STYLE HISTORY CULTURE ©
JUSTIN ROBERTSON £5.95
Single sided big â€˜Eâ€™ red tab Box stitching over pleats
Cone Mills heavyweight denim One pocket with button-down flap
Exposed copper rivets (reverse) Cinch at back waist (reverse)
The original 1936 Type I Jacket
The stitch for stitch reproduction Made in the USA
Online store www.richardjames.co.uk Shop +44 (0)207 434 0605 Bespoke +44 (0)207 287 9645
SPRING SUMMER 2015
TIGER OF SWEDEN EST 1903
F L A G S H I P S T O R E , 2 1 0 P I C C A D I L LY, L O N D O N W 1 J 9 H L
42528 GARMENT DYED PERFORMANCE TELA TRENCH COAT IN A PERFORMANCE FABRIC MADE UP OF AN OUTER OPAQUE LIGHT NYLON LAYER LAMINATED TO A VERY FINE BREATHABLE, WATER AND WIND RESISTANT INNER MEMBRANE, PROTECTED BY AN IMPERCEPTIBLE POLYESTER BASE. GARMENT DYED WITH THE ADDITION OF A SPECIAL ANTI-DROP AGENT WITH SPECIAL TECHNIQUES PRESERVING THE QUALITIES OF THE PERFORMANCE MEMBRANE AND THE JACKET’S INNER HEAT SEALED SEAMS. RAISED COLLAR WITH FOLD-AWAY HOOD. POCKETS WITH HIDDEN ZIP AND FLAP FASTENING. STRAP AT CUFFS. DRAWSTRING AT BACK OF WAIST. HIDDEN ZIP AND SNAP FASTENING.
A0651 DAVID LIGHT-TC THREE-BUTTON JACKET IN DAVID LIGHT-TC. BEGINNING WITH A LIGHT STAR-SHAPED POLYESTER/POLYAMIDE SUBSTRATE, GARMENTS IN DAVID LIGHT-TC ARE SEWN AND THEN SIMULTANEOUSLY GARMENT DYED AND TREATED WITH AN ANTI-DROP AGENT. DURING THE DYE PROCESS, UNDER PRESSURE AT 130째C, THE FABRIC UNDERGOES HEAT INDUCED COMPRESSION, RADICALLY TRANSFORMING ITS HAND AND BODY FOR A TRULY UNIQUE TACTILE EXPERIENCE. TWO POCKETS WITH FLAP AND BUTTON FASTENING, ONE SMALL POCKET ON CHEST. CENTRAL BACK SLIT.
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STYLE HISTORY CULTURE ©
VOLUME 1 ISSUE 14 Cover Justin Robertson photographed by Dean Chalkley, styled by Harris Elliott Retouching and colour management by Complete Colour Services completeltd.com
Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Marcus Agerman Ross firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor Chris Tang email@example.com Editorial Assistant Edward Moore firstname.lastname@example.org Junior Designer Anna Holden email@example.com Financial Department Emma Gregory and Bryan Kemsley firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher Johanna Agerman Ross email@example.com
Associate Editor Chris Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org New York Editor Janette Beckman email@example.com Fashion Editor-at-Large Marcus Love Staff Writers Paolo Hewitt, Chris May, Andy Thomas, Mark Webster Staff Photographer Ross Trevail firstname.lastname@example.org Music Events Programmer Stuart Patterson Subeditor Guy Weress
Commercial Director Andrew Chidgey-Nakazono email@example.com Commercial Manager Chris Jones firstname.lastname@example.org Creative Services Manager Tack Studio Nina Akbari email@example.com Italian Advertising Representative Angelo Careddu Oberon Media, Viale Richard 1/b, Milan 20143 +39 (0)2874 543 firstname.lastname@example.org Swiss Advertising Representative Amelia Guercio Magazine International, Rue du Valée 3 Geneva 1211 +41 (0)78 723 72 53 email@example.com
Interns Benedict Browne Simay Onaz Original Design Phil Buckingham
Contributors Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala, Mark Anthony Bradley, Dean Chalkley, Dustin Cohen, Kevin Davies, Harris Elliott, Jill Furmanovsky, Orlando Gili, David Goldman, Owen Harvey, Eric Hobbs, Martin Holtkamp, Adam Howe, Mia Howe, Ichikawa, Lester Jones, Elliot Kennedy, Kumiko Kobayashi, Soichiro Kobayashi,Flavio Leone, Rob Low, Karen Mason, Cameron McNee, Jelani Memory, Nicolas Payne-Baader, Richard Stow, Juan Trujillo Andrades, Lee Vincent Grubb, Robert Wyatt Special Thanks Liam Aylott, Jeff Barrett at Heavenly Recordings heavenlyrecordings.com, Pablo Behrens, Tim Bent at Bentleys bentleyslondon.com, Cath ‘The Witch’ Birch, Krish Desai at Café Morocco, Empress Coaches empresscoaches.co.uk, Maureen Eyden, Gudrun Getz and Kristina Harper at Passing Clouds passingclouds.org, Liz Gronlund, Lenny and Reggie Hagland at Islington Boxing Club islingtonboxingclub.org, Ian Hamer, Sam Jones and Rhydian Powell at Weekend Offender weekendoffender.com, Dermot Kavanagh, Pádraig Ó Laoigh, Chris Levin, Bob Lord, Hisashi Matsushita, Billy Skinner, The Society Club thesocietyclub.com, Simon Whittle 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 © 2015 s
Contents 14–22 SEEN: Rio de Janeiro
104–111 HISTORY: Mick Rock
boasts the best beach gyms in the world
has photographed the wildest rock’n’rollers over the past 45 years
24–35 NEWS: A cultural round-up for
112–121 COVER STORY: Justin
Robertson is a musician, DJ and artist inspired by dub music and mysticism
36–48 PEOPLE: We doff our caps
to those individuals making the world a more beautiful place
122–129 STYLE: Jet Boy
Photographs Cameron McNee Styling Mark Anthony Bradley
50–54 DETAIL: Islington Boxing Club
Photographs Owen Harvey Styling Mia Howe
130–133 CINEMA: Tubby Hayes
was the first British jazz musician to truly challenge the US hierarchy
56–59 PROFILE: Marden Hill is
a stately home in Hertford with an extraordinary story
134–139 CULTURE: Nicky Siano is
the dance pioneer who nurtured Larry Levan at his club the Gallery, in New York
60–67 GALLERY: Inspired By explores
inspiration and the creative process
140–147 STYLE: Coach and Horses
68–71 CINEMA: Adrift in Soho is
Photographs Robert Wyatt Styling Adam Howe
a story of freedom and discovery in 1950s Soho
148–151 MUSIC: Arthur Baker is the
72–79 STYLE: Kaizou Nirin
Roland 808 aficionado who was at the forefront of electro in the 1980s
Photographs Martin Holtkamp Styling Adam Howe
152–153 BULLETIN: Spiewak and
84–89 HISTORY: Louise Brooks was
Narifuri collaborate to update classic outerwear for modern cycling
silent cinema’s golden girl in the 1920s
90–91 BULLETIN: DSquared2 marks
154–161 CULTURE: Analogue Future
20 years in the fashion business
ponders what may be lost and gained in the digital age
92–95 SPORT: Laurie Cunningham
162–169 STYLE: Droit au But
Photographs David Goldman Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala 170–173 CINEMA: Miles Davis
reinvented jazz five times
174–183 SPOTLIGHT: Birdwatching
is an 18th-century passion that still attracts twitchers from all walks of life 186–191 CINEMA: Orson Welles
was the precocious filmmaker who lived life on his own terms 192–199 STYLE: Travis Tomlin
Photographs Juan Trujillo Andrades Styling Karen Mason 200–204 MUSIC: Trevor Jackson
has released his new album on 12 different formats
206–207 ICON: The Cigarette Lighter
is the gentleman’s accessory that invites chivalry
was England’s most stylish football player – on and off the pitch 96–103 STYLE: Hidden Charms
Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Styling Karen Mason
Rio de Janeiro Photographs Rob Low
The people of Brazil love to exercise – there are more health clubs per head there than in any nation bar the fitness-obsessed, fitness-shunning USA – and in Rio de Janeiro, in particular, the signs are very clear. If you take a walk along Ipanema, Copacabana, or any other main city beach, the baking promenade is crowded not only with runners, cyclists, skaters, boarders and endless games of volleyball, but also with public workout equipment – though not the gnarly, derelict variety you would find in other capitals. The roads along the beachfront are closed on Sundays and draw Brazilians in their thousands to work out in whatever way they see fit – this trend has inevitably provided solace for local DIY bodybuilders. In a nation where about 10 percent of the population still lives in poverty, this fitness phenomenon has found a route around the inevitable monthly fees of established, air-conditioned, yuppie-filled fitness centres. Best observed at beachfront exercise stations, the outdoor bodybuilding scene is either ahead of or far behind its time. Distilled into a sort of primitive, dystopian game – homemade concrete barbells made from saucecan moulds, with kitchen-sponge handgrips; slabs of urban detritus and the natural environment both fully utilised; spontaneous male camararderie – it is unchecked exhibitionism, even for Rio, entirely unselfconscious fitness purely for the joy of it.
SEEN | Rio de Janeiro
Reginaldo da Costa Ferreira, 38, skipper Describe your exercise routine. I exercise three times a week; one day for arms and chest, one for back and legs, the other for legs and shoulders. What’s so special about the beach? The sea, sun and women. Describe Brazilian beach life in three words. Love. Life. Capabilities. Who are your favourite bands? Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Cure. What’s your favourite movie? Clash of the Titans.
SEEN | Rio de Janeiro
SEEN | Rio de Janeiro
Thiago de Jesus, 27, team leader at Nike What’s so special about the beach? It’s a great place to exercise and listen to music. Describe Brazilian beach life in three words. Strength. Inspiration. Wellness. Who’s your style icon? Michael Jordan. Who’s your favourite band? The Roots. What are your favourite movies? The Godfather and Cool Runnings.
SEEN | Rio de Janeiro
Hector de Oliveira, 25, sales coordinator at Nike, wears top, shorts and shoes by Nike Describe your exercise routine. I go to the gym five days a week and run and do crossfit classes twice a week. What’s so special about the beach? It’s great to exercise outside. Describe Brazilian beach life in three words. Overcoming limits and boundaries. Who are your style icons? David Beckham and the Rock. What’s your favourite music? I listen to a lot of hip-hop.
Kenzo Store, London
In the four years since Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony took the creative helm of Kenzo, the brand has been transformed, mixing candy-coloured casual wear with a more formal range tweaked with signature details. This April sees the relaunch of the labelâ€™s London store on Bruton Street. Kenzo, 31 Bruton Street, London W1 kenzo.com Photograph Chris Tang Styling Nicolas Payne-Baader Words Edward Moore Musician Oscar Scheller soundcloud.com/oscar_music
Five years after his tragic death, fashion designer Alexander McQueen is remembered in an exhibition by photographer Nick Waplington and a book of backstage photographs by Kent Baker. Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process at Tate Britain charts McQueen’s final collection ‘The Horn of Plenty’, while Inferno: Alexander McQueen documents his breakout show ‘Dante’, which was presented in 1996 at Christ Church in Spitalfields, London. Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process is at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 from 10 March tate.org.uk Inferno: Alexander McQueen is out now laurenceking.com Words Edward Moore
Untitled from the series ‘Alexander McQueen Working Process’ Photograph Nick Waplington
Theory of Obscurity: A Film About the Residents
“The Residents have remained utterly mysterious, never photographed without some strange costume, never interviewed, never identified in any way. So, who are these people?” So asks a reporter in an old TV report in a forthcoming film on the band. In the same trailer, Graeme Whifler, the man behind the Residents’ experimental videos, promises: “You want the real story, I’ll give you the true story.” Whether the identity of the surrealist Louisiana music collective is to be revealed remains to be seen, but we are sure to get nearer to the mind of their avant-garde weirdness. Theory of Obscurity: A Film About the Residents is currently in post-production residentsmovie.com Words Andy Thomas Image courtesy of KTF Films
Still from Theory of Obscurity: A Film About the Residents
NEWS Polo Ralph Lauren for Wimbledon
To celebrate their decade-long partnership, Ralph Lauren releases its latest Wimbledon outfits, to be donned by all officials and staff. Expect classic, tennis-inpsired clothing to wear on and off the court. ralphlauren.co.uk Photograph Chris Tang Styling Nicolas Payne-Baader Words Edward Moore Artist Calum Bowden calumbowden.com
Photo London is set to be the largest photographic art fair in the city. Held over five days at Somerset House in May, the first edition will bring together 70 selected galleries from around the world. As well as hosting a series of public events, talks and installations, Photo London will include a display of images from the Victoria & Albert Museum’s photographic archives. Photo London takes place at Somerset House, Strand, London WC2 from 21-24 May photolondon.org somersethouse.org.uk Words Edward Moore
Untitled, from the series ‘Chromes’, 1970-73 © William Eggleston/Rose Gallery, Los Angeles
Pringle of Scotland Bicentennial
Pringle of Scotland was founded by Robert Pringle in 1815 in the Scottish Borders, the birthplace of Scotland’s knitwear industry, manufacturing hosiery and underwear. Pringle was one of the first luxury knitwear manufacturers in the world – they began working with cashmere in the 1870s and introduced knitwear as outerwear in the early 1900s. This year, the brand celebrates its 200th anniversary with a series of projects, including a retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, interactive knitwear-customising experience ‘Deconstructed’ and a series of artist collaborations.
Image courtesy of Pringle of Scotland
Fully Fashioned: The Pringle of Scotland Story opens at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh on 10 April pringlescotland.com nms.ac.uk Words Edward Moore
SHOT BY ANDREAS KOCK
wesc.com / @wesc1999 / facebook/superlativeconspiracy
Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964
New York, 1961, and a fresh-faced troubadour is making waves on the Greenwich Village folk circuit. Ted Russell started photographing Bob Dylan that year, shortly before the release of his first album, and a new book brings together those first photos alongside an intimate selection of images he captured of the star over the following three years. Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964 by Ted Russell is out on 28 April rizzoli.com Words Edward Moore
Photograph Julian Krakowiak
Despite evolving from a Chinese garment, the kimono is perhaps the most distinctive symbol of both Japanâ€™s past and particular aesthetic culture. The national dress for over 1000 years, it has been less than 200 since the Japanese substituted the kimono for western-style clothing. Usually reserved for formal or ceremonial occasions, the kimono has been rediscovered by a generation drawn to its practicalities and beauty, and they are celebrated in this new book. Kimono Now is out on 1 April prestel.com
Photograph Ted Russell
Words Edward Moore
Persol Typewriter Edition Collection
Invented by Italian photographer Giuseppe Ratti in 1917, Persol combines Italian sophistication with an old-school glamour; it is this symbol of the solitary hero that has inspired their new Typewriter Edition range. Subtle details, such as typewriter fonts engraved on the stems, harken to an era before disposable, massproduced, bubblegum-coloured accessories. persol.com Photograph Chris Tang Styling Nicolas Payne-Baader Words Edward Moore
NEWS The Fifth Beatle
Vivek Tiwary’s graphic novel The Fifth Beatle will be made into a live-action film. “When I decided I wanted to tell the Brian Epstein story, the decision was to focus on the last seven years of Epstein’s life, with the Beatles, hence the title,” says Tiwary. “I suppose two mediums that most powerfully use colour in storytelling are graphic novels and films. So, from the very, very beginning, I decided I was going to pursue both.” The film, whose cast and crew are still to be announced, will be a more traditional biopic of Epstein, but keeping in the style and tone of the graphic novel. “I’ve often thought of The Fifth Beatle as an entity,” says Tiwary. “The mission now is to continue spreading the Brian Epstein story.” thefifthbeatle.com Photograph Dustin Cohen Words Edward Moore
Vivek Tiwary, author, in his office in New York
London International Ska Festival
With live shows across three days from the likes of Steel Pulse and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, it’s hard to pick a highlight of this year’s London International Ska Festival. But as well as the live shows and sound systems, one of the most essential events will be the screening of Bunny Lee: I am the Gorgon. The film features interviews with nearly all the big names of Jamaican music, including Bunny ‘Striker’ Lee himself. The London International Ska Festival 2015 opens on 2 April londoninternationalskafestival.co.uk Words Andy Thomas
© Jamaican Recordings
Print is Dead. Long Live Print
The rise of digital media and reduction in advertising revenue was supposed to signal the decline and ultimate death of the printed magazine. Like many of life’s charming quirks, the past few years has, conversely, seen an increase in magazine numbers, covering a range of topics from sport, fashion, cooking and travel. A new book acknowledges this trend, profiling 50 of today’s best independent magazines – expect to find Jocks&Nerds included, naturally. Print is Dead. Long Live Print by Ruth Jamieson is out now prestel.com Words Edward Moore
MADE IN RED WING, USA SINCE 1905
With her youthful looks and undiminished energy, it may come as a surprise to learn that Iceland’s favourite daughter Björk turns 50 this year. Over three decades, she has created a unique body of work, not just musically, that is celebrated in a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A book, Bjork: Archives also charts her singular career. Björk opens at the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York on 8 March moma.org Björk: Archives is out on 30 March thamesandhudson.com Words Edward Moore
Still from Wanderlust, 2007 Director Encyclopedia Pictura
Roger Ballen Walsh x Universal Works
Norman Walsh helmed his British cross-country running shoe company from its inception in 1961 until his death last year. Defiantly independent and English, it seems appropriate that the brand has collaborated with David Keyte’s Nottingham-based Universal Works, a brand crafting modern clothes inspired by historical fashions and fabrics. normanwalshuk.com universalworks.co.uk Photograph Chris Tang Styling Nicolas Payne-Baader Words Edward Moore
Making use of a performative process with his subjects – and heavy with symbolism – photographer Roger Ballen’s approach to his Outland project (1995-2000), focused on residents of the fringes of Johannesburg, was by no means straightforward documentary. Witty, intimate, genuinely disturbing and always pertinent, these images have lost none of the impact they had when first published in 2001. The reissued book includes 45 previously unpublished images. Outland by Roger Ballen is out on 13 April phaidon.com Words Edward Moore
Men in field, 1997 © Roger Ballen
Eve Arnold: Magnum Legacy
Eve Arnold became famed agency Magnum Photos’ first female photographer in 1951. She was a pioneer, one of the best-known photojournalists of the 20th century, whose intimate approach to her work led to powerful images of icons of the age, from Malcolm X to Marilyn Monroe. This biography brings together some of her most famous Magnum images alongside a selection of unpublished work. Eve Arnold: Magnum Legacy is out on 1 April prestel.com Words Edward Moore Horse-training for the militia, Inner Mongolia, China, 1979 © Eve Arnold/Magnum Photos
Paris-based fashion photographer and filmmaker Sophie Delaporte contributed extensively to i-D magazine in the 1990s. Bringing a light touch to her colourrich conceptual ideas, Delaporte’s work manages to sit comfortably on both the pages of fashion magazines and gallery walls. Working with performance artist and actress Melissa Mourer Ordener, Delaporte’s latest exhibition consists of a series of interior shoots. “I wrote four different scripts, to be filmed in the same room,” she says. “Melissa, wearing blue overalls, performs various actions through which I address topics such as pollution, the media and food colouring.” True Colors is at Galerie Joseph, 236 rue Saint Martin, Paris from 19 March galerie-joseph.net sophiedelaporte.com melissamourerordener.com Words Edward Moore
Ephemeral Sculpture, #1 © Sophie Delaporte
Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Record Covers
Original soundtrack for the film Querelle, 1982, by Rainer Werner Fassbinder Artwork Andy Warhol © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
Finding fame through his industrial, repetitious artwork, it is unsurprising that Andy Warhol’s first professional gigs were as an illustrator, and this meeting of visual communication and mass production was perfectly realised in his record-sleeve work. Some are ingrained on the collective consciousness – the Velvet Underground ‘Banana’ cover, or the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers (a close up of a crotch, Mick Jagger’s, allegedly, with a real jeans zipper) – but less familiar are his work for the likes of Count Basie and Tchaikovsky. Andy Warhol: The Complete Commissioned Record Covers is out now prestel.com Words Edward Moore
Clarks Desert Boot 65th Anniversary
Based on a shoe bought in the bazaars of Cairo by off-duty officers in the Burmese War, the original Clarks Desert boot, designed by the great-grandson of the founders, Nathan Clark, was unleashed on the public in 1950 at the Chicago Shoe Fair. An unassuming suede ankle boot with a crepe sole, in its 65-year life the Desert boot has been adopted by countless subcultures and been sported by stars such as Elvis Presley and James Dean. Clarks celebrate this enduring landmark with a limited range of Desert boots. clarksoriginals.com Photograph Chris Tang Styling Nicolas Payne-Baader Words Edward Moore Campaign Manager Bobby Harrison
Growing up in Alexandria, Louisiana – a small, religious Southern city – singer-songwriter Devan DuBois was not spoilt for musical influences as a teenager. “No one from my family really played any music,” he says. “The first time I was like, wow, I want to play music, was probably when I heard the Beatles. When I got into Bob Dylan a little later, I started writing songs.” Making music from the age of 16 led Dubois to a series of gigs at coffee shops around Alexandria, and he joined a few rock bands through college before graduating in accounting and finance. “Then I moved to LA; I felt it was a good place to be involved with the arts,” says Dubois. “I knew a producer [ Jeff Sojka] and we started speaking about ideas for different types of sounds. That was how I caught the vision to do my music. I put together an EP and had another friend connected in the music scene who helped me pass it around a bit. I didn’t release it and was just shopping around.” Dubois eventually found himself signed with Nashville label Sensibility Music, through which he released his debut Le Fou last summer. “I wanted it, being my first album, to have more of an aerial view – broad strokes. In terms of incorporating my different influences, I’m interested in artists who have a story, who are doing something different that seems to come from a thoughtful, meaningful place.” devandubois.com Photograph Eric Hobbs Words Edward Moore
In the late 1970s, Neil Fraser aka Mad Professor – along with the likes of Dennis Bovell, Adrian Sherwood and Jah Shaka – helped form a new wave of musicians making UK dub music. “We moved the centre of dub from Jamaica to London,” says Fraser. “After the first wave – like Lee Perry, King Tubby, Errol Thompson – we were fighting against people trying to tell us that you can’t make dub music in the UK. We all had our own sound – it wasn’t generic Jamaican sounds, but quite a British flavour, with a yard swing. I had my own studio, Adrian had his own studio, Dennis had his own studio – it was homemade, that sound.” Growing up in Guyana, Fraser got the bug at an early age, earning his ‘Mad Professor’ moniker. “I thought electronics were magic,” he says. He moved to London in 1968 at the age of 13. “The place was cold, it was rough.” Ten years later, he built his first studio in his girlfriend’s house in Thornton Heath, marking the birth of Ariwa Sounds, a recording studio he still helms today. “I wanted to make dub, so I built my own echo and four-track recording studio.” He first professional studio was in a basement on Gautrey Road, Peckham, and ran from 1982-86, when the studio got burgled, “a typical Peckham activity”. In that time, however, Fraser was already pushing his music in a new direction. “My studio was a dubbing studio. I would have rock bands coming in and I would dub them. I’d dub anything and anybody.” More than 25 years and 100 records later – after collaborations with the likes of Sade and Massive Attack – the latest Mad Professor album Dubbing with Anansi is back to basics. “It’s heavy, old-school dub,” he says. “Real drums and real musicians, no modern computers or any of that.” Dubbing with Anansi is out now ariwa.com Photograph Lester Jones Words Edward Moore
“I completely stumbled in. Even now, I’m just playing it as it comes,” says Laya Lewis, the young actress who broke into the business with a hit, playing teenager Liv in celebrated British drama Skins. “I thought I might have something. I just didn’t know what it was,” though she was armed only “with my drama A-level, and that was actually just some pissing about, really.” Born in Bristol, it was always likely to be something with a creative bent. “I really enjoy writing,” she says, “and I keep journals. I thought perhaps I might skip further education – instead of taking a gap year, just travel and turn the writing into something. But I also like the idea of teaching, the idea of charity work.” For now she is channeling her energy into a media course, while also still acting. Her latest project is Beverley, a short film due for release this year. Set in 1980s Leicester, it is the true story of football-hooligan lookout Bev Thompson. “As soon as I read the script, I thought, I want to meet this woman,” says Lewis. The film is written and directed by Alexander Thomas and produced by infamous hooligan Cass Pennant. “He’s an amazing person.” Lewis says. “I wrote a piece about him last year for a uni project. Asked him one question, and he answered that one and all the others in one go.” Beverly will tour the film festival circuit this year beverleyfilm.com Photograph Richard Stow Words Mark Webster
PEOPLE Simon Kaempfer
There’s a saying that goes, ‘Ask a busy man”. This surely applies to London-based product and interior designer Kaempfer. Previously working at the famed Isle Crawford studio, Kaempfer went freelance a few years back, today counting a wealth of household names as clients. As an interior designer, Kaempfer worked on London’s Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, creating both furniture and lighting for bedrooms and communal areas. He also consults with the architectural team at fashion house Burberry, working on ideas for their stores. He is one of a roster of key designers creating a range of products for Zilio A&C, an Italian furniture company specialising in wood. His latest collection for the company will debut at the Milan Furniture Fair in March. Keeping with the wood theme, he also finds time to be London-based manufacturer De La Espada’s art director. His abilities with both production and spatial awareness mean Kaempfer is also called upon to create catalogues and photoshoots for clients including Volga Linen and the Guardian. So what does a man like this do to relax? Well, if it can be called relaxing, Kaempfer indulges his passion for aikido. simonkaempfer.com Photograph Marcus Agerman Ross
“Technically, I started playing from the age of two, I guess. I grew up in my dad’s recording studio, basically, so at two I was playing the drums.” Released in the UK on Dome Records, Jarrod Lawson’s eponymous debut album shows just how this musician from Portland, Oregon has added to his repertoire in that time. But as he says, “We live in an age when a guy like me, on a limited budget, can do most of what I need to do at home.” Of course, having spent his formative years around music and musicians – “When you’re a kid, you take it for granted” – it was likely something would stick. His “epiphany” came when “I was around nine or 10, and I was rifling through my dad’s record collection and I found Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.” You can hear on Lawson’s debut that he has taken that epiphany and clearly run with it, which is a deliberate act. Last year he was asked to perform at Stevie Wonder’s birthday party – “An amazing, surreal, strange experience. I did [Wonder’s song] ‘Knocks Me Off My Feet’, while Stevie was hanging off stage. He likes red wine. My people were near him and apparently he leaned over and asked who I was. When they told him, he said, ‘That boy’s good’. I can’t beat that.” Jarrod Lawson performs at the Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, London NW1 on 11 and 12 April jarrodlawson.com thejazzcafelondon.com Photograph Jelani Memory Words Mark Webster
South San Diego, 2003: guitarist Jonn Dunn and painter/motorcycle mechanic Gabriel Güereña decide it’s time to leave their hometown. They flip a coin; heads for London, tails for New York. It lands heads. They met, Dunn says, “this guy in a dodgy flat in LA”, two weeks before they left for London, and were put in touch with his ex-girlfriend in Camberwell who would let them stay if they bought her groceries. “We were looking for whatever, really,” says Dunn. “We just wanted to live with it, and that’s how I ended up in southeast London.” For two years, he played a mix of folk, blues, rock’n’roll, funk and country around Deptford, New Cross and Greenwich. In 2005, Güereña left for Dublin and Dunn, through friend and fellow guitarist Kav Sandhu, met the reunited Happy Mondays. He played live and recorded with the band, and went on to work on Shaun Ryder’s solo project. Photograph Ross Trevail Words Edward Moore
Robin Jones’s CV reads like a who’s who of jazz and Latin greats. He’s played with, among many others, Charlie Palmieri, Machito, Mongo Santamaria, Gilberto Gil, Stan Getz, Slim Gaillard, Sonny Stitt, Ben Webster, James Moody, Dexter Gordon and Chet Baker. He was born in India to a piano-teaching English mum and a half-Brazilian dad, came to London when he was eight, left to travel the world and came back in 1960 as a professional drummer. “I had my first residency that year at the notorious Mandrake Club in Meard Street, which was where the beatniks hung out and all the American jazz guys, like Buddy Rich and Dexter Gordon, used to drop in and jam,” he recalls. “I used to play at Ronnie Scott’s when it was in Gerrard Street and then the Flamingo Club, with the likes of Geno Washington. There were so many great jazz clubs; in fact, there were all kinds of clubs in Soho then; it was a real scene and I played with just about everyone.” Jones has two bands up and running. “Latin Underground is the sextet. We play what used to be call ‘Cubop’ – uncompromising Latin jazz, fusing the rhythms of Cuba with the harmonies of bebop. Not a lot of people play it and I’m hoping to introduce it to a new audience.” New album Seven Stops to Heaven features scorching percussion-led tracks such as Dizzy Gillespie’s ‘Night in Tunisia’ and Mario Bauza’s ‘Mambo Inn’. Jones’s other band King Salsa is a 14-piece big band with five horns and three percussionists. “We cover a big range of Cuban/ Puerto Rican Latin,” says Jones. “Snowboy [whom he taught] called it ‘pitbull Latin.’” In the 1980s, Jones’s acumen on bongo, conga and timbale led him to play with Sade, Blue Rondo a La Turk and Matt Bianco, playing a big part in the decade’s Latin jazz renaissance. These days, he regularly sells out Ronnie Scott’s and is a constant at the 606 Club in Lots Road, Chelsea. “I am a lucky man,” he chirps. “I have been able to do what I love all my life, and am still doing it.” Seven Stops to Heaven is out now slamproductions.net latinunderground.co.uk Photograph Chris Tang Words Chris Sullivan
Speaking on a Friday night in the middle of a rehearsal for their mini-tour across Wales, it’s clear that 10-month old band Pretty Vicious has a busy schedule. All aged 16-18, Elliot Jones (drums), Brad Griffiths (vocals/guitar), Thomas McCarthy (guitar) and Jarvis Morgan (bass) are born and bred in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. After releasing ‘Cave Song’ last year, the band garnered attention from Radio Wales DJ Adam Walton, Radio 1’s Zane Lowe and BBC Introducing, as well as Blur drummer Dave Rowntree on XFM. Pretty Vicious only played their first gig on 13 December but, with festivals lined up and an album in the pipeline, they’re on a quick ascent. “I think the age is a great benefit but it’s all down to the music at the end of the day,” says Jones, sparing five minutes from rehearsal. “Me and Tom were already in a band and I’d had a conversation with Brad that we should start a band. Then we found Jarvis and it just took off.” Does he see himself moving beyond his South Wales hometown? “I couldn’t picture myself living anywhere other than Merthyr right now, to be honest,” he says. “As much as we hate it, we also love it.” Pretty Vicious play at By:Larm Festival, Norway 4-7 March facebook.com/prettyviciousuk bylarm.no Photograph Lee Vincent Grubb Words Edward Moore
“In 2002, I was unemployed and couldn’t get an agent, so I became one,” says Jick, aka Robert Jickells. The Lincolnshireborn student was studying graphics at Middlesex University but soon took to the portrait painting that led him to the dole queue. “I went into partnership with my first gallery in Hampstead, then did a second and third space on my own. I sold wall space to artists at affordable prices, handled the logistics of numerous group shows and promoted, hung and curated over 100 exhibitions.” He then realised such exhibits could be coordinated into a single event, and founded the Untitled Artists Fair, now in its eighth year. It annually exhibits as many as 170 artists, sells direct and is commission-free. “No galleries or agents are permitted, so 100 percent of sales goes directly to the artist, offering and encouraging clients to make directly informed and greatly discounted purchases,” clarifies Jick, 39, who has a staggering 13,000 artists on his books. Untitled Artists Fair is at Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road, London SW3 from 29-31 May untitledartistsfair.co.uk Photograph Owen Harvey Words Chris Sullivan
When one thinks of creative hotspots around the globe, rarely does Switzerland spring to mind. A landlocked principality in the middle of Europe, it is just too well off and middle-class to have much to kick against – so it’s refreshing to discover this bunch of creative youngsters based in the small city of Aarau, 30 miles west of Zurich. Colour Group (CG) – founded in 2007 by friends Kryštof Ondrejek, Dave Walker, Shqipron Bobaj and Michael Brunner – is a clothing brand inspired by a shared love of skateboarding. In fact, Ondrejek represented the Swiss national team at one time and Brunner is an accomplished skater. Each brings a unique skill to the business, with Ondrejek (who also works as a photographer) designing the graphics and, he states, “simple, wearable casual clothes – unlike a lot of skatewear, we use elegant logos and graphics.” Walker takes care of production and the practical sides of the company, while Bobaj, who films the Swiss skateboarding scene, works on communication. colourgroup.co Photograph Flavio Leone
Walsh is Britain's only owned, designed and manufactured sports footwear and has been in continuous production in Bolton since 1961. Each shoe has a unique pedigree with its style and construction originally developed by Norman Walsh himself throughout his five decade career. www.normanwalshuk.com
PEOPLE Chilly Gonzales
A native Canadian raised by a European family, and a classically trained pianist who emerged as a pop artist/rapper, the world of Jason Charles Beck aka Chilly Gonzales has always featured juxtaposition. “Contradiction is the source of creativity, it’s what makes an iconic artist,” Beck says. “Anyone who only represents one side we’d call onedimensional.” His latest album (on strings) with Kaiser Quartett, Chambers, is “a rapper’s approach to chamber music. Strings, for me, are the next emotional level after piano, and I tried to make them stretch so they could be a rap or electronic instrument,” he says. “I spent an especially long time between Solo Piano (2004) and Solo Piano II (2012) to take the piano and make it as modern as possible again, like it could really be the lead pop instrument.” Chambers is out on 23 March. Chilly Gonzales and Kaiser Quartett play at the Milton Court Concert Hall, Silk Street, London EC2 from 11-13 April chillygonzales.com barbican.org.uk Photograph Jill Furmanovsky Words Edward Moore
Tyrane wears shirt by Joseph; tracksuit bottoms by Sunspel; sweater by Cos; trainers by Diemme.
Islington Boxing Club Photographs Owen Harvey Styling Mia Howe Photographic Assistant Sam Peat Location Islington Boxing Club, 20 Hazellville Road, London N19 islingtonboxingclub.org Boxers Scott and Troy Smart and Tyrane Wynter
Scott wears T-shirt by Joseph; trousers by Our Legacy. Troy wears polo shirt by Joseph; tracksuit bottoms by Sunspel.
DETAIL | Islington Boxing Club
Troy wears shirt by Pringle of Scotland; tracksuit bottoms by Sunspel; sweatband, stylistâ€™s own.
Tyrane wears top by John Smedley; tracksuit bottoms by Cos.
Aviakit , D Lewis and Lewis Leathers are trademarks of Lewis Leathers Ltd, 3-5, Whitfield Street, London W1T 2SA Tel: 020 7636 4314
DETAIL | Islington Boxing Club
Scott wears polo shirt by JW Anderson; trousers by Cos. Tyrane wears sweatshirt and polo shirt by Sunspel; shorts by Christopher Raeburn.
Danad Design. Hertford. Él Records. Peter Blake. Trip Hop. Words Mark Webster Photographs Richard Stow
“If only this place could talk, the stories it could tell.” That’s a well-worn phrase that has attached itself to many a building; a notion that the very bricks and mortar contain within them tales of history and family, mystery and infamy. But every now and then, there’ll be a house that can genuinely tell such stories, because it is there to be seen on the walls, the floors and the ceilings. Or as one of the many creative offspring of Marden Hill House, Matt Lipsey, puts it, “I think the truth is that there’s something in the bones of the building.” Matt is a one-time professional saxophone player, now an award-winning TV and film comedy director. His halfbrother Mark Daniels, originally a music photographer and business manager, has ultimately gone on to create a series of cutting-edge music projects. And it is he who, in particular, keeps pressing on the lungs of the house by ensuring one of its most impressive legacies is not only unforgotten, but imbued with fresh air. Marden Hill House lies at the end of a long, arrow-straight drive a couple of miles outside the town of Hertford in Hertfordshire. During the war, this approach doubled as a runway for planes 56
when the house was seconded into the military. “We used to play in an old army ambulance that had been left behind after the war,” recalls Daniels. Lipsey says, “You can see the craters at the back of the house where they dropped their unused bombs so they could land safely.” The building itself is likely not one for the purists. It has evolved, in fits and starts, across the centuries. In 1550, its first manifestation came about when the land was bought for the price of 26 ounces of honey from the clearly sweet-toothed friars of the abbey of St Alban. A century later, a new house was built on the site and things settled down for around 150 years before it was redesigned once again with a little more Jacobean personality and purchased by one Richard Fowler. Indeed, he was not your average landed gentry, noted as having welcomed fellow “men of radical and dissenting opinion” to the house, including William Cobbett – a pioneering farmer and journalist who fought for the rights of the working man and was the catalyst for the electoral Reform Bill – and abolitionist William Wilberforce. At the front of house, as it stands, you can still see into the room in which it’s said he first discussed his
radical plans for emancipation. Fowler himself eventually upped sticks and went off to fight in the American Revolution. You can also see the work of celebrated architect Sir John Soane – in particular the pillars that were the prototypes for those that now stand at the entrance to the Bank of England. There are signature features of Soane’s designs in the house that can be seen together nowhere else in his work. Around the back, a garden half the size of a football pitch comprises earth imported from India in the days of the Raj, brought over in the bowels of a ship and delivered by horse and cart because the then owner liked the flavour it gave to potatoes. Having been a boarding school, then part of the war effort, by the 1950s it was unoccupied and fraying at the edges – but not so much so that the gravel company that owned it was allowed to demolish. “Peter Adams, Tom Adams’ brother, saw an ad for an ‘empty house,’” says Daniels. Peter was an architect, Tom an artistillustrator, and the plan was “to create an artists’ community. Word went out, some people knew each other, some were approached. [Peter] had enough business sense to know that you needed different types who could work off each other.” >
Chu and Nick Shipton, Danad Gallery. Artwork Dazzle 1915 by Chu
And so in 1958, Marden Hill’s art collective assembled. The day fine artist Barry and his wife Diana Daniels arrived, Mark was born. By 1960, what began as an experiment had truly found its feet as something like a creative factory. Danad Design became the name for what was created there and, considering the fact that the young Peter Blake was also now contributing, as Daniels says, “What they were doing was clearly at the forefront of what would become known as pop art.” At the centre was the innovative thinking of dad Barry – a top graduate from Slade School of Fine Art, and now interested in working with unconventional material and textiles. Barry had spotted the exciting possibilities of a new plastic invention, Formica. “It was this brandnew thing, it gave them the opportunity to apply their unique talents,” Daniels says. “With two architects at the house, they had the ability to turn all the design the artists came up with into something practical.” Their designs were soon the hottest furniture you could ever want to buy at Heal’s, Liberty and Harrods – the elite department stores of choice to the most discerning customers – and Danad was soon to be spotted, imitated and reproduced, so eventually it became an integral part of an entire decade’s style. Danad was now at the very forefront of this thrilling new fusion of art and design. Equally as enthralling is the fact that the house still has its arms wrapped 58
warmly around all of this burgeoning creativity in its earliest, purest forms. Marden Hill House’s dust provides a cloak for hundreds of prototypes and experiments from those years. And not by coincidence, down the road in Hertford, the Danad Gallery has been founded to house exhibitions that very much celebrate that ‘pop art’ tradition.
‘I THINK THE TRUTH IS THAT THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE BONES OF THE BUILDING’ Danad opened with a Daniels-curated exhibition by celebrated contemporary artists Jamie Reid, Swifty and Chu. Currently showing is an exhibition of original artwork by pioneering graphic-novel magazine 2000 AD. There is a plan down the line to blow the dust off the house’s sleeping treasure trove so the blueprints can emerge, be seen and brought back to life in a series
of 21st-century manifestations. Clearly the man for the job, Daniels, along with Lipsey, was not only an eyewitness to, but as much part of how the house developed as those art folks who called it home. Daniels says his memory of life growing up there was “the sense of everybody having a day job, getting on with their own thing. Then it all got organised down the pub.” This saw all the adults going out with one left behind to mind the disparate brood of offspring, though there was time when Daniels did have two rather more exalted babysitters. A popular family story is how, on a trip to London, Mark would be left at the bar of the Colony Rooms with Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, due to the fact that once those two were at the bar, they wouldn’t be going elsewhere. Meanwhile, back at the ranch it was open house, free love and bar-room brawling, with a cast of seemingly thousands. “There was a sense from the outside, around the village, at our school, that this was a place where weird things happened,” says Lipsey, “but from inside it was perfectly normal.” This “normal” included the fact that his dad, economist and author Richard Lipsey (“Academic, very tunnel-visioned”, recalls Lipsey. “He’d wander up and down that drive composing his [seminal economics textbook] in his head.”) had first been a visitor when he fell in love with Barry’s mum and moved in, with Barry simply moving with Daniels into another room.
PROFILE | Marden Hill
Mark Daniels, Marden Hill.
Rod Stewart, a guest, met Ronnie Wood there for the first time and is said to have written ‘Maggie May’ in his room. Other musicians such as Donovan and Jimi Hendrix were also visitors, while Mick Jagger had been to a party there, remarkably as one of Richard Lipsey’s students while he was teaching at the London School of Economics. Acclaimed poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were also residents for a time – the latter was very much intertwined with it all, as his then lover was Richard Lipsey’s first wife, the tragic Assia Wevill. Daniels says that partly due to a lack of business acumen, and what Lipsey describes as “the antagonism that came about as a result of the various couplings and uncouplings”, Danad Design as an entity only lasted until 1962. It wasn’t the cue for the end of Marden Hill House as a place to facilitate creativity, nor did it mean the end of Barry Daniels’ connection with what was to remain his family home for many years, even as the myriad rooms welcomed new people who came and went, adding to the wealth of artistic output in the process. It continued to provide launching pads for new ideas,
including, in 1976, the emergence of highly influential proto-punk band Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers. Borne from the New York scene and the embers of the New York Dolls, their move to England – and with Marden Hill as a base – saw them break ground, build a UK audience, and get on board with old Dolls manager Malcolm McLaren and the fledgling Sex Pistols. A decade later and it was the brothers’ turn to use the house as their musical inspiration. “I was playing saxophone in a band called the Klaxon 5, who had caught the interest of the Blanco y Negro label,” recalls Lipsey, whereas Daniels was “working with the earliest notion of vocal samples, basically film clips,” he says, “and a lot of what I was working on was film-score pastiche. No beats behind it.” Their mutual interest in soundtracks resulted in a Sixty Minute Man project for Él Records. As Daniels continued to develop his music, he adopted the name Marden Hill and in the early 1990s was an early signing for James Lavelle’s innovative Mo’ Wax label, before switching to On Delancey Street to work with the “other member of the group, Ashley Beedle”.
Indeed, the celebrated DJ’s first mix was for Daniels, and it was Beedle that remarked, while they worked in the studio at Marden Hill, “This is weird. It’s hip-hop but it’s really trippy; it’s trip-hop.” Chalk up another one to the house. Marden Hill House today is primarily a series of smart apartments, yet Daniels and Lipsey feel – though it may have changed dramatically in terms of body – it hasn’t lost its soul. “I’m not saying it’s doing it now, but who’s to say it won’t be paving the way for the next thing?” asks Lipsey. Daniels tells the story of a new resident, contemporary artist and Banksy stablemate Charlie ‘Pure Evil’ UzzellEdwards (whose father John was an acclaimed painter), “who told me when he first came, even without knowing the history, he thought there was an energy, that the place had something about it.” 2000AD: The Comic Art of Subversion is at Danad Gallery, Pegs Lane, Hertford until 17 March danaddesign.com The album Mark Daniels Anthology is out now anthologyrecordings.co.uk 59
Inspired By Photographs Robert Wyatt
In celebration of Converse’s commitment to collaborating with creative spirits in London, Jocks&Nerds commissioned photographer Robert Wyatt to follow three local talents and their journeys around what inspires them in the city.
Fashion designers Agi&Sam, artist Damilola Odusote, and musician and producer Rory Attwell all live and work in London, and are strongly influenced by the city. From Odusote’s dense, maplike illustrations, through to Agi&Sam’s anarchic print-based clothing and
Attwell’s stripped-back production work with Brattwell Recordings, the work of all three is inspired by the culture and geography of the areas in which they live.
Damilola Odusote, 30, artist and dancer damilolaartist.com How did you end up doing what you do? I was always good at art at school and I began dancing at 18. I was an original member of the dance troupe Diversity. I went to Camberwell College of Arts; while studying I ended up modelling for fashion shows and music videos. Since then, the art and dance careers have grown in tandem. What inspires you? Imperfection, chaos, mess, precision, geometry, texture and humour. Where did you take us? I keep my studio uncluttered and comfortable for work, but I like to criss-cross London on my scooter. This journey – the changing scenery and chaos – feed directly into my illustration work. What’s your signature? I have a skill for creating intricate illustrations direct to paper in ink, with no pencil or other preparation. I also push the boundaries by using different materials and whatever else I can get my hands on, merging the boundaries of high art, street art, sculpture and illustration. I have a few different styles that are polar opposites.Dance is another outlet that is so different from drawing, yet routines are made with the same underlying thought process as illustration. Both involve the creation of a type of narrative. What’s work like for you? I teach dancing in the evening. After that I’ll eat, then I like to work on my art through the night. I have a very different schedule to most people. What have you got coming up? I have a few art fairs coming up around the world.
GALLERY | Inspired By Agi&Sam, fashion designers agiandsam.com How did you fall into the fashion game? Agi: I toyed with the idea of being a pilot but my love of clothes won through in the end. Sam: I studied illustration. After I graduated, I didn’t want to be drawing children’s books for a living. I was interested in print and ended up interning at Alexander McQueen. That’s where we first met. What inspires you? Fun, frivolity and fashion. Where did you take us? Battersea Park, by the Thames in London. There’s a Japanese Peace Pagoda with a golden Buddha here that was built in 1985. Our latest collection was inspired by angsty Japanese teenagers and we looked at Japanese materials and architecture for reference. What’s your signature? Humour. We don’t take fashion too seriously. What’s work like for you? In the morning we try to focus on the nuts and bolts of what we do – managing our team and answering emails and, if we’re lucky, we might get to the gym. After lunch, when possible,we’ll go off on inspiration trips. We’ve been known to spend the afternoon in Hamley’s toy shop, to take us back to our childhoods. In the evenings, we’ll work on designs and whatever projects we have on the go. What have you got coming up? We’re working on a few big collaborative projects at the moment. We can’t say anymore just yet. And we’ve just started researching for spring/summer 2016. It never stops!
GALLERY | Inspired By
GALLERY | Inspired By
Rory Attwell, engineer, producer and musician brattwellrecordings.com How did you end up doing what you do? I planned on being an artist but the lure of music led to the various strands of what I’m doing now. What inspires you? Sociological and political themes are filtering into my songwriting right now. I’m also very interested in history, and heritage – things that have grown organically and are full of character. Where did you take us? My studio is based in a really interesting annex of London called Trinity Buoy Wharf, on a massive red ship called Lightship95. It’s in the Docklands area of east London on the edge of what is essentially an undeveloped wasteland. It’s an inspiring place to be; if you look one way over the water, it’s just a barren industrial landscape; the other way, the O2 Arena and Canary Wharf loom ominously in the distance. I like elements of the hustle and bustle of the city, and the solitude and contemplative aspects of the countryside, so where I am at the moment is a good balance for me. What’s your signature? Creating lively, energetic recordings with a lot of personality. For me, it’s a lot more important to get an exciting performance from a band – make them feel comfortable recording in a studio and creating interesting natural sounds – than it is to strive for perfection. I think it’s sad that more and more bands and musicians end up having their songs edited neatly to a grid with all mistakes, big or small, removed. Character, to me, is much more important than obsessive perfectionism. What’s work like for you? Usually my day starts with meeting with the band I’m working with. I prefer to work with bands playing live rather than each musician playing their part separately, so we discuss the best ways to capture a natural performance on record. What have you got coming up? A lot of stuff I’ve produced is lined up for release, including albums for both Big Deal and Evans the Death. I’ve also been working on my own music, under the name Warm Brains. I’ve finished writing and recording 16 tracks for a sophomore album that will be out soon.
Adrift in Soho Colin Wilson. Charles Belchier. Ironfoot Jack. Harry Preston. Words Andy Thomas
“The next morning I gave my mother £5 and took a train to London, carrying a cardboard suitcase and a haversack full of books. The world had regained its normal weight, but my course was altered; I had been switched on to another railway line.” So begins Harry Preston’s rite-ofpassage journey in Colin Wilson’s 1961 novel Adrift in Soho. Leaving the army, the protagonist arrives in a mid-1950s Soho inhabited by bohemian outsiders. These characters, and a Soho that is rapidly disappearing, have been brought to life in a new film adaptation by Pablo Behrens. The Uruguayan filmmaker discovered Soho in the early 1980s. “It’s like a magnet – it attracts people by an invisible force,” he says. “You go to Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and all the very conventional and predictable places, and then suddenly you burst into this bubble that is Soho, and you immediately sense that it is a very different place. My mind was attracted by that invisible force of individuality and nonconformity.” Wilson passed away in 2013. His first book The Outsider (1956) examined the role of outsiders in society through the works of writers like Albert Camus, Ernest Hemingway and Jean-Paul Sartre. “Our life in modern society is a repetition of Van Gogh’s problem, the day-to-day struggle for intensity that disappears overnight, interrupted by human triviality and endless pettiness,” he wrote. It is this struggle that preoccupies Harry Preston as he seeks freedom among the dreamers, schemers and thinkers of Soho. Published a year after his crime novel Ritual in the Dark, Adrift in Soho marked Wilson as one of the ‘Angry Young Men’ of British literature. Behrens came across a Spanish version in a bookshop in Uruguay. “Since I knew Soho, I found it fascinating. I had seen other films about that period but they 68
didn’t capture the atmosphere; I thought the approach for the film should be like in the novel. I wanted to portray this surreal community directly in opposition to the greater London conformity.” Penned when he was in his early 20s, the book was partly autobiographical – Wilson had left the services and various menial jobs after clashing with authority, then wandered about Europe and arrived in London in 1951. The other origin of Adrift in Soho was a book being written about his own life by an old Soho friend, bohemian actor Charles Belchier. “After The Outsider came out he contacted me and asked for my help finding a publisher for an unfinished autobiographical book, The Other Side of Town,” Wilson wrote in his autobiography Dreaming to Some Purpose. “The fragment fascinated me. For about a week I tried to rewrite it as a novel, then suddenly realised that I could not write the book from behind Charles’s eyes, so to speak; I had to put myself into it. So it turned into a story about a provincial youth who, like myself, works as a navvy in an attempt to avoid office work, and who goes to London in search of a more interesting life.” One of the book’s main characters is James Compton Street, based on Belchier, an out-of-work actor and petty fraudster who guides Preston through Soho’s bohemian underbelly, inhabiting haunts like the French cafe on Old Compton Street. In the obituary of French regular Dom Moraes, fellow writer Bernard Kops said of the time: “Soho was sanctuary for all those who could not fit into the dark Cold War world outside. The end of the world was nigh, and everyone was broke, but those days were povertystricken bliss.” As Behrens says: “These Soho characters were not people who were interested in worldly goods. If you look at the drunks, artists and petty
fraudsters and writers that were the inhabitants at that time, they are outside of the norm. They are people who do not have the same goals as the rest of society. That makes them very interesting.” Compton Street introduces the young Preston to real-life ‘King of the Bohemians’ Ironfoot Jack. “Me subjects ‘aven’t been payin’ their taxes lately; that’s why I ‘aven’t got threepence for a cup of tea,” he once said. “Ironfoot Jack was one of those surreal characters the book portrayed so well,” says Behrens. “He was a semi-Dickensian, self-styled bohemian loitering with intent in the streets of Soho, trading in fake jewellery and past glories. A standard loser but a character that had things to say, with a romantic edge to him.” In the 1930s, Australianborn ‘Ironfoot’ Jack Neave had opened the gay-friendly Caravan Club on Endell Street. Police raided it after letters from Holborn Council and residents citing it as “frequented by sexual perverts, lesbians and sodomites... an absolute sink of iniquity”. After a high-profile court case, Neave was sentenced to 20 months hard labour. By the 1950s, he was mixing with figures like Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, beneath the fog of Gauloise smoke at the French. In his book Owning Up, George Melly recalls meeting him: “Dressed in a wide hat, cloak and knotted scarf and smelling like a goat in rut. He had a juicy cockney accent, boasted of occult powers.” At the time, Soho was home to many such characters. “What’s interesting is why they were all bunched up together in Soho,” says Behrens. “It’s bound in the centre of London by Oxford Street, Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross, and it was like a fortress for these people. These were the true individuals of society and they were all grouped together in Soho. They wanted to keep >
Colin Wilson at home, London, 1956 Photograph Mark Kauffman
Skiffle Club, Soho, London, 1959 Photograph Bob Collins
the rest of London out.” Today this community is threatened like never before, thanks to property developers and regeneration. “The spirit of Soho is still there but it is under attack,” says Behrens. “In the 1950s it was also under attack but they were a strong community. Also the country was in massive austerity because of the war, so these characters managed to keep the fortress to themselves.” Wilson had promoted the idea of ‘existential criticism’ suggesting that a work of art should be judged by what it has to say about the meaning of existence, and Adrift in Soho addresses such issues through its central characters. In one extract, Compton Street tells Preston about his own escape from the clutches of conformism. “They’d got caught in the clutches in the big machine. They didn’t know what it was like to be alive, to be free,” he says. “They’ve been brainwashed, and they never find out. And what’s the good in telling ‘em they’ve been twisted out of shape? We need people like that just as we need sheep to kill for dinner.” Wilson was, of course, a natural outsider. “The average man is a conformist,” he once said, “accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.” He called his philosophy ‘new existentialism’, a school of thought that also inspired the writing of his friends Laura Del-Rivo, Bill Hopkins and Stuart Holroyd. In Introduction to the New Existentialism he wrote: “We are all trapped in a world of dreams inside our 70
own skulls, and nothing short of the threat of immediate death will wake us up to the intense appreciation of our lives. We have forgotten that the world out there really exists.” Adrift in Soho was received as a ‘beat’ novel at the time, but Wilson always rejected the tag and the literary scene that wanted to embrace him. The novel was, according to Wilson: “A deliberate counterblast against all the ‘Beat
‘WE NEED PEOPLE LIKE THAT JUST AS WE NEED SHEEP TO KILL FOR DINNER’ Generation’ philosophy and ‘Angry Young Man’ stuff ”. After the success of The Outsider he sought to distance himself from the literary establishment, and in 1957 moved to Cornwall. Shortly after, in an article entitled ‘My Night with the Beatniks’, he wrote: “I give the whole craze another three years”. By the late 1960s Wilson had become increasingly interested in occult themes and published The Occult: A History. The book featured
subjects like Aleister Crowley, whose biography The Nature of the Beast Wilson wrote in 1987. Wilson wrote 110 books, many on crime and the occult. “He went into many genres,” says Behrens. “People say he did that for commercial reasons, but I think he really did it to use genres for his own ideas, as Trojan horses for his own philosophical discourse.” Despite once being spoken about as England’s Albert Camus, in later years he was something of a pariah. This was not helped by his self-confessed knicker fetish and 10-year correspondence with Moors murderer Ian Brady, as part of his ongoing interest in criminology. This led to him writing an introduction to Brady’s book The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Analysis as well as books like A Criminal History of Mankind. But when he passed away in 2013, it was as one of England’s great existentialist writers that he was remembered in the numerous obituaries. While perhaps not his deepest work, Adrift in Soho was certainly his most cinematic, and it was only a matter of time before it made it to the big screen. The film has been in Behrens’s mind for over 20 years. “I met Colin Wilson in the Foyles bookshop where he was doing a book signing in the late 1980s,” he says. “We had a number of meetings and lots of conversations about the real Soho and his thoughts.” But when the time came for the filming, it proved very hard to depict that Soho. “We had real difficulties filming,” he says. “There are expensive new places opening every week, so it was under pressure from the outside. These people do not follow the old rules; the people with money, the property developers, the chain shops, the ones who want to open another moneyspinning restaurant.” Behrens has watched on with sadness as Soho is decimated. “Madame Jojo’s is going, Osman&Son the printers, replaced, Cowling&Wilcox the art shop, gone. There are only two or three places left of the old Soho. So it’s vital that we now have important people defending the right of Soho to exist.” The commerciality of the new Soho made it very difficult to shoot there. “That’s why I went to shoot in the Lace Market district of Nottingham because it has the feel of Soho in the 1950s, where independent people are in control,” he says. “We did a bit of filming in Soho but only specific areas. The only streets that are really untouched are the alleyways, then some parts of Berwick Street and Soho Square. But that is also under
CINEMA | Adrift in Soho
Corner of Old Compton Street and Greek Street, London, 1955
enormous threat because of the [Crossrail] train link. So it was all very difficult.” His efforts to depict the Soho of the book were made easier by his discussions with Wilson. “It transpired that he was involved in the 1950s Free Cinema documentary movement,” he says. The precursor to the social realism of the British New Wave, Free Cinema was spearheaded by Lindsay Anderson with Karel Reisz, Lorenza Mazzetti and Tony Richardson. Like Colin Wilson they were part of a broader post-war movement of the New Left and were similarly labelled as the ‘Angry Young Men’. Out of the movement came such classic films as We Are the Lambeth Boys and Momma Don’t Allow (shot in a north London jazz club). “With a 16mm camera and minimal resources, and no payment for your technicians, you cannot achieve very much – in commercial terms. But you can use your eyes and ears. You can make poetry,” the Free Cinema 3 programme stated. Anderson and Mazzetti drew up the manifesto for Free Cinema in a Soho cafe in 1956. Inhabiting the same spots as Colin Wilson, they were very much part of the Soho that Behrens wanted to depict. “What I did was use Colin
Wilson’s connection to Free Cinema as a vehicle to understand Soho at that time and the characters in the book,” he says. “I did that by filming it as if a Free Cinema documentary was being made and the filmmakers are interviewing the characters that appear in the novel.” In the introduction to the BFI’s Free Cinema collection, Christophe Dupin said, “The movement was particularly critical of that fact that 1950s British films were completely cut off from the reality of everyday contemporary life in Britain, and condemned their stereotypical and patronising representation of the working class.” When Behrens set out to depict 1950s Soho, he was equally determined to avoid period-piece clichés. “The biggest hurdle was for the film people in London – from producers to technicians – to get away from the Downton Abbey approach, where the reconstruction of the period becomes the purpose of the movie. To start with, Soho was very poor at that time and the interiors were very sparsely decorated. If you look at films like Momma Don’t Allow, which we reproduce in the film, people in London at the time danced in really sparsely furnished places. If we had
followed the approach of competing with the period reconstruction geniuses, we’d have made a big mistake and missed out on the essence of Soho at that time.” For the stylistic look he turned to the photo archive of Ken Russell. “He was very active in photographing the nightlife. I found that out by going to ‘Soho Nights’ at the Photographers’ Gallery about three years ago.” The result of Behrens’s extensive research is a film that sets out to capture the real post-war Soho and the nonconformists who made it their home. It’s a Soho that Behrens thinks can still be found despite the ongoing threats. “Oh yes, those characters are still there,” he says. “If you know where to look and are receptive to it, you come across them. Just the other day, I was in Soho Square and met a man who was virtually a copy of one of the characters from the novel. “There is still hope for Soho, but you have to make a stand. And the forces against it are formidable. The value of independence and individuality is what is at stake in Soho right now.” Adrift in Soho directed by Pablo Behrens is out later this year adriftinsoho.com 71
Harumi 863, 38, office worker, with her Suzuki Grasstracker, wears T-shirt by John Varvatos; boots by Red Wing Shoes.
Lupin J Hayama, 42, bar owner, Thunder Bolt 3derbolt.com, on his Yamaha 1100 DragStar, wears jacket by Blk Dnm.
Kaizou Nirin Photographs Martin Holtkamp Styling Adam Howe Photographic Assistants Maco Yoshino and Robert Zetzsche Styling Assistants Kumiko Kobayashi and Soichiro Kobayashi
Jun Nakamura, 34, custom bike mechanic at Candy Motorcycle Laboratory candy-mclabo.com, with his Yamaha SR400, wears jacket by Baracuta; trousers by Dickies; sweater by Bedwin & the Heartbreakers; trainers by Vans.
STYLE | Kaizou Nirin
Hiroyuki Arai, 38, office worker, with his Yamaha SR400, wears sweater by Good Measure; jeans by Nudie Jeans; boots by Red Wing Shoes; towel by Daiso Japan.
STYLE | Kaizou Nirin
Toru Ito, 31, office worker, with his Yamaha SR400, wears jacket and sweater by Undercover; jeans by Leviâ€™s; boots by Red Wing Shoes.
Yuiko Kadoguchi, 37, sales assistant, with her Royal Enfield Classic 350, wears jacket by White Mountaineering; jeans by Leviâ€™s.
Keita Yuukawa, 29, press agent at SOS Fp sosfp.jp, with his Yamaha SR400, wears shirt by Markaware; boots by Red Wing Shoes; hat by Challenger; glasses by Hakusan Megane.
STYLE | Kaizou Nirin
Shingo Kuzuno, 32, head designer at Enter the Exit entertheexit.jp, with his Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200, wears jacket, shoes, necklace and belt by Enter the Exit; jeans by Overdesign; boxer shorts by Beton.
Robi Walters, 41, artist, wears suit by Pokit robiwalters.com Describe your style. Fun and always changing. When I’m working I wear white clothes which I wipe my excess paint on to. What’s so special about Soho? You never know who you’ll bump into, or what time you’ll get home. Describe Soho in three words. Diverse. Unpredictable. Stimulating. Who’s your style icon? Bayode Oduwole, founder of Pokit. Who’s your favourite musician? Chuck D. What’s your favourite movie? A Matter of Life and Death.
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Pete Dowland, 50, Cuts hairdresser, wears jacket by Wtaps; watch by Rolex; shoes by Clarks facebook.com/wearecuts Describe your style. Impeccably casual. What’s special about Soho? The sense of a strange community. Describe Soho in three words. Jizz. Jazz. Japes. Who’s your style icon? My dad. Who’s your favourite musician? Fran Healy. What’s your favourite movie? The Incredibles.
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Goodmans Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb
It’s difficult to conceive today, but when Goodmans began making speakers back in 1923, customers had to fashion their own cases for them. Fast-forward to the next millennium and not only has consumer expectation advanced, so has the technology. The digital era – ushered in by audio pioneers like Goodmans – has provided new ways of accessing and listening to music, yet music’s principle role, to please people and gather them together, remains the same as always.
Goodmans’ working ethos is ‘brilliantly simple’ – just like our fundamental human relationship with music. The hedonistic, creative emotions that music is capable of driving within us all have rarely been more evident, at least in modern times, than in the heyday of London’s Soho, with its cast of exotic characters. It’s fair to say Soho’s musical nightlife stems from the birth, in 1948, of Club Eleven on Great Windmill Street. Though short-lived, it really
brought live jazz to England and, with it, the hepcats and beboppers who made the place jump. Ever since, Soho has defined London nightlife and music – from the beatniks to mods to soulboys. It still boasts the UK’s most famous jazz venue, the eponymous Ronnie Scott’s, after the saxophonist who, curiously enough, started his career in the Club Eleven house band. goodmans.co.uk
Tom Baker, 48, bespoke tailor, wears own suit; shoes by Jeffery West tombakerlondon.com Describe your style. A rock’n’roll version of Nicolò Paganini. What’s so special about Soho? It’s full of ghosts! Creative ones. Describe Soho in three words. Dirty. Dangerous. Devious. Who’s your style icon? Ludwig van Beethoven. Who’s your favourite band? Pata Negra. What’s your favourite movie? Chinatown.
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Louise Brooks Lulu. Berlin. GW Pabst. The Ziegfeld Follies. Paramount. Talkies. Words Chris Sullivan
“Louise Brooks was the most seductive sexual image of woman ever committed to celluloid and the only unrepentant hedonist, pure pleasure-seeker I have ever met,” remarked eminent critic and writer Kenneth Tynan in 1979. “When men bored her she left them; when Hollywood bored her she left and went into retirement from which she never emerged.” Primarily known for two silent German masterpieces – Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl, directed in Berlin by Georg Wilhelm Pabst – Brooks made 25 films in a career that began in 1925 and ended, with inscrutable abruptness, in 1938. She was regarded as a secondtier star but is today better known and admired than many of the day’s huge Hollywood stars such as Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson, her failure having seemingly outlasted their success. A single-minded, uncompromising maverick, she was one of the first, most famous and infamous ‘flappers’ – brash young women who, in the 1920s, wore short skirts, excessive makeup, smoked, drank excessively, drove automobiles, danced to jazz and visibly flaunted their disdain for the day’s sexual mores. Indeed, these attractive, reckless, style-obsessed flappers were not only perceived as, but actually were a threat to a society where women were expected to be seen and not heard. Infinitely more controversial 84
than Teddy boys, hippies or punk rockers, they caused great hullabaloo and changed the social order. Undeniably, Brooks (who it’s said, slept with both Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin) with her revolutionary ‘bob’ hairstyle, flimsy dresses and flat chest, was their unrivalled queen, epitomising the ‘roaring twenties’ and paving the way for female emancipation She is one of the most influential style icons of all time. Descended from poor 18th-century English settlers, Brooks was born on 14 November 1906 in rural Kansas to lawyer Leonard Porter Brooks and doctor’s daughter Myra Rude, a talented pianist who thought their four progeny “should take care of themselves”. Inevitably, this led to a lot of reading – by the time she was a teenager, Brooks had conquered, among others, Dickens, Thackeray, Twain, Schopenhauer and Darwin. Indeed, as an actress in Hollywood, such knowledge of literature did her no favours whatsoever. Her teachers gave up on her because, as she said in her diary, “I am fed up with teaching my teachers what to teach me,” so, aged 15, she was parcelled off to New York with chaperone Alice Mills. Here she was taught dance by Ted Shawn and danced with his assistant Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance. Already a beauty, sui generis, in 1922, aged 16, she joined arty modern dance group the Denishawn Dancers and was introduced
to New York cafe society and Wall Street brokers. Trademark bob already in place, cropped at what Christopher Isherwood described as “that unique, imperious neck of hers,” she had millionaires at her feet, showering her with gifts. But as she later wrote, “Sexual submission was not a condition of this arrangement.” In 1924, without warning, she slipped off to London where she performed the Charleston on stage at the Café De Paris and started a nationwide craze and, quite naturally, was embraced by London’s Bright Young Things, a notorious bohemian group of drink and drug-addled aristocrats. Typically, Brooks found them all rather dull and so, after reading Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies, inspired by them, remarked, “Only a genius could write a masterpiece out of such glum material.” Disillusioned, she borrowed the liner fare, returned to New York and was met by Florenz Ziegfeld who immediately signed her to appear on Broadway in the review Louis the 14th. She followed up as a scantily-clad chorus dancer in the controversial Scandals, then joined WC Fields in the 1925 edition of The Ziegfeld Follies. Then aged 18, it’s not difficult to imagine this beautiful, feisty girl from the back of beyond eating up the most vibrant city in the world at its lawless peak during prohibition, when little was prohibited. She lived the life, stayed out >
Pandora’s Box, 1929
all night at speakeasies, lived in hotels and was thrown out of both the Algonquin and Martha Washington hotels for ‘bad behavior’. Her admirers were legion. One was peevishly witty New York Times critic and Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz; another was Charlie Chaplin with whom she had a two-month affair (“A genius, a glistening creature who never said a bad word about anyone and was radiantly carefree and absurdly generous,” she wrote); while the 36-year-old Walter Wanger, an executive at Famous PlayersLasky (later to become Paramount) was besotted and offered her a five-year contract. The following year she made 12 films, most of which are now lost. Her first press encounter was with Photoplay’s Ruth Waterbury, who turned up at the fledgling actress’s hotel to find her still in bed, from where she conducted the interview. “Whereas she looked at me as a stupid ‘chorus girl’ who didn’t know how lucky she was to be cast opposite the great star Adolphe Menjou,” wrote the diminutive Brooks, just 5’2” in stocking feet, “I looked at her as artistically retarded. I asked if she had seen, or even heard of, Martha Graham’s sensational success. She had not. I didn’t realise then that this cultural conflict with this writer 86
was merely the first instance of the kind of contempt that would drive me out of Hollywood.” Still, Waterbury, like everyone else, adored her. “Describing Louise presents its difficulties. She is so very Manhattan. Very Young. Exquisitely hardboiled. Her black eyes and sleek black hair are as brilliant as Chinese lacquer. Her skin is white as a camellia. Her legs are lyric. She is just 19.” Brooks subsequently made her name playing a series of independent young girls not unlike herself, and captured the imagination of a million young flappers. On a whim, she married London-born director Edward Sutherland – a harddrinking playboy writer/director, ‘the Beau Brummell of the era’ – and moved to Hollywood, where they entertained the cream of ‘interesting’ society: Buster Keaton, Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald and Tallulah Bankhead. “When I went to Hollywood in 1927, the girls were wearing lumpy sweaters and skirts. I was wearing sleek suits and halfnaked beaded gowns and piles of furs. But I just didn’t fit into the Hollywood scheme at all. I was neither a fluffy heroine, nor a wicked vamp, nor a woman of the world.” The couple divorced after two years. “The men I liked most were the
worst in bed, and the men I liked least were the best,” she admitted. “I liked the bastards. Englishmen are the best. And priest-ridden Irishmen are the worst.” Later in life, Brooks attributed her almost masochistic bent to having been sexually molested aged nine by a 50-yearold man named Mr Feathers. “I told my mother who told me I must have led him on,” she explained. “But for me, soft, easy men were never enough – there had to be an element of domination. I’m convinced that’s all tied up with Mr Feathers.” In 1928 Brooks, aged 21, cemented her rep as an ‘independent’ women who used all at her disposal to conquer men, with roles in A Girl in Every Port by Howard Hawks (who helmed Scarface in 1932) and Beggars of Life, directed by first world war hero William ‘Wild Bill’ Wellman. Young independent flappers now looked at Brooks with total and utter adoration but Hollywood knew not what they had and, when her contract ended, bigwig Paramount producer BP Schulberg gave her a choice: stay at her old salary or quit. “And, just for the hell of it,” Brooks wrote, “I quit.” Courted now by laundry magnate George Marshall – who became her manager – she was told that Austrian Expressionist cineaste GW Pabst was offering her a £1000 a week to appear in a movie in Berlin. A few days later she was on her way to Germany. Unsurprisingly, she loved Berlin and its honesty. Everything was in the open, unlike the Hollywood she so despised, where people invested in film purely for the naïve young starlets producers would procure for their beds. “The Eden Hotel was where I stayed in Berlin, and its cafebar was lined with the higher-priced trollops while the economy girls walked the streets outside, and on the corner the girls in leather and boots advertising flagellation,” she wrote. “Actors’ agents pimped for the ladies in luxury apartments in the Bavarian quarter; racetrack touts arranged orgies for groups of sportsmen, the nightclub Eldorado displayed a line of homosexuals dressed as women; at the Marley there was a choice of feminine or collar-and-tie lesbians.” Undeniably, Berlin during the Weimar Republic was a sexual Disneyland for foreign visitors where any and every distraction could be procured for pennies; the first world war had created thousands of war orphans and widows with little option but to sell themselves to eat. Utterly decadent, Berlin became known as a “powder city”; a capsule of cocaine
HISTORY | Louise Brooks
Now We’re in the Air, 1927
cost less than a penny, while the city was ruled by some 62 organised criminal gangs called Ringvereine that gathered in the conurbation’s myriad 24-hour clubs. To add, hyperinflation had risen to a monthly rate of 3.25 billion percent, the equivalent of prices doubling every two hours. It was into this world that this spirited, beautiful 22-year-old was thrust while the picture she was to star in aimed to mirror it. Pandora’s Box (1929), based on Frank Wedekind’s two mercurial 1890s plays, Die Büchse der Pandora and Erdgeist (Earth Spirit), is an apt depiction of 1920s Berlin. Brooks is Lulu, a seductive, thoughtless sybarite whose raw sexuality and uninhibited quest for the illicit pleasures of life, set against a backdrop of male and female homosexuality, brings ruin to herself and those who love her. It might easily have been a cautionary tale but, in the hands of Pabst and Brooks, is not. “At the time Wedekind produced Pandora’s Box, at the turn of the century,” she wrote, “it was detested, condemned and banned… Yet nobody dreamed that Pabst was risking commercial failure with the story of an immoral prostitute who wasn’t crazy about her work and was surrounded by the ‘inartistic’ ugliness of raw bestiality.” The unsentimental Pabst was the perfect director for such a film, but his casting of Brooks really sets it apart. “Pabst was looking for a girl
that was absolutely born for the role,” informed Pandora’s Box assistant director Mark Sorkin. “Lulu was this beautiful, destructive character and so was Louise Brooks; as such she conveyed it perfectly.” Perhaps the finest piece of casting in cinema history, Lulu (who, like Brooks, had also been molested as a girl) for all her feminine charms and seductive guile,
‘I WAS NEVER AN ACTRESS AS I WAS NEVER IN LOVE WITH MYSELF’ is never an exploiter, but is exploited. Though we are never allowed to feel sorry for her, she is like a voluptuous, naughty bird of paradise locked in a cage full of predatory vultures. Pabst made Lulu both sweetly innocent and a victim. “As Wedekind said, ‘Lulu is not a real character but the personification of primitive sexuality who inspires evil unaware,’” said Brooks. “I played Pabst’s
Lulu, not the destroyer of men, like Wederkind’s Lulu. She was the same kind of nitwit as I am. I would have made an impossible wife – staying in bed all day reading and drinking gin. Lulu’s story is as near as you will get to mine.” Set in 1920s Berlin, Lulu begins as the mistress of respected, middle-aged newspaper publisher Peter Schön, then marries him. In the infamous wedding scene, the first lesbian scene in film, she dances cheek to cheek with Countess Geschwitz, then is caught in the wedding bed verging on what appears to be both romp and orgy with two guests. An argument ensues, Schön is killed and Lulu is sentenced to five years but escapes with the help of Geschwitz – the only person in the film who truly loves Lulu – and ends up in London on Christmas Eve, turns to prostitution and suffers an ignominious and untimely end. Remarkably – though Pandora’s Box seems somehow more convincing in its depiction of 1920s Berlin as a silent picture – it was a commercial failure. Rediscovered by cine-files decades later, it became a cult classic and is regarded as one of the great silent movies and an influence on film noir. Somewhat belatedly, another screen icon was born. “When I acted, I hadn’t the slightest idea of what I was doing, I was simply playing myself,” she told filmmaker > 87
HISTORY | Louise Brooks Richard Leacock. “I didn’t know anything, so it seemed easy. I had nothing to unlearn. When I worked with Pabst, he was furious with me, as he approached people intellectually, and you couldn’t approach me intellectually because there was nothing to approach... I was never an actress as I was never in love with myself.” Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), based on Margarete Böhme’s million-selling novel Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (1905), is the tale of naïve, virginal pharmacist’s daughter Thymian (Brooks), who is ravaged and impregnated by her father’s assistant, has the baby taken away and is banished to a Draconian reformatory only to escape. With no place to go, she ends up a prostitute in an upmarket brothel. It was a rather modern storyline and, by empathising with the plight of the prostitute, was explosively controversial. Though many women in the city had suffered the same fate, it ruffled more than a few feathers and failed at the box office. Brooks’s final European film was Prix de Beauté, produced by Pabst and directed by former Italian theatre critic Augusto Genina in Paris. By this time she had fallen out with Pabst after a one-night stand in which she gave, as she wrote, “the best sexual performance of my life.” The next time he saw her was with another. “Pabst was annoyed with me and said, ‘Your life is exactly like Lulu’s and you will end the same way.’” This new contretemps, coupled with her third flop in a row, drove Brooks back to Hollywood where Paramount had carefully converted her final film – The Canary Murder Case (1929) – to a talkie by overdubbing a lacklustre American voice and using a Brooks lookalike. She was incensed. Paramount’s response was to deliberately destroy her career by placing her in insubstantial roles. Brooks’s devil-may-care attitude did the rest. “[Bill Wellman] offered me a part in The Public Enemy,” she told Leacock. “But when I turned it down to make a trip New York he passed it on to Jean Harlow.” It was one of the year’s biggest box-office successes and made huge stars of its two leads, Harlow and James Cagney. After a few even more lacklustre Hollywood films, Brooks – disenchanted with what she described as “Hollywood fools” retired in 1931, aged 25, declared bankruptcy in 1932 and began dancing in clubs to earn a living. She attempted a comeback in 1936 but was told she would have start again, at the bottom, as a chorus girl. Columbia chief Harry Cohn 88
Evening Clothes, 1927
who’d once unsuccessfully offered Brooks a contract in exchange for sex, vengefully publicised her aborted “comeback” by circulating humiliating stills of her in the chorus line he’d booked her in. Her last film was Overland Stage Raiders (1938), opposite John Wayne and a ventriloquist’s dummy. By her own estimation, Brooks had made $124,000 ($2 million in today’s money) in her career and spent the lot.
PABST SAID, ‘YOUR LIFE IS EXACTLY LIKE LULU’S AND YOU WILL END THE SAME WAY’ “The only people who wanted to see me [about work] were men who wanted to sleep with me,” she told Tynan. “Then Walter Wanger warned me that if I hung around I’d become a call girl. So I fled to Wichita, Kansas, where my family had moved in 1919, but that turned out to be another kind of hell. The citizens of Wichita either resented me for being a success or hated me for being a failure. And I wasn’t exactly enchanted with them.”
After an attempt at operating a dance studio for ‘young people’, she returned to New York. “The only well-paying career open to me, as an unsuccessful actress of 36, was that of a call girl. I was too proud for that... and began to flirt with the fancies related to little bottles filled with yellow sleeping pills,” she wrote. Like many, she struggled through the war but didn’t sell out. In 1943 she was paid $1500 for the rights to publish her ghostwritten story in The American Weekly magazine, but it never saw the light of day as Brooks refused to provide salacious details or name names. After brief postwar stints as a radio actor and gossip columnist, she shocked New York: “In 1947, the proud snooty Louise Brooks started work as a salesgirl at Saks, Fifth Avenue. They paid me $40 a week,” she told Tynan.“I had this silly idea of proving myself an ‘honest woman’ but the only effect it had was to disgust all my famous New York friends who cut me off forever.” During this period she wrote an autobiographical novel, Naked on My Goat, a title taken from Faust, but threw her only manuscript in an incinerator. She attributes this to a sense of pudeur – embarrassed by her candour regarding her sexual proclivity. She later summed herself up as a typical midwesterner, “Born in the Bible belt of Anglo-Saxon farmers who prayed in the parlour and practised incest in the barn… I too am unwilling to write the sexual truth that would make my life worth reading. I cannot unbuckle the Bible belt.”
Beggars of Life, 1928
Between 1948 and 1953 she was supported at various times by three millionaires but declined to marry them because, as she said, “I wasn’t in love with them. In fact, I have never been in love. And if I had loved a man, could I have ever been faithful to him? Could he have trusted me behind a closed door? I doubt it. It was clever of Pabst to know that, even before he met me, that I possessed the tramp essence of Lulu.” By 1954 she had hit an all-time low. ‘There was no point in throwing myself in the East River, because I could swim, and I couldn’t afford the alternative, which was sleeping pills.” But it wasn’t over yet. The next year, Henri Langlois, the energetic head of the Cinémathèque Française, organised a massive exhibition entitled ‘Sixty Years of Cinema’, with an entrance dominated by a huge blow-up of Brooks in Pandora’s Box. “There is no Garbo! There is no Dietrich!” he cried. “There is only Louise Brooks!” Later that year, silent-film enthusiast and curator James Card tracked her down to what she described as her “grubby hole on First Avenue at 59th Street.” “It was such a shock to see someone who had looked like her, in the most deplorable, unimaginable physical condition from having lived on nothing but alcohol for years and years and years,” said Card. “She was enormously bloated and her hair was unkempt, hanging around her face like the very witch
of Endor... so remote from the person I’d seen on screen that it was unlikely it was the same person.” Card set about her rehabilitation. He moved her to peaceful Rochester, on the Canada border, where he was curator at the Eastman Museum. Here he showed her many of her movies, most of which she had never bothered to watch. “I still haven’t seen them... not right through,” she later admitted. Card persevered and eventually persuaded her that film, which she had never taken seriously, was indeed a valid art form. Consequently, she began to re-evaluate her worth, and wrote a series of tough, fastidious articles about her experiences and colleagues in film – Garbo, Dietrich, Chaplin, Bogart, Fields and Pabst that, published all over the world in rather serious film journals like Sight&Sound and Positif, cemented her legend and gave her a second career. In 1957, Langlois presented a festival in Paris, Homage to Louise Brooks, and flew her over where she was greeted with wild acclaim from, among others, Jean-Luc Godard, whose Brooks tribute Vivre Sa Vie had a lookalike heroine – a prostitute played by Anna Karina – who the director described as “a young and pretty Parisian shop girl who gives her body but retained her soul.” But by the time Godard’s film came out in 1962, Brooks was a recluse who only ventured out to see doctors or dentists. “I would drink a pint of gin once a week and became what Dickens called
‘gincoherent’, sleep and drowse for four days, and read and write the other three.” Tynan, after seeing Pandora’s Box, tracked her down to Rochester in 1979 and spent two days interviewing her for the New Yorker. “You’re doing a terrible thing to me,” she told him. “I’ve been killing myself off for 20 years and now you are bringing me back to life.” His prose ushered the publication of her book Lulu in Hollywood and Richard Leacock’s 1984 documentary Lulu in Berlin. The film won a new global audience for the enormously pragmatic and down-to-earth Brooks and secured her ‘car crash’ status alongside other self-destructors James Dean, Judy Garland and Orson Welles. As a result, arthouse cinemas screened her movies and boosted another Brooks renaissance – her look, hair, lack of inhibition, suggested bisexuality (though she said she “loved men’s bodies... and out of curiosity had two affairs with girls”), honesty and sincerity – a huge hit with a generation brought up on David Bowie. Louise Brooks bobs were everywhere, and are still widely referred to as such. Brooks, maverick, hedonist, bohemian and bibliophile, died aged 78 in 1985, just two years after her cult bestselling memoir was published. As she said, “If I ever bore you, it will be with a knife.” The Masters of Cinema Series: The Diary of a Lost Girl is out now eurekavideo.co.uk 89
BULLETIN Julio wears jacket and shirt by DSquared2; sunglasses by Hyde’s Spectacles.
Photographs Elliot Kennedy Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala Styling Assistant Nicolas Payne-Baader Words Edward Moore Hair and Make-Up Jodie Hyams using Tom Ford and Davines Fitness Instructors Karla Kuhlmann and Julio Cesar Nadalini
Identical twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten have been at the helm of their Italy-based brand DSquared2 for 20 years now. In 1994, the Canadianborn Catens launched their first menswear collection in Paris and – 90
having created a womenswear collection in 2003, followed ultimately by DSquared2 footwear and male and female fragrances – have come in leaps and bounds since the brand’s formation. A new store spanning four floors opens
on the corner of Conduit Street and Savile Row in London this spring. DSquared2, 49 Conduit Street, London W1 dsquared2.com
Karla wears shirt by DSquared2; scarf, stylistâ€™s own.
Laurie Cunningham Real Madrid. Leyton Orient. George Petchey. Cyrille Regis. Mark Bright. The Three Degrees. WBA. Words Mark Webster
Football teams have their star men, but only Real Madrid has players who legitimately carry the brand. They are known as galácticos (galactics), a moniker devised by 1950s club president Santiago Bernabéu Yeste – the man who built the iconic Bernabéu stadium. He wanted regular superstars to take centre stage in his theatre of football, so each year a top player like Ferenc Puskás, Alfredo Di Stéfano or Francisco Gento would be drafted. It was in the new millennium that galácticos became more the norm than exception – it was the era of Luís Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo – but that’s not to say Real Madrid wasn’t enlisting big guns between these eras. In 1979, the man the club spent big on was a winger from north London who made his professional debut with Leyton Orient. His name was Laurie Cunningham. “When I first saw that picture of him in that suit in the middle of the pitch at Brisbane Road, 17 years old, I thought, ‘If he dressed like that, and he was playing football – I’ve got to find out more about him.” Dermot Kavanagh is too young to have seen Cunningham in his pomp, but he’d known of him and – on seeing that picture, taken upon his signing for Orient – began to write a biography of one of the most talented British players ever. A gifted, flamboyant footballer and 92
the first black player to represent England as a full international, Laurie played the game at many levels – but died tragically young, at 33, in a car crash in Madrid. The story inspired ITV documentary First Among Equals which paved the way for a feature film now in production, starring Ashley Walters as Cunningham. And it all started in the early 1970s in Finsbury Park. “It was one of the strongly West Indian areas, along with the Irish, in north London, and a rough place to grow up, from what I can work out,” Kavanagh says. “Lots of bomb damage, still, and the Met could be pretty heavy-handed then.” Cunningham’s mum was pregnant with him when the family arrived from the Caribbean. His dad had a trade, engraving, but his mum proved the ambitious parent. “She first worked at a pencil factory in Tottenham,” Kavanagh says, “but she had a bit of drive about her. She got a job at a garment factory and became management. A friend of Laurie’s remembers her as the only black woman to drive a car. So she was aspirational, while his dad was a quiet man who did his work, liked his music.” This parental combination of bettering yourself and liking a good tune certainly rubbed off on the Cunningham siblings. His elder brother ran a sound system. “The culture was huge in the area. The blues parties were massive. You had
to make your own entertainment. It was the only way black teenagers didn’t get harassed,” says Kavanagh. Laurie was quickly proving he had great feet, both on the field and the dance floor. And that suit that inspired Kavanagh had a role to play in both his great passions. It was “made for him by a tailor in Stratford, based on an original 1940s suit he and his girlfriend at the time found in a trunk being cleared out of a shop in Leyton High Street. The hat, tie and shoes are originals and they’re flat shoes, for dancing.” That ensemble, among others, would therefore likely have been given to gracing the floor at the early, pioneering soul and funk clubs he attended; most infamously, the legendary Crackers on Oxford Street. His love of music and dancing was famously a habit he would never be able to break. It was Leyton Orient in east London that decided to take a chance on the 18-year-old Cunningham, his local club Arsenal having passed on the chance. It was not as auspicious a career start as Highbury might have been, but it did project him on a rollercoaster trajectory. “When Laurie went to Orient,” Kavanagh says, “[Orient veteran] George Petchey was his manager and for two years very much a father figure to him. He arrived completely undisciplined. He wouldn’t >
Laurie Cunningham, 1973 ÂŠ Evening News/Rex
turn up for training. Petchey would fine him for bring late, but Laurie would go out dancing, raise the money to pay the fine he likely picked up because he’d been out dancing! Petchey told me, with great affection, ‘The problem with Laurie is he thought he could play on a Saturday afternoon and have the rest of the week off!’” Cunningham played 75 times for Orient before attracting the attention of ambitious (then top-flight) firstdivision Midlands club West Bromwich Albion in 1977. They signed him to supply the crosses for centre-forward Cyrille Regis, who very much became the role model for a new generation of black British footballers breaking into the game. Regis was plucked from non-league football having first qualified as an electrician, and had an impressive career – he was the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Young Player of the Year in 1978 – particularly in the Midlands area, and with a handful of England caps. Regis’s conduct as a professional footballer was a profound influence on Cunningham, as indeed was Brendon Batson, soon to join them at West Brom. Batson’s fullback career was cut short by injury but he went on to be an influential 94
member of the PFA, ultimately earning an OBE for his services to football. It was a high-flying team, fielding, unusually, a trio of black players. Their nickname – taken from hot Philadelphia Records act the Three Degrees – may seem a ham-fisted way to acknowledge this breakthrough, but it was something born of the environment. In 1978-79 they contributed to West Brom finishing third in Division One, and helped them to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. This heady excursion into the business end of a major European tournament had not gone unnoticed by the footballing elite on the mainland, and Laurie’s next move was to prove a stunner. “Spain was heading into democracy, but coming off the back of a dictatorship,” says Sid Lowe. “It’s a Spain emotionally unsure of itself. The changes were still going on when Laurie arrived in the city where the explosion in art, film, fashion would happen – Madrid.” Lowe, an English writer and broadcaster, has been covering Spanish sport from Madrid since the turn of the millennium. Like Kavanagh, he didn’t experience Cunningham’s career first-hand, but the player’s sheer presence and impact is woven into the Spanish football fan’s DNA. Cunningham was
signed for just under a million pounds by Real Madrid, the squad’s second permitted overseas signing in after tough German midfielder Uli Stielike, who had arrived from Borussia Mönchengladbach. “Laurie was signed as a galáctico, a fantasy player,” says Lowe. “To put it bluntly, he might have been only one of a few dozen black men in the entire city, and his arrival, it’s fair to say, would have been the shock of the new. There was certainly enormous curiosity about his colour. He was a very handsome, very graceful, very well-built black man in an all-white kit. There was a sense of ‘wow’. Yes, there was ignorance, but there was a fascination. It made him exotic, exciting, different – it’s the other side of bigotry. His colour was infused in the perception, for good and bad.” Lowe describes the Real Madrid of the time as very much a Catalonian unit. “A team that was all fight, full of guys in bristling moustaches.” Was there any ugly disquiet in the dressing room? One-time tough-tackling Spanish midfielder, now one of the most successful managers of all time, Vicente del Bosque – who in the ITV documentary said Cunningham was “as good as Cristiano Ronaldo” – said ‘Don’t even go there,’ claims Lowe. Still, there’s speculation that the beginning of the end of Cunningham’s career came about due to a malicious tackle on the training pitch. “I’ve tried to get to the bottom of that, but I can’t say for sure,” says Kavanagh. “His teammates did tell me the doctor was an absolute shambles – the operation was screwed up. It was on a big toe, and it never got its flexibility back, and ruined his running style. That played a significant role in his career. It became part of an idea that he wasn’t one of those players who said, ‘Don’t worry boss, I’ll play through the pain.’” Probably as a direct result of this, Cunningham ultimately only had two good seasons before, as Lowe puts it, “He was being judged by (a) his price, (b) the expectation and (c) the great start. Some of those clichés began to stick, that black players are lazy, not ‘up for it’. Yet talking to fans, there remains a fundamental feeling that he was amazing, that he’d done things they’d never seen before. He was the fella who once destroyed Barcelona, who took corners with the outside of his foot. But he was also, in the end, the guy who got caught in a disco one night still wearing his plaster cast from yet another operation.” His time in Madrid was done, and after a couple of loan moves (including,
SPORT | Laurie Cunningham
West Bromwich Albion v Derby County, 1978
briefly, to Manchester United) and a season in Marseilles, he returned close to home. In 1984 Cunningham signed for Leicester City, bringing with him his Spanish wife Sylvie and son Sergio – waiting for him was a young striker for whom he was a genuine icon. Mark Bright came from Stoke-on-Trent, the son of a local girl and Gambian father, who broke into football with his local team Port Vale before moving to Leicester the same year as Cunningham. This in an era when, he says, “You had to learn to be better. If you were only equal, you were on the bench.” Bright went on to have an illustrious career with, famously, Crystal Palace, as strike partner to Ian Wright – but back at Leicester City, he was still looking to learn more, as Cunningham quickly discovered. “I remember him coming to the club and I just drove him mad,” Bright says. “You think of the black players of that era, and he was like a leader. Because you’re black, you recognise all the black players when you’re young. Him, Cyrille, and Brendon – they were the standout players. They played at the top. And when he went to Real Madrid – all those trophies, the fan base, the tradition. You didn’t have the television
pictures, but you’d read and hear reports, and the pictures in the football mags – Laurie in that gleaming white kit! “So I’d sit next to him on the coach. I’d change next to him. ‘What was this like?’ ‘What was that like?’ I was lucky,
‘YOU COULD FEEL HE WAS DIFFERENT, REFINED. HE COULD MIX, BUT HE WAS HUMBLE’ he didn’t mind. He liked me, and you could feel he was different. He dressed different, he was refined, he could mix, but he was humble, shy in a way. He was no Wrighty, never the life and soul, not a big voice in the changing room. He was a big name, but he was class. He taught
me so many things about how to look, how to conduct myself. He’d take me to restaurants, show me how to behave. And if it was a Spanish restaurant, he’d speak in Spanish. If it was French, in French.” Leicester City was to be one of a series of relatively brief ports of call at clubs that hoped Cunningham could conjure some of the old magic, but as Bright observed, “He wasn’t the same player he once was. The injuries had reduced him to a series of cameos. But his skills! They call it freestyling now, but he could still do all the tricks. And when you were out, when there were some good tunes. I remember a club Christmas party at a hotel, with all the wives there. And all the fellas knew, once Laurie got on the dance floor, you got off. So he danced with a few of the wives, and by the end of the night all the wives were stood around the edge waiting for their turn. Pure Laurie.” Black Flash, a biopic starring Ashley Walters, is currently in post-production blackflashthemovie.com Dermot Kavanagh’s biography Different Class is out next year
Josh wears jacket by Pringle of Scotland; T-shirt by Sunspel; scarf by Rockins. Oscar wears shirt by Paul&Joe; scarf by Rockins. Vincent wears suit by Hardy Amies; shirt by Etro; sunglasses by Thom Browne; scarf by Rockins. Ranald wears suit and shirt by Canali; scarf by Rockins.
Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Styling Karen Mason Stylist Assistant Rhianna Alvarado Grooming Stefano Mazzoleni at We Are Cuts using Bumble&BumbleÂ Production Victoria Pugh Band Members Vincent Davies, Josh Lewis, Ranald Macdonald and Oscar Robertson Hidden Charms have been playing live since April 2014. They have toured with the likes of Benjamin Booker, Kongos and July Talk. They play the Lanes, Bristol on 4 April and Fallow Cafe, Manchester on 17 April. Their debut single, recorded with Shel Talmy, producer of the Kinks and the Who, is out in May facebook.com/hiddencharms
Oscar wears jacket, stylistâ€™s own; trousers by John Varvatos; shirt by Etro; boots by David Preston Shoes; sunglasses by Thom Browne; scarf by Rockins. Vincent wears jacket by Neil Barrett; trousers and waistcoat by Tiger of Sweden; shirt by Etro; boots by David Preston Shoes; sunglasses by Thom Browne; scarf by Rockins. Josh wears jacket by Neil Barrett; jeans and boots by Karl Lagerfeld; waistcoat by Canali; shirt by Paul Smith; scarf by Rockins. Ranald wears suit by Pringle of Scotland; shirt by Etro; boots by Tiger of Sweden; scarf by Rockins.
STYLE | Hidden Charms
Ranald wears suit by Pringle of Scotland; shirt by Etro; scarf by Rockins.
Vincent wears jacket by Hardy Amies; trousers by Tiger of Sweden; shirt and scarf by Paul Smith; boots by David Preston Shoes; sunglasses by Thom Browne.
Josh wears jacket by John Varvatos; waistcoat by Canali; shirt by Etro; scarf by Rockins.
Oscar wears jacket by Paul&Joe; jeans by Tiger of Sweden; waistcoat by Canali; shirt by Barbour; scarf by Rockins.
Ranald wears jacket by Paul&Joe; jeans and shirt by Karl Lagerfeld; scarf by Rockins. Oscar wears jacket by Blk Dnm; jeans by Tiger of Sweden; boots by David Preston Shoes; sunglasses by Thom Browne; scarf by Rockins. Josh wears jacket by Neil Barrett; jeans by Karl Lagerfeld; waistcoat by Canali; shirt by Paul Smith; hat, stylistâ€™s own; scarf by Rockins. Vincent wears suit by Hardy Amies; waistcoat by Paul Smith; shirt by Canali; scarf by Rockins.
STYLE | Hidden Charms
Josh wears jacket by Neil Barrett; jeans and boots by Karl Lagerfeld; waistcoat by Canali; shirt by Paul Smith; hat, stylist’s own; scarf by Rockins. Oscar wears jacket by Blk Dnm; jeans by Tiger of Sweden; boots by David Preston Shoes; sunglasses by Thom Browne; scarf by Rockins. Vincent wears suit by Hardy Amies; waistcoat by Paul Smith; shirt by Canali; sunglasses by Thom Browne; scarf by Rockins; ring, model’s own. Ranald wears jacket by Paul&Joe; jeans and shirt by Karl Lagerfeld; sunglasses, stylist’s own; scarf by Rockins.
STYLE | Hidden Charms
Oscar wears coat by Blk Dnm; trousers by Tiger of Sweden; shirt by Paul&Joe; boots by David Preston Shoes; scarf by Rockins. Josh wears jacket by Pringle of Scotland; jeans and boots by Karl Lagerfeld; T-shirt by Sunspel; scarf by Rockins; necklace, modelâ€™s own. Vincent wears suit by Hardy Amies; shirt by Etro; boots by David Preston Shoes; scarf by Rockins. Ranald wears suit and shirt by Canali; boots by Tiger of Sweden; scarf by Rockins.
Raw Power. Hammersmith. Long Island. Transformer. Words Chris Sullivan Portrait Janette Beckman Photographs courtesy of Mick Rock 2015
Mick Rock took some of history’s most famous rock photographs. It was he who took the photograph of Lou Reed that became the cover of Transformer; he shot Iggy Pop for the cover of the Stooges’ hugely influential Raw Power, and shot David Bowie picking Mick Ronson’s lowslung guitar al a faux fellatio at Oxford Town Hall in June 1972 which, when published, propelled Ziggy Stardust into the stratosphere. A man with both a nose for what’s happening and an eye for an image, Rock toured with Bowie, shot The Rocky Horror Picture Show when no one else was interested, captured the fledgling Roxy Music and recorded the giddy world of camp glam London. He has captured a veritable plethora of characters and acts including Andy Warhol, Bob Marley, the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the New York Dolls, Debbie Harry, Dolly Parton, Talking Heads, and more recently Kate Moss, Scissor Sisters, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams. Born Michael Rock in Hammersmith Hospital in 1948, Rock is now resident in Long Island, New York with his wife Patti and daughter Natalie, and has lost none of his west London working-class accent. What have you been up to of late? I just went to Oklahoma to do a TV series called On the Record With Mick Rock’s Big Cock – or not so big, as the case may be. It’s me on the road with recording artists – this time it was the Flaming Lips. We’ve done the Kings of Leon and are looking 104
at CeeLo and talking to Snoop Dogg. I’m doing a Bowie book, with him, for Taschen, a high-quality limited edition, co-signed, boxed number. Half the shots have never been seen so David and I had to approve them. There’s a documentary on me backed by Vice Media and directed by Barney Clay, who is married to Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It should be popping up in film festivals in autumn – I’ve been approached before but wanted something that would rattle a few cages. It goes through all the ups and downs up to the present, when I am still dancing. How is New York? Not as it was when I came here, nowhere near as degenerate – but that suits me. I don’t want to see the dawn anymore unless I have been to bed. I had 20 years of all that. I have so many projects on at the moment and still shoot every now and again. When you’re busy flying off all the time, I like it less demented. There’s always a story behind your photos. Let’s start with the Ramones. There was hardly any budget and I got paid a pittance, but I wanted to do it because Phil Spector had produced the album; then I discover they hated him – he even kidnapped a couple of them at gunpoint. Not a happy moment, but not a bad record. As for the band, I got on with Dee Dee most, but he was the only real doper. He’d be the one I would wander off the side and get chemically
involved with, but he wouldn’t stop going on about the Johnny Thunders classic ‘Chinese Rocks’ he claims he wrote. I talked to Joey about 18 months before he died. I met him at a party and we were swapping war stories – I had the odd brush with the grim reaper myself. He knew he was going to die but seemed OK with it. Joey’s solo album he made before he died is superb. He does ‘What a Wonderful World’ and ‘Don’t you Worry About Me’ as if he’s saying, “I may be dying but I’m alright.” Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. These are quite interesting pictures, very sweet. I was doing a lot of work with them and they were quite happy with me photographing them at home. It was a very elevating experience – I tend to use euphemisms these days when discussing my nefarious abuse because my mother (who is 95) gets upset when I talk about drugs. I use the terms ‘elevated’ and ‘chemically involved’ and let the listener decide for themselves. You might see in the picture that Debbie is roasting a Troll – one of those plastic little figures. They were both into the elevation business as well, although Debbie tells it a little differently these days. She says everyone else was at it, not her, but, ‘Oh Debbie! Oh no, I remember!’ Her persuasion was somewhat different than mine, which was all upwardly mobile, and theirs was on a more downward spiral. This was shot in their penthouse apartment on 58th Street >
HISTORY | Mick Rock
The Pointer Sisters, London Palladium, 1974
during the ‘Heart of Glass’ period. I love Debbie – she has a great sense of humour about herself, which is important; she is a great little lady but is really just one of the boys. She always talked about having a different facelift to look like someone else but as I said, ‘It’s just not happening, Debbie. You are stuck, I’m afraid.’ She got totally fucked off with all that Blondie shit and wanted to get a life. A lovely girl. Then there’s that great stack of shots of Iggy and the Stooges. They were taken the night of the Raw Power concert, which was, incidentally, only 40 minutes long. The audience was not wildly enthusiastic, but were stunned. They were like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’ No one in the UK had ever seen Iggy before and I was the only photographer there. No one was all over it as I was. I met him through Bowie, which was amazing. It was the summer Bowie really took off but he still found the time to help push Iggy and Lou, who were the godfathers 106
of punk. In person, Iggy is a kind of shy, modest and rather contemplative. He has all this art in his house and books but boy, when he hit that fucking stage, it was like, fuck everybody and everything! A shot from this session was used for the Raw Power cover. Tony Defries [Bowie and Iggy’s manager] and I chose it and Iggy was not at all keen. Years later, I met Iggy and he said, ‘Wow, we really did create a classic album cover.’ David rescued him from a nuthouse after the Stooges split and produced The Idiot and Lust for Life and really put him back on the map. But David did this for me, Frampton, Lou, Iggy and Mott the Hoople. He made their careers. He is a really cool guy. Then there’s Bowie, Jagger and Reed together. That was a catch. Indeed. That was taken in July 1973 at the party for David Bowie’s ‘Last Stand’ concert – the last time he performed in public as Ziggy – at the Café Royal. The shot is basically a bunch of old tarts
hanging out. There are obviously loads of whisperings and something else was going on that I cannot remember and would not hazard a guess at. Lou was the link, as he knew both David and Mick through Warhol. This shot embraces the whole ethic at the time. Times were more wideopen then and, in a way, there was more freedom. One could not get that shot now. What about Andrew Loog Oldham? Yes, well he invented the British music business. He had the first independent label, Immediate Records. We met in New York in the late 1970s and had a lot of late nights together. He always came up with great quotes. I was moaning one day, I’d been fucked over by some record company, and he said, ‘That’s the price of entry, Mick,’ When it happened again, he said, ‘If you don’t want to get fucked, why do you keep bending over?’ By then I had a reputation of being over-fuelled, shall we say, and wasn’t working much, but Andrew introduced me to Allen Klein [Rolling
Stones and Beatles manager] who really helped me out and had me in to design sleeves for Phil Spector, the Stones, the Ronettes, etc. I knew of his reputation as a tough nut but he was always marvellous with me. In 1995, when I was getting sick, he paid my daughters’ school fees as an advance against work I’d never do; then when I was in hospital – I had a bad heart attack – they said I’d need a quadruple bypass, but I had no insurance. Alan called me and sent an ambulance that took me to another hospital. He shelled out $100,000 or more and saved my fucking life. What was sweet was that he said, ‘Do you mind if I don’t visit? I am a bit queasy after my hospital time.’ I love the shot of Truman Capote and Andy Warhol. Andy and Truman, what a ridiculous photograph! That was a High Times magazine Christmas cover. Originally the both of them were to wear Santa outfits, but at the last moment Truman copped out because he was blind fucking drunk. How they talked Andy into looking so bloody ridiculous I don’t know, but he’d do anything for publicity. Anything! In the middle is Archie, Andy’s dachshund. We shot it at the Factory and they gave us this great big studio; there was shit everywhere and about halfway through the shoot, Andy said to me very quietly, ‘Excuse me, but you’re jumping up and down on some of my canvasses.’ There were all these Warhols and I was bouncing on them; he wasn’t annoyed, he was just passing on information – he wasn’t saying, ‘Get off them’. I was standing on what would be worth hundreds of millions like they were fucking grapes. Of course, Andy and Truman were very close and it could have been a quite memorable shoot if Truman hadn’t been so fucking drunk. What effect did the bypass have on you? It cleared me out, I had all these major blood transfusions. They replaced my arteries with veins from my arm, chest and thigh and rewired me, and it worked pretty well and I am fine. I do a lot of chanting and yoga and a 10-minute headstand a day. I work it. I’ve been doing yoga for 40 years. I did it even during my chemical years – when I say chemical, I mean I was strictly on the upper deck – but I’ve never drank alcohol and used yoga to bring me down. We called it ‘droga’, drugs and yoga. But I liked the upwardly mobile and was hanging out with Lou Reed doing speed for god’s sake. I also
Snoop Dogg, LA, 2012
chain-smoked for 20 years, which the doc said did the real harm. In the UK it says this shit will kill you on the packet, and people still buy them. After my operation I saw what I could make money on and
book. My down period coincided with a period of immobility – there was no cutting edge for me. But now here I am again, doling bands. I have my flavour back. My operation sorted me out, to be honest. I almost died, for fuck’s sake.
did you grow up? ‘TIMES WERE Where In a council flat in Putney Heath. We had no money. Then I got this scholarship MORE WIDE to Cambridge around 1967, allegedly to modern languages and literature, OPEN THEN; IN study but really studying other things. It was late 1960s and everyone was running A WAY, THERE the wild and completely out of hand, which was where the mischief began. I was on WAS MORE LSD, and you know what that will do to a boy’s brain. I was full to the brim with FREEDOM’ the works and exploits of chemicallythought, no more videos, art direction or promo-directing – just photography, and of course, I started doing books. The first was A Photographic Record 1969-80, then the Iggy book, then Blood&Glitter, Syd Barrett, Moonage Daydream, a Queen
inspired poets and writers such as the Symbolists, Rimbaud, Baudelaire and Nouval; the Romantics, Byron, Shelley, Coleridge, the Beats, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs. They took all these drugs to elevate themselves and produced stuff people called art. I was into hallucinogens > 107
Bryan Ferry at home, Holland Park Avenue, London, 1976
and interested in the likes of Rimbaud, how he came to London, wrote Le Bateau Ivre, had no money or food, hadn’t slept, would zap out for some opium and reach another level. They became a conduit for these thoughts. I was, in my way, doing the same thing and coming out with pictures. How did that start? Photography idly drifted into my life. I picked up a camera while in a state of elevation. I started with a friend’s camera and some chemicals and they converged. I couldn’t afford my own, so one day I was on acid; it was so strong you couldn’t move for hours. I borrowed a camera and took a load only to discover there was no film in it. But I got obsessed with faces, and the clicking sound kind of stimulated my gonads. Then I was on LSD again, but this time someone put film in for me, so I started taking photos and there was no 108
looking back. It was eyes down, balls to the wall and let’s fucking go. Someone offered me a fiver to take photos of this band and I thought, ‘A fiver for taking a
‘IT WAS EYES DOWN, BALLS TO THE WALL AND LET’S FUCKING GO’ few photos. Fuck it. Great!’ The process of framing excited me while I gobbled down lots of blotting paper acid, which
was very strong. I was always interested in faces and used to stare, so my friends thought I was really intense. The camera legitimised my obsession. My fantasy was to be a whacked-out wild poet chasing young things, but I realised with the camera I could earn a bit of cash. So I bought a battered Pentax, an even cheaper lens, took the Syd Barrett pictures and realised that’s what I wanted to do. Then I got a little dark room and I was off. What took you to the next stage? Syd Barrett; I got to know him and started shooting him. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and my big, big fear was that one day I might have to get a proper job. I wasn’t taking pictures until 1969, and those were some of my first that year. I was doing little interviews and taking the shots, and I did one with him for Rolling Stone. It wasn’t a lot of money but
HISTORY | Mick Rock
Truman Capote and Andy Warhol, High Times magazine cover, New York, 1979
Lou Reed, Wimbledon, London 1972
it was better than the real job my parents were hoping I’d get. The Barrett shots in my book were from the Madcap Laughs album shoot. The car in the picture was never driven by Syd. He bought it and it was left outside his house until it was eventually towed away by the council. I met Syd in Cambridge in 1966 and we became friends. In those days, Floyd didn’t have a record deal and time and space meant nothing. Syd was a really funny guy. He used to laugh a lot, was a little esoteric, a little under the radar. He started Pink Floyd, wrote the songs, played guitar, sang, but just got fed up. He didn’t want to be a pop star, there was more to him than that. He was an improviser who didn’t want to do the same songs every night. He started out as a painter and that was how he treated music. If he hadn’t gotten out, he’d have
died back then. But the first Pink Floyd album was all him; he did the light show, the music and it was like nothing you had ever heard. He was so ahead of his time. I developed those shots at Oz magazine’s offices in Great Newport Street, as I knew Felix Dennis and he let me use it for free. In many ways, my name was my passport, as all these rock‘n’rollers wanted to know if it was given or manufactured. Bowie was your big leg up. How did you get to shoot and tour with him? After Syd there was Rory Gallagher, I did a few jazz covers for him – photography, graphics and paste up everything. Then in 1972, along came Bowie. I picked up a copy of Hunky Dory from Oz, so went to talk to him in Birmingham, travelled back on the train with him, then saw him in Beckenham, interviewed him and did
some shots in his garden. He did a great fucking interview. He was, and is, really sharp. Then I did a few shots and promo films for ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ and ‘Space Oddity’ and shot and packaged Pin Ups. Justin de Villeneuve did the cover. It was all very underground then, I got the shots before Bowie was huge. Then all the shots got controlled as Ziggy made him a huge star and the shutters came down. These candid shots barely saw the light of day then. Today, these intimate shots would be all over the world in minutes. Then there’s Lou Reed and Iggy? Well, Lou and Iggy – they couldn’t give records away. I mean, I Wanna be Your Dog was released in 1969 for fuck’s sake, and the Velvet Underground banana album [The Velvet Underground & Nico] was 1967. Amazing, but nobody bought them > 109
but look at him, he’s got no arse and a chiselled nose. And Pharrell is a sweet guy, he’s, like, 42. He’s got it really going on. I like these Flaming Lips guys, they’ve got it going on as well. We did some wall art in Wayne’s [Coyne] crazy gallery together and it was good. When did you go to New York? I was obsessed with the London/New York connection, savouring the freedom of movement between twin capitals of postmodern rock culture – swimming in the experimental delights available to those whose curiosity far outflanked their intelligence. I came to New York for good in the late 1970s and shot Blondie, the Dead Boys, Talking Heads, etc. I did Madonna really early on. I was all over the place right up until Joan Jett in 1982. Then it all went wrong. My bills were huge due to one particular habit, I was paying out for wives and girlfriends. I was naïve, looking for action. I kept producing but there was a void. I got lost in New York, it overwhelmed me and I almost drowned, living on the edge 24 hours a day. I was working but not as before. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein at home, New York, 1979
then. No one wanted to touch them. Lou had done Transformer, another dud, but as David produced it I got in there. David told Tony Defries to manage Iggy and help Lou. I turned up and did Lou, the next week Iggy, and all at the King’s Cross Theatre, which is now the Scala. One became Transformer and the other Raw Power. I did the back-cover shots off the Fulham Road. They stayed in a posh gaff in Seymour Place and got kicked out; they brought the smack vibe, they were savages. Then 1972 was the big glam summer and Mott the Hoople came along. I became Bowie’s camp photographer and took some 5000 shots of him. I went to America with David and whoosh, I was thrown into the dens of iniquity. I did Roxy Music, Cockney Rebel and the Queen II cover that they copied for the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ video, of course. I shot Slade and Sweet, but I was working the more degenerate angle, not what David would call “bricky glam”. By 1976 I was taking pictures of the Sex Pistols. I wasn’t that interested in technical photography. I was interested in the subjects, many of whom became iconic. And, of course, I looked a little like them. I was one of the gang, not on the outside looking in. I wasn’t a voyeur, not working for a publication, so I got 110
access to the inner circle. But I had no grand plan. I just shot what I liked and it all just happened. How was Phil Spector? As it’s said, he’d love you at midnight and hate you at 4am. He is a brilliant man. But he was a well-known gun waver and those guns can go off.
‘I WORK SIMPLY. WHAT I DO IS SO SIMPLE THAT A MONKEY COULD DO IT’ Snoop and Pharrell? Snoop is a gas. A lot of fun, as you can imagine. He was two hours late but he is worth waiting for, laugh a fucking minute. He’d been ill and he was coaching his kids in football so he stopped and we did the shots in a wedding photographer’s studio outside LA. He said he was half-Italian,
Are you obsessed with photography? No, but I am obsessed with yoga, psychotherapy, chanting and literature. I love photography and the process and the preparation. I love it. I have a yoga workout before any session. Photography is very visceral for me, very therapeutic. I am not a big technical photographer. I don’t use lots of lights. I work simply. What I do is so simple that a monkey could do it. I smell a picture before I see it and I hear them before I smell them. And guess what? I am still shooting. We have now entered the golden age of photography and, after my near-death experience, I am very glad to be a part of it. My work is in fucking museums now, for fuck’s sake! What is your favourite shot of yours? As I tell people, it depends on how I feel when I wake up, on the day of the week, month of the year and whether or not I am having my fucking period! A paperback edition of Mick Rock Exposed: The Faces of Rock ‘N’ Roll is out now palazzoeditions.com The Rise of David Bowie 1972-1973 published by Taschen is out this summer taschen.com
HISTORY | Mick Rock
David Bowie in his garden, Beckenham, London 1972
Justin Robertson Balearic. Revtone. Thee Earls. Most Excellent. Deadstock 33s. Lionrock. Greg Fenton. Words Andy Thomas Photographs Dean Chalkley Styling Harris Elliott Photographic Assistant Gideon Marshall Styling Assistant Teddy George Photographic Equipment Three Four Snap threefoursnap.com
When DJ and electronic music producer Justin Robertson appeared in the ‘Return of the Rudeboy’ exhibition, few who had followed his career to date would have been surprised. Whether mixing dub and breakbeat for his mid-1990s Lionrock project, fronting art-rock combo Thee Earls, or spinning a psychedelic set at Festival No.6, Robertson has always revelled in defying expectations. Like many of his indie music-loving peers, he studied in Manchester more because of Factory Records than the university’s reputation, and an epiphany at the Haçienda’s acid house Nude night in the late 1980s changed his life forever. Hearing the future in the machine-funk hypnotics of early house music, Robertson jumped headfirst into the new culture. As he once said, “Rather than buying food, I bought records and used to hang out at Eastern Bloc.” He landed a job at the influential record store and quickly made the transition to DJ. And Manchester acid house soon spread beyond the Haçienda. “The scene developed at other clubs like Konspiracy and Thunderdome because people began to see that they could do it themselves,” said DJ Jon Dasilva. It was amidst the raw abandon of Konspiracy that Robertson made his name. As gangs and guns darkened the Haçienda mood in the early 1990s, his club ventures (with friend 112
Greg Fenton) Spice and Most Excellent brought a smile back to Manchester nightlife. They were part of a network of Balearic clubs that included Flying in London and Venus in Nottingham. Connections made with figures like Andrew Weatherall helped Robertson in his early days as a producer. His first remix was ‘Feel the Hit’ by Mad Jacks on Eastern Bloc’s Creed label; other production work soon followed – from Bjork to Erasure – and in 1993 the Deconstruction label signed his Lionrock project. As well as spinning at the early Bugged Out parties in Manchester, he also appeared alongside Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons at the Heavenly Social in London. The future Chemical Brothers’ varied musical palate had been inspired after visits to Spice and Most Excellent. Robertson released an LP as Revtone on the Nuphonic label in 2001. He also released a ‘Bugged Out’ 12” and worked with the likes of Tim Burgess and Ernest Ranglin. Towards the end of the decade he sought a new sound, one he described as “raw, psychedelic, electronic music that was primitive in some way”. Naming the venture Deadstock 33s after a favourite pair of Levi’s was a sign of his sartorial leanings. His love of tailoring, millinery, vintage denim and handmade shoes led to his inclusion in Dean Chalkley and Harris Elliott’s ‘Return of the Rudeboy’
at Somerset House. At the time he was camped deep in his studio, working on a Deadstock 33s LP and mixes for artists from Steve Mason to Temples. What were you listening to in your early teens before you moved to Manchester? I was bought up in Buckinghamshire – possibly the least rock’n’roll county in England – but I had an older brother and I got a lot from him, initially rock stuff like Led Zeppelin and Hawkwind. I remember him going off to poly and coming back with a David Hockney book, a copy of Talking Heads’ Remain in Light and the first Velvet Underground album. So I cut all my hair off and became a long-mac wearer. I got into things like Tangerine Dream and Grateful Dead and started to enjoy the psychedelic elements. When did you start becoming aware of the Manchester music scene? Through the revelations from my brother, in particular the music of the Fall. That was a band I really became obsessed by. I thought Mark E Smith was an amazing lyricist and writer, and the music just felt really important. It had so much depth to it and it fascinated me. And all that world just drew me in; the Manchester sound with bands like New Order and Joy Division, and the whole Factory thing. >
Jacket by Ede&Ravenscroft; trousers by Jil Sander; shirt by Paul Smith; shoes by Bass; hat by Christysâ€™ Hats.
Jacket by Baracuta; trousers by Paul Smith; shoes by Bass; hat by Christysâ€™ Hats; scarf by Polo Ralph Lauren; watch by Rolex.
COVER STORY | Justin Robertson
Jacket by C.P. Company; trousers by Richard James; top by Fred Perry; hat by Christys’ Hats; pocket square by Richard James.
So what was it like when you eventually got to Manchester? It just felt like the place I wanted to be. I was lucky – in the first week I met this guy, who is still a friend of mine, Eddy Leviten. He was a year older and was from Leeds and he’d been clubbing at the Warehouse and been to hear Graeme Park at the Garage in Nottingham. He introduced me to some early house records. I started to go to [record shop] Spin Inn with him, though I was really into indie music; thanks to listening to John Peel I had already been buying dub stuff like Lee Perry and also hiphop things like Steinski. So I already liked that kind of alien sound. What was the first club you went to? Temperance Club on Thursdays at the Haçienda in 1986, where Dave Haslam
played. It was an indie night but he’d also play things like Shinehead, Tackhead and bits of hip-hop, heavy instrumental stuff. In the Haçienda space it sounded great. Then Eddy said, ‘Let’s go to Nude, that’s where they play all the house music’. Describe your first night at Nude. As soon as I walked in through the doors, I thought ‘this is it’. Everything else that I listened to before seemed ridiculous. It was a revelation, a totally new experience, just this relentless and repetitive sound, and a very different crowd. It was very dressy and the energy level was amazing, everyone blowing whistles, just very loud, and these incredible dancers. It’s hard to imagine how revolutionary something like Rhythim is Rhythim’s ‘The Dance’ or ‘No Way Back’ by Adonis sounded back then. When I heard these records
I was just like ‘what is this?’. It sounded so new. And combined with the building and sound system – it was just incredible. What were you wearing at that time? I was into i-D magazine and The Face so in parallel to going to the Haçienda I got quite into fashion and creating this identity: 501s, Dr Martens and an MA1 flight jacket, I guess you could say the rare-groove Buffalo look. I’d also started going to the few rare-groove nights, like Trash, that were put on in Manchester. I struck out to the hinterlands of funk and soul to discover the roots of the samples in the music I was hearing in the clubs. How was Mike Pickering as a DJ? Brilliant. At Nude it was him and Martin Prendergast, who is a bit of an unsung hero. They used to DJ together as MP2. > 115
COVER STORY | Justin Robertson When did you sense there was going to be this new scene around house music? In Manchester it was slightly different to London. The backbone of clubland and especially at the Haçienda since 1986 had been house music, but I wasn’t really aware of that Balearic thing. I remember Mark Moore came up to DJ at an i-D party in 1988; this guy came up to me in a pair of Converse with shaggy hair, looked like a California surfer, quite cool. He gave me a teddy bear and said something like ‘I love you’. I was like, ‘right, OK’. And by the end of the night everyone was trance dancing, obviously on ecstasy. It just completely changed overnight. What the London scene did was give it a different identity. Then the Hot night started at the Haçienda and it just exploded. How did you get into being a DJ? I was always the one at parties in the corner by the stereo with my selection of 7”s, inflicting my tastes on everyone at any opportunity. Then Eddy and me started doing parties and hiring out places. We did this thing called Compulsion, playing disco, house and hip-hop; just a thing we did for our student mates and us. But I was also in Eastern Bloc most days when I wasn’t at lectures. They had a great selection of all sorts of music and it was a great place to hang out. I got to know the owners John Berry and Martin Price, and one day when I was in there one of the guys left. It was so busy and they needed someone straight away, so I said ‘I’ll do it’. So everything came more by accident than design. I met various people through the shop, like Chris and Tomlin [the Jam MCs] who were starting a new night that would become Konspiracy. I’d heard people like Mike Pickering and Jon Dasilva (Hot) mixing and thought, ‘I’d better start practising’. So I got my decks and really put my head down. When Konspiracy started, they were looking for DJs and again I said, ‘I’ll do it’. I remember Konspiracy being very intense – was it like that from day one? Yes, it really was great right from the start. It was basically the crowd who used to go to Thunderdome, the unsung great club in Manchester’s cultural history. There are a few heroes from back then who often get overlooked. One was Steve Williams [DJ at Thunderdome] who I met in the shop. He was a great DJ, a real natural. But Thunderdome could be a bit rough? It was up in Miles Platting, which is a 116
rough area, and people sort of paint it like the bad boys’ Haçienda. But I used to go there regularly; I’m a posh boy from the Home Counties and I never had any problems. It was nothing but good vibes, really. I don’t know why it shut down and probably don’t want to know. Konspiracy was like its natural cousin. It was also one of the first places to have different rooms. When did you first really experience the Balearic side of the scene? I remember Danny Rampling playing at Hot and it was great. The Haçienda at the time was all about Chicago and Detroit but Danny played a lot more European. I remember things like Code 61 [‘Drop the Deal’] and Landro&Co [‘Belo E Sambar’], all the big Shoom records. You didn’t hear that stuff in Manchester. I tried to bring some into Konspiracy but the crowd was less interested. The end of one night I played the Waterboys’ ‘The Whole
AS I WALKED IN THROUGH THE DOORS AT NUDE, I THOUGHT ‘THIS IS IT’ of the Moon’ and a hail of cans came at me. The next week they’d forgotten about it, though. I never had any problems there or really saw anything bad happen. How did Spice come about? I had met Greg [Fenton] when he moved over from Belfast and we shared a love of music other than just straight house; we were interested in this broad Balearic church. They had moved me into the back room of Konspiracy so we started doing our Balearic thing there, then we started Spice, on Sundays, and we’d get people like Andrew Weatherall to play. I was basically bringing the DJs I’d read about in Boy’s Own. That was the start of what you might call the ‘Balearic Network’, with those places like Flying and Venus. How important was that network to you as a producer? Very. I’d done the Mad Jacks mix and it had gone well. This was the beginning
of the idea of a DJ doing dance mixes of rock records – people like Andrew Weatherall [with Primal Scream]. My mix got into Andrew’s hands and he started playing it. That led to me doing a mix for the band Yargo, and someone at Mute heard it and asked me to mix Erasure. Suddenly within a few weeks I was being asked to do all these mixes. It happened overnight, so I learned my trade quickly. That network was all about going back to people’s houses after a gig and sharing information and ideas. For example, I used to hang around with [NTS radio DJ] Nathan Gregory Wilkins when I played in Birmingham, and he introduced me to a lot of different records and sounds. How did your background in indie music help with these mixes? The fact that I straddled both worlds helped. With remixes it’s all about trying to bring something else to the track. So if you’ve got a rock record with guitars, there is something interesting to work with. Most bands would be quite up for you destroying their work. What was so interesting about that period was the way everyone started mixing things up. I started to add dub techniques and samples from reggae to house records. What did you learn from the dub producers like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry? The main thing was to take things out. That’s what I got from both reggae and house. I don’t think I was aware of it at the time but there was a real connection between New York disco and dub, for example with François Kevorkian and then the whole Compass Point thing. Tell me about Most Excellent. Greg had started a night called Glitter Baby where he was playing a real mixture of stuff. By about 1991 we felt like we wanted to create our own scene, and that coincided with all the problems at the Haçienda. Spice was more about the cult than success; though don’t get me wrong, we had some great nights there, but Most Excellent was a different kettle of fish. It really coincided with a new energy in that Balearic scene. People had got a bit bored with everything being slowed down, and there was loads of cocaine about. It seemed like this wasn’t why we got into it. It was the return to house music. The energy levels just shot through the roof as everyone rediscovered the joy of it all. And those connections across the country became very important. >
Jacket by Richard James; top by Nigel Hall; hat by CA4LA; scarf by Peckham Rye.
Top by Fred Perry; trousers by Richard James; hat by Christys’ Hats; scarf by Peckham Rye; watch by Rolex.
Tom and Ed from the Chemical Brothers were Most Excellent regulars. When did you meet them? They came to Spice religiously and to the shop. There exists somewhere a video of our first night at Most Excellent and there’s Tom and Ed singing along to Fleetwood Mac or something. How did it feel when they did so well? Amazing, I was very proud of them. I did a few recording sessions with Tom, so even when he was in the band Ariel I just knew he was highly advanced, and Ed had a great vision for what they wanted to do. So hopefully they got some inspiration from coming to our clubs. The early 1990s were like pure abandon; like the last days of Rome or something. There was the same kind of energy down at the Heavenly Social. Indeed. That was also a great place for bringing these different scenes together. You’d get people like Noel [Gallagher] and [Paul] Weller at the bar listening to this demented breaks stuff next to the Beatles, and it all made sense because it was just a celebration of music and life. 118
That is the way it should be – with all the boundaries broken down. The Social was a great place to swap ideas, listen to different stuff and just be surprised. That really inspired the Lionrock LP. The possibilities for music just got broader.
‘THE EARLY 1990s WERE LIKE PURE ABANDON; LIKE THE LAST DAYS OF ROME’ Let’s jump forward to the Revtone LP. There was a fascinating reappraisal of disco going on at that time; historical and reverential sure, but also reinventing the format. People like Ivan Smagghe started to come through with Black Strobe, and
Trevor Jackson with Playgroup, bringing that post-punk New York thing into it – and I loved all that. Then Faze Action, all the Nuphonic stuff in general. All this esoteric stuff inspired the Revtone LP. What was the background to the Deadstock 33s stuff? I’d been watching the electroclash thing and all the stuff Erol Alkan was doing at Trash [in London]. What was interesting was that it brought a new group of people in and made house and electronic music interesting again. It gave it a good haircut and it suddenly had this cool, chic look. It was also quite a raw sound, so with Deadstock I began to reference those early house records. I wanted it stripped down. It was also something I found in garage rock and dub reggae. I didn’t feel part of the noisy techno scene of the mid-2000s; I just didn’t want to make those records. So I had a couple of years where I had to regroup. I changed the way I made music; rather than working with engineers and getting studio space, I moved it all home and from 2007 did everything myself. It was about getting a body of work together that nourished me and kept me inspired. >
COVER STORY | Justin Robertson
Jacket by C.P. Company; top by Fred Perry; hat by Christysâ€™ Hats; pocket square by Richard James.
COVER STORY | Justin Robertson
Coat from The Vintage Showroom; shirt by Paul Smith; hat by Christys’ Hats.
I also got quite into that wigged-out side of disco, bands like In Flagranti. I was quite influenced by that, I find that cosmic thing quite psychedelic. You’ve often mentioned the psychedelic aspect of your work. We were interested to hear you play a psych set at No.6. That was great. It was with my oldest and dearest friend Richard Hector Jones, who I have known since I was three. He’s the one who introduced me to the delights of 1960s garage rock via his obsession with the MC5 and the Stooges. We still obsessively swap musical nuggets and it’s with Richard and Bernie Connor that I do the Chimes of Big Ben at No.6 and other places, like Liverpool Psych Fest. Could you talk a bit about the title of the LP Everything is Turbulence? It’s about imagination, irrationality, magic and uncertainty, which is what psychedelic music is all about. Despite 120
our attempts to codify and box reality, it resolutely refuses to be understandable, hence ‘everything is turbulence’, the world is unpredictable. It tied in with me reading a lot of weird, mystical books and that science-fiction world of writers like Philip K Dick. My paintings also reflect that imaginary world. You had an exhibition recently. Who are the artists who inspire you? I really dig Marc Chagall, Philip Guston, Geraldine Swayne, José Chávez Morado, lots of medieval art, Mexican Day of the Dead stuff, and old sci-fi book covers. Clothes are obviously also important to you. How did your involvement in Return of the Rudeboy come about? I’ve known Harris for a while and Dean because he did some photos for Lionrock. With our modernist leanings we shared a love of smartness and loafers. So they asked if they could take some snaps.
How would you describe your style? It changes, but at the moment I’d say my vibe is ‘foppish flâneur’. I try and keep things smart but not too clinical. It varies but lies between a naughty baronet and an absinthe-imbibing wizard. I’m not really interested in fashion, I’m more interested in style. Like with music, I take things from different places and mix them up. New music is clearly still inspiring you. I feel exactly the same now when I hear a new record as I always have. I’ve just been listening to the new Ghost Culture album and I was thinking how amazing it was. That really makes me want to go and make a new record, it’s so inspiring. I think that’s the thing that keeps you going. That’s why I am still doing it. Everything is Turbulence by Deadstock 33s is out 12 April skintentertainment.com
Top by American Apparel; trousers by Richard James; hat by CA4LA; watch by Rolex.
Jacket by Casely-Hayford; waistcoat by John Varvatos; shirt by Flying Horse Jeans; tie by Topman; chain, stylistâ€™s own.
Jacket by Blk Dnm womenswear; trousers by Paul Smith; waistcoat by John Varvatos; shirt by Levi’s; bow tie, stylist’s own; jewellery, model’s own.
Jet Boy Photographs Cameron McNee Styling Mark Anthony Bradley Grooming Jody Taylor using Bumble and Bumble Photographic Assistants Philip Banks and Portia Hunt Retouching The Laundry Room thelaundryroomlondon.com Musician Val Bird, guitarist in the Thunders, at D1 d1models.com Location Passing Clouds, 1 Richmond Road, London E8 passingclouds.org
STYLE | Jet Boy
Jacket by La Rocka!; shirt by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing.
Jacket by John Varvatos; trousers by Lanvin; shirt by Sandro from Mr Porter; boots by Mr Hare; neckerchief and cravat ring by Sir Tom Baker; jewellery, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Jet Boy
Jacket by Sir Tom Baker; trousers by Blk Dnm; shirt by Levi’s Vintage Clothing; bow tie, pocket accessory, and belt, stylist’s own; jewellery, model’s own.
Leather jacket by Blk Dnm; jeans by Saint Laurent from Mr Porter; red jacket by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; T-shirt by Givenchy from Mr Porter; vintage hat and belt courtesy of Dave Carroll at La Rocka!; jewellery, modelâ€™s own.
Shirt by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; trousers by John Varvatos; belt from Sir Tom Baker.
STYLE | Jet Boy
Jacket and waistcoat by Sir Tom Baker; jeans by Evisu; shirt by Blk Dnm; sunglasses by Dita Von Teese; jewellery, model’s own; pocket accessories, stylist’s own.
Tubby Hayes Ronnie Scott. A Pint of Bitter. Edward Brian. Jazz Couriers. Words Mark Webster Group Portrait Owen Harvey
“This little boy came up not much bigger than his tenor sax; rather patronisingly, I suggested a number and off he went. He scared me to death.” Late pioneering jazz musician and club owner Ronnie Scott knew of what he spoke, and here he was speaking about the first time he encountered the mercurial talent of Edward Brian, soon to be known as Tubby Hayes. The meeting took place near Kingston, Surrey, in the suburbs of London, when Tubby was just in his early teens. He was just 16 when he took on his first professional engagement with Kenny Baker’s sextet in 1951, before reuniting with the previously flabbergasted Scott as a member of his pioneering modernist Jazz Couriers in the late 1950s. It wasn’t long before Brian was headlining himself, in the syncopating heart of London at Scott’s eponymous Frith Street jazz club, and not much after that that he tragically succumbed to his addictions and died at the ridiculously young age of 38. He was born just up the road from Ronnie’s in St Pancras in 1935 – he’d have 130
been 80 on 30 January – the son of a BBC violinist. His dad started to teach him his own instrument, but with the sound of bebop starting to tickle his young ears, it was the saxophone, particularly the tenor, that was the weapon of choice. He went on to master the piano, flute, vibraphone and, indeed, basically anything he turned his hand to. Brian’s talent saw him deliver coals to Newcastle, conquering hot US jazz spots in LA, Boston and New York – where he also recorded – and impress the giants of jazz themselves. He was asked to join Duke Ellington’s orchestra for a performance at the Royal Festival Hall, possibly as good as it gets. But it was Soho where he really made his name. With the recent loss of legendary cabaret club Madame Jojo’s, an open letter was penned with a petition to “save Soho”. It speaks of the “very real danger that we will erode the creative fabric of Soho past the point we can ever rebuild it.” Tubby Hayes was part of that fabric. Equally – much like this eclectic, robust square mile of London – he, too, was in
danger of being eroded from memory, leaving only a few enlightened souls still aware of his impact and genius. Luckily, some of those ‘few’ have combined their talents, enthusiasm and commitment to ensure this doesn’t happen anytime soon. “I started getting into jazz in the early 1980s,” recalls writer Mark Baxter, who has produced forthcoming Hayes documentary A Man in a Hurry. “At Ray’s Jazz Shop [now part of Foyles bookshop in the West End] who were right tough old fuckers, you were buying records by the album covers, and I picked up one of Paul Murphy’s compilations which had on it ‘A Pint of Bitter’, which intrigued me. I thought, that sounds like a world I’m from. And there he was, it was by Tubby Hayes.” Though it was written by stalwart US trumpeter Clark Terry, ‘A Pint of Bitter’ may well have been a cry from Hayes’s heart, first appearing on Tubbs in NY (1961) which they recorded together. After all, a man could get thirsty for a proper warm, brown pint in New York in those days, especially when >
Tubby Hayes performing live at Ronnie Scottâ€™s, 1960s Photograph Freddy Warren, courtesy of Art to Zoot Jazz
Tubby Hayes on the All That Jazz show, 1961 Photograph courtesy of Simon Spillett
working with such celebrated geniuses as Terry, pianist Horace Parlan, vibes man Eddie Costa, bass player George Duvivier and drummer Dave Bailey. Baxter points out, “When I started to research Tubby, there was no internet, and there seemed to be hardly anything written about him. So I knew his music but not about him as a person, and I knew there was a story.” Discovering Hayes became a labour of love and, as the years rolled by, someone did invent the internet, so someone also wrote the book, more of which shortly. The good news was that Baxter had by then become a bona fide documentary filmmaker. Lee Cogswell is a young documentary filmmaker whose musical experience has seen him work on a series of films for UK soul outfit the Stone Foundation but, as he says, “When Mark asked me to work on the documentary, I came in knowing nothing at all. It’s not what I’m used to in terms of commercial music. Hopefully 132
what interests and fascinates me will also be interesting to a wider audience. “What we have done, as well as tell the story – and it was a fast life, 38 years,
‘HE WAS THE BEST IN THE UK, BY FAR. HE HAD JAZZ POURING OUT HIS EARS’ good and bad – is paint a picture of London at the time, what it felt like.” As actor Martin Freeman points out, “When it came to the British jazz scene, I knew the names, recognised the titles.
I could do well in a quiz. But I wasn’t fanatical about it, not in the way I was about Blue Note and Riverside. So I came late to Tubby, but when I did – I know it’s an old mod cliche, but it’s all in the detail – and everything about Tubby seemed to be about that.” So Freeman got to like the character, while he was also already much taken with the setting. “That Soho only exists for me in a thirdperson way. But it’s a very nice London to carry around with you.” When Baxter approached him to narrate the film, Freeman found himself thinking twice. “The thing for me is, do I want to put myself out there more than a couple of times about a niche thing? They are things I love, of course, but do I want to be forever synonymous with them? Take all my own pleasure away? But this was a much more attractive proposition. It was something that was a bit more underground, and I like him. I like his music, and I’d liked what the fellas had already done, so if I could also join in and help even slightly in getting something off the ground, even better.” Simon Spillett draws a deep, wellearned breath after belting out a tune on stage at Ronnie Scott’s on a Sunday lunchtime in March. “Thank you. That was an ingenious Tubby composition, by which I mean fucking complicated.” A line the great Ronnie Scott himself would have been proud of. With John Critchinson on piano, Dave Green on bass and Michael ‘Spike’ Lewis on drums, Spillett was once again indulging his labour of love, this time with his Tubby Hayes tribute quartet. “I’ve become the go-to guy when it comes to Tubby,” says Spillett after the show, “which is kind of nice, and humbling. I make no bones about it, because it has given me more than a leg up in my career.” Hayes “has threaded all through my life,” he says. He watched a Hayes TV performance with his jazz musician dad at age 12, before picking up the tenor himself at 16. “As a kid, I’d had the notion British jazz wasn’t quite as hardcore as the American stuff, a bit lightweight – then I saw Tubby, and that was it!” As well as tribute performances with the quartet and a big band, Spillett has also written articles about his hero, and provided sleeve notes for definitive Hayes compilation The Little Giant (Properbox Records). He also wrote forthcoming biography The Long Shadow of the Little Giant, which ultimately earned Spillett his ‘go-to’ status. And despite Hayes’s
CINEMA | Tubby Hayes
Producer and writer Mark Baxter, author and musician Simon Spillett, executive producer David Rosen, artist Ed Gray, narrator Martin Freeman, director Lee Cogswell, and tailor George Dyer Photograph Owen Harvey
“colourful, rock‘n’roll lifestyle – the fractious childhood, crazy personal life, substance problems,” he says, “I didn’t write it because of that. I’m strongly not about that tail wagging the dog. First and foremost, it was the music, he was streets ahead of everyone in this country. Unique. A real force. And if he turned up today, he’d still knock people out.” Spike Wells may have long ago taken the cloth (he is a curate in a Brighton parish), but he has never put away the drumsticks, and certainly wasn’t about to after the fateful evening when Tubby Hayes came calling. Once described by pianist Gordon Beck as part of “the single greatest rhythm section in all of British jazz”, he was actually only in
London because, as Wells recalls, “I’d started a postgrad course in philosophy at Bedford College. I’d only been there four or five weeks when my flatmate Ron [Mathewson, also in that rhythm section] said Tubby was looking for a drummer. I said to Ron, I don’t think I’m ready for that. I’d not even turned pro. But Tubby said he’d come around and listen. We had an audition in the flat, and Tubby obviously liked what he heard because he offered me the job on the spot. There I was, Tubby Hayes Quartet, 22 years old. Not bad. Jacked in the philosophy, played with Tubby for five years.” Wells’s career saw him in the engine room for a string of jazz’s heavy hitters, but there was never a doubt as to Hayes’s
place on the list. “He was the greatest in the country, by far. He had jazz pouring out his ears. He just played and played. If he heard something he liked about someone’s playing, he wanted to play with them, to hear what they wanted to do. He was the man of the 1960s.” Mark Baxter’s documentary A Man in a Hurry is out in September amaninahurry.london Simon Spillett’s book The Long Shadow of the Little Giant is out on 25 May equinoxpub.com
Nicky Siano The Gallery. Frankie Knuckles. David Byrne. Arthur Russell. Words Andy Thomas Portrait Janette Beckman Photographs Nicky Siano Collection
Opening in a New York loft in 1972, the Gallery made Nicky Siano the first star DJ of the disco era. Writing for the New York Times, Sheila Weller recalled a visit to the club: “The wildness is exquisitely wholesome. Furious dancing. Crepe paper and tinsel. Body energy shakes the room. In darkness pierced by perfectly timed burst of light, Labelle’s rousing ‘What Can I Do For You?’ takes on a frenetic holiness. The floor is a drum to the dancers – many of them gay, most of them black – whose up-sprung fists and tambourines lob the balloons and streamers above what seem to be collectively-chosen intervals.” Creating a euphoric and fierce soundtrack, Siano revelled in his star status. “At the end of the evening he would sit down, take off his shoes and socks, and start to mix with his toes,” recalled Michael Gomes, editor of the Mixmaster newsletter. Siano became renowned both for his experimental beat mixing and use of technology, cutting between records using a crossover and variable speed turntables – and how he used them, peaking and dropping through the mix to a sea of raised hands. It was into this intoxicating environment that a group of film students from New York University walked one night in 1977. Invited by Siano’s cousin Gary Turzilli, a fellow student, for the next eight months they documented the scenes. You can now see their footage thanks to a new film from Siano and Turzilli: Love is the Message: A Night at the Gallery 1977. An Italian-American from Coney Island, Nicky Siano learned his craft by watching David Mancuso at the Loft and Michael Cappello at the Limelight. After a spell as a DJ at the Round Table he opened the Gallery with his friend Robin Lord thanks to a loan from Siano’s 134
brother Joe. While the Loft’s music and atmosphere was a clear influence, he took things in a whole new direction at the Gallery. “It seemed like Nicky’s bumped-up version of the Loft,” says New York DJ Danny Krivit. “Nicky was more aggressively working the sound system, as well as mixing. He could also get very funky and go all over the place.” The Gallery became known for its sound system, created in association with Alex Rosner. While Rosner had worked with Mancuso to create a system for the Loft, Krivit heard distinct differences. “The Gallery was louder and musically more aggressive and pumping. It sounded great, but it seemed like the Loft had a bit of audiophile edge.” While the sound at the Loft wrapped dancers in a sonic blanket, the Gallery’s system assaulted the senses. Beneath a canopy of brightly coloured balloons, the crowd screamed to the extremities of Siano’s playing. Writing in New York magazine in June 1975, Mark Jacobson captured the theatrical DJ in full flight. “Swaying his rear end to the motion of the needle on the VU meter of his $20,000 system, he flips 45s across his body like dwarf frisbees, landing them on one of his three turntables.” One of those dancers to marvel at his theatrics was a young Frankie Knuckles, the legendary DJ from Chicago club the Warehouse, who passed away last year. As well as helping blow up balloons and giving out acid, he spent a lot of time in the booth watching Siano’s every move. “It was like discovering the wheel,” he told writer Tim Lawrence. “Nicky would constantly play with the speed, and I had never heard anybody do that before. It became difficult listening to other guys play in the old style after that.” Just as David Mancuso was a teacher to Siano, so a whole new school of DJs
rose from the dance floor of the Gallery. “Larry Levan, Walter Gibbons, Tee Scott would all sit in the booth, taking notes,” said Studio 54 DJ Kenny Carpenter. “Nicky Siano was the king of DJs. He was so fierce he could put on a record and people would scream.” Andre Collins, who went on to spin at both Better Days and the Warehouse (New York’s version, in the Bronx), was another DJ who found his calling at the Gallery. “I was brought up in the projects and being gay there was hard. The Gallery was a haven, it allowed me to be around older gay people and to hear music that told our story. Nicky used to paint pictures with the music. He was the first DJ to touch my heart.” Another Gallery dancer was avantgarde cellist Arthur Russell. After being introduced to Siano by a mutual friend, Russell suggested they make a record together. The result was the 1978 Sire Records 12” ‘Kiss Me Again’ under the moniker Dinosaur. This glorious slice of disco featured a young David Byrne on guitar. Despite working on a number of uncompleted tracks, they only released one more record. Out on Sleeping Bag Records in 1984 under the name Felix, the mutant disco/proto-house of ‘Tiger Stripes’ (and the even more out-there alternative version ‘Move’) sounds as progressive today as when it swirled around the Loft more than 30 years ago. When the Gallery closed due to Siano’s spiralling drug addiction, he continued to spin for five months behind the decks at Studio 54. More in keeping with his underground status was a spell at after-hours party Buttermilk Bottom, but it would be 20 years before he DJ’d again. Getting clean in the 1980s, he worked as a HIV counsellor before making his return to DJing at a Larry Levan tribute party at New York’s Body&Soul in 1998. >
Gallery cloakroom staff Dee Dee and Chuckie
Dancers at the Gallery
What was your first memory of music, growing up in Coney Island? My brother was 10 years older and he was buying a lot of records. I came across an album in his collection with this really beautiful image on it; it turned out to be Laura Nyro’s first album. Then I got this stereo with the money I saved up doing a paper round. It was a Zenith Circle of Sound stereo with these special speakers; they faced up and there was a cone on top that pushed the sound around the room. Did that encourage you to buy records? I went out and got these Mantovani records. Cheesy but well-orchestrated remakes of songs by people like the Beatles. And I used to just listen to them on this sound system purely because of the sonics. I was just into the whole experience of the textures of the sound. When were you first aware of the clubs? In 1969 I’d gone to a summer workshop to do a play and met a guy named Dean. We started hanging out together and he took me down to the Village. I started hearing people saying that they ‘went dancing’. I really didn’t know what they meant. It turned out all the places you had to be 18 to get in. Robin [Lord] and me
were like, ‘We want to do this dancing thing’. We found out about the Firehouse [held by the Gay Activists Alliance] – there wasn’t alcohol served there so they could let in young people – and we started going. It was in SoHo. Walking through SoHo in those days was incredibly dangerous. It’s hard to imagine now. Once you got below Houston Street there were no streetlights and no one knew addresses. If you said to a taxi driver, ‘Take me to Wooster and Spring,’ he’d look at you like, ‘Where’s that?’ They had no idea what SoHo was. So we went down to this very secluded place. I tell you, we were scared for our lives, but when we got inside, there was this music playing and everyone was dancing and it was like, ‘Wow, I love dancing and I love this music.’ How were you introduced to the Loft? After going to the Firehouse I started collecting records, and my brother had this little party at his house. I had these records like ‘You’re the One’ by Little Sister. I put it on and started dancing with Robin, and my brother’s girlfriend came over and she started dancing with us and said, ‘There’s a place where I go to party and it’s in a guy’s loft and you would love it’. She said she would take us Saturday night. We got in there about one in the morning and the place was already packed. And I freaked out. That’s when I knew, and said to myself ‘I have to play records’ to be part of this. Something just hit my soul. How was it different to the Firehouse? Firstly, the sonics. David [Mancuso’s] sound system was always great, but that original system at 647 Broadway was just phenomenal. It was like nothing I had heard before. Every little nuance in the records stood out. I remember he turned
the amp off to [Eddie Kendricks’] ‘Girl You Need a Change of Mind’, then at the very break of the record the tweeters came on and he plunged the room into darkness. You couldn’t see a thing except for a lamp at the end of the room. I was staring at the lamp and then at the next musical change it dimmed and went out, and I thought, ‘Oh my god, he’s controlling every little thing in the room’. What was the mix of people like? It was about 85 percent black and gay and 15 percent Hispanic with a few white hippies, but really it wasn’t just one type of crowd. It’s like that girl says in the film, “Everyone working, being, growing and experiencing together,” and that was the truth of it. That whole anti-establishment hippie thing was obviously where David Mancuso was coming from. He’s spoken about the importance of the anti-war movement at the time – well, you have to understand something. The Vietnam thing was happening so intensely that everyone was at a protest, sometime and somehow. There were protests daily and people would just spontaneously start chanting on the street. It was pretty sensational. So when you came into the clubs and heard songs with messages like, ‘Love your brother, love your sister’ and all the anti-war stuff, then you thought, yeah, this is all connected. The other pivotal event was, of course, the Stonewall Riots. What are your recollections of those events? I was there the second night when they were still going on. There were people sitting down stopping the traffic on 6th and 7th Avenue from going anywhere. There were people everywhere screaming for equal rights. Then [Mayor] Lindsay quietened things down, saying he would
CULTURE | Nicky Siano
Rique Spencer and Frankie Knuckles
Clubbers in the Gallery
Nicky Siano, Rique Spencer, Larry Levan and Gallery co-founder Robin Lord
repeal that fucking law making it illegal for two people of the same sex to dance together. Stonewall had a huge impact. Dancing and the whole community took on a whole new importance. It really did. The dancing was our way of demonstrating unity and love and caring for each other, and saying, ‘Yes this is our community and we are starting to feel unified’. Before, we had spent our lives feeling fragmented and alone, and now we had a place to go every Saturday night where we’d meet and share that unity. How quickly did it all change? It took a couple of years for the clubs to open, but there were bars where you could dance. What they would do was stick two speakers in the corner and clear away the tables and chairs, and say, ‘There you are, you can dance there’. And people went because there was no other place to go. But when the Gallery opened in 1972 the clubs started popping up all over. Could you tell me a bit about your time spinning at the Round Table? I loved playing records and was having a
great time there, but I kept butting heads with the owners. I was trying to get them to do this and that to improve things but nothing got done. As long as they were making money they didn’t care. So I was getting frustrated and Robin and I would
‘BACK THEN, IF YOU HAD ONE GOOD MIX IN AN HOUR YOU HAD A GOOD NIGHT’ talk and talk and started looking into rentals of lofts. At the time, there were tons of signs everywhere for lofts that were for rent. All the industry had moved over to places like New Jersey so these spaces had been left vacant. So it was loft
after loft; we put together a business plan and went to my brother. He took a bit of persuading but had some money from an insurance settlement and decided to invest it into the Gallery. What were the early days like? When we first opened the Gallery it was for straight people. We figured there was already one for gay people, let’s open one for straights. But it didn’t work out. We didn’t lose money but we were just about paying the rent. That was it. Then I hear that the Loft is closing for the summer. So we printed up some cards. And we stood outside the Loft and handed out these invitations. How was David with that? He was mad. At the time it was all very underground and people didn’t do things like that. Today it would be normal to promote your party in that way. I saw it just as an opportunity. Although he was mad, he was also secure in his position and had a huge waiting list. The waiting list was bigger than his membership. At the end of the night someone came up to him and said, ‘David, David what are we going > 137
to do this summer?’ Well, someone had brought one of our cards in from outside and dropped it. So he picked it up and handed it to them and said, ‘Why don’t you go here’. He really was that secure.
He built me the first crossover, he built it from scratch. Before that there had just been a bass and treble thing on the mixer. Even today the crossovers don’t do what ours did at the Gallery.
How was the next chapter of the Gallery? Amazing, 650 people on opening night, then it grew and grew until we regularly had 800 every Friday and Saturday. It was just a phenomenal success.
You also became famous for honing in on the breaks of a record? Well, at the Round Table they didn’t have a cue, so when you look at vinyl you can clearly see where there are significant changes in orchestration. The colour of the vinyl will lighten, so you can find the break in a record by looking at the vinyl. I relied on that for years, even at the Gallery where I had a cue system.
Had the Limelight already opened? Yes. Although it was a bar, unlike those other places it was designed for dancing. I remember walking in one Christmas and everyone was in white and they had a white tree with white lights. It was just buzzing with this energy. But it closed at 4am so it wasn’t an after-hours club. After it closed everyone would come from there and the other bars to the Gallery. What influence did David Mancuso and Michael Cappello have on you? As a DJ, Michael had all the influence on my playing style. As far as my attitude to clubs and how they should be run and certain aspects of design, David had all the influence. I was very lucky. Can you describe Cappello’s style? Michael learned from Francis [Grasso at the Sanctuary], supposedly the first DJ to beatmatch, but I really think what he did was more about timing. He did what I call blending, and was really good at it. Michael learned from him and he was also very good. Michael and me were so similar, we had that killer instinct. If the dance floor was up we’d want to go further with it. I’d push it and push it. We would peak the crowd a lot more than David. But back then, if you had one good mix in an hour you had a good night. If you did that, afterwards everyone was like, ‘Mary, you should’ve heard his mix’. It wasn’t like now when everything is blended seamlessly – it’s just a load of crap, another boring night. You may as well stick on a tape or something. Back then you really had to have skills. You had to know how fast or slow all your records were to beatmatch. You really had to know your records. One thing you became known for was using the EQ to cut between records. Yes, people really didn’t do that back then. I told [Alex] Rosner I wanted the bass horns on one knob and the tweeters on another so I could control each volume. So he said what you want is a crossover. 138
How did the sound differ from the Loft? David’s sound to me was a little bit better but a lot of people preferred the Gallery because it was louder. During the first year we didn’t really hit our stride until we got a spectrum analyser and put in a
‘IT SHOULD NEVER HAVE CLOSED. I WAS ON HEAVY DRUGS AND WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION’ parametric EQ with 312 settings. When Rosner put those pieces of equipment in the sound system clicked and it became symphonic. That was done in theatres, not clubs. I had a drum machine to mix into, he hooked me up with a tape loop echo. All these things just came to me, but Alex taught me a lot about sound. At the old Gallery, the way the room was configured and the amount of sound we had, I think we surpassed David. Then we went to the new Gallery and had higher ceilings and a bigger room and never got any more equipment, whereas David had so much amazing equipment. How about the atmosphere? I would just start peaking one record after another and it would get so frantic on the floor that people would scream. There’s
a part in the movie when the whole dance floor is singing the words to ‘Turn the Beat Around’; they would do that all the time, and it wasn’t just one or two people, it was the entire room. It was all about the togetherness, and camaraderie. What were people wearing? The first Gallery was the fashion industry watering hole, every designer and model would be there. Stephen Burrows was bringing everyone like Calvin Klein, Willi Smith, Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, every Saturday night. Larry [Levan] used to wear these cap-sleeved shirts he made, and within a month they’re on the racks. There was a definite relationship. Calvin Klein jeans and all that stuff that happened with Calvin was all there at the Gallery. For a little dumpy club it was a real star-studded dress-up event. The record most associated with the Gallery is MFSB’s ‘Love is the Message’. How did you break that track? Michael Cappello and David Rodriguez [fellow Limelight DJ] took me to Jackie Thomas at CBS Records and she played [MFSB’s] ‘The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP)’ for us. We went nuts for it. Then I was playing at [midweek club] Le Jardin and the owner John Addison comes in the booth with this kid. He asked if the kid could play a few records. So he gets up and he puts on the other side of ‘TSOP’, which was ‘Love is the Message’. That was the first time I had heard it. So I took it home and started listening to it. On the original LP it was only a three-minute groove, and I realised if I just played that one part back and forth it would be really cool. I took it to the Gallery and started doing it over and over; from the back of the room I heard ‘Turn this motherfucker out!’ And it starts to grow. It was just a phenomenal electrical experience. Then we brought in the third turntable to play these sound effects when I was mixing two records. I started playing the jet plane noise over it, which Larry and Frankie [Knuckles] would both do. There was also this album Sonic Seasonings [by Wendy Carlos] with the sounds of a rainstorm and I would use that. Frankie and Larry were the two most famous people inspired by you. When did you see they had aspirations to DJ? Frankie never really came to me and said ‘I want to start playing records’ but Larry did. The Gallery had been open about a year when he said, ‘Can I play
CULTURE | Nicky Siano
Nicky Siano, 1976
records for a little bit?’ I said, ‘Sure’. So he asked me to show him what to do, and we sat there and fooled around a bit, playing records. He started at the [Continental] Baths, working the lights, then he started using my connections at record companies and got records for himself and started playing. Arthur Russell also came through the Gallery – how were you introduced? I used to see him dancing; he was an energetic dancer, to say the least. He was going out with my friend Louis and he came into the booth one day and said, ‘We can make a record like this’. So we started meeting and then went into the studio for ‘Kiss Me Again’. What was he like to work with? Arthur had a problem finishing things. He would just keep recording and recording. I had to stop him at some point. But ‘Kiss Me Again’ had a lot of very interesting things on it. David Byrne used to live downstairs from Arthur so we got him to play guitar on the record. We got really good musicians and it just came together. But Arthur was difficult to record with, he was a musical prodigy and sometimes those kind of people don’t speak English.
Tell me about the end of the Gallery? It should never have closed. I was on heavy drugs and not paying attention to playing records much. So when the lease came up, I had gotten tired of constantly bumping heads with my brother. I was like, ‘So fucking close it’. The day we auctioned the stuff, the guys came from Buttermilk Bottom and asked me to play. So we just moved down there, everyone came. We did it from 1977-81, but it was all about the [Paradise] Garage by then. How did you begin the HIV work? First of all I got sober – that was the most important thing. Then David Rodriguez got sick and died and I was really upset. It was a very bad time in New York. I got a job as a counsellor and then became the HIV coordinator. I went back to school and got my degree in social work and got a really good job as head of HIV services for this place in the Bronx. I wrote a book [No Time to Wait] about it. But after 12 years of doing all this I had eventually got burned out on it all. After a long break you eventually came back in the late 1990s. Two weeks after quitting [the HIV work] I got a call from François [Kevorkian] at
Body&Soul and he asked me to play for Larry’s birthday. That really was a magical night and it started everything again. What feelings do you get playing now compared with back at the Gallery? The first few years of the Gallery when I was sober I used to get this charge when I played. I still get it now, especially in places like the UK. When everything is working and you can feel the buzz in the room, it’s still amazing. It’s wonderful to still get that electric feeling.
Nicky Siano plays at The Date, with Danny Krivit, at the Loft Studios, London, NW10 on 5 April residentadvisor.net The documentary is out now loveisthemessagemovie.com
Lewis wears suit by Hackett; top by John Smedley. Jack wears sweater by Hackett; jeans by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; shoes by Robert Clergerie; belt by Ede&Ravenscroft.
Coach and Horses Photographs Robert Wyatt Styling Adam Howe Photographic Assistant Kate Hayward Styling Assistant Kazumi Grooming Jessica Mejia at Stella Creative Digital Operator Richie Hopson Lewis Starring Jack Gordon and Lewis Morris Location Coach and Horses, 29 Greek Street, London W1
Jack Gordon, 28, has starred in such films as Northern Soul, The Rules of the Game and Captain America: The First Avenger, and appears in Girlsâ€™ Night Out and Artificial Horizon, due out this year
hamiltonhodell.co.uk Lewis Morris, 25, starred in Top Dog and Northern Soul and is an associate of the National Youth Theatre, working on Shakespeare Masterclasses
Jack wears suit by Anthony Sinclair; sweater by John Smedley. Watch, on chopsticks, by Rolex.
Jack wears jacket by Leviâ€™s; sweater by John Smedley.
Lewis wears suit by Bally; shirt by Richard James. Jack wears cardigan, trousers and T-shirt by Gieves&Hawkes; belt by Uniqlo.
STYLE | Coach and Horses
Jack wears jacket by Bally; jeans by Next; sweater by John Smedley; shoes by Loake.
STYLE | Coach and Horses
Lewis wears suit and shirt by Tiger of Sweden; pocket square, stylistâ€™s own. Jack wears jacket and shirt by Hardy Amies; trousers by Gieves&Hawkes; hat by Lock&Co.
Lewis wears suit and top by Canali; shoes by Trickers x Hardy Amies; socks, stylistâ€™s own. Jack wears suit by Richard Anderson; shirt by Hackett; shoes by Loake; belt by Ede&Ravenscroft.
Jack wears jacket by Dunhill; trousers by Gieves&Hawkes; sweater by Margaret Howell; hat by Lock&Co. Lewis wears suit by Paul Smith; waistcoat by Kilgour; sweater by Dunhill.
STYLE | Coach and Horses
Jack wears suit, shirt and hat by Hackett.
Arthur Baker Finding the Funk. Paul Young. Planet Rock. Roland 808. Words Mark Webster Portrait Chris Tang
“Fuck yeah,” says Arthur Baker. My question was did he ever see himself as a music mogul; perhaps while getting on with the moguling business, maybe he lost sight of why he got into making, remixing, playing and releasing music in the first place? “If I had to do it all over again, I’d literally do the opposite of every decision I made,” he says. The kid from Boston matured into a multitasker of the highest order. His CV contains collaborations with the likes of Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, Bob Dylan, New Edition, New Order, Hall&Oates, Quincy Jones, Al Green and Bruce Springsteen. “My record collection when I was growing up had the Jackson Five, Thom Bell, Gamble&Huff, Norman Whitfield, Sly Stone,” Baker says, “but I also had the Allman Brothers, David Bowie, and I loved the blues. It was very eclectic compared to my friends. They all loved rock; they might have had Miles Davis’s In a Silent Way, but never the Jacksons or the Temptations. I felt really confident about what I liked; when that style of music morphed into what was to be known as disco, it was an easy move.” 148
Couple this with the fact that, “my first gig was Led Zeppelin. My second, the Rolling Stones – I was 12!” and what seems clear is there was an element of destiny in Baker’s move into the music business. His first job while still at high school “was working with a friend at his parent’s record shop over Christmas.” It wasn’t long before he was channelling all this love into something pragmatic and, at the end of the 1970s with disco well and truly alive, he borrowed some family money, went into a Boston recording studio and start making some himself. This, infamously, is where Baker got his first cold, hard lesson that the music business is just that – a business. It’s an acknowledged part of dance-music history that pioneering studio wizard Tom Moulton bought Baker’s tapes so as to cover the songs, but in reality simply ended up remixing the original tracks. Arthur is quoted as saying, “I got a bit screwed on that one.” It is likely the first example of his ‘do the opposite’ theory. Nevertheless, it did at least prove that he had the skills required to start contributing directly to the oeuvre. What’s
more, he had a release under his belt – ‘Kind of Life (Kind of Love)’ as North End on West End Records – he was DJing regularly and had taken a studio engineering course. By the time he moved to New York in 1981, Baker was ready for whatever came at him, which just happened to be the arrival of the city’s unique new art form, hip-hop. The same year, an environmental science major from White Plains, near New York, Tom Silverman, decided to start a record label. He’d hosted a disco show for his college radio, then gone on to start a dance tip sheet for the burgeoning underground disco scene. But it was time to put his money where his mouth was, and he started Tommy Boy Records. Baker watched the hip-hop scene go from strength to strength in a way he could easily relate to. “Without disco, those early hip-hop artists had nothing to DJ with, nothing to rap over. Disco tunes with a funky feel – the Emotions’ ‘Best of My Love’ and Cheryl Lynn’s ‘Got to be Real’ – that’s what you heard. The first record I worked on with Tommy Boy was Gwen McCrae’s ‘Funky Sensation’. >
Arthur Baker and Rockers Revenge, Music Factory, New York, 1982
That kept the label in business – we sold, like, 50,000 copies.” ‘Funky Sensation’ was an MC collaboration between one of the first rap ensembles, the Jazzy Five, and the man who had befriended and encouraged them to take their performance work to the next stage – Kevin Donovan, aka Afrika Bambaataa. Though clearly a successful notion, they didn’t record together again in that arrangement. But Bambaataa already had the Soulsonic Force going by then. “Bam played everything,” says Baker of the eclectic musical tastes and styles of the founder of the Zulu Nation. It was this cross-fertilisation of genres that created the first record of the electro generation, ‘Planet Rock’, in 1983. The album of the same name and another massive single, ‘Looking for the Perfect Beat’, further enhanced this partnership as something special – underpinned by the ‘perfect beat’ provided by newfangled drum machine the Roland 808. It is not what Baker saw as hip-hop’s destiny. “I never thought rap would last. After working on Beat Street [the film, for which he provided a track], I didn’t make any more rap records,” he says. 150
“Working with rappers was very difficult. They didn’t have any patience for the process, and really we were coming from different places, in the end. I was more into dance music,” as his hit as Rockers Revenge, ‘Walking on Sunshine’, and work with arch record-edit outfit the Latin Rascals paid testimony in the early 1980s.
‘AFTER BEAT STREET I DIDN’T MAKE ANY MORE RAP RECORDS’ “Then came the remixes,” he says, “which were lucrative. I went back into dance when house music came along, which I really liked. Then I started labels.” Baker happily admits he feels he was truly in his pomp “from 1982 to 1984. There were a couple of years there I was really locked in. I’d be taking that shit
to the clubs and playing it, and it all dropped. ‘Planet Rock’, ‘Play at Your Own Risk’ [as Planet Patrol], ‘IOU’ [by dance outfit Freeez], ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and ‘Confusion’ [with New Order] – they kept coming!” What’s more, one of his aforementioned labels, Streetwise, was founded in that period and launched the career of a young group of fellow Bostonians, New Edition, and with it a whole new world of swing beat. Those decisions Baker made – good, bad, or neither – has seen him continue to DJ, produce and remix, and even find time to set up boutique UK pool bars the Elbow Rooms. In the past few years, he has also pursued a creative avenue he first dabbled with on Beat Street. “I thought I wanted to write a book,” he says, “but I didn’t want to write an autobiography yet. I’d been talking to a guy, Luke Bainbridge, about taking ‘Planet Rock’ as one of 10 iconic tracks and talking about them. That conversation started about five or six years ago, then I got talking to an acquaintance who had a production company, so it’s morphed into 808: The Movie, a documentary. At the same time I had another documentary
MUSIC | Arthur Baker
Arthur Baker with Sly and Robbie, Sorcerer Sound Recording Studios, New York, 1984
on the go, Finding the Funk, that Nelson George has directed.” George has been a friend since Baker was a DJ in Boston and George was editing black music magazine Record World. He went on to be music editor for trade magazine Billboard in the 1980s and wrote two definitive books on black music, Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound and The Death of Rhythm and Blues. He also helped fellow Brooklynite Spike Lee get off the ground by part-financing his directorial debut She’s Gotta Have It. “I talked to Nelson about my theory that hip-hop killed the funk band,” says Baker, “because where hip-hop samples funk, it doesn’t really lend itself to kids actually making new funk. But Nelson came from a more political perspective; that schools weren’t funding music. But, bottom line, you wanted to capture the moment, because a lot of these guys are going to be dead soon! Before we even started, I was desperate to get Jimmy Castor, and he died before we’d begun. But we did get the first really great Sly Stone interview in years, and George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Nile Rodgers.” Back to the machine that would have to be prime subject in the slaying of the funk band. The 808 was invented in the early 1980s by Mr Nakamura and Mr
Matsuoka of Roland, primarily as a tool for making demos, but by decade’s end had become the backbeat for hip-hop artists whose instruments were records, decks and various electronics. “We talked to Hank Shocklee [Bomb Squad], Rick Rubin [Def Jam co-founder]. Man Parrish, Jam&Lewis, all guys who pretty much started when I did. But it is not just about nostalgia – these guys, they go back to it. Rick says in the film, ‘I use my 808 all the time.’ ‘99 Problems’ [which Rubin produced for Jay-Z] was all 808 drums. Jam&Lewis both use the actual machine. I mean, we interviewed Pharrell and he uses the drum sounds but hasn’t even seen an actual 808. Jim Jonsin, he’s like the man; lives in Florida, produces all the new school hiphop. He has one, but uses samples. He swaps them with Lil Wayne, and they build on it and build on it. This is what’s interesting about the film, for me. You’ll find there’s never been a time when that sound wasn’t around – jungle, Miami bass, drum‘n’bass. We interviewed [David] Guetta, and that EDM sound all has some sort of 808. The technology has changed but the appeal of the sounds has never gone away. Questlove, who is the narrator on the funk documentary, describes the 808 as the electric guitar of hip-hop.”
As Baker says, “I get bored quickly. If I’d stuck with one thing, I’d have been much better off. Ideas, I can do all day, it’s then just following them through.” His two latest projects have him back behind the desk of a recording studio. The first: “I had this idea to start a label called Re:Covered and get some iconic singers to do classic songs. Pick a theme, do a cover album; and the first is with Paul Young. “I’ve been doing it with a great piano player, James Hallawell, who plays with the Waterboys, and the first gig he ever saw was [Young’s first band] the Q-Tips opening for the Who.” The other project in progress is “Baked Records. I’m going through a lot of my back catalogue, rejigging, remixing, finding things that never got out there.” 808: The Movie is screening at SXSW 808themovie.com The documentary Finding the Funk is out on Vimeo with a soundtrack on Spotify Paul Young’s Soul Love and Arthur Baker featuring Les Sun Rae ‘Deep in the Night’ are out now atlanticrecords.com newstate.co.uk
Yuichi, 29, head designer at Social Costume socialcostume.com, wears jacket by Spiewak x Narifuri; trousers by Sacai; sweater by H&M; top by Uniqlo; trainers by Nike.
Paul, 31, teacher, wears jacket by Spiewak x Narifuri; jeans by Nudie Jeans; sweater, modelâ€™s own; trainers by Nike; bag by Narifuri.
Daisuke, 39, bartender, wears shirt by Spiewak x Narifuri; trousers by Narifuri; T-shirt by Ambell; trainers by Adidas; hat by Sayhello; necklace and watch, model’s own.
Spiewak x Narifuri Words Edward Moore Photographs Ichikawa Styling Kumiko Kobayashi and Soichiro Kobayashi Cyclists Yuichi Nakamura, Paul Shin and Daisuke Yazawa
Last year Spiewak celebrated its 100th anniversary – since its founding in 1904 in Brooklyn, its Golden Fleece logo has donned outerwear and gear used by the US Armed Forces in both world wars, not to mention today’s emergency,
safety and transport workers worldwide. This season, the brand joins forces with eight-year-old Japanese cycling brand Narifuri to reinterpret a series of its archival pieces built specifically for the daily commute. Included in the
collection is the MA-1 cycling bomber, the M-3 road jacket and the N3-B bridge parka. spiewak1904.com narifuri.com
Analogue Future Tim Berners-Lee. GCHQ. Nicholas Carr. Edward Snowden. Martha Lane Fox. Vinyl. Words Chris May Photographs Elliot Kennedy
It’s enough to make you think twice before getting on a plane again... In June 2009, an Air France Airbus A330 flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed into the Atlantic killing all 228 people on board. An investigation found that the autopilot had failed and, faced with flying the plane manually, the pilots suffered what investigators called “a total loss of cognitive control of the situation”. In other words, the pilots, de-skilled by years of reliance on an autopilot, had lost the ability to fly the plane. The digitally-enabled automation and artificial intelligence that renders pilots unable to fly is being mirrored across an ever-widening field of human activity. Algorithm-programmed computers are tasked to parse legal documents and create trial strategies, design buildings, diagnose illness and prescribe treatment, manage investment funds, and operate policing and weapons systems. GPS navigation systems mean a generation has grown up unable to read maps. In The Glass Cage: Where Automation is Taking Us, the new follow-up to his 154
Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, Nicholas Carr offers persuasive evidence that in becoming “a ward of our phones” we are eroding the qualities that make us human, that focusing on screens or devices leaves us disengaged and discontented. Stephen Hawking puts it more chillingly. “The development of full artificial intelligence,” he said last year, “could spell the end of the human race.” Hawking and Carr are not alone in sounding alarm bells about digital technology – from artificial intelligence (AI), through electronic mass surveillance (EMS), to the replacement of physical arts and crafts artefacts by lower-definition online formats. Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the world wide web 25 years ago, and Martha Lane Fox, founder of www.lastminute.com and one of the first people to become rich by harnessing the internet, are worried, too. None of these people can be accused of being an antidigital Luddite, and the questions they ask are also being asked by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of web
users. How far from the physical world do we want to retreat? How do we regain our privacy? How can online technology be redirected to serve private citizens rather than corporate interests? Where is the escape hatch? Can we pause and rewind? Berners-Lee leads the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards body which campaigns for ethical protocols for web users and technicians. Speaking at a W3C conference last year, he said an “online Magna Carta” is needed to protect the independence of the internet and the rights of its users, both of which are increasingly under attack from governments and corporations. “We need a global constitution, a bill of rights,” said Berners-Lee. “Unless we have an open, neutral internet we can rely on without worrying what’s happening at the back door, we can’t have open government, good democracy, connected communities and diversity of culture. “These issues have crept up on us. Our rights are being infringed more and more on every side, and the danger is that we get used to it… [I want us] to take the >
Liam Saint-Pierre, filmmaker cine-real.com
Mark Winstanley, Pauline Leclercq, Amelie Genestine-Charlton and Harriet Smelt, Wyvern Bindery, London wyvernbindery.com
web back into our own hands and define the web we want for the next 25 years. I want a web where I’m not spied on, where there’s no censorship. It’s not naïve to think we can have that, but it is naïve to think we can just sit back and get it.” Speaking to the BBC late last year, Lane Fox attacked claims by Robert Hannigan, director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency, that technology companies were not doing enough to prevent social networks becoming the communications media of choice for terrorists. In an opinion piece in the Financial Times, Hannigan had argued that, “Privacy has never been an absolute right and the debate about this shouldn’t become a reason for postponing urgent and difficult decisions.” Lane Fox said Hannigan’s claims were “Reactionary and inflammatory... The boundaries between personal space and digital space have been blurred and the public are right to demand that both remain private. I would not want GCHQ to come and rummage in my front room and that is how I feel about whatever device I am using. We have to have a debate about how we handle the complexities of this brave new world.” Recent terrorist outrages have given Hannigan and his allies, who include virtually all state presidents and prime ministers, opportunities to press their case for EMS of their citizens. Former CIA system administrator Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance 156
programme, was last year invited to submit evidence to a European Parliament inquiry into EMS. Snowden’s testimony can be read in its entirety at frendo.se – a website run by Swedish journalist Per Agerman, who has, for a decade, closely followed the development of the surveillance and control apparatus available to governments. Among much else, Snowden told the inquiry that EMS was both ineffective and immoral. “The suspicionless surveillance programs of the NSA, GCHQ and so many others we learned about over the last year endanger a number of basic rights which, in aggregate, constitute the foundation of liberal societies,” he said. “I believe that suspicionless surveillance not only fails to make us safe, but actually makes us less safe. By squandering precious, limited resources on ‘collecting it all’, we end up with more analysts trying to make sense of harmless political dissent and fewer investigators running down real leads. Investing in mass surveillance at the expense of traditional, proven methods can cost lives, and history has shown my concerns are justified.” In Laura Poitras’s documentary Citizenfour, Snowden summed up his argument: “We are building the biggest weapon for oppression in the history of mankind.” Per Agerman believes technological advance will continue to come with a dark side. “The main threat is embedded in technology itself,” he says. “We are going to see some amazing technological achievements in the years ahead. In many respects, this is positive, but since most technology has surveillance of some
kind built into it from the ground up – driven by both state and commercial interests – this is something we get whether we want it or not and most of the time you do not even know that your privacy is being tampered with.” Commenting on reports that MI5 operatives now file sensitive information on typewriters rather than computers, Agerman adds: “We now have the absurd situation where security agencies are keeping their systems offline, but you and I are hard-wired 24/7. The bad news is that there is no app you can download to fix the problem. The built-in surveillance features of modern technology and communication networks have been around since the early 1990s. It’s partly a question of making this a political issue. Data protection and privacy have been on the agenda for a long time and it’s time to stop being tranquilised by empty words from government agencies. “It’s also about taking action as consumers, as family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours. We have to ask ourselves what kind of technological features we want in our daily lives. I think one of the reasons why Google Glass didn’t make it was that it went some way towards turning you into a surveillance robot, and no one wants to hang out with such a person. Maybe common sense about privacy and good manners has something to teach us in the digital age.” The online threats to our qualitative experience of arts and crafts may not seem as dramatic as those posed by automation, AI and EMS. No one is likely
CULTURE | Analogue Future to die because a craft skill is lost or music is listened to on a low-definition online format instead of high-definition vinyl. The dangers are more subtle than that. In a video made for the Victoria & Albert Museum last year, artist Grayson Perry said: “What I think is tricky about the digital revolution is that it’s intangible. It’s the fact that whatever you do with a computer, you only ever interact with the computer as a go-between, between you and the finished thing. I’ve done works which are digitised and there is something very different in the relationship with the finished product. It’s not a kind of organic relationship of mutual impact that you might have with clay. “In our lifetime we have seen our relationship to making things change. My father’s generation, utility man, could mend anything in the house. He could build a wall, he could install the central heating, he could rebuild the car engine, he could even have a tinker in the back of the telly because he was very good at that sort of thing. So we’ve gone from that to a point where people can’t change a plug. It’s regarded as kind of a skill if you can bake bread or something really basic like that.” Another British craftsman, Pete Hutchinson, whose Electric Recording Company reproduces rare 1950s and 1960s LPs using only vintage, valvedriven analogue equipment, puts it more forcibly. “The CD devalued music,” says Hutchinson, “then we moved to MP3, which is the worst thing anyone could listen to. Since the 1980s, we have gone backwards and now, most rational people are realising vinyl is far superior to digital and that we were conned.” Then there is the issue of how digitalisation is undermining the ability of authors, musicians and other creative professionals to make a living. Consumers are growing up who expect to receive books at unsustainably cheap prices on screen devices, and their music ever more cheaply on streaming services. In an essay for the Guardian in 2013, David Byrne did the maths. “For a band of four people that makes a 15 percent royalty from Spotify streams, it would take 236,549,020 streams for each person to earn a minimum wage of £9,435 a year... Musicians are increasingly suspicious of the money and equity changing hands between these services and record labels... Spotify gave $500m in advances to major labels in the US for the right to license their catalogues. That was an ‘advance’
against income, so theoretically it’s not the labels’ money to pocket. The labels also got equity; so they are now partners and shareholders in Spotify, which is valued at around $3bn. That income from equity, when and if the service goes public, does not have to be shared with the artists. It seems obvious that some people are making a lot on this deal, while the artists have been left with meagre scraps.” Iggy Pop warmed to this theme in his John Peel Lecture at the 2014 Radio Festival in Salford. The music industry, he said, was now “laughably, maybe almost entirely, pirate”, that electronic devices had “estranged people from their morals, making it easier to steal music than to pay for it.” Musicians who had previously been cheated by record labels were now being mugged by a digitallyarmed public. “Now, everybody is a bootlegger, and not so cute as before, and there are people out there just
‘WE ARE BUILDING THE BIGGEST WEAPON FOR OPPRESSION IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND’ stealing stuff and saying, ‘Don’t try to force me to pay.’ That act of thieving will become a habit, and that’s bad for everybody... We are exchanging the corporate rip-off for the public one.” If he relied on income from streaming, said Pop, “I’d be tending bar between sets.” Taylor Swift, meanwhile, has removed her entire back-catalogue from Spotify. Her music remains available online only on premium services. “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music,” Swift told the Observer in November, “and I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free… I think it’s really still up for debate whether this is actual
progress, or whether this is taking the word ‘music’ out of the music industry.” When it comes to analogue values in music, literature, journalism and the visual arts, there are signs of retention and renaissance. After a switch to a digitalonly publication in 2013, America’s Newsweek magazine returned to print in 2014 – readers and advertisers had each overwhelmingly rejected digital editions. In Britain, Waterstones CEO James Daunt recently announced that the chain was about to break even after years of loss-making, and was showing signs of modest growth. “More people than ever are reading,” said Daunt, “and e-book sales have peaked at around 30 percent of the market. Waterstones can make a living from the 70 percent that’s left over. It does feel like the end of the beginning.” Mark Winstanley, of the Wyvern Bindery in Clerkenwell, is also optimistic. “I have a Yellow Pages from 1951,” he says. “There are three and half pages of book binders and print finishers. If every one went into Yellow Pages now, you’d probably get about half a page. Most of the big binderies no longer exist. But demand for one-off craft book-binding is growing.” Since founding the bindery in 1990, ten of Winstanley’s colleagues have left to successfully open their own artisan binderies. Liam Saint-Pierre, of Hackney’s 16mm film night Ciné-Real, reports growing interest in the group’s monthly screenings. “There’s a warmth and richness to film that gives it a particular feeling,” he says. “It’s not a cerebral thing, it’s emotional. It’s similar to why we like sitting in front of an open fire rather than a radiator. A radiator is convenient but there’s something about an open fire. If you watch a Technicolor print it’s just amazing. Digital can try and recreate it, but it’s not there yet. It’s got something to do with appreciating things that are imperfect. It’s more human, perhaps.” Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Quentin Tarantino has recently become curator of the New Beverly Cinema, which only screens movies on celluloid. But so far the analogue resurgence is strongest in vinyl. In 2014, vinyl record sales were up over 50 percent in both Britain and the US. It is now possible for bands in London and several US cities to record and master their music in local analogue studios, release it on a specialist vinyl label, and sell it in vinyl-only shops. In London, here are some of the key players in the analogue-artisan chain: > 157
Jonathan McMillan, Smokehouse Recording Studios smokehousestudios.co.uk An Aladdin’s cave of analogue recording We pick used ones up and keep them in kit and vintage instruments, Wapping’s a warehouse – it’s cheaper to cannibalise Smokehouse was set up in 1985, ten years spares than to pay a technician to fix a after its fully-analogue multi-track mobile part at £350 a day. So in some ways studio, which began life as Ronnie Lane we’re relearning the skills, but in other Mobile Studio, recording Led Zeppelin’s ways it’ll just become too difficult.” Physical Graffiti and the Who’s The Who McMillan says the analogue learning by Numbers. In 2013, to meet the growing curve of young producers and engineers demand for analogue recording facilities, needs accelerating, as more experienced Smokehouse opened a second suite. Last personnel won’t always be around to pass year, it began night recording sessions. on knowledge. “Some of the guys I work Analogue is jumping; McMillan’s worry with have forgotten more about analogue is the dwindling number of technicians recording than I’ll ever know,” he says. available to service period equipment. “They had rigid limitations they had to “The skills to operate the hardware work within and master. I don’t have that. will always be around,” says McMillan, If I have a problem, I can hit all sorts of “because producing and engineering are solutions, so there are definite skills I don’t luxurious jobs that people like to do. But have, like with editing tape together. the technician coming in with a soldering They used to do some crazy stuff. If they iron and replacing a circuit here, knowing wanted to just erase one little thing that what to do when bits go wrong – that’s was too brief to use the erase button on, a generation we’ll lose. These machines they could work out the exact spot where aren’t being made anymore, so it will come the glitch was horizontally and vertically down to cannibalising a finite number on the two-inch 24-track tape, then go of old machines, like our tape machine. to that spot and cut a tiny hole out of it.” 158
On one level, digital technology is about making problem-solving easier, not about discovering original solutions. “One of the earliest things everyone credited to digital technology,” says McMillan, “was making bad drummers seem better. If you had a drummer who couldn’t play well in time, you tightened him up by chopping up the audio, repasting it in a different order and cross-fading the empty sections. Everyone likes to think that was a new idea that came with the computer, but it’s just the recreation of an old idea. Nobody talked about it, it was a dirty secret; but in the digital age you can’t keep a secret. “Another thing people think is new is auto-tune. It started in 1974 with the Eventide H910 Harmonizer. There were guys who would go in, tuning one note at a time to get a performer from mediocre to excellent, with tape and a Harmonizer. Digital technology often comes down to reinventing the wheel.”
CULTURE | Analogue Future David Hill, Bridford Music bridfordmusic.com A member of 1990s group Ballistic Brothers and co-founder of Nuphonic Records, this April, David Hill opens state-of-the-art analogue disc-mastering studio and label Bridford Music, to release the “ultimate editions” of classic soul and jazz LPs from the 1950s and 1960s, improving on modern reissues by precisely replicating the valve-driven mastering process used on the albums’ release. “Compared with the original LP pressings,” says Hill, “you often find that the newer, so-called audiophile pressings have maybe a bit more sparkle, a bit more high-definition showiness, but what they generally lack is the warmth, oomph and atmosphere of the original pressings. We attribute that to the mastering chain having changed. The chain is: you get the original master tape, play it on your reelto-reel machine, it goes through various equalisers, compressors, limiters and then to an amplifier for the cutter head, which cuts the vinyl on the lathe. “Our reference point is always the first pressing from the recording’s country of origin, because that’s likely to have been the release approved by both the producer and the artist. For subsequent repressings, those guys were rarely consulted, and as time passed and the recording was remastered again and again, the sound deviated further and further from what was originally approved. So we’re going back to the basics by putting the original mastering chain in place. “We’ve spent the last two years, and not a small amount of money, sourcing all-American valve equipment from the late 1950s through to the mid-1960s, which has given us an entirely periodauthentic mastering chain to reissue from the original masters. We’ve got close relationships with major record labels, which gives us access to great music and first-generation master tapes. We’ll be issuing Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, all that great music – that’s what we’ll be getting off the blocks with.” Bridford has taken over two years in planning and construction, largely due to the difficulty of sourcing authentic valvedriven equipment. “That’s been the biggest challenge,” says Hill. “Finding the right components in a decent state, and then checking and reconditioning them. It’s not just getting valve kit, it’s getting the right valve kit. One console we’ve got was made by RCA – the 76D – the one Elvis and Johnny Cash recorded
on at Sun Studios. Ours is a slightly later variant with stereo output as well as mono. There are only five examples known to exist – one is in a museum in Memphis, two are rusted-out. We have two. One is the original location-recording version that Riverside used to record Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, all those guys, in the 1950s. Monk is pictured in front of the studio version on the cover of Thelonious Himself. There’s a story to practically every bit of kit we’ve sourced.” As well as the reissues, Bridford will produce high-definition digital files for labels to release in digital formats.
“The digital conversion will be made at the last point in the mastering process,” says Hill. “Until that point, all-valve vintage analogue technology will be used. High-def is about to take off because smartphone makers now have the ability to stream it. Bridford high-def won’t reach quite the same standard as the vinyl, but it will be very, very close and a huge improvement on most existing digital versions of 1950s, 1960s and 1970s music.” >
Sean Bidder, Vinyl Factory thevinylfactory.com Vinyl Factory was founded in 2001 when a pair of property developers bought EMI Records’ pressing plant in Hayes, Middlesex. “EMI were selling the plant off as a property deal, not as a business,” says creative director Sean Bidder. “They didn’t think there was a future in vinyl.” The guys who started Vinyl Factory were originally interested in the site, but quickly realised there was an opportunity to take the existing pressing business on. “It was a big challenge and a lot of people thought they were mad. In its heyday the plant pressed maybe 25 million records a year; by 2001 that was down to two million. We were fortunate in that the acquisition coincided with a DJ boom and resurgence 160
in 12” demand. Ironically, once EMI sold Vinyl Factory the plant, almost overnight they were our biggest customer.” Bidder believes a key reason for vinyl’s growing popularity is the undimmed allure of well-crafted physical artefacts. “There’s always going to be a part of us that wants tangibility,” he says. “People are rediscovering the pleasures of owning a record, the act of playing it, the fact that it’s fun – and, of course, there’s the audio quality. The most amazing thing is that a generation of people who grew up without owning records is getting into them, even if the price entry point is high – if streaming is the ‘norm’, paying even £10 for a record seems exponentially more
than most people are prepared to pay. But if you look at the ease and convenience of streaming, it’s almost too easy. Good things don’t have to be inconvenient, but at the same time maybe it becomes too dismissible, too fleeting. I think the more you put into something, the more you get out of it. With vinyl, you have to get up, turn it over, make a bit of an effort. It’s a laborious process, like making mixtapes used to be. But by the time you gave someone that tape you knew it inside out. It had become part of you. Because you’d put time and passion into it.” The label also runs a record store, Phonica, in Poland Street, Soho, and publishes an online magazine. Artists to have released records with Vinyl Factory include David Byrne, David Lynch, Gorillaz, Massive Attack, Paul Weller, Pet Shop Boys and Primal Scream – plus visual artists such as Dinos Chapman and Jeremy Deller. “For me, records have always been visual objects,” says Bidder. “The thing that attracts you is the cover. With some labels – Factory, for instance – you can’t think about the records without thinking about the covers. When artists started coming to us, they’d often have a graphic designer they wanted to work with, and we gave them more of an opportunity to express themselves than major labels did. We go about it the other way round – let’s spend more money and make it look amazing! And charge a bit more for it, in the belief that people will want to buy something that looks substantial and feels great. We gave designers the opportunity to try different print techniques or materials, and from there it was a natural step to work with people who are perhaps primarily known as visual artists but who have an interest in sound, too. Complementing its audio activities, Vinyl Factory has two gallery spaces, in Soho and Chelsea, and collaborations with audiovisual artists have become a key strand of its identity. Trevor Jackson, premiered his latest audiovisual exhibition Format in Soho. “We created a mobile Vinyl Factory,” says Bidder. “We have a handpress in the gallery and we’re going to hand-press records. Every weekend there’ll be live performances in the gallery and we’ll record them, cut them direct to lacquer, and take that disc up to Hayes on the Monday morning, do the metal work, get the lacquer back to the gallery and press the records. We’re going to do that every week.”
CULTURE | Analogue Future Jake Holloway, Love Vinyl love-vinyl.net Hoxton’s Love Vinyl is a four-way venture between DJs/promoters Stuart Patterson (a resident Rootikal selector alongside Bridford’s David Hill) and James Manero, and record dealers Jake Holloway and Zaf Chowdhry. The shop, which opened last summer, is two businesses under one roof: one counter deals in primarily dance releases and reissues; a second in secondhand and vintage rock, reggae, soul, jazz, house, hip-hop and African music. “I was approached by James, who has a bar round the corner,” says Patterson. “He said, ‘I’ve got a shop space and I’m
thinking of doing a vinyl shop, what do you think?’ I said, I think you’re mad. “But we’re in a back street, and that’s reflected in the rent. So there’s minimal risk, but as much as people are saying vinyl is on the up, the market is still very small, especially my side, the new vinyl. But there’s a lot of interest in vintage and so I talked to Zaf, who ran Reckless Records in the West End for 20 years, and Jake, who had a shop in Walthamstow. When they came on board, it kind of gave us the best of both worlds. Business is good and the longer we’re here, the more people find about us, and it gets better.”
“We’re getting a lot of customers from the generation that didn’t grow up with vinyl,” says Holloway. “I think the revival will stick around. I don’t think it’s a fad. My problem is getting the stock; what happens now is people who have records have the internet and they sell them on Discogs or Ebay. Or they pick up a James Brown album and see someone asking £50 for it online, so they want £30 for it. And you say, ‘You’ve seen people asking for £50 but it won’t actually go for that much.’ Everyone now is a record dealer, because all the info is there on your phone.
Amir wears top by Ermenegildo Zegna; trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna Couture; shoes by Bass; sunglasses by Hydes Spectacles; bag by Polo Ralph Lauren.
Droit au But
Photographs David Goldman Styling Salim Ahmed-Kashmirwala Photographic Assistant Dan Douglass Styling Assistant Nicolas Payne-Baader Grooming Despina Economou using Nars and Bumble&Bumble The French Connection Alice Dallin-Walker soundcloud.com/alicedw and Amir Qorbanzadeh facebook.com/pages/crazy-4-calisthenics
Amir wears top by Adidas.
Amir wears top and trousers by Missoni; watch by Panerai; bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Droit au But
Amir wears jacket by Andrea Pompilio; trousers by Ermenegildo Zegna Couture; vest by Ermenegildo Zegna; watch by Panerai; bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
Amir wears top by Canali; bracelet, modelâ€™s own.
STYLE | Droit au But
Amir wears suit by Polo Ralph Lauren; T-shirt by Missoni; shoes by Bass; sunglasses by Hyde’s Spectacles; watch by Panerai; bracelet, model’s own; ring, stylist’s own.
STYLE | Droit au But
Amir wears jacket by Polo Ralph Lauren; trousers by Cos; T-shirt by Hentsch Man; sunglasses by Emmanuelle Khanh; bracelet, model’s own; ring, stylist’s own. Alice wears jacket by Versus by Versace; trousers by Cos; shoes by DSquared2; sunglasses by Andy Wolf Eyewear; jewellery by Atelier Swarovski Core Collection.
Miles Davis Birth of the Cool. Hard Bop. Don Cheadle. Bitches Brew. Words Chris May
One night in September 1957, around 3am, the Rothschild heir and jazz patron Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter was driving Thelonious Monk, his wife, and pianist Hampton Hawes uptown after a gig by Monk’s quartet at the Five Spot on New York’s Lower East Side. The Baroness, a keen small-hours road racer, had a brand-new Bentley S1 Continental Drophead Coupe, whose top speed of 120mph made it the fastest four-seat production car on the market. Halted at traffic lights on 7th Avenue, she was idly gunning the Bentley’s engine when Miles Davis drew up alongside in his Mercedes-Benz two-seater. “Want to race?” Davis called through the window. Accepting the challenge, the Baroness turned to Monk and Hawes in the back and said, in her cut-glass English accent, “This time I believe I’m going to beat the motherfucker.” Hawes told the story in his autobiography Raise Up Off Me, but neglected to say who won the race. Few jazz musicians in 1957 were able to afford sports cars, and few of those who could were African-American. But Davis, who had signed a deal in 1955 with Columbia Records that reputedly made him the best-paid artist in jazz, owned a string of them over the next 30 years, including top-of-the-range Ferraris and Lamborghinis. During this time he was also, by general consent, the bestdressed, all-round coolest man in jazz. “For me,” said Davis, “music and life are all about style.” Davis played singular, adventurous jazz from 1945, the year he joined Charlie 170
Parker’s quintet at age 19, until a few months before his death in 1991. With his 1950s and ‘60s quintets, he made some of the most exquisite small-group jazz ever recorded. More than this, he turned jazz on its head five times – practically the only relevant American jazz style to emerge during Davis’s lifetime in which he did not play a primary, kickstarting role, was free-improv, which he dismissed as the preserve of charlatans. Few other 20th-century artists, in any field, worked in such a state of near-permament revolution. Even Pablo Picasso only came close. In jazz, Davis’s contemporaries Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane each changed everything just once. “I always gotta change,” said Davis. “It’s like a curse.” 1. Davis’s first invention was cool jazz. Never entirely comfortable with Charlie Parker’s rapid-fire, pyrotechnical bop, he introduced a mellower, more nuanced approach on a series of 1949-50 singles which were compiled on the album Birth of the Cool (1957). The nine-piece band’s chamber-like arrangements were mostly written by other musicians, but Davis was the driving force of the project. The so-called West Coast jazz of the 1950s associated with Stan Getz, Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan (who wrote some Birth of the Cool arrangements and was a member of the studio nonet) began here. 2. Next, Davis swung hot. His funkedup, steady-paced, gospel-drenched 1954 album Walkin’ was the first eruption of hard bop, aka soul jazz, which became the signature sound of African-American jazz
for a decade. The pianist on the album was Horace Silver, hard bop’s standardbearer once Davis had moved on again. 3. Shake-up number three was a trilogy of big-band collaborations between Davis and another Birth of the Cool arranger, Gil Evans. Recorded between 1957 and 1960, Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain revitalised and recalibrated orchestral jazz, significantly extending its textural palette. Sketches of Spain wove Iberian and Maghrebi musics into the jazz tradition, something for which Davis was at the time widely criticised by some African-American musicians. 4. Like Sketches of Spain, Davis’s concurrent small-band invention, the moody modal-jazz of 1959’s Kind of Blue has become so dinner-party familiar that its seismic impact on release is hard to imagine today. By removing the more or less complex chord-progressions on which jazz had been based, and replacing them with ostinato-driven, one-chord scales (modes), Kind of Blue paved the way for John Coltrane’s 1964 masterpiece A Love Supreme and the Pharoah Sanders/Alice Coltrane-led astral jazz movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 5. Davis’ final upset was electric jazz, with which he reached an early peak on 1970’s Bitches Brew. He explored electric directions until 1976, when he began a five-year hiatus precipitated by cocaine psychosis and general ill-health. Davis’s electric innovations paved the way first for jazz-rock, then jazz-funk. Most of his electric-era albums were collaborations >
Photograph William Claxton, 1957
Photograph Aram Avakian, 1955
with producer Teo Macero, whose postproduction tape editing and manipulation were as revolutionary as John Cage’s own composing processes, though approached with deliberation rather than Cage’s dicethrowing and I Ching-inspired chance. Born in 1926, Miles Dewey Davis III was the 20th-century US equivalent of a modern British mockney, his speech peppered with expletives and street grammar. Raised in an affluent, middleclass family in East St Louis, Missouri – his father was a dentist who bred cattle on his 300-acre ranch in Arkansas – Davis wanted for nothing as a child. He was given his first trumpet when he was 12, followed by private music lessons. He decided to become a jazz musician early on, and by age 16 was gigging semiprofessionally with touring “territory” bands based in East St Louis. In this career path, unusually for an AfricanAmerican of his class at the time, he was supported, or at least tolerated, by his parents. Davis’s father, in particular, seems to have been wonderfully nonjudgemental – in 1954, when Davis resolved to kick an eight-year heroin habit by going cold turkey, he helped with unqualified love and practical help. 172
Davis’s father was also a rock when it came to civil rights. “My father was problack, very pro-black,” Davis told writer Quincy Troupe in 1986. “Back in those days [the 1920s and 1930s] someone like him was called a ‘race man’. Definitely not an Uncle Tom… he was a great admirer of Marcus Garvey. Some of his African classmates at Lincoln University, like Nkrumah of Ghana, became presidents of their countries, or high up in their governments, so he had these powerful African contacts. My father [once] went looking for a white man who had chased me and called me a nigger. He went looking for him with a loaded shotgun. He didn’t find him, but I hate to think what would have happened if he had.” Davis himself was closely associated with the fight for African-American dignity and equal rights, and for jazz to be recognised as an art form on a par with European classical music – struggles which for Davis were interconnected. In the mid-1950s, he adopted what would be a lifelong, non-smiling and nonspeaking stage persona, explaining that to act otherwise would be a distraction from the music. Many white audience members, including some influential
critics, found this unpalatable in an African-American “entertainer” and accused Davis of being racist. “White people started saying I was always ‘angry’, that I was ‘racist’, or some silly shit like that,” Davis recalled later. “Now, I’ve been racist toward nobody, but that don’t mean I’m going to take shit from a person just because he’s white. I didn’t grin or shuffle and didn’t walk around with my finger up my ass begging for no handout and thinking I was inferior to whites. I was living in America, too, and I was going to try to get everything that was coming to me.” As with the boxer Jack Johnson before him, it was Davis’s critics, unable to accept an African-American on his own uncompromising terms, who were the racists. And Davis ran into flak from African-Americans, too, over the evenhanded way he recruited musicians. He was employing white musicians as early as the late 1940s, at a time when “mixed” bands were still unusual. “A lot of black musicians came down on my case about their not having work,” Davis wrote in Miles: The Autobiography (1989), “and here I was hiring white guys in my [Birth of the Cool] band. I just told them that if a guy could play as good as Lee Konitz played – that’s who they were mad about most, because there were a lot of black alto players around – I would hire him every time, and I wouldn’t give a damn if he was green with red breath. I’m hiring a motherfucker to play, not for what colour he is. When I told them that, a lot of them got off my case. But a few of them stayed mad with me.” Twenty years later, Davis’s In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew bands prominently featured three white musicians: Austrian keyboardist Joe Zawinul, and British guitarist John McLaughlin and bassist Dave Holland. Davis’s most important arrangers/producers Gil Evans and Teo Macero were both white, as were several of his longtime girlfriends, such as the French singer and actress Juliette Greco. But if Davis was not anti-white, he was assertively pro-black. “Why’d you put that white bitch on there?” he asked Columbia producer George Avakian in 1957, on the release of Miles Ahead. From then on, if a photograph of a woman was used as an album cover shot, Davis insisted she be African-American. And Davis always liked to be noticed, to shock. “If somebody told me I only had an hour to live,” he said in a 1985 interview with
CINEMA | Miles Davis
African-American magazine Jet, “I’d spend it choking a white man. I’d do it nice and slow.” Yet every white musician who ever worked with him and was asked if Davis was racist has laughed at the idea. Davis formed his first band in 1948, three years after moving to New York and joining Charlie Parker’s seminal bop quintet. Davis always made a point of employing the most virtuosic musicians, while many leaders of small groups, as he primarily was, recruited from a tier down, afraid of being outshone on the bandstand. While not a premier-league technician on the trumpet – partly because he never practised, preferring to stay fresh for performances – Davis was sufficiently secure in his playing to realise that the better company he kept, the stronger his groups would sound. Sidemen who themselves went on to be distinguished bandleaders included saxophonists Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, and keyboardists Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Bill Evans and Joe Zawinul. As a leader, Davis did whatever it took to get his musicians in the moment, but his instructions tended towards the enigmatic. “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there,” he famously told nervous young recruit John McLaughlin in 1969. Only rarely was he prescriptive. Davis is said to have told pianist Red Garland to “play like Ahmad Jamal”, his great keyboard inspiration in the mid1950s. Rarer still was he proscriptive. In 1957, he tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade John Coltrane, then in his prolix “sheets of sound” phase, to play shorter, more compressed solos. “But I can’t,” Coltrane said on one occasion, “Once I get started I don’t know how to stop.” “Try taking the fucking horn out of your mouth,” said Davis. If necessary, Davis needled rather than coaxed his musicians into greatness. On one occasion, he stood behind an underpar Sonny Rollins, who was depping for Coltrane at a gig, and whispered into his ear, “As soon as Trane’s better, he’s back.” Despite this, most musicians (including Rollins) loved working with Davis, remembering him with affection and their time with him as uniquely fulfilling. Like his father had been towards him, Davis was non-judgemental with heroin addicts. Even after he had kicked his own habit, he continued to employ them – from the mid-1940s through to the early 1960s in the US, if you wanted
the best musicians, there was often no choice. Davis knew that most musicianjunkies had started using heroin for the best reasons. “The idea had been going around that to use heroin might make you play as great as Bird [Charlie Parker],” he later said. “A lot of musicians did it for that. I guess I may have been just waiting for his genius to hit me. Getting into all that shit, though, was a very bad mistake.” By the mid-1950s, Davis had put heroin behind him but used cocaine on a neardaily basis until at least the early 1980s. A more benign habit he picked up in the 1940s was dressing well. “[Around 1948, tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon and I] would go down to 52nd Street to hang out,” Davis wrote. “Dexter used to be super hip and dapper, with those big shouldered suits everybody was wearing in those days. I was still wearing my three-piece Brooks Brothers suits that I
‘FOR ME, MUSIC AND LIFE ARE ALL ABOUT STYLE’ thought were super hip… Niggers from St Louis had the reputation for being sharp as a tack, so couldn’t nobody tell me nothing. [But Dexter said] ‘You can’t hang with us looking and dressing like that. Why don’t you wear some other shit, Jim? You gotta get some vines. You gotta go to F&M’s [a store on Broadway in midtown]. So I went down to F&M’s and bought me a gray, big-shouldered suit that looked like it was too big for me. That’s the suit I had on in all them pictures while I was with Bird’s band in 1948, when I had that process [straightener] in my hair… [Dexter said] ‘Yeah, now you looking like something, now you hip. You can hang with us.’” Davis soon ditched processes, but in the last decade of his life, facing progressive baldness, he used weaves to give him a full head of hair. In the late 1960s, in tune with the twin rise of black nationalism and the rock counterculture in the US, Davis adopted a funkier sartorial style, wearing African dashikis and robes, and wraparound shirts and patch-suede trousers
made by a tailor known as Hernando who had a shop in Greenwich Village. Jimi Hendrix was another regular customer. Davis wore his hair longer and had his shoes made in London at Chelsea Cobbler. “A guy there named Andy,” he said, “in one night, could make you the hippest pair of shoes you could imagine.” Between the clothes, the cocaine and fast cars, Davis had to be the best-paid musician in jazz, but during his 1976-81 lay-off, during which he holed up in his Upper West Side apartment spending his savings on vast quantities of cocaine and existing on a modest retainer from Columbia, even he began to feel the pinch. In 1981, Davis married an old actor girlfriend, Cicely Tyson, who moved him away from New York and its temptations to a healthy lifestyle in Malibu, California. She helped Davis beat cocaine, got him into health foods, and encouraged him to start recording again. Between 1981 and 1991 he released a dozen new studio albums, half of them collaborations with funk bassist/producer Marcus Miller; perhaps the best was Aura (1985), Davis’s first big-band album since the Gil Evans recordings of the late 1950s. There were projects, too, with Public Image Ltd and Prince (neither was released), John Lee Hooker, Quincy Jones and Easy Mo Bee. Despite Tyson’s efforts, by the late 1980s, Davis was fragile. He looked increasingly gaunt and drawn. There were rumours, denied by his management, that he had contracted HIV. He died in Santa Monica in autumn 1991 of the combined effects of a stroke, pneumonia and respiratory failure. He was 65 – considering everything, not bad for an African-American jazz musician of his generation – and he left behind one of the richest and most enduring legacies of any jazz musician of any era. Practically every album with Davis’s name on it is worth checking, and the following are especially fine (dates of recording, not release): Birth of the Cool (1950), Walkin’ (1954), Relaxin’ and Steamin’ (1956), Kind of Blue (1959), ESP (1965), Miles Smiles (1966), In a Silent Way (1969), Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson and Live-Evil (1970), Agharta (1975), Aura (1985) and The Hot Spot (1990, a Dennis Hopper film soundtrack with John Lee Hooker and Taj Mahal). A biopic Miles Ahead starring Don Cheadle is currently in post-production facebook.com/milesaheadfilm 173
Birdwatching Words Andy Thomas Photographs Kevin Davies
“Birds touch us in many different ways: as beautiful subjects for study or contemplation; as simple companions; or as inspiration for art, literature and music,” wrote Mark Cocker in the introduction to Birds Britannica. As you will discover, if you look beyond the stereotypes, the practice of birdwatching also has a rich history that is entwined in our culture. In an article for the Guardian, Roy Wilkinson, writer and manager of the band British Sea Power, pointed to the long-standing relationship between musicians and birds. He explained how composer Olivier Messiaen used birdsong in his work; then there’s the black-headed gulls in Edwyn Collins’s song ‘Leviathan’; Martin Hannett’s synthesised tweets on Durutti Column’s ‘Sketch for Summer’; Brian Eno dreaming of “a music without 174
barriers, taking in non-instruments, such as frogs, birdsong and simple noises.” As a long-time birdwatcher, Collins joins an illustrious group of musicians: Damon Albarn, Bill Drummond, Van Morrison – and one singer who paid dearly for his passion. “The late Billy Fury was also a birdwatcher,” said Wilkinson. “A raindrenched childhood birding trip led to the rheumatic fever that caused him to be racked by illness throughout his career.” Fury was following a tradition that began in mid-18th century England. In A Bird in the Bush, Stephen Morris identifies Hampshire vicar Gilbert White as the father of birdwatching. His Natural History of Selborne and subsequent work by disciples Thomas Bewick and George Montagu coincided with a new view of the countryside as society was urbanised.
It was, in the words of Morris, “a shift from a one-way process of exploitation, into a new, more equal relationship of observation and appreciation.” But the man most responsible for the modernday interest in birds was Sir Peter Scott, whose 1950s BBC show Look regularly attracted five million viewers. Scott was a founder of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s (WWT) Slimbridge Wetland Centre, known as the birthplace of modern bird conservation. Along with 15 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserves, the WWT’s nine centres are where you will find serious ‘birders’ and their equally serious equipment. As well as high-spec telescopes and binoculars, birding also requires quality outerwear. Alongside the better-known Berghaus and Rohan, brands like Páramo >
and Country Innovation are favoured for their use of Nikwax and Ventile. Swedish brand Fjällräven’s Greenland jackets are often worn by Winterwatch presenter Martin Hughes Games; as with shows like Look, Birding with Bill Oddie, and David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds, the BBC series is responsible for a further surge in RSPB membership, now 1.1m. But nor is birdwatching just a rural pursuit. Richard Mabey’s The Unofficial Countryside (1973) revolutionised the way we think about urban areas. The Birds Britannica co-writer explored overgrown 176
bombsites and city canals to discover an alternative natural world. In Ken Loach’s Kes, working-class hero Billy Casper finds release in the flight of a falcon; the bird he trains offers an escape from his great fear, a life down the pit, and opens his mind. It’s just one film that has found symbolic meaning in bird flight; another is Alan Parker’s hard-hitting anti-war film Birdy, with a score by Peter Gabriel and Daniel Lanois. John Cameron’s soundtrack for Kes uses the plaintive simplicity of Harold McNair’s haunting flute to signify the bird’s soaring freedom and Billy’s dreams.
Birds have also been used metaphorically by many of our great writers. Poet Ted Hughes’s gritty yet beautiful verse made him one of the most visceral and accurate of all nature writers. In his observations in works like Crow and Hawk Roosting, Hughes was following in the footsteps of 19th-century poet John Clare, whose work like The Nightingale’s Nest displayed a connection to the natural world borne of a poor rural upbringing. Birds have inspired many poets, such as John Keats and Percy Shelley, whose Ode to a Nightingale and
SPOTLIGHT | Birdwatching Matt Sewell, illustrator mattsewell.co.uk (previous page) Raised on a farm in the northeast of England, Matt Sewell’s interest in birds began at an early age. “I used to obsess over these bird books by CF Tunnicliffe,” he says. “He was an old-school illustrator who did these really loose drawings, some of them really gory. That captivated my little mind.” Seeing a flock of zebra finches in Australia then set him on his creative path. “I had a real rush, it reminded me that we had zebra finches on the farm when I was a kid,” he says. “It made me think about my childhood and what different birds have meant to me through my life. When I got back I decided to focus my work on birds.” An introduction to Heavenly Recordings’ Jeff Barrett led to doing ‘Bird of the Week’ for Caught by the River, Sewell’s distinctive pop-art watercolours accompanied by quirky descriptions – so, if you couldn’t tell a great tit by its solid black cap, you might from it ‘bossing the other birds around’. Anyone new to birdwatching will tell you how hard it is to identify a willow warbler from a chiffchaff, even with a guide. Though not designed specifically for identifying different species, Sewell’s subsequent books Our Garden Birds and Our Woodland Birds certainly provide a new way to look at the birds around us. “I saw it more as an art book, so it’s just the best thing to hear people say they have them by the window to spot birds,” he says. “People say they prefer them to a normal guidebook. It’s amazing and so heartwarming to know people use the books in that way.”
To a Skylark date from 1819-20. Artists through the ages have been similarly inspired: John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1838) mixed his two loves, painting and ornithology; Caroline Bulger’s book The Bird in Art includes another 250 examples from ancient to modern art. Recent years have seen a new wave of musicians, filmmakers, writers and artists provide a new perspective on birds, and many have contributed to Heavenly Recordings’ nature and culture website Caught by the River. Here we meet some of them.
Will Burns, poet willburns.co.uk His poem Anser was born from a love of birds that goes back to childhood fishing trips in Buckinghamshire with his grandfather, but it was through people like John Clare that young Will Burns was first inspired. “In romantic poetry, the whole idea of nature and the sublime has a real power,” he says. “So when I first started studying poetry at university, those writers became really important to me.” Anser first appeared on Caught by the River, as Burns started spending less time writing lyrics with his band Treecreeper and more penning poems. Jeff Barrett has continued to support his transition, inviting him to read at Festival No.6, Port Eliot and Branchage festivals, where we encountered Burns last year. “Those festivals have become like a nursery ground for my poetry,” he says. “It’s also helped a lot being part of Caught by the River with such a great network of writers.” Burns sees this new wave of nature writing as part of a general shift. “We are consuming so much stuff digitally now, but you can never replace our connection with the landscape and with nature,” he says. His writing is being developed further now, thanks to Faber’s New Poet Scheme, with whom he has published a collection of works. >
SPOTLIGHT | Birdwatching
Chris Watson, musician chriswatson.net This founding member of Sheffield industrial funksters Cabaret Voltaire has, for the past 30 years, been a leading nature sound recordist. “My interest in birds developed around the same time as I started location recording. That was in my very early teens,” he says. “The thing that triggered it was my parents buying me a portable, batteryoperated, reel-to-reel tape recorder, so I started recording birds in our garden, then I started exploring the musique concrète of people like Pierre Schaeffer and realised you could use the tape recorder, not only to document and archive things, but as an instrument and a compositional tool.” These were the foundations for the cut-and-paste electronic music of Cabaret Voltaire. “The nature sound recording, really, was the thing that drove all my early input in the band – collages and tape manipulation and all that,” he says. “But my biggest inspiration was getting out into the countryside and exploring the natural sounds of North Derbyshire, and to record that whole expanse and take it into the studio and make something else.” Leaving Cabaret Voltaire, he took a job with Tyne Tees Television. “Eventually I got access to much better professional equipment so I could develop my practice,” he says. He went on to work on such pivotal nature programmes as David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds. “That was a great privilege and pleasure to work on, because it was such a groundbreaking series, soundwise,” he says. More recently, his Nature Disco with Caught by the River has seen him mixing bird and beetle noises at Port Eliot and Branchage festivals, while also field recording LPs like Outside the Circle of Fire and Stepping into the Dark.
Ceri Levy, filmmaker ghostsofgonebirds.com The Bird Effect sees Ceri Levy – who directed Bananaz, a documentary about Damon Albarn’s band Gorillaz, in 2008 – swapping dark studios for the bright, wide-open sky. Interviewing musicians, conservationists and a host of others, Levy aims to get to the bottom of our interest in birds, and why they are worth protecting. He was a latecomer to birdwatching, when a trip to the Scilly Isles coincided with peak birding season. “We were standing by a tree one day looking at what turned out to be a rare bird, and suddenly we were barged out of the way by people with tripods, binoculars and telescopes,” he says. “I thought I’d come back with my cameras and make a film about this ridiculous pastime, but when I did, I quickly found myself putting my camera down and wanting to look at the birds. That was it, I’ve been making the film ever since.” One offshoot of The Bird Effect was ‘Ghosts of Gone Birds’, an eclectic exhibition of music, writing and art with contributions from the likes of Billy Childish and Peter Blake. Another to take part was illustrator Ralph Steadman, who Levy then collaborated with on Extinct Boids, a book documenting sadly lost species like the red-moustached fruit dove. They are working on follow-up Nextinction about endangered birds. “Once you see what you’ve lost, the next step is to look at what you can save,” says Levy. “That’s where we are now.” >
Darren Rock, DJ and musician facebook.com/houseofxpress2 Inspired by acid-house clubs like Shoom, Darren Rock formed DJ partnership Rocky&Diesel with Darren House in 1988. While he continues to DJ across the world, Rock is just as likely to be found enjoying the bird life in Richmond Park near his home. “The thing that is still with me from being a kid is the absolute beauty of these little tiny things,” he says, a few days after a DJ trip to China. “The perfection of them and all the colours fascinated me when I was a little kid in shorts, and it still does now as a middle-aged man.” His love of birds began in Hayes on the outskirts of London. “We lived on a council estate but there were loads of farm fields nearby, so there was nature all around. Between playing football and building camps, my mates and me would identify all these birds,” he says. Into his mid-teens, clubs and other distractions took him on a different path. “My real interest in birds wasn’t really rekindled until about 20 years ago when I began walking as a serious hobby,” he says. “I’ve got a bunch of mates from Liverpool that I go with, and it’s quite interesting speaking to them. They had a similar upbringing and had discovered nature and birds in the same way, so it was all about talking to mates and sharing knowledge, rather than looking at books.” While he does now use a guidebook to identify new birds, Rock does not consider himself a serious birdwatcher. “I’m not a twitcher, I won’t sit there for hours on end with a notebook, or chase across the country to see some rare bird,” he says. “I just love them for what they are, the pure beauty of them. Pretty much all the knowledge I have now is based on what I discovered as a kid.”
SPOTLIGHT | Birdwatching
Tim Dee, writer timdee.net “People think of birdwatching as this weird, nerdy activity – in fact, it is a total way of being, and knowing more about the world, and how that world has been seen by different people,” says Tim Dee, soon after his return from a birding trip to Madagascar. “I’m just as interested in the imaginative lives that birds have released, for example, in our poets and writers, than in the actual species themselves.” The writer and BBC producer has been birdwatching for 50 years, the results of which can be read in his book The Running Sky: A Bird-Watching Life. “The lyrical shamanism in Ted Hughes’s Crow poems turns looking at birds into a kind of bad trip, or a gruesome hangover,” he says of the Yorkshire poet who opened his eyes to the possibilities of nature writing. “Reading those poems as a kid, you got a real sense this was someone who had looked really hard at these birds. They weren’t just poetic devices or pretty things.” As he grew up, Dee’s serious studies of literature seemed a world apart from prevalent nature writing. “It was only recently that I found writers whose prose I responded to,” he says. “I didn’t want to read nice poems about birds, so for a long time Richard Mabey was the only one writing stuff I wanted to read; then you had JA Baker with his famous book The Peregrine and Kenneth Allsop’s In the Country, which was a big inspiration. These were books that were truthful and accurate, but that had great imaginative potency.” The same can be said for Tim Dee’s own writing, illustrated by his second book Four Fields (2013). >
SPOTLIGHT | Birdwatching
David Callahan, writer and musician facebook.com/thewolfhounds A History of Birdwatching in 100 Objects takes in everything from 45,000-year-old cave paintings to the latest Swarovski telescope – David Callahan’s 100 choices not only illustrate how the hobby has developed, but how birds have entered our consciousness. Objects play an important part in birdwatching, as Callahan discovered as a nine-year-old wandering the woods on the edges of London. “I begged my parents for a pair of binoculars for Christmas, then the next thing I needed was a field guide,” he says. “It’s possible to see over 500 species in this country and some of them are pretty tricky to identify, so I got a succession of field guides and jumped in at the deep end. I learned all about scientific names and starting keeping notes and all that geeky stuff. When I got a bit older and had more money, a telescope came into play.” Does he think birding is particularly geeky? “No more than anything else you really get into. I know plenty about obscure punk and 1960s garage singles, and I’ve got friends who know the catalogue numbers and which pressing is which and all that stuff. Once you get into something you obviously want to learn more.” His transition from a singer with indie band the Wolfhounds to writer for Birdwatch magazine was an easy one. “The lyrics had always been inspired by the way nature meets people and that kind of thing,” he says. “The records I’m putting out, now that the Wolfhounds have reformed, have even more overt references to that.”
Everton Campbell, founder, Hip Store, Leeds What makes Leeds such a creative city? Many of the listed buildings, which have been refurbished, are attracting creative industries and exciting retailers, such as Village Bookstore and Leeds Art Gallery. How have creative industries in Leeds changed over the years? Like elsewhere, creative businesses here have become more digitally-focused, such as We Are Vast.
Hip Store, Leeds Photographs Elliot Kennedy
In 1987, influenced by a love of rare groove and acid jazz, Everton Campbell opened his menswear store Hip, in Leeds. Taking a lead from the styles associated with those scenes, he created bespoke tailored suits to sit alongside labels like Duffer of St George and Mark Powell. A few years later, with the scene moving more towards hip-hop and house music, Campbell sourced vintage US sportswear to sell alongside everything from Stussy and Ralph Lauren to Vivienne Westwood. This gave way to the sneaker culture that came to dominate 1990s fashion, and Hip was one of the first stores to create 184
exclusive styles in collaboration with trainer companies. Campbell then created Hip’s club night Hipnotic in the early 1990s, DJing with friend and collaborator DJ Ease (Leeds’s Nightmares on Wax). This interaction between clothing and other creative processes got Hip involved in various enterprises throughout the city, including collaborating on projects with Leeds College of Art fashion students and sponsoring exhibitions like 2013’s ‘Wish You Were Here’, a photographic project focused on the fans of Leeds United, held at White Cloth Gallery. With a curator’s sense as much as a
retailer’s, Campbell is proving bricks are as important as clicks. Crucially, Hip shows that having a physical store means interacting with the community – which means being a part of it. Hip has teamed up with Jocks&Nerds on a print and digital series celebrating Leeds and its creative characters, starting with Leeds College of Art lecturer Paul Luke and with more profiles on the Jocks&Nerds website. Hip Store, Trinity, 213 Albion Street, Leeds, LS1 5AR thehipstore.co.uk
ADVERTORIAL Paul Luke, 39, lecturer, Leeds College of Arts What makes Leeds such a creative city? The northern spirit and honesty. Leeds reminds me of a posh girlfriend whoâ€™s still happy eating fish and chips with me while watching the football on TV. How have creative industries in Leeds changed over the years? I used to come from Doncaster to Leeds Carnival every year as a teenager. The mix of fashion, culture and music inspired me to study here. Today, graduates no longer need to leave the city to pursue their professional goals.
Orson Welles Rita Hayworth. Harry Lime. Mercury Theatre. Knowles Noel Shane. Words Chris Sullivan Photographs courtesy of the BFI bfi.org.uk
“I don’t want any description of me to be accurate,” clarified legendary auteur Orson Welles in 1978. “I want it to be flattering.” He needn’t have worried – without doubt, it’s almost impossible to depict this giant of a man, born 100 years ago, in a bad light. An impetuous, nonconformist creative genius, he was a cinema great who inspired generations. “Orson Welles is a titanic figure in 20th-century popular culture,” said his biographer, Vanity Fair pundit Barbara Leaming. “And his list of achievements is unmatchable.” Welles himself used less glowing terms. “I started at the top and worked down,” he said, “All the good fortune I ever had all happened before I was 25. After that… nothing.” And you have to hand it to the man – he took no prisoners. His first movie, Citizen Kane, though telling the story of the ‘fictional’ Charles Foster Kane, is but a gossamer-veiled warts-and-all character assassination of William Randolph Hearst, the richest, most powerful US newspaper magnate of the time. The plot revolves around pressmen trying to discover what Kane’s last word, ‘Rosebud’, referred to, which seems innocent enough. But the barb in this particular MacGuffin was that Rosebud was Hearst’s nickname for the clitoris of his mistress, showgirl Marion Davies. To Hearst, it was bad enough that Rosebud be mentioned throughout the movie, but far worse was the notion that 186
Kane died with ‘Rosebud’ on his lips. Can you imagine anyone today making a major film based around Rupert Murdoch’s affectionate nom de guerre for his wife’s private parts? Hearst’s response was to blackmail studio bosses by threatening to reveal their sordid sex lives if they showed the movie in their theatres. Only RKO (who made the film) showed it, while Hearst banned all his newspapers from mentioning any RKO product. The film sank like a brick. Perhaps the most audacious directorial debut ever, it is a remarkable film that set the tone for much film noir to come; its beautifully dark scenes, evocative silhouettes and inventively low camera angles were utterly revolutionary. Welles was thus seen as an incorrigible renegade whizz kid but, if truth be told, could be nothing less. It was if he’d been nurtured from birth to be this aberrant, extraordinary malcontent. He was born on 6 May 1915 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, of Scottish, Irish and German stock. His father Richard invented things by day and drank, gambled and womanised by night. Welles’s mother was a beautiful, talented pianist, champion rifle shot and suffragette who did time for her political views. Both considered Orson a mastermind. “The word genius was whispered in my ear while I was still mewling in my crib,” Welles told Leaming, “so it never occurred to me that I wasn’t until middle age.”
At the age of six, Welles’s parents parted – his dad aimlessly travelled the world, while his mum, Beatrice, along with Orson, was swiftly accepted into the Chicago arts set. “My mother thought children could be treated as adults as long as they were amusing,” chuckled Welles. “The moment you became boring it was off to the nursery.” Disaster struck in 1924 when his mother died of acute yellow atrophy of the liver. Local doctor and devoted family friend Maurice Bernstein stepped in and looked after the sickly child who’d already suffered malaria, scarlet fever, diphtheria, rheumatism and whooping cough and had flat feet, weak ankles, asthma and scoliosis. Meanwhile, the boy’s precocity grew. By age 16, he had graduated and entered the Chicago Art Institute to paint, having acted, directed, produced and painted backdrops for scores of school productions that, so accomplished, provoked editorials in local newspapers. On summer holidays, he accompanied on trips all over the world his now perpetually inebriated father, who soon after was found dead in a Chicago hotel room of heart and kidney failure due to alcoholism. “I think he deliberately drank himself to death,” said Welles. Bernstein became his legal guardian and, exasperated by his refusal to go to Harvard, sent Welles on a sketching tour of Ireland. A few weeks and a lot of stout >
The Lady from Shanghai, with Rita Hayworth, 1948
later, the ingénue was at Dublin’s Gate Theatre lying about his age. Cigar in hand, he persuaded director Hilton Edwards that he was an 18-year-old professional Guild actor, read for a part and was accepted. “Step back, John Barrymore and Gordon Craig,” he wrote home. “A new glory glows in the east.” Over the next nine months the lad appeared in some seven major productions and penned a weekly column, ‘Chitchat and Criticism’, in a Dublin tabloid under the nom de plume Knowles Noel Shane. After a trip to Morocco and Spain, he returned to New York, published a series of books and secured two consecutive theatrical tours: The Barretts of Wimpole Street followed by Romeo and Juliet, starring Basil Rathbone. It was now 1934 and Welles, aged 19, surprised all by marrying actress Virginia Nicholson. “We only got married so we could live together,” he recalled. “It wasn’t taken very seriously by either of us.” With his luscious baritone, Welles soon became a very busy New York radio and theatre actor. He met his mentor, adventurous theatrical entrepreneur John Houseman, 32, who had him in to direct for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) Federal Theatre Project. Welles, at his wife’s suggestion, proposed an allblack version of Macbeth set in ‘voodooinfested’ Haiti, to be staged at Harlem’s Lafayette Theatre. Typically, Welles was gung ho: he brought over a West African troupe of drummers and dancers led by a dwarf and actual witch doctor, Abdul, who requested 12 goats to kill and skin to 188
make his ‘devil drums’. Welles acquiesced. “The goats were purchased at the expense of the federal government,” he chuckled later. The production opened on 14 April 1936. Welles was not yet 21. “On opening night it seemed that all Harlem decided this was the greatest night of their lives,” Welles told Leaming. “It was described as the greatest opening in Harlem’s history – if not the world’s.”
‘I REALLY WAS THE KING. I LIVED IN NIGHTCLUBS, I LIKED SCREWING THE CHORUS GIRLS’ Macbeth was now New York’s hottest ticket and Welles, its precocious young director, was the toast of the town, and especially Harlem. “I’d go two or three nights a week to Harlem where I was the king,” he told director Peter Bogdanovich. “I really was the king. I lived in nightclubs, I liked screwing the chorus girls, and I liked staying up until five in the morning.” Welles directed a series of government-
funded plays until the politically explosive The Cradle Will Rock was shut down by the WPA who thought it ‘too radical and too left-wing.’ In response, Welles and producer Houseman formed the aptly named Mercury Theatre. Welles was on a roll. He directed and starred in a play a week for CBS, lived in a country house on the Hudson, took a speedboat, then chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to work, emulated his “playboy father who never shaved himself in his life”, ate in the best restaurants, wore tailored clothes, drank in the finest clubs and, unbeknownst to his wife, dated a string of beautiful ballerinas. And then things got better. Aged 22, he won the coveted lead in hugely popular eponymous radio show The Shadow, where he impressed cast member Elia ‘On the Waterfront’ Kazan. “He arrived for rehearsal having been up all night and, a little worse for wear, he was full of continuing excitement,” said Kazan. “Orson had unflagging energy and recuperative powers… and soon he looked as good as new. Seldom have I been near a man so abundantly talented or one with a greater zest for life.” Now, given carte blanche on radio, on 30 October 1938, he wrote, directed and narrated a broadcast of HG Wells’s War of the Worlds – the conceit being that listeners were tuned into live dance music that was interrupted by live news flashes about “a flaming object believed to be a meteorite” crashing to Earth full of Martians intent on conquering us. This, the most famous radio broadcast ever, attracted nine million listeners of whom
CINEMA | Orson Welles
Touch of Evil, with Marlene Dietrich, 1958
some 1.75 million packed up and fled in panic. The next day, Welles was on the front page of the Times, the perpetrator of a hoax that terrified the nation. He was now famous all over the world. An offer followed from RKO president George J Schaefer: a fee of $100,000 per picture and 25 percent recoup. Welles left for Hollywood, and Hollywood was aghast. How could a novice get such a deal? Then they discovered he would write, direct, produce and star. He was really unpopular. And he liked that. Welles learned all he could about making movies from technicians and directors. He met with writer Herman J Mankiewicz who came up with the idea for Citizen Kane, then pulled in Mercury Theatre stalwarts to act and Grapes of Wrath cinematographer Gregg Toland and, under the guise of shooting tests, surreptitiously began filming in June 1940. “This is the biggest electric train set a boy ever had!” he said. But he’d attracted the attentions of FBI director J Edgar Hoover, who in a memo said Welles was associated with some 13 organisations of communist character. He was up against it on all sides.
After the film bombed, Welles, though critically accepted, remained something of a pariah in Hollywood. Much to many people’s chagrin he’d proven you didn’t need years of training to direct a good film – but now had to make one that was financially successful. He eventually (and unwisely) settled on The Magnificent Ambersons, the sombre story of a wealthy turn-of-the-century Midwestern family based on Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzerwinner. By all accounts, Welles’s original but unfinished edit at 135 minutes was an inspired piece of filmmaking shot by the great Stanley Cortez, but it emptied cinemas at previews. “People just didn’t understand it, said co-editor Mark Robson. “It was so ahead of its time.” Before he’d heard the studio’s reaction to his cut, Welles shot off to Brazil to film the carnival for semi-documentary project It’s All True for RKO and the government. The studio finished the edit, shot extra scenes and edited out 45 minutes. “Using the argument of editing out what was not central to the plot, what they edited out was the plot,” chided Welles 30 years later. “I would not have gone to Brazil without
the guarantee that I could finish the picture there.” But the carnival lasted just three days and Welles was there for months, relentlessly womanising. “He had not just one-night stands,’ recalled actress Shifra Haran, “he had afternoon and after-dinner stands.” The film’s financial failure ushered the end of his RKO contract, but one person kept him in California. He’d met actress Rita Hayworth and persuaded her to join the magic act he was doing at a tent in Hollywood. Welles first sawed her in half, then married her in September 1943. The press dubbed the union “The Beauty and the Brain” and predicted the worst. Welles “sought to impress her mind” by bombarding it with literature, classical music and a list of prescribed museums. Married to the universally acknowledged “world’s most beautiful woman”, he was enjoying the limelight but still felt overshadowed. He played Rochester in Jane Eyre, a war vet in Tomorrow is Forever, had a few radio shows and political newspaper columns, but realised his wunderkind crown was slipping away. His answer was > 189
to dive headlong into politics. He wrote for Free World magazine and gave lectures in stadiums on moral indebtedness and the evils of racism. “Race hate isn’t human nature,” he said. “It is the abandonment of human nature.” On his ABC radio show he took up the case of Isaac Woodward, a black war veteran blinded by police in South Carolina, and spoke against rightwing Republicans. “Welles was one of the great political speakers of his time,” wrote his biographer David Thomson. Thus, many thought his directing days well and truly over, until producer Sam Spiegel stepped in and offered him The Stranger. The story of Nazi war criminal Professor Rankin hiding out in the Midwest as pursued by detective Mr Wilson (Edward G Robinson), the film is pure Welles: dark, heavily shadowed and exquisitely framed as a series of noir stills. Still, Welles was unhappy, claiming that his best work was cut out. “Welles seemed to have run out of genius while making this,” moaned Robinson. “It was bloodless and so was I.” But the film came in on time and under budget and made money – one of the few Hollywood Welles films that did. During the shoot his marriage hit the rocks. Many blamed his infidelities with the likes of Judy Garland but according to Hayworth it was simpler still. “When I suggested purchasing a home, he told me he didn’t want the responsibility,” she said. “Mr Welles told me he never should have married in the first place; that it interfered with his freedom in his way of life.” But it was the divorce that gave him his next film – Columbia head Harry Cohn thought their recent breakup had a good publicity angle. “I called Cohn and said, ‘I have a great story for you,” Welles told Bogdanovich. “Send me £50,000 by telegram in one hour and I will make it. ‘What story?’ Cohn said. I was calling from a payphone and next to it was a display of paperbacks so I took the title of one of them. The Lady from Shanghai,’ I said. ‘Buy the novel and we’ll make the film.’ An hour later I got the money.” Of course the other stipulation was that Hayworth would star with Welles. Initially reticent, Spiegel set the budget at under $1m but it doubled due to huge delays while on location in Mexico, New York and San Francisco. To add to Cohn’s frustration, Welles had cut Hayworth’s trademark luscious auburn locks and dyed them blonde. Both critics and the public loathed the movie. The story of an Irish 190
sailor, a rich lawyer, his wife and business partner is a mess. As Cohn said after a screening “What the fucking hell was all that about?” Welles described it as “an experiment in what not to do”. The debacle, with the exception of his middling version of Macbeth for bottomof-the-heap studio Republic, finished off Welles’s career in Hollywood for 20 years. He was 33. The IRS was on his case for back taxes. He’d lost his well-paid weekly political column, had had enough of the studios and his fill with Los Angeles – and vice versa. He left for Europe in 1949 where, as Harry Lime in director Carol Reed’s majestic The Third Man, he not only excelled in one of the great cameos of all time but provided, as ad lib, one of the greatest lines. “You know what the fellow said – in Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of
‘WELLES WAS ONE OF THE GREAT POLITICAL SPEAKERS OF HIS TIME’ democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.” Welles, in need of cash to finish a film of Othello, instead of taking the offered 20 percent of the gross as pay took the $100,000 fee. “There was never such a [box-office] hit in 25 years in Europe,” he balked. “I could have retired on that!” Once again, having too many irons in too many fires banjaxed the auteur. Over the next decade, he aimlessly travelled Europe trying to raise money for this or that project while appearing in the odd movie. In 1955, he directed and starred in Mr Arkadin – again, hopelessly overambitious locationwise, it took him to seven European countries. The New York Times said it was “from start to finish, the work of a man with an unmistakable genius for the film medium.” He then married his female lead, Italian aristocrat Paola Mori, Contessa di Girifalco.
Still, Welles had to make do with documentaries such as Around the World with Orson Welles (BBC), and parts in the likes of John Huston’s Moby Dick, and I Love Lucy. The latter brought him back to Hollywood where he was offered to play bent, sadistic cop Hank Quinlan in an adaptation of the book Badge of Honor. Lead actor Charlton Heston, told of his involvement, suggested Welles direct. He agreed, rewrote the script and the result, Touch of Evil, starred Heston as Mexican narcotics cop Miguel Vargas who, while honeymooning in a border town with his thoroughly American wife Janet Leigh, is pulled into a murky world of hoodlums, cartels, corruption and claustrophobia. Full to the brim with dark malevolence, it was another astonishingly brave film – one scene Leigh has kidnapped to a seedy motel and injected with heroin. In 1958! Meanwhile, Welles is the grotesquely fat cop Quinlan on the rampage, framing anyone darker than albino and consulting his former paramour, a clairvoyant played by his friend Marlene Dietrich. He took ugliness to new level; weighing some 300 pounds, padded and made up, he looks like a sweaty oven-ready chicken in a raincoat. Welles delivered his edit but, as was his wont, went to Mexico to shoot Don Quixote (a project that began in 1955, went on for years and was never finished), leaving the studio to maul his masterpiece. He from then on disowned the picture. “You cannot leave a studio holding onto an unfinished film, surely not without talking to them,” said Heston, who sided with Welles all the way. “Orson was infinitely charming with cast and crew but went out of his way to deliberately insult studio heads. Very dumb. They have the money and if they don’t give you any, you can’t make films.” Luckily, two versions exist: the one restored in 2014 to Welles’s vision, uncut with restored footage, is vastly superior to the studio edit. Touch of Evil was ignored in the US but was an instant cult hit in Europe, where director François Truffaut wrote, “Welles adapted for the screen a woefully poor little detective novel and simplified the criminal intrigue where he could match it to his favourite canvas – the portrait of a paradoxical monster, which he plays himself – under which he designed the simplest of moralities: that of the purity of the absolute and absolutists.” It won awards in Europe, causing Welles to quickly change his tune: of all his movies, this picture was the closest to his intentions. He moved
CINEMA | Orson Welles
The Third Man, 1949
back to Europe for good, where he felt eminently more at home. Subsequently, he was a gun for hire, playing just about anyone – hamming it up in lacklustre Euro epics just to make money to make more films. In 1962, though suffering from a “profound lack of sympathy for its writer”, he adapted and directed Kafka’s The Trial, starring the severely miscast Anthony Perkins. Three years later he produced, directed and starred in Chimes at Midnight, a glorious monotone feast backed by Spanish money and shot all over Spain. “Spain was the only country in the world that didn’t know black and white wasn’t commercial,” he chuckled. Based on selections from various plays by Shakespeare, the film tells of Prince Hal’s repudiation of his corpulent, sloppy old drinking buddy Falstaff (Welles) for ‘excess of wine”. Undeniably, Welles is superb and so is the film. Critic Roger Ebert described it as “a film to treasure”. Welles’s final directorial escapade, F for Fake (1976) was a documentary about fakes and frauds – including art forger Elmyr de Hory – that has its moments. But by this time he had almost given up. He was now known in the main for voicing such adverts as Carlsberg,
“Probably the best lager in the world”, and Paul Masson wine, where he made $500,000 a year plus residuals, plus Japanese whisky, Vivitar cameras, frozen peas and photocopiers; certainly, pretty much anything to fund a lavish lifestyle that never waned even when he was broke. As he once said, “Living in the lap of luxury isn’t bad, except you never know when luxury is going to stand up.” By this time the actor weighed over 350 pounds. “My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four,” he once laughed. He had heart problems, diabetes, gout and was a heavy drinker addicted to fat Cuban cigars and, as his autopsy declared, regularly took amphetamines. He died in bed on 10 October 1985. A typewriter sat on a table, a blank sheet of paper waiting to be typed on. “God, how they will love me when I’m dead,” he’d told Bogdanovich. And so they do. Welles, who Martin Scorsese described as the most influential director ever, is indeed treasured for many reasons: he was a maverick; a flawed genius; an uncompromising outsider and a human being who often took the wrong road. At two crucial career moments – the editing of The Magnificent Ambersons and
Touch of Evil – he jetted off to exotic parts leaving his work in the hands of others. Some say he got bored with movies before they were finished, but then why would he spend so much of his own money trying to complete them? Still, may no one doubt that wanderlust and curiosity undid him. It worried the brass and they didn’t trust him. As Ebert said in 1978, “Orson Welles can make better movies than most directors with one hand tied behind his back. His problem, of course, is that for 35 years the hand has remained tied. His career is a study in lost possibilities.” Perhaps the summation is better left to Dietrich who, though referring to Quinlan, could have been talking about Welles. “He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?” I’d contest that it matters rather a lot. Especially if you’re Orson Welles. A restored version of Touch of Evil is out now eurekavideo.co.uk The BFI Southbank celebrates the centenary of Welles’s birth with a film season in July and August bfi.org.uk 191
Top and running shorts by Adidas; trainers by Nike.
Travis Tomlin Photographs Juan Trujillo Andrades Styling Karen Mason Styling Assistant Rhianna Alvarado
Travis Tomlin, 18, is a cadet warrant officer in the Air Cadets, with ambitions to move into the RAF next year. He is also a competitive 100m, 200m and 400m runner for the Air Training Corps and Blackheath&Bromley Harriers AC. His personal best for the 100m is 11.20 seconds
Jacket and tracksuit bottoms by Asics; T-shirt by Velvet by Graham&Spencer.
Sweatshirt by Stone Island.
Top by Adidas; tracksuit bottoms by Cos.
STYLE | Travis Tomlin
Sweater, tracksuit bottoms and trainers by Adidas.
Vest and tracksuit bottoms by Adidas; trainers by Nike.
Top by Le Coq Sportif; tracksuit bottoms by Adidas.
STYLE | Travis Tomlin
Gilet by RLX Ralph Lauren; tracksuit bottoms by Cos; sweater by C.P. Company; hat by Nike x Undercover Gyakusou; headphones by Urban Ears.
Top and tracksuit bottoms by Adidas; trainers by Nike.
Vest and running shorts by Adidas; trainers by Nike.
STYLE | Travis Tomlin
Top by Neil Barrett; tracksuit bottoms by Cos.
Trevor Jackson Saul Bass. Output Recordings. Playgroup. Four Tet. 2000 AD. Bite It! Words Chris May Portraits Orlando Gili
Music producer, DJ and visual artist Trevor Jackson recently opened a new installation, Format, at Soho’s Vinyl Factory space, and released an album simultaneouly. Format is an extension of Jackson’s 2014 installation ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Forever (YTTF)’ in Paris that featured blown-up photographs of the wear and tear that forms a unique, audiovisual patina on the grooves of well-loved, much-handled vinyl records. It expands on this to celebrate music as an offline, physical object in a variety of formats. Each of the 12 tracks on the album is simultaneously released on a different format: 12”, 10” and 7” vinyl, CD, mini CD, cassette, USB, VHS, mini disc, DAT, eight-track and reel-toreel. Both album and installation explore the holistic, audiovisual-tactile experience of playing music on traditional formats – practically the only such formats not included are 78rpm shellac discs, cylinder recordings and micro-cassettes. “Format is about how every copy of a physical recording is different because of the wear, the marks on the sleeve,” says Jackson. “It’s a real object in space that’s got its own little story. It’s the only one of its kind – unlike a digital file, which is the same every time. It isn’t just about vinyl. It’s about any physical object that holds music. The thing that holds the music is personalised by the effort you put in to get it in the first place, and it’s personalised a little each time you touch it, and of course there’s a whole ritual that goes with playing each object – taking the cellophane off, holding it in your hands, putting it in the player. “Format is about the ritual of purchasing and playing music, something I miss just pressing buttons on a laptop.” 200
Raised in Edgware, north London, Jackson studied graphic design at Barnet College and has been a prolific designer and music-maker since setting up design studio Bite It! in the late 1980s while still a teenager. He has designed logos and record sleeves for many bands and labels, among them Eric B & Rakim, Soulwax, the Rapture, Queen Latifah, Gee Street, Jungle Brothers and Stereo MCs. His label Output Recordings racked up 100 releases in its 1996-2006 lifetime; among the major artists nurtured were Fridge, Four Tet (Fridge’s Kieran Hebden), Black Strobe and LCD Soundsystem. Before you surfaced as an audio artist, you were a graphic designer. When did you first become excited by design? As a teenager growing up with comic books. I was a huge fan of French and Belgian comic books and magazines like Raw, which took comic design into other, more abstract spaces and dimensions. Then I became fascinated with people like Philippe Stark, Javier Mariscal, JeanBaptiste Mondino and Jean-Paul Goude – people who for me made the connection between high art and comic-book art. That was completely missing in the UK at the time. Growing up here reading things like 2000 AD, people used to laugh at me. But I’d go to Paris to buy comic books and there they were treated like high art – or with respect anyway. Being a fan of music and record sleeves was important, too. Designers like Peter Saville with New Order and Neville Brody with The Face magazine and Barney Bubbles with Stiff Records were big influences. At college, where we weren’t taught much about design history, I made a conscious effort to explore the past.
I was a huge fan of Saul Bass and Paul Rand, because their work was connected to my illustrative, comic-book work. As a medium of expression, graphic design seemed to offer so much. Here were intelligent, thought-provoking people with opinions. At that time, graphic design wasn’t a cliché, it wasn’t a lifestyle. It was an actual methodology. It was that passion that attracted me. I never wanted to be a graphic designer because it was cool. I wanted to be a graphic designer because I adored it. Your work became more minimalist and less illustrative towards the close of the 1980s. What prompted the shift? I’d been a typical teenager for most of the 1980s, going to raves, going to parties. It was a fun time and my work was naturally cartoony and playful. My head was full of stuff. But as I grew older, I needed a more refined, balanced way of life. As part of that, I suppose my work became more considered. There was something else. Cynthia Rose wrote this book Design After Dark: The Story of Dancefloor Style (1991) – that featured myself, Ian Swift and Derek Yates – about club culture and design. Swifty worked at Neville Brody’s studio and his work was very like Neville’s, quite industrial-looking. Then when Swifty designed the book, and he had my portfolio, his work changed. He kind of ripped me off. I was ripping off Paul Rand and Saul Bass, of course. But Swifty really took a lot of influence from my work and applied it to Straight No Chaser and so on. Up until then I was on my own path, quite independent. When Swifty started doing work like mine I made a real effort to change. After Design After Dark I wanted >
MUSIC | Trevor Jackson nothing more to do with illustrative, cartoony 1950s and 1960s design. You began making music then, too, as the Underdog. How did that come about? Around that time, I worked with some great labels like Gee Street, but I ended up working for this awful company called Pulsate, who were putting out cheesy house records. It was OK money but I wasn’t into the music. I just got sick of doing the design. It really felt like a job; before it had felt like fun. So I made more music. I started the Underdog because I had become more interested in outside music, weird music that I used to sample to make hip-hop – I was a massive fan of Canterbury stuff like Matching Mole, and Ian Carr and Nucleus, loads of strange European jazz rock. I added vocals and psychedelic music. It kind of turned into trip-hop. Then I heard Portishead and they were so good I just thought, fuck it, I may as well give up. Plus I was really busy doing remixes of other people’s stuff. So you retired the Underdog when you launched Output Records. I was getting bored with making hip-hop. It had become a beast I didn’t want to be part of, in terms of lyrics and politics. It had totally changed and I didn’t feel comfortable. The whole scene had just become more violent and the creative side had taken a backseat. Then I met Kieran [Hebden] and Output started to roll. Working with Kieran was harmonious. I introduced him to loads of music he’d never heard before; he didn’t listen to dance music at all, he was listening to Stereolab, a lot of guitar music. So he started playing me that stuff, I started playing him hip-hop. Meeting him and the other guys from Fridge was amazing. When I met them they were just jamming in a bedroom. Anglepoised (1997) is still my favourite release on Output. You had a decade of creative success with Output. Why did you shut it down? Compared to people like Richard Russell [XL Recordings], I’ve never had the same drive in terms of business. Richard was driven from the beginning. And I’ve never been a good businessman. Nobody teaches you how to run a record label. No one taught me about the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and Performing Rights Society (PRS). I was saying to people, we’re not going to make any money but I will get your records out there and people will notice 202
Champion Records, 1988. Artwork Trevor Jackson
them. I was making money from doing design, and as long as I didn’t lose money with the label, I was happy. I’ve always been driven by creativity and I ran it naively but honestly. As an independent label, if I pressed up 5000 records but only sold 500, MCPS said I still had to pay mechanicals on the 5000. I thought, why should I have to do that? I’ve paid royalties direct to the artist on the records that actually sold. And the label began to
‘I’M STILL A FAN BOY. EVERY TIME I DJ, I SHIT MYSELF. I’M TERRIFIED’ implode. Then in 2005, MCPS tried to shut me down. Another reason was I broke lots of artists, I was like an A&R man for the big labels. But when artists moved to bigger labels, I didn’t get anything out of that. That’s the point at which I put that ad in Vice magazine. [The full-page, type-only 2006 ad read, in part, “When you’re an independent label that doesn’t suck corporate cock it’s quite hard to survive, and it’s been even harder when some of your best bands fuck off and sign to a major label for obscene amounts of cash, leaving you in debt.”] I worked with
some extraordinary people at Output, but I was still a fan boy, and when people I’m a fan of let me down, sell out, I take it personally. Integrity and authenticity are two of the most important things for me. I’m still a fan boy. Every time I DJ, I shit myself. I’m just terrified. I don’t want to hang out and meet famous people. I’m too nervous. I want to stay on my level and stay in the background and be a fan boy. Would you ever start another label? I’d only do it to release my own music, not anyone else’s. When you have a label you have a curatorial responsibility to your artists, and artists can be a nightmare. I can be myself, because you care about what you do. So if you have a label, you have to have that conscience to treat other people’s music as you treat your own. All the compilations I did, you’ll notice I never plastered myself all over the sleeve. I just used the artists’ names. I didn’t want to become the face of a label. The artists were the most important thing. But I don’t have the time for that anymore. From the early 1990s through to 2006 I was working with other people’s music a lot, and now I want to be selfish. I really enjoyed marketing the label. For me, it was part of the magic. A lot of people slagged off Daft Punk for the marketing, but I liked it. I mean, at Island Records I worked with Bruno Tilley, one of the great art directors, and the things we did for Grace Jones and the B52s, that whole era was incredible. But the business is totally different now. You walk into a record label and it’s like a bank, full of accountants. That’s what was so great about Stiff. Dave Robinson
[co-founder] was a cunt, but he was a personality. That T-shirt, “If it ain’t Stiff it ain’t worth a fuck,” was the best T-shirt ever. But where are the successors to people like Robinson? Format and YTTF both resonate with that pre-corporate, buccaneering era, if only in their focus on physical formats. YTTF was all about the way a physical record is handled, how that personalises it. I focused on photographing not the grooves so much as the imperfections, the mishandlings of these objects that made them unique. The more you play a record, the more you wear it down. I’m a record collector; I’ve cut it down a bit now, but I’ve still got 30,000, maybe 40,000. And I know where I bought nearly every one, there’s a story to them all. But I don’t treat them with that much care, I’m not super precious. So some are fucked – scratches, fingerprints. I’ve always thought, that’s me, these records are becoming part of me. One of the few physical formats missing from Format is 78rpm shellac. Was that just impractical? I don’t think we could have manufactured it. I haven’t got micro-cassettes in there either. There’s a few things. But I’ve got 12 tracks and 12 formats, and 12 is a nice, round number for an album. All the tracks on Format are your own. What is their provenance? It’s music that was started in 1998, 1999. I originally made it just for myself, for fun. It was sitting there, I probably had 200 tracks and I thought, I’d better get this out there before I start making new music. So I spent six months finishing some off. I’ve added little bits, but it’s mainly editing. It’s still essentially the same as it was, it’s just evolved. Format concerns the manufacture and distribution of physical objects, which the user generally has to buy as opposed to download for free, so it also touches on how artists get paid today. It is definitely about people getting paid. Every time I buy something, I’m saying thank you to that artist. When I buy a Blu-ray or a CD, I don’t begrudge it. Many young people I’ve spoken to think everything should be free, that ownership is a defunct concept. I think it’s because a lot of people would rather be wellknown than be paid. I, personally, would rather get paid and nobody knows who the hell I am. I buy a lot of stuff online,
Palindrome, an installation and performance space hosted by NTS Radio, curated by Trevor Jackson, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2014
but I’m still buying it. Unless it’s a great blog like Mutant Sounds – they put up a lot of music that was just impossible to find, things that would never be released. The disposability of contemporary culture offends me, so does the way creativity is taken for granted. Hip-hop was my religion and it’s been destroyed. Sex, violence and convenience is what people want these days. All this bitchesand-money just insults my intelligence. In many ways, what I’m trying to do with Format – maybe people won’t get it, but it’s just like the age of innocence for me. I went through a period – the mid1980s to the early 1990s – when people embraced technology, used it positively, there was a real excitement around. Times have changed and I’m not happy, I don’t feel comfortable. Just because everything is downloadable now doesn’t mean I should just be happy about it. How do you feel about graphic designby-app? Is it democratising or is it the flip side of that disposability? That’s a whole conversation in itself. It’s like me and Saul Bass in the 1980s.
There were no books on him, there was no internet. The only way you could find out about Bass was to speak to people who knew about him or go to the British Film Institute (BFI) archives. I’d sit there going through microfiches. It wasn’t the other side of the world, but I had to make some effort, to go out of my house, travel across London, and sit at the BFI for a few hours and research stuff. And I believe that journey, that time and effort, added to the experience of learning about the person I was interested in. But there are two sides. When I think about all the early design work I did by hand, with photomechanical transfer copies and so on, it was really time-consuming stuff. Now you can do it with a programme. But then it’s almost two different things. One is to do with the process, one with ideas. And for me, the process is as important as creating. I’m actually more interested in why people do things than the result – because there’s so much of everything. Even if something’s shit, if someone’s got a good reason for doing it, I’m intrigued. It doesn’t worry me, but it slightly offends me that things are so easy to do > 203
MUSIC | Trevor Jackson
now – because I’m old enough to know that I used to have to spend a bloody long time doing it. At the same time, the fact that today anyone who has an idea can manifest that idea is exciting. It scares me, because before it was the knowledge that gave you the power. The fact I knew where to find that book and how to do that, that didn’t make my ideas better than anyone else’s. But I could actually do it, and the people without that knowledge couldn’t. That’s antiquated now. Living through the transition is fascinating. Your design work is shown at the Guggenheim, the Baltic, the Barbican, the publicly-subsidised temples of high art; and your music is heard mostly in underground clubs. What synergies or tensions are between these platforms? My interest is in subculture. I work for brands, yes, but my main fascination has always been in underground culture. And it’s sad that so many of the connections between the art world and music are such mega mainstream things. It’s a huge youscratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours. I see no reason why Marina Abramovic would work with Jay-Z other than expanding 204
her audience. It makes me question the authenticity of her work. Maybe I hold these people in too high esteem, maybe I expect too much of them. I expect them to have integrity. That’s what I find sad. The art and music worlds couldn’t be
On your website’s contact page, along with the email address there is a PO Box. Is this a deliberate reminder of analogue communication? Ha. I put it there because I didn’t want to be woken up by the postman. People would send me records and they wouldn’t fit in the letterbox, so he’d have to ring the bell and wake me up to deliver them. But I’d actually like to start a record label that is only contactable by post. No phone line, no email. I’m totally serious.
‘I’D LIKE TO START A LABEL THAT IS ONLY And what’s next after Format? I really want to do is make films, CONTACTABLE What experimental, non-narrative ones. Cinema is probably my biggest passion. I go two BY POST. NO or three times a week. I’ve always wanted do it but never had the time. I live PHONE LINE, toin London, one of the most expensive NO EMAIL’ cities in the world, and I’ve got to earn a living. But I’d love to make film.
more separate in many ways; it wasn’t always so. From the 1960s to the 1980s there was real synergy, from Andy Warhol through Jean-Paul Goude. You do still get it with a few people. I think FKA twigs is amazing.
The multi-format album Format is out now. A standard vinyl and digital version is out on 26 March trevor-jackson.com
Cigarette Lighter Words Chris May Photograph Elliot Kennedy Styling Karen Mason Grooming Jodie Hyams using Tom Ford Shop Assistant Calvin How
An unfortunate consequence of the decline in cigarette smoking is the reduced opportunity to enjoy that most semiotically-charged sartorial accessory, the pocket lighter. Once as cool as nicotine itself, the best lighters – be they high-end Dunhills or mass-market Zippos – are twin triumphs of style and functionality. In that respect, and perhaps in others, pocket lighters are not unlike another lethal weapon, the handgun. Humphrey Bogart set the benchmark for ‘lighter’ cool in Casablanca in 1942, touching off Ingrid Bergman’s cigarette, and Jon Hamm’s Mad Men character Don Draper recently made a good stab at reprising it. Between times, lighters were ambience-enhancing props in numberless noir and romantic films and, since the launch of Dragnet in 1951, crime series. In Hollywood, a Zippo was often the preferred directorial choice; in Ealing or Pinewood, the more understated Ronson, as immortalised by Trevor Howard in 1945’s Brief Encounter. When elegant society was portrayed, a premium-priced, precision-engineered Dunhill was the go-to choice on both sides of the Atlantic. Pennsylvania businessman George Blaisdell invented the Zippo in 1931. A golfer, Blaisdell observed a fellow player successfully lighting a cigarette on a windy course with a cumbersome Austrianmade lighter whose flame was protected by a perforated chimney. The lighter 206
was indifferently designed and required both hands to operate, but Blaisdell noted that the chimney worked. He improved the mechanics and outer casing and the Zippo was an immediate hit: compact, one-hand operated, with clean lines and a lifetime guarantee (“It works or we’ll fix it for free”) that still stands, and producing a satisfyingly solid clunk when snapped shut. Its design has barely changed since the late 1930s, when the case was first stamped from a single piece of metal, giving the Zippo its easy-onthe-pocket-lining rounded edges. Blaisdell was a skilled promo man. In the 1930s, he gave away thousands of Zippos to cab and Greyhound bus drivers, gaining coast-to-coast visibility for the brand. From 1942 to 1945, he gave away thousands more to US war correspondents to hand out to soldiers and sailors fighting overseas. Stories regularly appeared in the press about Zippos deflecting enemy bullets, and of shipwrecked sailors who were spotted by rescuers when holding a lit Zippo aloft. Similar tales circulated during the Vietnam war, and the folkhistory was still alive in 1989 when a Zippo saved Sean Connery and Harrison Ford’s characters in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade from almost certain death. In the 1960s and 1970s, Zippos got another boost, taken up by evangelising smokers – though not necessarily of tobacco – in rock bands and other strands
of the counterculture. In 1969, Easy Rider was practically a 90-minute commercial for the brand. In 1973, for Island Records, Rod Dyer and Bob Weiner designed a cardboard facsimile of a Zippo for the first 20,000 pressings of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ international debut Catch a Fire, complete with a hinged top that had to be opened to take out the vinyl. Dunhill was the first luxury brand to seriously address lighter design, with 1923’s Unique model. Variations such as the Slim and the London Rollalite were introduced in the 1950s. Butane gas began to replace fluid fuel in most lighters in the 1950s and since 1956, Dunhill’s Rollagas butane lighter with its sleek lines, manly weight and distinctive ignition roller-bar has been the epitome of stylish smoking accessories. Rival brand Cartier only started selling lighters in the 1960s and has, generally, been favoured by women. Dunhill’s masculine aura was enhanced in the 1960s by astute product placement. In 1962, Dunhill made a gunmetal lighter for Sean Connery to use in Dr No, the first James Bond film. Donald Campbell was given a Rollagas when he broke the land and water-speed records in his Bluebird rocket vehicles in 1964. Although there have been many finishes – gold, silver, enamel, jewels – to the exterior casing, the design of the Rollagas, like that of the Zippo, has remained essentially the same.
Vintage lighter by Dunhill, from Bentleys, London; jacket by Paul&Joe; shirt by Tiger of Sweden; scarf by Richard James.
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