Fatboy Slims Awesome Smiley Exhibition.
Fatboy Slim launches smiley exhibition
I love smileys, they make me think of the early days of house music, starting trends and changing lives as it made it's way through the dancefloors of the UK. Think of the Hacienda, Shoom or any of the early warehouse raves and you think of smileys. If I could go back in time to any era, it would be those halcyon days of house. I'd go out and dance..... A lot and then I'd need a holiday. I'd go over to Ibiza and dance some more, to Alfredo in Amnesia or soak up the open air vibes of Ku, whilst eclectic balearic music blasts out in the open air. Whilst I was raving away, blissed out on doves I'd be wearing a home made top like many others used to, with neons and smileys on. For me the self fashioned smiley top epitomises the look of the era. Want a new top, can't afford/find what you want in the shops. Make your own. Sorted. I love that DIY nature of fashion that was a hand me down from the punk era. The smiley was a huge part of the aesthetics of the era and for me it is THE symbol of the time.
I love it so much I hunted out these sterling silver smiley necklaces that we have on sale on the site, basically this was after me searching for one for myself. It was after seeing an article about Fatboy Slim or Norman Cook as he's known to his friends, I think it was in Mixmag back in the 90's, possibly in one of the Ibiza specials, he was sporting a smiley necklace and it showed him at his home, in Brighton, in his studio. It was full of smileys, in all shapes and sizes, but all proper smileys. On tees, plates, toasters mugs... on bloody everything. I loved it. I looked into his collection some more and it turns out he's a bit of a smiley obsessive and has been collecting them for years. He's even got a bloody huge smiley on the roof of his seaside house.... I salute you and your dedication to the smiley cause sir.
A huge smiley.. on his roof. Holy Shit Norman, that's cool.
Now he's launching an exhibition at the rather cool Under Dogs Gallery in Lisbon Portugal. He's curated the exhibition alongside visual artist Vhils. Titled the Smile High Club, the exhibition presents 11 artists who, from pop surrealism to ceramicism, have created works inspired by and honouring the smiley’s creator, Harvey Ball, together with the impact this iconic image has had on popular culture.
The smiley is loved by Norman. He loved the fact that it could be seen in so many places, that it was such a simple image, but it was everywhere, in all walks of life. This is what grabbed me a bout that smiley necklace he was wearing. It was usual to see people wearing a crucifix necklace, a St Christopher necklace or some other traditional religious symbol around their necks, but not norm, this was his religion and he was proud of it. Cook also states how it followed him through his love of punk into his later stages... I feel you mate. The smiley was created in 1963, which is the year that Norman was born... So that can't be a coincidence can it.
A small selection of Norman Cook's awesome smiley collection.
Designed by Harvey Ball in Worcester, Masshachusetts, as a commission by the State Mutual Life Assurance company, it was initially used on staff badges to improve morale. Ball was paid, just $45 for creating the classic smiley, however he never applied for copyright or trademarked the smiley and so all he made was that $45. When asked if he regretted his non application, he stated"he was not a money-driven guy, he used to say, 'Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.'" That's a pretty laidback attitude and I guess it kind of sums up what the smiley and the feelings of those early acid house parties were all about. Spreading the love and enjoying life no matter what you've got.
Old Fatboy is pretty adamant that the smiley is NOT an emoji and is passionate about the traditional smiley. I couldn't agree more. A smiley has very specific characteristics. He's so passionate about the smiley that he has a tattoo of one..... Yet again, Norm.... I like your style.
Who wore it best, me or Fatboy ?
Not only does a smiley look great, it's a smile. A big happy smile... If looking at that doesn't make you happy..... Then you probably need to take a long hard look at yourself you miserable shit.