Monday, 20 July 2009

Thinkin' of an inkin'

I've never really been into tattoos. In fact, I've always really disliked them. Like, do these people not think about what they'll look like in years to come? They're going to regret that celtic, runic, barbed wire thingy. Anyway, in an extremely rare foray into junk TV watching - necessitated by my wisdom tooth surgery, see last post - I happened upon a show called LA Ink. It's a show about a rock chick tattoo artist called Kat Von D, who opens up her own tattoo parlour. She's really foxy and the tattoo work she does looks amazing. Lots of people come in for tattoos as a memorial to someone they've lost, or to remember an event or turning point in their life, which makes some sense. She did an amazing design on a young girl's calf and it reminded me of this picture I love from The Sartorialist. I think it looks gorgeous. And I quite like my calves. But I can't possibly want a tattoo...can I?

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Las Vegas - a long way away

My other half is currently in Las Vegas. Tomorrow morning I am having my wisdom teeth out, here in London. At the precise moment I am in the dentist's chair, he will no doubt be sampling some of the finest cheap beers Vegas has to offer. Something is very wrong with this picture.

Unsurprisingly, looking at photos of Vegas isn't making me feel better. But these are great. Taken from a really interesting discussion thread about Vegas past and present, with some brilliant photographs.

Furniture porn

An auction book from the last Design sale at Phillips de Pury & Company has been floating around my workplace. Beautiful modern classics ranging in price from the sublime to the ridiculous were put up for sale. I've kitted out my imaginary bleak industrial living space with these key pieces. The Marc Newson Lockheed Lounge alone went for £1,105,250. Er, the cheque's in the post.

You shoes you lose.

I'm wearing new shoes today. The last couple of times I've bought shoes and loved them I've been tempted to buy a second pair. This time the temptation is heightened by the fact they are currently £25 in the sale. And really good leather. Made in Italy. And extremely comfortable. Oh, but I've already bought them in black, as well. I really can't.

I'm going to sit on my hands for a while.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

From Tim Buckley to Fred Neil

Once upon a time, I was watching a repeat of the Old Grey Whistle Test. I'd actually videoed it. Do you remember those days? Anyway, there I was, watching a patchy video recording of a seventies British music show. The scene was lo-fi.

Suddenly, a vision of utter male gorgeousness appeared on my screen, wearing provocatively tight beige trousers, a black shirt, a guitar slung over slim, swaying hips, and big, tousled curls, smouldering and singing plaintively. It was my first sight of Tim Buckley, and he was singing Dolphins. I watched with an open mouth, and then lifted my clunky remote control and pressed rewind. Several times. My vinyl junky of a boyfriend came home an hour or so later to this scene. Of course, he had the record [ Dream Letter - Live In London 1968 ] and so my little love affair with Buckley started.

Press FF many, many years to May 2009, to find me sitting drunkenly at the bar in the Great Jones Café in New York. I'm drinking hurricanes with my friend Jenny and James (a different and current vinyl junky boyfriend). The song Dolphins comes on, and it sounds like Tim Buckley, but it's not. Drunkenly, I made enquiries.

The hippy bar manager, who makes really good strong hurricanes, tells me that it's Fred Neil. 'He wrote it'. 'Eh? Really? I thought it was Tim Buckley's song'. 'No. Fred Neil'. 'Fred Who?' He sensibly decides to write it down for me.

Fast forward a couple of months later. I finally find the scrap of paper on which the hurricane making hippy has written FRED NEIL, in wonky capital letters. I look it up on Spotify. I fall in love with Fred Neil.

{Sorry Tim. There'll always be room in my heart for you, too.}

Give your iPhone a home

When the 3GS iPhones hit British shores a week or so ago, I got swept up into the mania I had managed to resist since they were first launched, went mad, and bought one. It was the white version, you see. It looked so lovely and I thought it would match my house so well. A friend has since congratulated me, saying it is the 'Rolls Royce of the range'. Justification enough for my wild purchase. And only a few days later, I'm wondering how I lived without voice control, instant internet access, a mapping system that shows where you are in seconds...I digress.

Anyway, I've become more protective of my bag than ever before, worrying about whether my little phone child might get wet in the rain, or scratched against my keys. I can't bring myself to buy a hugely expensive, soulless accessory from a phone shop, so Etsy became my friend. Here are the best of the iPhone covers I found. I bought the gold leather and the Campbell's soup can covers.

A tale of two dudes

On a recent trip to Edinburgh, the airport taxi into town passed a bar called Lebowski's, with the slogan, 'not just a man, a way of life'. Apt, as that weekend I was on my way to see one of my favourite dudes, David Crosby, play with Steven Stills and Graham Nash in the suitably craggy setting of Edinburgh Castle.

Now looking indubitably like Father Christmas, his hands shoved in his blue jeans pockets and with his white hair blowing in the breeze, he channelled utter dudestry. Complaining of the cold - it was a lovely summer's evening, by Scottish standards - he drawled, 'Hey. What can I say. I'm from California.' Wondering whether the climate sent the Scots mad, 'So, you guys, what, pitch logs?' And about the music, 'Nash writes the anthems, Stills writes amazing rock and roll, and I write the weird shit.'

The man oozed the aura of someone who has only ever done things one way; his way. Apparently the guy who, back in the day, always had the best drugs, the best car and partied longest and hardest, he made Graham Nash look like one of The Monkees. (How the hell did Nash pull Joni Mitchell? The mind boggles.)

Steven Stills was still utterly dude-like too, absolutely rocking the place with his guitar solos and sounding in good voice, even if he couldn't quite enunciate the lyrics. A life of utter dude-ism will do that to you. Crosby still took the dude crown though.

[ To hear Crosby at the height of his dude-dom, listen to the Wooden Ships or Long Time Gone on the album Crosby Stills and Nash. Or the aptly titled solos album 'If Only I Could Remember My Name'. ]

A week or so before that, Steely Dan played live in London and Donald Fagen jokily tried to subvert the brilliance of his and Walter Becker's slick and sometimes too polished music by playing a Yamaha Melodica for a few songs (which were performed predictably note perfect to the records, by a brilliant band, with a trio
of beautiful afro-haired backing singers).

Despite being a funny looking fellow who yabbers at his keyboard with monkey arms, I can't listen to Steely Dan or Fagen's solo stuff without either wishing I was him or that I could just, you know, hang out with him a bit. Perhaps indulging in some of the finest Columbian and a few Cuervo Golds. [ To see the dude in action with his equally dude-like partner Walter Becker, track down the documentary 'Classic Albums: Steely Dan - Aja'. It's awe-inspiring stuff. ]

Crosby image courtesy of Henry Diltz, an absolute dude photographer in his own right, we'll cover him later. Steely Dan - Becker with guitar and Fagen with sax