Wednesday, 22 December 2010

So Last-Year: 1970s Christmas cards

Are you ready? Presents all bought, greeting cards all sent? I went for Stefi Orazi's Modernist London cards this year but for a different look, how about these seventies designs? They were designed by Juliet Glynn Smith for Hunkydory designs in 1970. I like their chunky shapes and pattern and their reminder to incorporate a bit more purple, brown and gold into our lives this Christmas - why should red and green and white get all the festive fun?

So, it's almost the end of another year - this year's been pretty full on and I hope 2011 brings a little bit more calmness. I'm off for a snooze,  a read and no doubt a browse on the prettier corners of the internet. Wishing you a joyful Christmas. I'll see you Next-Year...

Image from Design Council Slide collection, via VADS archive

Friday, 17 December 2010

Last-Year Reads: Zandra Rhodes textile revolution

Last Thursday, I attended the launch of a new book on Zandra Rhodes. Subtitled 'Textile Revolution: Medals Wiggles and Pop', it looks at the designer's early work and the influence of Pop Art on her work. The author, Samantha Erin Safer, is perfectly placed to write the book having started her own career interning at Rhodes' Fashion and Textile Museum and also for sharing her love of colour and pattern with the design. I also have to admit a bias as Sam is now my colleague at the V&A and I looked at an early draft of her text.

While Zandra Rhodes work is so closely associated with the '70s, it was fascinating to see how her style developed and her early influences. She was at the RCA in the 1960s and, if you cast your mind back you'll remember we've been here before - it's the turf of George Melly's 'incubators of total Pop', the students that were featured in the 1962 film Pop Goes the Easel, featuring my very first Last-Year Girl: Pauline Boty.

Sam explains how, understandably, this Pop sensibility filtered into her work - David Hockney, for example, influenced some of her work for her degree show which featured medal motifs. The book also shows some variants on designs from her sketchbooks, inspired by a Dior advert showing lipstick being applied. They're not too dissimilar to the pattern being used on a new book in the V&A Pattern series: Pop Patterns, which is coming out next year:

After the RCA, the book goes on to look at some of her early collaborations, such as her textile designs for Foale and Tuffin like this domino dress (shown at the Foale and Tuffin Fashion and Textile Museum exhibition), as well as commissions for Jacqmar, &Vice Versa and Sekers Pty Australia.

In 1966, Rhodes teamed by with Sylvia Ayton to open the Fulham Road Clothes shop and, amongst its fascinating contextual images, the book features some great pictures from their collections. This was also the time she created her textiles inspired by Paco Rabanne's plastic discs - as seen in a 'bikini' dress in the book, or in this dress photographed by Ronald Traeger and then used to promote the V&A's '60s fashion exhibition decade's later.

One of the inspiring things about the book is the huge range of sources Rhodes uses for her own inspiration: a TV documentary on Las Vegas, knitted textiles or the Museum of the American Indian which informed some of her early own clothing collections. The book is a riot of colour and pattern - from the acid green of the cover to the bright pink pull-out quotes and that's even before you get to the plates section in the second half of the book!

If you are a textile student, there's plenty that will send you running to your sketchbook and, for everyone else, it's a fascinating and colourful glimpse into a rich and fertile period of British design.

Zandra Rhodes Textiles Revolution: Medals, Wiggles and Pop is available from Amazon for £21.25

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

So Last-Year: Jack Fletcher's 1940s nordic knitwear

One of the best bits about my job is the great things you can stumble across while just, you know, working. Take today. I was searching through Corbis for potential covers for a book that I'm working on about knitting when the above image leapt out at me. It was taken by Jack Fletcher in Canada in 1949 for National Geographic. I love the fact that while the girl looks quite contemporary in her outfit and with her fashionable fringe, she's also got that beautiful vintage, healthy glow. And the colour of that sky is just heavenly...

I actually took this copy of the image off the intriguingly entitled Inspirational and Motivational Posters website where you can buy a print of it for $39. It seems a slightly random selection for them but I guess it is making me want to grow my hair a little, sort out my skin and go out and buy a great new belt and knitwear, so perhaps that's the idea. But not to attempt to ski, oh no.

And, hurrah, time to celebrate as tis finally the season of festive knitwear. Oh hello again, ...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Last-Year Party: the 70s

To finish off my little series of party looks, I present to you the 70s. I've always found seventies-style a bit tricky to include into my wardrobe - it doesn't fit my figure as well as 50s stuff or as easy to pop on as a 60s mini skirt, for example. Recently though, it's been becoming more of a favourite, partly thanks to the inventiveness of designers like Celia Birtwell and Zandra Rhodes (more of that later this week), and partly because I really enjoyed spending my summer clomping around in a pair of Swedish 70s-esque clogs. This seventies look isn't for the faint hearted but certainly will make an impact...

Let's start off bold with this Troubadour chiffon evening dress from Devoted2Vintage for £48. Okay, it's tiered skirt and ruffles to the sleeves and neck are possibly a bit Abigail's party but there's no denying it's sense of fun and that deep colour is beautiful. You'll just need to be a bit fearless... a leopard, maybe? I think you should pile on the gold with this look, such as with this Gold plated leopard brooch, from The Stellar Boutique (£15). Grrr!

Another nod to the seventies with the platform and the peep toe, these Shirley shoes are £139 from Reiss. More gold? Well this is the era of glam rock after all.

Finally, a bit of serious bling to finish it off, this Segrato ring by Vita Fede is available from Kabiri. At £226 it's a serious investment, though the green resin and the gold will really shine against the colour of your dress. Hopefully it will last you through many more decades of parties!

I can't face tackling the '80s (just take a look at instead for a good fix) so have a fun time twinkling at your Christmas parties, whatever you end up wearing. My work do is happening in January so PLENTY of time to plan a new outfit for the new year.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Last-Year Party: the 60s

So we've done a contemporary take on a '50s party look - what did you think? It's now time to shimmer and shake into a new decade. For sizzling sixties style, I'm thinking monochrome with a touch of festive sparkle...

This is a stunning vintage number from Nina and Lola. It's an easy to wear tunic shape with a lace shoulder detail. It's £90 but looks like a million dollars.

Check out the beautiful silver buckle on these white patent shoes. These are $39 from Lagelle on Etsy. Modest heel and silver buckle. Once the party season is over, they'll be perfect with a pencil skirt for a sexy secretary look.

Add more sparkle with this orb clutch bag which £110 from Mimco. You'll have to channel your inner 60s spirit and leave your mobile and i-pod at home!

Then pile on the bangles to punk it up a bit. Start with the perfectly named Pop Art spot bangle from Kate Spade ($42)...

... with a nice and plain and chunky inlay bangle for £8 from Accessorize.

Finish it all off with yet more sparkle. How about this Night Fever bangle, again £8 from Accessorize?

There you go, enjoy, and remember to shake a tail feather for me!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Last-Year Party: the 50s

Phew - after all that heavy-ish stuff, I'd like lighten the mood a little. In case it had escaped your notice, it's the season of parties and sequins and twinkling and all sorts of festive joy. I've put together a few possible party outfits for you - a mixture of the vintage and the contemporary - and roughly inspired by different eras. Let's start in one of my favourite periods for stylistic inspiration, the Fifties.

A lovely contemporary dress from Topshop that balances that ladylike look with a sense of fun very well. Though you can't tell from the image, the top is actually patterned with navy blue flowers, not black. And how much fun would it be to spin around in that tulle skirt? This costs £95.

Draw out the blue shades of the dress and give yourself a bit of an edge with this 1950s cocktail hat from Love Miss Daisy Vintage. It's £20.

Jewellery fans can add some festive sparkle with these $9 earrings, from 1stlovepurses  on Etsy.

Add these pumps, £80 from Kurt Geiger at ASOS. The low size heel is perfect for dancing the night away in comfort and the wood gives the classic style a nice contemporary twist.

Finally, pop your lipstick, powder and compact in this cute clutch bag from Seamsclassic, for $20 on Etsy. You're ready to rock around the clock, '50s style!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Last-Year Travels: Amsterdam

As an attempt to celebrate Mr S's birthday and to banish the winter blues, earlier in the week we hopped on the Eurostar to Amsterdam. The city was very much in winter's grip but looked absolutely stunning. This view across the museum area, taken from inside the Van Gogh museum, reminds me of a Bruegel painting - I half expect to see a deer bounding across the picture. Instead, cyclists on their determined paths.

As the cold wind whipped round us, the vistas down the canals were literally breathtaking. My favourite moment was after it had got dark, and we wandered past the huge lit up-windows of the apartments while clutching a paper cup of mulled wine for warmth. Inside were cosy and inviting scenes of city residents, reading, sitting back and cooking.

We walked through a perilously icy Vondelpark to the 1930s cafe in the centre. Black pendant lights hung from the ceiling, while a chunky transport-style clock was set off by the chic gray walls. The wooden tables were decorated with tea lights and meadow flowers. Simple but warm and welcoming, it seemed to sum up the Dutch style perfectly. We sat clutching our coffee glasses, looking out at the whitewashed park as the cool staff played the xx.

On Tuesday evening, we ventured to a tiny jazz club to see Gruff Rhys playing a gig. Sat on plastic stacking chairs and enjoying a Dutch lager, the audience was filled with thrilled ex-pats and fashionable Netherlanders in excellent knitwear. Gruff was as charming and whimsical as ever and, playing solo, he used a metronome to replace drums and records of bird songs to accompany his own guitar and vocals. The tiny space hung on his anecdotes and sublime vocals and it felt really rather special to be there.

All too soon we had to return to Britain and to big chunky layers of snow and public transport failure. Thoughts of Amsterdam are lingering on though, in more than my chapped lips. I look forward to wandering its streets again.

Friday, 26 November 2010

So Last-Year: Mad Men yourself

This is old news now (just my kind of news) but I recently revisited MadMenYourself. There's been some pretty intensive Mad Men watching going on in our flat recently and we're now half way through series three. I'd caught the odd episode before and was swooning over the frock and the sideboards. Now I actually care a bit too much about the characters and caught myself trying to tell someone Peggy's story as genuine fact. Oh dear.

Anyway, here I am Mad Men style.

I'm sadly more of a Peggy than a Betty (Cher from Clueless would agree) but I'm at least successful at multi-tasking: cigs, shopping and Joan's accordion in my hands.

And here is the lovely Mr S. Something of the Paul Kinsey about him don't you think? I think he actually has a very similar cardigan to this in real life too.

To continue the Mad Men obsession I quite fancy checking out this Betty and Joan paper doll set that I wrote about for Retro To Go.

Perfect to inspire you ahead of the inevitable Friday cocktail hour (I wish!).

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New Kid on the block

I've been in desperate need of new shoes. Although I am always enticed by heels, I always end up wearing my flats which are much more suitable the hills of South East London. Because I walk a lot and in what isn't a very graceful manner, the heels of my shoes always get worn down ridiculously quickly. I've had to take stock this wet winter as I realised (converse excluded) that I only owned one pair of shoes without holes in them. The shame - not to mention the damp.

Now, you'll have realised by now that generally I'm not all about the new. However, good vintage shoes are hard to come by, generally have heels, and I'll probably wreck them quickly (see above). The shoes in the shops have equally been pretty uninspiring - wedge boots are a no-no, I'm never going to be seen in loafers and I've been put off by the ubiquity of brogues.

On a recent scurry around Harvey Nicks (see previous post), I saw that Poste Mistress was selling not one but two new brands of shoes that I liked. The post-scurry, internet flurry that followed resulted in two rather charming - and reduced in price - pairs from Kat Maconie. They're yet to be delivered so I'll report back. The shoes that stole my heart however are these babies from a company called New Kid. That tapestry, that T-bar, that buckle - my inner 70s librarian is calling out for them. At £115, they're shoes for a rainy day (Actually, I'm not sure how well they'd cope with a rainy day) but they're fuelling some folk fashion fantasies.

To console my inner 70s librarian, I ended up buying a cute flippy skirt on Sunday from Vien instead. Come the Christmas sales though and I'll definitely be trying to pick on the new kid.

Monday, 22 November 2010

So Last-Year: KENZO Fashion in Motion

I managed to actually stop thinking about the rodent horribleness for half an hour or so thanks to the KENZO Fashion in Motion at the V&A. The Fashion in Motion's are always great experiences, allowing you to experience designer clothes on the catwalk (rather than guiltily scurrying around Harvey Nicks as I tend to do). While often the event is used as a retrospective, this Fashion in Motion was used to present Creative Director Antonio Marras' vision for KENZO.

(photograph by Flutter Speed)

And what a vision! A delightful blend of Japanese heritage and European couture, the clothes blended delightful natural prints and gorgeous romantic cushions. I was transported into a civilised world of afternoon tea - hopefully complimented by some macaroons from Yauatcha.

I couldn't identify all of the music played but there was definitely some Bjork in there, adding to the other worldly feel.

(photograph by Flutter Speed)

Especially covetable were the shoes - wooden blocks decorated in bright pops of colour or pattern. I'd never be able to walk in them but then that surely reinforces what this fashion and catwalk lark is all about - an escapist fantasy. At this moment in time, that's exactly what I need.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

I think I smell a rat

How smug I was when I wrote about Last-month's move. Alas, my contended air was not to last long as this last week has brought us a new visitor. As you might have guessed from The White Stripes song above, our little home has been taken over by a rat!

I was in the house last week, waiting for the landlord to look at a nasty bit of damp we seem to have in the bedroom. I heard some serious banging coming from our kitchen - I walked in to see a huge black thing bolt up the side of our wall from the work surface to the boiler. Urgh. Needless to say my horror and resultant unpleasantness has been huge. We're now fully laden with bait and striped of any food but the creature seems to refuse to die. It's an especially devious beast too. The other Sunday we were enjoying a crumpet and coffee in the other room. On returning to the kitchen a mere 20 minutes later we found the packet ripped open and on the floor, with the other six crumpets completely vanished out of sight! Another casualty is the lid to my Hornsea Pottery biscuit jar. In his desire to get to the digestives, old ratty has managed to both lift it off and then hide it somewhere out of sight. I'm gutted that the jar has been spoilt.

So, when I wrote about this Love in a Cold Climate print for Domestic Sluttery, it was also partly a reflection of our circumstances. Despite living in a damp flat, under siege from an unwanted visitor, me and Mr S seem to be getting on quite nicely, thanks, and I'm glad we've got each other as we suffer through. If only the rat would pack his bags and the damp go away, all would be just dandy ... watch this space ...

Monday, 15 November 2010

Do you remember the last time?

One of my first gig going experiences was V 96, a present for my 16th birthday. Living in the middle of nowhere my sister had the job of accompanying me on the Solid Entertainment coach to Staffordshire for the day. It was a Brit Pop era special, headlined by the triumvirate of Cast, Supergrass and Pulp.

It was an eyeopening day in many respects. It was the day I stopped believing that everything Radio 1 told me was true when I realised Cast were truly rubbish. It was the day I began an ongoing relationship with Denim, Super Furry Animals and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. And, of course, when I fell even more head over heels in love with Pulp.

Pulp, along with Kenickie, were my all time favourites of that era. I did like Blur but Damon's cocky Southern blokey attitude left me a bit cold. I liked glitter and dancing and the thoughts of nightclubs and pulling. Pulp were Northern and proud, and clearly looked like they spent far too long in second hand shops and reading books, yet somehow they still went to nightclubs and managed to pull. There was hope for me yet.

Like the rest of the planet, I paid to see last year's Blur reunion and their massive instant sell-out Hyde Park gigs. The let-down of that was huge. Partly because I had seen them at Glastonbury the week before - a tremendous, end-of-festival, tear jerking moment - but also because the Metro reading, band-waggon jumping, beer bottle throwing crowd did not make for a great time. All the bits I liked about Blur seemed to get lost in the crowd, reduced to drunkenness, singalongs and swagger.

So, with the news of Pulp reforming, I was itching to get out the pussy bow blouses and velvet jackets and see them again. But the disappointment that it was to be in Hyde Park! I don't want to sing along to Sorted for E's and Whizz in a crowd of thousands without irony. I want to see Pulp in a little gig venue, preferably one with a floor like in the video of Disco 2000. I wanted there to be space for just me and my teenage dreams/musical snobbery - or, at most, a few similar kindred spirits. It seems I'm not alone in this desire - unlike the Blur gigs which seemed to sell out almost instantly - the Pulp tickets are still on sale.

Perhaps I'm wrong - and no doubt by the time the gig comes around in the summer I'll have purchased a ticket, paranoid on missing out on something really special - like their legendary 1995 set at Glastonbury. Somehow I'm doubting whether a Barclaycard/Wireless gig can create that same magic.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Lampshades in rock

It's an unlikely trend but lampshades seem to be the latest accessory for bands. Not slim-lined modernist numbers either, but full-on granny style shades. Take a look at the evidence...

First spotted at Bestival, Lulu and the Lampshades were accompanied onstage by a couple of backing dancers, wearing a pair of lampshades. A power problem meant that one poor dancer was really executed but a good look nonetheless.

(image courtesy of Spoonography)

Fever Ray's atmospheric set at Bestival was full of dry ice, lasers and, yes, lamps.

That all could be put down to the madness inflicted by spending too long in a field on the Isle of Wight. That is until yesterday, when Neil Hannon stepped out onto the a stage at the Royal Festival Hall, bedecked with lampshades. Alas I can't find a picture so you'll have to believe me but they complimented his bowler hat, pipe, neat suit and witty asides perfectly. For the finale, National Express, they even flashed on and off in time to the tune. Brilliant. Here's the tune anyway, seeing it's now firmly embedded in my brain where it's likely to stay for the next couple of days. Meanwhile, I'm going to go and hunt down my own lampshades before they start getting thrown out of hotel rooms!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Last-Year Reads: Important Artifacts and...

Relationships have been the stock story matter of books surely since time began. While the stories are instantly identifiable, the difficulty is finding something which is inventive but still rings true. Important Artifacts by Leanne Shapton - or to give it its full title Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, including books, street fashion and jewellery - does exactly that and is, by turns, exciting, inspiring and utterly heart-breaking.

The reason for the cumbersome title is because the book is set out in the form of an auction house catalogue. Rather than works of art for sale, the items documented are the ephemera of a couple's relationship: letters, notes, clothes, books and other assorted oddities. The book starts with brief photographic entries on the couple, Lenore and Harold, and a snap of them at a Halloween party. Under the image is the description 'First known photograph of the couple together'. From there you slowly see Lenore and Harold falling in love - from dates, to notes of interest, to full blown declarations. This is all cleverly told, or implied, through postcards, book inscriptions and mix CDs. You note the couple passing milestones in their relationship through key items. A scrawled note indicates the first introduction to friends, ill-judged presents mark the meeting of the parents and duplicate novels indicate the combining of collections that comes with a move-in.

Shapton's skill is to create a real sense of the personalities of the couple through their belongings. The possessions also give a great sense of each of the characters. The possessions of Lenore, a food writer on the New York Times, include vintage tea towels and a scrapbook of recipes given to her by her mother. She also builds up a fully dimensional picture of the relationship. The couple's silly gifts and cards to each other are touching and inspiring - there's plenty of food for thoughts for romantics here - and it does make you want to document and cherish every small and ridiculous details of your relationship. Equally there are pointers throughout to the cracks in their relationship and the book accurately charts the painful highs and lows of being in an increasingly unhappy relationship, until it ends - and hence this sale of their belongings. The ending of their relationship is utterly believable, and also very sad. That said there's a certain suspension of disbelief required of the reader throughout - no couple I know would be so expressive in discussing their relationships, either in writing or in person - but maybe that's my Britishness speaking and I don't know enough American couples and, of course, real relationships never end with the finality of an auction. This is hinted at in the book as it is prefaced with a letter of regret from Hal, written a few years after the event. In real life, property is discarded or divided up, then appropriated into a new life and into new relationships. Our relationship with the objects and the feelings we attach to them also shifts over time.

Important Artifacts is an everyday story with everyday experiences and objects, that's beautifully told. Its message is sure to appeal to die hard accumulators and hoarders, as well as those in relationships - cherish the significance of the small stuff.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Last-Month's move

October skipped by in a blur ... of festivals, of holidays and of moving.

Yes, after six and a half years I've said toot toot to Tooting and decided to get pally with the Palace. Crystal Palace that is. And although my legs seem to be constantly aching from all those hills, I'm very happy with the move, especially on beautiful autumn days like today when everything, from the trees in the park to the skyline view from the end of my road, seems to combine into a perfect movie moment.

And of course a move allows me the opportunity to rearrange and this one has given me the space to spread out and unpack. Though the flat remains a little too flatpack for my liking, I thought I'd share some of my favourite Last-Year objects with you.

The Babycham glasses have been given a place in what I affectionately call my 'granny cabinet'.

As have some of my favourite teacups.

The slightly sinister bunny rabbit peaks out from between some of my many books, now time-consumingly arranged by colour.

The cushion on the right came from my grandmother's house while I made the cushion cover on the left, out of some fabric I got off ebay. It's since been used for the cover of the Style Me Vintage book but I've no idea about the designer or anything. Does anyone know? Let me know if so.

And finally a Buddha to add a bit of wisdom to the flat. It's a bit of a curious object - lift him up and there's a radio underneath. It no longer works but I'm quite fond of him.

I'm looking forward to spending lots more time in the flat and letting my little collection grow. Luckily Crystal Palace is packed with vintage shops to inspire/tempt me - I'm excited!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

So Last-Year: The Illusionist

Post-birthday party tired and emotional, I went to see The Illusionist. Featuring a French magician and set in 1950s Edinburgh, it was always highly probable that I'd enjoy it.

I loved it. And how it made me cry - the like of which hasn't been seen since the Billy Elliot debacle (he's a Northern boy that just wants to dance!). I cried for about the last quarter of the hour in the cinema, I cried all the walk home and my eyes have welled up every time I've tried to describe just why it moved me so much.

So, with the risk of tears clogging up my keyboard, here I go. It's based on an unproduced script by Jacques Tati which has been adapted into a charming animation by Sylvain Chomet and tells the story of a down on his luck French magician who meets, and ends up being followed to Edinburgh by a sweet and naive Highland girl. He charms her with a pair of shoes, convincing her of his magic abilities. The film shows their time in the Scottish underworld of dancers, ventriloquists and acrobats, all set against hints of a changing time. Eventually she meets someone and falls in love and he goes on his way again leaving only the message 'Magicians do not exist.' Sob inducing in itself.

My love for Edinburgh stems from my four years as a student there. The animation of the city looks stunning, turning it into a dreamlike creation and it reminded me what it was like to encounter it for the very first time, before I started taking its beauty for granted. In the young naive country girl I saw myself: with all the dreams of my 18-year-old self, and accompanying loneliness and insecurities. It also helped that she loved clothes!

The city looks stunning in the animation, a dreamlike creation and it reminded me what it was like to encounter it for the very first time, before I started taking its beauty for granted.

As she left the illusion of the magician behind and departed with her new romance for the next chapter of her story to begin, I'm preparing to move in with my boyfriend and to leave one part of my independent life behind. I hope some magic stays with me though as life would be terribly boring without it.

I highly recommend it, even if you aren't a girl at an emotional turning point in your life or weren't a student in Edinburgh. As the French guy next to me said as the credits rolled, 'That was beautiful, non?'. Of course I was too busy blubbing to reply.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Vintage at Goodwood

A festival devoted to vintage? It was no wonder Vintage at Goodwood captured my interest. Thanks to a freebie ticket - part of my reward for penning something for the festival programme - last Sunday I put on one of my favourite vintage frocks (a colourfully patterned 60s number that I got in Portugal pictured below) and got to experience 'the festival of our lives'. That's their words not mine.

I had mixed feelings about it before I went. How could the idea of 'vintage' sustain a whole festival? Lots of the publicity seemed to surround the high street at the festival which just left me cold - I don't like the idea of billing shopping as a major attraction. And would there really be enough to do otherwise?

There were some bits that I found a bit tricky - the plastic nature of the high street for example. I'd have loved it if they'd been able to include reclaimed bits of furniture and fittings rather than it being a MDF spectacular. And I didn't really fancy going into Cath Kidston, the Body Shop or Primark when I was there. And though most visitors looked fantastic, there was a disappointing amount of recognisable Topshop, Gap and, yes, Primark being worn (surely you must have had something vintage to have worn, or why on earth were you there?)

There were some areas that were really spot-on - I loved pretending I was on holiday in a plush 60s resort listening to a spot of hammond organ in the super-fantastic plastic of the leisure dome. I liked looking at the cherished cars, immaculate mod bikes and cool caravans on display. I think the thing that tipped it for me was the fantastic attitude of my fellow visitors who really went for it. Not in a boozed-up festival way that I'm so used to, but how they got into their different scenes. The Casino was a replica Wigan Casino Northern Soul club, complete with carpets and pool tables. And it was completely packed throughout the day with Northern Soul dancers, in their best clothes, dancing away. Each area had its own group of dedicated followers who tended to be older in age. It was the young(er) ones like me who drifted from area to area, less sure of their scene.

Having had to witness some questionable music such as The Feeling on the main stage, it was a pleasure to end the day with the complete showbiz pro that is Geno Washington. Smooth moves, slick banter, we could still hear him belting them out as we were sat on the bus back to the train station.

Not the festival of my life certainly but a jolly good spectacle.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

So Last-Year: Tooting Lido

Perfect for this kind of weather, Tooting Lido has to be one of top ten London places. I was overjoyed to see this photoshoot in ES Magazine showing the Lido and the lovely painted doors of the poolside changing rooms off to their full advantage. Oh and Roksanda Ilincic and a bevy of bathing beauties too.

With the weather this hot, I planning on investing in one of these and heading off there soon to make a splash...

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Let's get ready to jumble

On the 1 August, I'm going to go all Pete Beale and turn stall holder at the South West Jumble. I'm hoping to flog some of my unneeded clothes and also get rid of a few books ahead of my flat move in September. I hope to meet some nice Tooting-shire folks too.

I also want to make my stall look extra pretty, any ideas?

If you in the Tooting area that day, please do pop in and say hi (and maybe spend a few pennies too). Full details on the jumble are here.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

1959 Brooklyn Gang

How to be a Retronaut has put up some amazing pictures by Bruce Davidson, taken in 1959 of a Brooklyn teen gang, The Jokers.

The clothes, the attitude, the fumblings, the look of inescapable boredom. It's good to know being a teenager never changes.

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