The Rite

What has masturbation, therapy and Millwall football club have in common? –The Rite of Spring evidently.pina-bausch-wim-wenders-01
The Rite of Spring has been following me like a feeling of guilt for some time, now it’s back on the stage to haunt me again.
During  my first lecture on ‘Modernist’ music at university, the lecturer projected a page from Stravinsky’s ‘Rite’ onto a wall twenty foot high, turned to us and said ’makes you want to wank don’t it?’Pina and world trade 063

The notes he was showing us were from the final part of the ‘ballet’ the Sacrificial Dance. You may know that this is the part when the young girl dances herself to death as part of a pagan ritual, as she has been chosen and is witnessed by the elders. Our sexually potent Lecturer explained that he felt that Classical music was ‘above the waist’ and the Rite ‘below’.Pina and world trade 064

The music for Sacrificial Dance is the part that is most associated with Rock music and has been mentioned as an influence by many rock bands.  The dance itself was first performed in 1913, and is said that this was the birth of Modernism. Some people put it as early as before the turn of the [20th] century (I go for 1910).  For me the work is about the importance and continuation of the strength of the piece itself. However, it may be prudent to say that by all accounts there was a near riot during the first performance, due in some part to the shock of the new – and boy was it new.vitality by Martha
During my degree we could choose a ‘vocational’ module and I chose dance, and within one week it was the Rite again. The main thing that the dance lectures spoke about was the rawness of the piece, plus the original ‘steps/choreography by Nijinsky were no longer with us, which made it all the more intriguing.   Part of the module was a dance therapy unit and the Rite was again used as a vehicle of analysis and healing.  If you have seen the Sacrificial Dance, you may recall it being a bit nightmarish (or is that just me?). The hopelessness of the girl encircled like a caged animal, pounding herself with self-stabbing gestures in desperation is visceral. The dance to the death is one thing, but for me the key power is the people watching all this go on – it was starting to get to me. It’s pretty heavy stuff now days, God knows what the gentile audience thought of it back in 1913, when they thought they were going to see some sweet fluff ‘on pointe’.scetch book martha
Our dance lecturer did go through a list of other performances of the Rite through the years, and named the Martha Graham piece as a stand out work. During the great Monica Mason (what a lovely woman she is) exhibition I saw last year at Covent Garden, enlightened me of her work on MacMillan’s Rite in 62, but I have much more to say and about her and Graham in later blogs.graham_martha-graham1 However many including me view the work of Pina Bausch as THE most powerful, which you can see in the wonderful documentary ‘Pina’ by Wim Wenders – in 3D!murdo_boulez00edin3
Some years later, due to the type of work I was doing I had got to know a roofer who lived on a large south London council estate with his roofer son Stuart.  Once when I visited them the Dad told me  that  Stu had had a late night the night before, and laughed saying that I wouldn’t get much sense out of him. Yet when I spoke to Stuart, he told me he had been to Millwall[Football Club] with a mate, then went into town [London] and ended up in the Royal Albert Hall as they had ‘fought’ for tickets to see the Rite of…  He said they had been waiting for [Pierre] Boulez to conduct the The Rite with the European Youth Orchestra for some time. He said that towards the end people had got over the barrier by the stage and were chanting BOULEZ-BOULEZ – BOULEZ –Par2781477_xxlarge
Good to see Kinder Agguini designing for the costumes for the new Rite at the English National Ballet, very different and interesting costumes I must say, but as long as it’s played hard it will work.
So if you need a therapeutic contained space to dump all those unwanted uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, a transitional metaphor, or catharsis for change, and Millwall is not playing, – try the Rite.

Linda McCartney

Back then I didn’t really know, or perhaps was unaware that Linda McCartney was a photographer. All I really knew about her was that she was married to Paul and that beautiful way they looked at each other when they sang My Love on TV – what a look that was.

Much later I came across a great picture of Jackson Browne who looked about 15, and Linda had caught him looking cool. What a great eye she had, just to see something and innately know it was good – is that the essence of art?  god she must have felt good knowing she had that. 

The picture has my favourite composition – subject to the side with lots of space – ‘to give a context to the subject’ I paraphrase the stunning David Carson. It’s similar to the advice that John Ford gave to Steven Spielberg about not having the horizon in the middle of the frame….once I read he did that I took their advice and now I look at images differently I digress.  

linda mick

Favourite Beatle

The first time I heard her speak she made me laugh. She was being interviewed with Paul and some journalist thought he was being cool and cleaver and asked who her favourite Beatle was? Quick as a flash she said Mick Jagger. I think it suited hero once the layers had grown out, and didn’t she look great with that parting, the simple dresses and the ease in which she wore them. 

Linda+McCartneyI saw her show at the James Hyman gallery in London 2008, and although I liked the images, it would be great to see her work in a more vibrant setting such as one of the rooms at London /New York fashion week, somewhere with a buzz to it.  I am not sure if Linda McCartney has ever receive any awards for her work, but it reminded me of a comment by Didier Grumbach – the President of the French Federation of Culture. Before he presented [the wonderful] Bill Cunningham with the honour of the ‘Officer in the order of Arts and Letters’ in Paris Grumbach said ‘ I believe he [Cunningham]  feels he doesn’t deserve it – that’s why he deserves it’ -she is due something.
The Hyman show continued and confirmed [not that it needed to] that she was a serious photographer and her art was in place. However,  I’d love to see her work given ‘life’; perhaps projected on those ad boards at Piccadilly Circus, Times Square, or Tokyo. May sound a bit OTT, but after I had been to the Hyman show I took a friend round to 3 Savile Row and showed them the place that the Beatles played their last live show…

  I am looking forward to the new documentary.

A Picture of Graham Nash

Graham Nash has always come over well in music, plus his photography has had a good edge about it,  and he can articulate it fluently in interviews. He started young and exploited his good eye, and you can see his progression in his work through the years.

Graham Nash

Graham Nash


Neil Young

Even with a great and often famous source material, he never went with the obvious. The great shot of Neil Young’s car driving back to Broken Arrow, says so much,  made all the more poignant by the absence of the subject.Neil Young's car -driving home to broken arrow

Neil Young -going home

Another favorite of mine is the one of Twiggy – (did you see how well she handled herself in that interview with Woody Allen, when he ‘tried’ to belittle her over reading books? Lesley 1 Woody nil), not just because she looks so great, it’s the way he has caught her.  It is so refreshing to see her un-posed and natural in the shot, quite unusual and even the black and white adds to the coolness of it. Twiggy

nash twig

San Diego Museum

 It has always been an ambition to go to the San Diego museum of art, would be even better to see some of his work there in that wonderful building. San Diego museum

San Diego Museum

Elias’s wonderful fork bracelet

One of the best, if not the best piece of men’s jewellery I have ever seen, was ‘featured’ (well it was for me) in the Gus Van Sant film Elephant. The images show Elias, one of the young people caught up in a Columbine type shooting at an American High school.

Elias from Elephant 1 The scene shows him processing a film he is about to print in the school dark room.  While he is developing his film, we see that Elias is wearing a wonderful fork bracelet, just the right size, tone and weight – as near perfect a piece as possible.

 The film is so hard, yet highlights some really beautiful and gentle young people as well


Underside of the fork bracelet, plus [perfect] matching thumb ring – and film can!


Side view of opening of fork bracelet, plus Elias’s ring -perfect match!

Another great piece I found in a recent GQ magazine, was this gold-plated crown of thorns – by Givenchy.


Crown of thorns necklace by Givenchy





Scenes from an exhibition

3 gold rings Paul Smith

Nice set of metal, would have been good to see a full set though.


The post on Imogen Belfield,  made me remember some men’s jewellery that was used in a Paul Smith documentary, which included preparations for a fashion show a little while back.






paul smith + rabbit 001

Triangular  necklace


Please excuse the poor quality images but it’s just to give you an idea of the inventive/fun pieces on show that day.


big gold ring

Good looking metal

The great Imogen Belfield


The great Imogen Belfield

I was put on to Imogen Belfield by someone who knows her, and what a great delight to see her imaginative work. Her work is quite organic in its shapes, like the creations of a brilliant inventive volcano, though her work has been described has the ‘fluid nature of the Rococo’ which is about right, but with the cool look of today. The stars are buying her work, and magazines are picking her style – and from what I hear, she is a really nice person who deserves all the success she is getting. 




Here is some of Imogen’s work…


Some more on Imogen from the web: As a jewellery graduate from the Sir John Cass School of Art, Media & Design at The London Metropolitan University, Imogen’s work has won awards from the British Jewellery Association, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and South Square Trust alike, exhibiting at the Islington Design Centre, the Structure and Function Gallery in Soho, Coutts London Jewellery week and London Fashion Week amongst others.






Imogen’s Orbital ring



Lou Lou Southsea


Lou Lou restaurant Southsea


Moby’s Cafe NYC

I guess the whole of the south coast of England will know about Lou Lou’s restaurant in Southsea Hampshire, but I suppose I am the last to know.  It has such a great feel about it, and such nice cool staff. I got there early on a Saturday morning and was pretty quiet, which was absolutely lovely. The waitresses were lovely and friendly, but I was just a little shy to ask were they got their tasteful tattoos. It’s managed by the dapper Charles who was pretty cool about some writing I wanted to leave for clients. When I dropped the text back on the Sunday it was heaving. It reminded me of Moby’s place down on Rivington St, on the Lower East side, with that lovely easy going feel.

 Go see Charles and staff – the coffee is great too!

Best Hair


Really great cut


A great hair cut and dress.

It was great to see Anne Hathaway who won best supporting actress Oscar for her role as Fantine in movie musical Les Miserables. Why she didn’t win Best Song, and Best Actress is beyond me, however… she did have the best hair. For once it looked like she really did and good old armature chop, not a professional job messed up. 


The knife and folk hair-cut really did suit her and the role. Other great short cuts include Emma Watson and Jean Seberg in the film Breathless.


Apart from a bob, is there a better haircut?