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VOLUME 1 ISSUE 5 Cover star: Paul Weller photographed by Lawrence Watson
Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director Marcus Agerman Ross email@example.com Art Director Phil Buckingham firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Chris Sullivan email@example.com Sub Editor Jossy Smalley Director of Photography Ross Trevail firstname.lastname@example.org Design Assistant Luke Moran-Morris email@example.com Assistant Sub Editor Cai Trefor Interns Zahra Girach, Andrew Jones, Sophie Newman PR & Marketing Delilah PR firstname.lastname@example.org Financial Director Marcus Bayley email@example.com Publisher Lisa Woodman firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions email@example.com Stockists firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors Salim Ahmed Kashmirwala, Janette Beckman, Sam Christmas, Nick Clements, Pelle Crepin, Orlando Gili, David Goldman, Lee Vincent Grubb, Tim Hans, Paolo Hewitt, Ben Harries, Barry Kamen, Louis Little, Agnes Lloyd-Platt, Jens Marott, Karen Mason, Chris May, Donald Milne, Mattias Pettersson, Ugo Richard, Michael Schmidt, Richard Simpson, Chris Sullivan, Juan Trujillo Andrades, Paul Vickery, Lawrence Watson, Mark Webster, Val Williams This issue is dedicated to our good friend Krys Ondrejek who has been an important part of Jocks&Nerds. Stay strong, buddy - from all of us.
Jocks&Nerds Magazine, 80 Scotney House, Mead Place, London E9 6SW Telephone +44 (0) 7747 758877 www.jocksandnerds.com www.facebook.com/jocksandnerds Twitter: @jocksandnerds AIM: JocksAndNerds Jocks&Nerds is free magazine printed four times a year by Granite (www.granitecolour.com) If you would like a copy delivered to your door, contact us at email@example.com Postage prices: UK £5, Europe £10, North America £12, RoW £14. Jocks&Nerds is distributed through independent retailers. If you are interested in stocking it in your store, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 contributor and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. Jocks&Nerds is published four times a year by Jocks And Nerds Ltd. ©2012 Jocks And Nerds Ltd.
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12-21 SEEN: The Detonators is a hot rod club from London 22-34 NEWS: A round-up of current culture 36-41 DETAIL: St Katharine’s Precinct Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Styling Salim Ahmed Kashmirwala p168
42-47 PEOPLE: Our favourite individuals from around the world 48-51 CINEMA: Peter O’Toole has lived a life most can only dream of
52-57 BULLETIN: Blitz Motorcycles makes a special collection for Edwin Jeans 58-63 PROFILE: Jules Vegas has designed record sleeves for the Clash and Madness 66-73 STYLE: Westway Warriors Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross Styling Salim Ahmed Kashmirwala
74-79 MUSIC: Blue Note Records is being shaken up in the 21st century 80-89 STYLE: Vauxhall Victor 1963
118-121 CULTURE: David Bowie morphed himself again and again to become a 1970s hero 122-125 CINEMA: Jimi Hendrix was a sweet and shy genius 126-131 HISTORY: Otto Dix saw the horrors of the two world wars 132-141 STYLE: Regent’s Canal Photographs David Goldman Styling Richard Simpson
142-147 GALLERY: Stuart Griffiths documented the early 1990s rave scene 148-151 MUSIC: Nile Rodgers is one of the greatest guitarists of all time 152-159 STYLE: Cosmic Bike Polo Photographs Juan Trujillo Andrades Styling Karen Mason
160-163 CINEMA: Erich von Stroheim helped invent Hollywood in the 1920s 164-167 BULLETIN: Dual-ism makes technical and beautiful jackets
Photographs David Goldman Styling Richard Simpson
168-182 FOLIO: An exclusive album of bikes, cars, music, surfing and boarding
90-99 COVER STORY: Paul Weller still cares about his clothes
184-189 SPOTLIGHT: Getty Images is the guardian of our pictorial history
100-117 STYLE: Parkour
190-191 ICON: USAAF Type A-2 went from US air force to wardrobe essential
Photographs Paul Vickery Styling Barry Kamen
2 - 201
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The Detonators Photographs Ross Trevail Words Cai Trefor
Formed a decade ago, the Detonators is a car club dedicated to building and riding traditional hot rods. Based in south London, the four founding members were inspired after meeting a member of the original Detonators club from California. Hot rodding – racing customised cars – became a popular pastime in the 12
US after the second world war, spawned by the army vets who had returned to civilian life with newly acquired mechanical skills. These modified cars were built for speed, but over time style crept into the ethos of hot rodding. The Detonators regularly meet to race their personalised machines
and enjoy the camaraderie. Ross Trevail, Jocks & Nerds’ director of photography, has been documenting the club. The images shown here are a short selection of a greater body of work that will form the basis of a book about the club. detonatorscc.piczo.com
Mal Price, 49, scaffolder Describe your style Hillbillly. What’s so special about the Detonators? It’s one big happy family. Describe The Detonators in three words. Earlys and lates. Who’s your favourite musician? Hank Williams. What’s your favourite movie? Thunder Road.
seen | The Detonators
Berni Price, teacher What’s so special about the Detonators? The kinship. Describe the Detonators in three words. We’re early birds. Who’s your favourite musician? Eddie Cochran. What’s your favourite movie? Singin’ in the Rain.
Lanley Gifford, civil servant Describe your style. 1930s and 40s American workwear, army and navy surplus with a touch of biker. What’s so special about the Detonators? We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have an insatiable appetite for hot rods and spirits. Describe the Detonators in three words. Eggs. Bacon. Tea. Who’s your style icon? Terry-Thomas. Who’s your favourite musician? Ronnie Dawson. What’s your favourite movie? West Side Story.
seen | The Detonators
Cookie, 50, driver Describe your style. Laid back 1950s. What’s so special about the Detonators? Good friends and good fun. Describe the Detonators in three words. Rods, trucks and moonshine. Who’s your favourite band? The Zazou Cowboys. What’s your favourite movie? The World’s Fastest Indian.
Miranda Le Croissette, accountant Describe your style. Rockin’. What’s so special about The Detonators? A great bunch of like-minded people. Describe the Detonators in three words. Cool. Organised. Busy. Who’s your style icon? The glamorous female stars of the 1950s. Who’s your favourite band? BossHoss.
seen | The Detonators
Carhartt and A.P.C.
The great thing about Carharttâ€™s clothes is they donâ€™t need any ephemeral trend infusions. Their legacy of union-made clothing means their functional patterns allow the wearer to develop their own individual style. For three years now, they have created a mini collection with French brand, A.P.C. Another brand founded on honest values and simple ideas, this marriage throws up some interesting twists to classic Carhartt pieces. carhartt-wip.co.uk apc.fr Words Andrew Jones Photograph Luke Moran-Morris Derrickman Lorcan Staniland
NEWS Lewis Leathers 120th Anniversary Jacket
Thick as Thieves. Personal Situations with the Jam
Just as Punk had prevailed with their ripped mohair anti-style, up stepped the Jam who played in smart suits and angular haircuts. Weller, Foxton and Buckler, whose style was more aligned to pre-Punk Mod style, went on to influence a new legion of fans through their songs and their clothes. Despite disbanding in 1982, the Jam still holds a special place in the heart of the fans. Which is exactly the angle of this new book about the band. marshallcavendish.com
During its 120 years in business, Lewis Leathers has dressed RAF pilots, motorcyclists, racers and style icons alike. Perhaps their talisman, the Lightning jacket first appeared in 1958 and was soon adopted by the Rocker scene. It was the jacket favoured by Punkâ€™s leading bands, the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Using the same silhouette, Lewis Leathers has created 120 limited-edition, numbered jackets from vegetable tanned sheepâ€™s hide. lewisleathers.com Words Andrew Jones Photograph Zahra Girach Biker Ryohei
Words Andrew Jones
Ian Fleming: The Bibliography
Danner 80th Anniversary
Danner began making hand-crafted boots in Oregon during the Great Depression, providing sturdy footwear for the local logging business. Eighty years later and they still focus on making boots designed to withstand tough environments and heavy duty labour ,updated with modern technology such as Vibram soles and Gore-Tex linings. To mark this anniversary, they have created two new-limited edition styles. danner.com Words Andrew Jones
James Bond celebrates 50 years on the big screen this year, making it the longest running franchise in movie history. While endless dinner parties can debate who is the definitive on-screen Bond, no one can argue his creator. Ian Fleming, who spent time in the intelligence service, created Bond as more daredevil, playboy version of himself in a time when spying was mostly the preserve of the upper classes. This new bibliography delves into his entire writing process, with unseen manuscripts and proofs, essays and letters, interviews, and a comprehensive look at every edition of each book. queenannepress.com Words Andrew Jones
Hardy Amies Eyewear
The fact that Hardy Amies’ 1964 book, ABC of Men’s Fashion, was recently reprinted only goes to show that men make dress choices based on coded rules rather than trends. Appreciation of proportion and what suits oneself are the key elements of any self-respecting well dressed gentleman. He may no longer be with us but his brand lives on and this year Hardy Amies has launched its first range of eyewear. As you’d expect, it’s classic, not gaudy. hardyamieseyewear.com Words Andrew Jones Photograph Louis Little Trader Nathan Honeycombe
Life Along the Line by O. Winston Link
Armed with a camera and a fantastic name, O. Winston Link documented the Norfolk & Western Railroad, the last steam line in America, as it changed to diesel in the 1950s. Link saw these steam engines as epic couriers of an American way of life. Many of the images where set up in advance like stage sets with huge lighting productions. Never before, or since, has such care and attention been bestowed on this humble form of travel. abramsbooks.co.uk Words Andrew Jones
The Curator Cafe
Murals & Portraits by Richard Avedon
Regarded as the father of modern fashion photography, Richard Avedon was the first to celebrate the dynamism and joie de vivre of wearing clothes. Previously, images were very sober, crafted and static. And it was people that he would return to again and again in his work, not just as a fashion photographer. He travelled the length and breadth of the US with his large format camera, erecting a uniform white backdrop along the way, to capture the diversity of the human condition in some of the most spectacular typographical work ever committed to film. abramsbooks.co.uk Words Andrew Jones
Ben Wilson is a product designer with a flair for two-wheeled transport solutions. His latest bike, the Donky, is a sturdy, little steel framed number designed to carry stackable storage boxes around town with ease. With a simple three-gear system, the rider can even pull a wheelie on those down-time rides. benwilsondesign.co.uk Words Cai Trefor Photograph Jens Marott
The Curator Cafe is the latest venture of Nick Clements, founder of Men’s File magazine and photographer extraordinaire. Bringing together many of his personal loves, the Curator Cafe offers a range of specialist clothing, vintage surfboards and bicycles alongside the obligatory coffee and finest locally sourced produce in this wonderful setting. The Curator Cafe, 2 The Plains, Totnes, Devon thecurator.co.uk Words Andrew Jones Photograph Nick Clements
Clint Eastwood: Master Filmmaker at Work
From Rowdy Yates to the Man with No Name to Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood spent decades embodying characters that seemed to grow up with him. His directorial debut came in the early 1960s for a trailer for Rawhide, the TV series where he first made his name. Today, he is as well known as a director as he is an actor; a rare achievement. This book covers his entire directing career and includes contributions from the likes of Steven Spielberg and Gene Hackman. abramsbooks.co.uk
The Impossible Peace, from War Photographs to Landscapes by Don McCullin Although celebrated for his war photography and news images of suffering, Don McCullin has also shot a wealth of other subjects. This volume brings together his more recognised work with other personal subjects; pre-teen Teddy Boys in Finsbury Park, Hebridean landscapes, crumbling classical ruins, and a photoshoot with the Beatles a stone’s throw from London’s Docklands, where Kubrick made his own Vietnam in Full Metal Jacket. skira.net Words Andrew Jones
Gant, which started as a shirtmaker for brands in New York’s garment district at the beginning of 20th century, went on to be one of the key labels at the birth of the Ivy League look. In the 1960s, Gant created a top based on the rugby shirt. In 1973, the company first launched their new line Rugger by Gant. Now, Gant Rugger is back and there are plans to open a series of stores in Europe. gantrugger.com Words Andrew Jones Photograph Luke Moran-Morris Preppy Louis Little
Penﬁeld Military Issue Collection
For the past few years, Penfield has been playing around with its American roots and twisting and tweaking classic styles, mostly to reflect their Massachusetts roots. The Penfield Military Issue collection pays homage to the US air force and military outerwear. The three pieces, a bomber jacket, duffle and gilet, are made with military grade green nylon and include the must-have fluorescent orange emergency lining. penﬁeldusa.com Words Andrew Jones
9 Calvert Avenue London E2 7JP www.allycapellino.co.uk
312 Portobello Road London W10 5RU
Alan Paine English Explorer Collection
Alan Paine has created this limited-edition collection based on their connection with the English explorer, George Mallory, who was defeated by his attempt to conquer Everest in 1924. His kit of choice for his expeditions was made by this classic English outfitters. alanpaine.co.uk Words Andrew Jones Photograph Luke Moran-Morris Explorer Adriano Mérola Marotta
Love Looks Not With The Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen
Shoemaker Tim Little, who bought Grenson a few years ago, has started a limited-edition range which plays around with some of the classic Grenson styles reworked with deluxe fabrics and unique finishings such as a Derby that’s cut from a single piece of suede. grenson.co.uk Words Andrew Jones Photograph Louis Little
The Brits have always tended to be rather reserved when it comes to celebrating the spectacle of fashion. The exception to the rule was the late, great Alexander McQueen who consistently wowed and provoked audiences with his spectacular shows. Photographer Anne Deniau was given full access to these theatrical occasions and documented what she saw backstage. This book presents her photographs from this time and reveals a glimpse of the designer and his creative ideas. abramsbooks.co.uk Words Andrew Jones
La Dolce Vita by Slim Aarons
The poor paparazzi spend most of their time breathing the stale air of hired 4x4 interiors and drinking coffee from cardboard cups. But not every photographer has to stalk the rich and famous. Slim Aarons was part of the gang himself so got to enjoy the celebrity lifestyle as well as set himself up for the perfect shot; as he once described as “photographing attractive people who were doing attractive things in attractive places.” This book brings together 50 years of work from the photographer who is claimed to have inspired Hitchcock’s Rear Window. abramsbooks.co.uk Words Andrew Jones
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Vintage Menswear: A Collection from the Vintage Showroom
Douglas Gunn and Roy Luckett, founders of the Vintage Showroom, along with writer Josh Sims, have delved into their own outstanding archive of vintage clothing that stretches back over a century. Divided across the masculine pursuits of sporting, soldiering and working, this new book focuses on material and savvy functional design. The photography and writing unpicks why clothes are made, how they are used and how utility becomes fashion. laurenceking.com Words Andrew Jones
East End Photographs by Steven Berkoff
Steven Berkoff is, of course, known as one of Britain’s finest actors; his villainous characters often played with a twinkle in his eye. Berkoff was born and raised in London’s east end where he loved to take photographs of the area and the people. Now that this part of London has changed so much, his photographs stand as a fascinating record of a bygone era as captured by a celebrated actor. An exhibition of his work starts on 1 November at the Cass Gallery in Whitechapel. thecass.com Words Andrew Jones
Pride & Glory: The Art of the Rockers’ Jacket by Horst Friedrichs
Horst Friedrichs, whose books on Mods, Rockers and cyclists have turned the lens on various style groups in modern times returns, this time focuses on the staple of the biker look - the leather jacket. The ultimate symbol of rebellion, it is also a showcase for badges, paintings and a wealth of other unique customisations. daab-media.com Words Andrew Jones
Having already begun a career in fashion media, Tori Murphy decided to pursue her calling, enrolling on an MA at London’s Royal College of Art to study textile design. Upon graduation, she worked both in the UK and Italy for various companies. She recently returned to her native Nottingham, to set up her own studio producing a variety of high quality products with her signature, understated graphic designs. torimurphy.com Words Andrew Jones Photograph Luke Moran-Morris Guru Adriano Mérola Marotta
NEWS WP: Scouting Lifestyle – 30 Years of Rebranding Heritage Brands
WP Lavori celebrates its 30th anniversary with this fantastic book that charts the company’s history through a wealth of archive imagery, interviews and an in-depth look at the things that inspire the company namely a fascination with those great brands with true provenance – such as Woolrich, Barbour, and, most recently, Baracuta. Hats off to the good people at Inventory magazine who have crafted this impressive book which comes in at over 255 pages. This is a great read for anyone interested in how brands are cared for and nurtured in today’s throwaway cycle of the new. wplavori.com Words Andrew Jones
50 years ago, a young Bob Dylan released his first album that reignited the folk scene, following in the footsteps of his hero, Woody Guthrie. Having made a good ole noise as a troubadour, he shocked some of his followers by “going electric” a few years later. He assembled one of the greatest backing bands of all time, the Band, and over the decades has garnered new fans with his simplistic, poetic strumming. bobdylan.com Words Andrew Jones
Sense of Danger
Phil Joyce’s label, Sense of Danger, has more than a nod to the swagger of 1980s terrace style, something Joyce himself has plenty of experience of. A buddy of the Happy Mondays, Joycey (as he is better known), has worked for Manchester brand Gio-Goi and his Northern roots are clear to see in his designs. senseofdanger.co.uk Words Andrew Jones Photograph Luke Moran-Morris Punter Tom O’Driscoll
St Katharine’s Precinct Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Stylist Salim Ahmed Kashmirwala Hair and Grooming Svajunas Grybe Digital Assistant Christopher Fields Location St Katharine’s Precinct, London Freshers Brett and Sascha at Storm, Levi at Premier Levi wears sweater and scarf, stylist’s own. Brett wears sweater, stylist’s own; bag by Union 6.
Sascha wears cardigan and scarf, stylistâ€™s own.
Detail | St Katharine’s Precinct
Brett wears sweater and trousers, stylist’s own.
Detail | St Katharine’s Precinct
Levi wears cardigan, stylist’s own; shirt and trousers by Polo Ralph Lauren; belt by Pokit; bag by Union 6.
Sascha wears jacket from The Vintage Showroom.
PEOPLE Freddie Gyamfi
City boy by day, creative force by night, Freddie Gyamfi can sometimes be seen riding around London on track bikes with his crew, which came out of E3’s Swaton Road where the likes of Dizzee Rascal grew up. The Swaton crew make and exchange clothes, driven by competition with each other. As he explains, “You can’t buy this, no matter how much money you got. But if I know you, you might get one.” Photograph Paul Vickery Words Andrew Jones
The languid melodicism of Brazilian music has long disguised for all but Portugese speakers a strand of gritty, politicallyengaged singer songwriters. Back in the late 1960s, musicians such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Chico Buarque, pioneers of the emerging tropicalismo movement, were imprisoned or exiled for writing lyrics that challenged the military dictatorship ruling Brazil. Enchanting as they were, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “The Girl from Ipanema” and “Corcovado” were only one aspect of the country’s popular music. The São Paulo singer, rapper, composer and poet Criolo writes songs as prettily bewitching as Jobim’s, but his lyric focus is closer to that of radical tropicalismo. Caetano Veloso is on record as saying that Criolo is “possibly the most important figure on the Brazilian pop scene today”. Brazil’s governance has matured since the military ceded power in 1985, but some of the injustices that fired up Veloso, Gil and Buarque – among them state-sponsored violence and an exploited underclass –
remain present. Criolo’s lyrics address them along with newer concerns, such as environmental destruction. “I write my music out of despair but to bring a breath of hope,” says Criolo. “My music is for the everyday people, in Brazil and everywhere.” Few people outside São Paulo had heard of Criolo until the out-of-nowhere success of his recent album, Nó Na Orelha (Knot in the Ear). But the 36-year old has been prominent on São Paulo’s community-based hip hop scene for almost two decades, one of those giving voice to the people living in the city’s ramshackle suburbs. Made independently, Nó Na Orelha’s recording costs were paid for by a local not-for-profit arts collective, Matilha Cultural. There was no grand marketing plan or expectation of national and international success; Nó Na Orelha took off purely through word of mouth. Fittingly, the album opens with five minutes of hardcore Afrobeat, for Afrobeat was created in Nigeria in the early 1970s
in a society not unlike that of modern Brazil, with an oil boom-enriched elite lording it over an impoverished majority. Other tracks draw on samba, dub, Ethio-jazz, acid jazz and funk, some of it rapped, some of it sung. “It’s unusual to have such variety on one album,” says Nó Na Orelha’s splendidly monickered keyboards player and co-producer, Daniel Ganjaman, “but I think the vibe Criolo brings to his songs gives them cohesion.” It does. Among Criolo’s heroes is the godfather of Ethio-jazz, composer and vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke. Criolo’s British debut, at this summer’s Brazilian-sponsored Back2Black festival, included a guest appearance by Astatke. criolo.net Photograph Lee Vincent Grubb Words Chris May
Recognised for his music with his band, Incubus, Brandon Boyd has always kept his hand in with his art, both as a painter and a writer, which has been part of his life before he entered the world of rock stardom. His third book is coming out soon and there are plans for an exhibition later this year. brandonboydbooks.com Photograph Janette Beckman Words Cai Trefor
After taking over his old family home Inshriach House, Walter Micklethwaite started making improvements so he could begin letting it out. Inshriach is bang in the middle of Cairngorms National Park, Scotland but Walter didn’t just want to go after the hiking and white-water rafting crowd. Instead, he’s applied his background in antiques, along with a love of tinkering and all things mechanical, and re-purposed to turn the house and grounds into the venue for the kind of experiences and events that east London culture-creators could only dream about, including a bonfire night party as Bacchanalian and epic as they all should be. The Insider music festival, a showcase of Scottish bands that’s been held in the grounds of the house for the past four years, bears the distinction of having only twice as many revellers as musicians. “It’s hopelessly over-produced for the number of people we have,” Walter laughs, preferring to create good times than turn a quick buck. Throughout the year, Inshriach is offered for rent for up to 17 guests, though this is now supplemented by smaller accommodations that Walter has built and restored personally. Chief among these is the Beer Moth, a 1956 Commer truck converted into perhaps the world’s greatest camper van complete with wood-burning stove, parquet flooring and a Victorian double bed. This last project has caught the attention of the weekend supplements, and now television is knocking at the door for Walter, though the family business of himself, his sister and mum, is for now more focused on the guests who venture up to their unique slice of Scotland. inshriachhouse.com
Joseph Bullman is a singular voice in British documentary film-making; not least of which because he is on a genuine quest to “give the stories back to the people. Give them their voice.” This most recently manifested itself in the highly acclaimed BBC series The Secret History of Our Streets – his first for the corporation in his role as both a producer and director – which took as the root of its story the pioneering cultural mapping of London that Charles Booth undertook in 1886. From this starting point came beautifully observed slices of life “handed back to and told by the residents”, that could easily be any street, anywhere. Indeed, such an impact has the series had, both Australia and the Netherlands have expressed interest in developing the idea for their respective markets. Joe was born in London’s east end, and raised a little further east in Romford, and it is his upbringing that has underpinned his adult life including the scholarship he won to Oxford to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics. His pioneering 2007 Channel 4 documentary Seven Sins of England created a new template for storytelling by putting the words of writers and diarists from across the centuries into the mouths of a variety of his Essex neighbours to prove “there is nothing new under the sun”. And the art of getting ordinary folk to tell their tales also extends into the commercial world for Joe, most recently with his acclaimed ads for Aldi supermarkets. barefilms.co.uk Photograph Mattias Pettersson Words Mark Webster
Photograph Donald Milne Words Andrew Jones
Larry Stabbins and Zoe Rahman
“I’ve never made a conventional ‘jazz’ album,” says saxophonist Larry Stabbins, talking about his new record, Transcendental, “but I’m approaching a stage in life when it’s time to do things you’ve never done before.” With Working Week, the band he co-founded in 1983, Larry was at the hybrid end of the British jazz revival of the 1980s. Working Week’s mix of Latin and soul styles, mixed with a dash of left politics, helped shape jazz-dance and early acid jazz. More recently, Larry was a member of Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra, Jerry’s ska and classical-flecked tribute to the theatrical space-jazz of composer/bandleader Sun Ra. Transcendental was recorded with Stonephace, a quintet drawn from Spatial AKA, among whom Mercury Prize-nominated pianist Zoe Rahman is prominently featured. The album acknowledges Larry’s pre-Working Week years and the musicians who were his teenage heroes, most particularly saxophonists John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. Larry, however, has never been interested in simply replicating the past. “When the acid jazz movement started, I really liked what was going on, the whole thing about it. But as soon as it became a load of people plundering Blue Note [Records] and trying to sound like Art Blakey in 1958 or something, I completely lost interest. In fact, I railed against it.” Transcendental nonetheless contains plenty of references to Larry’s formative influences. “I like reference,” he says. “Virginia Woolf called it ‘thickening the soup’. The common thread running through my playing has always been my teenage years in the 1960s, when jazz was experimenting but still had rhythm and groove. I’ve tried to do something new with those influences.” stonephace.com Photograph Pelle Crepin Words Chris May
Part beat poet, part graffiti artist and full-time typeface nerd, Nicolai Sclater has spent the last four years working on signage and customising gear with hand-painted typography from his studio in Hackney. After working for boutiques and brands across London and beyond, Nicolai is now attracting the attention of private clients. His fascination with punk and biker culture sees him customising leather jackets and rides with beautiful lettering and arch slogans to make one-off pieces. He inherited the knack for poetry from his dad, and the knack for words as visuals from the graffiti scene, away from the labouring-the-point stencil-wielders of Brick Lane or the inane opportunistic taggers. “Paint, to me, has always been very precious”, he says. “I try to make the most of it.” There’s a great economy of design in Nicolai’s work. He gets how words work by their look as well as their content, and how to wring out meaning from every drop-shadow or cursive lick. ornamentalconifer.blogspot.com Photograph Lee Vincent Grubb Words Andrew Jones
Inspired by the London rockabilly scene, dealer Jim Fox spent most of the 1980s amassing a library of vintage Americana, hunting out rare denims, Hawaiian shirts and biking and military gear. Come 1992, he left his day job as a printmaker to set up stall in Camden Stables market as Go Monkey Business and started selling his way through his collection. After becoming a hit on the Camden vintage scene, Jim and his wife moved to Hollywood in 2000, where they now operate an appointment-only showroom offering painstakingly sourced vintage clothing and rare mid-century furniture to a discerning clientele. email@example.com Photograph Michael Schmidt Words Andrew Jones
Peter O’Toole Rebel Rouser. Oscar nominations. Yorkshire Evening Post Words Chris Sullivan
It’s 50 years since Peter O‘Toole burst onto the silver screen in David Lean’s epic, Lawrence of Arabia. One of the finest British films ever made, it turned him into a household name, confirmed his reputation as one of the greatest actors of his generation and made him an international heartthrob. As Noel Coward said to him at the time, “If you’d been any prettier, it would have been ‘Florence of Arabia’.” But now, having just turned 80, he has retired. “It is time for me to chuck in the sponge; to retire from films and stage. The heart for it has gone out of me. It won’t come back.” And it wasn’t just his Gaelic beauty that got him up on the big screen. Although he never won an Oscar, he has been nominated for Best Actor the most times without winning it. He did, however, receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy in 2003, but before the announcement hit the newspapers he made headlines himself by declining the prized figure. “[Since I’m] still in the game and might win the lovely bugger outright,” chided the old rogue,“would the Academy please defer the honour until I’m 80?” A couple of weeks later, he reversed his decision and blamed the episode on “the barrier of a common language”. True to his word, he was back in the running four years later for his performance as a lecherous old thesp salivating over his pal’s petulant teenage niece, played by Jodie Whittaker, in Hanif Kureishi and Roger Michell’s poetic film, 48
Venus. A bravely brilliant performance in a story that might have been about a less successful version of himself, it was rather near his bony old knuckle and really rather excellent. And yet he still went home without the statue. Even O’Toole himself is not sure whether he was born in Ireland or England, or the exact date, but he chooses to celebrate the passing of each year on 2 August. What is known is he spent his childhood in Hunslet, a tough Leeds neighbourhood, where his father set up a betting business and an illegal all-night spieler. O’Toole describes his formative years thus: “I’m not from the working class. I’m from the criminal class.” Indeed, three of his childhood friends were hanged for murder. His best friend Eugene De Burgh killed a warden in South Africa, another pal strangled a girl in a lover’s tiff, while one killed a man during a robbery. A sickly child, O’Toole was rigorously fed literature by his mother, ensuring he was able to read by the tender age of three. Conversely, his roguish father acquainted him with the wonders of larceny, cinema and the racetrack. A good Catholic, O’Toole was an altar boy who flirted with the notion of joining the priesthood. Accordingly, aged 12 he enjoyed joint masturbation sessions with another boy. “I joined the fraternity of MM (Mutual Masturbation) which was regarded as a healthy alternative to ordinary sex. But I got over it. You could say I pulled myself together.” He left school before taking exams and, with the help of his priest, found work as a
tea boy on the Yorkshire Evening Post. Soon, he moved onto the reporters’ desk alongside future Punch and Daily Mirror columnist Keith Waterhouse and best-selling author, Barbara Taylor Bradford. But it wasn’t to last long. “I soon found out that, rather than chronicling events, I wanted to be the event,” he said in his memoir. In his notebook, aged 18, he wrote, “I will not be a common man because it is my right to be an uncommon man. I will stir the smooth sands of conformity. I do not crave security.” Journalist Glenys Roberts, who has known him since 1970, describes him best. “There was no one who had more passion than this long-limbed, mercurial eccentric, with his blazing blue eyes and aura of ever-present danger. He was compelling but it was the danger that made him a star. Mayhem used to follow O’Toole and that’s the way he and his hard-drinking, hellraising friends liked it.” I had the good fortune to meet him one afternoon in the late 1980s in my local, the Coach and Horses in Soho, renowned bolthole of London’s gadabouts. As he often said, “You meet a better class of person in pubs.” I can still recall his voice, a posh vibrating rumble with a slightly beatnik cadence, his clipped diction elegantly theatrical in a way that constantly amused and never irritated. “My advice to you, dear boy, is to fuck as many women as you possibly fucking can,” he purred. “Because the only regrets you’ll have in later life is the ones you failed to nail. They’re the ones you’ll remember.” >
Divina Creatura, 1975
Playing Hamlet at the Old Vic 1963 Getty Images
Dressed in a linen suit, a lavender shirt, cravat, white loafers and green socks, he angled his 6ft 3in frame into a seat in the Coach and smoked Gauloises in a black cigarette holder all afternoon. He didn’t drink. O’Toole, who once said, “Booze is the most outrageous of drugs, which is why I chose it”, had given it up years before after several metres of intestinal tubing had been removed from his stomach along with his pancreas. In fact, O’Toole had raced with the grim reaper and won by a hair’s breadth. “It was a photo finish, the surgeons said,” he recalled. He was subsequently informed that there was so little of his digestive system left that the merest smidgeon of alcohol could prove fatal. “The time has come to stop roaming,” he remarked. “The pirate ship has berthed. I can still make whoopee but now I do it sober.” I am reminded of an interview he’d done with Kenneth Tynan for Playboy magazine in the mid-1960s. Tynan: Are you afraid of dying? O’Toole: Petrified. Tynan: Why? O’Toole: Because there’s no future in it. Tynan: When did you last think you were about to die? O’Toole: About four o’clock this morning. Still, one has to applaud the man. A shining example to us all, he hasn’t put a foot wrong. Offered an honorary knighthood in 1987, he turned it down on political grounds. As a drama student, he and his pals threw parties on the London Underground, fuelled by booze and a battery-operated gramophone. An internationally famous actor, he travelled the world but never carried a wallet or wore a watch, and never took his keys with him. “I just hope some bastard’s in,” he’d say. In truth, when no one was home, the actor often found himself explaining to the rozzers just why he was breaking into his own house. Of course, considering O’Toole’s rep now – the veteran of the Old Vic, the master of Shakespeare, the legendary thespian who has carved a niche playing louche toffs- the thought of him being arrested is inconceivable. I’d wager Prince Phil has more chance of getting banged up than O’Toole. But things weren’t always quite so rosy. 50
He first considered acting at 18 and joined a local theatre group, but was swiftly drafted for National Service, choosing the Navy. “I preferred the sea and vomited over every inch of it,” he admits in his memoirs. Upon demobilisation, O’Toole used what little cash he received hopping from city to city, buying theatre tickets and sleeping rough. A visit to Stratford in 1952 convinced him that London, and more importantly, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, was the place for him. He arrived on its doorstep the next day only to be told that, without certain academic qualifications, enrolment was impossible. O’Toole kicked up a right old fuss, which was overheard by the school’s principle, Sir Kenneth Barnes, who, admiring the young man’s pluck, set up a private audition. As a result, O’Toole found
‘Booze is the most outrageous of drugs, which is why I chose it’ himself the beneficiary of Clement Attlee’s post-war reforms that allowed the not-soprivileged to enter into higher education via state scholarships. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I entered RADA,” he once said. His classmates included Albert Finney and Alan Bates, also working-class scholarship boys. O’Toole supported himself by working as a stuntman on films, using various monikers such as Arnold Hearthrug, Charlie Staircase and Walter Plings. His professional debut was at the Bristol Old Vic in 1955. It was here that he met his lifelong buddy, Richard Harris, who acted opposite him in many a play. Their modus operandi was to hit the pub during the interval, running back just in time to for the second half curtain call. Once, during a matinee, they had sunk a few too many jars, prompting the
stagehand to run in and shout, “You’re on!” They dashed back and ran on stage. Harris was first but slipped and fell in the lap of a lady in the first row. “My God, you’re pissed,” she cried. Smiling drunkenly, Harris looked up and slurred in his rich Irish brogue, “If you think I’m bad, wait ’til you see O’Toole.” Yet none of this seemed to hamper the meteoric rise of O’Toole. By 1959, he’d won the London Theatre Critics award for best actor. The rest of his gang of rough working-class thespians, Richard Burton and fellow hellraisers, Peter Finch, Albert Finney, Robert Shaw and Richard Harris, were whipping the rug out from under the feet of the luvvy upper middleclass high-tea brigade, personified by the likes of Laurence Olivier. By now, O’Toole was garnering roles in movies such as The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960). After seeing this film, he never watched himself on the big screen again. In 1962, he’d nabbed his breakthrough role in David Lean’s masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia. The film premiered on 10 December, 1962. Giving his tickets for the premier to a pal, O’Toole asked, “Was it any good ?” He eventually caught the film on TV in 1975, but gave up after 40 minutes. Looking at the film now it’s hard to believe that anyone else could have played Lawrence but he had to work for the role. Director David Lean was all over the young actor but tough nut producer, Sam Spiegel, had reservations because of O’Toole’s fearsome hellraising reputation, so offered the role first to Marlon Brando and then Albert Finney both of whom turned it down. Eventually Lean persuaded the famed American producer, after the actor had delivered another scorching audition. Spiegel then called O’Toole. “I want you to play Lawrence,” he growled, expecting his cock sucked. “Oh yes,” answered the actor. “Is it a speaking part?” Spiegel, producer of On the Waterfront, was not amused. Thus, Lawrence of Arabia occupied O’Toole for two years. For three months he learned to live as a Bedouin in the desert, was thrown off camels, almost trampled, suffered third-degree burns and a near-nervous breakdown. By the time filming finished, he’d lost 30 pounds in weight, been concussed twice, broken his thumb, sprained his neck and both
CINEMA | Peter O’Toole his ankles, torn ligaments in both hip and thigh and dislocated his spine. Still it was worth it. The film was a global box-office smash that was universally hailed as a true cinematic masterpiece; one of those movies that really has to be seen on the big screen. “I woke up one morning to find I was famous,” said the star. “I bought a white Rolls-Royce and drove down Sunset Boulevard wearing dark specs and a white suit, waving like the Queen Mum. Nobody took any fucking notice but I thoroughly enjoyed it.” His next film was Becket, with Richard Burton in the title role. The two actors had been friends long before they ever worked together and lived round the corner from each other in Hampstead. Together they usually quaffed more on a night out than your average rugby team might do in a weekend. “He’d come to my place or I’d go to his,” said O’Toole. “And then we’d carry each other home.” Nevertheless, they kept it together on set for the first few weeks until Burton told O’Toole that, after all their efforts, they deserved a little nip. They then drank solidly for a day and two nights after which they tried to film a scene where the king makes Becket Chancellor of England and places a ring on his finger. O’Toole had a terrible time trying to put the ring on. “It was rather like trying to thread a needle wearing boxing gloves,” Burton later recalled. Both said they were drunk throughout most of the shooting of Becket yet the pair still managed to receive Oscar nominations for their efforts. Undeniably, O’Toole’s drunken antics often overshadowed his colossal acting skills and, all through the 1960s, he was in the news. He walloped a French count in a trendy Paris eatery, brawled with the paparazzi in Rome, beat up the odd copper here and there and, on another occasion, went out for a beer in his Paris local only to wake up in Corsica. He was even arrested in the company of Lenny Bruce and Omar Sharif in the middle of shooting Lawrence and was locked up for the night for “harassing” a building in Holborn. One of his great boozing buddies was the Australian actor, Peter Finch. During one of their celebrated sessions in Ireland in the 1960s the landlord called time. In order to continue drinking, they simply bought the pub. On another occasion, in
the early 1970s, he reportedly went out for lunch with friends where they consumed several bottles of wine. Later that evening, the sozzled gang decided to take in a play but as they sat down O’Toole suddenly realised that he was indeed appearing in the show and dashed on stage as drunk as an owl. “But I do not regret one drop,” he told The Observer in 2007. “We were young people who’d been children throughout the war. Well, you can imagine what it felt like in 1945 to be free, not to be bombed, not to be rationed, not to be restricted. There was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. We weren’t solitary, boring drinkers, sipping vodka alone in a room. No, no, no. We went out on the town, baby, and we did our drinking in public. But don’t forget, we weren’t morose.
Lawrence of Arabia 1962
It was just a fuel; it was in addition to what we were doing, which was leaping and shrieking and saying, ‘Why not?’ It was a fuel for various adventures. “But as actors our hours are absurd. Be it stage or cinema, it’s impossible to be drunk or stoned and perform at high definition. So the carousers that I knew – Finchy, Bob Shaw, Burton, any of them – were practically monkish during the week. Then came what we used to call ‘collier’s night out’. And we went ‘Whoopee!’ And if we weren’t working, we went ‘Whoopee, whoopee, whoopee!’ Yes, we had a ball.” That said, maybe too much has been made of his excesses, however Olympian. Perhaps, because he tells a good tale, or because such shenanigans are so rare these days in the acting community, or perhaps because every word is true but, whatever the case, we must never forget
his prodigious acting talent. Apart from Lawrence of Arabia, who could forget his myriad roles, especially his other Oscar nominated performances such as the title role in Goodbye, Mr Chips (1969), or as the 14th Earl of Gurney who thought he was God in The Ruling Class (1972), or as Eli Cross in The Stunt Man (1980). And who can fail to be impressed by your man as the pixilated former matinée idol, Alan Swann in My Favorite Year (1982) in which he utters my favourite on-screen O’Toole line. Entering the ladies’ toilet, his character is firmly scolded by an old crone, “This is for ladies only”, to which he replies, unzipping his fly and brandishing his weapon, “So is this, ma’am. But every now and again I have to run a little water through it.” Indeed, Richard Burton was forever full of admiration for O’Toole’s talents. “He looked like a beautiful, emaciated secretary bird,” stated the Welshman, shortly before his death. “His voice had a crack like a whip. Most important of all you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Acting is usually regarded as a craft and I claim it to be nothing more, except in the hands of the odd few men and women who, once or twice in a lifetime, elevate it to something odd and mystical and deeply disturbing. I believe Peter O’Toole to have this strange quality.” Certainly, if anyone knows any man well it’s his wife. The Welsh actress Sîan Phillips was married to O’Toole for 20 years through the 1960s and 1970s. “You look like you’re in mourning for your sex life,” O’Toole noted of her wardrobe of black and violet clothes. Subsequently, he threw them all out of the window. She was consumed. “Only a person like O’Toole could have knocked me off course that far,” she explained. “He was so incredibly charismatic, so wonderful and fascinating. All I wanted was to be with him. He engaged me totally; sexually, creatively, and emotionally. What can I say? He’s a wonderful person to have to be shackled to. He’s an immensely interesting man.” Hear bloody well hear. To mark the 50th anniversary, a restored version of Lawrence of Arabia is out on 16 November 51
Edwin Jeans Blitz Motorcycles Photographs Ugo Richard Words Cai Trefor Mechanics Hugo Jezegabel and Fred Jourden All clothes by Blitz Motorcycles for Edwin Jeans
Hugo Jezegabel and Fred Jourden are the founders of Paris-based garage Blitz Motorcycles â€“ dedicated to creating beautiful customised motorbikes. Both in the workshop and on the bike, denim is a staple for these guys. So it was with
this unique perspective on the function of denim, that Edwin Jeans approached the two guys from Blitz to fiddle around with some of their staple pieces and tweak them for their needs. The result is a great mini-collection, which includes
the classic jean jacket reworked with side pockets to keep those tools to hand, and dark pocket linings to hide the inevitable oil-staining. blitz-motorcycles.com edwin-europe.com 53
BULLETIN | Edwin Jeans
BULLETIN | Edwin Jeans
Jules Vegas Stiff Records. Barney Bubbles. The Clash. Madness Words Mark Webster Photographs Ross Trevail
Being known for being unknown. Good trick if you can pull it off. Not necessarily the ideal way build a business, though. Bit hit and miss. I mean, can you really go on and on being Anon? Alternatively, you could go the way mercurial, influential designer Jules Vegas has gone throughout a career that now spans five decades, and provide a body of work (ensuring that your name is mainly always on the bottom in the process!) that speaks for itself and for what you’re all about, but never at the expense of the subject matter. As Jules puts it himself, “My big thing is I’ve 58
always been the background boy, a conduit to help artists express themselves. Of my generation, there are many well known designers, but you know more about them than the acts they work for.” This ethos has been played out in a career that started straight out of the London College of Printing at Dave Robinson and Jake Riviera’s seminal Stiff Records label (and where being unknown began, more of which...), before evolving through a symbiotic relationship with the Clash and on to include a diverse range of artists such as Cypress Hill, Adam & the Ants,
Madness and the James Taylor Quartet. Not only does he design groundbreaking sleeves and magazine advertising for the music business, he also produces posters, flyers, book covers, brochures and logos for the media and arts, and is house designer for the Riflemaker contemporary art gallery in Soho; all of which is handled with one thought in his mind – “if you’re actually going to cut down trees, and make paper, and print on it, you might as well produce something that is worthwhile”. The 1930s south London house Vegas shares with his wife, Karen, is simply busting out with everything that >
has influenced Jules Vegas the designer, all the way back to when he was Jules Balme the boy, born in the late 1950s in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. To call it a shrine to great design is possibly close but doesn’t do justice to a home that like any other has chairs and books and curtains and carpets and paint on the wall, DVDs under the telly (Ealing Comedy and Deadwood box sets – now that says something about a man) and a car in the garage. But all of it, down to the tiniest teaspoon, has been carefully selected with love, affection and with “the look” in mind. Jules describes it as “an accumulation of crap over 20-odd years. We just wanted to surround ourselves with things we like and it’s just got more and more absurd,” while adding pointedly, “but everything does have a story.”
to let the record company know I was doing something for them so it wasn’t a shock when they got the bill. I wasn’t coining it then, so I had to, which can be difficult when you’re working within in a creative world. “And especially when I feel I’ve hardly worked a day in my life, myself, because I love what I do.” Stiff ’s Little Fingers “My big hero at college was Barney Bubbles (the graphic artist whose work began in the 1960s and went on to include iconic early images for Stiff Records artists like Elvis Costello and Ian Dury & the Blockheads in the mid-1970s) – to me, he was God.
Corgi since he was dinky “I was a huge toy car kid, loved Corgi toys. There’s something about putting the cars on the shelf in the right order, in the right way. Also hot wheels, bubblegum cards, but not Dinky. I preferred Corgi because I thought the yellow and blue boxes were, way, way, way better than Dinky”. The Dadvertising Business “My old man was a ‘Mad Man’ – an advertising guy, so I didn’t really stand a chance. He was very into cars, and his office in town was full of music and books and I picked up on that. “I remember we had a great holiday when I was six or seven, and we went to Majorca. But we didn’t fly, we went in the old man’s Mk II Jaguar. Which was an absolute nightmare. Two families, six of us, and we couldn’t get all the suitcases in the back so we threw the clothes in loose, just drove down to the ferry and on to Majorca. I’m sure there are more glamorous, more expensive ways of doing it, but it felt bloody brilliant, all together in that fabulous car, then three weeks in a villa. “And dad was a northern lad who came south and made good, so making a bob or two, for me, was never a dirty thing. Which actually was kind of strange working with the Clash early on because I was always smart enough 60
And I guess the reason I got to work at Stiff was because I liked him and followed the source. I found myself leaving college to work at Stiff. In fact, even before I’d left I did two days a week there putting ads together. “And I was really lucky – I went to college from 1976 to 1979 (where his friend, Neville Brody, who designed The Face magazine, was another rising star) which was just about the perfect time musically if you’re not going to do a stroke of work because you’re out every night. I used to go to so many gigs, which meant you’d start to know people in the room, and before you knew it, you were doing other stuff. I can
remember being asked to do a job, a favour, and I’d be hidden away in the dark room at Stiff, staying up all night, moonlighting. That is pretty much how I ended up doing the sleeve for the Clash’s “Bank Robber”. “It’s quite bizarre, I actually got failed at college because of lack of course work, but one of the assessors said ‘This is ridiculous, how can you fail him? He’s actually doing it,’ and showed them a full page ad of mine in the NME. So I actually ended up with a 2:2. “But because Barney was my hero, and because he didn’t, I never used to sign any of my work. I thought, ‘Well, if Barney thinks that’s a good idea..’. Now, though, with the advent of all those books like, you know, ‘1000 Great Album Covers’, I’ll see the sleeve for the Clash’s Combat Rock and it says, ‘Designer unknown’. “I’ll admit there is a little bit of me that says I’ve done quite a bit of work now, so perhaps a little bit of recognition… In the back of my mind, that makes me think, perhaps to do a book one day.” Dial M For Madness Madness came into Stiff ’s offices on Alexander Street one day at about midday and said ‘Look, we want a logo sort of like the 2 Tone man [the band’s label for their debut single ‘The Prince’], but obviously not the 2 Tone Man. So can we leave that with you?’ So they went next door to the boozer and came back about 2.30, and I said ‘What do you think about that?’ – and it was the ‘M’ man. And they loved it. That was a Friday afternoon, I remember, because that meant straight back down the pub. “They played at Stiff founder Robbo’s wedding before they signed to the label and before I went on to work on ‘One Step Beyond’ and their whole early look and style with them for their ads and the sleeve. “Typical of Robbo, that was – ‘Let’s get that band, Madness. See how good they are?’. Basically, it was their audition. Their showcase.” Nobody’s Fool “I actually left Stiff on an April 1st, because it was obvious I was going to >
PROFILE | Jules Vegas
James Bond toy cars 1965
Original TWA poster designed by David Klein 1950 Complete collection of James Bond paperbacks
Back issues of Road & Track magazine
Madness ad designed by Jules Vegas in issue 1 of The Face 1980
Collage of Jules’s work on his garage wall
get more work for the Clash. My first job out of there was Sandanista. Desert Song “I got married in Vegas in 1991 and there were still traces of the old Vegas then. I mean, you could go down to Fremont Street and it was still open air and the cowboy was still there...Caesar’s Palace... all the familiar landmarks, all iconic images that remain, even today.” “Every time we’ve been back since, something has been knocked down or blown up. Which galls me as I’m bit of a retro nutter – I’m not slavish about it, but I’m a big one for preservation. So for me to go and see the Dunes sign laying on its side was appalling. Not least of which, it is still ‘sellable’. It is still 62
‘My old man was a “Mad Man” – an advertising guy, so I didn’t really stand a chance’ a piece of design that people know, and use, and love. “I find there is this thing in the Western world that as soon as we discover something, we kill it.”
Motor Head “The car thing has become a parallel interest. There were the toy cars, obviously, but as soon as I got into long trousers, music became everything. But in the mid-1980s, when the Clash sort of imploded, I sort of gave up on music and set up a proper, grown-up design agency. “And grown-up work meant grown up wages and I thought, hey, I can spend some of that on cars. Real cars! So that was something of a seismic shift. The early 1980s classic-car movement had by then got underway, and soon I was racing cars, British sports cars, but even then, the aesthetic was still pretty much everything. The look of the cars, and there I was in my white boiler suit and leather jacket –
PROFILE | Jules Vegas I remember someone accusing me of being straight out of Dance with a Stranger, Mike Newell’s 1980s film drama about Ruth Ellis, starring Rupert Everett as her racing driver boyfriend, David Blakely. Funnily enough, I ended up squaring that circle when I designed the sleeve to the film soundtrack! “Now, typically, my hobby has ended up tying up with my work as a lot of the classic car guys are saying to me ‘Hey, you do a bit of design…’ I’ve just completed a series of ads for Fiskens Fine Historic Automobiles in west London, dragging out all his great cars and giving them a whole new look”. Oh, No Dj “I have played a few records to people in small rooms. I just think
to call someone who bores people twice a year with their own musical taste a DJ? I did a show for the Riflemaker gallery around four or five years ago on legendary Covent Garden contemporary art gallery Indica, and they asked if I’d play some music at the after show party. So, because Indica had such a short lifespan – something like 1966 to ’68 – I thought, ‘I’m not going to play anything after 1968, that would be a bit of an idea.’ Of course, it never occurred to me at the time that no record before then was longer than two and a half minutes. And there I was for three and a half hours! “But my one non-real DJ claim to fame was Yoko Ono dancing... I could see that little top hat grooving away.”
The Thrill of the Chase “I think the thing that I dislike most is that everything is so readily available, and as a result it becomes valueless. I don’t think that’s snobbery, I think it just instils laziness. I’m thinking about things like trying to find old magazines – if you wanted the first ten issues of The Face, it would be tough. But now I’ve got a vintage Playboy magazine collection – I love the design, the lifestyle it represented. And I’d search markets, secondhand bookshops, and the joy of discovering a missing copy would be fantastic. “Now, just sit on eBay, key in October 1957, and it’s ‘How many do you want?’. Me: But do you hit ‘Buy’? “Guilty as charged!”.
Jules with his 1954 Lincoln Cosmopolitan
Lee 101 Alaska Workers Photographs Louis Little Worker Luke Moran-Morris
Introduced in 1931, Lee’s Storm Rider jacket was the first denim jacket with its distinctive “Alaskan” blanket lining, essentially a winter version of its classic 101 jacket, which cowboys and workers appreciated in the colder months and the night-time desert. With a nod to the innovation of the Storm Rider, Lee 101 has created the Alaskan Workers suit –
three pieces, including a jacket, waistcoat and trousers, all with Lee’s familiar striped blanket lining and made with left hand heavyweight selvage denim, woven at the Kurabo denim mill, Japan. Curiously, focus has always been on lining the upper half of the body, or wearing longer coats in order to keep legs warm, but this offers a comfortable
solution for denim heads and those who don’t liked to be weighed down by heavy, functional winter overcoats. lee101.com Available from Peggs & Son, Brighton peggsandson.com
Simão wears football shirt by Diadora.
Westway Warriors Photographs Marcus Agerman Ross Styling Salim Ahmed Kashmirwala Styling Assistant Fahd Ahmed Kashmirwala Warriors Simão Borges, Alexander-Ivan Garkov and James Tytler
Alex wears jacket by Nike.
James wears coat by Ralph Lauren Black Label; tracksuit bottoms by Edun; hoodie by adidas. Alex wears jacket and tracksuit bottoms by Nike; sweater by Cos. Sim達o wears jacket by Zadig & Voltaire; trousers by Maison Martin Margiela.
STYLE | Westway Warriors
Sim達o wears jacket by Zadig & Voltaire; trousers by Maison Martin Margiela; trainers by Nike.
STYLE | Westway Warriors
Sim達o wears jacket by Zadig & Voltaire.
STYLE | Westway Warriors
James wears jacket by Ralph Lauren Black Label; sweatshirt and hat by DSquared2. Sim達o wears jacket by Zadig & Voltaire. Alex wears jacket by Ralph Lauren Black Label; tracksuit top by adidas.
James wears coat by Ralph Lauren Black; hoodie by adidas; bag by Pokit.
Blue Note Records Alfred Lion. Francis Wolff. Max Margulis. Hot jazz Words Chris May Portrait Tim Hans
Just nine months into his presidency of Blue Note Records, Don Was, the bassist and producer, has a challenge on his hands. The label, which practically defined hard bop and soul jazz from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, when it enjoyed a brand profile as potent as its music, has had a chequered history since its visionary founder, Alfred Lion, retired in 1967. It limped, directionless, through the 1970s before being taken over at the close of the decade, as part of a larger corporate acquisition, by EMI, who suspended its operations. The label was relaunched in 1985 as part of the EMI Manhattan group, under Bruce Lundvall, a well-respected industry figure who had previously headed up both CBS and Elektra. Lundvall, Blue Note’s Chairman Emeritus since 2011, put the label back on a sound financial basis, through perspicacious signings such as the singer Norah Jones, and an extensive CD reissue programme. 74
But today, Blue Note’s profile still lacks the singularity it possessed under Lion and, despite a handful of adventurous Lundvall jazz signings such as the hip-hop informed pianist Robert Glasper, is still best known for its back catalogue. So when, in 2011, aged 74, Lundvall stepped down from full-time involvement with Blue Note, some observers argued that if the label was to regain the aura it had under Lion – when jazz fans would buy its releases unheard, on the strength of the Blue Note imprimatur alone – something radical needed to happen. So far, so good. Don Was’s appointment is radical. From his appearance, at 59, still sporting a solid set of dreadlocks, through his career in music, which has taken in rock, soul and dance music as well as jazz, Was is far from the stereotypical picture of a jazz label president. Now based in Los Angeles, he emerged in 1981 as coleader of the mutant dance/jazz band
Was (Not Was) in his native Detroit, into which he is still plugged, musically and personally. He has a longstanding relationship with the Rolling Stones, producing half a dozen albums including Voodoo Lounge, and working with the group on the recent reissues of Exile on Main Street and Some Girls. Was’s jazz roots run deep, however. Two of the records on Blue Note that inspired him most as a young teenager were, he tells me during an 8am phone call from his home in Santa Monica, tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson’s Mode for Joe and alto saxophonist/bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch – two Lion-produced classics from the mid-1960s. And, aligning him perfectly with the jazz tradition, Was has a wellearned reputation for being part of a wider left-leaning, alternative culture (notwithstanding, some might say, his stints producing contestants on the 2011 season of American Idol). >
Was Riverside Studios, Don London, September 1984
Indeed, sometime in the 1980s, I remind him, he gave an interview in which he described record companies as “the enemy.” An honourable point of view, but he is no longer in the belly of the monster; he is holding the reins. What happened? “‘Enemy’ is a strong word,” says Was with a chuckle. “I don’t think they’re trying to kill anybody… but possibly maim. Look man, I just think record companies and artists are at cross purposes at times. You can’t blame anyone for doing their gig – artists are supposed to do new things, regenerating all the time, and record companies are meant to make money. But I think as the record business became bigger, the chasm between art and commerce became deeper. It’s become numbers versus instinct. “But it doesn’t have to be like that. Ahmet [Ertegun, who founded Atlantic Records in 1947] understood that when you let people make artistically sound records you make money.” Don pauses, 76
and then adds: “That doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone got the money.” Making “artistically sound” records was also the founding principle of Blue Note Records, which Lion, a JewishGerman refugee from the Nazis with no experience in the record business, set up in New York in January 1939. The label got its start-up funding from Lion’s friend, the socialist writer and activist Max Margulis. It is likely that Lion and Margulis co-wrote the mission statement, since credited to Lion (who died in 1987), which Blue Note published in May that year, when it released its first records: “Blue Note Records,” read the statement, “are designed simply to serve the uncompromising expressions of hot jazz or swing, in general. Any particular style of playing which represents an authentic way of musical feeling is genuine expression. By virtue of its significance in place, time and circumstance, it possesses its own tradition, artistic standards and audience
that keeps it alive. Hot jazz, therefore, is expression and communication, a musical and social manifestation, and Blue Note Records are concerned with identifying its impulse, not its sensational and commercial adornments.” Lion rarely strayed from the principle over the next 28 years, until ill-health forced him to quit the label. In the introduction to The Blue Note Years: The Jazz Photography of Francis Wolff (Rizzoli International, 1995), Lion is quoted as saying: “If I may add three words, we tried to record jazz ‘with a feeling’.” (Lion’s boyhood friend from Germany, Francis Wolff became a partner in Blue Note in late 1939, and ran the label after Lion’s retirement until his death in 1971). The importance that Was attaches to Blue Note’s original mission statement can be judged by the fact that he keeps it on his BlackBerry. “The key words for me,” says Was, “are ‘authentic music’. I don’t think that we’re that bound to reproduce the kind of jazz that Alfred Lion recorded. I feel
MUSIC | Blue Note Records very strongly that Alfred wouldn’t have wanted to do that if he was around today. After all, he acknowledged ‘place, time and circumstance’ in his manifesto, and the world changes. In the 1980s, Alfred was listening to Prince. He was always ahead of the game. He never repeated himself and if he had continued I don’t believe he would have ever repeated himself. “Look, we have arguably the finest catalogue of music that any record company has ever assembled, and most of it is available. So there’s really no point in doing more of it, a few generations removed and not as well as the original cast did it.” A record label needs to speak to its time, I suggest. “Exactly. You can’t devote yourself to recreating hard bop – well you could, but it would be a pointless exercise. And it also totally misrepresents what those artists had in mind. They weren’t doing stuff for nostalgia’s sake, they were doing the opposite, they were trying to make something of its time as well as groundbreaking. “The first Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers album is a revolutionary album; you’ve got Horace Silver saying ‘fuck what those guys permit us, I want to throw some gospel in here. I don’t care what they think.’ It’s Art Blakey saying, ‘I want to put a backbeat in here, I don’t care what the rules are.’ There were rules in bebop, which itself was a revolution against what preceded it. You listen to those 1950s, 1960s albums today and the music has become so much a part of every musician’s vocabulary that it doesn’t sound radical. But it sure did when it came out. “So while I remember what Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch meant to me in 1965, we have to have some younger people, whose music relates to younger people today, and has the same impact on them as Out to Lunch did on me. But don’t make those same records.” In Lion’s day, Blue Note’s interpretation of “authentic music” was inclusive rather than exclusive. Lion was as happy providing a platform for groove purveyors such as organist Jimmy Smith and guitarist Grant Green as he was for iconoclasts such as pianist Cecil Taylor and alto saxophonist Ornette
Coleman, along with many of the ranking trumpeters and tenor saxophonists of his era, from Miles Davis and John Coltrane, to Lee Morgan and Sonny Rollins. Was’s A&R strategy for the label, so far as it has defined itself just a few months into his presidency, looks set to become even more catholic than Lion’s. Jazz purists will applaud some of his early signings, and likely question others, but few people would dispute the artists’ authenticity. Was has resigned two established Blue Note stars, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, and signed the singer José James. He has also begun signing young jazz instrumentalists who he feels can cut a direct, but modernist, line to Blue Note’s Lion-era legacy. This strand kicks off with bassist Derrick Hodge, who started out with Blanchard
‘I can do pretty much anything I like except lose money’ and is now a member of pianist Robert Glasper’s boundary-breaking, hip hop-informed group, which has been recording for Blue Note since 2005. Was has also signed Aaron Neville and Van Morrison, two singular singer/composers who have drawn on the jazz tradition but are not generally perceived to be part of it. Leon Russell, the pianist/bandleader who co-produced singer Joe Cocker’s 1970 classic, Mad Dogs and Englishmen – and whose songs have been covered by artists including Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and Donny Hathaway – is another authentic, but hardly “jazz,” artist who will have an album out under Blue Note next year. “Aaron’s is classic doo-wop songs, but done differently,” says Was. “I co-produced it with Keith Richards.
That stems from when I was working on Voodoo Lounge back in 1994. We were about six weeks in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin and my room was right above Keith’s room. His stereo was going 24 hours a day and it was like looping doowop records. So when Aaron said he wanted to do an album with doo-wop, it just seemed natural. And you don’t simply want to make a karaoke version of old doo-wop songs, you want to bring something new to it while retaining the essence. It’s a very cool record, different from anything you’ve ever heard and yet solidly in the tradition.” The album, titled My True Story, will be released in January 2013, and the samples I have heard suggest it will be a freaking monster. “Van Morrison is just a great Van Morrison album. It’s a new studio album he produced himself. And he’s writing to the moment. The writing’s great. “José James has made a wonderful record. I saw him in a club here in LA, and looking around, it was like a new species of audience. The make-up of this audience was different. You think, I’ve never seen this particular mix of people. That’s exciting. That’s what CBGBs felt like back in the day, it’s probably what Minton’s [the New York City club at the forefront of the bop revolution] felt like. “I read somewhere that Alfred said, ‘Never sign bass players or drummers’. But hey, Derrick Hodge’s album is about finished. Robert Glasper’s on it. It’s in the Glasper stream but it’s Derrick’s take on it.” For Was, Robert Glasper’s take on jazz is one of the ways forward for the music. “My sons are all musicians, and my youngest one, who’s 15, is a bass player. He’s at a very groovy high school with a great music programme, and they do a jazz show each year at Catalina’s, one of the jazz clubs in Hollywood. And this year one of the seniors got up and said, ‘Now we’re going to do something by Robert Glasper called “Afro Blue”.’ No mention of John Coltrane, who wrote it. And then they played Glasper’s version – and they tore it up, it was completely in keeping with it. It really underscored the notion that Glasper’s music is not some crazy hip hop/jazz mutation, it’s not some detour for jazz, it’s in the mainline of > 77
the tradition, and that this is how the tradition is coming to be understood by young people. It’s part of the common thread that has run through jazz all its life.” How does Was define that “common thread” in jazz? “I think it’s a revolutionary music. But that’s not to say it’s conceptual – it’s soul music really. It has musicians with a really great musical vocabulary, because to play that music properly you’ve got to know your scales and your modes and you’ve got to have some technique. And then you’ve got to apply it soulfully. It’s not an easy balance.” At the other end of the age range from Derrick Hodge, Was also plans to produce an album by the 76-year-old Detroit trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, who was featured on Was (Not Was)’s 1981 breakout single, “Wheel Me Out.” In the 1970s, Belgrave was a member of the city’s politically active musicians’ collective, Tribe. (The Universal Sound label’s Message from the Tribe: An Anthology of Tribe Records 1972-1977, is a blast). Meanwhile Was, Belgrave and another Tribe alumnus, tenor saxophonist Wendell Harrison, are each to be featured on an upcoming Blue Note album, Detroit Jazz City, following their appearances this year in the Detroit All-Star Revue during Detroit’s annual Concert of Colors festival. Proceeds from the album will go to the Focus:Hope charity, which provides food for undernourished local children. “Concert of Colors is a world music festival, a diversity festival,” says Was. “The guy who stages it, Ismael Ahmed, is a great social activist, real community orientated. An old-time activist, a great man. For the past five years we’ve done a 90-minute Detroit All-Star Revue. It’s a celebration of Detroit, it’s turned into a really nice tribal gathering. “Focus:Hope feeds a lot of kids in the city. There’s a lot of hungry kids. Sixty per cent of the kids living in the actual city of Detroit are below the poverty level. It’s shocking, man. It’s unbelievable…in the richest country in the world. “I did some work with a senator from California a few years back and 78
I remember going out to eat with her and I said, ‘Does the government know the tipping point for a revolution? If ninety-nine per cent of the wealth of the country is owned by one per cent of the people, are we looking at a revolution? But if ninety-seven per cent is in the hands of three per cent, there’s complacency? Do you know the tipping point?’ You could somehow imagine that certain people had that information and that there was a ratio that was being carefully managed. I’m pretty concerned that this country is getting close to the tipping point now.” Detroit Jazz City will also feature saxophonist James Carter, his daughter, violinist Regina Carter, keyboardist Amp Fiddler, guitarist Dennis Coffey and veteran singer Sheila Jordan. Alongside the new signings to Blue Note, Was is not neglecting the label’s
‘You’ve got Horace Silver saying, “fuck what those guys permit us”’ back catalogue. Presumably, I say, it still provides a useful income stream? “It’s a great annuity,” says Was. “In the corporate structure, that doesn’t necessarily mean funds trickling down to allow Ravi Coltrane to spend more money making a record. Unfortunately. But we’re working on it.” Was launched the digital-only legacy strand “Mastered for iTunes” in August. “We’ve remastered everything at 192K. It’s a huge difference. There have been so many… what I would describe as misrepresentations of the artists’ original intentions, particularly with some of the CD reissues. I’ve listened to the original quarter inch tapes and the difference can be astonishing. We’ve remastered the entire catalogue and we’ll start issuing them in
batches of six titles a month. The sound is outstanding. We’re not starting with the predictable albums either. The first batch includes Ornette Coleman’s At The Golden Circle and Larry Young’s Unity. They’ve also got new liner notes, and the directive on this is ‘Don’t tell us what microphones they used. Tell us why this is an enduring piece of music.’ The package also includes the old liner notes and credits, and additional photographs. It’s very cool.” Call me old-fashioned, I say, but I remain underwhelmed by download culture… “You got to give people a sense of value,” says Was. “I valued the vinyl albums I bought, I still value them. The stickers I put on them when I was 15, with my address, they’re still on the records, man. They mean a lot to me. And sometimes, downloading a digital album, it loses some meaning. So, hopefully, all this adds a little warmth.” Between re-signing established Blue Note artists, signing new names, being guided by Alfred Lion’s belief in authenticity, and taking the label’s back catalogue into the digital age, Was seems pretty much to have nailed the gig. How, I ask, would he sum up his strategy for Blue Note over the next few years? “It’s pretty basic, man,” says Was. “We just want to put some great music out into the world… and not get closed down. I can do pretty much anything I like except lose money.” That sounds like a decent offer. And presumably the Blue Note board is allowing him to pursue some of his off-label projects, such as his work with the Stones? “Yes. See, I never had a real job. I don’t consider producing records and being a bass player a real job. I’m not that comfortable in an office. I’ve been given some very nice offices here in the Capitol Tower but I find that if I spend too much time in an office I get dragged into minutiae that take you off your game and off the big picture. I do a better job from the studio. It’s just that the artists I work with now, they have to understand that I might have to excuse myself once in a while, and go into the other room and deal with an issue. So far, it’s working great.”
MUSIC | Blue Note Records
Art Blakey and Alfred Lion 1956
Vauxhall Victor 1963 Photographs David Goldman Styling Richard Simpson Hair Koya Suiza at Balcony Jump Driver Dill at Select
Shirt by The Duffer of St. George.
Jacket by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; sweatshirt by Bucks & Co.
STYLE | Vauxhall Victor 1963
Shirt by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; jeans by Edwin Jeans; vest by Sunspel; sunglasses by Ray-Ban; shoes by Bass; socks by Burlington.
STYLE | Vauxhall Victor STYLE 1963
Sweatshirt and trousers by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; pocket square by Eastie Empire.
Cardigan by Burberry Brit from my-wardrobe; jeans by Edwin Jeans; T-shirt by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing.
STYLE | Vauxhall Victor 1963
Jacket by Scotch & Soda; T-shirt by Bucks & Co.
Shirt by Albam; jeans by Edwin Jeans; top and pocket square by Eastie Empire.
Jacket and trousers by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; vest by Marks & Spencer; hat by Christys; shoes by Bass; socks by Uniqlo.
Paul Weller The Jam. Woking. Suedeheads. Sta-Prest. Style Council Words Chris Sullivan Photographs Lawrence Watson
“Clothing for me is all about the detail.” I’m sitting outside a west London café with British style icon and singersongwriter, Paul Weller. “I think this is especially true for people of my generation,” he continues. “For us, it all depends on the crease, the turn-up and the lapel, as that’s what differentiates it from being just a suit. You know why you’re wearing it, where it comes from ideologically and historically and what that means to you.” Fortunate then that Weller has teamed up with London tailor and 90
sartorialist Mark Powell, who for the past three decades has used his unimpeachable knowledge of style to carve a inimitable niche. Preferring to base himself within the more salubrious alleyways of Soho than the highfaluting grandeur of Savile Row, Powell has made one or two suits for Weller in the past few years, including a slim-fitting Prince of Wales check three piece à la 1960s-era Avengers, and a pinstripe double-breasted Great Gatsby number with flared bags, circa 1972. “Mark just knows his stuff,” says
Weller. “We were both working-class boys from the outskirts of London who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, so I don’t have to explain anything to him. If I say I want an Edwardian collar, he knows exactly what I’m talking about so I go in with a few sketches and references and we work it out. Getting stuff made that you’ve always wanted is a real pleasure for me and there is something about wearing a suit that makes you feel special.” “I’m getting a dark blue velvet suit made next,” he reveals, “with a slightly >
The Prince Alfred, Maida Vale 2012
Nomis Studios, London 1991
cover story | Paul Weller Edwardian collar. High buttons. Then a pair of blue satin trousers. Just like Bowie got married in. I know they’re borderline but I think I’ll pull it off. You never know til you try.” Weller, now a 54-year-old father of seven, became infatuated with the minutiae of style at an early age. “For me it was in 1966, 67. I remember when I was eight or nine seeing all these Mods hanging around Woking where I grew up. I was fascinated by their scooters and their whole look. That stuck with me. But my entry point into clothes was in the late 60s, early 70s when we were suedeheads – little peanuts; too young to be proper skinheads. It was that Ivy League look, the Brooks Brothers look: the cardigans and sleeveless
‘One look and you knew what someone was into, what music they liked. I guess that hasn’t changed’ jumpers and the buttoned-down shirts and the Sta-Prest trousers and loafers. That was the common ground. It was a way for people who haven’t got much money to make a show. It gave us our identity. One look and you knew what someone was into, what music they liked. I guess that hasn’t changed.” I’m reminded of the line spoken by Lord Henry Wotton in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. “To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” This is never more true than when one is a teenager. “I grew up in a time when every kid dressed up. Where I come from that was all you had. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be
able to hang out. It was very tribal. It was a way of telling people what you were about and what you were into. There’s nice things in that. It’s culture; it’s roots for me. Maybe I just never grew up, mate.” As with most style obsessive teenagers, there is always someone a little older that led the way, carving out the future with his stylish eccentricities. “There was one guy called Ricky, lived down the road and was much older than me,” recalls Weller. “I remember seeing him with really high turned-up Sta-Prests and really polished boots. Then he’d have the faded Levi’s and oxblood brogues and red socks. I thought he looked brilliant. The first thing that made a big impression on me, though, was the brand new Levi’s 501s. I wanted them so badly and I saved up and got them. I still remember my first pair. Indigo denim 1967 selvage. But they were all selvage then. I loved them. With the tiny half-inch turn-up. You can’t beat them. “There were only two boutiques in Woking. There was nothing I could afford anyway so I just used to go and stand there looking in the window. It was like an Aladdin’s cave. Every week you went to the football dance and every week the top kids would be wearing something different. And you were constantly trying to catch up with them which you could never do because, by the time you’d saved up enough to buy the item, they’d moved on to something else. That’s the whole Mod thing I suppose. It was real one-upmanship.” As with most stylemongers, Weller wears many of the same items he did as a teenager and can now afford the ones that passed him by. “I had a knock-off Harrington when I was a kid cos I couldn’t afford a proper Baracuta G9,” he chuckles. “It played such a huge part in my youth and it’s something I still wear today. It’s the perfect jacket, a real classic. It will never go out of style, one of the most iconic jackets ever designed. I’ve got a few of them now.” “Then I really had to save for my first Ben Sherman. We used to buy Brutus shirts, which were much cheaper, second best. But Ben Shermans were the sought-after ones. The first one I ever > 93
cover story | Paul Weller
Near Manor Studios, Oxford 1994
Black Barn Studios, Ripley 1992 On location of the video ‘The Changingman’ 1995
got was a lemon yellow one. I must have been 12 or 13 and it was a bit too big for me. But being a kid I didn’t realise you could take it back to the shop. I wore it til it fitted me. “I did my own design for Ben Sherman. I just did a little sketch, put in all the details, a bigger collar, a few little modern touches here and there. It’s not rocket science.” Not only known for his prodigious musical output, Weller also knows his design stuff, and in the past 30 years has started more trends than the Dow Jones index. “And I’m sure my teenage contemporaries who were little skinheads at the same time as I was, if I talked to them now about the cut of a trouser, they’d be like, ‘What are you on about? It’s just a fashion we went through.’ But to me it meant more than that.” Evidently, Weller was checking every little detail in both music and style and studying them subconsciously, stowing them away in his head for the future. “Now I can use all those observations and put them into the clothes that Mark [Powell] makes for me,” he smiles. “I also designed a little micro clothes collection for Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green label. It’s stuff I’ve always wanted to own.” He admits to being obsessed by the finer points of clothes and, ipso facto, street culture. As he says, “It’s my thing”. “That love of detail, the Mod thing, it’s eternal for me,” he continues. “It’s ingrained. The colours and the look of things have stayed with me. Back when I was a kid this meant everything to me. It was a statement of intent. For me music and fashion go hand-in-hand and all the bands I liked had style. All the money I had was spent on records and clothes.” By the time Weller was 14 he’d formed the Jam and at age 16 had determined his look. “All my friends were soul boys around 1975 but I was obsessed by the whole Mod thing,” he recalls. “I bought a scooter and had it decked out with tails, mirrors and chrome. People thought I was a freak but then there was some comfort to be seen as different knowing that you were true to yourself.” Consequently, the Jam, riding on the coat tails of the punk rock explosion, with Weller up front looking like Steve 96
Marriott of the Small Faces circa 1967, sparked the Mod revival of 1978 after which one could walk down any high street in the UK and see at least a dozen Weller lookalikes. Then, in 1982, just as the Jam could do no wrong, he pulled the plug. “People were turning up wearing the same stuff as me. And they were selling the black and white Jam shoes in the back of NME! One shop down Carnaby Street used to sell shirts and shoes exactly like ours so I had to move on. A lot of people were devastated but I wasn’t going to turn back. Can’t always please everyone. Hopefully people respect that I always try to do something different.” Weller’s new band was the Style Council. Turning his back on the explosive power of songs such as “Eton Rifles”, the
‘I grew up in a time when every kid dressed up. that was all you had. it was very tribal’ new approach was more jazz/soul in style, with Weller sporting a soul-boy wedge haircut together with blazers, slacks and loafers. “We were into more soul-related style,” he recalls. “We were trying to reflect what we did musically in our dress which was a mix of things.” In 1989, the Style Council disbanded and Weller didn’t work for two years; the first break he’d had since he was 17. With no recording contract, he was at a creative loss. “I didn’t even know if I wanted to carry on making music. I’d lost interest. I’d just lost my way. But my dad [Weller’s manager until he died in 2009] pushed me to get on with life and work, and to get back on the road and earn some money. The thing was, I didn’t want to
do it. It was like starting again and I was 33 years of age.” And you have to hand it to the man. He pulled himself together and started playing small venues. “I found it really depressing at first,” he says, candid as ever. “I’d sold all these records, worked my arse off and had to start all over again. Painful, but suddenly my head cleared and the more I played, the more I found myself, started writing again and all of a sudden was up and running.” Something of an understatement. However influential Weller had been previously, from the mid-90s, starting with his million-selling solo album Stanley Road, he really took the reins and influenced a whole generation of Britpop bands such as Oasis and Blur, and thus the world. “Without sounding egotistical, it’s nice to think that there are a few songs that have stood the test of time. It’s almost like they become folk songs or people’s songs. I do get asked if I would write the same political songs as I did in the 1970s and 80s, but they would be the same as not much has changed. My feelings haven’t changed and nothing else has. It sounds a bit defeatist but then it was much more defined. You were either into Thatcher or not and there was no grey area. Now there’s no difference between Labour and Conservative. They’re all Oxbridge, same schools, same friends. It’s really disenchanting.” Weller, although more popular than ever, is still rather sceptical about touring till he drops. “I never, ever wanted to be the Rolling Stones. Bless their hearts. And I don’t want to be doing the same old thing for the next 10, 20 years. But I can see how easy it is to get into that touring rut. Apart from being able to wipe your own arse, everything else is done for you. You get on the bus and off you go.” Weller is genuinely surprised that he is still playing and appreciated, and is thoroughly unaware that he, in many people’s eyes, has reached an almost quasi-religious status. “To be honest, I’m surprised I’m still here. I was 54 this year,” he chuckles. “I suppose it’s being able to move with the times. I don’t have any game plan, just go along with the times til I get bored. For me, music and style have >
cover story | Paul Weller
always gone hand in hand and I do it every day. I’m not looking for anyone’s approval – the clothes and the music is just me trying to please myself.” Like many man of his age, he is shocked by the rapid pace of time. “I thought I was old at 21,” he laughs. “I can’t believe over half a century’s gone. But I’ve had a fucking wicked time. I don’t know if the feeling’s made worse because I was in the Jam at 17, but it just freaks me out. You see it with your kids. The birthdays come round quicker and quicker. My oldest is gonna be 24 this year. I could be a granddad soon, hah hah! Now I’ve got the twins [born in January]so I’ll be the oldest dad in the playground waiting for them. I’ll be picking them up from school aged 64. It’ll be embarrassing. But what can you do? That’s life I suppose… and it’s great.” He named his twins Bowie and John Paul, after his musical heroes… “Well, I got into Bowie around 14 or 15 with Ziggy Stardust,” he says. “Then I backtracked and bought Hunky Dory, The Man Who Sold the World and bought them all up until Lodger (1979). It was an incredible run of groundbreaking albums.” But, unlike many of his generation, he wasn’t what was known as a “Bowie freak”; someone who dressed and acted like the man. “I just loved the tunes, the songwriting and the fact that he did his own thing – created the trends and didn’t follow them. He changed his look and his music to suit himself and I like that.” Undeniably, there are similarities between Bowie and Weller. On his latest album, Sonik Kicks, even though it’s 100 per cent Weller, he sounds rather reminiscent of the man on several of the tracks. “As far as for leading and inventing new styles and musical genres, Bowie is up there with the Beatles. I like his Mod phase, his song, ‘Can’t Help Thinking About Me’, and then there’s ‘The London Boys’. I like some of the whimsical Anthony Newley period.” By the time Bowie’s Station to Station was released, Weller was into rock bands, making his own music and not following trends. He had now found ‘himself ’ and knew what he liked. 98
“But I still went to the local disco in Woking and would see all my old skinhead and suedehead mates now wearing the plastic sandals, the peg trousers and the Hawaiian and bowling shirts with the wedge haircuts. They danced to Philly stuff and Bowie’s ‘TVC 15’ and ‘Young Americans’. But he nailed the link between the British working class youth who always follow black American soul music and the style and fashions. And it might sound like a cliché but there were a few right hard thugs I knew that said he was the only geezer they’d ever consider shagging. “Round my way there were a few blokes who were brave enough to wear a bit of make-up of a Saturday night, which was chancing your effing arm just a bit
‘For me, music and style have always gone handin-hand’ in Woking. But he held a very special position. Bowie always looked cool and I’ll always take my hat off to him.” As a man who has spent the past 40 years style-surfing and influencing the world, does Mr Weller have any advice for the fledgling stylemonger? “You have to run the risk of not being popular sometimes,” he grins, knowingly. “Ultimately people respect that and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But the best advice I can ever give is, never, ever wear trainers and trackies,” he concludes. “You know, I still can’t get my head round why anyone would go out like that. I’ve been on tour with bands who wear the same clothes on stage as they have all day. They don’t even change their shirt. That is totally inconceivable to me. When I go on tour, I take cases full of suits and scarves and shirts. But it’s not for the public. There is an element of dressing up but fundamentally I do it for myself, every day. It’s part of what I’m about. It’s one of me things.”
cover story | Paul Weller
Photographs Paul Vickery Styling Barry Kamen Photographic Assistant Lulu Preece Styling Assistant Gabriela Yiaxis B&W Printing Pete Guest at The Image Colour Printing Daren at Bayeux IT Technical Support Stephanie Andrew Freerunners Valentin Dubois, Blake Evitt, Kevin Francomme, Francois “Forrest” Mahop, Peiman Moradi, Jolade Olusanya and Alex Pownall parkourgenerations.com
All clothes by Puma.
Valentin wears tracksuit top and T-shirt by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; shorts from 20th Century Retro.
STYLE | Parkour
Kevin wears gilet from 20th Century Retro; shorts by Puma Usain Bolt Collection; jacket by Hussein Chalayan for Puma Black Label; trainers by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label.
Jolade wears tracksuit top by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; trousers from 20th Century Retro; trainers by Puma.
STYLE | Parkour
Valentin wears black T-shirt by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; shorts from 20th Century Retro; white T-shirt by Fruit of the Loom.
Jolade wears gilet, leggings and shorts by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; trainers by Puma.
STYLE | Parkour
Blake wears sarong from Yoyogi flea market, Tokyo; trainers by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label.
STYLE | Parkour
Valentin wears gilet from 20th Century Retro; tracksuit bottoms by Puma Usain Bolt Collection; T-shirt by Museum Neu; trainers by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label.
Valentin wears gilet from 20th Century Retro; tracksuit bottoms by Puma Usain Bolt Collection; T-shirt by Museum Neu.
STYLE | Parkour
Blake wears gilet by Hussein Chalayan for Puma Black Label; tracksuit bottoms, long johns and gown from 20th Century Retro; trainers by Puma.
Peiman wears jacket and shorts by Hussein Chalayan for Puma Black Label.
STYLE | Parkour
Valentin wears tracksuit top and T-shirt by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; shorts from 20th Century Retro.
Blake wears sarong from Yoyogi flea market, Tokyo.
Alex wears sweatshirt by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; plus fours from 20th Century Retro; trainers by Alexander McQueen for Puma Black Label.
Blake wears sarong from Yoyogi flea market, Tokyo; top and trainers by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label.
STYLE | Parkour
Valentin wears black T-shirt by Miharayasuhiro for Puma Black Label; shorts from 20th Century Retro; white T-shirt by Fruit of the Loom.
Starman. Costume. A Lad Insane. From Brixton to outer space Words Paolo Hewitt
David Bowie does not know this but in 1973 he got me the cane. I received four strokes from Mr Hughes the headmaster, thanks to the person I loved more than anyone else at that point in my life. Except for Teresa Driver, of course. Like all of my generation, I was Bowie mad. My obsession began on the night of Thursday 6 July, 1972 when Bowie appeared on Top of the Pops to promote his new single “Starman”. Not long into the performance, Bowie walked over to guitarist Mick Ronson and casually draped an arm over his shoulder. That was it. The next day at school we could talk of nothing else. “Mush, did you see that guy with his arm over the guitarist? Unbelievable!” At the time, I had no idea that the same scene and the same conversation was being replicated at schools all over the country. UK Bowie mania had started. For real. Just under a year later – by which time we had absorbed and learned word for word, note for note, his previous albums, Hunky Dory, The Man Who Sold The World, and Space Oddity – on 13 April, 1973, Bowie released Aladdin Sane, the eagerly awaited follow up to his breakthrough album, Ziggy Stardust. The cover, photographed by Brian Duffy, featured a head shot of Bowie with striking red hair, eyes closed, a lightning streak forged in startling blue and red make-up, shooting down his face and over his left eye. The lightning flash on Elvis Presley’s famous TCB (Taking Care of Business) ring had served as inspiration. Moreover, the inside cover featured Bowie naked, his vital parts neatly airbrushed. That was the image I happily showed the school’s deputy headmaster, Mr Doyle. I had bowled into school, Bowie’s album 118
tucked neatly under my arm. (Albums were our badge of honour back then, for they defiantly told the world who you were.) I forgot. Mine was a Catholic school. They did not take kindly to naked rock stars smeared in make-up. I was sent to Mr Hughes. He got out the cane and told me to bend over. I loved Bowie even more after that beating. The fact that my teachers had been so annoyed and upset by this image tells you much about Bowie’s subversive status. This was no accident. With every album, Bowie had consistently and deliberately changed image. In doing so, he brought home the power of clothes. And the 1970s was the decade he was at his most potent. During that decade, Bowie’s style became just as fascinating as his music. Here’s why. In his early career, Bowie’s image mirrored current youth fashions. In July 1966, following manager Ralph Horton’s demands, Bowie started dressing like a Mod. Two years later, for 1968’s Space Oddity album, he was a hippy. It was the release of his 1970 album, The Man Who Sold The World, that signalled Bowie’s ability to strike out on his own and use clothes in a manner that was challenging and highly individual. Bowie appeared on the album lying on a sofa and wearing a medieval-style velvet gown, purchased from Mr Fish on Clifford Street in London. Bowie was starting to anticipate the very near future. In October of that year (the album was released a month later) Marc Bolan appeared on Top of the Pops wearing glitter on his cheekbones. The massive success of Bolan’s performance that night (his single “Ride A White Swan” went to number one) encouraged many
to follow suit. A year later, the movement known as Glam Rock was in full swing. Glam Rock spawned some great and awful singles but more importantly it encouraged male musicians to play around with gender roles, just as Bowie had been doing in his own way. Unfortunately, the album (The Man) with which he chose to launch this look was not great, and thus the hoped for impact stalled. Bowie was not to be denied. In early January 1971, he eagerly travelled to the ABC cinema in Catford, south London, with band members Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick “Woody” Woodmansey to see Stanley Kubrick’s new film A Clockwork Orange. Bowie was a huge Kubrick fan. The director’s daring and vast artistic imagination was precisely the kind of vision Bowie imagined himself applying to music. Plus he owed Kubrick – his classic 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, had been the catalyst for Bowie’s first hit single “Space Oddity”. The impact of A Clockwork Orange on Bowie’s style was enormous. The film followed the adventures of a violent futuristic gang of “droogs”. The droogs wore an eyecatching ensemble of white shirts and trousers, black bowler hats, codpieces, walking sticks and big lace-up boots, a look brilliantly put together by clothes designer, Milena Canonero. Retreating to his home, Haddon Hall, in Beckenham, Kent, Bowie and his friend, the designer Freddie Burretti, set to work on a similar style for the character Bowie had been creating in his mind for some months now, a character he would name Ziggy Stardust. Their finished design comprised a colourful multi-patterned jumpsuit, which Bowie finished off with boots designed by the shoemakers Russell & Bromley. It was a look that was soon >
Diamond Dogs tour 1974
drawing attention. A review of a February show at the music club Friars Aylesbury deliberately mentioned the band’s “Clockwork Orange bovver suits”. A seamstress named Sue had put together the suit in the basement of the house. Angie, David’s wife, recalls her husband urging Sue to make the suit as tight as possible. It was this look that Bowie would push throughout the year, and in doing so, brilliantly increase media interest in his music. Bowie’s weapons against authority was his style, one that touched heavily on femininity but also suggested a real other worldliness. Instinctively, we understood his approach, even if we could not articulate it. Bowie was using clothes to wound those who would oppress us. That is why in the year of Our Lord 1972 he became such a major star. His style rendered him a fascinating, compelling creature and raised a million questions about his sexuality, his world view, his lifestyle. And his songs weren’t too bad either. Britain became besotted with him. Kids appeared at his concerts in make-up and outlandish clothes. The feather cut hairstyle he later wore on Aladdin Sane (1973) became omnipresent on Britain’s high streets, vying with the Rod Stewart haircut as the favoured style of the young. Moreover, Bowie’s look portrayed that of an outsider. Such an image instantly set off teenage hearts everywhere, for Bowie knew that it is always the young who feel the most alone, the most misunderstood. Loneliness, misunderstanding and fear are the companions of the young so when Bowie screamed out on the final track (“Rock’n’Roll Suicide”) of his 1972 Ziggy Stardust album, “You’re not alone,” he bonded with us in one great scream. Finally, someone understood. Bowie was clever as well, clever enough to know when to make the next move. Throughout this whole period he did well to distance himself from the burgeoning Glam Rock brigade. He knew that to be allied too closely to any one movement is to risk obscurity for when that movement dies, so do its leaders. Furthermore, Bowie had so much more style and imagination than the rest of the pack. His only real rival in his arena was Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry. One of the reasons that some skinheads and suedeheads responded so 120
enthusiastically to Bowie is that they saw a kindred spirit. The clothes may have been radically different but the intentions were simpatico with each other. There was still the attention to detail and the urgent need to separate oneself from the herd. Groups like Slade or the Sweet wore the clothes because they were told to. And that is how they wore them. Bowie did not need telling. Also Bowie knew inside out the capricious nature of fashion. He understood its fast moving instincts, its insatiable desire to change as soon as predictability becomes one of its components.
Alladin Sane 1973
WITH EVERY ALBUM, BOWIE HAD CONSISTENTLY AND DELIBERATELY CHANGED IMAGE In 1974, Bowie moved his operations to America. He settled in New York and often travelled up to Harlem to catch soul shows at the famous Apollo Theatre. He liked it there. The audience barely recognised him.
He then began a huge lavish US tour based around his new Diamond Dogs album, but when the entourage reached Philadelphia, Bowie made a surprise move. He broke off the tour and entered the famous Sigma Sound Studios (used by the cream of Philadelphia’s black acts) to cut a new album that would bring about a huge change in Bowie’s song writing, his music and his sound, and take him to the next level. Again, he was anticipating the times. In Britain Northern Soul and Funk were the two dominant black musical forms which gained expression and mass popularity at clubs such as the Wigan Casino, the Blackpool Mecca and London’s Crackers club. Then, in the mid-1970s, a new strain of black music, jazz funk, started to assert itself. Clubs such as the Goldmine and the Lacy Lady in Essex pushed the music. With new music comes new styles. Jazz funk’s young clientele dressed up in a mish mash of eyecatching clothes. Boys wore army shirts, girls dressed as if they were 1940s film stars. One major element of the boy’s look centred around a new haircut called the Wedge, which hairdresser Trevor Sorbie claims credit for inventing. He explains, “By the late 1970s, London’s fashion scene was exploding. Vidal Sassoon had revolutionised women’s hairdressing by reinventing the bob. Before that, hair had been worn up, either in bouffants or beehives, but the loose flat hair of the Sassoon era signalled a new beginning. I joined Sassoon and my big break came when I created a haircut that I called the Wedge. This was the first hairdressing picture to be published as a double-page spread in Vogue magazine. Seeing my work in print was inspirational. The Wedge captured the spirit of the time and was flaunted in nightclubs around the world. I now understood the power of invention. If I could achieve this once, then surely I could do it again.” For the cover of the album Young Americans, Bowie appeared in a swathe of smoke and sporting a wedge. The album shot up the charts and its resulting singles, especially “Fame”, were religiously played in clubs everywhere. Young Americans became one of his biggest selling albums and gave him a real foothold in America.
CULTURE | David Bowie
A teenage David Bowie
Cover of The Man Who Sold the World reissue 1970
With Elizabeth Taylor 1975 Back cover of Hunky Dory 1971
His next album, Station to Station, was again hewn from a black music lineage albeit with much heavier rock funk guitars ringing out on the major songs. Calling himself the Thin White Duke, Bowie now slicked back his hair and took to wearing a white shirt with a simple black waistcoat and matching trousers. Its echoes of a 1920s film star was perfect wear for any number of jazz funk clubs. Unfortunately, the man’s growing love of cocaine during this period led him into some dark areas, such as the relationship between the occult and the Nazis. Some inappropriate comments were made. The pace he was moving at was far too fast. Changes would have to be made. Bowie moved to Europe in 1976, immersed in a heavy legal case directed against his management. The result was that for breaking his contract, Bowie was ordered to pay manager Tony Defries a substantial royalty rate on his next three albums.
This may explain why Bowie elected to make a trio of highly experimental albums. Certainly, he changed tack stylistically to accompany his new music. The cover of 1977’s Low is often cited by Liverpool casuals as inspirational in the creation of their look, Bowie wearing a wedge-style cut again but this time with a simple duffle coat adorned with a collar and hood. Punk had now taken centre stage in youth culture and Bowie’s dressing down moved in parallel with the instincts of punk fashion. Moving on again and taking inspiration from sources including the German playwright Bertolt Brecht, Bowie got his hair cropped, wore his shirts checked and his trousers were made of denim. He smoked a lot of cigarettes and produced Heroes, one of the greatest records of the 20th century. It would be two years before he would again put on costume and make-up (the
Pierrot character for “Ashes to Ashes”) and remind us of his impact. But by then, many of us who had worshipped at his 1970s altar had moved onto other pastures. Having just spent the early part of the year writing about Bowie in the studio, I have now returned to his altar. I find myself forever preaching the wonders of four of his albums in particular – David Bowie, Diamond Dogs, Buddha of Surburbia and Outside. And with his music comes a deeper appreciation of just what he was up to clotheswise in the decade he made indelibly his own. As a kid I could not tell you why his clothes were so important. Now I can. I am also forever grateful for Bowie getting me the cane because in my line of work, it is not often you get to write sentences like that. Bowie: Album by Album by Paolo Hewitt is out this month carltonbooks.co.uk 121
Jimi Hendrix Chitlin’ circuit. Marquee Club. Star-Spangled Banner Words Chris May Photographs Gered Mankowitz
Imagine, if you can, Britain in autumn 1966, when Jimi Hendrix, a succès d’estime in Greenwich Village but unknown beyond it, arrived in London. It was a country where it was generally impossible for a couple to book a hotel room without checking in as Mr and Mrs; where gay sex was illegal; where mixed-race couples were rare; where dope smokers were routinely jailed; and where the Trades Union Congress was still three years away from adopting the principle of equal pay for women. Out of this greyness, however, a new vibrancy was emerging. The Beatles’ and Rolling Stones’ led beat boom had livened things up, assisted by an electrified, rock’n’roll Bob Dylan. The counterculture’s first regular newspaper, International Times, was launched in October. Change was in the air. In autumn 1966, Hendrix was as ready for change as young Britons. For most of the previous four years, he had been criss-crossing the States as an anonymous back-up guitarist on the chitlin’ circuit, aka the “Tough on Black Artists” circuit (after TOBA, the mainly white-run Theater Owners Booking Association, which controlled the black touring circuit in the 1930s). It was a punishing occupation, involving a lot of 122
travel, pervasive racial segregation, tough audiences and, for a sideman guitarist, not much money. Hendrix had worked with some class acts – among them BB King, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, King Curtis and the Isley Brothers – but they kept him under manners. He was there to play the changes and take the occasional brief solo, not to engage in scene-stealing. But while Hendrix kept his flamboyance in check on the bandstand during the chitlin’ years, he had begun to develop the signature characteristics of his mature style. His solo on the Isley Brothers’ 1965 single “Move Over and Let Me Dance” – loose, fluid and lascivious – is the advanced embryo of Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” from 1967, minus the psychedelia, feedback and effects pedals. When he arrived in London, a relocation made at the suggestion of Chas Chandler, bass player with the Animals, Hendrix found for the first time an environment where he could follow his muse without restraint. Producer/co-manager Chandler urged Hendrix to take his music as far out as he wanted and encouraged him to dress for effect. Within a couple of months, the Jimi Hendrix Experience had formed and was playing the hipper London clubs.
In late 1966, bands fronted by black singers were familiar enough: Herbie Goins & the Night-Timers, Jimmy James & the Vagabonds, Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band. But Hendrix might have beamed down from another planet. He sang, but his primary instrument was his Fender Stratocaster, on which he created a future-shock mix of blues roots and sonic distortion. When I first saw him, at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street in early 1967, it was like being hit by a benign bolt of lightning. Overnight, the ruling bluesrock guitar triumvirate of Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Jeff Beck sounded rather tame – and very white. By summer 1967, Hendrix’s sartorial style had acquired a similar potency. He fine-tuned, accessorised and fast became totemic of the prevailing ethnic/ psychedelic/hussar look. The Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones, until then the most outré dresser among Britain’s rock stars, looked almost drab alongside Hendrix. A generation older than most members of the counterculture, the author and jazz singer George Melly was one of the first writers to document it. In Revolt Into Style: The Pop Arts In Britain (Allen Lane, 1970), Melly >
described Hendrix’s impact on the overwhelmingly white, British rock scene: “He was by origin an American Negro, but not one of your old-style showbiz American Negroes, not even one of your rock’n’roll-type American Negroes. He was Underground, hip, ‘beautiful’; his blackness helped him to look just that much more provocative and extraordinary (with) a style which became for a time almost obligatory in the Underground and eventually made the glossy magazines.” Despite Melly’s anachronistic language, his appraisal went to the heart of things: Hendrix was “other,” yet simultaneously universal, to a degree beyond that of any other black American entertainer of the mid to late 1960s. In America, only Sly and the Family Stone, formed in 1967, and George Clinton’s ParliamentFunkadelic, both formed in 1968, matched Hendrix. Most early audiences took to Hendrix with visceral enthusiasm, but some were nonplussed. Rikki Stein, later Fela Kuti’s longtime manager, was in 1967 just starting in the music business, organising European tours by British rock bands. Stein remembers Hendrix’s effect on a dancehall audience in a provincial French town. “Jimi’s opening rendition of ‘Wild Thing’ was met with open-mouthed incredulity as he humped his 10ft tall stack of speakers,” says Stein, “and total silence as its final feedback strains echoed around the hall. It was just like that scene at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the space ship came down. A thousand people had their minds seriously bent. They’d never seen or heard anything even remotely like it. Loison sur Lens was obviously not yet ready for the likes of Jimi Hendrix.” Numerically, unlike the groups led by Sly Stone and George Clinton, Hendrix made a bigger impact on white listeners than he did on black ones, at least to begin with. In Miles: The Autobiography (Simon & Schuster, 1989), Miles Davis, who in 1970 was planning to record with Hendrix, wrote, “After Jimi died, I realised that... very few young blacks had heard of him, because for them he was too far over 124
into white rock.” For Davis, Hendrix was at his best post-Experience, when he formed the Band of Gypsys, exchanging his white British bassist and drummer, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, for the black Americans Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Despite his Pan-like stage persona and kick-out-the-jams music, most people who knew Hendrix use adjectives such as “shy” and “quietly spoken” to describe him, along with “charming” and “thoughtful”. They also attest to his lively sexual energy. Rikki Stein recounts a typical incident in a French hotel on the 1967 tour. “At breakfast one morning Jimi spotted a nubile young thing sitting
He created a futureshock mix of blues roots and sonic distortion on the other side of the dining room. Speaking, as he often did, behind his hand, he mumbled, ‘Uh, Rikki, uh, d’you think that, uh, you could ask that girl to join us?’ “Dutifully, I approached the young lady and invited her to our table. She quickly agreed and I realised that there had already been some non-verbal communication between them. I had to make some phone calls and came back just in time to see the two of them disappearing into the lift. That was at 9.30. At one o’clock I tapped on his door to see if he wanted to come for lunch. The door was opened by another girl. Jimi was in bed looking very happy and the girl, who was just leaving, bid him a long and languorous farewell. I asked Jimi if he wanted lunch. ‘Uh, no, I uh, I’ll miss lunch. Someone’s coming over,’ he replied, grinning like a Cheshire cat. “Where he’d made all these connections I never discovered, but during the few
days we spent together there was a constant stream of judiciously timed female visitors.” Other things that Hendrix loved were dope and acid, the underground’s sacraments. Acid recruiter Timothy Leary wrote in 1969: “There are three groups who are bringing about the revolution we are going through right now: the dope dealers, the rock musicians and the underground writers and artists.” Leary got it partly right: the best rock music of the era, such as Hendrix’s, was revolutionary, but the best rock musicians usually were not, at least consciously. Bands such as Detroit’s MC5, aligned to the White Panthers, or New York’s Fugs, aligned to every crazy on the Lower East Side, were exceptions, not the rule. When members of the Angry Brigade were arrested at a flat in Amhurst Road, Stoke Newington, in 1971, the police said they found a draft press communiqué concealed in a copy of the Experience’s second album, Axis: Bold As Love. Hendrix, who had died the previous year, would probably have found the event insignificant. But while he was not a political revolutionary with a capital R – and unlike the Rolling Stones’ Mick “Street Fighting Man” Jagger, did not masquerade as one – his sound and his appearance screamed insurrection. When Hendrix played the “Star-Spangled Banner” dressed like a latter-day Native American renegade, screwing his guitar and riding a storm of feedback, that was as revolutionary an act as going on a Vietnam War protest march and yelling at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, as thousands did in 1967 and 1968. Hendrix put his money where his guitar was, too. In 1970, John Moore (today a dealer in Oriental art living in Amsterdam), was working for Release, an organisation set up three years earlier to support busted dope smokers and campaign for drug law reform. Moore spent some of his time at the Isle of Wight Festival that year backstage, soliciting financial donations for Release. “Mostly I got promises,” says Moore, “but a few people put up cash there and then. Jimi gave me two or three hundred pounds,
CINEMA | Jimi Hendrix
which was quite a lot of money then. He supported Release on other occasions, too. He was a lovely guy.” In the end it was old-school drugs that did for Hendrix, though – an out-of-character cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills. He was 27. Hendrix lived and worked at his peak for little more than three years. But of all the 1960s rock heroes, he
may have left the most enduring legacy. The Experience’s debut album, Are You Experienced?, and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were released within a month of each other in summer 1967. Forty-five years later, Hendrix’s early masterpiece, along with 1968’s Electric Ladyland and much else that he recorded, can
still raise the hairs on the back of your neck, while the Beatles’s disc, adventurous as it was at the time, sounds like a golden oldie. Four decades on, extraordinarily, Hendrix still sounds cutting edge. All Is By My Side, starring André Benjamin as Jimi Hendrix, is released in 2013 125
Otto Dix Neue Sachlichkeit. Anita Berber Words Chris Sullivan
The German artist, Otto Dix, who lived through both world wars, used his craft to criticise and discredit the society in which he lived. His work, despised by Hitler and the Third Reich, depicted the chronic aftermath of the second world war and the excesses of 1920s Berlin – the beggars, the prostitutes, the physically maimed veterans, the sadomasochists and the hedonists. “All art is exorcism,” he explained. “I paint dreams and visions, too; the dreams and visions of my time. Painting is the effort to produce order; order in yourself. There is much chaos in me, much chaos in our time.” Indeed. Dix was born at a pivotal time in European history. It was 1891 and Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, had only three years before acceding to the throne. The grandson of Queen Victoria, Wilhelm was a pugnacious monarch who favoured not only warfare, but also all the chivalric pomp that came with it. German historian Thomas Nipperdey described him as “romantic, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off; a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officer’s mess out of his voice and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord”. Some have suggested that his truculent, belligerent attitude was intended to overcompensate for his weak and noticeably withered short left arm, that he thought was a misfortune commonly known as Erb’s palsy, caused by the use of excessive force during his difficult breech birth. Thus he blamed the British doctor and his English mother for his deformity. The affliction, now referred to as Kaiser Wilhelm Syndrome was actually caused 126
by a fall his mother took when four months pregnant. A curious fish, he loved his grandmother who was in fact threequarters German, but hated the English ruling classes, whom he thought of as “freemasons, thoroughly infected by Judah”. With his naval expansion and his policy of aggressive German colonial expansion, he successfully alienated Britain. And to cap it all, he supported the Boers in their war against the British. Dix was born in Gera, eastern Germany, the eldest son of a foundry worker and a seamstress. Encouraged by his painter cousin, Fritz Amman, between 1906 and 1910 he served a painting apprenticeship after which he entered the Dresden Academy of Applied Arts to learn decorative wall painting and study the methods of the old masters. All was going swimmingly until 1914, when the Kaiser turned the whole world on its head. In short, the Kaiser’s childhood buddy, Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, was assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June. Emperor Wilhelm offered to support Austria-Hungary in crushing the Black Hand, the secret organisation composed of Serbian military who had plotted the killing of his pal, and to back Austria in its declaration of war against Serbia. The Russians backed the Serbs and Wilhelm, believing that “England, France and Russia have conspired themselves together to fight an annihilation war against us,” after invading Serbia, attacked France through neutral Belgium. The first world war had begun. A young Otto volunteered, somewhat eagerly, for service and was drafted into a field artillery regiment. “I have to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths of life for myself. It’s for that reason that I went to war, and for
that reason I volunteered,” he later said. And he certainly got his wish. By 1915 he was a machine gunner in France; his task to mow down oncoming soldiers as they charged to their death over “dead man’s land”. From this vantage point, he saw all the horrors that modern warfare might provide and some that no one had ever imagined. So there was Dix, knee-deep in mud, blood, shit and death at the front. He fought at the Somme offensive that claimed one million lives on both sides. In 1917, his unit was transferred to the Eastern front where he remained until the Russian October Revolution deposed the Tzar and hostilities ended. Dix returned to the Western Front, taking part in the German Spring Offensive, where he earned the Iron Cross for valour and reached the rank of Vice Sergeant Major. Remarkably, even though he had been wounded five times, he’d served the whole of the Great War on both fronts. He was honourably discharged one month after the debacle ended. More than 70 million combatants were put into the field, 20 million were wounded and an estimated 17 million killed, including two and a half million Germans. He later said, “As a young man you don’t notice at all that you were, after all, badly affected. But for at least ten years afterwards, I kept getting these dreams in which I crawl through ruined houses, along passages I could hardly get through…” No one can doubt that the experience had embittered the artist’s enthusiasm for such conflict, or that the sketches he made of the horrors fuelled his work for the next 20 years. Finally free of the war, in 1919 Dix formed the Dresden Secession with >
Otto Dix 1961 Fred Stein/Getty Images
Oskar Kokoschka and Conrad Felixmüller, and created quite excellent woodcuts such as Apotheosis (1919), which features the grossly oversized genitalia of a prostitute dressed in a corset, that exhibits the better aspects of both Futurism and Cubism. Dix had found his artistic direction. The Kaiser, meanwhile, had been forced to abdicate. “This is the deepest, most disgusting shame ever perpetrated by a person in history,” wrote the disgraced warmonger, pre-empting the forthcoming Nazi anti-Semitic, antiVersailles ethic. “The Germans have done it to themselves […] egged on and misled by the tribe of Judah. Let no German ever forget this, nor rest until these parasites have been destroyed and exterminated from German soil.” What followed was the German Revolution and the founding of the Weimar Republic, the first democratic government in the country’s history. Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles, on 28 June, 1919. The Kaiser, charged with supreme offense against international morality, gave AlsaceLorraine back to France, West Prussia back to Poland, Northern Schleswig to Denmark, while Germany’s many colonies were given to the Allied Powers and the likes of Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Post-first world war Germany was in fact 13 per cent smaller and severely weakened. The country was also ordered to pay, according to what became known as the War Guilt Clause (Article 231), financial reparation of 269 billion gold marks (the equivalent of around 100,000 tonnes of pure gold or $834 billion in today’s money) to the allied victors for the cost of the war. On top of that was the human cost. Germany was now home to two million orphans, two million invalids and one million widows. The Weimar Republic found itself handicapped by a lack of experienced politicians and a surfeit of political parties, all jockeying for power. Thus, Germany was thrown into one of the worst economic depressions in history. In the early post-war years, inflation was growing at an alarming rate but the government simply printed more and more banknotes to pay the bills. At one point, the monthly inflation rate was a 128
staggering 3.25 billion per cent. By 1923 it took a wheelbarrow full of notes (DM200 billion) just to buy a loaf of bread. But if the economy was up the creek, German art was firing up. Indeed, the maxim “many a masterpiece was created on an empty stomach” had never rung so true. Berlin in the 1920s was a city of unrivalled creativity and vitality. Rather like the financially strapped New York of the 1960s and 1970s, poverty and need fuelled artistic endeavour. Much of the art eschewed old Expressionist habits and looked at the factory floors, the hospitals, the shipyards, the brothels, the dens of iniquity – their Brave New World. Both Dix and George Grosz had followed such a path since 1919. Dix had set the tone with the likes of Crippled War Veterans Playing Cards (1920),
‘I paint dreams and visions too; the dreams and visions of my time’ Butcher’s Shop (1920) and War Wounded (1922) but it wasn’t until 1923 that this movement found a name – Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). In 1924, Dix joined the Berlin Secession and exhibited his series of 51 etchings, War, which were consciously modelled on Goya’s The Disasters of War, which chronicled Goya’s own experience of the horrors of the Napoleonic invasion and the Spanish War of Independence from 1808 to 1814. Art historian George Heard Hamilton describes Dix’s Cycle as “perhaps the most powerful – as well as the most unpleasant – anti-war statements in modern art”. Equally unsettling are his paintings of prostitutes such as Street Walker (1920), the subject, a skeletal, deathly pale, bug-eyed prostitute with bad teeth. Three Women (1926) shows three
prostitutes in a brothel – one hideously fat, another painfully thin and the third on her hands and knees like a dog, her pendulous breasts touching the floor. Erotic they certainly are not. Dix’s work highlighted the degradation suffered by the German working classes. During this time countless war orphans and widows turned to crime and prostitution just to put food on their tables. The terms “prostitute” and “war widow” became interchangeable and Berlin became one of the world’s leading “sin cities” where any type of sexual distraction could be bought. Alongside Grosz and the voyeuristic hyperrealist Christian Schad, Dix was part of the Neue Sachlichkeit ’s left wing. Called, the Verists, they focused on what some might call ugly and sordid. Their work was certainly satirical and enveloped Dada’s abandonment of any pictorial rules or artistic language. “I’m not that obsessed with making representations of ugliness. Everything I’ve seen is beautiful,” Dix once said. Under the banner of Neue Sachlichkeit came the work of Bertolt Brecht (such as the Threepenny Opera), the architecture and design of the Bauhaus (that was founded with the idea of bringing all the arts together under a functional dictate) and the photography of August Sander, László Moholy-Nagy and Albert Renger-Patzch. Berlin was also the centre of some of the most exciting and creativity cinema of the day. Films such as GW Pabst’s Pandora’s Box (1929), Joseph von Sternberg’s Blue Angel (1930) and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and M (1931), though often described as Expressionist, explore themes of the Neue Sachlichkeit. In the 1920s, Berlin had seized Vienna’s mantle as the “Paris of the East”. It was now a racy metropolis housing some four million people, a third of whom were under 30 years of age. Many had drifted there from all over Germany and Europe, attracted by its reputation as centre of libidinous parties where one’s sexuality raised little or no concern. Two hundred thousand Russians had fled the revolution and settled alongside the artistic avantgarde, the underworld and the licentious, all of whom, with a sense of impending doom, fiddled before their world burned. >
HISTORY | Otto Dix
Self-portrait as a Soldier 1914
Self-portrait in Fur Cap in Winter Landscape 1947
HISTORY | Otto Dix Lest we forget, between 1918 and 1920, the Spanish Flu claimed more lives than the first world war. Worldwide, an estimated 20 to 70 million people fell victim to the pandemic. The destruction caused by the flu, the postwar famine and the hyperinflation strongly shaped attitudes throughout Germany, nowhere more so than in Berlin. Such adversary gave rise to a “live for the moment” attitude. Dance clubs, strip clubs, brothels, vaudeville and sexually provocative cabaret flourished, while sex between those of the same gender and everyone else was indulged along with drugs of every kind. Cocaine, which had been outlawed in the UK and US, was still perfectly legal in Germany and Berlin was seen as the cocaine capital of the world in the 1920s. “In some circles, especially in the Berlin art world, cocaine was considered an interesting and fashionable vice,” said Carl Zuckmayer, screenwriter of the Blue Angel. “I never got involved myself even though buckets of the stuff were snorted in my company. I was disgusted by their inflamed nostrils.” One of Otto Dix’s sitters was the scandalously androgynous nude dancer, Anita Berber, all blood-red bob and monocle, who glided through Berlin with a pet monkey on her shoulder. Not one to hide her drug use, her preferred substances were cocaine, opium and morphine, aided and abetted by chloroform and ether, mixed in a bowl which she then stirred with a rose before eating the petals. Her style inspired Marlene Dietrich, who launched her acting career as Berber’s understudy and copied her every move. Berber personified Berlin’s roaring 20s, dancing to words written by her first husband, the expressionist poet and notorious international con artist, Sebastian Droste. The pair were expelled from Vienna and banned from most European venues. In their book, The Dances of Depravity, Horror, and Ecstasy, they envisioned a dance with Berber catching Droste’s sperm in her mouth as he hangs from a rope above her. Tuberculosis
took her at the tender age of 29. Like many others, she was buried in a pauper’s grave. Berber’s death coincided with the end of the Weimar Republic. All through the decade discontent had come from the political far right and the left. Adolf Hitler had attempted a coup in November 1923. However, Nazi Party membership grew from 27,000 in 1925 to 108,000 in 1928. Hitler was saying that the economic crisis was growing not abating, which many felt was wrong. Before the Wall Street crash of 1929, 1.25 million Germans were unemployed. By the end of 1930, the figure had reached nearly four million. Wages dropped and people suffered. Suddenly, Germans began to say that if Hitler was clever enough to predict the depression maybe he also knew how to solve it. Many also agreed that the War Guilt clause had destroyed the country’s economy. Most Germans believed they were not responsible for the outbreak of the first world war and that the Treaty of Versailles had robbed them of ancestral lands. Driven by this sense of persecution, Hitler’s anti-Semitism went unnoticed or, worse still, was forgiven. In the 1930 general election, the Nazi party increased its number of representatives in parliament from 14 to 107. Hitler was now the leader of the second largest party in Germany. On 30 January, 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed German Chancellor of the Exchequer and in August 1934 was formally named leader and chancellor, a title that gave him absolute power. So he banned all other political parties and a new era of living hell began. The Nazis condemned much of the work of the Neue Sachlichkeit as degenerate art, or entartete Kunst (a term that they applied to all modern art), so destroyed much of the movements’ work and prohibited many of its artists from working. In 1933, Dix was dismissed from his teaching post at the Dresden Academy and was only allowed to paint landscapes. In 1937, the Nazis held their infamous Exhibition of Degenerate Art, featuring any remaining art that was deemed modern, degenerate, or subversive. Intended to incite further
revulsion against the “perverse Jewish spirit” penetrating German culture, it featured over 650 artworks gathered from 32 German museums by 112 (mainly) German artists including Dix, Grosz, Beckman and Kandinsky. Only six of them were actually Jewish. It opened in Munich on 19 July and remained on view until 30 November before touring 11 other cities in Germany and Austria. The artworks were displayed in a cramped basement of the Institute of Archaeology. Above the works were scrawled slogans such as: “The Jewish longing for the wilderness reveals itself ” or “In Germany, the Negro becomes the racial ideal of degenerate art”. The idea that such myopic hatred could be touted by a so-called political party seems extraordinary. Interestingly, over two million visitors attended it, an average of 20,000 people per day. It’s hard to say how many of those went to be outraged and how many to enjoy the work, but only a fraction went to see the Nazi-sanctioned Great German Art Exhibition. In any event, Goebbels, Hitler’s PR man, destroyed some 4,000 works of art. Today they’d be worth a King’s ransom. Dix, who had seen the effects of war itself, and its repercussions, said, “People were already beginning to forget what horrible suffering the war had brought them. I did not want to cause fear and panic but to let people know how dreadful war is and so to stimulate people’s powers of resistance.” In 1939, he was arrested and charged with involvement in a plot on Hitler’s life and was conscripted into the army. Surviving a second internment, he returned to his beloved Dresden in 1945. The city he arrived in had been completely destroyed by the Allied bombing campaign in a vicious attack later described as “total war”. After the war, some of his work explored more religious themes while others, such as Ecce Homo II (1948), looked at the misery caused by the second world war. He died in Singen, Germany, in 1969. Kaiser Wilhelm, died aged 82, in the Netherlands, on 3 June, 1941, just weeks before the Nazis fateful invasion of Russia. 131
Harrison wears sweater by Albam; trousers by Brooks Brothers; cap by Lock & Co.; boots by Henri Lloyd; braces by Levi’s. James wears cardigan by Levi’s; trousers by Wolsey; shirt by Filippa K; cap by Lock & Co.; boots by A.P.C.
Regent’s Canal Photographs David Goldman Styling Richard Simpson Grooming Franco Vallelonga at Era Management using Melvita and Shu Uemura Art of Hair Models James Aitchinson at Select, Jordan Goodenough and Nick Rea at Models1 and Harrison Griffiths at Elite
James wears cardigan by Levi’s; trousers by Wolsey; shirt by Filippa K. Harrison wears sweater by Albam; trousers by Brooks Brothers; braces by Levi’s. Nick wears jacket by Oliver Spencer from my-wardrobe; trousers by Wolsey; shirt by Eastie Empire; cap by Lock & Co.; vintage scarf, stylist’s own. Jordan wears jacket by Lavenham; trousers by Lou Dalton; cap by CA4LA; scarf by Albam.
Harrison wears shirt by Nudie Jeans; braces by Leviâ€™s.
STYLE | Regent’s Canal
Harrison wears shirt by Woolrich; trousers and hat by Brooks Brothers; braces by Levi’s.
Nick wears waistcoat by Scotch & Soda; trousers by Wolsey; shirt by Eastie Empire. James wears shirt by Filippa K; trousers by Wolsey; boots by A.P.C.; socks by Paul Smith.
STYLE | Regent’s Canal
Jordan wears vintage shirt, stylist’s own; hat by CA4LA.
STYLE | Regent’sSTYLE Canal
James wears jacket by C.P. Company; trousers by Wolsey; boots by A.P.C.; vintage scarf, stylist’s own. Nick wears jacket by Oliver Spencer from my-wardrobe; trousers by Wolsey; shirt by Eastie Empire; cap by Lock&Co.; vintage scarf, stylist’s own. Harrison wears coat by Oliver Spencer from my-wardrobe; trousers by Brooks Brothers; sweater by Albam; cap by Lock & Co.; boots by Henri Lloyd; braces by Levi’s.
Nick wears jacket by Private White VC; trousers by Wolsey; sweater by Percival; socks by Paul Smith.
STYLE | Regentâ€™s Canal James wears coat by A.P.C.; trousers by Wolsey; shirt by Universal Works. Jordan wears sweater by A.P.C.; trousers by Lou Dalton; cap by Universal Works; scarf by Albam.
Stuart Griffiths 90s rave. Army veterans. Brighton. The Church of SubGenius Words Val Williams
In the early 1990s, Stuart Griffiths, then serving as a paratrooper and battalion photographer in the British army, visited army veteran friends in the English seaside resort of Brighton. Fascinated by the emerging rave scene, he made a series of photographs that were a continuation of his documentation of army life in the barracks and on patrol in Northern Ireland. Shortly after, Griffiths left the 142
army and moved to Brighton himself. “I liked the place because it was so removed from garrison towns. I had encountered my first raves at the Limelight in Aldershot, and a few out-of-town disused warehouse parties.” Griffiths’ series of photographs of early 1990s Brighton is a picaresque and often disjointed description of a journey through rented rooms and chaotic flat shares, often
experienced alongside fellow veterans and characterised by the extensive and experimental drug use that informed youth culture at the time. For the former soldiers, attracted by what Griffiths saw as Brighton’s “laid-back” atmosphere, the collision with New Age subcultures could be disturbing. “We all ended up at a party just off Trafalgar Street and stayed in the basement >
â€œA soldier on a weekend leave from the war in Bosnia begins to feel the effect of the LSD he has taken half an hour agoâ€?
“The sound system had just been set up by the Positive Sound System and already many people had got word. I was photographing in complete darkness, so I had to guess the focusing”
“This was one of the first illegal raves which was organised by The Church of the SubGenius, where I went along as the ‘(un)official’ photographer”
“I wanted to get the whole scene into one frame so I stood on the edge of cliff, not worrying at all because total control only existed now”
Gallery | Stuart Griffiths playing Frank Zappa records. A vet called Rick, who used to be a paratrooper, kept putting on this song, ‘Who Are the Brain Police?’ I distinctly remembered his face from somewhere – the armoury in the recruit training. The party itself; no one had a clue whose it was, except Rick. Everyone there was drugged up, talking a load of nonsense. I decided to go on an adventure and see who was around on the other floors; maybe find some action. I’m watching some Indian-looking projection moving around a wall, when Taff, one of my ex-army mates, with his big red face, grabs me by the arm, looking scared, saying, ‘This here is devil country. I cannot handle it any longer’. In the end we got kicked out because Taff nearly torched the kitchen trying to light a cigarette. Back to somewhere else to smoke more, drink more and ease back this speed comedown.” In common with many army veterans, Griffiths saw himself as the essential outsider, catapulted towards a bewildering cast of characters from Builder Dave (a small-time drug dealer with whom he lodged when he arrived) to the captivating Mountain Girl, who he met at a party that was “packed with crusty looking people with chunky dreadlocks playing bongos”. “Strange eyeballs off these people tonight as this mescaline is real strong. I stare around the room and see this girl wearing Manchester City socks, with beautiful but menacing eyes staring back at me. She is Mountain Girl, stomping over the mountains of life, taking no shit.” The veterans disbanded and some were arrested and imprisoned. Griffiths, on the other hand, made contact with The Church of the SubGenius, a Slacker group originating in the USA, whose philosophy is described online as “the presence of Slack, which generally stands for the sense of freedom, independence and original thinking that stops you thinking about personal goals. Slack is about finding satisfaction with what you have and who you are, as opposed to searching for satisfaction in accomplishment. Slack is about doing nothing and getting what you want anyway.” “We were all part of the Slacker movement,” Griffiths remembers. “It was word of mouth. Everyone who dropped in at the Church of the SubGenius workshop in Brighton was in on it. While my old army friends were serving time in prison,
I had got to know other people who let me print photographs in their small darkroom in a workshop in town. They introduced me to the Slacker way of living, their workshop being a shrine to the Reverend Bob Dobbs and The Church of the SubGenius. My brother Stan came down from the north and I took him to one of their parties. Here, he could see for himself the true meaning of a subculture characterised by apathy and aimlessness. At weekends they organised illegal raves at Black Rock and Ovingdean and I decided to be their unofficial photographer. I didn’t care if people thought I was an undercover cop. My two black eyes from a mugging on the seafront were evidence that I was not working on the other side. We got the sound system in place under cover of darkness and soon after people arrived. I stood on the cliff edge to try and catch the scene in one frame.”
‘Raves were about wideopen spaces, trance-like techno music and universal acceptance’ Griffiths’ progress through the Brighton club and rave scene is like a chronicle of Slacker culture in the early 1990s. Opened in 1982, the Zap Club promoted a fusion of radical art and music. By the time Griffiths arrived in Brighton, it was more famous for its acid house nights like Tonka and Protechtion, as well as Northern Exposure, run by Sasha and John Digweed. At the 1994 Glastonbury festival, “many people I knew from Brighton were there. Mountain Girl’s Ganesha acid was very strong. It could only get weird from there. Loads of crusties, lots of scallies selling nasty, cheap drugs, people dancing around fires, off their heads. One night there was a shooting. This was the first time that guns
had ever got into Glastonbury. And probably the last.” His early years in Brighton were sustained by a succession of casual and sometimes bizarre jobs, before he finally enrolled on the BA photography course at Brighton University. These included working as a docker in nearby Shorehamby-Sea, a cleaner at Gatwick airport, and a bungee jump operative at Hell’s Angels rallies and countryside raves. “Taking a big Hell’s Angel up in a cage and persuading him to jump was a strange experience. At the raves, Geordie, my mate, would get loaded on speed to keep himself sharp. I’d always be the first to test the bungee jump, standing 200ft high in the cage in a huge field, while the DJ checked the sound system. All the ravers down below, blowing their horns, coming up on their first E, would be waiting for me to jump. I’d wait for the song’s peak before hurling myself off in full, spectacular glory. That reeled in the ravers. People dressed in Andy Pandy outfits, wide-eyed, off their heads on E, would form a disorderly queue.” In many ways, Griffiths brought the culture that had enveloped him in the army, and which he now remembers with antipathy, to the Brighton rave scene. Veterans from army days appear throughout his narrative, displaced and angry in the neo-hippy rave culture of the 1990s, but also attracted to its chaos, anarchy and drugs and its undemanding sense of community. It was an uneasy mixture, as Griffiths observed, as his veteran buddies attempted to deal with civilian life. Griffiths’ work is not the only narrative focused on this time and place. 4a.m., the novel by Nina de la Mer, born in Brighton, tells the story of two army caterers who encounter Hamburg’s rave and club scene in the 1990s. The artist Tariq Alvi was similarly influenced by the Brighton rave scene, and examined the contradictions which the extreme cultural flux of the 1990s exemplified, in his 1997 work, Fucked up with Flyers and Aesthetics. In cinema, Justin Kerrigan’s Human Traffic followed a weekend in the lives of a group of clubbers. The defining motif of all these different artworks was dysfunction. And Griffiths’ narrative – a chaotic tale of tedium, interspersed with hallucinogenic intervals, disillusionment and despair – is no exception. Even the notion of community > 145
was a nebulous one, as spaces and behaviour, alliances and allegiances were mapped out minute-by-minute in a rapidly shifting social and personal landscape. His photographs of outdoor raves in Brighton are a rare discovery. While the youth subcultures of the 1980s are well documented, such as Derek Ridgers’ portraits of New Romantics and Punk, there is no equivalent archive for the 1990s. The raves of the early 1990s were difficult spaces for photographers to operate in. As illegal events, photographers were often suspected of working undercover for the police. Continuous clashes with the police and officialdom left little room for concerns about fashion. The raver style of the 1990s was utilitarian and uniform; boilersuits and shapeless fleeces. The lack of adornment and self-glamourisation meant style commentators gave this scene a wide berth. Clothes were functional; loose, for engaging in all-night dancing, and warm, to deal with the cool outdoor air. Griffiths remembers that he wore “a sand-coloured hunting jacket with large pockets, Levi’s and plimsolls”. New York Times writer Sam Knight wrote in 2007, “For four years at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, Britain’s youth took to the fields, forests and warehouses, took Ecstasy, wore some of the silliest outfits ever devised, like cricket hats, white gloves and gas masks, and ushered out Thatcherism in a strobelighted haze of electronic music that shook the ground they danced on.” If 1980s club and street fashion had been an inventive combination of the customised, handmade and idiosyncratically styled, then the 1990s was about play, bright colours, glow sticks and dummies. “So that’s what happens,” wrote one online commentator, looking back at the 1990s, “when you refuse to grow up and can’t let go of Sesame Street.” Forget the decadence and catwalks of the discothèques, raves were about wideopen spaces, trance-like techno music and universal acceptance. A response to the velvet rope clubs of the past, where money and style garnered entry through the golden doors and along the red carpet, raves were affairs organised by sound systems whose sole purpose was to share the music. Raves were dance-a-thons for music fanatics, not scenesters, but eventually, 146
like all underground movements, the media got a hold of it and its potent ideology became diluted. Griffiths’ photographs follow the course of the Brighton raves and also document army veterans as they encounter a culture which could be, and usually was, hostile towards them. Their transgressions on the party scene alienated them from the subculture. “‘Fuck these savage beats and fuck all hippies,’ Rick shouted, as loud as he could, making a few heads turn as we pulled out of the mud bath that was Glastonbury for the long drive back home. Mountain Girl attacked me a few weeks later. She poured my beer over my head and punched me hard in the neck and torso. ‘Stay off my case, you fucking weirdo’. She just thought I was a freak.”
‘he could see the meaning of a subculture defined by apathy and aimlessness’ In black and white and colour, Griffiths’ photographs are bleak and laconic; there is no spectacle, just crowds of young people milling around in casual clothes, dressed to survive. Or they are intimate studies of friends in chaotic kitchens and sparsely furnished flats. People sleep and wait. For Griffiths, there must have been inverse and bewildering echoes of army life, a focus on endurance, of a community of disparate individuals united by experience. Rave culture seemed not to be an antidote to army life but almost a continuation; an intense and tribalistic socialisation process which defines groups of people who live and work together. Rave denied aspiration in favour of communality, and, while it set out to be rule breaking, was as preoccupied with language, ritual and dress just like any other subculture. Griffiths found that he was as much an outsider here as he had been in the army.
By the mid-1990s, the rave scene in Britain was in decline. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 prohibited unlicensed gatherings of groups of more than one hundred people where “sounds characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats” were played. The focus was to move it into licensed venues, resulting in an increasingly commodified scene. For Griffiths, it had been a rite of passage, a journey completed as “the parties on the beach started to get that little bit too ugly. Stories of people throwing themselves off cliffs, drug gangs from London moving in with guns, selling crack and heroin. “People were not interested in getting high; they wanted to be completely out of it, completely numb. I knew this exact feeling one New Year’s Eve, sat on my own at Taff ’s place, listening to The Pogue’s “Dirty Old Town”. I fumbled desperately in the bin for old bits of used tinfoil to smoke. It had now got that bad, I thought. All I needed to do now was to find a needle somewhere to bang into my arm and stagger around the streets like a depraved drunken fool, swigging from a warm can of Tennent’s Super and my image would be complete. “The grey void of the morning sky, feeling sick and knowing the cure. I had to get away. I’d got so burned out from searching for something that no longer existed. This perpetual town had become too small. All around there was some distraction to deal with that usually ended up being wasted again. I was stone broke and went for a stroll on the beach, to try and find some direction, knowing that I needed to be free from the evils. Staring across the Channel, watching waves meander in and out of view. Here, by the seaside, I was just another piece of driftwood.” Stuart Griffiths left Brighton after completing his BA in Editorial Photography at Brighton University. In London, he was homeless for a period, living in veterans’ hostels. Working as a paparazzi photographer and an intern at Magnum, he began to photograph injured veterans. A documentary about Griffiths’ life and work, Isolation (Institute for Eyes) premiered at the 2009 Edinburgh Film Festival. His first book, The Myth of the Airborne Warrior, was published by Photoworks, photoworks.org.uk in 2011. His second book, Pigs Disco,is published in October 2012 by Ditto Press dittopress.co.uk
Gallery | Stuart Griffiths
“I looked like a panda from my mugging and did not care if people called me a copper, just because I had a camera. Even so, the weird stares I got from people off their heads made me question what I was doing most of the time. It was not that I could just say, I’m doing this for historical purposes. So I carried on taking photos, whether they liked it or not”
“The light came through and it was a grey dreary morning but everyone was off their heads so no one cared that much. The music still played and the people kept gathering”
“Everyone was doing ecstasy and LSD by this point, from football hooligans to people who worked on building sites. All together, loved up, instead of fighting each other”
Nile Rodgers Chic. The Unit. Everybody Dance. The Boiz. Disco Words Mark Webster Photograph Sam Christmas
“The unit”. That’s what one of their jazz guitarist friends called them. “Hey, Nile,” he used to say. “Why don’t you bring the unit over and we’ll do some shit?” The unit comprised a classic rhythm section of guitar, bass and drums. On back beat was Tony Thompson, from Queens, New York, the final piece of the jigsaw, whose career took off when he joined Labelle, but became the stuff of legend when it was his sticks that made the unit tick. On bass it was North Carolina-born, Brooklyn-raised Bernard Edwards, and on lead guitar, the man he had been working with since the early 1970s and the leader of this tumultuous trio, New York City’s own Nile Rodgers. That was the unit – and that was also the backbone of Chic. Sadly, two thirds of this stellar musical engine room, arguably one of the most important to have existed in popular music, are no longer with us. Bernard Edwards died of pneumonia 148
while touring with Chic in Japan in 1996, while Thompson was taken by cancer in 2003. Rodgers himself had a recent scare with that particular illness, but as the last man standing of this extraordinarily special group of men, he was not going to take it lying down. “When I was blindsided with this over a year ago, I just said to myself, ‘Alright, if this kills me, I’m just going out doing what I want to do’.” And what Rodgers wanted to do was get out there with Chic and play. And play. And play. Now in his early 60s, and fit as a flea having beaten back that life-threatening illness, Nile Rodgers is on the road constantly with Chic because, as he points out, “Let’s be honest, we were a hit-making machine. It was more advantageous for us to be in the studio. We only really toured to support the records. But I’m a live musician and I’ve never gigged so much in my life.”
Nile is taking a rare morning off to go to south London and meet up with a long-time friend of his, Lady C (“I’ve known her forever, through an old girlfriend of mine who used to sing with Soul ll Soul.”) who now runs the fabulously eccentric clothes shop, The Earl of Bedlam. Her partner Mark created the new white suit Nile is wearing. “I wanted to get him back in a double-breasted number, just like he used to wear in the glory days,” he tells me. It’s here that we manage to sit down for a few quiet minutes, before he heads off to yet another airport, to talk about just how his band became the international pop charts face of disco, and how he took that influence into the recording studios of some of the biggest names in music. Firstly, he explains how Chic emerged from the smouldering embers of his and Edwards’ previous groups. And for an ensemble so perfectly described as “Studio 54 in a bottle”, Chic’s roots are >
Riverside Studios, London, September 1984
surprisingly, well, British. Like the UK clubbers of the mid-1970s, who were dancing to pioneering funky fusion artists like Kool & The Gang, Lonnie Liston Smith and Donald Byrd, Nile found himself inspired “by jazz artists that I had respected most of my life having hit records with this new kind of music they were playing; which was basically disco. But we weren’t calling it that then, we were just calling it R&B dance music – you know, jazz funk. So it was people like myself, who basically consider ourselves jazz instrumentalists, who had started to write hooks over jazzy grooves, with a catchy chorus. “Then the big breakthrough was seeing Roxy Music when I was in London with my group at that time, the Big Apple Band. I had been robbed. Someone broke into the tour bus and took my coat with my passport in it, so I had to wait until Monday to get a new one. Fortunately, I had a wonderful girlfriend in London who worked as a club door hostess and I stayed with her. And we went to this club called The Roxy, and Roxy Music were playing. Roxy at The Roxy! “I was so taken with them, it was such surreal, vibey music, so my girlfriend took me to Camden Market on the Sunday so I could buy their albums. So I bought two or three of them and they all had these beautiful girls on the sleeves and I thought, ‘Wait a minute, this is a cool idea – what if we did the black version of that?’ “So we recorded our first track, which was very jazzy, very hip, and had this chorus, ‘Everybody dance, ooh, ooh, clap your hands, clap your hands’. That original version existed a while, and it was the track that got us noticed.” 150
From that point, of course, a ridiculous number of killer tunes emerged – “Dance Dance Dance”, “Chic Cheer”, “Good Times” (which Chic perform as a medley featuring all of the rip-offs and homages), “Le Freak”, “I Want Your Love”, “My Forbidden Lover” and the revisited version of “Everybody Dance”. All became cornerstones of disco and dance music, but the idea of hiding the band behind some pretty faces didn’t really land. Nile and the boys couldn’t resist adding a bit of style to the substance, not least because that was the
‘We went to this club called The Roxy, and Roxy Music were playing. Roxy at The Roxy’ very same thing their hardcore audience was also doing. “It’s kind of always been that way in the music we come from, hence us using real top designers for our clothing; genuine couture. We were at the fashion houses having relationships with people like Halston. Which is why when we did the Sister Sledge album (Rodgers and Edwards’ first outside production) and ‘The Greatest Dancer’, we did the line ‘Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci’. We did
that line as an artistic statement; we were being cinematic, expressing how cool this guy in the song was. We didn’t do it to be braggadocious. I mean, we had all that stuff, but we didn’t want to talk about it.” From the mid-1970s into the early 1980s, Chic ruled the roost through their own releases and production work with the likes of Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. As Nile puts it, “I thought Chic was going to be the rest of my life.” But when something is that successful, that all-powerful and, yes, that easily copied and diluted, at some point the balloon is going to go up. And this particular bagful of narrow-minded, bigoted hot air took off emblazoned with the derogatory phrase, “Disco Sucks”. “I loved that it didn’t have any rules except make people dance. This came as a huge disappointment. The beauty of what we did is that it had that openness. Anyone could just jump in and out of the music with us. Rod Stewart did it. The Rolling Stones did it.” For Rodgers, though, with Chic now defunct and no longer working directly with production partner Bernard Edwards, this meant that the reputation he had garnered as a man with a unique sound made him much sought after as a hit maker for others. This became crystal clear to him when he had the chance to spend some time with a musical hero of his.“I did a fashion shoot for Issey Miyake in the 1980s with Miles Davis, and Miles and I became good friends. And he’d say to me every day, ‘Hey Nile, write me a muthafucking “Good Times”.’ And I kept thinking he was pulling my leg because he had a wild sense of humour, totally off the wall. So I was thinking, the last thing Miles wants is a pop/funk record, so I kept writing what
MUSIC | Nile Rodgers
I thought were these Miles-type songs, these fusionesque things, and every time I’d submit them he’d say, ‘Muthafucker, I could write that shit. Give me a muthafucking “Good Times”!’ “And I just didn’t understand him. We’d go out all the time... but I just couldn’t hear him, even though I was sitting next to him every day. Until he passed away. Then it became clear. Miles was trying to get a fucking hit! Herbie Hancock [who was part of Davis’ stellar quintet during the 1960s] had gone on to do things like ‘Watermelon Man’ and ‘Rockit’. And the last time I’d seen Miles play, he was opening for Herbie. He just wanted a piece of that.” Madonna, too, was keen to get some of Rodgers’ vibe, as were the B-52s, Duran Duran and many others – including one David Jones, better known as David Bowie. “When I met David Bowie, we’d both been dropped by our record labels. So it was me and him against the world. Around the time of the last Chic album, I’d bought my first LinnDrum and everybody was doing this thing called electronica. “And I’d started to create a few good grooves so I was looking to do some musical exploring. So working with Bowie seemed perfect but then I thought, ‘No, I won’t go heavy with it because I’ve got a superstar with an incredible history. And he’s white. I don’t have to care about the radio, it doesn’t matter where I get the hit. “But then he played ‘Let’s Dance’ to me, and it was like a folk song. And I said, ‘Woah, David. I come from dance music. Even with you, I can’t do a song called ‘Let’s Dance’ without people wanting to dance. So I did a quick
arrangement for it and just made it real staccato, almost the antithesis of a Chic record, because he’d forced me to use more modern sounds. And basically he said to me, ‘Yes, fuck classic. I want to be leading edge’.” From this point, Bowie bought straight in to the Rodgers ethic. Nile told me Bowie admitted a few years after they recorded it that essentially “it was a new Chic album, but with David Bowie thrown in”, and as a result, he got an album (his biggest seller) made in the old-school R&B way.
Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, circa 1980
“His view may differ but I think ‘Let’s Dance’ is the single easiest record I made in my entire career. Nothing could have been easier – 17 days from start to finish. Never touched the record again. We did it the same way we used to do black records. We didn’t have the budgets like white artists; the studio blocked out for days. It was eight-hour schedules, in and out.”
Rodgers’ time working in the studio with a vast array of talent is a crucial part of his life. As he says, “Most are still my best friends. We had a bond of trust together. Like Butch and Sundance jumping off the cliff.” But it happened because of Chic. Now it’s about Chic once again, even though Tony Thompson is no longer there, nor is the man who helped make the names Rodgers & Edwards sit effortlessly alongside the likes of Gamble & Huff, Lennon & McCartney and Jagger & Richards. And Nile remembers poignantly the moment in Budokan, Japan, in 1996, when Chic reformed to celebrate Rodgers receiving a producer of the year award, just when he realised how important their friendship and their work together was. “I thought my partner Bernard’s death was, in a way, one of the most romantic ever. He passed out on the stage and they had to revive him, and he kept playing. Then we went back to the hotel and I found his body the next day in his room. And after I got over the extreme sorrow, a strange thing happened. I got jealous. You couldn’t plan this any better. It was the last show we were to do. It sold out.Steve Winwood was there. So was Slash and Sister Sledge. And then you die. How rock and roll, how showbusiness! And his last words to me: he’s looking around the curtain at the crowd and he’s saying, ‘Wow, Nile, look at that. We did it. They didn’t come to see us. They came to hear us. We’re the ultimate faceless band.’” Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny by Nile Rodgers is out now littlebrown.co.uk nilerodgers.com 151
Rupert wears jacket by The Duffer of St. George; jeans by Nudie Jeans; trainers by Nike.
Andrew wears sweater by Paul & Joe.
Cosmic Bike Polo Photographs Juan Trujillo Andrades Styling Karen Mason Styling Assistant Jane Anderson Team Rupert Evans-Harding, Mat Horwood and Andrew Todd cosmicbikepolo.wordpress.com
STYLE | Cosmic Bike Polo
Andrew wears top by Paul Smith; trousers by Paul & Joe. Rupert wears cardigan by Paul & Joe; trousers by The Duffer of St. George.
Mat wears jacket by Polo Ralph Lauren; jeans by Leviâ€™s.
Mat wears cardigan by John Smedley; trousers by Nudie Jeans. Andrew wears sweater by Paul & Joe; trousers by Paul Smith & Barbour; trainers by adidas. Rupert wears top by Paul Smith; jeans by Leviâ€™s; trainers by K Swiss.
STYLE | Cosmic Bike Polo
Mat wears cardigan by Paul & Joe; T-shirt by NudieÂ Jeans.
STYLE | Cosmic Bike Polo
Rupert wears gilet by Polo Ralph Lauren; jeans by Leviâ€™s; shirt by Agnes b. Andrew wears cardigan by Paul Smith; trousers by Paul Smith & Barbour; T-shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren.
Erich von Stroheim Young Hollywood. Neck braces. Austro-Hungarian aristocracy. La Grande Illusion. DW Griffith Words Chris Sullivan
Few actors have commanded the screen with such indefatigable presence as the great Erich von Stroheim. As the first world war German officer and aristocrat, Rittmeister von Rauffenstein, in Jean Renoir’s immense La Grande Illusion (1937), the monocled actor dressed in a body and neck brace (his idea) beneath his tightly fitting officer’s uniform, which drove the bolt well and truly home. And who could forget him in Foolish Wives (1922), in which he starred, wrote and directed? The precariously tilted white cap, Sam Browne belt, white gloves and a cigarette holder. Iconic is not the word. But perhaps von Stroheim’s most significant performance was playing himself. Not until long after 160
his death in 1957 were his claims of a distinguished military career and Austrian nobility proven to be complete and utter fantasies of his own creation. The truth appears rather more commonplace. Records suggest he was born plain old Erich Oswald Stroheim in Vienna in 1885, into a workingclass Jewish family. Despite witnessing the rise of the Vienna Secession, wanderlust grabbed him and in 1909, aged 24, he stepped off the SS Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm at Ellis Island, New York without a penny and declared himself Count Erich Oswald Hans Carl Maria von Stroheim und Nordenwall. Undeniably, his timing was perfect. Without so much as a by-yourleave, von Stroheim left New York for
California where the American movie industry was beginning to make its home, due to endless litigation from patent rights. The New York-based inventor Thomas Edison, who laid claim to many patents required in the moviemaking process, wasn’t able to pursue the Californian pioneers and besides, the regular sunshine meant outdoor filming was possible all year round. Thus the Biograph Company, owned by William Kennedy Dickson, who had worked for Edison, produced the first film made in California: A Daring Hold-Up in Southern California, in 1906. It was Biograph that employed the founding father of cinema language, DW Griffith who first used techniques > such as fading in and out, close ups,
Publicity shot from The Wedding March 1928 John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images
crosscutting and flashbacks. In Old California, directed by DW Griffith in 1910, became the first movie made in Hollywood. And off it jolly well went. This new thing called “cinema”, which combined photography, theatre, literature, fashion and music, was accessible to the masses. Nothing like this had happened before and this tiny village in Southern California, that beckoned chancers and adventurers from all over the globe, soon became the centre for this new art form. An enterprising young chap, von Stroheim was right in there, his finger on the zeitgeist. Hollywood was buzzing. By 1914, often seen strutting around in jodhpurs and riding boots with trademark cane, von Stroheim was working as a stuntman, bit-part actor and consultant on German culture. He claimed to have been an extra in DW Griffith’s epic, The Birth of a Nation (1915), though that is disputed today. One thing is for certain, he was a great admirer of the director and worked as a production assistant on another of DW Griffith’s magnum opuses, Intolerance (1916). With the first world war well underway, Erich, who by now had been married twice, didn’t miss a trick. He rose to the bait and became the film industry’s token despicable Kraut, America’s man-you-love-to-hate, appearing in the likes of The Heart of Humanity (1918) in which he ripped the buttons from a Red Cross nurse’s uniform with his teeth before having his way. Later in the movie, when a crying baby distracts him, he throws it out of a window. (The Hays Code, the moral censorship guidelines that governed Hollywood for many years, was still 12 years away.) Most Americans saw Germany as a dangerous monarchy with autocratic militarist thinking and a hidden agenda to undermine democracy and US power. Milking the German stereotype, replete with the severest of crew cuts, starched collars, spats and monocle, von Stroheim played the ugliness to perfection. After the war, he wrote and directed Blind Husbands (1919), the first of his adultery trilogy. The film was well received both critically and at the box office. An example to us all. He had no formal training, making it up as he went 162
along with an abundance of self-belief. By now he had also perfected his persona. It has been said he did such a great job that he even convinced himself. He became the archetype for the sadistic northern European. In 1922 he wrote, directed and starred in Foolish Wives (1922), a million-dollar movie at a time when breakfast cost a couple of cents. Even today, the storyline is pretty shocking. Von Stroheim plays a Russian émigré ensconced in Monte Carlo who leases a villa while posing as a count. His two mistresses are passed off as cousins while he, using his rather camp militaristic, aristocratic behaviour, seduces gullible rich women, lusts after a retarded teenager and attempts to
von Stroheim’s work is hallmarked by two recurrent features – janitors and physical deformity. Don’t you just love him? undo an innocent American. In truth, the movie itself is almost negligible compared with von Stroheim’s ridiculously out-there look, one of the great images of silent cinema. We’re talking make-up, monocle and plucked eyebrows. “Since that first showing of Foolish Wives,” said von Stroheim at the time, “I have seemed to walk through vast crowds of people, their white American faces turned towards me in stern reproof.” Indeed, von Stroheim’s look was as uncompromising as his persona.
Described by esteemed film critic Derek Malcolm as “one of the most extraordinary filmmakers of all time”, when in the driving seat he took no prisoners, winding up his actors, stomping around shouting the odds, both dictatorial and demanding. Unfortunately, his antics and, some might say, over-inflated opinion of himself (I disagree), knew no bounds and, after shooting half of MerryGo-Round (1923), the first in another trilogy that looked back to pre-first world war Austria, was fired by studio bigwig, Irving Thalberg. Next up for the monocled one was Greed (1924), an adaptation of Frank Norris’ 1893 novel McTeague, starring the amazing ZaSu Pitts and Gibson Gowland. Regarded as one of the great films of all time, it tells the story of a rather dim, poor dentist who falls in love with one of his patients. Subsequently, she wins the lottery and they get married. She becomes utterly obsessed with her money whilst his jealous best friend, Marcus, informs City Hall that the dentist has no licence. As a result, he loses everything and turns to drink. Still his wife will not dip into her winnings, so he beats her to death. The film’s ending takes place in Death Valley where McTeague kills Marcus who has handcuffed himself to his murderer. Stranded in one of the hottest places in the world, his savage action seals his own fate. Dark. Greed is incomparable by virtue of von Stroheim’s uncompromising realism, the great performances and the actual locations, such as the sewer where the lovers meet and the slums of San Francisco. Von Stroheim worked on the edit unpaid for a year. Still, the initial cut he submitted to the flabbergasted Goldwyn Company was an outrageous eight hours long. Lest we forget, it was silent and this was 1924. Under pressure, he relented and cut it to four hours to be shown in two parts. Still unhappy, Goldwyn pulled in his story editor, June Mathis, who, von Stroheim complained, had read neither the book nor the original screenplay, to chop it. Eventually it was released with a running time of two and a half hours. Years later, Henri Langlois, the head of the Cinémathèque Française, showed
CINEMA | Erich von Stroheim von Stroheim the disfigured version. The Austrian sobbed as he watched it. “This was like an exhumation for me. In a tiny coffin I found a lot of dust, a terrible smell, a little backbone and a shoulder bone.” Langlois assured him that the movie, however mutilated, was still a masterpiece. Worse still, the edited footage was swept up and thrown away by an over-zealous janitor. After watching the film, fellow Austrian director Billy Wilder told him he was 10 years ahead of his time. “No, 20,” von Stroheim replied. I couldn’t agree more. Amazingly, the untiring Austrian kept going and subsequently notched up his biggest box office hit with the black comedy, The Merry Widow (1925) starring John Gilbert and Mae Murray. (Both Clark Gable and Joan Crawford had uncredited roles.) Particularly Stroheimian, the film was rich in cruelty, perversion and sadism. He followed it up with The Wedding March (1928), in which the entirely egotistical Austrian directed and starred as another monocle-wearing aristo, Prince Nickolas von Wildeliebe-Rauffenburg who, this time, marries the daughter of an industrialist for convenience. On their wedding night, as he removes her shoes and stockings with fetishistic gallantry, he is visibly repulsed by her deformed foot. Von Stroheim’s work is hallmarked by two recurrent features – janitors and physical deformity. Don’t you just love him? Unsurprisingly, von Stroheim’s unwillingness, or inability, to modify his artistic principles for the commercial cinema, his extreme attention to detail, his insistence on near-total artistic freedom and the resulting costs of his films, led to fights with the studios. As time went on, he received fewer offers to direct. His last proper directorial outing was the even more crazy, opulent, and perversely erotic Queen Kelly (1929) starring Gloria Swanson. It tells the story of a convent girl who ends up running a brothel in Africa. Unfortunately, old Erich went a little too lewd. In one scene, Swanson’s character is whipped by the mad Queen Regina V of Kronberg while her guards grin with excitement. As a result, he was sacked and the film was never released.
The silent movie era was drawing to an end but von Stroheim wasn’t quite done yet. He returned to acting and moved to Paris where adoration for him and his films knew no bounds. In 1936 he met Jean Renoir who cast him in La Grande Illusion (1937). Also starring Jean Gabin, one of the most celebrated actors of French cinema, it was one of the first films to portray the futility of war. Set in a German POW camp in the first world war, considered the last “gentleman’s war”, the film focuses on the relationship of the honourable German camp commandant, played elegantly by von Stroheim, and his French counterpart. So
powerful was the film’s message that, when the Germans annexed France in 1941, Goebbels who controlled Nazi propaganda, had the original print seized. A collaboration with Renoir, La Dame Blanche, based on an idea of von Stroheim’s, was scuppered by his fellow Austrian, Adolf Hitler, who had the affront to invade France and cause von Stroheim to chip back to the USA. Continuing where he left off, he plated archetypal German baddies such as Field Marshall Rommel in Five Graves to Cairo (1943). Even though it
may have helped him in an era of staunch anti-Germanic feeling, von Stroheim never admitted to his Jewish heritage. After the war he made a living out of being the great Erich von Stroheim. “If you live in France and you have written one good book, or painted one good picture, or directed one outstanding film 50 years ago and nothing ever since, you are still recognised as an artist and honoured accordingly,” he opined. He acted in a few films a year, mainly in France and lived the good life but it wasn’t until 1950 that he would play a prominent part in another masterpiece, Sunset Boulevard, directed by Billy Wilder. It stars William Holden as a poor young writer, Joe Gillis, who takes a job to write a screenplay for barking mad, faded silent movie star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), while von Stroheim is Max von Mayerling, her faithful chauffeur/ butler/right-hand man who, at one point, directed her in some of her greatest triumphs. Indeed, the film that Desmond makes Joe watch in her screening room is none other than von Stroheim’s unreleased Queen Kelly. After Sunset Boulevard, von Stroheim moved to France where he continued to be celebrated and carried on acting in parts as mad German scientists and criminal masterminds. He died of cancer at 71 in Yvelines, Île-de-France, in 1957, leaving a trail of unrealised projects, and many a film fan surmising what greatness he might have achieved had he been given a fairer crack of the whip. It was von Stroheim who introduced sophisticated plot lines and warped perverted psychological and sexual undercurrents to cinema. It was he who opened the can of worms that fired Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, Orson Welles and John Huston, and fuelled the whole film noir movement. In fact much of the great cinema of the last 100 years might not have happened with out him. He was a true visionary and certainly one of a kind. 163
Dual-ism Photographs Lawrence Watson Words Cai Trefor Band Piff Gang piffgang.com
Descente, which started in the late 1950s, is the oldest skiwear brand in Japan. Over the 50 years in business, as one would expect, they have developed some of the most technologically advanced 164
outerwear to hit the slopes, kitting out several national ski teams. As the name would suggest, the Dual-ism project is a collaboration between Descente, and Japanese designer, Yono.
Yono is heavily influenced by street fashion and military clothing and it is this knowledge base that is behind the new high-spec, super-functional range from Descente. dual-ism.com
Young Skout, Skits and J Rells
Ben Part, 44, photographer and art director Describe your style. 1970s Belgian motocrosser just back from holiday in Acapulco. What’s so special about flat tracking? Getting your wheels out of line. Describe flat tracking in three words. Footloose. Fancy-free. Yankee. Who’s your style icon? Harvey Mushman. Who’s your favourite musician? Will Sergeant. What’s your favourite movie? Me and You and Everyone We Know.
Far removed from the gentrified and upright scene of the UK cafe racer scene, a slightly dirtier and altogether rougher and readier bike scene has emerged. Involving ripping stripped-down machines as fast as possible around a oval circuit, the buzz is clear to see. In order to go as fast as possible around the circular track, riders keep one foot on the ground – which means they have to attach makeshift platforms under the soles of their boots to stop them wearing through. sideburnmagazine.com Photographs Lee Vincent Grubb Words Cai Trefor
Jerome and Dimitri Coste from Ruby Helmets
Drogo Michie, 43, art director Describe your style. Blind optimism followed by sheer panic. Describe flat tracking in three words. Please stay on. Who’s your style icon? Flashman. Who’s your favourite band? Massive Attack. What’s your favourite movie? Apocalypse Now.
FOLIO | Flat Tracking
G-Shock 30th Anniversary
Before G-Shock popped up in the early 1980s, watches were seen as a very grown-up and pious male accessory, something to be handed down from father to son and cherished accordingly. Of course, youth styles developed and younger people didn’t want to wear something resembling precious jewellery in order to know the time. Thirty years later and the extensive range developed by Casio’s specialist range is something of a collector’s item to many. As part of their anniversary celebrations, G-Shock have been travelling to various events around the world, one of which was the Boardmasters Festival in Newquay, Cornwall in August. gshock.com Photographs Orlando Gili
Strummer of Love
The Strummer of Love festival, which marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Clash frontman Joe Strummer, took place in Somerset in August this year. An intimate one-off occasion to raise money for the charity set up in his name, Strummerville,the three-day festival brought together a great bunch of musicians including ex-bandmate Mick Jones, Seasick Steve, Badly Drawn Boy, the Farm and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. strummerville.com Photographs Ross Trevail
FOLIO | Strummer of Love
Man Like Me
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
FOLIO | Strummer of Love
Somewhere off Route 21, New Jersey, is a small industrial building where Donwan Harrell, founder of denim brand Prps, keeps his car collection. These are no ordinary cars. These are muscle cars, cars designed for drag racing; that is to say, beefed up in order to go faster than the other guy’s car, whether from the traffic lights or down a specifically designed length of tarmac. Donwan, along with his car enthusiast buddies, take great care and pride in their glistening, chomping-at-the-bit machines. Andy, one of his cohorts, pops on some smooth 1970s soul music as he takes me for a ride in his beauty. “When I started racing, as a younger man, we would cruise by shop windows at night just to check our cars in the reflection.” You get that these guys are pretty attached to these babies. As with many cliques, uniform is as important, and this group, who call themselves the United Street Racers, can often be seen in their customised leather waistcoats. When not tearing up the streets at night, racers can burn their rubber in the more controlled environment of the Englishtown Raceway, located in a place so remote the GPS does not recognise it. Which is how those who have been using it since it opened in 1965 like it. etownraceway.com Photographs and words Janette Beckman
FOLIO | Englishtown Raceway
FOLIO | Englishtown Raceway
Rivet & Hide sources clothes and accessories that are well crafted and built to last. We specialize in raw selvedge denim from Japan.
Six Days International Cycle Race, Wembley 1937. G Adams
Getty Images Words Chris May
Outside a Walthamstow polling station in autumn 1951, a newsreel team filmed the British prime minister, Clement Attlee, leaving the building after voting in that year’s general election. “Do you have a message for the British people, prime minister?” one of the team can be heard to ask. “No,” replies Attlee, without breaking his stride. The exchange, unimaginable today, is not thought to have been screened at the time, but, fortunately for social historians, the footage was archived. Thanks to diligently curated archives, we can today also view a vast treasure trove of professionally shot 35mm newspaper and magazine stills that connect us to our collective past with the same clarity and humanity as that Walthamstow clip. Photojournalism, the marriage of film or stills with words – in which the visuals 184
are at least as important as the words, and in print generally take up more page space – was a key media strand in the decades before TV ownership became the norm. Its golden age bookended the lifespan of Britain’s most successful photojournalism magazine, Picture Post, published weekly from 1938 until 1957. Picture Post explored and chronicled the lives of “ordinary” people, rather than the establishment elite, which had until then been the focus of most newspaper and magazine coverage. The magazine’s liberal, populist editorial stance struck a chord with British anti-fascist sentiment in the late 1930s, and then with the post-war anti-Tory mood, which swept Winston Churchill from power in 1945. Picture Post’s best remembered photographer is Bert Hardy, who, along with his on-the-hoof artistry, brought
the same integrity of purpose to his everyday social documentary work as he did to his spell as a war correspondent in Korea. But the names of many of Hardy’s photojournalist contemporaries are unknown to us: anonymous news or feature agency employees, their pictures were credited only to the agency. The value of Picture Post’s legacy, like that of many other golden age collections, grows with time. Given the importance of professional photojournalism to recorded history – of politics, fashion, sport, art and every other human activity – you might imagine that its archiving is the responsibility of not-for-profit institutions supported by public funding. In fact, it is almost entirely preserved by private companies. One of the biggest archives, Getty Images, co-founded in 1995 by Mark Getty, >
Jamaican Immigrants aboard Empire Windrush 1948. Douglas Miller
London Spivs, Notting Hill 1954. Bert Hardy
SPOTLIGHT | Getty Images
Street photographer, South Africa 1956
Racing Gents, Epsom Derby 1910. WG Phillips
grandson of oil magnate J Paul Getty, promotes the work of new and living photographers, but a large chunk of its income is generated by its historical collections. Among the 1,500 archives Getty Images owns or represents is that of Picture Post. Another is that of Life magazine, founded in 1936, which filled a similar role in the US as Picture Post did in the UK. In total, Getty holds 85 million stills images and 50,000 feet of film footage, numbers which increase with the acquisition of new collections. To date, less than one per cent of Getty’s images have been digitised; its London hub, off the Harrow Road, includes row after row after row of boxes and hanging files, stacked on floor-to-ceiling shelves over several floors, a starship-sized library of catalogued prints and negatives. You might plan to spend a few hours there researching a 188
topic and still be at it, lost in space, days or perhaps weeks later. To this nearinfinity, the Getty staff bring the same degree of knowledge and engagement as that found among the curators of a national museum or portrait gallery – which, in practise, is what they are, too. In 2012, the photographic image is entering a new age, in which citizen and smartphone photography is a growing presence. But modern professional photojournalism does not appear to be under any immediate threat. According to Matthew Butson of Getty Images, the only example of citizen photography which has so far gained significant currency is a shot of the “Miracle on the Hudson” story, when a US Airways plane crash-landed on the New York river without a single loss of life. All the other great news or feature shots you can remember
from the past decade were taken by professional photographers represented by professional agencies and editors. Certainly, the investment market believes professional photojournalism has a future. In August this year, Getty Images was acquired by a US private equity group for £2.1bn. The precise value of Getty’s biggest competitor, Corbis, founded by Bill Gates in 1989, is unknown, as the company is solely owned by Gates, but must surely be in the same league. As things are, citizen photography, lacking as it does an organised, accessible, annotated and curated storage system, is of only ephemeral value, even before you factor in its general quality. Professional photojournalism’s legacy of images needs to be – and, happily, is being – preserved. Getty Images Gallery, 46 Eastcastle Street, London W1 gettyimagesgallery.com
SPOTLIGHT | Getty Images
Gene Vincent, France 1961 David Redfern
USAAF Type A-2 Words Chris Sullivan Photograph Ben Harries Biker Jason Buckham
“The A-2 flying jacket works because it’s practical and utilitarian,” enthuses Hardy Blechman, owner of fashion brand Maharishi. “It’s another example of a great military design that, like the trenchcoat and the chino, we take for granted. But they form the basis of modern menswear.” And lest we forget, the A-2 is ingrained in our style subconscious thanks to movies roles by the likes of Steve McQueen (The Great Escape) and Frank Sinatra (Von Ryan’s Express). The jacket was the direct descendant of the USAAF A-1, designed in 1927. The A-1 was the first ever short jacket to incorporate elasticised cuffs and waistband; it became known as the “bomber” or “flying” jacket. Rumour has it that it was initially crafted from a far longer coat, cropped to allow better access to the joystick for the pilots. The idea caught on and the designed refined. In 1931, the A-2 became standard issue for the US Army Air Corps, going through several changes for the next 11 years. Yet almost immediately the garment became the must-have jacket for the US armed services and much cherished by the US army aviator. During the second world war, nonflying personnel would beg, bribe and steal to get their hands on one. Even non-flying senior generals, such as Patton and MacArthur, wore A-2 jackets, while 190
every officer in the elite airborne units cut unofficial deals with the USAAF to obtain this piece of clothing that they had no right to have. Such iconoclasm did not go unnoticed by the airmen themselves. The jacket, that was originally awarded to an airman upon completion of basic flight training, was so coveted that ordinary GIs stationed in the UK created a cottage industry by commissioning local tailors to copy it. Leading menswear stylist William Gilchrist explains it thus: “Iconic menswear garments are borne from times of hardship or war. The US Airforce and Navy flying jackets typify this and timelessly frame the wearer instead of leaving him anchored into a specific era as fashion clothing does. Designers of such garments in wartime didn’t have the time to mess about with inconsequential details and design frivolity so they unknowingly created classics that have stood the test of time. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.” During the 1980s, the garment was redesigned by brands such as Schott, who added side pockets underneath the breast pockets so one might nestle one’s hands comfortably. But, however convenient for Joe Bloggs, this was plain wrong – in 1942 the military brass banned such pockets, as they didn’t want their men slouching with their hands in their
pockets. Therefore, an authentic A-2 only ever has the two breast pockets. The passage of time and the increased popularity in authentic vintage men’s clothing means it is becoming ever harder to track down an original A-2. This has given rise to companies like Aero Leathers and Eastman Leathers, sourcing authentic raw materials and carefully crafting exact replicas for an adoring public. “Back in the 1980s we started replicating the jackets exactly as they were in the second world war, because people wanted them, and now we are selling more than ever,” explains Aero managing director, William Lauder. “We use the same tanning methods, the same zips, the same everything, and each jacket is made by the same person from start to finish.” Such unerring eye for detail and quality has resulted in a continuous supply of orders. Gary Eastman, director of Eastman Leathers concludes, “The flight jacket has been worn in civvy street by Robert Mitchum, James Dean, the Rolling Stones, the Who, David Bowie, Jack Nicholson and Damon Albarn. It is one of those anti-establishment items that has stood the test of time. And it isn’t going away.” eastmanleather.com aeroleatherclothing.com
Jason wears jacket by Eastman Leathers; jeans by Leviâ€™s Vintage Clothing; glasses by Ray-Ban.
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