Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Just a minute: July

Well July is drawing to a close so I thought I'd fit in a 'Just a Minute' post while I can!

Watching the Olympic Opening Ceremony highlights on iPlayer (I actually started feeling quite proud of my country, which is not very British at all! Especially enjoyed the music section throughout the decades, from Bowie to The Specials) Any thoughts on it?

Listening to the Blur special on 6 Music (my favourite band growing up, ahh..)

Looking forward to next week - I'm going to Holland to house and cat sit for my lovely friend Gerdien. Can't wait to explore and take lots of photos there.

Pondering the final episode of The Killing (Danish version). I did enjoy it but for some reason wasn't that happy with how it ended, hmm...

Wishing the weather was still nice. C'mon, the summer was just about to begin, grrr...


Monday, 30 July 2012

An Extraordinary Gentleman

Just wanted to share this illustration that Tom did recently for Left Lion magazine. It's a portrait of the comic writer Alan Moore, who's responsible for Watchmen, V for Vendetta and Batman: The Killing Joke. (The latter served as an influence on the portrayal of The Joker in the Dark Knight.) Isn't it amazing, I am very proud!

Mix Tape Memories by Amy

This week Amy is sharing a few memories with us inspired by a mix tape (yes an actual tape this time, woo!) she was given aged sixteen. Thanks, Amy!

When Laura first asked me to share one of my mix tape memories with her, I initially earmarked a beautiful CD that my boyfriend Charlie made for me when we first started dating. However. When I dug through my music collection to find it, I came across an ACTUAL tape that a guy I used to work with made for me, and I felt compelled to write about it - mostly because I haven’t listened to it in years!

Back when I was sixteen  *cough almost a decade ago cough* I worked in a lousy shop with a group of people who were a) all older than me b) more worldly than me, and therefore c) much cooler than me, in my opinion. My favourite shifts were spent in the poorly ventilated stockroom where I would flirt terribly with Pete the punk and talk about music and films for hours with a skater named Chris. One day out of the blue, Chris announced that he was leaving us to work in a porn shop down south. On his last shift, he gave me this mix tape, which features a pretty creepy photograph of two faces and a label that reads, “All the main hits”. It never came with a track list, so this weekend I sat down with a glass of cider and hit play…

Side A
1.  Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
2. Pyschedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink
3. Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
4. Blondie - Atomic
5. Ramones – Surfin’ Bird (cover)
6. The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

For some reason, the rest of Side A consists of nothing but Young Knives songs? I must have recorded over it at some point…oops.

Side B
1. The Smiths – How Soon Is Now
2. Massive Attack – Angel
3. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Spellbound. About half way through the song, the tape made a strange whirring noise and the song became muffled. After a little fast-forwarding I discovered that the rest of the tape was blank. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

Film Friday: Top 5 Bicycle Films

This week the weather has been perfect for cycling, and as I hopped on my old red bike I started thinking about my favourite films involving bicycles. (I really wanted to watch The Kid with a Bike recently but sadly missed it, did anyone see it at the cinema?) So here is my top 5!

1. My Girl
This is always the first film that springs to mind when I'm riding my bike, carefree on a sunny day. Vada and her best friend Thomas J ride their bikes everywhere (Vada's even has tassles on the handles if I remember rightly!)

2. Now And Then (image above via here)
If you ignore the awful title, (and the fact that Christina Ricci grows into Rosie O'Donnell - wha?) this is a perfect coming-of-age tale about a group of friends, growing up in the summer of 1970. They love to ride their bicycles, complete with pretty baskets and radios to boot. 

3. Amelie
The final scene where Amelie and Nino are riding down the street together is just perfect.

4. ET
We all remember the classic night time scene at the end of the film, but there's also the bicycle chase part pictured above - look at his little face!

5. Belleville Rendez-vous
Okay, so I cheated a little as I've not actually seen this film. But Tom recommended I do, so I should really give it a watch. It centres around a boy who has a love for cycling and grows up to take part in the Tour De France. (Oh and Tom tells me it features a cute overweight dog. Sold!)

Let me know if there's any others I've missed! Have a good weekend folks x

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Weekend in pictures

weston park/ sheffield

I've been having a bit of a tough week, but I just wanted to share a few photos of nice things from last weekend. We spent Friday travelling down to Stamford, Lincolnshire, then went up to Sheffield where Tom's band played at Tramlines festival on Sunday. It was a lovely weekend and the weather was such a nice change from the endless rain we've been having! I made the most of it by spending time outside in the garden, eating delicious barbecue food and seeing bands play outside in Weston Park.

diptych tom and pip
Try as we might, we couldn't get Pip to look at the camera! Pip is Tom's dad's dog, who resembles a puppy but is in fact 11 years old!

Tom getting tangled in Stamford


Left: An amazing outdoor feast Right: Friends sharing a slush puppy at Tramlines

henderson's relish!!
Anyone out there familiar with Henderson's Relish? It's like Worcestershire sauce, but a vegetarian alternative, made only in Sheffield!

cat @ red house
A black cat sitting on the roof at the Red House in Sheffield where Nordenfelt played.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Mixtape Memories - by Camilla

Camilla is a very creative and stylish friend of mine who writes a lovely blog called Idea, you gave me a fright dear. On it she shares her love of fashion, art and disposable cameras. After my post last week she kindly agreed to share her own favourite Mixtape with us. Thanks Camilla!

My sister Becky made me this mix cd 3 years ago. I've always looked to her for new bands and music, and her tastes have strongly influenced what I like today. This compilation reminds me of being in my first year of uni and going to meet my boyfriend's family in Brighton for the first time, I was really nervous. I got a double decker bus to the small town where they live and sat on the top floor. It was driven by a bit of a reckless driver around small country roads, the windows wide open, on a warm sunny April day, and I listened to this on my walkman. It's the perfect CD for sunshine and it's scruffy condition is a good indication of how well listened to and loved it is. 

1) Golden Phone - Micachu and the shapes
2) Dark Red Birds - Felt
3) Shady Lane - Pavement
4) French Kiss - The Lovers
5) Untitled - Last Days of Rome
6) The Snake - Al Wilson
7) Ali Baba - John Holt
8) Turn Me Well - Micachu and the Shapes
9) Pledge - Galactic Nothing (A song written by my sister)
10) Come Together - Spiritualised
11) CMYK - Ladytron
12) Lost in the Paradise - Caetano Veloso
13) She Lives by the Castle - Felt
14) I think I'm in Love - Spiritualised
15) It's My Own Cheating Heart - Glasvegas
16) Gone is the Sand Man - Timebox
17) Battle - Blur

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sketchbook Sunday: Anke Weckmann

Today I'm pleased to post up some sketchbook pages from one of my favourite illustrators, Anke Weckmann. Anke is originally from near Hannover in Germany but moved to this country to study illustration in London. Since then her work has appeared in magazines, books, greetings cards and t shirts (one of which I bought a few months ago.) You can see more of her wonderful work on her website here. Thanks for sharing Anke!


Friday, 20 July 2012

Film Friday: Project Nim

Last week I watched Project Nim, a documentary film all about a project that ran in the 1970s, to try and train a chimpanzee to learn language. The idea was to try and raise Nim like a human child. However, a lot of the team who worked with Nim seemed inexperienced, some even letting Nim smoke cigarettes and dope. Although Nim picked up over 100 different words via sign language, as he grew older he naturally became harder to handle. The project seemed quite ill thought out and left me feeling quite sorry for Nim, who'd been taken from his mother at a very young age to be subjected to a rather unscientific experiment. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Photo Inspiration: Multiple Exposures

Above: Gene Kelly in a dance sequence for the film Cover Girl, 1944 by Gjon Mili

I recently came across an interview with London-based photographer Mads Perch (perhaps best known for shooting this album cover!). He has taken photographs for different bands as well as fashion photography and portraits. But it was his multiple exposure shots (like this series, taken for an album cover for Brother Grimm) I was most impressed by. Perch said he does most of the work in-camera, using long exposures and setting the flash off at different intervals.

Perch named another photographer as an influence, Gjon Mili, whose work I decided to research. I discovered that Mili is famous for his work for Life 
Magazine as well as his famous shots of Pablo Picasso painting with light. Isn't his work amazing? I love the way he captures movement so well, and all in the days before digital manipulation was possible. You can see more of his work here. I'm feeling quite inspired by his work so I I've decided to to experiment with some long exposures tonight. Tom and I tried this out before, making these slightly spooky images and I'm keen to try this with close up portraits too. If they go well I'll share my results on here soon!

Above left: Drummer Gene Krupa, 1941 Right: Multiple exposure of Pablo Picasso drawing a figure in the air, 1949

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Mixtape Memories

I've always been one to keep hold of things that mean something to me, so over the years I've built up a fair collection of brilliant mix cd's. Some were given to me by friends, ex-boyfriends and penpals (and a few were sent to me by lovely bloggers during mix cd-swaps). So I thought it would be fun to introduce a new feature on the blog, partly inspired by a segment on Lauren Laverne's show on 6 Music, in which people send in a tracklisting from their favourite mix tape, along with a little memory associated with it.

To start off I'm sharing a mix CD which was made for me by my friend Sven, who lived in my halls of residence back at university, in the northern town of Hull.

mix cd

We spent many days in the pub over the road, curiously named Ye Olde Black Boy. A few of us would head to the tiny cramped room upstairs to play numerous games of pool while we made our own playlists on the ancient jukebox in there. Someone had written a note and taped it to the front reading 'No bloody stairway!' (Which makes me think of Wayne's World!)

During our final week at uni, Sven gave me and my friend Laura B a copy of this CD he'd made, inspired by the songs we used to listen to. It's not the coolest tracklist (a few songs were put on as a joke - St Germain springs to mind!) but it's the perfect way to bring back memories of our lazy days in the first year. 

1. Gary Puckett and the Union Gap - Young Girl (this song sounds rather wrong these days...)
2. Elvis Presley - Burning Love
3. T Rex - Metal Guru
4. UB40 - Rat in Mi Kitchen
5. Rolling Stones - Under My Thumb
6. The Move - Fire Brigade
7. ABC - Poison Arrow
8. Roxy Music - Love is the Drug
9. Beautiful South - You Keep it all in
10. Blondie - Sunday Girl
11. Four Tops - Can't help myself
12. Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak
13. The Clash - Train in Vain
14. Del Shannon - Runaway
15. The Beatles - Lady Madonna
16. Starship - We Built this City
17. Space - Begin Again
18. St Germain - Rose Rouge
19. Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke
20 David Bowie - Sound & Vision (I do love this song)
Bonus track (unlisted): Abba - Dancing Queen (this song always came on suddenly when the jukebox was on random,  ruining the shot we were making at pool. The intro is quite off-putting!)

I'd love to hear other people's Mixtape Memories as well! If you'd like to contribute yours, just drop me an email!

Friday, 13 July 2012

My Favourite Movies: Guest post by Tom

This week Tom kindly offered to step in for the 'Film Friday' slot and talk about a few of his favourite movies (Although I was very surprised that he forgot to include any Arnie or Nicolas Cage classics...)

Ey up! Laura and I didn't actually get round to watching a film this week (which is ridiculous on my part as i've been off work with the 'man flu'). So instead, here's a very insightful list of my favourite movies!

'That rug really tied the room together'
Me and my friend used to watch this constantly when we were younger. Each character is so beautifully acted. 

'It's sexist!'... 'Well, what's wrong with being sexy?'
Rob Reiner's amazing mockumentary (rockumentary?) about life on the road with an aging rock band still makes me laugh. Especially the Jazz Odyssey near the end... 

'I think we've been in here too long, I feel unusual'
One of the most easily quotable films on Earth surely! Uncle Monty is one of the funniest characters i've ever witnessed and i've had to rewind the shouting policeman a few times... 'GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN!'

' It's funny how people see me and treat me, since I'm really just a simple, boring person.'
A gentle, quiet film. I've watched it a few times now and although it feels like nothing happens, the plot is really affecting. It just shows that films can be shy and reserved and still feel incredibly personal.

'For relaxing times, make it Suntory time'
I remember watching this at the cinema when it came out and I was totally underwhelmed. I didn't understand what my friends saw in it! It was only a few years later when I watched it round a friends house that everything clicked

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Greek Mac & Cheese

Greek Mac & Cheese

I decided it was about time I tried out one of the recipes I'd pinned on to my 'Food' board on Pinterest, and as the weather has been a bit on the miserable side lately Macaroni Cheese appealed. My version was inspired by this recipe, which includes spinach & feta cheese which I thought would make a nice addition.

I adapted it slightly, using cheddar cheese instead of the hard-to-find cheese mentioned in the recipe. I also substituted the shallots for a red onion and as I didn't have any dill I used some fresh chives. We had ours with green beans & some nice bread.

Verdict: Totally yummy! Spinach and red onion much improved upon the normal macaroni cheese recipe. If I was making it again I might try adding mushrooms as well as I think they'd work well with the other ingredients. 




Monday, 9 July 2012

Steamtrains + Indiepop...

Tom @ Indietracks

..equals a very good Sunday, spent at Indietracks festival in Derbyshire. Highlights of the day included...


Owl petting

Bus spotting

Catching up with old pals

Burrito eating

Umbrella holding

Shandy drinking

'Allo Darlin
Allo Darlin'... ing

And of course more band watching (the highlight for me being the Vaselines who played a great set later in the evening! Pictured above: Allo Darlin')

Already looking forward to next year!


Friday, 6 July 2012

Film Friday: Con Air

I'm not normally one for full-out action movies, but several people recommended I watch Con Air, as it starred a few of my favourite people (namely John Cusack & Steve Buscemi). If you're looking for a film with explosions, bad guitar solos and threats to bunnies, this is your film! It was pretty enjoyable, and Nicolas Cage's bad hair (and bad accent) were the icing on the cake.

Happy Friday people, this weekend I'm off to shoot a wedding (slightly scared but excited too!) and go to Indietracks Festival, yay! I'll make sure to bring my wellies..

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Ten things about me


Recently I've read some interesting posts on other blogs about how we reveal certain parts of our lives on the internet. As a shy person I always feel a bit awkward about revealing personal things about myself on this blog (I mean who wants to read about little old me?!). But I always find the more personal posts on other people's blogs to be the most interesting ones to read. I really enjoyed reading this list by Rhianne recently and yesterday this post about blog envy by Zoe really rang true. So here is my list of a few things you may not know about me!

  1. As a kid I used to be a member of the Beano fanclub. It was pretty ace, you got a Dennis the Menace badge and a furry one of Gnasher!
  2. I wrote off my first car by swerving to avoid a pheasant. People later told me I should have just run over it, but my instincts said otherwise! I'm still rather terrified of driving on country lanes.
  3. The first album I owned was Salt 'n' Pepa's Greatest Hits, on a mixtape made for me by someone from the Youth Club my mum worked at. I was very excited when I got it! 
  4. In the past I had keyboard, drums and guitar lessons, none of which I really got past beginner level at.. still, I tried!
  5.  When I was 13 I listened to Jagged Little Pill more times than was healthy. (I've not really listened to it since, so I'm not sure if it still holds up or not? But I'm guessing not.)
  6. I first met Tom at a film quiz. I remember he was wearing this Clerks T-shirt which I liked, and he knew more than me on the 'Comic Book Adaptations' round, which I was a little bit miffed about!
  7. I'd find it hard to live without marmite on toast. 
  8. I much prefer dogs to cats.
  9. I spent three years living in Hull. Although I wouldn't choose to live there again, I can't help but defend it if anyone slags it off!
  10. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit, but I actually really like this song.
Phew! How do you feel about sharing personal things about yourself on your blog? Do you prefer to read personal posts from other bloggers? 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

My Grandfather's Scrapbook


I never got to know three out of my four grandparents, as they sadly all died in the early '80s, around the time I was born. My Granddad on my father's side worked in a timber yard in Walsall throughout his life, as well as being a member of the RAF during the war. However, he always harboured dreams of being a writer, and some of his stories were published in both local and national newspapers. This was quite a feat for someone who left school at 16. As my grandad wrote, 'For kids my age it was a case of out of school and into the factory. It was a pity, for I knew that I could have made a career in writing.'


He kept all the newspaper clippings of his published articles in a scrapbook, which my Dad gave me at the weekend to read through and scan. Its been very interesting reading the articles, and there's even a letter from my grandad's idol Bing Crosby inside, who wrote back to him in 1975 from his house in California. There's also a couple of letters from his Commanding Officer in the war, Douglas Bader.

 I'm so glad we have this scrapbook as it gives a glimpse into my grandfather's life that I wouldn't know about otherwise.

His letter from Bing!


My Grandpa at his typewriter

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