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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Bodil Furu and Simon Tyszko @ Beaconsfield, SE11. Until 10th August. Bodil Furu = extended to 30th August

Simon Tyszko, The Unfun Fair, 2013, 
mixed media Arch installation (detail), 
image courtesy the artist and Beaconsfield

I am glad I can’t afford to go on holidays. London is sunny, super hot (not as I am posting this though) and I am humming Bananarama’s Cruel Summer... I know it’s bad but that’s the only tune my mind had decided to stick to for the day.
The 436 bus drops me by Tyers Street, SE11. I am on tour to Beaconsfield Gallery. Surrounded by industrial buildings, the Vauxhall City Farm stands firmly there along with private gardens. A quirky chalet lookalike stands out: A house for Nicaragua, built 1984-91 to celebrate the Nicaraguan revolution. Sold to support community projects in Nicaragua.
Beaconsfield has always had some interesting projects going ever since they opened in the 90’s. Today, I am visiting highly respected Norwegian Bodil Furu’s art-social video projects and Simon Tyszko’s The Unfun Fair Too.
Out of the five Bodil video art films presented in Beaconsfield, Opera reminds me of the excellent The Sound of Noise’s film. Left wing’s ghosts inscriptions like “The theatre should be in a working class area” or “Reconstruction is almost completed but there is still a long way to go” appear unexpectedly here and there followed by some hidden wall paintings (Hitler and the Nazi Swastika).
Bodil Furu’s interest reflects on effects of global economics on community dynamics. She travelled to China to shoot Misty Clouds soundtracked by the mighty Biosphere: a focus on the relationship between environmental issues and the individual experience of pollution and coal energy production. The film is shot in Taiyuan, one of the world’s most polluted cities, in the Shanxi province which Mao Tse-tung declared as the sacrificed province. It is now an ecological catastrophe similar to Chernobyl in Russia. Misty Clouds portrays environmental engineer students and people living in Taiyuan addressing the environmental challenges we are facing today. It presents individual’s reflections on coal production, urban planning and the economic structure and is a contribution to a broader reflection about environmental issues in a global context.
Fjell som Faller (Where Mountains Fall) tells the stories of Anna Stensholm and Anne Lånan, who were the last inhabitants that left when the Vega islands off the Helgeland coast was depopulated in the 1980s. The two experienced the local community differently: While Anna was born and grew up in the archipelago, Anne arrived there as an adult to run the post office. Their personal stories and reflections take us through nostalgia, gossips and the beauty of nature, offering an insight into the physical and psychical strategies of coping with rough weather as well as everyday life in a small community.
The Unfun Fair expands an unnerving composition of sound and light in the Arch Space as Simon Tyszko develops new pieces within the second half of his sonic sculpture exhibition.
Tyszko’s mixed media practice constructs narratives that originate in the joys and tragedies of his colourful personal life. The expression of poignant emotional experiences finds form through a variety of physical materials. Discarded machines and materials are rejuvenated and linked to other objects creating new hybrids animated by sound or light. Through its evolution, the original core impulse acquires gravitas as a reflection of the experience of the wider social body.
The composition of sound and light currently exhibited in the Arch is bound together by neon – a core symbol of consumer culture – and 10,000 volts.
Simon Tyszko is notorious for disrupting his domestic life by installing a full-scale Dakota aeroplane wing in his West London flat, in acknowledgement of the events of 9/11. He is a regular broadcaster on Resonance FM.

Only Bodil Furu is extended to the 30th of August. It is free.
Beaconsfield, 22 Newport St, Vauxhall, London SE11 6AY. phone: +44 (0) 207 582 6465.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Bjork/Attenborough on C4 = 27 July. Exhibs to see before 27th July. An electronic music link...

Bjork & Sir David Attenborough
Courtesy of Channel4

Award-winning musician Björk and legendary broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough have admired each other's work for years but this is the first time they have discussed their mutual love of music and the natural world on screen. In this remarkable documentary, Björk explores our unique relationship with music and discovers how technology might transform the way we engage with it in the future. At the heart of the film is Biophilia, Björk's cutting-edge music project that explores where nature, music and technology meet. David Attenborough explains how music exists in the natural world and speaks about his own passion for music. Author and professor of neurology and psychiatry Oliver Sacks explains the extraordinary and beneficial effects music has on our brains and explains why performing and engaging with music is something all of us should take more seriously. Exec Prod: Lucas Ochoa; Dir: Louise Hooper; Prod Co: Pulse Films
Channel4. 27 July @ 7pm.

Two un-missable exhibitions:
Gerhard Richter @ Gagosian Gallery, W1 = Tapestry. A group of four tapestries entitled Abdu, Iblan, Musa, and Yusuf (all 2009).
These works are based on Abstract Painting (724-4) (1990), a key example of Richter’s distinctive approach to non-representational painting. The visual effect of the tapestries is a Rorschach-like multiplying of the forms and colors of the original canvas.
Woven on a mechanical jacquard loom, each tapestry repeats four times the image of one quadrant of the painting. Though derived from the same painting, each of the four tapestries surprises and dazzles with its own complex symmetries.
In recent years, Richter’s interests in media-merging and appropriation have resulted in works that multiply and transform his abstract paintings into prints, books, and other paintings. The digitally generated Strip paintings of 2012 are complex manipulations of the same painting from which the four tapestries were produced. But in the tapestries, the continuous probing of the space between painting and photographic reproduction finds resonance in the textures of the artisanal medium, rather than in the smooth depiction of color and speed.
Until 27th July. Free entrance

Sonia Boyce @ Rivington Place, EC2A = Scat. The exhibition centres on the significance of sound in art and explores how we experience sound, both collectively and intimately. Two immersive video works are brought together for the first time along with the Devotional Collection, Boyce's archive of CDs cassettes, vinyl records and other ephemera.
For you, only you (2007), in collaboration with Mikhail Karikis and early music consort Alamire, transforms a 16th century musical masterpiece into a contemporary vocal composition. Oh Adelaide (2010), a collaborative work by Sonia Boyce and Ain Bailey, incorporates found footage of jazz singer and entertainer, Adelaide Hall (1901-1993), and mixes her voice with digitised and condensed recordings from the Devotional Collection.
Until 27th July. Free entrance

Music. New release
New EP from Funkineven, released on Julio Bashmore's label 'Broadwalk'
Julio Bashmore’s Broadwalk Records has quickly gained a reputation for releasing some of the highest quality electronic music around. In addition to Bashmore’s own solo productions (‘Au Seve’, ‘Husk’), the label has teamed up with the likes of Maddslinky (‘Compuphonic’), Kowton (‘The Mirror Song EP’) and Velour (‘Speedway’) on a series of future-facing 12”s.
Now Broadwalk Record is preparing for its sixth release: Funkineven’s ‘Species EP’. You can hear two incredible tracks from the EP – ‘The Joker’ and ‘Mars’ right now at:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Marianne Simonin: Yoga, Tantra, Ayurveda, Jyotish. A little India in London

Holy Festival - India 2009
Courtesy Marianne Simonin

It must have been 1996. I had just moved from Hammersmith to Shepherd’s Bush. I shared my time between serving the bar @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, assisting the Cinema Director @ Riverside Studios, teaching photography and writing about music. I was very busy, very entertained but something was missing. I was determined to find the missing bit and took up Hatha yoga (the only Yoga class around in the area). What the hell do they talk about when they say “spiritual”? As far as I was concerned I couldn’t care less about that spiritual world but I was intrigued, curious to see if it would fulfil something ... even though I was already full of myself!
Marianne Simonin was our Yoga teacher. We all lied down, closed our eyes and concentrated on our breathing. She eventually said something but I didn’t move. It looked like I was quite happy to have a lie down. She came up to me and asked me if I was alright. I opened my eyes to witness a whole class looking like praying herons. It is called ‘Vrksasana’ (The Tree posture). Here was a new freaky world opening up to me... I had joined a beginner’s class as no extra-beginner class existed.
At the end of the class, I explained that I lip-read and closing my eyes didn’t make it easy to follow. We found a way for me to follow. We became friends and then best friends. It was handy as we were neighbours. She loved music, films, and arts. I lent her the CDs I received from the record labels, we went to art previews and she taught me about Ayurveda, Indian Art, Gods and Goddesses, the cycle of life, etc. At the time, she was also teaching and massaging privately as well as holding yoga classes in Wormwood Scrubs Prison. To this day, she is still working with some of these private clients and sometimes an (ex)-inmate writes to her to express how she changed positively his way of thinking as well as coping with his sentence.  Marianne trained with the BWY over 4 years in the mid-80’s and started teaching her first class in 1988 at the London Central Polytechnic in Regent’s St.
We haven’t seen each other much in the past year as she has been busy studying for a 4 years Integrated Master in Ayurvedic Medicine at Middlesex University and she is totally dedicated.  Now it is summer break and we have caught up last Saturday in a tiny Bloomsbury pub. Her boyfriend calls our meetings jokingly “the witches’gathering”!  Nick Cave is softly playing in the background. We have seen him live from Brixton Academy to Shepherd’s Bush over the past decades.
I told her that there were lots of Yoga classes in Hackney, much more than 10 years ago and that I didn’t know which one to join because I was not convinced by what I could read about the teachers or the classes. “Yoga has become incredibly fashionable. It’s cool to do Yoga nowadays. Today, when you finish school at 18 and you are not sure what to do, you can train as a Yoga teacher in as little time as one month! They focus more on the physical benefits as a way to keep fit than understand the roots of Yoga or connecting with its tradition.
Many Yoga teachers have not set foot in India and it is sad because this is where the source of Yoga is. Of course, it is important not to stay in the past because Yoga evolves on a personal and social level, and if Yoga is not evolving, it will die. Yoga, like Ayurveda (its sister science), developed over several thousand years and were concerned with the physical, mental and spiritual health of the human being in order to achieve balance. It can benefit anybody from any walk of life. It is important to find the correct branch of Yoga that fits your personality in order to make progress. 
Even in evolution, one must not forget its traditional value from India. In ancient times the Guru was an enlightened being who had mastered and understood the Cosmic Energy and the meaning of life, his role was to transmit these values. The devotional aspect towards the great life principles (expressed in many forms of Male and Female manifestations) were vital to the path and are still practiced nowadays in India. Those traditions / values have persisted through times unlike those in Egypt or Greece which are now instinct. At the time, nobody paid the Guru and it was the duty of the students or disciples to care for his basic needs.

In the West, there is no such tradition, so when Yoga came to the West it had to adapt to a money orientated culture, which means paying a teacher. Today, it has reached such a boom that it is a big fashionable business (marketing of props such as yoga mats, clothing etc).  Yoga centres offer 'special class packages' where you can practice different styles with different teachers in one month. There is no relation between the teacher and the students; this vital and karmic link is missing. This notion of spiritual journey is disappearing or is being much diluted. The path of Yoga requires a warrior quality and if you don’t plunge within yourself you will have nothing to transmit as a teacher, it is a life commitment. I am still in touch with my 92 years old Latvian teacher from the 80’s and I am amazed about her steady engagement and her ever evolving teaching.

BabyLondonOrbital: if as a teacher you have a commitment, why do you leave your students? You move from one area of London to another...

MS: I move because I am not a businesswoman who wants to secure my position. A home is never a home and attachment is against Yoga’s belief. You have to learn to let go but in my heart, I never forget my students. In fact, quite a few of my students have followed me over the years. Whether I taught in Shepherd’s Bush, Bonnington Square, High Street Kensington, Broadway Market, City Hall etc. they come to my classes now and then wherever I teach. I also have students who now live abroad and they want lessons via Skype. I do it if it is for continuing an existing connection and assisting their practice. It is still possible to transmit the energy through this medium, as long as you connect with the person. I also organize yoga and meditation retreats regularly where ‘past’ students and more regular ones can mix.  New ones also join from recommendation.

BbLndnrbtl: How easy is it to settle in a new area and start from scratch?

MS: Well, it’s not. It is hard work. There is always a park where I live, so during the summer, I give flyers around. It is a donation based class. It works. Some people are actually quite generous, but I go there with no expectation. I often compromise the financial security for the joy of teaching Yoga as it is such an integral part of my life.   If students come to me it is my obligation to give and pass what I have learnt. The thirst for understanding one’s true nature is a daily search. Sometimes it is a burden, but you can’t stop it, you have to go on. Yoga is not superficial. When students have a thirst for the path of yoga and want to join either my hatha, tantra or meditation classes it is my duty during the class to prepare ‘the platform’ in order for the energy to manifest itself and for the experience to take place. My approach is always creative, in the sense that one needs to ‘tune in’ to receive inspiration from the higher forces and adjust to who is in the class, the time of the day, the season etc. True knowledge stems from direct experience; I am as grateful to my students as I guess they are to me.  Their attendance enables me to teach and provide for my livelihood in order to carry on my journey.

BbLndnrbtl: You have introduced me to Ayurveda when we met at your place in Melrose Gardens, W6, at a time when few people in this country knew much about it. You couldn’t find a proper course in London and there were only Indian ayurvedic doctors offering treatments amongst the Asian community, like in Tooting Broadway for example. You have now enrolled for a four year degree course. What is the evolution of Ayurveda here and what is the challenge?

MS: As you know, I always research other ways that can enhance my inner path. This has led me to have a deep interest in Tantra, Ayuveda and Jyotish (Indian system of astrology). The four sciences are closely linked and complementary.  I personally feel that Ayurveda has a great difficulty in being integrated in the UK.  Many ayurvedic herbs or treatments need to comply with the new EU regulations/legislations. This makes it difficult to remain faithful to the ancient knowledge as some herbs only grow on Indian soil, or some powerful medicinal compounds can only be prepared under the strict guidance of an ayurvedic guru with specific rituals (especially those containing metals and minerals).  Currently Ayurvedic practitioners are trying to find equivalent properties in western herbs, but this will automatically compromise the integrity of this medical system.  It will take time.  So far the only aspect of Ayurveda that has been quite successfully integrated in the West are the therapeutic oil massages (abhyanga, shirodhara etc), but they are often given and promoted completely out of context by beauty clinics.

BbLndnrbtl: You arrived in London from France in the late 70’s and never lived elsewhere. What is so good about this “village”?

MS: As soon as I arrived in London I felt free.  Freedom has always been primordial. Here you can be who you want and there are lots of opportunities to study and experience life in general.  It is a city of renewal on many levels.  I still get excited when I discover new areas and live in different communities. I never get bored! But the one thing I will never get used to are the long winters of greyness and rain... this is when I often pack my bag and escape to India (my second home)...

We walked to Drummond Street, NW1 and visited the Indian shop for some Ayurvedic soaps and toothpaste. There is a nice Indian restaurant next door where we continued our “witchy” conversation: Bowie @ the V&A, the Indian Film Festival @ BFI, Janis Joplin, driving in the Grand Canyon, Sarah Morris @ White Cube, etc. It was late and warmish @ Euston when I got on the 253 to Clapton. I thought I was lucky to have a friend who has guided me through the years to balance my “glam” world to a more “down to earth” world. I have been practicing Yoga with different teachers, but none had wise words when I was in doubt, none has led me to understand my life cycle the way she has. I feel I am a Zen Guerrilla person and I feel fine about it now. We can be heroes... just for one day...

Marianne currently teaches in Hackney and North West London.  She is also a massage practitioner and artist.  Her list of clients have included Sir Sean Connery and his wife, Naomi Campbell and others. You can read more about her by visiting her website

Monday, 22 July 2013

Amy Winehouse: For You I Was A Flame. 12th September - 6th October 2013. Proud Camden

Amy, London 2009 © Ross Kirton
Proud Camden 
Amy Winehouse: For You I Was A Flame

I told you, I was trouble. You know that I'm no good”. Having entered a London postcode on XFM radio, I was listening to it from a Paris’ apartment while scrolling my Facebook’s friend’s news. Like a scream, Yoann Lemoine aka WOODKID wrote “Amy, Nooooooooo!” XFM emitted some confusing news. Was she? Was she not? I googled Amy Winehouse. I was not even sure which Amy they were referring to. 23rd of July 2011, Amy ceased being trouble.

In 2003, Amy’s debut album, Frank, was critically successful and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Back to Black, her follow-up album, led to six Grammy Award nominations: Amy Winehouse was the first British female artist to win five Grammys in a single night. The following year, she won a Brit Award for Best British Female Artist and in 2008, Amy won the Ivor Novello Award for the third time in four years. Amy lived in Camden and was sometimes serving customers in her favourite pub. If only Amy Winehouse had been trouble, we wouldn’t bother remembering her.

On the 14th of September, Amy Winehouse would have celebrated her 30th birthday. Amy Winehouse: For You I Was A Flame is an exhibition curated by the Amy Winehouse Foundation with the support of Amy’s family. A month of events entitled #Amys30 that will take place in Camden, the singer’s spiritual home, throughout September, in support of the Foundation. It will celebrate Winehouse’s life and career, and raise awareness of the great work being achieved in her name.
From Jake Chessum's 2004 photographic portrait of a fresh faced singer on the road to stardom, to Dean Chalkley's now infamous 2011 NME cover along with candid stage shots by Andy Willsher and Carolyn Djanogly's powerful nude.
The photographs will be shown alongside works donated by leading graffiti artists Mr Brainwash and Bambi, as well as a Gerald Laing piece from Amy’s own collection. For the first time, these works will be joined by a range of paintings and drawings donated by the Winehouse family, making this exhibition a once in a lifetime opportunity to view both unseen and iconic images of an ordinary North London girl who touched the hearts of millions across the world.
"We're all very excited about the exhibition at Proud. Amy's fans were absolutely amazing in the wake of her passing, and showed their love and loss in the most fantastic ways. This, along with the photos and graffiti art, shows Amy at her glitzy best, and her most vulnerable, demonstrating the effect she had on her followers. We hope that everyone who comes feels the same way." - Alex Winehouse, Amy’s brother.

The Amy Winehouse Foundation
The tragic passing of Amy on 23rd July 2011, aged just 27, left not only her family and close friends heart broken, but had a huge impact on people all over the world. Amy and her music have touched the lives of millions across the globe. Amy’s family launched the Amy Winehouse Foundation on September 14th 2011, on what would have been Amy’s 28th birthday.
The Amy Winehouse Foundation works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people. We also aim to support, inform and inspire vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to help them reach their full potential.
Under which we will focus on the following three core areas:
1. Inform and educate young people about the effects of drug & alcohol misuse
2. Provide support for those most vulnerable, those at high risk of misuse or disadvantaged through circumstance
3. Support and develop music provision for young people
The Foundation’s Resilience Programme For Schools launched in April 2013, working to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people by going into schools and working directly with pupils, teachers and parents. By the end of the first year alone, the programme will have reached over 50,000 children.

Amy Winehouse: For You I Was A Flame. 12th September - 6th October 2013. Monday to Sunday: 11am – 5pm. Entry = Free. The Horse Hospital Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8AH.

Tomorrow 23rd of July = exhibition in Brazil = For all of Amy's Brazilian fans and supporters of the Foundation there is a very special event taking place in Natal, Brasil tomorrow which has been organised by the wonderful Alexandre Ferreira, president of Fã-clube Amy Winehouse Trouble.

He has teamed up with Jurik Designs who created the beautiful '27 Roses' portrait of Amy with proceeds of sales and the event going to the Foundation.

Please support this event if you can as everyone involved is very passionate about what we do and its sure to be a fantastic party!!!
Preparados para Exposição #AmyWinehouse27rosas ?

Livraria Saraiva – Shopping MidWay Mall
AV. Bernardo Vieira, 3775, Natal – RN
Exposição de 23 a 28 de julho, das 10h às 22h.
Entrada Franca.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

4th Annual Yoruba Arts Festival. SAT & SUN 27th & 28th July 2013. CLISSOLD PARK, STOKE NEWINGTON, HACKNEY, LONDON N16. 11.00AM TO 21.00PM

Courtesy of Yoruba Arts Festival

Now in its fourth year, the Annual Yoruba Arts Festival is back and even more exciting. It is two days of cultural performances, Yoruba market, workshops, presentations, Fashion show, competitions, delicious food, DJ’s and live bands from around the world, celebrating the rich, vibrant and colourful Arts and Culture of the Yorubas.
Expect live music from Niyi & Co (Nigeria/UK), AGEMO (Nigeria/UK), Komo (UK) Ayo- Dele (UK) Africa Entsha (South Africa), Ayanjide & Bola Akewi (Cultural performances & EWI), DJ’s Osa Jatt & DJ Bayo, Batala Band (samba, percussion from Brazil) and many more...

Yoruba Arts Festival (formerly Festival of Yoruba Arts – FOYA) was created to promote social, cultural and educational cohesion and development through visual, conceptual and performance arts mediums that presents aesthetic, cultural and educational value to our audiences form around the world.

I met with Abeke who is the main festival organiser. She was Fela Kuti’s personal assistant until August 1997.
What is the meaning of Yoruba and why celebrating it?
Yoruba is the oldest tribe in Africa. Its Diaspora expands mainly in Nigeria, Benin, Togo etc but also in United States, United Kingdom, Cuba and Brazil due to the slave trade. There are over 30 million Yoruba people in the world sharing the same language, same belief and who are strongly rooted in nature balance. In London, we are two million of Yoruba people and 10 years ago, we realised that our culture was fading. We needed to go back to our roots in UK. If you go to some music festivals, some organisers have an African stage, but it is quite insulting. It is like putting all our cultures in one pot.

I just imagined for a second an African country organising a music festival with a European stage. The stage would be a melting pot of Bulgarian folk, British pop, Italian Punk and French electro... Exotic!

What do you mean by nature balance?
Nothing is bad, nothing is good. You can ask the spirit something like honey or money or even ask the spirit to do something wrong to a person, but if the person is not wishing you bad, then it bounces back on you. This is the balance. That’s why the Yoruba Arts Festival was created. To promote our culture and welcome those who are not familiar with our culture. We live in this country, we all live together and this is who we are in that piece of land we all walk on. The Festival has always been in Clissold Park and this is the first year that we celebrate our culture during two days. Our vision is to become like the Notting Hill Carnival.

What’s good about London?
London is about diversity. I love my Yoruba culture but I am also happy to be able to eat any kind of food from the world in this city. No matter where you come from, there is a sense of being and we can all share our differences with respect.

Abeke tells me that she is part of the online radio station

Entry to the festival is free and open for the whole family to enjoy.
Join the YAF as they celebrate Africa’s biggest and most historical culture, Yoruba Arts Festival.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

One. Two. One (Yek. Do. Yek) A film by Mania Akbari. Second Run DVD Release: 22 July 2013

Courtesy of Second Run
One. Two. One (Yek. Do. Yek)
A film by Mania Akbari
Iran, 2011
Release date: 22 July 2013
BARCODE: 5060114150751
RRP: £12.99
BBFC cert: PG
Feature: 79 minutes;
Special feature: 31 minutes
Language: Farsi; Subtitles: English

Mark Cousins writes to Mania Akbari in the DVD’s case booklet: une invitation au voyage. With wine or without, he senses the intensity of Mania’s work. 
I entered One.Two. One as if entering a gallery. A trip from one room to another, a chapter after another. Shyly connected, each chapter works perfectly well independently with its slight panning on long conversational takes.
Ava has had acid thrown on her face. Iran. Nowadays. We follow the evolution of a scar, the visible one and the subtle one. Perhaps a metaphor of the country’s state ... “my mother was very attractive... she wore short skirts... stylish hair. And one day I woke up and she had changed...
When righteously, Cousins takes Akbari on his flying carpet to Sweden, Rome, Iran, Hungary and London (a country in its own right according to Julien temple) to meet fictitiously some local art(ists), I am driven to think of video artworks by Sophie Calle and her bank’s sliding doors or even her fortune teller who leads her up north (higher and higher); Shirin Neshat and her passive-aggressive identity reporting the complexity of male politics; Marina Abramovic and the strength of her physical/mental stamina to materialise the geo-psychological torture she endured; Eija-Liisa Ahtila and her aesthetic relationship towards confusion, guilt as if she was responsible of provoking anger.
Mania Akbari’s One.Two. One crosses life like a passage: we were born alone, “seduce” people and die alone.  A life in cadence:

II) The bank
III) The psychiatrist
IV) Prison’s meeting room
V) Fortune teller
VI) Wagon train
VII) Prison’s meeting room
VIII) The Restaurant
IX) Telecabine
X) Prison’s meeting room
XI) Skin Care Clinic

The final chapter is wordless. The face is covered with thin paper. A wet brush sweeps the face. It reminds me of Steve McQueen’s Hunger when the prison’s detainee sweeps the floor from the corridor’s end to the camera in real time.
Today, an artist is a creature without a homeland, and must therefore think with a global consciousness and language” Mania Akbari.

Presented in a new anamorphic transfer, approved by the director.
• ‘Backstage’: an exclusive short film on the making of One. Two. One, taken from the director’s personal materials.
DVD Special features:
• Booklet featuring ‘A Letter to Mania’, an essay by filmmaker, curator and author Mark Cousins.
• New and improved English subtitle translation.
• World premiere release on DVD.

You can order the DVD either at:

Friday, 12 July 2013

John Cassavetes. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. BFI's DVD release. 15 July.

Courtesy of BFI

On 15 July the BFI will release John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, starring Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel, the fifth and final title in The John Cassavetes Collection. 134 min. Cert 15.

Cosmo Vitelli and his waterproof smile. The man who hold the world by its balls... the owner of LA’s Crazy Horse West, a sordid night spot. The killer of a Chinese bookie.
Ben Gazzara brilliantly performs in John Cassavetes’s The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
To celebrate his last bill payment, Cosmo takes his girls in his Limo. Some gambles later, he loses $23000. Some smiles later, the mafia drains their “enemy” and its mediocrity. The debt is negotiated on Formica: a Chinese bookie has to die and that will faint the debt.
Cassavetes injects another blow to this film noir by not respecting its codes: dead or slow actions where Cosmo reveals his emotions shot as if navigating on a furious sea.
At the end of the night, there is love. But it looks and sounds so pathetic, that it is actually moving.

Click here to see an amusing short clip of Ben Gazzara talking about the filming, which you can embed:

The film is in English language with optional hard of hearing subtitles. The selected scenes are only in English.

Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
* Includes both the long 1976 version and the 1978 re-edit
* Selected scenes commentary by Al Ruban and Peter Bogdanovich
* Anything for John (Doug Headline, 1993, 91 mins, bonus DVD only): feature-length documentary tribute to Cassavetes, containing interviews with Peter Falk, Gena Rowlands and Al Ruban
* The Haircut (Tamar Simon Hoffs, 1982, 22 mins, bonus DVD only): John Cassavetes stars as a busy music executive sidetracked by a haircut in Hoffs' delightful directorial debut
* Tamar Hoffs interview (Doug Headline, 1993, 6 mins, bonus DVD only)
* Biography of Tamar Simon Hoffs (PDF on bonus DVD only)
* Fully illustrated booklet featuring a new essay by Tom Charity, recollections from Al Ruban and an original review.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Independent Label Market is delighted to announce it will be returning to Old Spitalfields Market for the 4th time supported by AIM - the Association of Independent Music. On Saturday 13th July, the heads of over 50 of the UK’s greatest independent labels will come together to sell this summer’s most sought after records and exclusive releases directly to the public.
As the music industry embraces mp3s and a more digital strategy, Independent Label Market is proving to be a valuable reminder of how music retail can be a social affair; people hanging out together as a community and buying records.
Independent Label Market: London will welcome back a host of labels from previous markets including XL, Bella Union, Domino, PIAS, Lex and Chess Club.
We are also delighted to announce many newcomers including Matador, 4AD, Huntley & Palmers, Hospital, and Factory Benelux.
The heads of these labels will be manning the booths, selling their own products—new, catalogue, rarities—at this unique and intimate format for record buying. There will be a host of exclusive releases, artist appearances and much much more..!
LABELS on site: 4AD, Angular, Because, Bella Union, Big Dada, Brownswood, Caught By The River, Chess Club, Communion, Critical Heights, Damnably, Dead Oceans, Discrepant, Domino, Fabric, Factory Benelux, Faux Discx, Fierce Panda, Fire, Fortuna Pop!, Full Time Hobby, Gringo, Heavenly, Hingefinger, Hospital Records, Houndstooth, Huntley & Palmers, Invisible Spies, Jagjaguwar, !K7, Killing Moon Ltd, Laissez Faire Club, Late Night Tales, Les Disques du Crépuscule, Lex, LoJinx, Mais Um Discos, Marshall Teller, Matador, Monotreme, Moshi Moshi, Ninja Tune, No Pain In Pop, O Genesis, Parlour, Phantasy Sound, PIAS, Pink Mist, Proville, R&S, Robot Elephant, Rocket Girl, Secretly Canadian, Song By Toad, Sonic Cathedral, Soul Jazz, Soundway, Stolen Recordings, Strut, Swamp 81, Tape Club, Tough Love, Trilogy Tapes, Upset The Rhythm, WIAIWYA, XL, ZZK Records

and screenprints, posters, boutique record decks, and high end audio equipment from:
East London Printmakers, UK Poster Association, Rega Research Ltd

The Quietus are also hosting a specially curated micro-label stall, featuring their picks of the latest purveyors of sonic delight.

Since launching in London on May 2011, Independent Label Market has brought together the founders of some the World's greatest Independent Record Labels on both sides of the Atlantic to sell their fresh vinyl produce directly to the public at that traditional goods exchange – a market stall.
This year, Independent Label Market has partnered with East End Live festival, a new one-day London music event that is part of the East End Film Festival. It will be running from 5pm to 5am on Saturday the 13th of July and will see performances from Toy, Wet Nuns, Charles De Goal and many more.

Independent Label Market:


Independent Label Market is delighted to announce that for this year’s London market it will be partnering up with The Vinyl Factory to produce 10 super exclusive vinyl releases, only available for purchase at the market. All proceeds will go to Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.
The Vinyl Factory is an independent British label that brings together music and art across a range of collaborative projects, exhibitions, events and bespoke vinyl editions. In existence since 2001, The Vinyl Factory now encompasses gallery spaces in London, FACT magazine and Phonica records. They are teaming up with Independent Label Market this summer and will be pressing 50 copies of each exclusive track, all of which will be sold at the London event at Old Spitalfields Market on the 13th of July.

The records are pressed on 180gram vinyl, individually hand numbered, and presented in a screenprinted die-cut heavyweight disco sleeve. They will be sold for £10 and will be limited to only one copy per customer. All proceeds will go to Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal aims to provide shelter, food and water to those affected by the violent conflict in Syria. Oxfam aim to help 650,000 people in the coming months but they cannot do it alone. Donate to their Syria Crisis Appeal or sign their petition.
Calling for more aid and peace:


Fresh Touch - 'Latest Style' (Angular Records)
Beth Orton - 'Carmella (Four Tet remix)' (Heavenly)
Tim Burgess - 'The Doors Of Then (Factory Floor - Dominic Butler 'Michael Cliffe House remix')' (O Genesis)
Django Django (Liquid Liquid remix) (Because)
Loefah feat. Trigga - 'Western (Did A Skank)'  (Swamp 81)
Planningtorock - 'The One (Bolton remix)'  (Human Level)
The Wave Pictures - 'Lisbon' (Moshi Moshi)
Editors - 'Ton Of Love (Acoustic Version)' (Play It Again Sam)
Scott & Charlene's Wedding - 'No Fun' (Fire)
J£zus Million feat. Charlie XCX - 'Illusions Of' (Double Denim)

Independent Label Market will be hosting a live eBay auction in conjunction with Oxfam for a complete set of all 10 exclusive records. More news on this to follow...

The Vinyl Factory:

Monday, 8 July 2013

A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007. Saint Etienne in Rough Trade East, Brick Lane, E1 on Friday 12 July at 6.30pm. BFI’s DVD release on 15 July

What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? part of the London trilogy
Courtesy of BFI

When in the late 80’s New Romantic bands were still slightly breathing, Acid House exploded like a music atomic bomb. The band Saint Etienne formed at about that time and got signed to Heavenly early 90’s: an electro-indie-pop band who was chart regulars, gold discs, Mercury Music Prize nominated and had appeared several times @ TOTP. As a big fan of Brittany Etienne Daho, I also remember their 1995 collaborations as Saint Etienne Daho.
Saint Etienne trio (Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell) went on to record their album Finisterre in 2002 when they decided to make a film to go with it. They started their collaboration with ex-East Village guitarist Paul Kelly to document the ever-changing environment and landscapes of the capital: London.
A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007, bringing Finisterre, What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? and This is Tomorrow together on one DVD for the first time. The trilogy is accompanied by a selection of rare and previously unavailable short films. All released on BFI.

Finisterre (2003) opens on a misty landscape, drifts to Croydon train station and a view over London’s buildings. “London, the eternal magnet attracting our dreams”, narrated by Michael Jayston, is a homage to London featuring a host of well-known voices including Mark Perry (“you can go to a market, to a park, films, arts, music... people try to turn London into small villages... but we  live in a big city and we should use it...”) , Julian Opie (“London is a daunting city...  and after art college I didn’t know what to do physically with myself... squatting in Vauxhall I was asking London where I could live, not give me a job but give me a place where to live...”), Vic Godard and Lawrence who have immersed in the city, soundtracked by songs from the Saint Etienne album of the same name. 
Glimpses of Banksy’s artworks which some of them are no longer in-situ, music ad-posters: Divine Comedy @ Shepherd’s Bush, St Etienne @ RFH, Reading Festival with Pulp-Prodigy-Ash etc, V2002 with Travis-Chemical Brothers-Basement Jaxx-Primal Scream... and “Don’t attack Iraq” protest.

What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day? (2005) follows paperboy Mervyn Day on his round, tracing the fascinating hidden history of East London’s Lower Lea Valley in the years before it was redeveloped to become the Olympic Park. Guest voices include David Essex and Linda Robson.
The area was kept “secret” by its inhabitants who kept Thatcher and Blair at bay. Lea valley... Hackney Wick... the birth of the modern world: plastic and petrol were invented here. A thriving place beyond politics where people were left to their own devices and got on with their diverse communities. By 2005, the area was only scraps of the past. 20 minutes away from Oxford Street Station. “Pylons were everywhere like giant chess pieces marching across the landscape”. The Wild West became a place in need of regeneration... a sign: 2012 killing local business. Glimpses of Anish Kapoor sculpture here and there. It took seven years to eradicate the complexity of the ecosystem that was built over hundred years ago. “Spaces sometimes lie” as Henri Lefebvre put it... architecture always tend towards masking the past... that’s why people build monuments...

This is Tomorrow (2007) was commissioned by the Royal Festival Hall to mark its renovation and grand reopening, lovingly records the immense labour and attention to detail that went into the refurbishment of one of London’s most distinguished concert venues... and its counterpart The Other South Bank, the slaggy island. A place where it looks like the war ended yesterday, but a place where nobody feels alone even though half its population left. 20 years ago, people were saying they would celebrate Thatcher’s death... and they just had a massive street party...

The additional short films are: Today’s Special (2004): three shorts about London’s disappearing cafés: Tea Rooms, Eldon Street and New Piccadilly. All located in centre London back in the 50’s-60’s, the shorts document the process of their disappearance between 2004 and 2007. The 61 year old owner of New Piccadilly, who was seven when his parents opened the place, remembers the lemon yellow chairs in the cafe. It was a colour brought by the Festival of Britain in 1951 when the country still suffered the effects of WW2. It brightened the place, people's life.

The DVD also includes Banksy inLondon (2003): outtakes from Finisterre documenting the artist’s work, some of which is no longer in situ; Monty the Lamb (2006): a day in the life of Monty, mascot for North London’s Hendon FC; Seven Summers (2012): Sarah Cracknell narrates this follow up to What Have You Done Today Mervyn Day?, and The Other South Bank(2008): a look at Teeside’s South Bank.
Also included in a 32-page illustrated booklet with an introduction by Paul Kelly and new essays by Bob Stanley, Sukhdev Sandhu, Owen Hatherley and Tom Dyckhoff.

Juxtaposed to London Nobody Knows, London, Robinson in Space and a few other documentaries on London, A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007 has not only its place among precious documentaries about London, but will also without any doubt age well. A point of reference to future generations. A point of reflection to us today. 

The DVD will be a launched with a BFI & Caught by the River screening event and Q&A attended by the band, at Rough Trade East, Brick Lane, E1 on Friday 12 July at 6.30pm which is free and open to all. More details here:

On 15 July the BFI will release A London Trilogy: The Films of Saint Etienne 2003-2007

Friday, 5 July 2013

Anne Pigalle. Madame Sex...

Anne Pigalle. Madame Sex. Album out now

[Edited: The snake tongue Anne Pigalle, poor woman!] 

Someone came up to me in a Kentish Town hairdresser-cabaret-like-gallery and asked me if I knew Anne Pigalle. “Anne Pigalle the chanteuse?” I ventured. That must have been 2002. There she was standing before me. The icon of the 80’s underground scene. The first muse of Mario Testino. The Nick Knight’s ID front cover. The “David Lynch” (before David Lynch) red curtain’s Hé Stranger. The first French chanteuse (and the only one so far) to be signed on a British record label: ZTT. On the label, she was rubbing shoulders with Art of Noise, Propaganda, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and so on. That’s for the glam. Behind the curtains, the artists did not really know how many albums they sold...
A few months after meeting Anne, she invited me for a Sunday lunch in her Hackney flat she shared with a boyfriend. The bruised relationship "helped" Anne into creating music, painting, performing her cabaret’s songs around London and showed me her new works. It was a time when the music business was on the verge of collapsing and she was to live at a friend's place for a while.
After a long absence/silence from me, Anne et moi met in a Camden pub last week. She has released an album in February, Madame Sex. She is on a DIY basis. She paints each cover of Madame Sex’s album which is a collector and a collection of 11 chansons, poèmes amérotiques and original art.
Before talking about the album, I wanted to know about how it started, the music, London, how did she managed to sing mainly in French and get signed on ZTT? “When I was 15, I played in girls Punk bands in Montmartre, Paris. Then, I spent a lot of time in London. Squatted around Clissold Park. At the time, Stokey was really dodgy. I was very friends with all the Punks bands in London, especially Mick Jones of The Clash. My boyfriend worked for McLaren. Then I met Trevor Horn and he signed me. His label was a niche for one specific genre: French cabaret with me, electronic with Art of Noise, gay boys’ band with FGTH, etc.”
Anne toured all around the world with the only ZTT record she produced and went to LA for a film project in 1990. She stayed there for seven years in a bohemian hotel downtown, driving a 1970’s car, meeting lots of artists and even had a fling with Johnny Depp. These were her best years.
In her return in London, she continued to create music, perform and paint. Those years were still great in the music industry. Artists were still making money selling CDs and managed to gig around and abroad. When it started to collapse in the 00 years, the whole business had to be re-thought.
Now, you constantly have to find alternative solutions. You can’t just be a musician, you need to be multi-talented. I dropped painting when I was doing music because it occupied my time. I am back to it and that’s how I produce my CDs today. Before, a musician could live on its CDs sales. Performing was almost secondary. Today, an artist has to perform to make money. It is harder nowadays because you really have to think constantly how to market yourself, how to promote yourself via social network, friends, etc. Then, you have artists like Lady Gaga who helps herself with others’ ideas. If you take ideas from a dead artist, you are not really shadowing his-her art, but someone who is alive and struggling... it is disgraceful. This is a copy-paste culture. Some artists can be the extreme of n’importe quoi and the problem is that there is a demand for it!”
Even though times are tougher for Anne Pigalle, she is happy to live the life she has chosen and being in control of her work. She has less money but she is freer. And she lives in London after all; a city that still produces good art and is still on the edge. She continues to renew herself and has explored the experimental sounds deeper for her latest album with a high note on sex and tone of érotisme. And of course, she is still a provocatrice.
What’s your favourite place in London? – Soho. Because it reminds me of Paris, because I lived there for years and it is also in Soho that I got my first job before signing on ZTT. I worked in the French House. I go there, not often though but there is still a decadent Soho.
She shares a place with a nice guy now and they are concocting the next album. Watch her space...