Facts Behind The Photo: Volume II

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This photo of Talitha Getty and her husband Paul was taken by Patrick Lichfield in 1969, on a rooftop in Marrakech. The couple embodied the bohemian-luxe look of the 1960’s and the photo has inspired many fashion collections since.

After a brief spell as an actress, Talitha Pol met oil heir John Paul Getty and they married in Rome in 1966. The newlyweds spent their honeymoon in Marrakech, where they bought Le Palais du Zahir, or the Pleasure Palace as they called it. It was there that Lichfield’s photograph was taken, featuring John Paul hooded in the background and Talitha at the forefront wearing an ornate silk kaftan.

It was also in Morocco that Talitha met Yves Saint Laurent and subsequently became his muse. In 1984, two decades later, Yves Saint Laurent said of the Getty’s: “I knew the youthfulness of the Sixties. Talitha and Paul Getty lying on a starlit terrace in Marrakech, beautiful and damned, and a whole generation assembled as if for eternity where the curtain of the past seemed to lift before an extraordinary future…” making a reference to the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Beautiful and the Damned.

The couple divided their time between London, Rome and Marrakech. They were an IT couple and counted The Beatles, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull amongst their friends. However, behind all the wealth, beauty and glamour lay a dark reality – both Talitha and her husband had descended into drug addiction.

Talitha and Paul became parents to Tara Gabriel Gramophone Galaxy Getty but soon after, their relationship started to break down and Paul had an affair. Talitha left Rome and moved into their London apartment with their son. In London she began an affair of her own with French aristocrat and playboy, Count Jean de Bretuil. However, a short while later Talitha went back to Rome to try and repair her marriage.

Tragically, Talitha Getty died from a heroin overdose in Rome in July 1971, though the precise details of her death remain a mystery. It is thought that she got the heroin from Count Jean de Breteuil, who incidentally also sold a lethal dose of the drug to Jim Morrison. She was only 30 years-old. Paul Getty fled the country, in fear of being arrested and moved to London.

In 1973 another tragedy struck Getty’s life. His oldest son from his first marriage, Paul Jr, was kidnapped in Calabria, Italy. The kidnappers even cut off his ear and sent it to an Italian newspaper. After his father paid the ransom, Paul Jr was freed. Unfortunately he was an addict like his father and suffered a stroke as a result of an overdose, which left him paralysed at just 25 years-old.

Paul Getty Senior began to overcome his addictions in the 1980’s after an expensive stint in rehab and became a philanthropist, dedicating much of his time and money to charity. He died in 2003 aged 70.

The iconic photo of Talitha and Paul Getty is currently on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

David Bowie’s 100 Favourite Books

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Ever wondered what David Bowie reads before bed? Wonder no more. As part of the David Bowie Is exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, curator Geoffry Marsh has given us a glimpse of Bowie’s personal literary preferences and one thing is for sure, Bowie knows his books. In fact, the exhibition audio guide features an interview where the man himself admits that if he had not been a musician, he would have liked to have become a novelist.

David Bowie remains one of pop cultures influential icons and this exhibition gives fans a chance to discover something about the singer’s own inspirations. The list of 100 titles ranges from the obvious to the more obscure, from Dante’s Inferno to The Beano and I thought I would share with you five of my favourites that make it onto both his list and mine.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita tells the story of Humbert Humbert, a European man who moves to New England after suffering a nervous breakdown. There he falls in love with 12 year-old Dolores Haze, who he nicknames Lolita. Nabokov believed that every story should resemble a fairytale in some way, so although Humbert is a pedophile, the reader comes to feel empathy towards him. Lolita is a tragedy and explores disturbing themes; however the book is written in such beautiful prose and is scattered with such dry, witty humour, that although you cannot understand or justify Humbert’s behaviour, you sympathise with the character at times.

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A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

The novel centres around Alex, a teenage boy who takes pleasure in harming others. After a robbery goes wrong Alex is sent to a prison where he is subject to the “Ludovico Technique” and undergoes mental torture in order to cure him of his violent tendencies. In A Clockwork Orange, Burgess challenges our understanding of morality, but the story is a violent one and at times it’s not an easy book to read. If you’ve seen the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation then you haven’t seen the whole story. When A Clockwork Orange was printed in the US, the final chapter was cut as the ending was deemed too happy and Kubrick followed this amended version.

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Exploring themes such as class distinction and elitism, The Great Gatsby is set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age of the 1920’s. The novel centres around Jay Gatsby, a filthy rich inhabitant of West Egg. We see Gatsby through the eyes of the narrator Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s neighbour, and although there are things about him that Nick disapproves of, he still admires Gatsby. Gatsby throws legendary parties despite not socialising with his guests, but what Gatsby really longs for is his first love Daisy Buchanan, who happens to be Nick’s cousin. Daisy is married but after a reunion with Gatsby, the events in the novel spiral out of control.

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood was published in 1966 and tells the story of the real-life events surrounding the Clutter family. In 1959, the Clutter family were found dead, with their throats cut and gunshot wounds to the head. The culprits were young Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. Capote goes into an impressive amount of detail and we learn about the family’s history, about the murder itself and about the perpetrators. This is not a work of fiction and the author relays accounts from those directly involved, those that knew the victims, their neighbours, the police and lawyers. It took seven years for Truman Capote to write the book, which was publishes after the two men were executed. The story is compelling and unlike any book I had read before.

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On The Road by Jack Kerouac

I read this book a couple of Summers ago during a road trip in Italy just because the title seemed appropriate and I was pleasantly surprised. The novel was published in 1957 and was based on two road trips Kerouac himself had taken ten years earlier. Kerouac’s writing style is spontaneous and unconventional and focuses on themes such as drugs, alcohol and disillusion. The protagonist, Sal Paradise, is an aspiring writer who lives with his aunt but dreams of following his friends across America. On The Road helped to define the Beat Generation, a social and literary movement of the 1950’s (see first post ever about Kill Your Darlings).

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October Soundtrack

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Volcano Choir – Comrade

Volcano Choir is the side project of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and they have just announced their first European tour. I am a huge Bon Iver fan and although I’m somewhat sad that Justin isn’t working on any new material for the band at the moment, Volcano Choir is filling that Bon-shaped hole in the meantime.

Foxes – Youth

Foxes is best known for lending her vocals to Zedd’s Clarity, which has dominated the airwaves all summer, but Youth is the 24 year-old’s debut solo single. Even though the track has been around since 2012 (I first heard it last year when I was living in Spain and I loved it), Foxes decided to release it as a single because it was the first song she wrote.

Swim Deep – Honey (Oceaán Remix)

Birmingham boys Swim Deep’s single Honey has been remixed by Manchester based producer Oceaán. The result is this dreamy, chilled out track that I’ve been listening to before bed. Oceaán’s style is infectious. If that wasn’t enough, it’s available to download for free!

Jake Bugg – What Doesn’t Kill You

This is the first single from Jake Bugg’s new album Shangri La, set to be released on November 18th. What Doesn’t Kill You marks a change in style compared to Jake’s first album and feels more punk-influenced. Although it is quite annoying how many times Jake says “ya know” at the beginning of the video. I’m looking forward to seeing what the new album has to offer.

Drake – Hold On We’re Going Home

I’m going to be honest, I was so sick of seeing pictures of Drake’s new album cover on Instagram that I refused to listen to it. Eventually I gave in and I have to admit I love this song, it reminds me of Find Your Love. Even though Drake has the ability to both sing and rap on a track (“sounds like Drake feat. Drake”) I prefer it when he sings.

P.S I don’t care what Amanda Bynes says, Drake is beautiful.

Sex, Drugs & Electronic Dance Music

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Last night some of my friends went to the opening of Warehouse Project in Manchester. This morning, after watching the videos with envy and liking their pics on Instagram, I read the sad news that a 30 year-old man had died from a “bad batch” of drugs, thought to be ecstasy and that five other people are now in hospital.

I saw someone I follow on Twitter had re-tweeted “pills are sick! Don’t stop taking them cos one persons died. You don’t stop driving when someone dies in a car crash do ya? F*cking plebs!”. Just after, I read an article about how electronic dance music was the devil and responsible for thousands of drug-related deaths. This got me thinking about both points of view.

Drugs are always going to be available at these kinds of club nights, despite being illegal, but it’s not just at EDM events. Drugs get smuggled into all sorts of clubs and concerts around the world. In fact, drugs and music have been synonymous since the hippy generation. Think Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, only now Rock & Roll has been replaced with dance music. At the same time, the nonchalant attitude of some club goers towards drugs needs to change, people need to be more aware of what they’re taking.

While ecstasy may give you a high so euphoric that you never want to stop dancing, in a world where everyone is amazing and so lovely and you just want to love them, and touch them…You should take into consideration that it is a synthetic drug and you have no way of knowing what it is you’re actually taking. I’m not condoning the use of drugs, but if people are going to take them they should do it in the safest way possible.

Ecstasy was a huge part of rave culture in the 90’s and continues to be today. If you’ve ever been to an EDM event you will have definitely have been asked if you want pills, or if you’re selling some. But bear in mind that there are actually people who attend these events simply because they enjoy the music, minus the mind-altering substances.

It’s clear that the EDM scene has a long way to go to shed its negative image. But no matter what you think about drugs, these events are primarily about the music and aren’t just an excuse to get f*cked.

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Style Icon: Brigitte Bardot

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Actress, model, singer, activist – Brigitte Bardot had it all. With big eyes, pouty lips and messy blonde hair, she became a sex symbol in the 60’s and it wasn’t just her looks that caught the world’s attention.

Brigitte Bardot’s style captured the spirit of the French Riviera. She encompassed that je ne sais quoi that makes French girls so elegant and effortlessly chic. She often wore denim jeans, Beat Generation-style coats, Breton stripe tops and ballet flats. Brigitte made the choucroute hairstyle popular and also inspired the “bardot” style neckline, a wide neck cut that exposes both shoulders.

Bardot is credited with making St Tropez a desired destination and she revolutionised the way French women wore swimsuits. She starred in many films, but I would recommend watching Le Mépris. The film is based on the Italian novel Il disprezzo and features the amazing Malaparte house on the Isle of Capris, one of the best examples of Italian contemporary architecture.

Bardot is one of my ultimate fashion icons and it’s not hard to see why the femme fatale’s timeless style continues to inspire women today.

Facts Behind The Photo: Bob Dylan introduces The Beatles to marijuana

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In August 1964 The Beatles played at Forest Hills stadium in New York. After the show Bob Dylan paid a visit to the band in their suite at the Delmonico Hotel.

While waiting for some “cheap wine”, Bob Dylan asked the Fab Four if they wanted to smoke a joint. Their manager, Brain Epstein, sheepishly admitted that they’d never smoked cannabis before. Dylan was surprised by this as he thought the band were regular smokers, thanks to the song I Want To Hold Your Hand. In fact, Dylan had mistaken the lyrics “I can’t hide” for “I get high”.

John Lennon took the joint from Bob Dylan and passed it to Ringo, who he called his royal taster. Not being familiar with the etiquette of passing the joint around, Ringo smoked the whole thing to himself. In the end, Dylan rolled a joint for everyone, including Epstein.

I don’t remember much what we talked about. We were smoking dope, drinking wine and generally being rock’n’rollers and having a laugh, you know, and surrealism. It was party time. – John Lennon

Paul McCartney took a somewhat more philosophical approach to being high and instructed Mal Evans to follow him round the hotel suite with a notebook, writing down all the profound things McCartney was saying. Evans kept the notebook until his death in 1976, when it was confiscated and subsequently lost by the LAPD.

When Fans Go Too Far

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A One Direction fan has claimed to have killed her pet chihuahua, after the boyband failed to follow her on twitter.

The female fan, known as @illumivato, had previously tweeted the personal accounts of all five members of the band saying “Follow me or I’ll break my dog’s neck”. The tweet included an image of her hand around the little dog’s neck, pinning it to the floor.

One Direction have more than fifteen million followers and are inundated with tweets every day, as a result her tweet went unnoticed. After receiving no response, the crazed fan tweeted band member Liam Payne, writing “I love you. Follow me. My dog has just died”. This time the tweet included a picture of herself crying and cradling the apparently dead dog in her arms.

Fans of One Direction have started a change.org petition against the fan and have branded her a “psycho”, some have claimed it’s a fake story. Whether it’s a hoax or a desperate cry for attention, it’s not the first time a fan has done something crazy to win their idols’ attention.

For me, the most creepy has got to be when Kpop sensation Taecyon received a letter from a devoted fan apparently written in menstruation blood. Yes, really. The letter even included a sprinkling of pubic hair.

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