9th December 2019
DUGGIE FIELDS has been an active member of the British art scene for more than five decades. An instantly recognisable figure with his trademark sharp suits, black quiff and cartoon shades, his appearance every bit embodies his post-pop art masterpieces.
The apartment he has rented for the past 50 years is not just his home — it’s a living landscape of his eclectic life and colourful career.
From the giant canvases that hang on the walls and humanised mannequins occupying the rooms to the humorous ‘accidental feature’ made after a roof leak, Duggie sees the art in everything.
He says the flat’s evolution keeps him creative — and his interiors interesting.
‘If you don’t exert yourself over your surroundings then they crash in on you. I have lived with lots of decay over the years with floods and the odd torrential downpour. But even decay creates something new,’ Duggie tells us.
‘When I first moved here I was 23-years-old. It was empty, with bare floorboards — I moved in with nothing and no money and I couldn’t help but personalise the space.’
Duggie moved in with two friends — one of which was Syd Barrett, the co-founder of Pink Floyd. Duggie’s painting of Syd was exhibited at the V&A.
‘I didn’t know then that it was not going to be a temporary space. At one point I felt trapped because I didn’t own it. But I’ve had various landlords down the years, most of whom have shown complete disinterest. Largely I’m left alone, which is how I like it.
‘Now I am extremely grateful. Where would I find anywhere as amazing as this to live? And to work? It has been a wonderful place to paint.’
When you enter the apartment, in a genteel mansion block in London’s Earl’s Court, it’s like walking into one of Duggie’s pop art videos. Little wonder that last year it was recreated for the Glasgow International art biennial. ‘It was very surreal, very Alice In Wonderland,’ he says.
The flat is filled with his eye-catching work — from the double bed coming out of the fireplace and plastic limbs growing in plant pots to pop art swivel chairs (below).
Duggie may be 74, but no one can accuse him of not moving with the times. He has just released a single to address the divisive effect Brexit is having on British society. ‘It’s called Boom. It’s so important now to realise that we need to coexist with people with different views,’ he says.
Apart from the two painted murals in the living room, all walls are white.
‘The paintings add the colour. I love mirrors but I didn’t want to lose wall space for my paintings. So I use mirrors on the backs of every door instead. It allows you to see the room from some rather interesting angles. You don’t know if you are looking through it or at it.
‘The hallway had no view and was slightly claustrophobic so I added mirrors — and now you can see the green trees outside through the windows. ‘You have to constantly freshen up — I have kept the black vinyl floor tiles but that changes, too, depending on what I am painting.
‘I might live amongst my work, but there are things I won’t notice for a long time. I will suddenly see something again, but differently. I go on and off everything — it depends on my emotional state.’
The mannequins are a huge theme of Duggie’s work. His parents owned a shop and he used to hang out with his brother and the other local shop owners’ kids in the storage rooms.
‘When I acquire the mannequins most of them are faceless and sexless, but I add nipples and pubic hair to give them personality.
‘Believe it or not, it used to be so minimal but I’ve been here so long I’ve acquired a lot of things,’ he laughs.
There’s a huge painting of the now-demolished Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre and Duggie is part of the campaign to use the land as a green space. (‘Earl’s Court is the most polluted area in London,’ he says.) Vintage plastic dolls and body parts that randomly pop out of plants pots (below) are from car boot and jumble sales. ‘They have no value but spice the space up. I don’t plan things or want anything to look perfect. They just work.’
The bedroom fireplace serves as the headboard for his bed and there’s a huge painting of his parents, from a photo taken in the 1960s, on the wall.
Paint palettes are another major theme, forming many light fittings.
The breath-taking bathroom took Duggie four days to paint with sponges. ‘Zandra Rhodes had a painting party in the late-1970s and I thought I’d try that in here.’
A mannequin leg holds up the shower over the bath. ‘I love to crowd small spaces and empty out big spaces. Lots of mirrors in here add depth — but also confusion, so you are seeing everything from a different angle.
‘Nothing in my house is of intrinsic value, apart from my work. Everything else is old and repurposed. But when I change it around, paint another canvas or add something that interests me I’ve found in a charity shop, it breathes new life into the place.’
■ Duggie Field’s new single, Boom, is now available to stream via Spotify
27th May 2018
A limited edition of 50 cassettes of the Hellfire Clubs retrospective Complete Hellfire
27th May 2017
When you get on the news… and for all the right reasons… live at lunchtime with Riketté featured at a free concert at London Royal Festival Hall foyer
23rd March 2017
Promo Edition of 50 Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album
8th March 2017
Tomorrow (Thursday) I’ve the pleasure of singing at the Women of the World private dinner! Looking forward to meeting all the participants.
I’ll also be performing on the first day of the festival! (Friday) ITS FREE and open to the public. Come down 🎉🎉
Check link 👇🏾for deets.
29th April 2016
GUILO – “Incline Thine Ears” (Maeg Music)
Are you feeling so down that you don’t want to leave the house? From the window does Cremona seem to be a district of Gotham City? Has drizzle and damp entered your soul?
Well, if you want an antidote there is one. Insert into the CD player the EP Guilo, a London-based duo debut that consists only of instrumental tracks with acoustic guitar, programming (Simon Christophers ) and clarinet (Alice Westlake). A risk, you think. Certainly a challenge,nowadays. A little madness of genius.
Because the music does work, and how. It bewitches. Eight songs are under three minutes which are many micro scores for journeys of the mind, the primary source of inspiration the never quite appreciated Penguin Cafe Orchestra by the legendary Simon Jeffes (five albums between ’76 and ’88 which have shown that a single path, on the edge of ‘popular music ‘, where the genres crumble and are reborn in a new form, unclassifiable).
The charm of ” Incline Thine Ears ” ( title taken from the Bible ?) is in the taste with which electronic and acoustic sound come together defining a balance really rare: and it captures the ancestry of Christophers for the classic sounds, even tempered and modified by a clear propensity for electronic experimentation, inspired by American minimalism (repeated cellular sounds) with obvious references to the compositions of René Aubry (one album above all: the magnificent “Invités sur la terre ” from 2001) and the scores of Yann Tiersen or, in brief instances, even to the Third Ear Band from the Italian reunion (listen to the initial “Arctic Sound” to believe it) .
With well-crafted music, generally the risk is to slip into sickly, caressing melodies of ‘ muzak ‘or in the monotonous marshes of the so-called new age which since the eighties corrupts the sound of space by spreading the idea of a world clean and clear, virginal, untouched, for the exclusive use of the middle classes in search of relaxation from the stress of modern life .
Here, on the contrary, we are in a universe which is restless and passionate, it makes you fall in love and divide, indicating horizons which change while the mind believes to have seized them : in ” Incline Thine Ears “, for example, the beating drums in 2 / 4 overlaps an arpeggio iterated of extraction folk on which the clarinet circles with free improvisation in the background. The climax is initially relaxed, joyful, then in the chorus looks threatening, and the listener, convinced that they had embarked on a path that leads to a flowery meadow, find themself suddenly in a steaming mound of toxic vapors. Just as in certain experiences of every day life …
27th April 2016
Limited to 250 copies – boutique heavy weight press on 10 inch E.P. cherry red vinyl. With full colour sleeve printed front and back with plain white inner disco bag. £10 incl. pp (UK only – ROW add £4.00)
18th February 2016
Larry Mison Jnr’s classic Flashback (’98 and ’99 versions) gets the timely re-release treatment.
18th February 2016
Centred around the ‘Little Portugal’ area of Lambeth, UHO’s compositions reflect the street sounds of his locality and the escapism of his mentality. Arrangements, orchestration and melody rule the day – with each production unfolding mystery and depth on each play.
Maeg will be exploiting an extensive back catalogue of singles and EPs (both instrumental and vocal) which host a weight of featured artists and timeless production.
“I love the music comin’ outta the UHO” – Teddy D (Basement Boys)
“Deep production and strictly jazzy vibes with that all important latin twist” – Phil Cheeseman (Essence Records)
“Too, too deep” – DJ Alex from Tokyo
“A future classic from Recreation Records (UK), English eccentricity flavours the new world sunshine of ‘Miami Flight’. ‘Strange Lines’ on the flip picks up the laidback thread while adding some subtle d&b action.” – IDJ Magazine
“Live sounds come to the fore on this strong, slice of Latin-flavoured dance. Breakbeats and acoustic guitar give a haunting sun-kissed quality to the b-side, Strange Lines.” – Music Week
“Downbeat recommended: UHO’s Miami Flight a strange, soulfully chilled trip.” – XLR8R Magazine
“UHO make beautifully different music. Two tunes with a jazz edge that defy categorisation. It’s the atmosphere that gets you.” – www.tunes.co.uk
“Technojazzmusik for spy kids!” – www.musicmarkt.de
“This is simply intelligent, tuneful electronica.” – Technics Dance Update
13th April 2015
Soulful sounds are timeless (even if the audio/visual sync is feeling the effects of a late night!)
Sprucing up from a spring clean Maeg have dusted off this dusty tome and brought it straight down from the the attic for your listening delight and visual treat – so get your peepers round this…
Recorded in Rik’s cosy Borough yard almost a year to the day (April 2014), the lovely lads and lasses at Art Begets Spirit recorded the wonderful Miss R in a homespun stylee.
Tickling the ivories with aplomb and warbling like there is no tomorrow, she waxes lyrical on her past, present and future as an artist – laying it down like it is; and still finding time in her hectic schedule to turn out three acoustic renditions from her then forthcoming debut release Riketté.
Maeg Music Catalogue