From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Sunday Swoon. October 13th 2013.

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1. Pizza Pilgrims permanent home on Dean Street in Soho has stolen my heart. Although all that usually takes is somewhere that serves a Negroni (they do) the pizza’s here are the best in London served by happy smiles and polite staff (the complete opposite of how Pizza East seem to be serving people recently). Order the Napoli Salami and you’ll never look at a pepperoni again. I’ll be making many return visits for a pizza fix and next time I want to save room for Affogato (vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso). Two pizzas and four (alcoholic of course) drinks came to £36.50.

2. Aside from my sister chanting “Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher” Have I Got News For You, and especially Ian Hislop, was the first thing to make me not only pay attention to politics and the press (closer bed fellows than we once thought) but to also make me question what I was being fed. That would have been as a teenager (it’s been running for twenty-three years). This week I got to sit in the studio audience, completely in awe and giddy with nerdy happiness. Amazing experience.

3. I was heartbroken when LCD Soundsystem called it a day. But my heart is slowly healing seeing as James Murphy is filling his time remixing, elongating and producing tracks from some of my favourite artists. This week his mix of David Bowie’s Love is Lost.

4. You only have one more week to see The Memory Palace at the V&A, it’s worth dashing to South Kensington for. Hari Kunzru latest work of fiction is a walk in book with illustrations from illustrators, designers and typographers, set in  future London. From lamenting the NHS to glimpses of our Olympic Village in ruins. You get to save one memory in this future. In the V&A you get to submit yours at the end.

Tony Ray-Jones. Approach.

Tony Ray-Jones. Approach.

5. The Science Museum has opened a Media Space and launches with Only In England. Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr. This runs until March 2014, photographers and people curious in our culture and social characteristics would find this fascinating. Both men documented English life, focusing on our seaside towns. Shots of Margate and Broadstairs especially giving me that warm cosy feeling of reminiscing of our family holidays to those destinations. Above is Tony Ray-Jones approach to photography tips, don’t take boring pictures being my favourite. Below is from his note-book.

“British characteristics and qualities. 

Love of tradition

Love of stability
Art of compromise & muddling through
Privacy
Apathy & indolence [from the security of the welfare state]
 
A country lacking in drama and yet the people have a fine sense of drama”.

Sunday Swoon. September 22nd 2013.

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George the Dog John the Artist

George the Dog John the Artist

1. Any Shoreditch local will recognise George the Dog and John the Artist from his usual spot outside Dishoom on Shoreditch High Street. John Dolan is an amazing London artist and has often found himself homeless, I got to meet both man and dog. He has sat sketching the ever-changing surrounding area over the past couple of years and this has resulted in his first exhibition, hosted by Howard Griffin Gallery. Well known street artists have collaborated with him for the exhibition. When I visited all but one of his paintings had been sold, one that praised David Cameron on a bill board (yet look closer and you’ll see what John really thinks, don’t be fooled). The exhibition is due to end this Thursday but Bird at the gallery told me they’re hoping to extend it. Do whatever it takes to visit. My cockles are throughly warmed this evening.

by John Dolan

2.  I have just finished Falling and Laughing: The Restoration of Edwyn Collins by Grace Maxwell. Told from Grace’s, Edwyn’s wifes, point of view after he unexpectedly suffered a stroke in February 2005. An honest account of the long road to recovery, the effect it had on both Edwyn and his family, the small and significant triumphs, the precious moments of laughter and the steely determination it takes to keep taking one step at a time. A book that will make you count your blessings and help find perspective.

3. Solange has released a video to accompany her amazing track Lovers In The Parking Lot. I desperately want light up laces and acid house pants now. Stylish and sharp. Oh to have one bone as cool as her in my body.

E.Mono Shawarma

4. I’ve been meaning to visit Kentish Towns E. Mono since Giles Coren gave it a glowing review in 2011. Slightly tipsy I stumbled in there Saturday, finally at a meaty mecca. I don’t care what zone you live in this place is worth the trek. Friendly service, the shawarma was stuffed full of sweet tasting pickled peppers, crunchy red cabbage, shredded salad, chilli  and garlic sauce with chunks of partly fatty, part crisp chunks of lamb. All for £5.

5. Finally the latest video from Local Natives for Ceilings. Hummingbird has to be one of my favourite albums this year. This song wraps up the summer for me, especially seeing flashes of Glastonbury in it.

Sunday Swoon. 4th August 2013.

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1. Running until 29th September at Somerset House is I Only Want You To Love Me by Miles Aldridge. This is his largest retrospective to date and you’ll catch glimpses of how he sketches his ideas through to the final photo’s. His work focuses on women and colour and all his pieces certainly command your attention in their brightness and composition. Adored his take on religion especially.

2. New album from Fuck Buttons has been on repeat the past few weeks. Stalker and Hidden XS standout the most for me and it’s definitely worth listening to Slow Focus. Missed them at Glastonbury (clashed with The Rolling Stones) but hoping to catch them in London this September.

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3. Fika on Brick Lane has turned into a Wes Anderson shrine. Curated by Dani Wes Kingdom is littered with film references (even down to replica’s of Wes Anderson’s made up books from Moonrise Kingdom) to cocktails including a tiny fish in a bag, a nod to Life Aquatic.

4. By some kind of karmic luck (a contact at V&A and the kind Anna on Twitter) we managed to get to the long ago sold out David Bowie Is at V&A. Unbelievably moving and inspiring. Other curators take note, this is the future of exhibitions, the headphones worked on sensors as you approached displays. Do what you can to get along on its final week, and if you can’t work a miracle then you can book tickets to the live cinema event.

5. The strange but beautiful video to Earthly Pleasures by Villagers is on their website. Definitely one of my favourite albums from this year and the accompanying music videos are always worth watching.

Sunday Swoon. 19th May 2013.

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1.  Star Trek Into Darkness is perhaps not as light as the first installment of J.J. Abrams Star Trek but then the title suggests that anyway so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Great cast, Benedict as a bastard works brilliantly and some scenes are so genuinely tender that I cried space tears. I saw this at The Aubin in Shoreditch which is now my favourite cinema, blog to follow.

2. Despite this track being uploaded to YouTube three weeks ago it only came to my attention this week thanks to Shaun Keaveny on 6 Music. Jerk Ribs by Kelis has to be a contender for best song title this year.

Lich

3. Despite the Lichtenstein: A Retrospective gracing Tate Modern since February I’ve only just managed to visit. I have seen this before (or a very close version of it) at The Guggenheim another lifetime ago. I love his wit and nod to other artists as well as his unique way of expressing what he see’s. Much needed inspiration as I’ve just purchased some acrylics to get back into painting. Oh, and now I want blue hair.

4. I always associate Vampire Weekend with the summer. It’s more their specific sound than a particular memory. So their third album release, Modern Vampires Of The City, is helping me cope with getting the winter coat back out of the cupboard earlier this week. Another solid album from the New Yorker’s.

Interesting Old Faces and Bright Sci-Fi Lights

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The past month or so I’ve struggled with my writing. I wouldn’t describe it as a block. More like the creative part of me was grinding to a halt and I couldn’t find inspiration. About a week ago I honestly thought this blog had reached its end. Maybe it was the endless winter or the soul-destroying flat hunt I’m currently involved in. I’ve been reading books at a slower pace, gone into a trance when I’ve picked up my laptop to write, left my camera at home when I should be out taking photos.

Today I decided to give myself an art overdose in the hope of being wowed and excited by something. First The Light Show at The Hayward Gallery. If you happen to be an art loving Sci-Fi fan this is an absolute must. Leo Villareal’s Cylinder II made me feel like I was stood amongst a million stars, Ivan Navarro’s Reality Show was like the bottom of Doctor Who’s Tardis had fallen out spiralling into a vortex and Olafur’s Eliasson’s Model for a timeless garden felt like I had found water on mars (strobing unreal droplets hopping and falling in a pitch black room).

Leo Villareal. Cylinder II

Leo Villareal. Cylinder II

A short stroll across our dirty old river took me from a futuristic experience back to the 1920’s. The National Portrait Gallery is currently showing Man Ray Portraits. I was trying to commit every photo and moment to memory. From the seventeen year-old boy freaking out at the sight of what I can only describe as a healthy bush of pubic hair on Meret Oppenheim (“that’s just weird!!”).  To moments when I found myself welling up at photos of his lovers (Kiki and Lee Miller) and wife Juliet. The one constant thought in my head throughout the whole exhibition was “I think we have less interesting faces now”, which is a testament to Man Ray but perhaps doesn’t say much about my fellow Londoners. I include myself in this of course, especially standing in front of his portrait of Virginia Woolf. I have a terribly dull face in comparison.

I’ll end this post with Man Ray’s words of encouragement to his niece Naomi Savage when she started her own creative journey. It struck the right chord today.

“You don’t need a huge audience. You only need five or six people who care, and there to encourage you… Don’t worry about idealism and practicality… Try to get paid for what you do, and don’t worry if you don’t. Just keep on working. You’ll make up for it time.” 

Sunday Swoon. February 17th 2013.

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1. The extremely generous 6 Music put on another set of free gigs at Maida Vale Studios and I was lucky enough to be front row with Jo for Richard Hawley on Valentines day (unlucky with camera’s picking up geeky side profile whoops and clapping shots). I loved the acerbic wit and cynicism from Hawley as much as I enjoyed watching him perform. All his albums hold a special place in my heart and it was perfect to finally see him live in such an intimate setting. Photo’s from the session on my Flickr.

2. Everyone I know adored Silver Linings Playbook, so like the book snob I am I decided to read the original book by Matthew Quick first. It’s a beautiful read, full of charming flaws and beautiful intimate moments. I would highly recommend it. I watched the film shortly after finishing it. The credits should read “really loosely based on the book”. Even small but significant moments in the book were eradicated or changed for no reason I could grasp (like a song choice which has important narrative attached to it for example). I would advise anyone to read the original and ditch the film.

3. After stumbling into the John Peel tent during Glastonbury 2011 and being hypnotised by Darwin Deez live I have been itching to see him again. He was in my top 5 at Glastonbury that year, a unique performer. Last week at Heaven (to a remarkably young audience, or I’m getting terribly old) he immediately transported me back to a very happy place. Who doesn’t love insane but tightly choreographed dance routines littered through their gig!

4. Vic Reeves has an art exhibition at The Strand Gallery called Hot Valve Leak: Visual Ramblings of Vic Reeves. And it is a ramble. At times bonkers and at other times classic seaside scenes. It shows there is more depth to him than what we grew up with on TV. The exhibition is free and worth a visit for inspiration and giggles.

5. On the day Foals third album Holy Fire was released I was lucky enough to be wedged in front of the tiny stage at Rough Trade East with friends to watch them perform live. The new songs sound gigantic live, like no room can contain them. It was also beautiful to hear Spanish Sahara at the end of the set. Adore this band deeply, and My Number has to rival any song as an “it’s over” anthem.

Sunday Swoon. February 3rd 2013.

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1. Another new track from Suede. It Starts And Ends With You makes me even more hopeful that Bloodsports will be an album harking back to one of my best bands on form. A reunion that gets my blessing. A rare thing.

Proof that ugly looking things taste beautiful. Mussels.

Proof that ugly looking things taste beautiful. Mussels.

2. This may be a betrayal to the fishing town I grew up in but the Mussel Men fed me the most amazing Mussels I have ever tasted in my entire life. A day later and I’m still thinking about them. They popped up at Brew 4 Two in Hackney this weekend to serve Mussels, Frites and Prosecco. I highly recommend stalking them via twitter or their website to make sure you book up.

3. I have just finished Capital by John Lanchester. One of those chunky books you find yourself flying through but can’t put your finger on why you’re itching to find out the ending. The characters are at times selfish, spoilt and self-absorbed but I found myself wanting to find out their fate in the tale of Pepys Road.

4. Album of the week goes to Local Natives with Hummingbird. Beautifully emotive, a mature progression from their debut offering and perfect for the evenings as it slowly gets lighter. Listen to it if you like Grizzly Bear during the Blue Hour.

5. Hauser & Wirth present Bruce Nauman’s mindfuck. Definitely worth visiting if you are passing through central London and don’t suffer from Epilepsy (his art works contain constant neon strobing). I love light installations and the main piece really is hypnotising.