Friday, March 29, 2013

Girl Crush: Haim

When I grow up I want to be Haim. I'm fairly obsessed with them at the moment and for good reason.

a) They rock hard. Everything they have put out so far has been perfect. Things bode excellently for their album. I love girls with guitars.

b) They look amazing. I just want to roll around in their nonchalant Cali style. 
b.ii) They have great hair. Is this possible without regular sunshine and sea spray?

c) They seem like fun! They're cool girls and close knit sisters and they just seem like a laugh. I want to hang out with them and be their best friend and goof around...

I love them basically. They're awesome.

Chuck x

Monday, March 25, 2013


Jam Jar flowers ... leads to ... my jams.

Some solid logic there.

There's a reason I'm not a music journalist - my response to the above is, eloquently, SO GOOD.

Ok, fine, there is more than one reason that I'm not a music journalist but these songs are all amazing. They've been in pretty heavy rotation on my youtube playlists recently. I'm getting quite excited about 2013 actually. It is shaping up to be a good year. New releases from Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Major Lazer, Cold War Kids, James Blake. We should be seeing albums from Azealia Banks, Iggy Azalea, Haim, ...  So much good stuff.

For a more chilled pace, check out my lovely friend Grace's playlists for 125 magazine. She has excellent taste and her mini mixes are everything you could want from 12.5 minutes of music after you have listened to Bumaye nine times on repeat.

Any tips or favourites right now?

Chuck x

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Floral Glory

"The brainchild of former Take 2 Model Director Melissa Richardson and i-D designer Jocelyn Lloyd, JamJar offers bespoke floral designs in an eclectic choice of beautiful vases and jam jars. Pouring passion and personality back into floristry by the vase-load, Melissa and Jocelyn inject floral fantasticness into London’s leading fashion houses and design agencies on a weekly basis, as well as turning their green fingers to weddings, parties and photoshoots up and down the country” 
i-D Magazine,  Summer 2011

All flowers by Jam Jar

London-based Jam Jar are pretty much my dream florists. I just love their aesthetic. You can buy their flowers by the jam jar, pickle jar, kilner jar or bucket. Their arrangements are beautiful and interesting and unpretentious. The combinations of different flowers and colours; the styling; the unexpected twists. I bet they smell delicious. Their wedding settings (take a perv at their gallery) are swoon inducing. I want to surround myself with their loveliness all the time.

Some pretty heavy hints have been dropped in our house. Maybe though I should just use them to bribe myself - finish all the boring, niggling chores on my To Do list and reward myself with a jam jar? That sounds reasonable...

Chuck x

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I think that all creative industries have a lot to learn from Amanda Palmer and other self funded artists. I was writing the other day about the internet and cultural change and here it is being used for good. Palmer's record company didn't like her sales figures so she left and funded her latest album through a record breaking Kickstarter campaign. She doesn't think that people should be made to pay for music - she thinks they should be asked to. Most of us want to support the artists we connect with and believe in and the webz can let us do that.

Follow up - Felix Salmon on content economics and what Palmer's success means to the internet at large.

I was unconvinced that this would be my kind of talk (word like 'green' and 'holistic' have been overused and abused to the point that they make me cringe away from an article/speaker for all the I might agree with their basic concepts) but I needed something to distract me from the tedium of washing up and the TED curators are pretty reliable so I thought I'd give it a shot. Good call me! Fascinating and unexpected. Allan Savory has learnt the hard way that our current way of thinking about livestock, desertification and global warming isn't working - his solution will surprise you.

An old favourite. I love her despite never having read any of her books. She's a fab speaker, interviewee and features writer. [I just had a quick look and I can't believe I have NEVER linked to her Coyote Ugly article!? Thank gosh I've amended that.] Eat, Pray, Love is never going to be my cup of tea but I will read The Last American Man at some point and her new book sounds fun. I will also watch this talk every six months or so.

I do love me a TED talk. They are just perfect sized chunks of exploration, inspiration and learning. Learning is the best. I want to learn everything. There is so much to know and I so often feel woefully ignorant but these 15-20 minute bursts from experts feel like a start. Have you seen any good new talks recently? Any old favourites?

Chuck x

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ansel Adams

Following in an artistic and watery vein from my last post, this weekend R and I finally got around to visiting the Ansel Adams exhibition at Greenwich this weekend. Photography from the Mountains to the Sea, which is on at the National Maritime Museum until the end of April, includes over 100 of his great American photographs as well as three of his huge photographic murals. They've done a lovely job on the exhibition and it is organised into spaces by theme - sea and surf, rapids, rivers, waterfalls, snow and ice, geysers, clouds and reflections. That they can muster so many clearly defined water based sections is an indication of Adams's obsessive interest. He photographed water again and again, in all its forms, with such beauty and emotional consideration; maybe even more than the epic American landscape it was his most important subject. Not to underestimate the American landscape, it looms magnificently over the exhibition, of course! Oh my goodness, the show made me want to run away to explore the national parks and the California coastline. Yosemite, Yellowstone, Sequoia -  I want you! The space and the grandeur and the overwhelming force of nature. Adams was so connected with it all and he communicates it so perfectly that I just want to pack a bag and run away...

Apparently life doesn't work like that but if you do have the chance to see the exhibition jump at it (if you have the chance to be maxing in Yosemite then what are you doing here reading this??). It is peaceful and gorgeous and stirring. Perfect for a grey London Sunday afternoon.

Chuck x

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lia Melia


Ice Cold Heart

Songs of Melusina 4

There is pretty much no information on Lia Melia's website. Luckily, her work speaks for itself. These are just perfect. They fill me with yearning.

Via Teenangster.

Chuck x

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

By the Bed

Titian - Mark Hudson
Regency Buck - Georgette Heyer (because I haven't re-read one in ages and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms)
The Emperor Mage - Tamora Pierce
Tales from Ovid - Ted Hughes (permanent bedside addition, perfect)
A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan (because I never got round to reading it when it came out with such fanfare)
Hexwood - Diana Wynne Jones

This is why I'm unlikely to ever run a marathon/make my own pastry/become a socialite - when I have any free time all I really want to do is snuggle up with a book. Well, that is one of the reasons anyway. My bedside book pile is in a constant state of flux but this is the current snapshot. I've been thinking a lot about children's books recently and nostalgically revisiting old favourites and exploring new ones. Tamora Pierce and Diana Wynne Jones both stand up to re-reading and I am planning to write something proper about childhood reading, fantasy and women at some point. That may or may not be an excuse to work through their respective oeuvres. John Green's latest book has received a lot of popular and critical acclaim so I thought I'd give that a go and see how contemporary children's writers are doing it. I am still quietly regretting not getting to take the Children's Literature module at university. It could have been so interesting. In another life perhaps.

Aside from that there is my fairly standard mixture of delightful fluff, contemporary fiction and interesting non-fiction. Plus, Ted Hughes's Metamorphoses which I always come back to. Despite this healthy looking pile I am always nervous about running out of things to read. Do you have any recommendations? What do I need to put on the pile?

Chuck x

Friday, March 1, 2013


photo by Allie_Caulfield

photo by Neil Weightman

all runway shots from

Goodness but I loved Dolce & Gabbana's AW13 collection. I kind of think of the duo as un-fashion; occasionally one of their ideas/pieces/themes is picked up by the wider world but, for the most part, they are uninterested in the general movement of fashion and fashion is uninterested in them. They won't change the way that women dress in the way that Phoebe Phile did or capture the zeitgeist like Alexander Wang. They're not a brand I really identify with and I doubt they care since I'm hardly there target market. They just do their own thing, creating the clothes they like and being inspired by their own interests. Despite all this though, I think that there is actually quite a lot of overlap between Domenico and Stefano's interests and mine... Italian culture and history, Golden Age Hollywood, Sicily, extravagant beauty, Catholicism, kitsch. Those are a lot of my favourite things!

This season they were inspired by the cathedral of Monreale and who can blame them?? That is a cracking source of inspiration in my book. The twelfth century cathedral is a jewel in the hills above Palermo. We spent an hour hanging around a city car park waiting for a rather irregular bus and then another forty sweaty minutes or so on said bus to reach Monreale but it is definitely worth the effort. You arrive at the church hot and dirty but the cool, dark interior of the nave is so peaceful and the Byzantine mosaics are insane. That is the technical term anyway. They are so expansive and brilliantly preserved and they glow... All that gold and belief. They're wonderful and I want them all over my wardrobe.

The collection is screamingly Italian Catholic and I just love it. I have written on here about my enthusiasm for Catholic kitsch many many times before and I'm sure I will again. Religion aside, there is something about the combination of history, passion and extreme naffness that I find irresistible. I also love D&G's vision of the Sicilian widow who often reappears in their work - all lace and curves and mystique. And you know how I feel about grey. I love the punch of the red, I totally want a crown, basically all of it. Dolce & Gabbana, you ticked my boxes, thanks.

Chuck x