19 February 2012

Monday Muse: Phoebe Nichols

Why aren't there more TV shows like this, or acting, or books and films?


Not sure about those highlights, but otherwise I can't wait!

Humble Moths and Flies

By artist John Dilnot who uses clipped illustrations of birds and months he to create dioramas within wooden boxes. Dilnot frequently lines the interiors with antique maps and arranges the birds in small flocks, setting them on perpetual cartographic journies.

Weekend Reading List: Mrs Dalloway

"The hall of the house was as cool as a vault. The cook whistled in the kitchen. She heard the click of the typewriter. It was her life and, bending her head over the hall table she bowed beneath the influence, felt blessed and purified, saying to herself how moments like this are buds on the tree of life (as if some lovely rose had blossomed for her eyes only)." - Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

16 February 2012

11 February 2012

Whitney Houston, 48, Dead

At 3.55pm 11 Feb 2012, Whitney Houston was pronounced dead at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles.

Sunday Self Pic

The infamous Takuya Nakamura from the infamous Leslie Kee project Super Taku. Enjoy!

10 February 2012

Weekend Reading List: On a Plane

I read about La Bella Principessa on the plane in the National Geographic, and it interested me more than anything I've read in a long time. This purported 'lost' drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, in ink and coloured chalks on a sheet of vellum measuring only 330mmx39mm (it was reproduced in actual size in the magazine over a spread, like a centerfold), is a controversial find. Its origins and authenticity continue to be debated over by experts. The drawing is on a sheet of vellum which carbon-14 tests date to between 1440 and 1650, which coincides with the years in which da Vinci was working. The direction of the hatching shows that the artist was left-handed, as was Leonardo. The Renaissance-style garment is said to be accurately rendered, and is purportedly the portrait of Bianca Sforza, the teenage daughter of the Duke of Milan.The Portrait of Isabella d'Este (below), a chalk drawing on paper by Leonardo da Vinci, is the only profile drawn by the master.Reading the story made me think of my painting classes at NAFA. Our teacher Fern made us paint oils of radishes in claypots, which is quite different from sketching a doomed teenage bride in an Italian court I suppose, but still. Rembering those days reminded me of this passage from Brideshead Revisited, one of my favourite scenes:"One day in a cupboard we found a large japanned-tin box of oil-paints still in workable condition.
‘Mummy bought them a year or two ago. Someone told her that you could only appreciate the beauty of the world by trying to paint it. We laughed at her a great deal about it. She couldn’t draw at all, and however bright, the colour were in the tubes, by the time mummy had mixed them up, they came out a kind of khaki. Various dry, muddy smears on the palette confirmed this statement. ‘Cordelia was- always made to wash the brushes. In the end we all protested and made mummy stop.’"
And so Charles Ryder began to paint. I imagined the japanned-tin looked like this.

Madonna Doesn't Live Here Anymore

A: The Madonna video is weird! The song is weird! The only part I liked was the part where she wore the short blonde wig.
B: I actually think she wears a blonde wig the whole time!
A: That was when I realised that what I really miss about the Madonna that we all grew up with was her transforming herself from video to video. She doesn't do that anymore.
B: The needle on her meter has been stuck at 'hot chick' since a long while back. Now she only wants to look like a sexy chick. She has that in common with gay men - looking sexually attractive is her be all and end all.
She wants to be a cheerleader for goodness sake! There's a bit of Sunset Boulevard going on there I think.

05 February 2012

Monday's Muse: Zhao Lei

Chinese model Zhao Lei is my new obsession; He's studying for a medical degree and his ambition is to have his own fashion brand. Hobbies include basketball, swimming and music.
I like him for his essential 'niceness': he just seems so nice!

Sunday Self Pic

Actor Dario Beck

04 February 2012

Weekend Reading List: Fashion

“There’s only one thing in life and that’s the continual renewal of inspiration.” - Diana VreelandI forgot to say before that just before Christmas I recieved a couple of books that I wanted but never got down to buying; I guess I didn't want them badly enough. One was Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel. I spent a very pleasant afternoon looking over every page with BG on his sofa, feeling excited and inspired. After that we went outside and repotted a cactus, and pruned back his passion fruit vine. Reading and gardening: I can't think of a more agreeable way to spend a Sunday afternoon - unless it's to work on a painting or drawing, but that's just me.
Lots of you would rather hit the gym, I'm sure, or trawl a 'sauna', but different strokes for different folks, as they say (I'm quite sure it should be 'folk' not 'folks', by the way).Anyway this book made me look at Carine Roitfeld's Irreverant with a bit more perspective - not that Irreverant isn't a splendid overview of Ms Roitfeld's work so far. It is, and much of it is excellent and definitive, and I'm her fan. Also, I like the personal bits of information, and the archival photos of her family. The thing I object to is the title, as well as the sense the book projects that her work, or her attitude actually pushes the moral or aesthetic envelope in some extreme, innovative fashion. You must be very short-sighted to not see that what she does had already been done half a century ago at least. Her ouevre is but an echo of the truly shocking (and yes, irreverant) path scorched by Helmut Newton, Chris Von Wangenheim (see below), Guy Bourdin and Robert Mapplethorpe. So accomplished, yes, irreverant, hardly.And can someone tell me how someone as immaculately stylish as Ms Roitfeld begot a daughter who looks so common? In Julia Restoin Roitfeld's every slutty outfit, one can see that Carine's style really isn't for everyone.
I'm also struggling with the magazine Industrie (the one with Franca Sozzani, the editor of Vogue Italia, on the cover) and also Love (Kristen Mcmenamy). Poor Ms Sozzani is striving, isn't she, to fill Ms Roitfeld's heels, to be the queen of fashion? The grizzled one wants to be irreverant too! But she succeeds only in being disagreeable and frankly repugnant - the interview amply illustrates the reason why fashion people have such a negative vibe, and why they should remain behind the masthead and not appear on the cover. Plus she looks like Madonna with all the filler vacuumed out of her. Oh, and Industrie has a story on Glen O'Brien.
Does anyone even need to know one thing about Mr O'Brien?
As for Love, the less said the better. A quick flip shows that the magazine has no direction whatsoever. Since I'm way behind in my reading, I'll struggle with Love no longer - into the bin it goes! Ms Mcmenamy's 1992 Vogue Italia cover (Steven Meisel) directly 'inspired' the 2010 Vogue Paris cover.

03 February 2012

Clint Eastwood's J Edgar

What stuns me about this movie is that director Clint Eastwood has taken what could have been a ponderous, confusing and difficult subject matter (too wide, too many angles), nothing less than the history and myth of the FBI and its controversial founder, J Edgar Hoover, and America's battle against the underworld, Nazi agents and communist subversives (yes, even typing that was a little confusing) and disciplined it into a graceful, moving biopic that has weight without being pompous, and has speed without over-dramatisation. That's a huge achievement, even if it feels too evenly paced. Leonardo DiCaprio is rivetting and great (an Oscar-worthy performance if there ever was one) in his sympathetic portrayal of Hoover, who in any other hands would simply be a repellant, megalomaniacal freak; It never descends to sentimentality, whether dealing with Hoover's relationship with his mother (Judi Dench), his revealing friendship with 'companion' Clyde Tolson (the subtle Armie Hammer), or his loyal secretary Ms Gandy (Naomi Watts).Scripted by Dustin Lance Black (who won an Oscar for his film Milk), the film uses back-and-present flashback device (not chronologically, thank goodness), with clarity coming from Hoover dictating his self-aggrandising memoirs (this makes the story very clear for they are virtual chapter headings).
A carefully-crafted, unexpectedly nuanced, thoroughly absorbing movie.