Before Palace the British skate brand, there was The Palace, a communal crash-pad in South London’s Southbank skate-haven where Lev Tanju and his friends Nugget, Blondey, Snowy, Edson, et al. lived and partied, practically rent-free. The crew of young Brits called themselves the Palace Wayward Boys Choir, or PWBC for short.
“When I think about skateboarding pictures I always used to think about America, and then I met Lev and PWBC and they all looked really good, and it was very British, and they all dressed more like they were going to a football match than skating in Waterloo,” McLellan told Dazed in a recent interview. “The fact that they were aged 15 to 30, and it looked like they could be in Fagin’s gang; it was like something out of a Dickens novel. I liked that the names they all had sounded like they’re out Brighton Rock too; Nugget, Blondey, Edson, Snowy. Most brands don’t have a history like theirs, born out of hanging out on the Southbank.”
McLellan and Tanju have compiled some of the photographer’s best shots documenting the crew’s time in the Palace both as an exhibition at London’s Institute of Contemporary Art and a book, The Palace, due out later this year. The book is both a document of the brand’s origin story and a swansong: The Palace’s landlord is selling the spot.
Alasdair McLellan & Lev Tanju: The Palace will be on show from 8 – 24 July and is part of the ICA’s Young ICA – a programme that focuses on young creatives that will take place over July. A full survey of McLellan’s work with Palace and the PWBC will be published by IDEA Books this summer