Tag Archives: style

Nuke Nuked

New rave experiencing same problems as old rave with the old bill.

Buster Bennett (previously of legendary Hoxton nights Antisocial and Family) has been running his latest night, Nuke Them All, for a while now. But he’s got a problem — he can’t keep a venue. Nuke was initially hosted at the charming Bethnal Green lapdancing joint, Images. But then the council got wind of it and pulled its licence. So it moved to The Edge, a basement venue on Commercial St. The council did the same thing (do they have clubkid spies or something?) So Buster, showing typical clubland enterprise, moved it to an an abandoned pub. Y’know, like the rave kids do. Then the police shut that down too. Buster’s positioning of Nuke as ‘the most lawless creative gathering ever’ is starting to look a bit too prescient.

We can’t resist quoting in full Buster’s comments on the original eviction, as reported over at Jonty Skrufff’s Skrufff.com:

“It’s the same old story, and exactly why we left the gentrified Shoreditch triangle in the first place. What happens is some wanky trust fund son of an estate agent decides to buy up a flat next to an already established strip club then complains about the noise; specifically; the noise, the giant walking pyramids, the cake fights, the glow in the dark horses, the nudity and our clientele generally. But still, why move there in the first place?”

Why indeed! We’re with Buster.

[Photo ©2008 Darrell Berry]

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Wear Palettes

Tracking this season’s colours. And more.

wear palettesBigShinyThing reader Daniel — a Swiss graphic design student — writes in to alert us to his site Wear Palettes.

The site features images from the Sartorialist fashion site, from which the dominant colour palettes behind the look have been extracted and catalogued: a daily-growing database of fashion colours.

Nice idea. At the moment the site is bloggish, and we assume Daniel is doing the hard work manually in Photoshop or similar. We’ve no idea where this will go, but can only hope Daniel gets some investment or mainstream interest which would allow him to expand the scope and functionality. It’s easy to imagine Wear Palettes growing to include user-contributed, geo-tagged data from across the globe, and becoming an essential style/design resource. We wish Daniel every success and will be keeping an eye on the Spring palettes to come.

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Paul Hartnett Interview

Photographer Paul Hartnett has been documenting the club scene since before many of our readers were even old enough to sneak out at night. In advance of his upcoming show in February, he kindly granted BigShinyThing an exclusive interview

From the early London punk scene, through Leigh Bowery and the clubs kids, to street culture in Japan and the Asian mainland, Hartnett has been there to capture the look while it’s still fresh and raw. We were keen to ask a few questions of the man who’s seen it all.

BST: You’ve been documenting youth and street culture for over 30 years now. What is it about those worlds that keeps you excited?

PAUL HARTNETT: I started documenting street and club culture at the age of eighteen as a means of social lubrication. I wanted to get close to the key punk players such as Soo Catwoman and Sid Vicious, who lived in the next road to me in West London back then. I wanted to go beyond the visual. A camera seemed a perfect excuse to talk, exchange ideas, develop a rapport. Sometimes there’d be very little beyond the hair spray and eye-liner, sometimes there were all kinds of viewpoints, the most brilliant perspectives.

At the core of my work there is a continuing look at customising, how individuals have crafted a look. My pictures are portraits, executed with a Kodak Instamatic, a Polaroid camera and a range of Nikon stuff. I’m not a technical person. For me it has always been about faces, dimly lit, content driven, not style driven. Faces, colours, textiles, soul. The messed-up, the dressed-up. The fucked-up.

hartnett-dsc_1983.jpg

You’ve recently been exploring Chinese youth culture. What were the most interesting things they’re up to?

I recently visited Shanghai and Beijing for i-D magazine. I was involved with a street and club exhibition at Source’s Kong Gallery and this was a way in to meeting some creative souls. Visiting fashion schools such as IFA Paris and Raffles Design Institute was my focus, away from the gallery. There is such a rawness to Chinese fashion. It is often quite crude and quite different to the work Chinese students do at the likes of Central Saint Martin’s in London or FIT and Parsons in NYC. Having observed over 600 fashion students at work, having photographed a selected few, I gained insights. The Chinese are so very different to the Japanese. The work at Shinjuku’s Bunka, for example, is on another planet compared to what is happening in Shanghai and Beijing. Yep, it’s superior. That said, I was fascinated by the grounded approach of so many students at IFA Paris in particular. It’s a place to watch, they certainly have the technical skills.

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You’ve covered the most important musical and style movements of the last 30 years. Which of those do you feel the most empathy with, and what’s going on at the moment that you are most excited by?

I saw The Sex Pistols perform many weeks before the Punk Festival of 1976. It was just electric, kind of like Brecht entering the stage. Before that I’d only seen Sparks, Bowie and Cockney Rebel perform live. I was in a band as a teenager, Missing Presumed Dead, so inspired by the DIY ethos of Punk and Power Pop. What I love about fashion and music is when people are totally fired up, and a bit ‘bonkers’ with it. Really exploding internally and doing something individual externally, going beyond a commercial formula, a safe established pattern.

Right now there’s a musician named NIYI who DJs at club nights such as Gauche Chic. As a producer, NIYI is unpredictable, he uses the most unexpected samples. He is very playful and could certainly be categorised under ‘bonkers’. He is my #1 muse right now — a joy to photograph, when he can be bothered to turn up.

You’ve run clubs as well as documenting those run by others: have you always been that involved in the scenes you cover photographically? Have you ever had issues with access — scenes or subcultures who you wanted to document, but who simply closed ranks and didn’t let you near them? How do you deal with that? Who or what scene have you not covered, but would most have wished to?

I ran a club named Kawaii in London back in 1983. It was very inspired by Japan’s club culture. I also ran the world’s first club for drag kings, women who dress as men, back in 1995. The majority were female to male transvestites, some were heavy-duty transexuals. Every Thursday night there’d be 150 toughies, and me. There was one simple rule: NO CAMERAS! This allowed me a somewhat strategic exclusivity.

I’ve never had issues re access. I’ve had good coverage over the last three decades, and I tend to be guest-listed without ever having met the promoters. Door whores just know who I am. Being fat and a few months short of fifty seems to be a plus nowadays. Verification for clubs abroad is easier than it was in the past due to my website, people can check out editorial content, photographic approach, fast as click-click-click. Some fetish clubs can be stand-offish, they live in fear of News International and local councils.

The only club I have ever experienced shit with is that shit club named Boom Box. Oh, what a Hoxton hole. Just so hyped, so over-rated, and so over. I took a few pics… then pressed the delete button and left. I have little patience for fashion sheep.

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You seem both fascinated by style and its associated fantasy worlds, but your photos are raw and uncompromising — you talk about showing the ‘reality of fashion’. What does that mean to you?

Take a look at street-style pics in magazines such as i-D and Dazed & Confused and you will often find credits for an entire team of mag slags; hair stylists, make-up performers… an entire circus. To me this ain’t street-style, it’s manipulation. What I have done for the last three decades is SNAP with seconds of seeing. No touching, no altering, no upgrading. SNAP. Same location, same same same reality. Sure, sometimes I’ll ask for a plastic bag to be put aside or an event bracelet to be concealed, that’s all. So many magazines provide clothes that their advertisers wish to be promoted. That sucks.

What’s the future of street and club photography as you see it? What’s the role for ‘photographers’ as such, when the ‘kids of today’ have MySpace and a bunch of club photo websites on which to show off their poses, and every phone is a camera?

The Internet has come along and fucked so many people sideways. The music industry is in a tizz, everybody
seems to be online so much of the time. Punk’s DIY ethos is everywhere. People pimp their profiles to a narcissistic extent on myspazz and facebore. There are street-style photographers such as Facecunter (I think that’s his name) who snap at fashion events, but in a really bad way. So cheesy and hap-hap-happy. All very Grazia or Closer, Heatish.

I think it’s great that so many people are taking photographs, even if it with with dinky telephone toys. I love that crap quality, that low-res fuzz. I love the diversity available. That said, I continue in my own way. I have CCTV eyes, and pay an almost forensic attention to detail. I like clarity and the portraiture I have amassed is for a future audience I have never met.

Paul’s work will be on display at the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane from 14 February 2008. Go see. Also check out the PaulHartnett.Com and PYMCA sites.

[Thanks to Adz!]

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Truly, Fiercely, Deeply

Supermodel Kristen McMenamy returns to the catwalk for Givenchy.

kirsten close up.jpgWe LOVE Kristen McMenamy here at BST. Stuff Cindy Crawford, the fabulously alien-looking supermodel is our ideal of female beauty. And her now-grey hair has made her look even more A-M-AAA-ZING (as our dear friend Gerardo would say). However, fashion followers would be wise to avoid the ‘glad to be grey’ trend unless — like Kristen — you have cheekbones that you can stab puppies with.
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Uptown Downtown

Photo evidence: spirits of Studio 54 and CBGB alive and well in Vauxhall at club Uptown Downtown

Ryan Styles at Uptown DowntownUptown Downtown saw Horse Meat Disco and Rebel Rebel take over Vauxhall’s club Area on Saturday 29th September for a night of NYC-styled punk and disco. You can access our Uptown Downtown photos directly on Flickr, along with our other London club photography. Photo shows Ryan Styles and friend adding a little alt.chic out on the smoking terrace. [Image © Darrell Berry]

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Dansistor 8 September 2007

Photo evidence from Dansistor

Dansistor

Dansistor runs monthly. You can access our Dansistor photos directly on Flickr, along with our other London club photography. [Image © Darrell Berry]

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Bistrotheque Annual Drag Ball

Photo evidence from B.A.D. 2

Bistrotheque Annual Drag Ball

You can access our Bistrotheque Annual Drag Ball photos directly on Flickr, with the rest of our London club photography. Excellent pictures from others can be found in the associated Flickr photo pool. [Image © Darrell Berry]

[And thanks to Jim @ Horse Meat Disco and Helen @ Film Noir]

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Studio Neon

Photo evidence from Studio Neon at Egg.

Studio Neon at Egg

Pictures from Studio Neon at Egg on Friday 24th August 2007. You can access our Studio Neon photos directly on Flickr, with the rest of our London club photography. [Image © Darrell Berry]

[Thanks to Helen @ Film Noir]

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Dansistor

Photo evidence from Horse Meat Disco’s new monthly party.

Dansistor

Dansistor launched 11th August and will run monthly. Horse Meat (like you didn’t know) is every Sunday. You can access our Dansistor photos directly on Flickr, along with our other London club photography. [Image © Darrell Berry]

[And thanks to Tim for last-minute Nikon CLS tech assistance!]

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RIP Isabella Blow

The influential stylist and muse has died aged 48.

Isabella Blow and hatIsabella Blow was known for her glorious millinery and ardent support of young fashion talent: she famously bought the whole of Alexander McQueen‘s graduate collection. The last words should probably go to Blow herself:

Hats make you look good and feel beautiful. You can wear them for lunch, a wedding or for breakfast. It is like taking drugs: it is more fun and less dangerous. You don’t have to look like an old bat. You can be a crow and look like a hen.

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