Chris Brickley The Inner Circle: Graham Gavin's Glasgow in the 90s

28th November 2022

Format Info

signed by Graham


Join us at Mono on 26th November for the launch of Inner Circle: Graham Gavin’s Glasgow in the 90s, a new publication from Chris Brickley. With special guests Ganger, Lugworm, J. Mellis Hairweave Quartet, Subliminal Girls + Salty Cellar DJ’s Annie and Marc. 8pm doors, no ticket required!

The Inner Circle is an introduction to the work of talented photographer Graham Gavin. This joyous selection of images reveals tight-knit and interlinked circles of young creatives in the distant Glasgow of the 1990s. A world of dole queue courses and signing-on, dog-eared flats and elegant terraces. A world of bands and line-ups and pulsating, energised music venues. Artists, photographers, DJs, industry fixers. A world of cafes, alleyways and parks. Of subway and markets, of posing and watching. A way of ‘being’ that we’ll all recognise, and wish for a moment that we’d been there. Perhaps you were. The photographs in this book are fresh, natural, life-affirming, warm. Everything that’s best in the city.


With a poignant introduction by Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), and written contributions from John McKeown, Alan Dimmick, Jane Egypt, Marc Baines, Sci-Fi Steven and P6Featured artists include Lungleg, Yummy Fur, Bis, Dog Faced Hermans, Dawson and more, as well as PJ Harvey, Bikini Kill and Stereolab.

Graham was born in Glasgow in 1970 and was swiftly moved to a concrete replica of Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl. Graham’s obsessive consumption of music saw him gravitate towards a group of likeminded individuals from school who were happy to scrimp and save their school dinner money in order to attend legendary gigs held at Glasgow’s Splash One Happening night. Under the influence of this group of friends (who were now operating as the Beefheart-inspired noise merchants Stretcheads) Graham set out to emulate his likeminded brethren by forming various bands throughout the ‘90s, including Ganger, Lugworm and Subliminal Girls. The latter of these was formed in the very early ‘90s with John McKeown of The Yummy Fur, who met Graham spinning records with future Lungleg guitarist Annie Spandex at the now flattened Rooftops Nightclub on Sauchiehall Street. McKeown’s entourage allowed for new friendships of bands and bonds to be formed, many of which have stood the test of time.

Around this period, Graham picked up a camera and set about capturing his inner circle of pals, the majority of whom were involved in music in Glasgow in some shape or form. Using his Glaswegian terrain as a studio, Graham documented his friends’ glorious faces, clothing and swagger in a decade-long series of evolving moments. He also looked beyond this close group of individuals and considered the changes that Glasgow was undergoing throughout its main thoroughfares. Shops and cafes that once operated as bustling hubs were now beginning to slide into economic and unfashionable blackholes and their limited time left on many a main drag was recorded by Graham’s inquisitive lens. Thankfully, cafes such as Jaconelli’s on Maryhill Rd still stand the test of time, but the majority have disappeared and now only operate as a vague memory.

During the mid-‘90s, Graham’s talents with a camera were frequently being commissioned by his friends when photographs were required for their independent record releases and publicity purposes. Humour and a sense of warmth often shine through his black-and-white images and gave the viewer a sense of fun and adventure of the moment the image was snapped.

Running parallel with taking photographs, Graham frequently ran successful club nights spinning Jazz and Soul and all those other sundries at celebrated venues throughout Glasgow such as The 13th Note club and cafe as well as The R.A.F.A. Club in the west of the city. His playing and passion for music allowed him to share stages throughout the ‘90s with groups such as Stereolab, Broadcast and Trans Am. Closer to home, he often played on bills with Vesuvius Records artistes, including The Yummy Fur and Lungleg, as well as The Pastels, Long Fin Killie and El Hombre Trajeado. Stints of playing with Half Japanese frontman Jad Fair led to a blossoming musical relationship with improvisor Caroline Kraabel, and stages have also been shared with prolific figures such as Charles Hayward of This Heat and Mike Watt of The Minutemen.

Leaving photography behind in the ‘00s, Graham decided to get academic, take life a little more seriously, and swap the film of photography for that of Film Studies at university.

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