Tuesday, February 07, 2012
HURRY HURRY HURRY........
This is a truly wonderful free exhibition of photos on display in Glasgow until 27 February.
From the accompanying website:-
Harry began his photographic career in his Glasgow home town, standing outside the Apollo, flogging gig-goers newly-developed shots from bands' Edinburgh shows the night before. Harry's impulse to guerilla lensmanship swiftly drew him to London: from 1979 to 1984 he was a staff photographer for the music weekly Sounds, providing countless front covers. During those five years, Harry's photographs covered the post-punk waterfront, from Blondie to David Bowie; the Associates to Devo by way of Joy Division, Bryan Ferry, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Birthday Party, The Cramps, The Clash, Altered Images, Penetration, The Specials and Suicide (not to mention Wham!, ABC and Spandau Ballet).
At that time, Harry's London flat also became home to fellow Scots migrants like Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, Josef K and The Bluebells. Harry thus became one of the first few photographers to capture the fey arrogance of Edwyn Collins and his Postcard cohorts, and subsequently appeared in the Derek Jarman video for 'What Presence'. Several of these photos comprise Harry's first career retrospective at Street Level Photoworks.
In addition to the expected band portraits and live-action front-row shots, there are a host of unique photos: salute the militant gay triumvirate of Jimmy Somerville, Tom Robinson and Andy Bell as they march for homosexual equality. Savour Peter Capaldi - years before he learnt to swear and mutated into Malcolm Tucker - looking cute and wholesome as bow-tied front man of Glasgow band The Dreamboys (with favourite US late-night chat show host, Craig Ferguson on drums). Taste the flying mud, baying skinheads and noxious aroma at T In The Park's ill-fated grandsire, the 1980 Loch Lomond Festival.
Harry was born in 1954 in Helensburgh and attended Penilee Secondary School, then on to Paisley College of Technology where he gained a BSc. in Electrical Engineering. In 1976 he attended Jordanhill College, and became a teacher of Maths and Physics. He is a self-taught photographer whose interest was inspired by taking photographs at gigs in the late 1970's. Following a long and productive stint at Sounds music weekly as a photographer, Harry became editor of Marvel Comics publications such as Care Bears, Flintstones, and Star Trek. In August 2002 Harry suffered a brain aneurysm and returned to Glasgow in February 2006.
And if you click here....you will get a flavour of what it is all about
I've been meaning to plug this event for ages, but what really triggered it off was a wonderfully-written piece by Teddy Jamieson that appeared in the magazine that comes with the Saturday edition of one of the few half-decent newspapers left in Scotland. Unfortunately, there's no way to link to the article via the paper's website, but here's the extract that deals with long-time hero of TVV, Paul Haig:-
"I'd have been 22 in that photograph - 23 at most. That was just after Josef K had split up. It reminds me of clothes. I used to go shopping down the King's Road in London for 'me gear'. And the haircut - that was always talked about. I think it was haircut of the year in Melody Maker in 1983. A bit of rockabilly was coming into fashion at the time so it was all mixed up with that. It's a kind of a flat top.
That 23-year old is a bit of a stranger. It was a long time ago. He was probably a lot more serious - kind of involved in pop music a bit more, not trying to git in but playing the game a bit. I don;t think stardom or success ever bothered me. At that point I wanted to make pop records - real glossy, siny pop records. Josef K was a bit more serious and I think I was trying to have more fun, getting into the production side because everything was changing at that time from punk and post-punk to the glamorous sound of pop with ABC and the like.
I went rather quickly from being in an indie band to being in the pop world. I grew sick of that world pretty quickly and realised it wasn't something I was keen to be involved in. But I did enjoy making some of the records in those days.
When I was in Josef K we used to play quite a lot with Orange Juice and sometimes we'd go through to Glasgow and hang out. We used to go to cafes and things. There was no bitter rivalry - it was quite friendly. We were all young and stupid together.
Before that the focus had been on Liverpool and Manchester and at that point it became Edinburgh and Glasgow, though mostly Glasgow. It was the first time in a very long time that there had been attention paid to the cities, and I don't think we realised at the time how cool a scene it was.
When you think about what was before and what came after there's not a huge amount. Maybe that's why people paid it a lot of attention. I think when you were involved in it you didn't see it the same.
What have I held on to from then? Stubborness and making the music I want to make, which is probably the wrong thing to do, but I don't care, so I haven't changed in that department. I think I'm on my 12th solo album now.
I'm so excited just now because of what I'm working on and that's what I like - to try and make the best I can at the time."
It's a great mini-interview with Paul, although I'm not going to agree with his statement that there's not been a huge amount since the early 80s. It might not be as influential or ground-breaking, but there's always been something special about music made in and around Glasgow. What it has done is whet my appetite for Paul's new LP which is due out in the summer.....
And if any of you who live in the Glasgow area or are likely to find yourself in the vicinity before the end of this month, then get yourself down to the Harry Papadopoulos exhibition. To paraphrase Teddy Jamieson - the photos capture Glasgow when it was the coolest city in pop and which capture a pop moment that still looks impossibly fresh. Proof, if any were really needed, that the 80s was a decade with an awful lot more going for it than some histories will have you believe.
mp3 : Josef K - It's Kinda Funny
mp3 : Paul Haig - Adoration
And click here to read some more of Teddy Jamieson's articles.