Webzine Edition Issue 1

Single Review: The Cost of Living – The Tunics

Manta Ray Music
On Release

By Guy Sangster Adams

“A video I made to try and make people put their weapons down..” is the caption to Twinona187’s YouTube video Stop Knife Crime which has The Tunics’ new single Cost of Living as a soundtrack, as do a number of other YouTube posts sharing the same message. Testament not only to The Tunics’ ability to lyrically and musically capture the inner city zeitgeist, but also the degree to which the availability of the track as a free download from the band’s website last spring, and their tour of universities has generated a significant and deserved online buzz.

This tale of gun-point mugging on a night bus, builds dramatically with Joe Costello’s urban poet spoken verses syncopating with Max Karpinski’s resolute drums, is then driven up a notch with Scott Shepherd’s melodic bass line, before battle is joined by Costello’s guitar as the rock in anger sung chorus is unleashed demanding “is this what free travel costs; a phone, and a wallet, and a new Ipod?” and begging the question of indiscriminate violence: “why did you do this to me?”.

This three-piece from Croydon, have distinct parallels to The Libertines¾who are a key influence even down to their name which is inspired by the NME cover photo of The Libertines wearing red, guardsman’s tunics¾and The Artic Monkeys, but then the single is produced by James Lewis who has also recently worked with the latter. But Cost of Living carries a greater resonance to another three-piece who came out of Surrey a generation ago – The Jam. Weller, as Costello is now, was 18 when The Jam’s debut single In the City was released. Cost of Living fuses the thematic ambition and augury of Down in the Tube Station at Midnight with the raw passion and drive of In the City (there is also titular similarity to The Jam in that The Tunics earlier single about knife crime was also called In the City).

Cost of Living may be rough edged but rough edged times call for a voice that is ready to ask questions with passionate insistence, immediacy and verve. The Tunics are imbued with that voice and a knowing that to stand on ceremony sandpapering a track into anodyne blinkeredness would be to miss both the point and the bus of the needs of the moment and their generation. Besides, The Tunics are a band just at the beginning of an exciting trajectory of which Cost of Living, the first release from their forthcoming debut album, provides a magnificent portent.

Links
The Tunics: www.myspace.com/thetunics
Manta Ray Music: www.mantaraymusic.co.uk

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Single Review: Reasons Not To Be An Idiot – Frank Turner

Xtra Mile Recordings

Released 12th January 2009

By Guy Sangster Adams

From the release of the album Love, Ire, & Song in March, Frank Turner appears to have been perpetually playing live through 2008, including an astonishing tally of 23 festivals last summer. Testament to the cross genre nature of his music, the mixture of dates included Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, and the Cambridge Folk Festival. At which Reasons not to be an Idiot, the track from Love, Ire & Song  which is to be released as a single in January to herald an already phenomenally packed live schedule for Turner in February and March playing support to The Gaslight Anthem, became a firm crowd favourite.

Unsurprisingly because this anti-naval gazing, anti-solitary bedroom angst, anthem to positive thinking exhorts the listener to “get up, get down, get outside” in the sunshine. But do not think the effervescent irritation of the Boo Radleys’ Wake Up Boo, Turner’s engaging lyrical wit and elan – “I’m not as awesome as this song makes out, I’m angry underweight and sketching out” – and stripped down style of shouty vocals backed by strident electric guitar and intermittent drum beats on the verses with organ and harmonica added for the more melodious chorus, resolutely kicks over the statues in a way that is part Billy Bragg and Waiting for the Great Leap Forward, part Kevin Rowland/Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Come on Eileen, but holistically and unmistakeably Turner in contagious overdrive. Reasons not to be an Idiot is an anthem for the common man and the collective good which levels any objection, in the face of which there really is no reason not to get up, get down, and get outside.

Links
Frank Turner: www.frank-turner.com
Xtra Mile Recordings: www.xtramilerecordings.com

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Reverberation: The Iconic History of Artist and Designer Nigel Waymouth, by way of Granny Takes A Trip, Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, and The Look Presents…

When in December 1965, Nigel Waymouth, Sheila Cohen, and John Pearce first opened the doors of Granny Takes A Trip they were perceptively at the vanguard of a moment of counter-cultural and pop-cultural combustion.  Hailed as London’s first psychedelic boutique—though Waymouth now charmingly says, “what does psychedelic mean, I’ve never known, actually!”—Granny Takes A Trip ground Cuban-heeled Gohill boots into the established ideas of what, how, and where a clothes shop might be, triggering reverberations that changed the face of 1960s boutiques and are still evident today.

THE FULL VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE IN ISSUE 1 OF THE PRINT EDITION OF PLECTRUM-THE CULTURAL PICK

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Album Review: Singles – The Long Blondes

Angular Records

By Guy Sangster Adams


Take a seat on this whirling waltzer, and hold on tight for an exhilarating, break neck swoosh through songs of passionate invitation and lustful longing, that urge for a bait to be bitten, to songs of dark seduction and insouciant dismissal, the sullen warnings of the hard bitten.

This chronological compilation brings cohesion to vinyl disparateness, by pulling together all the tracks from the five 7 inch singles The Long Blondes released on four, small independent labels, between forming in 2004 and signing to Rough Trade in April 2006. Whilst equally charting their nascency and highlighting their already latent talent to subsume, collage, and allude to, a wonderfully eclectic and extensive range of music, literary, film and art references. Their influences do not denude the immediacy or freshness of their songs, but act as a perfect accessory setting off the exquisite cut and style of the ensemble.

An echo of The Shangri-Las runs throughout, from the opening drum beats of the anthemic statement of intent, New Idols, to Kate Jackson’s Betty Weiss filtered through Deborah Harry vocals of the first three singles, and the infectious, cheer leader hysteria of Reenie Hollis and Emma Chaplin’s call and response backing vocals. Most to the fore in Polly, which, although unstated, serves as a wonderful homage to Blondie’s In The Flesh. The video for which, as an aside for beret chic completeists, featured Harry’s own espousal of Bonnie Parker style.

The melody of early 1960s pop is cleverly fused with the wonderful swirling, zing and full peal ring of Dorian Cox and Emma Chaplin’s guitars, evoking Poison Ivy and the Psychobilly of The Cramps, particularly in the rhythmic fuzz and feedback of New Idols, Long Blonde, and Autonomy Boy, and the jangly Rockabilly leanings of Johnny Marr amidst Rusholme Ruffians-era The Smiths, on the previously unreleased, demo version of Separated By Motorways, Big Infatuation, and new track Peterborough. All three jive-propelled by Hollis and Screech Louder’s dynamically tight rhythm section.

All the songs are shot through with a wry observation and a literary erudition, from the funny, flash fiction moon stomp Darts, to the glorious lyrical epics, akin to the opulence of Hunky Dory period Bowie, Giddy Stratospheres and Appropriation (By Any Other Means). An homage to Hitchcock’s Vertigo, Appropriation showcases Jackson’s engaging ability to change vocal style to portray the shifting narrative perspective of each single, and in turn the breadth of her vocal range. With this track and the equally noir-ish My Heart Is Out Of Bounds, her blue-black bruised voice, with shades of Nico, emotes a tantalising/spine tingling, sexy/scary femme fatale.

By its nature, Singles is retrospective, but do not think that this was tomorrow, this is tomorrow. “We could be idols”; could be, would be, should be.

Postscript

After I had written this review, Dorian Cox posted the following message on The Long Blondes’ website on 19th October 2008:

We have decided to call it a day.
The main reason for this is that I suffered from a stroke in June and unfortunately I do not know when / if I will be well enough to play guitar again.
On behalf of the band I’d like to say a big thank you to anyone who ever came to one of our shows, bought one of our records or danced to one of our songs in a club. Thank you, if it wasn’t for you the whole thing would have been pointless.
Finally on a personal note, thanks for all your well wishing messages.
Dorian xxx

So very sadly it seems it ‘was tomorrow’ after all; but in that, Singles provides a wonderful and very fitting tribute to The Long Blondes.

Links
The Long Blondes
www.thelongblondes.co.uk
www.myspace.com/thelongblondes
Angular Recording Corporation
www.arc018.com
www.myspace.com/angularrecords

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Film Review: Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame (Buda As Sharm Foru Rikkt)

Contender Films
Released on DVD 10 November 2008

Reviewed by Guy Sangster Adams

Baktay is a small girl with a seemingly small ambition: to go to school to “learn funny stories”. But, living in the network of mountainside caves, near the Afghan town of Bamian, adjoining the empty chasms that for nearly 1500 years, until their destruction by the Taliban in 2001, housed the giant Buddha statues, she is a tiny figure dwarfed by the magnitude of the natural and political landscape that surround her. The succession of obstacles that beset her serve to poignantly illustrate both how traditional everyday life manages, completely against the odds, to continue in the battle scarred country, but equally how deeply the conflict has scarred everyday lives.

This hits home resoundingly hard when Baktay is twice ‘arrested’ by a gang of feral boys. “We are the Taliban!” they proclaim, and adjudge her, as a girl going to school, to be an “heathen sinner”. Prior to a proposed stoning, with the shards of the Buddhas’ toenails, they incarcerate her in a cave with three other little girls. In an achingly affecting scene, their heads covered in paper bags with torn eye and mouth holes, their diminutiveness making the image ever more shocking, they share the reasons for their arrest: having beautiful eyes, wearing lipstick, and carrying a picture of a footballer from a chewing gum packet. Later in the film, the gang, now declaring themselves “American”, condemn Baktay’s statement that she is going home with “Die, bastard, terrorist, liar!”. The simplistic pronouncements of these proponents of double-think might be wryly viewed as childish, if they did not so starkly emulate adults at both extremes of the conflict.

But the film overrides this hope collapsing indictment of the damage done to a nation’s psyche, with the stirring message of positivity inherent in Baktay’s epic journey; if one little girl might achieve her ambition through wilfulness, resourcefulness, and a refusal to be cowed, what might a country achieve.

The remarkable nature of Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame is heightened by the fact that it is the first feature from 19 year old director Hana Makhmalbaf, and both the extraordinarily accomplished performances of her child actors, and sumptuous cinematography strengthen this elegiac plea for peace, compounded by Baktay’s plaintive statement: “I don’t like playing war.”

Links
Contender Films: www.contenderfilms.com

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Book Review: Man in the Dark by Paul Auster

(Faber & Faber) £14.99

Reviewed by Guy Sangster Adams

In the grip of insomnia, August Brill attempts to steer his long night’s journey into day away from the darkness of heartache that envelops the three generations gathered in the archetypal white clapperboard house in Vermont. Brill, a 72 year old, Pulitzer Prize winning critic is both mourning the recent death of his wife and recuperating from a car crash, his middle-aged daughter, Miriam, is unable to move on from her divorce, whilst Katya, his granddaughter, is struggling to come to terms with the horrific execution of her boyfriend.

To keep his ghosts at bay, Brill variously attempts to keep his mind distracted by reflecting in detail on the three films that he and Katya watched earlier in the evening, Grand Illusion, The Bicycle Thief, and The World of Apu, reading the manuscript of Miriam’s biography of Rose Hawthorne, the daughter of transcendentalist poet Nathaniel Hawthornel, and most successfully, inspired by Renaissance philosopher Giordano Bruno’s theory of infinite parallel universes, creating a story set in a parallel America, in which the Twin Towers are still standing and the 2000 election of George W. Bush lead not to a War on Terror, but to a second American Civil War, as the union disintegrated as state after state seceded. But, in the “black center of the dead of night” his critique of a nation’s journey into the heart of darkness, is overtaken by the stories of familial tragedy that refuse to be stifled any longer.

Man in the Dark attests to Auster’s extraordinary and rare ability to mix film and literary criticism, philosophy, and political polemic into a novel without ever being prosaic, and in fact creating a book that is so highly readable and tightly written that the thrill of the words and ideas causes involuntary shudders of anticipation at the beginning of every paragraph.

The book has no chapter breaks, just as Brill is afforded no break in his stream of consciousness by sleep. Auster skilfully evokes the rhythm of a restless night both for the man in the dark, and for a nation in the dark. On that broader level, the book may be read as a clarion call, both national and international, that we should heed now and not wait until dawn for the alarm clock.

It is a book that demands to be read in a single sitting, or lying if similarly affected by insomnia; though the themes are often far from comforting, there is comfort to be found in the lonely cloak of sleeplessness that one’s thoughts and fears are shared by others; the “ironic points of light” that WH Auden envisaged in September 1 1939, the poem now so oft associated with 9/11, that “flash out” as “defenceless under the night/our world in stupor lies”.

Links
Faber & Faber: www.faber.co.uk

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Book Review: Through a Glass Darkly – The Life of Patrick Hamilton by Nigel Jones

(Black Spring Press) £11.95

Reviewed by Guy Sangster Adams

Timing and happenstance are key stepping stones with the writing and publishing of biographies and both are to the fore with the propitious republication of Nigel Jones’ authoritative biography of Patrick Hamilton, Through a Glass Darkly.

Hamilton, though a household name from the 1930s to the 1950s, had since in death in 1964 been largely forgotten and his books fallen out of print. When first published in 1991 Through a Glass Darkly was hailed as the harbinger of an Hamilton revival that seemingly stalled on the literary pages.

But, in approaching his subject at a time when people were asking “Patrick who?”, Jones was afforded the opportunity to meet Aileen Hamilton, the widow of Hamilton’s brother Bruce, shortly before she died, and was given a suitcase full of Hamilton’s unpublished letters and papers, which became the foundation of this biography.

Through a Glass Darkly reveals that behind the persona of the successful and debonair author, Hamilton was a near lifelong alcoholic, with a troubled and tortured sexuality, and an obsessive and manipulative nature with regard to relationships, which equally informed his writing, of which this book presents an excellently marshalled and descriptive survey of all his novels and plays.

With hindsight it may now be seen that Through a Glass Darkly was the match to a long fuse, for 17 years later the literary status that Hamilton enjoyed during his lifetime has been firmly re-established with most of his novels back in print, high profile adaptations such as the BBC’s Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, and the West End revival of Gaslight.

There is a fascinating dichotomy in that Hamilton was very much of his era and wrote about the sad, transient habituées of dingy pubs and boarding houses of London and the South Coast in the interwar year. But Jones posits that Hamilton strikes far more of a chord with modern readers than his contemporaries Graham Greene and George Orwell, because in “our disillusioned, post-political world” there is more interest “in what it feels like to be skint, or pissed, or abused, or besotted with a worthless lover than what your party or religious affiliation might be.”

Further watching and reading about Black Spring Press on the Plectrum Broadcast Player and in the webzine edition of Plectrum – The Cultural Pick:

Watch an interview with Robert Hastings owner of Black Spring Press and and a profile of the publishing house, featuring contributions from, amongst others, Alex Maclaren-Ross, Cathi Unsworth, and Nigel Jones discussing Julian Maclaren-Ross and Patrick Hamilton, on the Plectrum Broadcast Player:  www.theculturalpick.com

Black Spring Press and the Revival of Literary Reputations:  www.theculturalpick.com/webzine/blackspringpress/
Book Review: Julian Maclaren-Ross Selected Letters edited by Paul Willetts: www.theculturalpick.com/webzine/reviewjulianmaclarenrossselectedletters/

Black Spring Press Film Nights at The Society Film Club: www.theculturalpick.com/webzine/blackspringpresspresentsweirdweekends/

Links
Black Spring Press: www.blackspringpress.co.uk

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Book Review: Julian Maclaren-Ross Selected Letters edited by Paul Willetts

(Black Spring Press) £9.95

Reviewed by Guy Sangster Adams

A cash advance large enough to allow him the time and comfort to complete a long novel, as these letters illustrate, remained Julian Maclaren-Ross’s perpetual quest throughout his professional writing career, which spanned the years 1938 to 1964 and is the period covered by this volume. An unswerving mainstay in a chaotic life coloured both by the heavy drinking and the amphetamine fuelled all-night writing sessions that became his daily routine from 1943, and an extraordinary peripateticism. His address changed at least once a year for 26 years as he fled unpaid rent, bills, or simply out stayed his welcome. Within this, the surprise is perhaps not that his quest was unrealised when he died in 1964, but that he managed to produce a body of work of such quality it won the plaudits of many literary admirers, including John Betjeman, Evelyn Waugh, and Anthony Powell.

Selected Letters presents a contradictory figure. An acute self-obsessive, who developed a passionate obsession with George Orwell’s widow, Sonia. A gregarious, compassionate man who equally lent so heavily and demandingly on friendships he took them to breaking point. A focussed writer, adept at inspiring publishers and editors, such as Rupert Hart Davies and John Lehmann, with his work and ideas, but equally adept at expecting them to act as bankers and intermediaries in his personal life before, with equally characteristic mood swings, alienating them with a barrage of letters cataloguing their injustices to him.

There are times in reading this book when one would like to literally throw it at him in exasperation at the spanner he repeatedly throws in the works; if one totted up the advances he received, one would undoubtedly find that he earnt the requisite amount to realise his quest many times over. But such a reaction, fuelled by the subjectivity of what might have been, misses the point that his talent and creativity lay in his chaos and contradictions, into which Selected Letters provides a fascinating personal insight.

Further watching and reading about Black Spring Press on the Plectrum Broadcast Player and in the webzine edition of Plectrum – The Cultural Pick:

Watch an interview with Robert Hastings owner of Black Spring Press and and a profile of the publishing house, featuring contributions from, amongst others, Alex Maclaren-Ross, Cathi Unsworth, and Nigel Jones discussing Julian Maclaren-Ross and Patrick Hamilton, on the Plectrum Broadcast Player:  www.theculturalpick.com

Black Spring Press and the Revival of Literary Reputations:  www.theculturalpick.com/webzine/blackspringpress/

Black Spring Press Film Nights at The Society Film Club: www.theculturalpick.com/webzine/blackspringpresspresentsweirdweekends/

Links:
Black Spring Press: www.blackspringpress.co.uk

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Steven Severin’s Music for Silents


In January 2003, Steven Severin received an email that redefined his post-Siouxsie and the Banshees creative direction, and lead him to pursue a solo career writing film and television soundtracks. For twenty years, from 1976 to 1996, Severin had played bass in the band which he and Sioux co-founded, and for which they co-wrote the songs. In 2002, they reformed for The Seven Year Itch tour which, Severin says, “went terribly wrong” and was “ill fated and turbulent”. In October of 2002, Severin had married Arban Orneleas, a Texan born multimedia artist, and in the aftermath of the tour, with Arban pregnant with their son Cage, the two “took time out” over Christmas, whilst Severin considered what he wanted to do next. The email resolved his deliberations with a request for him to provide the soundtrack to a British, independent, supernatural thriller, London Voodoo. “I did the whole the score,” he says, “and really loved it, and realised that’s what I wanted to do”.

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Independent Focus: Angular Recording Corporation

It is rare that an inspiration, by its nature often ethereal, may be given a fixed point on a map. But, for Joe Daniel, who co-founded Angular Recording Corporation (ARC) with Joe Margetts in 2003, that is exactly the case. In Hilly Fields, which backs onto the house where he was living in Brockley, South London, Daniel discovered a small concrete pillar, with a plaque stating it was the property of Ordnance Survey and providing a telephone number to report damage. Intrigued, Daniel telephoned the number to report some graffiti. It transpired that the pillar was a Triangulation Station (or Trig Point) used for map-making. For which, a theodolite would be placed on the brass plate (a circle bisected by a ‘Y’ formation of grooves) embedded on top of the pillar to take the required bearings from at least three points – ‘triangulation’. Ordnance Survey told Daniel that satellite technology had made the Triangulation Stations obsolete, and that although an adoption scheme had been discontinued “through lack of interest”, they suggested he unofficially adopt it.

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Daisy de Villeneuve

by Guy Sangster Adams

daisy-purple-hair-webzine

The multi-coloured, felt-tip rendered, pop cultural celebration of the work of illustrator and product designer, Daisy de Villeneuve, imparts an emphatic joie de vivre. In fact, the only thing monochromatic about de Villeneuve in recent months has been the twice life size, black and white photograph of her that loomed large outside Gap Europe stores as part of the Gap Icon campaign. Photographed by Mikael Jansson and styled by Marie Amelie-Sauve, the series also featured Giles Deacon, Camille Bidault Waddington, and Ines de la Fressange. Though, as befits her style, de Villeneuve has been returned to full colour for the Christmas Gap Holiday campaign.

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New Poetry: A Loner in a Crowded Head by Salena Godden

I pressed my cheek
against the granite headstone
buried my face and howled
into my up-turned coat collar
tracing the lost years
with my thumb
and my own surname
etched in stone

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Independent Focus: Black Spring Press & The Revival of Literary Reputations

by Guy Sangster Adams

bsp-logo-a-web

This year, Robert Hastings, the owner of Black Spring Press, is celebrating his fifth year at the helm of the small independent publishing company. Originally founded in the mid-eighties by Simon Pettifer, the imprint has never had, Hastings says, “anything that you would call a mission statement; I don’t think it would want to have one”. The catalogue includes writer/songsmiths Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen and is, Hastings says, an “idiosyncratic collection of things that seem to be in the air and carry a resonance”. Which carries a note of charming disinflation that risks belying the fact that, under his tenure, Black Spring Press have also been at the forefront of restoring the literary reputations of two writers, Julian Maclaren-Ross and Patrick Hamilton, concurrent with introducing a whole new generation to their work.

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Word of Mouth: Performance Night Express Excess

“Spoken word,” says Paul Lyalls in defining Express Excess, the monthly performance night that he has hosted for twelve years, and which has just become bi-weekly, in the room above The Enterprise Pub in Chalk Farm, London. Though he goes onto quantify this further by saying, “The core of it has been poetry, but that’s quite a loose term” and that the night “blends and amalgamates lots of different styles”.

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Amplification: The Look Presents…

The Look Presents… is a new fashion label founded by journalist, writer and pop culture historian Paul Gorman and Max Karie, fashion consultant and co-owner of the Soho boutique Shop. The label, which is available online and in-store from Topman, launched in June with a range of t-shirts from cult 1970s designers Wonder Workshop, including a reworking of their infamous Wild Thing t-shirt that first time around was worn by an array of rock icons including Iggy Pop, Marc Bolan, Mick Jagger, and Robert Plant. The second collection, unveiled in August, is a range of t-shirts from legendary 1960s figure Nigel Waymouth. Which has been joined this month by The Look Presents… Priceless, a capsule collection of suits, shirts, ties, and coats designed by Antony Price, famous for his work with Roxy Music and Duran Duran. Priceless will also be available from the new Topshop/Topman superstore in New York from November. In addition, a Look Presents… Special Edition range has just been launched and is availble exclusively from The Look Presents… website.

The Look Presents... Wonder Workshop (Special Edition)

The Look Presents... Wonder Workshop (Special Edition)

For Gorman, the label is the latest part in the extraordinary journey of The Look: Adventures in Rock & Pop Fashion, his beautifully presented and meticulously researched book that in telling the story of post war pop culture through the prism of clothes, also tells the alternative story of pop music. Gorman wanted the book to come from both the point of view of an “informed fan”, and also from the key protagonists, because, as he says, “if you want to find out about Elvis’s clothes then it’s got to have Bernard Lansky in, if you want to find out about the Beatles’ clothes then it’s got to have Dougie Hemmings in”. The impressive line up of contributors from both the music and fashion worlds also included David Bowie, Jimmy Page, Ronnie Wood, Nancy Sinatra, Malcolm McLaren, Paul Smith, Hedi Slimane, and Betsey Johnson.

The Look has completely overturned  the boundaries of what a book might be, having already transmogrified into a music CD, a London club night, fashion shows, Q&As, and exhibitions. In addition, The Look is an influential blog, with which Gorman wanted to establish an appreciation, a dialogue and a celebration of menswear in which, “Iggy Pop could stand alongside Pete Doherty, as people who look damn good”.

The Look Presents... Nigel Waymouth

The Look Presents... Nigel Waymouth

The idea behind The Look Presents… was to choose, as Gorman puts it, “era defining people”, but in that, the intention is not that The Look Presents… should be an exercise in nostalgia. Gorman and Karie, both see it as taking inspiration from the spirit and the attitude of all those key combustible moments when the inter-linked worlds of fashion and music collide, which, as Gorman says, “is as relevant to Hedi Slimane as it is to Bernard Lansky.”

The links between music and fashion have always been to the fore with the pop-boutiques of Max Karie and his business partner Pippa Brooks, as Karie explains: “We set up along the lines of the rock business in that we viewed clothes as artists. You’d look at each collection as an album, and there needed to be a hit single. Everything we sell has kind of a feeling of being marketed; that’s why we’re not so much a fashion shop as a fashionable shop.”
Their lineage of shops in tiny Soho premises began in 1995 with Shop in Frith Street, which became The World According To… in Brewer Street, and is currently Shop at Maison Bertaux, in Greek Street. Each of their diminutive boutiques has been highly influential, and have always, as Karie says, “punched above their weight, but always with integrity”. This has distinct parallels to his view of The Look Presents’… collaboration with Topman as being akin to an indie record label, of the ilk of Mute or Factory Records, teaming up with a major. “Topman is pop today with menswear,” he says, “I love working with them because they’ve got the customer, they’re on the case, and they’ve got the right price point, and they’re not naff, they’re not overtly trendy, and the customers they’ve got are great; they’ve got it!”

The Look Presents... Priceless

The Look Presents... Priceless

Karie first worked for Antony Price in the early nineties in the role of “general dogsbody”, having met the designer at the club night Sacrosanct where Karie DJ’d. He sensed the times were absolutely right to pitch Price as one of The Look Presents… designers, because Price’s “slightly slutty, rocky style is spot on; there’s a recession so you put on a pink suit! It just feels right.”

Collaboration is key to The Look Presents…, as Karie explains, “Paul is the historian, he’s the person that can introduce the timeline, he’s the one that knows all this information, which I find fascinating, then I tune into the product, and really decide which bit of the history we should do.” With regard to working with Price, Karie says, “I give him the parameters and he creates within them and it’s fantastic; I haven’t designed any of it, I’ve just helped him zero in on which categories.”

I ask Karie and Gorman what they would like peoplI ask Karie and Gorman what they would like people to take from the label. “Just enjoy wearing it,” says Karie, “feel really good in it; like Antony’s range; I want to get a suit and I just want to feel good in it”. Gorman, says, “What I like about The Look Presents…  is that we can move outwards with this really disparate bunch of oddballs, but, you know, we’re Ian Drury’s crowd, we’re all a little cracked all of us, but hopefully we can make a bit of a difference”.

The Look Presents... Priceless

The Look Presents... Priceless

Watch Nigel Waymouth interviewed by Guy Sangster Adams in Shop at Maison Bertaux on the Plectrum Broadcast Player.

Read The Iconic History of Artist and Designer Nigel Waymouth, by way of Granny Takes a Trip, Hapshash & the Coloured Coat, and The Look Presents… in the Reverberation section of Plectrum Webzine.

Links:
The Look & The Look Presents…
www.rockpopfashion.com
Max Karie
www.maxkarie.com
Shop at Maison Bertaux
www.shopatmaisonb.com
Topman
www.topman.com

New Short Fiction: Oh, You Should Have Been There by Salena Godden

As I slipped into silk underwear and dabbed perfume behind my knees, you should have been there. As I hurried to dress and skipped down the stairs, I remembered the first time you kissed me. I remembered us being sweethearts, my puppy love. How you surprised me when you contacted me on the internet after over twenty years. For months we wrote to each other, each teasing email, a little more flirtatious, revealing. Finally this provoked me to invite you to meet me, I typed: Saturday at 8pm at Trafalgar Square, meet me by the lions and wear a flower in your lapel.

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