Saturday 31 December 2011

Sat 31st Dec: Gigs of 2011 in terrible BB Twitpics

T.E.E.D at The Scala

Snoop Doggy Dog, Kentish Town Forum

Patrick Wolf at The Garage

Janelle Monae at Glastonbury Festival

Bjork's Biophilia at Manchester Festival

Mark Ronson, International Business Ltd (Ghostface Kilah), Camden Roundhouse

Beth Ditto at LOVE magazine party instore at Libertys

Cocknbullkid at XOYO

CREEP at Stag & Dagger Festival, Shoreditch

Azari III at Lovebox festival

Major Lazer at Notting Hill Carnival

Modeselektor at Kentish Town Forum

Spankrock at The Scala

Tom Vek at CSM

Shed Seven at Shepherds Bush Empire

Katy B at CKone party, Village Underground

Azelia Banks at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Patti Smith at St Giles-in-the-fields

I have a major bug-bear about mobile phones ............. in the fact that they are totally destroying humanity on many, many levels. From the coltan that is mined in The Democratic Republic of the Congo as the element conductor in the handset and the corrupt industry that surrounds it ................ to the simple fact that a generation of parents are distracted, absorbed in their messages rather than making crucial basic bonding communication and contact with their children ............

.............. to the shame of going to gigs where the audience are watching an act thru the camera on their iphone rather than experiencing the physical vibes infront of them. This is why I consciously hold tight to my blackberry in my pocket instead of sticking it in the air to add to the mass of screens hovering above the crowd ( = the modern equivalent of putting your lighters up). For this reason, the one quick snap I snare when a band come on to stage is usually absolutely terrible and here are some of those twitpics which you will have to read the captions to decipher!!!! It's become an obligatory part of being at a concert to alert your Twitter followers to where you are and what band you are enjoying............. and something I squirm with envy and torture myself by reading when I'm not at a particular event. The worst this year was missing Azelia Banks at Koko earlier this month when I was ill at home under my duvet. BUT I did get to see her earlier in the year thanks to Keely Hunter for tipping me off about 212 when it first ate YouTube before the sudden media bandwagon of replacing the lording of Lana Del Ray to ranking Azelia as coolest act of 2011 in opinion polls ..........

If I had my own top performances of the year in addition to Azelia it would be:

Patti Smith with Patrick Wolf at St Giles-in-the-fields
Bjork's Biophilia at Manchester Festival
Prince at Hop Farm Festival
Janelle Monae (and Wild Beasts) at Glastonbury Festival
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs at Scala
Kwes at Shacklewell Arms
Gwilym Gold at Shacklewell Arms

Thanks so much to all my tenuous connections in the industry who tapped me up with press passes this year - I'm so, so grateful to be living out my teenage dream of working with musicians! Looking forward to more in 2012 and hoping for less views obscured by phones XXXX

Friday 30 December 2011

Friday 30th Dec: Makeover at Shu Uemura

If you fancy getting some special sparkly makeup done for New Years eve, I recommend going to a cosmetics counter for a makeover ahead of the big night. Yesterday my best friend wanted to celebrate her birthday in this style and she selected Shu Uemura
as her brand of choice which was perfect for me because I needed some new eye-lash curlers, and they are by far the best! We took it in turns on the hot seat discussing our Essex heritage and how this is the done thing for a girl's night out and also the advantages of having naturally gigantic eyebrows which have at last come into fashion thanks to the "scouse-brow". We each opted for different looks from Vicky's smoky eyes to Anna's red lips and my trademark sixtie's eyeliner which I'm always trying to learn to apply myself. This turned out to be a fitting face to have when we ended up at The Donovan Bar which is dedicated to the photographer of London's swinging 60's scene. The walls of the Mayfair salon are hung with his iconic black and white prints including portraits of Mary Quant, Celia Hammond, Terence Stamp and Dudley Moore. It was an accidental discovery but a very happy one, since birthday girl Anna is a photographer herself!

Thursday 29 December 2011

Thurs 29th Dec: Laura Gill's Talking Sticks

Thanks to Laura Gill for sending me an original Alistair Carr sample from our time spent with the designer working on his own line..................... into which she slipped a "Talking Stick". She gathers sticks from London's green spaces, paints gouache faces to personalize each one for the purpose of providing people with an object to encourage communication.
"They were originally invented by the American Indians as an aid during group chats to enable each person in the group to be heard........ the person in the group holding the stick would be the only one able to talk until the stick was handed to the next person and then it would be their turn and so on......."
This is a perfect tool for me as I'm used to being ignored, over looked and not heard! Plus its super cute and a lush addition to my pencil pot!
Get your own Talking Stick in a bag at Lik & Neon, Brick Lane and No One, Shoreditch
(Gif and top 2 images "Pre-talking" and "Talking Stick in the making" from Laura)

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Tues 27th Dec: Hark by Audrey and Andy


Hark is a new collaborative venture from Andy Macgregor and Audrey Roger who have joined forces on an exhibition that has been six months in the making. The duo found each other last year through a shared fondness for forms in nature and a predisposition to working with both pattern and paper. To fuse both of their styles for a combined duel aesthetic they have researched Totem Poles, Children’s playing blocks, Central & South American & African art "and of course Mother Nature herself" to invent their own spiritual stacking shapes. Here are documentation images of work in progress developing the 3D paper abstract totems to fill the gallery at Old Shoreditch Station. The early gif is a little indication to the additional stop-frame animation works that will accompany the tessellating tactile sculptures exploring distortion, repetition and symmetry. The large scale installations have been translated into table top size totem ornaments as products for the shop put together with carpentry skills from Michael Marriott and the print wizardry of Jonas Ranson.
This project is entirely self initiated and magically motivated so I can't wait to see the outcome which will be a joyous celebration of having fun in creating colourful graphic artworks from paper.......... right up my street! The show will be at No.1 Kingsland Road from 27th Jan .......... a date to put in your new year's diary!

Monday 26 December 2011

Mon 26th Dec: Alex Noble's art direction for the EMA afterparty

All photography behind the scenes c/o Alex.

One of the standout fun things to happen this year was pairing up with Alex Noble to guest edit the Swatch MTV Playground blog. This role took on many different facets with us being followed by a film crew for mini fly-on-the-wall documentaries and individually conducting interviews with musicians. Alex travelled to LA to talk to his muse Juliette Lewis which is a series of clips you have to check out if you missed it first time round on Talk@.
Later in the year he flew to Belfast with the team to take on the challenge of art directing the after party for the EMA's. This final exercise for the project was a neat conclusion to the multi layered task, with Batty Bass hosting the space - the record label he had featured in his earlier diary content. Alex made mannequins to replicate the replicants from his Batty Bass artwork illustrations and painted mural backgrounds like a trippy neon day-glo Moloko bar. The black and white Lewis Carroll checker board floor was an extension from his own studio decoration which made the environment his dream world:
"I didn't want to leave, I wanted to live in the space forever!"
To read more background on the outer space concept and fellow artists that Alex brought on board the Martian mission, head over to his own blog. There you will also find a sketch for his newest venture - Cirque Du Soleil............. and if you want to experience the world of Batty Bass for yourself, book a ticket for the New Year's Day London celebrations with Hannah Holland and Josh Caffe on the decks.

See my first studio visit and interview with Alex from July 2010 here
See my re-visit when we shot our MTV feature from March 2011 here.

Playground 2011 - Guest Editor - Alex Noble - 5 Minutes - ENG from Swatch MTV Playground on Vimeo.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Sun 25th Dec: Keko Hainswheeler Studio Visit

The Sonic Hedgehog blue haired designer Keko Hainswheeler has recently moved round our way next door to Jiggery Pokery and Ede knitwear........... directly opposite MC Motors where the new Rhianna video was shot .......... I wonder if she sampled Dalston's best kebab at the Mangal on the corner?! Its Simply The Best (don't argue, its what it says on the uniform = a t-shirt which is now merchandise on a needs to know basis)
I found a chance to shimmy up the road to pop my head round the door and see how he is settling in and snap some pieces from his new diffusion range. Until now Keko has operated as a commissioned artist working predominantly on fantastical show pieces for pop starts such as iconic moments for Lady Gaga. I will never forget the incredible weight of the intricate and immense studded harness I picked up in her dressing room at the Jonathon Ross show. He spends hours individually creating tribal patterns and texture landscapes out of spikes and metal hardware. When he's not creating a magnificent mane from ostrich feather plumes, he's running up hoodies or bondage trousers for himself. Ive taken a train with Keko and he's pulled out a pair in process to make use of the situation to thread on buckles and pin the parts in place. Efficient use of time is standard for this creative who literally works for days on end with no sleep to finish his ornamental armour accessories.
Whilst dealing with the day to day deadlines, Keko has been putting together a neat collection of smaller jewellery staples to sit alongside the archive of editorial originals. Inspired by a wide range of sources from Baroque to the lion door knockers on his old house, they are assembled from 18CT Gold Plated and Brass hardware. Its a limited edition run so head over to his site to check out the deats and see more of the one-off costumes they are derived from ............
Also pick up a copy of fashion illustration periodical Decoy to see an exclusive Richard Gray artwork of one of Keko's body harnesses.