Watch the interview with Sue Clowes and Boy George (click hotspot 10 on www.carnabyechoes.com)
Carnaby Echoes Exhibition is at:
20 Foubert’s Place, London
5 Sept – 20 Oct 2013
Mon – Sat, 10am – 7pm
Sun, 12 – 6pm
Article below written by Lucy Harrison.
Carnaby Echoes is an art project investigating the musical history of Carnaby in London (Carnaby Street itself plus the 12 streets that surround it), a history that goes right back to early 20th century jazz and cabaret clubs, through the Swinging Sixties, to the 1980s when another wave of music and style arrived, to more recent hip hop venues. 15 of these places have been marked with plaques on the sides of the buildings, indicating that they are included on the mobile phone app and on the website.
If you go to the map on the website you can watch a film about Street Theatre, which was Peter Small’s first shop where Boy George worked as a window dresser with Gillian Clowes (now Pearson) at location number 9. If you go around the corner to number 10 you can see George again with Sue Clowes, talking about the Foundry, where Sue sold some of her early designs and helped to build the look of Culture Club. Locations 7 (Fouberts Club), 13 and 14, (NME and Smash Hits) are about a similar era, and it’s interesting how they overlap with each other.
Sue and Gillian were our first interviewees and so we were a bit nervous, but they were so friendly and happy to spend time with us that it gave us a bit more confidence. I worked with Richard Bevan, a film maker, and Jessica Marlowe, a sound artist, to make the films and audio recordings, and together we met some amazing people, including legendary Jamaican sound system operators Lloyd Coxsone and Count Suckle, and John Gunnell, who ran the Bag O’ Nails in the 1960s with his brother Rik and who is one of the best and funniest storytellers I have ever met. I heard about the Batcave, a Goth night at Fouberts Club in the 1980s, and Deal Real record shop, that had Friday night open mic nights a decade ago. By the time we got to meet Boy George, probably our most famous interviewee, it seemed completely natural, and he too was generous with his time, charming and funny.
I then spent all of our rare London summer editing with Richard, and getting all the other elements together, including the book and exhibition. The launch was last week and it was so nice for everyone to meet each other again, including some people who hadn’t seen each other for years. Lloyd Coxsone told John Gunnell how he had been inspired by him in the early 1960s when John brought black American stars over, including Wilson Pickett and John Lee Hooker, and John was very touched- he had no idea Lloyd had been in the audience. It was wonderful to look at all the people in one room together, showing several generations of Carnaby music heritage having a chance to meet.
I’m still working on the project until the exhibition finishes in October, and we are having a few events connected to it in the gallery space and in a space opposite in Fouberts Place, so it’s not quite finished yet. Also I’d really like people to leave their anecdotes on the ‘Participate’ page of the Carnaby Echoes website so we have a lasting collection of other memories.
More photos and more to read on Paul Gorman’s blog. Click here…
Carnaby Echoes was commissioned by Shaftesbury PLC and curated by Futurecity. Photos by Richard Bevan and Tom Lock.