Monday, 31 May 2010


A couple of months ago, I sent some old family photos into Scott Schuman, who writes the Sartorialist. He wanted to see vintage photos which encompassed style and nostalgia. I spent a lovely morning with my grandmother, chocolate croissants, and hundreds of black and whites. I learnt a lot about my family, little anecdotes which I hadn't heard before and how important it is to map our lives in leather bound photograph albums instead of on a hard drive or memory stick. Above is my grandfather, Ian. To say that he had a certain 'joire de vivre' doesn't really cover it.

My grandparents had a Morgan and they went on rallies in St Tropez and Monaco. Theres a cabinet full of old art deco style flyers and posters from the rallies. Bright colours, open tops and headscarfs. This is on the Brighton seafront, and my uncle, Simon is acting as my grandad's second.

Buddy Holly and Elizabeth Taylor

Friday, 28 May 2010


I know absolutely nothing about film cameras. So when I found this big ol heffa on a stall at a carboot at Brighton Marina I just marvelled at the lense and focused and re-focused over and over again. It was super heavy and had a lovely leather case. £10. Deal.

The next couple of hours scouring flickr albums and forums I discovered that it was a camera made in the 1970s and is now supposed to be the 'original pentax'. I managed to find a manual online by someone helpful enough to scan the whole thing. Not only very useful but the design is lovely.

I had to really psych myself up to start shooting though. When you know you only have 36 photos, they become really valuable. Each photo is considered and requires patience. It sort of trivialises photos taken on digital cameras. No hours of editing 50 photographs all exactly the same but a little bit different.

Plus, the suspense of not being able to see what the photo looks like after you taken it makes developing the film and looking at the photos for the first time an amazing present.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Inspiration Number Two

Number two is a bit of a major one. Ever since I sat watching Amelie before going to school one morning I've loved the style of Jean Pierre Jeunet. Not only is he a great director, but he has this amazing warmth in his cinematography (even when he's making films about shop owners who eat their house guests.) He is often part of the pair 'Jeunet et Caro' who is a comic book writer which explains why the films are so playful.

In an interview Jeunet talked about his inspirations stemming from the everyday things you watch and listen to. Every time he hears a funny line or has an idea for a bit of dialogue or a character, he writes it on a scrap and puts it in a box. When the box is full he opens it and makes a film. He is a master of low tech visual effects and his films usually feature strange inventions spewing wires, glass eyes and brass nuts and bolts.

This is a trailer for Delicatessen, one of his better films. He uses the same actors for most of his films and like actors who use their faces like clowns. There is an amazing scene in this film where a room fills with bubbles. You should definitely watch this.

And of course Amelie. The girl who made all women want to cut their hair into a bob. The girl who made good deeds completely a la mode. The girl who made it alright to stare at your neighbours with a telescope. All of those things and also Nino Quincampoix. I defy any girl to spin head over heels with Nino Quincampoix. This film makes your fall in love with life.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

oh popeye...

Its sad the Popeye isn't on TV anymore. Not only does it have super morals (eat old dry looking spinach by the can) but Olive Oyl is a completely underrated style icon. There she is, big old brown lace up boots, ankle socks peeping over the top of them, cropped blouse and long skinny skirt. Bearing in mind this was being drawn in the 30s I think you'll agree that she was light years ahead of her time. Maybe somewhere in the 30s the artist sat sketching a model who had long (somewhat gangly) limbs, a flawless complexion, neat black bob and a giant heart.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

cutting and pasting

a little while ago I used to take one newspaper image a day and collage it into my book. I don't know why I stopped, probably something to do with the arrival of mr macbook.

note to self: do more collage.

two things I forgot...

I was adamant that I was volunteering for Margaret and wanted no money, telling her it was the most fun I've had in a long time, so to say thank you for my rummaging she gave me a lovely skirt that used to be a christening dress (I guess you have to see it really...) and a miniature pair of wooden clogs which are now getting to know my keys.

And the other thing. The not-such-an-old-blog annoyed me so I deleted it and made this new one. While I think I'm making a good decision I find things like URLs very tricky to decide on because its so permanent. This is why I could NEVER have a tattoo. I change my mind all the time. So if I could get the Blogspot administrator to remove my tattoo and copy all the information over to the new one, (like I did this new blog) then I could get a tattoo of something and not be so worried. But all the time it involves lasers and discolouring I will be staying tattoo free.

This was meant to be about my new blog. Not Tattoos. Hi new blog!

where everyone knows her name...

On Thursday I went to work with Margaret. When I arrived I knocked on the door and there was a girl looking around. Margaret had left a customer in charge of her shop while re-parking her car. She makes all her customers tea and passes round ginger snaps. I spent nearly 4 hours clearing things up and finding treasures under huge piles of vintage textiles. Today I sorted jewellery which she admitted to hating. She just puts it in a drawer to hide it away, tangling and piling up into a glittery mess.

This little fella isn't for sale

This was hiding inside an old straw hat. Margaret knows the origin of almost all of the things in her shops, especially scraps of lace. This is from Poland. She doesn't know what its for or why she has it.

This isn't for sale either. She says sometimes she gets so sad when she sells things that she has to keep one or two items in case she doesn't find anything like it again...

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Inspiration Number One

So this is Inspirational Person Number One. The general idea is to collate my favourite people, famous, family or friends and bumble on about them.

And just to make a really good impression I'm going to have a musical theatre geekoid moment and write about Stephen Sondheim, composer and lyricist, and someone who is wholly responsible for making the hair on the back of my neck stand on end (when listening to his music, but you never know).

This man could rhyme circles around Andrew Lloyd Webber. Best known for composing/writing Sweeney Todd (thanks to Tim Burten, with a few rude hand gestures thrown in) and his best work being Into the Woods, a collection of traditional fairy tales all woven together with humour and two tonne of genius (the name of this blog might be a clue to how much of an impression it has made on me).

He doesn't do duds. Every song is listened to in its entirety. He doesn't have a comfort zone and he definitely doesn't work to a formula. Watching an interview with him on youtube ( he doesn't just compose the music and then sit back for the director to take center stage, his music is the direction.

Mr Sondheim takes away the grin factor associated with musical theatre. People whose toes curl at the thought of having to sit through Oklahoma (you're not actually alone there, I've never managed to get further than 'Oh what a beautiful...') should give it a listen. 5 minutes of listening and you'll hear something that makes your ears prick up.

If it still doesn't work for you, his posters are pretty lovely too...

hey hey good lookin'

I have two tutors at college who are very traditional graphic designers. Grids, Type, White Space. They both talk about (good) typography as though they are looking at a very beautiful woman. One has a particular obsession with the letter 'g'. This typography truly is special.

Cracking Number 30A

Today I wandered along to vintage cave '30a' in Kemptown as I'd promised myself a rummage. It reminds me of Mr Bens costume shop with the door that leads to the unexpected. This shop doesn't have a door but it does have a very attractive tapestry curtain. Today the unexpected was meeting designer Kathryn Rayward who is also a presenter on 'Cracking Antiques' on BBC2. She had her little boy with her who told her she was pretty and snuggled into a pile of fallen material while his mum squealed about a silk fuschia jumpsuit.

This place is my idea of heaven, even better the little lady who owns it offered me a cup of tea. I'm going back next Thursday to help her organise her treasure. I'm very excited

i spy...

the girl with kaleidoscope eyes

This is for a graphics project called 'Cities' that we were set whilst the study trip was on. We had to view the city in a particular perspective. Some students went to New York and others went to Amsterdam. As I stayed at home and awaited the arrival of Mr Macbook, I did my project on Brighton.

I have lived in Brighton since day dot, so I was looking at making recognisable images unrecognisable. This is my final outcome.


Over easter I neglected all college work and entered the Vogue Young Writers competition. We had to write about a memory, an opinion and a trend. This is my attempt at a trend article...

NB these are the clogs in question:

As I predicted, I have definitely come round on them a bit...buts lets hear it for some ankle support.

Clunking through the tulips

Twice a year, when designers showcase the next season's wonders for us to covet, there is that little black sheep which causes a cynical worry wrinkle on the noses of women everywhere. The Poncho, tie dye, jelly heels, those photos from when you were a Goth, are just some of the trouble makers which invoke a deep blush when you remember ever being associated with them.

My heart sank when I looked at the photos from the Spring/Summer 2010 shows. They were everywhere. Clogs. Clogs with tassels, brogue clogs, clogs with heels, clogs with wedges. I had a pair when I was eleven from Barretts for £6. White acrylic, silver studs, mock-wood heels. Worn with pride, white knee-high crochet socks and plastic tortoiseshell sunglasses.

But over the years I have learnt not to be so judgemental. Ten years ago I would have rather pulled my own teeth than wear skinny jeans, so I borrowed a pair of clogs from a friend and decided to bite the bullet, in the name of fashion and research. They were black leather, silver studded with a hard wooden sole. They went clunk, clunk, clunk, as I walked down the road. At least people would know I was coming. The heel was two inches tall. They needed to be one and a half inches taller to stop my legs resembling those of a husky child. They looked like trotters. Which made me look like a pig who had learnt to walk on its hind legs.

I've learnt to walk appropriately in all of my shoes. I spring along in my high-tops, have an understated sass in my brown leather boots and a betty boop totter in my highest heels. Clogs are a little more tricky to negotiate. For one, your toes begin to cramp after the constant clenching to try and and keep the shoes on your feet. If you're crossing the road and quicken your step, they will most probably fly off and an innocent pedestrian will be injured by 50lbs of airborne wood. If you unwisely choose to wear your clogs with socks, then your heel will have no grip and you'll sporadically slide off your little wooden platform causing your ankle to bend in an entirely unnatural way. They should come with a foreboding sticker like the ones you get on cigarette packets. 'Warning, these Clogs will harm you and others around you' or 'Wearing these Clogs will seriously affect your ankle strength.'

They are at home in clinical and agricultural environments, easy to put on to feed the chickens, easy to disinfect after surgery. Strange that such an unpractical shoe should be associated with the most practical of professions. In an effort to disguise them, designers have raided haberdasheries and decorated the toe with ruffles and added elegant ribbon transfers up their models legs. Alas, it has only resulted in the Chanel clog looking like a stumpy ballet shoe.

So breathe. We are in agreement. Clogs will stay on the feet of surgeons wearing their scrubs, little dutch girls tiptoeing through tulips and most likely, some time in July, myself, when I have come round to the whole idea and have learnt to walk with more of a dainty clop than clunk.

amore a Venezia

In February my travel buddy and I went to explore Venice. First time to Italy and two months later I can still taste the seafood spaghetti, which should just be called 'the best thing you'll ever eat in your life ever'.

There was a lot of walking and a lot of taking photos of food in shop windows - it looked great but it was probably very, very old.

Venice does graffiti...

Ventian ladies know how to do glamour

darling buds of mid april

Its SPRING, and when new little buds start shooting out of the ground I normally want to start a new resolution (New Years resolutions are boring by about mid February) so one thing lead to another and this blog arrived.

Here are a few photos i've taken in fields, wearing welly boots which are all about the spring.