I found these articles I wrote back in the mists of time (2007) and thought they were sufficiently entertaining enough to include.
I go into further detail on how to write for magazines in this post here and in my blog Swann’s Shack on The Focus Project. As well as the articles below I’ve reviewed a freaky sideshow, interviewed and written about burlesque dancers, film-makers, tattooists, church renovators (yes, church renovators…for Essex Life) and new hip replacement technology (for a medical magazine…not Just 17).
Needless to say these were for Bizarre. I also collected the voodoo doll ingredients from Camden (I knew pink sparkly beads would look terrifying). Click on them twice to enlarge:
T’was recently my 30th year and to celebrate it my friends and I went to Proud Cabaret on Mark Lane, Tower Hill (very close to Liverpool St).
The place looks amazing. You have to be well dressed to go in and I was pleased to see all my friends in vintage wear as Proud Cabaret itself is decked out in 20s style, and the gothic candles and mirrors on the walls were beautiful. One friend arrived in upper class Victorian wear and another in working class Edwardian, so obviously the Victorian had to beat him and wave money for photos.
The acts themselves were lively and fun, mostly performed by a group of ladies with a single man. The compere Coco Dobois was a lady with a lovely voice and great sense of humour. The theme of the shows change and that particular night was ‘decades,’ with each new performance taking us forward in time from the 20s to the 90s. Personally I would have been happy to remain in the 20s but it was still very enjoyable.
Highlights for me included the compere coming over to speak to me, the birthday cake staff brought over, lovely ladies and entertaining juggler Mat Ricardo.
I liked the way the stage had a long area in the middle that allowed the performers to come forwards.
The only troubles came with a rude waitress, the price of the food (at around 45 pounds you’d probably do better to look into a show only ticket) and Marilyn Monroe-esque Banbury Cross not being present. I also wasn’t too keen on the male solo dances (sorry lads, very talented but we were in it for the ladies).
However, the rest was great and much fun and laughings were had by all. I’d like to go back to see a more vintage orientated show but that’s just my personal preference. Recommended!
It’s my birthday today and I’m editing my novel before going off to pose nude. Later I shall be watching a documentary about sideshows and then Derren Brown. Woo! Saturday I’m off to a burlesque night, I shall go into detail for my Alternative Travel series.
I watched a rather peculiar documentary today called Party Monster, The Shockumentary. It’s quite a deliberately bad taste film about the Club Kids in late 80s New York – young people who dressed outlandishly and included fashion designer James St. James– and their party organiser Michael Alig who ended up murdering someone and putting the chopped up body in a trunk. Obviously it got me thinking about fashion. And murder I suppose but that’s no change.
I love art from Francis Bacon to Lempicka to photographers of the unusual like Diane Arbus, but I also love fashion. The outfits at the Bizarre Magazine Ball for example are truly bizarre and great, so here I shall include some of the things that make me weep with joy and perhaps you will find something of interest.
Most people complain that catwalks are full of designs people would never wear in the street, but to be honest that’s the thing I enjoy seeing, mainstream or underground. Regular fashion bores me but anything a bit fantastical, gothic, odd or grunge I love.
First off I have to include my favourite online shop, Joe Brown’s, as its something people will actually be able to afford. There’s some regular stuff but look around, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.
The fashion pics of artist Man Ray are beautiful – as shown here on author Matthew Revert’s blog. They’re very imaginative of course.
Newish designer Jared Gold’s gothic and historical clothes are great, they have a similar Alice in Wonderland feel to Bill Gibb.
Tokyo is known for its ‘avant garde’ fashion and I’d love to go there. I particularly like the punk and Gothic Lolita styles.
Keeping in the fantastical realm I definitely recommend looking out for alternative models/designers out there such as Ophelia Overdose and Audrey Kitching. Also have a look at Bizarre magazine’s alternative model website Ultra Vixens for more ladies of the odd and artistic variety, or become one of them if you like. Plus Spitalfields market in London is host to the annual Alternative Fashion Week (presented by Alternative Arts), 16-21st April. Exciting! Colourful! Imaginative!
I have a book I love containing alt glamour/pin up pictures (piercings, tattoos etc) taken by Octavio Winkytiki and Lithium Picnic (my favourite). They’re pretty and unusual, but be warned, some of the content on their sites is not for children’s eyes.
My good friend Emma Bailey is a photographer in Brighton and has done a number of burlesque shoots. Burlesque is fun, the women often have normal sized bodies and I love vintage glamour. Fancy Chance is very funny to watch live and Banbury Cross is lovely too.
I’m also drawn to the pictures of a model known as Scar, they’re creative and apparently she makes headresses too, which is nice. Another artistic model is Allison Harvard, who reminds me of a Tim Burton character, and gothic model Apnea is jolly too.
Finally, I know it’s such a cliche that a person who likes Neil Gaiman and alternative models such as the Suicide Girls would also like the outfits in Tim Burton films but I do, so there. I’m not a goth but Alice in Wonderland and the White Queen had me searching for my dark lipstick, as did Lilly Cole in Terry Gilliam’s Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
Here’s a video of a creepy mechanical doll themed photo shoot by Tim Walker for Vogue Italia 2011
Here’s a video of a Jared Gold fashion show in 2008:
In the middle of August we three travelled all the way to Scotland to the Edinburgh Festival. We were lucky enough to stay with a friend, but I have previously stayed in a hostel with a few friends and found it to be a good option. If there’s enough of you an entire room can be overtaken, but remember – weeing around the perimeter as a form of territorialism is a bad idea.
Edinburgh’s looks are enough to make you fall in love with it. I lived for four years in Bath and it has the same Georgian style buildings and hills framing the distance, but there’s so much more to it than lovely but sleepy Bath it feels almost like a graduation.
You go out with a plan to see three shows and end up seeing twice as many, sometimes only from sitting in a pub and hearing about a free play/comedy act in that very venue.