Friday, 2 November 2007

Hacking, customising, patronising...

Why is it that when a man tinkers with something, he's hacking, but if a lady does it, she's customising?

And actually, both of them are just mucking about with whatever it is.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Top pop videos with dance routines

Rescued from boy band hell, the dance routine has been well and truly defibrillated back to life. And I for one am huzzahing heartily. I love a slightly amateurish but enthusiastic co-ordinated wiggle. Here are my favourite dance (or bike!) routines in videos, past and present. Proof that time and sweat is often better than big budgets in pop.

I'm Alive by Vincent Vincent and the Villains

What's a Girl to Do? by Bat For Lashes

The Dark of the Matinee by Franz Ferdinand

1234 by Feist

Here It Goes Again by OK GO (yes, it's been everywhere, yes it's old, but how could I miss it out?)

It's Oh So Quiet by Bjork (again, how could I not list it?)

I know there are more... Feel free to suggest them

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

How to make strawberries even better

Nigel Slater is my favourite food writer. His books are both a joy to read and pave the way to delicious, easy, uncomplicated food. He writes weekly for The Guardian. And his strawberry recipe that appeared two weeks ago was so good I feel obliged to share. It's dead easy and super delicious. There are loads of cheap local strawberries about right now. Buy them up.

You need
An orange
A lemon
Fresh mint
Granulated sugar

Cut the strawberries in half and put them in a bowl. Squeeze the orange and lemon. Pour the juice over the strawberries. Add some granulated sugar and the fresh, chopped mint. Leave to marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours. Eat. Die with pleasure.

Hey, you been working out, dawg?

I love skinny whippets, lurchers and greyhounds. But I think I love Big Wendy the dog with a six pack even more.

Friday, 29 June 2007

Peach and Mint Blast

Oh man. I'm addicted to EAT's Peach and Mint blasts. Really. You need to try one. They're pricey at £2.90 for a big one. But I know that if the sun actually emerges this year I'm going to be craving them day and night. Real mint. Real peach. Frozen. Gulp. Slaked.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Monkees Kool Aid Commercial

I don't know if there's a German word for it, but I'm experiencing another pang of nostalgia for something I didn't actually experience. After watching this Monkees advertisement for Kool Aid I just want to go to a 'den' in my 'mom and pop's' basement and guzzle sticky cool cordial.

Even though when I hear the words 'Kool Aid' it just makes me think of Jim Jones ladling out poison laced juice to his followers at Jonestown. And killing almost a thousand people

Monday, 25 June 2007

Parma violets

Ohh. I've got a hankering for the pot pourri taste of Parma Violets. If you're popping down the shop, will you get me a packet? Thanks!

Friday, 22 June 2007

Destino - Dali and Disney collide

In 1945 mouse man Walt Disney and surreal artist Salvador Dali started work on a film, Destino. The project was aborted due to financial difficulties. But when Walt's son, Roy was reworking one another of Disney's more adventurous outings, Fantasia, he unearthed some of the Destino footage, and decided to rekindle the project.

Released in 2003, the six minute film is now playing at London's Tate Modern. Disney films may now have a saccharine-sickly reputation, but this is a peek back into a world where it was still thought perfectly possible that commercial animation and high art could successfully combine.

How I wish that Disney still had some of the same dark sensibilities that threatened to emerge back then. For now, I'll watch this on YouTube, and skip to the scary bits in Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Fantasia.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

I think I'd like a mural on my wall

Yes, I do believe I would. It would add glamour to my day to day living, as well as covering up that nasty patch of damp in the back room.

I just can't decide whether to go for the dreamy fairytale castle.....

Or the tiki-tastic sunset on a desert island.

Decisions... Buy yours here anyway...

Steely-stared chipmunk

This super short video of a chipmunk fixing the watcher with an evil glare makes me laugh. Perhaps it will cheer you, too.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Vintage car-inspired handbags

I don't get the whole designer handbag thing. I'm just not the kind of girl who lusts after £2000 receptacles. But in the case of these va-va-voom totes I'll make a massive exception. Although actually, they don't even cost even half as much as your typical Dior monstrosity.

Designed "in honour of classic cars and the ladies that drive them" these bags are like those 1950s gas guzzlers - shiny, over the top, revved up and firing on all cylinders. The kind of bag that will repay its cost in drinks bought for you in expensive tiki bars. They're expensive (between $150 and $350) but, my oh my, every penny shows.

And there are shoes to match...

You'll find them in the VIP lounge at Revamp Productions.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Mr Frosty

I'm pretending that the weather isn't in a big wet and cold grump and making like it's summer hot. I realised today that those 'Mango Blast' crushed ice drinks from places like Starbucks are just overpriced versions of Mr Frosty's fabulous beverages.

If you don't remember, Frosty was the toy of choice during long hot childhood summers. You'd load him up with ice cubes, turn a handle, squirt some juice from his pal Percy Penguin onto the slush, and away you'd go.
I've looked for a Mr Frosty, but he seems to have been given a disastrous down-with-the-kids makeover. He looks terribly smug. And that's not a quality you want in your drink dispenser.

So I'll be getting this Peanuts version from Fred Flare instead.

Friday, 15 June 2007

The Everlasting Genius of The Who

I was going to go and see The Who play this weekend. But now I'm not. Nor am I going to Glastonbury, where they're headlining. The Who are the kind of band you can come back to again again and always find something new and fresh and vital. I love their 70s rock opera pomp as much as their 60s young man's blues rock n roll sparkiness.

Here are some ace face Who videos I found on YouTube to console myself at missing their current crop of UK shows. Singalong now.

They're on sensational here. Old enough to be on top of their game, but still with fire in their bellies. I can never decide who my favourite member is. In order at the moment it has to go Townshend, Moon, Entwhistle, Daltrey. It'll change next week.

And here they are looking young and beautiful.

The first clip is from Tommy, which you should buy, and the second from the wor'ds greatest rock n roll documentary, The Kids Are Alright.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Mitch O'Connell Tattoos book

Lucky me. A spanking new copy of Mitch O'Connell's book of tattoo art just landed on my desk. Over 250 low brow, high colour pieces of flash art ready to rock on to your arm, back, or bum.

Mitch's hyper colourful style suits tattoo art so well. It's the kind of ink that you see on the coolest girl on the door at a seedy garage punk club. Tattoos that are super cool but have a spanking sense of humour.

I'm not sure that personally I would ask for the pink elephant wearing a hat with a flower and the motto "Don't forget to get drunk". But one of Mitch's tiki ladies or an angel toting a gun might look good tucked behind one of my other tattoos. Hmmm.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Spoilers alert!

My dear friend Sarra sent me this t shirt (close up of design right). She says "this t-shirt design at rules! Spoil all your friends with it!" Buy it at ace online shop, Threadless...

And she's right. Luckily, I think I've seen all the films ruined by it. I'm thinking of getting my own version printed up with "the policeman did it" and strolling past the queue of tourists outside long-running West End pensioners' show, The Mousetrap daily.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

You should own a Monks album

You should go and buy Black Monk Time by The Monks.

Formed in 1964 by a bunch of American GIs stationed in Germany, The Monks were the paranoid, dark, existential progenitors of punk.

While the Beatles were singing “She Loves You”, The Monks sang “I Hate You”. Their songs were pounding, drum-driven, with unconventional structures, cynical lyrics, scratchy banjo, and howling and scowling vocals.

Bass player Eddie Shaw described the day they discovered feedback, crucial to their sound, "Just imagine the sound of the Titanic scraping along an iceberg," he said. "It was like discovering fire."

The band wore nooses around their necks, and shaved their heads into monk-like tonsures. They sang about Vietnam “People go to their deaths for you,” and resentment, “You know why I hate you baby? It's because you make me hate you baby.” Their debut and only album, Black Monk Time was released in 1966 to a wall of indifference. They split up in 1967, shortly before a planned tour of Vietnam.
Since their split, however, they have become the cult band’s cult band of choice. ‘Complication’ appeared on seminal garage punk compilation, Nuggets. Jello Biafra, The Beastie Boys, Jon Spencer and The Fall have all acknowledged their debt to the band. Jack White said of them, “Their melodies were pop destructive and must be played to your younger brother.”.

The Fall have covered various Monk songs, one for the forthcoming Monks tribute album, Silver Monk Time, which also includes contributions from hot now bands the Gossip, Mouse On Mars, The and Chicks on Speed.

The band reformed in 1999, to play the Cavestomp festival in York. Roger, their drummer, died in 2004, but the band continue to play shows in Europe and the USA, with the same intensity and passion that fuelled them in the 1960s.

I'm in all girl Monks tribute band, The Nuns. Do come and see us play some time.

And here are the far out friars on German TV in 1966

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Lovely Lady Air Stewardesses

Elisa Stein has compiled a wonderful book that features air hostesses from days gone by. Days when the women (and it was predominantly young, good looking women) in charge of high flyers were capable, glamorous, and wore fabulous uniforms.

I'd feel far safer flying with these ladies to attend my every whim than the gormless glasseyes in orange that EasyJet employs.

Buy it here

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Horrors - She Is The New Thing

I love the new video from The Horrors, for their new single, She Is The New Thing. It's a Gerald Scarfe/Edward Gorey collision. They have plenty of naysayers, but I love The Horrors' mucky soup of high gothic posturing and garage punk grit.

They antagonise people, as all good bands do, from The Monks to The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Manic Street Preachers. And also, as those bands did, wear black shirts, and very tight trousers and winklepickers.

Buy top Horrors music here

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

The Thursford Collection, Norfolk

I've been on holiday in rainy Norfolk for the last few days. Camping. My tent blew away, but it was still amazingly good fun.

During my trip, as the leaden skies wept uncontrollably onto my already dripping jeans, I took a jaunt to the living anachronism that is the Thursford Collection, a brilliantly mad museum in the middle of nowhere.

For a mere £6 (students £5.25) you can stroll around an array of steam engines, fairground rides, and street organs (the bizarre, oversized, highly decorated precursors to jukeboxes that you'll find in town precincts and at 'fun days' across the country).

Best of all, the collection is home to an enormous white Wurlitzer organ, the fourth largest in Europe, which was formerly installed in the Paramount Cinema in Leeds. Thrice daily, it's played by pipe maestro, and Bob Downe lookalike, Robert Wolfe. We stayed for two performances, which included such glories as the Dambusters March (which accompanied footage of the bombers) and I Do Like To Be Beside the Seaside.

Robert is a grinning, showboating genius, and the moment when the organ sunk back down into its pit, only to stop abruptly halfway down, due to the short height of the stage was one of the best things I have ever seen.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Girls and Corpses website makes it into print

At a time when too many magazines are closing down, it's cheering to hear that one of my favourite web sites, Girls and Corpses has made it into paper-based form.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Creepy Baby Lamp

How can a LAMP be sinister? If it's shaped like a creepy baby.

I can imagine a Miss Haversham type sitting in her lonely ballroom, surrounded by an army of these.

Buy yours for $99 from here

Mind Bending Chuckle Brothers Thing

OK. Scrub Fabio being hit in the face by a goose as the best thing of all time. I've just found a better one. This magnificent Chuckle Brothers illusion thing.

Monday, 21 May 2007

Fabio + Goose - Dignity = Best Picture of All Time.

Fabio is a male model, who has appeared on countless American romantic novels. He has long flowing hair like a lion's mane, and rippling muscles (often oiled). I have a bit of an obsession with him, which crystallised when this picture was taken.

Fabio had been invited to ride the inaugural trip of the Apollo's Chariot rollercoaster at Busch Parks in March 1999. He was accompanied by a phalanx of toga wearing girls. Sadly, a stray goose flew across the path of the speeding ride, hitting the musclebound model square in the face.

He returned to the alighting point of the ride with a gore-splattered face, and a broken nose. And at that point, this picture was taken. I like the way that one of the girls is pointing and laughing at him, and his attempts to brazenly pretend that the incident hasn't happened.

A great picture. I may print it on to a flag and raise it above my roof every morning.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Sad Ghost Salt and Pepper Shakers

Awwww. Look at these poor sad little ghost pepper and salt shakers. Don't cry, spooks, don't cry. You shouldn't be sad because you're for sale at the lovely CerealArt site, which sells limited (large) runs of pieces by well-known artists.

This cruet is by Marcel Dzama from Canada and sells for $75. This bunny cookie jar was designed by Momoyo Torimitsu, and costs $150. The prices are steep, but this is collectable art, remember. Cute!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Eurovision: Sweden Were Robbed

I'm still crying hot tears of frustration at the fact that Sweden didn't win Eurovision. Their band was called The Ark, and they were like a cuter, more glam rock Darkness. Only better than that sounds.

It's the kind of joyous song that should ring out across Europe daily.

So sad. Although it's very similar to Edison Lighthouse's My Love Grows isn't it?

Friday, 11 May 2007

Aliens and Beta Band

I've been listening to The Aliens a lot.

They're great. People seem to bang on about how they are hippy trippy psychedelic types, but I hear more of The Who's sense of fun mixed with er, The Who's big rock epicness, sense of adventure and big scale boundary pushing.

Get their CD here

Some of The Aliens used to be in The Beta Band. And I'll take any excuse to watch the fabulous, creative video for their single, Assessment, again... Wow. I think the 'creatives' at Guinness may owe them a pint or two...

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Daphne and Celeste were amazing

How brilliant were late 90s pop duo Daphne and Celeste? This brilliant…

Despite being two squeaky voiced New York 'teenagers' they had big balls. Seeing them play the Reading Festival was like watching two bunnies being sent in front of a firing squad. Only the firing squad didn't have bullets, they had bottles full of wee. I wanted to bum rush the show of the two spunky girls on stage and stand shoulder to shoulder with them, facing the barrage from twenty thousand Rage Against The Machine-loving dullards with no sense of humour or fun.

Karen DiConcetto (Daphne) is now a ‘serious’ actress and has appeared in a play called Tourrettaville, written by a boy with Tourette's syndrome as well as The House is Burning, a Wim Wenders-produced film. Celeste Cruz has also appeared in a film, Brooklyn Bound.

Here is an ace, old fashioned fan website that looks like it was built in, like, 1997.

And you can Buy Daphne and Celeste CDs here

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Youth cult photographs at PYMCA

I love trawling through picture agency sites. I think PYMCA might be one of my favourites. They have pictures of what used to be called 'young people' from the 1960s onwards.

Mods, rockers, punks, skins, ravers, rockers and new wavers all stand surly or grinning from beautifully shot pictures. The pictures are evocative of eras long gone, and the hope that shines from the faces of the kids in the photos is poignant beyond belief.

You can buy some images as prints - prices aren't so bad really - between £75 for a 40-50cm print to £300 for a 20'x30' stretch canvas. The shots I've posted here are all available. I love the Peter Cook picture, he's a youth cult in one person. The dressed up teens against the wall are lovely, and the girls doing the 'Madness' walk just make me want to smile with happiness.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Heidi Seeker's nu rave wonderment

I can't keep my mouse from twitching towards this amazing online shop. Heidi Seeker is stuffed with the kind of colourful, geeky, fun fun fun clothes and accessories I love.

Love these sunglasses - they range from £4 - £8.

And this top looks cosy, and suitably geeky for me. I love a geeky hoodie, me.

Cassette-themed accessories might be a MySpace cliche, but I love this personalised over-sized necklace.

Nu ravers will be taken into infinity* here. It's cheap, very cheerful, and based in the UK. You'll love the cartoony design of the site, too. You can't go wrong...

*Hilarious Oceanic-inspired rave joke for old people there.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Hairspray Is Coming

Yes, the remake of Hairspray will be released in a month or two. I truly, deeply, hope it has the wit, inventiveness, and big big heart of the original.

Here's a fan-made YouTube tribute to the John Waters version (I love YouTube fan tributes!)

And here's a trailer for the new version.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

I'm very excited, for today I managed to score tickets to a show by acid-fried psyche God, Roky Erickson, in June at the South Bank Centre. He used to be in the The Spades, and the 13th Floor Elevators , the 1960s trippy, electric jug-using group from Texas.

Roky has the best rock n roll scream of all time. I hope it hasn't been too badly eroded over the years. I learned everything I know about screeching by copying his agonised wail on the amphetamine-fuelled hurtle of You're Gonna Miss Me.

He vanished for years into a murky world of bad acid, mental institutions and shock treatments in Austin, Texas. When I visited that town, people who lived there told me that he'd sometimes peek his head over the parapet, and play a shambolic show. They also told me that his mother was even stranger than he was.

There's a film, You're Gonna Miss Me, coming out soon, which documents Roky's life.

He's playing as part of Jarvis Cocker's Meltdown festival on the South Bank. Jarvis has excellent taste - I could happily go to everything he has scheduled. Sadly, I can only afford Roky and the mysterious Disney Songbook evening, where various stars of the rock and the pop world will be singing their versions of Disney favourites.

Here's an amazing clip of a fresh faced Roky performing You're Gonna Miss Me by a swimming pool full of hot sixties chicks. It makes me a little sad to see him so young and full of life and blissfully unaware of the tumult to come. Listen for that scream.

You should really buy a 13th Floor Elevators CD, you know.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

More Meat

Further to yesterday’s fleshy bags, I’ve been browsing the meat
department at the world’s greatest online shop, Archie McPhee.

They have bacon everything. Bacon toothpicks, bacon fridge magnets, bacon plasters, air fresheners.

I really like the Make Poverty History-style wristbands (emblazoned with ‘carnivore’ and ‘bacon’) and the ‘What Would Bacon Do?’ dilemma-solving wheel (one of its answers is “taste really good”.

I’ll try and find something less fleshy tomorrow. Promise

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Meat and Cheese Handbags

Mmmmm. Sadly, these hugely desirable flesh briefcases and dairy purses* aren't real, and just part of an advertisement campaign. I would buy the range if they were in the shop. And have every hound in the neighbourhood on my tail.

You can still, however, buy this wonderful Paul Frank and Mark Ryden designed meat-lite handbag. But it's not quite as good as that mince clutch**, is it? And it is $100 plus postage...

*Is it just me, or do these sound like euphemisms for a woman's... bits...?

**And this?