style brick road: Beats and Howls

Friday, 31 October 2014

Beats and Howls

There is an element of spirit of a particular place, beyond the obvious one - being surrounded by arts and living in constant contact is why creative souls move places, in the hopes of becoming surrounded by all the peers and other creative souls. However, there is also this element of pure atmospheric magic, nothing particular yet maybe the spirits of the past creatives surrounding us. No, I'm not going all Halloween/spiritual on you - I am just trying to explain some points of personal thoughts. Both to you and myself.

This kind of haunting spirit in the air has been coming to my mind for the past few weeks - the rebellious yet artistically positive joy that has possessing all of my being. The outburst of these kinds of moments happened when I was walking around Kensington few weeks back, just randomly strolling out and about that stunning neighbourhood, and seeing a book-shop sale with '£2 ALL' cardboard in front of it. As a sucker for good deals, I already grabbed my 'History of Jazz' book, but continued ogling a few other titles with one extremely stunning graphic cover and a big 'HOWL' on top of it. The name behind the content was Allen Ginsberg, a literary name I heard of before - but couldn't really put it in any particular period/genre. Taking a book in my hand and randomly eye-browsing were the next steps, with a few interesting sentences catching my mind. I still ended up thinking - 'Argh, too bad is a book of poems', putting the book back and continuing my stroll inside the stunning alleys of the French area.

Yet, a set of words were stuck in my mind 'I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness', with a set of distinctive descriptions of those best minds - intensely and individually sorrow but never lacking of affection. Although I made a great mistake of not picking up that amazing title from the rack (I returned a few days later and it was - of course - gone), I was able to follow up thanks to Google and get my head around the whole story behind it. The set of words were from the cult (obviously) poem named howl Howl, by Allen Ginsberg - a poet was part of the first Beat Generation, a no-rules, rebellious yet very bohemic group of people that were against all of the norms. Although extremely American-driven (as most of it authors were NYC-based), the Beat Generation has not only been a huge part of the 50s and 60s artistic movements all around the globe, but also still is somewhat of a strong base for many contemporary tendencies in all kinds of areas. 

Googling not only allowed me to reconcile with my wish to read the complete version of Howl, but also to see what and who the movement was about. I could honestly talk/write for days about it, naming people and stating facts - but you have the web-browser for that. The fact that stunned me the most and is the one I wanted to translate into the visual part of this blog was about how the public interpreted the Beat Generation, a more superficial aspect of the movement based on turtlenecks, striped t-shirts and bad posture - a media stereotype I would arguably name the50s/60s version of hipsters (who are also mentioned in Howl). Intellectual, tall and slim - all vain descriptions, yet perfectly depicting the mentioned stereotype of the rebellious new generation - the beatniks. It wasn't all about the high-waisted pants and the lean figures (although miss Alexa Chung has made them back in), it was also about the attitude, the I-don't-care yet I-know-everything way of pushing your own ideas. That kind of spirit has been possessing me for the past few weeks, so I decided to let my own stereotypical version of a sub-culture I will never be a part of, come out and shine. I let myself be a rebel, a beatnik for one day - just before I went back to being a geek.

Happy Halloween! xx
Allen Ginsberg (on the left) with Bob Dylan (on the right)
Lady beatnik - Audrey Hepburn as the spacey Jo Stockton in Funny Face
Mick Jagger
A set of beat(nik)s - how Beatles rolled (in their roll-necks)
Steve McQueen as the masculine, buff vision in a 'beatnik uniform'
Andy Warhol's Interview 80's days
Max Calvin turtleneck, Her Curious Nature cap, Cheap Monday jeans, Massimo Dutti blazer, Asos boots, Giant Vintage sunglasses, Daniel Wellington watch

ps. The winners of the Giant Vintage 3rd Bday Giveaway have been e-mailed, so everyone who entered - please check your e-mail inbox folders! ;)