There was an incident back in January, the evidence in the form of a big discoloured splash on the wall has remained to taunt me long after the yellow and purple bruises on my nose faded. My time at the Pop Flat in London is coming to an end and I must leave my room in the condition that I found it - this morning I wielded a brush loaded with white paint.
I’ll be sorry to go, Half a Pop Group went away for a month during my time here. Since they’ve been back the house has been full of the new tunes they made up during their trip, the Child has not yet been emptied of the helium produced by the excitement of her adventures so we have all been testing the songs loudly for singalongandanceability.
I am also less likely to wake and find myself engulfed in flames these days. My housemate Felicity has a habit of starting to make her supper then wandering off to gaze at the patterns on her bedroom floor - the Child has a sharp young nose and is very good at banging on Felicity’s door and yelling
FELICITY WAKE UP – YOUR RICE IS ON FIRE!
On my table is the evidence of a photographic exhibition I visited a couple of days ago in West London; Malick Sidibé is well known for his photographs taken at clubs and parties in Mali during the 50s and 60s. This show is a selection of studio portraits from the 70s that Sidibé has reprinted with additional handwritten titles which give an extra, often comical, dimension to the images.
It seems that the entire population of the country piled into Sidibés studio to have their photograph taken in their grooviest clothes against a backdrop of stripey African cloth, the men flaunting their fashionable slim-fit shirts (the collars, the collars!) and their wider than wide flares (pantalon aux pattes d'éléphant), the women combining traditional ‘wax’ fabric head and body wraps with chic sunglasses and western-style tops, this is a portrait of a nation at a particular time in their history. Every subject, gazes intensely, proudly out of the frame, even the dribbley-faced child clutching an oversized comb has a dignified solemnity about her.
There is so much to love about this show, superb photography, great printing - and these are the best fashion images I have ever seen.
Lichfield Studios, London W10 from 11 March-16 April
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