Amelia’s Magazine | Royal College of Art: Fashion Design Graduate Show 2011 review. Womenswear Knitwear.

RCA - Hannah Buswell by Kristina Vasiljeva
Hannah Buswell by Kristina Vasiljeva.

RCA knitwear design is out of this world. Naturally I was particularly keen on the really bright bold oversized collections, nurse but there were plenty of more tightly tailored and subtle garments too. Here’s who to look out for:

RCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Hannah Buswell photography by Amelia Gregory
Hannah Buswell created a slouchy striped collection in hot pinks, viagra 40mg oranges and yellows with the occasional slash of lime green or blue. Print (a collaboration with textiles designer Amy Ellis) was mixed with knitwear in variegated block shapes, for sale then embellished with large Swarovski crystals, all styled to perfection with knee high sheer striped socks. Find Hannah Buswell on her website, blog and twitter feed.

RCA graduate fashion 2011-Ruth Green photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Ruth Green photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Ruth Green photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Ruth Green photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Ruth Green photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Ruth Green photography by Amelia Gregory
Ruth Green was another fan of the popular boxy shoulder shape, and also of a hot orange and red colour palette in rectangular forms. Cowl necks and asymmetrical shapes completed the look. Take a look at Ruth Green’s website here.

RCA graduate fashion 2011-Maria Kamper photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Maria Kamper photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Maria Kamper photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Maria Kamper photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Maria Kamper photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Maria Kamper photography by Amelia Gregory
Maria Kamper chose an elegant approach, with close fitting dresses in subtle creams and black accompanied by draped trains.

RCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Victoria Hill photography by Amelia Gregory
As did Victoria Hill, who draped excess fabrics off the shoulder and bosom of belted full length dresses in fine gauge knit to create a very commercial and highly wearable collection. There’s not much on it but you can find her website here.

RCA graduate fashion 2011-Kate Pritchard photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Kate Pritchard photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Kate Pritchard photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Kate Pritchard photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Kate Pritchard photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Kate Pritchard photography by Amelia Gregory
Kate Pritchard pursued draping in a more bunched up fashion in a steely coloured collection with more than a slight nod to grunge.

RCA Graduate Show 2011 Helen Taylor by Sam Parr
Helen Turner by Sam Parr.

RCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Helen Turner photography by Amelia Gregory
I adored Helen Turner‘s clever collection which used bunched layers of yarn threaded through the garments to create a unique silhouette in shades of caramel, searing orange and petrol blue.

RCA graduate fashion 2011- photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011- photography by Amelia GregoryRCA graduate fashion 2011-Amelie MarciasiniRCA graduate fashion 2011- photography by Amelia Gregory
Unfortunately I can’t identify who are responsible for this lovely oversize bobbly aran knit and shaggy mohair cardigan, but loved these also. NEWSFLASH! Thankyou Hannah for telling me that the first two images feature Victoria Hill for Esprit, and the last two are Amelie Marciasini for Esprit.

Categories ,Amelie Marciasini, ,Amy Ellis, ,Block, ,Brights, ,Esprit, ,Hannah Buswell, ,Helen Turner, ,Kate Pritchard, ,knitwear, ,Maria Kamper, ,Mohair, ,Orange, ,rca, ,Royal College of Art, ,Ruth Green, ,Sam Parr, ,Swarovski, ,Victoria Hill, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Shao Yen: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Dana Bocai

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Dana Bocai

Taiwanese-born Shao Yen is no stranger to success. This knitwear graduate has caught the eye of other designers such as Nicola Formichetti, created a bespoke dress for dress-up queen, Bjork, and has been showing at London Fashion Week ever since his graduate Central Saint Martin’s MA show for A/W 2010.

Shao Yen AW 2012 by Amelia Gregory
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Amelia Gregory

As soon as I was directed to one of the spacious upstairs rooms at The Freemason’s Hall, I knew this presentation would be an altogether more relaxed affair than the dizzying thrills of earlier catwalk shows. If you’ve never visited the venue before, I would recommend it. Vauxhall Fashion Scout has used the iconic Art Deco building for their off-schedule shows for ages, and with good reason. The high ceilings, beautifully decorated walls and marble floors set the tone for equally enticing clothes.

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Gaarte

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Gaarte

As I passed through large doors into the presentation space, I think I audibly sighed in delight of what I saw. Several models stood on plain white podiums, beautifully lit, while a cello player produced soothing classical melodies, setting a relaxed yet formal tone. Although the room was busy, it was a visual treat to be able to come up close and admire a collection. At London Fashion Week, you become used to models practically running past on the catwalk, while you desperately try to take everything in over blaring music and not much room to breathe. For this presentation, it was the audience who couldn’t keep still, moving around the models that posed for every single photographer.

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum

What I loved most about this collection was the mix of themes. Upper-class met underground/sports culture in a zillion different and clever ways. Sports socks were worn with simple black stilettos, tweed suits had elasticised cuffs and hoods, mesh baseball hats matched knitted dresses or silk two-piece suits. Vintage-looking embroidered dresses were dotted alongside stark black leather pieces, as though the Shao Yen woman will wear her mother’s antique dresses, but likes to sharpen things up with masculine tailoring, too.

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Amelia Gregory
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Amelia Gregory
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Amelia Gregory

The colour palette was just as fresh as the models, who I could have hugged for being so patient, even when an over-eager photographer almost knocked one over. Fizzy oranges and bright turquoises were perfectly offset by tweed and monochrome. Hair was pulled into simple, carefree ponytails and roughly backcombed, paired with bright orange-red lips and some blush.

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Sam Mardon

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Sam Mardon

Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum
Shao Yen A/W 2012 by Alia Gargum

The message for this collection was simple, understated country luxury done in an urban sportswear way. Tweed doesn’t have to be stuffy, and in fact was a massive hit this November when Rugby Ralph Lauren celebrated the opening of their Covent Garden store with a ‘Tweed Run’ where hundreds of Londoners donned their best tweeds and rode bikes around the town whilst stopping for tea and general merriment. We’ve chatted tweed and it’s cycling appeal before too, in an interview with the founders of Bobbin Bicycles, which you can read all about here. Shao Yen has created a whole new look by taking two quite fussy clothing cultures and stripping them down to something fresh and accessible (and more wearable than his previous beautiful yet revealing collections) for A/W 2012. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

All photography by Amelia Gregory and Alia Gargum

Categories ,Alia Gargum, ,Amelia Gregory, ,bjork, ,Bobbin Bicycles, ,Central St Martins, ,Dana Bocai, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Gabriel Ayala, ,knitwear, ,London Fashion Week A/W 2012, ,Nicola Formichetti, ,Shao Yen Chen, ,sportswear, ,Tweed, ,Tweed Run, ,Vauxhall Fashion Scout, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Sketchbook Pop-Up Shop: Susie (Style) Bubble Talk

Illustration courtesy of Zoë Barker

From outside, remedy the Koko in Camden looks a bit like one of those Swiss clocks – the ones where a girl in lederhosen comes out on a rail every hour to strike the chime. The bare white front façade is broken only by the large ‘KOKO’ illumination and the two doors at either edge of the building which allow the audience access to the smoking balcony, click and there’s a fair few of them pacing backwards and forwards. Imagining them as clockwork Bavarians is the kind of thing I find amusing. It passes the time, waiting in the coffee place across the road for the rain to ease and the doors to open.

Los Campesinos! are a band that I’ve had to convince myself that I actually loved, because for a while I was in denial. As far as my last.fm statistics go they’ve been my favourite band of the last 18 months, and I even found myself buying a ticket for their latest tour as soon as physically able and not really being sure why. It always felt like some kind of weirdly innocuous indulgence that support groups put out literature for – y’know, you swear it’s not a big deal, you could walk away at any second, it doesn’t control your life, etc. etc., only to wake up one morning and realise that you’re deeply addicted and in trouble. It’s frightening to realise you’ve had a new favourite band for so long and not even realised.

Illustration courtesy of Zoë Barker

Once inside the venue, I buy a drink and text my erstwhile companion, struck down with food poisoning. “I’m probably the oldest person here – where are the adults?“ I ask (and I’m only 22) – there’s a distinct whiff of Lynx in the air (at a guess: Africa). LC! are a bit of a joke to some people thanks to lead singer Gareth’s scribbled-journal lyrics, and frankly they’re right – they can be acutely embarrassing. I try to justify my love (my addiction, you could say) to my friends by being clever – they’re tongue-in-cheek, I say! The literal meaning is totally ironic, but the intent is still sincere! It never works. My first instinct, looking around the venue, is that these skinny, shy kids find Gareth endearing and sincere without any ironic pretension, which would be sweet and naïve if so. Or it could be seen as pathetic – sample lyric: “As if I walked into the room/to see my ex-girlfriend/who by the way I’m still in love with/sucking the face of some pretty boy/with my favourite band’s mostpopular song in the background/is it wrong that I can’t decide which bothers me most?” – but then ‘pathetic’ sounds so much like ‘pathos’ and I’m sure that their must be some kind of link or derivation at play there, because then there’s my excuse. The band excels at drawing out an emotional response in its audience.

As I’m trying to figure this out (I’m on my own, remember, so those kinds of thoughts are all I have to amuse myself – another excuse) the first bunch of musicians stroll on stage – it’s barely past eight, which leaves me thinking that I’ll probably be home and in slippers before eleven. But as for the band: the lead singer reminds me of Sinbad, and he starts wooping.

“Woop! … Woop! … Woop!” etc. – he’s jumped over the crowd barriers at this point, and is walking through the still-thin crowd, clearly sizing people up. Every now and again somebody will recoil, which I assume is because they assume that he’ll either a) want them to join in (poor, timid children), or b) eat their ears, because he’s mental. I think it’s hilarious. The rhythmic wooping is augmented by the rest of the band joining in with their instruments, using Sinbad as a metronome. They’re a four-piece – Sinbad, fringe girl, moustache guy, and Sweater (his sensible sky-blue knitwear is his most defining feature, I suppose) – and they blew me away. Rotating between instruments, chanting and howling, they managed to bridge the divide between danceable electro-wash that I so admire in Holy Fuck or Gang Gang Dance and the careful racket of no-wave. One tune sounded like Arcade Fire’s ‘Wake Up’ shoved backwards through a plane turbine, i.e. sort of inverted by chopping it up into small pieces and reassembled with the bass brought forward and the optimistic chants turned into these awful, angry shouts… I was a total convert. Only by cornering Sinbad in the lobby afterwards did I manage to get their name – Islet. The internet tells me they’re from Cardiff, and they don’t like the internet, they have no recordings available for streaming or purchase (except this BBC live session), they have no website, they are entirely offline. The only way to experience Islet is as a live band, so go. See them live. They kick ass.

The break between the supports is short, and next on are somewhat-hyped London duo Swanton Bombs. To be fair to them, everything I’ve heard about their album has been positive (including a review on this very site), so I’m going to chalk their disappointing live presence up as unexpected. Every song reminded me of that nasty period in the early 00s when blues-rock groups were two-a-penny, where every song could be plotted on a chart with one axis labelled “Killing Floor“, and “Hey Joe” on the other. In short – it was dull, every song sounded the same, and Blood Red Shoes do this kind of thing with much more aplomb. I drifted out towards the back of the room and then upstairs, where I could fully appreciate how atrocious the Koko’s sound quality is for anyone not on the ground near the front – it’s an embarrassment for London, really, considering how much slack the place has had to take up now that the scuffed and glorious Astoria’s gone.

The audience of kids, mostly bored by what’s happened so far (Islet’s tribal antics went down like a civil servant in Downing Street), persists in ignoring whatever’s happening on stage. They’re very clearly only here for LC!, and it’s something of a relief that they come to life when the main act eventually makes an appearance – making me reassess my earlier assumption, that they were here out of a pathetic sincerity, as completely wrong. Namely: I was being pretentious and snobbish, and these kids just like how enjoyable a band LC! are – the lyrics are just plain funny, the music just plain fun, and whilst people like me with too much time on their hands (I blame my friend standing me up and leaving me to my own interior monologue) might debate the extent to which the band take this influence, or that level of twee irony, or said indebtedness to blah blah, this is bullshit. So I forgot about all that, and started jumping about with the rest of the mosh pit.

Illustration courtesy of Zoë Barker

Gareth’s certainly a livelier presence than I expected (seeing as he can come across as a bit wet sometimes). Tonight he bounds around like an over-stimulated puppy, and keeps thanking everybody – his friends, their manager, the audience (I count seven separate breaks between songs where he thanks the fans), the venue, the tour promoter. It’s sweet. The set opens with the steamrolling “I Just Sighed. I Just Sighed, Just So You Know,” which is a bastard of a song, frankly. Their latest album is filled with these, how to say, crunchy numbers, loud and a bit ridiculous, and each one sounds like an anthem tonight – the crowd on ground alongside me is just a heaving sweaty coagulation of fists and smiles, right through the more recent tracks (“There Are Listed Building”, “A Heat Rash in the Shape of The Show Me State; Or, Letters from Me to Charlotte” (it is assumed that if you cannot abide this kind of ludicrous titling of songs then LC! are not a band for you)) to the classics of a couple of years ago (“My Year in Lists,” “This Is How You Spell ‘HAHAHA, We Destroyed the Hopes and Dreams of a Generation of Faux-Romantics’”).

One of the best things about seeing these guys live, though, was that their first album suddenly made a lot more sense. Their sound in the flesh isn’t hugely similar to their last two releases (‘We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed’ and this year’s ‘Romance Is Boring’), which were relatively crisp and clean to the ear – live, they sound like the horrible mistake that was the David Newfeld-produced debut ‘Hold On Now, Youngster’, where the levels were all over the place and the whole thing was a sorry soppy mess of a release that would stick to a wall if it was thrown at one and would congeal into just a bloody mass of nothing at the bottom. It was poorly produced, is what I’m saying. But hearing them tonight I suddenly realise that Newfeld had captured them as they actually sound, essentially that exact kind of mop bucket softness, without edges, without any definition to grab onto. They aren’t half as exciting on there as they are here because, well, that’s the nature of live music, but I have greater respect for the Broken Social Scene producer now I can understand his Sisyphean intentions.

The highlight for most people comes towards the end, when the band crack out the song that they will presumably still be ending their sets with in middle-age – “You! Me! Dancing!” – which I detest. It’s a horrible song. I don’t know why it grates when I enjoy everything else that they do so much, but there it is. However, in the interest of balance I’ll say that this once it was awesome because, well, it was. I’d never danced to it alongside a few hundred other people before and the sensation was not, shall we say, unpleasant. When the band left the stage it was the end of their largest headline show to date – despite their quirks, their oddities, their introspection and their glee, I fully expect them to be playing even larger venues within a very short time indeed. They are the biggest and best niche group around. To hell with thought – it’s my gut that wants to see them again as soon as possible.

Illustration by Naomi Law

For the last day of  the Sketchbook Pop-Up Shop, viagra dosage Susie Bubble of Style Bubble fame gave a lecture, viagra approved bookending an event that celebrated the creative arts in a social and relaxed atmosphere complete with illustrations all over the walls. As one of the more prolific bloggers out there, healing Susie Bubble is someone I have ‘followed’ for a long time owing to her quality of photos and copy as well as her evidently well-researched posts. The Style Bubble blog started in 2006 as an outlet for Susie’s opinions, naturally developing a huge following with mentions in i-D magazine, The Financial Times and numerous awards within the blogging world in a relatively short space of time (that’s the online world for you!).
 
Susie has already written an excellent post on the ‘pop up social space’, and as the last speaker at the event ties things up quite nicely – she even featured on the cover of their very first issue. Teaching herself web coding at the age of 13, Susie was always destined to make a foray into the online world. Her blog has grown quickly over the last four years and rather than a ‘what to wear now’ site endorsing celebrity-led trends, Style Bubble is full of Susie’s musings and ideas of what she really thinks. ‘I would only stop blogging if ideas run out’, she said. Not much chance of that in London…
 
Following a few questions from the audience on branding, sponsorship and advertising it was very refreshing to hear Susie’s responses reflecting the idea that a blog should be a personal passion rather than a way to increase traffic and generate sales, as an all encompassing business or brand. ‘I don’t see what a Style Bubble app would bring to the iPad’ she reveals, and equally she doesn’t see a future or market for paid blogs. If they are controlled by the brand themselves she can see the merits, though – ‘if a brand have a blog, especially some of the more secretive design houses, it is a good idea as long as the content is interesting’.   


Illustration by Naomi Law
 
Content is key, and she advises that in order to make a mark in the blogosphere, a blog must bring something new to the table. If you are in need of some more inspiration, Susie uses The Guardian fashion pages, The Coveted, and Jak&Jil for fashion news.

She understands that fashion, especially luxury fashion, is not always ethically sound, and where ‘it is impossible to investigate every choice’ we make on clothing we must be aware of the sources of our purchases. Broad generalisations can confuse consumers; for example, not everything made in China needs to be avoided. When choosing items, Susie goes for what feels right. ‘Buying luxury clothes is selfish. I ask myself if it feels nice or looks good on me’. On her own style, she made it very clear that it’s a personal choice, but in terms of A/W10 predicitons, its ‘texture, texture, texture’! Mix it up and make it your own – for S/S go for pastels and embroidery.
 
One of the nicest elements to Susie’s character is the honesty and modesty in with which she answered the questions. The London-based blogger loves the constantly developing creativity in our city, and how there are opportunities to turn your hand to whatever you want, describing herself as a ‘fraud’ with no formal training! At the moment Susie is unsure how to progress with the blog. Now in a ‘pondering phase’, she doesn’t see herself working with a ‘team’ as it is such a personal project – just her and her handy boyfriend for the photos!
 
3 facts you might like to know:
 
1. She voted Lib Dem
2. She wears her hair up when its windy
3. She was incredibly flattered when Daphne Guinness wrote about her in the FT (who wouldn’t be?!)

 
As well as some consulting work, she has some mysterious up and coming projects, so keep an eye out…

Categories ,Bloggers, ,Blogging, ,China, ,Daphne Guinness, ,Financial Times, ,Florence Massey, ,I.D Magazine, ,Jak&Jil, ,Liberal Democrats, ,Naomi Law, ,Newburgh Street, ,Pop-up Shop, ,Sketchbook Magazine, ,Style Bubble, ,Susie Bubble, ,Texture, ,The Coveted

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Amelia’s Magazine | S/S 2011 Press Days – An illustrated round-up


Ada Zanditon, website like this illustrated by Sara Chew

Wahoooo! Summer is finally here. No really, dosage it is. Seriously I don’t care how damp and dreary it is outside that office window, summer is most definitely here. I’m toasty warm and looking at shorts, t-shirts and dresses ranging from ethereal to barely there. Skipping round London in the increasingly cold weather this can be hard to believe, but that’s how it goes. Here’s a little look at some of the summer outfits I’ve been looking at…

Ada Zanditon
Held eight stories up in Holborn with a stunning view out over the Thames to the Oxo Tower, Ada showed her latest collection. A quick chat with the designer revealed a charming, intelligent woman and in her own words ‘geeky’. Who else would be so inspired by maths and formulas that they borrow text books from libraries? Well if that’s where inspiration comes from, long may it last. Ada is not just a lovely person but also incredibly talented. Three dimensional sculptural pyramids burst forth from the intelligently structured garments.

Even the prints were inspired by fractal geometry and swept across many garments from a particularly stunning floor length bias cut 1930s dress with backless detail to a leather minidress complete with a chiffon front panel. Hard seaming was juxtaposed with soft fabrics and details. The jewellery carried the same prints as the dress and were another hard counterpoint to some of the softness. Look out for more on Ada’s ethical collection in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

Giorgio Armani

Armani called and off to Bond Street I went. Giorgio showed some great pieces with open weave jackets and low-breaking double-breasted jackets for the men, soft and light in beige, grey and smoke. T-shirts emphasised the lightness with sheer elements. Maybe this is a way to get the ‘heavage’ out without looking like a modern day medallion man. The shoes and accessories were simple and classic, from a soft leather briefcase to a brown woven leather shoe catching my eye in particular. Suede and salmon skin belts helped to further soften the tone. All very simple and invoking a cool Italian summers evening.

On the far side of the partition was the womenswear. Strong tailoring was paired with sheer blouses in varying shades of blue and deep purple. Skirts were long and flared slightly to the hem, though I will admit it was the shoes and accessories that stood out. High perspex wedges with wooden platforms excuded both freshness and class. Chunky cuffs, twisted silver necklaces and amulets of large dark blue/black stones hung on leather and fabric. Powerful, yet clean and sophisticated.

Emporio Armani

Illustration by Stéphanie Thieullent
Emporio, the delinquent nephew of Giorgio, was my next visit. There may have been a similar colour palette across the brands, but that’s pretty much where the similarities ended. No Giorgio man is ever going to be seen in a chainlink bondage harness. The use of sheer panels as highlights was also shared, this time showing off what one imagines will be gym-honed biceps. The highlight for me was a double-fronted crock effect suit. Hiding underneath the croc, a layer of leather gave the hint of something more to come.

Draping and ruffles were mixed with simple clean lines in womenswear. A grey and purple halterneck knee length dress particularly appealed, not to mention vertiginous heels. A dainty black chiffon bow, gave the vampiest pieces a demure side. Combining both the soft and the sharp, a draped jersey dress was teamed with a pale grey cap sleeve tailored jacket. It’s youthful and energetic but with a business edge.

Paul Costelloe

Illustration by Karolina Burdon

Showing menswear for the third season Paul opened London Fashion Week with a strong summer collection including short suits, lightweight long coats, and intricate print details. The menswear of this brand is growing on a season by season basis and whilst the formalwear is available in stockists such as John Lewis and Austin Reed, it’s hoped the casualwear and the odd catwalk piece should start hitting the shops soon.


Illustration by Natsuki Otani

You can see reviews of Paul’s collections by Matt and Amelia here and here.

Snake & Dagger

This London based denim company are growing stronger and stronger. Having trained in Japan, they hope to bring a more traditional feel to the denim market. The quality of the denim and the range of finishes are exquisite and the designers behind the brand bring together the best of their training and the city of London to create a unique look.

Aqua

Illustration by Joana Faria

Wherever you thought you were going to buy your Christmas party dress, forget it. Scrub that idea now. Go straight to Aqua and get yourself sorted. This Christmas’ collection ‘Out to Sleigh’ is affordable glamour at its best.

The pieces are daringly cut but clever and in no way trashy. More importantly, whilst you’ve been eyeing up that dress on the high street for the last three weeks so has every other girl in your office, but it’s unlikely you’ll be in the same number if you visit Aqua.

Morphe

Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins

Having previously shown in India, Morphe is thankfully launching in the UK. Playing with shape and form, the pieces are both dramatic and cutting edge. Born from countless hours of work, the statement pieces are surprisingly easy to wear, if somewhat out there.

However, the true gems in the collection include a one shoulder dress with silver trim along the neckline. Creating more than a simple point of interest this is a brand to watch as they develop their continued success in India.

Asher Levine

This was a fantastic collection from a burgeoning menswear designer. In particular, the asymmetric leather biker jackets were right on trend. Using differing leathers as well as digital printing, Asher showed a dynamic and contemporary collection.

Eleanor Amoroso

Most certainly one to watch. Eleanor graduated this summer from the University of Westminster. Her work with fringing has to be seen to be believed. Genuinely unique and fresh, I can only hope the future holds big things for Amoroso. This is one young designer who definitely needs to be nourished.

There were more…far more people that I saw during the press days. From the sublime to the ridiculous and everything inbetween. Trying to contain yourself when browsing all these wonders is a challenge, as is trying to get enough photos and remember everything. But I can safely say S/S 2011 is going to be a very, very good season.

All photography by Nick Bain

Categories ,Ada Zanditon, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustratio, ,Aqua by Aqua, ,Asher Levine, ,Blow PR, ,Bond Street, ,Eleanor Amoroso, ,Emporio Armani, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Giorgio Armani, ,Joana Faria, ,Karolina Burdon, ,london, ,menswear, ,Morphe, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Paul Costelloe, ,Press days, ,S/S 2011, ,Sara Chew, ,Snake & Dagger, ,Spring Summer, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Swarovski Press Day

Alex Gene Morrison’s art can’t help but attract attention. Despite being displayed on a backward-facing wall, mind purchase the second I walk into the ‘The Future Is Now’ show, website like this my eye is drawn straight to it. He is exhibiting three large canvases; each of a painted face, buy more about but it is the middle one that I find most conspicuous. The head, body and hair are hidden under a dense layer of matt black paint, leaving only a set of menacing eyes in the picture. The larger than life size does nothing to mask the unnatural peculiarity of Morrison’s portraits either. My walk around, champagne glass in hand, takes me past the odd inspiring piece. Somewhere on a balcony above me I spy a tower of precariously balanced teacups that look fairly beautiful from afar. Still on the ground floor, however, I stop to admire a row of miniature portraits, skilfully painted in muted colours. Each displays a varying degree of abnormality – none of the delicate faces are by any means normal.

David Hancock‘s enormous, hyper-real landscape is definitely something to be seen. Vaguely reminding me of one of those children’s T-shirts with unicorns, hills and fairy dust on, the canvas depicts a fantasy mountain scene, with wonderful skies and a dreamlike river. Hancock has chosen to makes certain parts of the canvas 3D, presumably using something lumpy like mod-rock to create an unsatisfying surface you want to reach out and touch.The piece that really stayed with me that evening though was by Alexis Milne.

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Whilst scanning some art on the other side of the room I caught sight of Amelia and the crew hovering around a small, darkly painted shack. On closer inspection I discover that inside the hut is the scariest clown I have ever seen, complete with tarot cards and a fake American accent. Pinned to the walls are various masks of animals and child-like paintings. The clown (perhaps Milne himself?) is reading Amelia’s ‘tarot cards’ in his loud,phoney, and frankly creepy voice. He tells her that she is a horny schizophrenic. I decide I must also have a go while we’re there. He wastes no time in telling me that I am to end up a chariot racing, lap dancer with a fondness of eating.

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Hmm. He also makes me wear a creepy cat mask whilst talking to him, so I understand this is to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. On the whole ‘The Future Is Now’ show displays an array of style, quality and substance in the pieces they have chosen to exhibit. I am left feeling overwhelmed (it really is quite a big exhibition) but more importantly inspired.

Photography: Amelia innit!
Photo 1: Sophie, Anna, James and Tim

After forgetting to RSVP to the Young KnivesRough Trade instore, case some of the A-Mag team and I were sitting outside nursing ciders wondering whether it was time to try and sweet talk the doorman. Funnily enough, approved munching on some food next to us was none other than the Young Knives manager, who took pity and kindly put us on the door. Thanks Duncan!

After trying to scull the rest of our cider – yes, all class we are – we walked into Rough Trade to the sounds of the song The Decision, and an epic, Phil Collins style drum fill. Oh yeaaah baby. I, not having the vertical advantage of my companion’s six foot four inches, had to crane my neck from mid-way through the crowd to glimpse the thick rimmed geek chic of Henry and Thomas “House Of Lords” Dartnell and Oliver Askew, garbed up in what Tall James described as conservative shirts and ties, looking like they’ve come fresh out of their nine to five jobs at a real estate agent.

With mature, well-crafted indie pop songs, the Young Knives are musically tight like tigers. As has happened in the past from what I gather, Razorlight got a mention – as they have a song called Up All Night as well…incidentally, as do Unwritten Law, Lionel Richie, Boomtown Rats and the Counting Crows. Their vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Crowded House. Repetitive guitar riffs ran under infectious hooks, getting heads bobbing and a warm reception from the crowd.

With their easy stage presence and self-deprecating banter that conveyed their confidence and self-assurance at the quality of their own music; and whether they were sartorially splendid or committing fashion faux pas in their outfits, they could convince me to rent a property any day. And then I’d ask them to play at the housewarming.

It was the most incestuous night of music ever – though apparently every night at the Brudenell Social in Leeds is a musical pit of incest…

Besides being an opportunity for solo music makers to take their bedroom brainstorms out onto the stage, visit web MAN ALIVE! borne of Leeds artist collective Nous Vous, pharmacy included a number of other artist collectives showcasing and selling various works and bits and bobs.

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First up was Dinosaur Pile-Up, recipe popping his gig cherry with a two song set. With a hand injury in play and the first rehearsal with a band backing him up that same afternoon, performance-wise it was much better than some could have done under the circumstances. It sounds like commercial success to me. Love is a Boat (And We’re Sinking) is an infectiously catchy anthem for frustrated heartbreak and confusion at relationships enough for an entire American teen series (enter Ryan and Marissa).

Glaciers, one Nic Burrows was up next with a bumbling Mr. Bean-like stage presence that really charmed, to many female exclamations of “Aw How sweet!” One of his mates actually commented “That slick bastard knows exactly what he’s doing.” Musically, he certainly does. Plaintive, earnest and warm, Glaciers is lovely. Guest appearances by the darling she-beast Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin fame and Mike Payne aka Mechanical Owl in Melamine made it an onstage pow wow.

Vest For Tysso is Will Edmonds and is a one, and occasionally, a two man band. Glaciers’ Nic Burrows popped in and out of the set on various instruments. Sweet, rich and multi-dimensional, just like a hearty carrot cake, this was, amazingly his first and last gig before jetting off to play at Canada’s Pop Montreal Festival.

Star of the night though was Mike Payne aka Mechanical Owl, who surprised with some genuine pop gems. After some technical mishaps including a core meltdown on his MACbook, and a badly placed mobile phone (which resulted in the tell-tale interference of an incoming SMS – though in this context, it may not have been totally out of place), Mechanical Owl impressed with the well rounded maturity of his varied and well thought out songs – smile inducing, strong and melancholic.

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Then came Napoleon IIIrd, who never disappoints, with his heady mix of strummed acoustics, undulating synth, full of cuts and clicks, a triumphant trumpet section, and impassioned and ragged vocals. His is a set full of choruses that will march around in your head, with a broody, somewhat troubled, but ever hopeful Napoleon IIIrd fully in command of his electronic brigade.

Whether you like it or not, the royal family themselves are a result of inbreeding; as are most sovereign clans. Generally, this sort of family tree results in at the very least, mildly cross-eyed, buck-toothed, hammy-eared dolts. On the other hand, the MAN ALIVE! bill saw everyone having some kind of finger in everyone else’s pie; and instead of the usual weak specimens, gave birth to the rather uncanny result of an unfairly talented line up, despite springing from a small (and refreshingly un-skinny) ‘jean’ pool.

Flier by The Nous Vous Collective
Napoleon IIIrd Photograph by Christel Escosa
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One of my favourite artists at the moment, illness and one of my favourite London venues…. surely Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan and co) at Camden’s majestic Koko would be fabulous, approved right? Of course it was. I missed the support because I was running late: I simply couldn’t decide what Natasha would want me to wear. When I finally arrived, mid the Bjork-esque Trophy, the quiet crowd were already mesmerized by the sound of Khan and her band. I couldn’t fathom whether the eerie, sombre silence and general lack of movement was good or bad – until the raucous applause at the end of the opener. Clearly the room was full of Bat fans, and it was a struggle to find any spot in the whole venue where a good view was to be had. I weaved in and out of folk until I found myself at the highest balcony, which was surprisingly only half full.

From here, a clear view of the stage was to be had. Winter trees framed the singer and her band, whilst a mystic moon hung creepily over the ensemble featuring interesting projections – available as a post card set for you to treasure after the gig.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this incredible act live, and instead have only read a syndicate of reviews, by now you will no doubt feel nauseous reading the following words: eerie, scary, spooky, haunting, chilling, magical, bewitching. I’m afraid, dear readers, that only this compendium of descriptions summarises a gig like this. But what most reviewers often omit is that, beyond the monstrous melodies, this is a stunning woman – musically, technically, physically.

Natasha, dazzling as ever in a bat-winged glittered smock, leggings, long boots and staple headband, moved effortlessly from track to track – presenting her svelte frame sometimes at front stage centre, bells and all; sometimes taking time at the piano, or on one occasion brandishing her recently acquired ‘wizard’s stick’ for a reworking of classic track Sarah. Natasha firmly has her feet on the ground, and spoke short, sweet sentences in between songs – her timid demeanour shining through on lines sung bashfully – such as Taste The Hands That Drink My Body.

Seeing the gig from the upper balcony was a true experience – the crowd wore their complimentary Bat For Lashes paper masks (featuring Khan’s original trademark feather head dress) and witnessing them all lined up, facing the stage, heads tilted upwards – was a little disturbing. Feeling like a prize pervert at a strange cult meeting was not what I expected, but nevertheless it was entertaining.

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Songs like the dazzling Horse and I and crowd favourite What’s a Girl To Do? were given an more interesting up-tempo flavour; it was a huge shame the latter was let down with weak backing vocals. These tracks were interspersed with softer choruses such as The Wizard and the poetic Saw A Light, which were kept at their spellbinding best. A sweeter cover of Tom Waits’ Lonely was an attractive interpretation and would have gone unnoticed to all bar revellers acutely familiar with Natasha’s music. New track Missing Time was also showcased; it sounded great but stuck out like Natasha’s outfit might do at a funeral.

Last night saw the end of the Fur and Gold tour, an album that has lauded critical acclaim internationally. Let’s raise a toast to Khan and Co, and keep everything crossed that the follow up album will be equally as affecting as the debut.

Photography by Matt Bramford
Nate Smith and Pete Cafarella met years ago at university and played in a lick of bands together, page during which time Pete also starred in Nate’s student films. After uni they were reunited in New York and started as a duo in Nate’s bedroom in Queens. Shy Child was born.

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They don’t discuss references or influences, order as it is too difficult. As Nate states, ‘ How many tracks are on our ipods?’ They would like to go down as a modern-day Chas and Dave, and currently listen to Metronomy, SMD, Black Sabbath and classic Wu Tang, amongst many others.

This new-wave/electronic/techno/punk pairing are going down well here in the UK and had made it their focus for this year, and after the festive season they’re heading back Stateside to pick up where they left off there.

Saturday saw their last date in London, at the Carling Academy in Islington. Nice little venue. I had been banging on about this band for a while, so I took two friends along as they were keen to offer a listen. What I failed to tell them was that it was a MySpace backed night, beginning very early, and featuring the youngest crowd I have ever seen at a gig. Ouch. Now I know it’s a little while ago now, but at 16 I do not remember skipping everywhere. Honestly. And I have no real qualm with skipping, but it is really all that necessary? Maybe skipping is the new black, or the new new-rave, maybe. Hopefully not.

Anyroad, we arrived and were asked for ID. With 80 years between the three of us, I’m hoping as we enter that this isn’t going to be the only pleasurable part of the night / late afternoon.

Whilst in the UK, Shy Child have performed a number of gigs, appeared on Jools Holland and more recently teamed up with Stella McCartney for Swarovski Fashion Rocks, which saw them enjoying a little musical chairs action with the models. “It was really fun and different for us,” says Nate. “And what we did together was a lot more exciting than some of the other pairings.” Agreed. Such a gig has brought their music to the fashion set, and their synth-styled, new-wave beats have hit the right market (it is no haphazard coincidence they have supported the Klaxons, amongst many others). The true measure of this band’s phenomenon, though, is that they can appeal to such diverse crowds – from Stella’s shmoozers to angst ridden teens, whose parents just, you know, don’t understand. That sort of thing.

I bumped into a friend of mine from Vogue there, who had a tale to tell. She’d gone into the toliets with a girlfriend, and a young girl had run out of the toilet, sssshing anyone who entered. Politely, my friend asked “Why do we need to be quiet in the toilet?” Naturally, the girl remarked, “Because Leanne is in that cubicle on the phone to her parents, and they think she’s in Pizza Hut.” Classy.

The duo that are Shy Child, on record and on stage, sound much more than two guys with a keytar and a drum kit. They are innovative, exciting and raw. They’ve stripped what was a heavy, electronic sound back to basics. Painfully catchy Drop The Phone is an immensly funky beat and is a pastiche of all sorts of tunes. Other favourite tracks of the night were Astronaut which has a distinct Giorgio Mororder disco flavour. The superb Good and Evil also floated my boat and has an incredible reggaeton influence. All enjoyed by a huddle of excited teens bouncing at the front – as well as everyone 18+ tapping their feet at the back.

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A great night had by all, not least the kids. So it was time to head home, and play muscial chairs.

Photography by Matt Bramford
It’s a brand new kletzmer world!

The new Rough Trade superstore is cavernous and full of trendy young things casually perusing the flyers and freebie magazines near the coffee shop, viagra many on their own like me, website due to the stringent ticket conditions of this in-demand gig. Yes, visit this this is a gig to be accompanied by coffee or fruit juice only – beers to be had later in the bar next door.

At the back under a sign saying Dance CDs, a small stage had been erected and the racks shunted out of the way. Beirut is a cute teddybear of a man accompanied by his scenester hoodie crew. Only here will you see what looks like a new raver playing double bass to a new wave kletzmer soundtrack.

Beirut is discombobulated…he’s got jet lag and the mikes are having feedback issues that mean I spend most of the gig with a hand over the ear nearest the speakers – but that doesn’t stop a rousing set. Accordians, multiple ukes, a man playing a funny drum thing on the floor next to the cds, mandolin, violin, trumpet – all musical bases are covered. This is the return of the rock orchestra – people are bored with the traditional guitar, bass, drums combo, and everywhere I turn I’m seeing a move towards the instruments of an orchestra or big band. This is music that wouldn’t be out of place in Red Square in Moscow, but suddenly it is being feted as the next big thing. Not a bad thing I say.

I met Nancy at Thermal Festival in September. She’s ace. Wearing a very fetching grey jersey dress – that I am sure had more than a few men drooling over some carefully revealed chest – she sat down between guitar and harp.

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In her hair were some artfully arranged buttons (tip: she sews them onto hair grips) and on her lap she placed her harp. Nancy sings songs that touch your heartstrings. It’s just her, more about her pure sweet voice and a harp or guitar, nothing else. She peppers her uniquely modern folk songs with funny little Nancy-isms and anecdotes. “You’ve cheered me up. I get all flustered when I come to London; I feel all weird. I stayed on my brother’s sofa in Hackney and he told me not to leave the house today cause I didn’t have a key. So I stayed in on the sofa watching daytime TV. Not good!” Down to earth and naturally talented, Nancy didn’t disappoint. Not many people seem to know of Nancy in London yet, but with a multi-album deal sorted her reputation is bound to grow. Catch her while the venues are still intimate, where she can leap off the stage to sell her merch as soon as she finishes playing. “There’s albums over there for sale. By the way…”
Three years young and buoyed by the glowing acclaim heaped upon their second LP, approved 2006′s Yellow House, try Brooklyn’s own Grizzly Bear offer up something of a celebration of their talents with the release of Friend – a ten track compilation of covers, nurse collaborations, new material and reworked favourites. Having invited the likes of Band Of Horses, CSS and Zach Condon (Beirut) to contribute, Grizzly Bear have managed to avoid notions of ‘shameless cash-in’ and produced an offering of merit. Indeed there is lots here to enjoy.

Brooding, dirty guitars help define opener Alligator, an alternate take on a cut from GB’s debut release. It features the first contribution from Zach Condon, and though it plods and outstays its welcome slightly, a glorious choral burst midway through manages to save it from being the drab opener it threatened to be. Things take an upturn with a brilliantly dark cover of The Crystals smash He Hit Me. It’s sinister tone is offset by a vocal that tips it hat to the late 80′s new romantics, and the sporadic sonic explosions serve to create an unforgettable slice of haunting pop.

The middle of the record then drifts along in a pleasant enough manner, without really exciting – which is a bit of a shame. The bizarrely titled Granny Diner exemplifies the problem. Positively, things are kick-started again with an energised, disco version of Knife courtesy of CSS. It begins, rather unfortunately, with a sample that appears lifted directly from StereophonicsDakota, but soon recovers itself. Punchy, choppy beats and a wave of synths dominate, and the upbeat tempo is just what the record needs. Band Of Horses then take us from disco to country and western with a banjo led take on Plans. It doesn’t quite work, but there are enough quirks – a lovely honky tonk piano solo outro being one – to engage. The record ends in a melancholic way, with a rather dreary Daniel Rossen home recording entitled ‘Deep Blue Sea’. It’s inclusion ill-judged.

Despite it’s flaws there are some lovely moments on Friend. It is diverse, sonically ambitious and at times captivating, which is no mean feat.

Gigs like this, no rx epic ones, medical are always daunting. You want to see all the bands but you’re clearly not going to. At ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES, pharmacy it works. It’s over a whole weekend and everyone is in the right mindset. So that is what made this gig kinda strange; as essentially it was all the same people you get at ATP looking slightly bemused.

With a line-up of bands like these, even though they are becoming big, you still like to think of them as your little secret. So when you see them playing at a venue like that of The Forum, the enchantment is somewhat lost, you wish you were seeing them at Barden’s or at a festival, or, most idealistically, your friends’ warehouse. Especially, ESPECIALLY, when at first you’re told you cannot leave the balcony (what is that all about?!) where I was confined to as I watched Black Lips. Who – besides being as far away as I could possibly be – were exciting. I missed Fuck Buttons and all but one song of Deerhunter, because I was putting my white face paint on. Which is a little unforgivable, as Fuck Buttons are one of the best dirty yet beautiful duos around of late. Though Black Lips, with their lo-fi garage punk and their sloppy vintage sound and sweaty little faces, was the perfect start for me. They did a very special cover of Thee Headcoats ‘Wildman’, which was the point when we got distinctly pissed off being stuck on the balcony so snuck downstairs, for Liars.

The Liars’ new album is strange. It is just really simple. Had it come first, before ‘They Threw Us In A Trench And Stuck A Monument On Top’ and two more equally as concept driven albums it would have made more sense. But ‘Liars’, self-titled as it is, is a key, not just as noise led or art like, like their set, which bar the old songs, resemble more of a 1970s garage band than that of the beautiful, sadistic nature of the Liars we have come to expect. Its like they’re doing everything backwards; digressing to a pared down, more simple punk sound. But they’re Liars, so in all probability just messing with us, so maybe we should just let them get on with it.

SO.

By Deerhoof I wanted to expect big things, a grand and innovative performance. It all began charmingly enough, but by this point and most of my friends were trapped outside because they smoke and I really wanted find two them to be there as Deerhoof are so magical you want to re-assure yourself its real. So I spent a good deal of time during Deerhoof’s set wondering around as a lost zombie, and the big venue meant I kept losing the sound and meeting more equally frustrated people who were leaving. So halfway though their set I did just that. Left. ATP do festivals best.

Gillan Edgar (yes, dosage that’s his real name) is a Scottish songsmith who has set up home in Manchester with his girlfriend, prostate their two dogs, rx and an cluster of instruments. His performances tend towards the retro; reliant on basic acoustic grooves, and he has a unique, happy-go-go-lucky sound. Imagine how today’s fix of troubled indie bands might sound if they actually had a smile on their face, and you’re half way there.

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On Monday, Gillan and his band put on a show at the Indigo2 – the new, lavish O2 arena’s cooler, alternative sister venue, housed in what was the Millennium Dome. Edgar is, at the moment, unsigned; but the clock is ticking for him to find his perfect match in the music industry. Bound for the pop charts with his boyish good looks, Gillan exudes confidence and is a completely natural show-off. I’m not usually one for crowd participation, but encouragement by Gillan to sing The Greatest Gift’s chorus (No no no no, no no no no) was met by myself and the crowd with excitement. This is exactly the kind of thing he promotes at his intimate gigs, which light-up the faces of his small but loyal following. In between marvellous melodies he connects with his audience with his laid back, witty persona and larger-than-life stage presence. I had been waiting for him to play in London for a while, so imagine my excitement when I heard the Bedford (the small Balham live music venue) were to host him here at the Indigo.

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Edgar’s music is exciting indeed – and can only be described as pop and rock sitting contiguously, providing heart warming lyrics and a musically ‘up yours’ to pretentious indie bands who have the attitude but not the substance. Gillan has the credentials to perform with his band in such a grand venue, and I’m sure seeing him play solo with his guitar at a cosy gig would be equally impressive.

It’s so refreshing to find a musician who combines honest music with good old-fashioned fun. Gillan knocks out quality tunes with a huge smile on his face. Hooks like Mr Inconsistent and The Eureka Song make you bounce with glee, whilst the more poetic The Greatest Gift and Victoria Has A Secret make the mind move instead.

Gillan’s music isn’t complicated, assuming or prescribing – it’s just effing good. I smile smugly at my compadres with a look of ‘I told you so’ as Gillan plays his last tune. A long awaited debut CD is in the pipeline (hurry up, man!) but until then, it’s back to his MySpace for a listen.

Photography by Matt Bramford
It’s the politest crowd of all time. People move out of the way without me asking them to. One skinny guy, site wearing glasses and a cardigan, sildenafil apologises for no discernable reason. This isn’t surprising. Nice people generally come to the Luminaire. Normally to watch nice men play quiet acoustic guitars, nicely. A bit like Gravenhurst’s first record Flashlight Seasons.

The first shock for anyone whose only involvement with Gravenhurst being Flashlight Seasons – an accessible, downbeat folk album – is that this is not just that one guy. It’s a four-piece ensemble onstage. Singer Nick Talbot wears earplugs, unnecessarily. He makes some Slint-y harmonics on his electric (!) guitar. Alex Wilkins on other guitar echoes it with warm swathes of gentle noise. The rhythm section is pounding, concise and unrelenting.

This is unsettling. Gravenhurst’s four excellent albums sound markedly singular, the product of one brain. But the band’s performance is crucial to their live sound; the instrumental moods build up, develop and fade. Talbot’s voice, when it finally arrives after a drawn-out jam, is fey and resigned. His voice is often the band’s main draw on record, but live it’s not quite translating. On The Velvet Cell, Talbot’s a pissed off computer techie, singing about murder “lying dormant in the heart of every man” with a touch too much passive relish. It’s great, but the harmonic guitar stuff at the beginning of the set led the songs better than his paper-thin voice, which was weedier and shyer than it should be.

The second shock is the music. It’s hard to think of a neater, more comfortable niche than “that band on Warp who do the quiet folk thing,” but to their credit Gravenhurst have moved closer and closer to total psych noise mania with every release. Hollow Men from new album The Western Lands is total Dinosaur Jr territory, without the solos. Talbot strums his guitar manically, making his right arm look like a crazed, live side of ham.

They get called “post rock” a lot. I guess that’s fair. The quiet parts are inventive and fluid. The loud bits are rocking, not revolutionary, but totally worth the wait when they arrive. That’s about the biggest plaudit I’m ever likely to give “post rock”. But it sounds more like bastard Kraut to me, anyway.

Occasionally the strumming, feedback, fragile voice and layered drums catch alight and it feels like everything is beautifully interlocking. Except, you know, in a non-stoned way. Talbot’s voice warms up and becomes the beautiful counter to the instruments’ tired, reliable funeral song. It’s weirdly welcoming, but it wasn’t what I expected.

When music editor Christel told me I was on the guest list for this gig, patient she was greeted with a week of agitated over-enthusiasm and stupid Devendra-related questions. Not only was I smitten for the Banhart, I was a recently converted Laura enthusiast too, after weeks of listening to her soothing melodic tones in Amelia’s kitchen. To say that she has featured on every one of my recent mix tapes is an understatement. (She’s made it on to each one twice.)

So finally the evening arrived, and with my floral maxi-dress and lace headband in place I met up with my +1 (boyfriend Jake) for a pre-gig beer in Camden.
I thought I might be a teensy bit jealous of Laura Marling before the gig – (she’s a 17-year-old singer/songwriter extraordinaire who gets to support folk legends for god’s sake!) but after watching her I was absolutely green. How dare she be so unfailingly talented and successful at her age! And her attributes didn’t even seem to end there: to watch, she was the cutest of urban nymphs: tiny, with somewhat scene (click on this, no really) peroxide hair, an oversized hoodie slung off the shoulder and an unassuming manner that found her mumbling graciously between songs. Though she looked like she might not be enjoying herself, she was making a lot of us in the audience happy. I sang along fanatically to the ones I knew, and enjoyed hearing some new tales from her latest repertoire. Unfortunately the set was pretty much over before it began – she slunk off stage after five prettily concise tunes (alas without playing my favourite New Romantic) but left me in high spirits.

Devendra kept an impatient audience waiting for half an hour after Laura’s set, while he probably did something cool like smoke a joint backstage with his bohemian friends. We were pretty heated up by the time he stepped out from the shadows (hey just ‘cos it’s folk doesn’t mean the audience don’t push and shove a little) but oh my god did he make up for it! The most beautifully enchanting man I have ever seen, Devendra practically seemed to shine in the light of his own velvet clad aura. He opened the set with a joke song that he deliberately mimed, and just kept the skillz coming and coming, somehow managing to be funny, talented and entertaining the whole way through.

His voice sounded quite different live, and I mean that in a good way. Maybe it was just to do with getting the whole Devendra Banhart experience. It would be unfair not to mention his band while reviewing the gig because they obviously play a big part in his live performances. I couldn’t stop looking at the guitarist to his left. I swear he had actually stepped right out of ’69, complete with a shoulder-length mat of centre-parted hair and three piece flared suit. Together they made a pretty marvellous bunch.

I left the gig with an even bigger crush than I’d arrived with and a desire to pick up the guitar and learn a few tunes… perhaps next time I’ll be the supporting act.

Aaaargh UPSET THE RHYTHM. What would I do without them? They make seeing the noisy and alternative acts so easy for me. Just pick up a long orange flyer from your local east end haunt and you’re pretty set for your spiky, here choice, information pills and intercontinental for most part of the month. I got to 93 FEET EAST, a relatively new venue for UPSET THE RHYTHM, (which sound wise I am fine with, but in terms of character I’m not so sure) in time for YACHT. Active is definitely the word. Bouncy, fun, epileptic dance moves bordering on ADHD. Formerly the second half of THE BLOW it is the best music for indie kids to dance to. Jona Bechtolt’s percussion is infectious with jerky legs and shoulder thrusting all over the show. I am willing to forget the Michael Jackson sample used as an intro and his public school boy style rambling, as he was much fun.

Then NUMBERS. Trios really work! CELEBRATION, GET HUSTLE, PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED. NUMBERS are a no-wave-art-punk band of relentless drumming. They are coarse but ultimately captivating. They make a powerful noise, which, although better in previous recordings, makes you stop and fucking pay attention. Indra Dunis on drums and lead vocals is scratchy and piercing in the best possible sense. NUMBERS claw away at you, drawing you down and throwing you away. And there is a synthesizer. Need I say more?

Oh the anticipation! Toe twinkling, recipe shoulder shivering, check hand tingling excitement; the kind that reminds you of waiting for Christmas, or going on a ride in a hot air balloon. Though my evening shuddered to a start by being in a decidedly bad mood, the infectious promise of the night ahead soon took over, imbuing the pilgrimage to The Roundhouse with impatience at all manner of minor public transport issues (like waiting nine extra minutes for the tube – well I never!).

The crowd at the Roundhouse was eclectic, and as excited as I was; waiting anxiously for Beirut to get onstage with the boy wonder Zach Condon at the lead. When they ambled on, there was a warm roar of approval as the raggle-taggle gypsy mob began to play.

Zach has the quiet self-assured confidence of one having been around for a little while and knowing what he’s doing. With his brass (a flugelhorn to be precise) slung over his shoulder, baggy white tee-shirt and tousled hair, he is a rather unassuming figure…until he begins to sing. Condon’s undulating voice soars over the joyful raucous of the other nine musicians who make up the collective that is Beirut.

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It is a gorgeous din they make, warm and fresh. Their music manages to make the most jaded cynic feel like there’s still the endless possibility of many journeys to be had. Incongruously mature, yet still curiously innocent, the atmosphere that Beirut creates is simply a happy one. Uplifting and beautiful, the wide-eyed optimism of youth conveyed with well-travelled worldliness that is addictive to listen to. You just don’t want them to stop playing; even though the whole set sounds sort of like one long song with different variations on the theme – this is irrelevant, just like their image or whether they ‘put on a show’. Because it’s simply their sound, the purity of the music that absolutely holds you in rapt attention. Beirut is robust and swirling, just like snow and makes you feel like you’re seeing such a phenomena for the first time. Every song is epic, the soundtrack to the homecoming scene after the kind of adventure told in folktales, with a kind of refreshing joy and resolution that is ultimately satisfying.

For my virgin experience at the Roundhouse, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer time. And then came the after party in central Camden. The free bar made this buoyant Beirut fan a little more buoyant. The only vaguely eye-rolling thing was the opening few songs from the Djs – who I observed had a little trouble getting in at the door –making Liz (yet another tall companion of mine, who has the advantage of not having to crane to see ANYthing ANYwhere) and I raise our eyebrows. Ambient house at the Beirut after party? Hmmkay.

So we decided to make an exit a little while after the free bar dried up. Our timing was canny, as Beirut decided to make like trees (and leave) also. I caught Nick, the Beirut drummer, on the way out the door to tell him – like countless others had in the past no doubt of course – how much I enjoyed the gig. After a happily tipsy chat that I can’t actually recall very much of besides the fact that I flashed some blood (TRUST, click this) at him, my stomach grumbled and the best egg and bacon baps in London called my name. These are so good in fact, that Liz broke FOUR YEARS of vegetarianism to scoff a bit of my bacon a week ago. OH YES.

Nick decided that he too, could hear bacon calling him, and came with us. The lovely chap then proceeded to buy me an egg and bacon bap with BARBEQUE SAUCE! I had lost all hope that this condiment existed in the UK, and this event restored my faith in both rock stars and British condimentation. On that note, it was the perfect night…

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…And the bus ride back into East London was free too, innit. Hollaaaa.

{Somewhat dodgy) Photography by Christel Escosa
Despite their credentials and that Robot Man song, sickness the Aliens just aren’t cutting it. Black Affair, cialis 40mg Steve Mason’s new incarnation, doctor is at once audacious and amazing but probably won’t please the faithful. So what are those once enamored with and still lamenting the demise of perhaps the only British band of the last decade to actually be any, er, good, to do? I’m mean fans of the Beta Band, of course. Easy now. You’d do well to investigate this stone cold gem of an EP by Peter Hedley a.k.a. Beneath Fire and Smoke.

Sounding not unlike a Romanian folk band free-styling over the best bits of the Beta’s first three EPs, this has much to commend. No surprise then that Hedley is a sometime collaborator with whacked-out-folk genius, Voice of the Seven Woods. His music is shot through with the same rustic romance and bleary eyed wooziness…but it’s so much more. Opener, Smoke and Flames, is the finest cut. It uncurls, ebbs and flows over euphoric flutes and strings, electro-acoustic beats, monastic, loved-up vocals and down right cheeky Fairport’s style bass. Hot damn! Songs from a Slipway is how A Hawk and A Hacksaw wish they’d sound whilst The Iceberg Waltz deals in the same desolate and disconcerting piano led melancholia last heard on a Beach Boys Smile bootleg circa December 1966. Closer, So It Came To Pass, contorts celestial psychedelic string parts over minimalist bass and heart broken lyrics of unrequited love: So it came to be/That you and me will always be/Apart

Beautifully packaged vinyl courtesy of the bespoke Battered Ornaments label, this is what it’s all about. No downloads. No guerilla PR campaign. No hype. Music for music’s sake. And don’t doubt it, pal – this is fucking music.
Dearest Anarcho-Hillbilly Barn Dance Compadres, visit this

Cut-a-Shine are at it again, viagra buy hosting another rip roarer at the glorious Finsbury Town Hall. It’s going to be a bonafide hoe-down; themed as a Barn Dating night, click with plenty of lil dawgie roping, partner swapping, do-si-do-ing, gingham neckerchiefs and yeehaw-ing.

Couples, trios, doubles, groups, gay straight bi, tri, or try anything, come on down. Single as sliced cheese? You might just meet a sweet thing to take you off to the love parlour for a roll in the hay. If you’re feeling really lucky, you might receive a gingham beard (for the girls) or a pretty bow (for the boys), with a saucy love note attached. If you’re from the house of jealous lovers though, maybe stay at home, as it’s gonna be a mixing and mingling good old fashioned time, and we don’t want no fighting shenanigans going on.

Opening up the evening will be The Bona Fide Family Band, promising some hillbilly mountain music on a wealth of odd instruments like mandolins and banjos.

Cut-a-Shine are on 9pm-11pm with Amelia calling some dances, if you fancy meeting the lady herself.

After all that there’s Fat 45. Jump jivin’, jitter buggin’, rock’n’rollin 11-piece swing band.

Can’t get any cooler than a shindig like this one. And whilst you’re cutting a rug out there on the barn dancing floor, spare a thought for the poor old band stuck up there on the stage, and send us some love too (cider will do).

So long now, see you at the shindig this here Friday!

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Huw Stephens – Radio 1 DJ (and all round good egg) have afforded the gig going hordes of the Welsh capital a real treat this weekend in the shape of a three day musical feast. It’s simple title (‘swn‘) belying the riches on offer. Aside from Sons and Daughters, more about tonight features the likes of The Cribs, stomach Beirut and The Duke Spirit scattered amongst a host of venues throughout the city. Over the course of the weekend there will also be the opportunity to catch anything from Two Gallants, viagra 40mg to DJ sets by Annie Mac and Steve Lamacq – these being just a handful of acts from the impressive 120 plus assembled by Stephens for the inaugural event.

The Scottish quintet arrive in Cardiff midway through a tour in support of new album This Gift, due early next year. Rather unusually, the bands online tour blog boasts of the pre gig joys of consuming Chinese green tea in Cambridge. So much for the Rock ‘n’ Roll excess then. But in the flesh they do a stellar job of presenting themselves as strangely stylish, sexy and diverse outfit. The striking presence is most welcome.

Style aside, so to the substance – and the songs. Or rather ‘song’ as it turns out. Tonight’s performance is so repetitive in nature that it almost feels like the set is one big song. From a very early stage in the set, songs blend into one another, and the absence of differentiation is stark with the overriding effect being one of tedium for long periods.

As a unit, the band kick and splutter without really going anywhere – even if at times they manage to create a surprisingly big sound. The lack of craft however often relegates this to mere ‘noise’. But, on occasion everything does fall into place. Cathy Come Home (a homage to socialist stalwart film director Ken Loach) has the necessary chorus, and said big sound (not noise in this instance) to resonate somewhat. Whilst new single Gilt Complex – which we are reliably informed is ‘about c*nts’ – recalls the wilder moments of Echo and The Bunnymen with some zest.

It’s all a little too late, but there are glimpses of excellence right at the end of the set. Chains is definitely the best new song on offer, it’s defiant energy and bite offering hope for the new record, and they end on Johnny Cash – with a bit of Iggy and The Stooges thrown in for good measure.

So much for the green tea eh.

It’s a Friday night and I’m in the SEOne club situated beneath London Bridge Station for an Evening with The Rakes. An interesting line up of new musical ‘talent’ including the likes of The Metros, sale We Start Fires, page Ghost Frequency and various DJ sets seems to have drawn in a mixed crowd for a Friday night knees-up south of the river.

Strolling between the two stages/bars (separated by a DJ room in which I thoroughly enjoyed some old school reggae) I caught bits and pieces of the support acts; none of which left a real impression on me – they weren’t bad, seek just not quite my cup of tea.

Not massively impressed at the new music on display, my ears pricked up when I heard the rumor that the special guests had “good shoes”. True enough half an hour later the Morden boys made an appearance on the second stage and ripped through the majority of their debut album Think Before You Speak as well as a new song for good measure. The fact that not only were they on top form but that all the scene kids were at the other stage awaiting The Rakes and guarding their “spot” only widened the grin on my face. That was more like it. With my clothes suitably ruined and my beer everywhere it was time for the main event (via the bar of course!).

Having been a fan of The Rakes first offering Capture/Release and a critic of their second, far more commercial album, Ten New Messages, I was both excited and apprehensive to see what was on offer. Opening with lesser-known songs from the second album and a few new ones left the crowd somewhat bemused. However, The Rakes soon riled us all into frenzy performing riotous renditions of Strasbourg, 22 Grand Job and Retreat. The front of the room seemed to erupt into chaos as tune after tune from Capture/Release got a much-deserved airing. With Alan Donohoe twitching and jerking around the stage like he’s the secret love child of Ian Curtis on speed and the band drilling through their best material, I stumbled home with my grin still firmly in place…

It’s the end of the show already and the stage is dripping in red light. From where I’m standing, what is ed the perspiration in the room looks like blood. Two Gallants have just been on for over an hour, so the perspiration on the walls feels like blood too.

They have wrecked this place. Their blues, rock, folk, punk, loud, quiet, angry, sad mayhem has blown the place to smithereens. Adam Stephens‘ voice is cracked, rasped and broken. His heart is heavy, his songs are long, his words are laced with the worn down dejection of a hard life. The mouth organ can barely hold up for the rust and rot.

Tyson Vogel bashes his drums like he’s making up for a past deed. He has no crash cymbal, just high hat and ride. He provides the drama, the beard, and the mystery. There’s just the two of them. Named after a James Joyce short story, as you know, they are literate. They tell tales: “I shot my wife today/Hid her body in the ‘frisco bay”. That’s a tough gig. They repent: “If you got a throat/I got a knife”.

But they’re not depressing. They’re painting a picture, writing a novel, making you think. Amidst the almost White Stripe-y rock-outs and the down beat Americana they’re doing rustic graffiti on the side of an old wooden cabin. They’re drinking whisky and opening their heart to a best friend because things haven’t worked out how they planned and they don’t know what to do about it. And they do it every single song.

Long Summer Day is as controversial and opinion-splitting as ever, the Gallants belting out Moses Platt’s lyrics as if they were their own: “And the summer day make a white man lazy/He sits on his porch killing time/But the summer day make a nigger feel crazy/Might make me do something out of line.” It raises an eyebrow, provokes, and stretches boundaries. But as reckless and offensive as some might see it, that, compadres, is what it’s all about.

The five piece – three scrawny men, abortion one portly man and one petite woman – clamber onto the stage. Fashion doesn’t trouble them. It’s five-years-too-late skinny jean/tie combos for the men (great for squeezing the tunes out presumably) and a trashy silver cocktail dress for the girl. They pick up their instruments and play a pick ‘n’ mix selection of all the pop you’ve grown to hate (Wham!, pills Katrina and The Waves, Aha), but somehow they’ve jumbled, mashed, stretched and twisted it into something kind of… well…good.

Really good actually. These geeky kids can play. And for all the cruise ship Europop melodies (they’re from Denmark) and synchronised shimmying you can’t help but move your feet with them. Your poor old heart – smacked around by dull jobs, worn-out worrying over neglected friendships and Kasabian on the radio – starts to really kick again. A weird craving for Nerdz and Curlywurly’s and Dib-dabs creeps up on you. Suddenly you want The Beano and Live and Kicking on a Saturday morning. Look around and see a dark room above a pub in North London half-full of thirty-somethings dripping from the miserable weather all lost in similar reverie.

Before you know it lead singer Anders SG is introducing the final song of a far too short set. Alphabeat scamper into a note-perfect performance of their flagship hit Fascination – sample lyric: “fashion is OUR fashion” (that’ll explain the wardrobe then). Andres whoops, spins, shakes and slams his tambourine against his chest. His band skip around the stage bellowing “Super-duper!” in unison and beaming at each other with undisguised affection. Alphabeat are making that kind of giddy pop that makes you want to run all the way home and yell: “Mum MUM, I found this brilliant new band and they made me dance until my feet were sore and they sound like S Club 7 smacking the snobbery out of Arcade Fire and let me sing you their songs and I want to BE in their band and can I go and see Alphabeat again tomorrow night please please PLEASE!?”

And if she’s seen them, she wouldn’t be able to say no.

The way into our hearts here at Amelia’s Magazine, link is through our stomachs. Faye Skinner, treatment the clever little muffin, wooed us with cupcakes hand delivered to our door – these ones in fact:

Faye%20Skinner%20Cupcakes.JPG

After worrying about whether they were actually meant to be eaten or not (admittedly, we were only briefly torn about it) and whether we wanted to digest the lovely little things, leaving only crumbs and paper cupcake wrappers as evidence that they ever existed, these three piglets couldn’t help but scoff the lot (with Amelia’s help).

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In one fell inhalation, all the cupcakes were gone, so we thought we might ask Faye a few questions…

Who were the illustrations of on the cupcakes?
They were a little bit of everything that influences me, queens, victorian children, dolly birds and female musicians.

Were the illustrations actually edible?
Yes, entirely edible. I painted them onto wafer paper using food colouring which work just like watercolours. I then stuck them on with the pink icing.

How do you feel about people eating your illustrations and them disappearing into the bowels of their stomachs?
I quite like the idea of eating very pretty food, like sugared rose petals! Mary Pickford used to eat flowers when she was a little girl in the hope that she would be beautiful when she grew up. It must be very good for the soul.

Can you tell us the recipe for the cupcakes?

Right:

5 oz (150g) Butter – softened
5 oz (150g) superfine (castor) sugar
6 oz (175g) self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
drops of pink food colouring

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350oF (180oC).
2. Line a 12 cup cake pan, with cup cake papers.
3. Crack the eggs into a cup and beat lightly with a fork.
4. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Beat with a whisk for 2 minutes, until light and creamy.
6. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake cases.
7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to touch.
8. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
9. Allow to cool fully before icing.

For the icing whisk together water and icing sugar and a drop of food colouring until slightly thick and runny, then dribble onto the cupcakes, stick on the wafers while the icing is still sticky.

You can buy packs of wafer paper which you can then directly paint onto with the food colouring and then cut out with kitchen scissors ready to decorate the cakes with.

Do you bake other things? Like what?
I do make a lot of chocolate cupcakes for my flatmates when I am having a domestic housewife kind of day. When I was younger I was obsessed with baking salt-dough fat mermaids.

Tell us some of your favourite things.
Some of my favourite things include Vivien Leigh, The National Portrait Gallery, The Electric Ballroom, pub quiz and kareoke on a tuesday, Katie Jane Garside, classic children’s novels, and shopping in and around Dalston’s £1 emporiums with my friend Victoria.

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Scrumptious. Find out more about Faye at www.myspace.com/fayedoll

Photography by Amelia
Photo 2, L-R: Jess Jayne and Christel
Photo 3: Jess

He’s come a long way has Dan Snaith aka Caribou. From the purer electronic instrumental cut’n’paste soundscapes of his Manitoba guise to this: the Odyssey and Oracle goes Pro-Tools psychedelic pop of his Caribou incarnation. Summer’s Andorra long player exemplifies just how a musician, medications given time to grow and develop creatively, can create beautiful art. That’s not to negate his previous works but Snaith’s most recent album is fucking light years ahead, marrying choral song-structures with a left-foot sensibility.

So, how to rock this complex and multi-layered beast in a live context. Get a bad-ass band together. Lap-tops, two drummers, vintage guitars, neck-ties, wigged out projections, Electric Prunes circa ’66 haircuts…Check, check, check….Oh man, it’s gonna so fucking rule. In truth, it nearly didn’t. Squandering triumphant nugget, Sandy, as first number was a shame. You could hear the band finding their feet and acclimatizing to the stage as the song thundered on in cack-handed fashion. No bad thing of course, but when it’s such an unabashed turntable hit as Sandy it kinda grates. Still, with Snaith finding his voice and his beautiful boys kicking up a psych-storm they lay waste to Brighton’s Audio with aplomb. Melody Day does that whole scorched earth thang leaving the audience mouths agape whilst She’s The One is just sublime, like Kieren Hebden producing the Beach Boys today. Desiree is heartbreaking; with soulfully strained harmonies seeping into our ears, glooping down like wild honey over a Midi-orchestra backing. Sweetness personified.

You rarely get to hear such celestial orch-pop made flesh. Vibrant, human…alive. Dan Snaith and friends know how to do retro and make it so fucking fresh. Tell that to the hordes of dim guitar slingers taking up space in this town or in the pages of the NME. This is how you do it, boys. Class dis-fucking-missed.

He’s come a long way has Dan Snaith aka Caribou. From the purer electronic instrumental cut’n’paste soundscapes of his Manitoba guise to this: the Odyssey and Oracle goes Pro-Tools psychedelic pop of his Caribou incarnation. Summer’s Andorra long player exemplifies just how a musician, information pills given time to grow and develop creatively, site can create beautiful art. That’s not to negate his previous works but Snaith’s most recent album is fucking light years ahead, prescription marrying choral song-structures with a left-foot sensibility.

So, how to rock this complex and multi-layered beast in a live context. Get a bad-ass band together. Lap-tops, two drummers, vintage guitars, neck-ties, wigged out projections, Electric Prunes circa ’66 haircuts…Check, check, check….Oh man, it’s gonna so fucking rule. In truth, it nearly didn’t. Squandering triumphant nugget, Sandy, as first number was a shame. You could hear the band finding their feet and acclimatizing to the stage as the song thundered on in cack-handed fashion. No bad thing of course, but when it’s such an unabashed turntable hit as Sandy it kinda grates. Still, with Snaith finding his voice and his beautiful boys kicking up a psych-storm they lay waste to Brighton’s Audio with aplomb. Melody Day does that whole scorched earth thang leaving the audience mouths agape whilst She’s The One is just sublime, like Kieren Hebden producing the Beach Boys today. Desiree is heartbreaking; with soulfully strained harmonies seeping into our ears, glooping down like wild honey over a Midi-orchestra backing. Sweetness personified.

You rarely get to hear such celestial orch-pop made flesh. Vibrant, human…alive. Dan Snaith and friends know how to do retro and make it so fucking fresh. Tell that to the hordes of dim guitar slingers taking up space in this town or in the pages of the NME. This is how you do it, boys. Class dis-fucking-missed.

When one thinks of Washington DC’s musical scene, website like this it evokes images of right-on punkers kicking up a politicised, ask Converse clad riot. Loud guitars. Soap box sermons between songs. Well, meet Washington’s Mark Charles, a.k.a Vandaveer, and prepare to swoon to a different beat. Or lack of beat…

There’s no shortage of neo-folkers right now and some might say we need another one like the world needs another epidemic of the Black Plague. But Vandaveer is something else. What he has is soul; and that genuine, bohemian restlessness that characterises truly great singer-songwriters. Seeing him play to six people in Brighton the other week did little to diminish his aura and captivating stage presence – it oozed into every nook and cranny of the venue.
Vandaveer’s debut album is a sonically stripped down affair that serves to melt the listener’s heart in slow motion. Its minimalism renders Charles’s voice the main weapon here. A good thing given that he sounds like a most pleasing bastardisation of Dylan and Donovan. These are appropriate musical and lyrical references too but, at times, Vandaveer seems even more archaic, beamed down from another place and time. The harmonies that caress the chorus of Grace and Speed are almost pre-Beatles in their innocence while the tumbling chords of Parasites and Ghosts will make the hairs on your neck stand up. Dark humour, too, abounds on Out Past The Moat, its mellifluous melodies couching disconcerting lyrics: “Got my guns, I got ‘em both/Now’s a good time as any, tell my brothers I love them both…”

There’s more to meets the eyes and ears then. All human life is here and then some. Not bad for a dude with a guitar. Clear all that Homefires Festival endorsed shit and make way for a talent that demands a place in your life.

Reckon you’ve got Sons and Daughters sussed? Think again. Over their successful five year career, cost the Glasgow foursome have released two addictive albums of lusty, rx ragged blues punk, ambulance but they are set to blow expectations skywards with forthcoming effort This Gift, out in January, which finds their trademark, dark and ferocious sound rubbing up against 1960s girl group stomp and straight-up pop with magnificent results.

Tonight in the normally clinical surroundings of the Islington Academy we are treated to a preview of this latest material as they mix songs old and new throughout a fiery and captivating set. But before they take to the stage, Foxface work their folky magic on an initially uninterested smattering of people, followed by an intense performance from Victorian English Gentleman’s Club who arrive sombrely to the sound of a single clanging bell and climax with ear-shattering howls, menacing basslines, scratchy riffs and the colossal impact of two thundering drummers when Sons and Daughters’ sticksman David Gow joins the Cardiff trio for a dramatic finale.

The crowd is clearly unsure of the second support act, but not so by our headliners who whip up a storm as soon as they kick into rhythmic opener Broken Bones, provoking a sea of flailing bodies and lobbed pints. The dapperly dressed band make for a striking sight – the boys boasting quiffs, braces, colourful shirts and skin-tight jeans and the girls in glittery gold tops and short skirts – and they have immensely grown in confidence since they last played the capital as they attack their instruments unabashedly, while bassist Ailidh Lennon skips and hops in time to the music and Adele Bethel prowls the stage, switching effortlessly between sweetly sung vocals, soaring choruses and blood-curdling shrieks.

Gilt Complex is a highlight, as are warmly received newies like Rebel With A Ghost, The Nest, House In My Head, The Bell, Darling and Chains, however, the most frenzied reactions come in response to the airing of fan favourites Taste The Last Girl, Dance Me In, Red Receiver, Rama Lama and finally Johnny Cash which sees the quartet bathed in flashing red and white strobe lights and ends with guitarist/vocalist Scott Patterson screaming into the front row astride an amplifier. Explosive stuff indeed, and on form like this, Sons and Daughters seem unstoppable.
With recent solo exhibitions at Rotterdam’s Witte de With Gallery and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, treatment one might imagine Tris Vonna-Michell; who has spent the last few years zigzagging across Germany and Europe, sick making and performing his work, would be in the throws of nervous collapse. But with future appearances scheduled at Performa, New York (2007), the Berlin Biennial (2008) and judging from the energy and dynamism with which he delivers his performance it would seem not.

Act three of Tris Vonna-Michell’s performances in the “Tall Tales and Short Stories” series will be showing at Islington’s Cubitt gallery on November the 24th. Those patrons of performance art who favour public nudity, blood and guts need not look this way however, as an all together more understated idiom of performance prevails.

Incorporating, slide photography, moving image, documents and found objects Tris’s performances are essentially stories, albeit with meandering and non-linear narratives. What is charming about this artists work is its uncontrived nature as well as his near obsessive engagement with its subject matter. Tales of intrigue and espionage are woven around the topography of various European cities. Those big themes of the late twentieth century, the chaos in the aftermath of the Second World War and the division of Europe are touched upon too, but strangely through references to Quail eggs and through rather fragile, melancholy photographs, often concentrating on objects which themselves have something of a faded and nostalgic feeling. Curious art lovers who long to see new work with real passion and individuality should seek out Tris’s next exhibition no doubt coming to a country near you.
Daniel Johnston has bi-polar depression. He has a unrequited love for Laurie Allen. A girl he met whilst at Art College and whom he idealizes and uses as his muse for his music. He also sings of Christianity, visit this Captain America, try Casper the Friendly Ghost, malady the Devil and has fixation with number 9. He was born in 1961. He was there when MTV boomed and in 1985 they did a special on Austin, which brought Johnston to a broader consciousness. Record shop started selling his cassettes which he had largely given away. He was hospitalised when he wrestled the controls form his father who was flying the plane in which they were travelling. In 1991 whilst hospitalised he was able to air his music where he sang of Mountain Dew and requested Yoko Ono produced his music. Kurt Cobain loved him. Wore his t-shirt on TV and his live performances are the most emotional and affecting you will ever witnessed, with each line you feel like you are watching some crumble. He is an unassuming genius.

Johnston never intended for drawings to be sold. They are his cartoons about his personal battle between good and evil, like missing frames of a much longer story. So the fact that they are now adorning the walls of galleries far and wide must be bemusing for him. Like when he painted the “Hi, How Are You?” frog, also known as Jeremiah the Innocent on the Austin Sound Exchange music store. It was initially going to be torn down when the shop closed but public outcry meant that $50,000 was spent to save it. His work is enjoyed. They are witty cartoons with characters like Joe The Boxer with his head cut off. He references from Greek sculptures that have been defaced though time in art books he get from the library. He doesn’t want to insult girls too much though, so he draws them with heads. He is Joe The Boxer. He is battling Vile Corrupt in his drawings, Vile Corrupt being is his alter ego. He is all of America’s ideologies residing in one effected fellow. His life in part hiding and consuming of comics and popular America culture combined with poetic and intuitive nature has made art wholey pure in intent but riddled with excessive certitude and fundamentalist rigor. I am not arguing that Johnston’s drawings convey the purest most infinite beauty but like Johnston once said ‘–if you’re not entertained, depression will get you.’

Alongside Daniel Johnston’s work in this exhibition is that of James Unsworth, I suppose a rather more together version of Daniel Johnston, whose work is darker than Johnston’s visually, dense and macabre. He uses print to develop his pen and ink drawing into something even more forceful. He is destined for seminal. His work is honest, dark and gruesome, which although some won’t admit is work we can all relate to sometimes. In short go see this show.

Johnston’s drawings were also featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. His artwork is shown in galleries around the world, including exhibits in London’s Aquarium Gallery (April 28-May 20, 2006) and New York’s Clementine Gallery (March 16-April 15, 2006). Unsworth has had previous shows at Crimes Town Gallery, Atlantis Gallery, The Boys Hall and NOGgallery.
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Giant bow necklaces. There are not enough accessories that make me feel like a 5 year old kicking about nowadays. I’m not one to favour delicate jewellery, page and maybe that says a lot about my Peter Pan like refusal to grow up, more about but if brands like Neurotica have jumped on this idea then I guess I can get away with it (until my next birthday). Neurotica’s Spring/Summer 08 collection, Dark Heart/Grinning Soul, has been inspired by sci-fi culture including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but the part of the collection I’m most interested in is the accessories. Complementing the prismatic designs are giant bows hanging on silver chains, neon fireworks on black fabric. It’s all very futuristic and fun, and what better time of year to dress up like a Christmas present? When taking the photos of Jess wearing the bow, there was an old man larking about in the background wearing a boiler suit with what looked like a jet pack on his back. Maybe the world’s gone mad with sci-fi influences, but I wouldn’t mind running into Harrison Ford trying to save the world from old men cyborgs the next time I leave the house.
It’s always infuriating when you hear about a band, patient roughly about your age, visit from the same country as you, who suddenly grab everyone’s attention in the best possible way.

Now this is one of those things that’s just about possible to deal with if the artists in question are untalented and/or a flash in the pan and/or play thrash metal. Elle
S’appelle
are fortunately none of these things. Having only been together for less than a year, they are a wonderful mix of bouncy guitar pop with perfectly fitting lady vocals over the top. With beautifully worked in melodies, they’re just as catchy as one could want.

Little Flame is a perfect debut single, with the silliest lyrics this side of a Decemberists B-side, about a cheeky little flame who burns his way through a neighbourhood. The vocal harmonies of girl (Lucy) and boy (Andy) are delicate, sweet and sing-songy in equal measures. B-Side She Sells Sea Shells is perhaps superior even to its bigger sister, with layered keyboards on organ setting, it’s as chirpy as one
would hope for, and with a boy taking the main vocal line, it is a nice variation from Little Flame.

It’s only a matter or time before you see Elle S’appelle filling the more Death Cab inclined indie dance floors across the country, limbs will flail, feet will stomp, beer
will be spilled.
The Drawing Rooms is one of those rare salvations in deepest Dalston. True beauty amidst lofty tower blocks. Their current exhibition Every Eye sees Differently as the Eye, page has taken words spoken by William Blake to present what is almost certainly the most elegant body of art you will see in East London this year. It is truly stunning drawing. It sees existing visionaries expressing true imagination through their drawing for an exhibition that marks Blake’s 250th Anniversary.

Ernesto Caivano perhaps represents the most contemporary approach to folklore inspired narrative drawings. His long panels convey a story of a love that cannot be shared between a knight and a princess. Their paths are dogged with twisted trees, cheapest toothed plants and increasing branches and conveys their 1000-year separation. In his heartache the knight and the wood’s inhabitants struggle together incapable of movement. All off which meticulously drawn on an epic panoramic panels. Medieval in spirit but with present-day signifiers, Heiko Blankenstein‘s works on light boxes and paper cite humanist metaphysics and systems of chaos. The cognitive principles conveyed in his works are equaled in his drawing style, which is architectural. Augmented landscapes with depth and feature no figures, heightened in dynamic by being back lit. Charles Avery’s work is finely researched and philosophical in approach. He has twice been nominated for the Jerwood Drawing Prize and cites PG Woodehouse, Jorge Luis Borges, Joseph Beuys and Joseph Kosuth as influences. He work is extremely well observed and passionate and absorbs you. And you are left feeling like you have read a novel. Work by Dirk Bell and Kerstin Kartscher is also featured to make up a show of pure and striking hand rendered works that is truly inspirational, that I plead you to go see.
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Beauty is a concept that we never tire of debating. Whether you’re philosophising, help politicising, fantasizing or simply scouring Perez Hilton for car-crash beauties fallen from grace, we are all out there searching for the secret behind the allure. One valiant attempt to unearth some truths on beauty in contemporary society is the fifth and latest issue of Garageland, a captivating magazine of substance from the editing suite of Cathy Lomax, a prolific east end painter and director of the Transition Gallery (which plays host to the launch of each issue).

On a low key, Sunday afternoon, works taken from the Beauty issue were sporadically displayed in the small yet adequate gallery and proved more than a warm welcome from the torrential downpour outside. Gentle conversation acted as an appropriate pre-cursor to the thoughtfulness and sensitivity used to explore the themes of art and beauty/beauty and art in this lovingly put together tome. Garageland is fortunate enough to boast some of the most revered names in contemporary modern art on its contributors roster, who do well to prove that their talents extend effortlessly from the paintbrush to the pen (surely this is unfair?).

The contrasting depths of commentary and insight sit comfortably side by side; Dolly Thompsett digs deep to uncover the beauty within war films, while Alex Michon looks into the effect of blusher in the childlike paintings of Stella Vine. And, what joy! To find a truly laudable article on the legendary John Waters, life-long purveyor of all that is revolting in its beauty. This article alone is well worth the modest £3.95 asking price. The true appeal of Garageland however, is that it is not solely a retrospective nor is it obsessed with deconstructing the zeitgeist; it is a serenely happy marriage of the two. Here, beauty is at times, disgusting and putrid and as such, it is a constant source of fascination. Beauty is not (as so often chimed into us by commercial mags for girls) all-encompassing and happy and glowing, it is a striking image, a brave representation of one’s self and bold step into the unknown.

My only discontent is that I now have to decide whether to rip out the gorgeous Garageland pages for my bedroom wall or archive it, untarnished in its original glory for lazy Sunday reading in years to come.

Ah London – cobbled streets, information pills spooky fog and Dickensian urchins around every corner. That’s what I expected when I moved to the big smoke. Not monsoon style rainstorms that make me look like a drowned rat and smell like a wet dog. But that’s enough about the effects of global warming, my point was that I got rained on when traveling to the Swarovski press day and I wasn’t too happy about it. Especially when it was held in the achingly hip Sanderson Hotel whose elegance was more than matched by the designs in the Swarovski suite. If Marilyn Monroe were alive, she would have been cooing over the contents. Crystals were strewn over Marios Schwab designs, evoking both frailty and defensive armour, whilst Hussein Chalayan‘s crystal dresses refracted light in a futuristic boudoir. Hot on the heels of Fashion Rocks, Swarovski have continued their commitment to nurturing the hottest new designers. As well as working with Schwab and Chalayan, highlights of the Swarovski collaborations include crystal skullcaps designed by Giles Deacon and encrusted bangles by Jonathan Saunders. Perfect for magpies (last animal analogy, I promise).

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Amelia’s Magazine | Taylor Made Menagerie

With many universities leaning heavily towards womenswear – in some cases wholly – Epsom pleased many with several of its strongest collections coming from menswear designers. One of the running themes throughout the Epsom show seemed to be an obsession with blood, advice buy the body and corporal violence (you’ve got to wonder what’s going on down there) with one dress revealing a Westwood-esque red, cialis 40mg jewelled wound-like gape on its back.

Not pandering to this was Antigone Pavlou, viagra buy who opened the show with loud, bold and funky collection for the streetsmart city boy, with bomber jackets, tracksuits and distressed denim (the latter a phrase that struck fear into my heart when I first read it in the notes, only to be pleasantly surprised). With coloured headphones carelessly slung around the models’ necks, the designer plainly had a clear lifestyle in mind and played to its strengths in all the right ways, combining strong block primary colours with clashing graphic prints.

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If some previous designers during GFW have shown a tendency to elevate and romanticise the pastoral, I think Pavlou successfully did the same for the city, offering an attractively laid-back vision of urban life where you pull on some comfortable but sharp threads, plug into your walkman and swagger down the street, content to shut the outside world away for a moment, a sentiment I’ve evidently been drawn to in featuring CTRL and Daniel Palillo in recent weeks. Another menswear designer of note was James E Tutton, whose reversible designs (addressing the issue of functionality in contemporary fashion) we’ll be featuring later in the week.

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Soozi Welland’s ‘Geeks Know Style’ penultimate menswear collection was best received by the audience, with an endearing ode to all things geeky: spectacles, anoraks, bobbled hats, bow ties, and socks tucked into trousers. The geek has oft been described as the personification of a roll of duct tape, with functional apparel that will always get you out of a sticky situation, and Welland’s designs seem to celebrate this idea, with an abundance of oversized pockets, accessorising her looks with binoculars and cameras.

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By the last look, though, this geek had got himself a makeover, and was now spec-free, with the bow tie sexily hanging loose and sporting a satin and velvet playboy jacket. An endearing and humorous collection that I thought was commercially viable too, and that’s no mean feat.

Amongst the womenswear Stephanie Moran gave us a hard-hitting collection about desire, fabulously quoting Mae West ‘s ‘Ten men waiting for me at the door?…send one of them home I’m tired’, and a vision of the glamorous dominatrix. One of the standout pieces was a cream PVC dress with a cinched feather corset around the waist, and for better or worse, one of the most popular trends during GFW was feathers. This was certainly one of the better examples:

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Considering Epsom had given us notes on each designer and their collection, I think it was admirable that Moran’s designs needed no explaining whatsoever, with her models bombing down the runway dressed in all manner of things naughty.

A particularly well-crafted collection was April Schmitz’s, who gave us a series of garments with some serious work put into unusual fabrics including hardware, folded leather and metal rings and eyelets. Entitled ‘Visions of the Future’ it gave a throwback to 1930s aviation with leather flight caps, a retro colour palette and the repetition of some swinging circles, with panels ejecting out of the garments providing strange contraption-esque silhouettes that you expected to take off at any moment.

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Feathers popped up again, this time from Lucie Vincini with a stunning jacket from an eclectic menswear collection. Mixing embroidered jumpers with carrier bag trousers, basket weave coats with a jacket constructed out of Royal Mail bags, it showed that it is possible to draw from resources across the board and still construct a cohesive collection. A thrifty delight, and with its recycling sensibilities, obviously an Amelia’s Magazine favourite!

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Photos: Catwalking.com

Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009

Barbican Art Gallery
Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS
19 June – 18 October

Daily 11am-8pm except Tue & Wed 11am-6pm
Open until 10pm every Thursday

Tickets: £8/£6 concs, ailment £6 online

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A new season of ecologically focused exhibits, talks, events and screenings is taking place over the Summer at the Barbican. Kicking off the proceedings is this fascinating exhibition which deals with land art, environmental activism, experimental architecture, and inspiring ideas about utopian solutions to the urgent matter of climate change.
See the Barbican website for full details of all events over the next few months.

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Sarah Bridgland: In Place- New Collage Works

Man and Eve Gallery
131 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4JJ
19th June – 1st August

Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm

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Bridging the gap between sculpture and collage, Sarah Bridgland’s intricate paper creations combine her own made printed media with junk shop treasure to form nostalgic pieces of meticulous craftsmenship. Simultaneously dreamlike and miniature while remaining technically genius, Bridgland’s collection of new work will transport you to other colourful, playful worlds.

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Various Artists: Two Degrees 2009

Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB
16-21 June

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The opening night of Two Degrees, Artadmin’s week long programme of politically, socially and environmentally charged events, is this Tuesday. Getting it’s name from last month’s report that a hugely damaging global temperature rise of 2C could be a mere 40 years away, the 20 or so artists involved are putting the issue of climate change at the forefront of our concerns.
The opening night features among other things Daniel Gosling’s video installation ‘I Can Feel the Ice Melting’ and the forward thinking London based group Magnificent Revolution generating music for the evening with a live bicycle-powered DJ set.

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R-art assist BASH@The Sustainable Art Awards 2009

BASH STudios
65-71 Scrutton Street
London EC2A 4PJ
June 16th

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Open Sailing by Cesar Harada

“The Sustainable Art Awards are open to any UK artist working within on the themes of sustainability, environmental issues, climate change and ecology. R-art will provide the awards for the SAA, these mini eco sculptures are the oscars of eco art! Sustainable Art Awards are a 2 week showcase of eco talent @ BASH Studios.
The Sustainable Art Awards is part of Respond! who aim to engage arts audiences in discussing and questioning environmental change. Respond! highlights how the arts industries are in a unique position to communicate environmental issues. Featuring exhibitions, talks, programmes, workshops and other activities. Respond! is an initiative co-founded by the Arts and Ecology center at The Royal Society of The Arts and BASH Creations.”

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Swapshop

Camden Arts Centre
Arkwright Road
London NW3 6DG
20th June
12:00 – 5:30pm

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Current artist in residence Alexandre da Cunha is putting together a Swapshop, which is becoming an ever increasingly popular means for people to get together and shed some of their unwanted belongings in exchange for new. Anything goes at this particular exchange; buttons, furniture- even art. To book your own stall please contact Ben Roberts on 0207 472 5500.

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Out of Range

The Rag Factory
16-18 Heneage Street
London E1 5LJ

12th June 22nd June
12-6pm daily, Saturdays 10-6pm
Free

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Tigran Asatrjan

If the extensive material on show at Brick Lane’s Free Range isn’t enough to satisfy your graduate show cravings, hop along to The Rag Factory to catch Out of Range where work from 29 emerging UK and European photographic artists recently set free from the University for the Creative Arts at Rochester is on display. The work promises to be fresh, innovative, exciting and diverse.

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Dominic Allan: The Irresistible Lure of Fatty Gingo 

Transition Gallery
Unit 25a Regent Studios
8 Andrews Road
London E8 4QN

13th June – 5th July
Fri – Sun, 12-6 pm
Free

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With what might just be the best title of an exhibition I’ve ever heard, Allan’s work is self described as ‘a world of rotten teeth, bubble and squeak and uncommon sense.’ With an unhealthy interest in British seaside culture and the bizarre link-ins local holiday getaways have with sugar coated junk we feast on, Allan’s work is repelling, alluring, mysterious and addictive all at once.

Monday 15th June
The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo at the Southbank Centre, sales London.

Tonight’s gig is one not to be missed- The Jonas Brothers at Wembley, health only joking of course. If you like your music a little more deflowered and lots more awesome, then I excitedly announce that Yo La Tengo will be playing the Southbank Centre tonight as part of Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown Festival. Yo La Tengo have shaped what is almost the last 20 years with their beautiful music which moves between eerie girl boy woozy vocals and minimal keyboards, to rocking genre bashing highs. Also ‘I’m Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass’ is the best album title ever!

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Tuesday 16th June
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs at Pure Groove, London.

I really love dinosaurs, so imagine my delight when I saw that a band called Totally Enormous Extinct Dinousaurs are playing Pure Groove on Tuesday evening. Being a music editor and planing gig going around loving extinct creatures is never the best idea so I checked their myspace and I can conclude my top 3 favourite things about this band, in descending order are:
3. They dress as dinosaurs a lot!
2. They have the longest list of alphabetised dinosaurs listed as their band members (Alphabetisation being my second favourite thing after fore-mentioned dinsosaurs)
1. Their keyboard tinged synthy-fun electro sounds so fun it makes me want to make up all kinds of dances called things like the ‘Triceratops Jive’ and the ‘Stegosaurus Shake’.
What’s your favourite dinosaur?

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Wednesday 17th June
Jolie Holland at Dingwalls, London.

When Tom Waits says he likes something you can pretty much tell it’s going to be good and Jolie Holland doesn’t disappoint. This Texan singer has had Waits’ outspoken support since the very beginning of her career, and her fresh take on traditional folk, country, blues and jazz place her as a definite protegée of Waits, as well as a talented musician in her own right.

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Thursday 18th June
A Hawk and a Hacksaw at Cecil Sharp House, London.

A Hawk and Hacksaw have skittered and clattered their way into my heart with their Klezmer- Indie hybrid loveable mess music. It sound like if Neutral Milk Hotel (indeed they share a drummer) got lost in the Baltic States for several decades in the early 20th century, armed only with a full brass band and a trusty band of wolves who were also in their own Mariachi band- and quite frankly how could that not sound amazing?

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Friday 19th June
Clinic at The Lexington, London.

I was lucky enough to see Clinic play last year and they are terrifying (they wear surgical masks) and brilliant in equal measure- like a melodic nightmare, lots of keyboards, creepy samples, garage-y clatters and wails are a-given, yet they manage to be as enjoyable as they are creepy.

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Saturday 20th June
Kitsuné Maison Party at La Scala, London.

We reviewed the Kitsune Maison 7 compilation a while back and liked it, they’re having a party at La Scala featuring Delphic (pictured below underwater), Chew Lips, We Have Band and Autokratz to name but a few. I can’t help but compare it to the Strictly Come Dancing tour that happens after the show ends; with everyone’s favourites appearing live, so maybe it’ll be like that but a very hip, French version.

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Continuing our festival preview adventure

I don’t like camping. Going to bed shivering and waking up sweating doesn’t appeal to me much, mind and claustrophobia in a two-man tent isn’t fun either. Don’t even mention the word ‘porta-loo’…But all this I will get over for Lounge on the Farm.

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For the past four years, sickness thousands of people have invaded Merton Farm in Canterbury, with a view to enjoying laid-back choons and getting down to some serious lounging. Despite it’s status as a ’boutique’ festival (one of The Time’s top twelve Boutique festivals, dontchaknow), there’s plenty to muck in with, down on the Farm.
Each of the six stages caters to a different taste, The Cow Shed hosting The Horrors, Edwyn Collins and The King Blues (as well as whoever you want, thanks to the You Say, They Play initiative – just mind the dung), Farm Folk, leaning towards a more acoustic experience and The Bandstand, rockin’ out the opera and punk rock karaoke.

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I’ll be spending most of the weekend with Gong, Canterbrerians of the ’60s who sing of teapot taxies, and the Wolf People, hairiest band I’ve ever seen who weren’t actually animals, down at the psychedelic Furthur Tent, and doubtlessly joining Mr. Scruff for an epic six hour afternoon tea mash-up at the Hoedown – blanket and thermos a!
requisite.
Lounge is foremost a local festival (for local people…) and it wouldn’t be, well, right, without Psychotic Reaction, Amber Room, Cocos Lovers, Syd Arthur, Electric River and Zoo For You, to name but a meagre few of the Kentish best performing this year.

It’s not all about the music though, in fact, in the Meadows area it’s not even about the music. New for 2009, the Meadows contains an outdoor theatre, petting zoo (pigs or partay?!) and The Red Tent if you feel in need of some spiritual healing after all the exhausting lounging about. Natural Pathways will be providing bushcraft courses, fulfilling all your wild wo/man fantasies and the Make do and Mend lane focuses on local craftsmen and their skills, with workshops running all weekend.

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Whatever tickles your pickle, solar powered cinema or life-drawing class – and music too – Lounge on the Farm is the perfect place to do exactly that.

Lounge on the Farm runs from the 10th to the 12th of July, at Merton Farm, Canterbury. Weekend tickets £85, day tickets, £35

Free Range at The Old Truman Brewery is Europe’s largest graduate art and design show with free admission. Graduates of everything from interior design to fine art who studied outside of London finally get a chance to showcase their talents in the countries capital.
I’ve been to a few Free Range shows this summer already, approved but last Thursday’s exhibition of photography graduates was the one I was most excited about.

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In this age art can really be anything, web Kant has been moved to the back seat and nobody thinks art has to be beautiful anymore. That said it’s almost impossible for photographers not to take images that look good. Just by being photographed the most mundane subject is rendered interesting and the most ugly object or person becomes so lovely that you just want to lick their glossy surface.

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The best of all the exhibitions on that week had to be Swansea, stuff Farnham and Maidstone. With so many photographers on show it seems pointless to make a reductive comment on whether entire graduate years were good or bad so I’ve decided to create a contact sheet if you will, of the people whose photographs looked that bit extra special.

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Jack Davis

I spent my first ten minutes in Free Range looking at Jack Davis’ landscape photographs. In them great colour and composition immediately makes the viewer forget that the scenes are completely empty.

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Lauren Eldekvist

In Lauren Eldekvist’s evocative series Landscapes, unmade beds are photographed and shown huge on the Truman Brewery’s walls. For the artist the bed “connotes the human condition; birth, life, sex, sleep, illness and death”. The pieces remind me very much of one of my favourite artists Felix Gonzalez Torres and his billboard photographs of an empty, but obviously slept in, bed.

Also intriguing were James Rugg’s photographs, which aim to capture small instances, chance meetings and gestures. In them the simple act of a girl twirling string around her fingers becomes something we should give our undivided attention to.

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James Rugg

Over at Maidstone University College of the Arts there were some strong conceptual works.
Lee Gavin presented an installation of Mapping a project that he undertook after the death of his Grandfather, he decided to cycle to Elvington in Kent, the birthplace of his Grandfather. Lee showed as his work the tent and bike he used for the trip and an interactive google map of the journey (available from his website and well worth a look.)

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Lee Gavin

As a lover of old box televisions and a distruster of 40” LCD monstrosities I almost cheered when I saw Jack Quick’s work. The artist is stepping into Nam June Paik rather large shoes with his television manipulation photographs and sculptures in which he attempts to challenge uses for, sadly, now defunct technologies.

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Jack Quick

Cassandra Vervoort questions the role of the photographer and the weight of their influence and command over the photographed. In these “social experiments” she asks subjects to have a five-minute sleep in her bed while she is naked underneath the covers.

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Cassandra Vervoort

There were other photographers creating situations for their unwitting volunteers to perform in. Gemma Bringloe was one, “Can you turn around, sit down, stand up and sit down” … “Can you take off as many clothes as possible”.

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Gemma Bringloe

And finally Laura Jenkins, who produced my favourite project of the entire show. The Tender Interval is brilliant in it’s simplicity. Actors were called forward in complete darkness and instructed to kiss. The photographs provide a record of the interval immediately before the kiss.

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Laura Jenkins

Free Range exhibitions continue until the middle of July. The Private view for the next group of photography shows is 6PM on Thursday. For a full list check out the Free Range website.

Words like ‘buzz’ and ‘hype’ sometimes transpire to be untrustworthy words bandied around by desperate press offices, ed but with the mid-afternoon Ravensbourne show the anticipation is undeniably huge. And rightly so – after rave reviews (two more alarm words) as well as producing the winner for the past two years, search we’re expecting an awful lot, ambulance and luckily we were not disappointed. In fact, far from it – it would be easy to ramble hyperbolically about how consistently brilliant the show was, or to point out how as a university it’s completely isolated in GFW by its galactically high standard, as elitist as that sounds, so I’ll try and keep focused.

If you’ve been following our reports (and you will have done if you know what’s good for you) you’ll have been aware of this years’ output of some truly outstanding menswear. Ravensbourne, of course, was no exception, with menswear designers Calum Harvey and Hannah Taylor opening and closing the show respectively (both of whom I’ll be interviewing in the coming days). Harvey had made a collection constructed from raw materials scavenged from car interiors, attesting to the strengths of the transformative powers of recycled fashion and making something beautiful – and indeed, wearable – out of something normally perceived as solely functional.

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A selection of huge knits (the oversized scarf on the opening look was a favourite) were followed by jackets layered with woven and shredded seatbelts worn over sheer shirts and gold pinstripe trousers. Making it no surprise that he later won the http://www.gfw.org.uk/event/winners.aspxTextile Award, Harvey had created a gorgeous paisley pattern on a shirt out of frayed gold zips, while seatbelts also served to layer and tier to help create voluminous silhouettes, in one case a high collar for a knitted jumper, whilst continuously coupling the industrial looking wool with plaid and tweed to neutralise the effect.

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The last look – an enormous tulle tiered cape in grey and black – seemed to typify a collection that was eminently wearable whilst staying on the right side of theatrical, and as for the patent leather bag with seatbelt fastener – yes please.

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Mehmet Ali’s menswear (which later won the Menswear Award) was a gorgeously sophisticated collection in a neutral palette of pink, cream and wine, layering summer jackets and waistcoats for the occasional Brideshead-lite feel. A series of simple and exquistively crafted designs that was lent a sweet personal touch by the use of Ali’s own suitcase with his initials emblazoned across.

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A strong showing for the womenswear came from Hannah Buswell ‘s collection of Missoni-esque knits, combining multi-patterned cardigans with knitted dresses for a beautiful and commercial winter collection.

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Laura Yiannakou was girly, quirky and unusual, working with digital prints and synthetic fabrics to create a colourful and seriously modern collection for the fashion forward woman.

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Yasmina Siddiqui also impressed with a series of Viktor & Rolf-style illustrated prints tied to ordinary silk dresses; surrealist prints that created unusual silhouettes, attempting to understand and rebrand perceptions of art and fashion:

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Hannah Taylor’s knitwear as the closer was easily the evening’s most enjoyable and surprising. Entitled ‘You’ll Grow Into It!’ it was a selection of oversized knits covered in animals ranging from tiny ducks to guinea pigs to foxes, paired with multicoloured balaclavas and enormous pom-pom headpieces (what did I tell you last month?)

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It successfully recreated the endearing sense of childlike fun in trying on something too big and it falling around your knees; combining loud designs with mustard-colour Rupert Bear pants, tweed trousers and enormous pom-pom collars. I especially loved the knitted balaclavas (creating an ironic sense of menace that could never be fully realised when you’ve got a massive guinea pig plastered across your body).

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Aside from this, irony is something that would elude such a collection that by nature was so ostensibly warm and affectionate, with a strong sense of sentiment that I think appealed to an awful lot of people (including Erin O’Connor who was whooping in the crowd). Hannah was later nominated for the Gold Award, and despite missing out was given a special mention by the judges, and currently has her collection on display in River Island.

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A truly fantastic show and a great way to finish Amelia’s Magazine’s stint at Graduate Fashion Week – look out for our interviews with a few of the graduates over the next couple of weeks!

Photos: Catwalking.com

Way back in 2006, view Neil Boorman lit a bonfire in Finsbury Square and burnt all of his branded possessions. Of course, there was a back story to this, rather than it simply being a case of a pyromaniac getting one over on the City of London council. Neil made this bold statement for two reasons. To protest the all pervasive consumer culture and to address his own issues and addictions to branded and labelled goods. In one fell swoop, £20,000 worth of designer products were incinerated. Since then, Neil has been living his life brand-free, and documenting the results on his blog, and in his book, Bonfire Of The Brands.

While this bonfire took place three years ago, the argument about consumer culture, and the willingness of the general public to spend money that they don’t have on something simply because it ‘looks cool’ is as pertinent now as it was then. Few people in 2006 could have predicted the economic and environmental mess that we are now in. By raising concerns over the irresponsible actions of large corporations who would use every trick in the bag to entice us to buy their products, Neil was already drawing attention to the cracks in the system. As often happens, a prophet is never appreciated in his time, and Neil’s actions were met with a flood of negative responses, many from people who argued that his posessions should have been donated to charity rather than burnt. Exploring the reasons behind the criticism, he suggested that “this reaction has less to do with charity than the overall value that we have come to place on branded things; nowadays, to willingly destroy an expensive bag amounts to the same moral and cultural neglect as burning a book.”

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Having seen that Neil was going to be speaking recently at the Arcola Theatre’s Green Sundays event in Dalston, I was interested to hear an update on how his brand-free life is working out, and what he made of the new, paired down version of consumerism that is being peddled to us. While brands are wising up to the facts that a) we don’t have much money to spend on non-essential items and b) we are savvier about how these products are being produced, many labels are going out of their way to champion phrases in their marketing, such as ‘fair trade‘, ‘ethically produced’, ‘locally sourced’ etc, but is this all a white wash? And if we continue buying from the big brands – no matter what placatory words they might throw at us – are we still missing the point?

When you came up with the idea for the book in 2006, consumerism was still king. Now in 2009, the Bonfire of The Brands manifesto has become all the more apparent in the current economic climate and environmental chaos. Do you feel a element of schadenfreude seeing that you were one of the first to voice your concerns?

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It does feel like the country’s mood towards shopping has changed in the last few years. Recently someone confessed to me that they used to nip out to buy a new pair of sunglasses whenever they felt down, but now that money was tight, they felt stupid about it all. I get a lot of people confessing their consumer sins to me. I’m not sure how I feel about that – I didn’t write the book to make people feel embarrassed. If anything, I wanted people to feel angry that consumer culture is rammed down our throats so often. I definitely would have sold more copies of the book had it come out this year. But what would I spend the money on? There’s only so many non-branded plimsolls a person can buy.

Are people more responsive to your message now then when your book was first published?

People think I’m slightly less bonkers than before, but they’ve not stuck my poster on the wall in Selfridges just yet. We all got sidetracked by the boom a few years back, and most sensible people have snapped out of it for the time being. It’s the legions of people still flooding into Primark that I can’t work out. So many people buy gear on the never-never that the recession is meaningless to them. People laughed at me when I suggested that we are a nation hooked on shopping, but you can see it for your own eyes on the high street every day. The world might be on meltdown, but there’s still time to buy a pair of deck shoes.

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Do you think that the big brands have responded appropriately to the economic crisis and new wave of consumer awareness about where their products are coming from?

Recessions strike at the heart of big brands. Not just at the till, but at the value of the brand. Luxury is based on the principle that more is more – the more you spend, the more luxury you get. As soon as you start to discount your stock, that myth goes out of the window.  And all those uber-luxe ads you see in Sunday Supplements look ridiculous next to reports of mass unemployment. Luxury is a house of cards like that. The best they can hope for is that the economy picks up, and consumers forget about all this ‘ethical nonsense’.

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Are there any brands that you would consider buying from again?

I’m slightly less militant now than I was after the bonfire. I’d be happy to buy something from a brand that has it’s house in order – a brand that looks after it’s staff and doesn’t needlessly pollute. But there’s no way I’d wear their logo on my chest ever again. Looking back, I was like a human billboard. Back in the 1920′s, companies used to pay people to pin company slogans on their clothes. Now we do it for free – in fact we pay for the privilege. How on earth did we get here?

Amelia’s Magazine are always keen to support ethical designers and products. Do you find that a non-brand generally equals something ethical? I would think that on the one hand you can spot the holes in a large brand, and it is easier to find out information about them, but if you were to pick up, say, a plain t-shirt from a charity shop, you would have no way of knowing if it had potentially come from a sweat shop. What are your thoughts on this? 

You’ve found the gaping hole in my argument – brands do help us to identify which product does what, and how it was made. But then there’s so much greenwash about right now its difficult to decide which brand is telling the truth. I mean, American Apparel boasts that it only uses American labour. But as far as I know, they still pay a rock bottom minimum wage and only Mexican immigrants on skid row that can afford to work in their factories. Those kooky young things in the ads – they don’t stitch liquid tights for a living.

The easiest way to cut through all these dilemmas is to concentrate on wants and needs. Every time I’m tempted to buy something new, I ask myself if I really need it. If the answer is no, then I put it back on the shelf and walk out the store a richer man. Life goes on. 

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Going back a few years ago, you founded the infamous Shoreditch Twat; having experienced many Londoners in perhaps their least appealing and most pretentious forms, do you ever doubt the sincerity of those who are now jumping on the anti consumerism bandwagon?  And if so, is this necessarily a bad thing if the outcome of non brand buying is still a positive one? 

I don’t know about people in Shoreditch, but I do slightly worry about all the Sloaney fashion journalists that have started banging on about frugal chic. Alarm bells have got to start ringing when people at The Sunday Times call something ‘chic’. They’re terrified of committing to anything meaningful in case it goes out of style. And then where would they be? Trust me, they’ll be back down to Hermes when the economy picks up. But what the hell, I reckon its better to dip in and out of anti-consumerism than not at all.

What is news with your blog now? Will this remain an ongoing issue for you, and will you continue to write about your experiences with anti-consumerism?

I’m writing less but campaigning more. I’ve got a few stunts that I’m going to pull later in the year, and a big push in the run up to the election. Right now, I feel like less talk and more action. When shopping isn’t a Saturday afternoon leisure option, you have to find other things to do.
How important is the relationship between an artist and her aunt? For Miriam Zadik Gold, approved whose latest exhibition ‘Who is Mary Jane’ opens at Prick Your Finger on June 18, online it’s a pretty damn important relationship.

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Photo by Kirsty Hall

In fact, visit this it’s fair to say that the work in the show wouldn’t exist without Miriam’s Aunt Sue, a car-boot sale connoisseur who runs a stall selling buttons, badges and old Ladybird books every Saturday at Broadway Market. It was Aunt Sue who found six old ceramic dolls heads in a charity shop and bought them for her niece whom she thought would like them. Miriam did like them, but couldn’t think what to do with them and put them high on a shelf in her studio for a few years.

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It wasn’t until she was crocheting a pair of Mary Jane shoes for her own daughter that Miriam began to wonder about Mary Jane – why were the shoes named after her? Who was she? And why did so many musicians name-check her in their songs?

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Things began to take shape. Miriam spent hours on the internet, noting down every Mary Jane-related song lyric she could find, from Nick Drake through to John Lennon to Mary J. Blige. Taking the lyrics as her inspiration she created a different Mary Jane persona for each of the dolls’ heads, and began to craft bodies, clothes and backgrounds for each one. When she came across things she couldn’t make, such as a tiny denim jacket, she turned to dolls’ clothes makers on etsy.com and commissioned miniature pieces for her band of tiny muses.

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Miriam hopes that by giving these dolls a little more of an identity, she will bestow more of an inner life to the somewhat submissive Mary Janes described in the songs: ‘There was something quite passive about the way the dolls were waiting on the shelf for me to give them a story, to give them a life. For each one, I quickly had a clear sense of a little story of my own that sat behind the lyrics.’

Click here for more information about Prick Your Finger and their upcoming events.
It was Daniel Almeroth’s “The Birth of Feminism” series that formed an entry into Dazed & Confused’s Free Range competition that first caught my eye and drew me in. These sparsely yet beautifully constructed collages are not only visually pleasing but make a bold statement about the feminist movement too. He explains the work as “moments of metaphorical and symbolical events before and after this dramatic political movement. The point of the series is to highlight the tight control Men had over Women throughout our past; through religion, symptoms marriage and general social attitudes.”

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Delving deeper into Almeroth’s work, I notice a similar thread of stunning aesthetics teamed with clever insights running through his artistic repertoire. The Injured Body, for example, “tries to highlight the factor of deformities due to accidents and incidents. It comments on the relationship of a figure of heroism and the true reception they may receive.”

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The sign of a good artist in my opinion is one who can create work with meaning or a message, yet leave it up to the audience to form their own perspectives, drawing on individual personal references and experiences. Nothing is less attractive then artists who dictate your reactions and responses. Almeroth concurs, saying “I want to leave these images open to interpretation, to challenge the observer to reach a personal conclusion of the images intent.”
It was a pleasure to get to know him a bit better and find out what makes him tick.

When did you first realise you were creative?

I first got into illustration when I was a little’n, I use to draw landscapes of cities being destroyed by dinosaurs, covering it in glitter and dry macaroni. I like to think I’ve changed since then!

Tell me about your school days.

I completed my A’levels at Shenfield High School (where Richard from Richard and Judy, and Des from Diggit went to school!). I then studied my foundation at Thurrock & Basildon College, Essex. Then got into the Arts Institute at Bournemouth studying the Ba Hons Animation Production course, changing to Ba Hons Illustration at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in my second year.

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Which artists or illustrators do you most admire?
Klaus Voorman is top notch, Tara Donovan is definitely my artist of the hour and the illustrator Meyoko is particularly phenomenal.

Who or what is Crabwolf and what is your involvement?

Recently I have joined a collective with four other illustrators/designers under the name of CRABWOLF. Crabwolf was born one night over dinner, beers, drawings, some roulette and a scorpion. All consisting of graduates from the illustration course at the Bournemouth Arts Institute. We commonly all collaborate on projects such as our recent Limehouse Magazine front covers, greeting cards, promotional posters/materials, possible exhibitions in London and Dublin are lined up, a zine or two in the pipeline and discussing ideas for t-shirt ranges and hand screen printed posters that are just so good for the environment. Today Bournemouth, tomorrow? …The world.

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Tell us something about Daniel Almeroth that we didn’t know already.

I’m an Essex boy, born and raised, at Eastgate shopping centre is where I spent most of my days.

If you could time travel back or forward to any era, where would you go?

I’d go back to the Victorian times, making a couple of stop offs along the way. Firstly the 90′s and don an under cut then the 70′s to acquire a taste for free love, then become the most insanely popular/rich/famous man that ever lived in the Victorian era.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

Probably get started on making that time machine.

Which band past or present would provide the soundtrack to your life?

Mulatu Astatke. Brilliant.

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I say Modern Art is Rubbish, you say…?

“MODERN ART = I COULD DO THAT + YEAH BUT YOU DIDNT” Craig Damrauer.

What would your pub quiz specialist subject be?

Probably a mixture of Arts, Entertainment, Geography, History, Sports, Nature, Food and Miscellaneous. They call me the quiz meister, a necessity for every team!

Who or what is your nemesis?

Tomato Ketchup & Moths.

What piece of modern technology can you not live without?

My desktop iMac. Her name is Selina.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Having a pint, a rollie and drawing in the garden.

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What has been keeping you busy of late?

I’ve recently received briefs for editorial work in a few magazines, promotional posters and flyers for events, I also had my work exhibited in a local exhibition named Ishihara (which is possibly branching out to London in the near future). Me and fellow illustrator Selina Kerley also have produced a three edition Fanzine named Chien Schuanz that promoted ourselves and other local artists, selling them on the internet and local events in Bournemouth. I have also produced a limited stock of screen printed t-shirts and jumpers that are selling like hot cakes that’s keeping me warm from the recession!

What advice would you give up and coming artists?

Shameless self promotion, self initiated projects, collaborating, spending all day on the internet and with a pencil in your hand.

Who would your top five dream dinner guests be? Who would do the washing up?

I think it would have to be in a Come Dine With Me layout with Frieda Kahlo, Jean Claude Van Damme, Ghandi, Sir Alan Sugar and Picasso. I’d make Ghandi and Sir Alan Sugar wrestle, the loser would do the washing up.

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What’s next for you then?

At the beginning of July some friends and I are exhibiting and manning a stool at the next D&AD space in Earl’s Court, so pop along for a chat and some freebies! I also plan to help create and brand a Fashion magazine which is currently starting to emerge on the drawing boards.

All hail Daniel Almeroth and The Crabwolf Collective. You heard it here first.
All good superheroes have an alter ego; Peter Parker/ Spiderman, doctor Clark Kent/ Superman, Bruce Wayne/ Batman, and now Randolph J. Shabot/ Deastro. As super-hero names go it’s a pretty good one, and his new album ‘Moondagger’ plays like a soundtrack to an epic sky scraper top battle between ultimate super-powered nemesis, whist retaining a bashful sweetness of a superhero’s geeky quotidian alter-ego.
What’s more Deastro is exactly the same age as me, which on a personal level makes him all the more awesome, whilst I get finger cramps from trying to play my ukulele, he has created an epic synth-driven outer space soundscape; of course it’s not a competition but if it was he’d win.

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How did you get into music?
My Uncle bought me a guitar when I was 5 and taught me to play ’3 Little Indians’, and I’ve been singing in choirs since about then too, and so I guess I’ve always been into it.

If you had to pick someone as a main influence who would it be?
It’s really a tie between Brian Wilson and Steve Reich.

Ok, good choices! Who would provide the soundtrack to your life?
I would have to say Starflyer 59, they’re like this Christian shoegaze band and they have these lyrics that are about really simple things. It’s great, I love it.

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If you weren’t making music right now what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be a teacher.

What piece of modern technology could you not live without?
Probably my laptop, it’s what I make music on so it’d be hard to live without it.

Who or what is your nemesis?
(laughs) My guitar player is my nemesis.

Really? Is he a secret nemesis or is it quite an open thing?
It’s pretty open, We love each other but we fight all the time.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate ice-cream, you can’t put me in front of a thing of chocolate ice-cream, I’ll eat the whole thing!

If you were making a mixtape for me which 5 songs would you put on it?
‘Come on, Let’s Go’ by Broadcast

Ahh I love Broadcast!
‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys
‘I Drive A Lot’ by Starflyer 59
‘California Shake’ by Margo Guryan
‘Teenager’ by Department of Eagles
That would be a really fun mix.

If you had a time machine which era in the past or future would you travel to?
This is going to sound really lame, but I’d probably go back to the dinosaur era.

That’s not lame at all! Dinosaurs are ah-mazing…
Yeah, it would be really interesting to see another evolutionary path, just mind-blowing.

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What would be your quiz specialist subject?
Bible trivia, I went to school to be a pastor when I was 17, I’m not really a Chrisitan anymore but I was the 10th ranked Bible quizzer for a short minute there when I was a kid.

Wow! Do you have any good Bible trivia for me?
Who was the oldest man in the Bible?

Errm…God?
(laughs) God’s not technically a man…It’s Metheuselah who lived to 969 allegedly…

Which 5 people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Socrates, Michael Jackson, Jesus…ermm this sounds ridiculous Michael Jackson and Jesus!, Chris Martin just because I’d like to see him in a room with those people and Mahatma Gandhi.

…and who would do the washing up?
Chris Martin (laughs) no, I’d probably end up doing it myself actually.

Tell us a secret…
A lot of mine are really disgusting, I’m trying to think of one that’s kosher…both my front teeth are fake, I fell of my bike and chipped them as a kid.

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After a week of technicolored, malady although not always technical, capsule undergraduate shows, ailment rife with misdirected or altogether unmanned piloting of a laser cutter, and occasionally some superior sparks of creative genius, we come to the much anticipated collections of MA graduates from the Royal College of Art. A troop of fine tailoring, sophisticated textiles and stellar styling, this year’s cadets are ready for the fray. Recurring in various forms were the bow tie a la 1920′s, pom poms which echoed the catwalks overseas, silicone, galaxy prints and leather in more variations than you can shake a needle at.

WOMENSWEAR

johanne%20andersonX.jpgJohanne Kappel Anderson

Johanne Kappel Anderson’s magpie inspired collection was full voluminous fabrics and illustrative prints, solar dust blasted leathers and super oversized graphic pastels on black. Digitally printed leotards flashed patterns comprised of jewelry, spoons, bolts and found objects just the kind of shiny thing a magpie might take home to his nest. A few prints and shapes seemed to conjure up another winged creature…moths.
Some earthy prints with contrasty ‘eyes’ fluttered down the catwalk… there was even a cocoon jacket!

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Heidi Wikar ‘s collection ‘Singing Silence’ was a series of diaphorous clouds said to be inspired by a Scandinavian landscape’s emptiness. Makes sense…if you were planning to experience it through a window, from the downy comfort of your bed. Puffy duvets appeared trapped in spiderwebs of muted greys, ochres, creams and white. All the shape and volume of modern silhouettes but without the overly structured and cresting shoulders prevalent in so many other collections this year. What resembled a bright orange parachute with clever gathers and seaming became a dress filled with pockets of air and completely weightless. Air itself acted as a material, giving shape and structure to the pieces. Apparently part of a design challenge the entire collection can be packed into one 20 kg rucksack. As if those rosey cheeked fraus needed anymore help looking amazing in the dead of winter.

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Up from the realm of textiles rose an innovative take on shibori by Siofra Murphy. What seems to have started as a super large muted floral print soon condensed into a rippled shell of body-con dresses with necklines that rose around from behind the shoulders like neck supports. Paired with stretchy basics the nuanced surface went from bold to muted but remained incredibly intriguing.

liamX.jpgLiam Evans

Liam Evans presented one the best examples of laser cutting in a year rife with its abuse. Transcending the weighty characteristics of leather, he exploited the laser cutter for the impossible precision it was made to do. With the aid of sturdy zips Evans jigsawed his garments into a collage of ultrafine leathers. Loose motorcycle jackets were studded with an organic arrangement of thorny spikes and paired with chiffon dresses a la 90′s.

rachaelX.jpgRachael Barrett

Inspired by photos in Corinne Day‘s Diary, Rachael Barrett’s collection was a modern assortment of soft feminine silhouettes constructed of a soft silicone rubber. Conservative hemlines and generous shaping gave the illusion of transparent shells revealing moments of black chiffon lace. Clever cutting allowed for ease of movement and portrayed the designers interest in the “trapped space between body and dress”.

MENSWEAR

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Based on a post-apocolyptic Mexican hi-tech tribal gang in LA (that explains the Hollywood flash) that has reverted to Aztec/Mayan rituals and beliefs (still with me?) Alex Mattson’s collection is like a well tailored Malibu super hero’s wardrobe. Full of comic book colors and supple leathers the foam helmets and neckpieces were a cartoony take on the tooth-n-claw talismans of ancient Incans. Only a matter of time before they make their way onto the set of an ‘Empire of the Sun’ video, yes?

keith%20grayX.jpgKeith Gray

These delicately squiggly pinstriped suits made for one hot ice cream parlor attendant. Keith Gray presented a series of bright and fresh menswear in expertly tailored shirts and snug trousers with tromp l’oeil knits. Dropped crotches and retreating hems kept the whole look impossibly modern 20′s chic.

LouiseX.jpgLouise Loubatieres

The only textiles MA graduate to send a collection down the runway did not disappoint. Louise Loubatieres juggled an exotic mix of bold ikat prints and roomy knits. A rich palette and roomy shapes complete with a 20′s beachsuit. Wonder if Walter Van Beirendonck will be knocking on this one’s door.

luis%20lopez-smithX.jpg Luis Lopez-Smith

As this was a show it’s safe to say that Luis Lopez-Smith was the circus leader. Marching band jackets in various forms and a few green googly-eyed caterpillars adorned a few torsos with the piece de resistance being a puffy vest that looked as though it’d walked right off the set of Terry Gilliam ‘s ‘Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen’
A fantastic display of craftsmanship and impeccable tailoring lent it’s support to an impressively balanced offering of innovative textiles and experimental shapes. All the intelligent risk taking one can continue to expect from such a world class school.
Have you got a favorite of your own?
Browsing old PhD theses, this as you do of the odd grey Sunday evening, you might come across the quiet mindbend that is Stephen Stirling’s ‘Whole Systems Thinking as a Basis for Paradigm Change in Education: Explorations in the Context of Sustainability’. Gosh. Well, you made it past quiet armchair moments (not quite The Foundry of a Friday night) and the obligatory don-speak of Stephen’s title – and somehow you’re still reading, and maybe you’re starting to get the problem I see before us in this article : that, shrouded in the ivory mist of academia, someone has written clearly and thoughtfully about changing the way we think, but a first glance all too easily sees a glut of Greek and runs away. Instead, try putting your head into a mindset quite different:

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Illustrations by Rui Sousa

Everyone tells themselves stories about the world. I’m a student, a writer, a brother. Don’t worry, you’ll not have my life story – not tonight, anyway – but there is one, or several, smoothly edited to my audience’s appetite for imaginary journeys around the world, or encounters with mad professors. But before you pin me down as some grand raconteur, check yourself out, last time you introduced yourself or got chatting to someone new.

Here’s the story-about-the-world jam. We look at the world, then we have a think about it, then we decide what to do.

Mostly, we look at the world bit by bit. Everything has a reason, and we try to find *the* reason. When something needs to be done, the straight way is best. Results delivered, satisfaction guaranteed. Kiss frog, find prince, all shiny.

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Thing is, this doesn’t quite do our complex world justice, and imagining the world inadequately means we’ll make wrong decisions. Instead, Stephen suggests we look at everything all together, relations and systems rather than objects and actions. Be much more sensitive to all of the causes and consequences – the stone scudded across a river sends ripples in all directions, cheers me up a moment, and sinks, tickling a snoozing whiskered fish. Turns up a hundred years later, tumbled bumped and rounded to perfection, and stubs a distant relative’s toe on Brighton beach.

This systems approach was pioneered in, amongst other works, Limits to Growth by Dana Meadows, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers – an awesome book, classic of eco-lit, stuffed with graphs from the future that go shwoop-kerbang as people and pollution go up, food and farmland go down, and all the balance of the world’s systems are shown together. There’s a new edition out, a thirty-years-on update, which I haven’t read yet, but is high up on my list, just after ‘The Italian’s Defiant Mistress’.

Stephen Stirling is concerned with getting this kind of joined-up thinking a matter of course, throughout design education, but also throughout education in the more general, lifelong way. There’s a way to go, I can tell you from a wee bit of personal experience. Sat in the back of a GCSE Electronic Products class six or seven years ago, the three marks of my coursework dedicated to sustainability caught my attention for a long three minutes as I knocked off a paragraph to tack on to my project, jumping another hoop. This is about as far as sustainability in design education goes for now.

First off, says Stephen, is changing things we do without changing how we think. So, less waste makes more sense because I’ll save money, whether I care about where it goes or not. Similarly, not growing one single kind of crop year in year out won’t wear out the soil, and helps against pests and disease – good business plan.

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Next level is the change in the way of thinking that goes along with this. Understanding our relation with the world not in the straight ‘man conquer forest’ way but ‘man use a bit of forest but is careful before his greed comes back and kicks him in the teeth’. Stephen Stirling calls it the ‘postmodern ecological worldview’ and suggests it as the best way forward from mechanical modernism and text- and sign- obsessed postmodernism. The 2012 imperative Teach-in, which Amelia’s magazine blogged about back in January, puts sustainability right at the centre of design education in this way.

Finally there’s the kind of wondering that Stephen’s thesis looks to – thinking about thinking about thinking, if you’re that way inclined. Wondering about how we tell stories about the world, and how our ways of telling might change, how they might need to change if we are to learn to live many many moons longer under these skies.

‘Whole Systems Thinking’ and ecological literacy are no longer just things to know about. They should certainly not be mere buzzwords tacked on a Corporate Social Responsibility statement or curriculum check-box and forgotten about. They need to start informing our every action. Eventually, they’ll be as mundane as sitting in a quiet armchair of a grey Sunday evening, flicking through a history of the early twenty-first century green-shift. Here’s to that.

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For anybody out there who ever got given a jumper that was too big for them by doting aunt or grandparent – Hannah Taylor, order the Ravensbourne graduate whose praises I was singing on Tuesday, there is right there with you. Her collection is a paene to the nostalgia attached to the big old jumper, when things were less complicated, when the hemline fell below your knees and when somebody had to tie your shoelaces for you (velcro was always easier, no?). Sometimes, though, you wouldn’t be caught dead in said jumper. Spare a thought for the Weasley children. Mrs Weasley WISHES she could knit this good.

Tell me about making your collection.

Well, most of them I knitted using my domestic knitting machine, and the two with the ‘balaclava faces’ on them, including the balaclavas themselves are hand knitted. Everything is either oversized somehow or has shrunken sleeves, the collection is called “You’ll Grow Into It!”

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Why animals?

As in traditional knitwear which features ‘motifs’ of animals or objects, each animal is a motif to represent ‘Victor’ (my dad) and the North, and kind of tells its own little story. For example, there’s a pigeon because stereotypically everybody up North keeps pigeons in a shed next door to their outside toilet.. The 3 flying ducks are after Hilda Ogden’s living room wall in Coronation Street, and also at home where Victor lives, we had 3 pet ducks. The Fox is a symbol of English Heritage and the sad fact that Victor only now has two ducks because at Christmas one was eaten by, yep, a fox, and the guinea pig is there because i used to keep them when I was younger, and Victor would tell me off for never cleaning them out as much as I should have done. Oops.

What’s your favourite piece?

I love each one you know, they’ve all got their own little stories to tell! However I think it has to be Nigel the Guinea Pig jumper as he is the first one I knitted in the collection.

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It was probably one of the best received in the whole of Graduate Fashion Week – why do you think it appealed to people so much?

Aw thank you! I am really glad people enjoyed it, people were probably a bit surprised by it to be honest, and weren’t expecting that to come out on the catwalk! I had fun with my collection, in both the designing and the making, and hope the light-hearted element was was portrayed as I think everyone has an affinity with knitting in some way, shape or form, be it jumpers knitted for them by relatives or someone else they know. I think in the past few decades knitting has become percieved as ‘humorous’ too, so that tends to make people laugh whereas in the past knitters (and knitting) were taken much more seriously.

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What was it that drew you to knitwear initially?

I just love knitting! I was shown when I was younger by my mum but I was AWFUL – I lost my patience with it but picked it up again when I got a bit older and taught myself. Before I started at Ravensbourne I used to run knitting groups in my hometown of Warrington! I think there’s alot of potential in men’s knitwear, I like to think of a boy and ‘dress’ him in a certain way or feeling. I am looking forward to continuing with it.

There seemed to be a massive amount of knitwear at GFW – have you noticed an increase too and why do you think it’s becoming more popular?

Knitting is becoming more popular, especially the social aspect of it and I wonder if it’s going to die down again at some point. If more people are learning the techniques and processes then they will use this for constructing a garment. I also wonder if it is because people are wanting something hand-made or hand-finished, one offs.

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Apparently Giles Deacon was trying on your stuff afterwards – what did you make of that?

Surprising to say the least! It was quite a fast paced few days going from a bit of last-minute linking an hour before it was due to start(!) to then being put forward for the Gala Shows – I wonder if Giles is reading this? I’m taking orders soon if you want one!

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In the aftermath, would you have alterered anything at all?

No I don’t think so – if it’s not broken don’t fix it.

Where next from here? Where could you see yourself working?

I like Walter Van Beirendonck‘s work, I think he’d be great to work for, although there’s a couple of people i’d knit for as it’s the knitting I enjoy the most. I wouldn’t mind my own studio actually, and be able to do all the knitting there. I’ll be starting at the Royal College of Art in September to do my MA in Men’s Knitwear, a 2 year course in which I’m really looking forward to and eventually knitting up another collection!

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To keep up with Hannah, make sure to keep checking both her website and her blog.

Categories ,Animals, ,English Heritage, ,Graduate Fashion Week, ,Knitting, ,Ravensbourne

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Clothes Off Your Back

Richard Hogg: Off The Wall

Concrete Hermit Gallery
Concrete Hermit?5a Club Row?
London?E1 6JX

Until 29th August
10am – 6pm Mon – Sat

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Off the wall is a simple story about happiness, order medicine freedom, check rebellion and its consequences, told across three pictures. Like a kind of triptych or a very simple comic. It forms the centrepiece of this show, Richards first since leaving Airside in 2007.

Candy Coated Canvas

http://www.londonmiles.com/
212 Kensington Park Road
Notting Hill, W11 1NR

Until 24th August
Tuesday & Wednesday : 10am to 6pm
Thursday : 11am to 8pm
Friday: 10am to 7pm
Saturday: 11am to 7pm

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CANDY COATED CANVAS is a themed group exhibition showcasing unique artworks by various established and emerging international talent. All artists have been asked to take inspiration from the title “Candy Coated Canvas” and create a unique art piece which is visually extremely colourful and playful, whilst sparking up memories of childhood, sweets, fantasy lands and those naughty but nice pleasures in life.
Scrumptious Delight (Canada)
Scrumptious Delight creates handmade plush dolls and sweets. All the toys are made to her original designs with much care and attention at her home in Canada. This is the first exhibition of Scrumptious Delights’ work in an art gallery setting and fits the Candy Coated theme perfectly.

Anthony Burrill: In A New Place

http://kemistrygallery.co.uk/
43 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch
London EC2A 3PD

Until 5th September

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For In a New Place, the exhibition presents Anthony’s exploration of industrial processes and materials with large scale laser–cut perspex pieces as well as digital prints. The subject of the exhibition focusses upon archetypal forms of nature, from rainbows to thunderstorms, all within Burrill’s uncomplicated and distinctive geometric style..

Jeff Koons : Popeye Series

http://www.serpentinegallery.org/
Kensington Gardens?
London W2 3XA

Open daily, 10am – 6pm
Free
Until 13th September

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The Serpentine Gallery presents an exhibition of the work of the celebrated American artist Jeff Koons, his first major exhibition in a public gallery in England.

Alexandre de Cunha

http://www.camdenartscentre.org/home/
Arkwright Road?
London NW3 6DG

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm ?
Wednesday 10am-9pm ?
Closed Mondays & Bank Holidays
Until 13th September
Free

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Camden Arts Centre is proud to present an exhibition of newly commissioned work by London-based Brazilian artist Alexandre da Cunha. His dynamic, large-scale sculptures improvise on the concept of the readymade by reusing everyday objects: job lots from pound shops, surplus fabrics and recycled goods, reflecting on their specific histories and aesthetics.
Amelia’s Magazine have been pals with Finnish crafty-fan Outi from brilliant trashion blog Outsapop for a while now, sale and Outi has sent us over a piece which is an example of what she loves best – creating something new out of something old. Ladies and gentleman, information pills Amelia’s Magazine presents: the Outsapop Trashion t-shirt hobo bag tutorial – also for our Finnish readers, in Finnish! If you can speak both, well, there’s jolly well no excuse for not making this bag. Thanks to Outi!

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You´ll need:
2 same colored t-shirts (don´t have to be the same size)
scissors
sewing machine
needle and thread

STEP 1.

Cut the hem out from both t-shirts, about 1/4 inches from stitchings. Don´t cut the hem strips open, but keep them in one circular piece. Save these strips for later.

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STEP 2.
Cut sleeves and collar out. Save them.

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STEP 3.
Cut the sideseams out.

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STEP 4.
If the other t-shirt has a longer hem than the other, fold the longer bodice pieces in half and cut the hem curved like in the picture.

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STEP 5.
A) Pin the t-shirt pieces together (reverse sides out) from the sideseams. The shorter pieces will be sides and the pieces with curved hem will be bag front and bag back. B) Draw a slightly curved line from sideseam to shoulder. Sew all four seams.

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STEP 6.
Pin the curvy hem pieces together (reverse sides out) and sew.

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STEP 7.
A) Fold the sidepieces over (reverse sides out) the bag bottom and sew. B) Turn the bag right sides out.

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STEP 8.
Collar pieces will be our bag handles. If you want the handles to be short (like in my bag) take only one collar and cut it into two equal length pieces. If you want the handles to be longer, cut both collars open once to make each one handle.

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STEP 9.
Fold all t-shirt shoulders (8 fold layers each) to match the width of the collar pieces / handles. It does not have to be exact as the handle seams will be covered.

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STEP 10.
Place the collar/handle in between the folded shoulder layers and pin. Try the bag to see if the handles are placed correctly. Sew when ready.

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STEP 11.
Take the all hem strips, cut them into four pieces and tie each around one handle seam. Sew the strip ends by hand so they won´t unravel.

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STEP 12.

If you want inside pockets for your bag, make them by sewing the sleeve openings closed, and then attaching them inside the bag by sewing or with safety pins. My bag has no inside pockets but I kinda wished I had made them as the bag is big and small things get lost in it easily.

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You’re all done!

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Drawings by Outi
Photos courtesy of Mika Pollari

Categories ,DIY Fashion, ,Finnish Fashion, ,Recycled, ,Trashion

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Ice Queen Cometh

Since Ewan MacGregor sang to Nicole Kidman to the light of a Moulin Rouge, viagra information pills or perhaps since Don Quixote tilted heroically over the hills to La Mancha at those giant-like shapes, cialis 40mg they’ve caught our hearts as surely as Windy Miller once did, waving to us from the music box as an episode of Camberwick Green came on telly. Given the topicality of their gleaming three-pronged younger brothers, the turbines bedecking our beloved bemoorlands, eyes turned to Vestas’ factory on the Isle of Wight, I thought I’d glance back a little, to quieter ages.

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Illustrations by Jeffrey Bowman

They were the great technological innovation of the twelth century, at least in Northern Europe. The Persians had been happily pumping water with wind power 1500 or so years earlier, and the Greeks on the Cyclades out-sourced their grain grinding expertise to the mainland, charging a nifty 1/10 of the flour fee. Their three pronged modern successors are the best developed shot at renewable energy we’ve properly developed yet.

When you scratch the surface of windmill history, you come across the attractively-named International Molinological Society, whose members meet every four years or so to talk over anything from ‘oblique scoopwheels’ to industrial espionage – mill technology from the USA in the early 19th century was carried across the ocean by the German spies Ganzel and Wulff to form the start of a new development in european mill technology. Can you imagine the excitement and tension in that debriefing room?

Darrell M Dodge (of Littleton, Colorado)’s Illustrated History of Wind Power Development calls windmills ‘the electrical motor of pre-industrial Europe’. They did all sorts : pumping water from wells, for irrigation, or drainage using a scoop wheel, grain-grinding, saw-milling wood, and processing spices, cocoa, paints and dyes, and tobacco.

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To see the first main kind of northern european windmill, you can take a trip down to Outwood, Britain’s oldest still-functioning windmill, built in 1665 by Thomas Budgen of Nutfield. It’s a post mill : the whole body, weighing around 25 tons, rotates on a central post made of a single enormous oak tree, to bring the mill round into the wind.

The post mill was the most common design in the twelfth century, when they were just getting going (the first reference to a British windmill is in 1191). By the end of the thirteenth century, though, the masonry tower mill had been introduced. These had the neat innovation of a turning timber cap, built on a stone tower – so the moving bit was lighter, and the windmill could be built taller with larger sails to get more power.

William Cubitt was a curious engineer from Norfolk, obsessed with the efficient use of energy. He straightened out an unsatisfactory bit of canal north of Oxford, and invented the prison treadwheel, a device which perhaps sums up that mechanical, peculiarly Victorian vision that every cog and wheel of society should find its place, in workhouse, town house or courthouse. He installed the first one in Bury St Edmunds Gaol in 1819, followed enthusiastically by ones at Cold Bath Fields (London), Swaffham, Worcester, Liverpool and probably more besides.

On the more picturesque side of his engineering, in 1807, he invented and swiftly patented a new type of sail, known from then on as ‘Patent Sails’, which combined the innovations of a Scottish millwright, Andrew Meikle (‘descended from a line of ingenious mechanics’ according to his tombstone) and Stephen Hooper. Meikle developed spring sails in 1772 made of a series of parallel shutters that could be adjusted according to windspeed, and had springs which let them open a little more if the wind gusted. Hooper invented a device in 1789 which let the sails be adjusted without ever stopping – he called it the roller reefing sail. Patent Sails became the basis of self-regulating sails, avoiding the need for tiresome constant supervision – and proved successful. Windmills on this design outlasted steam power and the industrial revolution – they were still in use as drainage pumps on the Norfolk Broads until 1959.

So, though grinding grain for bread has mostly been swapped for juicing up the national grid, some of the old guard hold on. And though I’d love to get confused about upwind turbines and Betz limits – why exactly the new wind power is generated from only three pretty fine blades slicing through the sky, we’d best leave it there for now.

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 What is the magic formula that the Secret Garden Party have got their bejeweled mitts on? Having just spent a weekend with them – and 6, for sale 000 happy, friendly campers – I would go so far as to say that there are cosmic forces at work which have taken all the ingredients needed to turn a great festival into a glorious one. For those who are as yet uninitiated, The Secret Garden Party is ever so much more than a weekend away listening to top tunes. It’s a soul liberating free fall of wonderment and the bizarre; a playground for grown up children to indulge in fairy tales and fantasy. I succumbed to such an extent that I feared returning to the harsher edges of reality would be a painful bump, but it turned out that the magic dust managed to stick and I awoke Monday morning with a serious dose of the happy’s.

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Our arrival didn’t have the most auspicious beginning. What should have been a mornings car journey turned into a 6 hour stint on the M25 and M11, where roadworks defied us at every turn. By the time we dragged our sorry selves to the camp site we were tired, hot and irritable. “This better be bloody brilliant” I muttered to myself as I hastily assembled my tent. (minor lie – my wonderful Amelia’s Magazine colleagues assembled it; I couldn’t erect a tent if my life depended on it). Yet, as we walked into the site, all grumblings melted away.

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The afternoons dark clouds had gave way to a glowing sunset which bathed everyone in a soft light. Not knowing what to expect, we were instantly struck by how beautifully visual our new surroundings were. Every inch of the vast grounds are designed in a way that your senses take a direct hit every time you turn your head. The activities take place around a great lake; lit up at dark, and open for swimming by day. At the centre is a floating island, home to the Tower of Babel (which serves a very important purpose later on in the weekend). Feeling very much like a group of Alice’s heading down the rabbit hole to a more peculiar, colourful world, we ventured over bridges, through patches of woodland, past strange sculptures, finding cosy hiding spots wherever we went. And the outfits we saw! It is common knowledge that dressing up is encouraged at SGP, but I wasn’t prepared for the dizzy heights that many had taken their creativity. Thousands of people had clearly had a determined rummage in the dressing up box; glitter adorned most, fairies mixed with pirates who consorted with mythical creatures who hung out with boys in dresses and feathers who were making friends with girls in top hats and tails.

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Eventually, our adventures took us to the main stage, which was perfect timing, because Phoenix were headlining, and they were one of the must-see bands on my list for the weekend. Grabbing a delicious dinner to go (think Moroccan Mezze rather than greasy noodles or burgers), we found a patch on the hill to watch the French alternative rockers have such a great rapport with their audience that they invited a couple of hundred to get up on stage and sing along, until the stage was so full that the band had to climb up equipment to make themselves seen.

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The rest of the night was a heady mix of dancing, drinking, sometimes being spectators and sometimes participating. Our packed schedule of what to see gave way to a more relaxed amble, stopping off when something took our fancy. Translated – we stopped every 10 feet. As we found ourselves in the ‘salacious hothouse of Babylon’ (the region south of the lake), it was only to be expected that we were treated to earthy pleasures of the flesh; once we found the pole dancers, we were transfixed. The boys around us were almost too incredulous to be turned on. “My God, that girl must have thighs of steel!” I heard one marvel to his girlfriend.

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It’s hard to recall too much more about the night, but pictures document wild dancing on bales of hay to seventies disco tunes in a heaving tent, and discovering that the party was clearly going on in the wildly popular One Taste venue, home to a mixture of live beat-boxing and ska, cheering crowds, and a bar dispensing deliciously spicy chai teas. We watched night turn into morning on the Eden side of the lake, (also known as the oasis) in the Laa of Soft Things, a tent where straw bales doubled as fluffy clouds and turned us into rag dolls. Limbs entwined, friendships were quickly formed over the common ground of happy tiredness and sensory overload.

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Saturday dawned to brilliant sunshine, which made swimming in the lake an extra special and necessary experience. For those who wanted more than music, a multitude of informative events and discussions had been laid on, such as The Bohemian Artists Studio, The Poetry Playhouse, and the Dodge Ball Tournament, to name but a few. Early birds could participate in the yoga sanctuary, ( I think you can guess that we didn’t make that one). Instead, we lazed the afternoon away watching some of our favourite bands; Soku, The Dø, Slow Club (interviewed in Issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine) and Noah and The Whale, as well as our newest discovery, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, described as acoustic folk rock metal, with a Spanish flamenco twist.

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The highlight of the weekend had to be the events of Saturday night. As dark descended, Thai lanterns were released into the air, floating away and burning bright. We followed the crowds towards the lake to witness the epic spectacle of The Burn; the wooden Tower of Babel set ablaze and lighting up the night sky. As the organisers of SGP explained, this was the marriage and the end of the divide between Babylon & Eden. The SGP team had obviously learnt a lot from their trips into the Nevada desert to take part in The Burning Man Festival, and this union of art, nature and performance was the perfect example of the box of tricks which the Secret Garden Party have up their sleeve.

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The weekend drew to a close for us in the sweetest way possible – getting to watch Au Revoir Simone play their beautifully crafted melodies to a rapt audience. The girls sound more divine with each listen, and treated us to the songs from their sublime new album Still Night, Still Bright. As our regular readers know, Au Revoir bring out the fangirl in Amelia’s Magazine, so I shamelessly sang along at the top of my lungs to their harmonies. Thank God their keyboards were loud enough to drown me out is all that I can say in sober hindsight. By the way, I thought the guy that I was standing next to was absolutely adorable, but I was a little shy about saying hello, so if you were wearing a straw hat and a baggy red jumper, and are reading this, then get in touch!

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All that is left to add is to encourage you all to do whatever you can to get your hands on a ticket to 2010′s SGP. The organisers are already promising that they will ‘blow our minds’ with what they have in store. I don’t doubt that for a moment. From now on, I have complete faith that what whatever the Secret Garden Party organises, it will be like nothing that you have ever experienced. Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to plan my outfits for next years festivities.

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We owe a great deal to the 1970s. I shudder to think where we might be today without the post it note, pill without Punk, symptoms and of course without the phenomena that is The Roller Disco. Every element of the theme has triumphantly survived the three decades since it first hit the dancefloors and is still as much of a thrill today as it was then; pumping nightspot glam pop tunes serenading couples holding hands circuiting the room gripping to each other equal parts lust and fear; the wallflowers carefully inching along the handrails with unsure feet, the solo regulars strutting their fierce routines with every right to be showing off; everyone dressed in all that is spangly and sequined, flared and cropped; fuelled by diner dogs and sugary slushies, it was and still is the perfect night out.

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Tonight sees a huge homage to the roller disco down at Shoreditch’s top warehouse venue Village Underground, hosted by Vauxhall Skate and it promises to knock our knee high socks off. The all important music accompaniment is in the very capable hands of DJs ex Libertines Carl Barat, Smash and Grab darlings Queens of Noize, recently Mercury Prize nominated Florence Welch of ‘& the Machines’ fame, Alfie Allen, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Richard Jones and a last minute addition to the bill, NYC’s Cory Kennedy.

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Florence Welch

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Queens of Noize

The roller skating part is pitched as entirely optional, but for those who are concerned that having not been on a pair of skates since childhood might result in rather a lot of shameful cringing better watch out for the fabulous Jonny Woo, who will be hosting a ‘car-aoke’ sing song courtesy of Lucky Voice, with a brimming dressing up box full of props. No event would be complete without the option to update or completely overhaul one’s look, so thank the lord that the very talented Lyndell Mansfield will be joining the crew for the night with her ‘pit-stop salon’ for free hairstyling.

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Jonny Woo

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Kate Moross

In terms of visuals the guests are for a real treat. Kate Moross who has designed shop windows for Diesel, poster artwork for Animal Collective and covers for Vice and Fact magazines, has customised her first car, a Vauxhall Corsa, especially for the party in her signature cutting edge style. The Vauxhall Corsa was wrapped in white vinyl while Kate painted directly onto it with acrylic paint and Posca semi permanent markers. The colours were chosen because of the rainbow spectrums and light fields used in SciFi imagery, a key influence in the ‘Vauxhall Skate’ set design. ‘Vauxhall Skate’ extends Vauxhall‘s commitment to driving excitement on four wheels. the car company has also created a unique pair of roller boots, in true Corsa style, which will be showcased in all their glory on the evening. Other cars to be on show include a Car-aoke Vauxhall Corsa adorned with retro green UV wire frames and a rotating mirror-ball Vauxhall Tigra, most recently seen at the Vauxhall Style catwalk shows.

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Catering includes free hot dogs and cupcakes, and the all important bar is kindly provided by Bacardi Mojito. Tickets for the evening were solely allocated on a lottery basis to all those that RSVPed and entered the draw. If you managed to get your hands on a pair then congratulations are in order. If you were less lucky, then panic ye not- Dazed Digital and Vauxhall have partnered up to give away 35 pairs of free tickets. Click here to enter your email address for a chance to win. Alternatively, have a go here.

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The Village Underground

Vauxhall Skate

The Village Underground
54 Holywell Lane
London, EC2A

Wednesday July 29th
8pm – 1am

Free, but invitation only.

It might be worth arguing that more than any form of artistic expression, page fashion can be indicative of the societal state of mind. In particular we can witness changing attitudes towards gender norms within different social spheres – this is one of the premises that the exhibition at the Photographers’ GalleryWhen You’re a Boy: Men’s Fashion Styled by Simon Foxton’ grounds itself in, diagnosis and indeed one that Foxton has worked with throughout his whole career.

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The fact that it’s rare to for a stylist’s work to be put on show like this denotes that it’s a role that’s underrated by many, diagnosis but here’s a retrospective that vindicates the work of a stylist as a real agent of social commentary, working with ideas as well as clothes. Foxton in particular has admitted to “using clothes as a tool” to make a statement, paradoxically suggesting that while these are examples of photographs that might appear in fashion magazines, they are not necessarily about the clothes themselves.

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Taking its title from the David Bowie song, ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ the tight selection of images span Foxton’s collaborations with photographers Nick Knight, Alasdair McLellan and Jason Evans. Addressing issues of gender, race and class amongst others, we see our attitudes mirrored often by sartorial contradiction, through a process of revealing and concealing.

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Take the images from i-D magazine (shot by Nick Knight) under the title ‘English Heritage’, with one showing an image of the traditional English couple ‘Mr & Mrs Andrews’ with the husband standing dutifully behind his wife perched in an armchair. Yet in their place two muscular black male models, wearing leather bondage gear and a gimp suit respectively, subverting our preconceptions of hegemonic masculinity and femininity that are implicitly nothing more than societal constructs.

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Elsewhere, by continually addressing issues of butchness and effeminateness through the references to gay subcultures, we see the capacity of visual media to reconstruct and recreate by using fantasy (potentially) as a weapon.

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Foxton seems to share with Oscar Wilde a wry amusement about the way masculinity has been appropriated historically, by juxtaposing strange images and affronting us with a sense of disorder and fantasy to ask us questions about what we understand as normal. Race is also explored, with Jason Evans’ ‘Strictly’ series, uncannily presenting black models wearing plus fours and hunting jackets against urban backdrops, posing questions about ethnicity and Englishness, as well as masculinity at the start of the 1990s.

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The extensive and indiscriminate cultural references evident in Foxton’s scrapbooks are striking, with torn out images of tribal warriors wrestling in the dust sharing page space with flyers for gay leather club nights. Foxton is definitely a visionary, and one of fashion’s black sheep as somebody who has never followed trends, instead preferring to choose garments with a cultural reference. Styling here proves itself as an intellectual platform, a means of capitalising on what a readership attaches to a particular fashion – questioning our subscription to their ideals by playing on discrepancies. Fashion has been said to be about fiction and fantasy – but Foxton has proven that a far more interesting arena to be explored is, in fact, reality.
Are you tired yet, abortion of all the hazy environmental terms that are all too easily tossed around – adding green kudos like spinach to a red pepper salad? Well, to every sustainably developing ethically permacultured carbon footprint, reduce, reuse, recycle, ten easy ways to save the planet before breakfast, I throw down a musky oil-stained leather glove and ask : what do you mean?

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Illustrations by Faye Katirai

Politics and the English language are a combination sure to bewitch, bother and bewilder. That’s been clear enough since well before George Orwell wrote his essay all about it. The green politics is especially prone to obfuscation – greenspeak gets unclear easily.

Partly, this is useful for compromise : if tree-huggers and lumberjacks both agree that ‘sustainable forestry’ is the way forward, that’s wonderful – even if one thinks of preserving nature and the other of a guaranteed income. If words like ‘ethical’ ‘environmentally friendly’ and ‘sustainable’ stay vague, then they are the politician’s ideal toolkit. If what you say can mean anything from mild to moderate or radical, you need never have to go back on a promise again.

So when Gordon Brown calls something an ‘eco-town’ and rolls out the green carpet for ‘exemplar new developments, which have the opportunity to boost their neighbouring communities through their investment in new infrastructure and transport services and provide a stimulus to make existing towns more sustainable’ (that’s according to Gideon Amos, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association) – we have most every right to be sceptical and wait on some solid details before judging.

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Also, the science behind the theory that certain gas emissions (for which we are responsible) are heating up the planet, melting ice sheets and glaciers, slowly killing coral reefs, raising sea levels and spreading deserts – the science all seems so very distant. How could flicking a light switch possibly help my garden’s lettuce in five years time?

This is where the ‘seven things you can do to lead a greener life’ come in. Bitesize chunks of attitude for easy absorbtion. Tweak your lifestyle, join the club. Trendy, perhaps, but I am more than happy to see this trend. Just watch it rush on through, if it does, and see if, when the glossies stop chattering about it, there’s not a whole bunch more people quietly walking the walk.

Have you noticed at all how this has turned into something of an apology – perhaps not the wittily poised crushing attack the fiery-bellied might have been hoping to hear. You see, as much of a fan as anyone can be of good old fashioned plain speaking, that’s as much of a persuasive strategy as the estate agent’s patter as he tried to sell me a ‘cosy basement studio with original installations in an area with local colour’ (a tiny underground box room that had never been redecorated next door to a rowdy pub). I am writing a blog post, and language is kind of my game. So I can’t quite condemn it, slippery though words can be.

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Here, then is what I notice about green sensibility – what I notice about how it looks and feels and talks and acts with an eye on the environment. An aside, just quickly – the words ‘green’ and ‘environment’ could do with a bit of a look at. So, a bitesize chunk to take home and keep. Well, I mostly notice that to look and feel and talk and act this way means paying attention to the stuff that we get and use, the stuff we keep and where it goes. Everything is a gift : we didn’t bring anything with us when we first turned up here. But enough with the nearly-zen, the point to end with is a whole heap more down to earth. The way this green thing goes kind of calls back something I’m proud of in the British attitude – quite simply : make do and mend.
She’s been on the Grand Stage at The Secret Garden Party not ten minutes and Soko‘s fallen out with the sound man. After unsuccessfully trying to get his attention so he can turn up the levels of her guitar she spits, store “Maybe he’s gone for a piss.” She’s also fallen out with a member of the audience, medical one of the 100 strong crowd sitting near to Soko on the stage. “I don’t have any songs in French. Sorry that’s the other stage – go on!” She deadpans. And despite being best known as a French actress Soko has fallen out with Paris. Something she tells us all about in the song Goodbye Paris “It’s funny how you can break up with a city like you can break up with a lover/Paris is not so romantic when you have no romance to share.” A zealous vegan one of the chief issues she seems to have with Paris is that she can’t live in a city that treats vegetarians like weirdoes (or as she says treats vegetarians “like a dork”).

The truth is Soko is weird. But why shouldn’t she sing a song about how much she loves peanut butter or another about how much she wants to be a tiger? There’s no competition normal gives you Pixie Lott whereas Soko gives you, approved in heavily accented English, songs about killing love rivals (in I’ll Kill Her). Or rather she doesn’t. Despite numerous requests from the crowd Soko refuses to play her most famous song, the one which earned her radio coverage in various European countries and a number one in Denmark. Firstly she tells the audience, “I can’t play the killing people song anymore, I’m dead because I killed too many people” – which makes marginally more sense if you already know that she recently caused controversy by writing “Soko is dead” as her Myspace tagline. After more shouts for the song Soko admits that she can’t play it because her keyboard was too heavy to bring from LA. But third time’s a charm and the next person to heckle gets treated to an “Err, fuck off!” from the feisty singer.

Although this might seem hostile it’s the antithesis between this onstage diva behaviour mixed with the honesty and vulnerability of her songs that makes her so special. Ok so some of her lyrics are downright filthy but the rest have a genuine sweetness and naivety. Take my favourite song of the set It’s Not Going to Work, a story about a potential lover rejecting her advances, the lyrics swing between “What if I grab you and pull you in the bathroom and I could.. tell you I love you and I’ve loved you forever, even before forever” to “please stick it in I’m sure it’ll be great.”

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Soko has recorded a full length album but isn’t releasing it because “it sounded too much like a studio record and not enough like my Garage Band crap that I like more”. The only way that you can listen to Soko is to download her EP or root around Youtube or Myspace for the odd song. The exciting thing about seeing her play live is that you know this could be the only time that you hear each song, Soko is the only artist I know to whom popularity doesn’t seem to have any impression on the set lists.

And when the audience is still wondering whether Soko enjoyed her time onstage at all she ends her set by dispelling any “Soko is Dead” rumours of quitting music, shouting to the crowd, “Thank you for making me alive again”. C’est Magnifique!

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For those of us that have stationery fetishes bordering on obsessive, viagra 100mg the issue of paper manufacturing and environmental impact is a difficult one. On the one hand we have perfectly pretty patterned paper, prescription collections of cute cards and darling desk diaries. But on the other we have forest ransacking to worry about, potentially polluting inks and dyes, and unethical printing practices.

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Well no longer does it have to be a compromise. Based in Canada and proud to be using 100% post-consumer recycled paper, Ecojot is a range of beautiful products, including calendars, agendas and wrapping paper and every aspect of the packaging and production has been carefully designed to have minimum impact on the environment.

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Acid and processed chlorine free paper and cardboard, vegetable based inks and glues that are all bio-degradable, corn-based protective packaging and as much locally made raw material as is possible are the lengths that brother and sister combo Mark and Carolyn Gavin go to to ensure their stationery business keeps in harmony with the habitats and nature it so beautifully depicts in it’s artwork. In addition to all these principles, Ecojot refuses to use any new trees, and the paper mill harnesses it’s power from biogas created by a nearby landfill.

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Ecojot is a new direction for the 10 year old company Miragepaperco, who in 2007 noticed a trend in the industry for greener attitudes, and so rebranded themselves as a company dedicated to using entirely waste material. They believe that by making products that people feel good about buying, because they can trust the sourcing and processes, they are providing a better quality of choice for consumers. To further their commitment to eco friendly issues, Ecojot fully supports Evergreen and contribute to the worthy organisation a portion of their monthly sales.

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The bulk of the designs are the work of Carolyn Gavin, a mother of one living in Toronto with a passion for vintage fabrics, Mexican embroidery and Indian patterns. The website that catalogues Ecojot’s products provides link to her own blog, and to an anonymous ‘Eco-Enthusiast’ blogger, a fellow Toronto resident, and cites trees in all their various forms to be her muse. Both ladies use their online space to share new work, and discoveries of new and inspiring sights, sounds and artists.

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All us stationery addicts can now safely rest assured that our habits are at last sustainable. Huzzah!
Amelia’s Magazine is going to be making several jollies down to the pictures in the coming months – next week to Coco Before Chanel and in September, this site the documentary about the production of the most prolific issue of American Vogue, symptoms entitled The September Issue. We’re also attempting to find out where Sara Ziff‘s expose on the modelling industry Picture Me is knocking about, and if anyone knows and wants to take us on a date there please do. Anyway, here’s the poster for The September Issue, which, as a reviewer from Empire Online points out, looks pretty much exactly the same as the one from Sex and the City.

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Did you know that the September ’07 issue of American Vogue weighed nearly five pounds? Well that’s practically a healthy newborn child. 13 million Americans will buy a September issue of Vogue, so that gives you an idea of the scope of the thing. Directed and produced by RJ Cutler, the cameras were allowed unprecedented access to the issue’s development, documenting shoots (and re-shoots), fashion week, meetings and trips abroad. Most interesting to watch will be the dynamics between the notorious Anna Wintour and super-stylist Grace Coddington.

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Despite fostering hopes of playing out a real life version of the juicy lip-smacking bitchathon The Devil Wears Prada, the biggest shock so far to be gauged from critical reception is that Anna Wintour seems to be alright, actually. The trailer throws forth a few awkward moments, but quite frankly after watching The Devil Wears Prada our expectations are salaciously high.

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Certainly unmissable for any follower of fashion, you’ll catch us in September in the cinema, in the front row with a bob and a giant pair of sunnies on. And coming soon, a hard-hitting expose documenting the sex, lies and scandal in the hub of Amelia’s Magazine – where blogging gets bitchy, cake gets controversial and featuring employees who need a desperate fix of tea before we can make it out of bed in the morning. Ooh la la!

Categories ,Documentary, ,Editorial, ,Fashion films

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Amelia’s Magazine | They’ve got it under CTRL

When you think of the humble pom-pom you think of children’s clothes, order buy of gigantic sombreros for tourists, generic unsightly snow boots and poodles with dodgy haircuts. Experimenting with pom-poms always seemed to be a bit like tequila shots – one was fun, two was adventurous, any more was way overboard and enough to make you gag.
NOT ANY MORE! Somebody somewhere decided it was time to wrench those pom-poms from the cheerleader’s sweaty grasp and boom! Stick them in the right places and we’re in love – and it turns out you can have hundreds of them!

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They might have come to our attention bobbling out all over the catwalks in fashion week and with the high street following suit, but this is a look that could be even cheaper for the creative recessionistas amongst you. Make your own! Check it.
If you ever find yourself sat staring into space on the tube, you could be churning out a whole lot of pom-poms instead. Worn the right way I think it’s a really easy and fun accessory to jazz up an outfit– this cute Peter Jensen ring as a prime example:

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We’ve seen some girls wearing them in their hair, which make a nice woolly alternative to bows, and of course the contentious scrunchie.

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BIGGER:

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BIGGEST:

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THE KITCHEN SINK:

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Don’t be wearing those in the cinema mind you.

It’s amazing that something so simple has been culturally reinterpreted so often over the course of history. That might sound grand but something that’s gone from dangling off the edges of sun hats in Central America, to being mass marketed to children all over the world to making on the Paris catwalks is pretty unique. Yikes, Pom Pom international even reckons they can promote world peace. Maybe that’s one tequila too many. Sporting them could almost seem a throwback to childhood, a fashion revival harking back to the days of hats and mittens (I’d like to say ‘and snow and toboggans’ but let’s face it, it doesn’t snow THAT often).
The last thing we can learn about pom-poms is from cheerleaders everywhere, who if nothing else, seem mind-bogglingly happy. Why? POM-POMS!
“At a T-cross-section go to the left. On your left hand you will see a hill. At the end of the hill, tadalafil on the top, this you will see a green cottage. That is where you can find me. If I am not there I might be outside doing some experiments.”
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Holland’s answer to a modern day Darwin, Theo Jansen has spent the last 19 years playing god and taking evolution into his own hands. An arrogant way to spend the best part of two decades you might say, but not when you see what incredible results this passing of time has produced. Jansen’s kinetic creature creations exist in a carefully crafted overlap of art and engineering.
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From a physics background to a study of painting via an interest in aeronautics and robotics Jansen arrived at 1990 with a thirst for breathing autonomous life into mechanical sculpture. What started as a highly technical computer animation program is now only reliant on the power of the wind with no machine assistance and only minimal human input required, and even that Jansen hopes to eventually phase out.
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My personal attraction to what Jansen does comes from my deep seated loathing of plastic waste, which he cleverly conquers by incorporating discarded plastic bottles as part of a complicated wind energy storage system and he sources metres and metres and metres of yellow plastic tubing- 375 tubes per animal to be exact- to create the skeletons for his beautiful monsters.
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He claims he started to use the plastic tubing because it was unbelievably cheap and readily available although he quickly discovered that a more perfect material for the project would be hard to find as they are both flexible and multifunctional. He draws comparisons between the plastic required in his art and the protein required for life forms. “in nature, everything is almost made of protein and you have various uses of protein; you can make nails, hair, skin and bones. There’s a lot of variety in what you can do with just one material and this is what I try to do as well.”
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The heads of his giant beings act as sails, directing the intricate frames to glide gracefully across the nearby beaches to Jansen’s home and laboratory. The insect-like wings catch gusts of wind and propel the body forward. When there is no wind not even for ready money, the stored energy in the belly of the beasts can be utilized.
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Jansen’s vision is of a landscape populated by herds of these sculptures taking on entire lives of their own. The versions of models that made it into existence have raced and won survival of the fittest contests through his computer program and having studied these ‘winners’ Jansen designed creatures so developed they are even capable of self preservation, burrowing themselves in the sand when the gusts are too powerful for them to use constructively.
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His imagination like his Strandbeests (literally translated as ‘Beach Animal) is an ever evolving self perfecting organ. He envisions a point at which he will release his creations ‘into the wild’, which he speaks about in the same loving tone you would expect from a parent preparing their nest to be flown by their offspring. “I imagine that two animals will meet each other and compare their qualities in some way; have a demonstration somewhere on how they run and how fast they can run and also do some quality comparison on how they survive the winds. And the one with the better quality kills the other one and gives the other its own genetic code. There could be 30 animals on the beach, running around all the time, copying genetic codes. And then it would go on without me.” It’s not so far fetched after all to consider what Jansen does as god-like. He plainly and rather humbly philosophizes, “I try to remake nature with the idea that while doing this you will uncover the secrets of life and that you will meet the same problems as the real creator,” he added. Theo Jansen is simply a genius though his genius is far from simple. Amen.

It has been a while since I have found a political party that I feel that I can get behind. Politics seem to have descended into a misguided mess. Anytime I read about a Tory or Labour MP, more about it is usually because of a scandal. What is going on environmentally and economically seems to play second fiddle to infighting and lies. Meanwhile, living in East London, I have become friends with a couple of people who are involved in the Hackney Green Party. They don’t seem to lie, or cheat, or claim expenses – this is a party that I can support! I wanted to find out more about them, so I sat down for a cup of tea with Matt Hanley, who is the Green candidate for Stoke Newington Central.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

I really liked the political broadcast; I thought it was very astute. The message is not that we have to step outside of our comfortable lives, but that the Green Party are the only political group who can deal with the contemporary and current issues that the world is facing; both politically and environmentally.

We have changed in almost a 180-degree way, twenty years ago the stereotype was beards, sandals, pipes, hemp clothes, it was almost like lecturing the public – it was unsophisticated. Twenty years ago was what, 1989? Scientists for the first time had come to an agreement that climate change was happening, and that it appeared to be man made. I guess when that news was first out there; people were like ‘look, its GOT to change’. Now we are a bit savvier. We have to present policies which are palatable to the voting public; there is no point in standing on the side lines and finger wagging, if we present a policy which will save money but drive down carbon emissions – that is what we are all about. I see the environment agenda of the Green Party very much subset of our core goal, which is social justice. Everything we do, we put the welfare of the human being at the very core. If they are not benefiting from our policies then… I don’t want to know…. that is what the Green Party stands for. So we work for human rights, LGBT rights, promoting the local economy, promoting local business, right though to reducing carbon emissions, they are all under this umbrella of social justice. We are providing a very electable platform, which will improve people’s lives. We are a very well run political party with extremely good innovative ideas to get ourselves out of this economic mess and we are also challenging climate change and enabling our communities to do the same and preparing ourselves for peak oil.

There have been a many protests organised recently, a lot of people who have never protested before are taking to the streets. What is the Green Party’s stance on direct action?

We are the political wing of the New Social Movement; we are the only party who advocate non-violent direct action. The Green Party leader, Caroline Lucas, is probably the only leader with a criminal record, she has been arrested at a nuclear base up in Scotland. We support legitimate protest. There is a place for the protesting, and a place for the parliamentary process. So we are the elected wing of the protest movement.

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Illustration by Aarron Taylor

Other parties don’t like their protesters do they?

Absolutely not, they just want you to nod along. Like good citizens, nod along like The Churchill Dog! (Laughs)

For people who have only heard of Hackney and have not been here, the first words that would come to mind would not be “sustainability”, “communities” or “grow your own”, but plenty of people are living by these ideals here and there is actually quite a healthy sized green movement in Hackney….

There is a massive opportunity for a green movement here, and massive support for us. It is unbelievable. In the last elections, the Greens reached second or third in every single ward in Hackney.

And you have a good relationship with Transition Town Hackney as well?

Yes, but they are completely different organisations. The Transition Town movement doesn’t want to be in the thrall of the political party. We definitely support the parties and their principles. We are all about a localised economy, we should be able to feed ourselves, produce our own energy, and I should be able to send my kid to the local school. The Transition Town model is about preparing for the onslaught of climate change and equipping communities for that transition, and that is also what the Greens are all about.

Can you see Hackney functioning well under a Green Party council?

Absolutely! They are doing it in Lewisham at the moment, which is a similar demography. They are doing all these fantastic things, for example, they have set a system up where you can go to the library and hire energy reading meters which you can take home and fix into your energy meter and this allows you to do an audit of your energy usage. I definitely want to see this launched in Hackney. It’s an innovative, creative way of thinking. It’s about putting sustainability at the core of everything, which also saves lots and lots of money!

I see The Green Party as being very accessible to young people as well.

The average age of people joining is mid to late 20′s. They are not wedded to 20th century politics, a lot of older labour supporters can’t bring themselves to leave. We have the same agenda that Labour did, back when they were good Labour. Only we can add the environmental agenda. We stand up for peace. We stand up for nuclear disarmament, no other party does that. We want public services to stay public. We want to renationalise the railways – the cost of rail tickets hits young people very, very hard. Younger people can see that we are standing up to big businesses, supporting local shops, and standing up for individuals. We have a whole plethora of progressive policies……..

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Illustration by Aarron Taylor

And also The Green Party a very media savvy bunch – you are on Facebook, you organise lots of activities….

Absolutely! In fact next week we are going paintballing – ‘Paintballing for Peace’

(Laughs) What other way is there to find peace?

(Laughs), and we are going on a Hackney Greens bike ride down to Brighton, we are organising a summer solstice away down to the coast. And we go on alternative pub-crawls. (Laughs)

Speaking of young people, Matt, you are 30 years old and you are standing for Stoke Newington Council for next May. What prompted this move?

I don’t like politicians – they are all the same, especially with what is going on with news about their expenses at the moment.
Working for the Green Party, and seeing the good that they are doing, I thought, you have to step up. I know that I can do a good job. Labour are failing miserably both in Hackney and in the country. The Conservatives are the same, the Liberal Democrats are no different, and so as a Green, you just have to step up.

What will you do if you won and had the power to implement any idea? What’s the first thing that you would do?

Free insulation! It’s a scheme that stems from European legislation, which states that energy companies are obliged to give a certain percentage to energy efficiency schemes. But the councils have to apply for that. The Green Party in Kirklees is on the local council, so every single person in Kirklees gets free insulation. It drives down energy costs, and drives down the carbon emissions and creates local jobs, so it’s a win win situation. Why every single council on the country is getting on this I don’t know. It saves everyone money, make peoples homes warmer, make them healthier – it stops people going to NHS with colds and flu and also reinvigorates the local economy by producing jobs. It creates a programme of very sustainable jobs. We tried to implement it before, but the Labour Councellors called it ‘daft’, dismissed it out of hand and didn’t give a reason beyond that!

That doesn’t make any sense!

The Labour and Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are on the wrong side of history, but there is a new movement, and it takes into account the Green Party, Transition Town and Friends Of The Earth…. Amnesty International, trade unions, CND etc and all these community grass routes organisations. This is a wonderful new social movement that can be called green with a small g and is a new paradigm of social and political engagement…. this is what the 21st Century is coming to now, but the three big parties are still clinging onto the coat tails of 20th Century ideology. This whole new multifaceted social movement (of which the Green Party are the political wing) is the new politics of the 21st century.

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

Can you tell us the best changes that we can make to our lives to make our world more sustainable?

Number one is vote Green! Although I don’t want to lecture people about being ” eco trendy”. Eco trendiness and eco consumption is not going to sort this mess out. We need strong government action to allow this country to change to a sustainable economy. But back to things that you can do as an individual: don’t use your car as much. Don’t eat as much meat. Cut down, you don’t have to stop eating meat completely, just don’t buy from supermarkets. Stop shopping at supermarkets altogether, because that is killing the environment, and your local towns. Support your local shops instead.

Wise words! Thanks Matt.
While the rest of us spent the winter windblown and wet-toed, viagra knitwear designer Craig Lawrence was dreaming of a resort escape, prostate with all the bells and whistles. And what hard earned sunburn doesn’t deserve to be soothed by an embarrassingly oversized tropical drink with all the tacky accoutrements. And ‘splash’ inspiration is born! Those fanciful toxic colored fishbowls of liquor with their cascading garnishes were all the visual inspiration Craig needed to create his first collection since graduating from St.Martins last July. Knitted up with satin ribbons and swirling metal yarn, the knitwear newcomer’s sugar sweet confections made it to Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s runways and onto the lips of the fashion heavies.

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I understand sweets and cocktails were the inspirations for your recent collection. What are some of your favorites?
After my degree collection for St.Martins I needed a bit of time to catch my breath so when I started designing again it was winter…cold and grey. I was eating sweets in my studio and daydreaming of beaches and tropical drinks. Some of my favorite things are peach daiquiris, parma violets. My favorite sweet is probably chewy toffee and favorite drink is that fizzy orange drink irn-bru.
What do you recall as the first piece of knitwear you ever made?
A wooly, salmon colored scarf that I actually lost on the train. That and an awful grey ruched square-shaped polyester thing I had to make for my A levels.
If given the chance to collaborate with anyone who would you have in mind?
I’ve always thought of doing pieces for a more theatrical environment. I would love to work with Slava Snowshow.

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You recently worked with stylist Katie Shillingford on a shoot for your recent collection. There’s so much movement in those images which really brings your knits to life, how did you manage to capture that?
I’d wanted dancing and movement but the studios’ ceilings were too low and they were all too expensive. So we brought a 9 ft family size trampoline to a rooftop overlooking the city and had the girls bouncing up and down on it. A bit risky actually as there was really not much there to stop them from going over if we weren’t careful. We did the hair and make up at home with the help of my boyfriend and flatmates, one of which is a model, which definitely helps when you need someone for fittings.
Did you start out interested in knit or did you find your way to it while studying fashion?
Actually, I wanted to do menswear while I was at London College of Fashion, by the time I got to St.Martins they encouraged me to do knit because they saw that all my stuff to that point had been designed in jersey. And I loved the chunky quality of knit.

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I hear you managed to do the impossible and actually design 6 seasons of knitwear for Gareth Pugh, while doing your BA, AND working a retail job once a week. How were you able to do that and how many of yourself did you have to clone?
I was in school at the time and had knitted a scarf for a friend who’s flatmate wore it on a date with Gareth, who mentioned he was looking for a knitwear designer. He got in touch and said he needed to have pieces made up in a week. So it was all quite fast. All that while doing my BA degree and working in the stock room at John Lewis on Saturday mornings, sometimes having to be there at 6 am. You get used to not sleeping.
And a year after graduating you were showing at Vauxhall Fashion Scout?
My PR agency BLOW called me up a week before the show and said they had an opening for me, so I made up some accessories and a few pieces to fill out the collection I’d been working on. I was given a team of hair and make up artists and we were off.

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Which comes first for you, the yarn or the garment?
Usually the textiles come first for me. I’ve learned alot about them along the way, like for example needing to use a flat knit for tight fitting garments.
Are there any textiles, practical or not that you’re really keen to use?
I’d like to do something with little leather strips or pvc something shiny and bright. Maybe even strips of diamante.
What is one of the more random things you’ve used to knit with?
You know those yellow rubber gloves used for washing up/ i found a guy in Dalston Market selling a gaint roll of it and bought it. I cut it up into tiny little strips and started knitting it up but as a garment it was incredibly heavy and totally unweareble.
Could you give us a peek into the inspirations for your next collection?
At the moment I’m interested in accessories, chenille, and fireworks!
Look out! That is some recipe. Craig Lawrence wants to expand our minds and preconceptions, to push knitwear into places we’d least expect it. Can’t wait to see what Molotov cocktail awaits us next season!

Prepare yourself for copious amounts of black eye liner as this week sees us take an awe-inspiring look at one of London’s fashion firmament Hannah Marshall. A rapidly establishing icon Marshall has been injecting a healthy dose of rock and roll back onto our catwalks since her break through debut in 2007.

I tracked down Hannah to find out more about this talented lady

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How are you doing? It’s a lovely sunny day in London; hope your enjoying the sunshine?

I have escaped from London to work from home today in the beautiful Essex countryside; the weather is beautiful here too.

Take me through life since you’re A/W 09 collection showcased at London Fashion Week?

The Autumn/Winter 2009 collection ‘Armour’ was shown at London Fashion Week as part of the New Generation exhibition sponsored by Top Shop. In addition, store I did my first presentation at the On|Off space with Ipso Facto in the Science Museum. The collection was also shown in Paris and New York and there has been a very positive reaction with UK and International press and buyers alike. Since fashion week, ed I have started working on more music collaborations, approved which is really exciting.

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Your one of the few designers I have come across that you really get the sense that your personal style plays prominence in your designs, would you agree?

I think it’s important to practice what you preach, and at the end of the day I am designing what I want to wear, that I believe isn’t out there already. I am obsessed with black, shoulder pads and eyebrows. My brand is an extension of me and my aesthetic and vision, which is about empowering women through clothing.

Every girl needs her staple black dress, for me anyway there is a sort of salvation and self-assurance in black clothing, would you agree?

When I design, I design in black. It’s the strongest and most powerful colour there is. Black is the perfect tone to create bold and interesting silhouettes with. For me, the iconic Little Black dress is the epitome of timeless clothing and is the wardrobe staple that is exudes a powerful elegance, authority and quiet confidence. When I launched my label in 2007, I just showed 12 black dresses – for me, a black dress is all you need.

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What would you say stimulates you to create your collections?

This season the Hannah Marshall woman wears her own suit of armour. Her body is encased in steel line panels, protected with angular breastplates, concealed with pronounced contours and shielded with moulded hips. This body armour concept allows pieces to offer the illusion of strength and lend the wearer a sense of security.

My design philosophy stems from my continuing obsession with the human form and bodily contours, resulting in carefully orchestrated designs that fit to perfection, inspired insect exoskeletons references such as the beetle’s armoured shell, mimicked through protective interconnecting segments. Black takes the main stage once again, in contrasting and tactile fabrics to create a second skin concealing what lies beneath. The introduction of caviar- look stingray, luxurious stretch velvet and taught elastic is added to my ritual butter soft leathers and lustrous stretch silks

I know it’s a generic question, but which designers out their would you
pinpoint as inspirations?

I am obsessed by Thierry Mugler and the super tailored, sexy designs from the 80′s period. I love the minimalism of Jill Sander in the 90′s and appreciate the sculptural shapes from Japanese designers like Yohji Yamamoto.

You utilise black very heavily within your work, would you say “black is
the new black?’

Always – black is irreplaceable and will always be around throughout each season.

I know you’re enthused by music, you recently used Ipso Facto as muses for you’re A/W 09 collection, which other bands blast out of your headphones?

Ipso Facto of course, as well as The Kills, Iggy Pop, Skunk Anansie, The Black Keys, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Florence & The Machine, Prince, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Nirvana, Siouxie & The Banshees, and more…

If you could work with any iconic figure from the past, who would you choose any why?

Cristobal Balenciaga – pure genius.

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Do you have any advice for budding designers eager to break into the fashion sphere?

Believe in yourself, otherwise how can you expect others too. Also, I would advise any young designers to get a mentor and do their ground work.

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The more that I delve into the world of Hannah Marshall the further in awe I become. Marshall creates collections that are not merely appreciated as catwalk objects, she creates pieces that tap into every woman’s subconscious. Her Designs follow a distinctive aesthetic, beautifully crafted with architectural precision but with a sensibility that just screams wearability.

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I think on a subconscious level we are all black aficionados, when your endlessly trawling the deepest realms of the wardrobe on those bleary eyed mornings, what brings us the utmost in self-assurance and feistiness? Without a doubt it is the quintessential little black dress that consoles all dilemmas. Its been engrained into our sub conscious, think avante garde, think Audrey Hepburn. The back dress prevails time, it still retains the same stylish potency now as ever. Regardless of occasion Its my one true ally admist the abysses of print and colour that can often just make the head spin. Blacks connotates effortless dominance, sexiness and style.

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So watch out world we have a new queen of darkness on our hands!

(images supplied by Victor De Mello)

It’s such a beautifully simple idea that you can’t believe you didn’t think of it first.

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A is for ‘Alternative Accomodation’ by Zoe Campagna

Take 26 photographers all with first names beginning with unique letters of the alphabet running from a to z. Get them to each to submit a brief with key words running from, site yep you guessed it, sildenafil a to z, corresponding with the letter their name begins with. Make it both ongoing and international running over one year and several continents and voila! You have the most interesting collaborative project since Miranda July’s learning to love you more.

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R is for ‘Reverse’ by Yong Hun Kim

That gives you a whopping 676 photographs and a whole lot of talent. With the project only just completed from ‘Alternative Accommodation’ to ‘Zigzag’, the project is hoping to exhibit here in London and bag themselves a book deal. I took some time out with project curator, photographer representing ‘S’ and artist responsible for the project brief ‘Stop a Stranger’ Stuart Pilkington and had a bit of Q and A.

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C is for ‘Chaos’ by Ed Maynard

Hello Stuart, how are you doing?

Not too bad thanks Alice.

How long was it between dreaming up the Alphabet Project and its actualization?

Do you know I can’t really recall now. It’s only since late 2007 that I’ve started to get off my backside and actualize anything at all. I think the idea may have been brewing for quite some time – maybe even a couple of years.
Eventually I sat down and created a basic site for the project and then posted the concept on a few sites like craigslist and Facebook to see if it connected with anybody. This was in late 2007. I didn’t really hear anything from anybody until January 2008 when an Australian photographer called Paula Bollers e-mailed me and said she was interested. She also sent the idea to some people she knew who then started to contact me. Until then I was about to abandon the idea but this was the catalyst I needed and I haven’t looked back since.

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F is for ‘Funny’ by Frank Gross

How was the project put together? Did you find photographers or did they find you? Was there a criteria for choosing artists, such as previously unpublished?

I used a variety of methods to track down the remaining photographers. Some of the people I knew namely John Wilson and Emli Bendixen. I asked if they wanted to be involved and they both said ‘yes’. Emli suggested some other photographers like Rachel Bevis and Burak Cingi and I’m very glad they all came on board – some great British talent.
I also started to contact photographers who had joined some groups I had set up on Facebook to celebrate the work of Alec Soth and Joel Sternfeld. I started to look for photographers who use a variety of disciplines like Lomo, art photography, fashion photography, large format, polaroid etc. I also consciously started to look for people from all over the world.

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M is for ‘Memory’ by Rachel Bevis

Was it your intention to be a multinational project or was that pure chance from who got involved?

Not originally but when I started to enrol people from various corners of the world the more this idea excited me. Part of the concept is to do with interpretation, with people’s individual responses, and I realised that if I had photographers from different countries and different disciplines then the variety of images would be all the more exciting.

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V is for ‘Voracious’ by Stuart Pilkington

Do you have photography on your walls at home? Is it your own, people you know or that of renowned photographers?

Funnily enough I am painting my rooms white at the moment and I don’t have any pictures on my wall at all but I hope to have a couple of large William Eggleston prints soon and some prints from 20×200. I also would like to rotate images from a number of the photographers I have been working with.

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I is for ‘Idiocy’ by Andrew Ward

How do the response photographers work? Do they respond to all 26 projects or individual briefs that they are interested in?

Okay so originally the Alphabet Project was going to involve just 26 photographers, all with a first name beginning with an unique letter of the alphabet. However, I soon realised that a year is a long time for 26 people to remain committed so I needed to have another set of 26 photographers, similarly with first names beginning with an unique letter of the alphabet, in case anyone needed to pull out. I called this group of 26 photographers ‘responding’ purely because the only difference between them and the original 26 was that they didn’t set a task, they purely responded to each task set. The only requirement for all photographers involved was that they completed all 26 tasks by the end of the year.

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J is for ‘Just by Radiohead’ by Emli Bendixen

Which brief took you the longest to come up with an idea for? Which did you know straight away?

To be honest I am the least imaginative when it comes to photography. This is probably one of the reasons I am moving away from creating images to being an art photography curator. An assignment was set like ‘broken’ and ‘thrill’ and I could only think of the most obvious responses whereas the other photographers came up with the most ingenious and leftfield images. Some of them were surreal, some of them incredibly clever and funny. I really enjoyed seeing what they came up with each fortnight.

Who or where or what would be your dream subject to photograph?

I want to get out into the great landscapes of the US with my Wista 5×4 – to photograph places described in books such as ‘Moon Palace’ by Paul Auster and ‘Walden’ by Henry David Thoreau. There’s something that really appeals to me about epic spaces.

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Z is for ‘Zigzag’ by Hind Mezaina

After the book what are your plans for the Alphabet Project? What personal projects are you working on?

I am currently exploring avenues and looking for venues/galleries in London. Currently I am curating a couple of other projects by the name of 12 Faces, and the 50 States Project, (50statesproject.net). These are both ideas that evolved out of the Alphabet Project. I also have a number of other projects in mind and one I’m very excited about which will take place in 2010.

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N is for ‘Nightscape’ by Geoff Ward

Finally, who would play you in a film of your life?

I think either Richard Kiel, (the chap who played Jaws in ‘Moonraker’), or Hervé Villechaize, (the midget who played Tattoo in ‘Fantasy Island’).

Nice! Thanks for your time Stuart, and best of luck.

Viva le Collaboration I say.

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P is for ‘Phenomenon’ by Dirk Such

(Thumbnail: K is for ‘Kitchen’ by Kristal Armendariz)
Paris- based Nelson (JB Devay, cialis 40mg Gregory Kowalski, cialis 40mg David Nichols and Thomas Pirot) are four dashing purveyors of technical trick-clickery, information pills instrument swingers and moody wordsmiths all finished off with a dash French cool. Their new wave vibe skitters from a Factory Records vibe to the spooky storminess of the early Animal Collective records. They are refreshingly unique for a band that emerged from a Paris scene awash with mini Pierre Dohertys and wannabe Carl Berets. Nelson are never afraid to experiment with genre and technique creating an intelligent type of music, songs that are both danceable and deep; like bopping around a copy of Sartre.
I ate their tortilla chips and spoke to them about making the channel crossing to the notorious London gig circuit, cultural perceptions of French music and having Berlusconi over for dinner, we laughed a lot. From this I can whole-heartedly conclude that you should embrace a new entente cordiale because they’re ferrying over to start a revolution…

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JB Devay: Hello, nice to meet you, we are Nelson from Paris…How did you manage to be here?
My parents made love 23 years ago…
(laughter)
JB: That’s disgusting…I don’t talk to girls who speak like this.
(laughter)
I apologise, so you guys have been playing a lot of gigs in London this week (93 Feet East, Old Blue Last, Buffalo Bar), I was wondering if you could tell me about how you view the differences between the Paris music scene and the London one?
Gregory Kowalski: The thing is we are playing in clubs in London, and from what we see in clubs for 3 or 4 years is that London bands are not really original, in Paris they’re used to be this rock scene that started 4 years ago but now it’s kind of quiet.
Thomas Pirot: I would say that London has lots of bands, so there are a lot of bad bands.
I guess what I always noticed was that the Paris scene is smaller…
David Nichols: Yeah, definitely, but it’s more diverse than the London scene, we haven’t seen too much of the rest of England yet. In Paris there was this thing that bubbled up 4 years ago, with new bands and bands that hadn’t otherwise had a chance to play, now that’s quietened down; there are the bands that stopped and bands that have moved onto a more professional career.

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Ok, you were saying that when you come here you play clubs; do you all think that it’s hard for continental bands to make it here? or maybe that there’s a stigma attatched to being a French band? I think people have really specific preconceptions of “French Music”
Thomas: I think so maybe 3 or 4 years ago, but now because of the Parisian scene; that’s kind of changing, there seems to be some more open-minded feeling.
Gregory: Many people we meet after gigs say “oh a French rock band there is something sexy about that”.
(laughter)
David: We’ve reaped a lot of benefit from the electro scene; like Justice and Ed Banger, I mean we’re not at all part of that scene, but for the first time in January we weren’t just another French band, people were asking if we knew Justice also the French Revolution nights at 93 Feet East have done a lot for (hammy French accent) ze freeench cauuzzze!
Gregory: Are you German?
David: Ja.
(laughter)
JB: The change will definitely happen when we have one big French rock band breaking through….

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I think Ed Banger is important, even if you’re not affiliated with it because it encourages a two-way cultural export, where as before it was uniquely British bands being exported to France, now French music is cool again in the British public eye…
I was going to ask you why you sing with an English accent?

David: JB doesn’t…he created his own brand of accent.
Gregory: It’s just the music we grew up listening to.
JB: Yeah like Ed Banger, Daft Punk, Phoenix
(laughter)
David: It’s really just the accents each of us naturally have when we sing.
Thomas: Plus we have our very own English teacher. (points to David)
You mean David, who learnt English when he was at school with Justice and Air, right?
(laughter)

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So I was reading about your influences, a lot of them are cinematic or literary; how do you think that affects your music?
David: Well it’s all things that have touched us personally, things that we’ve connected with in all sorts of art…
JB: I think at the end we’re all trying to say the same thing…I don’t see such a big difference between music, art or literature; it’s all a different way to express emotions. I can talk to James Salter or a guy making movies like I would to another musician.
Gregory: It’s all the same artistic world.

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Hmmm, with regards to your literary influences and as well as English being your second language- do you think that affects how you approach song-writing? When I write in French my writing voice totally changes…
Thomas: I think it’s easier to express yourself in another language, there’s a distance.
Gregory: You can play with something when you don’t really know the rules; it’s a nice game, you have weird images going together even if its not really proper; I think it works.
I guess it’s the Nabokovian thing of collecting words by their shapes and sounds and not by their meaning, it’s interesting in terms of abstraction but also creates a new intimacy with language; I can see that in your lyrics…
Gregory: Definitely, our first album (Revolving Doors) was definitely about collecting words this way, but now, with the second we are trying more to tell stories.
David: Now we know how to collect words by shapes and sounds; it’s naturally part of our writing process to do it and now we know how to do that, we can now focus on writing stories…but we still have the sense of “I like that word there and how it sounds, so I’ll put it there and the story will fit round it”
Thomas: It’s because naturally our lyrics come from yaourt…
Yoghurt?!
(laughter)
Gregory: It’s Franglais!
David: Yaourt is French for when you don’t know the words but sing something anyway…
Like Goobledigook?
David: Yeah! Once you find the rhythm of sounds and structure, then you find the words to fit.
Thomas: Words always come with the music and sound, never before.

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Cool, there’s a sense of fluidity about how you work, not only with lyrics and working in the studio but also with not really having assigned positions within the band, you all swap instruments- is this fluidity important to you?
Gregory: Yes, definitely.

So what’s coming up for you guys in the future?
JB Devay: A gig in two hours.
(laughter)
Gregory: Then back to Paris for drinks with Daft Punk and Justice!
(laughter)
David: I have a dinner with Air!
Nelson’s Manager Nico: Well, you won’t have much to eat then will you?
(laughter)
That’s a good one- I’ll put that in!

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Finally, if you had to have 5 people over for dinner who would you choose?

JB: Clint Eastwood for me.
Thomas: Matt Berninger. (singer of The National)
Gregory: (something that sounds like Evita)
Evita?!
Gregory: No, Avey Tare.
Oh Avey Tare! (singer of Animal Collective) nice choice!
Gregory: Berlusconi as well actually, he’d be an interesting guy…
He could do a pasta!
(laughter)
Nelson’s Manager Nico: Scarlett Johansson
(sounds of masculine approval)
David: I’d say Woody Allen.
Who’d do the washing up?
David: Probably me.
Gregory: I’d do it with Scarlett Johansson…
I bet you would!

Nelson’s debut album Revolving Doors is available now on Ctrl Alt Del Records (UK) and Diamondtraxx (France).
They play The Luminaire on 30th May.
Photos of Nelson playing at the Centre Pompidou appear courtesy of Julien Courmont
Awesome backdrops (in photos) by Ahonen & Lamberg

We normally post our listings on a Monday, viagra but there are quite a few events going on this Bank Holiday Weekend that we wanted to share with you.

First of all, sale who has not seen a screening of “The Age of Stupid” yet? If you haven’t, then there are plenty of opportunities on Friday night, thanks to the numerous places which will be taking part in the genius ‘Indie Screenings’.

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If you need more of an incentive, anyone who comes along to the 7.30pm screenings across the country will get to watch an additional webcast as well. The Age Of Stupid have teamed up with the Royal Society of the Arts to bring you an exclusive live webcast. Directly after screenings finish across the width and breadth of the UK at 9PM, they will go live from London with an interactive web panel beaming directly to anyone holding an event. On the panel they’ll be joined by:
 Franny Armstrong (Director of The Age of Stupid, McLibel and Drowned Out) ?- George Monbiot (Prolific climate change journalist and author of HEAT)?- Sir Nicholas Stern (Author of the Stern review and economist)?- Dr Richard Betts (Head of climate impacts at the MET office)?- Dr. Mohammed Waheed Hassan, Vice-President of the Maldives  

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Have a look at the Age Of Stupid website to see where these screenings are place. One particular screening which has piqued our interest is going to be held at the fabulously named Stoke Newington International Airport (needless to say, not a real airport), but “a performance and rehearsal venue where extremely interesting people get up to brilliant things.”The film will be shown in order to raise money for the Nottingham thought criminals, so come along and bring all your mates. It’s a great little venue, and all money taken on the door will be split between them and those naughty people what thought about possibly maybe conspiring to do nothing.

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Illustration by Bryony Lloyd

Those who follow this blog will hopefully know a little about the wonderful work that Transition Towns are doing. This weekend they are holding a conference which will last from May 22 -May 24. If you want one of these places please call Kristin on 07950542351. Places cost £85 which gives you access to the full smogasbord including workshops, open spaces, evening events, entertainment & lunch. It promises to be a wonderful weekend. Take a look at the programme for the full picture
 
The conference programme has been announced. It’s a packed schedule, with workshops happening throughout the weekend covering every aspect of Transition. Here is a list of what to expect. 
Here’s the full list:
 
Saturday Morning
Energy Descent Planning
Growing Communities
Oil, Climate & Money
Learning >From Coin Street Community Builders
Constellations: a Practical Experience
Creative Environmental Education
The Transition Guide to Working With Your Local Council
Ensuring & Maximising Diversity in Transition
Transition Training & Consulting: who we are and what we do
Can Britain Feed Itself? Bringing GIS Mapping to the Question
Crowdfunding & Fundraising
 
Saturday Afternoon
Local Currencies
The Transition Guide to Food
Wha’s Like Us? The Scottish Experience
Climate Change Goes Critical
The Work That Reconnects
Harmony Singing
Wild Food & Wildlife Walk
Turning The Corner
Transition Training & Consulting: working with businesses & organisations
Animate Earth
Economics Crash Course
 
Sunday Morning
Food EDAPs
Weaving Magic
Making The Most of The Media
Transition Web Project Bringing Transition Together
Conflict Resolution & Communication
The Heart & Soul of Transition
Energy Descent Planning for Transport: The Oxford Example
Personal Resilience
Asking the Elders
Transition Timeline
Wild Economics: Wolves, Resilience & Spirit

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Illustration by Fay Katirai

The Transition website also lists places to stay if you are coming from out of town, so you will not be stuck for a place to stay.

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Elsewhere, Rootstock and Radical Routes are holding a free one day conference and workshop which includes a talk by the key note speaker, Marsh Farm’s Glenn Jenkins, who will be asking “How can we protect our remaining social and economic resources from the convulsions of capitalism?” The event will be on Saturday at the Conway Hall in Holburn, London. Radical Routes is a network of radical co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change. The network is made up mainly of housing co-ops of various sizes (none with more than 16 members), a few workers co-ops and a couple of social centres.
Four times a year, the member co-ops get together at “gatherings”. These weekend events have a social function, but are also the places at which all important decisions are taken. They are open meetings and anyone is welcome to attend.
The event will run from 10 am – 6pm. But it doesn’t finish then! Afterwards, Radical Routes will be throwing a party to celebrate their 21st birthday. Music and entertainment will be provided by Attila the Stockbroker, a performance and punk rock poet, as well as David Rovics, Babar Luck, Clayton Blizzard and Smokey Bastard. Food will be provided by The Anarchist Teapot Kitchen Collective from Brighton and Veggies Catering Campaign from Nottingham.
Tickets for the evening’s party are £8.00/£4.00 concs or if you include food, £11.00/£6.00 concs. Tickets can be booked by calling 0113 262 4408 or emailing bookings@radicalroutes.org.uk
Who are Worried about Satan? Worried about Satan are a duo based in Leeds comprising of Gavin Miller and Thomas Ragsdale who produce atmospheric soundscaping far in advanced of their relatively young age.

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Their live shows are an incredible, prescription blistering assault on the senses that leave you whimpering in the corner like a kid who’s lost his blankie. On receiving their new album ‘Arrivals’, I have to admit I was more than a little concerned. I couldn’t really imagine how they’d be able to match this on stage furore on record. Yet, no sooner had the disc started spinning when my worries disappeared in the fug of a post rock, techno wrestling match. The despair, the fear and the power  is as prevalent here as it ever has been on the stage. Nothing compromised, nothing lost.

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Each track builds up to an almost unbearable hiatus. One part electronic, another part rock with some mind melting jungle beats on the side. It shares a little with Dub step hero Burial, if I had to name anyone, who they have shared a studio with. The mixture is balanced out perfectly with an accompaniment from some rather unusual spoken word samples from Patricia Hearst amongst others; altogether creating a sound that is both ethereal and heart wrenching. It was like being hit over the head with twenty chairs and then pile driven into a concrete canvas. But I’d do it again I tell you, again.

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The album is now due to be released at the end of May on Gizeh Records.

Andy Council and Amelia’s Magazine are old friends. Mr Council penned some superb illustrations for us back in the day and since then has gone on to produce some of the hottest material to be had on the British graphic art scene.

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When it comes to parallels the man himself cites the work of cult comic book illustrator/hero Geoff Darrow and the sublime master of anime Miyazaki, side effects but for me Council’s style can’t be described as anything other than a true one off. The intricacy with which he renders his visual feasts is phenomenal, unhealthy and catches both the eye and the imagination.

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Those of you lucky enough to reside in Bristol may have come across local resident Council’s window work, though his artwork that graces everything from posters and flyers to skate decks and murals can be found the country over. He is also one seventh of a new collective calling themselves Boys Who Draw.

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He was kind enough to indulge me and my love of quirky quick-fire questions, the results of which can be found below.

Which illustrator or graphic artist do you most admire and why?

There are so many illustrators whose work I admire. I really admire the work of my friend Mr Jago as he has gone really painterly and expressive with his work. I wasn’t sure if I should say that as he doesn’t like me saying and got a bit funny about it before!

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Poster/flyer for Play It By Ear Club

Which band past or present would provide the soundtrack to a film of your life?

Sonic Youth I guess – they are my favourite band and have been the background music to most of my life. Funnily enough though, for key moments in my life like my wedding day and when I found out my partner was pregnant I have had Guns and Roses songs in my head. I’m not really a big fan of the Gunners.

Tell us something about Andy Council we might not already know.
I own a Taxidermy duck called Stufty.

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Album Cover Art for Earmint

What is your pub quiz specialist subject?

Cryptozoology. Anything to do with Bigfoot, Nessie and other creatures that might not actually exist.

If you hadn’t become an illustrator and all round cool dude, what would you be doing now?

I don’t think I ever got round to becoming a cool dude. I would probably be a paleontologist.

If you could travel back or forward in time to any era, where would you go?

I would of course go back to the time of the Dinosaurs!

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What single piece of modern technology could you not bear to live without?

My computer and the internet. I’m totally addicted to it, which is why I don’t have it at my art studio so I can actually get some work done!

What or who is your nemesis?

Static.

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What is your guilty pleasure?

Eating custard slices. My partner caught me in the centre of Bristol once eating one and it was all over my face. This was in the early stages of our relationship and amazingly she has stayed with me.

I say ‘Falloumi’, you say…?

I would say that surely you mean halloumi, the squeaky salty cheese that is great served with roast veg. (I actually mean the falafel halloumi wrap cross breed that we here at Amelia Towers boldly invented as a lunch favourite last week. Moving on.)

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If you were taking Amelia’s Magazine out for a night in Bristol, where would we go?

I think I would start off at an exhibition opening in a squatted space such as the Emporium on Stokes Croft. Would then go onto to a local pubs such as the Bell where all the local Street Artists hang out. Quick stop off for some nasty chips at Ritas and then on to either The Star and Garter for some late night dub and drinking or The Black Swan for Dub Step, bon fire and carnage. Hmmm, I actually quite like staying in and looking after the little un these days.

What advice would you give up and coming illustrators?

The usual thing of keeping at it and relentlessly promoting your work I guess. Other than that, I would say it’s really good to get your work up on walls, windows or wherever it can be seen large by the public.

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Who would be your top 5 dream dinner guests? Who would do the washing up?

The Beast of Bodmin, Skeletor, Richard Angwin (BBC west local weather man), Godzilla and the queen who can do the washing up if she hasn’t escaped being eaten by my chum from Bodmin.

Andy Council, we salute you. Would you have him round for dinner?
Thanks to Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s utterly perfect bit of cinema, for sale Amelie, this you’re probably more likely to associate Yann Tiersen with Place de la Concorde in Paris than with Concorde2 in Brighton. But he has travelled north, and I have travelled south to converge on this charmingly dark and sweaty rock venue for the unveiling of his new material. The new album, Dust Lane, will be released later this year, and Brighton is getting an earful tonight.

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After some encouragement from the crowd, the band emerges and grabs their instruments. Already, I’m suspecting this is not going to sound quite how the Amelie Crowd expect. There are three guitarists, two with electrics, pedals all over the floor, I think I saw a violin, but nobody’s holding it and, woe is me, there isn’t an accordion anywhere in sight. They’re planning to rock us, aren’t they? Oh hang on, maybe not. All starts with an ambient drone, and suddenly two of them grab melodicas. Phew! It’s gentle, poetic, soothing, evocative. It is the Yann we know and love… for about a minute and a half. Then Yann looks at his colleagues authoritatively, drops the melodica and starts thrashing out a 5/8 guitar riff with a harsh aggressive sound. The whole band explodes in, following his beat tight as hell, and with no embellishment. Thrash, thrash, it just gets bigger and more and more epic, Suddenly the drummer derails into an even-numbered beat while everyone else remains the same, which results in brain-freeze for one lady in the front row. Yann is clearly not one to be pigeonholed, and this sounds more like mid-career Tortoise turned up to eleven.

I can’t help but wonder if some have come here just because of the Amelie-link. There are people who watch that film every day, you know? What are they thinking now?

Sure enough, I turn around to see a couple of skinny Brighton boys sucking their thumbs and clinging onto favourite teddies for consolation. A dozen soppy-faced girls weep into Cath Kidston hankies, for they could not possibly meet Mr. Right here, with this soundtrack. And it’s only the first song.

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Nevertheless, everyone else seems pleased. Raw power, thick sound, and tight band. Yann seems pleased, too. He walks his asymmetrical 38-year-old mild-mannered French grin up to the mic. “Cheers”, he says then nervously scuttles off to be a band-leader. “Un-Deux-Trois-Allez-Oop”, it’s all-rocking pacy stuff for the first four or five songs, but with a fair few changes of mood. Sometimes it feels like the moments on Serge Gainsbourg’s Jane B. album which chug-chug along beneath manly utterances, and sometimes the whole band is singing in unison, alongside bulbous synth eternities and roaringly full guitars, like a crescendo in an epic prog-rock stadium-filler by Yes. There’s also a vaguely detached feel to some of it, which reminded me of Air’s 10,000hz Legend album – it’s a simulation of a rock band, an effect that’s been layered in there to satisfy a composer’s whim.

But the thing that really shook the crowd was an Earth-shattering rumbling apex of a full-on rocker, which died out as Yann picked up that violin. He lilted and scribbled and finally picked out a lick motif. It’s a few minutes of violin soloing that brings the whole room to a standstill, the moment of reassurance that entry-fees were worth it, the rush of blood to the heart. It’s the first time that his dexterous skills are laid bare, and as the song returns to full band chugger, he’s still licking it, and everyone is in love with him.

There is a lot of moving around onstage. The only one who sat still was the drummer, as one guitarist also played a synth, the other also played a microphone with some effects and read a book, the bassist had his melodica, the keyboardist also played ukelele, and Yann himself was all over everything (except for his poor, neglected accordion). At one point, I was sure that the second electric guitarist had switched to some new-fangled wind instrument, only for the lighting system to settle down to reveal that he was, in fact, just swigging some Evian.

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One of the most memorable songs was We’ll Still Be There At The End. This was a repeated vocal à la full band, with driving chord changes which hints at the Pixies with an evangelical grandeur, perhaps a whiff of Arcade Fire. After a while this breaks down to a frenzied twiddle on a machine that sounded like a cross between a Kaosspad and a Tardis. This is new ground for a lot of people here tonight.

But is the Frenchman protesting too much? The only dose of familiar that we got was the second, and final, encore, which after about thirty-two bars I realised was La Valse D’Amelie. That sweet chord progression was buried in there somewhere amidst a swirl of firebreathing synths and competing guitars. I had to ask myself if he was playing it hatefully, parodying it. It all left me with more questions than I arrived with. I didn’t go to Brighton in the hope of hearing Amelie hits, but because I knew enough of Tiersen’s work to respect him as a master of delicate, poly-instrument, emotional beauty. But, having mastered that, he seems bored of it. On the day that Dust Lane is released, we’ll see one of two possibilities. Either he’s desperately trying to sound utterly unlike “the Amelie guy” and losing his heart, or he still is a master, who has moved into new terrain of power instead of tenderness. It’s very difficult to say because his music has never been about catchy melodies, or hooky songs – not a gig poster-boy for noobs. And one obvious difference is that on an album, it will be possible for him to play all the instruments at once. So for the gig to feel unbalanced, in that there was too much of four guitarists chugging in tandem and not enough of virtuoso expressive instrument loving, may not bode badly for the album.
But the old fanbase will have to reassess Mr. Tiersen’s repertoire, and make a little room for their new moshy friends in the crowd. Amelie herself may have to replace her stupid grin with a rock-pout, and start chugging the Gauloises.

M. Tiersen has not only the obligatory myspace, but also the hoity-professional dedicated website. Be Intrigued!

Editor’s Note: What have you guys thought of our French Revolution recently? Kitsune, The Do, Nelson, and now Yann- Pretty exciting isn’t it?

Monday 25th May

Permaculture Design Course – The Urban Edge
Venue: ‘Waterside Centre’, information pills

9am -5pm
Stonebridge Lock, troche
Tottenham Marshes
Date: Monday 25 May 2009 to Friday 26 Jun 2009
Description: Located on the real urban edge, this participatory and practical course offers a range of learning opportunities, with hands on development and design of this exciting site, within the basin of the River Lea. This non residential course is run from 25-29th and May 22nd-26 June 2009
Contacts: Marianne
londoncourses@naturewise.org.uk
?Web Address: www.naturewise.org.uk

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Tuesday 26th May

International Court for the Environment
6pm
Herbert Smith,
Exchange House,
Primrose Street,
Broadgate, EC2, London

Discussion about the feasibility of pressing the case for a court. Info: Environment Court/ icecoalition@googlemail.com/ 7466 3285/ 7374 8000/07973 770942

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Ilustration by Cocacolagirlie at Deviant Art

Wednesday 27th May

Green Left – Eco Socialism

7pm
Housmans Bookshop?
5 Caledonian Road
?LONDON,?England
?N1 9DX,?UK
Tel 020 7837 4473 ?Fax 0870 706 6035
shop@housmans.com

Green Left is an eco-socialist, anti-capitalist current within the Green Party, which started in June 2006 when 36 Green Party members agreed its launch statement (the Headcorn Declaration).?? Sarah Farrow, Green Left co-convenor said then: “Activists in the Green Party have founded Green Left because many Greens believe the only path to an ecological, economically and socially just and peaceful society has to be based on an anti-capitalist political agenda.”??This evening guests from Green Left will be discussing their agenda, and launching a new pamphlet on the issues at hand.

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Thursday 28th May

Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai

Amnesty International Centre
The Human Rights Action Centre,
17-25 New Inn Yard
EC2, London
Info: 7033 1500/ 7033 1664/ sct@amnesty.org.uk

The Green Belt Movement and Amnesty International are proud to present the UK premier of ‘Taking Root – The Vision of Wangari Maathai’.
‘Taking Root’ tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, whose simple act of planting trees grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, protect human rights and defend democracy.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with a panel led by Wangari Maathai and including the film maker Lisa Merton and IIED Director Camilla Toulmin.
A suggested donation of £10 is kindly requested on the door. All donations will go towards the work of The Green Belt Movement.
To reserve a copy of ‘The Challenge for Africa’ at RRP £20.00 (hardback) or ‘Unbowed’ at RRP £8.99 (paperback), please e-mail The Green Belt Movement at gbmi@greenbeltmovement.org.

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Illustration by Lea Jaffey

Saturday 30th May
11am to 5pm
Economic and Environmental Recovery: from Downturn to Steady State. Creating a better world to recover from the credit crunch and the nature crunch

Cecil Sharpe House,
2 Regents Park Road,
Camden, London
NW1 7AY. Nearest Tube: Camden Town
With Fritjof Capra, Physicist and systems theorist, director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy in California; Ann Pettifor, Editor of The Real World Economic Outlook, Satish Kumar,
Editor of Resurgence Magazine.
Organised by Resurgence Magazine, Schumacher College, The Temenos Academy, The  Scientific l & Medical Network  & The Gaia Foundation.
Tickets: £25.00, Concessions £15.00
 RSVP: Peter Lang, Resurgence Events Director at peterlang@resurgence.org  020 8809 2391. www.resurgence.org

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Illustration by Lea Jaffy

Sunday 31st May
CLIMATE CHANGE – PEAK OIL

Date: Sunday 31 May 2009 ?Time: 10am – 5.00pm
Bonnington Centre,
11 Vauxhall Grove,
Vauxhall, London SW8 1TD
Description: LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY, EXTREMES OF WEALTH AND POVERTY and now FINANCIAL WOBBLES AS WELL!
WHAT IS GOING ON? AND HOW CAN WE HANDLE IT?

Not just in our minds but in our hearts and feelings.
Come and find out how we can move from a way of life devoted to consumption, greed, exploitation and endless economic growth – until it fails! TO A truly life sustaining one.
Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects” offers a safe space to ground our feelings and access our power in nourishing, inspiring, uplifting and energising ways.
Contacts: Places are limited: please contact Jim Scott on 020 7640 0492 as soon as possible
E-mail: saveourworld@ntlworld.com
?Web Address: http//:www.save-our-world.org.uk
A geezer called Art Buchwald once observed that nostalgia was a misconceived notion that “yesterday was better than today”. Post Bush-adminstration, approved mid-swine flu, this web the commencement of the recession – you don’t even need no rose-tinted specs to see that yesterday quite frankly delivers a swift sucker punch into the sorry face of today. Inevitably, people everywhere are starting to get nostalgic for the 90s.

A while ago I came across a hoody on the Face Hunter and within ten minutes I had tracked down it down as coming from CTRL, a Helsinki based range that came into the world as a skate brand. Skateboarding seems very much the preserve of the 90s, and it’s tempting to euphemise those chilled out dudes with the beanies, baggy jeans and zoots in their back pockets, and I love how CTRL roots itself in this vibe but given way to a more playful and fashionable edge. Taking the philosophy of one of the best parts of street culture and giving its wearers a positive voice that can speak even from the way we look, it’s a brand that feeds back into the subculture it borrowed from in the first place.
Set up by two pals back in the halcyon days of 1995, CTRL started life making t-shirts, and gradually has expanded to produce all sorts, the best being some ruddy ace cardigans that you’ll look sharp in even if you’re not zooming up and down halfpipes in your spare time. They’ve even got a womenswear range going on, despite their art director Freeman confessing (in true skater style) to not knowing very much about girls.

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They’re some really vibrant, unabashedly boisterous statement pieces that might well alarm the conservative in you, but are ultimately indicative of an enjoyment of life – urban life in particular – that might have got abstracted somewhere along the way.
Recent flick and 90s nostalgia fest The Wackness makes life’s dopeness its hero, and that philosophy seems strongly eminent with CTRL, a philosophy that could be learnt from the grunge kids of yesterday and couldn’t be more perfectly timed. There’s got to be room for that in your cupboard.

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Freeman calls their clothing as representative of the individual “speaking with a megaphone and the top three stairs of the pyramid”. He has also spoken out about a desire to support Greenpeace, Amnesty International and other causes to prove that street culture can be a viable beneficiary source to others, not just to itself. So it ain’t just a bunch of pesky kids with low slung trousers, no sir – it understands that fashion can be about who you are and where you’re from, a street mantra because community is a paramount idea. Street culture and skate culture aren’t dirty concepts for Freeman like they are for the frenzied tabloids, they can be places of community that breed mutual respect for your peers, something that’s deeply ingrained.

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They got some pretty fine threads too. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

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What do you guys think? Has CTRL successfully made the transition from skaters to the masses?

Categories ,90s, ,ethical, ,Fashion, ,Finland, ,grunge, ,skate

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Amelia’s Magazine | Two Magpies Find: Fragments Exhibition

Most bands have a shelf life, purchase especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead when you’re starting out, it can also set you en route to Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to fend themselves of this curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004 to critical acclaim. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to the new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

The Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Most bands have a shelf life, web especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead when you’re starting out, it can also set you en route to Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to fend themselves of this curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004 to critical acclaim. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to the new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Most bands have a shelf life, healing especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, drugs it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to fend themselves of this curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004 to critical acclaim. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to the new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Most bands have a shelf life, medical especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, cialis 40mg it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, sildenafil burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to fend themselves of this curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004 to critical acclaim. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to the new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Most bands have a shelf life, doctor especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to fend themselves of this curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004 to critical acclaim. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to the new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Most bands have a shelf life, sildenafil especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, this site it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to fend themselves of this curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004 to critical acclaim. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to the new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Most bands have a shelf life, link especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to the Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to beat the curse. They have gone from strength to strength following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth album, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis who worked on their first album.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowley (R) before they take the stage at their sold out London gig to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to your new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has changed over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.


Sweden is a small country but it has produced some big exports. Whether it’s infectious pop, ailment affordable furniture or fashionable, well-priced clothes (take a stab at guessing the brands!), the Swedes know what it takes to satisfy their consumers. Now if we extend these categories to ‘hip young musicians’, you’ll find that they have their bases covered here too.

We first featured Lykke Li back in February 2008 when she was just an emerging artist, relatively fresh to the gig circuit. Since then, she has well and truly established a name for herself amongst the underground and commercial elite of the music scene, building up a set of credentials to leave most of her peers looking on with green-eyed envy.

She released her debut album ‘Youth Novels‘ to critical acclaim in 2008 and has since performed with The Roots and hip hop legend Q-Tip, collaborated with Kayne West and MIA, and currently features on a track called ‘Miss It So Much’ on Roysopp’s latest album. As if that weren’t enough, she also penned the track ‘Possibility’ for the second installment of lovey-dovey vampire Twilight saga ‘New Moon’, gaining herself a healthy teen following in the process.

On the award front, Lykke’s musical talent and fashion sense have not gone unnoticed; she has received nominations for “Best Video” and “Best Female Artist” at the Swedish Grammy Awards and was voted “Best Dressed Woman” at the Swedish Elle Magazine Awards in 2009. Is there an end to this list of fabulousness?? (And she’s only 24!)

Dressed in an oversized black tassled jacket, a short black mini-skirt, bulky black boots and lashings of thick black eye make-up (and with few words), on meeting Lykke, I couldn’t help but feel that she exuded the demeanor of a slightly irked teenager.

I caught up with the Swedish starlet briefly, prior to her set at the Volvo Subject 60 launch party in London last week, for a rather intriguing interview in a drafty stairwell to talk about her international background, performing in front of big crowds and desert island necessities…

So how are you feeling about your set tonight?
Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to do some new songs tonight which I haven’t done before. The sets are also going to be more acoustic so it will be different and quite interesting.

You’ve had a very international upbringing – have you found that this has influenced your music?

I don’t know because I’ve never known any different. I don’t know how I would write music if I only lived in one place. I feel that my music comes more from within – not so much from the outside.

Who are your biggest musical influences to date?
There are just so many. I don’t really listen to a lot of new music. I get really inspired by weird chanting, like Voodoo music. I recently found these field recordings from the 1920s which I’ve been listening to a lot.

What bands currently excite you?
I really enjoy Beach House – the singer has a great voice and their songs are very well written. I am also listening to The Big Pink and a lot too who have an interesting sound. Of course, there’s always Leonard Cohen.

How have you found the transition of playing in big venues compared to small venues?
It’s been fine although I still enjoy playing small venues the most because there’s more of an intimacy you share with your audience.

How do you find playing in front of a UK audience in comparison to a Swedish audience?
It’s kind of crazy because I almost never play in Sweden; it’s so rare. I guess every audience is different but I find that in big cities, people tend to be slightly more reserved – there’s more of an effort that people make to be cool.

What has been your most memorable gig to date?
Last summer there was a festival on an island just outside Holland so we had to take the smallest boat to get there, but it was during severe storms and the water was really rough. Everyone on the boat thought that we were going to die. And then there was the coming back part when we were super drunk in the middle of the night. It was crazy but we had a great time.

Who would you most like to work with?
Leonard Cohen as always.

What’s the best piece of advice you can offer someone starting out?
It’s hard to maintain yourself in this industry. I think the main thing I would say is to be honest and always stay true to yourself. It’s clichéd but it’s true.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?
I’m looking forward to going for a swim in the lakes in Sweden when it’s finished. It’s going to be a long summer for me as I’ll going to be in the studio for most of it. It’s exciting but I can’t sleep anymore because I’m thinking so much – my brain is working all the time.

What three items would you bring with you if you on a desert island?
A hot man, a Swiss army knife and some erotic novels by Anaïs Nin.

I always look forward to the Northumbria University BA fashion degree show for two reasons. One, shop because it’s always effing good – the innovation, pills technique and creativity on display is second to pretty much nobody at Graduate Fashion Week. Secondly, viagra dosage I studied at the university, so this review might seem like a big fat plate of bias – I assure you, though, that it isn’t.

Nestled on the front row in between Style Savage Steve and the ever wonderful Hilary Alexander (who bopped, sketched and scribbled her way through the show) I was a little concerned that my big lens (said the actress to the bishop) might block the view of either of these fashion journalists. Neither said anything though, so I think I got away with it.

Opening the show with an explosion of glam-rock-meets-Elvis-meets-Lady-Gaga, Naomi New presented a very polished micro-collection featuring exaggerated shoulders of leather, spikes and studs, and horse-hair tails. Models strutted back and forth with real sex appeal and the quality of Naomi’s craftsmanship looked, from what I could see, incredible.

The key theme in this year’s show was digital prints, and it’s a testament to the late, great Alexander McQueen’s legacy that this is such a mainstay on graduate catwalks. Faye Chamberlain’s was the most striking of collections, owing to its wild neon prints reminiscent of MIA’s Kala album cover, and blingy embellishment. Short, short dresses with spikey hips challenged the traditional constraints of the female form.

Further print patrons included the work of Sophie Dee and Ludmila Maida. Sophie Dee presented a feminine, playful collection of vibrant prints, micro shorts and bubble skirts, accessorised with childlike objects such as candy floss and helium balloons, harping back to the glory days of the seaside. Ludmila Maida’s collection was a slightly more mature one, with elegant maxi dresses in neon, gathered into sections to create flattering asymmetrical shapes.

Gemma Williamson also hopped on the print train, with her slightly eery collection making use of religious iconography.


Illustration by Gemma Williamson from her graduate work

Menswear was, as always, well represented; one of the few menswear graduates to win the prestigious Gold Award in recent years was a Northumbria student. Sara Wilson set the standard with a mixture of soft tailoring and Japanese influence – loose fitting blazers were teamed with skinny trousers and shorts, while snood-like pieces of material attempted to cover the face, giving each outfit a martial-art feel.

Louise Dickinson’s inspired outfits seemed to draw influence from historical Britain and tradition in general. An oversized Barbour-style jacket here and a triangular-shaped cape printed with a vintage map there made for a intriguing and genuinely unique collection.

But it was Caroline Rowland’s eccentric tailoring that captured my imagination the most. A bit Sebastian Flyte, a bit Dries Van Noten, it was the perfect mix of traditional tailoring and quirky design flair. Ill-fitting gingham shirts (I presume on purpose) were teamed with tucked-in waistcoats and patterned bow ties, while cropped blazers looked great with high-waisted tailored trousers. You can never go wrong with a sock suspender either.

And now for a quick round of some of my favourite womesnwear collections. It’ll have to be a whistle-stop tour because I have 3 other shows to write up and I’m having my hair cut in an hour.

One of my absolute faves was Julie Perry, who combined body-concious all-in-ones with Meccano-style leather creations. These outfits had real sex appeal – not one for the supermarket but definitely for the fierce fashionista who isn’t afraid to show off. Julie’s pieces were architectural in shape and hinted at a little bit of kink.


Illustration by Julie Perry from her graduate work

Holly Farrar’s super sleek collection toyed with masculine tailoring and models had structured shoulders with outfits tapering downwards. Defined v-necklines gave the outfits an overall geometric look and were very sophisticated indeed.


Illustration by Holly Farrar from her graduate work

These gemoetric-slash-linear-slash-structured themes ran through many a collection, executed most effectively by Stephanie Price. Her futuristic collection married materials with aesthetic appeal with flattering shapes – mesh covered body-concious shift dresses had a dazzling effect, as did this dynamic jacket…


Illustrations by Stephanie Price, from her graduate work

Closing the show was Victoria Kirby, who had clearly been selected for her fresh innovation and coutourier-like craftsmanship. Elegant floor sweepers made from silk and velour had the appearance of two dresses in one, cut and merged down the middle. Exaggerating the shoulders and synching in at the waist created beautiful feminine shapes that flattered.


Illustration by Victoria Kirby, from her graduate work

All photography by Matt Bramford

Photograph by Vanya Sacha

Prior to the General Election, about it Amelia’s Magazine interviewed Amisha Ghadiali about her new project Think Act Vote. As the dust settles on the birth of the coalition, this site Amelia’s Magazine caught up with Amisha to find out about the Think Act Vote Poetry competition, how to be involved with the The Future I Choose Anthology (deadline the end of September, what are you waiting for?) and to find out where Think Act Vote will be for the remaining days of summer. (Hint! 13th – 15th August finds Think Act Vote at Vintage at Goodwood, for more details read the interview!)

How did Think Act Vote spend the election night?

The night before we had our amazing Think Act Vote party at The City and Arts Music Project, where we revealed the winner of our poetry competition, with live music from the Delirium Tremens and did a Think Act Vote Photobooth.

On election day, I cast my vote and then had to pack and head to the airport. My brother was graduating from film school at NYU Tisch Asia on the Friday in Singapore so I had to choose between watching the results live or being at the graduation.

I really wanted to go to the election party at the Hub Kings Cross hosted by NEF and Future Gov, and also the Billbored party. They looked really fun. There was no live coverage on the plane!

Showpiece by Beautiful Soul for Think Act Vote: Photograph by Dominic Clarke

What was your desired General Election outcome?

I can’t say I had one that was possible. I was hoping there would be a more inspirational leader in the race. But under the circumstances, I was hoping for a coalition.

Why were you hoping “under the circumstances’ for a coalition?

I don’t know; there wasn’t an ideal choice there for me. I just want a progressive government. I think the real issue is our system. We need parliamentary reform, this should have happened before this election, but hopefully it has shown Westminster that the current system doesn’t work.

I would like to see a system that allows more independent candidates to get into parliament. There is an argument that this will allow too many people from the far right to get into power, but actually we proved in this election that good old fashioned campaigning can keep the far right at bay.

I think it would be exciting for our country if we had more independents, as I think there are a lot of interesting individuals out there that would be interested in standing for parliament but don’t want to join a particular party.

Campaigns Group at Time for Tea. Photograph by Vanya Sacha

As the hung parliament reality dawned, whilst you were in America. Were you able to follow the developments in the Lib-Lab and Lib-Con talks?

It was strange. I wasn’t watching the TV news, so was seeing it all from the internet. I would have liked to experience it here and to have taken in the atmosphere.

From far away it seemed like utter madness, in any project, you plan for different circumstances. So I did find it strange that the Lib Dems hadn’t already decided what they wanted to do if this situation occurred.

What did you think to the press coverage during the General Election Aftermath (I found the ‘squatting’ headlines referring to Gordon Brown particularly unhelpful)?

Again from a distance, it did seem like a country in chaos. That nobody had a clue what to do. But yes I agree referring the Prime Minister as squatting is never going to be helpful!

Photograph by Deepti V. Patel

What were your initial thoughts on the Con-Lib Government?

Surprise, that the Lib Dems had chosen for the country to have a Tory Prime Minister. I would have thought that this would be the last thing they would ever want to happen. But I thought it was interesting that things would have to be passed through such differing views.

As the reality of the cuts loom, have your opinions changed towards the effectiveness of the Coalition Relationship?

I think it is a bit confusing, I don’t feel like Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems have shone through in any way. It does feel more like a Conservative government. I know that we are going through a hard time at the moment with the national deficit and the recession, but they have made some cuts to things that could be really important. For example totally cutting the Sustainable Development Commission and The UK Film Council.

Photograph by Vanya Sacha

Earlier this summer, you attended a Compass Conference – could you describe to Amelia’s Magazine readers the nature of these political events?

There are various political conferences that take place, I have been involved with Compass for the past four years. I used to be on the Compass youth management committee.

Compass was set up by Neal Lawson and is an umbrella organisation for progressive politics, bringing together politicians of all parties, pressure groups, trade unions, think tanks, NGOs, academics, activists, campaigners and individuals. They hold an annual conference every summer to discuss ideas.

There is an opening address in the main hall which this year had Caroline Lucas MP on the panel, and a closing address which had Pam Giddy, POWER 2010, Jon Cruddas MP & Chuka Umunna MP. There was also a Labour Leaders Debate which was quite interesting to see live.

The rest of the day is filled with smaller seminars, covering over 30 topics including Climate Change“>Climate Change, Parliamentary Reform, Tax Justice, The NHS, Feminist Issues and Poverty.

It is an opportunity to think through alternatives to the ways problems are currently being tackled, have open discussions, ask questions and be inspired.

Photograph by Maciej Groman

What are Think Act Vote’s recommendations for making your vote count everday?

It is just about thinking about what is important to you, and finding ways to take action and get your voice heard. Whether that is through supporting campaigns, or thinking twice about what you spend your money on.

If you haven’t yet, a good place to start is by contributing to our book. Ask yourself the question – What is The Future You Choose?
You might just give yourself the answer of what to do next..

You can read some examples and contribute online.

What are Think Act Vote plans for the rest of the summer?

More, more, more. We have been doing Think Act Vote Photobooths, and running around music festivals taking photos and getting people to take part. So we are going to carry this on until the end of September.

Ethical Fashion Green Sunday. Photograph by LUDOVIC DES COGNETS.

Where can you find out about the Photobooth events?

We do these events often, keep your eyes on our facebook page and the events page on the Think Act Vote website. Apart from the festivals, we are planning various other venues around London over the next seven weeks.

We are trying to find interesting venues, like the Union Street Orchard for example.

The release date for the The Future I Choose anthology has been delayed, what were the reasons behind this decision?

We had such a great response and more than enough content to publish the book straight after the election, but thought it made sense to get more people to take part over the summer.

Also we didn’t want to send out the message that you only get a choice in The Future You Choose in the run up to an election, because the whole point of our campaign is that you get that choice every day.


Playsuit by Tara Starlet for Think Act Vote: photograph by Dominic Clarke

Have you been working with new fashion designers since Amelia’s Magazine interviewed you? I see the blog mentions: Nancy Dee and Miksani?

We have been sharing on our site the full stories of the Think Act Vote Refashioned pieces, and in some cases instructions on how to make them.

The designers that took part were Ciel, Ada Zandition, Nancy Dee, Miksani, Junky Styling, TRAIDremade, Beautiful Soul and Tara Starlet. Other designers really wanted to take part but couldn’t at the time as they were out of the country, we might get them to do a little something.

The MA students on the Fashion & The Environment project at London College of Fashion are working on something for us now, which we can’t wait to see!

Photograph by Deepti V. Patel

What does the Think Act Vote campaign mean after the election?

Although inspired by the election, the campaign was never about voting in the election. It is about understanding that everyday we all express the future we choose by how we spend our time, money and energy. It’s about inspiring ourselves and others to live a life that reflects what we actually want from our future when we stop to think about it.

The ‘Vote’ is ours, it is about taking that word away from politicians as something we give to them every four years. About us not being afraid to use political language in our every day lives in a positive way.

I know that having Vote in the campaign name has put many people off it, and even a lot of my friends have thought it was about voting in elections until I explained that.

But I think it is important to be aware that everything we do is political and that every day we make choices that shape our world.

Photograph by Deepti V.Patel

Olivia Sprinkel, Winner of the poetry competition was announced on the night of the Think Act Vote Party, How was this decision made?

The poetry competition was judged by John Bird and Shane Solanki. The shortlist was read out at the party and went down really well.

Even though the competition is over, everyone is still welcome to answer our question – What’s The Future You Choose with a poem. It might end up in our book!

What’s next for Think Act Vote?

We are really excited about Vintage at Goodwood this weekend! We are doing Think Act Vote Refashioned workshops in the sustainability area where you can make your very own Think Act Vote Refashioned Dress. We will also be doing photoshoots, meet us outside our tent after our workshops.

I am also doing a talk in the talk tent on ethical fashion and creative activism.

This weekend (13th – 14th August 2010) finds Think Act Vote participating in Vintage at Goodwood’s, Sustainable Design Workshops. Find the the Think Act Vote team at 11-1 and 3-6 on Friday and between 1-4 adn 4-7 on Saturday and Sunday.
NB: sadly we can’t attend to report on this workshop: read more about why here.

From the Think Act Vote Team:

“It is an invitation for you to take part in Think Act Vote Refashioned. You can make your very own Think Act Vote one off piece and then have it photographed to be in our book, as well as a post online about how you went about your customisation.

You will be in very capable hands as the workshops will be led by Laura Metcalf and Alison Lewis who met on set of a channel 4 television pilot, they have been working together most recently on alterations and repairing vintage clothes at Clerkenwell Vintage Fair in London.”

Amisha Ghadiali will be interviewed by Leonora Oppenheim about Ethical Fashion and Creative Activism at 5pm on Saturday in the Talk Tent. This is an event not to be missed!

What’s the Future You Choose?


Illustrations by Jenny Robins

If you are visiting Windsor this Summer, pharmacy and I really think you should because it’s got everything: Nando’s, drug Wagamama, drugs a Castle – no really, it’s really pretty. Pretend you are posh, or a tourist. If you are posh, pretend to be a tourist, and vice versa. A nice day trip away from the city; a nice daytrip towards the city, but not quite too the city. If you live West.

Anyway, if you are visiting Windsor this Summer, be sure to stop in to the Mill House café and look at the really lovely Fragments exhibition put together by the superstar curatorial team Two Magpies Find. It’s on the left as you walk away from the Castle down Peascod Street, opposite Ben & Jerry’s. The show is up till the end of August.

Ok, this exhibition in question does include a lot of my work, so this is a bit self serving (insider’s perspective, Amelia said) but I don’t want to talk about that too much (although I will mention that the WHOWHATWHEREWHENHOW owl series is available as a limited edition postcard set – I’m only human). I wrote a big thing about me and why I paint birds for their local Beat magazine off the back of Fragments, so please feel free to go read that. I like birds, you like birds, we like birds, I paint birds, fly bird fly, etc.

But seriously, it’s all about the birds, kids. Edward Bawden used to say that the secret to selling paintings was to put cats in them wherever possible. Plenty of art lovers still love cats, that’s still a cliché. But in the last few years, particularly, it seems drawing birds is a strong contender. Just look at the fabulous Jo Cheung and Abi Daker’s birdtastic background for this very website. Birds are so beautiful and varied, they burst with life. There’s a special contained freedom to them that must appeal to the creative soul.


Ali and Anna of Two Magpies Find

“I’m obsessed with birds too!” Ali of TwoMagpiesFind told me soon after we first met. It’s not surprising since she is a Magpie herself, wearing a golden bird-table necklace, echoing the lovely birdhouse illustration advertising their next exhibition theme “Home” (email entries here.) The pair met at the Firestation – a local arts centre where Anna works and Ali volunteers – and plan to expand their gallery work both locally and in other areas. Projects like this are so important, where independent venues work together with creatives to organise events that benefit locals and artists alike. Artists often live a magpie existence, ever courting serendipity. We need to support each other and keep on collaborating and getting involved with small projects. It can make the world of difference.

As well as my varied bird paintings, the show brings together Magpie finds illustrator and publisher Dan Prescott of Lazy Gramaphone, who’s intricate designs are both striking and absorbing, beautifully presented as perfect quality Giclée prints, and painter Zita Saffrette, whose landscapes are so full of light and air you’d think they were backlit. In addition the Magpies have displayed some of their own work –beautifully printed photographs exploring stark white juxtapositions on natural scenes (my favourite is of a wedding dress draped across a field), intricate nature paintings and a really striking screen print of two toy horses blown up to poster size.

The café itself is a stunning space, much bigger and brighter on the inside than you would know from the street. It used to be a Puccino’s and still retains the SHUT HAPPENS door signs (I love them). Multicoloured teapots and vases circle the top of the room, making the whole space seem almost that real-estate oxymoron – cosy yet spacious.

May these birds keep flying high into blue skies, and may all arty birds (of a feather) the land over keep on painting those feathered friends.

Categories ,Abi Daker, ,art, ,Beat Magazine, ,Ben and Jerry’s, ,birds, ,Dan Prescott, ,Edward Bawden, ,Firestation, ,Fragments, ,Home, ,illustration, ,Jenny Robins, ,Jo Cheung, ,Landscapes, ,Lazy Gramaphone, ,Magpies, ,Mill House Café, ,Nandos, ,Two Magpies Find, ,Wagamama, ,WhoWhatWhereWhenNow, ,Windsor, ,Windsor Castle, ,Zita Saffrette

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