One thing established photographers do from time to time is writing articles about the equipment they use; partly to illuminate their methods, and partly as a collection of affiliate links to rake in a bit of extra revenue. The other day I read the most depressing one of these yet: A successful but not renowned outside of photography circles photographer published his list, and aside from the affiliate links and sponsorships, it was all Leica this, and Hasselblad that. In layman’s terms, an absolutely unaffordable assortment of high-end, dare I say luxury hardware. I won’t link to it, nor name him, but I would put money on the fact that you have never heard of this man.
Let me tell you this name though: David Bailey. I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of him. I looked up what equipment he generally used, when not paid to use a specific product, and let me tell you it was eye-opening. Essentially you could have bought his three most-used cameras on eBay for under £1000 combined. Throw in his favourite lenses, and you could have bought Bailey’s favourite tools of the trade three times overfor the price of one camera advocated by a man who you’ve never heard of.
Why do I bring this up here? Because for me, as I grapple with many things creative, it was a welcome reminder that what’s important isn’t the tools used, nor the brand accolades, the audience, or the glamour. It’s the eye, the voice, the handwriting, the singular and unique creative voice that differentiates one creative from another, one creative work from another. Even this one.
In My Ears
I can’t remember what the last gig was that I went to before. I know I had tickets for a whole bunch of shows, but they’ve all ended up postponed or cancelled. I know Doves has been cancelled, Blondie, Garbage and Foals have all been bumped to 2022. But for some reason I can’t remember what the last gig was that I actually went to. So it’s only fitting that in a 10-day window, there will have been three live music shows, two of which I’ve already enjoyed. Next week you can look forward to me talking about London Grammar, but this week has already been a headline week.
My live music extravaganza began with Greywind, supported by Finding Kate, in Islington Venue The Grace. I haven’t been to see a small, up-and-coming, scrappy band in a venue too small for their personality since the sadly departed Bleech, but this was a glorious return. Finding Kate‘s fiery Kate Pavli was a brilliant warm-up, raucous, energetic and accomplished, the perfect support.
Greywind themselves were beyond polished and presented themselves as if their audience numbered in the thousands rather than tens. The Irish alt-rock band had the audience in the palm of their hand, delivering just the right combination of late 90s nostalgia with a modern aesthetic. Performing primarily their first album, frontwoman Steph O’Sullivan had her Debbie Harry aesthetic and festival-ready performance down to a tee. All that the band need now is a new album, and a big push, and I think we’ll be hearing from this Irish alt-rock band for some time to come.
The next gig was the always-fun Public Service Broadcasting at Brixton Academy. I have seen PSB four times now over at least a decade excluding festival performances, so it’s been fantastic watching their evolution. Back when they too were a small, up-and-coming, scrappy band in a venue too small for their personality, there were only two of them, the video technology that was intrinsically part of their performance sometimes didn’t work, and their audience numbered in the tens.
Now, four albums in, that audience is in the thousands, the performance is polished, the technology works, and frontman J. Willgoose, Esq. has found his voice. The new album Bright Magic is inspired by the light and sounds of Berlin through the ages, and the usually tweed-bedecked band were fittingly bedecked in matching, pristine white suits. It made for quite a contrast overall, carried over to the choice of songs. While the songs from the new album were filled with light and joy, it felt like those chosen from the closer-to-home Every Valley were purposefully more industrial and angry. Whether political statement or musical texture, it made for an exciting and excellent night. PSB might not yet be described as a powerhouse, but they’re not far off a kraftwerk.
In general news, Taylor Swift fans are excited that Red (Taylor’s Version) has dropped worldwide as she continues to re-record her albums. It features nine “vault” tracks that were written for the original 2012 record but didn’t end up on the final product. The singer’s fans are especially excited to finally hear the 10-minute version of the song All Too Well, which they have been requesting for just short of a decade.
And Adele‘s new album drops on the 19th of November, which will miss the regular deadline for this periodical that I have already gracelessly sailed past today.
And finally, this week’s playlist.
On My Screen
Time is against me, so only two small reports this week:
Homebound Disney+ subscribers will be thrilled that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out today, as part of Disney+ Day, MouseCorps big push to increase their subscriber base. Jungle Cruiseand Enchanted are also part of the package.
And if you’ve not had enough of the Predator universe, next year Huluwill show Prey, a prequel directed by Dan Trachtenberg of 10 Cloverfield Lane fame. Its official logline is: “Set in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, the action-thriller follows Naru, the skilled warrior who fiercely protects her tribe against a highly evolved alien predator.”
Photo Of The Week
Bit of a cheek, having a photo of the week when I’ve already, uncharacteristically, included two other photos already? But I couldn’t resist including a photo I took of Union Chapel, Islington that I took after seeing Greywind.
The main reason it stands out to me is that it’s not half bad for a nighttime cameraphone shot that I took after a fair few gins while grumbling about how the light was quite bad. It’s not in any way perfect, but it’s just enough of a two-finger salute to my imposter syndrome. I did not take this with either a Leica, nor a Hasselblad.
And there we have it: Late, imperfect, but definitely unique, we are all done for this week.
Until we meet again!