Inspiration

Leslie Cavendish: The hairstylist to The Beatles…

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Fashion Scene 4

I first became aware of the name Leslie Cavendish when I was researching for an article that I wrote a few years ago. That article was on the boutique ‘Dandie Fashions’. When the said boutique was taken over by the Apple Corp in the spring of 1968, the boutique then changed its name to ‘Apple Tailoring’. It was decided that it would remain in the hands of John Crittle to run the day to day activities surrounding the boutique. Within the premises there was an unused basement, which became a unisex hair salon. Clientele could be fitted for a garment and then pop down the stairs to the basement for a haircut! The person who was put in charge of running the hair salon was Leslie Cavendish. As far as my research went for the article on Dandie Fashions – that is as far as I got with the hair salon / Leslie Cavendish part of the story.

As I delved deeper into Leslie’s background, it became quite clear to myself that he was an important part in that whole time period of the mid to late sixties. With some more research, I eventually managed to get in contact with Leslie, and as our correspondence increased, a meeting was arranged!

On a cold and grey late November morning, my wife Susie and I headed to London to meet Leslie. The rendezvous venue was chosen by Leslie, so we headed over to Hampstead and a pub called ‘The Old Bull & Bush’. I have to admit that I was quite nervous as we entered through the doors of the pub – lots of anxious thoughts racing through my mind. Within seconds of meeting and exchanging pleasantries, I knew that we were all going to get on fine. Phew….

From the pictures that I had garnered from the internet, it is crystal clear that Leslie was a man of style and great taste. Dark-haired, handsome and mysterious looking – not dissimilar to the guy that used to front the old Milk Tray chocolate adverts! As I looked at Leslie while in our conversation – he still retains the same qualities.

I got to work on asking my questions, almost immediately! Leslie gave me a brief story of his childhood in London, which eventually got to the part where he started an apprenticeship with Vidal Sassoon. From working with Vidal, he eventually got onto the subject of The Beatles and how he become part of that inner-circle. While our conversation deepened, it became apparent that Leslie had incredible understanding and memory of what was happening, in and around himself – back in those heady days! Even within the short time that we shared Leslie’s company, he managed to regale us both in some wonderful stories. I got the feeling that Leslie was enjoying telling his stories, as he had found the perfect audience. Leslie is hoping to get his book of memoirs published in 2017, and I expect lots of these incredible stories to be in the book. So, until that time, the tales Leslie did pass onto Susie and myself will remain as our own special secrets!

We spoke about music, fashion and football. I have to mention that Leslie is a lifelong QPR supporter or sufferer! And like myself, every now and then he was looking to his mobile phone for football updates.

There were still lots of questions that I wanted to ask, but I was aware of not bombarding Leslie or overstaying our welcome. So I asked if I could email him some questions – and that way, he could spend a little more time in his answering.

Before you read the Q&A part of my article – I have to mention what a charming and warm natured man Leslie is. As we left the pub, I think that we both felt we had gained a new friend.

I emailed Leslie a number of questions – here is what I asked, and Leslie’s answers:

01. What age did you take up hairdressing?

I left school at 15. I then started an apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon at 171 New Bond Street. The apprenticeship was for three years, where I became Vidal’s junior for three months, and I was then promoted to junior hairstylist at his Grosvenor House hotel, Park Lane, salon. Just before my eighteenth birthday.

02. How did you manage to find a job working for the world-famous Vidal Sassoon?

My best friend at school and still to this day, Lawrence Falk (he started the first unisex salon in the U.K. called ‘Crimpers’) started working in a salon in London. I thought why not try it myself – so I asked him where would be the best place to start out. He said ‘Vidal’s salon’. So I called the salon and managed to get an interview and from there I got an apprenticeship.

03. Tell us something about the kind of clientele that would frequent the salon?

The salon had a very mixed clientele. From wealthy ladies who wanted the latest Vidal style to young models (some of which became household names), famous actors, musicians, fashion designers, to big film directors, and Mary Quant, who with the ideal hairstyle, set off the swinging London scene.

04. The world’s music, fashion, arts and hairdressing seemed to all explode in the early to mid-sixties – did you personally feel like you were part of something special that was happening in London?

You didn’t really think too much about it at the time. Life was exciting anyway working at Vidal’s. Added to that, the music and fashion were part of my youth. You did feel like ‘the times they were a changin’!

05. How did you become the personal hairstylist to The Beatles – and what were they like as people?

At Vidal’s, a client of mine was Jane Asher (who was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend) – she asked me one day if I would like to cut her boyfriend’s hair! And I think you know what happened next…

I met them all at a time when they had all decided to stop touring. So they were all a lot more relaxed than I imagine they would’ve been if they were on the road. All four of them were different and I had a good friendship with them all. This also applied to the team that was around them. I was the only one who wasn’t from Liverpool, but because I never spoke to journalists about my link with The Beatles – and never hassled them for autographs etc – I become one of the inner circle that they could trust.

06. What are your memories of managing your own salon within the boutique that became ‘Apple Tailoring’?

It was an intimate salon and very personal to whoever came in to have their hair done. My clients came from the music world and from streetwise people who just found the salon – and loved to have their hair done in the remarkable atmosphere that was ‘Apple Tailoring’! Being in the boutique and watching the dandies of London being dressed up in velvet and frilly, patterned shirts, was extremely interesting. They came in the shop to be dressed, and left as peacocks!

07. What are your memories of working alongside John Crittle at ‘Apple Tailoring’?

At first, John was great to be around, and I used to like watching his friends, who were mostly from the ‘Chelsea Set’, hanging around the shop. After a while though, I lost a lot of respect for John, as he was often stoned and spoke to people in an arrogant manner. He seemed to think that he was a Chelsea via Australian aristocrat, who was doing everybody a favour in dressing them, and he didn’t have time for the regular customer – who were the ‘real’ customers!

08. You were part of the chosen entourage for the now cult Beatles’ film ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ – what are your memories of that journey?

The MMT was one of my great memories and to be on tour with THE BEATLES, especially as they had stopped touring, was something special. If you have watched the film, you will have seen the coach journey and it was great to be one of the passengers, and to be able to watch The Beatles close up. More of which will be in my book!

09. I know that you were very interested in the music that was happening all around you – what were your personal favourite bands, both live and on vinyl?

When I was young I used to like Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Bros. Later on, I discovered Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Vanilla Fudge, The Doors, CSNY, and many more West Coast bands. My taste in British bands were The Animals, Free, The Kinks, Dusty Springfield, and Cat Stevens. I was also into folk music – and Neil Young was a hero of mine. I saw many bands live, but CSNY at the Albert Hall, and David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust), and not forgetting The Beatles, were concerts not to be forgotten.

10. What are your thoughts on the clothing that you were wearing back in those days? From the photos that I have seen you certainly were a snappy dresser!

I loved the whole hippy look – Afghan coats and velvet jackets with ‘Anello & Davide’ shoes. I also got into suits from ‘John Michael’ and ‘Take 6’.

11. What are your thoughts on contemporary men’s hairdressing – and do you still cut hair today?

I am like a gunfighter who put his scissors away in a holster a few years ago. Today’s hairdressing is an art form. The use of electric cutters and the thinning outlooks, makes out for spectacular hairstyles. Hairdressing is like Punk music – nobody makes the rules – you do what you want and that is called fashion.

12. And finally – what other interesting things are you up to these days?

I have now finished my autobiography about my life as a hairdresser at Vidal’s, and this included my time with The Beatles. The book should be out this year. I have given lectures at universities about the culture and fashion during the sixties period. I have been asked to be a guest speaker at The Beatles week this year in Liverpool, which I am looking forward to doing.

I occasionally do VIP Beatle tours. My clients come from all over the world and instead of the usual Beatle tours that take place around London, I can tell them what it was actually like in the recording studios, as well as being in the building, while The Beatles performed on the roof!


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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February 15, 2017 By : Category : Fashion Front Page Inspiration Interviews News Tags:, , , , ,
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V & A Exhibition – Revolution: Records and rebels 1966 – 70

Saturday 11th September – Revolution: Records and Rebels 1966 – 70

At the Victoria and Albert Museum

This most eagerly anticipated of exhibitions has been on the radar for anyone with even the most passing of interests in the 1960’s counter-culture movement for some months now. These monumental events that are covered within this exhibition, all seemed to occur or explode, as the case may be – concurrently, all over the world. And all of this was happening in which must seem like medieval times to folk of a certain age, who have never lived in an age before mobile phones and the internet.

The exhibition itself was two years in the making, and to have the extra financial clout (sponsorship) of the Levi brand on board – the signs are good, even before you start on your excursion into what is an Aladdin’s cave of ultra rare artifacts & memorabilia from 1966 – 70.

On entering the exhibition, you’re given a head-set – which is all part of getting your mind and soul in the correct frame-of-mind. So while your eyes are busy eating-up all the scrumptious feasts on display, your ears are also being fed a constant menu of your favourite music!

The exhibition itself is set out in a considered and chronological order. Which I personally appreciate, as I am a guy who likes to have his record collection, book collection and clothing organised into considered groups!

I don’t really want to give the game away, (which in essence makes doing a review – redundant) as I strongly feel that the individual needs to experience this most incredible of collections for oneself. I will promise that you will be welcomed by the most amazing of visual surprises throughout your visit.

My personal passion lies within the music and fashion of the counter-culture movement, which just seemed to appear, just-like-magic – and on a daily basis, throughout this era! And much of it is now just an arm’s length away from
your eyes!

What made the whole experience so much more special for myself, was the more serious subjects that really influenced the whole counter-culture movement and were all represented within this exhibition. From Pete Seeger’s guitar (with the ultimate proto slogan that has never been bettered) right through to the race and gay right activist movements. And too many more to mention – that all need to be experienced on your visit.

When my group of friends finally left the exhibition, we were met by a member of staff who was quite astonished that we had spent 210 minutes within the exhibition. And chose to mention that we’d by far spent the most time within the exhibition. (It’s only been open a week, so I not too proud of that fact) Well, I am planning a return visit in the coming months and I predict a new record being set…


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Peter Feely

Married to Susie, both actively involved in the UK 60s scene for many years. My personal interest in 1960s culture goes back over 30 years, with my main two passions being music and fashion, both in equal measure. I run my own menswear label – ‘Perfumed Garden’ clothing, catering for the discerning dandy male - in addition to sourcing and selling vintage mens’ gear, with a particular interest in those hard-to-find jackets and shoes! I also run the Facebook group, ‘Psychedelic Clothing for Men: Then and Now’, with 2200+ members. Although I have no formal training in the fashion industry, what I do possess is a real passion, and through the years I have gained valuable knowledge of many areas of mens’ fashion from the mid to late 1960s. I’m also a musician and have played in many bands in my younger years. I’m an avid collector of music and music-related paraphernalia. I started running my own club nights back in the mid-1990s, and at present I run a psychedelic night in Derby – ‘The Perfumed Garden Of Musical Delights’. Through this I also get to DJ at many exciting events up and down the country

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September 27, 2016 By : Category : Articles Arts Design Fashion Front Page Inspiration Style Tags:, , , ,
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LSD – A Short Historical Trip

Albert Hofmann, a  devout chemist then working for Sandoz Pharmaceutical, synthesized LSD for the first time around 1938, in Basel, Switzerland, whilst actually searching for a blood stimulant. However, its true  hallucinogenic effects were unknown until 1943 when Hofmann accidentally consumed some LSD via skin absorption. It was later found that an oral dose of as little as 25 micrograms (equal in weight to a just ew grains of salt) is capable of producing vivid  and hallucinations.

The compound was found to have similar aspects to other chemicals and re-actions present in the human brain and LSD was therefore used in experiments by psychiatrists through the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. While the researchers  seemingly failed to discover any medical use for the drug, the free samples supplied by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals for the experiments were distributed broadly, leading to wide use and indeed abuse of this  strange and magical substance.

LSD was then popularized in the 1960s by individuals such as psychologist Timothy Leary, who widely encouraged American students to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” This created an entire counterculture of  this type of drug abuse and thus spread the drug from America to the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. Even today, the use of LSD in the United Kingdom is significantly higher than in other parts of the world.

While the ‘60s counterculture used the drug to escape the pressures of  mundane society, the Western intelligence community (led by the CIA) and the military saw it as a potential chemical weapon. In 1951, these organizations began a series of covert experiments. US researchers noted that LSD “is capable of rendering whole groups of people, including military forces, indifferent to their surroundings and situations, interfering with planning and judgment, and even creating apprehension, uncontrollable confusion and terror.” This a potential new age of warfare could be possible.

Experiments in the possible use of LSD to change the personalities of  certain intelligence targets, and to possibly control whole populations, continued until the United States officially banned the drug in 1967. By this stage the damage was becoming obvious and a  real concern.

Common use of LSD saw a steep decline in the 1980s, but then rose again in the 1990s. For a few years after 1998 LSD had become more widely used at dance clubs and all-night raves by older teens and young adults. Use dropped off significantly after 2000 and became more rare.

Bicycle Day

Three days later, April 19, 1943, Hofmann performed a self-experiment to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 250 micrograms of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (an actual threshold dose is 20 micrograms). Less than an hour later, Hofmann experienced sudden and intense changes in perception. He asked his laboratory assistant to escort him home, and as use of vehicles was prohibited because of wartime restrictions, they had to make the journey on a bicycle. On the way, Hofmann’s condition rapidly deteriorated as he struggled with feelings of anxiety, alternatingly believing the next-door neighbor was a malevolent witch, that he was going insane, and the LSD had poisoned him. When the house doctor arrived, however, he could detect no physical abnormalities, save for a pair of incredibly dilated pupils. Hofmann was reassured, and soon his terror began to give way to a sense of good fortune and enjoyment, as he later wrote …

… little by little I could begin to enjoy the unprecedented colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind my closed eyes. Kaleidoscopic, fantastic images surged in on me, alternating, variegated, opening and then closing themselves in circles and spirals, exploding in colored fountains, rearranging and hybridizing themselves in constant flux …

The events of the first LSD trip, now known as “Bicycle Day”, after the bicycle ride home, proved to Hofmann that he had indeed made a significant discovery. A psychoactive substance with extraordinary potency, capable of causing paradigm shifts of consciousness in incredibly low doses, Hofmann foresaw the drug as a powerful psychiatric tool; because of its intense and introspective nature, he couldn’t imagine anyone using it recreationally.


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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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May 4, 2016 By : Category : Articles Front Page General Inspiration USA Tags:, , ,
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The Futuro House

Matti Suuronen (June 14, 1933 – April 16, 2013) was a Finnish architect who is probably now best known for making the Futuro and the Venturo ‘space-age’ style houses or modular pods.

The original design saw the structure embrace a ‘space travel’ feel, and was composed from fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic, polyester-polyurethane, and poly (methylmethacrylate), measuring 13 feet (4 metres) high and 26 feet (8 metres) in diameter.

Suuronen made novel and intelligent use of the newer emerging crop of materials such as polyester resin, fiberglass, and acrylic windows for use in several civil structures. A key factor in his design ethos was creating pre-fabricated elements that would or could, later be assembled into more complete structures, with an often modular theme.

To make the Futuro easy to transport, each unit consisted of 16 main elements that were bolted together to form the floor and the main roof. It could be quickly be constructed on site, or dismantled and reassembled elsewhere, in just a few days, or even airlifted in one piece by helicopter to a chosen location. Four robust concrete sittings were all that were required as ground-works, so the project be placed almost anywhere. Due to the integrated polyurethane insulation and electric heating system, the house could be heated to a comfortable temperature in only thirty minutes.

It was therefore ideal as a proto-modern cutting edge ski lodge and or holiday chalet with an eye-catching difference and a cutting-edge style.

One of the sadder facets to this great design story, is that actually less than 100 were originally made and it is estimated that today around 50-60 of the original Futuro homes now survive, owned mostly by private individuals. The early 70s saw a huge hike in Petroleum and Oil based products and thus once cheap materials of this nature were suddenly vastly more prohibitive. This lead to the end of production by 1976. There are also alternative theories however that several other factors conspired against their success. Watch this video to see this line of thought!

Suuronen also designed petrol stations, kiosks, detached and terraced houses as well as public buildings during his long career.

Matti

Suuronen was married to pianist Sirkku Suuronen and the couple had three children. Suuronen died peacefully in his homeland in Espoo, Finland on 16 April 2013. He was 79 years old. He lived to see his rule-breaking designs installed in several leading key Museums around the world. They still draw gasps of amazement and provide continued inspiration today all these years later. Despite attempts to create a viable on-going Business based around the concept of Futuro Housing in places even such as the USA, the project has to be seen as somewhat of a failure, in that it was seen as slightly ‘kitsch and freakish’ and out of step with what people actually would be prepared to purchase in sufficient numbers to make it all work out effectively. With todays demand for style and ergonomic well thought out design, there are plenty of designers attempting to develop space-saving, affordable, low-cost housing pods based on this original idea. That is a something of a victory of sorts. Time will tell, no doubt how this plays out.

As part of the  Le Beat Bespoké 11 event this Easter in London, the New Untouchables invited Darren Russell (a much respected photographer) to form a shoot with some great models and clothes supplied by Atilla and the folks at www.dandylifeclothing.com along to London’s very own Futuro house (which you can visit as part of the LBB Weekend) being a freshly restored 1972 Futuro House project in London which displays a stunning new vision for futuristic living and still looks wonderfully futuristic today. Our video shows a Time-lapse shot during installation of Futuro House at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, London 16-19th August 2015

See the finished Futuro inside and outside at www.futurohouse.co.uk and discover how you can visit this historic piece of architecture and design during its current landing.

Film Shot and edited by Edward Fox www.edarthurfox.com.


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Pip! Pip! Are the Creative Business Engine behind various music based organisations of the cool underground variety. Providing angst, confusion, bewilderment and annoyance in equal amounts. We design/host/manage great sites like this one! Why not hire us one day soon?

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February 11, 2016 By : Category : Articles Design Front Page Inspiration Objects Tags:, , ,
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Bowie in the 1960’s

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Collectors Corner 2

It’s fair to say that most music lovers were shocked and deeply saddened when the death of one of the world’s most revered music legends, David Bowie, was announced early on Monday 11th January 2016. David was an ever-present in most people’s musical tapestry, from his first break in 1969 with ‘Space Oddity’, through proto-metal with ‘The man who sold the world’ the following year, and then releasing a whole series of groundbreaking and innovating albums on RCA throughout the decade. He followed this run with the stadium years of the 1980’s, and then had a creative rebirth in the 1990’s, releasing a fine succession of critically acclaimed albums, ending with the wonderful ‘Blackstar’ which was released only two days before he died. Although the many tributes tended to concentrate on his hit making heyday, most headlines hardly gave a mention to the many wonderful and varied released Mr Jones released before he hit the big time and that’s therefore what we’re going to have a look at in this article.

Bowie_2

Born David Robert Jones in Brixton, 8th January 1937, the family moved to Bromley when he was seven where in the mid 50’s he discovered rock’n’roll and decided music was what he wanted to pursue. He took up piano, ukulele and later saxophone, and like most musical fans of his age, joined and formed various skiffle, then beat groups in his early teens. At 15, Bowie and some friends formed The Konrads, but he soon left and joined The King Bees who were one of many of the British R‘n’B bands playing around the country in 1964. Taken under the management of Leslie Conn, the band were signed to Decca and on 5th June 1964 ‘Liza Jane’/‘Louie Louie go home’ was released on subsidiary label Vocalion V 9221. Both tracks were good but unremarkable British rhythm’n’blues and sank without trace in the busy release schedules of the time. By far the most desirable and expensive of Bowie’s UK singles, this single nowadays can fetch up to £2000 in mint condition. Be careful buying this disc as the record was bootlegged in the 1970’s with a large centre hole, a genuine original would have a four prong push out centre and should come in a red and white Vocalion company bag. A great and cheaper way to own this piece of musical history is the Decca mid-seventies reissue which can be picked up for around a tenner!

Bowie_4

After the failure of Davie’s first single, he left the band and joined another Rythym & Blues band called the Manish Boys. The group was signed to EMI in 1965 and placed under the guidance of the company’s top selling label of the time, Parlophone. On 5th March 1965 the label released a cover of ‘I pity the fool’ backed with a great Jones written mod-jazz track ‘Take my tip’ (Parlophone R5250). Like the release before it the single stiffed badly and is also hard to find, especially as a stock copy. Yet again, copies of this single in mint condition can reach the £1000 mark, that’s when they rarely appear on the market. The B side had the added attraction of being the first Bowie song to be covered when Kenny Miller released his single ‘Take my tip’ (Stateside SS 405) in April of the same year. Also rare but decidedly cheaper than Bowie’s original, this can usually be picked up for around the £100 mark. In August, now firmly encased in the amphetamine filled Soho mod scene and regulars at the Marquee club, Davy Jones and The Lower Third as they were now known released another single on Parlophone, the manic, pop-art masterpiece ‘You’ve got a habit of leaving’/‘Baby loves that way’ (Parlophone R 5315). Produced by the legendary Shel Talmy, it should have been a hit in a chart full of Yardbirds, Who and Them singles but yet again it sold absolutely nothing leaving yet another £1000 rated 45. Both Parlophone singles are essential listening but luckily have all been reissued on EP’s in the last couple of decades, most recently on Record Store Day 2014 with a stunning 1965 era Bowie picture sleeve.

1966 and London was in full swing when Jones decided on the name change (to avoid confusion with future Monkee Davy Jones) to David Bowie, the surname he’d take to the grave. After parting company with Leslie Conn, the newly christened David Bowie and the Lower Third were signed to Pye records and released three fantastic 45’s during the coming year. The first, released on 14th January 1966, was possibly the highlight of his early career, ‘Can’t help thinking about me’, with the almost as good ‘And I say to myself’ on the flip (Pye 7N 17020). Despite plenty of publicity and airplay the song only managed to scrape into the bottom of the top 50 in a couple of music magazine charts. Even though it sold a few copies it’s still an in demand item and regularly sells for £200-300 for a copy. The next release came out three months later on 1st April, ‘Do anything you say’, backed with the jazz tinged groover ‘Good morning girl’ (Pye 7N 17079). Now billed solely as David Bowie this release was not as immediate as it’s predecessor and is the hardest of the three to locate, usually hitting over £500 in top condition. The final release on Pye was released in August 1966, a proper swinging London affair called ‘I dig everything’ coupled with another strong B side ‘I’m not losing sleep’ (Pye 7N 17157). Although this sold more than the second single this still reaches prices of £300+ at auction.

 

Bowie_3

After three great commercial singles that just didn’t seem to click with the record buying public Bowie started 1967 joining the last days of pop-art mod band The Riot Squad. At this time David had come into possession of one the earliest pressings of the seminal Velvet Underground debut album and soon incorporated ‘I’m waiting for the man’ into the band’s live act. The track along a handful of others were actually recorded and finally secured an EP release on Acid Jazz in 2013. Now under the management of Kenneth Pitt who tried to steer Bowie down a more all round entertainer route he was signed to Decca’s new progressive label Deram as a solo artist. The first fruits of this new direction was the lightweight single “Rubber band” (Deram DM 107) which was a surreal mix of Anthony Newley and Syd Barrett. The B side ‘The London Boys’ is a lost nugget, Bowie’s sombre tale of mod London gone wrong. It sold incredibly poorly on release and is by far the hardest single of this period to find, especially as a stock copy. The next release, the novelty track ‘The laughing gnome’/ ‘Gospel according to Tony Day’ (Deram DM 123) released in April 1967 was another flop but this one would come back to haunt him when it hit the top ten six years later at the height of glam-era Bowiemania.

Bowie_1

First pressings are much harder to find, original copies have an upside down matrix number on the label and flat push out centres rather than 1973 double ridged style centres, this is the difference between spending £5 and £50+ on a copy! After three years of non-hit singles, on June 1st 1967 the debut album ‘David Bowie’ was released to the world in both mono and stereo pressings (DML / SML 1007). It’s a mixed bag of English popsike and vaudeville, with Bowie himself later explaining his influences at the time as a mix of Max Miller and Elvis Presley. Unfortunately the music loving kids of 1967 decided to spend their money on another album released the same day, ‘Sgt Pepper’s lonely hearts club band’ and the album sank without trace creating a £700-1000 item nowadays. In July Deram had one last try with the catchy ‘Love you till Tuesday’ being released as a 45 (DM 145) which was one flop too many for Decca causing artist and label to part company soon after. In 1968 without a contract, Bowie, with mime artists Hermoine and Hutch, made a small series of promo films featuring remixed Deram tracks and also an embryonic version of a song that was to finally into the charts in the summer of 1969, ‘Space oddity’… But that’s a whole different story!


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James Clark

Loves collecting records. My main loves are 50's rock'n'roll, 60's soul and r'n'b, beat, mod and psych and hopefully will be sharing some nuggets with you over the next few months. Apart from being a vinyl junkie I'm a Arsenal obsessive and a hopelessly romantic drunkard, but don't let put you off, we all have our faults.

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February 12, 2016 By : Category : Articles Beat Front Page Inspiration Music Reviews UK Tags:,
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Catherine Croft Interview

This entry is part of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Catherine Croft, Director Twentieth Century Society

Thanks for chatting to us Catherine, how long have you been involved in the society and what is your background: planning, law, architecture or enthusiast?

I’ve been involved since about 1990, shortly after I finished my architecture degree. Initially just as a member, then as a Trustee, then running the Casework Committee and becoming Vice Chair—finally I ended up as Director in 2002. But I have also done other things at the same time. I studied Material Culture and Historic Building Conservation, after the architecture, so I’ve got a pretty varied background. Anyone who is interested in C20 Architecture is welcome to belong. Some members are incredibly knowledgeable, some join because they want to know more, we pitch our events and publications so that you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be keen.

When did what we call ’20th-Century’ design begin in your view?

That’s a difficult question (and I also get asked “when does Modern Architecture start”). The pragmatic answer is that we cover everything from 1914 onwards, as the Victorian Society covers the Edwardian period. We certainly don’t stop at 2000, and expect to be seeing a C21st building listed soon.

In your opinion how long do we have at present to list and conserve the best of 20th Century Britain, it feels like this is a critical time? Buildings are getting to an age when they require attention?

It certainly does feel like a critical time, and it’s for all the reasons you suggest. Also some building types of which there are lots of great C20 examples are disproportionately threatened because of specific social and economic pressures. For instance, the smoking ban and rise of coffee shops means that pubs are going bust, and spending cuts mean libraries are closing (Local councils in London are heading for a 70% budget cut between 2010 and 2020).

How do you prioritise your objectives, there is a great deal of 20th Century architecture, how do you ‘pick your battles’?

We look at the quality of the building, and just how damaging and imminent the threat is. We also consider what broader arguments highlighting a specific case will enable us to support, and we make sure that we don’t duplicate anyone else’s efforts, but back local campaigns and work with others whenever possible.

What steps does the Society take to ensure that there is equality and regional balance in the projects it undertakes?

We get cases from all over the country referred to us by local planning departments (that’s a requirement of planning law, and very helpful), but we also rely on local members and supporters. Our network of Regional Groups helps.

It feels like London is at risk due to ravenous developers, but in other parts of Britain there may be less awareness of the value and appeal of older-modern buildings, whereas London is very ‘on trend’ with the mid-century kick. How do you manage regional activity and raise awareness in other parts of the UK?

There are details of the Regional Groups here: www.c20society.org.uk/regional-groups and we also try to make sure that we get both National press coverage and keep in contact with local press and radio. Projects like the 100 Buildings book and website www.c20society.org.uk/100-buildings also have a good range of buildings, and it’s been great to see it in bookshops all over the UK. We’d like to get our Magazine distributed more widely.

Many of those who read our blogs and follow the New Untouchables are, literally, obsessed with mid-century architecture and design. We’re also (relatively!) young ranging from 16-50, and from a wide range of backgrounds. What is the main benefit for the society by engaging with this group?

We want you to join us and increase our numbers! More C20 members means we have more leverage with local and national government, and is the best way to demonstrate that this is not just a niche interest, but a growing cultural phenomenon. We know that converts to more listings and more buildings saved.

Does the society have a view on some of the iconic music venues around the UK that are increasingly facing closure under pressure from development? This goes beyond structural integrity and into ‘use’ or ‘change of use’. Is this an area of concern that the Society would consider supporting, either directly or indirectly, now or in the future?

I guess our main focus is on the physical preservation of the buildings themselves, but particularly where there are complex interiors, change of use can be very damaging, and so we do sometimes get involved in supporting an existing use.

What countries in the world have similar organisations campaigning for 20th Century buildings and landscapes, and what nation has the most impressive 20th Century architecture, apart from the UK of course?

I don’t think anywhere has an organisation like us which campaigns for the whole breath of C20 building styles, but there are lots of branches of DoCoMoMo, specialising in Modern Movement buildings, and many flourishing Art Deco societies.

Many of the people who read the New Untouchables blogs and website describe themselves as ‘modernists’. An apparent contradiction in using this term is our fascination with the attention to detail and experimental optimism in music, clothes and architecture of the recent past. However, our salvation is, arguably, a determination to apply and adapt the exciting and stylish approach of the mid-century to the present day to make life more colourful and less predictable. What motivates you?

I like to think that we aim to make the future “more colourful and less predictable” (I like your choice of words there), by making sure that the best, and most interesting buildings of each decade do survive. We are motivated by that, and by our shared enjoyment of the imagination, diversity and attention to detail of the buildings themselves, and the complex stories they bear witness to.

What’s the best way for people to get involved if they want to help and support your work?

To join us, and come on our trips and get in involved in a Regional Group. If you’re not ready to commit quite yet, by signing up to our e-newsletter on the website.

 

*Scotch Martin is DJing in Germany on Saturday 14 Nov 2015 for Maik, who runs Skaturday Night, Am Förderturm 27, 46049 Oberhausen, Germany. He will be playing sets in both rooms, reggae and northern. INFO HERE

Then also at: Cello’s Coast to Coast on Saturday 17 Oct 2015 – with a full reggae/ska set.

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Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

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September 23, 2015 By : Category : Design Front Page Inspiration Interviews Objects Style Tags:, , , ,
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Jazz for Modernists 3 – Ornette Coleman (1930-2015) (Part 2)

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series James Thomas on Jazz

 

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August 29, 1965. Croydon. England. Shortly before the Beatles endured relentless screaming at the Hollywood Bowl, the Ornette Coleman Trio greeted a smaller, more ‘listening’ audience at Fairfield Halls, a much-appreciated venue on Greater London’s southern fringes. This was Coleman’s first British date, part of a major European tour lasting until May 1966 (including, later that spring, a four-week residency at Ronnie Scott’s and concerts in other major cities). The trio’s European trip dovetailed with a period of revolutionary experimentation in popular culture, that transitional period when London was in full swing, California was ‘a-dreamin’’, Byrds’ guitarist Jim McGuinn (on ‘Eight Miles High’) imitated John Coltrane and the Beatles transformed themselves from the slightly anxious individuals of Help! to the dandified aural astronauts of Revolver.

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By 1965, Coleman’s freedom-searching, boundary-shifting music was not simply a badge of uber-beatnik identity or confined to the margins of experimental jazz and the classical avant-garde, but had infiltrated the previously ‘straight-ahead’ forms of R & B and folk music. The shift from beat, folk and R & B to psychedelic rock privileges (in addition to pot and LSD) a new awareness of Eastern and Indian music among such luminaries as George Harrison, Brian Jones, David Crosby, Jeff Beck, Donovan, Ray Davies and Jerry Garcia. True. The importance of Indian sounds and imagery is paramount. But not only had Eastern-style modes already featured in jazz (check out John Coltrane’s modal 1961 classic ‘India’, but the ‘free’ music of Coleman, Coltrane, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler contributed other important elements to the development of psychedelic and ‘progressive’ music from 1965 onwards.

Coleman’s influence on British jazz dates to 1959. Whilst not all his Atlantic LPs were released immediately in Britain, copies of non-UK albums were shared by American GIs, imported by specialist shops and played on more daring European radio stations. Despite hostility to Coleman’s new approach within some modern jazz circles, British jazz from 1960-1965 was familiar with notions of freedom. Joe Harriott, independently of Coleman, recorded Free Form (1961) and Abstract (1963) with other West Indians: Coleridge Goode (bass) and Shake Keane (trumpet, flugelhorn), and British-born Pat Smythe (piano) and Phil Seamen (drums). By 1966, Harriott was also experimenting with Indian music, soon to record Indo-Jazz Fusions I & II with composer and multi-instrumentalist John Mayer. Around 1960, Coleman-loving New Departures poets Peter Brown and Michael Horowitz invited Ronnie Scott’s house rhythm section (including pianist Stan Tracey and bassist Jeff Clyne) to live performances combining spoken word and jazz. These led to the New Departures Quartet, featuring legendary Scottish saxophonist Bobby Wellins, which released an LP in 1964 for Transatlantic Records.

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Coleman’s blues-drenched radical music was also an (often overlooked) influence on the emerging British R & B scene, particularly on musicians working with Alexis Korner and Graham Bond. Although partly a reaction to the conservatism of ‘trad jazz’, from the late ’50s British R & B had incorporated modernist and mainstream jazzers. Bond’s alto work with tenorist Don Rendell was compared to Coleman. Though Bond actually preferred Eric Dolphy, Coleman was a major inspiration to the other members of the Graham Bond Organization: bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. Bruce later claimed he and Baker had envisaged Eric Clapton’s role in Cream mirroring Ornette’s in his trio. Bruce, with Heckstall-Smith, future Colosseum drummer John Hiseman and guitarist John McLaughlin, would record the Ornette-inspired Things We Like LP in August 1968, three months before Cream’s final performance at the Albert Hall.

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By August 1965, then, Coleman was a key figure within several interlocking contexts: the New Departures poetry crowd, freer modern jazz, avant-garde improvisational music and the trajectories of various pioneering musicians (Bruce, Baker, Heckstall-Smith, Syd Barrett, proto-Soft Machine) looking to push R & B into unchartered waters. These people shared Ornette’s fluid, egalitarian philosophy of freedom in which each instrument could potentially represent any human voice. The British debut of the Coleman Trio, early in the counter-cultural ‘underground’, was a symbolic opportunity to affect and engage with the experimental zeitgeist. Organized by Michael Horovitz, pioneering improvisational music promoter Victor Schonfield (who’d met Ornette in New York in 1964) and Pete Brown, the Croydon concert was part of Horovitz’ Live New Departures series of multi-media performances, poetry readings, concerts and happenings. Due to unsatisfactory British Musical Union laws, Coleman composed a piece of classical music to qualify him as a ‘serious’ musician and therefore bypass regulations prohibiting performances by American jazz musicians.

The resulting twenty-four-minute ‘Forms and Sounds for Wind Quintet’, performed by the Virtuoso Ensemble, provided an interesting interlude between pianist Mike Taylor’s quartet (featuring John Hiseman, bassist Tony Reeves and sax player Dave Tomlin) and the Coleman Trio. The Trio, with drummer Charles Moffett and bass virtuoso David Izenson, then perform stunning versions of seven tracks including ‘Sadness’ and ‘Doughnut[s]’ from the recently released Town Hall, 1962 LP and the John Cage-inspired ‘Silence’ (where Coleman answers with witty aplomb a heckler requesting Ray Noble’s tricky standard ‘Cherokee’). The Croydon concert, now available on CD, was released in 1967 in Germany as the double box set An Evening with Ornette Coleman (see first photo). An exceptional testimony to Coleman’s unique genius and an intriguing source of future musical adventures in British music, critic Barry McRae called it ‘some of the greatest jazz ever presented in this country’ (“Ornette Coleman – Live”, Jazz Journal ,October 1965).

Some of those adventures up to 1970 can be traced here. In October 1965, Mike Taylor’s quartet recorded Pendulum, one of the rarest items in British jazz. Released on Columbia in June 1966, it reveals Taylor’s huge potential as a pianist somewhere between free jazz and lyrical post bop. Like Pete Brown, Taylor would collaborate with Cream, writing music for ‘Passing the Time’, ‘Pressed Rat and Warthog’ and ‘Those were the Days’ from Wheels of Fire (1968). Jack Bruce would feature on his second LP Trio (1967). A friend of the equally troubled Graham Bond and a heavy user of LSD, Taylor was found drowned in 1969. Another important 1966 release was Challenge (Eyemark Records) by the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, formed by drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Trevor Watts. Recorded in March, the album included two direct tributes to Ornette and Eric Dolphy (‘2.B. Ornette’ and ‘E.D’s message’). SME, who enjoyed a residency at London’s Little Theatre, signed to Island records for their second LP, Karyobin (1968), featuring some of the earliest recordings of leading British alto player Evan Parker.

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An important link between Ornette and British psychedelia was Steve Stollman, brother of Bernard, founder of US avant-garde label ESP-disk, one of whose earliest releases was Coleman’s Town Hall, 1962 LP. Stollman was in London in early ’66 to promote ESP. With Barry Miles and John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, founders of International Times, he helped organize the Spontaneous Underground ‘happenings’ at the Marquee, one of which (Trip, 13 March 1966), featured Pink Floyd Sound and the free improvisation trio AMM. Formed by Eddie Prévost (drums), Lou Gare (saxophone) and Keith Rowe (guitar) and soon to be joined by oboist Lawrence Sheaff and avant-garde composer Cornelius Cardew, AMM were part of Mike Westbrook’s big band before reaching the ears of Victor Schonfield in late 1965. Alongside Donovan, an African vocal group and ESP’s British signings the Peter Lemer Quintet (whose 1967 LP Local Colour featured baritone saxophonist John Surman), AMM played the first Spontaneous Underground event, the so-called ‘Giant Mystery Happening’ (30 January, 1966). Performing with Pink Floyd on several occasions in 1966-7, they inspired the sonic guitar experiments of Syd Barrett, who attended the recording of their debut AMMUSIC (May 1966). Whilst not the only inspirations for Pink Floyd, AMM or any other British improvisational or psychedelic act, Coleman was a key influence on Barrett and organist Rick Wright, while Eddie Prévost remarked in 2002 that ‘the music of Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler gave us permission to disobey’ (George McKay, Circular Breathing, 2005, pp. 196).

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This refusal to ‘obey’ musical rules helps explain Coleman’s influence on British music in the late 1960s. The Trio’s 1966 gigs at Ronnie Scott’s and elsewhere divided the jazz world in much the same way as Bob Dylan’s almost contemporary British tour did amongst folkies. Melody Maker’s Benny Green, disparaging of the saxophonist’s chromatic playing and anticipating Withnail and I, remarked: ‘Like a stopped clock, Coleman is right at least twice a day’ (John Fordham, Jazz Man: The Amazing Story of Ronnie Scott and his Club, 1995, p. 121). Disappointingly, Thelonius Monk was another critical attendee at Ronnie Scott’s. However, others left with positive impressions, including future Yes drummer Bill Bruford and a young Ian Dury.

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The boundaries between jazz, rock and improvisational performance were breaking down fast. Coleman’s next London concert in February 1968 (at the Albert Hall) featured Yoko Ono (whom he’d met in Paris) simulating what (in a recorded rehearsal at least) sounds like her nascent passion for John Lennon. The revolutionary atmosphere of 1968 in Britain was probably more suited to incendiary free jazz and improvisation than 1967. In addition to Jack Bruce’s first solo LP, 1968 saw Heckstall-Smith, Hiseman and Tony Reeves appear on John Mayall’s Bare Wires LP and the formation around this trio of Colosseum, arguably the first progressive jazz-rock band. Fusion was also happening within Folk: Ornette was familiar to the groundbreaking acoustic guitarist Davy Graham and future members of Pentangle and Notting Hill’s Third Ear Band (featuring Dave Tomlin on violin). Alongside Coltrane, Ayler, Roland Kirk and Sonny Rollins, by the end of the decade Coleman’s example had not only inspired experimentation, but also cemented the saxophone within ‘progressive’ rock. Among major British players in this field were: George Khan (ex Peter Lemer Quintet, Pete Brown & the Battered Ornaments), Barbara Thompson (Colosseum), Elton Dean and Lyn Dobson (Keith Tippett Group, Soft Machine), Ian McDonald and Mel Collins (King Crimson), David Jackson (Van der Graaf Generator) and Phil Shulman (Gentle Giant).


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James Thomas

James Thomas was born in Bristol just the wrong side of 1970 (1971). His first encounters with the 1960s were his two-year-old elder brother’s reminiscences of the Moon Landing (since deleted by the BBC) and an afternoon in 1975 listening to the Beatles with his parents. He remembers 2-Tone and the ’79 revival, but was the one in his primary school still wearing flares until he persuaded his mum to buy him a black Harrington jacket (a stylish-enough copy by Burtons) and asked a hair stylist to make him ‘look like Suggs’. In the 1980s he became obsessed with almost every aspect of the 1960s, whether it were Star Trek, the length of George Harrison’s hair in March 1965 or the first colour TV broadcast of a cricket match (he thinks it was 1968). After being side-tracked by progressive rock (an ongoing guilty pleasure), James came to his senses in 1986 on seeing footage of Booker T and the MGs and Otis Redding on a programme celebrating the 60th anniversary of television. A flirtation with ‘indie pop’ (in the bowl-cut and anorak days) led to too much introspection, but also a new interest in the psychedelic sounds of the 1960s that seemed to go hand in glove with a liking for The Pastels and The Razorcuts. A summery afternoon in the jazz tent at Bristol’s annual (and long gone) Ashton Court Festival in 1989 opened his mind to the sounds of Lee Morgan, Horace Silver, Art Blakey and most forms of modern jazz. In 1990, James attended his first proper 60s club night, the revered Kaleidoscope Pop! in Leeds. On his return from the North in 1992, he developed a new commitment to Mod culture. He recalls early Untouchables Brighton New Year rallies and in 1994 moved to London. A real education for him (in so many ways...) was a period in Barcelona (1997-2002) where he helped out with the Magic in the Air club for a year or two and where his IQ was permanently reduced by a record dealer who made him clean vinyl for four weeks in a windowless room. After a decade or so in the West Country, he is now living again in London, where he plans to write about jazz, meet like-minded people and study the history of the cravat.

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September 23, 2015 By : Category : Front Page General Inspiration ModJazz Music USA Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Masters – Allan Crockford

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Masters2

 

Ask Allan Crockford about his musical CV and you can not help but be seriously impressed; The Prisoners, Prime Movers, Solarflares, Stabilisers, James Taylor Quartet, Goodchilde and Phaze. Add his own current band The Galileo 7 and you have a very fine body of work to appreciate.

All of these bands are highly influential and inspirational to successive generations of aspiring musicians with a psych, garage tendency. “But what about mod?” you may ask.

I work on the principle that arguably with the exception of The Small Faces, there is no-such-thing as a ‘mod’ band. However, there are legions of bands with a mod following. Most, if not all of the bands Allan Crockford has been a part of, fall into the latter category when it comes to the UK. Across Europe, they are more regarded as part of the psych, garage, punk scene.

Over the Whitsun Bank Holiday, Allan lines up with long-time collaborators, Graham Day and Wolf Howard at Margate as Graham Day and The Forefathers.

The purpose of this incarnation was simply to revisit the back catalogue of their combined output and revitalise some truly great songs, resulting in the acclaimed debut album ‘Good Things’.

01. How pleased are you with the reception of both the band and the album?

Very pleased with both. It’s come as a great surprise to be greeted with this sort of enthusiasm for doing something exactly the same as we’ve always done! We suspected that a few old faithfuls would be interested, but it’s gone beyond that. If only we’d had this sort of enthusiasm when we last together as The Solarflares then we might have carried on without the 10 year break. I think the internet has helped with making our presence known.

02. What has been like to revisit those great songs with Graham and Wolf?

A lot of them we had played before at various times, but not collected together in one set. It’s been pretty easy really. The real surprise has been doing Prisoners songs without the organ and not really missing it. I suppose we’ve got better at filling the holes in the sound, or maybe letting the songs breathe with a sparser sound. One of the two anyway… I’ve also really enjoyed playing Gaolers songs. To me they are like new songs as me and Wolf didn’t play on the original recordings. It means it’s not all nostalgia.

03. You have had a long-standing writing partnership with Graham Day. How does the process work for you both and has it changed over the years?

It’s not a writing partnership. Graham wrote the basic songs, then they were fleshed out and arranged with the full band, whichever one we were in at the time. I might have contributed the odd arrangement suggestion occasionally, but the songs we play in the Forefathers are very much his. If I made a contribution it’s more in being quick to pick his ideas up and play bass in a way that compliments his sound. I only started writing songs myself in the last 7-8 years, during the time that we weren’t playing together. If we were ever to record new material with this band, then I dare say we’d do it the same way as we always did, with me and Wolf jamming along with Graham’s basic idea until the song emerged. Why change a winning formula!

04. How surprised are you that The Prisoners and Prime Movers are still immensely popular in the 21st century?

I dispute that the Prime Movers were ever that popular! The only reason we were called that when we initially made our return was for a one off gig in Germany for an old record label that specially requested it. We dropped all the PMs songs from the set very quickly, apart from ‘Good Things’. And also ‘immensely popular’ is pushing it a bit for both bands! We’ve got a small set of very enthusiastic and loyal fans that make a lot of noise, but it’s still very small scale. We’re very grateful to them, but we never over-estimate our popularity. We’re preaching to a small number of converted.

05. You have told me in the past that throughout your career, from The Prisoners onwards, you and indeed the other members of the various bands, never regarded yourselves as mods, but you seem to have attracted a mod following in the UK. Why do you think that is?

We never disputed that there were ‘Mod’ elements to our sound and style, but we never wanted to be defined by a label. We just loved 60’s rock n roll and style. Most people dressed that way back then, but weren’t called Mods. I don’t get the need to identify with something narrow and limiting. Why can’t you play the music and wear some of the gear if you feel like it, without someone putting a label on you? The development of youth culture and tribal allegiances are kind of interesting as topics for a social thesis or a Phd, but it gets a bit boring to be asked the same question about it for the next 30 years… No disrespect! I love the music, but I also love a lot of music that apparently Mods aren’t supposed to like.

06. Your own band, The Galileo 7 have received critical acclaim for their album from last year ‘False Memory Lane’. How would describe your sound and what you are aiming for with them?

We’ve made two albums before that; ‘Are We Having Fun Yet? (2010) and ‘Staring At The Sound’ (2012). There’s also the brand new single ‘One Lie At A Time’. I suppose it’s psych-pop rather than garage-rock, if anyone can pick apart the differences within our little sub-genres. Influenced more by mid to late 60’s pop psychedelia than R&B, more Nuggets than Rubble… I haven’t got the vocal range to take on soully/R&B screaming and testifying like Graham, so I try to work on melodies and harmonies that will work whoever is singing. I’m not aiming for anything apart from carrying on playing and having a creative outlet for my ideas. I realise that not everyone who has liked the other bands I’ve played in will necessarily seek out our stuff, but there’s enough crossover musically for anyone who is into the same influences to find something they like. And with our new lineup, the energy level has increased and I think we’re delivering the songs better than ever live. Check us out when you can!

07. Getting back to Graham Day and The Forefathers, when can we expect a follow-up album to ‘Good Things’?

Don’t know if it’s ‘when’, more ‘if’. We haven’t got any plans at the moment. It’s very tempting to knock out ‘More Good Things’ just because the first one was so easy and everyone liked it so much. But that might be a bit lazy. We might do it, but doing new stuff together might be more rewarding. But it’s up to Graham to write the songs, and who knows if he has the time or the inclination these days. I think singles might be more likely if it’s going to be new stuff. And if we did record new material, we might do it under a different name just to be obtuse. The Forefathers are supposed to be our tribute band!

08. The band are playing Saturday night at the Margate Whitsun Weekender. Are you looking forward to it and what can the audience expect from the show?

We always look forward to playing, and the audience can expect…. The usual! A load of old songs played with energy and fire, with maybe some unexpected choices thrown in. we like to keep the set fresh by chucking in the odd song that no one expects to play. Sometimes we don’t expect it either.

09. Are there any other bands that have impressed you recently, and if so, which ones?

I don’t really see a lot of bands to be honest, so it would be forcing it a bit to write any down… I spend most of my time buying vinyl re-issues of records I’ve already got, like a lot of other middle-aged music fans.

10. And what about your own plans? Will we see more from The Galileo 7?

Yes, we’ll playing whenever we can and recording new stuff when I’ve written it. No definite plans but something will happen. I’m enjoying playing with the new line-up and I’m sure that will inspire me to come up with new material very soon.

Allan Crockford, thank you very much for this interview and best of luck with all your projects. Have a great time at Margate. See all the details here!

 


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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April 24, 2015 By : Category : Bands Beat Front Page Inspiration Interviews News Picks UK Tags:, , , ,
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Le Beat Bespoké 6 LP review – Rhys Webb

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Record Picks

Le Beat Bespoké, now at volume six has been delivering a tailor made compilation of underground Sixties club hits for a decade now. Compiled by New Untouchables organiser Rob Bailey it has been an introduction for many to the sights and sounds that have been fuelling the dance floors of happenings like Mousetrap, Crossfire and the annual Le Beat Bespoké festival.

Where infamous compilations such as Pebbles, Back From The Grave and Rubble have focused on the lost treasures and treats from the vaults of fanatical collectors, Le Beat Bespoké differs in that it is made by a DJ with the intention of delivering an LP that will keep your feet moving from start to finish. For those familiar with the club nights it’s a flashback to evenings spent enjoying the tunes and for the uninitiated it’s an invitation to experience what lies inside those legendary London haunts that have become so important to so many.

The twenty tracks on volume six stomp and shake through a variety of genres from the distorted crunch of opener ‘I’m The Man’ by Jerry Holmes to the swinging euro soul of Belgium’s Birds And The Bees with ‘Tiger Dance’. There’s a few great Belgian cuts to be found here ‘Girl In The Future’ is a great example of the fine fuzz-tone the countries more weird and wonderful producers seemed to favour back in those hazy days.

Soul is also represented with Monica’s deep funk take on the Richie Havens classic ‘Freedom’, It’s a belter with a truly way out wah-wah guitar solo.

You can find fantastic American garage punk collected here too ‘It Happened’ by Paul Martin is a moody organ lead snarler, ‘Rat Race’ by The Tears is a Beatlesque pop treat and ‘Poor Poor’ Genie by Damon is probably one of my favourites collected on this LP. Recorded by a mysterious traveling musician in 1969 and laced with finger symbols, Eastern rhythms and lysergic acid drenched guitar lines, it’s certainly a 3-minute trip I’m happy to keep dropping.

There’s only a couple of UK cuts represented on this volume but I have to say that Samurai’s ‘Temple Of Gold’ released in 1968 on United Artists is one of the most exciting discoveries of recent years for me. Although not strictly a British group, (band leader Tetsu Yamauchi was Japanese), the single was recorded in London with British musicians and is a super psychedelic track complete with Flutes, Sitars and Strings, this is a 45 I’m sure will be found on countless want lists for
years to come.

Album closer ‘The Lesson’ by The Cords, from Texas, is a great choice of final track and will remind many regular attendees of the compilers long running club nights about how much fun can be had listening to this great music. The album is a great document of whats happening right now at those clubs. Although not every track might be your cup of tea, this is a fantastic glimpse in to the record boxes of one of the scenes most progressive DJ’s. Grab your copy here!

 


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Rhys Webb

Horror by day, vinyl junkie by night, Rhys is a DJ and collector whose passion for underground sounds started back in his teens attending the Mousetrap allnighter. Promoter of London club ‘the Cave’ he has also been seen moonlighting in another combo called ‘The Diddlers’ masquerading as a demented frontman about to smash his numerous sets of maracas on your bonce.

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April 29, 2015 By : Category : Beat DJs Front Page Fuzz Garage Inspiration Music Psych Reviews Scene UK Tags:, , ,
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Northern Soul – Film Review

‘Northern Soul’ by Elaine Constantine

The ICA, London, SW1Y 5AH – October 2014

The anticipation had reached fever pitch here in the UK for the release of ‘Northern Soul’ by Elaine Constantine. Delays after funding troubles and soundtrack licence issues only added to the great sense of achievement when the cinema doors finally opened. I had heard glowing reports from scene stalwarts who had managed to see the film before its release so I was already won over. A social media campaign ensured that the film was shown in well over one hundred cinemas on the opening weekend. I managed to get along to the Institute of Contemporary Arts on the Mall to see it for myself on the big screen.

It’s a tale of two friends growing up in a small town in the north of England during the early seventies who discover the world of Northern Soul. The main character John played by Elliot James Langridge meets Matt (Josh Whitehouse) by chance at the local youth club and the adventure begins. The two lads dream of travelling to the US to find Northern Soul 45’s and becoming hotshot DJ’s, encouraged by discovering Wigan Casino DJ Ray Henderson (James Lance) cover up record by the Salvadores.

During their journey the two boys come across all sorts of characters in a roller coaster ride of emotions and amphetamine fuelled tragedies, triumphs and tribulations. Plenty of humorous moments including John’s fascination with the excellent Soul sister Angela (Antonia Thomas) which transcends you back to those awkward adolescent teenage years with a smile. In fact that is the beauty of this film it reawakens all those memories and the excitement you felt when you first discovered the scene and other people who shared your passion.

What Elaine also manages to capture with great effect is not only the landscape, clothes, cars, haircuts and language of the era but the excitement and energy in the dance floor scenes which are incredibly hard to film. All those practice and casting sessions clearly paid off as well as promoting talent from within the scene and consulting key people from the era to give ‘Northern Soul’ a rare authenticity.

Naturally the excellent soundtrack is the driving force and had plenty of people shuffling around in their seats whom under normal circumstances would be up dancing and clapping at the appropriate moments but were very encapsulated by the film.

The ICA was full of folks around my age group who really enjoyed the movie however I hope this film will reawaken the long lost tribes and inspire the youth of today to make it their own.

You can purchase the soundtrack as well as the film on DVD but do try and get along and experience the film on the big screen if you can. Check out a list of Cinemas showing the film HERE!


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drrobert

I run The New Untouchables organization and events like the Brighton Mod Weekender, Le Beat Bespoké Festival (and compilation series of the same name) and I co-organize Euro Ye Ye with the Trouble & Tea crew. I have run many clubs over the last 20 years in London, where I live and current nights include Timebox, Zoo Zoo, Crossfire, 100 Club and Mousetrap allnighter which has just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011. I have been lucky to DJ all over the globe including Japan, Canada, USA and Europe and met some great people on my journey. I run RnB Records to offset my vinyl addiction: newuntouchables.com/rnbrecords for rare vintage vinyl.

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October 21, 2014 By : Category : Film Front Page Inspiration Media News Picks Reviews Tags:, , ,
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20th Century Buy

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Movers and Shakers

Scotch Martin speaks to editor of MidCentury Magazine, Tabitha Teuma, to find out what makes MidCentury work, who buys it and how one lucky reader can win some goodies.

It’s a brave individual who launches a magazine these days, with circulation falling across the board as tablets and mobile technology change the way we access information and content. But this luxurious magazine is as suited to print as British R&B is to vinyl – and like a vintage 45, it even smells wonderful.

I’m amazed that I wasn’t aware of it until brought to my attention by a former work colleague and keen furniture collector. This is no flea-market guide book or junk shop Lonely Planet guide to old furniture. This is high-end, uber-design with exquisite taste but firmly rooted in genuine vintage designs.

The highlight of issue five, my review copy, is the feature on Fernley Hey, architect Peter Womersley’s amazing 1950s modernist house in Yorkshire. It looks so beautiful that it takes your breath away, filled as it is with original furniture, crockery and design of the highest quality. To borrow a MidCentury phrase, it’s ‘too much’.

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Interview

Tabitha, how long has MidCentury magazine been operating and what was the motivation for setting it up originally?

MidCentury was first published in May 2011. It came about through my interest in 1950s and ’60s furniture and architecture. Having edited an arts journal for a couple of years, I was looking to start my own magazine and I could see that, despite several US titles, there was no UK publication covering the subject. I’d go to furniture fairs in London and see an array of magazines from the States, with advertisements for New York dealers (that I certainly couldn’t get to) and articles on homes in California or Cincinnati, but with little mention of Modernist architecture in Britain or even Europe.

Since when has MidCentury design and architecture been taken seriously by the professionals and art dealers as opposed to the vintage collectors?

An increase in appreciation and popularity of MidCentury design means that ‘MidCentury’ has become a valued genre in its own right, earning itself a permanent place in the design canon of furniture and architecture. High-end auction houses have held 20th-Century furniture sales for many years now and MidCentury pieces are now far more prominent in the mid-range market, with antique dealers and antique fairs increasingly swapping their previously fashionable Georgian or Victorian pieces for 20th century items.

Many of the Untouchables readers have been collecting 50s, 60s and 70s furniture and ceramics since the 1980s, what type of items are the most sought after by high-end collectors today?

The rarer Scandinavian classics, by designers like Finn Juhl and Tapio Wirkkala for instance, never fail to achieve high prices in the auction house market. However, even within the lifetime of MidCentury magazine, some British manufacturers, like Robin Day furniture for Hille, Merrow Associates, Gordon Russell and Robert Heritage for Archie Shine, have become popular with collectors and prices have increased to reflect this. Furniture by French designer Jean Prouvé was never manufactured on the scale of some of the American and Scandinavian pieces, and now fetches top dollar as a combined result of rarity and desirability. Pieces by Italian designer Gio Ponti are increasingly rare and very sought after by high-end collectors.

What town or conurbation in the UK has the best 1960s and 70s houses in your opinion in terms of design and durability? And what’s the greatest surviving MidCentury home in the UK, in your opinion?

There are plenty of interesting MidCentury estates dotted around the country, but for me it’s the Dulwich Estate in South-east London that I’m most fond of. Designed by Architects Austin Vernon and Partners and built by Wates between 1957 and 1970, the estate displays an extraordinary range of property ‘types’, many of them experiments at the time: from flat-roofed ranch-style bungalows and copper-roofed ‘pepperpot’ homes to tile-clad townhouses and high-rise apartments. I am probably a bit biased, as I once lived there myself.

In terms of the best surviving example of a British MidCentury home, a few places spring to mind. There’s Farnley Hey, the 1954 house designed by Peter Womersley in Yorkshire, the David Shelley House from 1970 near Nottingham (both of which we’ve been lucky enough to photograph for features in MidCentury), plus of course The Homewood in Surrey, which is open to the public. Designed by Patrick Gwynne in 1937 it is owned by the National Trust – I’d recommend booking a visit.

What do you think are the overlooked items from the period 1950 – 1980 that will become collectable in the future, for those without large budgets to but designer vintage items?

A couple of years ago, I would have advised anyone wanting to make a canny investment to buy Dutch. The designs were far more pared down and utilitarian than even the Scandinavian counterparts, with more metal utilised than timber – in fact, I used to hear people liken the pieces to the sort of thing they’d come across in the school common room. Tastes have moved on however and the price of Dutch furniture has soared, so it may now be necessary to look further afield. Increasingly though, as the MidCentury aesthetic establishes itself as a distinct genre, people are coming to appreciate good quality pieces form the period, regardless of whether they have a name attached to them.  As prices increase, it’s noticeable that names and brands are becoming less important to buyers at a lower price-point – I think that in the future, the quality and aesthetic of a piece will be key and these factors should be considered when collecting today.

Finally, what makes a collectable piece and how important is condition?

I’d say that as long as a piece displays skilled workmanship and is constructed from quality materials, it can make for a savvy collectable. It’s difficult to articulate what it is that sets apart the furniture of the most celebrated designers – it may be a subtle curve to a chair leg, a tapered back rest or the sensitive juxtaposition of caning and teak.

Always try to seek an item in the best condition possible. Severe structural damage can be detrimental to value, but these are not new pieces: as with vintage fashion, vinyl records or classic cars, they have a history, and this should be celebrated.

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Nutsmag readers can enter a draw to win a copy of the current issue and a three-month subscription to the digital back catalogue (seven issues available currently via iTunes and Exact Editions) – these can be read on any tablet, smart phone or computer.

Using the subject line: ‘Sign me up to the MidCentury mailing list’ email editor@midcenturymagazine.com. This offer closes on Friday 31 October 2014 and the winner will be notified via the email supplied.

In joining the mailing list, you’ll be notified when new articles are posted on their website. There is no obligation and you can cancel your email alerts at any time using the same email with the subject line ‘Remove me from mailing list’.

Rules available on request. 

Photography ©Brotherton/Lock: www.brothertonlock.com &
Bruce Hemming Photography: www.bhphoto.biz


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Scotch Martin

Since the local youth club in the early-eighties Martin’s been Djing with records of one sort or another. Spots at the CCI National Mod Rallies across Britain in the 80s were followed in 1990 by the first in a line of successful northern soul and mod clubs in Glasgow. With four others he started Goodfoot in 91, with Acid Jazz-influenced playlists of Blow Up in London, and Brighton Beach in Leeds. Goodfoot arguably paved the way for a new generation of mod-influenced clubs in Glasgow over the past 20 years. Living in London in the late 90s Martin DJ’d at neuvo-modernist clubs including Where’s Jude and Lordy Lord, as well as regularly spinning at Duffer of St. George parties and other happenings. A career highlight was supporting legendary organist, Jimmy Smith, as well as pulling off 10 consecutive club nights during the 1995 Glasgow Jazz Festival. By 2001, back in Glasgow, Caledoniasoul launched. A definitive milestone in the Scottish soul scene, the club ran for six years and brought Butch, Mick Smith, Mick H, Arthur Fenn, Mike Ritson, Dave Rimmer and Ady Croasdell to Scotland for the first time to experience the sweaty, full-on atmosphere for themselves. As a journalist Martin has always written about music. In 2004 he tracked down singer and organist, Bill Bush, whose soulful, jazzy rarity, I’m Waiting on Ronn, was hitting on the northern soul scene. After visiting Bill in the USA and interviewing him for Manifesto he brought the band over to perform in the UK, complete with Hammond B3, and has helped Bill profit for the first time from the 1968 b-side. Martin is married to Caroline, has two children, lives in the London suburbs. Still collecting after 30 years!

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September 18, 2014 By : Category : Articles Design Front Page Inspiration Interviews Objects Style Tags:, , , ,
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Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles

Leicester Square Theatre, London 30th July to 6th September 2014

It is rare to be asked to review a play, so this is a welcome challenge. This production has a very short run, so you will have to be quick to get tickets, but I have to say it will be well worth it. This is a wonderful experience. Beautifully written, superbly acted and brilliantly directed.

For those expecting a ‘warts and all’ account with imitation Beatles in tow, you’d be wrong. This is the story behind the story of Brian Epstein, an examination of the life that shaped him. There are no answers.

From the outset you are challenged (as the audience) to watch, listen and decide for yourself, which Brian Epstein you prefer and which parts of his story you wish to believe.

Like many pop history figures, there is much that is either debatable or downright myth about Brian Epstein. This play draws it out, examines them all and never once pronounces its conclusion. You do that.

Andrew Lancel plays Brian Epstein, while Will Finlason plays the character of ‘This Boy’. You’re never quite sure who ‘This Boy’ really is. I thought he might be an amalgam of all the different ‘types’ that swamped Epstein’s life.

This is an emotional roller-coaster though. At times funny, violent, morose, desperate and hilarious. The humour is typically ‘Scouse’. Liverpool has a unique way of looking at life and situations and finding something funny in it.

Andrew Sherlock has written from extensive and exhaustive research, while Producer Bill Elms and Director Jen Heyes have treated it with all the love and attention it deserves.

No one knows what really happened during Epstein’s last weekend before being found dead from a suspected overdose. This play imagines this exchange between the two characters taking place during that time.

Lancel and Finlason are absolutely brilliant and this is a tall order to maintain a level of performance for two hours with a short intermission.

Needless to say, I rose to join the standing ovation at the end along with the likes of Gary Crowley, Holly Johnson, Mike McCartney (Sir Paul’s brother), Alistair McGowan and I’m sure I saw Bill Kenwright there as well.

I hope this gets an extended run, so more people have a chance to see it. I highly recommend it. BUY TICKETS HERE!


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Graham Lentz

AKA ‘The Baron’ - Like many of his generation, The Jam started Graham's love affair with all things mod back in 1977. He is the author of 'The Influential Factor - A History Of Mod' which was originally published in 2002. An extract from the book was re-printed in Paolo Hewitt's 'The Sharper Word - revised edition' in 2011. Being a self-confessed 'broad-church' mod, Graham's interests range from Modern Jazz to today's up-coming new bands and everything in between. Although he has a passion for mod history, he also has a passion for the new. Whether it's music, clubs, media of every kind, clothing, scooters or art and photography, Graham supports, promotes and encourages as much as he can, because that's how we keep going. 'Give it a chance' is his motto. If it's not for you, that's cool, at least you tried it.

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August 11, 2014 By : Category : Front Page Inspiration Reviews Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Sexy Sixties – The ‘Dolce Vita’ Effect

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Sexy Sixties

Sexy Sixties – Part 4, Chapter 1C – The ‘Dolce Vita’ Effect

Yes, that film. That actor cat. What’s his name? Marcello Mastroianni. Hmm. A bit ruthless, in the film. A bad-guy character, indeed. But – God – he’s smart as hell. Went to the movies three months ago and woke up the morning after with a strange feeling. A feeling that I had to dress, walk, behave and act like Mr. Mastroianni. Sure enough, he’s got that somewhat I was always looking for.

1960. “La Dolce Vita”, the new film of Federico Fellini, divides critics and public from day one, but is about to become both a classic and one of the most influential films ever. The film is formed by various episodes, all connected with the late 50s high-life in Rome.

Marcello Rubini is a journalist, writing gossip features but dreaming his immediate future as a proper writer. Life in the mid-late 50s Rome is made of chances and he’s always there to get them. He’s got to aim high, so he embarks in all those adventures that can shorten the distance between himself and his career. Hiring his photographer friend Paparazzo, to take pics of this blooming jet set, no place in and around Rome is too far for his ambitions.

Despite the producer De Laurentiis’ scepticism – he and Fellini argued about the choice of the main actor – La Dolce Vita earned a lot of money in the first two weeks of screening in Italian cinemas, and the sharp characters Marcello and Paparazzo (the latter eventually becoming a common name for any kind of gossip ruthless photographer) set the ethos and the aesthetics of a brand new young and modern man-about-town.

So, here we go. Marcello. Trying one of them well-tailored Italian suits. I have three of ‘em. Got the first one from a Soho spot, that man in his forties, how’s he called? Mario, I think. I popped there one day and told him “I’d like to look like Mastroianni. Can you make a good suit for me? I mean, the works”. And he went, with his very typical Southern Italy accent: “eh, I do wottya like, young man, but you gotta wait a week, so fulla bizinéss to do, diz days…”

And then, the following week I went there again for fittings. He took him sort of one month, which is not that quick, but – oh boy! What a result. I know my name ain’t Marcello, nor I am a fashionable Italian actor, but this is exactly the way I want to look like.

Can you imagine? Very few films have been so influential to early 60s Mod culture as La Dolce Vita. The very expression “Dolce Vita” became synonymous with “high life” and “jet set” , and eventually went to represent a new style for wool jumpers in Italy – dolcevita = turtleneck.


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Max Galli

Max Galli was born in Rome in 1969, the son of a photographer and a housewife. Illustrator, graphic designer and writer, he embraced the culture and the aesthetics of the Sixties more than two decades ago. Max published three novels, an anthology of short stories and four comic books, and contributed to several magazines ( "Storie", "Vintage", "Blue", "Misty Lane" and “EyePlug”). During the years he realized loads of illustrations, pin ups, record and cd covers and posters for Italian and European clubs and bands. He lived in London from 1998 to 2003, joining in the London Mod scene, from which he took inspiration for his work. His comic books “The Beatnix” and “The Adventures of Molly Jones” reached international success, especially in United Kingdom and USA.

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November 22, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Fashion Film Front Page Inspiration Media Scene Style Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Sexy Sixties -Those hedonistic Modernists (1959-1961)

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Sexy Sixties

Sexy Sixties – Chapter 1 Part B 

Those hedonistic Modernists (1959-1961)

The suit is a blue pinstripe model, made by that Italian tailor cat somewhere just behind Charing Cross Road. It looks good. Well, it looks damn right. It has three front pockets, plus one for the hanky, two eight inch side vents and it’s cut like a piece of art. It’s just perfect. Jean Paul Belmondo and Marcello Mastroianni couldn’t have desired anything better than that.

The owner of that suit – and many others – is a seventeen years old boy from Stepney Green. He works, of course, and his job is all about metal sheets to be folded and shaped. Not that it can be called “the best job in the world”, but it’s enough money to make him afford some very good clothes and fuel for his Lambretta Li 150. And some pills, too. “’Cause life’s gotta be brilliant. You have to be brilliant, mate”, he usually answers when someone asks him questions.

Meanwhile, he also invests his wages into the latest jazz imports from the US, exploring all those many microscopic Soho music shops. He spends a lot of his spare time looking at his image in the mirror, and – hey!, he likes a lot what he sees. He meets somewhere in the West End with a few other cats very much into the same music and lifestyle, but he doesn’t consider himself as part of a group. In fact, he’s an individual. He’s a Modernist.

Music and cinema started it all, in the 50s or maybe earlier. American GIs living in UK wanted jazz musicians to play for them. A bunch of sixteen years old boys, bored to death with the too understated, post war-ish national imagery, found themselves tasting a bit of that ‘modern jazz’ thing being imported. And they liked it. In the same time, French and Italian films added new ingredients to the cinema as a form of art, making British films look plain and unexciting, to say the least.

If we add to these two fundamental things a third, no less important one, the mass motorization, with the introduction of brilliantly designed Italian scooters, you should have a complete frame about our boy with the pinstripe suit, or about his attitude and lifestyle. “Being brilliant” as the opposite of “being plain”, “being dull”, “being a post-war number dressed in a boxy, badly cut jacket”. Or, in one word, “being square”.

All of a sudden these hedonistic teenagers didn’t want to be the average English boys anymore, they wanted to be American, French or Italian. And for the first time ever, they had enough money in their pockets to look smart, to buy imported records and to drive a very good looking scooter – a wheeled piece of the most desirable Italian design.

And the boy with the pinstripe suit irons the crease of his trousers to a sharp, razor-like finishing. A light-blue, tab collar shirt is waiting on a hanger, as the ice-white mac, ready to be worn.

“Just stick a good John Coltrane or Wayne Shorter on the record player, before I go. That will give me a kick”. It’s nine o’clock pm, and the night is there, just behind your flat’s door.

The night is yours and it’s full of new sensations.The gathering of a new kind of knights – the Modernists – will take place at the club, all night long.

You only need to read a book, to learn what’s the story. And this book can only be Colin McInnes’ “Absolute Beginners”. It’s all there.


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Max Galli

Max Galli was born in Rome in 1969, the son of a photographer and a housewife. Illustrator, graphic designer and writer, he embraced the culture and the aesthetics of the Sixties more than two decades ago. Max published three novels, an anthology of short stories and four comic books, and contributed to several magazines ( "Storie", "Vintage", "Blue", "Misty Lane" and “EyePlug”). During the years he realized loads of illustrations, pin ups, record and cd covers and posters for Italian and European clubs and bands. He lived in London from 1998 to 2003, joining in the London Mod scene, from which he took inspiration for his work. His comic books “The Beatnix” and “The Adventures of Molly Jones” reached international success, especially in United Kingdom and USA.

More Posts - Website

August 8, 2012 By : Category : Articles Essays Europe Fashion Film Front Page Inspiration Media Scene Style Tags:, , ,
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