Amelia’s Magazine | There’s the General Election, and then there’s Democracy Village in Parliament Square.


Illustration by June Chanpoomidole

While Spring turns to Summer, check London Fashion Week AW10 may fade in our memories, but the designers that drew us in certainly won’t. One such designer that caught my eye at the Esthetica exhibition was ‘Makepiece’. The concept and techniques used were so intriguing that we couldn’t resist interviewing the owner, Beate Kubitz.

 Why did you choose to focus on eco-fashion? Why is it so important to you? 
Clothes are important to me.  I think what you’re wearing tells other people a lot about you, who you are and how you feel about yourself.  I don’t like the idea that something that makes me look great was complicit in damaging the environment or the people who made it.  You don’t want your favourite t-shirt to be dripping with pesticides, cause a water shortage or to be sewn up in a sweat shop.  But unless you’re very careful, it might be. 
There’s something wrong with the latest trend ‘buy, wear, chuck’ mentality – it’s a bit neurotic and it’s definitely bad for the planet.  We try and make clothes that are significant to the women that wear them and that they can feel really good about. 

How did the Makepiece brand begin?  
I’ve been keeping sheep for seven years now, met Nicola six years ago and Makepiece is now five. 
We’re located in Todmorden, a small town in the Pennines. It’s beautiful and has a long history of wool production so it feels like the right place to be doing it.  The landscape is scattered with mills built in the nineteenth century – but wool was being spun and woven in cottage industries and then transported to market or the Piece Halls on ponies travelling on packhorse tracks which still crisscross the moors. 

What techniques do you use in your clothing?
Knitting – with some knitted felt.  The important thing is stitch design – Nicola is the queen of 3D stitches that really sculpt the garments and give them their drama as well as their details. She uses hand operated knitting machines which give her scope to develop a stitch then apply it in loads of different ways so that it works on the body. Our knits tend to be more three-dimensional because they’re designed like this. Also, all our knits are fully fashioned (knitted to shape rather than cut out of a piece of knitted cloth) which looks better and wastes less yarn. 

What materials do you use in your clothing?
Wool – some of it undyed brown wool from our Shetland sheep, others fine Bluefaced Leicester wool, from the UK flock and English alpaca and mohair.


Illustration by Becky Glover

What was the inspiration behind your most recent collection? 
Romance, definitely. Nicola got married in the summer and the sense of romance seems to have seeped into and permeated the collection. There are lots of ruffles, little frills, translucency and volume – but not just ephemeral prettiness, really lovely things that you can adapt and keep forever. 

Do you have a favourite piece in the current collection? If so, what is it and why? 
There are a few things that are really adaptable – like the Manifold cardigan which has a ribbon tie which can be used to ruche it up to bolero length or left loose so that it’s a long, elegant cardigan. Our little Foxglove shrug also works as a summer scarf and the Manifold dresses can be styled in loads of ways so they let the wearer use her imagination. 

What are your future aims for the Makepiece brand?
We’ve really been growing our website so that people all over the country can buy our clothes but we’d like to be in more stores, for the people who are less confident with internet shopping or who like to try things on. 

Is it harder or easier to sell eco-fashion? Is there a lot of competition?
Because we make everything in the UK it’s more expensive to manufacture so that means that we have to do a good job in helping people understand.

What is so individual about the Makepiece brand?  
Style, humour and our flock of Shetland sheep.  We go from mud to mascara in a twinkling of an eye – never forgetting the roots of our fashion but always looking for beauty and grace in our designs. We try and be sustainable throughout the business – from the way we farm the sheep with the lowest impact possible (we’re just about to become part of a scheme to help protect twite – which is one of the most endangered British bird species) to buying green energy for the studio, recycling everything we can, using public transport as much as possible (I took our last collection to London Fashion Week on the train from Yorkshire – in the most enormous trunk – it was quite a feat), I even do some of the farming on my bike.   

The good thing about wool is that it is more or less a by-product from sheep farming so it’s not using up land or resources that should be in food production – and on upland farms like mine creating good grazing and farming sheep is one of the few productive things you can do (I tried vegetables once, but it was not a success!).  Compared to cotton, for example, which uses over 15% of the pesticides used in the world and vast amounts of water – so much that the irrigation of cotton has shrunk the size of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, wool is farmed much more sustainably (particularly in the UK where we have to look after the land as well as the animals and the government monitors your impact on the environment). 

Because we make everything so locally we avoid the CO2 emissions from shipping things vast distances. We also employ people in our community and use a local dyer who has to comply with European dyeing regulations – the REACH standards; no azos, no heavy metals and irritants, effluent is stringently monitored so no emissions into the water system, and so on. 
We also only use recycled and sustainable paper in our labelling and packaging. 

You can find the brand at: www.makepiece.co.uk and selected eco-fashion stores.


Illustration by June Chanpoomidole

While Spring turns to Summer, stuff London Fashion Week AW10 may fade in our memories, information pills but the designers that drew us in certainly won’t. One such designer that caught my eye at the Esthetica exhibition was ‘Makepiece’. The concept and techniques used were so intriguing that we couldn’t resist interviewing the owner, Beate Kubitz.

 Why did you choose to focus on eco-fashion? Why is it so important to you? 
Clothes are important to me.  I think what you’re wearing tells other people a lot about you, who you are and how you feel about yourself.  I don’t like the idea that something that makes me look great was complicit in damaging the environment or the people who made it.  You don’t want your favourite t-shirt to be dripping with pesticides, cause a water shortage or to be sewn up in a sweat shop.  But unless you’re very careful, it might be. 
There’s something wrong with the latest trend ‘buy, wear, chuck’ mentality – it’s a bit neurotic and it’s definitely bad for the planet.  We try and make clothes that are significant to the women that wear them and that they can feel really good about. 

How did the Makepiece brand begin?  
I’ve been keeping sheep for seven years now, met Nicola six years ago and Makepiece is now five. 
We’re located in Todmorden, a small town in the Pennines. It’s beautiful and has a long history of wool production so it feels like the right place to be doing it.  The landscape is scattered with mills built in the nineteenth century – but wool was being spun and woven in cottage industries and then transported to market or the Piece Halls on ponies travelling on packhorse tracks which still crisscross the moors. 

What techniques do you use in your clothing?
Knitting – with some knitted felt.  The important thing is stitch design – Nicola is the queen of 3D stitches that really sculpt the garments and give them their drama as well as their details. She uses hand operated knitting machines which give her scope to develop a stitch then apply it in loads of different ways so that it works on the body. Our knits tend to be more three-dimensional because they’re designed like this. Also, all our knits are fully fashioned (knitted to shape rather than cut out of a piece of knitted cloth) which looks better and wastes less yarn. 

What materials do you use in your clothing?
Wool – some of it undyed brown wool from our Shetland sheep, others fine Bluefaced Leicester wool, from the UK flock and English alpaca and mohair.


Illustration by Becky Glover

What was the inspiration behind your most recent collection? 
Romance, definitely. Nicola got married in the summer and the sense of romance seems to have seeped into and permeated the collection. There are lots of ruffles, little frills, translucency and volume – but not just ephemeral prettiness, really lovely things that you can adapt and keep forever. 

Do you have a favourite piece in the current collection? If so, what is it and why? 
There are a few things that are really adaptable – like the Manifold cardigan which has a ribbon tie which can be used to ruche it up to bolero length or left loose so that it’s a long, elegant cardigan. Our little Foxglove shrug also works as a summer scarf and the Manifold dresses can be styled in loads of ways so they let the wearer use her imagination. 

What are your future aims for the Makepiece brand?
We’ve really been growing our website so that people all over the country can buy our clothes but we’d like to be in more stores, for the people who are less confident with internet shopping or who like to try things on. 

Is it harder or easier to sell eco-fashion? Is there a lot of competition?
Because we make everything in the UK it’s more expensive to manufacture so that means that we have to do a good job in helping people understand.

What is so individual about the Makepiece brand?  
Style, humour and our flock of Shetland sheep.  We go from mud to mascara in a twinkling of an eye – never forgetting the roots of our fashion but always looking for beauty and grace in our designs. We try and be sustainable throughout the business – from the way we farm the sheep with the lowest impact possible (we’re just about to become part of a scheme to help protect twite – which is one of the most endangered British bird species) to buying green energy for the studio, recycling everything we can, using public transport as much as possible (I took our last collection to London Fashion Week on the train from Yorkshire – in the most enormous trunk – it was quite a feat), I even do some of the farming on my bike.   

The good thing about wool is that it is more or less a by-product from sheep farming so it’s not using up land or resources that should be in food production – and on upland farms like mine creating good grazing and farming sheep is one of the few productive things you can do (I tried vegetables once, but it was not a success!).  Compared to cotton, for example, which uses over 15% of the pesticides used in the world and vast amounts of water – so much that the irrigation of cotton has shrunk the size of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, wool is farmed much more sustainably (particularly in the UK where we have to look after the land as well as the animals and the government monitors your impact on the environment). 

Because we make everything so locally we avoid the CO2 emissions from shipping things vast distances. We also employ people in our community and use a local dyer who has to comply with European dyeing regulations – the REACH standards; no azos, no heavy metals and irritants, effluent is stringently monitored so no emissions into the water system, and so on. 
We also only use recycled and sustainable paper in our labelling and packaging. 

You can find the brand at: www.makepiece.co.uk and selected eco-fashion stores.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells
Democracy Village. All photography by Amelia Wells.

Parliament Square is currently home to the Democracy Village; a few tents, viagra 100mg a couple of marquees and a whole lot of passion. It was set up on May the First and will be there… until people leave, this or for some, viagra 40mg until the war is over. I went down on Election Day, since I couldn’t vote anyway having failed to register, to see what was going on at the Festival of Peace. I found a vibrant and close knit community of anarchists, doing what they colourfully could to challenge the establishment, promote democracy and bring the war that we’re still at to an end.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Banners were being painted and erected as I arrived, the most striking declaring ‘Capitalism Isn’t Working’ against the backdrop of Big Ben. Others encouraged peaceful feelings, demanded ‘TROOPS OUT’, and my favourite, ‘If Voting Changed Anything, It Would Be Illegal’ – a good point when you consider quite how opposed the establishment are towards those actions which do make changes, such as occupations, mass protests, swoops and other forms of direct action. In the name of protecting our security, of course. Strangely, the police sniffing around the set-up didn’t make me feel more secure.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The atmosphere in the Village was peaceful and playful, in spite of the threat to national security which we represented. Peace-mongering music was played and danced to, the lyrics encouraging politicians not to go to war and to love their fellow man, with some Rage thrown in to sate the more militant. I watched people paint their shoes and bags with Ghandi’s most famous quote while a girl called Cloud handed out homemade fairy cakes.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Eventually, the open mic picked up, starting with a chap standing up to remind everybody why we were there and what we stood for when he asked whether politicians represent our views, or if we do? He also pointed out that being peaceful is not equivalent to being apathetic. Anything but, in fact, in a country run by the power and conflict hungry, seeking peace is downright subversive. He was rightfully applauded and whooped for his impassioned speaking, after which a gent who had been filming the event and interviewing the Villagers stepped up to spout well-crafted words of poetry in the exact spirit of peace we need – calling out the hateful on their actions and encouraging us to make a difference. Next up, a red nosed, bewigged gentleman incited us to love, respect and welcome one and all. His motto; one world, one society.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The most controversial speaker was a mouthpiece for the Tories who encouraged us anarchists to register as such in return for mind-altering substances. A few Villagers didn’t seem to have a prior understanding of satire and became quite riled at the ‘Tory’s’ opinions; one lady began shouting about the Village being funded by oil and arms companies… and the Israelis. After a calming down period, he suggested that we find a child and ask its favourite colour, informing us that he was voting Lib Dem because his son likes yellow, and voting isn’t going to make a difference to how the country is run.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Herein lies my gripe with actions such as these. It’s so easy for activists embroiled in occupations and demonstrations to believe that the means to change are obvious to all, but the man-in-the-street being told that his vote is irrelevant will only feel more powerless, if they pay any attention at all. The act of occupation is an act of power – reclaiming public space – but is standard passer-by going to stop and ask what they can do instead of voting, or keep passing by and shake their heads at foolish hippies?

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The true message is that we can take the power back through direct action, occupations, protests, swoops and marches. Camps like these do force people to consider, if only for the moment it takes to read a banner, that our political system lies to us about the importance of our vote while trying to make us believe it is the sole extent of our political voice, and therefore reducing our power and influence over them (long banner, eh?) . However, most won’t and don’t wander into places like these and ask what they CAN do. As the Tory said, ‘I’m preaching to the converted here’. The outreach didn’t seem to be reaching out. An occupation in Parliament Square is the perfect opportunity to reach hundreds of people every day, not just with a message, but with suggested actions which everyone can take to make those changes we so desire and need.

The Village is going on indefinitely, and there are also events this weekend at Kew Bridge Eco Village and Transition Heathrow as well. Get down there to Kew for some face painting fun, or get along to Grow Heathrow and get stuck into their work weekend.

Categories ,camping, ,Direct Action, ,grassroots, ,Kew Eco Village, ,Lib Dem, ,parliament, ,Peace, ,sustainability, ,Tory, ,Transition Heathrow, ,transition towns, ,war

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Amelia’s Magazine | Protest against RBS’s investment into Tar Sands

The Emerald Isles Lisa Hannigan has had a sparkling 2009. You may recognize her talents from album “O” by Damien Rice on which she featured on most of the tracks. The winds have since changed and she has set sail alone. The solo debut from Hannigan comes in the shape of the charming “Sea Saw”. The release of “Sea Saw” saw her nominated for numerous awards, cialis 40mg healing notably, ailment for sale for The Mercury Music Prize.

lisa

The album includes the beautiful track “Sea Song“, which you can download for free, aswell as singles“Lille” and “I Don’t Know” that were visually represented with playful paper craft based videos. She has taken her “Sea Saw” stories on tour following a successful Glastonbury performance and sell out shows at Shepherds Bush Empire and Union Chapel earlier this year.

Lisa returns to London on Monday 23rd of November to play at The Royal Festival Hall.
If you would like to win two tickets see the songbird please e-mail with a short seaside story (just a few lines is fine) music@ameliasmagazine.com by midday Friday the 20th with your contact details.

LISA1

Further dates that Lisa Hannigan and her band are playing this month include:

22nd Nov NORWICH, Waterfront
23rd Nov LONDON, Royal Festival Hall
24th Nov MANCHESTER, Club Academy
25th Nov BIRMINGHAM, Academy 2

For more details about Irish dates in December and news visit Lisa’s myspace or official site.
The Emerald Isles Lisa Hannigan has had a sparkling 2009. You may recognize her talents from album “O” by Damien Rice on which she featured on most of the tracks. The winds have since changed and she has set sail alone. The solo debut from Hannigan comes in the shape of the charming “Sea Saw”. The release of “Sea Saw” saw her nominated for numerous awards, visit this notably, for The Mercury Music Prize.

lisa

The album includes the beautiful track “Sea Song“, this which you can download for free, aswell as singles“Lille” and “I Don’t Know” that were visually represented with playful paper craft based videos. She has taken her “Sea Saw” stories on tour following a successful Glastonbury performance and sell out shows at Shepherds Bush Empire and Union Chapel earlier this year.

Lisa returns to London on Monday 23rd of November to play at The Royal Festival Hall.
If you would like to win two tickets see the songbird please e-mail with a short seaside story (just a few lines is fine) music@ameliasmagazine.com by midday Friday the 20th with your contact details.

LISA1

Further dates that Lisa Hannigan and her band are playing this month include:

22nd Nov NORWICH, Waterfront
23rd Nov LONDON, Royal Festival Hall
24th Nov MANCHESTER, Club Academy
25th Nov BIRMINGHAM, Academy 2

For more details about Irish dates in December and news visit Lisa’s myspace or official site.
A group of Squatters have taken up residency in an iconic building, remedy Royal Park Primary School in Hyde Park Leeds, diagnosis with the purpose to reclaim the derelict school for the local community and to take a stand against the possible demolition of the building in the future.

s4

Padlocking the gates to prevent police intervention and armed with colourful banners and plenty of determination the group first set up camp in an old classroom right beside the old Headmaster’s office, and making sure they held the space until they could gain complete control before the building could be opened and enjoyed by the whole community.

S1

After various bids to the council from the community for the site to be handed over it was, of course, offered to private developers Rushbond PLC for the councils easy fix solution and a quick money making scheme. Thankfully the company had to pull out for financial reasons, and so after being left derilict for 5 years the school isn’t in the best condition and throughout the 30 rooms, including a large concert hall, there is a fair amount of damaged paintwork, plasterwork and flooring mainly due to the lead tiles on the roof being nicked 5 months ago letting in rain water.

s2

But thanks to the commitment from the small group of activists that seem more intent on creating a decent community space than the council the school is now becoming a flourishing space for the local residents and students in the area.

Last week a jumble sale was held by the Royal Park Community Consortium (RPCC), the people who are currently living at the school, to raise funds to restore the building. People of all ages attended to show their support and perhaps with the hope of picking up a few bargains too.

Bright posters and children’s work still feature on the walls inside, as well as that distinct school smell which still lingers to give it an almost melancholy feel. Even tour guides were on hand to lead you around the safer and less damaged rooms and also to explain more about the potential the building actually has.

s3

The concert hall has a stage and would be an ideal venue for gigs and other performances or even as our tour guide describes as a space for children’s indoor sports and activities. There has also been talk of transforming one room into music studio.

The school is currently open to the public daily and welcomes everyone, and there are plenty of ways you can get involved in saving this incredible building. It is easy to become a member of the RPCC, simply go along to one of their frequent meetings, which are advertised on signs at the front of the school and around the area. Help is needed in restoring the building, cleaning and maintaining the rooms and playground and donating building materials. You could even uphold the buildings security and become a night watch-person on the site. To see this building tore down and replaced with a supermarket would be unjust; and hopefully with more support we could soon see the school made into a fantastic site for arts, music, sport and more, to benefit the whole of Hyde Park.

The Emerald Isles Lisa Hannigan has had a sparkling 2009. You may recognize her talents from album “O” by Damien Rice on which she featured on most of the tracks. The winds have since changed and she has set sail alone. The solo debut from Hannigan comes in the shape of the charming “Sea Saw”. The release of “Sea Saw” saw her nominated for numerous awards, buy notably, website like this for The Mercury Music Prize.

lisa

The album includes the beautiful track “Sea Song“, which you can download for free, aswell as singles“Lille” and “I Don’t Know” that were visually represented with playful paper craft based videos. She has taken her “Sea Saw” stories on tour following a successful Glastonbury performance and sell out shows at Shepherds Bush Empire and Union Chapel earlier this year.

Lisa returns to London on Monday 23rd of November to play at The Royal Festival Hall.
If you would like to win two tickets see the songbird please e-mail with a short seaside story (just a few lines is fine) music@ameliasmagazine.com by midday Friday the 20th with your contact details.

LISA1

Further dates that Lisa Hannigan and her band are playing this month include:

22nd Nov NORWICH, Waterfront
23rd Nov LONDON, Royal Festival Hall
24th Nov MANCHESTER, Club Academy
25th Nov BIRMINGHAM, Academy 2

For more details about Irish dates in December and news visit Lisa’s myspace or official site.
BARBIE1

Barbara Millicent Roberts, capsule you might know her better as Barbie, turned the big 5-0 in 2009, March 9th to be exact. Rather than getting down about this life milestone she’s been partying all year long! To celebrate makers Mattel have launched line upon line of specialist dolls throughout 2009. From Hollywood Stars to Supermodels, It is now the turn of three ladies who, probably safe to say, may lead Barbie astray. “The Ladies of the 80’s” are The Pop star, The Rock star and The Punk Star. Cindi Lauper, Joan Jett and Blondie Babe, Debbie Harry.

CINDY1
Since her hit making heyday eccentric Miss Lauper has continued with music, just on a less successful scale. Saying that, her 2008 electronic album “Bring Ya To The Brink” was grammy nominated. Also in 2008 there was a strange collaboration between Cindi and The Hives when they recorded an almost anti-Christmas single entitled “A Christmas Duel”. This was only available in the bands native Sweden where it reached number 4. She continues to work with contrasting artists as she features on Wyclef Jeans latest track “Slumdog Millionaire”. Cindi shall present us with autobiography in 2010 as she continues to work with charities, appear in the odd crime drama and she shall surly find somebody else who nobody expected her at all to collaborate with. I’m wondering if anybody else thinks her doll looks more like Gloria Estefan though?

JOAN1

Besides being Barbie-fied Joan Jett has had a pretty busy year. Appearing in crime dramas seems to be a reoccurring theme with the ladies as Joan has also appeared in such shows, including Law & Order. Jett is producing a film entitled “The Runaways” which tells the story of the girl group of the same name that she began her career in. Now, What is the best way to get your film attention? Get two of the most in demand young ladies in the world to play the leading roles of course. The film features “Twilight” stars Dakota Fanning and Kirsten Stewart, the later playing Jett. The film due for release in 2010 and will be complimented very cleverly with a Greatest hits album that shall feature two new tracks.

DEBBIE1

Fellow CBGB alumni Miss Harry has also jumped onto the film bandwagon. She lends her voice to narrate “Downtown Calling” which features DJ:AM and Mos Def. The documentary film starts by looking back on a troubled NYC, circa 1970s. The developments in music and the arts are investigated and also how the city continues to be such a phenomenal influence in the industry today. In 2010 Harry shall contribute two tracks to a tribute album to Jeffrey Lee Pierce entitled ‘We Are Only Riders – The JLP Sessions Project’. Debbie’s Barbie captures the cover of “Plastic Letters” complete with microphone stand and pink PVC dress .

With the negative associations with Barbie as a role model its great that they have chosen three influential strong women to become the newest members of the gang and that these shall be in young girls toy boxes around the world. Introducing young girls to these great idols is a brilliant idea and shall perhaps provoke a new generation to look back and discover the stunning music of the ladies from the 80’s. Your Dad might also appreciate his own version of Debbie Harry in that revealing PVC dress before all the plastic surgery happened. If you think he will you can pre order the dolls that are released next month.
Yesterday a group of activists joined representatives from Canada’s First Nation communities to protest against RBS’s continued funding into Tar Sands.

ts1
 
Tar sands is a particularly oily soil which is extracted by using huge open pit mining, page leaving huge 75 meter scars in the wake or by ‘In Situ mining’ which requires huge amounts of natural gas to operate.

Tar Sands extraction is also the dirtiest forms of oil, online producing 3 to 5 times as much Co2 per barrel as conventional oil, purchase which shows a desperate attempt by corporations and governments to profit from oil no matter the cost to the environment.

These ‘oil sands’ are found predominately in Canada, which means the US can look to have less reliance on oil from conflict regions such as the middle East. However it doesn’t stop them trampling over Indigenous communities in Canada, polluting the soil, water, turning forests and ecosystems into desolate wastelands and pushing groups of people that have lived sustainably for hundreds of years into extinction.

ts6

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation of Northern Alberta, noted: “The tar sands is the world’s largest and most destructive industrial development. “It is destroying an area of ancient forest larger than England. Millions of litres a day of toxic waste are seeping into our groundwater and we are seeing terrifyingly high levels of cancer in our communities.”

ts2

The three women also from the First Nation communities had previously attended a meeting in Parliament to deliver an open letter to the Chancellor, Alistar Darling outlining the threat to their homes and were later planning to deliver the letter to an RBS representative.
Shouting and using megaphones they got their messages across and thanked all the people for coming down and showing solidarity with the movement.

ts3

Role-playing, shouting and mass dying everyone else on the protest organised by People and Planet, aimed to get their message across on the busy street, plenty of leaflets were also handed out even a fair few press turned up as well as the bankers themselves coming out for their lunch.

RBS is one of the big payers investing into Tar Sands, which they plan to expand production on over the next few decades. What is worse is that RBS is public owned since the banks bailout in 2008. We are effectively funding human rights abuses from Tar Sands extraction through our taxes and our treasury.

The protest yesterday was calling for RBS to shift investments away from projects like the tar sands as well as investment into things like the controversial new coal power plants planned by e-on.

ts4

 A few of the bankers obviously found it really funny that people would choose to lie on the street and not, instead wear a suit and tie and play with peoples money in the stock market, but hopefully with the continued presence outside the bank hopefully something might start getting into their heads.

Categories ,Activists, ,bankers, ,canada, ,eco systems, ,First Nation communities, ,indigenous, ,mining, ,oil, ,parliament, ,people and planet, ,polluting, ,protest, ,RBS, ,Tar Sands

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Hung Parliament spells serious change for our government.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells
Democracy Village. All photography by Amelia Wells.

Parliament Square is currently home to the Democracy Village; a few tents, visit this site treatment a couple of marquees and a whole lot of passion. It was set up on May the First and will be there… until people leave, or for some, until the war is over. I went down on Election Day, since I couldn’t vote anyway having failed to register, to see what was going on at the Festival of Peace. I found a vibrant and close knit community of anarchists, doing what they colourfully could to challenge the establishment, promote democracy and bring the war that we’re still at to an end.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Banners were being painted and erected as I arrived, the most striking declaring ‘Capitalism Isn’t Working’ against the backdrop of Big Ben. Others encouraged peaceful feelings, demanded ‘TROOPS OUT’, and my favourite, ‘If Voting Changed Anything, It Would Be Illegal’ – a good point when you consider quite how opposed the establishment are towards those actions which do make changes, such as occupations, mass protests, swoops and other forms of direct action. In the name of protecting our security, of course. Strangely, the police sniffing around the set-up didn’t make me feel more secure.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The atmosphere in the Village was peaceful and playful, in spite of the threat to national security which we represented. Peace-mongering music was played and danced to, the lyrics encouraging politicians not to go to war and to love their fellow man, with some Rage thrown in to sate the more militant. I watched people paint their shoes and bags with Ghandi’s most famous quote while a girl called Cloud handed out homemade fairy cakes.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Eventually, the open mic picked up, starting with a chap standing up to remind everybody why we were there and what we stood for when he asked whether politicians represent our views, or if we do? He also pointed out that being peaceful is not equivalent to being apathetic. Anything but, in fact, in a country run by the power and conflict hungry, seeking peace is downright subversive. He was rightfully applauded and whooped for his impassioned speaking, after which a gent who had been filming the event and interviewing the Villagers stepped up to spout well-crafted words of poetry in the exact spirit of peace we need – calling out the hateful on their actions and encouraging us to make a difference. Next up, a red nosed, bewigged gentleman incited us to love, respect and welcome one and all. His motto; one world, one society.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The most controversial speaker was a mouthpiece for the Tories who encouraged us anarchists to register as such in return for mind-altering substances. A few Villagers didn’t seem to have a prior understanding of satire and became quite riled at the ‘Tory’s’ opinions; one lady began shouting about the Village being funded by oil and arms companies… and the Israelis. After a calming down period, he suggested that we find a child and ask its favourite colour, informing us that he was voting Lib Dem because his son likes yellow, and voting isn’t going to make a difference to how the country is run.

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

Herein lies my gripe with actions such as these. It’s so easy for activists embroiled in occupations and demonstrations to believe that the means to change are obvious to all, but the man-in-the-street being told that his vote is irrelevant will only feel more powerless, if they pay any attention at all. The act of occupation is an act of power – reclaiming public space – but is standard passer-by going to stop and ask what they can do instead of voting, or keep passing by and shake their heads at foolish hippies?

Democracy Village Amelia Wells

The true message is that we can take the power back through direct action, occupations, protests, swoops and marches. Camps like these do force people to consider, if only for the moment it takes to read a banner, that our political system lies to us about the importance of our vote while trying to make us believe it is the sole extent of our political voice, and therefore reducing our power and influence over them (long banner, eh?) . However, most won’t and don’t wander into places like these and ask what they CAN do. As the Tory said, ‘I’m preaching to the converted here’. The outreach didn’t seem to be reaching out. An occupation in Parliament Square is the perfect opportunity to reach hundreds of people every day, not just with a message, but with suggested actions which everyone can take to make those changes we so desire and need.

The Village is going on indefinitely, and there are also events this weekend at Kew Bridge Eco Village and Transition Heathrow as well. Get down there to Kew for some face painting fun, or get along to Grow Heathrow and get stuck into their work weekend.

Illustration by June Chanpoomidole

While Spring turns to Summer, generic London Fashion Week AW10 may fade in our memories, stomach but the designers that drew us in certainly won’t. One such designer that caught my eye at the Esthetica exhibition was ‘Makepiece’. The concept and techniques used were so intriguing that we couldn’t resist interviewing the owner, Beate Kubitz.

 Why did you choose to focus on eco-fashion? Why is it so important to you? 
Clothes are important to me.  I think what you’re wearing tells other people a lot about you, who you are and how you feel about yourself.  I don’t like the idea that something that makes me look great was complicit in damaging the environment or the people who made it.  You don’t want your favourite t-shirt to be dripping with pesticides, cause a water shortage or to be sewn up in a sweat shop.  But unless you’re very careful, it might be. 
There’s something wrong with the latest trend ‘buy, wear, chuck’ mentality – it’s a bit neurotic and it’s definitely bad for the planet.  We try and make clothes that are significant to the women that wear them and that they can feel really good about. 

How did the Makepiece brand begin?  
I’ve been keeping sheep for seven years now, met Nicola six years ago and Makepiece is now five. 
We’re located in Todmorden, a small town in the Pennines. It’s beautiful and has a long history of wool production so it feels like the right place to be doing it.  The landscape is scattered with mills built in the nineteenth century – but wool was being spun and woven in cottage industries and then transported to market or the Piece Halls on ponies travelling on packhorse tracks which still crisscross the moors. 

What techniques do you use in your clothing?
Knitting – with some knitted felt.  The important thing is stitch design – Nicola is the queen of 3D stitches that really sculpt the garments and give them their drama as well as their details. She uses hand operated knitting machines which give her scope to develop a stitch then apply it in loads of different ways so that it works on the body. Our knits tend to be more three-dimensional because they’re designed like this. Also, all our knits are fully fashioned (knitted to shape rather than cut out of a piece of knitted cloth) which looks better and wastes less yarn. 

What materials do you use in your clothing?
Wool – some of it undyed brown wool from our Shetland sheep, others fine Bluefaced Leicester wool, from the UK flock and English alpaca and mohair.


Illustration by Becky Glover

What was the inspiration behind your most recent collection? 
Romance, definitely. Nicola got married in the summer and the sense of romance seems to have seeped into and permeated the collection. There are lots of ruffles, little frills, translucency and volume – but not just ephemeral prettiness, really lovely things that you can adapt and keep forever. 

Do you have a favourite piece in the current collection? If so, what is it and why? 
There are a few things that are really adaptable – like the Manifold cardigan which has a ribbon tie which can be used to ruche it up to bolero length or left loose so that it’s a long, elegant cardigan. Our little Foxglove shrug also works as a summer scarf and the Manifold dresses can be styled in loads of ways so they let the wearer use her imagination. 

What are your future aims for the Makepiece brand?
We’ve really been growing our website so that people all over the country can buy our clothes but we’d like to be in more stores, for the people who are less confident with internet shopping or who like to try things on. 

Is it harder or easier to sell eco-fashion? Is there a lot of competition?
Because we make everything in the UK it’s more expensive to manufacture so that means that we have to do a good job in helping people understand.

What is so individual about the Makepiece brand?  
Style, humour and our flock of Shetland sheep.  We go from mud to mascara in a twinkling of an eye – never forgetting the roots of our fashion but always looking for beauty and grace in our designs. We try and be sustainable throughout the business – from the way we farm the sheep with the lowest impact possible (we’re just about to become part of a scheme to help protect twite – which is one of the most endangered British bird species) to buying green energy for the studio, recycling everything we can, using public transport as much as possible (I took our last collection to London Fashion Week on the train from Yorkshire – in the most enormous trunk – it was quite a feat), I even do some of the farming on my bike.   

The good thing about wool is that it is more or less a by-product from sheep farming so it’s not using up land or resources that should be in food production – and on upland farms like mine creating good grazing and farming sheep is one of the few productive things you can do (I tried vegetables once, but it was not a success!).  Compared to cotton, for example, which uses over 15% of the pesticides used in the world and vast amounts of water – so much that the irrigation of cotton has shrunk the size of the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, wool is farmed much more sustainably (particularly in the UK where we have to look after the land as well as the animals and the government monitors your impact on the environment). 

Because we make everything so locally we avoid the CO2 emissions from shipping things vast distances. We also employ people in our community and use a local dyer who has to comply with European dyeing regulations – the REACH standards; no azos, no heavy metals and irritants, effluent is stringently monitored so no emissions into the water system, and so on. 
We also only use recycled and sustainable paper in our labelling and packaging. 

You can find the brand at: www.makepiece.co.uk and selected eco-fashion stores.

Ballot Box Colourbox
Illustration by Matt Thomas.

So today’s the day: the day that I sprung out of bed at an ungodly hour with only one thing on my mind. Who will be our next prime minister? I’ve not been so excited about a general election since 1997, sickness when I memorably got so drunk dancing on the tables in a north London pub that I thew up in the gutter. Of course back then I was excited for a very different reason. Yes, buy hands up, I was one of many who voted Blair in – after years of Tory rule we were excited about a future under Labour. Oh how very chastened we now are 13 years later.

Solving Hung Parliament Val Woodhouse
Solving Hung Parliament by Val Woodhouse.

In 2010 it seems I am not the only one who has gotten swept up in the election. Even before the tales of queues at the polling stations I had a gut feeling there would be a high election turn out this year. Okay, so in my local Tescos the regular cashiers were overheard saying “Are you going to vote?” “Nah, they’re all the same aren’t they?” but when I walked through Camden yesterday I overheard lots of people talking about voting. It seems that we’ve finally managed to reawaken our democratic spirit.

Colourbox

Illustrations by Colourbox.

I think this can be attributed to a few things – the Leaders’ Debates on television have increased popular interest in politics and Twitter allows for lots of interesting conversations, but there’s more to it than that… We are now so thoroughly fed up with the current system that we’ve collectively become hungry for change. And I’m not talking the kind of rhetorical change that Cameron espouses every time a camera is pointed in his direction. I’m talking serious, deep systemic change. Most people have been complacent for so long for only one very good reason: like the cashiers in Tescos they don’t feel that their vote makes the blindest bit of difference.

creaturemag_hang parliament
Illustration by Creaturemag.
GordonBrown_GarethAHopkins
Gordon Brown by Gareth Hopkins.

And so, whilst the big party leaders have been spinning the same old shit about how we should avoid a hung parliament at all costs because what we most need now for our country is stability or the markets will fail (big bloody boohoo) it seems that for many voters this has been like a red rag to a bull. Not even copious riot porn from Greece has phased us. Okay we’ve said: bring it on. We want serious upheaval! Nobody I have spoken to has feared the result we now have; instead we’ve positively hoped for a hung parliament precisely because we may finally see some changes to our electoral system. Of course, I’m as thoroughly baffled as the next person when it comes to the many forms of proportional representation, and I know the argument that PR could lead to as many representatives of the BNP in government as there could be Greens, but frankly that doesn’t frighten me. Our current “democracy” quite clearly doesn’t work and so something else that better represents the wishes of voters has got to be worth giving a go.

informationisbeautiful
I love this clever graph from Information is Beautiful, showing up the glaring inadequacies of our current system.

Colourbox
Illustration by Colourbox.

I’m worried, of course, about what will happen if Cameron forces a Tory led government on us without sufficient recognition of the electoral reforms so many of us want. But actually I don’t really *fear* it – I think that if he does ignore the clear wishes of the voters then there will be widespread unrest and direct action of the kind that we saw just a glimpse of last night at polling stations across the country.

POLL Station Riots- abigaildaker
The Polling Station in Sheffield Hallam, illustration by Abigail Daker.

I called in late to my polling station in Bacon Street just off Brick Lane, and there was no one to impede my progress to the ballot box. However I was lucky, and people up and down the country are quite rightly furious that they were unable to vote thanks to a higher than predicted election turnout and antiquarian voting methods which have allegedly shocked even our visiting developing world adjudicators. I was as incredulous as ever. “You mean you don’t need to take my polling card as proof I am me?” It is utterly nuts that we don’t need proof of identity to vote. Next to me a boy, surely not a day over 15, was pushing his papers into the box. Who was he voting for? Just days ago a huge amount of voter fraud was uncovered in my constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow. In fact, it was uncovered on my own street – visible from my studio window is a building in my estate that allegedly houses 18 Bengalis, all registered for a postal vote.

melsimoneelliott
mel simone elliott
Illustrations by Mel Simone Elliott.

In demonstration against our fraudulent system the Whitechapel Anarchists got together to spoil their ballots with great fanfare in Altab Ali Park, the Space Hijackers took their campaign bus on the road with the banner “Voting Only Encourages Them” and the Democracy Village is camped out in Parliament Square. There’s definitely a faint whiff of revolution in the air. That or the right to vote in a more democratic way.

caroline-lucas-election-2010-antonia-parker
Caroline Lucas by Antonia Parker.

Despite this unrest, I was absolutely ecstatic to hear that Caroline Lucas has become the first ever MP for the Green Party in the district of Brighton Pavilion. I met her when we did the first Climate Rush on Parliament in 2008 and I’ve been keeping my fingers and toes crossed that she would win this seat for some time now. If some form of electoral reform goes ahead there’s the thrilling prospect of yet more Greens in Parliament to represent my views. In the meantime, there’s always a nice bit of Direct Action to force change far more quickly than our government seems capable of. Climate Camp is targeting RBS this year. We look forward to making a big impact on our corrupt financial systems, whether or not change is decreed from on high.

carolinelucas_currentstate
Caroline sees green by Currentstate.

Brighton-lazaroumterror
Brighton-lazaroumterror
Illustrations by Lazarou Monkey Terror.

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Antonia Parker, ,Bethnal Green, ,BNP, ,Brick Lane, ,Caroline Lucas, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Rush, ,Colourbox, ,creaturemag, ,Currentstate, ,David Cameron, ,Direct Action, ,Electoral Reform, ,Gareth Hopkins, ,Greece, ,Green Party, ,Hung Parliament, ,Leaders’ Debate, ,Matt Thomas, ,Mel Simone Elliott, ,parliament, ,politics, ,Proportional Representation, ,RBS, ,Riots, ,Tescos, ,Tony Blair, ,twitter, ,Val Woodhouse

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Amelia’s Magazine | Behold, the Cleggeron Riseth.


A selection of elephants by Paul Shinn

Allow me to introduce you to Marjorie, web picture below. She’s one of 258 fibreglass elephants in and around London decorated by some of the capital’s most prominent artists, more about designers and image makers.


Clare Bassett’s Marjorie (#81)

It’s London’s largest outdoor art event and it’s creating quite a stir in the capital. From people like John Shinn, who’s trying to photograph them all on Facebook, to work colleagues printing out lists of the elephants and checking them off, it seems that they’ve gripped London like nothing before.

So, where to start? Well, the aim of this project, whilst cheering up many a London street, is a simple one. It’s to raise awareness for the plight of the Asian elephant, dangerously close to extinction. Created by father and son duo Mike and Marc Spits, all the revenue from sponsorship and the auction of the elephants will go to the Elephant Family charity.

Here’s some you should see, and some you can just see here.

A range of fashion designers have applied their own style to the elephants, including this creation by red carpet luminary Julian McDonald.

It’s fun, no? It’s not the best one by a long shot, and I question the ethics of decorating one endangered animal in the beautiful coat of another, but I’m sure this is totally off McDonald’s radar. It’s suitably camp and stands perkily out Liberty, and this clump of Italian teenagers certainly seemed to enjoy it.

Other fashion names include Issa, Diane von Furstenberg, Matthew Williamson and Sir Paul Smith (one of my favourite elephants so far)


The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith (#173) at The Royal Exchange

The beauty of the project, besides raising awareness in a super fun way, is that you never know when you are going to bump into one of these creatures. They are literally everywhere – hell, they’d have to be to fit 250 of the buggers in our city. Just as you put your camera away after photographing one, you turn a corner and there’s another!


Illustration by Gemma Milly


Illustration by Matt Thomas


The Cartier elephant (#107) at the Royal Exchange by Rachel Liddington


The City in the Elephant by BFLS Architects (#255) illustrated by Lisa Billvik

This beauty is pretty simple on the outside, but peer inside any of its small transparent domes and inside you’ll see an incredible model of London featuring teeny tiny elephants, too!


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Thammakit Thamboon’s Polkadot (#12) at More London by Jenny Robins


Helen Cowcher’s Hornbill (#116) at More London by Naomi Law


Illustration by Eben Berj

Of course, this art project wouldn’t be complete with a good ol’ dash of politics. ‘Anonymous’ has created three elephants dressed in boxing gloves and silk shorts in the colour of the three main political parties – appropriately titled ‘Mr Brown’ ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’. The Elephant Parade haven’t yet confirmed, however, if they’re to remove ‘Mr Brown’, or indeed move ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’ together so they can whisper sweet nothings to each other.


Photograph by Paul Shinn

So, go out and enjoy some fun art right on the street. Tweet your pics @AmeliasMagazine !

A selection of elephants by Paul Shinn

Allow me to introduce you to Marjorie, website picture below. She’s one of 258 fibreglass elephants in and around London decorated by some of the capital’s most prominent artists, this web designers and image makers.


Clare Bassett’s Marjorie (#81) at More London

It’s London’s largest outdoor art event and it’s creating quite a stir in the capital. From people like John Shinn, who’s trying to photograph them all on Facebook, to work colleagues printing out lists of the elephants and checking them off, it seems that they’ve gripped London like nothing before.

So, where to start? Well, the aim of this project, whilst cheering up many a London street, is a simple one. It’s to raise awareness for the plight of the Asian elephant, dangerously close to extinction. Created by father and son duo Mike and Marc Spits, all the revenue from sponsorship and the auction of the elephants will go to the Elephant Family charity.

Here’s some you should see, and some you can just see here.

A range of fashion designers have applied their own style to the elephants, including this creation by red carpet luminary Julian McDonald.


Bertie by Julien McDonald (#139) on Foubert’s Place

It’s fun, no? It’s not the best one by a long shot, and I question the ethics of decorating one endangered animal in the beautiful coat of another, but I’m sure this is totally off McDonald’s radar. It’s suitably camp and stands perkily out Liberty, and this clump of Italian teenagers certainly seemed to enjoy it.

Other fashion names include Issa, Diane von Furstenberg, Matthew Williamson and Sir Paul Smith (one of my favourite elephants so far)


The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith (#173) at The Royal Exchange

The beauty of the project, besides raising awareness in a super fun way, is that you never know when you are going to bump into one of these creatures. They are literally everywhere – hell, they’d have to be to fit 250 of the buggers in our city. Just as you put your camera away after photographing one, you turn a corner and there’s another!


Illustration by Gemma Milly


Illustration by Matt Thomas


The Cartier elephant (#107) at the Royal Exchange by Rachel Liddington


The City in the Elephant by BFLS Architects (#255) illustrated by Lisa Billvik

This beauty is pretty simple on the outside, but peer inside any of its small transparent domes and inside you’ll see an incredible model of London featuring teeny tiny elephants, too!


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Thammakit Thamboon’s Polkadot (#12) at More London by Jenny Robins


Helen Cowcher’s Hornbill (#116) at More London by Naomi Law


Illustration by Eben Berj

Of course, this art project wouldn’t be complete with a good ol’ dash of politics. ‘Anonymous’ has created three elephants dressed in boxing gloves and silk shorts in the colour of the three main political parties – appropriately titled ‘Mr Brown’ ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’. The Elephant Parade haven’t yet confirmed, however, if they’re to remove ‘Mr Brown’, or indeed move ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’ together so they can whisper sweet nothings to each other.


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Eko by Paul Kidby (#195) in Green Park, illustrated by Rachel de Ste. Croix

So, go out and enjoy some fun art right on the street. Tweet your pics @AmeliasMagazine !
Cameron-Clegg-Antonia-Parker
Cameron and Clegg in bed together, mind by Antonia Parker.

Who watched the joint press conference given by David Cameron and Nick Clegg from the Downing Street back garden on 12th May 2010? Who else boggled at the back-slapping camaraderie of this sudden coalition? Within the space of just one week Cameron and Clegg have gone from flirtatious – or so it now seems, buy looking back – bickering to full on coitus. Watch them chuckle at each other’s jokes like old mates! See them smile lovingly at each other! Yes, I feared that a hung parliament would produce my least preferred coalition, but I never for one moment anticipated this classic bromance.

sandra dieckmann-lib-con love
Lib-Con Love by Sandra Dieckmann.

And I can’t help but think – how on earth is this love-in actually going to work? How many concessions will the Cleggeron make to keep the spark alive? These are interesting days, to be sure.

The opportunity to put out an open brief to picture this unholy union was just too irresistible. This then, is a blog devoted to the brilliance of illustrators. Enjoy.

bex_glover_nc_dc_tandem
The tandem by Bex Glover.

The Cleggeron-Lazarou Monkey Terror
The Cleggeron by Lazarou Monkey Terror.

Abi Daker - clegg - cameron
Illustration by Abigail Daker.

camerlegg-Colourbox
Camerlegg by Colourbox.

louise rowland-clegg cameron
Bathtime by Louise Rowland.

mel-elliott-clegg-cameron-krankies
Krankies by Mel Simone Elliot.

Reena-Makwana-Clegg-Cameron
Illustration by Reena Makwana.

tom_dench-layton_cleggcam
Cleggcam by Tom Dench-Layton.

simonwild_CLEGG&CAMERON
Surprise!! by Simon Wild.

pearl_law_cleggcam
Illustration by Pearl Law.

Nikki-Pinder-Clegg-Cameron
Illustration by Nikki Pinder.

If you fancy getting involved in my open callouts the best thing to do is follow me on twitter and get stuck in. Until the next one…

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Antonia Parker, ,Bex Glover, ,Bromance, ,Cleggeron, ,Coalition, ,Colourbox, ,David Cameron, ,Downing Street, ,General Election, ,Hung Parliament, ,illustration, ,Lazarou Monkey Terror, ,Louise Rowland, ,Mel Simone Elliott, ,Nick Clegg, ,Nikki Pinder, ,parliament, ,Pearl Law, ,politics, ,Reena Makwana, ,Sandra Dieckmann, ,Simon Wild, ,Tom Dench-Layton, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Behold, the Cleggeron Riseth.


A selection of elephants by Paul Shinn

Allow me to introduce you to Marjorie, web picture below. She’s one of 258 fibreglass elephants in and around London decorated by some of the capital’s most prominent artists, more about designers and image makers.


Clare Bassett’s Marjorie (#81)

It’s London’s largest outdoor art event and it’s creating quite a stir in the capital. From people like John Shinn, who’s trying to photograph them all on Facebook, to work colleagues printing out lists of the elephants and checking them off, it seems that they’ve gripped London like nothing before.

So, where to start? Well, the aim of this project, whilst cheering up many a London street, is a simple one. It’s to raise awareness for the plight of the Asian elephant, dangerously close to extinction. Created by father and son duo Mike and Marc Spits, all the revenue from sponsorship and the auction of the elephants will go to the Elephant Family charity.

Here’s some you should see, and some you can just see here.

A range of fashion designers have applied their own style to the elephants, including this creation by red carpet luminary Julian McDonald.

It’s fun, no? It’s not the best one by a long shot, and I question the ethics of decorating one endangered animal in the beautiful coat of another, but I’m sure this is totally off McDonald’s radar. It’s suitably camp and stands perkily out Liberty, and this clump of Italian teenagers certainly seemed to enjoy it.

Other fashion names include Issa, Diane von Furstenberg, Matthew Williamson and Sir Paul Smith (one of my favourite elephants so far)


The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith (#173) at The Royal Exchange

The beauty of the project, besides raising awareness in a super fun way, is that you never know when you are going to bump into one of these creatures. They are literally everywhere – hell, they’d have to be to fit 250 of the buggers in our city. Just as you put your camera away after photographing one, you turn a corner and there’s another!


Illustration by Gemma Milly


Illustration by Matt Thomas


The Cartier elephant (#107) at the Royal Exchange by Rachel Liddington


The City in the Elephant by BFLS Architects (#255) illustrated by Lisa Billvik

This beauty is pretty simple on the outside, but peer inside any of its small transparent domes and inside you’ll see an incredible model of London featuring teeny tiny elephants, too!


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Thammakit Thamboon’s Polkadot (#12) at More London by Jenny Robins


Helen Cowcher’s Hornbill (#116) at More London by Naomi Law


Illustration by Eben Berj

Of course, this art project wouldn’t be complete with a good ol’ dash of politics. ‘Anonymous’ has created three elephants dressed in boxing gloves and silk shorts in the colour of the three main political parties – appropriately titled ‘Mr Brown’ ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’. The Elephant Parade haven’t yet confirmed, however, if they’re to remove ‘Mr Brown’, or indeed move ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’ together so they can whisper sweet nothings to each other.


Photograph by Paul Shinn

So, go out and enjoy some fun art right on the street. Tweet your pics @AmeliasMagazine !

A selection of elephants by Paul Shinn

Allow me to introduce you to Marjorie, website picture below. She’s one of 258 fibreglass elephants in and around London decorated by some of the capital’s most prominent artists, this web designers and image makers.


Clare Bassett’s Marjorie (#81) at More London

It’s London’s largest outdoor art event and it’s creating quite a stir in the capital. From people like John Shinn, who’s trying to photograph them all on Facebook, to work colleagues printing out lists of the elephants and checking them off, it seems that they’ve gripped London like nothing before.

So, where to start? Well, the aim of this project, whilst cheering up many a London street, is a simple one. It’s to raise awareness for the plight of the Asian elephant, dangerously close to extinction. Created by father and son duo Mike and Marc Spits, all the revenue from sponsorship and the auction of the elephants will go to the Elephant Family charity.

Here’s some you should see, and some you can just see here.

A range of fashion designers have applied their own style to the elephants, including this creation by red carpet luminary Julian McDonald.


Bertie by Julien McDonald (#139) on Foubert’s Place

It’s fun, no? It’s not the best one by a long shot, and I question the ethics of decorating one endangered animal in the beautiful coat of another, but I’m sure this is totally off McDonald’s radar. It’s suitably camp and stands perkily out Liberty, and this clump of Italian teenagers certainly seemed to enjoy it.

Other fashion names include Issa, Diane von Furstenberg, Matthew Williamson and Sir Paul Smith (one of my favourite elephants so far)


The Paul Smith Elephant by Sir Paul Smith (#173) at The Royal Exchange

The beauty of the project, besides raising awareness in a super fun way, is that you never know when you are going to bump into one of these creatures. They are literally everywhere – hell, they’d have to be to fit 250 of the buggers in our city. Just as you put your camera away after photographing one, you turn a corner and there’s another!


Illustration by Gemma Milly


Illustration by Matt Thomas


The Cartier elephant (#107) at the Royal Exchange by Rachel Liddington


The City in the Elephant by BFLS Architects (#255) illustrated by Lisa Billvik

This beauty is pretty simple on the outside, but peer inside any of its small transparent domes and inside you’ll see an incredible model of London featuring teeny tiny elephants, too!


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Thammakit Thamboon’s Polkadot (#12) at More London by Jenny Robins


Helen Cowcher’s Hornbill (#116) at More London by Naomi Law


Illustration by Eben Berj

Of course, this art project wouldn’t be complete with a good ol’ dash of politics. ‘Anonymous’ has created three elephants dressed in boxing gloves and silk shorts in the colour of the three main political parties – appropriately titled ‘Mr Brown’ ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’. The Elephant Parade haven’t yet confirmed, however, if they’re to remove ‘Mr Brown’, or indeed move ‘Mr Cameron’ and ‘Mr Clegg’ together so they can whisper sweet nothings to each other.


Photograph by Paul Shinn


Eko by Paul Kidby (#195) in Green Park, illustrated by Rachel de Ste. Croix

So, go out and enjoy some fun art right on the street. Tweet your pics @AmeliasMagazine !
Cameron-Clegg-Antonia-Parker
Cameron and Clegg in bed together, mind by Antonia Parker.

Who watched the joint press conference given by David Cameron and Nick Clegg from the Downing Street back garden on 12th May 2010? Who else boggled at the back-slapping camaraderie of this sudden coalition? Within the space of just one week Cameron and Clegg have gone from flirtatious – or so it now seems, buy looking back – bickering to full on coitus. Watch them chuckle at each other’s jokes like old mates! See them smile lovingly at each other! Yes, I feared that a hung parliament would produce my least preferred coalition, but I never for one moment anticipated this classic bromance.

sandra dieckmann-lib-con love
Lib-Con Love by Sandra Dieckmann.

And I can’t help but think – how on earth is this love-in actually going to work? How many concessions will the Cleggeron make to keep the spark alive? These are interesting days, to be sure.

The opportunity to put out an open brief to picture this unholy union was just too irresistible. This then, is a blog devoted to the brilliance of illustrators. Enjoy.

bex_glover_nc_dc_tandem
The tandem by Bex Glover.

The Cleggeron-Lazarou Monkey Terror
The Cleggeron by Lazarou Monkey Terror.

Abi Daker - clegg - cameron
Illustration by Abigail Daker.

camerlegg-Colourbox
Camerlegg by Colourbox.

louise rowland-clegg cameron
Bathtime by Louise Rowland.

mel-elliott-clegg-cameron-krankies
Krankies by Mel Simone Elliot.

Reena-Makwana-Clegg-Cameron
Illustration by Reena Makwana.

tom_dench-layton_cleggcam
Cleggcam by Tom Dench-Layton.

simonwild_CLEGG&CAMERON
Surprise!! by Simon Wild.

pearl_law_cleggcam
Illustration by Pearl Law.

Nikki-Pinder-Clegg-Cameron
Illustration by Nikki Pinder.

If you fancy getting involved in my open callouts the best thing to do is follow me on twitter and get stuck in. Until the next one…

Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Antonia Parker, ,Bex Glover, ,Bromance, ,Cleggeron, ,Coalition, ,Colourbox, ,David Cameron, ,Downing Street, ,General Election, ,Hung Parliament, ,illustration, ,Lazarou Monkey Terror, ,Louise Rowland, ,Mel Simone Elliott, ,Nick Clegg, ,Nikki Pinder, ,parliament, ,Pearl Law, ,politics, ,Reena Makwana, ,Sandra Dieckmann, ,Simon Wild, ,Tom Dench-Layton, ,twitter

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Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Preview: Bestival & Camp Bestival

twoofhearts_sheltercardquilt_lesleybarnes
seven little houses

When Lesley Barnes found out about the 4th Annual Animboom Awards animation competition in conjunction with Sesame Street (Blimey, ampoule try saying that fast!), viagra 60mg she just knew she had to work with fellow illustrator Thereza Rowe. The results of their collaboration is this wonderful piece: Seven Little Houses. You can watch the video here.

Seven Little Houses clouds
Seven Little Houses bottles

Lesley Barnes describes how they approached the Aniboom competition:

One of the competition categories was to design an animation that would help children learn about either colours, viagra 60mg shapes, numbers or letters. We chose the number seven as it seemed to give us scope to do a bit of counting without it being a huge number for kids to deal with and for some reason we both agreed that there was something special about an odd number.
We gave the animation a circular feel by creating it around the idea of a day, with the sun at the beginning and the moon at the end. Repetition was key so the narrative turns around lots of groups of seven; the idea being that children will get used to counting 124567 and begin to repeat it. As well as having the numbers on screen we included groups of seven objects; seven houses, seven bottles, seven clouds, etc. because it’s easier to visualise the numbers as objects.
The animation was mostly done in after effects and took about a month to finish. My friend Al Paxton, who is a musician in Brooklyn, provided the sound. It was his idea to have the voices (him and his girlfriend) shouting out 1234567 and I think it’s really important because it encourages children to shout out along with the animation.

twoofhearts_sheltercardquilt_lesleybarnes
Lesley Barnes’ illustration for the Shelter Card Quilt.

Thereza Rowe Shelter Card Quilt
Thereza Rowe’s illustration for the Shelter Card Quilt.

Lesley first got in touch with Thereza after admiring the playing card that she designed for my Shelter House of Cards Quilt in 2009, and since then they’ve kept in constant contact via email and twitter. I asked them to write down a few words about each other.
 
Lesley Barnes on Thereza Rowe:
 
We both had cards included on Amelia’s final Shelter Card Quilt and Thereza‘s goats – although she now tells me they are deer – were my favourite! Amelia’s Magazine has given us such a great platform for our work: we have been in touch ever since and knew that we wanted to do a collaboration at some point… When I saw the Aniboom Sesame Street competition I thought that Thereza’s textures, colours, shapes, illustration style and personality (including her love of pink milk and bendy straws) would be perfect for it. We started work with Thereza‘s house illustrations and from that we both designed a selection of characters. There were far too many in the end, so the final seven characters were a bit of an amalgamation of our work.
Working with Thereza was ace and the best thing was all the colour that she brought into the animation – my animation can sometimes get a bit monochromatic so it was such a pleasure to work with such a great selection of colours and textures. I also think that Thereza‘s lovely upbeat personality comes through in Seven Little Houses.

Seven Little Houses umbrellas

Thereza Rowe on Lesley Barnes:

When Lesley contacted me for the first time with some nice words about my work and a suggestion that we should collaborate in a future project I was so excited because as soon I set eyes on her stunning animation and illustration work I knew that we would eventually produce something really good together. Since then we have kept in touch whilst keeping an eye out for interesting briefs which would suit our ideas of a collaboration… and so the Aniboom competition came about!
Working with Lesley has been an ongoing joy as she’s creative, diligent, determined and hands on. We both share a similar sense of humour which is very important because it makes the working process a pleasant experience. As the project developed I was amazed to see how the aesthetics of our work just gelled together effortlessly, almost like magic. Surprisingly we have not met in person yet, although it feels like we have….
I am really proud of how she made our illustrations move in such a graceful manner and we’ve been receiving some lovely responses from people who have seen the animation. I’d also like to echo Lesley’s thoughts on the constant support and appreciation of the work we produce that we get from Amelia’s Magazine.

seven little houses people

I also wanted the girls to talk about the importance of Twitter to their collaboration, as I often see conversations between Lesley and Thereza passing through my own Twitter feed: it’s how I found out they were collaborating on the project for Aniboom, and it’s a medium I feel strongly that all illustrators should engage with.

Lesley on Twitter:
Twitter is an easy way of staying in touch and see what each other is up to. When you are a freelancer it’s great for reminding you that you are not completely alone in the world and means you can check out what’s inspiring other people, collaborate with them, get feedback and generally just have a bit of a chat.

Thereza on Twitter:
Using Twitter helped make the collaboration go more smoothly because Lesley and I were always tweeting bits of work in progress to each other and teasing other about what was coming next. I used to be very resistant to using Twitter but now I’m a self proclaimed addict because it’s enabled me to engage with some ace collaborations that otherwise might not have happened.
Twitter is probably the best current social tool for illustrators in terms of networking and establishing links with both the industry and peers as it provides an open channel for direct communication and it’s fab for promoting your own work and the work of others. I love the fact that Twitter is free of advertising and has a nice layout which allows you to customize your page background nicely. I’m really fussy about such factors…
Also, the job of an illustrator can often be a lonely one as we spend a great deal of time confined in our workspaces, well, working… so I tend to have my twitter page open through the day, so it almost feels like having lots of nice people around 🙂 

Both Thereza Rowe and Lesley Barnes appear in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

Photo: Ben Gold

It’s the day before the general election and the concluding part of Amelia’s Magazine interview with Think Act Vote’s Amisha Ghadiali. Tomorrow you have a chance to vote. Use it.

Why do you think if “politics were a brand, ed no one would wear it!”?

This statement is about Westminster politics, in many ways the system we have is out of date for the world we are living in now. I don’t see people wanting to “wear” it as it is. This is why I really support the work of campaigns like Vote for a Change that focus their around how we can make the system work better for us.

How can fashion be used to engage people in Politics?

I think that fashion plays a key role in how we express ourselves and we use it to communicate things about ourselves or messages that we care about. The campaign t-shirt has become iconic as a phenomenon. At the beginning of the campaign, we ran a competition to design the perfect campaign t-shirt, which was a great opportunity for up and coming illustrators to showcase their work. The winning design by Jesson Yip was selected by a judging panel that included Katharine Hamnett and Daisy de Villeneuve. The symbols represent each word, with different fonts to represent different people’s voices. The design was then printed onto Earth Positive Eco T-shirts and is now on sale.

Through working in the ethical fashion industry I see fashion as a key way to think about sustainability. We all wear clothes, and the fashion industry affects so many people across the world as well as the environment. I work closely with Ethical Fashion designers at EFF and am one myself with my jewellery label. As an ethical designer, you don’t just have to make sure that your collection looks and fits great, but you spend a huge amount of time researching new fabrics, new technologies and finding out who is telling the truth about their labour standards or production methods. You need to be pioneering and inquisitive as you think through your entire collection and its impact on the environment and people at every stage.

Ethical Fashion designers are always pushing boundaries and are extremely passionate about what they do. I wanted to include this talent in the campaign and asked leading ethical fashion designers to create a show piece or an easy DIY customisation using a Think Act Vote t-shirt and off cuts from their collections. The designers that took part included Ada Zanditon, Junky Styling, Traid Remade, Tara Starlet and Beautiful Soul. The pieces that they created in just a week are stunning.


Photo: Dominic Clarke

Think Act Vote discusses the negativity imbedded in modern politics – Were there any particular examples that spurred you into action?

There are loads of examples, just try and think when the last time you heard something positive about politicians or about changes in our communities. We are always focusing on people’s failings and the ‘fear’ out there. Just last week the country spent two days focusing on the story about Gordon Brown saying a woman was a bigot.

Is this negativity the reason, do you think, for the decline in the number of votes?

Not the only reason. Things have changed a lot over the last few decades. I think two features of the neo-liberal British political landscape are related: the rise of consumerism and the demise of traditional participation. I think that the way we express who we are is different now, not that many people are lifetime members of political parties. Political identity is no longer inherited.

As mentioned before I don’t think the political system reflects who we are, which makes us lose interest.

Have you been watching the Leader’s Debate?

I have seen bit of them, but not all the way through as have been doing talks and events most evenings in the past few weeks. I think it is great to have the leaders on TV, as it has really helped getting people talking about the election. I am not sure how much of their personalities and policies we are really seeing as the whole things does feel a little over polished. I think it would mean more if we had a vote on who was PM as well as on our local MP. I would also like to see some of the smaller parties be given this platform too.

Will you be voting this election?

Yes I will be voting, I think this is vital. I haven’t decided who for yet. I will decide on election day. I am deciding between three parties but then I went on Voter Power and saw that my voter power in my constituency is only 0.039. It is an ultra safe seat. So I am thinking about voting through Give Your Vote. It is a fantastic campaign about Global Democracy which allows you to give your vote to somebody in Afghanistan, Ghana or Bangladesh. It is an act of solidarity with those who do not have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Join Amisha tonight at: The Future I Choose with Live Music, Poetry, Fashion, Photography ??
The City and Arts Music Project, 70-74 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ?
5.30pm til 9pm


Photo: Dominic Clarke

It’s the day before the general election and the concluding part of Amelia’s Magazine interview with Think Act Vote’s Amisha Ghadiali. Tomorrow you have a chance to vote. Use it.

Why do you think if “politics were a brand, online no one would wear it!”?

This statement is about Westminster politics, there in many ways the system we have is out of date for the world we are living in now. I don’t see people wanting to “wear” it as it is. This is why I really support the work of campaigns like Vote for a Change that focus their around how we can make the system work better for us.

How can fashion be used to engage people in Politics?

I think that fashion plays a key role in how we express ourselves and we use it to communicate things about ourselves or messages that we care about. The campaign t-shirt has become iconic as a phenomenon. At the beginning of the campaign, patient we ran a competition to design the perfect campaign t-shirt, which was a great opportunity for up and coming illustrators to showcase their work. The winning design by Jesson Yip was selected by a judging panel that included Katharine Hamnett and Daisy de Villeneuve. The symbols represent each word, with different fonts to represent different people’s voices. The design was then printed onto Earth Positive Eco T-shirts and is now on sale.

Through working in the ethical fashion industry I see fashion as a key way to think about sustainability. We all wear clothes, and the fashion industry affects so many people across the world as well as the environment. I work closely with Ethical Fashion designers at EFF and am one myself with my jewellery label. As an ethical designer, you don’t just have to make sure that your collection looks and fits great, but you spend a huge amount of time researching new fabrics, new technologies and finding out who is telling the truth about their labour standards or production methods. You need to be pioneering and inquisitive as you think through your entire collection and its impact on the environment and people at every stage.

Ethical Fashion designers are always pushing boundaries and are extremely passionate about what they do. I wanted to include this talent in the campaign and asked leading ethical fashion designers to create a show piece or an easy DIY customisation using a Think Act Vote t-shirt and off cuts from their collections. The designers that took part included Ada Zanditon, Junky Styling, Traid Remade, Tara Starlet and Beautiful Soul. The pieces that they created in just a week are stunning.


Photo: Ben Gold

Think Act Vote discusses the negativity imbedded in modern politics – Were there any particular examples that spurred you into action?

There are loads of examples, just try and think when the last time you heard something positive about politicians or about changes in our communities. We are always focusing on people’s failings and the ‘fear’ out there. Just last week the country spent two days focusing on the story about Gordon Brown saying a woman was a bigot.

Is this negativity the reason, do you think, for the decline in the number of votes?

Not the only reason. Things have changed a lot over the last few decades. I think two features of the neo-liberal British political landscape are related: the rise of consumerism and the demise of traditional participation. I think that the way we express who we are is different now, not that many people are lifetime members of political parties. Political identity is no longer inherited.

As mentioned before I don’t think the political system reflects who we are, which makes us lose interest.

Have you been watching the Leader’s Debate?

I have seen bit of them, but not all the way through as have been doing talks and events most evenings in the past few weeks. I think it is great to have the leaders on TV, as it has really helped getting people talking about the election. I am not sure how much of their personalities and policies we are really seeing as the whole things does feel a little over polished. I think it would mean more if we had a vote on who was PM as well as on our local MP. I would also like to see some of the smaller parties be given this platform too.

Will you be voting this election?

Yes I will be voting, I think this is vital. I haven’t decided who for yet. I will decide on election day. I am deciding between three parties but then I went on Voter Power and saw that my voter power in my constituency is only 0.039. It is an ultra safe seat. So I am thinking about voting through Give Your Vote. It is a fantastic campaign about Global Democracy which allows you to give your vote to somebody in Afghanistan, Ghana or Bangladesh. It is an act of solidarity with those who do not have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Join Amisha tonight at: The Future I Choose with Live Music, Poetry, Fashion, Photography ??
The City and Arts Music Project, 70-74 City Road, London, EC1Y 2BJ?
5.30pm til 9pm

seven little houses

When Lesley Barnes found out about the 4th Annual Animboom Awards animation competition in conjunction with Sesame Street (Blimey, link try saying that fast!), treatment she just knew she had to work with fellow illustrator Thereza Rowe. The results of their collaboration is this wonderful piece: Seven Little Houses. You can watch the video here.

Seven Little Houses clouds
Seven Little Houses bottles

Lesley Barnes describes how they approached the Aniboom competition:

One of the competition categories was to design an animation that would help children learn about either colours, approved shapes, numbers or letters. We chose the number seven as it seemed to give us scope to do a bit of counting without it being a huge number for kids to deal with and for some reason we both agreed that there was something special about an odd number.
We gave the animation a circular feel by creating it around the idea of a day, with the sun at the beginning and the moon at the end. Repetition was key so the narrative turns around lots of groups of seven; the idea being that children will get used to counting 124567 and begin to repeat it. As well as having the numbers on screen we included groups of seven objects; seven houses, seven bottles, seven clouds, etc. because it’s easier to visualise the numbers as objects.
The animation was mostly done in after effects and took about a month to finish. My friend Al Paxton, who is a musician in Brooklyn, provided the sound. It was his idea to have the voices (him and his girlfriend) shouting out 1234567 and I think it’s really important because it encourages children to shout out along with the animation.

twoofhearts_sheltercardquilt_lesleybarnes
Lesley Barnes’ illustration for the sShelter Card Quilt.

Thereza Rowe Shelter Card Quilt
Thereza Rowe’s illustration for the Shelter Card Quilt.

Lesley first got in touch with Thereza after admiring the playing card that she designed for my Shelter House of Cards Quilt in 2009, and since then they’ve kept in constant contact via email and twitter. I asked them to write down a few words about each other.
 
Lesley Barnes on Thereza Rowe:
 
We both had cards included on Amelia’s final Shelter Card Quilt and Thereza‘s goats – although she now tells me they are deer – were my favourite! Amelia’s Magazine has given us such a great platform for our work: we have been in touch ever since and knew that we wanted to do a collaboration at some point… When I saw the Aniboom Sesame Street competition I thought that Thereza’s textures, colours, shapes, illustration style and personality (including her love of pink milk and bendy straws) would be perfect for it. We started work with Thereza‘s house illustrations and from that we both designed a selection of characters. There were far too many in the end, so the final seven characters were a bit of an amalgamation of our work.
Working with Thereza was ace and the best thing was all the colour that she brought into the animation – my animation can sometimes get a bit monochromatic so it was such a pleasure to work with such a great selection of colours and textures. I also think that Thereza‘s lovely upbeat personality comes through in Seven Little Houses.

Seven Little Houses umbrellas

Thereza Rowe on Lesley Barnes:

When Lesley contacted me for the first time with some nice words about my work and a suggestion that we should collaborate in a future project I was so excited because as soon I set eyes on her stunning animation and illustration work I knew that we would eventually produce something really good together. Since then we have kept in touch whilst keeping an eye out for interesting briefs which would suit our ideas of a collaboration… and so the Aniboom competition came about!
Working with Lesley has been an ongoing joy as she’s creative, diligent, determined and hands on. We both share a similar sense of humour which is very important because it makes the working process a pleasant experience. As the project developed I was amazed to see how the aesthetics of our work just gelled together effortlessly, almost like magic. Surprisingly we have not met in person yet, although it feels like we have….
I am really proud of how she made our illustrations move in such a graceful manner and we’ve been receiving some lovely responses from people who have seen the animation. I’d also like to echo Lesley’s thoughts on the constant support and appreciation of the work we produce that we get from Amelia’s Magazine.

seven little houses people

I also wanted the girls to talk about the importance of Twitter to their collaboration, as I often see conversations between Lesley and Thereza passing through my own Twitter feed: it’s how I found out they were collaborating on the project for Aniboom, and it’s a medium I feel strongly that all illustrators should engage with.

Lesley on Twitter:
Twitter is an easy way of staying in touch and see what each other is up to. When you are a freelancer it’s great for reminding you that you are not completely alone in the world and means you can check out what’s inspiring other people, collaborate with them, get feedback and generally just have a bit of a chat.

Thereza on Twitter:
Using Twitter helped make the collaboration go more smoothly because Lesley and I were always tweeting bits of work in progress to each other and teasing other about what was coming next. I used to be very resistant to using Twitter but now I’m a self proclaimed addict because it’s enabled me to engage with some ace collaborations that otherwise might not have happened.
Twitter is probably the best current social tool for illustrators in terms of networking and establishing links with both the industry and peers as it provides an open channel for direct communication and it’s fab for promoting your own work and the work of others. I love the fact that Twitter is free of advertising and has a nice layout which allows you to customize your page background nicely. I’m really fussy about such factors…
Also, the job of an illustrator can often be a lonely one as we spend a great deal of time confined in our workspaces, well, working… so I tend to have my twitter page open through the day, so it almost feels like having lots of nice people around 🙂 

Both Thereza Rowe and Lesley Barnes appear in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration.

Another weekend on the festival calendar that has readily established itself as one of the more well-regarded events around is Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank‘s Bestival, more about which takes place every year in the late summer on Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight. This year’s event takes place from the 9th to the 12th of September, pill and having such a late date every year marks it out as being perhaps the last significant camping festival to take place on these fair isles before autumn’s cold, unhealthy clammy hands take a grip of the countryside.

It’s been running since 2002, but in 2008 its ‘little sister’ spinoff, Camp Bestival, was launched. Based at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, Camp Bestival is a much smaller, and more intimate, affair (10,000 capacity versus the 43,000 of Bestival), specifically designed as a more child-friendly event, and taking place much earlier in the year (in mid-July). It conjures up much of the same ethos and atmosphere as its older brother, but there’s more of an emphasis on making it a happy environment for the kids – which is a splendid idea, really. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to reach middle age only to find that the annual road trip mashup bangin’ weekender at Reading becoming less practical with a newborn baby on the backseat.

Like a lot of smaller, more ’boutique’ festivals, Bestival offers more than just a music lineup. The Saturday of the festival is usually designated the day for dressing up in costume (in 2005 they attempted to break the Guinness World Record for most people in fancy dress at one time), and there’s a heavy focus on political and environmental causes. It’s not uncommon to find artists interrupting their sets to declare their opposition to some military action in some far off country, or to promote vegetarianism (there’s a lot of vegetarian food on offer at Bestival), or merely to lead a chant for peace.

The organisers also try to make the festival carbon neutral, which includes offsetting those things that they can’t control (like the petrol burnt to get everything to the site) but also by promoting recycling and sustainability on site.

Camp Bestival is similarly-focused, but the main difference between the two (apart from the size) is that the focus is much less on the music. A large number of comedians perform at the festival, and there are also tents for poetry readings and theatrical performances. This makes sense, when you consider that up to 5,000 kids can attend on top of the 10,000 adults, and parents will no doubt love a chance to sit and relax, not having to chase small bundles of energy around.

Bestival’s musical lineup this year includes the Prodigy, Flaming Lips, Dizzee Rascal, Roxy Music, the xx, Fever Ray, a solo set from Jonsi of Sigur Ros fame, and a rare festival appearance from LCD Soundsystem (who will most likely disband at the end of this current tour, so catch them while you can). You’ve also got Gil-Scott Heron, Echo & the Bunnymen, Chase & Status, Simian Mobile Disco, and even Rolf Harris will be putting in an appearance.

Campe Bestival’s lineup is less prestigious, but still worth a shout – headlined by Madness, Friendly Fires, and the Human League, with appearances also from the legendary George Clinton & Parliament, as well as the slightly-less legendary Lee Scratch Perry, and also Calvin Harris, Marc Almond, Billy Bragg, and a host more.

So, taken, together, you’ve got a couple of pretty decent ways to bookend your summer on the south coast. Just make sure that, if you go, you do recycle – a new study out today has shown that festivals are emitting over 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. Every little helps, eh?

Categories ,bestival, ,Billy Bragg, ,Calvin Harris, ,Camp Bestival, ,Chase & Status, ,dizzee rascal, ,Echo & the Bunnymen, ,Fever Ray, ,flaming lips, ,Friendly Fires, ,George Clinton, ,Gil-Scott Heron, ,isle of wight, ,Jonsi, ,lcd soundsystem, ,Madness, ,Marc Almond, ,parliament, ,rob da bank, ,Rolf Harris, ,Roxy Music, ,sigur ros, ,Simian Mobile Disco, ,The Human League, ,the Prodigy, ,The XX

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