Yesterday I did some Christmas shopping for a new guest in my house. I’ve never invited them before so I hope they’re not too upset. I bought several items, and uncovered a few from my storage cupboard to gift them with.

Say hello to my new artificial friend, my hyperreal evergreen if you (good) will.

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I decided to begin my newest collection with ornaments that have at least some meaning. I’ll start with the most recent additions.

The first two are fairly large discs with the initials of my first name (L) and my boyfriend’s (G) in a traditional font from M&S.

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The next one, also from M&S, is of an ice skate. Glitter has been used on the blade to give the illusion of ice. I used to figure skate as a child and G is very fond of ice hockey.

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I bought a set of three globes from TK Maxx as we love to travel – they are in sepia, pale blue and navy.

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Also travel-inspired is this white wooden house from John Lewis, which reminded me of my most recent visit to Norway. I call these Moomin houses, even though Moomin is Finnish.

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The paper star was a gift in a Christmas card, with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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The older ones

This metal one is from Spain; it was a gift filled with sweets. We also have one in white.

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A plush Zero from The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of my favourite childhood movies. I got this many moons ago from the Disney Store, and they continue to make Nightmare ornaments.

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I hope my little tree enjoys its first Christmas, and I look forward to adding to my collection of ornaments over the coming years.

Here is a link to a recent post for blu e-cigarettes

http://www.blucigs.co.uk/blog/films-watch-2015/

Recently I saw the musical Book of Mormon in London, the stage hit by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I normally find musicals – stage or screen – nauseating, but add in some humour and they become much easier to stomach. (I once had to sit through the entire 108 minutes of Brigadoon, although I would place that firmly in the horror genre.)

I’ve compiled my top five movie musicals – ones that don’t induce vomiting – starting with Mel Brooks’ directorial debut.

 

The Producers (1967)

A musical about a musical. Featuring one of Gene Wilder’s first film roles, The Producers is a riot of song, dance and general hilarity. Broadway star Zero Mostel plays Max Bialystock, a washed-up theatre producer who has to resign himself to the odd grope from wealthy old ladies in exchange for investment in his productions. Wilder is Leo Bloom, a mild-mannered young accountant with big ideas and a little blue blanket.

The aim is to create a production so terrible that no one will want to see it, enabling Mostel and Bloom to pocket the investments of its benefactors. The musical is to be titled Springtime for Hitler, featuring a star song of the same name, which is performed to incite ire in its audience. It turns out that the production is indeed terrible. Terribly brilliant. And terribly successful.

 

Cabaret (1972)

Cabaret is a great movie that just so happens to be a musical. Liza Minnelli’s performance as brash American singer Sally Bowles won her an Oscar for Best Actress, and the film totalled eight Oscars, including Best Music. The characters seldom burst into song, rather the numbers performed are all part of the characters’ jobs at the Kit-Kat club.

Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel, Goodbye to Berlin, Cabaret is set in 1930s Berlin during the rise to power of the Nazis. One of Sally’s lovers is Brian Roberts (Michael York), an English scholar residing in Germany to complete his studies. Their relationship is complicated and is played out under the tense and threatening shadow of a country falling into the grip of dictatorship.

Patrons at the Kit-Kat include Otto Dix-inspired audience members and great attention has been paid to the mise en scene. Cabaret is a fun film but with very serious undertones; the threat of violence is ever present and comes to a head in one particularly grisly scene.

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Young newlyweds Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) experience car trouble during a storm. They hurry to the nearest house to use the phone, which just so happens to be a castle owned by a manic doctor in stockings and suspenders, hell bent on creating the perfect man. Dr Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) is served by faithful siblings Riff Raff and Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and worshipped by devoted followers who attend his many soirees. Will Brad and Janet get out alive?

Written by Richard O’Brien (who plays Riff Raff), Rocky Horror is a deliciously camp and OTT production. The set design and costumes are pretty impressive, as are the songs that range from soft and slow (Over at the Frankenstein Place) to jerky and frenetic (The Time Warp). The music has a distinct rock and roll edge, but is still very melodic.

 

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Ludicrous, ridiculous and brilliant, with great songs, especially the doo-wop inflections. Frank Oz-created puppet Audrey II, is a carnivorous plant that comes to life after lightning strikes. Green-fingered Seymour (Rock Moranis) discovers and names said plant and must cope with its ravenous secret.

Seymour is a lonely store clerk who’s in love with his co-worker, Audrey (Ellen Greene). Audrey is insecure and dating a sadistic dentist (Steve Martin), who likes to knock her about (‘Who wants their teeth done by the Marquis de Sade?’). As Audrey’s confidence grows, Seymour declares his love and helps rid her of her odious boyfriend in the most resourceful of ways.

 

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

Foul-mouthed eight-year olds Kyle, Stan, Cartman and Kenny become obsessed with the new Terrance and Phillip Movie, which began as a Canadian TV series featuring extreme toilet humour and coarse language. The movie turns out to be a huge hit amongst the youngsters of South Park and beyond, much to their parents’ disapproval. Carnage ensues and war on Canada is declared.

How such vulgar and crass content can translate into so many accomplished songs is nothing short of genius. ‘What Would Brian Boitano Do?’ is a random and bizarre homage to an Olympian that bears no relevance to the story yet it’s extremely catchy and enjoyable. The songs in the South Park movie are so tuneful you find yourself mouthing ‘Uncle Fu**a’ on the bus before realising your error. I Blame Canada.

No, my cat is not helping me pick out new curtains, nor am I using her as a paintbrush. Here you will find some interesting items to bring a touch of animal magic to your abode.

Stockists
-Sanderson Omega Cats Wallpaper, £43 from John Lewis (available in other colour ways)
-Monocle Cheshire Cat Tile by Rory Dobner, £39.50 from Liberty
-Frith Sculpture Willard Cat by Paul Jenkins, £31 from John Lewis
-IBRIDE Irina Cat Tray, £85 from Liberty
-Framed Cat Cushion, £19.50 from M&S
-Journal from the Laurel Burch Fantastic Felines Collection from Paperblanks (various sizes and prices)
-Retro Black Cat Lightswitch Cover, £3.92 from Etsy (available in different sizes)
-Cat Doormat, £10 from Next
-Pyropet Candle, £30, available from Urban Outfitters (visit their website pyropetcandles.com to see how it works!)

A short time ago whilst visiting my hometown museum, I spied this photograph in a glass display box in an unassuming location. The image stopped me in my tracks. The black and white shot was of a long since departed cinema at the end of an alley called The Plaza. I was intrinsically drawn to the photograph, which was so noirish with its sleazy neon light. I imagined a sleuth in a sharp suit with a briefcase lurking in the shadows, following a dame for a murky suitor. Then I remembered that these people don’t exist in Scotland, at least not in a sharp suit.

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I decided to conduct some research into this long-forgotten cinema, which brought up some fond and nostalgic memories of cinema-going as a youngster.

The Plaza was situated in the centre of the Ayrshire town Kilmarnock. It was built in 1939 and sadly demolished in 1971, making way for the shop Marks and Spencer. The film advertised on the sign, The Art of Love, is a 1965 picture directed by Norman Jewison, starring Dick Van Dyke and James Garner.

My own love affair with the cinema, or ‘the pictures’ as we call it in Scotland, started young. Our local film theatre – latterly named ABC – was a fairly grotty, poorly-lit place decked out in gold and crimson paint, like some sort of cheap bordello. There was only one ticket desk inside and so a huge line would snake down the street, despite the mere three screens.

It was a place where bubblegum and broken popcorn were hermetically sealed to your shoes whilst giant cartoon characters became your heroes. I loved it.

It had these enormous red velvet drapes, and when they parted and the lights fell low, I’d haul out my secret stash of sweets and wait for the magic to begin. Back in the day there was an intermission, when the curtain would close and a little old lady came out with a tray full of ice creams to peddle.

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Because we weren’t well-off, I didn’t get to the visit the cinema as much as I would have liked, which I suppose made the experience all the richer. During childhood my brother and I existed on a video diet of Disney classics, early Tim Burton (Beetlejuice was our absolute favourite) and Arnold Schwarzenegger films (The Running Man is still a guilty pleasure). We watched these at my grandmother’s house as we didn’t have a video recorder. We did acquire a second-hand model at one point but it didn’t seem to like my brother’s cash gift. Anyway, I digress…

I was in my early teens when a new multiplex opened. This hit the ABC hard and they reduced their prices to just £1 per film. Even though the new cinema was charging triple the price, the allure of the shiny silver soulless facade and the nine screens (you can only watch one at once you know) was too much of a pull and the ABC closed forever. That was over a decade ago and it still stands empty.

There have been numerous stories about what’s to become of the ABC – which is B-listed – including a hotel (crazy considering it’s hardly a tourist trap), a bingo hall (isn’t there enough already?) and a kids’ theatre company, which is definitely the best bet if they can find the funding.

The floor of the multiplex is still littered with popcorn, but the theatre of cinema in the town evaporated the day those big red velvet drapes came down for the last time, all those years ago.

All pictures from scottishcinemas.org.uk

When two of your favourite worlds collide, it’s particularly brilliant, especially when it happens to be the influence of one of your most revered artists in a truly great film.

 

Edward Hopper’s ‘House by the Railroad’ in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960)

Hopper’s Realist depictions of American life were often described as silent theatre, so it’s no surprise that his work has inspired many filmmakers. House by the Railroad shows a beautiful and grand – yet seemingly ordinary – Victorian house, just like the one influenced by it in Psycho – the Bates Motel. The suspense used so prominently in Hitchcock’s films is ideally suited to the tense atmosphere projected in the works of Edward Hopper.

 

Marc Chagall’s ‘The Wedding’ (1944) and several other Chagall influences in Norman Jewison’s Fiddler on the Roof (1971).

The Wedding depicts the nuptials of Chagall’s brother-in-law, which he painted shortly after his wife (and muse) Bella’s death. The happy occasion therefore takes on a sinister note in the painting due to his frame of mind at the time. Whilst there is no exact replica of this scene in Fiddler on the Roof (although there is a wedding), the entire stage production, including its name, was influenced by the life and work of Chagall: village life during the Russian Empire, smallholdings, shack-like wooden houses (Chagall’s town of Vitebsk was built entirely from wood), both Jewish and Christian residents (at this time Vitebsk was very split) and of course Hasidic tradition. Tradition is extremely important, as evidenced in the recurrent song of the same name sung by the main character, Tevye. Chagall was courageous – he embraced his religion and put it out there for the world to see at a time when it was dangerous to do so.

the-wedding

 

Otto Dix’s ‘Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden’ (1926) in Bob Fosse’s Cabaret (1972)

As a predominant German writer and poet of the same era as Dix, he was struck by von Harden’s androgynous and unusual look, as well as her artistic vision. I imagine the reason for recreating this painting in Cabaret was to not only choose a visual look similar to the Berlin intelligentsia, but to celebrate the work of a German artist so closely associated with the First World War.

 

Jacques-Louis David’s ‘Death of Marat’ (1793) in Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt (2002)

This work depicts the murder of Jean-Paul Marat, leader of the French Revolution. Stabbed in his bathtub, he is seen with quill and parchment. In About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson’s character Warren falls asleep in the bath whilst composing a letter. Warren has had a tough time – his wife recently died, he feels redundant after retiring and his only daughter is about to marry a no-hoper. I’m not sure what the exact reasoning for the representation of The Death of Marat is, but my crass interpretation is that due to all his recent issues and feelings of redundancy, the man he once was is now gone.

 

John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia’ (1852) in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011)

This beautiful Pre-Raphaelite painting portrays Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet drifting in the river after she falls in. Caught up in the beauty of her surroundings she floats for a while before succumbing to a watery death. In Melancholia, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) is a newlywed whose personal relationships are strained and she becomes increasingly depressed. The earth is in danger after news that a planet is set to collide with it. Ophelia’s calm demeanour despite the fact that she is about to drown is mimicked by Justine’s reaction to her own – and the world’s – impending doom.

The county of Ayrshire, birthplace of Robert Burns, Hendrick’s Gin and little old me. The best thing about my county is the great outdoors, particularly when the sun is shining, which it certainly was at the weekend (28°C, unheard of in Scotland). Ayrshire is home to rolling hills, lush green pastures and a plethora of beaches.

On the first day of my trip home I visited Dunure and Croy Beach in South Ayrshire, which was glorious after months in landlocked Berkshire. I try to avoid the busier beaches, such as Troon and Ayr, and head up the coast for more secluded spots.

The views here are incredible: rugged coastline, vast sparkling ocean, and the hazy outline of the uninhabited island of Ailsa Craig in the distance, ten miles out to sea. The few fluffy clouds gave interest to the vivid blue sky and white cabbage butterflies and wild flowers were in abundance.

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If you ever visit this area be sure to take a picnic as you’ll want to spend some time here. There is also a farm park for children close by called Heads of Ayr, and a few caravan parks for longer visits. Dunure is also very close to Turnberry, the famous hotel and golf resort, which has held many Open tournaments.

As I’ve been in the process of moving house I only just got round to seeing Jersey Boys, a film I was very interested and curious about for the past few months. I’ve never seen the stage show but as a fan of Clint Eastwood, Christopher Walken and 50s/60s music, my hopes were high.

jerseyboysBorn Francesco Castelluccio in Newark on May 3rd 1934, Frankie Valli had aspirations of musical stardom but settled on his father’s career as a barber. He performed where he could, showing off his impressive falsetto at every opportunity.

Near the beginning of the film, Four Season Tommy DeVito explains that for a young man in their neighbourhood there were three options: joining the army, running for the mob, or fame. Despite early brushes with the law and Four Seasons members Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi serving time in prison, the boys strived for the latter.

Jersey Boys details the Four Seasons’ origins, their rise to fame, financial difficulties and subsequent breakdown, with family and relationship problems thrown in for good measure. All the hits are there: Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Oh What A Night, and Big Girls Don’t Cry. The use of My Eyes Adored You during Frankie’s daughter’s funeral is particularly poignant.

The film is slightly similar in tone to A Bronx Tale, with a touch of The Soprano’s. Incidentally, Frankie Valli featured in seven episodes of The Soprano’s as Rusty Millio. There’s also an obvious Goodfellas link: Joe Pesci grew up with the Four Seasons and he is played by Joseph Russo in a small role. However, Pesci’s Goodfellas character, Tommy DeVito, was not called after the Four Seasons member of the same name.

Christopher Walken is excellent as always as mob boss Gyp DeCarlo, one of the few actors who didn’t feature in the original Broadway show. With the exception of Boardwalk Empire star Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito), the rest of the Four Seasons were the Broadway stars of Jersey Boys, with John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli collecting a Tony for his performance

The Jersey Boys movie won’t set the film world alight, but it’s a well-produced feature (I really felt like I was in 50s post-war USA), with touches of humour and punchy performances – both acting and singing. The Italian-American clichés are inevitable and perhaps the films strays too far towards nostalgia at times, but it’s a very good example of a musical movie.

Jersey Boys is described as a musical, but it’s more of a biopic and the majority of the songs were performed live for the film in clubs.

This got me to thinking about other musical biopics. There are some great ones out there such as Control (Joy Division) and Behind the Candelabra (Liberace), and some that are currently in the works that sound very interesting indeed: Iggy Pop, Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury to name but a few.

However, there are many more terrific artists that I feel deserve a biopic, those whose lives I believe would make a great movie. Artists like:

 

Del Shannon (1934 – 1990)

Born Charles Weedon Westover in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Del Shannon was a country music turned rock and roll star of the early 60s. He had several self-penned hit singles such as Little Town Flirt, Hats Off to Larry and of course Runaway, but he had just as many hits covering other peoples records. Del Shannon had a knack of taking the songs of others – like Chuck Berry and The Beatles – and making them better, almost making the originals redundant. He was popular in both the US and the UK and had several top ten hits.

Many of Del’s songs centred on heartbreak and sorrow, such as Keep Searchin’ and Break Up, and in his personal life Shannon suffered from depression and alcoholism, which eventually made it difficult for him to continue recording. He sadly committed suicide by gunshot on the 8th of February 1990.

In 1999 he became a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. His most famous song, Runaway, has been covered by many artists including Elvis Presley, the Traveling Wilburys and the Misfits.

 

Roy Orbison (1936 – 1988)

A Roy Orbison film would certainly have huge highs – solo success, hits as part of the Travelling Wilburys and songs immortalised in feature films (from Pretty Woman to Blue Velvet) – but also massive lows. Roy’s life was blighted by tragedy; his first wife died in a motorcycle accident, and his eldest two sons lost their lives in a house fire.

At his musical peak at the same time as Del Shannon, Roy’s songs were also concerned with love, and could be tormented as well as light hearted (Crying and Pretty Woman respectively).

Roy was the first rock star to wear shades indoors, leaving some to think he was blind. Rumour has it he misplaced his regular glasses and had to wear his prescription shades as an alternative. This only added to the mystery of The Big O. Roy was not flamboyant or charismatic like many rock and rollers but all his passion came out in his wonderful voice, which earned him many fans including U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

In the late 70s he underwent a triple heart bypass due to years of heavy smoking. After a resurgence in Roy’s back catalogue in the 80s, the man with the Ray Bans was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1988, Roy died aged just 52 of a heart attack. Some say he worked himself too hard, others say all the pain he had endured was too much for one lifetime. Roy was a true individual with an effortless style and unmistakable talent.

 

Dion DiMucci (1939 – )

A Bronx native, born to Italian parents, Dion first came to prominence in the late 50s as the lead singer of Dion and the Belmonts, named for the New York street they used to rehearse on before they hit the big time. The Dion story would naturally draw parallels with the Frankie Valli story: both are Italian-American lead singers with backing bands during the same era, who went on to achieve solo success. However, Dion’s story grew darker as he had been battling heroin addiction since his mid-teens, directly opposing his clean-cut teen idol image.

The Belmonts’ hit song I Wonder Why has been used in many films such as A Bronx Tale and Christine. They had several successful singles like A Teenager in Love but Dion decided to move on from doo-wop to create a more rocky, rhythmic sound, branching out on his own. The transition from Teenager in Love to to Ruby Baby via Runaround Sue was complete.

During a tour with several other bands, Dion gave up his seat on the ill-fated flight that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper as he didn’t want the extra expense.

Dion continues to make music, but with a blues inflection. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989, with celebrity fan Lou Reed making the introductions. John Lennon was also a big fan of Dion; he used his image on the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

 

Johnny Thunders (1952 – 1991)

John Anthony Genzale aka Johnny Thunders grew up in Queens, New York and was destined for baseball stardom. He was scouted in his early teens for the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies but his sporting career was over before it began. An antiquated Little League rule stated that the player’s father must be present at the games; Johnny’s father had long abandoned the family and was a known womaniser. This loss hit him hard and he concentrated on putting all his energy into his other great love: music.

He flirted with the name Johnny Volume and fronted his own band as a teenager. Johnny first found real fame as a guitarist with the New York Dolls, who produced hits like Personality Crisis, Trash and Private World. Malcolm McLaren was fascinated by them and attempted to emulate their style and sound with a well-known UK punk band.

Johnny founded The Heartbreakers when the Dolls disintegrated, recruiting former Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan and former Television bassist Richard Hell. He was a great songwriter, in spite of his struggles with literacy. He was also a strong guitarist despite his raging heroin habit. His guitar sound was raw and powerful, as was his voice, which emulated the sense of pain and suffering he put his body through with addiction.

After the demise of The Heartbreakers he recorded and performed as a solo artist with several different backing bands. In the months leading up to his death he already resembled a cadaver, with a pallid sunken face and a vacant stare. He died somewhat mysteriously in New Orleans aged just 38. Whilst several illegal substances were found in Johnny’s system, it wasn’t enough to kill him. Foul play was rumoured but the likelihood was that Johnny had already succumbed to cancer brought on by a serious intravenous infection.

One of Johnny’s final performances (Just Another Girl).

This is my third collection in paper form (the other two being postcards and art cards). I have many ticket stubs, from concerts and cinema trips to transport from unforgettable holidays. Here I share a few of my memories caught inside little pieces of paper, reminiscences trapped in ink.

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Coraline Onboard the Screen Machine (Spean Bridge, Scotland, July 2009)

A few years ago during summer, we decided to drive around the north of Scotland. We visited Mull, Skye, Oban and Fort William, where we stayed in a chalet-type room in a village called Spean Bridge. I was intrigued by a lorry parked up close to our lodgings, with the Royal Bank of Scotland logo stamped on the side, next to the words ‘Screen Machine’. I had stumbled across a service I had never heard of before: a ‘bus’ that travels to the remote areas of Scotland, bringing the cinema directly to people in remote communities. What a great idea I thought, noting that there was a screening of Coraline scheduled for a few hours time. Inside, the Machine was just like an ordinary cinema – except better maintained – but with a single aisle and plush red velvet chairs. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and the whole experience, and it was a great memory from a very enjoyable vacation.

http://www.screenmachine.co.uk

 

Deutsche Kinemathek Museum Fur Film Und Fernsehen (Berlin, April 2010)

As a huge fan of German cinema, from Expressionist classics to the Turkish-German films of Fatih Akin, the German Film and Television Museum was at the top of my Berlin schedule. To see original film posters for Fritz Lang landmarks like Metropolis and set models of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari – as well as stepping into Marlene Dietrich’s wardrobe – was incredible.

This museum isn’t for everyone but was perfect for me. One of my favourite museums in one of my favourite cities.

http://www.deutsche-kinemathek.de/en

 

Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center (NJ, April 2013)

This was my first NHL game, and my first time watching a hockey game featuring world class players. I grew up in ice rinks as I was a figure skater and was always a fan of hockey. I don’t follow a particular US or Canadian team but my boyfriend is a huge Bruins fan. When we visited New York last year we looked for games at both Madison Square Garden (home to the New York Rangers) and the Nassau Coliseum (home to the Islanders) but could find no Boston games. When we realised that the Devils play in Newark our luck was in. With less than 5000 attendees for games in the UK, being surrounded by 17,000 hockey fans in New Jersey was a bit of an eye opener, and a fantastic experience all round.

 

Zoltar Speaks (Brooklyn, NY, April 2013)

During the same trip to New York we visited Coney Island in Brooklyn. We took a ride on the Wonder Wheel, ate Nathan’s hot dogs and drank fresh lemonade on the promenade. After a walk on the beach, we played video games in the arcade, where we had our fortunes printed from the Zoltar machine, just like Tom Hanks in Big. (We also saw the famous floor piano in toy store FAO Schwarz).

The history of Coney Island fascinates me, especially as a fan of vintage fairgrounds, and its use in modern cinema as diverse as The Warriors and Requiem for a Dream further fuelled my desire to go. Coney Island was a very memorable part of my visit to New York, which was my first trip to the Big Apple.

Avoiding the mud, sweat and (thrown) beers of the real Glastonbury, I had my own celebration of rock and roll from the comfort of my living room. One act I really didn’t want to miss was Bryan Ferry, so I made my way to the front row aka my sofa to listen to Roxy Music classics like Love Is The Drug, Avalon and More Than This.

The first thing I thought when Mr Ferry took to the stage was: the man’s still got it. The second thing was that he was wearing an amazing satin, patterned smoking jacket and undone bowtie, proving that his sartorial style just gets better and better.

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This prompted me to recall some of Bryan’s most iconic looks, from his spangled get-ups during Roxy’s glam rock beginnings to his impeccably-cut suits of recent years.

What set Roxy apart – other than their early adoption of synthesisers and intriguing lyrics – was their style, in particular the panache of their lead singer.

Here’s Bryan in 1972 performing Roxy’s hit Virginia Plain on Top of the Pops, complete with heavy eye make-up. This sort of look was soon toned down to a more sophisticated mode, but was no less notable.
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From the cover shoot of the single Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Bryan’s three-piece suit is exquisite. With his perfectly-coiffured bouffant, he recalls a raven-haired Christopher Walken.
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In this clip from The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973, he dons a similar suit. His marionette-like spasmodic moves are almost hypnotising. Prog-rock touting presenter Bob Harris hated acts like Roxy and the New York Dolls, referring to them as ‘mock rock’, which makes this even more brilliant.

 

A very suave look from the cover of Another Time, Another Place (1974), wearing a white tux and obligatory cigarette. I love the light and mood of this photograph.

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Even in more casual attire, the man can do no wrong.
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On the cover of French GQ in May 2011, looking like the coolest grandad ever.
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On a side note, if there is ever a biopic made on Bryan’s life, I reckon he should be played by Christian Bale.

Since Dolly Parton was such a massive hit at Glasto, you may wish to read a piece I penned on the country music legend last year.