Saturday, 18 May 2013

Noctis Magazine: Goldie interview

Transcript from the Spring 2013 interview with Goldie wearing pieces from the Nutters of Savile Row X Peter Werth (NoSR X PW) Autumn/Winter 2013 collection:

Goldie or Clifford Price?

Who is this man and how do you know him? I’m sure you’ve heard him, seen him or seen his artwork. Saying that I’m sure your mum knows him. But does she, or even you, know the man behind the myth?

With a history of music, graffiti and acting behind him, Goldie has fluidly crossed between worlds and yet, he has never been seen to sell out. So who or what is he? Well with his best of album entitled “The Alchemist: Best of Goldie 1992- 2012” available let’s go back and find out.

Goldie wears Nutters of Savile Row X Peter Werth jacquard blazer and dogtooth shirt
NoSR X PW jacquard blazer and dogtooth shirt

To begin, let’s begin at the beginning. Goldie, better known to his friends and family as Clifford Price has travelled consistently throughout his life travelling from the Midlands to New York, then Miami and finally London. It may not be one of the reasons people know him but when you go all the way back to the beginning before his music, Goldie was known for his Graffiti.

Appearing in Bombing by Dick Fontaine. A documentary about a journey from the Bronx which combined art and Hip Hop together. In New York, Goldie quickly learnt about the real deal. Blue Collar Workers and the economy crash; he called it a “Real wake-up call” and it has influenced the rest of his life. This was also the time that he met his father.

Moving back to London from the US he moved to a place called Doorly Tower, which he claims was his University. Living with the cameraman from the documentary, he began hustling in Camden and more importantly he was able to paint.

The creativity that he was allowed, he claims, is part of his double life having lived in institutes most of his childhood. From running away consistently he had now started life on a housing estate. Saying he will never forget when he realized that he could traverse the estate without touching the grass. Now going back quickly.. you may ask institutions. Well coming from having his name on his collar he has always had a struggle with identity, trying to decide what he wanted for his life.

Heading down a route of hustling and mugging he realized that he had an artist inside of him. Wanting to be different from what he was, he never did fit into this lifestyle which he had embarked upon saying “I wasn’t good at mugging people.”

NoSR X PW flannel shirt and button-through gilet

The next step for Goldie was whenhip Hop came. This was the first time that he could look at a book and see this whole world created by social deprivation and the subculture which had evolved from that. There was so much to it and everything was so new for him.

What was it like going to clubs at the start or the first bubble writing on a train? “These were things that were churned out by a society which was supposed to father and mother it. So for what I saw through this looking glass of the Bronx I saw the real fabric of the country and it was really important to me as I took it all in. Taking it all really seriously” he says reflecting on this point of his life. “It’s about having a voice and most people don’t have a voice anymore.”

Goldie moves on quickly to discuss the ideas of the social background and the fact that society has stopped listening all together. Obviously this is the embodiment of his beginning. Goldie is quick to say that Hip Hop in it’s pure form changed the world in the way of RNB leaning towards a common debate saying that it’s the same way as EDM has changed the face of dance music and Detroit techno and Chicago House influenced techno of the 90’s. “You have to look further than your nose and see the History.” [We come back to this concept in a little while].

Proving this quite quickly, Goldie brings it all together by asking “Do you think that people who go to Ibiza know about the issues that people in Chicago were facing? They have no fucking idea” Although saying this, Goldie has never shied away from doing things his way. Even initially picking out Graffiti which, until recently, was seen as the bottom rung of the ladder as far as art was concerned, and entering the world of Drum and Bass which, at the time, was a completely underground form of music.

NoSR X PW fur trimmed coat, button-through gilet and Oxford bags

Rejecting everything he believes that to move forward is an old b-boy motto, but moving forward, he says is about faith pushing forward science. A prime example of this is his early track, “Terminator”. Famously known for time stretching. A method which can now be found in every piece of software.

Constantly evolving his ideas in both art and music, he claims that everything he does is the barbarian from outside the four walls. With everything he has worked on he takes it back to his concept of faith and technology. Because as he states “If the technology surpasses the faith then anybody can do it even a monkey.”

This even goes back to Timeless, which shows the genre as a work tool. Creating an aural aesthetic which allows him to create not only the engine for the songs, but the beautiful chassis that surrounds them.

He looks back to the ideas of the 70’s and first recordings. Even though he was writing the tracks which embody most of this album in the 90’s, at the time he was looking to create something which maintained the melancholy and discord that only a human could bring to the table rather than the monotone line which seems to have crept into music with Mixed-in key and quantization.

In his way of being old fashioned, Goldie looks back to move forward as everything shifts and changes. Rather than rely on your eyes and ears to tell you about the piece, Goldie aims directly for the heart wanting his listeners and gallery goers to really FEEL his work.

NoSR X PW fur trimmed coat, button-through gilet and Oxford bags
Inner city life was ahead of its time with people not even playing it at the correct speed, which Goldie seems to have a mixed relationship with, having wanted to push ahead and keep moving forward but seeming to hold a mild distain for the rest of the world not quite being able to keep up, saying, “Only now am I starting to get recognition for these things”.

Comparing times in his life, where for example Timeless was up against George Michael and Jamiraquai at the Mobo’s, he says, “Well now everything is dance music, if you strip off the top line. It’s all pretty much EDM.”

With his music and his art being combined so closely, Goldie sees himself as an alchemist [hence the title of the album]. Bringing everything in his life together as one and barely differentiating between. Saying that “art is the application of a medium to a surface be it writing to paper, art to a wall or music to a dub plate.”

Stepping away from music quickly to discuss his career as a personality we skip over most of it with Goldie saying, “There is an irony to me, I did a lot of that because I can. Where I come from you would never have thought in your wildest dreams that you could do that” Underneath it, all people know Goldie, but you ask them what he does and people may become a little unstuck. It’s all part of the myth he’s creating. Is he laughing at all of us?

The conversation settles back onto music but this time Classic Goldie; which quickly takes him to a comfort zone. “I have a passion for classical music” and with Classic Goldie he was about proving to people who questioned him again what was possible. Maybe this has been the aim of Goldie’s life, combined with an experimental streak and a love to pursue the new unfound, unseen and unheard. Pushing the envelope with whatever he does.

Not being able to read music, although understanding arrangements, he was already using different time signatures and had his foot in the door. “This is all part of our evolution”, Goldie understands where he has come from and is calling everyone out to understand it as well, be it in music or art he knows his history.

NoSR X PW jacquard blazer and dogtooth shirt

Given his orchestra he wants to integrate and see what it can really do. Challenge music. With a million concepts ready to go it’s just about pushing it forward, “Classic music is a great reminder to electronic musicians”. With absolute geniuses that could write entire music in their minds without even hearing a note, it’s about explaining something which can be translated. Even now Goldie still wants to seek sounds rather than engineer.

With the upcoming Timeless project in which Goldie will re-embark, once again, upon Timeless with a full orchestra, maybe this could be something that we see in the near future. Being an artist, not an engineer or critic, Goldie is free to follow what he sees as his vision.

The album hasn’t been homework for Goldie; it has been an experience. With certain songs being more like pictures of times and places, such as Sea of Tears which provokes memories of Miami and receiving a letter from home, this song caused an abrupt stop to his new found life in the States, Goldie found himself on the beach making recordings of the sea. This recording was then to become part of the track itself and as Goldie describes it, part of his emotional disclosure. Describing it as his “Seancic” method, please Oxford let’s have a dictionary update.

For Goldie the album has simply been about ideas and an achievement. Bringing creative ideas to the table and achieving the best between the faith and technology. He has simply included tracks which still makes his hair stand on end.

These are his memories, his history which he has laid out for you. He wanted it to be songs not just loops, a structured finished song that can be listened to as an album and with the remastering he’s listening to sounds he’s never even heard and hearing something new.

Saying the songs on the album has been about his personal development and about not creating music to dance to. But music to listen to. Saying this is his memory Goldie looks back to paper over
technology and wants his music to be written down, he wants it to be there. To leave his mark in sound as well as in art. For a man approaching the latter half of his life Goldie is showing no signs of slowing down “Am i gonna retire? Like fuck, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

It’s important for everyone to look at Goldie as someone who is. He exists, and be it from his past, he is someone who has not only left his mark on us be it through music art or even if you just saw him on Come Dine With Me you can trust me from spending an hour with this man that in his eyes this is just the start and everything he’s achieved so far was part of his education.

With culture being so disposable Goldie finishes by saying “I am not disposable.”

Goldie’s album “The Alchemist - Best of Goldie 1992-2012” is available now .

Monday, 31 December 2012

Northern Soul: The Story

Northern Soul is a music and dance movement that emerged in the 1960s and reached the peak of its popularity in the mid to late 1970s. The expression was first used publicly by journalist Dave Godin in an article for Blues & Soul magazine in 1971. Godin ran a record shop in London's Covent Garden and apparently coined the phrase in 1968 to help his staff to differentiate between the modern, funkier sounds that were emerging at the time, and the earlier Mowtown-sounding, fast-tempo dance music which still remained popular with soul-fans in the north of England.

The Northern Soul movement, which grew out of the mod subculture, eschewed mainstream music and popular artists in favour of rare recordings by relatively unknown performers. Playlists at clubs were updated by the discovery of previously overlooked tracks produced by small, regional record companies in the United States such as Ric-Tic and Golden Records (Detroit), Mirwood (Los Angeles) and Shout and Okeh (New York/Chicago). The up-tempo beat of the music, together with the influence of stage performances by 1960s American soul acts such as Jackie Wilson, led to the development of a unique dance style incorporating kicks and spins; by the mid-1970s, acrobatic flips and backdrops were added to routines.

Jackie Wilson - "You Better Know It"

Extraordinary dance moves were no the only peculiarity of Northern Soul devotees; they also introduced a fashion of comparable extreme - created with equal measure of form and function. The earlier mod-style of Sta-Prest trousers, Ben Sherman shirts and multi-buttoned blazers gave way to skinny-fitting vests, shirts and tank tops worn over high-waisted, wide-legged Oxford bags - the latter of which not only offered ventilation and freedom of movement, but also cut a dramatic dash mid-pirouette.

Sports vests were often adorned with sew-on patches, representing affiliation to the movement and/or membership of various soul clubs. The design of these badges was often formed around the image of a clenched black fist (a symbol associated with the Black Power salute given by African-American athletes at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City .... and on the soul circuit - a reference to the origin of the music genre).

The Twisted Wheel nightclub in Manchester is widely regarded as being the birthplace of Northern Soul. It opened as a music venue in 1963 and soon developed a reputation for being the place to listen and dance to Rhythm and Blues tunes imported from the United States. It also became a regular scene of drug raids by the police as the club began promoting all-night parties frequented by amphetamine-fuelled dancers ... this became a contributing factor in the clubs closure by the authorities in 1971, and the scene moved on to other locations.

Whilst a number of Northern Soul clubs began to emerge across the North of England and the Midlands throughout the 1970s, the most important venues were the Golden Torch in Stoke, Blackpool Mecca, and the fabled Wigan Casino (which remains the spiritual home of the movement). Wigan began its weekly all-nighters in 1973. It had a much larger capacity than the other clubs on the scene, and by 1976 it had amassed 100,000 members. The club's highest accolade arrived two years later, when Billboard magazine in the US declared Wigan Casino the "Best Disco in the World" - high praise indeed given that New York's Studio 54 had opened it's doors the same year. However, to many of the original crowd, Billboard's commendation was the death knell for the club and the turning point in the life-cycle of what had been an extraordinary subculture. The Casino closed in 1981, and whilst crowds continued to attend other venues around the country, the club's closure marked the end of an era.


At the turn of the century, Northern Soul experienced a quiet revival. In 2002, the reborn Twisted Wheel began to host soul nostalgia nights, and the same year, Sheffield based pop-duo Moloko released the single "Familiar Feeling" accompanied by a soul-styled video directed by long-time Northern Soul enthusiast, Elaine Constantine. Subsequent music videos produced for Duffy's 1998 song "Mercy" and Plan B's "Stay Too Long" in 2010 also featured Northern Soul dancers.

Moloko - "Familiar Feeling"

In 2012, Elaine Constantine realised a lifetime ambition by directing her first feature-length film entitled "Northern Soul" which, set in 1975, tells the story of how the lives of two young men are changed forever when they discover American soul music. Nutters of Savile Row were delighted to have been invited to help with the wardrobe for the production together with designer Paul Smith and British menswear brand Peter Werth. The film is scheduled for release in Spring 2013. 

Further information:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

STUDIO 54: the most famous nightclub in history

Halston, Bianca, Andy and Liza illustrate the glamour of Studio 54

During the 1970's, Tommy Nutter, the founder of Nutters of Savile Row, dressed everyone, from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Elton John and Eric Clapton, from Jacko (before the Wacko) to the high priestess of Motown, Diana Ross. Nutter and his clientele defined "bon vivant" and their destination of choice at the time was the hedonistic New York discotheque, Studio 54.

Mick Jagger and John Lennon at the most famous nightclub in history

The establishment, located at 254 West 54th Street in Manhattan, was originally built in 1927 as the Gallo Opera House. Three years later it was transformed into the New Yorker theatre, then in 1942, CBS purchased the space and made it the home of renowned television programmes such as "The Johnny Carson Show". In 1976, CBS moved most of its broadcast functions to the Ed Sullivan Theatre and put the property up for sale.

In 1977, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager acquired the premises, with financial backing from Jack Dushey, and in just 6 weeks transformed the former theatre into what was to become the most famous nightclub in history. It was a playground for the rich, famous, and infamous. The eclectic group of guests were hand-picked from the crowds that gathered outside by Rubell himself. It was an interesting mix. "It's bisexual", Rubell told Interview magazine. "Very bisexual. And that's how we choose the crowd too. In other words we want everyone to be fun and good-looking" ... and have sex and do drugs on the balcony.

A hopeful crowd gathers outside the club

By December of 1978, Rubell was quoted as saying that Studio 54 had made $7 million in its first year and that "only the Mafia made more money". Shortly thereafter the nightclub was raided, and Rubell and Schrager were arrested for "skimming" $2.5 million. They were found guilty of tax evasion and spent 13 months in prison.

Lawyer Roy Cohn, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, following a raid on the club

Before their internship, Rubell and Schrager closed Studio 54 with a party on February 4th, 1980, where Diana Ross personally serenaded the founders. The guests that night included Ryan O'Neal, Mariel Hemingway, Jocelyn Wilderstein, Richard Gere, Gia Carangi, Jack Nicholson, Reggie Jackson and Sylvester Stallone.

Richard Gere hits the Studio 54 dancefloor

On their release from prison in 1981, Rubell and Schrager sold the building, but opted to keep a lease. The club reopened on September 12, 1981, with a guest list of Andy Warhol, Clavin Klein, Cary Grant, Lauren Hutton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Gina Lollobrigida and Brooke Shields. During this period, emerging artists, Madonna, Wham, Duran Duran, Culture Club and Run-DMC performed at the club before going on to future success.

Calvin Klein and Brooke Shields with Steve Rubell for LIFE

Soon after selling Studio 54, Rubell and Schrager purchased the Executive Hotel on Madison Avenue and renamed it Morgan's. It was an instant success and introduced the boutique lifestyle hotel concept to the world. It was followed by the Royalton and the Paramount which pioneered the idea of "lobby socialising" where guests and New York residents alike could gather. They later opened the Palladium, a large dance club famous for displaying art by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, and considered central to the New York club scene of the 1980s.

In 1985, after discovering he had contracted AIDS, Rubell began taking AZT, but his illness was furthered by his continued drug use and drinking, which affected his already compromised immune system. Rubell died on the 25th July, 1989.

Rubell and Schrager understood how to create desire

Schrager has seen continuing success with both hotel and residential property developments. His latest venture is a partnership with Marriott International to develop a chain of hotels under the brandname EDITION, the first of which has now opened in Istanbul.

And Studio 54? It is now the permanent home of the Roundabout Theatre Company, but in most minds it will the remain the place that defined the Disco-Era. Star-studded, glamorous, eccentric, stylish and exclusive .... it was the Nutter of nightclubs.

Stars of the Disco-era Diana Ross & Michael Jackson at Studio 54

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Dazed and Confused (Vol III/11)

Transcript pg.52 July 2012:

With Savile Row enjoying a style renaissance of late, it couldn’t be a better time to celebrate Tommy Nutter, the original maverick tailor. Known as the “Rebel on the Row”, Nutter was responsible for introducing fashion to the golden mile of traditional tailoring.

He opened Nutters of Savile Row with master cutter Edward Sexton in 1969, financed by Cilla Black and the Beatles’ executive producer, Peter Brown. Nutter defied convention, cutting lapels wider than ever before, broadening shoulders and juxtaposing bold patterns and fabrics. By modernising the style and approach of traditional tailors, Nutter reinvented the Savile Row suit, and his firm became the first tailoring house to dress women as well as men.

“Tommy was inspired by the tailoring styles of the 20s and 30s, the Golden Age of menswear and a period exuding glamour,” explains current Nutters of Savile Row owner David Mason. “As the glam rock era was about to begin, he was set to take glamour to new heights. Less than six months after the shop opened, Apollo 11 landed the first humans on the moon. Boundaries were being broken in orbit and pushed to the limits in the world of fashion, and Tommy was the frontiersman.”

Nutter made suits for numerous members of British rock aristocracy, including Eric Clapton, Elton John, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones, but his proudest boast was that he dressed three of the Beatles for the iconic Abbey Road album cover (George Harrison wore denim). He also famously dressed Mick and Bianca Jagger on their wedding day, and created what Mason describes as “the most copied suit in fashion history”: the three-piece ensemble photographed on Bianca as she was strolling through Heathrow Airport wearing a bowler hat and carrying a cane.

Bianca Jagger (Heathrow Airport 1972)

Nutter died from complications arising from Aids in 1992, but his influence lives on as bespoke tailoring undergoes a revival. Leading designer Tom Ford cites the Savile Row rebel as a key influence, and frequently produces Nutter-style velvet jackets and strong lapelled suits. Meanwhile, brands like E. Tautz, Hardy Amies and A.Sauvage are injecting new life into Savile Row bespoke tailoring and Alexander McQueen’s upcoming menswear store at 9 Savile Row will house a Huntsman made-to-measure service.

“At a time when the economy has continued to prove challenging,” explains Mason, “people are buttoning up their shirts and reaching for ties again. Many have grown tired of the dressdown movement; a younger generation are reacting against their parent’s desire to dress ‘down’ and are instead dressing ‘up’.”

As long as they do it with style, Tommy Nutter would approve.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Royal Mail Stamp Issue

The new first class stamp featuring Tommy Nutter's iconic design

On the 15th May 2012 a series of ten new first class stamps are being issued to commemorate the world of Great British fashion. The collection features some of the most influential designers to have emerged from the UK since World War II.

The stamps celebrate the work of Hardy Amies, Norman Hartnell, Granny Takes a Trip, Ossie Clark with Celia Birtwell, Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Smith and Alexandra McQueen along with the founder of Nutters of Savile Row - the late, great Tommy Nutter.

The outfits were shot by renowned Norwegian fashion photographer Solve Sundsbo and had been sourced from the archives of the designers, specialist vintage fashion stores, and in the case of the Nutter stamp, a re-creation of one of his most famous designs.

The black and white Prince of Wales checked suit with contrasting Shepherd's check braided edges, patch pockets (cut on the bias), vest and trousers was originally designed for Ringo Starr and modelled by him for an advertisement to promote Savile Row cloth merchant Holland & Sherry.

The suit was remade especially for the project by Nutters of Savile Row. The cloth was recommissioned by Holland & Sherry and the actual tailor who had crafted Ringo's outfit was given the job of reproducing the definitive Nutter design more than 35 years after making the original. 

The original suit modelled by Ringo Starr

The idea for the stamp issue came from the British Design Classics stamps of 2009, which featured Mary Quant's iconic mini skirt. This proved to be one of the most popular of the ten stamps featured in the issue, prompting the decision to dedicate an entire issue to Britain's world-class designers.