Tuesday, 31 December 2013

FILMS FILMS FILMS: JANUARY 2014


My favourite pursuit, besides eating and sleeping, is going to to the cinema.  I can't get enough of it; I would happily go every day.  I frequently go twice a day.  That sounds obsessive, but it's a loving relationship, I promise.  YOU DON'T KNOW, YOU WEREN'T THERE.

Anyway, there are often so many films I want to see it gets hard to keep track so I'm going to start doing regular posts about upcoming releases.  Mainly for myself, but some of you might be interested too.  Think of this as a To Do List with benefits.

Monday, 30 December 2013

STYLE DISSECTION: MY SO-CALLED LIFE




My So-Called Life, the 90's TV series starring an insanely young Claire Danes, was emotional nourishment for my pre-teen soul.  There was only ever one season, but it remains one of the most perfect and timeless representations of how hard it is to morph into an adult.  I re-watch it every couple of years and I'm always stunned by how smart, funny and moving it is.  If you've not seen it, it's available on Amazon - and lots of other places too I imagine.

Growing up I knew I was Angela Chase (Claire Danes' character), but deep down I longed to be her best friend, the wayward Rayanne Graff.  She was so completely out of  control, and hilarious with it.  Still, both were pretty aspirational, especially in terms of their outfits.  Over Christmas I went through the series picking some of my favourite Graff and Chase looks.  Oh, and of course Ricky (their other best friend) has a couple of outfits in the mix too.  That boy was like a more vulnerable, less-prone-to-lip-synching Duckie (from Pretty In Pink).  I also had a go at recreating my own Angela outfits which I will post later in the week, hopefully with suitable angst and Jordan Catalano longing on show.  I'm not going to tell you about Jordan, if you're not aware of him already then that's a journey you need to make for yourself.

Since My So-Called Life was classic 90's television, there are mountains of plaid on display.  Plaid, layered on to denim, with plaid draped on top.  (I'm calling it plaid instead of tartan because I want to be consitent and respectful when discussing the importance of check shirts in this perfect little corner of American culture).  But yes, these ladies both share a deep passion for soft plaid fabrics.  Rayanne even has a maxi shirt...

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

RADIO I LOVE: 'SHORT CUTS'


Christmas is the perfect time to do so many things - eat, sleep, argue with loved ones - but it's also the ideal time to catch up on TV & radio you've missed over the year.  One of the things I will be catching up on is the Radio 4 documentary series Short Cuts.

This series, which finished its third season in October (I like saying "season" as if it's an American sitcom) is brilliant.  It's funny, moving and often utterly surreal.  Each episode has one overarching idea or theme, such as communication or growing up, and within that are lots of mini documentaries on the same subject.  The result is 30 minutes of blissful listening, but that isn't to say the audience isn't challenged; I've heard so many ERR WHAT?! stories from the programme.  For instance, did you know that exam invigilators often play games to pass the time while they're watching over students?  One particularly mean game involves taking turns standing next to the pupil they're most convinced will fail.

I particularly enjoyed the absolute horror/amusement in presenter Josie Long's voice after hearing that particular revelation.  Josie is the perfect presenter: she shares her own experiences alongside those from the mini documentaries, which are always delightful and often quite personal.  Plus, you know, she's hilarious.

Sometimes audio clips are combined with beautiful animations online - for instance this story of a man who survived being eaten by a whale.

Anyway, you can download all the episodes as podcasts on iTunes.  I recommend them highly, especially when accompanied by a chocolate orange and the echoes of post-sibling-fight-rage.

Have a WONDERFUL Christmas. xxx

Thursday, 19 December 2013

MY TEN FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONGS



Tonight we're playing a Christmas show at New Slang in Kingston. Feel free to come on down - it's not that far from London, I promise.  We're going to be doing some of our songs mixed in with some festive classics, so with that in mind here are, in no particular order, my top ten Christmas songs. 

Monday, 16 December 2013

TOP FIVE CHRISTMAS FILMS


After a month on tour I woke up this morning in my own bed, London grey and gloomy, hanging around outside the window like a miserable teenager, and a mountain of dirty washing on my floor.  It's good to be home.  (Although, if someone wanted to come over and make mince pies for me, I would be eternally grateful.)

Today I plan on doing little more than sleeping and intermittently waking up to either eat something delicious or pop on another Christmas film.  And when I do, it will be one of these five below.

Friday, 13 December 2013

12 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS


IT'S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAASSSS *Noddy Holder voice*.  I've compiled some possible Christmas present ideas below for gifts for your friends, sisters, heck even brothers.  Or of course also yourself.  

Thursday, 12 December 2013

MAYBELLINE 24 HOUR LIPS




I mean, I'm not really sure why you'd want your lipstick to stay on for 24 hours, but maybe that's because I've been on tour for a month and the idea of having a day sleeping in my own bed and not having to apply makeup seems like the stuff dreams are made of.

That said, this lipstick by Maybelline has been wonderful for the past four weeks.  And as I get closer to going home (only three shows left) I want to say thank you to it.  Thank you for not coming off when I hit my mouth on the mic in Amsterdam.  Thank you for staying put through that amazing burger in Brighton.  I appreciate the support you gave me at the Botanique in Brussels when my lips were getting dryer than Death Valley.

Monday, 9 December 2013

WHAM! IT'S OUR 'LAST CHRISTMAS' COVER!


Hey!  We recorded a cover of 'Last Christmas' by Wham! It's one of my favourite Christmas songs, and videos.  Oh my goodness, the hair.  It was an utter joy to do.

You can hear it below xxx

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

BEHOLD: JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE THROUGH THE YEARS

Justin timberlake cornrows

I wrote this for Noisey, but thought I'd stick it on here.  So many of Justin's old outfits are actually an amazing nostalgia trip.  Love this guy. 
If you started your career with a bunch of other guys, singing while standing—or perching on a stool, before rising up for the key change—the odds of one day gaining musical credibility are stacked against you. You're the butt of so many jokes, and your dubious, yet arguably on-trend stage garb and frosted gelled tips in those early years becomes one extra hurdle you have to leap over. But I love that we live in a world where artists can transition almost to the point where, when you see pictures of *NSYNC-Justin you can hardly believe he's the same person. But the incredible man we now love for killing it not once, but four times performing the History of Rap with Jimmy Fallon (just watched it again—goosebumps of greatness), was the kid who went onTRLwearing a sweatband and nylon jacket. We would be doing the slick Justin of today a disservice not to celebrate every part of who he is and has been. This is Justin, and if we're going to do this, we need to start from the very beginning. So let’s begin with Star Search in 1993, where 11-year-old Justin Randall marched on stage in a huge cowboy hat. I will dream of this shirt for years to come.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

STYLE DISSECTION: CLUELESS

clueless
I originally wrote this for Noisey but I wanted to post it here as the style chops of Cher, Dionne, and maybe even Amber, have given me oodles of 90's fashion inspirations.   
Clueless is not just a movie. It’s a guide to life. It teaches you that it was “That Polonius guy” not Hamlet who said, “To thine own self be true.” But you knew that already—you remember Mel Gibson correctly. Over the eighteen (gulp) years since its release it has introduced us to so many things. And done it with fur-trimmed plaid panache. When I watched it for the first time as a wide-eyed preteen, I fell head first in love with everything about it. Including the soundtrack, this was, after all, the first time I heard Radiohead.
clueless alicia silverstone
I revisited the film a couple of weeks ago and was struck, by the BITCHIN' outfits—versions of which you can pick up right now because 1995 is currently hemorrhaging all over Urban Outfitters—but I was also freshly impressed by its score. In 2013 we're used to teen films doubling up as both entertainment and a musical education, but Clueless was totally ahead of the curve. So let's take some time to give it some snaps.  It will be way decent of you.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

DAY OFF WITH POSY SIMMONDS


We have a day off tour today and are back in London until Friday, when we head to Europe. I'm spending my afternoon with Posy Simmonds and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. I got into Posy's books a couple of years ago when I first read 'Tamara Drewe', and have been a big fan ever since.

I love it when writers take classic stories and give them a re-think for the modern age. 'Tamara Drewe' is loosely based on 'Far From The Madding Crowd', while 'Gemma Bovery' is, of course, a big fat nod to 'Madame Bovary'. In 2010 'Tamara Drewe' was made into a film starring Gemma Arterton, Tamsin Grieg and one of my favourite actors, Roger Allam, and it's a pretty faithful adaptation. The book is perfection as graphic novels go, and Posy really crams a lot into her pages. There is so much text to sink your teeth into. And she has a great sense of humour, I love her satirisation of a weekly gossip mag in 'Tamara Drewe', seen below.

Friday, 22 November 2013

SOMEWHERE I LOVE: THE DEAF INSTITUTE MANCHESTER



On Monday we got to play at one of my favourite venues, The Deaf Institute in Manchester. Every time we have a show there I always look forward to it, and not only because I got see one of my best buds Natalie. The building is beautiful, the stage is a dream to play on, the staff are lovely, and the food is the toppest of the notchest. But first, just look at this décor.  

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

STYLE DISSECTION: SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH

I wrote this for HelloGiggles a while back, but I want to have it on here, as there's so much style inspiration.  It's magic!

Apparently a re-boot of the much-loved Archie spin-off, ”Sabrina The Teenage Witch”, is happening. In the re-boot though, she’s a superhero, instead of just a teenage girl with magical powers. I know which one I’d rather be.*
*Witch, obviously.



Anyway, I recently got my grubby hands on the original movie of ”Sabrina The Teenage Witch”, which went on to spawn  the TV show. I was overjoyed to see it was as fantastic as I remember. Plus, now fashion has rolled back round to the 90′s (hello No Doubt reunion), I still covet most of the clothes. I imagine it’s pretty hard to get hold of this on DVD so I decided to do a re-cap for you. 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT STYLE FROM AEROSMITH'S 'CRAZY'



Imagine your dad is a rock star. And not a modern day rock star, an old-school, fur-wearing, long-haired man-child. The kind of guy who wears leather trousers to church. The kind of guy who only goes to church so he can make out with his girlfriend in a wooden pew so he can then write a song about it called, “Makin' Love in Front of Jesus.” It would be pretty cool, right? You could borrow his clothes. Your friends would love him. He'd probably serve up lots of deeply resonant life lessons over three fingers of malt whiskey. When you were thirteen.
Well, Liv Tyler has that dad. And in 1994 Liv appeared alongside the official “Aerosmith Chick,” Alicia Silverstone, in her dad's band’s video for “Crazy.” The legend goes that the director of the video wanted to cast 17-year-old Liv after seeing her in a hair commercial, having no idea of the family connection. Random.  The result is utterly wonderful, and very stylistically inspiring.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

BEYONCÉ: FROM TRAGIQUE TO TRÈS CHIC



We can split the fashion of Beyoncé Knowles into two eras. Pre-and post-2004. I'm not sure what happened in 2005 to make her dress sense evolve beyond knee-high pointy boots and angular, tummy-exposing denim, but I'm going to try and work it out. Here's Beyoncé before fame (front, second left). The girl next to her has a look on her face that screams, "OH MY GOD I'M STANDING NEXT TO BEYONCÉ."  Even though Beyoncé wasn't Beyoncé yet.  She was just Beyoncé… oh, forget it. Shout out to Kelly Rowland peeking over Bey's shoulder.  
What's that? You want to see a video of Beyoncé singing in her first girl band Girls Tyme? Okay. Let's watch that, then I will take you through her style evolution.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

WHY DON'T YOU CURL UP AND DRY




After many years of straightening my hair, a couple of years ago, I stopped. I won't lie—it was a difficult adjustment. Naturally curly hair is harder to manage and there is no set way of dealing with it. Everyone's texture is completely different, and your tresses are at the whim of humidity, climate, and fairies, so it's not surprising that so many women with curly hair choose to straighten, because at least then you can rely on it looking the same every day.

But for many naturally curly-haired women who refuse the use of an iron, styling their curls becomes a very serious business. There are many websites dedicated to discussions on which kind of curly hair you have. Lock-types are divided into numbers. “Am I a 3a or a 3b?” women scream hysterically on forums. “Who is doing no-poo!?” they yell. (No-poo is the method of washing your hair solely with conditioner, i.e. no shampoo. I'm an advocate.)


Thursday, 26 September 2013

THAT TIME I INTERVIEWED CAREY MULLIGAN


A couple of months ago I interviewed Carey Mulligan for an American magazine called 'Flaunt'.  She was really awesome.  Nice, funny and kind.  Anyway, here is the piece, which I wrote as a fictional diary because I'm weird.

Flaunt is a brilliant magazine, I recommend it highly.
The copy is below, along with PDF's of the original piece.  Click on the pictures to see them big.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

STYLE DISSECTION: TWIN PEAKS



After writing about Kat's style in 10 Things I Hate About You my friend Rory introduced me to this Twin Peaks tumblr. Suddenly I was in love with the 90's again, in particular the look of Shelley Johnson, the long-suffering waitress.  Hopefully the following photos will explain why she's so dope.


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

WE FINISHED OUR SECOND ALBUM THIS WEEK


It's official.  Our album is finished.  The masters have been signed off, the B-sides have been mixed.  It's on.  Now we're doing the artwork, and, well, waiting.  There is always a waiting period of a couple of months after you finish an album while the people who have the proper jobs, which they're really good at, do their work.

And that means we have ample opportunity to think back over the past year of writing and think about everything.  And worry that in that year we didn't do enough to make the best album we possibly could have.  Here are some of the key moments from that writing period that I want to share.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Thursday, 18 April 2013

MOZZA BUTTERSCOTCH BUDINO RECIPE


I was in California over Christmas and while there we went to a restaurant called Mozza, which is allegedly the best eatery in Orange County.  They do pizzas.  I had an all white pizza.  I am one of those weird people who likes all white pizzas.  Or margheritas with extra cheese.  I'm not bothered about a cheese board, but stick the stuff on some carb, melt it, and dust it with salt?  Hi, here is all of my money.

But my heart will always flutter the most for the dessert menu...


Monday, 8 April 2013

YOU'VE GOT OLD MAIL


The problem with basing a film around technology is that technology evolves at a very fast pace.  So it might not take long  for your film to look dated.  Wow, that is possibly the most obvious statement I've ever written.  But still, I feel like you need an example.  So here is one.  'You've Got Mail' starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks came out in 1998.  (Other films that came out that year are 'Can't Hardly Wait', 'The Big Lebowski' and 'The Faculty', none of which relied so strongly on technology and none of which have dated as much as YGM).

For example...

Thursday, 28 March 2013

STYLE DISSECTION: BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER


Jeremy and I are currently re-watching 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'.  We started at Season 4 because our friend Ellie said that was where it got good (if you want to dispute that, she is the woman to troll).  Season 4 is also when Tara is introduced to the story.  Amber Benson is insanely rad, as of course is Alyson Hannigan.  And I love Tara and Willow, they're an amazing couple.  So what I am about to say is not meant as an insult towards the actors or the characters they play...

BUT HOLY HELL WHAT TERRIBLE OUTFITS.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

BABY GOSLING

Here is a video of a young Ryan Gosling showing a camera crew around his hometown.  That is all.

PINK



So a couple of months ago I did some writing for this new American site called The Talkhouse.  It launched this week, and is looking preeeeetty preeeetty preeeeeeeetty good.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

SWEET VALLEY, I DIE



This blew my mind this week, an essay by one of the ghost writers of the Sweet Valley High series.  This woman penned my pre-teen dreams.  


Thursday, 21 February 2013

HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPS


I am so crazy about the combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  It's the mixture of salt and sweet, I yell, drooling as I rip open another bag of M&M's.  Well, I figured out how to make peanut butter cups for myself, and it's actually suprisingly easy CONSIDERING THEY TASTE LIKE HEAVEN. 

Let's do this.

Monday, 4 February 2013

STYLE DISSECTION: 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU



I'm not sure when 90's fashion became suitable for a revival, it was probably more a slow trickle than a flood.  Boy London is once more was iconic, and I want to wear my hair curly to emulate Darlene from Roseanne.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

THIS TAKE THAT DOCUMENTARY IS FANTASTIC




I love a good comeback.  As in a person bouncing back from something to the spotlight, not that spirit of the stairs stuff.  I love it when someone is riddled with problems, or becomes a laughing stock, or has a terrible stylist, and you write them off, but then BAM here they are five years later and suddenly they seem really down to earth and appealing.

But my absolute favourite comeback has to be that of Gary Barlow.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

TELEMAN


This song is marvellous.  I heard it once on 6 Music, then a month later heard it again and knew all the words.  Surely the sign of something brilliant?