged 20, not one for observing such laws, began smuggling grain to his village. All went well until 2 September, when he had his goods confiscated at a checkpoint but refused to bribe the officers. A fight ensued and he fled, only to be shot doing so. Bleeding profusely, he fired back and killed one. The other three backed off, found his ID card on the ground and agreed he’d either die of his wounds or be rounded up at their leisure. Few might describe as leisurely, though, the seven years it took to apprehend him – during which he robbed, kidnapped and killed an enemy on a weekly basis – or the 2000 troops sent after him, or the millions of lire spent in that endeavour. Giuliano’s die was cast when the authorities arrested his father, who shared his name, and a few cousins. His response was to ambush the carabinieri en route to the prison – but, though he killed one and wounded another, he vanished, soon to return disguised as a gardener to smuggle a file into the gaol and facilitate a breakout of 12 men. They brought with them much of the prison’s armoury and formed the nucleus of the Giuliano gang. He allied himself with the Sicilian Separatist movement whose leaders saw 62
he was just what they needed – a fiercely ambitious, charismatic young man who hated the carabinieri but lacked his contemporaries’ sordid criminal history, in other words, a hero. They offered him the post of Chief of Police and Minister of Justice should he succeed, funded his exploits and promised arms and uniforms. He could now, as a soldier fighting for a just cause many believed in, kill those
‘HE WAS A NICE GUY; HE HAD JUST ONE THING WRONG WITH HIM: HE LIKED KILLING PEOPLE’ he despised with impunity. Party leaders now had Giuliano in the palm of their hands, ready to do their dirty work. Mussolini was executed on 28 April 1945, and a week later the Nazis retreated from Italy – which had, by then, declared war on Japan, an act that put it on the same footing as other Allied belligerents. Knowing England and America would no longer side with them, the separatists
realised they had to act before the Italian Government took back control of Sicily. Their army – now numbering 5,000, half of which were commanded by Giuliano – was routed by Italian forces in October. separatist leaders, with the exception of Giuliano, a fugitive now fighting more a guerrilla campaign, were exiled. This didn’t stop Giuliano. On 27 December he and 80 men attacked police barracks at Bellolampo, purloining its guns and decorating it with separatist slogans. He robbed a Palermo-Trapanini train, relieving a rich passenger of a wad of cash, treated passengers, including a British officer, with uncommon courtesy, and giving an interview to an Italian journalist. He then ambushed and shot an army officer, tended to his wounds and let him go free. His legend was growing daily. But those who snitched, and many did, he would, ultimately, put up against a wall and shoot. To the corpse he’d then pin a note: “So Giuliano will deal with all those who spy against him.” Under a new amnesty granted to separatists not charged with criminal acts, many cronies fled to respectability but Giuliano, still the leader of a band of outlaws, carried on. By mid-1946, almost all major crimes were attributed to the handsome young rebel who, much to the embarrassment of the authorities, still evaded capture. The first months of 1947 brought fresh humiliation, when Giuliano was interviewed by New York journalist Michael Stern: a former war correspondent, he dressed as a US Army captain and simply drove to Montelepre
CINEMA | Salvatore Giuliano
in a jeep and had Giuliano Sr usher him to his son, whom he photographed and interviewed. It was published in a dozen different languages, painted Giuliano as a latter-day Robin Hood and cemented the legend. “He was a nice guy, a sincere guy,” said Stern. “He had just one thing wrong with him: he rather liked killing people.” Events escalated after the Allies handed Sicily over to the Italians, who dispatched an army to aid the carabinieri. Between several February 1947 clashes, Giuliano’s gang rested and concentrated on kidnapping rich civilians, who they treated, by all accounts, very kindly. By this time he was hand-in-glove with the Mafia, who handled the ransom demands for a cut. Still, a reward of a million lire was posted for the man, dead or alive. Meanwhile, the separatist leaders were set free from exile and denounced their cause, leaving Giuliano and his men stranded. He formed the Movement for the Annexation of Sicily to the American Confederation and sent a letter with Stern to US President Harry Truman, asking for Sicily’s inclusion as the USA’s “49th Golden Star”, and that he’d purge the island of communism and refuse aid from Stalin. No reply has been located. What is known is that the communist party, now dominant, was enraged and accused Giuliano of police collusion. His response was to back the Monarchist Party (who offered him amnesty) and launch a major offensive against the communists. On 1 May 1947, he made
the first of a succession of mistakes. The communists of Portelle della Ginestra were holding their May Day celebrations locally. Giuliano planned to fire over the heads of the revellers and then summarily execute communist senator Li Causi in front of the crowd. At 10am, the crowd started to arrive – peasant families in their Sunday best. At 10:15, the party secretary took to the stage. Seconds into his speech, the machine guns opened fire, killing 11 men, women and children, nine donkeys and horses, and wounding 33 others. Giuliano claimed it was an accident and that he was horrified. Still, just weeks later, on 24 June, he bombed communist party headquarters in six villages, blew up a Palermo industrial plant and scattered thousands of anti-communist leaflets over the city. Left-wingers organised protest strikes throughout Italy and debate raged in the senate. Consequently, the carabinieri moved in on Montelepre with renewed vigour, using tear gas and machine guns to intimidate the 6000 townspeople; many were arrested and questioned. Giuliano’s mother and sister were arrested and imprisoned, and many core soldiers left him. The writing seemed to be on the wall. Then, as if to underline the above, on 17 July 1948, he did the unthinkable, assassinating five high-ranking Mafioso, including a capo, Santo Fleres. His roof came falling down. His mother and sister were again arrested and sentenced to five years in prison, and his father got an extra five years. Giuliano
responded by kidnapping politicians, princes and dukes, receiving ransoms in excess of 100m lira. The Italian government set up an anti-bandit squad whose main task was to bring down Giuliano. Commanded by two crack officers, Antonio Perenze and Ugo Luca, it consisted of a gang of hard-nosed unbribable northern Italians to garrison Montelepre. Meanwhile, the Mafia started betraying and setting up Giuliano’s core gang members, leaving few trusted players for the last act. On 5 July 1950, Giuliano was lured out of a house in the western Sicilian village of Castelvetrano and shot. Near his face lay his pistol, near his right hand a Beretta submachine gun. But who killed him? How was he caught? It seemed the killer was as elusive as the man himself. The Times claimed he fell foul of a police machine-gun barrage, while the Gazetta du Popolo put it entirely on police captain Perenze. Some of the Italian press, in the absence of the truth, concentrated on his clothes, describing the minute details of his beautifully cut jacket that lay nearby, and his highly polished brown sandals. His cousin and right-hand man Gaspare Pisciotta stated during his lengthy trial that he’d shot Giuliano in his sleep, a claim that, though substantiated by the Mafia lawyer at whose house the killing took place, was disputed. Four years later Pisciotta was murdered in prison, his morning coffee laced with strychnine. In 1955, writer Gavin Maxwell, investigating Giuliano’s death, met with an unnamed source from Montelepre. “Everyone knows that Gaspare was innocentissimo,” he claimed. “The real killer was the same man who killed Pisciotta – but the orders in each case came from high up. The Mafia’s arm is much longer that that of the law. Giuliano’s remains were exhumed in 2010 in order to quell the persistent rumours that a lookalike was buried in his place while he himself fled to the US. His relatives insist he was at least 5"9' but the skeleton in his grave was between 5"2' and 5"5', and DNA tests conducted on the body two years later stated there was a 90 per cent likelihood the remains were his. That still leaves a 10 per cent chance, however. He would now be 92. Salvatore Giuliano is out on dual-format Blu-ray and DVD on 15 September arrowfilms.co.uk
Jamie Hobbs, 24, bicycle mechanic, wears recycled down Aviation N3-B Parka with detachable fur hood Describe your style. Jeans and T-shirt. What’s so special about Brooklyn? I’m from the UK but Brooklyn is so exciting right now. I just had to come and live here. Describe Brooklyn in three words. Bikes. Babes. Bars.
Aviva Rowley, 26, florist, wears recycled down Aviation N3-B Parka with detachable fur hood avivarowley.com Describe your style. Classic and simple. What’s so special about Brooklyn? Everything is in Brooklyn – there’s a beach and you can get any kind of cuisine imaginable. There’s nowhere else in the world like it. Describe Brooklyn in three words. Home, sweet home. Who’s your style icon? Marlene Dietrich.
Who’s your favourite musician? John Maus.
Photographs Janette Beckman Styling Sydney Rose Thomas Photographic Assistant Matt Weiss
Whereas Manhattan is an island of skyscrapers and city traders, Brooklyn, separated from it by the narrow East River, has always been a bit more, shall we say, characterful. In fact, Brooklyn was its own city until 1898, when it came – by a narrow popular majority – into the municipality of New York City. Noted for its diverse ethnic communities, Brooklyn’s motto “In unity there is strength” is fitting for a district famed for its dockworkers. And it was into this landscape that a young Polish immigrant, Isaac Spiewak, arrived in 1904 and began making sheepskin vests for those stevedores. They proved so 64
popular that within just two years he moved into his own self-sufficient premises, which he duly named the “House of the Golden Fleece”. With the onset of war, Spiewak’s noted abilities to create hardwearing, weatherproof garments led to contracts with the US Navy, for whom he created a range of garments – most notably the Melton Pea Coat, which is still manufactured today. This, in turn, led to contracts with various civic departments including the police and firefighters. Perhaps the brand’s most celebrated jacket, the N3 parka was developed in 1945 for the warmth of crews in
unpressurised bomber cabins. The snorkel-hooded N3-B arrived in the 1950s and was soon adopted by civilians who appreciated its practical qualities. In the 1960s, the emerging counterculture movement, enduring harsh weather conditions during drawn-out rallies, reappropriated the jacket as a symbol of peace. Today, though the dockworkers may have left, Brooklyn is still a magnet for people seeking a place with an emphasis on both independence and community values. spiewak1904.com
ADVERTORIAL Michael Anthony Hernandez, 43, firefighter, wears Aviation Snorkel Parka What’s so special about Brooklyn? It’s an ethnic melting pot and that’s a beautiful thing. Describe Brooklyn in three words. Dynamic. Diverse. Dodgers. Who’s your style icon? Sidney Poitier. Who are your favourite musicians? Fela Kuti, Gil Scott-Heron and the Roots, to name a few. What’s your favourite movie? Heat.
Sid wears coat by Paul Smith; trousers by Folk; jacket by Baartmans&Siegel; shirt by Richard James; shoes by Mr Hare; hat, bow tie, tie pin and cane, stylist’s own. Alani wears coat by Maison Martin Margiela; trousers by Folk; jacket by Baartmans&Siegel; shirt by Hugo Boss; shoes by Mr Hare; hat, tie pin and cane, stylist’s own; tie by Richard James.
Alani wears suit by Casely-Hayford; shirt by Viktor&Rolf; hat, pocket square and pocket clip from Costume Studio.
Dreadnought Photographs Roger Charity Styling Mark Anthony Bradley Grooming Gow Tanaka using Aveda Photographic Assistant Karl Gregory Casting La TouchĂŠ hatabouttown.com Rudies Alani Adenle and Sid Charity
STYLE | Dreadnought
Alani wears jacket by Viktor&Rolf; trousers by Agi&Sam; striped shirt by John Smedley; white shirt and shoes by Gieves&Hawkes; hat, pocket square and tie clip, stylistâ€™s own.
Sid wears jacket by Richard James; trousers by Beau Homme; shirt by Scotch&Soda; shoes by Mr Hare; scarf, pocket square and pens, stylistâ€™s own.
STYLE | Dreadnought
Sid wears double-breasted jacket by Lanvin from Mr Porter; trousers by Beau Homme; chequered jacket by Agi&Sam; sweater by John Smedley from Mr Porter; boots by Edwin Jeans x Grenson; necklace, stylistâ€™s own.
Alani wears coat by Paul Smith; suit by Gieves&Hawkes; shoes by Mr Hare; hat, necklace, and socks, model’s own; scarf, stylist’s own.
Alani wears cardigan by Lanvin from Mr Porter; trousers by Scotch&Soda; shirt by Folk; shoes, model’s own; hat and clips, stylist’s own. Sid wears cardigan and trousers by Casely-Hayford; shirt by Folk; shoes by Mr Hare; hat and clips, stylist’s own.
STYLE | Dreadnought
Sid wears jacket by Beau Homme; trousers by Smith-Wykes; shirt and hat from Costume Studio; boots by Edwin Jeans x Grenson.
William S Burroughs Naked Lunch. Junkie. Harvard. Opiates. Yage. Tangiers. Brion Gysin. Joan Vollmer. Olympia Press. Words Chris May
One autumn evening in 1944, William Burroughs, aged 30 and recently arrived in New York where he planned to become a professional writer, received a call from a drinking buddy. The man, who worked in a dockyard, told Burroughs that he had a stolen Tommy gun he wanted to sell. Could Burroughs help him find a buyer? Maybe, said Burroughs, bring it over. When Burroughs’ friend arrived with the gun, he said he had something else to sell, and produced a box of half-grain syrettes of morphine. “This is just a sample,” he said. “I’ve got 15 of these at home and more if you get rid of these.” “I’ll see what I can do,” Burroughs said and, new to opiates, had within weeks begun an addiction that defined his life. Up until his death in 1997, he was either indulging a habit or trying to kick one. Burroughs told the syrettes story in Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict, written in 1951 and published two years later under the pseudonym William Lee. Sometimes referred to as Burroughs’ first novel, and originally packaged by its publishers as pulp fiction of no literary merit, Junkie is, in fact, a wafer-thinly disguised autobiographical memoir 74
and a vividly written page turner. Most of its stories happened. Practically the only fictional things are the characters’ names and the locations of some events. Burroughs used the pseudonym to avoid arrest on a string of drug and drug-related offences “confessed” to in the book. Once the statute of limitations on the offences had expired, Junkie was republished under his own name. In the book, which deals with his first five years as a heroin addict in the US and Mexico, Burroughs wrote: “Junk takes everything and gives nothing but insurance against junk sickness.” He had an equally firm conviction that hallucinogenic drugs, particularly weed, opened creative portals for him. Burroughs is rightly considered one of the holy trinity of beat writers, along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Like the others, he loved travel, living outside the law, iconoclasm and sexual freedom. But his opiate use and lifelong enthusiasm for guns set him apart. So, too, did his sartorial preferences, which eschewed the denim jeans and working men’s shirts adopted by his peers. Burroughs preferred suit and tie, an overcoat and a Homburg; whether intended or not, the style helped
camouflage his rebel existence from lawabiding society. And while Ginsberg, like Burroughs, was gay, Burroughs’ sexuality was expressed with altogether more assertiveness. More completely than his peers, Burroughs lived as a fugitive from the law and from society’s conventions, be they conservative or liberal. Well read from childhood and educated at Harvard, he also brought intellectual rigour to beat thinking and literature. Burroughs’ overarching literary theme was the repression of the individual by the state, through propaganda, mind control and social conditioning. Naked Lunch, first published in France in 1959, is his best-known fictional treatment of the subject, but it was followed by many other riffs and variations, and at least a dozen make equally powerful reading. Long life and productivity aside, the subject matter is probably the reason Burroughs, of all the beats, has had the most enduring impact on generations of readers, writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers and musicians. In 2014, the centenary of his birth, Burroughs’ influence as a writer and a symbol of rebellion is largely undimmed. >
Burroughs at the Hotel Villa Mouniria Garden, Tangier, 1961
Helpless Pieces in the Games He Plays by William S Burroughs, 1989 © Estate of William S Burroughs. Courtesy of October Gallery, London Photograph ONUK © ZKM Karlsruhe
Burroughs’ life spun out in two distinct halves. The 30 years before that story in Junkie, and the 53 years that followed them. He was born William Seward Burroughs to a comfortably-off family in the midwestern city of St Louis. His grandfather was the inventor of the Burroughs calculating machine and his parents had the good fortune to liquidise their shares in the Burroughs Corporation months before the stockmarket crash of 1929. When he was 18, Burroughs began receiving an allowance from his parents, which continued until he was 50. His biographers give this as $200 a month, but in Junkie’s preface, Burroughs wrote that it was $150 (about £700 today). Burroughs was drawn to books at a young age. “I read more than was usual for an American boy of that time and place,” he wrote. “Oscar Wilde, Anatole France, Baudelaire, even Gide.” Junkie’s preface includes other auguries of the adult Burroughs. Plagued by nightmares as a child, he wrote of overhearing a maid say that smoking opium brought sweet dreams. Burroughs said to himself, “I will smoke opium when I grow up.” He wrote of his adolescent rebellion: “My criminal acts were gestures. I would break into houses and walk around without taking anything. Sometimes I would drive around the country with a .22 rifle, shooting chickens.” Despite later accidentally shooting dead his partner Joan Vollmer, of which more shortly, Burroughs remained a committed gun 76
owner. His justification for ownership differed from the usual: “I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military,” he once wrote. At 18, Burroughs left home for Harvard. A model student, he graduated in 1936 with English honours and a year’s postgraduate study of anthropology. At weekends, he explored New York’s gay scene and smoked weed in Harlem nightclubs. Travelling to Europe,
BURROUGHS SAID TO HIMSELF, ‘I WILL SMOKE OPIUM WHEN I GROW UP’ he briefly studied medicine in Vienna and married a Jewish woman so that she could escape the Nazis. Back in the US, Burroughs volunteered to join the military but was rejected on psychiatric grounds probably related to his sexuality. Moving to Chicago in 1942, he worked as a private detective and then as a pest exterminator. In 1943, he relocated to New York, where he met and formed
lifelong friendships with fellow aspiring writers Ginsberg and Kerouac and began the life described in Junkie. Burroughs, who continued to have gay lovers, began living with Joan Vollmer in 1944. Vollmer, too, was a drug user – of speed, which could then be bought over the counter in New York. Burroughs was arrested in 1945 for forging a morphine prescription and, fearing further police harassment, moved with Vollmer to Texas, where their son, William S Burroughs Jr, was born in 1947. He died in 1981 and is best known for Speed, a novel based on his years as a speed freak in New York. In 1948, the family moved to New Orleans. Soon after, Burroughs was again arrested. Searching his apartment for drugs, the police found letters between Burroughs and Ginsberg in which the pair discussed a plan to ship wholesale quantities of cheap weed from New Orleans to New York, where Ginsberg was dealing it. To avoid probable imprisonment for conspiracy, Burroughs jumped bail and fled to Mexico with Vollmer. The couple planned to stay there until the statute of limitations on Burroughs’ charge expired five years later. But, in 1951, during a drunken game of William Tell at a party in Mexico City, Burroughs shot and killed Vollmer. He was charged with culpable homicide and briefly jailed, until his lawyer was able to arrange bail. After three years of legal manoeuvring, Burroughs was given a suspended sentence. In an introduction to Queer, another autobiographical memoir, written while he awaited trial for Vollmer’s shooting but not published until 1985, Burroughs wrote: “I am forced to the appalling conclusion that I would never have become a writer but for Joan’s death.” The tragedy triggered a spiritual “lifelong struggle, in which I have had no choice except to write my way out.” Burroughs’ next three decades were relentlessly peripatetic, crisscrossing the Americas, Europe and North Africa. Leaving Mexico, he spent several months
CULTURE | William S Burroughs
Burroughs’ first published book, 1953
Paris Wall & Posters, William S Burroughs, 1961 © Estate of William S Burroughs, Courtesy of October Gallery, London
in the Amazon rainforest, experimenting with the hallucinogenic drug yage. In 1954, he left the Amazon for Morocco and spent four years based in Tangier, consuming opiates and the weed-infused preserve majoun, and writing Naked Lunch, which was banned in Britain and the US until well into the 1960s. In Tangier, Burroughs became a close friend of the British writer and painter Brion Gysin, who ran a restaurant-cummeeting place, the 1001 Nights, that catered to the expatriate beat community – Ginsberg and Kerouac were among a stream of visitors from New York. Gysin later invented the dreamachine, a device that induced drug-free visual hallucinations. In 1958, in Paris with Burroughs, Gysin would discover the “cut-up” writing technique which became a feature of Burroughs’ work. Kerouac gave an evocative, magicalrealist portrayal of Burroughs’ adult life up to the mid-1950s in On the Road, published in 1957. Describing Old Bull Lee, a character based on Burroughs, Kerouac wrote: “He was a teacher and it may be said he had every right to teach because he spent all his time learning… He dragged his long, thin body around the entire United States and most of Europe and North Africa in his time,
only to see what was going on... there are pictures of him with the international cocaine set of the 1930s, gangs with wild hair, leaning on each other, there are other pictures of him in a Panama hat, surveying the streets of Algiers... In Paris he sat at cafe tables, watching the sullen French faces go by. In Athens he looked up from his ouzo at what he called the ugliest people in the world. In Istanbul he threaded his way through crowds of opium addicts and rug-sellers, looking for the facts. In Chicago he planned to hold up a Turkish bath, hesitated… and had to make a run for it. He did all these things merely for the experience.” In 1958, Burroughs and Gysin left Tangier for Paris. They took rooms in a dilapidated hotel in the Latin Quarter that became famous as the Beat Hotel. There Gysin discovered cut-up while slicing through a stack of old newspapers. Burroughs used the technique during the final stages of writing Naked Lunch, which he succeeded in placing with Olympia Press, an English-language publishing house in Paris operated by Maurice Girodias. Girodias specialised in publishing books banned in Britain or the US; Naked Lunch fitted right into the catalogue. “I can feel the heat closing
in, feel them out there making their moves,” its narrator begins, “setting up their devil doll stool pigeons, crooning over my spoon and dropper I throw away at Washington Square Station, vault a turnstile and two flights down the iron stairs, catch an uptown A train … Young, good looking, crew cut, Ivy League, advertising exec type fruit holds the door back for me. I am evidently his idea of a character.” The narrator goes on to relate a string of adventures and misadventures which have “no real plot, no beginning, no end”. On one level, the book reads like a cosmologicallyexploded prequel to Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, delivered in a hopped-up Raymond Chandler-esque style. Sold in plain but distinctive blackand-olive-green covers, the Olympia Press Traveller’s Companion Series became a totem of revolt among Britain’s emerging beat culture. Richard Strange – who in 1974 named his band Doctors of Madness with a Burroughs character, the fictional Doctor Benway, in mind – began buying them in the mid-1960s while a student at Tulse Hill School. “I spun my parents the most terrible yarn,” says Strange, “and hitchhiked to Paris to buy William Burroughs books. You couldn’t buy them in Britain. So you > 77
went to Paris and gravitated towards the English-language bookshop Shakespeare and Company and those Olympia Press softbacks, and you picked up Naked Lunch, Dead Fingers Talk, Junkie, Queer. The Soft Machine was just out, I think. Those books were our booty, our smugglers’ loot from Paris. And not only did we have this thrill of illegal and proscribed literature, but also we’d joined the beats, cos we’d hitchhiked there. That was it for me, I was bitten by Burroughs.” In 1966, Burroughs relocated to London, where he’d heard an effective cure for opiate addiction was available. The cure did not work, but Burroughs’ timing was perfect. The counterculture, heavily influenced by the beats, had also arrived. In 1966, Jimi Hendrix moved to London. In 1966, too, the International Times newspaper was founded, launched at a gig at the Roundhouse featuring Soft Machine, who had taken their name from the Burroughs novel. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Anita Pallenberg, Marianne Faithfull and other members of London’s rock aristocracy feted Burroughs. If Burroughs stood apart inside beat culture, his relationship with 1960s hippie culture was more ambivalent. He once described it as “the peace and love slop bucket”. The poet Heathcote Williams, who knew Burroughs in London, says in an interview on all-things-Burroughsian website Reality Studio: “Even though Burroughs had renounced drugs and was an expert analyst of the iniquities of the drug pyramid and its cruel chain of exploitation and metabolic enslavement, he seemed to hold an allure for junkies, who were drawn to him like iron filings to a magnet. It was as if he’d given their unfortunate predicament some glamour, or gravitas even, even though he himself was contemptuous in many ways of the stoned hedonism of 1960s culture.” Burroughs remained based in London until the early 1970s. By 1974, back in New York, he was on heroin again. In 1981, he moved to Kansas, where he lived and worked until his death. Burroughs followed Naked Lunch with a string of extraordinary novels, among them The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded, Nova Express, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, The Wild Boys, Cities of the Red Night, The Place of Dead Roads and The Western Lands. It was in Nova Express that he gave perhaps the most resonant expression of his core message. “And what does my program of total austerity and total 78
resistance offer you?” asks the book’s central character, Inspector J Lee. “I offer you nothing. I am not a politician. I order total resistance directed against this conspiracy to pay off peoples of the earth in ersatz bullshit... In Naked Lunch, Soft Machine and Nova Express I show who they are and what they are doing and what they will do if they are not arrested. Minutes to go. Souls rotten from their orgasm drugs, flesh shuddering from their nova ovens, prisoners of the earth to come out. With your help we can occupy The Reality Studio and retake their universe of Fear Death and Monopoly.” But of all Burroughs’ writings, Naked Lunch is the biggest influence and most widely-cited. The book was to mid-late 20th-century counterculture what Das Kapital was to early-mid 20th-century socialism. Everyone had it on their shelf and everyone knew a few choice quotes, but far fewer had actually read it. Unlike
‘HE SEEMED TO HOLD AN ALLURE FOR JUNKIES, WHO WERE DRAWN TO HIM LIKE IRON FILINGS TO A MAGNET’ Junkie and Queer, Naked Lunch is no easy read. The subject matter can be gruesome, the delivery scabrous. It is the literary equivalent of a Hieronymus Bosch painting. And stylistically, Burroughs’ use of cut-up and other methods of narrative distortion demand an unusual degree of engagement from the reader. David Cronenberg’s 1991 movie of the book mitigated this by weaving in scenes from Burroughs’ “real” life. But Naked Lunch’s prose is so charged, you can dip in and out of it and still catch the drift. Burroughs’ impact has spread beyond literature. Naked Lunch inspired other band names: Steely Dan, after a dildo, and Thin White Rope, a description for ejaculation. Musicians to acknowledge Burroughs’ influence include Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Kurt
Cobain and Patti Smith. (At Burroughs’ funeral, Smith, who had become a close friend, leaned over his open grave and sang ‘Oh Dear, What Can the Matter Be?’). Scenes and characters from his novels have found their way into movies since the 1970s. John Waters said of his Pink Flamingos (1972): “Wouldn’t you say the singing asshole has something to do with Naked Lunch?” Burroughs’ posthumous reputation as a photographer and painter divides opinion as widely as his writing once did. An inveterate photographer of people and places, usually carrying a camera round his neck, Burroughs was no Vivian Maier. And unlike Maier, who stored her prints and negatives meticulously, Burroughs mislaid or threw away the vast majority of his work; tellingly, perhaps, he hung on to his literary manuscripts for years, sometimes for decades, until a publisher could be found. But Burroughs’ surviving photographs and paintings include many jewels, and are worth investigating. When Naked Lunch was eventually published in the US, even the relatively liberal New York Times found it objectionable. Its review portrayed Burroughs as a destructive barbarian and ended with the line, “I advise avoiding the book.” Heathcote Williams offers a more enduring testimony: “[Burroughs’] last written words were ‘love is the most natural painkiller there is’. And he’d firmly declare his belief that love was the only way to resolve conflict; a message that certainly bears repetition. His last spoken words were reputedly ‘I’ll be right back.’” Hardly the words of an unredeemed dystopian nihilist. Richard Strange’s multimedia William S Burroughs tribute evening Language is a Virus from Outer Space is at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London on 11 October. The European Beat Studies Network’s Third Annual Conference marks his centenary at Hotel Chellah, Tangier from 17-19 November. A self-titled exhibition of his art is at October Gallery, London from 4 December 2014 – 31 January 2015 octobergallery.co.uk realitystudio.org southbankcentre.co.uk
CULTURE | William S Burroughs
Camera in Mirrored Box by William S Burroughs, 1964 ÂŠ Estate of William S Burroughs. Courtesy of October Gallery, London
Dr Martens Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Styling Karen Mason Words Edward Moore Skinheads Dash, Dylan Collins and Vince Smith
At the height of the hippie movement in 1969, a group of young lads sporting crew cuts and tight, smartly pressed clothes were often to be spotted in the Bethnal Green area of east London. Perhaps a reflection of the Brutalist architecture of the area and the clean look of the mods, these was the first 80
examples of what would become known as â€œskinheadsâ€?. Inspired by a look that incorporated the MA-1 flight jacket, a tartan shirt and bleached jeans, Dr Martens has collaborated on a collection with Alpha Industries, Brutus and Edwin Jeans respectively. As a nod to the musical
tastes of the movement, they have also created a 7" record box with Trojan Records. drmartens.co.uk
Dylan wears coat by Crombie; trousers by Levi’s; shirt by Brutus Trimfit; boots by Dr Martens. Dash wears jacket by Dr Martens x Alpha Industries; jeans by Dr Martens x Edwin Jeans; shirt by Dr Martens x Brutus Trimfit; boots by Dr Martens. Vince wears shirt by Dr Martens x Brutus Trimfit; braces, model’s own. Bag, on car, by Dr Martens x Trojan Records.
Joe Corré Jack Sheppard. Agent Provocateur. Anti-fracking.
Words Chris Sullivan Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Styling Adam Howe All clothes Jack Sheppard
Following in the footsteps of his inimitable parents Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corré may well have had his work cut out. In 1994, he opened a small shop in Soho selling lingerie inspired by vintage Hollywood glamour – Agent Provocateur. A crash course in the constructive minutiae of ladies undergarments followed, then queues around the block and media mayhem. Working on a shoestring, he pulled in friends – Kate Moss, Daisy Lowe and Kylie Minogue – to star in groundbreaking viral campaigns, turning Agent Provocateur into an instantly recognisable, massive global brand. Forced to sell the company for a record sum when he divorced wife and business partner Serena Rees, Corré remained as creative director and opened landmark Shoreditch store A Child of the Jago, selling short runs of Dickens-inspired men’s clothing alongside Edwardian drug paraphernalia and vintage sex toys. He launched Illamasqua, a make-up range aimed at trannies that, with some dozen stores worldwide, has now reached the mainstream. His most recent projects are clothes label Jack Sheppard, that he describes as “very British clothing”, and his burgeoning environmental advocacy. 82
You’ve recently been in the news with your anti-fracking tour. Yes, at first I was very sceptical, thinking, “We need this gas, don’t we?” I watched a few documentaries about it, researched it further, and what I saw could not have been more shocking. This is an industry with no solid business base, fraught with risk to our health and wellbeing – but the government is pushing this through at breakneck speed, clearing our legal protections away so fracking companies can drill under our homes and farmland. It’s terrible and no one voted for it. Half the country doesn’t even know what fracking is. People, when asked go, “Is it something to do with drilling?” Can you explain what it is? They drill vertically [for kilometres] to access gas that’s been trapped down in the layers of shale rock. They pump water, sand and a load of chemicals through horizontal pipes like an octopus, at such high pressures that it fractures the rock; the gas then leaks out and they take it to the surface. But this disturbs radioactive material that’s been trapped in the ground for millions of years and needs to fucking stay there. And there is no treatment to clean radioactivity out
of the water. Once the wells have dried out, they just put a concrete plug on the end, which their research has shown will always fail. So what you get is a toxic fucking time bomb all over the country. The government is licensing 64 per cent of the UK landmass for this, even though in America the water’s been poisoned, cows are dying, horses born with no body. There are documented cases, they have clusters of people dying from this rare form of brain cancer, and stillborn kids around fracking areas, but they’re saying it has nothing to do with fracking. Weren’t there two earthquakes already in England this year? When you get a fault line and you start fracking, it suddenly follows the fault line and causes earthquakes. There were two in Blackpool [in 2011] that cracked the well so these chemicals leaked into the ground and they left it there with a concrete cap on the well. This is new thing, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, with all these chemicals in high volume – it is a completely different process than anything before. The chairman and major investor in the company with the main fracking contract, Cuadrilla Resources, is the unelected Lord Browne. He’s also >
George Osborne’s best man [Peter Davies], in the Post Office sell-off when everyone was limited to £10,000 worth of shares, somehow managed to buy a few million and sell them the next day. He made about £5-6m in profit. There might be a growing cell of anti-conservative Conservatives. There is already. I know this beer brewer guy, dyed-in-the-wool Conservative – the opposite of any Greenpeace activist – and he knows it will ruin his beer as he gets all his spring water from this aquafer right in line to get poisoned. Organic farmers will lose their organic standards because their land is near a fracking site. It will hit landowners worst of all.
Leyman, 26, hairdresser
an advisor to the government on energy policy. He is responsible for putting three executive directors on the board of the environment agency that is supposed to be policing this whole thing. He was also the head of BP who lied about being gay. I know we live in the age of greed, but how much can these despicable gluttons want? Surely there must some kind of law against what he’s doing? This guy has got no democratic mandate. What I’m worried about is that the Conservatives will not change their minds, the Liberal Democrats are fucked, Labour have said they won’t object to this trespass law amendment (it basically means they will be able to drill 300m under your house and there is fuck all you can do about it) and the only ones who are addressing it is UKIP who say they’ll give people a local referendum on the matter, so if I keep pushing this as an election issue, I’m only pushing people towards UKIP. I’d heard little about it until recently. It is just wrong. Evidence suggests that anybody who lives within two miles of a fracking site will have a 25 per cent drop in their property values and, if they can get home insurance – which is doubtful because of the earthquake threat – it will cost a fortune due to the huge risk. You think about how many small businesses have got loans from the bank for their business secured by personal guarantees or by mortgage on their property. And 84
if you can’t get insurance, you can’t get a mortgage and your property is worth fuck all so you can’t sell it, it’s unmortgageable. So all the small businesses and the fucking people employed by those businesses are fucked. It just goes on and on. It undermines everything the Conservatives stand for. That’s it. They’ve sold everything for bargain basement prices to their mates. The prisons, the council houses, water,
‘I COUNT MYSELF EXTREMELY LUCKY TO HAVE HAD THE MOTHER I’VE HAD’ gas, the train, the fucking tube, plane fields, they even tried to sell the bloody woods last year. The police are next. Royal Mail was sold just as online purchasing is at its height and thus the post is busy and profitable.
This could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Have you had much press? We had quite a lot on that tour we did. The Sun newspaper, the fucking most disgusting tabloid bit of shit ever, are doing pro-fracking petitions saying, “Let’s get on with this as soon as possible – the greenies are stopping Britain marching forward, and stop us being held to ransom by Putin.” They even said we worked for Putin. Rupert Murdoch has personally invested in fracking. We invited the government, the industry and policymakers to these nationwide debates next to scientists and experts in renewable energy to explain the benefits of fracking. We invited a balanced audience and Jon Snow chaired the debate but the government and their cronies wouldn’t come. They’ve been stonewalling us. It’s fucking evil shit. They’ve legalised loan sharking and online gambling. You’re not against business or making money as long as it doesn’t hurt people and makes their lives a more colourful. AP was an example of how if you work hard enough and you’ve got a good idea, you can really make something happen. But then, you know, you sell it to these fucking banking corporate people. It was not my choice to sell it to them, I was getting divorced and it was the only asset in the marriage. It had to be sold. Then there was the recession, sales went and they started telling me what models to use and such and I was like, “Look, man, just don’t start tinkering with the brand or you’ll lose the edge.” And they did and I was out of there. That was it, really. What was the idea behind it at the start?
Lois Winstone, 32, actress and musician facebook.com/loisandthelove
PROFILE | Joe Corré
Sam Stafford, 38, production manager at A Child of the Jago
It was like you step over this threshold and you come in my world. You go to Ann Summers and buy your girlfriend something, you look like a prat. You come to us, you look like a fucking genius, end of story. That’s it. It was as simple as that. We never worked with an advertising agency, no one told us what would be good or trendy, and people worked with us, like Kate Moss and Kylie because it was cool and not some corporate shit. I could control all the details and really just polish that, making it interesting. From the sort of history I’ve had, growing up with my parents, I was tuned in to using a shop as a kind of portal to express your ideas, which can be a genuinely good business-case scenario. Do you think your journey was a result of attitudes imbued by your parents? When I was a kid we didn’t have a lot of money and lived in this council flat on an estate in Clapham full of Bangladeshis, Chinese, Sri Lankans, Africans – really interesting sort of mix. Then the yuppies came and started buying the flats. Now, our flat was a bit scruffy – no curtain, bare light bulbs. One day this yuppie cunt asked me, “Can you put some curtains up? We don’t want to look at your flat. You’re bringing down the building.” I was
speechless, I looked at these people and thought, is this it, is this what it’s all about? Why because you can do this fucking job and make this money, does that make you special? At that point I just thought fucking fuck you, I’ll run rings around you, you cunt, if that’s what’s it all about. That was the Nostalgia of Mud days? Yes. My dad fucked off to Los Angeles and completely smashed the business to pieces and, as it was a partnership, [mum] was responsible for the entire debt of the company. So we had bailiffs knocking on the door every day and I’d be telling them she wasn’t in. I thought, “I’m gonna do whatever it fucking takes to make money and fucking show you.” That was the impetus to get me off my ass, so I started working for mum. I was always 100 per cent confident. I thought I could do whatever I fucking wanted to do in my life. Any obstacle was a challenge I knew I could get over. Since then, it was always, well, what’s the worst that can happen. The 1970s and punk must’ve been a trying time. People forget the general public hated anything to do with punk. We were like fucking public enemy number one. Grown adults would come
and spit in my face. I got to the point where I thought everyone was a potential enemy. I’d leave my house and run the gauntlet. I remember these blokes were smashing all our fucking windows. My brother and me crept up to see who was outside and all the little immigrant kids who were our mates were standing with these cunts. I knew then I was on my fucking own. I never felt like I had to fit in with anything or anybody. That put me in good stead for the rest of my life. Did it help when you saw your parents succeed by not towing the line? I thought my old man hadn’t succeeded. He always tried to have some kind of contrived publicity angle about his new thing that wasn’t that interesting. Sometimes it was incredibly interesting and sometimes he was really the bravest guy in the world. He’d walk down the road in the 1970s and get ridiculously abused and it didn’t faze him at all. And when they tried to put him down, he turned it around, up the ante and threw it back at them. I always loved that. Then I’ve always had my mum, who was much more practical. I’ve really appreciated, from my mum’s side, this northern quality, just that sort of bare honesty > 85
Jamie Drakos, 28, sales assistant at A Child of the Jago
runs of special things. Because I could buy the fabric at a cheap price, because it’s deadstock, I could make affordable stuff. I don’t believe clothes have to cost that much, and why buy crap when you can buy something good at a good price? I don’t know where it all came from, this so-called retail therapy. Now people just fucking buy shit. The amount of crap that people have in their wardrobes is shocking. Selfridges has that “I shop, therefore I am” tagline, for fuck’s sake! But I loved it when those Islington boys went in there dressed in burkas and nicked all the watches. They even did it to my mum’s shop but I still love them.
about things. She is one of these people from the country who has a thirst for knowledge, she’s always been on this quest to find out more and use that, talk about it in a very open way. I feel privileged in many ways that I’ve had a mother like that. You can talk about, “What if you’d had a different mum?” And, well, I’ve got no fucking idea. I count myself extremely lucky to have had the mother I’ve had. So obviously you’re the product of both of them. There is no doubt about that. Tell me about your new label. We have a lovely double-fronted shop on Charing Cross Road selling Jago and Jack Sheppard. I wanted to provide something different for tourists coming to London, and something small that didn’t look like everyone else. I’m not really interested in fashion. I want stuff that looks good today and will in 10 years. It’s not about fashion. It’s about interesting clothes. Fashion is one step up from having your mum dress you, really. Oh, I’ve had a lot of that. One time, I was getting in an argument at a wedding with a bloke [Guy Pratt] and he said to me, “Listen, mate, you make knickers and your mum still dresses you, so fuck off.” Honestly, I fell on the floor laughing. 86
A Child of the Jago is an Arthur Morrison book. Why did you use that name? I liked how the kid in the story wanted to dress like one of the wealthy crooks. I’ve always found dressing up fascinating – it’s an act, in a way – a costume you put on that delivers you into another realm. You can take the high road or the low road; the high road is dress this way and your life will be so much more interesting, or conform and look like
‘I NEVER FELT LIKE I HAD TO FIT IN WITH ANYTHING OR ANYBODY’ everyone else and your life will be boring. I’ve always known that being a bit of a dandy, making that statement, puts you out there, makes your life so much more interesting and says a lot about you. So, at Jago, we went against the idea of mass-production and churning out lots of crap. It was about finding those jewels of British cloth that had been left on the shelf – once that 60 metres is gone, you can’t make it anymore. I like those small
Hiking up the price is a designer thing, isn’t it? I don’t agree with the designer ideology. But when people think of British fashion, it’s not Alexander McQueen and it’s not fucking Vivienne Westwood, it’s Prince Charles, tweed, country – and Barbour, maybe. So, I thought we’d only use traditional British fabrics from British mills and do a limited range based around this character, Jack Sheppard – a name that sounds like a British country gent but the reality is he was a famous 18thcentury criminal who escaped Newgate four times, was the inspiration for Mack the Knife from The Beggar’s Opera – a sort of Jessie James character. The style of the clothes is sort of traditional Jack Sheppard, 1724, which is when he was hung. He was really into clothes – a real dandy. It’s where we get “Jack the Lad” from. I’ve always been a bit of a Jack the Lad, I don’t know why. Sometimes I beat myself up about it, I guess it’s a nervous thing. Sometimes I’ve found myself acting up when I should’ve just shut up. Haven’t we all done that? I don’t know, so this is Jack the Lad. I live in a fucking penthouse and I am alright, but I can’t understand the idea of having a load of money and sitting on it. I don’t fucking buy Lamborghini cars, fucking listen to Jeremy fucking Clarkson or go around flashing all of it. I’d rather give my money to causes, to help people, develop things, try to do something with it. And how are things otherwise? It’s been fucking mad. When I think about it, the last five or 10 years have been fucking one mad tumour after another, in many ways. I sold my
PROFILE | Joe Corré
Jamie Drakos; Leyman; Oli Longmore, 26, musician facebook.com/loisandthelove; Lois Winstone; Robert Anderson, 55, gardener; Sam Stafford
company when I didn’t want to, got divorced, got the company back then had to leave. My mate Luca fucking hung himself. Then Dad died, and he had this will that was really fucking hurtful. I think I’ve come out a bit stronger in some ways but it’s been like living inside the bloody eye of the storm for a while. I guess when you get older, these things happen. But you’ve also set up the charity Human Aid. Yeah, through it I’ve supported that Leonard Peltier guy, an activist for the Native American movement who the government set up for these crimes he didn’t do. He got three consecutive 33year life sentences – he’s been in prison for over 30 years. He’s now diabetic, they don’t want to give him this medication, and they just want him to die in prison. There’s not the same degree of protest now as there was in the 1970s and 80s. There are people out there but today it’s gone cyber rather than on the streets. There are probably more issues to contest
today than then. I can’t understand this entire anti-Muslim thing, it is ridiculous. I think most of it has to do with people not communicating with each other.
I wasn’t going to fucking have that, no, not at all. I wanted nothing from a disgusting, horrible, snivelling creature like Blair. I was proud of that.
Do you think we should dismantle everything – the banking system, the parliamentary system – and start again? We are working with these activists, and they’re going on about revolution. I don’t want a fucking revolution; people get killed in revolutions by armed thugs. All I want is the bloody democratic system our forefathers fought and died for. No fucking corruption and people feathering their own nest. MPs should get proper money and then we might get people who want to be MPs because it’s a really good job and is about being responsible for and working for the people they represent. If I met David Cameron, I don’t know if I’d put him in his right fucking place or punch his fucking eyes out.
You should be. Most people would have lied. In hindsight, what a wise move. At the time, with the whole Iraq War, I thought, you fucking disgusting human being. I was happy with that. The Queen still sent it to me, she wouldn’t have it. I got this big certificate signed by Elizabeth, it came in the post. It’s like, “Oh, you think you can refuse this, do you?” I never got the actual medal but they sent me the certificate.
I was so happy when you returned the OBE to Tony Blair.
You’ve got my vote when you run for Prime Minister. Steady on, squire! Jack Sheppard is open at 76-78 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 achildofthejago.com
Jonathan wears top by Bradley Wiggins Collection by Fred Perry; breeches, mask, glove and socks by Leon Paul; trainers by Adidas; bracelet, modelâ€™s own. Rubin wears T-shirt by Human Made; breeches, mask and glove by Leon Paul; trainers and socks by Adidas.
Prise de Fer Photographs Robert Wyatt Styling Adam Howe Photographic Assistant Giorgio Murru Styling Assistant Mia Howe Fencers Rubin Amsalem and Jonathan Webb britishfencing.com Location Leon Paul Fencing Centre, Irving Way, London NW9 leonpaulfencingcentre.com Jonathan Webb, 18, is ranked No. 1 in the British Junior British Sabre Rankings, and is in the junior world top 50; he qualified for the six-man British Fencing World Class Programme squad when he was 14. Rubin Amsalem, 18, No. 2 in Great Britain and in the squad since age 15, made his first World Fencing Championships in 2012. Their next international event is the Coupe Heracles Junior, the Junior World Cup, in Budapest on 27 September.
Jonathan wears T-shirt by Le Coq Sportif; jeans by Paul Smith; watch and bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
Rubin wears jacket, shirt, mask and glove by Leon Paul; tracksuit bottoms by Supremebeing.
Jonathan wears sweater by Good Measure; breeches, braces and socks by Leon Paul; trainers by Adidas; bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Prise de Fer
Rubin wears T-shirt by Human Made; breeches, mask and glove by Leon Paul; trainers and socks by Adidas. Jonathan wears top by Bradley Wiggins Collection by Fred Perry; breeches, mask, glove and socks by Leon Paul; trainers by Adidas; bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Prise de Fer
Jonathan wears sweater by Our Legacy; breeches, glove and socks by Leon Paul; trainers by Adidas; watch, modelâ€™s own. Rubin wears sweater by Scotch&Soda; breeches, mask and glove by Leon Thomas; trainers and socks by Adidas.
Rubin wears T-shirt by Bedwin & the Heartbreakers; breeches and braces by Leon Paul. Jonathan wears T-shirt by Paul Smith; breeches, braces and glove by Leon Paul; watch and bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Prise de Fer
Jonathan wears jacket, breeches and braces by Leon Paul; top by John Varvatos; bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
Horst P Horst
Vogue. Le Corbusier. Mehemed Agha. Condé Nast. Lud Fedoseyeva. Words Chris Sullivan
His name was synonymous with glamour, grace and refinement – and high society, along with stars of stage, screen, art and music, fell over themselves to get in front of Horst P Horst’s Hasselblad. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour described him as the Mario Testino of his day – but that sells Horst short somewhat. He helped define the era of elegance between the wars on both sides of the pond, creating a majestic, timeless, almost neoclassical style of photography. A supreme autodidact, Horst, along with Steichen, Beaton and Hoyningen-Huene, is one of the true old masters of fashion and portrait photography. “He was a man of wit and modesty who might wonder at all the fuss,” writes Victoria and Albert Museum director Martin Roth in Horst: Photographer of Style, a companion book to the museum’s retrospective. “Yet, as a frequent visitor to art galleries and a connoisseur of design, Horst would surely feel pleased and proud that his extraordinary photographs should take their rightful place in one of the world’s greatest museums of art and design, to be admired by the widest possible audience and bring inspiration to a new generation of image-makers.” Described in Vogue as “photography’s alchemist”, he was born Horst Bohrmann
in 1906 in a village west of Leipzig to protestant hardware-store owner Max and his wife Klara. A dreamy, wistful chap, he found his way, after meeting Bauhaus dance student Eva Weidemann who, ten years his senior, introduced Horst to the art of Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger, and the thoughts of Nietzsche, Jung and Kant. He studied architecture at Hamburg’s Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Art), designing chairs and tables, which brought him into contact with Bauhaus icons Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. He wrote to fabled designer, architect and polymath Le Corbusier in Paris, asking, successfully, for a job. He couldn’t believe his luck. He arrived there in June 1930. “Le Corbusier was not a very outgoing man,” recalled Horst in 1981. “Dali said he was ‘a Puritan, a Calvinist, a masochist and a sadist’. I would agree. I abandoned my career as an architect after a year and left.” One hot August evening soon after, the striking young German was sitting at a Paris cafe when he was fatefully invited over to the table of George HoyningenHuene, French Vogue’s aristocratic top photographer. He took Horst under his wing, hired him as both an assistant and model – to enact the gracefully stylised
semi-naked Olympian poses essential to his aesthetic – and introduced him to 1930s international cafe society, whose enthusiasts dominated fashion and social circles – composer Cole Porter, fashion photographer Cecil Beaton, playwright Noël Coward, Picasso patron Gertrude Stein, and designers Jean-Michel Frank, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel. Hoyningen-Huene was a supreme arbiter of taste, documenting the film stars, dance, theatre and social events of Paris, and Horst was accordingly privy to all that his patron surveyed. As Vogue was less a fashion mag than the bible of the privileged, he could not have been in a better position. Vogue art director Mehemed Agha, in particular, urged him to pursue photography. “I told him I didn’t know anything about cameras, never taken a photo, never seen an elegant woman, know nothing about fashion, but would give it a try,” recalled Horst. “So, twice a week for three hours I went and worked in the studio with an assistant who knew all about the technical side.” He studied paintings in the Louvre to understand composition. He socialised with the likes of Christian Bérard and Jean Cocteau, discussing art, imagery and symbolism. Then he incorporated >
Photograph Hermann Landshoff, 1948
Cover of American Vogue, 1941 © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Hoyningen-Huene’s camp neoclassical slant – replete with his plain geometric backgrounds and artificial lights that stressed chiaroscuro – with a touch of Bauhaus and a pinch of baroque and Dada, creating his style. “It was from Hoyningen-Huene,” Horst noted. “I learned everything he could then teach me about photography.” His ascent coincided with the rise of the magazine per se. In 1909, publisher Condé Montrose Nast had bought US society magazine Vogue and staffed it and sister magazine Vanity Fair with leading photographic artists like Baron Adolph de Meyer and Edward Steichen. He then launched UK and French Vogue editions in 1916 and 1920, respectively. “Nast was as important to photography as Diaghilev was to ballet,” said Horst. His first credit appeared in French Vogue in December 1931. In 1932 he held his first public exhibition in Paris and began taking portraits of celebrities and the rich and entitled for British Vogue, sending them to Mehemed Agha for consideration for use in US Vogue and Vanity Fair. He was rewarded with a six-month contract at US Vogue but 98
soon found Condé Nast demanding, brusque and uncooperative. Thus, after just three months, Nast accused Horst of arrogance and told him to leave once his
‘I TOLD HIM I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT FASHION, BUT WOULD GIVE IT A TRY’ contract was up. He did so, immediately, for Europe, and broke from photography, holing up in Tunisia for much of 1933. In June he returned to Paris and continued snapping the rich and famous for French Vogue, which culminated in his landmark portrait of esteemed Parisian music-hall singer Mistinguett dressed in a Molyneux
silver sheath gown and ostrich-feather hat, one of the early portraits that would help propel him into another league. “Since we had to earn our living, we mostly photographed the people we were paid to photograph,” said Horst in 1971 of his and Hoyningen-Huene’s process. “If they happened also to be people we personally knew and admired, so much the better. But we weren’t concerned with the future’s potential judgment of our sitters and their way of life. We were simply concerned with recording a part of the contemporary, local, human scene. I love photographing people, as I like to bring out their character in my work, like a painting might.” In 1934, Hoyningen-Huene was sent to Hollywood and in his absence Horst stepped into the fray. He nipped over to London to, among other things, shoot the cast of Noël Coward’s play Conversation Piece. Horst was fond of Coward because of his wit and urbanity. “Noël had a lightness of touch, a mixture of show-off and throw away that was endearing,” he said. He lunched with Diana and Unity Mitford, dined with surrealism patron Edward James, and photographed lords, ladies, debutantes and the idle rich. He’d first picked up a camera just three years earlier, but Horst was now a photographer of worldwide repute. When HoyningenHuene jumped ship to Harper’s Bazaar, Horst became Vogue’s main man. Their affair ended, though they remained friends until Hoyningen-Huene’s death. Back in Paris, he tapped into the lavish and hedonistic costume-ball scene – the elite’s patronising of influential creatives like Schiaparelli, Chanel and Cocteau. One 1935 event, ‘Une Nuit d’Art Vivant’, hosted by the Comte and Comtesse de Beaumont, required guests to stage tableaux vivants or living pictures in the style of artists from history – from Caravaggio to Monet, ancient Egypt to the court of Louis XIV. Handsome, well-dressed, genial and amusing, Horst photographed the attendees in costume, recording what a chronicler later described as “a carnival of luxury played out by Parisian high society.” At the time, many models were society women; Horst pushed to use ‘real’ models such as Lisa Fonssagrives, Helen Bennett, Muriel Maxwell and
HISTORY | Horst P Horst
Corset by Detolle for Mainbocher, 1939 © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Carmen Dell’Orefice – but his greatest find was Ludmilla (Lud) Fedoseyeva. He persuaded her to model after she turned up at French Vogue as a bicycle messenger. A tall icy blonde with broad slavic cheekbones and wide-set eyes, she refused to wear jewellery, went off on a world tour with her lion-tamer husband and returned only to spark a bitter dispute between Schiaparelli and Chanel, who both wanted her as their house model. “Lud was a refugee and as poor as a church mouse,” recalls Horst. “I saw her sitting on a wall outside and after a lot of persuasion I shot her, even though Mr Nast didn’t think she was right for Vogue. But she became the biggest model of the era and then he wanted to marry her.” The last shot Horst took in Paris in the 1930s was the iconic ‘Mainbocher Corset’, a monochrome shot of model Madame Bernon’s back clad only in an unravelling corset. “I shot that at 4am and the next day boarded the last boat, the Normandy, to New York,” he said. As the 1930s closed, Horst realised that a new type of royalty was emerging, from cinema screens. “Hollywood movie stars,” he wrote in his 1971 memoir Salute to the Thirties, “whether American or European-born – imperceptibly assumed the place left vacant by Europe’s vanished or vanishing royalties.” Indeed, the horrors of the second world war pushed
Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1942 © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
people in search of escapism into dark cinemas and subsequently to distraction – by following the lives and lifestyles of these new Hollywood stars. Horst was overjoyed to photograph this new breed of classless aristocracy. In New York, he created iconic shots of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford – the former in a 20-foot-high rocking chair, the latter’s a dark, brooding noir portrait – while shots of Ethel Waters and Esther Williams echo the paintings of Egon Schiele. Horst merged fine art with photography; indeed, his ‘Electric Beauty’ (1939) is pure Dada, with a model in a mask against a backdrop of Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony’, a work as brave and inventive as anything seen before or since, that speaks volumes about the threat of
impending war. His shot of the clothing Salvador Dali designed for Leonid Massine’s ballet Bacchanale more closely resembles a monochrome painting than a photograph. Before the outbreak of war, Horst’s work merged fashion and fantasy, a gentle wave goodbye to the 1930s – a decade where grace, creativity, hedonism and imagination thrived. Firmly ensconced now in New York with the man who he would share the rest of his life with, British diplomat Valentine Lawford, Horst flowered – but iconic shots of Dali, Marlene Dietrich, Merle Oberon and Veronica Lake couldn’t help him after the Third Reich declared war. The German-born Horst couldn’t work outside the Vogue studio due to his status as an enemy alien. In 1943, he obtained US citizenship, changed his name to > 99
Dinner suit and headdress by Schiaparelli, 1947 © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Male Nude, 1952 © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Horst P Horst, was drafted and served as a photographer for the US Army. With fashion booming in post-war America, Horst was a busy bee. He was invited to shoot President Harry Truman, Vogue art director Alexander Liberman offered him a new contract, and he shot Rita Hayworth and Tallulah Bankhead. He went to Paris to capture the couturier fashion shows using the Rolleiflex that Condé Nast – after a long insistence on onerous, studiobound plate cameras – had at last deemed suitable for Vogue. But Horst wasn’t comfortable with the new trend for shooting on location and preferred controlled studio environments. Further personnel changes at Vogue stifled his creativity and though he still shot the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, he turned to lucrative advertising shoots where his studio mise-en-scène might still be used to best effect. “I got bored photographing fashion,” he said. “And then my old friend Diana Vreeland came on as editor of Vogue and 100
asked me to shoot houses, which I’d never done before. I was to document how they lived, so we didn’t light or arrange anything, which was completely new.” Horst continued his portrait work in
‘HORST’S INTELLECT AND AESTHETIC SENSE WERE INTEGRATED’ the 1960s, while his fashion shoots – such as one with a swimsuited Veruschka von Lehndorff – still made waves. For the next decade, he shot households and household names such as Truman Capote,
Calvin Klein, Roy Lichtenstein and Gilbert and George, and published the Valentine Lawford-written Horst: His Work and His World in 1984. Meanwhile the fashion world rediscovered Horst – a series of shoots appeared in Vogue in the style that made him famous, and in 1990 Madonna recreated many classic Horst shots in her ‘Vogue’ video. “Horst’s intellect and aesthetic sense were so integrated, his lifetime’s appreciation of all art forms and nature clearly reflected in all his photography,” says Horst model Carmen Dell’Orefice in Horst: Photographer of Style. “He knew his craft, he knew when black and white suited the drama of what he wanted to create. You see, he was an artist.” Horst: Photographer of Style is on at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 until 4 January 2015. vam.ac.uk
HISTORY | Horst P Horst
Muriel Maxwell, American Vogue, 1939 © Condé Nast/Horst Estate
Spandau Ballet. Soul Boys of the Western World. New Romantic. Words Paolo Hewitt Photographs Catalin Plesa Styling Barry Kamen Photographic Assistant Shawn Paul Tan
I meet with Gary Kemp at the Amalfi Cafe in Soho. A modern London man, born and raised in Islington, Kemp is an author, TV and radio presenter and keen cyclist, but above all, a co-founder of the band Spandau Ballet. He is witty, intelligent, and has an appealing streak of self-deprecation, forged in him by the passing of time. He is now 55; his latest project, the documentary Soul Boys of the Western World, tells the story of Spandau. Initiated with manager Steve Dagger, the documentary’s narrative thrust is its unflinching study of what global success can do to deep friendships. Mates from school, the band hit it big before ending up in court, aiming vicious lawsuits at each other. Now reconciled, they are more active than ever, with a greatest hits album (with three new songs), a world tour, TV coverage and various events this year. “We wanted to make a film,” Kemp says, “that wasn’t just for Spandau Ballet fans.” They have succeeded. Skillfully tracing the band’s triumphant evolution from the New Romantic scene into a stadium rock act, the film continually places them in the context of their time – the 1980s, the time of Thatcherism and designer clothes, class struggle and consumerism. It also unveils Kemp’s steely drive for success, his place in pop culture and mania for clothes. Where does this sartorial fascination come from? Clothes have always been important to working-class kids. In this country, if you haven’t got an ancestral line or a great education to show the world, you have your clothes, you have your look, and you spend a lot of time thinking about it. We were the generation that didn’t have to go to war, so we found other uniforms. My cousin was a rocker, I remember looking at his winklepicker shoes, the way he spent hours combing 102
his quiff. I remember the mods outside the pub next door; that pub was such an influence on me. It was the Duke of Clarence in Rotherfield Street, Islington, and my bedroom backed onto it. It was a cut-glass, old-fashioned port and lemon place with an upright piano. There was singing every night. That sensibility seeped into me. On a Thursday, they had a mod night. You would see these rows of scooters lined up, all these kids looking incredible, gliding down the street on their scooters. Another influence was my dad. Every day he went to a factory to work as a printer, and he put a tie and a jacket on. I remember going with him one day: he took his jacket off and hung it in his cupboard, took out this brown overcoat and put it on, and I thought, “Wow, he’s a super hero.” To me it looked so glamorous. Spandau’s original look was feminine at a time when youth cults tended not to be. That must have taken courage. It was David Bowie, pure and simple. Androgyny was so exciting and so glamorous and so outrageous. Bowie was so clever. When he came out with the “I am a bisexual” statement, that was so important. He knew you didn’t need long hair anymore. He’d done that and many other things in the 1960s. But no one had ever said they were gay. What a breakthrough. Brilliant. I saw him at the Hammersmith Odeon show when he broke up the Spiders and at the Marquee Club when he did The 1980 Floor Show. That was the most exotic look he ever had. I remember being in the front row and handing him my bangle and he looked me straight in the eye and at that very moment, I thought, he knows who I am.
In the documentary you make it clear the effect on you of Bowie’s ‘Starman’ Top of the Pops appearance in June 1972. Given Spandau’s early music, surely his Berlin albums were as influential? Yes. I think on Heroes, Bowie developed the blueprint for all 1980s lyrics. He described this pseudo-landscape where we are all standing like super heroes gazing out into the distance. Leni Riefenstahl meets Bowie. There’s a great clip of him doing ‘Heroes’ on Dutch TV in 1977 and he stands there and lights a cigarette, and I thought, that is the 1980s incarnate. I’m not ashamed to admit he’s our biggest influence. When Billy’s [on Meard Street, Soho] first started on a Tuesday night, the flyers just said Bowie Night. That was it, it was for Bowie fans. We were kids who had been touched by Bowie in the early 1970s and when we came to music the only way to do it was theatrical. It had to be glamorous. In the film, you show a lot of footage from bands you were in before Spandau, as if you knew then that the footage would have relevance years later. Did you know early on this was your path? Yeah. There are a lot of kids who think that and it doesn’t work. I’m not saying I had some prophetic mind but I knew early on what I’d do. There’s footage of me, [saxophonist] Steve Norman and Dagger – this is before Spandau – and Martin, my brother, says, “They have so much charisma.” You look at it and think, yeah, these kids are really going for it. What was Steve Dagger’s role in this? He is the genius behind it all. He’s not in the film much but it all starts with him. When I met him in 1975 he was a mod. He was a mod before anyone else. He was massively into Tamla-Motown, he wore Levi’s Sta-Prest trousers, the whole >
Waistcoat by Richard Anderson.
thing, it was his obsession. Where my idols were Townshend and Bowie, his were pop managers. He was obsessed with [Rolling Stones manager] Loog Oldham and Pete Meaden. He read everything about them. His big thing was the way Meaden had changed the Who to suit the mod audience. It was kind of what he did for us. He took me to Billy’s at a time when we were a power pop band who loved Generation X and the Rich Kids, and had no audience. That’s where he explained it to me. Tommy Steele represented British rock’n’roll. The Who represented mods. Pink Floyd represented British psychedelia. Bowie had glam. The Sex Pistols had punk. Then he said, “This is it, this is our scene, this is our chance.” He also told me there was room for one band from each scene and that had to be us. I remember he said early on, “I don’t care what you say in interviews, just make sure you always say we’re going to sell millions of records.” At the time, that was subversive – saying that you are about selling records when everyone else was looking for street cred. In a way, it summed up much of the 1980s philosophy of the working classes – that idea of flaunting it. And Dagger was very clever in doing that. Where were you at sartorially? At the time, I loved the soulboy look. In the film there’s great footage of that scene. Some of the dances the kids are doing are just amazing. I loved baggy peg trousers, high waists, thin belts, Smith’s trousers – like American work pants with side pockets where you could keep your comb – plastic sandals and mohair jumpers. By late 1978, Woodhouse was the place I would go to and get my plumcoloured waistcoats, little collared shirts with darts on top, and the deerstalker hat. Someone needs to make a film about the deerstalker. It has floated around so many scenes but never quite settled. I know! It has to make a comeback soon. It was such a soulboy look, plus the wedge haircut. That all changed when I first went into Billy’s. At that point, it was a rejection of punk, of bands entirely. Half the crowd were kids from St Martins [College of Art], a fashion crowd who were making their own clothes. There was the futurist element, their clothes came from this shop PX. Steve Strange [who ran the Blitz Club] worked there. It was simple clothing but kind of sci-fi – padded shoulders, sashes, a bit like Dan 104
Dare. I couldn’t afford anything from there, so I got my mum to make copies. I used to draw designs for trousers and tell her, I don’t want any flies, just two pieces of material stuck together like loon pants. She was a seamstress. Then you had kids wearing shiny diamante, again a reaction to punk. Kids were tucking their ties into their shirts, a real soulboy look. Some boys there had gone through other looks and other clubs. [Radio London DJ and close friend] Robert Elms one minute looked sci-fi, and the next like a 1920s alpinist with a rucksack. At the heart of it were two things – glam rock, which had a definite Bowie element, and a revival of the 1950s. The big 1980s hair started here. It was kids trying to do quiffs, not using grease but hairspray, so the hair got bigger and bigger but short at the sides. So what did you go for out of this maelstrom of styles? There were two looks. There was go to Oxfam and buy clothes from the 1950s. Oxfam was a great place to go at the time
‘WHEN WE CAME TO MUSIC, THE ONLY WAY TO DO IT WAS THEATRICAL’ if you wanted to dress from the past. My brother would have peg trousers, a 1950s vest, a keychain, glasses. The other great clothes designer who had opened a shop in Shoreditch – no one was down there then – was Willie Brown. It was called Modern Classics. His girlfriend, Vivienne Lynn, a model, worked in there. Willie brought in the kilt. I remember a kid from Billy’s, his look was tartan from the 18th century, which was what my brother wore in the first video. I like a band to look like a gang. I want that gang to be otherworldly and larger than life. I have never been more disappointed with pop music than what went on in Britpop. Everyone looked like ticket touts. I liked Pulp records but why did anyone go see them? They looked so non-aspirational.
The time we’re talking about was very tribal and a lot of punches were being thrown. Did it feel risky in these clothes? We had some trouble from skinheads but I was a good runner. It was so on the edge it was newsworthy. We were on things like BBC Newsnight. People were coming to Billy’s to film it all. Record companies were sending down their people, and we played them. We would not send tapes to any record companies. We would not let them into a gig. Everyone wanted to sign us and no one had heard a thing. The first time record companies ever heard us was when Janet Street-Porter did a piece on us for her London Weekend Show. It must have been important to stay one step ahead of the pack to create that mystery and mythology. Absolutely. When we did ‘Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)’ [in 1981] so many people were doing futurism – that science-fiction look with big quiffs and electronica. For the cognoscenti there had to be a rapid move away from that. So Graham Ball and Robert Elms put on a night at St Moritz and they played 1970s funk and soul as a riposte to these naff futurists. It was saying, you can never trap us. That’s when I wrote ‘Glow’ and ‘Chant No. 1’. It’s also when I got the suit with a bolero jacket. In the video, I’m wearing that and Tony [Hadley, singer] is also wearing one. It was moving toward a South American style, again a gang look. There was a Latin revival, and that is precisely why Steve Norman is on congas. When we went to New York for the first time we saw three bands – the Clash, Blondie and Kid Creole and the Coconuts. There are pictures of me and August Darnell [Kid Creole founder] at a party. I am wearing this shirt with slashes in it and he is wearing his big hat and his Latino 1950s style. It was a massive influence on all of us. We all went back to London and tried to find those kinds of clothes. And Blondie played their part. They had a rapper on stage and in ‘Chant No. 1’ I had a rap actually pointing out how to get to the Beat Route club. [Sings] “You go past Talk of the Town.” It was like a London cabbie rap! Satnav before satnav! Then came a bit of a funny time. I can’t say I was in love with the leather and chains look we had for the Diamond album. It was the 1950s connection, the Wild Ones with a bit of Boys Town Gang in there, because disco had been doing well in America. >
COVER STORY | Gary Kemp
Jacket and trousers by Oliver Spencer; shirt by Brooks Brothers; shoes by Alexander McQueen; pocket square by Richard Anderson.
Suit and pocket square by Richard Anderson; shirt by Brooks Brothers.
COVER STORY | Gary Kemp The poster for the film is a shot of the band in New York dressed up to the nines in Cossack tops and makeup. People were stopping their cars in the street when they saw us doing that photo shoot, which didn’t help at all, as we were all hungover like fuck. At that point we were doing a kind of Robin Hood look with jodhpurs. Jodhpurs! Who decided that was a good idea? Jodhpurs tucked into suede boots. Interestingly, when we went back to the States in 1983, everyone was wearing what we had been because of MTV. They’d been watching the videos. British fashion was all over the States and it all came from these little clubs in Soho. It’s incredible. What’s your favourite look from this era? The Parade album, which I always call our ‘baroque’n’roll’ period. We went back to frilly shirts. I had a frilly shirt which I bought off a young kid who had written his name on the collar – Galliano. It was him. One of his earliest designs. Wish I could find it now. So for Parade we used John Galliano and Gaultier. In those days there was no couture for men. The first shop where you could buy designer clothes for men was Bazaar, on South Molton Street. That was the first shop that I remember selling Gaultier and Yamamoto. Who else could afford the clothes these guys were making other than pop stars? It was the beginning of the designer look for men, and don’t forget Gaultier then copied Willie Brown and brought the kilt back. Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood had done a sort of bondage look at Sex but it was Gaultier who did a kilt with bondage – there was a kind of punk revival going on. Boy George was wearing a BOY T-shirt. It was people saying, “I may be pop but I have punk credentials.” Is it fair to say that by this time you were a rock band? You play clubs and you end up writing songs for clubs. You play theatres, you write for theatres. Then you hit arenas and you end up writing songs for arenas and the guitars gets louder and you run around a bit more on stage, so we ended up wearing the rock’n’roll style – the sashes, the beads, it was what Keith Richards would’ve done. It was the rock’n’roll, guitar cowboy look.
Whose idea was the film? Dagger’s. He saw two films, The Kid Stays in the Picture and Senna that inspired him. When we looked at the idea we saw we had two things going for us. We were the first band to really get filmed, so there was a lot of archive, and we also had this great three-act story – the youth culture we came from, the international success of the band who are all best mates, before it beats itself up and ends up in court. Parallel to that is the rise of Thatcher and the entire social context. What was interesting was that when we bought in the director, George Hencken, she found the story of friendship. I did not know it was there. She found it. She looked at 300 hours of footage and said, “It’s a love story. It’s a bromance!” She found in the archives the highs and low of the group.
Which gave you an initial audience for the film. Our brief to George, who worked with Julien Temple, was to make sure it wasn’t a puff job. When U2 makes a movie it’s all about their power, the chart positions and the crowd figures. We wanted it to be about what it’s really like for a bunch of kids to be in a band, who make it up as they go along. Nowadays everyone has PR people and Svengalis. But we didn’t. You begin to see that in the raw material. George looked for the stuff that didn’t get transmitted. There is an interview in LA when Tony says something and we all say, “Cut, you can’t say that.” Or that bit when someone is talking about ego and the camera stops on my face. I wanted the film to reflect those changes as well as tell a story about friendship.
You were sued for royalties in 2003 by Tony, John [Keeble, drummer] and Steve, a case you won. Yet in the film it looks anything but a victory.
What did you think at the first screening of the film? I thought, “Oh, my God, I’m the baddie.” I come out as a total egomaniac. But George said, “No, you get redemption in the end, it’s OK.” I wrote about it in my book. I was a control freak. I didn’t stop it happening because I was glad no one else in the band was writing songs. It would have been good for the band for others to write songs but I didn’t want it to happen: the control freak’s worst nightmare is that someone is going to come along with a better idea. You’re not humiliated, but knocked down a peg. It’s a bit like someone saying, “I have another lover.” I liked the responsibility of writing the songs because if I control the music, I control the band. See, I had an idea of the way we should sound, and the way we should look, and I was quite forceful about it. In the film, you see an argument we had at a photo shoot. Tony had the collar turned up on his Levi’s jacket and a pair of jeans on with a crease in them. I thought he looked really naff, and I was like, “You can’t wear that.” For me, it was a sartorial sore and I couldn’t have it. I still worry about what we’re going to wear on stage. We’re doing a TV show soon and I’m already working out what we’ll wear. I’m obsessed with clothes. There has never been a time when I haven’t been obsessed with them, and I don’t think there ever will be.
‘I LIKE A BAND TO LOOK LIKE A GANG. I WANT THAT GANG TO BE LARGER THAN LIFE’ I went to bed every night – it felt like every night – dreaming of reconciling with Tony. He would appear in my dream and we would talk about it. And then at other times, you would think, “Oh, fuck the band, I’m going to have a solo career, I’m going to do acting, I don’t need you lot.” Then you realise after a long time, I’ll never do anything like that again. What brought it about was that I had to do the sound for a live video. It was the first time in years I’d looked at the band playing – this was after the court case. That’s when I realised we all needed each other. When we got back together in 2009, we saw we’d made something big and exciting, and that has longevity. We hadn’t played together for 19 years, yet we sold more tickets on that tour than ever before.
George Hencken’s documentary Soul Boys of the Western World is out 30 September garykemp.com spandauballetthemovie.com 107
Suit and braces from Carlo Manzi; sweater by Umit Benan menswear.
Coat by Prada menswear; trousers and boots from Carlo Manzi; sweater by Cos menswear; belt by Peter Jensen.
Photographs Cameron McNee Stylist Marcus Love Hair Dayruci at One Represents using Aveda Make-up Nancy Summer at Untitled Artists LDN using Lâ€™OrĂŠal Photographic Assistant Andras Bartok Styling Assistant Becky Cordrey Location Merchants Tavern, 36 Charlotte Road, London EC2 merchantstavern.co.uk
Coat by Cos menswear; trousers by Kit Neale menswear; waistcoat, shirt and shoes from Carlo Manzi.
STYLE | Karina Orlova
Sweater by John Smedley menswear; trousers, braces and arm band from Carlo Manzi.
Suit from Carlo Manzi; top by Cos menswear; hat by Lou Dalton; scarf by Paul Smith.
STYLE | Karina Orlova
Suit and braces from Carlo Manzi; top by Umit Benan menswear; shoes by Paul Smith menswear.
Jacket, trousers and hat from Carlo Manzi; top by Issey Miyake menswear.
STYLE | Karina Orlova
Sweater by Paul Smith menswear; trousers by Ede&Ravenscroft menswear; braces from Carlo Manzi. Coat, on chair, by Cos menswear.
Suit and tie from Carlo Manzi; shirt by Margaret Howell menswear; shoes by J茅r么me Dreyfuss womenswear.
STYLE | Karina Orlova
Sweater by Marni menswear; trousers by Issey Miyake menswear; shirt from Carlo Manzi; shoes by Paul Smith womenswear; tie by Paul Smith menswear.
City Running Arthur Lydiard. Charlie Dark. Knox Robinson. Tram Dash. NYC.
Words Mark Webster Photographs Janette Beckman, Carmen Chan, David Goldman, Ivan Kaydash, Hidemasa Miyake and Toni Yang
People have always been running, and for a generation and more now, we’ve also jogged – that activity took hold in the latter part of the 20th century, after fabled New Zealand running coach Arthur Lydiard brought it into the lexicon. And for perhaps 40 years, that’s what you did; you jogged, or you joined a club and ran track or cross country. But times change, people change. And in cities around the world, people began to look for new ways of hitting the streets and stretching their legs, without the benefit of officially barriered streets and strategically positioned water stations. In London, music-maker and poet Charlie Dark was a prime example. “I’m 43 and I saw a lot of people around me dying early or getting sick,” he says. “We were burning the candle at both ends, thinking we were immortal. This was seven years ago and I realised an intervention had to be made. “I started it with myself, really. There was no time in the day because I would be in the recording studio. To be honest, I was embarrassed about running in the daytime with people seeing me in pain, sweating – ‘My god, that’s Charlie Dark. And he’s puking up!’ – so I started running home in the evenings.” He discovered he wasn’t the only one thinking like this, and started gathering people around him from similar creative backgrounds who were looking to run, 118
and this led to the creation of the Run Dem Crew in 2007. Being strictly an amateur, Charlie turned to what he knew and “organised it like a warehouse party. Let people discover it.” This has led to expansion across London, subscription levels with waiting lists at the ready, and a system that ensures everyone within the crew is equal. “For our first run, there were no sub-groups,” Charlie recalls. “So there were personal trainers with massive pecs, ‘real’ runners in short-shorts, people in their Air Force 1s. And within five minutes the group was spread across a mile. I thought, this is not going to work. Then the sub-groups came in.” Be you a Tortoise, Hare, Greyhound, Cheetah or Elite member, you are one of the Run Dem Crew, “which includes kids who told me, ‘I live in Lewisham but I’ve never been to Peckham.’ I became aware of the whole postcode thing,” says Dark. “I decided to try and show them sport was part of life, and that it would also affect the way they perform in the classroom.” The message is of a two-way street, which keeps the civilians on side with the idea too. “If there’s four of us in hoodies, we’re a threat. If there’s 20 of us in running kit, that’s OK.” Though the community element is a fundamental part of the Run Dem Crew philosophy, it isn’t completely furrowbrowed – as trips to Europe to meet up with other crews, run together, then
hit a club has paid frequent testimony. As these running crews have emerged across the planet, they have done so with their own unique personalities. Knox Robinson has been at the forefront of Manhattan’s running culture for years. He’s also a band manager, has put together a few music compilations and edited The Fader music magazine. “I’m the guy who ran at university, and seriously,” he says. “Then I took my 20s off and got into the music business, so those were the party years. But then my son was born and it was so profoundly affecting to me. I started to run again the very next day.” Knox is a serious marathon runner but has also put his own spin on it with Black Roses NYC, a crew that perfectly exemplifies the 21st-century take on the pastime. “The social aspect is incredibly important. It’s like self-identification,” he says. “We’re individuals, but in a group. And when you join that group, you are subjugating your ego and your own struggles and successes to reinforce the group, which is a beautiful thing.” Conveying that message inside and outside the crew is important to Knox. “With my background as a writer, maybe my contribution has been communicating this running culture and lifestyle,” he says, “I have a running background and have training partners who could be Olympians, so I can also perhaps inspire >
Charlie Dark, founder of Run Dem Crew, London rundemcrew.com Photograph David Goldman
Alexandra Boyarskaya, 27, journalist What are your favourite running routes? Moscow bridges and embankments, and trails outside Moscow like Nikola-Lenivets. What music do you run to? I have a few different playlists but will never not include ‘Remember the Name’ by Fort Minor.
Gorky Park Runners, Moscow park-gorkogo.com Photograph Ivan Kaydash
with anecdotes from elite training camps, or from conversations with these people. I’m one foot in the street, one half elite.” It is clear there’s a unity of thought with these new running crews. And, as Michael Leung of Hong Kong’s Harbour Runners points out, “crew” is a name they use to distance themselves from their track athletics counterparts. “We’re not a club, we’re a crew and a community,” Michael says. “Anyone who runs is part of the community.” From London to New York to Hong Kong – with many a metropolis between – it’s important that, as well as relating to each other, crews also relate to the location. It’s an all-embracing concept, and as Dark puts it, “It’s not for people who want to stop their lifestyle – it’s for people who want to make it part of their 120
new lifestyle.” The Harbour Runners’ motto “We Run Our City” is the bullish way they communicate ownership over their home. And with routes that include the 100km Around the Island, the Tram Dash (literally taking on the city’s public transport) and the enigmaticsounding Peak to Coast, you can perhaps see why that, great company aside, you’d also best come prepared to sweat. Or as Leung’s fellow crew member Nigel Yau puts it, “You are the boss of your city.” In spite of all the talk of the social side of running crews, it’s fundamentally about putting one foot in front of the other as rapidly as you can, and pound those city streets with all you’ve got. Those streets are a gigantic jigsaw of concrete, tarmac, metal, skin and bones, providing sights, sounds and
obstacles a 400m oval can’t, so the city becomes as crucial a part of the runner’s kit as a decent pair of shoes. What the city provides is the inspiration to get out there and do it, and then do it some more. “There’s something exhilarating about being a physical being moving in an urban environment,” says Knox. “Being in there with the buildings, being part of the traffic. We are using the landscape as a vehicle. But when you’re with your crew, you are, in fact, a bigger vehicle. We are so much more then, than when we’re sitting at our desks, or on our iPhones, drinking a latte.”
SPORT | City Running Jun Hirano, 38, brand director at Balabushka Remnants and Far East Wanderers balabushka.tv What’s your favourite running route? Shibuya-Harajuku, the centre of Tokyo. What music do you run to? ‘Protection’ by Massive Attack.
AFE Tokyo athleticsfareast.tumblr.com Photograph Hidemasa Miyake Hey Dash, Bejing weibo.com/u/3696545940 Photograph Toni Yang
Meng Li, 25, student What’s your favourite running route? The coastal road. What music do you run to? Anything rhythmic.
Yuhao Su, 22, student What’s your favourite running route? Around the Forbidden City and University Town. What music do you run to? Music with a strong rhythm, like ‘Body to Body’ by Ace Hood.
Black Roses NYC, New York blackrosesnyc.com Photograph Janette Beckman
Run Dem Crew, London rundemcrew.com Photograph David Goldman
SPORT | City Running
Michael Leung and Joseph Ng, founders of Harbour Runners, Hong Kong harbourrunners.hk Photograph Carmen Chan
Nick LaVecchia, 39, photographer from New Jersey, nicklavecchia.com Who’s your style icon? Warren Smith. What’s your favourite band? Ween. What’s your favourite movie? Raising Arizona.
Timberland Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross All clothes Timberland
Along the northeast coast of the USA, just north of Boston, is an area of spectacular natural beauty; endless rolling hills and dense forests fronting, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. The well-groomed town squares and gentle serpentine roads service communities that thrive on the industries of land and sea, as well as the summer influx of affluent professionals. Within this neighbourhood of blue and white-collar residents sits, rather aptly, the headquarters of Timberland. This environment, both rural and urban, is at the heart of the companyâ€™s design process, and harks back to its inaugural
product â€“ the Yellow Boot, the first completely waterproof boot. The truth is, today, whether based in the city or the countryside, most of us find ourselves spending more and more time outside. This is, in part, down to the technological advances that allow people to work easily outside the office. Likewise, more and more of us are turning to bicycles, or even walking, as a preferred way of getting around, all of which means we are more exposed to the fickle nature of the weather. Design practice at Timberland, from footwear through to apparel, follows on from this understanding of modern
lifestyles, focusing particularly on three key agendas â€“ style, performance and green credentials. Fabrics manufactured from recycled and organic materials are less harmful to the environment and design solutions like the use of wrinkle-resistant memory yarn and hidden pockets service the needs of people on the go, whether in the city or big outdoors. Timberland, 144 Regent Street, London W1 timberlandonline.co.uk
Jesse Loomis, 41, founder of Powderjet Snowboards, from Vermont powderjets.com Describe your style. Making wooden snowboards for a living means I’m perpetually covered in wood dust, glue and coffee stains, so my clothes have to be hardwearing and functional. Who are your style icons? The musicians in the movie Rockers. What’s your favourite band? Black Sabbath. What’s your favourite movie? Groundhog Day.
Roxy Music. Ambient. Fela Kuti. Afrodisiac. Reickuti. Words Chris May Portrait Kevin Davies
One day in September 1973, shortly after he had left Roxy Music, Brian Eno was wandering along Tottenham Court Road. Near the junction with Warren Street, he passed a small electrical supplies shop, Sterns Electrical. Among the radios, light fittings and hairdryers in the window, Eno noticed a handful of LPs, each by an artist whose name was new to him. Intrigued, he went into the shop and left, half an hour or so later, with an album that, he says, “changed my life”. The album was Fela Kuti’s Afrodisiac. Fate dealt Eno a good hand that day. Back then, Sterns was probably the only place in London where you could have bought Afrodisiac – or, indeed, any African LP other than the academicallyinclined field recordings available at a few specialist folk-music shops. Sterns received its stock haphazardly, from African students at nearby University College London, some of whom would return from visits home with suitcases full of vinyl. Once an album sold out it was usually gone forever, Sterns having no system for reordering. If Eno had walked in a month later, Afrodisiac would probably not have still been there. In the forty years since he discovered it, Afrobeat has woven itself through Eno’s work – not so much, perhaps, in the massively successful albums he has produced for U2 (seven of them) and Coldplay, but in his solo projects, which 128
he self-deprecatingly describes as “little ships on an ocean of indifference”, and more leftfield collaborations. He cites Afrobeat’s synergy with the algorithmcreated “generative” music he has helped to develop over the last decade; it is at the core of his latest album, High Life, his second collaboration with Underworld’s Karl Hyde, released this summer, which uses a compositional approach Eno calls ‘Reickuti’ (a contraction of Steve Reich and Fela Kuti). In 2011, he co-produced Seun Kuti’s album From Africa with Fury: Rise. On September 29, Knitting Factory Records will release a seven-album Fela Kuti vinyl box set compiled by Eno (which includes, naturally, Afrodisiac). Eno was born in Suffolk in 1948. He studied art at Ipswich Civic College with cybernetic art pioneer Roy Ascott, then at Winchester School of Art, where he became interested in electronic and minimalist music. At the prompting of an ex-college friend, reed player Andy Mackay, he joined Roxy Music in 1971, first behind the mixing desk, and later as onstage synthesiser player and electronicist. Roxy singer Bryan Ferry is said to have become jealous of Eno’s scene-stealing outré appearance, and in 1973 Eno left the band. He released his first solo album, Here Come the Warm Jets, in 1974. Since then, Eno’s output has been prolific and, also, seemingly effortlessly
avant garde. He has released 17 solo albums, 16 ambient installation or video albums and 27 collaborations with fellow adventurers such as Robert Fripp, Kevin Ayers, Nico, Jah Wobble and David Byrne. He has produced a further 50-odd albums, for Talking Heads, John Cale, John Cage, Ultravox, Laurie Anderson, Devo, David Bowie, Baaba Maal and Grace Jones. He almost single-handedly created ambient music in the 1970s, and has been at the forefront of his generative music since the mid-1990s. I’d love to know how you came across Sterns. If you’d blinked as you walked past it, you wouldn’t have noticed it. I was trying to remember that when I wrote the introduction to the Fela box. I don’t remember anybody telling me about it. I think I just walked past it one day and – I always had a taste for the exotic – I looked in and thought, gosh, I haven’t heard any of these albums. I’d moved to London not long before, in 1969, shortly after finishing college, and like most people who move to a new city, knew more about it than people who grew up there. I was fascinated by the richness of culture and determined to find out as much about it as I could. I just used to walk around looking at shops and thinking, gosh, I’d love to see what they sell. Sterns was one of the discoveries. >
Germany, 1973 In the studio, 1975
Once inside, what prompted you to buy Afrodisiac? Was it just the cover? It wasn’t just the cover, though that appealed to me. It was the size of the band. When I looked at the back cover it listed all the musicians, and I thought, god, three conga players, that’s got to be good. Not long before that, I had been to see the Philip Glass Ensemble at the Royal College of Art. Again, there was a duplication of instruments, which I found very interesting. The Glass concert really alerted me to that. I discovered years later that David Bowie was at the same show, though we didn’t know each other then. So I was looking for bands where you got the possibility of an intricate weave of music. I think I was looking for bands where the normal pyramid of musicians – singer at the top, lead guitarist, rhythm instruments, bass and drums at the bottom – where that didn’t apply, where there was a more interesting ecology, as it were, between the parts. And as soon as I saw Afrodisiac’s list of players, I thought, I’ve got to hear what that sounds like. I bought every Fela record I could find. I’ve been a huge fan of [Africa ‘70 drummer] Tony Allen ever since. I think his playing was at the deep heart of the band. Were you also listening to other styles of African music at this time? There was some east African stuff as well. There was a Kenyan guy I liked, I think his name was David Obunga. I had quite a few east African albums and what was interesting about those was that the bands were very, very light and sprightly, compared to west African bands. And 130
I liked that as well. I noticed that when you saw pictures of the players, the guitars were all worn down at the top end of the fret arm near the pickups. The bottom end, where most western players were playing, was brand new. None of the east Africans ever played down there, all the playing was way up high, to play those beautiful high melodies. I just love differences like that – someone deciding to use an instrument in a completely different way from the way we do.
‘I START OUT NOT WITH POETRY, BUT WITH RHYTHMS, GROOVES AND MELODIES’ Why it is that seminal African records still sound so vibrant 40 or 50 years on, despite the very basic conditions under which most were recorded? I think it’s partly to do with engineers working with very limited resources and really understanding them. If you’ve only got two mics, one compressor and a couple of pre-amps, you really know what they do, because you’re using them every single day. It’s like an artist who is
extremely good with watercolours. It’s a very limited medium but you can become incredibly good with it, if it’s all you have. As a record producer, it makes me wonder about the whole direction recording has taken. I’ve noticed certain things have passed their peak. For example, I think string sections reached their peak of recording quality in the 1960s and 70s. I don’t think it’s just me being nostalgic. What happened in recording since then is that we have multiplied options, so we have millions of possible ways to do anything, but we did it at the expense of the deep rapport people can have with a more simple tool. Those old African recordings, and a lot of old rhythm ‘n’ blues and early doo-wop and so on – in many respects they were incredibly limited in recording tools. Nonetheless, the people who were using those limited tools had a real rapport with them, and knew how to get exciting results. I once recorded in west Africa with a Ghanaian band called Edikanfo [on 1981’s The Pace Setters]. I worked with an engineer in a little studio that was a joke by western standards. He had a really random bundle of microphones. One of them was from a Sony cassette recorder, a really cheap mic, but he used it brilliantly. He put it over the drum kit and he got a really vibrant, lively sound. If you’d shown that set-up to a western engineer they would have laughed at you. And the same with the instruments. Sometimes the guys were using really crappy old electric guitars, but they knew how to work with them, how to get something special out of them.
MUSIC | Brian Eno
With David Byrne, New York, 1981
In your introduction to the Fela box, you write about playing Afrodisiac to Talking Heads in 1977 and saying it was “the music of the future”. You go on to say you still believe it. This seems at odds with statements you have made elsewhere about generative music. Perhaps I should have said it’s “a music” rather than “the music” of the future – the future will have a lot of different musics in it. But I think the Afrobeat story has really only just got going. It’s been a very long prelude but now I find more and more of that influence in other things I hear. It’s interesting that people are cottoning on to it now. I meet very young people, 18, 19, who are talking about Afrobeat with this amazing sense of discovery I had forty years ago. Have you heard this! In fact, I met a young guy only the other day who said to me, Jesus, I’ve just heard this drummer, you’d really love him, he’s Nigerian but with a weird name, you must listen to him, he’s called Tony Allen. The other thing is, among popular musics I think Afrobeat is the closest there is to “generative” music. The way it works is there’s a loose set of rules, of ingredients, in place, and then everyone starts playing. You don’t have a structured composition in quite the same way as you get with a pop song. The thing is infinitely elastic, sections can go on and be reintroduced and so on, and my
Brian Eno, Nico, Kevin Ayers and John Cale, Rainbow Theatre, London, 1974
impression is that it’s done pretty much on the fly. They’re not playing songs in the sense we think of them. Each composition is a kind of recipe and it’s baked differently each time it’s made. I find that’s quite a strong connection and it’s one of the things that first drew me to Afrobeat. I thought, here is a music that’s like jazz, which I’d never been that keen on, but which, as my friend Robert Wyatt said, is “jazz from another planet”. You’ve used the word ‘Reickuti’ to describe your approach to the music on High Life. What does the album take from Steve Reich and Fela Kuti? From Reich, the idea of repetition for its own sake. The idea that if you just keep repeating something, it keeps changing. Which is a way of saying that your mind is an active composer, it’s doing a lot of work, hearing things and reinterpreting them from a lot of different angles. So, for me, the big revelation of Steve Reich, when I first heard his work, was in realising how active the listening mind is. Actually, the piece is co-composed by the composer and your mind. It’s the opposite of the classical idea of the listener as an entirely passive receptor – who sits in a chair and doesn’t cough or anything, who just receives the composition. So with Reich, the idea of staying in one place but constantly moving was very important to me. And I think you hear that clearly
on High Life, which has much longer pieces than my previous albums have. From Fela, of course, what fascinated me was the rhythmic-melodic interplay. When you listen to Tony’s drum parts, you hear implicit in them thousands of other parts, both rhythmic and melodic parts. You only have to listen, and you think, the bass is going to go something like this. I don’t know the internal life of the band well enough to be sure, but I assume Tony was the ecological landscape from which the music grew. When you started listening to Reich and Philip Glass and other minimalists in the late 1960s, you weren’t that keen on jazz. Were you aware of Teo Macero’s work with Miles Davis, the way he used tape manipulation to create repetition? It did influence me, yes. The things I started listening to by Miles, that really grabbed my attention, that fascinated me with the concept of how music could be, were albums like Bitches Brew and On the Corner. When I started discovering Teo Macero’s role, how active he was in making those albums – in the sense of active as a contemporary recording producer – I became very fond of them. I’d loved some of the earlier albums too, such as Sketches of Spain – they were lovely records to listen to, but they didn’t excite me so much, conceptually. > 131
In some repects, doo-wop, early R&B and early African music are the polar opposite of modern, tech-rich music, which has Auto-Tune and other devices to edit and recalibrate recorded sound. How do you keep the humanity in music amongst all this technology? It’s very difficult, and it’s continually under debate. It doesn’t just apply with African recordings. It’s a problem everybody is having at the moment. Do I resist the temptation to perfect this thing? What do I lose by perfecting it? It’s difficult. Because now it is possible to mend anything, correct anything. The rhythm’s a bit out on that bar? OK, we’ll just stretch it a little bit. We can quantise everything now, we can quantise audio so the beat is absolutely perfect. We can sort of do and undo anything. And of course, most of the records we like, all of us, as listeners, are records where people didn’t do everything to fix them up. So the question that everybody’s asking is, is it getting any better as a result of all this? But it’s such a hard temptation to resist. You’re recording a song and find a note that is really quite out of tune. In the past, you’d have said, it’s a great performance, so we’ll just live with it. What you do now is retune that note, so you’re always asking yourself, have we lost something of the tension of the performance, of the feeling of humanity and vulnerability and organic truth or whatever, by making the corrections? And of course, there are all sorts of reactions against it. You have Jack White with his studio in Nashville, which is all analogue, he doesn’t have any digital equipment in there. And I’ve worked with bands who’ve said, “We’re going back to tape.” They’ve got in all the stuff, 24-track recorders, all the gear – but within half a day they’re saying, “Fuck, we can’t edit this stuff.” They’re just not used to working that way. There’s a very interesting exercise, I don’t know if you’ve tried it, not to use cmd-Z when you’re writing something. I write quite a lot on a Mac and, like everybody, I go back and change things. If you say to yourself, today I’m going to write exactly as if I was sitting in front of a piece of paper and writing – Jesus, it’s a whole different mindset. Because you have to start thinking before you start writing. It’s really hard to go back to that. I’m not saying there is any advantage in going back to it, it’s just interesting to try it, to remind 132
yourself of how completely you are now part of this new technology of writing. Do you think musicians should feel threatened by generative music and other aspects of digital technology – by the advent of citizen music-makers and apps – as some photographers and designers feel threatened in their fields? Well, it’s the story of culture, I’m afraid. Take writing again. If you think of when printing came along, until then, writing had been the province of a very limited number of people, both as writers and readers. Printing democratised the reading process and after a while it democratised writing as well, because suddenly, anybody who had a few quid could get a book published. The 18th century was the story of people putting
‘THE ONLY REPETITION I LIKE IS THE REPETITION OF THE FEELING OF DISCOVERY’ out books, most of them now forgotten, generally on their own account, selfpublishing. There weren’t the filters of publishers and so on. A similar thing happened with music. If it was art music it was filtered quite strongly, by whichever dukes and counts were the patrons of the composers and the court ensembles. He who paid the piper called the tune. Then, in the 1940s and 50s there were suddenly thousands of radio stations that wanted stuff to play, and making a record was very cheap. So you got the birth of doowop and rhythm ‘n’ blues, where bands really off the street corners came in and made records and suddenly sold a million copies. It’s exactly the same process today. There are always periods when a group of professionals with genuine expertise control something, and suddenly their expertise is not so important. And of course they feel upset. They’ve invested a lot of time in it.
You have defined ambient music as “rewarding attention but not being so strict as to demand it”. Listening to Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, you might only consciously hear random words or phrases, but still get the message. Can verbalised music work in the same way as instrumental ambient music? Definitely, and lyrics kind of get written like that. Like a lot of songwriters, I start out not with verses of poetry, but with rhythms and grooves and melodies and so on, and the lyrics grow out of that. I start out just singing nonsense, sounds rather than words, and sometimes a word pops out and you think, oh, that’s a good word, that’s a phrase, yes. David Byrne writes in exactly the same way. So does Bono. You find the song in the rhythm. In fact, I don’t know anybody, with the possible exception of Elvis Costello, who writes from lyrics. If the words don’t sound right on the rhythm, you haven’t got a song, basically. What I often notice in the studio is that people have a great idea – a great groove, a fantastic hook – and you say wonderful, wonderful. Then they finally write the words and they are clumsy and awkward and don’t fit. And you have to start again, basically, because it doesn’t work unless it holds together. You seem effortlessly to have remained avant garde for four decades – which is rare for an artist in any field. Are you conscious of that, has it been effortless? It’s nice of you to say that. If it’s true, it hasn’t been effortless. Or rather, I should say, I don’t spend a lot of time relaxing. That’s by choice. I don’t feel like I’m in a race or anything, I just keep wanting to try things out. And working is a habit for me, it’s what I do every day. I love being in my studio. Every day I go in there and feel so lucky to have a life where I can play around all day. I’m easily bored and I think that’s actually quite a good quality. I really don’t like doing things again and again. I have to feel I’m doing something I haven’t tried. I don’t like repetition, in that respect. The only repetition I like is the repetition of the feeling of discovery – of thinking, hey, this is new, how did I get here, what do I do now? Fela Kuti Vinyl Box Set 3 is out on 29 September on Knitting Factory Records knittingfactoryrecords.com
MUSIC | Brian Eno
In his west London studio Photograph Kevin Davies
Sweater and belt by Paul Smith; trousers by Vivienne Westwood Man.
Coat by Iceberg; trousers by Vivienne Westwood Man; shirt, stylist’s own; scarf and pocket square by Paul Smith; ring, model’s own; belt by Richard James.
Down by Law
Photographs David Goldman Styling Richard Simpson Grooming Lee Machin at Caren Styling Assistant Emily Munden Musician John Stuart Taylor, Young Guns weareyoungguns.com
STYLE | Down by Law
Shirt, stylist’s own; trousers by Vivienne Westwood Man; belt by Richard James; ring, model’s own; hat by Agnès B.
Sweater by AgnĂ¨s B; trousers by Paul Smith.
STYLE | Down by Law
Kimono by Caruso; trousers by Paul Smith; vest, stylist’s own; ring, model’s own.
Coat by Gieves&Hawkes; trousers by Vivienne Westwood Man; shirt by Paul Smith; shoes by The Kooples.
Jacket by AgnĂ¨s B; shirt by Folk.
STYLE | Down by Law
Coat by Agnès B; trousers by Vivienne Westwood Man; shirt and cravat, stylist’s own; shoes by The Kooples.
Suit, pocket square and belt by Paul Smith; shirt by AgnĂ¨s B; shoes by The Kooples.
Nigel Cabourn Cricket. North of England. The Army Gym. Military Uniform. Paul Smith.
Words Andy Thomas Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross Styling Marcus Love Cabourn Staff Nick Daley, Faye Green and Drew Holmes Location The Garden House, Gosforth
Details matter to Nigel Cabourn. Seams sealed by tape for serious wind and rain protection; Harris tweed and mohair lining; underarm ventilation with rubberised metal eyelets; horned buttons and military edition metal clasps; waxed, rolled drawstrings. For the English designer it’s about functionality and how clothing responds to nature and the environment. This has been the foundation to his design since creating his own label in 1971, his final year at Newcastle College of Fashion. He started amassing vintage clothing in the 1970s and his collections since have been based around his vast archive of over 3,000 pieces – everything from Bombay bloomer army shorts to striped cricket blazers, to Royal Air Force life vests. It’s by militarywear’s pragmatism, where every stitch and fabric choice is a matter of survival, that he’s most inspired. A confessed purist, Cabourn makes clothes with no compromise, while searching far and wide for inspiration. To design the perfect mountain parka he went to New Zealand, where Sir Edmund Hillary’s jacket hung in a museum. Looking for the definitive weatherproof coat, he turned to the Ventile cottons developed during the second world war for RAF pilots. Seeking inspiration for a collection celebrating 100 years since Captain Robert Scott’s 1912 South Pole expedition, he visited the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge. For his S/S 2013 cricket-inspired collection he meticulously studied Denis Compton’s 1940s attire. The stories that become his collections are conceived in the Garden House in leafy Gosforth, a short drive from Newcastle. It’s here, next to a cricket 142
green in a house surrounded by military and other vintage artefacts and a huge library of reference books, that Cabourn and his small team create his collections. One of the first British designers to secure a licence in Japan in the 1980s, he opened his first store in Tokyo, the Army Gym, in 2009. He has five stores in Japan, and we caught up ahead of the opening of his new London store. What was the first piece of clothing that really meant something to you? It was seeing Pete Townshend [of the Who] wear a Union Jack jacket; that was my first inspiration as a fashion person. It was 1967 and I’d just started at fashion college. I figured he must have taken the Union Jack from a flagpole and got a tailor, Tommy Nutter or someone of that ilk, to make a jacket. What a great idea. That gave me the idea to cut up my mother’s velvet curtains she was throwing away and make them into loon pants. What was the course like? I was there from 1967-71 and I would say it was the best time of my life. It was a fantastic period, there was such an ‘up’ feeling. Everybody was on a high. Pop culture was my biggest inspiration to be a fashion designer. I did a proper fouryear course. It was pure fashion design. Who were your style icons at that time? I loved the Small Faces because they were so cool; I really liked Steve Marriott. Also Peter Frampton, who was in the Herd at the time, and Eric Clapton and Cream. As a fashion student I was hitch-hiking around the country going to pop festivals so I used to see all these cool little groups.
What clothes shops would you go to in the north of England? There were very few. There was a shop in Middlesbrough called John’s City and Western, and that was the coolest shop in the North East. There was Marcus Price in Newcastle and also City Stylish. They had all the mod gear from London. Did you make it down to London during this time? Only when I was 21, in 1971. I couldn’t afford a ticket so I stowed away on the train. I got caught at the gates at King’s Cross and they gave me a good ticking off and told me to clear off. I came down with a couple of girls from college and just had a great time. I went to Carnaby Street and Kings Road and just couldn’t believe it. I was a country bumpkin, really. When did you first start making clothes to sell? I always wanted people to wear my clothes, even when I was a student in the late 1960s. So when Adam Faith came along with the Budgie jacket in 1971, I thought, I’m going to make Budgie jackets and loon pants, and I’m going to put army badges on them and make them look a bit funkier. I also did a long canvas jacket with suede tops and elbow patches. I started the whole business on that and I’ve been in business for over 40 years. Where were you selling your clothes? In the North East, first. Then I met Paul Smith. I went to a show in Harrogate and had met Harold Tillman by chance. Paul worked for him at Lincroft’s. Paul and I got on really well and he said, “God, I like this stuff you’re making. What are >
PROFILE | Nigel Cabourn
you doing with it?” He thought he could sell it in his shop in Nottingham. But he also had connections in London and said he could sell it at the Village Gate and Take Six. He became my agent. One of the first people he introduced me to was Philip Start, the buyer for Village Gate – so there was the three of us all doing business together. You’ve touched on it, but when did your love of vintage really begin? It was a mix of things. Back at college, my first inspiration was music and pop culture. I loved that scene and those bands – but I also loved flower power, in particular all the kids wearing military stuff. People were mixing things up; that was the inspiration for my first three or four years. In the mid-1970s I was getting a bit into the wilderness, thinking, what the hell am I going to do next? How am I going to take the business forward? By chance, Paul came to me while I was 144
showing in Paris. He was just starting to wholesale. He brought this jacket and said, “Nige, have you seen this vintage jacket?” I said, “God, where did you get
‘NO ONE KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT VINTAGE IN THOSE DAYS’ that?” He said, “There’s a flea market here and you can buy all vintage American and English army stuff.” I said, “You’re joking.” Buying vintage was really that unusual? No one knew anything about vintage in those days. I didn’t know and I don’t
think Paul knew either, although he’d obviously had an inkling about vintage. What was that jacket he showed you? It was a British flight jacket with the button and tape on in army green. I loved it and he said, “Nige, you can have it.” That was the start of vintage to me. What did you do with that jacket? I analysed it and it inspired me to do a whole collection. The following year I sold 30,000 pieces of outerwear and went from having a small business to a big business in a couple of years. How similar were those first pieces to the vintage jacket? They were very similar. The original was made of Ventile, but the problem was I didn’t know what the hell Ventile was in 1979. It was only a couple of years later that I discovered it was an RAF fabric that had been invented in 1939. >
How much does your vintage archive inform your collections? It’s the inspiration, along with the books in the library. I buy 100 books a year; everywhere I travel, I’m looking for vintage books and anything else that inspires me. It might be a parachute, just anything really. It feels like I’ve been doing it all my life. Looking at your clothing, what really stands out is the detail. When did you recognise the importance of that? The late 1970s, when I started analysing vintage. You take a military piece and turn it inside out – it’s just as good as the outside. Military wear does what it says and is functional and really works. It’s authentic, and that’s what my product is all about. It’s also about longevity. 146
Your collections are based on stories. How do you come up with those stories and how do they inform the work? The stories are there all the time. As soon as I see pieces I think of the stories that might be behind them. Then I think, for example, the 100th anniversary of Scott’s expedition might be coming up, so I look at the pieces, marrying it all. And once I know we’ve got an event or anniversary on the way, I start really thinking. I’m concentrating everything at the moment on the first world war. For winter 2015, I’m continuing with it and the second world war, all based on the RAF. What was the first collection that was based on a story or event like that? It took me a long time after I started collecting vintage to figure it out. It took me until the Everest collection in 2003
[‘The Ascent of Cabourn’, inspired by Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1953 Everest ascent]. That was when I finally figured it out and thought, why am I not using the vintage with the stories, training myself that way? It’s only really been about 12 years. An iconic piece you developed from a story is the George Mallory jacket. How did that come about? There were many reasons why I wanted to do something based on Mallory. But the main reason was going to the Royal Geographical Society about five years ago to find all the Mallory books I could. The scientists who worked at the RGS were there that day, they’d heard I had come down and said, “Listen, we know what you’re doing, how would you like to see Mallory’s clothes?” I thought they were joking. But they took me into this room
PROFILE | Nigel Cabourn
all dressed in white coats and long gloves and brought out all Mallory’s clothes. I had them in my hands. That gave me such a lift to do that project. I’d been thinking about doing something on Mallory for years but that was the hook. A lot of your pieces like, for example, the Cameraman jacket, fuse elements of different pieces of vintage. I never design anything from scratch because it looks too ‘fashion’. I take, for example, four vintage pieces from the first world war and mix them all together. That’s what I’m about. Would it be true to say that you focus very much on British vintage? Yes, for the last 10 years or so I’ve been concentrating on the British. I’m into what the RAF wore or what the British Army wore. I’m not that interested in any other armies. I love the German stuff and I’ll take a detail here or there. But really, I’m about the British. That’s why about four years ago I did a collection based on my dad. He was out in Burma in the second world war. He died 35 years ago
and as a young man I had images in my mind of him wearing Bombay bloomers and khaki shirts in the garden. That stuck with me all my life. My mum told me she had my dad’s handbook. I remembered seeing it around the house as a youngster
‘I LOVE THE GERMAN STUFF, BUT REALLY, I’M ABOUT THE BRITISH’ but had never taken any notice of it. Then when my dad died my mum showed me and it was fantastic. It was about his life in Burma, with all his pictures. I based that collection on the clothes he wore.
How important is it to be a purist? Being a purist is everything to me. I’m not interested in being another fashion person. I like things that are authentic. You get what you see with me. I love real things, so I love real fabric and all that British heritage. I love oilcloth and Harris tweed, Ventile, and Fair Isle sweaters. The only problem with the way I work is that you need a lot of money to buy the original pieces. So having my archive collection is everything. It’s my library. Where do you source your materials and where are the factories? I have two collections. Mainline is made in Japan with all Japanese fabric, and Authentic is 90 per cent English fabrics, made in England. I have 15 factories around England all making clothes. That must be hard to sustain? It’s hard work. A nightmare, actually. That’s where the purist comes in. You have to be like that to make things in England because it’s so expensive. But I’m product-driven so for me making a lot of money is well down the list. It’s all > 147
PROFILE | Nigel Cabourn
about the best product: I’ve always been driven by that. But I think any designer that makes in England will be struggling. It’s so difficult. To manufacture a product like mine in England using English fabric, making it on time, delivering it to the customer on time – it’s a major job. Would you consider making elsewhere? No, not interested. I’ll pack in if I ever have to do that. Where are your factories? Mostly in Lancashire and Scotland. Do you see signs of a general move back to Made in England? To be honest with you, no. We go around the factories and there are very few people making in England. You are still based in the North East – tell me a bit about the Garden House. The house is like a cricket pavilion at the bottom of the garden. It looks over the cricket ground. It’s a beautiful property and I have 14 people in about a 1400sqm bungalow-come-cricket-pavilion. That’s
where I run the business. We use it as a showroom, too. People like Karl-Heinz [Müller] from 14 oz. in Berlin will come and spend two days with me. So you do get people who love Cabourn coming up to Newcastle. I think being in the north worked. If you look at someone like Paul
‘WE GO AROUND THE FACTORIES – AND VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE MAKING IN ENGLAND’ Smith, you’d say I missed out by staying north instead of going south. Very few people actually come to see you, so you have to work at everything.
You’ve done a few collaborations – how do you feel about them, generally? I’ll only do collaborations that work for us as a brand. I’m not interested in doing them for the sake of it. For example, I’ve enjoyed doing the Converse with Ventile, I’m doing a table-tennis collaboration with Fred Perry because I love table tennis and play every day. I did one with Red Wing that was good; I did one with Yuketen, and with Viberg. Where are your best markets? Japan and Korea. We do as much business there and in the far east as in the rest of the world. You have five stores in Japan. How does it feel to be opening in London this year? I’m really excited. It’s going to be sort of based on the success of the Army Gym. It’s going to be a bit Air Force-looking, less vintage and more contemporary, but still with all the roots. A Nigel Cabourn shop opens in September at 28 Henrietta St, London WC2 cabournlondonstore.com 149
Fritz Lang Jean-Luc Godard. Erich Pommer. Berthold Brecht. Words Chris Sullivan
“My mother wanted me to be a doctor but I’m quite happy being an adjective,” said filmmaker Federico Fellini. And just as ‘Felliniesque’ has come to mean a certain earthy Italian sophistication with a twist of the bizarre, so ‘Langian’ is used to describe any darkly toned movie that depicts a claustrophobic world in which people, controlled by larger forces, struggle against their fate. Walking from a recent press screening of M (1931), one can see why. Lang is simply unique. In the 1960s, Lang – a veritable giant of cinema with an essential canon of 50 pictures in 45 years – called himself “the last of the dinosaurs”. But consider his silents, such as Dr Mabuse: The Gambler (1922) and Metropolis (1925), his genredefining noirs The Woman in the Window (1944) and The Big Heat (1953). He even helmed a few top-notch westerns such as The Return of Frank James (1940) and Rancho Notorious (1952) and in 1963 received the ultimate accolade when JeanLuc Godard cast him as himself opposite Brigitte Bardot in Le mépris (Contempt). “My life goes on and my films are the most direct expression of what I have seen, of what I have learnt and felt,” he told critic Jean-Claude Philippe in 1973. As his films are unique, so was his life. 150
“I was born on 5 December, 1890 in Vienna, Austria,” he wrote in his brief, six-page memoir. “My father Anton Lang was an architect; my mother’s name was Paula Lang née Schlesinger.” As a boy, Lang was fascinated by the Viennese theatre with its persistent refrain of death and destiny – terrain he would later tread; his favourite theatre was the eccentric Kratky-Baschik-Zaubertheater, a seemingly low-brow affair where ghosts, goblins, witches and fairies frolicked across the stage against a backdrop of optical illusions, smoke and mirrors. Lang the elder wanted his curious son to follow in his footsteps but young Fritz was unsure. “I definitely decided to become a painter, and my models were Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt – the only artist I really collected.” he wrote. An obsessive reader like his reprobate idols, he took in Nietzsche, Hans Sachs, Schopenhauer, Shakespeare and Jules Verne. He devoured lurid penny-dreadful magazines that told tales of criminals and skullduggery and made heroes of Jesse James, Dick Turpin and Blackbeard. Lang also shared Schiele and Klimt’s love of Vienna’s decadent underbelly; he worked at two cabarets – the Femina Revuebühne and Theater Kabarett Holle
– creating posters and occasionally giving poetry readings. “Viennese women were the most beautiful and generous in the world,” Lang said. But when his devoutly Catholic father found out he wasn’t just an avid nightcrawler but was seeing an actress at the cabaret Fledermaus, he hit the roof. Lang was 21. “I ran far away from home,” he says, “something every decent young man should do. First, I went to Belgium, and from there my wanderings took me over half the world to North Africa, Turkey, Asia Minor, and even as far as Bali. I ended up in Paris. I earned my living selling hand-painted postcards, my own pictures, and occasionally cartoons to newspapers.” He went to art college and visited the cinema daily, becoming infatuated with the moving pictures he often described as “the art of the century”. Lang stayed in Paris until the outbreak of war in 1914, when he was declared an enemy alien and interned. He escaped, returned to Vienna and was called up as a volunteer after which, he said, he “suffered a rash of patriotism”. Amidst the horror of both the Romanian and Russian fronts, he became leader of a renowned scout patrol whose task was to go behind enemy lines and be shot at. >
The Big Heat, 1953
“At the front I was promoted to officer rank, was wounded several times and received some medals,” he explained. He ended up in military hospital for both his wounds and shell shock and was declared unfit for further frontline duty. While in hospital he wrote a few film scenarios, one of which, Wedding in the Eccentric Club, was made into a film in Berlin by producer/director Joe May, who, much to Lang’s annoyance, omitted his credit. Disappointed, Lang retreated from the film world but was soon spotted by producer Erich Pommer sitting in a cafe in all his finery – monocle, threepiece suit and spats – was typecast as a lieutenant in Der Hias (1918) and offered a contact with Decal as a script editor. A year later he made his directorial debut The Half Caste and married a Russian, Lisa Rosenthal. The marriage ended abruptly after Rosenthal came home to find Lang engaged in “violent petting”, as he later put it, with his paramour, Prussian writer Thea von Harbou. His wife went to the bedroom and shot herself in the chest with his first world war sidearm. She was found dead in the bathtub. The police were called last and suspicions were raised – it didn’t add up but they stuck to their story and a charge of denial of assistance was soon dropped. Lang made an honest woman of von Harbou in 1923 and for the next 10 years they collaborated on scripts. Though US satirist Dorothy Parker claimed Lang “got where he is by the sweat of his Frau”, he was directing several classics of the era: Dr Mabuse: The Gambler (1922), Die Nibelungen (1924) and 1927’s Metropolis, written with von Harbou and set in the 152
year 2000. At the time the most expensive movie ever made, it set the tone for all sci-fis to come. Lang employed enormous sets over which 25,000 extras ran wild. He used astonishing, unseen special effects to create two disparate worlds – the underground city where the lowly, impoverished workers toiled, and Metropolis, with its lofty skyscrapers and arterial highways in the sky, home to the bosses, the rich and the powers that be.
‘I AM ALWAYS CLASSED AS AN EXPRESSIONIST BUT I THINK I AM A REALIST’ The movie is the apogee of German Expressionist cinema and is pure Lang – the cinema of the nightmare, the fable, the philosophical dissertation. Still, he argued he wasn’t an expressionist artist. “I don’t know the difference between an expressionist and a non-expressionist mise-en-scène,” he told Jean-Claude Philippe. “I am always classed as an expressionist but I think I am a realist.” That would certainly be true of M, one of the first German talkies, the germ of which was the spate of serial killers terrorising Germany between the wars – particularly Peter Kürten, the ‘Vampire of Düsseldorf ’. It tells of a child killer (Peter Lorre) who is hunted down by the
city’s criminals and beggars. The Nazis halted filming, believing the project, initially called The Murderer Among Us, was about them. It went ahead, but not without incident. “I used real criminals for the part concerning the dregs of society,” explained Lang. “There were 24 arrests on set.” It wasn’t to be Lang’s last encounter with Messrs Hitler and Goebbels, as he later explained: “After the Nazis came to power, my anti-Nazi film, The Last Will and Testament of Dr Mabuse, in which I put Nazi slogans in the mouth of a pathological criminal, was banned, of course. I was called to see Dr Goebbels, not, as I feared, to be called to account for the film but, to be told, to my surprise, that Hitler had offered me the leading post in the German film industry. ‘That is the man to make national socialist movies!’ he said.” To dissuade Goebbels, Lang told him the truth: “My mother had Jewish parents.” To which Goebbels responded: “We’ll decide who’s Jewish!” By this time divorced from Thea von Harbou, now an enthusiastic Nazi, Lang fled Berlin that very night for Paris, where he soon bumped into his old friend Erich Pommer, a Jew who had left Berlin and was working for Fox Film. In 1934, Lang made Liliom, starring Charles Boyer, for Pommer, his only French-language film. “It was the fashion then for Hollywood studios to collect European directors like trophies,” recalls the director in the last sentence of his memoir, “so I was offered a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Hollywood. I left France for America and never spoke German again.” A year of inactivity followed. Lang doggedly read all he could, including books, newspapers and comic strips (“Comics are important here because everyone reads them,” he said) and digested every slice of American slang, idiom and colloquialism he could find. He travelled the country, talking to cab drivers, shop assistants, bartenders and their customers, and went to live with the Navajo in Arizona to discover what made the indigenous peoples tick. Then he stumbled on a synopsis, Mob Rule by Norman Krasna, dealing with the hanging of an innocent man. It was based on the kidnapping and murder of Brooke Hart, in San Jose, California in 1933. The two suspects were dragged from jail by vigilantes who took them across the street to St James Park and lynched them both. “All my best films
CINEMA | Fritz Lang
have come from cuttings,” he said. Fury was released in 1936 and is pure Lang: uplit, rather grotesque townspeople (many of whom were non-actors) watching the jailhouse burn with Joe Wilson (Spencer Tracy) in it; the newsreel footage he used as a plot device; and the crowd scenes, all reminiscent of Metropolis. But Lang wasn’t entirely pleased – after boss Louis B Mayer declared, “Coloured people can only be used as shoeshine boys or porters in my pictures!” a vital scene featuring such folk was cut out. “After that, I did no work for MGM ever again,” he said. Whatever misgivings Lang had, the film was a massive box-office and critical hit, and thus his next picture You Only Live Once starred Henry Fonda and Sylvia Sydney and featured the title ‘Directing: Fritz Fury Lang’. He was irresistible to Hollywood: this sophisticated, erudite, witty and thoroughly informed aesthete strolling the streets of LA immaculately dressed in his trademark monocle, bow tie and fine suiting, who’d made Germany’s finest and most artistically credible films, had lived in Paris, fled the Nazis and travelled the world.
Hollywood actors and creatives were accordingly gagging to work with him. You and Me (1938) also starred some of the biggest stars of the day – Sylvia Sydney (again), George Raft and Robert Cummings. The Return of Frank James (1940) with Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney and John Carradine surprised a few with its uncharacteristically happy ending (true to life) and because the western seemed an incongruous choice for the European sophisticate. “I like westerns,” he told a critic in 1959. “They have an ethic that’s very simple and very necessary, an ethic that one doesn’t see now because critics are too sophisticated. They want to ignore that it is necessary; to love a woman, for example, and fight for her; that honour is important. If I refuse to honour my contract, no one can force me to, whereas if I give my word of honour, that binds me. Westerns are about very simple but important things.” Lang would go on to make two more westerns, the most famous of which was Rancho Notorious, starring then 51-yearold Marlene Dietrich as an aging but desirable former dance-hall singer, and
Arthur Kennedy as a man in search of the gang who brutally raped and killed his fiancée. It fuses the ‘once upon a time’ of a melancholy fairy tale with the crude reality of lost values and honour, while underlining the horrors and ramifications of rape. Man Hunt (1941), a classic antiNazi picture where the hunter becomes the hunted, stars Walter Pidgeon as game hunter Captain Thorndike, who gets Hitler in his rifle sights but opts not to shoot. “Fritz was terribly exacting and demanding,” said Pidgeon’s love interest and frequent Lang collaborator Joan Bennett. “Working with him was abrasive but he commanded great respect. I performed better under him than at any other time in my career.” Undeniably, the workaholic Lang always got the best out of his cast and crew but fell foul of many for expecting his own exacting standards and gruelling schedules. “I sweat bullets to do what I do,” Lang said to writer Gretchen Berg. “The director has to make the characters live for the actor and we must believe them. Making films for me is something like a drug. It is a vice I adore. Without > 153
Human Desire, 1954
the cinema I couldn’t live. I have never made a film which made a compromise.” Lang followed Man Hunt with two more anti-Nazi movies: Hangmen Also Die! (1943), written by Berthold Brecht, and Kafkaesque espionage noir Ministry of Fear (1944), based on Graham Greene’s novel. Lang’s film noir truly distinguished him; he had pioneered the then unnamed form in Germany, it was in his DNA. In 1944 he directed The Woman in the Window and followed it with Scarlet Street. Both star Edward G Robinson as a man having a mid-life crisis and Joan Bennett as a young femme fatale out to con him. It was suggested the latter was a remake of the very successful former – but that underestimates Lang. Robinson’s two leads have very different motivations. Still, it’s as if the incorrigible Lang was toying with the critics and public by creating two films that, identical on the surface, are most dissimilar beneath. “An executive of a big motion-picture company once told me: ‘Mr Lang, we are not interested in making good pictures. We are interested in making successful pictures with as little risk as possible.’ So that’s what I did, twice – one for RKO [The Woman in the Window] and the next for Universal [Scarlet Street] and I am not sure they noticed the difference.” It’s safe to say Lang wasn’t entirely enamoured of Hollywood studios or most producers therein. He formed the Diana 154
Production Company with Bennett and her husband, producer Walter Wanger, and their first picture together no one but Lang could have made. Secret Beyond the Door (1948), a dark, puzzling cinematic oddity that, compulsively watchable, is a study of love, death and psychoanalysis,
‘MY FILMS ARE THE MOST DIRECT EXPRESSION OF WHAT I HAVE SEEN’ shot like a noir fairy tale by the great Stanley Cortez; we see scenes lit only by electric torchlight, wishing wells, a Mexican knife fight, ominous dream sequences and expressionist symbolism steeped in a poetic dreamlike “fluidum”. Lang was “very happy with” Clash by Night (1951) based on the Clifford Odets play and starring Robert Ryan, Barbara Stanwyck, Paul Douglas and Marilyn Monroe. It did well but he stopped getting work: he’d been blacklisted as a suspected communist in the witch hunts
along with European noir directors Edward Dmytryk and Jules Dassin. “I was unemployed – I was in the doghouse, as they say, for a year and a half,” Lang said. His bacon was saved by powerful Columbia head Harry Cohn (Lang was one of few who got on with him) who somehow got him a job making noir The Blue Gardenia at Warner’s, then two films for Columbia, notably The Big Heat (1953), starring Lee Marvin, Gloria Graham and Glenn Ford as a detective who takes on a mob boss. Inventive, hardhitting and brutal, it is also minimally violent. “I hate violence” said Lang. “It is necessary in films as it happens but I prefer to show the aftermath rather than the deed, which is more important. In M, I showed the murder of a child by a ball bouncing. I could have shown the murder but it’s question of taste and tact.” Lang’s next film with Cohn, Human Desire, was based on Émile Zola’s La Bete Humaine, and was, Lang said, “a great success in France but certainly didn’t deserve it.” Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) was the director’s last film in the US and employs another novel Langian premise. A man (Dana Andrews) frames himself for murder so that he might exonerate himself and make a political statement about the death penalty. Now 66, Lang had fought tooth, nail and claw with studios in order to see his vision materialise. No wonder that from 1957 he wound down and returned to Germany, where he made The Tiger of Eshnapur (1959) and sequel The Indian Tomb. His final film as a director was a return to familiar pastures. He made the enormously prescient The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse in 1960, warning of the world’s dependence on technology. Now almost blind, he sported an eye patch and monocle and hit the lecture circuit. Still full of surprises, in 1971 he married long-suffering assistant Lily Latté who, though he’d had many, many relationships, had helped him in one way or another since 1931. He died aged 86 in Beverly Hills and left her everything. “I believe in artist rebellion, Lang said. “New approaches and new forms are needed to reflect the changed world we are in. But I don’t think the only alternative to sugar is poison. All I have to say I have said in my films.” M is showing throughout September as part of the Peter Lorre season at BFI Southbank bfi.org.uk
CINEMA | Fritz Lang
Element x Timber
Photographs Agnes Lloyd-Platt Styling Mia Howe Words Edward Moore Adventurers Karl Jawara and James Mackey
Timber – or Chad Eaton, to give him the name that’s on his passport – is an artist and illustrator whose distinctive line drawings are inspired by everything from traditional European woodcuts to the work of subversive cartoonist Robert
Crumb. A few years ago, Timber created a simple lumberjack character that appeared on some T-shirts and has led him to a new collaboration with Element. He’s created four new characters that form the backbone of a capsule collection,
focusing primarily around denim pieces, T-shirts and some sweatshirts. elementbrand.com timberps.com
Sylvester Disco. The Disquotays. The Cockettes. Stars. Words Andy Thomas
in March 1979, in the dressing room of the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Sylvester is making some final adjustments to one of his many fabulous outfits while peaking on acid. Amongst the equally fabulous crowd waiting in front of the gardenia-adorned stage, sits City Supervisor Harry Britt, the openly gay successor to Harvey Milk, who had been assassinated in 1978. “If Harvey Milk had been the ‘Mayor of Castro Street’, Sylvester was its undisputed first lady,” said Joshua Gamson in his biography of the disco legend. The same prestigious venue had held Milk’s memorial service; tonight’s show was “a big fat, juicy kiss-my-ass” to his killer Dan White. “You are a star. Everybody is one. You only happen once,” Sylvester sang on the title track to new LP Stars. And stardom was something he was, by now, revelling in. The Patrick Cowley-produced ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ had reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart – it thrust the singer out of his underground status as a Castro legend into the global spotlight, a place he’d felt destined for through his humble early days in South Central LA. Born in Watts in 1947, Sylvester James was raised by his strict but doting churchgoing mother Letha, and the local Palm Lane Church of God in Christ was where he felt the full force of sanctified gospel music. By the time Sylvester was 158
five, he was being put on a milk crate to sing spirituals like ‘Never Grow Old’ for an adoring congregation. “Church is where he learned the spiritual power of music, music that makes you move your body,” says Gamson. “And he would later bring that power to disco.” Sylvester’s other love was dressing up – he was particularly fond of high heels, fox furs and hats, for which he increasingly turned to his grandmother Juju. She had been a blues singer and, said Sylvester, “She knew some queens in the 1930s, and they were her running buddies.” Through his teens he flitted in and out of his mother’s house, where he’d dress up his sisters as his movie heroines, like Mae West. But he needed a bigger stage to act out his fantasies. The Disquotays were a group of black LA drag queens who had made partying an art form. “It was like Folies Bergère in the ghetto,” one member said. Even in this fabulous crowd, Sylvester stood out. According to Gamson, “In a world where ‘ridiculous’ was the highest of compliments, he was the most ridiculous of them all.” Creating a perfect rear and hips out of foam, scribbling designs from old films or obsessively scanning Vogue for ideas, Sylvester was meticulous. “That environment was the first place he really got to play around with gender and drag,” says Gamson. “To have fun with it, to feel what it could be like to unapologetically
cross gender.” With the Disquotays, he was honing his act, always aware of the future that awaited him – still a dream when the Disquotays split in late 1969. By this point, Sylvester was hanging out at venues like the Whisky a Go Go in an androgynous flower-child look – bell-bottom Levi’s, floral shirts, platform shoes. With his head full of ideas, life in his hometown was increasingly stifling. “I could be any kind of person at all, and no one cared,” he later remarked about his move to San Francisco. A psychedelic theatre/drag troupe called the Cockettes had recently been founded there in the creative fallout of the Summer of Love. “We were freak theatre and avant-garde,” says founding member Fayette Hauser. “It was about a creative vision through psychedelics. The fantasies we had while tripping were what we wanted to express.” In the words of writer Alice Echols, the Cockettes “pioneered a hippie-inflected drag in which the masculine and feminine purposefully collided.” It was to prove a perfect outlet for Sylvester. Arriving at the Cockettes’ Haight Street Chateau commune in early 1970, he immediately felt at home. “The hippie sensibility was a new thing for him, and broadened his sense of what the freedom to ‘be strange’, as he’d put it, was like,” says Gamson. “It also gave him a platform and an audience, and he really started developing as a performer, and probably >
Live at the Whisky a Go Go, Los Angeles, 1972
first realised that he might actually be able to have a career as a singer.” Hauser recalls the first time the collective heard him sing: “He came to a rehearsal one day for one of the shows and we had a piano. He came on stage and started singing and everyone was bowled over. Sylvester became a real star for us. He would come out and sing these fantastic songs. When we were on stage everyone was going crazy and throwing things at us, but when Sylvester came on there was a big hush. Everyone was spellbound because he was so magical.” By the summer of 1970, Cockettes shows with names like Elephant Shit, The Circus Life and Journey to the Centre of Uranus were causing people like Truman Capote to exclaim, “The Cockettes are where it’s at!” It coincided with Sylvester’s own creative quest as he obsessively studied “the transition of black music from gospel to spiritual music to blues and jazz,” says Hauser. When performing in the Cockettes he 160
imagined himself as “Billie Holliday and other torch singers. He was forever singing around the house. He would sing while cooking in drag. He’d wear these great 1940s dresses and cook soul food, singing ‘Sleepy Time Down South’.” He chose the name Ruby Blue for his blues-jazz persona and his performances for the Cockettes were met with much acclaim. Rolling Stone described him as “a beautiful black androgyne who has a gospel sound with the heat and shimmer of Aretha’s.” But Sylvester was already thinking of his next venture even before fractures appeared in the Cockettes after critics panned their Manhattan shows in 1971. “Sylvester was always on his own in his vision, while we were more about a group consciousness,” explains Hauser. “They have to be hot,” he told thenmanager Dennis Lopez as they looked for a backing band. He found it in a group of sisters well known around the hip spots of Haight-Ashbury. “They come strutting on stage dressed up like inmates of a
Honolulu bordello: flower print, haltertop dresses; enamelled fruit, paper flowers and junk jewellery at strategic spots between their breasts,” was how one news report described a Pointer Sisters show. They were invited to one of Sylvester’s rehearsals where his voice blew them away. “I was just amazed at how hard and how high and how strong he sang,” Anita Pointer recalled. The sisters provided the backing for his shows in support of the Cockettes. Sylvester’s performance of numbers like ‘God Bless the Child’ had Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner begging him to put out a record. Under the name Sylvester and his Hot Band, they cut two tracks for Blue Thumb Records compilation Lights Out: San Francisco. By 1972 the Pointer Sisters had set out on their own disco path and Sylvester followed them with his 1973 Blue Thumb debut Scratch My Flower, now backed by a group of serious R&B musicians. On the cover, the singer looks seductively at the camera
CULTURE | Sylvester in sequined trousers and outrageous platforms below a gardenia-scented scratch-n-sniff flower: a heady cover for an LP that found Sylvester mining all his influences to date – from gospel and blues to psychedelic rock. It opened with a version of Neil Young’s ‘Southern Man’, the band’s soul rock providing a heavy backdrop for Sylvester’s towering falsetto. A future DJ at seminal San Francisco gay clubs, Lester Temple was working as a radio DJ in Sacramento. “Sylvester would stay at my house when he would play at Crabshaw Corner, the rock club in downtown Sacramento,” he says. “He and the band were fabulous, bringing a gender-bending barrage of energy to the rock crowd.” On tour, the band played other covers like Allen Toussaint’s ‘Play Something Sweet’ and Otis Redding’s ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ that would appear on second LP Bazaar. Meanwhile, the free-spirited artist grew bored of the recording process. With his label and management struggling to market him, and sales stagnating, Sylvester was dropped shortly after Bazaar’s release. Having spent the money that came in from Blue Thumb, he was forced to sell his possessions and play basements for a few dollars a night. But something was stirring in San Francisco that would give him a tailor-made platform. By 1975, the Castro had become the gay centre of the world. While Harvey Milk’s political campaigning played a vital role for gay rights, the cultural progressions of the period were of equal importance. In the aftermath of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a host of gay bars and clubs had opened. The new freedoms were being celebrated at spaces like Toad Hall, the City Disco, the Shed, and the Elephant Walk, where Sylvester played every Sunday with his new backing singers Two Tons o’ Fun. “I want two big girls that can sing,” he declared as he put together his new band. Like Sylvester, Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes (who went on to become the Weather Girls) were raised on church music. The group was a hit, but Sylvester had broader horizons. His big break was thanks to Wash recently meeting record executive Harvey Fuqua, who she invited to a show at the Elephant Walk. “I want to work specifically on this man here,” he said backstage. Fuqua had an agreement with Fantasy Records – he brought them talent in exchange for acting as producer. Sylvester’s self-titled debut LP for Fantasy was released in summer 1977. It began with ‘Over & Over’, a popular
Sylvester and the Tons live track – but it became an anthem when it reached the underground clubs. “I remember hearing ‘Over & Over’ at the Gallery, the Loft and the [Paradise] Garage,” says New York DJ Danny Krivit. However much he enjoyed his stature as an underground legend, Sylvester wasn’t going to remain a cult artist. “Everything I’d been looking and working for did come,” he said. Despite ‘Over & Over’ being a hit in Europe, the album sold poorly in the US, but the lack of mainstream attention didn’t effect the adoration he received in the Castro. At the time, a divide was appearing between the Castro clones (Levi’s, checked shirts and buffed bodies) and the transvestites and queens who had done so much for the cause of liberation. But Sylvester symbolised freedom to all the disparate groups: “He took the crowd to a middle where everyone was included,” says Joshua Gamson. ‘Over & Over’ had provided a taste of fame but Sylvester was still unsure
‘SYLVESTER REPRESENTS AN IDEAL VERSION OF WHO AND WHAT WE COULD BE’ which road to take. “It was only in 1978, after attending Billboard magazine’s Disco Forum that Sylvester, tired of obscurity, resolved to transform himself into a disco diva,” wrote Alice Echols. The track that signalled the arrival of his new persona in all its fabulousness was ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’. Written as a midtempo blues number by band member Tip Wirrick, it was transformed by young blonde synthesiser geek Patrick Cowley, who’d recently made an epic bootleg of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’. Sylvester was hooked. After an introduction at the City Disco, the two began discussing the new electronic possibilities. “I totally flipped out,” Sylvester said of hearing the music Cowley produced with this new equipment. He immediately invited him to the studio where the seed grew into
the flower that bloomed on dance floors across the world. “‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ was something I would hear at almost every club I would go to,” says Danny Krivit. The video was shot at London’s most glamorous gay spot, the Embassy Club on Old Bond Street. At the Sundowner and Global Village (now Heaven), Sylvester’s shows caused riotous scenes. DJ Mark Moore recalls what he meant to London’s gay scene at the time: “Sylvester belonged to us. Sexuality no longer seemed complex but playful and uncomplicated when dancing to ‘Mighty Real’.” While it rang out of mainstream discos worldwide, the message in the music (of being real) was heard loudest at the underground gay clubs where Sylvester went to party. Despite his fame, when not performing he would go to the club to dance with friends just as he did back home. Then the Trocadero Transfer opened in San Francisco in 1978, setting a new standard for theatrics in gay discos of the era. DJ Bobby Viteritti’s epic, atmospheric sets fit Sylvester’s fabulous disco, and his mix of ‘Mighty Real’ and ‘Dance (Disco Heat)’ – the other notable track from 1978’s Step II – is about as dramatic as disco gets. “Sylvester was at the club all the time, he would just be there dancing with his entourage,” he recalls. “And everybody just gave him his own space because it was an educated dance floor.” Sylvester played regularly at the club, as well as at gay hot spots like Dreamland, I-Beam and Music Hall. I-Beam DJ Steve Fabus (who runs San Francisco club Go BANG) explains why he meant so much. “Sylvester represents, in many ways, an ideal version of who and what we could be as human beings, artists, and as a community,” he says. “He was always himself and never tried to hide any of it. He was comfortable in his own skin; that made others feel comfortable.” The city paid tribute to Sylvester in 1979 with the launch of Stars at the prestigious Opera House. “It’s my first completely disco record,” he said. Made up of just four extended songs, it was perfect for the period’s hedonistic dance floors. It begins with the empowering message of the title track, written by Cowley, who also provides synthesiser riffs throughout and penned moody dub disco track ‘I Need Somebody to Love Tonight’. It was, in the words of writer Peter Shapiro, “along with the Peech Boys ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’, one of disco’s greatest expressions of longing.” > 161
CULTURE | Sylvester
Mark Moore says that for gay clubbers thousands of miles away in London, “‘I Need Somebody to Love Tonight’ told us we were not alone, even though we sometimes danced alone.” Stars also captured Sylvester at his most dramatic, with an 11-minute version of Leiber and Stoller’s ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’. The Opera House gig was recorded and released as Living Proof (1979), a fascinating document of the power and theatre of Sylvester’s live shows. It also includes one of his finest arrangements on ‘In My Fantasy (I Want You, I Need You)’. Alongside Martha Wash on background vocals was Jeanie Tracy. “That was an incredible show,” she says. “I really cannot listen to that album too much now because it really takes me back. And it makes me cry because it was such a glorious night.” Tracy went on to be a regular backing singer alongside the Two Tons. “He was a fantastic vocal arranger,” she says. “He had ideas way beyond his years.” The two became close friends and shopping partners while on tour. “He was my brother, I adored him. We would always be laughing and talking. He loved dressing me and said I was his alter ego – the way he would dress if he was a lady.” Weeks after the Opera House gig, Harvey Milk’s killer Dan White walked free on grounds of depression. At the Gay Freedom Day parade soon after, Sylvester gave one of his most powerful performances. “It was like coming home to family for him,” says Joshua Gamson, “That was especially important after Milk’s assassination, such a horrifying reminder of how hostile the society at large could still be to gay people.” With pressure from his label to tone down the act and move away from disco, 1980’s Sell My Soul found Sylvester at a confusing junction. But alongside the ballads and an incongruous version of ‘Cry Me a River’ sat one of his classic disco tracks. “I would hear ‘I Need You’, particularly at the Garage, peak time,” says Danny Krivit. The track was just as big in the clubs of San Francisco, as DJ Steve Fabus recalls. “I remember ‘I Need You’ was special to the I-Beam. It’s probably my favourite Sylvester song because it’s such an emotional record, deep but also hopeful and optimistic.” The Two Tons o’ Fun were pursuing their own career, culminating in a 1980 self-titled LP that had Sylvester’s stamp 162
all over it, and Cowley’s subsequent mix of ‘I Got the Feeling’ was much in the vein of his work with Sylvester. “‘I Got the Feeling’ and ‘Just Us’ were played at all the underground clubs and, though they’re credited to Two Tons o’ Fun, they were considered Sylvester records,” says Krivit. Sylvester released Too Hot to Sleep in 1981, spawning the classic ‘Give it Up (Don’t Make Me Wait)’ and tender ballad ‘Here is My Love’, both featuring Tracy. “That was one of my favourite songs I did with him,” she says. But the outing was to be his last for Fantasy. With disco rapidly sidelined by major labels, some artists in San Francisco set up their own labels. Free of interference, Patrick Cowley and Marty Blecman’s Megatone Records captured the music bursting out of underground gay clubs. The robotic, electronic San Francisco
‘I ADORED HIM. THERE HAS BEEN NO ONE LIKE HIM SINCE’ sound that became known as Hi-NRG had been anticipated by Cowley’s work on ‘Mighty Real’. His pioneering work would peak on seminal LPs like 1981’s Menergy and Megatron Man. According to producer Casey Jones, “Patrick created a synthesised sound that would enhance a drug high and the track that really launched that sound was ‘Menergy’.” Hi-NRG’s pounding synthetic soul was to soundtrack the last days for many in the community. Patrick Cowley was one of the first of Sylvester’s friends to fall ill with HIV. The two recorded one last LP before he passed away, All I Need, one of the iconic Hi-NRG albums and a world away from the pop direction the genre would take. “Bring me out of the darkness, baby,” Sylvester implores on the title track, over Cowley’s electronic pulsations. With its heavy use of cowbells and synthetic hand claps, ‘Do Ya Wanna Funk’ set the scene for the throbbing Hi-NRG that dominated the gay scene for the next few years. “‘Do Ya Wanna
Funk’ was the sound of gay London for the early to mid-1980s,” says Mark Moore. “At the time it felt so modern – futuristic and fierce, rather than the watered-down Hi-NRG that came later.” During a show at London’s Heaven, Sylvester was told of Cowley’s death. He recorded Call Me for Megatone but it missed the magical dust his partner had scattered on previous work. More successful was 1984’s M-1015, with ‘Take Me to Heaven’ and ‘Sex’ – wonderfully dramatic Hi-NRG that stands up next to Cowley productions. Lester Temple remembers one Sylvester performance: “The best party I ever played was at the Music Hall, sponsored by one of the record pools in town. Sylvester was the headliner. It was a magical night. ‘Take Me to Heaven’ was his current hit and it brought the house down.” The track appeared with ‘Sex’ on a Megatone 12” remixed by Ian Levine to become a classic at London’s Heaven. ‘Trouble in Paradise’ off Call Me was, Sylvester said, his “AIDS message to San Francisco.” When his partner, architect Rick Cramner, died in September 1987, Sylvester was already sick. “He had been trying to tell me and I just figured it out,” says Jeanie Tracy. “It was devastating.” Two months before he died, he appeared at a Dreamland party where Steve Fabus was playing. “He was brought into the club on a wheelchair and taken to an overlook above the DJ booth,” he recalls. “I started to play a medley of his songs that lasted just over an hour. When I finished with ‘Take Me to Heaven’, the record faded out and, with a spotlight on Sylvester, he said to the crowd ‘I love you’. It was goodbye and we all knew it. Applause and stomping and cheering went on for 20 minutes.” Sylvester passed away in December 1988. He had asked Jeanie Tracy to sing at his funeral at Love Centre Church in East Oakland, where he had become a regular since the early 1980s. “I sang ‘Never Grow Old’, a song he had sang as a five-year-old in church,” she says. “I adored him. There has been no one like him since.” Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical runs at Theatre at St Clements, 423 W 46th St, New York from 5 September stclementsnyc.org
Sylvester and his dog Princess Terri Debonaire, at Fantasy Records, 1980
Jacket by Spiewak; jeans by A.P.C.; shirt by Industry of All Nations; bracelet, model’s own; belt, stylist’s own.
Shirt by Maison KitsunĂŠ.
Landon Liboiron Photographs Eric Hobbs Styling Laura Mazza Grooming Amber Duarte Photographic Assistant Kevin Bautista Location Big Arts Labs, 651 Clover Street, Los Angeles bigartlabs.com
Landon Liboiron is an actor from Canada. He plays Peter Rumancek in the Netflix series Hemlock Grove. He stars alongside Kaley Cuoco is his upcoming project Burning Bodhi.
Sweater by Industry of All Nations.
STYLE | Landon Liboiron
Shirt by Industry of All Nations; jeans by A.P.C.; bracelet, model’s own; belt, stylist’s own.
STYLE | Landon Liboiron
Jacket by Levi’s Made&Crafted; jeans by Comune; shirt by Industry of All Nations; sunglasses by Garrett Leight California Optical; bracelet, model’s own.
Jacket by A.P.C.; trousers by Mollusk Surf Shop; sunglasses by Garrett Leight California Optical.
Coat by Leviâ€™s Made&Crafted; jeans by Comune; shirt by A.P.C.; T-shirt by Calvin Klein.
STYLE | Landon Liboiron
Cardigan by A.P.C.; jeans, model’s own; shirt by Maison Kitsuné.
Crate Diggers Words Mark Webster Photographs Janette Beckman and Richard Stow
Something of a watershed year for music on vinyl, 2007 was, notably, the year the annual Record Store Day began. In the seven years since, it has, along with the format it champions, gone from strength to strength. After Record Store Day 2014, for example, sales of vinyl doubled from the previous week. And the biggest selling record in that time was the reissue of the Stone Roses’ self-titled debut album from 1989. Vinyl, it would seem, simply refuses to be a thing of the past. This year is already exceeding last year’s recordbreaking sales – the biggest for albums since 1997, and with an increase in both 7" and 12" formats. However, at the same time, Radio 1 and Radio 1Xtra’s George Ergatoudis – in a Guardian blog titled ‘Do You Still Care About Albums?’ – pointed out: “If you’re talking about consumer behaviour on the streaming services, most people are not listening to albums. They are flicking through playlists. Particularly in the mass market.” Which perhaps perversely, but surely unequivocally, is the point. Certain music is better in vinyl form. There are sounds and fans of those sounds who may have tried and failed to get vinyl out of their lives. Equally, there are new breeds who are happy to help perpetuate it. Proof of the pudding can be found in bricks and mortar. Last year, Rough Trade opened a New York sister store to its London ones. Shortly, it’ll do the same in Nottingham because, as the company’s Stephen Godfrey puts it, “our stores have become cultural hot spots.” Clearly, right there on the frontline, things then started to happen, and are continuing to do so. But providing the 172
foundations, and doing so for many years prior to that inaugural Record Store Day, for this ongoing revival – and perhaps doing a lot of the grunt work so that the rest of us can buy into our vinyl at our leisure – are a group of people who have become known by the collective noun crate diggers. And yes, there is certainly a shared obsession that unites them. But these five men, like many others, have an individual take on what it means to them, and how it manifests itself. And that’s the kind of broad base that should see the church of vinyl standing strong for many years to come. Eilon Paz’s vinyl collectors’ book Dust & Grooves is out now dustandgrooves.com Jesse Deville Miami-based bar and restaurant designer Jesse Deville is a perfect example of how you can have your cake and eat it when it comes to digging for the vinyl. How you can keep it bespoke and boutique, be a small part of what’s going on, while at the same time influence and help grow it. Jesse’s way in was the rare groove scene of the late 1980s, which soon lead him into DJing, and in the process he became one of that generation who had to seek out and find unknown vinyl gems. Then in 2001, he packed his boxes and moved it all to New York. “I was DJing at a very exclusive lounge, Bungalow 8, which my buddy Mateo – the DJ from Fun Lovin’ Criminals – put me on to. And that was great, because it was around the birth of what they called open format there, so I could then play everything – from punk to hip-hop.”
Jesse was resident there until 2005, when he moved south to Miami – “because of the contacts I had in New York, that was a relatively easy transition” – and once again started playing the right kind of venues, until 2010. It had taken its toll. They were now bigger, commercial gigs, and it wasn’t fun anymore. “People only wanted to hear things they’d heard 100 times before.” So this decision to reign it in and get back to the principle of DJing and collecting that had inspired Jesse in the first place was not only timely for himself, but also fitted perfectly with, and started to contribute to, a new awareness in vinyl culture. “I was into collecting, and I was into DJing,” says Jesse, “and those things weren’t mutually exclusive. But now, my collection’s concentrated – and all bangers! A lot of people had become conditioned, which is why vinyl has had this resurgence. Perfect example, I’ve always bought 45s, and I moved to LA for a few months to play at Bar Marmont at the Chateau Marmont Hotel – my friend was general manager there. I said, I want to play a 45s set only, and he said, brilliant. And people kept coming up to me, saying two things: first, the music’s great, then second, after they saw what I was playing – that’s amazing! “Now people may think that’s a bit of a gimmick, but it gives you legitimacy. Because anyone can buy a laptop and download stuff. You have to find and learn how to play these things. That keeps it real, keeps it fresh.” facebook.com/jessedeville
Photograph Richard Stow
Photograph Richard Stow
Johnny Roast Crazy Beat Records in Upminster, Essex has been something of an institution among soul, funk and jazz fans for over 20 years now, and was born of the very earliest wave of diggers who would provide printed lists and mail order. The shop is an Aladdin’s Cave and remains a mecca for internationally renowned DJs. Johnny Roast has worked in the shop for much of its history, and has noticed something new in the air in terms of collecting, or even re-collecting. “It seems to have got out to the general public,” he says at his all-vinyl residency at Hertford House, in Hertford. “To the non-nerds. The people that come in, we always joke about it in the shop. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Something you wouldn’t look at, wouldn’t touch it. Now it’s a £7 album, sells instantly. And to Europe, Russia, Japan. And it’s a charity-shop staple.” Johnny lives and breathes the trading vinyl business. If he’s not selling at the shop, he is in amongst his vast stock at home, selling on the internet. Or he’s out digging by any means necessary, and turning up to buy and sell at record fairs. And as another kind of shop window for the vinyl boom, the fairs themselves have started to register a change. “The last London Record Fair I did, Friday was the busiest day, when most people should be working,” he says. “It was packed. We didn’t sell all across the weekend, but the amount of people! And they were looking. I mean, you can come along, get a drink, something to eat. But they were looking. Ten years ago, they wouldn’t have paid any attention to us.” With this new wave of interest, and fresh blood coming into the market, comes the natural by-product. There is a wealth of music out there on vinyl, and as tastes will change, so will supply and demand. “Take De La Soul 12"s,” says Johnny. “Where collectors only wanted the US import, and not the scruffy UK, now I’m selling them. It’s got cheaper though, in places, but that is a good thing, as the music becomes more accessible because of the cost.” crazybeat.co.uk
SPOTLIGHT | Crate Diggers
Photograph Richard Stow
Mr Thing Mr Thing is a DJ from Kent with a reputation that frequently takes him across the English Channel. But he remains very much a homeboy when it comes to indulging his passion for crate digging. “I do all the charity shops in my town, and the town where I work in the week – I do them all. Twice a week. But the game is changing. Where there used to be off-the-wall records for pence, now they’re making up proper signs for them. ‘David Bowie – £10’.” So Mr Thing is just as at home poking through cardboard boxes in the high street as he is on an international festival stage or, indeed, on Fuse TV’s own Crate Diggers online TV show recently. “It’s something that can’t be got from digital,” he says. “I’m all about what vinyl is about. I read the covers. I check for cover versions, see who’s playing on it, what year, where it was recorded. I’ve bought some rubbish, picked up a bunch of stuff if I’m without my portable player, but that’s OK, because there’ll be perhaps that one in 10. And it doesn’t stop. I mean, once you’ve got all the 12”s, then you want all the 7"s.” Every crate digger has their war stories of those great finds, and indeed the ones that got away. But to ensure it is more of the former than the latter, Mr Thing has turned the hunt into something of an art form. “I try to combine everything where possible,” he says. “Normally, my first questions when I get off a plane for a gig is, ‘Have I got time to go to any record shops? And are they open today, tomorrow, and how long for?’ Sometimes it’s yes, sometimes no, but even better – sometimes there’s a guy who works out of shop hours! Classic one, I was in Switzerland doing a 45s party with DJ Format. We were taken to this guy’s place, and it was insane. He was on the top floor, no lift. Records all over the floor. How had he got them up there? We went into the kitchen, crates were stacked up. We had to step over records to get to this guy’s sofa, and to even more records. And he was cheap!” djmrthing.com
Photograph Janette Beckman
DJ Unexpected Born and raised in the Bronx, it is perhaps not surprising that hip-hop underscored Unexpected’s obsession from an early age. But it was, in fact, his mum and dad’s eclectic tastes, and their own joy in collecting, that initially inspired him. “I remember early on, about eight or nine, going with my parents to the record store, and they would always head for the vinyl section,” he says, “and they would be on the hunt for anything from rock to salsa.” However, the fact that his dad owned “Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon in five formats – vinyl, CD, limited editions, even cassette” certainly seemed to have helped seal his son’s fate. In 1996, when he was 18, he “became more interested in songs hip-hop artists were sampling,” sparking his collecting bug in earnest. “Go seek and ye shall find” is his philosophy, and Manhattan became his hunting ground, while trips to Philadelphia and even Hawaii have proved fruitful. “I’ve seen places come and go in NYC, unfortunately,” he says, but he is also spotting some green shoots. “Lower Manhattan has some, and Brooklyn’s on the up.” All this comes together for the Diggers Union site he runs, and the Saturday radio show he does with partner Hevehitta on boxradio.com, Enjoy and be Educated, which showcases the music he hunts down, particularly “songs sampled by today’s artists”. And all the while he remains faithful to a piece of crate-digging philosophy once imparted to him by Robert Cohen, who ran the now defunct Finyl Vinyl in Manhattan. “If you want to find a certain record,” he’d say, “you will find it, or it will find you.” thediggersunion.com
SPOTLIGHT | Crate Diggers
DJ Prestige It’s clear that the internet’s ability to provide tailored and refined sites to satisfy demand is crucial to the way in which digging culture has expanded. However, like all good things in life, that is just the tool. “I remember getting handed the Monkees’ TV album by a relative, and a friend of the family gave me the Rolling Stones’ England’s Newest Hit Makers. They’re still in my collection.” says DJ Prestige, the man behind website Flea Market Funk, an intimately knowledgeable, very personal tribute to vinyl culture and those who want to be part of it. “Initially I just used Flea Market Funk as an outlet to highlight my finds. But when I took my love of the culture, DJs and everything and put it in there, the site exploded,” he says. He first got the taste for sharing at college in New Jersey where “there was one hip-hop show, and the programme director Sure Rock Holmes, rest in peace, kept all the good records in a cabinet so he’d be the only guy playing them. I was pissed! I searched and searched for those records. And I found them all.” This inspired him to then, as he puts it, “go nuts” for a few years and refine his crate digging. He started Flea Market Funk in 2007 to tell the world. Brooklyn provided a rich vein of vinyl at one point, and the environs of his new home in Jersey City also serve him well. Though he’s dug out “two $2,000 plus albums in a three-month span this year” it is not all about chasing the rare gems. “Deep and cheap, that’s just how I like it,” he says. “I won’t pay big money; it’s the thrill of the chase that gets me. There’s always more records you’ve never heard, so now want. And I’m still learning every day. I love getting up before it’s light to head to a spot, get my digging in, and still be home with plenty of time for breakfast.” fleamarketfunk.com
Photograph Janette Beckman
Adidas Originals x Spezial
Photographs Kevin Cummings Styling Ashleigh Mellor Words Edward Moore Designers Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards from Dr Me dr-me.com and Matt Booth matthbooth.com
Adidas curated a show last year, Spezial, that brought together the largest collection of trainers ever assembled, all contributed by fans and collectors including Liam Gallagher and Goldie. Inspired by this fandom and how sportswear has been appropriated into the everyday wardrobe, Adidas has created a new range, Adidas Originals
x Spezial. The collection takes classic Adidas pieces â€“ such as the Beckenbauer tracksuit top â€“ and reimagines them in deluxe fabrics. Likewise, details and colours are toned down to create a more subtle collection that still offers the comfort and style of sportswear. The collection will launch at a new Spezial exhibition in association with
Oi Polloi in Manchester, as part of 2014 Design Manchester (22-30 October). Adidas Originals x Spezial is sold through selected independent retailers including Oi Polloi. oipolloi.com
Minister of New Super Heavy Funk. Get On Up. Apollo Theatre. Funk. Words Mark Webster
The Summer of 1977, and I was getting ready to leave secondary school. By the time those lazy, louche post-exam salad days had arrived, things had taken on a decidedly grown-up feel amongst the fifth-year pupils. Uniform was a thing of the past, at least it was for us fabulously worldly and wise 16-year-olds. We even had our own room, where spotty oiks barely into their teens may not tread. We were 17 next. This was our world. It had a record player, and we could bring in our own 45s. By that time, I’d taken my first tentative steps into the new nightclub scene – they were called ‘clubs’ by us, well, ‘clubbers’. Discotheques were where men with big hair and bigger trousers stoically stood still as the ladies loitered on the dance floor to the cuttingedge sounds of Abba. Clubs were where peg trousers, plastic sandals, Hawaiian shirts, carpenter jeans and short haircuts were worn by men who hogged the dance floor. Both Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ and Chic’s ‘Dance Dance Dance’ broke on this underground scene that summer. Pioneering, unutterably thrilling music that set a tone that pervades to this day. Back to my school days, though, and I’d raided a cardboard box marked ‘soul’ on the counter of my local record shop, containing 7” singles that hadn’t quite passed muster, hence the 10p price tag. So, sporting my club uniform of baseball shoes, narrow trousers and plaid working man’s shirt from a charity shop, I entered the fifth-year room, pushed aside the various Genesis and Status Quo records that blocked my way to the turntable, and put on my new purchase. Released in 1976 on Polydor Records, it was ‘Get Up Offa That Thing’ by, as the label heralds: James Brown – Minister of New Super Heavy Funk. That single still accompanies me on DJ forays; if you look closely enough, you can see my fading initials in biro on the A-side. 180
No one in that fifth-form room was getting between the Godfather and me. When breaking into journalism a few years later, it was a review of a James Brown concert at the Hammersmith Odeon that got my toe in the door at legendary magazine Blues&Soul. And during my early years there I got to meet Soul Brother No.1. Backstage, he held court for a gaggle of enthralled young journalists – much of that occasion is a blur, as I was busy not blinking to ensure I remembered the occasion for posterity. But one thing does stick in my mind. Mr Brown (even the band and entourage called him that) held out a pair of tight, shiny trousers with a flair that kicked from the knee. He stroked and held them up to us, to make a point. “Quality, you see,” he said. “It never goes out of style.” James Joseph Brown Jr was born on 3 May, 1933 in rural South Carolina. Very much a son of the South, he would eventually return and die there after 73 years on this planet, bowing out on Christmas Day 2006, in Atlanta. Joseph was his dad’s name – a man who could not bear having idle hands. It saw him working away from home a lot, which ultimately caused the split from his wife Susan, when James was four. As a child, Brown lived with an aunt who went by the quite splendid name of Handsome Stevenson, aka Honey, who ran a local bordello. But Brown wasn’t estranged from his father his whole life. Indeed, Joe lived in splendour with his son for many years in Queens, New York, before they all made their home on the banks of the Savannah river. Joe was never comfortable with life in the big city. He was unused to the opulence, uneasy about how white people in the North behaved (preferring the sense of ‘knowing your place’ the Old South had ingrained in him), and just couldn’t keep his busy hands still. It’s said that James was constantly having
to hunt his dad down because he’d gone off to find a job, any job, to do. Very much his father’s son when it came to the honest endeavour, James Brown also proved a gifted musician from an early age. Back in Georgia, when Joe settled into a job in a furniture shop, he bought a three-legged organ that couldn’t be sold. He propped the offending corner up on a cheese crate at home and, one morning, young James started to dabble. Legend has it – and legend would follow Brown through his life, much generated by himself – by the time Joe came home from work, he was playing it, entertaining the neighbours. “I’ve never seen a man work so hard in all my life,” Bobby Byrd said of James Brown in the booklet accompanying Polydor’s expansive CD collection Star Time, issued in 1991 and overseen by a great Brown confidante and biographer, the journalist Cliff White (who received a Grammy for his efforts). “He’d go from what we rehearsed and leap off into something else. It was hard to keep up. He was all the time driving, driving.” Bobby Byrd provided the ‘Get on ups’ on Brown’s seminal tune of 1970 – one of the first with new band the JB’s – ‘Sex Machine’. It is that phrase which has been adopted for the James Brown biopic (co-produced by long-time Brown devotee and friend Mick Jagger). Byrd’s stepdaughter (and daughter of another legendary Brown alumni, Vicki Anderson – and the Godfather is her actual godfather!) Carleen Anderson found fame in the UK as the vocalist with the Young Disciples – not by accident, on the James Brown-inspired Talkin’ Loud label. She was introduced in an amazing night of music at the Town & Country Club in Kentish Town in 1989, organised by Femi and Marco from the Young Disciples, which brought together legendary names from James Brown’s >
New York City, 1979 Photograph Richard Aaron
various band line-ups (but notably not Brown himself, who in 1988 was jailed, having embarked on a PCP-induced car chase with Augusta police). This was to become the jumping off point for the rare-groove scene which has subsequently delivered a slew of brilliant, innovative music, all inspired by the work of James Brown, and then rediscovered by a whole new generation – a recurring theme with his music. However, it was 30 years earlier, in Toccoa, Georgia, that Byrd and Brown started their journey with a harmony group that was to become known as the Famous Flames. In Gerri Hirshey’s fabulous book Nowhere to Run: The Story of Soul Music, Brown tells the author, “[If ] I want to, I can testify. Gospel singing saved my life. Except I didn’t sing it in church that much. I sang it in prison.” Before he met up with Byrd, the teenage Brown was already dabbling with performing. But he had also frequently been caught exercising his light fingers. At school, one teacher was quoted as calling him something of a ‘Robin Hood’ because any petty pilfering would be for the benefit of schoolmates with holes in their trousers or no shoes. However, in 1949, when he was caught breaking into four cars one night, there was no slap on the wrist. He was sentenced to eight to 16 years in the state penitentiary. Luckily though, his talent saw him serve only three of those years. Prison honed his singing and performing skills, and he became known to the inmates as ‘Music Box’ – perhaps the first of the many sobriquets he’d carry with him. His decision not to run when inadvertently left alone by guards while performing at another prison saw Brown paroled early and back on the streets in the early 1950s. Brown and his Famous Flames then began the routine that came to dominate his life: relentless touring and tweaking of the act, recording when they weren’t gigging, and writing when the recording button was off. It finally came together in 1959 when the Famous Flames released their debut album Please Please Please – which spawned both the title track and aching ballad ‘Try Me’. As a tune, ‘Please, Please, Please’ had in fact been years in the developing – starting out life as a riff on a gospel standard. It was to become a classic example of how Brown would twist and turn something to give it his own unique stamp. It was also that song, in its rudimentary form, that got him his deal with Syd Nathan’s label from Ohio, 182
King – talent scout/producer Ralph Bass just pipped Leonard Chess to the post when a rainstorm prevented the Chess Records owner getting out of Chicago and down to Atlanta to sign the band. So it began. On the road performing six nights a week, 10 months of the year, doing deals directly with venues, cutting out the middle men, mapping out what Brown called the “money towns”, making sure local radio stations and record stores were looked after for their support. The only time there was any serious break from travelling was when Brown and band took up their much-heralded residencies at the Apollo in Harlem. In 1962 this experience was shared by hundreds of thousands of people and propelled his performing reputation worldwide, with the release of Live at the Apollo, which stayed on the Billboard US charts for an astounding 62 weeks.
‘I DIDN’T SING GOSPEL IN CHURCH THAT MUCH. I SANG IT IN PRISON’ It was in the mid-1960s that Brown started to tweak his R&B sound into the music of which he’d be lord and master – funk. In 1965, King released the prophetic ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’, followed by ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ and ‘Cold Sweat’. Brown had arrived. Jazz FM’s Jeff Young started DJing in the early 1970s, “but when I moved into clubs a few years later, that’s when his music became really important,” he says. “There were imitators, but no one could really match that heavy, driving sound he created. He took the role of writer and bandleader to a whole other level. And he surrounded himself with young, creative, brilliant musicians.” Brown made himself the ultimate black American musician, businessman and friend to the biggest stars on the planet. In Hirshey’s Nowhere to Run, the Reverend Al Sharpton, then one of Brown’s entourage, recalled, “He and [Muhammad] Ali liked to stop traffic in New York, see who stops the most blocks.” While one of Brown’s rare public displays of emotion was at the
funeral of his friend of 20 years, Elvis Presley, where it’s said he sobbed into the open casket, “How you let it go?” [sic] But perhaps the most significant indication of Brown’s power with the people took place at Boston Garden on 4 April 1968, the night Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated. With threats of riots in black communities across the country, local authorities wanted to call the show off. Instead, they broadcast it on local TV to keep everyone at home, as Brown used the stage to plead for calm. Nelson George dedicates a whole chapter to ‘The Godfather’ in his epic study The Death of Rhythm and Blues, where he concludes of Brown’s life, “I find it simply impossible to resolve all the contradictions in James Brown.” Two releases in that fateful year of 1968 illustrate the point perfectly. On one single he proclaimed, wrapping himself in the stars and stripes, that “America is My Home” while, in a matter of weeks, in an afro, he was punching the air, singing “Say it Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud).” He bought radio stations and fast food chains, built them up and lost them, had several turbulent marriages, raised a host of kids, and lost his son Teddy in a car crash. He employed great players, gave them a platform, but fined them for tardiness and untidiness. He lost many over wage disputes. They included Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins, who went on to be mainstays of George Clinton’s P-Funk sound. The coin flipped around James Brown like it was in a tornado. Thirty years ago, summer 1984, he collaborated on the single ‘Unity’ with Afrika Bambaataa – thus squaring the circle with his indispensable influence on hip-hop. In Blues&Soul, Bambaataa spoke glowingly of his collaboration with the original version. “It blew my mind,” he said. “The man’s still got it in him. He’s so funky, but he also took the time to teach me a few things.” Around the same time, Hirshey, for his book, spoke to then ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson, who praised Brown. “The man gets out of himself,” he said. “James Brown is magic. He’s got a kind of freedom. I crave it every day. I’ve never dared speak to him, but I consider James Brown my greatest teacher.” Get On Up is in cinemas from 26 September getonupmovie.co.uk
CINEMA | James Brown
James Brown and the Famous Flames, 1965
Jah Wobble Public Image Ltd. Invaders of the Heart. Whistler. Turner. Words Andy Thomas Portrait Felix Friedmann
“I would spend hours walking around Wapping listening to all sorts of music on my Walkman,” wrote Jah Wobble in his autobiography Memoirs of a Geezer. “I spent a lot of time alone and would really be off in another world. Beautiful theories and truths would come to me as I walked.” After he left Public Image Ltd in the late 1980s it was to the streets and rivers of London where the bassist and polymath went for inspiration. He’d listen to Miles Davis and Mohammed Abdel Wahab, seeking knowledge for his own post-punk explorations. The music that followed has been as influential as it has exploratory – from the pioneering world fusion of Invaders of the Heart and the Chinese Dub Orchestra to his recent book of poetry Odds & Sods & Epilogues. Since the late 1990s, his ever-expansive projects have been released on his own 30 Hertz Records label, which will now release the results of more than 30 years of cross-cultural and avant-garde music in a retrospective box set. Born John Joseph Wardle in Stepney in 1958, his family moved to the Clichy Estate in Whitechapel in the mid-1960s. It was in the East End that his love of Jamaican music was born, through Blue Beat records he bought as a young suedehead from local record shop Paul For Music; he was soon inhabiting the illicit world of blues parties, where he first heard bass as it could sound. “Heavy bass had an effect on me that was essentially visceral. I felt and perceived it at gut level,” he recalled. Travelling to the West End in baggy tapered trousers made by a Greek tailor in Dalston, he would become a regular at Crackers on Wardour Street in the mid-1970s. He found a shared love of black music with an early acquaintance at
Westminster Kingsway College, but the thought of playing music himself was a long way from his mind when John Lydon told him he was starting a band. “At that time, very few working-class kids would have considered forming a band,” he wrote. While he became a regular face at both the Roxy and Sex, he quickly became bored by the limitations of punk. By 1977 he was developing a love for the music of Stockhausen and Ligeti rather than the three-chord garage bands that predominated. His love of avant-garde music combined with a growing interest in the bass playing of dub titans like Robbie Shakespeare and Aston “Family Man” Barrett. He bought his first bass not to join a band but due to a fascination with low frequencies, so when Lydon started a new experimental band to rip up the rulebook, he called on Wobble. On First Issue and Metal Box, Public Image Ltd created an exploratory sound born from a love of music from the outer reaches – be it the krautrock of Can or the dub of King Tubby. In Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, Simon Reynolds writes: “Wobble’s bass lines became the human heartbeat in PiL’s music... that simultaneously cocooned you and transported you through the terror ride”. But by 1980, the band’s creative spark had waned for Wobble and he set out on his own. His first collaboration was with Can’s Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit: the ‘How Much Are They?’ EP that became anthemic at underground New York clubs like the Loft. It was a scene Wobble would become familiar with during a trip there in 1983 to record the ‘Snake Charmer’ EP with Czukay and U2’s the Edge. Another left-field disco hit in New York, it was produced by Francois Kevorkian, who introduced Wobble to the city’s underground clubs.
His first own project after leaving PiL was two cassettes of bass-heavy, avantgarde music with three-piece the Human Condition. He had begun experimenting with Middle Eastern modes for his DIY Jah Wobble’s Bedroom Album, which, along with the eastern dub dance of the ‘Invaders of the Heart’ 12" provided a clue to his next direction. It was around this time that Wobble discovered the music of Egypt through Radio Cairo, and the cassettes he bought on Edgware Road would provide the soundtrack to his walks around London. Invaders of the Heart was the name he chose for his band on a series of LPs that anticipated the ‘world music’ fusions of the 1990s. Beginning with Rising Above Bedlam in 1993 and best realised with Take Me to God the next year, this cross-cultural project has taken him from Laos (Molam Dub) to Ireland (The Celtic Poets). Outside of Invaders of the Heart, his various solo productions and collaborations have been even more extensive – working with producer Bill Laswell on 1996’s ambient dub album Heaven & Earth (featuring Pharoah Sanders and Bernie Worrell); writing choral parts in Latin for Requiem; releasing an LP of the poetry of William Blake, the original cockney mystic. And London’s spiritual pull has continued to inspire Wobble’s own creativity on his walks. For Spinner (1995) with Brian Eno he created a soundtrack to match the atmosphere of his strolls along the river Lea. While now based in Stockport, he makes regular trips to London where he continues to walk to find inspiration. With camera in hand he invited us on one such walk to reflect on his London. >
Statue of James McNeill Whistler, Cheyne Walk, London SW10
Turner also loved the river, of course. Yes, he was doing incredible paintings that went beyond impressionism. If we walked west we’d come to Brentford, where he lived. I love the way he and other impressionists looked at the world. There’s no fixed structure, and that’s a big deal to me. That’s the way I look at the world now. Everything is moving and always changing. That is why these walks mean so much. When you walk you get into a meditative state and have visions I think are akin to the impressionists’. So, John, we begin our walk near a bust of artist James McNeill Whistler on the north side of Battersea Bridge. Yes, we walked here from the Chelsea Arts Club that was formed by Whistler. He was very much in the company of Monet at that time. It’s very apt that the statue should be looking at the river – he loved the Thames and would stand right on this spot to contemplate it and paint. He was a real Anglophile, originally from Massachusetts. I love Whistler, especially his Nocturne series of the Thames by night. The statue swirls around Whistler’s feet, suggesting water so, as well as being his likeness, it’s a paean to impressionism. We’ve just walked west down the south side of the river. We’re looking under the old Cremorne Bridge. Most people now call it Battersea Railway Bridge. Just over there you had Cremorne Gardens in Chelsea, 100 yards from where Whistler lived on Cheyne Walk. There would have been a strong smell of cinnamon around here because of all the bakeries. The Gardens were considered a bit licentious, especially at night. Things used to get a bit out of order with drunk people throwing each other in the river. It was a real buzzing place. It was very bohemian and Whistler loved it around here. He loved the river, especially at dusk, as I do. It’s beautiful. Beneath Battersea Railway Bridge, London SW1
When did you start meditative walking? In the 1970s. We’d go into the West End and I’d walk back east. I’d walk around the Docklands where the old warehouses were, in the middle of the night. There’s something evocative about urban walking. You can stop anywhere and hone in on strange things, features of brickwork or a little view onto the river. Like where we are now, just on some stairs looking down to the river. It’s got a great ambience.
How important are these little corners as space becomes swallowed up? What you had in the 1970s were squats in these rundown grand squares. And you had private space. That’s when things get interesting, when things aren’t controlled, when space isn’t controlled. That’s why I find these little areas more interesting than your normal parks and all that civic niceness. I like all the untainted wildness where things somehow came together in a weird way to create something. That’s much nicer than the environment being completely controlled and ordered. It’s the same with culture – it’s nice when things are allowed to develop naturally.
World’s End Estate, London SW10
Bell Lane Creek, London SW18
We’re just past Wandsworth Bridge by a little inlet. What is this place? This is a very interesting place. We’re at Bell Lane Creek, a small branch of the Thames tributary, the river Wandle. In the Bronze Age, this was a sacred spot. There have been lots of bronze objects like swords and axes found here so it looks like it was an old ceremonial site. People worshipped the river here. I find this creek one of those little spots that has a weird vibe. Certain areas resonate and this is one. For some reason those spots are often dilapidated post-industrial places. Everyone knows the tourist places but with a city like London you can always find your own personal spots that nobody else really knows about.
We’re now looking towards the north side of the river to Chelsea. Yes, that’s World’s End Estate. It was, of course, very near [Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop] Sex. The great thing about Chelsea back then, which has gone now, was the great mix. It was a very arty area going back to the days of Whistler and before. As the punk thing developed, it was a very bohemian area second only to Notting Hill. You could forget east London, unless you wanted hard drinking and that culture. If you wanted louche intermingling of the classes you’d go to Chelsea. When you take the shackles off, it all gets funky. You’d have lords and ladies snorting coke with bricklayers and gangsters. It was like the film Performance, though that was set in Notting Hill. That vibe was still very much there with punk. You’d come over here and get this real, fascinating interface between all those worlds, black and white, upper class and lower class – lots of hedonists, basically.
GALLERY | Jah Wobble Lots Road Power Station, London SW10
And just west of World’s End you have Lots Road Power Station. That was one of the two stations that generated power for the tube system. A short walk from there and you’re into Chelsea Harbour. There’s a middle-class estate there where Ballard set one of his later novels [Millennium People]. It is completely bland, dead in the same way as the flats near the Royal Docks on the east side of town. It’s just horrible, there is no sense of community, it’s transient, it screams loneliness.
We are now by Dolphin Square. MPs used to stay here in the 1960s. It has a really rather strange atmosphere that to me is evocative of the Cold War era. I’ve stayed in the apartments here a few times and did find one or two of the staff rather taciturn. They spoke to me in the offended way government staff would speak to novelist Len Deighton’s Harry Palmer, the upstart working-class character played so well in the films by Michael Caine. I found it inspiringly drab both inside and out. There are a lot of corridors and you could easily imagine that 1950s/60s smell of overcooked cabbage hanging in the air. A feeling of patient tedium possessed me when I stayed here. I think anywhere that has been frequented by politicians and bureaucrats starts to resonate with that slow-cooked tedium.
Ebury Bridge, London SW1
We’ve walked to the north side of the river at Pimlico. What is this place? This is Ebury Bridge on the borderlands where Pimlico merges into Victoria. We are overlooking the railway lines with Battersea Power Station in the background. I just love the view down to the tracks from here. You can see there where they park the trains at night in the depot. That’s where a lot of the West End homeless and out-of-town ravers without funds for a bed used to get on the trains and get their heads down for a few fitful hours sleep. For some reason even kids I knew in east London used to come over here when they found themselves without an abode.
Dolphin Square, London SW1
Tate&Lyle Factory, Silvertown, London E16
We’ve jumped on a bus in the rain and are now headed east via the DLR. What did you want to show us here? We are in Silvertown by the Tate&Lyle factory. It used to be incredibly bleak here and I loved it. When I was a mini-cab driver about 1984, I used to come out here and do a regular job picking up a parcel in the dead of night and taking it to Heathrow. The whole thing had this great atmosphere. There was a railway line in the middle of the road, and you had all steam belching up out of the ground and smoke coming out of chimneys. It’s a real disappointment to see it blocked by a high wall. It lies near the Thames Barrier and there’s an amazing place around the corner, full of satellite dishes of massively varying sizes. While we’re between spots, can you tell me how you got into William Blake? People had been telling me to check him out. I knew he was the bloke who wrote ‘Jerusalem’ but because the Tories had appropriated it I assumed he was some stern upper-class Victorian, certainly not one of mine. I couldn’t understand why people thought I’d like him. But a friend gave me a copy of Songs of Innocence and not long after I was working on a piece of music and couldn’t quite get a handle on what to do with it. That was the start of my spoken-word work with William Blake, it was a mystic kind of journey to me. He was also, of course, a great walker. So what we are doing today is what Blake did. He walked circles around London. He saw angels in Peckham, got mugged in Bethnal Green, he wrote poetry and sketched up on Highgate and Primrose Hill – so he really covered some miles. >
GALLERY | Jah Wobble Where are we heading now? We have just come through Limehouse on the train; this is a great way to take photos, I do it all the time. My old man’s family was from here and my mum’s was from Wapping. This is my old manor in Shadwell, we are looking down on this crazy postmodern juxtaposition of new buildings and old council estates. When I lived here, 1980-94, it was the poorest ward in the country. There were no bus routes through Wapping or Shadwell. It’s still hardly the most salubrious of areas, but you should’ve seen it then. There was, however, a good pie-and-mash shop and a chippie. When I was a drinking man I was a regular at the Old House at Home public house. The area is best known for Watney Street Market, long past its best days. Until recently, there was a proliferation of yellow police signs warning people not to use their mobile phones or to dawdle, because of muggers.
Shadwell, London E14
How did the area affect you creatively? I grew up in a pokey little council flat like everyone I knew. That’s one of the main reasons I got into dub, to get away from the confined space where you haven’t got a lot of room. And that was the thing with poor people and most of the people I knew – nobody had enough room. The one thing about dub was that it opened up space, it was a form of escape, as was literature at the time. I read a lot to expand my mind, to go beyond the confines of where I was. I used to go to Bancroft Road library when I was very young, maybe five or six. But there’s still a part of me that wants to be back in a council flat. That was my natural habitat.
Jamme Masjid (Great Mosque), Brick Lane, London E1
Limehouse Cut, London E14
What are the waterways down there? Limehouse Cut, which lies between the Thames and Bow backwaters – now, of course, with the ubiquitous expensive new builds on its banks. When I lived in east London I used to go walk around the canals and Bow backwaters on a daily basis. I loved that derelict post-industrial landscape, it really had its own magic. Hardly anyone knew the Bow backwaters back then – it was a strange area, there was something quite occult about it. It was a very private space in which to walk but the Olympic Park changed all that. The way there was along Hertford Canal or via Limehouse Cut. The backwaters resonate with history; Alfred the Great once drained and diverted the rivers in order to stymie Danish longboats, and Queen Matilda bridged them. What were your other favourite walks? I used to walk down through Wapping to the old Port of London Authority houses where my mum once worked. They’re set around a little square that opens onto the Thames. The views from there, even by the standards of Thames vistas, were extraordinary. You are at the peak of the curve that is the shape of Wapping, and Tower Bridge lies straight ahead of you as you look west. The old PLA houses are now private and have been for many years. Public access to the square was stopped back in the early 1990s.
What’s the significance of this building? We are on the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street. I used a photo of the sundial that’s now in the Jamme Masjid [Great Mosque] for Umbra Sumus (Sum of Darkness) in 1998. This building epitomises the demographic changes that have taken place in the East End over the last 100 years. In 1898, the Methodist Church at Fournier Street’s eastern end became the Maz’ik Adath synagogue. The building had been constructed as a Huguenot Chapel in 1743-44, and also saw use as a Protestant church. It was in the 1970s that it became a mosque. We are now back where we started. Would you say you feel more at home in west London than east now? As much as a place thing it’s an age thing, really. But yes, the East End I knew is a foreign country somewhere in the past. When I go back to east London, it’s been turned inside out, everywhere in London has. I’m an East End boy but since I moved up north 15 years ago, the west is my manor when I’m in London. Jah Wobble releases a six-CD box set ReDux later this year. Jah Wobble & the Invaders of the Heart play at Under the Bridge, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London SW6 on 10 October 30hertzrecords.com underthebridge.co.uk
Selected Stockists 36 Earlham Street London WC2H 9LH
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34 Marshall Street London W1F 7EU www.cpcompany.co.uk
via Clavature 4, Bologna 6 St Jamesâ€™s Street London SW1A 1EF www.lockhatters.co.uk
via Bepin, Cortina dâ€™Ampezzo via della Vigna Nuova 75/R, Firenze piazza G. Marconi 9/A-B Forte dei Marmi via Borgogna 3, Milano
Farah Vintage 18 Earlham Street London WC2H 9LG
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via San Sebastianello 6B, Roma via Mazzini 5, Trento via F. Cairo 1, Varese Vicolo Scudo di Francia 8, Verona www.wplavori.com
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Fair Isle Knit Words Chris May Photograph Kasia Wozniak Styling Maria Tasula Photographic Assistant Paul Hammond Artist Louis-Jack Horton-Stephens louis-jack.com
Knitwear is greatly underrepresented in sartorial iconography. Long perceived as too cuddly, too folksy – and above all, too rural – for metropolitan style, the eventual adoption of woollen sweaters by 1960s London mods was exceptional. Knitwear was utilitarian and lacked the romance of American denim. You wore it to stay warm in the winter if you lived or worked in the countryside. And you could not get more countryside than Fair Isle, the northernmost inhabited place in Britain. But in the early 1920s, the Fair Isle sweater bucked the knitwear nontrend and – as worn by the Duke of Windsor, the future Edward VIII – became a staple of the well-dressed urban gentleman’s wardrobe. The 1920s came towards the end of an epoch when most aspects of British society were driven by a royals-led aristocracy with its roots, and still much of its wealth, in the countryside. The rise of a town-dwelling meritocracy in the mid-20th century accelerated the democratisation of style, but in the 1920s, this was still driven by the royal family and upper classes. Bohemian subcultures aside, demotic style was decades away. Aristocrats had the money to indulge in sartorialism, and their roles as alphacelebrities of the age was only beginning to be challenged by bandleaders and 190
Hollywood ﬁlm stars. The coke-snifﬁng, sexually adventurous, metropolitan bright young things of 1920s Britain – brilliantly if cruelly portrayed in Evelyn Waugh’s contemporary novel Vile Bodies – were, by and large, the children of the English landed gentry. They partied in Mayfair and Belgravia during the week, but spent the weekends at their parents’ stately piles in the home counties. They did not get their hands dirty actually tilling the soil, but as a class they remained in touch with the countryside, with its heightened awareness of the seasons. Sartorially, they spoke Fair Isle, as the fashion world was about to discover. In 1921, the Duke of Windsor visited Fair Isle and was given a locally-made tank top. In newspapers, the Duke was frequently described as the best-dressed man in the world. His choice of clothes was widely reported on and photographs of him wearing his ﬁrst Fair Isle were syndicated across Europe and the US. Other trends Edward kickstarted were the tab collar, the Windsor tie knot and, in the US, the revival of the Panama hat. “I was in fact ‘produced’ as a leader of fashion,” he wrote in A King’s Story: The Memoirs of H.R.H. the Duke of Windsor, “with the clothiers as my showmen and the world as my audience.” Following his abdication in 1936, Edward’s reputation
was tarnished as it became clear that, if not an outright fascist, he was immured in the antisemitism endemic among the upper classes. But when he ﬁrst wore that Fair Isle sweater, all this was in the future. The only genuine source of Fair Isle knitwear remains Fair Isle itself: archaeological evidence traces the technique back to the 16th century. Traditional patterns have a limited palette of ﬁve or six colours and only use two, and two strands of yarn, per row. The source of the patterns is variously thought to be Scandinavia – for over a millennium a trading partner with Fair Isle – or Spain, introduced by Spanish sailors wrecked off the island following the rout of the Spanish Armada in 1588. Generic Fair Isle knitwear is now produced internationally, but is better described as “stranded colourwork”. In 2014, the Fair Isle technique is being used by future-facing knitwear makers such as London’s Sibling, whose best-known mutant form is called Scare Isle. Fair Isle has transcended its earlier class associations, regal and proletarian, and much of its rural resonance. There is, for instance, a photograph of Michael Jackson wearing a Fair Isle-type sweater circa the late 1970s. Fair Isle knitwear has become a perfect realisation of understated style, available to all.
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Directory 6876 www.sixeightsevensix.com
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Costume Studio www.costumestudio.co.uk
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The Bradley Wiggins Collection by Fred Perry www.fredperry.com
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Harris Wharf London www.harriswharflondon.co.uk
House of Garmsville www.garmsville.com
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Industry of All Nations www.industryofallnations.com
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JC Penney www.jcpenney.com
Jérôme Dreyfuss www.jerome-dreyfuss.com John Simons Apparel Company www.johnsimons.co.uk
AUTUMN 2014 VOLUME 1 ISSUE 12
“Clothes have always been important to working-class kids.”
STYLE HISTORY CULTURE