Amelia’s Magazine | Paul Costelloe AW15: London Fashion Week Catwalk Review

Paul Costelloe AW15 front row
Paul Costelloe put on a stunning show at the suitably glamorous Waldorf Hotel, showcasing a silhouette that seems to grow bolder by the season. I was seated next to the staircase down which the models descended and had a brilliant view of the Front Row, populated by a host of glamorous ladies with shiny hair and legs: Amanda Byram, Edith Bowman, Donna Air, Yasmin Le Bon and so it went on…

Paul Costelloe by Simon McLaren
Paul Costelloe AW15 by Simon McLaren.

Paul Costelloe AW15- photo Amelia Gregory 1
Paul Costelloe AW15-photo Amelia Gregory 2
The Jewels in the Mist collection was inspired by the Italian village of Corinaldo, and featured a beautiful selection of handcrafted jacquards and tweeds in gorgeous saturated colours.
Hair was big and bouffant and heels were high and buckled, simple stylistic additions that let the clothes do the talking. The show opened with a series of stunning short emerald green floral puff dresses with flared sleeves, shoulderless for nighttime, or with jacket tailoring for day. Deeper amethyst tones were worked into tweed swing coats and silvery hues brought a Hollywood glamour to the show, given a Tudor-esque update with huge pointy shoulders.

Paul Costelloe AW15- photo Amelia Gregory 3
Paul Costelloe AW15- photo Amelia Gregory 4
I particularly loved the juicy orange tweed dresses and coats that closed the show. How I would love one of those marvellous coats!

All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,Amanda Byram, ,Corinaldo, ,Donna Air, ,Edith Bowman, ,Jewels in the Mist, ,Paul Costelloe, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Waldorf Hotel, ,yasmin le bon

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Amelia’s Magazine | Eugene Lin: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review


Eugene Lin A/W 2013 by Dom&Ink

I like to sneak off to a show during the week on my lunch hour, and that’s exactly what I did to catch Eugene Lin at Fashion Scout on Monday.


Eugene Lin A/W 2013 by Sylwia Szyszka

Eugene is no stranger to the Fashion Scout catwalk, and his collections tend not to go for any kind of shock factor, instead concentrating on cuts and craftsmanship loosely based around a certain theme. This season again fed on Lin’s fascination with Greek mythology, and we reach the part of the story where loveable rogue Paris first meets Helen of Troy. Loud gunshots permeated the catwalk hall, much to many attendees’ surprise, no more than my own. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) played as we sat in almost darkness, a reference to Eros (Cupid)’s shooting of Helen.


All photography by Matt Bramford

The tempo soon picked up as the lights beamed and models appeared in trench coats, continuing Eugene’s love affair with this fashion staple. Many were sleeveless, some even worn as tops rather than jackets, revealing shoulders and busts with sweetheart necklines. Most came in a standard beige gabardine, while others came in refreshing rich reds and in black, as did the opener, embellished with buttons applied almost with abandon.


Eugene Lin A/W 2013 by Dom&Ink

It’s hard to find any direct nods to the Greeks, and while I’m not one for vulgar influential references I did leave wondering if the Aphrodite/Helen/Paris/Eros blurb on the press release that I’ve so cleverly regurgitated above is really necessary. It’s more than fine, I think, to produce a damn good collection (as Eugene had) without trying to force hidden meanings and evocative references on the viewer like a painter or modern sculptor might.


Eugene Lin A/W 2013 by Sylwia Szyszka

Later came abstract digital prints that have become Lin’s signature. Body-conscious dresses carried this print well, layered as panels onto black. Crisp, fitted shirts also featured the print in green, styled with slick leather pencil skirts that will have his groaning army of fans leaping with amour.

Other pieces carried a repeated disc pattern, which may or may not have been a symbol from Greek mythology. If it’s the former case then I’ve perhaps made myself sound a little silly going on about references. Whatever the outcome, this was a carefully executed collection with sensuous flare and high quality tailoring that will firmly establish Eugene Lin‘s label on the London fashion map.

Categories ,A/W 2013, ,A/W’13, ,bang bang, ,Cupid, ,Cupid de Locke, ,Dom&Ink, ,Eugene Lin, ,fashion, ,Fashion Scout, ,Freemasons’ Hall, ,Greek mythology, ,Helen of Troy, ,London Fashion Week, ,Matt Bramford, ,paris, ,Sylwia Szyszka, ,Trench Coat, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dot to Dot at V&A Museum of Childhood: Childrenswear Showroom Report, February 2014

Dot to Dot showroom for kids

Following my write up of the Bubble London kidswear trade show I was invited along to the inaugural Dot to Dot trade show and press day at the Museum of Childhood last weekend. I was promised some of the best independent childrenswear brands, so how could I say no? After a three hour stint at Spa London in York Hall (I’ve only got a few weeks left until my birthday and still needed to use up a much appreciated 40th birthday gift voucher from my NCT buddies) I bombed into the museum’s basement for a whirlwind tour before heading home for lunch. I hope I didn’t scare off too many brand owners with my extremely pink face and wild steam room hair.

Dot to Dot childrenswear trade show

The basement of the museum was the ideal venue for this venture, which is the brainchild of Carly Gledhill from Corby Tindersticks and Nicole Frobusch from Nixie Clothing, designed to showcase their favourite independent British children’s designers. The basement was compact yet airy and easy to negotiate and I particularly liked the small touches, such as some fabulous collaged artwork on the walls, courtesy of students from the Kids Company. There was a fantastic array of exciting independent brands on show, making my fleeting visit well worth the effort on a blustery winter’s weekend.

Corby Tindersticks cushion

I’ve written about Corby Tindersticks before, but this was a chance to become truly smitten by this burgeoning brand, which now includes square cushions (they make very cute shaped ones too) and clothing in its offering, much of which will appeal equally to adults and children. I unfortunately did not get a good photograph of their wall display, which was beautifully put together.

Badger print by Poco Nido

This super cute badger design is by Poco Nido from Sheffield, set up by footwear designer Catherine Lobley. Perhaps not unsurprisingly her speciality is very cute printed baby slippers. I also love the fact that she runs a competition to see who can make the best object out of a Poco Nido packaging tube. Yay to crafty recycling!

Indikidual clothing

Indikidual crayola print

I adore the deliciously bright colour palette from Indikidual, a brand which I have heard many good things about in recent times. The collection, designed by Syreeta Johnson, is unisex and designed to be worn in layers. I am looking forward to dressing Snarfle in some of these pieces in the years to come. Doesn’t this crayon print rock?

Aravore dress for girls

I am super impressed by the many roles of Aravore designer Yanina Aubrey, who has used a beautiful end of roll luxury womenswear fabric (above) in her pretty new collection. During London Fashion Week she will be curating the Paraguayan international showcase. Impressive stuff, I will have to try and visit.

Little_Titans_lookbook-tights for boys

Little Titans cushion

The fabulous illustrative branding for boys’ tights brand Little Titans by Carly Hardy appears on the cushion above and on all packaging, combined with some wonderful typography and photography. I adore the quirky central character, which really sums up a typical cheeky little boy. As a massive tights fan (for Snarfle, I should clarify, I’m more of a leggings woman these days) I have obviously become aware of Little Titans, which specialises in abstract designs: think bold colourings, stripes and lightening bolts. I think they are fab and am sure that Snarfle will wear these in the future, although for now he is exclusively dressed in the wonderful patterned offerings from Slugs and Snails.

Becky Baur

There were other designers that I did not get a chance to look at because I was in such a rush, but for now I’ll end with the eye-catching range by Hackney based designer Becky Baur (who I clearly missed on my earlier Top Drawer excursion). She also had the most wonderful wall display (again, didn’t manage to get a good photo, my bad). With designs that would be equally loved by kids and adults, her brand, launched in 2011, includes homeware, stationery and ceramics. Very very cool.

Many of the designers at the Dot to Dot press day have impeccable environmental credentials, using organic cotton and manufacturing or making up their products within the UK where possible. Having just learnt that organic cotton uses half the water of normal cotton and avoids all the health problems associated with pesticides (from Zandra Rhodes! in her penthouse flat! but more on that later…) I think it’s great that so many childrenswear designers are doing their best to implement ethical practices, and I am really enjoying the process of getting to know this aspect of the fashion industry, now that I’ve got a little one of my own.

Categories ,Aravore, ,Becky Baur, ,Bubble London, ,Carly Gledhill, ,Carly Hardy, ,Catherine Lobley, ,Corby Tindersticks, ,Dot to Dot, ,ethical, ,Indikidual, ,Kids Company, ,Little Titans, ,London Fashion Week, ,Museum of Childhood, ,NCT, ,Nicole Frobusch, ,Nixie Clothing, ,Organic Cotton, ,Poco Nido, ,Slugs and Snails, ,Snarfle, ,Spa London, ,Syreeta Johnson, ,Top Drawer, ,va, ,Yanina Aubrey, ,York Hall, ,Zandra Rhodes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Welcome, Snarfle Monkey

Snarfle Monkey by Sam Parr
Snarfle Monkey by Sam Parr.

Yesterday I finally registered the birth of my first child, a gorgeous little boy named Lucian Indigo whom I gave birth to 6 weeks ago. It’s taken me a good month to put thoughts to screen, and I’m still a little unsure of what I am going to say in this blog – and as those who know me will testify it’s not often that I am lost for words.

Snarfle Monkey and friends May 2012
This blog won’t become a baby centred place, but I feel I need to share his coming into my world because it has affected and will continue to affect how I can maintain this website – after all his needs come first and there are times when I just can’t work. In fact, as I have discovered, that’s quite often already… although I am getting adept at typing one handed as the little man breast feeds or kips between me and the computer on a pillow. And I am discovering a whole new world of baby stuff, some of which may make an appearance on here: for instance, illustrated reusable nappies?! Now that’s something I like.

Amelia & Lucian by Gilly Rochester
Amelia & Lucian by Gilly Rochester.

So briefly: Lucian Indigo, otherwise known as Snarfle Monkey, was born in the Royal London by emergency C-section – which was the exact opposite birth to the one I had hoped for. I had been booked into the Barkantine birth centre in the Docklands, but when my waters broke and then I didn’t go into labour that was out of the question. A day later (I stalled quite a bit, hoping to avoid induction) I found myself hooked up to a monitor in the hospital labour ward. Everything seemed fine for a few hours and I had almost convinced the doctor to let me go home when suddenly my baby’s heartbeat went haywire. Within half an hour (sign here!) I was in theatre having a spinal block whilst my partner looked as though he might faint: I personally think it was worse having the needle in my back. Just a few minutes later Snarfle was born, heaved out of my insides, checked over, cleaned and plonked on my chest. I was so drugged up that I barely registered they were still ferreting around in my stomach to stitch me up. All in all a long way from the natural Hypnobirthing water birth I had planned for.

Snarfle Monkey birth hospital April 2012
Snarfle Monkey by Karina Järv
Snarfle Monkey by Karina Järv.

Because of worries about infection, and then his weight, we ended up staying in the Royal London for 12 days. During which time I became just a bit too familiar with the post natal ward staff, not to mention the disgusting food (Jamie Oliver, do hospitals please!) It’s bad enough dealing with a newborn’s round the clock feeding requirements without constant interventions from well meaning doctors and nurses, usually just when I had managed to fall into some much needed sleep, but eventually we got out and started our somewhat belated life together in the outside world.

Snarfle Monkey and friends May 2012
Snarfle Monkey by Sarah Jayne Draws
Snarfle Monkey by Sarah Jayne Draws.

So here we are, Snarfle, father and me… adjusting to our new lives as a family. Unlike many other new mums I of course don’t have official maternity leave, and my baby is what is known as *high needs* meaning that he doesn’t sleep much and wants constant attention day and night, so we’re having fun working together as the PR requests keep rolling in.

Snarfle Monkey and friends May 2012
Snarfle by angela lamb
Snarfle by angela lamb
Snarfle by Angela Lamb.

Snarfle Monkey 23rd May 2012
I will be there for my boy whenever he needs me, but I love my work too so we’ll see how it all pans out. For now I am knackered but happy…

Snarfle_monkey by simon mclaren
Snarfle Monkey by Simon Mclaren.

Categories ,Angela Lamb, ,Barkantine Centre, ,Birthing Experience, ,C-Section, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Hypnobirthing, ,Jamie Oliver, ,Karina Jarv, ,Natural Birth, ,Royal London, ,Sam Parr, ,Sarah-Jayne Draws, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Snarfle Monkey, ,Water Birth

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Amelia’s Magazine | Welcome, Snarfle Monkey

Snarfle Monkey by Sam Parr
Snarfle Monkey by Sam Parr.

Yesterday I finally registered the birth of my first child, a gorgeous little boy named Lucian Indigo whom I gave birth to 6 weeks ago. It’s taken me a good month to put thoughts to screen, and I’m still a little unsure of what I am going to say in this blog – and as those who know me will testify it’s not often that I am lost for words.

Snarfle Monkey and friends May 2012
This blog won’t become a baby centred place, but I feel I need to share his coming into my world because it has affected and will continue to affect how I can maintain this website – after all his needs come first and there are times when I just can’t work. In fact, as I have discovered, that’s quite often already… although I am getting adept at typing one handed as the little man breast feeds or kips between me and the computer on a pillow. And I am discovering a whole new world of baby stuff, some of which may make an appearance on here: for instance, illustrated reusable nappies?! Now that’s something I like.

Amelia & Lucian by Gilly Rochester
Amelia & Lucian by Gilly Rochester.

So briefly: Lucian Indigo, otherwise known as Snarfle Monkey, was born in the Royal London by emergency C-section – which was the exact opposite birth to the one I had hoped for. I had been booked into the Barkantine birth centre in the Docklands, but when my waters broke and then I didn’t go into labour that was out of the question. A day later (I stalled quite a bit, hoping to avoid induction) I found myself hooked up to a monitor in the hospital labour ward. Everything seemed fine for a few hours and I had almost convinced the doctor to let me go home when suddenly my baby’s heartbeat went haywire. Within half an hour (sign here!) I was in theatre having a spinal block whilst my partner looked as though he might faint: I personally think it was worse having the needle in my back. Just a few minutes later Snarfle was born, heaved out of my insides, checked over, cleaned and plonked on my chest. I was so drugged up that I barely registered they were still ferreting around in my stomach to stitch me up. All in all a long way from the natural Hypnobirthing water birth I had planned for.

Snarfle Monkey birth hospital April 2012
Snarfle Monkey by Karina Järv
Snarfle Monkey by Karina Järv.

Because of worries about infection, and then his weight, we ended up staying in the Royal London for 12 days. During which time I became just a bit too familiar with the post natal ward staff, not to mention the disgusting food (Jamie Oliver, do hospitals please!) It’s bad enough dealing with a newborn’s round the clock feeding requirements without constant interventions from well meaning doctors and nurses, usually just when I had managed to fall into some much needed sleep, but eventually we got out and started our somewhat belated life together in the outside world.

Snarfle Monkey and friends May 2012
Snarfle Monkey by Sarah Jayne Draws
Snarfle Monkey by Sarah Jayne Draws.

So here we are, Snarfle, father and me… adjusting to our new lives as a family. Unlike many other new mums I of course don’t have official maternity leave, and my baby is what is known as *high needs* meaning that he doesn’t sleep much and wants constant attention day and night, so we’re having fun working together as the PR requests keep rolling in.

Snarfle Monkey and friends May 2012
Snarfle by angela lamb
Snarfle by angela lamb
Snarfle by Angela Lamb.

Snarfle Monkey 23rd May 2012
I will be there for my boy whenever he needs me, but I love my work too so we’ll see how it all pans out. For now I am knackered but happy…

Snarfle_monkey by simon mclaren
Snarfle Monkey by Simon Mclaren.

Categories ,Angela Lamb, ,Barkantine Centre, ,Birthing Experience, ,C-Section, ,Gilly Rochester, ,Hypnobirthing, ,Jamie Oliver, ,Karina Jarv, ,Natural Birth, ,Royal London, ,Sam Parr, ,Sarah-Jayne Draws, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Snarfle Monkey, ,Water Birth

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Amelia’s Magazine | Becky Becky: Good Morning, Midnight

Becky Becky by Gareth A Hopkins
Becky Becky by Gareth A Hopkins.

I often listen to the music that I am sent when I am driving, and only a very few albums make a big impression: ones that I return to again and again. Good Morning, Midnight by Becky Becky is one such record, combining the extraordinary narrative of an ageing party girl out on the lash with hugely danceable beats, the ennui of our protagonist’s tale somehow brought alive in a wonderfully life affirming manner. If you love early era The Knife (and I do) then you will revel in Good Morning, Midnight. I spoke with Gemma Williams (formerly of Woodpecker Wooliams) and her ex-boyfriend Peter J D Mason, about making music after a relationship ends, and the power of doing it for yourself.

Becky Becky Good Morning, Midnight album cover review

What were your main influences when this album was in gestation?
The main influence of this album was always the work of Jean Rhys, specifically the novels and short stories she completed in the ‘20s and ‘30s. The songs first took shape on scraps of dog-eared paper in a tiny studio flat in Prague, with no access to any computers for recording or instruments for figuring out some music. At first all we had was copies of Jean Rhys’ novels and words on paper – nothing musical at all. The music came later, ideas were formed on an old guitar with only two strings originally belonging to the deceased mother of one of us. When it came to finally recording the songs proper, we sold some old vinyl and bought a synthesiser, and a lot of the ideas came from tinkering with that. Musically, we listened to a lot of ‘80s synth-pop like Bronski Beat and Soft Cell, and we also drew a lot from The Knife, Hot Chip and Legowelt.

Becky Becky press photo 2

What did you mean by Good Morning, Midnight?
The title of our album comes from the title of a book by Jean Rhys, which we drew most of our inspiration from. We toyed with the idea of using another title, but it seemed to fit the album we’d made perfectly. Jean Rhys herself took the title from an Emily Dickinson poem. In the poem, Dickenson talks of being rejected by ‘day’ and turning towards ‘night’. Obviously, this has been interpreted into ideas of leaving ‘the light’ and being drawn into ‘darkness’, life and death, etc. It fits the protagonist of our album. She’s losing her place in society, becoming an invisible person – a woman, ageing and single – she’s being rejected by society and turning towards darkness. That’s the tale of the album in once sentence. Hence, Good Morning, Midnight.

The album features the tales of a ‘lonely, ageing female‘ – what inspired such a choice?
Our protagonist is a single, ageing woman who is also a drunk. This is almost a sin in western society. People don’t care for or about these kinds of people. If you’re too old to be the object of someone’s lust and not a mother, what are you? Nothing. These people don’t exist as far as most media is concerned. Yet these women do exist. We didn’t make an album about a young, carefree, partying clubbing woman – songs about these people abound, especially in electronic music. We wanted an interesting story, an interesting character, someone more real to be at the forefront of our music.

Becky Becky by Cristina BanBan
Becky Becky by Cristina BanBan. ‘I tried to reflect the image of a powerful, glamorous and very feminine woman as it was the feeling I had after listening to Good Morning, Midnight. I wanted to capture the sexy and stylish beats of the new album through a strong contrast between bright colours. I think it comes from a huge influence of the cover albums from club scene in the 80s’.

Do you know of anyone who fits this bill in real life? And if so, what advice do you have for them?
As we said, there are plenty of women out there who could be our protagonist. For us to give advice to them would be a bit presumptuous on our part, though. This album is a snapshot, a description of one woman’s experience. It’s a piece of narrative. We have no advice for anyone.


Fire & Wings: This song details the end of an alcohol-fuelled evening in a European city, wherein the narrator drunkenly vows to ‘drink [herself] to death‘, laments love lost, encounters a sinister older gentleman with designs on her; all culminating in a joyous paean to that particular feeling that, ‘comes in a glass… fire and wings.’

How did you put together the video for recent single Fire & Wings? Can you tell us a bit about the making of…
We are essentially a zero-budget group. The album was written when one of us was pretty much homeless, sleeping on sofas in Europe. So when it came to making our first video for the album, we didn’t have access to a load of cash. We do have some friends, however. Richard Sanz had put together an animation for us to use as a projection some time prior, with no specific music in mind. With a bit of editing we found it fit to Fire & Wings perfectly. As it was originally designed as projection, we decided to mix it with some live shot-footage, albeit heavily effected. We’re great fans of ‘one-shot’ videos – where it’s just one camera with one shot for the whole thing. With a music video, often you want the music to speak for itself – the visuals are an assist to that. Take a look at Once In A Lifetime from Talking Heads’ live DVD Stop Making Sense. Despite having access to god-knows how many camera angles, for the first four or so minutes, the shot is just one, a close up of David Byrne. That’s all you need. A friend of ours has created a piece of software called Lightsynth that we’ve also used for animated visuals – so far, only live, but we may use it in a video too, and another group of friends is putting together a kind of cubism-based video for House of the Black Madonna. These will be released over the next couple of months.

Becky Becky by Simon McLaren
Becky Becky by Simon McLaren.

A DIY aesthetic and process is clearly important to you – how has this manifested in the release of your album?
Everything about this album we have done ourselves. We recorded and mixed the album ourselves, created our own label to distribute it, booked our own gigs. Everything we’ve shouldered ourselves which has been quite stressful, yet gave us the control we wanted.

Becky Becky press photo 1

Have you any plans to tour in 2014, and if so where can we see you live?
We find playing live quite difficult, for various reasons and we are still developing how we present ourselves and our music in a live environment. We very much believe in putting on a ‘show’ rather than a gig – we use a combination of mixed-media and extra performers to try and create something that’s more theatrical than a standard concert. However, so far, it’s still a work-in-progress that develops with every performance. We’re playing Supernormal festival in Oxfordshire in August, and then we aim to conduct a European tour in the autumn, primarily Spain, Germany and Italy.


House Of The Black Madonna.

You first got together in 2011 and became a couple. When your relationship fell apart, you continued to make the album – what have been the best bits and pitfalls of this creative process?
The pitfalls have mainly been learning how to work with one another. The first time we got in a room together to record after our break-up was quite difficult, as there was still a lot of tension in the air. This also transferred to rehearsing for live concerts, too. Recording and rehearsing can be quite stressful, and with the history between us, it can feel very personal. The best bits have been that we have actually created something very positive out of our acrimonious split. We have built something together that has kept us in each other’s lives. It was a real struggle to achieve, but we made something we’re really proud of. And we’re not just talking about the album. We have also created a strong friendship, and we are now very close. Without making this record, it’s hard to say if we’d even still be speaking to each other.

Would you and will you do it again?
Would we do it again? Definitely. Will we do it again? That’s a harder question to answer. We can’t really promise anything. After the album was first finished, it felt like that might be it. That might be all we’re capable of doing together. However, now we’re on a bit more of an even-footing, there may be more to come from us yet.

Good Morning, Midnight by Becky Becky is out now on Feint Records.

Categories ,album, ,Becky Becky, ,brighton, ,Cristina BanBan, ,diy, ,Emily Dickinson, ,Feint Records, ,Fire & Wings, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,Gemma Williams, ,Good Morning Midnight, ,Hot Chip, ,House Of The Black Madonna, ,Jean Rhys, ,Legowelt, ,Lightsynth, ,Peter J D Mason, ,Prague, ,review, ,Richard Sanz, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Supernormal festival, ,The Knife, ,Woodpecker Wooliams

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Amelia’s Magazine | Kawakawa: Universe Shifting – Video Premiere

KawaKawa by Simon McLaren
KawaKawa by Simon McLaren.

Kawakawa is Hidden Cameras and Paloma Faith collaborator Sam Taylor, and he has just launched his solo project. Sam was born on the island of Kawakawa in New Zealand, but moved to the UK as a baby, so the name has come to encapsulate a kind of dream-space for him, the perfect moniker for his soaring brand of dream-pop. The possibilities of this other world are reflected in new album Island Species, and a clever video for new single Universe Shifting, which Sam talks exclusively about below.

“Strangely but fittingly this video ended up being completely the opposite of what I’d imagined for the first single from the album. I’d imagined something simple, DIY, arty and with ME-NOT-IN-IT-AT-ALL. Fittingly, because the subject matter of the song is partly to do with accepting that you can’t control the vast majority of what happens to you during the course of your life.

Island Species press cover
I met Shay Hamias, a director from Th1ng film production and animation company not long after having thoughts about the first video and ended up instead with a beautifully lush, dynamic and cinematographically advanced video with ME-IN-YOUR-FACE-ALL-THE-WAY-
THROUGH!

Kawakawa Promo Shot II
Shay had been wanting to make a music video as a ‘creative project’ alongside the more commercial work he does at his workplace and to try out some ideas he had for using rotating human figures, statues and dancers to create abstract shapes and chains of ‘sound waves’. These ideas just happened to fit well with the subject matter of the song – relinquishing the inevitable loss of control but smiling and carrying on anyway.

Kawakawa live
Shay set out three distinct sections or universes of the video using a colour pallet. I would be rotated through much of the video – stripped and reclothed as I was shifted between worlds.”

The album Island Species by Kawakawa is out now.

Categories ,Exclusive, ,Hidden Cameras, ,Island Species, ,Kawakawa, ,New Zealand, ,paloma faith, ,Premier, ,Sam Taylor, ,Shay Hamias, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Th1ng film production, ,video

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Amelia’s Magazine | White Denim- Workout Holiday

loyal%20trooper%202.jpg
Photograph by Dylan Walker

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

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

loyal%20trooper%20bar%20music%20hall.jpg
Photograph by Dylan Walker

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

Luckily enough I know Andy fairly well, so I am not only able to talk to him about his songs but am even lucky enough to take him home with me after the gig and give him a guinness or three and some nicotine gum. Having been locked in introspective song writing sessions Andy has recorded a mini album in his bedroom, and now says he feels ready to show everyone what he has made, so he is self-releasing it, it comes out on the 15th of September, it might be hard to find, but if I were you I would go looking for it.
phaiz5.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leila’s long awaited ‘Blood, Looms and Blooms’ is an album that keeps us at a distance, an enthralled spectator on a dark dreamscape. The experience is like being fully aware of a nightmare, and the fact it can’t hurt us, but having no control over the outcome and feeling horrified all the same. It’s no light listen, and I personally don’t often feel drawn to such sinister tunes, but for those who like their fairy tales grown up and their sleep walks sultry; this is the album for you.
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Tucked away in the back streets of N16 lies a near secret Shangri – la. Down a side alley not so far from Tesco metro, illness surrounded by a mixture of oblivious residences and industrial units, a cardboard sign informs that you have reached Stoke Newington International Airport.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cooking in the London neighbourhood 2007

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Climate Camp 2007

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

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

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

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

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Climate Camp 2007 compostable toilets

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

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Flyering at Rise festival

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

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London neighbourhood 2007

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

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London neighbourhood cooks having fun

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

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

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

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

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Planning this years camp

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

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

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Flyering on watermargins

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

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

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

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

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

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Amelia’s Magazine | Nancy Elizabeth introduces the video for Simon Says Dance

Nancy Elizabeth by Simon McLaren
Nancy Elizabeth by Simon McLaren.

Simon Says Dance is the second single to be taken from Nancy Elizabeth’s new album, Dancing, which was released on The Leaf Label in May 2013. It is an accidental song, according to Nancy, who wrote it on the piano in the middle of the night after she’d been out dancing. It wasn’t initially intended for inclusion on Dancing even though thematically it’s a perfect match, and the single version is radically different to the one that appears on the album, descending into a mesmerising drumbeat with a big bassline. Nancy Elizabeth explains the making of the accompanying video below.

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The video is a celebration; a meeting of friends in colour and light. The song is a lighthearted poem about reflections, patterns and rhythms that happen between people so I wanted this to be the main focus in the video. That is why it is focused around dancing. 

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These friendly, lovely women at Bloc and Blur, a film making company in Manchester, were up for making a video for Simon Says Dance, so we found a day on which we all had to get out of bed at an unholy hour. The video shoot started at 7am – with a large team of crew carrying heavy gear into Islington Mill, ant like. I got there for 9, along with my good friends Gonzalo, Nula and my soon to be friend Ella. We moved into a derelict building in Manchester city centre and and Gonzalo and Ella ran around on the beautiful staircase being filmed. I sat on my coat in a dusty room waiting to be needed. I wasn’t needed for ages, luckily Nula was keeping me company and keeping me sane. It was freezing. We then moved along, back to Islington Mill. Some amazing people had dressed the attic with fabrics and bunting. My friends were waiting for me up there. Someone put on some tunes and we all danced around while a load of people moved in and out with cameras, filming us. Gonzalo and Ella did some great moves and looked beautiful. Then it was time for me. FInally. I sang along and did some twirls for the camera. The wonderful director did the rest. They all worked so hard. I am very grateful to everyone who came down to dance or hold a camera. It was a really great day.

Nancy Elizabeth Dancing album cover
Nancy Elizabeth is on tour with her new album throughout June, including an appearance at this year’s Beacons Festival. The track can be downloaded for free from Nancy’s Bandcamp. Dancing is out now on The Leaf Label. Read our interview with Nancy Elizabeth from 2011 here.

Categories ,Beacons Festival, ,Bloc and Blur, ,dancing, ,Islington Mill, ,nancy elizabeth, ,Simon Mclaren, ,Simon Says Dance

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Silent Well: an interview with Douga

Douga by David Tolu Graham
Douga by David Tolu Graham.

Former member of Keith and Plank! drummer Johnny Winbolt-Lewis has released The Silent Well with his new band Douga. Much of the record was made at the Seed Studios where Winbolt-Lewis volunteers, working with people who suffer from psychological distress, and the sensitivities of those he comes into contact with have indirectly influenced this laid back record, rich in sonic textures and psychedelic influences.

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Douga by Simon McLaren.

We talked before when you were part of your previous incarnation Keith – how did you get involved with your latest band Douga and where does the name come from?
It started life as a solo venture, which I was doing whilst in Keith and then when I played drums in Plank! My parents gave me the nickname of ‘Douga‘ when I was younger cos of my endless imagination. To be honest it probably doesn’t make much sense, although I’ve always seen being creative as an extension of that childlike wonder. It is actually a name which derives from west Africa, having read ‘In Griot Time‘. This is purely coincidence but a nice one since as I’m so in awe of the music from this part of the world.

Douga The Silent Well interview review
What were the inspirations behind the lyrics of the songs on new album The Silent Well?
There’s a bit of disillusionment in the order and status quo we live in and various introspective thoughts, but I’m not one for dissecting lyrics too much. I like the listener to find their own interpretations and projections (sorry to be so clichéd).

You enjoy creating unorthodox textures in your tunes, how are these achieved in practice?
I think Douga live and on record are two separate entities at the moment. That’s not to say this will always be the way. Myself and John Waddington made most of these tracks. I think a lot of the more esoteric textures were the work of John, who works well with those layers which juxtapose the melody. He used his Casio keyboards with various pedals, or played the electric with metallic objects to gain those shimmering drones. Also, Dan Bridgewood-Hill (one of the most versatile and gifted musicians in Manchester IMO) created his inimitable style with the violin. We tended to start with the rhythmic instruments first and then the guitar. After that came the more leftfield / psyched out stuff – the fun part!

Douga
I believe you recorded the album in an unusual studio, can you tell us more about it?
We recorded the bulk of it at Seed Studios in Trafford. It’s a space used by people suffering from various mental health problems. I do various music related projects there and the place pays back by allowing me to record. It’s a pretty big building with various spaces to setup to record. We used mainly our equipment there and had a lot of assistance from Raul Careno (also a volunteer).

How has the Manchester music scene shaped your music making?
I’m not sure it has greatly. We probably live outside any scene cos we’re fairly introverted people. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy a lot of music that’s being made in this city currently. One thing I am inspired by is the prolific rate at which some musicians put new stuff out. We’re currently recording our next record. I think you want to build up your catalogue to show people what you’re about! I guess this first collection of tunes is more downbeat that we are when we play live and the way the next record is panning out will reflect a more upbeat side of the band.

Where does the footage come from in Still Waters?
Galen Milne-Hines told us it was comprised of material from the Prelinger Archives and other sources in the public domain. There’s some manipulation of the colours as well.

Where can fans catch you live this year?
We play A Carefully Planned Festival in Manchester in October. We’re currently booking dates around the country at this sort of time. Expect London, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield shows.

The Silent Well by Douga was released in May 2014 via Do Make Merge Records.

Categories ,A Carefully Planned Festival, ,Dan Bridgewood-Hill, ,David Tolu Graham, ,Do Make Merge Records, ,Douga, ,Galen Milne-Hines, ,In Griot Time, ,John Waddington, ,Johnny Winbolt-Lewis, ,Keith, ,manchester, ,Plank, ,Prelinger Archives, ,Raul Careno, ,Seed Studios, ,Simon Mclaren, ,The Silent Well

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