Fine Art and Fancy Boots

Serving sartorial accoutrements to Chappish types since the Eighteenth century, Jermyn Street is one of the last bastions of a rapidly vanishing city. The rich history woven into the complex psychogeography of London has long been under siege by those who would see the capital flattened and rebuilt as a huge, gleaming shopping mall.

The wrecking balls have been set upon the musicians spiritual home of Denmark Street and the twisting dark corners of bohemian Soho are now sanitised beyond all recognition. Sky-rocketing property prices have driven out the local character and the streets are swathed in gaudy chain-store signage. Businesses proudly passed down through generations are eliminated overnight, replaced by yet another branch of Starbucks for those who can't walk fifty yards to the next one. London's future is shiny and bland, a themed outlet centre with all the charm of an airport waiting lounge.

However pockets of resistance hold out and the environs of Jermyn street have so far survived the machinations of Crossrail and their ilk. Perhaps sequestered by the wealth of the area or maybe protected by the defiant bronze gaze of Beau Brummell, the architect of Dandyism who stands guard here in statue form, Jermyn Street remains one of the last spots in town where a gent can buy a silver-tipped walking cane and top hat. Makes a change from a Starbucks at any rate.

Brummell faces down Piccadilly Arcade, an opulent covered row of shops opened in 1909, each fronted with snaking curves of antique wood and glass. And it is here that we find Jeffery-West, a somewhat subversive addition to the roster of upmarket tailors and fancy jewellers. Rock 'n' roll and debauchery are firmly on the agenda here and indeed, emblazoned in slogans upon the boots and shoes for sale. Last year JJ and the RM played a concert outside the shop, charging the atmospheric particles with pure righteous energy.

And so a very fine spot indeed to unleash my pictures upon the world. The Wests very kindly permitted me to hang some of my pictures in their store and I think they look right at home, dangling from chains in front of velvet drapes. Kinky.

Special thanks to Guy as well who's mountaineering skills got the work up on the walls.

There will be a few more pieces being hung next week and a special event coming up, more details soon. If you're in the area pop down and check it out!

~ G


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