Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 4 – Dirty Harry (1971): Filming Locations

Northern California is known for many things… Hippies, Zinfandel wines, as the birthplace of both the Beats and the Black Panthers, tremendous scenic beauty, devastating earthquakes and the Symbionese Liberation Army. For me however, it’s Clint Eastwood’s domain, and synonymous with both the man and his fictional characters.

Dirty Harry Logo

The character that is traditionally most associated with Eastwood is of course, Dirty Harry. Starting life as a script entitled Dead Right. It was initially to feature Frank Sinatra and be directed by Sidney Pollack, however the script was eventually acquired by Warner Brothers, filtered to Eastwood and his Malpaso production group, who in turn hired Don Siegel to direct it. The film came in on a relatively low budget and under schedule and benefitted from Eastwood’s desire to do most of his own stunts, most notably the jump from a railway trestle bridge onto a speeding school bus.

Eastwood Bus Jump...

Eastwood Doing His Own Stunts – Photo Stolen From Web

Detailing the desperate attempt to bring to justice a maniacal sniper (played Andy Robinson), who is black mailing city authorities by killing successive victims unless a huge ransom is paid, in a similar manner to Death Wish (1974) (see https://theeasternterraces.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/culture-snappin-usa-part-3-death-wish-1974-filming-locations), the film shows that a responsible lone individual is a more effective instrument of law and order than the apparatus of the state, and the toll that maintaining such a thin blue line rests upon those weary and foolish enough to maintain its imprint.

DH City Hall

City Hall – Lower Photo & Diptych By Author

By modern standards, Dirty Harry may seem somewhat tame, however at the time of its release it garnered significant notoriety due to the fact that the cop played by Eastwood, fought violence with violence and played by his own rules. In the eyes of a wider public who were fed up with increasing crime, this made him a hero. In the eyes of certain critics – notably New York Times’ Pauline Kael – this made him a fascist, and at the 1971 Academy Awards there were protests outside the auditorium by left wing elements holding signs proclaiming ’Dirty Harry Is A Rotten Pig’.

Eastwood, not one to hold back on his opinions, responded to Kael’s criticism in a contemporary interview by commenting, “I’d say she’s crazy.”

Don Siegel when asked about the level of violence in the film said, “I dimly remember that at the end of Hamlet there are five bodies lying around, so that’s balderdash. This constantly plainted ditty against violence – if people didn’t want it, they wouldn’t go to the movies.”

Dirty Harry was a major success. It quickly out grossed all of Eastwood’s previous films and ushered in an era of Vigilante flicks such as Walking Tall (1972) and Death Wish (1974). If critics were divided, audiences weren’t. They stood in line in huge numbers to see Eastwood kick some ass.

Washinton Square Logo

Washington Square Park – Lower Photo & Diptych By Author

It was the fourth collaboration between Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood. In their first project Coogan’s Bluff (1968), the two skilfully relocated Eastwood’s man with no name to an urban setting. Dirty Harry is an elaboration of that idea and character. He now has a back story of a dead wife who was lost in an accident and years of police work have hardened him and made him reckless to both himself and his partners. Callahan is not the superhero that he became in the subsequent sequels, and the ambivalence of the character often comes to the fore. Therefore early on, he approaches a robbery with his gun drawn and not taking cover, whilst later he climbs aboard a cherry picker without thinking to grab a jumper from a roof.

Robbery Shootout

Harry Callahan With a Chip On His Shoulder – Screenshot Stolen From Web

Andy Robinson is perfect as the antagonist. Originally rejected by Siegel due to the fact he looked angelic and attractive, it was later realised that the killer would be far more frightening if indeed he was the antithesis of a screen villain and he was cast accordingly. The choice was a wise one and Robinson essayed one of the most memorable screen villains of all time.  From doing a huge flip on the football field, ad-libbing the line “my that’s a big one” in response to Callahan’s 44., showing a neon Jesus sign who’s boss or letting out a scream that would put Fay Wray to shame, he is the incontestably the best screen crazy ever committed to celluloid. So much so, he apparently put himself out of work for about a decade or so, as people could not imagine him as anything else or were too frightened to work with him. He didn’t re-appear on the silver screen much again (1973’s Charley Varrick not withstanding) until the 1980s when he was cast as a police chief in Sylvester Stallone’s Cobra (1986) – coincidentally featuring  Dirty Harry’s Rene Santoni  – or against type as the most normal person in Clive Barker’s Hell Raiser (1987).

Scorpio Scream

Scorpio Screaming For America – Photo stolen from web

Huge props must also be given to the composer Lalo Schifrin who was on a streak in the late 1960s to early 1970s. A classically trained conductor from South America with a passion for jazz, Schifrin provided a number of seminal scores for Hollywood golden era movies such as Enter The Dragon (1973), Bullit (1968) and Cool Hand Luke (1967), whilst also finding time to provide the distinctive theme music for the Mission Impossible television series (1966). In Dirty Harry, Lalo showed the world the power of a hi-hat breakdown and conducted some of the best kick drum sounds ever recorded to wax.

Lalo Schifirin

Lalo Schifrin – Photo stolen from web

Dirty Harry was filmed on location in San Francisco, with the only studio based scene being the opening bank robbery sequence which was shot on the Universal back lot. Siegel reportedly complained that the location shooting put enormous strain on him. One problem being that night sequence filming was usually limited to a few hours due to resident complaints that all the filming activity was keeping them awake.

Don Siegal & Eastwood

Don Siegel & Clint Eastwood On Set – Photo Stolen From Web

I visited these locations in early 2015, and as much possible, attempted to view them at a similar time of day to when they were filmed. Due to time constraints and my own fears however I visited Mt Davidson around 4pm in the afternoon rather than at night-time, as I had no wish to be solicited by Alice or his modern day contemporaries.

The Cross Logo

The Cross – Photo By Author

Surprisingly, in our current CNN terrorist contrived environment, no one seemed to give a shit about what I was doing. I stood at the Marina around 12.30am filming the boats near a construction crew and no one asked me what I was up to.

Marina Logo

The Marina – Photo By Author

Similarly, I filmed the entrance to the Fort Mason Tunnel (which is now blocked off) in front of a Safeway – itself briefly featured in 1968’s Bullit – around 1am and no one seemed to care.

Tunnel 1 LogoTunnel 2 Logo

The Tunnel – Photo By Author

At the other side of said tunnel, near the now defunct hamburger stand, my only competition for the space was a drop bear squirrel (which frankly scared the shit out of me when it fell from the top of the tunnel exit to my feet) and what I can now only assume was a drug dealer who sat in black Lexus with all his lights off, but engine quietly running at about 1:30am.

Tunnel 3 Logo Hamburger Stand_Logo

Tunnel Exit & Hamburger Stand – Photos by Author

Interestingly, the marina and the tunnel are super close. It is demonstrative of Scorpio’s meanness that he asked Harry to go from the Marina, to Forest Hills Station and then back to Aquatic Park. The Marina, tunnel and hamburger stand are within extremely close proximity, and whilst Forest Hills Station and Mt Davidson are very close, they are nowhere near these locations

Speaking of which, special thanks must be given to the kind ticket master at Forest Hills Station. I walked in and said I was there only for Dirty Harry nostalgia and not a BART ticket, and he was awesome enough to let me though the gates, film what I needed and then let me out again. He even looked slightly perturbed when a homeless guy started accosting people (including me) near the turnstiles.

DH2 DH3

Forest Hill Station – Photos By Author

The Alley that was the location for Hot Mary and her boyfriend, was only occupied by a Chinese Chef at 11pm when I filmed it.

Hot Mary 1 LogoHot Mary 2 Logo

Hot Mary Alley – Photos by Author

Conversely the location at the corner of Turk and Polk Street where Harry convinces a jumper to come down, was absolutely loaded with crazy homeless people around 2am. I literally had to wait for the all clear before leaping out of my rented Mustang and taking the footage as quickly as possible while a basehead looking guy (reminiscent of Flava Flav’s lean years) repeatedly circled the block screaming ‘What time is it’ at the top of his lungs.

Jumper Lobby Card

Jumper Logo

Jumper Building – Photo By Author

Columbus Avenue is cool whatever time of day and North Beach in general was my favourite part of San Francisco. City Hall was no problem and the China Town / Downtown area where you can locate both the Hilton Hotel (where the opening death was filmed) and the building on 555 California Street (the vantage point from where Scorpio shoots this first victim) are easy enough to find.

Scorpio 555 Opening Shot

Scorpio’s View From 555 Building – Screenshot Stolen From Web

555 Building Logo

Building Where Scorpio First Shoots From – Photo By Author

The thing is though, unlike the other locations, if it weren’t for the film, you wouldn’t want to go there. 555 and The Hilton are either downtown business city until 5pm, or absolute fucking freak show central after 8pm. Either way, I had to give them a pass.  I did visit the Hall of Justice featured briefly in the film, however as this was at approximately 4:45pm, I found myself unable to stop and was soon bundled onto a freeway that lead me out to Oakland. If you choose to visit, I suggest you do it between 11am and 3pm.

The results of my explorations my be seen in another shakily filmed clip below:

 

San Francisco, is a beautiful city for the most part, and two of my best times within its boundaries were sitting at the apex of the hill at Kearny Street (one street over from Romolo Place where Scorpio limps up after being busted by Harry at Roaring 20s). The view from here is fantastic, no one ever bothers you even late at night, and you have a great view of San Francisco, the Trans America Pyramid and its surrounds.

Favourite View Logo

My Favourite Place in San Francisco – Photo By Author

I’ll close this post in the same way I closed my Death Wish one… With some selected panels from the Mad Magazine satire of this movie published around 1971 or 1972. Again, I have to note that the writers and publishers of Mad Magazine were on totally on point in the 1960s, 1970s and up to the mid 1980s. One of the greatest streaks of modern publishing in this author’s opinion. To think that they were churning out stuff like this before video, DVD and digital downloads and just using studio stills or their memory to turn out hilarious parodies like this month after month. My proverbial hat is forever tipped in their direction.

Mad 1

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 2

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 3

Dirty Larry – Copyright E.C. Publications 1971

Mad 4

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

Stone Island – KT721

SI_Logo

Whilst wandering around the men’s department of Shinjuku Isetan, I came across a Stone Island counter. This would have been surprising if I had not already encountered one in the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Ginza a few days earlier, and now having the time I decided to peruse some items.

Isetan Map

Isetan Shinjuku Map. Screenshot by author.

As Californian rapper Rasco once said, ‘Time waits for no man’, and indeed in my advancing years I find myself drawn to items I would never have considered in my early twenties. Noticeably knitwear, which although once considered only the province of my grandpa, I now know to be considerably cooler by virtue of the fact that Steve McQueen preferred to get around in shawl necks in his prime 1960s years.

McQueen-Cardigan

Steve McQueen Repping Wool. Photo stolen from web.

So, looking for a new item that bore no resemblance to anything else I owned, I chanced upon a funnel neck cardigan that I believe is rather generically named ‘KT721’.

Knitwear_1

Knitwear_2

Unwrapping. Photos by author.

They come in a variety of colours, and without doubt white is – by far – the best looking one. I bought grey nonetheless, as having previously owned white clothes before, I know better than to ever, ever buy some again.  Unless of course, I wind up joining a cult… however presumably at that point, I am unlikely to be making my own choices regarding anything.

White VersionGray Version

White Versus Grey. Photos stolen from web.

It has a traditional button up front with a sneaky zip underneath, a very warm neck that can button up on itself and the standard Stone Island compass patch on the left arm.

Knitwear_3Knitwear_5

Knitwear_6

Zip and Buttons. Photos by author.

Inside the garment, you get a few spares buttons as well.

Knitwear_7

Spare Buttons. Photo by author.

The inside tag features some kind of clothing equivalent of microdot technology that enables the owner to identify whether it is legit or not and where it came from. Called Certilogo, interested customers can use the 12 digit code from the label  to check the authenticity of the item. Having bought this from a Japanese department store though I don’t feel the need, but appreciate the idea having seen how many fakes there are online.

Whilst hardly a bargain at close to $600 (AUD), this is nonetheless a comfortable, warm and in my opinion stylish piece of old man’s clothing.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

LINKS:

Isetan Department Store: http://isetan.mistore.jp/store/shinjuku/index.html

[FYI, The Stone Island counter was located in what could only be described as the casuals section of the men’s department. Immediately adjacent were Montcler, Lacoste, Victorinox and Burberry/Aquascutum].

Stone Island: http://www.stoneisland.com/au

MONO Magazine

Mono Logo

Written and published in Japan, Mono is a pop culture document par excellence. Evidently aimed at men, it focuses on a variety of subjects, although predominantly features food, vehicles, fashion and technology with a slight emphasis – least in the issues I have seen – towards military history and its accoutrements.

Watch CoverUSA Cover

Articles have included the history of Japanese technology between the 1970s and 1990s, World War II bomber jacket designs, hand luggage and camping gear reviews and history of smugglers cars, whilst recurring features include convenience store food reviews and watch and shoe release updates.

Hand Luggage

Luggage Reviews.  Photo by author.

Combini Comparisons_4 Combini Comparisons_3 Combini Comparisons_2 Combini Comparisons_1

Convenience Store Food Reviews.  Photo by author.

Bikes

Motorcycle Reviews.  Photo by author.

Smugglers Cars

Analysis of bootlegger smuggling.  Photo by author.

Their authors tend to analyse the less covered segments of these common areas too. For example, in their USA Issue, they travel to the Mexico / USA border and speak with border patrol guards and check out dive bars in Juarez. When they look at shoes, it’s what’s on the feet of tech nerds or the best 1980s jogging shoe. If it’s watches, they ignore the Swiss and instead turn their attention 1970s Tokyo time pieces or Timex and low grade military watches.

USA Article USA Border2

USA Issue.  Photo by author.

Nerd Sneakers

Tech Company CEO Footwear Analysis.  Photo by author.

80s Sneakers

1980s – 1990s Jogging Shoe Analysis.  Photo by author.

70s Japanese Watches

Japanese Watches of the 1970s.  Photo by author.

Sadly, as my Japanese is poor, the virtue or lack thereof of the writing is impossible to analyse, but it is incredibly photo heavy and its attention to detail is on par with a variety of Japanese periodicals which seem to focus on the minutiae of their topics with an autism like focus.

Jeep Timex  WWII Bomber Jackets

Various Articles.  Photos by author.

Through their own shop, advertised in the back pages, they also sell many items such as authentic Vietnam issued Zippos, C-rations, military styled patches, pens, watches and various other items.

Vietnam Zippos Military Patches

Example Items Available Through Their Mail Order Shop.  Photo by author.

Freely available in many bookstores and libraries in Japan, it’s worth picking up and always entertaining.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

LINKS: http://www.monomagazine.com/

Culture Snappin’ USA – Part 3 – Death Wish (1974): Filming Locations

“We were driving to Kennedy airport in 1973 to shoot the last scene of The Stone Killer, the third film we made together, when Charlie asked me what we should do next. I told him I had this script about a man whose wife and daughter are mugged and then the man goes out and shoots muggers. I mentioned that I’d had it for five years but no one seemed interested. Charlie said, ‘I’d like to do it.’ I said, ‘What, you mean you want to do this movie?’ And Charlie replied, ‘No, I’d like to shoot muggers”.

Michael Winner – Director of Death Wish

Splash

Michael Winner’s 1974 film ‘Death Wish’ rarely sits upon any film guide’s top ten and yet it is one of the more referenced and controversial films of its era. Providing the same kind of view of the big apple that the Dirty Harry films had of San Francisco, the film shows muggers, hoods and rapists lurking around every corner and the thin blue line too powerless or apathetic to make any difference.

Enter one lone individual with a loaded gun and a sense of frontier justice and a franchise is born.

Following on from both the amazing Dirty Harry (1971) and the frankly pretty shit, Walking Tall (1973), Death Wish helped usher in a wave of vigilante films and was based upon Brian Garfield’s identically titled 1972 novel. Garfield reportedly having left a party on the upper west side of Manhattan (coincidently where Bronson’s character lives in the film), came back to find his car window broken and his coat stolen. Thinking to himself how he would’ve killed the perpetrator if he had caught him in the act, Garfield conjured the idea of a twisted avenger, an accountant no less, taking revenge on any scumbag that crosses his path in the wake of his wife’s murder.

Like the protagonist of First Blood by David Morrell, which was later turned into the first Rambo movie, this character was damaged and becomes increasingly more so though out the course of the story. The film’s main character Paul Kersey however, like the cinematic version of John Rambo, was seen as a hero at the time of the film’s release with his psychopathic actions ignored or downplayed. Echoes of the psychosis may be seen in Bronson’s stony faced performance, but whether by Winner’s design or Bronson’s lack of ability, they remain only that.

Winner & Bronson(Ronald Grant Archive)

Michael Winner & Charles Bronson On Set. Ronald Grant Archive

The book was purchased by a film production duo, who after commissioning several drafts, on sold it to the Italian movie magnate Dino de Laurentiis, who hired Michael Winner, who in turn cast Charles Bronson with whom he had previously worked. Filmed on location in New York City in January 1974, Bronson, as Vincent Carnaby memorably describes in his contemporary review, “…roams the night time streets of New York, which… are so filled with vandals, would-be muggers, rapists and the like that Charlie never goes home without scoring. On streets, in parks, on subway platforms, in subway cars. It’s like shooting ducks in a bird sanctuary”.

In the face of such criticism, producer de Laurentiis stated, “Violence is not typical of New York alone. All big cities are jungles. New York is a symbol of all the metropolitan areas of our planet”.

Certainly, along with the previously noted The Warriors (1979), Taxi Driver (1976), Midnight Cowboy (1969), Coogans Bluff (1968) and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 (1974), this was a film that perversely made me want to visit New York City. An urban nightmare on the edge of insanity, an asphalt playground where anything went, New York seemed a million miles away from where I grew up watching it from the comfort of a VCR. Thankfully though, it was not like that when I visited and I was able to walk in Paul Kersey’s footsteps without fear of having to clock a mugger with a sock full of pennies.

Bronson Sock Full O Pennies

Charles Bronson And His Sock Full o’ Pennies. Screenshot by Author

As it was filmed in winter, many of the places I visited looked much the same 41 years later. The night before searching the locations, I watched a copy of the film from my base at the St James Hotel, itself featured in a number of films, notably Maniac (1980), Big (1987) and Cruising (1980).

St James Hotel

St James Hotel. Diptych by author

Over the course of the next afternoon/evening, I managed to find the D’ Agostino market featured prominently in the film, Kersey’s uptown apartment, the stone steps he walks down to shoot his first mugger (coincidently also used in The Warriors) and the midtown café where he lures two heist men to their doom. The café, although shuttered, still has the same neon sign it had in 1974, but midtown itself no longer has the scary vibe shown in Taxi Driver or Maniac. The closest thing I saw to crime was when some guy tried to sell me weed on the street.

Death Wish Credits

72nd Street Station. Diptych by author

Death Wish Apt Building1

Kerseys Building/ Sidewalk. Diptych by author

Death Wish Apt Building2

Kersey’s Building / Sidewalk. Diptych by author

Death Wish Service Entrance

Apartment Service Entrance. Diptych by author

Death Wish Steps

Riverside Park Steps. Diptych by author

Death Wish Bus Stop

Where Kersey Gets Off The Bus. Diptych by author

Death Wish_Subway

8th Avenue Subway. Diptych by author

The results of this exploration may be seen in another shakily filmed clip below. In my own defence, it was freezing when I shot this footage and every removal of my gloves almost resulted in frostbite.

 

Almost a decade later Winner resurrected Paul Kersey for the incredibly scuzzy Death Wish II (1982) and the so bad, it’s downright awesome, Death Wish III (1985). Indeed Death Wish III has to be seen to be believed. Its cardboard characters are so caricatured as to almost be rendered as a live action cartoon.

Speaking of which, the 1974 Mad Magazine satire of Death Wish is pretty funny and I’ll close out this post with some selected panels. New York based William Gaines & Co. were on a streak between 1965 and 1985 that no other publication has ever matched.

Mad Panels 1

Death Wishers – Copyright E.C. Publications 1974

Mad Panels 2

Death Wishers – Copyright E.C. Publications 1974

 

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar

LOGO

Lower Level, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St., Lower Level, Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St., New York, New York, 10017, USA

GSOB_8

Looking down the main area (Click on Pictures for Larger View). Photo by author.

Situated within the bowels of the Grand Central Railway Terminal opened in 1913, The Oyster Bar simultaneously started business as the more pedestrian named Grand Central Terminal Restaurant and has been in near continuous operation ever since.

GSOB_7

Looking at the counter bar. Photo by author.

Originally designed by architect Raphael Gustavino, The Oyster Bar has served clam chowders and oysters to various passengers and local business people for decades. Apparently influenced by the French in both its Beuax Arts styling and the food served within its space, it comes as little surprise that The Oyster Bar received weekly imports of produce from Paris up to the mid 1990s until the costs were considered too prohibitive.

GSOB_0

The Grand Central Terminal Restaurant Space Circa 1913. Photo stolen from the web.

According to Henry Chancellor’s fantastic book, ‘James Bond and his World’, this was Ian Fleming’s self described favourite restaurant in America and he would visit every time he was in New York. His preference was apparently oyster soup mixed with cream, paprika and Worcestershire sauce with a bottle of Miller’s High Life beer to wash it down.

Miller High Life Ad

Miller High Life Beer Ad. Photo Stolen From the Web.

The space was predominantly owned and operated in the late 20th century by a restaurateur named Jerome Brody who also controlled at various times other New York culinary institutions such as the Four Seasons and the Rainbow Room.

Jermoe Brody (Slinging Hash)

Jerome Brody (In white coat slinging hash). Photo stolen from the web.

Famed for turning the Rainbow Room from a shell of its former self into a hangout for the famous faces of the mid 1960s and 1970s, and the Four Seasons (located within the modernist marvel Seagram Building) into the penultimate theme restaurant of its day, Mr Brody was astute operator who generally got other people to front the money for the space and renovations whilst he provided the acumen and ability to give their buildings cache and foot traffic.

This phoenix like ability to transform dead institutions into culinary gold was likely on the mind of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority when they asked him to take over The Oyster Bar in 1974 for having fallen into disrepair and been shuttered at the time of his appointment, the space was in desperate need of a steady hand.

Mr Brody improved the food, creating daily varieties of oysters, adding a larger number of modern dishes to the menu and fashioned a seafood focussed wine list any sommelier would be proud of. The result spoke for itself and The Oyster Bar again became a destination that any serious food lover would wish to visit.

According to a magazine article in Australian Business Insider, the produce is sourced from a fish market in The Bronx early every morning which surprises the shit out of me, as I – thanks to my 1980s cultural upbringing – only associate the Bronx with hip hop and urban decay. A further selection is provided by the Atwood Lobster Company which is based out of Maine, and the famed oysters themselves are shipped from Connecticut.

I went there just before 9.30pm on a Friday evening, sat at the end of the counter and was informed that the food service was about to finish. Having repeatedly heard that New York was the city that never sleeps, I was a little surprised to find an institution like this stops serving food after 9.30pm on a Friday. Particularly in such a central location that could keep providing customers well after that time. Nonetheless, I asked the guy behind the counter to give me an assortment of a ten oysters that he himself would recommend and ordered an IPA.

GSOB_2

Counter setting with a neighbour’s detritus plainly visible. Photo by author.

They had a variety of condiments, including the aforementioned Ian Fleming favourite of crackers, traditional salt and pepper, classic Tabasco sauce and its more modern variant Cholula.

GSOB_4

The condiments on offer. The reality is plain is best. Photo by author.

 GSOB_5

I shucked these fuckers in about two minutes. Photo by author.

Gotta say, they were some good oysters (the Belon in particular) and I wish I had requested double when I had still had the chance to actually order them.

GSOB_2.2

Menu obviously subject to change. Photo by author.

Bill with tip was around $50 for ten oysters and a beer and although pricy was one of the best (if most basic) meals I had while in the U.S.A. If I lived in the area, I would be there regularly, surveying the internationalist interior of the Met Life (previously Pan Am building) and chowing down on some of the best the sea has to offer.

GSOB_6

Paying with my crisp folded tourist dollars. Photo by author.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

LINKS:

http://www.oysterbarny.com/

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/record/archives/vol21/vol21_iss25/record2125.17.html

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/oyster-bar-at-grand-central-station-2012-3

Robert Palmer: The Genesis & Downfall of Music Videos

Heading

Like all arm chair pundits, I have a theory. And that theory is that Robert Palmer is both the genesis and downfall of music videos. His late 1980s double punch of Addicted To Love and Simply Irresistible signposted the fact that even if the song was kind of shit, if you made the video entertaining enough eventually people will enjoy it by osmosis.

By one of the models from the former video’s admission, Addicted To Love had originally been released without a video and had “bombed”, so the record company were “…taking a big financial risk by re-releasing it”.

record-label-structure

In my mind, I imagine the publicity guys and artist development monkeys sitting around a large oval table listening to Addicted to Love on a Technics tape deck and half-heartedly bobbing their heads in effort to show they’re hip, or at the very least have a semblance of rhythm. Half way through the song an older gentleman abruptly turns it off, turns to the assembled gathering of coked up executives and reasonably asks, “So, how are we going to baste this turkey”?

After much hyperbole, shrugging of shoulders and exasperated denials of ever having been the one to sign him, one magnificently cynical bastard who had remained silently slumped in the back of his Eames chair throughout the meeting speaks up, “I know how to fix this”.

“How”? The remainder of the meeting eagerly reply in unison.

“One word. Titty”.

And the modern music video was born.

https://vimeo.com/123349432

Addicted To Love

The video for Addicted to Love features a bunch of girls that looked like they walked straight out of a Helmut Newton photo shoot, masquerading as Robert Palmer’s Band. All online resources state they were based on artwork done by Patrick Nagel who was an American artist who principally drew pictures for Playboy, designed the cover for Duran Duran’s Rio album and in an ironic twist of fate, would later die from a heart attack after appearing in a celebrity aerobathon to benefit the American Heart Foundation. However personally, I feel the look of the women in the video is almost completely and utterly based on Helmut Newton’s much copied fashion photography of the time.

Newton 1 Newton 2

According to an interview done by Marc Nobleman, the models were paid between £250 – £500 each and the clip was shot in a day in a studio in London. In case you think Mr Palmer got his mack on though, apparently his wife was on set the whole time and he was somewhat in awe of the statuesque models and rarely made conversation with them.

Both clips were directed by famed 1960s fashion photographer Terrance Donovan who was a contemporary of David Bailey and supplied the models with both wine (for mood) and a musician (in an attempt to teach them rudimentary music playing techniques). According to one of the girls featured in the video, the brief from Terence Donovan was to look like shop window mannequins.

12. 11. 10. 09. 08. 07. 06. 05. 04. 14.

13.

The marketing department at EMI Records was not the first to make use of window dressing in such a fashion. Oh wait, yes they were… for EMI Records was also responsible for Duran Duran’s groundbreaking video for Girl’s on Film.

https://vimeo.com/97471561

GoF1 GoF2 GoF3 GoF4 GoF5 GoF6 GoF7

Girls on Film featured actual titty and various exaggerated fetishes and fantasies, but unlike Addicted To Love and Simply Irresistible was not meant to play to middle America via MTV (having been made several weeks before that station’s launch) and is much better for that fact.

02

Untimately, what these Robert Palmer videos demonstrated was the song’s quality did not matter. If you put soft core porn in it, people… well guys anyway, will watch it nonetheless and the tune will gain traction via stealth.

As the song itself says, “The methods are inscrutable. The proof is irrefutable”.

The real legacy of Simply Irresistible and Addicted to Love is to tone the Girls on Film concept down and make it acceptable enough to get airplay anywhere in the world and thus create a hit tune in the process. It would soon inspire both parody and plagiarism in almost equal measure.

Indeed, within a year, emerging Delicious Vinyl talent Tone Loc unleashed Wild Thing with the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=387ZDGSKVSg

Tone Loc - Wild Thing4 Tone Loc - Wild Thing3 Tone Loc - Wild Thing2 Tone Loc - Wild Thing

And Madonna, who always knew sex sold, put out Justify My Love

Justify My Love3 Justify My Love

Before you knew what was happening, artists like Sir Mix A Lot were embracing the trend with tracks like Baby Got Back

Baby Got Back3 Baby Got Back2 Baby Got Back

And the East Coast Versus West Rivalry was only so much smoke blown up the asses of the models in Ma$e’s Feel So Good video.

Ma$e_1

Ma$e_2

By the late 1990s music executives realised the only way to make any one listen to someone as untalented as Britney Spears was to dress her up as a slutty school girl and make videos like Baby One More Time

Baby1MoreTime_2

Baby1MoreTime_3 Baby1MoreTime_1

And Christina Aguilera possibly sought to reverse that trend with her video for Dirty – but likely did the opposite.

Christina Agulera – Dirty

The fact that this strategy works is borne out in the fact that women don’t seem to give a shit if they’re objectified to get sales. So we get stuff like Single Ladies by Beyonce which on the surface is some oblique tale of female empowerment (albeit dictated by getting married) which is demonstrated by a video showing her gyrating around with two other women while they slap their own asses.

Beyonce I Beyonce 2

Beyonce 4 Beyonce 3

And inevitably, the scale slides back towards baser instincts and we start getting videos such as Ludacis’ Pussy Poppin’.

Ludacris - Pussy Poppin2 Ludacris - Pussy Poppin

And Nelly’s Tip Drill

Nelly Tip Drill

And Eric Pryce’s Call On Me

ERIC PYRZE – Call On Me2 x

ERIC PYRZE – Call On Me

ERIC PYRZE – Call On Me3

Until finally, indeed inevitably we reach what all music videos will ultimately become given half a chance…

Doggy Style

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.