How I fell in love with Tina

I was 15 when I first gazed at Tina. I had seen her before in pictures but never in the flesh.  But there she was in my favourite vintage shop her eyelids heavy with lashes, pinky orange lips parted staring out at me- she was beautiful. At that moment I fell in love with her.

Tina

Tina

“Tina” the name of this an iconic picture is painted by my namesake and inspiration the painter J.H. Lynch during the early 1960s. I saw my first ever Lynch painting in a my favourite vintage shop growing up called Attica in Newcastle. It is still to this day jam packed with vintage clothes and furniture with beautiful 60s ashtrays gleaming like sweets, and velvet jackets hung next to Edwardian shirts. I used to go there and browse wearing my first vintage purchase a 70s Burberry Mac ( which I used to get called ‘Flasher!’ for wearing-rainwear being obviously controversial in sportswear ridden 1999 Newcastle.

“Tina” captured my imagination and right then became the quintessential 1960s fantasy woman to me, more ‘Bond’ than a Bond girl. She is so perfect I wonder if she was a real person? Sadly the probably the only person who can truly tell me, the reclusive J.H. lynch, died in 1989 aged 78.

And so my love affair with the Lynch girls began, even though I discovered them in my teens I only bought my first print 5 years ago ‘Autumn Leaves’ followed quickly by ‘Tina’.

With my interest renewed I wanted to find out more about the artist and I found this excellent (and the only) website http://www.jhlynch.org/ by Mario Klingemann. Lynch’s paintings were mass produced throughout the 60s, they were even sold through Boots the Chemist. He died in 1989 destroying much of his work, as he never received the critical acclaim he deserved. Subsequently very little information is known about him. Acording to Klingemann’s website the originals are in the possession of his nephew. (lucky him!)

a rare early Lynch landscape

a rare early Lynch landscape

J.H. Lynch’s early pictures were of country scenes and then he started painting these goddesses! I wonder what first inspired him to do so? Was it a woman he knew? Did he paint from life?

I get the feeling that some of the paintings might been inspired by photographs and then exaggerated into a gorgeous ‘Lynchian’ vision of woman that is almost cartoonish. I think “Autumn Leaves” might have been inspired by this picture of Jean Shrimpton.  What do you think?

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shrimpton-crop

I think it’s sad that Lynch never felt appreciated in his lifetime. Admittedly these paintings are not perhaps ‘technically’ brilliant, the bodies are sometimes a little off (See Tina’s shoulder) and some might argue that these paintings are simply not ‘art’ but wall decoration. They are to me missing the point and the magic of Lynch. While Lynch’s paintings have become almost a visual shorthand for 60s kitsch they mean more than that to me. 1000s of prints were produced because the are beautiful and fantastical and who doesn’t need some of that?

The only picture of the mysterious Lynch I could find. The picture is thought to have been destroyed by the artist before his death

The only picture of the mysterious Lynch I could find. The picture is thought to have been destroyed by the artist before his death

I chose the stage name ‘Agent Lynch’ because I want to be on stage one part Bond Girl and one part mysterious Lynch like nymph. Having a stage name, and I think this is true for most performers especially burlesque, allows you to create a character that gives you a licence to be who ever you want to be when you perform. This fiction of character allows me to create and perform something I would simply lack the confidence to do if just plain old ‘Kate’. I would feel naked on stage as Kate, as Lynch it feels almost natural. (what a floozy)

And while I will never know if Tina or Lisa really existed, I know Lynch had a love affair with them if only in his mind. I can see these beautiful creatures now running barefoot through the moss with big hair, eyelashes and pouting lusciously next to trees swathed in silk (well ok ploy-mix satin) and I like to think of them all cooing over J.H. Lynch in heaven finally united with his creations. As I grow older Tina will always be perfect to me- and as I’m looking at her now she looks pretty darn good for 72. How does she do it?

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Here is my homage to the Lynch girls shot by the uber talented fashion photographer Wendy Bevan. www.wendybevan.com

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Agent Lynch

Places of Lynchian interest: please do mail me if you have any more using contact link above.

www.mrlynch.co.uk Newcastle bar decorated with Lynch paintings and orginal 60s furniture. Groovy baby.

www.atticavintage.co.uk an Aladin’s cave of vintage(and the occasional Lynch)also  in my home town Newcastle

http://tinawesaluteyou.com/ My wonderful local coffee shop in Dalston London which is named after and features Lynch’s most popular painting.

My Grandma the style heroine

Thursday, 18 March 2010, 14:50 | Category : Uncategorized
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My Grandmother, Freda Rawlinson, certainly taught me one or two things about glamour. Even at 96 she was never without a knitted skirt suit, co-ordinating heels and bag, coiffed hair and make-up. She was, as was said at her funeral, ‘the only person I know who looked as though she was always ready to meet the Queen’.
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My sister Olivia and I with Grandma in 2005 when I was 19 (and still wearing jeans)

Born Freda Clark in Sunderland in 1914 she, along with her two sisters Xena and Sally, were the locally famous ‘Three Smart Clark Girls’ who were fashion trailblazers of their day.
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Grandma second from right, her life long best friend Gertie and then Grandpa Cecil second from right (1950s)

It was only in the past few years that I really appreciated Grandma’s style. When I was younger – having an also equally glamorous maternal Grandmother I thought that all Grandma’s looked like her. I remember my delight when she told me she used to get her hair cut in London by Vidal Sassoon himself! She was the first in Sunderland to get the then daring ‘bob-cut’ in the 60s and she was copied all over town. Grandma certainly knew how to make herself stand out in the crowd.

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Spot Grandma at the back sporting some serious ‘do

Sometimes I did forget how old she was and how much change she had seen, when I asked her what her favourite decade was for fashion she replied ‘Ummm the 30s!’. Looking at her beautiful wedding picture it’s hard to believe that someone who was living then in 1938, such a different age, was with us until so very recently.

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Look at that dress!

My Dad sent me these pictures when I said I wanted to write a piece about her. She was the last one left of her generation and circle of friends. While I can pick out her, Grandpa Cecil and her best friend Gertie the other laughing faces remain nameless without her here to tell. Looking at these pictures I can feel time drawing back like a retreating wave, leaving only driftwood, stopped only from being an anonymous by the tales they have told to the living. So I’m going to tell you some stories about Freda, Cecil and Gertie so they too won’t be forgotten.

26300_10150171382020145_616150144_11687026_3153237_nGrandma, Gertie and Cecil on one of their many holidays in the 50s and early 60s

Once on holiday Grandma was having a bath – Grandpa came in to shave and found the light broken. Annoyed he called the concierge who arrived 5 minutes later. Grandpa took him straight to the bathroom ‘This way it’s this one that’s broken!’ ignoring the fact that the Grandma was still naked in the bath giving the concierge an eyeful! Grandma shrieked and Grandpa simply said ‘Be quiet Freda he probably didn’t even notice you!’ If nothing else this explains why they probably got such great service there.

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Grandma and Grandpa were both the 1st generation children of Lithuanian Émigrés they were the product of ‘pull yourselves up from the bootstraps’ success of their fathers who arrived in the North East with nothing and sent money back home for the rest of their lives. The joke always was that they got off in Sunderland docks thinking it was New York-unlucky! As children Grandma and her sisters were spoiled by their proud mother who after coming from humble beginnings wanted to make sure her daughters were the best dressed around (hiding new purchases from their father-some things I guess never change) and they became locally famous as the ‘Three Smart Clark Girls’.

Grandma had what you could say a charmed life in the early 1960s after having two children Elaine and Nicholas (my Dad) she and Grandpa built their ‘dream house’ in Sunderland that took I think something like 6 years to build!

26300_10150171382120145_616150144_11687033_316730_nGrandma with my Dad on her knee in the garden of her dream house

I only wish I could have appreciated the time warp more then. There was a red gravel drive ( the same type as the Queen) with gateposts (that Grandpa crashed the Bentley into on his infamous last driving expedition in the late 80s) and a sweeping powder blue carpeted staircase with underfloor heating (which when it failed was impossible to fix). I remember the sounds and smells so well- all the gilt ticking clocks in the hall, the stale cigar smoke and leather smell in the monolithic ‘TV Room’ complete with 70s hessian walls. Grandma giving us ‘fizzy pop’ and magic paint books in the yellow kitchen which wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of ‘Mad Men’. The spare room with its dressing table pots filled with multicoloured cotton wool and the terrible abstract pictures my Dad painted in the 70s hanging in the dining room (much to his latter chagrin) where we would eat melon balls during school holidays.

There was also a classic ‘Chinoiserie’ reception room complete with embroidered friezes, fancy gold bells that linked to the kitchen where she would serve us afternoon tea brought in on a fancy trolley. At tea we would feast on her secret recipe ‘stuffie’ cakes, salmon sandwiches and Florentine biscuits and she would hand us cups and saucers of tea with an endearingly increasingly shaky hand. I remember there was a very tiny woman who used to come visit who when she stood behind the sofa all you could see were two tiny feet-Ethel? At Grandma’s funeral I heard a very funny story about Grandma’s sister whose last words from her hospital bed were ‘They didn’t put any lemon on the salmon sandwiches!’. They were from another era of hostessing.

26300_10150171382100145_616150144_11687032_503271_nGrandpa Cecil-late 50s

Grandpa Cecil was a very successful business man himself, managing properties and clothing store called The Strand until the 90s. In his younger days he wooed Grandma by ‘tricking’ her into a date, after she first refused, by saying they were going out in a ‘group’- it was in fact a double-date and not a party of people at all. But Grandma did forgive him eventually and they married in 1938. Grandpa Cecil was always equally as well turned out – I’m sure due entirely to Grandma’s endeavours. His uniform of later years was a wide tie complete with gold clip, large 1970s style glasses, centre pressed trousers and with a cigar in hand. He was less of a talker than Grandma although anything relating to old business contacts he would snap back into focus with the most surprising vivid recall of detail. He was even known to crack the odd joke. A particular gem was he exhibited a previously unknown distaste for Barry Manilow who after 15 minutes of silence chipped in that he ‘wouldn’t go down in a lift to see him!’ Although the most memorable (unintentional) joke came from Grandma who announced shrilly over dinner ‘Oh Cecil is a terrible masticator!’ as he struggled with his roast beef.

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Go Grandma Go!

When I was growing up every Sunday her and Grandpa used to go to the Gosforth Park Hotel for Sunday lunch where we would join them there every couple of months. We would meet them in the ‘club’ first for bloody mary’s, go on to lunch and then afternoon tea in the lounge. Epic afternoons where my sisters would escape intermittently to run down the corridors and try and get coins into the mouth of the fish in the fountain. Grandma’s best friend was Aunty Gertie was always there too. Aunty Gertie, now passed away, does deserve a style tribute of her own. Even when I knew her in her 80s you could tell that Gertie was one sexy lady with her velvet voice, big hair and all year round tan. She even had a gold monocle that she used to wear to inspect everyone’s jewellery.

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Check out Gertie’s glasses and sweetheart dress!

Grandma spent her the last few years of her life at Philip Cussins House a predominantly Jewish care home (with as Grandma used to say some ‘Goy’ too) – which after Grandpa Cecil’s death kept her occupied and jolly. I visited her many times there and I think it gave her a new lease of life being around so much activity. Grandma was always so cheerful and she would, as she did throughout our childhood, tell my sisters and I on every visit ‘that we were each beautiful in our own special way’. Grandmotherly bias of course but she meant it every time and as being in my younger days the awkward tall one to my gorgeously petite sisters I couldn’t help feeling buoyed by her compliments. Although my dress sense didn’t always delight her: I remember her confusion when I turned up to see her as a teenager with ripped jeans but when I came in a yellow 60s Saks 5th Avenue suit and nylons on what was my last visit to her and she said I looked like ‘a lady’ but still exhibited concern of my still unmarried state a 24. ‘Don’t get left on the shelf’ she had warned me years earlier.

My Cousin Jamie told me a great anecdote about when he went to see Grandma and he went up to her room in Philip Cussins House and said ‘Grandma you should come down now or you will miss the entertainment downstairs’ but Grandma didn’t have her make-up on and she refused to come down until she was ready, even if it meant she missed the show. ‘No one minds Grandma’ Jamie added. ‘If I can’t be bothered to put my make-up on what’s the point of coming down at all?’

Admittedly by this point maybe all of Grandma’s nail polish wasn’t always wholly on her nails and her foundation was probably a tad too heavy. But her longevity and sharpness of mind at such a great age I believe was testament to her attitude that to let go of yourself physically is often to let go of your mind too. Auntie Elaine knew how important this was to Grandma and always made sure she had everything she needed to be the most glamorous nonagenarian that Philip Cussins House had ever seen.

26300_10150171382165145_616150144_11687036_4518104_nGrandma and Grampa taking Elaine and my Dad out for dinner in late 50s

‘Dress straight, think straight’ (and hopefully some of her glamour) is something I think I have inherited. I don’t think I ever do my best work in my pyjamas, and we certainly never saw Grandma in hers.

I love you Grandma, we won’t forget you.  x

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Freda Rawlinson 1914-2010

Agent Lynch ‘Je T’aime’ Film now live

Finally! My new Super 8 film is ready.

The film is based on my Je T’aime live show.  I was lucky enough to work with the French Director Mathieu Breliere on the project, which was filmed last May, who being a New Wave fan understood my oh so artistic paint dripping body printing vision. So combining Yves Klein, Blow Up, and good old dirty Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin we have…..

“Je T’aime” Film by Agent Lynch and Mathieu Breliere from Agent Lynch on Vimeo.

Many thanks go out to Mathieu (www.mathieubreliere.com) for bringing a froggy pitch perfect ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to the project, Dominik Rippl who was an excellent DOP, Fernado Lamas for being a perfect 60s ‘homme’, Leila Mauro for nailing a Bardot up do, to Phil Sansom for his edit suite skills, Tom Waterhouse for his pitch perfect graphics and Naomi at Vintage Secret (www.vintagesecret.com) for finding me the perfect dress, and to Duncan at the Camden Arts Center for kindly letting us use the space.

I hope you enjoy it and I would love to know what you think,

OOoh Je T’aime!
xxx Lynchy

Lynchy Test Magazine Spread

Tuesday, 5 January 2010, 13:52 | Category : photoshoots
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Happy New Year!

After hibernating through Christmas, recovering after New Years Eve I am now feeling relatively full of beans!

Please check out the spread I did for Jaime Perlman’s Test Magazine ( she’s the Art Director for Vogue) shot by Wendy Bevan on the coolest Polaroid camera I have ever seen! Also check out www.testmag.co.uk for more slices of artistically directed fashion.

Also I have two shoots coming up this month- better keep jogging round Hackney downs.

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The Lotus Connection

Tuesday, 8 December 2009, 18:36 | Category : photoshoots, Travel
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Here are some of the pictures of my spy story shot on location in Marrakech with Alan Keohane.

See the pictures below as I struggle to complete my mission after being double crossed by Verity Buckson (Cherry Shakewell) and Dr Ival Munzder….

We are making a little book of the pictures so if anyone is any good at writing 1960s pulp fiction to go along with the pictures (a few lines for each pic would be good) Please do let us know and we can sort you out with some show tickets and a credit!

Agent Lynch Marrakech

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How I got arrested in Morocco:Part 2

Thursday, 3 December 2009, 13:33 | Category : missions, photoshoots, Travel
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After heading back to the hotel after driving down the same narrow stretch of road AGAIN. We were taken to a different Riad closer to the airport in the Medina. It was nice to have a change of scenery but by this point we really wanted to just get home.

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So after another chicken tagine we settled down to another early night for our 8am airport pick up.

Tuesday

After checking in we headed to passport control. As we were queuing I heard an officer say my name. ‘Uum, that’s me!’ I said ’You have a leak in your bag come with me’. ‘A leak?’. Jo and I looked at each other both knowing it could only be one thing- my gun.

I have been travelling and performing with my Olympic starting pistol for 18 months. It’s a stunt gun that allows you to put in tiny gold bullets which go BANG in the chamber, the snout of the gun is filled in so you can’t shoot anything out of the end. Sounds scary, I know, but its totally legal to buy if its for dramatic purposes. Which is obviously what I use it for.

I had been questioned before about it in Sarajevo (see blog) but once I explained they quickly let me go…

Why not use a plastic gun? Well cap guns don’t make as bigger a noise (part of the dramatic effect) and plus I have struggled to find one that looks the right period. Anyway when we landed in Marrakech on exiting the airport we had to pass through a X-ray. I got a girl to explain to the guard in French what I was carrying. I’m not sure if he fully understood, but he put my bag through the X-ray and then let us go.

Cherry and I were then marched towards about 5 guards all gathered around my suitcase. I started shaking. I knew I could explain the gun, but bloody-hell I had perhaps not through this through fully. I was asked to open the suitcase where I scrabbled around to find the gun which was buried in my selection of polyester dresses and covered in glitter. I handed it over to the guard explaining it was for a photoshoot. I frantically went through my purse looking for my business card which has a picture of a gun shooting a lipstick on it to try and back up my claim. Some guards seemed relaxed, others were sent off to get the head officer of the airport.

We were assured we would still be able to get on our flight, but I was bricking it. We were supposed to have left Morocco three days previously- how could things keep on going wrong?

Time was ticking towards our flight time, after sniffer dogs were set on my cases we were taken through passport control to an office. On the way an officer hilariously grumbled ‘My hands are covered in glitter from your gun, my wife will suspect me of being with another woman’. Funny the moments of comedy you can find when things seem to be going from bad to worse.

At the head office there was even a more gruff looking moustached officer inspecting my gun while other gathered around. Crap- it does look real I though as he sprung out the barrel to poured out the tiny gold bullets. And then it hit me ‘I bought a GUN to Africa. SHIT I AM A TOTAL IDIOT’. I was asked why I had not declared it. ‘I told the guard when I arrived!, check the CCTV!’

After more waiting, no one seemed to be able to tell us if we were allowed to get on the flight, or explain to us what was going on. Then we had to go hand over our digital cameras.

This humourless guard started flicking through our pictures. Shit it. I had one private picture on there- nothing super explicit, but private none the less exposing one teeny nipple.

‘Where was this taken?’ he demanded.

‘In London‘ I replied. Things were getting serious now- Morocco has very strict pornography laws which can lead to jail sentences. I felt physically sick with dread especially when he came to innocent pictures of us in the bath that had been taken in the Riad.

One of the pictures that caught the policeman's eye...

One of the pictures that caught the policeman's eye...

another nice bathroom that almost got us into trouble!

another nice bathroom that almost got us into trouble!

It became obvious I was not going to be able to get on my flight and I asked them if they could let Cherry go- thankfully they said yes, as I had been the one carrying the ‘firearm’. She did not want to leave but I insisted, I felt sure it would get resolved and I hated to delay her any further. It was awful though, even though I knew she should go I still had to turn my back when she headed towards the gate, I was pretty scared.

After another half hour of waiting and more questions about pictures on my camera, and after being formally arrested for bringing an undeclared firearm into the country I called Alan the photographer, explained the situation and he swiftly called his contact at the British Embassy.

Matthew from  the embassy called me back about ten minutes later. I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear a reassuringly British voice, when you have been arrested by Moroccan Police. I half sobbed down the phone, while he said he would call the airport to find out what was going on as they were telling me very little.

Then one of the guards said ‘Come with me’.

‘Where are we going?

‘Just come’.

Then my phone rang and it was Matthew the consulate.

‘Will you tell the consulate where we are going?’

The guard shook his head. We were heading towards an empty gate with a plane with two policeman out side.

Oh god- hey are putting me on a plane to PRISON! I started crying as I tried to drag my two suitcases across behind the police man and I kept asking ‘Where are you taking me!?’. We got closer to the plane and my heart skipped a beat. Then I was lead to a rather boring office downstairs and told to wait. I felt like a idiot. Almost as stupid as a burlesque dancer, who takes a gun to Morocco for a photo shoot, and then thinks they are going to get flown to a secret prison, where she would most undoubtedly be tortured and never seen again. But I tell you fear does quite warp ones mind to dramatics.

More waiting. I was told to stay in a room with two guards, who were very nice and one started laughing when I told him the story, which made me feel slightly better. I then had to sign a statement. It was written in French- so my GCSE came in a bit handy, although I refused to sign it at first without the consulate. They said they could not take me to the station to meet the until I signed it, so I did.

Then after 6 hours of waiting I was put in the back of a Police van and driven to the main Police station in the famous market square Jemma El Fna. I just kept thinking ‘I can’t believe it has come to this!’.

When I arrived Matthew the consulate was there waiting for me on the steps- god was I glad to see him!

We went into a another office where I was relieved the atmosphere was a lot more jovial. Alan had dropped off copies of the pictures of me standing ‘Bond Girl’ style with the gun and the Police found the whole thing hilarious, I was obviously not your usual arms smuggler. At this point I did not know whether to laugh or cry. It was the first time I had seen the pictures too- at least they were good!

The police at the station could not have been nicer, I was handed water and they even sent a boy out to buy me hot biscuits from the market. Arrest hospitality! I had to explain why I had the gun, with Matthew translating the facts again, while some of the officers rather distractingly played with my gun and pretended to shoot each other round corners Bond style.

After 2 hours, and more statement signing, it was agreed that I could be released but they would have to hold onto my passport while my gun was sent off for analysis in Rabat. Phew. But there was still an outside chance it could go to court. Shit.

However Matthew was so nice, and having an articulate, kind man with me made me realise that sometime its jolly good to be British and have someone one your side metaphorically hold your hand.

Alan then came to the station to give a statement and he kindly offered that I could stay with him and his wife Joanna until it was all resolved. I was so happy, the thought of going back alone to an empty hotel room was not a pleasant prospect.

We picked up Joanna and headed out to the village were they lived about 20mins outside Marrakech.  It was great not to be in a Police station.  Their house was beautiful, all cool polished concrete floors, and a lovely courtyard in the middle.

Alan and Joanna's Courtyard

Alan and Joanna's Courtyard

my guards that night

my guards that night

After a much need gin and tonic and supper I headed to bed- as we had to go back to the Police station in the morning.

Wednesday 4th November

I woke early, while I had felt confident everything was going to be resolved the previous day, my confidence had now turned to doubt. I agonized over what to wear too- my clothes were not realing but showed too much arm…should I dress western? Moroccan? I settled on a 60s dress and Joanna’s jacket.

Just before we entered the Police Station  Alan stopped me and very kindly handed me a huge wadge of Moroccan currency. ‘I don’t mean to scare you, but there is small chance that they might prosecute you and take you to court. I want you to be prepared. You can buy things in prison, like a better room, food with this etc . Seriously it wouldn’t be that bad, my friend was in prison for 3 months and he said the worst thing was the boredom.’

And on wait a minute- PRISON! It was only then that the prospect of going to jail seemed real. Surely I could not be put in a paint peeling cell like the one I saw yesterday. I was fighting back the tears as we walked across the square with Alan’s money tucked in my pocket. Suddenly my freedom, which as a (largely) law abiding citizen I have taken for granted seemed incredibly precarious in this foreign land. I was a long way from home. I had brought a firearm to Africa, not declared it (in their eyes). Shit I was going down. Oh GOD! I’m too pretty for prison!!!!

‘Oh and take your sim card out of your phone that way you can take it into jail with you , if it comes to it’ ‘But I can’t I have an iphone- they are really tricky to open and there’s no time.’ Bloody ponsey technology, no good if you get banged up in Africa!

So with one last look at the blue sky and I headed into the station to hear the results of the analysis in Rabat.

‘Heeeey my friends!’ was the greeting we received from the mullet haired cop who had spoken to us yesterday. ‘I think that means I’m not going to jail!’ I thought. Unless it was just a ruse to stop me bolting.

After a nervous ten minutes it was clear that ‘Relax, there is no problem’ as we were assured that the gun and our story had checked out. But they were still waiting for official paperwork to come through before they could give me my passport back.

Big deep breath out.

When we got back to Alan’s later I booked my flight home- the thought of going back nearly made me cry.AGAIN.

Thursday 5th November

At 2pm we went back into the Police station for the third time, where I was given back my precious passport and they actually APOLOGISED for arresting me! What a relief, I was going home!

Passport back, very happy, wearing Alan's denim jacket for modesty!

Passport back, very happy, wearing Alan's denim jacket for modesty!

Also a big thank you goes to Alan for spending about what felt like 3 days in the police station, Joanna for being so hospitable and kind, Matthew for his time and good humour and for all your kind messages. All those calls, posts and texts certainly cheered me up during those few days.

Needless to say I have learnt my lesson, and when I travelled to Dublin last week I did call up Air France in advance and the  Met Police looked over the gun before I boarded. It means I have to show up at the airport a little earlier, but its worth it. I never want to have to go through anything like that again.

Give up the gun I hear you say? Start using a prop that doesn’t fire bullets and won’t get you arrested? Now where would be the fun in that…..

Picture courtesy of Alan Keohane with the little gun that caused a whole lotta palava

Picture courtesy of Alan Keohane 'The Lotus Connection, with the little gun that caused a whole lotta palava

How I got arrested in Morocco: Part 1

Funnily enough I wrote some of this while I was staying at the hotel-before the arrest….

Friday 30th October

I have always wanted to go to Morocco since I read Bella Freud’s ‘Hideous Kinky’ as a teenager. I was so pleased when Cherry Shakewell (who gave me my first burlesque lesson)  put me forward for the gig of 2 nights worth of Go-Go dancing at Club Lotus in Marrakech.

Club Lotus

Club Lotus

Riad Lotus where we were staying was a new hotel but it was beautifully designed: a great mix of modern European and traditional Moroccan style.

Riad Lotus

Riad Lotus

10849_368233305144_616150144_10122296_6170271_nAfter a lounge by the pool and some meatballs,egg and tomato lunch we were taken to the night club. Club Lotus is a trendy and popular nightspot and we were told was probably the most ‘liberal’ club on Marrakech, but even the most liberal clubs do not allow burlesque so it was strictly fully clothed Go Go- fine by me!

pre-show dip

pre-show dip

We arrived cautiously dressed in kaftans and shawls we need not have worried judging by the scantily clad models running around preparing for an evening fashion show. We were not dancing until midnight, so we met up with the photographer Alan Keohane who I had arranged a shoot  with for the next day. Alan is one of Marrakech’s top photographers- he took this famous picture of mountain girl which I love.

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and as a Morocco resident for the past 20 years it was great to get an ex-pat perspective on the culture, and traditions and city.

Alan is also really reminds me of Michael Palin! Resemblance non?

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We were also joined by his assistant Terry an ex-Brooklynite who would be on the shoot with us the next day.

King Mohammed VI

King Mohammed VI, not Terry

We then heard a bit of history: Morocco still has a monarch. The current king above is apparently far more progressive and more popular than his father who called Morocco ‘his farm’. When the new king made his first speech he addressed them as his ‘fellow citizens’ as opposed to ‘my subjects’, this was revolutionary progress! Hurrah! His picture is everwhere too- I wish we had more picture of the Queen up.

I was also regaled with some great  stories from the 60s when the government tried to prevent hippies from entering the country they insisted all tourists must arrive with a suitcase instead of a backpack which lead to all these long haired bohemians arriving with rucksacks stuffed into cheap cases which were hastily disposed of on arrival.

My Moroccan 60s heroine- Talitha Getty

My Moroccan 60s heroine- Talitha Getty

Sadly I did not manage to track down the Getty ‘Pleasure Palace’ when I was there- but photo’s of Talitha really inspired my photoshoot with Alan see http://minimadmodmuses.multiply.com/photos/album/8/Talitha_Getty

Moroccan trivia aside we had been asked to being CDs of 60s Go Go tracks, but on arrival in appeared our 20 min go to sets would look a bit clunky slotted in between the club house music policy. At about midnight we were helped onto our podiums, they were pretty narrow and 6ft off the ground! EEek! So it took me a little while to get my sea legs- I did that old trick of staring at a fixed point on the wall and tried not to look down. I like house music so it was fun to dance to that for a change. The locals also LOVE the Black Eyed Peas. Seriously as soon as ‘Boom Boom Boom’ came on all the girls screeched! Wow. After two 15 min sets we were whisked back to the Riad where we got an early night. ZZZzzz

Saturday 31st October : Shoot day

primped and preened almost ready for my close up

primped and preened almost ready for my close up

The premise for the shoot was a kind of Bond Girl in Morocco type affair. With Cherry now on board we really could play around with double crossing and various weapons. Our first location was the sister Riad of the one were staying in, in the Medina, the old part of town.

a street in the Medina

a street in the Medina

You would never guess something so beautiful was down all those narrow streets.  I had brought lots of my favourite vintage boho clothes for the shoot so we had fun rifling though it all. Cherry loves the 60′s too so she brought some of her mothers original pieces. She looked like a delicious Russ Meyer villainess!  I think my favourite shot was of Cherry looking all Brit Eckland in a pink and gold harem dress and me lounging in a sequined belly dancer outfit nonchalantly smoking (well pretending to smoke )hooka.

Cherry and assistant photog Terry

Cherry and assistant photog Terry

Post shoot group photo

Post shoot group photo

We headed back to our Riad for some lunch with Alan and Terry (who acted as a Dr Evil type stand in) and some final bedroom shots. Alan was super easy to work with as he had done a reccy of the locations so it was pretty smooth from shot to shot. We wrapped at about 5pm and post shoot Cherry and I enjoyed a bubble bath in gratuitously large tub, and more mint tea!

check out the heart shaped lumps!

check out the heart shaped lumps! Fancy.

Then we headed down to Club Lotus of our final night of dancing.

Tired Go-Go Cat

Tired Go-Go Cat

We were expecting to fly back the next day but there had been a bit of a mis-communication and it turned out we were actually booked ok a 2pm Monday flight flying from Casablanca which was a 3 hour drive away!

There are definitely worse places to be stuck than a 5 star Riad so we quickly swallowed are disappointment at the thought of a hammam and lounge by the pool the next day. When we got back I fell onto the best seamless sleep, you know one of those sleeps where you wake up in the same position you fell asleep in. Heaven.

I had wanted initially to explore the old town but we were told that without a male chaperone it was inadvisable plus with Cherry being blonde we were guaranteed unwanted attention. So with an enforced day of inactivity we embraced the loafing nattering by the pool and slotted in a hammam (lovely) before more loafing, more eating and then watched Spiderman in our hotel room.
Monday 1st November

After a midnight mosquito swatting session

Results: Cherry and Lynchy: 1 bite

Mosquitoes: 3 dead

Result: We massively WON!

We woke for our journey to Casablanca. The 3 hour journey is literally down one straight road. After a slightly nerve-wracking police stop (little did I know….)where the driver had his papers checked for 15 mins, we arrived at the airport only to find that our booking had been cancelled due to a mess up at the Lotus’s travel agents! Noooooo!

So the driver had to be called back and we made another 3 hour journey back to Marrakech….would we EVER get home??

22 shows, 4 different countries and one arrest later…..

Wednesday, 18 November 2009, 18:17 | Category : Uncategorized
Tags :

So sorry for lack pf blog action. I have been travelling so much (a different country every week), moved house, been arrested, and performed 20 acts! Phew.
So hopefully more blogs about my travels in Milan, Morocco, Geneva and Dublin ( this coming Saturday!)
In the meantime here are some pictures from my show at Fashionista’s Night Out for the Children’s Trust which was on the 29th October.
It was organised by my friend and my Burlesque student Kimberly Sanderson, she did an awesome job and raised a helluvalot of £££, orgainsed the whole thing and managed to look gorgeous on the night too. A+
Also this was the last outing of the pistachio present. I have a new glittery pink one which came with me to Geneva which is sooo sparkly it makes your eyes hurt! Pics coming soon.
Also if anyone is interested in attending my Burlesque class this weekend in Dublin check out the info here: http://agentlynch.com/academy/
Also I’m clearing my new pistol with Air France – I’m not taking ANY more chances.
xxxx L

So sorry for lack of blog action. I have been travelling so much (a different country every week), moved house, been arrested, and performed 22 acts! Phew.

So hopefully more blogs about my travels in Milan, Morocco, Geneva and Dublin coming next week ( this coming Saturday!)

In the meantime here are some pictures from my show at Fashionista’s Night Out for the Children’s Trust which was on the 29th October.

It was organised by my friend and  burlesque student Kimberly Sanderson, she did an awesome job and raised a helluvalot of £££, and managed to look gorgeous on the night too. A+ for effort.

Also this was the last outing of the pistachio present. I have a new glittery pink one (which came with me to Geneva) which is sooo sparkly it makes your eyes hurt! Pics coming soon.

Also if anyone is interested in attending my Burlesque class this weekend in Dublin check out the info here: http://agentlynch.com/academy/

Also I’m clearing my new pistol with Air France – I’m not taking ANY more chances.

xxxx L

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Kimberly and I happy post-show

Kimberly and I happy post-show

Hot off my glittery hard drive:Aurelia Thevevin Paris Shoot

Monday, 26 October 2009, 9:11 | Category : photoshoots, Travel, Uncategorized
Tags : , , ,

My new pictures from renowned fashion photographer Aurelia Thevevin have just arrived!

I did the shoot back in September in Paris when I popped over to see Gentry’s revue: http://agentlynch.com/2009/09/18/how-many-hours-in-a-day-are-there-in-paris/

It was a fun shoot and I had a total hair fluke with my front curl. I have tried to recreate  it since…  but I just end up hair-spraying myself to death. Oh well at least it will be forever immortalised in jpeg.

Just in case anyone is wondering I did get to eat the macaroon.

Thank you for a lovely morning Aurelia. How I love photoshoots with cake.

xxxx

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‘Beatles to Bowie’ and hot flushes

On Monday I was invited to the launch of ‘Beatles- Bowie: The 60s Exposed’ photography exhibition at the National Portrait gallery.

beatleshp

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!

Jane+Birkin

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.

bailey_jagger

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.

Barry...I mean Baron in front of one of his iconic pictures (this one is not at the exhibition sadly)

Barry...I mean Baron in front of one of his iconic pictures (this one is not at the exhibition sadly)

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