We can be heroes!

So much is written about today’s uber-preened, fake-tanned, concealer-wearing, eyebrow-plucked, immaculately-coiffed, occasionally ‘androgenous’ male that it’s easy to forget that actually, it’s nothing new at all.

When I read about the likes of Andrej Pejic I’m utterly unmoved by the hyperbole and hoo-hah, possibly because I’m old enough to remember all of this first time around, back in the early Eighties, when such a sight wasn’t confined to the catwalk or an obscure,  fash-mag cover but regularly popped up on Top Of The Pops, at tea-time, courtesy of Boy George and Marylin. How’s that for subversive mainstream exposure? Times have changed, of course, and male beautification – for want of a better word –  isn’t such a big deal, which is why I can’t be shocked by Pejic’s ‘most beautiful man in the word’ act (David Sylvian got there first anyway).

In reality, of course, whilst I say ‘first time around’  those eighties ‘gender-benders’ (for that’s what they were dubbed back then) and parading peacocks had themselves been inspired by Bolan and Bowie, who had in turn clocked people like Elvis (with his dyed quiff) and Little Richard –  a man no stranger to an inch of make-up, even back in the fifties. How my dad, a huge fan of Tutti Frutti, never spotted the eyeliner I’ll never know.

But I digress. My main reason for writing this blog is to alert you all to the photographs of Graham Smith – a man who was, to use Gary Kemp of Spandau’s words, ‘at the centre of this vortex that spun out of Soho during those heady days’.

As a clubber frequenting New Romantic haunts such as the Blitz, Billy’s and Le Beat Route he wasn’t just a chronicler of the scene he was part of it. His photos (he discovered the negatives stashed away in his attic a while back) are now to made into a lavish book chronicling the times, with text supplied by Blue Rondo a la Turk frontman-turned-writer  Chris Sullivan.

As a social document of the time it’s going to be a fascinating, visual feast and as a child of the eighties I’m looking forward to recapturing my  youth via its pages. It’s essential reading, too, for all those wide-eyed Gen Yers out there who think that Pejic is patient zero. To them I say ‘this is how it’s done!’

For more information about We Can Be Heroes by Graham Smith go to www.unbound.co.uk

Beauty Magazine announces male grooming awards shortlist

Beauty magazin Awards logo.ai [Converted]One of my favourite awards ceremonies of the year is the Beauty Magazine Awards. That’s not just because, as one of the shortlising judges I get to go to the swanky bash they have (last year I was on the same table as Eighties icon Tony Hadley!) it’s also because these awards are primarily voted on by the people who are often underestimated and unappreciated – the men and women who help advise customers on the products in shops, chemists and department stores the length and breadth of the land. They’re the ones as the coal face of the industry and I have a huge amount of admiration for these unsung heroes.

Anyway, this month’s copy of the magazine reveals the nominees and the male categories are packed with class acts, with Lab Series, Clinique, Remington, Nivea For Men, Gillette and American Crew all strong contenders (the latter is hoping to scoop a Classic Product Award with it’s Fiber styling aid after  winning a Men’s Health Grooming Award for Best Hair  Product just a few weeks ago). This year’s event is held at the London Aquarium on November 11th and as ever I’m looking forward to getting my best togs out for the big night. I expect Tony will be busy this year though – something to do with the small matter of a Spandau Ballet reunion….

For more info on the awards and to see a full list of the lucky nominees  go to www.beauty-magazine.co.uk