And, therefore, makes history as the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue. American Vogue.
Are you ready? I was not a fan of One Direction because I don’t know. When You & I, finally, caught my eye, I heard they’d split up and I was like Oh, ok.
Then, I heard Sign of the Times and was kind of hooked from the start. I don’t know if I heard it when it was still hot or not and I, still, haven’t even looked at the number of times it had been played on YouTube or anything. I didn’t even know who sang it. What I want to say is that it didn’t and doesn’t matter. I mean, it matters (wait, wait), but back then, I’d simply started to listen to Harry Styles’ music because I just really liked it. Like it. It feels so clean and I think I’d missed this kind of vibe in new released music. I’m not saying there’s no great music out now. Yet, there’s a particular vibe with his music I haven’t really sensed much of lately anywhere. Harry has been raising the bar, concomitantly on many levels, and has been doing so with kindness. Treat People With Kindness is a song from his second album.
How? It starts with his music. “I really enjoy being private more. I don’t feel like people know everything about me now and there was, definitely, a time where I felt like people knew everything about me and I realised I didn’t like that. I kind of, also, wanted to let the work do the talking a little bit”. And his music starts with him. Oui!
I was about to bring up Sign of the Times on YouTube, but as soon as I’d typed his name, Golden was suggested and, to my surprise, I had’t seen it since it first came out, two weeks ago or something. I knew about it, was super curious to see it and couldn’t wait to indulge in it. I’d felt it might be one of those things and it is. Superb.
Back to THE Sign.
Golden. Still here. It must be the fourth time in a row and this doesn’t happen to me ~ that ~ often. I think I’m going to watch it again. Yes. I hope this doesn’t turn into a Yup, it’s the eleventh time(!). Or, who knows, knowing myself, it just might. Let’s see. Turning this off a bit.
Yup, a couple of times. I could let it play on repeat while writing forwards. But. I lose my focus, I want to watch it. It is, genuinely, so nice and I’m not going to say that he’s just so genuine, because that is obvious. And.
Is liberating a better choice for a word?
Genuine is a synonym for authentic and authenticity brings in freedom and freedom is mesmerising and mesmerising implies magic, so:
I see I’m managing to focus with Golden in the background. I’m peeking, of course, but it feels good not to overthink and just write as it comes.
The thought of Harry Styles on the cover of Vogue has just crossed my mind as the cover stroke – like a strike does – on my Instagram today, Friday, the 13th of November, 2020. Is it on stands already? Can’t wait to get it tomorrow! No, Can’t wait to walk tomorrow, on a chilly, sunny November day, to the newsstand and buy it! This is the effect I love and, sometimes, crave for. Enthusiasm. A trigger also known as a superpower, I believe, Vogue has up on Vogue’s sleeve when Vogue thinks big. The biggest power in one of the biggest industries in the world, fashion, used, in the brightest way possible, to affect the world of 2020, through art. A trigger that tastes like watermelon.
Harry has been bringing a world tour scale artistic act in front of the new world of 2020 without for the world to have to move. The world of 2020 that can’t move, at the moment, anyway. Except for Harry (and, well, for my parents on vacation) that shot Golden on Italy’s Amalfi coast, during a strict regulations pandemic. To shine a light.
Isn’t that wonderful to do on a day like today and, honestly, on any other day?
Have you taken notice of what light does to everything?
My mother always has a word for when I’m in awe of someone and my storytelling of them just won’t stop. She says they’re true and this is where I stop. For a second. We look into each other’s eyes and, almost simultaneously, say real. However. On top of everything else, on top of true, on top of real, on top of Harry wearing a dress while blowing up bubblegum with a sharp gaze in the Sussex dales, comes the sparkle of life.
The sparkle of life comes from the truth, is backed up by the greatest love – of all – for life and the will to, genuinely, live it is what I know.
The power of example is one of the brightest powers out there, in here is what I, also, know.
I’m letting Golden go and see what comes up next. It’s Watermelon Sugar. Now. Watermelon Sugar comes to mind from a cold Winter day, in my brother’s car, in England. I went there to hang out with him and the family in February 2020, just before the pandemic went viral (lol, not lol, you know) and everything shut down. We were getting some good fish and chips for take out. I stayed in the car with my dad while my brother and mom got out to order the fish and chips. Naturally, I start to put ~ my ~ music in. I open Apple Music, the Fine Line album was suggested, I was, yet again, drawn to the cover this time around, and opened it. I realised I’d forgotten about the Watermelon Sugar I listened to in my car, in the streets, walking anywhere, for days, at the end of 2019. Then, I must’ve had a hiatus month of listening to Solange’s When I Get Home album. Now is when I start to listen to Fine Line, Harry’ second album. And not in the “Oh, Harry is so cute” way that I’d noticed most people would, usually, when it comes to people listening to charming people, which he, obviously, again – cha-ching! – is. But in the “I just saw James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Harry” way.
Being out of the gossip world, sometimes, makes you live in a bubble. A bubble you yourself are working in on the discipline to do whatever feels right.
So, Watermelon Sugar starts and I’m like Nice! and put my eyes back into the notes on my phone, because yes, this is how ~ this ~ was created, on the previously mentioned Friday evening. Something catches my eye in the split of the second I looked at the TV. Some words.
The epigraph says This video is dedicated to touching. May 18, 2020. I rewind, pause it and when I check on the font (yes, I do this, it’s caps), I see just above it, on the left Premiered May 18, 2020. 146M views., I had no idea, and here I am, watching it again. This is how the millions happen.
Ooh, the ocean… Then he starts to sing and it gets better. I can hear the waves. Even better. His ‘70s style makes me want to go and have fun with my clothes! It’s Gucci and Emily Adams Bode. Then, he starts to eat watermelon on the beach. More fruit, more fun, beautiful girls and boys. The picture they take on the beach, in the perfect light, is just, you know, a fabulous idea. I mean, who does these videos? Bradley & Pablo, in Malibu, California, January 2020, do.
A group of friends and I were playing, this Summer, this very interesting Summer, the game you stick a post-it note with a celebrity’s (usually) name someone from the group wrote on your forehead and you’re supposed to ask questions to figure out who you are, basically. It came down to “So, I’m a famous, male singer from the UK”. My eyes filled with excitement and I instantly asked Am I Harry Styles?!.
So yes, I like the guy.
He could be wearing anything – but you know it’s not really anything what we really mean when we say anything, it’s a specific kind of anything one has to feel about any clothes or accessories one wears – and still be oneself. This means style and it’s called intuition.
It was during this same Summer that I was obsessed with, yeah, I can say obsessed with Woman that I infected all of my female and male friends with, yeah, Woman. My brother even. I must have had, randomly, wink, Shazamed it sometime, somewhere.
Oh, yes, so here I am, back in England. My brother is a surgeon, just like my father is, and he has this specific kind of patience that resembles calmness and adrenaline at the same time. Anyway, I suggest him music when I’m really into something and he does, too. Purple Rain, for instance, has occupied an important part in my life ever since the age of five or something. It’s interesting. So, Harry Styles is, obviously, my suggestion when he gets back in the car with mom. Why obviously? Well, I don’t imagine my brother searching for Harry Styles on Apple Music, though it is from him that I’ve got The Beatles mania ever since I, basically, opened my eyes into this world. And, of all the places in the world, it is Liverpool he got to live in at the moment, go figure. Harry Styles has a Beatles feel to him.
One of the best feelings, when you have a brother or a sister, or a best friend, is to hear them say something like I’m so glad that he makes music that I actually enjoy listening to about whatever it is you’re doing.
Is this the good-looking English guy that used to be in a band or something?, my brother asks. I roll my eyes, though I’m proud of him for even knowing this information since I know his taste in music and reply You have to listen to his music and watch what I’m about to send you. He says OK and I’m happy he’s so open. I remember him saying not bad to Golden and me smirking in the back, in the dark. I’m also happy we’re together and it smells juicy in the car. I feel like we’re on a boat and it’s sunny and warm whilst it’s nighttime and we drive back home to enjoy the fish and chips. Amazing.
Speaking of fish and chips, Liam Gallagher happened to be around the studio when Fine Line was rounding up and he liked it. They all had fish and chips after.
This interview is so cool from, yeah, I guess any point of view and I don’t think it has anything to do with money, as I heard people lamenting whenever something cool shows up. And I love money because I know what money can do. I saw interviews with Harry from when he started. A changed man today, the same vibe from yesterday. Clean. And change is good, it means the life you’re living has affected you, I once heard Madonna, in an interview, saying. I hope my brother, by the time he reads this, would’ve already seen the interview. I know my neighbour had upon myself insisting on it (lmao) and I don’t know why, but I was very content about it.
I saw the interview as soon as I got back home from the quarantine I’d spent with the family, in the Spring of 2020, in the mountains, where we got to see the nature come to life. This “break” made me enter home, upon return, with a fresh emotion. I felt like falling in love with home all over again. So, on a perfectly lit afternoon in May, I watched the interview, at peace, at home. It felt like a new beginning.
Earlier, I’d paused Watermelon Sugar just here:
Fyi, Kiwi is playing and I’m going to get some fruit.
It’s called Ritter Sport, Whole Almonds, with almonds grown in the Californian sunshine. And some prunes. Passing by the bedroom. All good.
You know how eating chocolate, on a Friday night, is and you know how YouTube plays “Next” by default. It’s Miley’s Malibu.
I’ve just typed We’ve been here before at the same time with Harry singing We’ve been here before, live on The Graham Norton Show. Wide open eyes emoji.
It’s one of my two favourite live versions of the song and it puts me in a state every time.
The other one is from the Apple Music Behind the Album documentary that chronicles Harry’s musical journey while creating his debut solo album, Harry Styles, in Jamaica, and he sings it while laying on a couch with Mitch under his arm. The Mitch story is just as crisp as their chemistry is. The other arm was singing, too. The glow these guys have over each other is lovely.
It’s a mystery to me how come Harry’s interview on Howard Stern is, well, full, but these are the neat things one can do with money, see? Or I’m romanticising the s*it out of it.
Watching Lights Up three times in a row and thinking If tomorrow is sunny, I’m texting my neighbour to go for that walk to get the magazine, eat some good street food thing I’ve only recently discovered and am dying to see if he likes it just as much. I’m sending him a text now with just how much I like Lights Up. And the link to it. Earlier today, on Instagram, he sent me THE Vogue cover. I only saw his message when I sent him THE Vogue cover myself. Aw. I love the lyrics and the video. It ends with the lyric Do you know who you are? just like in the post-it game and, well, life.
I’m eating the kaki my dad gave me earlier today. I feel like I’m eating a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
To listen to Hamish Bowles read this profile, click the play button below: THE MEN’S BATHING POND in London’s Hampstead Heath at daybreak on a gloomy September morning seemed such an unlikely locale for my first meeting with Harry Styles, music’s legendarily charm-heavy style czar, that I wondered perhaps if something had been lost in translation.
Vogue has just initiated peace. Between women and men. Between men and women. Through art. It is in times like 2020 that art transforms and, therefore, helps the world transform.
Now, world, what should we all wish Harry back? All I wish Harry back is for him to be free and make whatever feels right. Whatever feels like the s*it!
Thank you and you are welcome.
In the end, it’s all about passion.