Posts written during 'July 2012'
Check out all of the posts written during 'July 2012' below. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try searching using the form within the right side navigation of this page.
Monday, 16th Jul 2012
In new book Beautiful Britain: Photographs from the 1970s to the Present, photographer Iain McKell captures his own individual journey walking besides the tribes and subcultures of the UK. The personal collection of images taken over a period of thirty-five years shows a wide variety of subjects ranging from seaside tourists to skinheads, ravers to suburban dandies and reflects McKell’s position as not only a photographer and curious observer but also a keen participant. As he says: “my work is always about the us rather than the them.”
Finding his spiritual roots in photographers such as Irving Penn, Bruce Davidson and Diane Arbus; McKell is drawn to subjects who are all in search of something that takes them outside the perceived normality of mass culture. Beautiful Britain is accompanied by an essay by journalist and cultural commentator William Oliver, who has written for the likes of Dazed and Confused, i-D and The Art Newspaper. Together the author and artist capture characters that are creative, eccentric and authentic – attributes that Mckell describes as “true Britishness”.
All images from Beautiful Britain: Photographs from the 1970s to the Present, by Iain McKell. Copyright © Iain McKell, 2012.
Beautiful Britain: Photographs from the 1970s to the Present, by Iain McKell, with an essay by William Oliver is published by Prestel price £24.99 in hardcover, 192 pp, 150 col. illus. (ISBN 978-3-7913-4701-1).
Thursday, 12th Jul 2012
We're excited to announce that the first pieces from the Bradley Wiggins X Fred Perry Collaboration are available online and in selected Authentic shops as of today. The launch marks the start of a 6 season collaboration with the Olympic cyclist and mod enthusiast, who also happens to be the current Tour de France leader - go Wiggo!
Wiggins is as much a perfectionist off the bike as on, and was involved in the design process of the collaboration from the very early stages. Inspired by vintage cycling jerseys of the 1960s and the heritage and style of Fred Perry, the non-technical shirts are complete with carefully considered details. The unique slim fit cotton pique shirt is finished with ‘GB tape’ around the neckline, retro metal zips, single zipped pocket to the rear hem and an especially designed 'stripe’ around the tip of the sleeves. The jerseys are completed with Laurel Wreath embroidery to the chest and ‘locker room’ inspired Bradley Wiggins back neck labels. Available in 3 classic colour ways: white, sky blue and black.
See Bradley's first pieces for Fred Perry HERE
Monday, 9th Jul 2012
In Spring 1977, John Krevine and Steph Raynor decided to close Acme Attractions and leave the basement that had become a hive of cultural exchange. They started a shop called Boy, which was located halfway between Sloane Square and World’s End on the King’s Road. Boy sold T-shirts with mock-up death images of Gary Gilmore on them and jewellery made from hypodermic syringes. On the walls were framed newspaper pages with the headline ‘Boy’ on each page. Krevine told the Evening News that the clothes were about “survival in London in 1977”.
After the Grundy TV interview with the Pistols, the whole country thought they knew about punk and it heralded the start of the tabloid punk movement. I ran Boy with Jeannette and when the shop first opened John and Steph decided to generate some controversy with a window display that had forensic sculptures of a burnt foot and hand made by artist Peter Christopherson. Two nurses swore blind that the body parts were real and called the police. I was taken to court and charged under some Napoleonic law about exhibiting war wounds for financial gain. I was prosecuted for indecent exhibition—which made me sound like a flasher!
As Boy opened, punk had reached its peak—there were even tabloid-fuelled Teddy Boy versus Punk battles on the King’s Road. We were right in the middle of the King’s Road and the fights would be happening from Sloane Square, past Boy, all the way up to World’s End where Vivienne and Malcolm’s shop was. The Teds were forty and fifty year-old geezers who arrived with their ten year-old kids dressed up in drape jackets. Many a time I saw a bunch of Teds chasing a lone punk and I would run out of the shop cussing heavily in Jamaican to deflate the situation. But at the same time if I saw a Ted being chased by a load of punks, I’d do the same thing.
I got fed up working at Boy, so I went off to try and manage The Slits, try being the operative word. The crucial four were Ari Up (who was just 15 at the time), Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollit and Palmolive. I remember seeing them play one of their first gigs at the Roxy Harlesden (not to be confused with the legendary Roxy Club in Covent Garden). They were on the bill with Subway Sect, Buzzcocks and The Clash: a punk line-up made in heaven. The Slits sound erupted as a stumbling rhythm packed with maximum energy and determination: Palmolive destroying the drums, Tessa’s heavyweight bass with Viv’s choppy guitar chords delivered like broken glass; on top of this raucous rhythm was Ari’s signature screeching vocal style.
They were rough, rugged and they rocked. These girls came with an attitude unlike anything I’d ever seen before, male or female! They soon gained a reputation for being unpredictable, chaotic and downright scary. But what intimidated the A&R men, inspired and empowered legions of young girls up and down the country who were fed up with the options open to them at that time. The Clash were impressed enough to take them on the White Riot tour (Mick Jones would have to tune their guitars for them!). It was at this point I realised that I was trying to manage the unmanageable. Bands fighting each other was one thing (and not unheard of) but The Slits would be fighting on stage, off stage, and all points in between. The thing about The Slits was they were The Slits twenty-four seven, not just while they were on stage performing. It wasn’t an act. I remember trying to check the girls into a hotel one time, but before I’d even signed them in, we were being thrown out. Ari had decided to start wrecking the joint while we were still in reception. Such was the chaos that was the Slits.
But it wasn’t all outrage and chaos; these girls were breaking new ground without really trying. Musically, lyrically, stylistically everything was different. They were the last of the first wave of punk bands to get signed such was their reputation. Their debut album ‘Cut’ was produced by the dub master himself Dennis Bovell (Matumbi/Janet Kay). Its sleeve featured the girls naked and covered in mud and the music inside was a sonic delight. Bored by what punk had become, The Slits were one of the first bands to embrace reggae and later African rhythms. It was their love of reggae in particular that brought us together as friends. When we went to reggae clubs every eye in the house would be focused on Ari who’d be whipping up a storm on the dance-floor.
By the late seventies, punk had become trapped by its own definition and post-punk bands like the Pop Group and PiL were actually far more liberating than what punk had become—a shambles of safety pins and bin-liner bands. As for The Slits, a new deal with CBS produced the Return of the Giant Slits album in 1981 and not long after, they announced their final gig at the Hammersmith Palais.
When I first met Ari she was fifteen, feisty and confrontational and she remained that way her whole life. The last time I saw her was at Metropolis Studios in West London and James Brown happened to be recording there. We went to the canteen to get some food and it had all gone. James Brown and his crew had eaten it all. Arianna went straight up to James Brown and said, “Oi you, you have eaten all my bloodclaat food.” James just grunted, turned and looked at her somewhat surprised.
Sadly on October 20th 2010 Ari Up passed away and although never commercially successful, through sheer emotion and desire, The Slits created some great music and remain one of the most significant female punk-rock bands of the late 1970s. Madonna bow down, Courtney Love step back and as for Spice Girls—don’t make me laugh. Whatever you think they’ve done, The Slits did it before…
Read all posts by Don Letts HERE