BOY-ABOUT-TOWN SLINKY SUNBEAM loves his band, loves his buddies and loves to dabble in a bitta Tom Foolery. He’s always papped out dancing ‘round town with the hottest hipsters, playing gigs to gaggles of frantic fans and leaving a Hansel and Gretal-esque trail of mischief wherever his little legs take him. Slinky is the new kiD on the block, a ruffled mess of indie-pop and tabloid fame.
Oh and most of the time he’s naked too. Bufftingz!
Slinky Sunbeam is living testament to the power of media stunts. Having been handpicked as one of Matt Irwin’s muses for Uniqlo’s A/W 2008/9 campaign and scoring himself billboard fame as the face of Nokia earlier this year. Besides the incessant call for his pearly whites in front of the camera, Slinky’s MySpace page has garnered over 4,000 ‘friends’, his social life has swollen with a number of celeb pals eager to party and his band, ‘The More Assured’, saw their latest single ‘You Do It Pretty Well/I Wanna Be A Sex Offender’ sell out on the day of release. So is it just then, his one meat and two veg naked exposure that has scored slinky and co. fame? “I hope not” Slinky says as he settles down to talk,”‘I just tend to have a lot of wardrobe malfunctions in front of cameras!”
At least for the time being, Slinky’s fully clothed, as we sit in Hackney’s Victoria Park on a hot April afternoon. He’s sporting a rather spectacular array of coloured clothes. A green tank top scrolled across with ‘No, I do not want a free London Lite’, is just one of the humourous homemade creations Slinky’s renowned for wearing “See my t-shirt? It’s great. If you don’t want a free paper you can just show the vender your chest and not mutter a word!” he says with a perma-fixed toothy grin. Straight away it is clear why he’s so popular right now amongst London’s party darlings. He bubbles with a distinct humility as he divulges excerpts from ‘Slinky: what lies beneath the It-boy branding’
“I’m definitely not an IT-boy,” Slinky says, widening his eyes, “The Guardian dubbed me ‘a cocksure rich kid’, but I grew up on two estates and a tower black. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am today.”
Slinky’s cute-as-you-like mush first attracted attention with the growing fan base of his indie pop band, fronted by Al “Your Pal”. The quartet, who are signed to London based label ‘What?! Records’, threw themselves headfirst into the grimy dives of the London club circuit back in 2005. Today they sing odes to the hypocrisy of tabloid Britain and its taboos of youngsters in a frantic, sugary pop style. They are to your ears what your favourite shoes are to yours feet and they are a big hit with the teen market up and down the country. “Bands that appeal to over-18s don’t sell records- unless they’ve got a massive team behind them. We sold out our last single in a day- that’s the teens. They’re more appreciative”.
In three years, the band has gone from 50 person back-street pub gigs to playing alongside the Fratellis at the infamous Ibiza Rocks, as well as recently working with Razorlight producer John Fortis on their debut album, due for release later in the year.
“After gigs I’d hang out with the fans, do magic tricks, because I really like magic and after a while I decided to try and make official merchandise for the band because everyone kept commenting on my home-made clothes” He says pointing to his Katharine Hamnett inspired t-shirt.
Determined to keep the fans rolling in, Slinky decided to take his DIY creations and his housemate-cum-sidekick Al onto the streets of London and straight into the media eye.
“Last year Al and I did a couple of naughty things,” Slinky says biting on his index finger. “Firstly I had a horrible wardrobe malfunction whilst stood next to Peaches Geldof, which led to naked pictures of me in the free London papers. Have you seen it,” he asks, and when I nod I have to ask, WHY? the extreme male grooming going on in the downstairs department. Slinky says, “Just for fun I brought Veet the hair removal cream just to see what it would feel like and it’s wicked. My friends are always telling me to keep my hands out of my pants!” Slinky continues, “The second thing we did was Al’s idea. We decided we should give Russell Brand an Oscar for best Amy Winehouse look-a-like ‘07”. The fitting place for such a cheeky stunt, was the world Premiere of St. Trinians in Leicester Square and ex-estate boy, Slinky, was lifted, almost overnight, to lucrative tabloid property, his exploits receiving some wanted and lots of unwanted media attention. “Lots of people criticised us, but I don’t know why more bands don’t pull stunts like that! It’s merely harmless fun”
Becoming something of a celebrity, Slinky’s found himself knee-deep in a whole hoard of opportunities to show off his other talents. He’s the newest fixture at the offices of SuperSuper magazine, writing a hilariously funny, mumble-jumble of nonsense, which with hindsight is the handiwork of nothing less than a creative writing connoisseur. “A few issues ago SuperSuper magazine spent 24 hours with me for a feature for the magazine and I got chatting to Namalee (co-founder) over coffee. She said I was funny and peculiar thing and asked me to have a go at writing a television review for the next issue. It was fun, I love to write and I chose to do my review on ‘the episode of Brookside where someone gets buried under the patio’.” Now he’s progressed onto writing for his own double page ‘the wonderful life of Slinky Sunbeam’, where he has the freedom to write whatever he so desires to.
“For next month’s issue I’m toying with the idea of either doing a board game that can be cut out and stuck on card with squares reading things such as ‘Go back 5 spaces Camden has burnt down or a page called ‘the Tudor Buzz’ which would be a 16th century parody of the London Paper’s middle pages.”
Slinky tells me he writes everything down, from funny phrases he’s heard on the bus to new words he’s found in his Oxford English dictionary. “I have been doing creative writing since school, just for my own pleasure. I keep a diary with exaggerated truths,” he says sniggering, “I fill an A4 notebook in a week,” he says, as I start to imagine every inch of Slinky’s flat piled high with thousands of dusty handwritten diaries and lumberjacks working soley to serve Slinky’s writing addiction. “They’re all recycled paper notebooks,” Slinky assures me. “One day I’d like to write a novel, and you’ll be able to choose an ending like those Goosebumps books,” he says.
Besides putting pen to paper and needle to thread, Slinky’s also been involved in acting, band management, radio show presenting as well as being continuously credited for his eclectic fashion sense. Total grunge with a bit of Where’s Wolly, you only need to glimpse the American apparel headbands, customised skinny’s and wonderful array of graffiti-ed tank tops, to know that Slinky is a stylists pipedream. Edgy, energetic, a little rough around the edges yet handsome enough to dazzle in front of the camera. He’s appeared in a H&M brochure for being “a new fashion icon” as well as his modelling for the reinvented brand Uniqlo and Nokia and I have a feeling he’s gunna be scouted for a lot more.
Despite being catapulted in to the limelight, Slinky still has his feet very much on the ground. “People assume that I’m really arrogant,” Slinky says, but it’s not the case with him at all. Slinky Sunbeam’s a nice guy. A really nice guy. A newer, nicer seed of London’s young socialite breed.