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Cultural Treachery is basically me, Steve Prince and is one of the things that I may well be up to...

My history... well, I grew up in a selection of small Northern and Midlands UK towns and villages, before escaping to the heady lights of a local city and from there to London and then a selection of towns and cities around the country.

From there onwards I've done all kinds of creative stuff (alongisde an MA at one point) with an almost wilfull contrariness towards anything that might be considered a career path but curiously has had some kind of theme or order running through it all.

I guess a lot of what has driven me on is to do things that I would want to see put out into the world, to create things that make others have the feeling I get when I see some fine and beautiful work and my hairs stand on end... oh and the perennial problem of making a living through your work and of not having to answer to those above you in a hierarchy that is peopled by those placed often via anything other than through merit (rant).

So, what have I done? How do you document a life in one web page? Not sure but I'll give it a go.

Well, for many years I had various independent clothing labels, under numerous guises and kind of aimed at all kinds of subcultures. It all started when I was working in the legendary Sign of The Times shop in London (a one-off kind of place that gave space to genuinely outsider fashion) and a chap came in one day and said "I can print whatever you like on a t-shirt. With that I was off..." oh and also strangely ending up making fake fur glampunk bondage clothes in a mates front room for a huge posh Steven Meisel photoshoot for Vogue magazine (!).

My clothing ranges were often been the bread and butter that kept me alive and were often used as a way to have a right good old complain/comment about the mediocrity and lack of genuine passion that's prevalent in so much of contemporary culture while making various slutpunk kind of clothing...

"A selection of photos that a friend of mine Ray took of my clothes around Kings Cross... and also on the right a bit of a rough collage of some of the press that I got over the years for my clothes."

Sometimes later on it was more voodoo rock'n'roll a la The Cramps, sometimes more goth/fetish, briefly it was mod and even occassionally a bit kind of leftfield fashion. Generally I screenprinted the items myself and was even known to be tied to a sewing machine for months at a time in order to make boxes and boxes of the stuff to send to Japan or to sell in Camden Market.

"A selection of pages from the Degenerate catalogue that was a kind of greatest hits from my time in the bowels of Camden Market."

During all that I seemed to manage to sell things to an eclectic mix of famous people... from Dee Dee Ramone to Naomi Campbell, Marc Almond to that woman out of Aqua via Marilyn Manson and Boy George... which was all both odd and yet curiously satisfying.

Oh and during all that I also put together a rather large selection of t-shirt, promotional and cover artwork for industrial-elektro sleaze band Sheep on Drugs (one of England's great lost bands and featuring now tattooist of note Mister X but more of him in a mo').

For several years me and my sister, Sue Prince, had a shop/gallery called The Last Chance Saloon in London's Waterloo. This was basically a place that sold and displayed things that we would want to buy and see ourselves, a large part of which was the 'lowbrow' culture that was found in Juxtapoz magazine... basically a twisted take on oddball pop culture, devils'n'hotrods, zines, small press books, our own clothing labels, quirky toys, a huge range of our own pin badges... oh, it's difficult to describe.

Below are the flyer design for Coop's exhibition, me, Coop, his partner Ruth and my sis Sue at the opeing for Coop's exhibition. Next along is the screenprinted poster for Vince Ray's third exhibition at the shop and on the far right is the front of The Last Chance Saloon.

The gallery side of the shop was particularly popular, leading to signings with people queueing for four hours down the street, cover articles and acres of press in everything from Creative Review magazine to BBC radio.

Note to self: it's kind of odd but there's a sense that beyond just south of the river Thames in London is another country and it makes that four Tube station journey from central London's Soho to South of the river, which takes about ten minutes, seem like a very long way away. Folk will make more of a dedicated trip for a gallery than a set of oddball shops.

I have to say we did have a lot of very dedicated and supportive customers (thanks very much to them) and we had an awful lot of fun (and some very long hours!).

Our exhibitions included the first UK exhibitions by screen printed rockposter artists Coop and Frank Kozik, the first ever exhibition by the fetish'n'psychobilly illustrator Vince Ray and our opening show was by the garage punk musician/poet/artist/one man industry Billy Childish. We also had shows by mail artist Mark Pawson, post feminist fashion designer Karen Savage, girls with spaceships in their hair illustrator Neil McFarland (aka Paris Hair) and a group poster show that featured work by Shepard Fairey, Banksy and Pete Fowler... oh and not to forget glam seditionairy club night Kitsch Bitch, which was probably actually my personal favourite.

"These were some of the clothing prints that I did while at the LCS. They also had shoulder prints that said "my belief system has been systematically destroyed", "media whore", "I saw it in a magazine, I can't afford it but it's definitely me" and "I buy my identity"... basically the range dealt with my own personal fascination and hatred of the media, the way they suck something in and spit it out sucked dry in a matter of months, pounce on something before it's had time to gestate and develop and generally help engender a feeling of inadequacy through consumerism... which has been a bit of an ongoing theme with a lot of what I've done over the years. I'm fascinated and repelled by the whole spectacle but I try and avoid it as much as possible as filling my head up with the endless unfiltered junk just leaves me feeling physically dirty (strange but true)."

"...this selection of t-shirt prints you'd have to see on the garments to get the full effect, as each one was unique and printed in a hand cut-up effect across the side of the tops, which were made in an asymmetric shape. It was based on England's semi-forgotten history... early eighties activism, the miner's strike, Maggie Thatcher, the use of unemployment as a weapon to help destroy the working class spirit. I suspect that people that wore them probably didn't really know that that was what it was all about... ah, well, we can but try. The one on the far right is actually a mixture of my graphics and one of my sister's drawings and I always thought it had an aching bit of melancholy to it. That one in particular ended up on 10,000 posters across London town and on some t-shirts that we sold in Topshop, during a brief fling with the nasty nasty side of clothing retail."

Plus we put together a fine selection of clothing, jigsaws and other merchandise featuring the work of Vince, Mister X (former front man with Sheep on Drugs and now a tattooist of note at Into You in London), Paris Hair and Frank Kozik.

"A few of the designs that Vince Ray and Duncan X did for us at the Last Chance Saloon"

So all in all 'twas a pretty varied place. It was a fine space, that apparently's become some kind of mini-urban legend and is the sort of genuinely independently spirited place that's been driven out of inner cities by the insatiable need of landlords for ever higher rents (oh look, my favourite shop's closed down and now it's a sandwich bar/coffee shop/vodka watering hole).

Towards the end of the LCS I met a young lady and moved up to Nottingham. Carried on with the clothing, in a more strictly fetish crossover and gothic style than before. For a while I delved into the world of trading at darkwave festivals throughout the land (a cyber gothic festival in Bradford with a thousand hair extensioned goths on pills listening to dark trance... who would've thought it?). This was a more online thing than before and I was soon also embroiled in the world of Ebay and was back screenprinting myself, which I'd kind of missed.

In the early-ish 2000s I put on a big pile of club nights.The main one of these was called Home Taping Is Killing Music and was a kind of electropunk-twisted pop-future rock'n'roll night before such things became the mainstay of student nights out across the country... well, that was what it said on the flyer but generally it was "playing things we like at a club we'd want to go to" mixed with the club slogan "we just don't care". These are a few of the flyers for the nights:

As a side line to that we djed and helped promote for Peaches (a lovely lady, v'un-in-your face offstage), Adult. (two of the nicest, most genuine people you could want to meet), Chicks on Speed (who I didn't actually meet and I think were a touch too arty for the good people of Nottingham). There were piles of other things that surrounded the club nights, badges, banners, live video mixing, Meg White at one of them, skipping rope dancing on the dance floor, fanzines and more and more...

The same year I also put on another club night kind of a thing with the aforementioned nice young lady. We started doing a night called Sex and Horror, which was a more sleazy rock'n'roll/Gallon Drunk/Nick Cave kind of a thing, which also took in putting on The Cramps aftershow party for one of only two dates that they did in the UK, a Day of the Dead Mexican themed Halloween night and a fair bit of quiff action.

...then eventually, a little burnt out by the late nights, venue politics and endless flyering I took a break.

I guess it was a break in some ways, not in others.

I had some time out, moved city, earnt some money briefly in more normal work (not for me it would appear, I lasted around two and a half weeks before having to say to the chap that I was working for that it wasn't really working out).

That year I also did the less normal work of working for the chap who used to make my clothes and helping him with the starting up of a clothing factory geared towards young fashion designers... paid off the evils of credit cards, closed my Nottingham workshops and generally prepared for what I was going to do next... plus here are a couple of things of note during this resting period:

"For a long time I'd wanted to do something for Nag Nag Nag, the club night that'd helped kickstart the whole new-electro dance scene. I'd gone down to it in London and it'd completely inspired me to start my own night. I printed the t-shirts for Jonny Slut, with this rather nice design from their compilation album cover".
" I co-put on these fine chaps in Nottingham. It's James Johnston (Gallon Drunk/Bad Seeds), his artist/filmaker wife Geraldine Swayne and Steve Gullick (a stunning music photographer and Admiral of Loose Lips Sinks Ships magazine). It was a great night, helped by them being real sweethearts and was a good way to say a fond farewell to Nottingham."

A briefly ressurected Home Taping, along with Rik/Rikmanu:

"It was a pretty good night, we played some fine music, folk seemed to be very much enjoying it, I put together a huge selection of different flyers, on different formats, dimensions, materials... but I think I realised that I needed to do other things and it kind of marked the start of the end of my absolutely obsessive interestest in music."

Since around April of 2005 I've also been running a custom pin badge making site,

I've made literally hundreds of thousands for a huge variety of chaps and lasses, including:

Holly Golightly, Kings Have Long Arms, Radiohead, X-Ray Spex, The Aquarium Gallery, Night and Day (Manchester), Fantazia, The Brudenell Social Club (Leeds), James Cauty, Jeffrey Lewis, Dr D, Shibby Shabblers, Vince Ray, United Stencil Agency, Daniel Johnston, The Hi-Fi Club (Leeds), Left Lion Magazine (Nottingham), Mr Stacey's Video Emporium, The Imogen Styles, Bat For Lashes, Whiskey Cats...

...and Terry Edwards/Sartorial Records, Sputnik 2 (Martin Degville), Diamond Jacks Tattoo, Procol Harum, Humber Rescue, Razor Stiletto (Sheffield), Artnucleus, 1968 Film Group, Arthole (Bruce Brand/Masonics/Thee Headocats), The Wendy House (Leeds), The New Master Sounds, Ed's Diner (London), Omerta...

...and (after a pause for breath) The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Fred's Flying Circus, Sheffield Bikers, Hot Dog (club), Fert (Feret Education and Research Trust), Raucous Records, The National Maritime Museum, (London), Dr Wu's (Leeds), GoJonnyGoGoGo Records, Forward Russia, Smash Skates, Trojan Records...

...and not forgetting Benjamin Wetherill, Trojan Records, DJ Scotch Egg, Brandon Steep, Detour Apparel, Katscan, Mechanical Cabaret, a fair few schools, an NHS Trust or two, Pollinates, Popstarz (London), Shortfuse, Brennan & Burch, Joolz/NYAAA, Little White Lies Magazine...

Well, all kinds of folks, basically.

Later I moved to Leicester and worked on various projects that involved creating merchandise ranges for and with creative folk. Some of them worked out, some of them didn't, I made a lot of very fine samples, lived in and shared a fine and unusual 10,000 square foot old 1920's factory space.

A couple of other things I've worked on... I rebuilt Ms Holly Golightly's website:

Holly Golightly banner

Alongside the website I built her online shop, which I'm also running and making the merchandise for.

Mechanical Cabaret banner

I designed and built the web shop pages for Mr Roi's Mechanical Cabaret band, also creating and runnig the online merchandise.

Both of which have been rather fine things to do, as they're both rather fine and lovely people.

I did a fair old bit of work on this site, well worth a look-see:

A clothing label and site I worked on. Which may have been more of an art project meets clothing label rather than just strictly a clothing label as it might once have been:

On and off over the years I've been working on a project called Afterhours Sleaze and Dignity, which is something of a wander through a Soho noir or a Soho of the mind...

Since 2014 I've been working on a project called A Year In The Country:

A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book
A Year In The Country albums

A Year In The Country is a set of year-long journeys through spectral fields; cyclical explorations of an otherly pastoralism, the outer reaches of folk culture and the spectres of hauntology. It is a wandering amongst subculture that draws from the undergrowth of the land.

As a project, it has included a website featuring writing, artwork and music which stems from that otherly pastoral/spectral hauntological intertwining, alongside a growing catalogue of album releases.

As part of the project a book has been released called A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields, subtitled Journeys in Otherly Pastoralism, the Further Reaches of Folk and the Parallel Worlds of Hauntology, which draws together revised writings from the project alongside new journeyings.

In keeping with the number of weeks in a year, the book is split into 52 chapters. Connecting layered and, at times, semi-hidden cultural pathways and signposts, it journeys from acid folk to edgelands via electronic music innovators, folkloric film and photography, dreams of lost futures and misremembered televisual tales and transmissions.

It includes considerations of the work of writers including Rob Young, John Wyndham, Richard Mabey and Mark Fisher, musicians and groups The Owl Service, Jane Weaver, Shirley Collins, Broadcast, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Virginia Astley and Kate Bush, the artists Edward Chell, Jeremy Deller and Barbara Jones and the record labels Trunk, Folk Police, Ghost Box and Finders Keepers.

The book also explores television and film including Quatermass, The Moon and the Sledgehammer, Phase IV, Beyond the Black Rainbow, The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water, Bagpuss, Travelling for a Living, The Duke of Burgundy, Sapphire & Steel, General Orders No. 9, Gone to Earth, The Changes, Children of the Stones, Sleep Furiously and The Wicker Man.

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A Year In The Country albums

The A Year In The Country albums have featured contributions from amongst others Magpahi, Polypores, Sproatly Smith, United Bible Studies, Time Attendant, Lutine, The Rowan Amber Mill, Howlround, The Hare And The Moon, Listening Center, Keith Seatman and Assembled Minds.

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I suppose in a way A Year In The Country is one of the first times that I've worked on something creatively that wasn't directly connected to the interests of my youth and pop culture, nor that draws from or is set in city based culture. This is more from the wald or the wild woods...

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A Year In The Country's main site is:

The printed version of the A Year In The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields book is available from the A Year In The Country site and Bandcamp page, as are the A Year In The Country albums.

The printed and Ebook versions of the book are also available via Amazon's various international sites.


It's a strange thing life. Ups and downs and downs and ups but it's an interesting journey.




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