Friday 4 July 2014

Friday 4th July: On Your Bike!

Yero Timi-Biu contacted me to contribute to her project to promote city cycling amongst London's female residents ..........

"On Your Bike is a photo-based project produced and curated by Shanice Martin and Yero Timi-Biu. Stemming from an interest in exploring varying subcultures and a fear of cycling on London roads, the audio slideshow focuses on the everyday lives of women who cycle for pleasure, health, ease of commuting and even as a sporting hobby. Both Yero and Shanice wanted to document and promote an underrepresented cycling culture among women in the UK.
With London transport prices increasing and cycle-related deaths rising, On Your Bike aims to challenge the media’s controversial and differing views, as well as the public’s understanding of cycling as a whole. Their main goal with this project is to encourage a feeling of confidence amongst women on the road whilst cycling. In addition, they would like to create a better understanding of the female cycling subculture and put it at the forefront of today’s discussions."
Here are some of the photos I took with a disposable black and white camera to document my daily life and my beloved bike which goes with me everywhere!  Below is the audio recorded to go with the visuals where I explain my attachment to my two wheels and why everyone should get on your bike...................

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Weds 2nd July: NYC Downlow, Block 9 at Glastonbury Festival

Arriving into Worthy Farm in the small hours of Saturday morning was like entering an Armageddon hellfire.  I felt like a figurine from a Chapman Brother's miniature Warhammer scene, shuffling thru the mud with my military backpack and holding my tent like a musket to fend off immobile anaesthetised revellers flailing in my path.  Fortunately I'm accustomed to a Glastonbury weather failure far more severe than this, so I could navigate the slurry and slurring spangled festival goers with humour.  I'm also familiar with the characteristics of the middle-class "craazy" characters who religiously attend the solstice blow-out as a pilgrimage into the land of legitimate debauchery and hedonism.  A place where professionals can take off their thinking-man's hat and put on a diabolical foam jester hat.  This year however I immediately noticed a shift in that classic fashion of novelty headwear in favour of a dousing of glitter - as if a playgroup has used your face as a canvas instead of a paper plate.  You? Yes you?!  You've got the daisy-chain wreath, like a crown of thorns for the Blackthorn-guzzling accessory de jour.  You've got the dilated pupil eyes that are leaving your skull on stilts from their sockets due to that slight over eager equation of   E + K = K O.   You've now also got eyelids heavy with metallic makeup that you've managed to rub into every crow's feet crease and laughter-line left over from the years before.  This glittering iridescent vision, freaking out on hallucinogens in a field is a disposition I need to flag up to pay props to the Habiscuses of the original hippy routes.  These are the very same floral forefathers to whom I'm specifically honouring in Somerset - far away from 1970's San Francisco Cockettes.
So here it is.  If you manage to make it past your pegged out plot, camped next to the Pyramid Stage; you'll possibly discover the after-hour heaven of "NYC Downlow".  It's this concealed pocket of the performing arts festival that I call home and the one I have to thank for my golden ticket in.  To explain in a nutshell for any novices to the nocturnal nightclub - its an epic scale set that authentically recreates NYC's disco-era Studio 54, run by sisters who really (we) are family.  The girls in question are the East London troop of *trannies who collectively get a coach across the country to set up "Camp Bitch".  If you regretted the extra burden of that unworn sequin butterfly bolero packed in your Mulberry bag, then consider this.  These girls have schemed and schlepped enough garms to turnover two to three looks for each of the four night stint AND an additional tribute for this year's  Dolly Parton posse.  (Potentially the inflatable breats could double-up as a travel pillow for those planning Geisha style makeup perseverance sleep, but that's on the presumption of getting any sleep which is an unknown quantity to these quiche queens).
I LOVE the fact that Michael Evis annually re-homes his herds of cattle to make way for a hot-mess of humans to takeover and celebrate all spectrums of subcultural and social scenes.  Whatever in the world tickles your fancy, floats your boat or flicks your switch - you can find it on a stage in this far flung farmland.  From candle-making to waxing-lyrical on a soap box or basket weaving to caning it with Bez - it's all here.  And the glorious gift from that generosity of non-judgemental encouragement is that there is also a thriving destination for divas desiring a dancefloor at Downlow.   Here is a dedicated space to embrace all sexual orientations and equally offer an opportunity for the curious to encounter what they might be missing out on (however if you do insist on standing mid-stage with your jeans round your ankles to expose your manhood for the duration of a Janet Jackson routine, you may well receive a jab in the ribs from Jonny Woo to jump off).
Without wishing to waffle on........ stuffing superlatives into every sentence......... I just want to say how vital and victorious the work of the Downlow is.  I want to applaud the girls for getting around in the mud in stilettos without a flinch.  I want everyone to experience seeing the labour-intensive stunning outfits, from Serving Fish (term for Female Realness) to Lobster looks (er, literally a crustacean costume complete with claws for clearance of afore mentioned stage invasions).  I count myself so lucky that I am surrounded by these sensations in a capital city of London's like-minded souls who magnetise together to create magic and cause mayhem to the mainstream.  Now, thanks to Michael Eavis and the legacy of his relaxed nature to nurture this cross-exchange of cultural communities, anyone from any alienated out-post can enjoy an introduction to the Electric Slide.    
So next yar(!) when you anoint your brow with blossom and sparkle, remember this.  The 1970's homosexual hippies who you are now re-appropriating without reference, are still shimmering and shaking their pom-pom tail feather to pushing forwards Global human rights.  When you're worried there's no Wifi at West Holts and the World's going to end because you can't check into Facebook to update your status that you've blagged backstage to use Lily Allen's luxury loos - take a hot second to sashay away up to Block 9 where the girls are putin' on the Ritz and poking fun at Putin with a BoneyM "Rasputin" rendition of Stravinsky's "Firebird" Ballet Russes.  It's genius.  Its essential.  Its ridiculous fun and it's rare to find in any other field in these fair isles, that's for sure!!     

*Trannies - I use this word with neutral intention.  If it is outdated or offensive in any way - I apologise - please correct me as I don't know of an alternative.

Top to bottom:  Babs from Legs & Coq, Carly, Dani, Luke Howard from HMD wearing Lee Benjamin, Diana Might as Dolly,  Annie Pics, Felippe as Dolly, A Man To Pet,  Jacqui Potatoe, Sizzle, Feral as Dolly, group routine w/ MC Gaffe,  Louie as Dolly)

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Tuesday 1st July: Glastonbury Festival - Day to Night

I can't believe it's come to that time of year again!  Glastonbury Festival is one third of my personal holy trinity of favourite annual things to do (side to side with Christmas & Notting Hill Carnival).  I have been going as much as possible every year for the last 17 years and last year was definitely the most magic for glorious weather.  I knew this miracle could never come around again so I was fully prepared for some proper traditional mud to wade thru this year!!  Fortunately it was bearable and the kind of density that sucks at your wellies as apposed to filling them (this differentiation comes from the depth and consistency which can be ankle or up to knee hight).   Here are my snaps which chart examples of activities in the 24hr party that cascades across the acres and acres of a Somerset Farm, full with music, art and dance.  It came to my attention on New Year's Eve that I am hippy which was a surprise but Ive since been embracing that realisation and this post probably reinforces every asset of the labelling!  Im totally addicted to chasing sunsets and at the emergence of blue creeping across the horizon of the fields at 4a.m each morning, I was ecstatic.  It's solstice and its the best place to celebrate!
Top to bottom:  Taking Isis to see Dolly Parton, Glastonbury "streetstyle" knitwear, Lizzie King at the Park Stage, a cosmically decorated van, the rainbow golden ticket, Greenpeace presence at the festival,  rainbows in the healing fields, Strummerville, tipee fields, spectrum of cagoules, MNEK backstage at Silver Hayes,  Stromae on stage,  TEED dj set in the Temple, Sunrise at the Stone Circle.