Thursday, 17 April 2014

BROOKLYN: THRIFT SHOPPING AND TACO TRUCKS





We got back from our US mini tour last night, so I'm writing this in a grog-tastic jetlagged state.  Please forgive any spelling mistakes, I'm sure I will make laods. 

Over the past two weeks we have played shows in LA, Washington DC, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and they were all great - thank you so much if you came to see us, we love the US and are already looking forward to our next trip.  (How's next week for you guys? )

Around the shows we spent a lot of time checking out the areas where we were staying, and when it comes to Brooklyn that means getting to go thrift shopping.  There are so many amazing vintage and charity shops in Williamsburg and the surrounding areas but I will always have a soft spot for Beacon's Closet.  I first went there almost ten years ago when there wasn't much in Williamsburg other than a few coffee shops, a great Thai restaurant, and this bad-ass haven of second hand clothes.  Nowadays Beacon's Closet has a lot of competition and I'm sure there are far better vintage emporiums to be found, but to me it's Old Faithful.  I never fail to find a drool-worthy bargain amongst the rails of clothes, and this trip was no exception - check out the Anna Sui and Michael Kors shoes just hanging out on the shelves, gathering dust.  This time I couldn't buy much as our suitcases were already bursting with M&M's and root beer, but that didn't stop me bringing my huge Made In Hell-A bag just in case I needed to fill it up.  

Made in Hell-A are an awesome little label from LA who make T-shirts, jumpers, caps and bags that poke fun at designers with supremely punny slogans, like 'Praduh' and 'Donezo'.  I'm going to do a proper piece on them soon, I'm a big fan.

Other stuff Brooklyn does really well are murals and tacos.  To be fair, LA is also chock-full of wall paintings, and they're not too shabby when it comes to Mexican trucks either, but Jeremy insisted his lunch from Tacos Morelos on North 7th and Bedford was one of the best ever, and I refuse to argue with that man (apart from over who gets to eat the last peanut butter M&M). 







BEYOND CLUELESS PREMIERE AND LIVE SCORE



Very happy to announce that we will be doing our live score for 'Beyond Clueless' in Sheffield on the 10th of June at 6pm in the Crucible Theatre.  It will be part of Doc/Fest, which is Britain's biggest documentary festival, and we're all extremely excited.

If you want to come and watch there are tickets for sale on the film's website.  Charlie, the film's director, did a great interview with The Cut, which also happens to be one of my favourite magazines.

And finally here is a picture of the film's narrator, Fairuza Balk, posing with a poster from the film designed by the dreamy Hattie Stewart.  I made the image as big as possible as you can never get enough Nancy.


Saturday, 12 April 2014

VENICE BEACH









We've been in Callifornia the last couple of weeks having amazing family times and soaking up the sunshine. Although I got heat rash because apparently I'm so pale I'm actually allergic to that yellow ball of fire in the sky.  One day last week we spent some time in Venice Beach, LA, a mixture of beautiful and unusual houses on the canals (see below) and medicinal marijuana shops and dreadlocks on the boardwalk.  There are also a lot of murals.  I like murals.




I was pretty chuffed when Jeremy spotted a The Craft-esque shop on Abbot Kinney - a beautiful street packed with lots of shops selling gorgeous furniture and clothes.  The sign outside offered the chance to build a celebrity brand FOR FREE!  And inside there were loads of helpful books with information about local ghosts, and how to harness the spiritual power contained within your child.  






For lunch I went to Poke-Poke a little hole in the wall near the boardwalk.  They sell big chunks of raw tuna marinated in sesame oil and shoyu, and laid on brown rice.  It was amazing.  Jeremy got a sandwich from GTA, the takeaway bit of Gjelina.  This place was so good.  Look at those brownies and cookies, and what is a Berry Buckle?!  It looks wonderful. 






I was wearing my checked trousers from Missguided, which are my current favourites, and a crop from Mango, and I love this ASOS white book bag.  Oh and I was covered with factor 50 suncream.  #AlwaysPale.  We're playing in Brooklyn tonight, come on down!



Sunday, 6 April 2014

NAIL FILE: G-WRAP GOLD NAIL WRAPS





I like these ones.  They're a bit leopard print, a bit gold.  Hey, there's a lot going on.  I'm not one hundred percent sure about the Scary Spice Stance (TM) I'm doing in the photo, but sometimes life is about taking risks, and what better way to challenge yourself than by putting a weird picture of yourself on the internet?  I've finally worked out how to keep nail wraps on for about ten days without them killing my nails - moisturise.  And wipe away the glue properly with nail varnish remover after the uber-satisifying act of peeling off the foil.  It reminds me of covering my hands with glue in art class as a kid just so I could peel it off in one big glossy piece, such good times.  

15 leopard print thumbs up. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

MAPPING THE MUSIC AND STYLE IN 'EMPIRE RECORDS'


I originally wrote this for Noisey, but am posting here as I like the feeling of having everything in it's right place.  I'm a control freak and I'm proud of it. 
In the days before the internet, before streaming and Spotify and Soundcloud, the coolest place in the world was the independent record shop. Rows and rows of shiny LPs, sparkling crystal CD cases, plus members of staff to big style crush on. Saturdays were spent shuffling slowly around the linoleum, thumbing through album after album, the slender wad of bills growing increasingly damp in your sweaty hand. If you were in a band you would go to the record shop to listen to other bands for free, sharing headphones with the rest of the teenagers in your area. If you weren't in a band you'd go there to dream about what it would be like to be in a band, or just peacock your carefully put together outfit which indicated whatever musical tribe you belonged to. 
But back to the staff. You had to be a very special kind of person to work in a record store. Maybe you were the guy who knew everything about every band ever, key example—Jack Black in High Fidelity. You would find it a personal insult if someone didn't own Blonde On Blonde, you relished the opportunity to correct someone when they quoted a lyric wrong or messed up release dates for the third EP by Your Favorite Band. Possibly you were just someone who loved music. You couldn't get enough, your enthusiasm knew no bounds. Everything about it excited you, you wanted to be a part of it in any way—even just standing next to a Gin Blossoms vinyl made you feel alive and purposeful. Or perhaps you were like Gina and Corey in Empire Records. Yes, you're really into bands, yeah you like being in that world, but mostly you're just there because you know it's seriously fun to work in a place where you can listen to music all day and there are loads of angsty babes strolling around.
When Empire Records was released in 1995 it gave suburban lame-os like me the chance to see what it would actually be like to work in a record shop (I gave my resumé to loads of places when I was a teen but they never gave me a job. Boohoo). It was pure grunge glamor, there was misunderstandings and miscommunications, but also kilts and hash brownies. And the soundtrack—woah boy—the soundtrack. I was introduced to so many bands thanks to Empire Records. Bands whose albums I bought, but then probably only listened to the one song I knew from movie. I'm happy to say it's a film that stands up to repeat viewing almost twenty years later, especially since—did you get the memo?—90s style in music and fashion is back. Still. Majorly. Anyway, let's jump in. Mandatory listening while reading below. 

Monday, 31 March 2014

STYLE DISSECTION: PRETTY IN PINK





I've always been pretty open about my love of John Hughes - we were inspired to set our first album in a fictional town we called Condale by the fact Hughes based all his films in the fictional town of Shermer Illinois - and there are references to his movies in a lot of our songs.  He was an awesome man.  HOWEVER, as much as I love Pretty In Pink, I have a few issues with it.  Well, actually, one major issue.  Blaine.  

If you haven't seen Pretty In Pink and are planning to then please don't read the rest of this blog.  Everyone else, hi, nice to have you here. 

OK so Pretty In Pink is the Cinderella story of Andie Walsh, a poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks (literally, there are train tracks at the opening of the film and Andie's house is right next to them).  This wonderful girl who only wears pink SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE over the course of the film inexplicably - in my opinion - falls for Blaine McDonough, a spineless beige normcore yuppie.  

In case you're not getting it yet, I really don't like Blaine.  

I would much rather Andie ended up with either Duckie - her hilarious if slightly needy best friend, played by Jon Cryer, or Steff, Blaine's best friend who has secretly been trying to get with Andie for years without Blaine's knowledge.  Steff is played brilliantly by James Spader, one of my favourite actors.  In the film he manages to play a horrible bigoted creep that I still sort of want to get the girl.  

Anyway, I'm now going to argue these points further using the wardrobe of the characters. 

This is Andie. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

RECIPE: SAUSAGE AND FENNEL LENTIL STEW





This is my first savoury recipe for the blog because - apparently - you cannot live on cake and crumble alone.  I only started cooking with fennel recently, and I feel like my life up to this point has been wasted - it's so peppery and fresh.  Somehow the fennel, along with the the stock, carrots and garlic, turn the lentils into a creamy salty-sweet stew which I can't get enough of.  While this isn't the most beautiful of meals, it's delicious and feels really wholesome and...kind of 70's.  It's also a great recipe for just bunging in any vegetables that you need to use up - in my case a couple of cherry tomatoes. Also, turning sausages into meatballs is something of a revelation for me. I'm surprised it isn't on the news more. 

Here's the recipe. It serves 4: