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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Terra Plana : The Shoe-less shoes

Written by Emma Hopkinson

Monday 20th October
Design Museum, ailment website Alan Aldridge: Until Jan 25th
28 Butlers Wharf, try Shad Thames
Retrospective of Aldridge, an illustrator and graphic designer whose work includes album covers such as the Who and Elton John.

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Tuesday 21st
Rich Gallery, ‘Reflect Refract’: Pilita Garcia, Daniel Medina, Esperanza Mayobre, Eduardo Padilha, Lucia Pizzani, Dafna Talmor: Until 30th October
111 Mount Street, London W1K 2TT
Bringing emerging Brazilian, Chilean and Venezulan artists to the forefront, with photos, drawings and objects focusing on the themes on reflection and refraction, spaces and urban environments.

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Wednesday 22nd
Jaguar Shoes, ‘Something for nothing’: 7pm onwards
What it says on the poster:

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Thursday 23rd
Beyond Retro, ‘Rob Flowers Vs East End Lights’ at beyond Retro: 6-8pm
100-112 Cheshire St, E2 6EJ
The opening of the new East End Lights exhibition promises Halloweeny frocks, tricks and drinks as well as macabre illustrations and films by Flowers. His influences include Victorian sideshows, seaside images, owls and circus posters.

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Friday 24th
b Store, 24a Saville Row, ‘ONGALOO’: Yamataka EYE, Paperback Magazine and Magical Artroom: Until 13th November
24a Saville Row, W1S 3PR
PAPERBACK magazine, b store and Magical Artroom present the first London exhibition of artworks by Yamataka EYE.

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Conway Hall, ‘Small Publishers Fair 08‘:Fri 24th-Sat 25th 11am-7pm: Admission Free
Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Celebrating books by contemporary artists, poets, writers, composers, book designers and their publishers, together with a programme of readings and talks. Keep an eye out for ‘Pick and mix’ press publications.

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Saturday 25th
ICA, ‘Incredibly Strange Comics’: Until 26th Nov
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
The world’s weirdest comics: Amputee Love! Hansi, The Girl Who Loved The Swastika! Trucker Fags in Denial! My Friend Dahmer! Mod Love! are all here for your viewing pleasure. American presidents as musclebound superheroes, warnings about the perils of smoking, communism and the A-bomb and promotions for popsicles, prunes and poultry feed.

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Having a minor obsession with denim, cost and more specifically, decease 7 For All Mankind, doctor I couldn’t be more enthused to see what 28-year-old, pop artist, Stuart Semple has created using my favorite brand, along with others including, Levi’s and J brand, as the canvas for his latest exhibition, Cult of Denim.

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©Emily Mann, courtesy Stuart Semple Industries

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©Emily Mann, courtesy Stuart Semple Industries

Last Thursday evening, I strolled into Selfridges for the quite impressive opening. I was expecting the usual, small, crowded room filled with art and free drinks along with a bit of live entertainment if we’re lucky, but this far surpassed my assumptions, as we were graciously ushered from one floor to the next to tour Semple’s work displayed throughout the store. Using mixed-media, his contemporary images can be found on square, denim canvases as well as directly on pairs of jeans. Giving off a street-art vibe, he explores the exponential influence denim has, not only in the fashion industry, but in everyday culture, as he considers jeans a “ perfect second skin for billions of people worldwide.”

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©Ellis Scott Jeans, courtesy Stuart Semple Industries

It was quite impossible to get bored throughout the night, as we were served a variety of beverages and had an interesting line-up of musicians including an acoustic set by Zac Harris, and ending the evening with a lively performance by the Subliminal Girls, who have worked with Stuart Semple on projects in the past including a music video for their Hungry Like the Wolf remix.

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Zac Harris

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Subliminal Girls

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Subliminal Girls

The Cult of Denim will be on display in Selfridges from October 17 through November 15, so be sure to head down to Oxford Street to check it out. If interested in making any purchases, the limited edition prints and apparel are for sale, with 20% of the proceeds going to Refuge, a charity campaign to stop domestic violence.

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Monday 20th October

No Age, see Los Campesinos and Times New Viking – Shred Yr Face at Electric Ballroom, viagra London
Mystery Jets – Cockpit, website Leeds
Horse Feathers – The Fly, London
Kaiser Chiefs and Esser – The Forum, London
Tilly And The Wall – Brook, Southampton
The Stranglers – Guildhall, Portsmouth
Jeremy Warmsley and Jay Jay Pistolet – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Bombay Bicycle Club and Flashguns – Barfly, London

Tuesday 21st October

Sky Larkin – Pure Groove Records, London
Johnny Flynn – Bar Academy, Oxford
Buraka Som Sistema, Bass Clef and Soundspecies – Cargo, London
Esser – Central Station & Yales, Wrexham
Port O’Brien and Orphans And Vandals – ICA, London
Hatcham Social and Silhouette – White Heat at Madame Jo Jo’s, London

Wednesday 22nd October

Stricken City, Exlovers, La Shark and Dallas – Oh, Inverted World at Madame Jo Jo’s, London
M83 – The Scala, London
The Last Shadow Puppets – Carling Academy, Glasgow
Burt Bacharach and the BBC Concert Orchestra – BBC Electric Proms at The Roundhouse, London
XX Teens and Wild Beasts – BBC Electric Proms at Freedom Studio at The Roundhouse, London

Thursday 23rd October

Ed Harcourt, Jeremy Warmsley, Munch Munch and Three Trapped Tigers – Buffalo Bar, London
Hot Chip – Guildhall, Portsmouth
Friends of the Bride, Alexander Muertos and Joe Rybicki – The Lock Tavern, London
Primal Scream – Academy, Bristol
Mystery Jets – Astoria, London
The Streets w/ The Heritage Orchestra and Santogold – The Roundhouse, London

Friday 24th October

James Murphy and Pat Mahoney’s Special Disco Version, The Juan Maclean, Yacht, Planningtorock and Prinzhorn Dance School – Matter, London
Autokratz and Joe And Will Ask? – Koko, London
Lets Wrestle and 4 Or 5 Magicians – White Light at The Lexington, London
Blood Red Shoes and Rolo Tomassi – Astoria 2, London
Mogwai, Fuck Buttons and Errors – Hammersmith Apollo, London
Graffiti Island, An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump and Conmungos – Old Blue Last, London
Errors – Pure Groove Records, London

Saturday 25th October

Vessels, Cats In Paris and Cats And Cats And Cats - The Windmill, London
Cypress Hill, Iglu And Hartley, Sway, thecocknbullkid and The Ghost Frequency – Battersea Power Station, London
Coldcut – The BBC Radiophonic Workshop at Freedom Studio, The roundhouse, London
Tilly And The Wall and Slow Club – ULU, London

Sunday 26th October

Cornershop and Lowker – BBC Electric Proms at Barfly, London
Pete and The Pirates, Chew Lips and more – Proud Galleries, London
Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences, Li’l Lost Lou, Wolfpack Of One and more – The Good Ship, London
The Last Shadow Puppets and Ipso Facto – Hammersmith Apollo, London

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Photo: CJ Foeckler

If there is a band that offer a more alluring live show, drug I’ve yet to see them. For a band to pull off costume changes and conceptual dance routines, hospital at a less than stadium sized venue seems ridiculous. That’s what they are though, tadalafil ridiculous – but in the most charming way possible.

Their live show mimics their songs in this aspect though. If of Montreal had any kind of staple philosophy to their music, it’s pretty much trying to make something absurd, but somehow make it catchier than The Muppet’s singing Mahnahmahna. They boast perhaps one of the best songwriter of the last five years, teamed with a super tight rhythm section (why does the use of two drummer always seem to work so well?). That’s not to discredit the rest of the band; they’re all just super talented.

For a band who tour endlessly, you could almost forgive them looking jaded on stage, but their show is as fresh as it could possibly have ever been. Understandably they run through a big chunk of the tracks from their new album, which is fine by me because I don’t think there is a bad song on it. It’s not like those who are yet to hear it would be left with a moment to be bored though. There’s so much going on around the band you hardly know where to look. The high point of this for me was during Gallery Piece. Every time lead singer Kevin Barnes say what he wants to do, the small group of performance artists act out a different metaphorical representation.

The only thing that detracted from my enjoyment was where we ended up having to watch the show from. A late arrival (for once not actually my fault) meant that we ended up scaling the labyrinth that is Koko looking for a decent spot. We settled on a spot right near the back, resigning to the idea that the best view we would get would be on a screen, and with a few stolen glimpses of the stage. It’s a testament to how good they were though to have still be thrilled by the entire show, even if it was probably viewable through some type of special sky+ pack.

They leave the stage to screams of adoration, before cheekily reappearing for an encore. During which they do a cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit, which strikes me as more than odd. To begin with I assume it’s going to lead into one of their own songs, but it just doesn’t. In fact, it’s just a pretty much bog standard cover of it. The best thing however was the girl we were standing by for it. She had been fairly unphased by most of the gig, but as the opening chords were banged out she started jumping like crazy and swinging her ponytail at the nearby couples that seemed to be having quite a pleasant evening. Although it was undoubtedly a fantastic show, the crazy girl was probably the most interesting thing I saw.

Instores are odd. The glare of shop lighting, view the looming displays of point-of-sale puts something as transcendental as music into its blatant retail context where no matter how tight, click how on–it the band are, and it’s hard to dispel the hard sell of this environment and invoke the magic of their sound.

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No Age
Photos: Maddie Woodcock

No Age look a little bleary-eyed. And of course it being three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon they bloody well have the right to be. What’s more, the LA duo has the affable US college slacker demeanour of men who may well know a great deal of Pavement B-sides. Amidst the racks of Moshi Moshi sleeve displays this is like watching the guys from High Fidelity playing in their own shop. No Age are fine, at their most average a compendium of the best bits of an impeccable set of influences. The moments they truly excel are when the psychedelic oceanic shimmer of the guitar/drumfest merges into crystallized shapes with prime melodic slacker fuzz to create something as untouchably airborn as early Jane’s Addiction.

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No Age

Next we head to Beyond Retro, which has the distinct advantage of not being a record shop and therefore feeling less like a personalized free voucher. Framed in an enclave in Cheshire Street’s slightly overpriced warehouse (go to East End Thrift Store down Whitechapel for the same stuff at a much cheaper price!), Times New Viking look like crazy kids playing in a giant dressing up cupboard. I should really discuss the music here, but I have to say that Beth Murphy is the coolest and damnest most attractive front woman I have seen in ages, a vision of cool, geeky sex with perfect hair. She leads her merry pranksters through a brittle mess of slightly cutesy shambolic discordance.

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Times New Viking

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Times New Viking

Finally we make it to Rough Trade East, passed some kids selling stolen bikes who tell me to get a haircut, to see Cardiff’s Los Campesinos. The exposed naiveties that occasionally grate on their debut, We are Beautiful, We are Doomed, here in a live context add up to the band’s many qualities. Los Campesinos could have never existed in another period of time. The way that out of the murk of the early part of the decade – the post rock of Godspeed and even the self pitying of a countless number of arse cleavaged Emos can mutate into something as buoyant, as upliftingly trivial/epic is, like the energy flash of Rolo Tomassi, a victory sign that kids will constantly and more often than not unselfconsciously find ways to rewire and mutate, finding life in even the drabbest of situations.

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Los Campesinos

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Los Campesino
I received an email from an excited blog writer who is interested in Chinese culture about a new project by Common Ground. Their online showcase of digital art on the theme of the Environment allows a community of Chinese and American artists to focus on ecology whilst also raising money for projects too.

With a touring art exhibition coming up in Beijing, erectile China at the Huan Tie Art Museum on 8th November the public will get a chance to eye ball over some leafy creations. Being a non-for-profit organization, order they hope to raise the profile for sustainable projects around the world. With art works from more than 40 countries and 20 gifted Chinese artists as well as films focussed on the environment, abortion the exhibition promises to stimulate whilst raising questions. A worthy project indeed.

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If, advice like me, cheapest you’ve entered the nether regions of the year sans appropriate footwear, and you’re sick of trawling the high street for look- alike boots and shoes that will go out of fashion before you’ve even worn them in, then despair not – I have comforting news. I can tell you where to get individual and affordable shoes, and guess what? They’re all from the same place!

Terra Plana is the logical answer to an omnipresent question: how to be simultaneously stylish, individual and ethical all in one go? Their website is stuffed full of brilliant footwear, from boots to shoes and men’s to women’s, bright and colourful to demure and conservative. Their production philosophy is simple – give back to Mother Nature what you take away, and try not to take away very much in the first place!

Their contribution back to the environment is matched by their attitude to our feet. While they admit that in an ideal world we would all be running around shoe-less, the guys at Terra Plana have understood that in order to avoid regular tetanus and discomfort, shoes are really a must. With this in mind they have applied a host of funky features to bring us as close to the no-shoe experience as possible, while still technically being fully clothed. Among their most inspired ideas is the use of memory foam – the stuff they make the best mattresses and the inside of space suits with – to cushion and proportion weight effectively. Bed for my feet? Amazing! Then there’s the Vivo Barefoot design, which employs a durable and thin fabric that allows all the freedom of a bare foot with none of the previously mentioned tetanus. Brilliant!

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All this and the products actually look great! Top of my list is the Romero bag, made of recycled seat belts (a safe buy, then) and just the thing for a shopping trip or long-haul train journey. Then there’s the Juniper shoe – a delightful little court number with a high wooden heel and a charming round toe that would look brilliant with skinny jeans or a full, feminine skirt. And then the boots, which are so much more to look at than anything I’ve seen in stores. Lauren, with its chic heel and muted palette is a sure-fire hit from autumn to spring and comes in a variety of prints and leathers.
There are loads for the boys too. The Bike shoe – made partially from recycled bike tyres – is a wonderful alternative to the over-exposed high street designs, and Derida looks as though it would be the sort of shoe he would never need to take off. My trainer-obsessed male friends went a bit dewy eyed when they laid eyes on the Nova Ski high-top trainer, which could have come straight out of 1980s America, and even my perennially casual boyfriend had to admit that he loved the Saturn veg tanned leather boot. Neither too bulky, nor too feminine, it is the perfect accompaniment to a pair of skinnies.

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Lauren

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Juniper

All of these little gems sit happily alongside a range of woolly boots, sensible flats, outlandish heels and fabulous fabrics. What the modern ethical shopper can’t find at Terra Plana isn’t worth having.

A quick word, then, about my absolute favourite thing, not just from Terra Plana, but possibly this entire year. Po-Zu. Not only fun to say in your head (or out-loud when among friends) this coconut cream cleans your shoes. Then when you’ve finished cleaning your shoes you can pop a bit on your hair in place of a conditioner. While this is soaking in, why not dip in a finger and have yourself a wee snack? That’s right – it’s a shoe cream AND a tasty morsel. At only £5 it’s cheaper than a store-bought sandwich. Happy lunchtimes here we come! Perhaps strange looks in the street here we come as well.

Far from being of the Bono school of preachy self-awareness, Terra Plana go about their business quietly, making lovely footwear as responsibly as they can. They are affordable and ethical, stylish and individual and may well be finding themselves under several of my good friends’ Christmas trees.

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Maple

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2 Responses to “Terra Plana : The Shoe-less shoes”

  1. Prettyneons says:

    Hello’s,

    I’m Luvin this so much and over the moon that Terra Plana has been featured. As a massive fan for such a long time now. I don’t think the word about Terra Plana is spread often enough or Loud enough for that matter… The shoes are like pieces of art; Yep canvas you can wear on your feet. Fab, Killer stuff.

    Kites and Beats…
    Prettyneons x

  2. Berenice says:

    Terra plana here I come! A great critique of a great product. Shall be watching for Emma Hopkinsons next feature.

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