I’m very fond of the British seaside. Not so much in a twee “OMG, let’s take photos and eat candyfloss!” kind of way – although that can be fun – but because there is so much to genuinely love about these former tourist traps, with their juxtaposed tackiness and architectural charm. I spent a lot of my childhood holidaying in Britain, as opposed to going on package holidays to places like Tenerife or The Costa del Sol. I felt quite envious of my classmates, who got to travel on an aeroplane and were guaranteed sunshine but, looking back, I think that spending rainy days in a caravan in Scotland and having trips out to Morecambe, Southport and Blackpool has made me feel more connected to the place where I was born. As I got older, I began to romanticise the typical English seaside resort because of their mix of joy, despair and faded grandeur. Of course this is present in a lot of small towns, but with the harshness of winter and idyll of summer by the coast, these extremes seem…amplified. This isn’t just some abstract feeling I have either. Although there are exceptions to this trend in prosperous locations, such as Brighton and Poole, the traditional British seaside town has long been in decline – offering the kind of unfashionably kitsch holiday that belongs to your granny and granddad’s halcyon days. A recent report called ‘Turning The Tide‘ details the deprivation present in the UK’s coastal towns – including the ones which haven’t been totally deserted by tourists. In a lot of these towns, the grand old hotels have since been converted into bedsits that are full of transients. Although I will always have a soft spot for Blackpool in particular, the reality of life there is pretty grim. In the series ‘Pierdom’, Simon Roberts focuses on Britain’s iconic Victorian piers, and his lens captures my feelings about these places perfectly. From wind-bitten, rusting structures to sun-bathed promenades, his photographs evoke the curious charm and essence of the British seaside.Hastings, East Sussex
More of Simon Roberts’ brilliant photography is on his website – there are more photographs from the Pierdom series, and you should also have a look at another project he has done called ‘We English‘, which focuses on English tourism in a much broader context.
Posted in Culture, Design, Lifestyle, Photography, Writing
Tagged 2013, aesthetic, architecture, beach, beaches, Blackpool, Britain, British beach, Britishness, caravan, childhood, community, cool, Costa del Sol, creative, creativity, decline, deprivation, design, England, entertainment, faded grandeur, family holidays, funfair, geography, holidays, identity, kitsch, Lancashire, leisure, Leonie Cumiskey, memoir, memories, nostalgia, nostalgic, oh we do like to be beside the seaside, old fashioned, opinion, patriotism, personal, photography, piers, retro, romance, Scotland, seaside resort, Simon Photography, Simon Roberts, structure, tacky, tourism, towns, tradition, UK
Posted in Advertising, Brands, Culture, Film, Music, Photography, Writing
Tagged 2013, advertising, Alexander Desplat, amazing, Americana, ATL, automotive, beautiful adverts, blogging, brand, brilliant, car, car advert, cheerleaders, Chrysler, cinematography, classical music, composer, cool, creative, creativity, diner, electronics, entertainment, film, film tropes, Jaron Albertin, Leonie Cumiskey, media, music, neon lights, new music, nostalgia, opinion, piano, Smuggler Films, Sony, Sony TV, sparks, strings, TV, TV advert, twentieth century America, USA, video, video director, vintage car, Viper, writing
David Bowie has been the star of a number of beautiful videos in 2013 – notably his own, which have been directed by the sickeningly talented Floria Sigismondi. In the Louis Vuitton campaign film ‘L’Invitation au Voyage’, directed by Romain Gavras, Bowie performs a unique version of ‘I’d Rather Be High’ for Arizona Muse at a lavish Venetian party…or does he? You can watch the full director’s cut below.
This luxurious, high end advert is in complete contrast to Romain Gavras’ usual body of work – which includes gritty, controversial videos for the likes of M.I.A and Adidas. I find it quite surprising that Vuitton enlisted him to direct this video, but I’m glad they did.
Posted in Advertising, Brands, Culture, Fashion, Film, Music, Writing
Tagged 2013, advert, advertising, Arizona Muse, baroque, blogging, brand, cool, creative, creativity, David Bowie, David Bowie advert, director, entertainment, fashion, film, high end, I'd Rather Be High, L'Invitation au Voyage, Leonie Cumiskey, Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton film, Louis Vuitton Venice, luxury, model, Romain Gavras, Venetian party, Venice, video, writing, Youtube
This grizzly bear is doing a pretty good job of aping my reaction to Christmas.
Everyone is going mental for the ‘touching’ John Lewis advert again, which is a blatant Animals of Farthing Hood rip off soundtracked by something no one needed to hear: Lily Allen covering Keane. It’s good, but obviously it doesn’t even come close to melting my ice cold heart or eliciting any kind of Christmas cheer from me. However, this touching tale of cartoon animals does carry an important lesson: if your BFF happens to be an apex predator, you might want to round up a few unwitting
friends morsels in the hope that your carnivorous frienemy eats them first. Look how happy the bear is when he sees the meat feast he has woken up to…Anyway, enough of my cynicism, here’s the actual advert, which was made by Adam & Eve/DDB and produced by Blinkink and Hornet. The animation really is lovely – and is the result of a lot of hard work – but I’d recommend muting it and playing something more appealing over the top.
Posted in Advertising, Brands, Comedy, Culture, Design, Events, Lifestyle, Writing
Tagged 2013, Adam & Eve, advertising, advertising agency, animation, ATL, bah humbug, bear, Blink Ink, Blinkink, blogging, brand, cartoon, childhood, children, Christmas, Christmas advert, Christmas schmaltz, comedy, cute, cynical, DDB, entertainment, forest, funny, hare, Hornet, humour, John Lewis, John Lewis tv ad, Keane, Leonie Cumiskey, Lily Allen, media, nostalgia, opinion, production, The Animals of Farthing Wood, TV advert, video, writer, writing, Youtube
© KOKO London / Charlotte Davidson
Ahh, Club NME at Koko. In its heyday, this weekly guitar-fuelled orgy was a place where trilby-wearers could find a safe haven of acceptance, and spoilt girls who dressed exclusively in the Kate Moss for Topshop range could kid themselves that they were going to find their future rock star husband here. Now, Club NME is a bit stale – indie music just ain’t what it used to be, the playlist doesn’t sound too different from the Geordie Shore soundtrack (okay, that’s unfair, maybe it’s more Made In Chelsea) and the drinks are still horrendously expensive.
Not that tonight’s headliners, Storms, really give a fuck about any of that. They’re not here to relive the, err, ‘glory days’ of The Libertines, nor are they trying to peddle some chart-humping shite that sounds like a collection of rejected Owl City songs. Nope, Storms have drawn their musical influences from arguably the best genres of the ‘90s – grunge, shoegaze and Britpop. As the sound of Kanye West fades away and the band take to the stage, a wave of gratitude washes over me. Opening song ‘Special’ fills the auditorium with heartfelt lyrics, even if these sombre tales of society’s lower echelons are masked by an anthemic riff. The crowd doesn’t seem to mind much though, and they sway along happily in a Jagermeister-induced stupor. “Nobody’s special!” they wail in unison, blissfully unaware of the sad truth they seem to be confirming.
The next track, ‘Words’, with its slow, layered guitars and crunchy reverb, is a definite nod to bands like My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3. Launching straight into new song ‘Swell’, lead singer George Runciman showcases stronger vocals that range from high-pitched yelping to Cobain-esque roars, supported by a thumping drum beat and thunderous, guitar-backed choruses. By the time the song is over the band appear to have created a bizarre kind of festival atmosphere, as a noticeable amount of girls have actually clambered onto their boyfriends’ shoulders, hands in the air like they’re trying to clutch on to the last of the summer.
The penultimate song of the evening, ‘Plague Machine’, is easily my favourite. With just the right mix of yearning, lust and anger, it’s got a frustrating familiarity to it; the classic influences are there, but you can’t quite pinpoint what they are. Essentially though, it’s a blend that is all Storms’ own.
It’s clear that Storms already have some loyal fans who showed up especially to see them, but you can’t help but wonder if the depth of Storms’ lyrics and their range of influences might be a bit wasted on the people who also enjoy the likes of Bastille and Everything Everything. Perhaps the idiots are still winning, but the enthusiasm for tonight’s performance shows that this lot at Club NME aren’t lost causes just yet.
Posted in Comedy, Events, Lifestyle, Music, Writing
Tagged 2013, Ben Morgan, blogging, britpop, Camden, Club NME, cool, entertainment, Felix Howes, George Runciman, gig review, grunge, guitar music, indie, indie band, Kanye West, Kate Moss, Koko, Leonie Cumiskey, live music, London, Made In Chelsea soundtrack, new music, nineties music, nostalgia, opinion, photography, review, shoegaze, Storms, students, Topshop, writer, writing, Yacob Andersen
Posted in Art, Design, Film, Music, Writing
Tagged 1960s graphics, 2004, 2013, 20th century design, art, blogging, collage, constructivist, cool, creative, creativity, design, diagram, entertainment, Franz Ferdinand, fun, graphic design, illustration, indie, inspiration, internet, Jonas Odell, Kenneth Grange, Leonie Cumiskey, media, mid-century modern, music, music video, new music, nostalgia, Pelican books, publishing, retro, Right Action, Saul Bass, single, surreal, textbook diagrams, video, video director, vintage books, writer, writing, Youtube