My culture: Rick Brim on historic places

What inspires the inspired? Some of adland's global luminaries reveal where they turn to for ideas, and it's an eclectic mix...

Shaun Ryder outside the Dry Bar in Manchester
Shaun Ryder outside the Dry Bar in Manchester

I am obsessed with places where things happened. It’s not so much about the specific "thing" that happened, but more about how and why it took place. I’m not a big museum or art gallery person; I get bored because my ADHD kicks in. But I get completely immersed in places with a sense of history. You can feel them.

For example, I grew up in Manchester, which is rich with music history. I used to drink in the Dry Bar, which was owned by Anthony Wilson. This is where The Stone Roses and The Charlatans used to drink. Stuff happened here and you felt it. Much like The Colony Room Club in Soho, where Francis Bacon used to hold court, there was something in the walls.

Or when I go over to New York, I stay in the Bowery district. I’m a fan of Basquiat, and discovered by chance his studio was across the road from the hotel. One day, I found myself incredibly jet-lagged, doing a walking tour at four in the morning of all the places I’d read about that were connected to him. I visited the site of the Mudd Club nightclub, his first studio, the galleries he showed in, places he’d tagged when he was part of the SAMO graffiti duo. For those two or three hours I was constantly thinking and soaking up the environment – what was it about these places that sparked his creative genius?

It’s like The Factory. I’m not a massive Andy Warhol fan, but what was it about that place that instilled such legend?

I guess, ultimately, I am trying to find out what secrets these places hold. I want to be able to create an environment where, for a moment in time, good things happen. I most definitely felt it when I came up those strange steps at DDB for the first time 20 years ago as a student.

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