Friday, 19 October 2007

A green and pleasant land

Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw with photographs by Chris Tubbs.
Described aptly as the "English style of decoration is practical and informal, designed around the people who occupy the rooms rather than to impress. These houses are lived in and loved, with interiors that are relaxed and not afraid to be pretty."
An obvious, but oft neglected, tenet of decorating.
Now playing: Marianne Faithfull - Broken English
via FoxyTunes

A green and pleasant land

Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw with photographs by Chris Tubbs.
Described aptly as the "English style of decoration is practical and informal, designed around the people who occupy the rooms rather than to impress. These houses are lived in and loved, with interiors that are relaxed and not afraid to be pretty."
An obvious, but oft neglected, tenet of decorating.
Now playing: Marianne Faithfull - Broken English
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 18 October 2007

To be or not to be?

I am not sure if Vivienne Westwood's manifesto of Active Resistance to Propaganda is the definitive answer, but it does seem like an interesting possibility and a good place to start. It has been over two years since her manifesto was first launched; surely, enough time has lapsed for the rest of us to have caught up?
The manifesto begins:

"We shall begin with a search for art, show that art gives culture and that culture is the antidote to propaganda.

– Dear Friends, We all love art and some of you claim to be artists. Without judges there is no art. She only exists when we know her. Does she exist? The answer to this question is of vital importance because if Art is alive the world will change. No Art, no progress."

Click to read the Guardian interview and listen to an audio clip of the Lady herself.

Now playing: Curtis Mayfield - (Don't Worry) If There's A Hell Below We're All Going To Go
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Caught In Time

Images © National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff

The father and son collaboration of Leopold (1822-1895) and Rudolph Blaschka (1857-1929) produced some of the most beautiful examples of natural history specimens ever created. The Blaschkas not only supplied the Harvard Botanical Museum with some 4,400 replica flowers, but over a period of 50 years they created thousands more of their remarkably realistic glass flowers and sea creatures for both private collections and natural history museums as far afield as India.

Now playing: Antony & The Johnsons - Cripple and the Starfish
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Polly and I went to the circus

Last week London was one great big fairground attraction. Here a fair, there a fair. Everywhere a fair...Under the Big Top in Regent's Park The Frieze Art Fair was being held. For those who are unaware Frieze is held every October. "It features over 150 of the most exciting contemporary art galleries in the world. As well as these exhibitors, the Fair includes specially commissioned artists’ projects and an ambitious talks programme."
Well, I suppose, that's one way of looking at it. Another view could, quite possibly, be that of a freak show (normally a fabulous thing) of pretension and arrogance (neither of which is ever fabulous) that takes its self all too seriously? Hmm, possibly.
My humble opinion? In many cases, but not in all by any means, it is just a little too reminiscent of The Emperor's New Clothes. Which amazes me because of its cynicism, and surprises me at my lack of it.

One piece, however, that I did particularly like was
Medusa (below) by Tue Greenfort, represented by Johann Konig. It reminded me of the wonderful pieces done by Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka in the late 19Th Century; only this time with a message.

Medusa, Murano glass 2007

"The pink jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca is currently forming rapidly growing overpopulations. For lack of natural enemies such as turtles and tuna fish, whose populations have seriously decreased due to over-fishing and water pollution, as well as rising water temperatures which are ascribed to the climate change, it finds optimal reproduction conditions in European waters. Its function for the marine biology has been explored by natural history museums for a fairly long time by means of preparing exemplars in alcohol. Thanks to its aesthetic properties, glass reproductions of this species can be found in souvenir shops in many popular seaside resorts." Gallery description.
Now playing: Rickie Lee Jones - Juke Box Fury
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 15 October 2007

Blog Action Day: The Environment

Imagine how many trees it takes to produce your favourite five monthly magazines. I am willing to reduce my number of magazines from ten to eight; maybe seven. What are you willing to do? As there is no such thing as a free lunch, and it is highly unlikely we will all stop purchasing our beloved periodicals, let's at least try to eliminate all the junk mail and those insidious magazine inserts from our lives. It is the small things that make a difference. Americans get 42 billion pieces of junk mail a year, the equivalent of 100 million trees. Say No To Junk Mail.

Now playing: Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Dimitri From Paris - Une Very Stylish Fille

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

To arms girls, to arms!

While perusing Life in a Venti Cup, this screamed out to me. And needless to say, it anoyed me.
Target has a decorating division, Target Commercial Interiors, that aims its services at the medium and smaller commercial client. Ann Zimmerman's article for the Wall Street Journal stated that, "The unit's more than 100 employees, many of them certified interior designers, don't shop at Target stores for their decorating supplies. But they do leverage the company's scale and sourcing ability to get good prices and find cutting-edge products -- an advantage in an industry dominated by regional and local design and architecture firms."
Mark my words, this could in fact be the beginning of the end for a great many of you (not that you are likely to see or read this). It's one thing for the design community to endorse retailers that champion affordability, it's quite a different thing when that retailer chooses to become the competition.
This is a battle worth fighting. It is time to close ranks and reclaim the mystique that decorating once held. Ruthlessly banish the mass produced and its producers from our oeuvre. This is war.

Jasper Johns Target with Four Faces, 1955

Now playing: Stereo MC's - Step It Up
via FoxyTunes

Monday, 8 October 2007

Miss Daisy, I presume

For my sixteenth birthday I received a fully restored black 1964 T-Bird (identical to the one below); a huge style statement for one so young, to be sure. Thankfully, I appreciated it as much then as I do now. I have owned five cars in my life and have managed to total four of them; not always my fault, I hasten to add. Car number three is not included on the wreckage list because I lost it in LA. For the life of me I could not remember where I had parked it. I'm sure that car was stolen; some might say rescued.

Despite my dismal record and the fact I am a terrible driver, I do love an old car. I love the 1964 T-Bird because it was the car from the old Perry Mason television drama; so unashamedly American. If we lived in the states I would have another one in a heartbeat.

The Citroen DS is one of the chicest cars ever made. Both of my Grandparents had one when we lived in Paris. My Grandfather's was black with a black interior and my Grandmother's was black with a red interior. So recherche. I do think, though, they are best suited to the Continent. Even with a driver, conducting one of those down the rat runs that pass for streets here in London would be just too harrowing.

The Morris Traveler, so English and so perfectly suited to life here. I love them.

And finally the Nissan Pao, just perfect in its retro styling. Though, I would only have a cream one. Not terribly butch, but far better than any new car out there. New cars are now just too vulgar, period.
Cars are like dogs they should be chosen because they match your nature and character. Some will be harder work than others, but ultimately your life will be far richer for having had them.
Now playing: Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper
via FoxyTunes

Why, House & Garden? Why?

Of all the recent posts on Gwyneth Paltrow, which to my eyes is tantamount to a drive by shooting with bullets of smugness, this has to be my favourite; succinct and to the point. Though Decorno's post ran a very close second; but ultimately too forgiving.

An excerpt from the article written by Jay McInerney with my comments interspersed.

You don't expect someone like Gwyneth Paltrow to posses the normal domestic virtues, Ah, why not? but the Oscar-winning actress was intimately involved in the creation of her serene new Hamptons home. Oscar or no Oscar, isn't everyone intimately involved with the creation of their interiors? "I've become an encyclopedia of design for my friends," she says. And I suppose if she said the moon was made of cheese, we are meant to believe that as well? I am not sure which is harder to swallow the 'friends' part or the 'encyclopedia of design' part.

Paltrow, in a Marc Jacobs dress, sits on Thomas O'Brien's Farra cocktail ottoman for Hickory Chair, in front of her Odessa sofa by Les Migrateurs. The art is by Andy Warhol.
With all those names on the floor who needs flooring?

Clearly a member of the neo-trendsetter tribe; if not its queen.

Now playing: Kirsty MacColl - Designer Life
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Anniversary

Well, at least you can't say it has been boring!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Mary, Mary quite contrary...

Today on the Peak of Chic the talk was all about fashionable flowers.
Everyone loves them, everyone has them, but no one really needs them. A true luxury, but at what cost?
Do we know where and how they were grown? Do we care? If not, we should; this is a hundred billion dollar industry that impacts not only the environment but also impacts entire communities. That inexpensive bunch purchased from the supermarket? Will undoubtedly have a higher price to pay somewhere down the line. When possible, be a part of the process by supporting the smaller specialist local growers, and the florists who support them. You will notice the difference and be rewarded with more natural scented blooms.

Country Roses
Local, and my absolute favourite.

The Organic Flower Company

California Organic Flowers

Now playing: The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary
via FoxyTunes

Leigh Bowery at the Athony d'Offay Gallery

The most extraordinary living work of art that was, Leigh Bowery. A creative genius beyond compare that never ceased to amaze or to inspire.