I remember meeting Michael Bracewell at the ICA's 50th birthday celebration. I was a teenager and my friend and I were skulking in the green room, nobody wanted to speak to us. We were hanging around for Hanif Kureshi and Neil Tennant from The Pet Shop Boys and generally being a nuisance as far as I remember.
I had an inspiring chat about my favourite band, Suede, with a journalist who was interviewing Neil Tennant for an audience later. That journalist was Michael Bracewell.
The conversation stuck in my mind, we had chatted about the majestic beauty of Brett Anderson and I found him very inspiring. Of course I soon found out 'who he was' and was even more impressed especially following the publication of 'England is Mine: Pop Life in Albion from Wilde to Goldie' which always reminds me why the 90's were so rich in terms of popular culture and in people talking intelligently about it.
More years later than I would care to admit I am, in my own small way writing about Art and popular culture (I can only hope to get as good as it as him) and Frieze Magazine are celebrating 20 years of publication. In the anniversary edition is an article on the on the evolution of British culture since 1991 by Michael Bracewell, The View from Here. It is of course wonderful.
But it is strange to think of something, which I still regard as modern, existing for twenty years. Obviously things have changed, I mean the east end for one has been transformed, the once grim passage of Mare Street now leads off to Vyner Street and there are countless galleries and 'project spaces' all over Hackney and whatever you think of the 'modern day hipsters' and 'lefties' that inhabit these places, they're a lot of fun.
As a sixteen year old I vividly remember taking my mother's membership card and visiting Sensation at the Royal Academy at least eight times. I went once by myself and then took everyone who visited me or I thought would get something from it.
Always a smile, always a whispered excuse as to why the card wasn't mine and back inside the exhibition rooms to again see a shark in formaldehyde in the establishment. And to see work which, for whatever reason, was provoking and fun. I didn't really understand why I felt so drawn back to it or so excited but just kept going back and soaking it up.
I can tell you now there were no galleries on Vyner Street back then.
So here's to another twenty years for Frieze and a big congratulations to remaining in print and monthly unlike a lot of other publications, raise your glass again to another twenty years of the British art scene long may it change, provoke and flourish.