Friday, 23 April 2010
Thursday, 15 April 2010
The audacity! Women's Hour on Radio 4 yesterday lifted us make do & mend, knit, craft and sew gals up on a rush of acknowledgement and then the presenter, Winifred Robinson, crushed us by tittering over knit cupcakes!
So I am making a stand here and now for the humble yet darling knit cupcake! I guess Winifred, bless her, has never held a handmade knitted cupcake in her little hand. But I do feel sure little 4, 6 or 8 year old Winifred would have been delighted to do so.
I confess I have made all kinds of wonderful knitted toys but never a cupcake. Instead, I've plundered ebay for lovely, sometimes granny (granny-love-vibe knitted-in, we like that) sellers, who make beautiful knit cakes, biscuits, sweets and fruits. The ones pictured here are available from CrazyDazyKnits of Belfast on Etsy - both knitted up and as PDF patterns.
We have a fabulous collection of all kinds of knit cupcakes, cakes, sweeties and biscuits. Also luxurious felt cakes and chocolates. They have been played with for several years and not just the usual dolls and bears tea party kind of game - in all kinds of imaginative play. They have been loved immensely and admired greatly by the most unexpected of people. Can't imagine that happening with icky, mass-produced in sweat factories plastic play food.
So if you have children, or just want to delight your inner child, don't let the tittering on Women's Hour bring you down and stop you from making your own or buying some handmade knit cakes, biscuits, sweeties and fruit direct from the creator on either Etsy or ebay.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
I'm going to talk about the attack of the Glasgow Tan. The insanity of the Glasgow Tan. The hideousness of the Glasgow Tan.
What is the 'Glasgow Tan' you say?
The answer isn't pretty. Even while I did say this blog would be about embracing loveliness I am bringing up this ugly only in an attempt to try to reveal the beauty underneath it.
When you first glance at a person with a Glasgow Tan you find yourself surprised they have ventured into the public domain with such a bright orange face, such a clear tanning disaster, such a brazen statement of beauty stupidity.
But then - jeez - you see another woman with the same orange face. And another. And it is not a virus, it is not a mass-spray tan massacre, it indeed appears that quite a lot of women in Glasgow think a beautiful face is an orange one.
What planet is this?
Unlovely as I find the artificial Jaffa orange skin tone, what I find far more unlovely is the inferred suggestion that the natural peely-wally, white-pale, sun-drained naturally white and pink toned face of a Scottish gal has been judged so ugly as to need to be covered up and spray-painted a different color. And not just any color but ORANGE!
Is it the influence of lovely sun-tanned women in Australian soaps like "Home and Away" and prettily-bronzed super models at Cannes or a pal back from her Mediterranean holiday with a freckled, healthy sunkissed skin tone that has fed a desire to just look a bit less pale? Who told these women they were so ugly with pale white skin that they needed to get it spray-painted to be attractive?
I wonder, how do the Glasgow Tan women feel about Michael Jackson lightening his face?
The Glasgow Tan has madly escalated like a drug overdose into manic melanoma melodrama.
I was talking to a friend about why the Glasgow Tan continues to spread like a virus. The only rationale we could think of is that it has become the equivalent of "I'm up for a shag" when you're down the pub. As obvious a signal as a baboon's bright pink bottom. So I guess that must be the 'pay-off' for the Glasgow Tan brigade: it saves you wearing a sign or even needing to talk if you're on the pull.
Oh god, there is something else. The Glasgow Tan gals have also passionately embraced the fluorescent clothing trend. Of course they have! The more artifice the better! Bring it on! Fluoro orange face and fluoro orange dress - nice!
Monday, 12 April 2010
Ah Malky. You died. The media in its obituaries describe you as an iconoclast and ‘impresario’. I love that. You were an impresario in the theatre of my life too.
I was one of you and Viv’s thousand-fold faceless love-children. The tribe who donned your attitude and the clothes you made - too poor to buy your label, of course, and too silly to mimic your wit but rich in the energy, the creativity and anarchistic rebellion you loved to foster.
We ate up your thrills, your words, your outlandishness.
But while I, a teenage punk rocker, smoked cigarettes and got drunk at parties in people’s houses with hairsprayed, backcombed peroxide hair, black clothes and dark khol eyes, just another unformed adult listening to the Sex Pistols, Stiff Little Fingers, the Buzzcocks, the Clash and all the rest occasionally backslashed into soft Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac songs we began to consider your svengality a betrayal.
You became to us young fools like ‘the man’, the establishment you loved to taunt. You became to us, who related to the punks you managed, uncool. How young and foolish we were not to understand the creator cannot ever kill that which he has already created.
For so long it was pathetically unfashionable to like you. I am glad you did not care. I hope you did not care. I hope you revelled in it, you master of contrariness.
Then “Paris”. How I heard your Paris album I do not know. The discovery is vampired by my total devotion to you for creating this beautiful soundtrack. Songs and tunes that came with me through so many lovely times in Australia and Paris itself.
You made something so grand. A glorious collaboration. Catherine Deneuve breathing and whispering “sing away?”. And your voice, so liquid, confident, smooth.
You said on this album, “This collection of songs attempts to inscribe a map of feelings over this jazz drenched city of Paris. A city where I have often been lost in a daydream, listening to Eric Satie, Art Blakey and Serge Gainsbourg. Some of their blood and smells remain.”
Thank you Mr Malcolm McLaren for being an unstable, revolutionary yet constant thread of a kaleidoscope in my little life.
You did so much more than “rescue fashion from commodification by the establishment” – your stated objective back in the 1970’s. You unwittingly rescued me and many other souls, liberating us from ‘commodification by the establishment’.
Malcolm Robert Andrew McLaren
22.01.46 – 08.04.10
Now your blood and smells remain with us.
Monday, 5 April 2010
I just stumbled upon a lovely quote about Cecil Day-Lewis, poet laureate. Not a quote from him. A quote from novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard who knew him well for many years and helped care for him in the days before he passed away.
"Nobody was better at getting the utmost pleasure from the simplest thing ... A bunch of flowers, a toasted bun, a gramophone record ... a piece of cherry cake, a new thriller that he'd not read before ... a piece of sweet-smelling soap" noted Howard in her memoir, Slipstream (2002).
While we may not all be able to compose divine poetry like Day-Lewis, we are certainly able to get the greatest pleasure from the simplest things. You don't have to be an inspired poet to feel focused awareness and with it the rich appreciation that flows to our depths.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Thursday, 1 April 2010
As well as cutting clothes, I also like cutting shapes out of paper.
So does Scottish graphic designer Jono Sandilands who created the papercut loveliness below.
See more of his papercut work for Promote Shetland - including a lovely photo and sketch storyboard of how his papercuts were used in a brochure at the central station community.