Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Disenchanted World of Pascal Bernier

As most of you know I'm a massive lover of art and I've just discovered a wonderful artist thanks to the Saatchi online gallery, a site I often visit. My artist of the moment is Pascal Bernier. This Belgium born and based artist is both a sculptor and writer. Most of his work plays with the ongoing theme of human and animal relationships and is a social commentary about game hunting and what becomes of the animal’s body after it is killed. Bernier uses and manipulates different representations of animals to take a light-hearted and detached look at social behavior. I have many favorite pieces in his collection and am slightly obsessed with his Tableau de Chasse 1 (above), a deer in make-up and a wig. His work Bad Brain (above right), a skull with life like eyes and covered in colorful confetti, is also some what captivating, if not creepy. If you want to see more of Pascal's work check out the links below.

Pascal Bernier Website -
The Saatchi Gallery Online -

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Here's Grace!

My prayers have been answered. Finally! The worst horror film of all time is getting a DVD release here in the UK. Vamp is finally about to see the light of day. Released in theaters way back in 1986, Vamp quickly evaporated after appearing briefly on VHS tape. The demise of VHS and Vamp's notoriety as one of the worst Horror films ever made left it without any distribution when DVD came into popularity. Thanks to Arrow Films that's all about to change. So what if Vamp is really, really, REALLY bad. It's so bad it's wonderful! It stars Grace Jones . . . and any film with Grace automatically goes up in my estimation, A View To A Kill for example. So what's Vamp about? Vampires of course. A group of college boys visit a downtown nightclub, unaware it's run by flesh eating vampires. They soon find themselves fighting for their survival and battling Katrina (Jones) a fierce Queen Vampire and the clubs provocative hostess. All they need to do is survive until the sun comes up, like all teens battling vampires. Interestingly, Grace had long time friend and popular artist Keith Haring (Above right) provide many of her costumes, including, painting her body with his trademark Aboriginal influenced graffiti art - for what has to be the most jaw dropping, laugh out loud, interpretive dance number ever choreographed, possibly by Paula Abdul. Grace Jones in a bright red wig wearing nothing but body paint, wiggling around on a huge white plastic hand! Surly that's enough to make you want to get a copy of Vamp when it's released this winter on DVD, NO?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Women I Admire - Aung San Suu Kyi

"Human beings the world over need freedom and security that they may be able to realize their full potential"
Aung San Suu Kyi

There are many women I admire and Aung San Suu Kyi is one of them. She has become an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression and I have followed her teachings, work and progress for many years now. Aung San Suu Kyi is a pro-democracy campaigner and leader of the opposition National League for Democracy party in Burma. She has spent more than 12 years in some form of detention under Burma's military regime and at 65 years of age she still represents their best and perhaps only hope that one day there will be an end to the country's military repression. In 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring democracy to Burma. There really is so much to love about Aung San Suu Kyi, a woman who has devoted her entire life to fighting for the democracy of others. I thought it was befitting to celebrate her here on my Blog as well. I only hope she is one day able to see her dreams for Burma and democracy world wide, come true.

Burma Campaign Website -

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Best Worst LP Covers!

There have been some truly shocking LP covers produced back in the days of vinyl. I found these gems while looking at another blog dedicated to the truly worst album covers ever made. My three favorites, the LP covers that shocked or made me laugh the most. There's the down right camp, heavy metal band ManOwar's "Antholgy". Sporting mullets, clenched fists and moody pouts this quartet apparently had such hits as "All Men Play On 10" (I'm guessing that's NOT inches) and "Metal Warriors". Sadly, ManOwar didn't make caveman leatherwear fashionable. The scariest LP cover award would have to go to Heino's "Liebe Mutter" which translates to "Dear Mother" (for those of you that don't speak German). Had Hitler succeeded in winning the war and creating his pure aryan race, then Heino and his nightmare inducing face, creepy glasses and bouquet of red roses, would have been the model from which the master race would have been created from. Finally! What can I say about The Faith Tones? Well, this LP cover just makes me laugh . . . out loud. The Irony in it all. These three bouffant beauties would have a hard time getting a convicted rapist to use them, let alone Jesus (That's him on the cross and NOT Madonna's Brazilian lover). What are your thoughts on these LP covers?

Friday, 23 July 2010

Madonna Revisited

There are some magazine covers and spreads you just have to look at over and over again, and Madonna's 1991 shoot for Vanity Fair is one of them. Photographed by long time collaborator Steven (Like A Virgin album Cover) Meisel, Madonna was now in the Vogue phase of her career, a look that suited her well. She was OH SO incredibly breathtaking channeling Marilyn Monroe with her bleached blonde bob and fur stole, a look we first got a glimpse of in her Material Girl music video. Why this cover worked so well, was down to both Madonna's understanding and passion for Hollywood glamour from the silver screen. Meisel was the man with the camera who could put Madonna in this setting, the translator of it all. With Vanity Fair, both photographer and muse produced something utterly captivating and everlasting. I never tire of looking at Madonna's 1991 Vanity Fair issue. It really is a collectors edition for so many reasons, but ultimately, it's the woman herself we are drawn to. I think I have many Madonna issues of Vanity Fair tucked away safely somewhere. I think it's about time I get them out, as it's nice to look back at beautiful things from the past.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Three's Company I ♥ You!

Who here remembers the brilliant American sitcom Three's Company? It aired from 1977 to 1984 and was a remake of the British sitcom Man About The House, It was hugely successful, more so than the original British version. In fact it was a massive show back in the day and still remains incredibly popular on major networks in North America as re-runs. BOY! do I miss it. I absolutely loved Three's Company. People think of Friends as the ultimate sitcom about flat sharing when in fact Three's Company arrived long before and satires roommates so much better . . . and way funnier. Three's Company revolved around the lives of THE best housemates EVER. There was Janet Wood (Joyce DeWitt) the uptight brunette, Chrissy Snow (Suzanne Summers) the ditzy blonde bimbo and the infamous Jack Tripper (the sadly deceased John Ritter) the womanizing chef. Each episode followed the now legendary trio as they struggled to keep up with the rent. Wild escapades, hijinks and the trio's constant misunderstandings (usually of a sexual nature) provided us with some of the most memorable comical moments in American television. Three's Company remains a rather special show in American television history and I'm gutted we can't get it here in the UK in re-runs or on DVD for that matter. Mind you, after a few glasses of wine and my credit card by my computer, I tend to get sentimental about such things and end up buying the lot on Amazon and eBay. I did find this wonderful fan website should you want to stroll down memory lane, or learn more about this fantastic American sitcom.

Three's Company Fan Page -

Monday, 19 July 2010

What Does My CD/DVD Collection Say About Me?

They say you can tell a lot about a person by their collection of CD's and DVD's. What do you think mine says, or should I say SCREAMS? Don't you just love riffling through friends collections to see their personal tastes for music and film. I do! However, we all hide our poor tastes away. Well those of us with pride do. I find it's best to keep the really embarrassing stuff (in my case the entire STEPS singles collection) boxed up and hidden away in the attic. Sorry I'm afraid I don't have any snaps (proof) for you all to see. But you can enjoy a small part of my collection above.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Chantal Biya . . . The First Lady of Drag!

. . . and my second favorite first lady after Michelle Obama is ? ? ? . . . Chantal Biya! Other wise know as the first lady of Cameroon. Although, 'THE First Lady of Drag' is probably a more befitting title for Mrs Biya and her crazy-ass fuckin' hair - either the work of a creative genius or one SADISTIC hair dresser. Regardless, I'm currently loving Chantel and her clothing of many colors, fiesta fashion. I mean what's not to love about Chantal? She's always smiling through poorly applied lipstick. Her eyebrows resemble caterpillars. She has revived shoulder pads and loves vintage jewelry from the 1980's. Her nails are press-ons. She campaigns tirelessly for HIV/AIDS charities and she hangs out with Paris Hilton. Basically she's a Drag Queen . . . and one fuckin' fabulous first lady. All hail the first lady of Cameroon ♥

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Steve McCurry Retrospective

Today I took in the Steve McCurry exhibition at the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. This retrospective by the American photo-journalist is just fantastic. Of course it's McCurry's most famous photograph, of a young Afghan girl with the most stunning eyes that you come to see. This image and many others are some of the most famous and celebrated photographs in the world. Seeing them blown up and set against a simple white (wall) backdrop at The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery truly doesn't do them justice, but they sure do captivate you. I strolled leisurely through the museum with my latte, occasionally sitting on a bench in front of a photograph I wanted to loose myself in. A wonderful thing to do for any dreamer and lover of photography. The gallery have displayed McCurry's work beautifully and chosen his finest photographs to display. What's great about this retrospective is that the admission is FREE. If you have some free time on your hands and happen to be in Birmingham do check out the Steve McCurry exhibition.

Steve McCurry Retrospective
@ The Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery until October 17th
Tel: 0121 464 8887

Steve McCurry website -

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Delightful Japanese Pop

I spend a lot of time riffling through the world section at music retailers like HMV. I've always loved and been attracted to music from other cultures. There's just something very special about listening to music in a foreign language. Not knowing what the singer is actually singing about is actually quite fun, especially when you try and interpret the lyrics yourself. I've recently discovered Japanese Pop or J-Pop and found a rather wonderful little gem of a CD called Nippon Girls, Japanese Pop from the 1960's and 70's. This CD really does make me smile. Beehives in Tokyo! Kitch in Kimonos! This collection of some of Japans forgotten and most memorable women in popular Japanese music of yesteryear is just wonderful. Nippon Girls is incredibly camp and really does need to be played while serving canapes and martinis at your next dinner party. Just GET IT!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

I ♥ Lychee

I'm going through a bit of a Lychee fruit phase. I can't stop eating the little prickly treats. They are absolutely scrumptious with almost everything. Today I had them with yogurt and honey and the day before I had them with a big helping of vanilla ice cream. I've even munched on them with nothing more than a pint of beer to wash them down with. Trust me! Just try them, you'll love them. The Lychee rules.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Aerobics Fashion & Me!

If there was ever a moment in my life when I wanted to be a girl, it was the day I first set eyes on Olivia Newton-John's 'Physical' music video. Her video clip made working out cool and more importantly she made Aerobic wear, very, very, fashionable. I always thought it wasn't fair, why do only girls get to wear all those fabulous neon colors and sparkly accessories? I want a pair of leg warmers, a headband, satin white leotards and a flashy purple aerobics bikini thingamajig. I want to work out lifting little free weights while dancing to 'Physical' GOD DAMN IT! Sadly, I never got my way at the tender age of ten, I didn't get to slip into any aerobics wear. Not even my mothers for that matter, mainly because she had a fondness for shades of green. I detested green. Anyway I no longer have a desire for aerobics wear, but it sure does make me giggle every time I see Olivia in her leotard and leg warmers. OH! and that Eric Prydz, 'Call On Me' video . . . if only it did the rounds on MTV instead of Olivia's homage to aerobics. I think I might just have slipped into my mothers green unitard then.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Into The Graffiti Groove

I've always loved Graffiti and admired it as an art form. I suppose I have Madonna to thank for that. In the 80's Madonna just made everything cool and she certainly made Graffiti look fabulous while dancing against it in her Borderline video . . . and for that, Graffiti is just soooo fabulous, so 1980's. I remember the first time I ventured out of the suburbs and into the downtown core and came across my first brick wall blasted with a neon message. How Madonna I thought! Now, much older and further aware of this art form I think of Graffiti as urban art that represents and reflects the youth culture of the time. It's less about how it looked in Madonna's Borderline video and more about it's artistic appeal. How it brightens up the most derelict of inner city spaces. How it makes me smile.

I walk or cycle to my gym most days and take a route through Birmingham that takes me past the most spectacular patch of colorful Graffiti. I've attached some pictures I took the other day while on route. I always have to stop and take in the colors and detail. Ok! So these works are no Monet or Picasso, or any other recognized artisan for that matter. But they sure do capture my imagination and make me hum Borderline for the rest of the day.

Monday, 5 July 2010

The Lone Calla Lily

I planted some Calla lillies a few weeks back. They have always been my most favorite flower. I've always admired thier simplicity and thier beauty. I find they sit so well in a vase amongst a modern setting in any room. I was quite looking forward to having a massive bunch of them blooming in my front garden. Sadly of the dozens I planted just this one has come up. This lone Calla lily has blasted through my soil to the heavens at rapid speed, two weeks. I just wish his other friends would join him as my vase will look rather sparse this summer.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The Invitation

It's always so lovely to receive invitations to parties. I've certainly had some fabulous invites in my lifetime. Although, I'm still waiting for my invite to Buckingham Palace from the Queen to collect my OBE. One can always dream! In the meantime I will have to settle for an invite by the Vietnamese community here in Birmingham to attend their annual Summer fete. I was delighted when I arrived home the other day and found a pretty little white envelop addressed 'Kind Neighbor' posted through my door. If you have a look at the image to your right you can read what was inside - my personal invite by my lovely Vietnamese neighbors to help them celebrate the summer and everything wonderful about their community. They have been decorating their drop in center across the street from me for the past few days with some very colorful lanterns and fabrics. It's all looking rather special and I'm quite looking forward to attending. I mean, how often do you get invited to a Vietnamese summer fete? Hardly ever, right? Come to think of it, I think mingling with a foreign community, sampling thier fine cusine and observing thier traditions would be so much more exciting than having a pin plased on my lapel by a stuffy old woman with her corgis nipping at my ankles.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The Mixed Tape

The days of making mixed tapes for your friends are well and truly over. I blame all this new technology, the iPod in particular. All these advancements in music technology are taking the fun and passion out of sharing your musical tastes with your friends. What I mean is - you can't make a mixed iPod and then hand it over to your best mate for keeps, due to syncing, and at a cost of a £120 that would be one expensive collection to give away. I really miss making mixed tapes for friends, sitting for hours riffling through LP's and cassette's, selecting your favorite songs, cuing and recording them in perfect sequence on another cassette tape, then writing out all the artists and songs on the back of the index card. Making mixed tapes was the one and only geeky thing I ever did. There was just something kind of exciting about making that right mix, that perfect tape. It wasn't so much about finishing it, but making it. I accepted the CD as a new recording device when it arrived, but it just wasn't the same. Moving 80 minutes of music into a playlist and burning them onto a CD in about ten minutes . . . well, it was just too easy, quick and no longer fun. So the mixed tapes are no more. I suppose the good thing about the demise of the mixed tape, is that my friends, will no longer be getting twelve inch remixes of Betty Boo, Black Box and Snap! from me.