Tag Archives: Keith Richards

➤ Smile please, Derek — you’re one of the Sunday Times Mag’s 60 ace snappers in its birthday show

Keith Richards,Sunday Times Magazine ,Derek Ridgers, photography, exhibitions,Saatchi Gallery,Paintworks, Cube, Waterhall

Snapper and Stone: Derek Ridgers seen at last night's Sunday Times party at the Saatchi Gallery beside his photo of Keith Richards, published by the Magazine in 1986. (Nokia mobile snap by yours truly)

❚ WHAT ARE THE ODDS on any photographer having an iconic photograph included in the exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Sunday Times Magazine, the UK’s first newspaper colour supplement? Launched in the dull days of 1962 when papers appeared only in black-and-white, as did TV, the mag proclaimed itself the paper’s Colour Section to point up its USP. Since then it must have published at least 250,000 pages, so the odds of being shown in the powerful new exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery are stacked against most of its contributing photographers. Only 60 were chosen for the show.

This elegantly mounted selection of 100 historic pix, plus various supporting mementoes, packs a surprising punch. The vitality of the huge images is an object lesson in what makes photographic magic.

Sunday Times Magazine , photography, exhibitions, Saatchi Gallery

Grit and glamour on ST Magazine covers: Don McCullin’s exhausted mother and weeping child in Bangladesh, 1972 ... Marilyn Monroe on a 1973 cover, photographed in a famous series of naked pictures by Bert Stern, a month before her death in August 1962

Right from the off, the Mag established its benchmark: “photographer first”. In Feb 1962 the 24-year-old David Bailey’s launch issue cover shots at Chelsea Reach showed the model Jean Shrimpton wearing a Mary Quant outfit and announced the dawn of Swinging London. Inside pages featured pop artist Peter Blake five years before he designed the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album sleeve, and a short story titled The Living Daylights by 007 author Ian Fleming.

In the words of Michael Rand, the Mag’s art director for 30 years, its credo was “grit plus glamour — fashion juxtaposed with war photography and pop art”. This meant serious investment in photo-reportage from the world’s troublespots. He went on to champion the work of Eve Arnold, Snowdon, Terry O’Neill, Brian Duffy, Richard Avedon, Eugene Richards, Diane Arbus, Mary Ellen Mark. Rand says he felt a great responsibility to project the honesty of their pictures. Risking his life in the warzones of the late 20th century, Don McCullin survived sniper bullets to return with some of the century’s most haunting pictures, and to write movingly of the impact on his own soul from having witnessed at first hand the pain and the pity of shell-shocked soldiers and starving children in Biafra, Vietnam and Northern Ireland. In 1989, Stuart Franklin, onetime president of the Magnum agency, leant out of a hotel window to give the world the unforgettable image of a young man single-handedly halting a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square.

First group pic of key Blitz Kids, April 1980: George O’Dowd, Vivienne Lynn, Chris Sullivan, Kim Bowen, Pinkietessa and Steve Strange immmortalised by Derek Ridgers for The Sunday Times Magazine

All the more reason to be extra-impressed at last night’s party launching the exhibition to meet my old ally on London’s clubbing scene in the 80s, Derek Ridgers. You know his pictures of everyone within a mile of Steve Strange, king of the posers, because they’re all over this website, and as half a dozen key Blitz Kids well remember, he snapped their first published group shot at the Blitz for the ST Magazine in April 1980. Last night Derek had been chatting on and off for at least half an hour while we sidestepped the namedroppy media luvvies and posey models to mingle with the veterans Mike Rand and Beatle biographer Hunter Davies, ST picture editor Ray Wells and snapper Uli Weber (standing in front of his demonic pic of Boy George sprouting a pair of satanic horns, while his pic of Kylie Minogue in the bath is on the poster for this show).

Eventually Derek, who is modest to a fault, asked if I was carrying a camera and I had to say no, thinking it a bit uncool at a swanky champagne bash for 700 media A-listers (which was obviously his view too since his own holster was empty). We did then discover that we were both toting the same unsmart workhorse Nokia 6300 mobile with 2Mp cams onboard. OK, they’ll do, so would I mind taking a pic of him beside his own exhibit at the end of the gallery? Excuse me, Derek? Nice old mild-mannered Derek with his long hair tied in a tail, and knapsack over his shoulder? Renowned for his book full of skinhead and punk portraits, not to mention the dodgy habitués of sexclubs like Skin Two, of David Claridge vintage? Derek’s IN this show? Yes he is. Even with the odds stacked at 250,000 to one against, it’s true. “I was amazed when they sent me an email asking if they could show this photograph,” he said. “So I said, yes, I didn’t mind.” How cool is that?

What we see is a charismatic mugshot of wrecked old Scary Stone, Keith Richards, snapped back in late 1985 when the face of the “10th greatest guitarist of all time” was engraved with a tiny fraction of the million lines it boasts now. He was settling into his  marriage to the model Patti Hansen, and Derek persuaded the rock star to pose for him after a chance encounter at the Savoy hotel in London. He says: “There was no KR entourage whatsoever. He couldn’t possibly have been any more helpful. I guess that’s what makes him the guy he is.”

Full marks for initiative, Derek. In 2012 The Sunday Times remains the UK’s best-selling quality newspaper. In the season of Oscars and artsy prizegivings, to be included among the 60 top photographers in the life of its mighty Magazine is pretty well the best gong a lensman can win.

Grit and glamour at the Saatchi Gallery: Tim Hetherington’s photographs observe American soldiers asleep in 2009 in Afghanistan. He said they are about “the intimacy of war. We’re not talking about friendship. We’re talking about brotherhood.” He was killed in Libya in 2011 ... Minutes before a tense Amy Winehouse went onstage at a Mandela tribute concert in 2008, Terry O’Neill persuaded the singer to pose for a pic dedicated to the great man. O’Neill said: “She steeled herself for it.” All published in the ST Magazine. Gallery views by Shapersofthe80s

Beijing 1989: Stuart Franklin photographed pro-democracy student protesters in Tiananmen Square which made a cover shot for the ST Mag. Two days after the massacre of hundreds of civilians, he caught “Tank Man” defying Chinese T-59 tanks armed only with his shopping bags

Glamour and grit: Faye Dunaway in Beverly Hills at 6am the day after winning her 1977 Oscar for Network, photographed by her future husband Terry O’Neill... Right, in 1976 Don McCullin catches six Christian Phalangist militia playing music over a girl’s corpse after they went into East Beirut to “clean up the rats”. One had a Kalashnikov and another a lute stolen from the home of the people they’d just killed. McCullin says: “It haunts me to this day.”

Grit or glamour, the eyes have it: Nigel Parry nails the steely ambition of Tony Blair in 1994, weeks before becoming the Labour Party leader and going on to win three general elections ... Uli Weber nails the demons of pop singer Boy George on tour in 1993, after emerging from one of his early descents into drug-fuelled despair

➢ Update: The Sunday Times Magazine 50th Anniversary Exhibition runs at the Saatchi Gallery, London, was scheduled to run until Feb 19, excluding Feb 11–14, now extended to March 18. Entry is free. The Magazine published a dedicated anniversary issue Sunday, Feb 5.

➢ Update: The free exhibition 50 Years of The Magazine goes on tour — Paintworks, Bristol Mar 24–April 3, Cube, Manchester April 11–23, Waterhall, Birmingham May 22-June 2

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1922–2011 ➤ Richard Hamilton: second thoughts about his definition of Pop Art

Swingeing London 67,Richard Hamilton,  Tate,Robert Fraser  ,Mick Jagger

Swingeing London, a great modern history painting from the Swinging 60s: in the back of a police car on their way to court Hamilton’s art dealer Robert Fraser and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger sit shielding their faces against the media glare. The image is based on a press photograph published in the Daily Sketch and the title is deliberately spelt with an E, referring to the judge’s pronouncement on the “swingeing sentence” he handed down as a deterrent after both were convicted on drugs charges. For many, this occasion typified the moral backlash against the liberalisation of the 1960s. (Above, detail from Swingeing London 67 (f) 1968-69, acrylic, collage and aluminium on canvas © Richard Hamilton, in the Tate collection)

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❚ “ RICHARD HAMILTON, the most influential British artist of the 20th century, has died aged 89. In his long, productive life he created the most important and enduring works of any British modern painter… Hamilton has a serious claim to be the inventor of pop art… Driven by intellect and political belief, Hamilton created undying icons of the modern world.”
➢ Read Jonathan Jones at The Guardian online

IN 1957 HAMILTON DEFINED THE EVERYDAY
COMMONPLACE VALUES OF POP ART…

“ Pop Art is:
Popular (designed for a mass audience)
Transient (short-term solution)
Expendable (easily forgotten)
Low cost
Mass produced
Young (aimed at youth)
Witty
Sexy
Gimmicky
Glamorous
Big Business ”

❏ His definition appeared as part of a long rumination on post-war art in a letter to Peter and Alison Smithson, published online at Warholstars.org, but taken from The Collected Words 1953–1982 by Richard Hamilton (Thames & Hudson 1982)

IN 2002 HE ADMITTED WHERE HE WAS WRONG

➢ John Tusa interviewed Hamilton for Radio 3 — Listen and read the transcript at the BBC website

Richard Hamilton, pop art , painter, John Tusa, interview

Hamilton: a lesson learnt from Warhol

TUSA:“Your definition hasn’t, as you said, stood the test of time because pop art as we now know it and as it became, has ended up being anything but transient, expendable and commercial. It’s been in a way co-opted by the systems and the commercialism of the fine-art world itself.”

HAMILTON: “When I made that list I thought what are the characteristics of what we call pop art, and then I listed them, big business and so on; the record system, Hollywood and all the other things. Then I looked at this list that I had made, which had nothing to do with fine art or anything that I was painting or doing and said, is there anything in this list which is incompatible with fine art? And my answer was no, except for one thing and I said, Expendable. Now, is fine art expendable? And I thought, no; I can’t quite stomach that. Everything else, OK, but expendability as a throwaway attitude is not something that can be acceptable as pop art, and I was proved wrong. Warhol approached art from the point of view of expendability, so I admire him enormously for having brought my attention to the fact that I was wrong.”

HAMILTON AS COMMENTATOR ON
A FABLED DRUGS BUST

❏ Hamilton’s Swingeing London series of paintings and prints were his response to the arrest of his art dealer Robert Fraser and his imprisonment for the possession of heroin. This followed the now fabled police raid on a party at the Sussex farmhouse of Keith Richards, of the rock group the Rolling Stones, in February 1967. There they found evidence of the consumption of various drugs and in June, Fraser and Mick Jagger (the band’s lead singer) were found guilty of the possession of illegal drugs. This gave rise to the sarcastic newspaper headline “A strong sweet smell of incense” which Hamilton incorporated into a huge collage of the resulting newspaper cuttings which he titled Swingeing London 67 — Poster.
➢ Read Keith Richards’ account of this raid and the truth about the infamous Mars bar

❏ Video above: This Is Tomorrow (1992), clip from a C4 television documentary by Mark James in which the Father of Pop Art Richard Hamilton talks about his time as a tutor to pop star Bryan Ferry at Newcastle University art school

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➤ How Keith Richards’s life of debauchery became an inexplicable sign of alien invasion at The Times

Keith Richards, autobiography, sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll

Boy into man: Keith Richards in 1969 and after 40 years of living the life (EPA). Note in particular the hat and read on...

❚ BY THE MID-60S THE ROLLING STONES had become global superstars, though demonised for the raw sexuality of their songs and performance style. Guitarist Keith Richards is the man whose debauchery epitomises the ethos of sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll, and on October 26 his “long-awaited” autobiog called Life is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. As if the UK’s tenth richest musician needed the cash — he is worth £175m in The Sunday Times Rich List — reports say he received an advance of £4.8m ($7.3m!!!) after a bidding war for the text, written with James Fox.

It amounts to a tawdry sequence of profane, drug-fuelled, low-life anecdotes from which nobody emerges with much integrity, like a bunch of amoral delinquents. Quite what excited The Times of London to devote three days-worth of space to this book is beyond comprehension. Under the headline Muddy Waters, Saturday’s main editorial in the paper actually damned the Richards yarn as “filthy” and “depraved”, while seeking to justify serialising massive chunks on the ground that “the music of the Rolling Stones has endured”, thanks to the band’s “sheer work ethic” !!! (Since they didn’t rise up to ridicule this lavish serialisation, we can only assume the entire staff of The Times has been zombified under Plan 9 from Outer Space.)

Almost the whole front page of The tabloid Times trailed the Richards extracts with the stark headline “Sex, drugs and me”. Highest common denominators, evidently, for Her Majesty’s newspaper of record. And a spectacular nadir for dignity in the Thunderer’s 225-year history.

As a time-saving service to discriminating readers of Shapersofthe80s, here are the juiciest bits, but be warned — do not raise your expectations above the navel. Ready with the sickbag, James!

In Friday’s interview with 66-year-old Richards, 35-year-old Caitlin Moran called the book a “total hoot” and through its sordid junkie haze introduced us to every mother’s idea of the son-in-law from hell. Right from chapter one, she said, he’d worn a hat made of drugs (“There was a flap at the side in which I’d stowed hash, Tuinals and coke”) and driven a car made of drugs (“I’d spent hours packing the side-panel with coke, grass, peyote and mescaline”).

Moran reports that Richards “gave up heroin in 1978, after his fifth bust, and he reveals today that he has finally given up cocaine, too — in 2006, after he fell from a tree in Fiji and had to have brain surgery:

❏ “Yeah, that was cocaine I had to give up for that,” he says, with a sigh. “You’re like: ‘I’ve got the message, oh Lord’.” He raps on the metal plate in his head. It makes a dull, thonking sound. “I’m just waiting for them to invent something more interesting, ha ha ha. I’m all ready to road-test it when they do.”

Throughout the Moran interview, he was of course smoking Marlboros and drinking vodka. His idea of totally clean, presumably.

Anita Pallenberg ,Barbarella

Anita Pallenberg in the Roger Vadim film Barbarella, 1968

In Saturday’s Times serialisation of Life, Richards recalls the Stones’s founding guitarist Brian Jones, who originally proposed the band’s name in 1962 and was to drown needlessly at the age of 27 in circumstances that remain unclear. He was neurotic, suffered from deteriorating health, he pushed friendships to the limit and treated women despicably. In Marrakesh in 1967 he and his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg had reached the end of their tethers. Richards writes:

❏ “They’d beaten the shit out of each other. And of course Brian starts trying to take Anita on for 15 rounds… Once again he breaks two ribs and a finger… Then Brian dragged two tattooed whores down the hotel corridor and into the room, trying to force Anita into a scene, humiliating her in front of them. He flung food at her. At that point Anita ran into my room… She was in tears. She didn’t want to leave but she realised that I was right when I said that Brian would probably try to kill her.”

Having “stolen” Anita Pallenberg from Jones to become Richards’s common-law wife, back in the 1970s some reciprocal bed-hopping took place between Richards and Mick Jagger’s girl Marianne Faithfull, and between Anita and Mick. This was when Richard learned his best friend was a disappointment in the sack, giving rise to his verdict on the over-rated Jagger jewels:

❏ “[Anita] had no fun with his tiny todger. I know he’s got an enormous pair of balls, but it doesn’t quite fill the gap, does it?”

Swingeing London 67 — Poster 1967-8: One of pop artist Richard Hamilton’s protest pictures in his Swingeing London series, commenting on the severe judgment passed on his friend, gallery owner Robert Fraser, and popstar Mick Jagger, for possession of drugs. (Photolithograph © Richard Hamilton published by ED912, in Tate collection)

Marianne Faithfull, Girl on a Motorcycle

Marianne Faithfull in the British film Girl on a Motorcycle, 1968

Life describes in detail the fabled 1967 drug bust at the Richards Sussex house, Redlands [reported in the collage above], which became a totemic cause célèbre when William Rees-Mogg — the down-with-the-kids editor of The Times — took on the crusty old establishment by denouncing the harsh jail sentences which followed. Richards writes that the raid was “a collusion between the News of the World and the cops, but the shocking extent of the stitch-up, which reached to the judiciary, didn’t become apparent until the case came to court”. He also sets the record straight on the role of a legendary Mars bar:

❏ “[Marianne Faithfull] had taken a bath upstairs, and I had this huge fur rug, and she just wrapped herself up in that. How the Mars bar got into the story I don’t know. There was one on the table — there were a couple, because on acid you get sugar lack and you’re munching away. And so she’s stuck for ever with the story of where the police found that Mars bar. And you have to say she wears it well.”
Etc etc etc etc

➢ “The Mars bar was a very effective piece of demonizing” — Marianne Faithfull in her own autobiography. More pictures and background at Another Nickel In The Machine

➢ Who was the Redlands informer? — All about the police drugs raid on Keith Richard’s home on Feb 12, 1967 at the History of Rock Music

Michele Breton ,Mick Jagger, Performance, films

“The most sexually charged film ever”: the androgynous Michele Breton and Mick Jagger in Performance, 1970

➢ Judge the Jagger todger for yourself at Another Nickel: Anita’s footage of Mick’s meat and two veg filmed during the making of Performance at 81 Powis Square in 1968

➢ Rolling Stone magazine has more Richards book excerpts plus slideshow on October 28, 2010

Keith Richards, David Courts , Bill Hackett, skull ring,

The guitarist’s hands in 2010, photographed © by Mario Sorrenti: the original skull ring that has become a rock-and-roll icon was given to Richards by London goldsmiths David Courts and Bill Hackett as a birthday present in 1978

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