When Paul McCartney left The Beatles in 1970 he decided to drop out of public life for a while. Taking his wife and children Macca headed off to his newly bought farm house in the Mull of Kintrye to raise sheep, walk on the beach and pen gentle folky ditties.
It wasn’t until a year later in 1971 when the former Beatle raised his head above the parapet again with the release of the album that had largely been written on Kintrye – Ram. He probably wished he hadn’t bothered. When the press compared Ram with the output of his former sparring partners they found it to be twee, slight and a tad half-baked. It was no match at the time for Lennon’s primal screams or Harrison’s spiritual ditties. Although it sold well Ram became a exhibit A for Macca detractors.
Fast forward over forty years and there is a growing number of both critics and fans that rate Ram as the very best post Beatles solo album. Macca had in Ram delivered the template for much of what we now know as indie pop. It is all there; twee pop (Uncle Albert), folky acoustic strumming (Ram On), re-inventing the Beach Boys (Dear Boy), power pop (Too Many People). Music that delights in big melodies and that wears it tweeness as a badge of honour.
But also take a look at this pic. Macca wasn’t only light years ahead in his music,. He also delivered the template for men’s hipster fashion in 2013. Unkempt beard – check, Fair-isle jumper – check, retro camera -check, ironic tea drinking – check. Credit to @ianbetteridge for the spot.
Every year at the Oscars fashion houses vie to kit the hottest stars in their latest outfits knowing that the coverage generated by that star can make or break a range.
Conversely the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year event isn’t something that fashion brands are too concerned with, but maybe, just maybe, the suit that the winner was wearing last night might spark a new trend.
Bradley Wiggins looked ultra sharp in a suit with a double breasted jacket that was made in London by tailor Mark Powell. It was also made from velvet, which is a key trend this year. So classically stylish but very contemporary – Wiggins hit the jackpot once again. It is such a refreshing change from footballers kitted out in the latest threads from Italian fashion houses.
So might the Wiggins suit help the double breasted suit jacket become a very hot fashion item in 2012?
Well at the moment if you want one they are pretty hard to come by.
Firstly not all double breasted suit jackets are created equal. There are high collar jackets and low collar jackets. Wiggins last night wore a high collar jacket where the top button and the flap of the collar is high. These have roots in Edwardian clothes and were revived during the mid-60s Mod years – where Wiggins, and another high collar double breasted jacket devotee Paul Weller, get their inspiration.
The lower collar ones have the buttons and the flap around half way down the chest. These were popular in the 70s and 80s and I seem to remember Jarvis Cocker wearing one in an ironic way in the 90s. They are one 80s item that is unlikely to be revived and in many ways are responsible for killing the double breasted suit jacket off.
If you want a double breasted suit jacket now your choices are fairly limited. You could always do a Bradley and give Mark Powell a call. If you are a bit more limited in your resources and want to buy an off the shelf suit then you don’t have too many options. Specialist 60s store Atom Retro has a few in stock, but that’s about it.
A few words of warning though. They tend to look good on tall, skinny fellas like Wiggins and Weller. If you are short or bigger built then maybe stick to a more conventional two/three collar standard jacket.
Also while they look great with the buttons done up they can, like some pea coats, look a bit messy with the buttons undone. That’s fine for tired and emotional moments at the end of the evening, but not good for meetings with the boss.
For well over a decade now Nirvana fans trawling through websites like Amazon have probably gasped with excitement as they saw previously unknown (to them at least) albums by their heroes with titles like All Of Us and The Story of Simon Simopath.
For as they were about to find out, before Kurt and the chaps pinched a Pixies riff or two and delivered a pair of noisy grunge pop platters, they made a few rather wonderful whimsical British pop sike albums.
They may only have been in nappies at the time, but the baroque, heavily orchestrated pop albums Nirvana left in their wake would easily dwarf their later grungier efforts. Interestingly Kurt, who had chosen the splendid nom de plume of Patrick Campbell Lyons, had affected a nasally but quite appealing singing style. Meanwhile Dave Grohl had also taken a very imaginative pseudonym of Alex Spyropoulos, and perfected the art of playing all manner of obscure instruments. As every Foo Fighters fan knows – he was wasted on the drums.
Nirvana mark one even played a few shows in the hipper London venues of the time and hung out with pop royalty like The Kinks, who would sadly not influence their later work at all, and of course future front man Paul McCartney.
Perhaps Nirvana’s finest hour then is All Of Us, a brilliant hotch potch of silky, psychedelic pop songs that stay in your head for days. It also features their first hits too in Rainbow Chaser, a heavily phased track with the most delicate of tunes, and arguably their best ever song Tiny Goddess, a Left Banke style lilt that would later be covered admirably by French folk ice queen Francoise Hardy (see below for video of her singing the song in Italian).
Other highlights include the title track of sorts, The Touchables (All Of Us), the theme from the movie of the same name which features an unforgettable rabble-rousing chorus.
Sadly, having delivered their wonderfully chirpy soft pop masterpiece Kurt and Dave hit their wilderness years (primary school) which would see them suffer pain and angst – feelings all too familiar to anyone unfortunate enough to have heard their In Utero album (just kidding grunge fans!).
Ironically I was fortunate enough to meet the real Patrick Campbell Lyons a few months before his namesake band released Nevermind. He told me that he was thinking of suing the other Nirvana for pinching his name. ‘Don’t waste your money!’ I told him. ‘That dodgy old American punk band will never amount to anything.’ Spot on there wasn’t it?
Gun sights darting from each edge of the screen. The iconic theme kicks in. A man in a tuxedo walks into view, turns to the camera. BANG! Fade to red.
BOND IS BACK! We’re just weeks away from the release of Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s third outing as 007, and the 23rd adventure for the world’s most famous spy.
Today’s also World Bond Day, marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. No, Bond’s first silver screen assignment. With it comes the release of the latest Bond theme, “Skyfall” sung by Adele and written by the songstress herself along with Paul Epworth. It’s a return to the sweeping sound that characterised early Bond themes after a run of more rock-tinged tracks, but the classic sound hasn’t won everyone over. You can hear it in the video embedded below.
So what is the very best Bond song ever? We’ve pulled together our favourite Bond songs at Brandish below. See if you agree with our choices! Though our license to kill probably means you should think twice about disagreeing with us…
Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better
The best Bond song ever? If it was down to the amount of times it had been covered by other artists, this one would definitely stand a good chance, with everyone from Radiohead to fictional North Norfolk radio host Alan Partridge (AKA Steve Coogan) putting their spin on the tune. The title song to The Spy Who Loved Me, it’s a classy, soulful track that stands up as a great pop song in its own right.
Louis Armstrong – We Have All The Time In The World
If ever there’s been a Bond song that’s transcended categorisation as purely a Bond theme, it’s got to be this one. What a beauty! Louis Armstrong’s last recorded track, it’s actually the secondary theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and soundtracks one of the warmest, most heart-warming endings in Bond history. It’s easily the best song on the list, but does that make it the best BOND song? We’ll let you decide that.
Duran Duran – View To A Kill
A definite change of pace for the series, Duran Duran’s theme swaps strings and brass for new romantic synths. It still manages to retain the suave Bond style though, and marked a new modern direction for the ever-changing Bond.
A-Ha – The Living Daylights
In the same vein as the Duran Duran track, The Living Daylights has a killer pop hook, and is one of the punchier Bond songs written.
Nancy Sinatra – You Only Live Twice
Kicking off with unforgettable lush strings, You Only Live Twice is the sound of Bond at his most dashing. Even heavy sampling by Robbie Williams can’t sully this song.
Paul McCartney and Wings – Live and Let Die
Wings: only the band The Beatles could have been. Here McCartney rocks out to one of the most instantly recognisable Bond songs, with an excellent riff and almost jaunty breakdown. Typical McCartney then. We actually prefer the Guns N’ Roses version though. Whatever. So shoot us.
Shirley Bassey – Diamonds Are Forever
Shirley Bassey, regular Bond songstress, laid the foundations for what we now consider that Bond theme “sound”. Though many point to Goldfinger as her best, we prefer Diamonds Are Forever. It sounds more modern, and in our opinion has aged better. Which is probably why everyone from Kanye West to the Arctic Monkeys have played about with the track in some way or other in recent times.
Tina Turner – Goldeneye
Not the biggest Tina Turner fan in the world, to be honest. You have to be a 50+ housewife to like much of the stuff she’s done since her 1960s R&B heyday in our opinion. But when she’s on form, she’s got a cracking voice, and she totally nails it with Goldeneye. Little known fact, but this one was written by U2′s Bono and The Edge. Listen to those strings again and you can definitely imagine a reverb-laden riff by The Edge taking the lead instead.
So what do you think of our choice? Do they leave you shaken or stirred? Let us know in the comments below!
Since turning up at the Met’s Costume Institute Gala with a trinity of her Hollywood girlfriends, Stella McCartney has had a whirlwind week involving everyone from Simon Doonan (creative director of Barneys) to Michelle Obama.
While chatting to the gloriously over-the-top Doonan, Stella was asked about lending her ethical hand to a menswear collection. “Yes, I would love to!”- so what can we expect? I’m hoping for vegan-leather brogues and penny loafers, baggy suit jackets, chunky patterned knits for men, modern shapes and shirts in innovative fabrics.
McCartney, herself, spoke recently about her love of menswear: “I’ve always been a bit obsessed with men’s tailoring. When I was in St. Martins, I’d take time out at night and go work on Savile Row. I was always influenced by my mum and dad’s wardrobe and they always had really cool bespoke suits.”
Mark Ronson has always been a tiptop fashion star and this year has been awash with his sartorial influence. From the stripes and Mod look of early 2008 to the sharp tailoring in kooky fabrics. From the ’50s rock-star (read: Elvis) to the fur-clad aristo-geek.
Now, Ronson is taking it upon himself to lead the way with the trapper-hat wearer, ‘Lightspeed Champion,’ look as first established by our (soon to depart-) Jason Dike. Mark looked great at Vivienne Westwood’s after-show party last night with his fur-lined coat, oversized glasses and slick boots.
E-mail isabelle [at] shinymedia.com to tell us who your style icons are at the moment!