Ok, so the Pop Art spotlight is very much on Roy Lichtenstein at the moment what with his retrospective at the Tate Modern in London.
But when it comes to a style/art crossover then there’s only one pop art name that counts, and that’s Andy Warhol.
There are literally hundreds of Warhol’s prints available on t-shirts – check this lot out - but if you want something different how about this Pepe Jeans jacket which I spotted at Atom Retro and is part of the The Andy Warhol Collection from PJ.
It is a very striking looking blue jacket with a zip, 60s style collar and side pockets, But best of all is the lining which is a very cool reworking of the famous Campbell Soup Warhol print.
In his packed 70 years cosmic cowboy Lee Hazlewood recorded a string of wonderful albums many of which were on obscure labels. Thanks to the sterling work of labels like Light In The Attic many have now been reissued. Not Forty though. Clearly the runt of the Hazlewood litter Forty, recorded when the maestro celebrated that milestone birthday, is low on Hazlewood originals and high on sugary covers of standards like September Song and It Was A Very Good Year which don’t really suit the fella’s gruff voice. There are some stellar tunes here though most notably The Bed, which starts as a depressing country-esque lament before strings, brass and a female vocal kick in to turn into a jaunty pop tune, and the rather miserable but nevertheless marvelous The Night Before.
Astral blue 60’s Breton inspired stripe from BEN SHERMAN. Ribbed crew neck and hem, finished with a Indie colour pop cuff trim. Ben Sherman signature tab to left sleeve.
It’s usually around this time of year when we see the high street desperately trying to shift from gloomy winter warmers, to a lighter and brighter spring look. And typically this is usually cue for the humble stripe to make an entrance, often manifesting itself in the form of the classic nautical stripe, and not-forgetting the obligatory Breton stripy jumper – a familiar sight spotted at Saturday farmers market everywhere…
But, good news for lovers of this hooped pattern variety – the stripe is back BIG time this season, and in more elaborate guises from: Humbug to contrasting colour block stripes. Check out our selection of striped jumpers ready for the picking.
Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973. Design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo, make up by Pierre La Roche
I’ve always loved David Bowie. From Ziggy Stardust via the Thin White Duke to the smartly dressed Hamlet-inspired creations of the Serious Moonlight Tour. Even the movie roles in The Man Who Fell To Earth and (very differently), Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. These ‘characters’ shaped the style and attitude of my teenage years, while Bowie’s music of the period touched me like it did all angst-ridden teenagers all over the world with its predominant themes of alienation/otherwordliness/isolation (delete as appropriate). And although my love of Bowie has waxed and waned since the 1990s, I was still like an excited kid in a sweet shop to get a preview invite to the Victoria and Albert Museum for the David Bowie Is retrospective – along with thousands of other mostly 40 and 50 somethings.
What’s striking about the exhibition is that it’s not just about Bowie, but very much about the world that shaped him and consequently us all. So for example we see his early influences such as artists Gilbert and George singing ‘Underneath the Arches’, mime artist Lindsay Kemp who Bowie was a student of during the 1960s and several films of the ’70s, particularly Stanley Kubrick’s epic 2001: Space Odyssey and his extremely disturbing Clockwork Orange. If this gives the impression of Bowie as a cultural magpie who borrowed from here, there, everywhere that’s probably because he was – and is. That’s not to say there isn’t a focus on his own work too. There are his own child-like sketches of the dystopic ‘Hunger City’ which was the inspiration for the Diamond Dogs tour of 1974, handwritten lyrics from many of his biggest hits as well as iconic photographs of Bowie from the period, taken by celebrity photographers like Terry O’Neill and Brian Duffy (most famous for the iconic Aladdin Sane cover).
There are also interviews with those who have worked with Bowie over the years, perhaps most notably record producer Tony Visconti who talks about the work process with Bowie and basically how easy he is to get along with. There’s even a section on ‘The Verbasiser’, a computer program that Bowie helped develop which randomly chops up words from various stories to make the process of song writing simpler. “It’s like the storylines you get from dreams without the boredom of having to sleep,” explains Bowie.
Then of course there are the stage costumes – around 60 of them in total. While some of these are magnificent, particularly the Union Jack coat designed by Bowie along with Alexander McQueen for the cover of 1997 album Earthling as well as Yamamoto’s Striped Bodysuit from Aladdin Sane (see pic), others – like those from the Serious Moonlight tour and the jumpsuit from the famous Top of the Pops Starman appearance – look disappointingly washed out. Time may not have diminished Bowie as an artist with The Next Day being (nearly) as good as anything since 1983′s Let’s Dance, but it seems to have taken its toll on just about everything else. As Bowie himself once sang: “Time – He’s waiting in the wings, He speaks of senseless things, His script is you and me boys.”
Brandish was a guest of Sennheiser who provide the GuidePort sound system for the Bowie is exhibition which runs at the Victoria and Albert Museum from March 23rd to August 11th. Tickets cost £15.40 (concessions available).
It is incredible to think that almost 35 years after his sad and premature death that Steve McQueen remains one of the most recognisable and iconic Hollywood stars.
Barbour certainly thinks McQueen is a legend. The British brand has been adding to its McQueen inspired range.
In keeping with McQueen’s on (and off) screen persona it is tough clothing that you’d expect to wear as you hare round the Mojave desert on a bike.
How this translate to waiting at a bus stop in Romford remains to be seen, but hey we can all aspire.
It is, as you’d expect from Barbour, high quality clobber made from tough durable materials. Some of the items are distressed to accentuate that tough guy look. You can make your own minds up about these.
There are however a few less expensive items that might appeal to film buffs. Here’s a selection,but you can see whole load more here.
I do find it astonishing that Robyn Hitchcock isn’t celebrating his 60th birthday with his rock royalty chums at Wembley, rather than with a few hundred diehards at a lovely, but small-ish East London venue. After all what is not to like? He has a voice like Lennon, songs that recall both Barrett and Dylan, jangly guitar episodes that summon up The Byrds and The Smiths, harmonies akin to the Wilson Brothers and surreal excursions influenced by the likes of Captain Beefheart and early Steeleye Span. He is a one man Spotify of all that’s great in intelligent pop. And yet he sounds utterly distinctive too. If ever her maj needed to appoint an pop laureate he’d be the perfect person for the gig – though his late 80s track The Veins Of The Queen would probably be enough to ensure he didn’t make the shortlist.
Tonight we are treated to a romp through his back catalogue in reverse chronological order. And even from the off the parallel universe pop hits come thick and fast with the stunning Goodnight Oslo from a couple of years back with its mesmeric guitar (originally supplied by one Peter Buck) and the Johnny Marr co-penned uplifting pop gem of Ordinary Millionaire early highlights.
A few songs in and we are transported to his more introspective period of just over a decade or so ago (which I gather was largely a reaction to major label push of a few years before), where gentle pop tunes are fleshed out by a cello and delicate female harmonies. The stunner here is No I Don’t Remember Guildford, which soars away on gorgeous vocals and subtle strings.
The first half of the two sets take in Hitchcock’s pop years when a cast of minor rock deity – Nick Lowe, Terry Edwards and Green Gartside to name but three of his conspirators, help him run through his very Beatley almost hit So You Think You Are In Love and the psychedelic vaudeville of The Wreck Of The Arthur Lee. Both wonderful songs that should have given the man his big breakthrough.
After a quick break and a poem from John Hegley the man returns with several songs from his mid-80s albums, including the glorious paean to an Isle of Wight beach, Airscpe, and the anti-Thatcher Barrett-esque blast that is Brenda’s Iron Sledge.
Finally the time travelling troubadour arrives back in the late 70s with songs from his first band The Soft Boys. From an embarrassment of riches on the classic Underwater Moonlight album to choose Hitchcock, backed by two of the three original members of of the band, opts for a spirited Kingdom of Love rather than the more obvious new wave racket of I Wanna Destroy You or the perfect jangle pop of Queen of Eyes, but then you can’t have everything…
Finally the whole cast are back on stage including, bizarrely, publishing guru and all round top bloke Mark Ellen and Adam Buxton of Adam and Joe fame, to climax with a track from the singer’s latest album Love from London. That song, The End Of Time might be fresh to most of the people hearing it, but it fits in perfectly as yet another jewel in the career of a singer who hopefully will have many more songs to come.
The original design from 1937 and worn by everyone from mods to scooter boys since, This is available in Navy and several other colours. As you'd expect for the price it is the attention to details that makes it stand out. It is made from 100% cotton, boasts the classic check polyester viscose lining, has ribbed nylon cyuffs and a vent on the back.
I checked an hour or so ago and it appears that the temperature, in the south east at least, is heading for double figures tomorrow. Spring might not be here, but it is certainly on its way. And that means it is time to ditch that heavy wool coat that kept you warm all winter for something a little flexible and lightweight.
And when it comes to stylish casual jackets it doesn’t get much getter than the Harrington. Always associated with the mod movement – they became popular in the late 60s on skin and suede heads and again in the late 70s and early 80s when they were championed by Jam fans – they are the staple of heritage brands and everyone from Ben Sherman through to Merc has a range.
Last year Damon Albarn seemed to spend most of the spring wearing his navy Fred Perry and there are plenty of other high profile Harrington wearers like Terry Hall and Daniel Craig.
For a classic you need look no further than Baracuta who were pioneers of the jacket back in the 1930s. If you want something with a twist check out the quilted version or the dog tooth one. Purists please note we have included a jacket or two that could be seen as a bomber jacket/Harrington hybrid. But then we make the rules.
Which one do you like? More on their history here.
Yesterday Arsenal issued its latest financial update - and guess what, the club is in pretty rude health. Profits might have dropped a little, but just look at that whopping £123 million reserve in the bank. And there’s also sponsorship money to be added, plus season ticket cash and maybe even Stan’s idle millions (dream on…).
So the money clearly is there and in the summer the rebuilding programme needs to begin in earnest.
The big question for Arsene Wenger is how much re-building is really necessary? Are we looking at a wholesale clear out of the Arsenal team, or just some minor pruning but with some big name additions?
The rather huge sized elephant in the room is whether Arsenal will qualify for The Champions League? Not qualifying will lose Arsenal possibly as much as £20 million – thought I have seen it quoted as much more.
The more worrying thing would be trying to attract players to a club that aren’t mixing it with Europe’s finest. However Liverpool and Spurs have signed some pretty impressive players in the knowledge that they will be busy on Thursday nights rather than Tuesday and Wednesday.
So, Arsene, here is my take as to how you should spend your cash. Of course I personally think it unlikely that you’ll spend more than £40 million (0ne striker, one midfielder and a keeper), but we can all dream…
My little spree would come in at £120 million with most of that cash going on Cavani and Di Maria and that is assuming we have CL football next year. If we don’t then it comes in at about half that figure. Maybe the latter is more realistic anyhow…
Btw I think we should cash in on Vermaelen as well as losing fringe players like Arshavin, Fabianski, Mannone, Bendtner, Chamakh and possibly Gervinho too – which could generate as much as £30-40.
Ok, so he has made mistakes this season (but then again so has Joe Hart) but for me Wojciech Szczesny should still be an integral part of Arsenal's future. I think the dip in form is temporary and besides has he really been that bad? Arsenal do however need to sign another keeper to replace Mannone and Fabianski both of whom will probably be off in the summer. I think buying a number one keeper like a Reina (who has also been indifferent this season) is not the right move. His stats don't actually compare to the Pole. Instead Arsenal should opt for Sunderland's Simon Mignloet - who would be a snip at around £5 million. Or alternatively sign a keeper with plenty of experience that they can share with the Pole. After Monday's performance West Ham's Jussi Jääskeläinen would be a good bet. So that's £5 million gone already.
This pic is how Esben Oxholm of Yanko thinks the Apple team would design the phone/watch. It is a very recent design and the key feature is the curved glass that many pundits will be central to the iWatch.
Heavily inspired by the look of the iPhone 5 and sporting a minimalistic, sleek look, the watch is crafted with black aluminum on the outside and a thin layer of soft matte rubber on the inside.
It has got the highly recognizable round home button as the only physical button. The rest of the fun happens on the newly developed slightly double curved touch screen. The iWatch can be fitted to your liking, by removing or adding spacers in the lower part of the bendy bracelet.
I don’t think it is just me but these days I find that I am increasing playing more vinyl than CDs. Spotify is my main source of music, but every now and then I fancy something that isn’t on the online music service and go and get a record out.
There is something wonderful about spinning vinyl again. It demands your attention for a start. You can’t go skipping tracks (well you can but it isn’t great for your needle) and then there’s the sound which just seems warmer and more lively than colder digital sounds.
The big question for those who are thinking about getting the vinyl out of the loft and back into the living room is what are you going to play it on? Systems like Sonos and iPhone hi-fis have replaced the seperates based music systems of yore, and if that’s you spending money on a Technics deck, or aging Dual turntable when you don’t have the amp to team it up with, is a waste of time.
Which is why old vintage style record players are making a comeback. They are the consumer electronics items that bring the generations together with some being snapped up by young hipsters types who have just bought vinyl copies of the latest releases and others the preserve of aging hipsters revisiting classic vinyl from their youth.
Another reason for their popularity is that they just look great. Team them up with a suitably cool retro table and you have a really striking bit of furniture.
If you fancy one you really ought to be thinking about an original Dansette from the 50/60s. You can get them reconditioned from dealers and also from ebay - get lucky and it’ll look and sound great.
However one reason you might want a record player is to make MP3 copies of vinyl. If that’s you then there’s a new breed or vintage style record players to consider. Up until recently most of them looked pretty horrible. However US make Crosley has changed all that and its highly desirable Collegiate player was a huge hit last Christmas and sold out in that hipster paradise Urban Outfitters. You can still buy them in the UK but you might have to wait for them come in on export.
Here then is a round up of what is available in the UK now.
Fair play to Crosley for being the first brand to produce a high quality design-led reproduction of a classic Dansette. This, the Collegiate, is a small-ish record player that has an aluminium grill speaker a leather handle and USB connectivity. It plays singles, albums and 10inch discs. It is available in several colours. It was available the UK from Urban Outfitters, but they seem to have sold out. So the only place that has it for now is this lot who can get you one on import if you are prepared to wait.
Top tip. If you are starting a band now try choosing a name that begins with the letter B. Think about it. From The Beatles to Blondie via The Bee Gees, Blur and Beach Boys, so many of the greatest bands ever starts with that letter.
You might also consider investing in a season ticket at The Emirates too. For it appears that among Britain’s rock royalty at least, the Gunners have the most celebrity fans.
In a not very scientific survey I took 12 key British bands and noted the footballing preferences of their key members.
Some, like Oasis and Pink Floyd are well documented. For others I had to dig deep into the dark recesses of web chats, local news stories and more. If you have any hearsay, gossip or best of all evidence about the footballing affiliations of the people featured in the pages that follow please add them to the comments.
Anyhow, Arsenal just about shaded it as the most supported team. What is odd though is that Man United have so few big rock stars among their fans. Thom Yorke is rumoured to be a fan as is The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft and a Stone Roses member or two, but that’s pretty slim pickings for one of the most popular clubs in the world. * UPDATE The Happy Mondays too.
Anyhow here is the list. And before you ask yes I know Coldplay and Mumford and Sons should probably be on this list. For the record Marcus Mumford supports AFC Wimbledon and Chris Martin possibly supports Exeter City.
When The Beatles were growing up in the 40s and 50s the team you supported in Liverpool said a lot more about you than just your football preference. Religion played a role too with most Protestants favouring Liveropol and Catholics choosing Everton. Hence given the Beatles upbringing you'd expect John and Ringo to be Reds, George to be a Blue and Paul - who was from a mixed family - supporting both. It is not surprising then that in the early 60s Brian Epstein told the band to keep any football affiliations to themselves as not to alienate anyone. There are endless online debates about what teams The Beatles supported but the truth is that the Fab Four weren't really that interested in football. John, we can surmise, was if anything a Red. It was almost certainly at his insistence that one Albert Stubbins, a red-haired Liverpool striker , appeared on the Sgt Pepper sleeve. His dad was a Red too. There is quite a lot of evidence that John enjoyed a kick around. Pete Best (an Evertonian) recently said that Lennon was the best footballer in the band. However he didn't seem that interested in watching the game. Interestingly though the cover of his 1974 Walls and Bridges album has a painting he did as an 11 year old which features the FA Cup final from that year which was between Newcastle United and Arsenal. Ringo has apparently become more of a Red as he has got older (his kids are fans), though his step dad was an Arsenal fan and used to take him to see The Gunners when they played in Liverpool. George seems to have had zero interest in football which just leaves Paul. Ultimately he clearly has a thing for both teams but when push comes to shove he is a Blue. He once said - Here’s the deal: my father was born in Everton, my family are officially Evertonians, so if it comes down to a derby match or an FA Cup final between the two, I would have to support Everton,” he said. “But after a concert at Wembley Arena I got a bit of a friendship with Kenny Dalglish, who had been to the gig and I thought, ‘You know what? I am just going to support them both because it’s all Liverpool and I don’t have that Catholic-Protestant thing.’ So I did have to get special dispensation from the Pope to do this but that’s it, too bad… but if it comes to the crunch, I’m an Evertonian.” If we ignore Pete Best then Liverpool FC just about edge this one then.
It is incredible to think that The Smiths were together for just five short years. In that time they managed to release four official albums, a few compilations of sessions, singles and oddities and of course, a run of some of the most amazing and unique 45s ever.
And one of the things that made The Smiths’ singles and albums so special was there sleeves. Handpicked mostly by Morrissey, they feature a series of cover stars most of whom dated from the late 50s and early 60s, and for Smiths fans they gave an real insight into the singer’s world – who his heroes were and the influences that shaped him.
Some of those cover stars were familiar, like Yootha Joyce, the star of two very successful seventies sit-coms. Others like French actor Jean Marais from Jean Cocteau’s 1949 film Orphée, were a bit more obscure.
Not surprisingly quite a number of the stars featured in British films from the 60s, so I have rounded up those covers and attempted to give a little more information about the films they came from. Most of them are very watchable – a couple of them are classics.
I have added YouTube links to each one. Two of the films are available in a full version on YouTube, the rest are clips and trailers.
As every Smiths fan knows the cover star of the band's peerless 1986 single Ask was actress Yootha Joyce, but the still wasn't taken from her successful 70s sit-coms Man About The House or George and Mildred but from a decade or so earlier when she enjoyed a brief but significant film career. In fact Joyce managed to appear in several of Morrissey's favourite films - Charlie Bubbles and Sparrows Can't Sing - as well as one of the great unsung movies from the decade - Catch Us If You Can. The film doesn't get taken too seriously for one very obvious reason - it stars lovable Tottenham beat boys The Dave Clarke Five - the One Direction of their day. However if you overlook the way it was set up as an attempt to rival Hard day's Night CUIYC is actually a superb film and fascinating viewing for anyone who loves 60s pop culture. Without giving too much away the film is basically a road movie with Dave - and model Barbara Ferris in tow - as a stunt man and a model who escape their minders and head off into the wild English countryside. Along the way they hang out with some prototype hippies (this was 1965 before anyone was calling them that) go swimming in London's iconic Oasis pool and finish up at the stunning Art Deco hotel- which at that point was run down and deserted - on Burgh Island. They also pop into Bath where they meet Yootha Joyce, the wife of a socialite who quite fancies a bit of Dave. She eventually takes the gang to a fancy dress party in Bath spa. The pic was apparently taken off set. Catch Us If You Can is a fabulous film, directed in a highly imaginative way by John Boorman - later to shoot Deliverance and Hope and Glory. Had it featured some cooler stars it would undoubtedly be hailed as one of the best British movies of the decade.
Catch Us If You Can Trailer
For her – It is Valentine’s Day in less than a week and your bloke is, as we speak, preparing an amazing day which involves chocolates, flowers, a candlelit meal and chapter seven of Fifty Shades of Grey.
The last time this level of planning went into anything they called it D-Day. So shouldn’t you show him how much you love him? Forget the crap socks and that soppy card you were thinking about and get him what he really wants. Here are few ideas to help.
For him – Oops, you better get a move on, garage flowers won’t cut it again this year. Might be worth sticking this list in front of her – if you have been a good boy that is.
Vinyl to go for £50. This is a very small turntable, which as it doesn't have a large platter can be tucked away in bags etc. It has a built in speaker and can be powered by mains, battery or USB.
This is an Original 70s “Golfer” Print from the Brutus archive that’s 100% cotton and comes in light blue and I love it. It straddles that line between kitsch and cool and to me anyhow is equal parts of both.
Like most music obsessives from time to time I have wondered what it must have been like to be there at a pivotal moment in music history. You know, like avoiding the sweat dripping off the ceiling while the Fab Four hone their post-Hamburg rock and roll in The Cavern. Or watching the light show and Syd Barrett in psychedelic melt down mode at the UFO. Or even hanging with the art school punks at CBGBs as they watched as Blondie’s pop moves took New York’s indie screen global.
The nearest I ever got to a seismic pop moment was in a small and sweaty basement room bizarrely sited on Oxford Street by Tottenham Court Road tube. For there in 1991, the club, known as the Syndrome, became the meeting place for the main movers of the London wing of British indie, some of whom would go on to create some incredible music.
Energised by both the danceable grooves coming out of Manchester and the visceral punky thrills of grunge jetting in from America’s North West coast, the likes of Blur, Ride, Lush, Moose and many others began to fashion a musical response that kept the energy of punk but , how shall we put this, was a little more cerebral. And the music these middle class punks played (for many of the bands were from the posher parts of London and the South East) became known as shoegazing (after some of the musician’s habits of looking at their feet while messing with effects pedals).
As well as absorbing the primitive, yet arty sounds of bands like Dinosaur Junior and Sonic Youth, the Shoegazers were almost all highly influenced by the feedback drenched howl of My Bloody Valentine. Many bands also kept the melodic obsession of the C86 bands in creating sweet, often catchy tunes that they buried under howls of effects and white noise.
Shoegazing, just like The Syndrome, didn’t last too long, but for a couple of the bands it was a springboard to better things. Sadly though most of them didn’t see the musical tidal wave of Brit Pop coming and the music press quickly lost interest in shy, retiring musicians from Surrey and turned their attention to boisterous Beatles-obsessed northerners. In fact almost all of them were history by the mid -90. Except that is in the US where a couple of bands from a city on the nation’s West coast kept the genre alive.
So with My Bloody Valentine releasing their first album in twenty or so years there is no better time to go back and revisit some of the less well known protagonists of the Shoegazing (a term which not surprisingly almost all the bands associated with it hated) era. There are profiles of eight bands and you can hear them, along with some fellow travellers in the Spotify playlist.
One of the earliest shoegazey type bands The Charlottes were massively influenced by both My Bloody Valentine’s creative use of feedback and also the poppy melodies of C86-ers like The Primitives. The debut single Are You Happy Now is a classic of the genre with a female vocalist singing a sweet pop tune that they proceed to bury under an avalanche of guitars, effects and Who style drum fills.
They got even better too. Their 1991 album Things Come Apart, which has recently been reissued on vinyl by Optic Nerve Recordings, contains Liar, a glorious thrashy tune which was almost an underground hit in the US and See Me Feel - think The Ramones with effects pedals. Sadly the band split soon after with drummer Simon Scott defecting to Slowdive.