Amelia’s Magazine | Scandinavian womenswear designer Eyglo: New S/S 2012 Season Presentation Preview and Interview

Eyglo S/S 2012 by Aysim Genc
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Aysim Genc.



Eyglo Magret has been designing clothes since the age of 17. Graduating from the Iceland Academy of Arts in 2005 with a degree in Fashion Design, artistic Eyglo went on to intern with a number of highly respected fashion houses including Bernhard Willhelm, threeAsFOUR and Jeremy Scott – an impressive start, not to mention formidable resume for a first time graduate.


I first met Eyglo during Paris Fashion Week and instantly decided that I liked both her and her small, but expertly designed collection. Following our conversation, I discovered the thinking and creative process behind her refreshingly original concepts: talk dinosaur themes and sea-green hair and you’ve got my attention. 


Eyglo by Aysim Genc
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Aysim Genc.


Eyglo’s collections are often described as feminine and timeless with a signature nudge nudge, wink wink thrown in for added humour. I was drawn to the architectural simplicity of each piece for S/S 2012, particularly the sporty, easy to wear shapes found on funnel neck coats and wide fitting dresses; a big trend for next year if Paris’s spring/summer trade shows are anything to go by. Always one for working with natural fabrics, Eylgo is continuously reinventing her approach towards detail and pattern cutting, often giving a slight futuristic feel to her impishly charming creations that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tim Burton-esque fantasy.

Eyglo S/S 2012
Eyglo S/S 2012
Not only is 28-year-old Eylgo Magret a creative soul, but she also has one heck of a business orientated head on her shoulders. In 2010, she and nine other designers set up Icelandic-based boutique collective, Kiosk. The store pulls together a group of young designers under one roof offering something new and original to the fashion conscious youth of Reykjavik, Iceland.


Parallel to that of the Icelandic fashion scene itself, Eyglo has slowly but surely been creeping into the world’s international fashion radar over the past few years. Following our brief chat in Paris, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to speak to the Scandinavian designer in more depth about the direction for S/S 2012 and what the future holds for Icelandic brainchild, Kiosk.

Eyglo S/S 2012
Eyglo S/S 2012
After graduating from the Iceland Academy of Arts you interned with Jeremy Scott. How was it working with him, and what did you take away from the experience?

It was great! But the best part was probably the people that were there at the same time – Gerlan from Gerlan Jeans and Ingrid Gutto who is now the head designer for Alexander Wang Menswear. It was also amazing staying in the Hollywood hills with small deer, raccoons, skunks and other funny little animals running around outside the studio. I was mainly involved in pattern cutting and costume making, but I also got to design a dress for Madonna and Fischerspooner whilst I was there. I was also lucky enough to intern with ThreeASFOUR and Bernhard Willhelm. Each experience was completely different to the next. I’m really into experimental pattern making and I was lucky enough to be involved with different ways of acting out this process at three different companies.


Eyglo by Katie Gill
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Katie Gill.

You designed a dress for Madonna! Did you get to meet the lady herself?

No, I didn’t get to meet Madonna unfortunately; she had an assistant running around for her. I just got hold of the measurements and a reference picture and did my thing, but she did wear the dress in one of her music videos so I guess I fulfilled my duty! 
 
Which other designers do you look to for direction?
It can vary from season to season, but usually Givenchy, Lanvin, Mary Karantzou and many more. It’s always nice to look to the graduation collections from Central Saint Martins as well.



 
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Grace Duignan-Pearson
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Grace Duignan-Pearson.
 
What’s the inspiration behind your S/S 2012 collection?
It all stems from when my son came home from the library with a dinosaur book one day. That’s where I got the idea for the pattern and pleats, and I also scanned my own hair onto silk satin dresses. The collection has a bit of a sporty, animalistic vibe to it I guess.  
 
You and nine other designers co-own the Icelandic boutique store, Kiosk. Where did the idea behind the venture come from?
I’d originally been selling in KronKron and Liborius here in Reykjavik for some time; they’re both really nice boutiques so I had nothing to complain about. The whole idea for Kiosk came from my friend and we grouped together. Now it’s possible for me to sell my products cheaper, and I get more in my pocket at the end of the day. The nicest thing is that you get to stay in much better contact with your customers, for special orders and so on. We work one day a week each, split the rent and have a lot of fun being a group. We’re taking in three new brands at the beginning of November, whilst two of the original owners take a break to work on other things. I’d recommend this way of doing business for all young designers, it takes up a lot of time but pays back in so many ways in the end.

Eyglo S/S 2012 by Katie Gill
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Katie Gill.

Iceland is becoming more and more known for its emerging talent. Recession aside, what do you think the future holds for the Icelandic fashion scene?
It’s slowly growing. I remember when I was a teenager there was only mall shops and one second hand store – that was it! I guess that was the reason why I went into fashion design. I couldn’t find any clothes that were interesting enough for me. I graduated in 2005, and that was only the second year of graduates studying fashion in Iceland. Just 10-20% of each year’s graduates go on to actually do their own thing. We’ve held Reykjavik Fashion Festival twice now and hopefully it will be held again early next year. The event managed to get a lot of press here last time and I wouldn’t hesitate in taking part again.

Eyglo S/S 2012
Eyglo S/S 2012
When did you first decide that you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I was 17 and studying at business school – ha! It almost happened over a night and I’ve never looked back since. Not once. There’s nothing else that I would like to do, this is it. 
 
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Grace Duignan-Pearson
Eyglo S/S 2012 by Grace Duignan-Pearson.

How would you describe the typical Eyglo girl?
Clothing wise, I would say playful and classic but a total nerd! Though a happy and a confident nerd at that.  

What’s next for Eyglo?
I’m currently working on my designs for A/W 2012. I’m looking into crop circles; clearly I’ve been watching too many ancient aliens programs. I wouldn’t be surprised if I started a cult before the collection is actually shown, ha!

Categories ,Alexander Wang, ,AsFour, ,Aysim Genc, ,Bernhard Willhelm, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Eyglo, ,fischerspooner, ,Gerlan Jeans, ,Givenchy, ,Grace Duignan-Pearson, ,Hollywood, ,iceland, ,Iceland Academy of Arts, ,Jeremy Scott, ,Kate Rose Gill, ,Kiosk, ,KronKron, ,Lanvin, ,Liborius, ,Madonna, ,Mary Karantzou, ,Paris Fashion Week, ,Reykjavik, ,Reykjavik Fashion Festival, ,S/S 2012

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Amelia’s Magazine | Sir Paul Smith can do no wrong

A couple of weeks back Amelia’s Magazine were thrilled to be invited to the Paul Smith showroom to have a sneak preview of the SS10 collection. Exactly as I’d imagined the new ranges featured Paul Smith’s usual cacophony of bright colour and were peppered with ethnic inspired patterns and florals galore.

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With several projects on the go at the moment Sir Paul is one busy bee, having recently supported the exhibition of British artist Rob Clarke at his store within the departure lounge at Heathrow’s controversial Terminal 5. Presently Paul Smith Jeans are about to launch a limited edition T-shirt to celebrate the release of artist Sam Taylor-Wood’s directorial debut; ‘Nowhere Boy’, with a percentage of the sale price going straight to Maggies Charity Appeal, which hopes to raise £3million to fund a new cancer treatment centre at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

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Image courtesy of Paul Smith

Continuing the artistic theme he will also be staging a ‘Hockney Christmas’ at his Albemarle Street furniture store exhibiting a selection of David Hockney prints in the run up to Christmas (1-24th December). As if all of the aforementioned projects weren’t enough, the upcoming festive season will see Sir Paul putting his signature stamp (in organic ink) on a limited edition bottle in collaboration with Evian water.

With so many projects in 2009 there seems to be no end to the power of both Paul Smith’s brand and talents. So you may be wondering what Sir Paul could possibly have left in store for us in 2010? In short, quite a lot. With numerous new stores to open, collections and diffusion lines to design for and a wealth of creatives to collaborate with there will always be something new to look forward to.

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Highlights from next summer’s collections included a beautiful series of ladies bowler hats made in collaboration with renowned hat makers Christys’ London. Made from 100% wool these beauties are available in blue, pink, black, red and fawn, and are inspired by the dapper dressing style of the men documented in the photographic book ‘Gentlemen of Bacongo’.

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Bright tribal inspired show necklaces were also present having featured heavily on the London Fashion Week catwalk back in September. Vibrant wooden beads in red, orange, blue and yellow take their inspiration from Africa and are designed to be worn in a dramatic layered effect ensuring they’re the centre piece of any outfit.

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The main theme running throughout Sir Paul’s SS10 collection was menswear for women reflected through checked suits, flat mannish brogues and bowler hats. Expect a multitude of beautiful African inspired tribal and animal prints designed and styled to be layered and worn with intent to clash!

Categories ,Christys’ London, ,David Hockney, ,Evian, ,Freeman Hospital, ,Gentlemen of Bacongo, ,Heathrow Airport, ,Maggies Charity, ,Nowhere Boy, ,Paul Smith, ,Rob Clarke, ,Sam Taylor-Wood, ,Terminal 5

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Amelia’s Magazine | Sorapol at Old Vic Tunnels: A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

Sorapol AW12 by Joanne Young

Sorapol AW12 by Joanne Young

I was excited to receive an invite for the A/W 2012 catwalk show of Sorapol because I had heard that the creative director of this young underground brand is the extravagant club kid Daniel Lismore. So I eagerly arrived at the graffitied, atmospheric venue of Old Vic Tunnels to meet photographer and burlesque performer Tigz Rice aka Tigzy aka Raven Six, who took some of the photos shown here. There was a palpable air of excitement in the long queue, which was chock full of beautiful beings. Some of them, like Boy George, were superstars, and others were well known and popular scenesters, fashionistas and nightlife luminaries, such as Jodie Harsh, Lady Lloyd or Philip Levine. The crowd began to complain when it descended into a disorderly mass to enter the show space via a too small archway, resulting in a serious amount of squeezing and ticket waving. At one point I really thought I had lost my chance to go in, which sadly happened to a large number of guests. A few really disappointed ones even started burning their Sorapol tickets in protest, I hear, but Sorapol could not have been more apologetic on their twitter feed and I am sure this will be something they will think through more carefully next time.

Sorapol AW12 by Tigz Rice Studios

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 by Fay Myers

Sorapol AW12 by Fay Myers

Thankfully, once inside, the vibe was completely friendly, happy and relaxed. The show, entitled Iron Grip, opened in utter darkness aside from the lights behind a curtained archway, from which smoke crept down the catwalk against sounds of sirens, gunfire and explosions. After a few minutes the first model appeared and started walking slowly towards us as Charlie D Soprano sang in a majestic and slightly sinister opera style. I could not really make out what or in which language she was singing, but, intriguingly, the day before the show she wrote on her twitter feed that she was ‘translating pop songs into Russian for tomorrow’s gig’.

Sorapol AW12 by Tigz Rice Studios

Sorapol AW12 by Nicola Ellen

Sorapol AW12 by Nicola Ellen

Indeed the outfits that Thai head designer and recent graduate from the London College of Fashion Sorapol Chawaphatnakul sent down the catwalk were so theatrical and adorned with such symbolic props, that one could not help wondering – I like to read the press release after a show – what was the specific reference point or message of this collection. What the press release revealed was that for his A/W 2012 collection Sorapol was inspired by a very specific storyline, which is rather helpful to know when looking at these creations. The story is that of Vasilia, an orphaned girl in pre-revolutionary Russia, who was adopted and raised by exiled Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Lenin. The story then goes that Lenin took Vasilia and his communist ideas to the Russian cities intending to overthrow the aristocracy, but he found Vasilia a place in the Royal Household and there she fell in love with Prince Alexander. Suspicious of this, Lenin ordered the assassination of Prince Alexander. Love and aesthetic beauty won over her father’s ideology and Vasilia attempted to warn the prince but failed. So, enraged and heartbroken Vasilia joined the ranks of the white-clad soldiers fighting to restore Russia’s splendour.

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 by Tessa McSorley

Sorapol AW12 by Tessa McSorley

Via this fairytale, therefore, the A/W 2012 Sorapol collection was created from Vasilia’s point of view with an emphasis on the grandeur of the pre-revolution Russian culture, showing lots of opulent furs, long gowns and embellishments of pearls and gold. [A little parenthesis here to say that I really hope the fact that Sorapol Chawaphatnakul is a Buddhist means all this fur on show was not real.] There were also a lot of elements which suggested war, death and the clash between luxury, or beauty, and fighting. For instance the second outfit was a long red gown with a line of bullets running down from the shoulders to the waist on both sides, complemented by a very impressive tall beehive hairdo in which a gold gas mask had been incorporated. Another favourite hairdo was again a tall beehive this time with a gold skull poking out of it. The theme of death was further emphasised by a model holding a black skull prop in her hand and battle was spelt out by dresses with structured armour sleeves and a silver, gloriously sparkly military suit.

Sorapol AW12 by Tigz Rice Studios

Sorapol AW12 by Joanne Young

Sorapol AW12 by Joanne Young

Sorapol AW12 by Joanne Young

The make up for the show was executed by Illamasqua. Unfortunately it is not properly evident in the photos, but it looked fantastic up close. A pale, whitish effect, with glittery touches here and there extended down to the models’ cleavages and brought to mind either corpses or the snowy Russian landscape or perhaps powdered aristocracy.

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW2012 by Janneke de Jong

Sorapol AW2012 by Janneke de Jong

The last couple of outfits were especially theatrical, featuring predominantly white and gold colours, and the crown worn by the last model suggested some kind of victory. This collection was far from commercial, and I can see how it would not be everybody’s cup of tea. As for myself, I was slightly disappointed that it was not more over the top, but then a lot of the time my ideal fashion design is something along the lines of Andrew Logan’s Alternative Miss World. In any case when the Sorapol spectacle ended the vibe was certainly one of victory, with Sorapol Chawaphatnakul running down the catwalk in really high spirits and the audience congratulating him with cheers and a standing ovation.

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 by Tigz Rice Studios

Sorapol AW12 by Tigz Rice Studios

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Sorapol AW12 by Tigz Rice Studios

All photography by Tigz Rice Studios and Maria Papadimitriou

Categories ,Alternative Miss World, ,Andrew Logan, ,Blow PR, ,boy george, ,Buddist, ,Burlesque, ,Charlie D Soprano, ,Daniel Lismore, ,Fay Myers, ,graffiti, ,Illamasqua, ,Janneke de Jong, ,Joanne Young, ,Jodie Harsh, ,Lady Lloyd, ,Lenin, ,london, ,London College of Fashion, ,Luxury, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,military, ,Nicola Haigh, ,Philip Levine, ,Prince Alexander, ,Raven Six, ,Russian, ,Russian Revolution, ,Sorapol, ,Sorapol Chawaphatnakul, ,Story of Vasilia, ,Tessa McSorley, ,Thai, ,The Old Vic Tunnels, ,Tigzy, ,Tigzy Rice, ,Vasilia, ,Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov, ,war

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Amelia’s Magazine | Sunglasses Trends: London Fashion Week S/S 2013 Catwalk Review

Chanel Sunglasses SS13 by Isher Dhiman
Chanel Sunglasses S/S 2013 by Isher Dhiman.

According to trends analysts designer sunglasses are getting smaller and rounder: with edgier designers such as Ashish showing the kind of sunnies that I sported in the early 90s, along with baggy rave clothing, hippy dresses and grunge gear.

Ashish SS 2013 Sept 2012-sunglasses
There are also a plethora of Ray Ban Aviator type shapes such as those at Felder Felder which are coloured in a nod to the ever popular heavily shaded retro look which is still popular, as seen in Gucci glasses for S/S 2013.

chanel sunglasses illustration shyillustrations
Chanel S/S 2013 sunglasses by Sheilagh Tighe aka shy illustrations.

My favourite high end designer look of the season has to be these amazing Coco Chanel sunglasses featuring a sculptural cutout of the visionary lady herself. But if the styling at some shows is anything to go by then the hottest sunglasses trend for S/S 2013 is still bigger, brighter and lairier. And not always entirely fit for purpose.

Tatty Devine sunglasses for Louise Gray S/S 2013 by Helena Clarkson
Tatty Devine sunglasses for Louise Gray S/S 2013 by Helena Clarkson.

Tatty Devine sunglasses for Louise Gray by shy illustrations
Tatty Devine sunglasses for Louise Gray by Sheilagh Tighe aka shy illustrations.

Tatty Devine‘s scribble sunglasses for the new Louise Gray collectionNow What‘ echo the oversized rings and dramatic eyebrows created for the show. You’d struggle to see out of them but they made a big impact when worn with huge pearlised mirror effect dangly earrings.

Leutton Postle SS 2013 Sept 2012-close
Leutton Postle S/S 2013 sunglasses by Sharon Farrow
Leutton Postle S/S 2013 sunglasses by Sharon Farrow.

Over at Leutton Postle the daring design duo had raided their craft box to embellish bold sunglasses with brightly coloured beads, leaving only a small gap through which to view the world. It will be intriguing to see how such unconventional looks filter through to mainstream sunglasses trends over the next few seasons.

Leutton Postle sunglasses by Rebecca May Higgins
Leutton Postle sunglasses by Rebecca May Higgins.

Categories ,90s, ,Ashish, ,Coco Chanel, ,Designer glasses, ,Felder Felder, ,Glasses, ,Gucci glasses, ,Helena Clarkson, ,Isher Dhiman, ,Leutton Postle, ,lfw, ,Louise Gray, ,Ray Ban Aviator, ,Rebecca May Higgins, ,S/S 2013, ,Sharon Farrow, ,Sheilagh Tighe, ,Shy Illustrations, ,SmartBuyGlassesUK, ,Sunglasses, ,Tatty Devine, ,trends

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Amelia’s Magazine | Tata Naka: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Presentation Review

Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Daniel Alexander
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Daniel Alexander.

Since Tata Naka returned to London Fashion Week it has become customary for Tamara and Natasha Surguladze to create a wonderful set that they photograph live for their upcoming season’s look book: it’s a great concept and always a lot of fun to watch from the sidelines: the whole experience more akin to voyeurism than the traditional catwalk show. This season the Georgian twins were inspired by American High School movies and the multitude of references that underpin these down the decades. So here we had very preppy 50s styles abutting up against the big bouffant hair of the 1980s, a very direct reference to which was found in the graffiti wall that provided the backdrop to one set up, ‘Breakfast Club‘ written in bubble writing above a heart. Sugary coloured tweeds were layered over stripes and trademark graphic prints that merged Mondrian blocks with Pop Art faces, the illustrative elements of which were inspired by iconic scenes from key 80s movies. As we milled around we were served cocktails in milk cartons by ‘dinner ladies’ courtesy of Bompas & Parr.

Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Rebecca French
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Rebecca French.

In the locker room sweethearts covered a simple pencil dress, the detail echoed in a cute cut out back. An A-line skirt was worn with a baseball jacket: other girls wore big quiffs and pastel blocks, both tapered trousers and pencil skirts given sheer mesh slices at the hemlines. Sets were changed with alarming speed and confidence, but the downside of this way of showing is that unless you have an hour or so free you will only manage to see a small portion of the collection. I managed to see two set changes by Chameleon Visual: Jenny Robins took photos of the cheerleaders at the bleachers, and there was also a Prom shoot, where sweethearts emerged yet again as a major theme. The talented Tata Naka twins once more showcased their inventive A/W 2013 collection in wonderfully inimitable style. I have come to expect nothing less.

Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka AW 2013-photo by Amelia Gregory
Tata Naka A/W 2013. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Tata Naka by Jenny Robins
Tata Naka by Jenny Robins
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Jenny Robins.

Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Cissy Hu
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Cissy Hu.

Tata_Naka by_Daniel_Alexander
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Daniel Alexander
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Daniel Alexander
Tata Naka A/W 2013 by Daniel Alexander.

Categories ,1980s, ,50s, ,A/W 2013, ,American High School movies, ,Bompas & Parr, ,Breakfast Club, ,Chameleon Visual, ,Cheerleaders, ,Cissy Hu, ,Daniel Alexander, ,Georgian, ,Jenny Robins, ,London Fashion Week, ,Mondrian, ,Movies, ,Pop Art, ,Prom, ,Rebecca French, ,Tamara and Natasha Surguladze, ,Tata Naka

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Ace of TRAID

This Saturday, information pills pill The Land Is Ours collective will occupy some disused land near Hammersmith. An eco-village will take root, viagra sale peacefully reclaiming land for a sustainable settlement, and getting in touch with the local community about its aims. In a year when nearly 13,000 Britons lost their homes to repossessions in the first three months, eco-villages point the way to a more down-to-earth lifestyle.

Back in May 1996, the same collective took over a spot on the banks of the Thames in Wandsworth, in a land rights action that grew up over five and a half months into the Pure Genius community, based on sustainable living and protesting the misuse of urban land. Here are some photos from that project.

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The Land Is Ours channel the spirit of the Diggers , a group of 17-century radicals who picked out and dug over a patch of common land in St George’s Hill in Walton-upon-Thames back in the day. They were led by Gerard Winstanley, who thought any freedom must come from free access to the land.

Here’s a little more from ‘Gerard Winstanley’ about this weekend:

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you get there?
Have a meeting. One of the first priorities is to leaflet the local area in order to inform the local people of what we are doing. Another priority is the construction of compost toilets.

Do you have lots of plans for sheds, vegetable patches and compost toilets?

Yes. Due to the nature of the site (ex-industrial) we will likely be using raised beds to grow vegetables and buckets for potatoes. It being London, there should be a good supply of thrown away materials from building sites and in skips. Compost toilets are pretty essential.

?What kinds of people are you expecting to turn up?
All sorts. Hopefully a mixture of those keen to learn and those willing to teach. ??

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?I read the Chapter 7 manifesto. Have you notified the council or planning authority of your plans, or are you keeping to the idea that once you’re there, with homes under construction, it’s difficult to evict?
We haven’t notified the council yet- but we have a liaison strategy in place for when we’re in.

On that note, how long do you hope to be there?
The longevity of the Eco-village depends on how committed its residences and just as crucially how the local urban populus respond to our presence. If we receive the support we need, the council will likely think twice before embarking on an unpopular eviction (at least that’s the theory!).

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Could this realistically become a permanent residence, or is it more likely to be valuable simply as campaigning?
Hopefully it can be both. There is no reason why this site cannot sustain a core group of committed individuals and serve as a brilliant awareness raiser to the issue of disused urban land, lack of affordable housing and the a sustainable way of living that is friendly to people and planet and liberating.

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?Can I come along?
Of course, we are meeting at Waterloo Station at 10AM this Saturday (underneath the clock).

What might I need to do?
Bring a tent, sleeping bag and some food and water. You may be interested to read an article written by a journalist from the Guardian concerning the eco-village.

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So dig yourself out of bed this Saturday, and go discover the beginnings of London’s newest eco-village.
If the dark shades of under-duvet hideouts dominate the colour of your Sundays then you need to wake up and get greened. Arcola Theatre in East London hopes to be the first carbon neutral theatre in the world and has been appointed as the secretariat for the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre plan, this which aims to deliver 60 percent cuts in theatre carbon emissions by 2025.

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

As part of this environmental drive, the first Sunday of every month is a Green Sunday at Arcola Theatre. June’s event is part of Love London, the biggest green festival in Europe and looks at ethical consumption, promising ‘entertainment and inspiration for the ecologically curious’. From 3pm there’s a swap shop market plus cakes and tea to take you through the evening of Senegalese percussion, cool short and feature-length films, starting from 4.30pm. As the afternoon turns to evening, there will be a discussion with Neil Boorman, author of Bonfire Of The Brands, an account of his journey from shopping and brand addiction to a life free from labels. As part of the project, Neil destroyed every branded product in his possession, incinerating over £20,000 worth of designer gear in protest of consumer culture. This will be chaired by Morgan Phillips.

Neil and Morgan will later be joined by Richard King from Oxfam to talk about their 4-a-week campaign- encouraging shoppers to do their bit for sustainability each week.

Then at 7pm – Feature length film presented by Transition Town Hackney
A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

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I spoke to the sustainability projects manager at Arcola Theatre, Anna Beech, to find out more about Arcola’s arts world-changing philosophies:

All at Arcola must be extremely proud that a theatre founded only 9 years ago – and on credit cards! – is well on the way to becoming the first carbon neutral theatre in the world. Can you tell us a bit about how and why you made the decision to lead the green theatre movement?

Since 2007, Arcola has launched many high-profile green initiatives (including the pioneering use of LEDs and the on-site installation of a fuel cell to power bar and stage lighting). There are a number of reasons for this – because it contributes to reducing Arcola’s carbon emissions and resource use, because it makes financial sense – reducing energy bills; because it supports funding applications; because it integrates Arcola into the local community; allows Arcola to reach a wider audience and stakeholder base; and provides an effective platform upon which to publicise the name ‘Arcola’ – as a hub of creativity and sustainability.

Sustainability is part of Arcola’s core unique business model, alongside professional theatre and our youth and community programme.

Have you found that arts and science professionals are eager to integrate and come up with exciting ideas and actions or has it been difficult to bring the two fields together?

Arcola’s ArcolaEnergy has had considerable interest from technology companies and brokers, including the Carbon Trust. As a reocgnised innovator in sustainability in the arts, Arcola has been able to broker extremely advantageous relationships with private sector companies – who have provided the theatre with free green products, including LED lights – as well as other theatres and arts organisations (National Theatre, Arts Council, Live Nation, The Theatres Trust), and Government bodies like the DCMS and Mayor of London’s Office. Arcola’s reputation as a sustainable charity has created these partnerships and allowed them to grow and develop into mutually advantageous relationships. So this demonstrates that the arts and sustainability worlds can come together to form mutually advanteous relationships. However, there is plenty of work to be done.

So far, what has been the most successful pioneering energy practice you’ve introduced?

The installation of Arcola’s fuel cell in February 2008 made the venue the first theatre in the world to power its main house shows and bar/café on hydrogen. The Living Unknown Soldier gained reverence as London’s most ecologically sustainable show, with the lighting at a peak power consumption of 4.5kW, a reduction of 60 per cent on comparable theatre lighting installations.

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Previous Green Sunday events at the Arcola Theatre

Arcola’s ‘greening’ goes from the stage to the box office. Among other things, we produce ‘green’ newsletters for staff, we recycle, we provide free tap water to audiences (to lessen use of bottled water), we serve fairtrade, organic and local produce wherever possible (including organic vodka and whiskey!), we host Transition Town meetings, we installed a cycle enclosure for staff in 2009 and try to incentivise both staff and audiences to use public transport more and their cars less.

How do you think the technical creativity of sustainability has significantly shaped any of the plays Arcola has produced?

One example of the ‘greening’ of Arcola’s shows and working closely with production companies took place during the pre-production and staging of ‘Living Unknown Soldier‘ in 2008. The production explored the use of more energy efficient lanterns, including LED moving heads and batons (see Fig. 1) florescent tubes and some other filament lanterns such as low wattage source 4′s and par 16s. The crew tried to travel by public transport wherever possible, use laptops rather than PCs, limit phone use, source sustainable materials and managed to keep energy requirements low in order to use Arcola’s fuel cell to power the show.

‘‘The idea is that once you expose people to this stuff and they know you for doing it, they’ll gravitate towards you. Ultimately we should end up with some really good art about sustainability and some really good ideas about how to do art sustainably.” – Ben Todd, Executive Director and Founder of Arcola Energy.

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Illustration by David Elsley

Why do you think its particularly important for the arts to become more involved in green issues?

Because the arts have the power to influence behaviour change. Whilst the theatre industry itself has a relatively small carbon footprint (2% of total carbon emissions in London), and thus its capacity to deliver direct carbon emission reductions is relatively small; the power of theatre and the wider arts/cultural sectors to rapidly and effectively influence public behaviour and policy makers to drive significant indirect carbon emission reductions is very large (entertainment related activity accounts for up to 40% of travel emissions).

However, theatres and other arts venues must first address the ‘greening’ of their venues and practices in order to communicate climate change and environmental messages to audiences effectively and with impact.

Green Sundays is a great idea, how do you hope to see it develop in the future months?

We have a variety of themes in mind for future events, including a focus on the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, a water theme, ethical business, natural history and a Green Sunday programme tailored to children and young people.

So get over your hangover, get on your bike and cycle down to Dalston on Sunday to help spread the word about arts and sustainability coming together to communicate environmental messages to your local community.

To find out more about Green Sundays and the Arcola Theatre go to:

www.arcolatheatre.com
Continuing our odyssey of festival previews, page I bring you the amazing Green Man!

I don’t keep it secret that I’ve had a crush on Jarvis Cocker since I was 10 and first heard Common People, I suppose announcing it on a blog was just the next logical step in my snowballing lust for the bespectacled one. Imagine my delight when I saw he was headlining as a solo outfit at this year’s Green Man Festival.

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Green Man 2006

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Jarvis Cocker

All the other festivals will be green with envy over Green Man’s line-up, one of the most exciting and diverse of the summer. Alongside Jarv, Animal Collective will also be headlining and having seen them a couple of times over the past few years they are really not to be missed live, their shows can only be described as being in an underwater topsy-turvy world where you can feel the rhythm wash over you in waves.

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Animal Collective

Green Man is in no short supply of indie darlings and big names, with Wilco, Bon Iver, Gang Gang Dance, the delicious Beach House and Grizzly Bear; who I’m gagging to see live after finally getting a copy of their amazing second album Veckatimest. Not to be transatlantically out down; Green Man boasts an impressive array of home-grown talent- including Four-Tet, national treasures British Sea Power, and to woo the romantic in you; Camera Obscura.
Ex- member of my favourites Gorky’s Zygotic Mynki Euros Childs, Andrew Bird, 6 Day Riot and James Yuill also stand out as bands (as well as the above mentioned) not to be missed.

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Beach House

Whilst Green Man has managed to pull in such an awesome line-up, it has a reputation for a boutique-y intimacy and a friendly atmosphere. Green Man is most definitely a festival for music lovers, and one that I won’t be missing!

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Green Man Festival 2007

Green Man Festival takes place amidst the Breacon Beacons from 21st to 23rd August. Click here for ticket information.

Thumbnail by Roisin Conway
Some people have the knack for discovering those amazing pieces in charity shops – it’s generally the preserve of both the patient and the fashion-savvy who are content to rummage away until they emerge with some designer find that leaves you flapping your arms and wondering why it wasn’t you.
Now ten minutes in Topshop – that’s a quick fix. Why bother buying something old when you can buy something new? If last week’s Style Wars was only a half-formed idea, generic intent to float and suggest a concept, but not to follow through, TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) has articulated the remaking and reselling of used clothes as an ethical necessity. Citing the whopping £46 billion spent on clothes and accessories every year, TRAID highlights the colossal wastage resultant of constantly changing trends that are both cheap and easily available. The ease of shopping on the high street seems to problematise the feeling that the act of recycling is an almost paradoxical idea for an industry that is by name and nature grounded in an obsession with the new and the innovative.
Here lies the problem in normal charity shop shopping. The dowdy and stale image affixed to them is arguably (however unfortunately) justifiable, and TRAID has been taking the steps to rebrand the public perception of recycled clothing by actually joining the dots between the environment, recycling and fashion itself. Charity and fashion are practically mutually alienating concepts in most people’s minds. In short, charity shops aren’t trendy, so how do you turn that around? Chief Executive Maria TRAID recognises the problem and goes straight to the heart of it, saying “we have worked incredibly hard to change the face of charity retail by ensuring that our shops are stylish and affordable”, two words you might associate with the high street.

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TRAID has 900 textile recycling banks across the UK, and the company take the donations and sort by quality and style to then sell in one of their charity shops – clothes that are stained or torn are deconstructed and redesigned into a bespoke garment by the company’s own fashion label TRAIDremade.

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In a way it’s an absolute no-brainer: to take things people don’t want and make them something they do, especially as they follow high street trends, crafting sexy asymmetric dresses, bags cut from old leathers, signature hand printed tees and flirty dresses.

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Two weeks ago TRAID opened their tenth shop in their tenth year in Camden, which as well as being an area that’s a promising resource in terms of fashionable finds, is a landmark for a really inspirational company. To date TRAID has donated £1.4 million to help fight global poverty, supporting charities by funding projects in Malawi and Kenya amongst others. TRAID has ten shops located across London and Brighton, and TRAIDremade is available on getethical.co.uk.

Categories ,Charity shops, ,Ethical, ,Green Fashion, ,Recycling, ,Trend

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Amelia’s Magazine | The good thing about winter

What a wonderfully British week we’re having; deceptively sunny mornings followed by torrential rain, thunder, lightning and flood warnings by tea-time. As we say goodbye to the sad excuse for a summer we’ve had, we can at least look forward to investing in one of this winter’s fashion staples; tights. I’m maybe slightly over enthusiastic about tights thanks to a deprived childhood where my mother would make me wear socks with my school uniform well into January, when she would finally acknowledge that it was cold enough for tights. As a result, I get really excited about autumn/winter fashion, particularly when tights feature as prominently on the catwalk as they do this season.

Top of my wish list would have to be a pair of Chanel’s two tone stockings; not only do they go with everything, but they are also ridiculously slimming as the black section makes your calves seem narrower. What more could you want?

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London Fashion week saw tights worn as a statement piece in Emma Cook’s Autumn/Winter 08 collection. Like most of her designs, they were richly textured and feminine, laced with stars and intricate abstract patterns.

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Designers Mhairi McNichol and Chloe Patience have collaborated to bring us an innovative take on modern hosiery at The Shop Floor Project. One pair of their handprinted stockings will set you back £54, but they are a genuine works of art. Embellished with beads and sequins, the tights feature quirky and intricate drawings by Chloe alongside Mhairi’s intricate embroidery.

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Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of New York fashion label Rodarte have managed to cross breed the classic fishnet with thick cable tights, creating their large weave hosiery, reminiscent of a spiders web. The Gothic take on knitwear was inspired by Japanese horror films, and is bang on trend for those wanting to have a go at that ‘good girl gone bad’ look set to be big this autumn.

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Last, but not least, for all your hosiery needs, the one stop shop has to be the Tights Please website, where you can find all the best brands and styles, including industry staples such as Falke and Jonathan Aston. £20 may seem a lot to spend on one pair of tights, but it’s definitely worth investing in well made labels that can transform a whole outfit and will last all winter, snag-free. Besides, think of all the money you’re saving on waxing and fake tans.

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Return of The Jellies

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The people who run record labels have traditionally had an image problem. Musicians are cool, visit this obviously; djs are cool; hell, information pills even some music journalists are, price but company execs? Not so much.

Both cynical and prone to hyperbole, they have a reputation for chalking up ounces of coke to their ‘flowers and chocolates’ expense accounts, spouting jargon and inventing spurious music genres in the pub. Indie labels fare better in musical mythology, of course, but with their earnest dedication to the egalitarian principles of Marxism, you can’t escape the feeling that Geoff Travis and his associates at Rough Trade couldn’t make the tea without voting on it. Well, Art and Commerce were always going to have an uneasy relationship. Anyhow, everyone knows that record company execs are frustrated musicians themselves. And they’re all boys.
The Young and Lost Club label is different. Reassuringly, founders Sara Jade and Nadia Dahlawi most emphatically don’t yearn to get up on stage. “We know our limits!” says Sara. This might be a touch disingenuous considering the girls’ status as precocious veterans of the London indie scene – at only 23 apiece, they’ve been fanzine editors, label owners, and club promoters as well as djing as the Pyrrha Girls.

“The first musicians I was into were the Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman, Television, Richard Hell and Patti Smith and that led me to reading “Please Kill Me”, she says. “The DIY aesthetic and attitude in that book was a big influence on us, everyone just did things for themselves and created their own scene for similar minded people”. The idea of creating a scene seems to hold a continuing magic for Sara and Nadia, for whom the founding of a label seems to be the logical progression of their other interests. Already there’s been a Young and Lost national tour while recent clubnights have seen The Teenagers, Klaxons and Horrors play alongside their own signees.

They are clearly blessed with excellent taste. Currently on the Young and Lost Club roster are the Golden Silvers, who’s glorious Arrows of Eros – an arch disco track about lovelorn boys and girls dwelling in ‘London Town’ that recalls the best of Orange Juice – is getting played loads on 6 Music and looks set to be one of the defining songs of Summer 08. Previous highlights for the label have included the debuts of Vincent Vincent and the Villains, Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong and Larrikin Love’s Six Queens – in which Ed Larrikin memorably traded his usual pastorals for a glammy Velvets pastiche. Currently on their books are Pull Tiger Tail, Noah and the Whale (who will be Young and Lost’s first album release), Lord Auch and Naked and the Boys.
And they don’t see the gender thing as an issue: “I don’t think there is a big difference in the way boys and girls approach djing,” says Sara. “Girls are probably approached more for song requests though”.
Oh, and as for that vow not to take up instruments themselves, there is one exception… “Nadia would definitely make a guest appearance on someone’s album playing the harp, if asked”. Bet she’s a really good harpist, too.

Do you remember about 9 years ago when the UK was hit by that huge jelly sandals movement? Gentleman this period might not be as vivid to you, pilule but I clearly recall my twin sis and I owning an identical turquoise pair of these flat jelly numbers purchased by our loving mother who, healing always one to keep up with the latest trends, owned the higher heeled version. I think it’ fair to say most women during this period found themselves squelching their way around in different variations of these coloured jellies which were THE must have summer item. This jelly revolution stuck around for a couple of months and then was gone as quickly as it arrived, which is why I was particularly surprised when we recently received a sky blue pair in the post.

I’ve since been informed that jellies are in fact back for this summer and Gisele Bündchen has jumped on the PVC bandwagon by incorporating the material in her new collection, G2B.

The supermodel has teamed up with Brazilian Footwear Company, Ipenama flip flops, to produce a range of environmentally friendly summer sandals, which include a variety of 6 different styles.

According to the press information, we’ve been sent the classic jellies, which are apparently ideal for ‘trekking up a cliff path’. While I’m not sure I’ll be doing that anytime soon, I’ll agree these sandals would make a cute addition to a casual daytime outfit.

Other designs in the collection include Refresh which are classic Havana style flip flops; Cascade, a glamorous gold strappy Greek style sandal; Agua, a rather peculiar looking flip flop with a slightly irrelevant extra strap, and my favourite, Pure, a trendy T bare style with added diamantes. Gisele can also be seen here modelling the ‘Clear’ sandals in this surprisingly unflattering promotional photograph.

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Prices for the sandals range from £12.99 to £19.99, with a portion of the proceeds this year being used to support water preservation projects such as WWF, Y Ikatu Xingu and de olho nos mananciais.

They’re perfect little holiday shoes, so grab a pair online if you’re looking for something that can carry you comfortably from a long beach day to the intoxicated early hours of next morning. If however, like myself, you wont be going away this year, why not just follow our art editor Tanya, and bring them out on the rare occasions that the British sun decides to put in an appearance.

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Amelia’s Magazine | Dumpster Couture

Undercover: Lingerie Exhibition at the Fashion and Textiles Museum

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“Welcome to Limehouse.” With those words, about it Jarvis Cocker set off on the latest instalment of his 30 year musical odyssey, visit this site launching into set opener Pilchard from his new solo album, Further Complications. For such a long, often tortuous journey which began at a Sheffield secondary school and the formation of what was originally known as Arabicus Pulp, the Troxy did seem a rather apt stopping point – a former theatre turned bingo-hall in the deepest End End, where Stepney and Limehouse blur into each other, now restored and reborn as an unlikely concert venue.

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In fact, Cocker did remark, in his own inimitable way, that the place reminded him of an ice-rink from his youth, where he went to “cop off” with someone, and you still half expected to hear calls of “clickety click” and “legs eleven”, even as support band the Horrors were going through their Neu! meets Echo and the Bunnymen infused motorik indie.

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There were a few half-hearted requests from parts of the audience, but tonight was most definitely a Pulp-free zone (the presence of longtime sidekick Steve Mackey on bass was as near as we got). The set leant heavily on Cocker’s sophomore solo effort, which has a rockier, heavier edge to it than its’ predecessor (not surprising given the pedigree of producer Steve Albini). That said, old Jarvis still has the wry wit and subtle smut that made albums like Different Class such stand outs back in the day (witness news songs Leftover and I Never Said I Was Deep), and he still has plenty of those weirdly angular dance moves up his sleeves. As if that weren’t enough, he even dusted off his old junior school recorder skills on the introduction to Caucasian Blues.

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A couple of numbers from Cocker’s debut solo album made an appearance towards the end of the set, including a driving Fat Children, whilst the encore opened with Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time. We ended on the closer from Further Complications, You’re In My eyes (Discosong), where Jarvis appears to channel the spirit of Barry White – there was even a glitterball to dazzle the Troxy’s faded glamour.
As Jarvis took the adulation of the massed faithful, it seemed like, after a bit of a wilderness period post-Pulp, old Mr Cocker has most definitely got his mojo back.

12 June – 27 September 2009

The Fashion and Textiles Museum‘s summer exhibition hopes to present the evolution of underwear over the last hundred years. The result is a lacklustre exhibition with a thrown-together-in-minutes appearance.

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The exhibition is organised into areas covering research, more about innovation, seek materials, order celebrity, marketing, print and colour. Despite the ‘evolution’ title, there isn’t any sense of a chronological representation, apart from a small part of the opening corridor of the exhibition where underwear is displayed by year.

It is here where the most interesting pieces are displayed. Beginning with a Charles Bayer corset from the 1900s, we take an (albeit short) walk through the brief history of underwear. There are great examples from Triumph International – then a pioneering underwear brand, now underwear powerhouse governing brands like Sloggi.

We see a sanfor circular conical stretch bra, reminiscent of Madonna’s iconic bra designed by John Paul Gaultier in the 80s (which the placard reveals, to nobody’s surprise, is where JPG sought his inspiration).

In the main arena, there are corsets hanging from the ceiling, of which there are 8 or 9 examples. The corset, as the information details, is one of fashion’s most iconic items. So how can so few examples tell us anything we didn’t already know? Only one of the artefacts is pre 21st century – most are borrowed from burlesque ‘celebrities’ such as Immodesty Blaze and Dita von Teese – hardly representative of underwear’s evolution.

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The bulk of the exhibition centres around print, pattern and colour, and again the exhibition relies too heavily on modern pieces, with a small scattering of interesting M&S items. This area, again, relies too heavily on modern underwear – usual suspects La Perla and Rigby & Peller extensively featured – but other key brands, such as Agent Provocateur, fail to get even a mention.

Pioneer of modern underwear Calvin Klein isn’t covered nearly enough as he should be, save for a couple of iconic 1990s white boxer shirts. In fact, men’s underwear isn’t given any coverage at all, which is a shame considering this exhibition’s bold title.

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This exhibition does hold some key pieces, and regardless of what I think, it’s definitely worth seeing if you are a fashion follower. Its many flaws could have been ironed out with more attention to detail, and it’s a shame that the FTM isn’t more of a major player in London’s fashion scene. If you want to see stacks of salacious, expensive, modern-day underwear, why not just take a trip to Harrods? They have a larger selection and don’t charge an entry fee!

Dear Readers, symptoms

I am writing to share something a little bit special with you. We all know that warm butterflies-in-the-belly feeling when envelopes arrive through the letterbox with your name and address handwritten carefully on the front with a return address of a friend or lover on the reverse, pilule a beacon of personal correspondence among a mundane plethora of bills, more about takeaway menus and bank statements. How much more sincere is a ‘Thank You’ or a ‘Sorry’, how much more romantic is an ‘I Love You’ or ‘Marry Me’ when it comes in pen to paper form rather than digitalised and, heaven forbid, abbreviated via modern technological means.

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Letter writing may be an old fashioned and somewhat dying art, one that we all claim to still do or intend to do, but actually don’t make time for in a world of convenient instant messaging, free text plans and social network sites, but Jamie Atherton and Jeremy Lin refuse to abandon the old worldly ways of communication just yet.

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Finding their stationery was like being invited to a secret society for letter writers, a prize from the postal Gods to congratulate and reward all those who participate in mail exchanges, to inspire us to keep going to strive on and not let the Royal Mail network collapse from lack of traffic. The more I find out about this creative pair of gents the deeper I fall under their spell. Two handsome young men, madly in love with each other, one English one American, live together in London nowadays but in the 12 years that have passed since they fell head over heels they have lived in San Francisco too and co-created Atherton Lin, the name under which they produce, distribute and sell their products.

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Their work, such as the collections of Winter and Summer greeting cards, is as collectable as it is sendable. Each of the four cards in a set tells a tale; funny, sentimental, melancholic and earnest. They strive to avoid clichés or overused formulaic recipes for ‘commercialised cute’, but instead the boys have created a world of butterflies, badgers, bicycles and balloons, using recycled materials and harm-free inks. It is not just their illustrated correspondence materials that Atherton Lin have become known and adored for, that paved the way to being noticed by and sold alongside Marc Jacobs’ wears and tears, as well as being stocked at places such as London’s ICA, LA’s Ooga Booga and San Francisco’s Little Otsu.

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Working on the basis that not all correspondence is text, stationery therefore does not have to be exclusively on paper. With a nod to their burgeoning passion for mix tapes, which featured heavily through their transatlantic courtship, they created artwork for a series of blank CDs. The pair have collaborated with a number of talented outfits such as the musicians Vetiver and Elks, and for a book of poems published by Fithian Press, in addition to eye wateringly lovely calendars.

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They cite their inspirations to include the charmingly unaware wit of Japanese stationary with its mysteriously nonsensical English translations, Peanuts comic strips, the lyrics to strumming shoe gaze bands such as Ride and poet Dylan Thomas. Having conducted the first three years of their blossoming relationship as long distance partners, they perhaps know better than anyone the value and worth of the handwritten word, the virtues of patience while awaiting the postman and the magnified importance of every tiny detail when letters are sustaining your longing heart.

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Now that I’ve been well and truly bitten by the Atherton Lin bug, I have an overbearing urge to dig out my address book and scribe catch up letters to friends in far-flung corners of the globe, and those just around the corner. And for the scented pastel coloured envelopes about to reach the letterboxes of my acquaintances in the next couple of weeks, you have Jeremy and Jamie to thank, for restoring my faith in the romantic, timeless pastime of writing letters.

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Yours ever so faithfully,

Alice Watson
Last Thursday, order I negotiated my bicycle through the customary crush of Trafalgar Square to the RSA, find for a talk by R Beau Lotto in association with the Barbican Radical Nature series. Beau heads up Lotto Lab, whose aim is to explain and explore how and why we see what we do (do check out their website) – mainly through looking at how we see colour, which is one of the simplest things we do.

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All images by R Beau Lotto, courtesy of Lotto Labs

Here’s a quick science bit, which he gets in at the beginning of the talk to a packed full lecture theatre – light and colour are not the same. Light can be represented on a linear scale. It has just wavelength and intensity. Colour has three bits to it. So it’s much more complicated to describe : hue (red-green-blue-or-yellowness), brightness, and saturation (greyness).

The whole talk is full of questions I asked as a six-year-old, and I’m left with a kind of wide-eyed amazement at how clearly everything is explained and presented – I’ll pick out one of the most satisfying.. Why is the sky blue? This is one to try at home. Get the biggest glass bowl or see-through container you can find, and fill it with water. Shine a desk lamp through it – the lamp’s now the sun and the water space. If we had no atmosphere, the sky would be black with a bright sun – as it is from the moon. Now add a little milk at a time to the water, stirring as you go. As it spreads through the water, the milk will scatter the light like the atmosphere does, and at the right level, will scatter blue. Add a bit more, and you’ll make a sunset – the longer-wave red light scatters when it goes through more atmosphere, as sunlight does when it’s low in the sky. Add more again, and it’ll go grey : you made a cloud, where all the light scatters equally.

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The colour of space changes. We never quite see the surface of anything in the world – we see the result of the light shining, the character of the surface, and the space in between. So colours really are brighter in St Ives than Old Street. So the patterns of light that fall onto the eye are strictly meaningless.

We learn to see. We find relationships between things we look at – the context of anything we look at is essential to how we see it. This is what the ‘illusions’ spread through this article show so bogglingly. And context is what links the present to the past – we associate patterns with what we did last time, and learn from it. Beau asked at one point for a volunteer from the audience. I was desperately far back, in the middle of a row – smooth escape from that one. But the demonstration itself was quietly mind-blowing. A target was projected on the screen, and Rob the lucky volunteer was asked to hit it (this as a control – the exciting bit comes next). Next, he put on a pair of glasses which shifted the world 30 degrees to his right. Throwing again, he missed by miles. After a few goes, though, Rob’s whole body movement changed and he hit the target every time. Then he took the glasses off again, and immediately missed the other way – his mind had learnt for that moment to see the world utterly differently.

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We don’t see the world as it is – in fact it doesn’t make much sense to talk about the world ‘as it really is’ – only what’s useful. Colour, for example, is great for not being eaten by orange tigers in a green jungle. We constantly figure out what is ‘normal’ – and what should stick out from this normal. So… there are no absolutes – only perceptions of a world relative to a changing normal. No one is outside of this relativity. We are all defined by our ecology. We all learn to live in the world that’s presented to us – and that in a very relative way.

Beau has four ‘C’s that he leaves as teasing thoughts – Compassion, Creativity, Choice and Community. And this is where, if you’ve been reading along wondering quite why I thought this was a good idea for an ‘Earth’ article, I started thinking about the way we tell stories about the environment, the way we tell stories about what happens in the world around us. Getting your head around different mindsets could be wonderfully informed by these ideas – things like understanding how to persuade business profit-heads that sustainability is the only way to long-term profit, or grassroots activists that FTSE 500 companies have been organising and managing disparate groups of employees for years – there’s surely something to learn there.

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Knowing that everything we do – down to something so simple as seeing colour – is essentially informed by what we did before, and the kinds of context we’ve ever been exposed to – this can only add possibility to whatever buzzes round our brains : more compassionate, as we see where others might have come from; more creative, questioning these reflexes; more conscious in our choices, if we think a little past the instinctive; and more communal, in a broad sense, as we’re each a unique part of a whole, all sharing in individual perceptions and histories.

That was what I took from it, anyway. Do get in touch, or leave a comment, if you saw any other cool patterns here – I’d be intrigued to hear.

Come July 16th, ampoule Amelia’s Magazine will be packing the bikini’s, sunglasses and factor 15 to rock up to one of the biggest highlights of our social calendar. Continuing our Festival season round up, we are going to focus our attention on the Daddy of the European festivals; Benicassim. Building rapidly in status, this cheeky Spanish live wire began its incarnation in 1995, but even then it was reaching for the stars, with heavy hitters such as The Chemical Brothers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The Stone Roses headlining. Now firmly established as a major player on the summer festival season, Benicassim is the ultimate go-to when you want your music fest to go easy on the mud, and heavy on the sand, sea and sun.

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Desde Escenario Verde by Oscar L. Tejeda

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Getting back to the music, the organisers have come up trumps for this years festival. Just in case you were unaware of the lineup, allow me to share the treats that will be in store if you’ve got tickets. Top of the bill will be Oasis, Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. It is not just about the headliners though, Beni makes sure that there is something for everyone, and while most acts indie rock , the many stages showcase plenty of other genres, such as electronica, experimental and dance. Each night will see a plethora of fantastic and diverse acts and my personal favourites that will make me nudge through the crowds to the front are Telepathe, Glasvegas, Paul Weller, Tom Tom Club, Friendly Fires, The Psychedelic Furs, Lykke Li and my BFF Peaches. With guaranteed sunshine and a beachside backdrop, it promises to be a memorable event. While the 4 day passes have all sold out, there are still one day passes available for Thursday 16th July. You might consider it impractical to get down there for just one day (not that we are going to stand in your way), but if you happen to be passing through the Costa De Azahar around that time, then why not get yourself a wristband, grab a Sol and pitch up?

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You know, the more we think about it, the more we realise that Benicassim is tailor made for Amelia’s Magazine. As our loyal readers know, we are strong supporters of all things sustainable and environmentally friendly and Benicassim is leaps and bounds ahead of many of the other festivals in terms of environmental awareness. Having been awarded the Limpio Y Verde (Clean + Green) Award by The European Festival Association, Beni is serious about taking initiatives which minimise the impact that a festival causes. For example, to offset the Co2 emissions that are generated while the festival is underway, they are creating an authentic Fiber forest, which has come as a result of planting over 2,000 trees during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 festivals. For those attending the festival, the organisers have laid on a number of shared transport facilities to get to and from the site, including frequent shuttle services into town and bicycle hire. Once inside the site, ticket holders will find that there is a strong and active recycling policy, with different bins for glass, plastic and paper and reusable glasses in the bars and restaurants which are made from biodegradable material. Several charities and NGO’s will be on hand – look out for the stands where Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Action Against Hunger and Citizens Association Against AIDS amongst others will be distributing information.

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Bear in mind for future visits to the festival (or if you haven’t yet booked flights to get there), that there are various options for how to get to Benicassim that don’t involve flying. While most people will be boarding planes, the options of rail, or even ferry as transport can turn the holiday into a completely different experience. Spain has a fantastic and well regulated rail system, with all major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia operating trains to the town of Benicassim. Full details on how to arrange your rail itinerary are here . If you were interested in beginning the journey by ferry, (information on routes can be found here there are regular services from Plymouth to Santander, or Portsmouth to Bilbao (both cities have rail links that will get you to Benicassim). Otherwise, there are plenty of ferries from Dover to France, if interrailing it through part of Europe was also a consideration. Obviously, these options are considerably longer than flying, but there is something much more civilized about this way of travelling, and you get to see much more of the country which is hosting the festival, and that can only be a good thing.

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Fibers En Zonas De Acampada by Pau Bellido

For more information on Benicassim, go to Festival Internacional De Benicassim
Bless-ed: Superimposing The Thought Of Happiness

Cosa
7 Ledbury Mews North
London W11 2AF

10th July – 31st July

11am – 6pm Tuesday – Friday
12pm – 4pm Saturday

Free

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“Artworks created from smashed vinyl records and recycled packaging. Hot on the heels of their highly successful New York show, no rx Robi Walters & Leanne Wright, side effects aka ‘Bless-ed’, dosage hit London with their unique series of collages and constructed works featuring smashed vinyl and recycled packaging. “

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Robots

The Old Sweet Shop
11 Brookwood Road
London SW18 5BL

10th July 2009 – 25th July

Monday to Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm
or by appointment

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Image: Doggy Robot (Detail) by Ellie Alexandri

“Do you remember when robots were a futuristic fantasy? The Old Sweet Shop gallery’s latest exhibition takes a warm hearted look at these retro-tinged creations through the eyes of up-and coming artists and illustrators, peeking into the inner world of clunking creatures built to make human lives easier. ‘Robots’ will appeal to all ages, and features a diverse range of talent in many different media.”

Robots exhibition featuring work by: Alec Strang, Emily Evans, Freya Harrison, Moon Keum, Vinish Shah, JMG, Catherine Rudie, Hanne Berkaak, Cristian Ortiz, Elli Alexandri and Serge Jupin.

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Antony Gormley: One & Other

Fourth Plinth
Trafalgar Square
London

6th July – 14th October

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Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, ordinarily reserved for statues of the bold and brave, is staging one of the most exciting art ventures of the year. Under the direction of Anthony Gormley a steady stream of voluntary contributors will, every hour on the hour for the next 100 days, be occupying the space to create, make, do or perform as they wish. One such selected applicant is Tina Louise, whose slot will be Sunday 12th July, at 11am. She plans to stage “involves a bit of a sing-along where I am inviting various choirs, a Muslim call to prayer man, some whirling Dervishes (fingers crossed)” and invites you all to get down there this week and help celebrate human diversity in all it’s glory.

Find out more about Tina here.

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The Museum of Souvenirs – The Surrealist Photography of Marcel Mariën

Diemar/Noble Photography
66/67 Wells Street
London W1T 3PY

Until 25th July

Tuesday to Saturday 11am – 6pm

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An exciting UK premiere of Belgian Surrealist Marcel Marien’s photographs taken between 1983 and 1990. Marien was a master of many trades, and not all of them art based; as well as being a poet, essayist and filmmaker, he branched out as a publisher, bookseller, journalist and even a sailor.

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The Importance of Beauty – The Art of Ina Rosing

GV Art
49 Chiltern Street
Marylebone
London W1U 6LY

Until 25th July

Tuesday to Friday 11am to 7pm
Saturday 11 am to 4 pm
or by appointment

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Inspired by her interest in inner silence and beauty, Ina Rosing’s work sails through immovable mountains and vibrant red flowers with dignified grace and spirituality. She explores the personal yet universal connections with landscape and culture, asking where and how can we capture the true importance of beauty using graffiti-like political and environmental messages.

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James Unsworth: I Love You Like a Murderer Loves Their Victims

Sartorial Contemporary Art
26 Argyle Square
London WC1H 8AP

8th July – 30th July

Tuesday – Friday 12:30pm – 6pm
or by appointment

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James Unsworth is not a new name for us here at Amelia’s Magazine, having featured him a short while ago in Issue 8 of our publication, but this new collection of work from the controversial outspoken illustrator and filmmaker takes his hyper-unreal visions of all things dark and disturbing to a new level. The movies and photographs use low-budget charm and dangerously close to the bone references to murder, sex and dismemberment to win us over, free our minds and freak us out, not particularly in that order.

Monday 6th July
Why? The Garage, buy London

“Why should I go and see Why?” you ask.
Well, cialis 40mg because Why? are probably one of the most innovative exciting bands around at the moment their albums Alopecia and Elephant Eyelash are very high up on my “Most-Listened-To List”. Fronted by the excellently named Yoni Wolf, Why? fuse hip hop and indie rock to create something totally unique. Wolf’s lyrics are strangely intimate and often funny; bar mitzvahs and Puerto Rican porno occassionally pop up- and why not?

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Tuesday 7th July
!!!, The Luminaire, London

Here are two facts about !!!
1. You have probably had the best time dancing to them.
2. According to Wikipedia: !!! is pronounced by repeating thrice any monosyllabic sound. Chk Chk Chk is the most common pronunciation, but they could just as easily be called Pow Pow Pow, Bam Bam Bam, Uh Uh Uh, etc.
So go along to the Luminaire and make strange noises (“thrice”) and dance your socks off.

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Wednesday 8th July
White Denim, Heaven, London

White Denim are the best thing to come out of Texas since ribs and good accents, they have been compared to Os Mutantes and Can which is no mean feat. Expect a healthy dose of psychadelia with a smudge of grubby rock n’roll

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Thursday 9th July
The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Kill It Kid, The ICA, London.

What are Fat Cat doing on Thursday?
Oh, you know, just being as awesome as ever at the ICA.
Fat Cat seem to have excellent taste in music, and the three bands playing tonight carry on the high standards of Fat Cat label veterans like Animal Collective. Expect melancholy and sweetness from The Twilight Sad and post-punk from the others. Lashings of fun all round.

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The Weekend
Loop Festival, Brighton.

Let’s go to the sea! Brighton’s Loop Festival; a celebration of music and digital art has the most mouth-watering line-up ever. Fever Ray, Karin from The Knife‘s solo project, play alongside múm, the hot-to-trot Telepathe (pictured) and Tuung to name but a few. If I were going I’d invite them all to make sandcastles with me afterwards…hopefully they would.

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Monday 6 July

Whose landscape is it anyway?

Nicholas Stern and Ramachandra Guha consider the tensions between environmental concerns and industrial and economic development in South Asia today.

£5 including day pass to Royal Botanic Gardens, mind Kew.
6.30pm, cost British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1.

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Illustration by Joanna Cheung

Tuesday 7th July

Garbage Warrior Film Screening

The epic story of radical Earthship eco architect Michael Reynolds, and his fight to build off-the-grid self-sufficient communities.

7pm (86min), Passing clouds, Dalston (review + directions)

An Alternative Energy Evening?·

Lecture and Panel Discussion?· Professor Vernon Gibson, with Jonathan Leake, ??Chief Chemist of BP, in discussion with key experts in the field of sustainable and renewable energy.
Please join us to hear the latest on this hot topic.

Free to attend. Admission is by guest list only.
??Email events@weizmann.org.uk to reserve your place.
+44 (0)20 7424 6863?  www.weizmann.org.uk

7pm
Royal Geographical Society
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AR

Wednesday 8th July

Renewable Energy, All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group meeting with WWF

Dr Keith Allott leads the discussion.

4-6pm, House of Commons, Westminster SW1

Thursday 9th July

Conflicting Environmental Goods and the Future of the Countryside

Caroline Lucas MEP talking on possible futures.

Contact – judithr@cpre.org.uk
5-7pm, The Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, EC1

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Illustration by Faye Katirai

A Climate Mission for Europe: Leadership & Opportunity

Lord Browne, Roger Carr, Lord Giddens, John Gummer MP and Roland Rudd

8–9.30am
Royal Academy of Engineering,
3 Carlton House Terrace, SW1Y

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Illustration by Michaela

Wise Women Speaker Event: John D Liu

John D Liu speaks on integrated poverty eradication and large-scale ecosystem rehabilitation. Since the mid-1990′s he has concentrated on ecological film making and has written, produced and directed films on many aspects of the ecology. In 2003, Liu wrote, produced and directed “Jane Goodall – China Diary” for National Geographic. Hailed as a visionary for the future, Lui is director of the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) and will discuss his groundbreaking work.

RSVP: polly@wisewomen.me.uk

7pm, ?£10 on the door
The Hub,Islington,
Candid Arts Trust,
5 Torrens Street, London,
EC1V 1NQ

Friday 10th July

The End of the Line

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Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think and act. The End of the Line is the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Rupert Murray.

7pm, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2.
Contact – events@frontlineclub.com

Saturday 11th July

The Artic And Us

Lemn Sissay discusses the making of the poem “What If”, inspired by his recent trip to the Arctic to highlight climate change.

£7, 3.30pm, South Bank Centre

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Illustration by Lea Jaffey
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This year I spent a record six days at Glastonbury. On Tuesday we set off from London with a mission to “tat” along the way. Tatting is a favourite occupation of the fictional Wombles and is a process central to Climate Camp – it basically means relieving skips and front gardens of useful discarded objects – such as sofas, pilule chairs, tables and carpeting – for reuse in another situation. En route to Glastonbury we managed to fill the van up with various items including a full set of dining chairs that looked swanky but collapsed as soon as we sat on them and a rather manky looking mouldy mattress. It was pointed out that this would seem the lap of luxury after a couple of days in a field with no soft surfaces to rest upon, so we duly lugged it into the van. In fact we needn’t have worried – the mattress was left out to air as soon as we arrived and stolen almost immediately. Desirable already!

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Our journey had an added frisson of excitement given the rumour that everyone was being locked out of the site at 10pm every night. Fortunately (and thanks to GPS on my poncey new iphone) we made it to Pilton Farm on time, whereupon we were greeted by the cheery sight of our big red and yellow marquee. It seems that making merry in the fields of Somerset has turned into a week long affair for many, so vast quantities of people were already cruising the fields, beers in hand.

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For us there was still much work to be done, so in the morning we dressed our area with significant amounts of bunting and colourful flags that we had screenprinted beforehand, all bearing Mia Marie Overgaard‘s beautiful artwork.

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Climate Camp was given a generous corner of an otherwise predominantly camping field – with a big fire pit in the middle and a yurt (housing Ecolab‘s Future Scenarios exhibition) demarcating one corner. Around the yurt I strung the story of Climate Rush so far – printed upon weather resistant banners that billowed dramatically in the gusty winds.

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By the field boundary a “tripod stage” had been constructed – an inspired bit of naming that made reference to the grand pyramid stage down where the rabble doth hang about.

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As we beavered away to beautify the site some classic festival munters pitched up and decided to erect their box fresh tents directly under our Welcome to Climate Camp banner – thereby easily misleading the public in to believing that they were indeed Climate Camp. Within minutes they were yelling “Ogee-ogee-oy” at each other through a megaphone. I kid you not. They were the perfect festival munter cliche right on our doorstep. Needless to say these same creatures left an absolute disaster zone in their wake when they left the festival – but more on that later…

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Many more Climate Camp kindred spirits arrived as we sorted out our space, and by Thursday many curious festival-goers were stopping by to listen to a bit of music or take a wander around our exhibition. Danny Chivers delivered his usual wonderful poetry to a rapt audience and Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors (set up in honour of Joe Strummer and named after a Clash song) took a turn on the stage.

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Billy Bragg’s Jail Guitar Doors provides guitars with which to rehabilitate prisoners through music, and the two lads playing for us had since left prison and are trying to build a career in music. After a shy start they were soon regaling the receptive crowd with tales of prison life and left amidst promises that they would return, possibly with the real Billy Bragg in tow – a rumour that quickly gained momentum but was sadly never fulfilled.

Then out of nowhere came possibly our most exciting idea yet; instead of just teaching how to take direct action in workshop form, we would actually do some mock actions right there in Glastonbury. It all seemed too good an opportunity to miss – this year Greenpeace had created a full-on third runway experience, including a miniature Sipson with it’s own international airport which was clearly ripe for the blockading.

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We all donned one of the Climate Camp t-shirts that I’d printed up (I’ve been on a bit of a screenprinting frenzy) and marched noisily down to the Greenpeace field with our tripod and an orangutan in tow. As you do.

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Twenty people blockaded the entrance to the bemusement of passersby, as faux security guards tried to pull them off and the orangutan climbed triumphantly to the top of the tripod. It was a pretty good re-enactment of a real direct action, until actors hired by Greenpeace waded in and stole our thunder with some attention grabbing shouting.

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On Thursday night there was the most spectacular storm, with torrential rain pouring down off our Climate Change is Pants bunting (made from, erm, pants, of course) and into the tent as we sheltered from the monsoon. It stopped just in time for our Mass Night Game, for which I played the part of a security guard (they’re never far away on a direct action)

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As each team arrived at our base in the stone circle they had to climb the tripod as fast as they could before the guards could pull them off. In one surreal moment as the dusk fell some real Glastonbury stewards materialised in pink dayglo waistcoats to my yellow dayglo one, and really confused both themselves and those playing the game.

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As evening fell a group of us went off to discover the new Shangri-La area, where a gaggle of totally drunk pre-pubescent girls fell into us yelling “Michael Jackson’s dead!” Soon the whole festival was ringing with the news – as well as his back catalogue – though we all remained uncertain about the veracity of the rumours and decided to spread a counter rumour that Timmy Mallett was dead. Looking back it was odd that noone seemed particularly sad to hear the news, but then I think most of us have already mourned the cute little black boy who vanished under drastic surgery long ago. It was almost as if Michael Jackson had been one big fat joke for so long that his death was as fantastical and unreal as his life had become, and therefore hard to take seriously.

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The rest of the festival was spent in a whirlwind of outreach and fundraising. I wasn’t so comfortable with the bucket rattling, but luckily others were brilliant at it and we managed to raise loads of much needed cash to help put Climate Camp on this year.

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I spent most of my time chatting to people, both in our field and out around the Green Fields area. And of course taking lots of photos – because that’s where I feel most comfortable of all, recording everything that we do for future posterity.

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We facilitated another few mini direct actions – one day in defiance of the cheap flights on offer in the mock travel agents in Shangri-La, and on another using arm tubes to blockade the mini village of Sipson.

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Friends wandered by to see me but I didn’t really go further than the Green Fields for much of the festival. I have a love hate relationship with Glastonbury and tend to be happiest away from the seething crowds down near the main stages. There were a lot more police on site this year and there were at least two arrests in our field, presumably for drug dealing – thus we found ourselves offering solidarity to the friends that were left behind “we get arrested quite a lot you see…” We got the paddling pool out when it was especially roasting, and I jumped in with all my clothes on before rushing onto the path to offer wet hugs to passersby.

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On my rare trips down to “Babylon” I got in a mild panic – huge crowds of fucked people crashing into me is not my idea of fun. Bruce Springsteen was a major disappointment and I only saw brief bits of Blur from the very back of the field before wandering off to find a friend at the Prodigy, where I got thoroughly freaked out by the gazillions of men and women screaming “smack my bitch up” at the top of their voices, I mean – I like the tune, but there are some totally suspect lyrics going on there. Over by the John Peel stage I was amused to see a huge (high as a skyscraper) board of protest banners bearing one of the Climate Rush picnic blankets from our Heathrow protest.

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It was very surreal to see it high above me, when last it was sitting in a crumpled mess in my hallway. On more than a few occasions we found ourselves at the uber decadent Arcadia area of an evening.

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It was the ultimate irony that the closest stage to Climate Camp featured hugely wasteful gas flares that shot into the night and made a mockery of our frugal ways; any energy savings made by our solar powered camp so obviously swallowed in the dystopian heat of the dramatic flames. Needless to say we were drawn to Arcadia like fossil fuel moths, dancing under the sizzling spectacle with all the other revellers, all part of the same species careering towards self-destruction.

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But back to the beautiful green space of Climate Camp, where our little tripod stage proved to be a real winner. My trusty music editor Roisin had contacted some music prs a mere day or so before I left for Glastonbury and secured performances from the wondrous First Aid Kit and the equally brilliant 6 Day Riot. First Aid Kit arrived fresh from a gig on the Park Stage with their parents in tow, and wowed everyone with a simple acoustic set that highlighted their delicate use of harmonies.

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Unfortunately I missed 6 Day Riot due to outreach with our “aggie animals” whereby a homeless alcoholic orangutan, polar bear and tiger went out to engage with the general public.

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The idea was to subvert the traditional cutesy perception of said animals, a plan which worked really well during the day, but in the evening faltered as the distinction between performance art and actual fucked festival munter blurred to the point of impossibility. Especially when one of our animals spewed into the bushes in a prize bit of method acting (she’d just downed a pint of homebrewed cider)

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On Sunday afternoon we held a random raffle, which was made possible by blagging prizes from various stalls and performers during the course of the festival. A large amount of people were happy to part with cash to purchase a raffle ticket, and a small crowd was persuaded to attend the actual event, compered with aplomb by our resident poet Danny. Prizes included the beer can that Jack Penate had allegedly drunk from (won by a child, woops)

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It was all beautifully ramshackle but seemed to entertain. The girl who has inadvertently become part of this year’s logo (by virtue of an image of her at the Kingsnorth camp that is strewn across the interweb) stopped by and did some dazzling acrobatics on our tripod stage.

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By the evening I still hadn’t managed to figure a way to get out of the festival so I ended up staying on until Monday evening for “tat down” – taking down the tents and sorting stuff to be transported back home. The mattress that we had lovingly cleaned made a sudden return, and small children started to circle our site like hyenas on the look out for valuable abandoned belongings, and undrunk alcohol (festie children eh?! Cheeky buggers!)

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Stories reached us of people leaving their tent for one moment and returning to find it removed within moments by opportunistic “tatters”. I went on a roam of our general area to search for useful stuff, but returned feeling sick to the pit of my stomach and unable to take anything for myself.

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Is it really that much hassle to take your pop-up tent home? What kind of person abandons so many reusable things? Do you really have that much disposable income in the age of the credit crunch? The festival munters camped under our welcome banner departed leaving a wasteland behind. Piles of rubbish streaming across the ground, a stereo, blow up mattresses, perfectly good tents (not pop-up!) – debris of an unaware society.

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I returned home exhausted, but already formulating plans to put forward Green Kite Midnight as the Climate Camp house band next year – a celidh would really have set things off a treat. Until then there’s always the Big Green Gathering, where we’re house band for the Last Chance Saloon. Come see us there!
At Glastonbury when not navigating through guy ropes clutching half drunk bottles of cider with dirty shorts, order haystack hair and generally looking like I’ve emerged from the mountains, medicine I like to ‘do’ things. Last year, store I paid eight pounds to have an astrology reading, where I crouched goggle-eyed in a small tipi opposite a warm, smiling, apple-cheeked evil money-sucker who ethereally told me the biggest pack of lies you’ve ever heard.

Eight pounds! Not going back there, NO WAY JOSÉ! Given the size of Glastonbury, there are, of course, a multitude of ways to enjoy yourself in the most concrete and non-superstitious of manners – in fact, in the spirit of ‘Reclaiming Craft’ making something with my hands seemed the perfect antidote. On the Thursday Amelia’s Magazine floated on over to the Green Craft Fields where we found ourselves in a tent filled with lots of small drawing children. On the other side were some adults milling around a life model like no other. Life-drawing: a sensual sketching of the nude human physique? Less so if it’s an unshaven superhero clad in a spandex bodysuit and purple pants – and that’s Mr Spandex to you and I. So I got involved, producing a multi-angled ‘sketch-book’ of questionable quality that sadly got ruined when my tent turned out not to be waterproof, but while it’s destruction is in fact probably a blessing for the art world, I appreciate that such a catastrophe may have accidentally granted my artistic skills with an unearned aura of mystique.

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Chatting to the mistress of ceremonies Leanne afterwards, she told me a bit about R-ART, their creative collective based in East London. They are fusing ideas of art and fashion in an interactive and educational capacity, providing holiday workshops, after-school clubs and Saturday schools; all with a push towards sustainable making, free-thinking and responsibility that’s locking horns with that image of the pie-eyed child with a peanut-butter sandwich in one hand and a Nintendo controller in the other on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

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Set up by Leanne and her friend Ita and developed with eco-entertainment company BASH Creations, they naturally play the big sister role to the kids, with a sole mandate to lighten the ecological footprint of the British entertainment industry and to teach them the heart behind the making of things with your own two hands. Given my own scribbling skills, I too belong at the children’s table, a bit like Jack out of that Robin Williams film (except not really, I do get ID’d a lot, so I don’t look that old. But I digress.)

One of their projects involved working with Nova Dando, constructing a couture gown out of old copies of the Financial Times, which again, in its trashionista spirit hammered home the process of recycling making and getting everyone involved – children doing couture! Great stuff.

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To get in touch and to find out their workshops and other upcoming projects, visit their website at www.r-art.co.uk, or e-mail Ita and Leanne at us2@r-art.co.uk. Look out for a report on how it all went down at Glastonbury for them too – if you too managed to swing by their tent let us here at Amelia’s Magazine know about it!
Futuresonic is one of the most stellar event’s on Manchester’s musical calender. Not only does it symbolise (to me) the beginning of the summer festival season but it’s one of the most musically challenging and varied events of the year. Unlike so many other festivals it doesn’t concentrate on the commercial or press friendly artists but solely musicians and artists alike who constantly flaut convention, view breaking boundaries and sticking flags in musical territories previously unchartered. Rarther than touting the Guardian‘s Top ten of 2009 it digs a little deeper and promotes some of the more interesting artists from around the globe in a myriad of genres like Electronic, drugs Metal and Bastard Pop!

After 13 years of pushing the envelope the organisers have managed to do it again this year. Beginning with Murcof, information pills they have shown that music can be ever changing and that when seamlessley combined with other mediums of artistic endeavor can create something truly original and mind expanding.

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First on the RNCM main stage is Manchester based (Skelmersdale born) Denis Jones with his bone shaking ryhthm’s and dirge infused shouts and beats looped back through a whole host of pedals and electronic gadgetry. Projected behind this is a sextuplet of Denis’s, or should that be Den-i, layered on toip on one another to compliment the layering of clucks, slaps, plucks and claps. Having seen a few artists these days who do a similar thing it’s great to see someone do it so intricately and beautifully on a large stage to a strong audience. It can be rather sloppy and the point can be lost in the masses of equipment that I don’t know the first thing about. As he meanders his way into a vibrant crescendo it’s easy to see why Denis is being hyped as a musical giant of the future.

To contrast with this high octane solo operation comes Icelandic composer Johan Johansson with the Iskra Quartet, who create sombre laptop and piano accompanied string pieces that I feel comfortable in equating to classical Estonian Raconteur Arvo Part. These pieces are complex but the delicate sounds are all somewhat identifiable to a techno dope like myself. The sounds are highly mellifluous and they toggle between Melancholy and high drama evoking the counterpoint of Moondog at times. With a break before Murcof I had an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the moment which led me almost to tears, the air was rife with emotion but anxiety of what was to come soon remedied this.

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As the curtain re-opened, behind a sheet of white, is lurking who we can only assume to be Mexican electronic music pioneer Murcof. We know Anti VJ (comprised of Joanie Le Mercier, Simon Geilfus and Nicolas Boritch) must be hiding somewhere but as there is only one other face in the shadows we can’t be sure who it is. As a faint hum begins, a tiny spec of light appears in the centre of the sheet which grows as the music explodes into loud bursts. The dot becomes a sprawling mass of spider webs and creates a haunted house like atmosphere that’s not for the faint hearted. From this we travel through a myriad of imagery such as a multifarious star system and regimentally swirling, shooting stars accompanied by Lygeti-esque composition. The imagery at all times compliments the minmal soundscaping of Murcof fantastically but neither is at any point subdued. For me there couldn’t have been a better way to kick off the 13th Futuresonic and the festival season as a whole.

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All photos by Anne-Laure Franchette
From previous years, viagra this looks set to be the one summer gathering any activist or aspiring campaigner needs to attend. A report of last year’s camp speaks warmly of the ‘lasting sense of genuine kindred spirit and camaraderie’, viagra 100mg between old hands and newcomers alike.

If the Resurgence Reader’s Weekend will provide a few days of quiet reflection, the Earth First! Summer Gathering promises an inspirational week of skill sharing and planning for direct action.

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Illustrations by Adam Bletchley

Earth First! is all about networking and building strength through community and communication. Direct action is what they do – not relying on government or industry to act sufficiently, this network without leaders takes action to them. And whether your campaign takes up the issue of opencast mining, genetic engineering, agrofuels, dam-building, hunt-sabbing, general climate actions, oil pipeline resistance, road stopping, anti-whaling, squatting, or rainforest protection, you’re sure to find something to learn here.

The gathering will be communally run, non-hierarchical, in true anarchist tradition. So far, there are over eighty workshops planned – but everyone coming along will contribute and help run the camp. Get in touch in advance if you’ve an idea for a workshop, or want to help with the setup or takedown of the site.

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Too many workshops on practical skills for direct action are already planned to list here – though to whet your appetite, they include tree climbing, activist medic first aid, and a full day of water based training. This should help to build on the several campaigns already taking to the water – at Rossport against Shell’s pipeline laying, and the Great Rebel Raft Regatta of last summer’s Climate Camp.

There will also be the chance to brush up your practical ‘sustainable’ living skills – grounding that ever-slippery term in real things : field trips, learning to recognise plants and animals, wild food, getting your own power from the sun and wind, squatting and bike maintenance. And vegan cake making, which for me is quite the cherry on top.

Have a collective think, too, about ecology, ecocentric ethics and alternatives to the corporate world of exploitation. Which should come neatly round to an excursion to some of the beautiful vallies of the area, on the Monday (24th August), to visit communities threatened by an expansion of coal mining around the North East.

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Here are the practicalities:

BRING
Bring tent and sleeping bag. You can either cook food for yourself or for £4 per day chip in with collective cooking of delicious vegan organic food – organised by the wonderful Anarchist Teapot collective. There’ll be quiet sleeping areas, toilets and running water, a children’s space and spaces for workshops and info stalls. Veggies will provide vegan cake and snacks. Children and young adults welcome with subsidized meals.

WHEN
19th-24th August 2009 – Arrive Tuesday afternoon. Workshops run from Wednesday morning until Sunday afternoon.

WHERE
The site is in or near the Lake District, Cumbria. The nearest train station is Penrith and there is a bus service to the site, there are car and living vehicle spaces outside the camp.

The exact location will be announced the week before the gathering so that it doesn’t turn into a festival. For travel directions check the website where they will be posted on 12th August.

DOGS : This year well behaved owners with dogs on leads can be accommodated, but think about whether your dog will feel comfortable in workshops. Please call beforehand so we know numbers.

COST : £20 – £30 according to what you can afford. It’s not for profit – all extra cash goes to help fund next year. Under 14′s free.

CONTACT
summergathering@earthfirst.org.uk
www.earthfirstgathering.org.uk
Or ring 01524 383012 – though it might take a while to get back to you.

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Central St Martin’s graduate Phil Hall draws in the same way that some of us dream; streams of consciousness, information pills themes interspersed with sudden hints and whispers of unrelated recollections. Some of his work contains snippets of dialogue, viagra often witty and astute but again with an undertone of the surreal and reminiscent of muddled hallucinogenic dream talk (yes, sick that is a technical term).

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His commissions to date include the magazines La Bouche, Crafty and Torpedo, as well as for the G2 Guardian supplement and animation company Kanoti. Animals, both actual and fictitious, are nestled between cityscapes and underwater worlds, while everyday objects are comically personified and everyday scenes playfully reinterpreted.

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Figures and portraiture are also common threads throughout Hall’s work, which he has an incredible skill for undertaking. Subtle use of lines and marks, but nonetheless full of expression, the characters are often solemn and appear loss in thought. I wondered whether this was a reflection of Hall’s own state of mind and so challenged him to a quick fire round of questions. Turns out he’s actually a pretty sharp guy.

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So, Phil, what makes you so awesome?

I don’t know about that, but I think people who want to create, try new things, provoke through art are pretty awesome.

Which artists or illustrators do you most admire?

Anybody who is trying new and interesting things, especially people who take risks.

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Who or what is your nemesis?

That darn negative voice in my head

Which band past or present would provide the soundtrack to your life?

New Radiohead stuff, i know, i know…

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I say Modern Art is Rubbish, you say…?

Some of it

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

climbing the walls

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What would your pub quiz specialist subject be?

90′s video games, yes, I’m slightly embarrassed by this but as an 80′s child in was such escapism.

What advice would you give up and coming artists?

Believe in your own ideas, but always question them.

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What piece of modern technology can you not live without?

The Internet and hoverboard

What is your guilty pleasure?

Crap TV

Tell us something about Phil Hall that we didn’t know already.

I’m a triplet, I have two sisters, ones a florist the other a teaching assistant.

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When I fall asleep tonight, when I slip into that state of meditative relaxation and my mind lets go of the reality of my day, I hope my dreams are as vibrant and vivid as Phil Hall’s illustrations.

What do you dream about?

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So. A whole new batch of graduates all with a different vision – and what to do with them? With the music industry completely revolutionised beyond recognition by the internet, sale the world of fashion has also recognised the lucrative possibilities of the online community to spread the word beyond the catwalk and the pages of glossy magazines. Networking sites like Nineteen74.com are making an obsessively international industry international for the earliest of starters, viagra approved connecting stylists, unhealthy designers, editors, make-up artists, press and hairdressers across the waters.

But with fashion as a site where art and commerce (especially when globalised) traditionally sit uneasily alongside one another, individual expression so often has to be tamed and tapered to fit. Yet Stefan Siegel, owner and founder of the website NOT JUST A LABEL believes that “fashion finds its freedom in the art of individuals”, so set up an online store dedicated to embracing such creativity, and crucially taking it to an accessible level but making it a place where “everything goes”. It’s an online base of up and coming designers, giving its members an esteemed platform where they can showcase and sell their clothing without having to compromise. This is 2009, and this is the world showroom. Here, Stefan talks to Amelia’s Magazine about his designers, his successes and his motivations.

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When and why did you start NJAL and what motivated you to open the shop-section of the website?

Young aspiring fashion designers face enormous hurdles at the beginning of their career; we wanted to provide a stage where designers could showcase their collections at no costs. The goal was to formulate and implement a vision; linking designers with the fashion industry.

How long did it take for the shop to materialize?

Only 10 weeks, we decided during Paris Fashion Week in March that it would be a good idea and all our designers supported the idea. We started developing it in April.

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How do you decide which designers to sell?

The recently launched Not Just A Label shop gives birth to a new kind of online shopping experience offering unique, one-off designer garments. Addicts and admirers alike now have the opportunity to purchase special and limited edition pieces from designers recognised as the leaders in avant-garde fashion.

With so many people wanting to get their work out there, how is it possible to keep up?

Selected collaborators like Robin Schulié and Diane Pernet hand-pick designs from the collections. On a monthly basis a new key industry figure will be asked to join us in the selection process, resulting in a different monthly collection. The chosen participants will be launched as a group to the press a month before their launch on the website.

Have you been successful as of yet?

The response has been amazing, we had thousands visitors on our page when we launched and the reactions are all positive so far. We believe it was really something the market was missing.

How do you think attitudes are changing in young designers?

Young designers recognise the responsibility in creating sustainable fashion. By applying artisan craftsmanship they are known to create products that have classic values with longer lasting qualities and we hope that consumers and buyers will soon recognise this opportunity. Every item displayed on THE SHOP is unique or part of a small production, we believe it is more valuable and eco-friendly to buy an item you can keep for more seasons.

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Having a snoop around the website, it’s great to see that designers can create their own free individualised showrooms online with personalised web addresses, with picture and video galleries and contact information. It’s in essence a place where the individual wields the power – what NJAL has called ‘the black sheep’s environment’. Here you’ve got to be the black sheep or else! Now just imagine what this flock would look like – pretty fabulous we bet.

Blundering, sildenafil mistake-making fashion followers believe that style is about fitting in, find but the true sartorial clan know that individuality has always been the on-trend approach to dressing. These days the high street seems to offer little more than weak duplicates of catwalk designs. The same styles circle the streets over and over again. Standing out has become a difficult endeavour: but there is hope. Forget hitting the shops, adiposity stay at home and spend your style pennies via the happy medium of your computer. With online retail expanding every day (check out our article on NOT JUST A LABEL), the web has become a virtual mall, brimming with quirky garments, capable of satisfying the most eccentric of fashionistas. The obstacle is discovering them, but Amelia’s Magazine has picked out some of our favourites that might mean you would never have to get out of your pyjamas to actually wear any of the clothes you might hypothetically buy. C’est la vie, etc.

Modcloth Indie Clothing:
The pitch: Granny in space
FYI: An emporium of funky fashion finds: from more conventional tea-party dresses to crazy PVC high-waisted shorts. It is a fashion cocktail that will quench all styles of thirst: from grunge to gran- glam to more sophisticated tastes: Modcloth embraces it all. Their stock is as diverse as it wearable, with a collection of pendants particularly expansive; from roses to miniature clocks to birds to robots – and all for less than thirty pounds.

Spanish Moss Vintage

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The pitch: It’s a New York state of dress
FYI: If Lady Gaga owned a vintage shop, it would most definitely resemble Spanish Moss Vintage: most of the models sport her iconic platinum bob and the clothes have a bold, eccentric New York appeal. You can choose between either their New or Vintage Stock, with both lines evoking what can only be described as a wild-nocturnal-hippie-bohemian vibe. Designer pieces are jumbled between quirky one-offs. Jumpsuit aficionados will be especially impressed, from shoulder-padded, to floral covered to striped: each number reflects a different era, it’s like buying a piece of fashion history!

PIXIE MARKET

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The pitch: Olsen Twins at a rock concert
FYI: Everything speaks rock with a capital R. Garments at Pixie Market are subdued but sharp at the same time, sometimes merging with a beautiful grunge-inspired sloppy look. Acid-wash , spray-painted tees, hard-ass leather; its Soho chic at its most dirty. Especially covetable are the studded sandals, which are a harsher twist on the elegant Balenciaga numbers.

ABSOLUTE VINTAGE

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The pitch: Schoolgirl chic
FYI: Endless collections of handbags, dresses and shoes straight with the oh-so-stylish Brick Lane twist. This is old-lady chic heaven, 75% of all stock would work wonderfully with knee-socks, wayfarers and a dashing blazer. The website is incredibly easy to navigate, and the interminable rows of product images evoke a genuine market-shopping vibe. Forget Portobello, Absolute Vintage is where it’s at!

ROLLING STONE VINTAGE
The pitch: Acceptable in the 70s, 80s and 90s
FYI: The people over at Rolling Stone Vintage believe that a vintage dress is a “fashion staple”, and they make sure to provide this staple what seems like a gazillion different varieties. From American-Indian motifs to glitzy sequins to prom-styles, there is a frock for every girl (or boy, for that matter, we won’t put people in a box). Other vintage highlights include their sporadically placed bright graphic tees that seem to scream “Viva las 80s!”

So come on people – pick up that virtual shopping basket, it’s ever so light. And readers, do you have any more online vintage sites you’d like to recommend? Don’t be a meanie and keep them to yourselves!

What could be more British than Gilbert and George? They are the perfect symbols of a nation that is as renowned for its stiff upper lip as it is for its football hooliganism, patient for its uptight sexuality as its love of bawdy smut. Mild and mannerly yet anarchic and challenging, this the artistic duo (two men, one artist) have been performing for us, exhibiting their art and showing us their shit for over 40 years now. And we love them for it.

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George Passmore and Gilbert Proesch met, as Jarvis Cocker might say, whilst studying sculpture at St Martin’s college. Taking an unusual approach to their studies, they sacrificed themselves to live out their lives as a performance; the two became one living sculpture. Upon the realisation that singing Flanagan and Allen’s ‘Underneath the Arches’ for eight hours straight can get rather tiring, Gilbert and George branched out into film and photography, settling on their now trademark vividly coloured grid photographs that glow like unholy stained glass windows. It is this familiar technique that allows them to explore modern patriotism in their new show ‘Jack Freak Pictures.’

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What could be more British than Jesus sporting a pair of Union Jack boxer shorts? This is the confusing and confrontational question that Gilbert and George pose to us in the image ‘Christian England’. Are we a patriotic people, a religious people, and what has happened to the ‘Christian England’ of old? Did those feet in ancient time walk upon England’s mountains green? And might the holy Lamb of God have purchased his pants from a tourist shop?

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When previewing ‘Jack Freak pictures’ the Evening Standard hinted that their new works go as far as blasphemy. Gilbert and George would surely be delighted at this, having asserted themselves as anti-religion and always up for shocking people into contemplation. However, not even a spokesperson for the Church of England could be riled; ‘It sounds very mild for them’ the holy one surmised.
Mild may not be the right word, but Gilbert and George do at least seem to manage to keep most of their clothes on for the majority of this series. Instead of naughty body bits, it is rosettes and medals that feature heavily in images such as ‘God Guard Thee’ and ‘Church of England’. The wonderfully titled ‘Ingerland’ appears as a mess of flesh, flailing arms and a hypnotic pattern of red, white and blue.

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The Union Flag has provided much inspiration for the pair, from their image titles (‘Jesus Jack’, ‘Jack Shit’, ‘Jacksie’) right down to their ultra-patriotic suits. Subtly, this is where Gilbert and George’s shock tactics lie. The duo are content to calmly pose us with images of patriotism, ramped up to a level just shy of insanity, and then lie back and think of England as the audience themselves go insane wondering what it all means. The Union Jack is a loaded symbol. War time medals of honour hold connotations of terror and death. Christianity itself is complicated enough. But aren’t we told we’re supposed to be proud of all this?
Gilbert and George aren’t letting on, as they pose passively as the everyman in their images. Passively,yet aggressively. And what could be more British than that?

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Gilbert and George: Jack Freak Pictures

White Cube Gallery
48 Hoxton Square
London N1 6BU

10th July 22nd August
10am – 6pm Tuesday to Saturday
If you don’t know who Deerhoof are, cheapest you might want to check your sources, reprimand your social group, and consider reading better magazines (and blogs, of course). Deerhoof haven’t quite broken out, weirdly. There are a fair few t-shirts on the street, a few nods of approval in beer garden conversations, and a growing swathe of gimmicky-recognition (“aren’t they the one with the bouncy Japanese lady instead of a normal singer?”), but there is no summer anthem, no festival domination, and no MTV2 a-listed iconic-video-of-the-month. So there’s an extra pat on the back for the wise and knowing horde which descended on Scala this wednesday. Well done!

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Needless to say, they have already been rewarded for their astute pulse-taking on-the-ball-ness – this was a fantastic gig in every respect. A bit of a slow start, maybe, but one which created the perfect calm pond into which massive boulders of rock can most joyfully be dropped. And these are beautifully detailed boulders. Guitarist John Dieterich and his sparring buddy, Ed Rodriguez take such joy in melodic interplay, you could imagine this evolving into classical music a decade hence. And Greg Saunier is one of the most charismatic drummers around. He jiggers around on his stool like an orang-utan on mushrooms and clearly has an obsession with slowing things down, creating tension by bringing in his thwack a little late, or birthing an extra half a secong in a crotchet so he can rattle off one of his beloved buddle-de-dah type licks across the kit. Drummers pay attention: most of you can learn from this chap.

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And then, right in your fovea, is the glorious Satomi Matsuzaki. In the vastness of the stage, she’s a fun-sized centre of attention, like Spinal Tap’s Stonehenge. On the bass, she’s all scripted and tight. After all, someone’s got to hold it together. As a singer, she’s a magical bundle of fun. It’s a little girl voice, opening christmas presents of unpredictable melodies and impressions of inanimate objects (beep, ring, etc). And a great showwoman, too. The crowd was thrilled by her dance sequence with a glow-in-the-dark basketball to the brilliant Basketball Get Your Groove Back. And there was a lovely feedback stew in which she, John and Ed all made as much “EEEEEEeeeeeeeep” as possible with their axes behind their heads. On of the encores had everyone on the wrong instrument for a quick country standard. Another was an instrumental which stepped toward Tortoise or King Crimson. Enthrallment was the order of the day, with one of my chums confused about whether it was accessible or not: “I can hear how weird it is, so I how come I’m enjoying it as much as I am?” she mused.

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Energetically, I’m reminded of the Pixies, except there will never be a Here Comes Your Man from Deerhoof, who might suddenly lurch toward Careful With The Axe, Eugene, instead. The whimsy recalls Pavement, but nothing as simple or catchy as Haircut will come out of this lot, while they keep getting deeper into the infinite possibilities that they clearly see in their instruments. It’s not for them to dilute their powers with accessibility. It’s for every man, woman and child to climb on what Satori has called “the dog-faced rollercoaster” of their music.

It’s a ride I suggest you join them on.
At the confluence of the teeming A roads that intersect the eastern edge of Hackney, click crouching in the shadow of an imposing tower block, troche stands the shell of the Clapton Cinematograph Theatre.

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All photos by Kirsty McQuire.

The borough’s oldest surviving picture house overlooks the Lea Bridge Road roundabout, clinic the hotch-potch nucleus of Upper and Lower Clapton. It’s an area which has recently received, among others, the Miquita Oliver seal of approval: ‘The place to be? Clapton.’ The neglected structure, sandwiched between the equally dishevelled White Hart pub, and the robust St. James Church, is a sorry sight. Bearing neither the shiny new face of Mare St. civic pride (so derided by local psycho-geographer Iain Sinclair) nor the artistic shabby-chic of Dalston, it is an anachronism, a ghost on the inner city landscape. The Edwardian picture palace itself is shrouded by a tawdry lilac façade, conjuring all the eeriness of a forgotten fairground.

With the spotlight of regeneration holding East London firmly in its glare as the Olympics edge ever closer, and the tide of cool (or ‘Shoreditch Twat’ syndrome, depending on your perspective) creeping beyond its Hoxton stronghold, this would seem an opportune moment to raise the profile of a forgotten cultural gem. So says Julie Lafferty, Secretary of the Friends of Clapton Cinematograph Theatre (FCCT), an alliance of local residents who are campaigning for the dilapidated building to be restored to its former glory. That is not merely nostalgic hyperbole, given that the erstwhile leafy suburb of country piles, landscaped gardens and prosperous farms formed the backdrop to the theatre, erected in 1910, just as Portobello Road got the Electric and East Finchley the Phoenix. Both of those Grade II listed, art house haunts have fared considerably better than their Clapton contemporary, buoyed by cult followings and more affluent locales. In its heyday the Cinematograph seated 750 local punters who flocked to see shows that fused film screenings and live performance. Features and shorts were accompanied by acts including ‘the famous banjoists: Miss Hilda Barry and Mr Harry Stuart;’ bridging the gap between the Victorian East End’s love affair with Music Hall and the advent of modern cinema. How many of the current avant-garde, frequenting genre-defying venues such as Shunt and the Village Underground, are aware of this quaint antecedent to their adventures in multimedia, I wonder? I certainly wasn’t!

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This invaluable record of cinematic history was all but eclipsed as the decline of the local area manifest itself in the ‘flea pit’ conditions inside the cinema, ultimately leading to its closure in 1979. The premises were to lie dormant until 1983, reopening as Afro-Caribbean nightspot Dougies and later renamed the Palace Pavilion. The original club attracted a vibrant, diverse mix of punters whilst retaining a wholesome atmosphere, Lafferty tells me, having lived in the area with her family for thirty years. Dougies championed black reggae musicians and succeeded in integrating the flourishing multi-cultural community. However, in its 90s hip hop incarnation and under the aegis of proprietor and DJ Admiral Ken, AKA Kenneth Edwards, the Pavilion was blighted by knife and gun crime. After the violence reached its peak in a gangland-style double shooting on New Years Eve 2005, local pressure groups succeeded in having the club’s license revoked. According to Lafferty’s findings through Land Registry, Edwards’ name still appears on the leasehold, though the Bass Holdings’ freehold is now on the market. A victim of the recession as well as its reputation, the club has remained boarded up ever since it closed its doors to the public. Edwards has declined to enter into a dialogue with the FCCT on several occasions. ‘We took his business away,’ she admits.

The Pavilion’s demise inevitably damaged the livelihoods of those who profited from it, both officially and unofficially. Yet it has been key in continuing to eradicate what Tony Blair famously referred to as ‘the society of fear,’ with direct reference to the borough. ‘Crime in Hackney is falling faster than in nearly any other London borough,’ reflected Mayor Jules Pipe recently, following heartening statistics from the Met. In the year 2006-07, crime was found to be down by 7,000 offences, a decrease of 28% compared to 2003-04, meaning that Hackney exceeded the three-year target of a 20% reduction in priority crimes. Locals had the backing of Diane Abbot, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who insists that ‘the club had a long and bloody history and the decision to close it was long overdue.’ Abbot’s involvement has not ended there, as she has also lent her support to the FCCT’s vision for the building’s future.

‘Hackney currently only has one cinema serving a population of over 200,000,’ states the FCCT campaign literature. The Rio, a jewel in Hackney’s cultural crown, is a prime example of what local patronage can do to preserve a neighbourhood institution; the venue having been earmarked for various developments since its inception in 1909. But the cosy Art Deco hangout of just 402 seats cannot possibly meet the increasing demand of a predominantly young borough, which grew by 12% compared to the 7.4% of London overall, in the 1990s alone. A rival development has been mooted for Pitfield Street in Shoreditch, but if resident naysayer Jarvis Cocker has anything to do with it, it won’t get the go ahead.

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In an ambitious yet shrewd proposal, the group envisages the Cinematograph’s resurrection paying homage to the late playwright and local hero, Harold Pinter. ‘It’s a little known fact,’ says Lafferty, ‘that alongside his works for the theatre he also wrote 22 screenplays. Pinter was very fond of the area he grew up in- he wrote poetry recounting walks with his teacher from Clapton Pond to Finsbury Park, discussing the literature that inspired him to start writing.’ Ideally, such a tribute would be finalised in time to coincide with the cinema’s centenary in 2010.

In light of this, Abbot requested an Early Day Motion on 15th January which ‘calls on the Government to do all it can to support the campaign by local residents to restore the cinema on Lower Clapton Road in honour of this illustrious Hackney resident.’ Although most EDMs are never debated in the House of Commons, this petition has already garnered the support of Glenda Jackson and at the very least will serve to air the issue around Westminster. That Pinter ended his days in the more salubrious climes of Kensington and Chelsea is beside the point; he was born in Lower Clapton and there is a staggering absence of any visible testament to his humble beginnings. Lafferty: ‘On Broadway they dimmed the lights for him. What have we done?’ Another example of British diffidence in the face of towering achievement, I conclude.

Lest the project be branded purely a heritage piece, Lafferty is quick to point out that this dedication is not the extent of the FCCT’s plans, which also encompass a community centre, gallery space, café and film training facilities. ‘I believe in training, not punishment,’ she says, and cites the fact that ‘Hackney youth are at a considerable disadvantage in the job market.’ With half of all adults not attaining the literacy level expected of a school leaver and the employment rate being some 13% lower than the London average, she has a point. But how might she and her colleagues on the committee counter accusations of gentrification, now almost synonymous with the double-edged sword of regeneration? ‘By involving local people from the start. We want a community cinema, a place to unite polarised generations- not a faceless multiplex but not an art house clique either.’ She is well aware of fears that the Olympic legacy will be a white elephant, and denies that cynics might justifiably say the same of an independent cinema on the Park’s periphery: ‘It should be for the long-term and inclusive, not exclusive. The challenge is to appeal to everyone. I’m advocating a diverse programme world cinema and young documentary talent, alongside mainstream blockbusters.’

In the meantime, it’s a case of means tirelessly raising awareness in every local forum from the church fete to the school hall. Volunteers are canvassing for signatures to provide evidence of community feeling, with which to bolster political interest and attract investment. The FCCT are in the process of commissioning a £30,000 feasibility study, potentially to be financed by the RIBA community fund- the next step towards proving the practical and economic benefits of the enterprise. The campaigners are also armed with a Film Council Report of 2005, containing a glowing case study of the Rio. ‘What’s to stop it happening here?’ is Lafferty’s characteristically sanguine attitude.

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Which is not to say that she and her colleagues haven’t experienced set backs in the past. Although the FCCT have not met with opposition directly, longstanding residents among them are no strangers to controversy and disappointment. They only hope that the fate of nearby Latham’s Yard, a 13-acre site by the River Lea, will not befall the cinema. The greenbelt land had its planning application for a development of 7-storey apartment blocks approved in 2005, despite considerable local and political objection. ‘The Government’s own Planning Inspector said no, but it got the green light anyway. That was a real low-point.’

Resilience and resourcefulness appear to go a long way in the world of grass roots lobbying. Through the edifying neighbourhood grapevine of Dave Hill’s Clapton Pond Blog I learnt not only of the FCCT’s existence, but also of their first cinematic venture, a free screening of The Big Smoke: Films from a Lost London 1896-1945. This event simultaneously formed part of the Open Gardens and Squares Weekend and the BFI Mediatheque on Tour, which takes the South Bank archive on the road. So on the afternoon of Sunday 14th June I trotted along to the unlikely setting of the St. John’s Ambulance Hall, passing bustling homemade cake stands and brick-a-brack stalls dotted round the pond. More Vicar of Dibley than Clapton, really. A make-shift banner proclaimed defiantly (and with more than a hint of irony), ‘Screen on the Pond;’ and a bottle of Recession plonk bearing the PM’s face was being raffled as the tombola prize. Neighbours young and old had turned out to watch black and white silent movies on a sunny summer’s day and despite the lack of popcorn, it was standing room only.

It seems there is still a demand for a cinema-experience on your doorstep that isn’t tantamount to a trip to the supermarket, after all. And this was only the trailer.

The next FCCT public meeting will be held at The Pembury Tavern on Amhurst Road, Hackney on Tuesday 14th July at 7pm.

Returning just for a moment to the R-Art collective collaboration with Nova Dando to make a dress entirely from everyone’s favourite page-turner The Financial Times, it’s funny to see examples of trashion pop up in different guises, treat and wondering whether it’s all really part of the same thing. Back in the 1940s, a shoemaker called Salvatore Ferragamo started to braid sweet wrappers in the upper parts of his shoes during the Second World War. He discovered their strength and wear in a difficult period to obtain expensive materials.

Fast-forward to 2009, and you’ve got entire ranges of kitsch accessories being woven out of sweet wrappers. You’ve got students constructing trousers from Royal Mail postbags, Martin Margiela making shirts appliquéd with old football parts.

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And look! Alexander McQueen is even recycling old collections, and using umbrellas and hub- caps as hats.

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In the unlikely pairing of Ferragamo and McQueen, we are witnessing an artistic response fuelled by the unglamorous concept of necessity generated by an economic downturn. For Margiela it has long been a practice to ‘upcycle’ his own garments with his Artisanal range, looking to grant them with a ‘higher status’. It’s intellectualising something that you see also in the most lowbrow of arenas, like Project Runway, where designers are challenged to create futuristic outfits out of vintage clothes, or rip up the interiors of apartments to make into something avant-garde. It’s easy to see how trashion treads the fine line between a belief system and a gimmick (completely ruining several perfectly decent apartments seemed somewhat regressive to me). There was even the Channel 4 programmed ‘Dumped’ where a group of strangers were forced to live together and filmed around the clock. In a dump. Undoubtedly a gimmick, but these people actually managed to survive by reusing what people had thought to throw away.

So the idea of repurposing is nothing new, and it’s obvious why we regularly look to cover here it at Amelia’s Magazine. More interesting than why it’s produced is how, I began reading about Chilean designer Alexandra Guerrero, who genuinely views the wastage in her city as an opportunity to be resourceful, and has gone so far as to make wearable pieces out of a fabric constructed from cigarette butts. Yes, that’s CIGARETTE BUTTS. Before the murmurs start about overstepping the mark, Guerrero pre-empted all the haters out there by checking with an environmental engineer to check that cleaning them would make them hygienically sound. Given the thumbs up – you can get ‘em at 95% purified apparently – she then put them through something called an autoclave, then washed them in something else called a polar solvent, put them back into the trusty autoclave, to go and then rinse, dry, shred, dye, separate the butts, and finally spin with natural sheep wool. Ta-dah! Imagine the horrifyingly elongated episode of Blue Peter: here’s one I autoclaved earlier.

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Shows like Project Runway delineate a certain fascination with the process of it all, and specifically the difficulty involved in doing it. If turning some old coffee cups into a cheeky little playsuit was easily done, maybe it would just be the common practice. The fact remains, that, with Guerrera’s project in mind, it’s an exhausting process that of course isn’t more trouble than it’s worth environmentally (not at a whopping 4.5 trillion butts dropped a day) but artistically, it could definitely be a bit laborious. And, let’s face it, not to everybody’s taste.

McQueen himself said his AW09 collection was indeed a response to the gross wastage of the fashion industry in an economic climate where it could not be commercially viable any more. Guerrero ironically enough needs more funding to pursue her investigations into the world of cigarette butts. But the shared excitement in possibilities in repurposing materials seems the important result, and the creative potential out there is without a doubt enormous. So next time you chuck something in the bin, take a second look – maybe it could make a brilliant overcoat.

Categories ,Couture, ,Craft, ,Reality Television, ,Recycled Materials, ,Trashion

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentine’s Day Special: Introducing the Samsung GALAXY Love Note Campaign

Valentines Card 2012 Galaxy Love Note
A Valentine’s Message for Amelia’s Magazine readers! (cheesy, but I mean it)

The new Samsung Galaxy Love Note campaign launches today to promote the GALAXY Note smartphone which is part tablet and part phone. It boasts a huge screen, guaranteed to appeal to image makers everywhere, as well as the S Pen facility which allows users to create written content directly onto their screen.

Galaxy love note
To celebrate the launch this fine Valentine’s Day Samsung have set up the Galaxy Love Note website, where users can share a special image and a bespoke message with their loved one. This will then be printed onto a postcard and can also be shared on social media – thereby combining the old and the new, the analogue and the digital.

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I particularly like the lovely video which accompanies the campaign, which tells the story of the history of the Love Note through a cleverly compiled series of objects (from letters to typewriters to cassette tapes) that come together to form a giant heart. The video was put together by directors Bison and Sarah Jenneson, and was turned around incredibly quickly – from initial idea to the final film in just over a week. Pretty impressive!

Galaxy love note
Galaxy love note
Galaxy love note
To generate pre-launch interest, the directors covered up the windows of the shoot location in Hanbury Street, East London, leaving only a heart shaped peep hole before they started filming. On the day of filming they then affixed large vinyl letters with the message ‘We’re Making Love Notes…‘ and the #galaxylovenote hashtag on the windows, inviting numerous passers-by to watch the film being made. Wish I’d known about the filming, I could have popped down to take a gander – it features some fab set design.

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As part of the campaign you can also watch Samantha Ronson talking about what she loves: I like the fact that her dog Cadillac is one of her favourite possessions: alongside her vast collection of Siamese twin toys (she is a twin) – I reckon she should check out Yam Kids plushies made by Constructive Designs.

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Why not send a loved one in your life a surprise Love Note in the form of a postcard? It’s incredibly easy, just visit the website and upload your image and message. You will also get the chance to win one of ten Samsung GALAXY Notes if your Love Note receives the most Likes on Facebook. Hell, Florence Welch is even in on the act.

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This is a sponsored blogpost but please note that I only write about things that I think are interesting, creative, clever and generally fab!

Categories ,#galaxylovenote, ,Analogue, ,Bison, ,Cadillac, ,digital, ,Florence Welch, ,Galaxy Love Note, ,Hanbury Street, ,S Pen, ,Samantha Ronson, ,Samsung, ,Sarah Jenneson, ,Smartphone, ,Social Media, ,Tablet, ,Valentine’s Day, ,video

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