Sunday, 1 April 2012

Hockney and Freud "Banana Milkshake vs Bourbon."

With only a week left until one of them closes it is a must that any person interested in British Art, stroke that human being (!) if at all possible can make their way to both the David Hockney at the Royal Academy and the Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Since moving down to the big smoke these are two of the major exhibitions I have been to see and trust me they do not disappoint.

Forget your troubles come on get Hockney! Seriously if you are feeling a bit blue the Royal Academy is the place to head. David Hockney’s joyous exhibition will make you recall one of those days when the sun was out and you skipped through a wood-land, jumped over a burn and lazed under the dappled green canopy of trees without a care in the world. Hell that's pretty much what I did up until the age of 13 until bam wham you enter the metaphor of fleshy self-reflective Lucian Freud's exhibition. OK that was perhaps a bit over self psychological but you get the idea.

Both exhibitions I suppose could described as celebrations of life, saying that takes on a more poignant meaning concerning the recent passing away of Freud, but both celebrations on very different ways. Hockney’s in that respect is more obvious with the large canvas’s and bright brilliant colours of English landscapes (non of that Constable bore stuff though, Hockney injects modernism and life into his landscapes) celebrating nature not in a dramatic way but in a way that is reflective of the changing of the seasons and the life spirit and colour that can be found in the countryside without being cliqued or dull (which I tend to generalise when it comes to landscape painting.) Freud’s though undoubtedly emotionally darker exhibition can be described as a celebration of humanity and the people who came in and out of his life, with his fleshy nudes of friends and portraits of family members. Portraits of family members such as his children do of course perhaps create a bit of a contradiction in this thought of celebration, as many tales tell of his lack of closeness with them, with time spent together only really occurring during sittings for his work. I have to admit though thinking about the exhibition I have to scrap my whole thought process of Freud’s exhibition as a celebration of the people that came in and out of his life, because in essence the paintings appear more as a documentation of these people. His nudes so fleshy and grotesquely human appear rather vulnerable to Freud’s penetrative gaze, in which he captures every nook and cranny of the bodies as if they were specimens in an anatomy class.
There as obviously been much comparison between these two exhibitions due to their heavy weight titles within British art and the fact both artists were good friends and sat for each other.
David Hockney by Lucian Freud 2002

Lucian Freud and Assistant David Dawson by David Hockney 2002

 I found a fantastic article that describes the two contending exhibitions through perfect comparisons. If you can’t be bothered reading it here is a quote which really holds true to the Hockney vs Freud showdown “I left the Academy brimming with cheer - Hockney is like arty Prozac. And, it was wise to have a dose of happiness before hitting the ‘Lucian Freud Portraits’ at the National Portrait Gallery.”
So follow this advice and get on down before the arty Prozac closes on the 9th of April, cause Lucian's nudes are going to be unnerving London until May.

I read an article in Dazed and Confused a couple of issues ago about Sue Tilley, the then benefits officer who posed for Freud's probably most recognisable painting. It discussed Tilley's experience during her sessions with Freud and the 80's club scene that she was involved in. Unfortunetly I can't seem to find this back issue. But I did find a small interview with Tilley in the Dazed website about what she is up to now a involves a few more clothes...and no she is no longer a benefits officer.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Ooops Children

 "Now that the Horrors have abandoned their death disco and reinvented themselves as krautrockers, fans of goth rock have a new favourite band."
Ok like a bit of a dick I got over excited about a band which I thought were in the line-up for this years Get Loaded festival; called a few friends crying out 'We have to see these guys again, they are Shhamazing!' 
*Shhamazing, for dramatic effect, never actually said.
Have had another look and of course it is the line-up from 2011. Boy do I feel sheepish about my outburst.
The band in question are O.Children.
Fronted by seriously giant handsome baritone voiced Tobi O'Kandi O.Children create a sound that is dark and grim but contains that element of early Joy Division sound which makes you want to dance to the menacing melody. 
Live O'Kandi literally filled the floor to ceiling in the small venue where I first saw him, lurching over the audience as he held tight to the ceiling fixtures. What a man....what a booming voice....swoon.

O.Children's dorkiest goofy fan. "I love's ya Tobi!"...shameful.
Their 2010 self titled debut album is one of those albums where every song is a hit, none of those filler songs which you try and forgive a band you like for sticking in the CD you've gone out your way to pick up and always skip when your listening to it. Here's a couple of tunes from said album to sink your goth rock noir teeth into. P.S If you do have noir teeth you should probably head to the dentist asap.

So if you like what your hearing despite my previous Get Loaded Guff. I have had a look around the net and O.Children do actually have an up-coming gig on the 29th March at the Vice Issue Launch Party in The Old Blue Last. Now if you happen to be in the area please do not be put off by the Shoreditch magazine association, this band are well worth it, and just to wet your appetite further here is a link to a free download single PT Cruiser from their forthcoming album, which can only mean one thing MORE TOUR DATES!!!! 

Monday, 27 February 2012

Vote Doherty for Kooples!!!!

The Kooples have always made me chuckle, not the clothes which I have to admit are rather smart and snazzy, but of course the marketing campaign involving the famous Koople Couples You know Barry and Betty have been together 5 years, usually showing a rather trendy grim faced pair holding hands, staring up at the camera from an angle which creates the lolly-pop head effect.

Recent campaigns have improved ever so slightly, with a number of the Koople Couples cracking a smile. Yet their newest one made me darn near laugh out loud (which is very rare.)
Pete Doherty of all people is fronting the newest campaign of the men's new capsule wardrobe. The former Libertine and tortured soul is said to have been chosen by the French company as they believe he captures some Anglo-Parisian-Bohemian thingy. I'm not to sure what Doherty captures but I'm sure he'll be eating it tonight....or using some kind of cream to get rid of it the night after. Fashion magazines have been commenting on how the clothes encapsulate good ol' Pete's; dandyism, mod look, casual romantic, Byronic heroism and my favourite dishevelled Dickensian. Wasn't Fagin questionable around young boys and Bill Sikes a wife-beating murderer...? Anyway.

When I first heard about the plans to make Doherty a face for the Kooples one of the first things that came into my head was the scene from Blackadder the Third when Blackadder shows the Prince Regant the 'fashions' of the revolution as modelled by Baldrick.

"Baldrick is wearing a sheeps bladder jacket, with matching dung-ball accessories. Hair by crazy Meg of Bedlam. Notice the overpowering smell of pilchards that have been cunningly woven into the essemble."

Now if you just take the name Baldrick, swap it with Pete, Bedlam with Camden and pilchards with urine, and you've got yourself a Pete Doherty. Saying that with the right setting on an industrial hose pipe and a team of designers and stylists bigger than the crowd that turned up to watch him play an Aberdeen gig, in which he didn't turn up (apparently he fell down his tour bus stairs,) our Pete as you can see from these pictures scrubs up pretty well. 

...What a dapper young fellow! And of course it's nice to see Petey boy moving on from his rather haggard past and we do wish him all the best in the world of fashion. But just to be a little bit mean I couldn't resist putting up this fantastic and highly entertaining portrait of sweet  boggly eyed Pete by the very, very talented Krent Able of the appropriately named Stool Pigeon. And there a little song at the bottom for you to wiggle your toes to while you suffer the delights of the artistic flare of Sir Able. Enjoy!

Play that tune!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Islet with a side order of scrambled eggs and toast

One of my favourite gigs last year was Islet at Sneaky Petes in Edinburgh, relatively unknown they were one of those bands that you accidentally go to see and just fall in love with. I'm beyond rubbish at describing music so not going to even attempt to do so (which is why there's a couple of video links below!)
Anyhow these kind of new discovery gigs always lead to mad personal claims on bands, hoping that you never go into WHSmith to pick up your weekly trash gossip magazine only to see your new and exclusive band relationship staring back at you from NME or Q.

Three Members of the Islet crew being very sporting with their new found fan!
Islet from what I could gather from the few and far between snippets about them found on the Internet seemed to be the perfect band for this 'I found them first' line of thought. They are pretty much set against creating a Myspace or Facebook as a means of promoting the band making them ever so slightly inaccessible to a larger audience. Their lack of commitment to mega touring also helps to keep them just under the radar. They do however have one rather lovely website where you can print off a postcard in order to request delivery of the Isness. A smashing wee fanzine full of collages, scribblings and illustrations by the band. This kind of promotion is very much reflective of their unique and creative music. Which you can take a gander at in these vids.

However I have a sneaking suspicion that the days of Islet acting like some rare and elusive creature are numbered. When I sat down in front of the box to my breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast this morning what should appear on the screen but a tourism ad for Wales, with the Cardiff based bands music used as a backing track. Hell everyone is going to know about them now! Who doesn't pay the utmost attention to tourist ads about Wales!? And with a new LP out January 23rd there is no doubt going to be more attention centred around the band.
 For Islet fans this can really be a good thing and will no doubt encourage a few more gigs which would obviously be fantastic! So here's hoping the group manage to navigate the success which 2012 looks likely to hold while still playing it by the rules that made the band so endearing in the first place. 

Follow the band at.
For a great interview with the band.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Florence, The Little Kate Bush, Karl Lagerfish...and a Horror Bird.

Sing Florence! For the love of God sing!
I've never been a massive fan of Florence and the Machine. Don't get me wrong I bought her 2009 album Lungs and danced like a wild creature whenever her uplifting melodies were played on nights out but I would never call myself a fan. This of course all changed when my sister and I went to go and see her open the sale at Harrods. Against the anti fur protesters chants of "Shame on Harrods" my Florence crush was formed. In person Florence Welch is beautiful, sheer pre-raphaeliteness oozing out of every pour. As for her voice, well I had always suspected that the soaring vocals that came out of my stereo were given that good ol' serious polish and boast finish in the recording studio. Not at all, Flo's (yes it's Flo now) vocal cords were beautiful, varied and much more mature than Lungs had let on, yet I suppose that's a given now that a second album is out.

Having established my new found
Florence crush I was dying to see her and the machine live again. So the moment I was home I was on the net searching for future gigs, unfortunately the next one was the yet to come sold out Alexandra Palace gig surprisingly supported by The Horrors, which word on the grapevine, is going to be choke a block full of American Express card holders. I just hope these two day ahead of
everyone else sods appreciate the show.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

By jove it's a Mumford

Whatever happened to those Mumford boys, no doubt they are holed up in some log cabin located in Marcus Mumfords back garden surrounded by banjo's and wash boards, working on mad dynamic ideas for a second album.
I saw Mumford and Sons when they first started out, at a gig in Aberdeen; it cost £5 to get in and they had Laura Marling at the door selling their tickets and merchandise...such gentlemen.
I accidentally upset one of them by chatting to him at the bar; firstly by commenting on his long leather jacket and finally enquiring if he was here to see the band to which he took umbrage proclaimed "I am the band" and flounced off in a swoosh of Matrix style leather.
The gig itself was really good well worth the £5.
No seriously they were very good.