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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Bellowhead Live Performance Review

On their first night of their November tour, I join the mighty Bellowhead for a charming evening of joy inducing hardcore folk.

Written by Helen Martin


The Darkroom on Lamb’s Conduit Street, ampoule check illustrated by June Chanpoomidole

A little while ago (read: ages ago and I’m only just getting around to writing this) I went along to the launch of Veja‘s new luggage line. I’ve digged Veja for ages – purveyors of neat trainers that are totally ethical in production and manufacture. They add a je ne sais quoi to the Shoreditch plimsoll trend, pills in a host of vibrant colours and fashion-forward designs.

So when I heard they were to develop a line of bags I was over the moon. The launch happened at the Darkroom- the latest hipster shop on Lambs Conduit Street, clinic with its achingly cool dark interior stocking some fabulous products that are hard to find elsewhere. A great atmosphere ensued due in large to cocktail after cocktail, which is brave of Veja considering their new range was dotted around the shop. I always have an acute fear of throwing a flirtini over an over-priced frock extremely over-priced artwork when I attend these functions.


Illustration by Katie Walters

The new line of bags is, quite simply, brilliant. In a range of a cool colours including dark blues, browns and creams, the bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes- from rucksacks to larger luggage styles. They’re al quality crafted, whether it be a canvas day bag or satchels in soft leather. And, as always, they’re totally ethical. The pure cotton canvas is always organic, the leather is vegetable-tanned and they’re all produced in Brazil using skilled workers who are paid well and looked after. So, not only do you look super-stylish, you can swagger guilt-free.


Illustration by Stacie Swift

Since the bag launch, Veja have released their latest season of trainers, which I reckon is the best range yet. Vegetable-tanned suede and wild Amazonian rubber make up this delicious new footwear range, called the Indigenous. You can watch the video of the shoot right here:

Veja — LOOKBOOK INDIGENOS from Veja on Vimeo.

Here are some photographs from the event for your delectation:

The best thing about Veja is that their ethical products won’t break the bank. Find out more about them on their website, and you can read more about ethical labels in Amelia’s new book.

Enjoy!


The Darkroom on Lamb’s Conduit Street, view illustrated by June Chanpoomidole

A little while ago (read: ages ago and I’m only just getting around to writing this) I went along to the launch of Veja‘s new luggage line. I’ve digged Veja for ages – purveyors of neat trainers that are totally ethical in production and manufacture. They add a je ne sais quoi to the Shoreditch plimsoll trend, look in a host of vibrant colours and fashion-forward designs.

So when I heard they were to develop a line of bags I was over the moon. The launch happened at the Darkroom- the latest hipster shop on Lambs Conduit Street, with its achingly cool dark interior stocking some fabulous products that are hard to find elsewhere. A great atmosphere ensued due in large to cocktail after cocktail, which is brave of Veja considering their new range was dotted around the shop. I always have an acute fear of throwing a flirtini over an over-priced frock extremely over-priced artwork when I attend these functions.


Illustration by Katie Walters

The new line of bags is, quite simply, brilliant. In a range of a cool colours including dark blues, browns and creams, the bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes- from rucksacks to larger luggage styles. They’re al quality crafted, whether it be a canvas day bag or satchels in soft leather. And, as always, they’re totally ethical. The pure cotton canvas is always organic, the leather is vegetable-tanned and they’re all produced in Brazil using skilled workers who are paid well and looked after. So, not only do you look super-stylish, you can swagger guilt-free.


Illustration by Stacie Swift

Since the bag launch, Veja have released their latest season of trainers, which I reckon is the best range yet. Vegetable-tanned suede and wild Amazonian rubber make up this delicious new footwear range, called the Indigenous. You can watch the video of the shoot right here:

Veja — LOOKBOOK INDIGENOS from Veja on Vimeo.

Here are some photographs from the event for your delectation:

The best thing about Veja is that their ethical products won’t break the bank. Find out more about them on their website, and you can read more about ethical labels in Amelia’s new book.

Enjoy!

valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, cialis 40mg that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, viagra dosage and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers’. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
valentine

Valentines schmallentines. Yup, physician that’s what I normally think. But for some reason I’m in a good mood this year. Although that doesn’t stop me grumbling about the excessive tat for sale in absolutely every shop I enter. Who the hell wants a light up musical plastic toad covered in hearts? Just one of the ridiculous landfill-bound items available on the groaning Valentine’s Day display in one supermarket I visited.

I was leaving my singing class last night when our teacher wished us all a Happy Valentines Day and I realised that this celebration of love has become a national event not unlike Christmas or Easter. How did that happen? But maybe it is a good thing… I shall explain.

valentine 2

Most of the time I have been on my own on Valentine’s Day. As a teenager my first boyfriend (this is him now. EWWWWWWWWWW. Amazing what you can do with google! I swear he was a smooth looker way back when, troche and he was cool. I know you don’t believe me) gave me a squashed box of Black Magic before trying to persuade me to give him a blow job. I wasn’t impressed. Then a boyfriend who I loved very much memorably gave me some hastily bought wilting ‘petrol station flowers‘. But he was young. I was in love. I forgave him and we lasted quite a bit longer.

At school and university I often made cards for my best friends instead of for a non-existent boyfriend, and during the long dry spell that I experienced in my 20s my lovely mother usually remembered to send me a card, and I would send her one too. I always felt that Valentine’s Day should be a time of year to give thanks to people who are special in our lives, regardless of whether they are our sole love interest.

And remember hearts. Hearts are just so great. Their shape, their colour. Like a circle or a square or a star, the shape of a heart says so much with so little. They’re cute and pretty and like most other girls, I probably can’t get enough of them. No, that’s a lie. When they’re bad hearts I can. Like these. Actually no, even these aren’t too bad. I have a seriously high tolerance for kitsch. But the commercial overkill of hearts makes me cross.

Pink kitsch hearts

I think it’s best to ignore the pressurised consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but I do think it’s nice to celebrate the occasion because everyone likes to feel appreciated. And if you’ve got some singleton friends, maybe you should think about popping a card in the post to them (making it obvious that it’s from you of course, not some handsome hunk of their dreams). I am sure it would make them smile this weekend.

Best of all, make something. Surprise that special someone with a special act or a special gift that you spent time and energy on. It means so much more than a bit of thoughtless tat. Having said that, us girls would also appreciate a bit of artwork or jewellery, especially if it’s by a talented independent designer or artist. So, here for your last minute delection I offer you my pick of Valentine inspired gifts.

rob-ryan-valentines

First up we have a beautiful print from Rob Ryan, whose sentimental art is perfectly suited to this time of year. I am reliably informed that as of earlier today there were two of these cut-outs left in the Tatty Devine Soho shop, but be quick if you’d like to snap up one because Rob Ryan grows ever more popular.

Bonbi Forest-love letter necklace

The Bonbi Forest website is run by artist Lee May Foster, who specialises in hand screenprinting and jewellery made from vintage pieces. Her brass Love Letter Lockets are ever so cute.

lisa jones-lovebirds

Over at Soma Gallery you can pick up a lovely silk screen print of kissing lovebirds, created by Lisa Jones.

valentines print-thereza-rowe

Amelia’s Magazine favourite Thereza Rowe is offering a limited edition Amore Valentines print, lovingly created in her inimitable colour palette. This bold artwork would look good on your wall all year round.

Clara Francis-The-Shop

And although it’s got darn all to do with hearts I’m kind of smitten with this beaded hummingbird necklace by Clara Francis. She’s used a traditional beading technique that I remember being fascinated by as a teenager. I told myself that I was going to learn how to do this myself. Yes well. Best intentions and all that.

Amelia Gregory

Fashion editor Rachael has already mentioned this classic lollipop necklace by Tatty Devine but I thought I’d add it in again – mainly because it was the necklace that they asked me to model in their Best Of booklet about a year ago. Ohhhh missus. Get me trying to be all saucy!

Lady Luck Rules Okay

And I know a certain someone who has already bought this for their loved one – a wooden squirrel broach from Lady Luck Rules Okay. I’m Nuts About You has room for your own message too. Lady Luck have a shop just moments from my house off Brick Lane. I should introduce them to the (real) squirrels who live in the ivy just below my bedroom windowsill. There’s certainly a lot of love going on between this happy (noisy) couple – in fact I’m expecting some additions to the family soon. Squirrel love. You really can’t beat it.

Oh, and I’ll let you know if I get any half dead flowers this year.
Bellowhead Kayleigh Bluck
Jon Spiers illustration by Kayleigh Bluck

My boyfriend, more about Charlie started showing me ‘A Folk Song A Day’ a while back. There is one where two men, Jon Boden and John Spiers, frontmen of Bellowhead, sit under a tree, in an (enchanted) forest and sing a nice traditional sounding number. This is the one Charlie particularly loves, it holds the words ‘spotted pig’ within it. Most of the songs come with a healthy dollop of ‘English’ cheek, hence spotted pig.

Just like Bellowhead’s songs, which tend to chat vigorously about strange animals, wizardry and prostitution. But they’re all done with a little glint in the eye and an elbow nudge. ‘English’ cheek makes these things Ok, I reckon. It also makes it all very amusing and you feel yourself holding back an ‘hoooo arrrgh’ as they announce the next song’s topic and sing about ‘whores’. Maybe the ‘hoooo arrrgh’ is because I am watching the band in the West Country and I’ve finally lost my South Eastern ways and become western in spirit. So lovable, they are… and darn! It just seems so quintessentially English to sing like this! *In the depths of dirty 18th century London, a pub glows orangey red, and bursts music from its heart- beers spills from tankards and bosoms heave.*

bellowhead by cat palairet
Bellowhead illustration by Cat Palairet

Of course London and Brighton still love a ho-down. But I have to say it is the county of Cornwall, that Bellowhead reminds me of the most. Cornwall still retains that mystical charm, where the fairies hang out dressed in corsets and the boys wear waistcoats. It is where you will find wooden floor stomping and ‘proper’ local pubs bursting with dancing and singing – natural coloured, ethereally moving fabrics flaying about. Although some Cornish say they are not English, it feels like it is they who hold onto my own nostalgic vision of England hundreds of years ago. And it is true that most music nights in Kernow’s pubs and bars centre around acoustic music and folk struts. You would certainly be hard pushed to find any minimal or electro going on down there.

BUT I digress! We are in Bristol tonight and although I may think i’m entering a pub called Jacob’s Ladder in Falmouth, Cornwall, I am actually in The Bristol Old Vic. Charlie is made up because he is seeing his spotted pig superstars and due to last minute actions, i’ve just had to squash past a row of people to get to my red velvet (?) seat in the middle of the seating line. There are eleven instruments on stage, which the eleven band members begin to attach themselves to. Most of the instruments look enormous. One of them, has to be worn, which makes it look like it is engulfing its player with its own gigantic structure. Like a fish with a massive head.

They start. And it’s like being dunked in ocean water, blasted with air and then bounced up and down. Before you know it, you’re bouncing up and down because you can’t help doing it. Then you’re clapping. Then you’re standing up, and dancing, and clapping. Because you literally can not help it. Bellowhead have injected you and the whole audience with some sort of extreme happiness on a November night. How very talented.

Bellowhead Live Bristol

When looking at the audience, I wouldn’t call it a ‘young person’ – as my Granny would label it – night. However there is a very broad demographic of people in attendance. Which lays testament to their talent. They are able to cross the divisions and bring people together with a related inner excitement. Initially I had thought the lady sat next to me appeared very reserved when I apologetically sank into my seat. But she really went for it, and I mean went for it. I had to tell myself to loosen up a bit, I was so impressed with her enthusiasm.

Bellowhead are so very confident on stage too. Jon Boden leads them on their whizz around their elation inducing music, and they all respect and work together so well. It’s great to see the purposeful movements, belief in performance and joy from being there. Enjoying the riotous music making, Boden continuously raises up his arms, embracing, welcoming and encouraging the spirited feelings. Everyone dances around on stage and I feel like i’m watching a vibrant musical.

This stage presence and professional style now transports them from Cornwall to the Moulin Rouge! Now, Boden is standing on top of the windmill as he sings, and all the players are on a platform in the sky. It’s all loaded with humour and full of energy as I realise that these guys are actually epic.

Abby_Wright_Bellowhead
Jon Spiers illustration by Abby Wright

I begin to wish there had been no seats and we could have pranced around and stamped our feet from the start. However, of course although Bellowhead are about the dancing, they are also about the performance. Huge accolades have been bestowed upon this mega-folk band. They have won the BBC award for Best Live Folk Act four times, with The Independent stating: ‘With the exception of The Who, Bellowhead are surely the best live act in the country.’ Indeed. With 11 hugely talented musicians on stage, I didn’t want to miss a thing.

Before I sign off, going back to A Folk Song A Day, Boden says: “The main idea behind A Folk Song A Day. com is to try and do my bit for raising the profile of unaccompanied social singing. Most of the songs on the site are songs that I have sung for years but rarely on stage and never on albums – songs that I have learnt because I wanted to be able to sing them in a pub.” I’ll tell you this, their album is nothing compared to a live performance by Bellowhead. You WILL want to start singing in pubs and you WILL be singing all the way home.

Details of their tour can be found here

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