even cowgirls get the blues

I am grieving, and I don't want to talk about it. And it's very difficult for me to post about it, because it's private.

In less than a month, I have lost the two men, both in their eighties, that have meant so much to me - that I had, and will always have, so much love for. Especially in the eight years since my father died.

My friend, Major Bobby, died on Friday. Such an unlikely friendship, and yet, even tho he left a partner of several decades, in a way, we chose each other. I'm playing this lovely song now.

And yet, because I feel that the God of my Understanding has a good sense of irony,when I went to find Old Man on YouTube, inexplicably, this popped up:

(the irony being, my brother is the keyboard player).

All photos by me - or perhaps by my ex, David, I can't remember if I used a tripod, or asked him to shoot them - on his ranch in New Mexico. 50,000 acres of fields, streams, mountains, and lakes. A proper, working, cattle ranch. He is still a friend, and a friend of my husband's now, too, and I hope to return there someday: he's offered that my husband can fish with him there.

When I got the call that we were losing him - suddenly and unexpectedly, he had just come home from the hospital, I had just spoken to him, was just about to come visit, when he took a turn for the worse in the night - I called my mom, in Florida, to cry to her. Bless her cotton socks, her response was so English. Along the lines of, Jill, pull up your socks: when you get to my age you get... and she struggled to find the right word, and finally said, numb. (That's another song for another post). And I said but mom, he was my friend.

'What can I say, Jill,' she sighed. 'Maybe you need to get yourself some younger friends.'

There is so much I want to say about Major Bobby, my friend, but I can't. Not yet. Dear, daer Bobby: how I wish you were here.


pitcher of water

Last Friday night, I caught a great show on BBC Four, on the making of Simon & Garfunkel's album, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Every song from that album has resonated throughout my life (the Boxer, especially) and I'm going to try to find you songs to illustrate posts. This one might not make any sense, but somehow to me, the line 'sail on silver girl' seems apt for black and white photography. After all, weren't the original negatives made somehow with silver in the process?

I did this shoot as a favour for someone who I have lost touch with (I forgot her name!) - she was a graduate fashion student who I met, streetshooting - and my models were both friends I'd also met on the street, for my blog. I am so grateful to my blog on so many levels but especially, for the friendships that have formed, like Estelle, whose birthday is the day next to mine, and whose blog is Serendipity 2307: both the numbers 23, and 7, are also my 'magic numbers', and while she is only 22, she is an old soul, and a true and loyal friend.

In this wonderful show on the BBC (Imagine: The Harmony Game) Paul Simon - who contributes throughout, as does Art Garfunkel and everyone else involved with recording the album - said that one of the sound engineers - I love this, his expertise is sound - labelled the recording 'pitcher of water' because that's what he heard when they said it was called 'bridge over troubled water.'

Guess you had to be there.

I took this photo while cooking, in the late afternoon light, at my parents' winter home in Florida - now my widowed mom's. The glass pitcher was from Italy, and was a wedding gift, and there was something about the light that felt so spiritual. I had this powerful memory of being very very young, almost a baby. I can't explain. And I'm glad the shot is so blurry: it feels, to me, like one of those early photographs, perhaps by an unknown photographer, at the turn of the century. The Twentieth Century, I mean.

And this was a big weekend for me: I finished my novel just before Christmas, but this weekend, I revised it enough that I feel I'm ready to show it around. Find an agent, get it published. New territory for me but then again, so was starting a blog. Creatively, I have to always keep pushing the envelope. That's why I loved that show so much: to hear Simon, and Garfunkel, talk about their friendship, their harmony, the creative process. Together, they created a masterpiece, and this song - a Pitcher of Water - exemplifies the height of musical perfection, for me.


bits of blue

Stuck for a post title: how many things can you say about blue, really. 'blue coats': doesn't have the same zing, as say, 'the red coats are coming', now does it.

Another juxtaposition, in blue: two different coats, front and back, two different places (East London: Liverpool Station, and South Kensington), but what I like - it's the little things - is in each, in the background, is a little bit of blue.

Nearing the end of my blue series, for now.. or perhaps not. There's one in particular I've been saving up for. But thinking of working my way thru the rainbow. Which way should I go next? Purple, or green?


black & blue

Three unrelated moments, united by a colour theme. From top: LFW Feb 2011 I think, then at a +J/Uniqlo launch (i.e. Jil Sander for Uniqlo, because I hope you do know, the Jil Sander brand is not designed by Jil Sander and she can't trade under her own name, a cautionary tale!), then back to LFW possibly Sept 2011.

I'm really into cool blue at the moment - denim, knits - with the crispness of black and white. It's like last year, how I felt about black, white and camel. Cool blue - Copenhagen blue - is, for me, the new Camel.

Speaking of Copenhagen... I'm torn - I don't know what to do - I was invited to cover Copenhagen Fashion Week, but I don't know if I have time to go. I lived in Denmark and went to the University of Copenhagen in my Junior year of college, and haven't been back since.. I really think I'll have to wait til September. Is by any chance anyone else going?


twist and shout

This is going to start to give you an idea of my age, but really, do I give a toss. I've found a clip from the Ed Sullivan show of when the Beatles came to America for the first time. I remember this.

I remember watching this on TV, and I remember being in Miami, at the Deauville hotel, when a friend of my parents was staying in the same suite the Beatles had just vacated, and teenage girls would knock on the door and just ask to come in and, you know, kiss the walls, collapse on the carpet, and cry. I remember lounging by the pool and he's telling this story, and then my friends and sister and I would play Beatles with our Barbies and pretend we were their girlfriends. I always got Paul, but my sister was a George girl. I'm the one on the right, my sister is the little blond thing next to me. Definitely not my most flattering shot, but I can guarantee, we were singing a Beatles song.

Granted, I was a very young girl but still: you do the math. And I defy anyone to name a band in the years since, that can touch the genius of those Liverpool Lads.

These are the most amazing boots. First: they're not real suede, they're MICROSUEDE but you'd never know it. They're soft, and comfortable, and at £40, they're a steal. But that's not all: they come... how can I describe. They have these cool silky patterned linings, that you can twist the boots up so they're in their own bag. Then you untwist them, and the linings retreat into the zippers of the boots. It is SO COOL.

These are the ANGEL style, in Crimson, which is really more like a beautiful burgundy. I'm not a Crimson girl, but I love this colour.

Butterfly Twists. Ranging from £40-45. Original, fun, so cool. I LOVE them. Next shoot coming up: the Chelsea. And there's a story. Of course there's a story - there's always a story.

Product shots by me, Deauville Hotel (Miami, Florida) shots by my darling dad, in 1965. Photo shoot of me in my Angel Butterfly Twists by my husband (thank you honey) of me. Another 60 second shoot. Actually, I think this one was more like 48 seconds. Life's short, what can I say. Goes by in the blink of an eye.


singing the blues

While I'm not a big Barbara Streisand fan, I've always loved this song: it makes me so happy for some reason. The logic of it is just so ridiculous: 'I'd rather be blue, thinking of you, I'd rather be blue, over you, than be happy with somebody else.' And I love her outfit: purple and chartreuse stripes, and making roller skates.

Doing a series on the colour blue. There are so many shades, infinite, and I'm starting with the brights. I forget this model's name, it was after one of the shoes, and I don't know where she got her jumper, but it reminds me of the scene where Meryl Streep is talking about cerulean blue in the Devil Wears Prada. And doesn't she have the most amazing eyes?

And the shoes, passing by the Zanotti shoe shop, near Chanel, at Brompton Cross.

I was thinking about the friendships I've let go in 2012. Or been let go of. Angry women, envious women.. unhappy women, ultimately. I didn't even know I had that many friends, the number of ones who I've lost in 2012, who've unfriended me.. mostly in the fashion blogging 'community.' And yet - here's the funny part - the new friendships, and especially, the old ones that have remained - the quality of these people, whether they're royalty or heiresses or on the dole, I'm talking about the quality of their HEARTS, their generosity of spirit, their kindness and loyalty and gentleness. I am so glad to be free of the 'crazy makers', the ones who need to feud, gossip, create drama, or bully people.

I'd rather, what I'm trying to say, be happy.

Speaking of blue, I just saw Reds again, with Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Man oh man does that film hold up, over time. And speaking of time - I must run - but if you have time, check out the original Fanny Brice song, from 1929. I can't embed it, but click here to play.

Happy Friday the 13th, dear friends!


picturing movement

What I wore New Year's Eve: a little 60 second shoot with my husband, the next day, before we went out. I had to go back in and change, and it was all 'hurry up Jill', but it was a casual dinner at our friends' house - I actually wore clear tights under the socks on the night. Beige cashmere cardigan, very old, from my darling mom (it was hers, as a teen), black skirt is actually a velvet stretchy dress, American Apparel I think, I just found the grey socks in my drawer, and the cheap black loafers are by next. Pink watch by Storm, and the same black Ray Bans that I've had since the 1980s. If anything ever happens to those ubiquitous Ray Bans.. I dread to think.

I am still so inspired by a show I saw with my lovely lovely friend Maralee, before Christmas, at the Royal Academy. 'Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement'. It wasn't just his work, they explored the other artists of the time - and scientists - the Lumiere brothers, early filmmakers, and the artists who studied motion through shooting a series of stills. 'French scientist Etienne-Jules Marey and the English photographer Eadweard Muybridge, who both used photography to pioneer research into the movement of humans and animals — “freezing” minute actions, much as Degas did.'

So this is my little homage.

More about this show - which, alas, has ended (but not in my heart, or creative mind), in this great Telegraph review.

Lately I'm really into keeping it simple, stylistically: beige and black and grey and white, say, or - I'm really loving blue jeans, with white tees and black jumpers - minimal, simple simple simple. Bits of silver and gold, or - like I'm wearing at the moment - a hot pink and orange peace tee shirt. And just as I did this post, the most fantastic boots arrived in the post! Which means - sorry, honey, we're gonna have to do another self style shoot very soon.



Kinder Aggugini, Somerset House.

Jim and Maryann's Chair, Tranquility Mills, NJ.

Palm Beach, Florida.

Photos by Jill.


something about the light

This post, once again, has nothing to do with fashion, except to say that I blended this colour blue, which I'm wearing still, and it wasn't intentional, but it seemed to me, that day, to be the same hue as the pool.

I took these photos in Florida, last week. In the 'hot tub', a beautiful square pool next to one of the heated pools, where my mom lives. There was something about the light that day: I jumped out, got my camera, came back in, took these shots. I haven't altered anything about the photos, apart from adding the little shot of me. My father used to ask my sister and I, when we were young, to pose in front of things - monuments and natural places of beauty. He said he needed us 'for scale'. I often think about that idea, and it's very hard to put into words: keeping things in proportion, I guess.

Last night was probably the most wonderful New Year's Eve my husband and I have had, to date. Beautiful: a dinner, with friends, at their home, on our garden square. Other friends came for champagne, and then the four of us sat down to a meal that the host, and I, made: japanese salmon and bok choy, with honey/soy/wasabi glaze (my dish), beef stroganoff with saffron rice and shitake mushrooms (his classic with a twist: he grew up in Japan), and I made baked coconut lime ricotta cheesecake, garnished with orange slices, and pieces of good, dark chocolate. Then we watched the fireworks on television with their beautiful children, and walked home.

In memory of our wonderful cousin Cliff: the brother my father never had. He died yesterday, 31 December, and he was the reason I went to Florida when I did. I loved him, as I love Jan, his wife, who told me I'm like a daughter to them. The last time we saw them, my mom and I - last week - we went to dinner. We all ate fish. When he said goodbye, he made a joke for my husband - who he adored, and visa versa - about our next visit, in February. I could see the effort it took for him, to keep things light.

And I still feel bathed in that warmth, that light. I still see the sparkle in his eyes.

Somewhere in the world, yesterday, a son was born. At that instant. Life goes on.

Happy New Year: I have a very good feeling about 2012.