Simultaneously Old and Young

“William Burroughs was simultaneously old and young. Part sheriff, part gumshoe. All writer. He had a medicine chest he kept locked, but if you were in pain he would open it. He did not like to see his loved ones suffer. If you were infirm he would feed you. He’d appear at your door with a fish wrapped in newsprint and fry it up. He was inaccessible to a girl but I loved him anyway.

He camped in the Bunker with his typewriter, his shotgun, and his overcoat. From time to time he’d slip on his coat, saunter our way, and take his place at the table we reserved for him in front of the stage.”

Patti Smith
Just Kids

 

William Burroughs with Patti Smith at his Home, Franklin Street, NYC. Photo taken by Kate Simon on Patti Smith’s 29th birthday, 1975

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Who the Fuck is Pierre Laroche?

Pierre Laroche photographed by Brian Duffy, 1973

 
 

Tim Curry and Peter Robb-King (assistant makeup artist to Pierre La Roche on The Rocky Horror Picture Show). In the stage productions, actors generally did their own makeup. However, for the film, the producers chose Pierre La Roche, who had previously been a makeup artist for Mick Jagger, to redesign the makeup for each character. Production stills were taken by rock photographer Mick Rock, who has published a number of books from his work.

 
 

The astral sphere make-up on Bowie’s forehead was designed by Laroche for the Ziggy Stardust persona. Ziggy’s make up on stage also had a lot of Kabuki influences.

 
 

David Bowie, rare outtake from Aladdin Sane photo session by Brian Duffy, 1973

 
 

Make-up for Life on Mars? music video (Mick Rock, 1971)

 
 

Pin Ups (1973), the seventh album by David Bowie, containing cover versions of songs. The woman on the cover with Bowie is 1960s supermodel Twiggy in a photograph taken by her then-manager Justin de Villeneuve. It was taken in Paris for Vogue magazine, but at Bowie’s request, used for the album instead

 
 

Mick Jagger put himself on the hands of Laroche during the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas, 1975. Photo: Christopher Simon Sykes

 
 

Mick Jagger leans on his stylist Pierre Laroche during the Rolling Stones Tour of the Americas, 1975. Laroche wears a t-shirt with the slogan ‘Who the Fuck is Mick Jagger?’ Photo by Christopher Simon Sykes

 
 

Following a lonely childhood in exotic Algiers, Pierre Laroche moved to France and then England, where he became the star make-up artist at Elizabeth Arden in London. Quitting after five years when the company insisted he become more conservative, Laroche went freelance and was soon contracted by rock stars David Bowie and Mick Jagger, who drew upon Laroche’s talent while he continued to do make-up for British fashion magazines, celebrities, and movie stars. During the sixties, inspired by the Arab women of his homeland who painted their eyes black with khool, Laroche popularized black eye-shadow and originated the glitter look. Later, he moved to America, where he reorganized his professional approach to include make-up for all kinds of women—and men. Though he recently did Bianca Jagger’s make-up for the cover of People magazine, Elsa Peretti’s make-up for Helmut Newton’s photograph of her in the April 4 issues of Newsweek, and has worked with Nona Hendryx on major make-up projects, Laroche is equally interested in designing make-up for the “average woman”. Intent on contributing to the American chic, Laroche asserts, “I have lived through the sixties in England. Now I’m getting ready to face the eighties in America.”

It Takes Two to Tango

 
 

Objection (Tango) is a song recorded by Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira for her fifth studio album and first English-language album Laundry Service (2001). It was the first song Shakira wrote in English after being encouraged by American singer Gloria Estefan to record material in the language. American singer Gloria Estefan, whose husband Emilio Estefan was managing Shakira at that time, felt that Shakira had the potential to crossover into the mainstream pop industry. However, Shakira was initially hesitant to record songs in English as it was not her first language, so Estefan offered to translate Ojos Así into English in order to show her that “it could translate well.” A Spanish version of the song, entitled Te Aviso, Te Anuncio (Tango), was also recorded by the singer.

Wanting to “find a way to express my ideas and my feelings, my day-to-day stories in English”, Shakira bought rhyming dictionaries, started analyzing the lyrics of songs by Bob Dylan, reading poetry and the work of authors like Leonard Cohen and Walt Whitman and took English lessons from a private tutor.

The music video directed by Dave Meyers

 
 

 
 

This Isn’t Everything You Are is a song by Northern Irish-Scottish alternative rock group Snow Patrol. The track is the second single from the band’s sixth studio album, Fallen Empires, it was released as a digital download on 14 October 2011.

Gary Lightbody said to The Sun: “When we’d finished that song, we were going, ‘F*** me, this could be a big song’. It’s three stories in one — each verse is a different person in my life that was going through a tough time.” “Then the chorus is about trying to explain that everything isn’t as bad as it might seem.”

In another interview, Lightbody told Billboard magazine that he wrote the song “to try to protect” the three people experiencing difficulties, adding that he wanted, “to show them that there were people there for them whenever they needed. Sometimes it’s hard to reach out, it’s hard to ask for help. It’s a recurring theme on the record.”

The radio and video edit of the song excludes the lines “Is he worth all this, is it a simple yes? / Cause if you have to think, it’s fucked / Feels like you loved him more, than he loved you / And you wish you’d never met.”

A music video to accompany the release of This Isn’t Everything You Are was first released onto YouTube on 14 October 2011 at a total length of four minutes and twenty-two seconds. It contains footage filmed in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was directed by Brett Simon and finds Snow Patrol becoming a house band.

Sting in The Desert

هدي مدة طويلة
Hadaee mada tawila (It’s been a long time)
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti (that I wanted to be with my beauty)
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti

عمري فيك انتيا
Omry feek antia (you are my life)
ما غيرانتيا
Ma ghair antia (no one else)
ما غيرانتيا
Ma ghair antia

 
 

 
 

Riding a wave of pre-9-11 interest in Latin and Arabic cultures, Sting released Desert Rose, a single from Brand New Day (1999), his sixth solo album. The song peaked at #3 in Switzerland, #4 Italy, #15 in the UK Singles Chart and #17 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

The lyrics of the song are inspired by the Frank Herbert‘s novel, Dune, of which Sting is a fan. Sting also played the villainous Feyd Rautha in the 1984 film adaptation directed by David Lynch. Both the book and the song feature the Arabic language, as well as imagery involving moisture and desert plant life.

The song is noted for Sting’s duet performance with Algerian raï singer Cheb Mami, creating a distinct world music feel to the song. It also has a popular music video featuring Sting taking a trip through the Mojave Desert in a Jaguar S-Type and then going to a nightclub in Las Vegas to perform the song with Cheb Mami. After shooting the video, Sting’s manager Miles Copeland III approached a music licensing maven, Lloyd Simon, to work with Jaguar on a collaboration, and the auto company featured the video in their prominent television advertisements during the year 2000.

 
 

 
 

Tea in the Sahara“, included in Synchronicity (1983) The fifth and final album by The Police, is a quiet, eerie song about three women who meet their death in the desert; the song is based on a story from Paul Bowles‘ novel The Sheltering Sky (1949). That novel of post-colonial alienation and existential despair was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci into a 1990 film with the same title starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich.

A Kind of Telegraph

Cassandre

 
 

He was baptized Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron and was born in Charkow, Ukraine in 1901 to French parents. In 1915, when only 14 years old, he had the exceptional blessings of his parents to become a painter and was sent to Paris to study at the stiffly academic École Des Beaux Arts. While studying there, he adopted France as his country. He took his nom de plume Cassandre after the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Cassandra uttered true prophecies, a gift granted by Apollo, but when she refused his attempted seduction, he placed a curse on her so that she and all her descendants’ predictions would not be believed.

 

Unlike his mythic inspiration, at the beginning of Cassandre’s career, people really believed in his art. Blaise Cendrars called him “The first scenic director from the street” due to his qualities as an affichiste (the French term for poster designer) and Milton Glaser stated that Cassandre was without demur the greatest graphic designer from the early XX century.

 
 

Some of his most famous poster designs

 
 

The details of Cassandre’s youth are as lean as his working philosophy. He produced his first poster, “Au Bucheron” at 22, and became a successful and influential poster artist, best known for his epoch-defining travel posters and his advertisements for products such as Dubonnet. The consummate art deco artist, he tried to create posters for people who did not try to see them. In 1936 he traveled to America to work on several projects. While there he designed several surrealistic covers for Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar. In addition, he created for NW Ayers, the classic eye of the Ford billboard and several pieces for the Container Corporation of America. His career as a poster designer ended in 1939 when he changed disciplines and became a stage, set and theatrical designer.

 

His post-École education included a period of study with Lucien Simon at the Académie Julian, followed by a period of compulsory military service. Shortly thereafter he created the Au Bucheron poster, whose inspiration Cassandre modestly maintained, sprung from a struggling artist’s effort to support himself. A contemporary, Maximilien Vox, in his monograph on Cassandre, characterized him in his mid-career as “a thinker and an engineer, a lover of nature and a reader of books; such he was then, such he is now. A puritan in our midst, a worshiper of all things beautiful.” This fortuitous combination of qualities can be seen in one way or another in almost every one of Cassandre’s magnificent posters. The leap from the Bucheron poster in 1923 to the succeeding one for Pi Volo aperitif embraced a quantum jump. This poster, with its fusion of bird, glass, light and dark forms and its art deco lettering, demonstrates that Cassandre had assimilated the revolutionary ideas of shape and interpenetration of form developed in the cubist and abstract paintings of Juan Gris, George Braque, and Pablo Picasso. Barely a year later he created the immortal “L’lntransigeant” truck poster.

 
 

Le espectacle est dans la rue” (“The show is on the street“) a project with the collaboration of Blaise Cendrars

 
 

Cassandre assumed that an indifference to advertising’s message was the natural state of the man in the street. He always insisted that his posters were meant to be seen by people who do not try to see them. To enter the private world of the public consciousness, he claimed he forced his way “not like a gentleman through the front door with a walking stick, but like a burglar through the window with a jimmy.” At the same time, while designing his posters, Cassandre had begun to design several avant-garde type faces. These fonts, derived in good measure from his imaginative poster lettering, received a ready sponsorship from the progressive type-founders Deberny and Peignot, names we also recognize from Arts et Métiers Graphiques.

 

He created some typefaces: Bifur (1928-1929), Acier Noir (1930-1936), Peignot (1933-1937), Touraine (with Charles Peignot, based on a design of Guillermo Mendoza, 1947), Cassandre (1968), Graphica81 (1960), and the artsy Cassandre Initials (1927, made in digital form by Gerd Wiescher at Elsner&Flake). Most of his work was done at Fonderie Deberny & Peignot. The 1960’s work was at Olivetti. His poster Nord Express (1927) (Acier Noir really) inspired Nick Curtis to draw Nord Express NF.

 

Cassandre (1968), the type that bears his name, was largely unfinished, after having been turned down by Berthold and Olivetti (and was possibly the cause of his suicide). It was finished in a revival of sorts by Thierry Puyfoulhoux (2003).

 
 

Bifur typeface

 
 

Acier Noir typeface

 
 

Cassandre typeface

 
 

Peignot typeface

 
 

Typographic design for YSL logo

 
 

Alternate version of YSL logo design

 
 

If there is a continuum in Cassandre’s work, it lies in his command of the full spectrum of visual styles. Cassandre, from 1923 to 1939, was a bridge between the modern fine arts and their contemporary application. His pictorial approach embraced all styles, ever discriminating that it was the spirit he consumed and not the corpus. The filtering force was Cassandre’s extraordinary intellect, the inordinate appropriateness and selectivity of his personal vision. Scanning his posters, we see and feel the aura of surrealism, constructivism, suprematism, cubism and romanticism—the gamut of artistic pluralism. But above all we see Cassandre, his magnetic clarity and faultless grasp of the theatrical moment. The direct aim of his mind and hand is expressed in one of his guiding dicta, “Know what to do and learn how to do it.” He almost makes it sound easy, but Cassandre looked upon himself and his craft with straightforward surgical accuracy in his description of the poster artist: “Poster work demands of the painter complete renunciation. He cannot express himself that way; even if he could, he has no right to do so. Painting is a self-sufficient proposition. Not so the poster. A means, a shortcut between trade and the prospective buyer. A kind of telegraph. The poster artist is an operator; he does not issue a message, he merely passes it on. Not one asks for his opinion. He is only expected to establish a connection—clear, powerful, accurate.”

 

Cassandre, if not disenchanted, was hardly enthusiastic about poster design as practiced in the United States, and as result, he returned to Paris. In the thirties, two earlier events began to exert great influence on his career. One was the tragic death in 1934 of his friend and colleague Maurice Moyrand, who with Charles Loupot and Cassandre had formed Alliance Graphique, their own advertising agency. The depth of this loss can only be surmised in the pained terseness of Cassandre’s notes: “1926 met Moyrand. 1934 Moyrand’s death.” In 1934, too, Cassandre produced his first stage design, creating the sets and costumes for Giraudoux’s “Amphytryon 38.” That seed flowered into full bloom shortly after he came back to his beloved Paris. Shortly thereafter, the heavy fog of war was beginning to envelop France. Cassandre, the giant of modern poster design, was never again to favor the world with a product of that side of his genius. After brief military service, Cassandre devoted himself undeviatingly to new conquests in the theatre. He designed productions for the full scope of the French theatre and even designed an open-air theatre in Aix-en-Provence, as well as the entire production. In this milieu, Cassandre turned to a lyrical, richly patterned romanticism, the very opposite of the brilliant color, incandescent conception, and lean accuracy of his famous posters.

 

With the onset of World War II, Cassandre served in the French army until the fall of France. His business long gone, he survived by creating stage sets and costumes for the theatre, something he had dabbled in during the 1930s. After the war, he continued this line of work while also returning to easel painting. In 1963, he designed the well-known Yves Saint-Laurent logo. Cassandre died in Paris on June 17, 1968, during the time of the great French student riots. All too sadly.