This week we have delivered our first kilt suit to Scott Rodger, dear friend and old colleague from One Little Indian Records. He is deservedly the predominant music manager in the world these days. Arcade Fire is one of his, as is Paul McCartney. After we had the last fitting for the suit - commissioned for his brother's wedding today in Scotland for which we raise a lusty "HURRAH!" - Scott kindly offered me his other ticket for the Bowie exhibition and we spent a good two and a half hours rapt around Bowie's brain. On display was a letter from Decca Records when it used to have its HQ at the Albert Embankment, just minutes walk from the Mews. Never knew that.
Potentially the most useful exhibit for us was this - David's measurements in a notebook from the 1970s:
A few days before seeing the show, I had enjoyed lunch with Nile Rodger's consort Nancy Hunt in London and she had come to the restaurant straight from the exhibition, in something of a funk about it. The absence of "Let's Dance", Bowie's biggest selling album - other than a short burst of music in the headset as you move around - had her upset. I don't like Nancy to be upset, so I looked for an answer to that and it did seem to be the exhibition was about elements that had inspired him rather than the influence he wrought. Of course, he was inspired by Nile's commercial success to engage him to make the album and that that was the case is recounted wryly in Nile's autobiography when he writes how, on getting the gig, he excitedly looked forward to his first art house record while Bowie simultaneously thought, "YES! Pop hits for me!"
|Bowie's quilted Liberty print suit|
We stood outside the museum, on the pavement of the Brompton Road afterwards and agreed we are both lucky to have, never mind met him, but to have grown up to his music rather than Katie Perry. But we left on a poignant "what-will-become-of-the-human-race" note when Scott revealed a girl at his barber shop earlier had not known who David Bowie is. We shook our heads in some shared sorrow and said our goodnights.
Back in the hot house of the Bedlam studio, Scott's rock 'n' roll kilt suit was taking form rapidly. The brief was to avoid the shortbread tin look and find a tartan that was predominantly black. Nothing could have fitted that better that the "Dark Douglas", a weave that looks black from one angle, only to reveal its plaid secret when the light hits from another angle. Now it was coming together with a slightly feverish timeline after a hiccup when the first length of cloth was delivered, thanks to a dying mishap, with a barely perceptible weave - it was, in other words, just black. Now we had a lighter weight cloth than we had intended to use but that was not an issue - he's not going to stride about the moors in it. The stealth chic of the tartan was what we were after.
|The especially commissioned black glass buttons with silver skull head|
|Pocket flaps with traditional rib details|
|One of the three real horn buttons used in the suit|
|The Angel of the South with the best kilt to ever be exported north!|
|On set, in costume|
|The director gives notes|
Muccia Prada did the costumes for the film, and the daywear of Daisy's golfing girlfriend, not to mention her millinery, got my motor running. But I suspect the film's greatest achievement will be driving people back to the Robert Redford-starring 1974 version for which Theoni Aldredge designed the costumes, winning an Academy Award for her work.
In the latest version Leonardo diCaprio gives a truly fine performance that withstands the onslaught of gadgetry and noise as chucked at every frame by Baz Luhrman. We left seasick and head achy, suffering an OD of 3D even though we had removed the glasses by the end. People staggered from the cinema like they had just ridden the Cyclone at Coney Island, or Stealth at Thorpe Park (Harry just gave me that more youthful reference, thanks Harry). Carey Mulligan is not as convincing as Mia in the role of Daisy because she seems too smart and engaged, and you can't credit she could be so fickle whereas Mia is like a dandelion puff so it works. The anachronistic inclusion of "Crazy in Love" in the soundtrack and other hip hop-isms, whether jazz-aged up or not, betray the hand of Exec Prod Jay Z. They should have let Bryan Ferry do it all. Toby McGuire makes a great I-am-a-Camera-cypher and the golfing chum, Elizabeth / Jordan, has a profile and presence to rival Angelica Houston. Note to director - a great story and cast, don't NEED all that. My leading man looked like a matinée idol and several gentleman in the audience announced, "I want that coat" pointing at him, not the screen:
|Mr Wesley in his Harris Tweed "Jay B" NOT "Jay G" overcoat, "Mr Harrop" waistcoat, "King of Threads" cords and New York 8-pleat Newsboy cap|