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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Testosterone Tuesday: Photoshoot with the Amelia’s Magazine Crew

, August 19, 2008

Written by Michelle Heimerman

Down in Chicago a collective of environmentally aware artists have collaborated with curator Elga Wimmer to make a body of work responding to climate change. Entitled Nature Interrupted, erectile ambulance the exhibition details a wide range of approaches and concerns. We love the work of French artist Soazic Guezennec who has focused on pollution, prescription healing by tackling the idea of metaphors for acid rain which destroys Africa’s natural environment. The installation works with a disintegrated umbrella which allows water to pass through, unhealthy purchase collecting in a pool at the ground.

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Drawing inspiration from Giovanni Batttista Piranesi’s (1720- 1778) renditions of the collapse of Rome in depicting architecture being taken over by nature, Helen Brough works with a series of diagrams which lead to glass work. The enamel painted fired glass work with glass layers of flowing ink lines contained in acrylic boxes to simulate a peering window of the progression of time. Mixing ideas of the haunting potential realism of disaster films and unconscious dreams, iconic architecture is used which, with the progression of global warming, may eventually become ruins. Brough describes her outcomes as “imagined forecasts of moments.”

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Other featured artists tackle issues with recyclable materials from Joan Backes with the incredible construction of cardboard and paper houses, to Jon Brumit with a 35 ft cob made from 436 recycled bags, 6000 staples and a fan. Brilliant news to anyone who’s near Chelsea Art Museum, if not have a surf of their site.

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Cardboard and Paper house by Joan Backes

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The Monsanto Diet by Jon Brumit

I’ve only ever been to Brighton once. Which is ridiculous actually, buy information pills as I’ve been told it’s lovely. I think I must have picked the wrong day to show my New Yorker mate the seaside, about it which consisted of a wide variety of capped gentlemen screaming at some sort of sporting event. It must have been a really big deal, doctor because they all seemed to be angling to get arrested. Oh yeah, and my friend fell asleep once on the beach and got so sunburnt her face blistered! So to sum up, really great reviews methinks.

But seriously, it’s obviously awesome. Google told me that Simon Cowell, Natasha Kaplinsky and Des Lynam come from there and clearly they’re all making the world a better place. And so is the cute Brighton-based website Red Hot Ruby, literally. The online boutique of adorable t-shirts and bags are all ethically produced in Europe, with absolutely no funny business. And with free postage and packing to all of the UK and a re-usable mailing bag to boot, Katharine Hamnett would be seriously proud.

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And if that doesn’t get your organic knickers in a twist then you should really check out the products – from the new mini ice-cream design to the classic nautical anchor print on a variety of affordable t-shirts and tote bags for both the lads and the girlies. With a little bit of 1950s Americana thrown in for good measure, you can purchase a trashy novel clutch bag (my personal favourite thing – ever) and a Bettie page notebook. The website is also pretty darn helpful as well. There’s even a Ruby’s ‘Guide to Brighton’ section, clearly helpful in avoiding the hen parties and/or providing me with a more wholesome view of the place I’ll be visiting pronto, that is, after I check the sport listings…

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Monday 18th August

Lord Auch – Durr at The End, this web London
Menomena and The Week That Was – 93 Feet East, London

Tuesday 19th August

The Death Set – ULU, London

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Catch The Death Set on their apprently never ending tour. I really don’t know how they do it, i get tired just watching them.

The Cribs – King’s College Student Union, London
MGMT – Waterfront, Norwich
The Metros, Underground Heroes and The Pepys – The Macbeth, London
The Last Shadow Puppets – Guildhall, London

Wednesday 20th August

Future Of The Left and Fighting With Wire – Monto Water Rats, London
Dan Sartain and Gemma Ray – The Luminaire, London
Tokyo Police Club – Ruby Lounge, Manchester

Gig of the week

Pivot – Roundhouse, London

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Pivot are almost definately the best live band i’ve seen this year. They are a band that have something truly unique and there album is a fine body of work.

We Are Scientists – Academy, Oxford
Yeasayer and The Week That Was – King’s College Student Union, London
Selfish Cunt, No Bra, Pre and An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump – 100 Club, London

Thursday 21st August

Broadcast 2000 and Kinzli – The Lock Tavern, London
Cut Off Your Hands – Pure Groove Records, London
Das Pop – Hoxton Square & Kitchen, London
Noah & The Whale – Duchess, York
Finn Peters, Micachu and The Shapes and The Invisible – Cargo, London
Operator Please – Bar Academy, London
Pharoahe Monch – Jazz Café, London
The Ghost Frequency, The Clik Clik and Rosalita – Madame JoJo’s, London

Friday 22nd August

Bombay Bicycle Club – Koko, London
Underground Railroad, The Bleeps, Nayfo and Daughters Of Hendrix – 93 Feet East, London
The Wave Pictures – Joshua Brooks, Manchester

Saturday 23rd August

Cut Off Your Hands, Green Man Says Go and Swanton Bombs – The Macbeth, London
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Carling Academy 2, Liverpool
Holy Fuck – Push @ Astoria, London
Madonna – Millenium Centre, Cardiff

Man Like Me, Micachu, Popof and Joe and Will Ask – Secret Location, Shoreditch London

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For Man Like Me, Micachu and Joe and Will Ask, it may actually be worth going on a hunt around Shoreditch for this secret location.

Napolean IIIrd - Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London
Yacht – The Faversham, Leeds
So So Modern and Velofax – Proud Galleries, London

Sunday 24th August

LCD Soundsystem – The Medicine Bar, Birmingham

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This is perhaps not a gig i would most enjoy on a Sunday evening. LCD Soundsystem are just too much of a party, and The Medicine Bar can become quite a raucous and heated venue. I’m sure it will be lots of fun though.
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People sheltering from the rain under the band stand

For me, symptoms Saturday mornings are supposed to be about late rises and very large breakfasts; but the Saturday of Field Day was one very large exception. The coming of Field Day meant that I had to co-ordinate the meeting point of many friends at one spot in central London. With them all arriving at different times, I opted to solve it the only way that seemed reasonable. Tell them all to meet us there and bring drink so that we could wait for the rest to arrive. This seemed like the perfect plan, apart from the fact that the few I had already found and myself were then stuck under a tree, in the rain, drinking gin and tonic.

Finally we began our field day with a mad dash over to the Adventures In The Beetroot Field tent to get out of the rain. We were met with cheers, not for ourselves obviously, but for White Lies who had just taken to the stage. They played the few songs they have to a packed tent, but there was something a little lack luster about the show. We found ourselves talking, much like the rest of the crowd – finding ourselves easily distracted due to the less than deafening sound levels. Our growing interest in a plastic horse we had found served as proof that there really was no reason for us to linger.

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White Lies

We opted to brave the rain again, heading over to the main stage to catch the end of Wild Beasts. It seems like if you can stand Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto vocal assortments, you fall in love with them very soon afterwards. The ridiculousness of it all seeps away as soon as it’s teamed with structure of ‘The Devil’s Crayon‘, leading fans to a point of defense as soon as remarks like “He sounds like someone got him by the John Thomas” are made. I’m sad to say though, it was over all too soon, and we were forced to find shelter in the colourful bar/tent.

This was when horror stories of the previous years Field Day began to surface. Toilet queues, inaudible sound levels and sold out bars made it sound like a very traumatic experience, and I was comforted by the fact that apparently a whole host of sound and management experts had been roped in to rectify the previous year problems. Fat load of use they were though. The toilet queues stretched as far as the eye could see, and the noise levels, well, I’ll speak about that a bit more later – but to put it bluntly, two borrowers could have had a long and intricate conversation right at the front of the tents, without having to repeat themselves at any point due to mishearing.

The new village mentality idea was a bit of a washout. I’m sure it would have added some much needed fun factor to the day, if it hadn’t of been for the persistent rain. I couldn’t help feeling that perhaps they should have sorted out the lots of more basic aspects of the festival, before putting so much effort into something like this.

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The village mentality not really capturing people’s imagination

I then headed over to the Bugged Out tent to check out Modeselektor. The German duo have been on my to see list for ages and by the swelling mass of people at the mouth of the tent I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Perhaps one of the most bizarre things about it was that everyone seemed to have different ideas as to whereabouts in the tent would be best to actually hear the music. Some were trying to get as near to the front as possible, others opted to stand by the smaller speaker at the back.

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Modeselektor and the less than enthralled crowd

Basically, it was a shambles, and in the end Modeselektor stopped about halfway through their set announcing that, “if there is no bass, there is no point”. To which everybody was infuriated, yet understanding. The annoying part was that it obviously wasn’t the artist’s fault, and I don’t eve think it’s even really the organizers fault. It’s just a case of people wanting to kick up a fuss over nothing; I just wish people could be a bit more lenient in these kinds of situations. London is hardly a tranquil haven, how is a bit of music any worse than the cars, trains, tube and planes we have surrounding us?

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of Montreal being Fantastic

Well, now my rant is over I suppose I should speak some more about the music. One band that were a real treat from start to finish was of Montreal. A band I had heard a lot about, but hadn’t really been exposed to. A friend’s persistent statements on how he was longing to see them however won me over, and I’m very glad they did. If Patrick Wolf were to make NY-esque disco in a similar vain as Anthony Hegarty and his Hercules and the Love Affair shenanigans, it would sound like of Montreal. I know that’s probably a statement that some time fans don’t want to hear, but to me, that’s how it came across. The real treat of their show was the epic ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’. Clocking in at approximately half of their set it should have had people slowly filtering away, but instead the sound grew and grew around the same hook. People were transfixed, if not on the on stage performers, then on my friend who seemed to know every word. It was astounding.

The next few hours then disintegrated into catching bits and bobs of stuff, whilst persisting through the rain. Attempting to stay together soon became the least of our worries as a big effort was made to enjoy James Holden’s set. It was just impossible to get more than a few feet into the tent, and the sound was still pitiful. If Spinal Tap had amps that went up to 11, Field Day’s dials must have gone down to at least -1. But I think I’ve done enough moaning on that frontier.

Due to a rather hairy adventure trying to make my way out of the tent, I was only able to catch the last few songs of Les Savy Fav. I think it’s more than likely that half the crowd was purely there to see the lead singer and his distasteful antics, I certainly was. They were great nonetheless, and I’ll definitely try and catch them again, preferably somewhere drier and louder.

My choice of headliner was Benga, who proved almost impossible to find. He had been moved to a smaller tent where he was now headlining, but once we had found him I certainly wasn’t complaining. Once he had put his foot down enough for them to pump up the volume, the small tent was soon filled with the most ridiculous bass lines, and some dancing that you would usually find only in the earliest of hours. It was horrendous fun though, and although everyone would probably say they had wanted him to go on longer, I was completely exhausted by the end of it.

Overall, the whole event was perhaps one of the worst organized events I’ve ever attended, but also perhaps one of the most entertaining and fun. If the organizers ironed out all the faults, I think it could quite easily become the highlight of the year.
L.A. is a funny place. It’s the place where more than a dozen Arnie and Demi wannabes pop their gum while waiting tables, order but it’s also is the place where the musical gems Health and No Age call home. Both touted as the ‘next big thing’, approved both peddling a different version of noise and both playing Scala last Monday night.

If you listen to your dear old Aunt Betty, she would tell you that modern music is just noise. And with Health, Aunt Betty is kinda right. Health make an awful lot of noise. Ear bleeding, nose bleeding, eye watering, pace wearers beware noise. “Take earplugs” is a frequent suggestion when someone learns you are going to see Health. And walking into the Scala I was not disappointed to learn that their noise levels were cranked up to a million! Screeching, whining guitars compete with banging drums and hair swinging from the band. When ‘Triceratops‘ pounds down I am reminded of how much an intense live performance Health put on. By the time ‘Perfect skin‘ is given an airing I feel my ears might drop off. Feeling ever so slightly relieved when Health call time on their performance I head to the toilets to double check my eardrums are still intact.


Courtesy of Upset the Rhythm

A lot easier on the ears are No Age, with their weary vocals and droning guitars they could easily sound like a drag. But, no doubt as I’m sure your aware, in the hands (and vocal box) of Randy Randall and Dean Spunt (what ace names) their music is anything but dull. In testament to this, ‘Everybody’s Down’ engages the young pups at the front to frolic onto the stage where they roll around like the Andrex puppy, for pretty much the rest of the set. This invasion eventually pulls the plug on ‘Neck Escaper’, but ever the trooper Randall powers through. Now that’s what you want to see in a musician. Probably not either bands best performance I have seen, but no doubt about it Health and No Age know how to put on a show. Consequently grins are as broad as the Cheshire cats and isn’t that what music is supposed to be.


Courtesy of Upset the Rhythm

Monday 18th
Institute of Contemporary Arts, price ‘The Crystal Gaze’:Ursula Mayer: 18th-25th August
The Mall, viagra dosage London, SW1Y 5AH
Female figures set within iconic architectural interiors are part of combined photos and films inspired by the classic Hollywood glamour and Modernist avant-garde genres.

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Jake and Dino Chapman ‘My Giant Colouring Book’: 16th August-14th September
27 Belfast Rd, London N16 6UN
These two brothers are no strangers to scandal when it comes to transgressing the boundaries. Defacing works by great masters, using join the dots drawings from children’s picture books are the starting point. From this has sprung improvised monstrous creations, chaotic imagery and dark obsessions. Expect the unexpected.

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Tuesday 19th
Institute of Contemporary Arts, ‘Shoot Yr Idols’ films: 15th August-7th September
The Mall, London, SW1Y 5AH
A selection of arty documentaries inspired by the film Face Addict, a new film release which takes place in the Downtown scene of 70s, New York. Other films include Ed Ruscha, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Velvet Underground, Ed Kienholz and, of course, Andy Warhol.

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Wednesday 20th
Brick Lane Gallery, ‘Art in mind’: Sarah Beetson, Esti Eini, Steve Rack,etc: 20th August- 1st September
196 Brick Lane, London E1 65A
A dose of contemporary art with a hip twist

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Empire Gallery, ‘David Le Fleming‘s Gulliwing May and the Dannevirke Divas’ and ‘ElleMay Logan’s Monsters and Grotesques‘: 20th August-8th September
Empire Gallery, 30 Vyner St, London, E2 9DQ
LeFleming’s visual puns, flat colours and vintage objects as well as ElleMay’s grotesque 3D paper cut outs, inspired by book ‘Demns, Visions of Evil in Art’ makes intriguing viewing.

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Thursday 21st
Campbell Works, ‘You Turn’: in addition to five artists in residence,: (Shaun Doyle and Mally Mallinson, Harriet Murray, James Unsworth, Neil Taylor)15 gifted and talented youths make their response to the Chapmans imagery during a seven month workshop programme: 16th August-28th September
A counterpart to the Chapman Borhters’ series of etchings is now showing at Campbell works. As well as five artists in residence who will respond to the infamous Chapman brothers’ work, 15 talented youths will also display their work. In addition to this, art goers can get in on the act by createing their own response to become part of the exhibition. Get you paintbrushes at the ready!

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Friday 22nd

Transition Gallery, ‘Pretty Vacant’: Nina Ogden, Keera Stewart, Rachel Potts: 22nd August-7th September
Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London E8 4QN
Lo-fi methods display a quiet passion in the beautifully banal. Nina Ogden uses obsessive detail culled from eggs, bees and tadpoles to create surreal characters whilst Keara Stewart delicately displays through deadpan drawing and sculpture, her fascination with the unknown stories left behind in architecture. Rachel Potts creates a blank detachment in the painted surface whilst simultaneously hinting at fantasy.

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Proud Gallery, ‘No one is innocent’ Sid Vicious: 4th June-11th August
32 John Adam Street?London?WC2N 6BP?
Intimate photographic exhibition of the most infamous and tragic of punk icons features exclusive pictures from key punk photographers from the late 1970s. The highlights Sid’s chaotic life with his band-mates in the Sex Pistols, as well as his ill-fated relationship with the notorious Nancy Spungen.

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Saturday 23rd
The hospital, ‘Frieze 20′ : Damien Hirst, Anya Gallaccio, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas etc
24 Endell St, London WC2H 9HQ
Twentieth anniversary celebration of the ‘Freeze’ exhibition that lauched the YBA movement.

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Sunday 24th
Lemoncello, ‘Rehearsal of a Cross-Dressing Stepfather’ by Sally O’Reilly and Zoe Pepper with Shaun French: Sunday 24th August: 3-7pm with a v short performance at 7:30pm
Limoncello, 92 Hoxton Street, London N1 6LP
‘Rehearsal of a Cross-Dressing Stepfather’ is an attempt to represent the behaviour of a fascinatingly dysfunctional, but real person through the body of an actor. Using scripts based on recorded monologues about how many meals you can serve from a single goose from Aldi, an actor, a director and a first-hand witness will explore the manner and mien of a penny-pinching, a-social, dress-wearing stepfather. Want to add a bit of drama to your Sunday? Then go to this!

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Notting Hill, ‘Notting Hill Carnival’: 24th-25th August
Chepstow Rd, Westbourne Grove, Ladbroke Grove, W2
This festival needs no introduction. Europes finest celebration of music, sound systems spanning 3 miles, colour, glitter and dance all in London. Get set for some groovy shinanigans.

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Shoreditch, ‘Street fest’: DJs, Cinema, live art, fashion show, hair show and events: 16th-24th August: 12pm-10pm
Make like a banana and slit your time between nottinhill and Shoreditch festival. The latter has music from the likes of Junkboxx, Damian Lazarus and others. Cimema from Future Shorts, live art: Ronzo, Andy Seize and an exclusive fashion show from satoshi date.

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Just a quickie to let you all know that Beyond the Valley will be holding a special countdown sale over this upcoming bank holiday weekend. The store, dosage which houses a range of products from upcoming design talent, will be starting their end of season sale on Friday 22nd, when all sale products will be cut down to £30. Prices will reduce by a further £5 every two days until everything is cleared. Discounted items include end of season fashion, accessories and sample garments.

It’s worth a little look. If you do go have a flick through the ‘When Fletcher and Hay Met …’ – the book that I mentioned in my previous blog.

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After a day of becoming educated about climate change from those more knowledgeable, nurse many of the climate campers were in the perfect mood to let there hair down at a good old Céilidh.

Believe it or not, symptoms this was not my first Céilidh experience. Due to my regular yearly attendance at Warwick Folk Festival, I should by now be learned in the dance. However, no matter how much experience I may have had at such dancing, I still have no idea what I’m doing for the majority of each dance. I like to think that in a way this is all part of the fun though.

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Myself, Tanya, Dearbhaile and Kate all rocked up to the tent where Amelia’s band Cut A Shine were due to play, a little merry and ready to get our do-si-do on. As soon as the band appeared, everyone seemed to be getting a little eager to commence dancing. Slowly, a form of order was regained and Amelia began to direct everone as to how to perform the dance successfully. The crowd had formed into two circles, one at the front and one at the back, and unfortunately we were at the rear. Which made hearing Amelia’s directions quite hard work, and when the music started up we were perhaps caught a little off guard. There were a few hair-raising moments when we were lost amongst all the other dancers, but I’m pretty sure we weren’t the only ones out of sync. Anyway, everyone seemed to be having a great time and straw was flying everywhere due to peoples enthusiastic moves.

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We had either had a very long day, or we just weren’t cut out for the amount of exercised involved, as it wasn’t long before we were all completely out of breath and in dire need of a rest. This served as a splendid excuse to get more drinks before rejoining the fun for the last few dances. I think our collective favourite of which was the one in which one pair had to pass under an arch made by another pair. This led to many failed attempts in which the wrong pair was attempting to go through a rather confused arch. After a few attempts though we had got the nack and managed to successfully complete the dance for several repetitions.

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The bands set ended with a freestyle dance in which everyone seemed to opt for linking arms, moving speedily from partner to partner. By the end we were all completely worn out, and all the exercise had given the alcohol a bit of an extra kick. Actually, i’m not sure which was more tiring, the dancing, or all the laughing.

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We just about had enough energy left to make our way back to the London tent for a good sit down, and a bit of a natter before making our way back to the tent.

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The centre point of the camp and the power station eyesore of Kingsnorth

Greeted by a friendly Climate Camp chap who stopped me to remind me not to give my name to the police I couldn’t help but feel a bit like a spy. Marching towards the police check point, pills caught a little off guard, no rx “do you need to check my bits?” I asked the policeman. Met with a rather shocked expression, price “er my bag,” I muttered. I watched in discomfort as my perfectly squashed belongings in my rucksack were fished through and my tactically packed tent was unravelled. After a touch of small talk and a pink form filled out with my pretend signature to prove I had been searched we were all done and off I went.

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The London camp entrance

I struggled up the hill, stumbled over a sty and I had made my mission. The sun was out and people were cheerfully frolicking in the long grass. With the site being divided into districts, I made my way to meet the rest of Amelia’s troops in the London campsite. I arrived in good timing, dinner was on the way and the Londoners were gathered in the main tent. Sparkly fairy lights, sofas and even a few posters up on the walls, I was really impressed by the homely, civilised feel of the place. A vegan meal was served, we gobbled our spicy feast under the clear nights sky, gazed at the stars with a bottle of wine and chewed the cud with some fellow campers.

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The tent which kept it all running smoothly

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One of the neighbourhood tents

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Scotland and Newcastle’s patch

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The Animal Rights tent providing workshops and advice throughout the day

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My fellow interns Charles and Derv striking a pose in front of something pretty

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The entrance to the London tent

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Dinner time outside the London tent

An early rise on Tuesday, we were up and ready by 8.30am for our muesli feast served on a plate with a fork (slightly out of camping practice, we didn’t think to bring our own tableware). Kited out with the timetable of events we headed our chosen workshops. Terms such as Capitalism take me back to my days of GCSE history, my teacher dear Mr Mcqueen, a chirpy Scottish chap he may have been, but he always filled me with little inspiration. As Derv reveals in her blog, this was far different and a great introduction to understand the state of affairs which block our ability to alter the state of global warming.

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Inside a workshop space

This stood me in good stead for the Plan B workshop on Development Aid and Big Oil. Entitled Robin Hood in reverse, we were exposed to the unquestioned on goings of our UK governments Department for International Development (DFID) and the World Bank, querying where exactly our tax money goes within development aid. A misleading tag indeed as Plan B speaker Mel reveals, this funding is in fact filling the pockets of large corporate oil companies, which already make steaming profits.

Oil extraction, not only damages the environment with increasing carbon emissions and contaminating local water supplies, but is also creating regional wars concerning oil sources. The pipeline which runs from Kazakhstan to Georgia put forward by BP in 1999 is a prime example; small countries receive no benefits and are being forced to become more dependant on the North.

With many criticisms of human rights from across the globe concerning the Chad-Cameroon extraction responsible by Exxon (USA) and Esso (UK), the World Bank and DFID were finally investigated as to their source of money and where it ends up. DFID and the World Bank shrugged off any claims of violations, no recommendations have been accepted, despite the fact that the Extractive Industries Review 2004 recommended oil and gas extraction was to be phased out and to build more reliance on coal. Needless to say, this funding is ongoing despite Plan B’s current efforts of petitions and lobbying with MP’s to stop using our money for this cause.

Similar concerns were raised from Richard Whittell with his Wednesday workshop Dodgy Development: the UK government and India. Having joined climate camp straight after a two month research trip around the poorest states of India, Whittell had been collaborating with a filmmaker to research an informative film on DFID’s funding in India, in terms of where it is, or isn’t going. Our government has pumped £1 billion of development aid into India in the last five years, with an estimated further £850 million in the next three. Although the purpose of this money is to help the Indian government, £60 million has been funded under the tag ‘rural livelihoods’ programs, which promote the cultivation of biofuels in villages such as Orissa. The schemes funded by DFID target poor farmers, encouraging villages to use their common and degraded land to make jatropha.

Furthermore, it is DFID that are responsible for the privatisation of India by bribing them with money. Services such as public transport now have a major restriction on business freedom. From this point onwards as the documentary film insights, many more poverty stricken villages are living with extremely unstable and unsafe electricity sources. Worse still, some can no longer afford access to electricity as foreign private companies have dramatically raised their charges (some slums have received bills of up to £300 when their earning for a day is £1). Similarly, the resettlement policy within which money is offered to landowners to make space for fossil fuel extraction leaves very little hope for a large proportion of those living in the poorest villages as many do not own their land. With future plans to target West Mengal and Behar, questions need to be asked on an international level. Within the film, when asked how to move on from this severe deterioration, the people of India simply ask to leave it to them: to stop accessing their fossil fuels and allow them to govern their own country. We need to put public pressure on the DFID to make change happen. Not only is this hugely damaging to India but also, globally, more extraction means more carbon emissions and thus a heightened chance of dramatic global warming effects.

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The recycled boat was not just a great place for the younger campers to play, but a meeting point for the proficiently planned protest route by raft to Kingsnorth on Saturday

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A water filtration unit

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Renewable energy sources at the camp

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Rocket stoves cooking London’s dinner

An inspirational (if not slightly intellectual) workshop with Oliver Tickell (author of Kyoto 2) detailed the realism of our changing world. Introducing his talk with the idea that Kyoto agreement will cease to exist in 2012, the truth of our effects on the environment hit home hard. With regulations currently set on carbon emissions on a global scale, what will be put into place and agreed post 2012? As his talk, together with the practice of sustainable living at the camp demonstrated, we are more than capable of realistically changing the way we live and the effects. Funding needs to be put into renewable energy, which is more than achievable as the array of wind turbines and solar panels at the camp portrays. Together with this, we need to conserve our forestry and biodiversity.

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A young lady outside the Bicycology tent where you can borrow bikes to nip to the shop off the camp site

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A young lad shows me the art of playing a Gameboy powered by a bicycle

From lawn tango to graffiti workshops to a vegan bakery and cinema, there was much to do and see at the camp. A keen bicyclist in my college days, I dipped into a spot of reading up at the Bicycology tent. A collective of cyclists which deal with environmental and social responsibility, Bicycology work to make change through the use of push bikes. Recycling tetra packs to make wallets, advice on how to adapt your two wheels to suit commuting needs and ideas as to how to use cycling to support climate awareness; these guys have even cycled to protested at the 2005 G8 meeting. Utilising our bikes is just one of the ways we can really reduce carbon emissions. As Amelia will tell all us Londoners, the tubes take far longer than her on her wheels!

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Crowds gather round the vegan bakery for some free cakes

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Amelia, Sarah, Emma, Mel and Michelle resting in the sun after lunch

Our eyes were certainly opened during our week at Climate Camp. From rocket stoves to cook our vegan meals to bicycles generating power; we are easily capable to adapt our comfortable way of life to be more beneficial to the environment. We as a society desperate to keep up with fast paced unnecessary consumerist developments from mobile phone upgrades to TV dinners have created a disaster and it will not fade away. All we need to do on an individual basis is take responsibility and a few steps backwards.

There was a great sense of morale and unity at the camp. Indifference to the coverage depicted by some mainstream media and the police, the campers there are self sacrificing individuals who have taken the initiation themselves to alter our state of affairs, for the benefit of you, me and our planet. Renewable energy and sustainable living are well within our grasp. We will be there next year, and so should you!

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The completely unnecessary police force on Thursday

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We’re big fans of self-starting students – after all, there for most of us ‘studying’ is simply an excuse to live on loaned money, page shop and socialise without fear of admonition and, capsule when the bell tolls, cram for exams that you should have started revising for months ago. Then there are those rare breeds of student for whom creativity is a constant – and Holly Paxton is one of the latter.

Having studied painting at Camberwell College of Arts and now, elbow-deep in the fine art of Jewellery Design at Central Saint Martins, the London native, and her boyfriend, Michael Hatched, have been ploughing their passion for quirky jewellery into a money-making enterprise for years. In 2006, the pair even supplied bespoke pieces to a whole shebang of glam guests at the UK Music Hall of Fame – but while we’re digging the cool quotient of lucky recipients Prince, Beyoncé and James Brown, we’re even more head-over-heels with the pretty pendants and trinkets themselves.

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Every piece is painstakingly drawn onto plastic then resin-coated to seal the colour and protect it. This isn’t a cookie-cutter collection – a closer peek reveals the extent of the pair’s perfectionist eyes and pleasing dexterity. Every piece is, essentially, a one-off with a small catalogue of previous designs, which can be reordered. For those who prefer the precious over the plastic, there are also luxury silver-backed and diamond-studded pieces, finished with a quality silver chain and bound up in a ribbon-tied box. Then there’s the bespoke option – which (hint hint) would make a far more glamorous gift than a bouquet of wilting petrol station carnations and half-melted box of Milk Tray.

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Of course, with a name like Eat Your Feet, there’s bound to be a twist. It comes in the form the designers’ inspiration and the delightful sense of humour that pervades so many of their pieces. Our favourite? A necklace emblazoned with the face of the portly tyrant Henry VIII with a pair of his wife’s heads as earrings to match. Smart and funny enough to make us lose our heads – but lucky for us, with nothing but laughter.

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Workshops should be an integral part of all festivals. I mean, patient what’s not to love? You get to discuss and learn more about subjects close to your heart whilst bonding with new people and maybe even making a few friends. Perhaps I’m showing my nerdy side, order but having attended a few Ladyfests in my time I’ve come to realise that it is always the workshops that end up being the most enriching and rewarding experiences from these kinds of festivals. So why don’t more festivals follow suit? Come on, sildenafil who wouldn’t love to learn to bake cakes in an anarchist bakery whilst rocking out at Reading festival? Hmmm…

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Well, anyway, with it’s fully working anarchist bakery (along with 15 other workshop spaces) Climate Camp was obviously going to be my cup of tea. Work commitments meant that I could only manage to make a day trip to the camp, so I chose my day carefully. Being a supposed fully fledged feminist myself, I was really keen to attend the Eco-Feminism workshop on Thursday and add some more patriarchy piercing arrows to my bow. I also thought it would be pretty savvy to learn a bit more about how my own political leanings could tie in nicely with (and therefore, make me more passionate about) the politics that were pulsing through the heart of climate camp.

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I’d read up a little on Eco-Feminism in Issue 9 of Amelia’s Magazine. Natalie McCall’s piece ‘Fleeting Sky’ spoke about how, though Eco-Feminism as a movement is rather a modern phenomenom (the term itelf was coined in as late as 1974 by Françoise d’Eaubonne), it could be argued that the alignment of environmentalism and feminism is as old as the earth itself. Whilst ‘Fleeting Sky’ was a great mini history of an exciting movement full of admirable women, further Wiki research on the subject revealed that there is sometimes a more primitive, almost pagan side to the movement. My feminist spirituality stops just shy of Moon Cups, so I’m a bit cynical about all this ‘Mother Earth’ mysticism. With this in mind, I was a little apprehensive about the workshop. Instead of finding myself in a talk of ‘being at one with nature’ just because we possess ovaries, I was hoping instead to find out how feminism and ecological thinking could come together to give practical solutions for the situations we will find ourselves in in the future.

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With the workshop starting at 12, and Michelle and I having left sleepy eyed from London early that morning, I was sure that I’d be at Kingsnorth with time to spare. However, I hadn’t factored in to this plan that our Climate Camp courtesy mini van would be stopped and questioned, or that we would each be searched. After all the waiting, fumbling about and getting felt up I arrived at Camp. Feeling rather put out by the police searches (I’m here to talk to Eco-Feminists, not D lock myself to them) I sprinted off to the workshop, 15 minutes late.

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Arriving finally at the spacious tent I realised I had missed the all important welcoming speech that must have covered what Eco-Feminism actually is and why it’s important! Faced with lot’s of little groups deep in discussion I was glad to see fellow Amelia’s intern Kate. Kate, Michelle and I, as well as a few other lost looking noobs, fractured off into a new ramshackle group and started to wonder about what we should be discussing. Thankfully the workshop coordinator, Elizabeth, welcomed us in and got us up to date.

At it’s very core Eco-Feminism is “the belief that the social mentality that leads to the domination and oppression of women is directly connected to the social mentality that leads to the abuse of the environment” (thanks Wiki!), but Elizabeth went on to explain that feminism and environmental issues will become more and more intertwined as climate change becomes more drastic.

For example, we talked about natural disasters. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that “women and children are particularly affected by disasters, accounting for more than seventy five percent of displaced persons.” We talked about how this had been true of the Sichuan earthquake this year.

Talking about the effect natural disasters have on women, I was reminded of Marjoleine Boonstra’s documentary ‘Robert, Mary and Katrina’. This incredibly moving film, which I had seen at a Birds Eye View event, was basically a lengthy interview with a wonderfully natured (and very funny, given the circumstances) long time married couple in their 70′s who took time to tell the film maker their experiences of the hurricane that devastated New Orleans. At one point the couple spoke tearfully of how their adult children had told them about their stay in a stadium (one of the only places deemed safe to house so many survivors) and the abominable things that were happening there. The WHO sums this up in it’s report saying; “In addition to the general effects of natural disaster and lack of health care, women are vulnerable to reproductive and sexual health problems, and increased rates of sexual and domestic violence.” Whilst hurricane Katrina highlighted racial and economic divisions, it’s important to consider the warnings it also had for us concerning gender.

Sometimes the future can look bleak if we look to the past and focus on only the worst examples of human nature. But history exists to teach us a lesson and we hope to go on, as humans as a whole, not making the same mistakes again. With these things in mind, Elizabeth encouraged us to look to the future and imagine worst case scenarios and best case scenarios.

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Each group presented their worst case scenarios in a post oil world plagued by natural disasters and populated by isolated colonies (it might sound extreme, but such realities are not too far away if we don’t change our carbon guzzling ways). These ranged from “An extension of tribalism. People fear those different from themselves/what is considered normal” and “Gender norms exaggerated, return to ‘traditional’ roles” to “Women blamed for failing in their provider roles” and “Increased work for women: ‘survival work’ recovering from disasters”. This last point is especially likely as we can see this has happened previously. As the WHO reported; “Moreover, gender roles dictate that women become the primary caretakers for those affected by disasters – including children, the injured and sick, and the elderly – substantially increasing their emotional and material work load. Women’s vulnerability is further increased by the loss of men and/or livelihoods, especially when a male head of household has died and the women must provide for their families.”

Being more positive, however, all the groups could envisage a liberal utopia being born out of a post oil world. These included;

“Upsurge in feminism, we use our feminist voices to highlight other causes
“Wide variety of values, respect of differences”
“Sex becomes seen as good, natural and is presented realistically – decline in homophobia.”
“Increase in breast feeding”
“Dismantle the military”
“No more gender binary – Debunking of Masculine/Feminine notions”
“Breakdown of capitalism, women can explore other roles – not just housewife/businesswoman”
“Men take on more domestic chores – sharing of work around the home”
“Rebirth of skills, cooking, crafting, DIY, moving towards sustainability.”

There were many positive ideas coming out of this meeting, which was great as it showed women were ready to face the future with hope. “How will we make sure our best case scenario becomes a reality?” Elizabeth prompted us. One suggestion was that women should take steps to own land since the “central tenet in Eco Feminism states that male ownership of land has led to a dominator culture (patriarchy), manifesting itself in food export, over-grazing, the tragedy of the commons, exploitation of people, and an abusive land ethic, in which animals and land are valued only as economic resources.” (Thanks again, Wiki!)

When it comes to natural disasters the WHO have some advice that should definitely be noted in order to lessen the harsh effects of disasters on women; “Engaging women as full and equal partners in community-based disaster mitigation and planning, and integrating women at the highest levels of planning and decision making in camp environments (particularly with respect to the health needs of women, including reproductive health services) and employing women as primary distributors of emergency rations and medical supplies.”

Finally, to help our dreams for a bright future come true, we all discussed how, ultimately, the earth and it’s environmental state is our responsibility. We each need to dedicate ourselves to the Eco Feminist movement now in order to ensure that the next generations of women fare better than those who have been affected by climate change in the past.

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As we all work behind our computers writing for the blog and researching for the upcoming issue of the magazine, more about we decided to give ourselves a bit of time in the spotlight. Since Charles is the only male and spends his days with seven other ladies, sickness we made mustaches to make him feel a bit less outnumbered. With our pieces of art taped to our faces ready to go, we ventured outside and struck a pose.

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Dearbhaile, Charles, Tanya, Melinda, Sarah, Michelle, Katie, Emma
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