Amelia’s Magazine | The London Zine Symposium – A little appreciation please!

thumbnail zine

The London Zine Symposium, viagra dosage held last week at the Rag Factory, was full to the bustle with a variety of cheery people, all sharing in the spirit of DIY; flicking and chatting, perusing and purchasing. Every struggle past skinny jeans and plaid shirts to arrive at each table was well worth the few minutes spent avoiding elbows and backpacks, as each stall held an array of crafty delights; carefully screen-printed A2 fold-out works of typography, pretty necklaces, vegan lemon cupcakes and, of course, the zines. Some full of doodles, some full of words, most an arrangement of both. Hundreds of thousands of words caught up in photocopied pages bound with staples and thread, heaped on the rickety wooden tables just waiting to be flicked through and absorbed; their art appreciated and ideas assimilated.
I bumbled in and dropped my last pennies into the ‘£2 Suggested Donations’ pot, thankfully leaving me bereft of coin and therefore not prone to the madness of trying to choose between all the amazing zines on offer.


Beginning with a leisurely stroll around the halls before the Creating Our Own Culture discussion, I checked out the monstrous creations and was suitably scared then hung out at the Zineswap table for a little while, having to turn down the offer to buy one of their freshly screen-printed canvas bags, and shuffled through their archives. Zineswap are aiming to be a resource through which people can swap their zines (bit of a clue in the name), as well as becoming an archive of contemporary zine publishing. They also happen to be jolly decent chaps, helping find the girl whose zine I was admiring but which was not in their swap box. Not actually being able to buy it, however, I glanced over her stall of zines about solidarity camps and living in trees, made a mental note to come back with cash, and scampered to the workshop space to hear Melanie (Colouring Outside the Lines), Em (The World’s a Mess and You’re the Only Cure), Patrick (Ricochet! Ricochet!) and Debi (Self-Publishing and Empowerment) chat about the subversive measures it takes to sidestep mainstream media, engage with like-minded people, form communities and get out there – even if you’re not sure where ‘there’ is.

The main themes which permeated the discussion were connection and visibility. Em started The World’s a Mess and You’re the Only Cure with a view to thanking empowering people, and also made fliers searching for anyone interested in making things happen, which she put around Sheffield. A few people got in touch (which makes me both despair at general apathy and be glad that there are those out there who do want to get involved!) and they then began setting up gig nights, organising little known bands from across the country to come and plays. She gets emails from all over about her zine, full of grateful and excited words, and says that once you put a zine out there, you don’t know how far it’s going to go, or who it might reach. Debi encouraged being visible; making your talents known to the wider world and skill sharing at every opportunity. The cover of her book was designed in return for guitar lessons. Finding mentors and creating networks can help no end and she recommends doing what you’re not supposed to do and going where you’re not supposed to go, and perhaps finding other people already there! The story of Patrick’s gallery is a great example of lodging where you already are and engaging in community. They found the space because he walked past it everyday on his way to work, and attended the local Resident’s Alliance meetings to promote their events and to find people to borrow ladders from.

Diy culture isn’t all share and share alike, kittens and roses though. Em mentioned that she sometimes pays the excess of gig costs from her own pocket and Patrick emphasised his lack of social life and the possibility of burn out if taking on too much. They both work a variety of part-time jobs to scrape the cash together for their ventures, but were very clear on that fact that they’re happy to do so because their diy projects are the best possible reason to go hungry or poor. (Patrick also steals stationary from his paid work. Handy!) The overall message of the discussion was ‘Get Out There!’ Connect with people via whatever means available and don’t be afraid to start something, offer something, ask for something. There are others out there who want to build communities, publish books, create art spaces and take back media; the trick is to find them.

Feeling thus empowered, I took another circuit around the stalls and introduced myself properly to Miss Tukuru who runs Vampire Sushi distro with Mr Carl, and from whom I had ordered a satisfying pile of zines earlier in the month. They stock mostly perzines of a feminist and/or queer slant, dealing with depression, sexual awakenings (or not) and just, getting along in the world. We talked briefly about my kodame tattoo and the Moomins before she whirled off to take a turn about the room. After browsing the Active Distribution stall, I had to run to a cash point. Apparently I can’t deny myself a good anarchist zine, so I bought three, as well as ‘zine and the politics of alternative culture’, a book exploring the history and theory of zines and how effective they really are in rebelling against the consumer society which tends to appropriate and recycle all forms of culture jamming and subversive media back into advertising (a form of recycling I’m against!). The friendly anarchist presiding over the stall loaded me up with flyers for the infoshop 56a and Pogo Café, a social centre in Hackney, currently looking for summer volunteers.

Having already spent more money that I really had, I decided to leave before getting sucked into the screen-printed beauty of the TBA table, the full colour photos and tales of adventure in Girl Photographer, the cute pony necklaces and the hundred and one other beautiful bits and pieces of display.

I’ll leave the last words to Em who reminded us all that ‘Zines offer an amazing opportunity to get your feelings out. You can put anything you want in a zine. Anyone can do it, in their bedroom. Zines create links with people all over the world, and bring a community to you, instead of looking to others.’
So check out all the links above to start making connections with a world of opportunity and a pool of skills for you to add to and draw from. Head to the Woman’s Library Zine Fest on the 12th June, check out Brighton Zine Fest and Leeds Zine Fest and GET INVOLVED!

http://www.zineswap.com/
http://vampiresushi.co.uk/
http://www.activedistribution.org/
londonzinesymposium.org.uk
brightonzinefest.co.uk
http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/thewomenslibrary/services/learning/learning-projects/zinefest.cfm
http://wemakezines.ning.com/
56a.org.uk
http://www.eleanorjane.co.uk/ (Girl Photographer)
http://www.myspace.com/zinefest (Woman’s Library zinefest)
http://tba-online.org/

The London Zine Symposium, order held last week at the Rag Factory, buy was full to the bustle with a variety of cheery people, page all sharing in the spirit of DIY; flicking and chatting, perusing and purchasing. Every struggle past skinny jeans and plaid shirts to arrive at each table was well worth the few minutes spent avoiding elbows and backpacks, as each stall held an array of crafty delights; carefully screen-printed A2 fold-out works of typography, pretty necklaces, vegan lemon cupcakes and, of course, the zines. Some full of doodles, some full of words, most an arrangement of both. Hundreds of thousands of words caught up in photocopied pages bound with staples and thread, heaped on the rickety wooden tables just waiting to be flicked through and absorbed; their art appreciated and ideas assimilated.
I bumbled in and dropped my last pennies into the ‘£2 Suggested Donations’ pot, thankfully leaving me bereft of coin and therefore not prone to the madness of trying to choose between all the amazing zines on offer.


Beginning with a leisurely stroll around the halls before the Creating Our Own Culture discussion, I checked out the monstrous creations and was suitably scared then hung out at the Zineswap table for a little while, having to turn down the offer to buy one of their freshly screen-printed canvas bags, and shuffled through their archives. Zineswap are aiming to be a resource through which people can swap their zines (bit of a clue in the name), as well as becoming an archive of contemporary zine publishing. They also happen to be jolly decent chaps, helping find the girl whose zine I was admiring but which was not in their swap box. Not actually being able to buy it, however, I glanced over her stall of zines about solidarity camps and living in trees, made a mental note to come back with cash, and scampered to the workshop space to hear Melanie (Colouring Outside the Lines), Em (The World’s a Mess and You’re the Only Cure), Patrick (Ricochet! Ricochet!) and Debi (Self-Publishing and Empowerment) chat about the subversive measures it takes to sidestep mainstream media, engage with like-minded people, form communities and get out there – even if you’re not sure where ‘there’ is.

The main themes which permeated the discussion were connection and visibility. Em started The World’s a Mess and You’re the Only Cure with a view to thanking empowering people, and also made fliers searching for anyone interested in making things happen, which she put around Sheffield. A few people got in touch (which makes me both despair at general apathy and be glad that there are those out there who do want to get involved!) and they then began setting up gig nights, organising little known bands from across the country to come and plays. She gets emails from all over about her zine, full of grateful and excited words, and says that once you put a zine out there, you don’t know how far it’s going to go, or who it might reach. Debi encouraged being visible; making your talents known to the wider world and skill sharing at every opportunity. The cover of her book was designed in return for guitar lessons. Finding mentors and creating networks can help no end and she recommends doing what you’re not supposed to do and going where you’re not supposed to go, and perhaps finding other people already there! The story of Patrick’s gallery is a great example of lodging where you already are and engaging in community. They found the space because he walked past it everyday on his way to work, and attended the local Resident’s Alliance meetings to promote their events and to find people to borrow ladders from.

Diy culture isn’t all share and share alike, kittens and roses though. Em mentioned that she sometimes pays the excess of gig costs from her own pocket and Patrick emphasised his lack of social life and the possibility of burn out if taking on too much. They both work a variety of part-time jobs to scrape the cash together for their ventures, but were very clear on that fact that they’re happy to do so because their diy projects are the best possible reason to go hungry or poor. (Patrick also steals stationary from his paid work. Handy!) The overall message of the discussion was ‘Get Out There!’ Connect with people via whatever means available and don’t be afraid to start something, offer something, ask for something. There are others out there who want to build communities, publish books, create art spaces and take back media; the trick is to find them.

Feeling thus empowered, I took another circuit around the stalls and introduced myself properly to Miss Tukuru who runs Vampire Sushi distro with Mr Carl, and from whom I had ordered a satisfying pile of zines earlier in the month. They stock mostly perzines of a feminist and/or queer slant, dealing with depression, sexual awakenings (or not) and just, getting along in the world. We talked briefly about my kodame tattoo and the Moomins before she whirled off to take a turn about the room. After browsing the Active Distribution stall, I had to run to a cash point. Apparently I can’t deny myself a good anarchist zine, so I bought three, as well as ‘zine and the politics of alternative culture’, a book exploring the history and theory of zines and how effective they really are in rebelling against the consumer society which tends to appropriate and recycle all forms of culture jamming and subversive media back into advertising (a form of recycling I’m against!). The friendly anarchist presiding over the stall loaded me up with flyers for the infoshop 56a and Pogo Café, a social centre in Hackney, currently looking for summer volunteers.

Having already spent more money that I really had, I decided to leave before getting sucked into the screen-printed beauty of the TBA table, the full colour photos and tales of adventure in Girl Photographer, the cute pony necklaces and the hundred and one other beautiful bits and pieces of display.

I’ll leave the last words to Em who reminded us all that ‘Zines offer an amazing opportunity to get your feelings out. You can put anything you want in a zine. Anyone can do it, in their bedroom. Zines create links with people all over the world, and bring a community to you, instead of looking to others.’
So check out all the links above to start making connections with a world of opportunity and a pool of skills for you to add to and draw from. Head to the Woman’s Library Zine Fest on the 12th June, check out Brighton Zine Fest and Leeds Zine Fest and GET INVOLVED!

http://www.zineswap.com/
http://vampiresushi.co.uk/
http://www.activedistribution.org/
londonzinesymposium.org.uk
brightonzinefest.co.uk
http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/thewomenslibrary/services/learning/learning-projects/zinefest.cfm
http://wemakezines.ning.com/
56a.org.uk
http://www.eleanorjane.co.uk/ (Girl Photographer)
http://www.myspace.com/zinefest (Woman’s Library zinefest)
http://tba-online.org/

Jenny Robins Illustration
Illustration above by: Jenny Robins

The London Zine Symposium – The Rag Factory, generic Brick Lane, page 29th May 2010

Zines piled on zines, upon comics, upon fanzines on top of stories and poems and doodles, limited edition prints amongst button badges and cupcakes. All sorts of stalls overflowing with any number of DIY publications, swarmed by enthusiasts all eager to get their eyes and hands on some original lo-fi press. A range of workshops and creative activities and some great food to boot. The London Zine Symposium, a little appreciation please.

Photography by: Jamie Harrington, www.ShitBirthday.orgPhotography by: Jamie Harrington

It is a thrill to witness so many individual people each with their own ideas about what constitutes a zine, what it means to make one, what it should be filled with and how it should be printed and sold, if it‘s to be sold at all. Each of these publishers deserve credit for resourcefulness and effort. They have a drive to get their message out and they will adopt any means to do so. To most it goes without saying, it’s what they do because they have to, it’s their means of expression, their creative outlet.

Photography by: Jamie Harrington, www.ShitBirthday.orgPhotography by: Jamie Harrington

The London Zine Symposium shines a light on the endless ideas, personality and uniqueness within these pages, each publication is a glimpse into the psyche of it’s maker. Zines are truthful, from the heart. Unadulterated creativity, undiluted expression. I witnessed zines of all shapes, sizes, colours and creeds. On all subjects. Some were twee, some vulgar, some were edgy, some were pretty, some were soft and small, some zines were shouting at you. There were geek zines, gay zines, zines for guys, zines for girls, zines for goons and zines for greens. I saw humorous zines, twisted zines, zines with belief, zines with a bit of attitude, pretentious zines, sinister zines, comic zines, zines for cat lovers, hand written zines, coded zines, zines in boxes, stapled, bound, buttoned, bent and probably in brail. Zines on posters. Zines made by one artist and zines made in collaboration, some displaying the creative outpourings of any number of people from any number of countries from every corner of the earth and all gathered under the same roof to be consumed by the alternative press loving public of London and beyond. It sounds corny but it’s true…It brings people together.

Illustration by Davd Blatch
Illustration by:David Blatch

There is integrity in this. You have pencils, paper and the drive to get your message out, you have a zine, something for people to hold and relate to, something for people to enjoy visually, aesthetically, something to cherish. These DIY publishers are special people with something of much value to offer, they have a vision of a world much more at peace, more intimate and with a strong community of friends at it’s core.

Photography by: Jamie Harrington, www.ShitBirthday.orgPhotography by: Jamie Harrington

There is a concentration of love and passion for the arts here that is hard to come across, a buzz of atmosphere and interaction, a melting pot of creativity that is a must for the fans and creators of alternative publications and an eye opener for those intrigued enough to come and find out what it’s all about. Events like this do a good job of bringing like-minded people together, it’s a great platform for upcoming artists and writers, a great opportunity to network and serves to highlight the brilliant diversity of this culture and guide it closer to the public’s consciousness.

The London Zine Symposium, a little appreciation please.

Words by: Matt Witt – www.creaturemag.com

Jenny Robins Illustration

Categories ,alternative press, ,Brick Lane, ,comics, ,DIY culture, ,fanzines, ,lo-fi press, ,publishing, ,rag factory, ,zine, ,zines

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair 2011: Sam Arthur of Nobrow speaks at Mokita

Sam Arthur of Nobrow by Yelena Bryksenkova
Sam Arthur of Nobrow by Yelena Bryksenkova
Sam Arthur of Nobrow by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Since Nobrow burst onto the scene in 2008 I’ve been a massive fan of their beautifully produced books and magazines – somehow they’ve managed to print a huge collection of work in just a short space of time and for the past two years they’ve been showcasing their wares at Pick Me Up. This year several of their featured artists were also amongst the newer names showing in the Ones to Watch section on the first floor so I was intrigued to hear Sam Arthur, this one half of Nobrow, medicine in conversation with Kingston University illustration lecturer Geoff Grandfield with interjections from Adrian Shaughnessy and Valerie Perezon. Below is a rough transcription of the conversation that ensued during the Mokita Symposium.

Nobrow 5 - A Few of My Favourite Things
Nobrow 5 – A Few of My Favourite Things.

Geoff: How did you decide that there was a market for your work?
Sam: We were inspired by publishers such as Le Dernier Cri, Bongout, and Fantagraphics: small places with an avante garde output. And we felt we could do something similar in this country. We’ve both been through the art college system, but I felt that most illustration was very industry based, always destined for a client. No one was generating their own material, for their own sake, so we felt there might be a gap in the market that we could exploit. Our aim is to get illustrators to do their own work – we just set a theme and a colour palette. We were unsure it would take off but we knew it was really important to print everything nicely.

Nobrow 5 - A Few of My Favourite ThingsNobrow 5 - A Few of My Favourite Things
Pages from Nobrow 5 – A Few of My Favourite Things

Geoff: In a way you turned the clock back.
Sam: We have a mix of influences, but we love all the old methods of printing. I guess these anachronistic methods of production have met the internet with Nobrow. People say that we have a very strong look but we love lots of different types of work and I think the similarity comes from the way we print things, and our restricted colour palettes. We look at every bit of work that comes to us and store it in memory bank for later. Then we might come back to it at the right time and ask does it communicate the right idea and can we work with this person on an individual basis? We are drawn to relatively expensive ways of printing, which is quite risky really but we want our stuff to look good, smell good and feel good.

Ford Almanac 1964
One of the images Sam chose for a slide show: a famous cover of the Ford Almanac 1964, illustrated by Charley Harper.

Geoff: Like scratch ‘n’ sniff?
Sam: There is definitely a shift back towards attention to detail; I had a paper merchant in recently and she was trying to push coated paper stock onto me, but of course I wasn’t interested. She moaned that no new graphic designer will ever uses it – I guess it’s because we like to be different and coated stock seems so common.
Geoff: Who is your audience?
Sam: In terms of an easily identifiable market it’s mainly students and working practitioners – there is a danger that we will never turn a profit and it will always be that way… For the people that aren’t so easy to label I’m sure there’s some marketing speak for them… maybe Rainbow Sky Crap Thinkers or something! But for us the most important thing is to remain close to our customers via our website and social networking.
Adrian: Mark Valli of Magma said he set up the shop because he realised that there was a big non professional audience, so maybe that is changing?…

Nobrow 5 - A Few of My Favourite ThingsNobrow 5 - A Few of My Favourite Things
Nobrow 5 – A Few of My Favourite Things.

Valerie Perezon: What is your editorial line?
Sam: We don’t mind how you describe yourself, we just chose what we like. Online we can be more adaptable, for example in a blog you can put across whatever idea of yourself you like. You can be illustrator or an artist one week and then a circus performer the next. But it all starts with being able to draw and communicate. For example we saw Jack Teagle at his graduate show and he immediately grabbed us. We are quite often drawn to print making because we like the restrictions of spot colour techniques but I think our tastes are quite diverse: we’re currently working with John Sibbick, who over the years has worked on dinosaur pictures and heavy metal covers.

The Bento Bestiary, illustrated by Ben Newman, former Amelia's Magazine contributor
The Bento Bestiary, illustrated by Ben Newman, former Amelia’s Magazine contributor.

Geoff: Do you ever tackle themes of social change?
Sam: We like to keep our themes interpretable, so that leaves them open to tackle social issues if people want to.

The Bento Bestiary, illustrated by Ben Newman, former Amelia's Magazine contributor
The Bento Bestiary, illustrated by Ben Newman.

Geoff: Did you know that 40% of the printed matter in world is Manga?
Sam: Because the magazine we produce is made up of collections of images on a theme it does tend to limit our mass appeal.
Adrian: There has generally been a huge move towards a very visual culture, but in UK we are still very much a literary culture – we value the word above all and image is not valued as much, apart from the F-word that is, photography… which is revered and valued.
Sam: The French publishing industry is underwritten by the government but here illustrated books are still seen as for children.
Adrian: I think the biggest drivers of imagery come from subcultures where the image is revered, but is it a weapon or a platform? Because something comes from a subculture does that mean by definition that it has a limited period of interest?
Sam: Yeah, and if I become too trendy then I cease to be… but I’m not trendy so that’s fine. Even if we did sell Nobrow Magazine in WHSmith no one would buy it so we know this title will always be relatively niche.

The Bento Bestiary, illustrated by Ben Newman, former Amelia's Magazine contributor
The Bento Bestiary, illustrated by Ben Newman.

The Bento Bestiary is out now and the fifth issue of Nobrow magazine has just been released with the title A Few of My Favourite Things.

Read my transcript of James Jarvis’ talk at Mokita, my review of the whole Mokita symposium or my review of this years Pick Me Up exhibition.

PS: I did scratch ‘n’ sniff for issue 04 of Amelia’s Magazine.

Categories ,A Few of My Favourite Things, ,Adrian Shaughnessy, ,Ben Newman, ,Bongout, ,Charley Harper, ,comics, ,Fantagraphics, ,Ford Almanac, ,Geoff Grandfield, ,Graphic Cosmography, ,Jack Teagle, ,Kingston University, ,Le Dernier Cri, ,Magma, ,Manga, ,Mark Valli, ,Mokita, ,Nobrow, ,Nobrow Press, ,Pick Me Up, ,Sam Arthur, ,scratch ‘n’ sniff, ,Somerset House, ,The Bento Bestiary, ,Valerie Perezon, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Ctrl.Alt.Shift’s comic art competition

Having spearheaded the new London folk scene with their debut album, there medical Noah and the Whale are back with their hands full up, releasing a new single, album and film out this summer. We talk school plays, Daisy Lowe, weddings, gardening, Werner Herzog in the studio with the effortlessly charming frontman, Charlie Fink.

0819%20noah3.jpg
Photos by Katie Weatherall

Amelia’s Mag: You’ve got a whole host of new releases coming up – single, album, film – how are you feeling about it all, happy/nervous/excited?

Charlie Fink: All of the above… I dunno, we did the album so long ago… From the last album, I realised the only satisfying feeling you’re going to get is the feeling you get when you’ve finished it and you think it’s good, that’s the best it gets. Reading a review of somebody else saying it’s good is good to show off to your mum, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Likewise, if there’s something you believe in and someone says it’s bad, you’re still going to believe in it.

AM: And the live shows must add another dimension to that?

CF: Yeah. What I’m excited about really is that this record realises us as a band more than the previous one. So that’s going to be really exciting to go out and play that live to people.

AM: And is there anything in particular that has done this or has it been the natural progression of the band?

CF: It’s a million small things, from us playing together more, us growing up, learning our trade a bit better, from what happens in lives and the records you listen to. I very much try to rely as much as I can on instinct and satisfying myself. And this is not a selfish thing because the only way you can supply something worthwhile to somebody else, is if you’re totally satisfied with it yourself. Doing the right things for us and hoping that’ll transfer to the audience.

AM: Was there anything in particular you were listening to whilst making the record?

CF: The things I’m listening to now are different from the things I was listening to when I wrote the record. When I first started the record, I was listening to ‘Spirit of Eden’ by Talk Talk, which is a different sounding record to what we did. Nick Cave, lots by Wilco

AM: So tell me about the film, ‘The First Days Of Spring’, that accompanies the album (of the same name)… which came first?

CF: The first thing was the idea of a film where the background and the pace was defined by an album. But it totally overtook my whole life. It’s one of those things you start for a certain reason and then you keep going for different reasons. The inspiration was sort of how people don’t really listen to albums anymore, they listen to songs. We wanted to try making an all emersive record where the film puts people into it. We’re not dictating that this should be the only way people listen to music, we just wanted to offer something alternative. On a lot of records these days, you don’t feel like the unity of the album gives it more strength than each individual song. Whereas with this record, the whole thing is worth more than the individual parts. That’s how I see it anyway.

The First Days Of Spring Teaser from charlie fink on Vimeo.

There’s this quote from I think W. G. Collingwood that says, ‘art is dead, amusement is all that’s left.’ I like the idea that this project, in the best possible way, is commercially and in lots of other ways pointless. It’s a length that doesn’t exist. It’s not a short film or a feature, it’s 15 minutes and the nature of it is that it’s entirely led by its soundtrack. It’s created for the sake of becoming something that I thought was beautiful.

AM: And Daisy Lowe stars in it, how was that?

CF: She’s an incredibly nice and intelligent person. I met with her in New York when we were mixing the album and I told her I was doing this film… She was immediately interested. And her gave her the record as one whole track which is how I originally wanted it to be released. Just one track on iTunes that had to be listened to as a whole and not just dipped into. She sent me an email two weeks later, because she’s obviously a very busy person. With her listening to the album, a kind of live feed of what she thought of it. Making a film and having her was really good because she kept me motivated and passionate. She genuinely really took to this project. The whole cast as well, everyone really supported it and it was a pleasure to make. I had to fight to get it made and understood. It’s one of those things that people either passionately disagree with or agree with. From thinking it’s absurdly pretentious or beautiful. Fortunately all the people working on the film were passionate people.

AM: So is film making something you want to continue with?

CF: Yeah, definitely! At some point I’d like to make a more conventional film. The thing that really stuck with me about making a film was surround sound. When you’re mixing a film, you’re mixing the sound in surround because you’re mixing for cinemas. You realise the potential of having five speakers around you as opposed to just two in front of you. The complexity of what you can do is vast. So I’d love to something with that. If you record in surround sound you need to hear it in surround sound, so maybe some kind of installation… Then another film after that…

AM: You’ve been put into a folk bracket with your first album, is that something you’re ok with?

CF: I like folk music, I listen to folk music but then every folk artist I like denies they’re folk. It’s one of those things, it doesn’t really matter. We played last year at the Cambridge Folk Festival and I felt really proud to be a part of that. It’s a real music lovers festival. That was a really proud moment so I can’t be that bothered.

AM: I recently sang your first single, ‘5 Years Time’, at a wedding, do you ever imagine the direction your songs may go after you write them?

CF: Wow. That’s really funny. I’ve had a few stories like that actually. It’s touching but it’s not what I’d imagine.

0819%20noah2.jpg

AM: Do you write songs in that way? Some bands set out to write a love song, dance song etc…

CF: I can’t really remember how I write… I was writing last night but… do you drive?

AM: I just recently failed my test.

CF: Perfect! Well, you know when you start driving you have to think through everything – put my foot on the clutch, take it off the clutch etc. Then when you’ve been doing it a while, you just do all those things without even knowing you’ve done them. That’s how it feels with songwriting, I can’t really remember doing it. It just happens how it happens. Or like gardening… you’ve just gotta chop through and it’ll come.

AM: Is being in a band everything you imagined it to be?

CF: For me it’s more about being creative. I do some production for people, the band, the writing and now the film. I just love what I do and just keep doing it. I follow it wherever it goes. The capacity I have for doing what I do is enough to make it feel precious.

AM: So are there any untapped creative pursuits left for you?

CF: At the moment what I’m doing feels right. I never had any ambitions to paint. I don’t have that skill. I think film and music have always been the two things that have touched me the most.

AM: So how about acting?

CF: I did once at school when I was 13. I played the chancellor in a play the teacher wrote called ‘Suspense and a Dragon Called Norris.’ Which had rapturous reactions from my mum. I don’t think I could do that either. When you direct though you need to understand how acting works. It’s a really fascinating thing but I don’t I’d be any good at it.

AM: Do you prefer the full creative potential a director has?

CF: The best directors are the ones that build a character. Building a character is as important as understanding it. It needs major input from both the director and the actor. You can’t just give an actor the script and expect it to be exactly right. You need to be there to create the little details. The way they eat, the way they smoke… That’s an important skill.

0819%20noah1.JPG

At this point, Charlie asks me about a note I’d made on my reporter’s pad, which was actually a reminder about a friend’s birthday present. Which draws the conservation to a close as we recite our favourite Werner Herzog films. Turns out, he shares the same taste in film directors as my friend.

Monday 24th August
Mumford and Sons
The Borderline, more about London

UK’s answer to Fleet Foxes, online Mumford and Sons, visit this celebrate their music video to the first single off their debut album in North London tonight.

Mumford-and-Sons-otw.jpg

Tuesday 25th August
Wilco
The Troxy, London

If Charlie from Noah and the Whale tells us he likes Wilco, then we like Wilco. It’s as simple as that. It’s time to get educated.

wilco_2008.jpg

Wednesday 26th August
The Hot Rats
The Old Blue Last, London

Otherwise known as half of Supergrass plus hot shot Radiohead producer, The Hot Rats get their kicks taking pop classics by, amongst others, The Beatles and The Kinks and infusing their own alt-rock psychedelica – worth a gander.

The%2BHot%2BRats%2BCool%2BHat.jpg

Thursday 27th August
KILL IT KID
Madam Jo Jos, London

Their blend of durge blues, barndance and freestyle frenzy jazz blues make KILL IT KID a gem to behold in a live setting.

kill%20it%20kid.jpg

Friday 28th August
Swanton Bombs
Old Blue Last, London

If you like your indie adorned in Mod and brimming with angularity, then Swanton Bombs will be pushing the trigger on your buttons.

swanton%20bombs.jpg

Saturday 29th August
South East in East Festival – Teenagers In Tokyo, Tronik Youth, Ali Love, Publicist
Vibe Bar, London

It’s all about South East London – full stop. In this cunning event, it up sticks to East London, where synth-pop Gossip descendents, Teenagers In Tokyo headline a night of New X Rave.

teenagersintokyo.jpg

Sunday 30th August
The Gladstone Open Mic Night
The Gladstone, London

As it’s Bank Holiday Weekend and all the bands are at Reading/Leeds Festival, London is starved of big gigs. No fear, The Glad is here – A little known drinking hole in Borough that continually serves up a plethora of folkey talent… and pies!

moonmusicorchestra.jpg
Sunderland born designer Rosie Upright is truly passionate about design. Aren’t we all I hear you say? Well, health she’s up, recipe all hours, medical day or night… cutting away with her trusty stanley knife… stopping only when her numb fingertips plead for rest. Do your fingertips bleed? I thought not! Rosie developed her unique hand-crafted techniques whilst at university in Epsom, where she learnt all the usual computer design programs… and then decided to steer clear of them. She’s fled the suburbs of Epsom now, to live in London town with all the other hopeful new freelancers. She spends her days photographing, drawing, organising balls of string… and deciding what hat to wear.
We caught up with Rosie for a little chat…

Rosie-fightforyourright.jpg

Hi, how are you today?

I’ve got a bit of a sore throat coming on, the irritating children over the road are noisily playing some kind of shooting game, a car is beeping its horn continuously just below my window, itunes is refusing to play anything other than Billy Idol (which I’m not in the mood for), my coloured ink cartridge has just ran out, I’ve got a blister from my favourite pink shoes, an uninvited wasp is stuck in my blinds, my ginger hair has faded to a weird brown, I forgot to buy milk and Ronnie Mitchell is still crying on Eastenders – but apart from that I’m topper thanks.

What have you been up to lately?

Fingers in pies, fingers in pies!
Including…cross-stitch and a week in a cottage in Norfolk (no telephone signal or internet connection, bloody lovely!)

Which artists or illustrators do you most admire?

I don’t think I would have done a degree in graphic design if my ever-encouraging parents hadn’t taken me to a Peter Saville exhibition at the Urbis in Manchester many moons ago. Made me see the ideas process at its very best and the crucial-ness (that’s not even a word!) of initial doodles and sketchbooks.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Where would any of us be if it weren’t for Dr Seuss?
I really love a bit of Russian Constructivism, in particular Alexander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova, bloody genius.
Mr Vaughan Oliver, for making us all think differently about where to crop the image, for being an ongoing influence and for that opportunity.
Harry Beck, Robert Doisneau and most recently Philippe Petit.

RosieUpright-cut%20out.jpg

If we visited you in your hometown, where would you take us?

Stroll down to Seaburn beach because when you don’t live next to the sea anymore you really miss it, and it has really nice sand. Then to my very best friend Sarah Bowman’s house, to play with Peggy Sue the kitten, have mental vegetarian sandwiches off a cake stand, and a glass of red wine, ice cubes and coke. We should pop to an art shop in Darlington and then to The Borough, the best pub for tunes, a pint of cider and a Jaeger bomb.

RosieUpright-fragile.jpg

Who would most love to collaborate with creatively?

Mike Perry and YES art studio please. Thank you.

When did you realise you had creative talent?

When some hippy artist came into my junior school to create banners for some event at the local library with us. I was told after five minutes of colouring it in that I had to go away and read because I couldn’t keep within the lines.

RosieUpright-wood%20pigeon.jpg

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

A teenage Mam or an actress, haven’t decided which yet.

Where would you like to be in 10 years time?

I’d like to be the designer than graphic design students hate because their tutors always tell them to get their book out of the Uni library. And I’d quite like to have my own shop in London, Brighton or maybe Newcastle (or all three, and maybe Paris then if we’re going crazy) selling things made by me!

What advice would you give up and coming artists such as yourself?

Take other peoples advice but make your own mistakes, don’t be a dick and always colour outside of the lines.

RosieUpright-mouth%20shapes.jpg

How would you describe your art in five words?

Hand made/ typography/ narrative/ personal/ I’d like to say idiosyncratic too but don’t want to sound like a twat.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Seeing people fall over.
(and cake)

RosieUpright-1final.jpg

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

It was horrific enough moving away to University and into London and trying to find a job and start my life up. I think if I had to go backward or forward to another era I would probably just straight up die. Having said that though I would like to be a highwayman’s assistant.

Tell us something about Rosie Upright that we didn’t know already.

I can’t wait till I’m an old lady so I can wear those lacy nighties from Marks & Sparks and I love animals in clothes.

What are you up to next?

Going to make a cuppa tea, kill this wasp and then take over the world.
While most of us at the tender age of 19 rooted our existence in smacking down vodka jelly shots at the bar with kebabs at four in the morning and the Hollyoaks omnibus on a Sunday, pilule some people, of course, are born to shine in different ways. Take, for instance, London College of Fashion student Millie Cockton, somebody who has already had their work featured in a shoot for Dazed and Confused, styled by Robbie Spencer.

As a lover of clean lines and beautiful silhouettes, Millie looks for the wearer to bring their own identity to her gender non-specific pieces. At the moment under new label Euphemia, with her AW09/10 about to be stocked in London boutique and gallery space Digitaria, after being chosen to be the first guest designer at the Soho store. Check out the Dazed piece to see some brilliant Shakespearian-style ruffs that Millie has also created working with paper (a material proving popular as with Petra Storrs, who I featured last week).

Each to their own, mind you. I could totally do all that, if I wanted to.

millie.jpg

At the age of 19 you’ve already received quite a lot of attention – how has that been?

It’s been great so far! It’s very flattering but its also very daunting! I am on a constant learning curve and my work is developing all the time so although the attention is great it creates a lot of pressure!

Describe your design aesthetic in three words.

Clean, sculptural, understated.

Who do you see wearing your designs? Are they reflective of your own personality?

I like to think of a real mixture of people wearing my designs. I love the way that the same garment can look completely different on different people- for me its all about the individual and how they carry themselves, bringing their own identity to the piece.

I don’t think that my designs are necessarily a true representation of my personality and personal style. I feel that my designs are more of a reflection of the aesthetic that i find desirable and aspirational.

millie2.jpg


Thinking about the ruffs featured in Dazed, people have touched on the theatrical nature of your designs – is the idea of performance important to you in fashion?

The idea of performance within fashion is something that interests me but I wouldn’t say that it’s a key element within my own designs. I like the notion of a performative element within a piece or a collection as i think that it helps gain a further understanding and insight of the designers thought process and inspiration.

What else do you respond to?

I am constantly discovering new sources of inspiration, being so young I know that I still have so much to learn!

Who are your fashion icons?

Yves Saint Laurent, Katherine Hepburn, Grace Jones.

millie3.jpg

Is craft something else you’re interested in too?

I like to use elements of craft within my designs, such as origami style folding. Craft elements can add interesting details to simple pieces.

What are your plans for the future? Who would you like to work for?

I am about to launch my new collection which will be stocked in Digitaria, recently opened on Berwick St, Soho. I have just started to work with Digitaria’s creative director , Stavros Karelis and stylist Paul Joyce on some future projects which are really exciting and I am thoroughly enjoying. I want to continue learning and developing my ideas, challenging myself and most importantly keep having fun!

red_trousers_silver_harness.jpg

‘Having fun’ of course might well translate to ‘becoming future fashion empress of the galaxy’. This is a talent to watch out for.

Photographs:George Mavrikos
Styling: Paul Joyce
Model: Antonia @ FM models

CC-poster-blog.jpg
Image by Mia Overgaard

The Camp for Climate Action 2009 is almost upon us – now’s the time to gather ourselves and prepare to swoop. Convinced that the response to climate change needs more? Ready to share skills, stomach knowledge and experiences? To be part of the grassroots swell of people demanding a difference? To get out there and do something?

Climate Camp is for you.

Be ready next Wednesday, 12th August, from noon, in London. We’re going to swoop on the camp location together. The more people the better. Secret until the last moment, you can sign up for text alerts and join one of the groups meeting scattered about central London before moving together to the camp.

Why Camp? We can all meet each other and learn stuff – reason enough? – I mean, an enormous, public, activist-friendly child-friendly student-friendly climate-friendly gathering with an ambitious and well-prepared programme of workshops covering all things from Tai Chi for those of us up early enough, through histories student activism, DIY radio, pedal-powered sound systems, legal briefings, stepping into direct action, singing, dancing, jumping and waving.

0819%20camp%20birdflock.jpg

Why London? Climate Campers have listed ten reasons to focus on London – right up the top of that list is : tall buildings and low flood plains. London is big corporate central, the City square mile itself accounting for a huge proportion of the UK economy, that FTSE100-flavoured slice of barely accountable, shareholder driven pie. And yet, as the Thames Barrier should always remind us, the whole city sits low on the ground. Just check out what the centre looks like with a few metres rise in sea level.

So what’s first? The Climate Camp Benefit party/shindig/jamboree/palooza/knee’s-up/gala ball/discotheque/rave/soiree at RampART, 9pm-3am this Friday 21st August. Consisting of fun/revelry/ribaldry/tomfoolery/jocularity/jive/merriment/high kinks, low jinks, jinks of all stature/cheer/gambol/horseplay & frolic. With bands & DJ’s including Rob the Rub & Sarah Bear & those amazing skiffle kids ‘The Severed Limb’. That’s at:

9pm-3am
rampART, 15 -17 Rampart Street,
London E1 2LA (near Whitechapel, off Commercial Rd)
Donations on the door much appreciated (and needed!) – all going straight to Climate Camp

And then? The Swoop – Night Before – Londoners and out-of-town visitors are welcome to ‘the night before the swoop’ – near the bandstand in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, 7-8.30pm, Tuesday 25th August – for any last minute info, a legal briefing and an opportunity to join an affinity group and get excited. Lincoln’s Inn Fields is just behind Holborn tube station – this map here might help.

Awesome. See you soon.

ColorTripod-blog.jpg
Ctrl.Alt.Shift dropped us a line to let us know about a comics-making competition so get your promarkers and layout pads at the ready. Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmarks Corruption is giving you the opportunity to design a unique comic style story. Ctrl.Alt.Shift is the experimental youth initiative politicising a new generation of activists for social justice and global change. The competition hopes to raise awareness of the Ctrl.Alt.Shift and Lightspeed Champion goals and views by inspiring this generation of designers to work together.

COMICA.FLYER_AW.jpg

Oscar nominated Marjane Satrapi, medical V V Brown and Lightspeed Champion are amongst the judges for the Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption competition launched today. Corruption is both a cause of poverty, and a barrier to overcoming it. It is one of the most serious obstacles to eradicate.

Persepolis3.jpg

Entrants to the competition will be in with the chance to create a unique comic style story in collaboration with acclaimed musician and writer Dev Hynes aka Lightspeed Champion. After the first round of judging at the end of September, shortlisted entrants will be given Lightspeed Champion’s comic script as inspiration and asked to create a visual adaptation of the story.

COMICA_A5_FLYER_AW.jpg

The winning commission will be published in a comic alongside new work exploring the issue of Corruption by some of comic’s greatest talents. The work will also be showcased as part of a new exhibition, Ctrl.Alt.Shift Unmasks Corruption, later this year at Lazarides Gallery, Soho.
To enter the competition please send relevant examples of your visual work along with your contact details to Ctrl.Alt.Shift by Friday 25th September by visiting www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk/unmaskscorruption.

ctrl.alt.shirt.jpg

Five short listed artists will then be given a comic brief to respond to and a winner chosen by a panel of judges including: Marjane Satrapi (Writer and Director of Academy Award Nominated Animated Film Persepolis) Paul Gravett (Comica founder), V V Brown and David Allain (Musician and Comic Book Writer/Artist duo), Lightspeed Champion and Ctrl.Alt.Shift.

The competition is restricted to UK Residents only
For further information about the competition please contact John Doe on 020 7749 7530 or Hannah@johndoehub.com / Jo.bartlett@johndoehub.com
Brooke Roberts is my favourite new designer. Why? Well, more about after exchanging several emails with her over the last few weeks, for sale for a young designer making such waves in the industry, her witty and playful personality has impressed even via my inbox! Having worked with such characters such as Louise Goldin and Giles, her avant- garde aesthetic really shines through in her highly tailored and retro-feel designs. Miss Roberts is going places, and she’s more than willing to take us along with her!

brooke3.JPG

What made you want to be a designer? What’s your design background?

I’m definitely not one of those designers who always knew that’s what they wanted to do. I did a degree in Applied Science at Sydney University (I’m from Australia) and worked as a radiographer for a year before moving to London to find out what I wanted to do. I did some work as a stylist with a fashion photographer (random hook-up). I knew his girlfriend and she knew my massive extensive collection of vintage clothes and shoes. My mum had a boutique when I was growing up and I loved clothes – I just never knew it was going to be my career.

I did a few jobs in London (pub, bank – more randomness) before realising I wanted to study fashion. I went to London College of Fashion and Central St.Martins (graduated 2005) wanting to be a pattern-cutter or tailor. I really wanted to create, rather than design. I get most satisfaction from making beautiful things and being involved in the whole process. I have a close working relationship with my suppliers, and go to the factories to develop my garments. I cut them all myself, which is probably bordering on control freakery, but I feel it shows in the final product and I can realise my designs exactly as I imagine them.

I’m waffling. I worked for Giles for two seasons after I left Uni, and started with Louise Goldin when she launched her label. We worked together for three years (until last October when I launched my label).

What are your inspirations for your collections?

I get lots of inspiration from my radiography job (I do that part-time to fund my label). So I’m running between the hospital and my studio all the time. I have used CT (cat) brain scans this season to create knit fabrics and digital prints. My obsession with reptile skins never seems to go away, and I have worked with Anwen Jenkins (awesome print designer) to create skull slice python skin prints. Basically, the python scales are replaced with multi-dimensional skull slices.

Apart from that, I research at museums and LCF Library. This season went to the British Museum and discovered Yoruba sculpture and traditional costumes. I researched these for silhouette and style lines. I also looked at Niger garments. They’re beautifully colourful, vibrant and flamboyant.

brooke%201.jpg

What are your favourite pieces from your latest collection?

Umm. I wear the cat suit most. I actually met my boyfriend the first time I wore it. So I’m renaming it Lucky cat suit. I also love the Flex jacket in red snakeskin. The razor sharp points make me feel like I am ready for world domination!

What was it like working with Giles Deacon and Louise Goldin? What did you learn from them?

I learnt that I hate taking orders from others! I’m really not one to toe-the-line. I am a perfectionist and this drives other people mad sometimes. I was a pattern-cutter at Giles, doing mostly tailoring, which suited me fine. Most people wanted to do the showpieces, but I was most happy cutting jackets. Giles is a really lovely bloke. Working with him was really my first experience of doing shows and the pressure and stress of getting everything done.

With Louise, my job was broader because in the beginning it was just the two of us. I learnt so much, I can’t even write it down. I worked in the London studio and the knitwear factory in Italy. I had the opportunity to learn knitwear programming, selecting yarns and cutting and constructing knit. I still work in the factory for my own label and really love it. The other big thing was learning about running a business and starting from scratch. The hoops you have to jump through, the process of getting sponsorship, doing shows, sales and production… It’s a massive undertaking starting your own label. And I still chose to do it! Bonkers.

brookegood.JPG

Who do you think are the most important designers of your generation?

Hmm. Well, I like the work of Tina Kalivas and Gareth Pugh. If we’re talking most important, it has to be Gareth.

I’m really a lover of 80′s and 90′s designers. I find the work of Gianni Versace, Thierry Mugler and Rifat Ozbek most relevant to my style and most exciting.

What do you think are the problems facing young designers at the moment?

The biggest problems are funding and dealing with suppliers, particularly for production. Creating a beautiful product that you can reproduce is actually really difficult! You need to understand the technicalities of fabrics and construction (or hire someone who does) otherwise it all goes wrong.

brookegood2.JPG

What’s next for Brooke Roberts?

In fantasy land, what’s next for Brooke Roberts is a holiday. In reality, I’m working hard on marketing and sales for London Fashion Week. I’m collaborating with jewellery designer Chris Edwards and shoe and bag designer Laura Villasenin on side projects for the label. Look out for skull slice stacked rings and metal bone-fixation embellished super-soft bags for SS10!!

Find Brooke stocked at the King and Queen of Bethnal Green.

Not slim tomatoes, viagra dosage narrow cucumbers or squashed, um, squashes – no, we’re talking about digging for victory in our own meagre abodes. With allotment waiting lists stretching beyond a century in Hackney and not many of us owning the half-county some how-to books seem to assume, options on grow-your-own approaches might look limited. But before you get the howling fantods at the piling impossibilities. As those of you who read the Amelia’s Magazine review of Growing Stuff (an Alternative Guide to Gardening) will know well, even the meagrest city apartment can burst forth in cornucopic life.

0820%20max%20gardening3.jpg
Illustrations by Maxime Francout

And but so then it seems the thing to do is simply to get a pack of seeds and a container and get growing, no hesitation about it. If a brief pause in favour of screenreading sounds like it could lead to better inspiration, I entreat you, read on. There’s a glut of blogs and enthusiasts all over the place to speak to or read up upon. Here are just a few of our favourites.

Life on the Balcony tells Fern Richardson’s encounters with gardens small and smaller, great for fresh faces and old hands alike, with an awesome friendly dirt cheap ways to garden.

Carrie, of Concrete Gardening blogging fame (true in a juster world), digs organic urban gardening, and has gotten into gardening without the erm, garden, since buying a house in the city (Philadelphia) and sees all the possibilities of planting up, sideways and over – just recently blogging about taking things to the next level and climbing up on her roof to plant out veggies, seedlings to sit and soak up sun.

0820%20max%20gardening1.jpg

Herbs and Dragonflies is written by a group set up by Kathy Marshall back in 2008 for the Pudsey Carnival and have been creatively, craftily planting since, encouraging others to get their green fingers dirty – doing activities with children and volunteering about the place. Most recently, they encouraged us blog-readers to leave the comfort of plastic planters and terracotta pots – most anything can sit with some soil in it. They suggest novelty Cadbury’s Fingers tins, I’ve used fancy jamjars, and seen anything from skips to wellington boots enlisted in the service of greenery.

Emma Cooper (I’m cribbing now from the ‘Growing Stuff’ contributor biogs page) lives in Oxfordshire with two pet chickens – Hen Solo and Princess Layer – and six compost bins. She has written an ‘Alternative A-Z of Kitchen Gardening’, which Karen Cannard The Rubbish Diet reckons is ‘an inspirational tour of an edible garden that can be recreated in the smallest of backyards. An essential guide for a new generation of gardeners who are keen to join the kitchen garden revolution.’And she blogs about anything from compost to pod plants to the future of food…

0820%20max%20gardening2.jpg

Madeleine Giddens loves herbs, which I guess you’d guess from the name of her blog – Mad About Herbs. But there’s nothing off the wall about any of it, she’s plunged into an obsession and come out smelling of roses and lavender, buzzing about bees too, recently, and their favourite flowers.

So there you have it, just a few spots and pointers. Good evening, and wishes for a fruitful weekend from Amelia’s Magazine.
The Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS. Formally known with pride as the “oil and gas bank” due to their close alliance with the fossil fuel industries. What on earth would I have to do with them? They may have lost the unfortunate moniker, treat partly due to a hugely successful campaign by People and Planet student activists who launched a spoof ad campaign and website named the Oyal Bank of Scotland before delivering a host of greenwashing awards – but they’re certainly not due for any special ethical mentions yet.

Not yet.

RBS%20building.jpg

There was of course a massive £33 billion bank bailout from the taxpayer for RBS last year. But RBS didn’t spend the money on anything worthwhile. Oh no, the truth is that RBS still has oily blackened hands. Most people will remember the Fred Goodwin debacle, he who managed to retire at the age of 50 on a £16 million pension funded by taxpayers. But that’s not the whole of it – since the bailout some of our money has been used to arrange loans for the fossil fuel industries worth a staggering £10 billion, including a substantial sum for E.ON, the company that wants to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth. Despite the best efforts of activists –  there was an impromptu snowball fight during the winter, Climate Rush held a luncheon dance and Climate Camp set up camp down the road at BishopsgateRBS continues to invest in unsustainable resources.

But the good news is there is hope for change!

RBS_LOGO-oyal.jpg

As I’ve got more and more involved with activism I’ve got to know members of PLATFORM, who together with People and Planet and the World Development Movement have launched a legal challenge against our government to make sure that public money used for bailouts is put towards building sustainability. PLATFORM is an organisation that combines art with activism, research and campaigning, so in many ways we are perfect partners and I was really excited when they recently approached me to collaborate on an exciting new project at the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol.

As part of a wider festival named 100 Days, PLATFORM will be co-producing over 50 events, installations, performances, actions, walks, discussions and skill shares over a period of two months. This season is called “C words: Carbon, Climate, Capital, Culture” and is intended to highlight what needs to be done to change the world in the run-up to the incredibly important (but unlikely to solve anything) COP 15 conference (think Kyoto 2 – it failed first time around so why would it succeed now?) in Copenhagen in December.

Your part in this audacious experiment?

We’re going to re-envision RBS as a bastion of sustainability – the Royal Bank of Sustainability in fact. And it will be down to you to create the artwork… once more I will be running one of my becoming-somewhat-regular open briefs. We would like you to submit either a logo or a poster (or both) that will suggest a swing in the direction of all things sustainable in the most imaginative way possible. Around ten of the best artworks will be shown for a week at the prestigious Arnolfini gallery in Bristol as part of the whole shebang, culminating with a public judging and prize-giving overseen by yours truly and helped out by the folk at PLATFORM and no less than the Marketing Manager of the Arnolfini, Rob Webster, and Fiona Hamilton of Soma Gallery (Bristol), a woman with great taste in the arts who runs a cult art shop that has been a long standing supplier of my print magazine. We might even invite someone powerful from RBS! (invite being the operative word) After the event PLATFORM will profile you on their website with links to yours, and prior to the actual event I’ll be posting the best entries onto my website – one good reason to get your artwork in as quickly as possible.

If you are interested read on:

RBS-cashcoal.jpg

What you need to know:

Ideas:
Yeah yeah – we all know wind turbines are great news and polar bears are having a terrible time, but for this brief we’d like you to think a bit outside the box. We’ll be looking for the most refreshing ways of thinking about how we can live in the most sustainable way possible, and most importantly how RBS could play a possible role in aiding this transition to a low carbon world. Don’t forget that we, the taxpayers, own 70% of RBS – why not make it into the people’s bank? You should make clear in your chosen design the re-imagining of the old RBS into the new. Instead of investing in carbon-intensive industries the new RBS will serve the public interest by investing only in socially conscious, ethically driven, and environmentally sound projects.

rbs-logo.jpg

Style:
Think serious or earnest, kitsch or ironic, warm and fluffy, abstract or illustrative; whatever best communicates the concept and appeals to the broader public, the press and perhaps even people in government. It should engage and inspire. You can collage photography on your computer or paint with your fingers and toes – what matters is the outcome. We want to see imagery that speaks of something new, radical and POSSIBLE. Think positive social force. We love the Obama image that was used in the run up to his election – the reworking of his image in a simple pop art style somehow speaks volumes about new, positive change – and has fast become an iconic piece of graphic design, so we thought we’d use it here to demonstrate that you don’t have to be too literal in your interpretation of the brief to create a successful image. If you choose to create a poster remember that it could be made as an advert.

obama.jpg

Technical specifications:
your image should be created to these sizes and scannable or put together on a computer:
A1 for the poster.
A2 or squared off A2 for the logo.
Please send me a lo resolution version but make sure you work to these sizes. We will arrange for the printing of your image should it be chosen.

Deadline:
We need your submissions to reach me by Monday 2nd November. Please send lo res versions of your design to info@ameliasmagazine.com

Future projects:
Please bear in mind that if we really love your work we might want to use it in further literature and exhibitions. Just think, your work really could persuade RBS to change course at a pivotal point in our history. What a fabulous idea!

Join the facebook event here to stay in touch with updates
And join the “Stop RBS using public money to finance climate change” facebook group here

Below is a list of links you might want to peruse for inspiration:

PLATFORM’s website
Transition Towns
Centre for Alternative Technology
Zero Carbon Britain
Post Carbon Institute
the Oyal Bank of Scotland
Capitalists Anonymous
Britain Unplugged
Climate Friendly Banking
Banca Etica
GLS Bank

Get scribbling folks! Any queries please contact me directly via email rather than on the comments below.
If you have been to a UK festival in the last few years, pharm chances are that at some point you found yourself dancing in the OneTaste tent. Having residency at Glastonbury, sickness Big Chill and Secret Garden Party to name but a mere few, OneTaste have acquired a devoted fan base of festival goers who want a guarantee that when they walk into a tent they will get the following components; top quality live music, an high-spirited and friendly crowd, and twenty four hour revelry.

onetastepichydepark.jpg
OneTaste in Hyde Park, London

Yet their festival appearances are just one aspect of the multifaceted music troupe. When they are appearing at say, SGP or Glasto, they perform as a collective of musicians, poets and artists who, for many of the festivals, break bread and share space with Chai Wallahs. When they put on events in Greater London and Brighton, (where every night is different from the last), their roots run deep, towards diverse and innovative singers, performers and spoken word artists. They are fiercely proud of their reputation of facilitating and nurturing emerging talent; promoting, not exploiting it, connecting with the audience and creating a true OneTaste family, both onstage and off.

onetastepichydepark2.jpg

I have known of OneTaste for years, being friends with some of the artists who have performed with them. Having shamelessly utalised their tent at this years Secret Garden Party to dance, drink, chill, detox and then re-tox, I felt it was time to get to know them a little better. The perfect opportunity came at the recent OneTaste night at the Bedford in Balham which I attended recently on a balmy Thursday night. The vaudeville past of the Globe Theatre within the Bedford was an apposite setting for the style of event that OneTaste puts on. As the preparation for the evenings entertainment began in this deeply historical building, I managed to catch a quick chat with the creator of OneTaste, Dannii Evans, where we talked about the rhymes, reasons and the meaning behind this unique and innovative event.

onetastehydeparkpicby%20kim-leng%20hills.jpg
photograph by Kim Leng Hills

When I saw OneTaste’s excellent night in the Jazz Cafe a while back, I saw a lot of different styles of music and spoken word. What would you say is the one common thread that unites everyone?

We’ve always been trying to find out what the thread is! It is definitely not genre, we do every single style and welcome every style, probably the only genre we haven’t booked yet is heavy metal! The thing that links us all together .. (pauses)… is that everyone has got a massive social conscience; it is not always explicit, but it is implicit within a person, it’s in their art. It’s something that holds us all together, everyone at OneTaste has that in mind – that there is a bigger picture and that we need to better ourselves in everything that we do.

onetastebedfordcharlie.jpg
Charlie Dark performs at OneTaste Bedford

How did OneTaste begin?

The OneTaste music and spoken word night, started four and a half years ago by myself, and Jamie Woon. We basically started it in order that these musicians can do something where they could get paid.

You pay the performers? That’s so rare!

Definitely. We wanted to put on a night where the quality of every single act was really high and it could be where musicians could start their career, so that was the premise. Also the concept is that the event is always half music, half spoken word.

So is it a collective, a record label, an event? I’m kind of confused!

It started off as an event, with us meeting a number of artists and acts that we got on really well and gelled with, who we took on tour around festivals, and then out of spending three months together we formed the OneTaste collective. It started becoming an artist run collective where people would help with the actual event production and then it ended with them all collaborating on material together.

Who are some of the artists involved?
Portico Quartet, Stac, Inua Ellams, Gideon Conn, Kate Tempest, Newton Faulkner, to name just a few!

onetastebefordball.jpg

How do artists become part of OneTaste? Is it something that they can dip in and out of?

Absolutely, it’s not exclusive. It grew organically, it’s not an in or out thing – it happens more naturally than that.

Do you have to audition to get in?

To take part in the OneTaste night, either myself or someone running it have to have seen them live. Audience engagement is very important to us, to reach out and to be able to communicate with the audience is really vital. The live aspect and their live dynamic with the crowd is so important, so while they don’t audition, we do need to see how they will perform.

So it seems to have grown hugely in the last four years; Can you give me an idea of the numbers of acts that you have worked with?

In the collective, we have around 30 acts that we are currently championing, but in the last four years we have worked with around 300 artists. The audiences have grown from 40 people to 300 here at the Bedford, 500 at the Jazz Cafe, and 5,000 at the recent gig we did in Hyde Park.

How does OneTaste promote its artists?

It has always been very grass roots, we’ve never done an advert, it’s always just been people coming down and then telling their friends and from that it grew really quickly.

onetastebedfordgirl.jpg

Are there many of the artists signed to labels, and do you help them along their way?

We do, we give them industry advice – we develop their music, or spoken word, we try to help where we can. Some of the artists like Jamie Woon or Portico Quartet have gone on to get more media attention and they kind of carry the OneTaste name with them and still do gigs for us.

What is the direction that OneTaste is heading in?

Potentially, we might have our own venue at festivals next year, which is really exciting. We have a digital compilation coming out, the first one will be coming out in September, and eventually we may form a OneTaste record label.

onetastebedfordgideon.jpg
Gideon Conn performs at OneTaste Bedford.

Dannii and I continue chatting for a short while, and after this she has tasks to do. The audience is filling up, and the night is about to start. Sitting on a bench in the back with a big glass of red wine, I watch the event unfold. The performers are electric, and completely different from one another, yet equally complimentary. Most appear to be old friends, and loudly cheer each others performances. The atmosphere is infectious, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed myself so much at a gig (and it’s not because of the wine!). I’m quite au fait with the open mic nights and acoustic gigs of London, but I haven’t been to a night which is as cohesive and inclusive as OneTaste. If you want to experience it for yourself, OneTaste are easy to find. Check out their Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Flickr for images, articles, and dates about upcoming shows, which include a September 8th gig at The Distillers in Hammersmith and 27th September at The Hanbury Club in Brighton.
This week Climate Camp 2009 swoops on London, this site aiming to pressure politicians ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit in December. Climate Camp will achieve this by encouraging individuals to think about lifestyle changes possible both collectively and personally to prevent climate change.

Sharing these sensibilities, the French Collective Andrea Crews encourage a new life philosophy outside the corporate rat race so often associated with London and other major cities. Being introduced to the fashion/art/activist collective Andrea Crews felt like a breath of fresh air often associated with Amelia’s magazine, a long time supporter of sustainable fashion, craft, activism and individual design.

sunsetempire.jpg

flocage.jpg

Andrea Crews Collective express their desire for economic and social change through “the use and the reinterpretation of the second-hand garment” calling it “a social, economic and ethical choice.” A choice displayed by the sheer volume of abandoned second hand garments used throughout the catwalk shows, art exhibitions and activist events. The group criticise the relentless waste of modern consumption, fast fashion has helped to create, through visualising the stress on land fill sites around the world in their staged events. Subsequently by ignoring market pressures: mass seduction and seasonal calendars, Andrea Crews re-introduces a slower, more individual fashion culture through the processes of sorting and recycling.

jedinomindtrick.jpg

ANDREACREWS-47.jpg

The Crews Collective march to the same tune as Climate Camp, not only by caring for the environment but in their dedication towards an alternative developed sustainable economy. Andrea Crews encourages mass involvement stating that the project “answers to a current request for creative energy and social engagement. Recycling, Salvaging, Sorting out, are civic models of behaviour we assert.” Thus the power of low-level activism or grass roots activism becomes apparent, if enough people participated with Climate Camp or The Andrea Crews Collective. The pressure on governments to look for an alternative way of living would be undeniable.

orlan.jpg

neoud.jpg

The ever-expanding coverage of ethical, eco fashion on the internet plays testimony to the idea that the individual is changing. The Andreas Collective through their exquisite catwalks –particularly the Marevee show with the appearance of clothes mountains which the models scrambled over to reach the runway- draw attention to the powerful position regarding sustainability, fashion can occupy if it so chooses.

mareeve.jpg

All quotes and images are from the Andrea Crews website.
DIY LONDON SEEN
The Market Building
Covent Garden, doctor London WC2 8RF
Until 5th September

DIY%20LONDON%20SEEN.jpg

DIY LONDON SEEN hopes to illustrate the growth of the movement inspired by the ‘Beautiful Losers’, doctor which is now a global phenomenon, generic by showcasing the work of local artists whose work takes the ethos of the Alleged gallery Artists and runs with it.

KNOT EXACTLY
Hepsibah Gallery

Brackenbury Road, London W6

Show runs from: 28th August- 2nd September ’09,
with a preview on the 27th September from 6.00-9.00pm

KNOT%20EXACTLY.jpg

Artists: Ellen Burroughs presents intricate technical drawings of a surreal nature, Sophie Axford-Hawkins shows bespoke jewelery that follows an identical theme.

The Jake-OF Debut UK Solo Show
Austin Gallery

119A Bethnal Green Road,
Shoreditch London E2 7DG
Running from the 3rd-16th September.
The opening evening is on the 3rd at 6:30pm.

Jakes%20Quink%20Painting%201.jpg

Featuring a collection of his best print, sculpture and instillation work from the past four years. The show will include prints from the Quink series and the first original Quink painting to be exhibited.

So Long Utopia
East Gallery
214 Brick Lane
?London ?E1 6SA

Until 2nd September

SOlONGUTOPIA.jpg

EASTGALLERY is proud to present the first solo exhibition of UK artist Sichi. ‘So Long Utopia’ will feature a thematic collection of new paintings and drawings. ??‘So Long Utopia’ is an energetic exhibition focusing on the theme of the lost Utopian dream. The artworks in this collection are of portraits, statements and imagined characters, where any premonition of ‘Utopia’ is quickly dispelled by the creatures inhabiting Sichi’s dystopian world.

Art In Mind
The Brick Lane Gallery
196 Brick Lane,
London E1 6SA

Opening 19 August 6:30 – 8:30
20th – 31st August
Free

Art%20In%20MindBrickLane.jpg

A busy August Bank holiday weekend is almost upon us, dosage and if you cant make it to Climate Camp starting on Wednesday there is plenty of other events to keep you occupied this week.

Festival of The Tree 2009

Delve into the world of wood and trees with sculptors, workshops, walks, art exhibitions and more with all proceeds going to treeaid, a charity that is enabling communities in Africa’s drylands to fight poverty and become self-reliant, while improving the environment. Weston Arboretum has a week long run of activities, with the organisers calling it a radical transformation from last year with exciting new additions.

tree%20pic.jpg
Check the full programme of events here.
From Monday 24 – Monday 31 August… 
Open daily from 9am-5pm?Admission: Adult £8, Concession £7, Child £3.?

Camp for Climate Action

A week long event kicking of this wednesday with with a public co-ordinated swoop on a secret location within the M25, make sure you sign up for text alerts and watch Amelias twitter for updates. Join your swoop group here, the locations have been revealed so get planning your route.
Check the great list of workshops here, and get ready for some climate action.
There’s workshops to suit everyone from direct action training to consensus decision making for kids, as well as evening entertainment from the Mystery Jets among others. Come along for a day or the whole week.

cc.jpg

Wednesday 26 Aug 2009 to Wednesday 02 Sep 2009
E-mail: info@climatecamp.org.uk
Website: www.climatecamp.org.uk

Carshalton Environmental Fair

The Environmental Fair is one of the biggest events in the London Borough of Sutton. 10,000 people attend with over 100 stalls with environmental information, arts and local crafts, with stages showcasing local musical talent, a Music cafe and a Performing Arts Marquee. Food stalls and a bar thats also showcasing some local talent. There is a free bus operating from Sutton.

eco%20fest.jpg

Adults £3, concessions £1 and kids get in free.
Monday 31st August
Contact: fair@ecolocal.org.uk
Website: http://www.ecolocal.org.uk/

Green Fayre

Range of Green craft workshops where you can learn about the most pressing environmental issues and how you can live a more sustainable life, all set in the Welsh country side. Yurt making, permaculture design, spinning, screen printing, pole lathe, bird box making, cooking from the hedgerows and much more.

Date: Friday 28 Aug 2009 to Monday 31 Aug 2009
Weekend Camping for the family £40?E-mail: info@green-fayre.org
?Website: www.green-fayre.org

Benefit gig for Anarchists Against the Wall

At RampART social centre, music with Hello Bastards, Battle Of Wolf 359,Suckinim Baenaim (Israel), Julith Krishum (Germany). The AWW group works in cooperation with Palestinians in a joint popular struggle against the occupation.

Monday 24 August 2009 19:00
RampARTSocial Centre?15 -17 Rampart Street, London E1 2LA?(near Whitechapel, off Commercial Rd)

London Critical Mass

Cyclists get together to take control of the roads around London usually with a sound system in tow. The London Mass meets at 6.00pm on the last Friday of every month on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, by the National Film Theatre. critical_mass.gif
Not got a bike, dont worry, any self propelled people from skateboarders, rollerbladers to wheelchairs are welcome.

Friday 28 August 2009
Website: http://www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk/
Earth First Gathering 2009 was held over last weekend. It’s an event we’ve been looking forward to since it appeared in our diary back in July. Check out our Earth First preview for more information. We all pitched up our tents in the wettest place in Britain which unluckily lived up to its name, doctor but although it didn’t feel like summer it didn’t stop any of the numerous workshops from going ahead and there was even a handy barn where people could take refuge if their tents didn’t survive the downpours.

efintro.jpg
There were chances for people to get to grips with water activities like building rafts and kayaking on the nearby Derwent lake, help plenty of discussion groups and chances for people to learn new skills. A forge kept many enthralled, viagra me included, and it was great to see the dying trade in action and people learning from the experienced blacksmiths.

forge.jpg
Seeds for change, a group that holds workshops for action and social change, were down at the camp, get in touch with them if you’re thinking of holding your own event and they will be willing to facilitate a range of engaging talks and discussions.
Tripod, a Scottish based training collective working with grassroots and community groups is another to check out – there is plenty to benefit from with training and support that gears towards social action.

Earth First has been going for decades and with direct action at the heart of what they do, it has helped and nurtured many to get involved and start taking action themselves rather than relying on leaders and governments. Look out for the next gathering, as EF notes, “if you believe action speaks louder than words, then Earth First is for you.”
We legged it up the amazing waterfall that created a great backdrop to the camp before tea one evening to get some great views over the valley.

ef%20veiw.jpg
Joining the queue for our meals was a daily highlight, you could browse the radical bookstall along it that had numerous zines and books for sale. Then the food, put on by the Anarchist Teapot, was amazing and i was queueing up for seconds at every opportunity. Evening entertainment was put on by a ramshackle group of poets and musicians and hecklers, and sock wrestling was also a new experience for me, got to try that one again.

slowcc.jpg
On cue the heavens opened on the last night, but I managed to get my tent down and joined the chickens in the barn where I literally hit the hay.
Just thought I’d say well done to the police FIT team who were able to navigate the windy and tricky road to turn up most days: good effort!
The Legion in Old Street has undergone a bit of a refurb since the last time I was there. Vague recollections of dodgy sauna-style wood panelling on the walls and a Lilliputian stage awkwardly occupying one corner are now banished by what seemed like an even longer bar than was there before. The venue has had a fresh wave of new promoters which appears to have progressed it from a jack of all things club-based, website like this in an area drowning in the like, there to somewhere incorporating a broader musical palette. A case in point tonight, being the headline band, Death Cigarettes.

Death%20Cigarettes%201.JPG

I’d seen Death Cigarettes a couple of times around various East London venues over the last twelve months. For a band whose reputation is in part founded on an explosive live show, the cavernous confines of the Legion seemed to take some of the sting out of them, compared to more intimate settings.

Musically, they inhabit that driving New York No Wave inspired sound – thrashing guitars, pounding drums and rumbling bass coupled with urgently delivered vocals. An obvious comparison is with early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and there is certainly more than a touch of Karen O in enigmatic lead singer Maya.

Death%20Cigarettes%202.JPG

With this band though, the music is only half the story. Coming on unusually late for a Sunday night, Maya emerges from the encaves of a slightly startled audience to take the stage to join the rest of the band as they thrash away around her. It’s not long though before she heads back out into the throng… One group of people were ensnared by her mic lead, another was treated to an intimate introduction with a flying mic stand before Maya suddenly reappears behind the audience, exhorting the crowd before her from atop a table. At this point, the guitarist also wanted a piece of the audience action and decides to go walkabout, before concluding the set with a piece of probably not premeditated Auto-Destruction, reducing his guitar to matchwood.

Death%20Cigarettes%203.JPG

Death Cigarettes have certainly been making a few noises of late, with the likes of Artrocker and The Fly singing their praises, and they are set to appear at the Offset Festival (new guitar permitting). For a band with a distinct approach to their music and performance, it will be interesting to see if they will, over time, develop their sound to the same extent that NYC steadfasts, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have so spectacularly done.
Liberty prints have become something of a British Institution in the fashion world, cialis 40mg inspiring the current vintage scarf and headband trend as well as influencing designers to include whimsical prints in their own creations (basically everybody on the high street). Prints conjure up an image of refined country values, thumb and have a truly English feel to them, stomach reminding us of our grannies chicly riding their bicycles in winding country lanes after World War 2 (maybe that’s just my overactive imagination!)

Until 2nd September an entire exhibition is being dedicated to this quintessentially British item on the fourth floor of the London Liberty store, and Amelia’s Magazine think you should get in touch with your inner fifties housewife and check it out!

carbaby-st1.jpg

Aptly entitled Prints Charming, the designs at Liberty’s exhibition certainly do what they say on the tin. Six designers were invited to contribute to the show to create their own unique take on Liberty’s iconic prints. Designs span from the pottery artist Grayson Perry’s enigmatic creations featuring tombstones, teddy bears, knuckle-dusters, swings, roundabouts and bicycles mounted on fabric, to uber-famous Meg Matthews’ teeny floral print wallpaper pieces given an injection of rock and roll heritage (like Meg herself) with snakeskin and skulls motifs. Other artists involved with the project include Paul Morrison, Mike McInnerney, Michael Angove, Anj Smith and Simon Hart, each taking an individual and modern approach to the eponymous Liberty print.

graysonperry.jpg

IMG_8094.jpg

The exhibition reads like a piece of installation art. In fact, art aside there is much more happening. Take note of the furniture and décor (mirrors, chairs, chandeliers and tables) coated in Liberty prints, heavily featured throughout the window display designed by Interiors company Squint. Not forgetting that the store’s entire exterior is decorated in the Betsy micro-floral print. The show also includes full size dolls dressed in Liberty rags, a Wendy house covered in strips of print by artist Helen Benigson, and vintage bicycles by classic bike-maker Skeppshult redesigned with a Liberty twist (complete with feather headdress!)

squint.jpg

Liberty_Wendy-House.jpg
(Image from: fashion-stylist)

Being an exhibition, the history of the iconic print is thrown in for good measure too. Documentation of the label’s historic collaborations can be found throughout, featuring modern legends such as Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, APC, NIKE and Kate Moss for Topshop. This is an art-fashion collaborative experience not to be missed!

IMG_8101.jpg

Everything designed is available to buy; whether that be in fabric, notebook, scarf, luggage tag, boxer short, wellie boot or lampshade form! With the endless list of talent involved, there’s no doubt something to catch anyone’s magpie eye. Several prints are one-off pieces made especially for the show, such as Matthews’ wallpaper, therefore ensuring a chance of grabbing a piece of history in the making. And who doesn’t love a bit of print patterning? After all, with the current revival of all things retro, Liberty prints are up there with shoulder padding and acid wash in fashionistas’ hearts! So get down to the exhibition before the opportunity to soak up the artistic atmosphere disappears (like most the stock will be sure to do!)
Swap shops, ampoule Freeshops, generic give away shops, visit this site they all aim to go against the capitalist framework, and often people can’t quite get their heads around the idea, that, yes it is free and you can take it!

doshfreeshop%20screen%20copy.jpg
Illustrations by Thereza Rowe

When I dropped by the free shop near Brick Lane, I received firsthand experience of this when a woman asked the way to the ‘trendy’ Shoreditch area and when invited to look around the Freeshop declined with a shrug of the shoulders. It appears it just wasn’t hip enough, that or she couldn’t quite comprehend the idea of a piece of clothing for under 50 quid.

fh.jpg

When speaking to some of the squatters, the Freeshop felt like an organic progression from the original squat in the building: “The idea of this Freeshop had come out from a series of workshops held in the squatted building last month. Originally, the building was opened up for a free school, and when that was over we realised we had this shop front on Commercial Street and felt it would be interesting to kind of undermine the shops down the road.” Donations from friends helped to get it off its feet and now they seem to be undated with more than enough.

fh2.jpg

With our ‘throw away society,’ Freeshops can form direct action and can engage people to think about the way they live and consume. They also see it as a chance to try and engage with the community, which means the squatters don’t get isolated in the neighborhood. They also feel the shop was an important medium of communication to people. It seems to be working well with most people having a chat or picking up leaflets when they come in to look around. The basic idea is that it should not just be about taking things, but sharing ideas too.

The squatters make efforts to engage with the community, with flyers sent out when they set up shop. Although the state has rigid bureaucratic rules to follow regarding squats they hope that support from the community will help their cause. The court date regarding an impending eviction is on 28th August, but they are hopefully looking to get it adjourned. Signatures and people giving support certainly can’t hinder their defense.

swaptillyoudrop%20screen%20copy.jpg

As well as offering clothes, shoes and household items, the Freeshop also has space for regular workshops and events where members of the community and network can get involved. A wind turbine course is in the pipeline so make sure you drop in to check when it’s happening.

I had a chat with one of the squatters to get a better insight into the ideas and experiences behind the Freeshop.

Have you had any experiences of Freeshops before you came here?

Berlin, Barcelona, Bristol all have set up freeshops and there are plenty more around the world. One time in Barcelona went down the main commercial road with a stall, loads of people came to pick up stuff, completely ignoring the chain stores. It was like people were just interested in consuming products wherever they came from. The cops were called of course.

Can you get moved on for that?

Maybe, I mean, but look at the number of people selling sausages in the centre of town – it depends on how big or moveable the stand is. We had the idea of maybe setting something up down in Hanbury Street, just at Spitalfields Market, but that’s just an idea so far.

What kind of people do you get coming in?

Some homeless people come in and others, how shall we say, are like the kind of people who go down Brick Lane on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. There’s a really broad range.

Can people get involved in the Freeshop?

Come along to say hello or to the meeting on Tuesdays, that’s a good place to start, talk about and organise things we want to make happen, maybe do a shift in the shop.

Do you look to publicise, and how do people find out about the Freeshop?

There’s a big difference between being on the net and Facebook/social networking, and just relying on old style traditional methods, just by being here, and it works like a shop that people can just come into. It’s good to see how far just traditional ways can get us, and if that works well, then maybe others will do the same. It’s not rocket science, there’s no big intellectual concept behind it, it’s just a free shop.

fh3.jpg

Located on Commercial Road at the end of Quaker Street, drop in to pick up some new stuff while it lasts and offer your support.
What was formerly the Lush store in Covent Garden’s main piazza is now host to the exhibition ‘DIY London Seen’, this site a homage to the subjects of the film ‘Beautiful Losers’.

BL_EFlyer.jpg

The film recounts the story of a group of likeable young suburban artists who, approved despite creating work outside the established art system in 1990s NYC, more about very quickly rose to commercially vaunted fame and success.

Their ethos, borne of skateboarding, punk, graffiti and DIY living, was to be an artist without adhering to art history or education. Doing what you love whatever the rest of the world thinks. These artists, Harmony Korine, Ed Templeton, Mark Gonzales, Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, Jo Jackson, Thomas Campbell, Deanna Templeton, Stephen Powers, Chris Johanson, Mike Mills and the late Margaret Kilgallen were united by the then curator of Alleged Gallery, Aaron Rose, now Director of the film “Beautiful Losers’.

In the 90s, the Beautiful Losers’ work was outsider. In 2009, the art exhibited at DIY London Seen is mainstream commercial fodder that is regularly used for major branding.

However, this fact doesn’t reflect negatively on the spirit of the artists’ work or the exhibition itself. It merely highlights an unprecedented support for the arts (commercial or otherwise) and a vastly adjusted attitude about what it means to be an artist where to be commercial does not mean being a ‘sell-out’.

The space is donated by Covent Garden London, which provides gallery space in the West End to diverse forms of art through part of Covent Garden’s Art Tank movement.

The exhibition is curated by Bakul Patki and Lee Johnson of ‘Watch This Space’. Their previous experience in the commercial and critical art markets spans over ten years and as a result, they know how to put together a good exhibition.

charlie_woolley.jpg

The private view, replete with canapés filling enough to make a full dinner, was packed mainly with trendy young adults in their 20s and early 30s and a few stylish characters in their 40s. The invitees milled about in the two-storey, three-roomed space, drinking free cider, looking at the art and gathering in pockets outside to chat and smoke.

The exhibition space boasts 52 pieces of mainly original art including a seven foot tall mirror-tiled bear created by 21-year-old Arran Gregory and a lightbulb suspended from the ceiling, revolving on a record as it spins (I kept hoping that the bulb would eventually melt the record but instead the record keeps endlessly spinning).

LS_200809_004.JPG

There is a lot of illustration and photography of the sort you see around in many galleries in East London and on various advertising paraphernalia and as usual, some of it is good.

What stands out most about the exhibition is how, in a decade and a half, enough has changed so that what might once have been outsider art is now perfectly at home and fully catered for in the bustling centre of one of London’s most well-trafficked areas.

Young artists and older artists, property organisations, the public and the commercial world are a blur, shaking hands in every direction.

Disused property is now the breeding ground for emerging artists and successful commercial art curators are there to provide fully functioning and well-run exhibitions.

Whether the Beautiful Losers were the seminal artists paving the way for opportunities afforded to such artists as those of London Seen or not, they were lucky enough to rise to success. The acceptance of skateboard, graffiti, DIY culture could have come earlier, later or not at all.

London Seen and Beautiful Losers are reminders that in a commercially driven market making art isn’t about how much the public loves, or ignores, what you do. As trends come and go, their message is to never forfeit the ethos of doing what you love whatever the rest of the world thinks. History will always move forward and with it, the randomness of success.

Check out DIY London Seen in Covent Garden until 5th of September at 11, The Market Building, Covent Garden, London WC2 8RF.

Beautiful Losers is now available on DVD from the ICA.

Images courtesy: Joshua Millais (bear) and Watch This Space.

COMICA_FLYER_AW.jpg

Are you a budding comic artist? By that I don’t mean stand-up of course, approved but rather someone who fancies themselves as a bit of a comic stripper…

Well, visit this if so you might fancy getting your teeth sunk into this little competition from Ctrl.Alt.Shift.http://www.myspace.com/lightspeedchampion Judged by such luminaries as Dev aka Lightspeed Champion and Paul Gravett – who directs the Comica festival at the uber cool ICA and has authored countless books on comic art – this should be an excellent chance to get your work seen by a wide audience.

All that is required is for you to submit some examples of your work to Ctrl.Alt.Shift. by Friday 25th September.

So what happens then? If your work is picked as the winning entrant you will be asked to interpret a comic script written by Dev, which will then be featured in a 100 page book about corruption in politics and contributed to by all the best names in the world of comics and graphic novels. 5000 copies of the book will be sold in aid of charity and your work will feature in a month long exhibition about political comic art in the Lazerides Gallery in Soho during November.

The suggestion is that you pick as your submission something that is applicable to the theme of the competition (ie. corruption in politics), but bear in mind that the final entrants will be chosen on the basis of their visual flair rather than subject content. You can see the competition flyer below.

This is your chance to have your work included a really great project with a whole host of the best names in comic art. Plus it’s for a really worthwhile cause… Sounds like a great plan to me!

COMICA_A5_FLYER_AW.jpg

Categories ,comic art, ,comic strips, ,comics, ,comix, ,competitions, ,Ctrl.Alt.Shift, ,graphic novels

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Art Listings:

Monday 20th October
Design Museum, ailment website Alan Aldridge: Until Jan 25th
28 Butlers Wharf, try Shad Thames
Retrospective of Aldridge, an illustrator and graphic designer whose work includes album covers such as the Who and Elton John.

alan%20aldridge%20.jpg

Tuesday 21st
Rich Gallery, ‘Reflect Refract’: Pilita Garcia, Daniel Medina, Esperanza Mayobre, Eduardo Padilha, Lucia Pizzani, Dafna Talmor: Until 30th October
111 Mount Street, London W1K 2TT
Bringing emerging Brazilian, Chilean and Venezulan artists to the forefront, with photos, drawings and objects focusing on the themes on reflection and refraction, spaces and urban environments.

reflect%20refract%20exhibition.jpg

Wednesday 22nd
Jaguar Shoes, ‘Something for nothing’: 7pm onwards
What it says on the poster:

something%20for%20nothing.jpg

Thursday 23rd
Beyond Retro, ‘Rob Flowers Vs East End Lights’ at beyond Retro: 6-8pm
100-112 Cheshire St, E2 6EJ
The opening of the new East End Lights exhibition promises Halloweeny frocks, tricks and drinks as well as macabre illustrations and films by Flowers. His influences include Victorian sideshows, seaside images, owls and circus posters.

Rob_Flowers01-1.jpg

Friday 24th
b Store, 24a Saville Row, ‘ONGALOO’: Yamataka EYE, Paperback Magazine and Magical Artroom: Until 13th November
24a Saville Row, W1S 3PR
PAPERBACK magazine, b store and Magical Artroom present the first London exhibition of artworks by Yamataka EYE.

paperback%20mag.jpg

Conway Hall, ‘Small Publishers Fair 08‘:Fri 24th-Sat 25th 11am-7pm: Admission Free
Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Celebrating books by contemporary artists, poets, writers, composers, book designers and their publishers, together with a programme of readings and talks. Keep an eye out for ‘Pick and mix’ press publications.

conway%20hall%20flyer.jpg

Saturday 25th
ICA, ‘Incredibly Strange Comics’: Until 26th Nov
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
The world’s weirdest comics: Amputee Love! Hansi, The Girl Who Loved The Swastika! Trucker Fags in Denial! My Friend Dahmer! Mod Love! are all here for your viewing pleasure. American presidents as musclebound superheroes, warnings about the perils of smoking, communism and the A-bomb and promotions for popsicles, prunes and poultry feed.

incredibly%20strange%20comics.jpg

Categories ,Alan Aldridge, ,Art, ,Beyond Retro, ,Comics, ,Dafna Talmor, ,Daniel Medina, ,Design Museum, ,Eduardo Padilha, ,Esperanza Mayobre, ,Fair, ,Jaguarshoes, ,Listings, ,Lucia Pizzani, ,Paperback Magazine, ,Pilita Garcia

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Becky Barnicoat- Come In, Everyone is Here Already! Part 2

Happy-BirthdayImage courtesy Becky Barnicoat

Valerie Pezeron: You mentioned previously that you did a project as a comic book at school. Do you think that if kids did that now, visit web adiposity they would be better received…?
Becky Barnicoat: I doubt it in the school I went to, prescription decease but maybe in a school where you had an English teacher who was creative? It would probably be more in a state school I feel. I’ve got a really good friend who is an English teacher, page she does English media and film and she loves comic books and I’m sure if a kid did that, she’d be interested and maybe she’d recommend some comic books? But my teachers, had they ever heard of a comic? No. They had no interest. We had to do this project, which was about your future career in English literature, and I wanted to be a cartoonist. And I thought I should draw this and I have to confess it was an absolute load of shit! It was so badly drawn, it was really really superficial and I’m sure if I had executed this beautifully she would have been more impressed but I did do it quite roughly.

CIMG1386All photographs courtesy of Valerie Pezeron

VP: You think so?
BB: Maybe, because it would at least have been interesting but I gave in were those stupid cartoons…I didn’t take the project very seriously but yeah, I did get a D minus and a detention for not doing it properly! (Becky laughs)

VP: That is really a shame, because I think that it is quite an original way of doing things and you were trying to approach it from another point of view. If I were an English teacher, I would applaud this because it’s about the content. Did she even look at the content? Maybe she balked at the fact that you decided to draw instead of writing?
BB: I think it was a combination of both. What I did was a story of these two people that wanted to be cartoonists and they went on journey to try and find some cartooning heroes in America and it all went very wrong for them and they failed because nobody was interested in them. And it was really silly; I don’t know why…my school was not interested, I was actually told I was not allowed to do GCSE Art because I was too interested in cartoons and that wasn’t appropriate. They made me do a still life to prove I was serious about art. I did draw a still life of a bowl of fruit…b because my sketchbooks were full of cartoons. And they said, “We just don’t think you’re taking this very seriously, this isn’t art, this is messing around.” How depressing is that!

CIMG1389

VP: Very depressing! I’d be very depressed!
BB: How horrible is that because the only thing I cared about was art and I felt really upset about it!

VP: I agree and little knocks like that actually make a comic book artist, don’t you think?
BB: Yes, I guess, maybe eventually. But I felt I had too much self-doubt that what they said, “You’re not right, you can’t do art”, I thought, “Oh god, maybe they’re right.”

VP: I know because when you are at that age, you wanted to follow in the footsteps of all those great satirists. Who were you looking at when you were a teenager? How did you even get the idea that you could say things through cartoons?
BB: Yeah, I know! I don’t know why I liked cartoons.

CIMG1391

VP: Did you know Bosch or Gerald Scarfe?
BB: A little bit. My parents love art and cartoons. It’s more typical for British people to be interested in political cartoons. I used to thin I love the cartoons but I find the subject matter really boring. (Laughter) Why do cartoons have to be about politics all the time?

VP: But you were aware of the Victorian cartooning?
BB: Yeah, we had lots of Punch books and I used to look through them. And I did really enjoy some of them, but I’ve always really enjoyed the absurd more than possibly satire. I love satire but I think for what I want to do…I really enjoy Spike Milligan, but they were just little doodles. I’ve always enjoyed a drawing where you don’t need to be realist and you can still make someone feel something.

VP: What about movies, or anything that could have influenced you?
BB: Well, I guess, the beginning was probably just children books, which I absolutely loved. I ate them up.

wuss

VP: For instance?
BB: Oh, I mean I love them so much! We read so many, and the illustrations, I never forgot them! I still remember all the drawings from all the children books I read. You know, Meg and Mog, John Burningam who did the Avocado Baby, Mister Gumpy and Simp, they were really beautiful. We read Tim and Ginger by Ardizzone, we did a lot of Edward Ardizzone and Maurice Sendak. And I read all the Tintin books. My dad is a massive Tintin fan! That was good, that’s actually a proper comic strip in my life. The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr…they were just magical to me and much better than just words, which I always felt was a really controversial thing to say. But now I think you are allowed to say that! Pictures are almost borderline as respected as words, not quite, but still not quite! (Laughter) But I’d look at the pictures and you don’t need words, because it was so exciting and your imagination would go wild.

VP: So what attracted you to this world were the characters, the incongruous…?
BB: Yes, I’ve always loved those worlds where… The Tiger who came to Tea is a great example, actually. Have you read it?

VP: No, I must admit my references are more French. But I do know the Maurice Sendak, Ardezoni and the Tintin obviously.
BB: But this book The Tiger who came to Tea is about this girl and her mum waiting for the dad to come home. And then this tiger just turns up in the house and they invite him in. He has tea with them but he basically trashes the house; he drinks out of the tap and he drinks all of their water, he messes up all the kitchen but they never really question the fact that there is a tiger in there, they’re not really scared! (Laughter) You know, he’s just there and the mess he causes is like the idea of a big person coming around and it’s all very harmless! I love that and Babar: elephants and people, they just coexist, you know, that’s how it is! I love that!

Bear3Image courtesy of Becky Barnicoat

VP: London is like that, isn’t it? Our surroundings is filled with the strange, the incongruous, the elephant in the room but everybody is going about their business not seeming to notice each other. They’re all in a way little elephants! Or it’s actually the opposite: you are the elephant in the room!
BB: Yeah, I suppose so. I don’t know what it is; I think it’s pretty really simplistic. I think the world would be more fun if a dinosaur just walked down the street, right now…

VP: And just eating everybody? (Laughter)
BB: …I just love imagining that! And everyone would be like “oh, hello!”

VP: We can see all of the above have influences this new comic you have been working on?
BB: Completely. Part of my interest is people and their faces; I love drawing that. But in terms of my storytelling, I love people with…(Becky shows me a cartoon of hers). So this was a story about an old lady who has a robot and she doesn’t ever question the fact that her friend is a machine and he has to be plugged into the wall. He is slightly limited. In this story, she is watching X Factor and wanting to take part. She is telling him all about it but his plug is not in, so he hasn’t been listening in to anything she has been saying. It’s kind of sad but she doesn’t really feel sad about it, she just “oh dear” gets on with it. I love to have people interacting with unexpected characters and it’s almost normal.

VP: But that’s a bit different because that is for adults.
BB: But my upcoming children’s book will be, well sort of.

Bear2Image courtesy of Becky Barnicoat

VP: So this will be for adults?
BB: I think so, yeah, but for most adults and children. It’s going to have darkness in it because it’s about a couple that go to stay in a cabin in the woods. And then the boyfriend goes out, he has to go and get batteries or something. He gets eaten by a bear. And then the bear comes into the house. She is waiting for the boyfriend to return and she hears what she thinks is the boyfriend coming into the bedroom, but it’s the bear! You think, “he’s going to eat her”, but he picks up the guitar and he sings a song on the end of her bed. And she hears the music and smiles. You don’t know if she knows the bear and she doesn’t mind. And the bear is not probably going to hurt her; he’s just singing a song. I don’t know what that really means but I like those kind of weird, absurd scenarios.

VP: I like this take on childhood. In a way, children are more ready to enjoy or to open the door to the unreal or surreal.
BB: Yeah, I think that’s true.

VP: And they are more accepting of the extraordinary.
BB: Yeah, definitely. I like the idea of the extraordinary being fairly normal. That’s probably what runs through everything. (Valerie is looking at the sketchbooks) I’m trying to draw every morning now. I have to do a comic. I was so tired when I did these sketches!

CIMG1394

VP: I think it’s a really good effort! In the last few months, I have not worked on my comic book. I think I’ve been through writers’ block. Now, since last month, I’m forcing myself to do this again. Do you have moments like that? I mean, it’s terrible; my publisher at New Humanist is still waiting on me to show my complete graphic novel! Do you get that?
BB: Yes, definitely. I had it…hum…a longish period of my life when I wasn’t really drawing. When I was in university, I was the cartoonist for the student paper, so I was drawing every week. And then I just got to a point where I felt “I’m just not going to do this anymore”. I’m going to do journalism and I started editing my own magazine. And for that year, I was barely drawing at all. And then I went down to London and I got a job on a teenage girl magazine. I wasn’t drawing at all during the whole year I worked for that magazine. I barely drew; I think I drew card for friends. And then I started to really worry about the fact I hadn’t drawn for ages. I was getting insomnias as well, which was weird. And I started to try and draw again and I just couldn’t do a thing. I had an almighty creative block. I’s sit at the pad and draw rubbish, awful stickmen pretty much. I’d think: “this is it! Oh my god, I’ve killed it!” And it took me, well, until now, to get back to a place where I have ideas. I just forced myself.

VP: You know, I find that with me, when I have those blocks, I don’t have the dreams that I usually get when I am really creative- mad and very rich dreams. And I have to run the next morning and write it down or draw something. Do you have that?
BB: Yeah, definitely. When I am not drawing I become really dead, I think, inside. And I don’t sleep, I’ve discovered. If I don’t draw, I get insomnia.

VP: What made you want to go into journalism if you wanted so early on to be part of the visual arts?
BB: Well, when I started drawing on the student paper cartoons, I started editing the art section. I actually do enjoy editing articles. I find it really satisfying; tightening it up, cutting it down, you know, questioning things that don’t make sense. That appealed to another side of me.

CIMG1388

VP: So would you recommend it as a way to get into comic art?
BB: I don’t know. I keep thinking I should try and draw something for the paper. But then similarly to you, I feel going to them with my portfolio, I think “Oh no, they won’t like it”, so I’m a bit scared of being judged and rejected.

VP: Yeah! One of the reasons why I really had to do this interview is that we really have a similar journey. We’re very different, but in some ways we have some similarities. Especially, I wanted to know about the blog. I find interesting what you said about…when you started the blog, and then things started to happen. Did you have that in mind when you created the blog?
BB: Yeah, definitely. The idea of the blog was to make sure I was drawing every day, to have something I’d say “public”. But I mean, god knows how many people check it; maybe ten of my friends. The idea would be they’d be expecting me to do something and I couldn’t just put it off because I’d be really letting myself down in public. You know, people would know I wasn’t drawing. So if I say “I really want to be a cartoonist”, they’d go “oh, you really didn’t update your blog for three months and they’d know that it’s bollocks. That was part of it; to force myself to actually follow through with this thing I was telling everyone. And then, ok, you have to show people what your cartoons are. So I started doing that.

VP: Did you advertise the blog?
BB: I sent a group email around to my mates saying here is my new blog. And that was it!

VP: I think it’s a very nice blog, very offbeat with great sense of humour and comic timing.
BB: Oh, thank you, I’m so glad. I think what’s been really nice about it. One person won’t get what I put up, but then somebody else would say, “That’s my favourite!” It sounds so corny but even if it’s one person who likes it, it makes me feel it’s totally worth doing a cartoon if even one person enjoys it.

Categories ,Babar, ,Becky Barnicoat, ,blog, ,books, ,comic art, ,comic books, ,comica, ,comics, ,comicstrips, ,Edward Ardizzone, ,Fantagraphics, ,fanzine, ,Gerald Scarfe, ,graphic novels, ,Hieronimus Bosch, ,humour, ,ica, ,John Burningham, ,journalism, ,leeds university, ,Maurice Sendak, ,Meg and Mog, ,New Humanist, ,Paul Gravett, ,sequential artist, ,The Guardian, ,Valerie Pezeron, ,Valoche Designs, ,viz, ,Wimbledon college of art

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Becky Barnicoat- Come In, Everyone is Here Already!

Bear

© Becky Barnicoat

Becky Barnicoat works as the commissioning editor on the Guardian Weekend magazine, purchase pharmacy but is also a cartoonist and currently works on a new comic about a musical bear – you can see a couple of sketches from it on her blog.

She’s always drawn, buy information pills and when she was at school I did a whole English project (the title was ‘My future career’) in comic book form. She got a D- and a detention for it. One could say that was kind of the theme of things – most authority figures think cartoons are for babies. “I wish I could have shown them Maus so they could see how wrong they were, ambulance but I didn’t know it existed back then” Becky says.

Everyone is here zine© Becky Barnicoat

She started the blog Come in, Everyone is here already a couple of years ago and since then has started drawing for various people – including Le Cool magazine, Harry Hill and Five Dials. She was on the panel at the Salem Brownstone event at Comica this year, and last year drew the ‘Bowie and Bowie’ comic strip for Comica PoCom – which was on the wall in the ICA.

She is an enterprising gal as she also sporadically self-publishes a zine called Everyone Is Here Already.

Valerie Pezeron: What is the inspiration behind your work? Did you use visual references doing your faces?

CIMG1395Photograph Becky Barnicoat© Valerie Pezeron

Becky Barnicoat: Actually, that particular page all came from my head. It’s probably what I have always done from when I was a kid sitting in lessons, just drawing faces and caricatures of my teachers, that was quite a big thing. One of them was quite a nice woman, but she had an odd-looking face and I drew an awful caricature of her. She found my notebook and she looked really hurt, that was awful!

CIMG1392Photograph Becky Barnicoat© Valerie Pezeron

VP: Was it the lady who sent you to detention?
BB: She wasn’t one of the bad teachers but one of the good ones. It’s just that she looked a little bit like a guinea pig. But I won’t say anymore because she might read this! So this what I have always done; I just did “Faces” from my head, I find it really fun. I love the possibility of how ugly something could be but I don’t find that disgusting: I love weird faces so much and sometimes I see people on the street and their faces are just bizarre. The odder the shape the better it is.

VP: I agree with you there are so many different characters out there, especially where you live, in Stoke Newington.
BB: Oh yes! I cycle to work and I see many faces I want to draw! The other day I was cycling through Newington green and I saw this woman crossing the road and she had so much of something on her face that her skin was almost reddy-orange. And I was thinking “My, she’s put a bit too much foundation on, it looks extraordinary” and I thought maybe the poor woman has some terrible skin condition. And she would be a wonderful drawing but not in a way that would be mocking her. I love it when people look unusual.

Profile© Becky Barnicoat

VP: So would it be fair to say it is people that draw you to being creative? It’s not about the blandness of objects…

BB: That’s probably true; I’m not very good with objects. Landscapes? Not so much. It’s never been my thing, which is actually now a problem. I can get my pen going on a person or an animal but I have to put them somewhere and perspective is tricky.

VP: Don’t downplay your abilities!BB: (Laughter) So this is one side of what I am interested in. These were people who were on the Internet, and I drew them in on style…

VP: Glad you bring that up. I have noticed you don’t have one particular style.

BB: No, Definitely not!

VP: Is it on purpose or did you try to develop one or you don’t care that much?

BB: Good question as I think about it a lot. I definitely don’t try not to have one style. I just can’t imagine myself committing to just one style; I’d really miss too much the other style.

VP: So do you apply one style to one specific subject?

BB: Yeah, I suppose that is it, but it’s not that conscious. It just happens. I think of an idea and it’s immediately obvious to me what style should be for that.

VP: I see, very interestingly, you use all kinds of medium, inks, pen and washes, watercolour…

BB: It’s not premeditated when I use, and I love to use pen and ink. And I use this medium mostly.

monster© Becky Barnicoat

VP: Tell us about the fanzine. When did you start it?

BB: That was a project a comic book artist friend of mine called Tom and I started. Just like me, he has a full-time job. We both want to be comic book artists and we decided we should do a comic book. A friend of mine who used to work in a bookshop called Persephone proposed we do a comic book evening; it will be in two months, you both work on the comic book and then we can sell it in the shop with drinks and music and we invite people along. They were ALL of our friends, there weren’t any strangers there at all!

VP: How many people?

BB: It was quite full actually…all of my family, friends of friends! I had about 50 copies of my magazine and they all sold! But another project came up at the same time and I had to really rush it!

VP: So this is issue 1 and issue 2 is planned for later? When did you do this one?

BB: That was earlier this year, sort of June / July.

VP: How often would you see yourself doing this fanzine?

BB: I’d like to do them much more often than I do but with my full time job, it’s not really that straightforward. Wake up every morning at 6.30 am, draw for an hour and then go work full-time at the office. I’d like to do it much more often. What Tom and me are going to do in the next couple of weeks is a 12-hour comic and whatever comes out of that will probably be issue 2. It will be much messier, scruffier and perhaps not make much sense!

Invite© Becky Barnicoat

VP: So I’m really interested to know about your journey? Did you go to university and study journalism?

BB: I didn’t, no, not for journalism. I went to an all-girls school in Barnes and then to Wimbledon Art College for foundation. It’s not that exciting, I was shocked at how crap it is. Everyone said “this is one of the best art schools” but it was awful! I stayed and I just about scraped a pass. Some of the people who I thought were the best there got fails because they just didn’t care. They were vicious about your actual work: “This is fine”, looking at someone’s beautiful drawings “but where is your reflective notebook and diary…sorry but that is part of your course requirements. If you don’t have those then we can’t pass you. Some of the students were part of that course in the 1st place because they are dyslexics, they didn’t want to write, and that’s why they are artists! It’s just insane. Wimbledon wanted everyone to be totally institutionalised, do their 9 to 5… The people whose work was the least inspiring but came in every day got the best grades. They were the stars of the year- the work was not great but they got lads of it!

VP: Woody Allen said a big part of success is showing up. It’s one of my favorite quotes and I think about it often.

BB: It’s so true! There were these brilliant dysfunctional characters with amazing imaginations and absolutely raw talent…you should allow them to thrive and allowing people work in the way that they naturally do because that is going to produce the best work. I hated doing the foundation. I really liked the idea of going to art school and part of me regrets it now; I don’t regret the choice I made because I had a brilliant time going to Leeds reading English Literature. Before that, I had a lot of pressure from everybody; I went to an all-girls private school all through my secondary school and all they were interested in was academia. They didn’t care about you wanting to be an artist; they just thought that was pathetic, they hated me. I’d say I want to be a cartoonist when I am older, and they’d go “Come again?” I always wanted to be a cartoonist since I was about 5. And then I ended up doing English, what was I thinking!

VP: I think it actually ties in, as it’s very close. I call what I do visual journalism or… cartoonist?

BB: Oh, but you’re not allowed to say cartoonist! We are visual communicators or sequential artists.

Camera© Becky Barnicoat

VP: So you knew that young! I remember doing my 1st graphic novel at 7.

BB: But in France, they have a much stronger culture of comics.

VP: That is true if you come from the right background. My family did not have a clue and I had to come here to explore all that was possible…

BB: I feel exactly the same. I did not even know people did comic books until I was maybe in my 2nd and 3rd year at university. I was in Cornwall on a holiday with my family and I was getting the train back to London. We went into Waterstones as I wanted to buy a book for the train. I noticed this really colorful cartoon and I picked up this book and it was Daniel Clowes20th Century Eight Ball”. I thought grown-ups didn’t do cartoons, I had nor idea! Some of his pictures are so grotesque and disgusting; then I realised some of them were just about people chatting over coffee and having existential conversations.

VP: It’s very close to what you do, isn’t it? It’s definitely inspired you?

BB: Oh yeah, oh god, completely! I picked up this thing and it was a revelation! I recall thinking I can’t believe this thing is real; I can’t wait to read it. I was laughing so much while reading it on my way back on the train. Then I read this comic strip called “Art School Confidential”. You have to read it if you did not have a good time at art college. It’s so fun, it’s just the best, it’s perfect, and it’s exactly my experience of Art College! And then I realised other people were like me, they wanted to be a cartoonist and everyone at art school told them they were fools. You have to read it, it’s very good, it’s a collection of a lot his fanzines. It’s a satirical expose of his time at art school with a lot of people who are very pretentious. It seems amazing now that I didn’t know that he existed. I always associated comics with either superheroes, for boys or the dirty and sexy stuff like Vizz. Part of me wishes I could really love Vizz but I am put off every time I read it. “Yeah, right, woman with massive boobs naked in some joke…” it’s really basic toilet humour!

VP: We need more women graphic novelists!

BB: I agree. From those books, I discovered a whole world of cartoonists in America. It’s massive over there!

Cook© Becky Barnicoat

VP: What do you think of the UK comic book industry?

BB: I don’t think it even exists. There is not even a publisher that has an interest in it, really. Jonathan Cape do a few but they mainly bring American ones over. They just publish so very few British people. I don’t feel there is anyone really looking for it. So everyone over here is getting obsessed with Daniel Clowes, Charles Burnes and Chris Ware. They’re just about discovering people that, if you don’t know who they are, you must be living in Britain.

VP: Have you had a look at what’s going on in Europe?

BB: I did take a look. I went over to Portugal, in Lisbon to write a feature on the arts scene there for the Guardian. I met up with a load of comic book artists and illustrators such as Andre LemosJoao-Maio Pinto, Filipe Abranches.  It was fantastic! They had that wonderful European attitude: “We grew up with comic books, it’s part of our culture”. I said I only discovered “Strip Burger” when I was 21. They said “Strip Burger, we knew about that when we were only 2!”

CIMG1387Becky’s office at home © Becky Barnicoat

VP: That’s true with French people too. When you went to Comica festival, did you feel that something was about to take off? I know Paul Gravett feels very religiously that it is happening!

BB: Ah, Paul! Paul is incredible and without him, it would be…he is basically the comic book scene now. It all kind of stems from him, it is fantastic to have him there like this uncle who advises all those artists who didn’t’ think they could do this. He is the catalyst. Since I have discovered that, I’ve realised there is this world of people who want to do this, who love it, who know about all these artists. And they’re really frustrated in this country because it’s not really understood. People are quite illiterate, I think, regarding comics. But I have met loads of people now through Comica and other things. I just discovered this guy called Dash Shaw; his first book is about a thousand pages, called “Bottomless Belly Button”, Fantagraphics. He did this living in a tiny bedroom; he said he was so poor. I asked him how he made it as a comic book artist, how he paid his rent. He said, “ When I left college, I went and rented a tiny, tiny room for $200 a month and I worked part-time as a life model and I drew every second of every day. And he said it took him years, he must have drawn over a thousand pages of comics until anything happened. And he presented a manuscript to a big editor at a comics’ fair; they took him on and published it immediately. It’s a fairytale.

VP: Well, it is. You have to have some kind of break otherwise…

BB: Otherwise you are plugging away in the bedroom!

Tune-in next week for Part 2 of the interview!

Categories ,Becky Barnicoat, ,blog, ,books, ,comic art, ,comic books, ,comica, ,comics, ,comicstrips, ,Fantagraphics, ,fanzine, ,graphic novels, ,humour, ,ica, ,journalism, ,leeds university, ,Paul Gravett, ,sequential artist, ,The Guardian, ,viz, ,Wimbledon college of art

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Comic books: not reserved to spotty nerds

EJF

Image courtesy of Environmental Justice Foundation

ENVIRONMNENTAL JUSTICE FOUNDATION POP-UP STORE
13-27 NOVEMBER (MON-SAT: 10-7PM, cialis 40mg SUN: 12-6PM)
WHITE GOLD, 1ST FLOOR, KINGLY COURT, W1
FREE ENTRY
Over the coming fortnight the Environmental Justice Foundation charity will be setting up shop in the heart of London’s Carnaby Street to help raise awareness of forced child labour and environmental abuses in cotton production. The EJF pop-up store will be selling a limited edition range of T-shirts designed in collaboration with fashion heavyweights such as Luella, Giles Deacon, Zandra Rhodes, John Rocha, Betty Jackson, Christian Lacroix, Allegra Hicks, Katharine Hamnett, Jenny Packham, Alice Temperley, Richard Nicoll and Ciel. EJF will also be stocking 100 shopper bags designed by Eley Kishimoto which will retail at the bargain price of £10 or come free when you spend over £50 in store. As they sold out like hot potatoes at LFW last month make sure you get there while stock lasts.

ASSEMBLY THRIFT STORE OPENING
19 NOVEMBER
THE WATERMAN’S BUILDING, ASSEMBLY PASSAGE, E1
FREE ENTRY
This week sees the lovely chaps behind the East End Thrift Store open a new shop called Assembly just off Brick Lane. As an expansion of the existing space in Whitechapel, Assembly aims to bring together the most eclectic and unique vintage finds in clothing, accessories, jewellery, quilts, fabrics and even rare books. Situated within a disused factory the shop space has been created to resemble a New York loft which will also be used to host exhibitions and installations and installations by young contemporary artists.

article_7

Image courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum

CELEBRATE OUR FASCINATION WITH HAIR
FRIDAY 20TH NOVEMBER (6:30-10PM)
V&A MUSEUM: SACKLER CENTRE, CROMWELL ROAD, SW7
FREE ENTRY
If you’re looking to change your image or simply want a new hairdo for the festive season than treat yourself to a makeover courtesy of London College of Fashion students. Head down to the V&A to take part in a fashion illustration workshop and watch an A-list make up demonstration led by LCF’s partner institution the Hong Kong Design Institute. For those who are less keen on having a student get to grips with your locks you can always experiment and try new hairstyles digitally.

sourcing_marketplace5

Image courtesy of Ethical Fashion Forum

GLOBAL SOURCING MARKETPLACE
20-21 NOVEMBER (FRI: 10-7PM, SAT: 10:30-5PM)
CHELSEA COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN, 16 JOHN ISLIP STREET, SW1
£20 FOR UNLIMITEDE ACCESS OVER BOTH DAYS
Later this week the Ethical Fashion Forum will be hosting a two-day ethical sourcing marketplace which will bring together an array of brands, retailers, manufacturers and cooperatives working to high ethical standards. This yearly event aims to create opportunities for suppliers with the overall goal being to reduce the environmental impact of the industry, support fair and equitable trade, and reduce poverty. The event gives industry professionals and consumers an opportunity to network with suppliers and gain information about ways to get involved through a series of seminars and talks.

DESIGNER SALES UK SAMPLE SALE
20-22 NOVEMBER (FRI: 11-9PM, SAT: 11-8PM, SUN: 11-5:30PM)
85 BRICKLANE, E1
£2 ENTRY, £1 CONCESSIONS
Brainchild of Elaine Foster-Gandey, the DSUK website was founded 20 years ago and is the first in its kind to sell samples and stock directly from the biggest fashion houses to customers at seriously discounted prices. Currently gearing up for their fourth sample sale of the year later this week, expect to find great value womenswear, menswear, kidswear and accessories. With over 100 different labels to choose from during this three day shopping extravaganza you’re sure to find a bargain.
EJF

Image courtesy of Environmental Justice Foundation

ENVIRONMNENTAL JUSTICE FOUNDATION POP-UP STORE
13-27 NOVEMBER (MON-SAT: 10-7PM, mind SUN: 12-6PM)
WHITE GOLD, more about 1ST FLOOR, information pills KINGLY COURT, W1
FREE ENTRY
Over the coming fortnight the Environmental Justice Foundation charity will be setting up shop in the heart of London’s Carnaby Street to help raise awareness of forced child labour and environmental abuses in cotton production. The EJF pop-up store will be selling a limited edition range of T-shirts designed in collaboration with fashion heavyweights such as Luella, Giles Deacon, Zandra Rhodes, John Rocha, Betty Jackson, Christian Lacroix, Allegra Hicks, Katharine Hamnett, Jenny Packham, Alice Temperley, Richard Nicoll and Ciel. EJF will also be stocking 100 shopper bags designed by Eley Kishimoto which will retail at the bargain price of £10 or come free when you spend over £50 in store. As they sold out like hot potatoes at LFW last month make sure you get there while stock lasts.

ASSEMBLY THRIFT STORE OPENING
19 NOVEMBER
THE WATERMAN’S BUILDING, ASSEMBLY PASSAGE, E1
FREE ENTRY
This week sees the lovely chaps behind the East End Thrift Store open a new shop called Assembly just off Brick Lane. As an expansion of the existing space in Whitechapel, Assembly aims to bring together the most eclectic and unique vintage finds in clothing, accessories, jewellery, quilts, fabrics and even rare books. Situated within a disused factory the shop space has been created to resemble a New York loft which will also be used to host exhibitions and installations and installations by young contemporary artists.

article_7

Image courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum

CELEBRATE OUR FASCINATION WITH HAIR
FRIDAY 20TH NOVEMBER (6:30-10PM)
V&A MUSEUM: SACKLER CENTRE, CROMWELL ROAD, SW7
FREE ENTRY
If you’re looking to change your image or simply want a new hairdo for the festive season than treat yourself to a makeover courtesy of London College of Fashion students. Head down to the V&A to take part in a fashion illustration workshop and watch an A-list make up demonstration led by LCF’s partner institution the Hong Kong Design Institute. For those who are less keen on having a student get to grips with your locks you can always experiment and try new hairstyles digitally.

sourcing_marketplace5

Image courtesy of Ethical Fashion Forum

GLOBAL SOURCING MARKETPLACE
20-21 NOVEMBER (FRI: 10-7PM, SAT: 10:30-5PM)
CHELSEA COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN, 16 JOHN ISLIP STREET, SW1
£20 FOR UNLIMITEDE ACCESS OVER BOTH DAYS
Later this week the Ethical Fashion Forum will be hosting a two-day ethical sourcing marketplace which will bring together an array of brands, retailers, manufacturers and cooperatives working to high ethical standards. This yearly event aims to create opportunities for suppliers with the overall goal being to reduce the environmental impact of the industry, support fair and equitable trade, and reduce poverty. The event gives industry professionals and consumers an opportunity to network with suppliers and gain information about ways to get involved through a series of seminars and talks.

DESIGNER SALES UK SAMPLE SALE
20-22 NOVEMBER (FRI: 11-9PM, SAT: 11-8PM, SUN: 11-5:30PM)
85 BRICKLANE, E1
£2 ENTRY, £1 CONCESSIONS
Brainchild of Elaine Foster-Gandey, the DSUK website was founded 20 years ago and is the first in its kind to sell samples and stock directly from the biggest fashion houses to customers at seriously discounted prices. Currently gearing up for their fourth sample sale of the year later this week, expect to find great value womenswear, menswear, kidswear and accessories. With over 100 different labels to choose from during this three day shopping extravaganza you’re sure to find a bargain.
Walking into the ICA on Sunday the 8th of November and you would not have recognised the usual contemporary art venue. The corridor joining the reception to the cafe area was transformed in a vast art experiment with artists drawing little sketches of witty speech bubbles all over the walls.

com2

Welcome to the sixth Comica festival, ailment a place where aspiring graphic novelists get the chance to rub shoulders with established comic book artists for a whole day and where the average age of the hip attendees is 25 to 35. Paul Gravett, price a long time supporter and influential figure in the English comics community who also happens to be organising the festival, viagra 100mg believes that events such as Comica are proof that people’s mindsets about the comics book industry is changing. “Comics tend to be ghettoised by the fan community but we’re trying to build connections between comics and other art forms. It has taken time for people to realise that comics can be about anything. Comic artists haven’t got to draw Batman and there aren’t many rules. It’s about the maturing of the readership and publishers, recognising that this is an exciting form of storytelling.”

The first talk of the afternoon, Starting Out in Graphic Novels, was aiming to help aspiring graphic novelists understand better what it takes to succeed in a business that does not pay as well as commercial art but is as competitive a field. Brian Talbot and Julian Hanshaw explained how time-consuming and hard-graft it is to put a graphic novel together; It took Talbot about 4 years to concoct his last one.

The talk was followed by the presentation of the winners of The Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story prize. This competition is in its third year and attracted over 300 entries. The first prize went to the vividly captured and tender story “Paint” by Vivien McDermid, which the judges thought was a touching portrayal of mother with their small toddler.

Meanwhile, the most sizzling and significant gathering of scribes and scrawlers from across the UK indie scene was taking place in the main theatre; Comica Comiket Small Press Fair was packed with an eclectic selection of self-published comics from dozens of storytellers and collectives. The Internet is a great tool but these exquisite limited editions, show that holding an hand printed original piece is much better than web-comics.

com1

Later, I attended the Ctrl.Alt.Shift Comic Art Propaganda panel discussion where author Fredrik Strömberg, writer Pat Mills, Sean Duffield and cartoonist Polyp debated about political cartooning and its relevance today in our society. There is a huge variety of stories and genres out there that go way beyond any stereotypes people may have about comics and graphic novels. Women artists have flocked to be part of the scene; Cartoonist Polyp is the author of Speechless, an eco-fable published by Friends of the Earth. Award-winning biographies such as Perseplois by Marjanne Satrapi have been turned into successful movies. Comic books are a vibrant and compelling medium where so much can still be achieved. Graphic novels are at last getting some well deserved recognition; they are not just for the illiterate or teenage geeks as some people still believe. It is the older generations who mainly buy graphic novels in the UK and at Comica you could really see that fact reiterated.

Categories ,art, ,artists, ,comic books, ,comica, ,comics, ,contemporary art, ,Ctrl.Alt.Shift, ,exhibition, ,fair, ,festival, ,graphic novels, ,ica, ,Indie, ,london, ,Pat Mills, ,Paul Gravett, ,review, ,self-published, ,Small press, ,writers

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Sparky Deathcap – Interview

Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
There’s a big buzz around Erdem, link especially amongst the highly groomed and black attired fash-pack. As I entered Senate House I couldn’t but help noting that I looked somewhat out of place, order clashing floral print leggings and gold hi tops peeking out below my sensible black coat, information pills my hair somewhat wilder than the average attendee. Author Talitha Stevenson has just written a new book, Disappear, which describes the lives of hedge fund managers and their wives, many of whom work in “fashion” and I think this may have been where they hang out.

my legs, erdem
This is a view of my legs at Erdem.

One great thing about fashion week is the opportunity to visit fabulous venues that I would never otherwise get to know. Senate House is an art deco masterpiece, and the Grand Hall offered a dramatic setting for the Erdem show, enhanced by the huge globe lights that shed a bright diffused luminescence.

Senate House, Erdem
Senate House.

As I was seated on the upper balcony I was given a brief nod of acknowledgement by Sara from Relative MO PR, a girl who I’ve known as long as I’ve worked in fashion – from way back when we were both humble interns gossiping about our bosses and getting drunk on free cocktails at bad model parties. She’s much younger than me, but she’s since risen up the ranks and I am no longer considered worthy of a proper chat.

balcony at erdem
a view from the balcony at Erdem
A view from the balcony at Erdem.

As she crouched next to some doyenne of fashion I overheard their conversation: she’s getting married, with a ceilidh in the countryside. I felt like saying: “Ah, but will your ceilidh band be as good as mine?!” But I didn’t – because it is the job of a fashion PR to chat to the most important people and I most definitely am not considered important. A fact of which I am very proud – I like to exist on the fringes of fashion, getting excited by only those things I think are worth being excited about and staying away from all the behind-the-scenes machinations. But I won’t pretend it’s not highly irritating when someone I’ve known for a very long time no longer sees fit to talk to me. Such is the world of fashion my friends.

Sometimes the models at a show are just so ultra skinny you are left wondering how they have the energy to stride down the catwalk, let alone do so in a vivacious manner. Erdem was one such show where I was struck by their absolute thinness, no doubt compounded by the pallid make-up and severe pulled back hairdos. But stride they did, criss-crossing the balcony before making a circuit of the downstairs hall. And I thought, why are all these ladies in black getting so excited about Erdem? It’s a strange fact of fashion that those with the most power, the top buyers and PRs, all look exactly the same – the exact opposite in fact of what fashion implores us to do. Erdem showed delicate geometric prints in muted autumnal tones of mustard yellow, teal and rust. There were high rounded shoulders, shaggy ruffles, lace and high waisted miniskirts to compliment the swinging maxi dresses that swept so wonderfully down the balcony. I swear there was not one tone of black in the whole darn collection.

Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem Photography by Amelia gregory
Erdem Photography by Amelia gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

As I left I noticed that all the goodie bags had been left behind – a sure sign that this particular audience was too good for free hair products, even if they looked as though they might actually use such things. On my way out I made my first and only sighting of Diana Pernet, who writes A Shaded View on Fashion blog but is best noted for her ever-present foot high hair-do. I passed Erdem himself doing a meet ‘n’ greet as I turned to go down the staircase, a large queue of sycophants waiting to fawn over the designer. But I wonder, just how many of those in attendance would ever actually wear his clothes, beautiful as they were?

Diane Pernet
Diane Pernet.

Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

There’s a big buzz around Erdem, order especially amongst the highly groomed and black attired fash-pack. As I entered Senate House I couldn’t help noting that I looked somewhat out of place, visit this clashing floral print leggings and gold hi tops peeking out below my sensible black coat, my hair somewhat wilder than the average attendee. Author Talitha Stevenson has just written a new book, Disappear, which describes the lives of hedge fund managers and their wives, many of whom work in “fashion” and I think this may have been where they hang out.

my legs, erdem
This is a view of my legs at Erdem. Lovely angle eh?

One great thing about fashion week is the opportunity to visit fabulous venues that I would never otherwise get to know. Senate House is an art deco masterpiece, and the Grand Hall offered a dramatic setting for the Erdem show, enhanced by the huge globe lights that shed a bright diffused luminescence.

Senate House, Erdem
Senate House.

As I was seated on the upper balcony I was given a brief nod of acknowledgement by Sara from Relative MO PR, a girl who I’ve known as long as I’ve worked in fashion – from way back when we were both humble interns gossiping about our bosses and getting drunk on free cocktails at bad model parties. She’s much younger than me, but she’s since risen up the ranks and I am no longer considered worthy of a proper chat.

balcony at erdem
a view from the balcony at Erdem
A view from the balcony at Erdem.

As she crouched next to some doyenne of fashion I overheard their conversation: she’s getting married, with a ceilidh in the countryside. I felt like saying: “Ah, but will your ceilidh band be as good as mine?!” But I didn’t – because it is the job of a fashion PR to chat to the most important people and I most definitely am not considered important. A fact of which I am very proud – I like to exist on the fringes of fashion, getting excited by only those things I think are worth being excited about and staying away from all the behind-the-scenes machinations. But I won’t pretend it’s not highly irritating when someone I’ve known for a very long time no longer sees fit to talk to me. Such is the world of fashion my friends.

Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

Sometimes the models at a show are just so ultra skinny you are left wondering how they have the energy to stride down the catwalk, let alone do so in a vivacious manner. Erdem was one such show where I was struck by their absolute thinness, no doubt compounded by the pallid make-up and severe pulled back hairdos. But stride they did, criss-crossing the balcony before making a circuit of the downstairs hall. And I thought, why are all these ladies in black getting so excited about Erdem? It’s a strange fact of fashion that those with the most power, the top buyers and PRs, all look exactly the same – the exact opposite in fact of what fashion implores us to do. Erdem showed delicate geometric prints in muted autumnal tones of mustard yellow, teal and rust. There were high rounded shoulders, shaggy ruffles, lace and high waisted miniskirts to compliment the swinging maxi dresses that swept so wonderfully down the balcony. I swear there was not one tone of black in the whole darn collection.

Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem Photography by Amelia gregory
Erdem Photography by Amelia gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

As I left I noticed that all the goodie bags had been left behind – a sure sign that this particular audience was too good for free hair products, even if they looked as though they might actually use such things. On my way out I made my first and only sighting of Diana Pernet, who writes A Shaded View on Fashion blog but is best noted for her ever-present foot high hair-do. I then passed Erdem himself doing a meet ‘n’ greet as I turned to go down the staircase, a large queue of sycophants waiting to fawn over the designer. But I wonder, just how many of those in attendance would ever actually wear his clothes, beautiful as they were?

Diane Pernet
Diane Pernet.

Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

There’s a big buzz around Erdem, web especially amongst the highly groomed and black attired fash-pack. As I entered Senate House I couldn’t help noting that I looked somewhat out of place, physician clashing floral print leggings and gold hi tops peeking out below my sensible black coat, seek my hair somewhat wilder than the average attendee. Author Talitha Stevenson has just written a new book, Disappear, which describes the lives of hedge fund managers and their wives, many of whom work in “fashion” and I think this may have been where they hang out.

my legs, erdem
This is a view of my legs at Erdem. Lovely angle eh?

One great thing about fashion week is the opportunity to visit fabulous venues that I would never otherwise get to know. Senate House is an art deco masterpiece, and the Grand Hall offered a dramatic setting for the Erdem show, enhanced by the huge globe lights that shed a bright diffused luminescence.

Senate House, Erdem
Senate House.

As I was seated on the upper balcony I was given a brief nod of acknowledgement by Sara from Relative MO PR, a girl who I’ve known as long as I’ve worked in fashion – from way back when we were both humble interns gossiping about our bosses and getting drunk on free cocktails at bad model parties. She’s much younger than me, but she’s since risen up the ranks and I am no longer considered worthy of a proper chat.

balcony at erdem
a view from the balcony at Erdem
A view from the balcony at Erdem.

As she crouched next to some doyenne of fashion I overheard their conversation: she’s getting married, with a ceilidh in the countryside. I felt like saying: “Ah, but will your ceilidh band be as good as mine?!” But I didn’t – because it is the job of a fashion PR to chat to the most important people and I most definitely am not considered important. A fact of which I am very proud – I like to exist on the fringes of fashion, getting excited by only those things I think are worth being excited about and staying away from all the behind-the-scenes machinations. But I won’t pretend it’s not highly irritating when someone I’ve known for a very long time no longer sees fit to talk to me. Such is the world of fashion my friends.

Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix
Erdem by Rachel de Ste. Croix.

Sometimes the models at a show are just so ultra skinny you are left wondering how they have the energy to stride down the catwalk, let alone do so in a vivacious manner. Erdem was one such show where I was struck by their absolute thinness, no doubt compounded by the pallid make-up and severe pulled back hairdos. But stride they did, criss-crossing the balcony before making a circuit of the downstairs hall. And I thought, why are all these ladies in black getting so excited about Erdem? It’s a strange fact of fashion that those with the most power, the top buyers and PRs, all look exactly the same – the exact opposite in fact of what fashion implores us to do. Erdem showed delicate geometric prints in muted autumnal tones of mustard yellow, teal and rust. There were high rounded shoulders, shaggy ruffles, lace and high waisted miniskirts to compliment the swinging maxi dresses that swept so wonderfully down the balcony. I swear there was not one tone of black in the whole darn collection.

Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem Photography by Amelia gregory
Erdem Photography by Amelia gregory
Erdem. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Erdem. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

As I left I noticed that all the goodie bags had been left behind – a sure sign that this particular audience was too good for free hair products, even if they looked as though they might actually use such things. On my way out I made my first and only sighting of Diana Pernet, who writes A Shaded View on Fashion blog but is best noted for her ever-present foot high hair-do. I then passed Erdem himself doing a meet ‘n’ greet as I turned to go down the staircase, a large queue of sycophants waiting to fawn over the designer. But I wonder, just how many of those in attendance would ever actually wear his clothes, beautiful as they were?

Diane Pernet
Diane Pernet.

Sparky Deathcap is a twenty-something musician and artist from Cheshire, sale whose wry tales of love and loss are in turns hilarious and heartwrenching. You may have caught him recently supporting the likes of Los Campesinos! and Hot Club de Paris.

On songs like “Berlin Syndrome”, ampoule guitars and handclaps loop and whirl around lyrics like, page “Since then you just make cameos when I’m asleep/you’re the William Shatner of this elite genre of women that I have loved and lost,” creating a lo-fi landscape one that is simultaneously bleak and full of warmth. At times the songs are reminiscent of early Smog, when Bill Callahan wrote songs like he had a sense of humour and sometimes felt a bit awkward. As well as the recent Tear Jerky EP (available here) he maintains a brilliant cartoon blog at his website.

It’s a busy year for Sparky, off on a European tour as we speak, but I managed to send a few emails back and forth about comic books, rock operas and the Wonder Years.

So, you’re on tour with Los Campesinos! right now, how’s that going?

It has been really fun, it’s an absolute privilege to tour with my friends Los Campesinos! and the supports, Islet and Swanton Bombs, are two outrageously good bands. It was my birthday the other day coinciding with our Aberdeen date and the crowd sang happy birthday to me which was a really touching moment.

Sparky Deathcap presumably isn’t your real name – is it a sort of onstage personal that allows you to unleash your inner diva, like Beyonce Knowles’ Sasha Fierce?

I originally chose it something like 5 years ago when I started doing the one man and a guitar thing live because I felt like it would be easier to play if I could invent a persona. Now, however, there isn’t really a great separation between Sparky Deathcap and me, except for when I remember some of the crap, depressing gigs I used to do and I think about younger Sparky as this sort of beleaguered little brother or something and how excited he’d be by the exciting things I’m getting to do at the moment. Crikey, my mind is like Fellini directing The Wonder Years. Edited by Lassie.

When you play live you have drawings projected behind you, do you think you might ever make a whole comic book, is that something you’d be interested in?

Oh I have grand, grand plans for comic books. I’m working on a little comics booklet for my album and an illustrated valentines rock opera for next year. I’m also trying to resurrect my weekly comic strip for my new blog. The trouble is that comics are incredibly labour intensive. Chris Ware pointed out once that unlike writing a novel, comics don’t allow any sort of natural flow to occur as every page has to be planned out as a whole and so the panels within in it are predestined. I’d love to create a big Clowesian comic book one day, but for now I have to concentrate upon producing small, gimmicky things to “build my profile”… urggggghhhh, the modern world… adulthood…

You mentioned your rock opera there, what does that involve?

That was something I wrote for a ukulele festival in Manchester last year on Valentine’s Day. I was wrongly under the impression that we had to perform the whole thing on ukulele and didn’t really have any ukulele songs so I set about writing a sort of musical/rock opera about an organ transplant van driver finding love whilst snowbound in a rural town. I drew some illustrations for my old overhead projector as well. I hope to turn it into a special edition record and book for next year’s Valentine’s Day.

Musically, who would you call your biggest influences? You get compared to Jeffrey Lewis a lot, right? But that seems like a pretty easy comparison for anyone who sings and draws…

I have an awful lot of respect, naturally, for Jeffrey Lewis, and he has obviously influenced some aspects of my live show, even if it is in trying to steer away from his territory as much as I possibly can. I suppose the bands I have revered the most over the years are The Beach Boys, Pavement, Smog, Silver Jews, Magnetic Fields and Why?, but increasingly I’m becoming very interested in Steve Reich and Bill Evans. In terms of my artwork I’m very heavily influenced by Archer Prewitt, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine and Marcel Dzama. Archer Prewitt is another artist/musician; he plays in the The Sea And Cake and under his own name whilst also drawing the incomparable Sof’ Boy comics.

So, after this tour, what’s next for Sparky Deathcap?

Next up: more touring with Los Camp. I’m trying to perfect my world-weary, “oh, touring is such a drag,” but in truth it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. We have European and US tours to come which will be really amazing. In between I’m working hard on writing and recording my album, which is really very exciting.

Categories ,cartoon, ,cartoons, ,comics, ,interview, ,islet, ,Jeffrey Lewis, ,Los Campesinos, ,Singer Songwriter, ,sparky deathcap, ,swanton bombs, ,tearjerky

Similar Posts: