Thursday, 30 April 2009

Merchant's Archive

Once a
Lipton General Store, now home to Sophie Merchant’s carefully chosen plethora of objects for the home and healthy range of vintage and contemporary clothing. Her expertise lies in 1920’s - 1940’s, however the store specialises in craftsmanship of any era - you will find pieces dating from as far back as the 1850’s. Fashion wise, Merchant Archive showcases contemporary designers Zambesi, Double M, Jessica McComack, AM Eyewear and currently exhibits the work of Photographer Cordan Crabb... read the interview on Dazed Digital here.

Keep Me In The Loop

Armando Iannucci's satirical comedy In the Loop proved a refreshing if somewhat scary anti-dote to the media gloss we are constantly fed. However, it did pose many questions as to the reality of the plot, I wandered how close to the truth the film actually came, if the answer is close then what a scary world we live in. Either way, the film is sharply entertaining, packed with acerbic one-liners and interesting sub-plots on cheating underdogs and surrounding political entanglements. Loosely based around events leading up to the Iraq war the film shows both arguments for and against and how they were manipulated by the powers that be on both sides of the Atlantic, strong performances from the fowl mouthed pr Rottweiler Malcolm Tucker played by Peter Capaldi and James Gandolfini as Lt. Gen. George Miller.

The main protagonist was the British Secretary of State for International Development, Simon Foster, played by Tom Hollander, who let it slip on national television that he felt war was unforeseeable, once the cat was out of the bag, he becomes a pawn or the American's would call it a meat puppet for the big guns to use as a pro-war mascot. I shan't tell you how the film ends as the history books dictate, after all the film isn't about the destination merely the journey that ensues.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Makin Jan Ma - New collection.

I spent three months working with designer Makin Jan Ma last summer in this time I was lucky enough to produce a LFW show, two sample sales and exhibit in Paris, it was great to work alongside such a motivated individual who lives for his work. I interviewed him for this week's Dazed Digital...

Professed accidental designer Makin Jan Ma is following the path to his dreams of making movies, by designing clothes for the actors of his films. His new collection ‘Give Me Some Deep Water’ contains heavy graphic elements using baby pastel prints, which change colour dependant on the light. Mutated ‘double-t-shirts-in-one’ conjoined in a way that would enable them to be worn by Siamese twins, and oversize coats with excess hood folding, all add to the conceptual wear-ability of his everyday garments.... you can catch the rest of his interview here on Dazed Digital.

Monday, 27 April 2009

The Best Things Come In Three's

1. Stoke Newington International Airport is difficult to locate if you don't know where you are going! (see map attached for guidance) A Warehouse space with a jumbled assortment of furniture and a make-shift stage, DIY hosting of events adds to the chilled out vibe, folk nights, performance art and spoken word. Drinks were very sympathetically priced - spirit and a mixer £2.50 and the relaxed atmosphere led to impromptu bursts of dancing from most attendees. Great fun and highly recommended, just don't tell too many people about it.

2. Tina, we salute you located on 47 King Henry's Walk, N1 4NH just at the back of Gillet Square near quite 'chavvy' pub on a quiet street near and yet still there seems to be enough stimulus to watch the world go by. The decor is currently being illustrated by artist Ruth Barret so the portraits on the wall have disappeared. Outside is a suntrap, I'm looking forward to basking there on hot sunny days, hardly any wind seems to blow.

I tasted these flapjacks, they are amazing full of gooey goodness, in fact I'm craving one now!

3. Dalston Superstore Is I'm sure the first of many Kingsland Road bars set to spring up over the coming years as Shoreditch catches up with us. Was a little disappointed at being charged £3.60 for a short and mixer to be served in a plastic cup, lame, but it's early days yet so they have time to grow. If they play their cards right these guys are going to make some serious money, although lets hope that's not all they have in mind.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Camden Crawl Round Up - Day Two

Day two was set to be busy - three interviews and several artists to catch performing. My day started quite breezily as I sat on the rear patio of a rather cute and overpriced teashop in Highgate with Marina & the Diamonds (for those of you who don’t know that’s just Marina). We drank fresh mint tea, hers had bugs in it, she sent it back, quite rightly so. We discussed many things and she answered well, almost too well, this girl knows how to play it. The interview went smoothly (I’ll update you here when it goes live). Next was a quick dash to collect the day’s wristbands, amazingly – no queue! My next interview was The Joy Formidable a three-piece band with the guitars/vocals from North Wales and the Drummer from Wolverhampton. They were established musicians and it really showed – super chilled, ended up speaking to them longer than necessary as we just kept on chatting. Once I’d finished backstage of the Electric I dashed to The Roundhouse and bizarrely Nigel Kennedy ended up speaking to me… weird didn’t even clock it was him. We caught the end of Radio 6 live broadcast with spoken word and Jo Willey as we sipped Earl Grey before dashing off to see Little Boots. Who incidentally was rubbish, we lasted two songs and escaped to the sun terrace glass of Cider and nachos with extra jalapeños in hand. The Maccabees performance served to highlight the immaturity of many of the other acts, solid and natural on stage the time passed quickly before I had to dash off to interview Count & Sinden – who kept me waiting, which was annoying I could of caught the whole gig and still been on time. The interview was eventually recorded in two parts, the juice ran out on my rather dated ipod talk (super old version), Graeme (aka Sinden) kindly lent me use of his ipod phone with built in italk to record the rest. Josh (aka Herve/The Count) was a little tricksy he knows what he wants and I struck a chord with a question that launched him into a rather long rant, I had to reign him in which was draining. You realise being nice to people requires energy and patience. The late finish meant I was behind schedule and completely missed the one band I wanted to catch The Joy Formidable, off to the Jazz Café to witness a rather amusing trio, white beats maker from Dalston Xrabit and Texan rap duo DMG$ thoroughly entertaining they grabbed a girl from the audience and got her to ‘shake her booty’ on stage. After flying visits to the Barfly for Ipso Facto then Toddla T at Cuban Bar we headed back East to our homeland. Cycled down to Stoke Newington International Airport and then popped to a House party arrived home as the dawn chorus was in full swing and collapsed into bed, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Camden Crawl Round Up - Day One

Yesterday I was engulfed in reporting from the event and trying to catch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in action. Finally getting my wristbands (note to self never wait until peak time to collect wristbands) just in time to catch the closing bars of Maps, which was about three songs from the end. This gave little time to adjust to the sweaty frantic atmosphere and embrace Karen O et al in the way they deserved. My enjoyment was also hampered from not setting the time aside to fully embrace the tracks and if I’m honest not being completely won over at the first listen the other night. Needless to say I was already worn out by the rig moral of collecting my guest tickets, didn't feel like a guest, cattle would have been more of an approximation. The queue was a joke and by the time I had slow shuffled to the font I could hear the head Hench monkey grunting the orders 'give no information out' and complaining how short staffed he was, nightmare. A quick dash across the road to the Enterprise to catch The XX who I had interviewed earlier in the day before their slot at MTV. I found them shy yet communicative; they have been playing together since they were at school, which showed in their restrained and intimate performance. Jamie's masterful use of the drum machine kept me glued to his fingers for most of the set. Then over to the Electric Ballroom to catch The Big Pink who I interviewed in Thursday, at first I didn't even realise it was then as they sounded completely different I think that was down to not knowing all the songs intimately and the way the sound was set up in the venue. We also saw SCUM (where a fight broke out) and Count & Sinden who I’m interviewing later today.

So round up from Day One - lowlights: queuing, falafel from Marathon (note to self - only tastes good when you are intoxicated), missing/not appreciating YYY's, lingering cattle-like feeling, arguing with boyfriend through frustration and tiredness.
Highlights - The XX, jiggling around to Count & Sinden

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Social Journey

This afternoon i'm heading off to the ICA to interview up-and-coming band The Big Pink, prior to their sell out gig at ICA and ahead of their two nights at Camden Crawl. This is interview no.2 of 6 for Dazed Digital's coverage of the Camden Festival. Later in the evening I will have an opportunity to unwind pre-Crawl with a free bar courtesy of Converse Music at the launch of the 'Journey' a music documentary. Recorded over the next nine months and features the lives of Lion Club a band looking to make their mark in the music industry. You can read my interview on Dazed Digital here. Later I if I’m not too intoxicated I will pop by Road trip to wish Alistair Allen a happy 30th Birthday.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Formerly Uncle Sams

OK, so if you don't go out in Dalston much then you would be forgiven from not knowing the name of the grey pub at 438 Kingsland Road, formerly home to a batty old lady with a very severe door policy (known to switch personalities mid way through the evening and in bouts of paranoia eject random revellers, from crimes such a leaning on the pool table and asking for a drink that was no longer in stock). Anyway, those days are long gone now, although the Sunday Night Jazz remains to the delight of the Dalston jazz set, which notably maintains an impressive crowd to rival friday and saturday nights. 'The Haggerston' remains unmarked and in disguise, trying to keep a low profile, yet failing miserably as the spotlight ever focuses on the buzz that is Dalston. With a range of nights on offer to cater for the most demanding of music connoisseurs, highlights include She'll hurt you in the End, Season of the Bitch, Back to the Future and ADDDJ's details of which can be found on its facebook group, steer clear of Onomatopoeia though, the DJ is a jumped up, self obsessed gremlin with the spirit of the evil old lady of Uncle Sam’s trapped inside him.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Let The Right One In

Yes it had to happen, it had been on the cards for some time, I finally made it to the cinema to watch 'Let the right one in'. The Swedish horror-social documentary-rights of passage-fanny flashing film which was of course thoroughly entertaining. I liked how bleak it was and yet still managed to look cool and slightly desirable, perhaps it's the Swedish thing, and the 12-year-old lead character Oskar played by Kare Hedebrant performed well as a shy little duckling who oozed indie style and music sensibility. My third most favorite scene in the film was the white poodle with perfectly manicured poodle hair that licked up the first victims blood, joint second was the bizarre arguably unnecessary 'fanny flash' and another floor licking incident when Vampire Eli (Lina Leandersson) licks Oskar's blood. And finally, first place goes to the penultimate scene - witness disembowled heads and limbs shot underwater as the heroine/baddie comes back to save the day and destroy the evil bullies. Full of humor, horror, gore and love, unmissable even after i've kindly revealed a third of the plot, however, there are still plenty of surprises, sub-plots and characters to explore.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Without a Backbone Slashed

East London Label Without Backbones have opened an online store where you can get items such as those pictured below at a fraction of the retail price, granted it is last season stock, but who cares. I bought myself the paint splattered bomber which fits great. Plus the label isn't that well known which means not every tom, dick and harriett will be wearing it.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Thank You Colin

Thank you to I am Colin for my first Dazed Digital associated freebie, whoever said fashion was all about free gifts and parties, might actually be right, at least it was on Thursday when I received a padded envelope containing a t-shirt and goodies from I am Colin. That very evening the freebie fairy struck again as I became the bemused owner of a KEIHL's / Lala's Boudoir (I think it was called that) goodie bag given to me at an exhibition of Alistair Guy's work. I can confirm this wasn't the norm, usually I scratch around for scraps of food around the office, Friday I stole a chip from Rankin's chip bounty near the water machine (fish and chips are his/the photography teams friday staple) and ate the weeks leftovers recovered from the fridge.  You can read both the I am Colin interview and the Alistair Guy write up here and here respectively.

Friday, 17 April 2009

An Experiment Missed

If I had of made it to the Land of Kings Festival number one on my list to catch performing would be post goth-rock girl group 'An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump'. Fortunately I won't have to wait that long as they are next on stage in London at Camden Crawl, let's hope my interviews don't drag on too long, so I can catch them in action on Saturday. Managing to break free from conceptions of cool to create their own highly engaging kudos. The band members are humorously called C Bird, D Bird & X Bird and have an individual style and a sound to match.  Attached is a short video from their track Lights Out...

R.I.P. Shawn Mortensen

Shawn Mortensen's work sneaks under your radar unsuspectingly, the anonymous household name responsible for creating iconic images by recording the popularity. I think he's pretty swell. R.I.P. Master picture maker.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Under My Very Own Nose

I'm beginning to see the advantages of my job, research becomes part of an everyday occurrence, information is absorbed at a more prolific rate and constant regurgitation aides retention.  Whilst 'researching' i've discovered something happening outside my very own window, in the 'Land of Kings' being the queen that I am I was very disappointed to not have made space in my diary for an event/festival such as this.  

Land of Kings 16th and 17th April
Dalston, East London

"Land of Kings is a brand new music festival that loves Dalston as much as you do (or ought to). A two-night celebration of the people and places that make this part of London special, think of it as a street's worth of house parties packed with the finest locally sourced talent."

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Death to the Rayban Ripoffs

I counted how many pairs of useless (when I say useless I mean unwearable through matters of taste rather than function) sunglasses I had in my old man's suitcase (home to a suitcase sized selection of accessory based items), 23 was the count, and in that count were 5 pairs of rip off raybans. Total the amount spent on crappy imitations equals, a really nice pair of vintage cutler and gross. I went for the easy way out. I have limited myself to two good pairs of shades not 10 'alright' ones. This summer I plan to boycott wayfarer-esque shapes and venture into the softerrounder circular numbers. I ponder - if the black circular glasses I took to New Zealand with me last summer had been better quality they may have withstood the demands of traveling (debatable). That said I probably wouldn't have thrown caution to the wind had they been exorbitant in their price structure. I urge you to send your 'ode to wannabe' wayfarers to the younger members of your family and invest in a fresh direction. Unless of course you have always had a black pair of original black Rayban Wayfarer's then it would be like asking you to surrender your favorite black biker jacket.

Here are a few images to guide you.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Topical Five Minutes... Phil Spector

Legendary producer Phil Spector (aged 68), has been convicted of second-degree murder after a unanimous verdict reached by the jury after a 30 hour deliberation. The evidence and jury surrounding the case look pretty ropey, as did Spector when hearing the decision.  Bronx born Russian Jew 'Harvey Philip Spektor' now Spector championed many artists including singer 'Darlene Love' who performed under the guise of The Crystals, Bob b. Soxx and the Blue Jeans as well as her own name.

Phil Spector: Echoes of the Sixties is an underrated album, which encompasses many of Spector's protégé's, and features Love (highlighted in bold) repeatedly (flashback to dancing round the bedroom aged 8).

A1 Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High
A2 Crystals, The - Then He Kissed Me
A3 Ronettes, The - Be My Baby
A4 Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Hearts
A5 Checkmates Ltd., The - Proud Mary
A6 Darlene Love - (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry
A7 Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
A8 Ronettes, The - (The Best Part Of) Breaking Up
A9 Righteous Brothers, The - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
A10 Crystals, The - Da Doo Ron Ron

B1 Crystals, The - He's A Rebel
B2 Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Not Too Young To Get Married
B3 Crystals, The - Uptown
B4 Righteous Brothers, The - Unchained Melody
B5 Ronettes, The - Walking In The Rain
B6 Crystals, The - There's No Other (Like My Baby)
B7 Crystals, The - He's Sure The Boy I Love
B8 Righteous Brothers, The - Ebb Tide
B9 Darlene Love - Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home
B10 Ronettes, The - Baby I Love You