Saturday, 29 October 2011

Winter Winds

It's getting colder now and the time to bring out the winter essentials is upon us. During (yet another) trip to London, I bought this lovely knitted headwarmer from Urban Outfitters. It will be sure to bring a pop of colour to any outfit and has persuaded me to branch out...a knitted turban maybe?

Sunday, 23 October 2011

If you're not busy...

...head to London where artist Joe Simpson is showcasing his incredible musician portraits, ranging from Paloma Faith, to The Vaccines' Justin Young. As the final week of his exhibition begins, Joe spares time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions...

Joe Simpson

What made you want to paint only musicians?
I’d been working on a series of large scale corporate commissions for a year and I wanted to do a project for myself with a series of smaller paintings. I thought about doing a collection of portraits of well-known people for a while, but I felt that it would be stronger if there was a theme. Because I’m such a big music fan I ended up choosing musicians – it would be a chance to meet people who I’m a fan of and provide a rich source of interesting subjects.

Was it difficult to get in touch with every person and was there anyone that you couldn't reach?
It was difficult, I had to use some serious google skills and write persuasive emails. It was often hard getting around management and to ask the musicians directly. There were quite a few people I would have liked to paint but couldn’t end up getting – I would have liked to paint Sufjan Stevens a lot, I’m a massive fan of his music.

Sam Beam
Who was your favourite to paint and why?
They were all interesting in different ways. I liked painting people with beards and crazy hair, Sam Beam was a lot of fun.

What's next after this exhibition closes?
I have a show in January called ‘Everything Is Electrified’, it’s mixed media landscapes with pylons and transmission towers – totally different to the musician portraits, but a nice change for me. After that I’m not sure, I have a few ideas in the pipeline…

Details of the exhibition can be found here
Follow Joe on twitter
Watch 'Musician Portraits - Making a Pop Up' here

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Monday, 17 October 2011

Mary Portas - Queen of Frocks?

Having watched the television programme, Mary Queen of Frocks, I was eager to see whether or not the shop lived up to the high standards that Mary Portas has for the stores she usually works with. Portas has said that she wanted "high street that works for women, not girls" and so her store, situated in Bond Street's House of Fraser was aimed to be just that.

From a fashion point of view, the clothes worked well for the demographic it was aimed at. They appeared classic, whilst still maintaining a sense of being able to throw an outfit together in next to no time - or as the writing on the wall suggested, "ready in 10 minutes, looking hot." Standout piece was the long-sleeved leather dress, which looked like the perfect antidote to workwear dilemmas, whilst the animal print shift dress combined print and colour and made it look sophisticated.

Although the shop is generally a great effort on Portas' behalf, there are some flaws. Despite being for women and not girls, the interior has an overall youthful aesthetic; the Las Vegas style lighting may not connect to the older woman. Furthermore, the music playing throughout resembled that of a phone call being placed on hold. That being said, service (something that Portas is known for) was, as expected, faultless. The customer wouldn't feel neglected, nor hounded. All in all, I don't think Mary Portas has anything to worry about...just yet.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Recommendation: Young Romance

I've just come across a lovely band, Young Romance. Click the link and enjoy a free download of their song, Swollen Hearts and Bitten Tongues. Check it out.

Taffeta - not just for the 80s eh?

Though as the meaning of the word in Persian suggests, taffeta isn't known for being ‘twisted’ or 'woven'. Instead, the material is often stiff, crisp and plain. For most, taffeta is synonymous with the 1980s. Made from silk or synthetic fibres, it was often used in the aforementioned decade on prom dresses, with nipped in waists, layered skirts and puff sleeves. Taffeta became a firm favourite in the television show, Dynasty, for Joan Collins’ character Alexis Colby. Around the same time, Madonna was perfecting her ‘Material Girl’ look, in her iconic floor length gown and once more in that Louis Vuitton dress at the MET Ball Costume Institute Gala.

After the drama and power shoulders that were the 1980s, you would've thought that taffeta was long gone. But amongst the Spring/ Summer 2012 collections, Christopher Kane proved that taffeta can look modern by using pastel shades and a plethora of florals. As well as this, it’s become a popular choice for wedding dresses and ball gowns alike. However, if you attempt to wear taffeta, proceed with caution. Nobody wants to wear an outfit, but look like they've donned a Dynasty costume do they?

Image taken from Google images.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Moshi Moshi presents

It's almost stupid to think that using the beautiful seaside attraction of Margate (and the Turner Contemporary) as a backdrop to live music hasn't been thought of before. Last night was home to the wonderful Tom Williams and the Boat, Psychologist and Slow Club, as part of a showcase from London-based label Moshi Moshi.

First was Tom Williams and the Boat, a 6-piece hailing from Tunbridge Wells. Before introducing a song, Williams jokes how a review of a recent gig stated that "there were 2 really angry songs and the rest were limp, country songs." Having seen the band twice, (in a week) it's very much evident that there is nothing limp about their songs and their execution. The opening guitar on Get Older sets up a punch served by the foot-tapping interludes between Williams' dark, strong vocals, whilst stand-out song 90mph presents a beautiful amalgamation of guitars, drums and saxophone.

Before Psychologist even approaches the stage, the dark, ominous tones of the music has already started. Without a single word sung, the audience's attention is already caught. As the set is in full swing, Iain Woods is almost caught in a trance, throwing himself around the stage - his moves captivating the audience. Though Psychologist isn't a case of style over substance - this guy can sing. Woods' powerful vocals only add to the chilling violins, as supplied by Maddie Rix and Emma Goldie and make for an intense live performance.

Finally, the night ends with a set from Sheffield 2-piece, Slow Club. Not wanting to waste time, the duo launches straight into the unapologetically catchy Where I'm Waking - fresh from the band's second album, Paradise. With the exception of Our Most Brilliant Friends, the set consists of mostly new songs but didn't disappoint in supplying the crowd with heartfelt lyrics, accompanied by punchy riffs and laced with faultless harmonies that Slow Club are loved for. A new addition of a saxophone/bass player and drummer, as well as Rebecca switching from guitar to drums and back again makes the live set-up even more worthwhile. As their  first release of their new album, Two Cousins draws to a close, the crowd erupts in applause. Charles and Rebecca, endearingly unaware, jump off stage in search for a local nightclub. A gig worth making the 2 hour 30 minute journey back home for.