So Long, Leonard Cohen…


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I first heard his music while watching Robert Altman’s anti-Western, McCabe and Mrs Miller, in Camden during the late eighties. That cinema is now long-gone, but the film – made not long before I was born – left a lasting impression. Continue reading

Marilyn Monroe: A Day in the Life


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VeVea Day in Life

April VeVea is a 26 year-old ‘Marilynista.’ “My knowledge of her started in 1993, when I was three, and saw a life size cut-out in an antique store,” she recalls. “Marilyn had her dress blowing over her head in the iconic Seven Year Itch dress. As her smile radiated through me all I could think about were two things: her beauty and that she would look better with longer hair.” Continue reading

Born On This Day: John Gilbert 1897-1936


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John Cecil Pringle was born on July 10, 1897, in Logan, Utah. His parents were both stock company actors, and after their divorce his mother married Walter Gilbert. After many years on the road, the family settled in California. Jack, as he was nicknamed, began working at Thomas Ince’s studio in 1915, graduating from bit parts to more substantial roles over the next five years. He married Olivia Burwell in 1918, but they separated a year later. Continue reading

‘True Blue’ at 30




Madonna’s third album, True Blue, was released on June 30, 1986. Recorded during the honeymoon period of her stormy marriage to Sean Penn, and revealing a sleeker, more sophisticated style, True Blue yielded a slew of classic pop singles, affirming Madonna’s status as one of the decade’s musical icons. Thirty years on, you can read my expanded review here.

Born On This Day: Anthony Bushell 1904-1997


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Anthony BushellAnthony Arnatt Bushell was born in Westerham, Kent on May 19, 1904. He was educated at Magdalen College School, and later Hertford College in Oxford. He was a champion boxer, rower, and member of the Hypocrites Club, infamous for its wild parties. After graduating, Bushell trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made his theatrical debut in Diplomacy (1924), opposite Gerald Du Maurier. Continue reading

‘How Could You Just Leave Me Standing…’



I first discovered Prince in 1983, while scrabbling for singles in a bargain bin. The song was ‘Controversy’, and its B-side, ‘When You Were Mine.’ Then along came Purple Rain, and so much more.

Born in the same Midwestern summer of ’58 that brought us Michael Jackson (the entertainer), and Madonna (the provocateur), Prince Rogers Nelson – the maestro – headed the holy trinity of Eighties pop.

Sign O’ The Times heralded a new age, and rock ‘n’ roll’s last hurrah. Technology rules now, but Prince stood alone.

Art Decades 7: Bowie, Madonna and More


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Ever since the death of David Bowie in January, there has been an outpouring of public grief. Not corporate-led, but a genuine groundswell of feeling from generations of fans to whom Bowie was not just an idol, but an inspiration.

Art Decade‘ was, of course, an instrumental track from his 1977 album, Low – first in the Berlin Trilogy. It’s not surprising, then, that the cover of Art Decades: Volume 7 shows a glimpse of editor Jeremy Richey’s personal collection. ‘I took this particular photo using only the solitary candle (a nod to one of the most striking images from Bowie’s final album) as the sole light source,’ he comments. ‘The photo also contains the actual copy of the very first Bowie album I bought almost 30 years ago in my mid-teens, as well as nods to a Bowie/Kentucky connection, his interest in the occult and his most underrated album (see if you can spot the clues.)’


Inside, Bryce Wilson looks back at Bowie’s 2002 album, Heathen, and Steve Langton and Michael A. Gonzales share memories of growing up with his music. Emily Clare Bryant and Anthony Crowley contribute Bowie-themed poetry; artist Giles Glasscock draws on Bowie’s many visual guises, while filmmaker Niremberg maps his influences, and the musicians he inspired. There are also two photo shoots, based on ‘Lady Stardust’ (by Whitley Brandenburg) and ‘Teenage Wildlife’ (by Kelley and Jeremy Richey.) Sadly, Bowie isn’t the only rock legend we’ve lost lately, as Heather Drain reminds us in her tribute to Lemmy.

Elsewhere, Jeremy interviews Peter Guralnick, acclaimed biographer of Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and most recently Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records. I was interested to learn that Peter also writes fiction. Post-punk icon Andi Sex-Gang, ‘scream queen’ Erin Russ, and Kentucky performance artist Rob Hampton are also profiled. There are reviews of Tinto Brass’ Paprika on Blu-Ray, and a look back at the films of the Wachowskis. An extract from Marcelline Block and Barry Nevin’s latest book, French Cinema and the Great War, and ‘Can’t Fall Down’, a short story about New York nightlife by screenwriter Les Bohem, are also featured.

Finally, my review of Madonna’s Rebel Heart – from the album leak to the tumultuous tour – is spread over eight pages. It was a labour of love for me, and after seeing the lavish layout, I felt I’d been given the star treatment! As always, Art Decades: Volume 7 is available from Amazon (at £12.53 in the UK, or $18 in the US.) And if you’d like to make a direct subscription, click here.


Born On This Day: George Arliss 1868-1946


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Augustus George Andrews was born in London on April 10, 1868. He was educated at Harrow, one of Britain’s leading public schools. He worked for the publishing house owned by his father, William Joseph Arliss Andrews, before leaving at eighteen to pursue a life on the stage. After a long apprenticeship in provincial theatre, George Arliss established himself as a supporting actor in London’s West End. Continue reading

Born On This Day: Leslie Howard 1893-1943


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(c) Kirklees Museums and Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Leslie Howard Steiner was born in Forest Hill, South London, on April 3, 1893. His mother, Lillian Blumberg, came from an upper middle-class family who initially disapproved of her choice of husband, the Hungarian Ferdinand Steiner. The Steiners briefly moved to Vienna, returning to London when the rift was healed. They had four more children, and changed their name to the less Germanic ‘Stainer’ at the outbreak of World War I. Continue reading