Amelia’s Magazine | The NailGirls spa salon in Islington Spring/Summer 2010 nail polish launch event.

Colourbox leadersdebate
Nick-Clegg-Election-2010-Antonia-Parker
Illustration by Antonia Parker.

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

Except there was something that was irking me about this twitter phenomenon: and that was the poor quality of the drawings that were tickling the fancy of so many. So I sent out my own twitter message to see if anyone was up for drawing something satirical and vaguely amusing that we could send out on twitter at the appropriate time this week, no rx and knowing that I hang out with lots of very talented illustrators on twitter.

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

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

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

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Illustration by Jenny Robins.

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

Leaders Debate Katie Harnett
Illustration by Katie Harnett.

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Illustrations by Antonia Parker.

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Illustration by Marnie Hollande.

DEBATE-Matt Thomas
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

I’m not really a high maintenance kind of girl, illness but the older I get I am starting to think that maybe I should consider paying just a little bit more attention to myself. But grooming just takes so much time, store right? And it’s just so darn pricey?

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

Well yes to both the above. And no. Last week I had my nails done at the NailGirls Spa Salon in Islington, order it took about ten minutes and it didn’t cost a thing. Oh okay, so it was a freebie as part of the press launch for their summer range (yes, nail varnish really does come in seasonal colours) but it was also incredibly quick. Within ten minutes of Kelly placing my hands – with well practiced firmness – on the towelling rest, I was sporting 10 perfectly manicured pinkies in Purple #7. Here at NailGirls they don’t go in for fancy names for their nail varnishes, preferring instead to take the minimalist route.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

Musing, in the way that one does whilst being attended to by a beautician, I wondered how long it takes to grow really sick of painting nails. Five years perhaps before the sight of someone else’s paws drives you insane? “Well, I’m 20 years old,” says Kelly, “but I’ve already been doing nails for 5 years.” Blimey, 5 years? No way?! “Yes, since I was 15!” But she isn’t sick of it yet: in fact she’s just left behind he beloved cheerleading squad that she tutors up in Brum to pursue a glittering career in London, where her financial trader boyfriend is based. I love hearing about these little things. Human life, always so fascinating.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch
NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch
Lynda-Louise and Joanna Burrell (just before Jo spilt white wine down Lynda’s top, but we won’t talk about that).

NailGirls is the brainchild of two north London sisters. As my nails are being painted Lynda-Louise tells me how she spent 11 years working in the fashion industry in New York before returning to set up the business with sister Joanna Burrell, formerly working in oh-so-glamourous recruitment. “I knew that I wanted to do something in fashion – and there didn’t seem to be anything here like they have in the US, where they have proper nail spas.” Before she returned to the UK Lynda put her back into some serious research and got together a nail polish formulation that is not tested on animals and eschews nasty chemicals such as toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and camphor, which are proven carcinogens. The nail varnish is made in the US and imported to sell in the salon and online.

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Lynda is passionate about painted nails as a way of keeping on trend. “It means you can change your look really easily and without the expense, of say, buying a Chanel handbag.” And without going into consumer overdrive, I should add. Using her self-confessed expertise in the field of trend spotting she picks out key colours for each season. For spring/summer 2010 she has picked out colours from the collections of Christopher Kane, Christian Louboutin and Burberry: a soft coral, bright green, pale blue and pearlised apricot. During their friendly garden speech the sisters described working with top make-up artist Pat McGrath during fashion week, and excitedly hinted at more fashion related collaborations later this year.

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It’s all rather fun this beauty malarkey, I have to say – and I found it most intriguing to chat with the various girls that I met at the launch; in a shrewd move the NailGirls have chosen to target a range of beauty bloggers (the success of this strategy is borne out with a quick blogsearch). Hungrily ogling the nail colours on the salon shelves I met the immaculate Lola of the Beauty Geek blog, who is normally doing corporate stuff for Nokia but puts together blogs demonstrating how to apply perfect Cheryl Cole-esque make up in her spare time.

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Beauty Geek blogger Lola.

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Those are Lola’s delicate little hands, not mine.

Whilst I was snaffling canapes by Eclectic Food in the garden I met some beauty bloggers who work at the other end of the spectrum. Hair stylists Alex Brownsell and Louise Teasdale run Beauty is a Religion, which takes an occasional look at plastic surgery gone wrong, tattoo art and 18 year old girls with orange skin and fake boobies for whom Jordan is an idol. They sport fabulous pastel coloured hair and pale skin. You couldn’t get two more diverse approaches to beauty blogs if you tried. Other bloggers present that I did not get to meet have some fantastically named blogs: including Do Not Refreeze, Vex in the City and Make Up to Make Out. It’s a whole wide beauty blogging world out there I tell thee.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion Alex Brownsell
Beauty is a Religion blogger Alex Brownsell.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion Louise Teasdale
Beauty is a Religion blogger Louise Teasdale.

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch Beauty is a Religion
This is Louise’s identical twin! Except for the hair that is.

It’s been a week since I had my manicure, and I have to report that my nails are faring very much better than they would have done had I applied a manicure myself (though not as good as Lola’s – blimey she’s doing well!).

NailGirls nail salon Islington press launch

“You must come back and have a pedicure when the sun is out!” Jo tells me as I leave this friendly little salon just off the high street in Islington. The NailGirls website desperately needs a bit of tender lovin’ care to make it more user friendly, but I’d return to be pampered in their lovely garden spa area in a jiffy. Summer pedicure did you say?

Categories ,Alex Brownsell, ,Beauty, ,Beauty Geek, ,Beauty is a Religion, ,blog, ,Bloggers, ,Burberry, ,chanel, ,Chemical Free, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Christian Louboutin, ,Christopher Kane, ,Do Not Refreeze, ,Eclectic Food, ,Islington, ,Jordan, ,Louise Teasdale, ,Make Up to Make Out, ,Make-up, ,Nail Polish, ,Nail Varnish, ,NailGirls, ,Press Launch, ,Spa Salon, ,trend, ,Vex in the City

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Amelia’s Magazine | Gagging the Guardian – The truth is out, or is it?

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Fashion Scout now in its 7th year, medical story has once again brought us a well balanced diet of young innovators and box-fresh talent.

Ones To Watch” provided a menu of gothic grandeur, tea stained Venuses, beaded suits and eco constructivism.

The designers culled for this presentation are Serbian Marko Mitanovski, celebrity autopsy inspired Hermione DePaula, CSM grad Dean Quinn and Ada Zanditon.

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The ancient Serbian forests and dark folkoric characters provided a bottomless source of imagery for Marko Mitanovski’s black leather creations.

The slow pace of the models allowed for detailed gazing at the leather laces crowned with furry antlers. The designs were reminiscent of Ebony tree nymphs crossed with the witch whose poisoned apple sent Snow White to slumberland.

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According to Mitanovski the outfits were the result of a 15 strong studio team who ruched, beaded and laced scaled-up versions of Elizabethan collars shaping them into skirts, capes and collars.

Vintage beauty stylists from Nina’s Hair Parlour wrapped the life-size foam antlers in hair, elevating the looks to showpiece status. Mitanovski kept the production of the designs local by sourcing materials from local manufacturers and having his accessories, shoes and bags produced in Belgrade.

The performance was set to the sounds of (his favorite) a Nirvana track, reworked by his friends’ quartet.

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A sweet compliment to Mitanovski’s rich palette was Hermione DePaula’s hand painted chiffon washes in nude, caramel and ivories. The body was displayed through delicate shapes created by frayed and tightly clustered burgundy chiffon collars over bodysuits and billowing trousers.

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The pieces possessed a sensual magnetism that appears in accordance to the inspiration for the collection. DePaula started by looking atthe ultra realistic life-sized wax models used in the teaching of medicine. These dolls were often made with real hair and wore ornamental jewellery, DePaula was inspired by these wax “Venus’ multi-colored interior with removable parts that reveal the mystery of the inner workings of the female body.” The idea was taken a step further by dubbing the collection “Las Venus” in a nod to tabloid fascination with celebrity.

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Dean Quinn, whom we spotted at CSM’s BA show this spring brought his graduate collection of Blade Runner inspired beaded suits ( i implore you to fight the urge to think of Elvis onesies right now) in film noir blacks and whites.

Sharp satin suits with the occasional exaggerated shoulder were detailed with domino tracks of beads. The porcupine beads were, as much great art is, an accident of miscalculation. When threaded too tight the little beads are forced to stand on end. A delicate thing to control but a great effect.

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Wildcard designer Ada Zanditon produced haexagons in a geometric bleu blanc rouge of cocoon coats, high waisted trousers and cropped tops. Her beehive inspired collection carried the theme through heavy cottons, silks and folded organza petals.

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The conceptual designs are not surprising, considering that Ada Zanditon has previously worked for Alexander McQueen and Gareth Pugh. However Zanditon remains steadfast in the eco couture ring (see Amelia’s Magazine coverage of The Ethical Fashion Fair in Paris for details on Zanditon’s commitment to sustainable fashion).

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Check out Amelia’s Magazine April 09 interview with Ada
Today’s published Commons order papers contain a question to be answered by a minister later this week in Parliament. However the London solicitors Carter-Ruck, online who specialise in suing the media for clients, viagra sale have attelpted to put a gagging order on the Guardian, this web preventing them from reporting on the debate. It is one of the most shocking media related story and the first of it’s kind to be seen in Britain for some time. However the tweeting nation and networking outlets have taken on the gauntlet. In a single day the story had been uncovered and spread around the world and became an instant twitter ‘trendsetter.’ The solicitors Carter-Ruck have just backed down from this gagging and means a great victory for twitter and freedom of speech.

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The concerned question relates to the Trafigura Corporation who have been revealed to be dumping toxic waste into the sea near the Ivory Coast. An action that has caused death and illness in the surrounding areas as well as an undisclosed amount of environmental pollution.

There is no such thing as bad publicity; if the gagging order hadn’t been put on the Guardian newspaper the story would have been swepped under the carpet like the numerous articles each day relating to atrocities around the world. As it happens the Trafigura story was largely ignored by the mainstream when it was reported in the media a few weeks ago. People would see the article in the newspaper or online, skim over it and move on to the latest shocking Jordan revelation.

Instead, because of an attempt to hide the story, it’s hit the big time and has aforementioned become an instant trendsetter on Twitter and other social networking sites. When the freedom of the media is threatened it seems everyone jumps on the bandwagon.

What it yet to be seen is if the bloggosphere will get onto the streets and do something other than sitting at their computers trying to get a few more hits. With the recent Speech DeBelle fiasco, where the huge following on the internet failed to reciprocate to the live gigs as well as twitter celebrities realizing they are just that. It makes me a little concerned with this growing trend of online activism, is it the modern day equivalent of the armchair complaint? Will the real action that we need to see become something of the past?

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The flashmob planned for this Thursday at 1pm out side the offices of Carter-Ruck will be an interesting event to watch, will it be comprised of the usual suspects; the people protesting tirelessly each week against the global crisis that threatens us from corporations just like Trafigura? People labeled by the blogosphere as the ‘liberal types and unwashed hippy do-gooders’ or will we see this unseen population, the thousands if not millions who seem concerned with this issue? Smittenkitten for example tweets – ‘RT @stephenfry Public disgust at barbaric assault on free speech is being collected under #trafigura who are accused of dumping toxic waste,’ check her previous tweets and they are about what she has been watching on TV every night this week or how much she loves her new tabby kitten. Will we see you on the streets smittenkitten? I think not.

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Saying this, I can see there is some integrity in social networks sites creating change and hopefully this backlash against the gagging order will uncover some truths. I appreciate there are many who are clearly concerned with the issue, and are helping to make get the truth out, like the intrepid new-gatherers who hunted down the Order Book for Parliament which meant that anyone could see what the story was really about. The solicitors Carter-Ruck have backed down from this gagging order but the real Trafigura problem is still there and lets hope the blogging world does not forget that.

Lets just hope people see it as a chance to become involved with real action on the streets, that we need to see to achieve change, something I hope to see as a mainstream ‘trend’ in the not so distant future.

Categories ,blog, ,Carter-Ruck, ,flashmob, ,Guardian, ,Guardian gagging, ,protest, ,streets, ,Trafigura, ,trends, ,trensetting, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Andrew Losowsky

Pop-Up Shop

14 Bacon Street, erectile E1 6LF, page 11th-18th December

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The pop-up shop does what it says on the tin, buy appears in a different location for a limited time, so you have to be quick to get in and see what’s inside. But make the effort as you can find a plethora of goodies from new designers and artists, hand picked from exotic locations all around the world. The store also supports the East End charity Kids Company, so you’ll be doing your bit to help as you shop.


Brick Lane Late Night Shopping

Thursday 11th December

Enjoy an evening of late-night shopping on London’s trendiest street, as well as rumageing through all that vintage, there will be refreshments on hand and special Christmas gifts available only on this night.

The Bizarre Bazaar

Sunday 21st December

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Monday 8th December
Joan as Policewoman, Thekla, capsule Bristol
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Ex-Antony and the Johnsons collaborator touring in support of her new album. Expect mesmerising vocals and heart-rending tunes.

Boss Hog, Luminaire, London
Jon Spencer (as in Blues Explosion) and his wife Cristina Martinez front this long-standing blues-rock outfit.

Tuesday 9th December

Kong, Buffalo Bar, London
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Art-noise, cool as Manchester band, heavy on the guitars.

The Miserable Rich, Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Folky, orchestrated Brighton group, with links to Lightspeed Champion.

Sixtoes, Big Chill House, London
Cinematic, spooky blues-folk with a melancholy Eastern European edge.

Wednesday 10th December

Little Death, Club Fandango @ 229, London
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Cool, cosmopolitan London band playing psychadelic tinged noise-pop.

Land of Talk, Water Rats, London
Canadian indie-rock.

Thursday 11th December

Good Books, Proud Galleries, London
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Danceable indie-electro.

Mike Bones, Old Blue Last, London
One man and his guitar.

Friday 12th December

Rose Elinor Dougall, Barfly, Cardiff
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Pretty girl music from this ex-Pipette. Still very pop but less of the sixties girl group rip-offs.

Free Fridays: Brute Chorus, La Shark, Josh Weller, 93 Feet East, London
Bonkers hair (Josh Weller) and outfits (La Shark) will abound at this FREE night featuring up-and-coming bands including Brute Chorus who will presumably play new single ‘She Was Always Cool’.

Saturday 13th December

Herman Dune, The Deaf Institute, Manchester
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Perennial Parisian folksters on tour to promote new album ‘Next Year in Zion’.

Glissando, Holy Trinity Church, Leeds
Dreamy and ethereal. Should be lovely in a church.

Sunday 14th December

King Khan and The Shrines, Hoxton Bar and Grill, London
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Wild soul stage show.

Stereolab, Black Box, Belfast
Long-standing lounge/electronic post-rock with female French singer.

Getting up at 6am on a cold Saturday morning may be unthinkable to some -but for myself and fellow fashion enthusiasts, information pills the Angels Vintage and Costume clothing sale was more than enough motivation for the long, look early trek over to Wembley….or so we thought. The queue turned out to be VERY long… a 3 to 4 hour wait we were told. Despite our earlier determination, it was too long for us and we gracefully admitted defeat, leaving behind a growing queue of seriously hardcore shoppers.

One of those hardcore shoppers was ameliasmagazine.com’s very own Music Editor, Prudence Ivey, here’s her take on it, “Leaving the house at 6.30am, we were in the queue by about 7.15am and, although in the first 500, we were nowhere near the front. Some people – vintage shop buyers – had been there since Friday afternoon. There was a really friendly atmosphere, you could tell these people were true vintage fiends, as there was not a scruffbag in sight, it was all red lipstick and glamourous outfits despite the ungodly hour.

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When we were allowed in, after just over an hour of wating, there was virtual silence and heads down as people rifled through the cardboard boxes packed with clothes on the floor. A cloud of dust filled the room after about 10 minutes, most of the clothes were in a bit of a state and everything I ended up with turned the water black when I put it in to hand-wash, not to mention my black snot… A quick sort through, try on and swapping session with my friend, along with some excellent packing meant that I left with 18 items of pretty decent, some of them really excellent, vintage finds for a measly £20. One of my favourite shopping trips EVER.” (above and below is Prudence modeling her two of her wonderful buys)

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So now I wish I had stayed in the queue – but my day was not wasted, I found a far more inviting alternative, which boasted the benefits of being a. inside and b. no queue! It was the first London edition of New York magazine BUST‘s Christmas Craftacular.

Set in the St. Aloysius Social Hall in Euston, a mixed group of cool crafty kids, cute guys and even grannies filled the aptly dated-yet-cozy bar, and the Shellac Sisters played classic retro tunes on their wind-up gramophone, which added to the kitsch atmosphere. Having taken off in New York over the last 4 years, the Craftacular event has now come to British shores and brings together craft sellers, knitting circles, badge making stations and of course, lots of cake!

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Tatty Divine turned into doctors for the day and set up their very own ‘craft clinic’ offering advice and tips to craft novices or lovers.

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An ArtYarn Guerilla Graffiti Knitting Crew even set up a training camp, where boys sat happily next to their teachers, learning how to knit one, pearl one and Random Monkey Designs offered lessons in cross stitch.

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With a packed out venue and buzzing crowd, it’s likely that (and we hope) the Craftacular event will become a regular date in the British calendar.

Monday Dec 8th
It seems most exhibition spaces in this area begin like this, drugs in someone’s flat. Every day this week at 79a Brick Lane, viagra 100mg there will be an exhibition of seven separate artists (one for each day) alongside a selected feature film, including the likes of Saturday Night Fever, North by Northwest, and The Truman Show. It starts at eight and ends when the film does. For a more detailed itinerary, check here. Admission is free.

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Tuesday Dec 9th
A Family in Disguise, by Yu Jinyoung has been extended at Union on Teesdale Street and is worth a look, if not only for the fact that entering the exhibition is a surreal experience in itself. Not a curator to be seen, and with a camera that links the room to their gallery in Ewer Street, you are alone in a haunting room with this disparate family of forlorn faces. Ring the buzzer and take a look.

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Wednesday Dec 10th
Indian Highway is the new exhibition starting today at the Serpentine, describing itself as a snapshot of the vibrant generations artists working across the country today, well-established artists shown besides lesser known practitioners. Using a array of medias they are threaded together with a common engagement with the social and political, examining complex issues in contemporary India such as environmentalism, religious sectarianism, globalisation, gender, sexuality and class. It runs until Feb 22nd.

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Thursday Dec 11th
Hermetic Seel is a new exhibition by Shane Bradford opening on Wednesday at the Vegas Gallery. It might just be satisfying to see fourteen historical art encyclopedias subjected to Bradford’s “post-Pollock” dipping technique.

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Friday Dec 12th

Here’s what one of our writers said of Omnifuss’ last exhibition: In the heart of Dalston, down the end of a small alley road was a large garage with a little door. Through this door, a group of 24 artists showcased their work. Sculpture, music, performance and photography took place in the old car workshop that was far away from the usual pristine white walls of gallery spaces and created a rustic, and inspiring location for this exhibition. With flame heaters to warm those tootsies, and the symphonious sound of a violinist haunting the open rooms, I found myself immersed in the eclectic furniture and art… Downstairs is their new exhibit, an exploration of domesticity in its rawest states through sound, sculpture, video and installation, and by the sounds of it is worth a visit.

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Saturday Dec 13th
Awopbopaloobop. Artists listen to music, everyone listens to music. Lyrics are etched into our minds whether we want them there or not, and we can’t help but allow them to inform our everyday. Awopbopaloobop (I just like saying that word) is an exhibition at http://www.transitiongallery.co.uk/index.html, asking a host of artists to produce based on a favourite song lyric. This exhibition is coming to an end, (21st of Dec), so go and see it if you haven’t already. The space itself is worth the trip, and it’s fun to walk around a gallery with a song-sheet in your hands!

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Brian Aldiss’ short story, drugSuper-Toys Last All Summer Long”, this to which the exhibition “Super-Toys” makes reference, abortion tells the story of a mother and her android son in the overcrowded world of the future who, however hard they try, cannot find a way to love each other. It makes love seem like a human malfunction, a flaw which can never be imitated. But moreover it captures the feeling of dismay when two people who know that they should love each other realise they can’t – that they fundamentally don’t know how. The android boy, who questions whether or not he is real, seems more humane than his human mother; who sends him to be repaired for the flaw from which she herself suffers. Love cannot be programmed; but is a lover not someone who says all those things that you want to hear, like an automated machine?

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So with high expectations of an exhibition dealing with the strange interaction between humans and machine, fantasy and reality, love and compromise; what I found was initially disappointing. The notions the story had alluded to, the emotions and the complexity of them, were not to be found. Machine ducks floating in a pond, a room of human shaped stuffed objects lying mundanely on the floor; flashing machines dancing in a square box; all interesting to look at, but lacking explanation. The most interesting part of the exhibition was the nightmarish, garish and lurid room that followed, full of toys ripped apart: toys with two head, toys mutilated and deformed by visitors, and all in the name of art. With shelves and window ledges packed already, I was invited to create my own monster from a pile of rejected toys. There was something sinister about being instructed to rip the head off a teddy bear; glue Barbie legs where paws should be; and to work at a designated workstation. Despite the visual pleasure and hands on aspect of super-toys, it seemed to be an exhibition full of concept without real content. But maybe that’s what it allows you to do; to explore you own memories of love, childhood, playfulness and ultimately rejection; and realise that everyone else feels the same way too.

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Anne Collier
Dispersion is a patchy affair. Curated by the director of the Chisenhale gallery Polly Staple, hospital it features seven artists working from different locations, view tied together under the banner of an examination of the ‘circulation of images in contemporary society….in our accelerated image economy’. This seems a fairly sound starting point, although a bit nebulous and too wide in the sense of the number of artists that could be described as grappling with these issues.

Recycling and colliding of images is examined most clearly in Anne Collier’s photographs. Iconic posters, complete with creases, walk the line between multiple realities; but unlike other work in the show, the centre of power lies not in some theoretical hinterland but in the jarring sensation between seeing the photograph of the image and the image itself. Again this is hardly a new idea but it is well executed. The twin set of images a box of photos of the sea provides a further layer of tension between the natural and man-made.

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Anne Collier

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Seth Price

Most of the the other works are films. Seth Price’s ‘Digital Video Effect:Editions‘ (2006) , juxtaposing high and low cultural references (such as those barriers still exist), feels like an early 90′s MTV insert in its scope and complexity. Mark Leckey, now with the epithet ‘Turner Prize Winner’, is due to give a one off lecture/live performance ‘Mark Leckey in the Long Tail‘ in January tackling the similar ground, hopefully to better effect.

A better example of the film work on display is Hito Steyerl’s fascinating ‘Lovely Andrea’ (2007). This is an engaging documentary-esque look at a Japanese bondage artist, cut with scenes fom Wonder Woman cartoons and ‘backstage’ footage of the creation or recreation of scenes, calling the whole film’s authenticity into question. This could have led to a horribly self reflexive pile of mush but is actually a taut and gripping set of mixed narratives.

Henrik Olesen’s computer printed images mounted on blackboards, ‘some gay-lesbian artists and/or artists relevant to homosocial culture V,VI.VII’(2007), a collection reappropriated around queer history, touched on interesting ideas; a collection of female portraits by female artists from Renaissance onwards, for example. But the sum of its parts felt lazy and, like the rest of the show, he veers into hectoring or frustrating silence instead of fostering conversation between the work and viewer.

This is a problem, but one the ICA can absorb better than other cultural centres. The institution was founded as an ‘adult playground’ and this remit naturally involves risky and challenging work, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Dispersion is a perfect encapsulation of this.

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The disjointed art punk of San Fransisco’s Deerhoof is pretty brilliant on record but I’d heard it was even better live and so couldn’t wait to see them at ULU on their only UK date this year. Their music is disarmingly simple sounding, online loved by music aficionados and 10 year old girls alike – my kid sister loves Panda Panda Panda and Milkman almost as much as any Girls Aloud single. Perhaps I should have sent her along to review the show. It would have been easier for her to convince the people on the door that she was called Prudence Ivey (the name I was under on the list) than a scruffy and definitely male reviewer. They thought I was a street-crazy.

Achieving such wide-ranging popularity is an impressive feat considering that, sick underneath that childlike simplicity, their songs consist of complex structures alongside fragments of dissonant guitar thrash/twang and improvisation. However, seeing Deerhoof is no overblown, intellectual chore. They manage to be simultaneously clever, loud and cartoonishly entertaining and enlivened ULU with a set that encompassed a lot of new album material alongside some stuff to keep the old school fans happy.

The crowd were particularly receptive to old favourite Milkman, along with the Yo La Tengo-in-a-parallel-universe sounds of new album Offend Maggie – a title that always gives me the mental image of an outraged, pre-dementia Margaret Thatcher. There were clipped drums ahoy, along with Deerhoof’s twinkling wire to fuzz guitar textures. Satomi’s vocals, all coy and Japanese, were accentuated by goofy hand gestures – a fitting accompaniment to her surreal and playful subject matter. The whole band were really tight and surprisingly enthusiastic after fourteen years playing together. I can’t wait to see them again.

For anyone wanting to brush up on their climate science, drugs I thoroughly recommend this charming animation by Leo Murray.
The friendly and clear narration takes you steadily through the various chemical processes that are happening on our planet in it’s present climatic state. Without being overly ominous, the film warns how these processes, unchanged for millions of years, are being disturbed by man-made CO2 emissions and may be heading towards a tipping point where we will be plummeted into a place of no return. This definitely ‘isn’t about polar bears anymore!’
I found it really helpful for clarifying some terminology, the science bits- told in a simple way- are up- to- date, and it projects a statement of encouragement, not one of doom. The prospects are scary but we’re lucky to be the generation who could prevent them from happening.
To vote for Wake Up Freak Out then Get a Grip in the Aniboom Awards 2008 click here.
For anyone wanting to brush up on their climate science, buy information pills I thoroughly recommend this snappy animation by Leo Murray.
The friendly and clear narration takes you steadily through the various chemical processes that are happening on our planet in it’s present climatic state. Without being overly ominous, the film warns how these processes, unchanged for millions of years, are being disturbed by man-made CO2 emissions and may be heading towards a tipping point where we will be plummeted into a place of no return.
I found it really helpful for clarifying some terminology, the science bits- told in a simple way- are up- to- date, and it projects a statement of encouragement, not one of doom. The prospects are scary but we’re lucky to be the generation who could prevent them from happening.
To vote for Wake Up Freak Out in Aniboom Awards 2008.
No Equal clothing are a company who don’t pander to press agendas and celebrities, sick instead they are refreshingly focused on working with new and exciting design talent and helping charities.
They also know how to throw a party – and it was good cause central. In the first room of The Russian Club Studios was a display of logoed t-shirts and hoodies, website like this made in collaboration with three emerging illustrators– Yann Le Bec, Thibaud Herem and Jean Jullien.

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10% of the sales – not just profit – of this No Equal apparel are being donated to three charities, which No Equal Clothing are supporting, Kidsco, Addaction and XLP. To mix up the mediums and give some background to the collaborations, there was also a video installation showing the three artists at work.

In the second room, as part of their desire to champion new designers, No Equal clothing held a silent auction (of which all profits go to Kidsco, Addaction and XLP) for the London College of Fashion. Seven of LCF’s undergraduate students working for the college’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion created collections that were environmentally and ethically conscious and these were being sold.
The auction is also a possible reason for the eclectic mixture of guests. East London kids hung out with men in suits (in separate groups obviously) in the sparse concrete venue created an unusual atmosphere, you could have been in an underground club, art gallery or exclusive couture shop.

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The students collections were varied and interesting, Michela Carraro (pictured below) used hemp based fabrics sourced from small family run businesses to create a romantic chiffon-esque collection, while Manon Flener created deconstructed / reconstructed garments made of pieces of fabric pieced together with studs. She says her motivation for the collection was to reduce waste in fashion; each piece can be put together in a different way to make many garments.

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Supporting the Fashioning the Future programme at LCF, which encourages designers to think about the environmental imapct of their work, No Equal clothing are actively championing eco-friendly designers of the future and with their own clothing label, bucking the greedy fashion trend by giving a percentage of profits to charity. Good work all round.
Last week the Earth team at Amelia’s Magazine went along to the Friends House in Euston to listen to a report made by the Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC). The issue was climate change and the information it uncovered was alarming.
As a self-confessed newbie to these sorts of events I must admit to harboring uneasiness about feeling out of place in a room full of swampys. But my silly preconceptions were immediately flattened.
Lead by a panel of speakers expert in their field, story the atmosphere at the Friends House was alive with people from all manner of backgrounds but united in the opinion that climate change is a matter of urgency.
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Chairing the debate was Christian Hunt who kicked off by asking the audience a few questions. 99% raised their hand when asked whether they would describe themselves as environmentalists. Roughly 70% would say they had some knowledge of climate change while roughly 20% would say they had lots of knowledge on the subject. 99% of us responded yes we did like his t-shirt that read ‘don’t give up.’
The first to speak from the panel was Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He started with a clear message: the question of climate change is a humanitarian one. While the U.K. and E.U’s definition of a dangerous climate change as 2°C per annum may be an adequate threshold for us in the western world, it is not nearly small enough to safeguard the rest of the world.
It is the southern hemisphere, containing the world’s poorest, that is targeted the most by global warming in it’s present state, with people dying on a daily basis. Therefore it is an ethical decision about how much we care about the world’s weakest as to how and when we go about dealing with the climate.
He went on to say that the entire climate change debate needs an urgent rethink when taking into account the latest emissions data. The planet is heating up at an even faster rate than we thought, and our government seems to be denying this is happening by following the miscalculated advice from the Stern Report and not pumping in nearly dosh needed to implement a strategy that will radically cut back our emissions.
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But Kevin Anderson pointed out there may be a silver lining to retrieve from the present economical situation. History has shown us that larger emission reductions occur when there is economic turmoil. I guess this has something to with cut backs in industry forced by a plummeting economy. When the Soviet Union collapsed, for example, there was a record drop of 5% per annum.

Tim Helweg-Larson, the director of Public Interest Research Centre bounded onto the platform next. So this is where it gets rather technical but don’t worry, Tim’s clear and straightforward delivery meant that even my mind didn’t drift into thinking about what I might eat for tea.
He showed us a series of images showing the levels of sea ice in the arctic in 1979 and in 2007 and I was taken back to those pretty pictures in my school science lab…Predictably the more recent images contained a much larger surface area of dark gloominess.
These dark regions absorb more heat. This additional heat penetrates 1500km inland across a plain of perma-frost. This stuff is harmless if left untouched but once melted, its carbon content-which is twice the amount of the entire global atmosphere-is released into the air. Yep that means even more bad stuff is added to the high intensity of CO2 that started this whole malarkey.
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The knock-on effect going on in the arctic-known as the triple melt- is steadily destroying the climatic state of the entire planet. Soon we will reach the point where we will no longer be within the realm of temperatures that enable things to grow and humanity to survive (known as the middle climate). If this isn’t scary enough this tipping point is likely to peak sooner than we thought; as early as 2011 to 2015.

George Momboit was next to speak. Hello. His exuberance for the cause was exciting…ooh la…did you know he has been shot at, shipwrecked and pronounced clinically dead? Well he was very much alive that evening as I listened – intently- to his practical, if ambitious, advice to the government to stop fannying about and introduce a ‘crash program of total energy replacement.’
He whizzed through a series of steps geared to cut our emissions by 20% by 2012 and more thereafter. But those wild curls, brisk demeanor and air of academic brilliance were just a little distracting. Without getting too carried away I managed to jot down the key points of this radical plan:
1. To train up a green army of builders that is equipped to build more energy efficient homes
2.A mass subsidy program to re insulate homes
3.Replacement of power plants
4.Re engineering of roads to cater better for cycles and coaches
5. To Cap number of landing spots for airports so that by 2030 the maximum number of flights is 5% of current levels.
6.Agriculture should be devoted to the most efficient carbon saving schemes
7.He summed up with the statement that lowering demand for fossil fuels should happen simultaneously with lowering their supply and we need to dramatically cut oil and gas exploitations.
Pretty rousing stuff…
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Solar energy pioneer, Jeremy Leggett gave us a more buisnessy slant on what can be done for climate change especially in this current state of economic upheaval and an encroaching energy crunch (the I.E.A. predicts 5 years time). With people becoming increasingly disheartened by the government’s spending priorities, now’s the time to duck in and make a collective effort to re-engineer capitalism. He enforced the notion that money needs to go into building a carbon army of workers that would create 10 thousand new jobs and…cost a measly half a billion squid

Caroline Lucas, MEP for South East England and Leader of the Green Party, disheartened by the inertia of our government, shocked us all by urging ‘a massive campaign of civil disobedience.’ This prompted uproar amongst the audience and I must say it felt pretty inspiring .She went on to talk about Climate Rush, an activist group who take their inspiration from the Suffragette movement. Like the women who were denied the vote, their rush on parliament really is a demand for life itself. They also dress-up in fancy Edwardian petticoats, which sounds fun. But their theatricality is not without sincerity, direction and a passion to change the injustices that climate change is causing on humanity. Caroline Lucas’ speech stirred an energetic drive to ‘do something’ in me. She reminded us of the words of Emily Pankhurst ‘to be a militant is to be a privilege’ and something hit home. We are very lucky to not be totally powerless in this situation, as so many people across the world are, and it is possible to make our government listen to us, albeit with a bit of hard work. To find about the next climate rush action click here.

So I’ve dipped my toe into the murky sludge of our current climate. All the facts and figures might not have filtered through into this article but I hope if, like me, you previously thought this issue was for only for really clever people and maybe just a little put off by dreadlocks, you’ve realized that this is something we should all be aware of whether we want to listen to it or not, including our government.
As I left the Climate Safety talk to cycle home, I felt almost grateful for never bothering to learn to drive as perhaps in a small way it might make up for that stomach-sinking feeling of how terribly selfish I had been for only vaguely paying attention to news of melting popsicles and greenhouses.
The truth is I felt safe in the view that the really scary things won’t happen for a very long time, well after I’m buried in the ground and used for compost. Well I was wrong, it’s not our grandkid’s grandkid that’s going to feel the full force of climate change-it’s us.
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We’ve searched online for hours to find these wonderful gift ideas for Christmas this year! Including solar powered fairy lights, advice recycled wrapping paper, rx sew-it-yourself dresses, fairtrade teddies and handmade jewellery.

JEWELLERY

Kate Slater
First up on our list, and featured in Issue 10 of Amelia’s Magazine, we have wonderfully talented illustrator Kate Slater. She is one of many artists currently selling her work on etsy in the form of these gorgeous little accessories that she has made. Kate‘s illustrations come alive through the use of collage, mixed papers and wire for relief work.
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Furtive Pheasant Brooch
Kate’s collaged pheasant has been remade into this lovely brooch. The original illustration has been printed onto durable shrink plastic and bejeweled with green diamantes. We love the idea of being able to wear Kate’s illustrations!
Buy the Furtive Pheasant Brooch here

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Flighty Pheasant EarringsThese gorgeous quirky earrings also from original illustrations by Kate, made in the same way the brooch (above).They measure 6.5cm from the tail to the head and 7cm from the tip of one wing to the other. These earring hooks are nickel free.
Buy the Flighty Pheasant Earrings here.

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Vegan Star Necklace
This cute necklace is made from recycled sterling silver, and the star is made of recycled copper. It is hand-stamped and perfect for all vegan stars!
Buy the Vegan Star Necklace here.

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Recycled Aluminium Eco Chick Pendant
Made from recycled lightweight aluminium and also hand stamped! The metal chain and clasp are all from ethical sources too.
Buy the Recycled Aluminium Eco Chick Pendant here.

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Golden Seduction Earrings by Amisha
Amisha is a new independent ethical jewellery label and we love these snake earrings made from gold plated recycled silver with blue sapphire eyes. All of Amisha’s jewellery is ethical and ten percent from each sale goes to the ‘Garden of Angels’ charity; a charity in Bahia in Northern Brazil set up to help with the pre-school care of poor children living in the Favellas.
Buy the Golden Seduction Earrings by Amisha here.

www.amisha.co.uk

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Large Cross Stitch Bicycle Badge
This lovely handmade cross stitch badge comes in four different colours (shown above). The button measures approx 2.5 inches across.
buy the Large Cross Stitch Bicycle Badge here.

LADIES

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Organic ‘Film Noir’ Knit Dress by Lovelina
Green is definitely the new black! Lovelina are currently selling their beautiful clothes though etsy.com and the ‘Film Noir’ Knit Dress is our particular favourite! Sweatshop-free and made from a blend of organic cotton and soybean, this wonderfully vintage inspired dress comes in many colours and makes a wonderful eco-Christmas Party dress!
Buy the ‘Film Noir’ Dress here.

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Butterfly Dress Kit
Gossypium is a great place to buy gifts from! All the clothes on their site are high quality, fairtrade and made from biodegradable materials. They’re one of the great sites working with the idea of a zero-impact on the environment, and we’ve love this Butterfly Dress Kit. It is a sew-it-yourself organic cotton kit that comes with a lovely printed fabric and easy instructions to create one of three garments. You can make a blouse, a dress or a smock with or without pockets, and have the option of long or short sleeves; with nine different styles to choose from you are in total control of how your finished product looks!
Buy the Butterfly Dress Kit here.

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Alpaca Fairtrade Slippers
These wonderfully warm fluffy slippers are the best way to keep your feet cosy this season. Handmade in Peru by a small co-operative, the local workers receive a high percentage of what you pay.
Buy the Alpaca Fairtrade Slippers here.

MEN

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Solar Helicopter
This little toy is perfect as a desk ornament, and is loads of fun for kids and grown ups! Working with as little light as from a desk lamp, the solar cells demonstrate how efficient modern eco technology is.
Buy the Solar Helicopter here.

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Fairtrade Low Cut Sneakers by Ethletic
These 100% Organic Cotton Shoes come with a tough rubber sole made form FSC certified Rubber (the FSC stamp is on every sole)
They come in different colours including black and white low cut, white low cut , and green high top too!
Buy the Etheletic Sneakers here.

The Hemp Trading Company
Runner up at the RE:Fashion Awards this year for their environmental work, THTC produces ethical, eco-friendly clothing featuring designs by renowned graphic artists. And until the 18th of December they’re taking 25% off all orders when you use the code ‘GREEN CHRISTMAS’! Below are three of their newest designs, made from 70% bamboo and %30 organic cotton.
For more information visit www.thtc.co.uk

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Men’s T-Shirt “All you can eat”
http://thtc.co.uk/shop.php?p=product_detail&id=290
womens version: http://thtc.co.uk/shop.php?p=product_detail&id=293

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Men’s T-Shirt “Evil Mac”
http://thtc.co.uk/shop.php?p=product_detail&id=288
womens version: http://thtc.co.uk/shop.php?p=product_detail&id=254

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Men’s T-Shirt “Fear Trade”
http://thtc.co.uk/shop.php?p=product_detail&id=289

HOMEWEAR

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Biome Christmas Crackers
These Eco-Seed Crackers from Biomelifestyle.com are perfect. The exterior is made from handmade seed paper– which contains wildflower seeds inside the paper that can be planted once you’re done with them! Inside you get an eco-tip, a paper christmas hat, and a small handmade gift. The little fairtrade gifts are made by a co-operative of women in Kathmandu out of chemical-free felt and include brooches, finger puppets and christmas decorations.
Order you own set of Biome Eco-Seed Crackers here.

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Outdoor Solar Powered Christmas Fairy Lights
These all-year-round lights are a great way to bring some green sparkle to your home! They’re waterproof and come with 8 different settings including flashing, continuous light patterns! The lights only come on when it’s dark (so about 3:30pm…) and the solar panel uses high grade Kyocera Solar cells that store enough energy to run for 10 hours, even on winter days! These lights are a bargain too at only £19.99!
Buy your Solar Powered Fairy Lights here.

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Recycled Wrapping Paper

These 100% recycled wrapping papers are by Lisa Jones and come in many different styles! They are modernist and brightly coloured using vegetable inks.
Get some Recycled Wrapping Paper here.

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Cardboard Cutting Table
This 100% Icelandic made brilliant cardboard table can be used as a meeting table, a cutting table (it comes with a laminated white surface top), a dinner table and a baby changing table! It’s portable and folds away to save space! (and comes with a handy 18% discount for design students!).
Buy the Cardboard Table here.

KIDS

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‘Woodsy The Owl’ Bib
This adorable bib is by etsy seller ‘cocoandmilkweed‘, consisting of Evan and Lila Maleah- a husband and wife team intent on creating lovely products for little and big people!
Woodsy has been handmade in a dark brown eco-felt that has been made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, and sewn onto a soft cotton woodgrain fabric. the entire bib has been backed with organic cotton flannel and lined with organic cotton and bamboo for extra absorption! All this detail has added to its appeal, and it even has a snap closure to make sure its little wearer isn’t able to yank it off!
Buy a ‘Woodsy The Owl’ bib here.

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Dala Horse Stocking
The Christmas tradition of stocking has been brought into the 21st century by Erin ‘sewsewsuckurtoe‘ by using the folk art inspired Dala Horse. It is constructed out of eco-felt which is made from recycled plastic bottles and lined in cotton to make it strong enought to hold as many things as possible!
Buy a Dala Horse Stocking here.

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Kenana Fairtrade Jungle Animal Teddies
(£16 each; Monkey, Zebra, Lion, Elephant and Leopard)
These cute fairtrade teddies are from a project which started in Njoro, Kenya in 1998 to provide income for women who were able to knit and spin wool. For more information about the project click here.
The teddies meet CE safety standards and about 11-12 inches long.
Buy a Kenana Fairtrade Jungle Animal here.
Amelia’s brother Sam Gregory is the Program Director of a human rights group Witness, viagra and this inspiring collective are front page YouTube news today, information pills in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with a video asking you what image or images have opened your eyes to human rights?

Witness are a group, based in New York, that use video and online technologies to expose human rights violations all over the world. By making videos of victim’s personal stories, they direct attention to injustice and promote public engagement and policy change.

Sam’s first up on the video (below), telling us that the images of a school teacher in East Burma hiding out in a forest with her children is one of the images that shows us we need to go further with our actions to help those whose human rights have been severely violated.
A video producer, trainer and human rights advocate, Sam’s videos have been screened at the US Congress, UK Houses of Parliament, The UN and in film festivals worldwide.

The group are also launching an online channel for these videos called The Hub. This is a new multi-lingual online portal dedicated to human rights media and action. It provides the opportunity for individuals, organizations, networks and groups around the world to bring their human rights stories and campaigns to global attention.

To find out more about Witness (www.witness.org) click here.
The non-existent morality faeries that do not sit either side of my head were in a fluster last Thursday. I took them down to a police auction in Bethnal Green, salve and for the entirety of my pedal there, they could not be resolved: surely there is something fundamentally wrong with capitalising on the lost and stolen goods of hapless victims, or worse still, liquidated assets, urgh! But then again, stolen … and retrieved; lost … and found. Where else would these items, long since departed from owners, go? I have nothing to say about liquidated assets, but apparently that’s next time – this week was reserved to lost and stolen goods only, courtesy of the metropolitan police; thanks.

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Once we arrived, debates were dispelled and there was nothing to fluster about – it did not seem in the least bit seedy. This fortnightly event, put on by Frank G. Bowen Ltd Auctioneers and Valuers, two men both of whom are very friendly, one of whom looks like Santa Clause, takes place in an old air raid shelter, making for a strangely intimate and cosy affair. Potential bidders arrive early to browse, an advisable precaution seeing as nothing can be returned once purchased. I felt like the passer-by who steps into a regulars-only pub, my obvious excitement an instant give-away; but I tried my best to look like this was routine, and nestled myself in amongst the clutter on Lot 135, 1 wooden kitchen-table chair. Pensive brow in place, I concentrated on my catalogue sheet, my mind now settling to the bewildering list before me …

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An initial glance reveals nothing of a surprise: bicycles, phones, cameras, and mp3 players; but it’s not long before you start to wonder … who steals a kitchen chair? A cupboard? An oak mirror overmantle (Lot 379)? The clothing list is the strangest of all: Lot 4: A pair of Ladies sandals, size 40; Lot 58: (non-specific) Ladies Clothing as bagged. One Lot contained a pair of jeans, a jacket, and a pair of trainers – all stolen from a single owner? How did that happen?

Against all inclinations, we ended up describing the place and the experience as a gem. Don’t go expecting to find vintage treasures, but there are amenities at a good price (surely I need a quad bike). And a few pointers: don’t let the excitement of bidding make you go for things for no other rational reason than the pleasure of raising your hand; careful of the man who will out-bid everyone for bikes; and don’t take a lunch break in the middle, thus missing that one item you’d circled in red that you were willing to spend forty quid on, and ended up going for under twenty, pah.

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Don’t miss this excellent event tonight:

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Cheshire Street Christmas Shopping

Friday 12th December

This Friday, case pop down to Cheshire Street as the whole street will be open to 10pm, cost so you can get your quirky Christmas gifts till late(ish) into the night and enjoy wine and nibbles while you do it. The shops will be offering exclusive discounts also, including 20% off on the night at I Dream of Wires. Amazing.

Frock Me! Vintage Fashion Fair
Sunday 14th December

Frock Me! vintage fashion should not be confused with the questionable television show of the same name hosted by a certain over-exposed designer and TV presenter. It is in fact a fabulous vintage fashion fair, and this Sunday, in the swanky surroundings of the Chelsea Town Hall you can pop down and pick up a genuine vintage garment.
They even have their own tea-room. What more could you want?

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Open: 11am – 5.30pm
Admission: £4 (students £2 with ID)
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square / South Kensington

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Christmas singles, diagnosis still the preserve of naff novelty acts, pill pop stars in trendy coats and X Factor winners, or newly fertile ground for acts that are unlikely to even get a sniff at the bottom of the charts? As the Top 40 becomes less and less of a barometer for success and following much-loved Christmas releases from the likes of Low and Sufjan Stevens, this year it seems that more and more indie bands are joining in on the act. But are any of them actually any good? And how to stop them seeming like lame commercial cash-ins in the style of the Christmas tunes of yore?

1. One way to quash accusations of rabid commercialism is to give your single away for free as Slow Club (see above) have done, with ‘Christmas TV’ offered as a free download in a spirit of seasonal goodwill to all mankind. A sweet little folk pop tune about travelling home for Christmas and snuggling in front of the Vicar of Dibley or some such, this is good for anyone feeling the pangs of seasonal separation. The boy/girl vocals chime prettily together in a song that has thematic echoes of ‘Driving Home For Christmas’.

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2. Stay true to your signature style. If you’re usually a grumpy old misery guts, Christmas is no time to suddenly become cheerful just for the hell of it so why not whack out a truly miserable Christmas EP a la Glasvegas? A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss) is the one to pull out when your Dad forgot to turn the oven down, your mum’s sobbing into her charred potatoes and your granny’s being cantankerous.

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3. Restrict your mentions of the season to atmospherically wintery weather references a la The Leisure Society with their pretty waltz ‘Last of the Melting Snow’. Cinematic strings, romantic lyrics and a slightly more upbeat B-side in the form of ‘A Short Weekend Begins With Longing’. It’s available to download but it would be far more festive to buy one of the limited edition handmade copies in the spirit of wonky gingerbread men and glitter-glued everything.

There’s just one thing we’re a little bit worried about. Where are all the sleighbells???????

Now I know I sound like a purist, medicine but sometimes I wish Photoshop had never been invented. After seeing the ingenuity of the post-war artists featuring in Estorick’s ongoing exhibition, rx Cut & Paste: European Photomontage 1920-1945, I longed for the days when you could actually tell something had been done by hand. When skill was quantifiable – based on precision, patience and masterfully cut and mounted shapes; not down to your aptitude with adjustment layers, clipping masks and liquify tools. Of course these arguably require a well-honed set of digital skills within themselves, but Photoshop has cheapened photography to a certain extent. Unimaginably cool things can be done on it by anyone with a shard of creative impulse, so we can’t help but lose the eensiest bit of respect for the end product, no matter how groundbreaking this may be. Don’t you think?

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Regardless, this is a little gem of a show. Small – with only around 25 pieces – it looks at the modernist manipulation of photomontage (in which cut-out photographs and fragments of newsprint from illustrated journals were pasted into drawings and paintings) by the Cubists, Futurists and Dadaists. There’s also a healthy dose of angular Russian Constructivism in there, so for such a small exhibition, they have all the seminal art movements of the early 20th Century well and truly covered.
Developed towards the end of the First World War by the Dadaists in Berlin (the word ‘photomontage’ was taken from engineering and film editing practices) it was a way of making art with a new kind of conceptual clarity. And grit. It was powerful and playful – there is one untitled image of Hitler and a devilish-looking Churchill quaintly enjoying a cup of tea together – and mixed mediums in a way which made people stop and look. And they still have that affect today.

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All the works are beautifully balanced and composed. Italian Futurist Enrico Prampolini’s Broom (1922) is a punchy little piece with huge red circles and chunky text overlaid on a photo of a massive machine, while Gustav Klucis’ Spartakiada Moscow / All-Union Olympiad (1928) is packed with movement and angles so sharp you could cut your fingers on them.
Curated by Lutz Becker, Cut & Paste showcases work made almost a century ago, but which feels surprisingly fresh and modern. It’ll make you turn off your computer, pick up a pair of scissors and start attacking The Daily Mail like there’s no tomorrow. I think that’s always a good thing.
I’m not a person who wins things; Lady Luck is not my friend. Never has my name been picked from a raffle or hat, discount scratch cards always defeat me, and even when I tried to Derren Brown the ticket man at Walthamstow Dogs, “Look into my eyes, this is the winning ticket”, I still came away empty handed. So when my name was electronically selected for the Time Out Bus Tour, a heavily over-subscribed perk to First Thursdays, I was veritably excited.

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I’m not sure what I imagined, a day of musing amalgamated in something entirely inconceivable bearing reference to the Playbus and set firmly beyond the realm of reality. This is the description from which I fabricated: Each month, join leading curators, writers, academics and artists on a guided bus tour visiting a selection of First Thursdays Galleries; and that’s precisely what it was, but I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed when I saw a very ordinary looking bus waiting outside Whitechapel Gallery, a bit health & safety and sanitised, OAP visit to Hastings anyone?

If you were in fact there for a guided bus tour with leading academics, curators, and artists, and not for a bus of dreams, then you’d probably be satisfied. Four selected galleries, a talk from a curator in each, and the wealth of information that only a guided tour can give, adding much more depth to your engagement with the work. My favourite part was a six-strong bowling team that unofficially tagged along, following the bus in a Transit, and innocuously joining the talks wearing matching blue team shirts, names on the breast. I did feel a pang of jealousy at the scores of people casually strolling between galleries on Vyner Street, drinks in hands, hmmms and ahhhs at the ready. I’ll opt for a home made bicycle tour next time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend this.
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If you’re planning on going to any of these events, sale or have something you want to write an article about for the Earth Blog, email us: earth@ameliasmagazine.com!

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Now here’s a lovely story: One felt-making coffee morning in South London, three suburban mums discover a shared hoarding habit, a joy in rummaging through rubbish and a desire to make pretty things (with or without the use of felt). Out from the discarded chicken-shop boxes and begrudged lotto tickets emerged, not Oscar the Grouch (think Sesame Street) but The Skip Sisters.
These ladies really know how to make-do-and-mend, rescuing shabby bits and bobs found in skips and attics and revamping them into something truly lovely. 100% eco-friendly.
From now until Christmas Eve the Skip Sisters will be selling all sorts of treasures from the debris at 14 Northcross Road in East Dulwich. (Not open Mondays).
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Clocks made out of tins…found in a skip!
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Jewelry…found in a skip!
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Necklaces made with real human hands…found in a skip!

At 3am on the morning of the 7th of December two mini buses, thumb a 1960s fire engine and just over 50 cold, eager and very excited protesters turned up at a gate near the long stay car park of Stansted airport. Calmly and attentively we piled out of the mini buses and began to swarm around the entry point. A security vehicle happened to be passing just as we arrived, which instilled some nervous butterflies in our stomachs, but there was no stopping us. Once through the fence panel with our wire cutters we marched, as if to a temporary ark of safety (which we were to construct), two by two, carrying the tools and materials we were to need. Our objective was to reach the taxiway and setup a Harris fence enclosure around us to which we would lock-on to for as long as possible. After 6am, which was when the first flight was scheduled for take-off, every minute was to count as extremely important – directly stopping the release of ridiculous amounts of CO2 into the earth’s atmosphere.

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We were all so pleased to be doing something so direct; the feeling was one of pride in knowing that we were helping to facilitate discussions, raised levels of awareness, and aid to those directly suffering as a result of raised CO2 emissions in developing countries around the world. It really won’t be long before we are seriously suffering from our selfish actions, we need to look and focus on long-term rewards not short term ones. In reading the press coverage after the action I have been surprised to read a few comments by people who were disrupted – one man was quoted to say “Why couldn’t they have waited a few hours?” if we all adopt that approach where will we be left?
I will go on to strongly encourage non-violent direct action to be taken by as many of you reading this as possible, it feels so great to be there, in the heart of potential change, to be able to say “I have tried my hardest”. It is our future generation who will suffer, and personally I don’t want my children to be struggling as much as they will be if no “green” systematic changes occur.

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At The Climate Safety Talk delivered at Friends House, Euston, a few weeks ago I became scared – and directly inspired by that very fear to act, with others feeling the same way, as soon as I could, as this seems to have the most impact. I am newly accessing this level of climate science through living with some of the most inspiring women I have had the pleasure to meet and we discuss this issue of climate change daily, and innovatively focus most of our energy in the direction of raising awareness and creating social change methods and access points. Tamsin Omond lives upstairs and is helping to organize another suffragette style Climate Rush at Heathrow on Jan 12th, which I invite everyone to attend. Beth Stratford, Mel Evans, who spoke to the press after the Stansted protests, and Clemmie James from the Drax 29 also inhabit this eco-warrior house.
This action came as an opportunity for myself and others to not just discuss what is happening, but directly and physically respond, and gain immediate results – we stopped 86 flights from leaving the airport and acted as a catalyst for many many discussions.

Stansted has on average at least one flight leaving its runway every minute during working hours generating a shocking 4.2 tonnes of CO2 every single minute! Aviation is the fastest growing source of emissions and already contributes at least 13 per cent of the UK’s total climate impact. In October controversial plans for an expansion of Stansted Airport were given the go-ahead by the Government. Airport owner BAA wants to increase passenger numbers from 25 million to 35 million a year and flights leaving the airport from 241,000 to 264,000 a year. Objectors say an expansion would damage the environment, but some unions said the proposal could bring new jobs. Do we really need new jobs in this sector, should the Government not be pushing for new green jobs to go along with its emissions reduction target? The target that has been broadly accepted by many bodies including our own Government is that a rise in global average temperature of more than 2C above its preindustrial value must not be allowed. If this airport expansion is really given the go-ahead there will be very little chance of us being able to achieve the targets.
Aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change and a major threat to the earth and everything living on it. But rather than reining the industry in and trying to reduce demand for flying, the government is promoting it through tax breaks and through its plans for massive expansion at our airports: the equivalent of a new Heathrow every five years!

Plane Stupid demands a fundamental rethink of the government’s 2003 Aviation White Paper which predicts that air travel will treble by 2030: an increase in annual plane journeys from 180 million to 501 million.

We, as Plane Stupid want to see airport expansion plans scrapped, and an end to short haul flights and aviation advertising.

Discussions and presentations are important, as the information and science needs to spread as far and wide, and touch as many people as possible, but we need to follow contact with this information with direct action as nothing else seems to be getting the results we need as soon as we need them. The Government has been making empty promises of reductions in the levels of CO2 emissions, and as nothing has happened yet we want to directly affect this ourselves.

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www.planestupid.com
It’s Saturday and everything at the Eco-Design Christmas Fair in the Old Truman Brewery, pilule Brick Lane, is daubed in gloominess. Thanks to the amazing British weather, the Christmas spirit is not in the air as greyness bears down through the skylights and umbrellas drip a murky trail behind each visitor. We all gravitate towards a stall selling mulled wine, but the smell – delicious at first – soon mixes with the sickly sweetness of organic soap and incense.

The fair, now in its fifth year, brings together designers whose work is centered on sustainability and kindness to the environment, the products on sale range from clothing, jewellery, toys and furniture to edible shoe polish.

The best find of the day is Finnish designer Minna Hepburn. Hepburn looks and sounds like she is channelling Claudia Schiffer, and is selling her leftover designs from London Fashion Week’s eco-sustainable show ,estethica. Her clothes, all creamy Scottish lace and organic or fair trade silk embellished with found brooches, buttons, outshine neighbouring designs. (pictured below)

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Around the relatively small space, recycled jewellery stalls clamour for attention. Rosie Weisencrantz‘s display is by far the most elegant; some of her work is even framed and mounted on the wall. (pictured below) Weisencrantz was a weaver for 25 years before becoming a jewellery designer, and her pieces hang on intricately woven string. She also likes to root around at markets and on ebay for antique brooches, which she transforms into one-off, textured necklaces.

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Using an altogether different approach, Kirsty Kirkpatrick buys enormous bags of old jewellery and spends hours sifting through, detangling chains and picking out gems, before reassembling them into new designs. She uses recycled materials too, making geometric necklaces from wine and biscuit boxes. Kirkpatrick has a quick smile and soft Scottish accent, and is obviously proud of her “anti-landfill” label. (pictured below)

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After Minna Hepburn, the rest of the clothing at the fair is a bit of a let down. T-shirts are in abundance, most sporting slogans and stencilled graphics like those by design collective Edge. (Their ethos: “We will make eco-fashion cool if it kills us”). (pictured below)

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Overall, there was far more here for the eco-jewellery enthusiast than anyone else.

Karolin Schnoor has contributed some illustrations to our upcoming Earth blog ‘Tipping Point’. We loved them so much we decided to make her our illustrator of the week! Her work is being featured in this week’s issue of TimeOut.

Below are a few examples of her work, here and a little bit about her!

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Reindeer Illustration (Part of a series of illustrations by Karolin appearing in TimeOut)

“I am originally from Germany and came over to London to study Illustration with a 5 month stint at a Parisian school in my third year. In my illustration work my main interest is narrative and characters and lately I have really enjoyed labouring over intricate folk-like patterns to contrast with my two-dimensional and quite simplistic drawing style.”

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A recent Christmas card design

“I used to play it quite safe when it came to colours, physician using mainly pencil and occassional bits of red until I had a tutorial in my first year and my tutor called out rather exasperatedly: “What is missing here is colour! Colour!!” Since then I have gone a bit overboard sometimes but I think I am feeling more comfortable with colour now.

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“Norwegian Wood” Illustration of the famous Beatles song
(screenprinted for Karolin’s degree show).

I was also rather obsessed with screenprinting at college and really miss it, but I think the process still informs the way I build my illustrations. At the moment I am freelancing, drawing, designing websites and I might be designing a book next year which I am very excited about.”

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‘Conversation’ a piece by Karolin for our blog!

Visit Karolin’s Website www.karolinschnoor.com, click here!

Monday Dec 15th

800feet is the new exhibition at sale 89490, see en.html”target=”_blank”>Space in Portsmouth, exhibiting the work of over 20 Portsmouth based artists, including painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Established in 1980 by graduates of the then Portsmouth Polytechnic, Art Space Portsmouth will soon celebrate 30 years of supporting, nurturing and retaining creative talent in the City.

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Tuesday Dec 16th

Museum 52 hosts a one-off festive grotto beginning today and running until Saturday the 20th. The grotto will pool in a breadth of work, with over 30 artists exhibiting unique hand-made works from tea-towels to comics, films, and scarves. A percentage of all profits will go to shelter.

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Wednesday Dec 17th
Lost in the Neutral Zone is an all day music and arts event. It runs between 2pm and 2am at the London and Brighton Pub on Queens Road in Peckham. There will be live music, spoken word, and zine stalls.

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Thursday Dec 18th

“The Greatest sleeptalker in recorded history?” I would not imagine such a category to exist; who I wonder, is the second greatest sleeptalker in recorded history. I pointed you in the direction of Seventeen last week, but that was before I knew about the happenings in the basement, which is why I’ll recommend you to go again. So Somniloquent leads you into a dark basement of low ceilings and cubbyholes, where you are invited to sit back and listen to the surreal world as incarnated by Dion Mcgregor. Bizarre narratives and entire worlds were conjured by this man, only to be forgotten upon awakening, until somebody finally decided to put a tape recorder to the purpose. It runs until the 24th of January.

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Friday Dec 19th

Head down to St Johns Church in Bethnal Green this Friday for Ghost, hosted by the Belfry Project and guest-curated by Sarah Sparkes and Ricarda Vidal, a spooky project that plays on the 1953 artwork by Marcel Duchamp entitled “A Guest + a Host = a Ghost”. The show will spread over the entire space, spilling from the cobwebbed dark alcoves of the belfry into the entrance hall, past the red velvet curtains and into the church. There will be performances, video, sound and scent installations, and later on, a program of artists’ films. Mulled wine and mince pies too!

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Every good Christmas dinner needs musical accompaniment, visit so while feasting with my housemates, I put Band Aid on pause for 4 minutes 46 seconds to have a listen to Veronica’s Veil by Fan Death.

According to the fountain of knowledge aka Wikipedia, ‘Fan death is a South Korean urban legend which states that an electric fan, if left running overnight in a closed room, can cause the death of those inside.’ Interesting… Whether this was the inspiration for the band name, I don’t know, but I do know that their tune, with its 70′s funky strings and Debbie Harry-esque vocal, mixed with 80′s synth beats, went down well in the party mix.

Our thoughts about the song were that, although it was fine accompaniment to our turkey and stuffing, it wasn’t a highly distinctive or original tune. As my housemate put it, “I’d dance to it if it was on in a club, if I was drunk, but I wouldn’t be bothered otherwise.”

I think she was being a harsh judge, although not groundbreaking, produced by club king Erol Alkan (who also provides a remix) Veronica’s Veil is a solid electro pop tune that interestingly merges the key sounds of my two favourite musical decades and deserves to be more than just background music.

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Monday 15th December

Ipso Facto, viagra HTRK, sildenafil This Tawdry Affair, capsule The Lexington, London
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Celebrate a goth Christmas headlined by bowlcutted eyeliner queens playing a weird and wonderful fusion of 60s and 80s guitar sounds in excellent monochrome outfits. Dark pop disco support.

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, The School, Mia Vigour, Hoxton Bar and Grill, London

Christmas party from dreamy whimsical pop gang who are releasing a Christmas single this year.

Jason McNiff, First Aid Kit, 12 Bar Club, London

Amazingly precocious folk support from Swedish sisters with a combined age of all of about 11. The video of them singing and strumming in the woods is just beautiful.

Tuesday 16th December

Comet Gain, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Liechtenstein, Old Blue Last, London
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Britpop stalwarts who’ve been around for at least a decade break out the indie, with support from up-and-coming, poppy Brooklynites TPOBPAH playing songs from their new album, out next Feb.

Fee Fie Foe Fum: Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, Johnny Flynn, Jay J Pistolet, Peggy Sue and the Pirates, Cargo, London

New folk extravaganza with performances from as many up-and-coming and up-and-come young folk stars as you can fit in one room. Many of them are either featured in the new issue of the magazine (out now!), or have been featured in the past.

Wednesday 17th December

A Thompson Family Christmas, Royal Festival Hall, London

More of a loosely interpreted folk family than blood relations (although it does feature his mother Linda and sister Kami), Teddy Thompson has organised this extravaganza in aid of Amnesty International.

David Cronenburg’s Wife, Candythief, The Cedars, The Windmill, London

Fall-inspired anti-folk, with psych-grunge support from Candythief and bluegrass.

James Yorkston, Luminaire, London

Part of the Scottish Fence Collective that also includes King Creosote and spawned KT Tunstall.

Thursday 18th December

The Black Angels, ULU, London
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Fresh from their stint as Roky Erikson‘s backing band, this Texan quintet are bound to bring some warped Southern musical weirdness to ULU. Expect dark, driving stoner-rock sounds.

The Broken Family Band
, The Accidental, End of the Road @ Cargo, London

Whistful, unassuming country-tinged tunes with a sense of humour.

Duncan Lloyd, Screaming Tea Party, Old Blue Last, London

Maximo Park guitarist playing material from his new solo album with an early Graham Coxon jangly lo-fi feel. Screaming Tea Party also offer more of their bonkers but sweet pop tinged punk sounds.

Friday 19th December

Dead Pixels, Bar Academy, London
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Gloomy electro-pop with deadbeat female vocals.


Billy Childish
and the Musicians of the British Empire, Boston Arms, London

Garage punk favourite returns with a new band but most likely a reassuringly familiar lo-fi sound.

Folk Idol: Nancy Wallace, Eva Abraham, James Macdonald, Laurel Swift, Downstairs at the King’s Head, London

The rules say wear a beard and sing a classic folk song in this presumably much calmer take on the annual autumnal hell that is X Factor.

Saturday 20th December

Gogol Bordello, The Roundhouse, London.

Everyone, including Madonna’s, favourite gypsy punk band tend to play pretty explosive sets, often culminating in Eugene Hutz crowd-surfing on a drum and other scrape and bruise inducing antics.

Metronomy, The Scala, London

An ideal Saturday night gig. Dress up, go out and dance dance dance to these electro faves.

Sunday 21st December

Sensible Sundays @ Lock Tavern: The Wild Wolves, The Social, Helouisa, Lock Tavern, London
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The perfect end to the weekend/ beginning of real Christmas at this folky acoustic afternoon to evening. Look out for Helouisa, a uke-toting trio with the voices of angels, influenced by the likes of Emmy the Great and Peggy Sue and the Pirates. But then we would say that as the Luisa of their name is our very own art girl.

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Joan Wasser – Singer, find songwriter, and violinist, and seemingly omnipresent force in the New York indie scene. Starting her post-music-school career in the Damnbuilders, Those Bastard Souls and Black Beetle, she has since racked up a very impressive CV. In 1999 she became a ‘Johnson’, featuring on the Mercury winning ‘I am a Bird Now’, Anthony Hegarty being a dramatically positive and calming influence on her both personally and musically.

The mishmash of folk milling around the Empire typifies Joan’s broad appeal. Clearly her talent knows no boundaries or subcultures which can’t be won over, which creates a delicious mix of middle-aged couples, muso types and uber-trendy lesbians.

She commands the stage with her sultry New York sassiness, giggling at the irritating and oh-so British heckles that makes you wish you could sod off and see her properly in New York. The first few songs, although technically perfect, seem to be missing something until suddenly, the weighty silence that fell in the fist few bars of ‘To be Lonely’ hit. Effortlessly, she pours the melody into the piano keys, which melt with the words and take you to her world. In fact, Joan’s world is very much Joan’s music. As an artist she is intrinsically linked to her history, her story, and it’s the subjectivity of her music that makes her so appealing. One of the most exhaustive sets I have ever seen, she pretty much played her entire back catalogue, including ‘Eternal Flame’, ‘Christobel’ and incredible Elliot Smith tribute ‘We Don’t Own It’.

Joan breathes, bleeds, feels and loves. Her solo work is very much her new beginning and the performance has this wonderful amalgamation of an accomplished, qualified, and experienced musician with something so fresh, tender, and pure. She’ll make you laugh, cry and fall in love all at the same time.

This was an event for the lovers of fun, more about performance, website like this spectacle, fascination and interaction, and was it all of the above…oh yes, most definitely!
Decompression celebrates the reuniting and collaboration of like-minded artistic individuals who are familiar with Burning Man and/or No-Where festival(s). They refer to the gathering as a reunion. The on-site setup lasts a mere two days, but artists, performers and choreographers work for just over a month in preparation for this one night. Decompression, Burning Man and No-Where describe their holistic key principles as:
• Self-expression: The freedom to BE in a creative and liberating space.
• Radical self-reliance: YOU are responsible for YOURSELF.
• No commerce: Bring it because you can’t buy it, give it because you can.
• Leave no trace: Create something from nothing, and leave nothing behind.
• Participation: Get involved, this is not an event for spectators.

I haven’t attended Burning Man or No-Where, but what I’ve heard from those who have is always so positive and inspiring. The two events have been said to be life changing, and are also said to stay within the hearts of all participators for life. The key principles lay down the ideals held centrally by most successful communities, and I feel this is really the way we need to all begin living.
Within a community you have so much support, so much strength-brought from everybody’s unique sets of gathered and nurtured skills and their desire to share them, a sense of shared purpose and the ability to achieve great things through all of the above points collectively. Greenpeace have published an Energy (R)evolution report which talks of energy solutions coming from local opportunities at both a small and community scale. Their focus is on us all working together to produce a sustainable model of living, and I feel that these events inspired by Burning Man, and Burning man itself of course, are celebrated examples of what it is to be and function within that method of collective habitation, energy production (homemade solar panels and water purifiers being a common site within the festivals), food and waste management. Theses spaces, allowing a coming together of similarly focused creatives, also allow a lot of focused discussion around important topics, and being an important topic, sustainable models of living get spoken about a lot. These people are trying to break down the barriers between people and to re-focus energy on shared living, creativity and innovation.
Burning Man (Nevada desert, California), No-Where (The site is situated in the region of Aragon in northern Spain between Zaragoza and Lleida desert, Spain) and London Decompression are events linked through concept, predominantly focusing on shared experience and expression, with an overwhelmingly strong foundation of creativity. There is a leave no trace concept, which after a week of partying and artistic workshops in the middle of the desert with thousands of other people can, as you will imagine, takes a little time-combing every square foot-they are not happy to leave a single sequin!

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images from Genevive Lutkin-Burning Man 2007

I was working alongside three really good girl friends of mine to produce a recycled elephant sculpture, whose body acted as a tent and projector screen, and which offered an educational journey thought the mandala painting techniques originating from South India. Our elephant was exploring what you could create with rubbish, and how you could turn it into something beautiful, making people think about what they throw away. Wire coat-hangers, hanging baskets, stripped electrical wire and plastic milk bottles made up the body structure. The tent and 4 costumes were made from a few meters of bought fabric, but decorated with sections of old sari fabric we had been collecting for the last few years, the floor underneath the elephant was covered with saris, on which lay pots and pots of the brightest rangoli paint, 4 blackboards and lots of rangoli stencils.
Rangoli, also known as Alpana, Kolam and by other names is a traditional art of decorating courtyards and walls of Indian houses, places of worship and sometimes eating-places. The powder of white stone, lime, rice flour and other paste is used to draw intricate and ritual designs.
Although Rangoli art is Maharashtrian in origin, it has become quite popular all over the country. Each state of India has its own way of painting Rangoli. One characteristic of Rangolis is that it’s painted by commoners. On some special occasions like Diwali it is painted in every home, with or without formal training in Rangoli art. The art is
typically transferred from generation to generation and from friend to friend.

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images from Monique Gregson-Hampi, South India, 2005

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images supplied by Yolanda Yong-Decompression 2008

Sophie Rostas, of Café Cairo (a nomadic decorational and tea party troupe who put on beautiful nights at changing venues, since their South London site burnt down a few years ago) created a greatly entertaining performance based instillation called ‘Feast of Fools’, for which I aided her in costume making. The feast was held at a huge wooden table, constructed especially for the event, on which a dance was held, then a lavish feast of skipped food spread. A precession of fools in costume led an inquisitive crowd to the table. After a ballet performed by two beautiful dancers hatching our of eggs on the table, the performance began…an eager and excitable king sitting at the head of the table on a chair raised to be on-top of the table stomped a steady beat to which 8 dancers circled the table in rich, exquisite costume. The circling slowly declining from an orderly chair swap to hectic table clambering and mass interaction, not just with the other members of the dance, but with the onlookers, and as the order dropped the kings beat quickened pace, with him becoming more and more excited by the movement of his fools. It ended up with his passing out and being carried off the table, to return with a broom sweeping up the scraps of the feast a little later.

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images from Joie De Winter-Decompression 2008

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The Café Cairo nomadic troupe

The transformation for Decompression is quite incredible with its pace, transforming old railway arches, now used as car parks, into a rich artistic exploration. The artists can apply for funding directly from the organizers, who will try and cover up to 70% of their total spending on materials. This allows artists the freedom to work without being hindered by material costs, although a lot of the participating artists work with reclaimed materials, scavenged from here and there, the budget helps with necessities needed for the pieces. Imagine the space if you will…dark, large and cave like with each corner, section of the ceiling, large open space and doorway covered or filled with a different instillation, from huge art cars, costume camp, to water tanks for underwater ballet performances in gas masks, a tunnel of lust and love full of projections and erotic sounds, a photographer and his plush set awaiting visitors in extravagant and curious fancy dress in the corner of one room, a Drawing Booth by Interactive Instillation artist Joie De Winter and too many more instillations and art pieces to mention.
Joie’s Drawing Booth is a highly interactive performance based piece featuring set, concept, performance and makeup. It offers up an environment, which encourages social exploration through creative engagement. Rather than relying on the capturing of a moment and memory within a photo booth, she creates a richer version of this experience and celebrates the art of drawing as a social tool.

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image from Joie De Winter-Decompression 2008

If jewellery is your gift of choice this year, page thanks to the internet there is an abundance of quirky and beautiful necklaces etc to get your hands on. If you want to make your choice extra festive, order here are some places that have brought out exclusive Christmas pieces. Snap them up fast as last postage date to places in the UK is the 19th December.

Tatty Devine

Tatty Devine haven’t disappointed with this festive collection:

Flying Fawns Earrings
, abortion £36

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Parcel Bow Necklace, £33

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Parcel Bow Earrings, £33

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This Charming Girl

If you love to wear a necklace and have people admire it saying, “where did you get that from?” This is the place to go. Anyone would be very happy with a unique trinket from here, especially this seasonal necklace:


Ribbon Necklace
, £9

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Eclectic Eccentricity

Perfectly named, this charming online boutique has delicate and special items at very reasonable prices, including these gems:


Winging My Way back To You
, £16.00

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Dear Ones, £13.50

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Prick your Finger

Now, although not strictly jewellery, these had to be included as they’re the epitome of Christmas cuteness!

Naori Priestly‘s animal pin cushions, £19.99 each

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So go on, get the lady in your life a Christmas trinket she will treasure all year round.

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Wetdog thrive on the chaotic; their debut longplayer Enterprise Reversal is a head-spinning, web giddy joyride of layered chants, sick sharp guitars and thick, viagra 60mg reverb-laced bass lines, all pushing, shoving and fighting each other for room on each of the record’s 22 tracks. But amid all of the pandemonium, there is a strong, swaggering melody to keep things ticking over and entrancing, jabbering lyrics that verge on inaudible, but still deviously drag you ear-first into the commotion.

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Continually changing tempo from track to track, the record sways between the raucous and the slower, more sprawling thumps, but retains a definite style, neatly affixing the assortment of songs together as a whole. ‘8 Days’ swings between thudding bass and chanting multi-vocals and ‘Zah und Zaheet’ conjures up memories of Nirvana during the Bleach-era (if they had a yelling girl group in tow).

With most of the tracks never pushing past the 2 minute mark, Wetdog undoubtedly won’t be to everyone’s taste, but their strident and unabashed style and jumbled sound of The Slits stumbling over The Fall is certainly attention-grabbing and deserving of a listen.
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With unduly brilliant timing the Climate Change secretary Ed Miliband called for a Suffragette-type movement to push forward political change on the very same day as the Plane Stupid Stansted protest.

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“When you think about all the big historic movements, recipe from the suffragettes, physician to anti-apartheid, to sexual equality in the 1960s, all the big political movements had popular mobilisation,” said Miliband, quoted in the Guardian on December 8th. “Maybe it’s an odd thing for someone in government to say, but I just think there’s a real opportunity and a need here.” So, in the spirit of the Suffragettes we at Climate Rush thought it would be nice gesture to invite Ed Miliband and some of his governmental cohorts along to Dinner at Departures, at Heathrow on the 12th January at 7pm. (Terminal One, y’all) After all, shouldn’t he be supporting us?

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So, today I toddled off to Westminster to meet my fellow Climate Rushers with the aim of hand-delivering a few invites to our Dinner, which is, of course, open to all. Tamsin was instantly recognised by a ‘friendly bobby‘ who merrily told us that the last time he saw her was on the top of Parliament.

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Photocall with the Evening Standard done we headed off to Downing Street. Which was when we realised that hand delivering invites is clearly worthy of police intimidation; two coppers were soon tailing our every move.

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Maybe they felt it was a good use of tax payer’s money to capture the features of our youngest recruit, who delivered a festive invite for Gordon Brown. (why not invite them all?!)

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Next up was Ed Miliband himself, over at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. We weren’t allowed much further than reception, but had time to admire the big TV screen showing images of penguins and cute seals (endangered….. ahhhh) and oil rigs (hmmmm) I hope he gets his invite.

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On our way up to see Geoff Hoon over at the Department for Transport (who will make the final decision over whether the 3rd runway goes ahead) we passed a hair salon with an entirely appropriate name.

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For some reason the security guards seemed a bit wary of us, making sure that the door was firmly closed and bolted when we delivered the invite.

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Not so over at Defra, where environment secretary Hilary Benn‘s personal secretary came down to meet us in reception and accept the invite – she asked who she could rsvp to and we realised we hadn’t included an address – woops! Perhaps we weren’t quite expecting such personal attention.

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We have done our best to invite the people we think should come to our Dinner at Departures – the people who will ultimately decide whether a new runway goes ahead. Now it’s up to you to make your own statement about what you think should happen – join us, dress Edwardian, and bring food to share. More information can be found here and on facebook here.

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An example by Maria Sagun.

In collaboration with the Samaritans, visit photographer Hege Sæbjørnsen (herself a Samaritans volunteer) is organising the Affluenza Exhibition.

The aim of this project is to, sildenafilinspire debate and awareness about the destructive impact of consumer values on the emotional wellbeing of society.” Through the medium of art.

The exhibition will take place between 16th – 27th of March 2009 and currently there is a call for artists, so if you are any kind of visual or performing artist and think that you would find it a satisfactory challenge, here is the brief and requirements:


Affluenza

* Painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
* Placing a high value on money, possessions, appearances (physical and social) and fame, a failure to distinguish between what we need and what we want.

Consider that the excessive wealth seeking in consumerist nations lead to the unhappiness of its citizens and higher rates of emotional and mental distress.

The work

The exhibition is submission based with a solid panel of high profile judges including author and psychologist Oliver James, Jonathan Barnbrook (Barnbrook Design) and Michael Czerwinski (Design Museum) who will assess the work and decide on the final entries.

We encourage performance, sound pieces, sculpture, photography and broad based visual arts. Entrants are invited to submit a proposal for work to be completed or existing work.
We will need

* A brief biography/CV
* Artist statement
* Samples of work: CD or digital pdf is preferred, but we will accept up to 10 images, 35 mm slides. (Please include a self-addressed envelope if you need the work returned.)
* Proposal including dimensions and technical specifications

Submit your entry by 30th January 2009 for the chance to be included in the exhibition. To submit work contact Hege Sæbjørnsen on 07734944685 or e-mail
submissions@theaffluenzaexhibition.org

Last week I gave you a dummy’s guide to the Climate Safety Report.
Round Two of my wising-up to climate science took place at The Wellcome Trust in Euston. It was an event run by TippingPoint, web an organization that sets out to provide up-to-date climate science to artists who might then go off to create something influenced by the knowledge they have ingested and further inspire the people that see their work. The idea is to spread the word to different sectors of society so that collectively we can start coming up with solutions to solve the problem.
We were greeted with a laminated nametag and a cup of mild coffee to prepare us for the (ahem) 5-hour lecture ahead of us. Here’s what I learnt…
Dr Chris West, medical Director of the UK Climate Impact Programme, was a lovely bear of a man with a comforting voice. He eased us into what would become a scientifically complicated afternoon (zzz) with The Basics. Wonderful. I felt gently steered from point to point and a few ‘basics’ were magically made clear.
Ta-daa…I now know about The Greenhouse Effect: This is when the hot and cold energy in the atmosphere is out of balance and causes the temperature here on earth to rise. The reason why there is this unbalance is because we are emitting too many (hot) greenhouse gases to cool that can’t cool the (hot) radiation that hits us from the sun. There is nowhere for these hot gases to go so they form a stuffy enclosure of concentrated heat around us, just like Kew Gardens.
Higher temperatures cause sea levels to rise and weather patterns to change dramatically. The point to which this cannot continue the aftermath is the problem this afternoon of presentations hopes to explore…
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Anthony Costello, head of the Centre for International Health and Development at UCL, talked about the decrease in population of mountain marmots. Well sort of… he did say that it has been predicted 15-37% of species face extinction by 2050 as a direct result of climate change.
Climate change is ‘the global health problem of this century’. We know that Malaria transmissibility is set to increase significantly (hotter climate means more bugs to pass the disease about). Again he said that it is difficult to be certain how climate change will effect worldwide health but that research should focus on examining changing disease patterns, food security, human settlements and migration in relation to sea-level projections and hotter temperatures.
We then had a break and a chocolate biscuit or five. I perused the handouts tried to look insightful.
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Tim Lenton, professor of Earth System Science at the University of East Anglia, concentrated on this phenomenon of Tipping Points that had been bugging me. What are they and when do they occur? Well, in a nutshell, a tipping point is a point of no return. If we carry on heating up the planet, scientists predict that we will reach a point where we will go over our limits and enter a new climactic territory –the characteristics of which are uncertain but it’s not likely to be very habitable.
There seems to be some dispute as to whether there is one global tipping point that would lead to ‘runaway’ climate change or many tipping points dotted around the globe. But Tim Lenton was all about multiple tipping points (dirty bugger) that may work in a domino effect.
The Big Ones are the disintegration of arctic sea ice and the melt of the ice sheet in Greenland. Not forgetting the die back of the Amazon rainforest, the collapse of the Atlantic, the Indian monsoon… He summed up with saying that the tipping element is an inevitable component of the earth system and, with this is mind, we should be building future societies that are adaptive and resilient to climate tipping.

Diana Liverman, director of the Environmental Change Institute came on stage apologizing for being attached to her blackberry. She was in fact keeping tabs on the Climate Change Conference in Poznan. This is when a group of people from the U.N. sits around a table and work out how to cut back on global emissions. The 1997 Kyoto Agreement runs out in 2012 so plans are being made now for a new agreement to be decided in Copenhagen in 2009.
As we know, recent climate science calls for much deeper cuts. The proposed cuts are 50% worldwide and 80% in industrial countries, 20% in Europe and 80% in the U.K. The new agreement is set to include developing countries (China, India and Brazil) who have previously had no commitment, and of course the big bad U.S.A.
It is also intended to reform the Clean Development Mechanism (C.D.M), a system whereby developing countries reduce their emissions and developed countries reach their emission targets through joint activities. So far it hasn’t worked very well and there needs to be a big change in the way countries are dealing with/failing to deal with their emission targets. But habits are deep rooted, if we are going to combat global warming, there needs to be a major transformation of our social system.
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The question on everyone’s lips was ‘how?’ How do we create change on such a grand scale?
We had hoped that big natural disasters would prompt change but the U.S. government’s failure to do so when Hurricane Katrina hit has squashed that one. So now there’s more focus than ever on pushing for civil mobilization; if our government can’t do it, we can. The recession is seen also to change people’s attitudes. As we have evidence that our old ways are not necessarily working, there should be massive investment into new alternatives such as geo-engineering. The view that high emitting corporations should be attacked directly also got a few nods. Or, as one lady put it nicely, mass social change can be achieved through ‘experiment, extremity and engagement with people who are different. ‘

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Looking like some kind of fringed and straggled Clairol advert from advertiser hell, abortion Vivian Girls prove you don’t have to be all surly snarls to have total rock attitude. Coming on stage beaming at the audience, help making polite requests to the sound guys, visit the Girls proclaim their bad-ass status through their plentiful tattoos and their music rather than through embarrassing rock star posturing.

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Effortlessly cool, they launch into a blistering set, with flawless harmonies just about audible above their raucous guitars and tight drumming. There’s a surprisingly punk edge in the live set that’s not quite so apparent on the record and reveals something a little meatier behind the stock comparisons of Spector girl groups and shoegaze that constantly float around the band. Even the most pop number on the record, ‘Where Do You Run To’, has a heavy edge onstage and a Beach Boys cover is rendered almost unrecognisable by all the feedback, sung with the friendly insouciance of three girls who know they’re by far the coolest thing in the room.

A nice line in onstage banter, some audience participation via a telepathic transmission and an eagerness to mix with the plebs and join the party after the show, make Vivian Girls immensely likeable, which, combined with their brilliant music and engagingly dorky videos, makes me want to put their poster on my wall, their album on repeat and run away to Brooklyn so I can be their BFF.

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Stepping into Transition Gallery at once feels intimate and personable, price an atmosphere suffused with the charm of its curators, store Cathy Lomax and Alex Michon. I went along to take a second look at the current exhibition, viagra approved Awopbopaloobop, and talk music, art, and fanzines with Cathy in the cosy gallery with marvelous views.

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The First Thursdays Bus Tour had brought me to Transition for the first time a few weeks ago, where Alex’s proclamation, “we both have backgrounds in Rock n’ Roll” introduced us to Awopbopaloobop’s theme (I like saying it and hope you will too). Cathy’s response a week later was one of amusement and mild self-deprecation, “Alex’s is much cooler”, she says of her co-curator with a smile, who used to do clothes design for a host of bands in the 70′s, including The Clash. Cathy meanwhile was a make-up artist for the likes of Bjork and Kylie, and the front-woman of her own band, Shoot Dispute, earning the attention of John Peel, and just as much kudos I think.

Whilst they’ve often named exhibitions with song lyrics (with amiable consensus so far), the collusion between music and art now finds itself illuminated on the walls of Transition. The idea is simple and irresistible. Artists were invited to produce a piece of work inspired by a song lyric, the only criteria being a size restriction for the wall, and that it not include the written words themselves. “So much of the meaning is lost when you just see the words on a page,” she says, and I think of hours spent reading the albums sleeves of my favourite artists, “music is so visual”.

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singing along with the lyric sheet

If someone were to make an album of all the songs referenced in Awopbopaloobop (an idea in the pipeline), you’d have one of the most bizarre and eclectic line-ups imaginable, with the likes of Johnny Cash featured alongside All Saints and Afrikan Boy (One Day I went to Lidl). Cathy explained that the link between artist and song was often one bewilderment as well as enlightenment; you listen to that? “It started to become clear that a lot of the music people chose was stuff they were listening to when they were in their early teens”, a notion that resonates when you think that finding your own identity in those years is so intrinsically intertwined with the music you listen to. It’s this that makes the exhibition feel so personal, a direct window to someone’s soul in a language we all speak. Artist’s also seemed to find it unanimously difficult to choose a song to work with. Cathy herself did not produce a work for the exhibition until the week prior to opening, when a pilgrimage to Memphis inspired an expression of searching and resolution, Trying to get to you – Elvis Presley.

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Jasper Joffe Like a Virgin- Madonna

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Cathy Lomax Trying to Get to You – Elvis

A comforting inspiration to anyone who does not like the idea of doing a single thing, Cathy has her fingers spread over many pies. The fusion between music and art finds further expression in the magazine Garageland, and the more personal fanzine, Arty, which she has been making since her time at St Martins. It is a refreshing antidote to dry academic writing about art (Alex’s words); and it’s also very pretty, fun, and entertaining (mine). Catch the both of them this weekend at Portobello Winterfest where they will have an exhibition space. And just one more time before I go, Awopbopaloobop!

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Affectionately named Cat Butcher by friends for her love of jewellery big and bold, viagra 60mg Catherine Davison is a girl for whom bejewelling herself and others, is a lifestyle with a simple ethos at its epicentre, “it must be fun!” Quality control is herself as the test-dummy, “I won’t make it unless it’s something I’d want to wear”. She doesn’t bother much with new clothes but can’t resist a pair of earrings, and it’s no wonder when you learn of her weird and wonderful aspirations, “one pair of earrings for each day of the year”, she says earnestly, “I’m on number 260”. It gets better. For her upcoming wedding, she’s taking a Portuguese tradition from her heritage and added a Cat Butcher twist – every guest must bring her a necklace, and she will wear them all at once – a photo please!

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She came to a Bethnal Green cafe to meet me donning a heavy chain with plastic pizza and chips attached, as well as large colourful earrings made from felt which we later coined “granny-sheek”. And that’s what it’s all about; taking something old/used/with it’s own set of baggage, i.e felt = grannies, and re-working into something completely different. She uses large array of materials including acrylic, ribbon, toy food, and lego … reinvention of the material world as she encounters it, the possibilities are infinite. She has made earrings from guitar picks and the keys from an old casiotone, and has a range of beautiful bowls made from old recycled records.

You can find her in amongst the stall holders at Camden Market on a Saturday, or online here, and next time you hear the words granny-sheek, remember where you heard it first.

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It wouldn’t be a Christmas weekend without some sort of arts/crafts/design fair to attend and this time it’s the turn of the SUPER CHRISTMAS MARKET!!

Held in the sumptuous surroundings of Somerset House, pharmacy for a mere £2 entry you can spend the day perusing unique pieces by designers including Martino Gamper, abortion Michael Marriott and Tim Parsons. As well as that, you can explore The Design Grotto and indulge your inner child at the snowball throwing competition, held by Lady Luck Rules OK, as part of the Snow Extravaganza.

Friday 19 December, 18.00 – 21.00
Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 December, 10.00 – 18.00
Ticket £2, includes entrance to Wouldn’t it be nice…exhibition

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As Amelia’s Magazine draws to a close with the final issue 10 ready to buy and focus moving to the website, visit this Amelia has given an end-of-amelias-interview to Andrew Losowsky on Magtastic Blogplosion about her rollercoaster 5 year stint.
Andrew is a journalist who has written for publications across the globe including The Guardian, cheap The Hindu Times, Le Cool and Grafik. We consider him an all-round publishing guru so we’ve asked him a few questions ourselves…
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How did Magtastic Blogsplosion come about? Was it a response to something or lack of something?
There were a few blogs already out there talking about design in magazines, but I didn’t know of any that discussed magazines from a more editorial/industry standpoint. I’d already been writing about (and in) magazines for nearly ten years, and blogging about various topics for six years, so it seemed like an obvious move. That, and I had things I wanted to say, and Jeremy was probably getting a little tired of my tirades in the comments on MagCulture…

You have written in many countries, is there one country that stands out for it’s magazine culture?
One of the things I love most about magazines is that you never know where the next inspiring publication will come from. It’s just as likely to be India as it is Finland. There are however different conditions that can help nurture a thriving magazine scene, including good distribution, shops that will sell a variety of small-run magazines – and allow you to browse them (most magazines in Spain, for instance, are sold in kiosks where browsing is discouraged) , a bustling complementary underground scene (music, art, etc), sympathetic advertisers, local-based printers. No country is perfect, but the Netherlands in particular seems to disproportionate amount of independent publishing for its size. Most interesting right now seem to be some of the publications coming out of central and Eastern Europe, make of them founded on the tidal wave of creative energy post-Communism.

Which is more important to you: outstanding design or brilliant text?
Outstandingly brilliant content.

What do you think the future is for printing? Will people always want a magazine to have and to hold or are more people wanting quick-fire information from the internet?
Some people like digital watches, others want analogue. And still others won’t have a watch at all, and will use their mobile phone to tell the time.
Every medium has its strengths, and the key to being successful is to play to those strengths. If your message is better broadcast online, go there. If it should be a TV show, make one. If you’re better off in print, then do that, and celebrate the physical object while you do.
Right now, anybody aged 20-plus still has fond associations of print learned from childhood, so there’s an additional fetishistic attachment to print, similar to that of vinyl records, and that will fade a little over time. But print won’t disappear, it will instead become more highly specialised, which is a good thing both for print and the internet as well. I’m not attached to magazines alone (I’ve done a lot of work in both books and web too), I just want to help make magazines better, and show off some of the things print can do. Which is a lot.

What do you like most about Amelia’s Magazine?
It’s personality. On every page, from the cover to the index, you always knew you were reading Amelia’s. Far too few magazines you can say that about.

What is your earliest memory of coming across a magazine, and has that initial response, whatever it might be, stayed with you throughout your career?
I remember being about 5 years old and getting excited about my older sister’s copies of Smash Hits. The lyrics to all the songs! And posters of Duran Duran and Debbie Gibson!
I also remember very clearly a British comic called Oink!. I remember it because my parents banned me from reading it (it was pretty purile and irreverent; I loved it), so every month, I somehow had to get myself a copy without them finding out. The feeling of excitement when I bought one under their noses, hiding it in my coat, and then running up to my bedroom to read through those forbidden pages… I’ve spent my entire career trying to make products that people feel half as excited about picking up.
To read the interview with Amelia click here

Categories ,Andrew Losowsky, ,Art, ,Blog, ,Magazine, ,Q&A

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Amelia’s Magazine | Misako Mimoko: Girl and Dolls

So what do you do after you’ve taken back the gown, viagra approved order after you’ve drunken all the champagne, seek there after your parents have cried as much as physically possible and you’ve uploaded all the pictures of your friends throwing their hats in the air onto Facebook? When you leave the warm bosom of your university institution after doing a creative degree what’s most important, page even more so than talent, (although that helps) is to surround yourself with likeminded individuals. This is something David Angus, Rafael Farias and Andrew Sunderland have kept in mind during their first year of university free existence. They all met at the Maidstone Campus of the University of the Creative Arts and have been working together under the name Bumf since they graduated.

How Bumf Collective works is that one member of the group sets a time limit and a rule and everyone makes a piece of work which must be viewable on the internet and not discussed until the project hand in. Rafael studied graphic design, Andy video media arts and Dave photography and media arts which means the work they show on the website is an interesting mix of the conceptual rule framework (1. Must be edible) and just brilliantly clever and simple design responses (a brain made out of bread titled Food for Thought)

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Food for Thought – Rafael Farias

“Basically we wanted to form a collective, but we have different ways of working. Raf is more graphic design based and I was more video and Dave is more photography so it wasn’t that we had a similar theme and we wanted to work together it’s that we wanted to make work separately almost against each other.” Andy tells me as we search for somewhere cheap (we are all struggling artists after all) to have a cup of tea in Bethnal Green where two out of three of them live.

They all admit to how hard they’ve found it since leaving full time education and with a big focus on photography and video for Dave and Andy lack of equipment is something they’ve struggled with.
“You instantly lose all facilities that you had, you lose your space to work in and it’s already harder. I was always in the dark room doing film and now most of the projects I do are digital and that’s annoying for me.”
“The one thing people say when you leave uni is to keep making work, you leave quite a structured environment. Coming out of university nobody cares about you.” It was from this realisation and the need to stop art from becoming “a kind of side project” because of the time demands of day-to-day life that Bumf was started.
The rules that govern the projects seem to have been implemented to make up for the loss of structure from leaving university. The rules can be anything from the fairly simple (the title must be Woman), to the more abstract (100 meters) and they increase every time. “We each start off doing a rule each and then we go onto two rules each and then three rules each and then we’re gonna keep going until we’re doing sixty rules each forever!” Andy tells me.

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Rafael Farias
Type-lace Typeface (Uppercase)

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David Angus
Untitled (Flash)

However what’s interesting is how the rules have been manipulated by each artist to meet their own interests and to challenge each other.
“What I found interesting when I set that typeface challenge was to see what someone who doesn’t do graphic design would come up with. Like with the edible project, it was so that they couldn’t use a camera to see what would happen.”
For this project all the artists had to create a typeface with a single found object. Rafael having trained in graphic design obviously found the project easy, creating a visually pleasing yet fully working alphabet. Interestingly Dave still managed to gear his work to photography by using as his found object a camera flash. He also managed to use the photographic process by making a contact print out of food colouring for the ‘must be edible’ rule.
“I find that each of us manages to fight our own corner for our own discipline. These two are always slagging off graphic design so I’m always fighting my corner, so it’s interesting to see how we represent our own backgrounds.” Rafael tells me.

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Andrew Sunderland
Portion #1 (Pink/Green)

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David Angus
5×4 contact on edible paper with food colouring

There are times though when the artists have been forced to completely change their practice, like the project in which the work couldn’t be anything manmade. With Andy and Dave relying heavily on video and stills cameras for their own practice they were forced to try something completely different. Dave turned guerrilla gardener with his East London turf work and Andy, in my favourite work from the website, documented bird pooh for the series Bird Made 1-6. It is in this way that the website becomes more than just a game and a way into making work and evolves into something that makes them challenge what ‘type’ of work they make and therefore what ‘type’ of artist they are.
“The thing that is almost annoying in art college is that there’s always this need to mould you into this polished artist. You get into a rut of making similar work and you have an idea but think if I do that it doesn’t look like any of my other work.”

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Andrew Sunderland
Bird Made 1

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Rafael Farias
Stone Fruit Family (Cherry, Plum, Peach, Apricot, Nectarine)

They started the website because they naturally wanted to index the projects, but it’s fast become a reason in itself for making work. Despite art often being a sensory and tactile experience with Charles Saatchi using his website as an ‘interactive art gallery’, and Amelia’s Magazine now showcasing new talent online, your computer is becoming an acceptable way of seeing art work. I ask them whether showing their work in this way effects the making of it.
“I think about it a lot, that’s graphic design for you, it’s all about presentation. There are a lot of things we don’t do because it wouldn’t look good on the internet. No one’s done anything really sculptural because it wouldn’t translate well.” Rafael tells me.
“Well the internet is the whole reason for doing it and it’s quite interesting that we put in a rule at the end which is that if you make anything physical, like an object then the work is the image of it. If you make a sculpture obviously you can’t put it on the internet. We make these things but all of them are very temporary. The one that I did with the skittles in the end we ate them.” Says Andy.

The group don’t see Bumf as their main focus, the name itself meaning “waste and all these little things that you either pick up or you don’t”. Not that the projects are throwaway, just that with all the artists heavily into process, the outcome isn’t their main concern.
“I don’t think the projects are there to make an amazing piece of work, they’re good but it’s more something to keep your mind in a creative flow.” Says Dave.
”I see it as a creative bookmark so it’s something that might not be finished, but I’ll bookmark the idea for another project.” Rafael adds.

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David Angus
Red, Green, Blue

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Rafael Farias
The Grass Is Always Greener (On The Other Side)

With our drinks empty and the boys needing to drop off work for an exhibition at BASH Studios I ask them if they have any advice for new graduates.
“Yeah keep making work!” Exclaims Andy. “Even if it’s bumf keep making it because it means keeping up that creative process. If you don’t make anything for a year it can be really hard to get that back. Follow the Bumf rules and send it us!”

A website and some friends is all you need to avoid falling into a black hole of obscurity, you heard it here first! To look at all Bumf projects past and future or to view the individual artist’s work, click the links to their websites.

Thumbnail: David Angus – East London Turf
Having emerged from the Farm, symptoms picking straw out of my hair and ears still ringing, my first thought was – well, to have a bath – and then, to tell everyone I know how amazing Lounge was this year, and how I wish I was still sat beneath the stars, listening to Gong with my cup of tea.

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Lounge is very much a local festival, for local people, and local bands were very well represented in every tent. Our weekend kicked off with The Psychotic Reaction, who hail from Whitstable and make a sound like no other…part Joy Division, part librarian rock, they sing of the cupboard under the stairs, hand-me-downs and the trials and tribulations of living in a small town. The Boxing Octopus, all from Herne Bay, brought in the funk on Saturday morning, and had the whole Furthur Tent dancing before noon – quite an achievement! Syd Arthur put on an absolutely amazing show, their haunting psychedlia filling the Furthur Field.

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So often their songs deceive you, starting off laid-back and mellow and becoming all encompassing tidal waves of sound to sweep you off into the stars and beyond…Dancing to their soul-filling songs in a field full of hippies is certainly an experience I won’t forget for a while! Current torch-holders for the Canterbury sound, they’ve moved on from Wilde Flowers and Soft Machine (well, it’s been forty years) but not without using their influence for good and emerging with mellow yet powerful tunes to sway to, dance to or completely lose yourself in. These guys are also part responsible for the Furthur Tent and creating the atmosphere which makes the Furthur field so unique. Back in the Sheep Dip, The Ukelele Gangstas rocked their pimp hats and tiny guitars, while Hotrods and Dragsters brought out the hula girls.

Oh, the music? We shimmied and jived to the upbeat blues they were rocking, as did the rest of the tent and shame on the fools who missed out. Dropping the beats in the Bar tent was Mr. Wolfe, a young Canterburian with beat-boxing skill that begged the question ‘Why only an interlude?!’ Hopefully, next year, a longer set for Mr. Wolfe, preferably in the Hoedown. (Oh, if I ruled the festival world…) The coup, for me, in terms of Canterbury bands though, was Gong. Nothing prepares one for the rambling, overwhelming psychedelic journey that the progenitors of the Canterbury sound produce, short of a cup of mushy tea.

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We sat in the Furthur field watching the stars, lights and pixies in their teapot taxies fly past – definitely the perfect way to experience a band whose music often seems to lose its train of thought and ends up at quite a different station to the one you bought a ticket for…

There were a few bands who travelled further than five miles to perform at Lounge, and while nothing beats home-grown talent, they did pretty well. I did drop in on Mr. Scruff who played a six hour set, perfect for dipping in and out of like a hobnob in early grey. He began the afternoon with laid-back beats, working up to a dirtier evening set which got the crowd moving. He doesn’t look quite as cartoon-esque in person, either. Upon hearing the cry ‘The Aliens are in the Cowshed’, it didn’t take me long to head there for a good look, and well worth it too. Comprised of three members of The Beta Band, they mix psychedelia and rock with a smattering of cheery choruses (chori?) into a sound which creeps up behind you and pokes you ‘til you dance. Jouis surprised us at the Further tent, starting off with some spoken word, creepy fairground-esque songs, then switching singers and moving into a more sixties groove – perfectly complemented by the guttural, earthy tones of ‘the hipipe’ as I dubbed him.

After chatting to the sax player, we were directed towards Jonquil – two lads, a keyboard and trumpet – whose music reminded us of Patrick Wolf, but less whiny. They generate a mellow, organic ambience wherein you can almost see the layers of sound filling the tent (or equivalent!). Far and away the best set of the weekend though (closely followed by Mr. Wolf) were Alessi’s Ark. One girl, her guitar, an incredible voice, and the Ark. Her melody-led lyrical stylings are whimsical and sweet, but never sugary, and she was hardly phased when someone with trousers on their head and shoes on their hands wandered in, telling them the next song Dancing Feet was perfect for them. Talking of libraries and similes, her lyrics were ideal for cleansing my mind of all that psychedelia… I spent my last pennies on her album, which came in a cd sized knitted bag!, and only just had enough left for dinner.

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Talking of food, Lounge on the Farm cannot be faulted in that department. Almost all the food is locally sourced by local people. Merton Farm had their own barbecue stall, – ‘Less than a mile from gate to plate!’ – which we bypassed on the way to Al’s Hogroast. Does the fact I was vegetarian for a month prior to the festival say more about the deliciousness of the soft white bap, filled with freshly roasted pork, smearings of apple sauce and dollops of stuffing…Sorry, where was I? Food! Yes. Wonderful stuff. Vegetarians were equally well catered for with the Good Food Café on hand providing soups, sandwiches and beetroot brownies. I had a very filling cous-cous sald with chickpeas and pitta from some lovely ladies who admitted to never having done anything like that before, in between belting out eighties classics…Tasty food though. For breakfast we went to Strumpets with Crumpets, delightful women serving baked goods in corsets – Eggy-fried crumpets with cinnamon and icing sugar?! My favourite. And they did tea too. Tea, and caffeine lovers, were not forgotten – The Tea Temple gave good brew, though no homemade flapjacks this year. Luckily, the Mole Hole Café, an eco-sustainable café up in the Furthur Field, had biscuits for ten pence as well as chocolate brownies and squishy strawberry cheesecake. Enzo’s Bakery provided us with gorgeous pastries, chocolate filled lobster tails and pain au chocolate, while Ana’s Sweets served Portuguese style desert, and the most divine cheesecake ever, according to my thorough researchers. And, as always, the Groovy Movie Picture Tent could be relied upon for chocolate fudge cake, infinitely strange films, and yet more tea, well past everyone else’s bedtimes.

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The Groovy Movie Picture Tent is the only solar powered cinema in the UK and makes it aim to play independent films, animations and documentaries. This year’s top GMPT picks have to be Nina Paley’s Sita sings the Blues, which switches between a heartbroken New Yorker, gossiping Hindu gods, and Sita, singing the blues. The film is available for free at Ninapaley.com and is well worth the perusal. On Friday night, after Gong, the GMPT held an exclusive airing the BBC South East documentary about the Canterbury Sound; featuring interviews with Daevid Allen, Kevin Ayers and Steve Hillage as well as Joel and Liam Magill or Syd Arthur- passed to the tent only an hour before the showing. Highly informative and worth a watch, especially if you have no idea about the Sound to which I keep referring!

lotf6.jpg

This year’s Lounge was definitely the best so far, and between running around from bands to burlesque, burlesque to fire shows, fire shows to portaloos, we also managed a lot of lounging- although I never did find the petting zoo. Still, Lounge on the Farm is only getting better and if I could get a lifetime ticket, I would. In the meantime, The Farmhouse will just have to tide us over until next year.

Photos by Amelia Wells
I have a new happy place.

Sometimes when I find these rare serene pools of magic and inspiration my selfish streak comes through and I want to keep them to myself for secret, help indulgent pick me up moments in times of disgruntled annoyance. But Eva Monleon Cifo would not approve, dosage for she is far fairer and kinder than my greedy alter ego, troche and her creativity is about spreading a sunnier smilier experience, which surely does not bode well with keeping newly found craft talent to one’s self.

eva2.jpg

Her doll creations are the epitome of ‘kawaii’, the Japanese word for cute that has become a genre of kitsch playful toy-like art to which many dedicated crafters are these days inspired by. With names like ‘doli donkey ears’, ‘doli bank robber’ and doli pink meringue’ they are hard not to love. I felt honoured to ask her about her work and life, beautiful details and snippets of which appear on her gorgeous blog, Misako Mimoko.

eva1.jpg

Hello, how are you today?

Hi!
It’s twenty past eleven in the evening. I’m at home listening to music and writing some emails, it’s a nice but bit chilly night. I feel happy and tired after having worked all day.

What have you been doing recently?

I’ve been finishing some of my dolls, planning and thinking about new stuff, cooking biscuits, waiting for the sales to buy these black shoes I really want, and then buying them (hooray!), going for walks in the evenings, having dinner on our tiny balcony, watering twice a day (hot weather is killing my plants!), and developing an animation about medicine for a video presentation…

eva3.jpg

eva4.jpg

What materials or mediums do you like to work with best?

I’m completely smitten with all kind of fabrics, but especially linen and vintage fabrics. It’s pretty unhealthy. I fall in love with a colour, a texture… I can’t go to too many flea markets much because I come home laden with lots of bags and there’s no more room! I think that I’ll have to work on bigger designs in the future just to use all the material I’ve stored.

Who would be your dream collaboration/who would you like to work with artistically?

Maybe Lili Scratchy or Something’s hiding in here or Elisabeth Dunker or Yoshitomo Nara or Marc Boutavant or Friends with you or Sirena con Jersey
My close friend emedemarta and I are thinking about doing some embroidered purses together and I’m preparing some tutorials for a new Spanish craft magazine (we love crafts). It’s going to be a collaboration between several crafts bloggers, looks amazing.
I’m also persuading my partner, the illustrator Gabriel Corbera, to make silk printed plushes, maybe someday…

eva5.jpg

How is Barcelona’s art scene different from other cities you have visited?

Barcelona is a highly open minded city, it’s really receptive to what happens around the world and so excited by style that loves being up to date. It’s possible that art and city day life are strongly influenced by what we think about life, our sense of humour, the sun or being by the seaside… There are many gallery-shops as Iguapop, Vallery, Todojunto, or Duduá… where you can buy a hand-crafted toys, independent publications, originals, join a cake contest or an amigurumi workshop, enjoy live music…

What inspires your work?

I’m really taken with 1930s-60s culture, old Walt Disney cartoons, classic films, children books and illustrations… and Japanese art, mostly kawaii.

eva6.jpg

How long do the dolls usually take you to make?

It depends on the doll. I spend a whole day or two making the body and face, then I use to leave it for a short time. I crochet some accessories, or I try different bows, berets, and hats on… just to see what happens.
One of the lasts dolls I’ve made was a gift for a friend, I wanted to make a book doll or maybe a popular character from literature, but it was harder than usually and I needed about four-six months to finish it… Each doll has a very different personality, sometimes I know what they want to be almost at the beginning, other times I have to try and try again…

At what age did you realize you were creative?

As any other little girl a loved to draw, I spent a lot of time on my own drawing. I always dreamed having a good job, (I was a very good student!) and making art as a hobby. One day our line drawing teacher (I was studying Science at High School) asked us to draw an architectural piece from the street. I chose a typical fountain. He encouraged me on doing Fine Arts or Architecture so I considered it seriously because I was getting tired of studying.

eva7.jpg

I always thought that people are creative doing things they really love to do. But the body needs some exercise, imagination and creativity too. You can make it bigger or let it die; I think that we don’t need to just make art, life is easier with a little bit of imagination, and humor too! I think taking life too seriously isn’t a very good thing at all.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I don’t know life is so weird… It’s funny how things and situation changes. I’ve been working as a designer for the last twelve years and I never thought I would start doing my little things again.
There’s an old saying that says that you have to be aware of what you dream, because dreams sometimes happens. I hope that wherever I’ll be in next ten years I enjoy doing things as if for the first time.

eva8.jpg

Besides art, what are you passions or interests in life?

There’re so many things… I enjoy mostly the whole part of the day. I love to walk, nearby my home there’s a small hill with a wonderful view of the city and the sea, it makes me feel so good… Nature is one of the things I need the most. Swimming on the quiet blue sea, good food, gardening, dancing, going for a drink and having long talks, and tea, I could drink tea all day long…

Which are your favorite artists/illustrators/photographers?

Calder, Dubuffet, Duchamp, Miró, Cage, Hopper, Niky de Sant Phalle, Tinguelly, Tove Jansson, Satie, Wharhol, Richard Scarry, Elisabeth Peyton, Stella Vine, John Currin, Damien Hirst, Stella Vine, Makiko Kudo, Yoshitomo Nara…

eva10.jpg

Tell us a secret!

I (and my partner too) hate the telephone so much… Telephones are always bothering us, it interrupts what you are doing. We work at home so we always use internet to communicate.
Sometimes we stare in front of the ringing phone, looking at the number and asking ourselves who can be calling us, there are so many companies calling trying to do business… We only pick up if it’s a known number. The phone doesn’t ring very often fortunately! :)

What is the story behind the name ‘Misako Mimoko’?

Japanese names always make me smile. They are funny names as they sound similar to Spanish words. In Spanish if you say Misako Mimoko what people understand is: “I pick out my nose” or “I pick out a booger”. It would be almost the same “me saco mi moco” (me sako mi moko).
As we are used to Japanese names Spanish people doesn’t realize the joke, but children begin to laugh as soon they hear it and I love to use it.

eva11.jpg

If you were showing Amelia’s Magazine around your city, where would you take us?

We could go to Montjüic first, it’s a shallow hill by the sea. There’s a fortification on top overlooking the harbour, museums such as Fundació Miró, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Caixa Forum, swimming pools, the Olympic Stadium, as well as gardens and winding paths that cover some slopes, the Font Màgica and Mies Van Der Rohe’s pavilion at the foot of the hill.
We should go down to La Rambla, visiting La Boquería market and walking along some narrowed streets of the old city in Barri Gótic. We could stop to have a drink and go shopping on the Borne Quarter, there are some of the coolest independent shops in the city. The beach is really close to here and you can go along the boardwalk, have a bathe or have lunch by the sea.

eva12.jpg

“We should visit Gràcia, it is a district full of bars and restaurants with terraces and there’re plenty of small shops and independent designers too.
There are so many things to do in Barcelona… oh! You can’t miss city flea markets Els Encants Vells, you can find new or secondhand stuff there, and Sant Antoni, a second hand book flea market.”

eva13.jpg

Misako Mimoko is the eigth wonder of the world in my opinion. I wonder how quick I can relocate to Barcelona and live in my happy place full time…

Categories ,Barcelona, ,Blog, ,Craft, ,Interview, ,Misako Mimoko

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Misako Mimoko: Girl and Dolls

I have a new happy place.

Sometimes when I find these rare serene pools of magic and inspiration my selfish streak comes through and I want to keep them to myself for secret, indulgent pick me up moments in times of disgruntled annoyance. But Eva Monleon Cifo would not approve, for she is far fairer and kinder than my greedy alter ego, and her creativity is about spreading a sunnier smilier experience, which surely does not bode well with keeping newly found craft talent to one’s self.

eva2.jpg

Her doll creations are the epitome of ‘kawaii’, the Japanese word for cute that has become a genre of kitsch playful toy-like art to which many dedicated crafters are these days inspired by. With names like ‘doli donkey ears’, ‘doli bank robber’ and doli pink meringue’ they are hard not to love. I felt honoured to ask her about her work and life, beautiful details and snippets of which appear on her gorgeous blog, Misako Mimoko.

eva1.jpg

Hello, how are you today?

Hi!
It’s twenty past eleven in the evening. I’m at home listening to music and writing some emails, it’s a nice but bit chilly night. I feel happy and tired after having worked all day.

What have you been doing recently?

I’ve been finishing some of my dolls, planning and thinking about new stuff, cooking biscuits, waiting for the sales to buy these black shoes I really want, and then buying them (hooray!), going for walks in the evenings, having dinner on our tiny balcony, watering twice a day (hot weather is killing my plants!), and developing an animation about medicine for a video presentation…

eva3.jpg

eva4.jpg

What materials or mediums do you like to work with best?

I’m completely smitten with all kind of fabrics, but especially linen and vintage fabrics. It’s pretty unhealthy. I fall in love with a colour, a texture… I can’t go to too many flea markets much because I come home laden with lots of bags and there’s no more room! I think that I’ll have to work on bigger designs in the future just to use all the material I’ve stored.

Who would be your dream collaboration/who would you like to work with artistically?

Maybe Lili Scratchy or Something’s hiding in here or Elisabeth Dunker or Yoshitomo Nara or Marc Boutavant or Friends with you or Sirena con Jersey
My close friend emedemarta and I are thinking about doing some embroidered purses together and I’m preparing some tutorials for a new Spanish craft magazine (we love crafts). It’s going to be a collaboration between several crafts bloggers, looks amazing.
I’m also persuading my partner, the illustrator Gabriel Corbera, to make silk printed plushes, maybe someday…

eva5.jpg

How is Barcelona’s art scene different from other cities you have visited?

Barcelona is a highly open minded city, it’s really receptive to what happens around the world and so excited by style that loves being up to date. It’s possible that art and city day life are strongly influenced by what we think about life, our sense of humour, the sun or being by the seaside… There are many gallery-shops as Iguapop, Vallery, Todojunto, or Duduá… where you can buy a hand-crafted toys, independent publications, originals, join a cake contest or an amigurumi workshop, enjoy live music…

What inspires your work?

I’m really taken with 1930s-60s culture, old Walt Disney cartoons, classic films, children books and illustrations… and Japanese art, mostly kawaii.

eva6.jpg

How long do the dolls usually take you to make?

It depends on the doll. I spend a whole day or two making the body and face, then I use to leave it for a short time. I crochet some accessories, or I try different bows, berets, and hats on… just to see what happens.
One of the lasts dolls I’ve made was a gift for a friend, I wanted to make a book doll or maybe a popular character from literature, but it was harder than usually and I needed about four-six months to finish it… Each doll has a very different personality, sometimes I know what they want to be almost at the beginning, other times I have to try and try again…

At what age did you realize you were creative?

As any other little girl a loved to draw, I spent a lot of time on my own drawing. I always dreamed having a good job, (I was a very good student!) and making art as a hobby. One day our line drawing teacher (I was studying Science at High School) asked us to draw an architectural piece from the street. I chose a typical fountain. He encouraged me on doing Fine Arts or Architecture so I considered it seriously because I was getting tired of studying.

eva7.jpg

I always thought that people are creative doing things they really love to do. But the body needs some exercise, imagination and creativity too. You can make it bigger or let it die; I think that we don’t need to just make art, life is easier with a little bit of imagination, and humor too! I think taking life too seriously isn’t a very good thing at all.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I don’t know life is so weird… It’s funny how things and situation changes. I’ve been working as a designer for the last twelve years and I never thought I would start doing my little things again.
There’s an old saying that says that you have to be aware of what you dream, because dreams sometimes happens. I hope that wherever I’ll be in next ten years I enjoy doing things as if for the first time.

eva8.jpg

Besides art, what are you passions or interests in life?

There’re so many things… I enjoy mostly the whole part of the day. I love to walk, nearby my home there’s a small hill with a wonderful view of the city and the sea, it makes me feel so good… Nature is one of the things I need the most. Swimming on the quiet blue sea, good food, gardening, dancing, going for a drink and having long talks, and tea, I could drink tea all day long…

Which are your favorite artists/illustrators/photographers?

Calder, Dubuffet, Duchamp, Miró, Cage, Hopper, Niky de Sant Phalle, Tinguelly, Tove Jansson, Satie, Wharhol, Richard Scarry, Elisabeth Peyton, Stella Vine, John Currin, Damien Hirst, Stella Vine, Makiko Kudo, Yoshitomo Nara…

eva10.jpg

Tell us a secret!

I (and my partner too) hate the telephone so much… Telephones are always bothering us, it interrupts what you are doing. We work at home so we always use internet to communicate.
Sometimes we stare in front of the ringing phone, looking at the number and asking ourselves who can be calling us, there are so many companies calling trying to do business… We only pick up if it’s a known number. The phone doesn’t ring very often fortunately! :)

What is the story behind the name ‘Misako Mimoko’?

Japanese names always make me smile. They are funny names as they sound similar to Spanish words. In Spanish if you say Misako Mimoko what people understand is: “I pick out my nose” or “I pick out a booger”. It would be almost the same “me saco mi moco” (me sako mi moko).
As we are used to Japanese names Spanish people doesn’t realize the joke, but children begin to laugh as soon they hear it and I love to use it.

eva11.jpg

If you were showing Amelia’s Magazine around your city, where would you take us?

We could go to Montjüic first, it’s a shallow hill by the sea. There’s a fortification on top overlooking the harbour, museums such as Fundació Miró, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Caixa Forum, swimming pools, the Olympic Stadium, as well as gardens and winding paths that cover some slopes, the Font Màgica and Mies Van Der Rohe’s pavilion at the foot of the hill.
We should go down to La Rambla, visiting La Boquería market and walking along some narrowed streets of the old city in Barri Gótic. We could stop to have a drink and go shopping on the Borne Quarter, there are some of the coolest independent shops in the city. The beach is really close to here and you can go along the boardwalk, have a bathe or have lunch by the sea.

eva12.jpg

“We should visit Gràcia, it is a district full of bars and restaurants with terraces and there’re plenty of small shops and independent designers too.
There are so many things to do in Barcelona… oh! You can’t miss city flea markets Els Encants Vells, you can find new or secondhand stuff there, and Sant Antoni, a second hand book flea market.”

eva13.jpg

Misako Mimoko is the eigth wonder of the world in my opinion. I wonder how quick I can relocate to Barcelona and live in my happy place full time…

Categories ,Barcelona, ,Blog, ,Craft, ,Interview, ,Misako Mimoko

Similar Posts:





Amelia’s Magazine | Creauremag Festival Edition

peggy%20sue%20film.jpg

“It’s nice everyone getting dressed up and making an effort, hospital stomach round Christmas time ‘n that”, generic slurred an old man at the bar after telling me this was his local. Halloween did he mean? A gaze and a nod.

Peggy Sue (there were some pirates but they’ve long since fled to the Caribbean to find themselves) have a knack of adding a distinct flavour to everything they do. Brewed in soulfulness and peppered with giggles, they are an intoxicating concoction of many lovely things; compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Regina Spektor in a single breath, all manner of genres tossed in their direction.

But references aside, that tend to reduce everybody to something regurgitated, there’s lots of other good stuff – like a compilation CD released for every month (100 copies only, complete with artwork), like how their voices emulate astonishing power and soft effortlessness all at once; or that their low-fi sound is brought together with honeyed harmonies, punctuated Spektor-like noises and an unending supply of bizarre percussion instruments. It is finally exquisitely tied together with lyrics that detach our body-parts as things to be stolen, tell stories of the woes of superheroes, and give life to ‘those fragile little things’ that live inside. It all feels very refreshing, and nicely homemade – ‘Peggy Who?’ asks the drum-face.

The Horror Movie Marathon had the Peggy stamp all over it, made apparent in its details. A projection screen hung behind them playing classic horror gems; a new horror song, complete with screams had been written for the occasion; and the widely acclaimed ‘superman’ was illustrated by a live puppet-show on stage. The wide-eyed Alessi’s Ark and feet-shuffling Derek Meins were there to support, marking the beginning of the Triptych Tour – one bus, two weeks, three acts. Catch them if you can in a venue near you! But what oh what does Triptych mean?

beinspired%20copy.jpg

Be Prepared, sildenafil long the motto of the Scouts, is now being added to by The London Climate Camp Social Group with Be Inspired and Be Involved. A series of nights around town broadly divided into these three headings encouraging all to socialise and fund-raise for Climate Camp.

Be Prepared nights fund-raise with bands, djs and comedy. It’s one to bring your friends who may not be into all the “eco stuff” but would be interested in finding out more about Climate Camp.
Be Inspired focuses on what’s going on at the moment. Film screenings, speakers and debates wil inform people what is happening and why Climate Camp is doing what its doing.
Be Involved is the actions based adventures, such as Climate Rush, the forthcoming Day of Action and what ever else happens in the future.

The first one is tomorrow and is a Be Inspired night held at The Old Crown, 33 New Oxford St starting at 19:00. The line up consists of Alistair James playing music, Leo Murray introducing his excellent animation Wake Up, Freak out and Get A Grip, a short presentation from Climate Camp about what is being done right now and where it’s going and why, including two ladies instrumental in organising Climate Rush. Plus plenty of music to dance the night away.

The Old Crown
33 New Oxford St (corner of Museum street),
London WC1A 1BH.
Between Holborn and Tottenham Court road tube station.

Tracey%20Emin%20Hotel%20International%201993%20a4.jpg
Hotel International 1993

Dear Tracey, discount

It wasn’t so long ago that I really thought I’d had it up to my neck with you. I think it was one of your columns in the Independent that did it. You’d had a bad day, page you know, one of those ones when you don’t particularly feel like getting out of bed in the morning and then when you do, you burn your toast, or scald yourself in the shower or something. And instead of having a quick cry, or swearing, or generally getting on with things as most people might do, your especially bad day led you toward one overarching question: ‘did my dad ever really love me?’ I thought it was a tad dramatic. So upon hearing about your retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art I was expecting 20 years of torment in the space of a few rooms. And you didn’t disappoint. But what I wasn’t expecting was that I was going to leave the exhibition liking you. Feeling for you, maybe. Being critical of you, definitely. But actually liking you? No, I wasn’t expecting that. But there is a reason that we hear so much about you Tracey, because you know what, you’re actually a pretty good artist.

Emin’s exhibition opens much like one would expect it to, throwing the viewer head-first into the deep-end. The first work we encounter is a tribute to her deceased grandmother; the second, a graphic description of a traumatic abortion. All the staple Emin classics are here: the neon signs, the tapestries, expressionist etchings, and of course, the infamous bed. And yet after the piss-stains, the used condoms, the confessional video diaries, the purging of torment and the sheer tragedy of it all, something beautiful remains. Emin’s letter to her uncle Colin is a striking example of this. Lucid and incredibly moving, Emin succinctly describes her emotions as she learns of the horrific accident that caused her beloved uncle’s death. Exploration of the Soul, a work comprised of 32 sheets of handwritten text, is similar in its expressive eloquence. You may baulk at the several spelling mistakes, shudder at the sadness of other people’s lives or smile at the moments of humanity within it; Emin will fail to leave you unmoved.

Tracy%20Emin%20My%20Bed%201998.jpg
My Bed 1998

The further we continue through the exhibition the more we feel as though we are Emin’s confidante; her scars are ours now and they are weighing us down. To enter, toward the end, a room removed of much of the abject excess of the others, comes as welcome relief. Two sculptures in particular reveal the diversity of Emin’s talent as an artist. Self Portrait (Bath) comprises a rusty bath filled with bamboo, barbed wire, chicken wire and a contorted neon streak entwined to create a work of great textual interest. In the same room a rollercoaster of reclaimed wood, It’s Not The Way I Want to Die from 2005, dominates the space. Constructed entirely from old crates, the past life of the wood seems to echo Emin’s own (one plank retaining it’s FRAGILE label), but is here reworked into a somewhat rickety yet undeniably beautiful piece.

Tracy%20Emin%20It%27s%20Not%20the%20Way%20I%20Want%20to%20Die%2C%202005.jpg
It’s Not The Way I Want to Die 2005

Emin is a chameleon, expressing herself in several mediums and seemingly mastering them all. Love or loathe her – you won’t easily forget her, and to my mind, that’s what makes her continue to be worth talking about.

Tracy%20Emin%20The%20Perfect%20Place%20to%20Grow%2C%202001.jpg
The Perfect Place to Grow 2001

Images courtesy of Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

September marked the official UK launch of the new shopping/networking website, ampoule ShopStyle. Already popular amongst fashion followers in the US, viagra the best way to describe this new digital phenomenon would be a ‘Google for fashion with a MySpace twist‘. Shopstyle offers a unique online shopping experience, which enables users to browse the rails of thousands of brands through a simple search box option. Just like Google, ShopStyle carries out all the hard work trawling through shopping sites in order to bring you any matching items to your keywords. Users can also narrow down their searches by price, brand, store and size so only the most relevant results are displayed.

The site proved to be heaven sent in my own hunt to unearth a descent pair of gladiator heels, presenting me with options from new and smaller brands that I wouldn’t usually consider in my shopping choices.

ShopStyle’s nifty social networking twist means even those of us a little strapped for cash can still muzzle in on the spirit of fashion. The StyleBook tool allows users to play around and create their own fashion look books based on their own personal tastes and styles. These can be viewed by fellow users who are free to comment and discuss ideas. Unlike other virtual stores, ShopStyle embraces a love for fashion and creativity, moving beyond the simple idea of consumption.

ShopStyle_image.jpg

Keep an eye out next month as three emerging designers, selected by stylist to the stars, Bay Garnett, get the opportunity to display their collection on the site.

creaturemag%20fest%20edition.jpg

Creaturemag sets out to bring together artists from all around the world, adiposity and produce an online publication, which works as one big collaboration. Being the arty literate types that they are, they’ve also created a sort of character out of the Creaturemag concept. This has led to an entertaining, if not ever so slightly confusing, interview with themselves, or Creaturemag – you kind of have to read it to understand.

They have just released Creaturemag festival edition – a diary of their activities over the summer. Its content though is a little more in depth than trudging through mud and drinking cider though. The wonderful cover has been done by long time Amelia’s contributor Nikki Pinder! It also features interviews with up and coming musical geniuses Alessi and Zombie Zombie.

Being the creative types that they are though, no pages go without a little artistic decoration. A group of top notch illustrators have contributed – bringing the entire thing to life.

creaturemag%20pirate.jpg
Crafty pirate

creature%20mag%20creatures.jpg

Floating from festival to festival over the summer, the creatives behind Creaturemag have compiled pieces on the more out there festivals like Secret Garden Party and End Of The Road. The festival edition acts as a sort of guide to how they have often created their own arty fun at festivals this year. Perhaps the most intriguing of which is the feature on concrete mushrooms that were taken to festival all over the country. It is also a testament to how devoted they are to their art. The idea of dragging massive concrete mushrooms on top of the mounds of bags and tents I always end up hauling to campsite doesn’t appeal to me.

creature%20mag%20mushroom.jpg
Concrete mushrooms

creature%20mag%20drawing3.jpg

The whole thing just makes it look like the guys behind it have had the best summer ever, and it really makes me want to go back to a festival.

Categories ,Alessi, ,Blog, ,Creaturemag, ,End of the Road, ,Festival, ,Illustrators, ,Nikki Pinder, ,Secret Garden Party, ,Zombie Zombie

Similar Posts:






Amelia’s Magazine | Creauremag Festival Edition

peggy%20sue%20film.jpg

“It’s nice everyone getting dressed up and making an effort, hospital stomach round Christmas time ‘n that”, generic slurred an old man at the bar after telling me this was his local. Halloween did he mean? A gaze and a nod.

Peggy Sue (there were some pirates but they’ve long since fled to the Caribbean to find themselves) have a knack of adding a distinct flavour to everything they do. Brewed in soulfulness and peppered with giggles, they are an intoxicating concoction of many lovely things; compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Regina Spektor in a single breath, all manner of genres tossed in their direction.

But references aside, that tend to reduce everybody to something regurgitated, there’s lots of other good stuff – like a compilation CD released for every month (100 copies only, complete with artwork), like how their voices emulate astonishing power and soft effortlessness all at once; or that their low-fi sound is brought together with honeyed harmonies, punctuated Spektor-like noises and an unending supply of bizarre percussion instruments. It is finally exquisitely tied together with lyrics that detach our body-parts as things to be stolen, tell stories of the woes of superheroes, and give life to ‘those fragile little things’ that live inside. It all feels very refreshing, and nicely homemade – ‘Peggy Who?’ asks the drum-face.

The Horror Movie Marathon had the Peggy stamp all over it, made apparent in its details. A projection screen hung behind them playing classic horror gems; a new horror song, complete with screams had been written for the occasion; and the widely acclaimed ‘superman’ was illustrated by a live puppet-show on stage. The wide-eyed Alessi’s Ark and feet-shuffling Derek Meins were there to support, marking the beginning of the Triptych Tour – one bus, two weeks, three acts. Catch them if you can in a venue near you! But what oh what does Triptych mean?

beinspired%20copy.jpg

Be Prepared, sildenafil long the motto of the Scouts, is now being added to by The London Climate Camp Social Group with Be Inspired and Be Involved. A series of nights around town broadly divided into these three headings encouraging all to socialise and fund-raise for Climate Camp.

Be Prepared nights fund-raise with bands, djs and comedy. It’s one to bring your friends who may not be into all the “eco stuff” but would be interested in finding out more about Climate Camp.
Be Inspired focuses on what’s going on at the moment. Film screenings, speakers and debates wil inform people what is happening and why Climate Camp is doing what its doing.
Be Involved is the actions based adventures, such as Climate Rush, the forthcoming Day of Action and what ever else happens in the future.

The first one is tomorrow and is a Be Inspired night held at The Old Crown, 33 New Oxford St starting at 19:00. The line up consists of Alistair James playing music, Leo Murray introducing his excellent animation Wake Up, Freak out and Get A Grip, a short presentation from Climate Camp about what is being done right now and where it’s going and why, including two ladies instrumental in organising Climate Rush. Plus plenty of music to dance the night away.

The Old Crown
33 New Oxford St (corner of Museum street),
London WC1A 1BH.
Between Holborn and Tottenham Court road tube station.

Tracey%20Emin%20Hotel%20International%201993%20a4.jpg
Hotel International 1993

Dear Tracey, discount

It wasn’t so long ago that I really thought I’d had it up to my neck with you. I think it was one of your columns in the Independent that did it. You’d had a bad day, page you know, one of those ones when you don’t particularly feel like getting out of bed in the morning and then when you do, you burn your toast, or scald yourself in the shower or something. And instead of having a quick cry, or swearing, or generally getting on with things as most people might do, your especially bad day led you toward one overarching question: ‘did my dad ever really love me?’ I thought it was a tad dramatic. So upon hearing about your retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art I was expecting 20 years of torment in the space of a few rooms. And you didn’t disappoint. But what I wasn’t expecting was that I was going to leave the exhibition liking you. Feeling for you, maybe. Being critical of you, definitely. But actually liking you? No, I wasn’t expecting that. But there is a reason that we hear so much about you Tracey, because you know what, you’re actually a pretty good artist.

Emin’s exhibition opens much like one would expect it to, throwing the viewer head-first into the deep-end. The first work we encounter is a tribute to her deceased grandmother; the second, a graphic description of a traumatic abortion. All the staple Emin classics are here: the neon signs, the tapestries, expressionist etchings, and of course, the infamous bed. And yet after the piss-stains, the used condoms, the confessional video diaries, the purging of torment and the sheer tragedy of it all, something beautiful remains. Emin’s letter to her uncle Colin is a striking example of this. Lucid and incredibly moving, Emin succinctly describes her emotions as she learns of the horrific accident that caused her beloved uncle’s death. Exploration of the Soul, a work comprised of 32 sheets of handwritten text, is similar in its expressive eloquence. You may baulk at the several spelling mistakes, shudder at the sadness of other people’s lives or smile at the moments of humanity within it; Emin will fail to leave you unmoved.

Tracy%20Emin%20My%20Bed%201998.jpg
My Bed 1998

The further we continue through the exhibition the more we feel as though we are Emin’s confidante; her scars are ours now and they are weighing us down. To enter, toward the end, a room removed of much of the abject excess of the others, comes as welcome relief. Two sculptures in particular reveal the diversity of Emin’s talent as an artist. Self Portrait (Bath) comprises a rusty bath filled with bamboo, barbed wire, chicken wire and a contorted neon streak entwined to create a work of great textual interest. In the same room a rollercoaster of reclaimed wood, It’s Not The Way I Want to Die from 2005, dominates the space. Constructed entirely from old crates, the past life of the wood seems to echo Emin’s own (one plank retaining it’s FRAGILE label), but is here reworked into a somewhat rickety yet undeniably beautiful piece.

Tracy%20Emin%20It%27s%20Not%20the%20Way%20I%20Want%20to%20Die%2C%202005.jpg
It’s Not The Way I Want to Die 2005

Emin is a chameleon, expressing herself in several mediums and seemingly mastering them all. Love or loathe her – you won’t easily forget her, and to my mind, that’s what makes her continue to be worth talking about.

Tracy%20Emin%20The%20Perfect%20Place%20to%20Grow%2C%202001.jpg
The Perfect Place to Grow 2001

Images courtesy of Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

September marked the official UK launch of the new shopping/networking website, ampoule ShopStyle. Already popular amongst fashion followers in the US, viagra the best way to describe this new digital phenomenon would be a ‘Google for fashion with a MySpace twist‘. Shopstyle offers a unique online shopping experience, which enables users to browse the rails of thousands of brands through a simple search box option. Just like Google, ShopStyle carries out all the hard work trawling through shopping sites in order to bring you any matching items to your keywords. Users can also narrow down their searches by price, brand, store and size so only the most relevant results are displayed.

The site proved to be heaven sent in my own hunt to unearth a descent pair of gladiator heels, presenting me with options from new and smaller brands that I wouldn’t usually consider in my shopping choices.

ShopStyle’s nifty social networking twist means even those of us a little strapped for cash can still muzzle in on the spirit of fashion. The StyleBook tool allows users to play around and create their own fashion look books based on their own personal tastes and styles. These can be viewed by fellow users who are free to comment and discuss ideas. Unlike other virtual stores, ShopStyle embraces a love for fashion and creativity, moving beyond the simple idea of consumption.

ShopStyle_image.jpg

Keep an eye out next month as three emerging designers, selected by stylist to the stars, Bay Garnett, get the opportunity to display their collection on the site.

creaturemag%20fest%20edition.jpg

Creaturemag sets out to bring together artists from all around the world, adiposity and produce an online publication, which works as one big collaboration. Being the arty literate types that they are, they’ve also created a sort of character out of the Creaturemag concept. This has led to an entertaining, if not ever so slightly confusing, interview with themselves, or Creaturemag – you kind of have to read it to understand.

They have just released Creaturemag festival edition – a diary of their activities over the summer. Its content though is a little more in depth than trudging through mud and drinking cider though. The wonderful cover has been done by long time Amelia’s contributor Nikki Pinder! It also features interviews with up and coming musical geniuses Alessi and Zombie Zombie.

Being the creative types that they are though, no pages go without a little artistic decoration. A group of top notch illustrators have contributed – bringing the entire thing to life.

creaturemag%20pirate.jpg
Crafty pirate

creature%20mag%20creatures.jpg

Floating from festival to festival over the summer, the creatives behind Creaturemag have compiled pieces on the more out there festivals like Secret Garden Party and End Of The Road. The festival edition acts as a sort of guide to how they have often created their own arty fun at festivals this year. Perhaps the most intriguing of which is the feature on concrete mushrooms that were taken to festival all over the country. It is also a testament to how devoted they are to their art. The idea of dragging massive concrete mushrooms on top of the mounds of bags and tents I always end up hauling to campsite doesn’t appeal to me.

creature%20mag%20mushroom.jpg
Concrete mushrooms

creature%20mag%20drawing3.jpg

The whole thing just makes it look like the guys behind it have had the best summer ever, and it really makes me want to go back to a festival.

Categories ,Alessi, ,Blog, ,Creaturemag, ,End of the Road, ,Festival, ,Illustrators, ,Nikki Pinder, ,Secret Garden Party, ,Zombie Zombie

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Amelia’s Magazine | Circus Bookazine Launch and London Blog Slam

the crowd at circus bookazine blog slam
The crowd at circus bookazine blog slam, see buy minimalist cake catering, Asahi etc. the awesome tights belong to Muireann Carey-Campbell of Bangs and a Bun.

Amelia judged and I sketched history in the making at the Rag Factory last week. Well, almost: the first event was in Germany the week before so this was not an actual first. The concept I’m sure already has your mind a-boggling. I’m allways fascinated by how random little scenes and pockets of interlapping creativity and culture come together in these sorts of things. Circus explore the rich territory between print and web, passion and fashion and er, people and other people. I’ll talk more about the beautiful bookazine itself a bit later.

The competing bloggers were somewhat of a motley crew, in that the content was a little inconsistently weighted, a lot of fashion and two examples of male dating based humour blogging, a genre of which I was previously unaware. This was fair enough in a sense, the theme of the Bookazine issue is fashion, but it did make the handfull of bloggers on other themes seem a little incongruous.

The slammers were judged based on the scoring categories of originality, concept, delivery and “blogability”, a made up word. Aside from our own Amelia the jury consisted of Wafa from Sketchbook Magazine, Ben from quality Sheffield based Article Magazine, and Chris Osburn from the Londonist. All small press stars of substance and style of course. The competing bloggers performed from an old school church pulpit – a nice touch I think, sort of makes you think about how we choose who we listen to and respect these days, or it just looked pretty anyway – and were also interspersed with some readings from contributors from the bookazine.

marian librarian or Schmbari
Marian Schembari telling it like it isn’t but should be.

First up was Marian Librarian, a high flying international proffesional social media blogger of sorts, who talked affectingly about why she refuses to censor her blog, even after she was detained at immigration for swearing. You can read the entry she read here She has a healthy and sensible attitude to the importance of reality and personality in online content.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - kate ironside
Next up was a brief reading from fashion haiku‘s Kate Ironside who was rocking a serious classy jersey and pearls type ensemble.

I cannot express the perfection of the fashion haiku as a form of art, it’s such the perfect medium for expressing the wry mix of beauty, meaning and superficiality that is fashion – anyway I can’t express it like I said so if you follow one link today, make it this one and go read some. Your day will be enhanced.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - toast and biscuit - thewedordeadwager
Toast and Biscuit from the Wed or Dead Wager.

Second actual competing slammers (btw, I can’t type the word slammers without thinking about pogs) were a blog double act who use fake names as a matter of neccesity since they write with warts and all accuracy about their manic dating life in a race to get married. It’s a bit like an unrealistic romcom, but much much longer. They were very funny with self deprecating anecdotes, definite crowd pleasers. I think they had the advantage too of having an actual real life story to tell in their blog, it’s engaging and sympathetic and fresh.

I’m so used to hearing the female perspective on the frustrations of dating from my friends, the cliches that men who are confident enough to come on to you are usually after just one thing, or worse turn out to be creepy stalkers seem all too often to come true. So it’s quite nice to get the male perspective and hear about women’s strange behaviours in the dating arena with some pragmatism, while still coming from what is essentially an aim to settle down with someone nice, which creates a sort of reverse cliche.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - godwyns onwuchekwa
The next blogger, Godwyns Onwuchekwa “We are united to say: Never again, at least not by our own action.”

Godwyns is a serious political and LGBT rights blogger who performed a very moving blog post he had written to mark world AIDS day this year. He began by saying that following the Toast and Biscuit performance he would be boring us with serious stuff. He wasn’t boring, but he wasn’t wrong that it was a contrast. Escpecially as the next to stand up was in a similar romantic comedy vein;

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - scalene
Scalene.

Alright, maybe this is not news to you, but if you thought that the Wed or Dead Wager was a dose enough of apparently brutaly honest but at the same time surreally romcomesque male dating bloggery, Scalene may actually take you a step further. His blog allows internet strangers (the same people who comment on youtube videos) to make multiple “choose your own adventure” style decisions about his actual real life love life. In the recent post he read out he ended up actually honest to goodness chasing a girl to the airport. If there’s any justice this project will end in him being voted into not showing up for his own wedding. That’s the other thing that always happens in movies but NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE. RIGHT?

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - tejasvi

Tejasvi looked particularly angelic in her floaty white top (sorry I lack the fashion nause to describe it accurately) in the pulpit. Her blog Clandestine Cigarettes is perhaps a more serious and romantic take on fashion, she read a very poetic piece but was sadly I think too nervous and lacked the projection to do it justice.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - lilly smiles Lilly Smiles of Laughter Lines, diary of a “fleet street fox”.

Lilly Smiles trod an interesting line between the serious and comic camps with her reading, which was from a blog post written at an extremely raw and hard time in her life – the details were hazy (understandably) but it was during an episode in which she was charged with attempted murder. It was heart rending, clear, honest and well written, but still witty. She almost painted tabloid journalism (her background) as a caring profession and she pre-empted her reading by telling us she burps when nervous. In a way this was the perfect piece for the evening: managing to keep the tone seperate and yet compelling, honest but sensationalist. Possibly this is what blogability means.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - bangs and a bun
Muireann Carey-Campbell or Bangs and a Bun.

Another reading from the Circus Bookazine; Muireann described herself as a humour fashion blogger but the piece she read was quite serious, looking at issues of the fashion industry’s epic denial the fatness of society. It was pretty interesting and she was a charismatic speaker, I’ve since started following her on twitter and she is an avid tweeter. She looked fabulous and clearly knew her stuff.

The final contestent in the blog-off arrived just in time to perform. She’d been in Norwich and rocked straight up to the pulpit and started channeling Lady Gaga, actually interspersing the reading from her blog ‘musings of an innapropriate woman’ with bouts of karaoke style singing.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - rachel hills
Rachel Hills with gold slit sunglasses – when they were down she was Gaga.

This is the blog post she read, but like all of the night’s blogs, it’s the tip of an iceberg. Rachel’s blog is a smart mix of gender, popular culture, creativity and general life observations; I like her because she’s not afraid to mix pop culture references with theory and critique. If I didn’t have an essay to write I might spend my whole weekend reading her back catalogue.

So with that the blog slam was concluded, there was some complex vote counting while I mused on the variety of performances. Really the variety of different styles and subject matters didn’t lend itself to a fair comparison, ideally there could have been a number of bloggers from certain categories and an award for each. But it wasn’t the Oscars, it was an experiment and to have done so might have made the whole thing seem overworked. In the end we were treated to a slice of a mix of what the blogosphere has to offer.

ameliasmagazine - blog slam - circus 2
the four minds and bodies behind the event and circus bookazine, preparing to award the prizes.

Rachel nabbed third place, probably as much for having rocked up at the last minute and being memorable in golden glasses and singing as anything else. The two top spots went to the romcom boys, Scalene in second place and Toast and Biscuit nabbing the top spot. There were a lot of qualities on show at the Rag Factory that night, but ultimately entertainment value probably bagged the biggest points. The number of people at the end of the night wearing the AIDS ribbons Godwins had given out is testament to the fact that the serious content was most surely not swept under the carpet.

The Bookazine (which, strangely, is somewhere between a book and a magazine) is a thing of beauty divine from a design point of view. You can see the love and thought that has gone into the project. The content is given room to breath and interspersed with sumptiously simple printed patterns. There are little nods to the web format of the blog that the book connects with, like the love you link page and tag cloud at the back. Part of the reason it’s so thick of course, is that all of the content is in English and German, which makes the project even more impressive – working with so many bloggers, writers, artists and translators must have been an epic undertaking. If only I had time to actually read it.

circus bookazine - Merily Leis
circus bookazine - Artikel von Digital Diamonds
images courtesy of Circus Bookazine

Categories ,bangs and a bun, ,blog, ,blog slam, ,Bloggers, ,Circus, ,Circus Bookazine, ,design, ,event, ,fashion, ,fashion haiku, ,london, ,poetry, ,rachel hills, ,review, ,scalene, ,Sketch, ,Sketchbook mag, ,the londonist, ,the rag factory, ,the wed or dead wager

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Amelia’s Magazine | Circus Bookazine Launch and London Blog Slam

the crowd at circus bookazine blog slam
The crowd at circus bookazine blog slam, see buy minimalist cake catering, Asahi etc. the awesome tights belong to Muireann Carey-Campbell of Bangs and a Bun.

Amelia judged and I sketched history in the making at the Rag Factory last week. Well, almost: the first event was in Germany the week before so this was not an actual first. The concept I’m sure already has your mind a-boggling. I’m allways fascinated by how random little scenes and pockets of interlapping creativity and culture come together in these sorts of things. Circus explore the rich territory between print and web, passion and fashion and er, people and other people. I’ll talk more about the beautiful bookazine itself a bit later.

The competing bloggers were somewhat of a motley crew, in that the content was a little inconsistently weighted, a lot of fashion and two examples of male dating based humour blogging, a genre of which I was previously unaware. This was fair enough in a sense, the theme of the Bookazine issue is fashion, but it did make the handfull of bloggers on other themes seem a little incongruous.

The slammers were judged based on the scoring categories of originality, concept, delivery and “blogability”, a made up word. Aside from our own Amelia the jury consisted of Wafa from Sketchbook Magazine, Ben from quality Sheffield based Article Magazine, and Chris Osburn from the Londonist. All small press stars of substance and style of course. The competing bloggers performed from an old school church pulpit – a nice touch I think, sort of makes you think about how we choose who we listen to and respect these days, or it just looked pretty anyway – and were also interspersed with some readings from contributors from the bookazine.

marian librarian or Schmbari
Marian Schembari telling it like it isn’t but should be.

First up was Marian Librarian, a high flying international proffesional social media blogger of sorts, who talked affectingly about why she refuses to censor her blog, even after she was detained at immigration for swearing. You can read the entry she read here She has a healthy and sensible attitude to the importance of reality and personality in online content.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - kate ironside
Next up was a brief reading from fashion haiku‘s Kate Ironside who was rocking a serious classy jersey and pearls type ensemble.

I cannot express the perfection of the fashion haiku as a form of art, it’s such the perfect medium for expressing the wry mix of beauty, meaning and superficiality that is fashion – anyway I can’t express it like I said so if you follow one link today, make it this one and go read some. Your day will be enhanced.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - toast and biscuit - thewedordeadwager
Toast and Biscuit from the Wed or Dead Wager.

Second actual competing slammers (btw, I can’t type the word slammers without thinking about pogs) were a blog double act who use fake names as a matter of neccesity since they write with warts and all accuracy about their manic dating life in a race to get married. It’s a bit like an unrealistic romcom, but much much longer. They were very funny with self deprecating anecdotes, definite crowd pleasers. I think they had the advantage too of having an actual real life story to tell in their blog, it’s engaging and sympathetic and fresh.

I’m so used to hearing the female perspective on the frustrations of dating from my friends, the cliches that men who are confident enough to come on to you are usually after just one thing, or worse turn out to be creepy stalkers seem all too often to come true. So it’s quite nice to get the male perspective and hear about women’s strange behaviours in the dating arena with some pragmatism, while still coming from what is essentially an aim to settle down with someone nice, which creates a sort of reverse cliche.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - godwyns onwuchekwa
The next blogger, Godwyns Onwuchekwa “We are united to say: Never again, at least not by our own action.”

Godwyns is a serious political and LGBT rights blogger who performed a very moving blog post he had written to mark world AIDS day this year. He began by saying that following the Toast and Biscuit performance he would be boring us with serious stuff. He wasn’t boring, but he wasn’t wrong that it was a contrast. Escpecially as the next to stand up was in a similar romantic comedy vein;

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - scalene
Scalene.

Alright, maybe this is not news to you, but if you thought that the Wed or Dead Wager was a dose enough of apparently brutaly honest but at the same time surreally romcomesque male dating bloggery, Scalene may actually take you a step further. His blog allows internet strangers (the same people who comment on youtube videos) to make multiple “choose your own adventure” style decisions about his actual real life love life. In the recent post he read out he ended up actually honest to goodness chasing a girl to the airport. If there’s any justice this project will end in him being voted into not showing up for his own wedding. That’s the other thing that always happens in movies but NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE. RIGHT?

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - tejasvi

Tejasvi looked particularly angelic in her floaty white top (sorry I lack the fashion nause to describe it accurately) in the pulpit. Her blog Clandestine Cigarettes is perhaps a more serious and romantic take on fashion, she read a very poetic piece but was sadly I think too nervous and lacked the projection to do it justice.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - lilly smiles Lilly Smiles of Laughter Lines, diary of a “fleet street fox”.

Lilly Smiles trod an interesting line between the serious and comic camps with her reading, which was from a blog post written at an extremely raw and hard time in her life – the details were hazy (understandably) but it was during an episode in which she was charged with attempted murder. It was heart rending, clear, honest and well written, but still witty. She almost painted tabloid journalism (her background) as a caring profession and she pre-empted her reading by telling us she burps when nervous. In a way this was the perfect piece for the evening: managing to keep the tone seperate and yet compelling, honest but sensationalist. Possibly this is what blogability means.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - bangs and a bun
Muireann Carey-Campbell or Bangs and a Bun.

Another reading from the Circus Bookazine; Muireann described herself as a humour fashion blogger but the piece she read was quite serious, looking at issues of the fashion industry’s epic denial the fatness of society. It was pretty interesting and she was a charismatic speaker, I’ve since started following her on twitter and she is an avid tweeter. She looked fabulous and clearly knew her stuff.

The final contestent in the blog-off arrived just in time to perform. She’d been in Norwich and rocked straight up to the pulpit and started channeling Lady Gaga, actually interspersing the reading from her blog ‘musings of an innapropriate woman’ with bouts of karaoke style singing.

jenny robins - blog slam - circus - rachel hills
Rachel Hills with gold slit sunglasses – when they were down she was Gaga.

This is the blog post she read, but like all of the night’s blogs, it’s the tip of an iceberg. Rachel’s blog is a smart mix of gender, popular culture, creativity and general life observations; I like her because she’s not afraid to mix pop culture references with theory and critique. If I didn’t have an essay to write I might spend my whole weekend reading her back catalogue.

So with that the blog slam was concluded, there was some complex vote counting while I mused on the variety of performances. Really the variety of different styles and subject matters didn’t lend itself to a fair comparison, ideally there could have been a number of bloggers from certain categories and an award for each. But it wasn’t the Oscars, it was an experiment and to have done so might have made the whole thing seem overworked. In the end we were treated to a slice of a mix of what the blogosphere has to offer.

ameliasmagazine - blog slam - circus 2
the four minds and bodies behind the event and circus bookazine, preparing to award the prizes.

Rachel nabbed third place, probably as much for having rocked up at the last minute and being memorable in golden glasses and singing as anything else. The two top spots went to the romcom boys, Scalene in second place and Toast and Biscuit nabbing the top spot. There were a lot of qualities on show at the Rag Factory that night, but ultimately entertainment value probably bagged the biggest points. The number of people at the end of the night wearing the AIDS ribbons Godwins had given out is testament to the fact that the serious content was most surely not swept under the carpet.

The Bookazine (which, strangely, is somewhere between a book and a magazine) is a thing of beauty divine from a design point of view. You can see the love and thought that has gone into the project. The content is given room to breath and interspersed with sumptiously simple printed patterns. There are little nods to the web format of the blog that the book connects with, like the love you link page and tag cloud at the back. Part of the reason it’s so thick of course, is that all of the content is in English and German, which makes the project even more impressive – working with so many bloggers, writers, artists and translators must have been an epic undertaking. If only I had time to actually read it.

circus bookazine - Merily Leis
circus bookazine - Artikel von Digital Diamonds
images courtesy of Circus Bookazine

Categories ,bangs and a bun, ,blog, ,blog slam, ,Bloggers, ,Circus, ,Circus Bookazine, ,design, ,event, ,fashion, ,fashion haiku, ,london, ,poetry, ,rachel hills, ,review, ,scalene, ,Sketch, ,Sketchbook mag, ,the londonist, ,the rag factory, ,the wed or dead wager

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Amelia’s Magazine | Becky Barnicoat- Come In, Everyone is Here Already! Part 2

Happy-BirthdayImage courtesy Becky Barnicoat

Valerie Pezeron: You mentioned previously that you did a project as a comic book at school. Do you think that if kids did that now, visit web adiposity they would be better received…?
Becky Barnicoat: I doubt it in the school I went to, prescription decease but maybe in a school where you had an English teacher who was creative? It would probably be more in a state school I feel. I’ve got a really good friend who is an English teacher, page she does English media and film and she loves comic books and I’m sure if a kid did that, she’d be interested and maybe she’d recommend some comic books? But my teachers, had they ever heard of a comic? No. They had no interest. We had to do this project, which was about your future career in English literature, and I wanted to be a cartoonist. And I thought I should draw this and I have to confess it was an absolute load of shit! It was so badly drawn, it was really really superficial and I’m sure if I had executed this beautifully she would have been more impressed but I did do it quite roughly.

CIMG1386All photographs courtesy of Valerie Pezeron

VP: You think so?
BB: Maybe, because it would at least have been interesting but I gave in were those stupid cartoons…I didn’t take the project very seriously but yeah, I did get a D minus and a detention for not doing it properly! (Becky laughs)

VP: That is really a shame, because I think that it is quite an original way of doing things and you were trying to approach it from another point of view. If I were an English teacher, I would applaud this because it’s about the content. Did she even look at the content? Maybe she balked at the fact that you decided to draw instead of writing?
BB: I think it was a combination of both. What I did was a story of these two people that wanted to be cartoonists and they went on journey to try and find some cartooning heroes in America and it all went very wrong for them and they failed because nobody was interested in them. And it was really silly; I don’t know why…my school was not interested, I was actually told I was not allowed to do GCSE Art because I was too interested in cartoons and that wasn’t appropriate. They made me do a still life to prove I was serious about art. I did draw a still life of a bowl of fruit…b because my sketchbooks were full of cartoons. And they said, “We just don’t think you’re taking this very seriously, this isn’t art, this is messing around.” How depressing is that!

CIMG1389

VP: Very depressing! I’d be very depressed!
BB: How horrible is that because the only thing I cared about was art and I felt really upset about it!

VP: I agree and little knocks like that actually make a comic book artist, don’t you think?
BB: Yes, I guess, maybe eventually. But I felt I had too much self-doubt that what they said, “You’re not right, you can’t do art”, I thought, “Oh god, maybe they’re right.”

VP: I know because when you are at that age, you wanted to follow in the footsteps of all those great satirists. Who were you looking at when you were a teenager? How did you even get the idea that you could say things through cartoons?
BB: Yeah, I know! I don’t know why I liked cartoons.

CIMG1391

VP: Did you know Bosch or Gerald Scarfe?
BB: A little bit. My parents love art and cartoons. It’s more typical for British people to be interested in political cartoons. I used to thin I love the cartoons but I find the subject matter really boring. (Laughter) Why do cartoons have to be about politics all the time?

VP: But you were aware of the Victorian cartooning?
BB: Yeah, we had lots of Punch books and I used to look through them. And I did really enjoy some of them, but I’ve always really enjoyed the absurd more than possibly satire. I love satire but I think for what I want to do…I really enjoy Spike Milligan, but they were just little doodles. I’ve always enjoyed a drawing where you don’t need to be realist and you can still make someone feel something.

VP: What about movies, or anything that could have influenced you?
BB: Well, I guess, the beginning was probably just children books, which I absolutely loved. I ate them up.

wuss

VP: For instance?
BB: Oh, I mean I love them so much! We read so many, and the illustrations, I never forgot them! I still remember all the drawings from all the children books I read. You know, Meg and Mog, John Burningam who did the Avocado Baby, Mister Gumpy and Simp, they were really beautiful. We read Tim and Ginger by Ardizzone, we did a lot of Edward Ardizzone and Maurice Sendak. And I read all the Tintin books. My dad is a massive Tintin fan! That was good, that’s actually a proper comic strip in my life. The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr…they were just magical to me and much better than just words, which I always felt was a really controversial thing to say. But now I think you are allowed to say that! Pictures are almost borderline as respected as words, not quite, but still not quite! (Laughter) But I’d look at the pictures and you don’t need words, because it was so exciting and your imagination would go wild.

VP: So what attracted you to this world were the characters, the incongruous…?
BB: Yes, I’ve always loved those worlds where… The Tiger who came to Tea is a great example, actually. Have you read it?

VP: No, I must admit my references are more French. But I do know the Maurice Sendak, Ardezoni and the Tintin obviously.
BB: But this book The Tiger who came to Tea is about this girl and her mum waiting for the dad to come home. And then this tiger just turns up in the house and they invite him in. He has tea with them but he basically trashes the house; he drinks out of the tap and he drinks all of their water, he messes up all the kitchen but they never really question the fact that there is a tiger in there, they’re not really scared! (Laughter) You know, he’s just there and the mess he causes is like the idea of a big person coming around and it’s all very harmless! I love that and Babar: elephants and people, they just coexist, you know, that’s how it is! I love that!

Bear3Image courtesy of Becky Barnicoat

VP: London is like that, isn’t it? Our surroundings is filled with the strange, the incongruous, the elephant in the room but everybody is going about their business not seeming to notice each other. They’re all in a way little elephants! Or it’s actually the opposite: you are the elephant in the room!
BB: Yeah, I suppose so. I don’t know what it is; I think it’s pretty really simplistic. I think the world would be more fun if a dinosaur just walked down the street, right now…

VP: And just eating everybody? (Laughter)
BB: …I just love imagining that! And everyone would be like “oh, hello!”

VP: We can see all of the above have influences this new comic you have been working on?
BB: Completely. Part of my interest is people and their faces; I love drawing that. But in terms of my storytelling, I love people with…(Becky shows me a cartoon of hers). So this was a story about an old lady who has a robot and she doesn’t ever question the fact that her friend is a machine and he has to be plugged into the wall. He is slightly limited. In this story, she is watching X Factor and wanting to take part. She is telling him all about it but his plug is not in, so he hasn’t been listening in to anything she has been saying. It’s kind of sad but she doesn’t really feel sad about it, she just “oh dear” gets on with it. I love to have people interacting with unexpected characters and it’s almost normal.

VP: But that’s a bit different because that is for adults.
BB: But my upcoming children’s book will be, well sort of.

Bear2Image courtesy of Becky Barnicoat

VP: So this will be for adults?
BB: I think so, yeah, but for most adults and children. It’s going to have darkness in it because it’s about a couple that go to stay in a cabin in the woods. And then the boyfriend goes out, he has to go and get batteries or something. He gets eaten by a bear. And then the bear comes into the house. She is waiting for the boyfriend to return and she hears what she thinks is the boyfriend coming into the bedroom, but it’s the bear! You think, “he’s going to eat her”, but he picks up the guitar and he sings a song on the end of her bed. And she hears the music and smiles. You don’t know if she knows the bear and she doesn’t mind. And the bear is not probably going to hurt her; he’s just singing a song. I don’t know what that really means but I like those kind of weird, absurd scenarios.

VP: I like this take on childhood. In a way, children are more ready to enjoy or to open the door to the unreal or surreal.
BB: Yeah, I think that’s true.

VP: And they are more accepting of the extraordinary.
BB: Yeah, definitely. I like the idea of the extraordinary being fairly normal. That’s probably what runs through everything. (Valerie is looking at the sketchbooks) I’m trying to draw every morning now. I have to do a comic. I was so tired when I did these sketches!

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VP: I think it’s a really good effort! In the last few months, I have not worked on my comic book. I think I’ve been through writers’ block. Now, since last month, I’m forcing myself to do this again. Do you have moments like that? I mean, it’s terrible; my publisher at New Humanist is still waiting on me to show my complete graphic novel! Do you get that?
BB: Yes, definitely. I had it…hum…a longish period of my life when I wasn’t really drawing. When I was in university, I was the cartoonist for the student paper, so I was drawing every week. And then I just got to a point where I felt “I’m just not going to do this anymore”. I’m going to do journalism and I started editing my own magazine. And for that year, I was barely drawing at all. And then I went down to London and I got a job on a teenage girl magazine. I wasn’t drawing at all during the whole year I worked for that magazine. I barely drew; I think I drew card for friends. And then I started to really worry about the fact I hadn’t drawn for ages. I was getting insomnias as well, which was weird. And I started to try and draw again and I just couldn’t do a thing. I had an almighty creative block. I’s sit at the pad and draw rubbish, awful stickmen pretty much. I’d think: “this is it! Oh my god, I’ve killed it!” And it took me, well, until now, to get back to a place where I have ideas. I just forced myself.

VP: You know, I find that with me, when I have those blocks, I don’t have the dreams that I usually get when I am really creative- mad and very rich dreams. And I have to run the next morning and write it down or draw something. Do you have that?
BB: Yeah, definitely. When I am not drawing I become really dead, I think, inside. And I don’t sleep, I’ve discovered. If I don’t draw, I get insomnia.

VP: What made you want to go into journalism if you wanted so early on to be part of the visual arts?
BB: Well, when I started drawing on the student paper cartoons, I started editing the art section. I actually do enjoy editing articles. I find it really satisfying; tightening it up, cutting it down, you know, questioning things that don’t make sense. That appealed to another side of me.

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VP: So would you recommend it as a way to get into comic art?
BB: I don’t know. I keep thinking I should try and draw something for the paper. But then similarly to you, I feel going to them with my portfolio, I think “Oh no, they won’t like it”, so I’m a bit scared of being judged and rejected.

VP: Yeah! One of the reasons why I really had to do this interview is that we really have a similar journey. We’re very different, but in some ways we have some similarities. Especially, I wanted to know about the blog. I find interesting what you said about…when you started the blog, and then things started to happen. Did you have that in mind when you created the blog?
BB: Yeah, definitely. The idea of the blog was to make sure I was drawing every day, to have something I’d say “public”. But I mean, god knows how many people check it; maybe ten of my friends. The idea would be they’d be expecting me to do something and I couldn’t just put it off because I’d be really letting myself down in public. You know, people would know I wasn’t drawing. So if I say “I really want to be a cartoonist”, they’d go “oh, you really didn’t update your blog for three months and they’d know that it’s bollocks. That was part of it; to force myself to actually follow through with this thing I was telling everyone. And then, ok, you have to show people what your cartoons are. So I started doing that.

VP: Did you advertise the blog?
BB: I sent a group email around to my mates saying here is my new blog. And that was it!

VP: I think it’s a very nice blog, very offbeat with great sense of humour and comic timing.
BB: Oh, thank you, I’m so glad. I think what’s been really nice about it. One person won’t get what I put up, but then somebody else would say, “That’s my favourite!” It sounds so corny but even if it’s one person who likes it, it makes me feel it’s totally worth doing a cartoon if even one person enjoys it.

Categories ,Babar, ,Becky Barnicoat, ,blog, ,books, ,comic art, ,comic books, ,comica, ,comics, ,comicstrips, ,Edward Ardizzone, ,Fantagraphics, ,fanzine, ,Gerald Scarfe, ,graphic novels, ,Hieronimus Bosch, ,humour, ,ica, ,John Burningham, ,journalism, ,leeds university, ,Maurice Sendak, ,Meg and Mog, ,New Humanist, ,Paul Gravett, ,sequential artist, ,The Guardian, ,Valerie Pezeron, ,Valoche Designs, ,viz, ,Wimbledon college of art

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