On Monday I was invited to the launch of ‘Beatles- Bowie: The 60s Exposed’ photography exhibition at the National Portrait gallery.
I have not been there for ages so it was a treat. It’s a pretty large exhibition with some star pieces you will probably know and lots of other gems you probably haven’t seen before. It’s pretty amazing that a period of ten years produced some of the most iconic Rock and Roll imagery we have today.
It was great to see the progression from the more posed teddy boy’s of the early 60s to shots that literally look as if they could have been taken yesterday.Testament to how the work of these photographers changed the face of modern photography forever.
Private views are great- not only so you hopefully get to see great work but you also get free drinks. But not only was there a free bar at the gallery there were REALLY fancy canapes- like tuna summer rolls! I then cursed myself for putting a bloody £2.95 EAT Coronation chicken sandwich in my belly, when I was emergency tight buying in Topshop, leaving no room left for posh nosh. I was also so thirsty, but I could not find any water, so I just nailed a glass of wine before we headed into the exhibition. Much to my later hot flush regret…..
My favourites pictures were the David Bailey shot of Mick Jagger in the furry hood (I had this on my wall as a teenager) and the beautiful one of a topless Jane Birkin! Je t’aime Jane forever!
It was also GREAT for some vintage starspotting! I actually saw David Bailey. He is such a legend to me, I could not quite bare to look at him directly. But I did notice that in a sea of suits and dresses he was wearing about 3 un-ironed shirts looking a bit of a wonderful mess. He can totally get away with it though- he’s mine and about a gazillion others photography hero. Plus he was married to Catherine Denueve. Respect to that.
We got chatting to Dave Berry and his wife who came over to say they liked our dresses ( I was with Wendy and Rachel so we made a rather odd, if colourful, 20s/30s/60s style trio). He sang that wonderful haunting song ‘The Crying Game’. His picture was pretty cool too, cowboy hatted and on sitting in an orange bubble chair, he had that kind of has that Chistopher Walken thing going on. His biog on the photograph said he was well known for ‘erotically caressing the microphone’, I asked him if it was true and said ‘of course darling!’ and gave me a wink. Brilliant.
You can check out some geniune 60s microphone caressing here:
We also met this great photographer called Baron Walman- he worked for Rolling Stone as their Chief Photographer ( think ‘Almost Famous’) in the 60s and pretty much shot everyone: The Stones, Zappa, Morrison and Hendrix. He was very sharp and told me some good stories, although ‘I did think he was called ‘Barry’ for half the conversation! Baron a tad cooler methinks. Whoops. Oh and according to Baron the sixties were really as good as I think they were, and he should know. Yaaay.
Then I bumped into Jimmy Page(!). I first met Jimmy almost two years ago at a 100 Club gig, and all I kept on thinking I can’t believe you play the guitar on a ‘Whole Lotta Love’! (I really need to do a show to that soon). That night he very kindly gave me a lift to my show, and when you are carrying a huge suitcase and were planning to get 2 buses to Kensington a free taxi ride with a genuine rock legend is always much appreciated. So it was really great to see him again, but I was hugely dehydrated (no drinks in the gallery) and with excitement of meeting Mr Page again I broke out into a slight hot sweat on my face. Have you ever had that when you get a sweaty top lip and you try and nonchalantly dry it mid-conversation?? Sooo not a good look. Anyway Jimmy was nothing but charming and did not seen too scared by my shiny face. Musical genius and nice: what a combo.
The exhibition runs from tomorrow to the 24th Januray (and don’t forget to check out the Twiggy exhibition upstairs too) You can find out more info and buy your tickets here: http://www.npg.org.uk:8080/beatles/index3.htm
And thank you very much to Terence Pepper and Rachel Snider for inviting me.
Until next time..xxL