Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Preview: Latitude

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Viveka Goyanes
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Kim Seoghee may not be Flemish (I’m gonna bet he isn’t) but his work sure as hell feels the touch of Belgium. With a team of skinny stoney faced pretty boy models and ethereal girls, visit web Kim showed us a classic example of the sulky European genre. Eyes emphasised with kohl, visit this the models lined up to show Another 7th Day, prescription a pick ‘n’ mix collection in black, grey and cream. Amongst the upbeat surroundings of Alternative Fashion Week their cool collective attitude stood right out, but they’d fit right in at Paris or London fashion weeks proper.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Kim Seoghee with his models.

Laura Panter showed a clever collection – ‘This collection cries adolescent’ – God knows what being a teenager had to do with it though. The clothes were a curve enhancing mix of pastel chiffon and wool with bondage inspired straps and belt features.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Laura Panter.

She was followed swiftly by the work of another Laura. Laura Fox had put together a cute series of outfits inspired by ‘British Heritage, Harris Tweed and Oilskin’ – with the aim of promoting manufacturing in the UK. Her love for classic British designers such as Christopher Bailey for Burberry were clear in what I thought was a sweet and mature collection, and that was before I discovered that Laura is wheelchair bound. She has a good web presence with a Carbonmade website and a twitter feed so she clearly hasn’t let a little thing like a disability stop her from keeping busy. And my friends over at Creative Boom have also blogged on her here. Dead impressed.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Laura Fox had business cards to hand: the way it should be done!

Sarina Hosking showed a couple of pieces titled Beauty and the Beast. I have to say I’m not surprised by the title – during a week when titles often bore abstract relevance to the collections they were attached to (at best), this did exactly what it said on the tin. The girl that really got all the photographers salivating was a sexy grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood, complete with red lacy veil. An elegant gent in wolf mask looked on. They were a distraction from the rest of the collection but heck, why not mix and match your fairytale references? According to her myspace Sarina is principally a theatrical designer, so it all begins to make sense.

Transform by Elizabeth Wilcox was described as ‘Sportswear creating capsule wardrobe’. It was certainly sporty but I am not sure I was feeling the marl grey highlighted with neon sculptural thing.

Viveka Goyanes put together cutesy cream printed shirts with carefully styled black and white tailoring to present a mature collection called Brummella the Dandella. I particularly loved all the little touches, like the ripped and accessorised socks. It always pays to look down!

The first festival I ever had the fortune to attend was Latitude 2007. Still a fresher at university, page still fresh-faced and just a little naïve; a small hatchback, viagra order four friends, and every nook and cranny jammed with our camping equipment. We were green, and we didn’t know that you wouldn’t need six sets of clothes, nor a full foldable mattress, nor (as one of our group, bizarrely, thought) a full set of crockery. It was only due to our general keenness that left us arriving early and managing to snag a camping spot both close to the site entrance and (crucially) within 600 yards of the car park. That was, I discovered, exactly the limit of my stamina for being able to carry my own weight in paperbacks and camping stoves (three!) and several pairs of shoes. Oh, idle youth! These days I can take five nights of living in muddy squalor like a medieval serf in my stride, but that’s only down to training myself; I had to ween myself off such modern luxuries as soap, razors, and fresh underwear.

But I digress – this is meant to be a preview of Latitude 2010. The background: Latitude occurs every year in July in Southwold in Suffolk, and operates under the banner of Festival Republic (formerly Mean Fiddler), that gargantuan promotions company with fingers in many pies and still perhaps best know for the carnival of the damned that is the Reading and Leeds Weekender. Latitude is something of a pet project for Festival Republic, who felt that British festivals had lost track of what made them so culturally important in the first place – not just the bands but the atmosphere, the vibe, the performers on stilts and the chance meetings in the dark under the boughs of some off-to-the-side willow. Glastonbury has become something of a behemoth, but it used to be a small and intimate affair; Latitude’s raison d’être is to mimic what Glastonbury is suppose to once have been. My verdict, taking my experiences of 2007 into account, is that they have succeeded admirably, though it would be churlish to say that it’s exactly as the same. Many of those ideals that the hippies celebrated at the solstice three decades ago – appreciation of the earth, appreciation of humanity – have arguably seeped into the larger (regular) festival-going public, but these days we’re much, much better at recycling.

Capacity is relatively small, as far as festivals go these days, capped at 25000 since 2008, and the wondrous thing about Latitude is that you can go the whole weekend without seeing a single band. There’s a strong lineup of comedy acts, theatre performances, literature talks and other cultural oddities that mark it out as unique in the British festival scene. I’ll run through some of the things to look forward to this year, for those that are going, and if you’re not then be quick, because it’ll sell out soon.

There are several music stages scattered about the site. The largest is the main Obelisk Arena, this year headlined by Florence & the Machine, Belle & Sebastian, and Vampire Weekend. Other artists worth seeing include folkster Laura Marling, indie legends Spoon, insanely talented Mexican acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, gorgeous melody act Dirty Projectors, and even a recently-reformed James. They’ll probably sing that song about sitting.

Move across to the second stage and you’ll find the Word Arena, headlined by the National, the xx, and Grizzly Bear. The first is one of the best bands in the world, without question, and if you go you’ll probably find me there too, undergoing some kind of trembling transcendental spasm attack. I love that band. Oh god how I do. The xx are an interesting choice of headliner as their music, so heavy with meaning and yet so utterly minimal, might struggle to hold a headlining slot on a festival stage. I’ve seen them live before and they were bloody fantastic, so I’m sure they’ll be fine; I won’t be seeing them at Latitude, though. My reasons involve a broken heart, a worn mixtape, and shattered promises – I won’t burden you any further than that, but know that it was horrid. Grizzly Bear are sick, and will absolutely suit the beautiful site that Latitude is situated within. Also playing the Word Arena are Wild Beasts, Richard Hawley, the Horrors, and Yeasayer, etc. etc..

Then you’ve got your Lake Stage, which is (no surprises here) situated next to a lake, as well as the Sunrise Arena deep in the woods on the edge of the site. Exactly who shall be playing where on these stages hasn’t been announced yet, but what is know is that artists and bands such as the Big Pink, Black Mountain, Girls, These New Puritans, Tokyo Police Club, and a bunch of others. I’ve been looking back through past years and Latitude 2010 looks like being potentially the best ever with regards to the music acts (though 2009 was also pretty sick – Nick Cave!). But it’s not all about the music, of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be quite as sweetly unique as it is.

In the Comedy tent there are sets from Richard Herring, Emo Philips, Rich Hall, Phill Jupitus, Mark Watson, but also many smaller acts such as Mark Oliver and Doc Brown. In previous years this tent has had a propensity towards overcrowding when the bigger names have appeared, but hopefully they’ll have ironed out the creases there. We’ve already covered the Literature tent on Amelia’s Magazine, somewhat, but I’ll add that Jon McGregor is also giving a talk. He’s the author of If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things, a novel that is in itself extraordinarily remarkable and one of the finest examples of prose-poetry I’ve read in the past decade. Also of note here is that Dan Kitson, who probably blushes when he gets described as, “perhaps the finest standup comic of his generation,” all time, will be telling a story for an hour every night at midnight on the Waterfront Stage. His work is rarely available on video as he doesn’t like the idea of his shows being pirated, so please take this opportunity to see him in the flesh.

John Cooper Clarke is in the Poetry tent – one of the towering figures of modern performance poetry in this country should be reason enough to raise some curiosity there, but there are also appearances from important figures on the British poetry scene like Luke Wright and John Stammers. Eddie Argos, of Art Brut fame, will also be doing a set – if you’re familiar with the man then you’ll know that’s an intriguing prospect.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here – there’s a Cabaret tent that parties on into the early hours of the morning, there’s the Film & Music Arena showcasing some unique new audiovisual shows (as well as more irreverent stuff from the likes of Adam Buxton and the Modern Toss crew), and there’s also a chance to wander into the woods to find both the opera performances and the In The Woods area, a woodland clearing set up for late night raving. There are numerous plays put on at the Theatre Arena, including performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company and Everyman Playhouse. There’s a huge childrens’ area that’s almost like a playground.

Hell, the whole thing is like some gaudy carnival from the middle ages transported through time for our enjoyment. There’s a parade at some point, there’s giant painting projects, you can row boats in the lake, you can watch a jazz band play all day on a floating stage on the lake, and so on, and so on. The beauty of the site just completes the package, and thankfully the Latitude team are very good at maintaining it. They’ve got a well-developed set of environmentally-friendly policies that have managed to recycle most of the waste from past festivals, including designated recycling bins, bags handed out to campers for sorting their recycling, and everything you can buy on site is sourced so that it won’t damage the environment both getting there and if it’s thrown away. Sorted.

So that’s Latitude 2010. Three days almost doesn’t seem enough, does it?

Categories ,2010, ,Adam Buxton, ,Art Brut, ,Arts, ,Belle & Sebastian, ,Black Mountain, ,Cabaret, ,comedy, ,Dan Kitson, ,dirty projectors, ,Doc Brown, ,Eddie Argos, ,Emo Philips, ,environment, ,Everyman Playhouse, ,festival, ,film, ,Florence & the Machine, ,girls, ,glastonbury, ,grizzly bear, ,ian steadman, ,James, ,John Cooper Clarke, ,John Stammers, ,Jon McGregor, ,latitude, ,Latitude Festival, ,Laura Marling, ,leeds, ,Luke Wright, ,Mark Oliver, ,Mark Watson, ,Modern Toss, ,music, ,Nick Cave, ,opera, ,Phill Jupitus, ,rave, ,Reading, ,Rich Hall, ,richard hawley, ,Richard Herring, ,rodrigo y gabriela, ,Royal Shakespeare Company, ,Spoon, ,Standup, ,the big pink, ,the horrors, ,The National, ,The XX, ,These New Puritans, ,Tokyo Police Club, ,Vampire Weekend, ,Wild Beasts, ,Yeasayer

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Kaffe-med-kaka 6
Thuva-Lisa Ceder.

Thuva-Lisa Ceder is the creator and star of her own little world where the strange is praised and practiced. Since discovering her now defunct blog, pills view Le Petit Nuage, more about a year and half (ish) ago, I have been drawn to that world, peeking in with a morbid wide eyed curiosity, entranced by the peculiarities and oddities put on display. Ceder, a nineteen year old Swede, shares her art via Flickr and Tumblr – photographs, illustrations and collages- showcasing a style distinctly her own. A startling kaleidoscope of the strange and the darkly erotic, all seemingly from another time and a faraway world, which holds the ability to both perplex and charm a viewer-if they aren’t easily offended. Perhaps most surprising to the unsuspecting may be Ceder’s illustrations.

Kaffe-med-kaka

Drawn and coloured in felt pens or pencil, the illustrations appear to the less observant eye to be a child’s drawings (Glitter! Shiny star stickers! Flowers! Polka Dots!), artwork of which any parent of a small child would be proud. That is, until Mom and Dad realize that the people (notably, very well-endowed in the eyebrow department) rarely have any on pants…and they are often touching each other or themselves in those special places. Graphic enough a child psychologist would likely proclaim them as the troubling doodles of a “disturbed child” with the utmost bewilderment, prompting him to exclaim, “Kids today! Harrumph!” while running his hand over his graying unruly beard. Naturally, I was intrigued. It’s not the first time stylistically childlike art has featured adult subjects, but Ceder owns her style and keeps it fresh.

Kaffe-med-kaka

I caught up with the Miss Thuva-Lisa Ceder to see just what is going on inside that brain of hers.

When did you first start experimenting with art?
From the day I was born. I made many dolls and lots of clothes out of curtains. I loved making my own toys.

The themes in your artwork, both photography and drawings, suggest you gravitate toward the dark and morbid, the openly erotic, and the bizarre and experimental- what inspires this point of view?
The World: society, how it works, my life, old people and asexuality. I am also inspired by a desire to be loved and a disgust for certain parts of society.

This point of view is intriguingly filtered through childlike imagery in your drawings. Glitter, star stickers, and flowers combined with pubic hair, nipples and fishnet stockings seem like an unlikely pairing. Can you tell us more about the subjects of your illustrations?
I mostly draw females/males that are like me in one way or another. I want them to express some feeling, and I don’t always know what that is so sometimes my hand just decides what it’s going to be so I don’t think that much about it.

Kaffe-med-kaka

How did you start to develop your style?
A friend of mine inspired me with the eyebrows. Before I drew more stuff like cute cats (when I was younger) but now I prefer to draw elderly sweet male/females that are angry.

I really like the collaged pieces- the mixture of your drawings or pieces of photographs layered on top of other photographs is really neat. What type of images do you look for when you make your collages?
Images that I think would be great together – whatever that is- my mouth, an old lady, whatever, stuff that will express something.

My particular favorite is the very endearing image of the unicorn venturing up an older woman’s arm. How did you come up with this?
Oh, it was only by pure chance. I found the lady who I cut out from a newspaper and loved the picture, also I loved unicorns… and suddenly it became a collage.

Kaffe-med-kaka

About your photography: You are often the subject of your photography: self-portraits of everyday activities such as you smoking or holding your pet bunny to nude images of yourself huddled inside a suitcase or topless in your bathtub. Why does nudity play such an important role in your work?
We were born nude.

Self-portraits, photographs of friends and family, nature, creepy old houses, etc… What is your favorite to shoot?
Definitely old people, they have a whole life behind them and are knowledgeable about things. They will soon die. I just like that they are much more interesting than stupid young people or 40-year-old men who shout insults after you when they are drunk. They are so calm, waiting to die. Also, we all will get old someday and it feels like we don’t give a shit for the old ones. We just bundle them together in a house and let them rot until they are in the earth.

Kaffe-med-kaka

What camera do you use?
A C905, my cell phone, a Sony HD, a small handy movie camera and a digital camera.

Alongside your artwork and photography, you also make very sweet and dreamy instrumental music with a piano under the name of Petit Soleil. What creative medium do you find the most satisfaction in?
Right now it’s drawing and photography, but I really want to create music. It is the greatest art of them all! Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons: now he really makes music. He will die happy because he sings so beautifully.

Kaffe-med-kaka
What are your artistic tastes? What art, films and music do you draw inspiration from?
Joy Division, and lots of movies. I get a bit inspired of Derek Jarman, and I love the art from 1500-1700.

What creative outlet have you not tried yet that you would like to?
Feminist porn, stage performances and making a feature film.

You present a unique and strange world for those who view your work to step into – what would be the sights and sounds of your dream world?
A gray house on top of a hill; the world is totally gray and there is an avenue to the house which is surrounded by many giant bare black trees. And I’d like to live in one of Oscar Wilde’s stories…
Kaffe-med-kaka 6
Thuva-Lisa Ceder.

Thuva-Lisa Ceder is the creator and star of her own little world where the strange is praised and practiced. Since discovering her now defunct blog, help Le Petit Nuage, case a year and half (ish) ago, case I have been drawn to that world, peeking in with a morbid wide eyed curiosity, entranced by the peculiarities and oddities put on display. Ceder, a nineteen year old Swede, shares her art via Flickr and Tumblr – photographs, illustrations and collages- showcasing a style distinctly her own. A startling kaleidoscope of the strange and the darkly erotic, all seemingly from another time and a faraway world, which holds the ability to both perplex and charm a viewer-if they aren’t easily offended. Perhaps most surprising to the unsuspecting may be Ceder’s illustrations.

Kaffe-med-kaka

Drawn and coloured in felt pens or pencil, the illustrations appear to the less observant eye to be a child’s drawings (Glitter! Shiny star stickers! Flowers! Polka Dots!), artwork of which any parent of a small child would be proud. That is, until Mom and Dad realize that the people (notably, very well-endowed in the eyebrow department) rarely have any on pants…and they are often touching each other or themselves in those special places. Graphic enough a child psychologist would likely proclaim them as the troubling doodles of a “disturbed child” with the utmost bewilderment, prompting him to exclaim, “Kids today! Harrumph!” while running his hand over his graying unruly beard. Naturally, I was intrigued. It’s not the first time stylistically childlike art has featured adult subjects, but Ceder owns her style and keeps it fresh.

Kaffe-med-kaka

I caught up with the Miss Thuva-Lisa Ceder to see just what is going on inside that brain of hers.

When did you first start experimenting with art?
From the day I was born. I made many dolls and lots of clothes out of curtains. I loved making my own toys.

The themes in your artwork, both photography and drawings, suggest you gravitate toward the dark and morbid, the openly erotic, and the bizarre and experimental- what inspires this point of view?
The World: society, how it works, my life, old people and asexuality. I am also inspired by a desire to be loved and a disgust for certain parts of society.

This point of view is intriguingly filtered through childlike imagery in your drawings. Glitter, star stickers, and flowers combined with pubic hair, nipples and fishnet stockings seem like an unlikely pairing. Can you tell us more about the subjects of your illustrations?
I mostly draw females/males that are like me in one way or another. I want them to express some feeling, and I don’t always know what that is so sometimes my hand just decides what it’s going to be so I don’t think that much about it.

Kaffe-med-kaka

How did you start to develop your style?
A friend of mine inspired me with the eyebrows. Before I drew more stuff like cute cats (when I was younger) but now I prefer to draw elderly sweet male/females that are angry.

I really like the collaged pieces- the mixture of your drawings or pieces of photographs layered on top of other photographs is really neat. What type of images do you look for when you make your collages?
Images that I think would be great together – whatever that is- my mouth, an old lady, whatever, stuff that will express something.

My particular favorite is the very endearing image of the unicorn venturing up an older woman’s arm. How did you come up with this?
Oh, it was only by pure chance. I found the lady who I cut out from a newspaper and loved the picture, also I loved unicorns… and suddenly it became a collage.

Kaffe-med-kaka

About your photography: You are often the subject of your photography: self-portraits of everyday activities such as you smoking or holding your pet bunny to nude images of yourself huddled inside a suitcase or topless in your bathtub. Why does nudity play such an important role in your work?
We were born nude.

Self-portraits, photographs of friends and family, nature, creepy old houses, etc… What is your favorite to shoot?
Definitely old people, they have a whole life behind them and are knowledgeable about things. They will soon die. I just like that they are much more interesting than stupid young people or 40-year-old men who shout insults after you when they are drunk. They are so calm, waiting to die. Also, we all will get old someday and it feels like we don’t give a shit for the old ones. We just bundle them together in a house and let them rot until they are in the earth.

Kaffe-med-kaka

What camera do you use?
A C905, my cell phone, a Sony HD, a small handy movie camera and a digital camera.

Alongside your artwork and photography, you also make very sweet and dreamy instrumental music with a piano under the name of Petit Soleil. What creative medium do you find the most satisfaction in?
Right now it’s drawing and photography, but I really want to create music. It is the greatest art of them all! Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons: now he really makes music. He will die happy because he sings so beautifully.

Kaffe-med-kaka
What are your artistic tastes? What art, films and music do you draw inspiration from?
Joy Division, and lots of movies. I get a bit inspired of Derek Jarman, and I love the art from 1500-1700.

What creative outlet have you not tried yet that you would like to?
Feminist porn, stage performances and making a feature film.

You present a unique and strange world for those who view your work to step into – what would be the sights and sounds of your dream world?
I dream of a totally gray world: there’s a gray house on top of a hill and an avenue up to the house that is surrounded by many giant bare black trees. Or alternatively I’d like to live inside one of Oscar Wilde’s stories…
Kaffe-med-kaka 6

Thuva-Lisa Ceder is the creator and star of her own little world where the strange is praised and practiced. Since discovering her now defunct blog, cost Le Petit Nuage, a year and half (ish) ago, I have been drawn to that world, peeking in with a morbid wide eyed curiosity, entranced by the peculiarities and oddities put on display. Ceder, a nineteen year old Swede, shares her art via Flickr and Tumblr – photographs, illustrations and collages- showcasing a style distinctly her own. A startling kaleidoscope of the strange and the darkly erotic, all seemingly from another time and a faraway world, which holds the ability to both perplex and charm a viewer-if they aren’t easily offended. Perhaps most surprising to the unsuspecting may be Ceder’s illustrations.

Kaffe-med-kaka

Drawn and coloured in felt pens or pencil, the illustrations appear to the less observant eye to be a child’s drawings (Glitter! Shiny star stickers! Flowers! Polka Dots!), artwork of which any parent of a small child would be proud. That is, until Mom and Dad realize that the people (notably, very well-endowed in the eyebrow department) rarely have any on pants…and they are often touching each other or themselves in those special places. Graphic enough a child psychologist would likely proclaim them as the troubling doodles of a “disturbed child” with the utmost bewilderment, prompting him to exclaim, “Kids today! Harrumph!” while running his hand over his graying unruly beard. Naturally, I was intrigued. It’s not the first time stylistically childlike art has featured adult subjects, but Ceder owns her style and keeps it fresh.

Kaffe-med-kaka

I caught up with the Miss Thuva-Lisa Ceder to see just what is going on inside that brain of hers.

When did you first start experimenting with art?
From the day I was born. I made many dolls and lots of clothes out of curtains. I loved making my own toys.

The themes in your artwork, both photography and drawings, suggest you gravitate toward the dark and morbid, the openly erotic, and the bizarre and experimental- what inspires this point of view?
The World: society, how it works, my life, old people and asexuality. I am also inspired by a desire to be loved and a disgust for certain parts of society.

This point of view is intriguingly filtered through childlike imagery in your drawings. Glitter, star stickers, and flowers combined with pubic hair, nipples and fishnet stockings seem like an unlikely pairing. Can you tell us more about the subjects of your illustrations?
I mostly draw females/males that are like me in one way or another. I want them to express some feeling, and I don’t always know what that is so sometimes my hand just decides what it’s going to be so I don’t think that much about it.

Kaffe-med-kaka

How did you start to develop your style?
A friend of mine inspired me with the eyebrows. Before I drew more stuff like cute cats (when I was younger) but now I prefer to draw elderly sweet male/females that are angry.

I really like the collaged pieces- the mixture of your drawings or pieces of photographs layered on top of other photographs is really neat. What type of images do you look for when you make your collages?
Images that I think would be great together – whatever that is- my mouth, an old lady, whatever, stuff that will express something.

My particular favorite is the very endearing image of the unicorn venturing up an older woman’s arm. How did you come up with this?
Oh, it was only by pure chance. I found the lady who I cut out from a newspaper and loved the picture, also I loved unicorns… and suddenly it became a collage.

Kaffe-med-kaka

About your photography: You are often the subject of your photography: self-portraits of everyday activities such as you smoking or holding your pet bunny to nude images of yourself huddled inside a suitcase or topless in your bathtub. Why does nudity play such an important role in your work?
We were born nude.

Self-portraits, photographs of friends and family, nature, creepy old houses, etc… What is your favorite to shoot?
Definitely old people, they have a whole life behind them and are knowledgeable about things. They will soon die. I just like that they are much more interesting than stupid young people or 40-year-old men who shout insults after you when they are drunk. They are so calm, waiting to die. Also, we all will get old someday and it feels like we don’t give a shit for the old ones. We just bundle them together in a house and let them rot until they are in the earth.

Kaffe-med-kaka

What camera do you use?
A C905, my cell phone, a Sony HD, a small handy movie camera and a digital camera.

Alongside your artwork and photography, you also make very sweet and dreamy instrumental music with a piano under the name of Petit Soleil. What creative medium do you find the most satisfaction in?
Right now it’s drawing and photography, but I really want to create music. It is the greatest art of them all! Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons: now he really makes music. He will die happy because he sings so beautifully.

Kaffe-med-kaka
What are your artistic tastes? What art, films and music do you draw inspiration from?
Joy Division, and lots of movies. I get a bit inspired of Derek Jarman, and I love the art from 1500-1700.

What creative outlet have you not tried yet that you would like to?
Feminist porn, stage performances and I’d like to make a feature film.

You present a unique and strange world for those who view your work to step into – what would be the sights and sounds of your dream world?
I dream of a totally gray world: there’s a gray house on top of a hill and an avenue up to the house that is surrounded by many giant bare black trees. Or alternatively I’d like to live inside one of Oscar Wilde’s stories…
Kaffe-med-kaka 6

Thuva-Lisa Ceder is the creator and star of her own little world where the strange is praised and practiced. Since discovering her now defunct blog, more about Le Petit Nuage, clinic a year and half (ish) ago, more about I have been drawn to that world, peeking in with a morbid wide eyed curiosity, entranced by the peculiarities and oddities put on display. Ceder, a nineteen year old Swede, shares her art via Flickr and Tumblr – photographs, illustrations and collages- showcasing a style distinctly her own. A startling kaleidoscope of the strange and the darkly erotic, all seemingly from another time and a faraway world, which holds the ability to both perplex and charm a viewer-if they aren’t easily offended. Perhaps most surprising to the unsuspecting may be Ceder’s illustrations.

Kaffe-med-kaka

Drawn and coloured in felt pens or pencil, the illustrations appear to the less observant eye to be a child’s drawings (Glitter! Shiny star stickers! Flowers! Polka Dots!), artwork of which any parent of a small child would be proud. That is, until Mom and Dad realize that the people (notably, very well-endowed in the eyebrow department) rarely have any on pants…and they are often touching each other or themselves in those special places. Graphic enough a child psychologist would likely proclaim them as the troubling doodles of a “disturbed child” with the utmost bewilderment, prompting him to exclaim, “Kids today! Harrumph!” while running his hand over his graying unruly beard. Naturally, I was intrigued. It’s not the first time stylistically childlike art has featured adult subjects, but Ceder owns her style and keeps it fresh.

Kaffe-med-kaka

I caught up with the Miss Thuva-Lisa Ceder to see just what is going on inside that brain of hers.

When did you first start experimenting with art?
From the day I was born. I made many dolls and lots of clothes out of curtains. I loved making my own toys.

The themes in your artwork, both photography and drawings, suggest you gravitate toward the dark and morbid, the openly erotic, and the bizarre and experimental- what inspires this point of view?
The World: society, how it works, my life, old people and asexuality. I am also inspired by a desire to be loved and a disgust for certain parts of society.

This point of view is intriguingly filtered through childlike imagery in your drawings. Glitter, star stickers, and flowers combined with pubic hair, nipples and fishnet stockings seem like an unlikely pairing. Can you tell us more about the subjects of your illustrations?
I mostly draw females/males that are like me in one way or another. I want them to express some feeling, and I don’t always know what that is so sometimes my hand just decides what it’s going to be so I don’t think that much about it.

Kaffe-med-kaka

How did you start to develop your style?
A friend of mine inspired me with the eyebrows. Before I drew more stuff like cute cats (when I was younger) but now I prefer to draw elderly sweet male/females that are angry.

I really like the collaged pieces- the mixture of your drawings or pieces of photographs layered on top of other photographs is really neat. What type of images do you look for when you make your collages?
Images that I think would be great together – whatever that is- my mouth, an old lady, whatever, stuff that will express something.

My particular favorite is the very endearing image of the unicorn venturing up an older woman’s arm. How did you come up with this?
Oh, it was only by pure chance. I found the lady who I cut out from a newspaper and loved the picture, also I loved unicorns… and suddenly it became a collage.

Kaffe-med-kaka

About your photography: You are often the subject of your photography: self-portraits of everyday activities such as you smoking or holding your pet bunny to nude images of yourself huddled inside a suitcase or topless in your bathtub. Why does nudity play such an important role in your work?
We were born nude.

Self-portraits, photographs of friends and family, nature, creepy old houses, etc… What is your favorite to shoot?
Definitely old people, they have a whole life behind them and are knowledgeable about things. They will soon die. I just like that they are much more interesting than stupid young people or 40-year-old men who shout insults after you when they are drunk. They are so calm, waiting to die. Also, we all will get old someday and it feels like we don’t give a shit for the old ones. We just bundle them together in a house and let them rot until they are in the earth.

Kaffe-med-kaka

What camera do you use?
A C905, my cell phone, a Sony HD, a small handy movie camera and a digital camera.

Alongside your artwork and photography, you also make very sweet and dreamy instrumental music with a piano under the name of Petit Soleil. What creative medium do you find the most satisfaction in?
Right now it’s drawing and photography, but I really want to create music. It is the greatest art of them all! Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons: now he really makes music. He will die happy because he sings so beautifully.

Kaffe-med-kaka
What are your artistic tastes? What art, films and music do you draw inspiration from?
Joy Division, and lots of movies. I get a bit inspired of Derek Jarman, and I love the art from 1500-1700.

What creative outlet have you not tried yet that you would like to?
Feminist porn, stage performances and I’d like to make a feature film.

You present a unique and strange world for those who view your work to step into – what would be the sights and sounds of your dream world?
I dream of a totally gray world: there’s a gray house on top of a hill and an avenue up to the house that is surrounded by many giant bare black trees. Or alternatively I’d like to live inside one of Oscar Wilde’s stories…
Kaffe-med-kaka 6
Thuva-Lisa Ceder is the creator and star of her own little world where the strange is praised and practiced. Since discovering her now defunct blog, tadalafil Le Petit Nuage, a year and half (ish) ago, I have been drawn to that world, peeking in with a morbid wide eyed curiosity, entranced by the peculiarities and oddities put on display. Ceder, a nineteen year old Swede, shares her art via Flickr and Tumblr – photographs, illustrations and collages- showcasing a style distinctly her own. A startling kaleidoscope of the strange and the darkly erotic, all seemingly from another time and a faraway world, which holds the ability to both perplex and charm a viewer-if they aren’t easily offended. Perhaps most surprising to the unsuspecting may be Ceder’s illustrations.

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Drawn and coloured in felt pens or pencil, the illustrations appear to the less observant eye to be a child’s drawings (Glitter! Shiny star stickers! Flowers! Polka Dots!), artwork of which any parent of a small child would be proud. That is, until Mom and Dad realize that the people (notably, very well-endowed in the eyebrow department) rarely have any on pants…and they are often touching each other or themselves in those special places. Graphic enough a child psychologist would likely proclaim them as the troubling doodles of a “disturbed child” with the utmost bewilderment, prompting him to exclaim, “Kids today! Harrumph!” while running his hand over his graying unruly beard. Naturally, I was intrigued. It’s not the first time stylistically childlike art has featured adult subjects, but Ceder owns her style and keeps it fresh.

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I caught up with the Miss Thuva-Lisa Ceder to see just what is going on inside that brain of hers.

When did you first start experimenting with art?
From the day I was born. I made many dolls and lots of clothes out of curtains. I loved making my own toys.

The themes in your artwork, both photography and drawings, suggest you gravitate toward the dark and morbid, the openly erotic, and the bizarre and experimental- what inspires this point of view?
The World: society, how it works, my life, old people and asexuality. I am also inspired by a desire to be loved and a disgust for certain parts of society.

This point of view is intriguingly filtered through childlike imagery in your drawings. Glitter, star stickers, and flowers combined with pubic hair, nipples and fishnet stockings seem like an unlikely pairing. Can you tell us more about the subjects of your illustrations?
I mostly draw females/males that are like me in one way or another. I want them to express some feeling, and I don’t always know what that is so sometimes my hand just decides what it’s going to be so I don’t think that much about it.

Kaffe-med-kaka

How did you start to develop your style?
A friend of mine inspired me with the eyebrows. Before I drew more stuff like cute cats (when I was younger) but now I prefer to draw elderly sweet male/females that are angry.

I really like the collaged pieces- the mixture of your drawings or pieces of photographs layered on top of other photographs is really neat. What type of images do you look for when you make your collages?
Images that I think would be great together – whatever that is- my mouth, an old lady, whatever, stuff that will express something.

My particular favorite is the very endearing image of the unicorn venturing up an older woman’s arm. How did you come up with this?
Oh, it was only by pure chance. I found the lady who I cut out from a newspaper and loved the picture, also I loved unicorns… and suddenly it became a collage.

Kaffe-med-kaka

About your photography: You are often the subject of your photography: self-portraits of everyday activities such as you smoking or holding your pet bunny to nude images of yourself huddled inside a suitcase or topless in your bathtub. Why does nudity play such an important role in your work?
We were born nude.

Self-portraits, photographs of friends and family, nature, creepy old houses, etc… What is your favorite to shoot?
Definitely old people, they have a whole life behind them and are knowledgeable about things. They will soon die. I just like that they are much more interesting than stupid young people or 40-year-old men who shout insults after you when they are drunk. They are so calm, waiting to die. Also, we all will get old someday and it feels like we don’t give a shit for the old ones. We just bundle them together in a house and let them rot until they are in the earth.

Kaffe-med-kaka

What camera do you use?
A C905, my cell phone, a Sony HD, a small handy movie camera and a digital camera.

Alongside your artwork and photography, you also make very sweet and dreamy instrumental music with a piano under the name of Petit Soleil. What creative medium do you find the most satisfaction in?
Right now it’s drawing and photography, but I really want to create music. It is the greatest art of them all! Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons: now he really makes music. He will die happy because he sings so beautifully.

Kaffe-med-kaka
What are your artistic tastes? What art, films and music do you draw inspiration from?
Joy Division, and lots of movies. I get a bit inspired of Derek Jarman, and I love the art from 1500-1700.

What creative outlet have you not tried yet that you would like to?
Feminist porn, stage performances and I’d like to make a feature film.

You present a unique and strange world for those who view your work to step into – what would be the sights and sounds of your dream world?
I dream of a totally gray world: there’s a gray house on top of a hill and an avenue up to the house that is surrounded by many giant bare black trees. Or alternatively I’d like to live inside one of Oscar Wilde’s stories…

I have to try very hard not to lose myself over records like this. I have to try very hard not to declare things that should not be declared because they are justifiable only on the level that constitutes subjective taste. My experience of The National, website like this as a band, medications tied in as it is with so much other emotional baggage and inescapable context, visit this is an extremely fraught one. Listen to this band without any of that and I suspect you would be bored. If you are, I cannot tell you that you are wrong – I can only say that I pity you.

At the basest level, The National are just five friends from Ohio who moved to New York and started a band that played music that sounded something like a cross between Wilco and Tindersticks. Their first two albums are acceptable but not remarkable, and their audiences reflected that. When they toured Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers I doubt that they had people in the audience in tears, or screaming with joy, or going through shudders and shakes – and why would they? They’re five scrawny Ohioans. They don’t have a particularly great light show. They stand relatively still (until the end, after Matt Berninger’s had his fill of wine). But ever since Alligator came out… Well. Just look at the faces in the crowd, though. Just look at them. I am not a religious man, but I still understand words like rapture, like transcendent, like faith. Five guys, making rock music. That’s all. People across the world lose their shit over this, a greater number with every release and every tour. Why?

Here’s where it gets tricky. High Violet is their latest album and has been greeted everywhere with exactly the kind of respect and admiration everyone expected, because it is exactly as good as everyone had hoped and prayed for. My little bit of guesswork – we’re looking at a band which taps into something so primordially potent that they must constitute the most recent incarnation of the Great American Rock Band. They might not be selling out arenas (yet) but they are selling out the next-biggest range of venues in the major cities of the world – all they’re missing is their ‘The One I Love’ and their ascent will be effectively complete. The story of how The National became so adored is the same story as the birth of rock ‘n’ roll, the story of every massive hit and every youth movement that played the guitar – the sound is good, and it’s good for a lot of people.

Oh, that sound. Production is again in the hands of Peter Katis, the man responsible for that haze we first heard on Alligator in 2005 – I always like to imagine the band fashioning microphones from large pieces of tin, or something of a similar texture, similarly rustic. It’s a rusty, metallic, quivering shout in the night, balancing the three components that make the band what they are – Bryan Devendorf’s apocalyptic drumming, the Dessner brothers’ elegiac guitar work, and Matt Berninger’s baritone drawl. They first hit on this balance with Alligator, then perfected it with Boxer in 2007 (just, please, don’t ask which is better). Boxer’s gothic echoes have been muted for High Violet – the songs no longer rebound down some corridor but instead stick, firmly, right inside the speakers (though perhaps ‘Lemonworld’ might be the exception to this).

Some tracks sound like hangovers from the Boxer era – ‘Bloodbuzz, Ohio’ and the incredible ‘Terrible Love’ (which is sadly not quite as monolithic, as epic, as it is in the live environment thanks to the bizarre decision to use a demo guitar track on the otherwise polished recording, a move which makes it sound tinny, like AM radio) – and ‘Runaway’ feels like it was composed in the same mood as ‘So Far Around The Bend’, their contribution to the 2009 charity compilation Dark Was The Night. The other songs on the first side of the record actually call to mind, weirdly, their second album Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers and the country-rock tinge that graced that record. The songs are far, far superior to anything that appeared on there, but the tone is noticeably similar. The second side, however, running from ‘Lemonworld’ through to ‘Runaway’, through to ‘Conversation 16’, ‘England’, and then the closer ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’, is a knockout punch. A home run. The best stretch of songs in their entire career; no small declaration, but that’s what they are.

Now I begin to lose myself, but bear with me. The National tell you, me, everyone, about all the little niggling things that contribute to the neuroses of living the Western lifestyle in this day and age, but they reassure as they do it. I am a white male coming of age in a world where my dominance is not assured, and my confidence is brittle at best. I was never carried in the arms of cheerleaders, but more importantly I know what they mean; I know what it feels like to, “live on coffee and flowers,” and I confess that some days I want nothing more than to, “hold myself together with my arms around the stereo for hours.” The National’s music is excellent, but it is Matt Berninger’s voice, his delivery and his lyrics that leave me and so many others comforted – when ‘Fake Empire’ opened Boxer, when he sang, “let’s not try to figure out everything at once,” well, that’s the wisdom I’d wanted all along, right there.

You can see this reaction amongst the faces, eager and expectant, at their concerts. During ‘Apartment Story’, the song builds towards this single, simple sentiment: “So worry not/All things are well/ We’ll be alright/We have our looks, and perfume.” The audience will scream this, they will scream it and throw up their fists as they shout the word ‘perfume’. I suppose it could be argued that the combination of melancholy and euphoria is the most potent force in rock music – the way some people react, you’d think that they were expecting to be taken up in the rapture the moment the opening chords from ‘Mr November’ chime in.

There are these recurring motifs throughout Berninger’s lyrics – one that’s particularly obtuse is the recurring lemon motif in songs like ‘The Geese of Beverly Road’, ‘Fake Empire’ and ‘Lemonworld’ – but above all there’s the idea of decay in the American life. When he talks about hanging from chandeliers, subsisting on little but flowers, coffee and cake, pissing in sinks, floating down hallways, standing up straight at the foot of one’s love, spilling jack & coke on her collar, being so sorry, for everything, for everything… These are the words of the desperate romantic, the words of a man who comes from a declined area of a country in decline. It can all be so terribly sad, but it’s the kind of melancholy that infects the poet, not the suicidal. Out of decay come creation, or something of that sort. This is what goes on in my head when I hear him sing – whilst others may well just hear a man singing strange songs of ballerinas, “on the coffee table, cock in hand,” and dismiss the whole thing, I consider that a mistake. The breadth of interpretation is part of the charm.

And so once again they’ve finished up with a perfect closer, one that might seem slightly saccharine with all those strings but which still strikes that perfect combination – melancholia tempered with euphoria. ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Cry’ builds and builds, and Berninger remains astride the sound, telling us that, “all the very best of us string ourselves up.” Is it perverse? Is it depressing? Is it a release? I’ve not a clue. But boring? Nah.

Categories ,Alligator, ,Boxer, ,Dessner, ,High Violet, ,Matt Berninger, ,new york, ,Ohio, ,REM, ,Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, ,The National, ,Tindersticks, ,Wilco

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Amelia’s Magazine | The National: Baby, We’ll Be Fine

Watching their electric performance at The Garage, information pills I immediately understood why all the major music publications are getting their knickers in a twist over The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. With the recent release of their debut album, more about The Pains have quickly amassed a devoted fan base and garnered raptuous reviews for their perfectly pitched shoe gazing dream pop. If I hadn’t met them, I might have assumed that they were the sort of band who believed their own hype – and why wouldn’t they? Having sat down with Kip and Peggy earlier in the day I instantly realised that while they weren’t oblivious to the attention, they were unfettered by it. Letting the press get on with their excitable reactions, the band just want to play the music that they love.

thepains3

The new album has practically been lauded as the second coming by heavy weights like The NY Times and NME, did you expect such an immediate and positive reaction?

Peggy – Definitely not, I just think about the bands that play music like us that we have always admired, and most of them were were not that comercially well known, and not always that critically received either, so playing the kind of music we play… we didn’t have our hopes up high. But we were really happy with the record though, we really enjoyed making it, but we had no sense that anything beyond us being happy would happen. I always liked bands that I discovered on my own, I wouldn’t hear them on commercial radio or MTV.

Kip- There are a couple of bands that reached a bigger audience like Sonic Youth or Nirvana, but most of the indie pop bands of the 90′s were limited to a narrow community.

So you were expecting that the album would spread by word of mouth, and instead you were plunged straight into a media frenzy. Were you ready for this?

Peggy- It wasn’t the goal of the band. You know, “everyone is going to love us!” We were just friends that started playing music and this is the kind of music that we like and have bonded over. I think if we had set out to get commercial success we wouldn’t sound the way that we do.

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Kip- Where we come from, our backrounds in music, there is not really a strong tradition of bands expecting good things to happen. Perhaps American bands are more self depricating (laugh) but there is this built in expectation that if you do something that you love, it might not be well received by others, but you’ll be happy because you will be proud of it.

Peggy – And you’re happy with the five people that appreciated it! (laughs) I feel like I was that person that would always appreciate a certain band and I would have been totally satisfied with that kind of response for us.

Kip- Growing up, most of the bands that I liked, I didn’t know anyone else who liked them.

Did that give it a special resonance – liking a band, and knowing that no-one else knows them?

Peggy – I wouldn’t admit that…… but I secretly enjoy it!

Kip – I would have liked to have known other people who were into the same bands as me growing up. I felt quite isolated that way; I would sit at home playing computer solitaire, listening to an album over and over again, but it’s cool now that we are travelling more and meeting people who had similar backrounds.

What is the Pains’ backround?

Peggy – I’ve been in bands since I was 13, but none of them that ever went on tour. This is the first band where I’ve got to travel.

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Kip – I was in a similar situation, but none of them had graduated above playing in a basement. So this is very different from anything I’ve ever been in – one band that I was in, our goal was to play at this house we knew that had really cool house parties! (laughs)

Can you account for the reasons why the Pains have become so successful?

Kip – We started small, we were playing together for a while before anything happened, it’s easy to lose sight of that because once the album came out things changed a bit, but we were around for a couple of years and met with plenty of challenges, so it doesn’t feel to us like it is an overnight thing, but it may seem that way from an outsiders perspective. I’m grateful for the way that it turned out because it allowed us to mess up for a bit without other people watching! (laughs) We had a relatively decent period of obscurity while we refined what we do….. and also, the reason is luck!

Peggy – And being in the right place at the right time.

Peggy, Is it true that the band formed in part to play at your birthday party?

Peggy – Yes! I remember it was my birthday and I had only invited like, four people; because I only have four friends! (laughs).

Kip – It was at this big warehouse and it was basically an elaborate plot to try and get Manhattan Love Suicides to play, and so if we threw the party, we could play first and then we could say that we played with them. So we had a month to get ready.

It sounds like it was a natural way in which the band came together….

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Kip- It was the best way. If the last seven months have taught us anything; we are always together, and if there were people that didn’t get along, it would be hellish, but we were friends for a long time before we picked up an instrument. This made the whole experience fun and much less stressful then for bands who get formed by putting ads in a paper saying ‘drummer needed’.

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Peggy – The fact that we are friends and the fact that we have stayed friends is almost more lucky than anything else.

So there haven’t been any falling outs on tour then?

Peggy (emphatically) No!

Kip – This is our first experience of doing this, we don’t have a glut of expectations, we’re just appreciative of the opportunity and are excited by it all; and when you are excited and enjoying it, it’s hard to get upset about things.

Peggy – Touring can be really hard and gruelling, and I feel like if it were with any other people it would really suck, but it ends up being fun anyway.

What have been some highlights for you in the last few months?

Peggy – Playing Primavera was really amazing, that was the first big festival we ever played, and I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I don’t like crowds (laughs) so I thought, today might be weird or awkward, but it ended up being really life affirming and it was the biggest adrenalin rush ever.

Kip- ABC news showed up at our practice place to hear us play. The fellow who does the news is on TV saying (in deep, authoratative voice), “And now, a report from Brooklyn” (laughs), and him saying our band name on televsion… I sent that to my grandparents, I think that this was the moment where my family realised that even though they didn’t quite understand what was going on with us, we were doing something worthwhile.

Which country has had the best crowds at your gigs? Apart from Britain obviously!

Kip – Obviously!

Peggy – I thought Germany was really positive, we played three shows in Germany and they were really enthusiastic.

Kip – Sweden was pretty amazing, that country has a strong tradition of appreciating bands like ours and even though Swedes are normally really reserved, the enthusiasm we saw there predated even us having a record out – we had released our EP and if we had played in New York, maybe 40 people would have come, and we would know 37 of them, and then we went to Sweden and all of a sudden we were playing really big shows and I had no idea that a band like ours could find an audience like that. But most of the places that we have travelled to have been positive experiences.

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You’ve got some more touring to do, and then what do you have planned?

Kip- We have an EP coming out this fall, we recorded four songs before we went to Europe in May, and after the tour we are going back to practicing and working on the new record. But every step of the process is exciting and I try not to think too far into the future, because then you miss out on what is happening in the present.

After this I get Kip and Peggy to take part in my game of Lucky Dip, which involves picking questions out of the bag (my handbag, actually) Peggy picks the “What is the first record that you ever brought?” and proudly tells me that it was Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”, and then with less confidence, quietly adds that a purchase of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was also made. “I was really into female performers at the time!” she cried. Kip gets the “What is on your rider?” question, and true to form, the down to earth bands requests are not unicorns, dwarfs and mounds of Class A’s, but bread, hummus, water and beer. ” We just need to make sure that we get fed around 5pm or we get a bit grumpy” Kip ventures, although I don’t think any explanation is needed when the sum contents of your rider can be placed in a Tesco’s 5 items or less basket.

“The Pains of Being Pure At Heart” is out now.
Monday 10th August

UN Climate Change Talks

The U.N. Climate Change Talks in Bonn, recipe Germany begin a series of informal intersessional consultations today. These are part of the run-up to Copenhagen in December, search and this particular series can be found webcast live here

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Illustration by Sergio Membrillas

Tuesday 11th August

The Yes Men

The Yes Men film shows the hoaxes perpetrated by two US political pranksters. The promotion team describe the film as “so stupidly entertaining” that it will reach and motivate thousands of people, this thus “adding even more juice into a movement that is trying to save civilization itself, among other modest goals.

Tuesday is the satellite event – live from Sheffield, it’s a simulcast event screening of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD and live q&a with the Yes Men beamed via satellites from Sheffield Showroom. Cinema-goers will have the opportunity to put their questions live and direct to the film’s stars from their respective cinema locations.

20.30, at the following London cinemas:
Odeon Panton Street, Clapham Picture House, The Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Cinema, Ritzy Brixton, Screen-on-the-Green
More cinemas on the screenings page of their website.

Wednesday 12th August

Green Spaces & Sticky Feet

A creative exploration of the nature beneath our feet as we roam around the gardens – to help us understand why green spaces are important and how we can make our buildings greener. This is a workshop for children of all ages, who must be accompanied at all times by an adult.

2.30-4.30pm
St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens

Contact – The Building Exploratory – 020 7729 2011 – mail@buildingexploratory.org.uk
www.buildingexploratory.org.uk

VESTAS : National Day of Action

On Friday the 7th August the bailiffs went in and the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight ended.

In response to this a National Day of Action in support of the Vestas workers and to keep the factory open, for Green Jobs and a Green Energy Revolution, was declared. There will be actions all around the country organised by a diverse range of groups.

Or contact your local CCC group, or Union – or if you want to organise something in your area there is some advice from Jonathan Neale, of the CCC Trade Union group

The campaign to Save Vestas has not finished, it has just started and with it comes a campaign for a step change in the creation of Green Jobs and the Green Energy Revolution !

6.30pm
Outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Contact – info@campaigncc.org – savevestas.wordpress.com

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Illustration by Jeffrey Bowman

Thursday 13th August

Journey Deep Into the Heart of Remembrance

A spiritual celebration and experience, honouring our regal beauty with sacred song and dance. Dances of universal peace, Taize singing, Bhajans & Kirtan, native American sweat lodge, Zikr & Sufi practice, Breton dancing, Tibetan sound meditation, yoga, tribal dance, ancient ways of the British Isles, chant wave and more…

You can find more details www.hounslow.info

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

Saturday 15th August

Fly by Night at Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve

Let the London Wildlife Trust take you out trapping, identifying and recording moths on the Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve. Come and see how many species of moths visit the fields at night. Please wear warm clothes and sensible footwear. Bring a Torch, Notebook and pen. You may also want to bring a flask.

Free car parking in sports ground car park adjacent to the Hendon Wood Lane entrance.
Nearest tube is Totteridge & Whetstone
251 bus stops on Totteridge Common near the junction with Hendon Wood Lane.

8.30-10.30pm
Hendon wood Lane entrance to totteridge Fields Nature Reserve
Contact – Clive Cohen – 07973 825 165 – notinbooks.conservation@btinternet.com

Monday 10th August
The National at Southbank Centre, order London

The National are one of my favourite all time bands. Their music full of deep seductive murmuring and soaring strings, The National build a beautiful soundscape full of urban discontent and lost loves.

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Tuesday 11th August
Devotchka at Cargo, London

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that Devotchka have wandered straight out an Eastern European shtetl with their romani/ klezmer-tastic music. In fact they’re from Colorado and you probably recognise their orchestral treats from Everything is Illuminated and Little Miss Sunshine.

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Wednesday 12th August
Woodpigeon at Borderline, London

Woodpigeon is whispery folk with beautiful strings and brass. Perfect for a summer evening.

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Thursday 13th August
Circulus at The Lexington, London

Tired of the ins and outs of modern life? Do you want to return to a simpler time? A medieval time? Go see Circulus then! They’re quite obviously as mad as a bag of prog listening cats but they sing about fairies and have lutes- what couldn’t be awesome about that?

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Friday 14th August
Forest Fire and Broadcast 2000 at The Luminaire, London

Lovely country folk from Brooklyn’s Forest Fire and tinkly electronica from Broadcast 2000 are set to make this night special!

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Saturday 15th August
Spaghetti Anywhere and Colours at Barfly, London

Here at Amelia’s HQ we often find ourselves listening to Spaghetti Anywhere‘s myspace selection of pretty indie pop, and it never fails to brighten up a dreary office day.
Also playing are Colours the South Coast’s answer to My Bloody Valentine, offering up a delicious slice of Shoegaze with Pavement-y undertones. Brilliant stuff all round!

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William Cobbing: Thoughts From the Bottom of a Well

Gymnasium Art Gallery
Berwick Barracks
The Parade
Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 1DG

Until 13th September
Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
Free

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Sculpture, ampoule video and installation from London based artist William Cobbing, drawing on inspiration from Andrei Tarkovsky and Robert Smithson.

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Jake and Dinos Chapman: My Giant Colouring Book

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester SO23 8RX

Until 6th September
Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm
Free

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Controversial siblings Jake and Dinos Chapman strike again, with this Hayward Gallery exhibition on tour around the country, based on children’s dot-to-dot drawings but a whole lot more dark, chaotic and macabre.

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The 2009 Vice Magazine Photography Exhibition

The Printspace
74 Kingsland Road
Shoreditch
London E2 8DL

13th August – 26th August
Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm

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Artists include: Richard Kern, Maggie Lee, Peter Sutherland, Dana Goldstein, Tim Barber, Martynka Wawrzyniak, Angela Boatwright, Jamie Taete, Alex Sturrock, Jonnie Craig, Ben Rayner.

Exhibit X is pleased to announce an exhibition examining the blurred vision between photojournalism and raw photography, using images from Vice magazine and it’s photographers.’

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Stitching Time

The Town Hall Galleries
Cornhill
Ipswich IP1 1DH

15th August 26th September
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Free

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‘Stitching Time is a partnership project with Suffolk Artlink’s Culture Club and Colchester and Ipswich Museums. Older members of the community used a variety of sewing methods to create work in response to the collections.’

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The Kiss of a Lifetime (Part 2)

Vane
Kings House
Forth Banks
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3PA

Until 22nd August
Wednesday – Saturday 12-5pm
Free

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‘Our second presentation as part of the Northern Print Biennale, ‘The Kiss of a Lifetime (Part 2)’ is curated by Manchester-based artist and curator, Mike Chavez-Dawson. The exhibition features the work of over 100 artists, both internationally renowned and emerging, from the UK and abroad and examines what ‘the kiss’ signifies within contemporary culture – from the romantic to the lifesaving, from the prosaic to the violent.’

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Scottie Wilson

Pallant House Gallery
9 North Pallant
Chichester PO19 1TJ

Until11th October
Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm
Thursday 10am – 8pm
Sundays/ Bank Holidays 12.30 – 5pm
Free

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‘An exhibition featuring the highly distinctive drawings of the Scottish outsider artist Scottie Wilson (1891-1972). Starting his artistic career at the age of 44, his work was admired and collected by the likes of Jean Dubuffet and Pablo Picasso and he is considered to be one of the most celebrated outsider artists of the twentieth century.’

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Last week I attended the preview screening of The Yes Men Fix The World at the Odeon Panton in London’s West End. Narrated by Andy and Mike, story the self-styled Yes Men, it followed their highly creative protests against corporations and governments guilty of humanitarian and environmental misdemeanours. It’s a laugh-out-loud romp across the continents that you absolutely must see if you’ve ever dreamed of changing the world, but being an indie film unencumbered by distribution or advertising budgets you only get a couple of days to view it.

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You can read more about the exploits of the Yes Men in Cari’s excellent preview blog here and find details of where to see it here.

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In the meantime, if you live in London you might be more familiar with the Yes Men from their front page appearance in the Evening Standard yesterday, photographed in a joint stunt with Climate Rush to highlight the hypocrisy of Mandelson’s leadership as he takes over from the prime minister whilst Brown goes on holiday. Not only is Mandelson a non-elected politician (democracy?! is this really what it looks like?!) but he is also completely corrupt: Leila Deen from Plane Stupid threw custard over Mandelson in February in order to draw attention to his part in hob-nobbing with BAA execs and then lobbying for the third runway at Heathrow. He is well known for pushing the demands of big business over concerns about Climate Change.

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It was indeed a slightly surreal sight to see the unmistakable inflatable shapes of the Yes Men in their Halliburton SurvivaBalls – patented ways of escaping the worst effects of Climate Change if you’ve got enough cash – blocking the entrance to Mandelson’s residence in Regent’s Park together with two girls dressed daintily as suffragettes. Surrounded by mini windmills in plant pots they held aloft a banner which read Mandy Put The Wind In Vestas’ Sales, a timely message as the rooftop protest continues at the Vestas factory in Cowes.

And yet, the Yes Men were not content with a fiendishly early start to pull off the prank with Climate Rush, and were also determined to pay Richard Branson a visit yesterday atfternoon. Why? you might ask…

In a spoof film released onto YouTube yesterday Branson is seen posing astride The World, the huge fake island development constructed in the shape of, yes you guessed it, the world, in Dubai. He’s wearing an amazingly garish Union Jack suit as he cuddles up to some generic pretty girls in red sashes not unlike those favoured by Climate Rush (the sashes, that is.) As Branson states that “we’re just popping people into space and popping them straight back down again,” SurvivaBalls tumble across the screen.

This week it was announced that an Arab investment company has invested in Branson’s Virgin Galactic venture, which plans to take rich people into space on short jaunts to gawp at the wonder of our little planet. The specialist travel company Kuoni are quoted in The Independent as saying that “there will always be super-explorers with the financial ability… to marvel at the Earth from afar. If this is someone’s interest and desire, you can’t put a price on it.” The cost of these trips to the super-rich? A mere $200,000 for two hours. Already 85,000 have registered an interest, with a proportion paying up front. The cost to the earth? Well, Branson is master of greenwash, and he’d have you believe that this vanity project of his will be as eco-friendly as they come. Now I wonder how anyone can imagine that flying into space can come without a cost to the environment? But it seems that if you fuel your jets with biofuel all will be well.

Ah, biofuels, the biggest lie of them all and the subject of the July Climate Rush, where we blocked the street outside an agri-investment conference in Grovesnor Square in order to draw attention to the devastating effects of the rise in the use of palm oil across the globe.

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Not only do the monoculture plantations of this “wonder” oil cause massive tropical deforestation and an attendant rise in CO2 emissions, but they result in a 90% loss in wildlife diversity. Did you know that we have lost 90% of the orangutans in the past 100 years?

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In many parts of the world biofuels such as jatropha are grown on “marginal wasteland” which isn’t actually marginal at all – it’s common land that provides a living for the people who live nearby. Food Not Fuel, seen below at the Palm Oil Climate Rush, campaign on issues around the increasing use of land to create biofuel for cars, planes and soon apparently, space rockets. All this instead of using land to encourage biodiversity and feed the planet.

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How can a man who backs the creation of large scale monocultures to fly rich people into space purport to have any interest in the environment at all? Branson helped to found The Elders, a group of influential rich people who think they can save the world. “Could a small, dedicated group of independent elders help to resolve global problems and ease human suffering?” asks their website. Brilliant! How about space travel for the rich? That ought to do it.

And so, with this in mind, I met Andy, Mike and an assorted gaggle of helpers outside Green Park tube station, not far from where Richard Branson has set up his Galatic shop on an unassuming terraced street (albeit a posh one of course). We’d just bought the Evening Standard and the Yes Men were fairly incredulous with their front page status until I pointed out that if you team up with Climate Rush on an auspicious date that’s the kind of coverage you can expect to get.

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Across the road in Green Park out came the SurvivaBall suits and we watched with amusement as Mike and Andy climbed inside, and cunningly inflated themselves through the use of two fans mounted on helmets, before we all tripped across the road, moving slowly to accommodate a ripped SurvivaBall and a broken fan poking professionally out of the top of Mike’s head. Squeezing up the narrow steps the Yes Men pushed the buzzer to gain entrance to the Galactic offices.

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Alas the Yes Men didn’t get in (not unsurprisingly given their attire) and they seemed content to instead plant themselves on the doorstep and chant “Branson’s Stooopid”, which of course sounds much better in an American accent. Alex in the third SurvivaBall looked more like an overripe pumpkin than a bastion of “survival technology” but the beauty of the SurvivaBalls is that they look so utterly ridiculous.

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“How dumb is space travel for the rich?” chanted the Yes Men, faces squooshed into awkward angles. “This dumb!” they exclaimed before continuing, “What do we want? Space travel for the rich. When do we want it? Never!”

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Despite stating through the intercom that they would stay on the stoop until Branson “stops his ‘green’ hypocrisy and Virgin stops flying planes”, the uncomfortable suits were soon shaken off and the action completed. It may not have garnered the press attention of their early morning stunt, but it was filmed by their entourage, and will surely set the scene for many a further protest. Spaceships and astronauts call to mind the possibility of so many creative actions… The cogs in my mind are already turning. Are yours?

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Do you have a band that soundtrack your life? The music of your memories?
Mine was, pharmacy is and always will be The National, healing a band who’ve been playing in the background of my first loves, lost loves, sad times, happy times, party times, sleep times, journeys on planes, journeys on trains, moving in-s and moving out-s.

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Last night, after almost 5 years of unadulterated adoration and no less than 3 missed opportunities to see them , I finally saw The National, and it was knee-knockingly, breathtakingly amazing.
So amazing in fact, I broke a few of my cardinal “What Not To Do At Gigs” Rules. Nominally, these are:
1. Thou shall not sing along (aloud or mouthing along silently; they’re both as bad as each other)
2. Thou shall not join in group clapping (I’m not really a crowd participation kind of girl)
3. Thou shall not sway with your eyes closed (it looks creepy)

Having left the Royal Festival Hall in between lamenting the loss of my gig misanthropy and watching A Skin, A Night in bed (I really like The National- if you hadn’t noticed by this point) I began to ponder how to write about a band you’ve loved for such a long time, so here it goes.

(A Skin, A Night trailer)

Playing songs from their last two albums (Alligator and Boxer) and an EP (Cherry Tree), as well as covering new songs like the excellent ‘Runaway’, I noticed that one of the most striking thing about The National was their ability to depart from their records, which are, even at their most upbeat are still darkly contemplative and reflective, live however their energy is palpable, their most melancholic songs live are shot through with electricity and flourish. The National are a lot more prolific than the 2007 ‘overnight’ success of Boxer would suggest, and their familiarity with their extensive back catalogue allows them to embellish upon their records, making the live show full of exciting little twists and turns.

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Somewhere amidst these sonic twists and turns, I recognised The National’s ability to change the mood of not only what they were playing but also the mood of a packed out auditorium of people. Their music soars and swoops, murmurs with melancholy, heard in both Berringer’s voice and Newsome’s string solos, before crescendo-ing into a clattering wave of emotional intensity on the drums, guitars and brass. ‘Fake Empire’ ; Boxer’s opener starts with a simple, lilting piano melody and builds up to a full orchestral smorgasbord and was definitely a stand out favourite for me alongside ‘About Today’ from the aforementioned Cherry Tree EP whilst faster songs including ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ and ‘All the Wine’ pulsated with a dark emotion. The National are undoubtedly a honed and well oiled team from the drums and brass section to Padma Newsome’s dexterity on the piano and strings and it is this that enabled them to take such hairpin turns throughout their hour and a half long set, whilst retaining the interest of a legion of loyal fans, which is no mean feat.

And what of Mr. Berringer as a front man? I always had a rather specific image of him as a shy and brooding wordsmith, yet he commanded the attention of the crowd with his vocal range; from his trademark seductive baritone murmuring (‘Green Gloves’), to top-of-lungs anguished shouting (‘Abel’).

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The National create a totally unique soundscape, both live and on record, a soundscape filled with towering skyscrapers and empty parties, of drunk men in dead end jobs and the women they once loved leaving them. Ok, so it ‘s clearly not the Disneyworld of soundscapes but there is a real honesty and sad beauty to the images they create that inspire empathy and awe (both lyrically and melodically) in the stoniest of hearts.

So now as one of the converted to eyes closed, body swaying dancing at gigs, I unabashedly say that The National didn’t let me down live and I will continue to soundtrack a new lot of adventures with their music. Make them yours!

(Video for ‘Apartment Story’)

Categories ,americana, ,Indie, ,Live Review, ,london, ,new wave, ,new york, ,rock, ,The National

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings: 10th August- 15th August

Watching their electric performance at The Garage, information pills I immediately understood why all the major music publications are getting their knickers in a twist over The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. With the recent release of their debut album, more about The Pains have quickly amassed a devoted fan base and garnered raptuous reviews for their perfectly pitched shoe gazing dream pop. If I hadn’t met them, I might have assumed that they were the sort of band who believed their own hype – and why wouldn’t they? Having sat down with Kip and Peggy earlier in the day I instantly realised that while they weren’t oblivious to the attention, they were unfettered by it. Letting the press get on with their excitable reactions, the band just want to play the music that they love.

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The new album has practically been lauded as the second coming by heavy weights like The NY Times and NME, did you expect such an immediate and positive reaction?

Peggy – Definitely not, I just think about the bands that play music like us that we have always admired, and most of them were were not that comercially well known, and not always that critically received either, so playing the kind of music we play… we didn’t have our hopes up high. But we were really happy with the record though, we really enjoyed making it, but we had no sense that anything beyond us being happy would happen. I always liked bands that I discovered on my own, I wouldn’t hear them on commercial radio or MTV.

Kip- There are a couple of bands that reached a bigger audience like Sonic Youth or Nirvana, but most of the indie pop bands of the 90′s were limited to a narrow community.

So you were expecting that the album would spread by word of mouth, and instead you were plunged straight into a media frenzy. Were you ready for this?

Peggy- It wasn’t the goal of the band. You know, “everyone is going to love us!” We were just friends that started playing music and this is the kind of music that we like and have bonded over. I think if we had set out to get commercial success we wouldn’t sound the way that we do.

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Kip- Where we come from, our backrounds in music, there is not really a strong tradition of bands expecting good things to happen. Perhaps American bands are more self depricating (laugh) but there is this built in expectation that if you do something that you love, it might not be well received by others, but you’ll be happy because you will be proud of it.

Peggy – And you’re happy with the five people that appreciated it! (laughs) I feel like I was that person that would always appreciate a certain band and I would have been totally satisfied with that kind of response for us.

Kip- Growing up, most of the bands that I liked, I didn’t know anyone else who liked them.

Did that give it a special resonance – liking a band, and knowing that no-one else knows them?

Peggy – I wouldn’t admit that…… but I secretly enjoy it!

Kip – I would have liked to have known other people who were into the same bands as me growing up. I felt quite isolated that way; I would sit at home playing computer solitaire, listening to an album over and over again, but it’s cool now that we are travelling more and meeting people who had similar backrounds.

What is the Pains’ backround?

Peggy – I’ve been in bands since I was 13, but none of them that ever went on tour. This is the first band where I’ve got to travel.

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Kip – I was in a similar situation, but none of them had graduated above playing in a basement. So this is very different from anything I’ve ever been in – one band that I was in, our goal was to play at this house we knew that had really cool house parties! (laughs)

Can you account for the reasons why the Pains have become so successful?

Kip – We started small, we were playing together for a while before anything happened, it’s easy to lose sight of that because once the album came out things changed a bit, but we were around for a couple of years and met with plenty of challenges, so it doesn’t feel to us like it is an overnight thing, but it may seem that way from an outsiders perspective. I’m grateful for the way that it turned out because it allowed us to mess up for a bit without other people watching! (laughs) We had a relatively decent period of obscurity while we refined what we do….. and also, the reason is luck!

Peggy – And being in the right place at the right time.

Peggy, Is it true that the band formed in part to play at your birthday party?

Peggy – Yes! I remember it was my birthday and I had only invited like, four people; because I only have four friends! (laughs).

Kip – It was at this big warehouse and it was basically an elaborate plot to try and get Manhattan Love Suicides to play, and so if we threw the party, we could play first and then we could say that we played with them. So we had a month to get ready.

It sounds like it was a natural way in which the band came together….

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Kip- It was the best way. If the last seven months have taught us anything; we are always together, and if there were people that didn’t get along, it would be hellish, but we were friends for a long time before we picked up an instrument. This made the whole experience fun and much less stressful then for bands who get formed by putting ads in a paper saying ‘drummer needed’.

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Peggy – The fact that we are friends and the fact that we have stayed friends is almost more lucky than anything else.

So there haven’t been any falling outs on tour then?

Peggy (emphatically) No!

Kip – This is our first experience of doing this, we don’t have a glut of expectations, we’re just appreciative of the opportunity and are excited by it all; and when you are excited and enjoying it, it’s hard to get upset about things.

Peggy – Touring can be really hard and gruelling, and I feel like if it were with any other people it would really suck, but it ends up being fun anyway.

What have been some highlights for you in the last few months?

Peggy – Playing Primavera was really amazing, that was the first big festival we ever played, and I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I don’t like crowds (laughs) so I thought, today might be weird or awkward, but it ended up being really life affirming and it was the biggest adrenalin rush ever.

Kip- ABC news showed up at our practice place to hear us play. The fellow who does the news is on TV saying (in deep, authoratative voice), “And now, a report from Brooklyn” (laughs), and him saying our band name on televsion… I sent that to my grandparents, I think that this was the moment where my family realised that even though they didn’t quite understand what was going on with us, we were doing something worthwhile.

Which country has had the best crowds at your gigs? Apart from Britain obviously!

Kip – Obviously!

Peggy – I thought Germany was really positive, we played three shows in Germany and they were really enthusiastic.

Kip – Sweden was pretty amazing, that country has a strong tradition of appreciating bands like ours and even though Swedes are normally really reserved, the enthusiasm we saw there predated even us having a record out – we had released our EP and if we had played in New York, maybe 40 people would have come, and we would know 37 of them, and then we went to Sweden and all of a sudden we were playing really big shows and I had no idea that a band like ours could find an audience like that. But most of the places that we have travelled to have been positive experiences.

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You’ve got some more touring to do, and then what do you have planned?

Kip- We have an EP coming out this fall, we recorded four songs before we went to Europe in May, and after the tour we are going back to practicing and working on the new record. But every step of the process is exciting and I try not to think too far into the future, because then you miss out on what is happening in the present.

After this I get Kip and Peggy to take part in my game of Lucky Dip, which involves picking questions out of the bag (my handbag, actually) Peggy picks the “What is the first record that you ever brought?” and proudly tells me that it was Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”, and then with less confidence, quietly adds that a purchase of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was also made. “I was really into female performers at the time!” she cried. Kip gets the “What is on your rider?” question, and true to form, the down to earth bands requests are not unicorns, dwarfs and mounds of Class A’s, but bread, hummus, water and beer. ” We just need to make sure that we get fed around 5pm or we get a bit grumpy” Kip ventures, although I don’t think any explanation is needed when the sum contents of your rider can be placed in a Tesco’s 5 items or less basket.

“The Pains of Being Pure At Heart” is out now.
Monday 10th August

UN Climate Change Talks

The U.N. Climate Change Talks in Bonn, recipe Germany begin a series of informal intersessional consultations today. These are part of the run-up to Copenhagen in December, search and this particular series can be found webcast live here

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Illustration by Sergio Membrillas

Tuesday 11th August

The Yes Men

The Yes Men film shows the hoaxes perpetrated by two US political pranksters. The promotion team describe the film as “so stupidly entertaining” that it will reach and motivate thousands of people, this thus “adding even more juice into a movement that is trying to save civilization itself, among other modest goals.

Tuesday is the satellite event – live from Sheffield, it’s a simulcast event screening of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD and live q&a with the Yes Men beamed via satellites from Sheffield Showroom. Cinema-goers will have the opportunity to put their questions live and direct to the film’s stars from their respective cinema locations.

20.30, at the following London cinemas:
Odeon Panton Street, Clapham Picture House, The Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Cinema, Ritzy Brixton, Screen-on-the-Green
More cinemas on the screenings page of their website.

Wednesday 12th August

Green Spaces & Sticky Feet

A creative exploration of the nature beneath our feet as we roam around the gardens – to help us understand why green spaces are important and how we can make our buildings greener. This is a workshop for children of all ages, who must be accompanied at all times by an adult.

2.30-4.30pm
St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens

Contact – The Building Exploratory – 020 7729 2011 – mail@buildingexploratory.org.uk
www.buildingexploratory.org.uk

VESTAS : National Day of Action

On Friday the 7th August the bailiffs went in and the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight ended.

In response to this a National Day of Action in support of the Vestas workers and to keep the factory open, for Green Jobs and a Green Energy Revolution, was declared. There will be actions all around the country organised by a diverse range of groups.

Or contact your local CCC group, or Union – or if you want to organise something in your area there is some advice from Jonathan Neale, of the CCC Trade Union group

The campaign to Save Vestas has not finished, it has just started and with it comes a campaign for a step change in the creation of Green Jobs and the Green Energy Revolution !

6.30pm
Outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Contact – info@campaigncc.org – savevestas.wordpress.com

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Illustration by Jeffrey Bowman

Thursday 13th August

Journey Deep Into the Heart of Remembrance

A spiritual celebration and experience, honouring our regal beauty with sacred song and dance. Dances of universal peace, Taize singing, Bhajans & Kirtan, native American sweat lodge, Zikr & Sufi practice, Breton dancing, Tibetan sound meditation, yoga, tribal dance, ancient ways of the British Isles, chant wave and more…

You can find more details www.hounslow.info

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

Saturday 15th August

Fly by Night at Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve

Let the London Wildlife Trust take you out trapping, identifying and recording moths on the Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve. Come and see how many species of moths visit the fields at night. Please wear warm clothes and sensible footwear. Bring a Torch, Notebook and pen. You may also want to bring a flask.

Free car parking in sports ground car park adjacent to the Hendon Wood Lane entrance.
Nearest tube is Totteridge & Whetstone
251 bus stops on Totteridge Common near the junction with Hendon Wood Lane.

8.30-10.30pm
Hendon wood Lane entrance to totteridge Fields Nature Reserve
Contact – Clive Cohen – 07973 825 165 – notinbooks.conservation@btinternet.com

Monday 10th August
The National at Southbank Centre, order London

The National are one of my favourite all time bands. Their music full of deep seductive murmuring and soaring strings, The National build a beautiful soundscape full of urban discontent and lost loves.

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Tuesday 11th August
Devotchka at Cargo, London

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that Devotchka have wandered straight out an Eastern European shtetl with their romani/ klezmer-tastic music. In fact they’re from Colorado and you probably recognise their orchestral treats from Everything is Illuminated and Little Miss Sunshine.

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Wednesday 12th August
Woodpigeon at Borderline, London

Woodpigeon is whispery folk with beautiful strings and brass. Perfect for a summer evening.

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Thursday 13th August
Circulus at The Lexington, London

Tired of the ins and outs of modern life? Do you want to return to a simpler time? A medieval time? Go see Circulus then! They’re quite obviously as mad as a bag of prog listening cats but they sing about fairies and have lutes- what couldn’t be awesome about that?

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Friday 14th August
Forest Fire and Broadcast 2000 at The Luminaire, London

Lovely country folk from Brooklyn’s Forest Fire and tinkly electronica from Broadcast 2000 are set to make this night special!

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Saturday 15th August
Spaghetti Anywhere and Colours at Barfly, London

Here at Amelia’s HQ we often find ourselves listening to Spaghetti Anywhere‘s myspace selection of pretty indie pop, and it never fails to brighten up a dreary office day.
Also playing are Colours the South Coast’s answer to My Bloody Valentine, offering up a delicious slice of Shoegaze with Pavement-y undertones. Brilliant stuff all round!

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Categories ,electronica, ,folk, ,gigs, ,Indie, ,listings, ,london, ,My Bloody Valentine, ,pavement, ,pop, ,prog, ,The National

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Amelia’s Magazine | Clogs – The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton – Album Review

Perhaps the most apt album title of the year so far, sickness The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton is the fifth album from the classically-bent folk group known as Clogs. Theirs is a music grounded in an intellectual appreciation of musical form and theory, here but when they come to actually write their songs they sit around and jam like any other rock group. It gives their songs a fluidity and spontaneity that belies that this is, side effects at heart, a group of chin-stroking music theorists – those members being Padma Newsome (Australian multi-instrumentalist), Bryce Dessner (most famous for being guitarist for The National), Rachael Elliott, and Thomas Kozumplik.

The title is apt, dear readers, once you realise what, exactly, the Garden of Lady Walton is. The Argentinian Lady Susana Walton lived with her husband, the British composer William Walton, on the island of Ischia in Italy. Upon arriving at their new home in the year after the end of the Second World War they decided to call in the famous landscape gardener Russell Page, who decided upon a mix of indigenous Mediterranean plants and imported tropical, exotic varieties. Almost two decades ago the garden was opened to the public – the William Walton Foundation runs a museum dedicated to the composer, and puts on a series of classical concerts every year in the garden’s Greek Theater. It’s a highly-respected piece of horticulture, and very neatly acts as a metaphor for Clogs’ project – artists and musicians from around the world perform under the boughs of trees from every corner of the globe, an eclectic and vivid mixture that works far better than the sum of the parts. The creatures in the garden are the friends and influences that have helped them make this record, which by contrast to earlier Clogs output it more varied, more filled with wanderlust.

‘Cocodrillo’, then, opens with an a capella chorus of chirps and mumbles while the chant, “these are the creatures in Lady Walton’s garden,” is sang in rounds, exactly in keeping with the tangled foliage on the album’s cover – maybe a little bit too close to ‘concept album’ territory for some, but charming nonetheless.  There’s an operatic element to The Creatures… thanks to the vocal contributions of Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond – whereas previous Clogs albums have remained mostly instrumental in nature, her singing occupies pride of place on over half of the tracks here. It’s a voice that I could imagine would grate terribly with some but endear itself to others, a sweet and swooping voice that suits the more delicate classical compositions – something like ‘The Owl of Love’ is almost medieval – but which is thankfully not deployed over everything.

Newsome writes most of the lyrics, and sings on ‘Red Seas’; there’s also an appearance from Matt Berninger of The National, whose guest slot on vocals for ‘Last Song’ is a definite highlight. His voice, that level baritone, sticks out amongst the dramatic ups and downs of Newsome’s singing. Sufjan Stevens also guests, but his appearance is limited to the instrumental – no doubt to the disappointment of his fans, who were probably hoping for more than plucking a few banjo strings. Still, it’s a worthwhile contribution, as closing track ‘We Were Here’ is elegiac and rousing.

Every song sounds like a Clogs composition, but each one has its own little quirks and traits to make it seem more unique – there’s the concerto of ‘Raise the Flag’, the post-rock tinkle of ‘I Used to Do’. Trying to pull out which influences come from where feels like trying to weed a particularly stony patch of ground – beneath every root there’s another, then another, and another.

It’s hard to find fault with this record on the level of individual songs – it’s certainly Clogs’ strongest work, but its only weakness appears to be its strength – its delicateness. As with much music rooted in the mind rather than the soul there is little dynamic to grab the casual listener. I adore it – I adore the sensation of wandering through a mass of roots and branches, finding spaces of clarity and beauty on the Italian coast, as that’s what it cannot help but sound like. Perhaps Walton himself would approve, though I’m certain his wife would have.

Categories ,Bryce Dessler, ,classical, ,Clogs, ,folk, ,ian steadman, ,Matt Berninger, ,My Brightest Diamond, ,Padme Newsome, ,Shara Worden, ,Sufjan Stevens, ,The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, ,The National

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Amelia’s Magazine | Two Gallants @ Koko

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

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

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

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

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



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