Listings

    No events to show

Follow

Twitter

|

Facebook

|

MySpace

|

Last.fm

RSS

Subscribe

Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Climate caravan: turning the world upside down

St Mary's Church, Putney, 28th July, 2008

Written by Katie Webster

xx%20teens.jpg

XX Teens are so stand offish that it would be very easy to simply dismiss them as weirdos. They’re shirt, for sale what is ed tie and gawmless stares are supposed to create an atmosphere of impending doom. These efforts are however in vain, remedy due to the slightly foolish looking lead singer wearing sunglasses indoors, at night – obviously believing himself to be the embodiment of Lou Reed. Which is a shame, because a band who can create an atmosphere of impending doom are always a real treat.

The only problem with their completely non-emotive stage manner is that it receives a very static reaction from a crowd. Something I’ve seen many times, but it’s not often that it would appear to be the reaction the artist had hoped for. It’s quite an achievement really. Tracks like ‘Darling’ and ‘How To Reduce The Chances Of Becoming A Terror Victim’ should insight at least a small ruckus.

One thing I did enjoy during their set was the lavish use of mega phone. Mainly used for eerie, evil genius style, laughing into the microphone. I liked this mainly for the look the guitarist gave to another band member after executing this act. It seemed to say, “right, well at least that bits over – I still don’t know whether it’s really necessary, but damn am I good at it.”

My favourite thing about their songs is how the guitar licks are reminiscent of bands like The Rakes. Formed around simple yet attractive loops, the bass lines imitate them to create something that drills into your conscious, a feeling that is heightened by the commanding vocals from the man in the shades. There was something very ‘1984‘ about ‘How To Reduce The Chances Of Becoming A Terror Victim’ in particular.

keyboard%20choir%20album.jpg

This is music that makes you look at your computer generic -Katmai-N.jpg”target=”_blank”>strange and start looking for the source of the problem that’s causing it to create such obscure noises.

Keyboard Choir come across as a Jean Micheal-Jarre for the last.fm generation. Their production appears to be encapsulating the sounds of their experimentations with keyboards within something recognizable as structure, creating an end product which just sounds really, really good

Their influences would appear to be obvious, with Aphex Twin, DJ Shadow and Briano Eno being detectable. But they also bring something of their own to the table – something a lot more post-rock than many of the aforementioned. The exclusive use of keyboards gives the album a live feel which is often very difficult to create in electronic music.

Tracks like ‘Skylab’, ‘Legal Boards’ and ‘In This Situation, Thinking Wont Help’ really show the range of sounds they can create so masterfully. It’s an album that will fill you with intrigue and delight you on every listen.

They are definitely one of the flagship groups for Oxford’s impressive music scene, and those thinking Foals were the most experimental band to come from should definitely check them out.

About a month ago I received an out-of-the-blue email from stylist to the stars, buy Rebekah Roy. I was already planning to attend her presentation ‘Create a unique personal look’ at the Barbican, approved so I was absolutely delighted when she asked for a quote from both Amelia and little ol’ me, ailment to use as part of her talk. The question that she put to us both was,

‘In your opinion, what’s the best way for someone to create their own distinct personal style?’

Knowing this was likely to be quite a high profile event, I agonised for a good two days over what direction to take with my words of wisdom. I thought it best not to try and sound like some sort of all-knowing fashion wizard since the room was bound to be full of fashion types who, lets face it, probably knew better. On the other hand I was aware of how embarrassing it could be if it appeared as though I didn’t have a clue, so I deliberated, sat back, then deliberated some more before conjuring up the following:

‘It’s impossible to create a self-image using preconceived ideas. Your discomfort can be seen through even the most expensive of designer gowns, should you attempt to construct a persona that doesn’t belong to you. People that are noted for their distinct personal style are often those whose clothing is almost an accessory to their personality or attitude to life. To a genuine trendsetter, that bold pair of fuchsia heels isn’t used to denote wealth or forward thinking style, they’re merely the best footwear to compliment a love for all things bright and colourful’.

And Amelia wrote this quote:

‘For me the only people who have a distinct personal style are those who have absolutely no regard for what other people think about the way they dress, it being merely an outward expression of a strong personality and a creative mind. They are unlikely to follow trends, instead preferring to find their own way of dressing in a sea of similar looks – this, somewhat ironically, means that they are likely to kickstart the very trends they steer clear of’.

The presentation took place in a tiny room in the gallery, which was jam-packed with predominately female, Roy followers. I was ushered in and advised to take a seat on the floor alongside the other cramped and flustered looking visitors. This did bother me slightly, particularly as the lady in front insisted on invading every inch of space I attempted to create for myself. My feelings of discomfort were slightly sidetracked by the arrival of Rebekah herself, who entered the room like a great beacon of fashionable light. Her adventurous teaming of long pop socks with court shoes immediately caught my eye and had me wondering how many other females in the room had made a mental ‘to do’ note, of this particular style.

Her presentation consisted of a light-hearted and humorous discussion on individuality and personal taste. She employed a model and a single rail of clothing to illustrate how a simple pair of jeans and plain white tee can be transformed to create different looks. Quotes from various creative’s within the fashion industry were projected on a wall behind her throughout the presentation. I couldn’t help but wait anxiously for my quote to appear – my discomfort growing by the minute as I shuffled around the square foot of space I’d been allocated in an attempt to minimise the cramp festering in my lower back. This went down a treat with a couple of done-up ladies sat beside me, who didn’t take too kindly to having their manicured toes trampled on.

I’d nearly given up hope of seeing my words appear when low and behold, my name flashes up in lights alongside my apparently ‘expert opinion’. I jumped up and fumbled around with my camera in an attempt to get a picture while vainly scanning the room for any hint of a reaction. My efforts failed miserably as, sods law, my camera decided to use that particular moment to run low on battery. I did however manage to get a slightly blurry pic of Amelia’s words on the wall from my phone.

rebekah%20roy_quote.jpg

So there’s the evidence guys and girls, we do actually know a little about the weird and wonderful world that is fashion, even if we do appear to be spending most of our time seeking out the free drinks at glammed up press events!

rebekah%20roy%20clothes2.jpg
At the end – we all couldn’t wait to stand up and stretch our legs

rebekah%20roy_clothes.jpg
Visitors browsing the clothing rail at the end

News flash!!

The site for Climate Camp has just been secured! At 3pm this very afternoon activists scaled tripods to prevent the cops from moving them along and have erected a banner reading “No New Coal.”

banner%20tripod%202.jpg
Photograph by Mike Russell
Activist Paddy on the tripod ready to tie up the banner (how they got up there is a mystery) with the targeted power station in the background

banner%20tripod.jpg
Photograph by Mike Russell
Paddy celebrating

banner.jpg
Photograph by Mike Russell
Quite an impressive banner

marquee.jpg
Photograph by Mike Russell
Fellow activists erecting the marquee

Situated in an uncultivated field occupied by 20 sheep, viagra sale the ballsy ones have rounded up the woolly creatures and have provided them with food and water.

sheep.jpg
The sheep happily grazing

Plans were previously kept under wraps to ensure the police and E.ON did not spoil their intentions, pill yet activists and spokesperson Terry Graves now “warmly invite people from the local community to come down and see for themselves what the camp is all about.” A quick reminder why? “We have a future to protect” states Hannah Abbots, more about backed up by Christina Greensford outlining “people from all over the UK are here to create a democratic, low-carbon society in which our long term future on this planet is prioritised over the short term profit margins of the fossil fuel industry.”

With the land located between Hoo St Werburgh and High Halstow, rail links to Strood and buses to Hoo which is a half hour walk away from the site, there simply isn’t any excuse not to join Amelia and all of us interns between 3-11 August.

So come on guys, lets head down as soon as we can.
Daniel%20Johnston.jpg

It’s not all about the music.

Except, troche it is. But really, this site it isn’t. Not when Daniel Johnston is at the mic. The man with the notorious mental history, cheapest who in his forties lives next door to his parents, who’s had a film dedicated to his problems, who was fetishised by Kurt Cobain in public, and who creates music that strips his troubled heart and soul so bare you can see his blood cells.

Schizophrenic, depressive and diabetic, he no longer looks young on the neon-blue encrusted (and fantastically inappropriate) Indig02 stage. His hair has greyed and he has the belly of a man who long stopped looking after himself. But his frame is still small. He’s in a baggy grey t-shirt and black slacks. He’s lumbering and unassuming.

The set starts with him as a solo artist. His voice is deeper now, but it still cracks when he strains himself, like it always used to. Scout Niblett, Niblett’s drummer, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, James McNew of Yo La Tengo, and Jad Fair of Half Japanese help Johnston out on guitars, drums, bass, chord organ and tom-tom tonight.

Up on stage, I guess he’s still the same kid inside. The same kid that wrote tonight’s early crowd pleasers: the adventurous, excited ‘Speeding Motorcycle’ and the dedication to a childhood hero, ‘Casper The Friendly Ghost’. And because he’s still the same kid inside, the songs mean the same as they did when they were demos in the 70s and 80s.

He’s coming from the same place: still damaged, still confused by the world. Without the music, you suspect Johnston wouldn’t have much. But he does have music. And more poignantly, music has him. He’s the ultimate story for musical romanticists.

His genius lies in the songs: the harmonies from nowhere, the outbursts of naivety, the inability to recover from unrequited love, images of death, immense sadness and visions of doom. His past makes him more interesting, sure. But he’s a walking triumph over adversity, a man to admire.

The Indig02 finds Niblett singing often behind Johnston, her sharp, eerie scrawl clashing weirdly with his squeak. The band is disjointed and works by accident. A supergroup sounding like they’ve barely practised, this is Johnston’s way. This is pure. His music is easy and natural. At a guess, he’s the kind of writer who’s prolific when in the mood, but feels no obligation. Talent is the word.

When Johnston sings, he shakes, but he’s with pals and enjoying the occasion. ‘Walking The Cow’ is greeted with the whoops of a greatest hit. And his set ends with an acapella version of the minute-long ‘Devil Town’.

Portobello Market never fails to make its way into the list of must-see places for the ultimate tourist trip to London. Pastel-coloured houses, prescription legendary vintage stalls and some rather delicious spots for a quick snack make it one of the favourite stops for visitors and locals alike. The ideal Saturday in London often starts with a stroll down Portobello Road, information pills a stop for coffee and cupcakes and then on to the shopping, from one-of-a-kind vintage to up-and-coming new designers.

Too bad this is the ideal Saturday for all of Londoners. All seven millions of us, it might seem. So the idea of spending Saturday morning sitting on the couch with a cup of tea might sound a lot more appealing than dragging oneself to the crammed streets of Notting Hill, fighting with aggressive tourists for that last piece of jewellery.

The people behind Pret A Portobello must have had the same idea, as they decided to join the two, gathering a bunch of stalls from the most famous London markets to sell their merchandise online. Focusing on young designers, their goal is to provide an alternative to the “ ‘samey’ fashion from high street stores” we all see everywhere and everyday. There are Ducie’s candy-coloured summer dresses, Miss Crofton and her ruffled flowered underwear and Dahlia’s eclectic, trend-inspired collections (her leather goods are to die for). Vintage is obviously on the menu, with a stall full of Lanvin, Christian Lacroix and bespoke pieces by exclusive collaborator Zandra Rhodes.

Pret%20a%20portobello%20home.jpg

Plenty of choice, plenty of time to browse, without anxious tourists screaming and pushing and stealing your picks. Pretty appealing, no?

The best part, however, is the “let’s trade!” section. Think eBay meets Portobello. Some items don’t have a set price, and you are free to barter with the stall owner as much as you want over sample sizes and one off pieces.

Should you still be undecided about what to pick, click on the ‘market trends‘, and let them help you. Whether you feel like pastel shades, romantic ruffles or bold prints, you will find outfits complete with shoes, bags and jewellery.

preta%20portabello%20GetImage.aspx.jpg

All considered, Pret A Portobello sounds like the perfect Saturday morning in. Something, however, is missing. Because I can moan about the market as much as I want, but, I must confess, at the end of the day I secretly love to spy on tourists, I can’t live without the cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery and I love the feel of vintage mink furs and crocodile bags you can find on the stalls.

So I guess I will still hit the road every once in a while. After all, you can’t beat the real thing.

preta%20portabello_GetImage-1.aspx.jpg

pretaportabello_GetImage-1.aspx.jpg

pretaportabello_GetImage.aspx.jpg

‘Tak O Tak’ effortlessly showcases Stricken City’s notable, patient delightfully tyrannical, hospital songwriting talent in its mere 2 minutes and 51 seconds.

There’s something in the simplicity of the opening, with Casio horns and rolling strums of guitar that makes my ears prick. The vocals from Rebekah Raa aren’t filled with half as much excitement as her name, but they enrich the songs with character, like a subtler Karen O perhaps.

The strip down production of tracks adds to their charm, giving the feel it was recorded in a backroom. I really couldn’t imagine it any other way, it just wouldn’t be as quintessentially indie if it was over produced. Which brings me to another point, Stricken City are the first band to make me feel comfortable defining someone as ‘indie’ in, well, ages.

A band that are really on the up, it would appear that all Stricken City need to really break through is an album. Or perhaps (as usual) I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but for a debut single there really is a lot to get excited about.

MicachuAndTheShapes.jpg

So the secret is out. As Dearbhaile reported a few days ago in her review of Ratatat’s recent gig, viagra I’m a little bit of a Micachu fan. Okay, medications quite a big fan, who keeps banging on about said electronic songstress to anyone who’ll listen.

I first fell in love with Micachu last year, at a Ladyfest London benefit gig. Playing on a tiny guitar strapped to her with a piece of string and backed only by a tinny little tape player, it was impossible not to fall for her infectious songs about loose change and abstaining from sex due to fear of STDs. There was something immediately endearing about her uncomfortable presence, Sarf London snarl and unruly mop of hair…but I digress. Let’s not get too lovey dovey.

I next saw Micachu supporting Mules at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen back in June. This time she was backed by her band ‘The Shapes’ – Marc Pell and Raisa Khan on drums and keyboards respectively. Having dragged all my friends along promising “you will LOVE her”, I was more than a little worried about how well her weirdness would actually translate to the uninitiated. Playing with a flesh and bone band backing her up, Micachu’s live act had taken a turn from being an intimate, lo-fi affair (something that had been so refreshing first time around) to a more abrupt, slightly less inviting spectacle. However, when Micachu started up her Henry hoover to perform ‘Turn Me Weller’ I knew I needn’t have worried. When a singer starts hoovering up their own face, you know they can’t really do much else to win you, or your friends, over. And they were definitely won over, for the record…

So on to this single, then. ‘Golden Phone’ has to have been the stand out song from both sets I have seen Micachu perform, and now the masses will be lucky enough to hear what all the fuss is about. It’s a twangy, dancey golden nugget of electro happiness. I like my music cut up, disjointed and sampled to death (Beck being my most played on itunes and, more recently, MIA and Santogold lighting my fire) and ‘Golden Phone’ is Micachu’s best example of her prowess at cut and paste style. No worries about melody being sacrificed at the altar of the electronic sampler however, ‘Golden Phone’ is a catchy and brilliantly crafted -dare I say it- pop song.

Taking up residence as B-side is the aforementioned collaboration with Henry the hoover ‘Turn Me Weller’. Syncopated beats, samples of vacuum cleaners and squeakified singing doesn’t really sound like the perfect recipe for a downbeat love song, but the proof is in the pudding. ‘Turn Me Weller’ is a thoughtful lullaby that showcases a surprisingly gorgeous voice, one that sighs through lyrics such as; “You squeezed my heart so tight tonight, you must return it before you leave”.

Micachu is a busy bee right now, as one look at the schedule of her upcoming gigs on MySpace suggests. With a growing fan base, that is said to include Bjork, Bat for Lashes and Saul Williams, now is the time to see her – before she gets as big as she deserves to be.

Golden Phone is released via Accidental Records on August the 11th. The debut album is scheduled for October 2008.
Today I experienced something out of the ordinary and very magical as I visited Tatton Park in Cheshire. Although I’ve lived in the North of England all my life, stuff I’d never previously visited these beautiful gardens. However, after seeing them and experiencing everything there is to see and do, I know I will be visiting again soon.

The day started early as I decided to make my trip to the park an adventure, so I thought the most enjoyable way to travel would be on my bicycle. Unfortunately for me, I managed to puncture one of my tires yesterday (the first flat tyre I’ve had in two years!) so I had to quickly mend that before setting off on my long journey. I printed off a couple of maps, made some sandwiches for lunch, said bye to my cat Elliot and then jumped on my bike.

I cycle round Cheshire a lot, I love that you can see so much and travel so far without the restrictions of road traffic and the expense of a car. Providing I maintain my bike enough to keep it working I take pride in the fact that I’m not contributing any harmful greenhouse gases to the environment by using it regularly.

signpost.jpg

Having not previously ridden in this area, it pleased me to find most of the journey was well sign posted and the path followed a very scenic route through the countryside. I took many photographs along the way, I strive to always record and document what I see, from interesting looking trees, pretty streams, acres of open fields and numerous interesting species of flora and fauna. At one point I stopped to take a closer look at some large thistles as they were very intriuging in appearance, covered in bees and hover flies. I left promptly when a yellow-jacket tried to sting me.

bee.jpg

Not only did I see lots of wildlife on this trip, but also many interesting buildings and mechanical manmade machinery. The most memorable structure was the Lovell Telescope in the Jodrell Bank Observatory. Although this satellite is located near Goostrey and Holmes Chapel in the Borough of Macclesfield, I could see it standing tall above the trees in distant fields. It makes quite a contrast to the green and brown countryside, but it is a fascinating ice white structure.

telescope.jpg

There were many interesting pieces of new and old farming machinery to be seen along the way, some for which looked old and abandoned. There were also many old buildings to be seen, all of which fascinated me. I adore old and dilapidated buildings, and any structure with history and a story to tell. On these buildings exteriors I noticed thousands of details such as peeling paint, evidence of old plant growth on the bricks, and cracked and broken windows. I also discovered a sign for ‘Cuckooland’ hidden within the ferns on the side of the road. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to explore Cuckooland too… maybe next time though.

cuckooland.jpg

About halfway through my journey I crossed the M6 motorway. This was an instant stark contrast to the quiet and calm grassy fields I had been passing for the previous hour.

One of the most attractive and interesting buildings I passed on my journey was the Gatehouse to the Mere Golf & Country Club. It reminded me of a small palace from inside a magical fairytale as the façade is covered almost completely with green vine leaves. The windows feature detailed panelled pains of glass in painted metal frames. The brickwork includes geometric patterns created with alternating coloured bricks. There are beautiful turrets on all roofs, and the gardens are carefully tamed and delicately dressed with brightly coloured marigolds.

ivy%20house.jpg

Much of the remaining journey towards Tatton Park was a concentration of very expensive looking houses mixed in with beautiful lakes and huge gardens, some of which were new builds with glass fronts and numerous extensions. I did have one near miss along this stretch of road when a super expensive looking car suddenly pulled out of a drive at about 50 mph and nearly hit me! Luckily he managed to brake in time to avoid a collision, and my heart skipped a few beats.

The rest of the cycle ride was lovely as it was very peaceful and there weren’t many cars on the road. Plus there was a huge downward sloping hill so I could give my legs a rest and ride really fast for a while.

bicycle.jpg

As I reached the park as, not only was the weather really brightening up, but the first glimpse of wildlife I saw when looking in the fields was a herd of deer! It was quite breath taking and uplifting to see them strolling round in the huge grassy land.

deer.jpg

A few more metres cycling and I had arrived at the entrance of the park. I was now feeling very excited as apart from getting in for free as I was on a bike, everywhere looked completely amazing and it really was like a vision from the most beautiful oil painting you have ever seen.

There were gigantic trees lining either side of the road leading to a huge sand coloured Edwardian mansion which stood proudly behind a well maintained courtyard. I had a brief look around the exterior and then made my way over to the farm to see all the animals.

ivy.jpg

On the way to the farm I past a few fields, the first of which contained a red deer, which had apparently recently been rescued. I also passed lots of black and white sheep of which two were very friendly and came over to day hello. One of them seemed to enjoy having his photograph taken as he kept sticking his head through the fence to get close to my camera. Or maybe he just wanted to eat it? For some reason he seemed to be enjoying eating a spikey plant, which I think must have really hurt his mouth to chew!

sheep%20under%20tree.jpg

The farm is set in a corner of the park known as Tatton Dale and was, in its heyday, at the heart of the vast Egerton estates, feeding family, guests and staff at the mansion, as well as servicing the park and the outlying properties. Today it is still an authentic working farm that uses traditional farming methods and has recently been given Rare Breeds Accreditation for its commitment to helping to sustain rare breed farm animals.

Once in the farmyard you are spoilt for choice as to which animal you can see. The farm provides a picture of rural life where time has stood still since the 1930s and traditional breeds are still resident. Everyone is allowed to feed the goats and hens, meet the pigs and donkeys and visit Mary Sant’s 1930s cottage.

Visiting the cottage was one of the highlights of my day as I thought it was fascinating how they have retained all the original features of the cottage interior. It looks almost identical to how it did in 1930 when it was the home of the Farm’s caretaker, Miss Mary Sant. According to the records, Miss. Sant was responsible for cleaning the offices, closing the gate to the farm at night and locking up, for which she received £26 per year. It was quite an eye opener to be reminded of how people in my Grandparents generation lived, and how much this differs from our privileged living conditions today. There was only one piece of electrical equipment I could see, which was the radio, and of course there was no television!

room.jpg

jackets%202.jpg

laundry.jpg

I went back outside to have a look around the yard, and saw several large pieces of old machinery and iron structures. Inside the barns there were many different animals with their young, such as cows, horses, donkeys, sheep, chickens, ducks, and goats. Many of these animals are rare breeds, such as the longhaired sheep, which were very cute!

plough.jpg

foal.jpg

goats.jpg

chickens.jpg

After looking round the remaining barns and workshop rooms I decided to head back to the mansion to have a look at the gardens. On the way I passed the bright green passenger train on the road, which carries people between the different areas of the park. It looked like lots of fun to travel on!

Back at the mansion, I had a bite to eat and then started to locate the gardens. There was a great atmosphere within the whole park as there is a parks for children to play on, rope slides and swings, and on that particular day they also had several fun fair rides, one of them being a beautiful carousel.

I found the shops and restaurant, and eventually discovered the entrance to the gardens where the Biennial artwork was also being displayed. To get into the gardens you have to walk though a narrow building containing various facts and photographs about the history of the park and gardens. As soon as you leave this building you are confronted with one of the most beautiful and breath taking sights you could ever see!

Walking into the gardens for me was like stepping into an Edwardian secret dream garden as lots of old features are fantastically preserved, and the variety of flora is immense and so beautiful. I walked around the orchard and pineapple house for a while, admiring every detail. I then decided to have a look at some of the featured pieces of artwork, which had been created for the displays.

It was he first Biennial show which has been featured in Tatton Park, and the theme was ‘Botanical Collections and Collectors’, suggesting new ways of looking at established spaces and their initial inspirations. Over 30 artists, performers and writers had developed new work in response to Tatton Park’s gardens, investigating the legacy of collections, collectors and the designed landscape amid current issues of climate change and globalisation.

The Biennial supports the work of emerging and established artists through a process that reveals the history of the Park. It is a launch pad for future events that will further understanding of exceptional artistic practice within the laboratory of this historic property, managed by Cheshire County Council and owned by The National Trust.

I managed to see and experience a couple of the featured displays, including the ‘Sensory Tour’ which was guided by Gayle Chong Kwan. This event invited participants to experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the grounds. Gayle asked the group to place a blindfold over their eyes, and she then proceeded to guide them around the kitchen garden so they could taste various herbs and learn about the produce which grows there.

blindfold.jpg

Whilst in this garden I also discovered several funny scarecrows dressed in all sorts of attire. There was a tin can robot, a plant pot lady, a lady dressed in an evening gown, and even a scarecrow man dressed in a tuxedo with a curly moustache! I also found a piece of artwork which had been created by Lisa Cheung aka the Kitchen Goddess. It was a human-like vegetable sculpture with a round transparent head made from wire. This work was both sculptural and performative: a growing gown of plants, fruit and vegetables that will ultimately be eaten.

scarecrow%201.jpg

scarecrow%202.jpg

plant%20pot.jpg

robot%202.jpg

I then wondered deep into the gardens so I could explore the whole park. I was continually amazed with ever footstep and blink of an eye, as every single detail within the Park gardens were astonishingly beautiful. Some of the details I adored were; the panelled glass roofs on the greenhouses, the giant 20 foot dog shaped hedge, the secret hidden faces and beautiful patterns incorporated into the stone vases and seating, and the accuracy, symmetry and expanses of high detail incorporated into every single object or plant I saw.

However, my favourite garden of all the gardens in the park was the rose garden. To enter this garden you have to walk through an early 20th century tea house, and then all of a sudden you are confronted with a strong sent of roses, and the vision of thousands of roses of various breeds. Although, this was one of the smallest gardens, I found it the most inspiring and calming place to be within the park. It was a very intimate space packed with small pathways to allow you to walk between the plants, and there was also a beautiful stone and tiled pool situated in the centre as a focal point. In the early 1900s this was used as an occasional bathing area for the family in summer, and in other times of the year it was used as a pond for fish. When I saw the rose garden bath however, it was dry and contained several strange robotic fern creatures. They were standing stationary for a while, but all of a sudden as the clouds cleared and it became a lot sunnier, they began to walk about! These ‘Walking Ferns’ created by Paulette Phillips, were described as a herd of 10 solar-powered ‘fern-bots’. The inspiration for the idea was based on the Canadian Walking Fern, and the many fern species in Tatton’s collections.

solar%20power.jpg

I then proceeded to walk around the rest of the gardens in order to see the remaining pieces of distributed artwork and permanent garden landmarks. I saw ‘The Monument for the Happy Immigrant (Japanese Knotweed), which was featured in the Tower Garden. I encountered several of the large photographs, which had previously been taken of features within the garden, then printed onto clear Perspex sheets and suspended in the air in various locations. The idea behind this was to question your ability to recognise accurate perspective, when a disjointed view of perspective is placed in front of you.

art%201.jpg

art%202.jpg

I was running out of time, but as a result I got a bit lost in the Arboretum and Deep Woods. Hearing the warning siren to tell you it was ten minutes till closing time, so I had a little panic attack and continued to run until I eventually found the African Hut, and moments later saw the Mercury Pool which had a beautiful little fountain in the centre.

african.jpg

fountain.jpg

On my way back up to the mansion I passed several small wicker and wool sculptures, which were hanging in several trees. I later read that these were a collection of bird feeders, baths and tables created by the artist Shane Waltener. The idea behind them was to ask whether the exotic mix of seeds from Tatton’s global population of plants has brought new birds to the grounds.

woolly%20art%202.jpg

woolly%20art.jpg

One of the final beautiful garden features I saw before leaving the grounds was a life size fountain sculpture of a male mermaid. This was situated directly in front of the Mansion and it over looked the whole park and surrounding landscape.

It was sadly then time to leave Tatton Park and go home. I returned to the stableyard, jumped on my bike and made my way towards the exit. When I had almost reached the gates I was confronted with one last glimpse of beauty. I looked to my left and saw a field with hundreds of deer and stags. I slowly and quietly walked down the path towards them, and then walked on my knees a little so I could get much closer as they didn’t seem to mind that as much. I was very close, just tens of metres away from them and they didn’t seem to mind. I then made my way back to the road, and yet again became distracted with another herd of stags, which had huge horns.

Just as I was walking back towards my bike and about to leave, something amazing happened as the Park Rangers had encouraged all the deer and stags from the adjacent field to cross the road and join the stags. I stood still and the rangers passed me with an encouraging smile whilst he fed them so I knew I was allowed to stand and observe them running all around and past me until they were all together in the same field. It was an amazing experience and I would recommend a visit to the Park to everybody!

For me, Tatton Park is my very own mystical garden.

nikki%20pinder.jpg
Nikki felt so inspired by her time in the Tatton Park Gardens she made us a beautiful illustration. Responding to a story she read about a lady who used to read and write in solitude in the gardens during the 1930′s, Nikki’s illustration entitled The Dream Collector deals with themes of of escapism and dreams. Have a peek at more of her beautiful mystical work here.
Eine%20Kleine%20Nacht%20Musik.JPG

To celebrate the release of the Eine Kleine Nachtmusik album, this Modular Records threw a little shindig at the Dazed and Confused Gallery with ‘a little night melody, a little film & a little art’. I arrived feeling rather flustered and hot having walked around in the summery heat for the best part of an hour. Ambitiously I thought I could attend two not very close events in an hour, I couldn’t. I presumed Charles the music editor would be waiting for me there. However, after about 30 minutes of me waiting for him it became obvious that he was not coming (later I found out he got lost, oh the perils of lacking an A-Z, and arrived after I had gone).

Feeling rather hot, I inched through the crowd to find the cool cool cool beer. What sweet relief it was to plunge my hand into the icy cold bucket, so much so I contemplated keeping it there forever or at least till the end of the evening. Garnering a few looks I decided it was probably best to remove my hand and go in search of the artwork produced by Fergadelic, renowned for his work with Silas, X-Girl and his own label Tonite and Mel Bles who had contributed photographs. This is where I got confused. While I did find the artwork and it was suitable 70′s intergalactic inspired I scratched my head as to why they had gone to the trouble. Showcased in a rather wee room, the little stressed on the PR invite was no exaggeration. I thought there must have been more to it. Once again I set off in search of delights. This ended with no more artwork found and me outside on the street with a large portion of the guests, occasionally catching snippets of the variousAustralian accents.

Waiting for the showing of the video I was hoping some individual would take pity on my Billy-no-mates status. I even thought about resorting to puppy dog eyes (I didn’t). Then I saw my chance, another girl by herself. But too late, she was joined by a posse of others. Just like everyone else there. I decided to wander back in to check out the art again.

Back inside, with unusually good timing I realised the film was about to start. A ten minute animation of an intergalactic psychedelic space odyssey produced, directed and animated by David Bailey Ross to accompany the first three tracks off the Eine Kleine Nachtmusik album. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was created by Riton and is an interpretation of the cosmic sounds of German Krautrock of the late 70′s and early 80′s. The lushly layered sparse sounds went perfectly with the trippy visuals. I have to confess though; I got rather distracted by the resemblance of the room to a sweat box and took to fanning myself with the copy of the album I had picked up. A bit of ventilation wouldn’t have gone amiss. Before I could pass out, the film ended to a riotous applause and I made my exit.

I like a party as much as the next person, perhaps less so when I’m on my own but I was under the impression with the impending credit crunch we are all having to tighten our belts (at least this is what GMTV is telling me). Confusion over the execution of the concept for the night left me feeling this was quite extravagant and dare I say it, slightly unnecessary. But with the Midas touch, perhaps Modular Records have no stresses over spending a few pennies.

chet%20baker.jpg

As “Let’s Get Lost” is finally released on DVD, shop we must ask ourselves if the chaos and confusion created by Bruce Weber doesn’t allow unprecedented understanding of the enigmatic jazz legend, online Chet Baker.

As the nation faces another dubious and unpredictable British summer, this Bruce Weber’s “Let’s Get Lost,” released on DVD on the 28th of July, brings a touch of the Santa Monica heat and dust to our eyes and ears. Originally released in 1988, “Let’s Get Lost” chronicles the life of Chet Baker, the famous and infamous West Coast trumpeter often cited as the founder of “cool jazz,” throughout his four-decade-spanning career, up until his untimely and enigmatic death in 1988. “Untimely” may well be the key word here as the dictums of Time and Age are rendered utterly irrelevant in this film. By jumping back and forth in time and space through images of Baker’s face, once youthful later wizened and ravaged, and interviews with fans, associates, ex-wives and children, we are drawn into the hazy unpredictability that pervades Chet Baker‘s life.

Through constant juxtaposition of vintage photographs by William Claxton and footage by Weber, we come to know the discordant sides of Baker that served as bookends to his life – struggling to enforce some kind of order as he moved from a youth hungry for bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, to an adult hungry for heroin. The scrapbook style refutes all attempts at linear narration tracing one man’s decent from greatness to the gutter and back again, and leaves Baker’s story as fluid and changeable as ever. Depending on who you listen to, collaborators or ex-wives, Baker was a manipulative devil or a “Greek god.” In Weber’s own words, “Chet had sold his story countless times but no one ever owned Chet’s story,” so we can only accept all accounts as equally valid.

Indeed, it is the acceptance of the multiplicity of Chet Baker that renders him so interesting to this day when the cult of personality seems more important than ever. The images and recordings create a collage of Chet Bakers: a fresh-faced James Dean lookalike, personifying youth and vitality, his music epitomises the dusty, decaying romance of the West Coast as recorded by John Fante and Jack Kerouac. One moment he’s an army recruit, as clean-cut as a young Elvis, the next we hear he was a reprobate signed-up by his parents in an effort to save him from himself. He’s a star on the award-winning Steve Allen Show and a cameo in a low-budget Italian film rolled into one.

First, he’s on a stage in front of screaming fans, then he’s toothless and dirty, pumping gas at a seven-eleven…but then he’s back again, transformed-he‘s shed his skin. Try to keep up. As though by way of explanation, Weber sets the variety show to a backing of Baker’s angelic voice, jarred by images of his impossibly lined face, singing “how strange the change from major to minor.” The thing for which we must be most grateful is that though he did indeed fall from major to minor, he ultimately managed to climb back up to major, remaining to this day one of the most compelling musicians of our time.

As Climate Camp swiftly approaches in three days, prescription I thought it was about time to follow suit with Amelia and get in the spirit of things. So off I trundled on Monday to Putney to get myself educated by the Climate Caravan crew. Having set off on their 60 mile extravaganza on Saturday 27th July from Heathrow, these dedicated souls are in the middle of their journey powered by bike and foot. With their mission of promoting awareness of Climate Camp and rallying troops for a week of workshops finishing with the final destination of Kent to start the Climate Camp ball rolling on Sunday 3rd.

clmate%20caravan.jpg
The Climate Caravan crew in the beginning of the journey

cycling%20side.jpg
An eclectic range of wheels

bicycle%20vessel.jpg
Paddy on his choice of vessel

cycling%20props.jpg
Paddy was not alone in his eccentric choice of transport

Having shamefully taken public transport, hopping from pavement to pavement like an audition for the late rabbit from Alice In Wonderland, I eventually stumbled through the doors of St Mary’s Church. Breaking into a sticky summer evening perspiration, feeling slightly bashful about my choice of transport, I had hoped to find a bunch of drained and equally sweaty folks. Yet, even though the vast majority had cycled and walked there, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. As I crept through rows of occupied chairs attempting to keep a low profile (it’s a myth that the fashionable arrive late) I caught welcoming smiles of fresh faced, bubbly chaps.

With their mission of promoting awareness of power station protest in Kingsworth, Mondays theme of “Turning the world upside down,” gathered high profile speakers from across the country to consider how we can make the transition to a truly sustainable society.

Living out of a suit case on various friends floors with a life style currently centered on convenience (until Friday when I get the keys to my new flat), its no surprise that I felt slightly out of place when Dr. Paul Chatterton of Leeds University spoke of his sentiments on how we as a society jump at the chance to follow the next trend (perhaps I’ll cancel that upgrade on my contract phone) which is a huge obstacle in tackling the climate issues we face today.

Simon Okotie of London Citizens opened his proposal with reflections on Buddhist community in Bethnal Green. With their carbon footprint substituting half of the average Londoner, it is clear that their stab at bike sharing has had successful impact on green living. Concluding his argument, Simon closed with the thought it’s ourselves which need to be turned upside down and inside out, to find our hearts in order to gain a sense of connection worldwide. In his eyes, the key here is community living.

Somewhat shadowing Simon’s value system Lelia Deen’s ideas, tagged under The World Development Movement involve leading by example and redefining our best interests on a global level starting in the community. Common ground was shared with Andrew Siams of the New Economics Foundation in that we, the last generation that can, are encouraged to revive the anarchy those of us struggling with wrinkles witnessed during the 70′s. The suggestion was to tackle the biggest polluters, starting with crushing carbon emissions with the New Green Deal.

Andy Goldring of the Permaculture Association raised two points; soil and government. With permaculture isolating the easiest root to sustainable productivity, minimising work and wastage along the way, Andy describes soil as our trump card; a way of working with nature, without damaging the future productivity and potentially improving the health of the land thus widening our eco-system. Andy’s first suggestion revolves around aiding farmers to enhance biodiversity by heightening the ecological function of soils.

In stressing the importance of setting goals for the campaign, the final point put forward involved being realistic about our government and the actions they are taking part in. I had never visualised the state of current affairs in such a clear light until this evening. Taking inspiration from ideas in holistic management, Andy cuts to the chase and labels our governments current agenda as short term. From this point he encourages the audience to break down the possibilities of this agenda into 3; what quality of life do we aspire to, what forms of production do we wish to meet and what resources do we need in place to achieve? Closing his suggestions with the idea government is too important to leave to governments, I join in the applause with hope that this change is possible, that there are a bunch of focused and committed people like you and me who want to make difference, before it is too late.

To close our evening of debates members of the public are invited to make comments on the guest speakers proposals. Arms wave in the air and opinions are voiced, yet all seems to revolve around the same idea. Hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, it is imperative we unite to ensure change can happen. The political heirachy which looms above us is not pulling the stops, and just as Putney witnessed in 1647, we must unite as a collective to inspire anarchy, sustainability and a difference. The first step for me will be joining in at Climate Camp and brushing up on my green knowledge.

Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply