JANE & SERGE: a family album by Andrew Birkin

As humans, we are often stuck in some form of limbo purgatory. The time we don’t spend looking towards the future is often compensated with the desire to stick our heads into the past. We find ourselves dusting off the old family albums, laughing at the "good old days" and envying the carefree act of being young and naïve whilst also wishing it was the Saturday to come.

Now, at a time where it is so easy to store and access images on the online world, there seems something pure about tucking away old printed photographs in little plastic wallets. We all love looking back and longing over the years we can’t reach. But, it’s usually your own family – rather than a family of strangers – that we tend to reminisce over.

In current times, as it’s so easy to view the lives of celebrities through the internet, we often believe that we know everything about their lives. We forget that a still image or short video clip cannot possibly reflect every 24 hour day in a 7 day week of a 365 day year. But Andrew Birkin, younger brother of the actress, singer and namesake of the popular Birkin bag Jane Birkin, has given her love affair with French singer Serge Gainsbourg this family treatment.

In a book consisting of 160 mostly unseen photographs, Andrew shares his take on France’s most glamorous couple with his own view down the camera lens. The nostalgic images spin us back to the ever-so desired swinging sixties and seventies; each snapshot paired with a short caption to help tell the story of Jane and Serge’s public and passionate 12 year love affair that stole the hearts of a generation.

Jane Birkin, although based in France, was born in England in 1946. After a short marriage to composer John Barry, with whom she had her oldest child Kate, she met Serge Gainsbourg whilst working on a low-budget French film, Slogan, in Paris. At first, it was a relationship based on hatred. He was playing the part of her lover, yet he came across arrogant and Jane believed he despised of her. Just days later, however, he was accompanying her to dinner – at which Andrew (and his camera) was present.

The pair, along with young Kate, moved south to St Tropez in 1969 in order for Jane to take up a part as an actress in the French film La Piscine. Andrew, his camera strapped to him at all times, embarked on this trip with them. It is pictures he captures at times like these that line the pages of this photo album. Images that show the couple as two, down to earth human beings rather than two of the biggest stars to walk the streets of France. It really is the optimum of the French phrase c’est la vie.


07-04-2017: A day of debuts that had been long anticipated by many with an interest in the music industry. A first time solo single from One Direction’s Harry Styles had taken control of the airways by 10am, despite whichever station you deemed suitable to tune into. However, a little out of the main glare of the spotlight, 21-year-old Alexandra Savior sat a little in the dark – lying in wait to release her own debut album [Belladonna of Sadness] out into the wilderness.

The Portland native rose onto the radars of music lovers in 2016 with debut track Risk, a song that sat happily amongst a combination of tunes that made up the soundtrack for series True Detective. The track had been co-written alongside Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner which, ultimately, left fans and critics sniffing at her door. Since this spur into the spotlight, she’s maintained a musical image that is weaved with independence by directing her own music videos, hand sewing
merchandise, and drawing or photographing album artwork for herself in order to avoid any pre-made industry “mould”. Despite the efforts of others, Savior continues to remain nothing more than herself.

Diehard fans may know Savior better as Alexandra Mcdermott, a young girl sat singing covers of Angus & Julia Stone and Amy Winehouse in her bedroom and posting them on YouTube. But as things got bigger for the singer, she decided to chuck surname Mcdermott aside and go by her first and middle name. This decision came with the idea that she was creating a certain persona for herself. Her own version of who she wanted to be; somebody who almost always looks as if she has stepped from the screen of a retro movie rather than from a room full of musical clones created in an industry’s attempt to make money. She hopes her own success will come alongside this refusal to conform.

Review: Jack Savoretti @ O2 Academy, Bristol

"I played a Caffè Nero here in Bristol once, but I doubt any of you were there so long ago," Jack announces to the crowd of Bristol whilst musing over his memories over the city. Having previously had a not so good Caffè Nero encounter involving a trainee barista, some squirty cream and a dead fly floating in Beth's mocha just hours earlier in Bristol's Cabot Circus the story seemed even funnier to us. But as the crowd shouted back their encounters with Jack we eagerly awaited to hear his highly anticipated fifth album live on stage for the first time.

Having sat on the cold pavement outside Bristol's O2 for a measly hour and a half, our position at the front of the queue was demolished when we learnt that practically the whole of Bristol owned phones on the O2 network. We watched in dismay as rows of priority bobble hats and scarves were escorted inside the venue before the rope separating our line from the door had even been removed. Making a beeline for the front of the room, we chucked our tickets at the doormen and zigzagged through far too many old ladies, all there to wolf whistle at all the right moments, claiming ourselves a position to the far right of the stage. Jack’s classic tapestry style rug lay in it’s usual spot stage centre.

Support came in the elegant form of female singer-songwriter JONES, a picture in a pair of flowing black trousers and a gold halter neck that was complemented by the moving of the spotlights. With songs imbued with a sense of calm, the signature of her soulful tunes seemed to be entangled with themes of love. Tracks Hoops and Walk My Way were received with a keen reaction from the crowd, shouts emerging from both the floor and the numerous layers of balcony that the O2 provides.