Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I have a subject!

I have been remembering Suede, my favourite band when I was 15.

For some reason I have yet to examine, pregnancy agrees with Suede.

The main men in Suede were Brett the singer front man and Bernard the guitarist. (The songwriting team.) They were my initial exposure to what front men and guitarists were. And I think they were quite good examples.

And I am enjoying them very much in retrospect.

I cannot expect it to be easy for me to put across the special complex personal nostalgia and affection I feel in my head for Suede, in these drawings. But if I aim to do that, I might get somewhere.

If I aim to put across the special feelings, I'm doing more than fixating on shapes, lumps and cheekbone configurations.

Brett and Bernard have one of those slightly comical homo buddy creative tempestuous gatekeeper/keymaster dynamics, which is great fun.

I liked them at the same time as I liked skinny weird boys at school who also played guitars.

I will write more about Suede on my other blog, I can't say it all here.

It was about engaging with the sordid things of adulthood in a playful textured beautiful woozy way.

Although it's not a thing I usually like to do to proclaim the objective importance of things, I will dare to say that Suede are underrated. And I still love the first two albums a lot. They had hype in 1993 but always a certain amount of hostility for one reason and another. Their fame is kind of forgotten. It was all a bit British music press fame. From when Indie seemed important. Now indie doesn't feel like it has much validity as a distinct idea or genre. Not that Suede ever wanted to be indie anyway.

They're bigger than that for me.

It is music for on your own. Or at a Suede fan club concert in 1994. Not casual or sociable.

Things that you liked in formative years... go some way to forming you.

I had a massive personal backlash against Suede, loads of reasons to hate them all of a sudden. But I changed my mind. That's what makes it all the more interesting. It's good to have strong feelings, even if your allegiances can end up feeling arbitrary at any one time. And to revisit things from your past NOW, isn't just diving headfirst into stale feelings... it's a new thing with added layers.

Get a big kick out of this pic, skulking around Glastonbury as one unified beast.


Merlin said...

A wonderful rendition, truly you try your best not to disappoint.

I quote "If I aim to put across the special feelings, I'm doing more than fixating on shapes, lumps and cheekbone configurations."

Spoken and put into the essence of art...this lines and color come alive.

Chloe Cumming said...

Thanks Merlin. I do try my best.

Yes, caricature is wonderful but I never wanted for it to be JUST about exaggerating faces as if it was a maths excercise.

My reservation about drawing Suede is that it's quite a niche subject, not universally recognisable or liked. But the way to overcome those doubts is to put as much feeling and rhythm in the drawing as possible, and make them worthwhile items beyond the subject matter.

I'd get cheap pops if I drew the Beatles this month with all the Beatles stuff there's been. And I love the Beatles, but I am really just not in the mood.

thomas said...

They're great... the one where they're peeking out from a velvet curtain is hysterical... so dashing...

They might be a niche subject, but they're a type most will recognize....Byronic pop star.

I like the outdatedness of it.

Chloe Cumming said...

My best friend in Suede years was Nola. She had a son called Byron.

It's curious, the aspects of this that feel outdated and then the things that get rehashed continually.

A funny part of the charm of Suede is that they WEREN'T 'originals'... they were hailed as heroes precisely because they did fit a journalist's idea of a great band, being a bit Smiths and a Bit Bowie and all that, androgyny was totally old hat, it was partly nostalgia that made the hype. BUT though they fit a pre existing mould, they did it really nicely. And sometimes it's not the originals who move you...

I think being pregnant makes me think more of the culture I've lived through, especially in my formative years, rather than going back to the 'original' stuff from before I was born. I am interested in what people do in the time and the times that they're given. And thinking by extension about what culture my child will be exposed to (crumbs!).

The Smiths were great, but Suede were mine, at exactly the right time. That music burrowed deeply into my mind, which is no small thing.

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