INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
"Craft is what enables you to be successful
when you're not inspired." - Brian Eno
Record Collector FEBRUARY 2008 - by Jason Draper
RE-MAKE/RE-MODEL: ART, POP, FASHION AND THE MAKING OF ROXY MUSIC, 1953-1972
Or, how too many cooks can make a masterpiece
As Michael Bracewell's CV may lead you to expect (his work straddles The Faber Book Of Pop and The Penguin Book Of 20th Century Fashion Writing), his study of Roxy Music's formation is a jigsaw puzzle of pop art, music, film, fashion and sociology, largely played in Newcastle and Reading, before winding up in London's Ladbroke grove and its environs just as Roxy Music is released. It's not a biography, but a paper trail of the influences and art school ideas that made Roxy Music the album British pop art's defining statement, Roxy Music the band "a state of mind" and Bryan Ferry a self-made work of art.
Even the biggest fan will learn something, whether it be just how much Newcastle influenced Ferry's vision, exactly what pop art meant to Ferry, Eno et al (as filtered through artists/lecturers Richard Hamilton, Rita Donagh, etc) or, amazingly, just how many people's ideas filtered into one band to create a practically autonomous entity. The scholarly approach won't be for everyone, but for those who agree with Ferry's sentiments that everything, including, including "pop music", should be judged intellectually, Re-make/Re-model will be richly rewarding. It will also help you understand just why 2 H.B. could be both a song to Humphrey Bogart and a pencil.