Boots Made for Walking

Want 

Boots – At £204 quid Red Wings Heritage Moc Toe Boot In Brown is an extravagance I’ll have to wait for and at this rate that I’m earning, quite a long time. Should my boat come in though I’ll be off to the gloriously named Clobber Calm in Sheffield to try some on. I like a nice pair of boots for winter street photography. The best pair of boots I’ve ever had were Timberland which I bought on Fifth Avenue, New York. That was when they were made in the States and the quality was exceptional. I thought £204 quid was massively expensive for a pair of boots until I opened last weekends Observer magazine on the Style Section Men’s boots page. Eight Hundred and Seventy Five Quid would get me a pair of Flash Trek Gucci boots or Six Hundred quid Beetle boots from marni.com. I don’t think so ! These days I’d be struggling to afford Padded boots from Marks and Spencer at £49.50. One thing my future boot purchase won’t be is black ! That’s for people in the Army or the Paramilitaries and I don’t want no bother.

Jeans – The last two pairs of jeans I purchased were from charity shops, a pair of Jasper Conran jeans and a pair of brand new still with the labels on Ted Baker. Both wonderfully thick quality denim and well made. A man’s jeans should be well cut like all his trousers, simple and unfussy. I can’t be doing with fussy details, superfluous zips, buttons and pockets. Neither can I cope with jeans which hang half way down the arse. I’ve never been in prison and have no intention of doing,  so it’s a robust leather belt at the top of them. Best and sadly missed pairs  of jeans have to have been my Paul Smith with the gingham blue chequered internal pockets and a beautifully soft pair of Levi. Unfortunately the Jasper Conran’s are developing a crawling on the floor playing with the dog holy knee problem and despite some hasty needle and thread repair jobs it’s time to source some more.

Books / Poetry 

It’s been a long time coming but I’m looking forward to getting my mitts on his new book of poetry John Cooper-Clarke’s  The Luckiest Guy Alive. I’ve been a huge fan of his since I first heard the album Snap Crackle and Bop on my mate Exford’s cheap record player back in the early 1980’s. His first and last anthology book of poems Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt is proudly in my bookcase and I panic If I can’t find it anytime.

Fashion 

Fashion Designer Katherine Hamnett said recently “You should never meet your acting heroes. They have these incredible scripts but it’s never them. Michael Caine was a disappointment. You expect him to be like Charlie from The Italian Job, a dazzling creature. In fact, he’s narrow minded – there’s very little wit or conversation”.

Katherine Hamnett meeting Margaret Thatcher

 

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Ashes to Ashes

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Fun to funky ! The first album I ever bought was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I bought it on cassette. We’d managed, my brother and I, to persuade my Dad to let us have a Radio \ Cassette player. My Grandmother, Nana Rankin, contributed to the cost. We bought an Hitachi, it was expensive, we’ve still got it. This was around 1974 I reckon. I was about twelve. I don’t know what made me buy this album, how I’d got into it, where I’d heard it first. Now I write this it’s coming back to me. I reckon it was amongst a small collection of LP’s  he’d borrowed off a school pal. It was amongst the Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the Yes and Led Zeppelin albums. I played Ziggy over and over again and when the album went back I had to own it for myself. When we finally got a player this was the first purchase. I can’t admit to any deep contextual reason why I bought it, the androgyny, the underlying sexiness of it,  the musical experimentation, the poppiness,  the artyness, the radical shift, the love songs  etc etc. I just liked the tunes, the melodies, the lyrics. The one song you’re up and the next you’re down. The fact that whatever mood you were in, there was a song on this album for it. There still is.  I was twelve for God’s sake, what did I know about such things ?  ” Satisfaction, satisfaction ! ……keep me satisfied “.
I can’t admit to being a massive, obsessive fan. Ziggy was the only Bowie album I ever bought. Some of his stuff I just didn’t get/like but, and here’s the truth !  David Bowie was always there ! Either at the front of music I listened to through the airwaves or in the background.  There was Rock and Roll and there was Bowie. There was Blues and there was Bowie. There was Progressive Rock and there was Bowie.  There was Punk Rock and then there was Bowie. There was Pop music and then, thank God, there was David Bowie ! A few years ago I was doing my Photography MA at University and downstairs from our Lecture Room  was Prof Martin Richardson  working with holography. In his studio was a holographic portrait of Bowie who it turned out had been working with Martin. I think Martin had signed some secrecy clause but talking to him I could see he was thrilled to have been working with Bowie. Me ?  I was bowled over by the fact that while Bowie had not recently been in the public arena he was still out there working on stuff as an artist and I’d had a sneaky preview.  He was an Artist, a true Artist in every sense of the word.

So last week I shed a tear for the death of David Bowie and it’s taken me a few days to realise why. I was shedding a tear for sentimentality, for nostalgia. My own ! An essential aspect of my past, a culture that I embraced, that kept me warm, kept me stimulated and in that sense, alive. When someone dies, you are reminded of your own mortality, your own fragile existence and it is this that I was shedding a tear for. Nevertheless I thank David Bowie for being around and giving us songs like Starman, Wild is the Wind. Suffragette City and others and perhaps most important of all reminding us that ‘We can be Heroes, just for one day ! ”

 

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