Category Archives: Me

A flaneur in Paris

Brigitte Bardot, near to my apartment in Montmatre

As someone who abides by the flaneur philosophy, there is no place better to be a flaneur than the city in which the term was coined: Paris. Having moved to Paris two weeks ago I have spent much of my time flaneuring around. For those for whom the term is unfamiliar Ill give you a brief explaination, upon the basis that at some point you promise that you’ll arrive in a city, and allow yourself to get involved. I profoundly believe that there is no better way to experience a place.

Flaneur as a term was coined by Frech philosopher Charles Baudelaire and is derived from the french word ‘flaneur,’ which means, ‘stroller,’ ‘lounger,’ or ‘saunterer,’ in its literal sense. To this word Baudelaire added layers of philosophical theorization that became the composition of a concept for which the English language has no single accurate word of its own. So we too latched onto “flaneur,” and its implied ideology.

Ultimately ‘flaneur’ is a way of thinking. A flanuer is both engaged and unattached at the same time. A flanuer is self aware. It is through this self-awareness that he/she gains an understanding of and partakes in the city. A flanuer is an explorer and turns corners seeking hidden meaning. Surrealist founder Andre Breton and members of the movement were amongst the most notorious followers of the flaneur philosophy, but there are flaneurs that exist today in ever city, in every country, even if they don’t quite know it.

A Concise guide to being a flaneur:

Firstly and most importantly ditch the Map. Some of you may find this tremendously difficult. Your map is your lifeline, without it you would get lost blah blah blah…A flaneur casts these woes aside. Repeat to yourself…BEING LOST IS NOT A BAD THING, Like 50 times (or more depending on how into maps you are.)

When you are lost you come across paths untold, you follow un-forecasted routes, you exist as a unique being and are endowed with the power to find your own unique urban fate.

Secondly forget your agenda. Forget Time Out’s list of top ten things to see. Forget where you have to be at 11.30. Forget the gallery that closes at 4 and forget your dinner reservation at 9. Don’t let time confine you. This is about the individuality of your existence. This is about you and wherever your feet will take you.

And that’s it pretty much. It’s fairly simple. Just remember that the path of a flanuer is wonderful and rare so appreciate it and enjoy !

Unlike us, the surrealists did not have the benefit of ipods to listen to whist flanuering. I have found mine to be a great enhancement to my experience as a flanuer…

My day as a flanuer in music :

Morning: Wake up to Arcade Fire’s latest album Suburbs

With lyrics that focus on the way that we live our lives, the Arcade Fire weave profound statements and observations into superb melodies.  Listen out for : the title track “Suburbs,”as well as” Modern Man” & “Month of May,” all guaranteed to put a spring in your morning step.

For elevenses: I turned back the musical clock a bit and listened to Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow. Appropriate because am I in my flaneurship, these guys were evidently inspired by surrealism.

Listen out for: Bizzare lyrics and general psychedelia. Very atmospheric but always California cool.

For lunch : A bit of People Under The Stair’s Or Stay Tuned

An album packed full with fresh party jams and reflective rhymes. Listen out for : “La Song (Sensitive Mix)”…its bigger than Hip Hop

Followed by a little bit of Mount Kimbie’s Crooks and Lovers

A fine example of what is going on musically “post-dubstep.” Dub/dance/ trip-hop/folktronic, Mount Kimbe are all of these, and none of these at once. This vibrant album is testament to limit- pushing electronic creativity. The U.K duo mish-mash musical genre and somehow manage to make it work like an audible dream.

And for Sundowners:  Extrawelt – Schone Neue Extrawelt

Alluring in its lack of light, Schone Neue Extrawelt suggests darkness but never plunges us too far into its depths. Instead its conjures an eerie mysticism equatable to that which can be felt at twilight. Listen out for “Lost in Willaura,”a fine example of techno music’s capacity to enchant.

And at night time : Claude Von Stroke’s Bird Brain,

With a sound that is definitively deep and down-tempo, this album will satisfy your evening ears with heavy bass lines, freaky layers and crisp beats. As it was so accurately put when publicized it’s “chock full of dirty, slutty, dank, funny and giggling cuts,” http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=11001 mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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Zombie Nation

a drawing that I’ve been working on…

Party Pictures part 2

Stussy’s 30th Anniversary rooftop BBQ in Montmatre, Paris

Ill let the photos do the talking.


The Emerald City

This is something I’m working on at the moment. Its an investigation into the Utopic and its dual existence in the mind as a fantastic/ idealistic principle and also as a physical and intentional reality achievable through art. The idea is that when it is complete my Emerald City will provide viewers with an aesthetic haven; an idealized visual space that will invoke calm and act as a psychological refuge. There is also a large element of voyeurism involved, a city of this scale as viewed only from the afar catalyses a strong element of curiosity within the viewer through implication of a complex network of living within. Resultantly the architecture becomes alluring and suggestive of a mysterious cycle of perpetual and idealistic life; civilization, social structure & human relationships.

Doodle Bug. part 2

ADDICTIONS

Im prone to minor addictions…..

1. You Wanted a Hit

My favourite track from LCD soundsystem’s new album (which b.t.w is awesome in its entirety,) I’ve been on a three day binge of non stop listening. Still in the thick of it and never want it to end…

Much to my delight I also just found out that they are playing Sonar. Im SO there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZiFZ4P_foI

2. Spinal Tap

Rarely do I watch a movie for the first time..and follow it up by watching all over again. Yes, its true that until last week I had never seen Spinal Tap something which, having seen it now twice, I can safely say was one of the greatest errors I have ever made. If I wasn’t at work, and listening to LCD SOundsystem right now, I would be heavily involving myself with some Spinal Tap.

3. Ebay

I’m slightly slow when it comes to all things technological so I know I’m saying nothing new here but…Ebay is WOW.

However…this is my least favourite addiction because it COSTS big bucks when I let it get out of control. The thing is when you can get stuff like Opening Ceremony shirts for £20 its too seductive for me and I can’t resist. Suddenly Chanel  and Chole…are affordable and its all too much for me to take. It’s all about the thrill of the hunt and the delight of the spontaneous purchase. If one day I decide say, that I want a Roxy Music T-SHirt (today) then BAM….its mine by Friday. Plus getting packages sent to myself at work is fun and exciting. Shoes, I would advise, are not a good thing to dally with on ebay. I bought a pair of vintage brown chelsea boots that looked awesome in the little photo however, when they arrived and I actually put them on, I looked like part of the gestapo.

4. Stripes

my new dress

There is something about striped clothing. The amount of times that I have gone into a store with no intention of buying anything, and come out with a navy and white stripped top, are becoming a joke. Yes there are variations on the theme; some have long sleeves, some short. Some are tight and some baggy. Sometimes the stripes are thin and close together, sometimes they are fat and far apart, but at the end of the day, they are essentially all still navy and white stripped t-shirts. On the weekend I did something major and digressed from the formula that I have become so comfortable with to buy a stripped dress from twenty8twelve that is actually red (they call it papaya) and navy striped.  At least my stupidly large and continuously growing pile of stripy items is becoming more diverse in colour.

5. Jack Kerouc’s On The Road

“It changed my life like it changed everyone elses” – Bob Dylan

I’m reading it again. Poetic quotations are endless. Picturesque paragraphs of  mesmerizing landscape descriptions. Of course at the time it was published, On The Road was groundbreaking in its presentation of an alternative philosophy: the anti- dream. A departure from what Kerouac considered to be the sickeningly banal and restrictive American ideal of a white-picket fence, solid job and 2.4 children. A dream that promised prosperity, life and liberty but in reality delivered an unobstructed path to certain mediocrity.

Keroac’s “road” was a drastic departure from mediocrity, a spontaneous path to adventures untold, weird and wonderful characters, love, drugs, creativity. This was the book through which Bohemian thought and lifestyle was propelled into mainstream consciousness.  In his presentation of this alternative existence through an academic vehicle; one of profound literary content, Kerouac was able to transform the reputation of what had previously been judged and misunderstood as life of the “bum” traveller and recommunicate it as, as viable an existence as any other.

Fifty years on we inhabit a society where many of us live our lives governed by insecurities derived from the pressure of expectation. “Normality,”is the ultimate status. We care and fear what other people think and act accordingly.  This book  is liberating. It celebrates otherness and proposes a thirst for life’s highs and lows, an appreciation of the instance, human interaction, experience and all that the world has to offer.

6. Bags

My new bag

Although I can undoubtedly appreciate a good heel, perhaps because it’s because I am tall, or maybe it’s because the occasions when I can be bothered to wear heels are rarities, but I find myself to be more of a bag lady (in the literal, not the Erykah Badu sense of the term.) Im pretty proud of my bag collection, lucky for me I have only brothers and mother who like me is into handbags and can help me feed my addiction..sweeet. My latest addition is a paisley mini-satchel from Etro’s SS 2010 collection, very cute and summery.

7. Watermelon

Have you ever tried smashing a watermelon? Smashing watermelons triggers an internal Epinephrine release (a.k.a adrenaline release) throughout the body. This increases heart rate and has a tendency to induce euphoria which helps to diminish anxiety and depression. It tastes pretty good too. Nutritious, delicious and exceedingly refreshing.

My Special Watermelon Shake Recipe

Ingredients :

1 watermelon

ice

drinking vessels

Take your watermelon and smash it on the floor. Indoors if you can be bothered to clean up after it, outdoors of you can’t. If you like me are a believer in “The Five Second Rule,” gather all of the pieces from the floor in under 5 seconds and put them in a large bowl. De-seed if you can really be arsed ( a watermelon tree won’t grow in your stomach if you don’t) and thow all of the delicious juicy flesh into a blender with plenty of crushed ice. Blend until smooth if you like things smooth and lumpy if you like things lumpy. Pour into a drinking vessel of choice, alchies add a dash of vodka first and there you have it. My special watermalon shake, the perfect summer refreshment mmmmmmmm.

R.I.P DUFFY

Duffy by David Bailey

On Monday night a great friend and mentor very sadly passed away. Brian Duffy, known professionally and to friends as Duffy was not only one of the greatest British fashion photographers of all time, but was also a talented artist, a fervent Marxist, a loving grandfather, father and husband and one of the most inspiring people I have ever been fortunate enough to know.

Working together with Duffy and his son Chris on various shoots, helping to compile the Duffy archive, curate his exhibition and create his documentary are all processes that I feel extremely proud to have been a part of. The aesthetic value of the photographic legacy he leaves behind is unsurpassed. As well as his own experimental work it includes some of the most iconic photographic images ever created including Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane,” that notorious Benson and Hedges advertising campaign of the seventies, two Pirelli calendars, The Beatles recording at Abbey Road – thus far I’ve hardly touched upon the wealth of imagery that his archive contains.

To take a look of some of his most notorious works, visit The Duffy Website:  http://www.duffyphotographer.com

Peace and Love Duffy, you will be greatly remembered and sorely missed.