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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Heart Shaped Shades and a giant LOVE shaped Laser

Activists with Attitude

Written by Lucy Jones

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TONIGHT. E-ON REF OFF!

Coal Baddies E-ON (responsible for new coal-fired power station Kingsnorth) are also financial backers of the FA Cup. Lets wind them up some with some light hearted whistle blowing and chanting at tonight’s Arsenal Vs Cardiff Match.

Meet at 17.30pm outside Holloway Road tube station or outside the Hornsey Road entrance to the Emirates stadium before the 19.45 kick off. If you can, help treatment come dressed as a referee (black shorts, advice balck top with white collar and black shorts).

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EXT INKED

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Always wanted a tattoo but waiting till you find something ‘meaningful?’ Well here’s your chance…

This month would be 200th birthday of Charles Darwin. To celebrate The Ultimate Holding Company (UHC) is inviting 100 volunteers to become the ambassadors of 100 endangered UK species-by being permanently tattooed. UHC illustrators are busy creating the designs- from snails to sharks to seaweeds-to go on display at a free exhibition in Manchester later this summer. The project also aims to raise awareness of the Marine Conservation Society and Buglife (The Invertebrate Conservation Trust) who have helped compile the list of endangered species.

Find out more.

THE WASTED SPACES PROJECT-CALL FOR ARTISTS.

“A good Wasted Spaces artwork is measured by its ability to stop traffic.”

Wasted Spaces is an international non-profit organisation that transforms abandoned commercial space and empty shop front windows into exhibition space. In enabling young up- and- coming artists a much needed platform to showcase their work they help ‘reverse the decaying effect vacant commercial property has on local high streets.’

Brent council have recently provided funding to create several Wasted Spaces windows in the borough. Participating artists will receive free exhibition space and funding. If you live and/or work in the borough submit your work to proposals@wastedspaces.org. Deadline March 1st 2009.

THURSDAY 19TH FEBRUARY

HEATHROW EXPANSION PROTEST

17.30-19.30 outside 10 Downing Street. No third runway and no increase in flights using existing runways. Speakers include John Mcdonnel MP, Susan Kramer MP, Jean Lambert MEP. Organised by Campaign Against Climate Change.

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Photographers are a funny lot… put a load of them in one place with no-one to photograph but themselves and they get thoroughly confused. Thus was the situation this morning when I rocked up to New Scotland Yard with about a hundred other photographers, sick to make a stand against the new Counter Terrorism Act which comes into force today.

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Sliding slyly past the general public without much of a fuss this act makes it a criminal offence to take photos of the police or the armed forces if you are suspected of “terrorism.” Given the already alarming attitude within some quarters as to what exactly constitutes terrorism (I was effectively branded an eco-terrorist for my involvement in Climate Camp last year in a story that ran in the Observer, this before it was pulled with an apology) photographers have a right to feel concern about this depressing development.

For someone who has been on the receiving end of unnecessarily aggressive behaviour from the police, who are often heavy handed in their efforts to curtail freedom of speech and the right to protest, this feels to me like yet another big stride towards a police state. And I don’t say that lightly. Protesters and activists of many persuasions already have to put up with the intrusive and threatening presence of FIT teams, who follow our every move with an arsenal of big cameras whenever we challenge the misbehaviour of both our government and big corporations (who are often in collusion), and thus far our only weapon against any possible misdemeanours has been the ability to photograph them back. This could now be an arrestable offence in itself, despite the obvious neccessity to keep a watch on our police. The police habitually lie about the necessity of force, as was evidenced by the excessive policing that was seen at Kingsnorth Climate Camp. The truth about the “injuries” – a few possible bee stings and diarrhoea – of the police officers (which were used as justification for the disproportionate amount of money ploughed into the operation) surfaced in December, and reinforce the need for unbiased footage of demonstrations provided by freelance photographers. This is obviously now at risk and is yet another serious threat to the civil liberties that are being gradually eroded by our government.

But back to the sea of slightly bewildered photographers, obviously more used to being provided with something to photograph than having to create their own.

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Instead photographers turned in on themselves, devouring each other’s lenses with gigabytes. It was down to a few random souls to provide some colourful diversions amidst a sea of black.

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My friend climbed aloft and posed in her police hat and a red jumpsuit, before she was joined by a crafty photographer, garlanded with sexy old cameras of the type that I love to shoot with. He was soon relishing the turn of tables and firing away in front of that iconic New Scotland Yard rotating sign.

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The biggest frisson of the morning was provided by a photographer in a motorized wheelchair, who manouvered gallantly down the middle of the road, which the two coppers on duty were bound to keep clear. For a moment everyone spilled into the road, jostling for the best shot, before backing politely away again.

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Mark Thomas, the alternative comedian who has based much of his work on the right to protest, spoke for the rolling cameras, calling for an exhibition of photos of police officers. Perhaps he knows that FITwatch, set up to counteract the FIT teams, have already called for such a competition, with awards based on the most scary, funny and effective photographs taken (this last for photos which have had the most success in defending civil liberties – an issue never far away.)

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It was a strangely post modern occasion but one that was desperately needed to mark this most scary of developments. Long may we continue to defend our right to take photos of whatever we please. After all, as the stickers being given out announced, I’M A PHOTOGRAPHER ….NOT A TERRORIST.

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Monday 16th February

Crystal Stilts, viagra Manhattan Love Suicides, website like this Wet Dog, The Lexington, London

Heavily 80s influenced shoegaze-goths over from Brooklyn to play songs from their debut album.

Secret Machines, The Big Pink, The Joy Formidable, Islington Academy, London

Texas/New York psych rockers bring their driving dream rock to London. Joined by dead trendy Londoners The Big Pink.

Tuesday 17th February

Ra Ra Riot, King’s College, London

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I think my iTunes has got a bit of a crush on these guys, as it tries to attribute every CD I ever import onto it to them. Catchy folk rock not too far wrong though.

The Seal Cub Clubbing Club, 93 Feet East, London

Tongue-twister post-punk from up North.

Wednesday 18th February

Black Kids, Esser, Boy Crisis, Passion Pit, Koko, London

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The big famous draw are Cure-esque, impossibly catchy headliners Black Kids although the three support acts are also well worth catching. Esser is an electro one to watch for this year, fronted by ex Ladyfuzz drummer. Boy Crisis bring more 80s-tinged sounds with their Brooklyn electro-pop and Passion Pit bring some indie to the synths.

Thursday 19th February

Yo Zushi, Old Queens Head, London

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Quirky anti-folk from the mix-tape loving Londoner.

Asobi Seksu, ICA, London

Sweet girl vocals and alternative guitars at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Can’t say trendier than that.

Friday 20th February

Things To Make And Do: It Hugs Back, Gold Sounds, Victoria and Jacob, The Vital Organs, Wilmington Arms, London

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Resolutely indie fun Friday night fodder with music from lo-fi dream-pop headliners, new signings at 4AD. Followed by DJs.

The Walkmen, Hatcham Social, Electricity In Our Homes, Scala, London

Swaggering new wavey sounds from The Walkmen with a slightly more effete, Smiths-style take on the eighties from Hatcham Social.

Saturday 21st February

Herman Dune, Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Peggy Sue, Union Chapel, London

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All day folk fest at this lovely intimate venue with pretty much all the rising folkstars of the Western hemisphere performing.

Jane Birkin, Barbican Centre, London

Ex-Serge Gainsbourg wife and muse cracks out some of the old numbers with her breathy little girl voice. Some new numbers may be included too.

Sunday 22nd February

Sunn O))), Corsica Studios, London

Drone metal that is sure to pulsate through every fibre of your body at their reliably awe-inspiring concerts.

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Wouldn’t it be great if you spent each day hanging out with your closest childhood friend; drawing, here making, price building and all-round creating to your imagination’s absolute content? That’s what Sofie Hvass and Nan Na Hannibal do on a daily basis from a colourful little studio in the basement of an old house in Copenhagen. Love at first sight, Nan Na walked into school one day without knowing a soul, and was instantly drawn to the girl scribbling on the pages of her notebook – a relationship blossomed with much much more scribbling untill we arrive at Hvass&Hannibal, the Danish illustration duo with a beautiful and impressive back catalogue of exciting projects, all with their very distinctive and captivating signature – fantastical yet immediately relatable, wholesome; it looks like perfect childhood memories.

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Take one of their own favourite projects, a collaboration with Efterklang in September. In two very busy weeks, they did all the stage and costume work for their concert with the Danish Chamber Orchestra – pictured above – amalgamating in a very otherworldly, fairytale creation that enhances Efterklang’s sound; I want to wear one of those hats and have perfect circles attached to my cheeks! Hard work, they say, is what accounts for their success: “sometimes we are completely surprised at how difficult we are able make things for ourselves, because we get too ambitious – and if we aren’t satisfied we keep going on. But it probably pays off at the end!” It does.

They say that their dream project would be to build a house and I love to imagine what that would look like, though in the meantime, I’ll leave you with some creations they have made from the contents of their fridge; they decided to step away from their computers and work with a different medium, “food seemed to be an appropriate choice!”.

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Have a look at more of their work here, it will warm your cockles.
Campfire Songs

After recently going out of print on the Catsup label Paw Tracks have decided to re-issue Animal Collective‘s Campfire Songs EP. Apparently it’s not an album to listen to when sat around the campfire telling stories. Instead the songs contained on the disc are actually about the fire itself. So far so interesting.

Anyone who is familiar with Animal Collective’s recent output will know that they make music which is at once poppy and difficult. Last year’s Merriweather Post Pavilion had as many detractors as it did people praising it as album of the year, thumb in January! The tracks varied from the personal, stomach My Girls, and Brother Sport (which are about Noah Lennox’s, a.k.a Panda Bear wife and daughters and trying to get his brother to open up about their fathers death respectivley) to the more fun loving, Summertime Clothes, and Lion In A Coma.

Campfire Songs is as far removed from the sound of MPP or Strawberry Jam as it is possible to get. It almost sounds like a completely different band, except for Noah’s plaintive vocals. There are no drums, no synths, and certainly no big sounds. It’s just acoustic guitars being gently strummed while Noah breathily sing/chants over the top .

The album was recorded outside, on a porch, on mini-disc which allows the sounds of nature to be heard and adds a layer to the idea of making music from the elements. It’s an interesting experiment and certainly shows that Animal Collective have never been afraid to experiment. It also shows the bands development from their more noisy/acoustic sound to the electronic juggernauts that they have become.

It’s an album that I would certainly have on in the background while I was doing something else but I don’t think I’d want to sit down and actively listen to it. It seems that even amongst their fans, of which I consider myself a fairly big one, they can still be a divisive band. Something which I think is important as they aren’t trying to please anyone but themselves with their sonic experimentation.
On 20th March the highly anticipated The Age of Stupid will be released in cinemas nationwide. Amelia’s Magazine were lucky to get a sneak preview-and we were gripped. If ever you were burying your concerns for the state of the planet down there with ‘smoking won’t increase my risk of cancer, web ‘ then this is the film to shake you out of such delusion.

Directed by Franny Armstrong (McLibel, store Drowned Out), it is a documentary-drama-hybrid that starts in 2055 with Pete Postlethwaite (who, among other roles, played the priest in Romeo and Juliet!) living in a stark post-apocalyptic world ravaged by climate change. He looks back at ‘archive’ footage from 2008 and assembles a montage of documentary and news clips focussing on the stories of six individuals living in 2008. The catalytic question that Pete Postlewaite’s archivist searches to answer is ‘why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?’

We meet a variety of people from across the world. Poverty-stricken victims of oil companies like Shell, a windfarm developer whose struggle to develop greener sources energy is met with sickening adversity from his NIMBY neighbours, and an airline entrepreneur too dollar-eyed to see how he could be responsible.

The film brings to light what we smokers (try not to) know all to well. It is a strange component of the human psyche to stall when faced with an unwelcome calamity like climate change. In the same way the six separate lives are brought together as archive footage to encapsulate the multi-faceted cause behind runaway climate change, we must see past our individual lives to rethread the relationship between humanity and nature that has been severed by too many years of economic greed.

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Scenes from the film were shot in Jordan, India, New Orleans, the French Alps, Nigeria and England.

The Age of Stupid is released on 20th March at the following cinemas:

Chapter Cinema, Cardiff
Filmhouse, Edinburgh
Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
Glasgow Film Theatre , Glasgow
Watershed, Bristol
Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast
Showroom, Sheffield
Odeon Panton Street, Leicester Square, London
Rich Mix, Bethnal Green, London.
The Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London.

If you pinpointed the homelands of Wayter‘s members on a world map, click you’d quickly come to realise that a lot of space resides between each of the countries this four-piece individually call home. Hailing from Argentina, health Spain, England and Japan, it’s no surprise that Wayter are pulling in influences from all over the world (literally), and aren’t just another average band singing about how it’s grim up North, or moaning about failed summer romances.

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Their four-track debut EP, Marco Polo, presents a group of musicians proficient at combining a heavier, post-rock melancholy with instrumental learnings and eerie, soaring vocals. Opening track Ruins is swathed in eloquent layers of soft, atmospheric melodies, and following track Seed upholds the tight level of professionalism, with intricate guitar and a quiet, unfurling turbulence that slowly builds up under the textured sounds. Snowhite is a sprawl of complex guitar passages, that accompanied by singer Eddie’s driving shouts produces a darker, more progressive sound, and final track Marco Polo continues very much in the same vein, with a lurching yet established presence, verifying Wayter’s signature sound.

Overall, this debut introduces us to a band who aren’t finding their feet but know exactly where they stand, producing a clean, established and defined sound. Unfortunately, this also means that there’s little room for general experimentation with genres here. Wayter produce intelligent and comprehensive alt-rock, though may run the risk of pigeon-holing themselves in terms of style if they don’t mix things up every now and then. But as an initial introduction, they certainly make the right impression.

How could a whine ever give you shivers? That tortured, view little-kid pleading shouldn’t ever sound good. But then you hear Olivia B. Merilahti and your finger has wandered over to the repeat button for another hit of the pretty whining.

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Olivia is one half of The Dø, visit a French-Finnish duo from Paris. He (Dan Levy, on bass and keyboards) calls, and she responds, pouring some beautiful vocals over the top of his folk-pop. The French music press have been all over The Dø for a little over a year now, with hype in the blogosphere building up too, and this first single off their album A Mouthful (out 27th April) explains why.

On My Shoulder sounds like a sweet blast of Nina Persson from the Cardigans, only with slightly rougher edges and more interesting lyrics. It’s a confused, semi-pleading, semi pissed-off love song about feeling short-changed by a guy. ‘Why do I always help you carry your boulders? / You should know in my heart you fill every corner.’

If clips of them burning up on stage at festivals in France are anything to go by, this is a band best seen live, where they can let the full force of their quirkiness run riot. Pogoing about in Icelandic knitwear, 80s geometric acid brights, Indian feathers and old-school high-tops, Olivia looks like she’s been clothes swapping with Björk or Natasha from Bat For Lashes.

Flipping between sulky, sexy pouting from underneath her Bettie Paige fringe, or eyes closed, tear-stained wailing, she does her kaleidoscopic, melodic thing while Dan sprinkles flutes and bells over it all. The good news is, they’re currently on a mission to crack the UK, and live dates should be getting announced very soon.

Vibe Harsløf is a jewellery designer from Copenhagen and has designed collections for Paul Smith in the past and launched her own collection in October 2008. Her philosophy is to create unique and urban inspired, pharm yet lasting pieces. With over 10 years experience in the business, pharm she knows her stuff and agreed to have a little chat with us:

Why did you decide to specialise in jewellery design rather than clothes?
As an 18 year old I saw a degree show at a German design school with a
jewellery design line and it was a total eye opener. Today I would probably
find it rather pretentious, ampoule but back then I found it very inspiring that you
could make jewellery, using small objects out of literally anything.
I am still very fascinated by the idea that jewellery is small objects you carry around with you.

Have you ever designed clothes?

No.

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Who are your favourite designers?
I like the way Florian Ladstaetter plays with jewellery.
I also love Martin Margiela, Comme des Garcons and BLESS – I like their conceptual way of making clothes, but I also like more spectacular designers like Gareth Pugh.

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What are you currently working on?
I have just finished a jewellery line for the Danish clothing label PA:NUU . Besides that I am putting finishing touches to my next Vibe Harsløf collection.
In the near future I will start working on a collaboration with the Danish pipe
company Stanwell, making a pipe collection for them as well as a jewellery collection out of pipe tree.

Who or what inspires you?
Anything- conversations, pictures, new materials- anything basically that
creates images in my head.

How would you describe your personal style?
Jeans & trainers sometimes mixed with pieces from young designers – very casual.

Even if the hand necklace is freaky – it’s a good freaky, having seen it in the flesh, a striking and original piece. Love it. Thanks for chatting to us Vibe.
It was lovely to find we weren’t the only ones foolish enough to take on the tag team of TFL’s weekend tube works and the cheek reddening cold of another Saturday night in the capital. No One Died at The Enterprise and the bar below the venue were simply busting, drug the warm air rich with the full scale party assault of doo-wop and French pop, recipe every square inch of floor covered with smiles and dancing feet, medications balloons covering the ceiling. Amidst all the second-Christmas cheer was former Pipette Rose Elinor Dougall, holding court for a good thirty minutes.

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So what did we learn? Rose is making music far removed from her previous band. The term dream-pop was coined for music like this. Almost everything shimmers in some form with vibrato and chorus, Rose’s organ saturated with it. It’s a big scoop of early psychedelica topped with a dusting of vintage folk. The beats are uncomplicated yet driven and the melodies lush, Rose‘s voice cutting through it all like a hot knife through smoke, as bold as ever. It’s the kind of music you’d choose to dance around the kitchen while burning garlic bread to or wrap yourself in a blanket of saudade with on a cold Saturday night. Two or so songs in I found myself pondering why there is a lack of modern bands pulling vintage influences into modern songwriting, rather then just imitating. Maybe it’s time for the Government to bring in laws making children listen to their parents record collections?

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The band themselves wear two distinct faces tonight. The first half of the set they are in a word, aloof. Staring at their feet, three of five members with their fringes obscuring half their faces. Then mid-set Rose’s keyboards decide they no longer want to be on stage two or three times in the space of five minutes, the band make a mistake or two and decide it’s ok to smile. Set free from the Turkish opium bordello jam band stances of before, spirits raise, hands are placed on hips, all is right with the world. They’re not the finished article yet, but the potential is undeniable. Aside from debut single Another Version of Pop Song there are two or three other songs in the set which are just as delightful, the prospect of an album is mouth watering enough to make me invest in frozen garlic bread now for future kitchen dancing. The only issue I have with tonight’s set is how immediately after it I have to don an additional two layers to step outside and smoke. Her grace and music warmed our hearts, but Rose hasn’t been selfless enough to take patio heaters and a portable smoking tent on tour with her yet.

In recent years, nurse the Oxfam brand has had a brilliant image make over, more about no longer does it conjure up the image of dowdy, old lady smelling charity shops, only for those who can’t afford to go to ‘real shops’.
It is now a credible, yet very affordable place to shop, that still stays true to its charity roots. This in part may be due to the surge in recent years for vintage and recycled clothes and the fact that retail genius Jane Shepherdson volunteered to work for the brand after leaving her post as Brand Director at Topshop.

During her reign at Oxfam, Shepherdson introduced the Oxfam Boutique, which works in collaboration with ethical brands such as Made and People Tree and gets designers such as Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders to rework clothes and create collections from donated pieces. Every season there are designer contributions, along with London College of Fashion students who assist in the making of the collections. Overall they produce goods that “provide shoppers with unique style, beautiful one-off clothes, and the assurance that every item will raise money to fight poverty around the world.” To quote Oxfam.

To launch their S/S 09 collection they have pulled out all the stops, recruiting famed fashion photographer Rankin to take the shots and Dazed and Confused stylist Katie Shillingford to style the clothes. We have some snaps of the new collection for you here:

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The result is a very stylish, wearable and covetable collection which is available online and from any of the three Oxfam Boutiques in London.

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“I don’t feel I’ve really engaged with a place until I can taste or smell it, advice you know?” So Gayle Chong Kwan tells me as we settle down to a hot drink on a cold day in a mutually favourite cafe in Bethnal Green. And yes, viagra I do. Her smile is warm and wide and she is bubbling with energy, a constitution that matches or perhaps fuels the lifestyle of this Scottish/Chinese/Mauritian artist based, for the moment, in East London, and with a long list of countries she’s called home in her wake. I am further endeared to her when she tells me that she is not easily disgusted. A high threshold for things deemed unpalatable must come in useful when constructing installations from discarded food collected in Portobello Market, working in kebab shops, or in the mushrooming shanty towns that now sprawl over the city rubbish dumps of Medellin, Colombia. Thick -skinned, strong-stomached, and infectiously vivacious; of mixed origin, background (history and politics then art), and place: the person and the work are viscerally matched.

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Gayle explaining some sort of food preparation involving a blow-dryer

The senses get mixed into a lot of Gayle’s work. Using photography, video, sound, installation, and performance, she likes to involve people in rituals or exchanges exploring ideas of history and myth, the senses and their connection with memories. “Taste and smell can awaken rare aspects of memory”, she explains; and who can’t relate to that? The strongest memories are surely those that have a texture to them beyond imagery, just think of Proust’s Madelaine. One project evokes this particularly, one that took place in the very postcode in which we now sit: The Memory Tasting Unit, 2004:

I gathered food memories from people who live and work in the Roman Road in East London. The foodstuff described was bought and cooked according to their recommendations, and made available in the unit, installed back in the same road, so that visitors were able to taste other people’s memories as well as record their own. Under controlled conditions, including wearing blindfolds and headphones, single visitors were able to focus on and recall memories aroused by the ingredients chosen by people who live and work in that road.

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Memory Tasting Unit

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Memory Tasting Unit

Gayle’s work is often very context specific, improvising with and responding to environments as they occur. Her work in Medellin for instance is not yet fully formed, but you can count that in a place where nothing is wasted, it will have something to do with recycled materials.

The inhabitants’ main economic activities revolve around the recycling and processing of waste materials. There is a re-settlement programme in the area due to the unhealthy living conditions and the hazardous chemicals under the town, but I feel that there is much that we could learn in Europe from the way in which they re-use and re-cycle and give a different value to the materials they work with and by which they are surrounded.

It relates closely to previous projects, centering around waste materials. Being friends with Gayle might easily involve taking all your plastic bottles and waste to her Hackney studio where she will rework it into something completely different, see below.

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The Grand Tour

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Gayle has been selected as one of the Vauxhall Collective as on of UK’s most talented artists, and commissioned for a project entitled “The Great British Road Trip”. Before meeting me she had spent the past few weeks trudging through snow in the Orkney Islands off the coast of northern Scotland, taking photographs for a project that will explore the sometimes frustrated relationship between photography and the senses. Whether Vauxhall say she is talented or not, she has certainly pricked my interest, and I look forwards to seeing (touching, smelling and tasting) her work in the near future.
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Frock Me at Chelsea Town Hall was teeming with glitzy vintage fashion and cream cakes. It was intense. I was very pleased to find Rebecca Denholm’s stall The Cat’s Meow. I fell in love with her stall at Portobello Market but since moving norf I haven’t been close to check out her latest finds. I’m happy to report that her unique collection of delicate and tailored dresses is still strong, look and there has been a fantastic addition of some quirky graphic prints!

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1940′s ‘America’ novelty print dress

Rebecca kindly agreeed to have a little chat with us.

Hi Rebecca, tell us a bit about yourself.
I live in Glasgow.. I moved up to Scotland on a whim after working a 36 hour shift for an architectural model makers. I was just sick of being broke in London sleeping on my Dad’s sitting room floor. I always wanted to be a theatre director. I had worked in performance and theatre design while in London but I fell out of love with it.
I studied theatre for 1 year in Glasgow (hoping I would fall in love again) but the course was trying too hard to be avant garde and it felt shallow.. I changed to study architecture which in my mind wasn’t that far from theatre design.. but I got very ill in the first year. So I’m a college drop out with little education.

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Classic 50′s lipstick red vintage dress

When did you first start collecting?
I started collecting from age 10, buying from the flea market and the antiques centre in Bath. I liked the romance of something old… I think I’ve left the romance behind now.. I’m more interested in the craftmanship of pieces.

When did you decide to sell?
I started selling because I was a broke student and needed to sell some stuff to pay the bills. I thought I was doing well selling my Terry de Havilland snakeskin wedges for £20 making a profit of £2! But of course I didn’t know who de Havilland was then… not until I saw a picture of the same shoes online… the V&A had just bought them for a huge sum. Everything I sold first was from my collection. I was selling my 30′s tea dresses for under £20. It didn’t take long until I started buying and had more stuff than I started with.

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1940′s cute maternity dress

How has the journey been?

It started at Portobello. For the first 2 years I don’t think I made a living from it… there was nothing financially clever about it but I got my passion for clothes back. Some dealers buy names or dresses that they can sell at a huge mark up but I’ve learned never to buy anything just for money.. you have to love it otherwise it feels like cheating to sell it to someone else.
The more you collect the more addictive the finding process gets… I’m always on the hunt to find the dress shape, textile or print that I’ve never seen before. The hunt keeps getting harder but it keeps me entertained.
When I started I couldn’t afford to keep anything. There are still things I’ve sold that I regret. One time at Portobello a designer wanted to buy what I was wearing and I thought it would be undignified to sell the clothes on my back but I later hired the dress to him and that started up the hire side of my business. It’s great cause it means I have a wardrobe full of my favourite pieces. I lend to lots of designers now and it’s really satisfying to see the influence that the clothes have had in the collections.

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1940′s Silk Scottydog print

What’s your favorite period of fashion history?

Most of the clothes I sell are Edwardian to the1960′s. My favourites being the 1920′s embroidered shift dresses and 40′s & 50′s tailored dresses. The 1940′s is easily the most creative era. Sexy, clever dresses without the excess and indulgence of the 1920′s and 1950′s. I often find the dresses can look quite plain on the hanger but when worn the tailoring can become quite magical. The clothes were never loud.. always understated, often with a lot of humour in the details or print.

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Funky 40′s musical instrument print dress

Do you design your own stuff?

My granny trained as a dress maker.. taking apart the Paris couture collections and remaking them for London customers. The construction of many old clothes is incredible because so much time was invested. People cut corners and loose details so often now. I’d like to find the time to properly make a collection of classics, that would be timeless and beautiful without exploitation… but the production would be expensive… till then there’s always vintage.

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Rare 50′s swing dance blouse with fantastic diagrams

Where do you find everything?

I can’t tell you all my secrets, but I often spend 30 hours a week or more to find just 15 or so dresses. I get things from Scottish dealers, from retired collectors in London and contacts I‘ve made in America.


What are your hopes for the future?

The drive down from Glasgow to London is a real killer so short term I’d love more people to visit me in Glasgow… perhaps I should throw a tea party this spring… watch this space!
There isn’t an endless source of vintage clothing and my fear is that the really rare vintage will eventually be impossible to find or super expensive… that means I’d be out of a job… so eventually I’d like to move back to London so I can continue with The Cat’s Meow whilst getting stuck into my own design work.

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1940′s sexy wiggle shirt dress with dancers print

Where can we find you?

You can visit the studio in Glasgow by appointment or you can find me at Portobello Market most Fridays under the canopy. I am also a regular at the Frock me! vintage fair (March 22nd)and Hammersmith vintage fair (March 15th). Oh and a vintage fair in Bath at the Assembly Rooms this Sunday (22nd Feb)!

Tel: 0141 3310954/ 07986 479 275
meowmore@hotmail.co.uk

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1950′s horse racing print dress

Chicagoan Andrew Bird delivers his latest studio album with the confidence we are now accustomed to after four previous albums. True to form, buy Noble Beast is soaked in classic folk ballads and showered with simple guitar riffs with the occasional spit of flamenco and modern rock. However, ask as can often become the case after a few records for singer-songwriters with a certain indie-folk bent, here this is a bit of a wet album. Nothing particularly original or groundbreaking here (in Bird terms or generally); nothing that makes you down tools and check your mouth isn’t wide open; nothing that slams you against the wall and changes your view of the world.

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Listeners and Bird fans hoping for this kind of sensation will be disappointed, but I think that misses the point slightly. Lower your expectations of this prodigiously talented musician only slightly and you realise that Bird is a natural storyteller and has a unique honesty in his voice, to back up the simple soothing melodies of this most recent work. Add some violin crescendos and the occasional bang to the mix and he ends up with enough variance between the tracks to keep us interested.

But boy is this guy bitter – there aint no track to make you jump at a party. Recurrent themes of death, ghosts, disasters and the like don’t instil happiness. Even Masterswarm, with it’s semi-energetic, happy-go-lucky latin clap contains self depricating lyrics. Oh, and please don’t be fooled by Track 11′s devil-may-care guitar intro – the track is, surprisingly, Natural Disaster. Say no more.

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There’s refreshment to be had on standout track Not A Robot, But A Ghost, which ups the tempo and is slightly edgier than the rest of the album. Noble Beast is far from depressing, but after fourteen tracks, you can’t help thinking ‘Oh, come on Bird. It can’t be that bad’. Behind the morose lyrics and angst ridden vocals there’s a good singer, an instinctive versifier and a damn good classical musician. He’s obviously got quite a lot to be cheerful about; maybe he could let some rays of sunshine through for the next album.
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Drawings by BELINDA FRIKH (channeled from ‘Scribblerina-the biro dancin ballerina’)

At 7.15 am on Valentines Day, this site when the moon was in the 7th house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, website Climety Change, Motheer Treeza, Sustainabelle and the climate crew known as B4B sky rocketed from outer space to cyber space with an urgent message.This planet-saving posse of super heroines want to recruit YOU to spread the word that our powerlessness to zap out pollution is purely an alliterative error.

‘ Earthlings working 4 Big Mother put planet & people B4 profit & pollution & those working 4 Big Brother put profit & pollution B4 planet & people.’

Whether you’re a babe, badger or bloke as long as you’re 4 the Biosphere and believe in the power of *love * then join B4B today to find out about secret missions. Wham! Zip! Quick get moving so we can strike Fossillus the Fuel and The Carbon Foot Prince of Darkness before they turn this globe to gloop.

Mystified? So was I…here’s a little info that might make things clearer.
B4B has been brought to us by 999 It’s Time ambassador, Misty Oldland. In preparation for the Climate Conference in Coppenhagen, it is a ‘giant melting pot’ of action groups and individuals who care about the planet and want to act to make our politicians wise up. ‘The mother of all mailing lists’ it will provide information on actions and events that you can get involved in as well as important bits of information from our biosphere super babes. Tune in dudes.

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