Amelia’s Magazine | Secret Emporium Christmas Market: Christmas Gift Ideas 2013

Diane Turner necklace Secret Emporium Christmas Market

Niecklace by Diane Turner.

Secret Emporium events always promise plenty of atmosphere and this year’s Winter Edition Christmas Market did not disappoint – visitors to the old Nicholls and Clark tile showroom in Bishopsgate were greeted with a greenery festooned stairwell, huge paper stars, a disco ball and lashings of fairy lights. It was the perfect ambience to put shoppers in the mood for all things glittering and twinkling, which was apt, given the amount of jewellery available to buy. For a jewellery lover such as myself, this was heaven. Here’s a small selection of my Secret Emporium finds so that you can seek out this talent online should you fancy.

Secret Emporium Christmas Market Josephine Hicks print

This collaged print is by Josephine Hicks, who had a selection of intriguing one off designs on show.

Diane Turner Secret Emporium Christmas Market

I love the way that goldsmith Diane Turner mixes wood in this spiky statement necklace (at the top). Her awesome gilded bogwood pendant is also a real winner in the style stakes.

Strange Loop mandala Secret Emporium Christmas Market

This jewel and resin wall art mandala is by Miles of Strange Loop, who specialises in weird and wonderful one off pieces.

EA Burns geometric necklaces Secret Emporium

It was great to see the new Ancient Rites collection by EA Burns, who creates avante grade pieces with an ethical heart. The pieces above are part of her classic range, featuring up cycled leather and spikes.

Jessica de Lotz squirrel Secret Emporium Christmas Market

This stuffed squirrel sports an apple core necklace by Jessica de Lotz. A strong way to show work!

Tessa Metcalfe claw rings Secret Emporium Christmas Market

Claw rings by Tessa Metcalfe glinted in the low light. I was particularly enamoured of her new labradorite rings: stunning. One day I will own one of her pieces.

Ali Forbes leather broach Secret Emporium Christmas Market

Ali Forbes is an RCA graduate whose latest leather jewellery collection was inspired by her time in Austria. I look forward to her new collection which she will be launching next year.

Rosita Bonita Secret Emporium Christmas Market

Rosita Bonita always puts together a superb display of jewellery. Her holographic embossed earrings were particularly eye catching… so tempting.

Typical Freaks pendant Secret Emporium Christmas Market

Typical Freaks are Sonia Xiao and Seun Ade-Onojobi, and together they have amalgamated their talents to produce a clothing line and laser cut jewellery collection that features this tribal face pendant necklace.

Tawn holographic sweater Secret Emporium Christmas Market

There will always be a space in my heart for holowear, and downstairs Tawn won me over with her Chelyabinsk Meteorite Collection. I don’t care if these sweatshirts demand good lighting to give their best, I want one now.

There were undoubtedly many other fabulous things at the Secret Emporium Christmas Market but I had to get home to feed the little one. Make sure you catch their next live event if you want to discover and support the most interesting creatives working in London today.

See my best creative finds as I discover them by following me on instagram.

Categories ,2013, ,Ali Forbes, ,Ancient Rites, ,Bishopsgate, ,Chelyabinsk Meteorite Collection, ,Christmas Market, ,Diane Turner, ,EA Burns, ,Jessica De Lotz, ,jewellery, ,Josephine Hicks, ,Nicholls and Clarke, ,Rosita Bonita, ,Secret Emporium, ,Seun Ade-Onojobi, ,Sonia Xiao, ,Strange Loop, ,Tawn, ,Tessa Metcalfe, ,Typical Freaks, ,Winter Edition

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pondicherry – Nirvana Boutique

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Monday 19th January

Greg Dulli/Mark Lanegan, viagra sale information pills Union Chapel, cialis 40mg London

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For fans of the drug-n-whisky soaked darker side of life this intimate venue should be the perfect place to catch the full intensity of this bad boy duo’s melancholic rumblings.

Still Flyin’, patient Stricken City, We Have Band, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, London

15-piece Californian band/orchestra/whatever headline with their sunny but diverse indie pop. Plus cool electro pop from We Have Band.

Tuesday 20th January

Kasms, White Heat, London

Noisy and shambolic guitar sounds from these metal-tinged black-haired Londoners.

Wednesday 21st January

Wire, Cargo, London

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Sometimes gigs from old favourites can be a risky business, often liable to disappoint when your heroes have become sad old has-beens. With any luck these late 70s punk stalwarts were too cool to age badly and this should be a great gig.

Little Joy, Dingwalls, London

Strokes drummer Fab Moretti becomes a front man on this side project. Expect New Yorkey, indie-pop in a similar vein to, um, The Strokes via Brazil.

Thursday 22nd January

La Roux, Cockpit, Leeds

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She’s in Issue 10 so she must be pretty good but don’t just take our (and every other music journalist in England’s) word for it. Check out her fun dance pop live.

Friday 23rd January

Sky Larkin, Barfly, Cardiff

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Cute but clever indie rock from Leeds with a definite off-beat edge.

David Grubbs, The Croft, Bristol

Once the founder of 80s punk metallers Squirrel Bait, David Grubbs now plays grungy post-rock as a solo concern.

Saturday 24th January

James Yuill, The Macbeth, London

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Think Jose Gonzalez without the advert but with plenty of electronic sounds to accompany the quiet and introspective acoustic numbers.

Of Montreal, Digital, Brighton

Much loved indie pop, spreading a little happiness whilst supporting Franz Ferdinand on their latest tour.

Sunday 25th January

Le Corps Mince de Francoise, Library, Lancaster

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Daft Finnish pop in the same vein as CSS, Chicks on Speed and others of that ilk. Crazy make up and fun party girls = a great end to the weekend.

Rows of fish heads preserved in salt – even in the quirky world of Tatty Devine, viagra 60mg that’s an unexpected sight. They peer out from a long black board mounted on the gallery wall like hunting trophies. Next to them, buy cast copies of ripe oranges burrow into blocks of dark red velvet, rx as if victims of a bloody fruit massacre.

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This is the first solo show of sculptor Amaia Allende, which opened on Thursday at the Tatty Devine boutique and gallery space in Brick Lane, east London. Allende claims to tackle the “subject of belonging” by assembling similar everyday items into tidy rows. It looks suspiciously like she has emptied her kitchen bin around the shop.

By the front door, some sort of green pear-like fruits line up on a narrow shelf. Poking out of the top are long strands of polyester blond hair, which make them look like a family of Mrs Pear Heads. So they belong together, you see, while at the same time having individual personalities (because of the hair).

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Tatty Devine is famous for its unique jewellery and edgy art exhibitions, including “Jane Amongst the Birds”, a competition for the best foreign bird or budgie (complete with Tatty Devine trophy) held in September last year. So when it comes to belonging, it seems that Allende and her sombre line-up of fish heads and old fruit, have found an appropriate home.
The most glamorous way of recycling clothes is buying vintage. Last week atelier-mayer.com was launched by luxury fashion PR, viagra order Carmen Haid, about it and fashion journalist, Alice Kodell, and it is a literal vintage heaven. It’s not the place to go if your vintage needs are met by Beyond Retro but if you want a designer dress to suit your decadent palette, you’ll love it.

In the 1930′s Carmen Haid’s grandmother, Klaudia Mayer ran a haute couture atelier in Vienna, selling exquisite clothes sourced from all over the world and it is this that atelier-mayer.com recreates as an online boutique.

The launch truly indicated the splendour of the site, as we entered Marks Club – gentlemen’s club extraordinaire – in Mayfair, we were greeted with roaring fireplaces, country estate décor and the elegant melodies of the violinists could be heard wafting down the staircase.

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Photograph by Tilly Pearman

Such a grand setting was fitting for the designer and couture gowns on show, a taste of what can be bought on the site. As well as on rails, the clothes were worn by models and the violinists, to show off the true beauty of them.

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Photographs by Tilly Pearman

The site not only allows you to browse through the clothes online, the style me section acts as your very own personal shopper, taking into account your size and preferences and finding appropriate pieces and accessories for you.

Atelier-mayer.com is also a great source for brushing up on your fashion knowledge, it has biographies of designers and fashion houses, guides to buying vintage and the style minute section contains a collection of fashion videos, including a fabulous Audrey Hepburn montage and an interview with key sartorial players including Coco Chanel, which is in her native French but we (Prudence Ivey – bilingual Music Editor) has done a handy translation of the key questions for you:

Could you give me a definition of elegance?
Coco: It’s difficult, you ask a difficult question, what is elegance? It’s many things. I will say something which I repeat all the time that for me is obvious but which many people don’t understand: that you can never be elegant enough.

Many of the dresses you designed last year have been copied or imitated in practically every country in the world. The Chanel style has descended to the street. Are you happy about this?
Coco: I am delighted. That was my goal. I don’t believe in defending fashion. You can’t have fashion if you are against imitation. There is no fashion if no-one sees it. Not me but many of the couturiers have an insane fear of imitation but you can’t be successful without it. For me success is the copy. You can’t be successful without that and imitation.

Wise words Coco.

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photograph from Gavin Cullen

I should confess that I don’t come to First Love with impartial ears, information pills but more as an inadvertent geek, verging-on-groupie, who has faithfully been following the movements of Emma-Lee Moss since first stumbling across the girl who sang out prophecies of premature death and the difficulty in distinguishing between love and a stomach disorder. Assembling whoever I could, I stood among many a rowdy crowd turned to enchanted silence – the boys would always fall in love and the girls would come away a little jealous.

Now her album has appeared on our desk and I am all excitement and nerves. The name is taken from Samuel Beckett’s depressing novella about a violently misogynistic lover, whilst Emmy’s First Love is a “hard-won innocence-to-experience saga about a destructive but ultimately character forming relationship, in which songwriting process was her final act of catharsis”. But the tracks that most explicitly fit this bill are the ones I find hardest to warm to, stripped of the subtlety and delicacy of earlier songs, they can be a little sour to the taste. For the most part however, the album shines with all the appeal that makes Emmy great. Lyrics that are dark, humorous and full of brilliantly evocative imagery – all veiled beneath teasingly playful melodies and a disarmingly sugared deliverance – “Our guitarist Euan says our songs are passive aggressive – people think we’re harmless unless they’re really listening”.

We went along to 12 Bar to see her play an acoustic set of before an intimidating crowd of straight clothed industry folk, though she was unfazed, always confident, “we’re used to much bigger stages” she joked …. and so Emmy the Great enters into the mainstream, and perhaps it is just the natural preconditioning of any fan but I think I preferred her on intimate stages when it was just her, her guitar, and a pool of admirers. Saying that, ‘We are Safe” is my new favourite song, full band.

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Opening with a Billy Bragg mockney cry, web you expect Napoleon IIIrd’s mini-album to be a fairly straightforward chronicle of the times, viagra sale Jamie T stylee with shades of Blur in the guitars. All fine but all a little 2006 and not terribly promising. And then the second track, A Strong Nuclear Force, hits you very much as it says on the tin, with its Prince via Beck falsetto and electro beats and you realise there may be more to this boy. A Leeds music scene stalwart, having played with iLikeTrains, iForward Russia! and The Research and remixed a whole bunch of his Northern counterparts, it is perhaps no wonder that there is a little more variety and interest in this collection of songs than might be expected.

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So much variety in fact, that it is easy to feel a little disorientated by the broad mix of genres which Napoleon IIIrd introduces, apparently on a whim. He certainly keeps you on your toes with his playful approach to continuity but challenging the audience is no bad thing and just a couple of listens bring out a common thread running throughout the record. The songs seem to build up to and around the pulsing, driving and crashing The Sky Is Too High, which at around 7 minutes certainly stands apart from the punchy observational territory of the rest of the disc, lacking as it does any discernable lyrical content. Proceedings are then rounded off on a dramatic note with the electro-hymn See Life, down-tempo enough to fall asleep to but interesting enough to give your full attention to on a long dark wet afternoon of the soul. It may take a little perserverance but this mini-album is definitely worth the time.

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Now based in London, pill Finnish designer Minna Hepburn is showing her A/W 09 collection as part of Esthetica, and the ethical branch of London Fashion Week. Her beautiful and delicate designs caught our eye and even better, they’re eco-friendly, with all her materials being locally sourced, organic and fair-trade. She took the time to talk to us about her ideas and work:

When did you decide to persue a career in fashion design?

After I graduated, I went travelling with my husband and we ended up in Asia. I felt lost in terms of my career as I had studied War Studies at Kings College and worked a bit in the city, neither of those options really inspired me. Travelling and my ever so encouraging husband gave me the confidence to do something that I really loved – which is fashion.

What are you currently working on?

I am putting together my A/W 09 collection that I am showing at London Fashion Week, Esthetica in February. I think Esthetica will be bigger and better this year. I am really looking forward to it!
I am also finalising designs for my online boutique, which will be launched at the end of February.

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What designers do you admire?
I absolutely love Rodarte. What they have achieved without any proper training in fashion is incredible and very inspiring!

Who or what inspires your work?

My biggest inspirations are lace and antique markets. England has such amazing antique markets. We never had anything like that in Finland. It’s amazing that you can find gorgeous pieces from the early 1900′s and they are still in wearable condition. Sometimes I might find an old buttons or a postcard and get an amazing design idea.
When I am travelling I always look out for antique markets, France has some of the best ones I have seen!

What has been your biggest professional achievement so far?

Being accepted to do London Fashion Week and putting a collection together after just having a baby. My son Hayden was merely days old and I was still sore after a cesarean when I returned to work to finish the collection. I could not have done it without my friends though!

Also, I think one of the proudest moment was when A la Mode, started stocking my designs. They are such an institution, old and respected shop with impressive list of labels. They have been such a joy to work with!

Why did you decide to create an eco-friendly label?

With my first label, SE1 London, I experienced fast fashion as its worst. It was a range of silk dresses, tops and skirts that were made in Vietnam but I did a lot of traveling and it opened my eyes. It made me re-think the whole fashion industry and how it operates. I decided that second time round I would do it differently. I took some time to research the ethical fashion market, suppliers and the whole concept. I noticed that there was a gap in the high end of the ethical fashion market. A lot of the other ethical fashion brands were doing lots of wardrobe staples and there was not much choice, so I wanted to focus on that and provide some.
I really wanted to create not just a label, but a brand, and to feel that I was doing something differently and maybe setting an example.

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Is it important to you that your materials are locally sourced?
I wanted to show that beautiful and affordable garments can be made in the UK, which is where Scottish lace came into the picture. Also, I have always loved antique markets and found Scottish lace to have that vintage look and appeal.
I started testing my designs with high end shops in Bath and London and got positive feedback. Encouraged by this, I applied to London Fashion Esthetica and decided to produce a full collection for S/S 09.

How do you feel ethical fashion is perceived by the public?

I think ethical fashion is getting better every season. It’s important to show people that ethical fashion can also be commercial, affordable and in line with the current trends.
The media has played a very big part in bringing the message that eco-fashion is in vogue. With the current economical climate, I think people are more aware how they are spending and what they want to spend their money on. With lots of cool ethical brands emerging, I think fashion with conscience has never been more in fashion.

How would you describe your personal style?
At home, as a mother of two young children I try to keep things simple. White lace tops and baby sick does not go well together…
But when I go out, it’s all about antique cocktail rings, pieces from my collection, dresses, high heels and vintage.

Do you like to wear ethical brands yourself?
I wear lot of vintage and I have discovered this amazing French brand, Ekyog, who have a shop on the Kings Road. They have the softest organic knitwear I have ever worn! But I have to say that most of the time I wear my own designs. Also by wearing it, I am testing each design, the fit and the fabrics before I put anything to production. It’s important to know how the garment will behave and last.

Thanks for talking to us Minna, have fun at Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week runs from 20th-25th February 2009.

Woman? Good. Self-publishing? Also good.

This Saturday at the The Women’s Library there will be a hands-on day celebrating woman’s involvement in self-publishing. Publishers, information pills artists, stomach illustrators and crafters – all will come together to share advice and techniques for making zines, magazines and comics. There will be a creative workshop with zine producer Red Chidgey, who will be dishing out advice on how to get started with your own zine, or you can just browse through stalls to find little treasures of your own, and meet zine distributors and makers, you might just come away inspired.

Check here for a more detailed itinerary. This event is free, but you must book.

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The 7:20s are an enigmatically named bunch of attitudinous blokes from the West Midlands whose debut EP landed with a feisty thump on our doormat a couple of weeks ago. After some fairly bolshy correspondence and downright pestering we were convinced that we really had to give it a listen and the results lived up to expectations.

Aquarian Charm is a real rock record in the old tradition of driving guitars and powerful male vocals with some great hooks and, buy more about no surprises, more about lyrics with balls. As a relatively new and unsigned band there’s not much info about the 7:20s on the internet so we decided to get in touch with them to find out what they could tell us about themselves and their music.

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What are your main influences?

Andy: Our musical influences start with Depeche Mode and early electronica, pill cool beats and synths through to Massive Attack, MGMT and M83. Add to that 90s influences from The Stone Roses, Nirvana, Radiohead, Primal Scream and through to Coldplay, The Editors, The 22-20s to name but a few from recent years. All journeys in life and the people you meet influence you and this comes through sonically too. Everyone that knows us is an influence!!

Where does your name come from?

Ed: It happened in 1981, in Preston. My mum and dad thought about many different names but decided on “Edward Paul Thurstan Wright”

The name of the band came because it was better than “Big yellow floppy cheese band”.

What do you think you’ve got to offer that other bloke bands can’t? Especially when all music critics are proclaiming this to be the year of the female solo artist.

John: We make epic, anthemic music infused with atmosphere with lyrics straight from the heart and soaring melodies. There’s no pretentiousness, no angular jangly chords, just pure music, pure emotion. We aren’t in the business of criticising other bands, but we will only say that if you’re after the real deal, you need to listen to our music and see us live. If it turns out to be true that 2009 is the year of the female solo artist, then we have a contingency plan of disbanding, and choosing one band member to front the music in drag. That should sort it…

You’re from Rugby. Is there much good music knocking around there?

Eddy: Yes there is a lot of really good music about in Rugby at the moment, such as Dukes Jetty, Lost Theory and Who Needs Heroes.

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How important do you think a band’s image is? How important is your image to you?

Andy: Naturally, image is important….Why are there so many Elvis impersonators? He was arguably the most memorable artist in history but he was a cool artist too. Our first priority is to make life changing music and our band mirrors that in its image. We haven’t created an image to suit an environment. Instead, we hope our music will influence it. And, we look cool as fu*k to boot ha ha!

Ed: Image is only important to bands if their music is sh*te and they need to conform in order to be accepted and liked by the Topshop brigade and Radio One…though we are kinda guilty of that too!

Hm well, speaking of image, our Fashion Editor was keen to offer some styling advice when she saw these pics, perhaps they’d like to drop her a line for some tips on how to jazz up their look. We think it would lead to greater success in the future!

To find out more, visit www.myspace.com/720s.
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Danielle Arnaud likes change but is not all that inclined towards interior design, link and so her house on Kennington Road is both home and gallery, troche transformed every few months to the workings of whichever artist she happens to be exhibiting. “A change in space brings a change in the mind” she tells me, and I cannot help but wonder what kind of sobering experience it must be to see the protruding and bloodied flesh of a soldier as you walk through your front door each day.

Aesthetic Distance is the second body of work born of David Cotterrell’s stint with the Joint Forces Medical group in Afghanistan, where he was the commissioned artist invited as witness and observer, a task he found to be overwhelming and emotionally turbulent. It is a sentiment you can only try to empathise with as you pass through stark rooms bearing windows to intimate scenes in operating theatre, destruction and individual human cost conjoined with compassion, dignity, and medical industriousness. As you too become observer and witness, you begin to understand why the work seems so distant. I at first strained to find the artist in the work before me, Cotterrell’s own engagement with the bizarre world into which he was emerged, but the photo-journalistic nature of the the photographs makes both artist and viewer witness in way that is impartial and almost matter-of-fact, stripped and exposed are the quiet processes that roll endlessly beneath the wheels of the war machine.

Two films, also eerily distant, document the transport and treatment of casualties during a Major incident. You don’t actually see the patients, just the fact of it; a bleak and wasted landscape where the hum of slicing blades form the backdrop to a continuously arriving and departing Chinook helicopter, whilst Green Room gives an alternative vision of the same event. Medics wait for their assigned patients, their bodies and faces concentrated on the tasks to come over the next four hours, like actors preparing to go on stage.

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It is well worth dipping into Cotterrell’s diary entries, where a more personal documentation of his own experiences are captured. The exhibition lasts until February 15, and though sobering is well worth a visit. Be sure to say hello to Danielle’s chiwawa.

David Cotterrell is featured in issue ten which you can order here.
David Grubbs is something of a legend – the connoisseurs’ post-rocker of choice. It’s no surprise that he’s packed out the cosy environs of the Albert even with the little fanfare afforded his performance. Or that fact that it’s a mercilessly cold, sildenafil recession bitten Blue Monday night he’s playing on. Or that it costs an extortionate amount to see him.

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So who is this unassuming, view bookish gentleman? Grubbs started his career playing with Louisville, Kentucky pop-metal messiahs, Squirrel Bait, and hails from the same fertile Southern indie rock scene that gifted the world Slint amongst other chin-stroking fare. Decamping in Chicago, he went on to form the seminal, nineties outfit, Gastr del Sol with Jim O’Rourke. Meshing musique concrète, folk and jam-band Tropicália with a sense of audacious abandon that belied the pair’s studious persona, Gastr del Sol cemented Grubbs’s reputation as a major post-rock player way before the term was used to describe dire, instrumental indie bands. When O’Rourke jacked it in to be a big shot bassist in Sonic Youth, Grubbs continued exploring the outer limits of acoustic music with a series of challenging albeit rewarding solo albums. This deconstruction of the ‘singer-songwriter’ is what characterizes most of his recent output and new album, An Optimist Notes The Dusk, is no exception.

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I was wary of the David Grubbs live experience though. A friend of mine had seen him play a few years ago and, apparently, he performed briefly before a reel to reel machine spewing noise and walking offstage to laugh from the sides at those still watching. No such sonic japery tonight as Grubbs takes the stage, unaccompanied, and eeks out of his amped up electric guitar Danny Whitten style slabs of warm, creamy, washes of love. Segueing seamlessly into Gethsemani Night, he has the audience enraptured and it’s clear we’re in the presence of some kind of quietly confidant maestro. The evening goes on thus with Grubbs playing most of his recent offering in this minimal style. It works well but tracks like An Optimist Declines feel slightly less weighty without his percussionist Michael Evans or the trumpet drones of Nate Wooley, both of whom adorn Grubbs’s recent offering with poignant poise. It’s a minor quibble though as Grubbs has enough chops, licks and modal phrasings to keep the faithful more than happy. You see, as academic as his music may well be – he’s a professor of Radio and Sound Art at Brooklyn College – Grubbs’s music is always from the heart and suffused with soulfulness. He taps into a rich vein of Americana and the fact that it comes out so aurally fractured, so ideologically fearless exemplifies what Grubbs still is at heart: a punk rock kid from Kentucky.

As we all know, decease eBay is a brilliant place to find excellent and unique gifts. One shop that has an outlet on the site and provides such items is Pondicherry. Named after the place in India where it was started, information pills this shop sells items from the Nirvana Boutique, which is based in Goa.

The Nirvana Boutique produces locally made bags, homeware and clothes and employs 12 people from the surrounding Pondicherry villages to make the goods. The reason we are championing this shop is that the employees have excellent working conditions, they use Indian only materials and profits go towards nutrition programmes for children and projects to help deprived women in the local area. Not only that – the bags and purses are very cute, with hand painted Indian pop-art designs, examples below.

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As well as online, the items can also be bought at Greenwich market and the Alma Tavern market in Crystal Palace.

Here’s another eBay shop you should check out, before Christmas we covered the Fashion Favours vinspired fashion show, which was a fashion collection made from recycled clothing. The initiative raises awareness about socio-environmental issues (eg, did you know over 900,000 million items of clothing are thrown away each year in this country alone) and campaigns for the HIV charity Body and Soul.
As part of the show they re-designed pieces donated by celebrities and these are now up for grabs on eBay, with starting prices as low as £7.50. Get bidding!

Categories ,Accessories, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,eBay, ,Ethical, ,Goa, ,Greenwich Market, ,Hand Painted, ,Pondicherry

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Amelia’s Magazine | Christmas Gifts: Ethical Fashion and Skincare Ideas

I have no idea how this fella’s haircut works. I don’t know what bit of hair is attached to what bit of scalp. But I do know that you and I and the whole of London will soon be sporting this very style upon our heads because this… chap… is… the guy from… DD/MM/YYYY, search and those guys play music better than other people.

DD/MM/YYYY at Old Blue Last

They also write music that is pretty much unreviewable. It’s not that they don’t ever sound like any other band, erectile but when you do clutch at a glimmer of sound overlap, that’s not where these mighty Canadians are coming from.
So here is a list of the irrelevant comparisons I thought I could hear: Deerhoof, but less songy. Battles, but more songy. Early Foals, but tighter and more complex. Six Finger Satellite, but less clownish. Boards Of Canada, blatantly… for about three seconds. Tortoise with charisma. Perry Farrell in the bath. Squarepusher with the munchies. Forward Russia having attacks of Chik Budo. Zoogz Rift puppeteering Purple Stag on the grave of Truly. Gong molesting The Mars Volta for the amusement of King Crimson.

DD/MM/YYYY at Old Blue Last

All of it completely irrelevant since, as I had been warned, DD/MM/YYYY have a “no-style” approach to music-craft. I didn’t believe it, but it’s not far off as a description. The one idea I did have which stuck was that the whole band was synchro-hallucinating Frank Zappa wielding conductor’s baton above the audience’s heads. And they have practised really hard for a million years. In the rhythm of N/N. Most of these songs seem to exist to prove how bouncably groovy any time signature can be. Higher maths. One tune calculated Pi to 1000000 decimal places. But it comes out more as autistic space-jazz than math rock. Almost every song is rhythm-based, there are no solos, not too many motifs even, just additions to the groove, and instrument-interplay key-changes. The drums dominate, followed by guitar detail and big fat synths. Solid basslines and the variety-guy (sax/spare snare and beaten-up crash cymbal) fill the rest of the space, with cartoonish zero-ego vocals sitting on top..
Enough analysis. How did I feel? Did it work? Well… I felt entranced. It worked stunningly well. Nobody knows what any of the songs were supposed to be about, but I was so deeply cuddled up in their slipper of sound, and amazed by how thoroughly well they chugged. There was no attempt to tug at a emotional heartstring, just to uplift your tantric verve with hypno-intensity and complex brain-shuffling. Like I said, they’re nearly unreviewable. Go and listen to them.

Hymns at Old Blue Last

Support on the night came from two equally noisy but quite different sources. Hymns are a very sharp two-piece (guitarist vs. drummer) from the midlands. Without any notion of enjoying themselves, they martyred themselves upon their instruments, in precise fits of religious agony. “More bile, please” chanted one reveller as a song came to an end. “May the Lord have mercy on your soul” came the answer for the next three minutes. These beautiful, but perfectly serious, joyless songs of Apocalypse rely on the vocals of the guitarist, who screams as convincingly and genuinely as I ever heard. He surely watches the Exorcist every night. No smile or thank you after a song, just a swig of beer and twang-brap-”Wrrrrraugh!” again. Well worth a pilgrimage to get preached at with enough vitriol to fuel a thousand Death Metal acts.

Hymns at Old Blue Last

Opening the night were Part Dinosaur, who are insanely ambitious and courageous, winning them my coveted “one-to-watch” medal. If you, like me, feel a deep sense of loss at the passing of Youthmovies, perhaps you used to be in Youthmovies or were touched by the music they made, you will want to follow the trajectory of Part Dinosaur. It’s the same approach to rocking out with neglected time signatures, dynamic changes and instruments filling each others’ gaps. I’ll review them properly someday. It wouldn’t be fair now, as they were a man down, and were a little plagued by techie trouble (an out-of-tune guitar/a broken monitor failing to guide a vocal part). But I will come back for them, and I know it will be good. A first-rate drummer commands the other fellas through a strangely sensitive landscape of out-of-nowhere jolty emotion. Attention to detail and a very obvious excitable rapture in playing interlocking segments of thrilling musical action define a band that is part dinosaur, part hope, all rock!

Part Dinosaur at Old Blue Last

Illustration by Timothy Hunt
Illustration by Timothy Hunt.

A couple of days ago *ahem, ask more like a week* I put a callout on twitter for people to send me their fabulous ideas for Christmas presents – here, finally is a round up of the best clothing and skincare gifts alongside some of my own recommendations. My second post will cover art, homewares and jewellery.

Bonbi Forest equus scarf

Lee May Foster of Bonbi Forest never fails to produce delightful stuff, my current favourite of which is this stunning Equus scarf, new just in time for Crimbo. It comes in either a pink or blue colour way and will certainly catch people’s attention with it’s lovely sustainably handprinted pattern of horses and zebras.

Natasha Rae Richardson hankie

At the upper end of the market check out this rabbit skeleton organic cotton hankie from Natalie Rae Richardson at Tout Nouveau, a website which offers the work of some fantastic emerging designers – perfect for a super stylish man to flourish when out and about.

Natasha Wood cardigan

I wish I had discovered ethical clothing designer Natasha Wood in time to include her in my book… but alas it is too late. These upcycled leather trousers are made from old leather jackets and above is her special two cardigans coatigan. Just fab.

Bradley Beanie Hat and Bow Brook Top by Maria del Carmen Smith
Bradley Beanie Hat and Bow Brook Top by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Continuing on an ethical clothing bent I really do love the simple good designs of Liv. I’ve been wearing her delightful Bow Brook top non stop this winter, and her Bradley knitted beanie is oh so cute. Liv works exclusively in fairtrade and organic materials. Better still she is running a wee Christmas competition – just join her on Facebook for the chance to win a lovely Shell Ford Cardi in her Berrrry Christmas competition. (but make sure you do it this morning as the offer ends at noon today)

Dr Hauschka bath care kit interior
Dr Hauschka bath care kit

Over on the beauty gift set side of life I recommend the Dr. Hauschka bath oils set – I am a real sucker for a hot steaming sweetly smelling bath and these smell just divine. A Bath Care Kit contains small starter versions of the oils and costs just £12.50. What a blooming’ bargain for the bath lover in your life. Dr. Hauschka is running a similar chance for a Facebook fan to win a beautiful make up set. Just join their Facebook page before noon.

Dr Hauschka rose tea

Many of Dr. Hauschka’s lotions make use of the wondrous properties of rose, and I particularly like the Rose Body Hamper Body Moisturiser Gift Set, which includes Organic Loose Tea with Rose Petals – since I started drinking black tea on it’s own I’ve discovered that rose tea is absolutely my favourite, yet it is still relatively hard to come by in your average supermarket, making this gift all the more special.

Pai serenity kit

As you can probably tell I am a big fan of a long luxurious bath, especially in this cold weather. Pai Skincare is another fabulous organic brand that has produced a bath care kit – and the Serenity Bath and Body Collection will go down a treat with anyone like me.

Savonnerie-Naughty Weekend Kit

For the lover in your life, there’s always the Savonnerie Ever So Slightly Naughty Weekend Kit. Why wait for the wedding anniversary or Valentine’s Day when you can drop a ginormous hint at Christmas? This boxed kit includes yummy Love Soak bath bits, Vetiver massage oil, a tender kissing glaze… and a blindfold and feather for a truly erotic experience. All this pleasure for both you and the recipient comes at a very reasonable price.

Savonnerie-soaps

Savonnerie specialises in high end hand made soaps encrusted with all sorts of delicious goodies, and their beautifully packaged luxury handmade soap box makes the perfect gift. They are based over in Brushfield Street near Spitalfields Market so if you live in London there is still plenty of time to go and visit them. Yum yum yum.

For fans of yummy skincare products there are plenty more Christmas gift suggestions in some of my previous blog posts about ethical beauty brands, so do go check them out. And you can check out the companion blog to this one, featuring art, jewellery and homeware ideas, right here. My best art books round up can be found here.

Categories ,Beauty, ,Bonbi Forest, ,Bow Brook Top, ,Bradley Beanie, ,Brushfield Street, ,Dr. Hauschka Bath Care Kit, ,Dr.Hauschka, ,ethical, ,Ever So Slightly Naughty Weekend Kit, ,fairtrade, ,fashion, ,Fickle Fate, ,Lee May Foster, ,Liv, ,Luxury, ,Maria del Carmen Smith, ,Natalie Rae Richardson, ,Natasha Wood, ,organic, ,Organic Loose Tea with Rose Petals, ,Pai Skincare, ,Rose Body Hamper Body Moisturiser Gift Set, ,Rose Petal Tea, ,Savonnerie, ,Serenity Bath and Body Collection, ,Shell Ford Cardi, ,Skincare, ,spitalfields, ,Timothy Hunt, ,Tout Nouveau, ,Upcycling

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Amelia’s Magazine | EA Burns introduces new season jewellery collection Second Sights

1EABURNS FLIGHT CHAIN CHOKER
The new jewellery collection from Lizzie Burns is called Second Sights and features black marble effect Rhodoid, ethical diamonds and precious metal. It is a development of the previous Ancient Rites collection, created under the name EA Burns. Here she talks about the creation of her look book images, seen here.

EABURNS SEER BRACELET
‘I work closely with Steph (Sian Smith) on my images. She has a soft style naturalistic style which captures moments and people really well. I feel it really compliments and contrasts the geometric nature of my jewellery.

EABURNS TOTEM RING
When we met to discuss the shoot, my main priority was to put the the jewellery in context (of how I wear it), and we had common influences which we wanted to come across in the shoot. We wanted it relaxed with french(ish) vibe, and a conceptual element.

EABURNS SPHINX RING jpg
Shoots with Steph are always full of energy, the best shots are always those where the model is reacting to Steph, those which don’t look forced or posed. In the same way I wanted the hair, make and styling to look real and quite tomboy. The jewellery is hard, precise and angular, but the “girl” is a real woman.

EABURNS REVOLUTION HOOP EARRINGS
The collection is inspired by an amalgamation of ideas and influences. First is process- because I work ethically the first thing I think about before anything else is material- this limits my design as I experiment with what is possible first and apply my design influences second. This season I’ve redeveloped the way I make the Rhodoid pieces, buying thicker material and CNCing it (wheras before I was hand forming) this has allows me to create a wider variety of shapes, and fully cover one side in brass sheet creating a sleeker more minimal look. I’d say design-wise my influences would be a combination of modernist design, tribal patterns and minimal lines.’

1EABURNS SPAN THE DEPTHS EARRINGS
1EABURNS FORGE RING REVELATION BRACELET BW

You can buy the new collection from EA Burns here.

Categories ,Ancient Rites, ,EA Burns, ,Lizzie Burns, ,Rhodoid, ,Second Sights, ,Sian Smith

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