Thursday, October 08, 2009

Irving Penn, 92

Irving Penn is dead. Which means, in part, that there is now no longer any reason whatsoever to look at an issue of Vogue again.

Here is a Penn shot of a kid ...

Here is a shot of an older kid ...

Here's a shot of the wife ...

The man loved a jaunty hat.

Here's a shot of Kate Moss ...

I always thought Kate Moss was the most interesting of the so-called supermodels. Do you listen to a lot of Babyshambles? The British rock band fronted by her drug-addled former boyfriend Pete Doherty? Wonderful. Kind of a modern twist on a Kinks/Clash fusion. La Belle Et La Bete is fabulous and includes Moss singing the line "Is she more beautiful? Is she more beautiful than me?" over and over again in the chorus. The antecedent of the pronoun "she" is, in this case, if I'm not mistaken, heroin.

The answer, sadly, is, apparently, yes.
Do you believe that your prose is enhanced by a comma after virtually every word?
Sadly, yes.
Okay. Just checking.
Albion is also a smasher. An ode to England as if it were a Grecian urn. Sort of.
Down in Albion
They're black and blue
But we don't talk about that
Are you from 'round here?
How do you do?
I'd like to talk about that

Talk over
Gin in teacups
And leaves on the lawn
Violence in bus stops
And the pale thin girl with eyes forlorn

More gin in teacups
And leaves on the lawn
Violence in dole queues
And the pale thin girl
Behind the checkout

If you're looking for a cheap sort
Set in false anticipation
I'll be waiting in the photo booth
At the underground station

So come away, won't you come away
We could go to...
Deptford, Catford, Watford, Digberth, Mansfield
Ahh anywhere in Albion

Anywhere in Albion
Anywhere in Albion

Yellowing classics
And canons at dawn
Coffee wallahs and pith helmets
And an English song

Mmm... Reebok classics
And canons at dawn
Terrible warlords, good Warlords
And an English song

Oo if you're looking for a cheap sort
All glint with perspiration
There's a four-mile queue
Outside the disused power station

Now come away, oh say you'll come away
We'll go to...
Satsworth, Senford, Weovil, Woomoyle, NEW-CAST-LE

If you are looking for a cheap tart
Don't glint with perspiration
There's a five-mile queue
Outside the disused power station
Now come away (away), won't you come away

We'll go to...
Bedtown, Oldham, Nunthorpe, Rowlam, Bristol
Aaa-nywhere in Albion

Anywhere in Albion
Anywhere in Albion
Anywhere in Albion
Anywhere in Albion...
I love the bit about the four-mile queue outside the disused power station--a reference, I'm assuming, to the Tate Modern. And this blog, if nothing else, is about painting. So there you are.

This is a photograph of Kate Moss by Chuck Close. It reminds me of Roman Polanski's comment about Catherine Deneuve--that he admired a beautiful actress who was willing to look ugly.

This from Repulsion:

Believe me, she gets a hell of a lot uglier. And just tell me that boy didn't grow watching every Alfred Hitchcock movie ever made.

Anyway, back to Penn.

This is, of course, the Mothership of Penn images ...

And I'll leave you with this from my boy Keats:
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in the midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'
And my portrait, from a long time ago, of my friend Elena.

If I had to leave one behind, this might be it. My Grecian urn.


Blogger James Allison said...

The forerunner to Babyshambles was Doherty's first group, The Libertines. They were becoming massive in the UK, but Doherty believed the hype and got chucked out of the band for dicking around with drugs and then robbing his bandmates flat (he got nailed for this and went to jail, yet somehow managed to avoid it several times in the future on drug charges).

The Libertines split, and all that is left is 2 albums and and an unfulfilled legacy. Seeing what the 2 frontmen have done since (Doherty in Babyshambles, and Carl Barat in Dirty Pretty Things), that legend is probably best left as it is.

Incidentally, my wife signed your Helicopter Ben painting on Wall Street on 21st October. We were on our Honeymoon! Glad I managed to find you online.

James, London UK

2:54 AM  

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