Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lights, action, music!

The July skies may be grey but we got a little glow on from the flash of spotlights this month and the shimmer of showbiz glamour. Stephanie Theobald, who conducted the Punk Cancer campaign in memory of her friend Tutu, fulfilled a long time ambition of mine, and paid me a great compliment in the process, when she interviewed me for Ireland's biggest selling glossy mag for gals, "Image"(http://www.image.ie/).
I have long wanted to be Daphne Guinness when I grow up, and to rub inky shoulders with her in an article on changing direction in life felt like a good alternative. Another of the featured subjects was Victoria Beckham, someone for whom I have long had time and sympathy. Stop your mean minded hissing and give the woman credit - first fortune spinning career, trophy crumpet love-match, FOUR kids, now second career as fashion designer that delivers both commercial and critical success. So I was immensely satisfied with that company. Stephanie retold the story of how Mr Wesley and I came to meet, as foretold by my dear friend Dezia, one time resident psychic to John & Yoko. Our bit's on the third page and apologies but you will just have to read it through a magnifying glass (or crystal ball).

Next up, Nile Rodgers was back to play a series of "summer" dates in the UK, and on June 17th we accompanied him to Lovebox, a festival in East London. It actually didn't rain that day! We still had a few t-shirts left from the ones we made for him before Christmas, and I thought maybe we could hand them out backstage to other performers, such as his friend Grace Jones. But then it occurred to me that the coolest thing we could do would be to share the love and lob them into the fans. My throwing is famously feeble and indeed the first couple I tried barely limped across the security barrier. At that point, the boyfriend of one of Nile's slinky singers only revealed he was a former football quarterback. T-shirts now flew to the furthest reaches of the throng whose appreciation surged to near frenzy. Watch us at 54/55 seconds of this clip - look, we can see us, get that magnifying glass out again:

We got back to the hotel a little before midnight when Mark did the fitting on Nile's suit, the 3-piece made from the most dazzling white wool on earth, bleached any more the fibres will weaken. I chose Japanese goldfish shell buttons for it to protect him with their lucky charm and to symbolise the godlike status he holds in that country (indeed, in any country that honours musical talent).

Mark and Nile after the Lovebox festival

A few weeks later, the day after Independence Day when Nile played at Kew Gardens, he came to our shop for a photo shoot for Jocks & Nerds magazine http://jocksandnerdsmagazine.com/, in the suit. Sam Christmas took the photographs and you should check out the portraits on his website, A1 class - http://www.samchristmas.co.uk/
Mr Mark Webster conducted the interview. As it happens, he interviewed me back in 1897 for a TV show (it was an early TV) on the hot happenings in London nightlife called "01 for London". Jocks & Nerds is a supremely cool publication. It is sponsored by Levis but you wouldn't know that unless you knew that if you know what I mean. There's no naff branding. It is given away free in the coolest shops in the world and we're hoping soon to be amongst their distributors.

Just visible are the hands of Sam Christmas who did the shoot. Mark Webster was the journalist for the interview.

Fifty Shades of Grey between them phwoar!

Also playing at Kew Gardens with Nile was M People, and so there Mark was reunited with his old school friend Shovell who plays percussion in the band. At the same time I was reunited with the wonderful Tony Rémy who now plays guitar for them - he used to honour my jam sessions (such as Mark Webster covered all those years ago) with his talent http://www.tonyremy.com/ :

Tony Rémy, Mr Wesley and Shovell in his Bedlam Motorcycle club t-shirt

After all that excitement, it was back to the more prosaic tasks of daily routine. I was in the queue at the bank when my mobile rang and someone asked if the shop was open that day. I explained I'd be back as soon as I could and with the utmost patience, and a dedication to scopin' out the sitch with the stitch that greatly impressed me, the voice said no stress, he'd wait at the Oval Lounge and have a coffee. Soon as I returned a handsome young buck presented himself. He revealed that his friend was often extolling our store so he had come along from Notting Hill for a visit. He was always on the look out for clothes to wear on stage. This naturally beggared the question, "Will the sun ever be back?"
No, rather, but of course, "And what manner of stagecraft do you practise?"
He teased the game out further, "I'm in a band."
So I had to ask next how does this month's precipitation fall compare with other years? Alright, alright "Which band would that be?"
Jolly good! Gus is their new guitarist and Bedlam is looking forward to kitting him out. Here's a musical interlude courtesy of the 'Light then for Independence Day - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9NhncU5_CE

From a different musical era, a different vintage, is Sir Michael Wilmot (above) for whom we completed the commission of a joyful pink jacket. Back in the 60s he used to "own" The Kinks and The Who. Rub your eyes and read that again.

Stephanie Theobald's other half Jake Arnott then kindly invited us to the party at the Ivy to launch his new book. Mark was kicking himself to realise he missed talking to a Great Train Robber - Bruce Reynolds. But we did have a most entertaining exchange with playwright Simon Blow. Jake is wearing our Signor Zoot suit in his publicity shots and on the dust jacket - you can see it here illustrating a piece he's written himself - http://bookoxygen.com/?p=1915
It was also used in the hard copy of this fulsome review in The Independent:


The sun may have put his hat AND coat on and gone wandering off but light and warmth were not absent form Bedlam's world this month as two separate parties, unrelated to us or to each other, on whom we have no dirt or other hold, have expressed interest and more in investing in our label. Beyond that I shall remain sensibly circumspect for the moment but be reassured that every black cloud has indeed a silver lining. When it starts to thunder, don't run under a tree. You'll find your fortune falling all over town, best make sure that your umbrella is upside down. Sing it for us Louis!