Roxy for ever
FEAR AND LOATHING AT THE ROXY
A BLUE PLAQUE, AN EXHIBITION + Q&A, BOOKS AND INTERVIEWS
The founders of the legendary Roxy Club Andrew Czezowski and Susan Carrington had plenty on their plate when London decided to celebrate 40 years of Punk. More below.
A Judy Blame creation.
I-D Summer 2017 -
THE CREATIVITY ISSUE
I never buy I-D. Used to buy when it was first published, but no more. However, this issue caught my eye. It's curated, like everything else these days, by Tim Walker, a famous fashion photographer, with loads of other famous guests, and the result is brilliant. Fascinating interviews with the most original and creative minds, from punk to the current club scene. It is inspiring. At the same time, there is a dark cloud hanging over this generation of creatives. More below.
"If you don't have it,
make it." - Judy Blame
Marco Pirroni and Jordan at the unveiling of the plaque.
2017 ... so far
Bastille Day Anarchy in the UK
All about Punk now, a visual account of the chaos we're heading to, the soundtrack of revolt, the art of discontent.
PUNK AND THE SEX PISTOLS
In conjunction with The Museum Of Soho, The Subculture Archives invited us for an exclusive screening of the iconic
subcultural documentary ‘Punk And The Pistols’ on Thursday 13th July.
For the first time, 'Punk and The Pistols' was shown free to the public. Filmed in 1991, the 1995 BBC documentary on the punk scene and the influence of the Sex Pistols was based on Jon Savage's England's Dreaming, featuring interviews with Glen Matlock, Malcolm McLaren, Jordan, Vivienne Westwood and Siouxsie Sioux.
The Great British Postcard competition
John Lydon judging
SaxoPrint has organised a competition for designers and creatives to come up with a postcard about Britain. John Lydon and Lord John Bird (The Big Issue) are judging. Here's the brief:
"What does Britain mean to you in 2017?
We want real perspectives from real people on what modern Britain is all about. We seek unique, individual postcards from the UK’s finest creative minds."
Here's my entry:
"This postcard is all about old and new London, with Pearly Queens brightly dressed part of an old London folklore dating back to the 19th Century, admiring a mural in Brick Lane, part of the vibrant and ever-evolving London creative scene. It's about the perennity of international renown London creativity which is unique, has always thrived and hopefully, will continue to do so. This postcard has been created from two separate pictures I've taken myself."
The competition is closed now and I am waiting to see what Johnny will make of my contribution!
Watching the new Spanish drama on BBC4 I Know Who You Are, I spotted a small poster for Vic Godard and The Subway Sect on the wall of the disappeared girl. Find that missing fan!
Damned good movie
The poster à la Andy Warhol, that's what did it for me. Just seen Baby Driver, a white knuckle ride of an action packed thriller which will leave you numb and breathless. The soundtrack plays a major part. imagine a heist on Neat Neat Neat of The Damned. I want that poster.
Listening to the first Idles Brutalism CD. True Punk, scary and totally psychotic. This is brutal music for very angry people on the verge of insanity. Also the best argument in favour of contemporary art too (you'll have to listen to the lyrics to see why). Highly recommended.
Rough and ready
A SHORT STORY ABOUT MUSIC ZINES
The London College of Communication in Elephant & Castle organised this small exhibition displaying their wide collection of original fanzines from Sniffin' Glue to more recent publications. More...
Fuck the hi-hat
Slaves have made an appearance on Chanel4 Sunday Brunch 23 July. Suited and booted, they were interviewed about their latest album Take Control, forthcoming tour with Kasabian and launched into a live rendition of The Hunter, jumping on sofas for a bit of Sunday morning mayhem. Excellent start to the day. More...
Sex and the city
Imagine ... Mapplethorpe: Look at the pictures
A film made by Fenton Bailey, son of David, broadcasted on BBC2 29 July.
Fascinating and moving portrait of the great 70's New York photographer who revolutionised photography by transforming the art market and tackling taboos whilst exposing the sex underworld of the city. Patti Smith's lover and portraitist, he shot her first LP's cover, making her the Punk icon of the blank generation. Fabulous pictures of them as a couple in Gallery.
Sadly, we have learnt that Sam Shepard has died on 27 July. He was Patti's lover after Mapplethorpe and another prominent figure of the 70's New York underground
Patti and Robert, New York 1970. Right: at the Max's Kansas.
2017 ... so far: more reviews
FEAR AND LOATHING AT THE ROXY
On 25th April, the Roxy Club was enshrined forever as part of London cultural heritage when The Seven Dial Trust in Covent Garden unveiled a blue plaque in its name on the site which used to house the legendary Punk club that started it all. As you may know, it was situated in Neal St where a Speedo shop has taken its place since. If you go downstairs in the changing room, you may still see its ghost. Although, I find it funny that a club where vast quantities of speed used to be consumed being replaced by a Speedo shop. Apparently, Richard Jobson used to come down on his bike from Scotland once a week with a huge bag of pills to "do business" at the Roxy and go back home, undoubtedly with his pockets full of lolly.
Exhibition and Q&A:
The exhibition took place further down Neal St, in a great white space with a bar downstairs bathed in a pink
fluorescent light as it ought to be. Pictures taken from the book were hung on the walls and many habitués came down especially for the Q&A to reminisce over the good ol' days.
Here's a great article about it all here.
The event was organised by the colourful Jane Palm-Gold who is a curator, artist and historian. See her work here.
Left: Susan and Andrew at the Q&A.
Right: their new book.
Below; "The American bill. The best night at the Roxy.
They were real professionals".
Downstairs at the Ace Hotel
Both of their albums are great, highly original and a welcome renewal of the whole genre. I am quite sick of the old Punk bands who are just playing their greatest hits becoming a parody of themselves.
Take Control is produced by Mike D. of the Beastie Boys giving the sound a definite contemporary sound and Baxter Dury, son of Ian, features on one the songs, an acknowledgement of the very origins of Punk.
I wish the boys all the luck in the world. Their fans are very young and I hope they will inspire more bands to join them in the revival of Punk.
I-D Summer 2017 - THE CREATIVITY ISSUE
Contrary to the era when I-D was first published, anxiety, resentment, suppressed anger and frustration are filtering through. There's a feeling of swimming against the tide: Brexit, austerity, high rents and the loss of creative spaces for artists in London, the traditional hub of creativity. There is great fear that something precious is being destroyed and it's made even more poignant, seeing all these great minds being more and more out of synch with the current events. I-D was founded in a spirit of optimism. Now it is fighting for the survival of hope.
Get a glimpse of that fabulous issue here.
Roxy Club: How it impacted Punk
Radio 4 interview:
Q: Why haven't we had music
with the energy of Punk now as times are difficult?
Andrew Czezowski: I've got a very strong opinion on that. It's the whole social media thing. Everything has become very beige.
It wasn't so worldwide, they're absorbing things from all over the world. They're not dealing with each other on a one to one situation anymore. They don't have that energy 'cos as I've said, it's beige basically.
I have managed to see Slaves live twice for free. First, at the launch of their new CD Take Control at Rough Trade East last November, and in March at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. it was organised by the NME to launch Record Store Day the following month.
Since their first CD Are You Satisfied? I've been intrigued by this explosive duo who seemed to have understood how to concentrate everything that Punk was all about. Their energy, lyrics and attitude were exactly what you would expect from a Punk band and yet they were like nothing we've seen before.
Slaves are a duo, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, very young, with totally original songs about the absurdity of modern life, not afraid to ridicule boys and girls in equal measure without being nasty or preachy. They manage to inject fun in their anger and humour in their depiction of some of the losers we encounter on a daily basis, from the enslaved commuter to the silly, needy party girl.
On the Rough Trade stage, they declare "We don't like Brexit", attracting the approval of the crowd.
After the gig, whilst signing their CD, I had just the time to ask some basic questions:
Me: I am impressed by your live show. It's one of the best gigs I've seen since 1978. You're true Punks.
Isaac: (genuinely pleased) Oh, thank you that's a great compliment. What about 1977?
Me: I was still into Led Zeppelin then ha, ha, ha! Tell me, what are your influences?
Laurie: For me Crass and Clash, Mark E. Smith for Isaac.
I was genuinely taken aback by this. Crass?! Crass was massive for us quite early on. They introduced the notion of hardcore, anarchy, communal living. They were dressed entirely in black and humour wasn't really their trademark. I actually thought people had forgotten about them and thought them as passé hippies, not fitting in the image of postcard Punk people like to remember. However, Laurie has spoken a number of times about this and I'm glad Slaves has taken on their brand of angst-ridden Punk rock and made it their own. It shows how serious they are about their music and the message they want to put across whilst adopting the garish colours and anarchist fun of the Pistols and the Damned.
What's been happening in August 2017
Malcolm McLaren death mask
Joseph Corré, Mclaren' son, has commissioned a death mask of his father for his tomb at Highgate Cemetery. The result is quite startling. You can visit the cemetery for a small fee and see it along with Marx's and other famous people who changed the face of Britain and beyond. Beyond the grave literally in this case.
Here come the girls
Greenpeace has teamed up with sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor to create an art work alerting us of the amount of plastic dumped in our oceans and seas. This is a real concern as there is so much of the stuff it's been called the sixth continent.
The installation depicts an ordinary family on the beach surrounded by sea birds puking trash they've picked up at sea. You can see it on the Southbank by the GLA.
My mind is like a plastic bag
Westworld Calling Night
The Vox Teardrop live at Brixton Academy 24th August 2017. My favourite track from Music Must Destroy album.
RUTS DC: London gig canceled
The gig scheduled on 2nd September at the O2 Academy Islington has been canceled. It has been rescheduled for 12 May 2018. Tickets will still be valid for that date. They can be refunded until 26 January 2018 for ticket holders who can't make it.
Open Up And Bleed at the library
The 9 issues of the fanzine I edited from 1998 to 2000 has now been legally deposited at the British Library as part of their fanzine catalogue.
I have also donated some issues to the University of Arts and Communication Library in Elephant and Castle, adding to their own collection which they exhibited back in July. This collection is attracting growing interest and enthusiasm from the students, something that I didn't expect. After a lengthy discussion with the head of the library about the role of fanzines in punk in relation with history, politics, sociology and the roots of creativity, we decided that a meeting with the students ought to be organised sometimes later in the year. Watch this space.
150 years of Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire died 150 years ago on 31 August 1867 at the age of 46. Yet, he remains the most influential of all poets whilst his collection of poems Les fleurs du mal is the most sold poetry book in the world. Along with Rimbaud and Verlaine, he became the hero of rock stars and punks such as Patti Smith and John Cooper-Clarke. He has inspired Sympathy for the Devil and numerous songs about debauchery, urban ennui, and dandyism. He's the poète maudit whose life and woes have made him an object of endless fascination and inspiration for artists around the world.