Frank Giving It To Me Straight
Of all the famous people I have ever met and photographed, it's only people like Frank that put me in awe, -and the difference is, he was famous when I was a kid, er, -well a teenager in Frank's case, and I would listen to Mothers Of Invention albums whilst still at school, analysing and thinking about the lyrics of 'Brown Shoes Don't Make It', -never dreaming that I might ever meet him, -let alone tell him what I want him to do.
People that are recently famous mean nothing to me, but the likes of Ava Gardener, Tom Courtney etc., -now they're really famous, not like the 15-minute merchants of today, -tomorrow's fish and chips wrappers... Andy Warhol (who I also photographed at the infamous Factory in New York), once said that 'in the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes' -but later revised this to 'in 15-minutes everyone will be famous.'
I never met her, but once spoke to Zsa Zsa Gabor on the phone, as well as Victor Sylvester, I've shaken the hands of Muhammed Ali and Chuck Berry, -now they're really famous, -Terry Wogan means fuck-all!
See spooky story about Frank below......
written to a friend in August 2004: Had a real shock this morning (well
for me anyway), in that I've been playing a lot of Frank Zappa of late,
-well this has been going on for a while as he's done a lot of albums, some
of which I know, and some I don't (get to the point!). Anyway, one of the
latest clutch trawled from the libraries of Somerset is called 'You are
what you is.' Now this freaked me out a bit when I noticed this, because
years ago I photographed him for an ad. for a mixing desk, (he was endorsing
it and getting a free desk for doing so, worth about £40,000 back
then). Anyway, they were all worried (the soppy clients), that I treat the
great man with kid-gloves and not upset him, but Frank was a dream model,
and like most famous people other than the recently famous, would do whatever
my bidding and didn't give a monkeys.
Anyway, I remember getting on really well with him and telling him some jokes, one of which had the punch-line 'You is what you is.' -The joke being about a zebra who always wanted to know if he was a black zebra with white stripes or a white zebra with black stripes, so when he went to heaven, he asked St. Peter at the gate. St. Peter wasn't really of much help and couldn't really see what difference it made but advised him to go and see God for the answer. So he went to see God, and then returned to St. Peter, who said -"Well, what's the score then, are you a black zebra with white stripes or a white zebra with black stripes?" The zebra said -"I dunno, God just said -"You are what you are." So St. Peter said -"Well that means you're a white zebra with black stripes." The zebra looked dumbfounded, in a sort of zebra style and said -"How do you work that one out?" St. Peter said -"Well if you were a black zebra with white stripes, he would have said -"You is what you is." I know this joke isn't that PC and has mild racist undertones, but I've told it to a couple of black friends and they seemed to find it funny.
Anyway, thought I might be getting a bit carried away with myself, and the wild imaginings that old Frank had named an album title after a joke of mine, and that the title might just have been a bit of a coincidence? But then I opened the CD and I tell you, shivers went down my spine as inside there was a picture of Frank wearing the same fluorescent Magenta cardigan that I'd photographed him in for the Midas mixing desk ad. Can you Adam & Eve it?!
Zappa also had a brilliant sleeve which I think echoed the appeal he found with 'You are what you is,' which is entitled 'A ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch.' I love the way this guy's mind works ('You have just destroyed one model XQJ-37 nuclear powered pansexual roto-plooker....and you're gonna have to pay for it.'), -I saw a programme on him once which had him filmed trying out a small accordian in a music store and explaining to the camera: 'The important thing about this instrument is the way the air smells, when it comes out of these holes.
'You Are What You Is