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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Finn â

Erased Tapes, 10th November

Written by Charles Drakeford

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“It’s nice everyone getting dressed up and making an effort, hospital stomach round Christmas time ‘n that”, generic slurred an old man at the bar after telling me this was his local. Halloween did he mean? A gaze and a nod.

Peggy Sue (there were some pirates but they’ve long since fled to the Caribbean to find themselves) have a knack of adding a distinct flavour to everything they do. Brewed in soulfulness and peppered with giggles, they are an intoxicating concoction of many lovely things; compared to the likes of Lauryn Hill and Regina Spektor in a single breath, all manner of genres tossed in their direction.

But references aside, that tend to reduce everybody to something regurgitated, there’s lots of other good stuff – like a compilation CD released for every month (100 copies only, complete with artwork), like how their voices emulate astonishing power and soft effortlessness all at once; or that their low-fi sound is brought together with honeyed harmonies, punctuated Spektor-like noises and an unending supply of bizarre percussion instruments. It is finally exquisitely tied together with lyrics that detach our body-parts as things to be stolen, tell stories of the woes of superheroes, and give life to ‘those fragile little things’ that live inside. It all feels very refreshing, and nicely homemade – ‘Peggy Who?’ asks the drum-face.

The Horror Movie Marathon had the Peggy stamp all over it, made apparent in its details. A projection screen hung behind them playing classic horror gems; a new horror song, complete with screams had been written for the occasion; and the widely acclaimed ‘superman’ was illustrated by a live puppet-show on stage. The wide-eyed Alessi’s Ark and feet-shuffling Derek Meins were there to support, marking the beginning of the Triptych Tour – one bus, two weeks, three acts. Catch them if you can in a venue near you! But what oh what does Triptych mean?

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Be Prepared, sildenafil long the motto of the Scouts, is now being added to by The London Climate Camp Social Group with Be Inspired and Be Involved. A series of nights around town broadly divided into these three headings encouraging all to socialise and fund-raise for Climate Camp.

Be Prepared nights fund-raise with bands, djs and comedy. It’s one to bring your friends who may not be into all the “eco stuff” but would be interested in finding out more about Climate Camp.
Be Inspired focuses on what’s going on at the moment. Film screenings, speakers and debates wil inform people what is happening and why Climate Camp is doing what its doing.
Be Involved is the actions based adventures, such as Climate Rush, the forthcoming Day of Action and what ever else happens in the future.

The first one is tomorrow and is a Be Inspired night held at The Old Crown, 33 New Oxford St starting at 19:00. The line up consists of Alistair James playing music, Leo Murray introducing his excellent animation Wake Up, Freak out and Get A Grip, a short presentation from Climate Camp about what is being done right now and where it’s going and why, including two ladies instrumental in organising Climate Rush. Plus plenty of music to dance the night away.

The Old Crown
33 New Oxford St (corner of Museum street),
London WC1A 1BH.
Between Holborn and Tottenham Court road tube station.

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Hotel International 1993

Dear Tracey, discount

It wasn’t so long ago that I really thought I’d had it up to my neck with you. I think it was one of your columns in the Independent that did it. You’d had a bad day, page you know, one of those ones when you don’t particularly feel like getting out of bed in the morning and then when you do, you burn your toast, or scald yourself in the shower or something. And instead of having a quick cry, or swearing, or generally getting on with things as most people might do, your especially bad day led you toward one overarching question: ‘did my dad ever really love me?’ I thought it was a tad dramatic. So upon hearing about your retrospective at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art I was expecting 20 years of torment in the space of a few rooms. And you didn’t disappoint. But what I wasn’t expecting was that I was going to leave the exhibition liking you. Feeling for you, maybe. Being critical of you, definitely. But actually liking you? No, I wasn’t expecting that. But there is a reason that we hear so much about you Tracey, because you know what, you’re actually a pretty good artist.

Emin’s exhibition opens much like one would expect it to, throwing the viewer head-first into the deep-end. The first work we encounter is a tribute to her deceased grandmother; the second, a graphic description of a traumatic abortion. All the staple Emin classics are here: the neon signs, the tapestries, expressionist etchings, and of course, the infamous bed. And yet after the piss-stains, the used condoms, the confessional video diaries, the purging of torment and the sheer tragedy of it all, something beautiful remains. Emin’s letter to her uncle Colin is a striking example of this. Lucid and incredibly moving, Emin succinctly describes her emotions as she learns of the horrific accident that caused her beloved uncle’s death. Exploration of the Soul, a work comprised of 32 sheets of handwritten text, is similar in its expressive eloquence. You may baulk at the several spelling mistakes, shudder at the sadness of other people’s lives or smile at the moments of humanity within it; Emin will fail to leave you unmoved.

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My Bed 1998

The further we continue through the exhibition the more we feel as though we are Emin’s confidante; her scars are ours now and they are weighing us down. To enter, toward the end, a room removed of much of the abject excess of the others, comes as welcome relief. Two sculptures in particular reveal the diversity of Emin’s talent as an artist. Self Portrait (Bath) comprises a rusty bath filled with bamboo, barbed wire, chicken wire and a contorted neon streak entwined to create a work of great textual interest. In the same room a rollercoaster of reclaimed wood, It’s Not The Way I Want to Die from 2005, dominates the space. Constructed entirely from old crates, the past life of the wood seems to echo Emin’s own (one plank retaining it’s FRAGILE label), but is here reworked into a somewhat rickety yet undeniably beautiful piece.

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It’s Not The Way I Want to Die 2005

Emin is a chameleon, expressing herself in several mediums and seemingly mastering them all. Love or loathe her – you won’t easily forget her, and to my mind, that’s what makes her continue to be worth talking about.

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The Perfect Place to Grow 2001

Images courtesy of Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

September marked the official UK launch of the new shopping/networking website, ampoule ShopStyle. Already popular amongst fashion followers in the US, viagra the best way to describe this new digital phenomenon would be a ‘Google for fashion with a MySpace twist‘. Shopstyle offers a unique online shopping experience, which enables users to browse the rails of thousands of brands through a simple search box option. Just like Google, ShopStyle carries out all the hard work trawling through shopping sites in order to bring you any matching items to your keywords. Users can also narrow down their searches by price, brand, store and size so only the most relevant results are displayed.

The site proved to be heaven sent in my own hunt to unearth a descent pair of gladiator heels, presenting me with options from new and smaller brands that I wouldn’t usually consider in my shopping choices.

ShopStyle’s nifty social networking twist means even those of us a little strapped for cash can still muzzle in on the spirit of fashion. The StyleBook tool allows users to play around and create their own fashion look books based on their own personal tastes and styles. These can be viewed by fellow users who are free to comment and discuss ideas. Unlike other virtual stores, ShopStyle embraces a love for fashion and creativity, moving beyond the simple idea of consumption.

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Keep an eye out next month as three emerging designers, selected by stylist to the stars, Bay Garnett, get the opportunity to display their collection on the site.

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Creaturemag sets out to bring together artists from all around the world, adiposity and produce an online publication, which works as one big collaboration. Being the arty literate types that they are, they’ve also created a sort of character out of the Creaturemag concept. This has led to an entertaining, if not ever so slightly confusing, interview with themselves, or Creaturemag – you kind of have to read it to understand.

They have just released Creaturemag festival edition – a diary of their activities over the summer. Its content though is a little more in depth than trudging through mud and drinking cider though. The wonderful cover has been done by long time Amelia’s contributor Nikki Pinder! It also features interviews with up and coming musical geniuses Alessi and Zombie Zombie.

Being the creative types that they are though, no pages go without a little artistic decoration. A group of top notch illustrators have contributed – bringing the entire thing to life.

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Crafty pirate

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Floating from festival to festival over the summer, the creatives behind Creaturemag have compiled pieces on the more out there festivals like Secret Garden Party and End Of The Road. The festival edition acts as a sort of guide to how they have often created their own arty fun at festivals this year. Perhaps the most intriguing of which is the feature on concrete mushrooms that were taken to festival all over the country. It is also a testament to how devoted they are to their art. The idea of dragging massive concrete mushrooms on top of the mounds of bags and tents I always end up hauling to campsite doesn’t appeal to me.

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Concrete mushrooms

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The whole thing just makes it look like the guys behind it have had the best summer ever, and it really makes me want to go back to a festival.

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As an entity we usually take in music that is self-consciously/appointed art-rock. It is often forgotten that this art-rock did not just pop out of Andy Warhol’s arse as he stood watching the Velvet Underground, more about he just brought an audience to Reed, buy Cale, see Morrison and Tucker’s genius. Although visual art did have an influence, it is the avant-garde classical that clashed with rhythm and blues to start this musical mongrel. LaMonte Young and the Fluxus movement popularised drones; Cage, Reich and Glass atonality and chance. Karlheinz Stockhausen is another visionary whose contribution cannot be forgotten. The great German- who sadly passed away last year- was a key contributor to the zygote cell stage of electronic music and developed his own musical language of complexity and rapturous transcendental irregular noise. Without him the work of- to mention a few acolytes- Kraftwerk, Zappa, Bjork, Can, Aphex Twin, Faust and Sonic Youth would be very different and have a few less words to rely upon in their collective musical lexicon.

The Royal Festival Hall and Purcell Rooms hosted Klang which was intended as a tribute for Stockhausen’s eightieth birthday. I was privy to two nights of the retrospective which proved to be one of the most amazing musical experiences I have ever had. The Friday night in the smaller Purcell Rooms began with Joy the second hour of Stockhausen’s incomplete twenty-four hour cycle. This was a piece composed for two harpists. The two former students of Stockhausen sat illuminated by a single spotlight dressed in white. They completely subverted my expectations of what a harp could do as the cut up fragments of a medieval German hymn mixed plucked or bashed arrythmic textures with youthful voices making strange phonetic noises. Subsequently, Cosmic Pulses (the thirteenth hour) was archetypal Stockhausen electronic music on 24 different tape loops played at differing speeds through eight surrounding speakers in the dark with a single moon like spotlight on stage. Bjork says Stockhausen mixed modernity with the primordial and natural ferocity of a thunderstorm. This displayed that contradictory dialectic as it buzzed brilliantly with unpredictable electric whip crack on rumbling menace.

I feel privileged to have seen the final night at the Royal Festival Hall. First as short electronic work was played, a token gesture for what was to follow. Lucifer’s Dance was utterly batshit. Performed by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, a solo drummer, flautist and opera singer dressed up as Lucifer himself. It was a comment on the spirit of contradiction and independence via the conduit of an orchestra pretending to be a grimacing demonic face. However, Stockhausen made people use their instruments idiosyncratically and it wasn’t a conventional (not that I have been to many) classical concert. The musicians had to dance, uncomfortably, in their chairs as they blew discordant squalling devil’s frown lines. The cameo from the amazing jazz drummer was particularly good, he represented nostrils. Weirdness. As we left the hall from the rooftops Michael’s Farewell was trumpeted over the Thames, a stunning experience, older fans were getting visibly emotional it may as well have been Karlheinz’s farewell for them. Many of his students, collaborators and friends were in attendance. People left with sad smiles and general wonder from what they had just experienced.
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I realised the other day that it had been quite some time since I had rocked out – it kind of just fell out of favour. Mainly because rocking out became so cringeworthy all of a sudden. The connotations appeared to have fallen into something deeply uncool, capsule instead of being the epitomy of it.

The answer to this life problem comes in the form of two bands. Rolo Tomassi; a band that are undeniably too fun for metal and too out there for indie, more about and Fucked Up!; a relentless hardcore band whose live show is almost more about what the lead singer is doing physically, rather than their ear punishing music.

Rolo Tomassi took to the stage and instantly impressed with their musicianship. The music skips from segment to segment with time signatures that befuddle the mind. They’re like some experimental jazz band, in the way that they take an anything goes approach, only more like a jazz band that has been raised by wolves – or something equally ridiculous.

Their set was simply fantastic, though with the catalog of songs they have on their album that came as no surprise. Their keyboard player came into his own during Abraxas, his assault on the keys reproducing something of an assault on my ears. They leave the audience thoroughly shaken, and all I could think about was how I couldn’t wait to see them again some time.

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With a name like Fucked Up! there is a certain amount of characteristics expected. They live up to, if not exceed, any kind of expectations imaginable. As soon as the lead singer hoists himself on stage he is something of a dominating presence, like some jurassic being – I was genuinely scared of this guy. On first hear they sound like a pretty standard American hardcore band, and it’s not until you see them live that you get a full understanding. The lead singer’s nonsensical ventures into the crowd, his hilarious jibes between songs and the general raucous in the crowd caused by their show somehow allows it to make sense.

I left the gig with a level of adrenaline that I haven’t felt whilst walking away from a gig in years. I’d recommend some time at a metal gig of this calibre to anyone, it is still a case of being careful though. As a genre it deals with both end of a spectrum. Prepare to listen to an awful lot of guff before you find the genre’s best bits.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine we’re all about nurturing design newbies, advice particularly if they’re as innovative and inspiring as Karen Karem. We first encountered Karen way back in the days of issue 6. Fresh out of Central St Martins and brimming with ideas, for sale she caught our eye with her funky range of horse shaped bags inspired by childhood dreams of magical fantasy lands. After two long years of hard work and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease, information pills she’s now back to launch her debut Spring/Summer 09 clothing collection, Hard Cover Candy.

A peak into Karen’s treasure trove of inspirations reveals a concoction of nostalgic teenage memorabilia combined with a haphazard assortment of British items from eras past. Kitch accessories and pastel coloured cupcakes bump shoulders with jars of jellybeans, fluffy cotton candy, 60′s platforms, teenage heartthrobs and images of elegant ladies at brunch.

The collection itself consists of a range of dresses. Each contain a childlike quality but still manage to maintain a sense of femininity and elegance. Like her playful horse bags, Hard Cover Candy is for women who remember raiding their mothers wardrobes and dressing up in pretty frocks for birthday parties at the age of 9. They’re for women who like to daydream and still feel like little girls at heart.

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With a mixed colour palette of soft pastels and vibrant electrifying tones, Karen’s selection of baby doll dresses and floor length evening gowns use chiffon and ruffles to ensure a high level of grace and movement.

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With Vogue and Vanity Fair already showing an interest in the collection, it’s likely that Karen Karem will soon be sweeping us all along into her magical daydream world.

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To make music relaxing without descending into something boring requires great amounts of skill in arrangement and more often than not melody. These are two things that Finn has in milk tanker sized loads.

The music on this album rises and falls like a souffle. Beginning with the settling whispers of Half-Moon Stunned. Perhaps not the most exciting song on the album it introduces you to the subtle yet brooding voice of Finn. The restrained yet beautiful melodies of this song have an air of Sigur Ros, illness though on a much smaller scale.

Midway though the album things become a little more unsettled, with the romper that is Julius Caesar. All semi off key, there is a sense of panic in his voice – a device that reminds me of Thom Yorke‘s solo efforts. It pulls at the heartstrings purely through it’s melody, even without the hard hitting, blood spill heavy lyrics.

One of my favourite selections from the album is The Truth Is A Lie, again opting for those obtuse melodies, only this time with some very 60s percussion. This sets it off magnificently, making it far less dreary even though it’s steeped in melancholy. Only problem is, about halfway you remember what it really reminds me of. It does sound kind of like Duffy, if she was in a fowl mood and had a record label who had a conscience and would stop forcing that drivel upon us all.

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One Response to “Finn â”

  1. brad says:

    ruckus review! big up durk!

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