Hungry, hungry, sad fandom

(Woo welcome to my blog! As part of a meta twist/late April Fool’s joke I’m going to set the post date to 31st March and we can pretend I blogged on time. Now, prepare to travel back in time).

“Katniss has a fat ass”.

 …”For a starving girl, Katniss had a fat face”.

“Jennifer lawrence is too fat and emotionless to play katnissNot calling her fat but katniss is supposed to be STARVING cmon”.

…”Katniss Everdeen had a fat ass”.

The Hunger Games isn’t the type of film I’d normally get excited about. It wasn’t made twenty/thirty years ago; it doesn’t have any ‘cult’ actors in it (although Jennifer Lawrence was on the cover of last month’s Glamour, woop!); it’s not in a foreign-language; there are no murders, not even an attempted murder. There’s not even a wise but intelligible oldie giving out laboured advice about the correlation between power and great responsibility. There’s too much action, its too long and the idea of kids killing each other is a bit abstract, especially when Lawrence is wearing a fresh coat of mascara every few scenes….but it works. What doesn’t work, however, is using a film where a viewer has to not only suspend their disbelief but also to forget all logic entirely, as ammo for a real world debate about what size young women “should” be. In short, it is essentially what we were all berating Joseph Kony for doing a few weeks ago, plus a bit of Lenny Kravitz sporting gold eyeshadow, minus any common sense, to the power of Lady Gaga and mutiplied by trackerjackers and mockingjays (sorry if I’ve lost you there).

In amongst this mad menagerie, there was still time for a group of fans to poison the Twitter waters with the message that Lawrence was too “big “to play Katniss from poverty-stricken District 12. D’oh! Not once in 142 minutes did I question whether Jennifer Lawrence should be playing Katniss, and even questioning her weight seems to denote too much time spent missing the point. Plus, you’re not meant to get angry and political in the cinema. It’s a fact. (That’s why they sell nachos, sweet popcorn and Fanta. These foods dissolve your brain cells into docile molecules. That’s why we laugh at unfunny commercials from Orange and cry during Katherine Heigl films, it’s all science).

Exhibit A: a fat person. I'm not condoning calling people fat, but this person is not thin, and if she were to play a starving person... then this would be possibly more crass and insensitive than being used as an example of a fat person on someone's blog. It would still, however, be crass and insensitive for someone to Tweet that this person was fat (gottit?).
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games": the awkward moment when you're fat...in a fictional, dystopian universe...

I digress – the problem here seems to lie with fans of the original trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins – a US writer specialising in Young Adult fiction – descending on cinemas to pick holes in the film adaptation. The same people have taken to the internet to spout nonsense which has even extended to racist comments about the casting, as explored in detail here by Bim Adewunmi for The Guardian.

It’s great to see new and exciting literary series’ being developed for tweens and younger teens, especially as the last few years have been, for the most part, a bipartisan contest between Harry Potter and Twilight. I remember in the not-so-distant past picking up enthralling adventure novels like the Wind On Fire trilogy by William Nicholson or Burning Issy by Melvin Burgess and being absorbed into fantasy worlds where superficial conventions about weight or race are often challenged via extended metaphors. In the case of The Hunger Games, I can’t be too sure about it’s original meaning, as I didn’t read the source material. On screen, however, it seemed to show the importance of friendship and loyalty, whilst underlining the dangerously superficial nature of the media and rich sponsors to whom – spoiler alert – Katniss and Peeta must play up their relationship to in order to win support, and ultimately to become victors. Presumably this was the point of the first novel in the series too, and any changes can surely be deemed inevitable – after all, what was the last film adaptation you saw which was identical to the book? With such an exciting story, a cast consisting almost entirely of PYTs and rising stars, and a moral message too, how ironic it is then, that the wishlist of so many morons consisted of a) a whitewashed cast and b) an emaciated lead. The fact that this “mainstream” view panders to society’s most dangerous tropes must be a coincidence.

mar/apr PLAYLIST

Stuff I’ve had on repeat:

Let It Go – Fossil Collective – The story behind the above video? “A tragic ballooning accident separates two lovebirds, and the story follows the male character as he’s stuck on a island trying to build his way to the moon to rescue his love”. Stop-motion animation is rarely so heartstoppingly poignant, matching the chilled yet soul-searching vintage sounds of Leeds duo Fossil Collective. Their upcoming EP (June’s “Let It Go via Dirty Hit) is sure to be the perfect relic.

Suffocation – Heath Remix, Crystal Castles – a dark , dirty companion to 2010’s original track, this remix is aural asphyxiation. Punning words aside, two years without new CC material equals impatient fans.

Come On Be A No-one – The Cribs – No more Johnny Marr…but a new track with vigour and attitude. 70% Buzzcocks, 30% amped-up UK grunge which we always knew the brothers Jarman did best. C.O.B.A.N premiered on Vice’s new music channel Noisey , upping the band’s cool credentials ever further.

Jaan Pehechaan Ho – it’s been on the Heineken ad. It’s been in Ghost World. It’s so cool to listen to whilst wearing harem pants and burning incense and being a rah (just kidding on the last one).

HJ x

ps here’s something I wrote for The Guardian Guide

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Singles Apr/May + Royal Wedding

If I wasn’t boring I’d be at the Camden Crawl blogging with Vice, enjoying fringe events such as the Nightjar (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Cumberbitches take note) and the film festival curated by Guillemots, as well as obviously listening to music from the likes of Tom Williams and The Boat, Little Comets and Beth Jeans Houghton. Except I’m cripplingly boring and my A Levels (officially) start this week.

Instead I’ll just churn out five of these babies:

“You never review new singles!” “Done” (Apr/May)

The Shoes – Cover Your Eyes (Crack My Bones LP released March, single TBC on Southern Fried)

Late night French radio is good for two things as far as I’m concerned. Besides the super-detailed meteo, sometimes a gem slips through the wireless with all the ease of a Parisian breeze. They’ve mixed for a menagerie of indie bands and had their music featured on Gossip Girl but that’s where the comparisons with serial remixers Justice, samplers Daft Punk and advert song duo Air respectively should end. As brilliant and French as those acts are, Cover Your Eyes is a brooding, dramatic slice of indie which leans more towards the pop than the electro. Seemingly taking its lead from Gaelic influences as well as British indie, its main hook and lyrics (e.g.: the “mathematics of a heart laid bare”) could have been plucked from 80s new romanticism…but how fresh it sounds. I think the whole album could be a winner, as long as I don’t hear “Cliche” on a cliche-d Toyota advert before 2016.

4.5/5

For fans of: Delphic, Zach Hill, Sebastien Tellier.

Japanese Voyeurs – Get Hole (was released 18th April on Fiction)

It’s not very often that I get ridiculously excited about a band who were formed before about 1997, or a band like Japanese Voyeurs who are possibly all talk. Question: is it possible to be a grunge band in 2011? Question: is it possible to have a pain-inducing riot grrrrl wail when the only Veruca Salt of your childhood probably courtesy of Roald Dahl? I’m going to stop asking questions because its ruining the crazy contrast between Exorcist-girl vocals and irregular Pantera-esque chords. Japanese Voyeurs aren’t Japanese but they’ve definitely been doing some voyeurism into Courtney Love’s back catalogue (is “Get Hole” actually a ridiculously obvious ref?!) … and, coupled with even more angry postmodernism, it works. Question: is this for real? Answer: I stopped caring after the first 30 seconds. Memo to Taylor Momsen: watch and learn from Romily Alice, Little J.

3.5/5

For fans of: the 90s, Rolo Tomassi.

The Sound of Arrows – Nova (was released 25th April on Geffen)

Winner of the most self-indulgent video ever award (they made it themselves), this is most certainly a guilty pleasure from the Swedish pair. This is Basshunter and MGMT collaborating at a party hosted by a porn baron, and it fails to conjure up the 80s vibe of Hurts because its a join-the-dots attempt at mainstream electronica with a homoerotic vid I think was intended to go viral. Controversial its really not, however it is strangely compulsive thanks to their Scandinavian pronunciation and predictable themes of stalking (“I’ll never stop following you”). The Top comments on the video sum it up…at the tenth play, I think I have Stockholm Syndrome.

3/5

For fans of: Saint Etienne, Pet Shop Boys, The Teenagers

Barbara Panther – Empire (Album to be released 16th May on City Slang)

Barbara Panther is a Rwandan singer from Brussels via Berlin, mixing potent electronic beats with poetically gothic lyrics, however because she is black she will ultimately draw superficial comparisons with that other black electronic pop singer, Santigold. I personally think any such comparisons would be a waste of time…Barbara Panther sounds like she’d be far more at home among the 70s and 80s artists on my favourite leftfield compilation ever, Disco Not Disco from Strut (which I’m lucky enough to own in physical form). She is vintage and trance-like without wearing her influences too obviously. The Lom remix of Empire deconstructs and reassembles this colonialist anthem (just kidding) with ease, and it is possibly better than the (utterly crazy) original.

4/5

For fans of: Flykkiller, Bjork, Summer Camp

Frankmusik – Do It In The AM (released May 3rd on Cherrytree/Interscope)

Club 18-30 choon which is the wrong side of electronic. Frankmusik’s polished-up vocals plus an appearance from Far East Movement (“who?” I hear you cry) can’t save this turgid cross between an X Factor winner’s third single and the theme tune of a BBC3 documentary on safe sex. Do it the morning kids, in the AM, before your parents find out or you fail your GCSEs! Oh, how the (relatively) mighty have fallen. On the subject of this vacuous piece of Americana, Mr Frank told some kind of Far East Movement fansite that “this new record has got a bit more finesse to it”, which I’m assuming he thinks is the French word for overproduced.  “I’ve finessed the songwriting, the songs are a lot more punchy”, he continued, before defensively adding that his critics could “suck a dick”. FYI that would be in the PM because the AM is far too jam packed with bitches and hoes and Facetime with the lads back in East London. Pitbull circa 2009 he ain’t.

0/5

For fans of: Rohypnol

Got me feeling like a royalist…or not

http://www.vbs.tv/en-gb/watch/rule-britannia/rule-britannia-royal-wedding

Watch!! There are royalists and republicans alike in VBS’ latest production Rule Britannia: Royal Wedding. I loved the wedding myself (softy at heart), as well as tat like this  , but this vid shows the crazy extremism of some and the anger at what is seemingly a symbol of conspicuous consumption by the firm during crazy austerity era 101, as well as the view from the Kings Road and the set of a porn film which really does have the crown jewels. Another great doc which explores the politically sensitive relationship from the point of view of the great unwashed and beyond – some royalists, others ready to burn the palace.

*For what its worth, I love them, and genuinely wouldn’t have had any objection to them shredding quantitively-eased money into beautiful confetti and endless rainbows.

HJ x

Sexism rolls into a new year – – Teenage Riots on VBS

Happy February, two interesting topics to share…

(Bitter)sweet FA

Unless you live in a cave and require one of these to wake you up (yes, that is a Pokeflute, deal with it) then you’ve probably heard all about the Sky Sports sexism row.

In short, two overpaid individuals – lets refer to them in shorthand as Gropey and Dopey – decided to degrade a number of individuals, all of whom were fully qualified to hold their positions in the football world, or in the case of Louise Glass (see below), were just innocents. In light of this ridiculous stain on female capability and capacity, I do feel personally victimised.

1941: they cook, they clean. 2011: they cook, they clean?

Overreaction? You may think so, but as a sort-of-half-feminist I do find it troubling that so many sports professionals and fans gave come out in support of Gray and Keys, providing anecdotes of their “good work” in order to vindicate them…all in spite of the nature of their conduct. Replace the objects of their attack for a homogynous racial/national group, and (rightly) it would be the same type of racism which has plagued the sport for years. So, why is the defamation of women any different? Attacking people for reasons of biological predisposition and social “order” and “power relationships” is as primitive and vulgar as racism, but it seems that sexism is usually discounted because its so commonplace and usually relatively benign.

The semantics of everyday life lend themselves to the 1000 BC power relations, despite the day and age we inhabit. It literally is a man’s world, but generally that’s fine, we can deal with the reminders of ‘the way it used to be’ because to do otherwise would be madness. We can’t revise the OED in its entirety, re-write history (herstory?) and Dickens and rename manholes, but we can look towards the less benign elements, i.e.: the gross physicality with which female sexuality is described. Women are still described as “blonde”, “buxom” or “single” in seemingly irrelavnt circumstances. You know the woman who Lord Strathclyde “romped” with? Yup, she was blonde, buxom and single. Oh, and she was a single mother. Bonus points for the prude patrol there. “Single” is inter alia just a  way of implying all kinds of promiscuous, careless, non-virtous things. So, the media plays a game of quid pro quo…shame a government official and also shame his mistress to! Of course, being a poor single mother who lives above a chip shop, Birgit Cunningham was unlikely to turn down tabloid money to talk about her sex life with the peer in her flat above a chip shop. See how this humiliating strategy works? In fact, I might go and re-write that Dickens novel on second thoughts. Calling Ms Cunningham a homewrecker assumes that the Lord was truly the man of the house…

I digress. Then there’s the little things. Facebook pages have sprung up in recent years commanding women to get back to the kitchen and make sandwiches/do the washing up/perform sexual acts on men in between their endless gaming sessions.

Club Sandwich: its a club to which we're all invited apparently, genomes permitting

Facebook pages are hardly the next Communist manifesto, however with so much virtual support garnered for these ‘niche’, ‘ironic’ views it seems that laughing AT women has never been so popular. Oh, just make sure you call it banter.

Of course some women don’t help themselves…

…however, the Gray/Keys situation is thus much less innocuous than the media outlets which are going into ‘3 the Sky Sports 2’ mode would like us to believe. Blame it on a Madonna-Whore complex or whatever, but the fact that these men have the support of their wives doesn’t absolve them of their disgusting behaviour. That aforementioned banter is apparently of the “lads mag” sort. So thanks for helping to advance sexist views to the next generation as well, along with openly misogynist individuals like Danny Dyer who also claim to be “just kidding”.

Case in point 1: Gray and Keys ponder over why assistant referee (operant word there being referee) Sian Massey can understand the offside rule. Perhaps because she’s a q-u-a-l-i-f-i-e-d sporting professional, lads? The bitter twosome also made bitchy remarks about successful businesswoman and Apprentice judge Karren Brady.

Case in point 2: In footage which has only come to light as a result of the comments about Mss. Massey and Brady, perv Gray asks co-presenter Charlotte Jackson for some suggestive help. Classy content as always… Ms Jackson’s nervous giggle will act as a key part of Gray’s defence. Apparently an (obviously tense) smile at a lewd comment from a station heavyweight is a get out of jail card for dirty old men everywhere.

Case in point 3: Keys embarrasses himself with vulgar, dated sexist immaturity which isn’t even thinly-veiled enough to qualify as innuendo. Worse still, the woman at the centre of is a completely random muggle so can’t hide from the public humiliation. But hoorah, common sense prevailed, she’s suing BSkyB!

…so, my question is this. What can the FA do about sexism in football? Should we just accept that the culture of the sport facilitates such problems as this scandal? Ok, perhaps that’s more than one question but whatever. In addition to these questions, should we also be ignoring sexist comments in the media/social media spheres? I’m not talking about some crazy, Utopian equality which can suddenly erase the past and all those rude Facebook pages, but give us a break. Eve caused the fall yadee yah yah, but “keeping women in their place” seems to show a lot more about the type of males our society is producing. Moreover, moving back to Gray and Keys, mourning the loss of a seven-figure salary shouldn’t mean that these men’s wives are desensitised to the real problem here. It’s a game of two halves, and they should be wholeheartedly behind the girls. Family ties and patriarchy are so 50s.

Here come the girls: 5 Forgotten Favourites from the femmes*

*mostly artists sadly no longer recording

– Post-binary gender chores is the chant du jour.

– Question the relationship a bit Man and Machine a little bit with this as a cynical soundtrack.

– ignore the Omen-esque boy and the cake iced with “All Hail Me”. It’s purposely creepy but a powerful anthem.

– best Madonna song. Subjective, moi?

– had this on loop at the age of 14. J Pearl appearing on Gossip Girl didn’t devalue the Adventurous quality of this debut.

*you can get them all in a Spotify playlist here, apart from All Hail Me which for some crazy copyright reasons was probaly only available in the 90s as some import 45″ from Asia.

Love from your feminist-in-training!

Teenage Wasteland?

VBS.tv is releasing a new part of Teenage Riot each day this week. The story starts here, with the “siege of Millbank” and escalates through the week. Quality documentary, as diverse perspectives focus the debate around insightful and saddening questions of education and politics.

x x x x

VICE go to ‘Afghanistan’

Ok, so I’m a bit early for my post this month, but rest assured this is just a small segment of my blog this month!

***

The brilliant VBS.tv (and I mean this totally non-subjectively, despite what the banner may imply) have just made a new doc as part of their “Rule Britannia” series – this time it’s apropos the Afghanistan war. In the 5-part “Afghanistan In The UK” , the strange world of casualty simulation is explored at the STANTA training camp, where the spheres of acting and combat collide. There are moments of unnerving humour, but ultimately the film gives a rare look into the training which our armed forces receive and their emotions before deployment. Reality hits home via the story of a real army casualty, and footage from Wooton Bassett. In true Vice style, Andy Capper and co. deliver the stories respectfully, and with aplomb. Rather than a preachy critique of any sort, “Afghanistan In The UK” is merely a sensitive setpiece of comic and tragic proprotions, among a much larger theatre.

Click to watch:

Trailer

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Or alternatively, click here to book entry to a screening and exclusive Q&A with Andy Capper on August 31st.


The Real Life ‘Mad Men’

Its April/May. The showers are coming down on my window like sweat on a pubescent kid’s spotty forehead in a tennis lesson (not speaking from experience here) and exams are impending BUT I still reserve a little time for such art forms as interviewing cool creatives like the guys from ad agency C.R.A.P !! Below you can see me prodding the collective intellect of Scottish Ad Men Chris Rush & Andy Peel.

FIRST UP: Top tips for advertising and some “random words” from C.R.A.P.

Subjectively, they’re the new Saatchi & Saatchi. I know someone will execute me for that. To save you from CSI-type measures, his name will be Charles Saatchi and he will be in the conservatory with the lead pipe.



HJD: Due to the popularity of Mad Men, which has just finished its oh-so-stylish third series, do you guys think that the ad world is getting a makeover? And, of course, what’s the most glamourous part of your day job?

AP: [its] between people spending money on our ideas and going on shoots. Traveling the world(ish) and meeting celebs is pretty good, and you can live in the pub so long as you’ve got some awesome work to show for it when you stagger out.

CR: ^What? *reality check Peely* maybe getting free drinks on expenses? We can go anywhere to do ‘work’ and not pay a thing when we’re there. Anywhere can be the office… till I have to direct some art at least.

HJD: Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (Mad Men) vs CRAP (you). Whats in a name, and do you honestly think your, well, crap? Do clients call you ‘crap’ or C.R.A.P? Or is it like M*A*S*H where the periods are ignored? Help.

AP: to start with, the name was everything. we were crap. We took the piss out ourselves because of people didn’t like our work, we told them “what did you expect from crap?” CRAP got us noticed and remembered. It works, but because he’s CR and I’m AP. If i was John and CR was Bob, being crap wouldn’t have a purpose. And it’s always crap, except my dad hates it, so to him we’re c.r.a.p.

CR: Clients don’t really know us. For the most part only the account handlers deal with them, there are exceptions of course. cr.ap is memorable. It just works for that. When doing crits (HJD: book crits are visits to ad agencies to try and get work by showing a portfolio) we’d start out by telling them we are crap – its on the cover of the front page of the portfolio – then anything they see from then on might not be crap. We’re getting better, not entirely crap anymore but always cr.ap

HJD: At least your not Chris Underwood and Nathan Thomas, I here that their agency didnt go down too well. Jokes aside, how did you guys get into the business and what advise would you give to someone of about my age (17) who is thinking of getting into the PR or mad ad world?

AP: I didn’t have a clue. I did an ad course, after year one I teamed up with Chris and then started getting book crits and placements ever since. Network, work hard and being nice go a long way. Plus being good at it helps. Find a coach/mentor that’ll help is a bonus. See our Facebook group for more.

CR: Have fun. Meet people -agency people all ‘have been there once’ and most will give you good advice on how to get into the industry. There’s not one set method that works, as a creative it relies a lot on timing, luck and of course you being willing to put the graft in. And be polite. Everyone knows everyone in this industry, piss one off and the rest can hear about it…

We got here by not being perfect. We made a lot of mistakes and did a lot of bad ads. It’s how you learn. Literally. Just practice. Meeting people who can push you in the right direction helps and don’t rely on just one person’s opinion because it is just that: an opinion. Always try and get several people looking at your work, then you can take a consensus from that.

AP: Sound advice Mr Rush.

HJD: Sound advice indeed. I’m curious as to what has been your favourite project to date and why? (my personal fave is the Jaffalympics above)

AP: A toss up between our first TV shoot for the Scottish News of the World and our pitch win for Scotrail which will break nationally (in Scotland) in the summer. (HJD: Scotrail is the Scottish railway if you hadn’t guessed).

CR: What AP said plus the Smoking campaign for Northern Ireland. It was effective and got a lot of good response.

AP: It’s because you got to fly to Belfast you jammie git. It looked pretty good though, *pats head*.

HJD:  “CRAP is one guy drawing and one guy writing” – discuss

AP: One Photoshops, one waffles, but it works. I don’t think we’ve been blown our cover yet.

CR: I can’t spell, he can.

HJD: Would you ever consider more government propaganda…I mean, information campaigns…like your work for the NHS?

AP: of course, we worked with the Scottish and Northern Ireland Governments before. Sexual health, drinking and smoking. So long as it’s for a good cause we’ll sell our souls.

CR: They aren’t propaganda, there’s a difference between telling someone they must quit smoking and suggesting they do. We don’t really ‘consider’ whether we do a brief or not anyway. It’s a job, it pays the company’s bills so it has to be done. We’d never get a product that it is wrong to advertise because they aren’t allowed to be advertised. We do of course get some briefs we’d rather not have…like a girls beauty brief thats on my desk right now.

AP: that’s true. A brainstorm with 6 women is a scary moment. Especially when you can’t get a word in edgeways over the “isn’t he just gorgeous” or “eugh, fat thighs”.

Mr A.I.D.S: one of CR.AP’s NHS initiatives simplifies serious illness for dramatic effect.

HJD: Better than working on those disgusting ads where those women discuss diarrhoea over lunch. Finally, who would be your dream client and why? For example, if I had any idea about the ad world whatsoever I would love to make an advert where a car is created out of cake..ohh thats been done…

AP: Chris and John at Fallon (who made the Skoda cake ad) gave us our first crit and placement. I’d love to work on Sony, Nike or Coke. But something closer to home would be good.

CR: A one that just allows creativity to shine through instead of worrying about the size of a frigging logo. It’s amazing the difference between an original idea and the work which the general public end up seeing. 9/10 its a watered down version that isn’t anywhere near as good. So not a specific client, just one that wants to be creative and bold.

AP: I think our portfolio has a few of those in…

HJD: Thanks guys, all the best…Can’t wait to see if these guys do become the Real Life ‘Mad Men’ (which, by the way, I really don’t advise)

BEST OF THE REST

Elsewhere, I very unfortunatly had to miss the Underage Easter festival with Artrocker due to illness (boo), but I did end up with a friend at Storm Models, which got me thinking about something which only a tackly glitter graphic can show :

Vice Style is currently in Beta, but it looks pretty awesome. Some of the stuff I’ve found and loved so far has included a bit on bindis (below) with the beautiful French reporter Dora modelling some sticky jewellery to great effect.

Drop in some top-class editorials and pictures like this:

….and I think we can say that the little sister to Vice and VBS.tv s going to be huge. YVAN Rodic, LOOBOOK, WWW aside…ViceStyle looks set to join the ranks of net stardom. Oh, and some of their superb offerings make it into the paper VICE magazine. There’s even a few words with the world’s most famous plus-sized model, Crystal Renn – author of the memoir Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves.

And no fashion website worth its salt (or low sodium substitute) would be complete without the man himself, Karl Lagerfeld, as interviewed by film-director-cum-Vice-man Bruce Labruce (those familiar with Bruce, do excuse my wordplay there).

Karl's pad is both cluttered and library-like in its order. Viva Ikea!

My friends at Vice are also going Pretty Scritti Political right now, in celebration of next week’s election! Click here to watch a trailer for their (genuinely thrilling) docu Rule Britannia: Elections.

On an extremely important political note, not sure if its just me, but don’t these guys look alike?

Nick 'spanish wife and french chateau' Clegg
Or is it Dragons Den king, telecoms magnate and sock-puller-upper Peter Jones?

Possibly not the best picture to show a comparison.

I think I’ll finish with a bit of music, eh?

My mateys The Ruskins come from Isleworth (not too far from me) and I can’t believe they’re still unsigned. Not for long I hope/bet. Here’s their latest offering, Old Isleworth…the video features Elliott Tittensor (Shameless) and Kaya “Effy” Scodelario.

Its a cracker.

ALSO LOVING: OK GO, Lou Reed, N Sync, Amy Studt (yes I know), Sparks, Interpol (back on form), Julian Plenti…

And this:

Yes, that is Corbin Bleu’s Deal With It you can hear there…turns out that a whiley Jay Sean penned the song for the Afroed teen and sold the music to Korean superstars Shinee too. Clever move. Cleverer than that smug ‘blazer dance’ in the Down video, anyway…

Yours critically,

x x x x

“When Bob Geldof was kicked out of Pink Floyd…”

Urrgh, I’m almost a fool. I have to use these Sweet Valley High titles in order to grab your attention. That said, “almost a fool” refers only to the fact that its April Fools tomorrow rather than any intellectual anguish I might be having over my upcoming exams. I’ve almost been a fool millions of times, from fake £20 notes to bogus prizes…just dont trick me tomorrow because I will fall for it.

This pretty amazing (cake vs.) pie chart from This is why you’re fat has caught my foolish attention:

…as has everything else vaguely sweet recently. Weird craving for a proper, gen-u-ine New York cheescake, actually; one of those which looks like a round French cheese and tastes like one too. If anyone wants to bake me one then please go ahead.

Anyways, onto some higher culture. I have enjoyed such cultivated televisual viewing of late, including The Undercover Princesses on BBC3.

A follow-up to the equally cringeworthy culture-clash comedy of  The Undercover Princes, this series saw three ethnically-diverse but equally stereotypical “royals” – the Bugandan with a shapely behind and a taste for market-stall weave, the shy, sari-wearing Indian wallflower and the whiter-than-white Europop heiress from Germany, who almost didn’t count as foreign – looking for love in the UK. So, the BBC sent the trio to our culture capital of Essex and watched asmadness ensued. One of Uganda’s princesses, nicknamed Cinderella, found Caribbean match Paul (Paw-ul) on a trip to Asda for mushrooms in a surprisingly tidy scene which was typical set-up fare. Meanwhile, sweet-natured asian princess Aaliya went on a series of disappointing dates with men who looked like Crimewatch-paedo-cut-outs for conversations about the weather, where we almost expected to hear Mad World dubbed over her plight. Eeyorl-liah was a nice girl but socially inept when it came to the opposite sex, and scuppered one of her dates by getting claustrophobia…whilst wearing a helmet. Doh! Instead of love, we got more BBC subtitles over anyone who wasn’t from Essex and a horrible soundtrack which even featured “world’s most overused and dramatic tearjerker” Kissing You by Des’ree. Yes, the song from Romeo+Juliet. A highlight was Xenia from Germany, however, whose much-hyped “relationship” with hairdresser Elliott involved much retarded singing, impressionism and crap dancing. Put her anywhere else and I think this woman would have been labelled a fag hag. Hilarious stuff as always from the BBC’s digital stable, but can we please have some proper princesses next time…this lot really lacked authenticity!

High Renaissance Man – exclusive –

Yes, THIS is what the title of the blog is about! HIGHLY CULTURED MEN!

Vice ran this pretty amazing picture of JFK in a series of hats for next month’s issue…just to cover myself legally I should point out that the pic below is by Tara Sinn of http://www.babydinosaureyes.com/, and it is just so cute. Especially the top hat…can someone please Cafe Press this into a mug/t-shirt/babygrow (with permission ofc).

And here is my horrific illustration for the following feature. I forbid anyone to Cafe Press this:

It’s been less than 2 months since Mr Totally Tom – that’s Mr Totally Tom Stourton and Mr Totally Tom Palmer to you and I – launched their comedy short High Renaissance Man on Youtube. Part one of four is above, and given my damning review of a BBc 3 programme (also above), I advise that our controllors take note: this is what TV needs.

The two Toms – who have somewhat sarcastically declared that they want BBC’s “pinkies”, that’s £50 notes to you and me – have been friends since the tender age of 12, when they met at a sleepover (everybody say: awww!)

Described by Michael Hessletine as “Evelyn Waugh on acid” (100% true quotation), the duo take their inspiration from Garth Meranghi’s Dark Place and Brass Eye among other series’, although this Bristol-based mockumentary is all their own work, and they strongly deny “copying” anyone. In fact, their influences peek through rather than being worn on a collective sleeve, surely the mark of subtle genius. Thanks to the way in which universities are “interlinked” through Facebook, High Renaissance Man has gone down a treat on the interwebs – probably because James Talbot-Smith (Stourton) is the perfectly recognisable Oxbridge-reject  turning his hand to uni pursuits such as event promotion with his trademark awkwardness. If Abercrombie did philosophy degrees…

That’s enough from me anyways…let’s read James’ exclusive diary for hannahjdavies.com!

The diary of James – by Mr Totally Tom

D e a r  D i a r y,

J a m e s  h e r e  a g a i n.  F i r s t  o f  a l l,  a s  y o u  m a y  h a v e  n o t i c e d,  I  h a v e  j u s t  f o u n d  a  f u c k i n g

l e a n  f o n t  t o  u s e  f o r  m y  d i a r y  e n t r i e s.  M a k e s  i t  l o o k  l i k e  a n  o l d s c h o o l  t y p e w r i t e r  – a n d

i t  u s e s  u p  l e s s   i n k.

Spiked Mathew’s tea with seven grams of Mephedrone this morning. He has an exam later AND his parents are taking us for lunch after. Would love to be a fly on the wall for that one! Even though I will be sort of. He’d better pay me back.

Speaking of pranks, expenses scandal broke out today – so fierce! In a bit of trouble with Dad as I ordered a duck house on his account for one of my nights – he is soooooo angry. Also v. bum-out as has ruined my Duck and Bass night – apparently freedom of expression has been banned by the government! Sorry, didn’t realize Tony Blair had collaborated with the Nazis! (Not! – as in I’m being sarcastic not as in I think Nazis actually are actually in power in real life).

Anywayz, until the next time we meet, see you tomorrow dear diary.

Yours truly truthfully,

Me….James.

*Thanks to the two Toms for their help with this feature…now go and watch all four parts of High Renaissance Man on Youtube!

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LIKE A DRUG

Up on VBS.tv right now, you can click here to watch the first part of the Vice Guide to Film, on Mexico’s Narco Cinema, from their popular internet TV station (you might remember me talking about another VBS production, Swansea Love Story, in a previous post).

I digress: in this series, Vice will be exploring some lesser-known cinematic genres from across the globe, as co-founder Shane Smith and creative director Eddy Moretti explore the relationship between drugs and B-movies in Mexico, Korea and Japan. It’s described it as a foray into the low budget, seedy, fast-paced, straight-to-DVD genre inspired by (and often funded by) Mexico’s ultraviolent drug cartels. This culture-packed production is essential viewing for all Vice-lovers and beyond, as it also touches on the bizarre pagan patron saint of drug dealers…and a music genre based about trafficking! Throw your guidebooks in the bin, grab un sics (yes, thats a six pack of beer in spanish…spanglish) and click onto VBS.tv instead…


Til next month, adieu (actually, I’m going to be working with Artrocker on Underage Easter festival next week so that might pop up here too)
Yours
x x x x

The Paper Edition

This is where my famous green typing ends for a while, and you get to sample The ‘Zine. It is a magical thing when you can use paper and a pen in a cross-promotional marketing strategy inspired by THE APOCOLYPSE OF PRINT. Here we go:

The Mona Cheryl by Hannah J 'Leonardo' Davies

*Have you got any thoughts on this month’s paper-licious issue, written on pretty ancient paper my mother used whilst at university I might add? Email me: hannah@hannahjdavies.com with your thoughts. A letters page might happen, y’know.

PS: Click here to watch something which touched my heart this Valentines. Vice Magazine’s VBS bring you, yes you, a Rule Britannia special six-part ‘Swansea Love Story’, focusing on addicts such as Lee Dennis, who graphically recounts his drug abuse and how he contracted Hep C in prison, as he rifles through his possessions in an Iceland bag casually. Desperate fights to get clean in a city which, according to its older inhabitants hasn’t changed…its the people who have. All in all, such deprivation, tales of sexual abuse and familial collapse are handled with class by director Leo Leigh sooo go watch. Plus, CNN thought it was noteworthy.

Listening to: JAM. I hope Liorah Tchiprout, the author of this pretty amazing playlist for use with Spotify, won’t mind me sharing it with you x x

End of my girl crush.

x x x x