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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Mystery Jets

Puregroove Records, Monday, 2nd June

Written by Charles Drakeford

The new section of amelia’s blog will be online shortly!

Like most people of my generation, information pills my reference point for the Vietnam War is 1960′s Americana.
Apocalypse Now“, “Full Metal Jacket” and “Platoon” had informed my view of this now distant conflict. A haze of nostalgia, Jimi Hendrix and beautiful, tanned American youths sweating in the jungle dominated my perception of the Vietnam War. If you perhaps share this feeling then I would wholly recommend watching the documentary/ film “Winter Solider” at the ICA. The film, made by the independent and ad hoc film collective Winterfilm in 1972 is a distant from cry from the all-star Vietnam movies of Hollywood although no less powerful or gripping.

In 1971 a group of war veterans gathered together to testify to the war crimes they had witnessed during their time in service. The meeting, which occurred one month after the My Lai massacre, was filmed by an anonymous film company and has remained virtually unseen ever since. Simplistically created through talking heads or fixed camera shots on the various groups who met at a Detroit Hotel, the film is mostly a bleached black and white except for a few colour photo-stills. The men are filmed talking casually amongst themselves or at the conference tables in front of an audience. These real ‘characters’ are recognisable from all the main stream cinema epics but their script is horrifically different. The young men simply and honestly tell their stories, the events they witnessed and the actions they carried out. I felt as though I was in that hotel audience in 1971 and shuddered involuntarily on several occasions. The confessions of these young men were frank, sincere and often terrifying. No glamourisation of war can be found in this film and what begins as a recollection of events between old friends soon becomes haunting and highly emotional.

The most moving aspect of ‘winter solider’ is its relevance to today. I found the film disturbingly modern and disgustingly reminiscent of current events. There is a great feeling of sadness and anger from the veterans, mostly in their early twenties. The main question they are left asking is not how could such atrocities occur but how could we have committed these atrocities . Young, innocent, healthy American teenagers committing obscene acts of senseless violence and cruelty. And subtly the question is broached, what were we doing there anyway…..

At a time when we are once again in the shadow of a confusing and unjust conflict with countless civilian casualties and speculation of torture, this film unfortunately, is very relevant and opens a number of questions that we should again be asking of ourselves.

Gratuitously skin tight stone washed jeans; tanned oiled chests, clinic enormous hair, gallons of lip gloss and dangerously bulging crotches could only mean one thing….COCK ROCK. Yes, that strange yet tantalisingly great genre is back and has been gloriously saluted by the new issue of the Freaky Jason. To celebrate the near release of issue three of this new-cult magazine, fans of Jason and cock alike gathered at the beautifully dingy Macbeth on Wednesday. Drinks were flowing and the even the bar staff were enjoying the night, performing energetic feats of dance behind the bar.
We were entertained by bands Le Shark and Benin City and later by DJ the Juliets, all organised by Freaky Jason events master Jackson. The atmosphere was fun and vibrant without being so busy that you cannot move and get covered by other people’s sweat! I had a little dance, the crowd were very appreciative and the bar staff performed acrobatic routines whilst pouring a steady flow of rum and cokes. Good times were had by all!
For those who have not yet been introduced to the ways of the Freaky Jason, this magic independent magazine is the creation of two Sydneysiders who have left the sunshine of Australia to bring their us ‘contorted’ sense of humor, obsessions and whims. The magazine is themed by underground-pop-culture and the phenomena of ‘Jesusy Boys’ and ‘Euro’ have been explored in the previous issues. In preparation for the new issue I have been blasting out ‘Poison’ classics and watching ‘Rat’ videos on you tube with rapturous glee! This fantastic and free publication is soon to be available across London, so be sure to look out for it!!
After successfully managing to snap the strap of one of my much loved handbags on a particularly horrendous journey into the office, viagra order I was on the lookout for a decent
bag that could actually sustain the wear and tear of good ol’ London Transport.

Whilst on my journey of discovery I was delighted to come across these nifty little shopping carriers by Envirosax. Designed as an alternative to disposable plastic bags, malady Envirosax have produced a collection of reusable all purpose bamboo bags. Not only are these little wonders 100% bio-degradable, approved but they can be rolled up and popped away when not in use – who said being environmentally friendly had to be hard work?

So – now down to crunch time – it’s all well and great being good for the environment, but how do they actually look I hear you sigh? Well – it turns out they aren’t half bad. The bags come in a range of funky patterns from eye popping polka-dot spirals to a more demure leaf design. Ladies – team them with a pair of linen trousers and oversized shades and you’re all set for a sunny stroll down Brighton pier – or maybe just a stylish dash through Sainsbury’s car park as you attempt to avoid the British rain… oh well … its always nice to dream every now and again.



The ominous queue in the rain outside the brand spanking new puregroove store was not even a little off putting because these punters knew they were about to become at least seven times happier.

Warming up for those most mysterious of jets was the tremendous Jeremy Warmsley. I have to admit I’d never heard of him before tonight, capsule but his cover of New Order’s classic ‘Temptation’ was close to being the highlight of my evening. His Americana presence and suspiciously Elvis Costello looks almost had me announcing a ho-down, site but I restrained myself.

By the time the Mystery Jets were set to appear the store was rammed, to the point where it was almost uncomfortable and unfortunately a little dance was out of the question. A run down of their new album’s finest tracks delighted all, especially when the request of ‘MJ’ was answered. Much to my disappointment though the hail of “Dennis” was not. The band’s guitarist William Rees gave the reasoning that “me and Dennis don’t get on anymore”. This fall out wasn’t dwelled on for long though, as every song off their new album is instantly more engaging. I had thought this was due to the production skills of Erol Alkan, but no, they’re just astonishing songwriters.

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