Jamaican Corner

Photographer Olivia Rose remembers meeting Mr Right Now, Dutty, Jay, Little Nas, Yankee and the rest of the boys at Jamaican Corner


In 2013, feeling creatively stagnant in London, I made a poorly-thought-out plan to go and shoot gang culture in Kingston. Embarking on a three month-journey to New York, Bermuda and Jamaica with my assistant Jay, I arrived on the last leg of my trip feeling fragile and a little hesitant, having left Bermuda with my arm in a sling.

Within fifteen seconds of arriving at our apartment in Kingston – steel-gated, smack bang in the middle of a run-down, busy street in Kencot – a man screeched his motorbike to a halt right in front of us. He introduced himself as Mr Right Now (his real name was Erroll Williams), and we could see that he was gentle, funny and genuinely interested in the new tourists that had landed on his street, Central Road. Telling us that he could “get anyting ya need, Right Here, Right Now,” he walked us down to his street-side shop – a place that would eventually become the epicentre of our experience at ‘Jamaican Corner.’ After selling us a couple of Red Stripes to take the edge off travelling, Right Now – who was always smiling like a Cheshire cat – took us to meet the boys.

It was pitch black by the time we walked on pock-marked terrain in search of weed, with Right Now’s best friend Cloud leading the way. We paid five US dollars that night for a “box a weed” that was enough to last us a week, with a little bit of grabba (raw tobacco leaf) thrown in for good measure. Cloud, who will tell anyone that “mi one true love is marijuana,” walked us back to Right Now’s shop where he started cutting up the bud with a machete on a wooden block. We had a heady first night smoking back in our apartment. As we listened to the rest of the street carrying on over the other side of the gate, the thought of spending the next sixteen days there was thrilling and paralysing.


Right Now and Cloud

Throughout our stay, the boys did everything and more to make us feel welcome. They rewound the song if they saw us jamming to it and made sure their guests had a chair and a drink at all times. If ever I fell asleep in the yard, my head wouldn’t drop without finding the comfort of Cloud’s shoulder. As I melted in the 40-degree heat, the boys moved my chair through the day to chase the shadows, telling me: “Fluffy, ya skin a burn! Sun is hot like fiyah! Keep cool, Fluffy!” In Kingston, you SWEAT. Suddenly the humble bandana made a lot of sense; the boys all seemed to have one tucked in their pocket or tied round their head, something on hand to mop up their brow. I had gained the nickname Fluffy Diva (I thought it was about my curly hair, but fluffy is an affectionate word for ‘big’) and pretty quickly I vetoed the ‘Diva’ so we all settled on ‘Fluffy Empress,’ a name to which I still answer.

During our time in Kingston, Jay and I bought things from Right Now’s shop or locally at Jamaican Corner. If we were thirsty, we had a ten-cent Bagjuice (a soft plastic triangle full of sweet fruit juice that you bite off at the corner and drink straight from the bag), which Right Now kept cold and slushy in the freezer. Every morning one of the boys gave us a jelly (coconut) to start the day, “fi cleanse the belly!” Right Now’s big brother Dutty, the alpha male of the group, worked at the carwash across the street from the shop and I swear I never saw him leave work except to get a jelly from Right Now. Even in a torrential downpour (during which the boys praised Jah for the rain – a welcome break from the heat) Dutty would still be there, working away.


Dutty working at the carwash in Jamaica Corner

The Jamaican attitude is endlessly positive, everything is always “Up Up Up!” so my self-deprecating humour didn’t really compute with the boys. Charmingly, Right Now took me aside one night and asked, “But why ya be down on yaself, Fluffy?” Our miscommunications over the two weeks, as we spoke a mixture of Patois and broken English, were a constant source of amusement. The boys found my accent and Queen’s English hilarious, and I often had to rearrange their sentences to work out what they were saying. It became even funnier when I went back to visit this year because I was able to understand more than I had before. I spent my days slyly listening to their conversations until the boys clocked on that I was laughing along with their jokes, or that I had turned around to look at them when they were talking about me. Right Now’s eyes would go wide: “Oh God Man! She know wha mi say!”

Yankee, Cloud’s cousin, was the joker of the group. Living between Kingston and New York City, he’d developed a little belly that (along with his lisp) the boys loved to bully him for. He’d smack his tummy in response and tell them they were jealous.


Richard ‘Yankee’ Keith

Little Las, who sometimes wore white feathers in his hair, wasn’t much of a talker. As the baby of the group he was more introspective than the others; always present, but a little apart from the group. The boys looked after Little Las the most. It was obvious that he didn’t have the same access to food as everyone else, and I noticed that at every meal one or two of the boys would save something on their plate for him to eat.

I think the only thing that wasn’t shared at Jamaican Corner (including houses; I never quite worked out who lived where) was the weed. At Jamaican Corner, Cloud told us, you roll your own. You might use a little grabba but NEVER tobacco, and never a roach. I tried to share with Cloud one day because I wanted to know what it would be like to smoke a proper Kingston joint, but he told me, “No Fluffy! Mi nah wan fi make you tooo stoned!” Weed was still illegal at that time, so when someone heard a police car was coming, they started a chain of whistling down the street to let people know to hide the weed.

With music blaring at most hours of the day, it feels like everyone in Jamaica is dancing all the time. A few times I caught Sunny or Bembe (the biggest dancers of the group) doing what looked like choreographed dance-offs in front of the shop. Everyone knows the moves to certain songs as if it was on the school curriculum. I went to a dancehall party called Bawsy Tuesdays and watched groups of Japanese dancehall queens doing routines for cameramen with ancient flashbulb video cameras that looked like they belonged in the 50s. Right Now, Cloud and Dutty (all excellent dancers) tried to persuade me to move that night, but my self-conscious London personality got the better of me and I was stiff as a plank.


Andre ‘Black Boy’ Deacon

Black Boy, the fashionista of the group, always in freshly-pressed Ralph Lauren Polo tops and brightly-coloured jeans, took me aside that night, played me Celine Dion from his Blackberry and, looking at me from under batted eyelashes, told me it reminded him of me. The closer it got to my leaving, the more the boys upped their flirting games. The Chef introduced me to his children, Castro started talking about what life would be like if he came home with me, someone even told me he loved me. It was one of the sadder things I saw, these island boys wanting so badly to leave with me in the hope of a better life. For the most part, the boys were perfect gentlemen.

Although I did visit downtown Kingston (I had hired a fixer to take me around different areas before even starting my journey), the real focus of my trip became the boys at Jamaican Corner. By spending every day with them – Right Now banging on the gate to wake us up in the morning, Dutty walking me back home at night to make sure I got there safely – I made lifelong friends. When I went back to visit this year, it was as if I had never left. Of course, some things have changed. The carwash sadly had to close down, but Dutty is now a bus conductor, working as hard as ever. Right Now has expanded his shop and tidied out the yard a bit so that his baby mama and kid could move in, and Little Las got really tall (and a bit cheeky too). But equally, some things at Jamaican Corner will always stay the same. Black Boy is still wearing freshly-pressed Ralph Lauren polo shirts. Right Now still gives Bagjuice away to the local kids who can’t afford to buy them. Cloud’s one true love is still marijuana. Sitting down to play dominos with them on the day I left this year, I felt truly grateful to have friends who accepted me so quickly and to this day make an effort to stay in touch. I think Right Now must have called me at least once a week for the last two years. Big Up Yaself, Jamaican Corner!

Steve Marino

On the occasion of Remembrance Day, Bego Solís remembers a chance meeting with an American veteran

Steve Marino

I met Steve in August of 2013. I was in Rockland, for a personal project, taking pictures at the Maine Lobster Festival.

On a Saturday afternoon, after photographing all morning, I decided to go for a walk around the area. I started in the direction of Rockport, a town about two-and-a-half miles away. Somewhere along the way I came across a house surrounded by flags — American flags, POW/MIA flags, flags I didn’t recognise — as well as badges, slogans and statues. There was a sculpture of a dachshund, a pistol hanging from a tree next to a WWII military uniform and several signs displaying the word LOTUS.

I wasn’t clear what it all meant, but I saw a friendly sign outside the house inviting anyone to enter, so I walked up to it.


Someone was inside the house, and after seeing me through the window he came out. I greeted him and he went back inside, leaving the door open so I could see he was looking for something. He came out again, this time carrying a camera. He introduced himself — he said his name was Steve Marino — and we started talking.

Steve invited me inside to talk more, but I made my excuses. The truth is I’m usually courageous, but I couldn’t trust a man who had a gun hanging from a tree, gnome statues in his garden and a disfigured face. I told him that I had to go to work, but we made a plan to meet up again the next day after a military parade he was going to attend.

I returned the next day at 4pm, as we had agreed. There was no one at home, just a note on the door saying “Rubby Begonya Radio.” The Mazda that had been parked in his backyard the day before was gone. I assumed he was still at the parade and so I started taking pictures of the garden — a chair, plants, grapefruit pulp everywhere. And all those references to Japan in the shape of plants and trees. Soon enough, Steve came back.


Steve Marino loved plants. He told me that he had planted a lotus near the house and it had taken over the forest behind his garden. I don’t know much about plants, just that lotuses prefer muddy waters — but Steve said it wasn’t easy to do. He was laughing as he spoke about it; seemingly amused by the lotus invasion in the Maine woods.

Steve was missing half of his jaw and there was a hole under his nose. That day he covered it with a band aid. He told me the wounds never healed. He always held a handkerchief in his hand, others hung in the garden and there was a small pile of them in his house, neatly folded and ironed. He explained he needed them to keep himself clean, because the hole in his face kept him constantly drooling.

The house was full of radio sets, and as we moved around he turned them on and cranked up the volume — each one playing songs from the 50s. I followed behind, trying furtively to turn the volume down because it was difficult to hear him, but he kept on raising it. I gave up when I realised that Steve was not deaf, he just didn’t like silence.


He told me that he was a Marine, and that he had been in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. It was in the latter where he lost a piece of his jaw. He showed me a stone he carried in his purse; I couldn’t quite understand if it was a stone from the beach where he was bombed, from a landing spot or simply a souvenir from some of the places where he had survived.

Steve Marino spoke constantly about fortune. He had many amulets about the house. I asked him how old he was, but he just laughed — he didn’t want to reveal it.

According to Steve, his years in Japan were the happiest in his life. He told me that even though the Americans were the enemies of the Japanese, he was always treated very well. He spoke fondly of the country and described those years as “good times”.

He invited me to come into his room. Next to his bed there was a picture of John F Kennedy and a Kennedy half-dollar struck in 1976 that was attached to a piece of wood — another reference to luck. He took out another Kennedy half-dollar from a closet,  gave it to me and said that I always should keep it so it would bring me luck.


He showed me memories from Japan: several kimonos, his military uniform. It was dark by this point and through the bedroom window I could see that the expansion of lotus was bigger than I thought. On his wall was a collage made up of pictures, clippings and notes. He told me that it was the story of his life, including all the most important moments. He didn’t appear in any of the photographs — it was a collection of scraps, press clippings, book photos and some original pictures of unidentified people.

We went back to the living room and Steve offered me some chocolate and cookies to eat. I wasn’t hungry, but it seemed wrong to refuse his invitation so I told him I liked beer. He got some Budweiser bottles and finally we both relaxed. He served the beer in a German jar as he showed me a collection of candles piled up on top of the fridge. He explained that every night he lit a candle for his mother and another for Buddha; Steve was a Buddhist.

We had a couple of beers in the garden and toasted for life, because “Steve Marino,” he told me (he always spoke about himself in the third person), “was a lucky man.” From time to time he shouted, “Steve Marino go, go, goooo!”

He laughed at my tattoos and showed me one of his, the latters NAM on his arm. He said he had some more, but he couldn’t show them to me.


Over a year later, a friend helped me find some details about Steve. We found an online obituary under his real name, Stephen R Sircom, that revealed he was 85 years old and had committed suicide just a month after our meeting.

Stephen was never war wounded, or at least his face wound didn’t occur in any battle. Stephen had already attempted suicide at “a bad time” years ago. A reflex reaction made him turn his face at the very last moment. He had saved his life but his face was disfigured forever after.

Despite having served his country for years, veteran health benefits did not cover facial reconstruction. Psychologically-induced injuries are not considered war injuries. Stephen could not afford to pay for it either.

I’m glad I met Stephen when I did and I will be thinking of him this Remembrance Day.


Alternative Miss World

A fancy dress contest inspired by Crufts (a British dog show), established by Andrew Logan in 1972



In the early 1970s, Andrew Logan — the artist who adorns one of Accent’s AW16 covers  — had an idea for a party. It would not be about beauty, it would be about transformation. The Alternative Miss World would allow anyone to enter: men and women on equal footing: racial parity in a pre-cosmopolitan London; sexuality set free in a million guises. And everyone would be judged on the same criteria as the dogs at Crufts: poise, personality and originality.

Since the first event in Andrew’s flat in Hackney, in 1972, the Alternative Miss World has set the stage for some of the world’s most creative spirits to gather — with past guests, hosts and competitors including everyone from Derek Jarman, David Hockney and Zandra Rhodes to Grayson Perry, Divine, Leigh Bowery and the stars of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Issue two pays tribute to this long-running celebration of self-expression by unearthing some gems from the photo archive. Here we feature some of the highlights through the years.


Kinky Gerlinky Cabaret, AMW Imperial Fantasy/Royal Imperial, 1991 
Robyn Beeche


Miss Holland Park Walk (Eric Roberts), the winner in 1973
JD Matthews


Divine, a host in 1978


Fat Gill and Leigh Bowery, AMW Earth, 1986
Robyn Beeche


Andrew as host in 1991. The theme was Air
Robyn Beeche


Miss Yorkshire, the very first winner of the competition in 1972
JD Matthews


David Hockney and Celia Birtwell on the judging panel, AMW Wild, 1975


Miss Frozen Assets, AMW Imperial Fantasy/Royal Imperial, 1981
Robyn Beeche


Miss Aldershot (Michael Haynes), winner of AMW Imperial Fantasy/Royal Imperial, 1981
Robyn Beeche


Luciana Martinez de la Rosa, AMW Circus, 1978
Robyn Beeche

Buy the issue here

Detroit Unbroken Down

Portraits of life in America’s great Motor City, after a great fall. By Dave Jordano


Detroit is my hometown, but I’ve been gone for over three decades. My father, who worked all his life for General Motors, used to joke that our family had motor oil running in our veins. Even after all these years away, I still believe there is some small truth in what he said.

These photographs are my reaction to all the negative press that Detroit has had to endure over the past several years. I was initially drawn to the same subjects other photographers were interested in; the crumbling factory interiors, the empty lots and burned-out houses that consume a third of the city, the massive abandoned commercial infrastructure. It took me a week of shooting this kind of subject matter to realise I was contributing nothing to a subject most people already knew a lot about.

I began looking at the various neighbourhoods within the city and all the people who live in them. Despite the harsh reality of living in a post-industrial city that has fallen on the hardest of times, the human condition does thrive. Notwithstanding the recent press about Detroit’s efforts to rebound from its recent bankruptcy, which is in all ways promising, my focus continues to rest on the current conditions that affect many of those who have fallen through the cracks. The lives of these forgotten and marginalised poor people will only minimally be improved by the recent redevelopment of the city.

I’ve found that most Detroiters wear their pride for the city much like an honoured badge of courage. If you can survive here, you can survive just about anywhere. My hope is that this work will convey that Detroit is a city made up of many small communities, all building a way of life through perseverance, hope, and sheer determination. It is a city clinging to the vanished ideals of an urban oasis that once hailed itself as one of the most beautiful and prosperous cities in America, and has now fallen from grace. This project is not about what’s been destroyed, but about what’s been left behind.


Sara and Shad, Goldengate Street, 2013

Goldengate Street is a unique community of outsiders who choose to live self-sufficiently and off-grid. Abandoned houses that once dotted the street have been taken over by a group who call themselves ‘Fireweed Universe City’. Collectively, everyone lives and works as a group; repairing houses, cooking communal meals, gardening and raising chickens together. They have involved themselves with the local community by establishing a bicycle repair shop where kids in the area can learn to build and maintain a bike for free. They also founded a community centre that provides movie nights, open mic events, and self-defence training.

The street has also become a popular destination for couch surfers who come from all over the world. Visitors can stay for free so long as they volunteer to help out the community. Their efforts are a positive change for one of the most decimated and blighted areas in Detroit.

Shad and Sara were new arrivals to Goldengate Street in 2013. Sara has stayed but Shad comes and goes.


Mary with family and friend, Goldengate Street, 2012

Mary and her daughter Claire live full-time on Goldengate in a house that she is squatting in but the owner lets her stay there. It’s better than letting the house sit empty and be subject to scrappers and vandals.


Diane sleeping, 2013

Diane was homeless and had nowhere to stay so a friend had agreed to take her in for a few days. I chose to photograph her sleeping because when you sleep your mind is at peace and your problems don’t exist. The next time I stopped by to check on her she had moved on.

glemieGlemie, 2011

Glemie, a retired truck driver and fifty-year resident of Detroit, is an accomplished blues singer, but he’s also known for his small game hunting skills. Every fall he hunts an average of 150 raccoons, which he skins, dresses, and sells as food to clients. This extra income supplements his meagre retirement benefits. Born in southern Arkansas and the son of a sharecropper, Glemie was often required to pick 100 pounds of cotton a day as a child and raccoon was often the staple family meal of the day.


Charlie with his bike, 2012

Charlie has had every car he’s ever owned stolen so he bought himself a bike and then personalized it to celebrate his theft-free life.


Algernon with Babe, 2010

Algernon has lived in this house for the past 42 years. After raising four children he now lives alone as a widower and only occupies the first floor of the house. Upkeep has been minimal at best, but the house still maintains elements of its original grandeur. Structures such as this begin to take on a life of their own, gracing themselves with symbolic undertones, such as longevity, memory, and perseverance.


Rogue signage, 2011

This sign was made by Andre Ventura, a resident who lives on the street, after several gun shots were fired while children were playing in the corner park. He said you could hear the bullets flying overhead. The sign (not the gunfire) garnered the attention of several TV and radio stations that covered the story of Andre’s vigilante antics. Andre has made over 250 hand-painted signs that he has placed throughout the city to create awareness about crime, social issues, and political corruption in the city.


Kat in her new house, 2014

Kat (Kathina) took over an abandoned city corner lot next to her house and transformed it into a neighbourhood park complete with lighting, sculpture and flower and vegetable gardens. Her initiative was the first visible improvement to the street in over 30 years.

Kat also takes in homeless people who need shelter and provides them with basic essentials like clothing, blankets and food. All her efforts are supported through the generous donations of friends, and her unyielding faith.

She recently moved into this abandoned house just around the corner from her current residence. She’s in the process of trying to purchase it in order to continue her ongoing mission to improve the neighborhood. I’ve known Kat now for three years and I’ve never met someone who is as devoted to others as she is.


Semira sleeping in Kat’s house, 2012

The child of a homeless mother sleeps in Kat’s bedroom. There are often as many as eight people staying in her small two-bedroom house.


Calvin with his pit bull, 2011

Calvin does maintenance work for local Burger King restaurants. He was cleaning out his work truck when one of his pit bulls came running out of the house. He owns three in total and they’re all well-trained, friendly dogs. He says there are no bad pit bulls, only bad owners.


Mo, birdman of Detroit, 2012

Mo loves pigeons and has been raising them ever since he was a young boy living in Iraq. In the past 50 years he has raised more than 2,000 of them. He has built several makeshift pigeon coops that are either attached to his modest house or around his yard, and at any one time there could be over one hundred birds living on his property. His neighbourhood is notorious for prostitution and his tenant Lori, a local hooker who has been living with him for the past two years, helps share the living expenses of the household. Mo prefers not to know what Lori does and he will not let her bring customers into the house, but through the shared arrangement they have each found companionship and mutual support.


Angela and Aya, North Corktown, 2010

Angela is one of a growing number of young, urban agra-farmers who have moved back into the city and taken over abandoned city lots to farm on. Detroit has been designated a food desert meaning that there’s not one national chain grocery store within the city limits. Residents instead have to rely on their own initiative if they want to have fresh produce that is readily available, and literally hundreds of community gardens have sprung up all over the city to counter the shortage.


Brad, 2010

Brad will scrap this abandoned factory site for the next year, digging in the ground and taking from it about 1,000 pounds of recyclable metal a day. He will make on average $110 for a day’s work. He’s been unable to find employment, but took it upon himself to find a way to earn some money and to do something positive about his situation.


Charles, Eastside, 2015

Charles has been squatting in this abandoned house for the last six months. The crane company he worked for went out of business after they lost all of their automotive contracts to foreign competition. Recently divorced and unable to find work and his unemployment benefits depleted, he’s trying to fix up this abandoned house by salvaging materials from other abandoned buildings. His house was recently ransacked by thieves that broke in and stole what little valuables he had.


Caprice with her nieces in the Polka Dot Garden, Eastside, 2014

Robert, an 85-year-old retired interior decorator was afraid that an empty lot behind his house was going to be filled with trash so he began creating his imaginary ‘Polka Dot Garden’ to protect the property. It’s a place filled with fanciful sculpture and flowering plants that the neighborhood children can enjoy.


Patricia, 2012

Patricia in her new house on Goldengate Street with her cigarette ration


Andrew harvesting his garden, 2012

Andrew and his wife Kinga live almost entirely off of what their garden produces throughout the year. They live on a street where many of the residents trade and barter with each other.


Hakeem, 2012

Broke, divorced, and after losing his business, Hakeem found his salvation through his Muslim faith. He scraped up $500 to purchase a run-down house on the north side of town and now repairs cars from an abandoned two-car garage across the alley from his house. Turning a small room of his house into a place for meditation and reflection, he continually writes original phrases of wisdom, inspirational quotes, and factual titbits on his walls that guide his moral and spiritual life. Always positive of mind, he doesn’t see himself as a victim anymore, but someone who accepts adversity as a metaphor to building one’s character.


Lynn Guyton, 2010

Lynn is the brother of Tyree Guyton, founder of the famed Heidelberg Project, Detroit’s most well-known and visited social arts project that addresses urban blight issues plaguing the city. heidelberg.org.


Marcus and Bey-Bey, 2012

Two brothers who have tattoos on their chests memoralizing the death of their mother who died from an asthma attack at the age of 34.


Miss Louise, Brightmoor, 2013

Miss Louise is a 42-year resident of the Brightmoor area, one of Detroit’s most blighted neighbourhoods. She said she still likes the area and she’ll stay until the day she dies because, as she puts it, “where else am I going to go?”. She always has a positive attitude about everything in spite of the constant crime and slowly watching her neighborhood completely empty out.


Migo, 2011

Migo’s house has been broken into over twenty times so as a political statement he placed worthless items in his front yard so the “junkies could take the junk”. His house is flanked by two gated parking lots and a new apartment housing complex. The neighbours are not amused, but he doesn’t care anymore.


Los with his toy gun, 2014

The only kind of weapon he believes people should be allowed to carry in Detroit, or anywhere for that matter.


Tom’s house, 2011

After living on the street for several years, Tom took over a small patch of abandoned industrial property perched along the Detroit River. He has spent the last twelve years at this location and has built three small structures there, all of them made from discarded materials he finds in construction dumpsters. The first was a small 4 x 5 x 4 foot hut that he built on top of a 15-foot high abandoned rail line. He lived in this structure for seven years. He then built a 7 x 10 foot cabin tall enough for him to stand up in. He replaced his first structure with a slightly larger one that he made with walls that had six inches of insulation. He uses that structure to live in during the winter and heats it with candles.


Tom digging his new foundations, 2014

Currently Tom is in the process of building a 16 X 16 foot structure that will have two floors. He has completed the foundation which he dug out by hand and predicts it will take him two years to build, having few tools. Extremely resourceful, introspective, and independent, Tom has lived these past several years without heat, electricity, or running water.

Detroit Unbroken Down is published by PowerHouse Books

Lucia Lucas

The transgender opera diva and Accent cover star


Meet Lucia Lucas, opera singer, transgender woman and advocate, and one of our Issue Two double cover stars. Despite recommendations that she, as a baritone, should “get a day job” until the age of 40 before working professionally, Lucia is now in her 30s and has already built a successful career performing opera internationally. Following her recent transition, she still plays male roles 90 per cent of the time she appears on stage, maintaining that “I wouldn’t want a person to think a woman was playing the character unless they looked down at their programme.”

“I came out to the opera community at a ball with my wife — she wore a trouser suit and I wore a dress. People didn’t recognise me at first — they recognised my wife, then looked at me and eventually they figured it out. Being able to see their genuine reactions was helpful; I came out the next week. I told the intendant that I liked my job and hoped I could continue to do it, but this was something I had to do for myself; it was something I’d been putting off forever. He said: ‘OK, how does this work?” I replied: “Well, nobody’s ever done it before.'”

Read Lucia’s full story with photographs by Alice Neale in Issue 2, which you can buy here.




Lucia wears: Coat by Givenchy; trousers Anna Scholz, jumper by Givenchy; jacket model’s own, underwear model’s own, earring by Bill Skinner

Photographer — Alice Neale
Photographer’s Assistant — Hannah Burton
Stylist — Rachael J Vick
Make-up — Naomi Serene
Retouching — Signe Emma

Produced by Accent Magazine

Accent AW16 Launch


On Thursday September 29 in Shoreditch, London, we launched Accent’s AW16 issue  at The Society Club. Surrounded by the club’s prized rare books, we sent our own collection of extraordinary stories into the world. We were joined on the night by our friends at Dickies, who gifted our guests with some of their dapper clothes, as well as supplying limited-edition Accent tote bags in which to carry their mags home. Thanks to all who came, drank and read — we had a great night. Sign up to the mailing list, or follow us on Instagram and Twitter to hear about the next one.

Photographs by Iona Wolff















Reflections from an ‘in-betweeny’ on a double life lived at the weekend. With photographs by Jack Davison


LONDON — I used to work in an office. One day I was expecting a visitor. Somewhat bewilderingly, when he got to my floor he asked for ‘Julie’. “He’s only Julie at the weekends”, declared a female colleague, so that everyone could hear. I had not divulged to, and had deliberately kept hidden from, anyone at the office, that I was, indeed, (not Julie) ‘Andie’ at the weekends, and my colleague’s joke was, therefore, pregnant with hidden irony, or, possibly, my cover had already been blown: the hair long enough to be en chignon, the mascara not having been completely erased by Monday morning?

But yes, she was right: I am ‘Andie’ at the weekends (a ‘genuine’ girl’s name in France and America). A very part-time tranny, dancing Saturday nights away at the Way Out Club in Aldgate, or sometimes Wednesdays at the Shadow Lounge in Soho: two popular transgender venues. People of all ages, all backgrounds, all races, dressed and made-up magnificently differently. Many are part-time, like me; some have undergone anatomical and chemical change to move more convincingly into the realm of the feminine: boys, girls and in-betweenies. Some of the more convincingly and biologically transformed can look askance at we ‘in-betweenies’: we’re not the real thing, we’re merely playing at it. I heard one such belle of the ball — rather spoiling the graces lent by her most admirable physical beauty — complain about the smell of testosterone in the Ladies, because, she animadverted, of all the trannies there.

Such girls could never undergo the purported ignominy of being ‘read’. Me, I don’t mind that much if I am taken for a man in a dress or a rather ragged or bizarre form of female in a dress. Being a ‘man in a dress’ — because of the artificiality of the ‘disguise’ — tends, ironically, to afford you more attention, even admiration: having one’s photograph taken by strangers in the street, questions about where you got your shoes or costume, advice from girls on make-up, etc. On the negative side, this artificiality is occasionally an invitation for aggression: I was hit on the head on the night bus home by a man who evidently found my appearance offensive. Some young men, full of their own self-importance and booze, can evidence a strident reluctance to include me easily within their heretofore imagined view of the world, suddenly and rudely interrupted.

“I think it’s great to have two selves, to run two wardrobes, two persons, and be a citizen known completely differently. It’s boring being Andrew all the time”

I can’t get very worked up about being ‘read’. God has distributed his gifts unevenly; and I am disinclined to get political on the subject of men in bras generally, as perhaps we are invited to do when embraced, mostly unwittingly, by the LGBTQ community. Given that we are fighting against Nature, against the incredulity of family or friends, we necessarily find ourselves out on a limb. From this state of affairs it is but a short step, I think, to find oneself putting up a finger to society at large, in however vague or disorientated and meaningless a manner: we find ourselves manoeuvred into the position of rebels. Which is curious, really, when all we’re doing is wearing a skirt. You wouldn’t think people would be so sensitive: the fact that they are makes rather attractive, to me, an outcome which is more than just frivolity.

It is suggested that of all the deviations, transvestism is the most philosophic or aesthetic — as against being purely sexual in motivation; even that our primeval or ancestral gods and progenitors were androgynous and possessed of a wisdom that the subsequent human declension into male and female has vitiated. According to this view, your humble tranny reclaims and becomes the inheritor of a divine authority: a shaman, a priest-like sorcerer, a visionary! Try telling that to the man on the night bus back! (Or any of the girls at the clubs, come to that.)

Is one more in touch with one’s feminine side? It’s suggested that dressing-up can be an amelioration of the demands of an over-harsh super ego, instilled by a male-dominated society. When I look around me at the clubs, I’m intrigued to think that almost everyone there is actually a man. Although the male ego is never far below the surface, I think there is a certain softening of the personality: if only a more genuine sensitivity to the aesthetic. Which, in fact, is rather academic because the clubs are a carnival, showtime, bravura, and being someone different for a while — a place where everyone is a star.

I think it’s great to have two selves, to run two wardrobes, two persons, and be a citizen known completely differently. It’s boring being Andrew all the time.

And anyway, think of the health benefits: all that dancing! Plus, there’s no way one is going start putting on weight, if one is still to get into those size 10 dresses. And finally, why should women have all the fun of the many transformative and deceptive possibilities afforded by make-up and dress? A ‘star’: repeatedly burnt to incandescence and continually reliving its genesis—at the weekend.


Accent SS16

Issue one features the famous faces of 80s punk London, a young vogueing superstar from the House of Labeija in NYC, the street kids of Mexico City’s Alameda Central park and a yuppie-hating bachelor from Philadelphia who spent 30 years as a photographer’s muse.

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Accent AW16

Andrew Logan and Lucia Lucas

Accent’s AW16 issue features two very special cover stars: Andrew Logan — the English eccentric and artist who founded the legendary dress-up pageant Alternative Miss World — and Lucia Lucas, a transgender opera diva and one of the world’s only female baritones. Elsewhere in the issue is an interview with the Game Changers, a young band of urban cowboys in New Orleans, a dance craze invented by fashionable youth in the townships of South Africa and Harrod Blank’s archive of wild and wacky art cars from across the United States.

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Los Niños

One-hour photo prints of Mexico City’s street kids in the summer of 1999. By Tyler Hubby

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MEXICO CITY — In the summer of 1999 I was in Mexico City working camera on a documentary film about the homeless and orphaned children who live around the Alameda Central. As we began shooting, the children were leery, having been exploited countless times by the local media. We eventually gained their trust by putting the video-camera away and taking photographs using only my 35mm SLR. It occurred to me that we could develop the pictures at a local one-hour photo shop and return to the park to give copies to our subjects. This was hugely successful.

When the kids realised that we wanted to give them their own image — something that, apparently, no one else had — they warmed up to us immediately. They went from being hardened, suspicious street creatures to children again, with all their innocence and wonder exposed. Gone were the scowls and jeering laughs; they began to mug and play in front of the camera. We were welcomed into their tribe.

Many of these kids had been abandoned by their already impoverished families — too many mouths to feed — and were just surviving in the streets.  They slept in stairways, sewers or anywhere they could.  Almost all of them were huffing glue and the smell of it was strong. At the time these photos were taken, only adult homelessness was criminalised in Mexico City; the kids were free to roam around, often shooed away by the police like stray dogs. The teens in the group were very worried that they would be taken to jail upon turning 18.

When we returned for subsequent shoots the kids proudly showed us their pictures, which they kept in dirty pockets or tucked into waistlines. They even traded pictures among themselves. I was struck by the powerful validation one must feel when being able to own one’s image for the first time.

When I look at these images now I wonder how many of them are still alive; they would be adults now.

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