The Strand Gallery: Paul Harries Slipknot Photography

It was going to be tight to fit in everything yesterday – I had five different events/locations to hit whilst in London yesterday, but I knew if I didn’t slot in a trip to the Strand Gallery then I would miss out on this amazing show.

Paul Harries is one of those names you hear about when working within the rock music industry. Even if you haven’t come across him due to word of mouth, you will have definitely seen his work, and most probably sought out his name having been blown over by the images. He’s probably behind some of your favourite rock magazine covers, shooting 30 Seconds to Mars, Green Day, My Chemical Romance…to name just a few.

This particular show is a celebration of his lengthy relationship with Slipknot. One that stretches over 15 years….and boy has he seen some stuff during that time.

You’ll see many sides of the band during your walk through the two floors of photos. You’ll see the intimate moments when the band embrace before embarking on a performance. You’ll see them being cheeky, standing uncomfortably next to a grinning security man. There are haunting and spooky images, where the band are set against aptly freaky or unsettling locations. There are the moments where you see the humans behind the iconic masks… and of course the ones where they are full on band mode, a troop of scary misfits.

I will also have a soft spot for Slipknot. Apart from some terrible choices when it comes to men, and a few hormonal paddywhacks, I have never been the rebellious type. Although I hung around with some so called ‘dodgy type’ I have never really fallen into the naughty trappings….not for a long period of time anyway. I think I found a bit of enjoyment in the fact that my mum hated Slipknot. It wasn’t that she just thought they produced an unpleasant racket, she found them visually terrifying. When you are a teenager, this is an added bonus to any band you choose to listen to.
I had been to a few gigs by this point – Manic Street Preachers, Michael Jackson etc….but this was my first proper metal gig (I think).

My friend Sarah and I wanted to make an event of it so got hold of some navy boiler suits to wear to Brixton Academy. Yes I know……but it seemed cool at the time okay!!
The thought of me going to Brixton alone was enough to make my mum go into overprotective mode, combine that with a metal gig…..a Slipknot gig…..well you can imagine the pre gig stress in the Eggleton Household. To apease her slightly I agreed she could drop and pick us up from the venue, which was not good for my school/street cred but would make my life easier on the run up to the night.

I’m not sure my parents seeing the people queueing up outside did anything to ease their fears, but with Sarah in the car there was no way they could back out.

The gig proved to be all I had hoped and more. The heat from the flames burning into our acned teenage skin, whilst we were getting pushed around by big sweaty blokes or accidently sucking on someones dreadlock. I thought I’d come away sweaty but generally unscathed by the gig….until….

My friend Matt, who was the edgy guy at school who sung in a band and was the class clown, set me a challenge. He said he’d lift me up on to the bar so I could crowd surf. You know what you’re like at that age, you want to impress, however foolish. Although absolutely s****ing it I did it…..ouch. I didn’t break anything but the throwing around of my body like a ragdoll definitely didn’t do me any favours. A tip for you….don’t have a big dinner before a crowd surf. You can guess what happened next….

So I missed the rest of the gig, sipping on water in the overcrowded first aid room. I did however meet Sid (the dj’s) family in there and managed to wangle getting my ticket signed. The hippy in me resolved that it was fate and I was meant to vomit that night.

Anyhoo, enough about poor decisions and vomit….the exhibition finishes in a few days, so try and pop down!

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