Tuesday, 18 May 2010

American Diners

American roadside diners, along with the Statue of Liberty, Route 66 and the Golden Gate Bridge, stand for America of the 50s/60s. Open all day and night they were places where one could anonymously pop in, grab a coffee, a slice of homemade pie to take a break from the tiresome road. They stand for the American post-war middle class family trying to live the American Dream whatever that may have been.

The American diner was for the newly motorized family, the lonesome adventurous traveller, the stressed business man. It was where Kerouac's character Sal Paradise in On the Road grabbed his apple pie and ice cream while he was chasing his hopes and dream from coast to coast.

My friend is writing a script on Malcolm X at the moment which got me to look into him and I found a great quote of his on diners (the person not the restaurant...but nonetheless)

Images are from an exhibition at the Fox Talbot Museum

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Buffalo album of the week....Dan Auerbach "keep it hid"

The Black Keys' singer-guitarist Dan Auerbach releases his self-produced solo debut, mixing, he says, "psychedelia, soul music, loud and soft guitars." Backed by a full band, he prowls the dark end of the street, with gritty, impassioned vocals lending drama to tales of romantic betrayal and suspicious minds. Guests include singer Jessica Lea Mayfield.

Keep It Hid proves both Auerbach's extravagant musical abilities and his encyclopaedic knowledge of the blues beyond any doubt, but it also proves that he still has no intention of letting anything new seep into his musical world. A shame, because unless he does he will remain more curator than true creator, for all his gifts. The black keys have always been one of my favourite bands and will always continue to be as I an an old man trapped in a young mans body and they keep providing me with that sound that sound like it has come straight out the early seventies and challenges the likes of cream and led zeppelin. Now Dan Auerbach has ventured on a solo album it increases my love for them as his sound is haunting and very unique!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Attention to detail... The hill side

The amount of thought, effort and care The Hill-Side puts into the sourcing and production of its collection signals a dedication to its craft that far surpasses any trend chasers!

The brand’s selection of fabrics – denim, chambray and twill sourced from a Japanese textile mill located in Kojima, Okayama Prefecture, an area famed for its decades-old slow-production style of manufacturing; and waxed cotton made by a company in New Jersey that has been employing the same eco-friendly application process of their food and pharmaceutical grade (read: non hazardous) waxes and oils for nearly 50 years.

Assembly is handled by a small, ethically run, NYC based manufacturer of heavy-duty leather and canvas goods, whose machinery and know-how endow each tie with a level of durability typically reserved for the most rugged work and outdoor garments.

These all go together very well with fashions and styles that seem to be timeless to our ever increasing wardrobes..

find out more about the brand here .. 

Friday, 16 April 2010

Vivienne Westwood

Time for another little rant this time about Vivienne Westwood, I know, how random.
So, over a year ago I went to this talk held in the V&A about climate change, global warming etc. Westwood along with a bunch of people from Green Peace, some scientists etc were sitting around a table and they began discussing global warming, issues with our consumerism etc.
And I just sat there becoming more and more annoyed and pretty infuriated. I mean don't get me wrong...Westwood is awesome...she really changed the course of British fashion and she is an eccentric, interesting character if there ever was one. But for a person who comes out with at least four different collections each year including accessories, shoes, perfumes etc to preach about the way we all consume too much and that we are heating up the world and will all die soon as a result just seems ridiculous.

She was telling us to never wash our clothes (she kept banging on about how she doesn't wash her bras at all...nice) and how we don't need a lot of clothes at all...we could basically take a dirty clothes rag and with a lot of imagination we could create a hundred different outfits with it which would not only be great for the environment but would make us unique and crafty individuals on top of it.
How can a big player of an industry which is the epitome of consumerism who is mass producing clothes and accessories and using Pamela Anderson as the face of their campaign tell us to not buy new clothes and to not ever wash the little possessions we have? She lives off our consumerism.

I felt that everyone at the talk was just lapping up what Westwood was saying...they weren't there to be enlightened about global warming...it was a chance to spot a celebrity and my presumption became apparent when people rushed over to her asking for auto-and-photographs once the talk was over.

Anyway, so I was super annoyed with it then and my annoyance got rekindled when I talked to a friend who knows people that work in the Westwood design studio. It is interesting to know that the studio throws away garments that have the tiniest fault on them..so a shoe with a crookedly sewn on buckle. I mean, yes with the prices that these things are going at you can't sell anything with flaws but to throw these things out rather than giving them to your employees?? And in the very same studio there are signs in the toilets saying: "Do you really have to flush?" and "Do you need to use that much toilet paper?"
Talk about contradictions. So, really next time Westwood gets all preachy on people for using their washing machines and wiping their asses with toilet paper she should consider re-using her flawed items that are being so carelessy thrown out at her studio or, better yet, maybe she shouldn't be producing an insane amount of clothes, shoes, sunglasses, bags and perfume twice a year.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Bowery Blues

I just want to share a beautiful poem by Jack Kerouac after Jonathan posted about the Beats.
It's called Bowery Blues

The story of man
Makes me sick
Inside, outside,
I don't know why
Something so conditional
And all talk
Should hurt me so.

I am hurt
I am scared
I want to live
I want to die
I don't know
Where to turn
In the Void
And when
To cut

For no Church told me
No Guru holds me
No advice
Just stone
Of New York
And on the cafeteria
We hear
The saxophone
O dead Ruby
Died of Shot
In Thirty Two,
Sounding like old times
And de bombed
Empty decapitated
Murder by the clock.

And I see Shadows
Dancing into Doom
In love, holding
Tight the lovely asses
Of the little girls
In love with sex
Showing themselves
In white undergarments
At elevated windows
Hoping for the Worst.

I can't take it
If I can't hold
My little behind
To me in my room

Then it's goodbye
For me
Girls aren't as good
As they look
And Samadhi
Is better
Than you think
When it starts in
Hitting your head
In with Buzz
Of glittergold
Heaven's Angels


We've been waiting for you
Since Morning, Jack
Why were you so long
Dallying in the sooty room?
This transcendental Brilliance
Is the better part
(of Nothingness
I sing)


Monday, 12 April 2010

Lucien Carr.... the original beat.

Lucien Carr who introduced Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs to eachother.
Carr wasn’t homosexual but had unfortunately caught the eye of a rather troubled and much older man named David Kammerer. Kammerer was Carr’s Boyscout Scoutmaster during his youth and later followed Carr wherever he went. Lucien never let on to anyone that Kammerer was constantly making advances toward him and the two actually spent a lot of time together. Carr was content to have a friendship with Kammerer but was in no way interested in him (or any man, for that matter) sexually. On August 13, 1944 3am, in Riverside Park, near Columbia University’s campus and the Hudson River, Kammerer again tried to win Carr’s sexual favour. When it was again refused he attacked him. Carr was no match for Kammerer’s size and strength and in self defense, stabbed him to death (ironically) with a Boyscout pocketknife. In a panic, he tied Kammerer’s hands and feet together with his own shoelaces, filled his pockets with as many rocks as he could find, and rolled his body into the Hudson River. After much deliberation about what to do and solicitation of advice from Burroughs, Kerouac and family members, Carr turned himself in to the authorities. He was sentenced to 20 years, but served only 2 years in prison at Elmira Correctional Facility in upstate, NY, which incidentally is 20 miles from my hometown of Pine Valley, NY.

Kerouac moved in with Carr (now out of prison for some time) after leaving Neal Cassady in California and returning to New York City in 1951. This was shortly after the publication of his first novel, “The Town and the City”. Carr was living in a loft apartment on West 21st and was working (to the dissaproval of the Beats) for the United Press.
Kerouac had been inspired at that time by a new writing technique somewhat credited to William Carlos Williams and dubbed “Spontaneous Prose” by Kerouac, in which the writer simply writes or types as fast as possible along a line of thought, expression, or general storytelling with “no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement”. I know this comes across as quite esoteric, but pretty much boils down to the simple concept of writing as fast as one can as the thoughts stream through their consciousness, not trying at that time to come up with the perfect word or phrase.
Kerouac had once been the speed-typing champion of the greater Boston area and this technique suited him quite well. His only complaint was that he was slowed down by having to insert new sheets of paper so often. Lucien Carr, being employed at the United Press, brought home a roll of teletype paper and suggested he try that. Kerouac was delighted that he only needed to insert one end of the roll into his typewriter and could go on for days. The novel Kerouac wrote in this fashion would become his second published (in 1957) and one of his most popular, “On The Road”.

red more about the beat writers here .

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

wants and desires...

Alya Kazakevich....

28-year-old leather craftswoman named Alya Kazakevich whose Chinatown shop has produced some wonderful bags whilst living in the city of new york.

Originally from Belarus, she has lived in New York for almost a decade, apprenticing with Barbara Shaum and the wonderful craftsmen of E. Vogel. Since 2009  a.b.k brings its own unique blend of influences to the leather craft. 

uses domestically produced, vegetable tanned leather . Each product is both hand dyed and stitched. Hardware comes from discontinued production stock or small leather hardware suppliers in the U.S.

She also produses sandals and shoes, but they are for girls..

her work can be found here .