The Griffin Cosmos
I bit the bullet, gave some Russians my face (apparently via the USA which, you know, nothing can go wrong there) and did the thing. Another thirty years or so did about what I thought they would do. I looked older. Still, FaceApp’s ability to disquiet is not to be doubted. I don’t think it quite knew what to do with the more bearded selfies that I have on my phone when applying the “younger” filter. There existed a weird hinterland between where the app thought my facial hair should end and where it actually completed its journey toward my navel. In addition to this, I also looked a little like Peter in his monkey phase. I was convinced that Sonic used to be blue. There does need to be a warning of some sort too; if you haven’t already tried applying the “older” filter to a photograph of your child self…don’t. There is nothing to like there.
It has been quite a day for names & faces / faces & names. Brian Griffin came in earlier with his lady wife - Icelandic model & rock ’n’ roll jewellery designer - Brynja Sverrisdottir. Brian made his name shooting album covers for everyone from Iggy Pop to Depeche Mode, Queen and Kate Bush to name but a few. His work sees regular rotation in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 100 Album Covers lists and the like, drawing from a career spanning just shy of fifty years and I was lucky enough to catch them both at their leisure. We talked about his collection, currently on show in Germany at PopRat Saarland, about tour fatigue and his work with Depeche, and we even discussed how his initial work necessitated Polaroid backs which ended up signed by their artistic subjects and most likely in the collection of any number of lucky assistants. The mind boggles.
They had bought with them two wonderful books. The first, ‘Pop’ is Brian’s collected work in music photography, complete with an accompanying discography. For some reason pertaining to a slightly skewed distribution process, it’s incredibly difficult to get hold of in the UK and I was led to understand that there is, in fact only one copy for sale at a bookshop in Richmond? There are photos is there of people you know, not least The Leighton Buzzards, whose singer once accompanied my parents and larve self on a holiday somewhere. Majorca? The second, was a delicate little white leather-bound book, with gold gilt edges in a purple velvet slipcase, titled ‘Influences’. It was only ever printed in a limited run of 2005 in 2005 because that’s the joke. This was number one and it was destined to be flown to Ralph Lauren in New York in short order, moments after I managed to grab a few shots, included above for your perusal. When I talk about artefacts, apart from being after-the-fact, this is what I’m talking about. There is a new doc series out on Youtube that you can go watch, all about the DM covers and I am watching it now, even as I type this. Oh, he also took the best promo portraits for ‘The Return Of The Jedi’ that you’ve never even seen.
The last copy of ‘Record Culture Magazine - Issue 6’ left in Marylebone ended up in my possession and I blame them for whatever nonsense might ensue. It is one of my favourite periodicals to browse for inspiration and packed with both meaty journalism and great photos, two things that shall ever complement one another. Mine is already…attenuated with postits, as you can see. It only comes out twice a year and that certainly enables them to produce something that is, essentially, all killer / no filler. This issue has a great dive on Kenji Takimi’s (Crue-L Records, Tokyo) extensive collection of the black stuff, a chat with superstar DJ Heidi Lawden (which, when you dig, you may want to go long and check out her session from last week in Brighton that she was good enough to share on Twootor), and a sit-down with the boys from Georgia, Brian Close & Justin Tripp, featuring the most insane shot by Paul Barbera. There is also a fantastic interview with Matthew Higgs of White Columns, New York’s longest-running independent art space. As a teenager growing up in Manchester and Liverpool, he was deep into the 80s post-punk scene and found releasing his own fanzine to be a doorway into a world of bands, vinyl and critical artistic expression. Matthew talks about going to watch Joy Division rehearse at TJ Davidson’s Warehouse on Sunday afternoons. As though that were nothing. We also get to hear about the early days of the Haçienda, his admiration for the transparency of record sleeve costing notes, disco, and his dislike for rock photography - intended for the music press - on gallery walls. He also has interesting stuff to say on the existence of record labels as a type of public philanthropy, the emergence of music photo books from fan service to a collectors pursuit, and the potential of a digital dark age, lest here, at the end of everything, we return to the beginning in search of meaning. If all of that’s not enough to satisfy your needs, Ken Henkell cornered Ivan Berko for a hot minute with photographer, Nathan Perkel and there are some snaps of Ivan at the decks with just so much grease. I’m determined to score a copy of ‘Tago Mago’ and shall situate myself in a dank basement forthwith.
‘Final Space - Season 2’ is already out on Adult Swim? Apparently it aired on the 24th of June and no-one told me. I was convinced it was coming to the Nearfox later this year and that might still be true. The possibility that I might not be privy to its return had never even crossed my mind but that appears to be where we are. The first series took a little while to settle in but after that, it was pure joy, through and through. Their art style is what we here commonly term “Eye Crack” and it was the most watchable of shows, any time of day, although late night sessions after the pub were not unheard of. There are rumours that Channel 4 may act as a conduit for Adult Swim in the UK but I have yet to see firm evidence supporting this.
I must have my Mooncake.
JD - TACOCAT