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  • Day #64/365a: Get Rich Quick; Peter Doyle and Antipodean hidden histories

    Get Rich Quick-Peter Doyle-Afterhours Sleaze and DignityNow, I suspect this is a bit Western/Europe culturally centric of me but until quite recently I’d not ever really thought of Afterhours-esque culture and subculture in Australia back in the day.

    Peter Doyle’s work is one of the things that has changed that, in particular his collections of photographs from the Sydney Police archives – City Of Shadows / Crooks Like Us and more recently his first fiction book Get Rich Quick.

    It’s a book set in the early to later 1950s, just pre and during the explosion of rock and roll and concerns itself with a (curiously likeable considering he’s actually something of a toerag) chap called Billy Glasheen who is variously a dance organiser, scammer, bagman and tour manager for visiting rock’n'roll acts.

    Along the way the book mixes fact and fiction and weaves in amongst the semi-hidden histories of Australia in a way that put me in mind of writing by Jake Arnott, Cathi Unsworth and maybe also Anthony Frewin in his London Blue or even a touch of David Peace (although a somewhat lighter/easier read than the last chaps fictions).

    …one of the highlights of the book is the telling of Mr Glasheen’s “keeping the wheels greased” on the famous/infamous tour where Little Richard renounced rock’n'roll and looked towards god; it captures the excitement of a moment in time when everything began to change in the face of the old guard and the bodgies and widgies (sort of Australian slang at the time for male and female juvenile delinquents / Elvis-esque proto-rock’n'rollers / rockabillys / teenagers) music and style began to go mainstream.

    Visit Crooks Like Us / City Of Shadows around these parts at
    Day #34/365a.

    Visit the collection of photographs here and here. Peruse the books and Peter Doyle’s fiction work here.

     

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  • Day #63/365a: Earls of Suave and pre-burlesque iconography that adorned platters that matter

    Earls of Suave-A Cheat Who Will Be The Next Fool 7 inch-The Flaming Stars-Thee Headcoatees-Gallon Drunk-Afterhours Sleaze and DignityBlimey, it all seems like a long time ago now that I was a-flicking through the record racks next to Camden Town tube and being intrigued by/debating a purchase or two of these particular platters.

    If you should not know, Earls of Suave were a suave, escapee Elvis, garage-esque-a-billy band that graced stages and vinyl in the early 1990s.

    Amongst their ranks they variously included a number of former and future members of Gallon Drunk, The Flaming Stars, The Stingrays, Thee Headcoats and Thee Headcoatees and could almost be considered a prototype gathering for a combo yet to arrive.

    Earls of Suave-In My Dreams 7 inch-The Flaming Stars-Thee Headcoatees-Gallon Drunk-Afterhours Sleaze and DignityThere’s something more than a little iconic about these covers – particularly A Cheat – and they may well have shared a pre-burlesque-shimmy-and-shake-revival, tumbling forward in time with the gals that grace the sleeves of the Las Vegas Grind albums (see Day #38/365a).

    Peruse a smattering of their work here and a smattering more at the old Discogs here.

    Have a goggle at some relatively rare flickerings and screaming here.

     

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  • Day #62/365a; Harlow and technicolor blonde simulacras…

    Harlow-1965 film Carroll Baker-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-4I recently perused one of the 1965 biographical films of Jean Harlow – the one with future cult and sometime John Waters favourite Carroll Baker as Ms Harlow (there were two released on the same day, with the same name back when).

    I suspect(!) it plays a little fast and loose with the facts of the story but it’s a fine piece of techicolor blonde bombshell-ness and eyecandy nonetheless

    Although made in the 1965s, it feels more like 1950s, Marilyn Monroe era glamour – putting me in mind of our own hurricane in mink, Diana Dors.

    Ms Baker looks almost more Harlow-esque than Jean Harlow herself, something of a personification of back in the day swish and silk glamour and the film seems almost like a hyper-real simulacra that had tumbled forward in time rather than something that was created in the Swinging Sixties.

    Harlow-1965 film Carroll Baker-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-1 Harlow-1965 film Carroll Baker-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-2 Harlow-1965 film Carroll Baker-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-3

    Other places to wander:
    A Bakers Dozen via Stirred Straight Up With A Twist.
    Some background history on Ms Baker and her work via a certain greaser punk / Graham Russell here and here.

    Peruse the film here and the tale of Duelling Harlows here.

     

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  • Day #61/365a: Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity book image #9

    Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity book image 8

    From the forthcoming Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity book.

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  • Day #60/365a: Marc Almond – the doyen of dissolution…

    Marc Almond-Mother Fist-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity

    I first heard Marc Almonds album Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters a fair few years ago now when it first was sent out (escaped?) into the world.

    I would have loved to have seen the faces of the record company executives when this chap they had signed who had hit the pop chart topspots with previous records presented a dramatic, diva-filled, late night, Spanish themed album named after the art of onanism; an album with a Jean Genet inspired pop-but-disturbing transgressive video for its “hit” single (directed by Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson of Coil and Throbbing Gristle), all accompanied by homo-erotic Cocteau-esque illustrations of sailors.

    Marc Almond-Mother Fist single-Afterhour Sleaze and DignityNot quite Top Of The Pops friendly as a project and all the better for it.

    And I suspect Afterhours may well have a fair few roots in this album and indeed the work of Marc Almond back when; for a while hisself and his work felt like Soho and heart of town neon alleyway shennanigans encapsulated and this album in particular sums up the sense and spirit of a certain late night dissoluteness which I can trace forwards to today and my own work.

    Sounds-Magazine-Filthy-Marc-Almond copyMother Fist connects to his kohl-eyed bedsit-land Soft Cell era music but it’s wandered off somewhere more… mature, sophisticated, elegant but still a body of work that plays with the theatre (and actuality?) of sleaze.

    I’m not knocking Soft Cell here, that would be fighting talk around these parts, as they’re one of those times when pop allows in something not quite normal or it has one of it’s Mutant Moments I suppose but Mother Fist was an evolution of a world and cultural view from somebody who was out to explore rather than retread.

    Marc Almond’s site is here.

    That pop-but-unsettling video to Ruby Red can be viewed here.

    Peruse the album in its various forms here.

     

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  • Day #59/365a: Jim Naughten Re-Enactors and ingrainings from other times and places…

    Jim Naughten-Re-enactors-Hotshoe-Afterhours Sleaze and DignityRe-Entactors is a book / photography project by Mr Jim Naughten wherein he photographed people who re-enact battles gone by.

    I think in part because in some of the photographs the people (actors?) do look genuine, in that they have a sense that they are of the time they represent; there is a sense of something ingrained in them, of being that battle and life scarred older chap.

    Not in all the photographs (some of the people, especially the young folk look a little too healthy and well fed) but this sense of belonging in spirit to another or separate time has been something of an ongoing reference point with Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity.

    Military_Odyssey1434People’s physicality has changed over time I suppose as diet etc has changed, which is probably in part why some vintage recreations in film etc do not fully convince or jar a little; the costumes and settings may be historically correct but the people aren’t.

    I think I first came across his photographs via a copy of Hotshoe magazine that I bought on a reduced / previous months magazines stall – always something of a favourite for a rummage and a browse, especially as often they seem to have left-of-centre independently produced magazines sat next to glossy mainstream magazines.

    All for a pound or two. Bargain indeed and you can probably pop to the nearby stalls and buy ten bananas for a pound. Food and cultural requirements on the cheap, who can say fairer than that?

    Nicely produced book by the way. Eggshell-ish paper, textured linen(?) cover with a “tipped in” photograph (a posh way of saying it has been stuck onto the cover – not to belittle it though, it’s a fine looking cover/effect).

    Jim Naughten-Reenactors-Hotshoe Gallery-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity0005-John-Naughten-Reenactors-Afterhours-Sleaze-and-Dignity-3-431x5751

    You can see more of the Re-enactors work on Jim Naughten’s website.

    Peruse the book here.

     

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  • Day #58/365a: The Power That Beauty Wields

    The Profumo Affair-Ms Christine Keeler-The Power That Beauty Wields-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity

    …further considerations from The Profumo Affair…

     

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  • Day #57/365a: Das Phantom Von Soho and an imagining/reimagining of the heart of town

    Das Phantom Von Soho-1964-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-3

    It’s not that Das Phantom Von Soho, hailing from Germany is 1964, is necessarily a great film but it was/is a particular reference point for Afterhours in the way that it imagined the streets and back alley joints of Soho at the time, particularly in the early part of the film.

    Das Phantom Von Soho-1964-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-4

    In similar way that the teenagers in Karlheinz Weinberger’s photographs could be said to have “created their own version of rock’n’roll that made you think they had only ever experienced the original source via an out of tune radio”, this was a vision of Soho two or three steps removed, a sideways glance and reimagining of its stories and mythology via representations in film, fiction and tabloid salaciousness.

    Das Phantom Von Soho-1964-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity-2 Das Phantom Von Soho-1964-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity

    An English translation of the background on the film courtesy of an ether robot.

    Peruse the relatively recent release of the film (and its somewhat prurient / misleading cover) here.

     

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  • Day #56/365a; Karlheinz Weinberger: Photographs 1954-1995

    0006-Karlheinz-Weinberger-Photos-1954-to-1995-Afterhours-Sleaze-and-Dignity1Karlheinz Weinberger’s book Photographs 1954-1995 is something of a favourite around these parts

    If I had to pick just one Afterhours releated book to rescue from a burning pile, well that would be a somewhat difficult task but I expect this would be quite near the top.

    Why? Well, the best parts of the book are a document of Swiss rock’n'roll rebels who became folk devils and got their societies knickers all in a twist back in the fifties.

    But these weren’t any ordinary fifty rockabilly types; to paraphrase the introduction, they had created their own version of rock’n'roll that made you think they had only ever experienced the original source via an out of tune radio; a reimagining all of their own rather than a recreation.

    0006-Karlheinz-Weinberger-Afterhours-Sleaze-and-Dignity-3-copy0006-Karlheinz-Weinberger-Afterhours-Sleaze-and-Dignity-4 copy

    Mr Weinberger’s work was in part founded in a homo-erotic interest and these photographs look a touch as though their inhabitants created Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising before it happened.

    But to my mind they’re more fascinating and intriguing as these are real life, self-created cartoon characters, ones who could have fallen through a time warp from a hair salon run by the dreams you could imagine The Cramps might have had.

    0006-Karlheinz-Weinberger-Afterhours-Sleaze-and-Dignity-2-copyThe book is now rare as hen’s teeth and just as pricey (thanks to my sister for tracking down a copy for me when it was still in print).

    There is another cheaper, more easily available book, Rebel Youth, with a foreword by Mr John Waters but well… that book feels a bit like it’s the scrag ends after this one had been put together.

    Peruse the book/s here. Further background on the gent and Photographs 1954-1995 here.

     

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  • Day #55/365a: Gallon Drunk – the last gang in town by the seaside, beside the sea…

    Gallon Drunk-1991-At The Seaside-The Last Gang In Town-Steve Gullick-Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity

    I’ve loved this photo by Steve Gullick of Gallon Drunk from 1991 (?) for a long time.

    It seems to sum up the band, their world and early aesthetic in some way that I can’t quite put my finger on…

    James Johnston’s youthful bequiffed brooding menace is part of it as is a sense of them being, as Cathi Unsworth put it ”the last gang in town”, despite them relaxing in deckchairs on the prom.

    Although not a direct transfer, it also tends to put me in mind of Scarface as some kind of source for their style.

    If you should not know the work of Gallon Drunk, their album From The Heart Of Town is a fine starting point and if I’m talking about summing up their world and aesthetic then this could well also do that; all West End/Camden swagger, suave and dissolution.

    Gallon Drunk and an ode to a certain gent around these parts at Day #17/365a.

    Peruse From The Heart Of Town at Terry Edward’s Sartorial Records here and its various other incarnations here,

     

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