//George O'Dowd in Street Theatre, 12 Ganton Street, central London, 1978. Photo (c): Boy George Collection//
I’ve been acting as a consultant to artist Lucy Harrison on her latest site specific project Carnaby Echoes, which focuses on the culturally fertile area of central London adjacent to Soho.
With the starting point of the opening of Murray’s Club in Beak Street in 1913, Harrison is mounting her artistic response to 100 years of musical history with archival material and fresh interviews with some of the area’s leading lights.
This is designer Ben Kelly at his 1974 degree show at London’s Royal College Of Art.
Kelly adopted the alter-ego The Photo Kid, who is portrayed in the work by which he is standing. The Photo Kid wore clothes – in particular brothel creepers – from Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop Let It Rock, as did Kelly; the shoes, pink socks and belt in this photograph all came from there, while the Hopalong Cassiday & Topper top (see Ian Harris’s comment below) was picked up at a Paris flea market.
I was flattered to be invited to contribute this playlist to Tim Broun’s great blog Stupefaction:
01. Cocoa Song from Moon Over The Alley OST
02. I Start Counting – Basil Kirchin
03. Say You Don’t Mind – Colin Blunstone
04. Cut The World – Antony & The Johnsons
05. Burundi Black (Part 2) – Burundi Stephenson Black
06. Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley
07. Boogie Children – John Fred & the Playboys
08. Jump Sturdy – Dr John
09. Natty Dread Taking Over – Culture
10. Love A We Deal With – Big Youth
11. Train To Rhodesia – Big Youth
12. Sadness Is A Blessing – Lykke Li
13. The Lights Of Tucson – Jim Campbell
14. Coz I Luv U – Slade
15. High – Ssion
16. Inside Out – Odyssey
17. Genesis – Grimes
18. Baby’s On Fire – Die Antwoord
19. Sick Of Myself – Matthew Sweet
20. You Shouldn’t Do That – Hawkwind (full live version)
Stupefaction features a 15-track Spotify and 20-track video version here.
Paris, Capital of the XXIst Century is a personal and subjective journey that began firstly by ambling through a century’s archive of thousands of cinema commercials about the city (its inhabitants, what it sells, how it looks…), secondly by gathering impressions (choosing what to exploit, covet and keep), jotting them down only when I returned to my studio. Then, using these specific scenes as a palette and my voice as a brush, twenty-one portraits emerged of a Paris I had never witnessed before.
Malcolm McLaren November 2009
Tomorrow (June 10), Art Basel will host a screening of Malcolm McLaren’s final artwork, Paris, Capital of the XXIst Century.
I can’t wait to see documentarist Toby Amies’ envoi to his extraordinary friend Drako Oho Zarhazar.
Over the last year or so when we have bumped into each other socially, Amies has shown me snippets on his phone. Each tasty morsel has increased my hunger for this portrait of the late Brighton dweller Amies describes as “muse for Dali, actor for Jarman, dancer at Les Folies Bergère, outsider interior decorator, hero and legend”.
//Johnny Moped, Dave Berk, Fred Berk, Slimy Toad, 1977. Photo: Chiswick Records//
In an age clogged up with boil-in-the-bag popular music documentaries, I’m looking forward to Fred Burns’ Basically, Johnny Moped, about the unpredictable outsider who emerged via associations with The Damned and Chrissie Hynde during the post-punk period to strut and fret his hour upon the stage.
Moped and his band – Dave and Fred Berk and Slimy Toad – were out and about a lot in 1977 and 1978; I caught them a couple of times, once as part of a bigger bill at Camden Town’s Music Machine (now Koko) and another time in the West End (possibly The Marquee).
Their single Darling, Let’s Have Another Baby was (and remains 35 years later) a stand-out song of the period and Barney Bubbles’ artwork for that and other Moped releases and promotional material sealed the deal.
In her review this weekend of TJ Clark’s new book Picasso And Truth: From Cubism To Guernica, Financial Times art critic Jackie Wullschlager writes about how meaninglessness replaced absolute truth in the 20th century epoch of terror and totalitarianism, and that “in our age of performance and body art, Clark brilliantly posits a Picasso who replaced a truth project with a performance project, playing, dazzling, persuading.”
//Picasso sketches a priapic portrait of Michele Sapone at his villa La Californie, Cannes, 1957. Photo: DD Duncan//
//Pastels given to Sapone by Picasso, including the portrait made on April 1, 1957//
I’m a fiend for line ads in print media; all human life is contained in the few words demanding the casual reader’s attention.
Leafing through a 1971 issue of British underground magazine Frendz (which had previously been titled Friends) I spied this ad, and wondered whether it might have been placed by the American photographer Joe Stevens. The number has a west London prefix and he was living in that part of town at the time.
I fired off an email and received this reponse earlier today:
Yes. That’s me. Ramen-scarfing “Straight Press” Joe. Looking for work, living on £10 a week, not eligible for the dole.
The Cocoa Song is from the cult British Film Institute-funded multicultural musical Moon Over The Alley, directed by Joseph Despins and William Dumaresq.
Released in 1976 with a score by Galt McDermot, a fellow Canadian who is probably best known for his compositions for Hair, Moon Over The Alley is largely set around London W10; this scene was shot at the top end of Portobello Road market.