Friday, 29 March 2013

Last-Week Links: 29 March 2013

I'm back in my home town for the Easter break. Yesterday, I went into 'town', and basically wept with delight of being able to shop at a proper Boots. Yes, a well-stocked Boots - complete with the full range of Soap & Glory, and everything else - is something that makes me very happy. My local London branches just can't compete, no wonder the local girls always look so glamorous

And, although I was in Brighton last weekend, it's great to have the seafront so close by, for scenic runs and fish and chips (although I did shed a tear at the gap where the Winter Gardens once stood).

Another thing I like to do at home: read and dream. I remember devouring Patti Smith's Just Kids one Christmas. My impressions of that book are also filtered, naturally, through Robert Mapplethorpe's own photographs so it's really interesting to see Lloyd Ziff's photographs of Smith and Mapplethorpe, captured in the 1960s looking fresh and unguarded or, as the article describes, Ziff "somehow captured in his subjects the precocity, and fragility, of a pair of old souls".

Staying in New York, but moving twenty years or so on, earlier this week I went to see the play A Thousand Miles of History. It's about the New York art scene in the 1980s, and the work of relationship of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It succeeds in capturing the energy, hope, and complexities which made that period exhilarating, without relying too heavily on the easy 80s cliches. Given the subject matter, there's tonnes of pop cultural references to pick up on. Basquiat, Haring and Andy Warhol go to eat in Mr Chows, for example (Michael Chow being Grace Coddington's first husband - in Grace she describes working as the cloakroom girl at the Knightsbridge branch). And the play also features Fab Five Freddy, the party bringer extraordinaire, which of course immediately made me think of Blondie's Rapture. Their take on New York in the early 80s features Debbie's famous rap but also a video complete with graffiti artists and Jean-Michel Basquiat making a cameo as the dj.

If you want to look at another New York scene, Nowness devoted two days to Chloe Sevigny's 1990s. There's a funny little film where Chloe skips around New York in a black oh-so-90s shift dress searching for a boy: at about 8.30 minutes in, she sneaks into a Marc Jacobs show and rubs shoulders with the likes of Andre Leon Talley, Naomi Campbell and - once again so painfully 90s - a baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio.

I'm not sure if I yet have the distance to revisit the 90s, so I'll indulge in a spot of French fancy instead with the Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola film for the Prada Candy perfume. Unsurprisingly, the colours and clothes look good enough to eat.

During my time in 'town', I also popped into River Island. There was a strange moment in the changing rooms when they started playing Blur's Tracey Jacks over the sound system and I felt like I'd instantly gone back about twenty years. Alongside Blur, River Island and Boots, Kickers were big about twenty years ago in Grimsby. I won't be buying anything from the new Lazy Oaf x Kickers collaboration but I adore this little film they've made to promote the range - bubblegum pop, dressing up, dancing round your bedroom fun. I clearly need to fit some dancing round my bedroom into my busy Easter schedule.

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