Washington DC, dawn 2003. “Record digger” Dori Hadar was hunting for rare vinyl at a local fleamarket, when he discovered boxes containing 38 albums by an unknown soul singer named Mingering Mike. “Can Minger Mike Stevens Really Sing?” screamed a hand-painted cover in bold capitals. “The Outsiders are Back” proclaimed another. The collection was comprehensive, including several greatest hits albums, free single giveaways, a Bruce Lee tribute album and collaborations.
But why was Mingering Mike such an unknown, when he had a huge body of work behind him, recorded under numerous labels such as Mother Goose and Fake Records? As Hadar began to delve deeper into the boxes, he realised that the discs, far from being in poor condition and scratched, were actually pristine – and made of cardboard. Whoever had made them had taken enormous care to paint the cardboard black, draw on grooves, and create an entire recording career, all in their imagination. Continue reading LifeStories – Mingering Mike→
A couple of weekends ago I took an afternoon trip to the lovely Wallington, Northumberland, a grand National Trust Palladian mansion with an interesting – and political – history. As the rest of the UK was gearing up for the General Election, Wallington turned the clocks back to the 1929 election, when the house’s owner at the time, Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, stood as the Newcastle Central Labour candidate for the second time. Through a series of installations and displays throughout the house and gardens, “VOTE” told the story of Charles’ political career and socialist aspirations. As I wondered around the house, I stumbled across a room entitled “Utopia HQ”, where Sir Charles’ former estate office had been transformed by the awesome November Club into his 1929 campaign HQ. Continue reading Utopia HQ→
If you live in the Northern hemisphere like me, you’ll be more than ready to throw off your winter blues, and with them your cosy, snuggly blankets and pillows, and let some Spring lightness and brightness in.
I’ve bought a couple of things from Made over the past couple of years – their designs are just so different to anything on the high street (that I could afford). Two years later and I’m still in love with the Pierre Paul Pariseau limited edition printed canvas which hangs in my living room:
John Holcroft is an English illustrator who grew up in the Northern counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, where he spent most of his childhood “drawing, painting and making stuff from what ever I could find”. John’s illustrations offer a peek into the world of an extraordinarily creative mind with the ability to sum up modern society’s woes within a single colourful illustration. Here are my current favourites – check out more at www.johnholcroft.com.Continue reading Colour me Friday: The Extraordinary World of John Holcroft→
Yellow, that notoriously-avoided-by-brunettes shade, is predicted to be BIG this year, and has been widely seen in recent fashion weeks – both S/S 2015 and A/W 2015. It was on tops, coats, skirts and scarves at J. Crew; shoes, jewellery and dresses at Mary Katrantzou; coats and bags at Michael Kors; and a bit bonkers at Vivienne Westwood.
Great – but how do I, as a normal human (brunette), wear yellow? I tend to avoid it like the plague because it -well – makes me look like I have the plague. OK, not the plague, but as I have olive skin I’ve always thought it would make me look sallow and sickly. Well, following my triumph with one of my new year’s resolutions last year – “try yellow eyeshadow” (for which I can heartily recommend Clarins Sunny Yellow) – the key for me will be to avoid what I would describe as “1980s C&A pale pastel lemon” (memories of a bargain sale oversized-and-not-in-a-good-way pale lemon blouson ski jacket still haunt me). Continue reading Colour me Friday – How to Wear Yellow→
Elsa Schiaparelli(1890–1973) was an Italian fashion designer, affectionally known as Schiap. Between the two World Wars, she was arguably as powerful and influential as Coco Chanel – and yet today, while Chanel remains a huge and iconic fashion force, dominating magazines and catwalks, Schiap languishes as a footnote in fashion history. So who was this intriguing woman? And just how big is her almost forgotten legacy? Using bold patterns, geometric shapes and collaborations with Dali and Cocteau, Schiap fused the worlds of art and fashion together in a way that is widely accepted today, but was beyond avant garde at the time. Think Alexander McQueen, Peter Pilotto and Raf Simons – now imagine a woman doing this in the middle of the last century. She was closely associated with the Dada and Surrealist movements, and her most famous creation, the beautiful Lobster Dress, could easily be worn today. Continue reading LifeStories: Elsa Schiaparelli→
I love rusty old things and I’ve been collecting them for a few years, in the form of photos, rusty shapes from RE, and random finds. My favourite was an old rusty metal house I found a few years ago in a burnt-out bonfire on an abandoned gypsy site, and kept it for a while. Not knowing how to clean it up, I eventually threw it away, fool! I could have used one of these methods.
My job often takes me to old industrial sites, which frequently turn out to be a source of inspiration. I’m attracted to the story behind these objects, their changing textures and colours, and above all the fact that, in many cases, it was the act of abandonment which eventually caused them to be beautiful. I took these photos in the storage area of a steam railway yard and at an old coal mine, both in the north-east of England, and on trips to Bosnia-Herzegovena; Provence, France; The City of the Dead, Cairo, Egypt; and Woodstock, NY and Portland, Maine, USA.
I was just thinking about how much I love bright colours, and I thought what better way to celebrate a whole two days free of work (apologies for those who work weekends!) than with some beautiful, colourful art from artists I’ve recently discovered. Oh, and I might also manage to celebrate Friday with a little nip of my niece’s Christmas vodka.
Enjoy, and don’t forget to check out the links to these artists if you’d like an extra portion of happy colour!