From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Art

Sunday Swoon. February 17th 2013.

with 2 comments

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.

Advertisements

Sunday Swoon. February 3rd 2013.

leave a comment »

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.

Sunday Swoon. November 25th

leave a comment »

Two weeks rolled into one (less time to blog now my boss sits next to me as opposed to another country).

1. Villagers released their video for Nothing Arrived earlier in the week, the second from their yet to be released album Awayland (countdown to January 14th ticks by slowly). A day in the life of Terence Bliss. A bleak video for a beautiful song.

Gods Own Junkyard

2. Beak Street is lit up in a far better way than any bog standard Christmas decorations could achieve. Open until January Gods Own Junkyard exhibits and sells pieces from Chris Bracey’s collection spanning three decades. His work is instantly recognisable, even if you don’t know his name. His pieces have been used in Vogue shoots and Martin Creed. Londoner’s may recognise him from The Breakfast Club and MC Motors in Dalston. Also, the heat from all the bulbs make it toasty warm if you need a quick warm up.

 

3. Florence Welch ceases the bohemian ballerina act for a bit of gritty acting with Dark Knight Rises actor Ben Mendelsohn in her video for Lover to Lover. Hazily shot and refreshing to see a different tone to her videos.

4. I have a soft spot for The Killers (along with my Mum and 6 Music’s Shaun Keaveny) and I went along to seem them at the 02 last weekend with the one I am related to. Whatever your opinions may be they are a great band live and no snobbishness when deciding the set list. Five tracks from Hot fuss in total. Don’t pretend that you didn’t love that album.

5. The new Caitlin Rose song, No One To Call, is instantly warming. You can listen to it on The Line of Best Fit site here.

Sunday Swoon. October 21st

leave a comment »

Derek Jarman teaches me a lesson, mothers ruin and some stunning music…

1. You can always rely on Jack White  to come up with beautiful music videos (even if slightly dark and gothic in tone). For I’m Shakin’ we get double Jack in moody blues and blacks. I will never tire of the way he pronounces the word nervous in this track and the subtle colour flicks and changes (nail varnishes changing colours, gloopy blue tears to black) are a joy to spot.

2. As Derek Jarman slowly went blind during his battle against AIDS he wrote Chroma. His love letter to the colours he painted his life with. Yes it is sad, tragic and moving. But more than that it is a lesson to us all, a reminder that looking is not truly seeing. He has made me use my eyes again. “I wrote this book in the absence of time. If I have overlooked something you hold precious – write it in the margin…. I know that my colours are not yours”

3. Despite scrambling to sign up for The Gin Club in Soho’s Star at Night on the day it was announced it has taken me an age to make the pilgrimage to sup on mothers ruin. It was worth the wait and will be a new favourite haunt. Perfect Autumnal setting, cosy and candlelit.

4. Bat for Lashes released The Haunted Man this week. Regular readers here will know I adore her music and all that she stands for (on this instance not just ethereal beautiful music but for appearing in the buff, not a scrap of make up on the album cover). This album perfectly suits this time of year, soundtrack to my autumn.

5. I won’t say anything about Beasts of the Southern Wild other than to say it takes a lot to get me to a cinema so if I recommend a film then it’s usually meant a lot to me, and it’s likely that it’s made me cry. No spoilers. Just that it’s beautifully shot and reminds you of all we’re meant to find precious in life.

Sunday Swoon. October 14th

leave a comment »

I have a new favourite author, there’s a new Rolling Stones track floating across the airwaves, I visited Bedlam and I danced my socks off at a gig. Not a bad week all in all…

1. This week LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits was released on DVD. Despite my love of music I’m rarely a fan of live DVDs but this is so much more than standard concert footage. It’s emotional and will serve as a comfort blanket for fans now that LCD have called it a day. I suggest watching it drunk with friends, setting off confetti cannons in your living room while fighting back the tears. Just typing this makes me feel sad. I was at their last ever UK gig, had I been at their last ever gig I’d have been a dancing mess.

2. If I wasn’t in the middle of a frantic job hunt I’d have bought up every David Sedaris book this week after reading When You Are Engulfed In Flames. I have done myself a great literary injustice in only just discovering him and feel like the world has been keeping a secret from me (especially as most of my friends seem to have known about him for years). If you want to smile and laugh at the turn of every page seek him out.

3. Any man who can pull off a full tasselled cape with shoulder embellishments without once breaking into even a smirk is impressive. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs was fabulous at Shepherds Bush Empire this week. Plenty of glittery string and ticker tape being fired at the crowd, fantastic light show and euphoric music made it feel a bit NYE.

4. Steve Lazarides Minotaur exhibition under the Old Vic Tunnels last year was a London highlight. This year he has created Bedlam for free and it was equally bonkers and brilliant. Eerie, playful, sad, relaxing (yes, relaxing. Lying under Doug Foster’s hypnotic video installation yet again my highlight). Photo’s from the evening are on my Flickr page.

5. The Rolling Stones graced the world with a new track called Doom and Gloom this week, which raises my expectations of them being at Glastonbury even higher. I asked Twitter what they thought of it, my favourite response was “it’s OK, they’ve done better”. Like everyone was going to think “Oh yeah, completely forgot about Street Fighting Man, Angie, Paint It Black… What was I thinking!” Of course they’ve done better, that’s not the point. The point is it’s not bad at all, and how amazing that they all still want to record together after all these years? Pipe down naysayers.

Sunday Swoon. April 1st

with 2 comments

A week where I finished a book full of freaks and loved them all, spent hours being wowed by graphic art at Somerset House and discovered Afternoon Shift…

1. When I first started reading Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love I tweeted that I was more than a little disturbed by it. Thankfully people convinced me to persist. Yes it stems from a slightly sick and twisted imagination but the result makes the ugliest of things quite beautiful. It’s like the love child of Angela Carter and Neil Gaiman.

2. Something had to come along to stop my brain shouting “GRIMES” at me every time I paused when deciding what album to put on. Grinderman 2 RMX appears, for the moment, to be that album. The Joshua Homme remix of Mickey Bloody Mouse is something quite special. I can be guilty of dismissing remix albums as lazy but this doesn’t lack in imagination and is brilliantly produced. You can listen to is on Spotify here.

3. The Daily Mash had me in hysterics over their festival for twats piece this week. If there was ever an article I wish had come from my brain it could be this one.

4. Somerset House have hosted a contemporary graphic art fair called Pick Me Up. Thanks to good egg Jo I was able to cram in on the final day and was completely overwhelmed by the standard of artists on display. Oh to be rich and snap everything up. From Paul X Johnson’s soft and romantic figures to Zim & Zou’s paper Polaroid camera’s. Extensive, vast, varied and washed down with coffee and ham and piccalilli rolls.This really deserves a post of its own, you can find photos on my Flickr.

5. Huge thanks to @goodstufftom who put me on to Afternoon Shift this week. I will use his words “informative, clever and not stuffy at all”. For radio fans please give it a listen

**Follow me on Twitter here***

Sunday Swoon. March 4th

with 2 comments

A book about an anti-hero, a lot of art, some cocktails and brilliant music….

1. Huge thanks to Jo for bringing this book to my attention, this is Anna Richards first novel and it’s stunning. Can’t wait to see what her imagination conjures up next. If you love an anti-hero (heroine in this case) then I recommend Little Gods. The entire way through the book I felt such hope for someone who has no hope for herself at all. Beautiful.

“Happiness should come with a warning. A brightly coloured label at least.”.  

                                                                                                                                – Anna Richards

2. Don’t be fooled by Jeremy Deller’s (Joy In People, Hayward Gallery) fluorescent acid house posters, there’s serious social messages playing hard throughout his retrospective. The 1984 miners strike coverage and the wreckage of a bombed car from Baghdad  especially slapping me in the face after spending time in front of neon posters depicting lyrics from The Smiths drinking free tea. David Shrigley’s (Brain Activity, Hayward Gallery) crudely drawn and hysterically funny quips always have me howling with laughter at the sick, mundane and plain obvious. Yayoi Kusama took me through her groundbreaking confident pop art to more fragile pieces after she hospitalised herself in 1977 (it still remains her home). Ultimately it was her Infinity Room that I wanted to curl up in be left in solitude. Amazing afternoon along London’s Southbank. London is out doing itself with exhibitions this year and we’re only three months in.

3. Oh bright young thing Lianne Le Havas you have utterly stolen my heart. Her EP Forget was released this week and if you haven’t purchased it yet then I highly recommend you stick your hands in your pockets. Soulful and sweet.

4. Bury me in a mound of Hawksmoor’s smashed cucumbers and shaky pete’s ginger brew and I think I’ll be happy in eternity. We went to the soft launch of their new cocktail bar in the basement of their Spitalfields branch Saturday night . Hawksmoor must be quietly confident that everything they touch turns into THE place to go and this latest edition will add to their empire. Glimmering brass and flickering candles soften the basement and the staff positively set off indoor fireworks. Service comes with charm, relaxed smile and a natural friendliness. Soundtrack felt like they’d plugged my iPod in and at a volume where you could chat with ease. Food was expertly cooked, burgers served in brioche buns, poutine and triple cooked chips. Cocktail combinations were zingy, worryingly moreish and far from your average uninspiring mojitos.

5. I wish I could give you a detailed account of the Sleigh Bells gig at Camden’s Electric Ballroom but truth be told I was gin drunk. I do have a vivid recollection of dancing a lot and being transfixed with Alexis Krauss performance. I can’t imagine she’s that rehearsed or calculated for her striking silhouettes to be so intentional, she’s just a natural performer, knows how to dance with an energy rivalling Iggy Pop and has potential to be a great, great frontwoman.  

**I’m over on Twitter. Find me here***