Archive for the ‘London nights’ Category

Ooops; I forgot to blog, my bad.

November 26, 2008
MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

MILk - Sean Penn as the Milk Man

Argh; I haven’t written anything for the longest time.

It is an annoying irony of blogging – and diaries in general – that the more you do, the less time you have to document it.

I have been busy every single night this week – and actually was double booked for tonight – so freaked out and stayed at home. (Well, kinda – I visited an old friend and went to Pogo for a Punk burger.)

Yesterday I saw Lemon Tree, the uber-PC Israeli film that launched the UK Jewish film festival here last week and on Monday I saw Gus Van Sant’s MILK. MILK is awesome; so fucking ripe what with all this Prop 8 bullshit.

MILK - getting the campaign started

MILK - getting the campaign started


Sean Penn is totally great in it; and I hate Penn as much as anyone else with a sense of humour. But, then again, he did made Vedder-fest, Into The Wild and he and I seem to love Emile Hirsch (now that’s a decent German name) as much as each other so I guess I was starting to give the guy another go.
But, seriously, he’s wonderful as Harvey Milk – totally charming, cute, passionate, dedicated to his righteous cause.

Old skool womens Mag

Women's Mags; they'll make you fat and lonely

Spare Rib - awesome!

Spare Rib - awesome!

Erm, what else have I done? Oh yes – Saturday I went to the Woman’s Library in Whitechapel as my friend had put my name down for the Study Day about woman’s magazine through the ages.

It was SO great to be in an academic setting, talking seriously about pop culture. I miss that! And, the best thing? All the ‘old women’ and Sue O’Sullivan (co-editor of Spare Rib 1979 to 1984).

Seriously, I’m 24, and I was like, the youngest. I was so enthused to see and meet these retired women who although over 60, were lecturers, private tutors or studying themselves.

Every coffee break (NB – good biscuits) saw me meet another amazing woman, inlcuding a member of DIVA’s editorial team (deffo below 60) and a cognitive therapist (over 60.)

NOVA

NOVA

I was also introduced to NOVA magazine – old issues of which look totally cutting edge even today.

Anyway, more about that later – I’m going to watch Gregg Araki‘s TOTALLY FUCKED UP now and I can’t wait – even though it’s really bed time…

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures

Totally Fucked UP - Pecadillo Pictures

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DA! squat, Upper Grovesnor Street

November 12, 2008

On Friday the papers went nuts for the new Da! squat in Upper Grovesnor Street, W1.

The dichotomy of the location, plus the media-friendliness of the squatters was a hack’s dream. And the new Michelin-starred restaurant Corrigan‘s Mayfair across the road made it all the more perfect.

While TV chef Richard Corrigan has been quoted saying he was outraged at the DA group’s new home, on Friday night his restaurant had actually placed a table for two outside for DA’s ‘spokeswoman’, Stephanie Smith to dine.

Stephanie Smith lets us in
When I cycled up the house that evening, the squat sounded like it was screaming as all the alarms had suddenly gone off all at once. I saw the Corrigan’s ‘reserved’ outside table and witnessed a stressed-out Stephanie say: “look, I haven’t got time for your fucking souffle, I’m sorry!” as she dealt with the party, the alarms and the invitation to Michelin-starred dinner.

Bloody hell – this is going to be good I thought. We met one guy we kinda knew, Joel, who greeted us almost equally as stressed as Stephanie. He, like many of the collective inside, was grumbling because of all the press covergae their party had had. It was on the homepage of the Guardian and front page of the Evening Standard and got spreads in the Daily Mail and the Mail On Sunday.

Stephanie and silver bird

Stephanie and silver bird

Anyway, I can’t remember exactly how many floors there wer – say five? – but it was amazing to get a peek round the listed-building. There’s rumours that the house is owned by a Middle Eastern royal family, but because no one can get hold of those that manage the leasehold, Delta Land (registered in the British Virgin Islands), no one can check to be sure. Boy are they going to be in for a shock when they pick up a paper.

The party, however, was really very staid considering all the press attention it got. We were knackered so didn’t stay after midnight (when it was predicted to really take off), but did see bits and bobs of art going on in all the rooms. All the windows had projections, which lit the house up from Corrigan’s opposite.

Class War Bonfire

November 9, 2008

On 5th November, it was obviously Bonfire Night.

We may no longer live in Hackney but knew we weren’t going to miss out on Class War’s infamously fantastic London Fields Bonfire.

We were very excited thanks to this video:

But when got there there were police everywhere. They’d confiscated firewood, saying that if you lit your own firewood it was ‘criminal damage’ and if you took firewood out it was ‘theft‘.

We gathered around the Pub On The Park, feeling somewhat intimidated by the two CCTV/riot vans and the police lined up outside them.

They tried to bar us from using one entrance into the (public) park, but people just used another.

While the rozzas had snatched most people’s fireworks, some smart revellers had distributed them around the park. So, whenever the police got close and a scuffle between them and the anarcho-types, the smart folk would set off a firework.

Class War Bonfire 2008

Class War Bonfire 2008

Not wanting to get nicked (although I thought: that’ll get me out of going to work in the morning), I kept to the sidelines (which was becoming increasingly tough as the riot police were penning us in a circle). The sidelines tended to be where the smart folk where lighting their fires so I kept having near misses. Just about kept my eyebrows though. And eventually I learned to listen out for ‘ watch out to your left, mate‘.

When innocent folk are scrabbling with the police just for the right to hold a sparkler on bonfire night, you can’t help feeling fucking elated when an ‘illegal’ firework pops off right above their heads, even if does singe you on the way up.

Whenever a firework broke through some people would yell ‘Class war!’ but to little avail.

Class War Bonfire 2008

Class War Bonfire 2008

At the start there musta been around 200 people, but as it became increaisnlgy obvious that the police would rather pepper spray people than let them start a fire, the crowd dispersed. By 10pm, standing around near the undercover cops was getting a bit boring, but then one police dude said ‘time to go,the park it closing.’

Of course there are no gates and the park is actually a public right of way, but the police weren’t interested in the facts. So anyway, since they told us to leave, we had to stay.

And we did that for a bit. But then it got cold and all bu the hardcore had dispersed to we went to our friends’ nearby squat where we had flapjack and beer. He and his housemates are getting evicted at the end of the month, which is sad – their space is lovely. (And warm!)

But really, what I wanted to express was my disappointment in the ‘anarchist movement’. It seriously was farcical. Yes, there were (marginally) more anarcho-types than police, but as I said before people would yell ‘class war!’ to no response. Factions (of like, two) would start singing songs, and stop after a line or two because no one was joining in.

If we were in some tiny Welsh village, I woulda been stoked at the crowd. But this is fucking London. This is the annual bonfire of Class War! And it was more like a Monty Python sketch. One woman yelled the standard ‘class war!’ and some one else replied ‘yer what?’ and I burst out laughing. It was just ridiculous.

Now, I’m no paid-up Class War member but why weren’t there more people at the non-bonfire?

It was quite unsettling. When political stuff goes wrong, as invariably it does, you always think : oh well, I won’t protest, there’s class war and the committed anarchists who’ll do it for me. But nope. Turns out everyone was thinking the same thing. ….

Macroprosopus Dancehall Band at the ICA

November 6, 2008

There I was, transcribing an interview, when my hubby comes back all outta breath from Brick Lane Bike Polo.

I’m going to see Juliana do some art tonight, Mikey says she’s going to cover herself in microphones and roll around on the ground.”

I look up from the bed from which I have been slobbing out in all day, dressed in squat clothes I stole from our old house in Notting Hill.

Juliana is the brains behind Thing (see below), so there was no way I was gonna miss out on tonight’s event.

Julianas most amazing thing (2004)

Juliana's most amazing 'thing' (2004)

Well, get me on the guestlist,” I said. “I am coming to that.”

A few phone calls and a plate of reheated vegan chilli later, and we were riding across the river to my fave London venue, the ICA.

We got there just before eight only to find Juliana stressed out before the show. ‘I don’t know if we can get you in, but we’ll try,‘ she says, explaining that tonight she will not be covering herself in mics, but, in fact,using kitchen cutlery and a cheese grater to add to the ambiance. As you do.

She is part of the group of around 30 women who’s visceral noise was to close the ICA’s six-month long Nought To Sixty exhibition.

Plan B‘s Frances Morgan and Leopard Leg founder, (I think) Maya-Victoria Kjellstrand orchestrated the thing, which was meant to resemble the noise of animals swarming using the vocal power and techy noodling of a lot of impassioned women.

It really was a lot better than I’m describing.

Think Leopard Leg (if you saw them) meets the neo-tribal sounds of Gang Gang Dance without any of the pretensions. Oh and this. It was droning, grungey, hypnotic and visceral. Awesome. I wanna be in the band!

From what I heard, the 8pm performance was 10 mins shorter than the 10pm performance, but they both turned out pretty good. We didn’t have tix for the earlier show, even though we had arrived on time for it, so we sat around drinking free beer in the foyer until they let us in the darkened room.

Some pics:

The band

The band

Drumming

Drumming

Juliana Cerqueria Leite and other band members

Juliana Cerqueria Leite and other band members

Buck Launch Party: It starts here!

November 6, 2008
Bucks fashion team parties hard

Buck's fashion team parties hard

Buck magazine is finally on sale now.

Having pushed staid men’s monthly, Arena out of the bigger Tesco shops, the magazine run by Steve Doyle who has no previous publishing experience but a whole lot of love and clearly quite some cash, is ready to take over the world!

Bucks first issue, November 2008

Buck's first issue, November 2008

On Wednesday, I went to the multi-floored House of St Barnabas-in-Soho, on Greek street for the launch party. Orange-haired French hairdresser to the stars, Charlie Le Mindu (check out his website – it’s awesome!) held a short-lived pop-up salon.

The light was bad so he decided not to cut or shave but style, which was good enough for his clients.

See below for his re-styling of Sonya’s fiery barnet.

When Charlie met Sonia

When Charlie met Sonya

It’s great to see that in a climate that has seen monthly glossies drained of advertising money even pre-recession, that a former finance dude who just loves Japanese and good food is determined to make a new monthly work.

Good luck Buck!

Novice Theory on Jools Holland

November 1, 2008

Thanks to Owen for flagging up the fact that my new favourite musician, Novice Theory was on Jools Holland’s tv programme last night, and will be on Iplayer for a week.

Geo Wyeth on Jools

Geo Wyeth on Jools

On a line-up that included Grace Jones and Razorlight (!), Geo Wyeth played ‘About The Dream’ in a darkened studio with just a spotlight. After his performance, Jools said his producer had seen Novice Theory ina  show recently (‘Lustre’, obviously) and have been so blown away they’d booked him for the programme.

Props to the Jools producers!

Geo starts to sing

Geo starts to sing

Manifesto Marathon at The Serpentine Gallery

October 19, 2008

I am exhausted. I’ve been sitting in the cold for 20 hours since Saturday (with a few hours snuck off for sleep) at the Frank Gehry pavilion at The Serpentine.

I’ve seen everybody from Vivienne Westwood (and the skinny, clattering circus that follows her), Gilbert and George, Tom Mc Carthy (more of him later), Taryn Simon , and about an hour ago, the surreal finale that was Terence Koh.

Dressed in head to toe black, with a structured rubber poncho, black tights, tight black skirts and thigh high PVC boots, Terence garbled in his own language riddled with fantastic gestures fro straight pointing to drawing on the floor with his hands, as a mishmash of images from war to gay porn) whizzed past on the screen.

Oh – more later, I’m too exhausted.

Here are some pics of the highlights – all photos credited to the husband, Chris Reed.

Hans Ulrich Obrist talks to Timo Sehgal

Hans Ulrich Obrist talks to Timo Sehgal

My fave, K8 Hardy:

New York City artist, K8 Hardy snuggled up in the Pavillion

New York City artist, K8 Hardy snuggled up in the Pavillion

Terence Koh:

Terence Koh closes the two-day marathon

Terence Koh closes the two-day marathon

Justin Bond’s ‘Lustre’ and Novice Theory in London

October 15, 2008
Justin Bond in New York I presume

Justin Bond

The hubby and I braved the pesky rain to get our fix of transvestite cabaret, courtesy of Justin Bond and pals at the Soho Theatre last night.

Justin Bond, one half of Kiki and Herb, first entered my radar (gaydar?) thanks to John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus. (see video clip here).

He played the madam of this wild DUMBA sex-den which allowed people to get their freakiest of freaks on, while he match-made and sang.

he’s great. Kinda mistake-laden, he nevertheless sang with feeling, gave some cracking insights into her world (“trans people are the closes thing to God because of their potential to be anything”) and reminded me of the difficulty in climbing on a piano elegantly in a mini-skirt when you don’t want anyone to see your crotch.

But it was Novice Theory who blew me the fuck out of my seat and into his arms. Creaking down the theatre’s stairway, accordion in hand and ripped, Oliver Twist-style suit.

Novice Theory is the first of three guests that fill Bond’s Lustre show, and I hadn’t realised they were all trans.

After the show, I bought his CD for a fiver (I never do that!), so smitten was I with his one song, ‘About The Dream’.

The song – pure vocal prowess and accordion made me think of one of my fave films of 2007, Into The Wild (almost ruined by Eddy Vedder’s gross soundtrack) and Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006). The forlorn lyrics, his disheveled alter-ego lost-boy look and the pure acoustics (no mics, just squeezebox and voice) would have been a perfect addition to Into The Wild‘s soundtrack.

Emile Hirsch - Into The Wild

Emile Hirsch - Into The Wild

To see how versatile his style is see The D Word’s three tracks – they couldn’t be more different from the album, ‘In The End We Listen’ which is what I bought and is on his myspace.

He’s a video from Homophonic, talking about Viktor Shklovsky and art as interruption. I can’t embed it so I’ll drive traffic to Homophonic’s site. It’s a really great video.

Novice Theory - H/she misses rap, but his/her accordion playing rules

Novice Theory - H/she misses rap, but his/her accordion playing rules

Oh – and interestingly, Yale-educated Geo Wyeth (aka Novice Theory, former rapper turned everything else really), is also ‘bi-racial’ as his ma was African-American and his dad was white. (I wonder if he’s also Jewish, due to his song Yom Kippur on the album.)

Anyway, in the above video, he discusses it all. It’s a rare example of an in-depth interview and the goddamn opposite of what I had with Joanus Cuaron the other day.

Except that after a great interview, I’ve just noticed that in a performance of the song Vignettes, the bleep out the lyric ‘nigger‘, which is totally unacceptable. You can’t mess with the dude’s art!

Here’s some WAY different recordings of him: http://www.thedword.com/geo.html

Sugar at the London Film Festival

October 14, 2008

Friday was so fun.

Jonas Curaon - hes so cute.

Jonas Curaon - he's so cute.

I began my day talking to Alfonso Cuarón’s son Jonás, who had made the startlingly modern, Año Uña which hits cinemas next week. Dressed in a blue suit, and contentedly talking to journo after journo asking the same questions (what’s it like to have a famous dad?), he was uber-articulate but nevertheless, I didn’t really feel like I ‘cracked’ him.

I asked quetions, he gave me answers, but we didn’t bond in the way the best interviews allow – which is weird, I thought, since he’s only a year older than me.

Anyway, after that, I cycled back South to meet a friend for the BFI screening of Sugar, as part of the London Film Festival.

Having not read my notes, I had persuaded my pal to come on the proviso that we’d be watching a documentary about basketball players, like Madball but with legs. Whoops. No, it’s a scripted film about a trained baseball player from the Dominican Republic who is recruited to play the Minor Leagues in the USA.

I was also really excited to see that it was made by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the team behind 2006’s Half Nelson, which also debuted at the London Film Festival two years ago.

Algenis Perez Soto (Sugar), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Algenis Perez Soto (Sugar), Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

They’re a really interesting pair and make kind of preaching-to-the-converted-films about social problems   very cool way (hip soundtracks,featuring, TV on The Radio or Arcade Fire etc, great styling).

I really enjoyed Sugar, and despite its attack on the scuminess of consumerist America ( a layce that buys in talent for short-term golas and spits it out again – in this case with third-world baseball players), it made me really want to go back. And that’s not just me being a superficial sicko, it’s because I fall for things like great music, styling and story-telling.

Swoon-attack; its Ryan Golsing as distressed teacher in Half-Nelson

Swoon-attack; it's Ryan Gosling as distressed teacher in Half-Nelson

Anna and Ryan are romantics, they pick romantic, flawed leads, the impossibly handsome Ryan Gosling as the crack-addicted high school teacher in half Nelson, and Sugar, the guy who trains his whole life to play baseball and jacks it in for carpentry on a minimum wage. I fall for the leads and want to go where they go – so that’s white, liberal, trendoid Brooklyn with Ryan Gosling and back again with Sugar and his Spanish-speaking friends.

The film was too sickly for my friend, but he hates everything so ‘meh’ to him.

Secret Cinema presents a Night at The Opera

October 3, 2008
A Night At The Opera (1935)

A Night At The Opera (1935)

Secret Cinema (sponsored by Nokia) is a monthly occurrence in the capital.

Previous nights have included a screening of Lindsay Anderson’s “IF…” (funny story about that and its star Malcom McDowell to come later) in PG Wodehouse’s old school, Dulwich College and Paranoid Park in a disused rail tunnel.

The idea is that you sign up for monthly reminders of the screening, hand over your money (online) and then turn up, dressed in whatever attire they recommend.

This month it was at the Hackney Empire, which I thought sounded a bit rubbish compared to the previous events. But – there was a queue around the block to get in as I was locking the bike.

Not the Hackney Empire, but you get the idea

Not the Hackney Empire, but you get the idea

But it was totally magical – and one of the best film screenings of my life; surpassing last Friday’s midnight movies by a mile. Midnight movies is a great idea but I believe it is run by just two people, who do the best they can (and a great job at that, we djs and famous folk to pick ad introduce the screenings) but, the work invested in SECRET CINEMA is unsurpassed.

Most were dressed in their finest; 1920’s-30’s style night-time regalia and a harp player sat strumming at the top of the stars. Two women in red doled out vintage hard-boiled sweets in paper bags (rhubarb & custard! Lemon drops!) and then, once seated, two couples in opera boxes across the theatre acted out a scene from the movie.

And then we saw some Future Shorts, a silent movie with live piano accompaniment by a lovely lady in black called Lily Farthing (check out this dude, Stanley Mchale – he’s all about Lily Farthing), some  more scenes of the fothcoming movie and then – it began!

Ship cabins - you aint got money, you aint got space

Ship cabins - you ain't got money, you ain't got space

The atmosphere was great – we were all clapping after every song; more so than at Midnight Movies. I laughed so hard, I cried when the Marx brothers were fooling that cop with the old room switcheroo.

It was the best possible way to see a Marx brothers’ film ( and my first at that), which of course if secret Cinema’s point.

In much the same way that little white lies magazine expands the topic of a film in each issue, allowing the film fans who write fr  it to run wild with a theme, so its the same here. Exceeding the idea of simply reviewing or screening a film makes you learn more about it and have a freakin’ blast at the same. Horray!
Here’s how the invite read:

SECRET CINEMA LONDON.

Secret Venue, London.

Friday 3rd October, 8pm.

http://www.secretcinema.org

Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Partisans and Plebeians and the Claypool Foundation of Arts.

If we could draw your closest attention…

Secret Cinema in association with NOKIA will take place this Friday 3rd of October at 8pm at the Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London.

Please gather no later than 7.45pm at the theatre. Doors shall open at 8pm.

Dress should be majestic and wondrous for this shall be an evening of wild, wild romance, honey song, long journeys, laughter and dance.

Lords fetch your top hats. Ladies your most treasured frocks. Plebeians caps and leather shoes if you can..

Good Luck.

P.S. Remember – tell no-one.

www.secretcinema.org

SECRET CINEMA: PARTISANS – £13.50
NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE
SECRET CINEMA: PLEBEIANS – £10.00