‘Live fast, die young,’ said someone who was lying through their teeth. While James Dean and Jimi Hendrix may have set a certain precedent for wayward souls, most of the young rebels out there just, in fact, grow older. You can’t always go back to Neverland and mingle with the Lost Boys, but that hasn’t stopped a lot of people in the UK from trying to stay lodged in time.
In photographer Muir Vidler’s series ‘Rebels Without A Pause,’ he visits and gets a snapshot of Brits, stuck in their strange arrested developments. When Vidler first moved to London, he was a photographer for local queer publication QX. He spent half of his week doing club photography. One night, while on assignment, he spotted Adrian Delgoffe, a man older than his father dancing alone in a leather harness. He became something of a fascination to Vilder, the start of a journey to photograph the 60 going on 16.
Punks, rebels, rockabillies, mods, circus performers, doms, and Paul ‘Elvis’ Chan, an Elvis impersonator who owned a Chinese restaurant called Gracelands. Vidler said that, despite the sprawling subcultures, it wasn’t hard networking and arranging photo shoots. The old rebels usually found it rather flattering.
Vidler didn’t ask what his subjects do for a living now, he didn’t want to spoil the illusion. Part of the charm to him was how frozen in time these subjects were. “The Mods still wear the same clothes, listen to the classic music like the Small Faces, The Who,” Vidler told Herb, “they go on scooter rides in the summer to Brighton beach, just like they did in the 60’s.”
While these young at heart rebels have survived the end of the century, Vidler isn’t certain subcultures like these are built to last. We may be seeing the last generation of them now.