Duffy (finally)

1960s, amanda lear, book reviews, brian duffy, jean shrimpton, michael sarne, mild sauce, pierre la roche, seventies fashion, the sweet

Queen magazine, 1963

Although you’ll all have long since forgotten that I promised to review the fantastic Duffy book (published by ACC. RRP £45 but currently £31.98 on Amazon.co.uk), I certainly haven’t and it’s been rather weighing on my mind. In fact, I’m troubled by the fact that I rarely seem to have the energy to type long, rambling blog posts at all these days.

So, as I often do, I will largely leave the photographs to do the communicating. Which is rather the point of the book itself. It is not a weighty tome about the life of the man, rather it is a weighty tome about the talent of the man. The talent which made him world-famous, but eventually left him feeling so trapped he had to [pretty much literally] destroy it in order to escape it. Page after page of gorgeous women, swinging dudes of the highest and lowest order and generally Interesting People. But it also covers the later period, the advertising and the selling-out, or ‘prostitution’ as he honestly described it.

I have to admit, I’m always on the look out for new Duffy shoots in my magazines because I’m almost rather bored of seeing the same ones shown again and again. And to be fair, of course, in Duffy’s case there is the genuine problem with the complete lack of original source material. His son Chris has spent years reassembling the archive, and I have to respect the labour of love that this project has become. Thankfully, the book is more varied than the exhibition I attended earlier this year would lead you to believe. I have scanned a few of my personal favourites, which I hope will communicate the beauty of his work.

A pet hate must be noted at this point, which is that these books rarely identify the designer of the clothes worn in the pictures. I know it doesn’t seem like much to a non-clothes obsessive, but I want to know if that dress really was by so-and-so and I find it infuriating for such information to be left out when surely it must be known?

Obviously, luxuriously printed and sized books such as this require the highest calibre of image quality for reproduction purposes, but it would be nice, in a few years time, to see a book which features more obscurities, more magazine tear-sheets and clippings; covering the lesser-known styles and techniques he used. For there are many. I mean, David Bailey has had enough books about him to last a lifetime; Brian Duffy certainly deserves another one.

Definitely one for the Christmas list. And watch out, because I’m going to be reviewing more books to put on your Christmas list over the next few weeks. Yes indeed.

Amanda Lear, 1971

Sweet, 1970

Unidentified, 1960s

Jean Shrimpton, Vogue 1962

Average White Band album cover, 1979

Michael Sarne, 1962

Pirelli, 1965

Pierre La Roche, Aladdin Sane make-up artist, 1973

Alphasud Car, Henley on Thames, 1974

Mike Henry and Nancy Kovack, 1964

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)

1960s, british boutique movement, bus stop, chrissie shrimpton, donald sutherland, films, Geneviève Waïte, joanna, michael sarne, smashing time, suki poitier, the jokers

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
The first I knew of Joanna was when I happened upon the soundtrack LP in a record shop in Norwich. Don’t even get me started on my idiocy in not buying it*. I was transfixed by the front cover, the synopsis and the fact that it has Donald Sutherland in it. Why had I not seen this before? Thankfully, Mr Brownwindsor was on the case and managed to find a copy for my birthday**.

Geneviève Waïte plays the title character (she would later release an album called Romance is on the Rise, and marry John Phillips after he split from Michelle) and the film was written and directed by Michael Sarne, occasional actor, pop singer and ex-husband of Ghost founder Tanya.

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)

To say it’s an odd film, is to say the least. But odd in that perfect, no-need-to-make-sense kind of way that so many late Sixties films are. Better than Candy but probably not as downright amazing as, say, The Jokers or Smashing Time.

Waïte’s clothes were specially designed by Sue West and Virginia Hamilton-Kearse and were then sold through the Paraphernalia boutique in New York. There’s definitely something quirky and unique about them, almost beyond what you expect for the period. They remind me of Foale and Tuffin, Quorum, Betsey Johnson etc, but have more of a homemade and eccentric ‘costume’ feel to them which is a good match for the character of a young art student.

I can see why Waïte never really continued with much in the way of acting, since I suspect that the role of Joanna was really not very far from her own personality. She’s cute, eccentric and ditsy, but with a healthy dose of logic and sense.

As with so many films of this style and era, it’s well worth watching for the exterior shots of London and Joanna throws up a rare treat: the girls take a ‘shopping’ trip to Bus Stop where the rails are soon raided and no money is spent. Utterly brilliant.

I don’t think my screengrabs even begin to do it justice, but I hope they give you a good taste of what you might expect from the film. The outfit changes are relentless, her facial expressions ever-changing, and the locations are stunning. I’ve also captured what I’m fairly sure are uncredited cameos by Suki Poitier and Chrissie Shrimpton. Enjoy!

*I went back two years later and it was still there! This time, dear reader, I bought it…

** It has subsequently been given a gorgeous release by the BFI. Which always seems to happen when we’ve finally found a dodgy copy of something we were desperate to see. Psychic but annoying BFI…

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)

Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)
Must See Vintage Films: Joanna (1968)