I’m involved in a couple of events which open in London this week: artist Lucy Harrison’s multi-layered project Carnaby Echoes in the West End and photographer Nick Knight’s exhibition Punk at his Showstudio space in SW1.
A few years back I wrote a series of blogs about the so-called “Wild Thing” jacket worn by Iggy Pop on the cover of his and The Stooges’ album Raw Power; in 2008 I had brokered a deal for the jacket designers John and Molly Dove to reissue a t-shirt range – including a version bearing the Wild Thing’s panther head – via Topman.
Around that time I also hooked them up with the current owner of the jacket, US maverick pop culture entrepreneur and collector ”Long Gone” John Mermis (who I’d met as far back as the mid-90s at his extraordinary Long Beach mansion).
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.
As an addendum to my recent post about the staging of the very special late night London concert given by Ian Dury’s art-rock ensemble Kilburn & The High Roads in 1974, here’s the badge commissioned by manager the late Tommy Roberts to flag up the concurrent release of the group’s single Rough Kids.
Then a neglected pop promotional medium – badges were considered kids’ stuff; the sole prominent champion was Barney Bubbles, who produced a range to go with his branding of space rockers Hawkwind and pub-rock outfit Chilli Willi And The Red Hot Peppers – the pre-punk barbed wire logo button was conceived and executed by Simon Haynes, designer of the ambitious stage set for the Kilburns’ gig at the King’s Road Theatre.
When Kilburn + The High Roads played the King’s Road Theatre 1974: Ian Dury in Let It Rock ‘Alan Ladd’ suit + feather tie and Sue and Simon Haynes’ extraordinary Tower Bridge stage set
As these rarely seen photographs show, when the subject of my last book the late Tommy Roberts took over management of Kilburn & The High Roads he sought to elevate them from the pub-rock scene by upping the visual ante on every front.
Something of a legend in 70s British boutique circles, here is Harold The Ted in all his glory accompanying one of the extravagant display items at Mr Freedom in Kensington Church Street: a 10 foot tall cut-out representation of a glowering boy scout made by Electric Colour Company’s Rod Stokes.
In my view, ECC deserves much greater recognition for executing some very clever work in the field of retail design and interiors in the period 1969-1973.
Wearing the clothing of Mr Walter Mitty: Jemima Dury selects from her Dad’s wardrobe ++++++++++ Also: WIN a signed copy of her new book ‘Hallo Sausages’
Ian Dury was as much a visual as verbal stylist.
The late performer’s wordsmithery comes into focus in daughter Jemima’s soon-to-be-released book ‘Hallo Sausages’, which also conveys his rich and idiosyncratic sartorial presence.
Published by Bloomsbury on October 28, ‘Hallo Sausages’ presents lyrics to 170 of Dury’s songs, some scribbled and heavily anotated, others meticulously typed and displayed to best effect in the book design by another member of Dury’s extended family, Jake Tilson (brother of Dury’s widow Sophy; their father is the eminent British artist Joe Tilson).
Making a merit of the archival jumble Dury left behind on his death in 2000 (a bunch of lyrics were found in a carrier bag bearing Barney Bubbles’ familiar Blockhead logo), this is a lovingly put-together document, the songs and Jemima Dury’s reminiscences adorned by a bank of rare, personal and professionally-taken images.
To celebrate the publication of ‘Hallo Sausages’, here’s a selection of key items from Jemima’s Dad’s wardrobe with some background material sourced from my recent book about one-time Kilburn & The High Roads manager Tommy Roberts. Jemima has also contributed a couple of images from her own archive.
Meanwhile, at the end of this post, there’s an opportunity to win a signed copy of ‘Hallo Sausages’.
Pearly King jacket
Rooted as he was in London lore, Dury added this authentic Pearly King jacket to his stage ensemble in the late 70s. According to Sophy Dury, he later found out it had belonged to an Eastender named John Snow (hence “JS Of Mile End” on the back). Snow’s mother had loaned the jacket to her friend Mrs. E. Rainbird, who wore it on VE Níght.
In a 1985 letter to the BBC radio broadcaster Libby Purves (who interviewed Dury that year) Mrs Rainbird wrote that she recognised the jacket from his TV appearances. Purves complied with her request to pass the letter outlining the provenance to Dury, who put it in one of the jacket pockets, where it remains.
‘Because of the economic crisis, people are trying to consume as fast as possible. Ideas are dead; there aren’t any to express the mood. Fashion is irrelevant’: Malcolm McLaren + SEX, November 1975
It’s unlikely that cities will shake or nations start to rock under the impact of Malcolm McLaren’s sexual revolution. A few people might die though.
Malcolm McLaren, at 30, is a mixture of entrepreneurial cultist, sexual evangelist, businessman, artist, fetishist and political philosopher; a psychotic visionary in the ephemeral subculture of the fashion world.
David May, Gallery International Vol 1 no 4.
In November 1975 – by which time his charges the Sex Pistols had just embarked on live performances – Malcolm McLaren was interviewed by journalist David May at 430 King’s Road, then in full bloom as radical retail venture SEX.
A viewing of Jes Benstock’s fab doc A British Guide To Showing Off occasions this opportunity to dig out the London Belles feature from a 1973 issue of shortlived free magazine West One.
Above is milliner Diane Logan in one of her outfits as contestant Rita Ritz in the 1973 Alternative Miss World.
Logan – wife of sculptor Peter, mother of fashion illustrator Blue and sister-in-law of AMW host & hostess Andrew – is wearing a satin bathing suit with one of her own hats (from Logan’s Chiltern Street shop) and sandals from Tommy Roberts’ Covent Garden boutique City Lights Studio.
Another London Belle was Vivienne Westwood in an early media appearance wearing a Let It Rock striped suit, ankle boots, patterned stockings and an adapted Chuck Berry t-shirt from 430 King’s Road’s incarnation as Too Fast To Live Too Young To Die.