My social outings are so few and far between these days that any opportunity to interact with other human beings is literally grabbed on to so furiously, clenched teeth and all...and so I absolutely relished last Friday evening at Barfly in Camden where I Am Arrows - ex Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows solo project - were headlining. I hadn't been to that venue in ages as well so it was definitely a bit of an event for me.
Support on the night was provided by an excellent band called Sketches who sounded a lot like Jeff Buckley in places but the night was to belong to I Am Arrows as they were rounding off a very successful U.K tour. The thing about it is that I've had their album for a while just never listened to it, I even have it on my iPhone and never put it when I'm on the tube or whatever...sometimes I can be quite an ignorant human being. Anywhoo, serves me right because as I was listening to the songs being played I constantly kept saying how good they sound and why oh why hadn't I been told - which I had, so that's annoying - about them all this time; why didn't anyone make me listen to this, it's so good...not to worry as I slapped myself afterward, ok maybe I didn't but what I have done is I have been listening to Sun Comes Up Again continuously since then and I can honestly say it's one of my favourite albums of this year; such a great record with wonderful melodies and carefully constructed harmonies from clearly accomplished musicians who could've been my summer companions if only...aaah never mind about that. If you loved Fleet Foxes think of this as an unashamedly poppy cousin with the same sensibilities but that touch more playful and fun and a more upbeat outlook on life in general.
The gig was great and it isn't often that I get to love an album after absolutely loving the live performance but sometimes it happens so brownie points there and extra brownie points for doing a wonderful rendition of one of my favourite songs ever, Wonderful Life by Black with the help of another famous musician friend Tom Smith, lead singer with The Editors and Edith Bowman's fella - she was also there providing support and I was surprised to discover how tiny she actually is in real life - but seriously hearing that song being performed the way it was, was quite a special experience for me and the room was buzzing with everyone joining in and singing away. Great moment in my life and a good way to start the weekend.
So I urge you to check out this band and to not make the same mistake I did. To help you, I've provided a link to a video of theirs that should in theory bring a playful smile to your face and make you want to dance your cute little sock off.
I started this book just a few days ago after finishing The Piano Teacher which was ok really, a solidly constructed book but it left wishing it had left a deeper impression on me, I really wanted it to, especially for a book billed as the new Atonement I can honestly say it doesn't come anywhere near it, but I'm on to the next book now and I genuinely have high expectations of this one since it's an author I have read before.
The Whaleboat House was a captivating read and I have a feeling this one is the same. A tale of a mysterious garden set against the backdrop of 1950s Tuscany. I have already been immersed into the atmosphere of an Italian summer and I'm starting to day dream of spending a whole summer in Tuscany myself doing I don't know what but to be in that wonderful landcape, the mountains and the castle and the heat of the summer....
Oh I tell you I want to do it so badly. The cold frosty weather has officially descended upon London and I have a feeling this winter is going to be a long and miserable one. I worry I might not make it. Plenty of books like this to provide some form of escapism and I look forward to uncovering the mysteries within this one.
What an epic! Falling into one of my favourite formats, you know, the rags to riches tale followed by the hard fall from grace a la "Casino", " GoodFellas" , "Blow" to name a few; there really is something intensely watchable in following the story of all these characters as they try to make something out of themselves and then seeing how greed and jealousy seal their untimely fall with only a few managing to redeem themselves.
I can certainly see why Boogie Nights was such a Hollywood revelation when it came out back in 1997 not least for the original story but for how cleverly it captured a moment in time, the height of the disco era, starting with the carefree 1977 and ending with the excess of the 80s, 1983.
The film cleverly exhibits the porn industry as a humane place to be, 1977 was a time when such films were shown in cinemas and were as much an artistic expression as any other movie you'd pay to see; the people working in the industry were no more than a close knit group, an extended family where they might have been accepted in a way they wouldn't have been in their own homes and real bonds were made; there's a tangible innocence here, from the central character Eddie Adams/Dirk Digler, who's really is just a 17 year old runaway, taunted by his mother who says he won't amount to anything in his life, roller girl , an assumed runaway and similarly unloved teenager who demands respect from her sex partners, Amber Waves who sees herself as the mother of the group having lost custody of her own child, Jack Horner as the surrogate father figure to the group, the man behind the entire operation but who never really come across as sleazy or opportunistic, in fact he seems to be genuinely caring and looks out for everybody involved.
Carried by a stellar cast as well, Mark Wahlberg in his breakthrough role, Burt Reynolds whom I've never liked as much as I liked him in this, Julianne Moore excellent as always, Heather Graham also magnificent, John C. Reilly great as the faithful Dirk Diggler number one fan and all around entourage, Phillip Seymour Hoffman second in line in the Dirk Diggler fan club, William H. Macy another brilliant performance and a consistent great actor, Don Cheadle dignified performance as the pornographic actor with higher ambitions , Alfred Molina as a deranged playboy in one of the best constructed scenes on film EVER, I mean these are just a few reasons why this film is so brilliant and must be watched.
Visually stunning too, a great cinematic experience all around and excellent platform for endless quoting, Boogie Nights is another epic of epic epicness.
This edition of London Fashion Week has totally by passed me I must say but the little daily fixes I have time to sit through have helped me maintain something of a proximity to the proceedings. But barely...
Anywhoo I spotted this Fendi collection for Spring/Summer 2011 and I love it. Love the colours, - this from the person who's favourite colours are mainly black, grey and purple, but there's an almost 70s quality to how the clothes have been put together - the shapes, the waist-cinchers, the models' make up and relaxed style, glamourous but still attainable by us mere mortals, and it has already made me think about next year's holiday times. No fair. With a colourful wardrobe like this it must feel like summer everyday. I like.
Just managed to see this trailer and I was quite intrigued by it until I saw some of the very negative reviews it got, people talking about cliche after cliche...I am a massive Kristin Scott Thomas fan and frankly I'd watch anything with her in it she has such a presence about her. I'd doubt she'd choose to do anything she didn't believe in so I'm up for seeing this and making up my own mind about it.
I'm a big fan of this band aaaaaaaaanyway but there's just something about this song and video that manages to put me in a sunny disposition. Must be the nostalgic mood I find myself in these days, lots of thinking about school days at this time of year I miss the carefree happy times which have gone all too soon I think. Sad times. But this song restores a certain balance albeit a short one and for two minutes and forty eight seconds I genuinely feel what happiness feels like.
I had recently started on the second novel by Sadie Jones titled Small Wars, having been extremely impressed by her debut novel The Outsider a book which struck more than one chord with me and which , whilst reading it, I could easily picture being turned into a movie. I honestly won't be surprised if it does one day. It took me a while to get into The Outsider and once in I was totally hooked but I just found that Small Wars was not ready for me at all....or maybe I for it. So I decided to put it aside for now since I have had this sort of experience before - I had two false starts with The Time Traveler's Wife which ended up being one of my favourite books ever - and look for something else to immerse myself into. The local Oxfam is great for books and I managed to pick this one up for £1.99 one random sunny Saturday.
The Piano Teacher is instantly readable and manages to pull you in from the first couple of pages. I really like it and since it was marketed as the new Atonement- again, another one of my favourites - I was too curious not to pick it up. So far it seems to be about an illicit love story between a married piano teacher Claire and the driver to the family she works for, mysterious Will, a man with what it's shaping out to be quite a past. The story jumps back and forth between 1940s and 1950s Hong Kong depicting in great detail what life was like pre, during and I assume at this point, post war for the expat community and I really look forward to seeing how the story ultimately unravels. I love war movies in general and with this book it's like witnessing one such story but one that you ultimately have to imagine for yourself based on the words in front of you which I think it's more fun anyway. :)
It's been a while since I've seen a music video with such amazing cinematography and clever concept. It really did stop me in my tracks and I was totally unprepared for the final twist, I guess the power of suggestion was overwhelming which again is a testament to the witty idea behind this video.
Nice song too and the eye candy isn't too bad either.
Aaaaaahhhhh Knightsbridge...where even the air you breathe feels slightly expensive...more privileged...and everyone looks like they're a celebrity of some sorts; and that's exactly where I was last Thursday night for Jamiroqui's exclusive showcase of new material heralding the release of his new album "Rock Dust Light Star".
Amidst the very plush surroundings of the Mandarine Hotel, which seemed to have been sieged by Jay Kay's invisible army of minions - highly imagined scenario by the way - but judging by the immediately recognizable Jay Kay memorabilia scattered about the place from the flags above the main entrance to the huge silhouette transfers on the mirrors once inside, you couldn't escape the "industry event" feel oozing from every corner of the building.
And with invite only events comes the amazing catering - in this case mainly posh takes on classics such as fish and chips and bacon and cheese sandwiches, they were pretty tasty - and the two words that were to be my downfall on the evening: free bar!!! I got totally seduced by the "high society" feel of the proceedings and wanting to capitalize on the opportunity I went a bit hyper on the ol' drinky poos forgetting one crucial detail about myself, that I am one big lightweight and my stomach lining wasn't quite prepared for what I was about to do to it.
Anywhoo it was pretty amazing though to be standing so close to the man who back in 1996 fascinated me with his video for Virtual Insanity and how different back then, as a kid growing up in a different country,I would've never imagined one day to actually see the guy and in such an intimate setting as well. I was pretty chuffed to be quite honest.
I knew his band would be amazing and they didn't disappoint, everyone was on form including the man himself although he did make a point out of not being 22 anymore - presumably struggling a bit, he did seem to perspire a lot throughout the short set - but it sounded good, a nice mix of the trademark funk peppered with a lot of synths, a more mature, grown up sound that seems an organic transition and not at all contrived. With the exception of the opener "Love Fool" all the songs were totally new to me but I found myself constantly tapping my feet and doing something strange with my hands and if only they had played for a little while longer I would've left the venue feeling totally fulfilled. But maybe that was the whole point of the evening: give them a little bit, showcase the best stuff so that they leave wanting more...nice bit of psychology for you there.
And once it became clear that after the swift set there won't be any encores we hung around for "one more for the road" and left into the night heading towards some dingy place in East London knowing that that's where we belonged really, to witness a raucous set by French Horne Rebellion. As we left the Mandarine Hotel though we spotted one certain miss Pixie Lott together with a "mystery man" heading inside and were pleasantly surprised the next day to discover a completely made up story in The Sun talking about how she danced "in the wings throughout Jamiroquai's entire set"....oh no no no that is one big fat lie...
Verdict of the night though: good food, good wine, good music....GOOD TIMES!
I've been meaning to post this for a little while now being a massive Robster fan and all. I just think the whole idea is cleverly funny and so well done that you just have to laugh and go along with it. We all know the story, we all know what happened and now everyone has grown up enough to be able to make fun of it with a clever song and a humorous video.
You have to be able to make fun of yourself to go through life right?! Right?!
So I've recently upped my praying quota to include a morning as well as the usual evening routine, perhaps I'll throw in some lunch time quickies when I have the time, all in the hope to one day win Euromillions and be able to buy myself a little house complete with all the chic/arty/cute/quirky accessories and random objects and trinkets scattered about the place in an "effortless" fashion of course which would subtly suggest to any random visitor that hey I'm quite an arty person myself and can appreciate the nice things in life...anywhoo I really do like this place, I downloaded these images a while ago so can't actually remember who it belongs to but I do recall the article being about some fashion designer duo...something along those lines anyway.
There are some nice details in there to be fair, my favourite being the big, oddly shaped fuchsia chair and that massive mirror which looks like an antique one to me, nicely positioned above the fireplace. The shelves are cleverly built into the wall which results in a visually appealing structure. The wooden floor, again, I've always been a massive fan of that and my dream would be to one day have my very own but what I really like about this place is the nice mix of vintage furniture pieces with modern accessories and just generally the witty combination of collected objects giving the whole place an air of quirky and cool and sending the clear message that this is no ordinary place either.
So please please please God can I win the Euromillions this week so I could have my very own exquisite home. I reckon this should work...
I wrote a little post about these guys earlier in the year gushing about how much I liked their music obviously...but now I've just seen this video and it's made me think of Paris and how much I'd like to be back there again.
Give me Paris in slow motion with dancey synths in the background any day.
To be fair I had seen this trailer a while ago but I'm currently struggling for content like a little bastard so I thought I'd fill the gap with a humorous trailer. The thing is though, I am absolutely positivo I am going to love this film simply because I love this kind of comedy and I love Patrick Wilson...well when I say I love him what I mean is I loved him in Little Children (excellent movie in my opinion) and whatever other bits I may have seen him act in which I can't really name right now, would've never pictured him as a comedic actor but his timing seems perfect in this and his laughter is absolutely amazing, I love hearing great laughs...don't worry about it I'm pretty sure it's a conventional trait and other people will have it too.
Anyway this film looks great and Christopher McDonald is in it too which means everybody wins really.
I love everything about this tune and I only wish I was on holiday in a club somewhere hot and sticky half drunk perhaps and feeling like I'm on top of the world...and this song would just make my night!
I finally managed to see this movie properly from start to finish. I had been aware of the premise of the story throughout the years but I had never sat down for an actual complete viewing before last weekend and all I could think of was wow....just wow. What a great story, so many different layers and such great acting all around. Seeing the little documentary afterward as well, about the making of this movie and how it came to be the film that it was and still is, was absolutely amazing and quite moving in places. Whenever I watch stuff like this it always makes me think gosh I wish I was part of it or how amazing it must have been to be there to be part of the crew...70s films have a certain quality that films nowadays just simply don't have and I think it's deeper than technology advancements, budgets and what have you...it's down to what it was like to be alive then. A certain innocence, things were much simpler somehow but the same existential issues apply; relationships happen, the happiness, kids, the fallout, divorce, then sadness, life goes on. Somehow it all seems more real when it's told so simply and I think that why I love movies that have this kind of retro feel, they look like they could be from those times and those are the stories that inevitably stay with me the longest.
Kramer vs Kramer is another little window for me to a time which I'll never experience except through watching the movies that would've come out at that time. I wish I had been alive then. Would young people twenty years from now feel the same way about this era? About the movies that are coming out now? Hhhmmmmmm watching Meryl Streep on screen back in those days it's just amazing and so easy to see how she became the living legend that she is. Never mind the fact that her face is simply perfection, the most beautiful screen presence I've ever seen. Literally couldn't take my eyes off her and she's not even in it for that long...but then the acting...the emotional turmoil of a mother who thought she was doing the best thing for her son and who now decides to come back. Powerful stuff I tell thee. Not to mention the screen time that Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry - who's performance is considered one of the best child performances of all time - share. Heartbreaking but such truthfulness to each of the performances that it really is no wonder both got nominated for an Oscar. In fact the three main characters and the main supporting actress were all nominated for the honour with Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman both walking away with the statue - director Robert Benton also picked up an Oscar for this - so it really is a testament to what this movie achieved as well as the mark it left on people at the time. And it continues to do so.
In all honesty I was so impressed and marked by not only the simplicity of the story but how well it was executed and brought to life through the actors and everyone involved in the making of this movie. A true classic and one I'll go on about for a while.
And now back to my Lovefilm subscription and add some more 70s classics.
Seriously obsessed with this song right now, haven't stopped playing it for the last two days.
The most beautiful and saddest songs ever, in my humble opinion of course. Weird random fact: Vanessa Da Mata shares her birthday with me...now I feel truly special! I've totally fallen in love with her and promptly purchased her album. Listen to the song it will change your life forever I promise.
It's been a while since I found an illustrator with the same arresting power as this lady, Caroline Andrieu. Her fashion drawings are so elegantly dark and edgy whilst her simpler, more basic sketchy work still holds the precision which I'm guessing played some part in her becoming art director for Conde Nast digital's department for Vogue and GQ. Looking at her stuff makes me wish I could draw like that, it really does and part of me still thinks that if only I would practice more I could...might....just maybe...possibly come somewhere close to...but the most exciting bit about this lady is that it seems I may have found a kindred spirit. Whilst perusing some of her associated websites I stumbled upon her Blog which displays, in my mind anyway, a certain fascination with one of my favourite ladies ever. That and the actual drawing of lady in question made me think that maybe just maybe there is someone else out there with the same "keen interest" in anything to do with Moloko/Roisin Murphy. "Do you like my tight sweater?" were of course the famous words which have gone down in history as effectively the moment Moloko as we know it was born and serves from what I can see, as a sort of Blog mantra for Caroline. Her Roisin Murphy drawing is pretty special too summing the fashion forward conscience and unique presence of this enigmatic chanteuse and if I haven't mentioned already one of my favourite peeps...like ever!!!
The official website is a bit frugal as far as examples of her work go but her blog is heaving with the stuff so if you want to see more amazing drawings visit the link below.
Ooooooooooh after a good few months wondering aimlessly in cyber space and not only...I've decided to come back and reclaim my spot as fellow blogger - I like to feel part of a community you see even if it's just a virtual one - so here I am.
Amongst the very few memorable experiences this summer has had to offer me I think my favourites would be Turkish holiday with limitless everything and I'm talking literally everything on tap, school reunion with long lost pals, reading a few booky wooks, finally catching Inception at a cinema near me and promising myself I'd go to see it again although that hasn't happened yet, watching My Night with Maud on a random evening in Soho, seeing Housse de Rocket at The Lexington and dealing with a massive iPhone fail in the aftermath in the form of having mistakenly covered the microphone bit with my fat fingers thus rendering most of my last recording, the massive Synthetiseur (best tune ever which sounded epic live btw) - the only bit I had wanted to keep watching over and over again -, to an absolute disaster, proper wedding/school play ruined moment with just the footage and no sound....aaaaaarrrrgh very frustrating...back to my halcyon days' adventures though, oh yes, experiencing the Borough Market for the first time ever, having a glass of wine one time and waking up the next day with the biggest headache EVER - fact- , indulging in a bit of bank holiday shopping spree, reunion with former Topshop buddy - that was nice - and erm that's about it really...once again too many things I didn't get around to doing that will inevitably end up on the "must do next summer " list which will probably have the same sad outcome...but we can still hope can't we....for now though, it's good to be back.