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.
There’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).
Have a goggle at some relatively rare flickerings and screaming here.
I 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.
From the forthcoming Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity book.continue reading
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.
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.
Mother 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.
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.
People’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).
You can see more of the Re-enactors work on Jim Naughten’s website.
Peruse the book here.
…further considerations from The Profumo Affair…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
From the forthcoming Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity book.