Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Tricky in Stockholm

There's been a serious amount of film talk and very little travel on here of late. Back in the Summer  us tricky customers went to the cleanest, purest, most contented city in the world (well, at least until we arrived)...STOCKHOLM!

Yep, I'm going to inflict my holiday snaps on you all, but before you promptly turn on your heel, it's only to illustrate how great this city really is!

Now, I've been to a lot of European cities (fact not a boast) but Stockholm had a special clean airy quality to it. Probably from the lack of pollution. It consists of 14 island which makes it feel open and fresh and the pink sunsets are amazing. Extortionate alcohol prices aside (where there's a will there's a way) it's a really fun city. In the 4 days we were there we checked out gay pride, swedish karaoke and lots of vintage and record shops around Sofo. Here are some images...

(Sorry, I am no photographer)
I wouldn't go as far as to say it's my favourite European city - something about the gritty romance of Paris and basement parties in Berlin...but it's pretty darn special and at the top of the list!

The wafer snacks aren't half bad either...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Right, you all knew it was coming…I am going to have a little ramble about the genius that is Mr David Lynch! Now don’t get me wrong my love for Lynch in no way detracts from my love for Wenders and Jarmusch et al, but have you seen Twin Peaks?!.

I am sure that you’ve seen at least one of Lynch’s iconic films (if you haven’t then get a move on!)and, to be honest, I won't keep you to long by adding to the many pages of adoration he's already deservedly received. I could natter on about Eraserhead or The Elephant Man or Inland Empire or Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks but I reckon you’d be better off stopping reading this and going off to watch them…

(welcome back, good huh) So here are my Lynch highlights..Firstly, I am going to be brave and declare that my favourite Lynch film is Lost Highway. Partly thanks to Patricia Arquette’s outfits, the cracking mammoth plot twist and mainly because it has the best opening credits ever. 

 David Bowie - 'Deranged' Yes!
Have to also briefly mention Lynch’s early short films which are super dark to say the least (surprise, surprise) and definitely worth checking out. A particularly dark but interesting film is The Grandmother which cost $7200 to make and combines short film with live action, and animation. This silent film tells the story of a boy who grows a Grandmother to escape neglect and abuse and it has an amazing soundtrack by a band called Tractor. The Grandmother won awards at film festivals and earned Lynch, with his sound man David Splet, scholarships to the AFI Film Program…and the rest was history so they say.

Paris, Texas - Wim Wenders - 1984

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that jazz. Been kept busy with a few tricky side line projects. Heads up coming this weekend though!

In the meantime, I highly recommend you go watch...

Paris, Texas (1984) was directed by legendary German director Wim Wenders, who started filmmaking during the rise of New German Cinema in the late 60’s, has worked with some super talented writers such as Sam Shepard who wrote this film. Guitarist Ry Cooder’s soundtrack for this film is stunningly atmospheric. The album’s opening title track and its closer, “Dark Was the Night,” (originally by Blind Willie Johnson) is ghostly simple as are the plots, well-crafted dialogue and characterisation in this smashing film. 

What’s particularly striking about Wender’s films is the stunning cinematography. Wenders collaborated with the great Robbie Muller whose unglossy lighting and strong framing encourages focus on the settings and the fascinating characters in Wender’s films. 

Linking back to an earlier post, Wender’s gave a young Jim Jarmusch 40 minutes of unused stock. Talent spots talent! If you’ve watched any Jarmusch films you will probably have already recognised the similarities between the work of these two directors. Both usually meditate on the subject of human relations with the self, each other and their locations; create a sense of isolation and have really impressive soundtracks. Anyhow enough from me getting all film studenty...go make up your own minds and enjoy the film!

Friday, 18 November 2011


Fancy Fugitives - Films and Fashion

Jean Pierre-Melville is the king of the French gangster movie and was an inspiration for the New Wave directors of the late 50’s and 60’s who were inspired by his use of location and use of natural light. Melville worked with Jean Cocteau on the legendary film Les Enfant Terrible and made a host of super slick crime films. These films contain classic heists, robberies and super cool fugitives played by cult French actors such as Delon and Belmondo. What more could you possibly want? Check out Melville’s first depiction of the underworld in Bob le Flambeur, the ultimate crime film Le Circle Rouge and cult film Le Samourai for starters.

Gangster tune...

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Gangster style....

Monday, 14 November 2011

Getaway Style: Theadora Van Runkle

At risk of this blog starting to look like a fashion obituaries page I must mention Costume Designer extraordinaire, Theadora Van Runkle, who sadly passed away last week . You may be asking who? Even if you don’t know the name you will be aware of the film Bonnie and Clyde and the styles worn by and Dunaway. The styling in Bonnie Parker’s  1967 film is so slick, so chic, so French new wave. 
I can’t remember when I first saw the film and witnessed Dunaway's portrayal of the ultimate gun moll but I have been obsessed with bobbed hair, berets and collecting silk scarfs ever since. Despite the film being made in the mini loving 60’s Von Runkle bought longer hemlines into the spotlight. Very current with fashion’s love for skirts of the midi, pencil and maxi persuasion this season. Let’s also note Von Runkle’s use of hats, the chic Burberry-esque beret and the fedora worn by our Clyde is so Gucci Autumn/Winter 2011.  The gentle layering and warm muted colours make these the perfect Autumn styles. What Von Runkle created were iconic looks that, so chic that they transcend any era. She also had a pretty interesting life. Thank you Theadora for showing us all how to look classy every Autumn and most importantly getaway in style. 
P.S - Let's not forgot a certain Gainsbourg and Bardot song.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Why you should watch Jim Jarmusch's films?

Why? It’s getting cold and very dark outside so for starters so that’s a good reason to hibernate away and catch up on some films. Why Jarmusch? New York has produced many uniquely directors - John Cassavetes, Martin Scorsese, James Toback, Woody Allen, Spike Lee - but for the rawest kind of unpolished cinema there's only one new-wave director to turn to…

Reason 1. characterisation - Jarmusch’s cinematic style is instantly recognisable; tatty, minimalist, a little rough around the edges. He presents displaced, crooked characters, foreign in some way to the place they find themselves in, often transient and lacking a sense of identity. These characters are always oddly fascinating.

Reason 2 - music/soundtrack: Jarmusch’s involvement in the punk and new wave music scenes of the 80’s is evident in his style and his love of music is palpable in all his films. His early absurdist/deadpan comedyStranger than Paradise, opens to The song "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, he often cast musicians such as John Lurie and Tom Wait who starred in his film Down by Law and Neil Young created a haunting soundtrack to his film Dead Man.
Jarmusch uses striking jazz and blues soundtracks to attack the senses, bridging the visual distance provoked by the use of a roughly verity filming style slowed right down to static. 

Reason 3 - cinematography: Let’s not forget the amazing cinematography, thanks to Jarmusch’s working with the likes of talented DPs such as Robby Muller who’s also famed for his work with the great Wenders.

Reason 4 - general coolness: Famed for his maverick film making style, Jarmusch’s films are usually scruffy, minimal and eminate a kind of outcast cool you find on the edge of city centres, in dive bars and clubs. They don’t work hard to tell a story, no, they’re evidently too cool for that. 

Reason 5 - (lack of) narrative: What Jarmusch offers is a series of facts and events which he slowly unveils to you in long uninterrupted takes and with a dark comic edge, most striking in his early film Stranger than Paradise. He presents you with the mundane and dull but really makes you feel like a fly on a grubby wall waiting in anticipation to witness the oddball characters make their next move. 

Reason 6 - philosophical twaddle: At risk of sounding pretentious, this is slow, thoughtful and considered cinema in which Jarmusch is unveiling existence in its simplest, most interesting form but if that doesn’t strike you his style will.

I could go on but I think that will suffice...Still asking why you should watch Jim Jarmusch's films? Well basically because they are good and you would be silly not to.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Remember, remember...

the fifth of November,
Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!”

What are you up to this "Bonfire Night? Heaven knows we all need a bit of fun with Europe being broke as a brass monkey and all. Behind this night of fire, flames and general spectacle lies a story of deceit, conspiracy, betrayal and high treason that seems oddly familiar given recent revelations in the headlines.I'm sure you know the plot (boomboom) by now. So, politics aside, will you be letting off fireworks all weekend, toasting marshmallows on an old campfire boy scout stylie? Just wafting around a sparkler maybe? 

Here are a few Bonfire events to wet your appetite and with everyone being brassick these are all free or reasonably recession proof price wise. Hurrah!..

Southgate Fireworks Display, London
As well as the pyrotechnics there's a full bar with mulled wine, food stalls, and fairground rides.
Or you could head to Parliament Hill or Primrose Hill to watch fireworks fill the skies over our capital.
Pype Hayes Park, Birmingham
Rumoured to be the biggest bonfire night in Birmingham!
Roundahy Park, Leeds
Leeds biggest and FREE!
Leeds Castle
Two afternoons of entertainment in the grounds of Leeds Castle, followed by a fireworks finale set to music inspired by outer space. Wow!
Hopetoun Fireworks Night, Edinburgh
Spectacular fireworks against impressive backdrop.
Lewes Bonfire Night, East Sussex
Lewes is known as the bonfire capital and for good reason!
Platts Field Park, Manchester
Used to live near here as a student. Always a good laugh but watch out if walk through Rusholme later on, the scamps let the bloody things off in the streets!

Please note, we're varying locations as we haven't got either the time on inclination to list every Bonfire event happening across the UK. If you don't live anywhere near any of the above, check out your local rag, roundabout or posters to see what's happening in your neck of the woods.

Now all that remains to be done is to wrap up warm, get yourself a toffee apple and stay safe! Fingers crossed it doesn't rain!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

An autumn morning in Shokoku-ji

Last night watching the Pleiades, Breath smoking in the moonlight, Bitter memory like vomit Choked my throat. I unrolled a sleeping bag On mats on the porch Under thick autumn stars. In dream you appeared (Three times in nine years) Wild, cold, and accusing. I woke shamed and angry: The pointless wars of the heart. Almost dawn. Venus and Jupiter. The first time I have Ever seen them close. Gary Snyder

From Russia with Love

Russian fashion designer and photographer, Ulyana Sergeenko, is without a doubt one of the most stylish women on the planet. Endlessly papped by street style photographers across the globe it seems the webosphere cannot get enough of Ulyana’s retro 40’s look right now.

Unsurprisingly Ulyana’s latest Autumn/Winter look book is simply stunning. Perhaps even less surprising is that she's delivered sharp retro and traditional silhouettes in sophisticated materials. With conservative sleeve lengths and long hemlines these outfits could have looked dull or dated. But no! Ulyana is a magician and added details and accessories, such as a transparent apron, towering red shoes and pretty frills, that add a youthful touch whilst the beautiful cut and striking yet muted colours make these outfits totally modern. There's also something a little bit victorian or Russian fairytale about the collars, headscarfs and full skirts. 

Think Greta Garbo meets Anna Karenina meets Zooey Deschanel and you're be halfway there.This is fun dressing up with a serious edge for those wanting hard-core nostalgia with a modern twist. Who doesn't want that this Winter?