Amelia’s Magazine | School Of Seven Bells

The day started off with London transport, buy visit this site as usual, doctor ruining my life. The district line was delayed/suspended/just took bloody ages, meaning that I missed the first show I intended on seeing. This was due to over-crowding at South Kensington, as Fashion Week started during half term week, cue 6 million children/parents/tourists trying to get to the Natural History Museum, along with the fashionistas….not a good mix.

By the time I got to the BFC tent, the fashion pack were filing in for the Esthetica launch. Esthetica is the only show of its kind in the world, dedicated to celebrating ethical designers. Noir kicked things off to the not-so-subtle sounds of Hole’s Celebrity Skin, with a polished but edgy collection of, perhaps obviously, black clothes. There was then a drastic music change, a choir singing Creep by Radiohead, a strangely haunting rendition to accompany the more delicate shape of the second half of the collection. With the much quieter musical accompaniment, the unfamiliar sound of hundreds of camera shutters going off can be heard and fittingly adds to the ethereal quality.

Best discovery of the day? The Fashion Bus! When I was told about it, it conjured up images of a magical, playdays-style bus of couture. In reality it’s a coach with London Fashion Week written down the side but still, it served its purpose of getting us from the main South Kensington location to the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, without having to cross the path of my arch-enemy, London transport.

The reason we trekked across town was for Ashish. And it was completely worth it, as what unfolded was far more than just a fashion show. There was live music provided by VV Brown (wearing a dress from the collection), acrobats, a big circus setting and clowns….well, not actual clowns but the pom-poms on some of the looks combined with the hyper colour clash styling surely owed a debt to Coco somewhere along the line.



And here are some snaps of what we’ll all be wearing come Autumn:





Perhaps not that last one so much…
Particular note should be taken of the amazing wedged, animal print shoe boots that all the models – and VV Brown were sporting:


This show was brilliant escapism, with some very wearable individual pieces once you separate them out from the styling. It felt like an afternoon at the circus, rather than just a fashion show, and in such a competitive week, Ashish has ensured that his show will be one everyone remembers this season.
It’s funny seeing the different crowds the different shows draw. The morning started off at the Margaret Howell studio, sick where the British establishment of fashion journalists turned out to see her A/W 09 collection. It was very, stomach well Margaret Howell, order country cosy, duffel coats, blues/greys, some cute over the knees socks and silks mixed with wools. A well put together, safe collection.



I was, excitingly, sitting opposite Alexandra Shulman though, which did take up most of my attention. British Vogue has been wiping the floor with American Vogue in recent times, and it was thrilling to be in such close proximity to her, lets face it, what fashion journalist doesn’t secretly want to be editor of Vogue?

Now onto the different crowd part. Across town, in a swanky church in Marylebone, a full scale production was taking place in aid of the Qasimi A/W 09 show. Not so much journalism elite, more, well Simon Le Bon. But his presence was so to be explained as the show began…

Melinda Neunie was also there and here’s her review of the show:

I must say the Qasimi team managed to pull in quite an impressive crowd. Their pre-show champagne reception outside the beautiful St Mary’s Church was ablaze with bold prints and bright colours, with attendees clearly taking advantage of the nicer weather.


The catwalk show was equally remarkable. Set against an exotic woodland backdrop, Qasimi propelled us into a world of fantasy, romance and passion with their A/W 09 collection. The all black luxury range exuded wealth, elegance and sophistication through sumptuous cashmere and Italian silks complete with gleaming outsized diamond accessories.


An opera sound track opened the show alongside a fantastically poised Erin O’Connor clad in a sculptured corset gown and extravagant feathered headdress. The model was closely followed by Lily Cole, Yasmin Le Bon and Jade Parfitt.

Draping gowns, corset tops and intricate stitching dominated the show, which was closed by the spectacular Carmen Dell’Orifice who couldn’t help but give us a cheeky bum shake on her way out.”



We didn’t recognise final model Carmen Dell’Orifice but everyone else did as she got whoops and cheers as she sashayed down the catwalk. The show was not at all what I was expecting, but it was epic! Seeing those famed models in the flesh, the dramatic music and, as Music Editor Prudence put it, the general Zoolander quality of it made it entertaining in the extreme.

We were penned into the lobby at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout like (well-dressed) sheep for an hour, viagra dosage but it was worth it to experience Horace’s A/W ’09 collection. The label’s founders, web Adam Entwisle and Emma Hales, website like this have made a welcome return to their androgynous roots.

Classic Horace is synonymous with distressed hand washed leather and oversized separates, and there was plenty of that to be seen. Baggy trousers contrasted with beautifully cut jackets, all accessorised with leather totes and large knitted scarves.




Entwisle and Hales continue to play with the idea of gender in their designs. Pale-faced men in tunic dresses followed women in combat boots down the catwalk to pulsing rock beats. The collection is said to embody the spirit of 18th century monks, and the modesty of a monk’s attire was reflected in the voluminous hoods and clean monochromatic palette.

Such an abundance of black layers and boots could have become repetitive, but thankfully vibrant plaid prints provided bursts of colour, evocative of London’s punk heritage. It’s small wonder Horace has built up such a cult following.

Lebanese born designer Hass Idriss showed his first collection at London Fashion Week yesterday to a very odd crowd at Belgravia’s Il Bottaccio. I say odd because the majority of the black-clad crowd sported face-lifts, symptoms and I was amongst a very small percentage of the audience who weren’t wearing any make-up (yep, the boys did too – some even applying YSL lip gloss as a pre-show fixer).

They were, however, resplendent and I’d like to thank the fabulous woman who sat three seats down from me on the front line wearing the largest, roundest hat possible. Differing from the usual up and down runway, Idriss presented his collection in an L-shaped room, with myself and the mad hatter on the second, final arm of the catwalk. I am nursing a bad case of RSI in my neck this morning as I type: straining around that hat was quite a feat.

Visual obstacles aside, Idriss’ collection was a brave and opulent one. Credit crunch? What credit crunch?

Inspiration for this first collection had been drawn from Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. The show kicked off with a booming soundtrack and two airbrushed-gold Adonises slowly glided along the runway, followed by the first model who hopped in a skin-tight fish tail dress, aided by the Adonises and a pair of gold embelished crutches (mermaid overkill, I’d say – and a little bit silly. I mean, honestly!)


Gradually the collection grew in maturity whilst retaining the theme of the sea – luxurious weightless fabrics such as organza and tulle were enriched with sea water pearls and Swarovski crystals, reminiscent of early John Galliano for Dior Couture.



The palette was mixed, ranging from organic pastel colours, golds and creams, through to shocking reds with black to contrast. A brave craftsman, Idriss pushed his capabilities to their limits across a range of techniques, heavily reliant on embroidery to the highest standard. Cuts were quite disparate – some gowns were a-line or floated gently to the floor whilst others were sculpted around the body with severe hems. The black satin and velvet mini dress with a charcoal chapel train, titled ‘The Mermaid’, was a particular highlight.


Throughout, most of the ensembles were hits, especially with the whooping audience. A couple of misses, though – and the award for unwearability goes to this little number – a plastic transparent poncho with beaded corals (and blood, sweat and tears according to the press handout). Hans Christian Andersen will be turning in his grave. Bonkers. Overall, a daring and immodest first outing for Hass Idriss. Keep a look out in the future – you saw him here first.
At 9.15 on a Sunday morning, stomach it seemed only the most diligent (and probably least hungover) of the fashion clan that made an appearance at the Betty Jackson show. It was worth the early rise, case to say the least.
We were bombarded with a visual palette of textures, soft colours and hemlines; resembling a painting whose medium changed by the paint stroke, from smooth watercolours to thick, rougher oils to scratchy pencils. Betty Jackson kept her collection airy, light and colourful- perhaps in an effort to float past or ward off next winter’s approaching cold and heavy credit crunch scenario.

Main colour themes drifted from cupcake and candy pastels to darker, richer shades;conjuring up autumnal images- like those in Monet’s more wintry landscapes. Fur, frills and subdued shades were combined in adorable, snappy pencil skirt and blouse/knitwear combos, very Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Jewellery was designed exclusively for Betty Jackson by Alexis Bittar, this included hand carved, hand painted lucite earrings and necklaces, whose sheer extravagance reminded us of Edie Sedgwick’s outrageous choice in accessories.

Purple tights and red belts are two of the most notable components of the collection, while some of the models wore versatile backpacks- probably Jackson’s effort to incorporate utility in what is becoming a very non-frivolous time.
Statement coats and fur boleros were thrown in for the warmth factor. Best model of the show was hands down, Jourdan Dunn.

Betty Jackson believes that “every new collection presents a new challenge, but most people feel more confident and sexy if they are comfortable” and we can see a huge representation of this in her latest designs, the bright and often outrageous colour schemes are juxtaposed in a variety of simple styles- which maintains the conservative nature of her clothes. These are garments that not only appear comfortable, but also versatile- they are not only adaptable to real, working life but also pieces you could and will wear for seasons to come.

Named after a pickpocketing school, ambulance School of Seven Bells is made up of twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, sick who used to be in On! Air! Library! and Ben Curtis, medications ex-guitarist with Secret Machines. Their first album, the mesmerisingly good Alpinisms hovers between ambient electronica and dreamy pop. If you don’t have time to climb an Alp and lie in the snow at the top, having the album in your ears while you float along the pavement is the next best thing. From her neighbourhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Alejandra tells us more:


You’ve toured in the past with bands like Interpol and Prefuse 73. Does this tour feel different, as the first solo tour for School of Seven Bells?
Alejandra Deheza:
Not really. I was kinda shocked by the reaction to the album. Going to London for those two shows in October [at the Old Blue Last and The Social] the reaction was pretty crazy. The album wasn’t even out then. They were small shows, and the response was really great.

What’s a good gig for you?
I love to see the crowd respond, honestly. That’s how you can see if you’re making a connection or not. Otherwise there’s no other reason to be there. As long as the crowd – or at least one person- [laughs] is going crazy, then that’s a good gig.

Where do you get the ideas for lyrics?
I’m always writing anyways. I’ve got lots of notebooks. If I like a certain beat in my head, it helps shape the lyrics a little more. The single Half Asleep started off as Claudia’s lyrics. Her lyrics are the more direct version of my lyrics. For Kalaji Mari was a really important song, it was written for a really close friend of mine that passed away, it was basically like a letter for her.

How did you get involved with Ben?
We met on tour where both of our bands opened up for Interpol. I’d never really heard his band before. I thought the way he played was extremely creative. It’s very different from a lot of people. He was a very visual kind player.

Is there any rivalry between you and your sister?
No, we get along really well. I know that’s not very exciting! We’d never be able to perform together if we didn’t. It’s more about making the song really good, we all want it to be good, so there’s no drama. We really just kinda mesh together, we both just do our own thing.


Did your sister and you grow up singing together?
We sang a lot in church, because my parents were religious. We were always in choir and music classes, we’ve been singing together since we were like 2 years old. We liked to perform for our relatives and stuff like that. I think the first tape Claudia bought was Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl. She was really young. At that point Claudia really wanted to be on this show called Star Search. She would practise all day with her Walkman on. I was more into Simon and Garfunkel, and I really loved the Beatles.

Who do you like listening to now?
I really love Sleep Archive. Ricardo Villalobos is incredible. I really like Gas, it’s more ambient I guess, with slight little pulses. I like stuff like that.

How did you come up with the band name?
From a TV documentary I was watching about shoplifters robbing all the stores up and down the east coast. There were two of them, and they had these special coats. They’d go into Old Navy and rob thousands of dollars of stuff. They were being investigated by the FBI, who thought they were part of this other group, formed in South America in the 80s, called School of Seven Bells.

Did that school really exist?
No-one has a straight answer. I’ve looked on the internet, but no one really knows. I thought it was a cool story. It would be really awesome if it exists! The final exam was there were seven items in seven pockets. Each person who lifted the item without ringing the bells became a graduate of the school.

I bet you get asked that a lot. What other questions do you get asked most?
What’s it like being in a band with a sister? [laughs] I understand, people are curious, but for me I don’t know any different, I’ve never known anything else.

Tomorrow you’ve got a photo shoot with NME. Any idea what that will involve?
I dunno. I’m curious, they might make us all jump into a pool with our clothes on. It’s gonna be pretty low key. We’re gonna find somewhere cool to go to In Brooklyn. I like being filmed, that’s fun.

You’re back touring with Bat For Lashes in April. How did that come about?
I saw the video of her with all the bikes. I was like, woah that’s so cool. And her voice, it was so beautiful. So spooky and beautiful.

How important is the art side of what you do?
Bryan Collins is a really good friend of ours. [Bryan does the album artwork] We discussed dreams, and that’s where the art came from. We’re currently working with this other artist who we really love, named Tim Saccenti. He’s doing us some video projections for our show. Hopefully it’ll be ready for the UK part of the show.

Anything else you’d like to do while you’re over in the UK?
I like to eat Indian food. I also love pub food – steak and ale pie, oh my god. Maybe that’s so normal over there, but we don’t get it over here, it’s so delicious. Oh, and I love Guinness.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes: An interview with Winter Villains

Winter Villains by Jo Dumpleton
Winter Villains by Jo Dumpleton.

Winter Villains are an experimental, chamber pop band based in Cardiff. In 2013, their alluring debut album ‘February’ was met with much acclaim and shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize. Having already showcased what they are capable of, their second album Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes proves they aren’t one trick ponies. This new addition to their discography teases you back out into the wild with their signature sound exploring landscapes unknown.

Your debut album ‘February’ was inspired by and reflected the fragile beauty of the winter. What inspired you this time around?
Josef: Both of our albums have been a result of continuing to explore our ideas and just letting the music happen. We’ve never sat down and said ‘Ok let’s write an album about this‘, they’ve been subconscious processes, and when the albums were finished, we’ve been able to sit back and think about where they came from. I suppose our music reflects our interest in aspects of human existence that have been part of people’s thoughts, feelings and experiences forever and are still relevant today. The first album has a very nature based theme to it. The songs on that record are mostly about communal survival, wonder, despair and hope amongst the elements. With this record we found ourselves writing about threat, change, loss, fear, but also the beauty of being able to start again and the uncertainty that comes with that. I think there’s a big part of us that struggles to relate to lots of things in the modern world, but there’s something about being a human now that hasn’t changed from early human existence and it’s that essence of human experience that has been the subject of our songs.

How did the writing and producing processes differ this time?
Faye: They were actually very similar. We write and demo everything at home so when we’re in the studio we know 99% of what we want to happen. There are often small sections that we like to leave open to improvisation or the performance of our friends who come in to play on some of the recordings, particularly string players. We worked again with our friend and producer Charlie Francis (REM, Turin Brakes) who knows us well and our relationship with him is great. Everything feels really easy and straight forward which takes away any unnecessary apprehension that you just don’t need in those situations. I suppose the main difference is that the first album was recorded over 3 sittings during a 9 month period, with the mixing of each session taking place after each recording. This time we got everything down in 6 days then took our time mixing it. We had it mastered by an Icelandic musician, producer and record label boss who’s work we really admire – Valgeir Sigurdsson (Bjork, Bedroom Community). The whole process was really enjoyable.

The video for your first single ‘Empire’, taken from the album, is a beautiful piece of work in itself. Did you visualize how the video might look when you were writing the song?
Josef: No not at all. We’re lucky to live in a really creative city where we have lots of friends involved in different art forms. By chance I was chatting to Cyrus Mirzashafa, who made the video, on email just as we had a first mix of ‘Empire‘. I shared it with him and he instantly had an idea that we loved. He ran it by us in more detail and we were more than comfortable to let him have free reign.

You’re based in Cardiff, Wales. What do you love most about the music community there?
Faye: There’s been a thriving music community in Cardiff for as long as I’ve lived here and it’s supported by a much wider creative community of designers, film makers, promoters and people writing about music. Anyone who has lived in Cardiff will tell you it’s got all the benefits that a capital city brings, without the negatives of it being too big and unmanageable. There’s a really diverse and eclectic mix of people making music, but at the same time it’s small enough for people to get to know each other, and for it to feel like a real community. It’s been perfect for us because of the type of people we are. We’ve met people through music who will be our life long friends.

I love the artwork on your album cover. Who took care of that?
Faye: Thanks, we really love it too. It’s by an artist named Florence Jackson. I work in the arts as my day job, and a colleague sent me a link to Florence’s work. Josef and I loved it immediately so we got in touch with Florence to ask her to make a bespoke piece for the album. We were interested in Florence interpreting the music to make a one off piece, specific to the feel and themes of the album. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Winter Villains by Netina
Winter Villains by Netina.

What are your favourite things to do when you’re not recording or touring?
Josef: We both love being outside, so we spend as much time as possible in the outdoors – we love walking, camping, cycling and generally enjoying the landscapes around us. That’s another great thing about Cardiff – there’s so much on our doorstep. We also love most art forms and generally try to experience as much as possible, whether it’s exhibitions or live performances. It’s all very interesting to us. But we have loads of interests that aren’t related to that… animals, food, travel, history, reading… are all things we love.

You played The Green Man Festival and SWN after the release of your debut album. Do you have plans to play at any festivals this year?
Faye: We’ve got a bunch of dates booked for spring and early summer which is when the album will be out, so that’s our initial focus for now. We’re always interested in playing live as much as possible, and those festivals have always been great for us, so it’d be a pleasure to play at them again.

Once There Were Sparks, Now There Are Ashes is released on Owlet Music on May 11th 2015, and is preceded by single ‘Empire’ out on 13th April. Follow them online on Facebook and Twitter.

Live performance – The Air – Church Sessions.

Catch Winter Villains live on their upcoming UK tour:
27th March – The Grain Barge, Bristol
23rd April – Oxford Contemporary Art, Oxford
24th April – The Globe, Hay on Wye
25th April – Sebright Arms, London
15th May – Phipps NBC, Northampton
16th May – Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
22nd May – St Paul’s Church, Cambridge
23rd May – Union Chapel, London
18th July – Harbour Festival, Bristol
20th July – Irregular Folk, Midsummer’s Weekend Festival, Oxford

Categories ,cardiff, ,Charlie Francis, ,Cyrus Mirzashafa, ,Empire, ,Faye Gibson, ,February, ,Florence Jackson, ,interview, ,Jo Dumpleton, ,Josef Prygodzicz, ,Netina, ,Once There Were Sparks Now There Are Ashes, ,Owlet Music, ,review, ,Valgeir Sigurdsson, ,Welsh Music Prize, ,Winter Villains

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Amelia’s Magazine | It’s FUN-tastic!

LuckyPDF is a new artist-led project based in Camberwell and Peckham, this web search South East London. LuckyPDF aims to promote and support new artists and creative talent within the area by finding innovative and effective ways to produce and exhibit work.

Recently taking up residence in the UNITY centre on the busy Peckham High Street, LuckyPDF will play host to a series of exhibitions, events and happenings over coming months, working within the restrictions of this unique space and around the other groups that share it.


The current Exhibition features Molly Smyth’s Sculptures which tackle the difficult subject of fear in relation to the recent attacks in Mumbai. I asked her what initially inspired her;

“I originally wanted to create an overtly violent exhibition which highlights the horror of the terror attacks in Mumbai towards the end of last year. That’s however not what materialized. It became more to do with the fear involved.”


An integral part of the show is a large piece entitled ‘Continuo’ which both propels the art to another level but also acts as an invasive field for the viewers.


“It’s based on the the Basso Continuo rhythm within Baroque music which lies underneath the melody and both propels and holds back the music.”


The exhibition continues tonight and tomorrow night @ UNITY, 39 Peckham High Street.


The Norwegian artist Lise Bjorne Linnert has created a project in response to the tragic, viagra and ongoing situation in the Mexican border town of Juarez, discount which sits on the border of the USA. It is difficult to comprehend, sales but the statistics are chilling – over 560 women have been murdered, hundreds more have disappeared, their whereabouts forever unknown, but it is suspected that they have been kidnapped for trafficking.

Desconocida:Unknown has to date, traveled through 22 countries. The project is very much a participatory affair. Those who come to the exhibition are encouraged to become involved, and embroider two labels; one baring the name of one of the murdered women, and one with the simple word – ‘unknown’. These name tags are added onto a wall which becomes the central medium of the project. Until March 22nd, it will be showing at The Gallery at University for the Creative Arts Epsom. Here, visitors can embroider whilst watching a documentary about the situation, called Threading Voices, also made by the artist.

descondida4resized.jpgFrontera 450+, at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston Texas. A show dedicated to the women of Juarez and their situation. This inspired me to start the project. i had moved back to Norway at the time and I wanted to create a project that somehow diminished the distance, the physical distance to the place and the psychological distance to take in information of such difficult issues. I wanted to create a connection, because violence towards women is a global issue, happening in every society, rich or poor, far or near.The situation in Juarez is extremely complex and very difficult to describe using just a few words. But I think it is very important to share that despite the horror that still are happening and the increasing violence towards both men and women due to a war on drugs in the city, the women and the community I have seen and collaborated with is not a victimized community, it is a community of an enormous strength and ability to fight back and with a believe in change. Believe in change through working with the youth, education, support of the families so they can speak for themselves. It is all organized with the smallest means and in an environment of violence and mistrust. The government’s attempts on improvements are described by the activists as cosmetic.”

What inspired you to choose to have participants embroider the name of the murdered women onto the labels?


” The idea of the embroidered nametags came after a long time researching and thinking. I wanted to use a female activity as a way to protest against the violence, I did not want to celebrate the violence. I wanted to establish a connection that would enable us to see the women and hear the stories told, see them as individuals. I also wanted an activity that had connections back to Mexico but yet were global, which embroidery is. We all have a relationship with names, it is the first thing we learn to write and by embroidering the names we would remember that name. By being embroidered, the mass of names each take on an identity again, a dual identity, that of the named and that of the embroiderer.”


Other than the labels, have you been using any other art forms alongside the embroidery, and how to you feel that this compliments?

“The project has inspired me to work using different art forms. After visiting Juarez in 2007, I decided to go back to tell the story of Marisela Ortiz Rivera and the organization Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa. I wanted to share the power and strength the women are fighting with and made the short documentary Threading Voices. When exhibiting the project I also show the video “Missing young women” by the Mexican filmmaker Lourdes Portillo. This film shares the stories about the murders, following the families in their search for their daughters and for justice.
For me it has been very important to show that women are not victims but have strength to fight back. During the openings of exhibitions where Desconocida has been shown, I have done a voice performance, Presence, where I give a tone, and then I give silence. I take away the words, the relation to music and this leaves the viewer and I with the purely the voice, the note and the silence, and I think this brings presence forward. There are “no escapes”
For the opening at the Gallery at the University for Creative Arts, Epsom, I made a sound installation based on my performance idea.”


What has the response been to this project, and where would you like to see this project going (apart from bringing justice to these women, of course).

“The project has grown much larger than I imagined when I started this, it has almost taken on a life of its own. I have decided that as long as people want to be part embroidering and the situation in Juarez remains the same, the project will continue to run its course. I hope more venues would like to show the project and by this engage more communities. It is important for me though that the labels eventually do not end their journey in a drawer in my studio. I am currently researching different ideas of how to bring the labels back out to the communities where they have been created, and doing so through an action/performance in Ciudad Juarez.”
What do you do when even the charity shops turn their noses up at your second hand freebies? Have them stripped for parts just like you would your bike! Tracey Cliffe, find with a background in costume design, information pills knows exactly how to spin fresh dresses out of frocks non-grata. Check out her popping new boutique in Afflecks Place in Manchester.

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Love Me Again Flyer

Polly Scattergood

Rough Trade

Saturday 28th Feb, approved 2009

The ethereal Polly Scattergood performed a short set at Rough Trade East on Saturday evening to a small but attentive crowd. Whether they had wandered in from hearing her sound or were hardened followers was difficult to determine, pharmacy but all were enthralled by what Scattergood had to offer.


Scattergood is an open and candid storyteller with the adorable quirkiness of Kate Bush and the timid vulnerabilty of Bat for Lashes. Part vocal, part soliloquy, Scattergood‘s songs are honest and real. She was a little nervous on Saturday, resplendent in an metallic puffball number with slightly tousled blonde locks. Her vocals wavered, but it’s a bold move presenting your music in a space as stark as a record shop. There’s no production, no flashy lighting, and there are customers wandering aimlessly trying to find their would-be purchases.


In between haunting melodies, Scattergood gave little away apart from song titles. From one track to another, she kept a rapid pace, backed by a three-piece band who spend far too much time looking in a mirror (I’d imagine). The songs are original, though – and her dulcet spoken tones blend smoothly with her powerful voice (she dips like a young Moyet and peaks like a more mature Goldfrapp). She has a fresh indie sound with a scrumptious catchy pop twang, best detected on the balladic Unforgiving Arms. Scattergood is also onto a winner with the short show’s closing track, Nitrogen Pink, born with a whisper and maddening as it reaches its climax.


April sees Polly embark on a comprehensive tour around the UK, with the album Stateside Releases expected to hit the shops this week. With a nod, a huge smile and a timid curtsy, Polly‘s off, safe in the knowledge that she’s served up a teatime treat.
Aussie by heart, for sale New Yorker by nature, pills Deanne Cheuk is at the vanguard of her field in fashion illustration. Her work has already graced the pages of Nylon, ampoule Dazed and Confused,Vogue and Tokion.She is showered with accolades, recently she featured as one of the top “50 creative minds in the world” by Face Magazine.


Cheuk’s utilises a myriad of mediums that beautifully unite to create ethereal and dreamy pieces.Whisking you away from the realms of reality into the fairy tale-esque utopia of Deanne’s mind. Like a trip to the realms of Willie Wonker’s chocolate factory her visions are inhabited by mushrooms and a whole spectrum of colours, rather reminiscent of hundreds and thousands ,yum!!!

I have to concede I am so utterly besotted by Deanne Cheuk that even the thought of approaching her made me blush. But I am pleased to say I shook off my anxieties and hunted down this astonishingly talented lady to squeeze in a quick chat!.


1.What other artists inspire you?

I’m always inspired by what my friends are doing, artists like Chris Rubino, Rhys Lee, Dmote, Suitman, Rostarr, Jose Parla, photographers like Jason Nocito, Juliana Sohn, Coliena Rentmeester, Davi Russo

2. In the past few years you have worked more in fashion illustration, was this a natural progression?

Yes it was a natural progression, I started out with drawing the Mushroom Girls series, and then ended up getting commissioned to do variations on that style for fashion magazines and fashion brands. I don’t really do alot in the Mushroom Girls style anymore as it started to get copied alot and a really tacky shoe company on the West Coast ripped it off as their branding. I’ve been doing alot of textile prints for different designers including my favorite designer Sue Stemp.


3. You published a book a few years ago entitled the Mushroom Girls Virus Book, is there any chance of this going back into press?

Unfortunately there isn’t much chance of my book getting re-printed. The embroidered covers were all hand glued and that was incredibly time consuming for the printers to put together, it took a long time to produce. Though, regardless of that, I’d be more interested in making a new book than revisiting something that was already out there.

4. Alot of your work features mushrooms, do you have a fungal fetish at all?

I’ve always absolutely loved the under-sides of mushrooms, how delicate, intricate and soft and unique that part is. I’m also fascinated by the incredible varieties of mushrooms and amazing colors that are found in nature – so yes there is some fetish there for sure!


5. Alot of your work is multi-media based, what mediums do you usually use when you work?

I nearly always start with pencil and watercolor on paper and finish up in photoshop on the computer, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and like to be able to retouch and control the final image in that way.


6. Are their any plans to publish any more books?

Yes, I have a bunch of ideas for a typography book, and an art book and some kids books.


7. Have you been to any interesting exhibitions recently?

I went to the Works On Paper show in New York this week at the Park Avenue Armory, my work is all on paper so it was really inspiring to see . My favorites were old Warhol’s and Lichtenstein’s’.


You get a awe-inspiring sense from Cheuk of her passion for design, ,not content in conquering merely the fashion sphere she has set her intentions further a field in the world of children’s literature and graphic design. I for one can’t wait to see how these ideas materialise!

Going from a magazine to an online blog; we at Amelia’s Magazine know all about the wonders of the internet. However until an email from Mousse Magazine landed in my email box I had no idea how much the process has moved on. Although the magazine is printed in runs of 30, viagra sale 00 and available from museums and galleries across the world it’s also available to download entire issues (and back issues) online. The best bit is that it’s completely free!

Founded in 2006 and distributed internationally since 2008 Mousse Magazine is a bimonthly and bilingual, written in English and Italian, review “that contains essays, interviews, conversations, exclusive artists projects and columns by correspondents from the international art capitals.” They aim to, “surf the trends, offer in depth analysis meet with the hottest artists, and capture the latest currents and developments in the international scene.”

Eager to see whether I could give up the thrill of flicking through the glossy pages of an art magazine I downloaded Mousse straight from the website (no visit to the shop necessary!) and had a look.


Ok so it doesn’t smell the same as a new printed magazine, but I was pleased to see that there were still lots of lovely images of art for me to treat my eyes to. These pictures are accompanied by over 100 pages of articles about big contemporary artists such as Phillip Lai and meaty interviews with people such as Peter Coffin. The only issue is that reading the magazine on Adobe Acrobat is a bit of a challenge if you don’t have a massive computer screen. But think about the trees you’ll be saving!

Over the last three months, treat I’ve done a lot of traveling. I toured with a band for three weeks around America and Canada. I turned that band on to Deer Tick by playing “Art Isn’t Real” for them as we drove through Ohio. After the tour, mind I went to visit friends in Brighton, England, Scotland, and Wales. I listened to “Standing at the Threshold” on the train to Brighton. I woke up blissful on my best friend’s living room floor to the tune of “Ashamed” and I cried, listening to “These Old Shoes” the entire plane ride home from England back to New York. For three months I was continually barraged with new things, new cities, new friends, new sights, sounds, and tastes, with one constant – Deer Tick was with me the entire time. I had their album “ War Elephant” piping through my headphones, regardless of where I was. All of these facts I “forgot” to share with the boys of Deer Tick, seeing as how I’m a shy person, and slightly embarrassed about my ‘superfan’ status. I did, however, manage to find out a bit more when I nervously found myself face to face (to face to face – because there are four of them!) with the band at a Chinese food restaurant around the corner from Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom, where they were about to play a headlining show, the first night of a 6 week tour around America.

Deer Tick had very humble beginnings,” explains John McCauley, Deer Tick‘s mustached front man. “A few years ago I started writing songs like this and recording them with my friend, Paul, on drums, and that kind of fizzled. I kept trying to create the band that I had named Deer Tick. It was kind of me for a while and I really didn’t like it that way. I didn’t like to be known as a singer songwriter with a moniker, I thought that was kind of stupid, but I was really patient and made sure I waited to find the right group of guys to play with.”


John’s patience paid off and resulted in the formation of the band in its modern day incarnation: Dennis Ryan on drums, Andy Tobiassen- to whom James Felice refers as “the cute one”- on guitar, soft-spoken and self described “post-adolescent, geeky looking kid” Chris Ryan on base and of course, John himself is responsible for guitar and lead vocals as well as penning all of the group’s lyrics.

While “War Elephant” is the work Deer Tick is best known for at the moment, their upcoming album, “Born on Flag Day” will be the first that these 4 have played on together. “It sounds way different than War Elephant, and, stylistically, I think it’s much better than War Elephant too. War Elephant, to me, feels more like a greatest hits rather than an actual album, and this one feels like an album to me, and I’m really glad that I got to record it with a band, rather than multi-track mostly everything myself, which was the case with War Elephant.”

Deer Tick has received positive reactions to both their album, and their live shows. At the near sold out Bowery show, the crowd is singing along, and everyone I talk to in the crowd is genuinely excited to be there, indicative of Deer Tick‘s growing fan base. While the media is desperately trying to pigeonhole Deer Tick‘s sound (terms like “freak-folk,” indie-folk,” and “lo-fi” plague any literature you might find about them, as well as attempts to lump them in with other emerging Brooklyn bands, as John, originally from Providence, Rhode Island, is now living in Brooklyn) John insists that “We can fit in anywhere, from a dive bar to the Bowery Ballroom, like tonight. We’re not trying to be anything, I’m just writing songs in a variety of styles and they get pinned down as folk. And then you can’t just call anything done by a young person ‘folk’ anymore, you have to call it something stupid like “freak-folk.” I just don’t get a lot of labels that people give us. I like to think that rock and roll encompasses everything we do, and that’s where my heart is.”


“Born on Flag Day” is scheduled for release in June 2009.

The world of neckwear has never looked so exciting. So say goodbye to the days of that tedious and generic tie lurking in the bottom of your wardrobe. I think as a general consensus every male has one, information pills right? Yes, sildenafil the one that only raises its ugly head for job interviews, weddings, or funerals. Well, cast that aside and end his tragic existence. Instead say hello and embrace the innovative, hopelessly stylish and nonchalant new accessory line from design collaborative Timo. Fashion Designer Timo Weiland originates from the bustling sidewalks of the Big Apple. He is no newcomer to the fashion sphere, having already enjoyed cult acclaim nationwide for his distinctive wallet designs and environmental conscious design ethos.


Their kitsch Manhattan style exudes chic, and the brand have become regulars in hip fashion magazines such as Super Super. After the roaring success of the wallet designs ,Timo decided to set his sites higher and break into the broader world of accessories. Utilising a myriad of different fabrics from satin to cashmere the new AW O9 features beautiful and opulent neckwear.


Weiland draws influence from all facets of design and genres. Reinvigorating class silhouettes from the bowtie to the skinny tie, and then racing up the spectrum to highly architectural draped collar pieces evoking a distinctly Elizabethan air. Then to top it all off he throws some traditional southern American western in for good measure.


The unique feature of Timo’s designs is there ultimate use as a cross functional accessory. So that bland dress that hasn’t been out of solitary confinement for months could suddenly be unleased on the unsuspecting world with a whole new look.


Weiland blurs the lines between gender with many unisex styles, so keep a close eye on that boyfriend of yours if you want to keep your bowtie to yourself!.
Prepare yourselves for quirky design group KIND! Injecting a healthy dose of cool to knitwear. The latest installment to their eccentric collections makes no exceptions fusing conceptual art with fashion, medicine in a burst of colour and activity.


The Design collaborative are no newcomers to the knitwear sphere and have been in production since 2005. Each collection showcases new and innovative styles, continually pushing the boundaries in conceptual yet functional knitwear design. KIND have been avid followers of ours here at Amelia’s magazine and vis versa, we even featured them in issue 7 ( which is still available to get your mits on by the way!) We just can’t get enough of them, so I thought it important to unleash their new S/S collection on you. So prepare your eyes for a visual feast!

The new collection banishes all recollection of winter embracing the joyous arrival of summer with a myriad of warm colours and shapes.


The brand are heavily involved in photography, interbreeding art with fashion is of paramount importance to these cool cats. Just one look at their S/S 09 lookbook validates this statement. Pieces are set against vivid tapestries reminiscent of the fundamental cubist painter Henri Matisse.


focus is on functional and wearable clothing. The collection offers all your staples from dresses,tanks, to jumpers, all in lightweight cashmeres. So perfect for those cross seasonal periods, when its too cold for a t-shirt yet too warm for a jumper.

Kind has enjoyed universal success, having stocked their collections in Labour of Love, Tatty Divine, Liberty, Collette in Paris, UK style in Moscow, Isetan in Tokyo. Gosh its making me breathless just listing them all…….


So keep your eyes open for KIND, I have a sneaking suspicion we haven’t seen the last from this eccentric bunch!
With a repertoire that boasts Blonde Redhead, page Stereolab, buy Pixies and the Cocteau Twins, approved 4AD rarely disappoint. The latest signing from the cult indie label, Kent four piece It Hugs Back, are no exception.


Photo by Steve Double

Initially, you can’t help but notice how very young they all seem, which makes it all the more satisfying when they launch into such a mature set, cultivating a sound that is much older than their twenty three years.

Beautifully blended rhythmic guitars and soft Thurston Moore-esque vocals, they are clearly a group who have spent a lot of time cooped up in their bedrooms listening to shoegaze records. Although in essence, It Hugs Back are a product of their influences, this is not such a bad thing when your influences are so definably Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo and potentially Wilco.


Photo Coutesy of

Indeed, it’s their appreciation for music and sound that makes them so enjoyable and strangely refreshing. Clearly identifiable ‘Daydream Nation’ moments like in ‘Now and Again’ are juxtaposed with much more subtle melodies in tracks like ‘q’, where looped riffs and jangling guitars meet more industrial feedback sounds. In fact, many of the songs are indistinguishable, as they play with structure, breaking down more definable song narratives, so that the music remains continually listenable.

Definitely ones to watch.

‘Inside your Guitar’ is out on 6th April

The Guinness World Record for it is 11 inches. Countless circus curios and lunchladies everywhere have caused us to stare guiltily at theirs over the years.
But not until illustrator Emily Mackey’s embroidered pieces have we seen such glorious and bewildering ladies’ beards. Argued to symbolize anything from wisdom and a pioneering spirit to shiftiness and eccentricity the beard remains a statement accessory. We speak with the artist about pistols, adiposity beards and women’s work.

Where did the idea for the bearded ladies originate?
I grew up in several different places, cialis 40mg locally and abroad, and constantly had to leave friends and make new ones. With each new environment I met a diverse range of people and their initial perceptions of me varied wildly. The bearded ladies are stating that people are not always what they appear to be. An initial perception of someone can be misleading, but if you take the time to look closely, you can usually see the truth in who they are.

Truer now than ever with the current cult of celebrity. Approach with caution though readers, in case the moustached madames are carrying one of these…


What got you stitching the pistol series?
I abhor guns. They’ve brought horror to the human race. I’ve put images of guns through the process of a ‘women’s’ craft and converted them into harmless decoration.

We much prefer yours, and love the idea of subverting weapons into delicate threadwork. Where do you look to for inspiration and ideas?

From the age of ten, I’ve taken photo’s everywhere I go, so I have my own archive of images that I like to work from. I generally work from subjects that evoke my emotions. One my new projects will consist of a range of very powerful pieces that derive from a subject that I feel passionately about.


Sounds mysterious and evocative, keep us posted!
How did you begin working with stitch?

I come from generations of weavers, embroiderers and lace makers, so as I was growing up, was often given a needle and thread to keep me occupied. I trained as a weaver and started to incorporate embroidery with my weaving…I got involved with free-machine embroidery about four years ago.


Do you look to somewhere specific for inspiration or ideas?

My great grandmother has been a great inspiration to me. She used embroidery as a means of survival. She taught it to girls in the orphanage that she had grown up in and later set up many more orphanages that taught embroidery, among other things, to enable women to sell their work and earn a living.

How do you feel the medium relates to the subject matter?

What I love about stitching is that it can be such a controlled medium – ordered and solid and it can also be used in a loose, sketchy, expressive way. It can hold more depth than paint or pen and is more malleable.


Where can we see your work?
I have a website where you will be able to see examples of my work, past and present. I will soon be selling limited runs and one off woven, embroidered and printed pieces through the site too. I have some exhibitions planned for later this year – details will be posted on my website. A selection of my work is going to be published in ‘Illustration Now Vol.3‘ which will be out in the summer.

Thanks Emily, we will definitely keep our eye out for the book and can’t wait to see your upcoming show!
Three members of the Amelia’s Magazine team went down to the amazing venue Village Underground on Great Eastern Street yesterday to check out ‘100 minutes of Havana’, purchase a one off art battle. When we showed up a lovely lady from Havana Club, here who sponsored the event, no rx whisked us past the queue and handed us some drinks vouchers. After getting our rum on at the bar we went off to see the real reason we were there. A 200 foot white wall!

The group behind this event, Secret Wars, arrange guerrilla live art battles across the world. At this event the rules were simple. Two groups, Monorex and Intercity, battle it out to cover the massive wall with drawings, using only marker pens and coloured acrylic paint. While Monorex were the more experienced group, having done live shows for Secret Wars before, I didn’t fancy their chances against Intercity, which comprised of Concrete Hermit , and Amelia’s Magazine favourites Ian Stevenson and Andrew Rae.

At Half past seven the crowd counted the artists down from ten and then they were off! Team Intercity rather ingeniously attached a pen to some string in the centre of the wall and created a massive circle, which they hurriedly painted with red acrylic. While team Monorex got out the marker pens and started with some free style drawings.



The event aimed to bring to life “the passion of contemporary Cuba to a London audience”. In honour of Cuba then, we headed to another bar for some free rum tasting and then looked around the venue at the other art works. Havana Club got some great illustrators to decorate some of their rum bottles and the results ranged from the sublime to the downright bizarre.



With ten minutes left of the clock team Intercity pulled out all the stops and started firing paint bombs at their work covering their lovely doodles in watery red paint. The winner was decided by a combination of two guest judges and a crowd vote – whoever got the loudest cheers won!


Monorex emerged victorious and Sabrina and I, fuelled on Mojitos and sheer cheekiness, went in search of some illustrators to grill.

While Sabrina headed off to chat up Josh Sutterby on the Monorex side.

I went over to talk to the guys from the Intercity team.


Despite being the losers the artists were in high spirits and had even sneaked some beers into the venue (there’s really only so much rum you can drink!). I grabbed Robbie Wilkinson for a chat and he told me that he got involved in the night through being one of a hundred artists to design a Havana bottle for a recent exhibition. The question I really wanted an answer to though, was, “Why do you think your wall is better than their wall?” Robbie confided in me that he wasn’t a fan of the graffiti style of Monorex.

I went over to talk to Andrew Rae and he told me that although he thought that the other team’s mural was one image that worked together, Intercity’s was much more fun to watch and “more of a performance”.

Next on my list were Andy Forshaw and Austin From New. They showed me their drawings and explained the idea behind the paint bombs was just to create a lot of mess and that they wanted the performance to be “Like a children’s party with jelly and ice-cream!”


I’ll admit I got a little star struck when I finally found Ian Stevenson. I’m a massive fan after seeing his solo exhibition at Concrete Hermit in 2007.


He was the most diplomatic of the group refusing to trash talk about Monorex but he did tell me about his next exhibition with Pictoplasma where 50 artists are taking part in a festival across the city of Berlin in March. Ok so we can’t all afford tickets to go to Berlin, but you can go and see the result of the nights events at The Village Underground until Tuesday 10th March.
It’s astounding what you can unearth when you delve through flickr. I exposed a complete hidden gem this week amidst the urban jungle of the internet. My gem came in the form of Italian Photographer Polly Balitro, treat and to tell the truth I have been left utterly in awe since my discovery. Her photos have a overwhelming quixotic feel, as if you have unintentionally stumbled upon her cherished diary. Every picture exudes sentimentality, charting Balitro’s exploration of love, loss and identity.


Alas much to my displeasure I couldn’t warrant a trip to Italy for a interview with Polly so I decided a virtual email would have to suffice.

Your work seems very multi media based, what mediums do you usually use when making your work?

I am working mainly with analogic processes, darkroom printing and polaroid transfers, because I believe that art photography is a sort of performance that requires the rituals that just analog can give. But I always scan my work to put on social networks like facebook, myspace and flickr, to get people to know my pieces easily.


What other artists have inspired you in your work?

I usually get inspiration from young unknown artists around me. I spend lots of time surfing the web through pages like flickr, deviant art and myspace. Young artists are fresh have really innovative and experimental ideas. I love how the combination between images, music and perfomance work perfectly together.


Your work is quite nostalgic, do any of the images have particular sentimental value to you?

My work is certainly extremely nostalgic, because it’s totally based on feelings coming from my inner soul. I am currently working on my final thesis, for the end of my 3 years at photography school. It will be very intense work centering around the feeling of being hunted by someone. My photography aims to talk about some sort of ghostly presence that never leaves me totally alone, people from my past, present and future that are constantly affecting my mood and my action, even though they’re not actually here with me. I think this maybe can explain why I am truly attached to all of my images.


You use a very subtle colours in your work, is there any particular reason for this?

The subtle colours in my work come with my love for the northern countries. I am strongly affected by the scandinavian taste for low saturation in colours, and I am extremely attached to my black and whites that I always process in my darkroom. I feel like low saturation and black and white make a perfect union with the theme of my photography.


You work has a certain ethereal quality to it, would you agree with that interpretation?

The certain ethereal quality comes along with the soul theme of my whole work, as I said before: I am trying to speak about something that goes beyond the everyday material experience, to give away a sense of unknown and ethereal matters.


What advice would you give emerging photographers to do if they want to break into the industry?

I really wouldn’t know what advice to give people like me. I am still trying to make my way to the world with my art works, and I don’t think it will be easy to get well known. I guess, the best you can do is to try hard and keep on believing that sometime you will find your place. A good way to start out is to try to get as much “audience” as possible: social networks are extremely good for that.



It’s apparent Balitro has an abundance of talent within her sphere far beyond her years, I for one am going to keep my beady eye on her flickr account!

Everyone loves a Rush don’t they? Well I do at least, search being a recent convert to the antics and actions of Climate Rush. Still it’s hard to not want to be involved in this particular case. When dear old RBS, in their infinite wisdom, gifted Sir Fred ‘The Shred’ with £16 million pounds of what amounts to taxpayers money, they couldn’t have possibly imagined the public outrage. And rightly so!


I am one of the many millions who pays taxes, and I can’t remember being asked if my money could go towards one man’s pension. Or to help bail out a bank who have given £16 billion towards the dirty coal industry. (Did you know that 50% of CO2 in the atmosphere has come from coal?) This sordid scenario is just the kind of thing that makes Climate Rush‘s blood boil. If there are a few things that make them mad, it is irresponsible governments and a complete disregard for the environment. So when I found out that Climate Rush were popping down to the RBS building in the City to quite understandably ask for their money back, I felt that it was my duty to put on a sash and join them!


Anticipating our arrival, the London police force had turned out in droves – on horses, in vans, on foot, and posted around the entrance of the RBS building. Still, I like to think that they were more on our side than on the banks. After all, it’s their taxes too that are going towards one mans retirement scheme. And how could they fail to be charmed by us? Many came dressed up, some as suffragettes, some as cleaners, a few as bank robbers. Everyone was good natured and friendly. And while we were obviously passionate about our rush, there is no reason to stop for lunch, so we all sat cross legged on a blanket eating bagels and biscuits while we were regailed with songs and speech. Now this is my kind of action group! At one point I noticed all the RBS workers inside watching us, and being the friendly girl that I am, I gave them a cheery wave, but no one waved back. How rude! I can imagine that many were curious about the commotion outside, perhaps they would have even wanted to come out and join us, and wouldn’t that have made for a good picture?



After the lovely Amelia, Tamsin and Marina said some words about the reasons why we were all here, we gave out an award (shaped in the form of a dead canary) to Sir Fred – and he turned up to accept and say a few words! What a thoughtful man. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really him; the real Sir Fred was far away, counting his pots of money I would imagine, but the stand in got plenty of cheers.



There was some more dancing to tunes with the theme of money, (plus Supergrasses Caught By the Fuzz; our way of doffing our cap to the rozzers)and afterwards, we disbanded. I walked through Spitalfields proudly wearing my sash, and I did notice that I was given a wide berth by plenty of business men who looked at me with slight alarm. What exactly did they think I was going to do to them? I left inspired, and feeling very much part of the group, the action, and the sentiment.
Born in Texas and living in New York City, seek via London Diego Vela has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects. He found his calling and freedom with sculpture, clinic the sculptures in their own subtlety dictate the end results; the materials (paper mache’, what is ed plaster, glue, paint and found objects) give certain characteristics that inform that process. His work is a living process, rather than bodies of works in a form of a series; each new sculpture adds to the lexicon of his visual language. Currently, and for the next six months Diego will be focusing on new paintings.


What inspires you in your work?

Most of my inspiration I draw from nature, I like to take walks and look for the natural world even in places like the middle of NYC, where man tries so hard to shelter itself from nature, and yet you see its effects always…grass growing in between side walks, cracks in walls caused by rain, and wind…it’s all so beautiful and scary. I tend to be drawn to the darker side of the natural world, drawn to things that some may not see as beautiful, of course which is a matter of opinion…and my opinion and aesthetic tends to be romanced by the underbelly of nature and the natural world.


How did you get into art?

Art drew me in, like a moth to a flame…that is the romantic side of it, I studied it in uni, after many attempts at rational majors, majors that would probably have made a good steady career, with employment and everything that comes with it, but art finally won my heart in the end.

Who do you aspire to be like and who inspires you at present?

I aspire to be like many glamorous ladies of the past, Anita Berber, Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, at least the on screen persona, oh, the list goes on and on… recently I have been inspired by my mother, and men who I have fallen desperately in love with, but of whom I am left pining…I suppose I have been mostly inspired by my own desire…I have been inspired by passing boys on subway cars, who for a moment mend my little heart from all of that passion unreturned… my, I am dramatic, how could I not have been an artist.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Satisfied, and doing exactly what I want to do…preferably, in Berlin or London


What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the art?
Work hard! Always keep an open mind, you can find inspiration in everything… and look for your opportunities… Learn to balance your artistic romantic nature with the realistic business aspect of the art world…But most of all work hard!

Do you have a muse?

At the moment I do not have a muse, there have been many mini muses that have come and gone, but my muse tends to be a person that my romantic heart is attached too, well on second thought, I suppose at the moment there is a reluctant muse…it’s complicated…But he does inspire me…it’s so complicated.

For more information have a look at the artists website or blogspot.


If you’re a wannabe illustrator or even just a secret bedroom doodler Lazy Oaf wants to hear from you!

Gemma Shiel has been creating wonderful illustrations for her label Lazy Oaf since 2005. In them inanimate objects (bananas, ambulance milk cartons, cupcakes, boomboxes!) come to life with rosy cheeks and smily faces. Or animals get a fun screen print make-over with googly eyes and cheeky pink tongues. If you fancy trying to take Gemma on at her own game this is the competition for you!



To celebrate the launch of their much anticipated Spring/Summer collection Lazy Oaf are hosting The Lazy Oaf Drawing Club on Thursday 23rd April from 6-8pm. On entry to the to the event, which is being held at their shop in Kingly Court, visitors will be given one of three postcards specially designed for occasion. After your given a ‘picture frame’ all you have to do is fill it with your scribbles and then hand it in. Everyones pieces of art will be displayed proudly in the shop window and the owners of the best five entries will win “extra special prizes”. If you want to make extra sure that you do a good job the postcards can be downloaded from the Lazy Oaf website soon and you can pick them up now from the Kingly Court store now.

Even if you don’t know a pen from a potato head down to the store anyway as Lazy Oaf will be offering 20% off everything all night – just because they’re nice like that!


Monday 9th March

Franz Ferdinand

Pop favourites and Glasweigan Lovies Franz Ferdinand wanna take you out, sildenafil of your house, and shuffle on to the Hammersmith Apollo. With Support from Californian Soft Pack before their appearance at SXSW.

Hammersmith Apollo


Tuesday 10th March

Videopia with Shock Defeat!

Ever wanted to star in miniature versions of Hollywood classics? ‘What like in that film?’ Yeah. Then make sure you get yourself to Notting Hill Arts Centre nice & early this tuesday. However if the thought of being on screen turns your stomach settle it down with the chocolate fountain & candyfloss machine, and watch your pals corpse and bumble the night away.

Followed by live music & DJs including Shock Defeat! and The Momeraths.

Notting Hill Arts Club


Night Fever II: Cosmic Jebubu’s Soul Noodle House Vs. Panjeen’s Rap Village

Noodles a plenty from 12pm at Jebubu’s Soul Noodle House (supplied by DIY apparel company) with some African funk and ethiojazz by Panjeen rap village DJ’s and Live music later on from Bangerz n Mash and Chechnya blast.

Unity, Peckham High Street


Wednesday 11th March

Jeremy Jay (K records) + Lord Auch

Jeremy Jay of K records, Calvin Johnsons celebrated indie label, plays his only UK show at the Macbeth! Plus witness a special acoustic show from Lord Auch.

The Macbeth, Hoxton Street



19-year-old Anita Blay aka Thecocknbullkid graces the mall stage at the ICA this wednesday bringing along her own vibe of sleazy synth pop. With support from a whole bunch of people including Plugs (LIVE) Your Twenties (LIVE) Florence and the Machine (DJ SET) NYPC (DJ SET), FRANKMUSIK(DJ SET) and SPARKLEMOTION.

Mall Stage, ICA, London

Photo by Dan WIlton

Thursday 12th March

Up the Racket & WOTGODFORGOT present… Crystal Antlers

Fuzzy, lo-fi garage noise with the skill and integrity that so many others lose in the fug. All the way from Long Beach Crystal Antlers create a live experience only too rare in this climate. Support from Sycamore and Plank!

Retro Bar, Manchester

Illustration by Mr Hallows

A Team present… Squallyoakes Fanzine Launch Night

The A Team Brings You: Wasp Display LIVE. Plus TDJ Sets From: DJ FTW, DJ Julio, Lord Rockingham XV and of course The A Team.

Catch, London

Photo by James Smith

Friday 13th March

Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest) with Live Band

Old school legend Q-Tip is back with his new album The Renaissance. Support from DJ Tu-ki.

The Button Factory, Dublin


Joining the dots between Kraut, Baltimore Club, Techno, House, Indie, Electro, Outsider Pop, Disco, Cosmic Nonsense and forgotten gems with Manchester favourite DJ Wesley (Up The Racket)

Common Bar, Manchester


Saturday 14th March

OK Crayola w/ Party Horse

Anglo Dutch comboParty Horse are in Manchester with support in the form of Thom Stone and the debut solo show of the awesome Matthew Ashworth (A Middle Sex).

Fuel Cafe Bar, Manchester


Sunday 15th March


Manchester stalwarts The Doves are back with a new album and on the road after over 3 and a half years. See them this week in Warrington (12th), Middlesborough (13th) and Glasgow (15th).

The ABC, Glasgow

Rebecca Warren

The exhibition gives a twist to the traditions of sculpture, here she throws away its old typical associations with the human figure and introduces an abstract and almost child’s way of shaping clay. She’s the first to confess that her art is “not pretty”, Rebecca is a London based artist who was nominated for the Turner price in 2006, this will be her first major solo exhibition.

Serpentine Gallery, 10th- 1st April free admission


Hussein Chalayan: Debate

A chance to see the ‘British Designer of the Year’ and find out more about his international fashion business and how he is still influenced by London, he will be joined by other key designers who are also based in London.

Shoreditch Town Hall £15, Wednesday 11th March, 7.15pm,


Tonico Lemos Auad
: Cast graphite and burnt bread
Born in Brazil, studied at Goldsmiths college in London, the exhibition focuses on dimension and perception

Stephen Friedman Gallery, 13 March – 18 April 2009


Dr Gunther Von Hagen: Body world and the mirror of time

The Doctor is back, as if the first time around wasn’t gruesome enough! With all the controversy surrounding the doc who freezes bodies and displays them, its a must see but not for the faint hearted. Your eyes continuously try to convince your brain that it can’t all possibly be real but after the second person in the exhibition faints it all gets a little too much to take in. The reality is that it’s all just a little too pristine and over varnished with an horror movie feel to it, is it science. Is it art? I’m still undecided but every time he is in town I can’t help but get curious and double check if I really did see, what I thought I saw last time.

The O2 Bubble SE10, the exhibition is on until Aug 23, £12, concs £9


William Hunt: Perfomance
The Camden Arts center, 6.30pm 11th of March


The Masques of Shahrazad
: Evolution and revolution through three generations of Iranian women artists.

A collection of masks from 28 Iranian women artists whose works span over three generations in the history of Iran. The works trace the development of Iranian art and artists over the past four decades during which Iran has gone through some dynamic changes. This exhibition is a very rare chance to see works by these respected women artists; it’s also been an opportunity for them to voice their opinion on issues that have concerned them over the last few years.
Artists include Golnaz Fathi, Shideh Tami, Maryam Shirinlou and Farideh Lashai.

Candlestar Gallery Hammersmith, 9 – 14th March 2009,


Women in photography: South of the river

Celebrating the works of varied women photographers in South London, the exhibition is linked to International Woman’s Day (March 8th) and shows a worldwide celebration of women’s achievements aiming to reflect creativity and progression via photography.

Lewisham Art House New Cross, 11 – 22th of March 2009

Private View: Wednesday 11th March 2009, 19.00-21.00

Featured Illustrator/ Artist

A G Brock

Born in 1970 in Fort Worth Texas US, Brock began drawing at a very young age using it to escape a childhood of bullying at school. Later on he was expelled from college after producing what teachers referred to as a “suggestive painting”, basically a painting of two women looking into each others eyes.

At 25 he was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and later in his 30′s found out that as a child he had a slight case of autism that had since manifested itself into O.C.D.
This diagnoses at least explained the communication problems he’d gone through growing up. Throughout the years he focused on art and used this talent as a means to escape various difficulties in his life.


What inspires you in your work and why? Dynamic images, colours, sensuality, and of course martini

How did you get into Art? I was born like this its more of an addiction. I have a disorder called agoraphobia, which is an anxiety disorder that can lead to panic attacks so I rarely leave my home

Who do you aspire to be like and who inspires you at present? I guess Michael Angelo, or Da Vinci I don’t really follow the modern art world

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? Probably right where I am, I don’t know how to sell art; most of my paintings are rolled up in the closet at home

What advice would you give to someone trying to get into Art? I think you’re either born this way or you’re not, its a difficult way of life sometimes

Do you have a muse? Oh yes, my enchanting wife she gave me three beautiful children and the finest life I could ever have imagine

Forget the weekend, click Thursdays are the big night out in the London art scene. While Sabrina headed off to glamorous Vyner Street for First Thursdays I headed to the depths of East London to Peckham, dosage for the private view of Rufus Miller’s new show at The Sassoon Gallery. The gallery is much easier to get to than you would imagine. It’s right next to Peckham Rye station and just a short bus ride away from New Cross Gate station.

To get to the gallery you first walk through Bar Story, a lively little bar full of Camberwell students. This threatens the unwritten code of the private view free beer, but luckily Bar Story has a rather impressive cocktail list to make up for the lack.

Photography by Fabiana Delcanton

The Sassoon Gallery is under the new curatorial partnership of Holly Simpson and Katherine Finnimore and they tell me that their aim is, “to support and promote emerging young artists from a wide range of mediums”. Despite having only been involved in the gallery from January of this year the pair have already built up a good collection of young artists. Up now is the week long exhibition of recent Goldsmiths graduate Rufus Miller.


I see Rufus looking very smart in a shiny new suit as I near the gallery. He’s with a group of people sat outside the gallery keeping warm in front of a fire. Private views at The Sassoon Gallery are among the most relaxed and mellow I’ve ever been too, precisely because of this. Having space outside the gallery means that people can socialise and make a mess there, leaving space and quiet inside the gallery for really looking and understanding the artwork.


The lovely space is actually in a tunnel under a railway line so the ceilings are curved and everything rumbles when a train goes overhead. Rufus‘ paintings are like the dark sketches that goth kid in your class draws in the back of his exercise book. An image the artist actively encourages in his press release stating “These are shit paintings. I don’t paint. I just draw, like everone does. Someone wanted me to do a show so I just did the drawings bigger. In paint. Skulls are just an easy thing to do.” Going on to say, “What do you get from an enlargement of something done offhand, half-arsedly? Nothing, nothing more, just a disappearance of what I meant in the first place: Killing time.” Sucessfully demystifying the act of painting in a show of paintings? Rufus Miller is my hero.
After a perplexing hunt down various side streets I eventually chanced upon this bizarre venue. I think its safe to say an old fire station is a rather unorthodox choice of location. Upon arrival it was apparent that was not going to be the kind of gig to accumulate in a raucous . Gaggles of children in karate outfits greeted me, unhealthy not the usual cliental for a Wavves gig. My powers of presumption led me to the conclusion that this was a community centre and not a gritty underground music venue. Not surprisingly there was no bar, viagra 60mg I happened to notice a few gig goers gingerly slipping in with clanking blue plastic bags. So I decided to follow suit and headed out to the nearest corner shop to stock up!


The location had all the atmospheric qualities of a school disco; the wooden benches, drugs the wonky banners, the copious amounts of balloons. The first band up to the microphone were Mazes, exuding 90′s nostalgia these northern lads sound is a concoction of Pavement-esque melodies fused with the vocals of the likes of Beat Happening and the infamous Lemonheads. Songs such as “bowie knives” shows a return to the depths of the 90′s grunge phenomena, erratic, fuzzy vocals are teamed with ranging baselines, this is timeless pop at its finest!


Then came the turn of the energetic London three piece Pens, to say they brought flair and vigor to the evenings proceedings would be an understatement. Bursting into their set with furious drums, droning melodies all set against aberrant vocals and hap hazard key boards. Tracks such as “High in the Cinema” allures you into a trance with its repetitive vocals and abrasive guitars exuding all the dynamism of Soft Cell. The audience suitably revved up, out came Wavves to provide a perfect accumulation to the evening injecting a healthy dose of lo-fi pop melodies from Californian based singer songwriter Nathan Williams. Songs such as “So Bored” were uncontrollably catchy exuding a west coast surf grunge feel, with undercurrents of The Breeders and Sonic Youth.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine we managed to wangle ourselves some time with lively three piece Pens during their exciting tour.

How much did your parent’s record collection influence you and your music?

Amelia- My mum listens to all the girly stuff like Winehouse and Adele now, but growing up she listened to a lot of Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and Leornard Cohen. I can remember requesting songs and spinning in the kitchen to it while she was cooking, probably has had an effect on what i listen to now, but don’t know how.
Helen – The three things I really remember from being little are Leonard Cohen (80s era), Terence Trent D’Arby and Fine Young Cannibals! I do have a massive soft spot for 80s production but I can’t really see that coming out in our music.
Stef – Well my ma only listened to 60s Italian pop songs (still does). My dad loves the Beatles, Buddy Holly & Roy Orbison, but I also remember him listening to Enya & Abba. Hmmm. I don’t think we sound like Enya.


Do you think it’s fair to say the nofi scene seems to have a real sense of camaraderie, despite the fact that all the bands are spread out over the globe?

A- Yes, definelty. I think it’s great, and it’s nice to meet people that you look up to in music and hear their thoughts on your stuff. Also it works for like helping each other out, like when they come over here or us going to other countries. Looking after each other and stuff.
H – Yeah totally, I really think “DIY” or whatever you like to call it has a sense of “we give a shit about what we’re doing, and we know it’s rad to help other people out”. It’s not some stadium-rock, get-signed get-paid get-first-on-the-bill thing, it’s about sharing the bill with other bands you respect.
S – Yes that’s fair, i suppose it’s like a community cos it’s not so much about getting famous & making bucks but more about having fun with your friends & meeting new people. Also, one good turn deserves another.

How do you ladies spend your free time when you’re not doing music?

A- I like reading, drawing and vhs nights, but my favourite thing of all time is eating out with friends. i do that a lot.
H – Eating out has got to be one of my faves too. Particularly milkshakes, cheesy chips and good meat. Otherwise I take dumb SLR photos, and try and write whatever comes to mind. More free time please.
S – As above, plus added headbanging with friends, minus the photo-taking.

You’ve released several split records all ready, how goes the writing for the album? Any surprises in store?

A- Probably, i’m not really sure. The album is written and ready to roll. I think some songs are like crazy different and some are what people would expect. we mainly just write songs on how we’re feeling at the time based on who we like or dislike and that’s reflected in the songs. Haha.
H – I want to see what people think, we feel that we have a few different ‘sounds’ but people might be expecting us just to stay on one tip. We’re still a new band so we’re not getting formulaic.
S – Currently loving our new songs. Second album here we come!


Who are your current tips? What are you listening to?

A- Oujia – some american lofi grunge punk it’s awesome and cute. The dude sent us the lyrics and now i’m hooked and singing it all the time.
H – I’ve been listening to SALEM a lot, dark electronic stuff. I bought their EP last year but I think I melted it by the radiator, which is upsetting.
S – The ones in our top friends

I’m looking forward to seeing you on tour with Wavves soon. How have you found touring so far? Any good stories? Have you found yourselves eating garage food and kebabs?

A- I can’t wait to play with Wavves. I’m so happy he’s getting good press over here because he’s the best band around at the moment in my opinion. We’ve only been on a short tour with a band called Friendship, was fun to ‘get in the van’ for the first time. the first night ended with a hella lotta jagerbombs and an icing sugar fight. messy.
H – I finished Amelia’s Pot Noodle on our South Coast trip, I think this is a bad omen ’cause I haven’t had one of them in years and we were only away for like a day.
S – The short trip with Friendship was tons of fun, so I’m really excited to be going on an extended road trip with my best friends.


Riotgrrrl and third wave feminism were very vocal in the early 90′s, there’s nothing quite so forward right now. Do you think things finally balanced out?

A- Maybe, I reckon girls just have different things to rant about now, and i think women in all girl bands can be as tough as boys.
H – Not really. I have a huge amount of ranting in me, but there’s a certain degree of wanting to be known as a band first before coming out with my opinions on all and sundry.
S – I dunno, i think a part of me is (figuratively) sticking two fingers up to whoever makes me angry.

Jade Goodie has this week hinted her death will be filmed and broadcast by Living TV, will it also be the footnote in that kind of celeb media or a new dawn in awful?

A- I’ve never really disliked Jade that much. i think i was probably the only person who thought she wasn’t a racist just a little ignorant. I feel really sorry for her at the moment. i mean, what’s she’s going through is tough for anyone, especially if your a mum. I read in the paper that she is doing it to raise money for her kids after she’s gone. i won’t be watching it, but i do kinda respect her of her choices.
H – If people want to see it, then there’s not much you can say. I don’t think Jade has created anything by herself, the demand is there so why not exploit it? People are massively screwed up, but that said I really don’t get what 90% of the population does for entertainment so I’m not out to try and understand it. This is the stuff of a million undergrad Media dissertations though…
S – It’d be weird if it was shown on TV. But her haters are possibly forgetting that she’s leaving 2 very young children behind, & those kids are gonna grow up without a mum, so perhaps people should just have a little bit of consideration for her as she’s trying to generate a future for them while she still can.

On Valentine’s day I drank too much energy drink and ended up spending my evening asleep in the bath. Did you have a better one then me?

A- My valentines day was sick. Helen and i woke up and went for a burrito, followed by a trip to oxfam where we found Edward Sissorhands. Then we went back home to watch it in bed. haha. we ended the night by going to a Male Bonding and Graffiti Island show at the lexington. was pretty fun.
H – Yeah as above except I was totally ill, had to go home early and almost got run over on the way to AND from The Lexington. Pretty HML stuff but I’d forgotten it was Valentine’s Day by then.
S – I ate, napped, spooned, & played Pictionary.

So if you want to see these cool cats in action, they are playing Smash and Grab in London this thursday, you will be in for a treat!.
The ethereal Pumajaw are back with retrospective album “Favourites” with the label, malady Fire. It follows last years “Curiosity Box” album, and is no less wierd and wonderful than the previous four records released by band members Pinkie Maclure and multi-instrumentalist/ producer John Wills themselves.

“Favourites” is an eclectic compilation of fourteen of the duo’s own favourite tracks and, if you had to describe Pumajaw in fourteen tracks this would be it. Pinkie’s bewitching voice sails over the haunting, earthy melodies of Will’s musical talents. Pumajaw kick off the album with a melting pot of eerie noises, conjuring up feelings of wonderment, and images of being in quite another place than a smoky grey city. “The Wierd Light” is an eerie howl of a Siren over what seems like animal calls and screeches, yet it’s not scary. In a way it is calming and peaceful and undoubtedly beautiful. Later down the album listing is “Downstream”, a sea-shanty love song, but true to the nature of Pumajaw, is distorted by squealing guitars and what can only be described as a didgeridoo drone.

The Scottish-duo present something akin to a Pagan travelling guide through the highlands of the country. It is rythmic, melodious and trancey and has echoes of nothing you have heard before. I tried to find something to liken them to, but in all honesty it is a near impossible task. They branch out to the outermost confines of the wierd and wonderful, think psychedelic folk music in the middle of the woods, and you’re there. In the last track on the album, “Outside it Blows”, Maclure asks “how many like us in the world,” and the answer is most probably none.


It wasn’t surprising to find Passion Pit listed as one of the buzz-bands at last years CMJ festival in New York. Their bleepy twinkling electro is just the thing to get any nu-raver moving their neon hi-tops. The Chunk of Change EP was written by front-man Michael Angelakos as a Valentines Day gift for his (now ex-) girlfriend. It’s sweetly romantic in a child like “follow-me-as-we-run-through-the-city” kind of way.

We kick off the record with I’ve Got Your Number, this site a zappy little number which sounds like a young Broken Social Scene, patient not as complex but delightful in its simplicity. It’s got a kind of euphoric mystical quality to it, decease and Angelakos’ trembling falsetto really does get you dancing.

Further down the list we move to cutesy Cuddle Fuddle. It’s soft like a pink mohair jumper and the lyrics are the epitome of high school romance awkwardness, “now I feel silly, selfish and dizzy/ I’ve got this feeling, that you’ll forgive me…”

The final tune on the EP is Sleepyhead, which I must add has been remixed several times and all are fantastic. It starts of with Kanye West-esque sampling but then swiftly dives into a sort of euphoric Japanese sounding cyber feel. It’s music to smile to. The sparkling xylophone and constant drumbeat make it an instant dancing classic.

Overall the EP has everything, and although it incorporates existing elements of music, it manages to achieve a very unique sound. It’s not quite electro, it’s not quite pop, it’s not quite indie. It’s bloomin’ superb is what it is, if you are loving the Go! Team or MGMT right now you will love this.


Here at Amelia’s Magazine we don’t just zone in on our homegrown talent, viagra 40mg we scout our overseas counterparts in search of innovative new creatives. As always our quest bore fruit in the shape of Parisian based freelance graphic designer Sandrine Pagnoux. Living right in the centre of Paris’s artistic epicentre between The Musee Picasso and the Centre Pompidou, price Pagnoux isn’t short of artistic inspiration. It’s easy to see how this culturally diverse area manifests in Sandrine’s work.



Her work has a distinctly raw feel that synthesises popular culture. It draws influence from the many facets of post-modernism from art, order music and literature. Sandrine is heavily influenced by music, which she claims is the core stimulus for her work, distinct favourites being the punk rock femme fatale Patti Smith and the serene obscurity of Bjork to name but a few. In conjunction with music, the works of the late Oscar Wilde are a constant influence to the romantic moodiness of Pagnoux’s work.




Pagnouxs is not only causing a stir back home but is making waves internationally. Boasting features in such a extensive list of publications it’s hard to cram them all in. There’s Wig Magazine, Marie Claire, Zoot, Blond, and XLR8R. Her most commercial being for Le Coq Sportif Not content on conquering merely the fashion sphere Pagnoux has set her sites further a field recently doing in advertising, publishing and record labels.


Sandrine’s work is a myriad of multi media, fusing calligraphy, photography and illustration to create pieces that exude urban cool. The pieces have a distinct textural quality that insinuates an almost two dimensional feel to her work. Her work evokes a sense of reality that isn’t over polished, it’s intuitive often violent and authentic.

With such an innovative approach to illustration and ability to adapt her skills to so many facets of design, I think it’s safe to say we haven’t seen the last of Sandrine Pagnoux. I think this lady has got a whole lot more hidden up her sleeve.
Intra-band love is always a joy to behold. Ike and Tina. The Carpenters. The usual mechanics of musicians performing with each other is converted by the mind’s gossip-gland into a lusty, cialis 40mg passionate romp-and-roll across the futon of musical possibilities.
Omer and Carole are in love. He stands and strums. She wiggles and sings and fingers the synth. Then they glance at one another. The laptop likes to watch. And later, website after the show, dosage we presume they go and make love, while listening to themselves on an iPod dock adorned with discarded undergarments.
And it’s good to see (I mean the first bit). They are both partial to a sincere wail of yearning. Hers is coquettish, with eyelash-fluttering pitch-bends as she writhes about. His is a growly shout, like a horny panther who’s waited too long. With a few costume-changes and a bit of a plot, you could easily make an opera out of this pair.
An alt-electro opera, that is. Influences are not hidden here. It’s an overt celebration of the dark furrows of the 80s synth-twiddling scene (think of early Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode), filtered through some more recent song-screwdriving a la dEUS or the Dresden Dolls. Each song develops artfully, with peaks and troughs on each spectrum. The gentle sultry singing over bowow basslines accumulates percussive taps, then hi-hats, then a catchy chorus, then synth arpeggios, things dropping in and out all over the shop. Their cover of Paul Young’s Stay For Good This Time (that’s right, Young Paul do a Paul Young song) is beautiful. They’ve changed the chorus melody into a sinister evocation of Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and it works scarily well. Carole takes over for a lovely, bloody song called Mock Kiss, which has a Sneaker Pimps kind of hateful independence feel to it. Majore is a strange tune that grumbles and growls and eventually turns into a faintly-Ibiza dancefloor heave. There’s nothing background about any of this. It’s a work of communication, not just mood-providing. And some of it is really dry and intense – you’re either hypnotically staring into the abyss on a neuromantic vampire trip, or you’re a townie with a puzzled look on your face, muttering “eh?” and “what?” and “piss off!”.
What I really enjoyed about seeing Young Paul was that lack of compromise. They’ve found their darkly pop, crowd-dividing identity, they really mean it, and they’re sticking with it. Young Paul is a brilliant toxic shock of sci-fi future TOTP, delivered playfully and integrally by two young lovers. Surrender yourself.

You can see Young Paul for free at Zigfrid on Wed 8th April, or at The Legion on Wed 22nd. And you can hear their demos on the ol’ myspace.

Monday 09th March. 7pm

The Nature Darwin Debate 2: What Price Biodiversity?

Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9AG

Part of Words on Monday 
Curated by Nature
Professor James Lovelock, sildenafil independent scientist, tadalafil author of “Revenge of Gaia.”? , dosage Michael Meacher, MP (Labour) & former Minister of State for the Environment, ?Sir Crispin Tickell, Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University
We pay for our food, water, healthcare and energy, so why not pay for the many ‘services’ currently obtained for free from biological diversity? Services such as insect-pollination, central to food production; or healthy forests, which we need for clean water and to stop soil erosion. Shouldn’t we invest now in our biodiversity in order to secure our future needs? Join three leading names from science and politics as they debate the need to put a price on the Earth’s ecosystem services. Organized by Nature, the leading international weekly journal of science, in association with Kings Place.

Tickets cost £9.50. Call 0207 841 4860 for more details

 Tuesday March 10th

Greenwash and Garters
OneWorld UK
Orange Tree Theatre,
1 Clarence Street,
Richmond, Surrey, TW9 2SA

Greenwash and Garters is a political farce, complete with custard pie and didactic dialogue.

The set up is fine: a high-level US public relations guru who works for Big Oil (“that’s just above child molester”) falls for an environmental activist, and hosts a small gathering to help her alcoholic brother, a former presidential hopeful.

The subject matter is worth tackling: the values and meaning of US democracy, and the role of corporate interests

Go to for more details

Wednesday 11th March – 7pm.
‘Cranks and Revolutions’ with Mark Gold

Housmans Bookshop
5 Caledonian Road
N1 9DX,

Mark Gold discusses the inspiration behind his latest novel, “Cranks and Revolutions” a light-hearted drama-documentary of the last fifty years of radical protest in the UK. ? ?Cranks and Revolutions is a light-hearted drama documentary of the last fifty years of radical protest in the UK. It is a funny and sympathetic book, full of quirky and amusing events and characters – such as unreconstructed Marxist Aunt Helen, kindly, radical vicar Tony Swallow, suburban High Priestess Denise Oakley and zealous vegan anarchist Septimus the Severe. An alternative political history in the tradition of John O’Farrell’s ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ or Jonathan Coe’s ‘The Closed Circle’. ??About the Author – Mark Gold was Director of Animal Aid for eleven years and still works part-time for the organisation. He also works for Citizens’ Advice.
Call 020 7837 4473 for further details

Thursday 5 March 2009,
Geffrye Museum,
Kingsland Road,
London E2 8EA

?Credit Crunch Kitchen?.
? An opportunity to visit the museum after hours and listen to a talk exploring how to be thrifty in our gardens and kitchens this spring. Go to Geffrye Museum for further information.

Friday 13th Marc
12.45pm -2pm
Centre on Global Change & Health
50 Bedford Square, WC1, Room G3
Climate Change and Global Food Security: Even Worse News For The Poor?,
by Dr Colin Butler. Info: 7927 2937/

Saturday 14th March
2pm -9pm

Eton Road, nr Chalk Farm tube,

NEW TOOLS FOR PEACEWORKERS: Experiential workshop exploring how the arts can support peace and reconciliation processes. Elements include song, movement, poetry and nonverbal communication.
Trish Dickenson works with the Ministry For Peace and leads workshops in nonviolent communication and conversation cafés. Stefan Freedman is celebrated worldwide for intercultural events with dance and song, particularly bringing together Jewish and Arabic traditions.
£25 – £45

Contact Person
Stefan Freedman
Contact Telephone
01473 415496
Contact email

Saturday 14th (9.30-5.30) and Sunday 15th March (9.00-5.00)
Caribbean Community Centre,
416 Seven Sisters Road, Manor House,
London N4 2LX
Cost: £100 per person

Training for Transition: 

How to set up, run and maintain a transition initiative

Learn the essential tools to make a thriving and resilient Transition Initiative.

• Understanding the context for transition
• The Transition Towns model – from inspiration to working groups
• Identify the main steps of transition
• Plans for yourself and your locality
• Inner and outer aspects of transition
• Provides the elements of an inspiring talk on Transition Towns

The Trainers:

May East – member of the community at Findhorn, May is an activist for the Brazilian social change movement and has many years experience in the environmental movement.

Ann Lamont – From the Centre for Alternative eneryy in Machynlleth in Wales, co-founder of Transition Bro Ddyfi Trawsnewid.

Booking: please contact Jo Homan,
I will admit that until a few years ago, ask I was slightly cynical about the concept of planting trees as a carbon emissions offset, erectile or as a novel ‘gift’. I imagined that at best, it was a case of too little, too late, and at worst, a gimmicky concept dreamt up by London advertising boys, keen to cash in on the green theme. But in these strange days of global unrest, the gentle notion of planting a tree now seems like one of the most effective and simple ways to counteract the chaos. Personally, I still feel that pledging to plant a tree to make up for a round the world plane trip is a bit pointless (it will take more than a couple of trees to make up for that damage!) However, TreeTwist, and their partner Trees For Life have come up with a way that we can all contribute towards planting tree’s – and we get a gift out of it too! (I’m all for altruism, but I do like to receive as well as to give.)



Put simply, TreeTwists are fabric handmade designs, which can be used in multiple ways; as accessories for bags or clothes, worn as jewellery, even to adorn fire places or Christmas trees. They come in vivid, strong colours, and are charmingly playful. Behind the gentle whimsy of wearing a TreeTwist is this fact – a tree or seedling will be planted in the Caledonian Forest on your behalf when you purchase it.

I asked the founders of TreeTwist, Kate and Sez to explain a little more about this concept;

Why was TreeTwist established?
“We launched TreeTwist in an attempt to do our bit for the planet.  We didn’t feel that as consumers we were being offered the opportunity to do something simple and effective, which could be easily absorbed into our everyday lives.  Present giving was a particular frustration.  Several Christmases with entirely disposable presents and without the option of giving something different, stylish and good for the world highlighted the opportunity. TreeTwist is based on the premise that small steps make a difference.”


“TreeTwist Ltd was established in 2007 to help everyday individuals and families do something positive to help combat climate change by making it easy to plant a tree.  We are different because not only do we plant the tree, we acknowledge the purchase by giving a TreeTwist to act as a talisman and a reminder of the tree.
The trees are planted by TreeTwist partners, Trees for Life in the Caledonian Forest in the North West Highlands of Scotland.  Trees for Life are multi award-winning and recognised as world experts in reforestation.  In addition, Trees for Life propagate seedlings gathered on the forest floor for TreeTwist allowing the cycle of life to continue.
Put simply, every TreeTwist represents a tree. Our success criterion is the planting of many, many thousands of trees.”


The TreeTwist’s themselves are also locally conceived and created as well?

“Yes, We have managed to create an entirely UK based project: the TreeTwists are designed and made in the UK and the trees planted in the UK.
Our current TreeTwists are designed by Ingrid Tait of Tait & Style, and handmade largely by outworkers in the Shetland and Orkney Islands.  The collection includes woollen scarves, bracelets and clips each with leaves, bobbles flowers or hearts.  Colours vary from earthy and masculine to the most vivid shades.  The scarves in particular have never been seen before – metre long tubes of wool.
Using British designers is a mandate for TreeTwist along with the use of sustainable materials. Although this is a UK based project, sales of TreeTwists are global.  Countries we have delivered to include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Denmark, Bahrain, Slovenia and Spain.”
We get an awful lot of people sending us pictures of their illustrations and Brooklyn based illustrator Morgan Blair was one such person. After checking out her website I was immediately attracted to her incredible skill and draftsmanship. It seems to me to be such a departure from the English scenes obsession with naïve, prostate childlike scrawls of illustrators like David Shrigley. I felt compelled to get more information on this (in her own words) “illustrator, fine artist and sometimes-desperado.”

Diamond Collection.

Tell me a little bit about yourself Morgan?
Well I have brown hair that I cut impulsively, and I strongly prefer open windows to air conditioning.

Your pieces have a really interesting textural quality, what mediums do you use when making your work?
I usually work in acrylic and gouache, which I like to keep really flat, but sometimes I layer paint and then sand it for texture. If I’m using markers or pen I like to see the line direction and variation in ink.

What other artists inspire you?
Last night I was drawing on some blank pages in an old sketchbook of my dad’s. I started looking through the other pages again and he had done a bunch of technical drawings of cars with their parts labeled like an anatomical diagram, there were also some of architectural, birds-eye view landscape drawings. My mom’s old drawings seem very trippy, like repidiograph drawings full of minutia and weird transforming landscapes. I’m sure I’ve been influenced and inspired by both camps. Some contemporary artists I really appreciate are Maya Hayuk, Henrik Drescher, Brendan Monroe, Stephen Gammell, Jacob Magraw. I came across an artist recently named Jackie Tileston whose work blows my mind. The list is endless.


How would you describe your drawings?
I guess they are like daydreams, exploring hypothetical situations and memories. Often when I draw I am starting to think about a larger idea before it has fully developed in my mind.

How important is technical accuracy and ability to your work?
I’ve always been kind of naturally tight and nervous in the way I draw, so I like to be in the right mindset when I work in order to counterbalance that compulsion. I had a drawing teacher freshman year of college who taught us about drawing how the nature of a thing feels, rather than how it looks to the eye. That idea took a long time to soak in, but in the last couple of years I haven’t been trying to make everything look so technically accurate, but rather just so that it feels right.

Pussing Donut Mushroom.

How long does something like Pusssing Donut Mushroom Cloud take to do from conception to finished product?
It depends on how much time I have. I can work as quickly as I need to if I have a deadline, but that piece was one I started for myself when I moved to New York, and I just worked on it off and on until I decided to be done the other day. In terms of conception, ideas mostly come into my head while I’m in the shower or when I’m in between being awake and asleep. Unless I have a deadline, in which case I spend a couple of days tearing my hair out until I have a decent idea to go with.

How would you describe the New York illustration scene for us londoners?
Actually I don’t know too much about the illustration scene here yet. I feel like I’ve barely gotten my feet wet, so I’m nervous to say my perception of this place. There are so many galleries, publications, art fairs and events going on that it’s incredibly intimidating and motivation at once, and I get a sense of freedom from the variety of work I see. I know of a lot of amazing illustrators who live or work here, so it feels good to be in their company, and to know that awesome stuff is going on all around.

You experiment a lot with many facets of art and design such as printmaking and photography), which would you say is your favourite?
Drawing and painting have always been my favourite, but I waffle around with other stuff depending on my mood. I go through more or less intense phases of picture-taking depending on whether I have film. Printmaking was fun while I had the facilities, but I realized I enjoyed the immediacy of drawing and painting straight onto paper without any preparation or process. But I would like to get back into screen-printing.

You seem to work a lot with forms and shape, how important is that to your work?
I like getting in over my head with endless fields of pattern and interlocking shapes with dizzying color. It’s important to me to have some element of tedium and obsessiveness in a piece. In general, the more time I’ve spent in a meditative trance during a piece the better. But I have to force myself to do it in ways that make sense for the overall image, so I’m not just drawing wallpaper. Not that I’d be opposed to doing that.

Have you done any commercial work and if so what have you been doing recently?
I have done a handful of commissioned pieces for some financial magazines called PlanAdvisor and PlanSponsor, which have been fun because the art director has given me articles with topics that require more abstract illustrations. I also do small black and white spot drawings for a newspaper in Rhode Island, so those are usually fun exercises to accompany disparaging articles about pop culture. Right now I’m working on the album art for The States forthcoming third album.

What would your dream project be?
I would love to paint all the walls, ceiling and floor of a room in dense pattern with vibrating color and make the space as confusing as possible.

On her website Morgan Blair describes her ambitions for the present and future as “adventure, survival, being in the presence of mama and making art forever.” I sincerely hope at least the last part of that list comes true.

In the excitement surrounding Hussein Chalayan’s current exhibit at London’s Design Museum I was reminded of a piece in the Royal College of Art’s Works-In-Progress show this winter that triggered the same wonder and excitement I felt upon first seeing the cool rigidity of Chalayan’s airplane wing inspired dress. Only this time it was textile student Claire McClachan who presented something with all the structure and intrigue of the iconic fiberglass airplane dress, more about only this time it was brilliantly executed in a mysterious combination of finely knit and woven yarns. I mined the epic pile of inspirational scribbles and paper scraps on my desk for the notes that would lead me to this innovative young designer from Aberdeen.


Can you tell me about the captivating skirt you displayed at RCA’s Works-In-Progress Show?
The piece I displayed at the was the culmination of my pre-collection work which focuses on the relationship between curve and angle. It is made of a knitted fabric I’ve developed which has some interesting properties; it is stiff yet has stretch, doctor it has memory and can be moulded into different shapes. It allows me to create sculptural shapes for the body and challenges pre-conceptions of knitwear.


Alot to ask of the humble methods of knit and weave. Your fabric and its propertieswere so attractive and mysterious, with no visible structures to support it. Approaching it I thought it might even be textured clay.
People have preconceived notions about knitwear. That it’s dowdy, or crafty… done by your granny while on the sofa watching tellie. Only recently have we seen those really challenged in mainstream fashion by people like Azzadine AlaiaLouise or Louise Golden. Although my Grandma did teach me how to knit, I didn’t pick it up again until much later.

So what did you start out focusing on in art school?
In my BA program they stressed a traditional drawing base. So I did quite a lot of that.


Do you feel that skill has directed some of your textile work?
When I started in textiles I was more of a printer. After my BA in textiles I knew that I wanted to progress into fashion and approach fashion from this direction.
How might that background help cultivate a better fashion designer?
I think that some really interesting fashion comes from designers with textile backgrounds. The difference being that fabric tells you what to do instead of the other way around.


Are there places you typically look to for inspiration?
I am generally inspired my man made structures, I love architecture, engineering, aeroplanes, mechanics, technical drawings, plans etc.

Many may not realize but knitting and weaving, unlike other immediate or fluid forms of art require quite a bit of mathematics and calculating. Hear that kids? Maths may be useful yet, even for you aspiring artists!
Yes, it’s almost ritualistic and that is something I like about the process. It’s systematic, requires planning. This is image of Eden Project is from my sketchbook.


Any fashion designers you find particularly exciting at the moment?
There are several new designers out there doing interesting things. However, my true loves are the modern couture of Dior, the innovation of Chalayan, the consistently knock out collections of McQueen and the couture knitwear of Azzedine Alaia.

You’re currently designing a capsule collection for the RCA gradutate show which opens June 26th. Will we see more of this extraordinary fabric?
I’m going to continue to push the fabric I’ve developed here to see what it can do. I’ll probably include other weights of fabrics too and a range of shapes.


Thanks for letting us get to know more about you and your work Claire. Happy knitting!
I can’t wait to see what forms sprout from this designers imaginarium. She will be one to watch.


On Thursday I headed down to Nolias Gallery to the opening of Being and Nothing-ness an exhibition featuring three Korean artists, this web curated by JW Stella.
After a few issues with navigation (I went to the wrong Nolias Gallery first) I arrived to see the small gallery was already filling out. I poured myself some orange juice and grabbed as many crisps and nuts as I could fit in my hands, find before going to have a look around.



The literature for the exhibition declares that we live in a world of dualisms – good and evil, mind and body. These dualisms are traditionally the way we make sense of the world, but it’s often the case that, “perception and reality can turn out to be yet another dualism, in a hall of mirrors where nothing finds a finite definition”. The artists in Being and Nothing-ness all aim to explore the ‘uncertainties and mysteries’ of this fact.



It’s at once easy to see why Youngmi Kim has been featured in this exhibition, the artist adds physically nothing, instead cutting away from an existing material – the canvas. By rejecting the long historical tradition of adding to the canvas to create illusion, Youngmi Kim aims to truly understand the object of the canvas. After seeing the ‘paintings’ I can really see how in them the artist’s ideas that, “Emptiness can ironically express fullness.”

Close up of The Canvas


In a great bit of curating Kiwoun Shin’s video works are shown on tiny television screens creating a level of intimacy with the viewer, as only one or two people at a time really able to watch the video piece. Whether intentional or not the small screens act as a way to draw people in from across the gallery to look at them closer. Some of the screens are placed together in twos, one work Superman 1 shows the iconic figure of Superman being ground down to dust. Echoing “we come from dust and go to the dust” from the book of Genesis. A few inches away another screen shows almost the mirror image, the dust slowly merges together to completely build Superman up again.

Still from video Superman 1


Like the other artists Seunghyun Woo sites Buddhism as an inspiration for her mixed media sculptures and paintings. The nothing-ness in the work comes from her creation of it, she has produced a technique called Marbeling-isness which apparently “plays on the unconsiousness of my [the artists] work’s creation” hmm. Nonetheless there is certainly something attractive and captivating about the texture of the pieces, created with paint and plaster.

Installation view of Untitled and Against Gravity

The exhibition is open 10.30am – 6pm until 7th April.
JW Stella’s next project is curating an inaugural exhibition titled SU:BISORI for The Museum of Art in Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, South Korea, it opens 26th June.
FUN Magazine is a truly anarchic collection of words, visit letters, website pictures and sentences that follows no pre-ordained format and which does not fit within the boundaries of polite society. It features things that are almost unpublishable but its all right there in print and has been now for just shy of one year. I had a quick word with the boss, Ben Freeman to find out where it all began.


So when and how did all the FUN begin? Is there an ideology?

We started FUN about a year ago, April 2008. Ideologies are for people who never do anything. We pretty much do what we feel like.

I noticed that there isn’t much info on the website apart from a wall of text under ‘archive’. Are you purposefully elusive?

Not really. That’s every word we ever published. It just seemed a bit easier than hiring a programmer, setting up some complicated site and blah blah blah.


What inspired you to put this magazine together?

The dawning realisation that there weren’t many magazines that we liked any more, and boredom.

Has your own history been deeply involved in magazines?

I started making magazines when I was eleven. They had this big anorexic green monster on the cover. In the 90s I made a few zines in the hardcore noise scene I was into. One of them was called The Recovery Position and it had interviews with people like Nasenbluten by fax and loads of gay porn collages and general filth. Deano played in straightedge bands when he was young and impressionable and he made some zines too. Now I do some work for Vice and edit FUN. Deano runs Real Gold and publishes the magazine.

To date there have been 3 issues, is that right? Can you tell me a little bit about each issue?

The first two issues were fold out posters printed on coloured paper. Issue one had a big interview with a Falun Gong teacher about torture and spirituality, with a load of pictures of Chinese people being painfully subjugated, drawn by Falun Gong members in China. We also interviewed a schizophrenic guy. Issue two had a big piece on the growth of web based paedophilia and Bob Foster’s miserable sex stories.

We pulled our thumbs out of our asses for issue 3 and printed a whole bound 32 pages of interviews, articles and other fun stuff. Jim Goad wrote something for us about black Confederate soldiers.

Issue 4 is out in about a month.

With a large number of zines and mags around at the moment what makes FUN stand out from the crowd?

We don’t give that much thought.

What kind of FUN can we expect in the future?

We’re getting bigger, thicker and more widely distributed, but not more colourful. It will still be FREE. The next issue has stuff from Philip Best and Antoine Bernhardt, loads of articles and tons of illustrations by people who can actually draw. That’s our mission for next year: To eliminate the talentless bastard offspring of David Shrigley. Airbrushing’s going to be massive.


Hype: Where does it come from? Where will it go? Nobody ever seems to know. Right now, mind there are tiny little shards of the infosphere that are offering very certain-sounding decrees about a band called Gold Teeth, this web but how do they know? The Telegraph reckons they’re going to conquer 2009, ampoule Zane Lowe and John Kennedy are giving them airplay that any other unsigned band would kill for and saying “whoop whoop” just enough. Maybe that’s it. The self-fulfilling prophesy effect. Little bit of hype here and there and look: I’m listening to them.

So what sits in the eye of this embryonic hype-tornado? It depends on how you hear them. On record, you’ll first be pulled in by the groove. Drummer Will Ritson is an afrobeat wizard, bouncing crystal clear hollow-sounding chicky-chicks, bap-baps, ker-brups and the occasional puh-chap-chah, tight as a particle accelerator. The combination of this with Jonny Tams electronic beeps and hoobs takes you to a land of 80s Casio demos (except the grooves are more lushly driving than annoying). Slap on some up-the-fretboard guitar work, slow-strummed sugary chords for a while, then kicking into discrete repetitive noodles, played as if they’re samples, that add more detail to Ritson’s drumbeat skeleton. It gets very addictive around this time, and your head jerkdoodles back and forth the way it can only do when you’ve got Afrobeat Inside. On their best songs, around this point, you’re totally into it. The tightness of these three chaps alone is a thrill. Start thrashing your imaginary whip against your imaginary racehorse now.

But I’ve forgotten someone… Mr. Joe DaCosta, unencumbered by an instrument, works the vocal chords, and he loves it, like a hatchling loves worms. His lines are barked in a Saaf London tequila slammer, with no lemon for afters: “bread and butter, my son”, “you ain’t even all that funny”, these little snatches of sharp, dog-track, flat cap conversation cracked suddenly into your head, instantly memorable and singbackable. But this singer is the big difference between a gig and a recording. There isn’t a microphone in the galaxy that can capture the way he leaps around the stage. The man is a bundle of monkey energy. He leaps, lunges, jiggles, and wiggles his lithe monkey-acrobat bod around the stage, like a cross between 50 Cent and Tigger and (I’ll say it again) a monkey. With all of his high energy jiggerypokery and gurning, he verily works the crowd like Rod Hull working Emu (except without the arm). So go, musiclover, go get all the mp3s or 7”s cos they’re good, but know you’re getting a very different experience if you see a gig. If you’re just listening to their demos or their single, you might want to play Donkey Kong or watch Battle for the Planet of the Apes as a way of simulating the full experience.

And now look! Dear reader, I’m part of the hype. I guess that’s how it works. But what can I do? I actually want you listening to these people. Their music is really just plain fun. The most obvious association is Vampire Weekend, just because of the hooky bounce that you’ll find in both, but with the synths here, it’s a bit closer to hearing some happy Plaid ideas, converted to catchy pop format by that guy who wrote all the music for the SNES. There’s no soul-searching here, no poetry or pain; it’s a passport to funtime. Even when they play with dark chords, it fun darkness, like Grand Theft Auto. Frown while you pogo.
I get the impression that the single, Everybody, is really just a taster of what these boys can do. It’s a nifty tune with a great b-side, and if you’re a hype-sucker, a good investment. But listen to the demos. Songs like Tasty, The Film, and Bread And Butter have such a perfect meld of songcraft and pure spacious grooveriding, with interplay of instruments and sounds that you almost never hear in live bands. Which leaves us with a few ifs. If the hype is right, if the demos develop into great recordings, if they keep the songs coming this good, and if their newly added bassist squeezes into it ok, then Gold Teeth is a perfect breezeblock dropped into London’s rock-pond. They deserve to make waves. And if you have the dance in your pants, like a bit of catchy, and get Nintendo-nostalgia, my friend, you will let the monkey and his friends make you jerkdoodle your head back and forth in 2009.
Gold Teeth are playing The Paradise in Kensal Green on Thursday 19th March. Everybody is out now on 7”.
Photography by Jason Rodgers

When you name your band “Fun, more about ” there’s one question you’re bound to get asked a whole lot, link so let’s just get that out of the way first. The answer is yes. They are. In addition to being fun, they are funny, enormously talented, and preparing to embark on a tour across America with Manchester Orchestra in April and to release their debut album in spring 2009.

Fun is lead singer and lyricist Nate Ruess, whose previous band, The Format, released two critically acclaimed albums and toured with the likes of Guster and the All American Rejects. On guitar, there is Jack Antonoff, the curly coiffed frontman of Steel Train, and Andrew Dost, previously of Anathallo, whose musical talents include, but are not limited to, guitar, piano, flugelhorn, melodica, and humanatone (it’s a nose flute). These three musical maestros have teamed up, in the wake of The Format’s break up, to form pop supergroup, “Fun.”

“After I found out that the Format was no longer,” Nate says, “I called up the two musicians I knew that I had always wanted to work with most.. Fortunately, nobody was too busy and Andrew and I flew to New York and spent a month with Jack in his parents’ living room, making demos.” Andrew goes on to explain, “My old band had toured quite a bit with the Format, and a few of us had played horns and percussion for some of their songs. I thought Nate was a great guy, and clearly really a gifted singer and songwriter, and we stayed in touch. We played with Steel Train along the way too, and I thought Jack was fantastic as well. The three of us just had a mutual admiration for each other, and knew that someday we’d like to work together.”

Before work on their forthcoming album had even been completed, Fun was asked to open for Jack’s Mannequin on a three week tour that took them around America and into Canada. The band made new fans along the way, as well as being greeted by some old ones, fans of their work in their other respective bands. “My favourite part,” Andrew says, “is getting to hear people sing along to sounds that were in my head a few months or years before. The sounds I want to get out of my head can reach other peoples’ ears and, hopefully, mean something to them.”

After the tour ended, the primarily New York City based band reunited in Los Angeles to finish their album. “Because it’s my voice, and I wrote a lot of the Format songs as well as the Fun songs, it can certainly sound like the Format upon first listen, but, to me at least, it’s a lot more in depth, mature, and musically sharper than I thought the Format was. That’s not a diss to anyone involved in the Format, I believe it’s just the natural progression of a songwriter.”

With a February gig opening for Jason Mraz in front of 7,000 people already under their belts, in addition to more than 200,000 plays of their myspace song, “Benson Hedges” and the internet buzzing about their new song, “At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used To Be)” the boys of fun could be feeling on top of the world right now. None of these are small feats for a band to have accomplished before even releasing a CD, but none of it seems to have gone to Nate Ruess’ head, “I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by creative people,” he says, “Sometimes i just sit back and watch in awe.”

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Amelia’s Magazine | Bonde Do Role


My love for baile funk runs deep. I know it has had an awful lot of coverage in the past few years, and it only really fell out of the limelight earlier this year – but there’s something about the simplicity of the production, and the feisty vocals that just makes it fantastic club music.

So, arriving in time to see a DJ set, from the guy out of support act Gameboy/Gamegirl, was a bit of treat. I’m not a fan of their own work (bit too Super Super for my taste), but the crowd may have even gone wild for his selections, if it hadn’t of been about boiling point in the packed venue.

As they made their way on stage, I was shocked at how easily i had managed to get right at the front – something I very rarely opt for, usually preferring to stay right at the back (near the bar, with more space). I didn’t last long though, about 4 songs in I thought I was actually going to melt like a witch and the couple next to me seemed to be getting annoyed at me for having a bag that was getting in the way of their dancing, so I ungracefully weaved my way to the back.

Alongside their own releases, they threw in some real classics – much to the delight of the bulging crowd. The reaction to the snippets of ‘Robot Rock’ by daft punk was almost frightening, with sweat now literally dripping off the walls. Another highlight was ‘Summer Nights’ being mixed into ‘Push It’ by Salt-N-Pepa. The risk of the whole thing becoming naff was overshadowed by the fun factor of it all, with so many smiling faces it’s hard to fault them for a little bit of cheesiness.

The opening bars of ‘Solta O Frango’ was greeted by some debaucherous dancing from pretty much everyone within spitting distance of the stage. Not surprisingly really considering the sassy behavior of the two female MCs in the group. Leaping around the stage, throwing water around and making lude gestures with inflatable palm trees it was like they were at Corey Worthington Delaney’s house party.

This frenzy was then whipped into something else by the snippet of ‘I Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode that signaled the end of their set. I can’t honestly say I’ve never heard a bigger groan of disappointment when a band leaves a stage.

Bonde Do Role are perhaps responsible for carrying the torch of their genre after the world music ambassadors Diplo and M.I.A helped introduce baile to the world. They’ve made the genre more accessible to the masses, often (in my opinion) showing themselves to be a far more impressive outfit than the ‘nu rave’ bands they were grouped alongside.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Review: The Tallest Man On Earth

Tallest man on earth by Avril Kelly

Illustration by Avril Kelly

So it started on January 3rd, sickness I was in a bad mood. Well, hospital it’s that whole palaver of taking the (now miserable) tree down, thinking about the enormity of work that needs to be done and the poor, defenseless body. It needs some very tender loving care. This day of January, after bathing in Pukka ‘Cleanse’ tea, going for a brisk walk on the Downs by my house and bemoaning the lack of vitamin D for my eyeballs, I cracked on the Mac. I had recently purchased The Tallest Man On Earth album, The Wild Hunt (Dead Oceans). I was in need of something new to form some (wahoo 2011) fresh associations with. Whilst I mused about the flat, now was the time I decided, to dedicate to the giant man. Hopefully this would culminate in reaching up and putting my arms around his shoulders, prancing around the room, rather than immersing myself in 2010 nostalgia. Oh the perils of memory boxes, scrap books and photo archives.


Picture Source

Click and Bob Dylan growls came out. This was all very lovely, I had linked that before though and was waiting to get actually into The Tallest Man on Earth, rather than just wonder about the Dylan. Then Love Is All came on. Oh hello. This is BEAUTIFUL. The Tallest Man On Earth’s heart appeared to be unashamedly open to my grump self. I turned it up and continued to listen. Sometimes painfully honest in his thoughts, loves and admissions, he gently strums next to his musings. Akk, this was so bitingly raw, the crackling voice and simple notes, it was almost uncomfortably perfect.

Despite his Texan American country sounds, Kristian Matsson is from Dalarna, Sweden. And although he is called: The Tallest Man On Earth, Matsson in fact stands below the Swedish male average (nearly five foot eleven), at five foot five. The tallest person in medical history was Robert Pershing Wadlow, from Illonois, USA, who was eight foot and eleven inches tall.


Robert Pershing Wadlow; d.1940 Picture Source

The (slightly smaller than) Tallest Man On Earth plays the guitar, banjo and piano and has released two albums, Shallow Grave (Dead Oceans) and The Wild Hunt. He has also released two EPs, Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird and self titled. The latter holds the song; Walk The Line, a foot -tapping, spindly, defiant number “you bring me down…I aint gonna walk the line”. It’s a mixture of nature’s thunderous activities, humans, animals and emotion; “all tomorrows parties will dance before my eyes”.

tallest MAN on earth 2 by Avril Kelly

Illustration by Avril Kelly

Matsson is utterly immersed in nature, similes transform him into an eagle, lizard, sparrow and gardener. Whilst his lovers are bluebirds and rivers. Seemingly unlike Britain in a snowfall, he is aware and respects mother nature’s ultimate power over us. He will sit upon the river, dance in the ocean and watch the birds. Honey Won’t You Let Me In; “As I knock your door, from inside once more, how I wish a sudden breeze would let me in, shake my tambourine at your glowing dreams, I said honey won’t you let me in.” The city in contrast, has no distinct sounds for him, and equally his heart leaves him lost, weather beaten and alone at times. Two harsh climes for our protagonist. Tangle In This Trample Wheat; “I get frightened I could never gather birds enough to carry round your heart”. But his soul seems distinctly free, he won’t be found.

Integrated into nature’s attributes is Matsson’s love of dreaming, and love itself. A Lion’s Heart; “he’s coming down the hills for you”. Accompanied by constant gentle guitar and banjo notes, the listener can not help but be thrust into a pure and new perspective. Importantly, he also makes many references to nature never stopping. And perhaps we need to appreciate this a little bit more ourselves. Indeed the traffic, economy and work never really halts, and 2011’s start may be all New Resolutions (blah), but nature never, EVER takes a break or crash diets suddenly because some poppers went off. Remember, outside, the hills, oceans and mountains are far prettier than flouro lighting (even if that flouro lights up the best dress you’ve ever seen). It also changes in considerably more interesting ways than the prices of your average baked beans can. Step outside. The Dreamer; “I’m just a dreamer, but I’m hanging on, though I am nothing big to offer, I watched the birds how they in then gone, it’s like nothing in this world’s ever still.”

tallest man on earth

So starting with melancholy, I was risen by eloquent exuberance and now I continue to travel along the mighty (and fast) river of 2011 and life. It’s Janurary 7 and I have barely listened to anything other than The Tallest Man On Earth. Both The Wild Hunt and Shallow Grave on the label Dead Oceans are available now. Also see tour dates HERE.

Categories ,Albums, ,Avril Kelly, ,Bob Dylan, ,Dead Oceans, ,Helen Martin, ,music, ,Pukka Teas, ,The Tallest Man on Earth

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings

LE GUN ‘The Family’ exhibition took place yesterday where the Issue 4 of their annual art annual was introduced to us eager beavers. We hot footed it down to get a glimpse of what was moving and shaking in LE GUN land.

Their website introduced the show with, viagra order abortion ‘Dear patrons, please charge your glasses and drink heartily for tomorrow you may die’. This perfectly encapsulates the dark, twisted, gin drinking world of the collective. Legunddon, was one of my favourite pieces which spanned a wall full of loose women, cream cakes and gin.



Murky streets, tired, drained men in bars whose floors swill into oceans inhabited by whales-yes this is all a bit surreal. I couldn’t help but feel I needed a swig of gin to better get into the mindset of these warped individuals (‘warped’ said in a good way!)


There was even a cardboard room where everything (yes everything) was made of cardboard-from the mantelpiece to the welcome mat! It felt like you were sitting on a set of another realm of reality, or possibly a scene from one of Michel Gondrey’s surreal films!


charles reclining on a cardboard sofa

Amongst the multitude of tiny scenes illustrated in works hanging on the wall, I spotted James Unsworth‘s work (he was featured in issue 8 of amelia‘s mag). Melted faces and monsters chuffing on cigarettes-yes I had certainly entered another dimension.


The feel of the exhibition is satirical, certainly dark yet with a sense of fun. Intricate illustrations with a keen eye on detail adorned the gallery. However the unnerving feeling that around the corner was the unexpected kept creeping in my mind. Le Gun’s collaborators have perhaps drunk too much gin, but it’s not a bad thing where this results in poking fun at reality; subverting it to a new form-where smoking rabbits, monsters, and 1950s dressed women walking leopards rule.

I’m definately a fan of Warp Records, stuff but not in the “Yeah i’m really into breakbeat and I only go to parties held in squats” kind of way. In fact, buy I always prefer their releases from bands. Apart from Maximo Park of course, medications but then I suppose they have to fund pretty much everything else on their label somehow.


The thing is, I can’t help but feel that Warp have cottoned on to this way of thinking. What with recent albums from Born Ruffians and Pivot, it’s nice to see them widening their image. Although I suppose they’re hardly bands that you’d refer to as ‘chart-toppers’.

Anyhow, that’s enough about the guys in the suits with the cash. As artists Gang Gang Dance is sheer awesome, and this album has more than the capability of being the album of the year for me. It seems to incorporate so many things that often really annoy me, but make them amazing. Like the deep house style blips at the start of ‘Interlude’. This, by all known musical knowledge, should sound awful and be confined to the far off reaches of Ministry Of Sound compilations, but it works. And the vocals from official “star of the hood”, aka “stryderman” or, as his mother would call him, Tinchy Stryder, on ‘Princes’ work too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m adverse to grime, in fact I’d go as far as to say i’m more of a lazy fan of it – I just tend to get put off when all they talk about is money. Which is almost exclusively what Tinchy does on this track. He does add something though, and the track underneath his vocals is really good, I mean, almost untarnishable good. What it does do for me though is add humor (unintentionally), as hearing him say “Earning ice cream money”, gives me a mental image of him spending all his pocket money on ice cream. Though i’m sure ice cream is probably slang for something else nowadays, it’s so hard to keep up.

It’s easy to listen to the album as background music, but here and there are sections where everything seems to come together and, quite subtly, make you take notice. This is what makes you gradually fall in love with the album. There aren’t any songs that become favourites, which is what sets it apart. All the songs are non-formulaic and differ greatly from one another, but they sit alongside one another really well. You know that music you listen to and it sounds all turgid and rubbish, this is the opposite of that.

When confronted with an Argentinean film, advice which was shot in black and white and was largely without dialect, prescription I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

The story is about a villain – Mr. TV, the owner of the city’s only television channel, who steals the ability of speech from an entire city in Argentina. However, the characters are still able to communicate through words, though it is his plan to eradicate them also. The characters are able to read the subtitles – which gives the film a very interesting feel. They interact with the subtitles at many points, which was a little confusing at first, but it was something quite unique.

The plot has a very ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ feel about it, but only because it’s is so similar in style and plot to that dictatorial literature. I couldn’t help but think though, that there was something very cartoonish about it – largely due to the obscure, larger than life characters.

Apparently, the film was produced on a tiny budget, but I have to say it looks fantastic. The use of visual trickery to recreate the look of old films works really well, and is complemented wonderfully by the use of sound throughout, which in a way makes up for the lack of speech. The constant whirring sound in the background also makes it feel like you’re watching it in a cinema where there is an interlude and tea is served.

La Antena is definitely worth a watch, even though it wasn’t a film I would have gone out of my way to see just hearing about.

Now, pill my friends have been raving about Shambala for a good few years, more about but until now I have not been able to judge this most independent festivals for myself. So it was with an excited feeling that I set out with a group of friends, all squashed into a very small hatchback car. We arrived as the sun was setting on Friday night, and after a bit of confusion over gates of entry (I was officially press, they were artists) we parked up and decanted the gin and tonic – the first official public celebration of my friends’ engagement.


And as night rapidly fell we determined to get to The Beat gig at the mainstage, one of only a handful of bands that I could actually claim to know from a thoroughly obscure line-up.


The Beat were great and had the happy audience bopping up and down a treat. I don’t know them that well but recognised a few of their tunes, including Mirror in the Bathroom, and Stand Down Margaret– which became a call for both Brown and Bush to stand down, much cheered on by the liberal crowd. The adorably bouncy Ranking Junior, who thrilled us towards the end of the long set with a bit of his own style nu-school emceeing, now fronts the band. How sweet to operate a pop band as a family business, passing the lead vocals down from father to son! On the strength of his performance I might even forgive him a recent collaboration with the Ordinary Boys.

Once the main stage had closed down we wandered towards the woodland lakeside area, which featured a fantastically lit sculpture walk. As we crossed the decorative bridge into the woods an eerily lit green monster rose out of the lake to greet us, and as I stood transfixed I lost everyone else.


But that was okay, I wandered past some people hiding amongst the dense foliage on the shoreside in a drug addled way, and discovered some gingerbread bodies bound together on a log like voodoo dolls from a children’s story.



I caught up with my brethren at the Monkey Do nets, one of my posse’s many ventures, which were nestled in a cute little grove where trance music provided a back drop to the incessant wooosh of people inflating balloons to inhale. The nets were full to drooping point, and I was amused to hear people in an impromptu karaoke sing-off amongst the trees.


I then crossed the tiny site for a brief sojourn at the Nicky Blackmarket set in the fabulous geodesic dance dome, which was aggressively rammed with drum n bass heads, in stark contrast to the atmosphere of the festival as a whole.




Apparently there was even a bit of a fistycuffs later on, well well! It was then early to bed for me because I had earlier spotted that there was to be a whole day of dance lessons, and I wanted to be up and ready.


So there I was at 11am, ready to tackle my first ever belly dancing lesson with a bunch of other similarly perky ladies (and the odd brave gent) in the solar powered dance workshop dome. And I have to tell ya, I am hooked. We were taught by Sam of Horizon Hips – based in Hertfordshire – in the modernist style of tribal belly dance, which takes bits of belly dancing from all traditions and mixes them up, including the dress.


A further search on google reveals that tribal belly dancewear is characterized by bold and innovative dressing in bright jewel colours – sounds like my kind of thang! When performed by a troupe the dancers will take turns to lead isolated body moves which are quickly picked up and echoed by the other dancers. Isolated body moves are hard! They require intense concentration to get right, a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, but also in time to the beat; not easy to get right.

After a short break it was time for a reggaeton class with Louise of Bristol Salsateca.
Now here was some booty shaking I could get into – that girl has a great ass! Reggaeton is a Latin American dance that has grown out of hip hop, salsa and a variety of booty shaking moves inbetween. Louise taught us some of these moves, including the chicken step and “open the door” move. I loved this class so much that I jumped over-enthusiastically onto my ankle and fell clattering to the floor as we embarked on a reggaeton danceoff. Watch my video to see how much fun was had.

Luckily this did not impede my movement for more than a few minutes, and I soon sprang back into action and was able to attend the Charleston class. This was held outside the tent as the crowd engorged with the waking masses, and we spread out into a big circle. On my wander to get a cup of tea I bumped into Cutashine violinist Christina and persuaded her to join me – I think she enjoyed the catch-your-breath poses in between more dynamic moves – here she is doing the “pout and stick your bum in the air” pose that is a personal favourite of mine.


You might think by now that I would be bored of dancing, but oh no, I’d just got started. And programme-less as ever I had no idea who might be playing on any of the stages so instead became determined to try every dance workshop available to me. During the break I visited my friend Bart over the way, who was there with his homemade digeridoos and green woodworking workshop. Every day he did a digeridoo workshop where those intrigued enough could learn how to play this most interesting of instruments.


Bart has just purchased some acres of woodland in Wales and I think I am going to angle for a visit. Some of the kids with our extended party also got really into making some baseball bats… I am not sure what they intended to do with these…


Next up was salsa. Now, I will confess that I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to salsa – I always relate this most sexual of dances to sleazy men. Why would that be? I’m not sure… but anyhow I thought I would give it a try. Now, I like the moves, I like to dance and wiggle around and generally shake my thang, but you know what? This was the only dance workshop which defeated me. Maybe this was because we had to change partners and then I lost my place in the circle when I went to get some water, or maybe it was because there were a few too many men trying to get a bit too up close and personal, surrounded by that invisible but tangible air of desperation. Yes, for me salsa was I have always envisaged it… not my favourite dance style by any means. I think I prefer to choose my partners rather than have them thrust onto me.
I finished my day of extreme dancing with the most extreme and tiring of all – krump, the dramatic dance style pioneered by the street gangs of LA.


Ebony skinned Nigel, who sounded like a true Brummie through and through, stripped to his waist and led us through a series of moves starting with a slide not unlike Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, and finishing with some extravagant floorwork not designed for me in my short dress. Luckily this meant that I got some great footage.

Late on Saturday afternoon the main fancy dress parade did a tour of the site, and on my trip back to our campsite I passed two small hyperactive girls who took one look at me and demanded to know, in no uncertain terms, why I wasn’t in fancy dress.


By golly they were cute, if precocious. And damn them, I hadn’t brought any fancy dress – but at this point I will fess up to another problem I have with festivals at the moment – there is just too much enforced fancy dress! It’s just not fun to dress up any more! It used to be special when only a few people did it, but all those whacky outfits make me want to dress in something thoroughly ordinary!



Having said that the standard of fancy dress at Shambala is definitely a cut above the rest – I suppose that what I really don’t like is the straight off the peg fancy dress outfits that anyone can buy nowadays – you don’t look whacky and imaginative my friend! You look like an uncreative prat! However, I did come across a number of truly inspired outfits at Shambala, all of which had clearly been individually fashioned with great care to detail. Here are some of the best ones I saw, and not yet another crappy plastic Indian headress manufactured in China amongst them.










I was also delighted to see the familiar Climate Caravan penguins were putting in yet another appearance in their stride restricting outfits – love them!


Following the parade break up (I wasn’t exactly sure where it went to, or who it was for, as it seemed to head into a dead end in the family camping area) I went in search of my friends dressed up in copper paint and stilts with High Rise Rubber, a performance group that fellow Cutashine caller Vic has been bringing out at festivals for many a year.



I must confess that even they lost some of their grandeur amidst the festival wide fancy dress party, but still managed to do their customary freak-the-punters-out with gooey blue dripping gobs trick. Trying to escape their copper paws is always particularly difficult when you are a mate in civvy clothes but I think I managed okay.



Come evening time it was time for Cutashine to hit the stage, so all and sundry popped a bit of red gingham on and headed for the Lakeside stage, where my band rocked up a storm with Vic at the helm, freshly rid of her copper stage makeup.



My favourite participants were the girls who had fashioned beds to sleep in upright – I mean, what kind of mastermind comes up with that idea? I told you the fancy dress was a cut above the usual dross. They danced every dance with verve, and never once got out of bed!


Afterwards I raced over to catch the last of Kid Carpet‘s set – since all his kid’s toys were stolen a few years ago he seems to have grown up a bit and his sound has evolved too – more dancey and fun than what I remember. We had a good ol’ bop before heading backstage to catch up with him and his missus, an old friend of ours who is now preggers with a Baby Carpet.



Then we all hung for a while in a shish tent before I snuck off to bed again – my friends are notorious caners and I just can’t do it anymore, and anyway, I had my sights set once again on joining some early morning dance classes….



On Sunday I did my faves, belly dancing and reggaeton, all over again, and I have to say, get me to some dance lessons quick! I am so down with that shit! I am definitely going to look up some classes in my area once I get back from India.



With plans to leave mid afternoon I then did a quick round of the site to check out what else was going on – and discovered willow basket-weaving workshops, raku pottery firing, permaculture talks, how to inoculate a log with mushroom spores (a shame I couldn’t do this one – I really fancy doing this at home) a packed make-your-own jewelery class, and perhaps best of all, a man in a spangly top carving an intricate wooden owl sculpture!












I managed to persuade a bearded man in a distressed wedding dress to fill my bottle with some of his homemade nettle beer, which was absolutely yummy, and from thence I went to pack my bag to leave.



So did Shambala live up to my mates’ hype? Yes – it’s a festival to inspire even the most jaded festival goer.


And I was mightly impressed with the way that it has remained resolutely independent, with no corporate sponsorship whatsoever, a fact that you only realise once you note its absence. What it lacks in terms of a well known line-up it more than makes up for with in spirit and workshops, with a bit of something for everyone to take part in.






It even had the best compost loos I have yet to encounter, the lovely thunderboxes, which were an absolute joy to use. Bring on next year!



Monday 1st September

Young Knives – Independent, information pills Sunderland
The Golden Silvers – The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Tuesday 2nd September

Faust, Shit and Shine and Goodiepal – Cargo, London
The Wedding Present – Junction, Cambridge
So So Modern – White Heat, London
The Dodos – Doghose, Dundee
Slow Club – Pure Groove Records, London

A Fistful of Fandango 2 w/ The Shout Out Louds, The Boy Least Likely To, Peter and The Wolf, Glam Chops and Popular Workshop – 229 Great Portand Street, London

Glam Chops anyone?

A great line-up, but I have to admit the main draw for me would be Eddie Argos’ glam side project Glam Chops. I find glam rock quite detestable, but Eddie Argos is nothing short of genious.

Mechanical Bride – Slaughtered Lamb, London
Dirty Pretty Things and Florence and the Machine – Koko, London
Pete Doherty – The Rhythm Factory, London

Wednesday 3rd September

Vessels, Eat Lights: Become Lights, Semaphore and Island Line – Buffalo Bar, London
Santogold – Koko, London
Laura Marling – Star of Bethnal Green, London
Micachu, Let’s Wrestle and Smokey Angle Shades – Paradise by way of Kensal Green, London
Dead Pixels and The Shebeats – Metro, London
Poems, Dirty Weekend and Collapsing Cities – Death Disco at Notting Hill Arts Club, London

Gig of the week

Friendly Fires – Pure Groove Records, London


Friendly Fires are just a really enjoyable band. They manage to stand out amongst a group of very similar bands – which in itself is impressive.

Thursday 4th September

Hercules & Love Affair and Iglu And Hartley – Koko, London
Ponytail, Indica Ritual, Cowtown and Gentle Friendly – Upset The Rhythm at Barden’s Boudoir, London

Roots Manuva – Rough Trade East, London

Roots Manuva for free? Awesome! His new stuff is actually really good as well. Especially the Toddla T produced ‘Buff Nuff’.

Friday 5th September

I Haunt Wizards and Artefacts For Space Travel – Buffalo Bar, London
Animals & Men, Electricity In Our Homes and Pheromoans – Ryans, London

Skepta, Beardyman, Dan Black and Man Like Me – Mucha Marcha at Proud Galleries, London

I really like Mucha Marcha. I’ve never been, but it has a really good name and pretty consistent line-ups. Man Like Me always mean a good time as well.

Kool and the Gang – IndigO2, London
Hands On Heads, Revenge of Shinobi and Eugene Machine – The Luminaire, London
The Brute Chorus, Fight Like Apes and The Molotovs – The Last Days of Decadence, London

Saturday 6th September

A Fistful Of Fandango 2 w/ Camera Obscura, The Clientele, The Wave Pictures, The Week That Was, Frightened Rabbit and Laurence Arabia – 229 Great Portland Street, London
X-Ray Spex and Goldblade – The Roundhouse, London

Sunday 7th September

Crystal Castles – Kasbah, Coventry
Gary Numan – IndigO2, London

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Amelia’s Magazine | GLASVEGAS – It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry

Happy Valentine’s Day from brilliant new 4-piece Glasvegas. Or maybe not. This is savage stuff. Brim-full of emotion and a genuine passion that is frighteningly affecting. Despair, anger, hatred, paranoia, guilt, resignation and sadness are all here by the bucket load in a sorry tale of excess, infidelity and demise.

Let the rain and tear drops rain down on me tonight‘ pleads vocalist James Allan in an unashamedly spiky Glaswegian lilt. Apparently, he’s been busy accusing his missus wrongly of playing away from home, in between bouts of his own alcohol and ecstasy fuelled infidelities – the guilt for which becomes all too consuming.

Set to a sound that owes much to the genius of Phil Spector and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Alan McGee thinks Glasvegas are the best Scottish band of all time – they’re not. But with a few more offerings as brutally honest and exciting as this and he might be onto something.

Categories ,Music Valentine’s Day Glasvegas James Allen Vocal Scottish Band

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with The Moth and The Mirror with review of new album Honestly, This World

The Moth and the Mirror by Sarah Austin
The Moth and the Mirror by Sarah Austin.

Honestly, This World, is one of the most marvellous albums I have heard this year – made all the more thrilling in the knowledge that it is merely the side project of a host of talented musicians more used to playing in better known bands. From anthemic opener Everyone I Know to the delicate chimes and scuzzy reverb of Boxes, the laid back jazz/trip hop inflections of Beautiful Creature and gentle lull of Oceans and Waves this is a fantastically diverse collection of songs that are drawn together perfectly by the pure vocals of Stacey Sievwright. I spoke with guitar and keyboardist Gordon Skene.

YouTube Preview ImageEveryone I Know

The Moth and Mirror by Jacqueline Valencia
The Moth and Mirror by Jacqueline Valencia.

You are a very exciting sextet of Stacey Sievwright, Gordon Skene, Louis Abbott, Kev McCarvel, Iain Sandilands & Pete Murch, with members coming from the bands Frightened Rabbit, Admiral Fallow, The Reindeer Section and Arab Strap. How on earth did you all get together? I hear the Scottish music scene is quite small, does it ever get a bit difficult because of this (you know, relationships etc)?
Well I suppose we started out playing together as a backing band for our friend Colin (The Boy Who Trapped The Sun) – that was Stacey, Kevin and myself. When he moved down to London we decided we liked hanging out and playing together so we kept going, and wrote some songs of our own. Later we were joined by Stacey’s old bandmate Iain (the Professor of Percussion) and Pete, and we recruited Louis as a sort of stand-in for me while I was away fulfilling other touring commitments. But he was ace so I came back and we both played guitar. I suppose the music scene is quite small up here, but everyone is pretty friendly towards each other and helps each other out. It’s not good for personal relationships though, no. Bumping into your exes is all too easy. I suppose in a way that’s good for the music, in turn.

The Moth And The Mirror
What differentiates The Moth and The Mirror from your other respective bands? What makes this unique combination sound so fresh and new?
I suppose because we don’t take it too seriously, that lifts a certain amount of pressure off us. If there’s one thing scots aren’t good at it’s performing under pressure! Because of the way we formed (slowly, organically) there’s a genuine family feel. We have a wide range of influences too, gathered from our time apart and brought together when we do get a chance to meet.

The Moth and the Mirror by Sarah Austin
The Moth and the Mirror by Sarah Austin.

Your name is quite memorable, how did you come up with it and does it have a meaning?
It’s the title of a children’s story, from a dusty old book we found in Stacey’s cupboard. About how the King Moth fell in love with his reflection in a mirror in an abandoned mansion, but the mirror broke and he sends his minions out nightly to search for his estranged Queen. Quite dark and romantic. At the time, there weren’t nearly so many ‘and the’ bands around.

The Moth and The Mirror by Gareth A Hopkins
The Moth and The Mirror by Gareth A Hopkins.

How do you go about writing together, can you describe a bit of the process?
Usually Stacey brings us an idea or a snippet of a melody, and we take it from there; just a couple of us at first, then on to the rehearsal room. But a few were written straight off, as a band together. You can tell if it’s a good idea because someone will add a part to it instantly and it blossoms from there.

Moth and mirror photo
How do you all find the time to get together: is there a secret formula to juggling so many musical ventures, and what do you do when you all get together (apart from make music)?
It’s really hard! That’s why it’s taken us this long to make an album, and then almost the same time again to release it. There’s no secret, I guess just perseverance and a genuine fondness for the project. When we do get together, we mostly waste the time by talking nonsense and taking the piss out of each other. Or Stacey cooks.

The Moth and the Mirror by Jacqueline Valencia
Stacey of The Moth and the Mirror by Jacqueline Valencia.

We’ve just missed your mini launch tour – where else can people see you over the coming months? 
I couldn’t say at the moment unfortunately… nothing is planned (see above!), so it might be quite last minute. Best to keep an eye on our twitter feed @mothmirror or facebook page.

the moth and the mirror Album Artwork fiona watson
Who created your album cover and what was the brief, it’s really quite beautiful?
Thank you! It’s a piece by an artist called Fiona Watson – she also has an excellent flickr page – who Iain and Stacey discovered one afternoon last winter at an exhibition above a lovely wee bar/cafe in the merchant city. She’d already done it, and we asked her if we could use it – she very kindly agreed.

YouTube Preview ImageFire

Are there any great Scottish bands that you recommend we check out that perhaps don’t get the attention they deserve?
Endor and Open Swimmer just opened for us at our Edinburgh launch; both lovely, and beautiful songwriters.

Honestly, This World by The Moth and The Mirror, is out now on Olive Grove Records. Go grab yourself a copy.

Categories ,Admiral Fallow, ,album, ,Arab Strap, ,Endor, ,Everyone I Know, ,Fiona Watson, ,Frightened Rabbit, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gordon Skene, ,Honestly This World, ,Iain Sandilands, ,Jacqueline Valencia, ,Kev McCarvel, ,Louis Abbott, ,Olive Grove Records, ,Open Swimmer, ,Pete Murch, ,review, ,Sarah Austin, ,Scottish, ,Stacey Sievwright, ,The Boy Who Trapped The Sun, ,The Moth and The Mirror, ,The Reindeer Section

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Amelia’s Magazine | Perfect Storm: An interview with Swedish singer songwriter Vanbot

Vanbot Seven by Jenny Kadis
Vanbot, Seven by Jenny Kadis.

Stockholm based melody maestro Vanbot is set to release the wonderful electro pop album Perfect Storm, a much anticipated follow-up to her 2011 debut. The record has been produced and mixed by Johannes Berglund of The Knife and I Break Horses fame and showcases a darker and more evocative spectrum than previous outings. Vanbot (real name Ester Ideskog) has created an immaculate and moreish pop album that will find her many new fans this year.

What was the best bit about growing up in Smaland? And how often do you return?
The best thing about growing up in Småland was the closeness to nature. I grew up on a very idyllic small farm, hung out with the calfs, climbed the trees, got lost in the forest. I wasn’t very proud of it when I was a child, but looking in perspective I feel so lucky to have spent my childhood so near nature. I really miss the quietness of the forest. I have my whole big family in Småland, so I try to return as often as possible.

Vanbot by Simon McLaren
Vanbot by Simon McLaren.

Where did the Vanbot moniker come from?
It started out as a joke, but has become a way to express myself. It started when me and my country side friends moved to Stockholm, we were joking about our Stockholm alter egos and I made up my alter ego Vanessa from Vasastan. Later on when I recorded my first album I used the alter ego Vanessa and let her reflect some of my sides and it was almost like acting. But nowadays I think Ester and Vanessa are much closer, hard to separate. And the bot in Vanbot is from the computer program, it’s a virus that works like an alter ego.

Why did you shelve the album in 2013 and what has changed since then?
We worked on that album for one and a half year, but it never really happened, something was missing. We worked hard, made new mixes, new productions, but slowly it became very obvious that I had to trash it and start all over again. I had a breakdown, it was hard to accept that all work was in vain. But I started writing immediately and I felt more free than ever. I noticed that I could let go of my former restricting frames, it felt like I had nothing to loose and I started to work with new beats, new effects, new synthesizers and especially I found new layers of my voice. I’m pretty stubborn, so letting go of the old and starting over was a big challenge.

Vanbot Perfect Storm by Jenny Kadis
Vanbot, Perfect Storm by Jenny Kadis.

Where did the darker sound of this album come from?
I really love to write melodies, but I think the magic happens when you combine the catchy melodies with some warped synthesizers and evocative beats to create contrast and tension. I love the melodies better when surrounded by a darker veins.

Why is the DIY spirit so important to you?
That was the only chance to move forward! As I mentioned, I’m pretty stubborn, and I won’t take no for an answer, haha. The place I grew up in is well known for it’s DIY spirit with a lot of entrepreneurs, so I guess I have it in me.

I hear you write your melodies whilst out on a bike, how do you make sure that you retain your ideas without setting them down?
It’s pretty embarrassing, but I try to record ideas for the beat, the bass-line and backing vocals also. I would never ever let someone hear those recordings, I would sink through the ground…

How do you find the right lyrics for a melody?
It’s pretty hard for me. But the best lyrics come tightly bundled with the melodies, they almost can’t be separated. I work hard on my lyrics, I tend to sit up many late nights, bending and twisting the words whilst drinking wine.

How do you transmit an honest message with your music?
I think it’s all about transmitting a feeling but without mention the real facts, to make it possible for anyone to relate and feel what I feel. I don’t really think my personal details are that interesting for others, so I color them in metaphors.

How do you set about making videos?
I love to do videos! I wish I had crazy big budgets for videos, but that’s not the fact. Not yet, haha. I often collect ideas for videos from ordinary events in life, it can be elements I see, a movement or an idea of a location, then I work with very talented filmmakers and let ourselves get inspired by the moment in the shooting.

What other electronic artists inspire you?
During my periods of writing and recording in the studio, I don’t really listen to other music than my own. It’s a really tight bubble that is hard to break. But now when the album is finalized I’m starting to discover new music again! Right now I listen a lot to Susanne Sundfør and iamamiwhoami.

Perfect Storm by Vanbot is out on the 15th May on Lisch Recordings & Sony Music Sweden.

Categories ,Electro Pop, ,Ester Ideskog, ,I Break Horses, ,iamamiwhoami, ,Jenny Kadis, ,Johannes Berglund, ,Lisch Recordings, ,Perfect Storm, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Småland, ,Sony Music Sweden, ,stockholm, ,Susanne Sundfør, ,Swedish, ,The Knife, ,Vanbot, ,Vanessa from Vasastan

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