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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Born Ruffians

Hoxton Bar & Grill, 27th May 2008

Written by Charles Drakeford

TONIGHT FROM 6PM – 9.30PM } WATCH AMELIA PERFORM AT THE ART VINYL GALLERY!

The Eel are launching Issue 10 of their Hackney based magazine; covering local issues and events with witty idiosyncrasy. Tonight will be particularly special however, medicine online as Amelia will be singing with the Hackney Secular Choir! Other contributors include Rosie from Tatty Divine and Rachael from Prick Your Finger, pills more about among a whole host of other great local creatives. The Eel also put on a community festival in August on Vyner Street that’s well worth putting in your calenders – last year there was a right ol’ fracas between the locals and artists.

And as for Amelia singing, physician more about expect undoubtedly dulcet tones alongside truly heartfelt renditions of Ian Drury’s Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll, as well as Buzzcocks and Sham 69 songs (and they’re open to suggestions). You can join the choir yourself, every Monday @ 7.30 St. Johns Church, Bethnal Green, anybody is welcome, particularly men, followed by debauched boozing down the local. Claiming to be a Punk Anarchist Choir, you’re therefore not expected to have the voice of an angel but to simply want to be a part of it, so clear your throat and get singing!

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Roll up roll up! Graduate Fashion Week is within sight, discount and this year it promises not only to be bigger, but even better.

Arguably the best place to spot the latest and greatest of new talent, this year’s GFW has moved to Earls Court 2 and will celebrate more than 1000 of the finest BA Degree fashion students from 29 selected universities and colleges from around the UK. The event attracts some of the industry’s biggest characters, with Victoria Beckham herself judging last year – ooh la la, we are blessed! – and other fashion incredibles such as Hilary Alexander, Sophia Neophitou from 10 Magazine, and Liberty’s Design Director Tamara Salman; everyone who is anyone should be pencilling this grand event into their diary.

The 2008 event will be showcasing from Sunday the 8th of June until the 12th, and tickets are available online now for Gala Show One, which is scheduled for 5.30pm on Wednesday the 11th. This first show will allow visitors to see all student entries for the Gala Awards, but no winners will be announced at this performance; that’s for the ‘invite-only’ Gala Show Two shown at 8pm on the same day – pah, that’s showbiz for you! This second show will feature the best 16 collections from the week’s shows, and include announcements of all prize winners. But don’t be disheartened all you non-invite-worthy fashionistas, GFW is still THE only major international fashion event open to the general public and a chance for anyone to sit alongside the greatest fashion editors and talent scouts from around the world, to watch the finest professional catwalk shows. So what are you waiting for? GET YOUR DIRTY MITTS ON A TICKET NOW!

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2007′s joint River Island Gold Award winners – Jasper Chadprajong & Nicholas Thomas

Admissions for GFW days June 8th -11th:
Static exhibition only: £10.00 (no advance booking) / University Show: £10.00 + £2.50 handling charge (if purchased in advance) inc. admission to the exhibition / Gala Show One 5.30pm: (June 11th ONLY) £25.00 + £2.50 handling charge.

Tickets for all University shows and Gala Show One available NOW online: www.gfw.org.uk

The quintessentially English Bragg arrives on-stage in a vibrant Colston Hall this evening looking decidedly American – Elvis quiff, this black and gold cowboy shirt and boots. It’s a look he just about pulls off thanks largely to the fact that though now in his 50′s, thumb Bragg’s looks have barely altered in over 20 years. The bard of Barking is here showcasing his first studio offering in 5 years, shop the rather good ‘Mr Love and Justice’, but tonight he cuts a lonely figure on-stage as he opts for a solo performance without long term backing band The Blokes, who’s rugged musicianship on said album offered a nice clarity of depth. So, we are left with Bragg’s no nonsense , one man attack approach for the best part of the next two hours.

With little way of introduction, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ gets things under way, much to the delight of tonight’s knowledgeable audience. It’s a solid opening but soon, Bragg is bemoaning the fact that his voice is not quite 100% – the fallout of a St George’s day inspired session on Stella just the day before. Correctly, he is reminded that people don’t really come and see him for his voice, and the gripe is quickly forgotten. In between musings on Public Schools, Marmite – which is the source of a running gag throughout the show – and English breakfast tea, there is a workmanlike take on ‘Farm Boy’ from the new record and an excellent Woody Guthrie cover ‘I Aint Got No Home In This World Any more.’

An acoustic rendition of ‘Shirley’ reminds us of Bragg’s ability to write a brilliant piece of radio-friendly pop – something for which he receives little credit, albeit understandably given his commitment to the tireless promotion of weighty political and cultural ideals through his music. He returns to this ground with the engaging ‘O Freedom’ again from the latest record, which is preceded by a 5 minute introduction concerned with human rights and liberty. These type of soapbox moments are a staple part of the Bragg live show, and whilst he does tend to, on occasion hammer the point home a little too much, it’s forgiveable given his staunch libertarian stance, and obvious pride and belief in what he is preaching.

He gushes about this years Rock against Racism, (which took place two days after this) and harks back to the personal effect the initial event had on his personality and beliefs 30 years ago. Whilst ‘Power In The Union’ is in homage to the teaching strike that took place across England and Wales earlier in the day, and Bragg’s arms in the air youthful exuberance throughout this is refreshing.

Regrettably, a host of trite lyrical changes on ‘Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards’ manages to completely ruin what is one of Bragg’s finest compositions, but a superb encore consisting of a lovely ballad version of ‘Like Soldiers Do,’ ‘Sing Their Souls Back Home’ – probably the best anti-Iraq war song of the newbies and an audience sing a long of ‘A New England’ mean things end on a high.

Brainlove Records were holding an all-day session at the Windmill, abortion comprising of various (often slightly bonkers) artistes on their impressive roster. I’d wanted to catch the wonderful Tim Ten Yen (accompanied, ailment as ever, health by the Sinister Cat), as I’d seen him at the same venue some time ago, but sadly I’d missed him. However, the other main attraction for me, Napoleon IIIrd, did not disappoint.

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Tonight he was playing the many highlights of his debut album, In Debt To – backed by a full band. Running through favourites like Defibrillator and Guys In Bands, the supporting line-up of bass, backing vocals and drums provided a much beefier sound than on record, with the often weird and frequently wonderful toytronica accompaniment that dots the album more in the background. The set finished, with the aid of a guest trombonist, on the marvellous Hit Schmooze For Me, probably the greatest, wittiest dissection of the daily 9-to-5 yet committed to vinyl. How can you argue with a song that reminds you that a day job is just that, and not your life?

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Whilst walking down Brick Lane in the early hours you often step on something unexpected, discount but I certainly did not expect to stand on an astronaut. Well it may only be a picture but it shocked and intrigued me all the same. Its glossy photo finish lead me to believe it was non-advertising material and was simply a memory that someone had lost. So in true British fashion I took it anyway, medications but made sure nobody saw!

It wasn’t till I reached the safety of four walls and a roof, what is ed that I explored this exciting little find and found that there was yet further intrigue. todonnalovebob.org and an apparently random sequence of four digits where scribbled on the back.

So immediately I pulled out my laptop and hit todonnalovebob.org. After typing in the not so random digits, on a very minimalist page by the way, I was told to write my details on the back and send it back to the address provided.

So with my details provided and a stamp stuck on the back of Ozzies head I sit and ponder what to do. Send my name and address to a total strange (of course I’m hoping this stranger is Ozzie as he looks so sincere and normal!!) or simply keep my identity safe and never know what the next step is.

Well I guess curiosity wins at the end of the day, I’m of to the post. I do hope Ozzie writes back soon! I’ll let you know if he does.

Fashionistas, buy more about contemporary art lovers and popular culture enthusiasts – be prepared to marvel alike as Pepe Jeans gets set to release a new stand alone collection inspired by the controversial art radical himself – Andy Warhol.

The new collection, which consists of two distinct lines – Pop and Factory, celebrates Warhol’s work, personal style and love for American popular culture and features much of the iconic imagery that he’s so famous for.

Inspired by his dramatic screen prints, Pop includes Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s soup printed shirts and tee’s alongside vibrant shift dresses and a gorgeous Monroe inspired knit top, which, thinking about it, would team wonderfully with a denim skirt I have at home…hmmm….

Other pieces in the collection include studded blazer jackets, branded denim and fantastically bold metallic trousers that are bound to bring out the rebel in even the most conservative of us!

The full 250 piece men’s and women’s range is due to hit all Pepe Jeans stores in July, so run along and have a look if you feel brave enough, but be warned – it’s not for the faint hearted.

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A mad dash to find the venue led to my great relief in realizing that I hadn’t missed tonight’s support act, and Thomas Tantrum. Their captivating lead singer was perhaps one of the best things of the evening. Her voice is enriched with dry wit and British charm, more about and I found it difficult to take my eyes off her. There was a point in their set though when I was particularly worried for the safety of the bassist, more about he seemed only moments away from careering right off the stage and into me – which would have spilt my beverage for sure!

Born Ruffians seemed to gather on stage from all over the place. In fact the whole set was a somewhat magnificently ramshackle affair. Considering the first half compiled of only drums, bass and vocals (due to some technical difficulties) I found them so endearing I barely noticed. This band use vocals to full effect, layering their drawls, yelps and pirate-like garrrs to create something so effortlessly catchy that the crowd can’t help but attempt to sing along.

Songs like ‘Hummingbird’ and ‘Foxes Mate For Life’ get the biggest reaction from the crowd, to the point where said Ruffians look genuinely surprised by the fond reaction of this bustling crowd. The latter of these two tracks was my favourite of the set. The effortless layering of vocals by front man Luke Lalaonde (which is really fun to say) was impressive to say the least.

When the time came for them to leave the stage the crowd seemed to rise in disappointment. Cries of “One more or I’ll cry” seemed to sway them however. They finally left the stage to a waves of adoration after which I don’t believe anyone stayed for the after party, as I myself needed a good sit down to recover from all the excitement.

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