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Monday, April 28, 2008
Out with the old, in with the new...

I've decided that due to my upcoming exams, revision study periods and strange waking hours, I'm going to try blogging according to a schedule. I'll be blogging on Monday, Thursdays (maybe Saturday's) and Sunday's from now on, unless I have a spare moment on another day or I have something that I'm gagging to say (not likely). You may have also noted that I am now categorising all my posts so they can be referenced easily (for those of you who only roll up to get free music, you now don't have to go through the archives - am I nice or am I nice?)
So, without further ado, welcome to the first-ever, Music Monday!
In keeping with the 'M' theme, I'm sharing the not-very-well-kept secret that is Misprinted Type. Or Eduardo Recife as he is actually known (man behind the company; artist, designer and font...creator), who actually designed the fonts that I have used for my new header (which I'm still not sure about, so that may change again soon)...(I seem to have replaced my gratuitous comma use, with excessive bracket use). Anyway, the point is that he designs brilliant fonts, some of which are available for download as freeware on the website, which is brilliant because I was sick of looking at the same old bloody fonts on Microsoft Word! Now I have fonts like 'Horsepuke' and 'Selfish' that cheer me up immensely (especially in size 48). His site is also pretty rad; smudged old paper with lots of clickable doodles that lead to poems, scribbles etc.

This week's music, courtesy of:
Akira Kosemura - Drop
Cocorosie - By Your Side
Couch - Lasst Nicht Nach
Whitey - Twoface
Shout Out Out Out Out - Chicken Soup for the Fuck You

Back on Thursday!

Edit: Browsing NY Mag, I found this little conversation which I found somewhat hilarious:-

"Lord knows we spend enough time covering Gossip Girl around here. So we were obviously thrilled to find ourselves in a real-life Gossip Girl moment last night at the Met before the opening of La Fille du Regiment in which Emmy Rossum schooled Blair — er, Leighton Meester — on the Costume Institute gala. We couldn't believe our ears at what unfolded. How Meester knows so little about the Best Party Ever is a tragic mystery. But perhaps not as tragic as the fact that she won't be going, while Rossum will sit at Anna Wintour's table in a dress handpicked by Her Vogue-ness."
New York: [to Rossum] So who are you wearing to the Costume Institute gala on May 5?
Rossum: Oh, I can't say. But I can say that Anna [Wintour]'s picking it.
Meester: Why is she picking it?
Rossum: Because Anna invited me to sit with her. I'm pretty lucky, aren't I?
Meester: That's pretty great!
New York: Did Anna say to you, "I will pick your dress"?
Rossum: No, I am lucky enough that Anna has kindly said that she'll work with me to get me a great dress. I've been christened. I feel like I was just blessed by the Pope.
Meester: Is it, like, ridiculous — the Costume? They were asking me about it, actually…
Rossum: It's, like, literally amazing. You can't not go. It's like the event of the year.
Meester: I know, but I think I'm going to be in L.A.
Rossum: It's like the New York Oscars…
Meester: May 5, you said? I don't think I'm going to make it.
New York: [to Rossum] Why don't you take her over to Anna and introduce her?
Rossum: She's working. She's not even available to go to the most fabulous event.
New York: [to Meester] You're not done shooting Gossip Girl?
Meester: We'll be done. I'm shooting a different show.
New York: Oh, really — what?
Meester: Entourage. So I won't even be in town — but in L.A.
New York: Are you going to be a recurring part?
Meester: No. I'm just doing this one episode for now. We'll see what happens.
New York: That's pretty cool.
Meester: Yeah, it's pretty good.
Rossum: She has a pretty cool show for now, though.
Alright, I might call Gossip Girl over-the-top and silly, but the last time I saw Emmy Rossum acting was...well, never. The girl is like a wooden doll when it comes to acting. And getting all stupid because Anna Wintour is dressing her? Let me remind you what she wore to last year's Costume Institute Ball. Yeah. Good luck Emmy (even her name is cloyingly girly!)

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Thursday, April 24, 2008
Gold Rush...

After the success of the Chanel limited edition nail "enamel" (Chanel's words, not mine) in Vamp and Black Satin, Chanel's have announced that their fall season colour will be 'Gold Fiction', which is described by Christine Dagousset as “a soft honey gold, not a sparkling bright gold. It’s very wearable and very modern.” It's going to retail at $30, but if Gold Satin goes the same way that the Vamp and Black satin colours went, I'm guessing that come autumn, you'll see them on eBay for around $100 a bottle, which - if you hadn't though so already - is absurd.
I also happen to think that if it looks like orange, it's orange, and this is orange. This means I'm not quite sure just how wearable this is; anyone with brown skin knows the hazards of wearing orange (and yellow). If anyone buys this colour, please do send me some pictures so I can either eat my words, or feel smug in my being right.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts....

Alright, I don't know if anyone else saw the program Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts on BBC 3 yesterday, but I'm watching it now and it's leaving a seriously bad taste in my mouth. It's part of the BBC's new online ethical fashion magazine, Thread (Fashion Without Victims), and this is the first of 6 episodes based on the subject. In this one, six young British fashionistas are sent to work in factories and workshops in India, they have to live like the workers and work like workers (so no special treatment). I realise that the whole point of the program is to raise people's awareness of where their Primark, Zara, Gap, CK etc clothing is being made, and see the working conditions, but I had to no idea that there was no awareness on some people's parts.
Fucking hell, I want to punch these kids in the face. Richard reckons that anyone can be a success if they're motivated and not lazy, Amrita doesn't care if " it's been made by a three-year-old or a fifty-year-old" and Georgina sometimes throws away clothes after wearing them once. I thought that once they arrived in India, they'd see the working conditions and feel some empathy for the people who have to work there everyday, but so far, two girls have cried because they don't like being shouted at and feeling like they're back at school, and mostly all they've done is complain about how dirty/hard it is. Where the fuck do they get these idiots from? Honestly, what were they expecting? The only one who I can stand at the moment is Tara, but the rest can fuck off, especially Amrita (cried twice now) and Richard (total arsehole - "India's a shithole").

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One Hundred Posts of Nothing

I've been tagged by Salt and Schizophrenia to do the "8 things" list, and it felt like something I could post while my brain kicks into gear for a post you actually might care about =)

Eight things I am passionate about:

  1. Books - which are my first love in life. I’m not the sort of girl who likes missing her sleep, but I’ll stay awake all night to get to the last page. In the morning, I’ll pick up another book and start reading again.
  2. Music – I can listen to just about everything and appreciate something about it, but I have a real soft spot for grainy minimal vocals, electronic beats, cello music, and men with soulful voices
  3. Film
  4. Colour – actually just the colours grey, navy, black and red. These colours are pretty much all I wear. My male friends at uni sometimes think I’m wearing the same outfit all the time because of the colour palette I’ve adopted
  5. Food – I just love food, a lot. I particularly love Nutella, broccoli, sushi, Lebanese food, tiffin, tart food like lemon sorbet and my mum’s cooking (she makes the best aloo paratha ever – they’re like spicy potato pancakes and I can scarf down at least 7 in one sitting)
  6. Beautiful design – I love things with beautiful and innovative design because I think natural beauty is hard to upstage
  7. Writing by hand – this is the kid in me, but I just love to write by hand. I used to spend ages experimenting with different styles because I like seeing the way that my handwriting fills up blank pages. I also really like way A4 sheets become sort of ‘crispy’ when they’re covered on both side with biro
  8. Astronomy – this a relatively new thing as I only really got into it last year, but I think space is fascinating (who knew I actually like some aspects of science?)

Eight things to do before I die:

  1. Learn how to tweeze my eyebrows properly – at present, they are perpetually uneven and look like an eight-year-old has had a go at them
  2. Speak French like a native rather than French with a terrible Brit accent
  3. Learn how to play an instrument - I'd like the trumpet because I've always liked the idea of playing jazz when I'm old
  4. Own my home
  5. Live in another country – preferably somewhere in Italy or France, but I’m not picky because it’ll be an experience either way
  6. Find the perfect black blazer
  7. Learn how to be patient
  8. Stop talking to myself in public, mainly because I don’t do this subtly but in the way that a crazy person does

Eight things I say often:

  1. “Hah!” – usually either when I find something I lost, or when I disagree with something someone says
  2. “Dammit!”
  3. “Classic.”
  4. “It was almost too ridiculous/bizarre”
  5. “I’m ready” – when I’m the furthest thing from ready
  6. “Wait. What just happened?”
  7. “I have a question…” – followed by something really ridiculous
  8. “Would you rather sleep with…” – is usually brought up at the most inappropriate time, like in cafes when we’re sitting next to a family with kids, or old people

Eight books I have read of late/again:

  1. Life: A User’s Manual – Georges Perec
  2. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood...again
  3. The Gum Thief – Douglas Coupland…again
  4. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley…again (I bought some new books yesterday, it's not that I can't be bothered to read new ones, I'm just in the right mood for certain books sometimes)
  5. Freakonomics – Steve Levitt and Jason Dubner
  6. The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf
  7. Introducing Postmodernism – Richard Appignanesi and Chris Garratt – which is brilliant. Postmodernism with comic-book stylings
  8. Gender and the Media – Rosalind Gill

Eight songs I could listen to over and over:

  1. The Killing Moon – Echo & the Bunnymen
  2. Casta Diva from Norma – Maria Callas / Bellini
  3. Breathe Me – Sia and Four Tet
  4. So Here We Are – Bloc Party (Generally anything from Silent Alarm, easily one of my top albums)
  5. Balkan Low Rider Anthem – Alaska in Winter
  6. Sweets – M.Craft
  7. Femme Fatale – The Velvet Underground & Nico
  8. Ask the Mountains - Vangelis

Eight things that attract me to my friends:

  1. We have a similar sense of humour which not many other people really get but they don’t mind cracking up while everyone else looks bemused
  2. They’re not prissy – which means that conversations can sometimes be hilariously dirty
  3. We have some similar and some different tastes in films, books, music. I can’t imagine being friends with people and having everything in common.
  4. Their honesty and ability to listen
  5. They like vegging out. They like going out.
  6. They send good texts/e-mails/facebook messages which do actually make me LOL
  7. They don’t mind my sometimes erratic behaviour
  8. We have the same view on sluttish washing-up by flatmates (this is actually more important than it seems)

Alright, If this the ‘8 things’ quiz, why are there only 6 questions?

If you haven't been tagged yet and you feel like filling this baby out, consider yourself tagged.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008
Consumerism, Advertising and Other Slighty Dirty Words...

It was actually Headmistress who got me thinking about how much love I actually have for advertising. I'm not talking about the boring adverts for car insurance and face creams, but the ones designed for the likes of Sony, Kelloggs (you'll know when you see it!), Honda, and Guiness which have me hooked from the moment I set eyes on them. One side of me is aware of how these adverts are designed to make me feel as if I'm missing something from my life and that if I don't buy the product immediately, my life will be empty. The other side meanwhile, is really enjoying the advert and admiring the way it has been constructed in order to appeal to me.
Needless to say, the latter side often wins and I find myself thinking "Passive consumer? Me? Bollocks!...Hmmm. Could really do a bowl of Kelloggs Cornflakes though, I am really hungry and none of this other food is going to do the trick...Kelloggs is SPECIAL."

Nonetheless, some of my favourite ads in recent years:
(You can watch them all on the one player)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008
Terrible thing, Envy...

I'm a huge fan of street-style blogs because they're a brilliant alternative to buying a magazine from every individual country in order to see their style. While The Sartorialist has always been one I have frequented, I sometimes feel that the style is contrived - today, there was a picture of a girl who dressed for an 80's look, but the amount of styling (the Katherine Hamnett-style tee, the zebra leggings, the bow in her hair etc) made it feel inauthentic, and like she was trying to make as many meaningless references as she could. Some people will like it, some people won't, but that's just my two cents. (I do still think that the Sart takes some brilliant pictures that I love, I'm not saying I dislike every picture he posts, that's not true at all.)
Lately though, I've been falling under the spell of the gorgeous lovelies featured on illustrator Garance Doré's website. She always finds these ethereal women (including everyone's girl crush Louise) wandering around the streets of Paris, who make me green because they have such brilliant styling ability, and I know it's not because their clothes cost heaps and are ultra fashionable, it's the way they wear their clothes and not the other way around - I think I'd actually rather be as well dressed as opposed to as beautiful as these women...both would be nice though, wouldn't it?

Garance is also a brilliant illustrator, who's little cartoons often make me chuckle because of her witty observations...Hmm, did I really just say 'chuckle'?

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I finally got a chance to see the much-raved about Persepolis today, and I'm glad because I really enjoyed it. Directed by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Parronaud, the film's an autobiographical coming-of-age story about Marjane's life, set against the backdrop of the Islamic Revolution in Tehran. The film begins with Marji's life in Tehran in the 1970's and early 1980's where she lives with her liberal and pro-revolution family. As a child, she shows herself to be an outspoken activist-in-training with a love for Michael Jackson and punk culture, leading her parents to see her strong character is perhaps best kept safe away from the constraints of the strict tryannic regime assembling. She gets sent to Vienna where she grows up amongst an odd set of characters; punks, hippies, etc, fall in love, falls out of love, before realising she does not belong and returns home. However, on returning, she finds her life in Vienna has not prepared her for the changes in Tehran and the experiences of hardship that her relatives have endured. The one constant in her life is her beloved grandmother - who is by far my favourite character in this story - and whose honesty and blunt nature keep Marji in line, and on track.

I heard people say that the film's animation format trivializes the nature of the film, but I actually think the stylized black-and-white drawings gave the film something unusual. The film was an excellent narration of one woman's experience of the changing environment in her home country, and I could really respect that Marjane Satrapi included events which also showed her mistakes, rather than blaming all her problems solely on the government, her family, etc, and making herself out to be a victim of her circumstances.

Watching the film from the perspective of someone who is completely ignorant of what went on in those years between Iran and Iraq, it's not an easily accessible subject, but Persepolis' self-deprecating humour and honesty makes it a damn good start.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008
Show Your Bones...

The Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture exhibition is coming to London next week after starting in 2006, with displays in L.A. and Tokyo.
It's an exhibition that celebrates the increasingly intertwining practices of architecture and fashion which began in the 1980s. The concept is based on the idea that both fashion and buildings are designed to shelter and protect bodies, and it examines the ways that architecture and fashion have overlapped and learned from each other in terms of construction, materials and technology.

The Yokohama International Port Terminal, YokohamaPhoto © Satoru Mishima

It features the work of 46 internationally renowned and prominent figures in the fashion and architecture world; architects including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Future Systems, are joined by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Junya Watanabe, Alber Elbaz and Comme des Garçons.

Curated by MOCA Curator of Architecture & Design Brooke Hodge, she gives a fantastic overview of what the collection is about in an interview with Pingmag (it's only a brief extract I've included here, but there's much more if you follow the link).

"The Comme des Garçons’ exhibition at Harvard in 2000 was the first time I did any kind of project with a fashion designer — and that is I when started to think about the connections between fashion and architecture. Shortly after that, I went in for a job interview at MOCA in Los Angeles; and I proposed to do something about these parallels. In terms of fashion shows, in some cases I knew which designers’ work to select right away. In other cases, it was after I developed the thematic structure of the exhibition. For example, the area that deals with techniques and printing: With pleating, Issey Miyake was important because he is such an innovator; as for printing, Dries van Noten became a crucial element. Apart from that, I would read about or visit a building that just made sense to include, like the Santa Caterina market in Barcelona: It looks like a printed skirt draped over the top of the building."

If you're Hussein Chalayan, a wooden table isn't just a table, it also has possibilities as a telescopic wooden dress! “Afterwords” collection (autumn/ winter 2000). From Skin + Bones. Photo: Chris Moore

The London show will also include specially selected new exhibits including work by Boudicca, Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan.
Unfortunately, I'm going back up to uni tomorrow morning so I won't be making it back down until mid-June, but the exhibition looks amazing, so if you get the chance to see it then let me know what you think!

Skin + Bones at the Embankment Galleries - Somerset House

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Faster than a fighter jet, hotter than a bomb...

...is one of the reactions that Sophie Hulme's collection has elicited from me. Hulme's concept for her A/W 08 collection is "concealed combat, an armouring of womenswear". I'm not talking about metal breast plates and medieval knight's armour, but a subtle combination of military shapes with embellishments that keep in touch with the army theme.
Usually when I see that designers are using military styles for inspiration, this frequently roughly translates as 'copying exactly'. As it's announced as a seasonal trend, I mentally groan and get out my checklist: big buttons - check, braids - check, gold piping - check, a wool trench (as if every member of the military is also involved in espionage) - check, epaulettes - check. It's like a bloody Sgt. Pepper fan club meeting!
What I really like about Hulme's collection is the use of materials, unusual translation of combatwear, and the fact that she seems to understand that she isn't actually creating a collection that is going to be worn in battle - this is army luxe for keeps, not for just one season.

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I'm watching My Blueberry Nights which I thought I'd love because it's a Wong Kar Wai film, but I've got to the 50 minute mark and Norah Jones and Jude Law are driving me crazy. The scenes between them are so cliched and adolescent, I feel like I'm watching a pretentious film student's attempt at an arthouse film, and I hate that I don't like it because I really wanted to, but I'm not sure I can go any further. It just lacks a magic that his previous films have. If anyone's seen it, tell me if there's something I'm missing.
(And I'm sorry, but does Jude Law know what a Mancunian sounds like?)

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Monday, April 07, 2008
I always wanted to be an Outsider...

Dear Jean-Luc Godard,
At 5am this morning, I remembered why I love you...



Sunday, April 06, 2008
Slushie anyone?

I'm still trying to figure how I woke up to this in April.
Either God is taking the piss, or global warming is real.



Saturday, April 05, 2008
Art in Motion...

A few days ago, I had this recurring dream I have where I'm lying in my bed sleeping, and all of a sudden I'm covered in snakes and lizards which are crawling between the sheets, on my pillow, on the floor - just everywhere - and I wake up and bat them away, I'm brush them off my skin but when I do, my skin also gets brushed away and I'm covered in scales like a reptile (like in the old sci-fi series V). I always wake up brushing my skin, freak out and then fall asleep again right away, only to have the same dream the next month, without knowing why this particular dream is so important.

I guess it's why I'm so intrigued by Gregory Barsamian's work. Barsamian is a artist who makes kinetic sculptures that seem to depict the surreal, uninhibited nature of dreams and the unconscious. Barsamian investigated the 'environment' of dreams by recording his dreams on a tape-recorder; familiarising himself with the fantastic creations that appeared in his dream state. He translates his ideas about this state by filming a set of a "sequentially formed sculptures" placed on a spinning armature at a rate of 13 sculptures a second. He lights the sculptures with a strobe light, and the result is a short animation.

"The images exist in real time and viewers are able to share the same space with them. The conflict between sensory information and logic recreates the state of dream reality...[a] visual illusion called the persistence of memory. In this process a series of gestalts is knit into a coherent (or incoherent) whole. Our minds have an overwhelming desire for order. We create the order." - Gregory Barsamian

While our minds attempt to logicise the utterly fantastic with rational explanations, Gregory Barsamian offers us an alternative; the opportunity to see the unconsious without the intrusion of the logical.

Music of the Week

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