Wednesday, 10 March 2010


Yesterday five heavy beach stones from Sussex and I went on a trip back to my motherland in east London. The purpose of the trip: the cover shoot for The New Goodbye, which took place at Street Studios.

I’ve only been on a couple of full day shoots before, as a dog handler. Dogs require far less preparation that human models and are far less patient. And if it’s one thing models need, it’s patience. I can see why Gavin James Bower wasn’t that enamoured with the life.

Dashed aspirations of a career as a male model aside, hopefully the results of the shoot will speak for themselves. (There’ll be a few sneak peeks up here over the next month or so, no doubt.)

Everything went extremely well, notwithstanding a very cloudy period around lunchtime. Nicole and Saskia (the photographer and stylist) had a very firm vision of what that wanted to achieve, and I think we managed to fulfill it. Nicole and I’d been discussing the shoot for close to a month, so when it came to it, everyone had a pretty clear idea of how things were going to work.

By the time I arrived (last one there, to my shame) Saskia had had already begun to lay the set, which comprised a large canvas pasted with torn-out pages from old crime paperbacks for the base. Added to this were roses, a half tonne of dead branches scavenged from the canal side outside the studio and a black bin-bag full of leaves Nicole had collected from near her home. Oh, yes, and the model of course, as the centre-piece. The title and byline were sprayed onto the canvas using stencils Nicole had hand-cut. There was also some smashed china, which helps with the light apparently. (I reckon Saskia just likes breaking things.)

We were even treated to the pleasant interlude of Johanna Basford, who has created the illustrations for the app, stopping by to ply us with Percy Pigs and Colin Caterpillars as part of her flying visit to London before she jetted back to Dundee. And everyone got to listen to the demo of the track that will be packaged with the app.

The day was documented on camera in both video and stills. The video footage will be cut together as a documentary about the process, and along with some extra bits from the day. So it’ll be almost as if you were there too. There were a number of other people involved too, so thanks to Yong Ping, Caroline, Fumi, Dave and Graham, and Alec at Street for the use of the space. I'm sure this'll be one of the first places to get a preview of the work.

Oh, and remember me mentioning lugging the stones through three counties and across the city at the start of this post? It goes without saying they weren’t used. They’re now back safe and sound on my rockery, so the woodlice had somewhere comfortable to sleep last night.

Next up, fingers crossed, is filming the music video.


Tim Stretton said...

Neil, this is obviously really good news, but I have to admit I haven't got a bloody clue what an "app" is. I'm probably failing to appreciate the novelty and indeed genius of your concept as a result...

Alis said...

Neil - having followed the links for the various creatives you're working with, this is going to be a seriously fantastic piece of work. I don't have an iphone but i may just have to replace my ageing 2gig ipod nano with an iTouch just so that I can enjoy your work!!

Johanna Basford said...

Every good creative should bring sweets to a photo shoot. I'm very professional.

Neil said...

Tim, here, watch this:

Alis, that sounds very wise.

Johanna, even the vegetarians weren't opposed to munching up the Percy Pigs.

Aliya Whiteley said...

Yeah, it's gonna be brilliant.

Tim Stretton said...

Neil, now I'm with you!

Will those of us without iphones be able to plug into this?

Neil said...

Tim, that depends whether a publisher is kind enough to pick it up I suppose, but you'll be able to see the music video and the documentary on YouTube.