Friday, 4 December 2009

Step into my fitting room: Glen Matlock measures up the Kilburns at Let It Rock

Before forming the Sex Pistols and writing ‘Anarchy In The UK’, Glen Matlock worked as a 'Saturday boy' at Let It Rock - the Malcolm McLaren/ Vivienne Westwood boutique on the Kings Road. One of Glen's first tasks was measuring Ian up for a new suit. 'I was the bloke with the tape measure,' says Glen. '"I’m free!" I was the John Inman of the punk generation.' Glen recalls discovering that Ian was a polio victim: 'Most peoples' shoulders are about seven inches, but one side was half the width. I realised how withered he was down one side and how my granddad must have been – he had polio – and I felt a little bit more of a connection with Ian than if I’d just seen him on stage. It made him a bigger bloke in my eyes, what he had to put up with.'

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Ian meets Terry Day at Walthamstow School of Art

Arriving at Walthamstow in February 1962, Terry Day made a big
impression on Ian. Heavily into modern jazz and the action
paintings of Jackson Pollock, Terry had started his record collection
at the age of five. With help from his older brother, he
learnt to play an assortment of musical instruments by the time
he was fifteen. His first love was drums, and he found himself
giving Ian some early tuition. ‘We were always hitting things
with paint brushes, bashing out rhythms and making a noise,’
recalls Terry, who would go on to be one of Ian’s closest pals.
Visit Terry Day's website:
Become a fan of Ian Dury Biography 2010 on Facebook:

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ian's develops his Teddy Boy persona 1954-56-58

Ian had been at the Royal Grammar School only a few weeks when, in May 1954, the bi-annual, official school photograph was taken (left). By May 1956 (centre) - in the week that Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel entered the UK hit parade - Ian had developed his early Teddy Boy persona. By 1958 (right), Ian was sporting the full greasy quiff and playing drums in the Black Cat Combo. Ian exerted a certain influence over his contemporaries, telling them about the little tailor’s shop in High Wycombe where they could get their trousers tapered; the cinema at the back of town that showed the sleazy movies and the precise location of the dirty bookshop. ‘Here was clearly a chap who recognized style,’ says classmate Warwick Prior. ‘He once returned to school in what he called a “denim rock suit”. It was a pair of jeans and a short jeans jacket, which were very rare in those days. He’d slip it on occasionally, if he got the opportunity. I grew my hair quite long, significantly under his influence. I learnt about it all from Dury.’
With thanks to Tony Hare and John Saunders
'Ian Dury: The Definitive Biography' will be published by Sidgwick & Jackson in January 2010.
Become a fan of Ian Dury Biography 2010 on Facebook:
Or connect on MySpace:

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Barney Bubbles original design for 4000 Weeks Holiday

Graphics genius Barney Bubbles accepted the commission Ian passed to him in the early autumn of 1983 to design the sleeve for 4000 Weeks Holiday. Tragically it was one of Barney's last designs - he died in November of that year before the work was completed. Here we see the first stage of Barney's original design (courtesy of Pauline Kennedy aka Caramel Crunch/Reasons 2009). When the album eventually appeared in 1984, it was packaged in what was intended to be the inner bag, with Ian's hand-written credits, its design completed by Caramel Crunch following Barney's death. It is thought, however, that Barney's original design did appear on Portuguese pressings of 4000 Weeks Holiday (Polydor Records).
With thanks to Rebecca and Mike, and Paul Gorman, author of Reasons To Be Cheerful - a book about the work of Barney Bubbles

Friday, 30 October 2009

Ian flashes his Union Jack grin, 1978

At a surgery in Harley Street, Ian was measured for new crowns and fitted with a temporary veneer on his lower incisors. ‘Can you paint on the veneer?’ he enquired of the dentist, knowing it would soon be time to fly the flag. An hour later, he strode out into the spring sunshine, flashing a Union Jack grin. When Kosmo heard about the teeth he was on the phone to the press. (Photographer unknown)
Become a fan of Ian Dury Biography 2010 on Facebook:
Or connect on MySpace:

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Stardom awaits these two dapper Kilburns

Style was all important in the early days of Kilburn and The High Roads. Their singer and mentor Ian Dury would frequently take out his tape measure to ensure that Keith Lucas and Humphrey Ocean weren't exceeding the regulation 14" bottoms on their neat white Jekylls.
Photograph courtesy of Ed Baxter, captured in Camden, 1973.
Become a fan of Ian Dury Biography 2010 on Facebook:
Or connect on MySpace:

Monday, 28 September 2009

Ouch! Omar whacks Ian - can you name the artist?

Le Caprice, 1985: 'All the films you've made since Lawrence of Arabia are rubbish,' Ian told the actor Omar Sharif, following a refreshing dinner at an exclusive London eatery. Diners looked up in disbelief as Sharif jumped from the table, throwing the first (and last) punch. There were no photographers around, but can you name the artist behind this picture? And the publication it appeared in? It's in the style of Guy Peelaert (of 'Rock Dreams' fame) and was kindly sent to me by Mick Gallagher of the Blockheads (thanks Mick), but its origin remains a mystery.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Ian winds up, Ian winds down, Bristol 1974

This great photograph was taken by Alain Le Kim, minutes after a sweat-soaked Ian Dury came off stage at Bristol Granary Club in 1974 where he appeared with Kilburn and The High Roads. In the audience was Ian's art college tutor and mentor Peter Blake, who spent most of the set in front of the stage, mesmerised by Ian's performance. 'Ian would wind people up,' recalls Blake. 'At one point he tried to get the other Kilburns to throw the man who ran the Granary Club off the balcony!'
Photo copyright Alain Le Kim

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Announcing a 'fab' new book about Ian Dury

My biography of Ian Dury is due to be published in 2010, a year that marks the tenth anniversary of Ian's death and also sees the release of 'Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll', a biopic starring Andy Serkis.
I felt compelled to write Ian's biography shortly after completing 'No Sleep Till Canvey Island - The Great Pub Rock Revolution'. During my research for that book I met with Ian a number of times, primarily to talk about the pub rock era. My extensive interviews with Ian form the backbone of my new book with valued contributions from scores of interviewees including Peter Blake, Humphrey Ocean, Denise Roudette, Charlie Gillett, Dave Robinson of Stiff Records, Malcolm McLaren, members of Kilburn and the High Roads and the Blockheads and Sophy, Jemima and Baxter Dury.
I will be writing here about the evolution of the biography and its path to publication, hopefully with some interview snippets and photographs.