George Clinton & Bootsy Collins at the Apollo

Last night at the Apollo in Harlem George Clinton aka ‘Dr Funkenstein’ founder of Parliament Funkadelic was honored with an all star tribute featuring Bootsy Collins, Sheila E, Bernie Worrell, Nona Hendryx, Vernon Reid, Ray Chew, Paul Shaffer  (who according to a source was considering wearing a diaper, in honor of Gary Shider, but ended up sporting just the diaper pin) and many more.

Bootsy Collins celebrated his 60th birthday by taking a walk across the audience.

Bootsy’s gorgeous wife Patti wearing peace sign eye wear

Bernie Worrell ‘s solo was beautiful.  An all around ‘moog’ genius who studied at Juilliard, he has been compared to Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix and Duke Ellington

Cornell West jumped onstage to share the love. Obviously  ‘The  Funk Will never Die’.

Dexy’s Midnight Runners & GI Blythe

The posse rides again – I shot Dexy’s Midnight Runners at the Elephant and Castle shopping centre in London in 1981 (above). Some members of the original band brought together by Geoff Blythe  just reunited to record at Blokhed Studio on Long Island. I just photographed  the new band, G I Blythe (below) for their new CD which comes out Jan 12th 2012. Geoff played with Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band – which is one of the first albums I ever bought.


Just made a print of this photo I shot of Motorhead in 1981. I remember Lemmy offering me some speed on the end of a screwdriver after I took the shot. Before he started Motorhead, Lemmy was in the band Hawkwind and worked as a roadie for the Jimmy Hendrix Experience.

Motor Cycle Clubs New York

The New York chapters of the American Brotherhood, Dirty Ryderz, Condemned Few, Hells Angels, Unforgiven, Trashed, Lost Boys motor cycle clubs had a party on Bond and Bowery last Sunday. So many gorgeous bikes lined up on Bowery and surrounding streets.

125th Street and Lenox

Waiting for the downtown train after midnight at 125th Street and Lenox in Harlem.

btw don’t miss photographer Bruce Davidson’s show of 1980’s subway photos at Aperture

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away last week. This art piece featuring a young and older Steve Jobs mysteriously appeared overnight on Bond Street NYC. The artist Scott VanderVoort,  seen below, lives in the neighborhood and says:

‘The project is a little daily reminder how creative and special life can be – I couldn’t have applied a more fitting and honorable icon than Steve Jobs who also lives with in our context but is not always seen from every angle or point in time.’

Laurel Aitken

Black culture had a big influence on the punk and skinhead scenes in the UK. British youth loved Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae and Ska and combined the dress styles of the musicians with their Dr Marten boots, braces (suspenders), Harrington jackets and loafers.

I photographed Laurel Aitken (above) at home in Leicester in 1980. He was known as the ‘Godfather of Ska’ and had moved to England from Jamaica in 1960. His flat reflected his personality, everything from the Mona Lisa and family photos to his immigration permit was on display.

This week  acurator features my photographs of that scene.

Occupy Wall Street

On Friday a huge crowd gathered at Liberty Plaza a few blocks from Wall Street. The demonstrators, organized by the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ group, say  ‘Our system is broken … 25 million are unemployed .. corporations, politicians, media, the police have failed as institutions’

A large police contingent tried to control the crowd that included everyone from students and trade unions to Grannies for Peace. In at an atmosphere that was part politics and part ‘Woostock’ there was music, dancing, a library, media centre, free rolled cigarettes, food and art supplies to make banners.

On Saturday, day 14, of the protest, they published and distributed a free newspaper ‘The Occupied Wall Street Journal’ . In the afternoon about 500 people from the Occupy Wall Street protest movement were arrested on New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge,

Arthur Russell

Twenty years after its initial vinyl release by Sleeping Bag records in 1981, the late Arthur Russell‘s avant-disco album 24 -> 24 Music is reissued by the Traffic Entertainment Group, the box set features some photographs of Arthur that I shot for The Face.  Journalist Simon Reynolds writing for Melody Maker in 1986 said : “This is an impossible dance music, jumbling your urges. making you want to move in ways not yet invented .. a work of genius”

Arthur Russell was a shy genius – he did not like having his photo taken – and after some discussion, for no particular reason, we decided to make him a paper hat out of the NY Times.

Still so good to hear Arthur’s classics like Loose Joints ‘Is It All Over My Face‘ and ‘Wax the Van‘. The 4 x LP box set has hand pulled screen printed outer box and LP sleeves – it is a piece of art in itself.

The Islington Twins Style

I first met The Islington Twins,  Chuka and Dubem Okonkwo, in 1977 when they were attending the college in Clerkenwell where I was teaching photography. I spotted them one lunchtime leaning against a wall in the school yard impeccably dressed in identical parkas, pork pie hats, Sta-Prest trousers, Frank Wright loafers and sunglasses, finishing each other’s sentences, and asked if I could photograph them. That photo ran full page in The Face mag in 1980 – soon after they became local celebs, hosting ‘The Bar’ an informal gathering which took place daily by ‘the bar’ the yellow and black horizontal pole that stopped cars from entering the road to Islington tube station.  I discovered we lived on the same street in Highbury and later I photographed them again for The Face in perfect ‘Rude Boy’ style, Fred Perry shirts, Loafers, Harrington jackets, matching sunglasses and black berets, on our street.

Those clothes are still relevant today Fred Perry is launching a line designed by Amy Winehouse   Brands like Kangol are making new ‘pork pie’ and ‘beret’ styles. Loafers are still popular, as is the skinny trousers and sunglasses look, a requisite for every hipster.

The Autumn/Winter issue of  British GQ Style a bi-annual magazine features my original photo of the ‘Rude Boys’ and the Twins’  who are still stylin’ today. They are wearing Dunhill shirts, Lock & Co Hats, and Trickers brogues, classic brands.