I’m among the interviewees featured in Subculture, Don Letts’ Channel 4 documentary about post-War British street style, the first part of which aired for the first time last night.
Yesterday I was visited by a camera crew for an interview about the behind-the-scenes individuals who have made the difference to British popular music over the years.
The team, from Kobalt Productions in Berlin, are producing the documentary for Franco-German arts channel ARTE. The director is Simon Witter, who has a fine pedigree in journalism and broadcasting.
Thanks to Julian Morey for alerting me to these splendid photographs of Paul Smith designer Derek Morton in clothes from the company’s autumn/winter 2011 collection.
Morton has worked with Smith since the mid-70s and is currently head of the label’s menswear division for Japan.
A thoroughly nice chap, Morton is also self-deprecating and reserved, as I discovered when I interviewed him recently for the Tommy Roberts book (he designed menswear for Roberts’ extraordinary Covent Garden outlet City Lights Studio).
Curatorial work today on the Lloyd Johnson exhibition (coming to London gallery Chelsea Space in the New Year) was a joy.
By honing the exhibits and focusing on a narrative, Jill and Lloyd Johnson and I introduced an exciting new element: a wall selection of dazzling print artwork for garments from the 70s to the 00s.
Maneouevres such as this should make the whole show pop.
Just a few items are still to arrive (fingers crossed for the gold leather suit from Stephen Linard in Australia).
The collected clothes, print material, artwork, personal items and ephemera are taking shape and conveying Lloyd’s journey in design and music from the 60s to the present day.
From time to time I’ll be reporting on progress and dipping into the exhibits.
Today, my favourite is one of the smallest: a snapshot sent to Lloyd in 1973 by Fred Astaire, wearing one of Lloyd’s designs: a Johnson & Johnson jacket with a Top Hat repeat print.
Lloyd Johnson: The Modern Outfitter opens late January 2012. Keep checking the Chelsea Space blog for details.
Photoshoot for the Tommy Roberts book: Mr Freedom winged boots, City Lights Studio suit, Practical Styling carrier bag, Jane Wealleans’ fabric print and much much more
Here’s a sneak iPhone peak from yesterday’s photoshoot for my forthcoming book about Tommy Roberts.
Tommy’s son and accomplished photographer/cameraman Keith set up a studio in a room at his furniture emporium Two Columbia Road and shot around 50-plus garments and artefacts to go with the 300-odd images already planned for the book.
I snapped these on my phone in downtime; forgive the quality – hopefully they convey the flavour of the exercise.
Keith photographed a cornucopia of goodies, including two pairs of Mr Freedom’s famous winged boots, a carrier bag for Tommy’s 80s shop Practical Styling, a suit from his 70s boutique City Lights Studio (lent to us by another design hero Lloyd Johnson) and much more besides.
These images are from the private view for The Lightbox gallery’s exhibition Snap Crackle & Pop (about British pop art and it’s influence on culture); I contributed exhibits and advice after being approached by BBC TV’s Katherine Higgins (who sure knows her stuff).
This excellent show was opened on Friday by Peter Blake. Among the attendees were John and Molly Dove, Lloyd Johnson, Mike Ross of Ritva and Paul Weller (the subject of the gallery’s current companion exhibition of photographs by Lawrence Watson).
These are the only pair of Bongos, a crepe-soled, corduroy sample shoe manufactured by George Cox for Lloyd Johnson in the late 90s.
These unusual elastic-vented slip-ons were intended for Johnson’s Beatnik range, sold through his three London shops, at 406 King’s Road, in Kensington Market and at 293 Portobello Road.
In the event the design didn’t make it into production.
Yesterday I met Lloyd Johnson to discuss next spring’s exhibition celebrating his career as Pop’s Pontiff Of Cool (a title I shamefully bestowed upon him in a Mojo feature a decade or so ago).
Place: Golden Square, London W1.
Coffee: Nordic Bakery Soho
Lloyd Johnson, Ben Olins and I met on a sunny Saturday for a chat about Rowan Joffe’s recently-released film Brighton Rock. The transposition of the storyline to 1964 has resulted in marketing which leans heavily on the backdrop of the Mods vs Rockers “riots” in British coastal resorts that year.
In fact the mod content is a gloss overlaying this stodgy interpretation of the 1947 film classic rather than Grahame Greene’s 1939 novel (despite claims to the contrary; Joffe even chose the first film’s climactic cop-out, against the author’s wish for an unremittingly bleak ending).
An original modernist raised in neighbouring Hastings, Lloyd has considerable first-hand knowledge of the subject and worked on the film which is a primary visual influence: Quadrophenia.
As a cradle Catholic my heart sank when I heard the word on this; one of the great literary investigations into good and evil recast as a mod rite of passage. Mod really is the mainstream option these days isn’t? So codified as to be meaningless and square beyond belief: all those “rules”, all that conformity. For that, and many other reasons, the film lived down to my low expectations.
What do you reckon?