Amelia’s Magazine | Live Review: Crystal Stilts, The Bats and Comet Gain at the ICA

The ICA has always struck me an odd gig venue; with it’s white lights and shiny floors, viagra 100mg symptoms but on Friday 22nd May, pilule something exciting was rumbling in it’s deep dark underbelly and I went home prepared to eat my hat…
I didn’t know too much about Comet Gain before the gig, viagra 40mg and expected them to be over-shadowed by the rest of the line-up, but they held their own in spectacular fashion with their unique blend of Northern Soul and lo-fi, to create a danceable but refreshing rock n’roll.

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The Bats

Putting age before beauty, the Bats were on right before young whipper-snappers Crystal Stilts; the most magical inhabitants of New Zealand since hobbits. Having been around since the early 80s and having released a string of consistently good records they seemed to have avoided become publicly known and are quite the cult institution. The crowd at the ICA, myself included, are, blown away by their awesome crashing and soaring folky rock, with Crimson Envy going down like a treat. They have the look of the modern day Pixies (kinda old), with a sound that veers towards early Yo La Tengo or Low.

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The Bats

Whilst loving the Crystal Stilts’ debut album, I’m always sceptical of hype bands, but Crystal Stilts most definitely deserve their hype. From the first note, their post-punk, melancholic wall of bassy noise and murmur vocals enrapture the audience. Their single ‘Love is a Wave’, the second song played is a butterfly in the stomach shoe-gaze fest of blurry noise and the rest of the set follows to form.

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Crystal Stilts
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It is perhaps over easy to compare Crystal Stilts to My Bloody Valentine and their shoe-gaze peers, (it seems that a lot of Brooklyn bands at the moment are being shoehorned into a neo-shoe gaze poor fit) and whilst an element of that is present; mostly from Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Psychocandy, Crystal Stilts are more indebted to the Velvet Underground in their sustaining of a glorious continous noise, and the tuneful grumble of Brad Hargett’s voice is not dissimilar to Lou Reed. Whilst having roots buried in a deep and fruitful musical heritage, Crystal Stilts manage to create something unique to themselves. A band not to be missed.

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Crystal Stilts
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Photos appear courtesy of Roisin Conway and Cari Steel

Categories ,90s, ,Brooklyn, ,Folk, ,ICA, ,Indie, ,Live Review, ,Lo-fi, ,London, ,My Bloody Valentine, ,New Zealand, ,Rock n’ Roll, ,Shoegaze, ,Velvet Underground, ,Yo La Tengo

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Amelia’s Magazine | Curly Hair at Pure Groove: Curls Aloud

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!

This Saturday, ailment The Land Is Ours collective will occupy some disused land near Hammersmith. An eco-village will take root, 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.
Those of us who have grown up in this country have it built into our subconscious from an early age that summer does not automatically equal sun. Summer holidays from school would be six restless weeks of pleading with the clouds to part for just long enough that we might be able to leave our houses, pharmacy get to the park and partake in an activity and hopefully home again all before the heavens open and the rain chucks it down. We accept and expect a lack of skin-bronzing ice cream-melting sun rays during June, website July and August just as we have learnt to accept and expect that December, information pills January and February make no guarantees for snow.

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So it makes it even more endearing that a west coast American, Elizabeth Jaeger, accustomed to the balmy climate of San Francisco would take it upon herself to pen a gently begging letter to the weathermen and women of England asking them to do all they can to ensure her project that takes place this weekend in Victoria Park is not going to be rained off. So excited is she that her creative get together is a success this weekend, copies of her preparatory pleading have made it into the hands of meteorologists in Britain this week.

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Dear Weatherman,

I hope this finds you well.

First and foremost, I would like to say thank you. Your advisories’ predictions of the upcoming weather have been impeccable as of late – I really do appreciate knowing when to bring my umbrella.

I am writing you, Mr. Weatherman, because I have a small favor to ask. I am planning to have a picnic in Victoria Park on Saturday, 6th June, 2009, and it is simply imperative that we have good sunny weather in London. You see, we will have delicious food, a spin party, a chalk party, and music, and it would be devastating if it happened to rain – as the food might get soggy, the spinning might have to be at a very slow pace, the chalk might not stick, and the rain might ruin the instruments. I am inviting picnic goers from near and far, and I would not want them to arrive to find only mud.

I ask you then, Mr. Weatherman, if you could plan on having sunshine all day on 6th June, that we may fully enjoy our delicious picnic. I would also like to ask that there be good weather for performance going on Sunday, 7th June 2009. A performance will take place at the gallery space of Ken, and it would be such a shame if the viewers were not able to come in their Sunday best (floral dresses, dress trousers, khaki shorts, collard shirts, sunglasses, and smiles). If you think this request might need to be forwarded on to other weathermen who deal with locations upwind of London – could you please, if you wouldn’t mind, make some suggestions of whom?

I hope that this request is not too much to ask of you, as I imagine you are very busy finishing off with the spring.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Jaeger

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As a co-founder of the delightfully pro active group ‘Do It Together Projects’ (DIT) and dabbler in the mediums of sculpture, photography, drawing, painting and craft, creativity may as well be her middle name. She is also partly responsible for the annual exhibition in Oregon with the Miranda July-esque title ‘I love you here is what I made’, and at only 21 years old this all deserves more than a little adoration.
‘Perfect Day’ is a two parter, only one of which relies on the lack of precipitation. Once the ‘picnic’/chalk party/spin party has drawn to a close on Saturday, the gaggle will reconvene under the shelter of Ken for continued performance and jollity.

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Her own prediction for the day is that it may turn out to be ‘horribly horribly pleasant’ and on reflecting just how the day will take structure she humbly offers that Im not sure if what i am doing is actually an art performance, but ‘bread, cheese and wine will be served, so maybe it would be fun to come along. ‘
If her previous DIT gatherings in the States such as card making, book writing and mask making are anything to go by, no amount of English rain will make this event a wash out.

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Saturday 6th June

2pm Victoria Park
Grove Road
Hackney
London E3 5SN

Sunday 7th June

7pm Ken
35 Kenton Road
Homerton
London E9 7AB

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We have our fingers and toes crossed that Elizabeth Jaeger gets her weather wish, and we hope you do too.
The Summer Exhibition 2009
Royal Academy
6 Burlington Gardens
London W1S 3EX

8th June – 16th August
10am-6pm Everyday except Friday 10am-10pm
Entry: £9/8

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This exciting annual show continues to be the largest of it’s kind in the world, stomach displaying new work from established as well as unknown artists under an open-submission policy with the curator appointed theme ‘Making Space’. With 241 years experience in bringing sculpture, approved photography, more about architecture, painting and printmaking to the public, they are clearly still on to a good thing.

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Russell Maurice ‘Given Up The Ghost’
STOLENSPACE GALLERY
Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
London E1 6QL

11th June – 28th June
Tuesday – Sunday 11:00am – 7:00pm

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Since the mid 90′s, British born Maurice has produced paintings, prints, collages, sculptures and installations that reflect the spontaneous and informal nature of graffiti writing and have explored the recurring themes of energy, growth patterns and cycles in nature. This collection of new paintings, small-scale sculptures and installations, take these themes forward into new realms – to consider theories regarding the spirit world, the physical and metaphysical, consciousness and death.

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1001 Nights – An exhibition of Fabric Graffiti Screen Prints
Rarekind Gallery
Downstairs @ 49 Bethnal Green Road
Shoreditch
London E1 6LA

Monday – Saturday 10am – 6.00 pm
11th June – 28th June
Free

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Due to the huge success of this exhibition at Bristol’s Studio Amour, Rarekind is bringing the highly skilled and beautiful mix of traditional fabric printing methods with exciting cutting edge graffiti to London. Proving that both artistic mediums demonstrate dedication, physical input and love, Rarekind exhibits prints, hanging fabrics, room dividers and cushions including coveted one off prints by Ponk and Amour , Nylon, Pref, Fary, Kid Acne, Elph, Dibo, Dora, Paris & Solo One.

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Invisable Library
Tenderpixel Gallery
10 Cecil Court
London WC2N 4HE

12th June – 12th July
Monday – Friday 10:30apm – 7:00pm
Saturday 11:00am – 7:30pm
Sunday 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Free

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INK is an illustration collective that is holding the reigns at Tenderpixel Gallery for the next month for a busy schedule of events, talks and exhibitions. The Invisible Library is issuing an open invitation for cultural and musical figures as well as gallery visitors to write an opening or closing page of a ‘hidden novel’, the results of which will be published and exhibited.

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Golden Lane: The Super Estate
EXHIBIT
20 Goswell Road
Barbican
London EC1M 7AA

Until 30th June
Monday by appointment Tue – Fri: 11am – 6pm Sat: 11am – 5pm Sun: CLOSED

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“As part of the Golden Lane Estate’s 50th anniversary celebrations (1957-1962), EXHIBIT at Golden Lane Estate is commit to work with 13 artists in 10 ideas and 20 months. Inspired by the confluence of modernist design and community mission, EXHIBIT aims to create a legacy for the cultural future of the Estate, an archive developed through the interaction of artists and designers with the community mediated by EXHIBIT to celebrate this modernist design masterpiece and encourage an ongoing creative conversation that keeps the community at its heart.”

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Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair 2009
Old Truman Brewery
146 Brick Lane, E1 6QL

Sunday 14 June 2009
12pm – 6pm
Entry: £3

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Pitching themselves as the ultimate ‘Recessionista’ event of 2009, Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair at the Truman Brewery is set to be epic. Highlights for us include Secret Wars winners and all round adorable couple Ed Hicks and Miss Led who will be customizing anything and everything brought before them. Anyone who showed up for last year’s fun packed day will recognize Miss Led from her incredible live car commission. Look out for a preview of this event later in the week.

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Stop, Look & Listen
Subway Gallery
KIOSK 1 PEDESTRIAN SUBWAY
EDGWARE RD /HARROW RD LONDON W2 1DX
Until 30th June
open Monday – Saturday 11am – 7pm
Free

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Somewhere beneath Edgware Road where it meets Harrow Road is a 1960′s glass walled kiosk that three years ago was transformed by artist/curator Robert Gordon McHarg into a unique gallery space. Stop, Look & Listen is an exhibition about the space and it’s environment reflecting on the past shows and artists. They are also passionate about public interaction and interpretation, keen to spread the word about taking unused public space and using it for a creative outpost.

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Wagner Pinto– Floating
Concrete Hermit
5a Club Row
London
E1 6JX

Until 4th July
Opening Times: 10am – 6pm Mon – Sat
Free

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“Taking influence from the mix of religions and influences across South America such as candomble – a religion which melds Catholicism and African traditions Pintos paintings materialize forces of nature, mythology and religious icons, imaginary situations, mental impulses and fine energies. The idea is to bring to the surface, to the senses and to the view of visitors a floating universe, where even waves of thoughts have a rhythm, harmony, body and color, making the invisible visible to the human eye and in this way, to try to give a new direction to abstract art.”
Monday 8th June
Lissy Trullie at the ICA, visit this site London

New York’s lovely long-legged Lissie Trullie plays the ICA tonight, pill she sings of lost loves and first kisses in sultry world weary tones, with hooky bass lines and post punk-y drum beats in the background, not dissimilar to the Strokes. Her songs manage to be both wise and witty whilst endearingly naive. A refreshing take on a pretty male dominated music scene.

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Tuesday 9th June
Kid Harpoon at Enterprise, London

Kid Harpoon makes me swoon! A regular fixture on the London indie scene having supported Mystery Jets to name but one. Kid Harpoon is also a talented musician in his own right, with his intelligent and disarmingly unassuming folk rock, a troubadour of our times!

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Wednesday 10th June
The Fall and Buzzcocks at The Forum

Wednesday’s gig choice is an epic one this week…The Fall and Buzzcocks play The Forum! Mark E. Smith may be as mad as a bag of cats but there is no denying that The Fall are one of the most seminal and brilliant bands around, their live shows never fail to impress so I’ve heard. Plus who could resist dancing to Buzzcocks’ Never Fallen in Love and pretending to be 18 again?!

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Thursday 11th June
Chad VanGaalen at ICA

Chad VanGaalen sounds like a lovely man, he makes his music in his basement in Alberta, and he draws. There is a real homemade quality to his creative process (home recorded CDs with hand drawn art) that is audible and his dreamy music evokes the most awed oohs and aahs . VanGaalen has been compared to everyone from Daniel Johnston to Ben Gibbard.

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Friday 12th June
Vivian Girls at Cargo

I bang on a lot about the Vivian Girls at work (sorry other interns!) but they are genuinely very good indeed, which is why I’ll be heading to Cargo to see them this Friday, come on down and dance with me (because none of the other interns will…) to their all girl lo-fi surf punk!

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Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June
Meltdown Festival, Southbank Centre, London

Ornette Coleman is curating this year’s Meltdown Festival and it’s an eclectic mix, this weekend catch The Roots, Yoko Ono and Cornelius. It continues into the beginning of next week, so it is with a note of mystery that I end this week’s listings:
“To be Continued…”

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Edinburgh

By the early afternoon this Sunday, what is ed the sun had begun to shine. Hooray! Where better to spend such glorious afternoon than in a pitch-black, advice gloomy tent saddled in between a couple of old dears wearing cheap perfume whilst their make-up runs down their faces?

Cheeky! It could only be one place – Graduate Fashion Week 2009!

Forgive my introduction. I arrived to see the Edinburgh College of Art show in a bit of a state – and to make matters worse, case it was boiling inside. The move from Battersea to Earl’s Court last year might have aided things, but not entirely. Regardless, the show itself was excellent. Well produced and structured with 11 of ECA’s elite womenswear designers, cherry picked to delight us with their collections. Not a single one disappointed.

Raine Hodgson opened the show, with a flamboyant display of Russian folk-inspired costumes. Models wore bearskin-style furry hats, teamed with patterned trousers and long capes, in vibrant colours. Sheepskin, leather and silk were combined to create a luxurious wintery collection.

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Mairi Dryden toned things down slightly, with a muted colour palette. This isn’t to say that the collection was boring – far from it – constructivist-inspired bronze printed dresses were teamed with voluminous tailored jackets and tapered trousers, providing a more sophisticated and fashion-forward look.

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Amelia Hobson‘s cosmopolitan collection included oversized pants with paper-bag waists, worn loose around the thighs, creating interesting silhouettes and promoting the female form. Colonial elements such as huge loose knots and large wooden jewellery complimented discrete hints of animal prints.

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Sarah Martin‘s intriguing but delightful collection consisted of ‘clean minimal silhouettes’ wearing basic tailoring, contrasting with bold ‘playful’ bright yellow accents in the form of rubber-like coats and accessories.

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The stand-out collection in this show was Natalie Morris‘s stunning all-black numbers. Art Deco-shaped fascinators were teamed with bold silhouettes, enhancing the female shape. Soft wools were married with stiffer fabrics, suggesting a hint of kink. Morris’ models sure got sex appeal.

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Overall, Edinburgh proved that they are a force to be reckoned with at Graduate Fashion Week. The shortest show I saw yesterday, it still packed the same punch as the larger university collections, and in a struggling financial climate it is great to see that nobody shyed away from fabulous, flamboyant, forward fashion. Edinburgh have produced a plethora of talented womenswear designers who will no doubt move on to big things.

Northumbria

Northumbria University whipped up a storm at Graduate Fashion Week on Sunday – to nobody’s surprise, frankly. Year after year the university never fails to deliver intelligent, fresh and innovative collections.

As UNN alumni, I am indeed biased. I cannot help but gush about the quality of fashion that Northumbria produces each year, so this is more of a love letter than a write-up. The show steals my heart and leaves me reeling.

Shakespearian amore aside, the show kicked off with Nicola Morgan’s top-notch tailoring accompanied by thumping music. The soundtrack is always so loud at GFW, sometimes too much, but it tends to add to the intesity of the event, and each song is selected as a suitable accompaniment to each student’s collection. Morgan’s innovative garments each comprised of individual pieces of fabric which interlock – breaking the boundaries of fashion and making clothing adaptable by the user. The technique, however subtle, still lended itself to producing fashion-forward garments.

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Ruth Davis’ vibrant knitwear came soon after. Worn for winter, hooded tops, scarves and dresses bore large-scale graphic patterns in the brightest hues…

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Sliding back to sophistication, Marie McDonagh presented an all black collection, redolent of the fabulous forties. High gloss materials complimented slick tailoring, and this geometric jacket was a winner – it’s sporadic shiny squares accenting the bejewelled detailing on a simple yet elegant dress.

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Steph Butler’s interesting use of layered, laser-cut material to create statement tops, pants and coats created interesting shapes and the models bore bold silhouettes.

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Rio Jade Maddison’s aim is to create ‘thought-provoking, creative’ garments with sex appeal. This she did. A sleek, mostly all-black collection, Maddison created sexy slim-line shapes. Models wore skull caps and ruffs, teamed with dresses embellished with shiny studs and spikes, for a hint of kink…

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Juxtaposed with Maddison’s slick and sexy collection was Holly Storer, who presented elegant dresses using a warm palette, heavily reliant on a gradient of red. Short yet demure dresses were decorated with pretty origami roses to create a glamorous yet sophisticated look.

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Finally, it is a given that the menswear at Northumbria is always of a very high standard, so it was no surprise to see Maxwell Holmes’ fantastic tailoring that any sartorial dresser would snap up in a flash. High-waisted tailored trousers were worn with brightly coloured braces, tartan bow-ties and smooth shoes, referencing a decades of classic menswear. The craftsmanship here is delectable and wouldn’t look out of place on a London Fashion Week runway ? in fact, I’ve seen much worse there! This embroidered dinner jacket doesn’t break any new ground, but boy is it hot… and the model’s not bad either…

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Until next year, Northumbria. I love you.

Maybe it was the heat. Yes, viagra dosage that’s it. The heat. The heat that caused the Old Blue Last‘s normally reliable PA to pack up for most of the evening, leaving an expectant throng, marinading in lager and gin, to bask in the receding sunlight whilst the sound engineer banged his head against a wall. The heat that made it seem like an eternity (well, to those of us who had unwisely not booked in advance for a ticket) as, once normal service was resumed, said throng dutifully filed in to fill the less than cavernous upstairs bar in a fashion that would suit a sardine. The heat that created a sweat-soaked (if you were stood at the front) fervour rarely seen on a Monday night. Still, it was worth it.

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As for Matt and Kim themselves. Well, where to begin? Mid-global tour to promote their new long-player, Grand, they rock up in deepest Shoreditch on their sole UK date and immediately tear a new one in this earnest heartland of skinny jeans and silly hairdos. With Kim mercilessly bashing the skins like a latter-day Moe Tucker, wearing a grin as wide as a Cheshire cat, and Matt pounding at his keyboards with wild abandon, the Brooklyn duo treated us to some (occasionally Ramones-velocity) nuggets such as Daylight, Yea Yeah and, of course, the gem that is Silver Tiles (sounding even more like the song Brandon Flowers would have given his last Britpop compilation for to have crafted).

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They meld spunky New Wave rhythms, the dirtiest end of DIY electro-pop and a whole lot of enthusiasm to create a heady brew.
And we had incident. Kim’s drum stool broke halfway through the set. We had crowd surfing. In fact, Kim had a brief crowd surf herself, accompanied by Matt playing the introduction to Sweet Child O’ Mine, to a roar of approval from the crowd.

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We also had a brief rendition of the synth riff to Europe‘s Final Countdown. It just seemed such a perfectly natural thing to do. And Matt and Kim seemed genuinely bowled over by the riotous reaction of the crowd. Ah, yes the heat. It was worth it.

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Photos appear courtesy of Richard Pearmain
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If you’re not careful, website after some time spent gazing at one of Femke Hiemstra’s illustrations you may start to notice that everything in your periphery has gone fuzzy, the antique spoon you were stirring your coffee with is grinning at you and the gingerbread man you were going to dunk and nibble has got a little bloodlust in his eye. This cadre of anthropomorphic objects and smoking creatures has me hypnotized and now ‘who to befriend?’ and ‘what are they up to?’ are the only things I care to contemplate. Unfathomably skilled and allegorically gifted, Femke paints the childplay of our subconscious onto antiques finds like books and cigarette tins. She has an appetite for description and reclaims vintage treasures as her canvases. Currently exhibiting in Lush Life at Washington’s Roq la Rue Gallery and a new book Rock Candy coming out this year and, from her home in Amsterdam, Femke Hiemstra tells us more about what goes into this pop surrealist’s soup.

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What’s the reason for using inanimate objects as characters?
Why an apple or a mikshake cup? I’m not quite sure, but I think that I’m appealed to the shape at first and I also see characters in them and want to put those personalities on a canvas. Also, I think that drawing a car would bore me.

So much of your work is about light and dark, a shadowy world of storytelling. For all the worlds you describe are there any worlds/places you would like to explore?
I look at things differently, through my own ‘high sensitive’ glasses so to say. In a way I’m already in another world.

The facial expressions in your characters are amazing, what do you refer to when you’re painting them?
I think my inpsiration comes from the ‘enlarged personalities’ I see on the big screen or read in comics. French and Belgian ones mostly. All the ones my dad read like Obelix & Asterix and Lucky Luke.

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That and the great adventurer TinTin of course! I ADORE the “Japanese Mountain Lady” piece. Sinister old ladies are always appearing in Asian stories.
Thanks so much! It was a piece I made for the Fantagraphics Beasts book. This is a compilation of illustrated cryptozoological curiosities. I choose to draw a Japanese Mountain Woman, a female demon who roams japanese hills in search of lonely travelers who she attacs and devours. When I read the story I first thought of the mountain woman as a young but creepy Japanese beauty in a lovely kimono. But when I did my research I found out that the ‘Yama-uba’ was actually an old hag in rags. I could have changed her appearance and take the artistic freedom to make her young and pretty but I choose to go with old bat version. This piece is an example of a digital work. I first made a graphite drawing, scanned it and coloured it digitally in Photoshop.

You mentioned some of the themes you draw from are strong emotions like battles, a hunt, a lost or tragic love or the ‘romantic’ death. Do you see those in the world today?
Well, yes, but my work is not about modern stories, politics or anything else that takes place in this century. And though the ‘actors’ I paint may be recent I beam them to other times. My interest goes to a time where everything had it’s own pace, where there was time for rituals. I do stand with both feet in modern times (except perhaps, that I don’t Skype), but ‘vintage’ with all the scratches that comes with it breaths more life and just appeals to me more.

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I couldn’t agree more that there is a void where value used to exist. Disposable objects, obsessions with the new and therfor youth. The absence of rituals, as you mentioned is a very good example of that. We’re too busy running about to notice and acknowledge something’s significance. Do you see any examples around you these days that some of that IS still around?
Im fascinated by smoking, even though Im not a smoker myself. I’m very attracted to the power of it, the Hollywood-esque forms it can have when a hunky bloke or a femme fatale lits a cigarette. It’s not what you’d call a ritual nowadays though, but it played an important role in older times, used in negotiations or to get in contact with the spirit world. In the Victorians days, certain gentlemen would put on a velvet or cashmere smoking jacket and a beautifully embroideried smoking cap to enjoy a cigar or pipe.
But other modern rituals? Not close to me I guess. But you can re-create them yourself. After reading The Devil’s Picnic, a book by Taras Grescoe on modern day taboo’s, I got into drinking Absinthe. It’s just a small ritual, but still a great thing to do. It begins by finding the right glasses or buying a beautiful absinthe spoon and then at home follow the steps to get that opalescence ‘louche’ drink.

Is there some of that represented in your work?
I’ve been inpspired by rituals for a while now. By burial or religious rituals, eating and drinking rituals… Today I went to see a wonderful Exhibition of Haitian Vodou in one of Amsterdam’s ethongraphic museum ‘The Tropenmuseum’. It was brilliant. A mix of African rituals and Catholic aspects blended into a religion with no dogma or hierarchy. You bet you’ll find influences of that in my future works.

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You’ve painted on everything from cigarette tins to holy water basins. Where do you find your lovely treasures?
Fleamarkets, second hand book stores and collectors fairs. And small town bric-a-brac’s that are run by the village idiot.

What object have you dreamed of one day painting on?
An antique bible with metal corners.

Every artist need a bit of release during their day…what’s the last song you danced to? Sang out loud to?
I sing out loud every day to all kinds of music! (I work at home. It’s a big advantage if you’re an ‘along singer’ like me). The last song must have been something from Iron Maiden or that last Elbow album, those are the two cd’s I listened to today. The last song I danced to was Death to Los Campesinos by Los Campesinos.

You must have incredible dreams! What was the last dream you remember having?
Oh man, I have the weirdest dreams sometimes. I’m not really drink much alcohol and don’t do drugs which, perhaps, makes it all even weirder, but every now and then I can wake up from a dream and be thinking ‘… did that all just happen in MY head?’ But dreams are fun. Today a friend of mine told me she found herself crying over her bike that got its ‘head’ chopped off on a bicycle battefield. Woooo… weird!

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Is there somewhere you’ve traveled that has influenced you. Is there some place you’d like to visit, bottom of the ocean, back alley in Shanghai, your neighbor’s attic…?
Russia, or more presicely, Moskow. I love to see that one day. I’ve read this book about it written by a Dutch correspondent who lives there and it must be such a contradictional place. That I just have to see for myself. And Japan, of course! Characters galore on every street corner and in every vending machine. Seeing the polar lights up north is also on my wishlist.

I could so easily see how your work could be translated into motion or animation. Has anyone ever approached you about that?
Disney wanted me to make a proposal for a tv animation short. Of course I was thrilled and I dropped everything I was working on to focus on it. But once I showed my first proposal this assignment with ‘total creative freedom’ turned into one of the biggest brain drains of my creative career. I wrote about it on my blog. (read about it) So animation… I dunno! I’m not exactly jumping of joy. But Disney’s sitll a bit fresh, for now I’m very happy painting.

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I just saw your badges/pins and was wondering if they are actually hand painted?
No, those are printed. Sometimes a bunch of collegues and me are invited to do live badge drawing at the Lowlands (alternative) music fesitval in Holland, together with our badge producer Buzzworks. People can make their own badges or have an artist draw one for them. It’s like a school trip for artists, amidst cool visitors and cool music. It’s always a lot of fun.

Wahoo, let’s all pile into to the school bus and make for the Dutch Lowlands, who’s with me? Femke’s skills as an illustrator/storyteller are razor sharp. Just so happens she’s incredibly fun to interview too. Hmmm, now what sinister playmates does that remind me of?

Recently Femke’s fantastical work has garnered the attention of an unlikely admirer in the form of a counterfeiter!!! Good grief, is no one safe?
Sunday 7th June, erectile 2009

Spare a thought for the student designers at Graduate Fashion Week. They’ve had innumerable sleepless nights and they’ve sewn into the small hours. Their reward? To stand up at GFW for over nine hours day, pharmacy grinning deliriously and trying their best to woo potential employers.

After a gruelling day on Sunday, prescription you can understand why people were starting to look forlorn. BUT what better way to cheer up than the University of East London show – an effervescent romp through the Capital’s latest talent? First out to get our pulses racing was Sam Hoy – presenting masculine tailoring juxtaposed with soft feminine shapes. Sport-inspired body-con tops were teamed with shiny gloss metal embellishments for dramatic effect.

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Shireen Shomaly’s collection focussed on the assembly of objects. Intricate geometric shapes in leather and suede were layered up to define the appearance of garments, whilst delicate laser-cut forms had the reverse effect on contrasting pieces. Shomaly’s use of rich purples and greens gave the collection a welcomed luxurious edge.

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Next, Ayroza Dobson’s collection came bounding down the catwalk to the sounds of MIA‘s Bucky Done Gun (the third time we’d heard this track this afternoon). Short dresses were plastered with large discs bearing graphic symbols, and one dress – one of my favourite pieces this year – had a sequinned ‘cheeky postcard’ illustration on the rear of a striking yellow dress.

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Sevda Salih’s sophisticated and mature collection featured structured blazers with masculine shoulders and a gorgeous combination of rich silks, married with gold PVC, providing accents on an otherwise monochromatic palette. Salih’s pièce de résistance was a voluminous hexagonal cape, drawing inspiration from architecture. Not one for the office, but fabulous nevertheless.

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Caelie Martha Jones presented some intriguing menswear – dressing models in bold baggy trousers paired with graphic prints. I’d bag this Smurf-illustrated shirt in a flash…

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One of my favourite collections of the show, by Natasha Goff, featured bold statement pieces bearing graphic prints. Inspired by dance, models wore asymmetric and maxi dresses featuring hand painted pictures. Vibrant, playful colours made this collection a winner.

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Kerry Louise Hobbs showed a mature collection which drew inspiration from original African dressing. Dynamic shapes with exaggerated features, such as huge blouson sleeves, accentuated the female silhouette. Hobbs also made great use of rural colours, and simple but effective prints.

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Closing the show was Lucy Bryan. Taking us back to black, Bryan’s collection was confident and sleek. Galvanised by the beauty of black swans and ravens, Bryan’s models wore structured dresses with a nod to conceptual designers. Jackets were structured to accentuate the shoulders for a more dynamic figure and pieces fitted tight around the waistline and then buckled around the buttocks. The show piece – a shell-like cape which hid the model’s figure and was adorned with a row of feathers, captivated the audience and was the perfect climax.

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I caught up with a couple of the students after the show to find out a little bit more…

NATASHA GOFF
‘Misfit’

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Where did the ideas for your collection come from?

Dance was a big part of my childhood – ballet, tap. I wanted to feature this huge influence in my collection.

How were the outfits created?

I used dancers and projected images onto the pieces. All the designs are hand painted, using a projector to define the image onto the fabric. Some were projected onto the garments when they had been constructed, some I projected onto the fabric first. This allowed for different effects to come through.

You worked for Siv Stodal during your placement year – how was that?

Great. I worked there for one a day a week, assisting her with her show and looking at things like sampling.

Has that influenced your collection?

Definitely. It was great to work in that kind of highly creative, East London studio-based environment. I also did a very commercial placement [Courtaulds UK] which was very different but just as enjoyable.

Which other designers do you admire?

I like designers who have combined art and fashion – Hussein Chalayan, who incoroprates sculpture into his work – for example. I also adore John Galliano – I love his use of colour and statement dressing.

What’s the plan for the immediate future?

I haven’t started looking yet! Definitely design – I’d like to work with a high-end designer where there’s more freedom, and you’re not restricted so much by money and figures.

LUCY BRYAN
‘Revenge of the Birds’

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Why birds?

Well, ironically, I’m scared of birds! I did loads of research, and started collecting images I liked and the research went on a journey which led me to birds.

How did this develop?

The main inspiration came from birds wings, in particular black swans. I used the wings on the female form to see what sort of silhouettes they made, which gave me the shapes for the collections.

Did you enjoy the show?

It was pretty stressful before hand, but watching the show was really exciting and it’s great to see your garments come to life.

Which designers do you look to for inspiration?

Gareth Pugh’s collections are always amazing, and his structural pieces have been the biggest influence on my collection. I also love Chloé and Lanvin.

What does the future hold?

I have no idea! I’d love to work in design or buying. [Lucy interned at Ralph Lauren as a buyer’s admin assistant] I guess I’ll just see what happens!

I’m no Londoner – so when my fellow Amelia’s Magazine Earth Editor Cari sent me off to Brixton Ritzy Cinema, medical a glance at the tube map sent me off into untested waters at the end of the Victoria line.

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Caught in the rush – swimming with the stream – I saw Electric Avenue and assumed a cinema should be that way. Asking a fishmonger for reassurance, I was pointed in the opposite direction, and bashfully walked past the bus queues I had hurriedly blanked moments before. The first hints of something fishy reached my tube-heat-addled brain when a clear signpost at the station pointed me back another way once more. Was the fish man out to lure me away from Brixton’s brighter lights, an anglerfish of these parts? Was he planted by the fishing lobby to prevent this very report? How far did the tentacles of this conspiracy extend?

Squeezing into my cinema seat (sparing you the obvious sardine pun) I reflected on the currents that had brought me here. The film was introduced by a local Greenpeace activist, with the true-hearted exhortation : to come out of this film inspired to build a better and more sustainable world.

Before I get into it, here’s what to do :

Ask before you buy – only eat sustainable fish.

Tell the politicians – respect the science, cut the fishing fleet.

Join the campaign – for marine protected areas and responsible fishing.

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Opening with a theme tune somewhere between Jaws and Harry Potter, the mixed tone of imminent danger, mystery and optimism is well set for the rest of the film. Based on the book of the same title, ‘The End of the Line’, written by Daily Telegraph journalist Charles Clover, the film sweeps the viewer from place to plaice across the world, backed up by scientists, fishermen and fishermen-turned-investigators who clearly lay out the argument around the exhaustion of the world’s fish stocks and what to do now.

The story starts in Newfoundland, Canada, in 1992, when John Crosbie, then Canada’s Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, announced a total stop on cod fishing. The inexhaustible ocean, where cod were once so abundant that it was said you could cross the Atlantic walking on their backs, the ocean was exhausted.

Boris Worm then published a study of the fish we fish at the moment, predicting that they will all be gone by 2048 if nothing changes.

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The obvious solution is to fish less. In Europe, the EU fisheries commission takes charge of this, which sounds lovely until you look at the figures. WWF scientists consider 15 thousand tonnes a year the maximum to avoid total collapse, and 10 would allow the fish to recover. The commission set the limit of 29.5, which was then almost totally ignored by the industry, who fished 61 thousand tonnes in one year.

The West Coast of Africa is particularly affected by the economics and politics of fish quotas. Adalu Mbegaul, an artisanal fisherman from Senegal, feels betrayed by his government as they sell the fishing rights for their waters to foreign boats. These boats come in from Europe, and more and more from Asia, with industrial capacity that swamps anything he can put out. Adalu has a young daughter, and is considering taking to the sea for the dangerous trip to Europe, where there might be a future for her – ‘It is safe there and it is not safe,’ he says, and of course, ‘Our fish are welcome in Europe, but our people are not so welcome.’

It’s not just a matter of stopping eating fish – 1.2 billion people around the world depend on it as their main source of protein. But particularly for the richer people in the world, the trend to eat salmon and tuna, and rarer fish, in the quantities that we do, is harmful. The Marine Conservation Society have a certification scheme for supermarket-sold fish : look out for their oval blue sign, which is a step towards consumers being able to make informed choices about the sustainability of the fish we buy.

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Farming fish, which sounds great, is actually not wonderful. Farmed salmon, for example, takes 5kg of anchovy fish-meal to make 1kg of salmon – so the wild stocks are just depleted indirectly.

The other thing to do is to set up protected areas, which cover less than 1% of the ocean today. The film calls for 20-30% coverage by 2012, which would cost an estimated $12-14 billion yearly to set up and patrol, comparable to the $15-20 billion of fisheries subsidies which are currently paid out each year. In the UK, there’s an early day motion calling for a Marine Reserves Bill which would set up the network of marine protected areas necessary to rebuild UK commercial fish stocks and stop the damage being caused to the ecosystems. You can check who has signed it here and get in touch with your MP easily at TheyWorkForYou.com

Finally, Greenpeace marine biodiversity campaigner Andy Tate gave a welcomingly unbeardy q&a session after the film, dispelling the dooooom-laden air of some questions, and happily recommending that we all ask awkward questions the next time we’re down the chippy.
It’s true what they say – the journey is as important as the destination. As all commuting Londoners can appreciate, order anything that brightens, stomach lifts or eases that (in some cases) hour or two spent each day trudging back and forth from home to work and back home again is a true blessing. Waiting morning after morning on overcrowded platforms for overcrowded trains to arrive, abortion only to then spend your travels involuntarily nuzzled into someone’s already moist armpit or being subjected to an individual’s morning mega mix on their Ipod they can’t control the volume of, whilst paying above the odds for the pleasure of it all, can be trying a the best of times. If only the Underground system could offer us something in return; just a little ‘I’m on your side’ token of gratitude for sticking it out and soldiering on. Something that says ‘It hasn’t all been in vain.’

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Amanda Taylor

The answer to our prayers comes in the form of Art Below, an organisation which holds the belief that public space can and should be utilised as exhibition space. Working with galleries, universities and other art organisations Art Below has infiltrated the tube stations and surrounding areas of London, Tokyo and more recently, Berlin with fresh engaging cutting edge creativity. What makes them different from Art on the Underground that also promote the swap of advert space for artwork is that Art on the Underground is a charity, and have an educational slant in that they use work by more established artists, and the theme of the underground and travel features heavily.

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Sahatarch Pittarong

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Ben Pentreath

It has been a busy 4 years for Art Below, with over 480 artists and designers involved in showcasing photography, art, illustration and fashion in spaces that would otherwise be occupied by corporate advertising. It’s a scheme that cleverly benefits all involved; the public are entertained, the anti consumerists bask in one less billboard trying to sell us stuff we don’t want or need, and naturally the artists themselves gets the best exposure and promotion they could hope for, their work reaching an audience that may not have the time or inclination to visit galleries or museums.

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Art Below in Tokyo

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Art Below in Tokyo

Who, what and where to exhibit is decided in coalition between Art Below and the submitting artist. Ben Moore, one of the key figures in creation of Art Below tells me that not all art works on the tube, and not every tube station works for every artist. For example Gloucester Road is particularly well lit, and Finsbury Park can work as an entire platform. Ben is keen to point that “The concept is far more important to us that aesthic beauty; we want art that is here and now, with something to say, a message. We deal with artists that use current affairs and can be provoking.”

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Matt Black

Once the artists are selected, their work stays up for 2 weeks and as it has been estimated that over 150,000 people use the tube in London every hour, that is clearly an amazing opportunity. Ben adds that “each piece is a one off, and that makes us different from groups like Art Underground who reproduce a poster 25 times. With us, there is an element of it being a rarity and therefore an excitement that unless you go through that station every day, you won’t see that piece anywhere else.” Art Below are constantly on the lookout for artists that interest them personally and have approached people they admire to produce commissions. They are proud to consider themselves responsible for the discovery of big talents like Sarah Maple and Oliver Clegg.

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Sarah Maple

Art Below operates like any other business. For their money the artists receive a service; their work is printed, exposed, distributed and sold. Anyone who does exhibit gets a spot on the website too, and a chance to sell prints of their posters through the online shop, with a handsome cut of the sales. Ben explains “This whole project started as a mobile phone with £5 credit on it, and a borrowed laptop. And now we hire other people, we work from a Chelsea art space; we are making art history, in a way. If Art Below keeps on expanding the way it has been doing, then we really will be making a mark and that’s what it’s all about.”

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Art Below in Berlin

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Art Below in Berlin

When we discuss how Art Below transfers to audiences abroad, Ben tells me that London is not in anyway typical. “Berlin is very easygoing, more so than London. Anything goes, you know. And the reaction was amazing. You leave London you free yourself from so much conformity, and the hierarchical structure this city has. In Germany and in France (where Art Below are hoping to head next) doors for creativity like this are opening.” However, when the project headed to Tokyo, things took a lot longer to happen. ‘They (Japan) are very strict with content. Some things that were rejected we had no idea why. Also the process was slower; the authorities want work submitted way ahead of time. It was expensive, but they are highly organised and the quality is amazing.”

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Josh McKible

Art Below and the examples they are setting deserve global domination as far as I’m concerned. They are altering the way we think, feel and appreciate public space as something we, the public, rightfully own and empowering us to chose what use to make of it. Party on.

What did you see on the tube today?

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So it’s the second day of Graduate Fashion Week and I’m just about getting into the swing of things and had a look into a couple of the less anticipated shows with interest – Salford, capsule Salisbury and Central Lancashire. With regard to Salford and Salisbury (who shared a show) there was some interesting work, health although the Central Lancashire show was disappointing (and, nurse dare I say, slightly hellish, with a 45-minute soundtrack of classic rock and saxophone solos, coupled with the heat, served to exacerbate my already negative reaction to the uninspiring designs).

Salisbury’s Francesca Lombardi produced a resort-inspired, overtly feminine collection with a soft colour palette of peach and baby blue, and attractively printed silk dresses and harem pants covered in cartoon images of seaside life. I felt it was a well-constructed idea of luxury that could have easily been on the wrong side of mature, but Lombardi infused her designs with a youthful humour, with some modern tailoring made classic by neckties and headscarves.

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The standout closing collection from the Salford graduates was Gemma Clements’s, a strange and disquieting set of designs that married the freakishness of the New York Club Kids with the suburban feel of the Stepford Wives.

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Each model was entirely incarcerated from head to toe in block floral fabric, with grotesque poses and matching umbrellas enforcing an idea of a hyperbolic version of femininity that seemed to be straight out of an Angela Carter novel.

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As the models stormed down the catwalk together in the finale, the fetishised image of 1950s suburbia drew a strong reaction from the crowd and reminded me of Alexander McQueen’s own wish to empower women by making them frightening to us as well as alluring. Amongst a selection of designs that seemed to play it safe it was nice to see something so forcefully conceptual – even though it’s an idea that’s arguably a little dated. Fashion has traditionally been a good platform to explore gender roles but I think it’s an idea that’s certainly becoming less relevant over time.

As a general rule, though, the BA shows are notorious for outlandish designs so the tameness of a lot of the collections on show left me a little jaded, but with any luck Day 3 should send me into freefall…

As a menswear specialist, more about it is irrevocably informative to look at the work of designers who specialise in other areas. Imagine my delight then, abortion as I sat through two shows at Graduate Fashion Week consisting entirely of womenswear, and having loose connections with both, I was looking forward to the Somerset College show and De Monfort.

First up was DeMontfort, with the opener an ethnic inspired collection from Zathew Zheng. Reds and yellows highlighted the monochrome base and plated accessories did the job of setting up high expectations for a decent show.

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Looking through the names in the running order in the delay (who expects a fashion show to start bang on time, anyway, even at GFW) I was trying to sniff out talent purely on the grounds of a good name. Bromleigh Budd’s particularly caught my eye and correspondingly (in fact, inevitably) it was one of the best collections: dark and beautiful but simultaneously relaxed, with wonderful devoree dinosaurs and sparkling perspex discs.

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Another favourite of mine came in the form of a Jonathan Saunders-esque designs of digitally printed sports/lounge/eveningwear from Nicky Leung, a relaxed collection of soft colours and fluid shapes.

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Next up was Somerset College. Being a Somerset boy myself, I was eagerly anticipating a show that might remind me of the pastoral pleasures of home that somehow elude the smog of East London, and, as if reading my mind, the first on the runway was Paula Fisher’s collection, an evening wardrobe of a sharp-dressing sheepshearer.

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She showed some interestingly cut feminine sheepskin coats in navy and cream that my great uncle Ed (owner of a sheepskin factory, oh yes) would have been proud of. In fact as the collections continued to come out it was apparent that the Somerset students set store by a veritable investment in their rural surroundings, inasmuch as the London students will invariably produce overtly urban-centric designs. There was a fair whack of tweed sent out, and one of one of my favourite instances was the ‘Structured Elegance’ of Toni Rogers’ architecturally inspired collection.

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Also running with the theme was Lisa Edwards, whose Welsh inspired ‘Country Heritage’ collection had a muted colour pallet mixed with leather and plaids contrasted so well by the striking ‘pink’ of the hunter-inspired final outfit.

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Having seen one of Sam Elliot’s creations on display at the Ethical Fashion Stand at GFW I was intrigued to see her use of organic and reclaimed fabrics, and delicate prints and bias cut silk dresses flowing down the catwalk showed how it should be done.

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I thought both shows provided a useful blueprint for how fashion can be successful (gasp!) beyond the confines of London – but with Manchester School of Art tomorrow will they be blown out of the water?

Photos: Catwalking.com

Schlepping across a rainy, information pills sodden London to Pure Groove was quite the uninviting prospect yesterday, what is ed but Brighton-born Curly Hair certainly provided a ray of sunshine to the grizzly grey back streets of Farringdon with their delicious lunchtime in-store.

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The 3 piece mostly use keyboard, page drum and guitar with support from all sorts of lovely folky nick-nacks; like the glockenspiel, a tambourine and of course hand claps. Their boy-girl vocals cascade perfectly off each other and definitely deserve comparisons to Stuart Murdoch and Isobel Campbell, their use of voice skips and dances nicely over and around their structured instrumental arrangement.

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So, the big question is with all this abundance of quirk and sweetness ; how do Curly Hair manage to avoid slipping into the realm of the sugary tired twee which is seemingly in overabundance in the British anti-folk scene at the moment?
I suppose that Curly Hair balance things out by using a certain quick wit and a dark humour like all the best quintessential British eccentrics. They have a rather sad-funny song about missing the horror of all eleven year olds the 11-plus, and another about a brother with a speech impediment, stories worthy of the mighty Miranda July.

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After they decamped from the stage with their instruments and stood around the shop singing their final song, I left the shop with a smile and sunny skip in my step, thinking to myself that Curly Hair is rather lovely music to hold hands to…

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Photos by Robert Felix

Categories ,Anti-Folk, ,Belle and Sebastian, ,Brighton, ,Indie, ,Lo-Fi, ,Miranda July, ,Pop, ,Pure Groove

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Amelia’s Magazine | Alice and the Cool Dudes

The eponymous release from New York based The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has everything you could want from a summer album. A certain been-in-the-sun-too-long hazy-headyness without the too-much-ice-cream sugariness of many indie-pop summer albums. No-No! I’m rallying for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart being trail-blazers for a new genre we shall call ‘Sandalgaze” aka Shoegaze for when it’s not raining out.

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From the rip-roaring opener ‘Contender’, buy more about the album manages to be catchy without being twee, shop noise without being dreary, imagine My Bloody Valentine on a beach doo-wopping and you’re halfway there.
Whilst treading this line The Pains of Being Pure at Heart consistently avoid being schmaltzy. The track; Young Adult Friction is danceable, its lyrics of a whimsy worthy of Stuart Murdoch yet reflect on themes like first love with a sort of yearning nostalgia, again souring the sweetness. Here the oft-overdone boy/girl singing duo is slightly off-kilter and the effect is more reminiscent of early Yo La Tengo or Jesus and Mary Chain than Belle & Sebastian.

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The Pains of Being Pure of Heart is definitely tinged with nods towards the 80s and early 90s,yet it is perhaps too easy to criticise the album for this. The band manage to utilise certain stylistic tropes without being too retrospective or shallow.
In fact The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is refreshing in it’s redefinition of certain preconceptions: summer isn’t all about whistling and tambourine jangling anymore and Shoegaze is reinterpreted with a sunny touch rather like enjoying a 99 flake with Kevin Shields!

The album ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’ is available now and the single ‘Young Adult Friction’ is released on 18th May (Fortuna Pop!)
They play The Lexington, London on 15th May

Kitsuné has really got its groove on this time. Left eyebrows are often tilted to a 74-degree angle at the mention of a Parisian fashion boutique that puts out compilation CDs, symptoms amongst other music releases. At first, tadalafil you kind of expect endless Dimitri From Paris types churning out catwalk-flavoured lint, but Kitsuné really knows what it is getting, and won’t be holding onto the receipt. With utter confidence and bravado, you see, it was Kitsuné that released Wolfmother’s ball-busting old-metal limited edition EP. Benetton scratches its head in confusion.
For all that, Compilation 7 is a danceable disc, with lots of European disco-beats, and plenty of fruity basslines in the Frenchified Electro style. But it’s not the kind of thoughtless, juvenile poppy end of it. You won’t hear anything approaching “Lady, give me tonight, cos my feeling is just so right”, since the Maison-people (Maisonettes?) are clued up. They listen to Tangerine Dream and Elvis Costello, and anything they select from the here and now is selected with a certainty that reminds me of the chap who picks the leaves for PG Tips: He just knows where the good stuff’s at.
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Highpoints include Chateau Marmont’s Beagle, filled with synths fresh from Tomorrow’s World demonstrations, sidewinding through arpeggiated chords, with the occasional crash-bang with a wooden spoon by the stove, and Beni’s Fringe Element, which popcorns along with hi-hats before going to a thoroughly spiffing hiatus of slap bass with one of the squidgiest, wiggly-wormiest synth solos since Mr.Scruff’s Shrimp. Probably the most exciting track here is Crystal Fighters’ (above) Xtatic Truth, a journey involving Epic-Ragga-Happy-Hardcore, hints of Chinese Folk, and a choir of the ether.
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But it’s a plentiful CD. There are nineteen songs, in all, and although everything chugs along to the metronomic pulse of cubase, there is pacing and variety to the beast overall. Gentle relief comes best of all in This Sweet Love by James Yuill (above), as remixed by Prins Thomas, a ponderous chillscape based on the warmest fingerpicking, and an embrace of vocals. You will feel truly hugged. And once you’ve digested it all, you can take that lovely warm glow on the Eurostar with you, and buy yourself the bestest clothes (I’m not a fashion writer, actually) in all Pareeee!

You can buy the Maison’s goodies at www.kitsune.fr or at their myspace.
If you are a university student, online what do you make of your schools environmental policies? Do they even have green policies to speak of? This week, the students of the University of Arts London have been bringing environmental issues to the forefront, and discussing the various ways that both themselves, their campuses and the courses themselves can be more environmentally aware.

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The Go Green Week, also known as Green: The New Black has been running for the last few days and culminates in talks and workshops on Friday, that include Fashion Forward: Creating an Ethical Label between 4pm-6pm RHS East Space, LCF, John Princes Street
which asks: “How can you create a label that looks good, but is also good to the environment?” ECCA and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion present fashion design businesses that are sustainable throughout from their manufacturing processes and materials, to marketing methods that aim communicate and promote their ethical processes to their customers.
Also on Friday afternoon at LCC is the meeting “Students Going Green” –top of the agenda are the following points “Fed up with the lack of recycling at your College? … Want sustainability on the curriculum? … Think Arts London should GO GREEN?” Speaking with the Press Officers of the Student Union, I learnt that a large number of students have voiced their concerns over this topic. The recycling issue specifically has been on ongoing and much debated subject. Many students feel that not enough is being done to provide facilities to recycle. The Green Charter laid out by the Student Union demands that “Sufficient recycling facilities should be available at all Arts London Sites and all Halls of Residence, with consideration also given to specialist recycling e.g. textiles, wood at relevant sites.”

Also on the agenda is for the issues of sustainability to feature more heavily in the Universities curriculum, either in the form of specific modules, or integrated as a whole, and for the campuses to switch to a green energy provider. The student union also explained that they are setting up an “Ethical and Environmental assembly” that will set future Go Green Assembly’s. They have also been encouraging students to sign a petition that is campaigning for a greener Arts London. Realising that strong visuals are the best way to get the point across, the students were asked to be photographed with the green charter and upload their pictures to the blog. An example would be these brave folks.

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Learning about the concerted efforts to raise environmental awareness amongst students started me wondering how other universities and student bodies broach this subject. As this is a topic that is dear to our heart, we would love your input on whether your schools and universities are committed to the environmental cause, and if so, do you feel that they are doing enough? . Tell us more at hello@ameliasmagazine.com and maybe we can help to highlight the issue.
Be featured in this limited edition anthology of the best new illustrators engaged in environmental thinking. Read on to find out more…

***Please note that this brief is now closed: you can now order a copy of this book online by clicking here***

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an illustration by Laura-Maria Arola from issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine

Now, malady anyone who is following me on Twitter – my new favourite thing in the whole world – will know that I asked my dad to do the research for this book. I know what he’s like – apart from being a typical male who loves nothing more than “disappearing down the rabbit-hole” as my mum calls it (also known as busying himself in new projects) – he also loves a challenge. So I asked him to dig up some info on all the most obscure new alternative technologies currently being explored, sale so that I could put together a brief for Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

He rose to the challenge and then some… almost immediately I started receiving email updates on strange new ways of producing energy. But not only that… it seems I have been the unwitting catalyst for a whole new venture – or a whole new rabbit warren to explore, depending on your point of view. A trained if somewhat out of practice scientist, Bruce (that’s my dad, I know, wierd, I call him by his first name)- gleefully told me on Bank Holiday Monday that he’s just designed the best new wave power technology not yet invented. Having read nearly 2000 patents for various wave power technologies he has, in his inimitable way, decided that his idea is quite clearly the best (my dad ALWAYS knows best). Except he won’t share it with me, cos I might, like, post it on the internet or something, before he’s applied for a patent.

Still, exciting stuff, and just the kind of thing I hope to do more of with both this open brief and the resulting book that comes out of it. Amelia’s Magazine in print may be no more, but I could never leave print entirely, and so the idea for this book has been mulling around in my head for sometime now. What we need right now is a whole heap of imagination, because humans need to make a big leap forward if we want to get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in. And whilst the scientists and boffins of this world busy themselves with the minutae of complicated chemical reactions and intricate moving parts, we also need the skills of artists to make these technologies a concrete reality. Without both visions together we will continue to move at a snail’s slither, so my aim is to help quicken that pace. If I can inspire designers and illustrators to better consider the way their energy is produced by drawing alternatives, then maybe they will make better choices about where their own energy comes from. Of course I don’t believe that technology alone is a cure all for all our ills, but it’s a move in the right direction, and I aim to produce a book that provides a comprehensive resource of all the best new illustrators capable of engaging with environmental issues and envisaging future alternative energy sources.

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an illustration by Allan Deas for issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine

What will be in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration ?
The book will be a compendium of profiles on the best illustrators who submit to this brief. Anyone is eligible to submit work, from anywhere in the world. I would particularly encourage new illustrators; those who are still at college, just graduating, or new to the field. Amelia’s Magazine is used by many influential creatives looking for new talent to employ, and this will be an even better way of getting your work noticed globally.

What will the book look like?
The book will be the same dimensions as Amelia’s Magazine, thereby sitting nicely on the shelf with any copies of the magazine that purchasers might already possess! It will be designed in a similar fashion but also expect some new ideas.

When will it be published and where will it be sold?
Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration will be self-published (again!!!!) The lead-times are just too long with the big publishers, plus they would want more design control than I am prepared to give to them. The ones I have spoken to also insist on producing all their books in the Far East, something I am very uncomfortable with given the dodgy environmental credentials of many industrial operations in that part of the world. It will be produced in the UK by Principal Colour as a limited edition hardback towards the end of 2009, in time for Christmas. Advance orders should be available to purchase on my website by the end of the summer, and will be much appreciated in order to finance the production process as it is going to cost me much more to keep production in the UK. The book will be sold worldwide at specialist art book shops such as those that already stock the magazine. I will aim to produce a second (possibly softback) edition the following year to be made much more widely available.

What can I do to contribute?
I need a number of different artworks from aspiring contributors, so please read the following information carefully and make sure that your submissions meet the criteria before you send them in to me.

Submission criteria

EXCLUSIVE WORK: produced specifically for AMELIA’S ANTHOLOGY OF ILLUSTRATION

1. Most importantly:
ONE EXCLUSIVE LARGE PIECE done specifically for this anthology and not featured anywhere else.

This should feature an alternative technology that has not yet been built or mass-produced in any great scale. NO RUN-OF-THE-MILL WINDMILLS AND SOLAR PANELS PLEASE!

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an intriguing design for a line of windmills on a bouncing rod

This is a challenging theme, but thanks to my dad there are dozens of links below that will lead you off in the right direction. You will need to disappear down the rabbit hole for awhile for this brief requires time and thought to complete. It also requires huge amounts of imagination, which is what illustrators specialise in! And my dad! I’ve always held a belief that the scientific mind and the artistic mind are not really so different from each other. How else do you explain me? The child of two scientists?! but rubbish at science….

Anyway, I digress. In this illustration I want to see ways that a new technology would be integrated into our future lives… so interaction with the surroundings or people will be good. This is not a technical illustration, it’s an aspirational one, but you should imagine this technology in some detail, however fantastical it may be. You could even look back at technologies that were patented as far ago as the 1800s, but that have never become part of the mainstream. Your chosen technology should be the main focus of your whole picture, but don’t forget to add detail.
This should be accompanied by a short written piece describing why you picked this particular technology and what the illustration means to you. This should be no more than 300 words.

A word to the wise: the more obscure your choice of technology the better, since I will probably choose different technologies for each illustrator that I choose to profile.
You can choose to work in two sizes:
Double page (as was used in Amelia’s Magazine)
SIZE: page size: 400mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 406mm x 251mm.
or
Single page
SIZE: page size: 200mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 206mm x 251mm.
NOTE: Don’t put important stuff in the 3mm bleed zone (but do continue your image into it) as this is where the printers may cut bits off when the magazine is cut and bound.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)
GUTTER: please also note that the book will have a very deep gutter in the middle so it is good to keep important parts of your illustration away from the centre of the spread in double page images.
MY STYLE: if you want to know about my taste in illustration you should check out the current issue of the mag, or buy a back issue here!

2. A exclusive PICTORIAL LOGO on an environmental theme

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Logo designed by Adrian Fleet for Climate Camp in the City at the G20 protests

If you have submitted something for the Climate Camp logo open brief then you would be able to resubmit it for this brief, irrespective of whether it was used or not. The logo could be for an event or a company or a product or anything at all, but it must be promoting environmental themes and ideas. I will be looking for colourful and engaging logos. Consider the work of Adrian Fleet for the G20 Climate Camp in the City logo when thinking about what to enter for this. My style tends to be maximalist, but the words must always be a bold and easy part of the logo to read. It could be work that you have already created and has already been used by a brand (though please check with them before sending it to me) or you could create a new piece of work for a real or fictional brand. It should encompass a creative use of typography with illustration. There will be plenty of food for thought amongst the alternative technologies you will already have researched.
This should be accompanied by a short written piece describing what the logo has or would be used for. 50 words max.
It can be any size, but please create work at 300 dpi to a largish size.

3. Typography: YOUR NAME!
Please create your name in the most imaginative way possible. This could be done by hand, or on a computer, but you should really go to town! Amelia’s Magazine is well known for the use of creative typography, and for Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration the floor is open to you to create your own type for your own name (or how you would like to be known professionally) Don’t think of it as branding, but as something to go to town with. If your work is chosen it will be used to head your page, and it should therefore be really creative and fun. Think of this as your chance to really grab the reader’s attention!
For this reason please work to these dimensions and no smaller. (it could be bigger)
SIZE: 200-400mm wide x 40mm high
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

4. A Border
Again this should fit a single page and reflect an environmental theme. Be sure to work with 3mm bleed and no more than 25mm in from the edge.
SIZE: page size: 200mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 206mm x 251mm.
NOTE: Don’t put important stuff in the 3mm bleed zone (but do continue your border into it) as this is where the printers may cut bits off when the magazine is cut and bound.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

NON EXCLUSIVE work:
4. Two other bits of illustration.

These should be your best recent work. They do not necessarily need to be on an environmental theme but should showcase as wide a range of imagery as possible, eg. people, things, places, typography etc. If you have created artwork for any of my previous open briefs this could form part of your submission although I would prefer to see new work. Be sure to stick to one style though – illustrators with a strong style of their own will always make the biggest mark, and I am unlikely to pick anyone who does not show a strong style throughout their submissions.
These can be any size, but please label each illustration clearly with a name and date of creation.
SIZE: as big as possible to fit the book’s page sizes.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

CLOSING DATE: Monday 3rd August, by midnight please.
Please send lo res versions of your images (saved for web) to info@ameliasmagazine.com in an email clearly marked ANTHOLOGY OF ILLUSTRATION so that I don’t lose sight of it in my inbox if I am rushing through things on the day it arrives.
(This should be 6 pieces of work altogether. PLEASE DON’T SEND MORE THAN THIS)

If you are chosen for inclusion in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration then you will be notified shortly after this date, once I have made my decisions. I have yet to decide how I will put together the profiles, but I may well need a photo from you and a short interview. If this is the case you will be notified later on in the summer.
And if you have any questions that are not answered above then please email me for clarification.
Join the facebook event here to ensure you get updates as they happen.

Best wishes and happy drawing!

Links
Below is a very long list of links, courtesy of Bruce: this is by no means conclusive, and the technologies may never work, but they are all being explored and would be valid ideas to illustrate. Youtube and Google Images are both a great source of innovative technologies, and I am sure you can find more. Feel free to go off and google you heart out – but you must illustrate something real and possible, and not a fantasy idea of your own. (unless you are also a scientist of course)

Wind turbines

Wikipedia wind power info

Magenn’s revolutionary wind power system on youtube

Magenn Air Rotar system

Magenn’s home page

The Floating Balloon Wind Generator

Motorwind Camping Set Wind Turbine

Knex wind turbine

Magnetically Levitated wind turbine

Great pic of huge Maglev wind turbine

Wikipedia entry about Maglev wind turbines

Maglev wind turbines homepage

Mag-Wind Vertical Axis Turbine

A Flying Wind Machine!

Floating Wind Turbines

A great blog about lots of different alternative energy projects including wierd and fantastical wind turbines

Huge Kites

Optiwind accelerating turbine

Selsam superturbines

Rotating wind power towers

Broadstar’s Aerocam

FloDesign wind turbines

Wikipedia definition of airborne wind turbines

downloadable PDF containing interesting info about different types of airborne wind turbines

Wikipedia definition of Kitegen

Kitegen website – plans for a huge airborne wind farm!

Great picture of how kites could generate electricity

Guardian article about kite power

Video showing how a kite ladder would work

Makani Power high altitude wind kites

Google have put money into the Makani vision

Makani “wind dam” picture

Great article about Saul Griffith — wind energy entrepeneur, and president of Makani

Tom Van Sant makes amazing kite ladders as sculpture

Wind Harvesting farms

Helix Wind

More Helix Wind porn

Google search results for wind power technologies

Mariah Power wind turbines

Google videos about wind power

The huge offshore aerogenerator

Quiet Revolution wind turbines

Wave power

Oscillating water columns

Anaconda wave technology

SIE-CAT wave energy accumulator

A list of wave power patents going back to the 1800s

Danish Wave Energy Society

the Wave Dragon

Wave Star Energy

Wave Energy Centre

CWave Power

the Aegir Dynamo

CETO

Columbia Power

Float wave electric power station

the Manchester Bobber

Orecon oscillating water column

OE Buoy

Aquamarine power

Sperboy wave energy converter

SSG Concept

The Seadog Pump

Buoys technology

Floating power plant

Surf Power

Power Buoy

the Wave Roller

Langlee Wave Power

the WRASPA

video about Harnessing the Gulf Stream! (is this a good idea?)

Wikipedia entry about wave power

Pelamis on wikipedia

Pelamis wave power

Pelamis being tested in Portugal

Google videos on wave power

Biowave power system

video showing Biowave power working

Video – giant rubber snakes!

SRI wave powered generator

Ocean Power Technologies

video – Aqua Buoys

Aqua Buoy movie

Oyster wave power

Tidal power

Wikipedia on tidal power

Video – tidal wave energy

youtube – idea for tidal energy barrage in florida

Sea Gen

google video links for Sea Gen

Marine Current Turbines

video of Biostream tidal power system

Gorlov helical water turbine on wikipedia

Gorlov Helical Turbine

3D interactive model that shows blades of Gorlov turbine

Severn Barrage

Solar Energy

Wikipedia on solar energy

Thermal

wikipedia on thermal solar energy

wikipedia on solar energy generating systems

wikipedia on solar power tower

BBC news report on solar power stations

Solar Power tower in Spain

image of Solar Power tower

more images of solar power tower in spain

Bright Source solar power on wikipedia

Bright Source Energy

Solar Reserve

youtube on solar tower energy

solar tower energy in spain on youtube

Enviromission solar tower

Suncatchers

Dual axis solar tower structure

Voltaic

photovoltaic energy

youtube on israeli solar energy

First Solar free field power plants

youtube about plastic solar cells producing solar power

Konarka power plastic

Standard geothermal

Geothermal power on wikipedia

youtube geothermal energy vid

Enhanced geothermal

Wikipedia – enhanced geothermal systems

youtube video on enhanced geothermal systems

Hot Rock Technology

Alta Rock Energy

Petratherm

Geodynamics
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The Reluctant Photojournalist

Features a variety of vintage and modern prints from Werner Bischof’s well known humanitarian photography including the Bihar famine, more about Europe post WWII and the South Korean war. Alongside these sit Bischof’s equally beautiful but perhaps lesser known early experiments with abstracts and nudes.

Photographic co-op Magnum Photos Ground Floor, 63 Gee Street, London EC1V 3RS, 0207 490 1771
Free Entry
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re.orient.ate

Reorienting common notions of contemporary Arab art and lifestyle and debunking ‘Orientalist’ depictions. Arab artists Marianne Catzaras, Dora Dhouib and Wael Shawky explore themes of mass media, Diaspora and religion via film and photography.

Selma Feriani Gallery, 23 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2QN
7th Apr – 13th May 2009
Free entry
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The Abyss

A new joint exhibition by former Wimbledon College of Art students, Nicola Stead and Dan Jupp.

The Outside World, 44 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP
7th May – 13th May By appointment Thursday to Saturday
Free entry
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The Hiding Place

Lewis Chamberlain
Exquisitely rendered pencil drawings whisk the viewer away into muted landscapes
which toy with scale, suburbia and the surreal.

James Hyman Gallery Savile Row, London W1S 3PD, 020 7494 3857
30th April – 30th May
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Crafted
Contemporary Craft and Fine Art

An exhibition celebrating the materials, processes and techniques involved in making extraordinary objects, the exhibition will feature nine artists from different arts and craft and design fields.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Church Lane, Carmarthen SA31 1LH
4th Apr – 16th May 09, 10 – 5 Mon – Sat
Free entry
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Monday 11 May

Telepathe are a too-cool-for-school three piece from Brooklyn. They’re playing 93 Feet East. They get obtuse Krautronica and make it go “POP!” – maybe they’ll be the next Animal Collective… Supported by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.
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Tuesday 12 May

Dan Mangan plays The Electroacoustic Club, salve housed at The Slaughtered Lamb, viagra Clerkenwell. He’s a heartfelt songwriting kind of guy, information pills sings like he means it, and he’s much better than that Elbow record. Support comes from Deer Park.
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Wednesday 13 May

Our new favourite boyfriend-girlfriend duettists, Young Paul, will be giving The Cobden Club, 107 Kensal road a taste of 80s electronic treats. get in touch with the band for hassle-free entry, as it’s a private members club. Not just a fine gig, then, but also a chance to see where the Old Etonians schmooze.

Thursday 14 May

Alice and The Cool Dudes at Barden’s Boudoir. This is the high point of our music week. Alice Grant of Fulborn Teversham, is leaving her jazzhead buddies to one side to unveil some pensive indie songs, delivered by a totally unique voice that totters across a tightrope of uncannily powerful and tearful exhaustion. Surely she won’t disappoint?????
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Friday 15 May

Up in Nottingham, North-East London’s finest jokeshop salesmen of parallel-universe, narrative ska will be testing out some new material where they think no one can hear them. If you can find a place called Demo, you must prove Hothead Show wrong. Prepare for shockingly tight wizardry of the jerky-jerky groove.
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Saturday 16 May

A night of so-angry-we-can-only-tell-you-very-very-slowly Metal, with some catatonically droning Grunge, and atonal noise that may cause loss of balance on all but the lowest of seating. Roll up at The Constitution and enjoy Dethscalator, Scul Hazzards and Batrider. If you don’t take earplugs, then take cotton wool to mop up you bleeding lugholes.

Sunday 17 May

Always a good bet for a sunday night is Cross Kings, 126 York Way, in King’s Cross. On the ground level, David Goo will jolly along an open mic, which always has a few very eccentric envelope-pushers pencilled in. The avant-gardishness couples nicely with the family warmth, houmous and pitta that makes this a great pub. It’s worth paying a few quid to be allowed into the basement also. Things are a bit more organized (sound-checks and everything) but happily, there’s still no obvious divide between the musicians and the audience. What sundays are for.

Tuesday 12th May

Climate (Mis)behaviour
7pm
Dana Center
The Science Museum’s Dana Centre, dosage
?165 Queen’s Gate?, sildenafil
South Kensington
?London?SW7 5HD
?talk@danacentre.org.uk
+0044 (0)207 942 4040

Rescuing the planet requires behavioural change on an unprecedented scale. From individual action to global politics, what are the different strategies attempting to achieve this? Social psychology, advertising, policy and direct action are all thrown into the mix in this debate. ??This event is trying out a new format called Policy Slam, which is funded by the Democratic Innovation Fund of the Ministry of Justice. With the help of the experts, you will discuss, present and vote on several different options.

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Illustration by Lea Jaffy

Wednesday 13th May
Morphic Resonance, Collective Memory and Habits of Nature – An evening with Rupert Sheldrake

6.30pm drinks & buffet at Gaia House, 
(18 Well Walk, Hampstead, NW3 1LD)

7.30pm Talk & discussion at Burgh House 
(Opposite Gaia House, New End Square, Hampstead, NW3 1LT)

When Rupert Sheldrake first put forward his idea of Morphic Resonance more than twenty years ago, it caused a great stir in the scientific community.  The Editor of Nature denounced it as “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years” and proclaimed that it was “heresy”.  In his recently published new edition, available on the evening, Rupert documents the evidence that has built up in support of this hypothesis.  He will reflect on the Human Genome Project and other reductionist ideas, where few of the grand claims have come to fruition, not unlike the economic bubble that has recently burst.
 
The paradigm shift that Morphic Resonance offers is coherent with the Gaia Hypothesis, where the cosmos is understood to be a developing organism, where nature is alive, interconnected and creative.  There is an inherent memory in nature, and evolution is an interplay of habit and creativity, like our own lives.  According to this way of seeing formative causation, all self-organising systems, including crystals, plants and animals contain an inherent memory, given by a process called morphic resonance from previous similar systems.  
 
These ideas also resonate with diverse indigenous traditions around the world, including those of European ancestry.  For much of our history humans have experienced our relationship with the Earth, and indeed the Universe, to be fluid and reciprocal.  Rupert has taken up the challenge of exploring this ancient wisdom thorough the modern scientific tradition.
You can reserve your place online at: www.gaiafoundation.org/learning/online.php
Or send  a cheque for £10, made payable to The Gaia Foundation.

For further details please contact Sarah at: sarahn@gaianet.org or 020 7428 0055.
 
Rupert Sheldrake is recognised as one of the world’s most innovative biologists.  He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, and is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project.  He is author of more than 80 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and many books, including ‘The Presence of the Past’,  ‘The Sense of Being Stared At’, ‘Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home’  and  ‘Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness’. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

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llustration by Eco Labs

Thursday 14th May
TAKE BACK THE POWER!? THE IMPORTANCE OF DIRECT ACTION TODAY

6:30-9pm
?Amnesty International UK
Human Rights Action Centre?
17 – 25 New Inn Yard
London EC2A 3EA
Nearest tube: Old Street

Free entry, refreshments and snacks provided
RSVP: london@climatecamp.org.uk or call 07534 598 733 (Early booking recommended!)
Find out what YOU can DO to stop climate change.?Throughout history ordinary people have been responsible for all major social changes – women’s rights, civic rights and even democracy itself in many places can be said to be result of direct action. Taking action is the very first step in making big changes happen. Direct action is taken by people who feel that the political process is not working to address profoundly important issues.
Climate change is the most urgent challenge we’ve ever faced – and politicians are not showing the strength of character needed to actually address this problem. Instead of serious sustainable solutions we see new runways and new coal fired power stations- deals that benefit the bottom line of the big players and not the wider population. Climate Camp believes that people everywhere need to work out what they can do – and then do it. Taking action yourself to make the world you want to see is a logical response to a very serious situation.

Are you interested in doing more to highlight the urgency of climate change? Or the relevance of direct action to struggles for jobs, peace and justice? Are you intrigued but feel uncomfortable about going outside the mainstream political process? Would you consider getting involved but don’t know how? Are you nervous about the consequences?
‘Take Back the Power! The Importance of Direct Action Today’ will be unique opportunity to hear about direct action from people who have participated in different ways. Speakers will range from people on the front line to those helping in the background. This includes Deborah Grayson – one of the Parliament Climate Rush – who is on bail and will be speaking about Climate Rush (photgraphed below)
To reserve a place/s please RSVP to london@climatecamp.org.uk or call 07534 598 733.

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Photograph by Amelia Gregory

Saturday 16th May
Euroflashmob: Europe United Against Airport Expansion
Stop Airport Expansion

Saturday 16 May 2009. The day of the Eurovision Song Contest. 12 noon on the dot at Heathrow
Terminal 1 Departures. Join Heathrow Flashmobbers in a Europe-wide Flash Mob – taking place on the same day at 6 airports across Europe.
Flash Heathrow! Flash Paris! Flash Frankfurt! Flash Schipol! Flash Brussels! Flash Dublin!
Each flashmob will be singing Eurovision classics (song-sheets provided), so download your favourite eurovision song onto your ipod or phone and bring your friends, instruments, hats, wigs, and your dancing shoes and let’s party. Now for the serious bit: airport expansion is seriously bad for local people, increased noise, air pollution, and especially the climate. The aviation industry want to expand airports across the UK and Europe, but opposition is huge, and the scientists are telling us we have to drastically cut emissions if we are to beat climate change. Flashmobs are a fun way to highlight the real opposition there is to expansion at airports across Europe. Here’s another big chance to show our opposition to a 3rd runway at Heathrow.
See you in Heathrow Terminal 1 Departures at 12 noon on the dot!
Tell BAA to get in tune: No Third Runway.
www.euroflashmob.com

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Illustration by Sachiko

Green Wedge II
A major Green Party benefit gig, to aid the Euro Election campaign.

£5 entry.
Venue:
Pangea Project
72 Stamford Hill,
Stoke Newington,
N16 6XS

http://www.pangeaproject.co.uk/

The highly eclectic lineup includes:
The Refinements (Raucous Ska)
Sarah Ellen Hughes Duo (jazz singer)

Contacts:
Selim: 07853 725476
Come along and support the local bands by cheering loudly, the Green Party by giving us your money and support, and the Pangea Project by drinking copious amounts.
It’s all shaping up to be a fun night, ably facilitated by your host Matt Hanley (ahem), with comprehensive Eurovision updates throughout the evening!
You can buy advance tickets here:?http://www.skiddle.com/tickets/
I love good days. Days that unfold in a series of pleasant surprises that put a spring back in your step and remind you that the world can be a good place. Three such things occurred today, buy well, four if you include the free coffee I was given for no reason, and five if you take into account the particularly magnificent texture of the water in which I swam early this morning (a good start surely), breathing fresh and clean from the night’s rain, silk to the touch and causing my skin to tingle for hours after; but silk water aside, only one of these things is relevant to you Zach, can I call you Zach?

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There was a moment at tonight’s concert where you clasped your fingers behind your head, raised your eyes towards the ceiling, and sighed a private smile – do you sometimes not quite believe it? I couldn’t believe it. I’d given up the hope of seeing you (you the object of a little musical infatuation), play at the Forum tonight – a torment when that venue is within spitting distance of my home. I’d cycled past and seen the queues outside (one of the nicest looking crowds to gather outside the Forum, believe me I know), my head hung low and my pedal stilted, perhaps I could sneak in, how could I live here so long and not know a secret entrance? Just as I was reconciling myself to a night of listening to Gulag Orchestra within the confines of my bedroom and strumming Postcards from Italy alone on the roof, a good thing happened – buzz buzz in my back pocket.

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“Hey Luisa how are you?”
“I’ve been better, well actually it’s been a pretty good day, but – ”
“Yeah well listen, you like Beirut right?”
“Like them? I Love – I mean yeah, they’re ok. I guess they’re ok.”
“Well you couldn’t do me a favour. I know it’s late notice and you’ve probably got plans”
“Erm, yeah I’ve got plans”
“Well I’m supposed to be reviewing them tonight but they wouldn’t give me a plus one and I don’t want to go alone, you wouldn’t go instead would you?”
(I’ve pulled over and am silently raising my fists to the sky)
Hmm…I suppose I could, I mean I would like to see them but then I don’t know what I’d write, I’m sure I’ll think of something-”
“So you’ll go?”
“Yes, yes I’ll go.”
“Oh great, thanks, just say you’re me, get some pictures, you know the drill, thanks again,”
“No problem, really,” (jumping up and down a little bit),
“What’s that noise?”
“Oh, nothing, some kid, thanks a lot, have a good night,”
“You too, byeeeee.”

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So that’s how a good day found me watching you tonight, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a gig. You came out to rapturous applause, rewarding the audience kindly with Nantes, how does it feel to have a crowd sing your songs along with you? It was as though you were singing old folk songs of a collective homeland from which we’ve all strayed, not something created from a photograph and a few months in Eastern Europe and Paris. And now you’ve moved over to Mariachi influences? I was raised on Cumbia, and I’ve always thought the sound is very similar to that of Eastern Europe, accordions and trumpets and powerful melodies. Everyone around me was in hushed silence for the entirety of the performance, and you seemed so relaxed, demure, a sound like yours doesn’t require anything else – I did like the occasional hand conducting though. On behalf of the audience, not that anyone would make me spokesperson for anything, thank you, it was wonderful incredible; but then you know that, not everyone gets two encores. See you again soon I hope, and erm, if you ever need someone to tap a tambourine or a cowbell, or maybe an old foot pedal harmonium just rescued from cobwebs, then … hi.

Yours,

Lulu Lampshade

SM (small print): emotional content may have been exaggerated slightly for effect.
Will Morgan is an excellent photographer, store clever person and all round nice guy. His photographs are subtle and dream-like; intimate yet austere, information pills all of us here at Amelia’s Magazine are big fans of his beautiful and exciting work. I was lucky enough to catch up with Will to talk about his work and the politics of photography.

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Hi, patient Will, how are you today?

Hello Roisin, I’m very good today thanks , the sun’s out and things are pretty much perfect.

I really love your photographs especially your use of light and attention to details- what makes a good photograph for you?

Thank you, that always nice to hear. Images work for me when they inspire an emotional response or are successful at conveying a mood and atmosphere. It’s the same for me with any art work really, every discipline. When I was at college I was really interested in domestic photography, family albums and the like, I always felt that these images were incredibly powerful because they are loaded with so much meaning, they tie into notions of memory, loss, happiness, sadness and the passage of time. I’m sounding a bit pretentious here but never mind eh? I think that an image can stand on it’s own purely by being beautiful as well, ideally one would combine the beauty with an emotional response. I think photographs are a form of language so it’s nice if they say something.

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Can you tell me about your average working day?

I don’t really have an average working day, I shoot a lot of editorial so the jobs are varied and my personal work is even more so. If I’m on a commissioned job it’s usually an early start, double check the equipment as I have been known to leave vital bits behind. Drink some very strong coffee, try not to smoke (fail) and head to the location, be very nice to everybody and start to shoot. Obviously keep to the deadline, work in close conjunction with the art director and hope the client is happy! All my commissioned work is digital these days so there’s normally an hour at the end of the shoot to go through the images then I retouch and deliver. My personal work is far looser I identify a project I’m interested in and shoot on my own, with minimal equipment. I do get up a lot later on these days, probably smoke more cigarettes though.

Do you have a favourite camera?

I started off using a 1960′s Hassleblad and I still love it, but these days I mainly shoot with a 645 contax and a P30 back, with the advent of digital clients just won’t pay for film and now days they want to see everything immediately, plus you get used to the freedom of digital, you can shoot to your hearts content. I do like my contax but the Hassleblad is probably my favourite although I rarely shoot film these days, I used to have a Polaroid land camera which I throughly enjoyed but I lost it. Lets move on I’m getting a little emotional

What do you make of the whole film vs. digital photography debate? I mean do you view the advent of digital photography as a completely bad thing?

I’m not sure it’s even a debate anymore, digital photography is here and it’s a photographic tool, you just have to learn to use it and I think to deny it is a bit self defeating. I do believe that images shot on film look better than digital raw files but the technology is so good now and if you know a little about digital retouching I can’t really tell the difference. Digital has a huge amount of freedom, film is expensive with digital after the initial investment you shoot for free really, you can really experiment and as I’ve said all my commissions assume I’m shooting digital. I don’t think digital is a bad thing or a good thing really it’s just the way photography has evolved. Different jobs/projects lend themselves to different platforms/cameras and so on, whatever works for you is the best really. Even when I do shoot film I scan it and tweak it in photoshop so it becomes a digital image anyway.

I think that’s really interesting, it’s quite taboo I think to be positive about digital photography, it’s refreshing to hear that you’re pro-digital and proud; whilst film is beautiful, people can always become purist about things like that and I agree that digital technology can add something great to photography- as we can see in your work!

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Continuing with this foray into the ethics or politics of photgraphy, do you agree with the idea that a photograph is the truest form of representation?

I’m probably misinterpreting the question but umm, not really, I think a photograph captures how someone or something looked in that split second the shutter clicked, it’s a tricky one but as a photographer you’re imposing yourself on the scene, you crop in camera, use apertures and f-stops different focal lengths, different formats, you edit your images, decide how to present them, all of this creates a selective reality, I’m not even sure if reality is the right word, also now with the computer technology you can completely alter the original image . All of these things have a huge bearing on whatever you’re photographing and of course you want it to look good. I don’t think it’s a true representation of reality but it has the edge over painting I think.

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Can you tell me about your journey to where you are today (career-wise rather than transport-wise!)? Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

Well I went to India for a year when I was 20, I picked up a camera there for the first time and really enjoyed it, I’d stayed in India too long so I missed my University place to study English so i did a part time course in photography. I loved it so went the route of art foundation, photography BA at LCP (also this got me to London). I did well at LCP I won a few prizes and it gave me the confidence to believe I might actually be able to make a living from photography. After my degree I worked part time at the National Film Theatre and assisted various photographers as well as picking up a few commissions for my self. It’s only really been the last three years that I’ve made a reasonable living purely from my own photography but it’s always been fun and I’ve never wanted to stop. I think getting over the fear of the portfolio meetings was crucial! The only advice I would give is to keep at it, never be afraid of showing your work, shoot as much as you can and enjoy it, I think it’s the best job in the world (apart from rock star maybe)

Which photographers inspired you early on in your career?

I was always hugely impressed with Philip Lorca-di Corcia in particular his Hollywood Hustler series, I was and still am a big fan of Eva Vermendel and Martina Hoogland-Ivanow, Paolo Roversi’s work is always beautiful, Christian Boltanski, Stephen Gill, Bruce Davidson, Azim Haidaryan, Nadav Kander, there’s a lot of them but I’ll leave it there.


What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few, I’m shooting a series of confessional boxes in Catholic churches, a series on cineastes based around the National Film Theatre and bus stops at night.

I can’t wait to see them!

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All photographs appear courtesy of Will Morgan
At first glance, mind you might have thought that activism, arts and permaculture would make the strangest of bedfellows, but don’t let any preconceived notions cloud your judgement. The imaginative people behind ArtsAdmin are laying on a fortnight of activities which will demonstrate how effortlessly these subjects can work together. Under the name of Two Degrees , and with the recent quote by George Monbiot acting as a kind of frame of reference – ‘We have to stop treating climate change as an urgent issue, we have to start treating it as an international emergency” – the week long series of performances, activities, exhibitions and installations will have one thing in common; our relationship with the environment and the impact of climate change.

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I chatted recently with ArtsAdmin, in their beautiful and unexpectedly peaceful surroundings (well, they are on Commercial Road!) of Toynbee Studios (also the setting of many of the forthcoming events). They explained that even the title of the festival is apposite. ‘Two Degrees’ is in reference to the reports that global temperatures are set to rise by that amount in around 40 years. A relatively ‘small’ rise such as this could lead to catastrophic changes on our planet.

While the message is serious, many performances will be light hearted, and all will be engaging. A case in point, the ‘set list’ reads thus;  
“A reconstructed airplane serves real airline food delivered from City Airport; permaculturists and artists lead a foraging exploration of the City; a crowd of Londoners, an artist and a water dowser trace the course of a great London river; radical temporary transformations of lunchtime London; an artist-activist family confess to past flights they have taken; climate change cabaret; an urban-rural walk to City Farm; a bicycle-powered DJ set (run by good friends of Amelia’s Magazine; Magnificent Revolution) and a filmed rural idyll accompanied by passenger jet noise form Two Degrees”

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Personally, I like the sound of the climate change cabaret. It’s about time that cabaret branched out a little, don’t you think? Speaking of avant-garde performances, a particular highlight of the week will be C.R.A.S.H. A Postcapitalist A-Z, a collaboration between ArtsAdmin and the fantastically named collective that is The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. While it is difficult to predict exactly what will occur, (it’s best just to come down to the City of London to watch), C.R.A.S.H will be creating a phantasmagorical world where “Eight postcapitalist commissions transform lunchtime in the City including the very last opportunity to purchase a real woman, a soup kitchen distributing bowls of gold soup to City workers, a lone cyclist pedalling a field kitchen around the Square Mile, a forum of bankers, ex-bankers, climate activists, artists and others confessing their capitalist tendencies, and a café of equivalence where a bowl of food costs the same as a banker’s daily salary in parallel with food costs in the developing world.” I believe it is safe to say; brace yourself!

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Elsewhere, the issue of airline travel is of course, a pertinent topic in an event that is engaging in dialogue about climate change. At Toynbee Studios, it will be dealt with in an unexpectedly humorous way. In an activity that Dada would be proud of, the artist Richard DeDomenici (and his cabin crew) will be serving out helpings of airplane food, in its airline style packaging. Just in case you didn’t think that this was authentic enough, your meal will be served as you sit in a recycled airplane interior, which Two Degrees hasten to add, also includes in flight entertainment. For any of you who would pitch up just because you like the taste of airline meals (someone has to…?) there is a deeper meaning behind this. DeDomenici is responding to a recent quote by chef Marcus Wareing about British pub food, which he declares being of poor quality, so much so that for a proper meal, “you would be better off getting on a plane”. Now, I would disagree with chef Wareing on both counts. Has he never eaten at The Eagle? Moreover, it is an irresponsible comment to make, one which highlights the ease in which we get on and off flights, almost as if they were trains. So, rather than getting on a plane, you can experience all the wonders of a flight (but without the guilt of actually flying). Hurrah!

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If you are anything like me; a bit of a hippy with a nerdish fondness for maps and discovering secret, ancient rivers, ( I’ll admit that there are very few of us around!) then you will especially enjoy the outing that Two Degrees have planned. The artist Amy Sharrock will be leading a walk which she describes as her response to global concerns. This will come in the form of an excursion from Islington to the Southbank, tracing the lines of the ancient, and lost Walbrook River. Not obscure enough for you? Did I mention that any participants will be dressed in blue and tied together to resemble water molecules?

All of the events can be booked online at www.artsadmin.co.uk. It promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging week. Knowing ArtsAdmin and the people behind this event, however out of left field the performances may be, the message will be central: we are running out of time in which to save the planet, and the time in which to act is now.

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Crochet, help shells and pipe cleaners…beasts banished forever to the chasmic closet of craft have broken free of the plastic furniture covers and dried flowers to be resurrected as one of the most entertaining young collections to have paraded down the catwalks in some time. Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the Australian born and bred design team behind Romance Was Born have glued-gunned themselves firmly in place as the merry pranksters of Sydney.

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No one would blame you for crinkling your nose at the idea of a fashion collection inspired by someone’s nana. But peeking through the kaleidoscopic vision of these wizards of Oz . Driven by textures, shapes and above all colors, Romance Was Born in the fertile imaginations of these two talented designers when they met while studying fashion at the East Sydney Technical College.

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After graduating in 2007 they were invited to attend the Fourth International Support Awards in Italy where they turned down internships with Galliano because “their fashion fairytale had another date with destiny”. These young (water)guns were intent on starting their own label with, and why not, the suitcase size booty of Galliano laces and silks they’d received as a prize from the competition.

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These two confectioners are just as much substance as they are style. Clever tailoring and feminine shapes pepper the opulent couture showpieces. Collaborations with Australian artist Del Kathryn Bartonproduced original digitally printed fabrics and a 12 piece collection entitled ‘Garden of Eden’, which was exhibited at Kaliman Gallery alongside Barton’s work.

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Romance Was Born has also found its way onto the figures of Debbie Harry, Lily Allen, MIA, Cyndi Lauper and Karen O (who opted for a red tulle dress with googly eyes) and rising star rockers Architecture in Helsinki, who wore their puppetry inspired glo-in-the-dark pieces for the filming of their band’s new clip. They must surely have tagged one particular Icelandic songbird for their next mark. we can’t wait to see what they pull out of their party hats next!

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When you first gaze upon the work of Accessory designer Fred Butler it’s all rather indigestible, case flying from one medium to the other with all the energy and flair of an excitable child. She is constantly adding more layers, no rx depth and colour to her pieces, help the result culminates in mind bogglingly colourful and decidedly hap hazard pieces.

With such gusto It’s hard to fathom how to predict her, one instance you could be presented with a outlandish mathematical headpiece rather reminiscent of a futurist rubix cube. Then next your met with a piñata style headdress (lets hope the model isn’t planning on attending any children’s parties, it may conclude in a rather unpleasant knock to the head) Each piece is as brilliant as it is unique, Butler is one of the few designers it’s hard to typecast, her work has been vaguely linked to that of fellow kitsch designers Peter Jensen and Alistair Carr but apart from these she seems a law unto herself.

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Her latest collection featured a hallucinogenic short film entitled “Conspicuous consumption” to which ethereal models clad in swarouski encrusted headpieces serenely sway in a rather hypnotic manner, its all rather like a trip back to Kate Bushes Wuthering Heights video, alas minus the haunting vocals!

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Fred Butler is an infamous character in the fashion sphere; regularly her work adorns the pages of the magazine elite from Elle, I-D, Vogue, Lula, and Hommes Japan to Wonderland. She even graced the pages Amelia’s Magazine to which she featured in issue 10, which is still up for grabs for the record, it’s worth taking a peak!

Her success is universal, making waves not merely within the fashion sphere but within Music also. She boasts eccentric followers from electro folk icon Patrick Wolf to the elegant Bishi. But she doesn’t just appeal to London’s Underground sphere, she has a whole host of high calibre clients from MTV, Selfridges to the V&A!

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Who knows what Fred Butler has hidden under her brightly coloured sleeve, I for one can’t wait to find out!
The Dø are Dan Levy and Olivia B. Merilahti, view who luckily for our ears found each other and started making pop music for fun whilst working on a soundtrack together.
They have already made it big outre-manche, site with their album A Mouthful got to Number 1. Their vibrant sound swings from the playground to the streets and back again, viagra making for an exciting album brimming to the rafters with curiosity, exuberance and passion. It’s strings sweep with cinematic drama over lullabies and hip-hop.
From their genre-switching music to their diverse cultural background; a mix of French (Dan) and Finnish (Olivia), their sound is more unique than any boy-girl duo to have come along for a while.

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Hello Olivia, how are you today?
I’m good thank you- trying to relax …it’s been a while since I’ve had a day off, and we’re getting ready for our crazy UK/Germany tour

Wow, it sounds like your super busy! Are you in Paris right now? I’m jealous, I used to live there and I miss it…
Yes- shall we swap? i’d rather live in London! I dont know why, I’ve always felt very close to England.

It’s a plan! I’ll pack my suitcase as soon as we’re done interviewing! :-)

So it’s probably the first thing most people want to ask about, but how did you guys decide on the name The Dø ? I read it means ‘death’ in Danish…

d+o=Dan+Olivia. Do=do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do! “do(e), a deer, a female deer” (check The Sound of Music). In Denmark it means somthing about death, yeah but, the “ø” was mostly because it looks like the note as written in traditional music theory.

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I like it, The Dø is a big melting pot of languages and cultures; even Austrian with The Sound of Music! I suppose musically as well you mix up the languages with English and Finnish…but not French- was that a concious decision?
Yeah- French was never an option in music for me, my musical language is English, it’s always been, because it is also my musical culture, and pop music has always been in English

Also French in it’s nature for me anyway seems very structured and constrained linguistically- maybe thats hard to put into music?

Like Opera was mostly sung in Italian, German or French…but not in English, really.
It’s just like using the instrument that feels right.

What about singing in Finnish? Listening to your album A Mouthful- it really adds a ethereal touch when it’s used, it such a lovely sounding language!
Hum, I guess the song & the melody of “Unissasi Laulelet” just came up naturally in
Finnish. I didn’t really plan to write a song in Finnish, but I do sometimes need to change and use Finnish in my compositions.

Cool, it’s great to be able to use language like another instrument like you said. Do you think you both approach music with different views on art and music or do you have a lot of similar tastes?
On some stuff we don’t agree, but we’re usually extremely connected. Two people working together is a very intense activity…our musical backgrounds are different, but we’re so complementary…

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Talking about other experiences and influences- what are/were your personal inspirations musically?
I grew up on a lot of songs, in English or Finnish. My mum used to sing me a lot of lullabies in Finnsh, and I guess it is still an inspiration…Then I discovered Nirvana and Hole, then Bjork, Fiona Apple, Ella Fitzgerald, Goran Bregovic, The Wutang and Eminem.
Dan grew up on jazz and discovered classical music in his teens.Dan’s influences are John Coltrane (Dan played the saxophone for many many years), Bela Bartok, Zappa, etc. He was always sure he would become a composer, while I was singing in bands from age 14, but I was very shy about my own songs.

Wow, from 14! So music, even at a young age, was something you definitely wanted to do later in life? And what about for Dan?
Yes, but since I didn’t grow up in a family that was artistic in any way, I didn’t realise until quite late that it could actually become a job! Whereas there was no doubt for Dan.

So what does the future hold for The Dø ?
We’re gonna keep touring until august, in the UK and the rest of Europe, and then we record album 2…we’ve started recording a few songs already and it feels amazing!

I’m really excited to hear that! Thank you! :-)

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A Mouthful is out now.
Welcome to the weird, order wonderful world of Catherine Le Page. This Quebecoise knows how to draw and her illustrations are have a beautiful je-ne-sais-quoi about them. The most interesting pieces create a unique vision of femininity from childhood to womanhood. Brands, case diets, boys, careers and children appear throughout her work, highlighting the concerns of the modern feminine psyche whilst utilising a self-consciously girly whimsical aesthetic. The combination of the two give a deeply intimate view of womanhood.

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As we see below, she seems to condone a sort of universal sisterhood of happiness; the “for better” whilst marriage is perhaps implied as the “for worse”. She both embraces the feminine in her themes of nature, motherhood and celebrations of the female body whilst questioning its social implications.

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The colours and lines used by Le Page are delightfully naive, like the imaginings of a teenage girl; all crushes and crying carved in crayon on pages torn out of squared exercise books, taking us back to the days of secret notes passed in class and writing boys names in pen on our knickers.

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Her work is always mature in it’s treatment of subject matter; like her couple holding hands at the corner of a page faced with giant colourful block arrows, with Le Page‘s native Canada imprinted hauntingly in the background, like the big scary future looming. Or a couple coping with a long distance relationship. Le Page‘s illustrations manage to be both personal whilst universal whilst still maintaining a strong sense of narrative.

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Le Page tightropes the line between a twee femininity and these astute quasi- feminist observations, whilst being neither particularly approving nor politically critical in her work. Yet because she, as a female artist, is asserted as a subject of creativity and expression; it is men who become objects of desire, whilst female concerns take centre stage. Yet does being female and addressing issues of femininity in art always have to be a feminist matter? Opinions welcome…I’m off to burn my bra.

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Yesterday, about it an impassioned plea in the form of an email dropped through into my Amelia’s Magazine inbox. The subject matter was a slightly different topic to what usually features in the Earth section, unhealthy but instantly we knew that it warranted a feature, and needed to be shared with our readers. So todays topic is about 10,000 ex- battery farmed chickens that need rehousing urgently, otherwise they will be sent to slaughter.

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Henny Penny was found at the bottom of a battery farm cage unable to stand.

It may seem a slightly incongruous topic, but then I have always had a soft spot for hens. While I love the little corner of urban sprawl that I now occupy in East London, I spent my formative years in Cornwall. Growing up in bucolic, pastoral countryside, my parents (recently decamped from Wandsworth) decided they wanted to have a bit of The Good Life, and got themselves a chicken hutch and about 10 hens. Every morning, my job was the Collection Of The Eggs – I took my job very seriously. Armed with a basket I would quietly step into the hatch; I will never forget the peaceful, warm atmosphere that I would encounter. Ten contented, almost post coital chickens clucking gently to themselves as they settled down for a rest after a morning spent laying eggs. Needless to say, the eggs tasted delicious – rich, thick and creamy. So, with these memories in mind, there is an incomprehensible difference between the hens in our back garden all those years ago, and the pictures of the chickens that accompanied the email. Emaciated, featherless and pathetic – the real image behind battery farming that you don’t see on boxes of eggs.

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The people asking for our, and your help are a group called Little Hen Rescue, based in Norfolk. Yesterday I spoke with one of the volunteers, Emma, who told me that all of the group volunteer, and all are working up to 14 hour days in the pursuit of rescuing battery chickens. She explained that the hens will have spent most of their life in a tiny battery cage, laying eggs until their production level drops, after which they will usually be sent to slaughter. At this point, they are generally only sixteen months old, and seeing that chickens usually live for up to six years , they are not even halfway through their life span. The operation that they are currently undertaking is their most ambitious, and largest yet. At the end of June, a farm in Norfolk will be sending 10,000 chickens to slaughter, and Little Hen Rescue are hoping that all will be rehoused to members of the public throughout Britain. If anyone has ever thought of keeping chickens before, now would be the time to step forward. Although this may seem a daunting task, Little Hen Rescue are promising to guide every hen-keeping novice through all the initial steps. They are asking for a donation of £1.50 for each chicken ‘brought’, but more is always welcome, (and anyone who wishes to donate, but not get a hen is also welcome to do so, the website has details of their PayPal account. ). I asked Emma what the chickens are like, half expecting a description of severely traumatised birds, but she was quick to prove me wrong; “They are gorgeous! Where do you start? They are more friendly than any other breed of hen I’ve found. They are such loving little pets and considering what they’ve been though, they give you their all”

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One characteristic to be expected of the chickens is the state of their feathers – or the lack of them. Unfortunately, this is just another by product of being a battery hen. Little Hen Rescue have already factored this in, and have a web page with instructions for how to construct fleeces and jumpers to keep the birds warm while their feathers grow back – which they always do. Helpfully, there are also pictures of the hens wearing breast plate knitted jumpers and fleeces to show you the finished ‘product’. I defy you not to be moved by these photos.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

One thing worth remembering if you want to go ahead and adopt a hen is that you will need a garden in which they can roam, and preferably you will need to construct or purchase a secure, fox-proof chicken house with an attached run. Amelia’s Magazine is not usually in the habit of acting as a broker in the sale of chickens, but then an appeal like this does not come along every day. If there is anything that you can do to help, get in contact with Little Hen Rescue and help a feathered friend.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

Phuong-Cac Nguyen left America more then two years ago to start a new life in São Paulo, visit this Brazil`s ginormous metropolis and the main economic and cultural center in the country. She went away with the purpose of sending contributions about the city to blogs and websites such as  coolhunting.com and joshspear.com. However she found in town countless choices of how to spend her free time and decided to compile her favorite hidden Sao Paulo haunts into a brilliant guidebook. It`s been a hit between locals, so in order to find out more about how she came up with the project we chatted almost endlessly about the book – but also about Sao Paulo`s social problems, the paulista lifestyle and Brazilian politics.

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Berlin

I didn`t get if you`re American, Brazilian…??
American??
Oh ok. Could you tell us a little about the book? It seemed very interesting. Loved the layout too.?
It comes from two years living there. While writing for coolhunting and joshspear, i picked up a ton of info. Also a lot of it came about naturally – I’m a super curious person, so to keep myself entertained I went discovering the city and chatted with people and as I did all this stuff about the city came out and I had all this info that I didn`t know what to do with and knowing that there was a lack of this type of book for Sao Paulo, I figured it would be a good idea to do a book and share these gems.??
That`s great! I`m looking forward to reading it.
?Thank you! The majority of the people who worked on it are Brazilians who live in São Paulo. I wanted to present a true insider’s view.
So you went to Sao Paulo by yourself and then started with the freelance jobs?
?Yes. I had saved up some money from my previous gigs. Jobs in the U.S.
And what made you choose São Paulo??
It was one of my stops during a South American trip I made in 2006, and when I got there I felt at home – first time in my life I have ever felt that way about a place.
Where are you from in the US?
?I am from L.A. California.
That`s a big change! What do you love the most about SP and the least??
Most: I haven’t figured it out totally, but I think it’s the sense that something is always happening, always changing, always moving, and I like being a part of that.
Least: the pollution – my acne has come roaring back as a result.
Yes it`s horrible! But isn`t this movement sentiment a thing that all the big cities have it? This idea that there`s always something going on?
?Yes, i guess so, but I’ve been to lots of big cities… there’s just something different about Sao Paulo’s movement… maybe it’s because it’s still developing yeah – and I also love the people there.
What do you love about them?
?People are so nice! And people from other Brazilian states complain that they think Paulistanos are snobby (back to the whole big-city thing), but I have met so many amazing people there, people from all over Brazil come to SP.

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D-Edge Club

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I think Paulistas are the best!
?hahah are you a Paulista???
Yes I am! But I`ve lived most of my life in Porto Alegre.?
Ah people there are so nice too! A lot of my friends are from the south.
So you got to learn some Portuguese??
Yes. I’m fluent.
Cool! Was it hard??
Believe me, after dealing with the printer, I am definitely fluent! Yes it was hard – but after about 6 months I was able to be understood.
??So that was quick!
?I knew my Portuguese was up to speed when I could complain with everyone else about the traffic and pollution haha.
??Hahaha. And that`s when you became a real paulista!?
Hahahah. Exactly!
Awesome! So do you plan of translating the book to Portuguese?
?Yes, that’s in the plans. the book is practically sold out in Brazil already, even in English!
Uau that`s amazing!
Congratulations!?
Yeah I’m shocked really.
Where did you use to live in SP??
Vila Madalena
So how would you describe SP`s like in a more detailed way? Because the idea people usually have from Brazil is from being a country with beaches everywhere, girls in bikini drinking caipirinha and dancing samba the whole day. But we both know that`s not true.?
Definitely. Well, SP is a modern city where you can get gourmet olives imported from Italy and we get stuck in traffic jams like in NYC, but combine that with a strong Brazilian culture and you have a totally unique place.

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Museu De Arte Moderna

So in the book you describe the main neighborhoods??
Yes.?Restaurants, bars, boutiques, hidden gems.??
So would you say it`s targeted more to SP`s high class?
?Noooo! It’s for people working in the creative industry, people like artists, designers, architects, writers.
??Right.?
So not high class – when I think of high class I think of super rich and my readers are not. But they are by no means unsuccessful, if that makes any sense.
It totally makes sense. Do you plan on writing another guide??
Writing i don’t know but producing more under the Total series, yes. I have to take a rest before I would consider writing another one… I’d like to hire someone else to write the next one!
?Any idea for cities??
Yes – we’ll stick with South American cities. But as for what city next, that will have to be kept under wraps for now.
So could you tell me what are your favorites places in SP? Like a top 5 maybe?
?Bar do Museu, praça por do sol, filial, the historical center of the city, the Arab area of the Bras neighborhood. And of course I love my neighborhood! But that would be 6 and you asked for 5.

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Loja do Bispo

So you`re still living in SP? Thought you were back in LA.
?I’m back in L.A. to handle the business end of the book, but will be back in SP this year. All my things are still there!??
How do Brazilian people usually react when you say you`re American? Probably a silly question, but I`m just curious.?
They are super curious, they love Americans and being Asian on top of that, I’m definitely an interesting specimen. They wonder why the heck I moved to SP when they all want to move to America!??
Exactly! Did you get to follow Brazilian politics? What do you think about it?
?I did a little bit, yes, and I find it fascinating the infamous bureaucracy, the corruption, but I see that there are also some good hearts in the government, trying to work against those two aspects. And it’s working, because Brazil is growing and being accepted into the worldwide market.
Really? Do you truly believe in that?
?Yes – you see it more on a local level. I don’t really understand national politics as much, my Portuguese is weak in this area, but nevertheless even though Brazilians are required to vote, and we aren’t in the U.S. but yet we’re infinitely more involved when it comes to campaigns, i find that Brazilians should take a deeper interest in helping to shape change…. but it’s complicated because they don’t trust the government. This is a sentiment that many Brazilians share with me, that they would in fact love to be more involved but they see it as kind of hopeless.
Yes that`s exactly what I think. It`s one of the reasons that made me leave together with crime as well, which it`s related, of course.?
Yes, definitely. The crime is insanely bad compared to America. I think this is why Paulistanos are so special… they have to deal with all of this and yet they are able to maintain a happy nature and positive view on life. This is amazing to me. I love SP with all its faults, I have gotten days where I wanted to pick up and move somewhere else because I was frustrated after hearing about a bounty hunter killing someone in my neighborhood, but I don’t because the city and its people have so much to offer
Yes totally. That`s what I`m always telling people about Brazilians: they can be miserable, completely poor, live in a shit hole, but they`re are smiling, cooking their Sunday barbecues and drinking their beer.
Yeah totally. In fact, what you say is what my friends say is the problem with Brazil, why things in government aren’t changing… instead of getting up and doing something about things, people don’t want to deal with it and rather focus on making churrasco. I can understand in a way.
Sad but true. Phuong thank you so much. Is there anything else you would like to say??Well I definitely would not have been able to do it without my team of photographers and illustrators! They believed in the project and as a result it shows through in the final product. That’s all!
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Now, buy more about I know Surbiton quite well. It’s a place I associate with Waitrose, cost semi-detached houses, wife-swapping, Audis, Felicity Kendall’s loin-stirring fringe, and the Class System. Artistic notions don’t really seem to fit in this anodyne suburban mould.
And the good people of Surbiton probably don’t notice the gaping wound in their emotional channel. But here, in the valley of the shadow of death, cometh the man. A man with the vision to inject into their sterile lives the force of the creative spirit. And much calcium.
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Robin Hutchinson graduated in Fine Art before Duran Duran discovered hair gel, a bit conceptual and performancey, and then embarked on life’s great journey. Decades later, he’s a happily married man who drinks a lot of Pinot Grigio and follows his arty heart. Ha has an amazing knack for getting people in authority to do things. One day, he decided that Kingston needed a theatre, and turned himself into a one-man lobby, pestering the Council and developers for years, until it was done, with the beautiful result of the Rose Theatre, a rounded Shakespearean structure that keeps it real with proper plays and comedy.
Then he decided to celebrate the life of photography legend and Kingstonian Eadweard Muybridge with a 20ft projection onto the facade of Kingston Police Station, located opposite Muybridge’s birthplace. A projection of Muybridge’s work, followed by a creepy-as-hell pair of eyes looking out across the town, framed rectangular, as though from a burqua. Behold surveillance society, and trust in society laid bare not in a gallery setting, but on Kingston’s High Street, with people strolling by to drink beer or buy kebabs.
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So here’s a chap who likes a little confrontation, and wants the populace to let some Apollonian/Dyonysian into their lives. So maybe you’re wondering where the calcium fits in with this…
Robin (who, given the right costume, could easily pass for a Marvel supervillain), tells me of his Damascus moment. One afternoon, while having his car fixed up at Kwik-Fit next door, he popped into The Lamb for a pint and thought he’d try a selection from the deli counter. Yes, deli-counter! This would be a major revelation for anyone who remembers the way the pub used to be; an intimidating grotto of dirty looks for non-regulars, shifting Carlsberg-flavoured water to a single-digit client-base who would ruminate each afternoon on the finer points of Daily Star stories. Maybe a dartboard by the door to the ladies, maybe a jar of pickled onions – it’s all the stuff of legend, now (except for the huge plastic letters of the SKOL sign that adorn the side of the pub, in memoriam).
Deeply inspired by the warmth of fledgling Landlord and Lady, Adam and Liz, and the quality fare on offer (largely sourced from a relative’s Dorset farm), Robin decided firstly that the pub’s internal revolution should be advertised to the wider public, and that the wider public was deserving of a revolution of its own.
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He admits that the first Homage De Fromage event was dominated by Robin’s personal friends, and was fairly low-key. However, by the time I discovered Surbiton’s Cheese Underground, months later, things were a little more lively, even unhinged. At the end of a busy evening, I had travelled to the pub to meet a couple of friends who were already cheesed up. When I arrived, they were building a monorail course out of straws and sellotape, for the passage of a tiny straw and sellotape basket, housing a pickled onion (you see, pickled onions aren’t wrong per se – it’s all about the context). At the end of the course, the basket landed in a tray of water and was suddenly deemed a boat. Well done, I said, but it was no good – I was near sober, whilst they had not only imbibed more than me, but had also been in the zone since 7.30 sharp. It seemed to make perfect sense to them that pickled onions should need transportation. I saw so clearly the dichotomy between us: I was just a citizen of the State, whereas they were engines of creation. They had the same spark that enabled the invention of the Artesian Well, pyramid-construction techniques, or the aquaduct. I would have to get in on the act from the beginning of the evening to attain this enlightened state. Nothing could stop them!… Except the end of licensed opening hours, or running out of chutneys.
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Let me tell you how Homage De Fromage works: Claim your table (you’ll probably have to book, these days), pay your money, enjoy your cheese-platter (themed on a region of the British Isles) while examining your cheese-menu and discussing your observations with your cohorts, fill in your answers to the quiz which nobody seems to care about, then partake in the month’s challenge.
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The cheese, obviously, is a big focus, and Adam and Liz put in the research to get the most exquisite and diverse cheeses from each region. There’s usually a bit of Goat’s, a bit of Blue, and some Brie-like, as well as the more familiar types. But this isn’t a foodie review, and the cheese is not what it’s all about. It’s the challenge, the problem-solving.
The challenge that I had walked in on yielded brilliant results, all put together in around half an hour. Little cars with olives for wheels and toothpicks for axles, a hot air balloon, rafts, a glider. And this is exactly what Robin wanted to see. It’s Art, but not as we know it.
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For Art’s greatest achievement can only be shining the light of imagination into the hearts of ordinary men and women. Robin’s strategy for achieving this is so simple, yet it achieves so much for its very directness. A little of society’s familiar lubricant, alcohol, followed by the gustatory excitement and discussion that only the complexity of cheese can bring, and then the simple laying down of a gauntlet.
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The month that followed the transport-design forced each table-team to create a Wicker Man, which was then burnt in the beer garden as the horde of possessed Suburbitonians chanted and danced, and occasionally gestured the pretence that it was ironic. A month later came the command to build a whale, using only blue sheets of A4, straws, sellotape and bravado. The variety of approach was broad. Some built a skeleton first, some were cartoony, one had a little Jonah sitting in it’s mouth, two used a live human as the basis of the beast, One referenced the evolutionary ancestry of the whale with ambulocetus features. And the room was filled with love.
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The most recent event had the challenge of designing a work of public sculpture, specifically an alternative to Wallinger’s big horse, planned for the mouth of the Channel Tunnel. There wasn’t a single half-hour proposal that I didn’t prefer to the Wallinger. Just for the sheer ridiculous Pythonesque and throwaway ethos that infused each work. And Bacofoil was the medium of the day. Shiny, shiny.
(Apologies, dear reader, but there’s no way I can get through this feature without the words “You had to be there!”)…You had to be there.
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Homage De Fromage is an evolving project. Or maybe the trunk of a tree of projects. In the last four months, popularity has shot through the roof, with the April event being fully booked before the March event had finished. The clientele is changing, too, with younger people and artier people increasingly following (that’s right, following) les petits bourgeoises into this vibrant new scene. Robin is planning to harness this force, with plans to build a scaled-up model of the board game Mouse Trap on the beer garden, and a community art project, called My Life In A Box, in which anyone and everyone is invited to represent their life inside a cardboard box measuring 25x25x7cm. Effectively, the man is luring people into Kingston’s underweight cultural life with cheese. A mousetrap will make a very fitting monument to Hutchinson’s methods.
But is it Art? Proper, capital-A Art? Does it need to justified in relation to The Death of the Author, Public Art Theory, Art Brut, Relational Art, blah, blah? Is Robin a Rirkrit Tiravanija of the non-gallery-dwelling suburban breed?
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Robin gives the impression that Art is nowhere near as crucial as his real buzzword – Creativity. Art is almost a hang-up, totem of the stagnant and the done, whereas what matters is the force that drives creation. That’s why everything ends up in the bin at the end of Cheese Night; no debris shall slow the passage of creation, as it joyfully gushes downstream in half-drunk flux.

For some reason, this involves girls wearing false moustaches. And they look good.

You can involve yourself in the Homage on the website, or the facebook. Why not go the extra mile and help out the Mousetrap, or put your life in a box.
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It helps to have a few aces up your sleeve when you’re trying to make it in the fashion/art world these days. In which case you wouldn’t want to be the one staring across the table into the lovely poker face of this particular card shark. French Illustrator extraordinaire Coco, healing has stacked the decks with talent and expertise in razor sharp and uber feminine illustrations in magazines like Nylon, Slurp, Russh, Wonderland, years of fashion consulting for designers, PR work for Valery Demure, and most recently her own line of luxurious silk scarves called Forget-Me-Not.

Coco’s graceful drawings appear in Illustration books, displays for London and Barcelona Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfield’s AW ’09 catalogue and milliner Yasmin Rizvi’s turbans. Sitting down with the skillful drafter and in a plaiting of French and English we talked about her unique perspective on what it takes to stay in the game these days.

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“I started out studying at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Dupres but after that I didn’t draw for ages. I was actually working in fashion PR in Paris when Valery Demure asked me to do some illustrations for an invitation. Then a few magazines asked me to do some artwork for them. Once my pieces were out there, I sent out a quarterly update to the right people. Valery, by then a good friend, suggested I do the scarves and three months later I was doing it and now she’s my agent.”

Fearless and instinctive, I suppose that’s the kind of nerve you’d need to contend in the notoriously fickle world of fashion.
“When someone offers you to do it and you say ok, that’s one thing. But to come up with something on your own and to push it is too anxiety ridden. I admire those people that can do it. To be able to say merde ou oui (sure or piss off) to someone. ”

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Do you feel your connections and savvy in that milieu helped you avoid some of the pitfalls most young designers face?
“So many things can go wrong but you’re on your own so you have to follow up on everything yourself. People say it’s so easy but it’s a nightmare to find the right factory. Sometimes the graphics look dirty if they’re not done to a high standard. After 6-10 tests I’m still not happy with them. Then there’s transport, corrections, it gets expensive. But that’s not really a big surprise because I’ve worked with so many young designers. Mais le vivre et le faire….(But living the life and doing it are not the same thing).”

What suggestions would you offer to designers/illustrators new to the game?
“Above all you must do it with your own identity and always be thinking ‘who will buy this?’ As soon as you do one thing, everyone thinks that all you do until you prove otherwise. If you do just one thing without taking risks you’ll end up like a rat. It could be just a poster or a book.”

“When sending your work to the PR’s you need to make an effort, to think about the little things and make it easy for them… like including simple texts. And you have to keep at them. I understand why designers are so stressed out. Often they’re timid by nature. I put everything I have into it. The successful ones are really aggressive and they put the effort the whole year through rather than laying back. Everything goes so fast these days it’s hard to know who’s coming or going.”

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The internet must play an enormous influence in the role of the consumer. What can you tell us about the quickening pace of the fashion industry?
“Buyers are some of my favorite people to work with, they can be so much more informed and creative than they’re given credit for. When I first showed my silk scarves I didn’t tell them they were my designs, just so I could get their honest opinion. In commercial showrooms I got to know a lot about their customers through them.”

“The client comes super early in the season (AW 09) and they know exactly what pieces they want by summer. They used to depend on magazines and whatever they dictated. But now they’re seeing it all, instantaneously. They’re informed and decisive. My S/S ’09 line of scarves went into Colette immediately. I get orders from the shops in April and they want it by June because that’s when their August display windows are being designed.”

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I hope are readers are keeping up because this is very much the nature of many a conversation with designers these days. Delivery dates are creeping forward so fast it’s all most designers can do to keep up, much less concentrate on the fun of designing.
Where did the designing process start for you
Coco?
“I can’t do just one thing or I get bored. I think that comes from my education in France, although it can stifle you at first by forcing you to take certain paths before you’ve had a chance to develop or explore. But you had to be an academic to do well in the arts, you have to do one thing exceptionally well. There had to be an identity behind the facade… which always fades. I need to observe and understand before attempting it but because I had a good technical base I could just move on to anything I fancied, like designing a font. ”

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A box of samples from the manufacturer have arrived and there’s an excitement about seeing what surprises lay inside. She unfolds a giant piece of diaphonous silk with 8 or of the same print, each slightly different in hue or tone. She inspects it closely, turning it over delicately in her hand.

These gorgeous silk scarves you’ve done are so rich and detailed. Is it easy enough to get your hyper-fine drawings onto them?
“No, actually it’s extremely difficult. There’s a massive difference from screen to product. Firstly I chose to work on an unusually large size square so you can wear it plenty of different ways. Also silk absorbs ALOT so its very difiicult to get details because the silk just drinks the inks up. It’s important to have the back look good too, not blotchy but properly bled through. When Barney’s buys you and puts you on the shelf next to Pucci it better be good.”

Know your opponent. Something to keep in mind. When rising stars are quick to burn out it can be invaluable to do your homework. And this triple-threat artist from France has a full house of extra sweet designs on her newest collection of scarves forget-me-not available at her online store going live next week so check back with us here for details. Because as the French are fond of saying, ‘On ne vie pas sur l’air et l’eau fraiche’….We can’t live on love and fresh water alone.
Merci Coco!

Fanfarlo‘s album Reservoir opens with pianos that rise up like the morning sun, shop lush and warm. Their songs unravel like stories that balance between light and dark; definitely melancholic but never without a touch of child-like optimism.

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Reservoir swoop and soar like a bird, from cinematic highs and gigantic orchestral arrangements not dissimilar to the brilliant chamber pomposity of our beloved Arcade Fire only to diminish into whispery vocals and xylophones. There is something magical about Reservoir, it reminiscent of fir tree forests, Northern Lights, magic stories and a yearning for yester-years.
This self-assured debut is a must for bookish types who are fans of fore-mentioned Arcade Fire, Beirut, Sleeping States, Belle and Sebastian and dream of woozy adventures in far-away lands.

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Produced by the infamous Peter Katis (mind-bogglingly good producer of Interpol and The National ) this multi instrumental, melodic smorgasbord is whimsical, nostalgic whilst being meticulously arranged and intensely structured.

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Having played SXSW this year, they are currently touring the UK including this weekend’s Great Escape and Reservoir is released on 25th May on Raffle Bat. Fanfarlo are very much kings of their own castle eschewing conventional modes of distribution in favour of authentic and personal approach by running their own living room based make-shift business; buy Reservoir direct from the band themselves!
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Still in its infancy, page although you wouldn’t know from the sheer number of enthusiasts it has already won over, Craft Guerrilla is set to take over the world. Not just THE world but YOUR world.
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With Portugal born Walthamstow based Deborah Daniel at the helm, steering a crafty crew of artists, movers, shakers, designers and visionaries, Craft Guerrilla is on a mission to capture your hungry hearts and idle hands with a creative collective to literally get in yourself in a stitch over. She shares responsibility for its genius with two others, Lisa Magreet and Louise Batten, and her encounters with numerous etsy-ites along the way. Deborah Daniel is a fingers in pies kind of girl; Head Girl for Craft Guerrilla, a former ceramicist and current mastermind behind the company Munano, described in her own words as ‘A kawaii project…lots of evil but cute bunnies and forest creatures so lots of sewing, cutting and stuffing!’ This all supplements a day job that pays the rent, and yet Deborah shows no signs of sitting still.
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Well equipped with principled idealism, utopian collectivism and a whole host of other worthy ‘isms’ to get the ethical activist juices flowing, these ladies are dedicated to The Cause in a big way. Far less about being anti and far more about being pro, Craft Guerrilla talk a lot more about what they do care for than what they don’t; a refreshing wide eyed optimism to grace these somewhat grey and gloomy times. Using unoccupied buildings as venues; supporting independent businesses and small-time designers; they are far more interested in promoting collaborations, forming opportunities and hosting workshops than bitching about the depressing state of the high street and its predictable conformity. Siding with the peaceful rather than the anarchic, Deborah happily reports her movement has been embraced with open arms and is gratefully received across the board. However she does tells me ‘We did have a funny incident in Wanstead, east London though…a few older ladies thought we were actually funding South American guerrilla armies through our craft market sales. Maybe if we knitted them some guns but…the word “Craft’ kind of gives it away.’
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Her down-to-earth grass roots approach to matters is mirrored by her citations of inspiration; ‘I guess as inspirational people go my Auntie Maria Jose epitomises everything I’m trying to do. She was a real socialist, great humanitarian, artist and person. She valued the power of art and craft and the teaching of skills so to leave a lasting legacy for others to follow through out their lives.’ This is one upbeat lady. In fact the only vaguely negative thing I squeeze out of her is her rejection that craft is exclusively for the middle classes. ‘It’s not a privilege it’s a right! Luckily things are changing and people see it not only as a hobby but as a valuable resource and an art form.’
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I ask her how intrinsic the ‘make do and mend’ ethos is to Englishness and vice versa. ‘The term D.I.Y. is so English that I’ve had quite a time trying to translate it to Portuguese. People do D.I.Y. but the essence is very much a British one. Like afternoon tea and the attitude to craft! The Americans are quite tuned in to the whole Craft thing too though I guess the main thing that divides us is their “can do attitude”. I wish we were more like that sometimes! BUT London is a really creative place filled with self sufficient people and I’m constantly surprised how little help people need at our d.i.y. events. Also I’m amazed at how forthcoming other craft groups have been in offering to help us advertise our events and work together with us. The sense of community and sharing is really something!’
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What’s so lovely about Craft Guerrilla is the distinct lack of competition. No commission charged for Craft Guerrilla’s online shop, no attempting to out doing each other with bigger brighter hipper events – in fact, copycat behaviour is actively encouraged. Print out and keep packs are readily available to people wanting to start out on their own, as well as advice and tips on running your own get together. Well, when you have your sights set on global domination you have to can’t expect to do it all single handedly. I wonder whether she worries about short cuts and reinterpretations of her original manifesto, if allowing people to grow their own means risking people shaming the name. ‘We have a few guidelines in place but in general we hope people have requested to be part of Craft Guerrilla because they identify with our ethos and principals so they too are likely to follow it. We need to keep some consistent but it’s not set in stone. We also want people to make it their own by adding their own ideas and energy to the collective. I have faith in people and if there is something we really don’t agree with we are all open and intelligent enough people to discuss it with each other.’ ‘Before we take anyone on we like to see what they make. Our criteria is that all designer makers must sell only hand made item. We also look for originality and quality designed products. We just feel that we need to choose wisely because we all represent each other as a whole.’
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With monthly events springing up and taking off such as Crafternoon at the Old Queen’s Head, Craft Market at Beautiful Interiors and Swishing at the Pink Bar, she is one busy bee. And the demand is ever increasing. Inspired by these quirky gatherings of like-minded arty types in reclaimed buildings, more and more is appearing rapidly and not just in East London. With Edinburgh set up to follow suit with a ‘Sister Army’ this Summer, and interest mounting from as far afield as Sweden and Sydney we are at the brink of a revolution in doing it for our selves and having a darn good time while we’re at it.
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It feels like a pilgrimage, help like I’m on some kind of DaVinci Code quest. Potent truths that remain hidden from most around me will soon be revealed. The Band Before The Band I’m Here For churn out some unimaginative geezer-rock. Wearing a selection of Hoxton-twat-headgear and oozing the “Oi, cheapest oi!” flavour to entertain a herd of jolly boppers, they leave me cold. I’m not in the mood for pacy (yawn), exciting (yawn) rocking out (yaaawwwwn) tonight.

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I’ve been psyching myself up for a gig by Alice and the Cool Dudes. All else is distraction. Ever since Punk-Jazz emperor Seb Rochford enlisted her as the voice of his Fulborn Teversham project, Alice Grant has been one of my favourite singers in London. The soft end of her voice is all head-resonant, tender and earnest but never quite soothing. There’s always a dissatisfaction in there. When the lungs get involved too, it’s a shockingly obtuse cavernous roar, a cross between primal wheeze therapy and shouting yourself hoarse. The cusp of these two sounds tends to give the impression that her precious heart could shatter at any second. It’s beautiful.
But that’s just a voice, as it is used in a different band. How would the Cool Dude ethos differ from that of Teversham? And would the siren/banshee voice be the same? The moment had come, the previous band had removed all their pedals and their hats from the stage, and all that was left was a drumkit, a set of keyboards, and a bass. And so began a selection of songs that never got so weird you’d call it experimental, but never got so familiar that you could classify them. Among the most striking was Boobs, baroque in its harpsichord sound, baroque in its fingerwork, not so baroque in featuring a cockney sparrow singing about boobs and somehow basically being kind of a lovely pop ditty. There is top notch songcraft in this. Strong melodies, twists and turns, a beat-rest at the end of a verse in which Alice holds the “oo” of “boobs” for a crystal-clear couple of seconds. Mmmmm.

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And it gets even better. The gig progresses, and we are treated to Toes, a sway-friendly trombone waltz (that’s Joe the drummer’s other instrument). Then comes Changebrain, which is easily the catchiest tune on offer. Alice’s sequencer starts things off, then comes the hooky vocal, then the backing vocal, then the rhythm section builds it up, suddenly we’ve got a really tasty driving hit, yet still with it’s quirky authenticity, as Alice sings of wrapping dogshit in a Tesco plastic bag. This is also where bassist Ruth Goller (familiar to fans of Acoustic Ladyland) shines brightest. Her vocal lines are the perfect counterpart to Alice’s. It’s not just backing vocal, it’s a cleverly intertwining thread of its own. In the end sections, where it seems like all the preceding parts have come together in a rich ecosystem of tone and chord, it’s Ruth keeping it deep, reusing a previous vocal, then inventing a Ringo-style flat melodic version of the main line, and playing an inexplicably perfect bassnote at the same time. It all comes across as quite sweet and simple at first, so it’s ability to take you over is a proper thrill.
Finally, The Truth, a song that feels just as epic as the name suggests. A boomy tom-tom beat, and a thick, deep hammond provide the perfect backdrop to Alice’s consoling utterances of what feels like pity. Really, just go and listen to them do it.

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Returning to my stupid idea that this might need comparing to Fulborn Teversham, well, yes, it was stupid. There is a portion of common ground, but Alice and the Cool Dudes don’t need those shackles. The central motifs that make up Teversham are gone, and replaced by something which is more pure, or less diverse, depending on how you see it (and certainly less screamy). But either way, it’s no less playful, no shier about complexity, and no less true. For all their dryness, and stone-cold confrontational chutzpah, Alice and the Cool Dudes are the most intense, interesting, sincere, meaningful and promising new band in my life this year.
But there is something amiss down at Barden’s Boudoir tonight. And there are two possible solutions. The first to occur to me was that they could use a more intimate venue, maybe the Slaughtered Lamb or Cross Kings. I think most of us in the crowd were first-timers, and the message might have come across a bit more pokey without a sound system designed for noisy ragers, without a room designed for beerbottle dance moves. The other solution is the one I prefer though. They release an album, everybody in the kingdom buys and loves it, and then, when everybody knows what it’s about, a gig in Wembley even could not fail. For intimacy can take on huge proportions to the initiated.
Let’s be honest though, the Hoxton-hat brigade will probably beat them to it. Alas, there’s no justice in this cruel business. I’m off back to the bar for another lament of amaretto.

You can hear demos and find out about future gigs on the myspace.

Categories ,barden’s boudoir, ,cross king’s, ,indie, ,jazz, ,lo-fi, ,london live review, ,slaughtered lamb, ,songwriter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Young Knives – SUPERABUNDANCE

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With such dry, look visit ironic observations as ‘home is where the house is‘, this cialis 40mg Superabundance introduces itself as a melodious continuation of the faux-geek, visit web insightful pop-rock that first emerged in Voices of Animals and Men, but proceeds to take us on a spiralling journey into the dark depths of the Young Knives‘ psyche. In Terra Firma, we are confronted with the beginnings of the climactic incantations that slowly envelop us in a humming and howling hypnosis in Current of the River, which follows a sombre, medieval chant in the delightfully foreboding, pagan harmonies of Mummy Light the Fire. I don’t like to compare bands, but I found some of their wistful, nautical narratives redolent of the Decemberists‘ historical fictions.

While the insinuations of suicide in Counters left me feeling tempted to phone the three band members to see that they were alright, Rue the Days has a positively nonchalant nineties feel and Flies, a gentle meditation on the natural world, seems to encapsulate a recurring fascination with human-animal relationships; a little idiosyncratic perhaps, but I get the feeling this album is somewhat an eruption of the Young Knives’ musical multiple personality.

I listened to every word of the album, and realised it was poetry; a super abundance of philosophical metaphors immersed in a synthesis of unexpected genres, undulating from pensive, orchestral flickers to thick, satisfying explosions of bass, good old enthusiastic shouting and some of the catchiest hooks around. It may leave you weeping, but it may just as well have you running out the house in your dancing shoes.

Categories ,Music Narrative Album

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings

The eponymous release from New York based The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has everything you could want from a summer album. A certain been-in-the-sun-too-long hazy-headyness without the too-much-ice-cream sugariness of many indie-pop summer albums. No-No! I’m rallying for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart being trail-blazers for a new genre we shall call ‘Sandalgaze” aka Shoegaze for when it’s not raining out.

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From the rip-roaring opener ‘Contender’, buy more about the album manages to be catchy without being twee, shop noise without being dreary, imagine My Bloody Valentine on a beach doo-wopping and you’re halfway there.
Whilst treading this line The Pains of Being Pure at Heart consistently avoid being schmaltzy. The track; Young Adult Friction is danceable, its lyrics of a whimsy worthy of Stuart Murdoch yet reflect on themes like first love with a sort of yearning nostalgia, again souring the sweetness. Here the oft-overdone boy/girl singing duo is slightly off-kilter and the effect is more reminiscent of early Yo La Tengo or Jesus and Mary Chain than Belle & Sebastian.

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The Pains of Being Pure of Heart is definitely tinged with nods towards the 80s and early 90s,yet it is perhaps too easy to criticise the album for this. The band manage to utilise certain stylistic tropes without being too retrospective or shallow.
In fact The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is refreshing in it’s redefinition of certain preconceptions: summer isn’t all about whistling and tambourine jangling anymore and Shoegaze is reinterpreted with a sunny touch rather like enjoying a 99 flake with Kevin Shields!

The album ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’ is available now and the single ‘Young Adult Friction’ is released on 18th May (Fortuna Pop!)
They play The Lexington, London on 15th May

Kitsuné has really got its groove on this time. Left eyebrows are often tilted to a 74-degree angle at the mention of a Parisian fashion boutique that puts out compilation CDs, symptoms amongst other music releases. At first, tadalafil you kind of expect endless Dimitri From Paris types churning out catwalk-flavoured lint, but Kitsuné really knows what it is getting, and won’t be holding onto the receipt. With utter confidence and bravado, you see, it was Kitsuné that released Wolfmother’s ball-busting old-metal limited edition EP. Benetton scratches its head in confusion.
For all that, Compilation 7 is a danceable disc, with lots of European disco-beats, and plenty of fruity basslines in the Frenchified Electro style. But it’s not the kind of thoughtless, juvenile poppy end of it. You won’t hear anything approaching “Lady, give me tonight, cos my feeling is just so right”, since the Maison-people (Maisonettes?) are clued up. They listen to Tangerine Dream and Elvis Costello, and anything they select from the here and now is selected with a certainty that reminds me of the chap who picks the leaves for PG Tips: He just knows where the good stuff’s at.
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Highpoints include Chateau Marmont’s Beagle, filled with synths fresh from Tomorrow’s World demonstrations, sidewinding through arpeggiated chords, with the occasional crash-bang with a wooden spoon by the stove, and Beni’s Fringe Element, which popcorns along with hi-hats before going to a thoroughly spiffing hiatus of slap bass with one of the squidgiest, wiggly-wormiest synth solos since Mr.Scruff’s Shrimp. Probably the most exciting track here is Crystal Fighters’ (above) Xtatic Truth, a journey involving Epic-Ragga-Happy-Hardcore, hints of Chinese Folk, and a choir of the ether.
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But it’s a plentiful CD. There are nineteen songs, in all, and although everything chugs along to the metronomic pulse of cubase, there is pacing and variety to the beast overall. Gentle relief comes best of all in This Sweet Love by James Yuill (above), as remixed by Prins Thomas, a ponderous chillscape based on the warmest fingerpicking, and an embrace of vocals. You will feel truly hugged. And once you’ve digested it all, you can take that lovely warm glow on the Eurostar with you, and buy yourself the bestest clothes (I’m not a fashion writer, actually) in all Pareeee!

You can buy the Maison’s goodies at www.kitsune.fr or at their myspace.
If you are a university student, online what do you make of your schools environmental policies? Do they even have green policies to speak of? This week, the students of the University of Arts London have been bringing environmental issues to the forefront, and discussing the various ways that both themselves, their campuses and the courses themselves can be more environmentally aware.

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The Go Green Week, also known as Green: The New Black has been running for the last few days and culminates in talks and workshops on Friday, that include Fashion Forward: Creating an Ethical Label between 4pm-6pm RHS East Space, LCF, John Princes Street
which asks: “How can you create a label that looks good, but is also good to the environment?” ECCA and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion present fashion design businesses that are sustainable throughout from their manufacturing processes and materials, to marketing methods that aim communicate and promote their ethical processes to their customers.
Also on Friday afternoon at LCC is the meeting “Students Going Green” –top of the agenda are the following points “Fed up with the lack of recycling at your College? … Want sustainability on the curriculum? … Think Arts London should GO GREEN?” Speaking with the Press Officers of the Student Union, I learnt that a large number of students have voiced their concerns over this topic. The recycling issue specifically has been on ongoing and much debated subject. Many students feel that not enough is being done to provide facilities to recycle. The Green Charter laid out by the Student Union demands that “Sufficient recycling facilities should be available at all Arts London Sites and all Halls of Residence, with consideration also given to specialist recycling e.g. textiles, wood at relevant sites.”

Also on the agenda is for the issues of sustainability to feature more heavily in the Universities curriculum, either in the form of specific modules, or integrated as a whole, and for the campuses to switch to a green energy provider. The student union also explained that they are setting up an “Ethical and Environmental assembly” that will set future Go Green Assembly’s. They have also been encouraging students to sign a petition that is campaigning for a greener Arts London. Realising that strong visuals are the best way to get the point across, the students were asked to be photographed with the green charter and upload their pictures to the blog. An example would be these brave folks.

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Learning about the concerted efforts to raise environmental awareness amongst students started me wondering how other universities and student bodies broach this subject. As this is a topic that is dear to our heart, we would love your input on whether your schools and universities are committed to the environmental cause, and if so, do you feel that they are doing enough? . Tell us more at hello@ameliasmagazine.com and maybe we can help to highlight the issue.
Be featured in this limited edition anthology of the best new illustrators engaged in environmental thinking. Read on to find out more…

***Please note that this brief is now closed: you can now order a copy of this book online by clicking here***

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an illustration by Laura-Maria Arola from issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine

Now, malady anyone who is following me on Twitter – my new favourite thing in the whole world – will know that I asked my dad to do the research for this book. I know what he’s like – apart from being a typical male who loves nothing more than “disappearing down the rabbit-hole” as my mum calls it (also known as busying himself in new projects) – he also loves a challenge. So I asked him to dig up some info on all the most obscure new alternative technologies currently being explored, sale so that I could put together a brief for Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

He rose to the challenge and then some… almost immediately I started receiving email updates on strange new ways of producing energy. But not only that… it seems I have been the unwitting catalyst for a whole new venture – or a whole new rabbit warren to explore, depending on your point of view. A trained if somewhat out of practice scientist, Bruce (that’s my dad, I know, wierd, I call him by his first name)- gleefully told me on Bank Holiday Monday that he’s just designed the best new wave power technology not yet invented. Having read nearly 2000 patents for various wave power technologies he has, in his inimitable way, decided that his idea is quite clearly the best (my dad ALWAYS knows best). Except he won’t share it with me, cos I might, like, post it on the internet or something, before he’s applied for a patent.

Still, exciting stuff, and just the kind of thing I hope to do more of with both this open brief and the resulting book that comes out of it. Amelia’s Magazine in print may be no more, but I could never leave print entirely, and so the idea for this book has been mulling around in my head for sometime now. What we need right now is a whole heap of imagination, because humans need to make a big leap forward if we want to get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in. And whilst the scientists and boffins of this world busy themselves with the minutae of complicated chemical reactions and intricate moving parts, we also need the skills of artists to make these technologies a concrete reality. Without both visions together we will continue to move at a snail’s slither, so my aim is to help quicken that pace. If I can inspire designers and illustrators to better consider the way their energy is produced by drawing alternatives, then maybe they will make better choices about where their own energy comes from. Of course I don’t believe that technology alone is a cure all for all our ills, but it’s a move in the right direction, and I aim to produce a book that provides a comprehensive resource of all the best new illustrators capable of engaging with environmental issues and envisaging future alternative energy sources.

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an illustration by Allan Deas for issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine

What will be in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration ?
The book will be a compendium of profiles on the best illustrators who submit to this brief. Anyone is eligible to submit work, from anywhere in the world. I would particularly encourage new illustrators; those who are still at college, just graduating, or new to the field. Amelia’s Magazine is used by many influential creatives looking for new talent to employ, and this will be an even better way of getting your work noticed globally.

What will the book look like?
The book will be the same dimensions as Amelia’s Magazine, thereby sitting nicely on the shelf with any copies of the magazine that purchasers might already possess! It will be designed in a similar fashion but also expect some new ideas.

When will it be published and where will it be sold?
Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration will be self-published (again!!!!) The lead-times are just too long with the big publishers, plus they would want more design control than I am prepared to give to them. The ones I have spoken to also insist on producing all their books in the Far East, something I am very uncomfortable with given the dodgy environmental credentials of many industrial operations in that part of the world. It will be produced in the UK by Principal Colour as a limited edition hardback towards the end of 2009, in time for Christmas. Advance orders should be available to purchase on my website by the end of the summer, and will be much appreciated in order to finance the production process as it is going to cost me much more to keep production in the UK. The book will be sold worldwide at specialist art book shops such as those that already stock the magazine. I will aim to produce a second (possibly softback) edition the following year to be made much more widely available.

What can I do to contribute?
I need a number of different artworks from aspiring contributors, so please read the following information carefully and make sure that your submissions meet the criteria before you send them in to me.

Submission criteria

EXCLUSIVE WORK: produced specifically for AMELIA’S ANTHOLOGY OF ILLUSTRATION

1. Most importantly:
ONE EXCLUSIVE LARGE PIECE done specifically for this anthology and not featured anywhere else.

This should feature an alternative technology that has not yet been built or mass-produced in any great scale. NO RUN-OF-THE-MILL WINDMILLS AND SOLAR PANELS PLEASE!

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an intriguing design for a line of windmills on a bouncing rod

This is a challenging theme, but thanks to my dad there are dozens of links below that will lead you off in the right direction. You will need to disappear down the rabbit hole for awhile for this brief requires time and thought to complete. It also requires huge amounts of imagination, which is what illustrators specialise in! And my dad! I’ve always held a belief that the scientific mind and the artistic mind are not really so different from each other. How else do you explain me? The child of two scientists?! but rubbish at science….

Anyway, I digress. In this illustration I want to see ways that a new technology would be integrated into our future lives… so interaction with the surroundings or people will be good. This is not a technical illustration, it’s an aspirational one, but you should imagine this technology in some detail, however fantastical it may be. You could even look back at technologies that were patented as far ago as the 1800s, but that have never become part of the mainstream. Your chosen technology should be the main focus of your whole picture, but don’t forget to add detail.
This should be accompanied by a short written piece describing why you picked this particular technology and what the illustration means to you. This should be no more than 300 words.

A word to the wise: the more obscure your choice of technology the better, since I will probably choose different technologies for each illustrator that I choose to profile.
You can choose to work in two sizes:
Double page (as was used in Amelia’s Magazine)
SIZE: page size: 400mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 406mm x 251mm.
or
Single page
SIZE: page size: 200mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 206mm x 251mm.
NOTE: Don’t put important stuff in the 3mm bleed zone (but do continue your image into it) as this is where the printers may cut bits off when the magazine is cut and bound.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)
GUTTER: please also note that the book will have a very deep gutter in the middle so it is good to keep important parts of your illustration away from the centre of the spread in double page images.
MY STYLE: if you want to know about my taste in illustration you should check out the current issue of the mag, or buy a back issue here!

2. A exclusive PICTORIAL LOGO on an environmental theme

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Logo designed by Adrian Fleet for Climate Camp in the City at the G20 protests

If you have submitted something for the Climate Camp logo open brief then you would be able to resubmit it for this brief, irrespective of whether it was used or not. The logo could be for an event or a company or a product or anything at all, but it must be promoting environmental themes and ideas. I will be looking for colourful and engaging logos. Consider the work of Adrian Fleet for the G20 Climate Camp in the City logo when thinking about what to enter for this. My style tends to be maximalist, but the words must always be a bold and easy part of the logo to read. It could be work that you have already created and has already been used by a brand (though please check with them before sending it to me) or you could create a new piece of work for a real or fictional brand. It should encompass a creative use of typography with illustration. There will be plenty of food for thought amongst the alternative technologies you will already have researched.
This should be accompanied by a short written piece describing what the logo has or would be used for. 50 words max.
It can be any size, but please create work at 300 dpi to a largish size.

3. Typography: YOUR NAME!
Please create your name in the most imaginative way possible. This could be done by hand, or on a computer, but you should really go to town! Amelia’s Magazine is well known for the use of creative typography, and for Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration the floor is open to you to create your own type for your own name (or how you would like to be known professionally) Don’t think of it as branding, but as something to go to town with. If your work is chosen it will be used to head your page, and it should therefore be really creative and fun. Think of this as your chance to really grab the reader’s attention!
For this reason please work to these dimensions and no smaller. (it could be bigger)
SIZE: 200-400mm wide x 40mm high
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

4. A Border
Again this should fit a single page and reflect an environmental theme. Be sure to work with 3mm bleed and no more than 25mm in from the edge.
SIZE: page size: 200mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 206mm x 251mm.
NOTE: Don’t put important stuff in the 3mm bleed zone (but do continue your border into it) as this is where the printers may cut bits off when the magazine is cut and bound.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

NON EXCLUSIVE work:
4. Two other bits of illustration.

These should be your best recent work. They do not necessarily need to be on an environmental theme but should showcase as wide a range of imagery as possible, eg. people, things, places, typography etc. If you have created artwork for any of my previous open briefs this could form part of your submission although I would prefer to see new work. Be sure to stick to one style though – illustrators with a strong style of their own will always make the biggest mark, and I am unlikely to pick anyone who does not show a strong style throughout their submissions.
These can be any size, but please label each illustration clearly with a name and date of creation.
SIZE: as big as possible to fit the book’s page sizes.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

CLOSING DATE: Monday 3rd August, by midnight please.
Please send lo res versions of your images (saved for web) to info@ameliasmagazine.com in an email clearly marked ANTHOLOGY OF ILLUSTRATION so that I don’t lose sight of it in my inbox if I am rushing through things on the day it arrives.
(This should be 6 pieces of work altogether. PLEASE DON’T SEND MORE THAN THIS)

If you are chosen for inclusion in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration then you will be notified shortly after this date, once I have made my decisions. I have yet to decide how I will put together the profiles, but I may well need a photo from you and a short interview. If this is the case you will be notified later on in the summer.
And if you have any questions that are not answered above then please email me for clarification.
Join the facebook event here to ensure you get updates as they happen.

Best wishes and happy drawing!

Links
Below is a very long list of links, courtesy of Bruce: this is by no means conclusive, and the technologies may never work, but they are all being explored and would be valid ideas to illustrate. Youtube and Google Images are both a great source of innovative technologies, and I am sure you can find more. Feel free to go off and google you heart out – but you must illustrate something real and possible, and not a fantasy idea of your own. (unless you are also a scientist of course)

Wind turbines

Wikipedia wind power info

Magenn’s revolutionary wind power system on youtube

Magenn Air Rotar system

Magenn’s home page

The Floating Balloon Wind Generator

Motorwind Camping Set Wind Turbine

Knex wind turbine

Magnetically Levitated wind turbine

Great pic of huge Maglev wind turbine

Wikipedia entry about Maglev wind turbines

Maglev wind turbines homepage

Mag-Wind Vertical Axis Turbine

A Flying Wind Machine!

Floating Wind Turbines

A great blog about lots of different alternative energy projects including wierd and fantastical wind turbines

Huge Kites

Optiwind accelerating turbine

Selsam superturbines

Rotating wind power towers

Broadstar’s Aerocam

FloDesign wind turbines

Wikipedia definition of airborne wind turbines

downloadable PDF containing interesting info about different types of airborne wind turbines

Wikipedia definition of Kitegen

Kitegen website – plans for a huge airborne wind farm!

Great picture of how kites could generate electricity

Guardian article about kite power

Video showing how a kite ladder would work

Makani Power high altitude wind kites

Google have put money into the Makani vision

Makani “wind dam” picture

Great article about Saul Griffith — wind energy entrepeneur, and president of Makani

Tom Van Sant makes amazing kite ladders as sculpture

Wind Harvesting farms

Helix Wind

More Helix Wind porn

Google search results for wind power technologies

Mariah Power wind turbines

Google videos about wind power

The huge offshore aerogenerator

Quiet Revolution wind turbines

Wave power

Oscillating water columns

Anaconda wave technology

SIE-CAT wave energy accumulator

A list of wave power patents going back to the 1800s

Danish Wave Energy Society

the Wave Dragon

Wave Star Energy

Wave Energy Centre

CWave Power

the Aegir Dynamo

CETO

Columbia Power

Float wave electric power station

the Manchester Bobber

Orecon oscillating water column

OE Buoy

Aquamarine power

Sperboy wave energy converter

SSG Concept

The Seadog Pump

Buoys technology

Floating power plant

Surf Power

Power Buoy

the Wave Roller

Langlee Wave Power

the WRASPA

video about Harnessing the Gulf Stream! (is this a good idea?)

Wikipedia entry about wave power

Pelamis on wikipedia

Pelamis wave power

Pelamis being tested in Portugal

Google videos on wave power

Biowave power system

video showing Biowave power working

Video – giant rubber snakes!

SRI wave powered generator

Ocean Power Technologies

video – Aqua Buoys

Aqua Buoy movie

Oyster wave power

Tidal power

Wikipedia on tidal power

Video – tidal wave energy

youtube – idea for tidal energy barrage in florida

Sea Gen

google video links for Sea Gen

Marine Current Turbines

video of Biostream tidal power system

Gorlov helical water turbine on wikipedia

Gorlov Helical Turbine

3D interactive model that shows blades of Gorlov turbine

Severn Barrage

Solar Energy

Wikipedia on solar energy

Thermal

wikipedia on thermal solar energy

wikipedia on solar energy generating systems

wikipedia on solar power tower

BBC news report on solar power stations

Solar Power tower in Spain

image of Solar Power tower

more images of solar power tower in spain

Bright Source solar power on wikipedia

Bright Source Energy

Solar Reserve

youtube on solar tower energy

solar tower energy in spain on youtube

Enviromission solar tower

Suncatchers

Dual axis solar tower structure

Voltaic

photovoltaic energy

youtube on israeli solar energy

First Solar free field power plants

youtube about plastic solar cells producing solar power

Konarka power plastic

Standard geothermal

Geothermal power on wikipedia

youtube geothermal energy vid

Enhanced geothermal

Wikipedia – enhanced geothermal systems

youtube video on enhanced geothermal systems

Hot Rock Technology

Alta Rock Energy

Petratherm

Geodynamics
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The Reluctant Photojournalist

Features a variety of vintage and modern prints from Werner Bischof’s well known humanitarian photography including the Bihar famine, more about Europe post WWII and the South Korean war. Alongside these sit Bischof’s equally beautiful but perhaps lesser known early experiments with abstracts and nudes.

Photographic co-op Magnum Photos Ground Floor, 63 Gee Street, London EC1V 3RS, 0207 490 1771
Free Entry
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re.orient.ate

Reorienting common notions of contemporary Arab art and lifestyle and debunking ‘Orientalist’ depictions. Arab artists Marianne Catzaras, Dora Dhouib and Wael Shawky explore themes of mass media, Diaspora and religion via film and photography.

Selma Feriani Gallery, 23 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2QN
7th Apr – 13th May 2009
Free entry
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The Abyss

A new joint exhibition by former Wimbledon College of Art students, Nicola Stead and Dan Jupp.

The Outside World, 44 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP
7th May – 13th May By appointment Thursday to Saturday
Free entry
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The Hiding Place

Lewis Chamberlain
Exquisitely rendered pencil drawings whisk the viewer away into muted landscapes
which toy with scale, suburbia and the surreal.

James Hyman Gallery Savile Row, London W1S 3PD, 020 7494 3857
30th April – 30th May
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Crafted
Contemporary Craft and Fine Art

An exhibition celebrating the materials, processes and techniques involved in making extraordinary objects, the exhibition will feature nine artists from different arts and craft and design fields.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Church Lane, Carmarthen SA31 1LH
4th Apr – 16th May 09, 10 – 5 Mon – Sat
Free entry
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Monday 11 May

Telepathe are a too-cool-for-school three piece from Brooklyn. They’re playing 93 Feet East. They get obtuse Krautronica and make it go “POP!” – maybe they’ll be the next Animal Collective… Supported by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.
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Tuesday 12 May

Dan Mangan plays The Electroacoustic Club, salve housed at The Slaughtered Lamb, viagra Clerkenwell. He’s a heartfelt songwriting kind of guy, information pills sings like he means it, and he’s much better than that Elbow record. Support comes from Deer Park.
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Wednesday 13 May

Our new favourite boyfriend-girlfriend duettists, Young Paul, will be giving The Cobden Club, 107 Kensal road a taste of 80s electronic treats. get in touch with the band for hassle-free entry, as it’s a private members club. Not just a fine gig, then, but also a chance to see where the Old Etonians schmooze.

Thursday 14 May

Alice and The Cool Dudes at Barden’s Boudoir. This is the high point of our music week. Alice Grant of Fulborn Teversham, is leaving her jazzhead buddies to one side to unveil some pensive indie songs, delivered by a totally unique voice that totters across a tightrope of uncannily powerful and tearful exhaustion. Surely she won’t disappoint?????
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Friday 15 May

Up in Nottingham, North-East London’s finest jokeshop salesmen of parallel-universe, narrative ska will be testing out some new material where they think no one can hear them. If you can find a place called Demo, you must prove Hothead Show wrong. Prepare for shockingly tight wizardry of the jerky-jerky groove.
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Saturday 16 May

A night of so-angry-we-can-only-tell-you-very-very-slowly Metal, with some catatonically droning Grunge, and atonal noise that may cause loss of balance on all but the lowest of seating. Roll up at The Constitution and enjoy Dethscalator, Scul Hazzards and Batrider. If you don’t take earplugs, then take cotton wool to mop up you bleeding lugholes.

Sunday 17 May

Always a good bet for a sunday night is Cross Kings, 126 York Way, in King’s Cross. On the ground level, David Goo will jolly along an open mic, which always has a few very eccentric envelope-pushers pencilled in. The avant-gardishness couples nicely with the family warmth, houmous and pitta that makes this a great pub. It’s worth paying a few quid to be allowed into the basement also. Things are a bit more organized (sound-checks and everything) but happily, there’s still no obvious divide between the musicians and the audience. What sundays are for.

Tuesday 12th May

Climate (Mis)behaviour
7pm
Dana Center
The Science Museum’s Dana Centre, dosage
?165 Queen’s Gate?, sildenafil
South Kensington
?London?SW7 5HD
?talk@danacentre.org.uk
+0044 (0)207 942 4040

Rescuing the planet requires behavioural change on an unprecedented scale. From individual action to global politics, what are the different strategies attempting to achieve this? Social psychology, advertising, policy and direct action are all thrown into the mix in this debate. ??This event is trying out a new format called Policy Slam, which is funded by the Democratic Innovation Fund of the Ministry of Justice. With the help of the experts, you will discuss, present and vote on several different options.

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Illustration by Lea Jaffy

Wednesday 13th May
Morphic Resonance, Collective Memory and Habits of Nature – An evening with Rupert Sheldrake

6.30pm drinks & buffet at Gaia House, 
(18 Well Walk, Hampstead, NW3 1LD)

7.30pm Talk & discussion at Burgh House 
(Opposite Gaia House, New End Square, Hampstead, NW3 1LT)

When Rupert Sheldrake first put forward his idea of Morphic Resonance more than twenty years ago, it caused a great stir in the scientific community.  The Editor of Nature denounced it as “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years” and proclaimed that it was “heresy”.  In his recently published new edition, available on the evening, Rupert documents the evidence that has built up in support of this hypothesis.  He will reflect on the Human Genome Project and other reductionist ideas, where few of the grand claims have come to fruition, not unlike the economic bubble that has recently burst.
 
The paradigm shift that Morphic Resonance offers is coherent with the Gaia Hypothesis, where the cosmos is understood to be a developing organism, where nature is alive, interconnected and creative.  There is an inherent memory in nature, and evolution is an interplay of habit and creativity, like our own lives.  According to this way of seeing formative causation, all self-organising systems, including crystals, plants and animals contain an inherent memory, given by a process called morphic resonance from previous similar systems.  
 
These ideas also resonate with diverse indigenous traditions around the world, including those of European ancestry.  For much of our history humans have experienced our relationship with the Earth, and indeed the Universe, to be fluid and reciprocal.  Rupert has taken up the challenge of exploring this ancient wisdom thorough the modern scientific tradition.
You can reserve your place online at: www.gaiafoundation.org/learning/online.php
Or send  a cheque for £10, made payable to The Gaia Foundation.

For further details please contact Sarah at: sarahn@gaianet.org or 020 7428 0055.
 
Rupert Sheldrake is recognised as one of the world’s most innovative biologists.  He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, and is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project.  He is author of more than 80 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and many books, including ‘The Presence of the Past’,  ‘The Sense of Being Stared At’, ‘Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home’  and  ‘Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness’. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

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llustration by Eco Labs

Thursday 14th May
TAKE BACK THE POWER!? THE IMPORTANCE OF DIRECT ACTION TODAY

6:30-9pm
?Amnesty International UK
Human Rights Action Centre?
17 – 25 New Inn Yard
London EC2A 3EA
Nearest tube: Old Street

Free entry, refreshments and snacks provided
RSVP: london@climatecamp.org.uk or call 07534 598 733 (Early booking recommended!)
Find out what YOU can DO to stop climate change.?Throughout history ordinary people have been responsible for all major social changes – women’s rights, civic rights and even democracy itself in many places can be said to be result of direct action. Taking action is the very first step in making big changes happen. Direct action is taken by people who feel that the political process is not working to address profoundly important issues.
Climate change is the most urgent challenge we’ve ever faced – and politicians are not showing the strength of character needed to actually address this problem. Instead of serious sustainable solutions we see new runways and new coal fired power stations- deals that benefit the bottom line of the big players and not the wider population. Climate Camp believes that people everywhere need to work out what they can do – and then do it. Taking action yourself to make the world you want to see is a logical response to a very serious situation.

Are you interested in doing more to highlight the urgency of climate change? Or the relevance of direct action to struggles for jobs, peace and justice? Are you intrigued but feel uncomfortable about going outside the mainstream political process? Would you consider getting involved but don’t know how? Are you nervous about the consequences?
‘Take Back the Power! The Importance of Direct Action Today’ will be unique opportunity to hear about direct action from people who have participated in different ways. Speakers will range from people on the front line to those helping in the background. This includes Deborah Grayson – one of the Parliament Climate Rush – who is on bail and will be speaking about Climate Rush (photgraphed below)
To reserve a place/s please RSVP to london@climatecamp.org.uk or call 07534 598 733.

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Photograph by Amelia Gregory

Saturday 16th May
Euroflashmob: Europe United Against Airport Expansion
Stop Airport Expansion

Saturday 16 May 2009. The day of the Eurovision Song Contest. 12 noon on the dot at Heathrow
Terminal 1 Departures. Join Heathrow Flashmobbers in a Europe-wide Flash Mob – taking place on the same day at 6 airports across Europe.
Flash Heathrow! Flash Paris! Flash Frankfurt! Flash Schipol! Flash Brussels! Flash Dublin!
Each flashmob will be singing Eurovision classics (song-sheets provided), so download your favourite eurovision song onto your ipod or phone and bring your friends, instruments, hats, wigs, and your dancing shoes and let’s party. Now for the serious bit: airport expansion is seriously bad for local people, increased noise, air pollution, and especially the climate. The aviation industry want to expand airports across the UK and Europe, but opposition is huge, and the scientists are telling us we have to drastically cut emissions if we are to beat climate change. Flashmobs are a fun way to highlight the real opposition there is to expansion at airports across Europe. Here’s another big chance to show our opposition to a 3rd runway at Heathrow.
See you in Heathrow Terminal 1 Departures at 12 noon on the dot!
Tell BAA to get in tune: No Third Runway.
www.euroflashmob.com

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Illustration by Sachiko

Green Wedge II
A major Green Party benefit gig, to aid the Euro Election campaign.

£5 entry.
Venue:
Pangea Project
72 Stamford Hill,
Stoke Newington,
N16 6XS

http://www.pangeaproject.co.uk/

The highly eclectic lineup includes:
The Refinements (Raucous Ska)
Sarah Ellen Hughes Duo (jazz singer)

Contacts:
Selim: 07853 725476
Come along and support the local bands by cheering loudly, the Green Party by giving us your money and support, and the Pangea Project by drinking copious amounts.
It’s all shaping up to be a fun night, ably facilitated by your host Matt Hanley (ahem), with comprehensive Eurovision updates throughout the evening!
You can buy advance tickets here:?http://www.skiddle.com/tickets/
I love good days. Days that unfold in a series of pleasant surprises that put a spring back in your step and remind you that the world can be a good place. Three such things occurred today, buy well, four if you include the free coffee I was given for no reason, and five if you take into account the particularly magnificent texture of the water in which I swam early this morning (a good start surely), breathing fresh and clean from the night’s rain, silk to the touch and causing my skin to tingle for hours after; but silk water aside, only one of these things is relevant to you Zach, can I call you Zach?

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There was a moment at tonight’s concert where you clasped your fingers behind your head, raised your eyes towards the ceiling, and sighed a private smile – do you sometimes not quite believe it? I couldn’t believe it. I’d given up the hope of seeing you (you the object of a little musical infatuation), play at the Forum tonight – a torment when that venue is within spitting distance of my home. I’d cycled past and seen the queues outside (one of the nicest looking crowds to gather outside the Forum, believe me I know), my head hung low and my pedal stilted, perhaps I could sneak in, how could I live here so long and not know a secret entrance? Just as I was reconciling myself to a night of listening to Gulag Orchestra within the confines of my bedroom and strumming Postcards from Italy alone on the roof, a good thing happened – buzz buzz in my back pocket.

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“Hey Luisa how are you?”
“I’ve been better, well actually it’s been a pretty good day, but – ”
“Yeah well listen, you like Beirut right?”
“Like them? I Love – I mean yeah, they’re ok. I guess they’re ok.”
“Well you couldn’t do me a favour. I know it’s late notice and you’ve probably got plans”
“Erm, yeah I’ve got plans”
“Well I’m supposed to be reviewing them tonight but they wouldn’t give me a plus one and I don’t want to go alone, you wouldn’t go instead would you?”
(I’ve pulled over and am silently raising my fists to the sky)
Hmm…I suppose I could, I mean I would like to see them but then I don’t know what I’d write, I’m sure I’ll think of something-”
“So you’ll go?”
“Yes, yes I’ll go.”
“Oh great, thanks, just say you’re me, get some pictures, you know the drill, thanks again,”
“No problem, really,” (jumping up and down a little bit),
“What’s that noise?”
“Oh, nothing, some kid, thanks a lot, have a good night,”
“You too, byeeeee.”

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So that’s how a good day found me watching you tonight, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a gig. You came out to rapturous applause, rewarding the audience kindly with Nantes, how does it feel to have a crowd sing your songs along with you? It was as though you were singing old folk songs of a collective homeland from which we’ve all strayed, not something created from a photograph and a few months in Eastern Europe and Paris. And now you’ve moved over to Mariachi influences? I was raised on Cumbia, and I’ve always thought the sound is very similar to that of Eastern Europe, accordions and trumpets and powerful melodies. Everyone around me was in hushed silence for the entirety of the performance, and you seemed so relaxed, demure, a sound like yours doesn’t require anything else – I did like the occasional hand conducting though. On behalf of the audience, not that anyone would make me spokesperson for anything, thank you, it was wonderful incredible; but then you know that, not everyone gets two encores. See you again soon I hope, and erm, if you ever need someone to tap a tambourine or a cowbell, or maybe an old foot pedal harmonium just rescued from cobwebs, then … hi.

Yours,

Lulu Lampshade

SM (small print): emotional content may have been exaggerated slightly for effect.
Will Morgan is an excellent photographer, store clever person and all round nice guy. His photographs are subtle and dream-like; intimate yet austere, information pills all of us here at Amelia’s Magazine are big fans of his beautiful and exciting work. I was lucky enough to catch up with Will to talk about his work and the politics of photography.

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Hi, patient Will, how are you today?

Hello Roisin, I’m very good today thanks , the sun’s out and things are pretty much perfect.

I really love your photographs especially your use of light and attention to details- what makes a good photograph for you?

Thank you, that always nice to hear. Images work for me when they inspire an emotional response or are successful at conveying a mood and atmosphere. It’s the same for me with any art work really, every discipline. When I was at college I was really interested in domestic photography, family albums and the like, I always felt that these images were incredibly powerful because they are loaded with so much meaning, they tie into notions of memory, loss, happiness, sadness and the passage of time. I’m sounding a bit pretentious here but never mind eh? I think that an image can stand on it’s own purely by being beautiful as well, ideally one would combine the beauty with an emotional response. I think photographs are a form of language so it’s nice if they say something.

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Can you tell me about your average working day?

I don’t really have an average working day, I shoot a lot of editorial so the jobs are varied and my personal work is even more so. If I’m on a commissioned job it’s usually an early start, double check the equipment as I have been known to leave vital bits behind. Drink some very strong coffee, try not to smoke (fail) and head to the location, be very nice to everybody and start to shoot. Obviously keep to the deadline, work in close conjunction with the art director and hope the client is happy! All my commissioned work is digital these days so there’s normally an hour at the end of the shoot to go through the images then I retouch and deliver. My personal work is far looser I identify a project I’m interested in and shoot on my own, with minimal equipment. I do get up a lot later on these days, probably smoke more cigarettes though.

Do you have a favourite camera?

I started off using a 1960′s Hassleblad and I still love it, but these days I mainly shoot with a 645 contax and a P30 back, with the advent of digital clients just won’t pay for film and now days they want to see everything immediately, plus you get used to the freedom of digital, you can shoot to your hearts content. I do like my contax but the Hassleblad is probably my favourite although I rarely shoot film these days, I used to have a Polaroid land camera which I throughly enjoyed but I lost it. Lets move on I’m getting a little emotional

What do you make of the whole film vs. digital photography debate? I mean do you view the advent of digital photography as a completely bad thing?

I’m not sure it’s even a debate anymore, digital photography is here and it’s a photographic tool, you just have to learn to use it and I think to deny it is a bit self defeating. I do believe that images shot on film look better than digital raw files but the technology is so good now and if you know a little about digital retouching I can’t really tell the difference. Digital has a huge amount of freedom, film is expensive with digital after the initial investment you shoot for free really, you can really experiment and as I’ve said all my commissions assume I’m shooting digital. I don’t think digital is a bad thing or a good thing really it’s just the way photography has evolved. Different jobs/projects lend themselves to different platforms/cameras and so on, whatever works for you is the best really. Even when I do shoot film I scan it and tweak it in photoshop so it becomes a digital image anyway.

I think that’s really interesting, it’s quite taboo I think to be positive about digital photography, it’s refreshing to hear that you’re pro-digital and proud; whilst film is beautiful, people can always become purist about things like that and I agree that digital technology can add something great to photography- as we can see in your work!

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Continuing with this foray into the ethics or politics of photgraphy, do you agree with the idea that a photograph is the truest form of representation?

I’m probably misinterpreting the question but umm, not really, I think a photograph captures how someone or something looked in that split second the shutter clicked, it’s a tricky one but as a photographer you’re imposing yourself on the scene, you crop in camera, use apertures and f-stops different focal lengths, different formats, you edit your images, decide how to present them, all of this creates a selective reality, I’m not even sure if reality is the right word, also now with the computer technology you can completely alter the original image . All of these things have a huge bearing on whatever you’re photographing and of course you want it to look good. I don’t think it’s a true representation of reality but it has the edge over painting I think.

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Can you tell me about your journey to where you are today (career-wise rather than transport-wise!)? Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

Well I went to India for a year when I was 20, I picked up a camera there for the first time and really enjoyed it, I’d stayed in India too long so I missed my University place to study English so i did a part time course in photography. I loved it so went the route of art foundation, photography BA at LCP (also this got me to London). I did well at LCP I won a few prizes and it gave me the confidence to believe I might actually be able to make a living from photography. After my degree I worked part time at the National Film Theatre and assisted various photographers as well as picking up a few commissions for my self. It’s only really been the last three years that I’ve made a reasonable living purely from my own photography but it’s always been fun and I’ve never wanted to stop. I think getting over the fear of the portfolio meetings was crucial! The only advice I would give is to keep at it, never be afraid of showing your work, shoot as much as you can and enjoy it, I think it’s the best job in the world (apart from rock star maybe)

Which photographers inspired you early on in your career?

I was always hugely impressed with Philip Lorca-di Corcia in particular his Hollywood Hustler series, I was and still am a big fan of Eva Vermendel and Martina Hoogland-Ivanow, Paolo Roversi’s work is always beautiful, Christian Boltanski, Stephen Gill, Bruce Davidson, Azim Haidaryan, Nadav Kander, there’s a lot of them but I’ll leave it there.


What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few, I’m shooting a series of confessional boxes in Catholic churches, a series on cineastes based around the National Film Theatre and bus stops at night.

I can’t wait to see them!

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All photographs appear courtesy of Will Morgan
At first glance, mind you might have thought that activism, arts and permaculture would make the strangest of bedfellows, but don’t let any preconceived notions cloud your judgement. The imaginative people behind ArtsAdmin are laying on a fortnight of activities which will demonstrate how effortlessly these subjects can work together. Under the name of Two Degrees , and with the recent quote by George Monbiot acting as a kind of frame of reference – ‘We have to stop treating climate change as an urgent issue, we have to start treating it as an international emergency” – the week long series of performances, activities, exhibitions and installations will have one thing in common; our relationship with the environment and the impact of climate change.

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I chatted recently with ArtsAdmin, in their beautiful and unexpectedly peaceful surroundings (well, they are on Commercial Road!) of Toynbee Studios (also the setting of many of the forthcoming events). They explained that even the title of the festival is apposite. ‘Two Degrees’ is in reference to the reports that global temperatures are set to rise by that amount in around 40 years. A relatively ‘small’ rise such as this could lead to catastrophic changes on our planet.

While the message is serious, many performances will be light hearted, and all will be engaging. A case in point, the ‘set list’ reads thus;  
“A reconstructed airplane serves real airline food delivered from City Airport; permaculturists and artists lead a foraging exploration of the City; a crowd of Londoners, an artist and a water dowser trace the course of a great London river; radical temporary transformations of lunchtime London; an artist-activist family confess to past flights they have taken; climate change cabaret; an urban-rural walk to City Farm; a bicycle-powered DJ set (run by good friends of Amelia’s Magazine; Magnificent Revolution) and a filmed rural idyll accompanied by passenger jet noise form Two Degrees”

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Personally, I like the sound of the climate change cabaret. It’s about time that cabaret branched out a little, don’t you think? Speaking of avant-garde performances, a particular highlight of the week will be C.R.A.S.H. A Postcapitalist A-Z, a collaboration between ArtsAdmin and the fantastically named collective that is The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. While it is difficult to predict exactly what will occur, (it’s best just to come down to the City of London to watch), C.R.A.S.H will be creating a phantasmagorical world where “Eight postcapitalist commissions transform lunchtime in the City including the very last opportunity to purchase a real woman, a soup kitchen distributing bowls of gold soup to City workers, a lone cyclist pedalling a field kitchen around the Square Mile, a forum of bankers, ex-bankers, climate activists, artists and others confessing their capitalist tendencies, and a café of equivalence where a bowl of food costs the same as a banker’s daily salary in parallel with food costs in the developing world.” I believe it is safe to say; brace yourself!

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Elsewhere, the issue of airline travel is of course, a pertinent topic in an event that is engaging in dialogue about climate change. At Toynbee Studios, it will be dealt with in an unexpectedly humorous way. In an activity that Dada would be proud of, the artist Richard DeDomenici (and his cabin crew) will be serving out helpings of airplane food, in its airline style packaging. Just in case you didn’t think that this was authentic enough, your meal will be served as you sit in a recycled airplane interior, which Two Degrees hasten to add, also includes in flight entertainment. For any of you who would pitch up just because you like the taste of airline meals (someone has to…?) there is a deeper meaning behind this. DeDomenici is responding to a recent quote by chef Marcus Wareing about British pub food, which he declares being of poor quality, so much so that for a proper meal, “you would be better off getting on a plane”. Now, I would disagree with chef Wareing on both counts. Has he never eaten at The Eagle? Moreover, it is an irresponsible comment to make, one which highlights the ease in which we get on and off flights, almost as if they were trains. So, rather than getting on a plane, you can experience all the wonders of a flight (but without the guilt of actually flying). Hurrah!

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If you are anything like me; a bit of a hippy with a nerdish fondness for maps and discovering secret, ancient rivers, ( I’ll admit that there are very few of us around!) then you will especially enjoy the outing that Two Degrees have planned. The artist Amy Sharrock will be leading a walk which she describes as her response to global concerns. This will come in the form of an excursion from Islington to the Southbank, tracing the lines of the ancient, and lost Walbrook River. Not obscure enough for you? Did I mention that any participants will be dressed in blue and tied together to resemble water molecules?

All of the events can be booked online at www.artsadmin.co.uk. It promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging week. Knowing ArtsAdmin and the people behind this event, however out of left field the performances may be, the message will be central: we are running out of time in which to save the planet, and the time in which to act is now.

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Crochet, help shells and pipe cleaners…beasts banished forever to the chasmic closet of craft have broken free of the plastic furniture covers and dried flowers to be resurrected as one of the most entertaining young collections to have paraded down the catwalks in some time. Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the Australian born and bred design team behind Romance Was Born have glued-gunned themselves firmly in place as the merry pranksters of Sydney.

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No one would blame you for crinkling your nose at the idea of a fashion collection inspired by someone’s nana. But peeking through the kaleidoscopic vision of these wizards of Oz . Driven by textures, shapes and above all colors, Romance Was Born in the fertile imaginations of these two talented designers when they met while studying fashion at the East Sydney Technical College.

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After graduating in 2007 they were invited to attend the Fourth International Support Awards in Italy where they turned down internships with Galliano because “their fashion fairytale had another date with destiny”. These young (water)guns were intent on starting their own label with, and why not, the suitcase size booty of Galliano laces and silks they’d received as a prize from the competition.

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These two confectioners are just as much substance as they are style. Clever tailoring and feminine shapes pepper the opulent couture showpieces. Collaborations with Australian artist Del Kathryn Bartonproduced original digitally printed fabrics and a 12 piece collection entitled ‘Garden of Eden’, which was exhibited at Kaliman Gallery alongside Barton’s work.

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Romance Was Born has also found its way onto the figures of Debbie Harry, Lily Allen, MIA, Cyndi Lauper and Karen O (who opted for a red tulle dress with googly eyes) and rising star rockers Architecture in Helsinki, who wore their puppetry inspired glo-in-the-dark pieces for the filming of their band’s new clip. They must surely have tagged one particular Icelandic songbird for their next mark. we can’t wait to see what they pull out of their party hats next!

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When you first gaze upon the work of Accessory designer Fred Butler it’s all rather indigestible, case flying from one medium to the other with all the energy and flair of an excitable child. She is constantly adding more layers, no rx depth and colour to her pieces, help the result culminates in mind bogglingly colourful and decidedly hap hazard pieces.

With such gusto It’s hard to fathom how to predict her, one instance you could be presented with a outlandish mathematical headpiece rather reminiscent of a futurist rubix cube. Then next your met with a piñata style headdress (lets hope the model isn’t planning on attending any children’s parties, it may conclude in a rather unpleasant knock to the head) Each piece is as brilliant as it is unique, Butler is one of the few designers it’s hard to typecast, her work has been vaguely linked to that of fellow kitsch designers Peter Jensen and Alistair Carr but apart from these she seems a law unto herself.

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Her latest collection featured a hallucinogenic short film entitled “Conspicuous consumption” to which ethereal models clad in swarouski encrusted headpieces serenely sway in a rather hypnotic manner, its all rather like a trip back to Kate Bushes Wuthering Heights video, alas minus the haunting vocals!

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Fred Butler is an infamous character in the fashion sphere; regularly her work adorns the pages of the magazine elite from Elle, I-D, Vogue, Lula, and Hommes Japan to Wonderland. She even graced the pages Amelia’s Magazine to which she featured in issue 10, which is still up for grabs for the record, it’s worth taking a peak!

Her success is universal, making waves not merely within the fashion sphere but within Music also. She boasts eccentric followers from electro folk icon Patrick Wolf to the elegant Bishi. But she doesn’t just appeal to London’s Underground sphere, she has a whole host of high calibre clients from MTV, Selfridges to the V&A!

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Who knows what Fred Butler has hidden under her brightly coloured sleeve, I for one can’t wait to find out!
The Dø are Dan Levy and Olivia B. Merilahti, view who luckily for our ears found each other and started making pop music for fun whilst working on a soundtrack together.
They have already made it big outre-manche, site with their album A Mouthful got to Number 1. Their vibrant sound swings from the playground to the streets and back again, viagra making for an exciting album brimming to the rafters with curiosity, exuberance and passion. It’s strings sweep with cinematic drama over lullabies and hip-hop.
From their genre-switching music to their diverse cultural background; a mix of French (Dan) and Finnish (Olivia), their sound is more unique than any boy-girl duo to have come along for a while.

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Hello Olivia, how are you today?
I’m good thank you- trying to relax …it’s been a while since I’ve had a day off, and we’re getting ready for our crazy UK/Germany tour

Wow, it sounds like your super busy! Are you in Paris right now? I’m jealous, I used to live there and I miss it…
Yes- shall we swap? i’d rather live in London! I dont know why, I’ve always felt very close to England.

It’s a plan! I’ll pack my suitcase as soon as we’re done interviewing! :-)

So it’s probably the first thing most people want to ask about, but how did you guys decide on the name The Dø ? I read it means ‘death’ in Danish…

d+o=Dan+Olivia. Do=do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do! “do(e), a deer, a female deer” (check The Sound of Music). In Denmark it means somthing about death, yeah but, the “ø” was mostly because it looks like the note as written in traditional music theory.

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I like it, The Dø is a big melting pot of languages and cultures; even Austrian with The Sound of Music! I suppose musically as well you mix up the languages with English and Finnish…but not French- was that a concious decision?
Yeah- French was never an option in music for me, my musical language is English, it’s always been, because it is also my musical culture, and pop music has always been in English

Also French in it’s nature for me anyway seems very structured and constrained linguistically- maybe thats hard to put into music?

Like Opera was mostly sung in Italian, German or French…but not in English, really.
It’s just like using the instrument that feels right.

What about singing in Finnish? Listening to your album A Mouthful- it really adds a ethereal touch when it’s used, it such a lovely sounding language!
Hum, I guess the song & the melody of “Unissasi Laulelet” just came up naturally in
Finnish. I didn’t really plan to write a song in Finnish, but I do sometimes need to change and use Finnish in my compositions.

Cool, it’s great to be able to use language like another instrument like you said. Do you think you both approach music with different views on art and music or do you have a lot of similar tastes?
On some stuff we don’t agree, but we’re usually extremely connected. Two people working together is a very intense activity…our musical backgrounds are different, but we’re so complementary…

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Talking about other experiences and influences- what are/were your personal inspirations musically?
I grew up on a lot of songs, in English or Finnish. My mum used to sing me a lot of lullabies in Finnsh, and I guess it is still an inspiration…Then I discovered Nirvana and Hole, then Bjork, Fiona Apple, Ella Fitzgerald, Goran Bregovic, The Wutang and Eminem.
Dan grew up on jazz and discovered classical music in his teens.Dan’s influences are John Coltrane (Dan played the saxophone for many many years), Bela Bartok, Zappa, etc. He was always sure he would become a composer, while I was singing in bands from age 14, but I was very shy about my own songs.

Wow, from 14! So music, even at a young age, was something you definitely wanted to do later in life? And what about for Dan?
Yes, but since I didn’t grow up in a family that was artistic in any way, I didn’t realise until quite late that it could actually become a job! Whereas there was no doubt for Dan.

So what does the future hold for The Dø ?
We’re gonna keep touring until august, in the UK and the rest of Europe, and then we record album 2…we’ve started recording a few songs already and it feels amazing!

I’m really excited to hear that! Thank you! :-)

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A Mouthful is out now.
Welcome to the weird, order wonderful world of Catherine Le Page. This Quebecoise knows how to draw and her illustrations are have a beautiful je-ne-sais-quoi about them. The most interesting pieces create a unique vision of femininity from childhood to womanhood. Brands, case diets, boys, careers and children appear throughout her work, highlighting the concerns of the modern feminine psyche whilst utilising a self-consciously girly whimsical aesthetic. The combination of the two give a deeply intimate view of womanhood.

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As we see below, she seems to condone a sort of universal sisterhood of happiness; the “for better” whilst marriage is perhaps implied as the “for worse”. She both embraces the feminine in her themes of nature, motherhood and celebrations of the female body whilst questioning its social implications.

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The colours and lines used by Le Page are delightfully naive, like the imaginings of a teenage girl; all crushes and crying carved in crayon on pages torn out of squared exercise books, taking us back to the days of secret notes passed in class and writing boys names in pen on our knickers.

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Her work is always mature in it’s treatment of subject matter; like her couple holding hands at the corner of a page faced with giant colourful block arrows, with Le Page‘s native Canada imprinted hauntingly in the background, like the big scary future looming. Or a couple coping with a long distance relationship. Le Page‘s illustrations manage to be both personal whilst universal whilst still maintaining a strong sense of narrative.

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Le Page tightropes the line between a twee femininity and these astute quasi- feminist observations, whilst being neither particularly approving nor politically critical in her work. Yet because she, as a female artist, is asserted as a subject of creativity and expression; it is men who become objects of desire, whilst female concerns take centre stage. Yet does being female and addressing issues of femininity in art always have to be a feminist matter? Opinions welcome…I’m off to burn my bra.

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Yesterday, about it an impassioned plea in the form of an email dropped through into my Amelia’s Magazine inbox. The subject matter was a slightly different topic to what usually features in the Earth section, unhealthy but instantly we knew that it warranted a feature, and needed to be shared with our readers. So todays topic is about 10,000 ex- battery farmed chickens that need rehousing urgently, otherwise they will be sent to slaughter.

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Henny Penny was found at the bottom of a battery farm cage unable to stand.

It may seem a slightly incongruous topic, but then I have always had a soft spot for hens. While I love the little corner of urban sprawl that I now occupy in East London, I spent my formative years in Cornwall. Growing up in bucolic, pastoral countryside, my parents (recently decamped from Wandsworth) decided they wanted to have a bit of The Good Life, and got themselves a chicken hutch and about 10 hens. Every morning, my job was the Collection Of The Eggs – I took my job very seriously. Armed with a basket I would quietly step into the hatch; I will never forget the peaceful, warm atmosphere that I would encounter. Ten contented, almost post coital chickens clucking gently to themselves as they settled down for a rest after a morning spent laying eggs. Needless to say, the eggs tasted delicious – rich, thick and creamy. So, with these memories in mind, there is an incomprehensible difference between the hens in our back garden all those years ago, and the pictures of the chickens that accompanied the email. Emaciated, featherless and pathetic – the real image behind battery farming that you don’t see on boxes of eggs.

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The people asking for our, and your help are a group called Little Hen Rescue, based in Norfolk. Yesterday I spoke with one of the volunteers, Emma, who told me that all of the group volunteer, and all are working up to 14 hour days in the pursuit of rescuing battery chickens. She explained that the hens will have spent most of their life in a tiny battery cage, laying eggs until their production level drops, after which they will usually be sent to slaughter. At this point, they are generally only sixteen months old, and seeing that chickens usually live for up to six years , they are not even halfway through their life span. The operation that they are currently undertaking is their most ambitious, and largest yet. At the end of June, a farm in Norfolk will be sending 10,000 chickens to slaughter, and Little Hen Rescue are hoping that all will be rehoused to members of the public throughout Britain. If anyone has ever thought of keeping chickens before, now would be the time to step forward. Although this may seem a daunting task, Little Hen Rescue are promising to guide every hen-keeping novice through all the initial steps. They are asking for a donation of £1.50 for each chicken ‘brought’, but more is always welcome, (and anyone who wishes to donate, but not get a hen is also welcome to do so, the website has details of their PayPal account. ). I asked Emma what the chickens are like, half expecting a description of severely traumatised birds, but she was quick to prove me wrong; “They are gorgeous! Where do you start? They are more friendly than any other breed of hen I’ve found. They are such loving little pets and considering what they’ve been though, they give you their all”

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One characteristic to be expected of the chickens is the state of their feathers – or the lack of them. Unfortunately, this is just another by product of being a battery hen. Little Hen Rescue have already factored this in, and have a web page with instructions for how to construct fleeces and jumpers to keep the birds warm while their feathers grow back – which they always do. Helpfully, there are also pictures of the hens wearing breast plate knitted jumpers and fleeces to show you the finished ‘product’. I defy you not to be moved by these photos.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

One thing worth remembering if you want to go ahead and adopt a hen is that you will need a garden in which they can roam, and preferably you will need to construct or purchase a secure, fox-proof chicken house with an attached run. Amelia’s Magazine is not usually in the habit of acting as a broker in the sale of chickens, but then an appeal like this does not come along every day. If there is anything that you can do to help, get in contact with Little Hen Rescue and help a feathered friend.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

Phuong-Cac Nguyen left America more then two years ago to start a new life in São Paulo, visit this Brazil`s ginormous metropolis and the main economic and cultural center in the country. She went away with the purpose of sending contributions about the city to blogs and websites such as  coolhunting.com and joshspear.com. However she found in town countless choices of how to spend her free time and decided to compile her favorite hidden Sao Paulo haunts into a brilliant guidebook. It`s been a hit between locals, so in order to find out more about how she came up with the project we chatted almost endlessly about the book – but also about Sao Paulo`s social problems, the paulista lifestyle and Brazilian politics.

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Berlin

I didn`t get if you`re American, Brazilian…??
American??
Oh ok. Could you tell us a little about the book? It seemed very interesting. Loved the layout too.?
It comes from two years living there. While writing for coolhunting and joshspear, i picked up a ton of info. Also a lot of it came about naturally – I’m a super curious person, so to keep myself entertained I went discovering the city and chatted with people and as I did all this stuff about the city came out and I had all this info that I didn`t know what to do with and knowing that there was a lack of this type of book for Sao Paulo, I figured it would be a good idea to do a book and share these gems.??
That`s great! I`m looking forward to reading it.
?Thank you! The majority of the people who worked on it are Brazilians who live in São Paulo. I wanted to present a true insider’s view.
So you went to Sao Paulo by yourself and then started with the freelance jobs?
?Yes. I had saved up some money from my previous gigs. Jobs in the U.S.
And what made you choose São Paulo??
It was one of my stops during a South American trip I made in 2006, and when I got there I felt at home – first time in my life I have ever felt that way about a place.
Where are you from in the US?
?I am from L.A. California.
That`s a big change! What do you love the most about SP and the least??
Most: I haven’t figured it out totally, but I think it’s the sense that something is always happening, always changing, always moving, and I like being a part of that.
Least: the pollution – my acne has come roaring back as a result.
Yes it`s horrible! But isn`t this movement sentiment a thing that all the big cities have it? This idea that there`s always something going on?
?Yes, i guess so, but I’ve been to lots of big cities… there’s just something different about Sao Paulo’s movement… maybe it’s because it’s still developing yeah – and I also love the people there.
What do you love about them?
?People are so nice! And people from other Brazilian states complain that they think Paulistanos are snobby (back to the whole big-city thing), but I have met so many amazing people there, people from all over Brazil come to SP.

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D-Edge Club

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I think Paulistas are the best!
?hahah are you a Paulista???
Yes I am! But I`ve lived most of my life in Porto Alegre.?
Ah people there are so nice too! A lot of my friends are from the south.
So you got to learn some Portuguese??
Yes. I’m fluent.
Cool! Was it hard??
Believe me, after dealing with the printer, I am definitely fluent! Yes it was hard – but after about 6 months I was able to be understood.
??So that was quick!
?I knew my Portuguese was up to speed when I could complain with everyone else about the traffic and pollution haha.
??Hahaha. And that`s when you became a real paulista!?
Hahahah. Exactly!
Awesome! So do you plan of translating the book to Portuguese?
?Yes, that’s in the plans. the book is practically sold out in Brazil already, even in English!
Uau that`s amazing!
Congratulations!?
Yeah I’m shocked really.
Where did you use to live in SP??
Vila Madalena
So how would you describe SP`s like in a more detailed way? Because the idea people usually have from Brazil is from being a country with beaches everywhere, girls in bikini drinking caipirinha and dancing samba the whole day. But we both know that`s not true.?
Definitely. Well, SP is a modern city where you can get gourmet olives imported from Italy and we get stuck in traffic jams like in NYC, but combine that with a strong Brazilian culture and you have a totally unique place.

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Museu De Arte Moderna

So in the book you describe the main neighborhoods??
Yes.?Restaurants, bars, boutiques, hidden gems.??
So would you say it`s targeted more to SP`s high class?
?Noooo! It’s for people working in the creative industry, people like artists, designers, architects, writers.
??Right.?
So not high class – when I think of high class I think of super rich and my readers are not. But they are by no means unsuccessful, if that makes any sense.
It totally makes sense. Do you plan on writing another guide??
Writing i don’t know but producing more under the Total series, yes. I have to take a rest before I would consider writing another one… I’d like to hire someone else to write the next one!
?Any idea for cities??
Yes – we’ll stick with South American cities. But as for what city next, that will have to be kept under wraps for now.
So could you tell me what are your favorites places in SP? Like a top 5 maybe?
?Bar do Museu, praça por do sol, filial, the historical center of the city, the Arab area of the Bras neighborhood. And of course I love my neighborhood! But that would be 6 and you asked for 5.

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Loja do Bispo

So you`re still living in SP? Thought you were back in LA.
?I’m back in L.A. to handle the business end of the book, but will be back in SP this year. All my things are still there!??
How do Brazilian people usually react when you say you`re American? Probably a silly question, but I`m just curious.?
They are super curious, they love Americans and being Asian on top of that, I’m definitely an interesting specimen. They wonder why the heck I moved to SP when they all want to move to America!??
Exactly! Did you get to follow Brazilian politics? What do you think about it?
?I did a little bit, yes, and I find it fascinating the infamous bureaucracy, the corruption, but I see that there are also some good hearts in the government, trying to work against those two aspects. And it’s working, because Brazil is growing and being accepted into the worldwide market.
Really? Do you truly believe in that?
?Yes – you see it more on a local level. I don’t really understand national politics as much, my Portuguese is weak in this area, but nevertheless even though Brazilians are required to vote, and we aren’t in the U.S. but yet we’re infinitely more involved when it comes to campaigns, i find that Brazilians should take a deeper interest in helping to shape change…. but it’s complicated because they don’t trust the government. This is a sentiment that many Brazilians share with me, that they would in fact love to be more involved but they see it as kind of hopeless.
Yes that`s exactly what I think. It`s one of the reasons that made me leave together with crime as well, which it`s related, of course.?
Yes, definitely. The crime is insanely bad compared to America. I think this is why Paulistanos are so special… they have to deal with all of this and yet they are able to maintain a happy nature and positive view on life. This is amazing to me. I love SP with all its faults, I have gotten days where I wanted to pick up and move somewhere else because I was frustrated after hearing about a bounty hunter killing someone in my neighborhood, but I don’t because the city and its people have so much to offer
Yes totally. That`s what I`m always telling people about Brazilians: they can be miserable, completely poor, live in a shit hole, but they`re are smiling, cooking their Sunday barbecues and drinking their beer.
Yeah totally. In fact, what you say is what my friends say is the problem with Brazil, why things in government aren’t changing… instead of getting up and doing something about things, people don’t want to deal with it and rather focus on making churrasco. I can understand in a way.
Sad but true. Phuong thank you so much. Is there anything else you would like to say??Well I definitely would not have been able to do it without my team of photographers and illustrators! They believed in the project and as a result it shows through in the final product. That’s all!
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Now, buy more about I know Surbiton quite well. It’s a place I associate with Waitrose, cost semi-detached houses, wife-swapping, Audis, Felicity Kendall’s loin-stirring fringe, and the Class System. Artistic notions don’t really seem to fit in this anodyne suburban mould.
And the good people of Surbiton probably don’t notice the gaping wound in their emotional channel. But here, in the valley of the shadow of death, cometh the man. A man with the vision to inject into their sterile lives the force of the creative spirit. And much calcium.
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Robin Hutchinson graduated in Fine Art before Duran Duran discovered hair gel, a bit conceptual and performancey, and then embarked on life’s great journey. Decades later, he’s a happily married man who drinks a lot of Pinot Grigio and follows his arty heart. Ha has an amazing knack for getting people in authority to do things. One day, he decided that Kingston needed a theatre, and turned himself into a one-man lobby, pestering the Council and developers for years, until it was done, with the beautiful result of the Rose Theatre, a rounded Shakespearean structure that keeps it real with proper plays and comedy.
Then he decided to celebrate the life of photography legend and Kingstonian Eadweard Muybridge with a 20ft projection onto the facade of Kingston Police Station, located opposite Muybridge’s birthplace. A projection of Muybridge’s work, followed by a creepy-as-hell pair of eyes looking out across the town, framed rectangular, as though from a burqua. Behold surveillance society, and trust in society laid bare not in a gallery setting, but on Kingston’s High Street, with people strolling by to drink beer or buy kebabs.
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So here’s a chap who likes a little confrontation, and wants the populace to let some Apollonian/Dyonysian into their lives. So maybe you’re wondering where the calcium fits in with this…
Robin (who, given the right costume, could easily pass for a Marvel supervillain), tells me of his Damascus moment. One afternoon, while having his car fixed up at Kwik-Fit next door, he popped into The Lamb for a pint and thought he’d try a selection from the deli counter. Yes, deli-counter! This would be a major revelation for anyone who remembers the way the pub used to be; an intimidating grotto of dirty looks for non-regulars, shifting Carlsberg-flavoured water to a single-digit client-base who would ruminate each afternoon on the finer points of Daily Star stories. Maybe a dartboard by the door to the ladies, maybe a jar of pickled onions – it’s all the stuff of legend, now (except for the huge plastic letters of the SKOL sign that adorn the side of the pub, in memoriam).
Deeply inspired by the warmth of fledgling Landlord and Lady, Adam and Liz, and the quality fare on offer (largely sourced from a relative’s Dorset farm), Robin decided firstly that the pub’s internal revolution should be advertised to the wider public, and that the wider public was deserving of a revolution of its own.
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He admits that the first Homage De Fromage event was dominated by Robin’s personal friends, and was fairly low-key. However, by the time I discovered Surbiton’s Cheese Underground, months later, things were a little more lively, even unhinged. At the end of a busy evening, I had travelled to the pub to meet a couple of friends who were already cheesed up. When I arrived, they were building a monorail course out of straws and sellotape, for the passage of a tiny straw and sellotape basket, housing a pickled onion (you see, pickled onions aren’t wrong per se – it’s all about the context). At the end of the course, the basket landed in a tray of water and was suddenly deemed a boat. Well done, I said, but it was no good – I was near sober, whilst they had not only imbibed more than me, but had also been in the zone since 7.30 sharp. It seemed to make perfect sense to them that pickled onions should need transportation. I saw so clearly the dichotomy between us: I was just a citizen of the State, whereas they were engines of creation. They had the same spark that enabled the invention of the Artesian Well, pyramid-construction techniques, or the aquaduct. I would have to get in on the act from the beginning of the evening to attain this enlightened state. Nothing could stop them!… Except the end of licensed opening hours, or running out of chutneys.
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Let me tell you how Homage De Fromage works: Claim your table (you’ll probably have to book, these days), pay your money, enjoy your cheese-platter (themed on a region of the British Isles) while examining your cheese-menu and discussing your observations with your cohorts, fill in your answers to the quiz which nobody seems to care about, then partake in the month’s challenge.
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The cheese, obviously, is a big focus, and Adam and Liz put in the research to get the most exquisite and diverse cheeses from each region. There’s usually a bit of Goat’s, a bit of Blue, and some Brie-like, as well as the more familiar types. But this isn’t a foodie review, and the cheese is not what it’s all about. It’s the challenge, the problem-solving.
The challenge that I had walked in on yielded brilliant results, all put together in around half an hour. Little cars with olives for wheels and toothpicks for axles, a hot air balloon, rafts, a glider. And this is exactly what Robin wanted to see. It’s Art, but not as we know it.
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For Art’s greatest achievement can only be shining the light of imagination into the hearts of ordinary men and women. Robin’s strategy for achieving this is so simple, yet it achieves so much for its very directness. A little of society’s familiar lubricant, alcohol, followed by the gustatory excitement and discussion that only the complexity of cheese can bring, and then the simple laying down of a gauntlet.
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The month that followed the transport-design forced each table-team to create a Wicker Man, which was then burnt in the beer garden as the horde of possessed Suburbitonians chanted and danced, and occasionally gestured the pretence that it was ironic. A month later came the command to build a whale, using only blue sheets of A4, straws, sellotape and bravado. The variety of approach was broad. Some built a skeleton first, some were cartoony, one had a little Jonah sitting in it’s mouth, two used a live human as the basis of the beast, One referenced the evolutionary ancestry of the whale with ambulocetus features. And the room was filled with love.
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The most recent event had the challenge of designing a work of public sculpture, specifically an alternative to Wallinger’s big horse, planned for the mouth of the Channel Tunnel. There wasn’t a single half-hour proposal that I didn’t prefer to the Wallinger. Just for the sheer ridiculous Pythonesque and throwaway ethos that infused each work. And Bacofoil was the medium of the day. Shiny, shiny.
(Apologies, dear reader, but there’s no way I can get through this feature without the words “You had to be there!”)…You had to be there.
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Homage De Fromage is an evolving project. Or maybe the trunk of a tree of projects. In the last four months, popularity has shot through the roof, with the April event being fully booked before the March event had finished. The clientele is changing, too, with younger people and artier people increasingly following (that’s right, following) les petits bourgeoises into this vibrant new scene. Robin is planning to harness this force, with plans to build a scaled-up model of the board game Mouse Trap on the beer garden, and a community art project, called My Life In A Box, in which anyone and everyone is invited to represent their life inside a cardboard box measuring 25x25x7cm. Effectively, the man is luring people into Kingston’s underweight cultural life with cheese. A mousetrap will make a very fitting monument to Hutchinson’s methods.
But is it Art? Proper, capital-A Art? Does it need to justified in relation to The Death of the Author, Public Art Theory, Art Brut, Relational Art, blah, blah? Is Robin a Rirkrit Tiravanija of the non-gallery-dwelling suburban breed?
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Robin gives the impression that Art is nowhere near as crucial as his real buzzword – Creativity. Art is almost a hang-up, totem of the stagnant and the done, whereas what matters is the force that drives creation. That’s why everything ends up in the bin at the end of Cheese Night; no debris shall slow the passage of creation, as it joyfully gushes downstream in half-drunk flux.

For some reason, this involves girls wearing false moustaches. And they look good.

You can involve yourself in the Homage on the website, or the facebook. Why not go the extra mile and help out the Mousetrap, or put your life in a box.
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It helps to have a few aces up your sleeve when you’re trying to make it in the fashion/art world these days. In which case you wouldn’t want to be the one staring across the table into the lovely poker face of this particular card shark. French Illustrator extraordinaire Coco, healing has stacked the decks with talent and expertise in razor sharp and uber feminine illustrations in magazines like Nylon, Slurp, Russh, Wonderland, years of fashion consulting for designers, PR work for Valery Demure, and most recently her own line of luxurious silk scarves called Forget-Me-Not.

Coco’s graceful drawings appear in Illustration books, displays for London and Barcelona Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfield’s AW ’09 catalogue and milliner Yasmin Rizvi’s turbans. Sitting down with the skillful drafter and in a plaiting of French and English we talked about her unique perspective on what it takes to stay in the game these days.

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“I started out studying at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Dupres but after that I didn’t draw for ages. I was actually working in fashion PR in Paris when Valery Demure asked me to do some illustrations for an invitation. Then a few magazines asked me to do some artwork for them. Once my pieces were out there, I sent out a quarterly update to the right people. Valery, by then a good friend, suggested I do the scarves and three months later I was doing it and now she’s my agent.”

Fearless and instinctive, I suppose that’s the kind of nerve you’d need to contend in the notoriously fickle world of fashion.
“When someone offers you to do it and you say ok, that’s one thing. But to come up with something on your own and to push it is too anxiety ridden. I admire those people that can do it. To be able to say merde ou oui (sure or piss off) to someone. ”

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Do you feel your connections and savvy in that milieu helped you avoid some of the pitfalls most young designers face?
“So many things can go wrong but you’re on your own so you have to follow up on everything yourself. People say it’s so easy but it’s a nightmare to find the right factory. Sometimes the graphics look dirty if they’re not done to a high standard. After 6-10 tests I’m still not happy with them. Then there’s transport, corrections, it gets expensive. But that’s not really a big surprise because I’ve worked with so many young designers. Mais le vivre et le faire….(But living the life and doing it are not the same thing).”

What suggestions would you offer to designers/illustrators new to the game?
“Above all you must do it with your own identity and always be thinking ‘who will buy this?’ As soon as you do one thing, everyone thinks that all you do until you prove otherwise. If you do just one thing without taking risks you’ll end up like a rat. It could be just a poster or a book.”

“When sending your work to the PR’s you need to make an effort, to think about the little things and make it easy for them… like including simple texts. And you have to keep at them. I understand why designers are so stressed out. Often they’re timid by nature. I put everything I have into it. The successful ones are really aggressive and they put the effort the whole year through rather than laying back. Everything goes so fast these days it’s hard to know who’s coming or going.”

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The internet must play an enormous influence in the role of the consumer. What can you tell us about the quickening pace of the fashion industry?
“Buyers are some of my favorite people to work with, they can be so much more informed and creative than they’re given credit for. When I first showed my silk scarves I didn’t tell them they were my designs, just so I could get their honest opinion. In commercial showrooms I got to know a lot about their customers through them.”

“The client comes super early in the season (AW 09) and they know exactly what pieces they want by summer. They used to depend on magazines and whatever they dictated. But now they’re seeing it all, instantaneously. They’re informed and decisive. My S/S ’09 line of scarves went into Colette immediately. I get orders from the shops in April and they want it by June because that’s when their August display windows are being designed.”

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I hope are readers are keeping up because this is very much the nature of many a conversation with designers these days. Delivery dates are creeping forward so fast it’s all most designers can do to keep up, much less concentrate on the fun of designing.
Where did the designing process start for you
Coco?
“I can’t do just one thing or I get bored. I think that comes from my education in France, although it can stifle you at first by forcing you to take certain paths before you’ve had a chance to develop or explore. But you had to be an academic to do well in the arts, you have to do one thing exceptionally well. There had to be an identity behind the facade… which always fades. I need to observe and understand before attempting it but because I had a good technical base I could just move on to anything I fancied, like designing a font. ”

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A box of samples from the manufacturer have arrived and there’s an excitement about seeing what surprises lay inside. She unfolds a giant piece of diaphonous silk with 8 or of the same print, each slightly different in hue or tone. She inspects it closely, turning it over delicately in her hand.

These gorgeous silk scarves you’ve done are so rich and detailed. Is it easy enough to get your hyper-fine drawings onto them?
“No, actually it’s extremely difficult. There’s a massive difference from screen to product. Firstly I chose to work on an unusually large size square so you can wear it plenty of different ways. Also silk absorbs ALOT so its very difiicult to get details because the silk just drinks the inks up. It’s important to have the back look good too, not blotchy but properly bled through. When Barney’s buys you and puts you on the shelf next to Pucci it better be good.”

Know your opponent. Something to keep in mind. When rising stars are quick to burn out it can be invaluable to do your homework. And this triple-threat artist from France has a full house of extra sweet designs on her newest collection of scarves forget-me-not available at her online store going live next week so check back with us here for details. Because as the French are fond of saying, ‘On ne vie pas sur l’air et l’eau fraiche’….We can’t live on love and fresh water alone.
Merci Coco!

Fanfarlo‘s album Reservoir opens with pianos that rise up like the morning sun, shop lush and warm. Their songs unravel like stories that balance between light and dark; definitely melancholic but never without a touch of child-like optimism.

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Reservoir swoop and soar like a bird, from cinematic highs and gigantic orchestral arrangements not dissimilar to the brilliant chamber pomposity of our beloved Arcade Fire only to diminish into whispery vocals and xylophones. There is something magical about Reservoir, it reminiscent of fir tree forests, Northern Lights, magic stories and a yearning for yester-years.
This self-assured debut is a must for bookish types who are fans of fore-mentioned Arcade Fire, Beirut, Sleeping States, Belle and Sebastian and dream of woozy adventures in far-away lands.

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Produced by the infamous Peter Katis (mind-bogglingly good producer of Interpol and The National ) this multi instrumental, melodic smorgasbord is whimsical, nostalgic whilst being meticulously arranged and intensely structured.

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Having played SXSW this year, they are currently touring the UK including this weekend’s Great Escape and Reservoir is released on 25th May on Raffle Bat. Fanfarlo are very much kings of their own castle eschewing conventional modes of distribution in favour of authentic and personal approach by running their own living room based make-shift business; buy Reservoir direct from the band themselves!
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Still in its infancy, page although you wouldn’t know from the sheer number of enthusiasts it has already won over, Craft Guerrilla is set to take over the world. Not just THE world but YOUR world.
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With Portugal born Walthamstow based Deborah Daniel at the helm, steering a crafty crew of artists, movers, shakers, designers and visionaries, Craft Guerrilla is on a mission to capture your hungry hearts and idle hands with a creative collective to literally get in yourself in a stitch over. She shares responsibility for its genius with two others, Lisa Magreet and Louise Batten, and her encounters with numerous etsy-ites along the way. Deborah Daniel is a fingers in pies kind of girl; Head Girl for Craft Guerrilla, a former ceramicist and current mastermind behind the company Munano, described in her own words as ‘A kawaii project…lots of evil but cute bunnies and forest creatures so lots of sewing, cutting and stuffing!’ This all supplements a day job that pays the rent, and yet Deborah shows no signs of sitting still.
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Well equipped with principled idealism, utopian collectivism and a whole host of other worthy ‘isms’ to get the ethical activist juices flowing, these ladies are dedicated to The Cause in a big way. Far less about being anti and far more about being pro, Craft Guerrilla talk a lot more about what they do care for than what they don’t; a refreshing wide eyed optimism to grace these somewhat grey and gloomy times. Using unoccupied buildings as venues; supporting independent businesses and small-time designers; they are far more interested in promoting collaborations, forming opportunities and hosting workshops than bitching about the depressing state of the high street and its predictable conformity. Siding with the peaceful rather than the anarchic, Deborah happily reports her movement has been embraced with open arms and is gratefully received across the board. However she does tells me ‘We did have a funny incident in Wanstead, east London though…a few older ladies thought we were actually funding South American guerrilla armies through our craft market sales. Maybe if we knitted them some guns but…the word “Craft’ kind of gives it away.’
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Her down-to-earth grass roots approach to matters is mirrored by her citations of inspiration; ‘I guess as inspirational people go my Auntie Maria Jose epitomises everything I’m trying to do. She was a real socialist, great humanitarian, artist and person. She valued the power of art and craft and the teaching of skills so to leave a lasting legacy for others to follow through out their lives.’ This is one upbeat lady. In fact the only vaguely negative thing I squeeze out of her is her rejection that craft is exclusively for the middle classes. ‘It’s not a privilege it’s a right! Luckily things are changing and people see it not only as a hobby but as a valuable resource and an art form.’
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I ask her how intrinsic the ‘make do and mend’ ethos is to Englishness and vice versa. ‘The term D.I.Y. is so English that I’ve had quite a time trying to translate it to Portuguese. People do D.I.Y. but the essence is very much a British one. Like afternoon tea and the attitude to craft! The Americans are quite tuned in to the whole Craft thing too though I guess the main thing that divides us is their “can do attitude”. I wish we were more like that sometimes! BUT London is a really creative place filled with self sufficient people and I’m constantly surprised how little help people need at our d.i.y. events. Also I’m amazed at how forthcoming other craft groups have been in offering to help us advertise our events and work together with us. The sense of community and sharing is really something!’
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What’s so lovely about Craft Guerrilla is the distinct lack of competition. No commission charged for Craft Guerrilla’s online shop, no attempting to out doing each other with bigger brighter hipper events – in fact, copycat behaviour is actively encouraged. Print out and keep packs are readily available to people wanting to start out on their own, as well as advice and tips on running your own get together. Well, when you have your sights set on global domination you have to can’t expect to do it all single handedly. I wonder whether she worries about short cuts and reinterpretations of her original manifesto, if allowing people to grow their own means risking people shaming the name. ‘We have a few guidelines in place but in general we hope people have requested to be part of Craft Guerrilla because they identify with our ethos and principals so they too are likely to follow it. We need to keep some consistent but it’s not set in stone. We also want people to make it their own by adding their own ideas and energy to the collective. I have faith in people and if there is something we really don’t agree with we are all open and intelligent enough people to discuss it with each other.’ ‘Before we take anyone on we like to see what they make. Our criteria is that all designer makers must sell only hand made item. We also look for originality and quality designed products. We just feel that we need to choose wisely because we all represent each other as a whole.’
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With monthly events springing up and taking off such as Crafternoon at the Old Queen’s Head, Craft Market at Beautiful Interiors and Swishing at the Pink Bar, she is one busy bee. And the demand is ever increasing. Inspired by these quirky gatherings of like-minded arty types in reclaimed buildings, more and more is appearing rapidly and not just in East London. With Edinburgh set up to follow suit with a ‘Sister Army’ this Summer, and interest mounting from as far afield as Sweden and Sydney we are at the brink of a revolution in doing it for our selves and having a darn good time while we’re at it.
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It feels like a pilgrimage, help like I’m on some kind of DaVinci Code quest. Potent truths that remain hidden from most around me will soon be revealed. The Band Before The Band I’m Here For churn out some unimaginative geezer-rock. Wearing a selection of Hoxton-twat-headgear and oozing the “Oi, cheapest oi!” flavour to entertain a herd of jolly boppers, they leave me cold. I’m not in the mood for pacy (yawn), exciting (yawn) rocking out (yaaawwwwn) tonight.

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I’ve been psyching myself up for a gig by Alice and the Cool Dudes. All else is distraction. Ever since Punk-Jazz emperor Seb Rochford enlisted her as the voice of his Fulborn Teversham project, Alice Grant has been one of my favourite singers in London. The soft end of her voice is all head-resonant, tender and earnest but never quite soothing. There’s always a dissatisfaction in there. When the lungs get involved too, it’s a shockingly obtuse cavernous roar, a cross between primal wheeze therapy and shouting yourself hoarse. The cusp of these two sounds tends to give the impression that her precious heart could shatter at any second. It’s beautiful.
But that’s just a voice, as it is used in a different band. How would the Cool Dude ethos differ from that of Teversham? And would the siren/banshee voice be the same? The moment had come, the previous band had removed all their pedals and their hats from the stage, and all that was left was a drumkit, a set of keyboards, and a bass. And so began a selection of songs that never got so weird you’d call it experimental, but never got so familiar that you could classify them. Among the most striking was Boobs, baroque in its harpsichord sound, baroque in its fingerwork, not so baroque in featuring a cockney sparrow singing about boobs and somehow basically being kind of a lovely pop ditty. There is top notch songcraft in this. Strong melodies, twists and turns, a beat-rest at the end of a verse in which Alice holds the “oo” of “boobs” for a crystal-clear couple of seconds. Mmmmm.

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And it gets even better. The gig progresses, and we are treated to Toes, a sway-friendly trombone waltz (that’s Joe the drummer’s other instrument). Then comes Changebrain, which is easily the catchiest tune on offer. Alice’s sequencer starts things off, then comes the hooky vocal, then the backing vocal, then the rhythm section builds it up, suddenly we’ve got a really tasty driving hit, yet still with it’s quirky authenticity, as Alice sings of wrapping dogshit in a Tesco plastic bag. This is also where bassist Ruth Goller (familiar to fans of Acoustic Ladyland) shines brightest. Her vocal lines are the perfect counterpart to Alice’s. It’s not just backing vocal, it’s a cleverly intertwining thread of its own. In the end sections, where it seems like all the preceding parts have come together in a rich ecosystem of tone and chord, it’s Ruth keeping it deep, reusing a previous vocal, then inventing a Ringo-style flat melodic version of the main line, and playing an inexplicably perfect bassnote at the same time. It all comes across as quite sweet and simple at first, so it’s ability to take you over is a proper thrill.
Finally, The Truth, a song that feels just as epic as the name suggests. A boomy tom-tom beat, and a thick, deep hammond provide the perfect backdrop to Alice’s consoling utterances of what feels like pity. Really, just go and listen to them do it.

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Returning to my stupid idea that this might need comparing to Fulborn Teversham, well, yes, it was stupid. There is a portion of common ground, but Alice and the Cool Dudes don’t need those shackles. The central motifs that make up Teversham are gone, and replaced by something which is more pure, or less diverse, depending on how you see it (and certainly less screamy). But either way, it’s no less playful, no shier about complexity, and no less true. For all their dryness, and stone-cold confrontational chutzpah, Alice and the Cool Dudes are the most intense, interesting, sincere, meaningful and promising new band in my life this year.
But there is something amiss down at Barden’s Boudoir tonight. And there are two possible solutions. The first to occur to me was that they could use a more intimate venue, maybe the Slaughtered Lamb or Cross Kings. I think most of us in the crowd were first-timers, and the message might have come across a bit more pokey without a sound system designed for noisy ragers, without a room designed for beerbottle dance moves. The other solution is the one I prefer though. They release an album, everybody in the kingdom buys and loves it, and then, when everybody knows what it’s about, a gig in Wembley even could not fail. For intimacy can take on huge proportions to the initiated.
Let’s be honest though, the Hoxton-hat brigade will probably beat them to it. Alas, there’s no justice in this cruel business. I’m off back to the bar for another lament of amaretto.

You can hear demos and find out about future gigs on the myspace.
May 18th
Free Aung San Suu Kyi Demonstration London
12pm -1pm
Burmese Embassy Street:
19 A Charles Street, viagra order
Mayfair, buy
London, W1J 5DX
??Join this demonstration to free Aung San Suu Kyi after she was arrested by the Burmese regime and taken to the notorious Insein Prison.
Protest outside the Burmese Embassy, London, for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all of Burma’s political prisoners.

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Campaign against Climate Change London Branch Meeting

Zero Carbon and fast !

Real solutions to the Climate Emergency

Monday 18th June, 6.30 pm SOAS,
School of Oriental and African Studies,
Thornhaugh Street,
off Russell Square, Russell Square Tube
London

Tim Helweg-Larsen from the Public Interest Research Centre outlines solutions that are adapted to the real scale of the Climate Emergency we face.

Not the scale that the government would like, or that it is more politically acceptable to be addressing. There is a huge gap between the science and the politics of climate change but Tim will show that we can cross that gap, face up to the true scale of the crisis – and still beat it !

We can make a start with “Ten by Ten”, 10% cuts in emissions by the end of 2010 – and a crash program that starts right now – and which will be the most powerful message possible that this government can send to the international community gathered together at the end of the year for the Climate talks in Copenhagen….

Find out more …. come to the “Zero carbon and fast !“ talk and discussion…..
http://www.campaigncc.org/

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Archive poster showing the international support for The Rosenbergs

Wednesday 20 May

IN PRISON MY WHOLE LIFE/Q&A

6.30pm
Curzon Cinema Soho
99 Shaftesbury Avenue
London W1D 5DY
Box Office: 0871 7033 988?
Recorded Information – 020 7292 1686
Certificate: 15
Duration: 94 mins
Plus Q&A with Colin Firth, Livia Giuggioli Firth, William Francome and Amnesty International Campaign Manager Kim Manning-Cooper
Colin Firth, Executive Producer of In Prison My Whole Life, will lead a Q&A following a special screening of Marc Evans’s award-winning, Amnesty International endorsed documentary. The film follows 25-year-old William Francome’s investigation into the arrest of Mumia Abu Jamal, famed death row prisoner and award-winning Black Panther journalist, in an effort to expose the truth about justice in America for black activists. The film is crafted with style and energy alongside a punchy soundtrack by Massive Attack and Snoop Dogg.

Tursday 21st May

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Illustration by Bryony Lloyd

Climate Change and the Implications for People and Poverty

Practical Action course, 9am–5.30pm,
Holloway Road, N5.

For over 40 years Practical Action has been
working together with poor people to develop technologies that are owned by communities; simple solutions that are good for people and the environment.
Practical Action is working around the world to tackle climate change with adaptation,
technology, campaigning and advocacy.
To book your place, return your registration form to
Info: ella.sprung@practicalaction.org.uk/ 01926 634 403

Friday 22nd May to Sunday 24 May

Permaculture A Weekend For Beginners

?Dial House,
Ongar Park Hall,
North Weald,
Epping, Essex
CM16 6AE
Description: An introduction to permaculture including sustainable design principles and ethics, organic gardening, community economics, forest gardening, ‘hands on’ practical experience and more…
This course can either be considered as a ‘stand alone’ introduction to Permaculture ethics, principles and design, or else can be a lead-in to the more in depth full 72 hour Permaculture Design Course. The weekend is led by experienced permaculture teachers.
Venue: Dial House, near Epping, Essex
Contacts: Graham Burnett
E-mail: graham@spiralseed.co.uk?
www.spiralseed.co.uk/course/details.html

Sat 23rd May

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Amelia’s Magazine is offering you these musical pearls from this week’s ocean of noise.

Monday 18th May

Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls whip up a surfy shoe-gaze treat with a dash of 60s girl group and Deerhunter-esque dreaminess at 93 Ft East. A must!
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Tuesday 19th May

Fancy a soupçon of Gallic whimsy? Why not head à la Plage and catch the brilliant Yann Tiersen, page creator of the Amélie soundtrack, medications and other beautiful melodies, play Concorde 2 in Brighton.
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Wednesday 20th May

Titus Andronicus– no, not the Shakespeare play you boffins; but the band (pictured below) from New Jersey, play music that makes you want to shake your hair and rock your socks. Catch them with equally good but slightly older looking the Soft Pack, who shoegaze whilst winking across the room to Stephen Malkmus. No small feat or should that be feet!
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Thursday 21st May

Stag and Dagger– a veritable music lollapalooza hits Shoreditch, so come on down to catch the likes of Cold War Kids, White Denim, Black Lips (pictured below), the best thing to come out of Kendall since mint cake; Wild Beasts, Micachu and the Shapes and Evan Dando– Should be fun!
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Friday 22nd May

Crystal Stilts are actually diamond. Woozy haunted-house lo-fi that echos the poppier side of Jesus and Mary Chain– brill!
As if I could be anymore excited, they’re playing with The Bats, who are my favourite New Zealand export, very closely followed by Lord of The Rings and lamb.
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Categories ,93 ft East, ,indie, ,listings, ,lo-fi, ,london, ,pop, ,shoe-gaze

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Amelia’s Magazine | Alice and the Cool Dudes

The eponymous release from New York based The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has everything you could want from a summer album. A certain been-in-the-sun-too-long hazy-headyness without the too-much-ice-cream sugariness of many indie-pop summer albums. No-No! I’m rallying for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart being trail-blazers for a new genre we shall call ‘Sandalgaze” aka Shoegaze for when it’s not raining out.

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From the rip-roaring opener ‘Contender’, buy more about the album manages to be catchy without being twee, shop noise without being dreary, imagine My Bloody Valentine on a beach doo-wopping and you’re halfway there.
Whilst treading this line The Pains of Being Pure at Heart consistently avoid being schmaltzy. The track; Young Adult Friction is danceable, its lyrics of a whimsy worthy of Stuart Murdoch yet reflect on themes like first love with a sort of yearning nostalgia, again souring the sweetness. Here the oft-overdone boy/girl singing duo is slightly off-kilter and the effect is more reminiscent of early Yo La Tengo or Jesus and Mary Chain than Belle & Sebastian.

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The Pains of Being Pure of Heart is definitely tinged with nods towards the 80s and early 90s,yet it is perhaps too easy to criticise the album for this. The band manage to utilise certain stylistic tropes without being too retrospective or shallow.
In fact The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is refreshing in it’s redefinition of certain preconceptions: summer isn’t all about whistling and tambourine jangling anymore and Shoegaze is reinterpreted with a sunny touch rather like enjoying a 99 flake with Kevin Shields!

The album ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’ is available now and the single ‘Young Adult Friction’ is released on 18th May (Fortuna Pop!)
They play The Lexington, London on 15th May

Kitsuné has really got its groove on this time. Left eyebrows are often tilted to a 74-degree angle at the mention of a Parisian fashion boutique that puts out compilation CDs, symptoms amongst other music releases. At first, tadalafil you kind of expect endless Dimitri From Paris types churning out catwalk-flavoured lint, but Kitsuné really knows what it is getting, and won’t be holding onto the receipt. With utter confidence and bravado, you see, it was Kitsuné that released Wolfmother’s ball-busting old-metal limited edition EP. Benetton scratches its head in confusion.
For all that, Compilation 7 is a danceable disc, with lots of European disco-beats, and plenty of fruity basslines in the Frenchified Electro style. But it’s not the kind of thoughtless, juvenile poppy end of it. You won’t hear anything approaching “Lady, give me tonight, cos my feeling is just so right”, since the Maison-people (Maisonettes?) are clued up. They listen to Tangerine Dream and Elvis Costello, and anything they select from the here and now is selected with a certainty that reminds me of the chap who picks the leaves for PG Tips: He just knows where the good stuff’s at.
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Highpoints include Chateau Marmont’s Beagle, filled with synths fresh from Tomorrow’s World demonstrations, sidewinding through arpeggiated chords, with the occasional crash-bang with a wooden spoon by the stove, and Beni’s Fringe Element, which popcorns along with hi-hats before going to a thoroughly spiffing hiatus of slap bass with one of the squidgiest, wiggly-wormiest synth solos since Mr.Scruff’s Shrimp. Probably the most exciting track here is Crystal Fighters’ (above) Xtatic Truth, a journey involving Epic-Ragga-Happy-Hardcore, hints of Chinese Folk, and a choir of the ether.
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But it’s a plentiful CD. There are nineteen songs, in all, and although everything chugs along to the metronomic pulse of cubase, there is pacing and variety to the beast overall. Gentle relief comes best of all in This Sweet Love by James Yuill (above), as remixed by Prins Thomas, a ponderous chillscape based on the warmest fingerpicking, and an embrace of vocals. You will feel truly hugged. And once you’ve digested it all, you can take that lovely warm glow on the Eurostar with you, and buy yourself the bestest clothes (I’m not a fashion writer, actually) in all Pareeee!

You can buy the Maison’s goodies at www.kitsune.fr or at their myspace.
If you are a university student, online what do you make of your schools environmental policies? Do they even have green policies to speak of? This week, the students of the University of Arts London have been bringing environmental issues to the forefront, and discussing the various ways that both themselves, their campuses and the courses themselves can be more environmentally aware.

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The Go Green Week, also known as Green: The New Black has been running for the last few days and culminates in talks and workshops on Friday, that include Fashion Forward: Creating an Ethical Label between 4pm-6pm RHS East Space, LCF, John Princes Street
which asks: “How can you create a label that looks good, but is also good to the environment?” ECCA and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion present fashion design businesses that are sustainable throughout from their manufacturing processes and materials, to marketing methods that aim communicate and promote their ethical processes to their customers.
Also on Friday afternoon at LCC is the meeting “Students Going Green” –top of the agenda are the following points “Fed up with the lack of recycling at your College? … Want sustainability on the curriculum? … Think Arts London should GO GREEN?” Speaking with the Press Officers of the Student Union, I learnt that a large number of students have voiced their concerns over this topic. The recycling issue specifically has been on ongoing and much debated subject. Many students feel that not enough is being done to provide facilities to recycle. The Green Charter laid out by the Student Union demands that “Sufficient recycling facilities should be available at all Arts London Sites and all Halls of Residence, with consideration also given to specialist recycling e.g. textiles, wood at relevant sites.”

Also on the agenda is for the issues of sustainability to feature more heavily in the Universities curriculum, either in the form of specific modules, or integrated as a whole, and for the campuses to switch to a green energy provider. The student union also explained that they are setting up an “Ethical and Environmental assembly” that will set future Go Green Assembly’s. They have also been encouraging students to sign a petition that is campaigning for a greener Arts London. Realising that strong visuals are the best way to get the point across, the students were asked to be photographed with the green charter and upload their pictures to the blog. An example would be these brave folks.

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Learning about the concerted efforts to raise environmental awareness amongst students started me wondering how other universities and student bodies broach this subject. As this is a topic that is dear to our heart, we would love your input on whether your schools and universities are committed to the environmental cause, and if so, do you feel that they are doing enough? . Tell us more at hello@ameliasmagazine.com and maybe we can help to highlight the issue.
Be featured in this limited edition anthology of the best new illustrators engaged in environmental thinking. Read on to find out more…

***Please note that this brief is now closed: you can now order a copy of this book online by clicking here***

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an illustration by Laura-Maria Arola from issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine

Now, malady anyone who is following me on Twitter – my new favourite thing in the whole world – will know that I asked my dad to do the research for this book. I know what he’s like – apart from being a typical male who loves nothing more than “disappearing down the rabbit-hole” as my mum calls it (also known as busying himself in new projects) – he also loves a challenge. So I asked him to dig up some info on all the most obscure new alternative technologies currently being explored, sale so that I could put together a brief for Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

He rose to the challenge and then some… almost immediately I started receiving email updates on strange new ways of producing energy. But not only that… it seems I have been the unwitting catalyst for a whole new venture – or a whole new rabbit warren to explore, depending on your point of view. A trained if somewhat out of practice scientist, Bruce (that’s my dad, I know, wierd, I call him by his first name)- gleefully told me on Bank Holiday Monday that he’s just designed the best new wave power technology not yet invented. Having read nearly 2000 patents for various wave power technologies he has, in his inimitable way, decided that his idea is quite clearly the best (my dad ALWAYS knows best). Except he won’t share it with me, cos I might, like, post it on the internet or something, before he’s applied for a patent.

Still, exciting stuff, and just the kind of thing I hope to do more of with both this open brief and the resulting book that comes out of it. Amelia’s Magazine in print may be no more, but I could never leave print entirely, and so the idea for this book has been mulling around in my head for sometime now. What we need right now is a whole heap of imagination, because humans need to make a big leap forward if we want to get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in. And whilst the scientists and boffins of this world busy themselves with the minutae of complicated chemical reactions and intricate moving parts, we also need the skills of artists to make these technologies a concrete reality. Without both visions together we will continue to move at a snail’s slither, so my aim is to help quicken that pace. If I can inspire designers and illustrators to better consider the way their energy is produced by drawing alternatives, then maybe they will make better choices about where their own energy comes from. Of course I don’t believe that technology alone is a cure all for all our ills, but it’s a move in the right direction, and I aim to produce a book that provides a comprehensive resource of all the best new illustrators capable of engaging with environmental issues and envisaging future alternative energy sources.

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an illustration by Allan Deas for issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine

What will be in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration ?
The book will be a compendium of profiles on the best illustrators who submit to this brief. Anyone is eligible to submit work, from anywhere in the world. I would particularly encourage new illustrators; those who are still at college, just graduating, or new to the field. Amelia’s Magazine is used by many influential creatives looking for new talent to employ, and this will be an even better way of getting your work noticed globally.

What will the book look like?
The book will be the same dimensions as Amelia’s Magazine, thereby sitting nicely on the shelf with any copies of the magazine that purchasers might already possess! It will be designed in a similar fashion but also expect some new ideas.

When will it be published and where will it be sold?
Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration will be self-published (again!!!!) The lead-times are just too long with the big publishers, plus they would want more design control than I am prepared to give to them. The ones I have spoken to also insist on producing all their books in the Far East, something I am very uncomfortable with given the dodgy environmental credentials of many industrial operations in that part of the world. It will be produced in the UK by Principal Colour as a limited edition hardback towards the end of 2009, in time for Christmas. Advance orders should be available to purchase on my website by the end of the summer, and will be much appreciated in order to finance the production process as it is going to cost me much more to keep production in the UK. The book will be sold worldwide at specialist art book shops such as those that already stock the magazine. I will aim to produce a second (possibly softback) edition the following year to be made much more widely available.

What can I do to contribute?
I need a number of different artworks from aspiring contributors, so please read the following information carefully and make sure that your submissions meet the criteria before you send them in to me.

Submission criteria

EXCLUSIVE WORK: produced specifically for AMELIA’S ANTHOLOGY OF ILLUSTRATION

1. Most importantly:
ONE EXCLUSIVE LARGE PIECE done specifically for this anthology and not featured anywhere else.

This should feature an alternative technology that has not yet been built or mass-produced in any great scale. NO RUN-OF-THE-MILL WINDMILLS AND SOLAR PANELS PLEASE!

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an intriguing design for a line of windmills on a bouncing rod

This is a challenging theme, but thanks to my dad there are dozens of links below that will lead you off in the right direction. You will need to disappear down the rabbit hole for awhile for this brief requires time and thought to complete. It also requires huge amounts of imagination, which is what illustrators specialise in! And my dad! I’ve always held a belief that the scientific mind and the artistic mind are not really so different from each other. How else do you explain me? The child of two scientists?! but rubbish at science….

Anyway, I digress. In this illustration I want to see ways that a new technology would be integrated into our future lives… so interaction with the surroundings or people will be good. This is not a technical illustration, it’s an aspirational one, but you should imagine this technology in some detail, however fantastical it may be. You could even look back at technologies that were patented as far ago as the 1800s, but that have never become part of the mainstream. Your chosen technology should be the main focus of your whole picture, but don’t forget to add detail.
This should be accompanied by a short written piece describing why you picked this particular technology and what the illustration means to you. This should be no more than 300 words.

A word to the wise: the more obscure your choice of technology the better, since I will probably choose different technologies for each illustrator that I choose to profile.
You can choose to work in two sizes:
Double page (as was used in Amelia’s Magazine)
SIZE: page size: 400mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 406mm x 251mm.
or
Single page
SIZE: page size: 200mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 206mm x 251mm.
NOTE: Don’t put important stuff in the 3mm bleed zone (but do continue your image into it) as this is where the printers may cut bits off when the magazine is cut and bound.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)
GUTTER: please also note that the book will have a very deep gutter in the middle so it is good to keep important parts of your illustration away from the centre of the spread in double page images.
MY STYLE: if you want to know about my taste in illustration you should check out the current issue of the mag, or buy a back issue here!

2. A exclusive PICTORIAL LOGO on an environmental theme

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Logo designed by Adrian Fleet for Climate Camp in the City at the G20 protests

If you have submitted something for the Climate Camp logo open brief then you would be able to resubmit it for this brief, irrespective of whether it was used or not. The logo could be for an event or a company or a product or anything at all, but it must be promoting environmental themes and ideas. I will be looking for colourful and engaging logos. Consider the work of Adrian Fleet for the G20 Climate Camp in the City logo when thinking about what to enter for this. My style tends to be maximalist, but the words must always be a bold and easy part of the logo to read. It could be work that you have already created and has already been used by a brand (though please check with them before sending it to me) or you could create a new piece of work for a real or fictional brand. It should encompass a creative use of typography with illustration. There will be plenty of food for thought amongst the alternative technologies you will already have researched.
This should be accompanied by a short written piece describing what the logo has or would be used for. 50 words max.
It can be any size, but please create work at 300 dpi to a largish size.

3. Typography: YOUR NAME!
Please create your name in the most imaginative way possible. This could be done by hand, or on a computer, but you should really go to town! Amelia’s Magazine is well known for the use of creative typography, and for Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration the floor is open to you to create your own type for your own name (or how you would like to be known professionally) Don’t think of it as branding, but as something to go to town with. If your work is chosen it will be used to head your page, and it should therefore be really creative and fun. Think of this as your chance to really grab the reader’s attention!
For this reason please work to these dimensions and no smaller. (it could be bigger)
SIZE: 200-400mm wide x 40mm high
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

4. A Border
Again this should fit a single page and reflect an environmental theme. Be sure to work with 3mm bleed and no more than 25mm in from the edge.
SIZE: page size: 200mm wide x 245mm high, with a bleed of 3mm all around; ie. final size of your artwork: 206mm x 251mm.
NOTE: Don’t put important stuff in the 3mm bleed zone (but do continue your border into it) as this is where the printers may cut bits off when the magazine is cut and bound.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

NON EXCLUSIVE work:
4. Two other bits of illustration.

These should be your best recent work. They do not necessarily need to be on an environmental theme but should showcase as wide a range of imagery as possible, eg. people, things, places, typography etc. If you have created artwork for any of my previous open briefs this could form part of your submission although I would prefer to see new work. Be sure to stick to one style though – illustrators with a strong style of their own will always make the biggest mark, and I am unlikely to pick anyone who does not show a strong style throughout their submissions.
These can be any size, but please label each illustration clearly with a name and date of creation.
SIZE: as big as possible to fit the book’s page sizes.
RESOLUTION: 300dpi, as a photoshop file in CYMK mode, using Photoshop print profile: euro standard swap coated 20% (or euroscale V2)

CLOSING DATE: Monday 3rd August, by midnight please.
Please send lo res versions of your images (saved for web) to info@ameliasmagazine.com in an email clearly marked ANTHOLOGY OF ILLUSTRATION so that I don’t lose sight of it in my inbox if I am rushing through things on the day it arrives.
(This should be 6 pieces of work altogether. PLEASE DON’T SEND MORE THAN THIS)

If you are chosen for inclusion in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration then you will be notified shortly after this date, once I have made my decisions. I have yet to decide how I will put together the profiles, but I may well need a photo from you and a short interview. If this is the case you will be notified later on in the summer.
And if you have any questions that are not answered above then please email me for clarification.
Join the facebook event here to ensure you get updates as they happen.

Best wishes and happy drawing!

Links
Below is a very long list of links, courtesy of Bruce: this is by no means conclusive, and the technologies may never work, but they are all being explored and would be valid ideas to illustrate. Youtube and Google Images are both a great source of innovative technologies, and I am sure you can find more. Feel free to go off and google you heart out – but you must illustrate something real and possible, and not a fantasy idea of your own. (unless you are also a scientist of course)

Wind turbines

Wikipedia wind power info

Magenn’s revolutionary wind power system on youtube

Magenn Air Rotar system

Magenn’s home page

The Floating Balloon Wind Generator

Motorwind Camping Set Wind Turbine

Knex wind turbine

Magnetically Levitated wind turbine

Great pic of huge Maglev wind turbine

Wikipedia entry about Maglev wind turbines

Maglev wind turbines homepage

Mag-Wind Vertical Axis Turbine

A Flying Wind Machine!

Floating Wind Turbines

A great blog about lots of different alternative energy projects including wierd and fantastical wind turbines

Huge Kites

Optiwind accelerating turbine

Selsam superturbines

Rotating wind power towers

Broadstar’s Aerocam

FloDesign wind turbines

Wikipedia definition of airborne wind turbines

downloadable PDF containing interesting info about different types of airborne wind turbines

Wikipedia definition of Kitegen

Kitegen website – plans for a huge airborne wind farm!

Great picture of how kites could generate electricity

Guardian article about kite power

Video showing how a kite ladder would work

Makani Power high altitude wind kites

Google have put money into the Makani vision

Makani “wind dam” picture

Great article about Saul Griffith — wind energy entrepeneur, and president of Makani

Tom Van Sant makes amazing kite ladders as sculpture

Wind Harvesting farms

Helix Wind

More Helix Wind porn

Google search results for wind power technologies

Mariah Power wind turbines

Google videos about wind power

The huge offshore aerogenerator

Quiet Revolution wind turbines

Wave power

Oscillating water columns

Anaconda wave technology

SIE-CAT wave energy accumulator

A list of wave power patents going back to the 1800s

Danish Wave Energy Society

the Wave Dragon

Wave Star Energy

Wave Energy Centre

CWave Power

the Aegir Dynamo

CETO

Columbia Power

Float wave electric power station

the Manchester Bobber

Orecon oscillating water column

OE Buoy

Aquamarine power

Sperboy wave energy converter

SSG Concept

The Seadog Pump

Buoys technology

Floating power plant

Surf Power

Power Buoy

the Wave Roller

Langlee Wave Power

the WRASPA

video about Harnessing the Gulf Stream! (is this a good idea?)

Wikipedia entry about wave power

Pelamis on wikipedia

Pelamis wave power

Pelamis being tested in Portugal

Google videos on wave power

Biowave power system

video showing Biowave power working

Video – giant rubber snakes!

SRI wave powered generator

Ocean Power Technologies

video – Aqua Buoys

Aqua Buoy movie

Oyster wave power

Tidal power

Wikipedia on tidal power

Video – tidal wave energy

youtube – idea for tidal energy barrage in florida

Sea Gen

google video links for Sea Gen

Marine Current Turbines

video of Biostream tidal power system

Gorlov helical water turbine on wikipedia

Gorlov Helical Turbine

3D interactive model that shows blades of Gorlov turbine

Severn Barrage

Solar Energy

Wikipedia on solar energy

Thermal

wikipedia on thermal solar energy

wikipedia on solar energy generating systems

wikipedia on solar power tower

BBC news report on solar power stations

Solar Power tower in Spain

image of Solar Power tower

more images of solar power tower in spain

Bright Source solar power on wikipedia

Bright Source Energy

Solar Reserve

youtube on solar tower energy

solar tower energy in spain on youtube

Enviromission solar tower

Suncatchers

Dual axis solar tower structure

Voltaic

photovoltaic energy

youtube on israeli solar energy

First Solar free field power plants

youtube about plastic solar cells producing solar power

Konarka power plastic

Standard geothermal

Geothermal power on wikipedia

youtube geothermal energy vid

Enhanced geothermal

Wikipedia – enhanced geothermal systems

youtube video on enhanced geothermal systems

Hot Rock Technology

Alta Rock Energy

Petratherm

Geodynamics
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The Reluctant Photojournalist

Features a variety of vintage and modern prints from Werner Bischof’s well known humanitarian photography including the Bihar famine, more about Europe post WWII and the South Korean war. Alongside these sit Bischof’s equally beautiful but perhaps lesser known early experiments with abstracts and nudes.

Photographic co-op Magnum Photos Ground Floor, 63 Gee Street, London EC1V 3RS, 0207 490 1771
Free Entry
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re.orient.ate

Reorienting common notions of contemporary Arab art and lifestyle and debunking ‘Orientalist’ depictions. Arab artists Marianne Catzaras, Dora Dhouib and Wael Shawky explore themes of mass media, Diaspora and religion via film and photography.

Selma Feriani Gallery, 23 Maddox Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2QN
7th Apr – 13th May 2009
Free entry
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The Abyss

A new joint exhibition by former Wimbledon College of Art students, Nicola Stead and Dan Jupp.

The Outside World, 44 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP
7th May – 13th May By appointment Thursday to Saturday
Free entry
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The Hiding Place

Lewis Chamberlain
Exquisitely rendered pencil drawings whisk the viewer away into muted landscapes
which toy with scale, suburbia and the surreal.

James Hyman Gallery Savile Row, London W1S 3PD, 020 7494 3857
30th April – 30th May
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Crafted
Contemporary Craft and Fine Art

An exhibition celebrating the materials, processes and techniques involved in making extraordinary objects, the exhibition will feature nine artists from different arts and craft and design fields.

Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Church Lane, Carmarthen SA31 1LH
4th Apr – 16th May 09, 10 – 5 Mon – Sat
Free entry
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Monday 11 May

Telepathe are a too-cool-for-school three piece from Brooklyn. They’re playing 93 Feet East. They get obtuse Krautronica and make it go “POP!” – maybe they’ll be the next Animal Collective… Supported by Ou Est Le Swimming Pool.
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Tuesday 12 May

Dan Mangan plays The Electroacoustic Club, salve housed at The Slaughtered Lamb, viagra Clerkenwell. He’s a heartfelt songwriting kind of guy, information pills sings like he means it, and he’s much better than that Elbow record. Support comes from Deer Park.
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Wednesday 13 May

Our new favourite boyfriend-girlfriend duettists, Young Paul, will be giving The Cobden Club, 107 Kensal road a taste of 80s electronic treats. get in touch with the band for hassle-free entry, as it’s a private members club. Not just a fine gig, then, but also a chance to see where the Old Etonians schmooze.

Thursday 14 May

Alice and The Cool Dudes at Barden’s Boudoir. This is the high point of our music week. Alice Grant of Fulborn Teversham, is leaving her jazzhead buddies to one side to unveil some pensive indie songs, delivered by a totally unique voice that totters across a tightrope of uncannily powerful and tearful exhaustion. Surely she won’t disappoint?????
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Friday 15 May

Up in Nottingham, North-East London’s finest jokeshop salesmen of parallel-universe, narrative ska will be testing out some new material where they think no one can hear them. If you can find a place called Demo, you must prove Hothead Show wrong. Prepare for shockingly tight wizardry of the jerky-jerky groove.
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Saturday 16 May

A night of so-angry-we-can-only-tell-you-very-very-slowly Metal, with some catatonically droning Grunge, and atonal noise that may cause loss of balance on all but the lowest of seating. Roll up at The Constitution and enjoy Dethscalator, Scul Hazzards and Batrider. If you don’t take earplugs, then take cotton wool to mop up you bleeding lugholes.

Sunday 17 May

Always a good bet for a sunday night is Cross Kings, 126 York Way, in King’s Cross. On the ground level, David Goo will jolly along an open mic, which always has a few very eccentric envelope-pushers pencilled in. The avant-gardishness couples nicely with the family warmth, houmous and pitta that makes this a great pub. It’s worth paying a few quid to be allowed into the basement also. Things are a bit more organized (sound-checks and everything) but happily, there’s still no obvious divide between the musicians and the audience. What sundays are for.

Tuesday 12th May

Climate (Mis)behaviour
7pm
Dana Center
The Science Museum’s Dana Centre, dosage
?165 Queen’s Gate?, sildenafil
South Kensington
?London?SW7 5HD
?talk@danacentre.org.uk
+0044 (0)207 942 4040

Rescuing the planet requires behavioural change on an unprecedented scale. From individual action to global politics, what are the different strategies attempting to achieve this? Social psychology, advertising, policy and direct action are all thrown into the mix in this debate. ??This event is trying out a new format called Policy Slam, which is funded by the Democratic Innovation Fund of the Ministry of Justice. With the help of the experts, you will discuss, present and vote on several different options.

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Illustration by Lea Jaffy

Wednesday 13th May
Morphic Resonance, Collective Memory and Habits of Nature – An evening with Rupert Sheldrake

6.30pm drinks & buffet at Gaia House, 
(18 Well Walk, Hampstead, NW3 1LD)

7.30pm Talk & discussion at Burgh House 
(Opposite Gaia House, New End Square, Hampstead, NW3 1LT)

When Rupert Sheldrake first put forward his idea of Morphic Resonance more than twenty years ago, it caused a great stir in the scientific community.  The Editor of Nature denounced it as “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years” and proclaimed that it was “heresy”.  In his recently published new edition, available on the evening, Rupert documents the evidence that has built up in support of this hypothesis.  He will reflect on the Human Genome Project and other reductionist ideas, where few of the grand claims have come to fruition, not unlike the economic bubble that has recently burst.
 
The paradigm shift that Morphic Resonance offers is coherent with the Gaia Hypothesis, where the cosmos is understood to be a developing organism, where nature is alive, interconnected and creative.  There is an inherent memory in nature, and evolution is an interplay of habit and creativity, like our own lives.  According to this way of seeing formative causation, all self-organising systems, including crystals, plants and animals contain an inherent memory, given by a process called morphic resonance from previous similar systems.  
 
These ideas also resonate with diverse indigenous traditions around the world, including those of European ancestry.  For much of our history humans have experienced our relationship with the Earth, and indeed the Universe, to be fluid and reciprocal.  Rupert has taken up the challenge of exploring this ancient wisdom thorough the modern scientific tradition.
You can reserve your place online at: www.gaiafoundation.org/learning/online.php
Or send  a cheque for £10, made payable to The Gaia Foundation.

For further details please contact Sarah at: sarahn@gaianet.org or 020 7428 0055.
 
Rupert Sheldrake is recognised as one of the world’s most innovative biologists.  He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society, and is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project.  He is author of more than 80 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and many books, including ‘The Presence of the Past’,  ‘The Sense of Being Stared At’, ‘Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home’  and  ‘Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness’. His web site is www.sheldrake.org

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llustration by Eco Labs

Thursday 14th May
TAKE BACK THE POWER!? THE IMPORTANCE OF DIRECT ACTION TODAY

6:30-9pm
?Amnesty International UK
Human Rights Action Centre?
17 – 25 New Inn Yard
London EC2A 3EA
Nearest tube: Old Street

Free entry, refreshments and snacks provided
RSVP: london@climatecamp.org.uk or call 07534 598 733 (Early booking recommended!)
Find out what YOU can DO to stop climate change.?Throughout history ordinary people have been responsible for all major social changes – women’s rights, civic rights and even democracy itself in many places can be said to be result of direct action. Taking action is the very first step in making big changes happen. Direct action is taken by people who feel that the political process is not working to address profoundly important issues.
Climate change is the most urgent challenge we’ve ever faced – and politicians are not showing the strength of character needed to actually address this problem. Instead of serious sustainable solutions we see new runways and new coal fired power stations- deals that benefit the bottom line of the big players and not the wider population. Climate Camp believes that people everywhere need to work out what they can do – and then do it. Taking action yourself to make the world you want to see is a logical response to a very serious situation.

Are you interested in doing more to highlight the urgency of climate change? Or the relevance of direct action to struggles for jobs, peace and justice? Are you intrigued but feel uncomfortable about going outside the mainstream political process? Would you consider getting involved but don’t know how? Are you nervous about the consequences?
‘Take Back the Power! The Importance of Direct Action Today’ will be unique opportunity to hear about direct action from people who have participated in different ways. Speakers will range from people on the front line to those helping in the background. This includes Deborah Grayson – one of the Parliament Climate Rush – who is on bail and will be speaking about Climate Rush (photgraphed below)
To reserve a place/s please RSVP to london@climatecamp.org.uk or call 07534 598 733.

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Photograph by Amelia Gregory

Saturday 16th May
Euroflashmob: Europe United Against Airport Expansion
Stop Airport Expansion

Saturday 16 May 2009. The day of the Eurovision Song Contest. 12 noon on the dot at Heathrow
Terminal 1 Departures. Join Heathrow Flashmobbers in a Europe-wide Flash Mob – taking place on the same day at 6 airports across Europe.
Flash Heathrow! Flash Paris! Flash Frankfurt! Flash Schipol! Flash Brussels! Flash Dublin!
Each flashmob will be singing Eurovision classics (song-sheets provided), so download your favourite eurovision song onto your ipod or phone and bring your friends, instruments, hats, wigs, and your dancing shoes and let’s party. Now for the serious bit: airport expansion is seriously bad for local people, increased noise, air pollution, and especially the climate. The aviation industry want to expand airports across the UK and Europe, but opposition is huge, and the scientists are telling us we have to drastically cut emissions if we are to beat climate change. Flashmobs are a fun way to highlight the real opposition there is to expansion at airports across Europe. Here’s another big chance to show our opposition to a 3rd runway at Heathrow.
See you in Heathrow Terminal 1 Departures at 12 noon on the dot!
Tell BAA to get in tune: No Third Runway.
www.euroflashmob.com

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Illustration by Sachiko

Green Wedge II
A major Green Party benefit gig, to aid the Euro Election campaign.

£5 entry.
Venue:
Pangea Project
72 Stamford Hill,
Stoke Newington,
N16 6XS

http://www.pangeaproject.co.uk/

The highly eclectic lineup includes:
The Refinements (Raucous Ska)
Sarah Ellen Hughes Duo (jazz singer)

Contacts:
Selim: 07853 725476
Come along and support the local bands by cheering loudly, the Green Party by giving us your money and support, and the Pangea Project by drinking copious amounts.
It’s all shaping up to be a fun night, ably facilitated by your host Matt Hanley (ahem), with comprehensive Eurovision updates throughout the evening!
You can buy advance tickets here:?http://www.skiddle.com/tickets/
I love good days. Days that unfold in a series of pleasant surprises that put a spring back in your step and remind you that the world can be a good place. Three such things occurred today, buy well, four if you include the free coffee I was given for no reason, and five if you take into account the particularly magnificent texture of the water in which I swam early this morning (a good start surely), breathing fresh and clean from the night’s rain, silk to the touch and causing my skin to tingle for hours after; but silk water aside, only one of these things is relevant to you Zach, can I call you Zach?

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There was a moment at tonight’s concert where you clasped your fingers behind your head, raised your eyes towards the ceiling, and sighed a private smile – do you sometimes not quite believe it? I couldn’t believe it. I’d given up the hope of seeing you (you the object of a little musical infatuation), play at the Forum tonight – a torment when that venue is within spitting distance of my home. I’d cycled past and seen the queues outside (one of the nicest looking crowds to gather outside the Forum, believe me I know), my head hung low and my pedal stilted, perhaps I could sneak in, how could I live here so long and not know a secret entrance? Just as I was reconciling myself to a night of listening to Gulag Orchestra within the confines of my bedroom and strumming Postcards from Italy alone on the roof, a good thing happened – buzz buzz in my back pocket.

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“Hey Luisa how are you?”
“I’ve been better, well actually it’s been a pretty good day, but – ”
“Yeah well listen, you like Beirut right?”
“Like them? I Love – I mean yeah, they’re ok. I guess they’re ok.”
“Well you couldn’t do me a favour. I know it’s late notice and you’ve probably got plans”
“Erm, yeah I’ve got plans”
“Well I’m supposed to be reviewing them tonight but they wouldn’t give me a plus one and I don’t want to go alone, you wouldn’t go instead would you?”
(I’ve pulled over and am silently raising my fists to the sky)
Hmm…I suppose I could, I mean I would like to see them but then I don’t know what I’d write, I’m sure I’ll think of something-”
“So you’ll go?”
“Yes, yes I’ll go.”
“Oh great, thanks, just say you’re me, get some pictures, you know the drill, thanks again,”
“No problem, really,” (jumping up and down a little bit),
“What’s that noise?”
“Oh, nothing, some kid, thanks a lot, have a good night,”
“You too, byeeeee.”

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So that’s how a good day found me watching you tonight, I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a gig. You came out to rapturous applause, rewarding the audience kindly with Nantes, how does it feel to have a crowd sing your songs along with you? It was as though you were singing old folk songs of a collective homeland from which we’ve all strayed, not something created from a photograph and a few months in Eastern Europe and Paris. And now you’ve moved over to Mariachi influences? I was raised on Cumbia, and I’ve always thought the sound is very similar to that of Eastern Europe, accordions and trumpets and powerful melodies. Everyone around me was in hushed silence for the entirety of the performance, and you seemed so relaxed, demure, a sound like yours doesn’t require anything else – I did like the occasional hand conducting though. On behalf of the audience, not that anyone would make me spokesperson for anything, thank you, it was wonderful incredible; but then you know that, not everyone gets two encores. See you again soon I hope, and erm, if you ever need someone to tap a tambourine or a cowbell, or maybe an old foot pedal harmonium just rescued from cobwebs, then … hi.

Yours,

Lulu Lampshade

SM (small print): emotional content may have been exaggerated slightly for effect.
Will Morgan is an excellent photographer, store clever person and all round nice guy. His photographs are subtle and dream-like; intimate yet austere, information pills all of us here at Amelia’s Magazine are big fans of his beautiful and exciting work. I was lucky enough to catch up with Will to talk about his work and the politics of photography.

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Hi, patient Will, how are you today?

Hello Roisin, I’m very good today thanks , the sun’s out and things are pretty much perfect.

I really love your photographs especially your use of light and attention to details- what makes a good photograph for you?

Thank you, that always nice to hear. Images work for me when they inspire an emotional response or are successful at conveying a mood and atmosphere. It’s the same for me with any art work really, every discipline. When I was at college I was really interested in domestic photography, family albums and the like, I always felt that these images were incredibly powerful because they are loaded with so much meaning, they tie into notions of memory, loss, happiness, sadness and the passage of time. I’m sounding a bit pretentious here but never mind eh? I think that an image can stand on it’s own purely by being beautiful as well, ideally one would combine the beauty with an emotional response. I think photographs are a form of language so it’s nice if they say something.

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Can you tell me about your average working day?

I don’t really have an average working day, I shoot a lot of editorial so the jobs are varied and my personal work is even more so. If I’m on a commissioned job it’s usually an early start, double check the equipment as I have been known to leave vital bits behind. Drink some very strong coffee, try not to smoke (fail) and head to the location, be very nice to everybody and start to shoot. Obviously keep to the deadline, work in close conjunction with the art director and hope the client is happy! All my commissioned work is digital these days so there’s normally an hour at the end of the shoot to go through the images then I retouch and deliver. My personal work is far looser I identify a project I’m interested in and shoot on my own, with minimal equipment. I do get up a lot later on these days, probably smoke more cigarettes though.

Do you have a favourite camera?

I started off using a 1960′s Hassleblad and I still love it, but these days I mainly shoot with a 645 contax and a P30 back, with the advent of digital clients just won’t pay for film and now days they want to see everything immediately, plus you get used to the freedom of digital, you can shoot to your hearts content. I do like my contax but the Hassleblad is probably my favourite although I rarely shoot film these days, I used to have a Polaroid land camera which I throughly enjoyed but I lost it. Lets move on I’m getting a little emotional

What do you make of the whole film vs. digital photography debate? I mean do you view the advent of digital photography as a completely bad thing?

I’m not sure it’s even a debate anymore, digital photography is here and it’s a photographic tool, you just have to learn to use it and I think to deny it is a bit self defeating. I do believe that images shot on film look better than digital raw files but the technology is so good now and if you know a little about digital retouching I can’t really tell the difference. Digital has a huge amount of freedom, film is expensive with digital after the initial investment you shoot for free really, you can really experiment and as I’ve said all my commissions assume I’m shooting digital. I don’t think digital is a bad thing or a good thing really it’s just the way photography has evolved. Different jobs/projects lend themselves to different platforms/cameras and so on, whatever works for you is the best really. Even when I do shoot film I scan it and tweak it in photoshop so it becomes a digital image anyway.

I think that’s really interesting, it’s quite taboo I think to be positive about digital photography, it’s refreshing to hear that you’re pro-digital and proud; whilst film is beautiful, people can always become purist about things like that and I agree that digital technology can add something great to photography- as we can see in your work!

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Continuing with this foray into the ethics or politics of photgraphy, do you agree with the idea that a photograph is the truest form of representation?

I’m probably misinterpreting the question but umm, not really, I think a photograph captures how someone or something looked in that split second the shutter clicked, it’s a tricky one but as a photographer you’re imposing yourself on the scene, you crop in camera, use apertures and f-stops different focal lengths, different formats, you edit your images, decide how to present them, all of this creates a selective reality, I’m not even sure if reality is the right word, also now with the computer technology you can completely alter the original image . All of these things have a huge bearing on whatever you’re photographing and of course you want it to look good. I don’t think it’s a true representation of reality but it has the edge over painting I think.

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Can you tell me about your journey to where you are today (career-wise rather than transport-wise!)? Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers?

Well I went to India for a year when I was 20, I picked up a camera there for the first time and really enjoyed it, I’d stayed in India too long so I missed my University place to study English so i did a part time course in photography. I loved it so went the route of art foundation, photography BA at LCP (also this got me to London). I did well at LCP I won a few prizes and it gave me the confidence to believe I might actually be able to make a living from photography. After my degree I worked part time at the National Film Theatre and assisted various photographers as well as picking up a few commissions for my self. It’s only really been the last three years that I’ve made a reasonable living purely from my own photography but it’s always been fun and I’ve never wanted to stop. I think getting over the fear of the portfolio meetings was crucial! The only advice I would give is to keep at it, never be afraid of showing your work, shoot as much as you can and enjoy it, I think it’s the best job in the world (apart from rock star maybe)

Which photographers inspired you early on in your career?

I was always hugely impressed with Philip Lorca-di Corcia in particular his Hollywood Hustler series, I was and still am a big fan of Eva Vermendel and Martina Hoogland-Ivanow, Paolo Roversi’s work is always beautiful, Christian Boltanski, Stephen Gill, Bruce Davidson, Azim Haidaryan, Nadav Kander, there’s a lot of them but I’ll leave it there.


What projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a few, I’m shooting a series of confessional boxes in Catholic churches, a series on cineastes based around the National Film Theatre and bus stops at night.

I can’t wait to see them!

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All photographs appear courtesy of Will Morgan
At first glance, mind you might have thought that activism, arts and permaculture would make the strangest of bedfellows, but don’t let any preconceived notions cloud your judgement. The imaginative people behind ArtsAdmin are laying on a fortnight of activities which will demonstrate how effortlessly these subjects can work together. Under the name of Two Degrees , and with the recent quote by George Monbiot acting as a kind of frame of reference – ‘We have to stop treating climate change as an urgent issue, we have to start treating it as an international emergency” – the week long series of performances, activities, exhibitions and installations will have one thing in common; our relationship with the environment and the impact of climate change.

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I chatted recently with ArtsAdmin, in their beautiful and unexpectedly peaceful surroundings (well, they are on Commercial Road!) of Toynbee Studios (also the setting of many of the forthcoming events). They explained that even the title of the festival is apposite. ‘Two Degrees’ is in reference to the reports that global temperatures are set to rise by that amount in around 40 years. A relatively ‘small’ rise such as this could lead to catastrophic changes on our planet.

While the message is serious, many performances will be light hearted, and all will be engaging. A case in point, the ‘set list’ reads thus;  
“A reconstructed airplane serves real airline food delivered from City Airport; permaculturists and artists lead a foraging exploration of the City; a crowd of Londoners, an artist and a water dowser trace the course of a great London river; radical temporary transformations of lunchtime London; an artist-activist family confess to past flights they have taken; climate change cabaret; an urban-rural walk to City Farm; a bicycle-powered DJ set (run by good friends of Amelia’s Magazine; Magnificent Revolution) and a filmed rural idyll accompanied by passenger jet noise form Two Degrees”

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Personally, I like the sound of the climate change cabaret. It’s about time that cabaret branched out a little, don’t you think? Speaking of avant-garde performances, a particular highlight of the week will be C.R.A.S.H. A Postcapitalist A-Z, a collaboration between ArtsAdmin and the fantastically named collective that is The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. While it is difficult to predict exactly what will occur, (it’s best just to come down to the City of London to watch), C.R.A.S.H will be creating a phantasmagorical world where “Eight postcapitalist commissions transform lunchtime in the City including the very last opportunity to purchase a real woman, a soup kitchen distributing bowls of gold soup to City workers, a lone cyclist pedalling a field kitchen around the Square Mile, a forum of bankers, ex-bankers, climate activists, artists and others confessing their capitalist tendencies, and a café of equivalence where a bowl of food costs the same as a banker’s daily salary in parallel with food costs in the developing world.” I believe it is safe to say; brace yourself!

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Elsewhere, the issue of airline travel is of course, a pertinent topic in an event that is engaging in dialogue about climate change. At Toynbee Studios, it will be dealt with in an unexpectedly humorous way. In an activity that Dada would be proud of, the artist Richard DeDomenici (and his cabin crew) will be serving out helpings of airplane food, in its airline style packaging. Just in case you didn’t think that this was authentic enough, your meal will be served as you sit in a recycled airplane interior, which Two Degrees hasten to add, also includes in flight entertainment. For any of you who would pitch up just because you like the taste of airline meals (someone has to…?) there is a deeper meaning behind this. DeDomenici is responding to a recent quote by chef Marcus Wareing about British pub food, which he declares being of poor quality, so much so that for a proper meal, “you would be better off getting on a plane”. Now, I would disagree with chef Wareing on both counts. Has he never eaten at The Eagle? Moreover, it is an irresponsible comment to make, one which highlights the ease in which we get on and off flights, almost as if they were trains. So, rather than getting on a plane, you can experience all the wonders of a flight (but without the guilt of actually flying). Hurrah!

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If you are anything like me; a bit of a hippy with a nerdish fondness for maps and discovering secret, ancient rivers, ( I’ll admit that there are very few of us around!) then you will especially enjoy the outing that Two Degrees have planned. The artist Amy Sharrock will be leading a walk which she describes as her response to global concerns. This will come in the form of an excursion from Islington to the Southbank, tracing the lines of the ancient, and lost Walbrook River. Not obscure enough for you? Did I mention that any participants will be dressed in blue and tied together to resemble water molecules?

All of the events can be booked online at www.artsadmin.co.uk. It promises to be a thought-provoking and engaging week. Knowing ArtsAdmin and the people behind this event, however out of left field the performances may be, the message will be central: we are running out of time in which to save the planet, and the time in which to act is now.

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Crochet, help shells and pipe cleaners…beasts banished forever to the chasmic closet of craft have broken free of the plastic furniture covers and dried flowers to be resurrected as one of the most entertaining young collections to have paraded down the catwalks in some time. Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the Australian born and bred design team behind Romance Was Born have glued-gunned themselves firmly in place as the merry pranksters of Sydney.

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No one would blame you for crinkling your nose at the idea of a fashion collection inspired by someone’s nana. But peeking through the kaleidoscopic vision of these wizards of Oz . Driven by textures, shapes and above all colors, Romance Was Born in the fertile imaginations of these two talented designers when they met while studying fashion at the East Sydney Technical College.

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After graduating in 2007 they were invited to attend the Fourth International Support Awards in Italy where they turned down internships with Galliano because “their fashion fairytale had another date with destiny”. These young (water)guns were intent on starting their own label with, and why not, the suitcase size booty of Galliano laces and silks they’d received as a prize from the competition.

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These two confectioners are just as much substance as they are style. Clever tailoring and feminine shapes pepper the opulent couture showpieces. Collaborations with Australian artist Del Kathryn Bartonproduced original digitally printed fabrics and a 12 piece collection entitled ‘Garden of Eden’, which was exhibited at Kaliman Gallery alongside Barton’s work.

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Romance Was Born has also found its way onto the figures of Debbie Harry, Lily Allen, MIA, Cyndi Lauper and Karen O (who opted for a red tulle dress with googly eyes) and rising star rockers Architecture in Helsinki, who wore their puppetry inspired glo-in-the-dark pieces for the filming of their band’s new clip. They must surely have tagged one particular Icelandic songbird for their next mark. we can’t wait to see what they pull out of their party hats next!

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When you first gaze upon the work of Accessory designer Fred Butler it’s all rather indigestible, case flying from one medium to the other with all the energy and flair of an excitable child. She is constantly adding more layers, no rx depth and colour to her pieces, help the result culminates in mind bogglingly colourful and decidedly hap hazard pieces.

With such gusto It’s hard to fathom how to predict her, one instance you could be presented with a outlandish mathematical headpiece rather reminiscent of a futurist rubix cube. Then next your met with a piñata style headdress (lets hope the model isn’t planning on attending any children’s parties, it may conclude in a rather unpleasant knock to the head) Each piece is as brilliant as it is unique, Butler is one of the few designers it’s hard to typecast, her work has been vaguely linked to that of fellow kitsch designers Peter Jensen and Alistair Carr but apart from these she seems a law unto herself.

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Her latest collection featured a hallucinogenic short film entitled “Conspicuous consumption” to which ethereal models clad in swarouski encrusted headpieces serenely sway in a rather hypnotic manner, its all rather like a trip back to Kate Bushes Wuthering Heights video, alas minus the haunting vocals!

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Fred Butler is an infamous character in the fashion sphere; regularly her work adorns the pages of the magazine elite from Elle, I-D, Vogue, Lula, and Hommes Japan to Wonderland. She even graced the pages Amelia’s Magazine to which she featured in issue 10, which is still up for grabs for the record, it’s worth taking a peak!

Her success is universal, making waves not merely within the fashion sphere but within Music also. She boasts eccentric followers from electro folk icon Patrick Wolf to the elegant Bishi. But she doesn’t just appeal to London’s Underground sphere, she has a whole host of high calibre clients from MTV, Selfridges to the V&A!

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Who knows what Fred Butler has hidden under her brightly coloured sleeve, I for one can’t wait to find out!
The Dø are Dan Levy and Olivia B. Merilahti, view who luckily for our ears found each other and started making pop music for fun whilst working on a soundtrack together.
They have already made it big outre-manche, site with their album A Mouthful got to Number 1. Their vibrant sound swings from the playground to the streets and back again, viagra making for an exciting album brimming to the rafters with curiosity, exuberance and passion. It’s strings sweep with cinematic drama over lullabies and hip-hop.
From their genre-switching music to their diverse cultural background; a mix of French (Dan) and Finnish (Olivia), their sound is more unique than any boy-girl duo to have come along for a while.

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Hello Olivia, how are you today?
I’m good thank you- trying to relax …it’s been a while since I’ve had a day off, and we’re getting ready for our crazy UK/Germany tour

Wow, it sounds like your super busy! Are you in Paris right now? I’m jealous, I used to live there and I miss it…
Yes- shall we swap? i’d rather live in London! I dont know why, I’ve always felt very close to England.

It’s a plan! I’ll pack my suitcase as soon as we’re done interviewing! :-)

So it’s probably the first thing most people want to ask about, but how did you guys decide on the name The Dø ? I read it means ‘death’ in Danish…

d+o=Dan+Olivia. Do=do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do! “do(e), a deer, a female deer” (check The Sound of Music). In Denmark it means somthing about death, yeah but, the “ø” was mostly because it looks like the note as written in traditional music theory.

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I like it, The Dø is a big melting pot of languages and cultures; even Austrian with The Sound of Music! I suppose musically as well you mix up the languages with English and Finnish…but not French- was that a concious decision?
Yeah- French was never an option in music for me, my musical language is English, it’s always been, because it is also my musical culture, and pop music has always been in English

Also French in it’s nature for me anyway seems very structured and constrained linguistically- maybe thats hard to put into music?

Like Opera was mostly sung in Italian, German or French…but not in English, really.
It’s just like using the instrument that feels right.

What about singing in Finnish? Listening to your album A Mouthful- it really adds a ethereal touch when it’s used, it such a lovely sounding language!
Hum, I guess the song & the melody of “Unissasi Laulelet” just came up naturally in
Finnish. I didn’t really plan to write a song in Finnish, but I do sometimes need to change and use Finnish in my compositions.

Cool, it’s great to be able to use language like another instrument like you said. Do you think you both approach music with different views on art and music or do you have a lot of similar tastes?
On some stuff we don’t agree, but we’re usually extremely connected. Two people working together is a very intense activity…our musical backgrounds are different, but we’re so complementary…

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Talking about other experiences and influences- what are/were your personal inspirations musically?
I grew up on a lot of songs, in English or Finnish. My mum used to sing me a lot of lullabies in Finnsh, and I guess it is still an inspiration…Then I discovered Nirvana and Hole, then Bjork, Fiona Apple, Ella Fitzgerald, Goran Bregovic, The Wutang and Eminem.
Dan grew up on jazz and discovered classical music in his teens.Dan’s influences are John Coltrane (Dan played the saxophone for many many years), Bela Bartok, Zappa, etc. He was always sure he would become a composer, while I was singing in bands from age 14, but I was very shy about my own songs.

Wow, from 14! So music, even at a young age, was something you definitely wanted to do later in life? And what about for Dan?
Yes, but since I didn’t grow up in a family that was artistic in any way, I didn’t realise until quite late that it could actually become a job! Whereas there was no doubt for Dan.

So what does the future hold for The Dø ?
We’re gonna keep touring until august, in the UK and the rest of Europe, and then we record album 2…we’ve started recording a few songs already and it feels amazing!

I’m really excited to hear that! Thank you! :-)

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A Mouthful is out now.
Welcome to the weird, order wonderful world of Catherine Le Page. This Quebecoise knows how to draw and her illustrations are have a beautiful je-ne-sais-quoi about them. The most interesting pieces create a unique vision of femininity from childhood to womanhood. Brands, case diets, boys, careers and children appear throughout her work, highlighting the concerns of the modern feminine psyche whilst utilising a self-consciously girly whimsical aesthetic. The combination of the two give a deeply intimate view of womanhood.

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As we see below, she seems to condone a sort of universal sisterhood of happiness; the “for better” whilst marriage is perhaps implied as the “for worse”. She both embraces the feminine in her themes of nature, motherhood and celebrations of the female body whilst questioning its social implications.

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The colours and lines used by Le Page are delightfully naive, like the imaginings of a teenage girl; all crushes and crying carved in crayon on pages torn out of squared exercise books, taking us back to the days of secret notes passed in class and writing boys names in pen on our knickers.

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Her work is always mature in it’s treatment of subject matter; like her couple holding hands at the corner of a page faced with giant colourful block arrows, with Le Page‘s native Canada imprinted hauntingly in the background, like the big scary future looming. Or a couple coping with a long distance relationship. Le Page‘s illustrations manage to be both personal whilst universal whilst still maintaining a strong sense of narrative.

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Le Page tightropes the line between a twee femininity and these astute quasi- feminist observations, whilst being neither particularly approving nor politically critical in her work. Yet because she, as a female artist, is asserted as a subject of creativity and expression; it is men who become objects of desire, whilst female concerns take centre stage. Yet does being female and addressing issues of femininity in art always have to be a feminist matter? Opinions welcome…I’m off to burn my bra.

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Yesterday, about it an impassioned plea in the form of an email dropped through into my Amelia’s Magazine inbox. The subject matter was a slightly different topic to what usually features in the Earth section, unhealthy but instantly we knew that it warranted a feature, and needed to be shared with our readers. So todays topic is about 10,000 ex- battery farmed chickens that need rehousing urgently, otherwise they will be sent to slaughter.

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Henny Penny was found at the bottom of a battery farm cage unable to stand.

It may seem a slightly incongruous topic, but then I have always had a soft spot for hens. While I love the little corner of urban sprawl that I now occupy in East London, I spent my formative years in Cornwall. Growing up in bucolic, pastoral countryside, my parents (recently decamped from Wandsworth) decided they wanted to have a bit of The Good Life, and got themselves a chicken hutch and about 10 hens. Every morning, my job was the Collection Of The Eggs – I took my job very seriously. Armed with a basket I would quietly step into the hatch; I will never forget the peaceful, warm atmosphere that I would encounter. Ten contented, almost post coital chickens clucking gently to themselves as they settled down for a rest after a morning spent laying eggs. Needless to say, the eggs tasted delicious – rich, thick and creamy. So, with these memories in mind, there is an incomprehensible difference between the hens in our back garden all those years ago, and the pictures of the chickens that accompanied the email. Emaciated, featherless and pathetic – the real image behind battery farming that you don’t see on boxes of eggs.

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The people asking for our, and your help are a group called Little Hen Rescue, based in Norfolk. Yesterday I spoke with one of the volunteers, Emma, who told me that all of the group volunteer, and all are working up to 14 hour days in the pursuit of rescuing battery chickens. She explained that the hens will have spent most of their life in a tiny battery cage, laying eggs until their production level drops, after which they will usually be sent to slaughter. At this point, they are generally only sixteen months old, and seeing that chickens usually live for up to six years , they are not even halfway through their life span. The operation that they are currently undertaking is their most ambitious, and largest yet. At the end of June, a farm in Norfolk will be sending 10,000 chickens to slaughter, and Little Hen Rescue are hoping that all will be rehoused to members of the public throughout Britain. If anyone has ever thought of keeping chickens before, now would be the time to step forward. Although this may seem a daunting task, Little Hen Rescue are promising to guide every hen-keeping novice through all the initial steps. They are asking for a donation of £1.50 for each chicken ‘brought’, but more is always welcome, (and anyone who wishes to donate, but not get a hen is also welcome to do so, the website has details of their PayPal account. ). I asked Emma what the chickens are like, half expecting a description of severely traumatised birds, but she was quick to prove me wrong; “They are gorgeous! Where do you start? They are more friendly than any other breed of hen I’ve found. They are such loving little pets and considering what they’ve been though, they give you their all”

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One characteristic to be expected of the chickens is the state of their feathers – or the lack of them. Unfortunately, this is just another by product of being a battery hen. Little Hen Rescue have already factored this in, and have a web page with instructions for how to construct fleeces and jumpers to keep the birds warm while their feathers grow back – which they always do. Helpfully, there are also pictures of the hens wearing breast plate knitted jumpers and fleeces to show you the finished ‘product’. I defy you not to be moved by these photos.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

One thing worth remembering if you want to go ahead and adopt a hen is that you will need a garden in which they can roam, and preferably you will need to construct or purchase a secure, fox-proof chicken house with an attached run. Amelia’s Magazine is not usually in the habit of acting as a broker in the sale of chickens, but then an appeal like this does not come along every day. If there is anything that you can do to help, get in contact with Little Hen Rescue and help a feathered friend.

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Illustration by Jessica Pemberton

Phuong-Cac Nguyen left America more then two years ago to start a new life in São Paulo, visit this Brazil`s ginormous metropolis and the main economic and cultural center in the country. She went away with the purpose of sending contributions about the city to blogs and websites such as  coolhunting.com and joshspear.com. However she found in town countless choices of how to spend her free time and decided to compile her favorite hidden Sao Paulo haunts into a brilliant guidebook. It`s been a hit between locals, so in order to find out more about how she came up with the project we chatted almost endlessly about the book – but also about Sao Paulo`s social problems, the paulista lifestyle and Brazilian politics.

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Berlin

I didn`t get if you`re American, Brazilian…??
American??
Oh ok. Could you tell us a little about the book? It seemed very interesting. Loved the layout too.?
It comes from two years living there. While writing for coolhunting and joshspear, i picked up a ton of info. Also a lot of it came about naturally – I’m a super curious person, so to keep myself entertained I went discovering the city and chatted with people and as I did all this stuff about the city came out and I had all this info that I didn`t know what to do with and knowing that there was a lack of this type of book for Sao Paulo, I figured it would be a good idea to do a book and share these gems.??
That`s great! I`m looking forward to reading it.
?Thank you! The majority of the people who worked on it are Brazilians who live in São Paulo. I wanted to present a true insider’s view.
So you went to Sao Paulo by yourself and then started with the freelance jobs?
?Yes. I had saved up some money from my previous gigs. Jobs in the U.S.
And what made you choose São Paulo??
It was one of my stops during a South American trip I made in 2006, and when I got there I felt at home – first time in my life I have ever felt that way about a place.
Where are you from in the US?
?I am from L.A. California.
That`s a big change! What do you love the most about SP and the least??
Most: I haven’t figured it out totally, but I think it’s the sense that something is always happening, always changing, always moving, and I like being a part of that.
Least: the pollution – my acne has come roaring back as a result.
Yes it`s horrible! But isn`t this movement sentiment a thing that all the big cities have it? This idea that there`s always something going on?
?Yes, i guess so, but I’ve been to lots of big cities… there’s just something different about Sao Paulo’s movement… maybe it’s because it’s still developing yeah – and I also love the people there.
What do you love about them?
?People are so nice! And people from other Brazilian states complain that they think Paulistanos are snobby (back to the whole big-city thing), but I have met so many amazing people there, people from all over Brazil come to SP.

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D-Edge Club

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I think Paulistas are the best!
?hahah are you a Paulista???
Yes I am! But I`ve lived most of my life in Porto Alegre.?
Ah people there are so nice too! A lot of my friends are from the south.
So you got to learn some Portuguese??
Yes. I’m fluent.
Cool! Was it hard??
Believe me, after dealing with the printer, I am definitely fluent! Yes it was hard – but after about 6 months I was able to be understood.
??So that was quick!
?I knew my Portuguese was up to speed when I could complain with everyone else about the traffic and pollution haha.
??Hahaha. And that`s when you became a real paulista!?
Hahahah. Exactly!
Awesome! So do you plan of translating the book to Portuguese?
?Yes, that’s in the plans. the book is practically sold out in Brazil already, even in English!
Uau that`s amazing!
Congratulations!?
Yeah I’m shocked really.
Where did you use to live in SP??
Vila Madalena
So how would you describe SP`s like in a more detailed way? Because the idea people usually have from Brazil is from being a country with beaches everywhere, girls in bikini drinking caipirinha and dancing samba the whole day. But we both know that`s not true.?
Definitely. Well, SP is a modern city where you can get gourmet olives imported from Italy and we get stuck in traffic jams like in NYC, but combine that with a strong Brazilian culture and you have a totally unique place.

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Museu De Arte Moderna

So in the book you describe the main neighborhoods??
Yes.?Restaurants, bars, boutiques, hidden gems.??
So would you say it`s targeted more to SP`s high class?
?Noooo! It’s for people working in the creative industry, people like artists, designers, architects, writers.
??Right.?
So not high class – when I think of high class I think of super rich and my readers are not. But they are by no means unsuccessful, if that makes any sense.
It totally makes sense. Do you plan on writing another guide??
Writing i don’t know but producing more under the Total series, yes. I have to take a rest before I would consider writing another one… I’d like to hire someone else to write the next one!
?Any idea for cities??
Yes – we’ll stick with South American cities. But as for what city next, that will have to be kept under wraps for now.
So could you tell me what are your favorites places in SP? Like a top 5 maybe?
?Bar do Museu, praça por do sol, filial, the historical center of the city, the Arab area of the Bras neighborhood. And of course I love my neighborhood! But that would be 6 and you asked for 5.

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Loja do Bispo

So you`re still living in SP? Thought you were back in LA.
?I’m back in L.A. to handle the business end of the book, but will be back in SP this year. All my things are still there!??
How do Brazilian people usually react when you say you`re American? Probably a silly question, but I`m just curious.?
They are super curious, they love Americans and being Asian on top of that, I’m definitely an interesting specimen. They wonder why the heck I moved to SP when they all want to move to America!??
Exactly! Did you get to follow Brazilian politics? What do you think about it?
?I did a little bit, yes, and I find it fascinating the infamous bureaucracy, the corruption, but I see that there are also some good hearts in the government, trying to work against those two aspects. And it’s working, because Brazil is growing and being accepted into the worldwide market.
Really? Do you truly believe in that?
?Yes – you see it more on a local level. I don’t really understand national politics as much, my Portuguese is weak in this area, but nevertheless even though Brazilians are required to vote, and we aren’t in the U.S. but yet we’re infinitely more involved when it comes to campaigns, i find that Brazilians should take a deeper interest in helping to shape change…. but it’s complicated because they don’t trust the government. This is a sentiment that many Brazilians share with me, that they would in fact love to be more involved but they see it as kind of hopeless.
Yes that`s exactly what I think. It`s one of the reasons that made me leave together with crime as well, which it`s related, of course.?
Yes, definitely. The crime is insanely bad compared to America. I think this is why Paulistanos are so special… they have to deal with all of this and yet they are able to maintain a happy nature and positive view on life. This is amazing to me. I love SP with all its faults, I have gotten days where I wanted to pick up and move somewhere else because I was frustrated after hearing about a bounty hunter killing someone in my neighborhood, but I don’t because the city and its people have so much to offer
Yes totally. That`s what I`m always telling people about Brazilians: they can be miserable, completely poor, live in a shit hole, but they`re are smiling, cooking their Sunday barbecues and drinking their beer.
Yeah totally. In fact, what you say is what my friends say is the problem with Brazil, why things in government aren’t changing… instead of getting up and doing something about things, people don’t want to deal with it and rather focus on making churrasco. I can understand in a way.
Sad but true. Phuong thank you so much. Is there anything else you would like to say??Well I definitely would not have been able to do it without my team of photographers and illustrators! They believed in the project and as a result it shows through in the final product. That’s all!
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Now, buy more about I know Surbiton quite well. It’s a place I associate with Waitrose, cost semi-detached houses, wife-swapping, Audis, Felicity Kendall’s loin-stirring fringe, and the Class System. Artistic notions don’t really seem to fit in this anodyne suburban mould.
And the good people of Surbiton probably don’t notice the gaping wound in their emotional channel. But here, in the valley of the shadow of death, cometh the man. A man with the vision to inject into their sterile lives the force of the creative spirit. And much calcium.
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Robin Hutchinson graduated in Fine Art before Duran Duran discovered hair gel, a bit conceptual and performancey, and then embarked on life’s great journey. Decades later, he’s a happily married man who drinks a lot of Pinot Grigio and follows his arty heart. Ha has an amazing knack for getting people in authority to do things. One day, he decided that Kingston needed a theatre, and turned himself into a one-man lobby, pestering the Council and developers for years, until it was done, with the beautiful result of the Rose Theatre, a rounded Shakespearean structure that keeps it real with proper plays and comedy.
Then he decided to celebrate the life of photography legend and Kingstonian Eadweard Muybridge with a 20ft projection onto the facade of Kingston Police Station, located opposite Muybridge’s birthplace. A projection of Muybridge’s work, followed by a creepy-as-hell pair of eyes looking out across the town, framed rectangular, as though from a burqua. Behold surveillance society, and trust in society laid bare not in a gallery setting, but on Kingston’s High Street, with people strolling by to drink beer or buy kebabs.
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So here’s a chap who likes a little confrontation, and wants the populace to let some Apollonian/Dyonysian into their lives. So maybe you’re wondering where the calcium fits in with this…
Robin (who, given the right costume, could easily pass for a Marvel supervillain), tells me of his Damascus moment. One afternoon, while having his car fixed up at Kwik-Fit next door, he popped into The Lamb for a pint and thought he’d try a selection from the deli counter. Yes, deli-counter! This would be a major revelation for anyone who remembers the way the pub used to be; an intimidating grotto of dirty looks for non-regulars, shifting Carlsberg-flavoured water to a single-digit client-base who would ruminate each afternoon on the finer points of Daily Star stories. Maybe a dartboard by the door to the ladies, maybe a jar of pickled onions – it’s all the stuff of legend, now (except for the huge plastic letters of the SKOL sign that adorn the side of the pub, in memoriam).
Deeply inspired by the warmth of fledgling Landlord and Lady, Adam and Liz, and the quality fare on offer (largely sourced from a relative’s Dorset farm), Robin decided firstly that the pub’s internal revolution should be advertised to the wider public, and that the wider public was deserving of a revolution of its own.
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He admits that the first Homage De Fromage event was dominated by Robin’s personal friends, and was fairly low-key. However, by the time I discovered Surbiton’s Cheese Underground, months later, things were a little more lively, even unhinged. At the end of a busy evening, I had travelled to the pub to meet a couple of friends who were already cheesed up. When I arrived, they were building a monorail course out of straws and sellotape, for the passage of a tiny straw and sellotape basket, housing a pickled onion (you see, pickled onions aren’t wrong per se – it’s all about the context). At the end of the course, the basket landed in a tray of water and was suddenly deemed a boat. Well done, I said, but it was no good – I was near sober, whilst they had not only imbibed more than me, but had also been in the zone since 7.30 sharp. It seemed to make perfect sense to them that pickled onions should need transportation. I saw so clearly the dichotomy between us: I was just a citizen of the State, whereas they were engines of creation. They had the same spark that enabled the invention of the Artesian Well, pyramid-construction techniques, or the aquaduct. I would have to get in on the act from the beginning of the evening to attain this enlightened state. Nothing could stop them!… Except the end of licensed opening hours, or running out of chutneys.
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Let me tell you how Homage De Fromage works: Claim your table (you’ll probably have to book, these days), pay your money, enjoy your cheese-platter (themed on a region of the British Isles) while examining your cheese-menu and discussing your observations with your cohorts, fill in your answers to the quiz which nobody seems to care about, then partake in the month’s challenge.
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The cheese, obviously, is a big focus, and Adam and Liz put in the research to get the most exquisite and diverse cheeses from each region. There’s usually a bit of Goat’s, a bit of Blue, and some Brie-like, as well as the more familiar types. But this isn’t a foodie review, and the cheese is not what it’s all about. It’s the challenge, the problem-solving.
The challenge that I had walked in on yielded brilliant results, all put together in around half an hour. Little cars with olives for wheels and toothpicks for axles, a hot air balloon, rafts, a glider. And this is exactly what Robin wanted to see. It’s Art, but not as we know it.
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For Art’s greatest achievement can only be shining the light of imagination into the hearts of ordinary men and women. Robin’s strategy for achieving this is so simple, yet it achieves so much for its very directness. A little of society’s familiar lubricant, alcohol, followed by the gustatory excitement and discussion that only the complexity of cheese can bring, and then the simple laying down of a gauntlet.
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The month that followed the transport-design forced each table-team to create a Wicker Man, which was then burnt in the beer garden as the horde of possessed Suburbitonians chanted and danced, and occasionally gestured the pretence that it was ironic. A month later came the command to build a whale, using only blue sheets of A4, straws, sellotape and bravado. The variety of approach was broad. Some built a skeleton first, some were cartoony, one had a little Jonah sitting in it’s mouth, two used a live human as the basis of the beast, One referenced the evolutionary ancestry of the whale with ambulocetus features. And the room was filled with love.
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The most recent event had the challenge of designing a work of public sculpture, specifically an alternative to Wallinger’s big horse, planned for the mouth of the Channel Tunnel. There wasn’t a single half-hour proposal that I didn’t prefer to the Wallinger. Just for the sheer ridiculous Pythonesque and throwaway ethos that infused each work. And Bacofoil was the medium of the day. Shiny, shiny.
(Apologies, dear reader, but there’s no way I can get through this feature without the words “You had to be there!”)…You had to be there.
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Homage De Fromage is an evolving project. Or maybe the trunk of a tree of projects. In the last four months, popularity has shot through the roof, with the April event being fully booked before the March event had finished. The clientele is changing, too, with younger people and artier people increasingly following (that’s right, following) les petits bourgeoises into this vibrant new scene. Robin is planning to harness this force, with plans to build a scaled-up model of the board game Mouse Trap on the beer garden, and a community art project, called My Life In A Box, in which anyone and everyone is invited to represent their life inside a cardboard box measuring 25x25x7cm. Effectively, the man is luring people into Kingston’s underweight cultural life with cheese. A mousetrap will make a very fitting monument to Hutchinson’s methods.
But is it Art? Proper, capital-A Art? Does it need to justified in relation to The Death of the Author, Public Art Theory, Art Brut, Relational Art, blah, blah? Is Robin a Rirkrit Tiravanija of the non-gallery-dwelling suburban breed?
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Robin gives the impression that Art is nowhere near as crucial as his real buzzword – Creativity. Art is almost a hang-up, totem of the stagnant and the done, whereas what matters is the force that drives creation. That’s why everything ends up in the bin at the end of Cheese Night; no debris shall slow the passage of creation, as it joyfully gushes downstream in half-drunk flux.

For some reason, this involves girls wearing false moustaches. And they look good.

You can involve yourself in the Homage on the website, or the facebook. Why not go the extra mile and help out the Mousetrap, or put your life in a box.
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It helps to have a few aces up your sleeve when you’re trying to make it in the fashion/art world these days. In which case you wouldn’t want to be the one staring across the table into the lovely poker face of this particular card shark. French Illustrator extraordinaire Coco, healing has stacked the decks with talent and expertise in razor sharp and uber feminine illustrations in magazines like Nylon, Slurp, Russh, Wonderland, years of fashion consulting for designers, PR work for Valery Demure, and most recently her own line of luxurious silk scarves called Forget-Me-Not.

Coco’s graceful drawings appear in Illustration books, displays for London and Barcelona Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfield’s AW ’09 catalogue and milliner Yasmin Rizvi’s turbans. Sitting down with the skillful drafter and in a plaiting of French and English we talked about her unique perspective on what it takes to stay in the game these days.

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“I started out studying at the Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Dupres but after that I didn’t draw for ages. I was actually working in fashion PR in Paris when Valery Demure asked me to do some illustrations for an invitation. Then a few magazines asked me to do some artwork for them. Once my pieces were out there, I sent out a quarterly update to the right people. Valery, by then a good friend, suggested I do the scarves and three months later I was doing it and now she’s my agent.”

Fearless and instinctive, I suppose that’s the kind of nerve you’d need to contend in the notoriously fickle world of fashion.
“When someone offers you to do it and you say ok, that’s one thing. But to come up with something on your own and to push it is too anxiety ridden. I admire those people that can do it. To be able to say merde ou oui (sure or piss off) to someone. ”

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Do you feel your connections and savvy in that milieu helped you avoid some of the pitfalls most young designers face?
“So many things can go wrong but you’re on your own so you have to follow up on everything yourself. People say it’s so easy but it’s a nightmare to find the right factory. Sometimes the graphics look dirty if they’re not done to a high standard. After 6-10 tests I’m still not happy with them. Then there’s transport, corrections, it gets expensive. But that’s not really a big surprise because I’ve worked with so many young designers. Mais le vivre et le faire….(But living the life and doing it are not the same thing).”

What suggestions would you offer to designers/illustrators new to the game?
“Above all you must do it with your own identity and always be thinking ‘who will buy this?’ As soon as you do one thing, everyone thinks that all you do until you prove otherwise. If you do just one thing without taking risks you’ll end up like a rat. It could be just a poster or a book.”

“When sending your work to the PR’s you need to make an effort, to think about the little things and make it easy for them… like including simple texts. And you have to keep at them. I understand why designers are so stressed out. Often they’re timid by nature. I put everything I have into it. The successful ones are really aggressive and they put the effort the whole year through rather than laying back. Everything goes so fast these days it’s hard to know who’s coming or going.”

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The internet must play an enormous influence in the role of the consumer. What can you tell us about the quickening pace of the fashion industry?
“Buyers are some of my favorite people to work with, they can be so much more informed and creative than they’re given credit for. When I first showed my silk scarves I didn’t tell them they were my designs, just so I could get their honest opinion. In commercial showrooms I got to know a lot about their customers through them.”

“The client comes super early in the season (AW 09) and they know exactly what pieces they want by summer. They used to depend on magazines and whatever they dictated. But now they’re seeing it all, instantaneously. They’re informed and decisive. My S/S ’09 line of scarves went into Colette immediately. I get orders from the shops in April and they want it by June because that’s when their August display windows are being designed.”

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I hope are readers are keeping up because this is very much the nature of many a conversation with designers these days. Delivery dates are creeping forward so fast it’s all most designers can do to keep up, much less concentrate on the fun of designing.
Where did the designing process start for you
Coco?
“I can’t do just one thing or I get bored. I think that comes from my education in France, although it can stifle you at first by forcing you to take certain paths before you’ve had a chance to develop or explore. But you had to be an academic to do well in the arts, you have to do one thing exceptionally well. There had to be an identity behind the facade… which always fades. I need to observe and understand before attempting it but because I had a good technical base I could just move on to anything I fancied, like designing a font. ”

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A box of samples from the manufacturer have arrived and there’s an excitement about seeing what surprises lay inside. She unfolds a giant piece of diaphonous silk with 8 or of the same print, each slightly different in hue or tone. She inspects it closely, turning it over delicately in her hand.

These gorgeous silk scarves you’ve done are so rich and detailed. Is it easy enough to get your hyper-fine drawings onto them?
“No, actually it’s extremely difficult. There’s a massive difference from screen to product. Firstly I chose to work on an unusually large size square so you can wear it plenty of different ways. Also silk absorbs ALOT so its very difiicult to get details because the silk just drinks the inks up. It’s important to have the back look good too, not blotchy but properly bled through. When Barney’s buys you and puts you on the shelf next to Pucci it better be good.”

Know your opponent. Something to keep in mind. When rising stars are quick to burn out it can be invaluable to do your homework. And this triple-threat artist from France has a full house of extra sweet designs on her newest collection of scarves forget-me-not available at her online store going live next week so check back with us here for details. Because as the French are fond of saying, ‘On ne vie pas sur l’air et l’eau fraiche’….We can’t live on love and fresh water alone.
Merci Coco!

Fanfarlo‘s album Reservoir opens with pianos that rise up like the morning sun, shop lush and warm. Their songs unravel like stories that balance between light and dark; definitely melancholic but never without a touch of child-like optimism.

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Reservoir swoop and soar like a bird, from cinematic highs and gigantic orchestral arrangements not dissimilar to the brilliant chamber pomposity of our beloved Arcade Fire only to diminish into whispery vocals and xylophones. There is something magical about Reservoir, it reminiscent of fir tree forests, Northern Lights, magic stories and a yearning for yester-years.
This self-assured debut is a must for bookish types who are fans of fore-mentioned Arcade Fire, Beirut, Sleeping States, Belle and Sebastian and dream of woozy adventures in far-away lands.

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Produced by the infamous Peter Katis (mind-bogglingly good producer of Interpol and The National ) this multi instrumental, melodic smorgasbord is whimsical, nostalgic whilst being meticulously arranged and intensely structured.

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Having played SXSW this year, they are currently touring the UK including this weekend’s Great Escape and Reservoir is released on 25th May on Raffle Bat. Fanfarlo are very much kings of their own castle eschewing conventional modes of distribution in favour of authentic and personal approach by running their own living room based make-shift business; buy Reservoir direct from the band themselves!
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Still in its infancy, page although you wouldn’t know from the sheer number of enthusiasts it has already won over, Craft Guerrilla is set to take over the world. Not just THE world but YOUR world.
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With Portugal born Walthamstow based Deborah Daniel at the helm, steering a crafty crew of artists, movers, shakers, designers and visionaries, Craft Guerrilla is on a mission to capture your hungry hearts and idle hands with a creative collective to literally get in yourself in a stitch over. She shares responsibility for its genius with two others, Lisa Magreet and Louise Batten, and her encounters with numerous etsy-ites along the way. Deborah Daniel is a fingers in pies kind of girl; Head Girl for Craft Guerrilla, a former ceramicist and current mastermind behind the company Munano, described in her own words as ‘A kawaii project…lots of evil but cute bunnies and forest creatures so lots of sewing, cutting and stuffing!’ This all supplements a day job that pays the rent, and yet Deborah shows no signs of sitting still.
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Well equipped with principled idealism, utopian collectivism and a whole host of other worthy ‘isms’ to get the ethical activist juices flowing, these ladies are dedicated to The Cause in a big way. Far less about being anti and far more about being pro, Craft Guerrilla talk a lot more about what they do care for than what they don’t; a refreshing wide eyed optimism to grace these somewhat grey and gloomy times. Using unoccupied buildings as venues; supporting independent businesses and small-time designers; they are far more interested in promoting collaborations, forming opportunities and hosting workshops than bitching about the depressing state of the high street and its predictable conformity. Siding with the peaceful rather than the anarchic, Deborah happily reports her movement has been embraced with open arms and is gratefully received across the board. However she does tells me ‘We did have a funny incident in Wanstead, east London though…a few older ladies thought we were actually funding South American guerrilla armies through our craft market sales. Maybe if we knitted them some guns but…the word “Craft’ kind of gives it away.’
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Her down-to-earth grass roots approach to matters is mirrored by her citations of inspiration; ‘I guess as inspirational people go my Auntie Maria Jose epitomises everything I’m trying to do. She was a real socialist, great humanitarian, artist and person. She valued the power of art and craft and the teaching of skills so to leave a lasting legacy for others to follow through out their lives.’ This is one upbeat lady. In fact the only vaguely negative thing I squeeze out of her is her rejection that craft is exclusively for the middle classes. ‘It’s not a privilege it’s a right! Luckily things are changing and people see it not only as a hobby but as a valuable resource and an art form.’
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I ask her how intrinsic the ‘make do and mend’ ethos is to Englishness and vice versa. ‘The term D.I.Y. is so English that I’ve had quite a time trying to translate it to Portuguese. People do D.I.Y. but the essence is very much a British one. Like afternoon tea and the attitude to craft! The Americans are quite tuned in to the whole Craft thing too though I guess the main thing that divides us is their “can do attitude”. I wish we were more like that sometimes! BUT London is a really creative place filled with self sufficient people and I’m constantly surprised how little help people need at our d.i.y. events. Also I’m amazed at how forthcoming other craft groups have been in offering to help us advertise our events and work together with us. The sense of community and sharing is really something!’
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What’s so lovely about Craft Guerrilla is the distinct lack of competition. No commission charged for Craft Guerrilla’s online shop, no attempting to out doing each other with bigger brighter hipper events – in fact, copycat behaviour is actively encouraged. Print out and keep packs are readily available to people wanting to start out on their own, as well as advice and tips on running your own get together. Well, when you have your sights set on global domination you have to can’t expect to do it all single handedly. I wonder whether she worries about short cuts and reinterpretations of her original manifesto, if allowing people to grow their own means risking people shaming the name. ‘We have a few guidelines in place but in general we hope people have requested to be part of Craft Guerrilla because they identify with our ethos and principals so they too are likely to follow it. We need to keep some consistent but it’s not set in stone. We also want people to make it their own by adding their own ideas and energy to the collective. I have faith in people and if there is something we really don’t agree with we are all open and intelligent enough people to discuss it with each other.’ ‘Before we take anyone on we like to see what they make. Our criteria is that all designer makers must sell only hand made item. We also look for originality and quality designed products. We just feel that we need to choose wisely because we all represent each other as a whole.’
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With monthly events springing up and taking off such as Crafternoon at the Old Queen’s Head, Craft Market at Beautiful Interiors and Swishing at the Pink Bar, she is one busy bee. And the demand is ever increasing. Inspired by these quirky gatherings of like-minded arty types in reclaimed buildings, more and more is appearing rapidly and not just in East London. With Edinburgh set up to follow suit with a ‘Sister Army’ this Summer, and interest mounting from as far afield as Sweden and Sydney we are at the brink of a revolution in doing it for our selves and having a darn good time while we’re at it.
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It feels like a pilgrimage, help like I’m on some kind of DaVinci Code quest. Potent truths that remain hidden from most around me will soon be revealed. The Band Before The Band I’m Here For churn out some unimaginative geezer-rock. Wearing a selection of Hoxton-twat-headgear and oozing the “Oi, cheapest oi!” flavour to entertain a herd of jolly boppers, they leave me cold. I’m not in the mood for pacy (yawn), exciting (yawn) rocking out (yaaawwwwn) tonight.

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I’ve been psyching myself up for a gig by Alice and the Cool Dudes. All else is distraction. Ever since Punk-Jazz emperor Seb Rochford enlisted her as the voice of his Fulborn Teversham project, Alice Grant has been one of my favourite singers in London. The soft end of her voice is all head-resonant, tender and earnest but never quite soothing. There’s always a dissatisfaction in there. When the lungs get involved too, it’s a shockingly obtuse cavernous roar, a cross between primal wheeze therapy and shouting yourself hoarse. The cusp of these two sounds tends to give the impression that her precious heart could shatter at any second. It’s beautiful.
But that’s just a voice, as it is used in a different band. How would the Cool Dude ethos differ from that of Teversham? And would the siren/banshee voice be the same? The moment had come, the previous band had removed all their pedals and their hats from the stage, and all that was left was a drumkit, a set of keyboards, and a bass. And so began a selection of songs that never got so weird you’d call it experimental, but never got so familiar that you could classify them. Among the most striking was Boobs, baroque in its harpsichord sound, baroque in its fingerwork, not so baroque in featuring a cockney sparrow singing about boobs and somehow basically being kind of a lovely pop ditty. There is top notch songcraft in this. Strong melodies, twists and turns, a beat-rest at the end of a verse in which Alice holds the “oo” of “boobs” for a crystal-clear couple of seconds. Mmmmm.

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And it gets even better. The gig progresses, and we are treated to Toes, a sway-friendly trombone waltz (that’s Joe the drummer’s other instrument). Then comes Changebrain, which is easily the catchiest tune on offer. Alice’s sequencer starts things off, then comes the hooky vocal, then the backing vocal, then the rhythm section builds it up, suddenly we’ve got a really tasty driving hit, yet still with it’s quirky authenticity, as Alice sings of wrapping dogshit in a Tesco plastic bag. This is also where bassist Ruth Goller (familiar to fans of Acoustic Ladyland) shines brightest. Her vocal lines are the perfect counterpart to Alice’s. It’s not just backing vocal, it’s a cleverly intertwining thread of its own. In the end sections, where it seems like all the preceding parts have come together in a rich ecosystem of tone and chord, it’s Ruth keeping it deep, reusing a previous vocal, then inventing a Ringo-style flat melodic version of the main line, and playing an inexplicably perfect bassnote at the same time. It all comes across as quite sweet and simple at first, so it’s ability to take you over is a proper thrill.
Finally, The Truth, a song that feels just as epic as the name suggests. A boomy tom-tom beat, and a thick, deep hammond provide the perfect backdrop to Alice’s consoling utterances of what feels like pity. Really, just go and listen to them do it.

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Returning to my stupid idea that this might need comparing to Fulborn Teversham, well, yes, it was stupid. There is a portion of common ground, but Alice and the Cool Dudes don’t need those shackles. The central motifs that make up Teversham are gone, and replaced by something which is more pure, or less diverse, depending on how you see it (and certainly less screamy). But either way, it’s no less playful, no shier about complexity, and no less true. For all their dryness, and stone-cold confrontational chutzpah, Alice and the Cool Dudes are the most intense, interesting, sincere, meaningful and promising new band in my life this year.
But there is something amiss down at Barden’s Boudoir tonight. And there are two possible solutions. The first to occur to me was that they could use a more intimate venue, maybe the Slaughtered Lamb or Cross Kings. I think most of us in the crowd were first-timers, and the message might have come across a bit more pokey without a sound system designed for noisy ragers, without a room designed for beerbottle dance moves. The other solution is the one I prefer though. They release an album, everybody in the kingdom buys and loves it, and then, when everybody knows what it’s about, a gig in Wembley even could not fail. For intimacy can take on huge proportions to the initiated.
Let’s be honest though, the Hoxton-hat brigade will probably beat them to it. Alas, there’s no justice in this cruel business. I’m off back to the bar for another lament of amaretto.

You can hear demos and find out about future gigs on the myspace.

Categories ,barden’s boudoir, ,cross king’s, ,indie, ,jazz, ,lo-fi, ,london live review, ,slaughtered lamb, ,songwriter

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Art Against Knives

4th-5th May 2009

The creme de la creme of East London’s artists and designers come together for Art Against Knives: a 2 day event and exhibition to raise awareness of knife crime in the community and to raise money for the medical treatment of Oliver Hemsley the 20 year-old Central St Martins student, shop buy who was left paralysed after being stabbed multiple times on Boundry Street.
Art Against Knives promises to be inspiring both artistically and socially.
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Art Against Knives, price this Monday and Tuesday only, approved see website for locations.

Flatland
ends 16th May 2009

Interesting 2 dimensional works and film sculptures from British artist Elizabeth McAlpine.
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Flatland, until 16th May 2009, Laura Bartlett Gallery, 10 Northington Street, London.

Fresh Meat, The First Cut
10th May from 7pm

Evening of live illustration, animation screenings, raffle brought to you by art whizz kid Rose Blake and the rest of the This Is It Collective to raise money for their degree show at Kingston. There will be DJs as well as live music from Sheeps and Arthur Delaney. General fun will be provided in abundance.
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Fresh Meat, The First Cut, 7pm until midnight 10th May, Notting Hill Arts Club, 21 Notting Hill Gate London.

Art in Mind
ends 11th May 2009

Eclectic collaborative show at the lovely Brick Lane Gallery featuring 13 contemporary artists. You can see our review here.
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Art in Mind, until next Monday, The Bricklane Gallery, 196 Brick Lane, London.

The Red Room Platform Presents: Women’s Edition
6-9pm, 10th May 2009

Pan-generational artists, activists and thinkers validate the position of feminism in modern society through provocation, performance and debate.
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The Red Room Platform Presents: Women’s Edition, this Sunday, Bethnall Green Workingmen’s Club, 44-46 Pollard Row, Bethnall Green, London.

Fleur Oakes- The Glass Pingle “In My Garden I am Quenne”
showing now

A simply beautiful piece mixing embroidery and corsetry by Fleur Oakes illuminates the front window of knitters’ paradise Prick Your Finger. Review and interview with Fleur to follow this week in the mean time check out the knitting projects here.
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“In My Garden I am Queene”, Prick Your Finger, open Monday – Saturday, 260 Globe Road, London.

Beneath the pavement… The beach

Sexton (London) & Dominique Lacloche (Paris)
The exhibition consists of new work by the two artists work.

Art wars project space, 23 – 25 Redchurch Street, E2 7DJ
1st Apr – 5th May 2009

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Swine flu art masks- an exhibition of plague masks

Exquisite masks made due to the media hysteria regarding Swine flu, These masks are hand stitched and made as delicate collectable art object.

Hepsibah Gallery, 112 Brackenbury Road, London W6 0BD
30th Apr – 6th May 2009

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Constellation

Clay Perry
The exhibiton showcases the photographers images of the 60′s avant-garde art scene.

England & Co
, 216, Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, W11 2RH
Tuesday, 5 May from 11:00 – 18:00
Free entry

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Etchings (Portraits)

Glenn Brown
A new collection of etchings from the artist.

Karsten Schubert, 5-8 Lower John Street,London W1F 9DR
Ends on the 8th May 2009, Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm

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An exhibition of works by Paul Bennett and Ellie Good

Paul Bennett: expressionist paintings using oil and graphite on canvas.
Ellie Good: In this series of oil paintings and portraits exploring light.

Lauderdale House
, Highgate Hill, London N6 5HG
28th Apr – 10th May 2009, Tue – Fri 11-4pm, Sat 1.30-5pm Free entry

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Art Against Knives

4th-5th May 2009

The creme de la creme of East London’s artists and designers come together for Art Against Knives: a 2 day event including exhibition to raise awareness of knife crime in the community and to raise money for the medical treatment of Oliver Hemsley the 20 year-old Central St Martins student, approved who was left paralysed after being stabbed multiple times on Boundry Street.
Art Against Knives promises to be both inspiring both artistically and socially.
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Art Against Knives, malady this Monday and Tuesday only, discount see website for locations.

Flatland
ends 16th May 2009

Interesting 2 dimensional works and film sculptures from British artist Elizabeth McAlpine.
flatlandlisting.jpg

Flatland, until 16th May 2009, Laura Bartlett Gallery, 10 Northington Street, London.

Annette Messager
ends 24th May 2009

Textured textile temptation at the Hayward’s retrospective of French feminist artist Annette Messager.
annette.jpg

Annette Messager, until 24th May 2009, The Hayward, Southbank Centre, London

Art in Mind
ends 11th May 2009
Eclectic collaborative show at the lovely Brick Lane Gallery featuring 13 contemporary artists.
artinmindlistings.jpg

Art in Mind, until next Monday, The Bricklane Gallery, 196 Brick Lane, London.

The Red Room Platform Presents: Women’s Edition
6-9pm, 10th May 2009
Pan-generational artists, activists and thinkers validate the position of feminism in modern society through provocation, performance and debate.
410159.jpg

The Red Room Platform Presents: Women’s Edition, this Sunday, Bethnall Green Workingmen’s Club, 44-46 Pollard Row, Bethnall Green, London

Isa Genzken: Open Sesame!
ends 21st June

Berlin- born Isa Genzken brings her colourful sculptures to the newly refurbished, East London favourite- Whitechapel Gallery
isa_genzkenlis.jpg

Isa Genzken: Open Sesame! Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London


Art Against Knives

4th-5th May 2009

The creme de la creme of East London’s artists and designers come together for Art Against Knives: a 2 day event including exhibition to raise awareness of knife crime in the community and to raise money for the medical treatment of Oliver Hemsley the 20 year-old Central St Martins student, ampoule who was left paralysed after being stabbed multiple times on Boundry Street.
Art Against Knives promises to be both inspiring both artistically and socially.
art_against_kniveslistings.jpg

Art Against Knives, this Monday and Tuesday only, see website for locations.

Flatland
ends 16th May 2009

Interesting 2 dimensional works and film sculptures from British artist Elizabeth McAlpine.
flatlandlisting.jpg

Flatland, until 16th May 2009, Laura Bartlett Gallery, 10 Northington Street, London.

Annette Messager
ends 24th May 2009

Textured textile temptation at the Hayward’s retrospective of French feminist artist Annette Messager.
annette.jpg

Annette Messager, until 24th May 2009, The Hayward, Southbank Centre, London

Art in Mind
ends 11th May 2009
Eclectic collaborative show at the lovely Brick Lane Gallery featuring 13 contemporary artists.
artinmindlistings.jpg

Art in Mind, until next Monday, The Bricklane Gallery, 196 Brick Lane, London.

The Red Room Platform Presents: Women’s Edition
6-9pm, 10th May 2009
Pan-generational artists, activists and thinkers validate the position of feminism in modern society through provocation, performance and debate.
410159.jpg

The Red Room Platform Presents: Women’s Edition, this Sunday, Bethnall Green Workingmen’s Club, 44-46 Pollard Row, Bethnall Green, London

Isa Genzken: Open Sesame!
ends 21st June

Berlin- born Isa Genzken brings her colourful sculptures to the newly refurbished, East London favourite- Whitechapel Gallery
isa_genzkenlis.jpg

Isa Genzken: Open Sesame! Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London

The spirit is there, check but where are the green fingers? When I was little I used to love watching my mum tending to the garden. I remember the pride and excitement she would feel when her flowers were in full bloom. As I got older, information pills I imagined that the desire to start growing plants, flowers and veg would manifest itself….. but it never really bloomed. It doesn’t help that my ‘garden’ is a small concrete balcony in East End London, and I had always imagined that gardening was essentially a bit of a chore. Then I realized that I was approaching this issue completely the wrong way. Gardening is not just about allotments, trips to garden centres on a Sunday afternoon, and Radio 4 playing in the backround (not that there is anything wrong with these things), its about having fun – creating produce; eating it, drinking it – you won’t disagree when you see the recipe for Grow Your Own Mojito – fundamentally, it is about achieving that sense of intense satisfaction when you realize… “I made that!”. With this newfound understanding, I could see that my lack of gardening space excuse was pretty flimsy. When you grasp that the world is your oyster, you can also see that it is your flowerbed as well.

With this in mind, the imaginative people behind “Growing Stuff – An Alternative Guide To Gardening” have put together a how – to guide to everything horticultural. With sections on guerilla gardening, growing carrots in Wellington boots, and the aforementioned guide to making your own mojito’s; this is not your typical gardening book. There are contributions by ‘punk’ gardeners, ‘worm farming junkies’, teenagers and artists, which makes ‘Growing Stuff’ as accessible as you could hope for. Absolutely every person, no matter their level of gardening skills – or lack of – will be able to grow stuff after reading this book.
I spoke with two contributors to Growing Stuff recently about their involvement with the book, as well as their other activities. Emily Hill and Will Gould are also artists who create ‘living sculptures’ that aim to walk a line between the man-made and the wild.

Hey Emily, I like the suggestions that you and Will have done in Growing
Stuff. There is definitely an element of fun and whimsy to your
gardening ideas; like Cartoon Cress, and Carrot Wellies. Is this the
style in that you two both work? And do you feel that this is the best way to
initiate would be gardeners?

Emily: Life’s too short, get out there and get your hands dirty, just give it a go! Of course it should be fun, and if it isn’t, it’s time to take a minute to think about what’s out of balance in your life; gardening’s a great leveller, and can really help you work things out. There’s nothing like a home-grown cherry tomato bursting in your mouth to cheer you up!
Will: There are plenty of books out there which describe how to grow plants but they are not necessarily accessible to people who don’t see themselves as gardeners. By making the growing a bit more fun and whimsical we hope to de-mystify the growing of stuff. Plants want to grow and if you give them half a chance they will, so we feel it is better to have fun and be creative while trying to grow something. After all even if you fail to grow anything, you’ve had some fun.

What other easy-peasy suggestions might you have for gardening
novices- especially ones in an urban sprawl?

Will: Just try buying a packet of salad seeds-lettuce and coriander are dead easy, plant them on top of some moist compost in a pot and put them on your windowsill. It’s hard to go wrong.
Emily: Tease out a passion, try growing something bright purple, or something that smells nice, or both! You don’t have to do much, just buy a plant and water it! I started with French Lavender on my balcony.

Do you think that growing stuff is becoming more of a young persons
game now?

Will: It’s about time, why miss out on all those glorious years of growing.
Emily: It’s definitely something that has caught our generation’s imagination, maybe its something to do with our collective childhood memories. I remember picking raspberries with my granddad; it was like finding little ruby coloured droplets of edible treasure at the bottom of the garden!

How did you and Will get into gardening, and how did you end up
collaborating with this book?

Will: I grew up in a small house with a big garden, so it kind of came naturally. The book came from a request for artists who work with living things to submit ideas.
Emily: We both grew up in the country, all neglected and wild! For me, artistry came naturally, getting into gardening came later, when I found a bit of outdoor space to cultivate. We saw an advert on the Arts Council’s website and just went for it!

I have read that you two create ‘Living Structures’ – can you tell me a
little about this? What future projects are you working on?

Emily: We started off by making a portable composting toilet for our allotment with old bits of shed and two huge cartwheels; we made a cubicle that looked like a Victorian beach hut and planted a garden on the roof and gave it two window boxes full of flowers. We wanted to recycle ourselves, so we mixed our own wee with rainwater collected from the roof, and created a system to pump the mixture around the plants to feed them, anything left over drained into a reed bed at the back of the structure. It was quite charming really, and very popular…have a look, its called ‘The Jakes’ and was submitted for Margate Rocks last Spring (www.margaterocks.com).
Will: We are both interested in structures, which have a life of their own. For us, this involves growing plants, which either make up the structure, or contribute to the working of a functional building.
We are currently working on outdoor environmental projects in schools and incorporate the growing of stuff wherever possible and it is always possible!

Artist AJ Fosik’s sculpted characters look like your high school mascot that went AWOL and ended up at a full moon party in Thailand. Or perhaps the stuffed and mounted head of some big game he vanquished in a spirit dream and was able to sneak back under the border patrol of consciousness (quite a feat really I hear they’re rather tight). His technicolor wooden sculptures certainly carry the sense of having seen the otherside and with their hypnotic fluorescent eyes they seem all too than eager to take you there as well.

aj%20fosik1.jpg

According to his myspace page AJ Fossik is 66 years old. Sure, unhealthy maybe on his second time round on the carousel of life. perhaps wise beyond his years, what is for certain is that this Philadelphia born artist is onto something. Currently exhibiting printed works at Giant Robot Gallery in NY, it is his psychedelic sculptures which have really roared onto the scene. Made of hundreds of small, individually cut and hand painted wood, his animal effigies and their symbolism strike a chord with the collective consciousness, especially in the US. Aside from being the California state animal, a campsite mischief, cartoon character and omnipresent sports team icon, the bear is one of the largest and most regal North American animals, a reminder of the vastness and awesome natural beauty experienced by the earliest pioneers.

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A country whose experience at the moment consists of what is referred to as a “bear market”, one in which stockholders, all in the same blind panicked, decide to sell! sell! sell!, driving the value of stocks deep into the ground (sounds familiar). Not that far off really from the wooly winter hibernator’s image of reclusion and introspection. To Native American shamans the bear represents qualities of steadfastness and patience making excellent teachers. In dreams, bears represent a healing cycle, where the dreamer has retreated into himself in order to regenerate and to create something new and valuable in his life.

aj%20fosik5.jpg

For this particular breed of artist the road out was not a conventional one. After years as a teenage urban nomad on the streets of Philadelphia, a city often at odds with itself, Fosick eventually drifted to NY where he obtained a degree in illustration from New York’s Parson’s and a 2007 solo show in the city’s Jonathan Levine Gallery. The name he goes by he adopted from an Australian “verb to describe the act of people sifting through mine washings or waste piles to look for any gold that might have been missed; sorting through the garbage to find gold.” However, like many things in our global soup it apparently seeped into another language where it means something different altogether. “From what I can gather,” he says with a good natured appreciation of irony, “the spelling I use means ‘to shit oneself’ in Hungarian.”

aj%20fosik4.jpg

A peek into the global origins of this furry ursine idol is just as intriguing. In Hindu mythology the bear’s name “riksha”
(also in Sanskrit, Celtic, Greek and Latin believe it or not) derive from the word for star, which in turn comes from the word light, shine, illuminate. Ahhhha.
The term for Great Bear, “sapta riksha”, is also the symbolic dwelling of the Seven Rishis, whose name is related to “vision” and are called the Seven Luminaries. It was through them that the wisdom of the past was transmitted to the present. A rich past for the unassuming bear.

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AJ Fosick is an artist who, one could argue, has an abnormal fixation with carving his own path through the great unknown. No wonder then that he refers to his pieces as “existential fetishes”. And hey, who couldn’t use one of those? And perhaps the missing little league mascots and unemployed stockbrokers of the world have joined Albert Camus on a beach somewhere in South East Asia and are doing some soul searching. In my dreams.

The spirit is there, look but where are the green fingers? When I was little I used to love watching my mum tending to the garden. I remember the pride and excitement she would feel when her flowers were in full bloom. As I got older, ask I imagined that the desire to start growing plants, physician flowers and veg would manifest itself….. but it never really bloomed. It doesn’t help that my ‘garden’ is a small concrete balcony in East End London, and I had always imagined that gardening was essentially a bit of a chore. Then I realized that I was approaching this issue completely the wrong way. Gardening is not just about allotments, trips to garden centres on a Sunday afternoon, and Radio 4 playing in the backround (not that there is anything wrong with these things), its about having fun – creating produce; eating it, drinking it – you won’t disagree when you see the recipe for Grow Your Own Mojito – fundamentally, it is about achieving that sense of intense satisfaction when you realize… “I made that!”. With this newfound understanding, I could see that my lack of gardening space excuse was pretty flimsy. When you grasp that the world is your oyster, you can also see that it is your flowerbed as well.

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growingstuffbicycle.jpg
Photographs by Rosie French

With this in mind, the imaginative people behind “Growing Stuff – An Alternative Guide To Gardening” have put together a how – to guide to everything horticultural. With sections on guerilla gardening, growing carrots in Wellington boots, and the aforementioned guide to making your own mojito’s; this is not your typical gardening book. There are contributions by ‘punk’ gardeners, ‘worm farming junkies’, teenagers and artists, which makes ‘Growing Stuff’ as accessible as you could hope for. Absolutely every person, no matter their level of gardening skills – or lack of – will be able to grow stuff after reading this book.
I spoke with two contributors to Growing Stuff recently about their involvement with the book, as well as their other activities. Emily Hill and Will Gould are also artists who create ‘living sculptures’ that aim to walk a line between the man-made and the wild.

Hey Emily, I like the suggestions that you and Will have done in Growing
Stuff. There is definitely an element of fun and whimsy to your
gardening ideas; like Cartoon Cress, and Carrot Wellies. Is this the
style in that you two both work? And do you feel that this is the best way to
initiate would be gardeners?

growingstuffcress.jpg
Photograph by Rosie French

Emily: Life’s too short, get out there and get your hands dirty, just give it a go! Of course it should be fun, and if it isn’t, it’s time to take a minute to think about what’s out of balance in your life; gardening’s a great leveller, and can really help you work things out. There’s nothing like a home-grown cherry tomato bursting in your mouth to cheer you up!
Will: There are plenty of books out there which describe how to grow plants but they are not necessarily accessible to people who don’t see themselves as gardeners. By making the growing a bit more fun and whimsical we hope to de-mystify the growing of stuff. Plants want to grow and if you give them half a chance they will, so we feel it is better to have fun and be creative while trying to grow something. After all even if you fail to grow anything, you’ve had some fun.

What other easy-peasy suggestions might you have for gardening
novices- especially ones in an urban sprawl
?

Will: Just try buying a packet of salad seeds-lettuce and coriander are dead easy, plant them on top of some moist compost in a pot and put them on your windowsill. It’s hard to go wrong.
Emily: Tease out a passion, try growing something bright purple, or something that smells nice, or both! You don’t have to do much, just buy a plant and water it! I started with French Lavender on my balcony.

growing%20stuff1Carnivorous%20plants.jpg

Do you think that growing stuff is becoming more of a young persons
game now?

Will: It’s about time, why miss out on all those glorious years of growing.
Emily: It’s definitely something that has caught our generation’s imagination, maybe its something to do with our collective childhood memories. I remember picking raspberries with my granddad; it was like finding little ruby coloured droplets of edible treasure at the bottom of the garden!

How did you and Will get into gardening, and how did you end up
collaborating with this book?

Will: I grew up in a small house with a big garden, so it kind of came naturally. The book came from a request for artists who work with living things to submit ideas.
Emily: We both grew up in the country, all neglected and wild! For me, artistry came naturally, getting into gardening came later, when I found a bit of outdoor space to cultivate. We saw an advert on the Arts Council’s website and just went for it!

growingstuffEmily%20Hill-Will%20Goulds%20window.jpg

I have read that you two create ‘Living Structures’ – can you tell me a
little about this? What future projects are you working on?

Emily: We started off by making a portable composting toilet for our allotment with old bits of shed and two huge cartwheels; we made a cubicle that looked like a Victorian beach hut and planted a garden on the roof and gave it two window boxes full of flowers. We wanted to recycle ourselves, so we mixed our own wee with rainwater collected from the roof, and created a system to pump the mixture around the plants to feed them, anything left over drained into a reed bed at the back of the structure. It was quite charming really, and very popular…have a look, its called ‘The Jakes’ and was submitted for Margate Rocks last Spring (www.margaterocks.com).
Will: We are both interested in structures, which have a life of their own. For us, this involves growing plants, which either make up the structure, or contribute to the working of a functional building.
We are currently working on outdoor environmental projects in schools and incorporate the growing of stuff wherever possible and it is always possible!

Tuesday 05/06/09

The Real Dirt on Farmer John

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Permaculture Picture House
7.00pm
Upstairs at Passing Clouds, visit web
1 Richmond Road, salve E8, abortion ?just off Kingsland Road behind the pub. 

A monthly evening of films, presentations, poetry, drink, food and fun ?focusing on positive solutions in the current state of crisis.  Each evening ?will have a different theme and begin with a film or presentation followed by? space to meet with others till closing time.? ?When?
1st Tuesday of every month, doors open at 7pm.  Films, (when shown) start at 8pm. 
How much?
£2.00 donation on the door.
Please try to arrive by 8pm when films are being shown to avoid disruption. ?Entry may be restricted once film has started. ?5th May:   The Real Dirt on Farmer John. (82 mins)
Follows Farmer John’s astonishing journey from farm boy to counter-culture? rebel to the son who almost lost the family farm to a beacon of today’s ?booming organic farming movement and founder of one of the nation’s largest? Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. The result is a tale that ebbs ?and flows with the fortunes of the soil and revealingly mirrors the changing ?American times.

Wednesday 06/05/2009

Controversies in The Economics Of Climate Change

London School of Economics
Houghton Street,
London WC2A 2AE, UK;  
Tel: +44 (0)20 7405 7686

The Stern Review stirred up the controversy surrounding the economics of climate change. This lecture will review these issues and give an assessment of the debate – where it is leading and what issues remain open.

Geoffrey Heal is a visiting professor at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE, Paul Garrett Professor of Public Policy and Business Responsibility, and professor of finance and economics at Columbia Business School.

This event will take place from 6.30-8pm in the Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE, Aldwych. If you would like to attend this event, please email me on V.Pavey@lse.ac.uk

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LeaJaffyEnergy3world.jpg
Illustration by Lea Jaffy

Art Not Oil

6pm -7pm
British Museum
Great Russell Street,
London, WC1B 3DG
Oil goliath BP, already forced to postpone its centenary party at the British Museum on April 1st, has rescheduled the event for May 6th. Art Not Oil will be throwing A Wake for BP as guests arrive at the British Museum between 6pm and 7pm on the new date.
People wanting to come and say: “BP — your Party’s over!” and wish the behemoth a ‘happy last birthday’ are more than welcome. The British Museum’s main gate on Great Russell Street will find a contingent of the Brazen Pranksters playing tunes to usher in a new era of Climate Justice and Ecological Sanity.

Thursday 07/05/09

Earthwatch Lecture — Conserving Biodiversity in the Americas

7pm – 8.30pm
Earthwatch

Royal Geographical Society,
1 Kensington Gore, London
SW7 2AR

Contact: Simon Laman
(01865) 318856

events@earthwatch.org.uk

www.earthwatch.org/europe/get_involved/events08/lecture09-americas/

Speakers: Dr. Richard Bodmer (Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology, and the Wildlife Conservation Society) & Dr. Kathleen Sullivan Sealey (University of Miami). Chaired by explorer, writer and TV presenter Dr. George McGavin.??The very fact that the Amazon and the Caribbean are such attractive locations renders them all the more vulnerable to over-exploitation. Hear how Earthwatch scientists are addressing this issue in the Peruvian Amazon and on the coasts of the Bahamas.

Saturday 9/10th May

Permaculture Introductory Weekends

permaculture%3Anaturewise.jpg

Hornsey Rise Gardens, North London
For any further information or to register contact londoncourses@naturewise.org.uk
The Introductory weekend, is a ‘potted’ permaculture course, looking at the foundations of permaculture and learning about some of the practical tools it offers. The weekend course can be considered a ‘stand alone’ introduction to Permaculture ethics, principles and design, or else can be a lead-in to the more in depth full 72 hour Permaculture Design Course. Photos from past courses.

9/10th May, 8/9th August, 7/8th November.
Led by: Mark Warner Graham Burnett and, Nicole Freris ??Fees: Introductory Weekends: £120 full cost, concessions/flexibility available subject to discussion
                            
The beautiful window display this month at Prick Your Finger is bound to catch the eye of even the most unobservant passer-by; Fleur Oakes has embroidered a corset by with mystical and magical creatures and symbols that is bound to have the whole of Bethnal Green gaping.
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(front view of corset)

In My Garden I am Queene is a stitched homage to yester-year; Fleur sourced the corset pattern from 1585, sale and the style and many of the techniques were those used in the 17th century, cialis 40mg even it’s name is a play on a quote from Pre-raphealite painter Burne- Jones.
The past echoes through the piece from these aesthetic choices to the vintage kid gloves lining whose ghostly fingers that hang down in macabre decoration.
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(back view with faggot stitch detail)

The corset is lovingly embroidered with intricate flowers, viagra 100mg lace moths, eyes, a magnificent menagerie of bizarre creatures with some of the best names in the history of mytho-zoology, taken from the book ‘House of the Spirits’ by Isabelle Allende. A modern novel that still manages to fit into the quintessentially Elizabethan feel of the piece.
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(1 of 6 moths all in needle lace, they take 3 hours to make.)

Personal favourties here at Amelia’s Magazine HQ are the Marbat- a combination of marsupial with bat wings, the Maladapard – a mallard’s head with a leopard’s body (of course) and this chap: the Boarfinch.
boarfinch%205.jpg
(Boarfinch detail in long and short stitch)

Fleur’s work really needs to be seen to be believed, so head down to Prick Your Finger for a peek and to pick up one of Fleur’s embroidered buttons.
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(Fleur Oakes embroidered buttons on sale now)

For all you embroidery aficionados more specific details about technique, the lovely staff at Prick Your Finger will be more than happy to oblige .

Prick Your Finger, 260 Globe Road, London.

The Californian cool kids that make up LoveLikeFire are ready to hit the ground running with their new single “William“. Soon to follow will be “Tear Ourselves Away“, viagra dosage which will be yours to own from August 09. While they are looking forward to winning us over with their indie majestic melodies, medicine us Brits are relative latecomers to the LoveLikeFire phenonemon, which has already blazed a trail in America. So what are we waiting for?! LLF will be in England soon, performing at venues around the country. Check their MySpace for details. Hopefully when they perform in London, they will have lined their stomachs, because yours truly has offered to be their official pub crawl companion. I’m thoughtful like that! The other day, I had an online chat with Ann Yu, vocalist of LoveLikeFire. She filled me in on LLF’s bio, their musical sounds and influences, and why we could see a collaboration in the future with a little band called The Killers……

lovelikefire3.jpg


Hey Ann; by the way, I am very jealous of your location. You are in San Francisco right? My brother lives in Mill Valley, Marin County, so I know it well

(Anne) Oh wow, yes that is really close to S.F only twenty minutes or so…are you in London?

Yes, East London. Do you know the area?

No, not very well, I am very excited to spend two weeks there, I hope we can do some sightseeing. I think we’ll be staying one night in East London, in Hackney. I hear it’s the cool fun place with lots of stuff to do at night?

That is near us! And we do make very good tour guides…. our speciality is tours of pubs and bars! So are the upcoming gigs your debut shows in London?

Yes! first time over, and we actually play the day we fly in!

Good luck with that! I wanted to ask a couple of questions about your fantastic new album; you seem to have accumulated a serious fanbase, especially from the US press. But for us Brits who are unfamiliar with your work – how would you describe your music?

In adjectives I would say –  somewhat dark and pretty, bittersweet at times, dynamic, emotional not emo, indie rock and pop, at times dreamy, at times more direct.

Good adjectives! Your Wikipedia profile also describes Britpop influences. Is that a fair description?

Yes, we love all the classics – Blur, The Smiths, Pulp, New Order
and also, bands like Lush, Siouxsie, Curve, Bauhaus, Echo and the Bunnymen

Has your sound developed with your newest work – or have you always had a clear idea about your musical styles?

It’s hard to try to keep to a specific sound all the time,  but there are always similar moods I think. But we’ve gone more in a pop-esque direction with the album, i think we veer in and out of dreaminess always, sometimes more than others – and this album is less dreamy than songs before it.

lovelikefire1.jpg

What was inspiring you when you were making this record?

Lyrically I tried to be very honest with myself, and not think too much about who would be listening really, I would say that sometimes I have tendencies to be imbalanced,  and so trying to find inner happiness and well being was a big inspiration – without sound too new agey cheesy . :)

I’m all for New Age! I’m a bit of a hippy in an urban sprawl :-)

Yes, i feel like i am a wannabe urban hippy!

Do you collaborate with the rest on the band on all the tracks or are you the main songwriter?

For Tear Ourselves Away, I brought most of the songs to the band and everyone contributed their ideas which was great; lately we’ve been much more collaborative but it changes all the time. We try to freshen up the creative writing perspective

There is a story that I have heard about you – an urban myth maybe? That you and the guys from The Killers were room mates at one point?

Oh there are several urban myths with that. I was a roommate of one of the guys in The Killers, where we all practiced. I was in college when they were playing their songs every night, i know those songs inside and out now. :)

I bet! Could you see a LoveLikeFire/Killers collaboration at some point?

We’ve talked about it with them, who knows when that might be but there are a few things that might happen later this year…..

So watch this space! I am interested in your backround as a violinist – am I correct in saying that you trained as a classical violinist prior to this?

Yes, I took private lessons and played in school for my grade school, junior high years but my private lesson teacher always told me that I should have started much younger – and that at some point I wouldn’t be able to compete with kids who had been playing since they were six.

It goes without saying, but you are obviously now versed in two very different styles of music now. Can you be as personal and honest in both styles? Which do you find is a better outlet?

Definitely playing in a band and writing songs, there is nothing better than this in my humble opinion…you can write so many different stories with a few chords – I never did that with violin – only learned other peoples music.

Do you ever sneak the violin into any of your tracks?

Haha, no, i’m very rusty now, we did have an amazing session violinist and cellist come in and play on a few tracks, they were sooo wonderful. They did the parts in practically one take each.

lovelikefire2.jpg

How long have you been together as a band?

LoveLikeFire has been a band since 2006..

What were you in before?

I was in a twee/indie pop shoegaze band called Evening Lights…we are thinking about putting out a digital release of our material actually!

A website used ‘shoegazing’ as an adjective to describe LoveLikeFire. Seeing that you described your previous band as such – is that  fair description for your current band?

There is definitely some shoegazing elements in LoveLikeFire, we’ve never been a self proclaimed shoegaze band but we like some of those elements for sure. :)

What is the relationship like between you and the others in the band?

There is no Fleetwood Mac action going on with us, although that might be another urban myth!  (mmm).    I really love them, i enjoy being on stage with them and off stage…sweeet sweet boys – I only mentioned Fleetwood Mac because whenever i see mixed gender bands i am always curious of whether they is any interband relationships happening!

I think it is a wise idea not to base your band on the antics of Fleetwood Mac!

Hahah, at one show someone did call out to me Stevie Nicks!! and i wondered what they meant by that?

High praise indeed! But yes, I can’t quite see it myself :-)
Do you have any other side projects?

I do an electro side recording project, called Adios Control, which lets me have an outlet for something different. :)

I guess you don’t have much time for that now though?

It’s tough, there is very little time for much at all these days.

And you are off on tour now……. what can we expect from your live shows?

Actually we don’t leave for a couple of weeks, i’m at home in San Francisco! four people that really love being on stage together and my own honest interpretation of the songs at every show at that moment :) is that too vague?

No that is great! I won’t take up more of your time now…….
But I think when you come over you should get in touch, and we can be your London tour guides…..

We would LOVE that!
This Sunday saw a hoard of eager revelers take a break from sun gauging to descend upon the alternative epicenter of the East End for the annual fun and frolics of the London Zine Symposium.

So I eagerly hop footed down to Brick Lane by 12 o’clock sharp for the highly anticipated event. I was met by a throng of zine fanatics packed to the rafters in the rather cramp confines of The Rag Factory on Henage Street.

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With such a vivacious ambience the fair was all a little bewildering, information pills I have to concede I am still a zine novice so I felt a little inadequate amidst the array of comic book sages and regulars! Iconic figureheads in the zine scene such as Mark Pawson are more akin to heroes in this domain then mere artists.

I made a beeline for friend and fellow Amelia’s Magazine illustrator Holly Trill to catch up on how their zine “Meow Magazine” was going down with the punters. I also had an ulterior motive for heading straight over to the stall, order not being one for nepotism but I was actually selling my very own knitted cake creations there! I am sure most readers are now accustom to my knitting fetish/obsession!

zine_fair1.jpg

Alas they didn’t fly off the table in a flurry of “hot cakes” (apologies pun inevitable). I think I was out shone by the array of delectable and more importantly edible treats that other stalls had to offer. How could I compete with sumptuous vegan cupcakes! However I was pleased to see an abundance of eager fans hastily grappling at issues of Meow Magazine. I had to indulge in a copy myself, there check out the work of Helen Vine, her beautifully intricate approach to mark making creates an almost wooden aesthetic and texture to her drawings. Definitely a lady to keep your eyes peeled for!

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zine_fair_08.jpg

I trawled my way through the masses to investigate more stalls, it turned out to be a seemingly impossible quest, the unbearable heat and sheer quantity of people made browsing difficult. However I did unearth a few gems on my escapades round, a particular favourite had to be Brighton based fanzine “Shebang”. It’s beautifully curated, featuring not only aesthetically pleasing cutesy illustrations, but it’s a brimming with interviews, reviews and even travel guides.

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The day not only showcased a vast array of diy zines comics and handmade treasures but workshops and lectures for budding artists eager to break into the scene. Seminars ranged from historic overviews addressing the sociopolitical scene behind zine cultures, too practical workshops aimed to nurture new talent addressing key topics such as how to organise a symposium and how to compile your own zines!

All in all it was a frenzine of fun and frolics, roll on the next symposium!ym
Sometimes you have to go out and search for good new music and sometimes you get lucky and it comes to you, sickness Tuesday night was one such evening. Writing for Amelia’s Magazine doesn’t take up all my time and in my other life I’m an art student. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for handing in an essay so I had a walk over to my local, site The Amersham Arms, erectile in New Cross. When I arrived I followed my friends through the busy pub and up the stairs to a small room come gallery. I was just talking to one of them about their weekend getaway to Barcelona when I heard a kind of howl-screech. The kind of noise I imagine a werewolf might make with his last dying breath. As fifty eyes turned to the ‘stage’ we discovered the noise was being made by one Derek Meins. Well that’s one way to get a crowds attention.

TheAgitator2.JPG

It turns out I’d accidentally discovered the first touring Soap Box night. The event is usually held at Trisha’s in central London, but with the night at Amersham a big success they hope to replicate the event once a week, each time in a different venue. The Soap Box is an open mike night of sorts, but by the sound of it a bit edgier than the usual singer songwriter stuff. The fundamental principle though, is no PA systems and it’s through this stripped back style of music that Derek aka The Agitator really gets to shine. With no noisy guitars and drums you can really hear him and boy can he sing. His voice is a kind of throaty, primal mating call – backed up on this occasion by Robert Dylan Thomas and Robert Mauers who were doing back up vocals and hitting stuff to make drum beats. Derek told me after “I have all these friends in indie bands, but I thought why can’t you get people sing and get people to dance without any music?”

TheAgitator.JPG

Meins used to be a member of Eastern Lane, signed to Rough Trade and since then has released an album under his own name before the change to The Agitator something he has only been doing for “the last couple of months”. His back catalogue of experience is more than evident when I watch him play. He describes his influences as “old gospel and Dubstep”, Surely a match made in genre heaven? The performance does feel a bit like one of those awesome churches where everyone gets up and sings to the Lord, his energy is enormous.
Half way through a song about debt collectors my friend whispered to me, “I’m not sure what I’m seeing. I think I like it though.” Indeed.

The Agitator plays at the end of every Soap Box night (totally free!) and is also going on a countrywide tour so there’s no excuse to miss out. For information on dates visit his myspace.

Photos by Isla MacLeod

Categories ,event, ,live, ,lo-fi, ,london, ,singer-songwriter

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With many universities leaning heavily towards womenswear – in some cases wholly – Epsom pleased many with several of its strongest collections coming from menswear designers. One of the running themes throughout the Epsom show seemed to be an obsession with blood, advice buy the body and corporal violence (you’ve got to wonder what’s going on down there) with one dress revealing a Westwood-esque red, cialis 40mg jewelled wound-like gape on its back.

Not pandering to this was Antigone Pavlou, viagra buy who opened the show with loud, bold and funky collection for the streetsmart city boy, with bomber jackets, tracksuits and distressed denim (the latter a phrase that struck fear into my heart when I first read it in the notes, only to be pleasantly surprised). With coloured headphones carelessly slung around the models’ necks, the designer plainly had a clear lifestyle in mind and played to its strengths in all the right ways, combining strong block primary colours with clashing graphic prints.

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If some previous designers during GFW have shown a tendency to elevate and romanticise the pastoral, I think Pavlou successfully did the same for the city, offering an attractively laid-back vision of urban life where you pull on some comfortable but sharp threads, plug into your walkman and swagger down the street, content to shut the outside world away for a moment, a sentiment I’ve evidently been drawn to in featuring CTRL and Daniel Palillo in recent weeks. Another menswear designer of note was James E Tutton, whose reversible designs (addressing the issue of functionality in contemporary fashion) we’ll be featuring later in the week.

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Soozi Welland’s ‘Geeks Know Style’ penultimate menswear collection was best received by the audience, with an endearing ode to all things geeky: spectacles, anoraks, bobbled hats, bow ties, and socks tucked into trousers. The geek has oft been described as the personification of a roll of duct tape, with functional apparel that will always get you out of a sticky situation, and Welland’s designs seem to celebrate this idea, with an abundance of oversized pockets, accessorising her looks with binoculars and cameras.

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By the last look, though, this geek had got himself a makeover, and was now spec-free, with the bow tie sexily hanging loose and sporting a satin and velvet playboy jacket. An endearing and humorous collection that I thought was commercially viable too, and that’s no mean feat.

Amongst the womenswear Stephanie Moran gave us a hard-hitting collection about desire, fabulously quoting Mae West ‘s ‘Ten men waiting for me at the door?…send one of them home I’m tired’, and a vision of the glamorous dominatrix. One of the standout pieces was a cream PVC dress with a cinched feather corset around the waist, and for better or worse, one of the most popular trends during GFW was feathers. This was certainly one of the better examples:

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Considering Epsom had given us notes on each designer and their collection, I think it was admirable that Moran’s designs needed no explaining whatsoever, with her models bombing down the runway dressed in all manner of things naughty.

A particularly well-crafted collection was April Schmitz’s, who gave us a series of garments with some serious work put into unusual fabrics including hardware, folded leather and metal rings and eyelets. Entitled ‘Visions of the Future’ it gave a throwback to 1930s aviation with leather flight caps, a retro colour palette and the repetition of some swinging circles, with panels ejecting out of the garments providing strange contraption-esque silhouettes that you expected to take off at any moment.

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Feathers popped up again, this time from Lucie Vincini with a stunning jacket from an eclectic menswear collection. Mixing embroidered jumpers with carrier bag trousers, basket weave coats with a jacket constructed out of Royal Mail bags, it showed that it is possible to draw from resources across the board and still construct a cohesive collection. A thrifty delight, and with its recycling sensibilities, obviously an Amelia’s Magazine favourite!

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Photos: Catwalking.com

Radical Nature: Art and Architecture for a Changing Planet 1969–2009

Barbican Art Gallery
Barbican Centre
Silk Street
London EC2Y 8DS
19 June – 18 October

Daily 11am-8pm except Tue & Wed 11am-6pm
Open until 10pm every Thursday

Tickets: £8/£6 concs, ailment £6 online

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A new season of ecologically focused exhibits, talks, events and screenings is taking place over the Summer at the Barbican. Kicking off the proceedings is this fascinating exhibition which deals with land art, environmental activism, experimental architecture, and inspiring ideas about utopian solutions to the urgent matter of climate change.
See the Barbican website for full details of all events over the next few months.

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Sarah Bridgland: In Place- New Collage Works

Man and Eve Gallery
131 Kennington Park Road
London SE11 4JJ
19th June – 1st August

Thursday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm

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Bridging the gap between sculpture and collage, Sarah Bridgland’s intricate paper creations combine her own made printed media with junk shop treasure to form nostalgic pieces of meticulous craftsmenship. Simultaneously dreamlike and miniature while remaining technically genius, Bridgland’s collection of new work will transport you to other colourful, playful worlds.

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Various Artists: Two Degrees 2009

Toynbee Studios
28 Commercial Street
London E1 6AB
16-21 June

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The opening night of Two Degrees, Artadmin’s week long programme of politically, socially and environmentally charged events, is this Tuesday. Getting it’s name from last month’s report that a hugely damaging global temperature rise of 2C could be a mere 40 years away, the 20 or so artists involved are putting the issue of climate change at the forefront of our concerns.
The opening night features among other things Daniel Gosling’s video installation ‘I Can Feel the Ice Melting’ and the forward thinking London based group Magnificent Revolution generating music for the evening with a live bicycle-powered DJ set.

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R-art assist BASH@The Sustainable Art Awards 2009

BASH STudios
65-71 Scrutton Street
London EC2A 4PJ
June 16th

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Open Sailing by Cesar Harada

“The Sustainable Art Awards are open to any UK artist working within on the themes of sustainability, environmental issues, climate change and ecology. R-art will provide the awards for the SAA, these mini eco sculptures are the oscars of eco art! Sustainable Art Awards are a 2 week showcase of eco talent @ BASH Studios.
The Sustainable Art Awards is part of Respond! who aim to engage arts audiences in discussing and questioning environmental change. Respond! highlights how the arts industries are in a unique position to communicate environmental issues. Featuring exhibitions, talks, programmes, workshops and other activities. Respond! is an initiative co-founded by the Arts and Ecology center at The Royal Society of The Arts and BASH Creations.”

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Swapshop

Camden Arts Centre
Arkwright Road
London NW3 6DG
20th June
12:00 – 5:30pm

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Current artist in residence Alexandre da Cunha is putting together a Swapshop, which is becoming an ever increasingly popular means for people to get together and shed some of their unwanted belongings in exchange for new. Anything goes at this particular exchange; buttons, furniture- even art. To book your own stall please contact Ben Roberts on 0207 472 5500.

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Out of Range

The Rag Factory
16-18 Heneage Street
London E1 5LJ

12th June 22nd June
12-6pm daily, Saturdays 10-6pm
Free

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Tigran Asatrjan

If the extensive material on show at Brick Lane’s Free Range isn’t enough to satisfy your graduate show cravings, hop along to The Rag Factory to catch Out of Range where work from 29 emerging UK and European photographic artists recently set free from the University for the Creative Arts at Rochester is on display. The work promises to be fresh, innovative, exciting and diverse.

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Dominic Allan: The Irresistible Lure of Fatty Gingo 

Transition Gallery
Unit 25a Regent Studios
8 Andrews Road
London E8 4QN

13th June – 5th July
Fri – Sun, 12-6 pm
Free

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With what might just be the best title of an exhibition I’ve ever heard, Allan’s work is self described as ‘a world of rotten teeth, bubble and squeak and uncommon sense.’ With an unhealthy interest in British seaside culture and the bizarre link-ins local holiday getaways have with sugar coated junk we feast on, Allan’s work is repelling, alluring, mysterious and addictive all at once.

Monday 15th June
The Freewheeling Yo La Tengo at the Southbank Centre, sales London.

Tonight’s gig is one not to be missed- The Jonas Brothers at Wembley, health only joking of course. If you like your music a little more deflowered and lots more awesome, then I excitedly announce that Yo La Tengo will be playing the Southbank Centre tonight as part of Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown Festival. Yo La Tengo have shaped what is almost the last 20 years with their beautiful music which moves between eerie girl boy woozy vocals and minimal keyboards, to rocking genre bashing highs. Also ‘I’m Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass’ is the best album title ever!

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Tuesday 16th June
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs at Pure Groove, London.

I really love dinosaurs, so imagine my delight when I saw that a band called Totally Enormous Extinct Dinousaurs are playing Pure Groove on Tuesday evening. Being a music editor and planing gig going around loving extinct creatures is never the best idea so I checked their myspace and I can conclude my top 3 favourite things about this band, in descending order are:
3. They dress as dinosaurs a lot!
2. They have the longest list of alphabetised dinosaurs listed as their band members (Alphabetisation being my second favourite thing after fore-mentioned dinsosaurs)
1. Their keyboard tinged synthy-fun electro sounds so fun it makes me want to make up all kinds of dances called things like the ‘Triceratops Jive’ and the ‘Stegosaurus Shake’.
What’s your favourite dinosaur?

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Wednesday 17th June
Jolie Holland at Dingwalls, London.

When Tom Waits says he likes something you can pretty much tell it’s going to be good and Jolie Holland doesn’t disappoint. This Texan singer has had Waits’ outspoken support since the very beginning of her career, and her fresh take on traditional folk, country, blues and jazz place her as a definite protegée of Waits, as well as a talented musician in her own right.

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Thursday 18th June
A Hawk and a Hacksaw at Cecil Sharp House, London.

A Hawk and Hacksaw have skittered and clattered their way into my heart with their Klezmer- Indie hybrid loveable mess music. It sound like if Neutral Milk Hotel (indeed they share a drummer) got lost in the Baltic States for several decades in the early 20th century, armed only with a full brass band and a trusty band of wolves who were also in their own Mariachi band- and quite frankly how could that not sound amazing?

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Friday 19th June
Clinic at The Lexington, London.

I was lucky enough to see Clinic play last year and they are terrifying (they wear surgical masks) and brilliant in equal measure- like a melodic nightmare, lots of keyboards, creepy samples, garage-y clatters and wails are a-given, yet they manage to be as enjoyable as they are creepy.

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Saturday 20th June
Kitsuné Maison Party at La Scala, London.

We reviewed the Kitsune Maison 7 compilation a while back and liked it, they’re having a party at La Scala featuring Delphic (pictured below underwater), Chew Lips, We Have Band and Autokratz to name but a few. I can’t help but compare it to the Strictly Come Dancing tour that happens after the show ends; with everyone’s favourites appearing live, so maybe it’ll be like that but a very hip, French version.

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Continuing our festival preview adventure

I don’t like camping. Going to bed shivering and waking up sweating doesn’t appeal to me much, mind and claustrophobia in a two-man tent isn’t fun either. Don’t even mention the word ‘porta-loo’…But all this I will get over for Lounge on the Farm.

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For the past four years, sickness thousands of people have invaded Merton Farm in Canterbury, with a view to enjoying laid-back choons and getting down to some serious lounging. Despite it’s status as a ’boutique’ festival (one of The Time’s top twelve Boutique festivals, dontchaknow), there’s plenty to muck in with, down on the Farm.
Each of the six stages caters to a different taste, The Cow Shed hosting The Horrors, Edwyn Collins and The King Blues (as well as whoever you want, thanks to the You Say, They Play initiative – just mind the dung), Farm Folk, leaning towards a more acoustic experience and The Bandstand, rockin’ out the opera and punk rock karaoke.

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I’ll be spending most of the weekend with Gong, Canterbrerians of the ’60s who sing of teapot taxies, and the Wolf People, hairiest band I’ve ever seen who weren’t actually animals, down at the psychedelic Furthur Tent, and doubtlessly joining Mr. Scruff for an epic six hour afternoon tea mash-up at the Hoedown – blanket and thermos a!
requisite.
Lounge is foremost a local festival (for local people…) and it wouldn’t be, well, right, without Psychotic Reaction, Amber Room, Cocos Lovers, Syd Arthur, Electric River and Zoo For You, to name but a meagre few of the Kentish best performing this year.

It’s not all about the music though, in fact, in the Meadows area it’s not even about the music. New for 2009, the Meadows contains an outdoor theatre, petting zoo (pigs or partay?!) and The Red Tent if you feel in need of some spiritual healing after all the exhausting lounging about. Natural Pathways will be providing bushcraft courses, fulfilling all your wild wo/man fantasies and the Make do and Mend lane focuses on local craftsmen and their skills, with workshops running all weekend.

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Whatever tickles your pickle, solar powered cinema or life-drawing class – and music too – Lounge on the Farm is the perfect place to do exactly that.

Lounge on the Farm runs from the 10th to the 12th of July, at Merton Farm, Canterbury. Weekend tickets £85, day tickets, £35

Free Range at The Old Truman Brewery is Europe’s largest graduate art and design show with free admission. Graduates of everything from interior design to fine art who studied outside of London finally get a chance to showcase their talents in the countries capital.
I’ve been to a few Free Range shows this summer already, approved but last Thursday’s exhibition of photography graduates was the one I was most excited about.

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In this age art can really be anything, web Kant has been moved to the back seat and nobody thinks art has to be beautiful anymore. That said it’s almost impossible for photographers not to take images that look good. Just by being photographed the most mundane subject is rendered interesting and the most ugly object or person becomes so lovely that you just want to lick their glossy surface.

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The best of all the exhibitions on that week had to be Swansea, stuff Farnham and Maidstone. With so many photographers on show it seems pointless to make a reductive comment on whether entire graduate years were good or bad so I’ve decided to create a contact sheet if you will, of the people whose photographs looked that bit extra special.

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Jack Davis

I spent my first ten minutes in Free Range looking at Jack Davis’ landscape photographs. In them great colour and composition immediately makes the viewer forget that the scenes are completely empty.

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Lauren Eldekvist

In Lauren Eldekvist’s evocative series Landscapes, unmade beds are photographed and shown huge on the Truman Brewery’s walls. For the artist the bed “connotes the human condition; birth, life, sex, sleep, illness and death”. The pieces remind me very much of one of my favourite artists Felix Gonzalez Torres and his billboard photographs of an empty, but obviously slept in, bed.

Also intriguing were James Rugg’s photographs, which aim to capture small instances, chance meetings and gestures. In them the simple act of a girl twirling string around her fingers becomes something we should give our undivided attention to.

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James Rugg

Over at Maidstone University College of the Arts there were some strong conceptual works.
Lee Gavin presented an installation of Mapping a project that he undertook after the death of his Grandfather, he decided to cycle to Elvington in Kent, the birthplace of his Grandfather. Lee showed as his work the tent and bike he used for the trip and an interactive google map of the journey (available from his website and well worth a look.)

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Lee Gavin

As a lover of old box televisions and a distruster of 40” LCD monstrosities I almost cheered when I saw Jack Quick’s work. The artist is stepping into Nam June Paik rather large shoes with his television manipulation photographs and sculptures in which he attempts to challenge uses for, sadly, now defunct technologies.

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Jack Quick

Cassandra Vervoort questions the role of the photographer and the weight of their influence and command over the photographed. In these “social experiments” she asks subjects to have a five-minute sleep in her bed while she is naked underneath the covers.

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Cassandra Vervoort

There were other photographers creating situations for their unwitting volunteers to perform in. Gemma Bringloe was one, “Can you turn around, sit down, stand up and sit down” … “Can you take off as many clothes as possible”.

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Gemma Bringloe

And finally Laura Jenkins, who produced my favourite project of the entire show. The Tender Interval is brilliant in it’s simplicity. Actors were called forward in complete darkness and instructed to kiss. The photographs provide a record of the interval immediately before the kiss.

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Laura Jenkins

Free Range exhibitions continue until the middle of July. The Private view for the next group of photography shows is 6PM on Thursday. For a full list check out the Free Range website.

Words like ‘buzz’ and ‘hype’ sometimes transpire to be untrustworthy words bandied around by desperate press offices, ed but with the mid-afternoon Ravensbourne show the anticipation is undeniably huge. And rightly so – after rave reviews (two more alarm words) as well as producing the winner for the past two years, search we’re expecting an awful lot, ambulance and luckily we were not disappointed. In fact, far from it – it would be easy to ramble hyperbolically about how consistently brilliant the show was, or to point out how as a university it’s completely isolated in GFW by its galactically high standard, as elitist as that sounds, so I’ll try and keep focused.

If you’ve been following our reports (and you will have done if you know what’s good for you) you’ll have been aware of this years’ output of some truly outstanding menswear. Ravensbourne, of course, was no exception, with menswear designers Calum Harvey and Hannah Taylor opening and closing the show respectively (both of whom I’ll be interviewing in the coming days). Harvey had made a collection constructed from raw materials scavenged from car interiors, attesting to the strengths of the transformative powers of recycled fashion and making something beautiful – and indeed, wearable – out of something normally perceived as solely functional.

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A selection of huge knits (the oversized scarf on the opening look was a favourite) were followed by jackets layered with woven and shredded seatbelts worn over sheer shirts and gold pinstripe trousers. Making it no surprise that he later won the http://www.gfw.org.uk/event/winners.aspxTextile Award, Harvey had created a gorgeous paisley pattern on a shirt out of frayed gold zips, while seatbelts also served to layer and tier to help create voluminous silhouettes, in one case a high collar for a knitted jumper, whilst continuously coupling the industrial looking wool with plaid and tweed to neutralise the effect.

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The last look – an enormous tulle tiered cape in grey and black – seemed to typify a collection that was eminently wearable whilst staying on the right side of theatrical, and as for the patent leather bag with seatbelt fastener – yes please.

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Mehmet Ali’s menswear (which later won the Menswear Award) was a gorgeously sophisticated collection in a neutral palette of pink, cream and wine, layering summer jackets and waistcoats for the occasional Brideshead-lite feel. A series of simple and exquistively crafted designs that was lent a sweet personal touch by the use of Ali’s own suitcase with his initials emblazoned across.

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A strong showing for the womenswear came from Hannah Buswell ‘s collection of Missoni-esque knits, combining multi-patterned cardigans with knitted dresses for a beautiful and commercial winter collection.

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Laura Yiannakou was girly, quirky and unusual, working with digital prints and synthetic fabrics to create a colourful and seriously modern collection for the fashion forward woman.

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Yasmina Siddiqui also impressed with a series of Viktor & Rolf-style illustrated prints tied to ordinary silk dresses; surrealist prints that created unusual silhouettes, attempting to understand and rebrand perceptions of art and fashion:

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Hannah Taylor’s knitwear as the closer was easily the evening’s most enjoyable and surprising. Entitled ‘You’ll Grow Into It!’ it was a selection of oversized knits covered in animals ranging from tiny ducks to guinea pigs to foxes, paired with multicoloured balaclavas and enormous pom-pom headpieces (what did I tell you last month?)

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It successfully recreated the endearing sense of childlike fun in trying on something too big and it falling around your knees; combining loud designs with mustard-colour Rupert Bear pants, tweed trousers and enormous pom-pom collars. I especially loved the knitted balaclavas (creating an ironic sense of menace that could never be fully realised when you’ve got a massive guinea pig plastered across your body).

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Aside from this, irony is something that would elude such a collection that by nature was so ostensibly warm and affectionate, with a strong sense of sentiment that I think appealed to an awful lot of people (including Erin O’Connor who was whooping in the crowd). Hannah was later nominated for the Gold Award, and despite missing out was given a special mention by the judges, and currently has her collection on display in River Island.

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A truly fantastic show and a great way to finish Amelia’s Magazine’s stint at Graduate Fashion Week – look out for our interviews with a few of the graduates over the next couple of weeks!

Photos: Catwalking.com

Way back in 2006, view Neil Boorman lit a bonfire in Finsbury Square and burnt all of his branded possessions. Of course, there was a back story to this, rather than it simply being a case of a pyromaniac getting one over on the City of London council. Neil made this bold statement for two reasons. To protest the all pervasive consumer culture and to address his own issues and addictions to branded and labelled goods. In one fell swoop, £20,000 worth of designer products were incinerated. Since then, Neil has been living his life brand-free, and documenting the results on his blog, and in his book, Bonfire Of The Brands.

While this bonfire took place three years ago, the argument about consumer culture, and the willingness of the general public to spend money that they don’t have on something simply because it ‘looks cool’ is as pertinent now as it was then. Few people in 2006 could have predicted the economic and environmental mess that we are now in. By raising concerns over the irresponsible actions of large corporations who would use every trick in the bag to entice us to buy their products, Neil was already drawing attention to the cracks in the system. As often happens, a prophet is never appreciated in his time, and Neil’s actions were met with a flood of negative responses, many from people who argued that his posessions should have been donated to charity rather than burnt. Exploring the reasons behind the criticism, he suggested that “this reaction has less to do with charity than the overall value that we have come to place on branded things; nowadays, to willingly destroy an expensive bag amounts to the same moral and cultural neglect as burning a book.”

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Having seen that Neil was going to be speaking recently at the Arcola Theatre’s Green Sundays event in Dalston, I was interested to hear an update on how his brand-free life is working out, and what he made of the new, paired down version of consumerism that is being peddled to us. While brands are wising up to the facts that a) we don’t have much money to spend on non-essential items and b) we are savvier about how these products are being produced, many labels are going out of their way to champion phrases in their marketing, such as ‘fair trade‘, ‘ethically produced’, ‘locally sourced’ etc, but is this all a white wash? And if we continue buying from the big brands – no matter what placatory words they might throw at us – are we still missing the point?

When you came up with the idea for the book in 2006, consumerism was still king. Now in 2009, the Bonfire of The Brands manifesto has become all the more apparent in the current economic climate and environmental chaos. Do you feel a element of schadenfreude seeing that you were one of the first to voice your concerns?

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It does feel like the country’s mood towards shopping has changed in the last few years. Recently someone confessed to me that they used to nip out to buy a new pair of sunglasses whenever they felt down, but now that money was tight, they felt stupid about it all. I get a lot of people confessing their consumer sins to me. I’m not sure how I feel about that – I didn’t write the book to make people feel embarrassed. If anything, I wanted people to feel angry that consumer culture is rammed down our throats so often. I definitely would have sold more copies of the book had it come out this year. But what would I spend the money on? There’s only so many non-branded plimsolls a person can buy.

Are people more responsive to your message now then when your book was first published?

People think I’m slightly less bonkers than before, but they’ve not stuck my poster on the wall in Selfridges just yet. We all got sidetracked by the boom a few years back, and most sensible people have snapped out of it for the time being. It’s the legions of people still flooding into Primark that I can’t work out. So many people buy gear on the never-never that the recession is meaningless to them. People laughed at me when I suggested that we are a nation hooked on shopping, but you can see it for your own eyes on the high street every day. The world might be on meltdown, but there’s still time to buy a pair of deck shoes.

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Do you think that the big brands have responded appropriately to the economic crisis and new wave of consumer awareness about where their products are coming from?

Recessions strike at the heart of big brands. Not just at the till, but at the value of the brand. Luxury is based on the principle that more is more – the more you spend, the more luxury you get. As soon as you start to discount your stock, that myth goes out of the window.  And all those uber-luxe ads you see in Sunday Supplements look ridiculous next to reports of mass unemployment. Luxury is a house of cards like that. The best they can hope for is that the economy picks up, and consumers forget about all this ‘ethical nonsense’.

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Are there any brands that you would consider buying from again?

I’m slightly less militant now than I was after the bonfire. I’d be happy to buy something from a brand that has it’s house in order – a brand that looks after it’s staff and doesn’t needlessly pollute. But there’s no way I’d wear their logo on my chest ever again. Looking back, I was like a human billboard. Back in the 1920′s, companies used to pay people to pin company slogans on their clothes. Now we do it for free – in fact we pay for the privilege. How on earth did we get here?

Amelia’s Magazine are always keen to support ethical designers and products. Do you find that a non-brand generally equals something ethical? I would think that on the one hand you can spot the holes in a large brand, and it is easier to find out information about them, but if you were to pick up, say, a plain t-shirt from a charity shop, you would have no way of knowing if it had potentially come from a sweat shop. What are your thoughts on this? 

You’ve found the gaping hole in my argument – brands do help us to identify which product does what, and how it was made. But then there’s so much greenwash about right now its difficult to decide which brand is telling the truth. I mean, American Apparel boasts that it only uses American labour. But as far as I know, they still pay a rock bottom minimum wage and only Mexican immigrants on skid row that can afford to work in their factories. Those kooky young things in the ads – they don’t stitch liquid tights for a living.

The easiest way to cut through all these dilemmas is to concentrate on wants and needs. Every time I’m tempted to buy something new, I ask myself if I really need it. If the answer is no, then I put it back on the shelf and walk out the store a richer man. Life goes on. 

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Going back a few years ago, you founded the infamous Shoreditch Twat; having experienced many Londoners in perhaps their least appealing and most pretentious forms, do you ever doubt the sincerity of those who are now jumping on the anti consumerism bandwagon?  And if so, is this necessarily a bad thing if the outcome of non brand buying is still a positive one? 

I don’t know about people in Shoreditch, but I do slightly worry about all the Sloaney fashion journalists that have started banging on about frugal chic. Alarm bells have got to start ringing when people at The Sunday Times call something ‘chic’. They’re terrified of committing to anything meaningful in case it goes out of style. And then where would they be? Trust me, they’ll be back down to Hermes when the economy picks up. But what the hell, I reckon its better to dip in and out of anti-consumerism than not at all.

What is news with your blog now? Will this remain an ongoing issue for you, and will you continue to write about your experiences with anti-consumerism?

I’m writing less but campaigning more. I’ve got a few stunts that I’m going to pull later in the year, and a big push in the run up to the election. Right now, I feel like less talk and more action. When shopping isn’t a Saturday afternoon leisure option, you have to find other things to do.
How important is the relationship between an artist and her aunt? For Miriam Zadik Gold, approved whose latest exhibition ‘Who is Mary Jane’ opens at Prick Your Finger on June 18, online it’s a pretty damn important relationship.

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Photo by Kirsty Hall

In fact, visit this it’s fair to say that the work in the show wouldn’t exist without Miriam’s Aunt Sue, a car-boot sale connoisseur who runs a stall selling buttons, badges and old Ladybird books every Saturday at Broadway Market. It was Aunt Sue who found six old ceramic dolls heads in a charity shop and bought them for her niece whom she thought would like them. Miriam did like them, but couldn’t think what to do with them and put them high on a shelf in her studio for a few years.

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It wasn’t until she was crocheting a pair of Mary Jane shoes for her own daughter that Miriam began to wonder about Mary Jane – why were the shoes named after her? Who was she? And why did so many musicians name-check her in their songs?

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Things began to take shape. Miriam spent hours on the internet, noting down every Mary Jane-related song lyric she could find, from Nick Drake through to John Lennon to Mary J. Blige. Taking the lyrics as her inspiration she created a different Mary Jane persona for each of the dolls’ heads, and began to craft bodies, clothes and backgrounds for each one. When she came across things she couldn’t make, such as a tiny denim jacket, she turned to dolls’ clothes makers on etsy.com and commissioned miniature pieces for her band of tiny muses.

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Miriam hopes that by giving these dolls a little more of an identity, she will bestow more of an inner life to the somewhat submissive Mary Janes described in the songs: ‘There was something quite passive about the way the dolls were waiting on the shelf for me to give them a story, to give them a life. For each one, I quickly had a clear sense of a little story of my own that sat behind the lyrics.’

Click here for more information about Prick Your Finger and their upcoming events.
It was Daniel Almeroth’s “The Birth of Feminism” series that formed an entry into Dazed & Confused’s Free Range competition that first caught my eye and drew me in. These sparsely yet beautifully constructed collages are not only visually pleasing but make a bold statement about the feminist movement too. He explains the work as “moments of metaphorical and symbolical events before and after this dramatic political movement. The point of the series is to highlight the tight control Men had over Women throughout our past; through religion, symptoms marriage and general social attitudes.”

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Delving deeper into Almeroth’s work, I notice a similar thread of stunning aesthetics teamed with clever insights running through his artistic repertoire. The Injured Body, for example, “tries to highlight the factor of deformities due to accidents and incidents. It comments on the relationship of a figure of heroism and the true reception they may receive.”

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The sign of a good artist in my opinion is one who can create work with meaning or a message, yet leave it up to the audience to form their own perspectives, drawing on individual personal references and experiences. Nothing is less attractive then artists who dictate your reactions and responses. Almeroth concurs, saying “I want to leave these images open to interpretation, to challenge the observer to reach a personal conclusion of the images intent.”
It was a pleasure to get to know him a bit better and find out what makes him tick.

When did you first realise you were creative?

I first got into illustration when I was a little’n, I use to draw landscapes of cities being destroyed by dinosaurs, covering it in glitter and dry macaroni. I like to think I’ve changed since then!

Tell me about your school days.

I completed my A’levels at Shenfield High School (where Richard from Richard and Judy, and Des from Diggit went to school!). I then studied my foundation at Thurrock & Basildon College, Essex. Then got into the Arts Institute at Bournemouth studying the Ba Hons Animation Production course, changing to Ba Hons Illustration at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in my second year.

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Which artists or illustrators do you most admire?
Klaus Voorman is top notch, Tara Donovan is definitely my artist of the hour and the illustrator Meyoko is particularly phenomenal.

Who or what is Crabwolf and what is your involvement?

Recently I have joined a collective with four other illustrators/designers under the name of CRABWOLF. Crabwolf was born one night over dinner, beers, drawings, some roulette and a scorpion. All consisting of graduates from the illustration course at the Bournemouth Arts Institute. We commonly all collaborate on projects such as our recent Limehouse Magazine front covers, greeting cards, promotional posters/materials, possible exhibitions in London and Dublin are lined up, a zine or two in the pipeline and discussing ideas for t-shirt ranges and hand screen printed posters that are just so good for the environment. Today Bournemouth, tomorrow? …The world.

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Tell us something about Daniel Almeroth that we didn’t know already.

I’m an Essex boy, born and raised, at Eastgate shopping centre is where I spent most of my days.

If you could time travel back or forward to any era, where would you go?

I’d go back to the Victorian times, making a couple of stop offs along the way. Firstly the 90′s and don an under cut then the 70′s to acquire a taste for free love, then become the most insanely popular/rich/famous man that ever lived in the Victorian era.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

Probably get started on making that time machine.

Which band past or present would provide the soundtrack to your life?

Mulatu Astatke. Brilliant.

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I say Modern Art is Rubbish, you say…?

“MODERN ART = I COULD DO THAT + YEAH BUT YOU DIDNT” Craig Damrauer.

What would your pub quiz specialist subject be?

Probably a mixture of Arts, Entertainment, Geography, History, Sports, Nature, Food and Miscellaneous. They call me the quiz meister, a necessity for every team!

Who or what is your nemesis?

Tomato Ketchup & Moths.

What piece of modern technology can you not live without?

My desktop iMac. Her name is Selina.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Having a pint, a rollie and drawing in the garden.

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What has been keeping you busy of late?

I’ve recently received briefs for editorial work in a few magazines, promotional posters and flyers for events, I also had my work exhibited in a local exhibition named Ishihara (which is possibly branching out to London in the near future). Me and fellow illustrator Selina Kerley also have produced a three edition Fanzine named Chien Schuanz that promoted ourselves and other local artists, selling them on the internet and local events in Bournemouth. I have also produced a limited stock of screen printed t-shirts and jumpers that are selling like hot cakes that’s keeping me warm from the recession!

What advice would you give up and coming artists?

Shameless self promotion, self initiated projects, collaborating, spending all day on the internet and with a pencil in your hand.

Who would your top five dream dinner guests be? Who would do the washing up?

I think it would have to be in a Come Dine With Me layout with Frieda Kahlo, Jean Claude Van Damme, Ghandi, Sir Alan Sugar and Picasso. I’d make Ghandi and Sir Alan Sugar wrestle, the loser would do the washing up.

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What’s next for you then?

At the beginning of July some friends and I are exhibiting and manning a stool at the next D&AD space in Earl’s Court, so pop along for a chat and some freebies! I also plan to help create and brand a Fashion magazine which is currently starting to emerge on the drawing boards.

All hail Daniel Almeroth and The Crabwolf Collective. You heard it here first.
All good superheroes have an alter ego; Peter Parker/ Spiderman, doctor Clark Kent/ Superman, Bruce Wayne/ Batman, and now Randolph J. Shabot/ Deastro. As super-hero names go it’s a pretty good one, and his new album ‘Moondagger’ plays like a soundtrack to an epic sky scraper top battle between ultimate super-powered nemesis, whist retaining a bashful sweetness of a superhero’s geeky quotidian alter-ego.
What’s more Deastro is exactly the same age as me, which on a personal level makes him all the more awesome, whilst I get finger cramps from trying to play my ukulele, he has created an epic synth-driven outer space soundscape; of course it’s not a competition but if it was he’d win.

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How did you get into music?
My Uncle bought me a guitar when I was 5 and taught me to play ’3 Little Indians’, and I’ve been singing in choirs since about then too, and so I guess I’ve always been into it.

If you had to pick someone as a main influence who would it be?
It’s really a tie between Brian Wilson and Steve Reich.

Ok, good choices! Who would provide the soundtrack to your life?
I would have to say Starflyer 59, they’re like this Christian shoegaze band and they have these lyrics that are about really simple things. It’s great, I love it.

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If you weren’t making music right now what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d be a teacher.

What piece of modern technology could you not live without?
Probably my laptop, it’s what I make music on so it’d be hard to live without it.

Who or what is your nemesis?
(laughs) My guitar player is my nemesis.

Really? Is he a secret nemesis or is it quite an open thing?
It’s pretty open, We love each other but we fight all the time.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate ice-cream, you can’t put me in front of a thing of chocolate ice-cream, I’ll eat the whole thing!

If you were making a mixtape for me which 5 songs would you put on it?
‘Come on, Let’s Go’ by Broadcast

Ahh I love Broadcast!
‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys
‘I Drive A Lot’ by Starflyer 59
‘California Shake’ by Margo Guryan
‘Teenager’ by Department of Eagles
That would be a really fun mix.

If you had a time machine which era in the past or future would you travel to?
This is going to sound really lame, but I’d probably go back to the dinosaur era.

That’s not lame at all! Dinosaurs are ah-mazing…
Yeah, it would be really interesting to see another evolutionary path, just mind-blowing.

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What would be your quiz specialist subject?
Bible trivia, I went to school to be a pastor when I was 17, I’m not really a Chrisitan anymore but I was the 10th ranked Bible quizzer for a short minute there when I was a kid.

Wow! Do you have any good Bible trivia for me?
Who was the oldest man in the Bible?

Errm…God?
(laughs) God’s not technically a man…It’s Metheuselah who lived to 969 allegedly…

Which 5 people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Socrates, Michael Jackson, Jesus…ermm this sounds ridiculous Michael Jackson and Jesus!, Chris Martin just because I’d like to see him in a room with those people and Mahatma Gandhi.

…and who would do the washing up?
Chris Martin (laughs) no, I’d probably end up doing it myself actually.

Tell us a secret…
A lot of mine are really disgusting, I’m trying to think of one that’s kosher…both my front teeth are fake, I fell of my bike and chipped them as a kid.

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After a week of technicolored, malady although not always technical, capsule undergraduate shows, ailment rife with misdirected or altogether unmanned piloting of a laser cutter, and occasionally some superior sparks of creative genius, we come to the much anticipated collections of MA graduates from the Royal College of Art. A troop of fine tailoring, sophisticated textiles and stellar styling, this year’s cadets are ready for the fray. Recurring in various forms were the bow tie a la 1920′s, pom poms which echoed the catwalks overseas, silicone, galaxy prints and leather in more variations than you can shake a needle at.

WOMENSWEAR

johanne%20andersonX.jpgJohanne Kappel Anderson

Johanne Kappel Anderson’s magpie inspired collection was full voluminous fabrics and illustrative prints, solar dust blasted leathers and super oversized graphic pastels on black. Digitally printed leotards flashed patterns comprised of jewelry, spoons, bolts and found objects just the kind of shiny thing a magpie might take home to his nest. A few prints and shapes seemed to conjure up another winged creature…moths.
Some earthy prints with contrasty ‘eyes’ fluttered down the catwalk… there was even a cocoon jacket!

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Heidi Wikar ‘s collection ‘Singing Silence’ was a series of diaphorous clouds said to be inspired by a Scandinavian landscape’s emptiness. Makes sense…if you were planning to experience it through a window, from the downy comfort of your bed. Puffy duvets appeared trapped in spiderwebs of muted greys, ochres, creams and white. All the shape and volume of modern silhouettes but without the overly structured and cresting shoulders prevalent in so many other collections this year. What resembled a bright orange parachute with clever gathers and seaming became a dress filled with pockets of air and completely weightless. Air itself acted as a material, giving shape and structure to the pieces. Apparently part of a design challenge the entire collection can be packed into one 20 kg rucksack. As if those rosey cheeked fraus needed anymore help looking amazing in the dead of winter.

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Up from the realm of textiles rose an innovative take on shibori by Siofra Murphy. What seems to have started as a super large muted floral print soon condensed into a rippled shell of body-con dresses with necklines that rose around from behind the shoulders like neck supports. Paired with stretchy basics the nuanced surface went from bold to muted but remained incredibly intriguing.

liamX.jpgLiam Evans

Liam Evans presented one the best examples of laser cutting in a year rife with its abuse. Transcending the weighty characteristics of leather, he exploited the laser cutter for the impossible precision it was made to do. With the aid of sturdy zips Evans jigsawed his garments into a collage of ultrafine leathers. Loose motorcycle jackets were studded with an organic arrangement of thorny spikes and paired with chiffon dresses a la 90′s.

rachaelX.jpgRachael Barrett

Inspired by photos in Corinne Day‘s Diary, Rachael Barrett’s collection was a modern assortment of soft feminine silhouettes constructed of a soft silicone rubber. Conservative hemlines and generous shaping gave the illusion of transparent shells revealing moments of black chiffon lace. Clever cutting allowed for ease of movement and portrayed the designers interest in the “trapped space between body and dress”.

MENSWEAR

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Based on a post-apocolyptic Mexican hi-tech tribal gang in LA (that explains the Hollywood flash) that has reverted to Aztec/Mayan rituals and beliefs (still with me?) Alex Mattson’s collection is like a well tailored Malibu super hero’s wardrobe. Full of comic book colors and supple leathers the foam helmets and neckpieces were a cartoony take on the tooth-n-claw talismans of ancient Incans. Only a matter of time before they make their way onto the set of an ‘Empire of the Sun’ video, yes?

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These delicately squiggly pinstriped suits made for one hot ice cream parlor attendant. Keith Gray presented a series of bright and fresh menswear in expertly tailored shirts and snug trousers with tromp l’oeil knits. Dropped crotches and retreating hems kept the whole look impossibly modern 20′s chic.

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The only textiles MA graduate to send a collection down the runway did not disappoint. Louise Loubatieres juggled an exotic mix of bold ikat prints and roomy knits. A rich palette and roomy shapes complete with a 20′s beachsuit. Wonder if Walter Van Beirendonck will be knocking on this one’s door.

luis%20lopez-smithX.jpg Luis Lopez-Smith

As this was a show it’s safe to say that Luis Lopez-Smith was the circus leader. Marching band jackets in various forms and a few green googly-eyed caterpillars adorned a few torsos with the piece de resistance being a puffy vest that looked as though it’d walked right off the set of Terry Gilliam ‘s ‘Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen’
A fantastic display of craftsmanship and impeccable tailoring lent it’s support to an impressively balanced offering of innovative textiles and experimental shapes. All the intelligent risk taking one can continue to expect from such a world class school.
Have you got a favorite of your own?
Browsing old PhD theses, this as you do of the odd grey Sunday evening, you might come across the quiet mindbend that is Stephen Stirling’s ‘Whole Systems Thinking as a Basis for Paradigm Change in Education: Explorations in the Context of Sustainability’. Gosh. Well, you made it past quiet armchair moments (not quite The Foundry of a Friday night) and the obligatory don-speak of Stephen’s title – and somehow you’re still reading, and maybe you’re starting to get the problem I see before us in this article : that, shrouded in the ivory mist of academia, someone has written clearly and thoughtfully about changing the way we think, but a first glance all too easily sees a glut of Greek and runs away. Instead, try putting your head into a mindset quite different:

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Illustrations by Rui Sousa

Everyone tells themselves stories about the world. I’m a student, a writer, a brother. Don’t worry, you’ll not have my life story – not tonight, anyway – but there is one, or several, smoothly edited to my audience’s appetite for imaginary journeys around the world, or encounters with mad professors. But before you pin me down as some grand raconteur, check yourself out, last time you introduced yourself or got chatting to someone new.

Here’s the story-about-the-world jam. We look at the world, then we have a think about it, then we decide what to do.

Mostly, we look at the world bit by bit. Everything has a reason, and we try to find *the* reason. When something needs to be done, the straight way is best. Results delivered, satisfaction guaranteed. Kiss frog, find prince, all shiny.

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Thing is, this doesn’t quite do our complex world justice, and imagining the world inadequately means we’ll make wrong decisions. Instead, Stephen suggests we look at everything all together, relations and systems rather than objects and actions. Be much more sensitive to all of the causes and consequences – the stone scudded across a river sends ripples in all directions, cheers me up a moment, and sinks, tickling a snoozing whiskered fish. Turns up a hundred years later, tumbled bumped and rounded to perfection, and stubs a distant relative’s toe on Brighton beach.

This systems approach was pioneered in, amongst other works, Limits to Growth by Dana Meadows, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers – an awesome book, classic of eco-lit, stuffed with graphs from the future that go shwoop-kerbang as people and pollution go up, food and farmland go down, and all the balance of the world’s systems are shown together. There’s a new edition out, a thirty-years-on update, which I haven’t read yet, but is high up on my list, just after ‘The Italian’s Defiant Mistress’.

Stephen Stirling is concerned with getting this kind of joined-up thinking a matter of course, throughout design education, but also throughout education in the more general, lifelong way. There’s a way to go, I can tell you from a wee bit of personal experience. Sat in the back of a GCSE Electronic Products class six or seven years ago, the three marks of my coursework dedicated to sustainability caught my attention for a long three minutes as I knocked off a paragraph to tack on to my project, jumping another hoop. This is about as far as sustainability in design education goes for now.

First off, says Stephen, is changing things we do without changing how we think. So, less waste makes more sense because I’ll save money, whether I care about where it goes or not. Similarly, not growing one single kind of crop year in year out won’t wear out the soil, and helps against pests and disease – good business plan.

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Next level is the change in the way of thinking that goes along with this. Understanding our relation with the world not in the straight ‘man conquer forest’ way but ‘man use a bit of forest but is careful before his greed comes back and kicks him in the teeth’. Stephen Stirling calls it the ‘postmodern ecological worldview’ and suggests it as the best way forward from mechanical modernism and text- and sign- obsessed postmodernism. The 2012 imperative Teach-in, which Amelia’s magazine blogged about back in January, puts sustainability right at the centre of design education in this way.

Finally there’s the kind of wondering that Stephen’s thesis looks to – thinking about thinking about thinking, if you’re that way inclined. Wondering about how we tell stories about the world, and how our ways of telling might change, how they might need to change if we are to learn to live many many moons longer under these skies.

‘Whole Systems Thinking’ and ecological literacy are no longer just things to know about. They should certainly not be mere buzzwords tacked on a Corporate Social Responsibility statement or curriculum check-box and forgotten about. They need to start informing our every action. Eventually, they’ll be as mundane as sitting in a quiet armchair of a grey Sunday evening, flicking through a history of the early twenty-first century green-shift. Here’s to that.

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For anybody out there who ever got given a jumper that was too big for them by doting aunt or grandparent – Hannah Taylor, order the Ravensbourne graduate whose praises I was singing on Tuesday, there is right there with you. Her collection is a paene to the nostalgia attached to the big old jumper, when things were less complicated, when the hemline fell below your knees and when somebody had to tie your shoelaces for you (velcro was always easier, no?). Sometimes, though, you wouldn’t be caught dead in said jumper. Spare a thought for the Weasley children. Mrs Weasley WISHES she could knit this good.

Tell me about making your collection.

Well, most of them I knitted using my domestic knitting machine, and the two with the ‘balaclava faces’ on them, including the balaclavas themselves are hand knitted. Everything is either oversized somehow or has shrunken sleeves, the collection is called “You’ll Grow Into It!”

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Why animals?

As in traditional knitwear which features ‘motifs’ of animals or objects, each animal is a motif to represent ‘Victor’ (my dad) and the North, and kind of tells its own little story. For example, there’s a pigeon because stereotypically everybody up North keeps pigeons in a shed next door to their outside toilet.. The 3 flying ducks are after Hilda Ogden’s living room wall in Coronation Street, and also at home where Victor lives, we had 3 pet ducks. The Fox is a symbol of English Heritage and the sad fact that Victor only now has two ducks because at Christmas one was eaten by, yep, a fox, and the guinea pig is there because i used to keep them when I was younger, and Victor would tell me off for never cleaning them out as much as I should have done. Oops.

What’s your favourite piece?

I love each one you know, they’ve all got their own little stories to tell! However I think it has to be Nigel the Guinea Pig jumper as he is the first one I knitted in the collection.

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It was probably one of the best received in the whole of Graduate Fashion Week – why do you think it appealed to people so much?

Aw thank you! I am really glad people enjoyed it, people were probably a bit surprised by it to be honest, and weren’t expecting that to come out on the catwalk! I had fun with my collection, in both the designing and the making, and hope the light-hearted element was was portrayed as I think everyone has an affinity with knitting in some way, shape or form, be it jumpers knitted for them by relatives or someone else they know. I think in the past few decades knitting has become percieved as ‘humorous’ too, so that tends to make people laugh whereas in the past knitters (and knitting) were taken much more seriously.

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What was it that drew you to knitwear initially?

I just love knitting! I was shown when I was younger by my mum but I was AWFUL – I lost my patience with it but picked it up again when I got a bit older and taught myself. Before I started at Ravensbourne I used to run knitting groups in my hometown of Warrington! I think there’s alot of potential in men’s knitwear, I like to think of a boy and ‘dress’ him in a certain way or feeling. I am looking forward to continuing with it.

There seemed to be a massive amount of knitwear at GFW – have you noticed an increase too and why do you think it’s becoming more popular?

Knitting is becoming more popular, especially the social aspect of it and I wonder if it’s going to die down again at some point. If more people are learning the techniques and processes then they will use this for constructing a garment. I also wonder if it is because people are wanting something hand-made or hand-finished, one offs.

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Apparently Giles Deacon was trying on your stuff afterwards – what did you make of that?

Surprising to say the least! It was quite a fast paced few days going from a bit of last-minute linking an hour before it was due to start(!) to then being put forward for the Gala Shows – I wonder if Giles is reading this? I’m taking orders soon if you want one!

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In the aftermath, would you have alterered anything at all?

No I don’t think so – if it’s not broken don’t fix it.

Where next from here? Where could you see yourself working?

I like Walter Van Beirendonck‘s work, I think he’d be great to work for, although there’s a couple of people i’d knit for as it’s the knitting I enjoy the most. I wouldn’t mind my own studio actually, and be able to do all the knitting there. I’ll be starting at the Royal College of Art in September to do my MA in Men’s Knitwear, a 2 year course in which I’m really looking forward to and eventually knitting up another collection!

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To keep up with Hannah, make sure to keep checking both her website and her blog.

Waking up at around half 11 the last thing that I expected I would be doing today was going to see a band that up until a few months ago I thought I had missed the boat with. But having checked the blur forums (something which has now become part of my flatmate’s and I morning routines during the last few months) I discover that Blur are playing a gig somewhere in London tonight. I should probably explain here that blur are without doubt my favourite band and have been for some time; 13 was the second album I ever bought. Details about are sketchy; all I know is that there are 170 tickets available, drugs that I have to go to Brixton to get one and that they have already been available for the past three quarters of an hour. Shit. I rush upstairs and begin shouting nonsensically to my two flatmates that we have to get to Brixton and fast, there there will be no time for showers (an unfortunate circumstance for fellow tube users given that I spent the previous day travelling and it is a warm day – apologies). Luckily they are on side so we sprint down to the station and navigate our way to towards Brixton, sprinting between tube changes only stopping when we arrive at Brixton to question someone as to where exactly the academy is from there. They give us directions and inform us that we will definitely get wristbands for tonight’s gig as they have just got some themselves. We continue sprinting never the less.
When we arrive we are given pieces of paper with numbers on them – 68, 69, 70. There is a short wait in line and as we are given our wristbands we are warned that when we are informed of the whereabouts of the gig (by email and text) that we should not reveal it to anyone as if too many people arrive it may jeopardise it taking place. Given that I have only been awake for an hour now this is all rather surreal. We reward our efforts with breakfast in a greasy spoon round the corner.
Five o’clock; showered and shaved now we get the email.
Blur will be playing a few songs for the lucky few that have passes at Rough Trade East, Dray Walk, 91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL, today, Monday 15th June.

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Please get to the venue no earlier than 6.30m otherwise you may jeopardise the gig. The band will be on stage at 7pm sharp.”
This time travelling is a much more relaxing experience, there is no panicking when the train pauses between stations and we arrive in plenty of time. Having queued up and taken our spot (front stage, to the left, in front of Coxon’s mike) I talk to someone who tells me that he has been following Blur live since 1995. He looks slightly taken aback when I tell him that this is my first gig. There is a tangible sense of anticipation in the audience, no doubt increased by the intimate setting – when the band do come on stage even though I am three deep in the crowd I rarely more than three feet away.

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The band come on stage Damon strutting, Graham looking slightly awkward, and Alex James once again taking the cool rock star mantle (as opposed to the cool cheese farmer). She’s So High is the first track and in my opinion at least the audience seems unsure of quite how to react, a little awed. Any lingering notions that this will be a quiet gig are soon dismissed though as the band launch into Girls and Boys followed by Advert, the air is thick with the sweat of not just the audience but also Damon as he jumps about the stage much in the same vein as in the mid 90′s and the audience react in kind. Following this we are treated to a version of Beetlebum with an extended muted intro. End of the Century is next, before Graham assumes lead vocals for Coffee and TV. Years of playing solo must have imbued him with an increase in confidence but he still has a tendency to sing into the microphone rather than towards the audience. I would argue that this was more endearing than an annoyance as was a moment later on in the set when Tender was played as neither Graham nor Damon appeared to be entirely sure of who should be singing but simply smiled off the mistake. Out Of time is next up, the only song which is played from Think Tank (the album Blur recorded mostly without Graham). Graham’s new guitar part for me is a welcomed edition personally, though my flatmate disagrees – perhaps it should have been a little lower in the mix. Tender’s sprawling ballad like nature is pushed out even further to include an acoustic only segment near the end before launching back into the full band version. For me this was the best song of the night for a number reasons, not because of the Freudian banter about Alex’s upturned bass functioning as a double bass “It’s anything you want it to be”, yes Damon.

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It is the final part of the gig that audience anticipation reaches its climax in though, Popscene turns the crowd into a manic, sweat filled, pulsating machine. The intensity only increases when this is followed immediately by Song 2 and Parklife. The latter of these two is almost certainly an a grade example of how to whip a crowd into a frenzy, threaten to come off the stage but don’t ever quite do it. Finally the band ends with This is a Low, a song which succeeds in leaving the audience wanting more, staying to shout for an encore which unfortunately is not forth coming.
Perhaps the best thing about last night’s gig was pointed out by my friend, Blur played with such intensive energy that it didn’t feel like you were watching a well established act. Rather a new band that was just starting up and had to make a name for themselves.
1 man. 8 weeks. 15 sites. 41 cities. 50 sofas, prostate beds and mattresses.

These are the numbers in the equation of Lithuanian Photographer Paul Paper’s latest project, unhealthy entitled Photodiaries, which took him around the continent in 2008 and make up the content of a travelling exhibition currently taking up residency at the Senko Studios in Viborg, Denmark.

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Paul explained to me that the only planning that went into the voyage consisted of printing out an A4 sized map of Europe, on which he made small dots with possible “places to stay”, though was only certain of his destinations one stop in advance. He tells me his spontaneous nature isn’t entirely to blame for this; a combination of offers from hosts coming last minute and the uncontrollable unexpected twists of fate, including rail strikes in France, all contributed to a more freeform journey.

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He took all the footage on film rather than by digital means, just how holiday snaps were done in childhood- only processed when back home and removed from the transient content in which they were taken, making one instantly nostalgic to be back on the road. When I asked Paul if travelling alone was a conscious decision he made, he explained “When you are alone you are the most vulnerable and absorbent of the environment. In my case it was really good as instead of chatting I had loads of time to write diary on the train or just reflect on the last couple of days.”

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A comfortable solitude is most definitely present in his work; even those images which contain figures still resonate a quiet contemplation of their surroundings. I find his work to so carefully and accurately capture a glimpse of a moment that may otherwise have slipped away out of memory; his photographs are not sensationalist or arrogant, but subtle and melancholic. You can smell, hear and taste them. They are at once personal and open to interpretation.

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They chiefly occupy themselves with capturing the miracle within everyday monotony. It may be a familiar practise for artists to hunt down and capitalise the rare and special from amidst the overlooked mundane, but Paper manages to use light and focus rather than say image cropping or careful composition to achieve this, which I find impossibly impressive.
Paul Paper is a man of simple pleasures. He daydreams, he sleeps, he walks and he eats. In winter he reads in bed about faraway places and long ago travellers. He finds company in animals and comfort in books. He also happens to take heartbreaking photographs, the ones of which he took around Europe late last year have been made into a zine by Cafe Royal. He cites his favourite subjects to photograph as people and awkward situations.

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Paul Paper already has invitations to stay in homes in South America and Asia if Photodiaries is to be repeated across another continent in the future. I ask him what his future plans are looking like, though I only get a vague response; “Exhibitions, exhibitions, exhibitions. And maybe a book.” This only cements my impression of Paper as someone who is fairly content with what he has; A man who is happy to be a photographic observer to life’s little miracles and common tragedies, there to enjoy the ride and document it the best he can.

And the way he can, and does, is certainly best.

A few weeks ago, stomach Amelia and I attended a conference presented by Resurgence Magazine, what is ed a publication which promotes ecological sustainability, social justice and spiritual values. It was held on a Saturday, and to be honest, it was such a glorious warm sunny day that I wondered how I was going to be able to spend seven hours indoors. I needn’t have worried, because the time flew by, and every moment was spent in the company of wise, witty and informed people. What I discovered on that day was invaluable, and I soon realised that lazying around outdoors could wait, I had some learning to do.

The talk was entitled “Economic and Environmental Recovery: From Downturn to Steady State: Creating A Better World To Recover From The Credit Crunch And The Nature Crunch”, and was chaired by the Editor of Resurgence Magazine, Satish Kumar; alongside was Fritjof Capra, the Director of the Centre for Ecoliteracy in California and Ann Pettifor, the Editor of the Real World Economic Outlook. What seems like a wordy title actually translated as a disarmingly simple message; in order for the worlds economic problems to be solved, we must all switch to a truly sustainable and ecological way of living. As I was soon to discover, far from being two separate entities, the issues of economics and ecology are more closely intertwined than I would ever imagined.

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Illustration by Joanna Cheung

Held in Cecil Sharpe House, Regents Park,home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. The morning began with a talk from Ann Pettifor. While I have a few holes in my knowledge of how the economic system actually works, I could easily follow the discussion because Ann was extremely engaging and explained the complex system of economics and trade in a way which everyone could understand. Beginning by describing the relationship of commerce and environmentalism; “If we want to help the ecosystem we have to start with finance” and went onto highlight the direct correlation between easy money/consumption and emissions, adding “we have been convinced that the most important things is money, but what is important is our labour and how we exchange it. Money creates activity, it is not the result of it. Banks should not be at the center of the economy, labour and trade should be.”

After a short break, Fritjof Capra explained a few home truths to the audience. Not being familiar with his work, I was unsure of what to expect. It soon was obvious that this prolific author had his finger on the pulse of sustainability and the transdisciplinary world of ecology and economics. Capra was keen to promote the importance of what he deemed as ‘qualitative growth’, and viewed the current economic system as outdated and in dire need of an overhaul so that it can run harmoniously with a brighter ecological age.

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Illustration by Sachiko

Directing his thoughts towards the current economic crisis, he opined “At the basis is an economic system without ethics. To lift people out of poverty, you need redistribution of money, not economic growth. But equally, no growth is not the answer, growth is a characteristic of all life; in nature it is not unlimited. What we need to have is ‘qualitative growth’, not ‘quantitive’ growth. Since what we call growth is largely waste, actual growth is what enhances life. The planet is a living, self regulating system, and evolution is a co-operative dance. The over expansion of financial services is parasitic on the economy, economists only recognise cash flows, but no other form of wealth. Unlimited quantitive growth is unsustainable, whereas qualitative growth can be sustainable if it combines growth and decline. ”

“We need to distinguish between good and bad growth. Bad growth degrades ecosystems, while good growth involves zero emissions and renewables. The projects which would qualify as ‘good’ growth tend to be small scale projects, community orientated and create local jobs.”

After lunch; we listened to a dialogue between Satish and Fritjof . Speaking about how we can learn from nature, instead of taking from it, Satish explained “In nature, there is always decay, death and rebirth. Businesses are petrified by these concepts. In society we fear death, we equal it with failure. Our economic system isn’t resilient. ”

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Illustration by Sachiko

Capra added to this assertion. “The economy is in the hands of half educated people. Every lesson on economy has to be balanced with ecology. Right now, everything is about the economy. When you put this first you put human interest above the rest of the world. When you look at forests, seas, lands, it is as a resource for us. We have to change our world view, and see that natural resource is our friend, our community. But right now, we all suffer from ‘speciesism’. The holistic world view says that we are ‘nature’, in that we are as much nature as the trees, flowers and mountains. So by this definition, we need to think differently. Our world view needs to be more biocentric, and needs to be driven by hope and by love. The meaning of life is in the living. The things that give us most pleasure cost us very little money.”

Discussing the issues of how our food, clothes and general accruements of life are flown in from other countries, to a detrimental cost to our environment, Satish and Fritjof both advocated a radical change. “60% of our living should be local, 20% should be regional, and the rest should come from other countries. The problem is not consumerism, but waste”

Later on, we sat outside in the gardens of Cecil House. By chance, a group of banjo players were strumming not far from our patch, which made for an enchanting experience as Satish guided us though a conversation which took in life, love and the universe. Quoting Ghandi‘s words “Be the change”, he advocated that personal transformation needs to be first before we can transform the world. “The past, present and future exist simultaneously” he said, and our every thought should be beautiful, creative, warm and positive. Not exactly your stereotypical economics lecture, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Resurgence Magazine runs several workshops throughout the year at various locations, if they are half as insightful as this conference then I am signing myself up for many more, and urge you all to do the same.

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Illustration by Sachiko
The second Ravensbourne wunderkind I managed to have a few words with was another menswear designer Calum Harvey, help whose standout collection, cheapest constructed from mostly unwanted materials, search won him the Textiles Award and showed us innovation in recycled fashion at its most potent. It was futuristic fashion that was actually – steady yourself- forward-thinking.

At fashion shows designers are falling over themselves to give us visions of the future pulled forth from the realms of their imaginations: modern lines, silver shellsuits and sci-fi accessories. Stylistic interpretations that are otherwise meaningless and often completely disconnected from a more earthy reality. It would almost be too earth-shatteringly avant-garde to imply that sustainable fashion is the real future, and it’s a problem I wondered about when I covered TRAID a couple of weeks ago. Right on cue, Calum (with a little help from his mother) is really using his imagination and beating down that path.

First of congratulations on your win – how do you feel?

Thank you very much! Well I’m ecstatic. As a menswear designer, to be nominated alongside dedicated textile designers is overwhelming. It”s been really exciting.

Tell me about your collection – how did it come about?

Well the project first started when my Fiat Cinquecento was scrapped, and as a reminder of her I decided to keep the seat belts. I began to research the partnership of recycling and fashion for my dissertation, and it was the scrapping of my car that started the process. Usually scrapped cars get sent to Africa or Russia to create landfill, and I found out that 95% of a car can be recycled. Over the Christmas break I realised that, when de-constructed, seat belts completely change and look so different – really delicate and fragile. It’s amazing. They are all different, made in different ways, using different yarns, resulting in different colours. So it’s all unraveled (a-hem) to dictate this 9 outfit collection.

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Do you plan to continue working with recycled materials? Where do you think you could go from here?

From a young age working with unwanted materials always excited me, and this has stuck. I created a small clothing and accessories label, LONG LIFE, that dealt with ideas of recycling and re-using. These issues are both environmentally and economically important for everyone. I love the idea of altering purpose and function of materials, and I love making something new from something old. So yes, I will continue working with ideas of recycling!

How would you desribe your design signature?

I’m a bit of an OAP WANNABE. I love classic menswear with an element of risk/irony and humor.

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There was a strong showing of both craft and knitwear at GFW too, wasn’t there?

Yes, and I think there will be more of that to come. People are falling back in love with old craft techniques, perhaps as a reaction to fast/mass produced fashion. There is so much you can do with knit, and it can act as such a spring board for design. You are self sufficient as well, no more trips to Shepherds Bush!

What was your inspiration for the collection? Who are your influences?

I went to the library and got loads of books out on South Polynesia. I was amazed at their scarification techniques, raw and abstract wood carvings and ceremony costume. I think this reference was an easy relation to the material I was working with. And obviously working with shredded seatbelts was a major influence on how I wanted the collection to look.

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Which piece are you most proud of, and which caused you the most grief?

My favourite piece is the chunky knitted jumper that my mum flew over to knit. It’s a monster. It was a good chance to show Mum a week in a fashion student’s life! The most evil piece was the final fluffy coat. It took me and four friends three days to comb over three hundred shredded belt pieces. Because each belt is different some of them don’t go fluffy, and as a result I ran out and then I had to get more…it was tough!

How did you think the show went?

I was really overwhelmed when the show happened, hearing my music (Crawl by Kings of Leon) and seeing it all go out was amazing. I was running around hemming trousers and stitching on buttons minutes before they all went out and that was stressful, but it was the best moment of my life.

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What are you plans for the next 12 months?

Over this summer time I want to spend more time concentrating on the LONG LIFE brand and making a more diverse range of bags and other accessories. I’m going to start an MA in menswear at the Royal College of Art as of September, so lots of sleepless nights I’m guessing!

In the run up to UCA Epsom‘s show at Graduate Fashion Week, approved James E Tutton was burning the edges of a brushed silk shirt from his first collection – ‘Oil on Water’. When asked why he simply claims; “the material melts and finishes itself.”

James’s designs are dark, advice sharp and are a new age approach to tailored menswear. Biker jackets and trench coats with one regular sleeve, page and one raglan sleeve are just one of the quirky details found in his collection. He explains “When designing my graduate collection I had in mind what John Keats would have worn, when he penned his famous poem, ‘Ode on Melancholy’ – but in this day and age.”

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Mood reflective, the clothes are black with an emphasis on melancholy; reversible shirts demonstrate the highs and lows of a manic depressive’s state of mind. In an interview James says, “melancholy; a high or low mentality – it is the main plot. It seems to go hand in hand along the pathway of creativity.” Although interestingly, Keats’s preoccupation with “Beauty that must die” seems to be countered by James’s ability to recycle and remake beauty.

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A mac made of Burberry Prorsum is a key piece in his collection; the inside lining is traditional Burberry beige – representing a higher mood, whilst the outer colour remains black. It’s not an easy job to pair conventional tailoring with melancholy – but this collection is far from bleak.

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James’s design, pictured alongside Petra Taoujni’s

James focuses on androgyny in his designs; hard seams with no curves are combined with feminine fabrics – producing slim, angular silhouettes. “It’s about, how far can you push the conformity of menswear – without breaking all the rules?” He says. All of the seams have sharp edges and corners – to put forth the notion of harshness; at the same time the material is fluid and soft – the juxtaposition is edgy yet chic. James adds, “I tried to keep things simple while blurring the boundaries by having two things together that you wouldn’t necessarily expect.” I think his complex and contradictory mix of ideas have a dark yet beautiful outcome – that makes perfect sense aesthetically.

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In the midst of a recession, second hand or vintage are less of an option and more of a must. Many find the balance of old and new a difficult struggle, and stick to either or. It’s refreshing to see a designer whose collection includes a jacket made entirely from old seventies leather, while the burnt edges of the shirts and tops add to the deconstructive dimension.

The accessories are made from recycled film reels; James says this was inspired by the underground film maker Arthur Lipsett – whose work is regarded avant-garde and innovative. He describes each look in the collection, “as a combination of the previous looks, getting bigger and madder each time – like a Russian doll.” ‘Oil and Water’ is a reflection of James himself; contradictory in thought, yet smooth and cohesive – in its final form. He states, “Oil and water don’t mix – but look as if they do. It’s a dirty rainbow in a puddle.”

Photos: Catwalking.com

It’s Recycle Week! Look out for events near you.

Monday 22nd June

Voting begins for Climate Rush feminism poster.

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Carbon Trading Workshop

In association with Climate Camp, pill come join a Carbon Trading Workshop with Kevin Smith (Carbon Trade Watch) and watch a screening of The Carbon Connection documentary.

When world leaders negotiate a new climate agreement this December, they will promote one solution above all others: carbon trading. The EU already has its own carbon trading system; in the US, Obama is working hard to push a ‘cap-and-trade’ system through Congress. But what is carbon trading? What is the theory behind it? How does it work in practice? Kevin Smith will give a critical perspective on market-based solutions to climate change.

Please email london(at)climatecamp.org.uk to book a place.
19.00 – 21.00
(£3 suggested donation)
BASH studio
65-71 Scrutton Street
London EC2

Tuesday 23rd June

Out of the Wasteland: Hope for a greener world

A talk with Dr Richard Chartres, part of a series in association with the City of London Festival. Looking at what hope there is for London to turn itself into an environmentally friendly city. Gresham College is an independent institution, founded by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1597, of eight professors who give free public lectures.

6.15pm, St Paul’s Cathedral, OBE chabel.
Info: Gresham College lecture list.

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Crude

A screening of this new documentary with director Joe Berlinger present to discuss the making of the film. Crude has been shortlisted for the International Documentary Award at the upcoming One World Media Awards. It is the inside story of the infamous Amazon Chernobyl case, which pitted 30,000 indigenous and colonial rainforest dwellers against the U.S. oil giant Chevron.

At the Flea Pit, 49 Columbia Road, London E2 7RG
7.30pm (nearest Tubes – Old Street/Bethnal Green)
Space for this screening is limited – but we’d love you to come (and there are spaces left as this blog post is going to print)! Please email contact(at)oneworldmedia.org.uk if you would like to come.

Calais No Borders Camp

This Tuesday sees the beginning of the Calais No Borders Camp, planned to continue until the 29th June. Protesting an end to borders and freedom of movement for all, building links with migrant communities, challenge the authorities on the ground, and protest against increased repression of migrants and local activists alike.

The camp will take place in the park in rue Normandie-Niemen, East Calais, France.

Cape Farewell – Andes Expedition, Peru

Working with the Environmental Change Institute, Cape Farewell are setting off on an expedition with artists and scientists to visit shrinking glaciers, cloud forests, lower forests, areas of deforestation & the Amazon. Follow them online where the crew will be sending back live updates from the trek.

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Photo by scientist John Fisher, from a previous Cape Farewell expedition.

Wednesday 24th June

Seeing Myself See

The Royal Society of Arts joins Radical Nature to present neuroscientist R. Beau Lotto performing a series of experiments involving the sky, music and bumblebees. He will demonstrate how colour, vision and seeing-ourselves-see can contribute to a more empathetic view of the environment and each other.

Free. Tickets must be booked.

The Royal Society of Arts
6 John Adam Street
London WC2N

Thursday 25th June

Guerilla Gardening

Part of the Radical Nature season at the Barbican. Have you thought of the horticultural potential of neglected spaces? How can we resist urbanisation using nature? For well-rehearsed tactics, strategies and instructions join South London based guerrilla gardener Richard Reynolds, as he explores the colourful world of this illegal yet flourishing gardening movement.
Barbican Art Gallery, Redgrave Suite, Level 4
7.30pm, tickets £5, book here.

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Age of Stupid

Another chance to catch the Age of Stupid, directed by Franny Armstrong (McLibel, Drowned Out), with Pete Postlethwaite as the last guy alive in a climate-fried world.
At the Haringey Independent Cinema (map), 7pm

Friday 26th June

Eco-Design Summer Fair

Eco-Design Fair over the weekend presenting many contemporary designer-makers focussing on sustainable design processes.

Friday evening Recycling party special: multi-media event with design, fashion, music, DJ’s and more. Organic drinks and food, an eco street chic styling area, eco and vegan fashion and beauty.

Times: Friday 5pm – 9pm; Sat & Sun 10am – 6pm
Free entry with a donation of an old mobile phone
Dray Walk Gallery, Dray Walk, The Old Truman Brewery, off 91 Brick Lane, London
Contact – Louise Kamara – info(at)ecodesignfair.co.uk

After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions

Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller and Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter, the poet Ruth Padel, are two of four artists and writers who have created new works for the Natural History Museum’s summer arts exhibition After Darwin: Contemporary Expressions.

The exhibition will feature new film and installation commissions from Jeremy Deller and Matthew Killip in collaboration with Professor Richard Wiseman and Diana Thater, alongside existing video work by Bill Viola. New literature, commissioned from award winning authors Mark Haddon and Ruth Padel, will also form part of the exhibition, which explores Darwin’s book ‘The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals’.

Opens 26 June
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road
London SW7 5BD

Saturday 27th June

Sheep and Wool Day at Vauxhall City Farm
Dyework is a workshop dedicated to traditional textiles. Come and see our sheep being shorn and then the fleece being spun into yarn. Lots of woolly craft activities and woolly items to buy. Fun for all ages. Relax with a cup of tea and a slice of cake
11.00 – 16.00
Vauxhall City Farm, 165 Tyers Street, London
Contact – Penny Walsh – 020 8692 2958 – pennywalsh(at)dyework.co.uk

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Sunday 28th June

Insider London’s Cutting-Edge Green Tour

Insider London tours take you round hidden corners of London’s flowering sustainable community. Browse through gorgeous shops, witness futuristic architecture and connect with inspiring communities.

A maximum of 8 spaces are available, letting the group get to know each other and to foster networking.

The green tour leaves from the Bishopsgate entrance of Liverpool Street station, finishing at the Oxo Tower around 3 hours later. Halfway through, there’s a fairtrade coffee break at one of London’s stunning green venues.

To book, email bookings@insider-london.co.uk, mentioning the London Sustainability Weeks special tour and stating the date you would like to attend, at least 48 hours in advance.

2pm (meet from 1.45pm)
£25 (Special rate for the Festival)
Meet at Bishopsgate entrance of Liverpool Street

Contact – Cate Trotter – 0844 504 8080 – catetrotter(at)gmail.com
Small Words
Novas Contemporary Urban Centre
73-81 Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 0NQ

Until 3rd July
Mon – Sat 10:00am – 5.00pm
Free Entry

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A truly unique exhibition in that all exhibiting artists are under the age of 10. Galactica Hilton ( age of 9), cure Benjamin McGowan (age of 7) and Marguerite Fox (age of 8) present Small Worlds, this site a fascinating exploration into a child’s world “with the incredible sense of adventure and knowledge that only exists within the minds of children; wonder still intact, sildenafil with emotion etched on their faces.”

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Design High
Loiuse T Blouin Foundation
3 Olaf Street
London W11 4BE

25th June – 30th August
Tues-Friday 10am-6pm, Thursday 10am-9pm, Saturday midday-6pm
Closed Sunday & Monday
Free Entry

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Exploring the ties as well as the tensions between form and function, craft and fine art, the Louise T Blouin Foundation is featuring a series of educational events, discussions, lectures and workshops as well as an exhibition in collaboration with the Carpenters Workshop Gallery. Artists include Marc Quinn, Pablo Reinoso, Thierry Dreyfus, Vincent Dubourg and Sebastian Brajkovic.

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Craftaholics
The Old Queen’s Head
44 Essex Road
London N1 8LN

27th June
12:00 17:00
Free Entry

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A well loved spot on the London craft event circuit, The Old Queen’s Head is having an afternoon of handmade craft and ethical products from designer clothing to jewellery to dolls and everything in between. There promises to be homemade treats to gobble, booze to glug and music to tap your feet to. And the best part of it all? It’s completely free!

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Make Your Own Damn Festival!
The Sun & Doves
61 – 63 Coldharbour Lane
London SE5 9NS

25th June
7 – 10pm
FREE

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As part of Camberwell’s Art Festival this week the lovely folk at Stitch and Bitch London are taking over South London’s artsy pub The Sun & Doves and running a ‘Make Your Own Damn Festival!’ workshop with a knitted theme for all those interested, from beginners to old maestros. Wool and needles provided but feel free to bring your own.

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Situationisn’t: Works Inspired by a Society of Spectacles
The DegreeArt.com Gallery
30 Vyner Street
London, E2 9DQ

23rd June to 28th June
12:00 – 18:00

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“Joe Upton presents an eclectic range of works using 3D Film and Mixed-Media. In this week long exhibition Upton invites the audience to engage in ‘pseudo-activities’ which break the conventional roles of spectatorship through an immersive 3D Film installation and participatory Paint-By-Numbers.Inspired by the avant-garde movement of Situationism, Upton transposes the theory of The Society of the Spectacle to the modern day. He questions our role as producers and consumers of culture and explores themes of novelty value, pop culture and commodity fetishism.”

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Life Drawing Classes
12:00 14:00
Various Locations
Free Entry

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As a prologue to the upcoming Channel 4 broadcast this July in which the nation will be taught the skills and techniques of life drawing, a series of free classes are being held across the city and throughout the country, led by John Berger, Judy Purbeck, Maggi Hambling, Gary Hume and Humphrey Ocean. In a different location every lunch-time, the first-come first-served classes are free but there is no advance booking. For full details click here.

Mondays 22 & 29 June 2009
Shoreditch Town Hall
380 Old Street
London EC1V 9LT

Tuesdays 23 & 30 June 2009
The House of St Barnabas
1 Greek Street
London W1D

Wednesdays 24 June & 1 July 2009
The London Graphic Centre
16-18 Shelton Street
London WC2H

Thursdays 25 June & 2 July 2009
The Place
17 Dukes Road
London WC1H 9PY

Fridays 26 June & 3 July 2009
Channel 4 at Frances House
11 Frances Street
London SW1

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The Sustainabilitree Show
Artsdepot
Tally Ho Corner
5 Nether Street
London N12 0GA

26th June – 6th July
12:00 – 16:00
Free

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Curated by Melanie Warner, after whose own biodegradeable sculpture, standing 3 metres tall and made from corn and starch based bioplastic, the show is named; this diverse collection of media from emerging British Artists aims to inspire and provoke debate around issues of sustainability and the environment.

Under, viagra 40mg over, pharmacy under, website like this over… who would have thought a spot of weaving could help me feel better? These past few weeks have been some of the most stressful of my life as a designer living in London. Worries about my degree work, money and job hunting have caused huge amounts of stress and, as I’m sure many would agree, we all need a bit of escape once in while.

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Perhaps unusually, I’ve turned to crafting. I’m using a weaving loom brooch I made, to relieve my current feelings of anguish. I’ve always been a crafter and I’ve always turned to creative expression as an antedote to life’s pressures. I chose my graduating year as a design student at Goldsmiths to explore my relationship with craft further. After all, craft’s recent resurgence in popularity can be identified as a reaction to current circumstances. The craft trend highlights the importance of homemaking in people’s lives.

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During this time of recession it seems logical to ‘make’ more. If you’re strapped for cash but want a new outfit why not try and make one? For me, the perfect alternative to a days shopping with the girls is a crafty party. Offering situations for discussion, laughter, relaxation and production, the beauty of these parties is no one has to be an expert; everyone can learn off each other and inspire each other.

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The parties celebrate our natural instinct to make with our hands, and we gain a sense of achievement from the production of a handmade object. There’s something hugely satisfying in wearing something you made and you’re proud of. Hosting crafty parties led me to the realisation that craft could be powerful. Now I just needed to convince more people!

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I designed to encourage the crafter in everyone. I made a series of ‘craft in transit’ garments allowing the wearer to be creative whenever and wherever the mood takes them. The crafty dress holds a variety of tools, and when worn and used forms a space and opportunity for creation. These portable tools for creative expression allow the wearer to make use of times of unproductivity. Using a portable weaving loom whilst the bus you’re sitting on is stuck in traffic is a rewarding experience. Although there might be a few strange looks, the ability to be creative avoids the feelings of frustration usually given when using public transport. Equally, wearing your crafty ring to the pub to meet your mates makes crafting both recreational and fashionably different.

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By reclaiming craft we leave behind its traditional past and we celebrate its contemporary relevance. Craft offers a cheap and creative alternative to our over-consumption, and I believe by turning to craft during these stressful times we can celebrate ourselves as creative individuals, as makers, as designers. So why not host a crafty party this weekend, go ahead, make stuff – I’ll soon be doing a how-to guide right here at Amelia’s Magazine if you need some ideas!

Check out my website for more information and to buy my crafty jewellery, www.esterkneen.com.

Not going to Glastonbury? Don’t be sad, try turn that frown upside down and come to these!

Monday 22nd June
Wavves at the Luminaire, London.

Wavves are playing The Luminaire tonight, ride the wave of their reverb-y surfer noise fun!
Also keep you eyes peeled this week for our interview with San Diego’s strangest, we talked about murder, Arrested Development and crypto-zoology.

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Tuesday 23rd June
The Thermals at Cargo, London.

The Thermals are heating things up at Cargo with their catchy simple punky indie rock. Short, snappy and fun.

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Wednesday 24th June
Jamie T at Electric Ballroom, London.

Jamie T, the third best thing to come out of Wimbledon after Wombles and myself, has made something of a turn around with his come back, more noisy, angry and punk that before Jamie T proves he’s not a one-trick pony.

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Thursday 25th June
Groanbox at the Luminaire, London

Groanbox bring their rootsy American folk to the Luminaire.

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Friday 26th June
White Light/ Daft Drunk at the Lexington, London

Dance your woes away at White Light/ Daft Drunk at the lovely Lexington; it’s free so you can gloat about saving all that money by not going to Glastonbury!

Saturday 27th June
Neil Young in Hyde Park, London

Is there a more magical way to spend a Saturday evening than watching Neil Young perform in Hyde Park? A gig that is not to be missed.

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Sunday 28th June
Upset the Rhythm at Barden’s Boudoir, London

Upset the Rhythm never fail to disappoint, the brilliantly dreamy Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, the breezy High Life and Graffiti Island play Barden’s Boudoir

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Categories ,Blues, ,Folk, ,Indie, ,Jazz, ,Listings, ,Lo-fi, ,London, ,Punk, ,Reverb, ,Wavves

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Emerging from the deep woods into Portland, web see Oregon and subsequently into The Pigeon Hole in London, cialis 40mg is one Alela Diane. Armed with her simple yet meticulously picked guitar and bluesy, plaintive vocals, she quietly charmed the audience with her soft presence.

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A contented kind of yearning accompanies her campfire-style, gospel tinged vocals. An encore presented a new song that showed a more complex development of her music. It looks like this young nouveau-folk-singer/songwriter will be conquering the miles of prarie-land ahead in what could be a long career in the biz.

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Everyone seems to have a bit of a crush on all-girl keyboard trio Au Revoir Simone , cialis 40mg consisting of hot girls that epitomise geek and their self-proclaimed ‘sandbox chic’.
Au Revoir Simone is like a perfectly whipped pavlova: light, viagra buy fluffy and crunchy, topped with cream and tangy fruit. As leggy and willowy as their music are Annie, Erika and Heather. With five keyboards, omni-chord, a drum machine and a glockenspiel amongst other miscellaneous electronic and otherwise paraphernalia, their synth-driven compositions are quite delectable.

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Undercover: Lingerie Exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum

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

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

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

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

12 June – 27 September 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Readers, symptoms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yours ever so faithfully,

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

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All images by R Beau Lotto, courtesy of Lotto Labs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Desde Escenario Verde by Oscar L. Tejeda

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

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

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

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Fibers En Zonas De Acampada by Pau Bellido

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

Cosa
7 Ledbury Mews North
London W11 2AF

10th July – 31st July

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

Free

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

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Robots

The Old Sweet Shop
11 Brookwood Road
London SW18 5BL

10th July 2009 – 25th July

Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm
or by appointment

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Image: Doggy Robot (Detail) by Ellie Alexandri

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

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

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Antony Gormley: One & Other

Fourth Plinth
Trafalgar Square
London

6th July – 14th October

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

Find out more about Tina here.

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The Museum of Souvenirs – The Surrealist Photography of Marcel Mariën

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

Until 25th July

Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 6pm

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

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The Importance of Beauty – The Art of Ina Rosing

GV Art
49 Chiltern Street
Marylebone
London W1U 6LY

Until 25th July

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

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

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

Sartorial Contemporary Art
26 Argyle Square
London WC1H 8AP

8th July – 30th July

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

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

Monday 6th July
Why? The Garage, buy London

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

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

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

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Wednesday 8th July
White Denim, Heaven, London

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

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

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

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The Weekend
Loop Festival, Brighton.

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

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Monday 6 July

Whose landscape is it anyway?

Nicholas Stern and Ramachandra Guha consider the tensions between environmental concerns and industrial and economic development in South Asia today.

£5 including day pass to Royal Botanic Gardens, mind Kew.
6.30pm, cost British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1.

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Illustration by Joanna Cheung

Tuesday 7th July

Garbage Warrior Film Screening

The epic story of radical Earthship eco architect Michael Reynolds, and his fight to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities.

7pm (86min), Passing clouds, Dalston (review + directions)

An Alternative Energy Evening?·

Lecture and Panel Discussion?· Professor Vernon Gibson, with Jonathan Leake, ??Chief Chemist of BP, in discussion with key experts in the field of sustainable and renewable energy.
Please join us to hear the latest on this hot topic.

Free to attend. Admission is by guest list only.
??Email events@weizmann.org.uk to reserve your place.
+44 (0)20 7424 6863?  www.weizmann.org.uk

7pm
Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AR

Wednesday 8th July

Renewable Energy, All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group meeting with WWF

Dr Keith Allott leads the discussion.

4-6pm, House of Commons, Westminster SW1

Thursday 9th July

Conflicting Environmental Goods and the Future of the Countryside

Caroline Lucas MEP talking on possible futures.

Contact – judithr@cpre.org.uk
5-7pm, The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, EC1

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

A Climate Mission for Europe: Leadership & Opportunity

Lord Browne, Roger Carr, Lord Giddens, John Gummer MP and Roland Rudd

8–9.30am
Royal Academy of Engineering,
3 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y

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Illustration by Michaela

Wise Women Speaker Event: John D Liu

John D Liu speaks on integrated poverty eradication and large-scale ecosystem rehabilitation. Since the mid-1990′s he has concentrated on ecological film making and has written, produced and directed films on many aspects of the ecology. In 2003, Liu wrote, produced and directed “Jane Goodall – China Diary” for National Geographic. Hailed as a visionary for the future, Lui is director of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) and will discuss his groundbreaking work.

RSVP: polly@wisewomen.me.uk

7pm, ?£10 on the door
The Hub,Islington,
Candid Arts Trust,
5 Torrens Street, London,
EC1V 1NQ

Friday 10th July

The End of the Line

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Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act. The End of the Line is the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Rupert Murray.

7pm, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2.
Contact – events@frontlineclub.com

Saturday 11th July

The Artic And Us

Lemn Sissay discusses the making of the poem “What If”, inspired by his recent trip to the Arctic to highlight climate change.

£7, 3.30pm, South Bank Centre

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Illustration by Lea Jaffey
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This year I spent a record six days at Glastonbury. On Tuesday we set off from London with a mission to “tat” along the way. Tatting is a favourite occupation of the fictional Wombles and is a process central to Climate Camp – it basically means relieving skips and front gardens of useful discarded objects – such as sofas, pilule chairs, tables and carpeting – for reuse in another situation. En route to Glastonbury we managed to fill the van up with various items including a full set of dining chairs that looked swanky but collapsed as soon as we sat on them and a rather manky looking mouldy mattress. It was pointed out that this would seem the lap of luxury after a couple of days in a field with no soft surfaces to rest upon, so we duly lugged it into the van. In fact we needn’t have worried – the mattress was left out to air as soon as we arrived and stolen almost immediately. Desirable already!

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Our journey had an added frisson of excitement given the rumour that everyone was being locked out of the site at 10pm every night. Fortunately (and thanks to GPS on my poncey new iphone) we made it to Pilton Farm on time, whereupon we were greeted by the cheery sight of our big red and yellow marquee. It seems that making merry in the fields of Somerset has turned into a week long affair for many, so vast quantities of people were already cruising the fields, beers in hand.

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For us there was still much work to be done, so in the morning we dressed our area with significant amounts of bunting and colourful flags that we had screenprinted beforehand, all bearing Mia Marie Overgaard‘s beautiful artwork.

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Climate Camp was given a generous corner of an otherwise predominantly camping field – with a big fire pit in the middle and a yurt (housing Ecolab‘s Future Scenarios exhibition) demarcating one corner. Around the yurt I strung the story of Climate Rush so far – printed upon weather resistant banners that billowed dramatically in the gusty winds.

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By the field boundary a “tripod stage” had been constructed – an inspired bit of naming that made reference to the grand pyramid stage down where the rabble doth hang about.

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As we beavered away to beautify the site some classic festival munters pitched up and decided to erect their box fresh tents directly under our Welcome to Climate Camp banner – thereby easily misleading the public in to believing that they were indeed Climate Camp. Within minutes they were yelling “Ogee-ogee-oy” at each other through a megaphone. I kid you not. They were the perfect festival munter cliche right on our doorstep. Needless to say these same creatures left an absolute disaster zone in their wake when they left the festival – but more on that later…

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Many more Climate Camp kindred spirits arrived as we sorted out our space, and by Thursday many curious festival-goers were stopping by to listen to a bit of music or take a wander around our exhibition. Danny Chivers delivered his usual wonderful poetry to a rapt audience and Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors (set up in honour of Joe Strummer and named after a Clash song) took a turn on the stage.

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Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors provides guitars with which to rehabilitate prisoners through music, and the two lads playing for us had since left prison and are trying to build a career in music. After a shy start they were soon regaling the receptive crowd with tales of prison life and left amidst promises that they would return, possibly with the real Billy Bragg in tow – a rumour that quickly gained momentum but was sadly never fulfilled.

Then out of nowhere came possibly our most exciting idea yet; instead of just teaching how to take direct action in workshop form, we would actually do some mock actions right there in Glastonbury. It all seemed too good an opportunity to miss – this year Greenpeace had created a full-on third runway experience, including a miniature Sipson with it’s own international airport which was clearly ripe for the blockading.

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We all donned one of the Climate Camp t-shirts that I’d printed up (I’ve been on a bit of a screenprinting frenzy) and marched noisily down to the Greenpeace field with our tripod and an orangutan in tow. As you do.

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Twenty people blockaded the entrance to the bemusement of passersby, as faux security guards tried to pull them off and the orangutan climbed triumphantly to the top of the tripod. It was a pretty good re-enactment of a real direct action, until actors hired by Greenpeace waded in and stole our thunder with some attention grabbing shouting.

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On Thursday night there was the most spectacular storm, with torrential rain pouring down off our Climate Change is Pants bunting (made from, erm, pants, of course) and into the tent as we sheltered from the monsoon. It stopped just in time for our Mass Night Game, for which I played the part of a security guard (they’re never far away on a direct action)

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As each team arrived at our base in the stone circle they had to climb the tripod as fast as they could before the guards could pull them off. In one surreal moment as the dusk fell some real Glastonbury stewards materialised in pink dayglo waistcoats to my yellow dayglo one, and really confused both themselves and those playing the game.

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As evening fell a group of us went off to discover the new Shangri-La area, where a gaggle of totally drunk pre-pubescent girls fell into us yelling “Michael Jackson’s dead!” Soon the whole festival was ringing with the news – as well as his back catalogue – though we all remained uncertain about the veracity of the rumours and decided to spread a counter rumour that Timmy Mallett was dead. Looking back it was odd that noone seemed particularly sad to hear the news, but then I think most of us have already mourned the cute little black boy who vanished under drastic surgery long ago. It was almost as if Michael Jackson had been one big fat joke for so long that his death was as fantastical and unreal as his life had become, and therefore hard to take seriously.

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The rest of the festival was spent in a whirlwind of outreach and fundraising. I wasn’t so comfortable with the bucket rattling, but luckily others were brilliant at it and we managed to raise loads of much needed cash to help put Climate Camp on this year.

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I spent most of my time chatting to people, both in our field and out around the Green Fields area. And of course taking lots of photos – because that’s where I feel most comfortable of all, recording everything that we do for future posterity.

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We facilitated another few mini direct actions – one day in defiance of the cheap flights on offer in the mock travel agents in Shangri-La, and on another using arm tubes to blockade the mini village of Sipson.

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Friends wandered by to see me but I didn’t really go further than the Green Fields for much of the festival. I have a love hate relationship with Glastonbury and tend to be happiest away from the seething crowds down near the main stages. There were a lot more police on site this year and there were at least two arrests in our field, presumably for drug dealing – thus we found ourselves offering solidarity to the friends that were left behind “we get arrested quite a lot you see…” We got the paddling pool out when it was especially roasting, and I jumped in with all my clothes on before rushing onto the path to offer wet hugs to passersby.

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On my rare trips down to “Babylon” I got in a mild panic – huge crowds of fucked people crashing into me is not my idea of fun. Bruce Springsteen was a major disappointment and I only saw brief bits of Blur from the very back of the field before wandering off to find a friend at the Prodigy, where I got thoroughly freaked out by the gazillions of men and women screaming “smack my bitch up” at the top of their voices, I mean – I like the tune, but there are some totally suspect lyrics going on there. Over by the John Peel stage I was amused to see a huge (high as a skyscraper) board of protest banners bearing one of the Climate Rush picnic blankets from our Heathrow protest.

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It was very surreal to see it high above me, when last it was sitting in a crumpled mess in my hallway. On more than a few occasions we found ourselves at the uber decadent Arcadia area of an evening.

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It was the ultimate irony that the closest stage to Climate Camp featured hugely wasteful gas flares that shot into the night and made a mockery of our frugal ways; any energy savings made by our solar powered camp so obviously swallowed in the dystopian heat of the dramatic flames. Needless to say we were drawn to Arcadia like fossil fuel moths, dancing under the sizzling spectacle with all the other revellers, all part of the same species careering towards self-destruction.

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But back to the beautiful green space of Climate Camp, where our little tripod stage proved to be a real winner. My trusty music editor Roisin had contacted some music prs a mere day or so before I left for Glastonbury and secured performances from the wondrous First Aid Kit and the equally brilliant 6 Day Riot. First Aid Kit arrived fresh from a gig on the Park Stage with their parents in tow, and wowed everyone with a simple acoustic set that highlighted their delicate use of harmonies.

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Unfortunately I missed 6 Day Riot due to outreach with our “aggie animals” whereby a homeless alcoholic orangutan, polar bear and tiger went out to engage with the general public.

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The idea was to subvert the traditional cutesy perception of said animals, a plan w