The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Cover of the first edition

 

The Wind in the Willows is a children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley.

In 1909, Theodore Roosevelt, then President of the United States, wrote to Grahame to tell him that he had “read it and reread it, and have come to accept the characters as old friends”.

In addition to the main narrative, the book contains several independent short-stories featuring Rat and Mole. These appear for the most part between the chapters chronicling Toad’s adventures, and are often omitted from abridgements and dramatizations. The chapter “Dulce Domum” describes Mole’s return to his home, accompanied by Rat, in which, despite finding it in a terrible mess after his abortive spring clean, he rediscovers, with Rat’s help, a familiar comfort. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn tells how Mole and Rat search for Otter’s missing son Portly, whom they find in the care of the god Pan. (Pan removes their memories of this meeting “lest the awful remembrance should remain and grow, and overshadow mirth and pleasure”.) Finally in Wayfarers All, Ratty shows a restless side to his character when he is sorely tempted to join a Sea Rat on his travelling adventures.

 

Illustration by Arthur Rackham

 

The book was originally published as plain text, but many illustrated, comic and annotated versions have been published over the years. Notable illustrators include Paul Bransom (1913), Ernest H. Shepard (1933), Arthur Rackham (1940), Tasha Tudor (1966), Michael Hague (1980), Scott McKowen (2005), and Robert Ingpen (2007).

The Wind in the Willows was the last work illustrated by Arthur Rackham. The book with his illustrations was issued posthumously in a limited edition by the Folio Society with 16 color plates in 1940 in the US. It was not issued with the Rackham illustrations in the UK until 1950.

 

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, frontispiece to a 1913 edition by Paul Bransom

 

The first album by psychedelic rock group Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967), was named by former member Syd Barrett after chapter 7 of The Wind in the Willows,which contains a visionary encounter with the god Pan, who plays his pan pipe at dawn. It was one of Barrett’s favourite books, and he often gave friends the impression that he was Pan, that he was the Piper. The moniker was later used in the song Shine On You Crazy Diamond, in which Barrett is called “you Piper”. However, the songs on the album are not directly related to the contents of the book. Barrett came up with the album title The Piper at the Gates of Dawn; the album was originally titled Projection up to as late as July 1967.

 

Up-and-coming society photographer Vic Singh was hired to photograph the band for the album cover. Singh shared a studio with photographer David Bailey, and he was friends with Beatles guitarist George Harrison. Singh asked Jenner and King to dress the band in the brightest clothes they could find. Vic Singh then shot them with a prism lens that Harrison had given him. The cover was meant to resemble an LSD trip, a style that was favoured at the time.

 

Syd did his own little drawing on the back cover

 

The same chapter was the basis for the name and lyrics of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, a song by Irish singer-song writer Van Morrison from his 1997 album The Healing Game. The song The Wicker Man by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden also includes the phrase. British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth released a special edition of their album Thornography, called Harder, Darker, Faster: Thornography Deluxe; on the song Snake-Eyed and the Venomous, a pun is made in the lyrics “… all vipers at the gates of dawn” referring to Chapter 7 of the book.

 

To listen to Van Morrison’s rendition of this literary classic, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

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A Hard-Edged Genius Interviewed by His Mum

“I like Alexander McQueen’s work a lot: he’s always pushing boundaries, and he’s rough around the edges. The idea of this hard-edged genius being interviewed by his mum, by the person that spawned him, really appealed to me.”

Sam Taylor-Woods

 
 

 
 

Joyce McQueen: I would have liked to have invited the late Peter Ustinov for dinner, for his wit and conversation. Who would you like as a dinner guest and why?

Alexander McQueen: What, if I could choose anyone?

JM: Anyone in the world.

AM: Elizabeth I …

JM: Why would you want Elizabeth I? The history maybe?

AM: ‘Cause she’s an anarchist.

JM: She’s an anarchist?

AM: She was an anarchist, yeah. Do you want to have a bit of debate on this?

JM: Well, not at the moment, no.

AM: Because, y’know, she kind of founded the Church of England under her father, with all the upheaval from the French and the Scottish …

JM: Who are your other ones?

AM: Jesus of Nazareth, to check if he really exists, and it’s not just we’ve been reading some Peter Pan book for the past 2,000 years. Or Mel Gibson, to be there if Jesus wasn’t true.

JM: If you could live and work as a designer in any era, which one would it be?

AM: Any time? Future as well?

JM: Future as well. But particularly the past.

AM: Let’s stick to the past then. I’m thinking cavemen and loincloths.

JM: What about Tudors and Stuarts?

AM: Er … I’m answering the questions! Most probably …

JM: What about –

AM: I’m thinking ! Fifteenth-century Flemish, Netherlands. My favourite part of art. Because of the colours, because of the sympathetic way they approached life.

JM: Simplicity, you mean.

AM: I’m not going to get into a big art debate with you.

JM: No, I’m trying to get to the bottom of why you like that.

AM: ‘Cause I think they were very modern for their times, in that period and in that part of the world.

JM: You spend as much time as possible in your beautiful cottage in the country. Do you find that the inspiration you get down there features in your work?

AM: I don’t find inspiration there – it gives me a peace of mind, Mum. Solitude, and a blank canvas to work from, instead of the distractions of the concrete jungle.

JM: Right. So it does inspire you in some ways then.

AM: Not technically. Not country life or bobbing rabbits. It’s the peace and quiet.

JM: As you know, I’m a Simply Red and Elton John fan. Who are your favourite artists?

AM: As in singers?

JM: Yeah, well, y’know, groups, whatever. Because at one time, you were very much into classical music.

AM: Beyoncé. No, I’m only joking.

JM: He was about, what, 15. I know because I’ve still got them at home.

AM: I think composers. People like Michael Nyman, who compose an original piece of music – believe it or not, the artists today are inspired by people like Michael Nyman and Philip Glass, who come up with unusual sounds.

JM: I know, I know, that’s where pop music comes from …

AM: Nah, it’s like the architect who designed the Gherkin [Norman Foster and his Swiss Re tower in London] inspires people, or Alexander McQueen does a collection that inspires other people to do different things and move things forward. Rap music’s been around for too long now to be inspirational. The words are, but the music isn’t.

JM: You haven’t given me an answer there. You haven’t come out with a group.

AM: I have – Philip Glass and Michael Nyman.

JM: All right, then. I’ll ask another question. You have traveled extensively around the world but still have not been to the Isle of Skye, which is the root of your McQueen history. Will you ever visit that area?

AM: Mmm … yes.

JM: In the near future?

AM: Yes.

JM: Right. And that follows on to my next question: what do your Scottish roots mean to you?

AM: Everything.

JM: Well, where do I come in?

AM: [laughs] Oh you’re from the Forest of Dean, yeah. What do you mean, where do you come in?

JM: Well, your Scottish roots mean a lot to you. So where does your mother’s side come in?

AM: What does my mother’s side, the Welsh side, mean to me?

JM: I’m not Welsh! I’m Norman!

AM: All right, Norman! Where does this Norman come from?

JM: Well they come from Viking stock.

AM: That answers a lot for an awful lot of people, I think. I feel more Scottish than Norman.

JM: You recently got your deep-sea diving certificate, didn’t you?

AM: Yeah, underwater diving.

JM: Well, two of my family discovered the wreck of the Marie Rose, deep-sea divers. Just explains that you’ve taken up deep-sea diving as well. It’s a follow-on really, isn’t it?

AM: So from the McQueen side I’ve got anarchy, and my mum’s side, underwater diving.

JM: The calm part. You are often described as an architect of clothing, and I know that you have a keen interest in architecture. What is the most breathtaking building you’ve ever seen?

AM: Ronchamps, by Le Corbusier.

JM: What do you think of the modern buildings in London?

AM: I love the Gherkin.

JM: You do?

AM: I think it’s fantastic.

JM: But you don’t like any of the old architecture in London?

AM: Well, yeah, but it’s not as nice as it is in Italy or Paris.

JM: If you hadn’t trained on Savile Row, how would you have entered the fashion industry?

AM: I’d have slept my way there.

JM: Or, I don’t know …

AM: Other ways. I’d have found other ways of getting into it.

JM: Do you look at something else and say, “I could have done that as well”?

AM: Photo-journalism. It’s art for the modern times. I think it captures a moment in time that is spontaneous and that reflects where we are. The one I couldn’t have done is be an architect, because I don’t have the brain capacity or the patience.

JM: No, you haven’t got the patience, have you? You mix with VIPs, celebrities, aristocracy … How does coming home and being the baby of the family make you feel?

AM: I’m never fazed by it, because whenever I get home, Dad will always ask me to make him a cup of tea. So it’s just normal.

JM: If you were prime minister or in government, what policies would you implement to make the UK a better place to live?

AM: More politically correct police officers on the streets. And more focus on the north of England instead of just the south, on not so developed parts of the country.

JM: What do you mean, “politically correct police”?

AM: Well, not homophobic police, not racist police, you know? The police need to come down to street level.

JM: Success has brought you financial security. But if you lost it all tomorrow, what would be the first thing you would do?

AM: Sleep. I’d be pleased.

JM: I said you’d go on holiday.

AM: What with? I’d lost it all!

JM: When you received your CBE last October, you told me and Dad that you locked eyes with the Queen and it was like falling in love. What was it about her presence that captivated you?

AM: I made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to look into her eyes.

JM: But you did.

AM: I did. There was a simultaneous lock, and she started laughing, and I started laughing …

JM: It was a nice moment, wasn’t it?

AM: It was. We caught it on camera where we’re both laughing at each other. She asked a question, “How long have you been a fashion designer?” and I said, “A few years, m’lady.” I wasn’t thinking straight – because I’d hardly had any sleep.

JM: You were nervous.

AM: I was really tired. And I looked into her eyes, it was like when you see someone across the room on a dance floor and you think, “Whoa!” It was like when I looked into her eyes, it was obvious that she had her fair share of shit going on. I felt sorry for her. I’ve said a lot of stuff about the Queen in the past – she sits on her arse and she gets paid an awful lot of money for it – but for that instant I had a bit of compassion for her. So I came away feeling humbled by the situation, when I wouldn’t have even been in the situation if it wasn’t for you.

JM: I thought it was a great honour.

AM: I didn’t want to do it.

JM: It was an honour for you …

AM: Yeah, but I had my views on what it stands for.

JM: What is your most terrifying fear?

AM: Dying before you.

JM: Thank you, son. What makes you proud?

AM: You.

JM: Why?

AM: No, no, ask the next one: “What makes you furious?” You! [laughs]

JM: No, go on, what makes you proud?

AM: When things go right, when the collection goes right, when everyone else in the company’s proud.

JM: What makes you furious?

AM: Bigotry.

JM: What makes your heart miss a beat?

AM: Love.

JM: Love for children? Love for adults? Love for animals?

AM: Falling in love.

The Boy Who Kicked Out a Shoe Model

Buster Brown (left), his dog Tige and Mary Jane. Tige is thought to be the first talking pet to appear in American comics, and like that of many of his successors, his speech goes unnoticed by adults.

 
 

Buster Brown was created by Richard Felton Outcault in 1902. Two years later, Outcault traveled to the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, and canvassed up to 200 companies to use the Buster Brown character to advertise their products in William Randolph Hearst‘s New York Journal Sunday comic strips. So began the product placement for Brown Shoe Company.

 
 

Brown Shoes vintage advertisement featuring some Mary Jane models with one or more straps across the instep.

 
 

Although generally associated with young girls, nowadays, and to a lesser extent teenage girls and women, Mary Janes have also been worn by males throughout history. Portrait of Henry VIII with Charles Quint and Pope Leon X, circa 1520 (Anonymous painter)

 
 

Some boys still in the first half of the 20th century wore Mary Jane for children, mainly in elite or high-profile families. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and his son, October 1963

 
 

A woman from the Jazz Age wearing Mary Janes high heel shoe model

 
 

Lord Fauntleroy attire

 
 

Buster Brown (named directly or indirectly after Buster Keaton, then a child actor in vaudeville) is a mischievous, rich, city-dwelling boy, who dressed in the style of Little Lord Fauntleroy. He is disturbingly pretty, but his actions belie his looks. He is a practical joker who might dress in a girl’s outfit and have her wear his clothes, break a window with his slingshot, or play a prank on a neighbor. The trick or transgression is discovered and he is punished, usually by being spanked by his mother, but it is unclear if he ever repents. Many strips end with Buster delivering a self-justifying moral which has little or nothing to do with his crime.

This mischievous young boy was loosely based on a boy near Outcault’s home in Flushing, New York. His physical appearance, including the pageboy haircut, was utilized by Outcault and later adopted by Buster Brown. The actual boy’s name was Granville Hamilton Fisher, son of Charles and Anna Fisher of Flushing.

 
 

Illustrations of  a 1886 Lord Fauntleroy‘s edition by Reginald Birch

 
 

Little Lord Fauntleroy is the first children’s novel written by English playwright and author Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was originally published as a serial in the St. Nicholas Magazine between November 1885 and October 1886, then as a book by Scribner’s in 1886. The accompanying illustrations by Reginald Birch set fashion trends and Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Birch’s artistic talent first emerged in San Francisco, where he helped his father prepare wood-block theatrical posters. He soon attracted a patron in painter Toby Edward Rosenthal, who allowed him to use his studio and helped further his artistic education. From 1873 to 1881 Birch studied and worked in Europe, attending the Royal Academy in Munich and illustrating various publications in Vienna, Paris, and Rome. On his return to the United States he took up residence in New York City, where he became a magazine illustrator.

 
 

Buster Brown comic strip (Click to enlarge)