Vanessa and Esmé, Torture Garden, Kings Cross 2003.


Saturday, 14 April 2012 I'm just back from Hull after attending the preview of my show 'Endless Night - 35 years of nightclub portraits.'

It was a very enjoyable evening and the people of Hull (or at least, the ones I met) made me feel very welcome.

The Hull show is the first time that my nightclub portraits have ever been put together as one large whole and, seeing them all up on the MoCC's walls, it made me realise that I probably should have done something like it a lot sooner.

Of course, when I began the project 35 years ago, it wasn't a project at all.  I was just a guy with a borrowed camera taking a few snaps of people in a couple of basement music clubs - initially just The Roxy in Covent Garden and The Vortex in Soho.  The photographs I took at those two clubs featured in my very first solo show 'Some Punk Portraits' at the ICA in 1978.

At the time I said that that was about it for me, taking photos of kids in clubs but somehow the compulsion to record young people out enjoying themselves persisted.  First for 5 years, then ten years and, in what seems like a blink of an eye, it's now 35 years going on 36.

Somehow, don't ask me how, I'm still friends with many of my subjects and I know that some went on to great fame and, occasionally, fortune.

Vanessa Upton (seen above on the left in a detail from one of the photographs in the show), was just about the UK’s top fetish model in the 1990s, a particular favourite of Bob Carlos Clarke RIP.  She also featured in many a pop video of the era including the one for Blur’s ‘Country House’ and she was also the love interest in David Brent’s very amusing tilt at pop fame, with his cover of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes’ ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ (The Office/BBC).

The last I heard, she’d moved to the South of France and become a roofer.

The woman on the right above is Esmé Bianco who is currently being seen as Ros in the HBO hit series 'Game of Thrones'.

Mark and Kerry who run the MoCC also knew many of my subjects, from the time when they both lived in London in the '80s, and Kerry tells me she was once in a band with one of the women shown in the show.  The band was called 'Baby.'  I’m not too sure whether they ever bothered the charts?

It's always nice to be able to fill in on some details of subjects that I may only ever have met once, in some cases only for a few seconds, many years ago.  Several times recently I’ve been contacted by people I photographed last 3 decades ago.

I intend to try to find a gallery for this show in London somewhere.  If I have any good news on that score, I’ll announce it here.