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Blokes Of Britain: Nick Abrahams

//Photo: Kyle Zeto.//

NAME: Nicholas Abrahams


OCCUPATION: Film-maker

Nick Abrahams’ work includes promos for Stereolab, Add (N) To X and sigur rós. More recently he collaborated with Jeremy Deller on the fascinating exposition of fan’s desires,  The Posters Came From The Walls.

Among Abrahams’ current projects is Jayne County biopic Man Enough To Be A Woman. Judging from the rushes shown last year, this will be a doozy.

Last autumn Abrahams created the 30-minute Stooges film Doghouse. The installation at Tatty Devine included a portrait of our hound Rita.

Abrahams cuts quite a dash in any company; as I say below, I admire his ability to combine the edgy with the traditional without pretension.

Here he answers the Blokes Of Britain questionnaire, covering ground from Tiny Tim to gold teeth by way of Cordings, Trickers, Viv Stanshall and William Burroughs. Oh, and not to forget Edward Gorey’s fur coats, Joseph Beuys’ felt suits and Nick’s own creation: The Denton Welch safety bib.

How would you describe your sartorial style?

My girlfriend says I look like a straight bear (IE: a chubby gay man with beard).

Has it changed much over the years and if so in what way?

Completely. I liked dressing up as a youngster and spent much pleasurable time browsing for second-hand clothes/records/any old crap in shops and markets, but I no longer have the time or patience. I’m lazier nowadays.

My latest thing is a gold front tooth. My dentist suggested it (I think he was joking). I got it on the NHS. Since all my front teeth are caps (due to a girlfriend punching me in the mouth one drunken night) I’m tempted to get more.

What/who/where would you say has influenced the way you dress?

When you are younger, you can get away with just about anything. Youth is power! And of course you don’t appreciate this.

I think hanging around with friend/artist Jeremy Deller has rubbed off on me; he wears a high proportion of pink, and dresses in a rather camp fashion. I like to combine the pop/camp with some country classics.

My waist size seems to have influenced my clothes. Sadly I’ve started to notice some things I desire don’t come in my size (extra large if you MUST know).

And eBay is always such a boon for those with little money.

//Photo: Kyle Zeto.//

//With Jeremy Deller at a screening of The Posters Came From The Walls. Photo: Sarah Lee.//

When did you adopt the beard and what’s the raison d’etre (if any)?

My father has a beard which sticks out, a bit like a ledge. He can have a chip of two stuck on it and not notice.

I’m sure the friendly eccentrics such as Viv Stanshall, Robert Wyatt and Wilf Lunn (the mad professor type on Vision On) were guiding lights.

When I was younger I tried all sorts of facial hair types, including the Dali moustache (I burned off one half when lighting a gas fire), and the Franz Josef (where the moustache continues across and joins up with the sideburns), but now I aspire to looking like a Russian Tsar. Or a friendly alcoholic. The beard and glasses is meant to distract from the fact that I am very bald on top. Hence also the wearing of caps and hats.

I particularly like the combo of open-necked shirt + tattoo + beard with conservative jacket/coat/cap/spectacles/shoes. When did you start gathering these elements together/was it conscious?

As I got older and put on weight I adopted a different look. I had a period where I dressed much like an American trucker, but then every bugger in Shoreditch went with that and I looked like a sad man in his 30s trying to regain his lost youth, so I had to go somewhere else.

Country clothing is very helpful when one reaches a “certain” age.

Cordings is my favourite shop, but I match their clothes with simple stuff from Uniqlo; they seem to do nice things in pinks and blues. I recently got a lovely coat from Crombie. A crombie by Crombie:  you can’t really go wrong with that. I pretty much always wear Tricker’s shoes. And glasses from Cutler & Gross.

The tattoo was meant to be lower. I have a nice collection of home-made tattoos on my body but I have always had them done where they are hidden. The day I got my first tattoo done in a proper parlour, I was in a rush as I was filming a band at lunchtime.

Consequently I didn’t really pay attention and got it done higher up my chest than I meant. But nowadays it’s a nice thing to let peep out, isn’t it?

Do you hold onto clothes/have you a big wardrobe?

I have the smallest wardrobe you can imagine.

What garment would you like to wear/have most in the whole wide world?

Recently I put in a bid in an auction for one of Edward Gorey’s floor length fur coats, but was horribly outbid. And I’m not sure about wearing fur, so maybe that was a good thing.

Or, if you would send me one of Joseph Beuys’ felt suits, that would be greatly appreciated Paul.

Or one of Leigh Bowery’s outfits… or Bowie’s kabuki outfit. Or…there is so much to choose from (I could go on and on).

Is there a period in fashion with which you align yourself?

Not really. I have a nostalgia for all the places and periods I missed out on. Which is quite a lot.

What’s your style tip for this year?

It does seem to be a year for books. John Waters recently recommended that you never fuck someone who doesn’t read books and there was a nice line in riot shields made to look like books at the anti-student loans protest.

//Photo: Kyle Zeto.//

Books are much more stylish than Kindles. I’ve just made myself a Denton Welch reflective bib. Safety, style and a good hint for bored readers.

Which people sum up the word “stylish” for you, and why?

Tiny Tim. He looked great… and on a budget!

William Burroughs was quite a snappy dresser, plus I loved that he had lead piping inside his walking stick so he could use it as a weapon

Derek Jarman always looked good.

George Melly didn’t really give a fuck.

Leigh Bowery was a visionary dandy.

Greta Garbo: keeping people at a distance is stylish

The gentlemen from Earl Brutus; they rediscovered the safari suit.

//Photo: Kyle Zeto.//

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Author: / Published: Feb 23rd, 2011 / Category: Blokes of Britain, Film / Comments: 2

2 Responses to “Blokes Of Britain: Nick Abrahams”

  1. Tweets that mention Blokes Of Britain: Nick Abrahams « Paul Gorman is… --
    on Feb 25th, 2011
    @ 12:41 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by stephenmoshi, Paul Gorman. Paul Gorman said: RT @moshimoshimusic: sir Nick: @Lucy_Phyllis you would love this man […]

  2. A must-see: Nick Abrahams retrospective at the ICA « Paul Gorman is…
    on Jan 23rd, 2013
    @ 6:58 pm

    […] Read Abraham’s answers to the Blokes Of Britain questionnaire here. […]

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