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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Ctrl.Alt.Shift – Current Affairs & a Double Shot of Tequila

The HQ at Ctrl.Alt.Shift is unleashing their Corruption Issue into general bookshops! Art editor Valerie Pezeron investigates!

Written by Valerie Pezeron

When Owen Pallett, pharmacy the man behind the erstwhile Final Fantasy moniker, announced in December 2009 that he was abandoning the name in favour of recording under his birth name, it came not without a sigh of relief – for years the slightly-embarrassing recording name had led to a kind of stigmatization within Pallett’s fans – including numerous inside jokes envisioning bleary-eyed, pock-marked RPG nerds, stumbling from their houses, giddy with the promise of an evening devoted to their favourite video game – only to be faced with a devastatingly hip young man playing sumptuous, violin-looped indie pop -impish, Pallet may be, but he ain’t no fairy – although, considering Pallett’s own, infamous devotion to the video game, he may have been more than happy to accommodate said nerds at his concerts.
As endearing as such stories may be, they still led to Pallett becoming slightly belittled in the indie community – rather than garnering the fervent praise and respect he deserved, he was slotted lazily into the male folk singer-songwriter category, along with Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird – Pallett’s sprawling, endlessly cinematic compositions bears far more similarity to Van Dyke Park’s work with Joanna Newsom rather than Bird’s compact little folk ditties.
Having said that, it is ironic that Pallett chooses to dump the whimsical Final Fantasy recording moniker on the album that is by far Pallett’s most fantastical yet – ‘Heartland’ is an unbelievably opulent record, each chord blessed with a kind of extravagant, sprawling luxuriousness, almost to the point of indolence. Even by Pallett’s decorative standards, ‘Heartland’ is goddamn flowery – in fact, the gently curvaceous, coalescing melodies of ‘Lewis Takes Action’ are so feather-light that when Pallett delivers the blunt violence of the ‘I broke his jaw, he’ll never speak’ line – in his wan, fluttering soprano over endless, fluffy stratums of dizzying strings, it seems almost devastatingly incongruous.

owen-pallett pic
And thus we are introduced to ‘Heartland’s main protagonist – ‘Heartland’ is written in the character of brawny, alpha-male farmer Lewis, who spends most of his time lamenting his broken family (‘Left my daughter and my wife’) and getting into various scrapes and hijinks with a mythical creature called, interestingly enough, Owen (‘I drove the iron spike into Owen’s eyes’) who he also, bizarrely, appears to be in love with (‘I’ve been in love with Owen since/ I heard the strains of Psalm 21’).

The more you delve into ‘Heartland’s chasms, the more you realise what a bizarrely warped world it is – although this is no error of communication on Pallett’s half, indeed, you get the feeling Pallett may have wanted it that way – as though he relishes the idea of his fans poring over ‘Heartland’s lyric booklet, their foreheads knitting and eyebrows raising in quick succession.

For however straight-laced and oppressive ‘Heartland’ may appear on first listen, Pallett is yet to descend into stern-faced baroqueness – there’s still a gentle, self-effacing humour shot into Pallett’s epic panorama, especially in the casting of Pallett as a kind of hulking monster – Pallett fans will know that the line ‘I drew a bruise on his brawny shoulder’ is highly incongruous with Owen’s corporeal, slight frame – and it’s almost prognosticated that any record which includes a song called ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt’ (which seems to ring more of a gossip than a symphony piece) is destined not to take itself entirely seriously – right?
When Owen Pallett, cialis 40mg the man behind the erstwhile Final Fantasy moniker, page announced in December 2009 that he was abandoning the name in favour of recording under his birth name, it came not without a sigh of relief – for years the slightly-embarrassing recording name had led to a kind of stigmatization within Pallett’s fans – including numerous inside jokes envisioning bleary-eyed, pock-marked RPG nerds, stumbling from their houses, giddy with the promise of an evening devoted to their favourite video game – only to be faced with a devastatingly hip young man playing sumptuous, violin-looped indie pop -impish, Pallet may be, but he ain’t no fairy – although, considering Pallett’s own, infamous devotion to the video game, he may have been more than happy to accommodate said nerds at his concerts.
As endearing as such stories may be, they still led to Pallett becoming slightly belittled in the indie community – rather than garnering the fervent praise and respect he deserved, he was slotted lazily into the male folk singer-songwriter category, along with Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird – Pallett’s sprawling, endlessly cinematic compositions bears far more similarity to Van Dyke Park’s work with Joanna Newsom rather than Bird’s compact little folk ditties.
Having said that, it is ironic that Pallett chooses to dump the whimsical Final Fantasy recording moniker on the album that is by far Pallett’s most fantastical yet – ‘Heartland’ is an unbelievably opulent record, each chord blessed with a kind of extravagant, sprawling luxuriousness, almost to the point of indolence. Even by Pallett’s decorative standards, ‘Heartland’ is goddamn flowery – in fact, the gently curvaceous, coalescing melodies of ‘Lewis Takes Action’ are so feather-light that when Pallett delivers the blunt violence of the ‘I broke his jaw, he’ll never speak’ line – in his wan, fluttering soprano over endless, fluffy stratums of dizzying strings, it seems almost devastatingly incongruous.

owen-pallett pic
And thus we are introduced to ‘Heartland’s main protagonist – ‘Heartland’ is written in the character of brawny, alpha-male farmer Lewis, who spends most of his time lamenting his broken family (‘Left my daughter and my wife’) and getting into various scrapes and hijinks with a mythical creature called, interestingly enough, Owen (‘I drove the iron spike into Owen’s eyes’) who he also, bizarrely, appears to be in love with (‘I’ve been in love with Owen since/ I heard the strains of Psalm 21’).

The more you delve into ‘Heartland’s chasms, the more you realise what a bizarrely warped world it is – although this is no error of communication on Pallett’s half, indeed, you get the feeling Pallett may have wanted it that way – as though he relishes the idea of his fans poring over ‘Heartland’s lyric booklet, their foreheads knitting and eyebrows raising in quick succession.

For however straight-laced and oppressive ‘Heartland’ may appear on first listen, Pallett is yet to descend into stern-faced baroqueness – there’s still a gentle, self-effacing humour shot into Pallett’s epic panorama, especially in the casting of Pallett as a kind of hulking monster – Pallett fans will know that the line ‘I drew a bruise on his brawny shoulder’ is highly incongruous with Owen’s corporeal, slight frame – and it’s almost prognosticated that any record which includes a song called ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt’ (which seems to ring more of a gossip than a symphony piece) is destined not to take itself entirely seriously – right?
———————————————
Climate Camp London Gathering
When: Saturday 16th Jan 10.30am to 6.30pm, symptoms Sunday 17th Jan 10.30am-5.30pm
Where: Tottenham Chances, order 399 High Rd, Tottenham, London N17 6QN
Nearest tube: Tottenham Hale or Seven Sisters (Victoria Line)
———————————————

So…my first post as editor of the Earth section at Amelia’s Magazine! I’ve been preparing some posts for the listings page, overwhelmed with news of meetings and events, but here’s an overview of some of the Climate Camp gatherings going on in the next week.

photo courtesy of Amelia
People’s Assembly outside the gates of the Bella Centre in Copenhagen
(All photographs courtesy of Amelia)

Copenhagen may have been a predictable let-down, but it is also a wake-up call to creative and motivated individuals everywhere. Environmental decisions cannot just be left to politicians – any real change in our economic system, which at the moment is gnawing away the ground beneath our feet, has to come from the roots up. The real climate ‘experts’ are the creative people on the ground learning about and participating in environmental and social initiatives, setting up meetings, and taking practical steps to move away from fossil-fuel consumption (such as the Transition Towns springing up left, right and centre).

Lilo bridge built by climate campers crosses the moat at the Bella Centre, CopenhagenLilo bridge built by climate campers crosses the moat at the Bella Centre, Copenhagen

It would be convenient to believe the hype of the green-wash advertising that surrounds us, but any real success has to come from individual and collective creativity and hard work, not from glossing over issues and adding 1% of ‘natural organic ingredients’ to endless environmentally-harmful products. After the media circus that was Copenhagen, the focus now has to be firmly on local groups, meetings, film screenings, courses, and above all creative people using their skills to build and inspire a more sustainable way of living.
Meeting at the school in CopenhagenMeeting at the school in Copenhagen

This weekend I’ll be going along to the Climate Camp regional gathering in London on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th January, at Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London, as well as some of the weekly meetings at SOAS later on in the month. Since the first meeting in August 2006, Climate Camp has quickly gathered a huge level of participation. This means that that the gatherings are now regional, and not national as they have been previously, allowing an even greater number of people to take part. To check out your nearest gathering click here. The meetings in London this weekend will address the failure of Copenhagen and the debate and action it should now inspire. They will include:

* What was good and what was bad in 2009, from the G20 to Copenhagen?
* What should the climate justice movement do next – in London, the UK and internationally?
* What are our goals for 2010?
* How should we organise to meet them?
* What should we organise together?
All the proposals for the regional meetings can be seen on Climate Camp’s discussion board.

The London meetings will go on from 10.30am to 6.30pm Saturday, and 10.30am-5.30pm on Sunday.   There will be a KidSpace at the gathering so parents can leave their children to play while they attend meetings.  If you want to help out in the KidSpace, email london@climatecamp.org.uk  – the more people help the more can attend meetings!  Vegan food (and cake) will be available for a donation for Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday breakfast and lunch.  It’s best to  email if you plan on coming, that way the organizers can get an idea of numbers for food.  Amelia’s brilliant band Green Kite Midnight will be performing at the London gathering on Saturday, 8.30pm, and there will be more music afterwards!

Tomorrow, Wednesday 13th Jan, the Workers Climate Action meeting is taking place in the Grafton Arms, Grafton Way (nearest tube is Warren Street) at 7.30pm. The group aims to add a firm working class perspective to the debate and action. Find out more at their website.
photo courtesy of AmeliaBike Block at the Candy Factory in Copenhagen

There is wide disagreement on whether we should be protesting or working through the already-established political route, but I believe this misses the point. Without everyone empowering themselves with knowledge on how environmental problems can be solved and taking it upon themselves to be creative, we will only be taking symbolic pigeon steps while political and publicity campaigns continue swirling around us with empty words and soft-focus pictures of countryside scenes. Going to meetings and sharing ideas is a great way to realise we can stop relying on other people to make decisions for us, so I’ll hopefully see you this weekend and at future events!

I’d like to profile groups and individuals working on sustainability from the roots up, so please contact me on earth@ameliasmagazine.com with information if this is you, or if you’d like to contribute to this section with articles and interviews.
magPhotograph courtesy of Ctrl.Alt.Shift.

Ctrl.Alt.Shift is a seriously cool experimental youth initiative dedicated to politicising a new generation of activists for social justice and global change. Last time I heard of them, healing they were organising a comic book themed talk at the ICA Comica festival. Using creativity, salve photography, more about film, stories, illustrations and music, it aims to give a voice to the silent majority- meaning you and I, dear artistic and socially motivated Amelia’s readers! On January 7th, experimental youth movement Ctrl.Alt.Shift will become the first charity to venture onto newsagent mainstream shelves with the release of its own bi-annual magazine – Ctrl.Alt.Shift: The Corruption Issue.

IMG_2414Photograph by Luke Miley

It’s hot stuff! Spanning 84 pages, the launch of Ctrl.Alt.Shift: The Corruption Issue will focus on corruption as both a key cause of poverty and the barrier to overcoming it, and represents an ongoing attempt by the organization to bring a marginalized social and political agenda back into mainstream rhetoric. Including a satirical fashion shoot inspired by Guantanamo Bay, and drawing on comment and work from contemporary artists such as V V Brown and Sarah Maple, the magazine taps into popular culture to provoke debate and counter apathy amongst its audience of 18 – 25 year olds.

boob-job-neededAll other photographs by Adrian Nettleship

Highlights of the issue include the artist Sarah Maple; described by The Independent on Sunday as ‘the heir to Tracy Emin‘s throne’, Maple unveils a bespoke piece of work influenced by corruption and sex. Richard Shoyemi looks at how Asda’s new Asian range will inspire a generation of fashionistas for the Culture club section of the magazine. There is an interview with Tim Westwood as the Radio 1 DJ talks marrying music, activism, and why he wouldn’t take Pimp My Ride to Palestine. Freelance journalist and Middle East expert Ben White is the author of Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide. White breaks down the language of corruption for the magazine. There is also Riz Ahmed; fresh from appearing alongside Jude Dench in the movie Rage, the actor and MC finds time to give his take on the effects of corruption. Ctrl.Alt.Shift’s Face the Music unearths the sounds which are making it big in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and beyond. There will be a goody two shoes feature on how Brazilian shoe company Melissa and designer Vivienne Westwood have met in ethical style heaven. And there is ‘Murder he wrote’, an investigative feature into honor killing in India.

DSC_5595

We love the fact that the magazine puts what it preaches into action. It’s well known that magazines add to the pollution issue we all now face; printed on completely uncoated paper using vegetable ink, the magazine is completely biodegradable and has a cover price of £3.95. It is available from most WHSmith stores, as well as www.ctrlaltshift.co.uk/magazine

DSC_5776_1

Katrin Owusu, Head of Youth Marketing and Innovations at Ctrl.Alt.Shift and Chantelle Fiddy, Editor of Ctrl.Alt.Shift Magazine tell Amelia’s art editor Valerie Pezeron about their exciting new venture.

Valerie Pezeron: It’s a very brave act of faith to launch a magazine at a time when the industry is experiencing economic problems. Why should people buy your magazine?

Katrin Owusu: Ctrl.Alt.Shift: The Corruption Issue is inclusive, broad and at times controversial; with content ranging from a fashion-shoot inspired by Guantanemo Bay, to Sarah Maple creating art inspired by sex and corruption, to the music which is making the charts in Afghanistan. We hope the magazine will reach out to people who wouldn’t traditionally be interested in politics or current affairs, and encourage those people out of their comfort zones and into action.

VP: I love Ctrl.Alt.Shift and you guys are really setting the bar really high!

Chantelle Fiddy: It’s a real accomplishment to have produced a magazine that takes on board third sector objectives yet sits happily alongside consumer titles. Having had the freedom to explore new ways to package stories on global and social injustice, from Tim Westwood talking about activism to looking at the work of ethical shoe company Melissa and highlighting trends from around the world, we’ve resulted in something of a first (for the charity sector).

VP: So the new year is commencing with a bang?

CF: It’s the icing on the cake for what’s been an amazing eighteen months for Ctrl.Alt.Shift!

Run to the shops now, there aren’ t that many original magazines with a conscience out there…besides Amelia, of course!

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