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:

Wah Power Lunch at the ICA

October 15, 2008
The girls talk at the Wah Power Lunch, which timewise, was more like dinner time at the ICA

The girls talk at the Wah Power Lunch, which timewise, was more like dinner time at the ICA

On friday evening, girls who just wanted to have fun, network and get free goody bags clambered to the ICA for the Wah Power Lunch.

Sharmadean Reid - organiser of the Wah Power Lunch

Sharmadean Reid - organiser of the Wah Power Lunch

Organised by Sharmadean Reid, who works at bi-annual men’s mag, Arena Homme + as well as jet-setting round the world to style for sports brands, it brought together illustrator Kate Moross,, Topman senior leisurewear buyer, Hannah Burgess, Rinse FM Co-Founder, Sarah Lockhart and fashion designer, Katie Saunders under one roof.

The idea was to give the gaggle of wide-eyes girls insider tips on how to break into the fashion industry.

Katie Saunders snapped by Chris Crash

Katie Saunders snapped by Chris Crash

The youngest of the bunch, Sharmadean and Kate Moross gave the most passionate speeches; the first retelling the story of pestering The University of The Arts, London for a prospectus ever since she saw a flyer for it in her cousin’s bedroom when she was a kid, and knew she wanted to work in fashion thanks to the now-defunct BBC Clothes Show.

Kate Moross, part of Deano Jo’s Real Gold collective and self-titled “creative maestro” is just 22, but soon after finishing illustration at Wimbledon College of Art swung herself big-time commissions with ad agency Fallon, for Cadbury’s and more recently, Topshop. (See her stuff here)

It was a really fun, engaging evening. But among all the qustions fired from the girls in the crowd to those on stage, I felt like one was missing.

What’s with all the brand-love? The girls up front made it seem like working for brands like Nike and Puma were the pinaccle of success; yet I thought we they had been exposed for the global scallywags they are, with their nasty production habits (human rights et al) and hiked-up prices.

Why is our generation so happy to not only swallow the pill, but design for it too?

I’m not saying you have to ‘resist’ ad infinitum to be a decent human being; I just wondered where has all the questioning gone? With fab talent and a DIY attitude to success and self, and professional fulfillment, I’d like to see fresh, new innovators not give their skills to the major players, or at least – not so easily.

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.

Alright vegans, let’s get it on

October 7, 2008
vegan mofo

vegan mofo

Encouraged by the fact that the moldy tofu did not kill me and that, apart from watching a doc about New York in the seventies on I-player (exactly the same kinds hype that Edo Bertoglio was trying to get passed in his Face Addict), I had nothing to do on Saturday night. So instead of going to the bike film fest or to this 25th birthday party in Shoreditch, I baked!

I sound like Cher! (And, by the way could Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz look less Jewish?) Turns out she’s Jewish on her dad’s side and her Christian mother converted to marry her London-born dad, so what do I know?

Celeb vegan Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz in Clueless

Celeb vegan Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz in Clueless

I checked out Cody’s blog, she who pointed out that tofu can go the way of all things and rot (and smell like a fishtank to boot), and saw her photos of chocolate thumbprint cookies.

I was like, well, we have a bunch of vegan cookbooks, and certainly the now-classic, Vegan With A Vengeance , so looked them up and had a go.

Only, I don’t like following instructions, so I swapped the sugar for date syrup (sadly, way too much – it just came out, honest!) and well, turned them into cupcakes instead of cookies.

I know veganized baking means things are always more moist than you expect, but my mixture was seriously wet. So, no way was I going to try and roll that ot (even with damp hands, Isa), so into the cupcake cases and then, the oven.

You can see why this isn't a food photography blog...

You can see why this isn't a food photography blog...

I sprinkled some of the vat of vegan chocolate gratings I got from Whole Foods in Kensington on top and they tasted great. The date syrup made ’em really most, oh yes.

In conclusion, I am a MOFO and I rule!

Vegan Mofo – from the post punk kitchen

October 4, 2008
No you werent mistaken; this is what vegan food looks like

No you weren't mistaken; this is what vegan food looks like

As should be made clear from an earlier post somewhere down the line (here in fact), I’m (sort of) a vegan.

So, that means I worship Isa Chandra Moskowitz; the Brookyln-Jewish vegan chef suprimo.

Isa - all she cares about is punk rock and tofu

Isa - all she cares about is punk rock and tofu

Her website, the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK) is doing this thing called VEGAN MOFO, where a community of vegans around the world (but msotly in the US, I should imagine) blog about cooking vegan 20 TIMES IN THE MONTH OF OCTOBER.

I capitalise simply because I only just released what I’ve signed up for. I mean, I cook vegan everyday, but this is mostly a film blog, so whaddamIgonnado?

Well, I’ll try; here goes…

With the husband out at the Bicycle Film festival , I had to cook for one. And, seeing as I’m going out for my dad’s birthday lunch tomorrow I had to use this tofu which was four days over its limit today or never at all.

Since I think tofu is gross unless cooked really well, I remain unsure as to whether its gross-smellingness was a bad thing or not – anyway, I’ve fried it, and I’ve eaten it.

It tasted kinda sour I guess… I’m now paranoid I’m going to get sick – so will keep you posted on that front.

But – that’s not interesting is it? Nobody wants to read that shit….so my vegan MoFoism isn’t looking like it’ll survive for too long….

But, if anyone is interested, can they tell me, does tofu go off? Hubby says it doesn’t, but he didn’t sme’l it and used to eat out of garbage cans when he was a train hopper

That Malcolm Mcdowell Story

October 4, 2008
IF - my mum really wants you to watch it

IF - my mum really wants you to watch it

I have a friend who is not, or indeed was not, a Malcolm McDowell fan, but’s he’s doing some freelance work for the men’s free weekly magazine, Shortlist.

So he Gchats me the other day:

WTF do I ask Malcolm McDowell? I don’t know who he is”.

“Say, when my friend was dragged out of her bed by her mum at the tender age of around 10 to watch “IF…“, was her mum doing the right thing?” I said.

Because that friend is me. Oh – and McDowell is promoting the DVD release of ‘NEVER APOLOGIZE’ (sic), a filmed anecdote-filled lecture about IF-director, Lindsay Anderson via Shortlist and others, but my friend didn’t know at the time.

Shortlist - the launch issue, 2007

Shortlist - the launch issue, 2007

My mum, liker her hero Margaret Thatcher, doesn’t need much sleep.

If it’s 2 am she’s probably hoovering, making jam with her allotment-grown berries or watching either a schlocky Robert Rodriquez-esque (she likes him but not Tarantino…ridicuous) movie or an art-house movie on BBC 2.

Anyway, when I was about 10 or 12, I was in bed one night, just drifting off into sleep, when I get woken up by my mum tugging my arm.

“Bienchen” , she says. It means “little bee” in German, and is my family nickname. ” Get out of bed, ‘IF…” is on tv and it’s a good film, you should watch it.”

This is the Biene Maja, the bee Im inexplicably named after

This is the Biene Maja, the bee I'm inexplicably named after

So, I’m groggy and in pjs, but go downstairs and watch it with mum.

I’m like, way too young and don’t really get why this is more important than a good night’s sleep before school, but the memory has stayed with me forever. (I don’t even think she remembers it.)

It’s funny because it is about rebelling against British private school and there I was the next morning going to one….

McDowell - hes the reason I flunked that years 6 maths test...

O Lucky Man 0McDowell - he's the reason I flunked that Year 6 maths test...

Anyway, I heard back from my freelancing friend that night:

“He was really into it. He says your mum did the right thing, he says “IF…” is a very important film.”

And then, totally unrelated my mum emails me.

She says: ‘I have just voted in that BFI Visions For The Future thing, where you vote for the one film you want to show future generations, as part of its 75th birthday. I voted for Lindsay Anderson’s ‘IF…” because it such a good film.”

As I said, she won’t remember dragging me outta bed that night; so this unrelated interview and vote thing pretty much shows how deadset she is on future generations (me, in her case), seeing the movie.

Also, she’s totally awesome because clearly, she thinks like Stewart Tillman, chair of the UK Film Council, who was the one who said IF should be in the top 75 films on which people should vote. (His video interview here)

Nuts. I’m thinking, maybe I’ll rent it…. or if it wins the nations vote, it’ll be screened at the Southbank in January anyway. Bring your sleepy kids!

Malcolm Mcdowell - then

Malcolm Mcdowell - then

N.B : I had a poke around on Shortlist, but its search functionality seems to not work, as I typed in four journalists’ names that work there and it couldn’t find anything, including the eventual McDowell piece.

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 Venue, London.

Friday 3rd October, 8pm.

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.


Midnight Movies at the Curzon Soho – John Waters’ CRY BABY

September 28, 2008
Cry Baby (1990)

Cry Baby (1990)

The midnight movie, mainstay of the American alternative scene in 1970s has all but dried up.

I mean, there are pockets of witching hour showings like this one, but in England it’s seen an a tribute to an American way of life, where the public transport doesn’t stop when when the moon comes out.. (or indeed, to a country where the car is king).

With the internet facilitating The Long Tail, whereby any film (and pretty much anything you desire) can be summoned at your convenience because alt. items are no longer priced out of business due to not selling enough in addition to high store rents (the flat-earth the net created means your bedroom can be your warehouse) , we can see any blockbuster or almost as easily as we can see re-runs of an old show (hello, my so-called life) as well as an indie no-budget flick.


my so-called life

my so-called life

However, as of the start of September, the Curzon cinema in Soho has just breathed life into the midnight movie, and was last Friday showing John Waters’ CRY BABY. Horray!

So after that BUCk think (see previous post), I headed to Shaftesbury Avenue only to spot bookworm comedian Robin Ince lurking outside the cinema.

I perused the DVDs inside while I waited for the hubby to turn up after Critical Mass. (Apparently it was super-aggressive this month, following last month’s over-zealous police activity, this month saw no police turnout but a lot of angry cabs and camera-stealing kids, says he.)

Anyway, he arrived with but minutes to spare so we got inside (he loaded with popcorn) and, after a so-so intro from Ince, who’s choice the screening of Cry Baby was, settled down to watch one of the world’s silliest musicals.

Interesting fact alert: The guy and girl behind the Curzon’s midnight movie screenings apparently make no money from it, and are just doing it outta love. Yay! Love!

They had lined the cinema’s walls with pics of Johnny Depp (below) photoshopping his head into a cutesy pink heart. (On the way out, we stole one we we now have a heart-shaped Johnny crying at us from our bedroom wall….)

Johnny Depp as Cry Baby - he knows how hot he is

Johnny Depp as Cry Baby - he knows how hot he is

The next midnight movie takes place on halloween, and is an all night screening of Scream, Blacula Scream with others and brekkie in the morning!


Scream Blacula Scream - blaxploitation at midnight!

Scream Blacula Scream - blaxploitation at midnight!