Amelia’s Magazine | E.ON’s early christmas surprise

If you try to describe this to someone (which you shouldn’t, this web sales don’t give anything away), doctor medications you will sound like you are conjuring from memory a nonsensical and fantastical dream; not something remotely tangible that actually happened in a 25-minute journey through a Shorditch warehouse.

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Enter the ride and find yourself wheeled through 15 distinct scenarios with over 70 artists acting out micro-performances. “Designed to mentally and visually astound”, check; “leaving you overwhelmed and exhilarated’, check and check; and finishing the ride “in a totally different emotional state from the one you were in when you embarked on the journey”, most definitely true: utterly elated, mesmerised, and psychologically discombobulated.

The You Me Bum Bum train represents a new branch of experimental live art where the line between performer and audience is not just blurred, but utterly turned on it’s head; interaction is integral to the experience, and how far you take this is up to you. It’s creators Kate Bond and Morgan Lloyd, intend to strip individuals of decision-making, giving passengers the would-be ordinary experience of somebody else’s shoes. You are left with fleeting slices of alternate realities, one moment you might be a drummer, the next a translator (I really don’t want to say much!). It’s real human experience through the prism of the utterly surreal, and it will take you some time to reclaim your grasp on the two, a most marvellous and novel experience.

The venue is essential to the experience, and they describe Cordy House as their dream venue, lending itself to the most ambitious event they’ve held yet.
There isn’t much time to go, and I whole-heartedly recommend it as an unforgettable experience. It runs every Saturday from now until the 20th of December between 7pm and 11pm.

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Hip Parisian fahion and electro label, buy Kitsuné, what is ed are fast becoming as well known for their associated music as they are for their fashion. In fact, there is a clear cut three-way divide at Heaven tonight: scenesters, dressed for the fashion blog photographers collide en masse with those who know Kitsuné for the music and are quite unprepared for the additional rooms full of said scenesters, and with the regular Heaven clubbers, used to G-A-Y Camp Attack on Friday nights and probably the most bemused of everyone here.

Within the four rooms there’s a frustrating mix of real djs and acts like Autokratz, whose Pet Shop Boys go big beat set was a joy to behold and left me humming ‘Stay The Same’ for the rest of the night. Hearts Revolution, Punks Jump Up and Kitsuné house band Digitalism all turned out in force to impress and did so, although at times the acts felt a little repetitive. Alas, alongside these quality acts, we also got a number of vanity djs, including various models and boutique owners, which all blurred into the same set as the night progressed and seemed to play to rooms full of people aiming to get to the bar and move on.

It transpired that the ‘Don’t Panic’ room was the place to be. Inspired by K-Tron, blasting bass heavy No-Wave, they held me and the room in near divine rapture. The highlight of the night however, was Matthew Stone who dragged us back to 1985 via The KLF, his effortlessly sublime musical compass taking us on a seemingly random adventure, fitting perfectly with the tone of the night. There were some true high points tonight, but Kitsuné are probably best enjoyed via one of their compilations than live, based on tonight’s evidence.

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Global Day of Action is a direct action environmentalism initiative that started in 2005 Global Climate Campaign to focus world attention on the anthropogenic effect that humans are having on global warming.
Actions take place on this day to coincide with a Climate Change convention; a meeting of world leaders from 189 nations, viagra dosage that meet every year to discuss climate change.
We have the listings for the actions taking place on the 6th in London, viagra 100mg for a list of other cities actions click here.

Global Day of Action
6th December 2008

This will be the Saturday midway through the next round of UN Climate Talks and our best chance to influence the decisions of delegates ahead of the critical UN talks in 2009 at which a post-Kyoto treaty agreement will be decided.

LONDON

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Climate Bike Ride 2008
Assemble 10.30 am Lincolns Inn Fields for a mass bike ride around Central London joining up with the National Climate March at Grosvenor Square (see next listing for National Climate March info)
The three stops on the route are:
-Outside Greenergy, 198 High Holborn – for an agrofuels protest organised by Biofuelswatch
-Outside E.On 100 Pall Mall – for a speaker on NO NEW COAL
-Outside the Department of Transport – for a speaker on sustainable transport
Everyone welcome; decorate your bikes, bring whistles, bring music!
Want to help out for this action? Contact Jeremy Hill on 07816 839883 or jeremy.hill1@btopenworld.com

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National Climate March and Global Day of Action on Climate
The march starts at 12noon at Grosvenor Square and will move via Carlos Place and Mount Street to Berkley Square and Berkley street to Picacadily, Picadilly Circus, Lower Regent street, Pall Mall and Cockspur street to Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to Parliament Square.
We will bring the UK issues of Aviation, New coal and Biofuels to the streets of London, along with a call for more investment in renewable energy, more energy efficiency and more green jobs.
Speakers will include Nick Clegg (leader Liberal Democrat Party), Caroline Lucas (leader, Green party), Michael Meacher (ex-Environment Minister) and George Monbiot (Honorary President, Campaign against Climate Change).
Contact: 020 7833 9311
www.campaigncc.org

There will also be an After-Party in the Synergy Centre from 5.00 pm till late.

The March on Parliament has four main themes –
1) NO to a 3rd runway at Heathrow and the runaway expansion in aviation expansion.
2) NO new coal – no new coal-fired power stations as planned at eg Kingsnorth in Kent
3) NO to the expansion of agrofuels – with negative impacts on forests, the climate and world food supply.
4) YES to a renewable energy revolution and green jobs – a “Green new Deal”
Come with your own banners, costumes on one of these themes and join up with others pushing that theme……

The March on Parliament for the Climate marks the Saturday midway through the UN Climate Talks in Poznan, Poland and we make our demands on the UK government in solidarity with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities that will suffer worst and most immediately from climate change caused overwhelmingly by the rich long-industrialised countries.

We need the government to act now on climate, to stop building coal-fired power stations and new runways – and to begin the renewable energy revolution. We need a tidal wave of people outside parliament to make them act to stop climate catastrophe now! Be part of that tidal wave, be there! Next year may be too late.

for more information:
http://www.globalclimatecampaign.org/ – for a list of cities and actions!
www.campaigncc.org

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BUST Magazine Christmas Craftacular
6th – 7th December, St Aloysius Social Club, 20 Phoenix Road, Euston, NW1 1TA
craftacular-uk@bust.com

BUST is a magazine devoted to the female. Providing an unapologetic view of life in the female lane, they break down stereotypes! Based in the US and established in 1993, the magazine addresses a variety of different issues within pop sulture, including music, fashion, art & crafts and news.
Editor-in-Chief, Debbie Stoller, decided to call the magazine BUST, because it was “aggressive and sexy and funny… It was a title that could belong to a men’s porn magazine.”
For Women With Something To Get Off Their Chests!
Click here for the Christmas Craftacular’s Facebook Page


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Jumble Fever
Under the bridge on Beck Road, E8
Saturday 6th December
Midday-4pm, Entry £1
A fabulous jumble sale with a boogie twist! There will be a great deal to see and do and buy.. See you there!

ETSY
An online shopping bazaar; Etsy is a cross between eBay and Amazon with a humble handmade twist. Launched in June 2005 by Robert Kalin, for sale Chris Maguire and Haim Schoppik, the site has grown to be incredibly popular, with tens of thousands of people selling their handmade goods (90% of whom are women!).
As Christmas draws nearer and greener, we have chosen our favorite handmade things to inspire your presents list.
www.etsy.com

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“The Kelsey”; a pleated clutch in paisley mocha
This handmade clutch is one of many adorable bags created by GraceyBags; get in touch through etsy.com to custom order a clutch and choose from a rainbow of fabrics.
Featured is ‘The Kelsey’ in a paisley mocha print on the outside in greens, blues, pinks, yellows and browns. The inside has been sewn from a silky brown fabric and the bag closes with a small magnet.

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Recycled Journal – handbound
Find a lovely selection of hand bound recycled books by Rhonda; bookbinder and book artist.
This particularly wonderful journal is made with a variety of recycled scrap papers ranging from large envelopes, posters, junk mail, blank paper, lined and graph paper, covers from old sketch books, old maps, discarded photocopies, misprints from the computer printer to paper bags.
Perfect as an art journal, the book is covered with an old map of the world, the one pictured above showing the islands of Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
There are 256 pages (when you count both sides of each sheet). The pages are handbound using green and brown linen threads, visible on the spine in 4 rows of chain stitches.
The book size is approximately 4″ x 4¼” and 1″ thick (or 10.5cm x 11cm x 2.5cm).

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French Bulldog cotton tote bag

This adorable cotton tote is the perfect carry-all for any occasion. BellaBlu Designs signature French Bulldog silhouette has been cut from Heather Bailey‘s ‘Sway in Brown’ Pop Garden print and appliquéd to this cotton canvas bag. It is 100% 10 oz. cotton, measures 15 x 13 x 3 inches and can be customized with most other dog breeds.

TREEFORT
http://treefortkids.myshopify.com

We’ve also had a browse round treefort.myshopify.com, for some gift ideas for those of you with little ones in your life!

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Dreamlets Dolls
These cute little creatures would make an adorable gift this season, and as a product that gives 1% back to Artworks, Bridges to Understanding, or Poncho, they’re doing a lot more than making a loved one happy! The dolls come in a variety of shapes and colours, each with their own quirky personality. You are also able to choose which organization will benefit from your gift by registering your doll online.

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Nikki McClure’s Mama & Baby Things
Treefort also sell many of Nikki Mcclure‘s prints, books, cards, and calendars. Nikki McClure creates complex, yet natural designs by cutting away from a single piece of black construction paper with an x-acto knife. Her works are printed on 100% Recycled, 100% Post-Consumer Waste, Processed Chlorine Free paper that was manufactured with electricity that is offset with Green-e® certified renewable energy. Her work is printed by a small family-owned press in Portland, Oregon, US- and uses soy-based inks.

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Kids On Roof “House”
is made of Eco friendly-100% recycled cardboard and is 100% biodegradable. These houses are the perfect gift for creative children, as they’re meant to be decorated and personalised! (see below for examples from treefort) Kidsonroof donates 5% of its profits to specific Unicef projects; €24,000 has now been collected for the Unicef project for building better, small-scale housing for HIV/Aids inflicted orphans in Russia.
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Beyond Retro Christmas Party!

This evening Beyond Retro is throwing it’s annual seasonal gathering – in both it’s shops, viagra buy the original Cheshire St warehouse and new sibling store in Soho – from 6pm – 8pm, there’ll be lots of exclusive goodies for you to browse through and they’ll even throw in some mulled wine and mince pies. Good times.

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Made In Clerkenwell

This evening and all weekend, the Clerkenwell Green Association open their studios for Made in Clerkenwell, an event that showcases the work of over 70 designers they support through providing them with studio space, mentoring and business advice to help them create their work.

The fruits of their labors are exhibited and available for purchase, so you can hunt out that unique Christmas gift and buy all kinds of original and creative wares – ranging from fashion designs to jewellery, accessories, textiles and even ceramics.
What makes this shopping experience so different is that you can mingle with and chat to the designers and find out about their craft, inspirations, working method, becoming a designer, anything you want to know! So pop down, get a great gift and support new designers.

Open 6pm to 8pm, Thursday 27th November 2008 and
12pm to 6pm on Friday 28th, Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th November 2008.
£2.50 entrance – free to the under 16s.

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It’s no secret that Brooklyn’s the place to be for smart indie pop these days, view but look a little closer to home and you might be surprised. Take tonight’s superb support acts, advice for example. First up is Pens, erectile a cute lo-fi local trio who, despite playing to only a handful of people, put on a wonderfully frantic and ramshackle performance – think Karen O‘s kid sisters gleefully bashing at snare, guitar and synths.

Fellow Londoners Chew Lips are up next and are nothing short of a revelation. The threesome cater in captivatingly melancholy electronic music and boast a bona fide icon-in-waiting in singer Tigs; she prowls and creeps around the venue, all black bob and wide eyes, unleashing powerful vocals and jumping on the bar to serenade us, while the boys whip up a glitchy synth and bass storm in the background. ‘Solo’ is the band’s set-closer and an undeniable highlight – scuzzy and danceable yet strangely sad, it will be one of your anthems of 2009, no question.

This bunch are hard to follow, but Telepathe just about manage it. Dave Sitek-produced debut ‘Dance Mother’ is on the way in January, and recreating its majesty live is clearly still a tricky undertaking for the Brooklyn duo. They do their best, unleashing a stream of cluttered soundscapes, layered harmonies and clipped rhythms, and while the effect is hypnotic at times, barely a word is uttered between songs – resulting in a distinct lack of atmosphere. This could of course be due, in part, to the fact that they are playing to a room full of typically disinterested Shoreditch types. Whatever the reason the performance falls a little flat, until final effort ‘Chromes On It’ that is, its spine-tingling beats waking the crowd from its stupor and climaxing with speakers shaking and half the band hanging from the ceiling as the hysterical throng down the front excitedly punch the air. It’s just enough to convince us that we’re not quite prepared to give up on Telepathe as a live proposition yet. More like this please.
Nuclear: Art and Radioactivity
discount -4.064941&sspn=16.764146, visit this site 39.418945&ie=UTF8&ll=51.524712,-0.079694&spn=0.008598,0.019248&z=16&g=E1+6PG&iwloc=addr”target=”_blank”>Nicholls and Clarke Building, 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, Spitalfields, London E1.

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‘Half-life’
Chris Oakley, 2008
High-definition video, 15 minutes

‘The Nightwatchman’
Simon Hollington & Kypros Kyprianou, 2008
Installation

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The Nicholls and Clarke Building hosts an exhibition that explores the changing perceptions of nuclear power. In our rapidly deteriorating climate, the effects of nuclear development from the past have come to haunt us. ‘The Nightwatchman,’ by Simon Hollington and Kypros Kyprianou, captures this disturbing predicament.

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As we entered the installation there was something immediately unsettling about it. A board-meeting table situated in the centre of a large dilapidated storeroom indicated recent activity, and as we crept further through the exhibition space there was more evidence of some night watchmen. But they are no where to be found…

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Together with the film ‘Half-life’ by Chris Oakley, there was a sense of being caught in a crossfire of two different eras: the naïvely optimistic 80′s and the knowledgeable cynicism of the present day.

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The film showed a series of paradoxical images of nature vs. technology, and through it we were reminded of how our idea of what is progressive has been turned on it’s head.

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If you’d like to have something of yours across the chests of music aficionados throughout the country, viagra you might like to apply for this. 100% music, cheap 100% recycled paper (well done), sildenafil Bearded Magazine is preparing for the re-launch of the printed magazine on January 29th, and they’re throwing in a t-shirt as well.

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When it came to deciding what should go on the front of said t-shirt, they mumbled gibberish into their beards and drew blanks, and so they’ve put the task out to you the reader to help them out. In fact, they might be so filled with indecision that there could be four winners, so better chances for you! Have a look at the criteria and send in a design soon, you have until the 15th of December.

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The Wellcome Collection’s new temporary exhibition is entitled ‘War and Medicine’ and focuses on the individual human consequences of war rather than the overall statistics of death and destruction that impersonalise and almost glorify military combat and which we are most often presented with. Soldiers are heroes when they die for their country but uncomfortable representatives of horror when they return wounded and disfigured.

Installation artist David Cotterrell‘s film, sales specially commissioned for the exhibition, salve attempts to rectify this. Covering three walls of a darkened room, more about the film shows wounded soldiers, with varying degrees of injury, being loaded onto a flight back to England from Helmand Province in Afghanistan. The only soundtrack is the constant hum of the plane’s engine, an eerie backdrop to the calm, efficient activity taking place on screen. There is an unsettling disjunction between our inclusion in the scene through the way it is presented to us and the alienness of the sight before our eyes. This slightly dreamlike atmosphere helps separate the artwork from the realms of documentary photography and helps us understand the confusion of this homeward flight, which we are told in the information outside, is often only partially remembered by the soldiers.

What is most striking about this piece is the individual humanity behind the uniforms of the men and women depicted. On the left are the walking wounded with a variety of arm slings and facial injuries being tended to by medical staff and waiting patiently for their journey to begin, on the right, more distressingly, a person is carried in on a stretcher, connected to breathing apparatus. It is heartbreaking to realise that although most of these people will probably survive, and so not register in the public consciousness, they will have been scarred for life both physically and emotionally. I began to see them as people beyond whatever my personal attitudes to their profession and the war they are fighting in was.
A harrowing counterpart to this work is Cotterrell’s written diary, where he describes with civilian horror, the daily minutiae of life amongst the medical staff in Camp Bastion. The exhibition’s mission statement is to explore the dichotomies in a society that is simultaneously developing ever more sophisticated means of destroying life and protecting it. The stalemate futility of this situation is given a human face by Cotterrell’s work.

David Cotterrell is featured in issue 10 of the magazine, out shortly.

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Hurrying through the lights and sounds of Soho, stuff the words ‘bloody hell it’s cold’ rattled my skull. I was heading to see the Canadian singer and illustrator Chad VanGaalen, this known for rarely leaving his basement. In this weather, who would blame him?
Once inside Borderline I was able to thaw out and to take in the cosy surroundings. Kindly folk in chequered shirts patiently waited as they sipped Guinness. But there was something odd about this fresh-faced crowd. Moustaches, I realised. There were loads of them.
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It’s Mo-vember, apparently. The time of year for all socially conscious gentlemen to grow out their fluff to raise money for testicular cancer. ‘That’s nice,’ I thought.
This playful and boyish act of sincerity seemed fitting for the night in store as there’s something of the fourteen-year-old boy about Chad VanGaalen. Deceptively awkward and immediately charming, he’ll break your heart.
Together with a hairy-faced accordionist he delivered a homemade and reflective sound. It was as if we had wandered into his basement, and he seemed a little surprised to see us there.
His hesitancy on stage draws you nearer, and his tight and masterful song-writing capabilities took a hold of my senses like a sedative.
That uneasy fluidity reminded me of Beach House and the unexpectedly punchier tunes provided an excitable energy that twanged some of those moustaches.
Listening to Chad is like putting on a pair of earmuffs and skate boarding down smooth suburban streets.
There’s a yearning to be free and limitless but it only slightly ventures out of the comfortable. A girl behind me whispered excitedly ‘It’s the kind of music I’d ride my bike to.’
It is difficult for any set at the Borderline to not feel intimate and Chad VanGaalen’s was by no means revolutionary.
But the evening was all together thoughtful and enchanting, and as I braved the bitter London streets once more, the words of Electric City wrapped me up like a duvet.

Soft Airplane is available on Flemish Eye.

Photographs by Ro Cemm
for more pictures of the night click here

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At 8am on Friday 28th November on a wet and grizzly morning, stuff the Greenwash Guerillas and a band of allies rallied together outside the E-On Head Office at 100 Pall Mall. We were there to protest against the planned government-approved scheme to build 7 new coal fired power stations. E-on will be responsible for the first of these havoc wreaking death chambers (no hyperbole here) at Kingsnorth, Kent. This power station alone will emit between 6 and 8 million tones of CO2 every year. If all 7 are built, treatment their collective emissions would be approximately 50 million tones of CO2 a year. This would make the Climate Change Committee’s proposal to cut back on CO2 emissions an average of 2% per annum so that by 2050 we’ll have an 80% reduction well… impossible.

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Browsing through E-on’s website, it might be easy to be fooled into thinking they are an environmentally conscientious company promoting ‘clean, green energy that never runs out.’ But it doesn’t take long to realize that their wind farms and claims of boosting local employment are cleverly marketed to cast a rosy sheen over more profitable projects that use coal.

Coal is the grimiest of fossil fuels. It’s carbon-intensity is higher than oil and double that of natural gas. Yet, as the driving force behind the industrial revolution, it has been the primary source of power for the electricity generation. Gathered outside the E-on head office, we are no longer in the 19th century but in the 21st century and in the midst of a climatic crisis. With sea ice disappearing at a never-before-seen rapidity now is the time to use new greener sources of power, not to revert to the practices of the past.

So why is the government supporting what seems a disastrously archaic project?
The government’s answer is that by increasing the cost of carbon, power stations will be forced to use a process of carbon capture and storage (CCS) whereby the harmful carbon dioxide produced by coal is extracted from the air and buried underground.
However, a presentation made by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee concluded that this reasoning is implausible. Voicing research from the U.K. Energy Research Centre and Climate Change Capital, it showed that using a process of CCS would in fact be the least cost effective option for power stations. The research they gathered predicted that CCS will cost power companies like E-On 70-100 or 90-155 Euros per ton of CO2, while the government estimates that the price of carbon between 2013 and 2020 will be less at approximately 39 Euros per ton.

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It’s fair to say that it is extremely unlikely that power companies will go for the more expensive option, especially when the margin is as large as it is. In short, the government’s criteria for approving E- On’s power station at Kingsnorth is worryingly unsatisfactory.

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If our government is failing to alleviate the catastrophic predicament of climate change that is costing lives then it is up to us as citizens to take action against the construction of Kingsnorth and others like it. For more information on what you can do please click here and please go to the national climate march on Saturday 6th December, bring your mates and make it fun. This is a serious issue and we need to get the message across but optimism is always the best the way of creating change, in my view anyway.
Klimax is a network for climate activists that started in 2007 by environmentalists who wanted a platform for people with more radical ideas about direct actions. Well known in Sweden for their campaigns against private motorism and the meat industry, viagra sale the group has spread to a number of Swedish cities, cialis 40mg and in Gothenburg they consist of 20 active members.

On the 12th November 2008, capsule after being inspired by Climate Rush, six Klimax members stormed a municipal city council meeting in Gothenburg dressed as suffragettes to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the British Sufragette Action.

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Members of Klimax initially wanted to protest on the 13th October, which is the actual date of the anniversary, but after finding out there were no meetings that day, postponed to the 12th November. This allowed them the much needed time to plan their action in detail; the first few weeks consisted of a few hours of planning and as the time drew nearer members were working five hours a day to make sure everything was finished. Among writing speeches, making banners and establishing contact with the media, they had to prepare their costumes!
Our contact at Klimax said “We do not always dress up for events but we believe that it is a good way to spice up an action! We sometimes dress up as penguins or polar bears because they are the two types of animal that are severely affected by Climate Change; it is also fun and looks nice!”

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Their aims with the action was threefold; firstly to pay tribute to the work done by the suffragettes- strong women fighting for women’s right to vote, secondly to make the politicians aware that there was strong opposition to the building of another tunnel under the river in Gothenburg; Miahabo Berkelder from Klimax in Gothenberg says that the group believe this to be an awful way to spend a large amount of money, just so that more cars can be on the road; asking ‘What if the money was invested in buses instead? New roads simply lead to more traffic and that is a disaster for our climate.’
The third reason for the protest was to make sure that politicians knew that climate change isn’t just a moral topic, it is a political topic.

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On the day, members were shocked to see the six activists storm the meeting,
but after the action Klimax joked that if they had been politicians sitting there during long and boring meetings, they would have been happy with the distraction!

They certainly created a buzz, and definitely caught the attention of the council! After a short while the six were asked to leave the building and did so with little fuss.
In reaction to the protest, a woman from the Swedish environmental party said Klimax had a valid point, but a man from the conservative party was more concerned about security, wondering what would have happened if terrorists had stormed the meeting instead!

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The plans for the tunnel are still up in the air. The initial decision to build the tunnel was made solely by Göran Johansson, the chairman of the Municipal Council. Because this wasn’t a democratic way of deciding, the case has been reported to the county administrative court.

According to Miahabo, there are a lot of plans in Klimax’s future; new actions will take place during the spring and there will be a new regular event called Climate Café- where anyone can attend to share coffee and discuss climate change, sometimes including an expert on the subject to answer any questions.

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The next big event for Klimax is on the Global Day of Action, taking place in cities all over the world on the 6th of December. At the same time as the leaders of the world will be discussing the climate problems, demonstrations will be arranged all over the world including London and of course Gothenberg.
Klimax have come together with several other groups to arrange a huge demonstration, Miahabo says that Klimax are organising a “Climate Clash” which is a wide spread Klimax phenomenon; they will walk out in the middle of a busy road and block the traffic; a perfect and simple way to make people aware of the climate problems.

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Anyone who is interested in joining Klimax is welcome- it is a flat organization with no board of directors, anyone who wants to be a member is simply one.

This article was written with the help of Miahabo Berkelder of Klimax in Gothenburg, Sweden. Thank you for your contribution and for the photos!

For more information about Climate Rush, please visit: www.climaterush.co.uk
Monday 1st Dec
The Ashni Art Gallery specialises in Indian Art that is both contemporary and of the past. They will be exhibiting the best of their collection from now until the 19th of December.
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Tuesday 2nd Dec

Live in Bristol? Feeling somewhat alarmed by the continued transformation of the city centre to all things consumerist (with 120 new shops having just opened)? Slipping between the gap of reality and fantasy, and Somewhere Here are hijacking advertisement space to provide shoppers with a brief respite during the fall of capitalism. Nine artists take nine advertising hoardings (billboards) until the 3rd of December only. Catch them before they are swallowed by Advertisement Beast.
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Wednesday 3rd Dec
Opening today at the ICA: Dispersion; an exploration by seven artists of the appropriation and circulation of images in contemporary society. They examine money, desire, and power in our accelerated image economy. It runs until Feb 1st.
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Thursday 4th Dec

First Thursdays of the month is here! But aren’t galleries open most Thursdays anyway? It would be silly tell you a single thing to go and see, 100 galleries will be opening their doors until 9pm, so there will plenty to satiate your creative appetites, but if you perhaps feel so inspired that you are driven to the pencil yourself, The Princess Studios will be hosting free life-drawing drop-in sessions throughout the evening.
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Friday 5th Dec

Vauxhall’s best kept secret-art-laboratory, Beaconsfield, curates Late at Tate this Friday, adapting Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries and transitory places to create a terminal space, with an array of arrival and departure points, in which only the surreal applies …

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Colin McKenzie senses that art ought to be more like a day at Woodstock, or at least what he imagines Woodstock to be like: electric, dynamic, smooth, and mind-expanding. At the Red Gate Gallery. McKenzie strives against order and sense, aiming to manoeuvre without restriction.
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Monday 1st December

The Lady: A Tribute to Sandy Denny, page Royal Festival Hall, treat London
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An evening of songs from the back catalogue of one of the most influential female folk singers, approved Sandy Denny. Various artists including Marc Almond, P.P. Arnold and Johnny Flynn will be performing songs from her Fairport Convention days as well as her solo career. Should be a really interesting night in light of the current trend for new female folkies and a timely tribute to one of the godmothers of the genre.

Asobi Seksu, Hoxton Bar and Grill, London

Sweet, fun indie-pop from Brooklyn. Should be a good one for dancing.

Gallows, The Macbeth, London

Noisy punks celebrate collaboration with Atticus clothing range.

Slow Club, Jay Jay Pistolet and special guests, Union Chapel, London

A lovely gentle way to start the week with this folky-country duo who will hopefully be celebrating the first day of December with a performance of their Christmas single, released next week.

Tuesday 2nd December

Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed and the Trueloves, Oran Mor, Glasgow
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Big-voiced retro soul.

Deerhoof, ULU, London

In the UK for one night only, this much-loved San Francisco band’s staccato, rough-round-the-edges punk pop is even better live.

Ten Kens, The Duchess, York

Anyone who has a blurry picture of people snogging on their record sleeve is a good bet for a messy live show and these Canadian grungers are reportedly no exception. Should be good in this small venue too.

Baby Dee, Union Chapel, London

New album produced by Will Oldham, harpist on Anthony and the Johnsons first album and with Andrew W.K. providing bass on her new record, this transsexual musician’s musical pedigree is assured.

Wednesday 3rd December

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis single launch, Madame JoJos, London
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Snappily dressed, hearse-driving siblings playing rockabilly at their single launch party.

Liam Finn, Night and Day, Manchester

Introspective folk.

The Wave Pictures, Club Fandango, St Aloysius Social Club, London

Thursday 4th December

Vivian Girls, The Social, Nottingham
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Uber-hyped Brooklyn girl group bring their shoe-gaze tinged grunge-pop to the UK. Time to see if they live up to their recorded promise as a live act.

The Unbending Trees, The Luminaire, London

Leonard Cohen-influenced Hungarians.

Dirtbombs, Faversham, Leeds

Fuzzed out rock and soul. Catch them before they play at the weekend’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.

Friday 5th December

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Princess Charlotte, Leicester
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Fuzzy pop from yet another hip hyped Brooklyn band.

Dan Black, Barfly, London

New single ‘Yours’ has been receiving lots of radio play.

Saturday 6th December

Dead Kids, single launch ‘Into the Fire’, Push, Astoria 2
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Should be pretty sweaty and heavy.

I Am Ghost, White Rabbit, Plymouth

Bringing some metal to the South West.

Under One Sky, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

John McCusker’s diverse folk composition.

Sunday 7th December

Tanlines, Old Blue Last, London

The Brooklyn invasion continues. Did they all club together and hijack a plane from JFK International?

Bon Iver, Victoria Apollo, Dublin

Really bummed about breaking up with some girl called Emma, he headed into the woods alone and wrote an album about it. He must be feeling a bit better as he’s spreading the heartache on a UK tour.

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Rock City, Nottingham

Lovely duets from surprisingly compatible artists.

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Pretty Taxing is a fashion collection with a twist, stuff as the end product is not clothes but car tax discs. Unusual – yes, sick but we all know how important accessorising is…

It would seem like a bad idea if such creatively interesting designers hadn’t contributed to the cause. They include Emma Bell, who has twice shown at London Fashion Week, David David and Pam Hogg. Along with artists Natasha Law and Stuart Semple, they have all created unique collectable pieces of fashion memorabilia.

You can pick up these discs of fashion-random-brilliance at Matches or at the pop-up shop KIN in Kingly Court, Carnaby Street. Abiding the law has never looked so good.

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Today I was sent to Coventry, abortion quite literally. Together with 30 other Climate Camp activists dressed as Santa we descended on E.On, health the energy company responsible for the proposed new coal fired power station to be built at Kingsnorth.

This action followed a 48 hour action that happened over last Friday and Saturday – and E.On were not expecting our return. In fact, buy they were probably kicking themselves that the special fencing that they had put in place late last week was now lying dismantled on the floor next to their headquarters.

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As a result our merry busload hopped off easily and headed straight for the main entrance of E.On’s offices.

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Why? Despite spending a lot of time and energy letting the public know that they are one of the biggest investors in renewable energy in the UK (they’ll point out the big array of solar panels on one of their buildings and the lobby features a looped tape about wind farms) they are also pitching to build the first new coal fired power station to be built in the UK in 30 years, which will alone defeat all our CO2 emissions goals. So why spend so unwisely?

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Whilst some merry santas climbed atop the revolving door and superglued their hands to the various entrances, another bunch of santas headed off into the building to see if they could speak to head honcho Paul Golby and let the employees know a bit more about the facts behind new coal.

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Bearing banners that said Stop Coal and E.On F.Off they set off down the corridors singing some specially adapted carol songs.

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Two intrepid santas managed to enter a boardroom meeting, surprising the attendees with some gifts of lumps of coal – for as you know santa gives bad children coal instead of gifts and E.On has been very bad this year. They were ejected from the property, but soon raced back in again…

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We managed to disrupt operations for four hours, stopping employees and visitors as they came to work and giving interviews to the BBC and ITV, and live on the radio. Our action was spoken about on the World at One on Radio 4, which you can listen to here. We are talked about at approximately 8 minutes and 20 seconds into the programme.

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The police were surprisingly even handed, although some employees were clearly fuming, especially the head of security (woops) One indoor santa even managed to locate a cup of tea and a newspaper to read.

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At one point we were able to reenter the building, with the santas forming a conga line for the cameras. We delivered papers written by leading NGOs describing why there is no need for coal power, and generally had a merry old time. All employees and visitors were rerouted through back entrances, so I think it is fair to say that we were fairly disruptive…

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Eventually we decided that once unstuck it was best that we leave, but the police had other ideas, and as we walked off down the road they tried to contain us, managing to trap four of our number and arrest them.

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The rest of us ran off down the street to find our getaway vehicles, parked up in a local pub car park. Our drivers had thoughtfully bought us lunch in the pub, but shortly after we had gulped it down we were asked to leave because the police presence was putting off other customers. The police followed us as we left to pick up the other santas at Warwick university student union, and thereafter ensued the slowest police chase ever, with us managing to lose them after taking a wrong turn.

The purpose of this action was to embarrass E.On and raise awareness of what they up to in a light hearted and humourous way – I think that as a bunch of merry santas we did this exceptionally well. We hope that E.On will take heed and stop greenwashing their plans. It’s simple, don’t build Kingsnorth. Spend your money increasing investment in your (meagre) renewable energy supplies. If you would like to help us stop companies like E.On destroying our world check out what Climate Camp is up to next. More articles on this action can be read on Indymedia here and here.

Categories ,activism, ,Climate Camp, ,Coal, ,E-On, ,Earth, ,Kingsnorth

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Amelia’s Magazine | Santa Claus is coming to Te-on!

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
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Photograph by Kate Huthwaite.

Leeds, this site hotbed of radical politics, order is the natural home of a venue like The Common Place. A collectively run, community-minded space, it hosts gigs, clubnights, political meetings, theatre workshops and has a fantastic volunteer-run kitchen that sells food for next to nothing. So far, so city-enriching and unthreatening. However, in July this year, as a result of screening a video of police brutality, they had their entertainment and drinks licence revoked and so are unable to function as a gig venue, club, cinema or theatre space, or sell drinks any longer, thereby losing a significant proportion of their previous income.

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Photograph by Kate Huthwaite.

In order to raise the necessary funds to keep the centre open, they have released a 23 track CD, with tracks donated by artists who have performed there. These are a real mixed bag, with the majority of songs unsurprisingly coming from Leeds bands who obviously desperately want to keep the centre open, although there are some more high-profile, international names too. Olympia rappers Scream Club open the CD with their anthem to fun ‘Party Time’. Other, more local highlights include ‘You Wish You Were My Man’ by Penny Broadhurst, a mish-mash of post punk vocals and electro-pop and the joyously retro, Buzzcocks-infused punk of Ste McCabe and the Vile Vilettes. There are some horrors on here too but that’s really the point as there is a something for everyone attitude which means you’re bound to like at least a few things, making it well worth the £5 minimum donation.

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Photograph by Kate Huthwaite.

The final word goes to Kimya Dawson, who follows a particularly screamo hardcore few minutes with her sweet ‘Loose Lips’, whose anti-establishment lyrics and chorus of “We won’t stop until somebody calls the cops and even then we’ll start again and just pretend that nothing ever happened” is a fitting mission statement and call to arms. Take inspiration from her and buy a CD to help save this wonderful venue.

With 7 new coal-fueled power stations planned, check Santa Claus’s naughty list is longer than ever. So Santa and a group jolly helpers started early this year at E-On’s Head Office. Unfortunately there were no presents in store! Only lumps of horrid coal for all their naughtiness. Here’s what happened…

Read more about Santa’s trip to E-On…

Categories ,activism, ,Coal, ,E-On, ,Earth

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Amelia’s Magazine | Shutting down Didcot Power Station

pythia futuremap copy

Zoe Paul graduated from Camberwell BA Sculpture earlier this summer. Whilst there Zoe participated in numerous shows from the group exhibition Factory at the James Taylor Gallery organised by Royal College MA Curation graduate Dean Kissick and a solo show titled ‘Between the Eyes’ at Coleman Road. This year Zoe has been selected to participate in ‘Future Map 09’ and discussed the concept of sculpture with Amelia’s Magazine.

What is in particular that interests you about sculpture?

I am interested in the form and mass that is sculpture. I like the way we as humans relate ourselves to objects through their three dimensionalism. We are given the option to walk around and view the object from multiple angles and vantage points creating our own image from that object. We judge the object as being larger or smaller than human scale and this plays a large role in our perception of the object.

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You have made numerous paintings, information pills purchase have interests crossed over from painting into sculpture?

Well, I think I feel happier thinking in three dimensions and I have always felt more successful in making objects but I appreciate painting and drawing very highly. It’s a very different way of thinking. I’ve done quite a bit of life drawing and painting; I think it’s helped me to appreciate form. I strongly believe in drawing, if not as a final out come, then as a practice to learn to see. I think as a sculptor it is important to learn to look at things and see how they work formally then you understand them. I always think I can see things better after I draw from life because it forces me to really look and not just glance. I went to art school in Athens for a year and had this amazing classical training there before doing my degree in London. I definitely think it gave me a different perspective.

I think I am a bit shy to make paintings now because I feel like I expose too much of myself, but with sculptures I rely on the materials and the mass of the objects to defend themselves.

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At Amelia’s we love to hear about the creative process, would you mind explaining (however you like) your personal process of designing and developing a sculpture?

For myself the making process is a vital part of how I develop an idea. I make a lot, a lot doesn’t always work but I find it useful. I try not to think of anything as a definitive piece, the important bit is the process. My work is frequently based around materials. By using impoverished materials I am devaluing the monumentalism classical sculpture holds. Making ‘Pythia’ was a very labour intensive process. I relate the carving of the polystyrene armature and the precise measuring and cutting of each individual tile to the carving of ancient marbles. It was very industrial and ordered. I made them imagining I was making an architectural fitting, which is kind of what the classical sculptures were in their day. I also spent a lot of time in the British Museum taking photographs and working on them as drawings and sketches.
I try to have a strong studio practice as well. Just being in a space for work is important.

Do you start with an idea or a medium or are both equally important in your work. If this is a bit vague, I mean does the medium start the idea or does the idea influence the medium used?

I think the two go together, although I pay more attention to materials than I realize. I thought up ‘Sunset Island’ while I was in LA and I had a lot of time to think about it. I wanted to represent the crummy, grimy glamour of Hollywood with the cocktail sticks and the industrial fiberglass sphere. So yes materials make me think of things. My degree show work on temporal exoticism and classical Hellenistic sculpture came about from working with tiles and trawling the isles of hardware stores, and finding cheap marble effect ceramic tiles. This cheap marble effect alludes to the wealth represented by classical marbles.

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Do you prefer to work entirely on your own as you are creating a sculpture?

I need to think by myself and write but its really boring working alone. Now I’ve finished college, my studio is really small, crammed and damp. I miss always being able to find someone to get a coffee with when I want to take a break.

I also think sculpture is a social process. I didn’t really paint at college because the studios were really open and I need to be alone to paint, its much more personal. Sculpture however requires banter. However I pretty much had to make my degree show piece, ‘Pythia’ entirely on my own. The tile cutter makes such an awful noise I was as good as exiled out the studios at college.

Rock and tuft

Who or what are your artistic inspirations

My biggest inspiration was going to Los Angeles last year when I interned as a studio assistant for Mindy Shapero. College was OK but it was a bit grey, working for Mindy made me really hungry to make and really want to be an artist. There was so much energy and exuberance in the approach to life. I realized that I probably could do it if I wanted it badly enough. I also met some amazing artists out there, like Thomas Houseago. He was so inspirational and had so much energy.

I can’t help being inspired by greats such as Picasso and Brancusi. Recently I have been reading about Rodin’s love for Greek sculpture as it conveyed the ‘ravages of the time’ in its ‘fragmentary aspect’. Rodin was a pioneer of the existential being conveyed through representation of human form, which he showed through his tactile figures.

My interest in classical Hellenistic sculpture lies in the history attached to it, ‘the ravages of time’, and the wars fought around it. Also the way sculptors repeatedly revert back to it as true sculpture.

I love museums as well, especially the old musty sort. There is an exoticism in places like that: a longing for a bygone age. I am interested in the fragmentary discovery and understanding history, so I think museums are exciting transient spaces full of mystery and discovery.

ahrodite study double

Do the paper drawings feed the physical process of making a sculpture?

The drawings are really beautiful. I started making them as plans for sculptures to understand the anatomy and form of classical sculptures. They are really just spruced up working plans, but I think that’s what’s attractive about them. I tried making sculptures directly from them but it was a complete failure so in a sense they are failures at working drawings. Again they were important for my process, especially as I was making work about existing work, it was important for me to understand the existing sculptures.

I also tried to convey the museum feel in them. They are displayed like old school posters or crumbling educational departments in museums. Places that explain history, like the classical sculptures I was looking at. They are objects, which represent an exotic bygone age, but essentially are just glorified rocks.

The Amazons1

What is next for Zoe Paul?

Well, its slow being out of school but I’m really excited to have been selected for ‘Future Map 09’, which is a selection of only a handful of graduating students from across University of the Arts London, of both graduates and post graduates. So that’s really exciting.

In terms of work I’m really excited about continuing with my idea of temporal exoticism and the allure objects hold. I was reading this amazing book this summer about a shipwreck, which was discovered off a Greek island in 1900. It was full of sculptures on their way to Rome during the Roman occupation of Greece in around 70BC. There are some amazing descriptions of the sculptures being all gnarled and eaten by the sea. I like the idea of these vast powerful sculptures lying rotting at the bottom with such a history attached to them. I want to make more tactile works now that show my process. I love the way Rebecca Warren’s figures do that.

Future Map 09 will be hosted by 20 Hoxton Square Projects and will run from the 25th November 2009.

This year the Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2009 graces the walls of the Natural History Museum for another year and it’s safe to say this is one exhibition that cannot be missed. Owned by the museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, prostate the competition is one that prides itself on exposing and celebrating the diversity of life on the planet.

The room dedicated to this exhibiton is dimly lit and you discover that this is to make way for the photographs themselves. Each one is displayed on a screen, viagra 60mg illuminated from behind so that they stand as
The competiton is divided into categories, first showing the winner and then a selection of those that are highly recommended.

Under the heading of ‘Urban and Garden Wildlife’ I find the corresponding winner to be something of a stroke of genius. The entries are required to be poignant, beautiful or striking comopositions of wild animals or plants in urban or suburban settings. The judges look for uncommonly good images of common subjects. It’s easy to see why ‘Respect’ by Igor Shilpenok (Russia) was the judges favourite. The centre of the photo is a stage for a stand off – one small domestic cat against a considerably bigger wild fox. This is one cat that clearly has a ________ complex. There’s something quite triumphant about this scene. You feel a sense of jubilation in his victory over the intruder. Shilpenok was working as a ranger in the Kronotsky Nature Reserve in Kamchatka, Russia with his cat Ryska for company. He comments that, “One day Ryska, protecting me, ran to attack an approaching fox. The fox bottled it and Ryska instantly earned respect from the foxes – and me”.

In this exhibition, there are categories that are dedicated to the plant kingdom
pythia futuremap copy

In June 2009 Zoe Paul graduated from Camberwell BA Sculpture. Whilst at college Zoe participated in numerous shows around London from the group exhibition Factory at the James Taylor Gallery organised by Royal College MA Curation graduate Dean Kissick to ‘Between the Eyes’ at Coleman Road. Zoe Paul has recently been selected to participate in ‘Future Map 09’.

What is it in particular about sculpture that interests you?

I am interested in the form and mass that is sculpture. I like the way we as humans relate ourselves to objects through their three dimensionalism. We are given the option to walk around and view the object from multiple angles and vantage points, sildenafil creating our own image from that object. We judge the object as being larger or smaller than human scale and this plays a large role in our perception of the object.

DSCF1038

You have made numerous paintings, have interests crossed over from painting into sculpture?

I feel happier thinking in three dimensions and I have always felt more successful in making objects but I highly appreciate painting and drawing. It’s a very different way of thinking. I’ve done a fair amount of life drawing and painting; which I think has helped me to appreciate form.

I strongly believe in drawing, if not as a final out come, then as a practice to learn to see. I think as a sculptor it is important to learn to look at things and see how they work formally in order for you to understand them. I always think I can see things better after I draw from life because it forces me to look and not just glance. The art school in Athens I went to for a year before my degree in London provided amazing classical training. I definitely think it gave me a different perspective.

I am a bit shy to make paintings now because I feel like I expose too much of myself, but with sculptures I rely on the materials and the mass of the objects to defend themselves.

amazon boob

How do your sculptures develop through the design process?

For myself the making process is a vital part of how I develop an idea. I make a lot, a lot of which, doesn’t always work but I find the action useful. I try not to think of anything as a definitive piece, the process is important.

My work is frequently based around materials. By using impoverished materials I devalue the monumentalism classical sculpture holds. Making ‘Pythia’ was an incredibly labour intensive process. I relate the carving of the polystyrene armature and the precise measuring and cutting of each individual tile to the carving of ancient marbles. It was industrial and ordered. I made the sculptures imagining I was making an architectural fitting, similar to what classical sculptures were in their day. I also spent time in the British Museum taking photographs and working on these as drawings and sketches.

Do you start with an idea or a medium or are both equally important in your work. If this is a bit vague, I mean does the medium start the idea or does the idea influence the medium used?

I think the two go together, although I pay more attention to materials than I realize. I thought up ‘Sunset Island’ whilst in LA, I wanted to represent the crummy, grimy glamour of Hollywood with the cocktail sticks and the industrial fiberglass sphere. Materials make me think of ideas, my degree show work on temporal exoticism and classical Hellenistic sculpture developed from working with tiles, trawling the isles of hardware stores, and finding cheap marble effect ceramic tiles. This cheap marble effect alludes to the wealth represented by classical marbles.

GetAttachment.aspx

Do you prefer to work entirely on your own as you are creating a sculpture?

I need to think and write by myself, but its really boring working alone. Now I’ve finished college, my studio is really small, crammed and damp. I miss being able to find someone to get a coffee with, when I want a break.

Sculpture is a social process, I didn’t really paint at college because of the open studios and I need to be alone to paint, its much more personal. Sculpture, however, requires banter. Conversely I pretty much had to make my degree show piece, ‘Pythia’ entirely on my own. The tile cutter makes such an awful noise I was as good as exiled out the studios at college.

Rock and tuft

Who or what are your artistic inspirations

My biggest inspiration was going to Los Angeles last year when I interned as a studio assistant for Mindy Shapero. College was OK but working for Mindy made me really hungry to make and to be an artist. There was so much energy and exuberance in the approach to life. I realized that I could do it if I wanted it badly enough.

I met amazing artists out there, like Thomas Houseago. He was so inspirational and had so much energy.

I can’t help being inspired by greats such as Picasso and Brancusi. Recently I have been reading about Rodin’s love for Greek sculpture as it conveyed the ‘ravages of the time’ in its ‘fragmentary aspect’. Rodin was a pioneer of the existential being conveyed through representation of human form, which he showed through his tactile figures.

My interest in classical Hellenistic sculpture lies in the history attached to it, ‘the ravages of time’, and the wars fought around it. Also the way sculptors repeatedly revert back to it as true sculpture.

I love museums, especially the old musty sort. They contain an exoticism: a longing for a bygone age. I am interested in fragmentary discovery and understanding history, therefore museums are exciting transient spaces full of mystery and discovery.

ahrodite study double

Do the paper drawings feed the physical process of making a sculpture?

The drawings are really beautiful. I started making them as plans for sculptures to understand the anatomy and form of classical sculptures. Really, they are just spruced up working plans, but I think that’s what’s attractive about them. I tried making sculptures directly from them but it was a complete failure so in a sense they are failures at working drawings. Again they were important for my process, especially as I was making work about existing work, it was important for me to understand existing sculptures.

I tried to convey the museum feel in them. Displaying the images like old school posters or crumbling educational departments in museums. As museums attempt to explain history, the classical sculptures I was looking at. They are objects, which represent an exotic bygone age, but essentially are just glorified rocks

The Amazons1

What’s next for Zoe Paul?

I’m excited to have been selected for ‘Future Map 09’, a selection of a handful of graduating students from across the University of the Arts London, of both graduates and post graduates.

In terms of work I’m excited to continue my idea of temporal exoticism and the allure objects hold. I’ve been reading an amazing book about a shipwreck containing sculptures on their way to Rome during the Roman occupation of Greece around 70BC, discovered off a Greek island in 1900. The book delivers amazing descriptions of the sculptures being gnarled and eaten by the sea. I like the idea of these vast powerful sculptures rotting at the bottom with such history attached to them.

I would like to make more tactile works that show my process. I love the way Rebecca Warren’s figures do that.

Future Map 09 will be hosted by 20 Hoxton Square Projects and will run from the 25th November 2009.

Last week a group of 21 activists from around the country stormed Didcot Power Station in an awe inspiring action that managed to force the power company to switch from burning coal to gas, malady a much cleaner power source, decease dramatically reduce the output of the power station as well as inspiring protestors across the world.

did1

A group locked on to the coal conveyor belts halting the supply of coal to the furnace and at the same time 9 protestors scaled the 600 ft chimney, occupied a room and pitched tents next to the chimney flues. Unfortunately the plan to camp in the flues for a week was impossible as it became apparent that they were too hot too stay in for any long period of time.

Although the Didcot Power Station protest may ostensibly have come to a rather unsatisfactory and anticlimactic end, with the nine remaining protesters arrested when they descended last Wednesday having failed to disrupt power generation for a week as planned, the protesters achieved something more important in successfully raising more awareness of the threat of climate change.

did2

The group met at climate camp in London this year, and are not just an obscure group of radicals shrouded in secrecy, but just ordinary individuals from all sorts of trades and professions who felt compelled to do something. Initiatives for environmental action are constantly being developed by normal people who happen to meet, and agree that something needs to be done.

While the action did not gain quite the level of publicity it perhaps hoped for, given its dramatic and unusual nature, there was a reasonable degree of press coverage.

did4

What is surprising however, and perhaps indicative of heightened public concern regarding environmental issues, was that rather condemning the protest as the work of misguided hippies, coverage in the BBC, the Guardian, the Independent, and even the Daily Mail seemed at worst objective, and at best sympathetic.

Although a mainstream newspaper clearly cannot condone ‘unlawful’ protests outright, the Guardian’s article condemning ‘punitive pre-charge bail conditions’, while not compromising its own position, showed a certain solidarity by emphasising the increasingly dubious actions of law-enforcers.

The article’s inflammatory title, ‘Didcot demonstration: Police use bail restrictions to stifle climate protest’ carefully negotiates a pro-environment position that put the actions of police, not protesters, in the spotlight.

did3
A previous action at Didcot

Of course, there will still be those who dismiss these facts as irrelevant, or outweighed by the jobs and electricity Didcot provides. But crucially debate is being provoked, and it is becoming increasingly clear that provocateurs are not extremists, they are people who feel that the current circumstances require extreme action. The demystification of environmental protest – making it seem more inclusive, distilling it down to an issue of personal choices just like any other political issue – will hopefully encourage others.

In a BBC article, John Rainford of RWE power is quoted as saying, “Sitting on top of a chimney isn’t going to affect climate change. The people who can – and do – really make a difference are the people at the bottom of the chimney – the power station workers. They are deeply passionate and absolutely committed to cutting emissions. These are the people who work in the community, live in the community and care about their community”. While it is true that sitting on a chimney did not stop climate change instantly and directly, there is more truth to his words than he knows. Protests are changing public opinion, and if wasn’t for public opinion there would be no call or incentive for a cut in emissions. It is small actions of the builders, receptionists and power station workers which together will determine the survival or demise of coal power in Britain.

Categories ,chimney, ,Climate Camp, ,coal, ,Didcot, ,environment, ,police, ,Power station, ,press, ,protest

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Amelia’s Magazine | Smash the Piggy Piñata at the Annual International Banking Conference

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

This morning I made an especially early start so that I could take a whack at a ‘piggy piñata’ outside the Annual International Banking Conference held in Threadneedle Street. Sometimes I think that I live just a little bit too close to the axis of financial evil that is the City of London, viagra buy but it sure makes it handy to get along to protests.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

In collaboration with the UK Tar Sands Network, Climate Camp London decided it would be a good idea to swing by this conference – attended by RBS head honchos Stephen Hester and Gordon Nixon – as a preclude to the main national Climate Camp, to be held somewhere near the headquarters of RBS outside Edinburgh in Scotland this summer. You probably don’t need me to tell you that RBS was bailed out by the tax payer and is now 83% owned by us – yet the bank continues to invest in the Alberta tar sands, the most destructive fossil fuel process ever – as well as funding UK based fossil fuel extraction projects such as open cast coal mines. Yes, open cast coal mines really are reopening up and down our countryside, ruining not only the landscape but the health and happiness of locals: except in the 21st century huge diggers are used to slash open the landscape, instead of sending men down into the pits. And we have no say in this. Now don’t that feel a little unfair? For this reason RBS is the main target for Climate Camp actions this year and especially at our annual summer camp between 19th-25th August.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

“Have a bash at the bankers,” we offered passers by as we swung at the rather impressive treasure box/piggy piñata with a not-nearly-as-resilient green plastic cricket bat. Many bemused bankers snapped up a copy of our Never Mind the Bankers paper, cunningly sold to them as a “Financial Times supplement” or “RBS newspaper” as they entered the venue, but the piñata piggy – despite the loss of it’s legs and head – was keen to hold onto it’s contents till the end. Will the RBS bankers keep flinging (our) dosh at fossil fuels extraction? Will they? Finally we were showered with… a batch of Oyal Bank of Scotland bank notes.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

But this was just a warm up. Will you be joining us in August? Right now local groups up and down the country are arranging travel up to Scotland, so do find yours and get involved. If you’re based in London and would like to find out more about how to get involved in Climate Camp here you can attend a Welcome to Climate Camp session this weekend. Join the Facebook event here.

Piggy Pinata RBS UK Tar Sands Network

You can watch my qik video of the piggy bashing here and read more about the open cast coal mine at Merthyr Tydfil here – site of the Climate Camp Cymru last year. Find lots more about the tar sands all over my website… and check out the other amazing action that happened today… when activists from Liberate Tate paid a visit to the BP sponsored British Museum.

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…which followed another Liberate Tate action at Tate Britain a few weeks ago…

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Things be hotting up out there… don’t get left behind.

Categories ,Annual International Banking Conference, ,BP, ,British Museum, ,City of London, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Camp Cymru, ,coal, ,edinburgh, ,Financial Times, ,Fossil Fuels, ,Liberate Tate, ,Never Mind the Bankers, ,oil, ,Piggy Piñata, ,RBS, ,Tar Sands, ,Tate Britain, ,Threadneedle Street, ,UK Tar Sands Network

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Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Rush Bike Rush

This Saturday, information pills pill The Land Is Ours collective will occupy some disused land near Hammersmith. An eco-village will take root, viagra sale peacefully reclaiming land for a sustainable settlement, and getting in touch with the local community about its aims. In a year when nearly 13,000 Britons lost their homes to repossessions in the first three months, eco-villages point the way to a more down-to-earth lifestyle.

Back in May 1996, the same collective took over a spot on the banks of the Thames in Wandsworth, in a land rights action that grew up over five and a half months into the Pure Genius community, based on sustainable living and protesting the misuse of urban land. Here are some photos from that project.

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The Land Is Ours channel the spirit of the Diggers , a group of 17-century radicals who picked out and dug over a patch of common land in St George’s Hill in Walton-upon-Thames back in the day. They were led by Gerard Winstanley, who thought any freedom must come from free access to the land.

Here’s a little more from ‘Gerard Winstanley’ about this weekend:

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get there?
Have a meeting. One of the first priorities is to leaflet the local area in order to inform the local people of what we are doing. Another priority is the construction of compost toilets.

Do you have lots of plans for sheds, vegetable patches and compost toilets?

Yes. Due to the nature of the site (ex-industrial) we will likely be using raised beds to grow vegetables and buckets for potatoes. It being London, there should be a good supply of thrown away materials from building sites and in skips. Compost toilets are pretty essential.

?What kinds of people are you expecting to turn up?
All sorts. Hopefully a mixture of those keen to learn and those willing to teach. ??

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?I read the Chapter 7 manifesto. Have you notified the council or planning authority of your plans, or are you keeping to the idea that once you’re there, with homes under construction, it’s difficult to evict?
We haven’t notified the council yet- but we have a liaison strategy in place for when we’re in.

On that note, how long do you hope to be there?
The longevity of the Eco-village depends on how committed its residences and just as crucially how the local urban populus respond to our presence. If we receive the support we need, the council will likely think twice before embarking on an unpopular eviction (at least that’s the theory!).

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Could this realistically become a permanent residence, or is it more likely to be valuable simply as campaigning?
Hopefully it can be both. There is no reason why this site cannot sustain a core group of committed individuals and serve as a brilliant awareness raiser to the issue of disused urban land, lack of affordable housing and the a sustainable way of living that is friendly to people and planet and liberating.

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?Can I come along?
Of course, we are meeting at Waterloo Station at 10AM this Saturday (underneath the clock).

What might I need to do?
Bring a tent, sleeping bag and some food and water. You may be interested to read an article written by a journalist from the Guardian concerning the eco-village.

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So dig yourself out of bed this Saturday, and go discover the beginnings of London’s newest eco-village.
If the dark shades of under-duvet hideouts dominate the colour of your Sundays then you need to wake up and get greened. Arcola Theatre in East London hopes to be the first carbon neutral theatre in the world and has been appointed as the secretariat for the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre plan, this which aims to deliver 60 percent cuts in theatre carbon emissions by 2025.

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

As part of this environmental drive, the first Sunday of every month is a Green Sunday at Arcola Theatre. June’s event is part of Love London, the biggest green festival in Europe and looks at ethical consumption, promising ‘entertainment and inspiration for the ecologically curious’. From 3pm there’s a swap shop market plus cakes and tea to take you through the evening of Senegalese percussion, cool short and feature-length films, starting from 4.30pm. As the afternoon turns to evening, there will be a discussion with Neil Boorman, author of Bonfire Of The Brands, an account of his journey from shopping and brand addiction to a life free from labels. As part of the project, Neil destroyed every branded product in his possession, incinerating over £20,000 worth of designer gear in protest of consumer culture. This will be chaired by Morgan Phillips.

Neil and Morgan will later be joined by Richard King from Oxfam to talk about their 4-a-week campaign- encouraging shoppers to do their bit for sustainability each week.

Then at 7pm – Feature length film presented by Transition Town Hackney
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

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I spoke to the sustainability projects manager at Arcola Theatre, Anna Beech, to find out more about Arcola’s arts world-changing philosophies:

All at Arcola must be extremely proud that a theatre founded only 9 years ago – and on credit cards! – is well on the way to becoming the first carbon neutral theatre in the world. Can you tell us a bit about how and why you made the decision to lead the green theatre movement?

Since 2007, Arcola has launched many high-profile green initiatives (including the pioneering use of LEDs and the on-site installation of a fuel cell to power bar and stage lighting). There are a number of reasons for this – because it contributes to reducing Arcola’s carbon emissions and resource use, because it makes financial sense – reducing energy bills; because it supports funding applications; because it integrates Arcola into the local community; allows Arcola to reach a wider audience and stakeholder base; and provides an effective platform upon which to publicise the name ‘Arcola’ – as a hub of creativity and sustainability.

Sustainability is part of Arcola’s core unique business model, alongside professional theatre and our youth and community programme.

Have you found that arts and science professionals are eager to integrate and come up with exciting ideas and actions or has it been difficult to bring the two fields together?

Arcola’s ArcolaEnergy has had considerable interest from technology companies and brokers, including the Carbon Trust. As a reocgnised innovator in sustainability in the arts, Arcola has been able to broker extremely advantageous relationships with private sector companies – who have provided the theatre with free green products, including LED lights – as well as other theatres and arts organisations (National Theatre, Arts Council, Live Nation, The Theatres Trust), and Government bodies like the DCMS and Mayor of London’s Office. Arcola’s reputation as a sustainable charity has created these partnerships and allowed them to grow and develop into mutually advantageous relationships. So this demonstrates that the arts and sustainability worlds can come together to form mutually advanteous relationships. However, there is plenty of work to be done.

So far, what has been the most successful pioneering energy practice you’ve introduced?

The installation of Arcola’s fuel cell in February 2008 made the venue the first theatre in the world to power its main house shows and bar/café on hydrogen. The Living Unknown Soldier gained reverence as London’s most ecologically sustainable show, with the lighting at a peak power consumption of 4.5kW, a reduction of 60 per cent on comparable theatre lighting installations.

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Previous Green Sunday events at the Arcola Theatre

Arcola’s ‘greening’ goes from the stage to the box office. Among other things, we produce ‘green’ newsletters for staff, we recycle, we provide free tap water to audiences (to lessen use of bottled water), we serve fairtrade, organic and local produce wherever possible (including organic vodka and whiskey!), we host Transition Town meetings, we installed a cycle enclosure for staff in 2009 and try to incentivise both staff and audiences to use public transport more and their cars less.

How do you think the technical creativity of sustainability has significantly shaped any of the plays Arcola has produced?

One example of the ‘greening’ of Arcola’s shows and working closely with production companies took place during the pre-production and staging of ‘Living Unknown Soldier‘ in 2008. The production explored the use of more energy efficient lanterns, including LED moving heads and batons (see Fig. 1) florescent tubes and some other filament lanterns such as low wattage source 4′s and par 16s. The crew tried to travel by public transport wherever possible, use laptops rather than PCs, limit phone use, source sustainable materials and managed to keep energy requirements low in order to use Arcola’s fuel cell to power the show.

‘‘The idea is that once you expose people to this stuff and they know you for doing it, they’ll gravitate towards you. Ultimately we should end up with some really good art about sustainability and some really good ideas about how to do art sustainably.” – Ben Todd, Executive Director and Founder of Arcola Energy.

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Illustration by David Elsley

Why do you think its particularly important for the arts to become more involved in green issues?

Because the arts have the power to influence behaviour change. Whilst the theatre industry itself has a relatively small carbon footprint (2% of total carbon emissions in London), and thus its capacity to deliver direct carbon emission reductions is relatively small; the power of theatre and the wider arts/cultural sectors to rapidly and effectively influence public behaviour and policy makers to drive significant indirect carbon emission reductions is very large (entertainment related activity accounts for up to 40% of travel emissions).

However, theatres and other arts venues must first address the ‘greening’ of their venues and practices in order to communicate climate change and environmental messages to audiences effectively and with impact.

Green Sundays is a great idea, how do you hope to see it develop in the future months?

We have a variety of themes in mind for future events, including a focus on the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, a water theme, ethical business, natural history and a Green Sunday programme tailored to children and young people.

So get over your hangover, get on your bike and cycle down to Dalston on Sunday to help spread the word about arts and sustainability coming together to communicate environmental messages to your local community.

To find out more about Green Sundays and the Arcola Theatre go to:

www.arcolatheatre.com
Continuing our odyssey of festival previews, page I bring you the amazing Green Man!

I don’t keep it secret that I’ve had a crush on Jarvis Cocker since I was 10 and first heard Common People, I suppose announcing it on a blog was just the next logical step in my snowballing lust for the bespectacled one. Imagine my delight when I saw he was headlining as a solo outfit at this year’s Green Man Festival.

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Green Man 2006

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Jarvis Cocker

All the other festivals will be green with envy over Green Man’s line-up, one of the most exciting and diverse of the summer. Alongside Jarv, Animal Collective will also be headlining and having seen them a couple of times over the past few years they are really not to be missed live, their shows can only be described as being in an underwater topsy-turvy world where you can feel the rhythm wash over you in waves.

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Animal Collective

Green Man is in no short supply of indie darlings and big names, with Wilco, Bon Iver, Gang Gang Dance, the delicious Beach House and Grizzly Bear; who I’m gagging to see live after finally getting a copy of their amazing second album Veckatimest. Not to be transatlantically out down; Green Man boasts an impressive array of home-grown talent- including Four-Tet, national treasures British Sea Power, and to woo the romantic in you; Camera Obscura.
Ex- member of my favourites Gorky’s Zygotic Mynki Euros Childs, Andrew Bird, 6 Day Riot and James Yuill also stand out as bands (as well as the above mentioned) not to be missed.

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Beach House

Whilst Green Man has managed to pull in such an awesome line-up, it has a reputation for a boutique-y intimacy and a friendly atmosphere. Green Man is most definitely a festival for music lovers, and one that I won’t be missing!

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Green Man Festival 2007

Green Man Festival takes place amidst the Breacon Beacons from 21st to 23rd August. Click here for ticket information.

Thumbnail by Roisin Conway
Some people have the knack for discovering those amazing pieces in charity shops – it’s generally the preserve of both the patient and the fashion-savvy who are content to rummage away until they emerge with some designer find that leaves you flapping your arms and wondering why it wasn’t you.
Now ten minutes in Topshop – that’s a quick fix. Why bother buying something old when you can buy something new? If last week’s Style Wars was only a half-formed idea, generic intent to float and suggest a concept, but not to follow through, TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) has articulated the remaking and reselling of used clothes as an ethical necessity. Citing the whopping £46 billion spent on clothes and accessories every year, TRAID highlights the colossal wastage resultant of constantly changing trends that are both cheap and easily available. The ease of shopping on the high street seems to problematise the feeling that the act of recycling is an almost paradoxical idea for an industry that is by name and nature grounded in an obsession with the new and the innovative.
Here lies the problem in normal charity shop shopping. The dowdy and stale image affixed to them is arguably (however unfortunately) justifiable, and TRAID has been taking the steps to rebrand the public perception of recycled clothing by actually joining the dots between the environment, recycling and fashion itself. Charity and fashion are practically mutually alienating concepts in most people’s minds. In short, charity shops aren’t trendy, so how do you turn that around? Chief Executive Maria TRAID recognises the problem and goes straight to the heart of it, saying “we have worked incredibly hard to change the face of charity retail by ensuring that our shops are stylish and affordable”, two words you might associate with the high street.

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TRAID has 900 textile recycling banks across the UK, and the company take the donations and sort by quality and style to then sell in one of their charity shops – clothes that are stained or torn are deconstructed and redesigned into a bespoke garment by the company’s own fashion label TRAIDremade.

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In a way it’s an absolute no-brainer: to take things people don’t want and make them something they do, especially as they follow high street trends, crafting sexy asymmetric dresses, bags cut from old leathers, signature hand printed tees and flirty dresses.

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Two weeks ago TRAID opened their tenth shop in their tenth year in Camden, which as well as being an area that’s a promising resource in terms of fashionable finds, is a landmark for a really inspirational company. To date TRAID has donated £1.4 million to help fight global poverty, supporting charities by funding projects in Malawi and Kenya amongst others. TRAID has ten shops located across London and Brighton, and TRAIDremade is available on getethical.co.uk.

Monday 8th June

The End of the Line

Imagine a world without fish. Released in cinemas across the country to coincide for World Ocean Day, medical an inconvenient truth about the devastating effect of overfishing.

Opens today, check your local cinema for screenings.

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Lambeth Green Communities Open Evening

Organised in partnership with Transition Town Brixton, Hyde Farm CAN and ASSA CAN, this is a chance to celebrate Lambeth’s Green Communities and be inspired to reduce your community’s environmental impact.

18.30-21.00 drop-in to Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton
Contact – Susan Sheehan, Ssheehan (at) lambeth.gov.uk

Tuesday 9th June

The Great British Refurb
Housing for a low carbon energy future – a talk at the The Royal Society

A talk by Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, chaired by Professor Chris Rapley. Theoretical carbon reductions have often been slow to materialise, new buildings can use up to twice the energy predicted, and energy use can actually go up when efficiency increases. This lecture will look at the possibilities for new building, and whether technology can solve our energy use problems. Tadj Oreszczyn is Professor of Energy and Environment and Director of the Energy Institute at UCL.

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This lecture is free – no ticket or booking required. Doors open at 5.45pm and seats are first-come first-served. Lecture starts at 6.30pm, The Royal Society

This lecture will be webcast live and available to view on demand within 48 hours of delivery at royalsociety.tv

Wednesday 10th June

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Illustration by Kerry Lemon

GM Crops and the Global Food Crisis

Dominic Glover, Erik Millstone, Peter Newell talk about possible solutions to the encroaching global food crisis – how will GM crops fit in to the struggle to raise yields, and could they be part of a truly sustainable answer?

6pm, Committee Room 10, Palace of Westminster.
Contact – c.matthews (at) ids.ac.uk

Thursday 11th June

Walking on the Edge of the City

Join a popular walking group on a stroll around this fascinating part of London. There’s no charge and no need to book. Do get there ten minutes before the start time, wear comfortable shoes and bring a small bottle of water.

11am – 12.15pm, meeting at St Luke’s Centre, 90 Central Street, London, EC1V

Clothes Swap at Inc Space

Daisy Green Magazine and ethical stylist Lupe Castro have teamed up to host what is hoped to be the UK’s biggest ever clothes swap. Nicola Alexander, founder of daisygreenmagazine.co.uk, said, “It’s like a fashion treasure hunt!”

The evening will kick off at 6.30 and, as well as the swish (apparently the ‘scene’ word for a clothes swap), it will feature an ethical styling demonstration by Lupe Castro, music from top green band, The Phoenix Rose, burlesque dancing and shopping opportunities from ethical fashion brands including Bochica, Makepiece, Bourgeois Boheme, and natural beauty company, Green People.

Tickets are £10 in advance and £15 on the door.
More information can be found on our facebook page
From 18:30 at INC Space in Grape Street, London WC2

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Illustration by David Elsley.

Friday 12th June

Compost Clinic and Recycling Roadshow

Redbridge Recycling Group are running a friendly information stand all day. Want to bin the bags and green your shopping habits? Fancy making your own compost or confused about packaging labels? Pop along any time of day to have your questions answered and find out how to make the future waste free.

11am – 4pm, Ilford High Road, opposite the Town Hall/Harrison Gibson

Saturday 13th June

World Naked Bike Ride

Taking place all over the country, all over the world, the World Naked Bike Ride protests against oil dependency and car culture, celebrating the power of our bikes and bodies. Every June, more than a thousand cyclists gather in London to take part. The easy 10 km route passes through London’s busiest and best known streets. Bring your bike and body (decorate both of these ahead of time)

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Assemble from 3pm in Hyde Park (South East section, near Hyde Park Tube) – east of the Broad Walk, south of the Fountain of Joy, and north of the Achilles Statue.

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June

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Sustainability Weekend

Celebrate the Love London, Love Your Planet Festival 2009 at the London Wetland Centre this weekend. Check out TFL’s new hybrid bus, see the Richmond shire horses and get a load of green tips and tricks. There will also be face painting for the kids, the Richmond cycling campaign and other environmentally friendly organisations.

11am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday
WWT London Wetland Centre, SW13 9WT
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Maaaan, pilule those bloomers are HOT!

My morning started bright and early on Monday 1st June: called upon as I was to document a Climate Rush action at Chatham House just as the E.ON sponsored conference began: Coal: An Answer to Energy Security? (like, drug duh… NO!)

As I was sitting in the very pleasant St James Square to avoid undue police annoyance (there were vehicles parked right outside the entrance) I found my eyes drawn to the undergrowth in the thicket of vegetation at the edge of the park. I should have been looking for activity outside the venue, but instead I found myself engaged in a dance between two Robins. I always thought Robins were solitary birds, but a quick google ascertains my reasoning that this pair must have been mates, although I’m fairly sure Robins don’t scavenge at ground level. There was also a young Blackbird, happily scrabbling around in the undergrowth for some nice tasty worms (I’m guessing… but that sounds like the perfect breakfast for a Blackbird) As I sat there wondering what was to pass in the street beyond I felt my heart sing. Here, even in the centre of our grubby and concreted capital city – nature finds a way. This is what I’m fighting for, I thought! The sheer joy of the natural world.

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a Blackbird in the undergrowth

And then, I noticed two coppers striding towards me. Would they find my Climate Rush badges? And pre-emptively arrest me for possible crimes against cotton with a badge pin? Asking why I was acting suspiciously by peering into the bushes I replied, “why, I’m taking photos of the birds” and showed the officers the photos on my camera playback. But they weren’t having it, and asked for my ID, which I refused. It’s not illegal to refuse to show your ID, but they took this as admission of guilt – a typical ploy of the police and one which I must check up on the legality of. They then searched me “because you must have something to hide if you don’t want to give us your name Angela Gregory” Ah!!! Clever officer! He’s been reading his little FIT watch spotter card and cribbing up on Climate Rush central. Only the trouble is, I’m not Angela Gregory – clever but not so clever officer. I’d love to see what they use as my mugshot – I hope it’s flattering.

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When I questionned the validity of their reason to search me, one officer told me that “you are believed to be a member of a group called Climate Action, no that’s not it… Climate Rush, and they have committed criminal damage on buildings.” Wrong again Mr. Officer! Our parliament gluers have been bailed away to return to charges of possible criminal damage, for one drop of glue that fell on the statue in parliament. Glue that washes away with one dab of a damp cloth. Like that’s got a rat’s chance in hell of standing up in court.

Still – they got my name right after a cursory search of my camera bag, which revealed an old business card that had been lurking in a side pocket for at least three years. But they didn’t find the badges, even though they were rattling like bastards. I knew they wouldn’t, the MET not being the brightest cookies in the biscuit jar. Oh, I will be in trouble the next time we meet! Woops! If they had discovered the badge stash they would have found not only climate rush badges but also E.ON F.OFF ones from the Climate Camp campaign – that would have got them very excited no doubt, given the sponsor of said Coal Conference.

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As usual I’ve gone off on a tangent… not long after the police accosted me there was a loud commotion the other side of the St James nature reserve, and the police and I were off like a flash to find out what was going on. Across the road a bunch of white clad people were trying to hold onto a bike sculpture, as the police tried to tussle it off them. Within moments the police had gained the upper hand, and instead the eleven protesters were trying to pull sashes from Deeds Not Words bags, and unfurl a lovely red banner reading No New Coal, before the police frogmarched them across the road and threw them into the “pen”.

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I dashed off home in the hopes of getting some images into the London papers – alas my speed was not rewarded with any success, but our actions did reach the attendees of the conference – one academic at the conference apparently spoke with a protester, and agreed that direct action was pushing matters in the right direction (he was a specialist in CCS, but held out little hope for it’s implementation, given the probable massive costs) Score one massive point to us! I hope that E.ON and their cronies were suitably rattled, even if the press didn’t feel see fit to publicise the action. In the end five activists were arrested but most were released within hours. One brave Climate Rusher was refused bail after glueing herself onto the Chatham House railings (you go girl!) and the judge at her hearing the next morning allegedly told her that our protest had been pointless, since it had not garnered any press – before slapping a massive 40 hours community service on her for aggravated trespass. We think not…

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the bike sculpture lies forlorn on the pavement

In recent weeks we’ve attracted a lot of interest from film makers, and by the time I arrived at Tamsin’s house to get ready for the Bike Rush that afternoon (and to hastily knock up one more pair of bloomers) there were cameras everywhere I turned. It’s not a sensation I particularly like, and have thus far managed to stay out of the current crop of films – leaving it to the more exhibitionist members of Climate Rush to hog the limelight. I worry that it is easy to manipulate our actions in the editing suite, and portray us in a way with which we will ultimately be unhappy and out of our control. But I guess it’s a situation that I need to grow used to – many of our sort – as well as being involved with an undoubtedly exciting group – are very attractive, garrulous and media savvy – an irresistable combination to a film maker. Me? I much prefer to stay behind the lens…

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finishing off the flags

As soon as the drawstring was threaded into the last pair of bloomers it was time to hit the high roads of Kilburn – seven of us on various bikes, none of which, I noted disappointingly, were even vaguely Edwardian-esque. Instead we had Geeky Rushette on a fold-out Brompton with a helmet. And we had Virgin Rushette with wispy blonde locks and billowing white damel-in-distress dress over her bloomers, and Not-Very-Good-on-a-Bike-in-London Rushette on a crappy mountain bike with a rusty chain that nearly fell off before we even set off.

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I was dressed in a simple black dress in the hope that my vintage hat from Hebden Bridge would be enough of a distraction and provide the right elegant touch – which was exciting as it tipped over both my eyes and my camera. We made a right merry site gunning down the bus lane towards Marble Arch, flags flapping behind as people turned to gawp at us. After taking a short cut through Green Park we traversed the Mall and came to a screeching halt at our destination, where we were seriously outnumbered by police. But blimey did we look good!

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gathered in Green Park as we approach!

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As we pulled sashes and t-shirts and badges and stickers from our panniers people began to arrive in their droves. The sun shone down as the cyclists spilled from the pen into the road and the police did little to resist.

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Tim cranked up Pedals, the bike sound system, and I chatted to people – it was great to discover that people had come from afar on the strength of joining our facebook group – ah, I do love to feel vindicated on the subject of social networking. I was also very pleased to see lots of children along for the ride, suitably togged up with sashes and of course helmets.

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maybe our youngest Rusher?

And a lot more customisation of sashes, which have suddenly found new lives as headbands on hats, ties around bike baskets, cumberbund style belts and a whole host more. Marina just opted to pile a whole load on, and looked a treat for it.

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a basket full of skipped flowers gets the sash treatment

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my fabulous vintage visor-meets-pie hat!

Then the Hare Krishnas arrived with a mighty noise that had the whole gathering swivelling their heads; a whole band seated in two trailers behind bicycles. I was astonished to see that a drum kit could indeed be transported this way (plus a rather large drummer).

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Once several hundred people had gathered in place there were a few false starts before it was time to take off for a ceremonial circuit of the square, wooping all the way before we stopped off at our first destination, just yards from the starting point – BP’s head offices – they of the infamous byline “Beyond Petroleum“. And fact fans, you’ll no doubt be interested to hear that BP have in fact spent more on the whole Beyond Petroleum (as if!) advertising campaign than they have in fact spent on alternative energy. Brilliant! Why pour money into researching renewables when you can instead rape and pillage the earth for a fraction of the cost? And spend any extra cash on greenwashing instead. Fabulous plan; congratulations BP.

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With that it was onwards on a winding route up to Piccadilly Circus, and from there up Charing Cross Road to Oxford Street, that grand bastion of consumerism -one of the biggest drivers of Climate Change. Tim gave a running commentary from the backseat of his tandem as we hollered our way down London’s flagship shopping street, before coming to a grand halt in the late evening sunshine smack bang in the middle of Oxford Circus. What a grand feeling! Many people seemed amused and even happy to see us, a grand diversion from the glittering goods in the windows.

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stopped in the centre of Oxford Circus

As we sailed downhill along Regent Street I spotted a Lush store, still with our Trains Not Planes banner proudly displayed in the window. A bike-bound copper looked on worriedly as someone went closer to take a look. Duh! They’re our friends – just take a look at the Evening Standard-alike banner outside the shop. We love Lush. We’re not about to do anything naughty!

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hmmm, the Queen’s residence ahead in the late evening sun…

On our second stop at Piccadilly Circus Tim cheekily waited until the lights went red “cos us cyclists always run red lights” before leading us across the main junction and down towards the Mall, where we sallied into the sunshine up to Buckingham Palace. I met the naked cyclists, who I’d been promised were attending. The girls had bikinis on and they all wore lots of paint, the better to cover up with, but they still looked rather fetching, if slightly less than wholely naked. And despite rumours to the contrary they were happy to sport a sash to protect their modesty as well.

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It was then but a short hop down to Victoria, where we paused to consider the headquarters of BAA – boooooooo. And then on past BERR, where, funnily enough, Neil “the weasel” FIT photographer was waiting for us. We all waved “hi” to him as he lowered his massive equipment and smiled slightly sheepishly at us. You know who we are Neil, and we all know who you are too. Why don’t you just get a better job? One in which you are helping to protect a better world for all, not just the interests of the few? Still, I have to commend the actions of the police who came along for the ride – for once they really did seem to be protecting the rights of protesters – having cross words with impatient drivers revving their engines and generally preventing overly aggressive behaviour from motorists.

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wave to Neil everyone!

Oh god, this has turned into a bit of an opus as usual, and I haven’t even mentioned all of our stopping off points! The fact is that unless you were right down the front near the sound system it was pretty impossible to hear the guided tour. And anyway, everyone was just so happy to be commandeering the streets of London – there’s nothing like reclaiming our public highways to feel empowered – that it didn’t matter if our tour was a little haphazard in the end (and we left our notes at home anyway, so it was a bit of an ad-lib).

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solidarity with the Tamils

And then we were at Parliament Square – the police momentarily blocked our entrance onto the roundabout, but then decided better as we filtered around them anyway. Soon we were level with the Tamils, who seemed somewhat bemused by our peace signs in solidarity. But oh what an inspiration they have been! Such tenacity. And then onwards to Westminster Bridge, where we turned in a big loop near the junction on the north side and stopped. Perhaps this would be an opportune place for that picnic we promised? A statement of our intent right next to the very seat of power that is failing us? The suggestion was met with amusement as it dawned on our riders that this was what we had in mind.

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that bike sign on the road has gotta mean “stop” right?

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Some clearly were not expecting it, but almost everyone was soon dropping their bikes to the road and pulling out their picnic blankets and food. As the sunset on Big Ben above us we raised our bikes aloft in joy, unfurled banners aplenty, and stood our ground. The police didn’t know what to do – FIT finally made it down from BERR, and climbed on top of a barrier right above where I’d left my bike. Weirdly the bamboo pole holding up my lovely Climate Rush flag was latter found snapped in two shortly afterwards. I hate to make accusations but…

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what a marvelous family!

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bike aloft

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As a bendy bus made an awkward 360 degree turn on the bridge passersby continued to stream past, snapping away and generally beaming at our audacity. A string of brightly coloured bunting cordoned off our blockade.

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fun with a bendy bus!

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The soundsystem was commandeered by a variety of eloquent speakers and Mark played us a tune or two. Sadly the promised celidh didn’t happen – our erstwhile fiddler had failed to materialise yet again and I was too busy running around like a headless chicken (taking photos) to figure out an alternative. I do apologise – multitasking got the better of me again.

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astride Boudicca

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gawping at their nerve

And then three Rushettes mounted the huge emblematic Boudicca statue in their stripey bloomers! One climbed right up to place a sash around Boudicca’s neck, before returning to sit astride one of the great beasts in a gesture of defiant victory. The first attempt to fly a flag from the horses’ hooves failed, but no matter, we’d been prolific in our banner making and another one was soon unfurled. Deeds Not Words. I think that powerful queen would have approved.

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bike blockade

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on a tandem

Shortly before 9pm the police approached us politely and charmingly (someone must have had words with them in recent weeks) to say that they would eventually have to move us on. We decided that it would be best to go out on a high and declared our intentions to the crowd, with an accompanying recommendation to come join us in a nice pub on The Cut by Waterloo. As we cycled off across the bridge I was amused to find tourists sitting in the middle of the road – thrilled with the lack of cars and the unexpected reclamation for bipedal human use.

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enjoying the reclaimed bridge

At the pub we laid out our picnic blankets again and enjoyed the warm balmy night in the company of many new friends. I was particularly thrilled to speak with new Rushers and especially to those who had not expected our final destination to be quite so spikey, but who had welcomed the unexpected turn of events with open arms. Inspiring mass direct action – it’s what we do best… so join us on our next action against the dirty palm oil biofuel business; responsible for massive environmental degradation, huge contributions of CO2 to the atmosphere, and the loss of 90% of the orangutans since the Suffragettes first walked this land. Don’t let those in power decide the future of our planet!

Categories ,activism, ,Bikes Environment, ,Climate Rush, ,Coal, ,Direct Action, ,protest

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Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Rush Bike Rush – Part 36

This Saturday, information pills pill The Land Is Ours collective will occupy some disused land near Hammersmith. An eco-village will take root, viagra sale peacefully reclaiming land for a sustainable settlement, and getting in touch with the local community about its aims. In a year when nearly 13,000 Britons lost their homes to repossessions in the first three months, eco-villages point the way to a more down-to-earth lifestyle.

Back in May 1996, the same collective took over a spot on the banks of the Thames in Wandsworth, in a land rights action that grew up over five and a half months into the Pure Genius community, based on sustainable living and protesting the misuse of urban land. Here are some photos from that project.

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The Land Is Ours channel the spirit of the Diggers , a group of 17-century radicals who picked out and dug over a patch of common land in St George’s Hill in Walton-upon-Thames back in the day. They were led by Gerard Winstanley, who thought any freedom must come from free access to the land.

Here’s a little more from ‘Gerard Winstanley’ about this weekend:

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get there?
Have a meeting. One of the first priorities is to leaflet the local area in order to inform the local people of what we are doing. Another priority is the construction of compost toilets.

Do you have lots of plans for sheds, vegetable patches and compost toilets?

Yes. Due to the nature of the site (ex-industrial) we will likely be using raised beds to grow vegetables and buckets for potatoes. It being London, there should be a good supply of thrown away materials from building sites and in skips. Compost toilets are pretty essential.

?What kinds of people are you expecting to turn up?
All sorts. Hopefully a mixture of those keen to learn and those willing to teach. ??

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?I read the Chapter 7 manifesto. Have you notified the council or planning authority of your plans, or are you keeping to the idea that once you’re there, with homes under construction, it’s difficult to evict?
We haven’t notified the council yet- but we have a liaison strategy in place for when we’re in.

On that note, how long do you hope to be there?
The longevity of the Eco-village depends on how committed its residences and just as crucially how the local urban populus respond to our presence. If we receive the support we need, the council will likely think twice before embarking on an unpopular eviction (at least that’s the theory!).

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Could this realistically become a permanent residence, or is it more likely to be valuable simply as campaigning?
Hopefully it can be both. There is no reason why this site cannot sustain a core group of committed individuals and serve as a brilliant awareness raiser to the issue of disused urban land, lack of affordable housing and the a sustainable way of living that is friendly to people and planet and liberating.

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?Can I come along?
Of course, we are meeting at Waterloo Station at 10AM this Saturday (underneath the clock).

What might I need to do?
Bring a tent, sleeping bag and some food and water. You may be interested to read an article written by a journalist from the Guardian concerning the eco-village.

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So dig yourself out of bed this Saturday, and go discover the beginnings of London’s newest eco-village.
If the dark shades of under-duvet hideouts dominate the colour of your Sundays then you need to wake up and get greened. Arcola Theatre in East London hopes to be the first carbon neutral theatre in the world and has been appointed as the secretariat for the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre plan, this which aims to deliver 60 percent cuts in theatre carbon emissions by 2025.

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

As part of this environmental drive, the first Sunday of every month is a Green Sunday at Arcola Theatre. June’s event is part of Love London, the biggest green festival in Europe and looks at ethical consumption, promising ‘entertainment and inspiration for the ecologically curious’. From 3pm there’s a swap shop market plus cakes and tea to take you through the evening of Senegalese percussion, cool short and feature-length films, starting from 4.30pm. As the afternoon turns to evening, there will be a discussion with Neil Boorman, author of Bonfire Of The Brands, an account of his journey from shopping and brand addiction to a life free from labels. As part of the project, Neil destroyed every branded product in his possession, incinerating over £20,000 worth of designer gear in protest of consumer culture. This will be chaired by Morgan Phillips.

Neil and Morgan will later be joined by Richard King from Oxfam to talk about their 4-a-week campaign- encouraging shoppers to do their bit for sustainability each week.

Then at 7pm – Feature length film presented by Transition Town Hackney
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

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I spoke to the sustainability projects manager at Arcola Theatre, Anna Beech, to find out more about Arcola’s arts world-changing philosophies:

All at Arcola must be extremely proud that a theatre founded only 9 years ago – and on credit cards! – is well on the way to becoming the first carbon neutral theatre in the world. Can you tell us a bit about how and why you made the decision to lead the green theatre movement?

Since 2007, Arcola has launched many high-profile green initiatives (including the pioneering use of LEDs and the on-site installation of a fuel cell to power bar and stage lighting). There are a number of reasons for this – because it contributes to reducing Arcola’s carbon emissions and resource use, because it makes financial sense – reducing energy bills; because it supports funding applications; because it integrates Arcola into the local community; allows Arcola to reach a wider audience and stakeholder base; and provides an effective platform upon which to publicise the name ‘Arcola’ – as a hub of creativity and sustainability.

Sustainability is part of Arcola’s core unique business model, alongside professional theatre and our youth and community programme.

Have you found that arts and science professionals are eager to integrate and come up with exciting ideas and actions or has it been difficult to bring the two fields together?

Arcola’s ArcolaEnergy has had considerable interest from technology companies and brokers, including the Carbon Trust. As a reocgnised innovator in sustainability in the arts, Arcola has been able to broker extremely advantageous relationships with private sector companies – who have provided the theatre with free green products, including LED lights – as well as other theatres and arts organisations (National Theatre, Arts Council, Live Nation, The Theatres Trust), and Government bodies like the DCMS and Mayor of London’s Office. Arcola’s reputation as a sustainable charity has created these partnerships and allowed them to grow and develop into mutually advantageous relationships. So this demonstrates that the arts and sustainability worlds can come together to form mutually advanteous relationships. However, there is plenty of work to be done.

So far, what has been the most successful pioneering energy practice you’ve introduced?

The installation of Arcola’s fuel cell in February 2008 made the venue the first theatre in the world to power its main house shows and bar/café on hydrogen. The Living Unknown Soldier gained reverence as London’s most ecologically sustainable show, with the lighting at a peak power consumption of 4.5kW, a reduction of 60 per cent on comparable theatre lighting installations.

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Previous Green Sunday events at the Arcola Theatre

Arcola’s ‘greening’ goes from the stage to the box office. Among other things, we produce ‘green’ newsletters for staff, we recycle, we provide free tap water to audiences (to lessen use of bottled water), we serve fairtrade, organic and local produce wherever possible (including organic vodka and whiskey!), we host Transition Town meetings, we installed a cycle enclosure for staff in 2009 and try to incentivise both staff and audiences to use public transport more and their cars less.

How do you think the technical creativity of sustainability has significantly shaped any of the plays Arcola has produced?

One example of the ‘greening’ of Arcola’s shows and working closely with production companies took place during the pre-production and staging of ‘Living Unknown Soldier‘ in 2008. The production explored the use of more energy efficient lanterns, including LED moving heads and batons (see Fig. 1) florescent tubes and some other filament lanterns such as low wattage source 4′s and par 16s. The crew tried to travel by public transport wherever possible, use laptops rather than PCs, limit phone use, source sustainable materials and managed to keep energy requirements low in order to use Arcola’s fuel cell to power the show.

‘‘The idea is that once you expose people to this stuff and they know you for doing it, they’ll gravitate towards you. Ultimately we should end up with some really good art about sustainability and some really good ideas about how to do art sustainably.” – Ben Todd, Executive Director and Founder of Arcola Energy.

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Illustration by David Elsley

Why do you think its particularly important for the arts to become more involved in green issues?

Because the arts have the power to influence behaviour change. Whilst the theatre industry itself has a relatively small carbon footprint (2% of total carbon emissions in London), and thus its capacity to deliver direct carbon emission reductions is relatively small; the power of theatre and the wider arts/cultural sectors to rapidly and effectively influence public behaviour and policy makers to drive significant indirect carbon emission reductions is very large (entertainment related activity accounts for up to 40% of travel emissions).

However, theatres and other arts venues must first address the ‘greening’ of their venues and practices in order to communicate climate change and environmental messages to audiences effectively and with impact.

Green Sundays is a great idea, how do you hope to see it develop in the future months?

We have a variety of themes in mind for future events, including a focus on the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, a water theme, ethical business, natural history and a Green Sunday programme tailored to children and young people.

So get over your hangover, get on your bike and cycle down to Dalston on Sunday to help spread the word about arts and sustainability coming together to communicate environmental messages to your local community.

To find out more about Green Sundays and the Arcola Theatre go to:

www.arcolatheatre.com
Continuing our odyssey of festival previews, page I bring you the amazing Green Man!

I don’t keep it secret that I’ve had a crush on Jarvis Cocker since I was 10 and first heard Common People, I suppose announcing it on a blog was just the next logical step in my snowballing lust for the bespectacled one. Imagine my delight when I saw he was headlining as a solo outfit at this year’s Green Man Festival.

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Green Man 2006

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Jarvis Cocker

All the other festivals will be green with envy over Green Man’s line-up, one of the most exciting and diverse of the summer. Alongside Jarv, Animal Collective will also be headlining and having seen them a couple of times over the past few years they are really not to be missed live, their shows can only be described as being in an underwater topsy-turvy world where you can feel the rhythm wash over you in waves.

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Animal Collective

Green Man is in no short supply of indie darlings and big names, with Wilco, Bon Iver, Gang Gang Dance, the delicious Beach House and Grizzly Bear; who I’m gagging to see live after finally getting a copy of their amazing second album Veckatimest. Not to be transatlantically out down; Green Man boasts an impressive array of home-grown talent- including Four-Tet, national treasures British Sea Power, and to woo the romantic in you; Camera Obscura.
Ex- member of my favourites Gorky’s Zygotic Mynki Euros Childs, Andrew Bird, 6 Day Riot and James Yuill also stand out as bands (as well as the above mentioned) not to be missed.

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Beach House

Whilst Green Man has managed to pull in such an awesome line-up, it has a reputation for a boutique-y intimacy and a friendly atmosphere. Green Man is most definitely a festival for music lovers, and one that I won’t be missing!

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Green Man Festival 2007

Green Man Festival takes place amidst the Breacon Beacons from 21st to 23rd August. Click here for ticket information.

Thumbnail by Roisin Conway
Some people have the knack for discovering those amazing pieces in charity shops – it’s generally the preserve of both the patient and the fashion-savvy who are content to rummage away until they emerge with some designer find that leaves you flapping your arms and wondering why it wasn’t you.
Now ten minutes in Topshop – that’s a quick fix. Why bother buying something old when you can buy something new? If last week’s Style Wars was only a half-formed idea, generic intent to float and suggest a concept, but not to follow through, TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) has articulated the remaking and reselling of used clothes as an ethical necessity. Citing the whopping £46 billion spent on clothes and accessories every year, TRAID highlights the colossal wastage resultant of constantly changing trends that are both cheap and easily available. The ease of shopping on the high street seems to problematise the feeling that the act of recycling is an almost paradoxical idea for an industry that is by name and nature grounded in an obsession with the new and the innovative.
Here lies the problem in normal charity shop shopping. The dowdy and stale image affixed to them is arguably (however unfortunately) justifiable, and TRAID has been taking the steps to rebrand the public perception of recycled clothing by actually joining the dots between the environment, recycling and fashion itself. Charity and fashion are practically mutually alienating concepts in most people’s minds. In short, charity shops aren’t trendy, so how do you turn that around? Chief Executive Maria TRAID recognises the problem and goes straight to the heart of it, saying “we have worked incredibly hard to change the face of charity retail by ensuring that our shops are stylish and affordable”, two words you might associate with the high street.

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TRAID has 900 textile recycling banks across the UK, and the company take the donations and sort by quality and style to then sell in one of their charity shops – clothes that are stained or torn are deconstructed and redesigned into a bespoke garment by the company’s own fashion label TRAIDremade.

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In a way it’s an absolute no-brainer: to take things people don’t want and make them something they do, especially as they follow high street trends, crafting sexy asymmetric dresses, bags cut from old leathers, signature hand printed tees and flirty dresses.

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Two weeks ago TRAID opened their tenth shop in their tenth year in Camden, which as well as being an area that’s a promising resource in terms of fashionable finds, is a landmark for a really inspirational company. To date TRAID has donated £1.4 million to help fight global poverty, supporting charities by funding projects in Malawi and Kenya amongst others. TRAID has ten shops located across London and Brighton, and TRAIDremade is available on getethical.co.uk.

Monday 8th June

The End of the Line

Imagine a world without fish. Released in cinemas across the country to coincide for World Ocean Day, medical an inconvenient truth about the devastating effect of overfishing.

Opens today, check your local cinema for screenings.

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Lambeth Green Communities Open Evening

Organised in partnership with Transition Town Brixton, Hyde Farm CAN and ASSA CAN, this is a chance to celebrate Lambeth’s Green Communities and be inspired to reduce your community’s environmental impact.

18.30-21.00 drop-in to Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton
Contact – Susan Sheehan, Ssheehan (at) lambeth.gov.uk

Tuesday 9th June

The Great British Refurb
Housing for a low carbon energy future – a talk at the The Royal Society

A talk by Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, chaired by Professor Chris Rapley. Theoretical carbon reductions have often been slow to materialise, new buildings can use up to twice the energy predicted, and energy use can actually go up when efficiency increases. This lecture will look at the possibilities for new building, and whether technology can solve our energy use problems. Tadj Oreszczyn is Professor of Energy and Environment and Director of the Energy Institute at UCL.

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This lecture is free – no ticket or booking required. Doors open at 5.45pm and seats are first-come first-served. Lecture starts at 6.30pm, The Royal Society

This lecture will be webcast live and available to view on demand within 48 hours of delivery at royalsociety.tv

Wednesday 10th June

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Illustration by Kerry Lemon

GM Crops and the Global Food Crisis

Dominic Glover, Erik Millstone, Peter Newell talk about possible solutions to the encroaching global food crisis – how will GM crops fit in to the struggle to raise yields, and could they be part of a truly sustainable answer?

6pm, Committee Room 10, Palace of Westminster.
Contact – c.matthews (at) ids.ac.uk

Thursday 11th June

Walking on the Edge of the City

Join a popular walking group on a stroll around this fascinating part of London. There’s no charge and no need to book. Do get there ten minutes before the start time, wear comfortable shoes and bring a small bottle of water.

11am – 12.15pm, meeting at St Luke’s Centre, 90 Central Street, London, EC1V

Clothes Swap at Inc Space

Daisy Green Magazine and ethical stylist Lupe Castro have teamed up to host what is hoped to be the UK’s biggest ever clothes swap. Nicola Alexander, founder of daisygreenmagazine.co.uk, said, “It’s like a fashion treasure hunt!”

The evening will kick off at 6.30 and, as well as the swish (apparently the ‘scene’ word for a clothes swap), it will feature an ethical styling demonstration by Lupe Castro, music from top green band, The Phoenix Rose, burlesque dancing and shopping opportunities from ethical fashion brands including Bochica, Makepiece, Bourgeois Boheme, and natural beauty company, Green People.

Tickets are £10 in advance and £15 on the door.
More information can be found on our facebook page
From 18:30 at INC Space in Grape Street, London WC2

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Illustration by David Elsley.

Friday 12th June

Compost Clinic and Recycling Roadshow

Redbridge Recycling Group are running a friendly information stand all day. Want to bin the bags and green your shopping habits? Fancy making your own compost or confused about packaging labels? Pop along any time of day to have your questions answered and find out how to make the future waste free.

11am – 4pm, Ilford High Road, opposite the Town Hall/Harrison Gibson

Saturday 13th June

World Naked Bike Ride

Taking place all over the country, all over the world, the World Naked Bike Ride protests against oil dependency and car culture, celebrating the power of our bikes and bodies. Every June, more than a thousand cyclists gather in London to take part. The easy 10 km route passes through London’s busiest and best known streets. Bring your bike and body (decorate both of these ahead of time)

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Assemble from 3pm in Hyde Park (South East section, near Hyde Park Tube) – east of the Broad Walk, south of the Fountain of Joy, and north of the Achilles Statue.

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June

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Sustainability Weekend

Celebrate the Love London, Love Your Planet Festival 2009 at the London Wetland Centre this weekend. Check out TFL’s new hybrid bus, see the Richmond shire horses and get a load of green tips and tricks. There will also be face painting for the kids, the Richmond cycling campaign and other environmentally friendly organisations.

11am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday
WWT London Wetland Centre, SW13 9WT
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Maaaan, pilule those bloomers are HOT!

My morning started bright and early on Monday 1st June: called upon as I was to document a Climate Rush action at Chatham House just as the E.ON sponsored conference began: Coal: An Answer to Energy Security? (like, drug duh… NO!)

As I was sitting in the very pleasant St James Square to avoid undue police annoyance (there were vehicles parked right outside the entrance) I found my eyes drawn to the undergrowth in the thicket of vegetation at the edge of the park. I should have been looking for activity outside the venue, but instead I found myself engaged in a dance between two Robins. I always thought Robins were solitary birds, but a quick google ascertains my reasoning that this pair must have been mates, although I’m fairly sure Robins don’t scavenge at ground level. There was also a young Blackbird, happily scrabbling around in the undergrowth for some nice tasty worms (I’m guessing… but that sounds like the perfect breakfast for a Blackbird) As I sat there wondering what was to pass in the street beyond I felt my heart sing. Here, even in the centre of our grubby and concreted capital city – nature finds a way. This is what I’m fighting for, I thought! The sheer joy of the natural world.

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a Blackbird in the undergrowth

And then, I noticed two coppers striding towards me. Would they find my Climate Rush badges? And pre-emptively arrest me for possible crimes against cotton with a badge pin? Asking why I was acting suspiciously by peering into the bushes I replied, “why, I’m taking photos of the birds” and showed the officers the photos on my camera playback. But they weren’t having it, and asked for my ID, which I refused. It’s not illegal to refuse to show your ID, but they took this as admission of guilt – a typical ploy of the police and one which I must check up on the legality of. They then searched me “because you must have something to hide if you don’t want to give us your name Angela Gregory” Ah!!! Clever officer! He’s been reading his little FIT watch spotter card and cribbing up on Climate Rush central. Only the trouble is, I’m not Angela Gregory – clever but not so clever officer. I’d love to see what they use as my mugshot – I hope it’s flattering.

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When I questionned the validity of their reason to search me, one officer told me that “you are believed to be a member of a group called Climate Action, no that’s not it… Climate Rush, and they have committed criminal damage on buildings.” Wrong again Mr. Officer! Our parliament gluers have been bailed away to return to charges of possible criminal damage, for one drop of glue that fell on the statue in parliament. Glue that washes away with one dab of a damp cloth. Like that’s got a rat’s chance in hell of standing up in court.

Still – they got my name right after a cursory search of my camera bag, which revealed an old business card that had been lurking in a side pocket for at least three years. But they didn’t find the badges, even though they were rattling like bastards. I knew they wouldn’t, the MET not being the brightest cookies in the biscuit jar. Oh, I will be in trouble the next time we meet! Woops! If they had discovered the badge stash they would have found not only climate rush badges but also E.ON F.OFF ones from the Climate Camp campaign – that would have got them very excited no doubt, given the sponsor of said Coal Conference.

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As usual I’ve gone off on a tangent… not long after the police accosted me there was a loud commotion the other side of the St James nature reserve, and the police and I were off like a flash to find out what was going on. Across the road a bunch of white clad people were trying to hold onto a bike sculpture, as the police tried to tussle it off them. Within moments the police had gained the upper hand, and instead the eleven protesters were trying to pull sashes from Deeds Not Words bags, and unfurl a lovely red banner reading No New Coal, before the police frogmarched them across the road and threw them into the “pen”.

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I dashed off home in the hopes of getting some images into the London papers – alas my speed was not rewarded with any success, but our actions did reach the attendees of the conference – one academic at the conference apparently spoke with a protester, and agreed that direct action was pushing matters in the right direction (he was a specialist in CCS, but held out little hope for it’s implementation, given the probable massive costs) Score one massive point to us! I hope that E.ON and their cronies were suitably rattled, even if the press didn’t feel see fit to publicise the action. In the end five activists were arrested but most were released within hours. One brave Climate Rusher was refused bail after glueing herself onto the Chatham House railings (you go girl!) and the judge at her hearing the next morning allegedly told her that our protest had been pointless, since it had not garnered any press – before slapping a massive 40 hours community service on her for aggravated trespass. We think not…

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the bike sculpture lies forlorn on the pavement

In recent weeks we’ve attracted a lot of interest from film makers, and by the time I arrived at Tamsin’s house to get ready for the Bike Rush that afternoon (and to hastily knock up one more pair of bloomers) there were cameras everywhere I turned. It’s not a sensation I particularly like, and have thus far managed to stay out of the current crop of films – leaving it to the more exhibitionist members of Climate Rush to hog the limelight. I worry that it is easy to manipulate our actions in the editing suite, and portray us in a way with which we will ultimately be unhappy and out of our control. But I guess it’s a situation that I need to grow used to – many of our sort – as well as being involved with an undoubtedly exciting group – are very attractive, garrulous and media savvy – an irresistable combination to a film maker. Me? I much prefer to stay behind the lens…

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finishing off the flags

As soon as the drawstring was threaded into the last pair of bloomers it was time to hit the high roads of Kilburn – seven of us on various bikes, none of which, I noted disappointingly, were even vaguely Edwardian-esque. Instead we had Geeky Rushette on a fold-out Brompton with a helmet. And we had Virgin Rushette with wispy blonde locks and billowing white damel-in-distress dress over her bloomers, and Not-Very-Good-on-a-Bike-in-London Rushette on a crappy mountain bike with a rusty chain that nearly fell off before we even set off.

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I was dressed in a simple black dress in the hope that my vintage hat from Hebden Bridge would be enough of a distraction and provide the right elegant touch – which was exciting as it tipped over both my eyes and my camera. We made a right merry site gunning down the bus lane towards Marble Arch, flags flapping behind as people turned to gawp at us. After taking a short cut through Green Park we traversed the Mall and came to a screeching halt at our destination, where we were seriously outnumbered by police. But blimey did we look good!

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gathered in Green Park as we approach!

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As we pulled sashes and t-shirts and badges and stickers from our panniers people began to arrive in their droves. The sun shone down as the cyclists spilled from the pen into the road and the police did little to resist.

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Tim cranked up Pedals, the bike sound system, and I chatted to people – it was great to discover that people had come from afar on the strength of joining our facebook group – ah, I do love to feel vindicated on the subject of social networking. I was also very pleased to see lots of children along for the ride, suitably togged up with sashes and of course helmets.

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maybe our youngest Rusher?

And a lot more customisation of sashes, which have suddenly found new lives as headbands on hats, ties around bike baskets, cumberbund style belts and a whole host more. Marina just opted to pile a whole load on, and looked a treat for it.

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a basket full of skipped flowers gets the sash treatment

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my fabulous vintage visor-meets-pie hat!

Then the Hare Krishnas arrived with a mighty noise that had the whole gathering swivelling their heads; a whole band seated in two trailers behind bicycles. I was astonished to see that a drum kit could indeed be transported this way (plus a rather large drummer).

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Once several hundred people had gathered in place there were a few false starts before it was time to take off for a ceremonial circuit of the square, wooping all the way before we stopped off at our first destination, just yards from the starting point – BP’s head offices – they of the infamous byline “Beyond Petroleum“. And fact fans, you’ll no doubt be interested to hear that BP have in fact spent more on the whole Beyond Petroleum (as if!) advertising campaign than they have in fact spent on alternative energy. Brilliant! Why pour money into researching renewables when you can instead rape and pillage the earth for a fraction of the cost? And spend any extra cash on greenwashing instead. Fabulous plan; congratulations BP.

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With that it was onwards on a winding route up to Piccadilly Circus, and from there up Charing Cross Road to Oxford Street, that grand bastion of consumerism -one of the biggest drivers of Climate Change. Tim gave a running commentary from the backseat of his tandem as we hollered our way down London’s flagship shopping street, before coming to a grand halt in the late evening sunshine smack bang in the middle of Oxford Circus. What a grand feeling! Many people seemed amused and even happy to see us, a grand diversion from the glittering goods in the windows.

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stopped in the centre of Oxford Circus

As we sailed downhill along Regent Street I spotted a Lush store, still with our Trains Not Planes banner proudly displayed in the window. A bike-bound copper looked on worriedly as someone went closer to take a look. Duh! They’re our friends – just take a look at the Evening Standard-alike banner outside the shop. We love Lush. We’re not about to do anything naughty!

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hmmm, the Queen’s residence ahead in the late evening sun…

On our second stop at Piccadilly Circus Tim cheekily waited until the lights went red “cos us cyclists always run red lights” before leading us across the main junction and down towards the Mall, where we sallied into the sunshine up to Buckingham Palace. I met the naked cyclists, who I’d been promised were attending. The girls had bikinis on and they all wore lots of paint, the better to cover up with, but they still looked rather fetching, if slightly less than wholely naked. And despite rumours to the contrary they were happy to sport a sash to protect their modesty as well.

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It was then but a short hop down to Victoria, where we paused to consider the headquarters of BAA – boooooooo. And then on past BERR, where, funnily enough, Neil “the weasel” FIT photographer was waiting for us. We all waved “hi” to him as he lowered his massive equipment and smiled slightly sheepishly at us. You know who we are Neil, and we all know who you are too. Why don’t you just get a better job? One in which you are helping to protect a better world for all, not just the interests of the few? Still, I have to commend the actions of the police who came along for the ride – for once they really did seem to be protecting the rights of protesters – having cross words with impatient drivers revving their engines and generally preventing overly aggressive behaviour from motorists.

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wave to Neil everyone!

Oh god, this has turned into a bit of an opus as usual, and I haven’t even mentioned all of our stopping off points! The fact is that unless you were right down the front near the sound system it was pretty impossible to hear the guided tour. And anyway, everyone was just so happy to be commandeering the streets of London – there’s nothing like reclaiming our public highways to feel empowered – that it didn’t matter if our tour was a little haphazard in the end (and we left our notes at home anyway, so it was a bit of an ad-lib).

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solidarity with the Tamils

And then we were at Parliament Square – the police momentarily blocked our entrance onto the roundabout, but then decided better as we filtered around them anyway. Soon we were level with the Tamils, who seemed somewhat bemused by our peace signs in solidarity. But oh what an inspiration they have been! Such tenacity. And then onwards to Westminster Bridge, where we turned in a big loop near the junction on the north side and stopped. Perhaps this would be an opportune place for that picnic we promised? A statement of our intent right next to the very seat of power that is failing us? The suggestion was met with amusement as it dawned on our riders that this was what we had in mind.

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that bike sign on the road has gotta mean “stop” right?

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Some clearly were not expecting it, but almost everyone was soon dropping their bikes to the road and pulling out their picnic blankets and food. As the sunset on Big Ben above us we raised our bikes aloft in joy, unfurled banners aplenty, and stood our ground. The police didn’t know what to do – FIT finally made it down from BERR, and climbed on top of a barrier right above where I’d left my bike. Weirdly the bamboo pole holding up my lovely Climate Rush flag was latter found snapped in two shortly afterwards. I hate to make accusations but…

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what a marvelous family!

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bike aloft

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As a bendy bus made an awkward 360 degree turn on the bridge passersby continued to stream past, snapping away and generally beaming at our audacity. A string of brightly coloured bunting cordoned off our blockade.

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fun with a bendy bus!

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The soundsystem was commandeered by a variety of eloquent speakers and Mark played us a tune or two. Sadly the promised celidh didn’t happen – our erstwhile fiddler had failed to materialise yet again and I was too busy running around like a headless chicken (taking photos) to figure out an alternative. I do apologise – multitasking got the better of me again.

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astride Boudicca

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gawping at their nerve

And then three Rushettes mounted the huge emblematic Boudicca statue in their stripey bloomers! One climbed right up to place a sash around Boudicca’s neck, before returning to sit astride one of the great beasts in a gesture of defiant victory. The first attempt to fly a flag from the horses’ hooves failed, but no matter, we’d been prolific in our banner making and another one was soon unfurled. Deeds Not Words. I think that powerful queen would have approved.

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bike blockade

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on a tandem

Shortly before 9pm the police approached us politely and charmingly (someone must have had words with them in recent weeks) to say that they would eventually have to move us on. We decided that it would be best to go out on a high and declared our intentions to the crowd, with an accompanying recommendation to come join us in a nice pub on The Cut by Waterloo. As we cycled off across the bridge I was amused to find tourists sitting in the middle of the road – thrilled with the lack of cars and the unexpected reclamation for bipedal human use.

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enjoying the reclaimed bridge

At the pub we laid out our picnic blankets again and enjoyed the warm balmy night in the company of many new friends. I was particularly thrilled to speak with new Rushers and especially to those who had not expected our final destination to be quite so spikey, but who had welcomed the unexpected turn of events with open arms. Inspiring mass direct action – it’s what we do best… so join us on our next action against the dirty palm oil biofuel business; responsible for massive environmental degradation, huge contributions of CO2 to the atmosphere, and the loss of 90% of the orangutans since the Suffragettes first walked this land. Don’t let those in power decide the future of our planet!

Categories ,activism, ,Bikes Environment, ,Climate Rush, ,Coal, ,Direct Action, ,protest

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Amelia’s Magazine | Climate Rush Bike Rush

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On Thursday the bath-time lovelies at Lush supported one of my great loves, by staging Climate Rush themed picnics outside all 89 of their UK stores.

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As was detailed by Cari in a previous post, my local Lush store just happens to be in Liverpool Street Station. Chosen as the flagship store for this event the picnic was attended by Lush superstar campaigners Sean and Andrew, who have together helped us out in a very big way.

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I sent the interns ahead on foot and arrived to find a fetching gingham tablecloth – bearing the timely ‘Climate Change is No Picnic’ slogan – being spread and upon it a yummy selection of vegan cake and cookies laid out for passersby to enjoy.

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A trio of violins led by the Rush’s very own Deborah (her of sticky-fingers-in-parliament fame) struck up a tune as the lovely Lush girls, dressed in full Edwardian garb, handed out Trains Not Planes sashes to business men passing by and even managed to engage some climate change denialists in some productive conversation.

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The police, as ever, were present. In fact I swear I recognised one of them from the “Riot Gate” at Kingsnorth during Climate Camp last year. Unlike then, they were eager to smell the soaps (all packaged in recyclable paper – Lush tries not to use excess packaging, just one of the reasons we love ‘em) and chat to the pretty shop girls. I wonder if they’ll be so nice to us on Monday…

As Tamsin did her best to butter up the passersby in those famous suffragette must-haves, fishnet tights and a miniskirt, we were pounced on by a person dressed up as a giant mobile phone.

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A slightly surreal experience to say the least, as the Lush shop girls tried to dress the ungainly thing in some bright red sashes, whilst Sean did his best to engage the phone in conversation about how many times a year it flies. My interns finally arrived and proceeded to pose marvelously for the camera. We’ve been joking that Jonno and Roisin are evil twins – just check them out!

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Over the weekend there has been a flurry of Climate Rush activity, both promotional and creative – we’ve flyered the South Bank twice, and approached friendly looking cyclists left, right and centre.

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It seems that if you ride a bike you are generally a friendly soul, and all of them were happy to hear about Climate Rush bar a particularly unpleasant yuppie couple with a pair of fold out Bromptons that no doubt only see the light of day when the sun shines at the weekend. Fairweather cyclists, who’d have ‘em?!

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In between accosting cyclists we have managed to print a mammoth amount of sexy sashes and flags to attach to the back of bikes.

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I’ve discovered that I can still sew, and managed to knock up 5 pairs of fetching bloomers in record time (just don’t look too closely at the sewing, I was in a hurry okay?!) Made out of red and white striped fabric with lacey ruffles on the legs they look part clown and more than a little bit burlesque, but then whoever said we take the Edwardian theme too seriously?! I can’t wait to see what everyone else dons for out bike ride tomorrow.

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Bring it on…. let’s show the government and big corporations that we won’t let them get away with business as usual when it comes to Climate Change. Collectively we can stop this beautiful world of ours from being buggered over, so make sure you come along and enjoy a stylish Bike Rush with a purpose. This is one cycle ride you’re sure to remember…

Read a past blog about this event here. What do you think about direct action over Climate Change? Let us know your views.

Categories ,activism, ,Bikes, ,Climate Rush, ,Coal, ,Direct Action, ,Environment, ,Lush

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Amelia’s Magazine | Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?

Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, cost after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs http://www.lambartillustration.com

http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2008/03/tom_hunter_a_palace_for_us8_de_1.html

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, because the last time I queued this long there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We have a very good marriage right to the end.’

Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie http://www.w-illustration.blogspot.com

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry speaking to residents about their lives at the estate. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the Woodberry estate in 1948.

Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt http://www.ficklefate.co.uk

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born on the estate has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume out of the rose petals growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the residents taking turn mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.

Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras http://haciendochiribitas.blogspot.com/

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film as well, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, a flushed gallery worker had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd on Saturday. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.

Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins http://www.thesketchbookartist.co.uk

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.

Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, pill after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, because the last time I queued this long there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We have a very good marriage right to the end.’


Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie http://www.w-illustration.blogspot.com

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry speaking to residents about their lives at the estate. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the Woodberry estate in 1948.


Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt http://www.ficklefate.co.uk

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born on the estate has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume out of the rose petals growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the residents taking turn mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.


Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras http://haciendochiribitas.blogspot.com/

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film as well, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, a flushed gallery worker had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd on Saturday. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.


Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins http://www.thesketchbookartist.co.uk

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.
cure Little Rich Girls, more about 2010″ width=”480″ height=”654″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-31758″ /> Yinka Shonibare MBE, Little Rich Girls, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

In 2009, the Royal Academy of Art’s winter exhibition, Earth: Art of a Changing World featured a selection of artists engaging with the physical impacts of Climate Change. For 2010 the Royal Academy turned it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in the reductively titled; Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

A new commission from Yinka Shonibare focused on cultural perceptions which turn out, under closer examination, to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals the origination of batik pattern synonymous with African tribal patterns, to be in fact from Holland. The pattern makers sold the fabric to Africa once a European buyer could not be found.

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965, A film by Albert and David Maysles of Yoko Ono’s performance of Cut Piece at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, 21 March 1965, 16mm black-and-white film with sync sound, transferred to DVD, running time 9’ Courtesy of the artist

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Ulay stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.

The limited inclusion of performance art is a lost opportunity, specifically because the four included pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman and Mumbai) lend themselves vividly to the concept this exhibition was attempting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll was located within the first room of the exhibition. An early video piece which lasts in it’s entirety of 2.30 minutes. Sherman questions the accepted (gender stereotyping) popularity of a child’s paper doll through the reduction of herself into an inanimate object. Whilst interesting to those who have encountered Sherman’s work previously, the singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including Untitled, a series of stills in which Sherman explores the relationship between the movies and societies ideas of femininity through feminine dress.

Cindy Sherman, Doll Clothes 1975, Stills from 16 mm film on DVD, © Cindy Sherman / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna / Sprüth Magers Berlin London

The final piece of video art that captured the attention is located within the sub-topic: Building. In 10 minutes Mumbai confronts the viewer with the appalling conditions required to produce the clothes we discard so readily and so frequently.

Throughout the exhibition nods are made to artists and fashion designers alike –a single McQueen stands in the corner devoid of its context within an entire collection, becomes a beautiful object, rather than a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity. Within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, the problem appears to be that the art is spread too thin, interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers gambit.

The final section of the exhibition briefly explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif Waked Chic Point is a video which places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at the hands of Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. Personally, the work would have been more poignant if these clothes, which reduce the wearer to exposing various sections of flesh had been worn at a real or a recreated check point – highlighting the dehumanization that occurs as every man is treated as a potential terrorist. The photographs included at the end of the film and taken by the artist visualises the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something fearful (whether imagined or not).

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggested we “look for the woman in the dress if there is no woman, there is no dress” an idea taken up by Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In Son of Sonzai Suri, the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraku puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the aforementioned video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it would appear that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been interesting to see a juxtaposition of performance art against the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The exhibition closes on the 30th January.
Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy
6 Burlington Gardens
London


Woodberry Down girl by Romain Lambert-Louis, buy information pills after ‘Jackie 1973’ by Erica Dobbs

It’s good Tom Hunter’s film is as good as it is, there because the last time I queued this long there was a saint at the end of it. Pilgrims wait for hours outside the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela to hug the statue above the saintly remnants – last Saturday the patient patrons of a crammed Serpentine Gallery were rewarded not so much with a divine cuddle, but with a screening of Tom Hunter’s gem of a documentary.

‘A palace for us’ is set at Woodberry Down, a 2,500-flat council estate complex in North Hackney, up by Tottenham. Going back 50 years, Tom Hunter’s film uses current day narratives and recreated scenes to tell the stories of three people who have spent their lives at the estate. ‘When we came here we realised how lucky we were,’ says one woman. ‘There was central heating and a bath with hot and cold. It was like a palace for us.’ As the woman talks, we see reenactments of when her husband-to-be asked her to dance for the first time. ‘I’d never seen eyes like his,’ she says, smiling at the memory. ‘We have a very good marriage right to the end.’


Woodberry Down dancers by Willa Gebbie http://www.w-illustration.blogspot.com

Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery and Age Concern Hackney, Tom Hunter made the film after spending time in residence at Woodberry speaking to residents about their lives at the estate. Their stories are lovingly told, reflecting Hunter’s in-depth knowledge of his subjects and the area. One of the film’s interviewees shares the story how he cowered in his bed as the area was bombed back in 1944. Born in Stoke Newington, the man was among the first to move into the Woodberry estate in 1948.


Woodberry Down man by Timothy Hunt http://www.ficklefate.co.uk

Built to meet a severe housing shortage during the war, Woodberry was presented as an ‘estate for the future’. Especially the interviewee born on the estate has good memories of growing up at Woodberry, telling stories of playing hopscotch in the alleys, climbing the apple trees and making perfume out of the rose petals growing around the estate. The sense of community is clear, with the residents taking turn mopping the stairs. Now the site is the subject of a major regeneration project, which will replace the most run-down flats and add several more as well.


Woodberry Down kids by Sandra Contreras http://haciendochiribitas.blogspot.com/

The original plan was to see Tom Hunter talk about the film as well, but the despite earlier assurances there was no need to book seats, a flushed gallery worker had to turn away a nearly 50-strong crowd on Saturday. The day’s long lines might have been a one-off, but those who still haven’t seen the film may not want to leave it until the last minute. Because it really is worth seeing, as what I remember even clearer than the queuing is how I wish the film had gone on for longer.


Tom Hunter by Kimberley Jenkins http://www.thesketchbookartist.co.uk

‘A palace for us’ shows daily until 20th January at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2.
policeman undercover by daria hlazatova
Policeman Undercover by Daria Hlazatova.

One day a few years ago I agreed to go on an intrepid action to highlight the causes of climate change. I didn’t know where or what it would be, view but as a climate activist I trust the many people that I know who are willing to invest a huge amount of time, page effort and (often their own) money in taking action for climate justice. So it was that I came to be in the Iona School in Nottingham on Easter Monday, for sale 13th April 2009. In a hall packed full of committed climate activists I discovered the sheer scale of the unbelievably audacious covert operation and as I looked around I tried to imagine how we could possibly pull it off: we all suspect that undercover cops must operate within our networks. We were fed, given instructions concerning our target and duly sent to bed in one of various rooms in the school which had been hired out for the weekend. Having made sure that my day pack was ready (warm clothes, a book, some high energy food) I rolled out my sleeping mat, got into my pyjamas, stuffed ear plugs into my ears and settled down for a short night’s sleep before we headed down to Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station in the early hours of the morning.

Ratcliffe_Disaster_Victoria_Archer
Ratcliffe Disaster by Victoria Archer.

Ratcliffe has been the focus of quite a few climate change demonstrations, not least the Great Climate Swoop, a publicly advertised assault that took place on this huge coal powered station later in 2009. Ratcliffe-on-Soar was chosen because it is one of the biggest coal fired power stations in the UK and it’s owned by E.ON, who were the energy company behind plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth (now shelved) and who were the focus of Climate Camp actions throughout 2008 and 2009. In the event of a successful shut down electricity for the surrounding area could easily be obtained from other sources.

ratcliffe by farzeen jabbar
Ratcliffe by Farzeen Jabbar.

As I went to bed there was an the air of the calm before the storm, especially after we received conflicting reports about a growing police presence near the power station. It just seemed so incredibly unlikely that out of the several hundred people involved in the planning of the action (including drivers, hosts, etc) no one could have let slip our plans. Nonetheless I was tired and soon fell asleep.

A few minutes after I dozed off I was woken by my friend screeching POLIIIIIIIIIICE in my ear. No amount of deeply inserted ear plug was going to stop me leaping into immediate bleary eyed action as I realised that the entire building was surrounded and being battered from all sides. I just had time to struggle into some decent clothing before our room was filled with policemen who immediately handcuffed us all, regardless of our state of dress. I never knew I would find out what it’s like to be treated like a terrorist, but I can now safely tell you that I do. And it was utterly surreal. We were kept in our respective rooms (chosen for the type of action we would be taking) for what seemed like hours. As we waited we could hear people singing protest songs up and down the corridor. Domestic Extremists we might be. Your standard terrorists we ain’t.

abi daker Amelia gets arrested
Amelia Gets Arrested by Abigail Daker.

I was desperately keen to take my belongings with me as we were finally led out of the room – I’ve had previous experience of them being kept by police and I knew how long it would take to get them back (nearly a year as it turned out), but my arresting officer would not allow me to pick them up despite others being allowed to do so: the first sign of a somewhat shambolic operation with far from clear instructions.

Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim
Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim.

Things were shortly to get much more surreal. We were frogmarched two by two – handcuffed to our respective officers – into an impromptu photo studio that had been set up in the school nursery. Our mugshots were taken in front of the kids’ brightly coloured artwork before we were packed off into vans and taken to holding cells at police stations all over the city. I was held through the night and for most of the ensuing day. Being a well trained activist I kept to No Comment throughout my interrogation, though the investigating officer was very interested in my ear plugs (convinced they were a clue that I was headed to the noisy coal conveyor belt) and my Climate Rush badge (at that time I was still involved with the Suffragette inspired group).

My Mugshot by Alison Day
My Mugshot by Alison Day.

My DNA was taken before I was eventually allowed to leave, taking none of my belongings. I was simply ejected into the night. With no money and absolutely no idea where I was in Nottingham. Fortunately there was legal support waiting in the station car park and I was scooped up and taken to a safe house. I spent another night sharing a bed with an activist before hitching the first lift out of Nottingham. By this time I was desperate to get back to London because I was worried that my house would be raided – someone else had left a piece of paper with my details on in their wallet and it had been waved at me as evidence in the police station. I spent the next few weeks worrying whether I would be raided when my interns were in the house, thereby putting their computers at risk as evidence too. In the end my worries were unfounded, though many other people were raided.

Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio
Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio.

It has taken nearly two years for this case to come to court, during which time I have not been able to talk about it for fear of affecting the outcome for the 26 who were charged (out of the original 114 activists who were arrested). Many of those spent the better part of December 2010 fighting their case in court in Nottingham. Green Party leader Caroline Lucas gave a statement and James Hansen testified. Despite comprehensive evidence proving that the climate crimes of corporations such as E.ON are way worse than anything we were planning to do, the activists were all convicted and given a mix of fines, conditional discharges and community service. Maybe the jury was won over by the prosecution argument that we would have been better off spending our time getting Cheryl Cole to promote second hand clothing. Bleurgh. The judge did however praise the defendents for their “intelligence and dedication” – climate activists are certainly some of the most clever and interesting people I know.

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

Six more activists were due to go to court today with a defence of Not Guilty because they had not yet decided to take part in the action when they were arrested. It was set to be an extraordinarily interesting case that would challenge the excessively expensive largest ever pre-emptive arrest, which in retrospect seems to be have been designed to capture the details of the entire UK climate activist network in one fell swoop. But their plans have at the last moment been thwarted. The reason? Our very own police mole.

Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss
Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss.

A few months ago the indymedia networks were rife with the news that a climate activist mole had been unmasked. For seven years Mark “Flash” Stone (so called because he always seemed to have lots of cash) was a familiar face on the activist circuit until he was outed by ‘close’ friends who eventually became suspicious of him. He also happened to be involved in much of the preliminary planning for the April action on Ratcliffe: hosting meetings, driving trucks and planning to lead climbers up the huge chimney stack.

Now it is revealed that Mark has left the police force, apparently ashamed of the consequences of his actions. The Ratcliffe Trial blog states that he was even planning to provide evidence in favour of the defendants he did so much to help arrest back in 2009. However it appears that outside pressures (the police he used to work for? surely not) recently caused him to withdraw his offer. The case was then mysteriously dropped in its entirety after the defence pressed the powers that be for details of Mark Kennedy’s involvement in the initial planning stages of the Ratcliffe action.

climate change by Jane McGuinness
Climate Change by Jane McGuinness.

Even before today’s revelations it already seemed a sure bet that Mark’s insider knowledge helped to secure huge funding for the police raid, which cost upwards of £700,000 and ensured that officers were drafted in from across the county on huge overtime wages over Easter. That’s over £6,000 on the cost of arresting me alone. Not to mention the fact that the extremely expensive court case may have collapsed in its entirety had Mark’s involvement been known earlier. I can think of better ways to spend cash, can’t you?

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Police The Community Ignore The Environment by Gareth A Hopkins.

In the last year Climate Change has all but dropped off the mainstream media agenda and many of our most committed activists have been tied up in lengthy court proceedings. Yet climate change continues unabated. Next month Climate Camp will run a five day long event at Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset called A Space for Change, which will seek to “reflect and re-assess climate justice activism, re-dream what a radical movement can be and re-invigorate ourselves and our network.” There’s never been a better time to get involved in climate activism. You can find out more details here.

Categories ,A Space for Change, ,Abigail Daker, ,activism, ,Alison Day, ,Caroline Lucas, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,Climate Rush, ,coal, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Direct Action, ,DNA, ,Domestic Extremist, ,Dorset, ,E-On, ,Farzeen Jabbar, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Birss, ,Iona School, ,James Hansen, ,Jane McGuinness, ,kingsnorth, ,Mark “Flash” Stone, ,Mark Kennedy, ,Mark Stone, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Mole, ,Monkton Wyld Court, ,No Comment, ,nottingham, ,Paul Lewis, ,police, ,Ratcliffe, ,Ratcliffe 114, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,Rob Evans, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,Suffragette, ,Terrorist, ,Undercover, ,Victoria Archer

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Amelia’s Magazine | Did PC Mark “Flash” Kennedy ensure my arrest as one of the Ratcliffe 114 ?

policeman undercover by daria hlazatova
Policeman Undercover by Daria Hlazatova.

One day a few years ago I agreed to go on an intrepid action to highlight the causes of climate change. I didn’t know where or what it would be, but as a climate activist I trust the many people that I know who are willing to invest a huge amount of time, effort and (often their own) money in taking action for climate justice. So it was that I came to be in the Iona School in Nottingham on Easter Monday, 13th April 2009. In a hall packed full of committed climate activists I discovered the sheer scale of the unbelievably audacious covert operation and as I looked around I tried to imagine how we could possibly pull it off: we all suspect that undercover cops must operate within our networks. We were fed, given instructions concerning our target and duly sent to bed in one of various rooms in the school which had been hired out for the weekend. Having made sure that my day pack was ready (warm clothes, a book, some high energy food) I rolled out my sleeping mat, got into my pyjamas, stuffed ear plugs into my ears and settled down for a short night’s sleep before we headed down to Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal fired power station in the early hours of the morning.

Ratcliffe_Disaster_Victoria_Archer
Ratcliffe Disaster by Victoria Archer.

Ratcliffe has been the focus of quite a few climate change demonstrations, not least the Great Climate Swoop, a publicly advertised assault that took place on this huge coal powered station later in 2009. Ratcliffe-on-Soar was chosen because it is one of the biggest coal fired power stations in the UK and it’s owned by E.ON, who were the energy company behind plans to build a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth (now shelved) and who were the focus of Climate Camp actions throughout 2008 and 2009. In the event of a successful shut down electricity for the surrounding area could easily be obtained from other sources.

ratcliffe by farzeen jabbar
Ratcliffe by Farzeen Jabbar.

As I went to bed there was an the air of the calm before the storm, especially after we received conflicting reports about a growing police presence near the power station. It just seemed so incredibly unlikely that out of the several hundred people involved in the planning of the action (including drivers, hosts, etc) no one could have let slip our plans. Nonetheless I was tired and soon fell asleep.

A few minutes after I dozed off I was woken by my friend screeching POLIIIIIIIIIICE in my ear. No amount of deeply inserted ear plug was going to stop me leaping into immediate bleary eyed action as I realised that the entire building was surrounded and being battered from all sides. I just had time to struggle into some decent clothing before our room was filled with policemen who immediately handcuffed us all, regardless of our state of dress. I never knew I would find out what it’s like to be treated like a terrorist, but I can now safely tell you that I do. And it was utterly surreal. We were kept in our respective rooms (chosen for the type of action we would be taking) for what seemed like hours. As we waited we could hear people singing protest songs up and down the corridor. Domestic Extremists we might be. Your standard terrorists we ain’t.

abi daker Amelia gets arrested
Amelia Gets Arrested by Abigail Daker.

I was desperately keen to take my belongings with me as we were finally led out of the room – I’ve had previous experience of them being kept by police and I knew how long it would take to get them back (nearly a year as it turned out), but my arresting officer would not allow me to pick them up despite others being allowed to do so: the first sign of a somewhat shambolic operation with far from clear instructions.

Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim
Ratcliffe on Trial by Rukmunal Hakim.

Things were shortly to get much more surreal. We were frogmarched two by two – handcuffed to our respective officers – into an impromptu photo studio that had been set up in the school nursery. Our mugshots were taken in front of the kids’ brightly coloured artwork before we were packed off into vans and taken to holding cells at police stations all over the city. I was held through the night and for most of the ensuing day. Being a well trained activist I kept to No Comment throughout my interrogation, though the investigating officer was very interested in my ear plugs (convinced they were a clue that I was headed to the noisy coal conveyor belt) and my Climate Rush badge (at that time I was still involved with the Suffragette inspired group).

My Mugshot by Alison Day
My Mugshot by Alison Day.

My DNA was taken before I was eventually allowed to leave, taking none of my belongings. I was simply ejected into the night. With no money and absolutely no idea where I was in Nottingham. Fortunately there was legal support waiting in the station car park and I was scooped up and taken to a safe house. I spent another night sharing a bed with an activist before hitching the first lift out of Nottingham. By this time I was desperate to get back to London because I was worried that my house would be raided – someone else had left a piece of paper with my details on in their wallet and it had been waved at me as evidence in the police station. I spent the next few weeks worrying whether I would be raided when my interns were in the house, thereby putting their computers at risk as evidence too. In the end my worries were unfounded, though many other people were raided.

Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio
Ratcliffe Trial by Matilde Sazio.

It has taken nearly two years for this case to come to court, during which time I have not been able to talk about it for fear of affecting the outcome for the 26 who were charged (out of the original 114 activists who were arrested). Many of those spent the better part of December 2010 fighting their case in court in Nottingham. Green Party leader Caroline Lucas gave a statement and James Hansen testified. Despite comprehensive evidence proving that the climate crimes of corporations such as E.ON are way worse than anything we were planning to do, the activists were all convicted and given a mix of fines, conditional discharges and community service. Maybe the jury was won over by the prosecution argument that we would have been better off spending our time getting Cheryl Cole to promote second hand clothing. Bleurgh. The judge did however praise the defendents for their “intelligence and dedication” – climate activists are certainly some of the most clever and interesting people I know.

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

Six more activists were due to go to court today with a defence of Not Guilty because they had not yet decided to take part in the action when they were arrested. It was set to be an extraordinarily interesting case that would challenge the excessively expensive largest ever pre-emptive arrest, which in retrospect seems to be have been designed to capture the details of the entire UK climate activist network in one fell swoop. But their plans have at the last moment been thwarted. The reason? Our very own police mole.

Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss
Ratcliffe by Gemma Birss.

A few months ago the indymedia networks were rife with the news that a climate activist mole had been unmasked. For seven years Mark “Flash” Stone (so called because he always seemed to have lots of cash) was a familiar face on the activist circuit until he was outed by ‘close’ friends who eventually became suspicious of him. He also happened to be involved in much of the preliminary planning for the April action on Ratcliffe: hosting meetings, driving trucks and planning to lead climbers up the huge chimney stack.

Now it is revealed that Mark has left the police force, apparently ashamed of the consequences of his actions. The Ratcliffe Trial blog states that he was even planning to provide evidence in favour of the defendants he did so much to help arrest back in 2009. However it appears that outside pressures (the police he used to work for? surely not) recently caused him to withdraw his offer. The case was then mysteriously dropped in its entirety after the defence pressed the powers that be for details of Mark Kennedy’s involvement in the initial planning stages of the Ratcliffe action.

climate change by Jane McGuinness
Climate Change by Jane McGuinness.

Even before today’s revelations it already seemed a sure bet that Mark’s insider knowledge helped to secure huge funding for the police raid, which cost upwards of £700,000 and ensured that officers were drafted in from across the county on huge overtime wages over Easter. That’s over £6,000 on the cost of arresting me alone. Not to mention the fact that the extremely expensive court case may have collapsed in its entirety had Mark’s involvement been known earlier. I can think of better ways to spend cash, can’t you?

GarethAHopkins_Police The Community Ignore The Environment
Police The Community Ignore The Environment by Gareth A Hopkins.

In the last year Climate Change has all but dropped off the mainstream media agenda and many of our most committed activists have been tied up in lengthy court proceedings. Yet climate change continues unabated. Next month Climate Camp will run a five day long event at Monkton Wyld Court in Dorset called A Space for Change, which will seek to “reflect and re-assess climate justice activism, re-dream what a radical movement can be and re-invigorate ourselves and our network.” There’s never been a better time to get involved in climate activism. You can find out more details here.

Categories ,A Space for Change, ,Abigail Daker, ,activism, ,Alison Day, ,Caroline Lucas, ,Cheryl Cole, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Change, ,Climate Rush, ,coal, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Direct Action, ,DNA, ,Domestic Extremist, ,Dorset, ,E-On, ,Farzeen Jabbar, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Birss, ,Iona School, ,James Hansen, ,Jane McGuinness, ,kingsnorth, ,Mark “Flash” Stone, ,Mark Kennedy, ,Mark Stone, ,Matilde Sazio, ,Mole, ,Monkton Wyld Court, ,No Comment, ,nottingham, ,Paul Lewis, ,police, ,Ratcliffe, ,Ratcliffe 114, ,Ratcliffe On Soar, ,Rob Evans, ,Rukmunal Hakim, ,Suffragette, ,Terrorist, ,Undercover, ,Victoria Archer

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dirty Oil: Marina Pepper reviews the new film about the horror of the Canadian Tar Sands

Illustration by Daniel Almeroth.
Illustration by Daniel Almeroth.

Back in the days when climate change was a vague notion – something for the 22nd century, order a problematical J curve for academics to ponder over – I thought nothing of hopping on a short haul from LA to Las Vegas, online hiring a chevvy and heading out towards Monument Valley, decease cool desert and home of the Navaho. On the way I  would pass the Grand Canyon, a journey that forced me to redefine my concept of size. For this thing, this hole in the ground was absolutely gi-fucking-normous. It just kept on going.  No matter how long you drove, you came round a bend and there it was. Still. So huge was this new huge I even had to redefine my sense of how big infinite space might actually be. At the time is was as mind blowing as taking acid. It changed me forever.

Now I’m not saying the film Dirty Oil has changed me forever. But it has affected my mood. For now I discover a bigger huge. Tar Sands in Alberta, Canada. It is – or was – the biggest unspoilt forest in the world.  But just underground it’s the second biggest oil reserve in the world after Saudi Arabia. It’s bigger than Florida. Bigger than England. And it is the single biggest emitter of climate change gases in the world. If the oil industry gets the $379 billion investment it’s demanding we’ll get a rise of between 9 and 15 billion parts per million of C02 in the atmosphere. And you know what that means? It means the tipping point of runaway climate change. It can do this all on its own without any help from us leaving lights on or driving short journeys to Tesco.

Illustration by Daniel Almeroth.
Illustration by Daniel Almeroth.

This film though isn’t content to be another film about climate change. It brings you the human story of the Beaver Lake Kree – who are having their ancestral lands torn up, their rivers and lakes polluted and their health destroyed. Thanks to the arsenic in their fishstocks, the Kree are 30 % more likely to get cancer, including rare ones,  than other populations. And why are they subjected to this? So that America gets cheap oil without having to bully – er bother –  the Arabs for a decade. That’s it. A decade of cheapish growth. I could weep – except the film left me emotionally stunned. The problem here is capitalism. An unadulterated free market economy where the bottom line profit – the false prophet indeed – over rides all other considerations, including the survival of life on this planet itself, spews  unchecked in Alberta. It’s not just a local pollution issue, it’s a global one. The Co-op, which hosted this week’s screenings across the UK, wants us all to petition companies like RBS and BP through our pension plans. But is that enough? Is it even worth having a pension when the future is governed by this ginormous scrag-heap of crap? “It’s time to start blowing things up,” says a comrade as we leave the cinema a little stunned. “How big?” I jest.

But there is a minute sliver of hope here. They don’t raise this in the film, but it was the Cree Indians who predicted that a time would come when we discovered that we can’t eat our money. I think we’re getting there. And a Cree woman called Eyes of Fire fortold: “A time when trees fall, the rivers are black, fish die in the rivers and birds fall from the sky…

“And when it does a tribe will gather from all the cultures ?of the World who believe in deed and not words. ?They will work to heal it…  they will be known as the “Warriors of the Rainbow.”
Cree Indian Proverb

I assume that’s us. For anyone calling themselves an activist – if we don’t get together and stop Tar Sands, while forcefully overcoming ignorance to promote alternative ways of running economies and energy supplies, we’re doomed. And doomed is just too huge a deal to imagine.

You can read our preview here and find out where to see the film over the next few weeks here.

Categories ,Alberta, ,BP, ,canada, ,coal, ,Cree Indian Proverb, ,Daniel Almeroth, ,Grand Canyon, ,Indian Proverb, ,Las Vegas, ,Los Angeles, ,Monument Valley, ,oil, ,Oil Sands, ,RBS, ,Tar Sands

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