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
This image might look like it’s a CGI mockup or a scene from Bladerunner, but it’s actually a video still of projection mapping in Rotterdam. Below is a photograph of the OMA-designed skyscraper that the visuals were projected onto.De Rotterdam building, as seen from Erasmus Bridge. Photograph by Raban Haaijk.
Project A15 – the idea that this event was promoting – is an initiative that seeks to make the busy highway running from Rotterdam to Nijmegen into the most sustainable highway in the world. The projection itself can be seen in the video below, and bear in mind that the height of the De Rotterdam building is 150 metres. That’s taller than London’s Centrepoint, which stands at 117 metres!
Posted in Culture, Film, Photography, PR, Technology, Writing
Tagged 2013, A15 Project, advertising, animation, architecture, biggest projection in Europe, blog, blogger, blogging, buildings, built environment, Centrepoint, city, communications, cool, creative, De Rotterdam, De Rotterdam building, digital, Erasmus Bridge, event, film, highway, idea, infrastructure, Leonie Cumiskey, OMA, OMA architects, photography, projection, projection mapping, promotion, roads, Rotterdam, skyscrapers, stunt, sustainability, sustainable cities, sustainable future, technology, The Netherlands, transport links, video, video mapping, writing, Youtube
This is my favourite picture of Kate Moss from her Playboy debut, shot by Mert & Marcus. I love the way that the light doesn’t distort the shape of her body, but it shrouds her skin tone in this ethereal covering which adds a sort of subtlety to her nakedness. Her expression in this picture is also really innocent and youthful – the only thing that really gives the true nature of the shoot away is the ears.
Posted in Fashion, Photography
Tagged 2013, blog, blogging, bunny ears, erotica, ethereal, fashion, Hugh Hefner, Kate Moss, Kate Moss in Playboy, Kate Moss naked, Leonie Cumiskey, light, light painting, magazine, Marcus Piggott, men's magazines, Mert & Marcus, Mert Alas, Mert and Marcus, naked, nudity, opinion, photographer, photography, Playboy, Playboy 60th Anniversary, projection, psychedelic, publishing, soft porn, style, writing
© 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, Culture, Photography
Tagged 2013, Americana, art, Bastian K, beautiful, blogging, cool, creativity, film, film photography, Flickr, instant film, landscapes, Leonie Cumiskey, nostalgic, photographic art, photographs, photography, Polaroid, retro, road trip, romance, surreal, visual artist
Having recently finished a role working in property marketing, I’ve got a newly-ignited curiosity about the city I live in, and cities in general. I’ve seen some amazing cityscapes on my travels around the, umm…Internet, so here they are! Photographer Ben Thomas uses tilt shift in his photographs to make the urban sprawl of London, New York and San Francisco look like mere children’s toys.
Patrick Vale is an architectural illustrator whose washes of colour are beautifully defined by thick black outlines. I love his combination of stylised panache and intricate detail.
Abigail Daker keeps thing simple with her monochrome line drawings of London, which are amazingly precise. She also specialises in hand-drawn maps, which she has produced for the likes of Winkworth estate agents and Viking River Cruises.
Laura Oldfield Ford‘s neon-smeared sketches aren’t so all-embracing of the city’s built environment. Her subject matter is mainly the urban squalor of council estates, or the dystopian rundown areas under threat from regeneration and new developments – which she has branded ‘yuppiedrones’.
In contrast to Oldfield Ford’s stance, Mark Lascelles Thornton‘s ‘Happiness Machines’ series focuses on the hyper futuristic London landscape that dominates The City, with more and more Manhattan-like corporate skyscrapers springing up in the financial district each year. I really like the flashes of colour in his tight pen drawings, and think that skyscrapers possess a kind of terrifying beauty.
Posted in Art, Culture, Design, Lifestyle, Photography, Writing
Tagged 2013, Abigail Daker, architectural illustration, architecture, art, arts, Ben Thomas, Ben Thomas photographer, blogging, building, cityscapes, council estate, developments, gentrification, illustration, ink, inner city, Laura Oldfield Ford, Leonie Cumiskey, line drawing, London, Manhattan, Mark Lascelles Thornton, marketing, miniature cities, New York, Patrick Vale, photography, property, property marketing, San Francisco, skyscrapers, tilt shift, tilt shift photography, urban sprawl, work, writing, yuppiedrones