Amelia’s Magazine | Transition Towns Conference 2010: An Overview

James-Shedden_Crowd-Hands-Up
Illustration by James Shedden.

Back in mid June I attended my third Transition Towns Conference down in sunny Devon at Seal Hayne, this an impressive looking agricultural school that has been gradually sold off and now houses a special needs education college. This year’s conference was attended by a record amount of people, cialis 40mg all involved or interested in the Transition Towns concept, sildenafil which is a grassroots movement whereby local communities convene to find ways to become more resilient and self-sufficient in the face of peak oil and climate change.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

It can be hard to reconcile the need to attend important events with a desire to cut out the carbon emissions that flying entails, but some Transitioners had so I got to meet loads of interesting people from all over the world. In fact, during the breakfast queue on the very first day I got chatting to someone who is part of the movement in the US, and found that she was encountering all sorts of problems due to the fact that one *entrepeneurial* character has already patented the term Transition (insert any state here) for himself. This is what happens when a grassroots movements with no particular code of conduct becomes successful in our current world. Telling, perhaps, of our innate human nature, and our desire for ownership of a good idea. Not only that but she told me how her nascent Transition organisation has managed to secure all its funding without really putting any working relationships in place at the grassroots level, and all the problems that has entailed. Sometimes I do wonder if we will ever learn…

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Rob Hopkins hands out name tags.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Future We Want_GarethAHopkins
Future We Want by Gareth A Hopkins.

I will hold my hands up and admit that I am not actively involved in a Transition Town myself, but I’ve known founding members Rob Hopkins and Ben Brangwyn for many years now and have always felt I can serve a useful role in bringing the concept of Transition Towns to the attention of others through my writing and photographs. Why am I not involved myself? Probably a combination of factors. People tend to get involved in Transition Towns at a certain stage in their lives. Hence it is a predominantly middle aged movement, although this year I was pleased to note a positive trend towards many younger participants, glimpsed amidst the sea of greying heads.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory

And I don’t feel hugely settled in my life. I therefore don’t feel a strong affiliation to my very close locality, and there is no group in Bethnal Green that I know of, which would mean I would have to start one up myself. Which brings me to my next problem – I have a serious lack of spare time because I currently feel it’s more important to expose the root causes of our problems through direct action against the system with Climate Camp. Something which is always done in conjunction with efforts to build sustainable community. Indeed many people within Climate Camp are also actively involved with a Transition Town. By attending the Transition Towns conference I not only hope to spread ideas beyond the confines of those who can afford to make it to Devon for a weekend, but I also hope I can act as a bridge between different aspects of a much wider movement to build a better world.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory

The weekend was taken up with many different forms of workshops and interactive lectures. We scribbled lots of thoughts on paper, talked in small and in large groups about all kinds of thorny issues, went for a wild food walk, climbed to the top of a little knoll high above the college to talk about the changes in landscape, provided our own entertainment… and watched the World Cup en masse. We were extremely lucky with the weather, sitting outside for lunch and enjoying fabulous views over Newton Abbot.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
James-Shedden_Nature-Man
Wild food walk by James Shedden.

Rob Hopkins introduced us to his latest idea, which combines his original 12 steps to transition as outlined in The Transition Handbook with the concept of ‘generative grammar’ behind A Pattern Language. This was the seminal work of some progressive American architects in the 1970s, and has since become a bible of permaculturists. A few years of learning down the line the initial 12 step process seems overly simplistic and so it was intriguing to hear Rob’s new ideas alongside the opportunity to feed our own ideas into his work. I can see how this new trajectory makes sense but I hope he will take into account the layperson’s inability to digest thick books filled with lots of complicated roman numerals.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
My contribution to Rob’s new ideas.

As always some of the most important conversations were had in the gaps between – chatting to my table mates whilst eating a delicious locally sourced vegan lunch, snatching a sneaky chat with old friends in the corridor or whilst propping up the bar. Such is the way at most such events – and Transition Town conferences are always planned with lots of open space in mind.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory

2010 feels like a time of introspection for the movement. Throughout my conversations with people what struck me time and again was the importance of solid foundations and a network of successful relationships. Many Transition Towns have reached a critical point where they are struggling to hold their local group together, either because of a division in ideology, or because a committed few are getting bogged down with all the admin and are consequently too stressed to create a happy working environment for newcomers to enter – it’s a problem we are also experiencing within Climate Camp, and something which afflicts many organisations that have reached a certain stage in their lifecycle. Because people who get involved in social change tend to be passionate types they want to make change happen as quickly as possible by pushing forward with exciting new plans, often before a firm base has been built. And especially because it can be tedious to set up a solid core when all you really want to do is eat yummy local food. Food is always a main focus for Transition Towners. Admin less so. You can see why really, can’t you?

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory

For this reason meetings need to be as pleasurable an experience as possible. I attended a wonderful facilitation workshop given by Matthew Herbert of the Rhizome Collective but it was sadly under-attended, probably due to the diversity of other offerings on offer at the same time. Climate Camp holds large scale consensus meetings extraordinarily well thanks to the kind of information spread by Rhizome, and all Transitioners struggling with group dynamics should attend such workshops. This is the kind of invaluable information you really can’t learn from a book – so it’s important to learn by doing. Fortunately Rhizome are available to come and speak to local grassroots groups everywhere across the UK.

Transition Conference 2010 Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory

For me, the undoubted highlight of the whole conference was hearing from Nicole Foss – also known as Stoneleigh on her website the Automatic Earth – who lectured us in the most accessible way possible about the perilous state of our financial global economy. I am certainly no mastermind when it comes to understanding our current capitalist system, but Nicole somehow made the scariness of our disastrous potential future sound understandable and even inspiring, which was no mean feat. She was so wonderful I have decided to dedicate a whole blog to her ideas.

Stoneleigh
Nicole Foss, AKA Stoneleigh.

Transition Conference 2010 Amelia Gregory
Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory

It was telling, I thought, that at the end of Stoneleigh’s talk people asked how they could protect their own investments with little concern for those far less well off than themselves. “Are you trying to sustain the way you live or live sustainably?” asked another Transitioner. This is an increasingly important question for the Transition Towns movement, which continues to attract a predominantly white middle class demographic. How and what does Transition mean for those less able to commit their time, energy or resources? This and many other questions are currently being mulled over by individuals and groups up and down the country, something I find truly inspiring.

Natasha-Thompson-Transition-Towns-Illustration_landscape
Illustration by Natasha Thompson.

One of the best things about the Transition Towns movement is its ability to attract people who are already doing something wonderful within the field of sustainability in their local area. It is increasingly providing a sexy central hub for a growing network of dedicated individuals, and this aspect needs to be better recognised. Who isn’t already involved in growing their own food in some form of community setting when they join a Transition Town food group, for instance? Long may this wonderful movement continue to grow and energise communities everywhere. Find out how to get involved with Transition Towns by visiting their website here.

Transition Towns 2010 Conference - photo by Amelia Gregory
If we can't imagine a positive future_GarethAHopkins
If We Can’t Imagine a Postive Future by Gareth A Hopkins.

Categories ,Automatic Earth, ,Ben Brangwyn, ,Climate Camp, ,Facilitation, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,James Shedden, ,Natasha Thompson, ,Nicole Foss, ,Rhizome, ,Rob Hopkins, ,Stoneleigh, ,transition towns

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Amelia’s Magazine | Voting Reform: An interview with Amisha Ghadiali

Yes to Fairer Votes Vice-Chair Amisha Ghadiali wearing Ada Zanditon. Illustration by Sam Parr

On May 5th 2011, this the United Kingdom will be asked – in the first referendum since 1975 – to vote on the following question:

At present, price the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead?

The referendum on the Alternative Vote is the first time in our lifetimes that the citizens of the UK have been able to have a say in how we elect MP’s to the House of Commons.

Currently, viagra 100mg this historical moment to discuss voting reform – amongst a broader analysis on the current state of Britain’s democracy – is being lost amidst (speculated) Coalition tensions and fear mongering on the cost of moving from FPTP to AV. Whilst to some, AV may be “a miserable little compromise” that fails to push voting reform far enough, by voting Yes! on the 5th May we, the citizens of the UK, can register our disquiet with the current system (FPTP) and enable the discussion on voting reform to stay at the forefront of the political agenda.

To find out more about what the Alternative Vote is compared to the current system of “First Past The Post” Amelia’s Magazine interviewed one of the Yes Campaign’s Vice-Chair’s: Jewellery Designer, Ethical Fashion Campaigner and Founder of Think Act VoteAmisha Ghadiali.

Photography by Anna Gordon

What is a referendum?

A referendum is when we are asked to vote, not in an election, but on a single issue. Many of us would like to see more of these on a variety of issues. However they are not that common, the last UK-wide referendum was in 1975 asking the question “Do you think the UK should stay in the European Community (Common Market)?”

What is the Alternative Vote?

The Alternative Vote is a voting system, it means that instead of putting one X on our ballot paper, we rank our candidates in order of preference. You can rank all the candidates, or just one, it’s totally up to you. What this means is that if there are three candidates that you would be happy to represent you, you can communicate this. Or if your first choice is a smaller party, that under the current system would have little chance to getting in, you can vote for them, but also somebody from one of the main parties, without having to vote tactically.

 The person who wins the seats needs to have the majority of the vote, so what they do is count the votes. If nobody has 50% of the vote, they eliminate the candidate that comes last, and add their second preferences to the remaining candidates. This repeats until somebody has over 50% of the vote. It means that no votes are wasted.

What are the benefits to AV compared to FPTP?

The current system FPTP means that who ever gets the most votes wins. This sounds fair but what it means in reality is that 2 out of 3 MPs in our parliament have less then 50% of the vote. This means that most of us are represented by people most of us voted against.

The Alternative Vote will mean that MPs will have to be voted for by the majority in their constituency, and so will have to work harder to make sure that they are listening to all of their constituents and representing all of their views, rather then pandering to their core voter support which many of them do.

How are the ‘winners’ in FPTP Elections often opposed to by the majority of voters?

Because the candidate who gets the most votes wins, it doesn’t matter how much of the vote they got. For example some have as little as 32% of the vote in their constituency, meaning that over two thirds of their consistency didn’t vote for them.

Why are you voting Yes to AV?

I think that the Alternative Vote will make our democracy more honest, make all of our votes count, make our MPs have to work harder to gain wider support in their constituencies, make our MPs more accountable to us and make our experience of voting simpler. We will still have our one local MP, but will have more of a say on who that is.

The way that we vote is how we take part in our democracy, and so having more of a say in this part of the process is vital to making ours a fairer politics.

I believe that voting yes in this referendum is the most important vote that we have ever been asked to cast.


AV – A Historical Perspective

Why do you believe this is the most important vote we have ever been asked to cast?

I have taken part in two general elections where I know that my vote didn’t make any difference to the result. Although voting in both general and local elections is an important part of our citizenship, this is us voting on the future of our democracy. It’s the first referendum that I have ever taken part in. It’s not about party politics and politicians but about how we take part in politics and have our views represented. What could be more important than that? After all they do work for us.

What is your role within the Yes campaign?

I am a Vice-Chair of the campaign. When I thought about it over Christmas, I realised how passionately I felt about this referendum, and contacted the campaign asking if I could help. They invited me to be a Vice-Chair along with other supporters including Eddie Izzard, Martin Bell and Greg Dyke. It means that we campaign and speak out about the issues to the media and at events, and as I have discovered in the pub too!

Yes to AV illustration by Mike Harman

 What are your thoughts on how both the Yes to AV and No to AV campaigns have been run?

To be honest, I have found the whole debate in the media really depressing. The focal point often is about how it is going to affect the politicians, but this is not about them, it’s about us and our experience voting. It’s about our future, not about the present.

Of course, I am a supporter of the Yes Campaign, but feel that I would have been deeply disappointed in the No Campaign tactics even if I supported FPTP. Their campaign messages are built on actual lies, and I can’t believe that people are spending millions of pounds spreading lies, rather then on creating an honest open debate about the two systems. There has been so much ‘mud slinging’ which I find shocking, because I thought our politics was better than that.

Their three arguments are that it is expensive, it will give extremist parties (ie the BNP) more power and that it is too complicated for us to understand. None of these things are actually true. They have said it will cost £250 million which is the cost of the referendum whatever the result and the cost of counting machines that we are not getting. They have said that it will encourage the BNP, when the BNP are supporting a No vote, as they know the current system works better for them. And the idea that it is too complicated is frankly insulting. We can all count to three!

The Yes campaign has had to respond to a lot of the allegations that have been made, using time when we would have preferred to talk about relevant issues. I am really enjoying the energy of the Yes campaign, it has brought together a group of passionate, committed people from a variety of backgrounds. The local groups that have been running phone banks and doing local actions are really energetic and inspiring. 

Photography by Anna Gordon

 Why do you think the Conservatives, headed by David Cameron are campaigning against AV, though Cameron himself won the party leadership through AV?

It’s baffling isn’t it. I find it shocking that he is saying that AV is a bad system when it gave him his job. If the Conservative Party leadership deserves AV, then so should we. It is a system that is used a lot in Westminster, not just for leadership contests but also other votes such as how MPs join select committees. I think it is because this change breaks down the tribalism of the Conservatives vs Labour Party, which has served the conservative party well. I thought Cameron was more progressive, but seeing him campaign on this, my personal view is that Cameron doesn’t actually want us to have more say, he is happy with the system as it is, as it works for him.

Will AV tackle the culture of tactical voting and ‘safe seats’? Thus uprooting the current system of members of parliament being parachuted intp safe constituencies?

Yes it will. There is a website called Voter Power, where you can find out what your vote is worth with AV compared to FPTP. From their analysis AV will reduce the number of very safe seats by 60, and increase the number of very marginal seats by 44. So this will make a big difference.

Safe seats are definitely a problem in our current system, as is the fact that political parties openly target the marginal seats only. In the last election the votes of only 1.6% of the electorate in 111 of these marginal seats decided the result. This is something that we have to change.

There will be no need for tactical voting. You can vote with your real preferences, and don’t have to think about voting ‘against’ people.

Why do you think the number of people who vote at each General Election is falling? What needs to change within our political system that will encourage people to use their vote?

I think that there are many reasons why voting turnout is falling, a lack of trust in politicians, declining numbers of political party membership, the number of safe seats held by MPs, feeling that votes don’t count, as just a few. I think that people need to feel more connected to politics, and feel that their voice is really heard through voting. I think the Alternative Vote will help solve these issues. It will not solve all the ills of politics in this country, but it is a small change we can and should make for the better.

Photography by Anna Gordon

In the media there have been mutterings on both the reduction of the number of MP’s and the redrawing of constituency boundaries, what effect will this decision have on politics and what is it relation to the referendum on the alternative vote?

So it has nothing to do with the referendum. This happened earlier in the year, it was part of the same bill that the referendum was on when it went through parliament, and was not something that we had a say on. This has happened, and will take effect at the next general election. There are going to be 50 less MPs which means that some of the current boundaries will be re-drawn and made bigger. The idea is that it keeps the cost of politics down.  It has been quite controversial as they are dividing some traditional boundaries and local areas. At the same time Cameron has appointed 117 new peers in the House of Lords since last May, which is actually putting the cost of politics up despite cutting the number of MPs.

Any website or article recommendations for those interested in finding out more about the referendum?

Electoral Reform
 
Yes to Fairer Votes

Elegance Rebellion

If you get the X Factor you’ll get AV – Johann Hari

You can join the campaign on Facebook and Twitter too!

Categories ,5th May 2011, ,Amisha Ghadiali, ,Anna Gordon, ,Conservatives, ,David Cameron, ,Ed Milliband, ,FPTP, ,General Election, ,House of Commons, ,Labour, ,Liberal Democrats, ,May 5th, ,Mike Harman, ,MP, ,Nick Clegg, ,No to AV, ,Referendum, ,Sam Parr, ,Think Act Vote, ,Yes to AV, ,Yes to Fairer Votes

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Amelia’s Magazine | Wood Festival 2015 Review: A Family Friendly Musical Paradise

Wood Festival 2015-review year of the bee
This year, as ever, the weather was absolutely gorgeous for Wood Festival: plenty of sunshine and dry underfoot despite the downpours a few days previously. I managed to persuade my friend (and fellow mum) Helen of East End Prints to accompany us as I knew that Snarf would love to feral around with his lil’ mate (we went to the Buddhafield Green Earth Awakening Camp together last year, read my review here) and we arrived in time for a late lunch on Saturday, staying through to Sunday evening.

Wood Festival 2015-review kids run wild
Wood Festival 2015-review out door singing
Wood Festival 2015-review tyre swing
Wood Festival 2015-review snarf
Wood Festival 2015-review bubbles
Wood Festival 2015-review harmony workshop
Wood Festival 2015-review samba band
I know I’ve said this in previous years but Wood Festival is perfect for kids: there is a sense of freedom and safety in the field at Braziers Park that is rare to find, and we basically had a child-led festival, following where our little ones wanted to run. We ate cheesy chips, enjoyed unexpected tunes around the daytime campfire, roamed the woodland playground, ate ice cream, chased bubbles, joined a harmony singing workshop, followed the samba band (dressed as bumble bees), ate more ice cream and of course listened to some music when we could:


The Wallingford based Band of Hope shared some beautiful folk harmonies and soaring violin melodies. They have put together a podcast recorded at Wood Festival, which you can listen to here.

Wood Festival 2015-review main stage
Wood Festival 2015-review kids in woods
Wood Festival 2015-review bee girls
Wood Festival 2015 review kids workshop
Wood Festival 2015-review dining tent
Wood Festival 2015-review campfire
Wood Festival 2015-review the gang
Late on Saturday night I listened to Tunng from the comfort of our tent, having adjourned for the night at a ridiculously early hour with my child. This was the first time the band have played together in some time and they sounded great, even in my half asleep state.


Co-Pilgrim put together a typically dreamy set from the wonderful album A Fairer Sea, which lulled my over excited three year old to sleep. Expect a new album from them soon.


The ‘big bastard baritone’ vocals of Liverpool based John Joseph Brill (his words not mine) were an exciting discovery – a uniquely raspy voice married to soulful reverb that is a heavenly cross between Interpol, U2 (in the best sense) and I LIKE TRAINS. Go check him out.


I heard Spiro on the radio a few weeks ago and was most taken with their tight music making (the result of many years playing together), a deft combination of classical music, dance and folk. It was great to hear them live.

Wood Festival 2015-review band with baby
Finally, Francis Pugh & The Whisky Singers are bluegrass singers from Oxford and were a great reminder of what Wood Festival does so well: creating a family friendly atmosphere where everyone can enjoy great music in a relaxed setting. Where else would you so comfortably find a baby on stage, holding a red balloon?

We are already looking forward to next year.

All photography by Amelia Gregory, our portrait by Mim Saxl.

Categories ,2015, ,A Fairer Sea, ,Band of Hope, ,Brazier’s Park, ,Buddhafield Green Earth Awakening Camp, ,Child Friendly, ,children, ,Co-pilgrim, ,East End Prints, ,Family, ,Francis Pugh & The Whisky Singers, ,I Like Trains, ,Interpol, ,John Joseph Brill, ,Mim Saxl, ,Oxford, ,review, ,Snarf, ,Spiro, ,tunng, ,U2, ,Wood Festival, ,Year of the Bee

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Amelia’s Magazine | Transition Towns Conference 2010: The Automatic Earth Stoneleigh Lecture on the Financial Crisis.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, information pills but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood and his work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, here Andrew James Jones, order Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

Finally, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff.
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, adiposity but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

Finally, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, unhealthy but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, drug Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

On a bit of a tangent, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

Finally, I have to say that I continue to be massively surprised by the lack of online engagement from the majority of graduating illustrators. I suppose what irks me most is that I actually lectured most of these particular illustrators when I visited Camberwell during their second year, and I distinctly remember devoting a large part of my lecture to the importance of online networking. I suppose that what I take from this is that unless I actually sit down and spend significant amounts of time helping illustrators (or other artists and designers) to set up their online presence, then it simply goes straight over their heads. But then, that’s completely down to whether the art colleges will employ me to do so. I don’t think they can afford not to. Tutors, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me….
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, visit this site but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, side effects Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

On a bit of a tangent, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

Finally, I have to say that I continue to be massively surprised by the lack of online engagement from the majority of graduating illustrators. I suppose what irks me most is that I actually lectured most of these particular illustrators when I visited Camberwell during their second year, and I distinctly remember devoting a large part of my lecture to the importance of online networking – and especially the importance of being on Twitter. I’ve yet to find one of these illustrators on there.

I suppose that what I take from this is that unless I actually sit down and spend significant amounts of time helping illustrators (or other artists and designers) to set up their online presence, then it simply goes straight over their heads. But then, that’s completely down to whether the art colleges will employ me to do so. I don’t think they can afford not to. Tutors, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me….
I’ve already blogged about my absolute favourite illustrators from the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Save Our Souls, viagra approved but because there was so much good stuff to see here is a compilation of my Best of the Rest: and apologies to any absolute wonders that somehow slipped from my gaze as I hurried around the exhibition.

Andrew Thorpe
I liked Andrew Thorpe‘s strange targets and squirrels etched onto wood.

Camberwell degree show2010Andrewthorpe

Jamie Peter Hall
Jamie Peter Hall‘s Germanscape used household paint on wood. His work has an appealing real fine art feel to it.

Jamie Peter Hall

Myrto Williams
For some reason I found this work from Myrto Williams extremely unsettling. But the combination of hyperreal style and unusual subject matter certainly drew me in.

Camberwell Degree2010 Myrto Williams

Nina Malysheva
This clever collaged paperwork to illustrate The Rime of the Ancient Mariner from Nina Malysheva had great appeal.

Nina Malysheva Mariner
Nina Malysheva

Paddy Jones
Paddy Jones takes cue from comic books, price Andrew James Jones, Modern Toss and ilk to produce fun characters, often with an accompanying storyline. I liked his large wooden cutouts.

Camberwell degree show2010Paddy Jones

Emily Brown
Does some very nice woodcut animals, but other than that I can tell you no more because she barely has an online presence. In fact this image was all I could find.

EMILY-BROWN

Imogen Kirk-Reynolds
Imogen Kirk-Reynolds played around with found imagery and type.

Imogen kirk reynolds

Rochu Chiu
A nice bit of nonsensical fun from Rochu Chiu, who had stuck a load of postcards spilling out of a fake letterbox onto the floor. Illustration or installation? You decide.

Camberwell Degree2010rochuchiu

Christie Corbally
I liked some of Christie Corbally‘s very trendy crystal influenced printed textile designs, but again, no website and no way to find more of her work. Even her link on the Save Our Souls website doesn’t work.

Camberwell degree show2010ChristieCorbally

Pete Willis
I liked Pete Willis‘s strange family portrait in coloured pencils and the similar scratchy pencil style of Feronia Parker-Thomas, who was reviewed in Matt Bramford’s earlier blog.

Pete Willis

On a bit of a tangent, I was most intrigued by the work of Sprouting 56… which appears to be a collective of “co-facilitators of edible related projects” that blurs into the Transition Town Brixton and Peckham food groups and takes into account a bit of guerilla gardening… quite what it has to do with illustration or any other artistic discipline I’m not sure, and will need further investigation. But it’s great to see artists tackling these kind of projects as part of their degree work. Very exciting stuff. With apologies for the shite photograph below but it’s all I have.

Camberwell Degree sprouting 56

Finally, I have to say that I continue to be massively surprised by the lack of online engagement from the majority of graduating illustrators. I suppose what irks me most is that I actually lectured most of these particular illustrators when I visited Camberwell during their second year, and I distinctly remember devoting a large part of my lecture to the importance of online networking – and especially the importance of being on Twitter. I’ve yet to find one of these illustrators proactively on there.

I suppose that what I take from this is that unless I actually sit down and spend significant amounts of time helping illustrators (or other artists and designers) to set up their online presence, then it simply goes straight over their heads. But then, that’s completely down to whether the art colleges will employ me to do so. I don’t think they can afford not to. Tutors, if you’re reading this, you know where to find me….
Camberwell degree show2010 Miriam Elgon
Illustration by Miriam Elgon.

Because I don’t always share the same taste with the wonderful Matt Bramford, cheapest here’s a quick double blog review of the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration degree show, Save Our Souls, which I popped down to in the now defunct Nicholls and Clarke head office in Shoreditch a few weeks ago. I wrongly imagined I would be able to whip around it super fast, but as Matt has already said in his round up, there was so much to see I was soon running late for my next appointment….

Here, then, are my favourites:

Soju Tanaka
As soon as I entered the exhibition I was drawn towards the delicate artwork of Soju Tanaka, which featured lots of strange little creatures cavorting around in trees, or climbing on clouds. Her website is full of slightly blander digital artwork – she should stick to this style IMO. I hope Soju is a she…

Camberwell degree show2010SojuTanaka
Camberwell Degree2010 Soju Tanaka

Polly Philp
In a darkened room behind curtains Polly Philp showed her colour saturated film The Caretaker – a right old romp through all things currently trendy. A mystical looking gentleman with a long beard walks through a cave of stalactites. Encounters all sorts of ethnic and occult objects. Smokes a skull pipe. Finds an eyeball in his mouth. Gazes into a candlelit mirror. Eats an egg. I’ve no idea what the hell it all meant but it was so much fun I watched it three times. It’s a shame then that Polly’s presence on the web is near to zero. The website on her postcard doesn’t work, her blog is set to private (like, duh) and her flickr account tells me very little, apart from she is quite odd. As if I didn’t know that already. Maaaaan, it just makes me so cross. Get online lady! Start promoting your work. Because it’s very good!

Camberwell Degree2010 Polly Philp
Camberwell Degree2010polly philp

Colin Stewart
Former Amelia’s Magazine contributor Luke Best apparently teaches at Camberwell College and his cut and paste painted style has had a marked influence on some of his proteges – particularly Siobhan Sullivan and Colin Stewart, the latter of whom has done some wonderful work for this very website – you can see his pictures of Patch William in my blog about Glastonbury this year.

Colin Stewart

Miriam Elgon
Miriam Elgon has produced some of the most individual work I’ve seen from any recent illustrator – her scratchy overlays creating a rich narrative tapestry that calls to mind the work of impressionist painters. But she has no website. Why oh why oh why?

Camberwell degree show2010Miriam Elgon
Camberwell degree show2010Miriam Elgon

Ella Plevin
Ella Plevin was one of my very favourite Camberwell illustration degree graduates. Her gorgeous combinations of pastel colour-filled line drawing and photocopied montages look deceptively simple and work brilliantly. Plus she has a fabulous and comprehensive website up and running, as all graduates should. Go take a look…

Camberwell Degree2010 Ella Plevin
Ella Plevin Vitalism
Vitalism by Ella Plevin.

Harriet Wakeling
Harriet Wakeling showed a beautiful shell trailer attached to a bike. Some of the work in this show was really pushing the boundaries of what defines illustration and this was mos def one of them. I’m not sure this has anything to do with illustration, but I love all things bike-inspired, so can I have one please?

Camberwell degree show2010HarrietWakeling

Kai Chan
Kai Chan contributed one of her colourful intricate illustrations to the last ever print issue of Amelia’s Magazine, and it’s good to see her very distinct style has developed into something really wonderful. Here’s a detail from a long banner she had wrapped around one of the pillars.

2010Kaichan

Andy Ainger
Rounding a corner at the bottom of the stairs I encountered the work of Andy Ainger, who makes strange paper mache characters. Here The Band (a collaboration with Sean Fitzpatrick) was a collection of nearly life-size (in a munchkin vein) models in bright primary colours. A lot of fun.

Andy Ainger

Oscar Bolton Green
Despite a glaring error in the spelling of Oscar Bolton Green‘s website on the exhibition tag which meant I had to hunt him down via the Save Our Souls website despite taking thorough notes *wrings hands in despair* I loved Oscar explorations of the different types of bird beak – he’s a natural for graphic children’s book design. Lovely stuff.

Bird Beak Book oscar bolton green
Bird Beak Book oscar bolton green

Yana Elkassova
Yana Elkassova is one for all those fans of old Ladybird books – a clear inspiration on this extremely talented illustrator who mixes retro hyperealism with a dash of darkness. She also had some wonderful custom made Russian dolls on show that you can view over on Matt’s blog post. And a beautiful website to boot.

Camberwell Degree2010YanaElkassova
Detail from Yana Elkassova’s work.

Jess Stokes
The lovely Jessica Stokes was a very able editorial intern at Amelia’s Magazine who produced some wonderful articles for us, and since then she has completed her degree, the main body of which centres around the most wonderful intricate architectural line work. She also specialises in some fabulous oddball portraiture.

jess stokes
Jessica Stokes

I’ll be rounding up the best of the rest in my next blog post so stay tuned…

For the launch of Amelia Gregory’s (Editor: Amelia’s Magazine) wonderful illustration anthology in which illustrators illustrated the range of alternative energy sources. The artists were asked to illustrate the walls of Concrete Hermit. Two of the participants Liv and Jess have subsequently formed an interesting project called Pencil Chit Chat in which their conversations happen entirely through their drawings. Culminating in an exhibition soon to occur at the Front Room in Cambridge. Liv and Jess will each have a side of the room in which to draw their conversations live. Part of the remit of the project is that in real life Liv and Jess have barely met and the illustrations arrive in the post.

Liv:It was at the drawing on the walls day at Concrete Hermit back in December. But I don’t think we even had an extensive chat at all. We were getting into the scribble zones. I was really impressed with Jess’ wall. It looked so bold and vibrant.

Jess: I remember Liv commented on my good use of type and I watched her slowly throughout the day and thought “wow”

How did you become to be involved in Amelia’s Anthology?

Jess: I’d already done some stuff for Amelia and thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get involved in.

Liv: My local toon is intrinsically involved in environmental policies and it has positively rubbed onto me. I feel strongly about 4×4 vehicles. I have a pencil. I can draw stink lines.

Explain Pencil Chit Chat please…

Jess: I had the idea for a while and was just waiting for the right person to come along. I thought Liv’s type was different enough in style to mine but still had hand rendered qualities which helps fuse the project together.

Liv: It was Jess’ idea. I was bowled over and really excited by her email asking me to take part and be the other shoe to walk along a meandering little journey into scribbledom.

Where do you see Pencil Chit Chat developing?

Liv: Into print and to keep going. The whole idea of the Chit Chat is personal work but not self-indulgent. Maybe other illustrators could do the same. It’s like the Slow food movement, doctor pigeon post, back to the old writing desk days of yore.

Jess: Really I see it as a creative outlet where I can experiment and discover. I get many projects where people want a illustration which looks like a previous one. This is a chance for me to explore new techniques and avenues. Where do I see Pencil Chit Chat developing…….where it wants to really. Possibly I’d like a better website, but it have to be idiot proof for me and liv! Me and Liv where thinking we’d published the first years illustrations in a book by Christmas.

What are your plans?

Liv: Make a wee book, possibly in time for Crimbletime. Make up more words and infiltrate them into society. I’d like to see it passed onto others designers. Illustrators possibly sometimes feel like doodle hermits cooped up in their sheds or ships.

How did you become involved in front room?

Liv: This was also through Jess. As you can tell she is the brainchild of the operation- an extremely prolific and hardworking dude she is.

Jess: I came across there website whilst browsing on the internet. I got in touch! Originally I was going to do a solo exhibition. But I thought it be funnier and better with Liv.

How will the exhibition unfold? Will you take over the gallery walls again as at Concrete Hermit?

Jess: Pretty much! There going to be two different conversations unfolding, so we are both working all the time. “busy bees”

Liv: We will have two starting points i.e. two conversations will be underway, and we will swap over when one has finished their reply. It will be different I’m sure.

What is it that interests you about type, particularly hand rendered typography?

Liv: It’s really cathartic to draw letters and take your time over something that people do everyday, scribbling a note on a napkin or by the side of a crossword. It’s pure communication and you can be witty or stupid. I like like illustrations that educate you too. I was alwys pouring over my encyclopaedia when I wes a younger.

Jess I like the expression and extra meaning you can give to a word when its hand rendered type. I have always done it really it’s just natural.

What is your relationship between text and the illustration or is there no separation between the two?

Liv: Definitely the educational slant and informing an audience directly. I’d be more than happy to make versions in different languages, as that is a downside to hand rendered type if one doesn’t understand English. Maybe I should go and research in Japan..
I feel letterforms make my work look better! It’s an extra graphic detail, but it also has substance.

Jess: I see it as all part of my work. Sometimes the type can give extra meaning to the illustration

How did you develop as an illustrator?

Jess: I always really enjoyed drawing and being creative and it just seemed a natural progression for me. I like working to a brief also which is something illustrators seem to do often.

Liv: I decided it was the path for me when I realized it was in between fine art and graphic design. I didn’t want to be either of those. Illustration is for the people (as is Comic Sans- that’s a font for the people, but that’s another story) as it bridges gaps between understanding and informing one of a text or an idea, rather than alienating and putting something on a pedestal.

Favourite Illustrators?

Jess: Recently Cristina Guitian is doing brilliant stuff, and Adam Hayes. I really like the big shows that Le Gun put on. I saw there one at Pick Me Up I thought it was ace.

Liv: Old cookery books- the kitsch photography is joyous. Ren and Stimpy and other fifties-esque cartoons. Dirty edges and bits you get out of photocopiers, collaging Victorian style, Blists Hill museum, music pumping into my earlugs- plenty of textures and bleeps, Books books and more books. The music video ‘The Tain’.

In your interview in the Anthology your (Jess) use of Lightbox is mentioned, what and how does this work?

Liv: I hope this isn’t some new software everyone is in on. It’s a tracing cube with a switch and electricity, powered by a lemon battery used on the old spice ships to help sailors navigate in the lower decks. I think the Lumiere brothers invented it.

Jess: It’s a errrrrrrrr..(this is hard). Right!

It’s a box which you can draw on to copy the images underneath. So I draw all my roughs first, to get the alignments and proportions and then trace the images in color.

What were your thoughts about your respective technologies?

Jess: Why isn’t being used!

Liv: The sea serpent, The Anaconda- what a beast. It stays tethered to the seabed and gathers the power of the waves in its rubber body. A fantastical piece of engineering I want to see in our high seas.

For the launch of Amelia Gregory’s (Editor: Amelia’s Magazine) wonderful illustration anthology in which illustrators illustrated the range of alternative energy sources. The artists were asked to illustrate the walls of Concrete Hermit. Two of the participants Liv and Jess have subsequently formed an interesting project called Pencil Chit Chat in which their conversations happen entirely through their drawings. Culminating in an exhibition soon to occur at the Front Room in Cambridge. Liv and Jess will each have a side of the room in which to draw their conversations live. Part of the remit of the project is that in real life Liv and Jess have barely met and the illustrations arrive in the post.

Liv:It was at the drawing on the walls day at Concrete Hermit back in December. But I don’t think we even had an extensive chat at all. We were getting into the scribble zones. I was really impressed with Jess’ wall. It looked so bold and vibrant.

Jess: I remember Liv commented on my good use of type and I watched her slowly throughout the day and thought “wow”

How did you become to be involved in Amelia’s Anthology?

Jess: I’d already done some stuff for Amelia and thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get involved in.

Liv: My local toon is intrinsically involved in environmental policies and it has positively rubbed onto me. I feel strongly about 4×4 vehicles. I have a pencil. I can draw stink lines.

Explain Pencil Chit Chat please…

Jess: I had the idea for a while and was just waiting for the right person to come along. I thought Liv’s type was different enough in style to mine but still had hand rendered qualities which helps fuse the project together.

Liv: It was Jess’ idea. I was bowled over and really excited by her email asking me to take part and be the other shoe to walk along a meandering little journey into scribbledom.

Where do you see Pencil Chit Chat developing?

Liv: Into print and to keep going. The whole idea of the Chit Chat is personal work but not self-indulgent. Maybe other illustrators could do the same. It’s like the Slow food movement, illness pigeon post, back to the old writing desk days of yore.

Jess: Really I see it as a creative outlet where I can experiment and discover. I get many projects where people want a illustration which looks like a previous one. This is a chance for me to explore new techniques and avenues. Where do I see Pencil Chit Chat developing…….where it wants to really. Possibly I’d like a better website, but it have to be idiot proof for me and liv! Me and Liv where thinking we’d published the first years illustrations in a book by Christmas.

What are your plans?

Liv: Make a wee book, possibly in time for Crimbletime. Make up more words and infiltrate them into society. I’d like to see it passed onto others designers. Illustrators possibly sometimes feel like doodle hermits cooped up in their sheds or ships.

How did you become involved in front room?

Liv: This was also through Jess. As you can tell she is the brainchild of the operation- an extremely prolific and hardworking dude she is.

Jess: I came across there website whilst browsing on the internet. I got in touch! Originally I was going to do a solo exhibition. But I thought it be funnier and better with Liv.

How will the exhibition unfold? Will you take over the gallery walls again as at Concrete Hermit?

Jess: Pretty much! There going to be two different conversations unfolding, so we are both working all the time. “busy bees”

Liv: We will have two starting points i.e. two conversations will be underway, and we will swap over when one has finished their reply. It will be different I’m sure.

What is it that interests you about type, particularly hand rendered typography?

Liv: It’s really cathartic to draw letters and take your time over something that people do everyday, scribbling a note on a napkin or by the side of a crossword. It’s pure communication and you can be witty or stupid. I like like illustrations that educate you too. I was alwys pouring over my encyclopaedia when I wes a younger.

Jess I like the expression and extra meaning you can give to a word when its hand rendered type. I have always done it really it’s just natural.

What is your relationship between text and the illustration or is there no separation between the two?

Liv: Definitely the educational slant and informing an audience directly. I’d be more than happy to make versions in different languages, as that is a downside to hand rendered type if one doesn’t understand English. Maybe I should go and research in Japan..
I feel letterforms make my work look better! It’s an extra graphic detail, but it also has substance.

Jess: I see it as all part of my work. Sometimes the type can give extra meaning to the illustration

How did you develop as an illustrator?

Jess: I always really enjoyed drawing and being creative and it just seemed a natural progression for me. I like working to a brief also which is something illustrators seem to do often.

Liv: I decided it was the path for me when I realized it was in between fine art and graphic design. I didn’t want to be either of those. Illustration is for the people (as is Comic Sans- that’s a font for the people, but that’s another story) as it bridges gaps between understanding and informing one of a text or an idea, rather than alienating and putting something on a pedestal.

Why is comic sans the font for the people?

Liv: Aha! This made me chuckle a lot! I’m an inverted snob I suppose and it’s a symbol of anti style and there’s a font snobbery surrounding it. Plus teachers have to use it on school reports- it’s compulsory apparently. To me, it’s comforting and reassuring and I quite like it- as is the same for group of my fellow Falmouth uni illo pals. We are Comic Sans Fans. See The G2 a few weeks back – awesome article about it (I think this is just an edited version)-

My sister’s a graphic designer so I like to mock her too.

Favourite Illustrators?

Jess: Recently Cristina Guitian is doing brilliant stuff, and Adam Hayes. I really like the big shows that Le Gun put on. I saw there one at Pick Me Up I thought it was ace.

Liv: Old cookery books- the kitsch photography is joyous. Ren and Stimpy and other fifties-esque cartoons. Dirty edges and bits you get out of photocopiers, collaging Victorian style, Blists Hill museum, music pumping into my earlugs- plenty of textures and bleeps, Books books and more books. The music video ‘The Tain’.

In your interview in the Anthology your (Jess) use of Lightbox is mentioned, what and how does this work?

Liv: I hope this isn’t some new software everyone is in on. It’s a tracing cube with a switch and electricity, powered by a lemon battery used on the old spice ships to help sailors navigate in the lower decks. I think the Lumiere brothers invented it.

Jess: It’s a errrrrrrrr..(this is hard). Right!

It’s a box which you can draw on to copy the images underneath. So I draw all my roughs first, to get the alignments and proportions and then trace the images in color.

What were your thoughts about your respective technologies?

Jess: Why isn’t being used!

Liv: The sea serpent, The Anaconda- what a beast. It stays tethered to the seabed and gathers the power of the waves in its rubber body. A fantastical piece of engineering I want to see in our high seas.

Do you send Pencil Chit Chat by post or by email and if by post – how was this decision made?

Liv: We do it by email, but it would be nice to carry on part of it by post- that’s actually a really good idea! I really believe in the slow food movement as a holistic view how we should do everything in life. Whether it be setting up businesses, in the music industry (back to the d.i.y), growing food, how we travel about too. In reference to this, I really enjoyed Will Self’s radio 4 programme a few months back about Psycho-Geography. It inspired me to write/draw a bit of the pencil chit chat on it, as it explains this is a way to travel about and take in more as we walk and ponder about. Being cooped up in a metal tube hurtling about the skies to the t’other side of the planet in 5 minutes isn’t exactly au naturelle.

How do your conversations start? Do you pick a word or a phrase at random and are there any rules with how you each have to respond to the previous illustration?

Liv: It all started with a ‘hello’ and we got to know one one another from there. Talking gibber jabber and making sense along the way.

How will you start the conversation during the exhibition? You will each have your walls – will you have the same starting point, or will one draw and one will respond? Or will it be incredibly organic and you decide on the same starting point and keep drawing until you meet in the middle?

Liv: I think it will good to bring in talking points like newspapers and books to add some weight to it, I want to steer it away from being anything like a self-indulgent display. This is because I think the idea of chit chat could be used by other designers, swapping ideas. That postage idea is a great one.

We will have a structure with two conversations/two starting points and we will swap over with a reply.

For the launch of Amelia Gregory’s (Editor: Amelia’s Magazine) wonderful illustration anthology in which illustrators illustrated the range of alternative energy sources. The artists were asked to illustrate the walls of Concrete Hermit. Two of the participants Liv and Jess have subsequently formed an interesting project called Pencil Chit Chat in which their conversations happen entirely through their drawings. Culminating in an exhibition soon to occur at the Front Room in Cambridge. Liv and Jess will each have a side of the room in which to draw their conversations live. Part of the remit of the project is that in real life Liv and Jess have barely met and the illustrations arrive in the post.

Liv:It was at the drawing on the walls day at Concrete Hermit back in December. But I don’t think we even had an extensive chat at all. We were getting into the scribble zones. I was really impressed with Jess’ wall. It looked so bold and vibrant.

Jess: I remember Liv commented on my good use of type and I watched her slowly throughout the day and thought “wow”

How did you become to be involved in Amelia’s Anthology?

Jess: I’d already done some stuff for Amelia and thought it was a fantastic opportunity to get involved in.

Liv: My local toon is intrinsically involved in environmental policies and it has positively rubbed onto me. I feel strongly about 4×4 vehicles. I have a pencil. I can draw stink lines.

Explain Pencil Chit Chat please…

Jess: I had the idea for a while and was just waiting for the right person to come along. I thought Liv’s type was different enough in style to mine but still had hand rendered qualities which helps fuse the project together.

Liv: It was Jess’ idea. I was bowled over and really excited by her email asking me to take part and be the other shoe to walk along a meandering little journey into scribbledom.

Where do you see Pencil Chit Chat developing?

Liv: Into print and to keep going. The whole idea of the Chit Chat is personal work but not self-indulgent. Maybe other illustrators could do the same. It’s like the Slow food movement, health pigeon post, visit this back to the old writing desk days of yore.

Jess: Really I see it as a creative outlet where I can experiment and discover. I get many projects where people want a illustration which looks like a previous one. This is a chance for me to explore new techniques and avenues. Where do I see Pencil Chit Chat developing…….where it wants to really. Possibly I’d like a better website, sale but it have to be idiot proof for me and liv! Me and Liv where thinking we’d published the first years illustrations in a book by Christmas.

What are your plans?

Liv: Make a wee book, possibly in time for Crimbletime. Make up more words and infiltrate them into society. I’d like to see it passed onto others designers. Illustrators possibly sometimes feel like doodle hermits cooped up in their sheds or ships.

How did you become involved in front room?

Liv: This was also through Jess. As you can tell she is the brainchild of the operation- an extremely prolific and hardworking dude she is.

Jess: I came across there website whilst browsing on the internet. I got in touch! Originally I was going to do a solo exhibition. But I thought it be funnier and better with Liv.

How will the exhibition unfold? Will you take over the gallery walls again as at Concrete Hermit?

Jess: Pretty much! There going to be two different conversations unfolding, so we are both working all the time. “busy bees”

Liv: We will have two starting points i.e. two conversations will be underway, and we will swap over when one has finished their reply. It will be different I’m sure.

What is it that interests you about type, particularly hand rendered typography?

Liv: It’s really cathartic to draw letters and take your time over something that people do everyday, scribbling a note on a napkin or by the side of a crossword. It’s pure communication and you can be witty or stupid. I like like illustrations that educate you too. I was alwys pouring over my encyclopaedia when I wes a younger.

Jess I like the expression and extra meaning you can give to a word when its hand rendered type. I have always done it really it’s just natural.

What is your relationship between text and the illustration or is there no separation between the two?

Liv: Definitely the educational slant and informing an audience directly. I’d be more than happy to make versions in different languages, as that is a downside to hand rendered type if one doesn’t understand English. Maybe I should go and research in Japan..
I feel letterforms make my work look better! It’s an extra graphic detail, but it also has substance.

Jess: I see it as all part of my work. Sometimes the type can give extra meaning to the illustration

How did you develop as an illustrator?

Jess: I always really enjoyed drawing and being creative and it just seemed a natural progression for me. I like working to a brief also which is something illustrators seem to do often.

Liv: I decided it was the path for me when I realized it was in between fine art and graphic design. I didn’t want to be either of those. Illustration is for the people (as is Comic Sans- that’s a font for the people, but that’s another story) as it bridges gaps between understanding and informing one of a text or an idea, rather than alienating and putting something on a pedestal.

Why is comic sans the font for the people?

Liv: Aha! This made me chuckle a lot! I’m an inverted snob I suppose and it’s a symbol of anti style and there’s a font snobbery surrounding it. Plus teachers have to use it on school reports- it’s compulsory apparently. To me, it’s comforting and reassuring and I quite like it- as is the same for group of my fellow Falmouth uni illo pals. We are Comic Sans Fans. See The G2 a few weeks back – awesome article about it (I think this is just an edited version)

My sister’s a graphic designer so I like to mock her too.

Favourite Illustrators?

Jess: Recently Cristina Guitian is doing brilliant stuff, and Adam Hayes. I really like the big shows that Le Gun put on. I saw there one at Pick Me Up I thought it was ace.

Liv: Old cookery books- the kitsch photography is joyous. Ren and Stimpy and other fifties-esque cartoons. Dirty edges and bits you get out of photocopiers, collaging Victorian style, Blists Hill museum, music pumping into my earlugs- plenty of textures and bleeps, Books books and more books. The music video ‘The Tain’.

In your interview in the Anthology your (Jess) use of Lightbox is mentioned, what and how does this work?

Liv: I hope this isn’t some new software everyone is in on. It’s a tracing cube with a switch and electricity, powered by a lemon battery used on the old spice ships to help sailors navigate in the lower decks. I think the Lumiere brothers invented it.

Jess: It’s a errrrrrrrr..(this is hard). Right!

It’s a box which you can draw on to copy the images underneath. So I draw all my roughs first, to get the alignments and proportions and then trace the images in color.

What were your thoughts about your respective technologies?

Jess: Why isn’t being used!

Liv: The sea serpent, The Anaconda- what a beast. It stays tethered to the seabed and gathers the power of the waves in its rubber body. A fantastical piece of engineering I want to see in our high seas.

Do you send Pencil Chit Chat by post or by email and if by post – how was this decision made?

Liv: We do it by email, but it would be nice to carry on part of it by post- that’s actually a really good idea! I really believe in the slow food movement as a holistic view how we should do everything in life. Whether it be setting up businesses, in the music industry (back to the d.i.y), growing food, how we travel about too. In reference to this, I really enjoyed Will Self’s radio 4 programme a few months back about Psycho-Geography. It inspired me to write/draw a bit of the pencil chit chat on it, as it explains this is a way to travel about and take in more as we walk and ponder about. Being cooped up in a metal tube hurtling about the skies to the t’other side of the planet in 5 minutes isn’t exactly au naturelle.

How do your conversations start? Do you pick a word or a phrase at random and are there any rules with how you each have to respond to the previous illustration?

Liv: It all started with a ‘hello’ and we got to know one one another from there. Talking gibber jabber and making sense along the way.

How will you start the conversation during the exhibition? You will each have your walls – will you have the same starting point, or will one draw and one will respond? Or will it be incredibly organic and you decide on the same starting point and keep drawing until you meet in the middle?

Liv: I think it will good to bring in talking points like newspapers and books to add some weight to it, I want to steer it away from being anything like a self-indulgent display. This is because I think the idea of chit chat could be used by other designers, swapping ideas. That postage idea is a great one.

We will have a structure with two conversations/two starting points and we will swap over with a reply.

Hire me by Joana Faria
Hire Me by Joana Faria.

Nicole Foss is a finance writer and energy analyst known as Stoneleigh when she blogs on The Automatic Earth website – a fact which confused me thoroughly for some time after hearing her fantastically absorbing talk at the Transition Towns conference back in June 2010.

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Nicole Foss of The Automatic Earth.

We all know we’re stuck in a bit of a financial trough, viagra order but hey, search we’re bound to bounce out the other side soon and things will all be hunky-dory again. Right? Wrong. The climate crisis and attendant social crisis notwithstanding, according to Nicole Foss we’re still heading for the biggest financial crash we’ve ever known.

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Nicole Foss by Sayaka Monji.

This mess – the result of our insatiable capitalist global system – ain’t going nowhere. To make matters worse, declines in the economy are normally sharper than inclines, so get ready for a steep ride down and a big bump when we hit the bottom. Nicole is so determined to forewarn ‘ordinary’ people of the imminent perils we face that she’s left her native Canada to travel the world on a punishing lecture schedule. This way maybe the bankers won’t be able to lay their grubby mitts on all that remains of our money. Which would be a good thing, right?

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The Money Rollercoaster by Kayleigh Bluck.

Here then, is a distillation of the lecture that she gave at the Transition Towns conference in mid June 2010. Nicole also has a website called the Automatic Earth where you can find out more about her research, but if you’re like me you may well find it a little hard to understand. For this reason I hope I’ve managed to distill her key messages into something a little more comprehensible to the masses – read on, and be chilled to the marrow.

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The Psychology of Valuation by Abigail Daker.

Nicole has a theory, backed up by rigorous research: that right now we’re in serious denial about the situation of the financial markets and according to an investment graph called the psychology of valuation we’re merely riding a momentary upward blip which describes every mania the markets have ever seen, including the famous tulip mania of the 1600s and the South Sea Bubble. And we always end up worse off than where we started.

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Market Manias by Abigail Daker.

She dates the current bubble back to 1982, just as the banking regulations that had been put in place during the 1930s were beginning to be dropped. Sadly it seems we have forgotten the lessons of the depression just in time for everything to go wrong again, so her estimation sees us returning to the house prices of the 1970s when the bubble finally bursts. We’ve just had the most ginormous party, so imagine the hangover that’s coming: the next depression is staring us in the face and yet we carry on with business as usual. Sounds horrendous? Is this merely scaremongering or worth investigating further?

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The party is nearly over, by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Maybe a rudimentary analysis of the financial system would come in handy at this point. Here goes: as credit expands to accommodate the demands of a failing economy (a process still occurring now) there will eventually be an excess of credit. Witness the huge derivatives market that sits at the top of this pyramid. Looks stable eh? You’ve probably heard of the great beast known as quantitive easing, or the 62 trillion dollar debt monetization market, both of which hand excess cash to those at the centre of the finance industry – hence bailouts are always for insiders, ie the bankers. Yes, our world economy currently relies entirely on the inside trading of debts, not real products or services. So, if that implodes we’re utterly fucked.

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The Derivatives Pyramid by Abigail Daker.

As cash gets harder to come by people will start to hoard, resisting the temptation to spend in the economy. If there is no motion of money then the value of cash will start to rise. This effect can be likened to trying to run a car without any oil. The light is on to warn us that there is not enough lubricant, and indeed, if we carry on this way the entire economy will start to seize up. The relative costs of goods and services will go up as wages fall faster than prices, and this will be exasperated by increasingly rare and costly resources – think of our beloved gadgets that contain so many rare trace elements. As well as peak oil we’re heading for peak pretty much everything. Then credit will disappear. And of course those at the bottom of the pile will experience the worst of it when their credit card debts get sold to Vinny the Kneecapper. Who will try his hardest to get some of that debt repaid in anyway he can.

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Vinny the Kneecapper by Abigail Nottingham.

This is what happened during the recession of the 1930s – buyers and sellers couldn’t be connected, and even though there were lots of things that could be bought the lack of money meant they went to waste. And when there is a demand collapse (due to a lack of available cash to spend) a supply collapse will follow, followed by civil unrest. In fact Nicole predicts a likely insurrection in places such as Saudi Arabia. To make matters worse, during times of shortage any available supplies get grabbed by the military. Of course.

At the moment we are in an “extend and pretend phase” that merely continues the fiction we have been living for many decades. Money continues to chase its own tail in the City of London (witness record profits from the banks, announced this week) but Britain is still headed for much bigger trouble.

Worlds highest standard of living by Jenny Costello
World’s Highest Standard of Living by Jenny Costello.

Pension funds are famously feeling the effects of a failing economy because they’ve been chasing risk and that makes them extremely vulnerable, but all kinds of financial investment have always been predicated on making money out of someone else’s misery and misfortune – for example when water becomes scarce we are encouraged to buy shares in water companies, thereby making money out of the desperate.

The agribusiness model will fail because the Just In Time model of production (much trumpeted as the best, most efficient method when I was at school in the 1980s, quelle surprise) is brittle and liable to fall apart at the first lack of resources. Many other product services have adopted this model and will likely suffer a similar fate.

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Illustration by Octavi Navarro.

The price of real estate could fall by up to 90% which means that we will be stuck with property in a recession in the desperate hope that its value will increase. For this reason Nicole recommends that renting is now a better bet because it offers more mobility than owning a property. What’s more, it’s likely that we will need centralised power for rationing. Urban areas, despite being more dependent on services, are more likely to survive in times of crisis due to their closer communities.

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What if you lose your home? by Natasha Thompson.

Chillingly Nicole predicts that the credit markets will fall in the next six months (remember that this lecture was a month and a half ago), and she predicts that the real economy will fall within about a year. Then the positive feedback will escalate fast. In September 2008 we came within 6 hours of complete seizure of the whole banking system… and Nicole accurately gave 6 months notice of the Icelandic Crash on her website – so she must be doing the sums right somewhere.

What then, to do with your money (presuming you have any?) Put it in precious metals? There’s a reason why humans have always valued gold – it holds its value for over 1000 years. Unbelievably Gaza has become a gold exporter in recent times, not because of the famous gold mines of Gaza, but because the people have become so desperate that they have sold their dowries. But even precious metal ownership may be banned as a failsafe route to retain the worth of your cash – it was banned in the depression. And anyway, what good is gold when there is no food to eat?

The Need for Gold by Olivia Haigh
The Need for Gold by Olivia Haigh.

Not all green companies will turn out to be good places to invest, simply because no one can make 20 year guarantees at this time when there is so much upheaval ahead. Nicole suggests keeping money in government gilts as the next best option to keeping hard cash literally under the mattress. Simply because the government is likely to stand longer than the banks and it would be wise not to leave our hard earned cash to the whims of the markets. Although she warns against a mistaken perception of safety in the dollar because there is always the risk that the currency could be reissued in the US, thereby targeting foreigners who could not convert their cash quickly enough. Transition Towns have been launching their own community currencies – could this be the answer? Unfortunately local currencies may become redundant if authorities realise they want a cut. Risk will be everywhere, so we desperately need to move towards no growth economic models that rely on real skills and hard cash currencies.

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Illustration by Mina Bach.

Worst of all, social cracks are revealed in times of contraction because liberty tends to be the first casualty. Benjamin Franklin famously said that he who trades liberty for security shall enjoy neither, but frightened people will do these things. Multi culturalism is likely to be the first culprit – witness the rise of fascism across the West. Social unrest of the type we have seen recently in Greece will continue to happen as the centre pushes out to the periphery, creating horrible political divisions. But we have all been inveigled into this situation together – after all there would be no predator without a prey. We are all responsible for this crisis – like Hansel and Gretel, we’ve been tempted into the trap awaiting us by our insatiable desire to consume.

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Illustration by Dee Andrews.

But not all is lost. Whilst there was a palpable air of unrest in her Transition Town audience Nicole remained resolutely upbeat – for she thinks (and I tend to agree) that we are living through exciting times of change. We cannot sustain our current pathological capitalist world economy so now is the perfect time to prove a more positive model of living and the folks involved in Transition Towns and all the other sustainable initiatives around the world are perfectly placed to showcase these new ideas.

Automatic-Earth-by-Yelena-Bryksenkova
Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Human relationships are the most important thing we have so we must work hard to build strong and resilient networks abundant with useful skills. We need to become more self-sufficient: looking after our own health and producing far more goods locally because there will be much less global trade. The final rub? Nicole predicts that we can expect to see the worst outcomes of the crash in just 2-5 years. No lie. So we need to show how sustainable systems can work with a slightly panicked sense of urgency.

Great Depression by Joana Faria
Great Depression by Joana Faria.

Of course this is all prediction, and I personally question how much of Nicole’s prophesies will come to pass. Will house prices really revert to those of the 1970s? Maybe it won’t be quite that bad. I hope not. What I don’t question in any way is the need for a massive change in our parasitical global financial systems. The huge risks to our current way of life are definitely there. And where better place to start making changes than at home, in the way we lead our own lives. Transition Towns offers one of the best possible ways to build a resilient and happy local communities and we should all be doing our best to make that happen.

Ready. Set. Go!

Dee-Andrews-Automatic-Earth
Illustration by Dee Andrews.

There’s a whole host of further information about this subject matter on the web and here is some of the best.

A tribute to The Automatic Earth, with voiceover snippets from the lecture I attended. Inspiration for many of the illustrators on this blog and essential viewing if you’ve got this far:

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A video of Rob Hopkins and Peter Lipman discussing their response to Stoneleigh’s Transition Conference Lecture shortly afterwards:

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Another very comprehensive overview of the lecture courtesy of Shaun Chamberlin.

Mike Grenville discusses his thoughts on the lecture on this podcast.

In the meantime business continues as usual for the bankers, who have been celebrating record profits in the city once more this week as they continue to fund gross climate injustices such as tar sands and expansion of open cast coal extraction across the UK with our money – even as the financial and climate crises loom ever more prominently. In a few weeks I will be joining Climate Camp to help close down the epicentre of banking misbehaviour at the global headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Scotland. Come and help us say no to austerity cuts which help to finance bank bailouts that jeopardise our future in pursuit of profit for the few.

Let’s connect the dots and make a better future together.

If Climate Camp made Avatar: the reason why we’re tackling RBS in Edinburgh between 21st-24th August 2010. Facebook event here.

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This is where we’re going to set up a sustainable camp where we can show the world a better way to live whilst drawing highlight to the root of our problems: we’re going to shut down the global headquarters of RBS on the day of action: August 23rd. Inspiring, no?

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Categories ,Abigail Daker, ,Abigail Nottingham, ,Avatar, ,Climate Camp, ,Dee Andrews, ,edinburgh, ,Jenny Costello, ,Joana Faria, ,Kayleigh Bluck, ,Mina Bach., ,Natasha Thompson, ,Nicole Foss, ,Octavi Navarro, ,Olivia Haigh, ,RBS, ,Rob Hopkins, ,Royal Bank of Scotland, ,Sayaka Monji, ,Stoneleigh, ,The Automatic Earth, ,transition towns, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | Wake Up Freak Out then Get a Grip

Pop-Up Shop

14 Bacon Street, erectile E1 6LF, page 11th-18th December

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The pop-up shop does what it says on the tin, buy appears in a different location for a limited time, so you have to be quick to get in and see what’s inside. But make the effort as you can find a plethora of goodies from new designers and artists, hand picked from exotic locations all around the world. The store also supports the East End charity Kids Company, so you’ll be doing your bit to help as you shop.


Brick Lane Late Night Shopping

Thursday 11th December

Enjoy an evening of late-night shopping on London’s trendiest street, as well as rumageing through all that vintage, there will be refreshments on hand and special Christmas gifts available only on this night.

The Bizarre Bazaar

Sunday 21st December

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Monday 8th December
Joan as Policewoman, Thekla, capsule Bristol
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Ex-Antony and the Johnsons collaborator touring in support of her new album. Expect mesmerising vocals and heart-rending tunes.

Boss Hog, Luminaire, London
Jon Spencer (as in Blues Explosion) and his wife Cristina Martinez front this long-standing blues-rock outfit.

Tuesday 9th December

Kong, Buffalo Bar, London
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Art-noise, cool as Manchester band, heavy on the guitars.

The Miserable Rich, Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
Folky, orchestrated Brighton group, with links to Lightspeed Champion.

Sixtoes, Big Chill House, London
Cinematic, spooky blues-folk with a melancholy Eastern European edge.

Wednesday 10th December

Little Death, Club Fandango @ 229, London
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Cool, cosmopolitan London band playing psychadelic tinged noise-pop.

Land of Talk, Water Rats, London
Canadian indie-rock.

Thursday 11th December

Good Books, Proud Galleries, London
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Danceable indie-electro.

Mike Bones, Old Blue Last, London
One man and his guitar.

Friday 12th December

Rose Elinor Dougall, Barfly, Cardiff
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Pretty girl music from this ex-Pipette. Still very pop but less of the sixties girl group rip-offs.

Free Fridays: Brute Chorus, La Shark, Josh Weller, 93 Feet East, London
Bonkers hair (Josh Weller) and outfits (La Shark) will abound at this FREE night featuring up-and-coming bands including Brute Chorus who will presumably play new single ‘She Was Always Cool’.

Saturday 13th December

Herman Dune, The Deaf Institute, Manchester
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Perennial Parisian folksters on tour to promote new album ‘Next Year in Zion’.

Glissando, Holy Trinity Church, Leeds
Dreamy and ethereal. Should be lovely in a church.

Sunday 14th December

King Khan and The Shrines, Hoxton Bar and Grill, London
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Wild soul stage show.

Stereolab, Black Box, Belfast
Long-standing lounge/electronic post-rock with female French singer.

Getting up at 6am on a cold Saturday morning may be unthinkable to some -but for myself and fellow fashion enthusiasts, information pills the Angels Vintage and Costume clothing sale was more than enough motivation for the long, look early trek over to Wembley….or so we thought. The queue turned out to be VERY long… a 3 to 4 hour wait we were told. Despite our earlier determination, it was too long for us and we gracefully admitted defeat, leaving behind a growing queue of seriously hardcore shoppers.

One of those hardcore shoppers was ameliasmagazine.com’s very own Music Editor, Prudence Ivey, here’s her take on it, “Leaving the house at 6.30am, we were in the queue by about 7.15am and, although in the first 500, we were nowhere near the front. Some people – vintage shop buyers – had been there since Friday afternoon. There was a really friendly atmosphere, you could tell these people were true vintage fiends, as there was not a scruffbag in sight, it was all red lipstick and glamourous outfits despite the ungodly hour.

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When we were allowed in, after just over an hour of wating, there was virtual silence and heads down as people rifled through the cardboard boxes packed with clothes on the floor. A cloud of dust filled the room after about 10 minutes, most of the clothes were in a bit of a state and everything I ended up with turned the water black when I put it in to hand-wash, not to mention my black snot… A quick sort through, try on and swapping session with my friend, along with some excellent packing meant that I left with 18 items of pretty decent, some of them really excellent, vintage finds for a measly £20. One of my favourite shopping trips EVER.” (above and below is Prudence modeling her two of her wonderful buys)

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So now I wish I had stayed in the queue – but my day was not wasted, I found a far more inviting alternative, which boasted the benefits of being a. inside and b. no queue! It was the first London edition of New York magazine BUST‘s Christmas Craftacular.

Set in the St. Aloysius Social Hall in Euston, a mixed group of cool crafty kids, cute guys and even grannies filled the aptly dated-yet-cozy bar, and the Shellac Sisters played classic retro tunes on their wind-up gramophone, which added to the kitsch atmosphere. Having taken off in New York over the last 4 years, the Craftacular event has now come to British shores and brings together craft sellers, knitting circles, badge making stations and of course, lots of cake!

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Tatty Divine turned into doctors for the day and set up their very own ‘craft clinic’ offering advice and tips to craft novices or lovers.

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An ArtYarn Guerilla Graffiti Knitting Crew even set up a training camp, where boys sat happily next to their teachers, learning how to knit one, pearl one and Random Monkey Designs offered lessons in cross stitch.

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With a packed out venue and buzzing crowd, it’s likely that (and we hope) the Craftacular event will become a regular date in the British calendar.

Monday Dec 8th
It seems most exhibition spaces in this area begin like this, drugs in someone’s flat. Every day this week at 79a Brick Lane, viagra 100mg there will be an exhibition of seven separate artists (one for each day) alongside a selected feature film, including the likes of Saturday Night Fever, North by Northwest, and The Truman Show. It starts at eight and ends when the film does. For a more detailed itinerary, check here. Admission is free.

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Tuesday Dec 9th
A Family in Disguise, by Yu Jinyoung has been extended at Union on Teesdale Street and is worth a look, if not only for the fact that entering the exhibition is a surreal experience in itself. Not a curator to be seen, and with a camera that links the room to their gallery in Ewer Street, you are alone in a haunting room with this disparate family of forlorn faces. Ring the buzzer and take a look.

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Wednesday Dec 10th
Indian Highway is the new exhibition starting today at the Serpentine, describing itself as a snapshot of the vibrant generations artists working across the country today, well-established artists shown besides lesser known practitioners. Using a array of medias they are threaded together with a common engagement with the social and political, examining complex issues in contemporary India such as environmentalism, religious sectarianism, globalisation, gender, sexuality and class. It runs until Feb 22nd.

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Thursday Dec 11th
Hermetic Seel is a new exhibition by Shane Bradford opening on Wednesday at the Vegas Gallery. It might just be satisfying to see fourteen historical art encyclopedias subjected to Bradford’s “post-Pollock” dipping technique.

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Friday Dec 12th

Here’s what one of our writers said of Omnifuss’ last exhibition: In the heart of Dalston, down the end of a small alley road was a large garage with a little door. Through this door, a group of 24 artists showcased their work. Sculpture, music, performance and photography took place in the old car workshop that was far away from the usual pristine white walls of gallery spaces and created a rustic, and inspiring location for this exhibition. With flame heaters to warm those tootsies, and the symphonious sound of a violinist haunting the open rooms, I found myself immersed in the eclectic furniture and art… Downstairs is their new exhibit, an exploration of domesticity in its rawest states through sound, sculpture, video and installation, and by the sounds of it is worth a visit.

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Saturday Dec 13th
Awopbopaloobop. Artists listen to music, everyone listens to music. Lyrics are etched into our minds whether we want them there or not, and we can’t help but allow them to inform our everyday. Awopbopaloobop (I just like saying that word) is an exhibition at http://www.transitiongallery.co.uk/index.html, asking a host of artists to produce based on a favourite song lyric. This exhibition is coming to an end, (21st of Dec), so go and see it if you haven’t already. The space itself is worth the trip, and it’s fun to walk around a gallery with a song-sheet in your hands!

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Brian Aldiss’ short story, drugSuper-Toys Last All Summer Long”, this to which the exhibition “Super-Toys” makes reference, abortion tells the story of a mother and her android son in the overcrowded world of the future who, however hard they try, cannot find a way to love each other. It makes love seem like a human malfunction, a flaw which can never be imitated. But moreover it captures the feeling of dismay when two people who know that they should love each other realise they can’t – that they fundamentally don’t know how. The android boy, who questions whether or not he is real, seems more humane than his human mother; who sends him to be repaired for the flaw from which she herself suffers. Love cannot be programmed; but is a lover not someone who says all those things that you want to hear, like an automated machine?

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So with high expectations of an exhibition dealing with the strange interaction between humans and machine, fantasy and reality, love and compromise; what I found was initially disappointing. The notions the story had alluded to, the emotions and the complexity of them, were not to be found. Machine ducks floating in a pond, a room of human shaped stuffed objects lying mundanely on the floor; flashing machines dancing in a square box; all interesting to look at, but lacking explanation. The most interesting part of the exhibition was the nightmarish, garish and lurid room that followed, full of toys ripped apart: toys with two head, toys mutilated and deformed by visitors, and all in the name of art. With shelves and window ledges packed already, I was invited to create my own monster from a pile of rejected toys. There was something sinister about being instructed to rip the head off a teddy bear; glue Barbie legs where paws should be; and to work at a designated workstation. Despite the visual pleasure and hands on aspect of super-toys, it seemed to be an exhibition full of concept without real content. But maybe that’s what it allows you to do; to explore you own memories of love, childhood, playfulness and ultimately rejection; and realise that everyone else feels the same way too.

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Anne Collier
Dispersion is a patchy affair. Curated by the director of the Chisenhale gallery Polly Staple, hospital it features seven artists working from different locations, view tied together under the banner of an examination of the ‘circulation of images in contemporary society….in our accelerated image economy’. This seems a fairly sound starting point, although a bit nebulous and too wide in the sense of the number of artists that could be described as grappling with these issues.

Recycling and colliding of images is examined most clearly in Anne Collier’s photographs. Iconic posters, complete with creases, walk the line between multiple realities; but unlike other work in the show, the centre of power lies not in some theoretical hinterland but in the jarring sensation between seeing the photograph of the image and the image itself. Again this is hardly a new idea but it is well executed. The twin set of images a box of photos of the sea provides a further layer of tension between the natural and man-made.

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Anne Collier

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Seth Price

Most of the the other works are films. Seth Price’s ‘Digital Video Effect:Editions‘ (2006) , juxtaposing high and low cultural references (such as those barriers still exist), feels like an early 90′s MTV insert in its scope and complexity. Mark Leckey, now with the epithet ‘Turner Prize Winner’, is due to give a one off lecture/live performance ‘Mark Leckey in the Long Tail‘ in January tackling the similar ground, hopefully to better effect.

A better example of the film work on display is Hito Steyerl’s fascinating ‘Lovely Andrea’ (2007). This is an engaging documentary-esque look at a Japanese bondage artist, cut with scenes fom Wonder Woman cartoons and ‘backstage’ footage of the creation or recreation of scenes, calling the whole film’s authenticity into question. This could have led to a horribly self reflexive pile of mush but is actually a taut and gripping set of mixed narratives.

Henrik Olesen’s computer printed images mounted on blackboards, ‘some gay-lesbian artists and/or artists relevant to homosocial culture V,VI.VII’(2007), a collection reappropriated around queer history, touched on interesting ideas; a collection of female portraits by female artists from Renaissance onwards, for example. But the sum of its parts felt lazy and, like the rest of the show, he veers into hectoring or frustrating silence instead of fostering conversation between the work and viewer.

This is a problem, but one the ICA can absorb better than other cultural centres. The institution was founded as an ‘adult playground’ and this remit naturally involves risky and challenging work, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. Dispersion is a perfect encapsulation of this.

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The disjointed art punk of San Fransisco’s Deerhoof is pretty brilliant on record but I’d heard it was even better live and so couldn’t wait to see them at ULU on their only UK date this year. Their music is disarmingly simple sounding, online loved by music aficionados and 10 year old girls alike – my kid sister loves Panda Panda Panda and Milkman almost as much as any Girls Aloud single. Perhaps I should have sent her along to review the show. It would have been easier for her to convince the people on the door that she was called Prudence Ivey (the name I was under on the list) than a scruffy and definitely male reviewer. They thought I was a street-crazy.

Achieving such wide-ranging popularity is an impressive feat considering that, sick underneath that childlike simplicity, their songs consist of complex structures alongside fragments of dissonant guitar thrash/twang and improvisation. However, seeing Deerhoof is no overblown, intellectual chore. They manage to be simultaneously clever, loud and cartoonishly entertaining and enlivened ULU with a set that encompassed a lot of new album material alongside some stuff to keep the old school fans happy.

The crowd were particularly receptive to old favourite Milkman, along with the Yo La Tengo-in-a-parallel-universe sounds of new album Offend Maggie – a title that always gives me the mental image of an outraged, pre-dementia Margaret Thatcher. There were clipped drums ahoy, along with Deerhoof’s twinkling wire to fuzz guitar textures. Satomi’s vocals, all coy and Japanese, were accentuated by goofy hand gestures – a fitting accompaniment to her surreal and playful subject matter. The whole band were really tight and surprisingly enthusiastic after fourteen years playing together. I can’t wait to see them again.

For anyone wanting to brush up on their climate science, drugs I thoroughly recommend this charming animation by Leo Murray.
The friendly and clear narration takes you steadily through the various chemical processes that are happening on our planet in it’s present climatic state. Without being overly ominous, the film warns how these processes, unchanged for millions of years, are being disturbed by man-made CO2 emissions and may be heading towards a tipping point where we will be plummeted into a place of no return. This definitely ‘isn’t about polar bears anymore!’
I found it really helpful for clarifying some terminology, the science bits- told in a simple way- are up- to- date, and it projects a statement of encouragement, not one of doom. The prospects are scary but we’re lucky to be the generation who could prevent them from happening.
To vote for Wake Up Freak Out then Get a Grip in the Aniboom Awards 2008 click here.

Categories ,Aniboom Awards, ,Climate, ,Earth, ,Leo Murray, ,Video

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Amelia’s Magazine | Words of Wisdom from Hyperbolic Coral Crocheters

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My love for baile funk runs deep. I know it has had an awful lot of coverage in the past few years, more about generic and it only really fell out of the limelight earlier this year – but there’s something about the simplicity of the production, and the feisty vocals that just makes it fantastic club music.

So, arriving in time to see a DJ set, from the guy out of support act Gameboy/Gamegirl, was a bit of treat. I’m not a fan of their own work (bit too Super Super for my taste), but the crowd may have even gone wild for his selections, if it hadn’t of been about boiling point in the packed venue.

As they made their way on stage, I was shocked at how easily i had managed to get right at the front – something I very rarely opt for, usually preferring to stay right at the back (near the bar, with more space). I didn’t last long though, about 4 songs in I thought I was actually going to melt like a witch and the couple next to me seemed to be getting annoyed at me for having a bag that was getting in the way of their dancing, so I ungracefully weaved my way to the back.

Alongside their own releases, they threw in some real classics – much to the delight of the bulging crowd. The reaction to the snippets of ‘Robot Rock’ by daft punk was almost frightening, with sweat now literally dripping off the walls. Another highlight was ‘Summer Nights’ being mixed into ‘Push It’ by Salt-N-Pepa. The risk of the whole thing becoming naff was overshadowed by the fun factor of it all, with so many smiling faces it’s hard to fault them for a little bit of cheesiness.

The opening bars of ‘Solta O Frango’ was greeted by some debaucherous dancing from pretty much everyone within spitting distance of the stage. Not surprisingly really considering the sassy behavior of the two female MCs in the group. Leaping around the stage, throwing water around and making lude gestures with inflatable palm trees it was like they were at Corey Worthington Delaney’s house party.

This frenzy was then whipped into something else by the snippet of ‘I Just Can’t Get Enough’ by Depeche Mode that signaled the end of their set. I can’t honestly say I’ve never heard a bigger groan of disappointment when a band leaves a stage.

Bonde Do Role are perhaps responsible for carrying the torch of their genre after the world music ambassadors Diplo and M.I.A helped introduce baile to the world. They’ve made the genre more accessible to the masses, often (in my opinion) showing themselves to be a far more impressive outfit than the ‘nu rave’ bands they were grouped alongside.

Setting our watches to the Climate Caravan agenda, cheap Amelia and I heard of an event at Liverpool Street Station. Detailing the event on exciting yellow flyers as “Climate and Capitalism, more about ” we thought we’d roll down after a delightful spread of cous cous and see what these dedicated folks were up to. The meeting point, 3.30pm outside the Bishopsgate exit, we stood at attention with our eyes peeled for some dread locked cyclists.

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As time ticked by, we began to wonder if the crew had been held up in the hectic roads packed out with numerous buses and cars beeping for their bid at cramming through the tight city roads. With our ears flapping, we began to chat to other eager beavers hanging around. Spotting a few scruffy troops, we followed their footsteps and found ourselves stopping at The Royal Bank of Scotland. Joining in the chit chat, we circled round the bunch at the front of the unsightly glass structure listening to news of the current events. Eavesdropping while Amelia chatted to the activists she knew, I heard words of penguins, umbrellas and suits…

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Mel from Platform filling in the group with fellow suited activist… oh and me (lovely flattering shot, thanks Amelia!)

Cue the arrival of activist Mel of climate change experts Platform, clutching onto bags of pennies. Crowding round her, she announced she and her fellow suited and booted associate had acquired these pennies from RBS as a statement about carbon emissions. I must admit now, I may well be manning the earth section, but these Climate Caravan events have been a huge learning curve for me. As Amelia bids farewell to continue her schedule I bite the bullet and ask the dreaded question (quietly to the friendliest looking one), “why RBS?”

It is happily revealed to me that RBS are the UK’s largest financial drivers of climate change. Publicly marketing themselves as “the oil and gas bank,” RBS are in fact one of the world’s largest funders of oil and gas extraction. These fossil fuels investments they are making will trap us into emissions for decades, a low carbon economy will thus become impossible.

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The coins jamming the revolving doors

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Meanwhile Mel (above) and Olly (below) provided us with some light entertainment with a bike powered sound system and clarinet

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Causing quite a stir outside the RBS

Ah ha. I can see clearly why these these bags of coins are being thrown into the set of three revolving doors causing them to jam. As I dart around the guys, eagerly snapping the action I digest this in my mind. The camera goes back in my pocket. I don’t need 10 different angles of the activists, there are real photographers here for that. Gawping a little while at the security stuck in the bank, it occurs to me i quite like all this freedom of speech stuff (I have always been slightly bitter that my parents lived the 60′s, may be more for Woodstock and psychedelia). So as the guys start using the remainder of the coins to spell out slogans “dirty oil money” and “oil bank” I find myself kneeling with them, gathering the pennies and making my statement. Admittedly, my input was more of a continuation of a swirly line (it was supposed to represent the oil) which framed the slogans.

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After ten minutes (not too efficient guys) the security decided to join in the coin play

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The Climate Caravan crew didn’t stop there, eagerly using the confascated coins to re express their sentiments

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The security dealing professionally with the issue shortly before the cops arrived

Just as I was plucking up the courage to use words over images (I’ve just finished an Illustration degree so typography is a little scary to me) activist Penny announced the police were on their way and we had better move along. As cleaners gathered round the doors sweeping up the coins, kicking away our masterpiece the activists gathered the coins and headed to a local pub for a celebratory drink (phew these guys may all be dedicated vegans, but they do like a tipple).

With a slightly brisk step in my walk so as not to get caught up with the law, hurried back to our headquarters and blurted to Amelia and my fellow interns what I had seen. Still curious about why I had heard speak of penguins earlier, Amelia mentioned we had missed a large parade on London Bridge involving fancy dressed homeless penguins and polar bears to make a statement about the causes of global warming. What will they do next time?! (find out and COME TO CLIMATE CAMP!!)

After an exhausting day in the life of Antartic creatures, the crew made tracks to Hackney City Farm where Amelia headed down to join in the celebrations of securing the site in Kingsworth.

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If I was between 5 and 10 years old I would have had the time of my life at Camp Bestival, more about and I guess that was the point. The child in me was well jealous that there was no Camp Bestival around when I was a wee nipper – but then there was no way my parents would ever have taken me to such a debauched affair with no obvious cultural import so I might as well end the dream right there. And of course to enjoy Camp Bestival as a child you have to come with some adults; in all likelihood your parents.

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Castle family fun

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Kids Games

This meant that the festival was jammed to the pink lit Disney towers of Lulworth Castle (it looked so unreal!) with yummy mummies and trendy dads, most of whom were my age or only a little older. Oh how I have fallen out of my social norm! Nothing brings it home like going away with all your offspring-blessed peers to a festival catering to just such families. However I didn’t begrudge it – I actually really enjoyed the presence of the younger age group – it gave the place a light air… and my mates in their early twenties may have been somewhat bemused by the demographic (didn’t they read the site?!) but I think it is safe to say that for a virgin festival just finding its feet, a good time was had by all.

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The Incredible Hulks

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Kids watching binocular football

I travelled down on Thursday evening with my friends and their 2 year old, who got the weekend off to a flying start (literally) by projectile vomitting in spectacular fashion just, and I mean just, as we pulled up to the gates. And there was me wondering why I was singing Old Macdonald to myself… still it was a suitably dramatic way to enter the grounds, where we immediately met the rest of the band. It seemed so quiet, I could hardly believe that it could fill out, and indeed our graveyard slot on Friday morning was played to an empty field in the Kids’ area. Having said that I enjoyed very much watching the Insect Circus on my own, and we were loving lounging about on the soft grassy manicured lawns of Lulworth. It was like stroking velvet! But my, what a treat to share the same stage with thecocknbullkid, who did a grand job of playing to a crowd of well, me, dancing on my own. I loved her single On My Own Again, and it was great to see her showcase some of her other tunes. I’m really not sure what the ridiculous name is for, because it doesn’t really describe the sound of Anita’s look or music, which is all 80s synths meets 50s doowap dance moves: she was wearing a very nice frock indeed and swinging her tush for all it was worth given the distinctly slim audience. I particularly like the track I’m Not Sorry. Expect big things from this lady’s debut album.

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Friday – not really rocking it yet

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The Insect Circus

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thecocknbullkid

I later caught a bit of Kitty Daisy and Lewis who were of course on the mainstage, being part of the Sunday Best label. Looking glamourous as ever…. another youthhood I can aspire to have lived, playing in a band with my cool parents. George Pringle also played – how disappointing. I put her in the mag a few issues back on the strength of a single but had never seen her live before, but she was dull dull dull.

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Kitty Daisy and Lewis

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George Pringle

By Friday evening the post work crowds were descending in force and the place was thick with buggies, and a sedate but relaxed atmosphere pervaded the air. Electing to hang out at our campfire we had a drunken night as our posse, both Cutashine and Lost and Found, was about 50 members strong. Lost and Found
have pioneered festival madness at Bestival and Secret Garden Party for several years now – oft imitated but never matched for the sheer ridiculousness of their ideas, they did not disappoint. For Camp Bestival they donned specially-made Blue Coats and coralled the children into activities that could have seemed really quite wrong in any other context. A dog show featured an obstacle course where a willing parent could steer their dog (child) through hoops and over fences, whilst wearing a leash. Needless to say the kids absolutely loved it! A fox hunt had the Lost and Found crew careening all over the festival after a pair of particularly determined young lads made off with said fox. Never underestimate the competitiveness of small boys! A sock fight between children ended in tears but drew a large crowd of (possibly) sadistic adults. I learnt the joy of hulahooping and my mate Kat got so hooked that she bruised her ribs. Oddly, Hularama
appeared to be run by a posse of tubby men…. nothing like shaking up the old stereotypes!

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The specially-made Blue Coats

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Bluecoats dog show

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The fox hunt

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Hulahooping

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The dog show

The festival was full of make and do tents, from the cute little mushroom haven of Bobby Dazzles, where they were teaching how to make your own animal out of odds and ends, to the Knitting tent, full of cute young girls and their mums (and dads) busy knitting up a storm. We even found a lad on the Bestival staff featuring a specially made Bestival handknit. Granny would be proud (well, not mine, they don’t knit, but you know what I mean) There was also an enchanting woodland which led to a little farm that seemed to specialise in ducks and llamas. I was particularly taken by the Indian Runner ducks, who seem strangely upright compared with ours!

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The Bobby Dazzles

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The knitting tent

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Knitted jumpers

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The Indian Runner Ducks

Cutashine had another gig on Friday night, unfortunately this time up against headliner Chuck Berry – needless to say we didn’t stand a chance, although a crowd of youngsters seemed to enjoy it – not our usual audience for sure and I think the band struggled a tad to get any kind of vibe going.

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Cutashine attempt to av it

On Saturday Lost and Found held a Mad Hatters Tea Party – the theme of the fancy dress for the day being said concept. A huge table was laid out with fine china and flowers, and it all culminated in the Lost and Found Alice standing on the table and calling all the Alices of the festival to come and join her – amongst all the cuter little Alices there was perhaps inevitably a particularly fetching larger male.

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Mad Hatters tea party

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Alices table

What I found most mind-boggling about the festival was the fact that there was such a large area given over to Boutique Camping – who pays for this?! It was a mystery to us all, especially when we heard a rumour that to stay in a tipi or dog house or beach hut or double decker bus or yurt or any number of crazy options (each with their own regimented area) cost as much as £500. I can only imagine the kind of money floating about at Bestival if this was true…. as I said, mind boggling. But then a very beautiful programme which I would love to have had cost £7 – illustrated by our very own super talented Jess Wilson (who did a picture for me in issue 6) and Josie Da Bank, it was a work of art I just couldn’t afford…. so as usual I was oblivious to the line-up for much of the weekend.

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The Boutique Camping

Instead I had my first go at Singstar in a special booth with my mate and a seven year old, who instantly got in a grump because she felt upstaged – I was asked to come back for the grand finale on stage that night, so we did a duet of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper. My favourite part being watching a gaggle of young teens singing along and then doing the conga….. fab!

The Flaming Lips headlined on Saturday night, to a crowd by now mostly in the fancy dress that Bestival is famed for and in a real party mood – the theatrics went down a treat and they declared the festival their favourite one ever no less! For the evening a whole bunch of my mates decided to paint themselves silver and gold. The idea had been to go almost nude, but most of them were not prepared with gold bikinis and covered up for most of the night, leaving them with strange alien faces. However, a few did end up with their boobs out, and were told on no uncertain terms to cover up or get chucked out of the festival once Folkaoke – karoake to a folk backing band – took to the stage. It seems there are limits to debauchery at a kids’ festival, but surely this was a step too far when it was night time! I, having been sacked from the band (I was a backing singer) was asked to be page-turner. Oh the humiliation. Unfortunately things were running very late and after only a few songs, and just as we were getting into the swing of things, we were booted off stage. With adrenalin riding high it was decided to shack up at the Boutique Camping campfire, where Folkaoke managed to engage a few hundred people in a mass singalong. Overheard was that phrase that every performer lives to hear “that was the best thing I’ve seen at this festival yet.” Hurrah! Even if I am not in the band!

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Folkaoke!

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Folkaoke Stone Roses

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The gold singers

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A Gold Girl

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Molly silver

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Campsie Folkaoke singalong

Early on Sunday morning it was up and onwards to Lovebox… the festival scene is now in full flow!

Monday 4th August
Idea Generation Gallery, page ‘Robert Altman’s Photography from the ‘60s’: 16th July- 29th August
11 Chance St, London E2 7JB
Take a trip down memory lane to the 60s where naked love-ins and anti-war sit ins rule. Altman captures the psychedelic 60s as well as taking some shots of the Rolling Stones.

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Madder139 Gallery, ‘Paul Chiappe‘: 10th July- 9th August
137-139 Whitecross Street, London EC1Y 8JL
Chiappe questions the illusion between subject and object in a series of hyperrealist drawings. Taking images from the traditional school photo, books and vintage postcards, Chiappe then recreates the images with pencil drawings to blur and smudge the plots and characters. This emphasises the transitory and fragile nature of memory.

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Tuesday 5th August
The Art Vinyl Gallery Shop, ‘The Art of Fac51-The Hacienda’: 31st July-27th August
13 Broadway Market, E8 4PH
Peter Hook from New Order and Joy Division curates the Art Vinyl Gallery with some classic designs from the Factory Record Vaults.

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Artprojx, ‘Automamusic’: Aura Satz: 9th July-16th August
Artprokx at Prince Charles Cinema, 7 Leicester Place, London WC2H 1LB
A film about mechanical music investigating intricate view of self playing violins, accordions, drums and pianolas offset by scenes in which floating musical instruments are played by invisible hands. This highlights the similarities between the beginnings of musical reproduction in the 19th century and spiritualist invocations of the dead, through sound.

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Wednesday 6th August
South London Gallery, ‘Games and Theory’: Jakob Kolding, Nils Norman, Lottie Child etc
65 Peckham Rd, London SE5 8UH
International artists who share interests in play, sports and gaming invite viewers to become active participants in the exhibition and climb, crawl and experience the gallery in new ways. The show explores Situationalist ideologies and the radical potential of play as a form of resistance and expression of freedom.

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Thursday 7th August
Sartorial Contemporary Art, ‘4X4′: Chris Tosic
101A Kensington Church St, London W8 7LN
Four Artists are given a four day show each week in august. Each artist has been given free reign of the gallery and a prominent journalist or critic has been asked to write 444 words about them. Tosic’s pieces focus on collage, typography and collage.

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Friday 8th August
Nottinghill Artsclub, ‘Gin & curiosities’: Robert Rubbish: 4th July-5th September
21 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3JQ
Robert Rubbish of Le Gun magazine (he is co-editor) keenly celebrates old-fashioned eccentric ways and places in a body of work that brings together his interests in: curiosity and joke shops, facial hair, Victorian Punk revivalism and Gin. A mish-mash of paintings, drawings, posters and typography inspired by glitter and 70s cosmic rock band hawkwind is presented for your viewing pleasure.

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Hackney, ‘hackney wicked’: decima gallery, Elevator Gallery, Mother Studios, The Residence, Schwartz Gallery: 8-10th August
Hackney Wicked is Hackney Wick’s first major art festival celebrating contemporary art with open studio and galleries showcasing the best fresh new talent.

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Saturday 9th August
Viewfinder photography Gallery, ‘Nearly Nothing’: Mark Bellingham, Gerd Hasler, Kelly Hill and others:12 July-17 August
Linear House, Peyton Place (off Royal hill) London SE10 8RS
A photography group exhibition exploring the aesthetics of ambiguity. Images are often poetic and allusive.

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Sunday 10th August
Spacex Gallery, ‘International Film Programmes’: curated by Negar Azimi: 26th July-20th September
45 Preston Street, Exeter EX1 1DF
Presenting films by international artists. The programme includes screenings curated by Negar Azimi for www.tank.tv titled ‘She doesn’t think so but she’s dressed for the h-bmb’. Other short videos are by Siad Antar, Yael bartana, Haris Epaninonda and others. Also featured is ‘Sop. Watch‘ concerned with ecological emergencies. Artists Jordan Baseman, Phil Coy, Manu Luksch et al aim to inform and engage.

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I am quite the sucker for nostalgia so when I saw the Victoria and Albert Museum was putting on a village fete; I jumped at the chance to attend. Judging by the amount of people there on Friday night as part of the Lates series, more about I am not the only one who has a pair of rose tinted spectacles firmly in place when it comes to the past. Decked out with balloons and bunting the garden of the V&A looked like something the WI would be proud of, cheapest but the stalls on offer had a more modern twist to the usual rusty tombolas and coconut shy.

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Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Wandering around the myriad of stalls I didn’t know where to start, there was fetebook, bringing social networking back into the real world, Mugshot, the chance to decorate a mug then hurl it at a mug tree (delightful for pent up rage). Also catching my eye were Adapt React‘s beard tent, which involved cramming as many trickets onto your beard as possible, not your actual beard but a hand made version thus avoiding a look pioneered by Mr. Twit. The lauded canvas bag was given an update at Here’s One I Made Earlier, a pic-a-mix selection of patches and buttons awaited pasting onto said bag. I saw one girl showcasing her adorable puffa fish patches. Over at ico designs you could flap your arms to race a chicken to the finishing line and I am assured no actual chickens were harmed in the process.

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Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

I spotted a rather manly bloke dragging up, even declining the offer of red lipstick he still made a fetchingly sophisticated lady, for his turn in front of the camera over at Pose Me a Postcard by Fred and Teo. Chuckling, we joined the small queue awaiting our chance for a dress up. I subtly hinted my appreciation of the cat drinking tea picture and lo behold I ‘randomly’ drew it from the various pictures on offer. I then had 20 secs to set up and recreate my picture before I was snapped for my postcard. Twenty minutes later we returned to find technological wizardry had transformed ourselves into picture postcards.

The fun continued with a caring attitude and guess work at Garudio Studiage’s stall. The R.S.P.C.A. make it clear that people should be nice to animals and Garudio Studiage seemed to agree. Taking the responsibility out of pet owning they came up with a fantastic idea to substitute a furry friend. Flat pets! Won in a game of chance by picking three matching animals from behind the doors of a host of hutches you could walk away with your cardboard bunny, kitten or puppy (ok maybe not the furriest of friends, but there would defiantly be no cleaning up after this little Rover)

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A fete go-er feels hungry
Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Feeling a bit peckish I wandered over to Fever Zine‘s stall where they were serving up delicious illustration card sandwiches. Complete with brown paper bags! Ink stamped bugs infected the lettuce, a Caticorn on the cheese (my favourite), a wonderful Octopus teapot on the ham and finishing with a garnish of tomato, stamped with the head of a tyrannical leader. I always like my food to come with a slice of politics. With such a great concept Fever Zine highlighted why it has received so much attention in a sea of zines. However, snacking on cardboard just doesn’t quite cut it. So I headed over to the food tent and was rather pleased to see the fete theme had influenced the culinary delights on offer. Small quiches, a variety of homemade worthy cakes, jugs of Pimms and beers served in brown paper bags all added to the festivities.

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Caticorn Tattoo
Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Spotting a familiar looking moustache I weaved on over to check out the Prick Your Finger tenet. For the current issue the girls of Prick Your Finger created a pattern for a crochet moustache (hence the deja vu). Bedecked in their woolly facial hair they hosted a silhouette portrait tent, with the choice of being drawn little or large. The lazer cut wizard Rob Ryan had made scratch cards from one of his whimsical papercuts, for a chance to scratch your way to a limited edition print. Pitted against the clock and the familiar countdown theme tune, I gleefully revelled in the competition. The leader board showed who was top of the scratching pops and for a few glorious circulations of the garden, between us we held the top three spots.

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Scratching at Rob Ryan’s stall

Over at the lovely Lady Luck Rules Ok stand, Punch and Judy would have been suitably pleased with puppet inspired staging. Offering personalised bespoke jewellery, they had taken the fete theme to heart. Rockabilly tattoo themed necklaces and brooches jostled for attention. But my eyes were drawn to the rosette themed jewellery. For those not lucky enough to honoured best in show, you could buy your own pin or necklace, in either girlish gingham or sunny stripes (I opted for ravishing red gingham).

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Pretend puppetry at Lady Luck
Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

Then came the moment I had been waiting for: heli-oke! It pretty much is what it sounds like. Karaoke twinned with helium, resulting in more hilarious embarrassment then when the vicar judges the phallic shaped vegetables. I’m not usually the sort of person who volunteers for public attention, but I caught the karaoke bug when I was in Japan and since then it’s been one big sing-along me (well not all the time). Despite the previous practices, our rendition of Madonna’s ‘Into The Groove’ was officially rejected by the discerning judges. But we did walk away with our once helium filled balloons to treasure forever. Feeling light-headed I moved on.

Perhaps this light-headedness was why I failed to loop the rings on the giant sized gloved hands at the Tatty Devine stall. Having lusted after anything Tatty Devine related for quite some time I really wanted to get my average sized hands on the moustache rings up for grabs. I overheard one women proudly stating she had spent £14 in pursuit of a ring (that was 21 throws, how could she not fail?!).

Finally as the evening was drawing to a close, we made for the undying queue at the tombola stand. With prizes on offer from Tom Dixon, Eley Kishimoto, Fortnun and Mason and B Store this most definitely wasn’t any old rusty tombolo. With the glittering booty displayed the Scarlet Projects tombola had attracted a steady stream of people all evening. Feeling lucky I reached in. But luck had other ideas and I failed to win the lusted after goodies but that blow was sweetened with a lollypop for my journey home.

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Photo courtesy of Fever Zine

With so many stalls and all of them such fun, next year I will be bringing a whole pouchful of pound coins to try out all the stalls on offer. As a testament to how successful the Lates series has and continues to be, my only complaint, I couldn’t find the Bauhaus ball pit. The effort gone into last Friday’s event really paid off with fete-ing good fun had by all!

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Heartbreak without a doubt put on a show. Singer Sebastian Muravchix gyrates his hips, thumb moon-slides (a hybrid of moon-walking and sliding, thumb yes I did just make that up), more about points, postures and poses all over the stage. In fact it in some places in descends into something a bit like Dad dancing, but he most definitely pulls it off. He is a little reminiscent of Har Mar Superstar, but with less sleaze. In contrast Ali Renault demurely plays his keyboard at the back. With such an energetic performance by Muravchix the crowd responded in the only way possible; dancing!

Heartbreak play such a catchy blend of Italian disco, it is hardly surprising they get this response when performing. Previously I saw them at Stag and Dagger and that show was just as impressive. As live performances go, they are pretty much like Christmas, in all its (cheesy) glee. And finishing with ‘We’re Back’, the song everybody loves, the crowd understandable danced that little bit more extravagantly.

Whilst researching a new label founded by two LA socialites Lauren Alexander and April Leight, dosage appropriately called LnA, I started thinking about the ever fading line separating men’s and women’s clothes. The pair’s debut ‘Boyfriend Tee Collection’, launched in Spring/Summer 2007, is described on their website as “a colourful, flattering and wearable take on the men’s under tee” and is made up of lots of different designs of plain, basic tees, all 100% cotton and all comfortable.?

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I’m kind of missing the link between their masculine inspiration and the final product. Correct me if I’m wrong, but these look like plain women’s Tees to me. What’s so special about these designs? Upon reading of the website I discovered; “The duo’s designs are wholly inspired by their lifestyles, sharing an affinity for wearing their boyfriend’s Tees out to LA’s hotspots.” Surely more inspiration can be found living in sunny LA, surrounded by movie star history and going to all those crazy ‘hotspots’?
?
As well as a love for wearing boyfriend tees, the website says that the partners originally bonded over their fashion backgrounds. High fashion aspirations might explain the high prices, but the less than high fashion designs lead me to wonder whether their ‘fashion backgrounds’ amount to much more than that they both love a good shopping sesh. Then again, maybe I’ve been too harsh. I mean, these t-shirts do come in at least FIVE different colours. ? ? ?

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?
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As can be expected, the celebrity following of the brand is huge. Nicole Richie, Rachel Bilson, Paris Hilton – they’re all wearing it. Lauren Alexander and April Leight evidently have some good contacts. This celebrity interest has no doubt affected the popularity of the brand (as these things do.) One review I found was from a massive fan of the ‘Deep V T-shirt’ (all the items are named after their cut – another injection of creativity from LnA) as seen on Mary-Kate Olsen. The fan boasts having the garment in seven different colours. I worked this out and, if my calculations are correct, she spent $392 (that’s around £196) on seven plain T-shirts. Either the tops are lined with gold or that’s one major Olsen fan.

In case you didn’t pick up on it, I’m not much of a fan. LnA ask for a lot of money for something so simple (which they claim to be the product of an individual idea). Yes, ok, they are 100% cotton, but you would think that for $50 you would be, I don’t know, helping the environment or half the cost would be donated to charity? Unfortunately no, you’re not. Although I’m all for basic, classically cut clothes with no prints or fancy bits, the way in which they seem to claim the ownership of the popular T-shirt design annoys me. Because of this I can’t get the idea of money grabbing attachment to this brand out of my mind.

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The live musical spectacles that you should try and attend this week.

Monday 4th August

Das Pop – Durr at The End, no rx London

With their debut album being produced by the brothers from Soulwax, and acclaim from just about everyone Das Pop deserve your listening time.

Peggy Sue And The Pirates – Pure Groove Records, London
The Mae Shi and Dananananaykroyd – The Old Blue Last, London
Reverend Horton Heat – Carling Academy, Glasgow

Tuesday 5th August

CutashineClimate Camp, Kingsnorth Kent

Come down to Climate Camp and see Amelia’s band, as well as learn lots and lots about climate change and how we can stop it.

Nisennenmondai – Bardens Boudoir, London
Bombay Bicycle Club – Pure Groove Records, London

Wednesday 6th August

Jack Cheshire, Mumford and Sons and Josephine Oniyama – Folkadot at Green Note, London
Drive-By Truckers – Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
Lawrence Arabia, Planet Earth and Dash Delete – The Lock Tavern, London
Reverend Horton Heat, Nashville Pussy and Vince Ray and The Boneshakers – Astoria, London

Thursday 7th August

Gig of the week

Zombie Zombie, Sportsday Megaphone and Night Visions – Pure Groove Live at The Macbeth, London

As Pure Groove’s night at The Macbeth goes weekly, I can’t hlp but wonder how long they’ll manage to get line-ups like this. Hopefully forever, as this looks mighty tempting.

Chrome Hoof, Diagonal and Invasion – Dingwalls, London
The Maccabees – Junction, Cambridge
Lawrence Arabia – North London Tavern, London
Magistrates and Esser – Proud Galleries, London
Mr Hudson And The Library, thecocknbullkid and Miss Odd Kidd – The Wonky Pop Club at Cargo, London
Those Dancing Days, Bombay Bicycle Club and The I Hearts – New Slang at McClusky’s, London
White Williams and Personality Crisis – The Lock Tavern, London

Friday 8th August

Slow Club, Mathew Sawyer & The Ghosts and Tim Clare – Duke of Uke Salon at The Whitechapel Gallery, London

Make sure you get there early, apparently the last Duke of Uke Salon was rammed – and I can see why. Slow Club especially promise to be a real treat.

Bearsuit, Hotpants Romance and The Winter Club – Twee As Fuck at Buffalo Bar, London
Errors – Summer Sundae, Leicester

Saturday 9th August

Field DayBeyond The Wizards Sleeve, Foals, Howling Bells, Laura Marling, Les Savy Fav, Mystery Jets, Wild Beasts and so many more – Victoria Park, London

For me, this line-up is yet to be challenged by any other festival this year.

The Wave Pictures – Concorde 2, Brighton
The Rascals and Televised Crimewave – Push at Astoria 2, London

Sunday 10th August

King Creosote and Sportsday Megaphone – The Lock Tavern, London
I think almost every girl I know has tried making their own jewellery at some stage in their life. Whilst I never got much further than a fabulously sticky liquorice all-sort necklace, buy more about Melissa Leon has gone on to open her own jewellery design studio in London. I went along to the launch on Saturday, where we were treated to a sneaky peak at some of Melissa’s latest designs. Working with materials like Venetian glass, freshwater pearls and rose quartz, her pieces are full of colour and individuality. The jellybean inspired ‘candy cuff’ and necklaces are the kind of fresh and youthful creations that are bound to make Melissa’s pieces stand out from other jewellery collections.

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Rose Quartz and polymer clay bracelet and earring set

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Venetian glass and semi-precious stones

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Venetian glass and semi-precious stones

I arrived at the studio to find everything running fashionably late. A small runway show was soon underway allowing us to sit back and nibble down on the cakes provided, feeling that usual pang of guilt that you always experience when you eat in the presence of models. Seeing the necklaces in the flesh highlighted just how much the big statement pieces could transform an outfit, making them a great investment for updating your whole wardrobe.

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Melissa is keen to share her design skills with all wannabe jewellery makers and is running workshops throughout August and September this year. Participants will not only learn basic jewellery making techniques, but will get the opportunity to create their own set of earrings and bracelet. She’ll also be holding a special Black History Month exhibition at her studio in October. You can sign up for her courses online. I’m even thinking of reviving my own jewellery making efforts -edible accessories anyone?

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If your walls at home are looking a little bare and you have some (a lot) of extra cash to spare, case then head down to the HOST Gallery to buy some art where the first annual FOTO8 Awards and Summer Show is going on until August 31. The exhibition is filled with the best reportage, physician portraiture and landscape photography shot by established and emerging artists. What makes this show unique is that all the prints are for sale, so if you desire, the art can come home with you.

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A total of 1,800 images were submitted, and after being narrowed down by a panel of judges, 170 were chosen. I enjoyed the collection, however, I’m not sure these are the types of photographs I would have hanging in my living room. I was looking for brighter and more cheerful work. The images were similar to what I would see on the pages of PDN magazine, but not necessarily in a home decorating catalogue. Yet, maybe this is the appeal of it all. I absolutely loved the photograph shown below, taken by Aleksander Bochenek, called 4am on Las Ramblas, Barcelona, 2007. I think the eye contact and facial expressions are great, but personally, can’t imagine paying 700 quid to look at it everyday. If you are willing to pay the price, you get a 20″x30″ framed Giclee print(edition 1/20).

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One photograph that caught my eye as a good buy was of this woman on the beach, shot by Claudia WIens. This 20″x30″ color print runs at 500 quid.

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Whether your intentions are to purchase work or not, it is well worth the trip just to view the show. You can also vote at the gallery for your favorite shot. The photographer with the most votes will receive the People’s Choice Award. The exhibition is going on until August 31.

host_gallery_04.jpg
Bethnal Green’s friendly local yarn shop, here ‘Prick Your Finger’, doctor is a cosy, more about homely establishment. Owned by Rachael Matthews (the co-founder of Cast Off knitting club) and Louise Harries (textile artist and Amelia’s Magazine issue 9 contributor), this little shop wouldn’t usually seem capable of hosting a rip roaring pom pom party. And yet, last Friday, Prick Your Finger did just that, and was packed to the woolly rafters with pom pom party animals looking to reconcile their differences through the medium of wool.

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Pom Pom International is the brain child of the American born, honourary Brit, Amy Lamé. Not content with only juggling radio and television presenting with being a model, comedian and club promoter, Lamé decided it was high time she started getting crafty in order to save the world.

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“I’ve been making pom poms at Duckie for about two years now” Lamé tells me, referring to her long running, alternative gay and lesbian club night. “I felt like; Oh my gosh, this is just such a brilliant ice breaker! It’s a really great stress buster and it really gets people to talk to each other.” From this small realisation a more ambitious idea began to -ahem- puffball.

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“I had the idea of using pom pom making as a tool to get people who are in conflict talking to each other.” Lamé explains, her trademark fly-away black-rimmed spectacles twinkling as she proudly scans the pom pom participants busily working away inside the shop. “The idea is that we’re collecting all the pom pom’s together to make the biggest collective pom pom for peace.”

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Pom Pom International has been seen at plenty of arts events, similar to this one at Prick Your Finger, but will soon be taking it’s first foray into solving larger conflicts with a tour of Northern Ireland this month to mark the 10th anniversary of the peace agreement. Lamé doesn’t plan to stop at that, though “My big goal is to take it to places like the Gaza strip or the border between India and Pakistan” she says.

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Although I haven’t really brought any of my own conflicts with me to the party, as the invitation had suggested, I am moved by Lamé’s vision of a wonderful world without conflict and so start preparing my own pom pom contribution. As soon as I start to wind my wool, I am struck by how easily the conversation begins to flow between myself and other pom pom makers.

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I get chatting to some craftivists who had been involved in the making of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, but more from them later. I also managed to ask Louise Harries about the inspiration behind her contribution to Issue 9 (which is proudly displayed within the shop); the crochet patterns for some lovely furry facial hair.

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“I definitely have beard envy,” she confides “Facial hair can signify so many things from authority to rock and roll excesses. Sod handbags as hot accessories beards are were its at!” Harries is resplendent in a full on Father Christmas beard for the party, and I wonder if she wears beards often “I haven’t yet worn one to pop to shops to get milk but after the V&A village fete I got the tube home and realised I still had a large pink curly beard on…..I thought the funny looks were for the sequin jumpsuit!”

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After admissions of facial fuzz fetishes, I am totally sold on the bonding power of pom poms. With my furry ball of woolly wonder done and dusted, the last step is to write a peaceful message to the world on a special Pom Pom International luggage tag. ‘Make the world like a pom pom,’ I write; ‘Warm and fuzzy.’ It’s a small gesture, I know, but standing back I can take in all the other pom poms hanging from the shop’s ceiling, all complete with well wishing notes. Hell, I think, this crazy idea just might work!

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You may recall Dearbhaile and Jocelyn writing about their trip to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at The Hayward last month. As they said at the time, information pills this man made reef (partly put together by keen crotheting volunteers using recycled materials) draws attention to the plight of the coral reef that is being destroyed by our disposable lifestyle; ‘Over 50 years plastic trash has accumulated in the North Pacific Ocean and is now a mass that is 4 times the size of England and 30m deep. Consequently, page the coral reef is disappearing at a rate five times faster than the rainforest; each year 3,000 square km is obliterated.’

Whilst making pom poms at Amy Lamé’s Pom Pom International event at ‘Prick Your Finger’, I was lucky enough to bump into some of the volunteers who had put their time and crocheting skills into forming part of the Crochet Reef. Crafty activists Alex Willumsen and Khadija Ibrahim were kind enough to take the time to pause their pom pom making and tell me all about how they got involved in the reef.

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Taking a well earned break from pom pom making are (L>R) Gemma, Khadija and Alex.

“We saw an email going out saying crocheters were needed to contribute to this coral reef,” Alex tells me “So we stepped up to the plate and we attended.”

“We’d never crocheted in our lives either.” Khadija goes on, “So it was a bit of a challenge, but so much fun. It’s very democratic, anyone can go and add to it. You don’t even have to be very good! We felt very welcome.”

“Crochet is a very forgiving craft” Alex says, almost thankfully “The crocheted coral reef has imperfections but, as in nature, things don’t always turn out perfectly”

Khadija agrees; “It does represent nature in a way. I like the word organic to describe the process, it’s very organic the way people just come and add their pieces. It kind of grows.”

Of course, the crocheted reef isn’t just an aesthetic wonder. It’s very existance aims to highlight the fact that litter, dumped by humans without a second thought, is eroding the natural beauty of real reefs. “You had to crochet with recycled material so it was a little bit of a challenge.” Alex says “We used cassette tape which is quite sticky and quite difficult to crochet with. You know what, though, a Waitrose bag makes a lovely pattern. The white and the green looks lovely!”

“We’d never done anything like this.” Khadija admits “We just went to this one workshop and the first piece that we ever made went on display.” “Honestly, that was such a sense of achievement.” Alex beams.

Apparently Chicago is the next place the reef will visit. As we contemplate the organic nature of the reef, a reef that is growing with it’s contributors (“About another 10 people attended on the day we went, but there were several sessions.” Alex tells me) the mind boggles at how large the reef may become as it makes it’s journey across the globe.

“It’s accompanying a professionally made coral reef that’s going on display in the Hayward gallery” Khadija explains. “But,” Alex interjects “the amateur one is actually better!”

We are then joined by Gemma Tucker, a fellow pom pom maker and fledgling crafter (“I once made a whole dress out of crisp packets, if that counts?” she says) and it’s a good opportunity to talk about Pom Pom International. I ask Gemma if she has enjoyed her pom pom making experience;

“It’s a very therapeutic thing to do.” she says, and when I ask her if pom poms might change the world she responds positively; “Definitely!”

“There’s something about doing a craft which makes conversations come to the surface that wouldn’t normally be there,” Alex contemplates “and I think that’s very interesting While your hands are occupied your mind is more free to wander.”

Let’s hope that all these crafty minds can help wander us towards a brighter future!

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The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef can be seen in the Hayward Project Space and Royal Festival Hall Level 2 Foyer until the 17th of August.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Trapese Collective – Tools for Social Change Course

LouisaDAll Photographs courtesy of Natalia Calvocoressi

Louisa Lee: When and how did you first become interested in photography?

Natalia Calvocoressi: I started to become interested in photography just before I left school where there was a darkroom. Then I picked it up again when I went to Camberwell to study graphic design. I took an elective in photography and from then on spent most of my college life underground in the dark room. I started off with black and white because I could print easily myself and did most of my projects around Peckham and Camberwell: on buses, adiposity in parks, stomach old launderettes, information pills and run-down car parks; with pin-hole cameras and borrowed cameras. I then bought myself a Pentax manual film camera. I did a project with my friend Sarah Cresswell, who is now a fashion photographer, in a field somewhere in Buckinghamshire, using mirrors to distort the landscape. That’s when I became really fascinated in creating pictures that blur the lines between fantasy and reality, that seem a little out of the ordinary. One of the first photography books that got me really into photography was the work of Anna Gaskell – I find the contrast of childhood innocence with a sinister undertone, in her photographs, intriguing.

LouisaA

LL: Which people or places inspire you most?

NC: I am very inspired by Scotland. I grew up in Edinburgh and go back regularly, particularly to the Highlands. I enjoy re-visiting places and seeing how they have changed. I often return to certain themes when re-visiting a place. For instance, some of my photos have quite a nostalgic childhood feel to them, perhaps a result of returning to somewhere that meant a lot to me as a child.  I’m inspired by things every day. Often I’m reluctant to read my book on the bus because there are too many things going on out of the window I don’t want to miss. Recently, I was at the bus stop on my way to work and the morning sun was shining brightly through the trees and casting an intense glow onto the patch of grass outside a nearby block of grey flats. There were a few crows in the patch of light and quite a lot of rubbish and it looked really beautiful. I wish I’d had my camera on me! My friends inspire me – a lot of them are photographers, illustrators and designers. My younger sister is my ‘muse’ – she’s used to me pointing my camera at her. Like a lot of photographers, Antonioni’s film ‘Blow-Up’ made a big impression on me. It sparked off my obsession with discovering things in photos you don’t see at the time.

LouisaB

LL: Your work has a cinematographic quality to it. Are you mainly influenced by photographers or do other art forms influence you too?

NC: Photographers have a huge influence on me, but yes, I’m influenced by many other art forms too. I love Gerhard Richter’s paintings especially the ones which emulate snapshot photographs. One of my favourite films is ‘Morvern Caller by Lynne Ramsay – the beginning with the coloured fairy lights turning on and off, intermittently lighting up the dark room. Other photographers who influence me include Annelies Strba, Rineke Dijkstra, Hellen van Meene, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston and Bill Brandt.  I’m also influenced by Andrey Tarkovsky’s photographs, video artist Pipilotti Rist and the London School painters like Kitaj.

LouisaC

LL: Mario Testino has said he very much likes your work and is looking forward to discovering what comes out in the years to come. How do you feel about this?

NC: I’m thrilled! I once showed him my work and he was really encouraging. He really liked my photos, which was great, was extremely thoughtful and took a great interest. That was the same day I found out I got into the RCA so I was very happy.

LouisaE

LL: Would fashion photography be something you’d ever consider getting into?

NC: I’ve done some fashion photography in the past. I took the photographs with another girl for the RCA fashion catalogue in 2003 and have worked on a couple of other fashion shoots. At the RCA I enjoyed creating the sets and finding cheap props. I wouldn’t like to be a fashion photographer though – I don’t think I’d be very good at it. Some of my photos are quite fashion y but I prefer to take pictures alone. If I had control over clothes, make-up (or no make-up!), location, props etc, then maybe… I also don’t like to be under pressure behind the camera. A lot of my photographs happen by chance – I catch an unexpected moment and grab my camera. I often think when things are too planned, staged or set up it can ruin the spontaneity of the photo.

LouisaF

LL: How do you achieve the grainy, vintage quality in your photographs?

NC: By using an old Pentax film camera and experimenting with different films – sometimes old, out-of-date film. Also experimenting with printing techniques. I like the feeling of nostalgia so try to create old-looking photographs, so a lot of the objects and locations that I photograph and look for are old. I like to try and tell stories with my images, and I also like there to be a sense of mystery and ambiguity which perhaps gives a vintage feel.

LouisaG

LL: Windows and mirrors seem to be a recurring motif, are you aware of this and if so is there a particular reason for it?

NC: Yes I know! I think it all started in that field with Sarah. I look for ways of framing my shots, and I therefore often capture scenes using the outlining effect of door frames, windows or mirrors.  I look at the landscape through the window on a train and see it as millions of landscape paintings flashing by. I used to sit in the car when I was a child and draw the outline of what I saw – tracing it on my knee. There’s something quite intimate about a portrait of a person in a mirror, especially if they’re not looking directly at you. I like the idea of shrinking what I see into a frame – perhaps I was inspired by childhood trips to Bekonscot miniature model village, which happens also to be in Buckinghamshire! In ‘Scale’ by Will Self I found an articulation of my desire to distort scale.

LouisaH

LL: What’s the single most important thing you’ve learnt about taking a photograph?

NC: To be spontaneous and brave. I would like to be braver when it comes to photographing people, especially on the street. Sometimes I don’t have the nerve to point a camera at someone in the street close up. I need a spy camera!

LouisaI

LL: Is this the same advice that you might pass on to someone interested in getting into photography or is this specific to your working method?

NC: I’d definitely tell people to be bold and also experiment with techniques and styles as much as possible. I remember being told at college that some of my photographs were good but I should not be afraid to take hundreds and hundreds. That was really good advice because there is no point being precious about taking photos.

LouisaJ

LL: What’s the next place you’d like to exhibit your work?

NC: My last exhibition was at the Islington Arts Factory in Holloway. It’s an old converted church and you can see the dusty broken church windows when you look up from the exhibition space – very atmospheric. Last summer I showed a few photos in the Royal Academy Summer Show. Next I’d like to exhibit in a small-scale, structured space.  I really like the Victoria Miro gallery!

http://www.nataliacalvocoressi.co.uk/

LouisaDAll Photographs courtesy of Natalia Calvocoressi

Louisa Lee: When and how did you first become interested in photography?

Natalia Calvocoressi: I started to become interested in photography just before I left school where there was a darkroom. Then I picked it up again when I went to Camberwell to study graphic design. I took an elective in photography and from then on spent most of my college life underground in the dark room. I started off with black and white because I could print easily myself and did most of my projects around Peckham and Camberwell: on buses, hospital in parks, here old launderettes, and and run-down car parks; with pin-hole cameras and borrowed cameras. I then bought myself a Pentax manual film camera. I did a project with my friend Sarah Cresswell, who is now a fashion photographer, in a field somewhere in Buckinghamshire, using mirrors to distort the landscape. That’s when I became really fascinated in creating pictures that blur the lines between fantasy and reality, that seem a little out of the ordinary. One of the first photography books that got me really into photography was the work of Anna Gaskell – I find the contrast of childhood innocence with a sinister undertone, in her photographs, intriguing.

LouisaA

LL: Which people or places inspire you most?

NC: I am very inspired by Scotland. I grew up in Edinburgh and go back regularly, particularly to the Highlands. I enjoy re-visiting places and seeing how they have changed. I often return to certain themes when re-visiting a place. For instance, some of my photos have quite a nostalgic childhood feel to them, perhaps a result of returning to somewhere that meant a lot to me as a child.  I’m inspired by things every day. Often I’m reluctant to read my book on the bus because there are too many things going on out of the window I don’t want to miss. Recently, I was at the bus stop on my way to work and the morning sun was shining brightly through the trees and casting an intense glow onto the patch of grass outside a nearby block of grey flats. There were a few crows in the patch of light and quite a lot of rubbish and it looked really beautiful. I wish I’d had my camera on me! My friends inspire me – a lot of them are photographers, illustrators and designers. My younger sister is my ‘muse’ – she’s used to me pointing my camera at her. Like a lot of photographers, Antonioni’s film ‘Blow-Up’ made a big impression on me. It sparked off my obsession with discovering things in photos you don’t see at the time.

LouisaB

LL: Your work has a cinematographic quality to it. Are you mainly influenced by photographers or do other art forms influence you too?

NC: Photographers have a huge influence on me, but yes, I’m influenced by many other art forms too. I love Gerhard Richter’s paintings especially the ones which emulate snapshot photographs. One of my favourite films is ‘Morvern Caller by Lynne Ramsay – the beginning with the coloured fairy lights turning on and off, intermittently lighting up the dark room. Other photographers who influence me include Annelies Strba, Rineke Dijkstra, Hellen van Meene, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston and Bill Brandt.  I’m also influenced by Andrey Tarkovsky’s photographs, video artist Pipilotti Rist and the London School painters like Kitaj.

LouisaC

LL: Mario Testino has said he very much likes your work and is looking forward to discovering what comes out in the years to come. How do you feel about this?

NC: I’m thrilled! I once showed him my work and he was really encouraging. He really liked my photos, which was great, was extremely thoughtful and took a great interest. That was the same day I found out I got into the RCA so I was very happy.

LouisaE

LL: Would fashion photography be something you’d ever consider getting into?

NC: I’ve done some fashion photography in the past. I took the photographs with another girl for the RCA fashion catalogue in 2003 and have worked on a couple of other fashion shoots. At the RCA I enjoyed creating the sets and finding cheap props. I wouldn’t like to be a fashion photographer though – I don’t think I’d be very good at it. Some of my photos are quite fashion y but I prefer to take pictures alone. If I had control over clothes, make-up (or no make-up!), location, props etc, then maybe… I also don’t like to be under pressure behind the camera. A lot of my photographs happen by chance – I catch an unexpected moment and grab my camera. I often think when things are too planned, staged or set up it can ruin the spontaneity of the photo.

LouisaF

LL: How do you achieve the grainy, vintage quality in your photographs?

NC: By using an old Pentax film camera and experimenting with different films – sometimes old, out-of-date film. Also experimenting with printing techniques. I like the feeling of nostalgia so try to create old-looking photographs, so a lot of the objects and locations that I photograph and look for are old. I like to try and tell stories with my images, and I also like there to be a sense of mystery and ambiguity which perhaps gives a vintage feel.

LouisaG

LL: Windows and mirrors seem to be a recurring motif, are you aware of this and if so is there a particular reason for it?

NC: Yes I know! I think it all started in that field with Sarah. I look for ways of framing my shots, and I therefore often capture scenes using the outlining effect of door frames, windows or mirrors.  I look at the landscape through the window on a train and see it as millions of landscape paintings flashing by. I used to sit in the car when I was a child and draw the outline of what I saw – tracing it on my knee. There’s something quite intimate about a portrait of a person in a mirror, especially if they’re not looking directly at you. I like the idea of shrinking what I see into a frame – perhaps I was inspired by childhood trips to Bekonscot miniature model village, which happens also to be in Buckinghamshire! In ‘Scale’ by Will Self I found an articulation of my desire to distort scale.

LouisaH

LL: What’s the single most important thing you’ve learnt about taking a photograph?

NC: To be spontaneous and brave. I would like to be braver when it comes to photographing people, especially on the street. Sometimes I don’t have the nerve to point a camera at someone in the street close up. I need a spy camera!

LouisaI

LL: Is this the same advice that you might pass on to someone interested in getting into photography or is this specific to your working method?

NC: I’d definitely tell people to be bold and also experiment with techniques and styles as much as possible. I remember being told at college that some of my photographs were good but I should not be afraid to take hundreds and hundreds. That was really good advice because there is no point being precious about taking photos.

LouisaJ

LL: What’s the next place you’d like to exhibit your work?

NC: My last exhibition was at the Islington Arts Factory in Holloway. It’s an old converted church and you can see the dusty broken church windows when you look up from the exhibition space – very atmospheric. Last summer I showed a few photos in the Royal Academy Summer Show. Next I’d like to exhibit in a small-scale, structured space.  I really like the Victoria Miro gallery!

http://www.nataliacalvocoressi.co.uk/

LouisaDAll Photographs courtesy of Natalia Calvocoressi

Louisa Lee: When and how did you first become interested in photography?

Natalia Calvocoressi: I started to become interested in photography just before I left school where there was a darkroom. Then I picked it up again when I went to Camberwell to study graphic design. I took an elective in photography and from then on spent most of my college life underground in the dark room. I started off with black and white because I could print easily myself and did most of my projects around Peckham and Camberwell: on buses, more about in parks, click old launderettes, and run-down car parks; with pin-hole cameras and borrowed cameras. I then bought myself a Pentax manual film camera. I did a project with my friend Sarah Cresswell, who is now a fashion photographer, in a field somewhere in Buckinghamshire, using mirrors to distort the landscape. That’s when I became really fascinated in creating pictures that blur the lines between fantasy and reality, that seem a little out of the ordinary. One of the first photography books that got me really into photography was the work of Anna Gaskell – I find the contrast of childhood innocence with a sinister undertone, in her photographs, intriguing.

LouisaA

LL: Which people or places inspire you most?

NC: I am very inspired by Scotland. I grew up in Edinburgh and go back regularly, particularly to the Highlands. I enjoy re-visiting places and seeing how they have changed. I often return to certain themes when re-visiting a place. For instance, some of my photos have quite a nostalgic childhood feel to them, perhaps a result of returning to somewhere that meant a lot to me as a child.  I’m inspired by things every day. Often I’m reluctant to read my book on the bus because there are too many things going on out of the window I don’t want to miss. Recently, I was at the bus stop on my way to work and the morning sun was shining brightly through the trees and casting an intense glow onto the patch of grass outside a nearby block of grey flats. There were a few crows in the patch of light and quite a lot of rubbish and it looked really beautiful. I wish I’d had my camera on me! My friends inspire me – a lot of them are photographers, illustrators and designers. My younger sister is my ‘muse’ – she’s used to me pointing my camera at her. Like a lot of photographers, Antonioni’s film ‘Blow-Up’ made a big impression on me. It sparked off my obsession with discovering things in photos you don’t see at the time.

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LL: Your work has a cinematographic quality to it. Are you mainly influenced by photographers or do other art forms influence you too?

NC: Photographers have a huge influence on me, but yes, I’m influenced by many other art forms too. I love Gerhard Richter’s paintings especially the ones which emulate snapshot photographs. One of my favourite films is ‘Morvern Caller by Lynne Ramsay – the beginning with the coloured fairy lights turning on and off, intermittently lighting up the dark room. Other photographers who influence me include Annelies Strba, Rineke Dijkstra, Hellen van Meene, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston and Bill Brandt.  I’m also influenced by Andrey Tarkovsky’s photographs, video artist Pipilotti Rist and the London School painters like Kitaj.

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LL: Mario Testino has said he very much likes your work and is looking forward to discovering what comes out in the years to come. How do you feel about this?

NC: I’m thrilled! I once showed him my work and he was really encouraging. He really liked my photos, which was great, was extremely thoughtful and took a great interest. That was the same day I found out I got into the RCA so I was very happy.

LouisaE

LL: Would fashion photography be something you’d ever consider getting into?

NC: I’ve done some fashion photography in the past. I took the photographs with another girl for the RCA fashion catalogue in 2003 and have worked on a couple of other fashion shoots. At the RCA I enjoyed creating the sets and finding cheap props. I wouldn’t like to be a fashion photographer though – I don’t think I’d be very good at it. Some of my photos are quite fashion y but I prefer to take pictures alone. If I had control over clothes, make-up (or no make-up!), location, props etc, then maybe… I also don’t like to be under pressure behind the camera. A lot of my photographs happen by chance – I catch an unexpected moment and grab my camera. I often think when things are too planned, staged or set up it can ruin the spontaneity of the photo.

LouisaF

LL: How do you achieve the grainy, vintage quality in your photographs?

NC: By using an old Pentax film camera and experimenting with different films – sometimes old, out-of-date film. Also experimenting with printing techniques. I like the feeling of nostalgia so try to create old-looking photographs, so a lot of the objects and locations that I photograph and look for are old. I like to try and tell stories with my images, and I also like there to be a sense of mystery and ambiguity which perhaps gives a vintage feel.

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LL: Windows and mirrors seem to be a recurring motif, are you aware of this and if so is there a particular reason for it?

NC: Yes I know! I think it all started in that field with Sarah. I look for ways of framing my shots, and I therefore often capture scenes using the outlining effect of door frames, windows or mirrors.  I look at the landscape through the window on a train and see it as millions of landscape paintings flashing by. I used to sit in the car when I was a child and draw the outline of what I saw – tracing it on my knee. There’s something quite intimate about a portrait of a person in a mirror, especially if they’re not looking directly at you. I like the idea of shrinking what I see into a frame – perhaps I was inspired by childhood trips to Bekonscot miniature model village, which happens also to be in Buckinghamshire! In ‘Scale’ by Will Self I found an articulation of my desire to distort scale.

LouisaH

LL: What’s the single most important thing you’ve learnt about taking a photograph?

NC: To be spontaneous and brave. I would like to be braver when it comes to photographing people, especially on the street. Sometimes I don’t have the nerve to point a camera at someone in the street close up. I need a spy camera!

LouisaI

LL: Is this the same advice that you might pass on to someone interested in getting into photography or is this specific to your working method?

NC: I’d definitely tell people to be bold and also experiment with techniques and styles as much as possible. I remember being told at college that some of my photographs were good but I should not be afraid to take hundreds and hundreds. That was really good advice because there is no point being precious about taking photos.

LouisaJ

LL: What’s the next place you’d like to exhibit your work?

NC: My last exhibition was at the Islington Arts Factory in Holloway. It’s an old converted church and you can see the dusty broken church windows when you look up from the exhibition space – very atmospheric. Last summer I showed a few photos in the Royal Academy Summer Show. Next I’d like to exhibit in a small-scale, structured space.  I really like the Victoria Miro gallery!

http://www.nataliacalvocoressi.co.uk/

New Wave rockers Good Shoes are set to start their four day residency at The Stags Head in Dalston

The morden four piece will be playing a matinee and an evening showing starting today at 4pm. This will run till Saturday where they will have a full days worth of bands and DJ’s.

Full details are below;

20th Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Hatcham Social and Fiction (evening show only)

DJ sets from Gang of One, treatment Silver Hips DJ

21st Jan –  (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Disappearers and Gold Sounds (evening only)

DJ sets from Pipes and Flutes (Young Knives) & Loud and Quiet magazine DJs

22nd Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Wild Palms and Othello Woolf (evening only)

DJ sets from Blood Red Shoes, prostate Amp & Deck (aka Blaine from Mystery Jets

and Kev Kev) plus Brille Records and Dollop DJs

23rd Jan – (all day)

Good Shoes with La Shark, medicine Is Tropical, Brute Chorus, The Stormy Seas,

Stricken City, Erin k and Tash

DJ sets from Maximo Park, Rory Phillps. Silver Hips with Rhys (Good

Shoes), Club The Mammoth / Islington Boys Club DJs Vs This Aint No

Disco
good shoes

New Wave rockers Good Shoes are set to start their four day residency at The Stags Head in Dalston tomorrow to celebrate the release of their new album No Hope, website like this No Future.

The morden four piece will be playing a matinee and an evening showing starting tomorrow at 4pm. This will run till Saturday where they will have a full days worth of bands and DJ’s.

Full details are below;

20th Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Hatcham Social and Fiction (evening show only)

DJ sets from Gang of One, Silver Hips DJ

21st Jan –  (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Disappearers and Gold Sounds (evening only)

DJ sets from Pipes and Flutes (Young Knives) & Loud and Quiet magazine DJs

22nd Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Wild Palms and Othello Woolf (evening only)

DJ sets from Blood Red Shoes, Amp & Deck (aka Blaine from Mystery Jets

and Kev Kev) plus Brille Records and Dollop DJs

23rd Jan – (all day)

Good Shoes with La Shark, Is Tropical, Brute Chorus, The Stormy Seas,

Stricken City, Erin k and Tash

DJ sets from Maximo Park, Rory Phillps. Silver Hips with Rhys (Good

Shoes), Club The Mammoth / Islington Boys Club DJs Vs This Aint No

Disco

Tickets are £5 for the evening shows and £3 for the matinee, available on the door.
good shoes

New Wave rockers Good Shoes are set to start their four day residency at The Stags Head in Dalston tomorrow to celebrate the release of their new album No Hope, approved No Future.

The morden four piece will be playing a matinee and an evening showing starting tomorrow at 4pm. This will run till Saturday where they will have a full days worth of bands and DJ’s.

Full details are below;

20th Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Hatcham Social and Fiction (evening show only)

DJ sets from Gang of One, Silver Hips DJ

21st Jan –  (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Disappearers and Gold Sounds (evening only)

DJ sets from Pipes and Flutes (Young Knives) & Loud and Quiet magazine DJs

22nd Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Wild Palms and Othello Woolf (evening only)

DJ sets from Blood Red Shoes, Amp & Deck (aka Blaine from Mystery Jets

and Kev Kev) plus Brille Records and Dollop DJs

23rd Jan – (all day)

Good Shoes with La Shark, Is Tropical, Brute Chorus, The Stormy Seas,

Stricken City, Erin k and Tash

DJ sets from Maximo Park, Rory Phillps. Silver Hips with Rhys (Good

Shoes), Club The Mammoth / Islington Boys Club DJs Vs This Aint No

Disco

Tickets are £5 for the evening shows and £3 for the matinee, available on the door.
good shoes

New Wave rockers Good Shoes are set to start their four day residency at The Stags Head in Dalston tomorrow to celebrate the release of their new album No Hope, viagra 60mg No Future.

The morden four piece will be playing a matinee and an evening showing starting tomorrow at 4pm. This will run till Saturday where they will have a full days worth of bands and DJ’s.

Full details are below;

20th Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Hatcham Social and Fiction (evening show only)

DJ sets from Gang of One, viagra buy Silver Hips DJ

21st Jan –  (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Disappearers and Gold Sounds (evening only)

DJ sets from Pipes and Flutes (Young Knives) & Loud and Quiet magazine DJs

22nd Jan – (4pm matinee and evening show)

Good Shoes with Wild Palms and Othello Woolf (evening only)

DJ sets from Blood Red Shoes, medicine Amp & Deck (aka Blaine from Mystery Jets

and Kev Kev) plus Brille Records and Dollop DJs

23rd Jan – (all day)

Good Shoes with La Shark, Is Tropical, Brute Chorus, The Stormy Seas,

Stricken City, Erin k and Tash

DJ sets from Maximo Park, Rory Phillps. Silver Hips with Rhys (Good

Shoes), Club The Mammoth / Islington Boys Club DJs Vs This Aint No

Disco

Tickets are £5 for the evening shows and £3 for the matinee, available on the door.
Who:  Trapese Popular Education Collective
When:  27th March 2010  to 3rd April 2010
Where:  Ragman’s Lane Farm, medications Forest of Dean, near Gloucester
Cost:  Deposit of £50 to secure a place will be requested with full amount payable before the start of the course.
Cost of course ranges from £175 – £350, depending on income.
Applications must be received by 12 noon Saturday February 27th 2010 at the latest.

reclaimpower

Trapese is a not-for-profit UK-based popular education collective.  Through workshops, film nights and training they aim to enable people of all ages to explore social and climate issues and develop practical alternatives and solutions. 

Popular education is based on values such as a commitment to transformation and freedom.  This means that rather than learning about the world and climate/social issues, participants empower themselves to actually transform their environment.  Unlike in traditional education, popular ‘history’ focuses on the history of the majority of the world (worker’s rights, peasant movements), and not uniquely on the kings and queens and military leaders whose names we had drummed into our heads in Year 9.

Popular education also aims to blur the relationship between teachers and students, instead creating an equal level at which everyone is learning from and teaching each other.  Social change is encouraged through developing critical awareness about the world and promoting social and environmental justice over economic gain, but debate is stimulated by encouraging free-thinking rather than dictating facts.

Past Trapese workshop topics have included: migration; food (history of industrial agriculture and understanding food crisis); climate justice; consensus decision making and non-hierarchical organising; reclaiming space (setting up a social centre and keeping it running); DIY, and understanding the economy (exploring the meaning of capitalism, recession and realistic alternatives).

TOOLS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE COURSE
diytrapesecollective

Providing an educational answer to the need for more grassroots social/ climate justice activity, Trapese have organised a weeklong course starting in March.  The course will aim to answer the questions: how we can move towards a more effective climate justice movement, how can we build more resilient communities and how can we achieve system change instead of climate change?

The course will provide training in grassroots organising, including tools for direct democracy, facilitation, using consensus, popular education techniques and how to plan, communicate and implement effective campaigns. It will explore how these tools can be used to set up community initiatives and ecological and social projects. 

No previous knowledge is necessary, but organisers ask that participants be committed to working co-operatively and respecting diversity.  Time to share ideas, work on practical technology projects around the farm, discuss current political debates, watch films and enjoy food together are also planned as part of the week.

The course draws on the ‘Do It Yourself Handbook’  and Trapese’s work since 2004, including their events at KlimaForum in Copenhagen.

Facilitators will include  Paul Chatterton, (MA Activism and Social Change, Leeds) Kim Bryan, (Press Officer, Centre for Alternative Technology) Alice Cutler, (Freelance teacher/ activist, Bristol).

 To register interest or ask any questions email trapese@riseup.net.

Categories ,leeds, ,leeds university, ,MA Activism and Social Change, ,Paul Chatterton, ,popular education, ,trapese

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Amelia’s Magazine | Warm-up for Copenhagen!

With the Copenhagen summit fast approaching it’s time to warm to the plan of action on climate change with The Great Global Warm-Up, ask  a day of workshops, viagra approved discussion and debate organised by Climate Camp and Zed Books. Whether you’re new to the issues of climate justice or a full blown climate camper this is an excellent opportunity to learn more, meet others and get involved in shaping our planet’s future.

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Obviously climate change is a massive issue, yet the current political response is poor. It must be made known to governments and corporations that business cannot continue as usual, for the sake of all of us. Speakers already confirmed for the event include: Oliver Tickell (author of Kyoto2), Martin Reynolds (editor of the Environmental Responsibility Reader), Victoria Johnson (New Economics Foundation), James Garvey (author of The Ethics of Climate Change), Harry Shutt (author of The Decline of Capitalism), Ruth Davis (RSPB), Rupert Read (Green Party) and activists from Workers’ Climate Action, Biofuel Watch, Climate Rush, the Camp for Climate Action and more. Get down there and join their voice.

Saturday 28th November 2009.
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), rooms G2, FG07, FG08
London WC1H 0XG
Nearest Tube: Russell Square
Cost: Free (Donations welcome)

Categories ,Biofuel Watch, ,Climate Camp, ,Climate Rush, ,Copenhagen summit, ,Green Party, ,rspb, ,Zed Books

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Amelia’s Magazine | Yes Men partner with Richard Branson to save the planet

Watching their electric performance at The Garage, information pills I immediately understood why all the major music publications are getting their knickers in a twist over The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. With the recent release of their debut album, more about The Pains have quickly amassed a devoted fan base and garnered raptuous reviews for their perfectly pitched shoe gazing dream pop. If I hadn’t met them, I might have assumed that they were the sort of band who believed their own hype – and why wouldn’t they? Having sat down with Kip and Peggy earlier in the day I instantly realised that while they weren’t oblivious to the attention, they were unfettered by it. Letting the press get on with their excitable reactions, the band just want to play the music that they love.

thepains3

The new album has practically been lauded as the second coming by heavy weights like The NY Times and NME, did you expect such an immediate and positive reaction?

Peggy – Definitely not, I just think about the bands that play music like us that we have always admired, and most of them were were not that comercially well known, and not always that critically received either, so playing the kind of music we play… we didn’t have our hopes up high. But we were really happy with the record though, we really enjoyed making it, but we had no sense that anything beyond us being happy would happen. I always liked bands that I discovered on my own, I wouldn’t hear them on commercial radio or MTV.

Kip- There are a couple of bands that reached a bigger audience like Sonic Youth or Nirvana, but most of the indie pop bands of the 90′s were limited to a narrow community.

So you were expecting that the album would spread by word of mouth, and instead you were plunged straight into a media frenzy. Were you ready for this?

Peggy- It wasn’t the goal of the band. You know, “everyone is going to love us!” We were just friends that started playing music and this is the kind of music that we like and have bonded over. I think if we had set out to get commercial success we wouldn’t sound the way that we do.

thepains4

Kip- Where we come from, our backrounds in music, there is not really a strong tradition of bands expecting good things to happen. Perhaps American bands are more self depricating (laugh) but there is this built in expectation that if you do something that you love, it might not be well received by others, but you’ll be happy because you will be proud of it.

Peggy – And you’re happy with the five people that appreciated it! (laughs) I feel like I was that person that would always appreciate a certain band and I would have been totally satisfied with that kind of response for us.

Kip- Growing up, most of the bands that I liked, I didn’t know anyone else who liked them.

Did that give it a special resonance – liking a band, and knowing that no-one else knows them?

Peggy – I wouldn’t admit that…… but I secretly enjoy it!

Kip – I would have liked to have known other people who were into the same bands as me growing up. I felt quite isolated that way; I would sit at home playing computer solitaire, listening to an album over and over again, but it’s cool now that we are travelling more and meeting people who had similar backrounds.

What is the Pains’ backround?

Peggy – I’ve been in bands since I was 13, but none of them that ever went on tour. This is the first band where I’ve got to travel.

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Kip – I was in a similar situation, but none of them had graduated above playing in a basement. So this is very different from anything I’ve ever been in – one band that I was in, our goal was to play at this house we knew that had really cool house parties! (laughs)

Can you account for the reasons why the Pains have become so successful?

Kip – We started small, we were playing together for a while before anything happened, it’s easy to lose sight of that because once the album came out things changed a bit, but we were around for a couple of years and met with plenty of challenges, so it doesn’t feel to us like it is an overnight thing, but it may seem that way from an outsiders perspective. I’m grateful for the way that it turned out because it allowed us to mess up for a bit without other people watching! (laughs) We had a relatively decent period of obscurity while we refined what we do….. and also, the reason is luck!

Peggy – And being in the right place at the right time.

Peggy, Is it true that the band formed in part to play at your birthday party?

Peggy – Yes! I remember it was my birthday and I had only invited like, four people; because I only have four friends! (laughs).

Kip – It was at this big warehouse and it was basically an elaborate plot to try and get Manhattan Love Suicides to play, and so if we threw the party, we could play first and then we could say that we played with them. So we had a month to get ready.

It sounds like it was a natural way in which the band came together….

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Kip- It was the best way. If the last seven months have taught us anything; we are always together, and if there were people that didn’t get along, it would be hellish, but we were friends for a long time before we picked up an instrument. This made the whole experience fun and much less stressful then for bands who get formed by putting ads in a paper saying ‘drummer needed’.

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Peggy – The fact that we are friends and the fact that we have stayed friends is almost more lucky than anything else.

So there haven’t been any falling outs on tour then?

Peggy (emphatically) No!

Kip – This is our first experience of doing this, we don’t have a glut of expectations, we’re just appreciative of the opportunity and are excited by it all; and when you are excited and enjoying it, it’s hard to get upset about things.

Peggy – Touring can be really hard and gruelling, and I feel like if it were with any other people it would really suck, but it ends up being fun anyway.

What have been some highlights for you in the last few months?

Peggy – Playing Primavera was really amazing, that was the first big festival we ever played, and I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, I don’t like crowds (laughs) so I thought, today might be weird or awkward, but it ended up being really life affirming and it was the biggest adrenalin rush ever.

Kip- ABC news showed up at our practice place to hear us play. The fellow who does the news is on TV saying (in deep, authoratative voice), “And now, a report from Brooklyn” (laughs), and him saying our band name on televsion… I sent that to my grandparents, I think that this was the moment where my family realised that even though they didn’t quite understand what was going on with us, we were doing something worthwhile.

Which country has had the best crowds at your gigs? Apart from Britain obviously!

Kip – Obviously!

Peggy – I thought Germany was really positive, we played three shows in Germany and they were really enthusiastic.

Kip – Sweden was pretty amazing, that country has a strong tradition of appreciating bands like ours and even though Swedes are normally really reserved, the enthusiasm we saw there predated even us having a record out – we had released our EP and if we had played in New York, maybe 40 people would have come, and we would know 37 of them, and then we went to Sweden and all of a sudden we were playing really big shows and I had no idea that a band like ours could find an audience like that. But most of the places that we have travelled to have been positive experiences.

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You’ve got some more touring to do, and then what do you have planned?

Kip- We have an EP coming out this fall, we recorded four songs before we went to Europe in May, and after the tour we are going back to practicing and working on the new record. But every step of the process is exciting and I try not to think too far into the future, because then you miss out on what is happening in the present.

After this I get Kip and Peggy to take part in my game of Lucky Dip, which involves picking questions out of the bag (my handbag, actually) Peggy picks the “What is the first record that you ever brought?” and proudly tells me that it was Madonna’s “Like A Prayer”, and then with less confidence, quietly adds that a purchase of Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” was also made. “I was really into female performers at the time!” she cried. Kip gets the “What is on your rider?” question, and true to form, the down to earth bands requests are not unicorns, dwarfs and mounds of Class A’s, but bread, hummus, water and beer. ” We just need to make sure that we get fed around 5pm or we get a bit grumpy” Kip ventures, although I don’t think any explanation is needed when the sum contents of your rider can be placed in a Tesco’s 5 items or less basket.

“The Pains of Being Pure At Heart” is out now.
Monday 10th August

UN Climate Change Talks

The U.N. Climate Change Talks in Bonn, recipe Germany begin a series of informal intersessional consultations today. These are part of the run-up to Copenhagen in December, search and this particular series can be found webcast live here

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Illustration by Sergio Membrillas

Tuesday 11th August

The Yes Men

The Yes Men film shows the hoaxes perpetrated by two US political pranksters. The promotion team describe the film as “so stupidly entertaining” that it will reach and motivate thousands of people, this thus “adding even more juice into a movement that is trying to save civilization itself, among other modest goals.

Tuesday is the satellite event – live from Sheffield, it’s a simulcast event screening of THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD and live q&a with the Yes Men beamed via satellites from Sheffield Showroom. Cinema-goers will have the opportunity to put their questions live and direct to the film’s stars from their respective cinema locations.

20.30, at the following London cinemas:
Odeon Panton Street, Clapham Picture House, The Gate Notting Hill, Greenwich Cinema, Ritzy Brixton, Screen-on-the-Green
More cinemas on the screenings page of their website.

Wednesday 12th August

Green Spaces & Sticky Feet

A creative exploration of the nature beneath our feet as we roam around the gardens – to help us understand why green spaces are important and how we can make our buildings greener. This is a workshop for children of all ages, who must be accompanied at all times by an adult.

2.30-4.30pm
St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens

Contact – The Building Exploratory – 020 7729 2011 – mail@buildingexploratory.org.uk
www.buildingexploratory.org.uk

VESTAS : National Day of Action

On Friday the 7th August the bailiffs went in and the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight ended.

In response to this a National Day of Action in support of the Vestas workers and to keep the factory open, for Green Jobs and a Green Energy Revolution, was declared. There will be actions all around the country organised by a diverse range of groups.

Or contact your local CCC group, or Union – or if you want to organise something in your area there is some advice from Jonathan Neale, of the CCC Trade Union group

The campaign to Save Vestas has not finished, it has just started and with it comes a campaign for a step change in the creation of Green Jobs and the Green Energy Revolution !

6.30pm
Outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Contact – info@campaigncc.org – savevestas.wordpress.com

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Illustration by Jeffrey Bowman

Thursday 13th August

Journey Deep Into the Heart of Remembrance

A spiritual celebration and experience, honouring our regal beauty with sacred song and dance. Dances of universal peace, Taize singing, Bhajans & Kirtan, native American sweat lodge, Zikr & Sufi practice, Breton dancing, Tibetan sound meditation, yoga, tribal dance, ancient ways of the British Isles, chant wave and more…

You can find more details www.hounslow.info

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

Saturday 15th August

Fly by Night at Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve

Let the London Wildlife Trust take you out trapping, identifying and recording moths on the Totteridge Fields Nature Reserve. Come and see how many species of moths visit the fields at night. Please wear warm clothes and sensible footwear. Bring a Torch, Notebook and pen. You may also want to bring a flask.

Free car parking in sports ground car park adjacent to the Hendon Wood Lane entrance.
Nearest tube is Totteridge & Whetstone
251 bus stops on Totteridge Common near the junction with Hendon Wood Lane.

8.30-10.30pm
Hendon wood Lane entrance to totteridge Fields Nature Reserve
Contact – Clive Cohen – 07973 825 165 – notinbooks.conservation@btinternet.com

Monday 10th August
The National at Southbank Centre, order London

The National are one of my favourite all time bands. Their music full of deep seductive murmuring and soaring strings, The National build a beautiful soundscape full of urban discontent and lost loves.

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Tuesday 11th August
Devotchka at Cargo, London

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that Devotchka have wandered straight out an Eastern European shtetl with their romani/ klezmer-tastic music. In fact they’re from Colorado and you probably recognise their orchestral treats from Everything is Illuminated and Little Miss Sunshine.

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Wednesday 12th August
Woodpigeon at Borderline, London

Woodpigeon is whispery folk with beautiful strings and brass. Perfect for a summer evening.

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Thursday 13th August
Circulus at The Lexington, London

Tired of the ins and outs of modern life? Do you want to return to a simpler time? A medieval time? Go see Circulus then! They’re quite obviously as mad as a bag of prog listening cats but they sing about fairies and have lutes- what couldn’t be awesome about that?

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Friday 14th August
Forest Fire and Broadcast 2000 at The Luminaire, London

Lovely country folk from Brooklyn’s Forest Fire and tinkly electronica from Broadcast 2000 are set to make this night special!

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Saturday 15th August
Spaghetti Anywhere and Colours at Barfly, London

Here at Amelia’s HQ we often find ourselves listening to Spaghetti Anywhere‘s myspace selection of pretty indie pop, and it never fails to brighten up a dreary office day.
Also playing are Colours the South Coast’s answer to My Bloody Valentine, offering up a delicious slice of Shoegaze with Pavement-y undertones. Brilliant stuff all round!

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William Cobbing: Thoughts From the Bottom of a Well

Gymnasium Art Gallery
Berwick Barracks
The Parade
Berwick-upon-Tweed TD15 1DG

Until 13th September
Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
Free

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Sculpture, ampoule video and installation from London based artist William Cobbing, drawing on inspiration from Andrei Tarkovsky and Robert Smithson.

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Jake and Dinos Chapman: My Giant Colouring Book

Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
Winchester SO23 8RX

Until 6th September
Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm
Free

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Controversial siblings Jake and Dinos Chapman strike again, with this Hayward Gallery exhibition on tour around the country, based on children’s dot-to-dot drawings but a whole lot more dark, chaotic and macabre.

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The 2009 Vice Magazine Photography Exhibition

The Printspace
74 Kingsland Road
Shoreditch
London E2 8DL

13th August – 26th August
Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm

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Artists include: Richard Kern, Maggie Lee, Peter Sutherland, Dana Goldstein, Tim Barber, Martynka Wawrzyniak, Angela Boatwright, Jamie Taete, Alex Sturrock, Jonnie Craig, Ben Rayner.

Exhibit X is pleased to announce an exhibition examining the blurred vision between photojournalism and raw photography, using images from Vice magazine and it’s photographers.’

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Stitching Time

The Town Hall Galleries
Cornhill
Ipswich IP1 1DH

15th August 26th September
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Free

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‘Stitching Time is a partnership project with Suffolk Artlink’s Culture Club and Colchester and Ipswich Museums. Older members of the community used a variety of sewing methods to create work in response to the collections.’

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The Kiss of a Lifetime (Part 2)

Vane
Kings House
Forth Banks
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3PA

Until 22nd August
Wednesday – Saturday 12-5pm
Free

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‘Our second presentation as part of the Northern Print Biennale, ‘The Kiss of a Lifetime (Part 2)’ is curated by Manchester-based artist and curator, Mike Chavez-Dawson. The exhibition features the work of over 100 artists, both internationally renowned and emerging, from the UK and abroad and examines what ‘the kiss’ signifies within contemporary culture – from the romantic to the lifesaving, from the prosaic to the violent.’

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Scottie Wilson

Pallant House Gallery
9 North Pallant
Chichester PO19 1TJ

Until11th October
Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm
Thursday 10am – 8pm
Sundays/ Bank Holidays 12.30 – 5pm
Free

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‘An exhibition featuring the highly distinctive drawings of the Scottish outsider artist Scottie Wilson (1891-1972). Starting his artistic career at the age of 44, his work was admired and collected by the likes of Jean Dubuffet and Pablo Picasso and he is considered to be one of the most celebrated outsider artists of the twentieth century.’

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Last week I attended the preview screening of The Yes Men Fix The World at the Odeon Panton in London’s West End. Narrated by Andy and Mike, story the self-styled Yes Men, it followed their highly creative protests against corporations and governments guilty of humanitarian and environmental misdemeanours. It’s a laugh-out-loud romp across the continents that you absolutely must see if you’ve ever dreamed of changing the world, but being an indie film unencumbered by distribution or advertising budgets you only get a couple of days to view it.

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You can read more about the exploits of the Yes Men in Cari’s excellent preview blog here and find details of where to see it here.

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In the meantime, if you live in London you might be more familiar with the Yes Men from their front page appearance in the Evening Standard yesterday, photographed in a joint stunt with Climate Rush to highlight the hypocrisy of Mandelson’s leadership as he takes over from the prime minister whilst Brown goes on holiday. Not only is Mandelson a non-elected politician (democracy?! is this really what it looks like?!) but he is also completely corrupt: Leila Deen from Plane Stupid threw custard over Mandelson in February in order to draw attention to his part in hob-nobbing with BAA execs and then lobbying for the third runway at Heathrow. He is well known for pushing the demands of big business over concerns about Climate Change.

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It was indeed a slightly surreal sight to see the unmistakable inflatable shapes of the Yes Men in their Halliburton SurvivaBalls – patented ways of escaping the worst effects of Climate Change if you’ve got enough cash – blocking the entrance to Mandelson’s residence in Regent’s Park together with two girls dressed daintily as suffragettes. Surrounded by mini windmills in plant pots they held aloft a banner which read Mandy Put The Wind In Vestas’ Sales, a timely message as the rooftop protest continues at the Vestas factory in Cowes.

And yet, the Yes Men were not content with a fiendishly early start to pull off the prank with Climate Rush, and were also determined to pay Richard Branson a visit yesterday atfternoon. Why? you might ask…

In a spoof film released onto YouTube yesterday Branson is seen posing astride The World, the huge fake island development constructed in the shape of, yes you guessed it, the world, in Dubai. He’s wearing an amazingly garish Union Jack suit as he cuddles up to some generic pretty girls in red sashes not unlike those favoured by Climate Rush (the sashes, that is.) As Branson states that “we’re just popping people into space and popping them straight back down again,” SurvivaBalls tumble across the screen.

This week it was announced that an Arab investment company has invested in Branson’s Virgin Galactic venture, which plans to take rich people into space on short jaunts to gawp at the wonder of our little planet. The specialist travel company Kuoni are quoted in The Independent as saying that “there will always be super-explorers with the financial ability… to marvel at the Earth from afar. If this is someone’s interest and desire, you can’t put a price on it.” The cost of these trips to the super-rich? A mere $200,000 for two hours. Already 85,000 have registered an interest, with a proportion paying up front. The cost to the earth? Well, Branson is master of greenwash, and he’d have you believe that this vanity project of his will be as eco-friendly as they come. Now I wonder how anyone can imagine that flying into space can come without a cost to the environment? But it seems that if you fuel your jets with biofuel all will be well.

Ah, biofuels, the biggest lie of them all and the subject of the July Climate Rush, where we blocked the street outside an agri-investment conference in Grovesnor Square in order to draw attention to the devastating effects of the rise in the use of palm oil across the globe.

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Not only do the monoculture plantations of this “wonder” oil cause massive tropical deforestation and an attendant rise in CO2 emissions, but they result in a 90% loss in wildlife diversity. Did you know that we have lost 90% of the orangutans in the past 100 years?

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In many parts of the world biofuels such as jatropha are grown on “marginal wasteland” which isn’t actually marginal at all – it’s common land that provides a living for the people who live nearby. Food Not Fuel, seen below at the Palm Oil Climate Rush, campaign on issues around the increasing use of land to create biofuel for cars, planes and soon apparently, space rockets. All this instead of using land to encourage biodiversity and feed the planet.

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How can a man who backs the creation of large scale monocultures to fly rich people into space purport to have any interest in the environment at all? Branson helped to found The Elders, a group of influential rich people who think they can save the world. “Could a small, dedicated group of independent elders help to resolve global problems and ease human suffering?” asks their website. Brilliant! How about space travel for the rich? That ought to do it.

And so, with this in mind, I met Andy, Mike and an assorted gaggle of helpers outside Green Park tube station, not far from where Richard Branson has set up his Galatic shop on an unassuming terraced street (albeit a posh one of course). We’d just bought the Evening Standard and the Yes Men were fairly incredulous with their front page status until I pointed out that if you team up with Climate Rush on an auspicious date that’s the kind of coverage you can expect to get.

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Across the road in Green Park out came the SurvivaBall suits and we watched with amusement as Mike and Andy climbed inside, and cunningly inflated themselves through the use of two fans mounted on helmets, before we all tripped across the road, moving slowly to accommodate a ripped SurvivaBall and a broken fan poking professionally out of the top of Mike’s head. Squeezing up the narrow steps the Yes Men pushed the buzzer to gain entrance to the Galactic offices.

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Alas the Yes Men didn’t get in (not unsurprisingly given their attire) and they seemed content to instead plant themselves on the doorstep and chant “Branson’s Stooopid”, which of course sounds much better in an American accent. Alex in the third SurvivaBall looked more like an overripe pumpkin than a bastion of “survival technology” but the beauty of the SurvivaBalls is that they look so utterly ridiculous.

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“How dumb is space travel for the rich?” chanted the Yes Men, faces squooshed into awkward angles. “This dumb!” they exclaimed before continuing, “What do we want? Space travel for the rich. When do we want it? Never!”

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Despite stating through the intercom that they would stay on the stoop until Branson “stops his ‘green’ hypocrisy and Virgin stops flying planes”, the uncomfortable suits were soon shaken off and the action completed. It may not have garnered the press attention of their early morning stunt, but it was filmed by their entourage, and will surely set the scene for many a further protest. Spaceships and astronauts call to mind the possibility of so many creative actions… The cogs in my mind are already turning. Are yours?

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Categories ,activism, ,climate rush, ,direct action, ,Mandelson, ,space travel, ,Vestas, ,Yes Men

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Amelia’s Magazine | Travelling to Denmark aboard the Dana Sirena cruise ferry.


Illustration by Antonia Parker

Well, store they’d really gone to town with this season’s menswear installations. Menswear Day is great, but it’s bloody hard work – you get five days to absorb what’s on offer for women, but only one for the guys – even though the quality and breadth of talent is just as vast.

So in between shows I managed to leg it around the installations, taking photographs, collecting press releases, bumping into people I knew and desperately tried not to steal Mr Hare shoes, all at the same time. It was hard work, I tell ya.

Katie Eary



I LOVE Katie Eary‘s work and this year was no exception. Moving away from skeletal masks and those joke glasses that have me in stitches whenever I see a pair, this season saw Katie collaborate with Lonsdale to create a 1950s boxing scene. It was GREAT – genuine boxers in Katie’s leopard-skin silk shorts, jewel-encrusted boxing helmets and embellished gloves fought on one side of the space behind traditional boxing ring ropes. A genuine coach jeered in his East End accent and Katie, resplendent in a leopard-skin number herself, styled the models/boxers like a glamorous ringside moll.



Tartans featured as boxers rested in the other half of the installation, surrounded by red roses and walls covered in the same fabric. Despite being mesmerised by the shirtless boxers I did also notice some neat tailoring, studded trousers and yet more leopard skin numbers. Amazing.

Mr Hare



Delicious shoes. Again. What else to say? It’s hard to stand out designing shoes exclusively for men, I’m sure, unless you design panto clown shoes – but Mr Hare managed it again – this season presenting an entirely black collection (strange, I thought, for S/S). Suede, patent leather and reptile skin all featured.

Matthew Miller

I am seriously excited about interviewing Matthew Miller in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that. His unique fusing of modern tailoring with a sport-luxe aesthetic really gets me going. A model stood looking a little perplexed outside his little hut, wearing a double-breasted blazer in rich cotton with a banded white stripe straight through the middle. It seems this theme ran through his entire collection, giving well-tailored clothing a contemporary twist. Crisp white shirts with stripes are teamed with tailored shirts to achieve the MM look.

Omar Kashoura

Illustration by Antonia Parker

It’s no secret that I loved what Omar Kashoura had to offer last season, and it’s no surprise that he’d been awarded NEWGEN sponsorship this time around. Moving on from formal tailoring, this season he presented a more playful collection packed full of wit, humour and great checks.



A jazz band modelled the clothes, but every time I went in they were hanging around posing and not actually playing instruments (that modelling opportunity had obviously gone to their heads) but I’m told they were very good. Twill double-breasted blazers, some with piped lapels, toyed with the idea of English dressing, and whimsical handkerchiefs were placed in pockets. A general colour palette of tones of blue was enhanced with flashes of red and some pastel colours, while the models wore Edward Green shoes (HOT).

The rest of the room featured look-book shots (above) with hilarious catalogue-style captions – ‘Andreas looks comfortable in a viscose and cotton knitted vest with a zipper front…’

Christopher Raeburn


Christopher Raeburn fits into many categories, and his collection this year was his best outing yet. Spots were the key theme, as were coats of many colours. Read a little bit more about him in Amelia’s review here.

Baartmans and Siegel


Great colours up for grabs here, with pastel blue tapered trousers and silk scarves and navy trenches, teamed with pastel blue suede shoes. Ones to watch, I’d say, with their mix of European influences and luxurious fabrics.

Mattio Bigliardi

…wins the award for biggest jacket. Love this colour…

Christopher Shannon

Another season brings another collaboration with Eastpak, and even more silly bags, that I actually really like. The colours echoed his catwalk collection, featuring lemon, aqua and grey.

Morgan Allen Oliver


Last, but by no means least, Morgan delighted again this season with fabulous knitwear and polka dot shorts. As much as I loved his offerings in February, this time around he seems to have grown in sophistication and his collection seemed smarter and infinitely more wearable, while still maintaining that contemporary, humorous wit that we’re steadily gettting used to. Muted colours featured, along with luxurious-knit cardigans, spotted jumpers and said polka-dot shorts, modelled by previous fashion editor Jonno Ovans!

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The Dana Sirena with her captain, more about by Yelena Bryksenkova.

When I was offered the opportunity to speak to designers in Copenhagen I jumped at the chance. And then, information pills of course, medications I realised that I would have to figure out how I could travel there without flying.

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A typical Scandinavian country house. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

It’s not a great secret that I’m no big fan of flying. I haven’t gone so far as to vow never to fly again but I’ve taken a two year break without any serious life shattering consequences: I’m perfectly happy and don’t feel my life has been any less rewarding for my lack of carbon emissions.

I resolutely won’t fly short distances – and by that I mean anywhere that is within easy reach by some other form of transport. Train, coach, ferry, bike, pony, foot. There are many other ways to travel which don’t involve standing in line at some horrible airport then having my ears pop in utter agony as we breach the upper atmosphere. Watching a crap movie in some tiny uncomfortable seat whilst being fed disgusting airplane food? No siree, I do not miss flying one iota. In fact, I have developed quite a severe phobia of flying in recent years – I sit there several kilometres above the ground and think “Ye gods, I shouldn’t be here. It’s wrong. If I was meant to be this far above earth I would have been born with wings.” So I’m always in a vague panic, especially when it’s turbulent.

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A typical building in Copenhagen.

So it was that I happily set out to find another way to travel to Copenhagen for my Underwerket Projects talk on design and sustainability. Cruise ferry seemed the most obvious way to travel and one which I was eager to try, having heard very good things from activists who had travelled by boat to the Copenhagen Cop15 summit last December. I contacted DFDS Seaways to see whether they might be amenable to sponsoring a trip aboard their North Seas flagship the Dana Sirena, and was very pleased when they agreed to let me travel with my boyfriend and car. I had already planned that we would take a late summer holiday as well – it seemed sensible to make the most of the trip, though it is possible to take a cruise ferry to Esbjerg for a long weekend. If booked well in advance it’s not expensive either – a crossing for a car with two people costs from £139 each way – but I do recommend planning such a trip some months ahead.

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The back deck of the Dana Sirena, which also carries freight.

Catching the ferry to Denmark involved a short drive to Harwich, where we boarded the Dana Sirena with ease. I love boats… I love standing on deck to watch the cars load, then watching the ramps go up and feeling the wind in my hair as we leave the harbour and pick up speed. My job involves so much sedentary gazing at a computer screen that I grasp the chance to feel the elements on my skin when I can, and there’s nothing more elemental than travelling by sea: it’s so much more pleasant than being trapped in a cramped and airless cabin. As we left I noted lots of wind turbines laid out in a vast facility, an offshore crane ready to tow them to their destination. As an international port in a crucial location, Harwich is perfectly placed to build renewable technologies.

DFDS Seaways Dana Sirena Columbus Lounge by felice perkins
The Columbus Lounge Crooner by Felice Perkins.

Our cabin on the Dana Sirena had a sea view which meant we could assess the weather from the comfort of our own room – the cabins are small but eminently spacious for a relatively short journey. Although it takes approximately twenty hours to get to Esbjerg in Denmark much of that time is spent asleep, lulled by the motion of the waves.

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Dana Sirena food
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The Dana Sirena Seven Seas restaurant buffet… yum.

For supper we ate yummy Danish food from the smorgasbord laid out in the Seven Seas restaurant, then sat in the Columbus Lounge with cocktails and a live crooner for company.

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Cruise Ship Singer by Mina Bach.

Cocktails are the same price as a pint of beer, fact fans, so you may as well eh? Certainly not the kind of laid back experience one can expect when travelling by plane.

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Danish Puddings by Abby Wright. The Danish are VERY good at puddings.

One of the biggest bonuses to travelling via cruise ferry is the opportunity to take your car with you. Or bikes; as people left the ferry with their touring bikes at the other end I felt a pang of envy, but the fact remains that the freedom of car travel remains unrivalled. We passed great colonies of seals basking on the sandy banks as we arrived at Esbjerg, where we disembarked immediately and headed east on completely clear roads. Denmark is small and there is very little traffic so it takes just a few hours to cross the islands and reach Copenhagen; from there it is but a quick hop over the bridge to Scania in Southern Sweden, where we also spent several delightful days exploring the countryside.

Scania Sweden campsite
Our campsite on the beautiful southern coast of Sweden.

Because we had a car we were able to visit lots of places that were well off the tourist track. In fact we hardly heard another English accent the entire time we were away – though of course we heard plenty of English because nearly all Scandinavians speak it perfectly. Taking the Dana Sirena to Denmark made us realise just how close Scandinavia is to the UK, something we had never really considered before but is obvious in the many historical links we share. My next blog will round up some of the best things to do if you take a cruise ferry holiday to Scandinavia in your car.

Land Art Funen
Land Art at Tickon Park near Tranakaer on a remote island of Langeland off the coast of Funen.

As we headed back to the port in Esbjerg a few weeks later we passed many British cars laden down with belongings. As well as being the perfect way to cut back on carbon emissions at a time when we desperately need to consider the effects of our individual and collective actions, a cruise ferry holiday allows for the freedom of a road trip. And yes, we managed to fill our car up too. But more on that in my next missive…

You can read about another journey aboard the Dana Sirena from the Man in Seat 61 here and book your trip aboard a cruise ferry at the DFDS Seaways website here.

Buffet chef by David Merta
Buffet chef in the Seven Seas restaurant by David Merta.

Categories ,Columbus Lounge, ,Cruise Ferry, ,Dana Sirena, ,David Merta, ,Denmark, ,DFDS Seaways, ,Esbjerg, ,Felice Perkins, ,Ferry, ,Funen, ,Harwich, ,Land Art, ,Man in Seat 61, ,Mina Bach., ,Offshore, ,scandinavia, ,Scania, ,Seven Seas restaurant, ,sustainability, ,sweden, ,Tickon Park, ,Tranakaer, ,Underwerket Projects, ,Wind Turbines, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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