From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Art

Sunday Swoon. 17th November 2013.

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1. Tuesday evening we dolled up at the Roundhouse for Arcade Fire, The Reflektors. Red lipstick and a crown of black feathers round my head we were amongst people in outright fancy dress, face paints, mariachi band and sadly the downright dull (those rigid in their seats around us, not so much as twitching into a grin). The view from the seats was amazing, we danced regardless of the dullards & the choreographed crowd dancing to We Exist was utterly moving to behold. Beautiful evening and a good excuse to post their video from the YouTube awards recently.

Clet Abraham in London

Clet Abraham in London

2. Once Clet Abraham catches the corner of your eye it seems impossible not to notice his signs. Like those who haven’t walked along the road with their eyes fixed on their phones suddenly have a clarity of mind to keep their eyes peeled and look up, you will be rewarded. And every single one will make you smile secretly. He has truly caught my attention and heart, glad he has graced our London streets.

3. Indie guitar bands are very much nudging their way back to the forefront of the music scene (thanks to the likes of TOY, Tame Impala and Temples). All the T’s. The latter played Camden’s Electric Ballroom on Friday and were great to see live. Frontman James Edward Bagshaw looking like a man quietly confident and resplendent in glittering sequins.

Anthony Burrill.

Anthony Burrill.

4. The KK Outlet on Hoxton Square currently have an exhibition of Anthony Burrill’s work on, I Like It. What Is It? Most known for the above piece, created after he heard an elderly lady speaking to someone in a supermarket. Sound advice to live by.

5. TV is no longer an event, just one inane programme after the other with the occasional bit of brilliance dropped in (Luther, The Escape Artist, Misfits). In a week Doctor Who will celebrate its 50th anniversary and it will be a huge event, few programmes could create such excitement. And if you did miss it for some bizarre reason (and what a well-kept secret) watch the mini episode released this week. The Night of the Doctor. I dare you not to gasp, grin and go giddy.

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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.

Sunday Swoon. May 12th 2013.

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Due to gallivanting around Dartmoor and Brixham and lack of internet access this is more of a fortnightly round-up.

1. The first book I read as an East London resident was A Hoxton Childhood by A.S Jasper. An honest and frank account of growing up poor in 1920’s from the voice of an ordinary man. No romanticising the past. It could have been wrote by my Dad from the stories he’s told me and he read the entire book in a matter of hours when I passed it on to him. A beautiful message in the book and interesting to read about the streets that now surround me.

“Be thankful that you were born now and not then. Go forward, but try to be tolerant of your parents along the way”. A.S Jasper.

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2. If you ever find yourself in Torbay the only place to have seafood is Simply Fish in Brixham. Menu is dictated by availability from the boats straight in from fishing at a quarter of the price you’d pay in London. Queues rival that of restaurants such as Meat Liquor. My favourite dish is their Tempura Cuttlefish (pictured above). Managed to fit three visits in during my visit home.

3. Janelle Monae is back with Q.U.E.E.N featuring Erykah Badu. Adore everything about this woman and still lament the day I got sidetracked by an ice cream van playing 90’s dance music at Glastonbury and missed her. Makes me want to quiff my hair and deal in monochrome only.

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4. Before the Devon adventures and in between moving house I managed to sneak in a couple of trips to Pick Me Up London. Just as inspiring, inventive and batty as it was when I first attended last year. I’d highly recommend signing up to the mailing list so you don’t miss out on it next year.

5. Hot on the heels of (the superior, let’s face it) Daft Punk comes a new track from Basement Jaxx which really minds me of Friends Va Fan Gor Du. Getting my dance on.

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.”