From the archive of the late Tommy Roberts, this image from British teen fashion magazine Mirabelle shows a particularly outré commission from fashion’s master of flamboyant retailing: a 7ft high rendition of a King Kong-style gorilla in blue fun fur created by the design team Sue and Simon Haynes.
Next month sees the opening of an exhibition of 53 collages tracking the fortunes of West Ham United FC over a season; they are all the product of expat football fan and music industry maverick Kosmo Vinyl.
The show’s title, Is Saitch Yer Daddy, is taken from 60s graffito adorning a wall near West Ham’s home ground. Residency in New York for many years hasn’t dampened the ardour for The Hammers of this figure who played key promotional and managerial roles for Graham Parker, Stiff Records, Ian Dury and The Clash.
Overseen by Nick Logan (with Jann Wenner across the Atlantic, the key figure in the development of the music press) the NME was happily in thrall to The New Journalism, striking alliances with such fellow travellers as Creem’s Lester Bangs and charging through the mid-70s doldrums with a manifesto which contributed to punk’s rhetoric. This was delivered with élan, a drugged-up Dog Days Of Glam sense of style. No one exemplifies this slurred, unsteady on its bony legs, fuck-you stance better than Nick Kent.
Introduction, In Their Own Write, 2001
Photographer Joe Stevens has recently posted on his website a set of reminiscences of working with Nick Kent, whose journalism – along with that of Pete Erskine, Chrissie Hynde, Charles Shaar Murray and Chris Salewicz – for the NME in the early-to-mid-70s helped set me on the path to writing for a living.
Kent backed up his verbals with a striking visual presence which trumped most mainstream pop performers of the period.
As Dylan Jones has recounted, it was to Kent that a waitress in a Chinese restaurant once gravitated for an autograph, not his dining companions Iggy Pop and David Bowie, “because he looked more of a rock star than the other two”.
Artist/designer Simon Haynes has allowed me access to some of the treasures in his archive. Over the next few weeks I’ll be dipping into it and presenting a selection of artworks, display items, stage sets and graphics he has created over the years.
A couple of months back I was commissioned to review Andrew Loog Oldham’s latest book Stone Free for a website, but my copy was rejected on the basis of my use of “criticism”; they prefer to keep things – in their words – “upbeat”.
I like the commissioner, think the site is good and had no problem with the rejection, but thought it may be of interest, so here it is:
“I have little use for the past and do not give it much thought.”
Now that is rich.
One anticipates and has often applauded bare-faced sauce from the music business maverick turned self-chronicler Andrew Loog Oldham, author of Stoned (384 densely-packed pages of reflection on life from birth in 1944 to the point of managing the Rolling Stones in 1963, with “drug-cuts” into the 70s and 80s), 2Stoned (480 pages on his four-year stewardship of same) and a “fictionalised biography” of Abba (on which we need not dwell).
When this confession – even if it is soon qualified – arrives 10 chapters and 140 pages in to Oldham’s new digital-only tome Stone Free, it produces a whoop not of glee but of derision.