Tag Archives: nostalgia

Bits ‘n’ Bobs

Colourful baggiesOld cinema ticketsColourful ephemera found on Designspiration. One of my favourite ways to waste time is to play around with the colour palette feature on Designspiration. Sometimes really nice images appear as a result of what you might think would be a gross colour combination.

Pierdom

Southend Pier by Simon RobertsSouthend-on-Sea, Essex

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 Pier Simon RobertsHastings, East Sussex

Boscombe Pier Simon RobertsBoscombe, Hampshire

Teignmouth Grand Pier Simon RobertsTeignmouth, Devon

Blackpool South Pier Simon RobertsBlackpool, Lancashire

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.

A body without a soul is just a lifeless inanimate frame

Jaron Albertin Sony 4K TV AdJaron Albertin is a genius. You’ve probably seen the Sony advert that he directed to promote Sony’s new 4K TV, but I’m totally in love with the car advert that he did for Chrysler’s Viper SRT.Viper TV AdJaron Albertin ViperMain Street AmericaDiner CheerleadersJaron Albertin Body & SoulViper Body & SoulIt’s like a pastiche of the most iconic and beautiful films featuring twentieth century America. The advert is called “Body & Soul” and is widely available to watch online, but I’d recommend you watch the one here, because this edit has the music that I feel really completes it. The first time I watched it, it was one of those adverts that I kept on wanting to watch again and again. It’s got such a gorgeous cinematic quality to it. The accompanying symphony is called “River” and is by Alexander Desplat.*

*Just wanted to add that I’m not so pretentious that I’d act as though I knew that all along – I used Shazam on the video because I liked the music so much. Okay, glad we got that sorted…

John Lewis: The Bear & The Hare

Angry BearThis 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…John Lewis Hare and BearAnyway, 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.

Not So Warm & Fuzzy Now

Do you remember Fuzzy-Felts? Those fun craft toys that you used to play with, in simpler times – times when video games were still relatively new and the Internet was something you’d probably never even heard of? Well, prepare to see the medium of felt brought up to date, with new added relevance for your adult life.Jacopi Rosati Fuzzy FeltDo the feelings in this piece by Jacopo Rosati seem painfully familiar to you?Lebrie Felt TV DinnerGreat. How about this felted TV dinner for one by LeBrie Rich? Welcome to adulthood!

Review: Storms at Club NME

Image
© 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.

Franz Ferdinand – Right Action

Franz Ferdinand Music VideoFranz Ferdinand Saul BassFranz Ferdinand VideoRight Action VideoDiagramFranz Ferdinand Pelican BookI know this song has been around for ages, but I’ve only just seen the video for it and I LOVE IT. It’s such an amazing pastiche of mid-century modern graphic design, referencing Saul Bass, maybe a bit of Kenneth Grange, classic textbook diagrams and – my favourite – those wonderful Pelican book covers.

The video was directed by Jonas Odell, the same guy who did the constructivist-inspired video for ‘Take Me Out‘.

God’s Own Junkyard

ImageToday I headed up to Walthamstow to visit Chris Bracey’s huge studio on Vallentin Road – God’s Own Junkyard. Peeking through the locked iron gates, it really does look just like a junkyard, but once inside it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of neon treasures.Chris Bracey studioI don’t know whether it’s because of the junkyard’s location, or if it’s because not that many people know about it, but when my friend and I showed up at around 2pm on a Saturday – a peak time for visitors in most places – we were lucky enough to be the only people there.The man who works there, John, is really friendly and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of pretty much everything stored in the studio. He was happy to show us round, pointing out props and signs that had been in various films, like Tombraider, Eyes Wide Shut, and the newest installment of the Iron Man films – a huge ‘STARK’ sign. I really can’t recommend this place enough; I’ve never been anywhere else like it!Neon art

Peugeot 208: Wacky Races

Real Life Penelope PitstopLive Action Wacky RacesReal Life Dick DastardlyWacky Races IRL! Watch this cool advert for the Peugeot 208, which shows the car competing in a live action version of the Hanna-Barbera ’60s classic, Wacky Races. Made by Y&R São Paulo and Partizan, the fun 90 second spot showcases all of the Peugeot 208′s features in the context of a slapstick comedy race against the show’s classic characters.

Aww, poor Muttley!

HAERTS – Wings

HAERTS BandHAERTS are female-fronted band of four guys and one girl, who hail from Brooklyn, New York. Their first single is a beautifully tender piece of lo-fi pop, set to a montage of home video-style clips. I’ve looked for other stuff by them, but this song is the only one I can find. I’m guessing that as it’s on Vevo, they are already on the brink of mainstream success. Judging by ‘Wings’, they sound pretty great and I hope the rest of their songs live up to expectations. Lead singer Nini Fabi’s vocals are sweet, but powerful – like a mixture of Gwen Stefani and Stevie Nicks.

This song is sort of what I was hoping for when I first listened to HAIM. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed.