Friday, 16 February 2007

Safe + Sound

002safesoundLOWRES, originally uploaded by chantelle.

Taken from Safe + Sound, the new book produced by i-D.

Twenty two year old Ben Drew, more commonly referred to as Plan B, hails from Forest Gate, east London. His vivid accounts of inner-city living are brutal and sometimes feared yet consistantly reverred. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the rapper and sometimes singer, has drawn comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys, Johnny Cash and The Streets. But a listen to his debut album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words, firmly places him in his own spot, talking on behalf of a jilted generation.

AN HONEST LIVING As told to Chantelle Fiddy...

"You don't have to go to college or University to do well in life, the University of Life is more important than any of that. My mate from Essex, people would think he had a better chance of doing well in life than me: he had money, he lived in a nice area with no crime, fewer drugs, good schools. His middle class neighbours would say he could do something proper. But then he came to London because his village was boring, he was like a nieve kid. I knew about drugs, I was wise, I'd experienced a lot. Drugs are everywhere but you can't blame drug addiction on other people. Some wankers have it around their kids and make them think it's ok. Then there's people who are just clueless. When you're in your 20's it's down to the individual. At 22, I couldn't talk a Manchester United fan into being an Arsenal fan could I? He learnt late on and now he's a smack head, injecting heroin in his vain's and I'm here doing what I'm doing. His mum used to look down on me and thought I was bad influence, if she had life experience she wouldn't have judged me, but she's had to go through her son becoming a heroin addict for her to realise she too had a lot to learn. The only way of avoiding the pitfalls of London are not coming at all, coming as a man or living it and learning. My kids would have to grow up in the city, they'd have to be streetwise and experience it. For me their grades wouldn't be as important, I just want them to go to school to learn how to read, write and speak properly. You just need motivation to succeed. When you see things happen you feel it. When I write my songs, it's a mixture of my own life and what I've seen in other peoples. I'm an artist so I'm going to always look at the world as an artist and someone who doesn't need a grade to make money or be happy in my work. The darkest time in my life was shit that went on at home and stuff that I talk about in my songs. One of the most personal tracks is 'Couldn't Get A Long' about a mate that died. I got through things in my life by accepting them and being honest with myself, everybody lies, I lie, but when things get to a certain point where it's really messed up, the best way is honesty. You've got to be honest with yourself, don't believe your own lies. People see honesty. When I was experimenting with drugs I didn't have to kick the habit because I didn't let it become a habit. You know they're not good. The first pill is wicked, the second time you have a bad come down and the third time to even get high you have to double drop. The more you take you're never going to get that initial high, you're just going to keep pumping your body with shit. Ecstasy is a cool experience but you have to be man enough to accept when the bad times outweigh the good, most people aren't that honest with themselves. I was man enough to say I don't think this is cool, I don't order a drink to look cool either. I was honest enough to accept that whenever I smoked weed or sniffed coke, it turned me into a paranoid and dishonest person. Weed may inspire you, but then you roll another joint in the morning and forget what you were going to do. Just be honest, it's having a negative effect. And all those great ideas, like so many things, they're just lost."

Safe+sound is a 272 page soft cover book produced by i-D.
Featuring contributions from many well known artists, photographers, fashion designers, stylists and writers including:
Alber Elbaz, Alex Prager, Alexander McQueen, Alexander Tucker, Alix Sharkey, Ann Demeulemeester, Antonio Berardi, Antonio Marras, Matthew Stone, Melanie Ward, Michel Momy, Naoki Takizawa, Neil Barrett, Neil Boorman, Neville Brody, Nick Knight, Paul Smith, Peter De Potter, Peter Saville, Philip Treacy, Phoebe Philo, Raf Simons, Richard Burbridge, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Ryan McGinley, Sam Taylor-Wood, Shannon Plumb, Shawn Mortensen, Sheryl Garratt, Simon Foxton, Sophia Kokosalaki, Stephan Schneider, Stephen Jones, Terry Jones, Thurston Moore, Tricia Jones, Vanina Sorrenti, Veronique Branquinho, Walter Van Beirendonck, Willy Vanderperre, Wing Shya, Yohji Yamamoto.

£12.50 UK, £14.50 EUROPE, £18.50 WORLD Prices include postage and packing. for more info or to buy. If you are interested in stocking Safe+Sound in your store, please email

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