Friday, 29 June 2012


Bolshie London
Fashion feels fun, fresh and playful at the moment with so many new underground labels and designers to explore. There's a hark back to silly, grungy 90's kookiness, eclectic streetwear and graphics that's spread from the East London streets across the globe.

Katie Eary

I mean, did you see Rihanna performing at Hackney weekend on Sunday wearing a host of edgie underground labels - Kokon to Zai sunnies, Katie EaryBitching and Junkfood shorts... Regularly seen in British labels such as Boy London and Bolshie she's one of many high profile names backing fresh new labels atm. LOVE!
Kokon to Zai
A few current faves...

Ambush Design

Started in 2002 this Japanese label created a jewellery brand called Antonio Murphy & Astro that became popular because of it's tongue-in-cheek twist to the mainstream Hip Hop jewellery. Worn by the likes of Kanye West and Jay-Z no less! 

In 2008 they launched their second line AMBUSH and have collaborated with Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton, Casette Playa, Topman, and George Jensen amongst others and Rihanna (her again!) and lady Gaga are all over this stuff. This is proper statement jewellery from a label who like to push boundaries, stay diverse, experiment and, most of all, have fun whilst doing it.

Qoo Qoo

Qoo Qoo is a Latvian based brand created by a graphic designer. These prints are amazing! 

Some more amazing prints and colours courtesy of the super talented East London based designer Roberto Piqueras.

Yup, these aren't  for the faint hearted but just imagine the fun you could have wearing this stuff!
Bitching and Junkfood

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


'I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it's what Yeats called the fascination with what's difficult. I'm only trying to do what I can't do.'
Lucian Freud

Ryan McGinley

I went to see Freud's portraits at The National Portrait Gallery recently and was - as I expected - mesmerised and lost amongst the paintings. The faces, the expressions, the stories to discover or imagine. 

Whenever life gets tricky and I need to escape I find myself in a gallery, whether in Florence, Paris or at home in London (hello again The Portrait Gallery). Whether visiting a convention, I went to the Elcaf convention at The Village Underground in Shoreditch on Sunday and chatted to lots of talented illustrators, or strolling around the Tate Modern. Art can allow you to indulge in feelings and ideas in a solitary capacity or it can open up a space to exchange and enjoy the company of strangers. It depends on what you need at the time.
James Rosenquist
Being amongst creative passionate artists and/or witnessing the work leaves me craving a new challenge. For me that challenge is the written word, but whatever the chosen form there is nothing better than the battle to create. It's a battle that can't be won but for everything created there's a need and a doubt that's been conquered.

Yangyang Pan

Joan Saló 

Zander Olsen
Owen Nichols

Some artists

Thursday, 14 June 2012


Been missing in action for far too long. Ridiculously busy with new exciting projects, events etc... Anyhow, warning:it's going to get a little London centric round these parts soon with London Men's Collections, parties, events, launches galore so in the meantime I would like to concentrate attentions on another city that's close to my heart and share some of my favourite MANCUNIAN eating/mostly drinking/dancing spots.

The Soup Kitchen
If you like your food hearty and British and your drinks in the form of a real ale or cider then this is the gaff for you. A relaxed bar which has some interesting parties and performances.
(Psst - check out XXL (XIU + LARESEN) on the 24th.)

The Temple of Convenience
An ex-public lav turned bar with more character than you can shake a loo brush at. It doesn't get more quirky than this. If you like continental beer and live bands then hurry down those stairs pronto.

This Chorlton institution specialises in, yes you guessed it, the good ol' northern staple of Pies. Bloody good pies they are too. But it also has a vast selection of beer (I like beer) to sample. When in the north...

Tiger Lounge (do not confuse with Tiger Tiger - totally different ball game)
Retro, kitsch, fun and one of the best places to have a dance. The decor's Bette Lynch meets Austin Powers on acid. The drinks are lethal. What more could you possibly need?

The Deaf Institute (Trof)
One of 3 (last time I counted but feel free to correct me). The original Trof is in studentville (yup I lived there) aka Fallowfield. There's another one in the Northern Quarter, but what makes this one particularly special is the music hall that hosts a never ending selection of decent bands. It now hosts Up the Racket which used to be at Retro Bar (see below). For more info on this night ask anyone who studied/lived in Manc 08-10.
(Been informed there's a 4th Trof- will investigate and report back)

Retro Bar 
A grimy basement in an old man's pub under a multi storey car park =  some of the best nights ever. Honestly! Not sure if Becks is still £1 a bottle though?..

Common Bar
I have eaten so much Hummus and Pitta here I should have a loyalty card   really. Great parties, great DJ's and an ever changing atmosphere because the bar is also an exhibition space for local artists. I love this place. (Psst - Stop Making Sense on a Thursday...*just nodding*.)

Night and Day
Check out new bands here.It does exactly what it says on the (Boddies) tin.

Islington Mill
50 artists studios, 2 galleries, a recording studio and a club space (reminds me a little of Strongrooms, Shoreditch). Some great gigs and events, all in an old Mill-doesn't get more Mancunian than that surely.

The Dulcimer
The old local and a great place to relax and listen to some good music. Like sitting on a ship, sailing down a real ale river to fun night island.

Socio Rehab
The best Mai Thai I've ever tasted (done my research) and really friendly staff.

Star and Garter
The only place to go dancing after a cocktail too many (see above). Check out the Morrisey Disco... do it!

I could go on, but these were, from what I can remember, my main haunts. I'm no Mark E Smith lurking at the end of a bar, but I've drank in quite a lot in this cities establishments. However I no longer reside in Manc so do feel free to correct me, let me know of any knew venues, if any have gone down hill since I left (about 18 months ago) or of your own personal favourites. After all, it's good to share.

Do take note: after reading this there is no excuse to land up in Tiger Tiger.