Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Carnival Fever?

Sunday’s carnival bought the sunshine and indeed the crowds; we embarked on the overground to Kensal Rise after a cycle from London Fields, and bus to Hampstead. After the strained yet predictably long journey westwards we encountered a leering gaggle of London Transport officers. The only conclusion I could draw was that they’d just escaped from a laboratory conducting tests into the use of the hormone testosterone; the sight of girls in ‘carnival’ styling’s was almost too much for them to bear, overwhelming to say the least.

It was busy, we light-heartedly hadn’t planned out route and headed straight into the throng, carried along I witnessed several bemusing sights. It became quite fraught when trays of noodles and chop suey were overturned due to overcrowding. Musically there was lots on offer, although not enough to keep me at a particular sound system for any length of time. The gentrification of the area has led to the reallocation of historical sound systems or the obliteration of them altogether. Red Bull maxed out there marketability by cramming lots of electro trendies in one high fenced area and dosing them up on Vodka Red Bull all day, not a bad ploy. Good times was blocked off by 4pm, which vetoed my bank holiday pacing’s out of the picture.

Highlight of the carnival was undoubtedly filling my impoverished belly with Jamaican grub, after a Friday straight through to Sunday at LED (more write up to follow) it was like returning from the desert to find water.

Carnival queens resting up

This lady was responsible for keeping the barrier up, good job.

Overexertion was a common theme.

Literally streets piled with rubbish

DJ slash foodstall holder making it work, by working it

Fort Knocks

It was good to see all colours, shapes and sizes

Our escape shot, we exhaled as we crossed this bridge, phew no more crowds.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Rain on me

Last night I attempted to cycle home in the light drizzle, making my escape from the city, dressed in nothing but a black chiffon dress and tailored crop jacket. The drizzle soon turned into heavy rain, bouncing up of the ground, hitting my face, spraying from my tyres, past my ill-placed water guard and up my back, puddles and streams appeared on the ground. For twenty minutes I cycled, pausing only briefly at Maiden so Noah my housemate could laugh at me. Something primeval happens when the weather takes over, my body accepts what's happening and starts to almost enjoy the situation, it becomes humorous, invigorating. I felt cleansed, my mind conjured images of rebirth, baptism and the hot shower waiting for me at home. I recommend getting drenched through at least once a season, it helps put things into perspective and makes you appreciate being warm and dry.

Boot campees sharing a similar perspective, albeit a more painful one

How wet my dress actually was, not sure the photo does it justice

Ah warm and dry, my room is a little haven of love, flowers £5 from Columbia Road, not bad eh

Bennetton Relaunch

The Benetton relaunch was a pretty organised affair, cakes and champagne lined up ready, staff on hand, although some a little familiar with stock as it was there first day. The imposing store is located smack band in the middle of Oxford Circus and houses four floors of clothing, children’s and Sisley (Benetton’s sister company) being an unexpected addition. I wasn't blown away with the clothing; it was a little safe and uninspiring for my tastes. Benetton was bang on cue in the 90s and with the current trends focusing on that era surely they should be celebrating their history and producing a retrospective diffusion line? Bring back all the garish fun logo and colour that propelled Benetton to success. That said, they did have a rather well tailored drop crotch smart trouser that caught my eye, however the fact that many of the staff were wearing implied it was possibly the best thing on offer. I was still tempted though, Kate bought a rather simple but well crafted black roll neck sweater dress in cable knit for £40 not bad either.

The lift had broken on the first floor, fortunately the stairs were a fun feature

The on hand stylist and photographer had there hands full with Kate, Lucile and Aodhan. The fuzzy image depicts my current state after consuming more than the required dosage of Champagne

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Mother Me

Right from the opening of Mother you sense you are witnessing something special, beautifully shot the film pans South Korea’s countryside where the sky meets the trees, and the trees meet a field full of golden corn. Cue mental looking middle aged woman swaying rhythmically to a music all of her own. Director Bong Joon Ho delivers a delicate balance of humour, suspense and modernity to this ‘who dun it’ drama, presenting a slice of small village life.

Mother played by Kim Hye-ja is a one woman struggle to clear her mentally retarded son Do-joon’s played by Won Bin name of murder; great lengths are reached, with many salubrious skeletons unearthed in the race to find the killer. The plot plays out refreshingly, seamlessly reaching climax, I felt party to the story as it wound to an amusing close. The film is South Korea’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film and the 82nd Academy Awards. Kim Hye-ja also won Best female performance at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The most watchable film I’ve seen all year, save A Prophet; go and check it out.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Nadaav's Comedic Opera

Photography by © Jane Hobson

Originally written and shot in 3 days as part of a film challenge, The Opera Singer is a short by filmmaker Nadaav that very nearly wasn’t made, “11pm the night before the shoot the location and the sound recordist pulled out. The first call to cancel the shoot was made to Hugo who I’d cast as the Studio Engineer (we met at an actors workshop). He sounded surprised and told me, in a tone that suggested he thought I knew; that he was a sound recordist with his own recording studio” explained Nadaav. “The shoot went ahead and in the end he acted, recorded the sound and provided the location - in a fluke of casting, I’d cast the studio engineer to someone who actually was a studio engineer!” The films potential for live performance played out different than expected with the omission of the ringtone sound from the film – friends were planted to play there ringtones on cue throughout the cinema taking the audience somewhat by surprise.

Nadaav has two films (The Opera Singer and There’s Green in this Green) accepted into the Virgin Media Shorts competition, with The Opera Singer making the editor’s choice shortlist. There are several awards up for grabs, for those wishing to add there voice to coveted audience choice award, you can vote for your favourite here. With the remaining prizes judged by a panel which includes, Thandie Newton, James King, the guy who made Four Weddings and a Funeral and a specially selected 15-year-old who took her GCSE’s a year early.

Photography by © Jane Hobson

Produced in 2008 There’s Green in this Green formed part of a trilogy of short documentaries exploring the career highs and low of entrepreneurs. Nadaav turned down funding from an airline in favour of Fortis bank believing it to be the safer option. “About midway through the project I was on a plane back from Atlanta, Georgia, for this shoot. I landed at Gatwick and switched on my phone - it went crazy. It was 10 days after Lehmans collapsed and my sponsor had gone bankrupt!” explains Nadaav. Despite set backs the project went ahead, the lawyers we able to extract funds to complete the project - this is the first time this film has been seen publicly.

Nadaav remains guarded about his future projects although he did let slip that he has a 10 minute slapstick piece on sleep and more documentaries of an ambitious nature in the pipeline.

He remarks “It's all a long way from the second time I picked up a camera”:

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Booming Marvellous

Last weekend I was in Buckinghamshire, on the grounds of the rather fancy Stowe School attending a ska, reggae and rockabilly festival. Once upon at time it was called Recydrate the West, unfortunately cancelled in 2008 and reborn last year as Boom Town. The boys at Crack magazine very kindly sorted me out with press passes in exchange for wordage, full festival review can be found in the upcoming issue. It was my first time sleeping in a van at a festival a completely different experience. The comfort, space and convenience of being able to chuck anything you want into a vehicle at just rock up holds no bounds. We had three duvets a mattress, four pillows and several parties. We did however fail to stock up on anything other than water and alcohol; save toilet roll and a pot of luminous candy floss (?). Thus spending the weekend trading with fellow van’ners for staples such as bananas and chocolate, this proved to be a great ice-breaker. My friends also managed to both lose their phones, which I managed to recover, making new friends along the way. It was the perfect size to wander around totally at ease in the knowledge that you’re likely to bump into someone you want to hang with, or get picked up by someone from Trojan (and run away).

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Jordan for Sale

A friend of mine has recently started selling her used stockings on eBay. She informed me that Jordan was doing the same, only with all her clothes. I question whether she’s an excellent pr woman or a mentalist out to encourage stalkers? Either way it’s all rather amusing and carries this tag line ‘Katie will be donating all the net profit of the sales to The Vision Charity and The Pituitary Foundation’ at least she’s doing her bit. Peter Andre’s uncle lives next door to me, no jokes, he is a wonderful man - you think Peter would sort out a nice gaff for his disabled aunt and blind cousin. Below are some of the delights on offer from 'Jordan's offical Closet', snap them up quick.

Jordan's workout video shorts, £16.00

Jodran's black denim skirt £39.99 as seen

Friday, 13 August 2010

Diane on Charles

I just finished my feature on fashion film for Arthur and Albert [exhales deeply], it was a biggie, three interviews and a lot of research cut down to 1200 words, I look and at it and wonder - all that effort and I’m still not convinced anyone will want to read it. Is it like that with everyone or just me, hopefully the former.

One of the excerpts that didn’t make the cut was Diane Pernet discussing her young protégé’s Tavi Gevinson and Charles Guislain. Tavi, 14, famed blogger was invited by Pernet to judge her fashion film competition One Minute Light Series. My housemate Noah’s new friend Stanley gushed about Charles, a super skinny 17 year old who’s been getting a ridiculous amount of press attention. Diane to me the story about how they met “I was doing my first festival, we took a break in this empty room, Charles and his mum were sat on another. I remember thinking that has to be in fashion he was all decked out in Margella and Raf Simmons. A month later I saw him at the Gautier show, I began to see him at all the shows - he always got in. Then he sent me a note on Facebook about wanting to show me his sketches, we met for tea and that’s how it happened. I'm trying to consult him, he has two more years of school, his dream is to go to Central St Martins.”

You can read more from Diane in my fashion film feature in the September issue of Arthur & Albert Magazine.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Falling for Veronica

It's true I've fallen for Veronica, it's a band, they are ace. There sound is similar to that I've heard before, whiny glasgow inspired indie, the ear pleasing, makes me wanna jiggle kind. They herald from the UK, yet have been stateside pedalling there wares, where the british indie sound is more in fashion. I think it's about time we claimed it back.

This video was shot on Hampstead Heath in the snow, there is something magical that happens when the ground is covered in white.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I want blood

You know I love an iplayer film, its free it’s convenient and when my internet works; I can watch with ease from the comfort of my own bed. This week for your viewing pleasure There Will Be Blood is making its BBC debut. The film is directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and is his best offering yet, Punch Drunk Love was another notable offering. Lifted loosely from the 1927 book Oil! by Upton Sinclair, an epic tale with dark leanings, it marks the rush for wealth during the oil boom during the turn of the last (20th) century. Corruption, greed and ruthless behaviour ensue with the lead played by Daniel Day Lewis and support from Paul Dano. It received mass critical acclaim when it came out in 2007, Oscars, Baftas, etc and won best film of the 00’s so if you haven't seen it you should (watch it again if you have)... visually its stunning.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Elusive Danielle Scutt

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting Danielle Scutt - interview in Arthur & Albert Magazine to follow. She was softer than I had been led to believe and patient given her flu-ey state. Yet I was unable too secure a full exchange, complete with dictaphone. She wanted to consider her answers before getting back to me. These days the fashion leads towards a more controlled voice. Anyway I digress, I wanted to draw focus to her skills, the Spring Summer 10 collection is astounding. I love the detail in piano skirt and the cut of her dresses are delightful. The hair is amazing, great for festival costume or a big night out, best get down Ridley Road and stock up on weave for a practice run.

Her Autumn Winter collection is bang on what's happening around east, the androgyny look played out to effect. Hot. You can check it out here. I was unable to pilfer any a/w 2010 images from off the web. What I liked about her was the lack of information I could find when researching, she told me that people had actually gone to the trouble of making up an interview with her by taking sections from other interviews and pasting into one. She prefers to remain low-key, quite refreshing I felt.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A Rose in Blossom

Bianca Rose sister of Natalie Rose (one of my closest and best friends) got wed to the wonderful Kenny last week; it was a momentous occasion full of love and sunshine. The days celebration was packed to the hilt with music - live band, singing, solo performances including a rather amazing rendition of My Baby Just Care for Me by Nina Simone - and dancing - synchronised on-mass shuffles, dance offs, all female walk offs, the whole shebang.

This being my first African wedding I found it difficult to control my fascination, a sensory overload especially where the clothing was concerned. I haven't been allowed this close to people wearing such wonderful and exotic fabric before, everyone looked so regal in their outfits. I studied in detail the intricate folds in fabric from dress to head wrap and pattern versus colour.

I was a great fan of the one fabric/colourway for all tradition; this had quite a striking effect when standing out from the crowd.

The food was fantastic, I gorged on jollof rice, fried fish, wedding cake and festival*. I witnessed with glee, a slender looking man eat NINE of the *heavy doughnut balls and come back to fill his napkin for the journey home, dedication to the cause - Michael and I managed three a piece and couldn't do anymore.

The beautiful and inspiring Natalie (Bianca's sister and my connection to the wedding) in her Maid of Honor ensemble.

The family have many talents, Bianca in particular is an accomplished yet extremely modest singer songwriter, who has for the last year at least taken a break from performing/writing. Now the wedding is over she can focus on her singing, what a waste otherwise. Check her out performing What Will Remain from her Truths & Tiny Tragedies ep of which I'm lucky to have a copy, email me for a lend. You can also see her charismatic chat here and vocals here.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Year Old Crack

Crack magazine becomes one year old tomorrow and to celebrate everything they have achieved in such a short time, they will be throwing an almighty party at the sublime basement venue, Square club, Clifton, Bristol. The publication has not only increased in popularity and circulation since its birth, its done wonders for the Bristol music and arts scene. Bringing well deserved attention to emerging artists from the vibrant city, which bulges with creativity. In a world where PR stunts and record company funding can make or break a creative minds future, it’s encouraging that unbiased reporting based on talent alone remains the very essence of Crack.

Alas I will be supporting (at the bar) Kitty Bang Bang and her travelling stage show (monkey bike, fire, balloons, and Ballet shoes) at Big Chill Festival this weekend; otherwise I would be there in full force. To mark the occasion I would like to draw attention to a modest selection (top three) of my personal favourites, introduced to me by Jake and Tom. Be sure to give them the time they deserve for they were lovingly handpicked by the boys in order that our lives and ears can lead a richer existence. Let the celebration commence.

Trophy Wife - An Oxford Collective who also perform under the name Jonquil, I caught them live at one of Crack's infamous parties. They have a great sound and even better banal/arty promorional photographs, alas minimal youtube presence, you can however see them live instead, check there myspace for dates, as they are currently on tour.

High Renaissance Man - is Bristol Universities answer to Alan Partridge, if you can identify, then you're onto a winner/loser. Altogether thoroughly entertaining.

Francois and the Atlas Mountain - A haunting tale of folk at it's finest, captivating from the first listen, a true gem of Bristol. My ears have yet to experience the live performance, I get excited in anticipation, soon my friend, soon (just don't beat me to it).

My favourite track is Tour de France, however the graphics in this are fantastic