These two bands essentially reflect two sides of the same late sixties counter culture. The Velvet Underground of course were moody heroin addicted speed freaks and Jefferson Airplane believed psychedelics had the power to make everyone cuddle forever. Two good bands from a fascinating era.
Here’s Velvet Underground’s Waiting for the Man:
And as an added bonus here’s a very short clip of them playing Venus in Furs live while Edie Sedgwick and Gerard Malanga frolic in the background (beginning might hurt your ears, careful):
It’s the New Year! OK it’s been the new year for a little while but I heard lots of birds today and it made me think of spring, therefore it only really became new year properly for me today. You know what I mean. And a new year means a new look. Sometimes. Well, the magazines keep telling me this and they wouldn’t lie, would they?
Anyway… after you’ve read the article I posted a while ago on looking and feeling vintage, here are various tutorials you may find useful. From everyone’s favourite make up muse Edie Sedgwick to modern gothic, from 20s flapper to hippie/metal/whatever dreadlocks, punk to steampunk and blacklight parties it’s all right here. Hooray!
First, because I used to have dreadlocks and I still love them, is a how to:
If real dreads are too much of a frightening commitment, here’s how to do them in wool:
Next up some gothicness. Here is MissChievous’ make-up tutorial:
The ‘Tim Burton’ look from Michelle Phan:
Antimony and Lace is a site dedicated to tutorials on do it yourself goth clothes, and Goth.net is a community site for sharing clothes tips and the like.
Quite a sweet tutorial for rock types on making shredded leggings. My favourite part was the cat:
In order to celebrate the brilliant Mad Men’s entry into 1967, I decided to share with you some of my favourite psychedelic/hip/groovy movies.
Some good, some great, others just bizarre, feast your eyes on this list of eye-wateringly colourful (except for the black and white one) offerings. If there’s any I’ve forgotten, please add in the comments:
1. The Trip. Directed by Roger Corman, written by Jack Nicholson (I know?), Peter Fonda takes acid, is victimized by a man with a chair, drinks with a dwarf, watches painted boobs jiggle around and visits some seriously psychedelic houses. Dennis Hopper wins award for the amount of times he fits the word ‘man’ into one single speech:
2. More. Rather more downbeat, I like the European feel of this one; the director and main actor are German. He meets a lady in England and they go to Spain. She’s a hippie but she pulls him into heroin addiction. She also wears great clothes.
3. The Strawberry Statement. Rather sweet and funny film about a student slowly getting involved with the protests. Harold of Harold and Maude (Bud Cort) also makes an appearance.
4. Psych Out. Very silly romp through late sixties San Fransisco as Jack Nicholson (again?) helps a square deaf chick look for her brother and plays in a terrible band. Groovy:
5. Joe. Dark look at one man’s bitter take on the free love and drug scene. The screenplay was by Norman Wexler, the man reputed to be the insane Mr X in Bob Zmuda‘s biography on close friend Andy Kaufman.
6. Smoke and flesh. Nothing happens in this film. I really mean it. I think one of the main reasons I like it though is my endless nosiness for what people might get up to behind closed doors.
Basically, a bunch of groovy swingers have a party, wait for the weed to arrive, get stoned, talk about stuff and then complain about the bikers who arrive later. One of them spikes a biker with acid, which I think is a bit mean.
7. Performance. Part film part art installation, gangster James Fox goes on the run and finds himself staying with Mick Jagger and his two hippie girlfriends. Sex, drugs and identity crises ensue:
At easter when I was small my sisters and I would make a scene of hatching chicks using cotton wool, paint and real egg shells. Its bizarre to think that the girls who would sneak off to raves in the middle of the night would also spend time with me making things.
Anyway…spring and easter are looming and that means three things; chocolates, hormones and arts and crafts. And apparently zombies. Four things. Click on the links for how tos or to purchase these seasonal lovelies.
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:
What comes to mind when you think of squats and squatters? Hardcore people with dreads and mohicans, nostrils full of ketamine and all night parties, or me…sitting in my room reading Harry Potter?
OK, the Harry Potter book belonged to someone else, but you get the idea. A friend of mine who did actually have a nostril full of ketamine and a head full of dreads had left the room empty apart from a few things and I had found myself at a loose end. Clubs and parties in Brighton were starting to bore me and so was sitting on the phone listening to people moan about the service of American Express. I wanted to be doing something creative in London. I just didn’t know how.
So I arrived in Stratford in 2005 eager and terrified. The squat was enormous; previously an old pub there were several floors and large bar rooms. I’d been naive – I had no plans and no need to find a job to pay rent, therefore I began a new routine of waking at 4pm, scratching myself for an hour or two and spending the rest of the night watching tv with a few of my housemates.
One of the people living there was a dealer. He was a nice bloke. Everyone else did actually go to work regularly and only a couple had what I would call a coke habit. One man was reaching his late thirties and beginning to realise the majority of his life had been spent outside the system, and he was starting to panic. Most of my time there, though, was spent on my own, not knowing anyone or how to begin my new creative adventures, reading this Harry Potter book left by my friend, and I was bored…bored…bored.
Some good memories did come of it. One day as winter hit hard I realised I would have to collect firewood or freeze. Myself and a hippie girl went out into the courtyard, searched amongst the tires and tiles and found enough branches and logs to take up with us. Once back in my room the frozen streets were hidden behind the pink sarong I’d hammered in place above the window (I’ve still got it with me today) and we stacked the wood and twisted newspaper in the fireplace grate just outside the door. Once I’d got it crackling we turned on the tv from its place on the makeshift stand ( a wooden box) and warmed ourselves. I fed the fire all night, smiling like a proud mother as it leapt up the chimney.
Another night the dealer had arrived back after one of his times away. I was always pleased to see him and his dog as they were the ones I was closest to. Hours of film watching and rubbish tv would take place in his room as the fire in his own grate roared more substantially than any I lit. He’d brought a smoke machine back from Brighton and everyone was standing excitedly round it in the empty bar. “We should set it off,” he suggested, and we agreed.
After several hisses large clouds obscured our vision. We giggled like children until the novelty passed and we went our seperate ways. I moved the sarong curtain in my room aside to check the streets…only to find a small crowd had gathered. They were shouting to each other and waving to me. Confused, I waved back. A lady formed a loudspeaker with her hands and called: “Don’t worry, we’ve rung for help.” Oh dear.
In the next minute a fire engine pulled up outside to rescue us from the building with smoke pouring from the roof. I ran to find one of the others. At the time it seemed like a disaster but only hours later we were laughing about it, and in my retellings I left out the bit where I panicked and begged my friend to go outside and speak to everyone.
Most of the articles/stories on this site I’ve written for fun (unless they’re segments of published stories), but this one appears on a travel site. This version’s better. Hidden within these words you’ll find my previous life as a student of Bath Spa University. Bits of it are very studenty, such as the preoccupation with pubs.
If lively entertainment and surreal festivals are your thing, Bath is the answer when you want something a little different. From punk to street parades, it has it all.
Forget the pretty Georgian buildings (although they are lovely) and drunken students singing rugby songs; if you’re a tourist in Bath there is a lot more to see. If you’re around in the summer both tourists and locals alike will recommend the Bath Fringe Festival. Beginning on the 25th May and ending on the 10th of June, it’s a two-week journey into the surreal with performances from underground theatre groups in various venues around town. Many are often set in the Chapel Arts Centre, Bath’s ‘alternative arts venue,’ alongside late night pubs and parties. Let me tell you, it was an experience hearing a Dalek recite a DaDaist poem at 1 in the morning.
However it is the parades the festival is best known for. Only on the street party Walcot Nation Day (Walcot Street of course) can you be confronted with the likes of an 8-foot furry spider; it may be a man on stilts in costume but it’s still impressive. In the brilliant sunshine the chaos of the day becomes more and more pronounced, “I ended up on the back of a stranger’s bike handing out fliers for an art exhibition whilst being followed by circus performers swallowing fire,” recalls local Susie Morris, 27, fondly.
Crazy festivities aside, for those a little more local to Bath there is still a lot to keep a person entertained when the slow-walking tourists have gone. Aside from watching the ever-present street performers in the Square by the beautiful cathedral, or strolling around market stalls of alternative/hippie clothes and jewellery, you could sample the local flavour on a pub crawl. Start with vegetarian pub The Porter Cellar Bar, which is good fun with a variety of music (it’s best if you like it very loud), and full of pierced eye-candy both male and female. Through the gradually ascending hip hop or other ‘cool’ music you’re bound to meet all the young things of the area, and downstairs you’ll occasionally find bands, acoustic performers or comedy.
Next, off to Mandolin’s, the gay pub, which is always very full at the weekend; next there’s the Bell, favoured place of hippies and Rastafarians, and finish at the Porter Butt. This last place is famous for “loud and vicious” techno and punk nights, and is proud of its lack of shine. Andy Tanner, the landlord, lovingly describes it as having “a 1970s floor, nicotine walls and a flock of parrots to collect the dust, and the best pool table in Bath.” Something to bear in mind is the massive variety of ales on offer.
Upon waking the next day with a very sensitive head and a need for something more soothing, you can have a good breakfast at one of the many art cafes.
Upstairs in these venues are often poetry nights or art exhibitions, and there are a number of open mic nights (evenings that encourage anybody to grab the mike and perform) held monthly in assorted sites. Anyone can have a go as long as they’re brave enough, and a bar is always available.
If hair of the dog is the only way, head for the aforementioned Bell on Walcot Street. Settle down with a bottle of Weston’s cider amongst the canal dwellers, grizzled old hippies and dreadlocked residents to a soundtrack of folk or reggae, and later on liven up to a ska band at weekends. As happy hour reaches ever nearer, you have a couple of options open to you. You can either head to On the Video Front DVD rental and savour the joys of Hammer horrors, video nasties, worldwide indie cinema, the entire two series of Twin Peaks and many, many more; or you can head back down to the Porter and begin the journey all over again.