: ALBUMS HYPE : FEBRUARY '17

MUSIC DIGESTION OVERLOAD

 

The beginning of the year has been MAD in terms of new music and new albums! Just this Friday, the 24th of February, we saw 4 notable albums come out. Let's dive into 'em! 

 

GANG SIGNS & PRAYER, STORMZY

Release date: 24 February

Stormzy is in the hype of UK grime scene and his own career. This is his first, long-awaited album, on which he has worked 23 years, in his own words. The album features hard bangers as "Big For Your Booths" (below) and the track that started it all for me - "Shut Up" as well as more gospel songs, to which he has always showed profound interest. The album is a beautiful debut artwork. 

It was calm before Stormzy, indeed...

Fave tracks: Bad Boys (feat. Ghetts & J Hus); Blinded By Your Grace, Pt.1; Shut Up; Don't Cry For Me (feat. Raleigh Richie)

The video for "Big For Your Boots" is really impressive in that Stormzy features some of the most important and influential women on the UK scene right now, while strolling through key London locations (such as his favourite chicken place). Amongst the women are Julie Adenuga (Beats 1 host & a favourite woman of mine), Sian Anderson (DJ on BBC 1Xtra), rapper Amplify Dot, singers Raye and Ray Blk, his girlfriend Maya Jama and presenter on RinseFM, Sophia Tassew (Art Director), vlogger Gracie Francesca and Vicky Grout (The FADER photographer). 

 

HNDRXX, FUTURE

Release date: 24 February 

Future is not one of my favourite rappers. But he's taking 2017 with a bang, releasing two albums in one week, with the first self-named one climbing the ranks fast. There is also info he will come out with a third one next week... It's been a long time since I enjoyed new music by Future, but HNDRXX is good, indeed.

Fave tracks: Selfish (ft Rihanna); My Collection; Incredible; Solo

 

NÜ RELIGION: HYENA, THEY.

Release date: 24 February 

The duo comes from Los Angeles and have finally released their debut album after attracting attention with their different and experimental style. The track U-RITE is what got me into THEY., but the album contains much more suprises. A must-hear!

Fave tracks: U-RITEWhat You Want; Deep End

 

DRUNK, THUNDERCAT

Release date: 24 February

Who is Thundercat? Aside from being a completely weird guy (check his pics), you might know him from "These Walls" by Kendrick Lamar. He offers a mix of jazz, R&B, soul, electronic, funk sweet sweet music. This is his third solo album. 

Fave tracks: Show You The WayFriend ZoneThem ChangesDrink Dat; Walk On By (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

 
 

Earlier in February we got blessed with debut albums by Syd of The Internet, the very talented Sampha, and a new album by Big Sean (which I actually like!). 

 

FIN, SYD

Release date: 2 February

The Internet is part of Odd Future (Tyler the Creator & Frank Ocean's crew), and Syd is the babe with the angel voice! Her first album arrived this month and I seriously don't know how I lived without it. She is changing the R&B landscape by bringing old and new together, intertwining it with hip-hop and fantastic neo-soul. A lot of love songs to emotionalise over! Lookout for the whole The Internet crew. 

Fave tracks: Insecurities; Over (ft. 6LACK); Dollar Bills; Drown in It; Nothin to Something

 

PROCESS, SAMPHA

Release date: 3 February

Sampha is one of the most conceptual contemporary artists emerging right now. He is not just a musician or a singer, he is indeed an artist. Process follows Sampha on his ride to self-discovery after struggling with multiple personal hardships. Amazing electro-soul and beautiful, angel-like voice by Sampha.

Fave tracks: Under; Plastic 100 C; (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano 

 

I DECIDED., BIG SEAN

Release date: 3 February

Big Sean, much like Future above, is not one of my favourite rappers as he fails to delivery any complexity to his works. I Decided. is an attempt towards that direction. I wouldn't call it very successful, but he produces better music that won't bore you on the 5th listening. A lot of bangers on the album and he also features Eminem on "No Favors" which is... interesting!

Fave tracks: Bounce Back; Jump Out the Window; Same Time, Pt. 1 (feat. TWENTY88)

 

PRE-DRINKS FEBRUARY '17

Following my personal experiments with creating mixes with new music you can check out PRE-DRINKS February '17, which contains upcoming underground artists and songs from the new albums above. The concept is to provide you music you can jam to before going out, while having drinks with your friends. I'm aiming to publish a new mix each month. I hope you enjoy! :) 

P.S. check out my dog Lara on the mix cover - so cutie! 

Check out my ALBUMS HYPE list for Summer '16 here.

January 16 - 22

YOUNG THUG - "WYCLEF JEAN"
THE BEST & WORST HIP-HOP VIDEO?

Source: GQ

Source: GQ

Young Thug (or JEFFERY) came out with one of my favourite albums of 2016. I really like his style and avant-garde persona - rapper in a dress, why not? This week he came out with visuals for his track "Wyclef Jean", off the JEFFERY album. And it caused a blast! Why? Because the singer didn't show up on time for his video shoot, so the director made it without him...

"This is where Thug had to be.. if he ever showed up"

"This is where Thug had to be.. if he ever showed up"

The director Ryan Staake was supposed to direct the $100,000 video with Thug. He received instructions on how he envisioned the video and then, on the day of the shoot, the rapper didn't show up throughout the day. He arrived later in the evening, just to refuse to get out of his car. The result is a mixture between mockery and the best non-conceptual concept video. 

Personally, I think it's pretty amazing. Although originally planned to have a basic, every-other-rapper-video script, the absence of Thugga is probably the best thing to happen to it. Staake told in an interview that first he was really pissed with the missing singer and lack of plan, but afterwards realised he had nothing to lose - he could play with it and turn it into something fun, risking the disapproval of the label.  He created a narrative, explaining the fatality of this shooting day, and it's incredibly funny! Somewhere during production he received footage from Young Thugg, to be incorporated in the video. The co-director says he wishes he thought of that Cheetos' scene...

Thug sent his own footage for the video. Staake chose the Cheetos scene. 

Thug sent his own footage for the video. Staake chose the Cheetos scene. 

Commentary quickly emerged regarding the authenticity of the story behind the video. It could really be the idea of a very creative and willing-to-risk-it-all team, and the presence of VICE on the day of the shoot and the following material they published hints to that. Even if it really is a marketing stunt, it doesn't make it less amazing and the 6 million and counting views on YouTube prove it. It's new, controversial, engaging and, quite simply, awesome. I read an article on FADER, where the author states that the video is "wrong" for Young Thug, as he doesn't respect his fans enough to show up for his video shoot. A bit overrated, I think. Actually, if he ever did show up for the shoot we wouldn't have had such a cool result at the end, as Ryan Stakke himself states. The director also uses the video to touch upon the problems his colleagues have in this field and how hard it is sometimes to work with artists. The ending titles of the video are everything! 

"On my way home I wondered if Young Thug would've liked the shoot we put together for him. 
But I guess none of that matters now.
In fact, maybe that's the moral of the story: 
None of this matters. 
This video cost over $100,000 and the artist never showed up.
But you're still watching...
... even though the song just ended. 
So I guess the video actually worked. 
The End." 

 

 

THINK LIKE AN ARTIST... AND LEAD A MORE CREATIVE, PRODUCTIVE LIFE
By Will Gompertz

Think Like An Artist.jpg

I am always on the lookout for books that stretch beyond my professional field, that inspire and boost the creative processes in my head.

I stumbled upon this book at Tate Modern's book store. It's written by Will Gompertz, the art director for the BBC and former director of Tate Media. Quite an impressive guy. He creates a go to manual with artists' best practices, which he has collected throughout the years through his work, and advises that anyone can use those to progress in his field of work. The practices range from how important it is to think about money, how there's nothing new under the sun - but you can still evolve an already existing idea, how it's important to think of the big picture and fine detail, and others. He uses examples of artists' work - both classical and modern, which means you don't only get these cool advises, but you get to know more about artists' work and their motivation behind it

You can get the book on Amazon (or I can lend it to you if you are a nice person). I'm leaving you with a picture of the author. This guy is amazing! 

Will Gompertz; source: DailyMail

Will Gompertz; source: DailyMail

January 9 - 15

PRINCESS NOKIA
The new queen herself

princessnokia.jpg

Rarely do I get so impressed by a female artist. I show more interest in male rappers as they express more consistency and complexity - the themes not just limited to romance & sexappeal. And every now and then I am pleasantly surprised.

I came across Princess Nokia on SoundCloud, where I found her mixtape - 1992. What I experienced was a distinct sound by a tomboyish gentle voiced woman, recorded over hard rhymes and beats. I was amazed! Then came the visuals which confused me - what is this girl made of? 

So, who is she? Born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, she is a 24 year old female rapper from New York City. Her origins are Afro-Carribean which explains the culture and expressions. In her music and poetry she often touches on political themes, such as black empowerment and feminism, based on her tough upbringing, which I think make her unique. She also adds to the list of artists that choose to work outside of labels and promote themselves - I've written about this before

A couple of days back I listened to her radio on SoundCloud - SmartGirlClub. For a 24 year old she really has something to say. One hour of her discussing life and reading from her poetry. I took out a text which really impressed me and, I think, describe her style and thoughts. 

princess-nokia.jpg

 

"I done lived a couple years. I done lived a couple lives. I done fucked a couple man and I'd done been a couple wives. I done lived to tell the tale. I can tell it very well. I done cast a couple spells. Had my ex locked up in jail. I done lived many lives. I have ridden many planes. I have slept in many cars and I have lived in many trains. I am young and I am old. See, I travel with my soul. Many lifetimes left to go. Hold on, y'all, I gotta make it to my show."

You better look out for Princess Nokia in the future. She is about to be Something.

Check her out here:

SoundCloud

SmartGirlClub

Princess Nokia - DESTINY (Documentary) by FADER

 

WHY "ME" IS ALWAYS MOST IMPORTANT 

I've been contemplating on this for a while. I've been brought up being thought to always show understanding and empathy towards other. "Man is not an island" and therefore to live in peace with others, one has to always take account of their thoughts and feelings. 

Yeah, but no. For most of my life I have tried to meet the expectations of others, to guard their feelings which has inevitably led to not doing what I want and having my feelings hurt. I do not believe this is a successful and promising path of life. Nonetheless, I never felt complete and self-respectful doing this. 

Let's turn this around. How about this?

One should take care first of their own happiness. That way, she can be happy with other people and, in general, the world might become a better place. 

Think of all the unsatisfied people around you. Unhappy jobs, unhappy relationships, unhappy lives - they are tough people to be around. They are the ones that would often hurt you and even hurt themselves, punishing everyone for their own unhappiness. If one was to take his own life in his hands, really take care of himself, he will be a happier and better person. You want to leave your job and go to Africa and build houses for the poor? You want to leave your bully partner and be free? WHY NOT? You would say "It's not that easy.. There are other people involved.. I can't do it..". Well, cupcake, I got news for you - life is very very very short. It's quite an oversight to let is slip, because of.. reasons.

put-on-your-own-oxygen-mask-before-helping-those-around-you-and-other-lessons-ive-learned-on-airplanes-3-638.jpg

And what about those other people that you think you might hurt, pursuing your happiness? So what, your boss won't be able to find another employee after you leave? Or your parents will be so disappointed in you that life is going to end? Or your partner will be so heartbroken they would never recover? That's all just excuses. Deep down, the people involved in your life that love you would want you to be happy. And your partner would want to be with a "happy you", not unhappy, unsatisfied version of you.

I like to make a comparison when talking about self-love and happiness. On the planes they always advise you "Please, put on your oxygen mask, before assisting others." Because if you were to put on your child's mask first, which is probably comes natural, you wouldn't live to help them survive afterwards. 

: ALBUMS HYPE : SUMMER '16

ALBUMS HYPE / Summer '16

 

The summer has proven to be very fruitful in terms of music deliverance. New albums kept popping up every few days which really made my summer holidays goooood.

Below I will list the albums that came out between August and the beginning of September 2016, and which are constantly on repeat on my devices. The scores given are under my own preference, not to be taken under serious consideration.

Enjoy!

 

Young Thug, JEFFERY

 

Release date: August 26

Score: 5/5

Thoughts: I can't stop listening to this album, on and on, all day. We should all watch out for Young Thug (or Jeffery). 

Fave tracks: Wyclef Jean; Floyd Mayweather; Future Swag; RiRi; Guwop

 
 

PARTYNEXTDOOR, P3

Release date: August 12

Score: 5/5

Thoughts: Very sensual album. I spent my holiday listening to it & it took me places. Perfect for late night vibin.

Fave tracks: High Hopes; Come and See Me; 1942; Only U

 

TORY LANEZ, I TOLD YOU

Release date: August 19

Score: 5/5

Thoughts: "Guns and Roses" will probably become one of my favourite love songs of all time. Tory Lanez really knows how to bring that sweet sweet lovin'.

Fave tracks: Guns and Roses; Friends With Benefits; Luv; Say It

 

GUCCI MANE, EVERYBODY LOOKING

Release date: July 22

Score: 5/5

Thoughts: Gucci came out of jail and smashed everything. I love every track he features on. Some serious club warming with this one.

Fave tracks: P***y Print; Waybach; Pop MusicGuwop Home; Gucci Please

 

FRANK OCEAN, BLONDE

Release date: August 20

Score: 5/5

Thoughts: Frank completed his deal with Def Jam by releasing "Endless", then went on to release his own album, under his own label "Boys Don't Cry" - "Blonde". This one will become number 1 on Billboard, while "Endless" doesn't qualify as it's an album in (just) one long track. Pretty smart with this one, Frank. Good to have you back.

Fave tracks: Pink + White; Nikes; Ivy; Self Control

 

RAE SREMMURD, SREMMLIFE 2

Release date: August 12

Score: 3/5

Thoughts: The duo knows how to make bangers. Much like their previous album, I like 2-3 songs off it, and that's it. But I do play them on repeat. & check out that video tho. 

Fave tracks: Look Alive; Black Beatles

 

ISAIAH RASHAD, THE SUN'S TIRADE

Release date: September 2

Score: 4/5

Thoughts: Isaiah is truly an audio-visual artist who hasn't received the appreciation he deserves...yet. 

Fave tracks: Free Lunch; Wat's Wrong; Tity and Dolla

 

TRAVIS SCOTT, BIRDS IN THE TRAP SING MCKNIGHT

Release date: September 2

Score: 4/5

Thoughts: Due to the hype around this upcoming album I think I expected more. It's more chilled down than his previous ones, still I immediately got hooked on it.

Fave tracks: guidance; first take; pick up the phone

June 20 - 26 | 2016

TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! (1989)

So, here I am on a Wednesday evening. It's as hot as it can get mid-June and all my friends are out and about. I don't think there's any 02 left in the atmosphere. Thank God I bought a fan. I can go and get some air, hang with friends and be an averagely social 25 year old girl, or... continue crossing off that long IMDb list. Hmm... I've added some of Almodóver's earlier works... Should I?

I haven't been particularly connected to Almodóvar's movies while growing up. Except for "Hable Con Ella", some of his movies that I've seen had always seemed to me on the verge of superficial, but portrayed as deeply emotional & intellectual. 

That Wednesday evening I stayed home with my brand new fan and a bowl of cherries, and decided to try some old Almodóvar and some young Antonio Banderas. I picked "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!"  from 1989, which is about the love story of a psychologically unstable man (Ricky/Banderas) who kidnaps a porn star/junky in an attempt to make her fall in love with him. Hideous as it may sound, Almodóvar tells a ridiculous and raw love story which depicts the despair and lust for love in our overly social, but actually lonesome society. 

Ricky / Antonio Banderas

Ricky / Antonio Banderas

"I'm 23, I have 50 000 pesetas, and I'm all alone in the world."
- Ricky

Now, I wouldn't go into discussing the plot furthermore for people who haven't seen it. Check the trailer here (although, I believe, it doesn't give you the slightest idea of the movie, except for the notes of ridicule). 

I read somewhere that this movie poses a moral question regarding the kidnapping and it made a lot of people upset. Naturally, kidnapping is not lawful, but so is manslaughter and we still watch action movies. "Tie me up! Tie me down!" will remain in the folder "Movies I would watch again" as it gives a socially acceptable scenery to the socially unacceptable, weird people in our society (as you have psychologically unstable person and a porn star drug addict as the main roles in the script). Since everything is portrayed as a metaphor (and should be accepted as such), the kidnapping is a metaphor for the search and desire of love, the battle and the journeys that these acts lead to. Almodóvar's genius communicates this to the viewers by creating an atmosphere which feels surreal in the calmness of the acts that the script unfolds into. 

Definitely recommended to the urban loners out there. I'm talking about the movie. Or the fan?

 

SHAKKA
Nothing Hill influencer

I was browsing through Chip's music library and I stumbled upon an interesting track, a mixture of grime, hip-hop, r&b with summerish vibes and tribal elements. The visuals were also quite impressive. The name of the artist - Shakka, songwriter and producer from Nothing Hill, who has been over the internet for some time now, but recently started to gain more recognition.

I especially love the dance that he and the girl do together, close to the end, when he is brave enough to reach her. When he released the song, Shakka said "The song is me trying to make theme music to the events that occur when a nerd like myself finally finds a way to get the attention of the finest specimen of woman in a club"Now, I would expect more profound reasoning, but still, Shakka is a pretty neat guy, who by the way is still unsigned - The rise of the unsigned artists? (a favourite ice breaker of mine).

Here's one more joyful track to get you started for a party (featuring JME - I can't name one song with JME that's no good?!).

PS: Do you know what "shaka" stands for? 

 

THE ART OF SLOWING DOWN

I'm really an overactive person. I almost never drink coffee, yet I wake up with an energy shock through my body that looks and feels pretty much like a heart attack. I juggle 10 things at the same time, I rarely have a moment in my day when I just sit still, I think and over think and always remind myself time is limited. (Must DO things!). 

Last year I picked an edition of KINFOLK that was dedicated to the Slow Movement. Now, I've never read about it before and it was quite interesting, though it's one of those things that are close to the mind, but you've never had the ability to grasp before. 

Official definition of the Slow Movement (thank you, Wikipedia): "... advocates a cultural shift towards slowing down life's pace." By slowing down, we learn to appreciate - be it human relations, food, art and history, and basically all areas of life. 

I try and try, from time to time, to slow down my pace, knowing that it's good for my health and it recharges my thought and creative processes. This week I took off to the seaside with my two dogs, leaving all work behind and limiting human interactions to greeting the staff at my vacation home. Work has been pretty hectic for the last couple of months which acts as an adrenaline boost to me, yet I find myself too tired at times, like my batteries have run out. I try to teach myself to switch off, even through the work week, or through the work day - when I start to feel that stress is overtaking me, I sit back and relax, stop rushing everything and just breathe. One thing I can confirm - it's a NO HEADACHES GUARANTEE :) 

It's pretty much self-taught mechanism that works with practice. So, you can read some guide books or articles about it but it all comes from practicing self-control (as it's that self-control that makes you lose control and relax).

Peep this picture of Lara the dog, who just had her first trip to the seaside!!! (teeth? she has them plenty!)

: Drake : May 9 - 15 | 2016

DRAKE
The King of Internet

I'm a sucker for Drake. I really am. I remember back in 2009 when I would start seeing this very tall, nerdy dude, who Lil Wayne proclaimed as his new big discovery, and smh. There were sketches of him all over the internet, mocking his lack of rapping skills and often feminine attitude towards music. Remember how he would "freestyle" whilst reading lyrics off his phone? I was sure I would never like him. Lord, how was I wrong. 

Naturally, he started producing hits that we would all dance to in the clubs. Then in 2011 his album Take Care came out, parallel to his over-exaggerated and over-publicised relationship with Rihanna, that I started paying more attention to his music. I had to confess, I really liked the album. Then came Nothing Was The Same and me going to his concert in O2 Arena in London, dragging my dad with me, a musician and a rock-n-roll lover, who kept nodding his head and saying "How can people listen to this bullshit???". 

Drake is like fast food. You know it sucks, but you love it! 

Two weeks ago his long-awaited studio album Views came out. It got to this point with me that if it's coming from Drake, I automatically love it. Honestly, the album is shit, compared to his old stuff. But it's still so shittily good

Drake is all over the internet, all day every day. But in the last 10 days he simply ruled it!

DRAKE ON SNL

On May the 14th Drake made his second appearance on the show Saturday Night Live, where he not only hosted it, but was the musical star too. As evident from the previous show, Drake really is a comic star. He is naturally funny, but comfortably slips into different characters and has no problem with mocking himself, which deserves admiration.

Highlights of the moments on SNL:

First off, Drake opened the show with a sketch, devoted to all of the memes on the internet with his face on. AND with the surprising appearance of Rihanna...

"I just wanna scream... that I'm more than a meme..."

If someone can mock himself AND imitate his supposedly ex girlfriend who actually features in his song, whilst wearing a wig, well dear sirs, this could only be Drake. (Oh, aren't we all innocent victims of popular culture?)

And my favourite sketch. The Angry Drake! 

Besides being hilarious, this is something most people can relate to. You always try to be nice and polite and never react even when people piss you off! I wish I could make a Beef rap song every time I got mad with inconsiderate people! Also, the end of the song really reminded of me of The Lonely Island! Whatever happened to these guys? 

DRAKE'S DAD GOES TO CHINA 

If you're not acquainted with Drake's father you've missed out on a lot of coolness. 

Dennis Graham, father of Aubrey Drake Graham is everything you would expect Drake's dad to be... and more! Not only he has the most attractive moustache ever, but he's got swagger AND Instagram account! Recently, he went to China and didn't miss out on fun! Peep below:

@therealdennissg 

@therealdennissg 

A Real MVP. Check his Instagram for more. 

Recognise him from somewhere? Well, he is the bad guy in white suit in Drake's Worst Behaviour video.

DRAKE ON ELLEN

Drake also stopped by Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen played the usual scare prank on him, as she often does to her guests, but what came out of it (in association with his hosting SNL) is she asked fans to create a meme out of the scare prank picture. #MakeADrakeMemes :)

How about the VIEWS?

Drake's newest album, the 'Views' is No1 on Billboard 200, while his song 'One Dance' became his first No1 on Billboard Hot 100. As I mentioned, for now this is my least favourite album of his. I read somewhere commentary that Drake's album is good, but not better than his old stuff. Either way, we all love some Aubrey. The album is available on iTunes & Apple Music. My favourite song off the album by now - 'Controlla' (which I have no way of posting here, since little midges work day and night to delete unlawfully uploaded copyright material). 

May 2 - 8 | 2016

THE MEANING OF LIFE 

My emotions provoked & described by this guy. Ladies and gentleman, Terry Gilliam. [photo source: Time Out]

My emotions provoked & described by this guy. Ladies and gentleman, Terry Gilliam. [photo source: Time Out]

In a work week, consisting of only 3 working days, what is one to do? Catch up on movies, of course! (that IMDb Watchlist is not going to tick itself).

I can proudly say, in an excess to my brain & motion activity, that I spent a day watching Terry Gilliam's movies. I would've continued had I not been required to go out and be social(ly adequate). I went through The Fisher King (1991), Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), and Monty Python's Meaning of Life (1983) in one go. While I would definitely recommend the first two, The Meaning of Life is a pure masterpiece on my list. 

The Meaning of Life (1983), written by Monty Python, directed by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones 

The Meaning of Life (1983), written by Monty Python, directed by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones 

As I am continuously swirling through quarter-of-a-century-life-crisis (the golden 25), I keep going back and forth to the question of life & death. "What is the point of life when we all die sooner or later" etc. etc... Monty Python (the British comedy collective which is arguably one of the best ever) maps out the stages of life in distinct chapters, through sketches, starting from birth and ending with death. The writers wittily impose the issues concerning each stage of life, through absurd life situations that only very-damaged-but-brilliant-brains can invent. I'm providing a short review of each life stage below (and some videos here and there), but my advice is to disregard it and watch the movie straight away! 

Part 1: The Miracle of Birth

A woman in labour is taken to hospital where the staff is busier with deciding which expensive equipment to use than to take care of their patient. When the baby is born it is quickly shown to the woman and put away. When the mother asks the child's gender, the answer is:

Brilliant.

The Miracle of Birth Part 2: The Third World 

A Roman Catholic man goes home to his wife and (impossible to count) number of kids to announce that he has lost his job. As a result he won't be able to feed his children and has to sell them for medical testing. Quoted:

Dad: That's the way it is my loves. Blame the Catholic Church for not letting me wear one of those little rubber things. Oh, they've done some wonderful things in their time. They preserved the might and majesty, even the mystery, of the Church of Rome, the sanctity of the sacrament, and the indivisible oneness of the Trinity. But if they'd let me wear one of those little rubber things on the end of my cock, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

Those rubber things are sooo anti-Christian. Afterwards the whole family sings "Every Sperm is Sacred" (video below). Quite a catchy tune. 

PART 2: GROWTH AND LEARNING

This one is not a favourite of mine. But neither was school. How school looks in Monty Python's life lessons: A sex ed class where the students are as bored as participating in a history lesson. At one point the professor physically demonstrates sexual techniques with his wife. Nobody's impressed. I.e. if we weren't tabooing sex so much, it would've been quite an ordinary everyday thing. 

PART 3: FIGHTING EACH OTHER

Comprised of three sketches, the last one is my favourite. It's set in 1879 in the Anglo-Zulu War, where a British officer wakes up to find his leg has been bitten off during the night. The dialogue is tremendous!

Ainsworth: During the night old Perkins had his leg bitten sort of... off.
Dr. Livingstone: Eh? Been in the wars, have we? Well, let's take a look at this one leg of yours. Yes... Yes, well, this is nothing to worry about.
Perkins: Oh, good.
Dr. Livingstone: There's a lot of it about — probably a virus. Keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing any football try and favour the other leg.
Perkins: So it'll just grow back again, will it?
Dr. Livingstone: Er… I think I'd better come clean with you about this. It's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a virus is what we doctors call 'very, very small'. So small, it could not possibly have made off with the whole leg. What we're looking for here for is, I think — and this is no more than an educated guess, I'd like to make that clear — is some multicellular life form with stripes, huge razor-sharp teeth, about eleven feet long, and of the genus felis horribilis — what we doctors, in fact, call a tiger.
[Outside the tent the British soldiers and Zulus immediately stop fighting, looking around in shock.]
Everyone: A TIGER!? IN AFRICA!?

   

Part 4: Middle Life

A middle-aged American couple goes to a restaurant where the menu offers topic for conversation. The couple decides to try "philosophy and the meaning of life". After struggling for a bit, they send it back to the waiter, complaining that "this conversation isn't very good". Yep, they rather be ignorant, like most of the population.

Part 5: Live Organ Transplants

Paramedics visit a card-carrying organ donor to collect his liver, even though, as he points out, he is still alive. They go on and gather most of his internal organs anyway. 

Part 6: The Autumn Years 

Incredibly obese person visits a restaurant where he keeps stuffing his face and vomiting in-between. A romantic scenery. Emblematic to our overly satisfied society that keeps wanting more and more. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED. (or, don't watch while eating).

Part 7: Death 

This part consists of three sketches, and my favourite being the first where a man chooses the manner of his own execution: to be chased off the edge of a cliff by a horde of topless women. 

THE END OF THE FILM

So, what is the final message, as in - What is the meaning of life, according to Monty Python? 

"Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations"

 

 

 

 

April 11 - 17 | 2016

TANGERINE (2015)

"Out here it's all about our hustle. And that's it." 

Nothing like a good movie, recommended by a complete stranger. 

Tangerine is a movie by Sean Baker which follows the story of two transgender prostitutes. The movie's description on IMDb states:

"A working girls tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart."

Sin-Dee (pictured below) comes out of prison on Christmas Eve and hears that her boyfriend (and also pimp) has been cheating on her with a "fish" (i.e. real woman). The movie's plot follows Sin-Dee around town looking for the "fish", finding her and dragging her throughout town (by the hair) so she could confront her boyfriend. Parallel story is that of Alexandra, Sin-Dee's best friend (and co-worker) who navigates between helping her friend and organising her live performance. A secondary story is that of an Armenian taxi driver, who's in love with Sin-Dee.

Every character individually holds a personal drama, which inevitably collides in a group culmination. 

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez as "Sin-Dee"

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez as "Sin-Dee"

Sin-Dee (Rodriguez), Chester (James Ransone), Alexandra (May Taylor). 

Sin-Dee (Rodriguez), Chester (James Ransone), Alexandra (May Taylor). 

The characters' emotions are transparent and relatable, albeit they come from a different world than most of us. Another important point to outline is that the movie has been shot with an iPhone! 

If you're in for an unusual, freaky, violent & emotionally sensitive story, Tangerine is your movie! 

 

BEING VIRAL ON TWITTER
i.e. The "Milkshake" story

I'm definitely not a Twitter person. Probably the most over-used excuse ever, but I don't get the idea of sharing my everyday thoughts in 140 characters for the world to read. I just don't think it's that important. On the other hand, Twitter is a very useful tool of staying up-to-date with trends & world affairs. 

In the past weeks a certain story started trending all over the web and, naturally, it got my attention. Apparently, a guy named Josh Raby tweeted out a story, concerning his visit to McDonald's late at night, having the milkshake craves. His journey turned out into a hilarious story. 

You can read the full twitter feed here. In short, Josh was greeted by a staff member, who was apparently in a very-complicated-relationship, which led to him not receiving a milkshake, but getting 2 pies and a mistaken burger order. In short - a mess. 

What followed - his story went viral! And I mean really, really viral. Different media started contacting him regarding the story. McDonald's reached out to him, offering a limo drive and the so-desired milkshake! The Twitter story teller got into a serious media frenzy which led to him admitting that.... while the story is not fake, he (as a writer) may have over-exaggerated certain details of the story. 

While I don't find the story exquisitely interesting, I don't understand all the attention it has been given. When you have the name of a big brand involved that must attract attention in itself, but this is not the first, nor the last time where Twitter, which is supposed to be channel for quick communication, has produced a long viral story. Remember Zola, who went on a trip to Florida with a prostitute and her pimp? 

Is Twitter our new comedy channel? Is it the short form, restricting you to pick out the most important details of your story and make it hilarious in just 140 characters, or the audience's ability to pick&choose how they read it out?

Nevertheless, Twitter is not dead. Long live Twitter!  

April 4 - 10 | 2016

ZOOTOPIA
Best animation movie? Yep.

During my stay in London, as a tradition me and my baby sister went to see a movie. As she is only 6 years old we usually see some animation that's trending right now. In light of this we went to see Zootopia, a new movie by Disney. The plot concerns the town of Zootopia, where mammals live together in harmony, in a human-like build society, and the experiences of the bunny-cop Judy, who tries to uncover a conspiracy. 

Nothing unusual up to this point. I was already preparing to be bored and praying that I have Wi-Fi in the theatre. But! I was wrong. (it happens sometimes.)

This movie contains a strong underlined social message of respecting and accepting our differences. Although the mammals in Zootopia live together in peace and the predators have left all their predatory instincts aside in the name of peaceful cohabitation, a virus starts infecting and turning predators savage! The question here being - should we acclaim all predators as savage by these occurrences and be afraid of them, or try to understand what's causing it? Apply this to our own real social world. 

The story of racial (in)tolerance lurks beneath the beautiful imagery and the innocent (and not-so-innocent) jokes. The sense of humour is so profound, that I was squeaking uncontrollably on multiple occasions, causing my sister (who didn't get the jokes) to tel me to Ssshhh!. This movie has it all! 

Take your siblings, children, loved ones & unloved ones and go see Zootopia

 

WHEN THUGS CRY

The Internet (i.e. the coolest blogs and websites for music) distributed a mixtape, curated and spread by Vashtie Kola (American film director, song writer, model, everything..). 

Titled "When Thugs Cry", the mixtape features new and old, romantic and very, very sensitive thugs. You have LL Cool J, Chingy, Torey Lanez, Kendrick, Biggie and even Fetty Wap!

As Vashtie herself describes: 

"I believe we are always experiencing at least one of, what I call, "The Six Stages of Love": Yearning, Infatuation, Falling, Deepening, Heartbreak, and Longing. 

This mixtape is from the perspective of a Sensitive Thug, highlighting all the six stages, starting from the beginning."

Listen to the mixtape on Soundcloud, below:

TRACKLIST: 


1. I Need Love - LL Cool J
2. I Can Love You Better - Mary J Blige Ft Lil Kim
3. Passing Me By - The Pharcyde
4. Come & Talk To Me - Jodeci
5. One Call Away - Chingy
6. Fall In Love - Slum Village
7. Give It To Me - Busta Rhymes & Mariah Carey
8. Satisfy You - Puffy & R Kelly
9. Coolie High - Camp Lo
10. Touch Me Tease me - Case Ft Foxy Brown
11. Sensitivity - Ralph Tresvant
12. Around The Way Girl - LL Cool J
13. Say It - Torey Lanez
14. Pulp Fiction
15. Bonnie & Clyde ’03 - Jay-Z & Beyonce
16. You’re My Lady - D’Angelo
17. My & My Bitch - Notorious B.I.G
18. All I Need - Method Man Ft Mary J Blige
19. You Make Me Better - Fabolous Ft Ne-Yo
20. Paris Tokyo - Lupe Fiasco
21. Coming to America
22. Poetic Justice - Kendrick Lamar
23. No Sense - Justin Bieber Ft Travis Scott
24. Moments In Love - Art of Noise
25. Breakdown - Mariah Carey Ft Bone Thugs N Harmony
26. ATL
27. Song Cry - Jay-Z
28. Can’t Believe - Carl Thomas Ft Faith Evan
29. How’s It Goin’ Down - DMZ
30. Makeups 2 Breakups - Method Man ft D’Angleo
31. Heartlesss - Kanye West
32. Miss Jackson - Outkast
33. Lovecrimes - Frank Ocean
34. I Wish - Carl Thomas
35. Used To Love Her - Common
36. Don’t Be Cruel - Bobby Brown
37. You Don’t Have To Call - Usher
38. I Need A Girl - Puffy
39. Martin
40. Again - Fetty Wap
41. All I Want Is You - Miguel Ft J. Cole
42. Find Your Love - Drake
43. Don’t - Bryson Tiller
44. End Of The Road - Boyz 2 Men
45. Fears Bueller’s Day Off

: UK : March 21 - 27 | 2016

In celebration of my little sis 6th birthday, I spent a week /& something/ in London (and a few days in Manchester). London has been my annual visiting point for the last 15 years, yet I discover a new side of this vivid city with each visit I make.

The highlights of this early spring visit were as follows: 

 

WHITECROSS STREET MARKET

I embarked on a walk towards Barbican centre (check below) and in-between the boring corporate buildings I felt the blend of magical food scents in the air. 

Photo taken from TimeOut website

Photo taken from TimeOut website

Whitecross street market is located on Whitecross str. in Islington. The street is filled with stalls on both sides and as you walk between them you are exposed to Brazilian, Asian, Italian, French, Lebanese, Turkish.. (you name it) food. Compelling is also the mixture of visitors on this street - you have "City" people on their lunch break, as well as random hipsters and tourists. Observing (and smelling) all this food, it was incredibly difficult to resist the urge to taste everything! 

"Eat, speak, find & seek!" :) 

"Eat, speak, find & seek!" :) 

STRANGE AND FAMILIAR

BRITAN AS REVEALED BY INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS

After the almost impossible to resist temptation of storming Whitecross' food stalls, I took off to Barbican centre. "The Barbican is performing arts centre in the City of London and the largest of its kind in Europe! (says Wikipedia; exclamation mark by me.) With too many options and too little time, I chose to see the prominent exhibition, curated by Martin Parr (famous British documentary photographer). Titled "Strange and Familiar", the exhibition goes through the works of international photographers that have either simply visited, or been appointed to visit, Britain and photographed the image of the country through their lenses from the 1930s onwards.

Glasgow (1980), Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos

Glasgow (1980), Raymond Depardon/Magnum Photos

The exhibition was excellently curated (no wonder the curator's name was so loudly praised), with each photographer displayed in separate space. The arrangement also followed chronologically, beginning with 1930s and unveiling the lives of Britons, going through coronations, class differences (bankers and minors), travel books snippets, the Swinging Sixties, Vietnam war and the post-war era.

PERFORMING FOR THE CAMERA @ TATE MODERN

No vacation in London is complete without paying a visit to Tate Modern. I have seen the best exhibitions and discovered most of my favourite artists and authors exactly there. The newest exhibition, under the name "Performing for the camera" follows the artists' relationship with the camera. I can separate the ideology of the exhibition in two: "behind the scenes" of the artists in preparation of their works; and emblematic photographic performances by artists with much deeper meaning  ..  The ideology behind the exhibition is to portray the artist and his work from "behind the scenes" point of view, and also to show the reason behind the artist's choice to stand before the camera.

My favourite object of this exhibition is the first staged (and performed) picture taken in front of a camera. In 1840 Hippolyte Bayard posed in front of his own camera and named the photo "Self Portrait as a Drowned Man". Bayard was a pioneer photographer, but had to postpone announcing his photographic discoveries which cost him the recognition as one of the principal inventors of photography. In turn, he "killed" himself for the camera. 

"Self Portrait as a Drowned Man", (1840) Hippolyte Bayard

"Self Portrait as a Drowned Man", (1840) Hippolyte Bayard

Another inspiring photo belongs to Yves Klein. In 1960 Klein hired the photographers Harry Shunk and Jean Kender (the photographic duo behind most of the footage in the exhibition) to create a photographic illusion, which depicts Klein jumping from a second-story window freely, undisturbed of the concrete below. The photo is, in fact, a combination of two shots - in the first we see Klein jumping and his friends holding a trampoline, and another shot of the empty street.

As the "selfie generation" theme is very hyped up right now, it found its place in the exhibition as well (Bayard being our selfie pioneer; check above). Most notably, for me, was the series of self-portraits by Boris Mikhailov, a famous Ukrainian photographer, whose works expose the political and social issues in the former Soviet Union. For "Performing for the camera", the curator exhibited a more "cheerful" project of his, titled "I Am Not" from 1992. The photographer takes a series of photos of himself, in which he poses naked with a wig or dildo, in funny and self-mockingly situations.

The justification behind these series of self-portraits by Mikhailov is the following: "I thought, if you criticise someone, start with yourself."

More on the exhibition in an extended article by The Telegraph. 

The exhibition will be at Tate Modern until June 12.

 

THE UNION THEATRE (and) CAFÉ

After the visit to Tate Modern I embarked on a long walk, got lost a couple of times, which led me to discover this treasure place! Located under a railway bridge, on a busy traffic street, lies The Union Theatre Café, its open gates leading to the theatre itself. It's one of those places that you wouldn't set your mind on going to, but would simply bump into. Managed by two kind and elderly gentleman, with regular clientele consisting mostly of young actors and passing city bikers in need of a short break, this café is the perfect brief getaway from the city's buzz. 

& OTHER STORIES | COLOUR DISCOVERIES

London is still of the lucky few cities to have & Other Stories shop. I browse through it for around 2 hours every time I'm in town. On this visit I got really attracted to a colour, mixture between yellow and green, but described as "dark green" in the labels. And so my dark green obsession begins. 

Everything can be found on their website.

PERUVIAN FOOD IN THE HEART OF SHOREDITCH

One hour before an event at the Shoreditch Boxpark, me and my company stopped in front of a Peruvian restaurant with alluring menu hung on the glass windows (by "alluring" understand "dishes with complicated names and ingridients that I've never heard of before, but they all look yummy!"). The atmosphere inside looked dim, romantic and artistic. All in! 

Andina, as is the restaurant's name, represents woman from the Andes who lovingly cooks for her family (as a blog suggests, not my idea).

The dishes come in small portion, so the waiter suggests 3 choices per person. We tried a couple of combinations that felt completely foreign (and incredibly tasty) to my taste buds! Like beetroot with mango and purée of asparagus (yum!) The cocktails were also very "inspiring"! Will repeat again, definitely.

Andina restaurant is located in East London, on 1 Redchurch str. Website here.   

 

KANO /grime/ in Manchester

On the weekend we went to Manchester, which I visit for the first time. It was a happy coincidence that one of the grime artists I follow from recently, and his new album tour stopped in Manchester exactly on the same Friday I arrived.

KANO is an East London grime MC who came out with a new album 5 years after his last one. The album is titled "Made in the Manor" and it's quite an experience! More on him and the continued subject of the "grime renaissance" in a separate post.

KANO: "Made in the Manor" tour, Manchester 25/03/2016

KANO: "Made in the Manor" tour, Manchester 25/03/2016

Paramount here is the fact that I didn't have a ticket for KANO's show in Manchester and it was completely sold out. I had to scoop the area in front of the concert and find tickets to buy from some raggedy-looking people. As I was with family in Manchester, and no one wanted to go to a grime concert (least my 6 yrs old sister), I went alone to a gig for the first time! And it was GREAT! Kano is really good live and his energy is out-of-this world. Amazing experience.

A little something by KANO to give you a taste:

 

EASTERN BLOC RECORDS in Manchester

A couple of hours before leaving Manchester, we took a stroll along the city and headed to the Northern Quarters, which, we were told, could have something interesting on a Sunday. We stopped in front of a café/record store, named "Eastern Bloc". This place, originally a record store, exists since 1985 and it was famous for launching bands and holding vinyls from around the globe. 

The café/record store has an edgy socialist exterior, with metal chairs and tables. Outside you can see the menu which proposes all kinds of English breakfasts (including vegan, wow!). They also do yummy home made deserts. In the nearby café there are your usual raggedy-looking people (is my new favourite word "raggedy"? hell yeah!) which contribute further to the funky atmosphere.

The interior of the cafe consists of the bar and randomly spread wooden tables. The second floor, though, leads to the original record store, which operates even today. A sneak peek in the mood:

We spent a few hours there, drinking coffee and tapping on our laptops. The owners gave us a birthday cake since the previous night was the re-launch of Eastern Bloc. A lovely place that I would recommend to anyone visiting Manchester! 

EB's website here. 

 

As a finale, here's a photo of me and my incredible-funny-lovely-baby sis, on her 6th birthday. (Taken somewhere in East London.)

 

 

March 7 - 13 | 2016

SYD THA KYD
Leave all egos behind

SYD THA KYD

SYD THA KYD

On Monday I stumbled upon a new video that has emerged by the band The Internet, featuring Tyler, The Creator. 

I was immediately dazzled by the slow, b&w visuals of the video and the song itself, but most importantly amazed by the vocals. The lead singer, who goes by the name "Syd Tha Kyd" looks like a dude and sings like an angel! "Who is this person?" 

Syd (or Sydney Bennett) is a 23 years old singer, producer and DJ from LA. She is one of the main producers in Odd Future (by Tyler, The Creator) and lead singer of the band The Internet, described in genre as "neo soul". 

Syd and Tylor 

Syd and Tylor 

I started going through old interviews of Syd to sort of get a feel of her. She is the only female member of Odd Future and describes how at the beginning it was hard to adjust to the raw and assaulting sense of humour the other guys have (If you're familiar with Tyler & Co you would know). She is gay and the songs she writes are for women, but doesn't consider herself as part of the "gay community". As she describes "most of my friends are straight dudes". At 23 she's still living with her parents and hopes to move The Internet and its members up, so everyone could be financially stable and professionally successful.

All members of "The Internet"

All members of "The Internet"

"The Internet"'s latest album EGO DEATH came out last year and was recorded in Syd's basement. In an interview about it from last year Syd said: 

"I want this album to help the rest of the members of my band be financially comfortable and stable and give them other opportunities to make music with other people and make money. We have to live and we've been doing this for only four years now but as an adult, at some point you have to start feeding yourself. So we're trying to get there right now. I just want everybody to be comfortable enough to continue to make music without pressure. Because that's when you get the purest, I feel. When you don't have to worry about pleasing anybody with it because you're stable. I think that's what I want the most. That's why everybody's face is on the cover of this album because we want to help push them up too. That's the main goal - to get everybody on their feet."

I'm really inspired by the new generation of artists that have a clear concept of their music and their goals. They put a strong focus on community building and helping one another. Collectives such as Odd Future prove that when a group of talented young individuals gathers, works hard and starts promoting each of its members, slowly and patiently, leaving personal egos behind, the collective as a whole becomes successful over time.

EGO DEATH.

P.S. The Internet's EGO DEATH album contains amazing music. I strongly recommend it for a chilled down Sunday evening.

 

BEAUTIFUL DAKOTA JOHNSON FOR VOGUE
"Just a minute"

.... Are you still there?

February 22 - 28 | 2016

FRANK OCEAN

The year is 2012 and a good friend sends me a young artist she thinks I might like. The album reads "channel ORANGE" in striking orange colour. The name immediately sticks to my mind: FRANK OCEAN. I have had an affinity towards this name every since Amy Winehouse's album FRANK in 2003. The music in this album is beautiful, transcendent, out of this world. I'm encountering a true story teller, that sings of love, memories and deep emotional states. It's beautiful. 

Frank Ocean is 28 years old, New Orleans born and raised, American rapper that started off as a ghost writer for artists such as John Legend. In 2010 he joined Odd Future and the next year he released nostalgia ULTRA which is an album that I love from beginning to end. Frank describes himself as a "visual artist" and the visuals prove it. 

On commenting Novacane's video, Frank says: "I was just trying to connect or articulate visually the feeling of being numb. The feeling of wanting to feel something you can't feel."

In 2012 Frank Ocean posted an open letter on his Tumblr account, stating his love for another man, when he was 19 years old. A hip-hop artist to come openly as gay was something new for the community, but Frank received generally positive appraisal. 

His music has stuck with me ever since 2012 and I come forth and back to it wherever, whenever. Recently I was watching his live performances and suddenly found myself in tears. His voice and his act.. it's all too beautiful. 

Frank Ocean has his own style and often he seems awkward, but in other times he looks extremely confident. He rarely gives interviews or appears publicly and as he himself states, people have no idea what he does when he's not in the studio. We have been waiting for a new album since 2013! The album was supposed to be out in 2014..then came 2015.. Hopefully 2016 would be the winning year. 

Until then, I will have nostalgia ULTRA and channel ORANGE to keep me warm. 

Shot by Terry Richardson / 2012

Shot by Terry Richardson / 2012

January 25 - 31 | 2016

What happened, Miss Simone?

I always show interest in the personal story of someone, be it a celebrity or not. Celebrities, of course, provoke the most interest as we often view them as God-like, way above, until we grasp some information that shows us they are very much like us, ordinary people. They have their ups and downs, even more downs than we can imagine. Stardom comes at a price. 

There are many documentaries in the work with the subject of Nina Simone. This week I saw Netflix's documentary, titled "What happened, Miss Simone?". The biopic tells her story by combining footage of her concerts, overlaid with recorded interviews of her and her family and excerpts from her personal diary. 

The documentary centres around her breakdown, provoked by Simone's inability to manage tours and schedule, her tiredness, the race inequality issues in the US during the 60s and 70s, the abusive marriage and her overall psychological instability. It's the sad story of the young Eunice Waymon (Nina's real name) who studied music to become the first female famous black classical musician, but faith had it different for her. Her ability to sing is what she discovered after having to play at a bar, so she could support her studies. From the footage of her earlier concert (and later too) you can tell she never felt very comfortable being in the spotlight. Her stage attitude is viewed as awkward and her connection with the crowd is weird and intimidating.

During one of her concerts shown in the documentary, Nina pauses and tells a fan "Hey, you there, be quiet!" by pointing a finger. She also has a very hard relationship with her husband and later manager Andrew Stroud. He managed her career but was also abusive and beat her up on many occasions, as her diary reveals.

Nina Simone and husband Andrew Stroud (on her right)

Nina Simone and husband Andrew Stroud (on her right)

A central point in Nina Simone's life plays her involvement with the Civil Rights movement in the 60s and 70s. Simone is influenced by the occurrences of violence and starts writing music by putting racial inequality as central issue in her texts. She is notorious for having once told Martin Luther King, Jr., "I'm not non violent". Contrary to Luther King who promoted peace, Simone stood up for violent approach to the race inequality issues, asking her crowd if they "were ready to kill if necessary." 

Nina Simone spent the late time of her life in Liberia, where she wasn't performing, and then moved to France. She started doing concerts there because she needed money, all over again, but barely managed to gather a crowd because no one believed it was really, the real Nina Simone. Soon after that she was diagnosed with manic depression and bipolar disorder. Her last years were spent on very heavy drugs and absence of the mind. She passed away in her sleep in 2003.

Thank you for the music, Miss Simone! 

January 18 - 24 | 2016

ALFONS MUCHA
 

Alfons_Mucha_LOC_3c05828u.jpg

When recently on a visit to Milan, I went to see an exhibition of Alfons Mucha. The exhibition took place at Palazzo Reale, titled "Alfons Mucha and the atmosphere of Art Nouveau". 

Alfons Mucha (1860-1939) /or Alphonse Mucha in English/ was a Chezch Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist. With a distinctive style of his own, he introduced new communicative language, through innovative and provocative new visual art.  Marked as the "Mucha Style", his symbolic female figures found place on all types of visual art - from postcards, to interior, advertisement, posters, jewellery and others.  

"Dance Artist", Mucha (1898) 

"Dance Artist", Mucha (1898) 

What particularly interests me are his advertisement works. It's impressive to see the mashup between high-end artists and the advertising industry, all of this happening in the 19th century. In an era where anyone can be a designer on their computer, and posters are printed in endless copies, imagine how unique a poster drawn 100 years ago by an established painter was. 

Below are my favourite commercial adverts by Mucha (starting with cigarettes "Job" advertisement). 


PYLOT magazine 

                                                 PYLOT Issue 3 : The Status Quo Issue 

                                                 PYLOT Issue 3 : The Status Quo Issue 

For my birthday last month I decided to make a "blind" order of magazine on Sampler. Sampler is a really cool platform, that surprises you with a new magazine each month. It works on monthly subscription or you can order one time and try it. So I did. And PYLOT landed in my hands

PYLOT is "bi-annual, all-analogue fashion and photography magazine - pioneering a modern approach in a digitally saturated image economy". The magazine has strictly no beauty re-touching policy as a stance on the ethical use of photography in fashion and popular culture. 

The beautiful Issue 3, questioning the status quo, landed on my doorstep and took me on a trip through the lifestyle and fashion of one of the smallest towns in England; the lost & found photo sessions of "working girls" back in the days and a lot other amazing content. Peep below:

All images courtesy to PYLOT

January 11 - 17 | 2016

DJ KHALED - The movement
He will give you the key. 

DJ Khaled is taking over our social media feeds! It all started a few months ago when he published a "motivational" video. Peep below:

Another one? Anyone? Another one? I have to admit it, firstly I found it extremely ridiculous. 

Next I got hold of his Snapchat account. I learned that he has become this very big Snapchat celebrity, receiving his own tag next to his name (the key*) and own stickers ("Ride with me to the journey of more success"). I saw he snaps a lot, so I got me some popcorn and sat down to watch. 

And this became a daily routine. Basically, like every "celebrity" (how and why Khaled is famous is a whole other question) DJ Khaled talks about himself a lot. But what he does with this is tell us the bad and hard times he went through and how if he can succeed, we can all succeed! His snaps are HI-LA-RI-OUS. He snaps his everyday life, including showering & snapping (Ladies, beware!), eating, being in meetings, watering his plants, or drinking champagne in the pool (under-the-water, yeah). Every snaps consists of important advices. (and too much personal insight).

Some of the common features of his snaps are concerned with "They". Khaled calls "They" the people who don't want to see you succeed. "They used to look down on me. Now I look down on them." Psssssssst.

Besides being hilarious and everybody making fun of his snaps, I think Khaled is actually doing a good thing. Sometimes it's really nice to hear something positive. Believe it or not, if you hear him 10 times saying "You smart.. You loyal.." you get off with a good feeling. 

Good guy, Khaled. Go follow him on Snapchat on the journey of more success.


why going to bed when you're down is the best decision
Lessons learned

Theo and Beau. Photo courtesy: mommasgonecity.com 

Theo and Beau. Photo courtesy: mommasgonecity.com 

Throughout my teens I had this general rule that I would never go to bed angry. I would always try to straighten out an argument with a loved one, or generally try to lift my mood up. An attempt not to bring the negative in my sleep and in the new day. 

However, growing old and wiser, I learned to let go. I figured that in the dark of the night, the inevitable feeling of "ending" (i.e. the end of the day, pressing you to end the day the right way) I make the worst decisions. 

A recent study by the National Sleep Foundation states that staying awake longer burns out a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is responsible for the energy in each of your cells. It is what gives you energy to do things. Sleep replenishes this molecule, but if you go too long without it, it starts to affect areas of your brain responsible for judgment and self-control.

And this is how bad judgments are made. You are tired and angry, you try to fix your "angry" but only make it worse by not being able to make rational judgments. Just letting go and going to bed ensures you wake up fresher and with a clearer view on the problems. It guarantees making a more balanced judgment. 

So there it goes. Whenever things seem like at their worst, like Armageddon is coming, just switch off and go to bed

P.S. Photo above is by an amazing blogger, who started taking pictures of her son and new puppy sleeping. It turned into a very big thing. Check their website & also find them on instagram @mommasgonecity.

January 4 - 10 | 2016

Why your twenties matter and how to freak about them NOW! 
The hysterical guide. Thank you, Dr. Jay

Dr. Meg Jay is the author of "The Defining Decade: Why your Twenties Matter - And How to Make the Most of Them Now"

I got the book as a gift for my 24th birthday, but didn't quite manage to finish it until now (post my 25th birthday). Why so?

Picture is not my own, although it looks very convincing with the N cup! Courtesy: namesnotashley.com

Picture is not my own, although it looks very convincing with the N cup! Courtesy: namesnotashley.com

The author, Dr. Jay, a clinical psychologist tells us that the twenties are the years where we most rapidly and effectively grow and shape our lives. Contrary to popular belief, the author states, "thirties are not the new twenties" and the decision you make now will reflect how miserable (or not..) you will be in your thirties. She gives a sense of urgency, time is running out and twenty-somethings have to take strong hold of their lives! 

Peep her TED talk below. 

I had (and maybe still have) quite a problem with this book. Frankly, it made me nervous. Being in your twenties is not easy and there are only a few people I know that live by the rule "Twenties are for having fun, serious stuff after 30". 90% of people in my community in their 20s are hard working, hard hustling (yeah, I said that), building a career path AND partying at the same time. I don't appreciate the sense of urgency Dr. Jay gives. While sleeping through your most energetic years is stupid, freaking out about what will become of you is also counterproductive. I believe there can be a balance between ambitions, actions and youth.

"The Defining Decade" is an interesting read and Dr. Jay uses personal examples and that of her clients to portray different scenarios. While I'm not completely crazy about it, I understand "the message". 

You can find the book on Amazon. A good review on the book by another thwentysomething - read here :)

December 28 - January 3 | 2015-16

Gaspar Noé's LOVE
Love(d) it.

As my week started with a movie marathon, during which I saw Enter the Void (2009) by Argentinian film director Gaspar Noé, I knew the time has come for me to finally witness LOVE (2015)

Although dubbed as unofficial porn movie and proven very controversial, Love, for me, was quite an amazing experience. It is true that the movie features real sex scenes by the actors themselves, which you never see in movies (as the main actor points out, even in Nymphomaniac they've used body doubles). But after the first shock of graphic sex scenes and the development of the love story between the main characters, I stopped being shocked. My brain accepted the invitation into the very thunderous relationship of this couple, of which a big part was their sex life. And that makes sense. Sex describes the relationship of two individuals, and their relationship is entangled in their sex life

Love is indeed a beautiful love story. Than you, Gaspar Noé! 

 

WHATEVER YOU THINK

THINK THE OPPOSITE

Paul Arden (1940 - 2008)

Paul Arden (1940 - 2008)

Paul Arden is an impressive guy, who was the Executive Creative Director of advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi between 1987 and 1992. Then he went on to set up his own company while having a regular column at The Independent

Arden has written three books in his lifetime, all of which represent his advertising & creative ideology. This week I had the chance to read Whatever you think, think the opposite.

Arden lines out that making wrong decisions is better than making right ones, as the last never takes you to new places. As the foreword states:

This book explains the benefits of making bad decisions. It shows how risk is your security in life. And why unreason is better than reason. It's about having the confidence to roll the dice.

The author goes on to give examples of people who have chosen not to take the right decisions and ended up being pioneers in their field. He stresses that it is better to act than to regret you've never acted. Being creative, unconventional, experimental are characteristics of successful people. But what is successful to you? Probably different than what is to me, states Arden. Therefore you should always follow your personal point of view, rather than trying to fit the expectations of others.

The book is a great reminder for the ones lost in their daily life. Don't forget to say WHY NOT? from time to time. Also, creative as he is, Paul Arden has filled it with great imagery from fellow artists and its truly a joy to be perceived visually. 

December 21 - 27 | 2015

JOAN DIDION
"The Year of Magical Thinking" 

JOAN DIDION Malibu c.1976

JOAN DIDION Malibu c.1976

I have this weird relationship with books. It is rare that I would walk in a bookstore, searching for a specific title. Most commonly I walk in a bookstore and expect "my" book to find me.

It was on a such occasion, when I was visiting the store at the TATE museum in London, that I got attracted to this book. "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion.  

At this point, Joan Didion was unknown to me (a fact for which I feel ashamed right now). 'Will speak to and maybe comfort anyone who has lost for ever the one they loved' stated the review by the Daily Mail

The book describes the one-year-period after the death of Didion's husband and partner for 40 years, fellow writer John Greggory Dunne. More specifically, it records Joan Didion's struggle to accept her husband's death, to believe that he will come back, to find evidence that he never will. The book is beautiful and heartbreaking. I myself went through two losses this year and the concept of someone close dying, although reason, is still unexplainable, unacceptable to me.

"Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity."

Joan Didion and John Dunne, 1992 

Joan Didion and John Dunne, 1992 

Despite the heartbreaking loss, "The Year of Magical Thinking" introduced me to this amazing American author, Didion, who has a lifetime work which I am only beginning to discover. The manner of investigation in her writing, even when it comes to such a personal event is astounding! Also, again despite the grief, the book depicts a beautiful love story. Didion and Dunne, both of them writers, spent 40 years together, being by each other's side every day, working and travelling. Moments, on which Didion reminisces, when going back and forth between Dunne's presence and current absence. 

It is my struggle with these week hypes that I try to write short, informative posts on my weekly inspirations. However, I often find, and with Didion even more, that I can't find the minimum amount of words in which I could describe my astonishment with a certain persona. So, I will leave it with this, until next time.

"Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control." 
Joan Didion, "The Year of Magical Thinking"

Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, September 1996  

Photographed by Irving Penn, Vogue, September 1996

 


December 14 - 20 | 2015

BRYSON TILLER
My favourite occasional rapper

I was browsing through Lady Leshurr's Snapchat (I discovered her last week) when I heard a song, so smooth and sensual, that I had to find it! 

Bryson Tiller is a 22-year-old from Louisville, Kentucky, who, according to Wikipedia, is a song-writer and "occasional rapper". This is my favourite definition! Added to the fact that Tiller just put up his debut album - T R A P S O U L, which is full of songs about love & its problems. As if you ever needed another reason to text your crush at 5 in the morning..

One blog site describes Bryson perfectly:

If Drake and The Weeknd had a singing baby, it would be Bryson Tiller.

Bryson is going on tour in 2016 [sadly only in the US, for now]. 

Listen to T R A P S O U L here:

 

DRONE CHOREOGRAPHY
Japanese brand goes inventive

The Japanese fashion brand BUYMA published a short choreography with 2 naked ballet dancers and drones hoovering over them with tiny pieces of paper, covering the nudes as they dance. Titled "A Kind Drone", the video shows a brand going a new marketing way. 

When I first saw the video I had no idea the brand behind it was a fashion brand. Drones are all over the place right now, but I haven't seen before is them being used in arts projects. Naturally, it got my interest. I saw little of the brand itself after some research and even though this video project may not spike sales, it inevitably serves as defining a new brand image for the company. One that is inventive, experimental, loving beauty & simplicity. 

 

COS x JELLYFISH

What do I love more than the brand /COS/ itself? 

COLLABS!

Last week COS put up a video in support of London Contemporary Music Festival. For the film the brand commissioned NOWNESS (which is another awesomeness I would look into later). The Jellyfish shows a cross-species relationship, evolving over the sounds of selected artists from the festival's programme. 

It's beautiful.