Amelia’s Magazine | Primavera Sound 2011 Review: Tennis, Pere Ubu, Deerhunter, Pulp and more! (Day 2)

Jarvis Cocker of Pulp by Sam Parr
Jarvis Cocker of Pulp by Sam Parr.

After una copa de tinto de verano, about it I’m ready for another night of music overdose. First on my list is Julian Lynch, side effects the etnomusicologist from Winsconsin that conquered my heart with 2010’s LP Mare, a dreamy collage of folksy pop tunes with a shade of drone that seriously make you feel as if you were floating in a mare (which means “sea”, in Italian – I’m not sure that was his purpose in titling his album that way, but it gives a pretty damn good idea of what his songs sound like).

To be honest, I expected something quite different from his set. Strangely enough, his unhinged harmonies, between prog, metal, jazz, indie and psych, though verging cacophony, mingle in a perfect way and make extreme sense, creating a hypnotizing ensemble of notes and echoing vocals.

Julian Lynch by Laura Lotti
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Music video: Julian Lynch – Garden 2

After his performance, I rush to see The Monochrome Set the avant gard post-punk outfit whose original formation featured nonetheless than Adam Ant. Although guitarist Lester Square is still rocking as hard as far back in 1978, the band seems to have lost his idiosyncratic verve, and their performance feels quite cheesy.

Tennis by Laura Lotti
Tennis by Laura Lotti

On the other hand, one of the contemporary bands I’ve always regarded as ‘cheesy’, Tennis, surprise me on the ATP stage. I’ve had mixed feelings towards this husband-and-wife duo since first hearing Marathon last year. Despite the song being a perfect ear candy of 1960s bubbluegum pop, they seemed to be one of those music blogs darlings, with too much buzz about them and too little to prove. However, their debut album Cape Dory sounded immediately so catchy when it came out a few months ago – a collection of simple, shiny, sticky-sweet pop melodies – that now I feel compelled to check them out. And this the best thing I’ve done today! In fact, they are so good live, I almost want to cry. Their gig reminds me of another great band I saw exactly on this same stage last year, Beach House. The melodies are kept to basic – only keyboard, drums and guitar, played by hubby Patrick Riley – and Alaina Moore’s eerie voice is the protagonist. I can’t help but squeaking “ohmygawd they are so sweeet” while jumping around every 3 seconds, stars in my eyes as teenagers in love do (ermm, maybe, given the times we are in, used to do when I was a teenager) – that’s the effect of their music – to the point that I’m afraid my friend wants to punch me in the face.

Music video: Tennis – Cape Dory
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Thank god at the end of their set my face is still unscathed and, charged up by the positive vibes assimilated at Tennis’ gig, we all happily stroll (or shall I say, run?) to see James Blake. The Pitchfork stage is already jam-packed to welcome him and his band (a drummer and a guitarist, to translate in a live dimension his qualities as producer) and since the first beats everybody is humming and moving their heads to his music. How to define his sound remains a mystery to me. Would something like dubstep-cum-singer-songwriter-skills-cum-free-jazz-hints give an idea of his idiosyncratic style? I don’t know and I don’t care. He’s good as hell, that’s all that matters, and his elaborated melodies provide the perfect soundtrack to the rapidly falling dusk. Again as for Tennis, the voice plays a fundamental role here, but this time is smudged over the melodies in electronic effects to become integral part of the whole sound.

JAMES BLAKE by Laura Lotti
Audience at James Blake’s Set by Laura Lotti

If I’m usually concerned about music that (largely) avails of digital technology, I have to say that James Blake is a good example of how to use it, and explore new spaces between liveness and reproduction. Despite my original wariness towards this 22-year-old artist, seemingly too young to be actually so good as popular press and industry people depict him, I must admit I’m glad I’ve been proved wrong. Unfortunately his performance is spoilt by the reverber of the sea surrounding half of the stage (very pictoresque, thank you. What about sound quality, though?) and the echoes coming from the other stages. But hey this is a festival. You can’t have it all, can you?

Music video: James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
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So far I’ve seen two new bands that have managed to put up with the hype pumped up by the media: Tennis and James Blake. I’m already satisfied, and with this new hope towards the future of music, I head to see another kind of genius, an innovator of the very concept of music, who’s inventiveness hasn’t stopped since the 1970s. I’m talking about Pere Ubu, that on stage is still as charismatic as ever and plays a jarring, spirited set of new and old songs – coyly alluding to his “old girlfriends” every now and then and drawing from his flask one too many times – accompanied by a whole ensemble of awesome musicians, especially drummer Steve Mehlman.

Pere Ubu by Sam Parr
Pere Ubu by Sam Parr.

This bleach-blonde giant is a proper drum-machine himself. Got to this point I could go and see Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti but
a) he’s playing bloody far away
b) Pere Ubu is a magnet.
I’ve literally got no chances of moving away from here (or better to stop moving) hypnotised by David Thomas & co’s syncopated rhythms and funny jokes.

Pere Ubu2 by Laura Lotti
Pere Ubu by Laura Lotti

No Joy are another welcomed surprise. The Canadian band fronted by blonde grrrls Jasmine White-Glutz and Laura Lloyd, praised by the likes of Best Coast’ Bethany Cosentino and Pitchfork for their recent release Ghost Blonde, are so powerful on stage that I cannot stop dancing and staring at them: two blonde full manes shaking constantly to the melodies created by their same guitars and otherworldly voices that intertwine with each other and and with the kicks and snares of bass and drums in a perfect entente. They are grunge, they are rock, they are cool as hell. I want to be blonde and I want to be them. They close their set with a never-ending droned-up hazy cover of Del Shannon’s ‘She Said’ that puts everybody in a hypnotic trance for the following 15 minutes.

Music video: Del Shannon – She Said
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Now it’s time for slowcore Low, that play an atmospheric, almost whispered set. Although the stage is packed, it feels as intimate as if they were playing in my living room. The festival stage itself though, flattens a bit their magic.

Low by Laura Lotti
Low by Laura Lotti

And now it’s the band I, like probably most of my Generation Y mates, am most dying to see tonight: Deerhunter. Bradford Cox & co play and achingly haunting array of songs from ‘Halcyon Digest’ and their previous releases, building walls of melodies as overwhelming as they are perfectly balanced with each other and with Cox ‘s voice. They create dense atmospheres, delicate but strong, textured, complex but fluid. Deerhunter is a band that will stay. I can picture Deerhunter being one of the bands that my nephews will come and see in one of their reunion maybe here, exactly on this same stage, in 40 years time.

Deerhunter by Laura Lotti
Deerhunter by Laura Lotti

And if Deerhunter were one of the must-see bands of the night in my personal list, Pulp’s reunion is a universal must-see! It seems like all the Primavera Sound attendees have gathered under the San Miguel stage to witness this glorious comeback.

Music video: Pulp – Common People
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Now, I am one of those people that, if everybody says ‘white’, have to scream ‘blaaack’ with all the energy in my lungs, and always swim against the current. So, don’t take it personally, this is not an attack to Britpop nor to one of the most brilliant contemporary British icons that have made the history of music. However, I must admit, I’m quite disappointed by this concert. Jarvis was one of us, wasn’t he? So what about all this Lady Gaga-esque stage design and bright neon visuals, that dangerously make of Pulp the caricature of themselves? It feels like a mammoth money-driven pop reunion. That’s what it is, after all, I bitterly sigh to myself. I cannot feel much energy in the air, though Jarvis is still in enviable shape and jumps around like a cricket from the beginning to the end. However, towards the end of Pulp’s gig he regains my interest, when, as in the best pop fairy tales, he doesn’t forget to get political, and declares himself indignado for the shameful events happened in Plaza Catalunya the previous night, delivering a memorable performance of ‘Common People’ dedicated to the struggling protestants.

Categories ,Adam Ant, ,Amelia’s Magazine, ,Ariel Pink, ,Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, ,Atlas Sound, ,Avant Gard, ,barcelona, ,Beach House, ,beer, ,Bradford Cox, ,Common People, ,deerhunter, ,Disco 2000, ,electronic, ,festivals, ,James Blake, ,Jarvis Cocker, ,Julian Lynch, ,laura lotti, ,low, ,Music Festivals, ,No Joy, ,Parc del Forum, ,Pere Ubu, ,Post Punk, ,Primavera Sound, ,psychedelia, ,pulp, ,Queuing, ,Rebecca Elves, ,Rock and Roll, ,Sam Parr, ,spain, ,summer, ,Tennis, ,The Monochrome Set

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Amelia’s Magazine | White Denim- Workout Holiday

Photograph by Dylan Walker

Andy Walker, viagra medical also known as Loyal Trooper is very modest, side effects he will rarely talk about his music especially not to strangers, he wants his songs to speak for themselves. Tonight he is playing at Bar Music Hall in Hoxton. He says he is just testing out some new ones. Fresh from playing at Two Thousand Trees festival he says he feels, ‘crowd spoilt’, being an unsigned artist playing to a packed tent full of people with eager ears and open minds. By comparison by the time he plays Bar music hall tonight the crowd are mostly too busy discussing important matters of their own to notice him play heart rendering acoustic nuggets of joy, sadness and Sheffield related heartbreak. The group of people sat at the front were however paying close attention and during the second song a friend turns to me and says , ‘wow he is incredibly talented!’, and she’s certainly not wrong!

Its a big stage for one person but the pretty noise soon fills up the place nicely, ‘Okay at Best’ is about being bored of growing up and knowing there is more to life than being unfulfilled and wearing a suit. The line, ‘I want to fall asleep at my desk’ Is sang slowly and sleepily, accompanied by sweet twinkly guitar, this however is followed by repeated yelling of ‘fuck being okay at best’. Its a little bit like watching Bill Hicks lulling you into a false sense of security and then shouting at you, if Bill Hicks was incredibly good looking, had an aptitude for playing acoustic guitar and didn’t sweat or scream quite as much.

Photograph by Dylan Walker

His songs display an astonishingly accurate observations of london, its bars, its personalities and its pitfalls. ‘Five year plan’ is a cathartic rant at those irritating people we all know and love who can talk and talk and talk about themselves but don’t seem to possess ears. Andy has perfected the art of beautiful songs that can be incredibly sad in places while revealing a dark sense of humour in others. ‘I know about their job, their pet, their wife, but they never ask a single detail about my life’. Singing, ‘will they ever get bored of being self important pricks?’ feels very appropriate as his soft voice filters through the chattering of those in the bar.

Luckily enough I know Andy fairly well, so I am not only able to talk to him about his songs but am even lucky enough to take him home with me after the gig and give him a guinness or three and some nicotine gum. Having been locked in introspective song writing sessions Andy has recorded a mini album in his bedroom, and now says he feels ready to show everyone what he has made, so he is self-releasing it, it comes out on the 15th of September, it might be hard to find, but if I were you I would go looking for it.

The enduring flirtation between art and fashion has borne some strange and beautiful sartorial love children. From Yves Saint Laurent’s timelessly chic 1965 ‘Mondrian’ dress to Guy Bourdin’s iconic fashion photography; from the paper ‘Souper Dress‘ inspired by Andy Warhol’s achingly prosaic Campbell’s image, to the recent – and inexplicable – collaboration between Warhol and Pepe jeans. Art and fashion are firm, if sometimes awkward, friends.

Enter Phaiz, a gallery slash boutique in Chicago’s River West neighborhood – an area increasingly awash with converted loft spaces, ergo artists and creative types – which alluringly promises that its visitors will leave feeling like they’ve been rendezvousing with the aforementioned Andy Warhol and enfant terrible Alexander McQueen.


Reticent fashionistas with a cerebral bent pondering whether to visit a gallery or a boutique are thoughtfully spared the angst, as Phaiz, a concept store with a difference, seamlessly marries art and fashion in a meeting defined by its makers as a ‘collision’, but perhaps more aptly described as a match made in proverbial heaven for the all-encompassing aesthetes among us.

A refreshing alternative to high street mass production and identikit ‘It’ bags, visitors to this cult gallery/boutique can peruse the cavernous 800 square foot space safe in the knowledge that its wares are one of a kind, being crafted exclusively for Phaiz and available for a period of 30 days alongside the space’s site specific installations of the same duration.


With prices ranging from $80 to a credit crunch eschewing $3,000, the work of exhibiting artists and designers virtually transforms Phaiz on a monthly basis. With each collaboration ushering in a new phase – get it? – for the gallery/boutique, whose blurring of the lines between art and fashion extends to its pricing scheme. A scheme that sees all items bereft of price tags with visitors instead being gifted a price list upon arrival.

One of many beautiful collisions to have emerged from Phaiz so far saw the juxtaposition of the work of former graffiti artist, Peter Kepha with that of fur designer Backtalk. An unobvious coupling, were it not for Kepha and Backtalk’s shared use of collage.

In rubbishing distinctions between art and fashion and the way in which they should be seen and bought, Phaiz provides a very real compromise to Janice Dickinson’s – yes, the original supermodel of I’m a Celeb fame – suggestion that we should ‘follow sound business trends, not fashion trends’. A trendsetting pioneer rather than a follower, Phaiz seems to have not just art and fashion, but the tricky business of selling them, quite literally sewn up.


Since starting at Amelia’s I’ve become used to the art openings of the Shoreditch scene, dosage with beer in a bucket and noisy chatter becoming something I’ve taken for granted. I was slightly surprised, visit this site then, upon entering the FRED gallery on Vyner street that no such scene greeted me. I was not so far, geographically, from all the galleries I have previously visited, but I felt like I was a world away.

A sparse, older art crowd, exchanging air kisses (one for each cheek) inhabited the interior of FRED. Each culture vulture entering before me was greeted with a “Hi, how are you? Would you like a glass of wine?”, but I received no such greeting or offer. It seemed that as soon as they had seen my tatty teeshirt and knee high socks they must have figured that I obviously didn’t have the money to buy any of the art, and therefore any magical, purse-string-loosening booze would be wasted on me.

Feeling somewhat shunned, I found comfort in reading the printed info about exhibiting artist Jakob Roepke. I found that Roepke, a German artist born in 1960, has produced over 700 of his small collages since 1996. It was also made clear that each collage was available to buy for the amount of £200 + VAT.


On to these collages, then… the whole reason for my being here (I know that in hindsight it seems as though alcohol might have been the priority, but I can assure you that art was the only intoxication I was seeking. Yes, really!) Fred was displaying 130 of Roepke’s works, all 12 x 13cm pieces made from 1999 to the present day. I was really taken with the nature of the display, a tiny shelf running around the whole of the space that brought the tiny, intricate squares up to a comfortable viewing level.

The experience of viewing the collages was like going from room to room of a dolls house and peering in. Within the four corners of each work the stage was set for weird existences to play themselves out; a man making tea on the back of a tortoise, another buffing the toes of a woolly mammoth. When windows were present in the rooms, all sorts of mysteries came in through them; trees invading to take shelter inside, graph paper blobs floating in and owls perching on the ledges. Juxtaposition is what’s great about collage as an image making technique, and Roepke’s use of characters from 1970′s yoga handbooks and birds from nature annuals made his juxtapositions all the more absurd. His use of flat patterns, worked on to as if 3D, lent a distorted perspective that made surreal scenes even more bizarre.


Technically, each collage was impressive too. Pieces of card had been completely covered, front and back, in papers with tiny patterns (dolls house wall paper, Japanese origami paper graph paper…) and then worked on, layer by layer, with paper cut-outs. The whole thing was then painstakingly painted to bring all the layers together. I watched, slightly jealous, as the gallery owner encouraged one potential buyer to (“very gently!”) run her finger over one piece to see how surprisingly thick and bumpy it’s surface was.

I learned at an early age NEVER EVER to touch a piece of art in a gallery, so I was pretty shocked to see a gallery owner actively encouraging a hands on approach. But then I shouldn’t really have been surprised at such special treatment since this woman had already staked her claim on a couple of pieces she wanted to buy. Knee high socks girl wasn’t getting any such treatment, however, as I trailed around after the gallery owner, hoping to have a word with him (well, it’s only polite), but could never seem to divert his attention away from wooing possible purchasers.


Eventually giving up, I left the FRED gallery glad to have been allowed a peep inside Jakob Roepke’s mixed up miniature world. However I did feel that the hosts of this world could have been a bit more accomadating to those who didn’t look like they might want to buy a share.


Leila Arab has been away for quite some time. Her acclaimed debut LP, patient 1998′s Like Weather, diagnosis was followed up by ‘Courtesy For Choice’ back in 2000, symptoms but since then Leila has taken a break from creating her own music. This absence can be explained by the fact that both her parents passed away during this time and music no longer was a priority for the Iranian born Leila. However, born through Warp records, we now welcome her return with ‘Blood, Looms and Blooms’.

Instrumental opener ‘Mollie’ welcomes us into the dark and haunting world that is Leila’s new offering, although this welcome feels full of warnings that our souls may be dragged down into some ‘through the looking glass’ existence and we may not escape unscathed. With Leila now having us firmly by the hand we are led down, down to listen in on the noises of an enchanted workshop documented in ‘Time to Blow’, in which we are promised “I’ll make you regret it”. This is fast becoming experimental electronica at it’s most dark.

A little respite is needed from all this menace, and we are given it with the lovely ‘Little Acorns’. Standing out as one of the most upbeat, and quite dance-able, pieces on the album it comes complete with rappy happy children’s vocals. However, ‘Daisy’s, Cats and Spacemen’ is quick to whip us back up in the melancholic atmosphere that runs through this album like a black thread. Incredibly reminiscent of old school Portishead trip hoppery, this track showcases the sultry vocals of Leila’s sister Roya Arab that end with a ghostly whisper to the back of your neck.

‘Mettle’ is the real stand out track, a Bjork like opening that sounds like robots tuning themselves in that quickly collapses into a dirty surging motion, covered in hectic liquid dripping noises. This tune lulls you into false senses of security with calmer moments, then slams you against the wall with loud roars that grab you by the throat. The abrupt stop that ends this track is like a rug pulled from under your feet, like your breath has been stolen away from you.

‘Teases Me’ has beautiful vocals from Luca Santucci, and resonates in a similar fashion to Mezzanine era Massive Attack. Other noteworthy vocals are those of Martina Topley-Bird (on the almost sing-along ‘Deflect’) and the operatic turn of Seaming on ‘The Exotics’.

There is plenty to disturb on this album, the truly sinister ‘Carplos’ being a perfect example of this. There is a Clockwork Orange style menace to the sound in this track, although it feels like it would sit well in the background of any horror movie.

It’s definitely not all plain sailing though. Beatles cover ‘Norwegian Wood’ is a really difficult listen, at times throwing melody out of the window to concentrate instead on the increasingly disjointed beats. At one point Luca Santucci lends his vocals three or four times over to this track, in each layer singing the tune ever so slightly differently so that when combined my ear drums were rattled in a way that ended up just plain hurting. ‘Lush Dolphins’ was another track that I just couldn’t bring myself to appreciate, and couldn’t even begin to try and explain.

‘Young Ones’ won me back though, an enchanting track that reveals itself to be a live recording with a burst of applause erupting at the close. ‘Why Should We?’ brings the album to an end, uniting Terry Hall and Martina Topley-Bird in a duet.

Leila’s long awaited ‘Blood, Looms and Blooms’ is an album that keeps us at a distance, an enthralled spectator on a dark dreamscape. The experience is like being fully aware of a nightmare, and the fact it can’t hurt us, but having no control over the outcome and feeling horrified all the same. It’s no light listen, and I personally don’t often feel drawn to such sinister tunes, but for those who like their fairy tales grown up and their sleep walks sultry; this is the album for you.

Tucked away in the back streets of N16 lies a near secret Shangri – la. Down a side alley not so far from Tesco metro, illness surrounded by a mixture of oblivious residences and industrial units, a cardboard sign informs that you have reached Stoke Newington International Airport.

Launched in April as a multi platform space for a diverse range of artists to set up studio, put on performances and try things out amidst an idyllic menagerie of plants, decadent throws, paint pots and wood. One warm, fresh Saturday evening a few weeks back, I was one of 150 others enraptured by the mixture of Gilliam-esque hand drawn animation, laptop technology and klezma meets African music that is The Paper Cinema and Kora. As well as one of the most free for all, insanely clashing DJ sets I’ve heard, but please, for now, let’s keep this on the QT.

This is grass routes, organic as you like and in absolutely in no rush to court too much publicity: “I feel we keep moving really, really slowly and because of that it’s OK, y’know, we’re not going beyond our skills or our ability to control anything, and we can do what we want.” Greg, one fifth of the guys behind the venture informs me between slups of Espresso. “It means we can book acts that maybe wouldn’t work so well if we had a (makes bang bang noise) kind of crowd. A good thing about the film night was that you could say to people, ‘right, now we’re going to watch a film’ and everyone’s quiet and there isn’t any noise from anywhere else.”

“One night, you’ve got some music… a poet … and lets say an ice sculptor, someone goes for the ice sculptor but you know when your DJing and you trust the label?” We’re talking ethos, “So you say ‘Ok I’ll check it out ‘coz I really enjoyed the last release.’ It’s like that but you make sure everything is of a certain quality, and if it’s not, it has to have that potential quality.”


A year ago things couldn’t have been more different with the Airport in previous incarnation as a sweatshop. “This place was full of crap, trucks going in and out and material and just junk and shit, and these Chinese girls that used to work at the factory, we used to watch them, everyday at 8 o clock when their shift finished they’d get out the door and they’d fucking leg it away, (I’m) thinking what horror’s gone on in there?” We’re sold this idea that these kind of working conditions are far away in places like Thailand. “Machines absolutely everywhere… completely filled with sowing machines, noise, and they’d blocked out all the windows because they’d work faster if the lights were blocked…Poor building having to put up with all this horrible stuff!” Anyhow, the factory relocated, receiving a better contract with a certain high street retailer.

At the heart of the Airport … wait, a minute, let’s say it again, Stoke Newington International Airport… The Airport, I just love that name, but that’s got to wait. At the heart of the Airport is the collective of which exists two Gregs, a Nick, a Gary and a Zekan – all exchanging trades and ideas on how to build this. Backgrounds in theatre, music, DJing lead way to secret skills in carpentry, book keeping and legal matters that empower a project: “This would only be possible with the five of us together and our each very different points of view, the different personalities that there are, but together there is this…” Gestures to the courtyard, as we get hit by the mid afternoon sun.


“People say that it’s really warm, and I don’t want it to be aloof or snooty.” This extends to the breeding ground aspect of the ethos, a cross platform environment for a wide variety of artists to exchange ideas. I know from my own experience that when approaching someone of a different artistic, if not language, dialect can be intimidating. “As a performer I think that’s what I’d really love, to go somewhere and to know that half the people are really interested, or they might be, and half have no idea what is going on. But really for me, it’s a community to exchange ideas. If I can see some way to put people together, not to say let’s do this and put it on at the Barbican, but y’know, why don’t you just do ten minutes next week? Try it out? Then why not?”

And now the name. Horrific to think that the Airport was almost called Tony’s! The eventual choice came from a very long list but also presented certain legal problems with registering as a company: “And they said ‘Ah yeah, are you an airport?’ ‘No.’ ‘Will you be able to provide us with proof that’d you’ll be doing your business internationally?’ ‘No.’ So we can’t call the company Stoke Newington International Airport. We’re hackney 5 Arts and the venue is Stoke Newington International Airport.” Do Fabric have to prove they don’t actually trade fabric?

This is my personal call to arms! Come to Climate Camp! I will be there for the entire week, help helping to run the kitchens in the London neighbourhood, and hopefully penning day by day blogs of the week’s events. There will also be visits from various Amelia’s Magazine interns throughout my time there, and Katie, who is manning the earth section of the blog, intends to be there for the whole week.

Cooking in the London neighbourhood 2007

Climate Camp 2007

But what is this Climate Camp I hear you cry?! Well, Climate Camp began life in the summer of 2006, when a bunch of people decided to squat the land near Drax power station with the aim of bringing attention to the climate catastrophe that we fast find ourselves approaching. Even though I went to the G8 camp in Stirling in 2005. I did not attend this inaugural Climate Camp because I was loved up – most of my mates went but I was probably shagging. Oh well, that is far in the past and last year and this year I have been progressively more involved with Climate Camp, which has turned into an enthusiastic worldwide movement. This year I have been attending weekly London neighbourhood meetings for a few months, helping to put together our little encampment, and generally rallying the troops.. we’ve been flyering festivals large and small and last weekend we got together to make Rocket Stoves from old veg oil tins; great little stoves that are the most efficient way to boil water on site.

Lots of glue (made from flour, water and sugar) later

Collecting this years rocket stoves
Rocket stoves in use Climate Camp 2007

Climate Camp aims to address the dilemmas facing humankind as oil and other energy sources such as coal diminish in a proactive and inspiring way; collectively we aim to make living sustainably a feasible possibility. This is done by actually living in the manner which we think is the way forward, on a sustainable camping ground as a community; cooking and eating together, making decisions by consensus and learning from our peers. The toilets are all compostable of course and the power is all renewable. There is also a shedload of workshops on during the week – the best of which will be highlighted a little later on in this blog. Like me you may feel a bit confused and worried about climate change but because you don’t know enough about it you feel unable to do anything – well, that’s a pretty standard reaction – humans like to bury their heads in the sand when they are stuck for what else to do. But by attending Climate Camp you will not only be showing your support for positive change (in the light of rubbish government policies like building new coal-fired power stations instead of spending money on renewable options) you will also be empowering yourself towards leading a more positive future.

Climate Camp 2007 compostable toilets

Last year the Climate Camp was held directly next to Heathrow in protest of the proposed third runway which would exterminate the village of Sipson and increase our carbon emissions way beyond anything that is sustainable. There was so much coverage in the press we didn’t know where to look! My photogenic friends took to competing with each other for who could glean the most column inches and biggest photos, such was their coverage of their direct actions.

Flyering at Rise festival

This year Kingsnorth power station in Kent has been chosen as the site of the camp – itself a direct action – from whence a mass direct action can be orchestrated on the weekend of the 9-10 August. This is the site of the first of eight new coal fired power stations that are being mooted to roll out across the UK in the next couple of years – much has been made of the carbon capture facilities that might be implemented at the site at some unspecified point in the future, but the fact is that these are not serious proposals yet – a large scale facility has yet to be designed and built anywhere in the world, it has been labelled another “great green scam” by George Monbiot , and the feeling with Climate Campers is that we should not be supporting the regrowth of a coal industry, mostly feeding off low grade coal imported from china, neither the easy fix of nuclear. Instead we should be looking at ways to lower our energy needs – by living in more sustainable manners. If any of these ideas interest you (and they should – climate change will affect all of us, and sooner rather than later) then you must come visit us! Last year I learnt so much I dubbed the event Climate Change University. There were visiting climate change luminaries aplenty, and the wonderful George Monbiot was so keen to keep talking after his official debate was over that he came over to the London neighbourhood (we are all split into neighbourhoods, with de-centralised kitchens and meeting spaces) and insisted on talking into the small hours.

London neighbourhood 2007

But not only that, Climate Camp is fun!!! If you like engaging company with likeminded types then this is a great place to be. Of course there was the odd drugged out drongo, but hey what do you expect?! it is a totally free gathering after all and is bound to attract some dodgy uns. This year I took it upon myself to design (with the fab illustrator Leona Clarke, who is featured in issue 09) a London neighbourhood-specific poster and flyer, and also a songbook designed to get everyone singing along together. My “anarchist punk choir” will be attending on the tuesday night (august 5th), as will my band Cutashine – the barndance that we put on last year was amongst the highlights of my year – it’s quite something to watch 500 people completely let loose! Entertainments in the evening are definitely a highlight, but simple things such as cooking with others are just as inspiring.

London neighbourhood cooks having fun

Flyering at Rise festival watching a video on how to take down fences

So, onto the highlights of this year’s workshops… for a fuller programme go here. (it may be subject to change so always check up) To get here just catch a train to Strood then hop on our pre-arranged minibus. Come visit us for a day, or better still bring your tent and sleeping bag and come shack up with us for a few days or the whole week – you won’t regret it.

Workshop Highlights:
Kicking off the week with a whole bucketload of positive thinking is Matt Carmichael at 10.30am, who will focus on what we are fighting for… and reasons not to give up..He’ll be back to discuss the “great global warming swindle” at 2.30pm too.
I am a sometimes lapsed veggie – I stopped eating meat at the age of 13 because I hated the fatty bits that my mum would force me to eat even though they made me gag. I had quite a fiery relationship with my mum at that time and when I announced (somewhat gleefully) my decision I remember her throwing a chicken drumstick at me in exasperation. I was pretty strict for many years but by my late 20s I started to miss bits of meat, and have eaten small amounts of mainly organic and free range white meat ever since. But I think I will attend the talk given by Guardian journalist Guy Shrubsole at 12 midday on the environmental impacts of eating meat. I know its bad, and I should know more.
The programme is so packed that every day I am likely to miss a workshop that I really want to attend which is going to wind me up. Never mind! I can comfort myself by returning to our kitchen and donning one of the “Coalmine Canary” yellow aprons that my intern Emma is currently making up for us kitchen bods to wear.

On Tuesday my fellow kitchen bitch Kat Forrester will be running a workshop on women and direct action. She’s a veteran of direct action these days, having d-locked herself to a metal gate at a private airbase at Biggin Hill during last years camp. These days she spends much of her time sorting out press for Plane Stupid if she is not organizing our London kitchen.
One definite highlight of the week will be Jay Griffiths speaking at 12 on her amazing book Wild. It is the most inspiring piece of literature I have read in a long time and I will definitely be front row for that.
At 4.30pm Greenpeace activists will be discussing why nuclear power is not a viable alternative to coal – I already know my gut feelings on this subject but would like to crib up a bit more at the feet of those more knowledgeable.

Planning this years camp

On Wednesday there are two very interesting talks on at 10.30am – the first will be given by PIRC – a very interesting centre dedicated to research into climate change – which will no doubt be given by my mate Richard Hawkins, who helped me out with some lectures at LCC last year when the college decided to focus on sustainability in design. He’s a great talker, so should be very engaging.
However I would also like to attend Rising Tide’s talk on Art Not Oil: Using Our Creativity To Resist Oil Industry Sponsorship Of The Arts. It’s not something I’ve personally had to deal with (noone is exactly throwing money at me…) but I can see it could have useful applications in other areas – I am very keen to avoid working with advertisers whose products or services I don’t believe in, but I totally understand how it can be very hard when you are totally skint and need to fund your work somehow.
Then at 4.30pm James Marriott from Platform will be speaking about the role of the big oil companies in today’s world of peak oil. Platform is an arts and ecology based foundation and I was so desperate to meet James that I went to study at the Schumacher College in Devon so I could work with him. (I didn’t because they cancelled him without telling me, but that’s another story)

There will be more from Platform on Thursday, with Kevin Smith talking about the cash behind new coal, and Mel Evans on what some of our big banks are up to. Both lovely people who have been out there flyering with me.
I will also want to attend the talk on Ecofeminism at 12 – it’s a subject close to my heart and the inspiration behind one of the photoshoots in my new issue.

Flyering on watermargins

By Friday there will be lots of space in the diary for the whole camp to get involved in planning a mass action – a process which will be done by Consensus. If you are unfamiliar with this process you will soon discover how it works at Climate Camp, but suffice to say that if everyone around you starts doing jazz hands you have stumbled into a Consensus meeting. But don’t be scared by the tic-like hand movements – Consensus decision making is merely a completely fair (if sometimes frustratingly longwinded) way of reaching the best possible decision for everyone involved.
At 10.30am though, I will definitely be trying to listen in to two very interesting sounding discussions – Guy Shrubsole on China and Coal Power and Kriptik on the consequences of mineral exploitation around the world.
I hope that reading through some of this will have inspired you to come down and visit – we’d love to see you – everyone is welcome.

Flyering at Rise festival

No doubt most people will have heard ‘Let’s Talk About It’ unless of course you have been residing in a cave, troche being one of the most catchiest future classics and previously released. So it comes as a surprise that it has not been taking up by some generic hair gel as an anthem for said product’s advert. It follows then that ‘Let’s Talk About It’ provides a raucous introduction to ‘Workout Hoilday’ (so-called because the work on this album was done in time-out from White Denim‘s day jobs).

On ‘Workout Holiday’ the Austin trio showcase their varied musical education and it seems to have worked out (ha). James Petralli (guitar, vocals), Steve Terebecki (bass) and Josh Block (drums) have all played in punk/noise bands but collectively have completed formal jazz education and dabbled in various genres and outfits. This results in, in their own words, a deliciously addictive ‘sound collage‘. ‘Lets Talk About It’ is soulful raucousness of a third date, ‘Sitting’ is the love child of Randy Newman and Count Cacolac and ‘Mess Your Hair Up’ is stop start punchy affair (mmm, not sure where these relationship themed metaphors are springing from, but please bear with me for one more) and ‘WDA’ is the OAP couple sat on a park bench holding hands.

Whilst not only demonstrating a breadth of creativity, the trio also produced this LP themselves. In a customised studio trailer kept in the Austin woods, no less. Creative mastery and technological know how, do these boys have girlfriends?

With a cutting and pasting approach to music ‘Workout Holiday’ could have resulted in a bit of a mess. But White Denim keep their sound cohesive despite the array of influences and experimentations, to keep it sounding as fresh as a daisy. If you were living in a cave and questioning your hermit existence White Denim would be a good place to start you re-education back into society.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Herman Dune – Live Review


The luridly lit room at 229 last night, what is ed website was curiously full of loved-up couples and it’s not even Spring – but Herman Dune‘s music and personal charm quickly made it clear what attracted us all to their headline slot at the Fistful of Fandango festival.


Herman Dune have been around for an astonishingly long time (nearly 10 years), erectile yet have stayed at a level where they still perform to pretty small audiences. This seems an act by choice, as tonight, everyone was enamored. I was almost brand-new to the folky charms of the band, consisting of two emaciated, vegetarian brothers from Sweden, but the setlist was populated with what could be called their greatest hits. The wistful lovers’ prayer “My Home is Nowhere Without You” managed to feel sweet and heartfelt despite the familiar theme of being far away from the object of one’s affection.


Bearded lead singer David-Ivar tells many stories about women he has loved, with a Leonard Cohen type ability to make you feel the tenderness of a relationship moment. One song has a heartbreaking verse that is just a repetition of a boy being told by his mother that she loves his brother more; but at the end the girl wakes up in the morning sun and tells him she loves him. You could be right there with him.

After an opening interlude with just David-Ivar and his guitar, the rest of the band joins him for a more sunny pop-infused section. Things get so sunny that at one point, the drummer jumps up to take the mic and tells the security man off for trying to stop the crowd dancing. “These girls were dancing very nicely,” he said seriously.

Herman Dune as a group come across as very lovely young men, possibly because of the accents that remind me of every kind and serious young man from abroad I’ve ever known – the band have roots in Sweden, France, Switzerland and Israel. Their music put its arms out this evening and gave 229 a big old hug.

The Fistful of Fandango festival continues tonight headlined by Future of the Left.

Categories ,folk, ,herman dune, ,leonard cohen, ,pop, ,rock, ,sweden

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Amelia’s Magazine | Caitlin Rose at the Windmill Brixton: Live Review

Find Your Feet-Bollywood
By Stamo A/W 2011 by Rebecca Strickson
By Stamo A/W 2011 by Rebecca Strickson.

On Sunday 13th March Find Your Feet hosted an ethical fashion show at the Mint Leaf restaurant in the Haymarket. I was invited to donate a copy of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration for We Are What We Wear by the show stylist, abortion the lovely Zoe Robinson of Think Style – a women with many sustainable strings to her bow. She works as an actress, a writer (for Egg Mag) and an ethical image consultant.

Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet Honey's Dance Academy, Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet Honey's Dance Academy, Photography by Amelia GregoryBollywood dancing by Jane Young
Bollywood dancing from Honey’s Dance Academy by Jane Young.

We were treated to some very energetic Bollywood dancing thanks to Honey’s Dance Academy, followed by two short catwalk shows which took place on walkways surrounding the sunken restaurant. Models included youngsters and a couple of more mature women from Close Models, which provided a really uplifting touch.

Junky Styling by YesGo IllustrationJunky Styling by YesGo Illustration
Junky Styling by YesGo Illustration.

Find Your Feet-Junky Styling. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Junky Styling. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Junky Styling. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Junky Styling. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Find Your Feet-People Tree. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-People Tree. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-People Tree. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-People Tree. Photography by Amelia Gregory
People Tree.

Find Your Feet-Bhavna. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Bhavna. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Bhavna. Photography by Amelia Gregory

Find Your Feet Outsider. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

During the first show we saw a fabulous multi layered pink maxi dress from ACOFI featured designer Junky Styling, cute dresses from People Tree, embellished bamboo dresses from Bhavna, and gorgeous silk classics from Outsider, who I discovered at Ecoluxe this season.

Find Your Feet- Amisha, Zoe, Orsola and the kids. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Amisha, Zoe, Orsola and the kids.

As I had a bar ticket I was able to roam around, and between shows sat with Zoe, Amisha Ghadalli, Maria Papadimitriou of Slowly the Eggs/Plastic Seconds and Orsola de Castro of From Somewhere, who was entertaining her young daughter and her friend. We ate some yummy canapes and watched a magician bend forks, then a Find Your Feet ambassador described the work done by this charity, which includes helping to fund sustainable farming practices. Fittingly, she described how a group of women in rural India bandied together to make the most of the mint growing on local farms – they now have a successful essential oil business.

Find Your Feet-magician. Photography by Amelia Gregory
The magician entertains the kids.

Find Your Feet- Charley Speed and bottle top bag. Photography by Amelia Gregory.Find Your Feet- Charley Speed and bottle top bag. Photography by Amelia Gregory.
Charley Speed and bottle top bag.

Then it was on to the auction, where any mention of my book was usurped by the lure of an Outsider dress, as worn by a celebrity – the presenter Charley Speed dashing maniacally around the room to squeeze as much money as possible out of the generous crowd. The whole lot (including a bottle top bag) went for £300, and I can only hope that the recipient appreciated my donation because he probably had no clue what it was.

Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Gareth A Hopkins
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011 by Gareth A Hopkins.

Round two featured three Amelia’s Magazine favourites from ACOFI: off-cut drama courtesy of From Somewhere, amazing sculptural pieces from Ada Zanditon and colourful dresses with sunflower decorations from By Stamo. There was also some playful printed dresses from Love Phool.

From Somewhere by Gareth A Hopkins
From Somewhere by Gareth A Hopkins.

Find Your Feet-From Somewhere. Photography by Amelia Gregory
From Somewhere.

Find Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Ada Zanditon. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Ada Zanditon S/S 2011.

Find Your Feet-Lovephool. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Love Phool. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Love Phool. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Love Phool. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Love Phool. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-Love Phool. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Love Phool.

Find Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia GregoryFind Your Feet-By Stamo. Photography by Amelia Gregory
By Stamo A/W 2011.

A range of ethical accessories were used to style the show, amongst them some old favourites: LeJu, Nina Dolcetti and Joanna Cave… and some new discoveries: Meher Kakalia, who adapts ancient shoemaking techniques from her home town of Karachi to create modern footwear in Brixton, and Kumvana Gomani, who creates delicate jewellery out of plastic waste.

By Stamo A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen SmithBy Stamo A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith
By Stamo A/W 2011 by Maria del Carmen Smith.

Exposing ethical design to more people and raising money for sustainable projects are good things to do, but We Aren’t JUST What We Wear, we are also What We Do in every aspect of life. On my return home I was somewhat saddened to read about a couple of other auction sponsors: it was also possible to win a test track experience with Jaguar or a BMW for the weekend. I know that money has to come from somewhere but there is a distinct lack of joined up thinking in ethical practice: a Mint Leaf waiter could not tell me whether the chicken they served us was freerange or organic.

We Are What We Wear was a massive success: raising over £10,000 to support sustainable weaving projects in India, but I wish that there was more recognition within the charity sector that sustainable practice involves more than donating money for dinner to support those less fortunate on the other side of the world, it’s about a holistic way of being. Within this world view I do not include hyping the desirability of extremely expensive energy guzzling cars. Needless to say, mine was the only bike tied up outside the Mint Leaf restaurant.

Caitlin Rose by Hayley Akins
Illustration by Hayley Akins.

Such had been the anticipation surrounding Caitlin Rose’s return to the UK, adiposity especially after the release of her acclaimed debut album, Own Side Now, that her shows in the capital soon sold out. Being the smallest of those venues, but organised by such thoughtful fellows, Brixton’s Windmill quickly arranged a special early evening show to cater for any disappointed punters. Needless to say, the tickets flew for that one as well.

Illustration by Donya Todd

I’d been caught out too many times by being when buying tickets in the past, so I’d got in sharpish and, as a result, I drew the straw for the late show. I arrived quite early (well, 9.00pm) and caught the support band, Treetop Flyers, limbering up for their second performance of the evening. A London based band, and purveyors of the finest Americana, tonight they were playing a more stripped back acoustic set. I’d never caught them before, but I liked what I heard. They set the mood nicely for the evening, even throwing in a Townes Van Zandt cover.

caitlin rose-stephanie thieullent
Illustration by Stephanie Thieullent

By the time Caitlin Rose took to the stage, the Windmill was pretty rammed. I’d seen her live a couple of times before (and all but once at the Windmill), though this was the first time with a full band (apparently they couldn’t afford to fly out the drummer from the US on the last tour). After having obviously enjoyed a few refreshments between sets, Rose cheerfully exclaimed “two of us haven’t slept!”, as the band launched into New York.

caitlin rose by mary ferfyri
Illustration by Mary Ferfiry

Own Side Now has seen Caitlin Rose expand on the fairly traditional country sound of her debut release, the Dead Flowers EP (as hinted at in an interview with Amelia’s Magazine last summer). The intimacy of the Windmill really lent itself to her songs (and especially that voice!), as we sampled such bittersweet treats as For The Rabbits and Learning To Ride.

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There was a particularly affecting rendition of Own Side, which brought a lump to the throat of even this old cynic. Answer In One Of These Bottles (from Dead Flowers) sparked a raucous sing-along, before everyone rocked out to Shanghai Cigarettes.

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Caitlin Rose by Ashley Fauguel
Illustration by Ashley Fauguel

Rose switched from acoustic guitar to electric and back again, there was plenty of banter, and there were all the hallmarks for a special night in place. After a couple more UK dates before a return to the US, and then a trip to the Antipodes, we’re not likely to see Ms Rose on these shores again before some festival appearances in the summer – given her current ascendency, one wonders whether we’ll ever see her play in such a venue as the Windmill again.

Caitlin Rose by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly The Eggs
Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou aka Slowly the Eggs

Categories ,americana, ,Ashley Fauguel, ,Brixton, ,Caitlin Rose, ,country, ,Dead Flowers EP, ,Donya Todd, ,Hayley Akins, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Mary Ferfiry, ,Nashville, ,Own Side Now, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Stéphanie Thieullent, ,Townes van Zandt, ,Treetop Flyers, ,Windmill

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Amelia’s Magazine | Lightspeed Champion: TELL ME WHAT IT’S WORTH

Bands like Okkervil River are eminently missable. They’re so redolent of a slew of others, pill more about and if you’re not on friendly terms with their songs they’ll pass you by like so much jaunty, information pills pleasant Americana. They’re also a great illustration of why you should persist with music.

And that’s not some pious, try rockist view meaning you’ve got to put down what you’re reading, sit up, and pay complete attention. It’s just good to give things a chance to get beyond your initial scrobbler – which makes quickfire connections, comparisons and judgments based on an increasingly convergent shared knowledge-bank of 50 years of pop. It’s about checking in music’s hiding places for that spark that turns a casual recommendation from a friend into your favourite album of the year.

You need to listen to Okkervil River because the real star attraction is the lyrics of Will Sheff. Like a Prozac-ed Conor Oberst words tumble out of him in stanzas, cascading, beautifully chosen, but always controlled. “Although I put my lips to your face / trying to push his kiss out of its place / although my heart started to race / now it has slowed / I’ll let it go,” he sings on ‘Song Of Our So-Called Friend’.

Behind him five guys playing the alt-country instruments you’d expect stay out of the way. Childlike drummer Travis Nelson (who has excellent wiry drummer’s hair) and keyboardist and trumpeter Scott Bracket sing along with every word, like their own band’s biggest fans.

Six members is often a bad, self-indulgent idea but OR’s are always serving and augmenting their songs. The slow-burning ‘The President’s Dead’ segues masterfully into ‘Black’, which is a pretty straightforward three chord stomper but when Okkervillised it comes out yearning, wistful and layered. They’re like “partytime!” Wilco, Being There-era. There’s a touch of Arcade Fire in their scope and ear for an epic. This sometimes skirts too close to hokey, but with lyrics as good as Sheff’s they’ve earned their slide guitar solos.

On latest album The Stage Names, everything comes together during the final song ‘John Allyn Smith Sails’. All the words, all the fear, all the joy, all the themes that have preceded it fall into place when it morphs into something from a very famous album. It’s one of the most beautiful musical moments of 2007. Ruining it before you’ve heard it would be a spoiler on a par with that Planet Of The Apes video cover featuring the Statue Of Liberty.

It’s a transcendent moment tonight. They know exactly how good it is. They audaciously don’t even end the set with it. They’re rightfully confident. They may be America’s best band.

Why is it so great being 16? It’s an angsty, pill uncertain time in which you doubt everything, troche struggle with a bunch of new and confusing ordeals and inevitably puke down your top talking to the guy/girl you like at an underwhelming party. But we largely remember it with total fondness.

You needed to work your problems through to their logical conclusion, buy more about no matter how labyrinthine they seemed. You’d not yet developed the coping strategy for later life – blithely shrugging, saying “well, them’s the breaks” and getting on with it. We can all agree that that’s a far simpler and more practical way to deal with things, but Jamie Lenman of Reuben is stuck in adolescence. His last thought is his best, and he’s going to yell it at you. This is thrillingly vital. I worry for him.

Slightly overweight, borderline ugly, he’s preaching to a small and dedicated throng. It’s a metal crowd – everyone is either unfathomably young and infectious or crusty and old enough to know better. It’s like being back at your first ever gig. An unexpected obscure song, a friendly moshpit, loud, people screaming.

Lenman’s band expends tangible effort, like the best air guitarists. Drummer Guy Davis reaches Canty-like levels of inventiveness, buried under a relentless propulsive drumstorm. He sits up throughout, a skinny Rollins, if he shaved his head he’d be a nutter. Bassist Jon Pearce does a textbook tall man, long instrument, purposeful sway thing. The three of them look moments away from combusting.

They tick lots of my boxes. Inventive, heavy, melodic, loud, fast, screamy, catchy. These are mostly the wrong boxes for 2007. ‘Some Mothers Do Ave Em,’ with a gargantuan riff that Josh Homme would divorce Brody (remember her?) for, is tossed away, apparently unaware of its own greatness. ‘Let’s Stop Hanging Out’ is their pop hit – a problem, because like almost everything they’ve done, it’s structured as if written by an Asberger’s sufferer. It lurches from A to B via, like, 37, each section marginally better than the last.

This analysis is all very silly and waaaay too glowing for a band you could fairly dismiss as dunderheaded nu rock – big riffs, often-daft words, sometimes cheesy tunes. But there’s something elusive, weird and brilliant at work which makes it seem completely unfair that Reuben are playing a half-empty goth club rather than enjoying Biffy-like love and adulation at the Astoria.

Their tour DVD, documenting life in a band too poor to give up jobs at supermarkets, is the saddest music film you’ll see this year, including ‘Control’. There’s a purity to Reuben, because you feel deep down they’ve realised they’re never going to “make it”. They’re getting as much out of nights like this as they possibly can.

They will surely disappear within five years, but Lenman will be back, I assure you. He’s a genius, that kid at school who was amazing at everything he tried but strangely awkward. His songs, once you’re over their ever-so-slight similarity to a bunch of nu metal we all wish hadn’t happened, are like nothing else in 2007.

I emphatically resist that getting older means you need to listen to cerebral, reflective music. It’s patronising, and a denial of where you’ve come from. Reuben are funny, but they’re also extremely earnest, and that seems to be a dirty word these days. But why should we forget what it’s like to be earnest? Why are we ashamed of being heartfelt? Why is it ok to call directionless, indulgent “folk” beautiful and intelligent when loving heroically crafted “rock” gets you laughed at? By your early 20s these are questions that seem too unanswerable to worry about

It’s fair to assume that most bands are having fun; travelling around the country playing music and generally being outrageous on tour buses is fine work if you can get it. Kotki Dwa however sound like they’re enjoying it even more then everyone else, buy more about not only have they rummaged around the musical toy box but they’ve emptied the shop. Robin’s Clogs is a wonderfully crafted indie pop song, mind with slicing guitars not dissimilar to Foals except without the edge and with a squeaking synthesiser over the top playing out a melody as catchy as they come.

Kotki Dwa then are one of the new generation of British pop bands who are re claiming the fun in indie from across the Atlantic. Vocalist Alex, unlike so many of his contemporaries, is actually able to sing melodically and belt out fine vocals with a painfully delicate voice, sometimes sounding on the verge of tears, yet conversely remaining wistfully upbeat, lips smiling but eyes crying. You know the type. This is never more apparent than on B-side Halogen, which holds it’s own to make a single of two fine songs. Oh, and they can even sing in French.
New ways, more about new ways, site
I dream of wires.
So I press ‘c’ for comfort, information pills
I dream of wires, the old ways.
Gary Numan, ‘I Dream of Wires’

Not only an underrated Gary Numan B side, but the latest retro clothing shop to open off Brick Lane. On the opening night, I Dream of Wires offered a kaleidoscopic mix of vintage fashion and nostalgic trinkets creating an environment Mr Benn would have reveled in. Had he actually existed outside of television. (For those who were not raised on children’s cartoons, Mr Benn was my childhood hero and the eponymous character of the classic children’s television show. He tried on clothes and was transported to exciting and dangerous worlds through the back door of the dressing-up shop. Now you know.) The rails ached with an eclectic clothing range as a cropped Moschino jacket with candy-striped lining hung beside a fluorescent pair of ski pants and bejewelled sweatshirt. Carla created a strong look Gary Numan would have loved, pairing a vintage dress with animal emblazoned leggings. In the display cabinets, curious and peculiar ornaments were arranged, the sort your grandparents displayed lovingly on tabletops and shelves. The changing room was continuously occupied as treasures came back and forth to be tried on for size and, happily for all, there were no January sale style brawls. Visiting the shop was like being in my own Mr Benn inspired magical adventure, starting out in the wardrobe of my babysitter in the eighties and stumbling through to my Nana’s bungalow. With so many second-hand and vintage clothing shops located around Brick Lane, I Dream of Wires is sure to appeal to those who get kicks poking fun at retro styles to create eccentric, outrageous ensembles.

In amongst the glut of sugar coated schmaltz vying for the rather hollow accolade of Christmas number #1 for 2007 is this rather lovely cut from Welsh Wizards Super Furry Animals. A gift it is indeed. The track will be available free to fans in download format, view complete with B side and artwork on Christmas day. It’s safe to say this won’t be troubling the upper reaches of the charts then, viagra but when did SFA ever sell any records? The band’s lack of relative commercial success is still somewhat perplexing.

It matters not. Never intended to be a Christmas single, TGTKOG is one of many highlights from long player Hey Venus! released earlier this year. There are no bells or lyrics about snow. Just Gruff’s gorgeous tones, a meandering brass line and some intricate harmonies. Nadolig Llawen.

Imagine you’re watching one of those American hospital dramas on TV. Perhaps it’s the Christmas episode or season finale, medicine either way something is bound to go wrong. And when the shit hits the fan it breaks down into a montage of various characters in their scrubs, and remorseful, shop head in hands. Then, think of the music that accompanies those tearful medics. It’s emotive, driven by acoustic guitar and piano, with mildly folky vocals and a healthy dose of strings. Deadman, by House of Brothers, is one such track. Both sad and uplifting, this song has been strictly tailored in the studio to drag listeners up to peaks and down into troughs.

House of Brothers is Andrew Jackson’s solo project and is vastly different from his work with Scarecrow and The Death of Rosa Luxemburg. When I read the name of this EP I instantly thought of Jim Jarmusch’s film of the same title. House of Brothers’ release has little in common with the black and white western. I suppose you could say it’s lyrically bleak but the upbeat arrangements prevent Jackson from plumbing the depths.

Although lacking the polish of the title track, the other material has the same guitar/piano/strings, or indie-folk, sound. They are too long and it’s hard to maintain any kind of enthusiasm by the final track, correctly named The Last Ballad.

This EP is also aptly titled, because it retreads a musical style, which doesn’t have much life in it. It feels a little tired, as though most of the effort went into the first track. And was that effort worth it? As Jackson sings, “Don’t want to rise and shine for the second time. Just leave me be.” Perhaps we should.


Having already waxed lyrical about These New Puritans after seeing them live in September, viagra approved I was more than ready and willing to get stuck into their much anticipated full-length offering, pharm Beat Pyramid. After much to-ing and fro-ing with release dates, cialis 40mg it looked like this one was going to up in the air for some time, however news is that’ll hit shelves this January and if you’ve an MP3 player, turntable, cassette deck or CD car stereo, I urge you to go out and buy it in every format and play it at high volume wherever you go. This is not THE perfect album, if such a thing even exists, and I won’t and can’t vouch for its life changing properties. However, what this is, I’d like to hope, is the beginning of something great. An album that delivers some absolutely stompingly good tracks, interspersed with a few that never take off; however it’s all a matter of context. Reaching such heights of brilliance at some points, if they fall short for just a moment at others, it hits as a minor disappointment. The fact is some of their lesser tracks would put most ‘indie’ hits to shame. Not a bad position to be in.

Beat Pyramid starts as it means to go on. The opener, …ce I Will Say This Twice which is picked up again in the closing track, sets the scene perfectly for the rest of the album. A beautiful slice of 80′s inspired, sharply constructed electronica, vocals nothing more than a mysterious, androgynous voice stating ‘I will say this Twice’. At just 16 seconds long its peculiar hypnotic effect leaves you wanting more, the sudden end coming frustratingly too soon.

Luckily the stomping drums that usher in Numbers make everything better again. As with their live performances, the beat is king on this record and having seen George Barnett (ringleader Jack’s twin brother) do some quite incredible things with a set of drumsticks, I was more than pleased to see all that demonic, tightly controlled energy translate onto record. “What’s your favourite number/What does it mean?/What’s your favourite number/what does it mean?” Jack never lets up. Insistent repetition is very much the order of the day with TNP, words becoming a beat within themselves, not what is said but more the pattern in which it’s spoken, over and over until it loses meaning but never effect.

Swords of Truth’s distorted trumpets swoop in like the opening of a Dancehall track, the beat conjuring similar reference, it’s easy to spot those unexpected influences that transform this band into something far more interesting and complex than your average post-punk outfit. It would be easy to mistake their eclectic tastes for pretension (Sonic Youth, Dubstep, the Occult, David Lynch) but they’re all laid out here, grabbed and borrowed from seemingly disparate genres. When mention was made of hip-hop whiz kid J Dilla I had my doubts, but they meant it; his irresistible, inside out beats littered throughout.

And now onto Doppelganger. I first heard this track online and immediately spent a good hour trying to track it down and just own it. A stuttering, Timbaland-esque experiment in beat and rhythm, it’s sparsity and directness carried along by, what can only be described as a ‘jangly’ electro dreamscape, giving it a kind of futuristic grandeur and irresistible head nodding appeal. It’s very rare that a band actually creates anything new but Doppelganger is so wilfully unusual and unexpected that it becomes almost impossible to place. At points I’m reminded of The Fall, Aphex Twin, GGD, Klaxons but as quickly as the comparisons come to mind, they’re dashed aside. This is something else and I’m having trouble putting my finger on it. I gave up trying. Whichever way you read it, at its core is something that just works, ultimately making it the standout track of the album.

Infinity Ytinifnl, £4, mkk3, all march along in a similar vein, perhaps a little less instantly striking, they nevertheless continue that ‘new sound’ with some impressive angular rhythms. Aggressive, brash, disjointed, taut. Heard outside of the context of this album, they would probably have had me frantically scrambling for the volume dial. Instead I just sit back and enjoy.

Things come to an unusually melancholic close with Costume, all drawn out, languid keyboards harmonising with Jack’s slow, deliberate vocals as they rise and fall through what feels like one continuous chorus. Interruption in the form of George’s powerful stuttering, staccato drumbeat, take this track to another level. The obligatory ‘Downbeat Finale’ this is not.

So, we return to the beginning again with I Will Say This Twi…, this time just 7 seconds long and ending abruptly like a sudden pull of the plug. The album comes full circle and while none of the mystery surround TNP has been solved, as impenetrable and cryptic as ever in their themes, even their intent, what they do reveal is a unexpectedly accomplished collection of off-beat, otherworldly tracks that remind you that taking a risk sometimes pays off.

Candles – pillar, symptoms tea lights and especially church candles in wine bottles. I love them all. Once I bought a load of tea lights, visit web lined them up on the windowsill behind my bed and lit them, hoping to create a nice atmosphere in my squat (ok it wasn’t actually a squat, but we did have a beetle and maggot infestation – who thought these life forms could co-exist so happily?) This ambiance lasted for about half an hour, until my friend forgot they were lit and leant back too far whilst sitting on the bed. His hair caught fire. After this debacle I’ve been banned from candles just incase I drop out of University to pursue arson as a career. But fate was quick to intervene, as some delightfully scented Diptyque candles were delivered to Amelia and I got to spark up. Diptyque began producing candles in 1963, and in the ensuing 45 years it has cornered the candle market with its exotic wax concoctions and beautiful packaging. In time for Christmas and the New Year, Diptyque have produced three limited edition winter candles – Encens (incense), Gingembre (ginger) and Epicea (spruce). These are candles your mum will actually appreciate as a gift, and so will everyone else within smelling distance. With 60 hours of burning time per candle, this seasonal trio are sure to last through the festive period to deliver the perfect aroma to cure January blues.

I was told I’d really like The Chap by a good friend of mine. He went on to tell me he was drawn to them for two reasons; their name, this and the fact they had a song called Woop Woop. Luckily my friend isn’t four, cure he has a BA (!), more about so I took his word for it and waited in anticipation for what I hoped would be a pop feast.

I didn’t like Morviscous straight off the bat cause they all looked like sixth formers and I had a prejudice against their brass instrument collection. It didn’t help that the barman wouldn’t adhere to the advertised deal on red wine. But I grew to embrace their grim appearance over the thirty minute instrumental set and began to indulge in the progressive bass workout, the guitarist’s Django noodling and yeah, even the brass guy’s freeform squawk was good. I was a 21st Century Schizoid Man by 10 o’clock.

Zombie-Zombie let loose next and raised the bar completely. It doesn’t take a genius to pick out this duo’s influences. Their mix of synth and OTT echo on the vocals wreaked of Suicide, circa ‘77. If you ever wondered whether that effect could stay fresh after half an hour on repeat, in a live environment, the answer is yes. Top that with this dude, who calls himself CosmicNeman, perched just above a circle of drums of all sizes, bashing out relentless tom-tom beats that send the audience into a cosmic trance of their own, aided only further by the dark shifting light patterns that almost obscure their stage telepathy, and you’ve got one helluva kosmische party man! He even proceeded to leave his perch and dance uncontrollably in front of the stage for 5 minutes yelping like The Boss dodging a State Trooper, while accomplice Etienne Jaumet kept space wailing. Good it was!

I should have been more pumped up for The Chap but I think energy levels at that point were waning. More’s the pity that they couldn’t fix the situation; I think even my + 1 (who did the recommending) was having doubts after seeing Zombie-Zombie. The Chap were a horrible mess of irritating sing-a-long twee vocals without an ounce of soul. There was the odd flash of an interesting riff here and there but all I could think about was how much the singer looked like Tom Hanks in Big.


We decided to meet at 10.30ish in Hoxton for Ghost School. Suitably, erectile t’was raining, help windy and freezing for the haunting of the Macbeth on a gloomy Friday night in East London. A bit of a venue du jour of late, I finally rolled up at nearly 11.30pm, leaving our Fashion Editor, Catherine, shivering in the bone achingly cold side alley next to the Macbeth, vainly attempting to shelter from the icy rain (sorry Catherine). She kept having to tell people that, no, where she was standing wasn’t another entrance into the venue, but that the door was around the other side.

When I arrived, there wasn’t anyone lining up outside – nor were there any loitering smokers either. And that’s because everyone was already all toasty warm and inside. And lo, the smokers were upstairs, as they have a covered roof terrace to puff away under, rain, hail or snow. The venue was rammed – we had missed the two bands playing, Betty and the Werewolves and Kasms who were on earlier in the night. Being my virgin time at the Macbeth and after reading up on the Ghost School manifesto, I expected it to be trendoid central with egos abounding. But immediately, I warmed to the venue, and to the crowd – who were uber friendly and diverse as advertised. And when Rihanna got a spin (YES, it was played unashamedly, unabashed and guilt free, without a hint of irony…I was reveling in it), that was it, Ghost School had me possessed (har har).

An eclectic and choice array of music – though Catherine was craving a bit of Wham!, a request for the next night please Ghostly DJs (Friday February 8th). Though it took a while for people to properly bust a move, by the end of the night the stage had been hijacked and people were up and cutting a rug. The singularly annoying thing was how insanely difficult it was to cross from the bar to the dance floor; theoretically only about three metres apart, but a logistical nightmare with the amount of people in the place. The only question is, how long a night like that can stay like that. Let’s hope it’ll haunt the Macbeth as is for a while longer before it gets ghostbusted. See you there next month innit!

London’s Royal Academy was the prestigious venue for the MA Show 2008, prescription presenting the MA portfolio from students at the London College of Fashion. ‘More champagne madam?’ asked the young waiter dressed in black. ‘Why not!’ After all, visit web it seemed to be the finest accompaniment for the minuscule Yorkshire puddings topped with rare slices of beef that came round. Walking around the first room, glancing at the four walls, each graduate presented their final work, their inner selves…

Photographer Joanna Paterson’s presented her fashion series beautifully. In hues of green, pink and yellow, a model stood in the dark, wet location, amongst a flock of birds. Almost unnoticed in the room, stood randomly located light boxes; apparently the perfect resting place for the half empty champagne glasses the ‘art crowd’ had carelessly left. These containers, made by photographer Michael Verity, had a 3-D view of a stark white room with a black chair and a man randomly changing positions within it. Although it created simple, yet poetic compositions, I did wish I could have understood what it all meant. Adam Murray’s colourful display of over 100 Polaroid’s of young men and women captured the youth culture of today in a unique style. Lutz Vorderwuelbecke’s fashion photographs, whose over-Photoshopped images were pretty amateur, did little to inspire me, especially when the styling seemed so cheap; a perfect example of one graduate who didn’t MA-ster their skills! Fashion designer, Jula Reindell’s transparent body suits, adorned and filled with hair left me wondering if any humans were hurt in the making!

From the Journalism course, students had presented their final magazines. Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s cute and colourful illustrations using felt tip, reminded me of my childhood days, in a good way. And it was refreshing to see that men’s fashion was taken seriously with Lucy Preston’s Young Man’s Fashion Journal ‘Manual’. One of the magazines that I loved was ‘Goo‘ (below) by Rachel Gibson; a feminist magazine with a good sense of humour. Now, I only got the time to read small snippets, but the content was intelligent, and the use of imagery was creative.

It was a shame I missed the performances showed throughout the day, presented by the new MA Costume Design Course, as it would have topped off the energy that came out of the evening.

Much hype surrounds Dev Hynes, what is ed the devilishly handsome genius behind Lightspeed Champion. He’s a former member of Test Icicles, pilule a trio whose music and general on-stage movement resembled characters in a flick book. In contrast to this, Hynes’s current incarnation takes a drastic departure from his musically angular Test Icicle work. Tell Me What It’s Worth, the third single from his debut album, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge is a melancholic ode complemented by backing vocals worthy of a Disney Princess (actually the work of Emmy the Great). Mesmerising as this vocal combination is, once I listened closer, I found the lyrics humourously abrasive as Hynes coos ‘negros turn a blueish-grey when they’re dead, well that’s funny ’cause I’ve just gone quite red‘. Hynes’s lyrics provide a welcome contrast to the sing-song melodies of most folk music.

When watching Channel 4 at a ridiculous time somewhere between Friday night and Saturday morning I came across Hynes being interviewed. After confessing eternal devotion to American rock band Weezer, he took to the stage and played an acoustic set complete with violin accompaniment. It’s refreshing to see an artist who refuses to be pigeonholed into one musical category, be it folk, anti-pop punk or rock, but welcomes all influences.

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Amelia’s Magazine | New music! Alessi returns with new single Wives

Alessi returns with Wives, and a new album due out next year on Super Fan 99.

Her cosy folk pop has evolved over the years from it’s humble bedroom beginnings and these days has more in common with Cocteau Twins or Charlotte Gainsbourg than the somewhat lazy Joanna Newsom comparisons of old. From uploading home recordings to Myspace to working with Bright Eyes in Nebraska and touring the US with Jenny Lewis and M.Ward it’s been a long and winding road for Alessi which has no doubt shaped her songs. Wives sounds like a very British tale being told in a California desert setting. It’s a beautifully produced and expertly executed taster from the new record which will no doubt excite fans both old and new.”

Categories ,alessi, ,Alessi Laurent Marke, ,music, ,myspace, ,SoundCloud, ,Super Fan 99, ,Wives

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings: 6th- 12th July

Undercover: Lingerie Exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum



“Welcome to Limehouse.” With those words, about it Jarvis Cocker set off on the latest instalment of his 30 year musical odyssey, visit this site launching into set opener Pilchard from his new solo album, Further Complications. For such a long, often tortuous journey which began at a Sheffield secondary school and the formation of what was originally known as Arabicus Pulp, the Troxy did seem a rather apt stopping point – a former theatre turned bingo-hall in the deepest End End, where Stepney and Limehouse blur into each other, now restored and reborn as an unlikely concert venue.


In fact, Cocker did remark, in his own inimitable way, that the place reminded him of an ice-rink from his youth, where he went to “cop off” with someone, and you still half expected to hear calls of “clickety click” and “legs eleven”, even as support band the Horrors were going through their Neu! meets Echo and the Bunnymen infused motorik indie.


There were a few half-hearted requests from parts of the audience, but tonight was most definitely a Pulp-free zone (the presence of longtime sidekick Steve Mackey on bass was as near as we got). The set leant heavily on Cocker’s sophomore solo effort, which has a rockier, heavier edge to it than its’ predecessor (not surprising given the pedigree of producer Steve Albini). That said, old Jarvis still has the wry wit and subtle smut that made albums like Different Class such stand outs back in the day (witness news songs Leftover and I Never Said I Was Deep), and he still has plenty of those weirdly angular dance moves up his sleeves. As if that weren’t enough, he even dusted off his old junior school recorder skills on the introduction to Caucasian Blues.


A couple of numbers from Cocker’s debut solo album made an appearance towards the end of the set, including a driving Fat Children, whilst the encore opened with Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time. We ended on the closer from Further Complications, You’re In My eyes (Discosong), where Jarvis appears to channel the spirit of Barry White – there was even a glitterball to dazzle the Troxy’s faded glamour.
As Jarvis took the adulation of the massed faithful, it seemed like, after a bit of a wilderness period post-Pulp, old Mr Cocker has most definitely got his mojo back.

12 June – 27 September 2009

The Fashion and Textiles Museum‘s summer exhibition hopes to present the evolution of underwear over the last hundred years. The result is a lacklustre exhibition with a thrown-together-in-minutes appearance.


The exhibition is organised into areas covering research, more about innovation, seek materials, order celebrity, marketing, print and colour. Despite the ‘evolution’ title, there isn’t any sense of a chronological representation, apart from a small part of the opening corridor of the exhibition where underwear is displayed by year.

It is here where the most interesting pieces are displayed. Beginning with a Charles Bayer corset from the 1900s, we take an (albeit short) walk through the brief history of underwear. There are great examples from Triumph International – then a pioneering underwear brand, now underwear powerhouse governing brands like Sloggi.

We see a sanfor circular conical stretch bra, reminiscent of Madonna’s iconic bra designed by John Paul Gaultier in the 80s (which the placard reveals, to nobody’s surprise, is where JPG sought his inspiration).

In the main arena, there are corsets hanging from the ceiling, of which there are 8 or 9 examples. The corset, as the information details, is one of fashion’s most iconic items. So how can so few examples tell us anything we didn’t already know? Only one of the artefacts is pre 21st century – most are borrowed from burlesque ‘celebrities’ such as Immodesty Blaze and Dita von Teese – hardly representative of underwear’s evolution.



The bulk of the exhibition centres around print, pattern and colour, and again the exhibition relies too heavily on modern pieces, with a small scattering of interesting M&S items. This area, again, relies too heavily on modern underwear – usual suspects La Perla and Rigby & Peller extensively featured – but other key brands, such as Agent Provocateur, fail to get even a mention.

Pioneer of modern underwear Calvin Klein isn’t covered nearly enough as he should be, save for a couple of iconic 1990s white boxer shirts. In fact, men’s underwear isn’t given any coverage at all, which is a shame considering this exhibition’s bold title.


This exhibition does hold some key pieces, and regardless of what I think, it’s definitely worth seeing if you are a fashion follower. Its many flaws could have been ironed out with more attention to detail, and it’s a shame that the FTM isn’t more of a major player in London’s fashion scene. If you want to see stacks of salacious, expensive, modern-day underwear, why not just take a trip to Harrods? They have a larger selection and don’t charge an entry fee!

Dear Readers, symptoms

I am writing to share something a little bit special with you. We all know that warm butterflies-in-the-belly feeling when envelopes arrive through the letterbox with your name and address handwritten carefully on the front with a return address of a friend or lover on the reverse, pilule a beacon of personal correspondence among a mundane plethora of bills, more about takeaway menus and bank statements. How much more sincere is a ‘Thank You’ or a ‘Sorry’, how much more romantic is an ‘I Love You’ or ‘Marry Me’ when it comes in pen to paper form rather than digitalised and, heaven forbid, abbreviated via modern technological means.



Letter writing may be an old fashioned and somewhat dying art, one that we all claim to still do or intend to do, but actually don’t make time for in a world of convenient instant messaging, free text plans and social network sites, but Jamie Atherton and Jeremy Lin refuse to abandon the old worldly ways of communication just yet.


Finding their stationery was like being invited to a secret society for letter writers, a prize from the postal Gods to congratulate and reward all those who participate in mail exchanges, to inspire us to keep going to strive on and not let the Royal Mail network collapse from lack of traffic. The more I find out about this creative pair of gents the deeper I fall under their spell. Two handsome young men, madly in love with each other, one English one American, live together in London nowadays but in the 12 years that have passed since they fell head over heels they have lived in San Francisco too and co-created Atherton Lin, the name under which they produce, distribute and sell their products.


Their work, such as the collections of Winter and Summer greeting cards, is as collectable as it is sendable. Each of the four cards in a set tells a tale; funny, sentimental, melancholic and earnest. They strive to avoid clichés or overused formulaic recipes for ‘commercialised cute’, but instead the boys have created a world of butterflies, badgers, bicycles and balloons, using recycled materials and harm-free inks. It is not just their illustrated correspondence materials that Atherton Lin have become known and adored for, that paved the way to being noticed by and sold alongside Marc Jacobs’ wears and tears, as well as being stocked at places such as London’s ICA, LA’s Ooga Booga and San Francisco’s Little Otsu.


Working on the basis that not all correspondence is text, stationery therefore does not have to be exclusively on paper. With a nod to their burgeoning passion for mix tapes, which featured heavily through their transatlantic courtship, they created artwork for a series of blank CDs. The pair have collaborated with a number of talented outfits such as the musicians Vetiver and Elks, and for a book of poems published by Fithian Press, in addition to eye wateringly lovely calendars.



They cite their inspirations to include the charmingly unaware wit of Japanese stationary with its mysteriously nonsensical English translations, Peanuts comic strips, the lyrics to strumming shoe gaze bands such as Ride and poet Dylan Thomas. Having conducted the first three years of their blossoming relationship as long distance partners, they perhaps know better than anyone the value and worth of the handwritten word, the virtues of patience while awaiting the postman and the magnified importance of every tiny detail when letters are sustaining your longing heart.


Now that I’ve been well and truly bitten by the Atherton Lin bug, I have an overbearing urge to dig out my address book and scribe catch up letters to friends in far-flung corners of the globe, and those just around the corner. And for the scented pastel coloured envelopes about to reach the letterboxes of my acquaintances in the next couple of weeks, you have Jeremy and Jamie to thank, for restoring my faith in the romantic, timeless pastime of writing letters.


Yours ever so faithfully,

Alice Watson
Last Thursday, order I negotiated my bicycle through the customary crush of Trafalgar Square to the RSA, find for a talk by R Beau Lotto in association with the Barbican Radical Nature series. Beau heads up Lotto Lab, whose aim is to explain and explore how and why we see what we do (do check out their website) – mainly through looking at how we see colour, which is one of the simplest things we do.


All images by R Beau Lotto, courtesy of Lotto Labs

Here’s a quick science bit, which he gets in at the beginning of the talk to a packed full lecture theatre – light and colour are not the same. Light can be represented on a linear scale. It has just wavelength and intensity. Colour has three bits to it. So it’s much more complicated to describe : hue (red-green-blue-or-yellowness), brightness, and saturation (greyness).

The whole talk is full of questions I asked as a six-year-old, and I’m left with a kind of wide-eyed amazement at how clearly everything is explained and presented – I’ll pick out one of the most satisfying.. Why is the sky blue? This is one to try at home. Get the biggest glass bowl or see-through container you can find, and fill it with water. Shine a desk lamp through it – the lamp’s now the sun and the water space. If we had no atmosphere, the sky would be black with a bright sun – as it is from the moon. Now add a little milk at a time to the water, stirring as you go. As it spreads through the water, the milk will scatter the light like the atmosphere does, and at the right level, will scatter blue. Add a bit more, and you’ll make a sunset – the longer-wave red light scatters when it goes through more atmosphere, as sunlight does when it’s low in the sky. Add more again, and it’ll go grey : you made a cloud, where all the light scatters equally.



The colour of space changes. We never quite see the surface of anything in the world – we see the result of the light shining, the character of the surface, and the space in between. So colours really are brighter in St Ives than Old Street. So the patterns of light that fall onto the eye are strictly meaningless.

We learn to see. We find relationships between things we look at – the context of anything we look at is essential to how we see it. This is what the ‘illusions’ spread through this article show so bogglingly. And context is what links the present to the past – we associate patterns with what we did last time, and learn from it. Beau asked at one point for a volunteer from the audience. I was desperately far back, in the middle of a row – smooth escape from that one. But the demonstration itself was quietly mind-blowing. A target was projected on the screen, and Rob the lucky volunteer was asked to hit it (this as a control – the exciting bit comes next). Next, he put on a pair of glasses which shifted the world 30 degrees to his right. Throwing again, he missed by miles. After a few goes, though, Rob’s whole body movement changed and he hit the target every time. Then he took the glasses off again, and immediately missed the other way – his mind had learnt for that moment to see the world utterly differently.



We don’t see the world as it is – in fact it doesn’t make much sense to talk about the world ‘as it really is’ – only what’s useful. Colour, for example, is great for not being eaten by orange tigers in a green jungle. We constantly figure out what is ‘normal’ – and what should stick out from this normal. So… there are no absolutes – only perceptions of a world relative to a changing normal. No one is outside of this relativity. We are all defined by our ecology. We all learn to live in the world that’s presented to us – and that in a very relative way.

Beau has four ‘C’s that he leaves as teasing thoughts – Compassion, Creativity, Choice and Community. And this is where, if you’ve been reading along wondering quite why I thought this was a good idea for an ‘Earth’ article, I started thinking about the way we tell stories about the environment, the way we tell stories about what happens in the world around us. Getting your head around different mindsets could be wonderfully informed by these ideas – things like understanding how to persuade business profit-heads that sustainability is the only way to long-term profit, or grassroots activists that FTSE 500 companies have been organising and managing disparate groups of employees for years – there’s surely something to learn there.



Knowing that everything we do – down to something so simple as seeing colour – is essentially informed by what we did before, and the kinds of context we’ve ever been exposed to – this can only add possibility to whatever buzzes round our brains : more compassionate, as we see where others might have come from; more creative, questioning these reflexes; more conscious in our choices, if we think a little past the instinctive; and more communal, in a broad sense, as we’re each a unique part of a whole, all sharing in individual perceptions and histories.

That was what I took from it, anyway. Do get in touch, or leave a comment, if you saw any other cool patterns here – I’d be intrigued to hear.

Come July 16th, ampoule Amelia’s Magazine will be packing the bikini’s, sunglasses and factor 15 to rock up to one of the biggest highlights of our social calendar. Continuing our Festival season round up, we are going to focus our attention on the Daddy of the European festivals; Benicassim. Building rapidly in status, this cheeky Spanish live wire began its incarnation in 1995, but even then it was reaching for the stars, with heavy hitters such as The Chemical Brothers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Stone Roses headlining. Now firmly established as a major player on the summer festival season, Benicassim is the ultimate go-to when you want your music fest to go easy on the mud, and heavy on the sand, sea and sun.


Desde Escenario Verde by Oscar L. Tejeda


Getting back to the music, the organisers have come up trumps for this years festival. Just in case you were unaware of the lineup, allow me to share the treats that will be in store if you’ve got tickets. Top of the bill will be Oasis, Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. It is not just about the headliners though, Beni makes sure that there is something for everyone, and while most acts indie rock , the many stages showcase plenty of other genres, such as electronica, experimental and dance. Each night will see a plethora of fantastic and diverse acts and my personal favourites that will make me nudge through the crowds to the front are Telepathe, Glasvegas, Paul Weller, Tom Tom Club, Friendly Fires, The Psychedelic Furs, Lykke Li and my BFF Peaches. With guaranteed sunshine and a beachside backdrop, it promises to be a memorable event. While the 4 day passes have all sold out, there are still one day passes available for Thursday 16th July. You might consider it impractical to get down there for just one day (not that we are going to stand in your way), but if you happen to be passing through the Costa De Azahar around that time, then why not get yourself a wristband, grab a Sol and pitch up?




You know, the more we think about it, the more we realise that Benicassim is tailor made for Amelia’s Magazine. As our loyal readers know, we are strong supporters of all things sustainable and environmentally friendly and Benicassim is leaps and bounds ahead of many of the other festivals in terms of environmental awareness. Having been awarded the Limpio Y Verde (Clean + Green) Award by The European Festival Association, Beni is serious about taking initiatives which minimise the impact that a festival causes. For example, to offset the Co2 emissions that are generated while the festival is underway, they are creating an authentic Fiber forest, which has come as a result of planting over 2,000 trees during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 festivals. For those attending the festival, the organisers have laid on a number of shared transport facilities to get to and from the site, including frequent shuttle services into town and bicycle hire. Once inside the site, ticket holders will find that there is a strong and active recycling policy, with different bins for glass, plastic and paper and reusable glasses in the bars and restaurants which are made from biodegradable material. Several charities and NGO’s will be on hand – look out for the stands where Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Action Against Hunger and Citizens Association Against AIDS amongst others will be distributing information.


Bear in mind for future visits to the festival (or if you haven’t yet booked flights to get there), that there are various options for how to get to Benicassim that don’t involve flying. While most people will be boarding planes, the options of rail, or even ferry as transport can turn the holiday into a completely different experience. Spain has a fantastic and well regulated rail system, with all major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia operating trains to the town of Benicassim. Full details on how to arrange your rail itinerary are here . If you were interested in beginning the journey by ferry, (information on routes can be found here there are regular services from Plymouth to Santander, or Portsmouth to Bilbao (both cities have rail links that will get you to Benicassim). Otherwise, there are plenty of ferries from Dover to France, if interrailing it through part of Europe was also a consideration. Obviously, these options are considerably longer than flying, but there is something much more civilized about this way of travelling, and you get to see much more of the country which is hosting the festival, and that can only be a good thing.

Fibers En Zonas De Acampada by Pau Bellido

For more information on Benicassim, go to Festival Internacional De Benicassim
Bless-ed: Superimposing The Thought Of Happiness

7 Ledbury Mews North
London W11 2AF

10th July – 31st July

11am – 6pm Tuesday – Friday
12pm – 4pm Saturday



“Artworks created from smashed vinyl records and recycled packaging. Hot on the heels of their highly successful New York show, no rx Robi Walters & Leanne Wright, side effects aka ‘Bless-ed’, dosage hit London with their unique series of collages and constructed works featuring smashed vinyl and recycled packaging. “



The Old Sweet Shop
11 Brookwood Road
London SW18 5BL

10th July 2009 – 25th July

Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm
or by appointment

Image: Doggy Robot (Detail) by Ellie Alexandri

“Do you remember when robots were a futuristic fantasy? The Old Sweet Shop gallery’s latest exhibition takes a warm hearted look at these retro-tinged creations through the eyes of up-and coming artists and illustrators, peeking into the inner world of clunking creatures built to make human lives easier. ‘Robots’ will appeal to all ages, and features a diverse range of talent in many different media.”

Robots exhibition featuring work by: Alec Strang, Emily Evans, Freya Harrison, Moon Keum, Vinish Shah, JMG, Catherine Rudie, Hanne Berkaak, Cristian Ortiz, Elli Alexandri and Serge Jupin.


Antony Gormley: One & Other

Fourth Plinth
Trafalgar Square

6th July – 14th October


Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, ordinarily reserved for statues of the bold and brave, is staging one of the most exciting art ventures of the year. Under the direction of Anthony Gormley a steady stream of voluntary contributors will, every hour on the hour for the next 100 days, be occupying the space to create, make, do or perform as they wish. One such selected applicant is Tina Louise, whose slot will be Sunday 12th July, at 11am. She plans to stage “involves a bit of a sing-along where I am inviting various choirs, a Muslim call to prayer man, some whirling Dervishes (fingers crossed)” and invites you all to get down there this week and help celebrate human diversity in all it’s glory.

Find out more about Tina here.


The Museum of Souvenirs – The Surrealist Photography of Marcel Mariën

Diemar/Noble Photography
66/67 Wells Street
London W1T 3PY

Until 25th July

Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 6pm


An exciting UK premiere of Belgian Surrealist Marcel Marien’s photographs taken between 1983 and 1990. Marien was a master of many trades, and not all of them art based; as well as being a poet, essayist and filmmaker, he branched out as a publisher, bookseller, journalist and even a sailor.


The Importance of Beauty – The Art of Ina Rosing

GV Art
49 Chiltern Street
London W1U 6LY

Until 25th July

Tuesday to Friday 11am to 7pm
Saturday 11 am to 4 pm
or by appointment


Inspired by her interest in inner silence and beauty, Ina Rosing’s work sails through immovable mountains and vibrant red flowers with dignified grace and spirituality. She explores the personal yet universal connections with landscape and culture, asking where and how can we capture the true importance of beauty using graffiti-like political and environmental messages.


James Unsworth: I Love You Like a Murderer Loves Their Victims

Sartorial Contemporary Art
26 Argyle Square
London WC1H 8AP

8th July – 30th July

Tuesday – Friday 12:30pm – 6pm
or by appointment


James Unsworth is not a new name for us here at Amelia’s Magazine, having featured him a short while ago in Issue 8 of our publication, but this new collection of work from the controversial outspoken illustrator and filmmaker takes his hyper-unreal visions of all things dark and disturbing to a new level. The movies and photographs use low-budget charm and dangerously close to the bone references to murder, sex and dismemberment to win us over, free our minds and freak us out, not particularly in that order.

Monday 6th July
Why? The Garage, buy London

“Why should I go and see Why?” you ask.
Well, cialis 40mg because Why? are probably one of the most innovative exciting bands around at the moment their albums Alopecia and Elephant Eyelash are very high up on my “Most-Listened-To List”. Fronted by the excellently named Yoni Wolf, Why? fuse hip hop and indie rock to create something totally unique. Wolf’s lyrics are strangely intimate and often funny; bar mitzvahs and Puerto Rican porno occassionally pop up- and why not?


Tuesday 7th July
!!!, The Luminaire, London

Here are two facts about !!!
1. You have probably had the best time dancing to them.
2. According to Wikipedia: !!! is pronounced by repeating thrice any monosyllabic sound. Chk Chk Chk is the most common pronunciation, but they could just as easily be called Pow Pow Pow, Bam Bam Bam, Uh Uh Uh, etc.
So go along to the Luminaire and make strange noises (“thrice”) and dance your socks off.


Wednesday 8th July
White Denim, Heaven, London

White Denim are the best thing to come out of Texas since ribs and good accents, they have been compared to Os Mutantes and Can which is no mean feat. Expect a healthy dose of psychadelia with a smudge of grubby rock n’roll


Thursday 9th July
The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Kill It Kid, The ICA, London.

What are Fat Cat doing on Thursday?
Oh, you know, just being as awesome as ever at the ICA.
Fat Cat seem to have excellent taste in music, and the three bands playing tonight carry on the high standards of Fat Cat label veterans like Animal Collective. Expect melancholy and sweetness from The Twilight Sad and post-punk from the others. Lashings of fun all round.


The Weekend
Loop Festival, Brighton.

Let’s go to the sea! Brighton’s Loop Festival; a celebration of music and digital art has the most mouth-watering line-up ever. Fever Ray, Karin from The Knife‘s solo project, play alongside múm, the hot-to-trot Telepathe (pictured) and Tuung to name but a few. If I were going I’d invite them all to make sandcastles with me afterwards…hopefully they would.


Categories ,Brighton, ,Dancing, ,Electronica, ,Hip-hop, ,Indie, ,Listings, ,London, ,Punk

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Amelia’s Magazine | Indigo Moss

Pin-balling my way through The Troubadour, viagra dosage dosage further pissing off the already pissed off waitress whose path I continually obstructed, information pills I started to lose sight of what the hell I had actually trekked across London for. This notion intensified further by the bitter sting of embarrassment that came after I had marched to front of the queue for the gig, viagra proclaimed my name was on the list, preceded to walk in, only to be told I still had to pay. Having just spent the last of my cash on an overpriced drink, I managed to barter my way in with shrapnel and some pocket flint; and just when I thought my night couldn’t get any worse, Owen Duff took to the stage. Nay, I jest.

The moment the few bars of his first song were played, my seething melodrama quelled. This multi-instrumentalist first played the piano at just four years old, progressing onto cello, guitar and bass. When watching him chirp through the energetic Act of War, taken from his first EP A Tunnel Closing in, it’s hard not wish that he was sat at a grand piano rather than a Casio Keyboard, allowing him to fully demonstrate his obvious mastery. Having been compared to a bizarre hybrid of Sufjan Stevens and Dusty Springfield, Duff’s sound is one of complex melody and artful composition.

His range of song is practically bipolar, effortlessly jumping from jolly ditties such as Any Captain Worth his Due to the far more sombre Sepulchre. Probably best for those with suicidal tendencies to avoid this track at all costs. Undeniably, the highlight of the gig was ‘Morning Finsbury Park’, which enlisted the celestial tones of Ellie Gray. It was during this collaboration that you realised you might be witnessing the embryonic stages of a very successful musician. With a definite theatrical twist, this song floats with the softness that epitomises Duff’s signature velveteen sound.

As ever, you can find out more about both Owen Duff and Ellie Gray on the communicative/informative phenomenon that is MySpace. Just go to or
Anyway, buy more about we missed the support because the thing that came through with the tickets said they were called the Macabees which sounds like one of those ‘The’ bands that make music to a streak of piss being washed away in the bristol drizzle. Through the floor of the bar above the Anson Rooms they didn’t sound like that at all, story but then it turns out they were another band entirely who may have been alright.

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