Tuesday, March 13, 2012

5 Minutes With Peter Hass of A Dandy In Aspic

"Did you ever dream about a place you never really recall being to before? A place that maybe only exists in your imagination? Some place far away, half remembered when you wake up. When you were there, though, you knew the language. You knew your way around. That was the sixties.... No. It wasn't that either. It was just '66 and early '67. That's all there was....."

Q1. What was the first record that you owned that really had a life changing effect on you?

Peter Hass : "Hit Singles" by The Kinks. I first heard The Kinks when I was about 13-14. It was a first 1960's band I was properly into. It was my fascination with the music of that period that got me started as a 1960's obsessive. Fascination with fashion, design and cinema later followed. And today , more than a decade after I first heard The Kinks I am still not bored with them. It's a kind of thing I could listen to on repeat.

The Kinks - Dedicated follower of Fashion ( Orig. Promo).

Q2. What's the story behind your blog 'A Dandy In Aspic'? When did you start it and what was the motivation?

PH : I studied Fashion and Dress History at The University Of Brighton. I wrote my dissertation about Peacock Style in 1960's. While doing my research, I noticed that there was very little information about it on internet. It seemed to me that the achievements of certain designers, such as Mr.Fish or Michael Rainey or even John Stephen were a little bit underexposed. Peacock style seems to be slightly forgotten by Fashion History. So after I graduated last summer, I decided to publish some of the parts of my dissertation on this blog, mostly to fill that gap. There are hardly any fashion blogs that talk about 1960's in terms of menswear. The only ones I am aware of are usually ran by old Mod guys. But sixties menswear is much more than just Mod or Hippy.

Two members of British Psychedelic band John's Children are modeling kaftans designed by John Stephen in 1967.

Q3. What is the state of the The New Psychedelic/New Peacock Revolution scene? Who in your opinion, are the main players, designers, music makers etc?

PH : There isn't one - It's as simple as that. There is a Mod scene in London , where sometimes you see some Peacock-ish looking men, but that's about it. The Peacock Style was so strongly associated with 1960's Swinging London, that it is almost impossible to revive it, really. Right now, London is probably the least swinging place on earth. Take King's Road, for example - once a it was a fantastic place full of cool boutiques and colourful youth. Now its full of overpriced high street chain shops who sell stuff to bankers, russian oligarchs and their trophy wives - probably the only people who can afford to live in that area these days. The growing prices of rent, travel etc. are forcing creative people - that is people for whom chasing money isn't a main priority, out of London.If this situation carries on, in twenty years you won't be able able to afford to live in London, unless you're a high flying banker or manager. I must admit that my obsession with 1960's is really a form of escapism - something that lets me forget about the ugly reality of today.

Look at life. Swinging London of sixties.

PH : But economic crisis is only a part of the problem. The world of contemporary fashion and music is just so boring. Every decade since 1950's, had its own seminal youth movement that involved fashion and music. You had Teddy Boys in 1950's, Mods/Rockers/Hippies/skinheads in 1960's, Glam Rock/Punks in 1970's, Goths/New Romantics in 1980's , Grunge in 1990's....but the first decade of the this century did not produce anything like that. All we had was some dodgy revivals. Or shall I say revivals of revivals. It just feels like everything has been done. I am not even sure if its possible to start something completely new in this day and age. Because of Internet, today a new subculture would survive more that a month before being overtaken by people who would turn it into money making machine.

Ok, I am gonna stop right here, I am starting to rant. All I want to say is that every time I read about any kind of youth movement - Be it Mod, be it Punk, be it No Wave in 1970's New York, I always wish I was there. Because in my own era I never had a feeling that I witnessed anything important. Anything that would actually matter.

Q4. It looks like The Faces will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year with Rod Stewart appearing with the band (with my friend Glen Matlock on bass).

PH : I couldn't care less. What is the point of Rock n' roll hall of fame of fame anyway? It's one of those idiotic american inventions. You can't put a band or a song to a museum (mind you, in case of The Faces it might not be such a bad idea). Who decides who is getting admitted to RnRHoF? and on what grounds is a band getting admitted to it? Is it the records they sold? (I hope not) Is it their influence (if yes, how do you even measure something like that?) I spent most of my life hanging out with musicians and discussing music and I don't remember RnRHoF coming up in any conversation even once. That how little people care. In England ,of course. I don't see why would anybody get excited about some old farts giving themselves 'One-foot-in-the-grave' awards.

Beatles Apple Boutique, London 1968.

Q5. Do you feel the time is right for a retrospective exhibition of the 60's Psychedelic scene?

PH : It's as good as any, I suppose....Since there is so little interesting things going on at the moment, why not?


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