Thursday, 29 March 2007

Wim Delvoye

“I like to stick my middle finger up at the establishment. I am a trouble maker.” says Belgian artist .

Delvoye’s art is arch and knowing. But, importantly it makes people laugh as well as think. He’s tattooed pigs with classic biker designs. His ‘shit machine’ is a giant, room-sized robot that replicates the human digestive process.

He’s made elaborate parquet floors featuring a range of delicatessen meats. He’s carved enormous cement mixers from teak, and created stained glass windows, which on close inspection are made up of X-Rays of people having sex.

It’s funny. It’s cartoony. Kids like it as much as their parents. It’s as all-encompassing as fine art gets. As Wim says, “In Belgium we’re not pretentious enough to think we can change the world.”

Wim’s work is often darkly funny. He created a collection called “Gothic Works” which consisted of nine stained glass windows, which on closer inspection were made up of X rays of people giving blowjobs, kissing, and having sex. Sex rays. Wim’s friends posed for the pictures. He laughs, “They are anonymous, but if you were a really good dentist you could probably confirm who they are.”

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Super Mario Brothers in Lego

I know this is turning into writing about old video games week, but hell, this is so cute.

Super Mario Brothers in Lego form. And the sound effects are hilarious.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Zelda meets Led Zeppelin T Shirt

I've been playing Zelda over the weekend. I wish I'd had this Led Zeppelin-style t shirt to wear while I'm sling shotting and throwing pigs around. It's only $22 from Hot Topic.

Friday, 23 March 2007

The Wonderful World of Katamari Damacy

My favourite video game, Katamari Damacy, has the most extraordinary introductory sequence of all time.

All singing, all dancing, and utterly impenetrable. But it makes me happy and excited at the thought of the forthcoming rolling-up-the-world fun. It's like the title song from some wonderfully camp cartoon musical dreamed up by a team of Smartie-stuffed Japanese children. Here it is. Sing a long. And don't let the fact that it’s in Japanese stop you.

Thursday, 22 March 2007

New Benefit BadGal Mascara. Lashless Girls Everywhere Rejoice.

I'm a big fan of the retro stylings and luscious indulgence of Benefit Cosmetics. and their BadGal mascara is fit for the toughest gang girl. So the news that they're bringing out an eye-enhancing navy blue version (they claim it will appear to intensify your eye colour) makes me very very happy.

Now, if only they could carry the whole range in every branch of Boots...

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Evocative pictures of British greasy spoon cafes

I love to browse flickr. Today I searched on greasyspoon and turned up this lovely set of pictures.

Fair makes my mouth water in anticipation of salty eggies.

Joequbik took the one I've pasted above. He's good.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Free Designer T Shirt Downloads

Fashion rulebreaker Nick Knight's Showstudio is an exciting, creative and somewhat confusing place. There is some tremendously interesting work on it, but you'll have to dig deep through inpenetrable twaddle and odd layout. Lucky for you I did that today, and unearthed these gems.

Judy Blame, Julie Verhoeven (her design pictured) and Peter Saville have all contributed designs that you can download in PDF format, print on t shirt transfers and sport with pride. Go here, make, do, wear.

And you don't have to put it on a t shirt. Tote bags, coats, hoodies, perhaps even a table cloth or curtains, all could benefit from a light jazz of free designery goodness.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Strange and Wonderful Albums: My Beauty by Kevin Rowland

Kevin Rowland
My Beauty

In 1999 the ex-lead singer of Dexy’s Midnight Runners was coming out of a period of post-fame bankruptcy and cocaine addiction. He was deeply into therapy, fragile and emotional. Luckily, Alan McGee from Creation Records was on hand to expose him to national ridicule by enabling the release of one of the most bizarre solo albums of all time.

The cover image is a showstopper. Kevin in a midnight blue dress, hitched up to reveal stockings and a pair of manky pants, and pulled down to show his nipples.

It’s rumoured that when he was in recovery, he had listened to an hour of easy listening greyhair station Magic FM, and covered every song he heard. In order. As Rowland says in the sleevenotes, "These songs started to penetrate my frightened world. They reawakened something I'd only fleetingly sensed before… it was beauty… my beauty."

Witness the insanity. Whitney’s The Greatest Love of All, with a whispered intro, “Mother…” before Rowland’s soaring tenor breaks. Kevin isn’t afraid to personalise lyrics – Squeeze’s ‘Labelled With Love’ is renamed ‘I’ll Stay With My Dreams’. Kevin also trounces The Monkees’ ‘Daydream Believer’, The Unit Four Plus Two’s ‘Concrete And The Clay’ and ‘The Long And Winding Road’ by The Beatles.

The anguish of an over-therapised man audified, My Beauty sold only a handful of records. Shortly after its release, I saw him perform at the Reading festival wearing a white dress and stockings, accompanied by two strippers. It was one of the single greatest live performances I’ve ever seen. Rowland bravely struggling with a terrible sound, a breaking voice, and a field of mud being thrown into his face. Afterwards, as I saw him being assured by McGee that the show was amazing, I thought I was going to cry.

Happily, Dexy’s reformed and Kevin now seems in fine fettle. My Beauty just remains as a peek into his fall into the abyss.

Here's a video of Kevin singing The Concrete And The Clay from the album. Enjoy...

Chimps in a Band

Yes it's cruel. Making chimpanzees 'play' instruments. But it's so funny. 1960s American children's favourites Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution go go-go power! But doesn't he have a lovely clear voice for a hairy, long armed creature? Although, of course, that never stopped Liam Gallagher etc etc...

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Tom of Finland Bed Linen

The genius who came up with the idea of Tom Of Finland bed linen deserves to be carried around their village on the shoulders of their friends. From further away, Dirty Linen's designs look like a dainty lady toile. But on closer inspection, Tom's seventies gay clone muscle men pose, flex and kiss filthily across your pillows.

The other designs are just dandy too - the tattoo style 'vice' and the groovy 'suburban' aren't quite as daring, but still stylish.

A pair of pillow cases will set you back $35, which is pricey, but worth every penny for the eye raises (or flirty winks) you'll get when washing these down the launderette. Buy them here

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

The Lemon Pipers!

It’s definitely spring in London today. I can smell the sun for the first time in what seems an endless, eternal, grey age. So I’m in the mood for some sunshine pop. Hell, I’m always in the mood for some sunshine pop.

Here are the Lemon Pipers singing their poptacular hit Green Tambourine on the Upbeat TV show in 1968.

I think they may be a little smoked up. As pot fans probably never say.

Monday, 12 March 2007

The Modified Toy Orchestra

I caught the Modified Toy Orchestra at a (really interesting and inspiring) Future of Sound event at Goldsmiths College in London.

They indulge in circuit bending, modifying kids’ musical toys and to create new instruments and ways of producing sounds. I’d heard about their work a lot, but had never seen them live, and so didn’t know quite how much soul and heart their songs have.

Truly, there is no greater sight than five geeky looking musicians lined up, gleefully playing hacked-up toys to produce songs. And songs that you really can hum on the way home.

The band often performs at experimental events that usually showcase acts of a more po-faced nature. Which makes the MTO’s playful samples and obvious joy in making music to make people happy even more appealing. They’re like Kraftwerk let loose in Hamleys.

Go and see them. Or buy their new album.

The picture above is of Hula Barbie, a messed up freak of a musical doll, that lead Toy Orchestra man Brian Duffy has wired up so that by spinning her arm, he produces a warped, distorted version of ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua. Don't miss the chance to see her live.

Friday, 9 March 2007

SingalongaFriday: America from West Side Story

My favourite musical is West Side Story. And 'America' sums up all that's great about the film. Fast, sassy, modern-looking dance routines. Swishy, bright, brash costumes. Lyrics so full of attitude, they sound like they were carved into a kerbside bench with a flick knife.

Rita Moreno and George Chakiris burn up the floor, the air crackles, and the whole routine fizzles and sparks with excitement and sex appeal. Far spunkier than the sappy Maria and Tony. I LOVE it. This is when musicals were dragged high kicking and rocking and rolling into the modern world, and the art form was all the better for it.

Watching this, I can't understand why anyone could say they hate musicals. Gah!

If you've got room, dancealonga too...

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Retro Cool Calculator

So I was musing. Just as it's always darkest before the dawn, so it's always coolest before you were born. I've been trying to come up with a formula. The best and most accurate I can come up with is UC = DOB - 3. Where UC equals ultimate cool, DOB is your date of birth, and 3 is 3.

So, deduct five years from the date of your birth and you'll come up with the year which you'll regard as the most hip of all time. This explains why hip beatniks in the late fifties were digging trad jazz, why the Stone Roses generation worshipped The Byrds, why Blur loved The Kinks, why the Gang of Four have been venerated for the last four years, and why kids now are wishing they lived in the days when a smiley face and a glow stick could keep a raver happy all night (well, that and ten pills).

Of course, it doesn't explain why Nirvana worshipped Black Sabbath or Vincent Vincent and the Villains are obsessed with the 1950s, but give me time to refine this.

With my magic formula, not only will you be able to calculate what kids will be into next, but also, if you have friends who are having children, or you are considering it, you'll know what treats to buy and lay away in a box marked NOT TO BE OPENED UNTIL YOUR 21st BIRTHDAY for the nipper.

Or even when to start putting your valuable junk from years gone by on eBay.

I accept donations. Thank you.

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Fashion Icon: Wonder Woman

I’m having a Wonder Woman moment. From her jet black, glossy hair and clear, bright eyes, to the flesh tights and big tight pants so man made you can hear the thrush singing from a mile away, she is the embodiment of power, strength, and supersexiness.

Sadly, Buffy’s Joss Whedon is no longer writing the script or directing the upcoming feature film, but my hopes are still high that someone like Christina Ricci or Rose McGowan will lend some darkness to the role.

Meanwhile, why not get hold of some heroic merchandise, including shiny red boots, WW T shirts and those fabulous pants from

And to tide you over until the film comes out, here’s a compilation of some of Linda Carter as WW’s finest moments.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin Street Art

I love this tribute to Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg that someone has created in Lille, France. If I had to walk past this pasted-up picture every morning on my way to work, rather than interminable scribbled signatures, it would cheer me no end.

Despite him looking like a chainsmoking toad, Serge and Jane released some of the most sexy, breathy, downright filthy records of the 1960s. That they’re lurking on a seedy street corner, forever embracing, seems appropriate.

Find more arresting street art at The Wooster Collective

And Buy remastered Serge and Jane here

Monday, 5 March 2007

Jars for Drugs

These stone jars are perfect for keeping your uppers, downers, blues, reds, or whatever new fangled name you give to your drugs in. Or even just tea bags if you’re boring like me.

I especially like the Quaaludes one. After reading various rock n roll biographies, I wondered for years what ‘’ludes’ were. I dig the name, it sounds like an exotic animal or perhaps a far flung country’s spear-waving inhabitants.

Anyway, these very cute mothers’ little helpers jars are made by Jonathan Adler, an admirable company who have their own manifestos. I like manifestos. Here are some of their best points
We believe colors can't clash.
We believe tassels are the earrings of the home.
We believe in our muses: David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Bonnie Cashin. Hans Coper, Gio Ponti, Andy Warhol, Leroy Neiman, Yves Saint Laurent, and Madonna.
We believe our designs are award winning even though they've never actually won any.


Friday, 2 March 2007

Scary Bottles Cartoon

When I was a nipper, some time just before one Christmas, I watched the cartoon Bottles. Made by MGM in 1936, it’s one of those creations that’s made for children, but is truly terrifying. The kind of thing that couldn’t be made today for fear of putting the fear into kids. Fear that kids actually enjoy. It gave me the same frisson of terror that I got from, say, reading The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, or listening to Stanley Holloway monologues.

It’s about a bearded old pharmacist who gets shrunk to the size of a ruler, and is terrorised by the bottles in his store that have come to life. The wibbly wobbly 1930s style only adds to the oddness. It’s on YouTube. Watch and enjoy.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

BBC4's Week of New York Punk Rock

BBC4 is a very exciting UK TV channel. It’s curiously old fashioned, screening documentaries that move slowly and are magnificently in depth. Or digging into the dusty corners of the BBC vaults for long forgotten music sessions. It’s like BBC2 used to be before it was infested with doing up your house or cooking a nice tea programmes. This week, it’s showing a series of documentaries about New York punk rock.

Tomorrow (Friday March 2) they have scheduled New York Doll, the documentary that follows the tragic story of the descent into alcoholism New York Doll member Arthur Kane, much of which was shot around the time of the band’s triumphant reformation.
New York Doll - BBC 4. 9.00pm - 10.15pm

On Saturday March 3, is a programme about the legendary punk hangout, and death place of Nancy Spungen The Chelsea Hotel.
Arena: Chelsea Hotel BBC 4. 10.25pm - 11.20pm

Followed by the story of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side. Although I think we all know that by now. Herbie Flowers will go ooooon about his bass line, AND there were backing vocals that had to be changed, AND there will be explanations of references to drag queens, AND Lou Reed will be grumpy and look like a supply teacher.
Arena: Tales of Rock 'n' Roll - a Walk on the Wild Side - BBC 4. 11.20pm - 12.05am

This looks good. But it’s only an hour. You know they’ll interview Debbie Harry.
Once Upon a Time in New York: the Birth of Hip Hop, Disco and Punk - BBC 4. 9.00pm - 10.00pm

As they will here, too. This is a great documentary, actually, with genuinely interesting and insightful interviews with members of a band who don’t just wash their dirty laundry in public, they run around with it until it’s dry. I LOVE the filthy looks Debbie Harry gives Clem Burke at the live shows. And the whole hoo ha over the Hall Of Fame debacle is hilarious. God bless Blondie.
Blondie: One Way or Another - BBC 4. 11.00pm - 12.15am