Amelia’s Magazine | Russian Fashion: RGataullina and Poustovit at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia A/W 2011

Matt-Thomas-Poustovit Russia
Poustovit by Matt Thomas.

Get this, web Moscow doesn’t just have one fashion week… no, side effects it has three, all competing for attention. But exactly who’s attention is anyone’s guess. You know how London Fashion Week is full of professionals? Well, journalists, the occasional buyer, lots of bloggers… but at least they are adults right? Well, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia (there is also a Volvo sponsored fashion week and one called Cycles and Seasons) was full of CHILDREN. I am not kidding you, I have never seen so many smooth plump young faces. Just check out my photos if you don’t believe me! I have no idea who they were, other than perhaps the offspring of many moneyed oligarchs, who despite their youth can easily afford to order their own expensive clothing.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I attended two Russian fashion designer shows at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia. The first was RGataullina by Yana Gataullina, which started with two models, a direct interpretation of the image on the invites I had seen. They moved down the catwalk side by side in a stately fashion, wearing ridiculous fascinators and simple printed monochrome jersey dresses of the type you might buy in the middle aged section of a department store. The collection then set off on another tangent, with ruffled metallic floral creations chucked on top of stretch fabric dresses.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia Gregory
RGataullina A/W 2011.

RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla.

The most interesting pieces appeared briefly, were barely developed as an idea, and then vanished: tulip shaped skirts with bodices in gunmetal grey, tufts of netting sprouting from zippered slits. But then for the denouement… the likes of which I have NEVER seen at a catwalk show. In fact I was so flabbergasted that I barely managed to take any photos. The music had been steadily increasing in tempo when the designer swept out to take her final bow through the parade of models. And as she did so the models collectively threw their hands in the air and started raving to a frantic blast of techno. It was utterly bizarre and out of context… who knows what must have been going through her mind.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia RGataullina Photography by Amelia Gregory
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla
RGataullina by Sara Japanwalla.

The second show was more promising: Lilia Poustovit is a Ukrainian fashion designer who conceptualises romantic traditions. In essence this meant lots of sweeping fabric in electric blue, red, orange and green. I liked the abstract print design and I liked the round inlaid feature on the back on one shirt dress. But there really wasn’t that much going on to get excited about: it wasn’t fashion as we have come to know it, just nice wearable clothing of the kind any store might sell.

Poustovit by Matt Thomas
Poustovit by Matt Thomas.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia Gregory

Russian Designer at Russian Fashion Week Poustovit by Sam Parr
Poustovit by Sam Parr.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Poustovit  Photography by Amelia Gregory
Poustovit A/W 2011.

Poustovit by Evannave
Poustovit by Evannave.

Poustovit A/W 2011 by Amber Cassidy
Poustovit A/W 2011 by Amber Cassidy.

Considering how many great models come out of Russia it was something of a surprise that there were so few world class models present on the catwalk… or maybe not. There were six packed days of shows, so they cannot have been heavily edited for quality, which was reflected in the fact that they felt seriously under-attended by journalists and buyers, in fact the audience was really quite peculiar. It was almost as if each designer had used their mailing lists to invite faithful customers to what was essentially a private viewing to enable them to order their favourite pieces. Which brings me to my next point… much discussion was had over the state of Russian fashion during my time in Moscow with the British Council. It was generally felt that it is sadly under developed due to the shortage of good design schools combined with the dire state of home manufacturing. You just can’t get any decent production going on – fashion designer Clare Lopeman somewhat nuttily decided to start her own fashion label when she moved to Moscow to run the fashion design department at the British Higher School of Art and Design, and she has found it extremely tough going. It seems you just can’t make the clothes that you dream of in Russia. Not without an almighty struggle.

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia GregoryMoscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia Gregory
Some of the hoopla that surrounded the shows.

Of course, there is extraordinary style to be found throughout Russian design history, and it will surely only be a matter of time before this is put to good use in fashion design. There are already moves to implement a better design discipline through initiatives such as Practicum: British Fashion and new schools such as the British Higher School of Art and Design. Once this discipline is in place the new generation of designers will hopefully be much better equipped to interpret their vast cultural legacy in a new, exciting and contemporary way. Let’s hope the new era ushers in a greater awareness of sustainability too. I can’t wait to see what happens!

Moscow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Photography by Amelia Gregory

Categories ,Amber Cassidy, ,British Council, ,British Higher School of Art and Design, ,catwalk, ,Clare Lopeman, ,Cycles and Seasons, ,Evannave, ,fashion, ,Lilia Poustovit, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Thomas, ,Moscow, ,Oligarch, ,Poustovit, ,Practicum: British Fashion, ,RGataullina, ,Russia!, ,Sam Parr, ,Sara Japanwalla, ,Ukrainian, ,Yana Gataullina

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Illustrated Menswear Day Round-Up

C/Bruerberg A/W 2011 by Karla Pérez Manrique
C/Bruerberg A/W 2011 by Karla Pérez Manrique.

Four menswear designers in one fell swoop: Fashion Scout’s Ones to Watch Men was the first of its kind and my last fashion show of the A/W 2011 season.

C/Bruerberg A/W 2011 by Karla Pérez Manrique
C/Bruerberg A/W 2011 by Karla Pérez Manrique.

C/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryC/Bruerberg A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory

C/Bruerberg A/W 2011 by Rebecca Strickson
C/Bruerberg A/W 2011 by Rebecca Strickson.

My favourite was undoubtedly the first one out and the one collection designed by a girl. C/Bruerberg produces wonderful knitwear – a raggle-taggle collection of clashing materials, what is ed sickness finely executed lace and draped shapes with sheer panels. Her colour palette was a confident mix of browns and greys with bright green and reds. I loved the playful accessorising of dangling head and neckpieces and the digital prints were equally strong. Camilla Bruerberg graduated from the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in 2008 and has collaborated with Royksopp and the Norwegian theatre.

A.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryA.Hallucination A/W 2011 by Alison Day
A.Hallucination A/W 2011 by Alison Day.

This season A.Hallucination by Hwan Sun Park and Chung Chung Lee showed their usual blend of well tailored suits and fine detailing, buy more about focusing on contrasting quilted panels and sweet little touches such as bowties and ruffles. Jacket sleeves were rolled up, unhealthy boots slouched. There was also a range of large bags slung across the back – rucksacks are a big emerging trend for men.

Mr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryMr Lipop A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Mr Lipop A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

Aside from having a rather wonderful/silly name, Mr Lipop produced what was surely the most commercial collection of Ones to Watch, rife with wearable items. Hoods, tailored leather backpacks, loose sheepskin and relaxed suiting was the order of the day. He’s worked as a tailor for Nathan Jenden for several seasons, but maybe a relaxed approach comes from his love of football – not the most obvious choice of hobby for a fashion designer. Bit concerned that was real fur trim though. Naughty step for Mr Pop if so.

Asger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregoryAsger Juel Larson A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Asger Juel Larson A/W 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

With his Uncle Sam collection Asger Juel Larson drew the most surprised looks from big retail buyers in the front row – maybe because of the crucifix encrusted top hat? Or the feathered headdress made from two entire wings? Or the amazing holey knitwear encrusted with what looked like deflated balloons, worn over leather hot pants and not much else? Surely these are highly sellable items, non? Asger is a London College of Fashion graduate with some considerable hype to his name since being involved with Turkish luxe label Tween. According to the press release he’s inspired by historic events to create a sharp structured silhouette, though I’d say he owes more to the fantasy of High Gothic films.

Asger Juel Larson A/W 2011 by Sam Parr
Asger Juel Larson A/W 2011 by Sam Parr.

When I worked as a stylist I loved styling men far more than women, but because I struggled to find good menswear I invariably ended up using the same brands all the time. So it’s great that the much talked about renaissance in menswear design is finally happening and is getting such great support from Fashion Scout director Martyn Roberts. I look forward to next season with anticipation.


Illustration by Charlotte Hoyle

So yes, help London Fashion Week was yonks ago, for sale and designers are already thinking about their S/S 2012 collections. Soz then, but this has been one hell of a season. Our coverage, if I do say so myself, has been immense. Allow me one last indulgence to tell you about the Fashion East Menswear Installations and London Fashion Week A/W 2011 menswear in general. Here’s a wonderfully photographed and illustrated round-up.

ASTRID ANDERSEN

Illustration by Abby Wright


All photography by Matt Bramford

Astrid Andersen was a bit of a find at the menswear installations… hip-hop sportwear meets luxe fabrics in neons. These poor (but buff) models slumped for four hours. Pity them.

AGI & SAM

Illustration by Faye West



Agi & Sam
brought back the nineties this season with acid face paint and 3D fabrics (they even had 3D specs… and it worked). Padded puffa jackets and gilets in all sorts of vibrant colours and patterns stood out in a sea of sharp tailoring. My model-pity continued, but then I realised they’re probably earning a lot more than I am, so quickly got over it.

CASSETTE PLAYA

Cassette Playa illustrated by Antonia Parker

Cassette Playa was one of my favourite menswear shows this season, with the gold bodies and inspired prints. You can read my full review here and Amelia’s here.

LOU DALTON

Illustration by Izzy Lane

We didn’t get a ticket to see Lou Dalton – AGAIN – but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. Oh no. I borrowed Michael from Anastasia Duck‘s ticket. What I didn’t expect was that the ‘Royal Opera House’ venue advertised was actually one of the tiny rooms off the main entrance, and the show was massively oversubscribed. So that did stop me getting in. Oh, well – at least I made it to Cassette Playa on time. There’s a lovely illustration by Izzy above though, from S/S 2011.

OMAR KASHOURA

Illustration by Matt Thomas

We didn’t get a ticket to Omar Kashoura either – harumph – despite our extensive coverage of his quirky outing last season. You’ll have to make do with Matt’s S/S 2011 illustration above – which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is brilliant anyway.

KTZ

KTZ S/S 2011, illustrated by Sandra Contreras

Unless you’ve been under a rock you’ll know that KTZ was my favourite shows this season – and one of Amelia’s too. Thinking about it leaves me breathless. Read our reviews here and here, and enjoy Sandra’s S/S 2011 illustration above!

MATTHEW MILLER

Illustration by Dan Heffer


Illustration by Sam Tickner

I’ve been fond of Matthew Miller and his collections since I first discovered him a year ago… this season lime green duffel coats fastened with carabiner-style heavy duty locks. Enormous bags also played with this theme, teaming expedition materials with luxe fabrics. Great shoes, too.

NOKI

Illustration by Natsuki Otani

Dr. NOKI was back with his weird and wonderful New Era caps and a new collection of garments made from recycled materials. His model must be the hardest working this season – I’ve seen him everywhere, from here to looking awkward at Jean Pierre Braganza. Read more about Dr Noki in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

E. TAUTZ

Illustration by Gemma Smith

No ticket. Again. Yawn. But a lovely illustration by Gemma, nevertheless!

See more from Antonia Parker, Natsuki Otani, Faye West and Abby Wright in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration!

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Abby Wright, ,Agi & Sam, ,Antonia Parker, ,Astrid Andersen, ,Cassette Playa, ,Charlotte Hoyle, ,Dan Heffer, ,Dr Noki, ,E. Tautz, ,Fashion East, ,Faye West, ,Gemma Smith, ,KTZ, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Thomas, ,Matthew Miller, ,menswear, ,Natsuki Otani, ,Omar Kashoura, ,Sam Tickner, ,Sandra Contreras, ,Somerset House, ,Wednesday

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Amelia’s Magazine | Central Saint Martins BA Graduate Fashion Show

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, cost something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, purchase this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, check being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, viagra approved something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, here something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, recipe this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, remedy being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com

Illustrator and Graphic designer – inspired by originality, capsule something I always strive towards and look for. I spend my time creatively as often as I can, medications this is when I am most at peace and get a clear picture of who I am and what I want out of life.
I appreciate the importance of concept as the starting point to the design process and I pride myself in my ability to explore and interpret different styles.

Highlights in my career include illustrating the COS 2010 Spring/Summer collection, being featured by Grafik magazine and contributing to Amelia’s magazine.

Living in London I find myself in awe with the multitude of talent and creativity which surrounds us and by how the world has become completely saturated with it. I sometimes question whether this is a good thing. But I am fascinated with the task of orientating myself in it.

www.pieterdegroot.com
www.pieterdegroot.blogspot.com


Eloise Jephson, seek illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova

40 graduates showed their work at the Central Saint Martins BA Degree Show this year, combining eccentric creativity with well-mastered skill. From wild African carnival-like ensembles, to upholstered outerwear, and from inflatable swimwear to paintbrush-shaped headwear…

Catwalks ranged from vibrant, quirky, carnival-like processions, to romantic, tailored, and intricate. Having been a bit out of the loop for the last year, to see such vast amounts of creativity under one roof was quite overwhelming, and equally inspiring. The show took place in Bethnal Green’s York Hall, which, for those of you who haven’t been, is rather a grand setting. Built in the 1920s, it’s vastly high ceilings and simple design creates a high-brow feel, and a lovely stage for CSM graduates.

Anne Karine Thorbjoernsen’s Womenswear collection set the scene with some illusory wicker-work creating wonderfully hazy silhouettes, highlighting the female form.

Eloise Jephson’s highly commended collection of elegant silk dresses, kimono-style gowns and turbans, printed with dinosaurs and magical creatures encapsulated wearability, originality and beauty.


Eloise Jephson, illustrated by Lisa Stannard

Catapulting the show to new heights. Sorcha O Raghallaigh’s, also highly commended collection of models- on- stilts made for a show of towering, fabric laden models – bundled with crochet scarves and flowers, for dramatic effect. The last to grace the stage, a towering bride, exaggerating the typical white wedding, with a pale complexion and layers of sheer and knitted fabrics.


Sorcha O Raghallaigh, illustrated by Naomi Law

The Second Runner-Up Award went to Alex Mullins for his quirky, vibrant collection, which included inflatable puffa-style jackets, an eclectic range of head-dresses, from painted symbols and tools to hooded and toggled overcoats in rusty orange hues, and a whole lotta’ layering.


Alex Mullins, illustrated by Farzeen Jabbar

Philip Patterson, whose menswear collection was presented with First Runner-Up Award by Drusila Beyfus, showed a great, skillful collection, with Military influence, and a sense of the outback. Soft linens, neutral cottons and waxy leather combined for a laid-back, stylish collection.

Yi Fang Wan’s sumptuous collection of freshly draped cotton won her the L’Oreal Professional Young Designer of the Year Award. Delicious ivory and dusty pink layers created elegant, romantic silhouettes. Pretty collars, bubble-hem skirting and fabulous layering made this collection stand-out from the surrounding in-your-face flamboyance of the show.


Yi Fang Wan, illustrated by Matt Thomas

Sabina Bryntesson’s worm-like piping weaved through skin tight tops and tube-dresses.

Helen Price’s dramatic knitwear was a treat for the eyes – huge ostrich-like topiary-desses swooped along the catwalk to Cornershop’s ‘Brimful of Asha’.

Moon-like cape cum cloche-hats designed by Liz Black were inventive and flattering. Splattered with pollock-esque ink splats and teamed with drain-pipe jeans.

Kwan Tae Kim showed metallics in all their glory. Spangly tailored jackets, armour-like spacesuits and mirrored embellishment combined, creating a Prince-esque style with some delicate feminine edging to soften the structured silhouettes.

Onez Lau showed inventive. comical knitwear. A model with antlers and an ‘Oh Deer’ knitted dress stalked by a show-horse wearing a wizards hat took to the catwalk, whilst others sported whipped hair-do’s and layers of woolen frivolity.


Onez Lau, illustrated by Donna McKenzie

Tahari Roque’s tape-like swimwear ensembles came to life on stage, inflating into buoyant armbands and waistbands in turquoise and black.

Beautiful feathered millinery from Zoe Sherwood appeared as birds in stages of flight. Teamed with velour, chiffon and an earthy palette, exuding a pagan feel and creating a spirited show with beaded accessories, and peacock feather-printed outerwear.

Hiroko Nakajima took upholstered chairs and turned them into sweeping jackets, paintings became neck pieces and fabrics were used to create button-back effects over volumous velour outerwear.

Isabel Fishlock’s carnival-style collection showed swishing style, silk layers and appliqued flowers. Carrie Hill’s widow- twankie styled ladies with turbans and wicker bags showed refreshing colour combinations, whilst Zoe Cheng’s multi-coloured fabrics tied into oversized bows extended the carnival theme.

As Colin McDowell exclaimed at the end of the show: “Extreme, outrageous, exciting… utterly impossible.’ I couldn’t agree more.

All photography by Matt Bramford

Categories ,africa, ,Alex Mullins, ,Anne Karine Thorbjoernsen, ,Bethnal Green, ,Carnival, ,Carrie Hill, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Chiffon, ,Colin McDowell, ,Cornershop, ,Degree Show, ,Drusila Beyfus, ,Eloise Jephson, ,Farzeen Jabbar, ,fashion, ,graduates, ,Helen Price, ,Hiroko Nakajima, ,Isabel Fishlock, ,Kwan Tae Kim, ,L’Oreal, ,Liz Black, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matt Thomas, ,millinery, ,Naomi Law, ,Onez Lau, ,Paintbrushes, ,Phillip Patterson, ,prince, ,Sabrina Bryntesson, ,Sophie Hill, ,Sorcha O Raghallaigh, ,Stilts, ,Swimwear, ,Tahari Roque, ,Turbans, ,Velour, ,Yelena Bryksenkova, ,Yi Fang Wan, ,York Hall, ,Zoe Cheung, ,Zoe Sherwood

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Amelia’s Magazine | Central Saint Martins: Ba Hons Jewellery Graduate Show 2011 Review

Jing Jing Cao headdress
Headdress by Jing Jing Cao.

The Central Saint Martin Ba shows were held for the last time this year in the iconic Charing Cross building, visit before the courses depart for new accommodation in Kings Cross. What will happen to the beautiful vaulted hallways when they go? The caretaker couldn’t tell me…

I can’t help but love jewellery – whilst I’ll happily bypass the graphic design stands if there’s a glint of precious gem I’m in there, help nosing around. The Ba Jewellery offering was a mixed bag – much of it did not appeal to me at all but the designs that did grabbed my attention good and proper. Below are the best designers I found.

Kerry Huff
I was attracted to Kerry Huff‘s rough gemstone jewellery based on natural patterns even before I realised that she had sourced all her materials ethically… and is also passionate about fair-trade practice. How joyous to find students tackling design with a firm grounding in the implications of their work.

Hee Jung Son
Hee Jung Son also worked with recycled lids to create a well presented range of colourful rings on silver bases.

Yung-Han Tsai
Central Saint Martins jewellery graduate exhibition 2011 Yung-Han Tsai
Yung-Han Tsai reappropriated everyday objects and transformed them into something new – in this case she clumped bundles of headphones (I’m hoping they were recycled or upcycled) into sculptural forms.

Bonnie Yiu
Bonnie Yiu did some strange and wonderful things with copper wire and paper which produced curvaceous necklaces and bangles with detailed patterns that bore closer examination.

Central Saint Martins jewellery graduate exhibition 2011 Wenhui Li
Wenhui Li pink ring
Wenhui Li
Wenhui Li showed a fabulous display of coloured mixed media rings featuring strange alienesque bulbous shapes. See more on Wenhui Li’s website.

Lauren Colover
I didn’t notice Lauren Colover‘s work when I was at the exhibition but the piece she has chosen for the catalogue is stunning – based on a Ginkgo Biloba leaf and encrusted on the underside with semi precious stones.

Min Yoo
Min Kjung Yoo created some amazing hybrid creatures from a mix of resin, precious metals and gems. Some were far more out there than this particular frog/dolphin specimen – see her website.

Jing Jing Cao
Jing Jing Cao produced stunning brass and acrylic ruffs that spread around the face like a stylised human frame.

Anna Heasman barter bangle
In her final year Anna has found herself questioning the meaning of jewellery as simply adornment but rather as a means of exchange. Inspired by primitive forms of exchange (or indeed, some might say the most postmodern way to live) Anna Heasman offered exhibition attendees the chance to Barter for a Bangle. How could I resist? I offered to write about her here if she gave me a particularly fetching gold twisted number. But I haven’t heard from her yet, and look, here I am writing about her anyway. Clearly I’m not so good at bartering.

Central Saint Martins jewellery graduate exhibition 2011 Anna Heasman Barter Bangles
One of the most intriguing things were the other barters on offer, everything from a list of herbal medicines to other bits of jewellery, cupcakes and a drink on the town. If it wasn’t so incredibly frowned upon to take photos at the CSM shows I would have taken more snapshots of the amazing array of offered goods and services. Some of them can be viewed on Anna Heasman’s Tumblr.

Still to come… my favourite finds from the Jewellery MA.

Categories ,2011, ,Acrylic, ,Anna Heasman, ,Barter Bangles, ,Bonnie Yiu, ,brass, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Copper, ,Eco-Design, ,ethical, ,fairtrade, ,Gems, ,Ginkgo Biloba, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hee Jung Son, ,Hybrid, ,jewellery, ,Jing Jing Cao, ,Kerry Huff, ,Lauren Colover, ,Min Kjung Yoo, ,paper, ,Precious Metal, ,recycled, ,Resin, ,review, ,Silver, ,Upcycled, ,Wenhui Li, ,Yung-Han Tsai

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Emete and Amy from Make Lemonade

Woman in politics by Sandra Dieckmann

Illustration by Jenny Robins

I didn’t plan on staying up so late on Election night. I had well- meaning plans involving a cup of tea, viagra sale my pajamas and being tucked up in bed with a book by 10pm. But like many people, this as soon as the exit polls rolled in, more about I was hooked. My emotions swung from disbelief to elation, despair to complete confusion, the latter being the prevailing feeling.

I am not sure if there is any other point in the year where this is the case, but all eyes were on Sunderland. Initially I was baffled by the focus on rushing to count the votes. I would rather it was accurate than rushed, it isn’t Total Wipeout (although how I wish it was! Imagine- the party leaders racing round the course, being pounded with mechanical fists and squaring up to the Big Balls?!) But as the first, second and third result came in, I realized that for a brief, bizarre moment, we had a 100% female government. Imagine that. And bloomin bizarre it was. But why? Why is it so hard to imagine an all female government?

The sad reality is that women are still dramatically under-represented in key areas of public, political and economic life: In the last British Parliament of 646 there were only 126 female MPs. This is abysmal. We lag far far behind countries like Afghanistan, Rwanda, Senegal and Latvia when it comes to women’s representation. The majority of UK senior civil servants, directors of FTSE 100 companies, senior lawyers, and key figures in the media are men. No wonder so many teenage girls cite Katie Price as their role model, though that does make me want to eat my own face. If women are excluded from the top jobs, half the talent of the nation is wasted.

llustration by Jenny Robins

I went to bed around 2.30am unable to keep my eyes open any more, with an excited, but admittedly naïve, confidence that this election would see a significant increase In women in parliament. According to the Centre for Women and Democracy and the Fawcett Society, Thursday’s General Election resulted in… wait for it….. drum roll…… 142 women MPs. Yes! That’s an extra 16! Oh- no, wait a minute… 142 female MP’s in a parliament of 649…. that’s only 22% of parliament. On a positive note, this included Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, and the election of Britain’s first ever female Asian MPs. A tiny bit better, but overall its pathetic, quite frankly. Fuck.

This has to change. We are well behind the majority of other European countries in this regard. If women’s representation continues to creep up in 1 or 2 percentage points like it has done up until now it will literally take decades before women are fairly represented in our country. Women only shortlists may sound drastic to some but when you consider the state of women’s representation nationally, you realize that it’s drastically needed.

And then there is proportional representation. Oh sweet, fair, idolized proportional representation! How we long for you! It is a clear olive branch standing out from the mushy confused mess of the election result. (Lib-lab, lab-con, Con-dem anyone?) The case for voter reform is more convincing than ever.

There are apparently gazilillions of different proportional representation systems, but roughly it means that if a party receives 10% of the vote, they receive 10% representation, which is hundreds of miles better than the system we have now when a party receives 51% of the vote but 100% of the influence in parliament. The Electoral Reform Society explains one system thus; “At present, constituencies are represented in parliament by just one MP. Under a Single Transferable Vote system, each constituency is represented by a small group of representatives…This makes it possible for representatives of different parties to be elected in each ward, thus allowing more people to have representatives of the parties of their choice.” Having a group of representatives in each constituency will mean that it will be even more blindingly obvious if women are not represented there (same for other minority groups too). In many other countries more women are nominated under PR and the more women are nominated the more they are elected. Proportional representation also means that people can vote according to what they actually believe in (like, for example, electing more women to parliament, amongst other things) rather than tactically to keep certain parties in or out.

So yes. Women are still dismally under represented. Yes, teenage girls are growing up saving for boob jobs. Yes, we heard more about the dresses of the leaders wives than we did the policies of the female candidates. But it is time to say no. We wont stand for our outdated, old fashioned, unfair voting system any more… Takebackparliament , a coalition of a range of different voter reform groups have organised a demonstration calling for voter reform on Saturday. When you’re talking to your kids and grandkids in years to come about this bonkers election, don’t say you watched it on facebook and TV. Say you got involved and made a difference.

Join them this Saturday At 2pm at Parliament Sq.

*climbs down off soap box and sneaks away quietly….*


Photograph by Matt Bramford

A few Saturdays ago when the sun was shining brightly (think hard, capsule you’ll remember sunny Saturdays) I met up with the girls behind Make Lemonade. We met at Yumchaa, the delightful tea shop in Soho. We should really have organised a picnic, and in hindsight it might have been the best day of the year for it.

Make Lemonade, both vintage e-store and fashion blog, is the baby of Emete Yarici and Amy ‘The Mysterious Blonde’. This fashionable pair are like chalk and cheese – Emete the cutesy type, resplendent in polka dots and denim, and Amy the more devilish, Debbie-Harry-esque part of the partnership dazzling in sequins. It seems Amy has a bit of a reputation – her friend arrived at Yumchaa moments into the interview accusing her of having a hangover. Charming!


Illustration by Matt Thomas

As we settled into our teas (after Amy had dropped the lid of her teapot into her teacup, but we won’t dwell on that), the girls swiftly turned the tables on me to ask how long I’d been with Amelia’s Magazine. As I began describing the tale, I suddenly realised it was me who was being interviewed! I quickly put a stop to that.

We’d decided to meet up and have a chat because the Make Lemonade site had recently been given the Pearl Law treatment – one of our finest illustrative contributors, Pearl has revamped the site with fun illustrations of the pair at work.


Make Lemonade website illustration by Pearl Law

Make Lemonade began as Emete’s fashion blog in 2007. She was interested in contributing to the ever-expanding fashion blogosphere, but inevitably needed a source of income (I hear ya, sister). She decided to set up a ‘blog shop’ through Big Cartel, and landed a buying slot at a local vintage wholesale outlet. The girls went to uni together, and Emete naturally called upon Amy to go with her to the sale. Make Lemonade the store was thus born.

‘We found that we really liked working together, and that the pieces we picked out complimented each other,’ revealed Emete, or Amy, I can’t quite remember because it was so long ago. It also transpired that they each went for different items – Emete for trousers, Amy for tops.

The girls also run the odd real-life stall here and there, which have been huge successes. ‘In two days, we cleared almost three rails of items,’ Amy told me. Emete revealed that they might have sold more if Amy had not tried half of the things on and refused to let them go, casually explaining that, when worn with the tag hanging out, it would boost sales. I guess that’s the trouble with retailing a product you genuinely love, and that’s clear from this pair.

Their philosophy, they told me, came from the all-too-familar fact that ‘so many vintage shops rip you off’ and it has always been their policy to retail clothes under £20 – little on the site (go on, have a look) sells for over £15. The website has been met with acclaim by many a fashion blogger and stylist, and they’ve heralded a lot of respect from the industry. I find the idea of vintage shopping online, where items have been cherry-picked by two vintage-lovers, far better than in a vast warehouse where any old thing will be squashed onto a rail.

Both the e-store and the blog act as a ‘creative outlet’ for both Emete and Amy, who are currently studying at the London College of Fashion and have a range of part-time jobs, too.

So what influences them when they’re on their buying trips, or in general? ‘The 70s!’ declares Emete. ‘I like the floaty, romanticism of that era. I also love looking at old family photographs, old magazines, that kind of thing. The LCF library is incredible. They have every edition of Vogue. I can spend ages down there!’

Amy, in contrast, is a 1980s child. ‘I love Debbie Harry, and everything 80s!’ she tells me. She’s a big music lover, too, so naturally is influenced by a range of bands. It’s this stark contrast that makes the site work, they (and I) believe. Sometimes you meet people who totally overestimate their influences but with this pair you can see all of these things at work.


Illustration by Pieter de Groot

The name stems from the olde English saying ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ but there doesn’t seem to be many sour lemons with this twosome. They get on so well – that is clear – at times I totally lost control of the interview with either me, them or all three of us in hysteric fits of laughter. I find it difficult imagining them ever disagreeing about anything. Of course, as an intrepid journalist, I had to ask. ‘We do argue,’ confesses Emete, ‘but hardly ever, and it’s always sorted within minutes.’ They pretend to have meetings, telling friends and family that they are discussing the future of the business when really they’re out looking for the best place to drink tea, or, on one occasion, sipping champagne at Fortnum & Mason.

Emete is the self-declared realist, while Amy is a dreamer. Amy tells me ‘Emete does get a little stressed sometimes, while I’m shouting ‘We’ll be FAMOUS!’, so I have to pat her head every now and again!’ The success of the site is in part thanks to friends and family who’ve been ‘roped in’ on numerous occasions – driving vans, designing leaflets, and loads of other tasks. They often feel guilty about this but most often everybody’s happy to help.


Illustration by Matt Thomas

So how did the collaboration with Pearl come around? ‘Pearl had been a customer of the site,’ the girls explained. ‘She bought a tweed jacket, and had emailed to ask how she could alter it. We got chatting from there, and told her we were looking to revamp.’ They gave Pearl a brief, discussed how the website works, et voila! As Pearl is a vintage-lover, they naturally paid her in clothes.

We chatted about influences, likes and dislikes, reading lists, that sort of thing – both Amy and Emete read Vogue Magazine as a base and vary their reading from there. Emete confesses to ‘occasionally’ reading Look magazine. She told me, Sometimes, Beyoncé just does it for you,’ – a statement with which I agree wholeheartedly.

So what does the future hold for Make Lemonade? ‘We want to grow the site,’ the girls told me, ‘and make MakeLemonade more than a shop. We’d like to create a community of people, through hosting events, workshops, that kind of thing. Something that draws people together.’

Already on the agenda is to increase the quantity of menswear, a t-shirt collaboration, and the girls recently branched out into being London tour guides (well, who better to ask than a pair who have meetings at Fortnum & Mason?) They produced this cute little guide detailing where and when to visit London hotspots, using lemons and as a meter. More lemons = more expensive. Simple!

As much as I could have enjoyed drinking tea and discussing Beyoncé all day, we all had things to do, including taking some snaps of the girls, one of which appears at the top of this article. Naturally I looked like a prize pervert photographing two girls in Soho Square at 11.30 in the morning, but it was a fun end to a fun meeting.

You can find both the store and the blog here.

Categories ,1970s, ,1980s, ,Amy, ,beyonce, ,Big Cartel, ,Debbie Harry, ,Emete Yarici, ,LCF, ,London College of Fashion, ,Look magazine, ,Make Lemonade, ,Matt Thomas, ,Pearl Law, ,Pieter de Groot, ,Polka dots, ,Soho, ,Soho Square, ,tea, ,vintage, ,Vogue magazine, ,Yumchaa

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Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, sick cheap you may have kept a diary, website like this pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, information pills but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, viagra 100mg you may have kept a diary, nurse pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, pharm but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, troche you may have kept a diary, ambulance pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, information pills but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, information pills you may have kept a diary, case pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, sildenafil but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

There are certain musicians who do what they like. These are the frontline soldiers of the music scene, there venturing into the unknown; fearless of the landmines that could blow their careers into smithereens. Just ask Britney, it’s a dangerous world out there.

David Byrne, on the other hand, appears to be made of vibranium. The former Talking Heads frontman has the uncanny ability to cut artistic diamonds out of pretty much everything he turns his hand to, and his latest project is no exception. In an unlikely collaboration, Byrne has teamed up with club DJ and dance-music producer Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) to compose a disco opera about the life of Imelda Marcos, who, along with her dictator husband Ferdinand, ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. Confused? Well, I’m not surprised.

Five years in the making, Here Lies Love is a song cycle paying homage to the “Iron Butterfly” (as she was known), which tells the story of Imelda’s rise and fall through a sequence of songs written by Byrne, with Fatboy Slim providing the infectious beats. The impressive and eclectic name-check of female vocalists, including girl-of-the-moment Florence Welch, Martha Wainwright, Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper, and French chanteuse Camille, reaffirms the faith that Byrne’s fellow artists have in him in pulling off a potentially bonkers project such as this. Steve Earle and Byrne himself also make appearances on the record, where the twenty-two singers take us on a journey of Imelda’s life, from her humble origins to fleeing the country in exile. The roles of the former First Lady and those she was closest to are played out over the 89-minute song cycle, with the most notable character being Estrella Cumpus, Imelda’s childhood servant and friend, who was cast aside as Imelda began to occupy the upper echelons of Filipino society.

The record opens with a catchy, upbeat number from Florence Welch sung in a theatrical style, with a soaring chorus (no surprise there) to orchestral arrangements and squelchy electro. The title track details Imelda’s poverty-stricken childhood, her dreams for a better life and is amusingly also how she would like to be remembered when she dies: “When I am called by God above, don’t have my name carved into the stone, just say, Here Lies Love.”

The story arc continues with Imelda’s early hunger for fame and all things beautiful, captured by Martha Wainwright’s ballad-paced ‘The Rose of Tacloban’: “Elegant women on a magazine page…cutting out their faces, and replacing them with my own,” to her courtship and whirlwind romance with Ferdinand Marcos on ‘Eleven Days’, sung by Cyndi Lauper, who embodies Imelda’s excitement at the prospect of a diamond-dusted future. Over catchy bass lines and retro grooves, Lauper sings: “He gave me—two roses, one is open, one is closed, one is the future, and—one is my love.”

As Imelda makes the transition from simple country gal to fully-fledged member of the Filipino elite, Estrella’s gradual abandonment is highlighted in ‘How Are You?’ by Nellie McKay, in an imagined letter from Estrella to Imelda punctuated by a lively Latin-inspired chorus, and ‘When She Passed By’, which takes on a country-dance slant as Estrella only gets to admire Imelda from afar: “Did you see me outside? Did you see me? When you passed by in your car? Ah well, that’s okay.”

Further along in the song cycle, the record takes a more sinister turn, with angrier, edgier vocals deployed in the form of Alice Russell as Imelda acknowledges her husband’s infidelity: “You play around with that woman, Didn’t you know I cared?…If you prefer that slut—okay.” The last few songs paint a not-so-pretty-picture of martial law, with delicate vocals aptly provided by Natalie Merchant, and also the assassination of Marcos’ rival, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino (who dated Imelda in her youth, but rejected her because she was “too tall”), and then Imelda and Ferdinand being airlifted out of the Malacanang Palace (the White House of Manila) by U.S. marines (there is no mention of the infamous 3,000 pairs of shoes left behind – Byrne never likes to make reference to the obvious).

Among those making an appearance on Here Lies Love, stand out tracks include Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Eleven Days’, who captures the courtship thrill with a sexy and sassy deliverance; Roisin Murphy’s ‘Don’t you Agree’, with her husky tone perfectly pitched against Moloko’s signature staccato sleaze-horns (although hearing Murphy sing “Now, who stood up to the Japanese? Who cares about the Philippines?” pitched against this backdrop does throw you a bit); and Sharon Jones’ ‘Dancing Together’, whose muscular vocals finely complement the attitude-laden funk rhythms. Byrne shines in ‘American Troglodyte’, a song about American excess and the Filipino peoples’ fascination of it, employing a distinctive Talking Heads sound with sexy riffs and swirling synths. All in all, as diverse as the artists may sound on the roll call, the vocalists manage to meld their sequences together to seamless effect, without compromising their own unique style.

Despite the various themes, the record takes on a definitely 1970s and early 1980s disco theme, to honour Imelda’s love of the club scene (she was a regular at Studio 54). There are several moments on the album, such as in Theresa Andersson’s ‘Ladies in Blue’, where you can visualise the former First Lady throwing shapes around her New York townhouse (she had a dance floor and a mirror ball installed for entertaining and pleasure).

Here Lies Love is available in a deluxe hard-bound 120-page book, containing a DVD of news footage, but I got the poor woman’s version which has a double CD presented in a foldable cardboard case and pretty pictures of Imelda’s mother, Remedios, “Ninoy”, the Marcos’s in various poses and Estrella who appears as a blacked out smidge on the sleeve, presumably to illustrate a woman has clearly been left in the shadow.

As far as an analysis of the final piece goes, rather than painting Imelda as a monster, Byrne presents her as a sympathetic and tragic figure, one who lived in her own “bubble world” with an unashamed love of luxury. The record is more about human empathy than politics. Byrne is not proclaiming that Imelda has been misunderstood nor is he asking that we forgive her, but he artfully attempts to make us try to understand what drove her to behave in the way that she did; he considers how her inferiority complex about coming from humble origins may have motored her greed at the expense of her people; and how her gradual dissociation to Estrella may have been the caused by her wanting to rid herself of any association to her difficult past. The record in its entirety is a tribute to Imelda as Byrne tries to demystify such a well-known figure who people know so little about beyond the designer shoes and Swiss bank accounts.

It is inevitable that the musical-influenced style of the record will draw comparisons to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, but as Byrne has stated in previous interviews, the similarities end beyond both women being dictators’ wives. Here Lies Love is an adventurous project delivered by Byrne and although not every track is an instant classic, it’s definitely worth exploring for the innovation. It is a record that manages to be creative and intelligent yet highly entertaining. Somehow, David Byrne has managed to defy the odds and make his way safely back to the trenches to come up trumps again.
Deepwater Horizon - Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

I’ll be honest, drugs it’s taken me awhile to get my head around the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. My extreme anger that a disaster like this can happen means that I prefer to bury my head in the sand, drug rather than scurry straight off to find out all the inflammatory facts. But I’ve now had time to have a good rootle around on t’interweb, rx and amongst claims that the volume of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico could be as much as ten times higher than the estimated 5000 barrels a day, I thought it was high time I tackled the crisis head on.

The area around the Gulf of Mexico has a highly sensitive ecology that harbours such wonders as the gorgeous and strange manatee, turtles and rare migratory birds, but warnings about the dangers of drilling in this area were ignored from the outset. Oil giant BP – the biggest player in deepwater oil exploration – went ahead anyway, and of course there were not enough contingency plans in place to manage any possible leakage from what is the deepest well ever drilled, to a vertical depth of 35,000 feet. Scientists who advised of the huge possible risks were stifled, and, as so often happens, the reports that were followed were produced by organisations paid for by one of the companies involved: the Swiss corporation Transocean, who owned the Korean built Deepwater Horizon oil rig. This was a risky venture from start to finish, and the oil which is flooding out 5000 feet below the surface of the water is at such a great depth that the huge plume is hard to measure or track.

Deepwater Horizon - Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

Since the leak started several methods have been employed to try and lesson the damage of the spill, including burn-offs that release diluted pollutants into the surrounding water and atmosphere, and the use of chemical dispersants, which are described as “like treating cancer with chemotherapy.” Crude petroleum forms large globules and it is presumed preferable to break the oil down into smaller particles that are easier for micro organisms to digest and pass into the food chain at a quicker rate. What this doesn’t take into account is the effects of heavy duty chemicals on the food chain as they migrate through. Many forms of wildlife will also be at too great a depth to be affected by the dispersants.

Booms are being used to form barriers which should stop the oil from coming ashore, and one enterprising natural solution involves using human and animal hair to form absorbent matting. In the USA PETCO stores are donating up to one ton per day of donated fur from 1000 pet salons up and down the country, and many salons are also contributing human hair, which is assembled into the booms by volunteers on the Gulf Coast.

Perhaps most depressing of all, it’s been reported that the Canadian tar sands will be a beneficiary of this tragedy. “I hate to say it, but what is really bad news for offshore is good news for the oil sands,” one industry insider is quoted as saying. “Environmental damage from land-based oil operations… is more manageable. It is hard to imagine… that it would be as difficult to control as a gusher 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.” President Obama has already curtailed offshore development and a planned 2000 mile pipeline to bring crude tar sands directly from Canada to Port Arthur in Texas is looking increasingly likely.

Deepwater Horizon - Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

As BP, Transocean and arms manufacturer Halliburton (all round bad guys as featured in the film The Yes Men Fix The World) haggle in the courts over who is responsible for the disaster, it was today announced that Obama has deployed a team of five top scientists, including the 82-year-old designer of the first hydrogen bomb, to assist with plans to bung the leaks. Well, he invented the nuclear bomb, what’s not to trust?

The cost of this calamity to BP has been estimated at 6 million dollars a day, with the final bill expected to come in at between 3 billion and 12 billion dollars, and we will see the environmental effects of the spill for many years to come. Regulations in the Gulf of Mexico are likely to tighten from now on, but why does this kind of tremendous catastrophe happen in the first place? For me the answer is obvious. Big businesses like BP have one agenda only, and that is to make money. As much as possible, in whatever way possible. And so they are prepared to take risks when drilling for oil. Like someone weighing up the potential likelihood of getting a parking permit on any one day of illegal parking, they hope that all the corners that are cut, all the cheap routes that are taken, will somehow come up trumps. The theory being that if the parking ticket is avoided, money will be saved, and in BP’s case, the financial profits will be rich.

They will continue to follow this model, and as BP umm and ahh over the prospect of entering the tar sands, I wonder what their decision will be if they are denied anymore offshore drilling in the oily depths of the Gulf of Mexico? Will common sense prevail, or will the nearest alternative cash cow be pursued with the same zeal, whatever the environmental cost? The only way to prevent this outcome is to keep the pressure on, and make sure that it doesn’t happen. Now, or ever.

Categories ,BP, ,Canada. Alberta, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,ecology, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Halliburton, ,Matt Thomas, ,Nuclear, ,Obama, ,Oil Spill, ,PETCO, ,Petroleum, ,Tar Sands, ,texas

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Deepwater Horizon Disaster may convince BP to enter the Canadian Tar Sands


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, sick cheap you may have kept a diary, website like this pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, information pills but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, viagra 100mg you may have kept a diary, nurse pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, pharm but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, troche you may have kept a diary, ambulance pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, information pills but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

At some point in your life, information pills you may have kept a diary, case pouring into it all of your deepest and darkest thoughts; the ones that you felt were too embarrassing or inappropriate to say aloud. My experience of reading old diaries is always toe-curling, sildenafil but amusing as I struggle to make sense of why I cared so much about some things to write about them (for example, “loaf of bread head guy” who I adored from afar featured regularly in my diaries for a while – don’t ask!). As much as I would like to say that my diary entries were highly interesting, intelligent, deep and profound, most of them are sleep-inducing and consist of a type of written diarrhea. Thankfully, this is not the case at Cltr.Alt.Shift’s new exhibition, “Dear Diary”.

Dear Diary” is a new project launched by the youth anti-poverty charity to explore the art of diary keeping, taking participants on an inspirational and reflective journey, through the private pages of young individuals across the globe. The exhibition is housed under a funky t-shirt shop in Covent Garden in an intimate space, bringing together several diary collections ranging from Nirvana frontman and lyricist Kurt Cobain, to the stunning visual diaries of Dan Eldon, a young and promising photojournalist who was killed on the front line by an angry mob in Mogadishu, aged only 22.


Dan Eldon’s visual diaries; courtesy of Kathy Eldon

The room is divided into seven exhibits where on entry, you are confronted by four portraits of Eldon’s work, each infused with vivid, bold colours; a stark contrast to the bare white walls. The first image I encountered was the profile of a young, elegant looking tribeswoman wearing an intricate-looking traditional headdress, set against a backdrop of vibrant oranges and pinks. What I found most intriguing about this visual is that it had been signed with “Love and kisses, Angela” and “Love Maria”, and I was curious to know who these woman were. Had they been part of Eldon’s life at some stage and if so, how would their own diaries have read after his death?

Another one of Eldon’s portraits which had a gripping effect on me was that of four faded pictures in what appears to be a group of friends on a camping trip, smiling and chatting happily amongst each other, mounted on a map of Tanzania’s national parks. On closer viewing, the outlines of what appears to be three people – sketched with thick graphite pencil onto grainy beige/orange-coloured paper – are superimposed onto each of the original photos, as if they are joining the group but are separated through their apparent difference in physicality. A sentence is scrawled across the bottom of the map reading: “Dedicated to all 3 who lost their lives during the dramatic escape from Mikumi Nat Park”, providing us with a glimpse of the harsh reality of civil warfare, to which Eldon perished.


Kenya to the UK: Secrets and Struggles Diary Wall (photography by George Ramsay)

I was deeply moved by some of the diary excerpts displayed on the diary wall, written by teenage Kenyans living in extreme poverty and political instability. Although many of the entries were simplistic and occasionally poorly structured, the diarists’ basic descriptions painted a vivid and poignant image of the future that they longed for: “It’s also my hope in future this kind of thing will never happen again coz it also took death to many of my friends and also the separation of my beau and since then we have never communicated which made me so lonely”. Other diary entries detail the violence around elections and the hardship that economic deprivation brings: “…Our family made up of 11, it was hard to grow up due to poverty. It was hard and difficult to study”.


Audio diaries with images above audio decks by Kenyan conservationalist and playboy diarist, Peter Beard (photography by George Ramsay)

Aware that I am painting quite a grim and depressing picture of the exhibition, I assure you that this exhibition is not just a collection of doom and gloom. The audio diaries present a more eclectic mix of personal accounts, ranging from the inspirational to hilarious. Of these, the most compelling piece was of a courageous 19 year old South African girl called Thembi who broke the silence about living with AIDS at a time when it was still a taboo subject in South Africa; she eventually went on to share her story with more than 50 million people. A highly amusing reading from comedian Richard Herring about his painful years as a chubby brainiac, who at the time believed he would be a virgin forever, also makes for an entertaining listen.


Diary library with comfy sofa chair (photography by George Ramsay)

In a far corner of the show room, there is an area for quiet reflection with an extremely comfortable chair which I made my home for a good part of the evening, taking advantage of the diary library, which included entries belonging to Samuel Pepys, Frida Kahlo, Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love and several volumes of Anaïs Nin’s journals. On the top shelf (no, not what you are thinking), there were two books available for documenting your own thoughts, which people had written in throughout the course of the evening, with one refined gentleman expressing that he was looking forward to going home and banging his wife! Nice.


Irving Finkel’s collection of diaries (photography by George Ramsay)

Other exhibition highlights include the unpublished diaries of ordinary people from the 19th century displayed in a glass case, collected by the British Library’s Irving Finkel over the years. Finkel would often search for these items at secondhand shops and house clearances, believing that they hold the key to our histories through the casual documentation of one’s environment at the time. The child in me gravitated towards the Children’s Pocket Annual and Birthday Book of an eight year old girl and scouts’ diaries with stained pages and frayed edges, detailing the mundane routines of school work, bath days and playing with wolf cubs (well maybe playing with wolf cubs wouldn’t have been so mundane).

Ctrl.Alt.Shift’sDear Diary” is an intelligent and thought-provoking initiative, which takes a concept that we are all familiar with to help us understand and relate with others. Through encountering a range of diaries, including that of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, a boy living with Tourette’s in the US and teenagers living in the slums in Kenya, our attention converges on the fact that whatever our language and ethnicity, the expression of thought transcends cultural boundaries. Although we may be divided geographically and by our heritage, fundamentally the feelings that we experience are the same.


Limited edition diary with cover illustrated by Alexa Chung

As part of the project, Ctrl.Alt.Shift have also launched a limited edition diary, with a cover illustrated by Alexa Chung featuring extracts from Courtney Love, Daniel Johnson and Anaïs Nin, which you can buy here. All proceeds raised from the ‘Dear Diary’ project go towards Maji Na Ufanisi, working with young people from the slums of Nairobi.

For more information about location and opening times, check out our listings here.


Excerpt from Courtney Love’s diaries; courtesy of Courtney Love

There are certain musicians who do what they like. These are the frontline soldiers of the music scene, there venturing into the unknown; fearless of the landmines that could blow their careers into smithereens. Just ask Britney, it’s a dangerous world out there.

David Byrne, on the other hand, appears to be made of vibranium. The former Talking Heads frontman has the uncanny ability to cut artistic diamonds out of pretty much everything he turns his hand to, and his latest project is no exception. In an unlikely collaboration, Byrne has teamed up with club DJ and dance-music producer Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) to compose a disco opera about the life of Imelda Marcos, who, along with her dictator husband Ferdinand, ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. Confused? Well, I’m not surprised.

Five years in the making, Here Lies Love is a song cycle paying homage to the “Iron Butterfly” (as she was known), which tells the story of Imelda’s rise and fall through a sequence of songs written by Byrne, with Fatboy Slim providing the infectious beats. The impressive and eclectic name-check of female vocalists, including girl-of-the-moment Florence Welch, Martha Wainwright, Tori Amos, Cyndi Lauper, and French chanteuse Camille, reaffirms the faith that Byrne’s fellow artists have in him in pulling off a potentially bonkers project such as this. Steve Earle and Byrne himself also make appearances on the record, where the twenty-two singers take us on a journey of Imelda’s life, from her humble origins to fleeing the country in exile. The roles of the former First Lady and those she was closest to are played out over the 89-minute song cycle, with the most notable character being Estrella Cumpus, Imelda’s childhood servant and friend, who was cast aside as Imelda began to occupy the upper echelons of Filipino society.

The record opens with a catchy, upbeat number from Florence Welch sung in a theatrical style, with a soaring chorus (no surprise there) to orchestral arrangements and squelchy electro. The title track details Imelda’s poverty-stricken childhood, her dreams for a better life and is amusingly also how she would like to be remembered when she dies: “When I am called by God above, don’t have my name carved into the stone, just say, Here Lies Love.”

The story arc continues with Imelda’s early hunger for fame and all things beautiful, captured by Martha Wainwright’s ballad-paced ‘The Rose of Tacloban’: “Elegant women on a magazine page…cutting out their faces, and replacing them with my own,” to her courtship and whirlwind romance with Ferdinand Marcos on ‘Eleven Days’, sung by Cyndi Lauper, who embodies Imelda’s excitement at the prospect of a diamond-dusted future. Over catchy bass lines and retro grooves, Lauper sings: “He gave me—two roses, one is open, one is closed, one is the future, and—one is my love.”

As Imelda makes the transition from simple country gal to fully-fledged member of the Filipino elite, Estrella’s gradual abandonment is highlighted in ‘How Are You?’ by Nellie McKay, in an imagined letter from Estrella to Imelda punctuated by a lively Latin-inspired chorus, and ‘When She Passed By’, which takes on a country-dance slant as Estrella only gets to admire Imelda from afar: “Did you see me outside? Did you see me? When you passed by in your car? Ah well, that’s okay.”

Further along in the song cycle, the record takes a more sinister turn, with angrier, edgier vocals deployed in the form of Alice Russell as Imelda acknowledges her husband’s infidelity: “You play around with that woman, Didn’t you know I cared?…If you prefer that slut—okay.” The last few songs paint a not-so-pretty-picture of martial law, with delicate vocals aptly provided by Natalie Merchant, and also the assassination of Marcos’ rival, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino (who dated Imelda in her youth, but rejected her because she was “too tall”), and then Imelda and Ferdinand being airlifted out of the Malacanang Palace (the White House of Manila) by U.S. marines (there is no mention of the infamous 3,000 pairs of shoes left behind – Byrne never likes to make reference to the obvious).

Among those making an appearance on Here Lies Love, stand out tracks include Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Eleven Days’, who captures the courtship thrill with a sexy and sassy deliverance; Roisin Murphy’s ‘Don’t you Agree’, with her husky tone perfectly pitched against Moloko’s signature staccato sleaze-horns (although hearing Murphy sing “Now, who stood up to the Japanese? Who cares about the Philippines?” pitched against this backdrop does throw you a bit); and Sharon Jones’ ‘Dancing Together’, whose muscular vocals finely complement the attitude-laden funk rhythms. Byrne shines in ‘American Troglodyte’, a song about American excess and the Filipino peoples’ fascination of it, employing a distinctive Talking Heads sound with sexy riffs and swirling synths. All in all, as diverse as the artists may sound on the roll call, the vocalists manage to meld their sequences together to seamless effect, without compromising their own unique style.

Despite the various themes, the record takes on a definitely 1970s and early 1980s disco theme, to honour Imelda’s love of the club scene (she was a regular at Studio 54). There are several moments on the album, such as in Theresa Andersson’s ‘Ladies in Blue’, where you can visualise the former First Lady throwing shapes around her New York townhouse (she had a dance floor and a mirror ball installed for entertaining and pleasure).

Here Lies Love is available in a deluxe hard-bound 120-page book, containing a DVD of news footage, but I got the poor woman’s version which has a double CD presented in a foldable cardboard case and pretty pictures of Imelda’s mother, Remedios, “Ninoy”, the Marcos’s in various poses and Estrella who appears as a blacked out smidge on the sleeve, presumably to illustrate a woman has clearly been left in the shadow.

As far as an analysis of the final piece goes, rather than painting Imelda as a monster, Byrne presents her as a sympathetic and tragic figure, one who lived in her own “bubble world” with an unashamed love of luxury. The record is more about human empathy than politics. Byrne is not proclaiming that Imelda has been misunderstood nor is he asking that we forgive her, but he artfully attempts to make us try to understand what drove her to behave in the way that she did; he considers how her inferiority complex about coming from humble origins may have motored her greed at the expense of her people; and how her gradual dissociation to Estrella may have been the caused by her wanting to rid herself of any association to her difficult past. The record in its entirety is a tribute to Imelda as Byrne tries to demystify such a well-known figure who people know so little about beyond the designer shoes and Swiss bank accounts.

It is inevitable that the musical-influenced style of the record will draw comparisons to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, but as Byrne has stated in previous interviews, the similarities end beyond both women being dictators’ wives. Here Lies Love is an adventurous project delivered by Byrne and although not every track is an instant classic, it’s definitely worth exploring for the innovation. It is a record that manages to be creative and intelligent yet highly entertaining. Somehow, David Byrne has managed to defy the odds and make his way safely back to the trenches to come up trumps again.
Deepwater Horizon - Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

I’ll be honest, drugs it’s taken me awhile to get my head around the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. My extreme anger that a disaster like this can happen means that I prefer to bury my head in the sand, drug rather than scurry straight off to find out all the inflammatory facts. But I’ve now had time to have a good rootle around on t’interweb, rx and amongst claims that the volume of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico could be as much as ten times higher than the estimated 5000 barrels a day, I thought it was high time I tackled the crisis head on.

The area around the Gulf of Mexico has a highly sensitive ecology that harbours such wonders as the gorgeous and strange manatee, turtles and rare migratory birds, but warnings about the dangers of drilling in this area were ignored from the outset. Oil giant BP – the biggest player in deepwater oil exploration – went ahead anyway, and of course there were not enough contingency plans in place to manage any possible leakage from what is the deepest well ever drilled, to a vertical depth of 35,000 feet. Scientists who advised of the huge possible risks were stifled, and, as so often happens, the reports that were followed were produced by organisations paid for by one of the companies involved: the Swiss corporation Transocean, who owned the Korean built Deepwater Horizon oil rig. This was a risky venture from start to finish, and the oil which is flooding out 5000 feet below the surface of the water is at such a great depth that the huge plume is hard to measure or track.

Deepwater Horizon - Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

Since the leak started several methods have been employed to try and lesson the damage of the spill, including burn-offs that release diluted pollutants into the surrounding water and atmosphere, and the use of chemical dispersants, which are described as “like treating cancer with chemotherapy.” Crude petroleum forms large globules and it is presumed preferable to break the oil down into smaller particles that are easier for micro organisms to digest and pass into the food chain at a quicker rate. What this doesn’t take into account is the effects of heavy duty chemicals on the food chain as they migrate through. Many forms of wildlife will also be at too great a depth to be affected by the dispersants.

Booms are being used to form barriers which should stop the oil from coming ashore, and one enterprising natural solution involves using human and animal hair to form absorbent matting. In the USA PETCO stores are donating up to one ton per day of donated fur from 1000 pet salons up and down the country, and many salons are also contributing human hair, which is assembled into the booms by volunteers on the Gulf Coast.

Perhaps most depressing of all, it’s been reported that the Canadian tar sands will be a beneficiary of this tragedy. “I hate to say it, but what is really bad news for offshore is good news for the oil sands,” one industry insider is quoted as saying. “Environmental damage from land-based oil operations… is more manageable. It is hard to imagine… that it would be as difficult to control as a gusher 5,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.” President Obama has already curtailed offshore development and a planned 2000 mile pipeline to bring crude tar sands directly from Canada to Port Arthur in Texas is looking increasingly likely.

Deepwater Horizon - Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

As BP, Transocean and arms manufacturer Halliburton (all round bad guys as featured in the film The Yes Men Fix The World) haggle in the courts over who is responsible for the disaster, it was today announced that Obama has deployed a team of five top scientists, including the 82-year-old designer of the first hydrogen bomb, to assist with plans to bung the leaks. Well, he invented the nuclear bomb, what’s not to trust?

The cost of this calamity to BP has been estimated at 6 million dollars a day, with the final bill expected to come in at between 3 billion and 12 billion dollars, and we will see the environmental effects of the spill for many years to come. Regulations in the Gulf of Mexico are likely to tighten from now on, but why does this kind of tremendous catastrophe happen in the first place? For me the answer is obvious. Big businesses like BP have one agenda only, and that is to make money. As much as possible, in whatever way possible. And so they are prepared to take risks when drilling for oil. Like someone weighing up the potential likelihood of getting a parking permit on any one day of illegal parking, they hope that all the corners that are cut, all the cheap routes that are taken, will somehow come up trumps. The theory being that if the parking ticket is avoided, money will be saved, and in BP’s case, the financial profits will be rich.

They will continue to follow this model, and as BP umm and ahh over the prospect of entering the tar sands, I wonder what their decision will be if they are denied anymore offshore drilling in the oily depths of the Gulf of Mexico? Will common sense prevail, or will the nearest alternative cash cow be pursued with the same zeal, whatever the environmental cost? The only way to prevent this outcome is to keep the pressure on, and make sure that it doesn’t happen. Now, or ever.

Categories ,BP, ,Canada. Alberta, ,Deepwater Horizon, ,ecology, ,Gulf of Mexico, ,Halliburton, ,Matt Thomas, ,Nuclear, ,Obama, ,Oil Spill, ,PETCO, ,Petroleum, ,Tar Sands, ,texas

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Hung Parliament spells serious change for our government.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells
Democracy Village. All photography by Amelia Wells.

Parliament Square is currently home to the Democracy Village; a few tents, visit this site treatment a couple of marquees and a whole lot of passion. It was set up on May the First and will be there… until people leave, or for some, until the war is over. I went down on Election Day, since I couldn’t vote anyway having failed to register, to see what was going on at the Festival of Peace. I found a vibrant and close knit community of anarchists, doing what they colourfully could to challenge the establishment, promote democracy and bring the war that we’re still at to an end.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Banners were being painted and erected as I arrived, the most striking declaring ‘Capitalism Isn’t Working’ against the backdrop of Big Ben. Others encouraged peaceful feelings, demanded ‘TROOPS OUT’, and my favourite, ‘If Voting Changed Anything, It Would Be Illegal’ – a good point when you consider quite how opposed the establishment are towards those actions which do make changes, such as occupations, mass protests, swoops and other forms of direct action. In the name of protecting our security, of course. Strangely, the police sniffing around the set-up didn’t make me feel more secure.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The atmosphere in the Village was peaceful and playful, in spite of the threat to national security which we represented. Peace-mongering music was played and danced to, the lyrics encouraging politicians not to go to war and to love their fellow man, with some Rage thrown in to sate the more militant. I watched people paint their shoes and bags with Ghandi’s most famous quote while a girl called Cloud handed out homemade fairy cakes.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Eventually, the open mic picked up, starting with a chap standing up to remind everybody why we were there and what we stood for when he asked whether politicians represent our views, or if we do? He also pointed out that being peaceful is not equivalent to being apathetic. Anything but, in fact, in a country run by the power and conflict hungry, seeking peace is downright subversive. He was rightfully applauded and whooped for his impassioned speaking, after which a gent who had been filming the event and interviewing the Villagers stepped up to spout well-crafted words of poetry in the exact spirit of peace we need – calling out the hateful on their actions and encouraging us to make a difference. Next up, a red nosed, bewigged gentleman incited us to love, respect and welcome one and all. His motto; one world, one society.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The most controversial speaker was a mouthpiece for the Tories who encouraged us anarchists to register as such in return for mind-altering substances. A few Villagers didn’t seem to have a prior understanding of satire and became quite riled at the ‘Tory’s’ opinions; one lady began shouting about the Village being funded by oil and arms companies… and the Israelis. After a calming down period, he suggested that we find a child and ask its favourite colour, informing us that he was voting Lib Dem because his son likes yellow, and voting isn’t going to make a difference to how the country is run.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Herein lies my gripe with actions such as these. It’s so easy for activists embroiled in occupations and demonstrations to believe that the means to change are obvious to all, but the man-in-the-street being told that his vote is irrelevant will only feel more powerless, if they pay any attention at all. The act of occupation is an act of power – reclaiming public space – but is standard passer-by going to stop and ask what they can do instead of voting, or keep passing by and shake their heads at foolish hippies?

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The true message is that we can take the power back through direct action, occupations, protests, swoops and marches. Camps like these do force people to consider, if only for the moment it takes to read a banner, that our political system lies to us about the importance of our vote while trying to make us believe it is the sole extent of our political voice, and therefore reducing our power and influence over them (long banner, eh?) . However, most won’t and don’t wander into places like these and ask what they CAN do. As the Tory said, ‘I’m preaching to the converted here’. The outreach didn’t seem to be reaching out. An occupation in Parliament Square is the perfect opportunity to reach hundreds of people every day, not just with a message, but with suggested actions which everyone can take to make those changes we so desire and need.

The Village is going on indefinitely, and there are also events this weekend at Kew Bridge Eco Village and Transition Heathrow as well. Get down there to Kew for some face painting fun, or get along to Grow Heathrow and get stuck into their work weekend.

Illustration by June Chanpoomidole

While Spring turns to Summer, generic London Fashion Week AW10 may fade in our memories, stomach but the designers that drew us in certainly won’t. One such designer that caught my eye at the Esthetica exhibition was ‘Makepiece’. The concept and techniques used were so intriguing that we couldn’t resist interviewing the owner, Beate Kubitz.

 Why did you choose to focus on eco-fashion? Why is it so important to you? 
Clothes are important to me.  I think what you’re wearing tells other people a lot about you, who you are and how you feel about yourself.  I don’t like the idea that something that makes me look great was complicit in damaging the environment or the people who made it.  You don’t want your favourite t-shirt to be dripping with pesticides, cause a water shortage or to be sewn up in a sweat shop.  But unless you’re very careful, it might be. 
There’s something wrong with the latest trend ‘buy, wear, chuck’ mentality – it’s a bit neurotic and it’s definitely bad for the planet.  We try and make clothes that are significant to the women that wear them and that they can feel really good about. 

How did the Makepiece brand begin?  
I’ve been keeping sheep for seven years now, met Nicola six years ago and Makepiece is now five. 
We’re located in Todmorden, a small town in the Pennines. It’s beautiful and has a long history of wool production so it feels like the right place to be doing it.  The landscape is scattered with mills built in the nineteenth century – but wool was being spun and woven in cottage industries and then transported to market or the Piece Halls on ponies travelling on packhorse tracks which still crisscross the moors. 

What techniques do you use in your clothing?
Knitting – with some knitted felt.  The important thing is stitch design – Nicola is the queen of 3D stitches that really sculpt the garments and give them their drama as well as their details. She uses hand operated knitting machines which give her scope to develop a stitch then apply it in loads of different ways so that it works on the body. Our knits tend to be more three-dimensional because they’re designed like this. Also, all our knits are fully fashioned (knitted to shape rather than cut out of a piece of knitted cloth) which looks better and wastes less yarn. 

What materials do you use in your clothing?
Wool – some of it undyed brown wool from our Shetland sheep, others fine Bluefaced Leicester wool, from the UK flock and English alpaca and mohair.


Illustration by Becky Glover

What was the inspiration behind your most recent collection? 
Romance, definitely. Nicola got married in the summer and the sense of romance seems to have seeped into and permeated the collection. There are lots of ruffles, little frills, translucency and volume – but not just ephemeral prettiness, really lovely things that you can adapt and keep forever. 

Do you have a favourite piece in the current collection? If so, what is it and why? 
There are a few things that are really adaptable – like the Manifold cardigan which has a ribbon tie which can be used to ruche it up to bolero length or left loose so that it’s a long, elegant cardigan. Our little Foxglove shrug also works as a summer scarf and the Manifold dresses can be styled in loads of ways so they let the wearer use her imagination. 

What are your future aims for the Makepiece brand?
We’ve really been growing our website so that people all over the country can buy our clothes but we’d like to be in more stores, for the people who are less confident with internet shopping or who like to try things on. 

Is it harder or easier to sell eco-fashion? Is there a lot of competition?
Because we make everything in the UK it’s more expensive to manufacture so that means that we have to do a good job in helping people understand.

What is so individual about the Makepiece brand?  
Style, humour and our flock of Shetland sheep.  We go from mud to mascara in a twinkling of an eye – never forgetting the roots of our fashion but always looking for beauty and grace in our designs. We try and be sustainable throughout the business – from the way we farm the sheep with the lowest impact possible (we’re just about to become part of a scheme to help protect twite – which is one of the most endangered British bird species) to buying green energy for the studio, recycling everything we can, using public transport as much as possible (I took our last collection to London Fashion Week on the train from Yorkshire – in the most enormous trunk – it was quite a feat), I even do some of the farming on my bike.   

The good thing about wool is that it is more or less a by-product from sheep farming so it’s not using up land or resources that should be in food production – and on upland farms like mine creating good grazing and farming sheep is one of the few productive things you can do (I tried vegetables once, but it was not a success!).  Compared to cotton, for example, which uses over 15% of the pesticides used in the world and vast amounts of water – so much that the irrigation of cotton has shrunk the size of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, wool is farmed much more sustainably (particularly in the UK where we have to look after the land as well as the animals and the government monitors your impact on the environment). 

Because we make everything so locally we avoid the CO2 emissions from shipping things vast distances. We also employ people in our community and use a local dyer who has to comply with European dyeing regulations – the REACH standards; no azos, no heavy metals and irritants, effluent is stringently monitored so no emissions into the water system, and so on. 
We also only use recycled and sustainable paper in our labelling and packaging. 

You can find the brand at: www.makepiece.co.uk and selected eco-fashion stores.

Ballot Box Colourbox
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

So today’s the day: the day that I sprung out of bed at an ungodly hour with only one thing on my mind. Who will be our next prime minister? I’ve not been so excited about a general election since 1997, sickness when I memorably got so drunk dancing on the tables in a north London pub that I thew up in the gutter. Of course back then I was excited for a very different reason. Yes, buy hands up, I was one of many who voted Blair in – after years of Tory rule we were excited about a future under Labour. Oh how very chastened we now are 13 years later.

Solving Hung Parliament Val Woodhouse
Solving Hung Parliament by Val Woodhouse.

In 2010 it seems I am not the only one who has gotten swept up in the election. Even before the tales of queues at the polling stations I had a gut feeling there would be a high election turn out this year. Okay, so in my local Tescos the regular cashiers were overheard saying “Are you going to vote?” “Nah, they’re all the same aren’t they?” but when I walked through Camden yesterday I overheard lots of people talking about voting. It seems that we’ve finally managed to reawaken our democratic spirit.

Colourbox

Illustrations by Colourbox.

I think this can be attributed to a few things – the Leaders’ Debates on television have increased popular interest in politics and Twitter allows for lots of interesting conversations, but there’s more to it than that… We are now so thoroughly fed up with the current system that we’ve collectively become hungry for change. And I’m not talking the kind of rhetorical change that Cameron espouses every time a camera is pointed in his direction. I’m talking serious, deep systemic change. Most people have been complacent for so long for only one very good reason: like the cashiers in Tescos they don’t feel that their vote makes the blindest bit of difference.

creaturemag_hang parliament
Illustration by Creaturemag.
GordonBrown_GarethAHopkins
Gordon Brown by Gareth Hopkins.

And so, whilst the big party leaders have been spinning the same old shit about how we should avoid a hung parliament at all costs because what we most need now for our country is stability or the markets will fail (big bloody boohoo) it seems that for many voters this has been like a red rag to a bull. Not even copious riot porn from Greece has phased us. Okay we’ve said: bring it on. We want serious upheaval! Nobody I have spoken to has feared the result we now have; instead we’ve positively hoped for a hung parliament precisely because we may finally see some changes to our electoral system. Of course, I’m as thoroughly baffled as the next person when it comes to the many forms of proportional representation, and I know the argument that PR could lead to as many representatives of the BNP in government as there could be Greens, but frankly that doesn’t frighten me. Our current “democracy” quite clearly doesn’t work and so something else that better represents the wishes of voters has got to be worth giving a go.

informationisbeautiful
I love this clever graph from Information is Beautiful, showing up the glaring inadequacies of our current system.

Colourbox
Illustration by Colourbox.

I’m worried, of course, about what will happen if Cameron forces a Tory led government on us without sufficient recognition of the electoral reforms so many of us want. But actually I don’t really *fear* it – I think that if he does ignore the clear wishes of the voters then there will be widespread unrest and direct action of the kind that we saw just a glimpse of last night at polling stations across the country.

POLL Station Riots- abigaildaker
The Polling Station in Sheffield Hallam, illustration by Abigail Daker.

I called in late to my polling station in Bacon Street just off Brick Lane, and there was no one to impede my progress to the ballot box. However I was lucky, and people up and down the country are quite rightly furious that they were unable to vote thanks to a higher than predicted election turnout and antiquarian voting methods which have allegedly shocked even our visiting developing world adjudicators. I was as incredulous as ever. “You mean you don’t need to take my polling card as proof I am me?” It is utterly nuts that we don’t need proof of identity to vote. Next to me a boy, surely not a day over 15, was pushing his papers into the box. Who was he voting for? Just days ago a huge amount of voter fraud was uncovered in my constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow. In fact, it was uncovered on my own street – visible from my studio window is a building in my estate that allegedly houses 18 Bengalis, all registered for a postal vote.

melsimoneelliott
mel simone elliott
Illustrations by Mel Simone Elliott.

In demonstration against our fraudulent system the Whitechapel Anarchists got together to spoil their ballots with great fanfare in Altab Ali Park, the Space Hijackers took their campaign bus on the road with the banner “Voting Only Encourages Them” and the Democracy Village is camped out in Parliament Square. There’s definitely a faint whiff of revolution in the air. That or the right to vote in a more democratic way.

caroline-lucas-election-2010-antonia-parker
Caroline Lucas by Antonia Parker.

Despite this unrest, I was absolutely ecstatic to hear that Caroline Lucas has become the first ever MP for the Green Party in the district of Brighton Pavilion. I met her when we did the first Climate Rush on Parliament in 2008 and I’ve been keeping my fingers and toes crossed that she would win this seat for some time now. If some form of electoral reform goes ahead there’s the thrilling prospect of yet more Greens in Parliament to represent my views. In the meantime, there’s always a nice bit of Direct Action to force change far more quickly than our government seems capable of. Climate Camp is targeting RBS this year. We look forward to making a big impact on our corrupt financial systems, whether or not change is decreed from on high.

carolinelucas_currentstate
Caroline sees green by Currentstate.

Brighton-lazaroumterror
Brighton-lazaroumterror
Illustrations by Lazarou Monkey Terror.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Antonia Parker, ,Bethnal Green, ,BNP, ,Brick Lane, ,Caroline Lucas, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Rush, ,Colourbox, ,creaturemag, ,Currentstate, ,David Cameron, ,Direct Action, ,Electoral Reform, ,Gareth Hopkins, ,Greece, ,Green Party, ,Hung Parliament, ,Leaders’ Debate, ,Matt Thomas, ,Mel Simone Elliott, ,parliament, ,politics, ,Proportional Representation, ,RBS, ,Riots, ,Tescos, ,Tony Blair, ,twitter, ,Val Woodhouse

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Amelia’s Magazine | London’s ELEPHANT PARADE!


A selection of elephants by Paul Shinn

Allow me to introduce you to Marjorie, there pictured below. She’s one of 258 fibreglass elephants in and around London decorated by some of the capital’s most prominent artists, rx designers and image makers, erectile as part of the Elephant Parade!


Clare Bassett’s Marjorie (#81) at More London


Thammakit Thamboon’s Polkadot (#12) at More London by Jenny Robins

It’s London’s largest outdoor art event and it’s creating quite a stir in the capital. From people like Paul Shinn, who’s trying to photograph them all on Facebook, to work colleagues frantically printing out lists of the elephants and checking them off, it seems that they’ve gripped London like nothing before.

So, where to start? Well, the aim of this project, whilst cheering up many a London street, is a simple one. It’s to raise awareness for the plight of the Asian elephant, dangerously close to extinction. Created by father and son duo Mike and Marc Spits, all the revenue from sponsorship and the auction of the elephants will go to the Elephant Family charity.


A selection of elephants illustrated by Sandra Dieckmann

Here’s some you should see, and some you can just see here.

A range of fashion designers have applied their own style to the elephants, including this creation by red carpet Queen Julian McDonald.


Bertie by Julian McDonald (#139) on Foubert’s Place

It’s fun, no? It’s not the best one by a long shot, and I question the ethics of decorating one endangered animal in the beautiful coat of another, but I’m sure this is totally off McDonald’s radar. It’s suitably camp and stands perkily out Liberty, and this clump of Italian teenagers certainly seemed to enjoy it.

Other fashion names include Issa, Diane von Furstenberg, Matthew Williamson and Sir Paul Smith (one of my favourite elephants so far)


The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith (#173) at The Royal Exchange


The Cartier elephant (#107) at the Royal Exchange by Rachel Liddington

The beauty of the project, besides raising awareness in a super fun way, is that you never know when you are going to bump into one of these creatures. They are literally everywhere – hell, they’d have to be to fit 250 of the buggers in our city. Just as you put your camera away after photographing one, you turn a corner and there’s another!


Mr Stripe by Ittikan Chaingam (#15) on Newburgh Quarter


Elephant Chic by Benjamin Shine (#67) illustrated by Gemma Milly


Thammakit Thamboon’s Pink Elephant (#10) in the Covent Garden Piazza, illustrated by Matt Thomas


The City in the Elephant by BFLS Architects (#255) illustrated by Lisa Billvik

This beauty is pretty simple on the outside, but peer inside any of its small transparent domes and inside you’ll see an incredible model of London featuring teeny tiny elephants, too!


Photograph by Paul Shinn

If you haven’t seen any yet, firstly – have you been under a rock? Secondly, my advice would be to start somewhere where you’ll find loads in a cluster, aka ‘Happy Herds’ – Trafalgar Square, London’s parks, the Southbank, and 9 or 10 nestle at More London, in front of Boris’ Glass Gonad, aka the Greater London Authority Headquarters.


Helen Cowcher’s Hornbill (#116) at More London by Naomi Law


A selection of elephants at Trafalgar Square, illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

This ethereal creation by Joanna May is on the Southbank, and features the mouth of a rabbit decorated onto it, and a pregnant lady on the opposite side. God knows what it’s about, it sure had me baffled – as it did two old dears who I heard saying ‘What on EARTH has this woman done?!’


Sally by Joanna May in front of The Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank


Mayur Gajendra for BlackRock (#188) on King William Street, illustrated by Aniela Murphy


Ferrous by Michael Howells (#49) at The Royal Opera House, illustrated by Eben Berj

Of course, this art project wouldn’t be complete with a good ol’ dash of politics. ‘Anonymous’ has created three elephants dressed in boxing gloves and silk shorts in the colour of the three main political parties – appropriately titled ‘Mr Brown’ ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’. The Elephant Parade haven’t yet confirmed, however, if they’re to remove ‘Mr Brown’, or indeed move ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’ together so they can whisper sweet nothings to each other.


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Eko by Paul Kidby (#195) in Green Park, illustrated by Rachel de Ste. Croix

So what are you waiting for? Go and see them! Tweet us pics to @AmeliasMagazine if there are any we haven’t seen and you think we should!

Categories ,art, ,Asian elephants, ,Awareness, ,BFLS Architects, ,Cartier, ,charity, ,Clare Bassett, ,Diane Von Furstenberg, ,Eben Berj, ,Elephant Family, ,Elephant Parade, ,Elephants, ,fashion, ,Gemma Milly, ,Green Park, ,Helen Cowcher, ,Issa, ,Jenny Robins, ,Julian McDonald, ,Lisa Billvik, ,Marc Spits, ,Matt Bramford, ,Matt Thomas, ,Matthew Williamson, ,Mike Spits, ,More London, ,Naomi Law, ,Paul Kidby, ,Paul Shinn, ,Rachel De Ste. Croix, ,Rachel Liddington, ,Royal Exchange, ,Sir Paul Smith, ,Thamakit Thamboon

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Amelia’s Magazine | Illustrators take on the Leaders’ Debate. Brown, Cameron and Clegg, watch out!

We are currently working under capacity without an earth editor intern. If you are interested in this position you would need to be available to work on it from Monday-Thursday every week for the next three months. Please email me with the title I WANT TO BE THE EARTH EDITOR and tell me why you would like the position, viagra ed what you currently do, and with some relevant examples of your writing. You would need to write and collate your own blogs, as well as co-ordinating contributing writers and illustrators. It’s a great section to work on if you care about the world we live in.
Nick-Clegg-Election-2010-Antonia-Parker
Illustration by Antonia Parker.

Last week it occurred to me that if one drew something remotely funny and sent it around twitter at the same time as everyone was going mental with the hashtag #leadersdebate whilst watching the Leaders’ Debate on the TV, medications one was more or less garunteed a huge amount of retweets and a viral hit.

Except there was something that was irking me about this twitter phenomenon: and that was the poor quality of the drawings that were tickling the fancy of so many. So I sent out my own twitter message to see if anyone was up for drawing something satirical and vaguely amusing that we could send out on twitter at the appropriate time this week, and knowing that I hang out with lots of very talented illustrators on twitter.

Then I read in the Evening Standard that the election has already brought about a vast outpouring of artistic ingenuity: drinks (slightly poisonous looking concoctions in virulent red, blue and yellow), logo decorated jellies and even rag rugs have all been created with the election in mind. So it seems I am not the first to cotton onto a general feverish mood in the artistic firmament.

Here, then, are the results of my callout. This blog is not about my political leanings – though I’d happily take a pop shot at Cameron’s flabby potato head (sorry Sam) before I’d see him in power – but rather about an experiment in the way we communicate during election time in 2010. So these images will also be twitpic-ed out come 8.30pm tonight. Feel free to join in the fun and let’s see how far they travel!

With thanks to the lovely illustrators who answered my callout with such glee. It seems I touched a nerve…

jenny robins - leaders debate
jenny robins - gordon brown bigot
Illustrations by Jenny Robins.

Clegg, Cameron, Brown-Abi Daker
Illustration by Abi Daker.

Leaders Debate Katie Harnett
Illustration by Katie Harnett.

Gordon-Brown-Election-2010-Antonia-Parker
David-Cameron-Election-2010-Antonia-Parker
Illustrations by Antonia Parker.

Marnie Hollande-Leaders Debate
Illustration by Marnie Hollande.

DEBATE-Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

Colourbox leadersdebate
Illustration by Colourbox.

kellie black leadersdebate
Illustration by Kellie Black.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Antonia Parker, ,Colourbox, ,David Cameron, ,General Election, ,Gordon Brown, ,illustration, ,Jenny Robins, ,Katie Harnett, ,Kellie Black, ,Leaders’ Debate, ,Marnie Hollande, ,Matt Thomas, ,Nick Clegg, ,TV, ,Twitpic, ,twitter

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