Cold Lips 04 + launch party

Art, books, Design, Fashion, Fiction, Film, Journalism, literature, london, Music, Nightlife, spoken word

Please come and celebrate the best edition yet…

FRIDAY 27th April at London Fields Brewhouse

Entry from a fiver includes the magazine (RRP: £100), and ace music and poetry.

I began putting together the features last year.  It’s the kinda thing I’d like to read… designed by the beautifully talented  Personality Crisis who is now on a jet plane!

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Entry includes the new summer edition

PUT ME ON THE GUESTLIST NOW!

GIL DE RAY
[LIVE]
+
THE FAT WHITE FAMILY’S ADAM J HARMER and his one man destruction show

POETRY:
Greta Bellamacina, Robert Montgomery

Stuart McKenzie, Ana Seferovic

Kirsty Allison (COLD LIPS editor) with Steve Norris on guitar

DJs TESS PARKS
+
Chris Rotter

INSIDE, on the sexy paper: 💥Anti-fashion by Carl Fox ✨Duggie Fields on Syd Barrett (whose Madcap Laugh album inspired the cover shoot with Greta + Robert) 🔥 In the studio with Billy Childish 💥Malik Ameer Crumpler (Madison Washington) on hip-hop 👁 Judy Nylon on collaboration 💖Beyonce’s fave: Scooter Laforge – on The Odyssey ⚡Jeffrey Wengrofsky on digital subcultures 💥New poetry from Rob Plath, fiction from David Noone, and Joseph Coward (CXR) 💥Centrefold: Ana Seferovic by Tamara Suskic, and her collab with the painter Sam Hacking
and plenty more fashion, literature, art, music against the world. x

ORDER YOURS NOW

The night also celebrates the release of PERFUME by Gil De Ray… 

Gil Perfume

IMAGINE Roxy Music riding into town on balearic horses, all Clash Magnificent Seven after a few lost weeks at the rock n roll disco.
There’s a ska bassline to take us into the summer. FIYA! 💖

 

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LONDON, NEW YORK, NEW ORLEANS…

Art, Fashion, Journalism, literature, london, Music, Nightlife, Politics, spoken word

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words chez moi –  photos by Lilly Creightmore at the NOKI x COLD LIPS party for LFW 15th Feb 18 (artwork below by me for the Tweet Me Up show at the Tate, 2012)

The artist NOKI’s work is Fashion AND anti-brand – ya – confusing, right 🤓🤪😫🤯 (you can read more to understand his work on Cold Lips, and i-D, or in the exclusive interview in the third issue we created for the show – Paypal: studio@coldlips.co.uk with £2.99, and a bit for postage if you can afford it, or visit the www.coldlips.co.uk shop), and in the same way, I don’t really know when a zine becomes a magazine, or a fanzine becomes a zine, becomes a magazine.  Sometimes Cold Lips gets called a zine, sometimes a magazine, sometimes a fanzine.  Labels fuck everything up as much as money, and our desire to have the beautiful things in the world.  I mean – I’d wear some of that new Fendi garb… But my conscience battles with the lameness of existing to an index of any kind – negotiating my life through stupid tokens of success, and signals of others. OM! Be gone!  Whether we want to become collectors of water-chiselled bedrocks from Korea, or a piece of Vetements bearing a DHL logo – let’s not be slaves in a battered joke of a vehicle that’s cruising towards a major crash in a post-Colette world of slavery to pop-up distractors.  So when I see content from fashion lifestyle magazines doing little else but promote the production abilities of their glorious advertisers: LMVH (who look after Loewe, Louis Vuitton, Moet, Fendi, Celine, Dior, Pucci, Givenchy, Kenzo, Mark Jacobs, Thomas Pink, Nicholas Kirkwood, Edun and more) or Chanel S.A. (who own Chanel), or Kering (who own much of Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Puma, and more) – or the mega-firms of Proctor and Gamble, L’Oreal and Unilever, all pushing ideas of beauty upon my information-pummelled eyes, just to keep the cash circus circulating, I get sick, and I want to withdraw.  Because that’s just one idea of Fashion.  Not only do I want some of the clothes and the wedge from holding those ads, I don’t wanna compromise anything we’re doing in COLD LIPS – which I started to perpetuate the subculture that created it.  Which I’ll come back to – but meanwhile, rather than bemoan the luxury oppressors who I adore, we shall party.  Which is good.  As I’ve always enjoyed a good underground night out.  So it was an honour to be a part of the propaganda team for the NOKI private view on the dawn of London Fashion Week this February – and later all laugh on WhatsApp seeing FENDI do what FILA do, throwing the South London streetwear irony back in the face of the kids that created that look, and see Feral’s look parade down the Gucci line eleven years late…

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FACE UP

We had performances from Anne McCloy, who was a resident at the spoken word night that began Cold Lips, she’s toured with Peter Doherty, made merch for many, and lectures at St Martin’s, asking people to challenge what fashion is, daily. Gary Fairfull stepped up with his NHS poem, he gave the original spoken word night its platform.  Feral Is Kinky – a fashion subculture stalwart, known most for singing Everything Starts With An E with Boy George – but currently slamming it out of the underground gay scene to River Island commercial mainstream brilliance, and back again. We also had the word artist Robert Montgomery and poet/filmmaker/model Greta Bellamacina who are the forthcoming cover stars for Cold Lips IV – it’s SUCH A HOT SHOOT by Lilly Creightmore (we turn Robert into the muse of Syd Barrett as per Madcap Laughs, and dress Greta in Vampire’s Wife).   I also put down some lines.  And the beatbox supremo Killa Kella, and DJs Q Boy and Ladylaw.

Pavement poetry and road movies 🌵📹🤳

Art, Film, Poetry

I like cutting poetry as video.  Pavement poetry films.  From notes on a phone.

Here’s a new one, from the groves of Peckham to the branded streetart of Shoreditch. I’d been listening to Terence McKenna, watching Unity Matrix and Rachel Bladerunner…

The story is the journey – the poetry is as we walk.

Classic road movie Palm Spring colours and my photographs using a Holga lens around the Joshua Tree inspired the art direction of the first edition of Cold Lips.

The colours numbed for the second edition, stripped back to fading Polaroids and Shedville typewriter font.

 

Did the first pavement poetry film on  Instagram last summer as I wandered.  Primrose Hill slate, sounds better than other pavements.

It’s a few minutes through this Unedited film, that I’ve had projected through performances…

I’m doing something on 3rd November with Ana Sefer and her pal.  The next one with Dave Barbarossa (drummer, Adam Ant/Bow Wow Wow) will be with Factory de Joie, November 25th.

And in the meantime, I write as I walk, and put together the third issue of Cold Lips.  x

GHOST DRIVER

Art, Film, Journalism, Music

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I first met Kelli Ali when we were both new – I was writing for an MTV mag – BLAH BLAH BLAH (it was actually called that) – I was commissioned to interview the Sneaker Pimps down in Greenwich, for some reason.  It was a day out from Old Street, f’shiz.

As a good journalist, I did my research, listened to their music – got into it enough to write further pieces in MIXMAG, and go on a US tour when I was editing on the fashion mag, SCENE which I edited on (prior to getting sacked for crashing out in the fashion cupboard).  The diary for that US tour is good.

Kelli and I have collaborated a heap over the years.  I did a film for her last album:

We had a party at the W Hotel with Sink The Pink.  It was fun.

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Now Kelli’s making an amazing film, Ghostdriver, which sounds all Suicide, but takes from everything hip on celluloid ever: Jubilee, to Warhol, to noir.  It’s done with a cast of all our fave people, and is half-funded.  It’s interesting the way the music and film are phoenixing together.  Neither is yet quite finished, but bouncing between mediums – you can be part of her journey by Pledging.  The cameras are rolling.  The piano is playing – it’s kinda trip-hoppy, deep jazz.  And is dark as life.  I play Grace Rider, Hollywood actress.

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/ghostdriver

Kelli continues to be a great influence and inspiration.  Someone who never stops learning.

X

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GIGS, n WORDS, n ROCK n ROLL x

Art, Film, literature, Poetry, spoken word, sylvia plath fan club

Since launching the anti-literary Sylvia Plath Fan Club in 2015, I’ve been doing more gigs, as a poet.  What does that even mean, huh?  Basically, I stand up on stage – often between bands, MCing, introducing, doing poems – y’know?   Come see me…and you’ll get it…

I published my first collection late last year – got it on billboards outside the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch.  Thanks Daylite LED Media. So easy.

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The cover was designed by Luke McLean – one of my fave people, and designers (Supergrass, London Field Brewery, Wrangler etc).  You can buy Unedited on the Cold Lips website, or from me at gigs for a fiver… [here’s something nice on it by fellow Lazy Gramophone member, the brilliant skateboarding performance poet, Mat Lloyd].

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Lovely to get invited onto James Meynell’s Garage show on internet station of the year, Soho Radio.  Listen back below, and the post continues underneath…  

My nearest gigs are tomorrow – Thursday – the last night of the residency I’ve been doing with Saint Leonard’s Horses at the International Club’s Winter Conclave at the George Tavern in Whitechapel, then on Saturday 18th, I’m doing my first out of town gig for Cultural Traffic.

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Sometimes I do readings with film – this is work in progress…

My first reading was for Ambit, nearly 10 years, I was terrible – it was a 2000 word short story, called Lyla, and I just got up and read it cold to some poor  darlings above a pub in Soho.  After that, my  ol’ pal Salena Godden started the Book Club Boutique.   I’d been working on my novel, and needed to break up the style, and found poetry a good way to find a more honest voice, away from the corporate writing, and paid media work I’ve grown up doing.

Now people say nice things:

Kirsty Allison is the most rock n roll poet in LondonKelli Ali

Wordsmith wizardryAdam J Harmer, Fat White Family

Her poetry is the only that gives me goosebumpsDelilah Holliday, Skinny Girl Diet

She’s a modern day Patti SmithJohny Brown, Band of Holy Joy

x kirsty

LE GUN of LE EAST, SAMUEL JOHNSON & THE SOCIETY CLUB

Art, books, london

LE GUN are my fave collective of illustrators:  their drawings and installations rip through urban horror like Hogarth on a bender with Hunter S. Thompson.

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Getting in early on the Christmas pop-up scene, they’re strapping us into a dentist chair to inhale a Le Gun kinda Halloween in Notting Hill of the East: Clapton.*

29th November – 1st December: 33 Chatsworth Road, Hackney, E5 OLH

*Yeah – I’ve heard there’s a Hackney House opening up on a council estate…(part of the Soho House group).  That’s what happens when a ‘fashion hub’ gets invented around the Burberry, Aquascutum, Anya Hindmarsh outlet.  Hackney – from murder mile (other than that shooting in the butcher’s the other day) to Bicester village – how lovely.

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These black ink superstars started at the RCA, before creating their own worlds as installations in Brick Lane, Red Gallery, V&A, Shakespeare and Company and far beyond –  I interviewed two of the original founders, Robert Rubbish and Chris Bianchi for the book I wrote for RED GALLERY – the interviews took place in 2012, when Shoreditch’s visible colonisation by the evil overlords was nowhere near capacity…

Chris Bianchi rolls along Rivington Street with an up-all-night glide.  He’s tall with humble shoulders.  His eyes catch me like the wells of ink that create the tribal, post-psychedelic stories of his art.  Around in the Bricklayers’ outdoor yard, the Summer 2012 Artist-In-Residence of RED tells me he sees the world in cartoons, and a ‘lil more:

Where are you from, originally?

CB: Malta, born and bred – 1977 – there was no art school there, I had to come here.  I started off in a basement in my parents’ house and used that as a studio, making paintings, I had a darkroom, made music, had friends there, and it got to point where I was 18 or 19 and came here and went to Chelsea, then Camberwell, then finished at the Royal College.  I tried to stay in art college for 8 years – I’m an art college whore!  But at the Royal College I met the Le Gun – it was good to find like-minded people because I didn’t have an art college education at a young age.  It took me a while to find myself; here in secondary school you have art classes, but not in Malta, so it came from me.  My old folks helped me out because I built myself an easel, and they saw it as a sign of commitment, and they were serious, wish I still had it, probably still in the garage.  My dad’s a lawyer.  Mum did a bit of social work but has loads of grand-children, she plays cards and they’re all Maltese.  The education’s in English over there, it’s like a suburb of England, everyone speaks English, although they’re trying to change that…it’s got a population of 250 000.

There’s an island off Malta called Gozo, there are weird things and weird people there, I’m half from there, there’s an isolation to it.  They take a roundabout, and a guy will start drawing on this public place, makes it nicer, they do a lot of that.  In Malta there’s a lot of rural strangeness, decorating farmhouses with old dolls and wind chimes made out of old toys, there used to be a lot more.  That’s getting lost, in the fields they have machines that set-off to scare the birds.  It does take over, technology.  I was in Sri Lanka, and there were all these amazing scarecrows, handmade, they look like people, scary.

So from Malta you came to a bigger island?

Robert [Rubbish, from Jersey] and I always used to say: two boys, two islands, two reprobates, two drunks – it carried on like that, we’re both from small islands and wanted to escape, Jersey is about the same size as Malta, everyone knows you, we were both trying to escape that.  In London you can be whoever.

Where in London did you live to start off?

I lived in a flat in Fulham and every time you took a bath it leaked into the kitchen, really crazy flat, crazy people.  And I knew some people from Malta, who knew all these rich people in penthouses in Chelsea, with billiard rooms and coke, and thought: this is great!  This is London!  Then moved into Camberwell and my vision was shattered, ha.  But five of us were living in a flat down in Camberwell, with two hundred people coming to parties, and our landlord was an E dealer, and there’d be a pile of pills outside his door upstairs where he’d pulled his keys out.

I was cagey about being at art school and the change of being here as an immigrant, so met some guys who I’m still very close with, Harry [Malt] and I stayed in touch, we got a studio together in 2008 and started Bare Bones, and did shows with RED.

With Bare Bones, I wanted to do something that was more immediate.  Le Gun had a formula – we did ten issues of Bare Bones, then Harry wanted to move to the country.  He lives in Walsingham in Norfolk where there’s a shrine to Mary.  He grew up around there, in Hoe.

When you’re here and on your own, you start new families: your friends become your family, if you need any help, you have them, my real family are three thousand miles away and I’ve been with Steph [Von Reiswitz, also an illustrator and part of Le Gun] for 13 years.  She’s pregnant:  it’ll be a new chapter, inspire new thoughts, ideas, feelings, as a human, good to experience.    

So Robert [Rubbish] came through Soho, did it have that much of an impact on you?

Soho was more Robert and Neil [Fox]. I used to like walking around Soho alone, and when there was stuff to discover, then Robert and Neil showed us around, it lost its mystery.  It’s changed, it used to be rougher, there were more dives and social clubs – nudie dancers for a quid.  The charm of it is meeting it, and Robert and Neil had a B-line of hangouts, where famous people drank.  Neil’s work’s about that, and Robert did the Rubbishmen of Soho [a band].  It’s fun but not the beginning and end for me.  They like olde worlde stuff.

So the Max Nog Shop, the first installation…

We wanted to make a drawing you could walk into.  It took about two months, we were papering the walls, everything.  I think we called it International Festival Le Gun.  It was all about making then, y’know, we’ll work out what it is and what it means later, and have fun with it.  Nog shop became a club where bands would play, take a few cans, he called it the Cave.

That’s what Faris’ club (from The Horrors) was called…

Maybe he came down, saw it.

Nog stood for something stupid, Nuclear Organic Graphics or something.  I think [Max Nog’s] mum was married to a Visconti, so every time he got broke, he’d just go and sell a house in Rome.  He had a skate park in his house, he pissed off a lot of people, he was in New York in the 80s, friends of Madonna, William Burroughs.  I think he liked young boys.

I’m not really into the fame thing, if you become notorious, people are taking photos, Pete or Amy Winehouse, it’s not very nice looking at someone coming out of a club off their head.  Yet, you need to be part of it – I haven’t got a Facebook account, but do have one for BareBones.  And you need to tweet or you get left behind – but I think you can rebel against it – someone like Robert, he didn’t do it until a year ago and now he’s all over it.  I’d rather stay away from social media and see what happens, but you need people to know about it and you get to 3000 people at the hit of button.

I found the best way: I did a show at RED and I was there from eleven in the morning to eleven at night and talking to the people buying your work, I don’t think it gets better than that.  You can go global on the internet – if someone buys my art I like to talk to someone.  Most collectors like to know the artist, it’s important.

I’ve been listening to Grayson Perry, the Reith Lectures.  You get your art, your handbag, and your car.   Sol Campbell was at Frieze.

Is it a strength that you came from illustration?

Street art, boundaries, high art, low art, whatever.  Banksy setting up a kiosk, selling it for forty quid, it’s challenging, he’s playing with that, he’s concerned that he doesn’t get that freedom, he’s the papa of street art, it’s stencil art, but he’s social commentary, he’s like a Hogarth of our time.

I’d rather go to the National Gallery and go see old paintings, I see the world in pictures, that’s how I see the world, in cartoons, that’s why I did illustration.  I like the primal instinctive – if you look at my paintings they’re coming from that old school – the iconography.  Symbols and metaphors and making your own symbols…

I met a woman the other day, at a private view, Gaynor O’Flynn – performance artist – she said: What do you do, I said: A bit of an illustrator/artist, she made me think I’m just gonna say: I’m an artist.  I make money as a commercial illustrator, but do my own art.  Andy Warhol did commercial art, it’s all about adapting to your environment.  I’m not an accountant, I quite like Visual Artist – I quite like the constraints of commercial work, coming up with solutions for things that aren’t your own ideas.  Sometimes, as an artist, you can do anything, so it can get narcissistic.  I like to make interesting images that make people think and get a reaction.

I’ve been writing for the last few years, I’m a closet writer and poet, and I was going to burn them and thought these are quite good, that’s something new, but I was dyslexic and scared of words and reading,  I’d rather listen to an audiobook, because if I read, I’d jump massive sections.

Would you perform?

Performance would be too much about me, the drawings are performance.   Would I do it though?  If I came up with an idea I liked….

Le Gun –  are you doing much now?

I took a break for the V&A show because I wanted to find myself a bit more, thought I was getting a bit lost, so wanted to do the [solo] show at RED.

And I was doing Bare Bones and Le Gun together for a while, so was doing a lot on others, not myself.  I feel I can go back now, reinvigorated, and with an understanding of how I fit in the gang.

Will hipsters kill East London?

They have.  It doesn’t mean that East London’s dead – the truth will always be stronger, and there’s always going to be people doing strong stuff, but that’s not the end, just got to learn how to live with them, it’s a bit annoying that rent’s getting more expensive because artists wages haven’t gone up.  Maybe more support would be good.  We should get the corporations to pay for studio spaces and be given more of a helping hand, stop it being so elitist: ten people making loads of money and then thousands struggling.

I think there’s an attitude of: you’ve chosen to do it, live with it…

Yeah, deal with it.  I used to do a bit of teaching but there’s no part-time and the colleges are a bit broke. With Le Gun we set up a shop and have had to turn it into a business but should we, as artists, be the businessmen?

Do you think there’s space for countercultures in London?

It’s suppressed, they look at people who protest and they’re terrorists.

…I spoke with Robert about the Poverty/Organic divide…

It’s always been split, what can you do?  I feel privileged, I’ve never come from a poor background, middle-class norm, I’ve never experienced it – but I struggle to pay my rent and my brother became a lawyer.   He’s got the Volvo, the pool, but I do have a richer life.  I dunno, when he can do what he wants – I hope it won’t be like this forever.  I’ve never paid NI, I think I pay enough, you pay tax on everything you buy, on council tax, on and on.  I don’t make that much so why should I pay more, and then big corporations skimming…

Consume or be consumed.

Yeah, and all they’re doing is making money.

Yarda [Krampol] and Giuseppe [Percuoco], they take me out for lunch, when I’m doing a bit of art for them, and they’re starting it from scratch – there has to be money if you’re spending money…

What do you think of the way RED runs, as a vague co-operative of ideas?

I think RED, if you explain an idea, they give you space and don’t ask too many questions.  They’re supportive, and financially – they’re there for you – I did all the work in a week, for the show and they liked it – so they did the catalogue, I gave them a bit of artwork, they gave me a space.  I’ve been speaking to Yarda about spreading a residency programme over Napoli, Prague, and London.  Rather than an application process, I hate those people.  It would be nice to approach [artists], make it more exciting.

And then speaking to Yarda about pop-up galleries, there are spaces for it – you have business rates, so if you do pop-ups, it avoids it, and the landlords, that’s in the pipeline.

So projects with me and Yarda and Giuseppe, they’re not paid jobs but there are some artists, like a Turkish guy who I really want to do a show with, I really like his paintings, and he’s sort of trying London out, it’s not easy to just come here in two years, a lot of people have to leave – it would be good to support people who are here.

I think RED do goody-goody causes, sometimes a bit too many and the graff art, it’s getting worse and worse, I think it should be controlled – it can be quite rash – it could be really important.  I don’t know that scene but if that was curated better – and spend some money on getting really good people, it could be a lot better.

I live near Toynbee Street, people have moved up to Stamford Hill.  I have this thing where I really like London and social problems, I don’t know if we are getting pushed out or if it’s because we’re getting older, I don’t want to move to the countryside, I think maybe it’s time for another city – I can make it in new cities, my wife likes comfort.  I like the South, somewhere in the Mediterranean, or maybe as an artist, go and look at the world more.  I was in Madrid recently and you go two stops on a train and it’s gypsies, and it’s wild, and no one works, I was there for this festival, San Juan, 25th June – it’s a different scene.  I went there twice in a row, gypsies singing for a week.  I’d like to do some work about that: belonging, and where we fit.   I don’t think I could live anywhere but London and fit in.  Maybe San Francisco rather than LA.  In LA people buy [art] out there, it’s a bit older – we need a gallery who could do that, maybe organise doing something.  We did China, Istanbul, Berlin and Paris, and it’s fun to take what you do to new places, we spend a lot of time working with the space and working it out.  It’s good fun.  It’s that thing of talking to people, living and breathing the space.  I feel like a traveller – I don’t think I’ve found my home yet – I don’t want it stop here.  But y’know, I leave my house – I can have Chinese, sushi, Thai, whatever in a very close period of time.

I like the city.

But you have to blend with your environment, in this toxic city.

That’s a good name for a show, Toxic City.

http://www.chrisbianchi.co.uk

http://www.legun.co.uk

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Robert Rubbish’s facial hedging swirls in puffs of dandy, tweedy smoke around us.  His ebullient stature lumbers through the gates of RED Market, like a Churchill of yore.   A confident statesman for Le Gun, he painted the MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING mural behind the sandpits for the shoot we did for Freestyle magazine over the summer of 2012.   

Where are you from, originally?

I’m from Jersey.

And how did you end up here?

I came first off to Bristol to do a BA in Illustration in the mid-90s, although I’d lived in London in the early 90s, living with a mate, but progressively slipped into mundanity and went back to Jersey, did a course that got me to Bristol because I’d left school with an art GCSE because I’m dyslexic, eventually moved back to Jersey for a couple of years, then in 2003 I moved back to London to go to the Royal College of Art to do a master’s in visual communication…

What did you get out of that?

I got in a lot of debt but good friendships.  I met Le Gun guys and we started a magazine.  I went there to expand my work but ended up collaborating a lot, and it was a meeting place for all these new people, and I’ve been here since.

Where did you live to start off?

I lived in Hammersmith and moved East in 2005, we were going to Soho a lot…

That’s where I got a lot of my education…

Yeah, us too, and there was stuff going on East and after college we got a collective studio space where we worked together on Le Gun, it was near the London Fields pub on Mare Street.  We’d have parties there.  It was probably better around there then: it was a bit crap, and I couldn’t afford a space, but when we had a big project we’d work there together, so it was a hub of where we were hanging out, and it carried on after college, some of Le Gun are still there.  There was six and now there are seven.  Steph [von Reiswitz] , Chris’ [Bianchi] girlfriend didn’t go to the Royal College so she got involved later, she’d been doing other stuff…and it was around then, 2006, that we met Yarda [Krampol].  We did that thing in Brick Lane in the Max Nog gallery on Brick Lane, where Yarda was working – a black and white cave of drawings, and we did a back room.  That was good for us, he was a bit of weird slippery guy, though, Max.  He gave us free reign which we couldn’t quite believe, and we thought he’d come along and say he didn’t want this or that.  We covered the ceiling in chequered paint, glossed the floor.  We were building a world and we thought it would last a month, but it was there for longer, and it was a nice place to hang out, and made us think we could actually build stuff.  It was quite immersive, you could tell it was our sort of thing and it was better than a sterile gallery.

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Is it a strength that you came from illustration?

I think individually we’d worked on separate things, but together we were putting on parties to fund the [Le Gun] magazine, so we’d do a six-foot drawing to sell in the Royal College bar, then we’d hone it, and realise we could do a better by drawing and embellishing it for each other, and we sold it, and that would fund the magazine.

How does the physical process of building an installation, such as the one at RED, occur?

First off, an idea, whether it’s Le Gun, or a commercial project, we think of the idea, and then see how feasible it is, if there’s a budget we’d cost it – say here, we did a twenty-five metre room in there, which has now toured everywhere, but we need a set builder or carpenter, price up the wood, and that starts a story.  With the RED one, we did a drawing of a story and the drawings turn from 2D into 3D, there’s not one person that’s good at this, people don’t go over each other’s work, but someone might shadow it, add to it.

It’s very instinctive.  When it’s taken back down to a commission or a drawing it gets tighter and more annoying because they say: Can you move that?  But it’s a free-for-all if it’s just us…

We did a Bare Bones show here first, then Le Gun and Bare Bones.  Both times we had parties in the basement, but it all comes from parties.  We got to know Yarda better because after the Nog shop, we did a Le Gun party in a block in Cambridge Heath where we had a studio, Yarda did the door for us, and he started doing stuff here, and introduced us to Ernesto [Leal].

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Will hipsters kill East London?

Yeah – they have already.  In my view.

I think all of London, there’s a bit of a problem.  Without sounding very, very negative, the hipster thing is causing problems because it’s areas that people went to because they were cheap because other areas in centralised areas were too expensive, so cheaper areas create artist colonies out of economic reasons and it results in the trendification of East London.

I like that word: trendification.

It’s making out something is creative when it’s just capitalism.

Consumerism.

Yeah, and it’s just all they’re doing is making money and pushing people out of areas, not just artists, I don’t understand where people go to.  It might be doing some people a favour!  But price wise, my experience in London: I now live in Stamford Hill which is South Tottenham which is nothing, and it’s never going to be.

Shoreditch is obviously too expensive to rent.  Dalston, Hackney, wherever, they get regenerated, revived, whatever, but where’s the choice, like you get organic or nothing.  On Mare St, we used to have a caff there, where you could just buy a meal but now there’s a burger place that’s dressed up, it’s got writing saying THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE or whatever but it’s just a burger place, instead of where you could get a meal, there’s either really shit fast food, or that.

Poverty or organic.

These two cultures living together, one is survival, the other is affluence dressed up as something else.  You’ve got to have a certain amount to buy into that kind of lifestyle, and it’s just money driven.  I don’t think it’s creative, I’d like to see artists making money from it, but it’s entrepreneurs opening up Things.

Central London will become everything up to Tottenham and parts of the South and it will be unaffordable to most people.

Y’know Shoreditch Box Park, it’s not temporary but it’s sold as a pop-up experience, but it’s just the high-street dressed up to be something else.  Somewhere else, it’s just like: this is a shop.  I think people are being made to buy into the mythology of recent past history.

People in London buy into areas that become a product of their success and then the real people can’t afford to be there.

I think East London was bombed catastrophically, and it’s been used as a toilet for immigration.  The East London thing is not the same as regentrifying Notting Hill or Chelsea.  There wasn’t a cash machine here when I first moved in the 90s, and the contrasts have always been hyperbolic.

This band I used to manage in South London have a thing called Yuppies Out, in Brixton, which is a bit misguided but they are scumlords fighting back, half of it is funny, but half of it ridiculous, that there are fromage and champagne street parties now in Brixton.  The band are Fat White Family – they’re unruly, but I was managing them for a while but got my fingers burnt.  The lead singer I’d been working with was in my film and we’d been working for a while, but the band had drug problems and I had this first-hand insight, everyone’s on heroin, on crack, none of them had train fare to get to the studio – and I made them a video and artwork and it got somewhere but I was giving myself to them, and I loved what they were doing but they’re so like that, they don’t give a shit about themselves or anyone else, but there was a hostile takeover from another guy and I love what they’re doing, but had to depart, and you see what you see, and you know if you go into the lions den, that’s what it is…

Is that like London?

The things that are dangerous and scary would attract me when I was younger, and London’s got a lot of it. The band were the last bastion, I found it exciting, and all the older people behind them were in Brixton holding banners around Thatcher’s funeral…London creates those people.

There are a lot of pricks to kick against here.

It’s attractive in some ways but it’s good to look at it from a distance, unless you’re bulletproof.

(We run in from the rain, resettling in the RED Market marquee.)

We’ve changed sides…so yes, inside here, the RED Gallery are willing to give people a chance, to do an exhibition, a crazy night, when I was doing that mural there, talking to Yarda and Greg [Konready], they both grew up in Communist countries and Ernesto was going on about doing a hammer and sickle but what they were saying was critical, yet they’re all doing a…

Co-operative.

You are drawn to what you like, even though you don’t even know what that is, Greg’s view on Communism and the west, he’s harsh about communism.   What’s nice about Le Gun is we share money and we work as one, and that’s the same as here, they use a bit of business…

They give this space away for free.

And they’re in the centre, I enjoy what they’re doing, and it’ll take groups of people like this…

I’m reading a book at the moment about Rebel Cities, and city centres needing autonomous places to form ideas.  Chatting to Gary Means, from Alternative London, he’s like, you couldn’t replicate this where he’s from, in the Isle of Wight,  because there aren’t enough people to make it diverse.  

I think I was growing up in extreme capitalism, in Jersey, but in the late 80s, early 90s, they had free parties, and we’d go there to smoke weed, take acid, but all the nutters, all the druggies and no-one was fighting. Like skinheads or rockers.  So it was interesting for a while.  The police didn’t know what to do, but they banned it – Jersey can pass their own laws in about three weeks, so they made one where you’d get imprisoned.

The background I come from, it’s only drugs that allowed us to crossover into that world of rich people, but they can’t keep their kids away from hooligans, in the same way.  We ran this club, through a grammar school, and it had a private members club, where you could sign people in, so I’ve always been interested in, I guess, collectives.

Collectives sound like a bad jazz funk band.

Yeah!  It does.

It can be horrible working with people and their moods but it can be amazing, and you eat, party and work together…

I think if we tried to label what we do, it gets complicated and money has never been our driving force, so if you’re excited about something, you can worry about the money later.  Money taints it.  But that’s how people make money, and some will leave.

I’ve been living hand to mouth for so long…not everyone can cope with that…

I want to live a life that’s interesting.  It’s more important than amassing fortune, but maybe some more balance would be good.

Ha! 

It’s exciting and it’s shit.  The agony and the ecstasy.  Throughout history I like the balance of you’re broke but partying with whoever, where the world is blurred.  I used to be friends with, did you know Sebastian Horsley?

I met him in the last three weeks of his life. 

An interesting three weeks…

I was quite reserved in the friendship because I thought it was going to be one that lasted…

I knew him for quite a while, and someone I considered a good friend for a while and, of course, there was bravado but genuine compassion, he was fascinated and fascinating.

He introduced me to this filmmaker once and he was like: “The reason I love him is because he’s got nothing.  He’s got nothing!  And I was like, what do you mean?  What he was saying was that broke isn’t a badge of honour but this guy was doing what he wanted to do, whatever the consequences, and couldn’t get on in whatever world.  I think if you look at the old dandy thing, of two amazing looking guys smoking in poverty…

Like Rimbaud and Verlaine, or Withnail and I…

Yes…it’s all about those ideas.  London’s got a big history of that.  And that is the best quality, where genuinely good ideas get attracted to it, from toffs to the people on the street, they all gravitated towards Sebastian.

Our British attitude towards culture is not embracing like France, here we don’t put creatives on a plinth.  We get shat on, it encourages imperialism…

I think England is a very interesting place because of our working classness.  Deep down, I think they want to be ruled and oppressed.  They’ll never have a revolution, certain things will happen but they won’t connect, or think they’re the same because there’s so much suppression – my theory’s not watertight, but the British get really into football, not getting rid of poverty, not getting rid of the Tories. When Margaret Thatcher died people were saying you can’t say this or that, but she ruined whole communities and those communities are being victimised by the new Conservatives for not having jobs.   She destroyed lives, industry.  Now they’re supposed to feel bad about what was done to them, and media maybe works really well here, but there is not a mass uniting to save the NHS, and I think in British culture there’s an affluence issue.

Affluenza – Ernesto came up for a word for it: Arrivista – in French/Spanish, it’s a cuss in Spanish, means you think you’ve arrived and look down on others.  Always looking up, hegemonic culture…

Always being ruled and being oppressed.  Coming from a small island, London always feels like there’s an immense amount of freedom, some people say you’re on CCTV, the police etc. but I feel very free.  I’ve walked across the city, at 5am, coming down from whatever, and I’m the only person here.  I like walking across the city in Paris too but here, you’ll meet someone you know but also have the anonymity to drift across it and that feels better than walking in the hills and country.  I find it has a lot of spirit.  I think maybe I’m out of touch, but there will be a way for the young, as long as they aren’t victimised for being poor or living somewhere.

Could RED be replicated in Jersey?

No.  Architecturally, no, you couldn’t do it – there was a funny incident when Le Gun were invited to go and do a show in an old magistrates court and the police cells, it was part of the Branchage Film Festival, my friend was organising it and I found it weird that I’d been there before with friends who had been sent to prison and we did a show in the old cells, and took this guy, Lord Bath [aka Paul Vincent Lawford, not “thee real Lord Bath”] to DJ, after the Mayor of Jersey had done his speech, playing Fuck Da Police, and it was going really nuts, like Chris was getting kids to skateboard along the parquet, and it was proper nuts, and it brought a little bit of something but then we’d probably be arrested, so for one night, maybe…

If you tried to recreate this in Jersey, they’d find something to really hate, and be negative about, and you’d get ten people and a dog there. I think this is unique but if you took these characters and gave them an opportunity there, they’d make something, but something else.  I think they’ve made a lot just out of the building, from the Bare Bones show in November with no heating, freezing hands, thinking why are we doing this, then when they started to get electrics it grew, but that non-permanence…

Do you think that’s part of its appeal?

I think because it’s not going to be here, it would have to be run established as an arts space where we had charitable studios, which kinda happens.  It’s like Berlin-past, a bit rough and ready.  I think what they’ve done is allow people to curate their own space, and that works when you have good people involved.  I think it’s an interesting thing.  Out the back of my mind I always think it’s going to be turned into a hotel with a Banksy in perspex, and they’ve done so well, for what it was, it was all a bit shit.  So when it changes into a hotel, you’ll think, wow, that was a good space, but London is layers upon layers upon layers.  Every room in Soho has layers and things reoccur, like this was something in the 60s, it’s been everything and now it’s something similar – I mean could this work somewhere else in London?

Blue in West London, my husband’s joke.  They did a successful pop-up in Ladbroke Grove…

In this space, when it began, with all the agro with The Foundry, the squat, they were looking at these guys in one way, and I think the whole of London is becoming more friendly to consumers, so Soho is like Covent Garden…

The world is like that, you’ll walk down streets in Madrid, Barcelona, Tokyo, and all the same brands’ll be on the same streets…

In Soho there are going to be some major architectural changes.  City Road is changing really quick, with canalside developments.  I think progress is good but having something of the past is good as well, that’s when London works, I don’t know how new flats culturally improve something.  My vision of the future is that there’s a circle being drawn around London, and you won’t be able to live in it.  In Paris all the estates are out of the city, it’ll be reversed here.

Do you consider yourself to be tech friendly, or a luddite?  Where do you fit with TechCity?

50% luddite, 50% technology.  The problem I have with technology is the same problem I have with my dyslexia, like if you showed me how to do something on Photoshop, I couldn’t remember it.  I find Social Media fine, but technology to aid my art is frustrating, and I have no logic in that area, but we’re in interesting times with technology, you can do films and stuff you couldn’t have done 5 years ago, it’s bringing an affordability to making things, but the gatekeepers and distribution problems still exist.  I think technology is good and empowering but frustrating and I don’t think it’s going to make anyone more creative than they are, it’s a tool.  You could get the best camera ever, and call yourself a photographer…

Some people would say the democracy of the internet allows everyone to hear it, but I think it would be possible to record the best album ever and remain obscure.  It may be that rising population combined with a wider access to cheapened technology means there is more content, but indie stuff is always battling mainstream distribution…

You can make a print but may spend ten years getting that money back.  Or you could ask someone else to sell it, make half the money, and have more time.

I made a film, a seventy-minute psychogeographical detective story, purely narrated because I didn’t have any sound equipment, I don’t give a shit what happens with it.  I went to see festival doctors, it’s not my world, but I’m fascinated with having it exist.

You have to be certifiable to work in film…

I agree, it is the nuttiest world, and there’s development money flying around, and technology has enabled it.   It’s very emotionally draining.

It’s like Laura Mulvey, it gets a lot bigger than you.  And £100K minimum publicity and advertising budget is essential to even remotely play in the arts cinemas.  So why bother making something in that format if it’s never going to make it.  Even the Netflix/HBO/Amazon series – it’s all getting sewn up by the same gatekeepers, so as indies we have to find our own way.

I was like: I’m going to make this film, and I’d have meetings with people trying to do it the right way, and they’d say, you need a crew of fifteen people.  And in the end I was like, right, I can make something but it’s not the same way they’d make it.  I’m with you that you can’t expect mass cinema release.  There is interesting stuff, but you have to be a Social Media fanatic, it’s something I feel I should be doing more than I want to.  You can get people to do that.

Technology is not going to improve creativity.  It does enable it, you can make a film that looks alright that is digital, but you can make a film on a video camera and make it look good, I think if you can get a good balance with it, it’s good.

I think it’s more useful to have the internet in the country than in the city.

Yeah, John Reith saw communication as a way to educate and inform farmers.  

It’s all regional, but linked.  The human race will survive and adapt but technology may not be used for entertainment – Social Media was used in the Arab Spring for something amazing, and in the West it’s used for privileged entertainment to make sense of our stupid lives.  Taking pictures of food.  People call themselves foodies, like, we’ve all gotta eat…

I did ten years without food!

We’ve all eaten tissue paper, for our time in the catwalk, ha, but it’s fascinating I was only on Facebook this year, to promote my film, but I got suckered in, and it’s funny, that’s exactly what they’d do if you were sitting with them, so people do connect in the same way, in social entertainment, it could be used for good to help isolated people, it would have blown my mind on Jersey as a boy.

I got that through magazines, The Face, reading i-D.

I don’t know if we knew what we looking for – you’d get a record, read the sleeve notes, it was manual.  I think digital is interesting but it’s like anything [is available], I’m not going to listen to stuff on a valve amp ‘cos it’s authentic, or Modern is Bad.  Because we live in the modern, some of it is shit, but computers have helped me personally in some respects but can be a bit annoying if I’m there with my girlfriend, and I’m on Facebook.

I’m time obsessive and it kills me how much time it leaks.  

We do like to kill time though, boredom, we have to be entertained…

http://www.robertrubbish.co.uk

http://www.legun.co.uk

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IF YOU GET THIS FAR:  HERE’S THE PROMISED SAMUEL JOHNSON, from 1738…

Tho’ Grief and Fondness in my Breast rebel,
When injur’d Thales bids the Town farewell,
Yet still my calmer Thoughts his Choice commend,
I praise the Hermit, but regret the Friend,
Resolved at length, from Vice and London far,
To breathe in distant Fields a purer Air,
And, fix’d on Cambria‘s solitary shore,
Give to St. David one true Briton more.

For who would leave, unbrib’d, Hibernia‘s Land,
Or change the Rocks of Scotland for the Strand?
There none are swept by sudden Fate away,
But all whom Hunger spares, with Age decay:
Here Malice, Rapine, Accident, conspire,
And now a Rabble Rages, now a Fire;
Their Ambush here relentless Ruffians lay,
And here the fell Attorney prowls for Prey;
Here falling Houses thunder on your Head,
And here a female Atheist talks you dead.

While Thales waits the Wherry that contains
Of dissipated Wealth the small Remains,
On Thames‘s Banks, in silent Thought we stood,
Where Greenwich smiles upon the silver Flood:
Struck with the Seat that gave Eliza Birth,
We kneel, and kiss the consecrated Earth;
In pleasing Dreams the blissful Age renew,
And call Britannia‘s Glories back to view;
Behold her Cross triumphant on the Main,
The Guard of Commerce, and the Dread of Spain,
Ere Masquerades debauch’d, Excise oppress’d,
Or English Honour grew a standing Jest.

A transient Calm the happy Scenes bestow,
And for a Moment lull the Sense of Woe.
At length awaking, with contemptuous Frown,
Indignant Thales eyes the neighb’ring Town.

Since Worth, he cries, in these degen’rate Days,
Wants ev’n the cheap Reward of empty Praise;
In those curst Walls, devote to Vice and Gain,
Since unrewarded Science toils in vain;
Since Hope but sooths to double my Distress,
And ev’ry Moment leaves my Little less;
While yet my steady Steps no Staff sustains,
And Life still vig’rous revels in my Veins;
Grant me, kind Heaven, to find some happier Place,
Where Honesty and Sense are no Disgrace;
Some pleasing Bank where verdant Osiers play,
Some peaceful Vale with Nature’s Paintings gay;
Where once the harass’d Briton found Repose,
And safe in Poverty defy’d his Foes;
Some secret Cell, ye Pow’rs, indulgent give.
Let —— live here, for —— has learn’d to live.
Here let those reign, whom Pensions can incite
To vote a Patriot black, a Courtier white;
Explain their Country’s dear-bought Rights away,
And plead for Pirates in the Face of Day;
With slavish Tenets taint our poison’d Youth,
And lend a Lye the confidence of Truth.

Let such raise Palaces, and Manors buy,
Collect a Tax, or farm a Lottery,
With warbling Eunuchs fill a licens’d Stage,
And lull to Servitude a thoughtless Age.

Heroes, proceed! What Bounds your Pride shall hold?
What Check restrain your Thirst of Pow’r and Gold?
Behold rebellious Virtue quite o’erthrown,
Behold our Fame, our Wealth, our Lives your own.

To such, a groaning Nation’s Spoils are giv’n,
When publick Crimes inflame the Wrath of Heav’n:
But what, my Friend, what Hope remains for me,
Who start at Theft, and blush at Perjury?
Who scarce forbear, tho’ Britain‘s Court he sing,
To pluck a titled Poet’s borrow’d Wing;
A Statesman’s Logic, unconvinc’d can hear,
And dare to slumber o’er the Gazetteer;
Despise a Fool in half his Pension drest,
And strive in vain to laugh at H—y’s jest.

Others with softer Smiles, and subtler Art,
Can sap the Principles, or taint the Heart;
With more Address a Lover’s Note convey,
Or bribe a Virgin’s Innocence away.
Well may they rise, while I, whose Rustic Tongue
Ne’er knew to puzzle Right, or varnish Wrong,
Spurn’d as a Beggar, dreaded as a Spy,
Live unregarded, unlamented die.

For what but social Guilt the Friend endears?
Who shares Orgilio‘s Crimes, his Fortune shares.
But thou, should tempting Villainy present
All Marlb’rough hoarded, or all Villiers spent;
Turn from the glitt’ring Bribe thy scornful Eye,
Nor sell for Gold, what Gold could never buy,
The peaceful Slumber, self-approving Day,
Unsullied Fame, and Conscience ever gay.

The cheated Nation’s happy Fav’rites, see!
Mark whom the Great caress, who frown on me!
London! the needy Villain’s gen’ral Home,
The Common Shore of Paris and of Rome;
With eager Thirst, by Folly or by Fate,
Sucks in the Dregs of each corrupted State.
Forgive my Transports on a Theme like this,
I cannot bear a French metropolis.

Illustrious Edward! from the Realms of Day,
The Land of Heroes and of Saints survey;
Nor hope the British Lineaments to trace,
The rustic Grandeur, or the surly Grace;
But lost in thoughtless Ease, and empty Show,
Behold the Warriour dwindled to a Beau;
Sense, Freedom, Piety, refin’d away,
Of France the Mimic, and of Spain the Prey.

All that at home no more can beg or steal,
Or like a Gibbet better than a Wheel;
Hiss’d from the Stage, or hooted from the Court,
Their Air, their Dress, their Politicks import;
Obsequious, artful, voluble and gay,
On Britain‘s fond Credulity they prey.
No gainful Trade their Industry can ‘scape,
They sing, they dance, clean Shoes, or cure a Clap;
All Sciences a fasting Monsieur knows,
And bid him go to Hell, to Hell he goes.

Ah! what avails it, that, from Slav’ry far,
I drew the Breath of Life in English Air;
Was early taught a Briton‘s Right to prize,
And lisp the Tale of Henry‘s Victories;
If the gull’d Conqueror receives the Chain,
And what their Armies lost, their Cringes gain?

Studious to please, and ready to submit,
The supple Gaul was born a Parasite:
Still to his Int’rest true, where’er he goes,
Wit, Brav’ry, Worth, his lavish Tongue bestows;
In ev’ry Face a Thousand Graces shine,
From ev’ry Tongue flows Harmony divine.
These Arts in vain our rugged Natives try,
Strain out with fault’ring Diffidence a Lye,
And get a Kick for awkward Flattery.

Besides, with Justice, this discerning Age
Admires their wond’rous Taients for the Stage:
Well may they venture on the Mimic’s art,
Who play from Morn to Night a borrow’d Part;
Practis’d their Master’s Notions to embrace,
Repeat his Maxims, and reflect his Face;
With ev’ry wild Absurdity comply,
And view each Object with another’s Eye;
To shake with Laughter ere the Jest they hear,
To pour at Will the counterfeited Tear;
And as their Patron hints the Cold or Heat,
To shake in Dog-days, in December sweat.

How, when Competitors like these contend,
Can surly Virtue hope to fix a Friend?
Slaves that with serious Impudence beguile,
And lye without a Blush, without a Smile;
Exalt each Trifle, ev’ry Vice adore,
Your Taste in Snuff, your Judgment in a Whore;
Can Balbo‘s Eloquence applaud, and swear
He gropes his Breeches with a Monarch’s Air.

For Arts like these preferr’d, admir’d, carest,
They first invade your Table, then your Breast;
Explore your Secrets with insidious Art,
Watch the weak Hour, and ransack all the Heart;
Then soon your ill-plac’d Confidence repay,
Commence your Lords, and govern or betray.
By Numbers here from Shame or Censure free,
All Crimes are safe, but hated Poverty.
This, only this, the rigid Law persues,
This, only this, provokes the snarling Muse;
The sober Trader at a tatter’d Cloak,
Wakes from his Dream, and labours for a Joke;
With brisker Air the silken Courtiers gaze,
And turn the varied Taunt a thousand Ways.
Of all the Griefs that harrass the Distrest,
Sure the most bitter is a scornful Jest;
Fate never wounds more deep the gen’rous Heart,
Than when a Blockhead’s Insult points the Dart.

Has Heaven reserv’d, in Pity to the Poor,
No pathless Waste, or undiscover’d Shore?
No secret Island in the boundless Main?
No peaceful Desart yet unclaim’d by SPAIN?
Quick let us rise, the happy Seats explore,
And bear Oppression’s Insolence no more.
This mournful Truth is ev’ry where confest,
Slow rises worth, by poverty deprest:
But here more slow, where all are Slaves to Gold,
Where Looks are Merchandise, and Smiles are sold,
Where won by Bribes, by Flatteries implor’d,
The Groom retails the Favours of his Lord.

But hark! th’ affrighted Crowd’s tumultuous Cries
Roll thro’ the Streets, and thunder to the Skies;
Rais’d from some pleasing Dream of Wealth and Pow’r,
Some pompous Palace, or some blissful Bow’r,
Aghast you start, and scarce with aking Sight,
Sustain th’ approaching Fire’s tremendous Light;
Swift from pursuing Horrors take your Way,
And Leave your little All to Flames a Prey;
Then thro’ the World a wretched Vagrant roam,
For where can starving Merit find a Home?
In vain your mournful Narrative disclose,
While all neglect, and most insult your Woes.

Should Heaven’s just Bolts Orgilio‘s Wealth confound,
And spread his flaming Palace on the Ground,
Swift o’er the Land the dismal Rumour flies,
And publick Mournings pacify the Skies;
The Laureat Tribe in servile Verse relate,
How Virtue wars with persecuting Fate;
With well-feign’d Gratitude the pension’s Band
Refund the Plunder of the begger’d Land.
See! while he builds, the gaudy Vassals come,
And crowd with sudden Wealth the rising Dome;
The Price of Boroughs and of Souls restore,
And raise his Treasures higher than before.
Now bless’d with all the Baubles of the Great,
The polish’d Marble, and the shining Plate,
Orgilio sees the golden Pile aspire,
And hopes from angry Heav’n another Fire.

Couid’st thou resign the Park and Play content,
For the fair Banks of Severn or of Trent;
There might’st thou find some elegant Retreat,
Some hireling Senator’s deserted Seat;
And stretch thy Prospects o’er the smiling Land,
For less than rent the Dungeons of the Strand;
There prune thy Walks, support thy drooping Flow’rs,
Direct thy Rivulets, and twine thy Bow’rs;
And, while thy Beds a cheap Repast afford,
Despise the Dainties of a venal Lord:
There ev’ry Bush with Nature’s Music rings,
There ev’ry Breeze bears Health upon its Wings;
On all thy Hours Security shall smile,
And bless thine Evening Walk and Morning Toil.

Prepare for Death, if here at Night you roam,
And sign your Will before you sup from Home.
Some fiery Fop, with new Commission vain,
Who sleeps on Brambles till he kills his Man;
Some frolick Drunkard, reeling from a Feast,
Provokes a Broil, and stabs you for a Jest.
Yet ev’n these Heroes, mischievously gay,
Lords of the Street, and Terrors of the Way;
Flush’d as they are with Folly, Youth and Wine,
Their prudent Insults to the Poor confine;
Afar they mark the Flambeau’s bright Approach,
And shun the shining Train, and golden Coach.

In vain, these Dangers past, your Doors you close,
And hope the balmy Blessings of Repose:
Cruel with Guilt, and daring with Despair,
The midnight Murd’rer bursts the faithless Bar;
Invades the sacred Hour of silent Rest,
And plants, unseen, a Dagger in your Breast.

Scarce can our Fields, such Crowds at Tyburn die,
With Hemp the Gallows and the Fleet supply.
Propose your Schemes, ye Senatorian Band,
Whose Ways and Means support the sinking Land;
Lest Ropes be wanting in the tempting Spring,
To rig another Convoy for the K—g.

A single Jail, in Alfred‘s golden Reign,
Could half the Nation’s Criminals contain;
Fair Justice then, without Constraint ador’d,
Sustain’d the Ballance, but resign’d the Sword;
No Spies were paid, no Special Juries known,
Blest Age! But ah! how diff’rent from our own!

Much could I add, —— but see the Boat at hand,
The Tide retiring, calls me from the Land:
Farewel! —— When Youth, and Health, and Fortune spent,
Thou fly’st for Refuge to the Wilds of Kent;
And tir’d like me with Follies and with Crimes,
In angry Numbers warn’st succeeding Times;
Then shall thy Friend, nor thou refuse his Aid,
Still Foe to Vice forsake his Cambrian Shade;
In Virtue’s Cause once more exert his Rage,
Thy Satire point, and animate thy Page.

SAME AS IT EVER WAS

AND HERE IS MR KIRSTY IN A BEAUTIFUL MEMBERS CLUBDSC02888 DSC02892It’s the closest to our house…next to me:  Danielle Kendry aka Porcelain, of Porcelain and Red – my fave vintage shop ever, next door to The Society Club.  x

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair // Frieze London 2015

Art, Journalism

1:54       Somerset House, 15-18 October

#FriezeLondon2015

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HASSAN HAJJAJ, born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco. Lives and works in Marakech, and London where he runs the Larache Studio , 32-34 Calvert Avenue, E2 7JP.

HASSAN HAJJAJ, born in 1961 in Larache, Morocco. Lives and works in Marakech, and London.

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OMAR VICTOR DIOP, born in 1980 in Dakar, Senegal. Lives and works in Dakar.

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MALICK SIDIBÉ born in Bamako, Mali in 1936 where he has worked most of his life, documenting subculture.

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SIAKA SOPPO TRAORÉ’s family originates from Burkina Faso, Siaka was born in Douala (Cameroon’s largest city) and spent most of his upbringing in Togo. Today, he navigates the creative scene in Senegal as a street photographer. Heavily influenced, as well as involved in hip-hop performance and capoeira, Traoré Soppo documents the rising Senegalese scene of urban street performance.

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OTOBONG NKANGA was born in 1974 in Kano, Nigeria. Lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium.

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PAULO KAPELA, born in 1947 in Uige, Angola. Lives and works in Luanda, Angola. Enrolled at Poto-Poto School of Painting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo in early 1960s.  He is well-respected on home-turf and internationally.

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More Paulo Kapela…

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PAA JOE and JACOB TETTEH-ASHONG. Born in 1947/1988 in Akwapim, Ghana. Both live and work in Accra, Ghana. Did someone say TANZANITE? Actually, wrong, these are fantasy coffins…ha.  Seriously, google image ‘ghana funerals’ – there are airplanes, and Coke bottles – shoes, I’m getting one of them…not shoes, I’d like to have an eagle, or something with antlers on its head – maybe a pyramid with antlers, and an eye…this is my new fave question.  IF YOUR COFFIN COULD BE SHAPED AS ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD YOU MAKE IT INTO?  Excellent…there’s a fish, a cow in a rowing boat, a pineapple, a petrol station, AMMMMAZING.

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LAWRENCE LEMAOANA. Born in 1982 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Lives and works Jo’burg.

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JEBILA OKONGWU Born in 1975 in London, UK. Lives and works in Rome.

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MAURO PINTO. Born in 1974 in Maputo, Mozambique. Lives and works in Maputo.

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KAPWANI KIWANGA. Born in 1978 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She lives and works in Paris, France.

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AYANA V JACKSON. Born in 1977 in New Jersey. Lives and works in Jo’burg, Paris, and NYC.

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Cannae read my notes on who this is by – if you do, please get in touch! x

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MÁRIO MACILAU. Born in 1984 in Maputo, Mozambique. Lives and works in Maputo.

MÁRIO MACILAU. Born in 1984 in Maputo, Mozambique. Lives and works in Maputo.

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Africa is the most raw of nations, the rage I feel when I listen to stories from just a handful of the 54 countries, is raw, as can be the laughter – as deep as the rape of the land.  I hope you like this selection of amazing art…there’s so much more if it, if you’re able to visit, either the countries, or this sideshow for Frieze – which my friend calls: ‘the art supermarket for the super-rich’, tickets to 1:54 are £15 or £10 for concessions.  2015 sees the third edition, where 33 exhibitors present over 150 artists, aside five curated projects.  There are a number of events, talks and films between now and Sunday, when it closes at 18.00.   The fair was founded by Touria El Glaoui, daughter of the Moroccan artist, Hassan El Glaoui.  She worked in banking and international business development before becoming a member of the Executive Committee of The Friends of Leighton House and a trustee of the Marrakech Biennial.  The first 1:54 Pop-Up was in May, at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn.

http://1-54.com/london/

https://twitter.com/154artfair

https://instagram.com/154artfair/

#art #soho #12inch #12×12 #sleevenotes #newseries #WorkInProgress

Art, Music, Nightlife, Poetry, Short story

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A group exhibition reappropriating the 12 inch record sleeve as a canvas.

24th – 26th April
At artFix London

Private view
Friday 24th 6-9pm

Curated by
Novemto Komo & Steven Quinn

#12×12
Alex Rayment / Andie Macario / Anja Priska / Anna Kolosova / Blair Zaye / Christina Mitrenste / Christopher J Campbell / Daniela Raytchev / Darren Van Asten / Deirdre Mc Kenna / Ella Fleck / Erin Elizabeth Kelly / Gala Knorr / Gemma Withers / Hannah Alice / Holly McCulloch / Ina Shin / Jonas Ranson / KEELERTORNERO / Keith Connolly / Kirsty Allison / Laura Gee / Laura Liliyana-Raffaella Cogoni / Lora Avedian / Mark Powell / Nathan Evans / Novemto Komo / Oly Durcan / Ricki Nerreter / Satoshi Nakajima / Skeleton Cardboard / Steven Quinn / Super Future Kid / Vicki Cody

Brought to you from residents of Hackney Downs Studios
& friends.
http://eatworkart.com/

2099AD – The Illustrated Ape

Art, books, Fiction, illustrated ape, Poetry

Travel with me to 2099AD, deep arse space, a place of over edited fiction, where Planet Prada, Comet CHANEL, Land of Louis Vuitton and all manner of planets preferable to earth leave a few rebels behind… X

This voyage of discovery is yours for a fiver from SOLID distributors of the creative visual word form – also included in this once in a lifetime offer: moonshine recipes, and a dystopia survival kit (a beermat soaked with poetry).

Established in 1998, The Illustrated Ape features 100% original creative fictionpicturespoetrypop – and never, ever reviews! It has won popular acclaim, most notably the Creative Review ‘Best In Book’ award for design, and was one of only five British magazines selected for the Jam Anglo-Japanese exhibition. It is widely regarded as the most exciting and influential creative, illustrationgraffiti, and writing magazine to come out of the British urban underground, and is a primary resource for anyone seeing insights into popular culture.

Jamie Reid – the design king of punk, Julie Verhoeven – described in Taschen’s modern design bible, Illustration Now as one of the world’s top designer/illustrators, Paul Davis – award winning illustrator, John Lennon (previously unpublished work), David Hockney (previously unpublished work), Michael EnglishMartin Sharp – sixties design icon, Felix Dennis – OZ and MAXIM magazine founder and poet, David Sims – fashion photographer, Ryuichi Sakamoto – composer and film-star, Junko Mizuno (HELL BABIES) – manga artist and author, Jason Atomic – illustrator, Honey Manko – alt-diva, Heather Jones – songwriter and HOLE founding member, James Berry – poet, Michael Horowitz – poet, Tim Wells – poet, Cheryl B – New York feminist poet, and hundreds more acclaimed heroes of the pen and pencil.

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BOOK LAUNCH – MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING, RED GALLERY

Art, Design, Film, Journalism, Music, Nightlife, Poetry

Shoreditch’s RED is the creative force engaging local communities through facilitation of the continuing Cultural Revolution in the heart of East London.

This versatile, multi-functional space has welcomed a myriad of creativity through its doors since opening in 2010; transforming a derelict group of buildings and unused land into chameleon like art studios, galleries, live events venues, offices, screening rooms, open air event setting, incorporating a street food market and bars.

In keeping with its ethos of cultural guardianship, RED has actively encouraged not only artists and local residents to engage with the facilities, schools such as St Monica’s Primary have utilised the space and in keeping with their continued commitment to communitas, RED plays host to an annual symposium of the religious arts initiative Urban Dialogues, bringing together people from all faiths.

A year in the making, MAKING SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING documents elements of the magic that takes place behind the doors (and often on the walls) of RED through interviews and photographs.

To celebrate the launch RED will be hosting a photographic exhibition and in keeping with its anti-hegemonic practice, 2000 copies of the book will be distributed at the launch.

Additional commentary from visionaries such as Stirling Ackroyd’s James Goff, Tom Burger Bear – one of the chefs who led Time Out! to dub Red Market as being the birthplace of ‘the new food revolution’, curators and artists such as Alice Herrick of Herrick Gallery, Jerwood Prize winning Svetlana Fialova, Paul Sakoilsky, Chris Bianchi, Matthew Hawtin of Minus, former street artist, Part2ism,Dimitri Hegemann of Tresor Berlin, trends author Dr. Lida Hujic , fashion designers: Roggykei, patron Nick Winter, Stephen Shashoua of 3 Faiths Forum, music consultant: Juan Leal, Gary Means’ Alternative London street art tours and more.

BOOK PRESS RELEASE

Avenue 32 ⭐️🐯⭐️ART14 London

Art

PLEASURE TO BE INVITED TO THE VIP PREVIEW OF ART 14 – LONDON BY AVENUE 32, c/o British Vogue.  Thanks so much to Claudia & Guga. x

A few snap happys:

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GO GO JO BEUYS

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PETER BLAKE – I FLOAT ON YOUR LAKE

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Andrew Lockhart from Anonymous Gallery

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PRYCE LEE smashing the bar

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KATE SHAW – SEXY MINERALS

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ANGELA LIZON’s Kitsch’n sink

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You Can’t Sit With Us – Shelter Serra knows what time it is

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Miguel A Lopez – Peruvian pleasure seeker

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REACH OUT – and Disney will always be there

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RECYCLE’s Lords of the Nu Church

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PURE EVIL IN THE SAAAAAAATCHI HOUSE

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I’M ONLY DANCING

Art

 I could feel my arms arms wrapping across my chest, saving myself from the horrors of interactive dance as I climbed several flights of stairs above the Chisenhale Gallery, ’round the back of the Roman Road, currently showing beautiful fabric canvases by Nick Relph – but the Chisenhale Dance Space was new to me (probably because my perceptions of DANCE THE GENRE are that it is more elitist and less accessible than theatre or opera – WHICH IS A BIT WEIRD considering the amount of time I’ve spent around DANCEFLOORS).   But I was invited by Anna Goodman, the chick with the Louise Brooks bob behind Eleanor Sikorski – the glitter lobbing, marshmallow chucking, gifter of birthday condoms to all the guests gathered to celebrate 30 years of the Chisenhale Dance Space.  It was perhaps the most shocking art-thing I’ve experienced in a while – avant-garde party troupes like Sink The Pink (who played at the launch for my Kelli Ali film) show up at parties and become the party, as do  Art Which Is Also A Disco – but this is a different kind of interaction – Sikorski’s performance is like watching someone have a very public breakdown, beautiful, emotional, and playfully skipping beside comfort zones – it’s almost exaggerated as a public performance because of the bright, institutional lighting,  which tragically, is exactly what Chisenhale’s against.  Jacky Lansley, one of the founders of the space,  helped me see DANCE as a free medium that can challenge and invent.  It is the space devoted to exploring the gentleness of an art form and peripheral arts spaces are essential to challenge and progress culture.   Hail the New Puritan was originally shot here (more info below).  I just really hope they get more funding, and invest in some dimmers.

Key events over the next month are below:

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Sunday October 20

X6, the artist collective who started Chisenhale Dance Space presents Now & Then – X6 & Friends: A Round Table discussion Fergus Early, Mary Prestidge, Jacky Lansley and Emilyn Claid discuss topics relevant to arts and politics, now and then. This is the first time in many years that these original members will perform together – A one-off opportunity to listen to pioneers of the new British dance movement talk about what really matters to artists.

Thursday October 31

Dance and the Homemade: – Triple bill with brave new work from Neil Callaghan, Rachel Champion and Tim Spooner. Champion presents Roses and Narcissus, an evolving journey loosely based around the darker side of fairytales (a limited number of 1-on-1 performances are available for this work). A Certain Shaft of Light from Neil Callaghan examines loneliness and solitude whilst Subliming Furiously from Tim Spooner delivers a story cast in the mouth and respiratory system and released into the studio.

Saturday November 9

Original X6 member Mary Prestidge presents Disturbing The Dust at 3pm, followed by An Archive Performance at 7pm from X6’s Jacky Lansley & Fergus Early.

Chisenhale Dance Space hosted the original filming of HAIL THE NEW PURITAN, starring Michael Clark and all manner of 80s extras.  It was directed by Charles Atlas (yup, the triangular-shaped bodybuilder).

The copy below is lifted from Wikipedia but basically, Michael Clark is Britain’s radical ballet guy loved by fashion folk and started before my time.

Hail the New Puritan is a fictionalized documentary about the Scottish dancer and choreographer Michael Clark. It was directed by Charles Atlas. Production design is by Leigh Bowery, who also appears. Much of the music is by The Fall, and Mark E. Smith and Brix Smith appear in a mock interview with Clark. Additional music is provided by Glenn BrancaBruce Gilbert (of Wire), and Jeffrey Hinton.

Using a faux-cinéma vérité style, Atlas depicts a day in Clark’s life as he and his Company prepare for a performance of New Puritans (1984). The Company at that time included Gaby Agis, Leslie Bryant, Matthew Hawkins, Julie Hood, and Ellen van Schuylenburch.

The film was broadcast on 21 May 1986 on Channel 4’s “Dance on 4” program (on Channel 4). It is distributed on DVD and VHS by Electronic Arts Intermix.

Plot

The film opens with a strange dance number that continually gets interrupted by Leigh Bowery and his friends (Sue Tilley and Nicola Bateman, later Nicola Bowery), who keep walking over to a table of fruit. Michael Clark wakes up and begins rehearsing. Other members of the Company gradually arrive. A reporter calls, then drops by to interview Clark; they discuss how he started dancing and came to London, as well as his interest in traditional Scottish dance. Clark appears on a TV program with Mark E. Smith and Brix Smith. Gaby Agis walks by the river, musing about how she should find her own apartment (she’s been staying with Clark). The Company performs scenes from New Puritans. Julie Hood’s boyfriend, meanwhile, is shown wandering London. Clark and Agis shoot a scene in a film. Clark visits Bowery, who along with his friends Trojan and Rachel, are “getting ready” (dressing up) for the clubs. Clark leaves for a rendezvous with “a date,” then heads out to a clubs himself, where he dance. Finally, at pre-dawn, he heads home, where Agis is already in bed. Clark strips and dances to Elvis‘s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?

FE-VIDEO ARTISTS – VIDEOEMINSTS – QUEEN Vs

Art

I was in Berlin last week, Danielle De Picciotto was in a group show that led me to a gallery behind a graphic shop, in one of the yards behind Starbucks in Mitte…

In Berlin they often show video art on ancient TVs with headphones on top – the squat legacy…

Dana Schechter‘s Ocular Eye was on the loop…

I came back to see The Band of Holy Joy play at the South Place Hotel in London- Johny Brown, the singer, always refreshes me in his sincerity towards performance.  His girlfriend, Inga Tillere has made a heap of cool films – they’re lo-fi dark.  She also showed in the Tate shows I was in last year with Tracey Moberly.

Sturtevant’s retrospective at the Serpentine soars in originality, but some pieces remind me of what my husband, a filmmaker always says about artists playing with film – that it shouldn’t be allowed, because they don’t understand the medium – for example, her howling dogs, it’s supposed to be a dog that runs forever, and if they’d cut the loop slightly earlier, it would have looked like that – however, I’m sure she was aware of this glitch, and it was part of the process, right…

http://www.nowness.com/day/2013/7/25/3199

Anat Ben-David performed at the Red Gallery in the summer – I wrote about Chicks on Speed, her band, years ago – she’s always hardcore, and is keeping the 90s vibe alive.  I love that she doesn’t give a monkey’s codpiece about singing in tune…

Laure Prouvost’s work made me really think about the need to finesse work – I’m in the process of finishing a project I’ve been working on for years – it’s great to just bash collage together like she did for the Maxmara prize – oh, for the innocence of times before I worked creatively in the cruelities of commerce…

AND WHERE WOULD ANY OF US GIRLS BE WITHOUT MRS. LOU REED, Laurie Anderson?

HERE ARE SOME COOL DIGITAL ARTISTS:

http://www.dazeddigital.com/artsandculture/article/17095/1/top-ten-deserving-data-visionaries 

And if you want to experience super-cool tech wonderment, get the App that comes with Freestyle magazine’s fourth issue…or come to the party on Sunday. x

#kissme party – kindly hosted by Beige at W Hotel, London

Art, Film, Nightlife, Press

Shot by artist, Tony Pronier (pictured below)

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The psychedelic shots below are by me – the ones with the snazzy flash are by Josh Chow.

Thanks to Lilith Bussfeld, without whom this event could never have occurred.

Kirsty Allison & Kelli Ali

Kelli & I

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by Kirsty Allison 18.13.14 KissMeCleopatraWHotelInvite10small k6 k5 k3 k2 k1 cherry cherry smile tears queen love love last hypnotise high heart heart last fire burn bedsit by Alexander Snelling 00983 by Leigh One Little Spaceman_131747 copy by Alexander Snelling 00955 by Alexander Snelling 00968 by Alexander Snelling 00977 by Alexander Snelling 00979 by Leigh One Little Spaceman_151319 by Leigh One Little Spaceman_151807 by Alexander Snelling 00988 by Alexander Snelling 00993 by Alexander Snelling 00995 by Alexander Snelling 01001 by Leigh One Little Spaceman_162246 by Kirsty Allison 16.59.28 by Alexander Snelling 01013 by Alexander Snelling 01024 by Alexander Snelling 01023 by Kirsty Allison TEARS high queen hypnotised burn fire heart LOVE Bedsit queen heart last chorus love last chorus MUNROE 1 Mun2 Mun3 Mun4 TABOO k4 SHAKE MUNEY MUNEY Shake 2 trio shake Mun 5 mun 6 Muney de Hav Kelli 1 KELLI 2 Kirsty gfx 1 MUNI kelli 3 kelli 4 muni huni muni trio Mo Muni

WATCH THE KISS ME KLEOPATRA FILM

#KISSMEMUNROE // BEIGE INTERVIEW

Art, Film, Music, Press

Beige Exclusive With Munroe Bergdorf

The following interview is from: http://www.beigeuk.com/2013/06/beige-exclusive-with-munroe-bergdorf/

DJ, model and trendsetter, Munroe Bergdorf is the one of the biggest personalities on the London scene. We caught up with her as she prepares to DJ at the launch party for Beige’s summer issue in conjunction with Kiss Me Cleopatra.

Munroe Bergdorf by Ayesha Hussain

How did you get into DJing?
I first gave it a go when I was at university in Brighton but I was awful, I mean… seriously bad. I had no idea what I was doing whatsoever…  I then started to take DJ lessons when I moved to London about four years ago. I then entered a few DJ contests and it built up from there really… There hasn’t been a master plan as such, it started off as just a bit of fun, but then people kept on booking me, so I assumed I was doing something right…

What sort of music do you play and what can we expect from your set at the Beige party on Wednesday?
My sets are really varied depending on the venue I’m playing at.  I love spinning Old Skool Hip Hop and RnB – the stuff that I was raised on… It always gets such a great crowd reaction and people really get in to it. Generally though, the music I play is a mix current RnB, Pop and Dance, with the occasional ‘OMG THEY DIDN’T JUST PLAY THAT’ old skool jam thrown in to keep people on their toes…  So yeah, you can expect pretty much just that…

Munroe Bergdorf by Ayesha Hussain

You also work as a model, most recently creating some stunning images with Ayesha Hussain. What sort of modelling assignment inspires you and why?
I love working with people who have their own individual style – I hate repeating myself when it comes to shoots or visuals. I think it’s important to always try and bring something new to the table, or what’s the point, right? I love shooting with Ayesha, she’s a good friend of mine and one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. She’s actually disgustingly gifted at everything she does and horrendously gorgeous – it’s actually quite gross…

Munroe Bergdorf by Ayesha Hussain

You’re going to be appearing in Kelli Ali’s video ‘Kiss Me Cleopatra’. How did you get to know Kelli and why do you enjoy working with her?
I am indeed!  I actually met Kelli for the first time after we had shot the music video. I was initially approached by the director of the clip, Kirsty Allison, who talked me through the video treatment and played me the track. I’ve been a huge Liz Taylor fan all my life, so I kind of jumped at the chance to play Cleopatra. Kelli and I have been in touch ever since we filmed the video. We met up recently for some afternoon tea which was lovely, she’s an amazing lady.

Munroe Bergdorf still image by Kirsty Allison Munroe Bergdorf still image by Kirsty Allison Munroe Bergdorf still image by Kirsty Allison

You’re playing Cleopatra in the video – a truly iconic figure. What’s your approach to the part and who has inspired your interpretation? Can we expect a bit of Elizabeth Taylor going on or something fabulously new and different?
The video actually includes some archive imagery of Ms Taylor, which I’m so glad Kirsty was able to include in the final cut. I’m playing a bit more of a modern take on Cleopatra. I don’t want to give too much away though, you’ll have to wait and see…

Behind the scenes image by Alexander Snelling Kelli Ali still image by Kirsty Allison Munroe Bergdorf still image by Kirsty Allison

You also work as a club host, and host the now legendary night Room Service with Jodie Harsh. What makes the perfect club host?
Basically it mainly boils down to knowing a lot of people who like to have fun and making sure that they attend the best events in town. It’s not actually as easy as it sounds, trust me on that one. What makes the perfect host?  Someone who can instantly walk into a room and get the party started; someone with a very extensive little black book, and someone with charm, uniqueness, nerve and talent, of course.

You’ve created clothing lines alongside such major labels as BOY LONDON. Where do you get your ideas from and what is your creative vision?
To be honest I just try to create items that I would wear myself or that I think like minded people would like to wear. BOY LONDON was a great platform for me and opened a lot of doors, but I’m definitely only just getting started, so I wouldn’t call myself a designer. I do however have a very sharp eye for what does and doesn’t work when it comes to fashion.

Munroe Bergdorf by Ayesha Hussain

What’s next in the wonderful world of Munroe Bergdorf…?
This summer is looking a bit crazy. I just got back from hosting a party in Tel Aviv for Room Service, which was bananas. Next month I’m going to be spinning in Berlin and Italy, then New York around September time. I like to take each day as it comes to be honest. There’s lots in the pipeline. I’m just making sure I enjoy it all and learn as much as I can along the way.

Images: Ayesha Hussain
Makeup: Martin Rab
Clothing: Ben Adams, Sorapol and Mr Woods
Music video stills: Kirsty Allison and Alexander Snelling
Words: Alex Hopkins

– See more at: http://www.beigeuk.com/2013/06/beige-exclusive-with-munroe-bergdorf/#sthash.iJ8Yuccn.dpuf

Photo Art Fair 2013//London//

Art
Seagirls love chips by Elaine Constantine

Seagirls love chips by Elaine Constantine

I loved the Photo Art Fair 2013* sooooo much, I went back after the VIP launch - and it was interesting to see who'd racked up those gorg red dots - there were more on these beauties by Elaine Constantine than a Yayoi Kusama painting.

I loved the Photo Art Fair 2013* sooooo much, I went back after the VIP launch – and it was interesting to see who’d racked up those gorg, red SOLD dots – Elaine Constantine’s looked like a Yayoi Kusama painting.

Skins & Punks

Skins & Punks by Gavin Watson – pure legend – he’s so in with his subject, it’s like being there.

Tri-Colour/Closet by Zanna

Tri-Colour/Closet by Zanna – I AM LOVING HER PRINT PROCESS – in FCPX, the editing kit I’ve been getting my head around recently, there’s an effect called Prism which I frickin adore – as you will see, once the pop film I’m making for Kelli Ali is finished.

Sisters series by Marlene Marino

Sisters series by Marlene Marino – these are so grunge, and feminine – they remind me of Nick Waplington & Phil Poynter‘s series they did at Hotel 17.

The New Gypsies by Iain McKell - a lovely chap I see down at KHMC, but first met at the Sanctum in Soho.  His work has been published everywhere but he's currently going on Saturday night missions to capture Blackpool with the brilliant photographer, Dougie Wallace.

The New Gypsies by Iain McKell – a lovely chap I see down at KHMC, but first met at the Sanctum in Soho. His work has been published everywhere but he’s currently going on Saturday night missions to capture Blackpool with the brilliant photographer, Dougie Wallace.

*Photo Art Fair, 3-6 May, Victoria House (where the Vauxhall Fashion Scout shows are in Fashion Week), London…Photo Art Fairs are industry pow-wows – they happen all over the world like film festivals, offering meet n greets with agents, buyers, sellers…London’s just got its first – defo going back next year…great place to collect beautiful, future classics.

ILLUSTRATED APE

Art, Poetry

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RESONANCE FM: ART SAVES LIVES //09.12.12

Art, Film, Radio

The transmission almost from the end of the world – yes, the Mayan calendar is upon us and on the dancefloor of Shoom last nite (the 25th anniversary of the club founded by Danny and Jenny Rampling which gave birth to a movement bigger than any of us, ACID HOUSE) it felt like an apocalyptic wake for past times – GRAVE IS THE NU RAVE – never go back, said the mods – I hate mods, so stupidly conformist with their Weller-cuts, I shall forever be a rocker – K-RoKa was my DJ moniker -and that ROCKER comes from a deal I struck with DJ Fee (fashion designer, Fiona Doran) when we started playing records out –  we would not let our gender sell our music.  The spirit of punk rock lives on.  As does the retro-modernism of the mods – yes, alright – take your franking machine –  rip it up to start again.  Last nite, with the Art Saves Lives performances by all manner of folk at the party at Blacks which took us til midnite (pre-Shoom)- never has it been so much in my headlights that the importance of NOW is to create NEW work – pastiches are for pastry shops.

The ART SAVES LIVES party had the most genuine poetry vibe I’ve ever experienced – a rapt audience got all kind of voices between some fab acoustic sets.  I was proud to introduce all manner of folk.  Felt like a right Joolz Holland.  Got to check in to see how much was raised in the art auction, feat. work by Grayson Perry, Jeremy Deller, Duggie Fields, myself and many more.  Master of ceremonies on that was Robert Pereno, whose film, The Promoter, also played.

I played a short set on vinyl with my fiancee, Alex Snelling of Slack Alice Films – we took it back with a lil Sabres of Paradise, Afro Dizziac, Adeva, Beastie Boys – man – at Shoom it was so lovely to hear Alfredo – he did a top mixed bag (we used to play together at Manumission, Ibiza).

So, back to the radio show – the penultimate ART SAVES LIVES show which I’ve had great pleasure to co-host, and be Resident Poet for.  This transmission’s guests include:  Kelli Ali (former Sneaker Pimp), Erik Stein – Cult With No Name, the beat 22 year poet, JJ, the grindcore jazz band, George Caplan Presents, the goth folk band, Gallows Ghost, poetry from Anna Savage & Stu from Pig7 and Marie Guise-Williams

KEEP A ROCKIN IN THE FREEE WORLD, BLUDZ

Kirsty Allison by David Kilburn

Pic by the magnificent preservationist David Kilburn

MAN SAWS BRICK

Art

Man Saws Brick: Series 1 by Kirsty Allison.

Donated to the Christmas fundraiser for Art Saves Lives at Blacks in Soho, London.

Six acrylic, wax pastel, wax crayon, marker scrawled, Indian & Chinese ink written, illuminated by light gel pieces on 12″ inch cardboard record covers.

Motifs of ariels, Aleister Crowley symbolism, CCTV eyes, with lines from notes taken on iPhone.

AUTOMATONIKA E-GO E-ROTIKA DEMONIKA

Art, Fashion

@kirstyallison @TraceyTM #tweetmeup  #thetanks @tate

Friday 24th August 2012, 11-5pm

Dear Friends,

I’m proud to present: AUTOMATONIKA E-GO E-ROTIKA DEMONIKA.  A short film about online existentialism.

Commissioned for Tracey Moberly’s Tweet Me Up show at the Tate Modern in London.

You can WATCH an exclusive preview here:  https://vimeo.com/47128360

Love n Sweet Rebellion.  Kirsty Allison.
www.kirstyallison.com
www.twitter.com/kirstyallison

Get Tantric Tourists

PRESS RELEASE

‘TWEET-ME-UP!’ – Tate Tanks

‘TWEET-ME-UP!’ at The Tate Tanks by Tracey Moberly is a mass participation installation and exhibition generated by social networking sites. It is part of the UNDERCURRENT programme in the Tanks at Tate Modern on Friday August 24th. 11am-5pm. The artist will be delivering a talk on her work in the Tate 3-4pm.

TWEET-ME-UP!’ focuses on art, music, photography, words, short film and fashion. The theme explores Sub Culture/ Counter Culture – Undercurrent/Underground from numerous perspectives.

August 24th has been designated ‘International Day Against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence based on Musical Preferences, Lifestyle and Code.” The day marks the death in 2007 of Sophie Lancaster, a Goth who died from injuries sustained by a gang targeting her and her boyfriend for their dress code and music preferences. TWEET-ME-UP!’ encourages contributions that celebrate subculture and the free expression of individuality.

Contributions have come from as far afield as Eastern Siberia, Uzbekistan, New Jersey, Haiti, Trinidad and Japan – along with many parts of the U.K. Well known names are juxstaposed with the new, such as ex-Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder with his collective Wrangler; The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart now part of the New Banalists; the Human League and Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware in an instagram collaboration with his daughter Elena; TV presenter and journalist Kirsty Allison; Damian Alban’s African Express co-founder Steve Budd; Blur’s Ex-manager and Teardrop Explodes Dave Balfe to name a few. In the cross-platform work duos and acting debuts’ feature unexpected roles for the unlikely, from Captain Sensible to Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s Eggsy.

The digitally received works, photos, sounds and statements will be projected into the the Tate’s cavernous new space creating an evolving multi-media installation. Live art will be streamed in through Twitter Instagram and SMS text on the day. A list of contributors and the countries they are from is available.

‘TWEET-ME-UP!’ follows on from the artist, activist & author’s work Text-Me-Up! which has become a multifaceted book. Tracey Moberly has used over 2,500 photographs and images and documents the growth of the SMS (short message service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service) eras which has resulted in her saving every text message and phone image she has ever been sent since 1999. Text-Me-Up! It documents the start of the social media revolution beginning with the text message and the unique digital DNA text timeline of one person’s received messages. It concludes with the emergent importance of other media such as Twitter – prior to the Arab Spring – as Tracey focuses on Haiti immediately after her visit to Port-au-Prince just prior to the devastating earthquake of January 2010.

Tracey co-owned the Foundry in Shoreditch, East London for over a decade. In the book she details many events that took place with her there. The many artists from Banksy and YBA members to people putting up their first exhibitions at The Foundry are documented along with the many photographers, musicians, performers and film makers who were also a part of this.

Where Text-Me-Up! offers up a slice of social history and popular culture from the last decade. TWEET-ME-UP! focuses on 2012 and the new communication technologies and behaviours engendered with the advent of social media.

FOR INFO CONTACT TRACEY MOBERLY

07951 608787 tracey@foundry.tv facebook: Tracey Moberly twitter: Traceytm Instagram: Traceytm

http://www.text-me-up.com/ http://www.tweet-me-up.com/ For information on the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Charity

contact inmemoryofsophie@hotmail.co.uk http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com

For information on UNDERCURRENTS @ The TATE TANKS contact bethany.bull@tate.org.uk

UPDATE ON OTHER PROJECTS: Yes, I am still writing my first novel, haven’t yet assimilated a book of poetry and have failed to paint any church ceilings.If you would like my mind on your project: I make, listen, learn, look and love with many folk, from Vogue to the BBC, international corporations and cool individuals.
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©KirstyAllison 2012, All rights reserved.

Berlin SubCulture to London NoCulture

Art, Journalism, Money, Music, Politics

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I’d been going on at Ernesto Leal to programme Danielle De Picciotto in his Red Gallery in London’s Shoreditch, and am super-proud he invited me to steer this panel.

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I knew this picture of Danielle De  Picciotto (with her husband, Alexander Hacke, of Einsturzende Neubatten) prior to knowing much else about her…

It was Chris Bohn, editor of The Wire magazine, who turned me onto Danielle – he was reading her book (The Transgression of Beauty – which I whole-heartedly recommend – she’s a true inspiration, the type of woman I don’t find enough of, and trust her schedule will allow her to perform at Red later this year…) – Alexander Snelling – my boyfriend and I were meeting with Bohn and his girlfriend, Keiko, to discuss a film Alex is directing about psychedelic-techno maverick, Manuel Gottsching (the Berliner who went up a mountain with LSD-guru, Timothy Leary, managed to come down to be chased by Nico, recorded with Ashra Tempel, and made this, the definitive Balearic track, sampled on Sueno Latino, nicked by countless inferiors, re-sampled by Derrick May, who, incidentally, believes Techno is a power greater than the mechanical consciousness feared by The Frankfurt school – which I’ll get to – but let it be known, Gottsching is the DUDE).

So we’ve visited Manuel’s scene in Berlin – and I’ve fallen in love with the city’s embrace of techno-academic philosophies guiding ART (I’m a long-term fan of Christiane F- Hacke’s first girlfriend, and I love the Helmut Newton gallery by Zoo Station, and just knowing that Iggy Pop & Bowie hung out in West Berlin kills me – I’ve been lucky enough to visit amazing private views over the years and have a few of Sven Vath’s Harthouse records, a couple of Kraftwerk, some Detroit, Belgian, some of Jeff Mills Underground resistance and old Tresor records in my collection…) but the biggest appeal to Berlin for me is the rationalisation and need for structural understanding of  CULTURE in the programming at festivals such as Transmediale, and discussions at squatted buildings which support discussion as an essential element of progressing thought and practice – call it Neo-Marxism, or techno-democracy, stemming from The Frankfurt School (which I have State-lectured in – under the guise of Contextual Studies for Media – in the old syllabus for undergrads, before Marxism disappeared from the current outline, which came out shortly after the current government – NB – how the fuck can you discuss technological and democracy without Marxist-models is beyond me – but I find it easy to blame the State’s need to have conforming, non-questioning workers who love life in the Mall – another soapbox/blog, another day)…however, the German need to evaluate is likely the intelligent evolution stemming from their post-Nazi situation, I find an inherent German characteristic is logic and REASON (I don’t care if nationalistic identification is perceived as rascist, again, another soapbox, another blog) AND I love working with Germans for this, in my experience, Germans deliver – and progress is why, when I used to write for NME, DJ, Mixmag and many other publications including The Face, Sky, Dazed and Raygun (before DJing and going onto make music documentaries for BBC Radio) – I was always on about the ELECTRONIC VANGUARD, and that’s what Ernesto’s events have always been about – which is why we’re drawn to each other – but aside from Ecstasy, Peace, Love & Unity, the aspects of rave culture shared by the British and German scene-are people came together from different worlds – when the Berlin Wall fell,  the former-Soviet East and the Western bloc (which had been broken into districts ruled by the ‘Western Allies’, France, the US and Britain – with consultation with West Germany), having parties in warehouses in former GDR-land (German Democratic Republic/Soviet) where ownership and legislation was murky, dancing under initial idealistic ideologies of anarchy and optimism in much the same way as we did around the M25, in pre-Criminal Justice Bill Britain – before super-clubs, capital super-greed and State taxation were instigated by the devisive mega-minds at the top of the power tree –  so what evolved, particularly in the grimy warehouse clubs of Berlin such as E-Werk, and all the ‘stay up forever’ principals of Doctor Motte’s LoveParade, was the Techno philosophy of Newness being the Future.  Space – the final frontier…

Ernesto has a pre-occupying theme of gentrification, which becomes as explosive as Shoreditch rents when combined with Berlin’s 90s trance culture and the MASS POSITIVISM which accompanied the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE NOISE-TOTEM championed by DJs such as Paul van Dyk, a discovery of Mancunian, Mark Reeder who was drawn to Berlin in 1978,  having started The Frantic Elevators with a certain Mick Hucknall – before becoming Factory Records label rep in Berlin, moving into East Berlin – the nutbag – started managing and engineering bands like this female punk band, Malaria!


He formed the band which toured with New Order, Die Unbekannten (as Shark Vegas – a more pop version) with Alister Gray and Thomas Wylder, who went onto drum with Die Haut and Berlin lurkers, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds:

Setting up a label “Masterminded For Success” MFS – the initials of the Stasi, Ministry for State Security in East Berlin, in 1990 – he encompasses a brilliant musicological ‘rock family tree’ –  stemming from this post-Geniale Dilettentan (Martin Kippenberger-style post-Dada transdisciplinary movement), post-punk East Berlin-isolation, into electronica and trance.  I’m delighted to get the chance to hear him because cultural entrepreneurialism around the delapidation of the Berlin Wall echoed the rave scene I became involved with in London at the age of about 14 – despite a folk-background, I became a wildchild, aware that acid house had the counter-cultural Power to stand as the last revolution against kill sprees and capitalism, to achieve what Flower Power had failed to…sadly, the fantasy failed again -being part of Thatcher’s youth, I was one of the apolitical monghead tools who thought going to a Spiral Tribe rave was a political dancefloor move (huh hurr), but, it meant a generation led the following generations to float in the bland mediocrity of existence, coupled with Generation Fear – those brought up wary of Bin Laden and if not watching Big Brother, being filmed on CCTV- that no-one can ever be bothered to watch (another soapbox – I’m reaching for the stars on those boxes today).

Our economy has been on a downward spiral since acid house – I don’t blame the drugs,  I’m with the half-glass full, Nobel prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, who suggests LURVE will get us out of our current financial straits – basically, positive spending energy encourages positive energy – embrace, LoveWorks – bring it on, let’s just get in debt forever, it will always be future debt.
I’ve previously said I believe there should be a Global Charter of Corporate Social Responsibility (with relative social ‘taxes’ – not wholly binary, or financial – more altruistic and community-based) and with this in mind, should base-level creative projects, such as bars, clubs, and galleries, and those feeding from their existence such as property people and businesses, support the underground matrix of artists which offer them credo – (Shoreditch being a prime example of essential co-existence – if Westwood and McQueen have lots in Redchurch St, will they want to stay there without a little of the grit that attracts hipsters to Boy – or will East have moved South by then – I suspect the rents will have pushed them there) but an alternative model could perhaps exist through something in the grasps of corporations: Land, and the provision of it to artists – seeing as we cannae squat civilly nae more – from September it will be a criminal offense to squat in the UK,  I would suggest areas encouraged giving land to artists to aid gentrification, perhaps if their taxes and business rates aren’t doing so well, what with all these empty shops – but if it is done borough by borough, communication can exist in a real sense between those who need to be provided for in some sense by those bigger than them – let’s call it the the parental duty of the 1% if they can be philanthropic enough to assist, but we know it’ll never work – as long as there is greed and need…
But I hope THE INNOVATOR, DIMITRI HEGEMANN (who’s the key speaker) can spread some advice here – he gives grants to artists, supports them with one job to lead to another, a good guy – labelled a Techno activist through, what I suspect will be a belief about DIY-ism, he had the Fishburo bar, turned it into the UFO club, before setting up Tresor -does his embrace of Techno side along using the Internet and whatever private-app based networks we can think we’re underground communicating upon – to achieve this – because what this talk at the Red Gallery sets out to do, is explore the relationship between Subculture and Creative Industries – Tresor, being a prime example of a Creative project, so passionate in its advancing of the techno arts that it became a philanthropic sport of Hegemann to provide lifeblood to the underground matrix of artists.  Is it as simple as Subculture being another word for Lifestyle – so said Alvin Toffler, the futurist who is cited by Detroit-Juan Atkins (Cybotron, Model 500) for inspiring him with his writing on ‘techno rebels’ in his book, The Third Wave.  Is it true the underground no longer exists in our networked world, and instead, the choice is Lifestyle – and whose we’re buying into, because Money Corrupts Equality.

And if we have to be part of a Lifestyle, can we do it without guys like Dimitri investing in progressive artists in an era where it’s Google vs The World?  (They have  Orwellian-powers you do not want to believe) –  where does the capital fit in with art?  Currently through gallerists – bless their sweet souls, but howabout musicians – it’s hard out there, and writers – wow – well, I lecture, and have a PHD is Ducking n Diving.  Is it as black and white as being either DIY and thoroughly indie-pendent, is there a rainbow of opportunity to find support through sponsorship as a working class artist – or one that has to work.  To offer complete autonomy to artists takes a truly maverick brand, and in my experience, there are very few who don’t want to imprint some level of Ownership, and a corporate-instigated belief system or another bullshit masquerade.    I love the principals of GEMA (the copyright society of Germany) who are responsible for ‘protecting artistic works’ but such are their endeavors, to protect the artist as a creator, they are superstrict – and German YouTube is not as liberal in content as elsewhere (another blog -Creative Commons etc and the need for ownership).  Is freedom of expression the same thing as freedom of audience – in Idealistic times, yes.  Which seem historical by their very notion – amoral times, ladies and germs (that’s a Garfield-ism, he was my philosophic hero when I was growing up).

Is there a middle ground of compromise where artists don’t have to do as De Picciotto and co did – which was recluse to a castle, only to have a hundred skinheads as their door- or is the point to co-exist, to log-in to culture and leave the studio as and when required, rather than build a wall around culture, forcing us to totally DIY it, leaving our small castles to get attacked – do we need to be more unSocial than Social – UNwiring ourselves to the networks where corporate/capital cyber-control leave Analogue the only freedom fighter in the ongoing flotilla of post-modernism – because even private networks will always be hackable, because people and artists will always be buy-able.  Let’s all go and buy an island of ideals.  It couldn’t possibly be this planet.  What is the revolution?  As I read in Vanity Fair’s current issue, Woody Allen has endorsed Smirnoff, Kurt Vonnegurt – credit cards, Hitchcock- Western Union and Salvador Dali – Alka Seltzer (!) – Bobby Gillespie sold his soul to Uniqlo – if you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’re stupid enough to believe it – but free economy… (another box of soapsuds, another blog).
As I draw to a close, I would suggest the corporate wave of digitalisation has overthrown the Techno dream of a democratic internet, and new-tech or old-school are the NU NEW.  All power to Anonymous, or maybe not an oligarchical portion.  Folk jumpers and the craft they represent worn with iPhones continue into the next season, my darlings…(iPhones, I know, still – despite a recession, what can everyone sport?  The symbol of not being lonely.)
So the velocity of techno-times have passed, to be replaced by the arguments for living anti-Socially whilst being wired in – PHEW – had to get that out –
Techno-culture was always the melting of new forms, dripping towards a virtual existence – we are in that place – where morals have been replaced by armageddon.  The devil’s playground, which is what the underworld and new world’s can offer – Money and art, and where the twixt wane, cultural capital and it’s involvement with the state – let’s embrace the arts and intellectual like a fist full of dollars and challenge and progress at this event on Thursday 7th June.  Which is full  – but message me if you’re super-keen and I maybe able to swish you in under my magic cape…or stay tuned on here, Twitter and my mailing list, and I hope to upload the discussion soon…
My mind is sure of one thing, there needs to be cultural friction, such as that caused in the competition for Berlin to reclaim its capital status against Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg and the riches of Bavaria – cultural friction causes us to fight for progress, unless we’re just creating, man, either in a fog of auteurism and drugs – what Simon Reynolds enchantingly labels some aspects of techno as, “A full-scale retreat from the most radically posthuman and hedonistically functional aspects of rave music toward more traditional ideas about creativity, namely the auteur theory of the solitary genius who humanizes technology,” or in other words, the bedroom DJ – a precursor to the ‘Dead Boys’ of Japan, who are called so because they literally do not interact with society – and this is the darkside, the last frontier, or crossroads that an artist has to do a deal with the devil at in order to create a new beginning…perhaps the Techno dream has come true.

Crossroads and fringes have to shake their tassels right back to the core to have any effect -Techno was a reaction of modernity, a quest for the future, to live on spaceships, in clinical, scientific beauty – away from the wishy-washy drug music of psychedelia – whether Berlin can continue to do this now that the wall’s come down remains to be seen, or as British politics currently suggest, there is, in fact,  a dark secret that if you Build walls, spectacular things will occur, but only once they’re destroyed.

Where are you moving to next?  I heard Athens is pretty cheap…Britain overlooked the importance of allowing people to live as artists to produce exportable merit.  We’ve been drugged goddamit.  And all nanny wanted to do was help.  I take responsibility…TECHNO FOREVER!!!


(the intro track to this, Sugar Daddy, is made by my ex, Kris Needs – he was double my age, I was young, dumb – and errr, full of…blonde ambition – seriously, I was only just out of my teens…don’t do it, Kids, never mind how much you want to learn…)

DO CHECK THIS SELECTION OF TRAX- THEY WERK…

YUMMY

Kirsty Allison, London, June 2012

I Art Therefore I Am ArtIst

Art, Journalism

‘ArtIsts’ we are (the I being the ego), dottIness extremus, the InfinIte I.  And few artists exemplify this better than the pre-Yoko Ono, single Japanese female, Yayoi Kusama – so conceptual she sacrificed her sanity for us.

The current retrospective at the Tate Modern in London – sponsored by Louis Vuitton – is curated as a human story. 

The first room – the micro-struggling illustrations of a young girl in a world where death lies at the end of the phallus-twisted tunnel.

[Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation of Corpses (Prisoner Surrounded by the Curtain of Depersonalization) 1950]

The second room – making it big in America – with obsessive, fish-scale canvases –

[Yayoi Kusama, Pacific Ocean, 1960]

…which remind me of the beautiful off-white, suede Louboutin for Giles boots I was lucky enough to borrow for a shoot…

She sells well, netting success with her ‘mind-net’ pictures but wants to escape the confines of her work – only way out is on a boat – and it’s filled with cocks, wriggling to get inside her…

[Yayoi Kusama, Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show, 1963]

The exhibition then goes pop!  She makes a film about herself, a pretty geisha vs the entire ugliness of an industrialised city.

O, the 60s! Send a letter home.

[Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation: Airmail No2, 1966]

The next rooms get preeeeeetty psychedelic.  Learning from pop-meisters, and being in contact with Georgia O’Keefe, who possibly advises on lifetime themes, dots start to appear in Yayoi’s work.  She brands herself with the burning stamp of dottiness – polka polka polka dotty dotty dotty.  And she looks good on a horse.© Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios Inc.

[Yayoi Kusama, detail of Self-Obliteration No.2, 1967]

And she puts dots on the horse.  And rides the horse.  And puts dots upon herself.  And takes the horse to water.  And puts dots on water.  And the cat gets polka-ed too…Self-Obliteration – the movie of these events is wonderfully pre-computer, and so is she…

Opening a concession in Bloomingdales’ selling dresses made of transparent PVC and flowered-up suitcases- it’s a period so fabulously of its era,

-they inspired the S/S 2012 Louis Vuitton collection…

[The future vision of Louis Vuitton and Kusama is destined to be dotty…where Murakami added colour and cutes-i-ness, Kusama will add strong-woman circles, in yellow on black and white on red.]

The exhibition moves on to chart happenings in her apartment, although not orgies because she was scared of venereal disease, it was about real love rather than sex, a peace mission – everyone gets naked, and she is the star.  The posters are wonderful, even the desperate, hand-written ones.

The naked venus of her own parties.  Putting the I into Artist – I mean, would we bother otherwise?

But after all the parties, the result – it’s too poetic for words, because, after a hallway of amazing collages, she sections herself, works in a hospital studio, art therapy, and the phalli are back, leaping out of boxes, like bad thoughts from a spaghetti-ed brain.

[Yayoi Kusama, Heaven & Earth, 1991]

I nearly cried at the burned-outness of the next pieces…which I cannot easily find pictures of, and to revisit it, I only have to flick through my mind.  No, you can’t come in.  I’m busy.

Too many microdots, all over the walls…and the snakey phalli…

[Yayoi Kusama, Yellow Trees, 1994]

To a magic room, where we entered her installation house to ask – “Do you take dots? Drop more spots in your tea?”

[Yayoi Kusama, I’m Here But Nothing, 2000]

She’s still an inpatient, cooked for, paying for an organised life, looked after – she has a studio over the road – she must have paid for the whole hospital…art, we get sick if we don’t do it, sick if we do…the 82 year-old said this to the Guardian,  “I have done all the work myself, not assistants. That’s why I’m in a wheelchair. I’ve been doing it physically — it’s hard labour — throughout my life.”

(Many contemporary artists follow the lead of the Italians, and have studios of assistants making their art for them – commerce – greed – I,I,I,I,I,I,I,I,I want more art on my walls, now, do you hear?  Ok, Ego!)

If you’re prolific, you have to be looked after – Virginia Woolf would surely agree.  Kusama is the queen of her own disco – this exit piece, Infinity Mirror Room moves right on from the mirrored rooms at the Serpentine show in 2000.

Try turning the screen brightness up and down, up and down and project this to your brain…with a dance remix of your own Garageband – it’s a 1993 co-lab with Peter Gabriel:

Here is a Louis Vuitton co-lab from 2006  (yes – that’s Marc Jacobs):

EXTRA NOTES ON NAKEDNESS:

I saw naked pictures of Patti Smith recently  -not these ones unfortunately, although almost undoubtedly also taken by Robert Mapplethorpe – the others had more vulnerability…

there are so many pictures of me knocking about, in dirty old filing cabinets in the wastelands of youth.  Who cares?  Do the most crazy ‘I-people’ get naked?

[Dame Vivienne Westwood, selling anti-consumption since 1971, by Juergen Teller]

Is it a stand against drab normality?  The ancient Greeks would say so.  In Berlin recently, it was interesting to find out nudity was seen as an act of rebellion and freedom in the old Soviet DDR lockdown of the East Berlin ‘rescheming’ regime.

Fame and the quest of fame is seen as a contemporary sickness – a trap of our commercial and marketed times – but for Kusama, Patti Smith, most female icons of the last century and the twenty-first (beyond our dear Royals,  and those of a more Middle Eastern persuasion – who intelligently stand against idolisation, or have no power to use the politics of ‘shock and awe’) – stripping off and whoring ourselves is to rise above those that won’t – I wasn’t born with a fiefdom, life is so fast – we are who we lie next to.  Paris Hilton, we are indebted to your ‘I-matter’ legacy.  Or we die in the bland ocean of normality and conformity.  Extremes – nakedness is beautiful, it is vulnerable, it is who we are.  Nakedness is so brave.  So intimate.  So NOT fashion, but everything fashion is about.  As a true riot grrrrrrl – it is only flesh.

In an interview in Index about her Self-Obliteration/naked period, Kusama says it was a time when she hated herself.  However, she was more famous than Andy Warhol.

Her dresses helped take her there.  Particularly the ‘hole dresses’ where hooded ponchos are slashed to expose our breasts.

I was disappointed by the exhibition, to discover at the heart of the art was an ego – a crazy, I-sacrificing soul who would never have become so famous had she not been determined to make herself the star of the show.  The Serpentine did it better, that show was about the product of selfishness, THE ART, not the person that created it.  However, without I, there would be no ArtIst.

I Art, Therefore I Am…

(photography copyright © Harrie Verstappen, The Looniverse)

Yayoi Kusama’s autobiography is out now…the octogenarian has also illustrated a fabulous, turn your kids into trip-heads, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland…

Fashion is Art is Identity

Art, Fashion, Journalism

…discuss…

Went to the opening of the Art Fashion Identity exhibition, opposite Cecconi’s at the Royal Academy.  Nice party.  Good to see Helen Storey still rocking it, and some thoughtful pieces about current affairs through fashion.  

This installation piece reads, ‘Washed in Pakistan’. Globalisation for the nation.

My fave piece was the Hussein Chalayan, followed by McQueen, of course.  

I appear in the Fashion Book by Phaidon under Chalayan, I’m slammed down on a photocopier by Katerina Jebb.  Groovy.

Okay, so today’s outfit…(I know, it’s been a week without, but I have been sick and twisted.  I’ll whack them up soon)…white lace top, American Apparel.  Jumper, Vintage. Worn with boots from McQueen and trousers from Joseph (not seen).  Earrings, gold gun & Indian stones.

Rocks in my hand and holes in my face

Art, Journalism, Poetry

Freeeee London – The National Portrait Gallery, downstairs, great photographs by Mary McCartney, particularly one, that I must tweet to Boy George and Gemma Peppe.

Freeeeee London II- The Royal Festival Hall – MUST SEE – the World Press Photo 10 –  this touring exhibition is an education, every year.  Frontline photography at its best.  I caught my first in Mumbai.  They never fail to open up the world in the blink of an eye.

This is my look for today.

Also had the pleasure of falling upon Donald Gardner – poet extraordinaire – he’s playing at the Poetry Cafe tomorrow, if you want to catch some genuine, old skool beat.  They’re also doing some surreal.


Leather, McQueen. Jumper, vintage. Jeans, True Religon. Vest, M&S. Furry wool waistcoat, as before.

Paris, oui, c’est 130

Art, Fashion, Poetry

Manish Arora – what a complete legend.  I’m gonna freeform you with my notes, then you can see if they match the pictures (what a cool game).

sooooooo (this is as written as the catwalked):

MANISH ARORA RAP

Psychedelic neon Kenneth Anger on roller skates, bursts of micro roses in red falling over white chiffon, applique disco ram heads/Indian devil doodles, ancillary baroque shoulders and hips, violin curves. Seventies porn club funk, James Bond, Paint It Black on the theramin.  80s/50s scenes of palm trees and yellow cars beaded onto 60s dresses.  Hot pants for Claire Manumission.  Gold metal prayer blanket jackets.  Rajasthani punk mirror balls on acid.

So, in pictures…http://www.style.com/fashionshows/complete/S2011RTW-MARORA

How did the rap and the pics compare?

(yes, I know it breaks Website Design Rule Number ONE to link to sites outside one’s own because you probably haven’t made it this far and are currently browsing Style.com, but if you didn’t come back, you wouldn’t find out what I wore, or the amazing style hints I’m going to share at the bottom of this post.  You know why I’m linking outside, because it’s such bad internet form to just swipe them, cheapo skanky behaviour.  I may one day get better at pics, but my camera was nicked in Ibiza, so I’m surviving on the good nature of others, my phone and inbuilt computer one)

Okay.  So I loved it.  The designer points at Hiroshi Nagai (feature in this season’s Another magazine).  Hats were by Christophe Coppens. The music was put together by Marc Chouarain, on tour with Benjamin Biolay.  He played the theramin (that wacky sci-fi Russian invention which responds to the distance of the hands to it).  Accompanied by Thomas Coeuriot on guitar and Denis Benarrosh on drums.  Styling was by Laurent Dombrowicz. Nice.

Now, let’s try it with Barbara Bui – boot legend.

BARBARA BUI RAP

Ipad pockets on suede with 80s sloppy wide shoulders. Safari militart. Rifat Hirst circles, casual jumpsuits with rope, platforms, classy hair, minimal make-up, sponge died silk urban safari, punched leather and silk dress, string vest. Double split on long skirt to cover poonani and show legs, toga silks, more gold, leather trimmed shorts. Alligator inserts.

Let’s try the game again…

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/S2011RTW-BBUI

Imagination vs the harsh flashes that lose the softness of fabric…although, let it be said, the internet is a great way to see collections without having to go through the ‘who’s sitting where’ escapades (which I still love).

I did take one pic yesterday:

First, the other show I saw yesterday, Sharon Wauchob.

SHARON WAUCHOB RAP

Zip necks, ruffled hems, lay the drapes, thin lace, naked skin, pleated monochrome, mustard gold, minimal tailoring.  Fabric lover. No cover. Grown up.  Deconstruct.

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/complete/S2011RTW-SWAUCHOB

Okay, so other than knocking about a few shows (I do occasionally write about fashion, not just is my novel-in-progress about a fashion designer/band manager, but for magazines since I was a teenager, which I’m not anymore, unbelievably when I’m keeping myself occupied with a blog as banal as this, but it’s Art, darlings, and occasionally I style things for people but)…WHAT ELSE WAS I DOING IN PARIS?

Meeting a friend who’s from Tokyo.  She was helping out Diane Pernet (internet fashion saviour) in Paris, and also with production for supercool accessories people, 1-100 by Graham Tabor and Miguel Villalobos.  It felt very equestrian.  Horse hair one offs – pictured, and men’s bracelets which are individually molded from wax.  Very craft.  Very horseshoe.  Very cool.  Whilst we shared some lovely charcuterie, Akiko found out it had been scooped up by superbuyer, Sarah Lerfel of Colette before they even opened their showroom.  Where Colette start, others follow, so my friend, Akiko Hamaoka is going to be having a busy time.

http://one-onehundred.com/

Here are some images of the one offs:

Akiko is on the left.  This pic was taken in a noodle bar emergency stop in Tokyo last year.  Next to her are Karen Kay (lovely lady journalist) and Jonathan Margolis (gadget man on the FT) – I was writing pieces for Dazed, Creative Review and The Guardian.

I didn’t take pics myself yesterday of Akiko nor myself.  So I can tell you what she wore – a gorgeous little pink jumper (very factory made), knitted track bottoms (alot of the girls on the Eurostar were also doing this, pink Reebok hightops, military jacket and mohair scarf.  Pastel colours.  She’s so beautiful.

I wore, the same as the Shoreditch House pic the other day with different boots (the rock n roll brown ones with a heel low enough to wander down the Port de Champs Elysees for about five bridges on nothing more than 8 horse chestnuts) and an aran Chloe cardigan from a few seasons ago. Must be something in the fashion ether (or Chloe and Stella and Celine) because there was a clear trend among the younger fashion pack for wearing oversize beige/camel arans and thin belts.  Ai.

118 deer

Art

One of my favourite Brit artists of the 90s was Abigail Lane.  Fun to hang out with, and she and her boyfriend turned me onto Scott Walker when I was working on some music for a fashion show with a guy called Dave Tipper.  The show was sponsored by Wedgewood, so punk as we were, I set about smashing glasses and pitching them down to sound like smashing ceramics.  Hmmmm.  Why am I talking about her?  She did some cool pictures with deer.  This was taken in Richmond Park, and the deer reminded me of her.Ancient jeans by Replay.  Jacket, a gift from Kelli Ali (yeah, she’s good), and long sleeve T by American Apparel.

48 galleries, but tonight’s top three are…

Art, Fashion, Journalism

6pm:  Stuart Shave Modern Art: sophisticated, chic & beautiful.  My favourite gallery owner in London.  23/25 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8DF.  The new show is called Damned Women by Lara Schnitger.  It takes a Yinka Shonibare twist on figurative work combining fabric and stencilled Fiona Rae plaid sofas, painted candleabras and naughty licking horses. She works in LA.  Lucky girl.

7pm: East End Promise at the RED GALLERYOur History and Paul Sakoilsky have taken it upon themselves to big up the cultural migrants to Shoreditch from 1985 to current day.  On arrival, the picture above taken in the 1990s by my fiance, Alexander Snelling shows the occasion when a partygoer named Mole fell from the 3rd floor roof of The Bricklayers’ Arms.  The car saved his life.  The exhibition is a collage of faces and scenestarters.  There’s a particularly beautiful painting by Mark Jones I’d recommend…

8pm: Black Rat Press: Run by Mike Snelle and Sarah Morgan, these free radicals are injecting a contemporary patina to street arts by selecting the most successful artists.  This week they sold one Banksy for megabucks, but there are sketches for a few hundred quid.   It’s a cool space, round the back of Cargo on Rivington Street, and they’ve installed a shop selling their books.  Tonight was a launch for Street Studio – The Place of Street Art in Melbourne, published by Thames and Hudson.

TOMORROW (FRIDAY 9th) the ultimate gallery to land in, beyond these, will be the The Outside World on Redchurch Street as owner, Cate Halpin tells me they’re hosting a Mario SCHWAB sale from 12-9pm…TASTY!

White jacket, Alexander McQueen.  Leather skirt, Alexander McQueen.  Shoes, Joyca.  Lace top, American Apparel.  Shades, Celine.

46 east end curators

Art

So like a young lover, this blog is keeping me active.  Out like a newly borne lesbian with neons on her head, I’m going to events I’m invited to…good girl…Tonight was art.  Maureen Paley and Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel, were joined by Gregor Muir of Hauser & Wirth (formerly he ran the Lux on Hoxton Square) and newcomer, Kate MacGarry who has a place on Vyner Street (where all the studios open to a flock of youth on the first Thursday of each month).  It was part of the Create London season, and came as an interesting precis on the east London warehouse scene of the 90s, what led to it and what came after.  The interesting story was Southwark council have just done a deal with a group of former- Goldsmith’s artists to give them a building/factory to work in…whether that will impact on the 12 000 artists said to live in Hackney, who knows…

McQ, black dress. Sequin top, Traffic People.  Jacket, charity shop.  Leather bracelet, Chinatown market.  Boots, Oxfam.  My hair has been in a fashionable top knot for the past few days.

33 hours on the phone

Art

Ingerland and the longest match ever in Wimbledon history, currently at 52 games all at 5 sets…yesterday saw the Horsley play, a macabre act.  I went with Oover Matic who met him whilst doing the music for the Commes Des Garcons shows Horsley modelled in.  I’d only met Sebastian recently, had lunch a few weeks ago, been at his party the night before he died, but the play opens with obnoxiousness, and leaves you wanting more of the Oscar Wilde-esque one-liners…as does his life…or lack of it.  The funeral is next week.  Yuk.

I got snogs from Louie Sturge today, a 1 year old, whose mummy Melanie is a talented artist currently resting in a pool of children.

Boho today, turquoise top, a present without a label.  Trousers, Diesel.

The other pics are by Ed Robinson, www.EdRobinsonPhotography.com, from the Civic Solstice gig…


The 32nd day

Art, Fashion

Socialist networking, pet networking…what would Guy Debourd and Salvador Dali do on the internet?Ignoring it or taking captives?  For me, Facebook is the modern day park bench (many of my schooldaze were spent on them), a place to talk complete nonsense, albeit in a very public place…yesterday, Dana Tonelli, star of Tantric Tourists (the film I’ve produced for my lover, Alexander Snelling, out later this year if the US deal pans out correctly) did the kind thing of posting a picture of her horse in a hat, further to a nonsense conversation.  The lovely Kate Halpin of The Outside World gallery in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, then followed suit, and hats, with a picture of her dog, Bambi, wearing a hat of stuffed toys…we dubbed it International Animal in Hats Day.  May there be more of them.


Tonight I am going to see the Sebastian Horsley play at the Soho Theatre.  It is a week ago since I saw Sebastian at the launch party.  It will be bizarre.  As he would undoubtedly wish.Shoes, Dolce & Gabbana.  Dress, Lois Woman.  Necklace, India.  Lipstick, Dolce & Gabbana.

26 photographs waiting to be taken

Art, Design, Fashion, Politics

Knickers.  It’s what makes or breaks an outfit.  

This dress is soooo freaking amazing, I’m not gonna show it to the blog until I can get a decent photograph of it.  My web cam is not up to the job.  But darlings, a million people have been taking my picture in it (yeah, alright, I wore it to Seb Horsley’s thing last night too)…but it’s so good, I had to wear it again today. Pictured here, on the roof of Shoreditch House, Alexander McQueen dress, shades by Oliver Peoples (there’s a story to them, another time perhaps), earrings from a charity shop. I had lunch in Shoreditch House with Tyrone Walker-Hebborn from Genesis Entertainment, and the Genesis Cinema near Whitechapel tube (the only 5 screen indie in London, I think, possibly the country).  We hadn’t seen each other since Cannes, schweedie. There’s a lovely story about the cinema and why Tyrone owns it – his mum and dad went there on their first dates, named their son after a movie star, Tyrone someone or other, then after grafting in the family roofing business, Tyrone came down from his ladder, and bought the place.  He’s now sold the roofing business but will go far higher.  Nice evening too, met some great people, caught up with others from yonks ago at a launch for Create -promoting arts across five East London boroughs, co-ordinated by a fabulous chick, Anna Doyle.  Got a cab home and had a kebab for dinner.   Classy.

Twenty doolally days

Art, Fashion, Nature

Wearing a German 80s kaftan from a Spanish car boot fair, Terry de Havilland heels, ridicularse shades from Tokyu Hands and pom poms made for a shoot with Paloma Faith, I was posing around the house for my daily photo:Then I heard the phone go in the garden…I missed the call, but heard my sun and sand calling me, so I tried to connect…

‘So good to hear from you, last time we spoke must have been when we met in Zanzibar’

and then I had an ice cream. For all you fashion boppers out there, the Beatrix Ong summer sale begins with an exclusive preview from 4pm today at her Newburgh Street store.  YUMMY.

There’s also something fun going on in Somerset House…

AND THE PLAY ABOUT SEBASTIAN HORSLEY HAS BEGUN AT SOHO THEATRE.  We must go.

Day 16, I am lighting candles for Marjan Pejowski

Art, Fashion

Okay, so the bonus of styling is getting to try on cool clothes.  Here I am in a beautiful Autumn/Winter 2010 jacket by Marjan Pejowski. Available from Kokon Tozai later this year.

Also wearing lace top from Beyond Retro, leggings from the sale rail at H&M and a hat which used to belong to an infamous London club promoter of the 90s, Tubbs – I inherited the hat when I moved into his old flat in Exmouth Market over ten years ago…sadly I no longer live there, which made it difficult to attend the Art Car Boot Fair in Brick Lane today, combined with a fear of bombing up the A40 for the zillionth time this week.  I loathe repetition (as my students would more than happily attest), and I’d trashed the house so was locked indoors all day, making bridges out of water bottles over rivers of clothes.

Thanks to Kelli Ali for the photo.

http://www.kokontozai.co.uk

Day 14, Duvet head

Art, Fashion

I’m hiding under a duvet, Egyptian cotton, of course…

Met a Madame Hair yesterday, she said ‘Can I take your photo?’  Met another guy, who cleans streets, he was like, why do you dress so weird- I was deeeelighted, hadn’t shocked anyone for years.  A tutu makes one feel more vulnerable than anything…not something to hide in and no, I didn’t go out in those boots, I wore flat pumps. We ended up in the Landmark Hotel, drinking tea till the sun came up.

Jacket, Alexander McQueen, Tutu, Beyond Retro, T-shirt, designed by Sadie Frost, customised by myself, The Hep C Trust, Belt, to order, Belt Buckles Galore.

Other news from Kirsty’s Glamorous Life, ran into Jonny Halifax twice yesterday – the first time was literal, I drew to a halt across a zebra crossing, the next was at the Subway Gallery (ammmmazing Bob Grouen video that’s never been released, and photos that made me feel I was in CBGBs in the times I went there to emulate).  Jonny’s working on a Creation Records documentary, but he’s also a wild one man band, Honkeyfinger.  We go back like a time machine.

Madame Hair has an exhibition at 196 Brick Lane til June 14th

Bob Gruen til 26th June,  Subway Gallery, Joe Strummer Underpass, Edgeware Road, www.subwaygallery.com

Channel4.com

Art, Fashion, Journalism, Music

THESE STORIES WERE FIRST PUBLISHED ON THE CHANNEL4 WEBSITE.

Profiles of The Mighty Boosh, Faris Badwan from The Horrors; Fee Doran, designer for Madonna & Kylie; writer & actress Sophie Woolley; Mr Holy Moly; digital maverick Jonti Picking; designer & musician Jonny Halifax; female director Amanda Boyle; photographer Charlie Gray & doctor of fabric Julian Roberts.

J’ADORE FARIS: ETCH A SKETCH

Another rock star has entered the art arena. Kirsty Allison digs out the latest recruit, Faris Badwan (aka Faris Rotter) from The Horrors.

Also of interest

The Horrors

MTS

Rehab 99

On auto Pilot

“I can’t seem to do any work unless I’m under pressure,” announces the very tall Faris Badwan (aka Faris Rotter) from a rooftop on Hoxton Square.

There are two days left before his first exhibition of illustrations in a new gallery on Brick Lane. With a Pilot pen swinging from his neck, joined by a white fur covered lighter and all manner of Victoriana regalia worn in a haute urbane style, he suggests that Pilot should be supplying him with free wares.

“Who knows, maybe that’s my ultimate goal, to get free pens. Actually that would suit me fine”

Close-up

“When they get blown up, you actually get to see the texture of the pen. The whole point of it is to put it under the microscope.”

As he poises one leg artfully across the other, sitting at a 45 degree profile to the camera, Faris, frontman to the inimitable five-piece, The Horrors, has a presence of aloof genius. His eagle silhouette carries an art school confidence.

We sit at the same level as the flocks of cranes that are creating a new skyline. This is Faris’ former hood: the place that gave birth to his legend. He’s here to have these stylised and heavily worked books scanned before they’re enlarged for a series of limited edition prints.

“When they get blown up, you actually get to see the texture of the pen. The whole point of it is to put it under the microscope.”

The pages contain words and beginnings of poems or lyrics, atomised between spirals and energy lines that shape mini-stories and tales .They’re magical nets, webs that link and weave and wave.

“It all comes from the same place,” he discloses, “I suppose,lyrics are drawn from the drawings I’ve done. They tell stories. Maybe not apparent ones but there’s always some sort of process behind it.”

Getting in on the act

“In all honesty, I really love the course and I’d like to go back, but I’d be equally happy not to go back as it would mean I was doing alright in this field.”

Pete Doherty’s syringe art exhibited recently in West London with £60,000 price tags, enough for a few good nights out. Perhaps now that records fail to sell enough to rack up rock star mansions, art is offering the alternative.

Ronnie Wood, David Bowie, John Lennon, Iggy Pop – there’s a history of one art form feeding the other. And from looking at the William Blake-esque doodles, it becomes painfully obvious that this is the case.

“I did go to St Martins, technically I’m still there,” Faris remarks. “I’ve got the option to return. I’m studying illustration. In all honesty, I really love the course and I’d like to go back, but I’d be equally happy not to go back as it would mean I was doing alright in this field.”

Long road ahead

“I think you can only get so big without compromising your artistic principles.”

So, the band, man. He feels he has felt the biggest rush of success already, about a year ago.

“The amount of people you play to doesn’t just increase infinitely. It goes very fast, then you reach the natural size your band’s going to be.”

“We haven’t quite reached that size yet but y’know, bar massive unexpected commercial success, there is only a certain size that you can be and that’s certainly something that we’re happy with. I think you can only get so big without compromising your artistic principles.”

Without the make-up of the Sisters of Mercy, or as much hairspray as Robert Smith, and with the ironic humour of the 21st century, they’ve got a long road ahead.

“We’re writing the next album. It’ll probably be out in March. We’ll release another single before the end of the year. We’ve got eight new songs after two weeks writing, so it’s going pretty well.”

Don’t mention art history

“You know, art history at school was so fucking boring.”

At art school one is taught the power of individual expression: “Obviously everyone has influences, but mine aren’t really conscious ones, in all honesty,” he admits.

“I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think you are more inspired when you’re looking at other people’s work, but I don’t really go to galleries or know a lot about artists. I know something about the ones I like, but I’m not really a fanatical student of art. I just like doing it.”

“You know, art history at school was so fucking boring. It was such a chore trying to find out when these people were born and I don’t care, y’know.”

He continues, “I hate painting. I used to like it but I find it so, frustrating. For me, I can’t seem to get the rhythm of painting because you can’t draw a straight line. You have to keep putting more paint on the brush and it’s not for me.”

“I like Marcel Dzama. Egon Schiele is probably one of my favourites in terms of human form. Jean Michel Basquiat… he’s completely different, although quite similar in intensity because he used colour.”

“I don’t. But I like the idea of it…horror vacui, the artform where there’s the compulsion to fill every bit of space on the paper. I think that’s funny, the name, the irony there…”

Is that partly where the band’s name came from?

“No not at all, I probably would have called the band Horror Vacui if I’d have known!”

MIGHTY BOOSH

Predictably, at a Q&A with the Mighty Boosh, open to the public/die hard fans skiving from work, there’s the profound question -would the Boosh rather be a band?

Uh, look at them, the new Peter Sellers & Spike Milligan…they roll in an hour late, pint glasses of Coca Cola disguising half a bottle of JD within, one of them’s wearing a cape, and the other is jostling around, half in awe of his own genius, half disgusted.  Uh, yeah, they look like a band. And today’s onstage guests are the American guy, Dave Brown, who plays the show’s zookeeper, Julian’s brother who plays the ape, and the pixie-ish guy who’s like a friend or toy of Aphex Twin, Naboo.  They’ve just come from some kind of performance/fan manhandling event at HMV and they’re about to go on tour, so are they a band yet?  Y’know they make music?  Bill Bailey – is he a musician?

But first, for this event which is being filmed for DVD prosperity by Baby Cow (Steve Coogan’s production company) and myself, somewhat sneakily, if feels, they start at the beginning.  How did they meet?

“Was it in High Wycombe?” asks Noel Fielding?

“The Hellfire Club”  suggests Julian Barrett

“The first thing you ever said to me was “Is your hair on backwards?” You had a suit on and little round glasses, do you remember?”

Julian, the jazz fan, then suggests it was the Enterprise in Chalk Farm, and then there’s talk of an Asylum, the play.  Rich interrupts, says things like ‘You were shooting crack in your testicles’, whilst Julian makes subtle plays on words and Noel explains the male/female aspect important in any comedic duo…

“I am clearly. Yeah, I’m the woman, Julian’s the man”

Talking about the preparation for their first gig together, sponsored by Oranjeboom, Noel paints a Withnail and I picture of no heating, and no curtains – because they made them into costumes.  Julian made a song with a shower head and a lamp, and those rubber shower head tap things for eyes.  That went a bit weird, and the office workers at the gig thought them a little surreal, so they invented some zoo keepers and put potted plants all over the place.

That turned into a pilot, half with audience.  Then it went on radio, and then TV, and then they were doing Brixton Academy, and now they’re doing Wembley Arena.  It should pay the bills.  It’s about getting the props the right size, they say.

A member of the audience asks the band, sorry, comedic duo with session guys who are really part of the group, what sort of album they’d all be; Noel obviously chooses the Stones, Exile on Main Street, one of the best albums of all time, but then, in his bimbo insecurity retreats saying that he’s probably a little more Milli Vanilli.  Julian Barrett goes for Bartok, the mad mathematician classical guru.

Mike Fielding, Julian’s brother chooses Cypress Hill.  Dave Brown, the smartarse, goes for Chaz and Dave.  And rightly so.  Rich then opts Celine Dion.

The Boosh have the raconteuring spirit of all those who spend time on the road, they are quick witted, and at each other like squabbling siblings.

But they’re still after the golden chalice.  Yes, they would love to do a film. “Do you think we should do a film?”  Yes, scream the audience…and what we have to look foward to is a bit Wizard of Oz, a bit Sinbad…Clash of the Titans is good. For Julian, “Anything by Bartok”

Repetition as much of a cornerstone of modern comedy as this band are themselves.

FULL TRANSCRIPTION IN THE FICTION & POETRY (and other writing) BLOG…

CELEB COUTURE

When a popstar/rockstar wants a mega wattage outfit, they can’t go wrong with the Mrs Jones label. Kirsty Allison stitches together this designer’s story.

Suits you

Rocksuits, popsuits and Scissorsuits, Fiona (Fee) Doran’s sewing machine has stitched a compilation album that hits all the peaks of the last decade’s visual music history.

From Kylie’s white comeback mega-hood to The Darkness’s all-in-one beyond-ironic spandex, the girl responsible for the looks that make popstars rock, and the Mrs Jones label, sits in front of me in her West London kitchen creating a couture tale of her career thus far.

Look like a star

“London’s club culture was our home, man. Fee was styling bands in Hoxton, making clothes for shoots with Marcus & Mert and working on a collection called DoranDeacon.”

Fee is a charming, self-deprecating gal who I first met in 90s Shoreditch. She had recorded a track with Tim ‘Love’ Lee called Give Me A Bite of Your Kebab about her Southend upbringing.

London’s club culture was our home, man. Fee was styling bands in Hoxton, making clothes for shoots with Marcus & Mert and working on a collection called DoranDeacon with Giles Deacon whose label, Giles is now toast of the London catwalk.

She then had a head-over-heels love affair with Mark Jones, head honcho of Wall of Sound record. She had a child whose first word was leopardskin, got divorced, and kept the Mrs Jones name, strictly for business.

Fee is currently working on a Mrs Jones collection that takes wearable elements of designs she’s made for stars. This is being sold through the Mensah boutique on Portobello Road, and via their online shop. It gives mortals the chance to dress like pop heroines.

Fee’s first break

“You know who that was…Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran.”

Ext. Portobello Market stall.

‘Poshgirl’ accompanied by Stella McCartney: Oh I love your stuff, darling! Do you think you could make me something?

Fee: Ok, yeah, whatever, here’s my number.

Int. Poshland, making a bird some trousers.

Poshgirl: You must meet my boyfriend!

Boyfriend: What would you make me?

Fee: Oh, probably a little pink mod suit

Boyfriend: I like the sound of that!

Ext. Street outside Poshland:

Fee’s mate: You know who that was?

Fee: No.

Fee’s mate: Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran.

Fee: Oh! You think he liked the story about me sellotaping my gerbil to the record player?!

Dress me up

“When artists start out they just don’t have money, like the Scissor Sisters, and no one will lend them anything.”

Spilling on her first job with musicians, Duran Duran during their White Lines phase, Fee regales the learning curve of how not to style celebs.

“I made the awful mistake of saying, ‘Just tell me what you want and I’ll make it for you.’ They designed these gold plastic suits.”

After working with Duran Duran for six months, taking midnight crisis clothes calls, she then decided to do an opera. After a few years in the wilds of Hoxton she went on to work with international megastars.

“There was Zootwoman, Kylie, Goldfrapp, The Darkness. It wasn’t until I had a baby that I had to get sensible and work everyday and become normal really. It’s always been about making stuff from old stuff, mixing it up with vintage, then cutting up vintage stuff.”

“When artists start out they just don’t have money, like the Scissor Sisters, and no one will lend them anything. You phone up PR companies and they’re like ‘Who? What?’ not even TopShop would lend them stuff. So that’s how it started; if I can’t get it, I’ll make it.”

Mother/godmother/whatever

“Making someone an outfit is not just about the songs, it’s about visual entertainment.”

Switching to the topic of School of Rock, Fee admits, “It’s like being a fairy godmother. On School of Rock I had a vicar’s daughter, I was like, ‘Take yer plaits out love.’ That was brilliant!”

“I’ve done quite a few ads, Bounty ads, Halifax ads…they’re never much fun ‘cos there’s always that continuity shit. I like to go in and out.”

She continues, “Videos are the best really; take a big bottle of whisky and a cowboy boot as a decanter! It’s like being at a club: music going on, people getting dressed up, hanging out with bands and getting drunk, making them do naughty things.”

“Making someone an outfit is not just about the songs, it’s about visual entertainment…so they’re doing it for me in some ways.”

YOU’RE ASKING FOR IT

Who is Holy Moly and how did he position himself at the frontline of celebrity gossip with his website? Kirsty Allison uncovers the man who has a knack for getting the tittle-tattle before anyone else does.

Gossip guy

“Is that Kevin Lygo, the head of Channel 4 meeting with the head of Sky One?” asks Holy Moly.

He doesn’t shut up, like a grinning cruise missile his snout twitches with anticipation for gossip, power and media.

Finding Mr Holy Moly has been like a quest for the Holy Grail. His balaclavaed face is masked behind AKA companies and mysterious email addresses. After a tabloid style chase, contact is made with the media mogul, whose newly launched internet TV station has more higher concept content than your average red carpet clip

The man who is stealing the gossip gauntlet from PopBitch and has created the most successful schleb brand since Heat, is elusive, to say the least.

Man in the mask

“Arranging a meeting in his native environment, the place where he preys for his victims, he offers a full house portfolio of private members bars from around London to meet in.”

Arranging a meeting in his native environment, the place where he preys for his victims, he offers a full house portfolio of private members bars from around London to meet in. We settle on Chiswick House, part of Soho/Shoreditch House. It’s just down the road from his former work place, Sky News.

On arrival it’s complicated. “I’m here to meet Holy Moly,” I explain to the concierge. “He wears a balaclava”.

After a few mentions of the celebrity gossip he partakes in, there’s no way I’m going to be allowed upstairs. So I wait for the man in the mask. Zorro is minorly late, there was traffic en route from his office in Chelsea Wharf.

Mystery man unveiled

“I’m not a Perez Hilton wanting to be the star of the show. I’ve got no desire to present my name as the news.”

He’s a classic media-type, attractive, charming, and focused. He’s not wearing the balaclava, but a bristle of stubble and a confidence associated with these clubs.

He has all the style accoutrements of Media Man, an iPhone in one hand, and a Crumpler-type bag with a Mactop in the other. He is our era’s godhead, fusing new media, old fashioned Thatcherite entrepreneurship with loads of trite tittle-tattle about people who are famous for little more than being mysterious enough and freakish enough to get on a reality show.

I wonder if libel is the reason for his disguise, but he cites a more magnanimous answer:

“I’ve got seven or eight full-time staff, a pool of contributors. Credit isn’t all down to me. I’m not a Perez Hilton wanting to be the star of the show. I’ve got no desire to present my name as the news.”

“Secondly, if I was the only person it would make sense. But there are 150 people who send it all in as their own. I’m there to give props to the people who are sometimes risking jobs, and I can say my name and no one knows.” Schneaky.

The whole truth

“More fool them if they speak to me like a piece of shit. A journalist’s job is to let the public know the real truth.”

So Holy Moly could be anything: the dark shadow, the superhero of truth, justice against stupidity and freedom from idiocy.

“I appear as I am when I’m getting stories, as though I have no agenda… More fool them if they speak to me like a piece of shit. A journalist’s job is to let the public know the real truth.”

This frontline mentality is to be admired…it’s successful. Holy Moly has taken the web by storm. Its irreverent disrespect for the art of fame is uniquely humorous and sits as a welcome polarity to the reams of pap paparazzi cheapo jibes.

No stopping him

“We’re not trying to Dennis Pennis them, we’re just trying to point out to them the stupidity of their jobs.”

He remarks, “I see Holy Moly as being anti-celebrity. If there is some integrity to what these people are doing, fair enough. But we do champion people too. We first picked up on Lily Allen in 2004. We scooped Rhianna and Chris Brown, and the Mark Thompson and Jeremy Paxman biting incident.”

You what?

“Mark Thompson, head of BBC, bit a colleague when he was about thirty. Holy Moly got hold of the story through Jeremy Paxman’s team… So alongside publishing the bizarre, and largely unacceptable, Holy Moly is also agenda-setting, but equally irreverent.”

“We turned around to Kerry Katona and asked her if she’d dipped her chips in ketamine. We’re not trying to Dennis Pennis them, we’re just trying to point out to them the stupidity of their jobs.”

It’s not a direct money spinner either. It’s sponsorship led. And sponsorship doesn’t come immediately.

He mentions, “Server bills of £2.5K a month, then there’s a gap which can go on for some time. It’s a sponsorship led medium. It’s not intrusive, and people don’t pay for content.”

“But I don’t see why it should slow down,” he continues. “I’ve been doing it for 5 years. We could take it internationally, India Russia, Australia. The TV thing could be huge. Anyone that watches American Idol will love it. There’s no stopping the growth of the internet.”

And with a family to support, there is no stopping Mr Holy Moly. He’s honest. He’s in it for the money. And why not.

ONE HELL OF A GO

Jonny Halifax has witnessed the pioneering days of promos and has come through on the other side as a rock god of title sequences. Kirsty Allison meets the man making the coolest film graphics on the block.

Also of interest

Jonny Halifax

Jonny on YouTube

Whatver means necessary

Jonny Halifax is England’s rising rock god of title sequences. Born the son of a sailor, he looks like a wane Lemmy and plays a Mac like a slide geetar.

His recent work for Julien Temple showcases his trademark ‘handmade’ style of heavy folk art. He combines After Effects, Motion, drawing, photocopying, “whatever means necessary… the less software based trickery the better.”

Man of many talents

“Whether it’s music, film or art, it’s all a simmering collection of influences, thoughts, ideas.”

Under the daytime allure of The Royal Oak on Columbia Road there’s a backdrop soundtrack similar to Jonny’s own one man band:

“I supported this guy last year,” he comments, sipping on a Leffe. In an industry that relishes individualism, but excellence in only one area, we continue a debate started on email about the realities of being a creative with many talents.

Jonny is a musician who makes the coolest film graphics on the block. He has climbed the promo/ad/tv ladder to get here, kicking down sub-career paths from across the creative sphere.

“Whether it’s music, film or art, it’s all a simmering collection of influences, thoughts, ideas. This can explode into an expression of sound or image, which finds some kind of form. Finally you hone and edit it into a finished work.”

Rite of passage

“Having the front to give it one hell of a go, and hope nobody asked for too much back-up.”

So the medium might be the message, but the process is the same whether it’s a canvas, a story or a song. The medium could be…a jellyfish.

With a history in pop promos with acts like Lo Fidelity Allstars, Goldfrapp, SchwaB, Forward Russia and The Scare, he now sees those experiences as a rite of passage in filmmaking:

“Learning how to use a camera, organise a shoot, get on with other musicians and commissioning editors, make sandwiches en masse, put make-up on men, put up lights, broadcast formats… Well you get the idea… Oh yes, and directing, producing, and editing.”

“It helped that I was working with a like-minded bunch of gung-hos at the time. We called ourselves rather pompously ‘General Lighting and Power’, but that was what it was all about. Having the front to give it one hell of a go, and hope nobody asked for too much back-up.”

“I think that’s a good thing; DIY rules.”

Scrimp and save

“We grew to make probably better promos on a PD150 and load of software filters than we could on 16mm and a load of free meals in Soho post houses.”

General Lighting and Power was a Tomato-type creative cooperative founded by Jonny, Danny and Ezra (now directing at Serious Pictures) and Nic Clear. Located above Dazed and Confused’s offices in Old Street, they worked across the media arts and architecture. They also had a house band.

“When we started making promos the budgets were getting smaller and smaller – what was being made for ten grand in 1997 was being done for one in 2002.”

“Obviously record sales probably dropped off in this period due to the growth of the web, but in that time we grew to make probably better promos on a PD150 and load of software filters than we could on 16mm and a load of free meals in Soho post houses.”

This punk rock ethic, is partly why the collaboration with Mr Temple was a success.

Paving an alternative path in this field, it’s not surprising that Jonny stands out from the crowd with his iconoclastic style.

Jonny Halifax’s current film projects include gfx & titles for: ‘Tantric Tourists’, ‘Silent Sound’- a Jason ‘Spaceman’ Pierce DVD, an Edward Lear series and a Honkyfinger video.

DOCTOR ROBERTS: THE GEEK’S GOK WAN

How can you define Julian Roberts? Is he a filmmaker, fashion designer, conceptualist, culture vulture? Kirsty Allison tries to unravel the mystery…

Also of interest

JulianAnd

The SuperSuper

Blow

BBC Blast

JulianAnd blip.tv

Show Studio

Suits you

Julian Roberts, aka JulianAnd, is the alternative guru of fashion television, he’s the geek’s Gok Wan, and he’s definitely wearing some trousers. They’re pale black denim, if you’re interested…

A former RA student, and an honorary professor of Hertfordshire University (where he spent three years creating a course, a building and validating his ‘Tunnel Technique’- more of which shortly), Julian has shown 13 different collections at London Fashion Week since the late 90s under several different monikers.

Fitting it all in

“He collaborated with The Royal Institute of Mathematics, who see weird maths in his intuitive patterns, which, they tell him, use negative space.”

As the fashion host of BBC Blast, he serves daily trend missives from Hackney – home of the modern anti-hero. He is someone who will defy cash and the temptations of becoming an LVHM mega-brand for the thrill of the academic and satisfaction of pure art.

Other current projects include designing new vestments for the Archbishop of Canterbury (his dad’s a vicar – it’s all about who you know). He collaborated with The Royal Institute of Mathematics, who see weird maths in his intuitive patterns, which, they tell him, use negative space. He will be touring America where he’ll show people his Tunnel Technique/Subtraction Cutting as phase one, and go into nu wave marketing and distribution for the second phase.

And he’s also recently redesigned the Pizza Express and Nando uniforms. They’re pretty groovy too…mix and match, classic charcoals and blacks. Phew! He speaks quickly, he has to fit so much in his life.

Fashion and film

“I bounce between film and fashion. It’s quite elusive and I see it as a negative sometimes but actually I like being in between things.”

“I like to build something up, then kill it off. I’ll give it all away, destroy the soul, I sold all my patterns online for nothing as a way of moving on.” So he’s the Vincent Gallo of fashion.

“I bounce between film and fashion. It’s quite elusive and I see it as a negative sometimes but actually I like being in between things. Why shouldn’t a fashion designer do film?”I projected a collection on the Natural History Museum and got the people who put Gail Porter on Parliament involved.”

That was his first serious involvement with video. He’s since utilised many different techniques, combining old school 80s computer graphics, projecting them on models and then filming the whole thing and editing together in a very new wave way.

His hip use of video is evolving on the catwalk, although it is yet to cross over from off-schedule to official catwalk selection.

Traditionally in fashion, the clothes do the talking, but equally it is an industry that is famous for being the last to ditch the fax machine. Email has only really having been adopted by design houses in the last few years. So it is possible that JulianAnd style direction, combining video, catwalk and performance will become more widely adopted and integrated.

Stepping out

“We have relentless optimism. It’s about positivity, we’re there to challenge.”

JulianAnd’s other sideline is Super Super. He explains, “This is a loose group of artists, DJs, musicians. I’m creative director of the fashion show we do. We don’t rehearse, that’s part of it.”

“We have relentless optimism. It’s about positivity, we’re there to challenge. It’s about people being too scared to step out of normality and conventionalism, especially with terrorism and things like that. It can be oppressive.”

“I think Super Super is about doing it yourself, looking different. Why not take some risks, play some roles. It’s quite empowering, and I see young people doing that.”

Two seasons old, the SuperSuper show is famous for being extremely long and unorthodox. Combining several different designers, live gigs, and video, it’s like an excursion to the youth club party. The colours and sincerity are on a par with the nu-rave mood of designers like Cassette Playa and House of Holland. Yet this mood is calibrated into a whole movement.

Championing DIY

“When I was growing up in the Seventies, people sewed. Now people buy things from China and forget that these clothes are actually still sewn.”

“There’s a generation gap again,” he says, sipping whiskey sours in the basement of the CrazyBear in London. “When I was growing up in the Seventies, people sewed. Now people buy things from China and forget that these clothes are actually still sewn. I have people asking me, ‘How can I find ethically sourced clothes?’ The answer is make it yourself. I can show you how to do it in 20 minutes.”

Julian’s loathing for the identikit consumerist society we inhabit, and enthusiasm for the current youth cyclone of new invention is very on trend. He is in exactly the right place to be the face to champion the new era of DIY, innovation and individualism.

JulianAnd is fashionable, again. With another collection this season and with Namalee, muse and queen of SuperSuper….TV series, anyone?

WEBBILY WOBBLY: JONTI PICKING

HIT FACTORY

Why do people drop down to their knees at the mere mention of Weebl and Bob? Kirsty Allison meets the creator Jonti Picking.

Also of interest

UK Resistance

b3ta

Newgrounds

Albino Black Sheep

No flash in the pan

Jonti Picking is the Picasso of the digital art world. He’s also the Dali, the Chapman brothers and the Vic Reeves.

His regular instalments of uniquely stylised cartoons with characters who have pie obsessions or carry names like Prawn to Be Wild, give many a geek a reason to keep thinking in binary. His www.weebls-stuff.com site has more hits a second than Stock, Aitken & Waterman ever achieved.

A true Flash don, Jonti’s unique brand of (fairly base) humour proves that geeks are funny.

Okay we knew that, but advanced fans of his Flash toons can get into online chat, moving plots forward and some will even become collaborators, as several of his peeps have done.

He also has a top secret comedy series in development with Channel 4 and some very cute toys that make ideal gifts.

Give him some work

“My style has evolved a little with the greater freedom…I’m no Disney though.”

GEEK FACT: Brian Blessed who played Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon does voiceover in the Documentary That Is About Weebl and Bob, the story about how Jonti developed the legendary cartoon characters, Wobbl and Bob. So why does he use Flash?

“You can make pretty much anything with it, games to animations to web applications. When I started to use it waaaaaay back in days of yore, PCs weren’t as powerful and internet connections were pretty slow.”

” As a result what I used to make was fairly simple. I was looking to keep file sizes down and keep the animations running smoothly.”

“These days you can do a lot more including video and 3D. My style has evolved a little with the greater freedom and also simply by getting better at animating. I’m no Disney though.”

Fans may disagree. He is frequently hailed as a digi-god by new media folk. What does he say about that? “They should give me some work then… baby needs a new pair of shoes.”

Home boy

“It’s pretty cramped so we’re looking into moving into offices where people won’t mind me shouting ‘anus’ into a microphone at various points throughout the day.”

Still working from home, “in a bedroom has more wires and flashing things than NASA’s mission control”, Jonti admits, “It’s pretty cramped so we’re looking into moving into offices where people won’t mind me shouting ‘anus’ into a microphone at various points throughout the day.”

“It’s good in a way since you can work when you want and I’m often up ’til 4am doing stuff. It takes a fair bit of self-control though since it’s far too easy to just spend the day playing Portal or Halo 3.

The call from MTV

“Then one day I got a phone call from a chap called Paul (great guy) at MTV who said they wanted to show the series. I thought ‘hell yes!’ and quit to do that.”

Combining music, art and script, Jonti’s interest in all things internet was ignited whilst on a music technology course where one of the modules was using Director.

After working at a London based new media company, “building Flash stuff and various websites for some pretty big companies”, and designing the 3D maps for the first Resident Evil, Jonti’s move into animation full-time was by chance.

“I’d started Weebl and Bob and that had taken off surprisingly well. Then one day I got a phone call from a chap called Paul (great guy) at MTV who said they wanted to show the series. I thought ‘hell yes!’ and quit to do that… I never looked back.”

State of play

“I don’t know many clients who’d be happy with a level where you make an old lady crap herself.”

On the subject of digital art peers, Jonti enthuses, “I love the work of Adam Phillips (www.biteycastle.com), frankly no one can touch him at the moment. Chaps like Cyriak Harris, David Firth (www.fat-pie.com) and the guys I work with on www.weebls-stuff.com (Peabo, Drewmo) are all kind of growing up together making Flash toons.”

“It’s really getting interesting these days and production values have shot up incredibly.”

Funding much of his fun work by corporate work, Jonti has worked on a series of ads for Anchor Butter, Sesame Street (yes, that’s Sesame Street) and done titles and links for a show called Totally Viral on Dave.

He says, “We’re currently making a massive game for T-Mobile which I have to say is a lot of fun and they are surprisingly cool about subject matter. ”

“I don’t know many clients who would be happy with a level where you have to make an old lady crap herself. As for the future we’d like to just carry on doing what we do and slowly grow.”

NEVER A GRAY DAY: HE GOT THE HUSTLE

What is it about photographer Charlie Gray that puts A-listers at ease? Kirsty Allisonexposes the smooth operator…

Also of interest

Charlie Gray

Stuart Smith

Tomato

Magnum Photos

Jetset lifestyle

Recommending film titles to George Clooney is not something everyone would feel comfortable with, but for Charlie Gray it’s like the first cup of tea in the morning.

Just back from LA, then Monaco, whilst fitting in romantic liaisons with an upcoming hot actress makes Charlie seem like the original 60s Blow Up caricature. He’s got the hustle, the looks and a prolific amount of style and good taste.

Exposure

Charlie had the usual battles with old guard, bitter lecturer types who bullied most, but seemed to have a soft spot for his potential capabilities.”

Born the son of a record retailer, Andy of Andy’s Records in Cambridge, his mum dealt in vintage clothes. He floated through school, excelling in what he put his mind to. A trait that continues to manifest itself today.

Studying a graphics and history of art degree at Anglia Polytechnic, Charlie found that his lectures clashed…so he went swimming.

Charlie had the usual battles with old guard, bitter lecturer types who bullied most, but seemed to have a soft spot for his potential capabilities. Then finally he fell under the wing of a caring photography tutor, Stuart Smith who introduced him to reportage photography. He also studied typography and design with John Warwicker from Tomato, the innovative graphics collective of the 90s.

This combination provided him with a portfolio which he hauled around the likes of theNursing Times and The Guardian before graduating to doing stills shots on TV dramas and reportage on advertising shoots.

Stuart Smith still edits Charlie’s work and he cites him, “one of the reasons I have been so successful so far”.

Rounded personalities

“You meet some actors and actresses who are surly and just show up; there’s a lot to be said for people who are still hungry.”

“I’m doing Jude Law next week,” Charlie says, before grabbing the phone to negotiate a rate for Hello! syndication. Mr Gray is very well-mannered…it’s something he’s learnt from hanging around the truly professional and successful of the world.

“I think when you get close to someone you realise how professional they are; polite, professional, well turned-out, great clothes, and that’s George Clooney being himself.”

“He drove himself on the first day. He’s always telling jokes, getting involved, looking at the screen. He’s interested in the whole process. He’s rounded. He didn’t make it till he was 35, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. He’s a complete gentleman.”

“You meet some actors and actresses who are surly and just show up; there’s a lot to be said for people who are still hungry.”

“Simon Cowell is another one of those people who has had success later on. He’s thoroughly professional”

Classic style

“When they are completely unaware…when they’ve let go of their status; that’s when you get great reportage.”

Whilst learning the ropes in TV drama, photographing the likes of Daniel Craig doingOur Friends in The North, Charlie began to build up his classic style of Magnum moments with stars.

He has worked on several BAFTA-winning series like the Trial of Tony Blair and the groundbreaking Riot films, as well as filling in for Sky and MTV.

“TV work can be fun. The director of Our Friends In The North, Simon Cellan-Jones did cartwheels on set to wake people up.”

Charlie possesses a style that balances contrasts and saturations beautifully. What does he think makes the perfect picture?

“Being there in the moment. It’s about encapsulating the whole mood of the event. If it’s celebrity-based, it’s about getting a key person talking to another person in their field when their guard is down. When they are completely unaware…when they’ve let go of their status; that’s when you get great reportage.”

On another level, in portraiture, you can see the connection is comfortable and there’s someone uncoiling.”

Sharp shooter

“I think giving away the mystique of how you work is a terrible mistake.”

“I think giving away the mystique of how you work is a terrible mistake,” Charlie confesses.

“I use a Nikon D3, the one that’s very good with high ISA/low light, and I shot the BAFTAs at 5000 ISA and there’s no noise. If I’d used my previous camera with its 1500 there would have been a lot of noise.”

“I don’t get nervous that often but for the BAFTA Film Awards I was in the auditorium for two hours preparing before everyone arrived. I’m not a sweaty person, but my palms were hot!…Being there in the Royal Opera House, I was thinking, ‘I have 20 minutes to get everyone.'”

Nevertheless, Charlie Gray thrives on the adrenalin buzz.

FEET ON THE GROUND

Kirsty Allison uncovers why this playwright is tipped for the top.

Lives the life

Sophie Woolley is amazing. Why? Well she’s beaten the legions of mashed up, self-proclaiming pint glass wielders who hang out in Shoreditch bars and Soho clubs preaching about the artistic legacies they’re going to leave for the world.

Sophie was always there, sitting, observing, polite, witty and erudite…but Sophie would be actually doing it, rather than talking about it.

Club together

“People who helped me along the way are club and literature promoters like Ernesto Leal, Sean Mclusky, Joe Muggs and Melanie Abrahams.”

Performing in nightclubs was where she started, reading poems that were slick, innocent and funny. She then wrote the DJ Bird column for Sleaze Nation, did some stuff for Shoreditch Tw*t and appeared in the Comedy Lab pilot on C4.

She says, “People who helped me along the way are club and literature promoters like Ernesto Leal, Sean Mclusky, Joe Muggs and Melanie Abrahams. I started off performing in cabarets and discos and writing specifically for those environments.”

“I even moved to Brighton for a year to work with Jamie Liddell and Matthew Yee-King – that went wrong though. I went off in a musical collaborative direction and it turned out to be a dead end. Even so, we did create some great things which really worked, but they were just moments and not enough.”

Run with it