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#1. October 2014

Editor’s letter

Contents

Welcome to Artefact, produced by students on the BA Journalism course at the London College

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of Communication. We've set ourselves the goal of making a magazine that, even though it

IN BRIEF

is free, stands comparison with anything that you'll find on the newstands. It is written by students at LCC but it is not an introspective take on university life. We're looking

08

HARDER THAN YOU THINK

outwards at the cultural and social issues that matter, not just to students but to people

Sean Coppack

09

THE TRUE COST OF KETAMINE

Ed Oliver

generally, in London and beyond. When we first came up with the idea for Artefact we agreed that it should have a London metropolitan focus, and an international feel, that our target audience is 18-30 year-

Cover image

olds who want to learn but don’t want to be taught. This magazine, we decided, should be:

Photography by

10

SATURDAY GIRL

positively disruptive, raw, radical; the other side of London, with different angles and

Tyrone Lebon,

Bianca Pascall

real sources; educational, without teaching, pub chat repartee, with sharp English wit and

styling by Max

humble, conversational journalism, clean lines, strong visuals and clear ideas.

Pearmain, hair

16

COME TO DADDY

by Tina Outen,

Emily Segameglio

In this issue you'll find an investigation into the world of the sugar daddy, in which

makeup by

wealthy older men form ‘mutually rewarding relationships’ with young female students.

Isamaya Ffrench,

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FUCK IT, WE'RE IN IBIZA

There’s a reassessment of the life and career of Isabella Blow, the late fashion muse who

makeup for Lily

Dominic Brown

is back in the spotlight following major retrospective exhibitions in Britain and America.

Cole by Niamh

We look at the world of the young Brits who spend their summers working hard and playing

Quinn, nails by

26

WHY I HATE MUSIC FESTIVALS

harder in the clubs bars and restaurants of Ibiza. There’s an investigation into the real

Grace Humphries,

Isabella Smith

cost of ketamine, and the physical toll it takes on users and a feature on making travel

set design by

affordable through the growing couchsurfing movement. There are reviews of music, games and

Poppy Bartlett.

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COUCH POTATO INTERNATIONALE

films and our regular Freeness section tells you about cultural events in London, where you

Model: Lily Cole

Damielle Agtani

can have a beer or a glass of wine without splashing the cash.

at Storm. 32

A POTTED HISTORY OF PARANOIA

We've been fortunate enough to have the co-operation of a number of well-known artists

Cover graphic:

Zeus Simcoe

and photographers, whose work you will see accompanying some of the features, among them

Mark James Works

Juergen Teller, Linder Sterling, Jeremy Deller, Gareth McConnell, Jason Evans, Casey Orr,

38

FASHION WAS HER REASON

Luke Stephenson and Tyrone Lebon, who supplied our cover image. Huge thanks to them.

Diana Tleuliyeva

Artefact will appear four to five times per year and we won't be charging for it. It will

42

DJ FOOD'S TOP TRACKS

be available in the LCC and the other colleges of the University of the Arts London and

Ed Oliver

or bar and would like to make Artefact available to your customers, drop us a line on

43

SAINT, SINNER OR BOTH?

artefactlcc@gmail.com. Use the same email to tell us what you think about Artefact -

Ivo Aleixo

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SEEING THE LIGHT

Luke O'Driscoll

Contributors

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THE MILLION-POUND POP-UP

Corie Schwabenland

Writers:

46 REVIEWS

we'd like to see it in as many other locations as possible. So if you have a shop, cafe

we'd love to hear your views.

Danielle Agtani, Yasaman Ahmadzai, Ivo Aleixo, Beatrice Bosotti, Dominic Brown, Sean Coppack, Luke O’Driscoll, Ed Oliver, Ebi Osuobeni, Bianca Pascall, Corie Schwabenland,

48

SEEN ON CAMPUS

Emily Segameglio, Zeus Simcoe, Storm Simpson, Isabella Smith, Fraser Thorne,

Isabella Smith

Diana Tleuliyeva, James Wood 49 FREENESS Images:

Alastair Brennan

Gareth McConnell, Casey Orr, Mathew Sawyer, Corie Schwabenland, Isabella Smith,

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LAST WORD

John Spinks, Luke Stephenson, Linder Sterling, Juergen Teller

Ebi Osuobeni

Charles Avery, Jeremy Deller, Pete Donaldson, Jason Evans, Will Henry, Tyrone Lebon,

Art Director: Scott King Designer: Oswin Tickler, Smallfury Designs Publishing information: Published by the London College of Communication, London SE1 6SB

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IN BRIEF

Louise Wilson 1962 – 2014

Art in a sacred space

Louise Wilson, director of the Fashion MA

Grace Adam, LCC’s lead design tutor on the

course at Central Saint Martins, died unex-

Access to Higher Education Diploma, is art-

pectedly in May at the age of 52. Regarded

ist in residence at St Giles-in-the-Fields

as fashion’s greatest talent spotter, she

Church in central London. During October

discovered leading fashion designers such

she has an exhibition in the church called

as Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane and

The Act and Art of Remembering. It takes

John Rocha.

the form of a series of sculptural interventions which form an investigation and

She was one of the most influential fig-

response into monuments and memorials in St

ures in the fashion industry. Designer

Giles-in-the-Fields, and their relation-

Alber Elbaz said about her: “She could be

ships with the space itself. Through her

a millionaire million times over but she’s

work, Grace hopes “to make interventions

always backstage pushing the industry for-

that enliven, inform and question; that

ward.” During her 22 years as course di-

awaken us to parts of our city that we no

rector, she has taught some of the world’s

longer see clearly or perhaps even notice.”

best designers: McQueen, Kane, Roksanda Ilincic, Jonathan Saunders and Mary Ka-

Grace said: “Through this Residency and

trantzou to mention a few.

Exhibition I am seeking to explore and research rigorously these architectural addi-

She was known for her demanding and uncom-

tions: their meanings and place in an inner

promising style but also for her complete

city for twenty-first-century

commitment to her students and the support

users. Some are to religious thinkers, in-

that she gave them, not just during their

ventors, to famous or forgotten artists and

to Grace Adam’s creative and innovative

time at university but afterwards and long

writers, to ordinary people. The church is

response to the history that has gathered

into their careers. As Christopher Kane

used everyday by local workers as a place

itself around the fabric and place of St

said: ““She supported me all through the MA

to pray, lunch, relax, contemplate. I am

Giles through many centuries. We hope that

and didn’t stop when I left Central Saint

re-engaging people with this space, and

Grace’s work, so closely tailored to the

Martins - we did a talk together last Mon-

making interventions that enliven, inform

specific properties of the Church, will

day evening and she looked so well... Peo-

and question; that awaken us to parts of

help us to see and remember better, and to

ple think Louise was a tyrant - to some she

our city that we no longer see clearly or

realise the voices of the past in the lives

was - but with me she was very mothering:

perhaps even notice”.

of the present.” The exhibition runs at StGiles-in-the-Fields, close to High Holborn,

we were like family.” Alan Carr, Associate Rector, The Parish Her advice was a mixture of blunt good

Church of St Giles-in-the-Fields, com-

sense and nurturing advice.

mented: “We are greatly looking forward

until the end of October. Words: Justine Thompson

Key to her philosophy was the importance of developing a personal style and allying that with practical ability. “We like portfolios with an individualism but mainly with a skill. A skill can be from colour to 3D work, from drawing to sketching.”

The art of design

She emphasized the importance of working hard to improve. It is, she insisted, crucial to have at least one skill and develop it. Louise also pointed out how important it is to have ambition, too, saying that students should “find a way to work with their skills or a skill so that they could become best in what they do in the industry.” It is clearly advice that many of her students took to heart as they began their journeys to senior and influential roles in

The London Design Festival has come to to the London College of Communication in the shape of three exhibitions, covering illustration, posters and graphic art. Stereohype celebrated ten years of the London-based graphic art label and online art boutique of that name and its popular button badge collection, which reached 1,000 badges this year. All the badges were on show at LCC, together with an anniversary poster and badge project specially commissioned for the occasion.

the fashion world. Her advice to anybody considering post-graduate study was to ‘think longterm, not short term’. Studying at a postgraduate level is like “going on a journey” – you have the opportunity to engage with tutors, take risks and make mistakes. “Failure is OK, you can learn from it.” Finally, she came back to the importance of hard work and preparation, even for interviews. It is vital, she said, to know about your subject and the world that you are trying to break into. “It’s a lack of

Alan Kitching and Monotype: Celebrating the Centenary of Five Pioneers of the Poster presented a set of prints created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of five giants of graphic design: Tom Eckersley, Abram Games, FHK Henrion, Joseph Müller-Brockmann and Paul Rand. The exhibition was curated by LCC alumnus Daniel Chehade, who is also responsible for the branding of the LCC Graduate School. The 50 Years of Illustration exhibition, which runs until the end of October at the LCC in the Elephant & Castle, examines the influence of contemporary illustration on design. It includes familiar and iconic works from popular culture, including the cover of Armed Forces by Elvis Costello, Revolver by the Beatles, Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho and the poster for Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange.

work when people have appeared not to know what has happened in fashion in the last 10 years.”

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Words: Alastair Brennan


Revolver, The Beatles, Apple Records, 1966, Klaus Voorman

Dylan, Milton Glaser, 1966

Surrender, The Chemical Brothers, Virgin, 1999, Kate Gibb

Untitled, Eric Gill, 1928

Button Badges, Stereohype

A, Paul Rand, 1965

Minute man, Paul Rand, 1975

5


IN BRIEF

Is YouTube the future for film-makers? Today, the emphasis in securing a job with big media corporations to be successful is not as strong as it used to be. Instead, there are opportunities to use platforms like Youtube to launch your career. Some Youtubers are raking in thousands of pounds from their videos, and are being cast in movies, releasing their own products and even publishing novels. Despite this success, though, there are questions about the quality of the work. Although it’s shot on video, is it really film-making that could compete with the best of TV, cinema and advertising? Bigname Youtubers Jenna Marbles, Ray William Johnson and PewdiePie have around 51 million subscribers between them. Although they film and edit their own videos, they would not consider themselves film-makers and instead em-brace the ‘Youtubers’ name. There are channels on Youtube pushing the boundaries of film though. For instance, Ben Brown’s channel has almost 200,000 subscribers, and gaining subscribers every day. Ben films videos he calls ‘Visual Vibes’ and this is where we see his interest in film-making emerge. His most recent ‘Visual Vibes’ video shot on a Sony FS700 features plenty of su-per slow motion shots and creative thinking that ould happily sit alongside advertisements on national television. For instance, he is hanging out of his friend’s car along Westminster Bridge while capturing footage of fellow Youtuber

Good news for London cyclists

Louis Cole and Steve Brooks, skate-boarding whilst clinging onto two Boris Bikes.

London is not always a welcoming city for

The ‘superhighways’ may even have made cy-

cyclists. The roads are busy, the motorists

cling more dangerous in places by creating

His followers were shocked when he an-

often aggressive and the cycling infra-

a false sense of security, which was said

nounced he had spent £7,000 on the Sony

structure leaves a lot to be desired.

to have been a factor in the death of a cy-

FS700, but he said: “I’m hoping it’s going

clist at the Bow roundabout in East London.

to bring cool content to the channel and

Despite that, the numbers taking to their

I’m pretty confi-dent that it’s going to

bikes increases year after year. The number

The call for segregated cycling routes,

improve the quality of my shooting and the

of commuters cycling to work has more than

which are common elsewhere in Europe has

super slow motion should give an edge to my

doubled in a decade, from 77,000 in 2001 to

long been resisted by the Mayor and by

edits as well.”

156,000 in 2011.

Transport for London, to the frustration of

Jack and Finn Harris both run a Youtube

Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, likes to be

channel named Jack’s Gap which has ap-

photographed on his bike and has had a lot

proxi-mately 3.6 million subscribers.

to say about improving conditions for cy-

Now, however, there are signs the Mayor has

Jack’s Gap created a project they named

clists. He introduced the cycle hire scheme

heard the protests. In September he an-

‘the Rickshaw Run’, which features sev-

that continues to grow in popularity but he

nounced two brand-new London cycling routes

en friends trekking across India for three

has done a great deal less to make London

– one south to north, one west to east –

weeks on rickshaws rais-ing money for the

safe for those on two wheels.

the majority of which will be segregated.

filming throughout the three weeks on point

In contrast to other European cities, the

The south to north route is particularly

and shoot cameras and a Canon D5, as well

typical London cyclist is male, Lycra-clad,

significant for UAL students, as it begins

as the long process spent ed-iting the

strong and confident. However, less expe-

at the Elephant and Castle, home of the LCC

footage is evident in the four part se-

rienced cyclists tend to avoid the city’s

and ends at King’s Cross, near our sister

ries. It could pass as a travel documentary

streets and children cycling to school are

college Central St Martin’s. It’s not yet

filmed for the Discovery channel or BBC.

a rarity.

guaranteed that the routes will be built,

While the most popular channels on Youtube,

There seemed some hope when Johnson intro-

clists should take the opportunity to voice

are still fairly basic in their film-making

duced with great fanfare a set of ‘cycle

their support for the scheme on Transport

tech-niques, it is clear that some You-

superhighways’ that criss-crossed the city.

for London’s website - tfl.gov.uk/campaign/

tubers are beginning to push things further

Yet these turned out to be no more than

cycle-superhighway-consultations.

and embrace the art of film making.

blue paint at the edge of busy roads,

campaign groups who point to the capital’s grim total of cycling deaths.

Teenage Cancer Trust. The effort put into

as there is opposition from business so cy-

Words: Danielle Agtani

6

regularly encroached into by cars, buses

Words: Alistair Brennan

and motorbikes.

Image: Transport for London


BEWARE MINI-CAB CRIMINALS

Story of a singing student

With thousands of new students arriving in London, the police and transport authorities are uniting to warn of the risks posed by unlicensed minicabs.

Katy Pickles is a guitar playing singer

things that happen from day to day – lives

songwriter from a small town in the North

experiences are what make me want to pick

West of England. She recently moved to Lon-

up my guitar and write. And finally, what

don in 2013 to pursue a degree in songwrit-

are the best-and worst parts in what you

ing at Tech Music School.

do? The best part of what I do…well…I guess

Police officers and Transport for London's Taxi and Private Hire compliance officers will visit Freshers’ events to deliver the key message that travelling in minicabs that are not booked through a licensed operator, by phone or by going into the office, is potentially dangerous. Even if a minicab has a licence sticker, it isn’t safe unless it’s booked, warn the police.

When did you first start playing the gui-

that people enjoy. It’s great when people

tar? I actually started out on drums! I

relate to what you’re saying – even if it’s

just felt like I couldn’t express myself

not in the way you intended – it’s knowing

fully behind a kit – so one summer, I

that they connected with the music in the

picked up my Dad’s guitar and started play-

way I do when I perform that’s rewarding.

ing (the guitar I now currently gig with!).

Performing is great too – connecting with

The songwriting just came hand in hand with

audiences is a really special thing. The

the progression of my guitar playing. I

worst thing has to be dragging my guitar

slowly started playing gigs in and around

everywhere – I’m only little and my gui-

my hometown from the age of 13 – I haven’t

tar weighs a tonne. When I think about it

stopped since! When did you realize music

though – if this is the worst thing I’ve

is what you want to spend your life perus-

got it pretty good.

it’s knowing that you’re creating music

The reality of life in London is that late at night, licensed black cabs (which can be hailed on the street) are thin on the ground and expensive and the Underground stops running fairly early. There are night buses, of course, but these can be slow (as well as being noisy and unpleasant at times) and they may not go particularly close to where you live.

ing? There was never a point when I decided music was what I wanted to do – it just

If you want to buy Katy’s EP it is for sale

happened that way! I went through phases

at katypickles.bandcamp.com for £3.

of wanting to be a painter, photographer, interior designer, writer, all sorts! But

Words: Storm Simpson

music was the only thing that I actual-

Image: John Spinks

ly felt I actually needed – it’s an outlet for my emotions and my way of coping with life. Why did you choose London, and was it the right move for you musically? My hometown, Lancaster, is so small. I really had exhausted the music scene and I needed to move away to challenge myself and

Unlicensed minicab drivers take advantage of this situation and, especially outside clubs, bars and other popular venues, it’s common to see touts, sometimes operating in shop doorways, and drivers looking for fares.

grow. London was and is the perfect place to do this! It was hard adapting at first – especially considering I had to develop a fan base from scratch – but I’m getting there! What are your plans for after your graduation? After pressing my nose against a cake shop aged 10, my Mum told me that when it came to me getting married, she’d

Epecially late at night, it can be tempting to get into a convenient minicab or to approach a tout on the street, but, warn the police, this can place you at risk of attack, including sexual assault or robbery. Furthermore, it’s highly doubtful that an unlicensed driver will have the appropriate insurance to carry passengers, which will cause problems if you are unlucky enough to be involved in an road accident.

pay for the most fabulous cake imaginable. I replied with ‘Marriage? I’m not thinking much past lunch right now!’ – and that’s still the case. Who knows what I’ll be doing after uni? As long as I’m constantly creating then I’m sure I’ll be happy. Who would you say are your biggest influences? My influences musically include Joni Mitchell, Nanci Griffith, Carole King, Paul Simon, Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse…I could go on. But what really influences me are the

The police say that there will also be hundreds of police out and about in London looking for unlicensed cab operators and seeking to shut them down. Chief Superintendent Matt Bell, Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “The Roads and Transport Policing Command is committed to reducing the number of cab-related sexual offences. Our officers will be on the streets during this year's Freshers period to give students safe travel information to ensure they have safe and secure journeys home.” Words: Justine Thompson

7


Words: Sean Coppack Image: Will Henry

Harder than you think A rugby player takes a ballet class and discovers that the world of dance is not as gentle as it looks

Dance

One thing that struck me throughout

Works studios in central London with

the experience was the physicality and

an enormous sense of trepidation, not

strength required, even for the most

quite sure what I’d let myself in for.

basic steps. We had only reached the

This

week

as

I

went

down

to

half-way point and my legs were already burning.

As someone who’s more accustomed to the

rugby

or

football

pitch,

this

class in classical ballet was certain-

“It’s incredibly physical, some people

ly going to be a step outside of my

have a very natural turn out and it

comfort zone.

makes it easier to begin with… as you get up to the professional level you

I decided to take on this challenge a

see the guys who can pick the girl up

week into the Winter Olympics as it’s

from a standing start and hold them

about this point in every major games

above their head. It takes a lot of

when many of us, especially myself,

strength,” explains Frost.

have developed an encyclopedic knowledge of sports to which we will not

After a successful first half, it was

devote a second thought during the in-

time to move on without the safety of

tervening four years.

the bar. During rugby training sessions there also comes a point when

When I was 14 I saw Billy Elliot for

you stop going through handling drills

the first time, the film tells the

and playing touch rugby; the tackling

tale of a miner’s son growing up in

bags are introduced and it’s time to

the industrial north east during the

start hitting things.

miners strikes of the 1980s. This is generally greeted with a bit Elliot

of a groan as it represents the start

winds up as the only boy in a ballet

of the real hard work where you train

class, hosted in the same venue as

your body for an 80-minute rugby match.

the boxing club he’s supposed to be

The similarities between this ballet

attending. Before long, Elliot finds

class and rugby training were becoming

himself auditioning for the Royal Bal-

more apparent and this class was about

let school and moving away from his

to get harder.

After

a

slight

mishap

Billy

family in Durham. ** The film struck a chord with me. I’d never danced, I’d never been inter-

The next 25 minutes were spent repeat-

ested in dance but I was suddenly now

ing the exercises we’d already been

convinced that I could have been a

through

ballet dancer had I not reached the

tance, it’s fair to say that balance

without

the

bar

for

assis-

is not my strong point and I took to

point of no return with football and

this section of the class like a duck

rugby. So here I am at university with

“We get a lot of different people in

she’s

the opportunity to find my inner Wayne

the beginners class, a lot of people

serve me well throughout the class.

to ballet.

Sleep or Fred Astaire.

who take part in ballet will give up in

doing’

I

thought:

this

would

their childhood and then reach a stage

With

time

Frost’s abilities as a teacher, how-

Located just off Oxford Street, Dance

where they want to take it up again,

to get down to some ‘proper ballet’.

ever, seemed only to be matched by

Works is one of the top dancing estab-

this class is perfect for them.

“For all the first-timers, this is go-

her unwavering patience, she talked me

ing to hurt. It’s supposed to hurt -

through where I was going wrong and I was soon back on the horse.

lishments in London, with its eleven

the

warm-up

over

it

was

studios hosting classes ranging from

“We do get a lot of complete first tim-

ballet is hard but just try and keep

contemporary jazz and classical ballet

ers and some guys as well, there’s a

up.” says Hannah Frost in a unique

to Argentine tango and lyrical contem-

truck driver who’s been taking classes

tone of voice that was somehow both

The class concluded with some basic

porary (still not entirely sure what

for a while now.”

reassuring

jumping exercises. And much as in the

that is.)

and

foreboding,

in

equal

warm up I felt as if this was an area

measure.

that I was suitably prepared for and

I suspect the presence of this truck After arriving and paying the entrance

driver would’ve gone a long way to eas-

The first half of the beginners class

one

fee (£10) for the class, it soon be-

ing my first-timer nerves and made me

comprises some basic ballet positions

been jumping for 20 years at least’ I

in

which

I

would

excel,

‘I’ve

came apparent that my plan of mak-

feel inordinately less self-conscious.

and movements with the aid of a bar

thought. This time I was right and I

ing it through the ninety minutes in-

Alas, he was nowhere to be seen (prob-

for balance.

jumped like the expert jumper I con-

conspicuously tucked into one corner

ably off driving his truck somewhere).

sider myself to be. **

would not be possible.

“You’re a natural,” exclaimed Frost,

The class begins with some stretches.

capitalizing

on

this

opportunity

to

I was the only male in the class of

Now, limbering up the joints for the

Forty

25, I stood out like a sore thumb and

ensuing activity is not something I’m

things were going swimmingly, my de-

was instructed to line up on the bar

completely unfamiliar with, we do it

cision to copy the girl in front was

in the centre of the studio… ‘this is

every week before our games in fact.

paying dividends and I had even estab-

In the blink of an eye my first bal-

lished the meaning of first position

let experience was over, I’d love to

(baby steps).

tell you how it was too easy and too

going to be a long hour and a half’ I **

thought.

minutes

into

the

class

and

heap praise on the struggling newbie.

‘girlie’ and I won't be going back, but that would be a lie. I loved it.

has

This would surely be an area in which

I

elemen-

I’d excel. However, phrases such as

the introduction of the phrase ‘a la

tary classes in classical ballet at

‘elevate from first’ and ‘demi-plié’

seconde’, I managed to establish that

So if you’re thinking of taking up

Dance Works for the last four years

made even the warm-up a baffling ex-

this was just a movement of one foot to

something new in 2014 get down to Dance

explained that her classes are usually

perience. My best hope was to copy the

the side before anyone had clocked my

Works and try one of their classes. I

made up of a really mixed bunch.

girl in front. ‘She seems to know what

incompetence. Crisis averted.

promise you won’t regret it.

The been

8

teacher, teaching

Hannah

Frost,

beginner

and

who

was,

however,

thrown

slightly

by


Words: Ed Oliver Image: 123RF.com

The true cost of Ketamine Our investigation uncovers the horrifying damage suffered by regular users of a party drug.

a

“My tolerance built up really quickly.

9-inch scar stretching the length of

I was doing half-gram lines, snorting

his abdomen. At just 19-years old the

at least five grams a day, sometimes

trainee joiner from Bristol had a blad-

more. It stopped being a party thing.

der smaller than most pensioners and a

I dropped out of college and spent

urinary system ravaged beyond repair,

most of my time getting messed up at

leaving him the choice of wearing a

home or in squats around Bristol.”

Jamie

lifts

his

shirt

to

reveal

colostomy bag for the rest of his life or having the bladder removed entire-

It wasn’t long before Jamie’s life-

ly. He opted for the latter: “Before

style

the operation I was incontinent. Piss-

starting with abdominal pain and lead-

ing myself at parties. At my worst I

ing to far more disturbing symptoms:

began

affecting

his

health,

was pissing blood - thick, red, gooey stuff. I was in constant pain and the

“I had K cramps all the time, but that

only thing that seemed to ease it was

seemed pretty standard. Most of the

the thing that caused it.”

people around me would get them too so I wasn’t that worried. I got concerned

As unusual as it sounds, Jamie’s sto-

when I needed the toilet every 10 min-

ry is increasingly common. The cause?

utes. When I started pissing blood I

Ketamine. The dissociative anaesthet-

knew I had to see a doctor.”

ic formerly used in human and veteri**

nary surgery has been getting people off their tits since the 60’s, but in recent years a worrying trend has

The ‘K cramps’ are often the first

emerged

Escalating

signs of physical damage in Ket us-

numbers of cases are being reported of

ers, caused by an intense spasm in the

irreparable physical damage caused by

abdominal muscles. Prolonged use can

heavy, sustained use. Dr Daniel Wood,

also lead to ulceration of the bladder

a consultant urologist at University

lining, cystitis and incontinence, and

College London, outlines the issue:

the capacity of the bladder can shrink

amongst

K-heads.

by up to 95%. “Ketamine

appears

to

cause

direct

damage to the lining of the urinary

Jamie was referred to a specialist who

communication between people, and the

the ‘party drug’ the media was label-

tract, and the bladder, ureters and

told him that his urinary system would

music began reflecting that. Some Lon-

ling it:

kidneys may all be damaged. It’s grow-

no longer function unless he wore a

don squat parties were downright sin-

ing popularity as a recreational drug

colostomy bag or the bladder was sur-

ister actually, with people injecting

“It became very antisocial. You’d go

has shown a correlation with the in-

gically removed and replaced:

K in full view.”

to people’s houses and it would be

lems amongst users. We’re mainly see-

“I couldn’t get my head round it at

By the turn of the millennium K had

running out of their noses. No chat

ing these cases in young adults, but

first. The thought of wearing a bag

permeated

cul-

whatsoever. You’d see it in a lot of

I’m aware of school children using the

full of piss was too much. I was em-

ture, becoming increasingly popular in

the clubs as well, nobody dancing or

drug and developing symptoms. I also

barrassed and scared. After discussing

nightclubs.

smiling. It created a dark vibe.”

know of patients aged up to 50 years.”

the options with the doctor I decided

crease in cases of urological prob-

a room full of zombies with K snot mainstream

UK

drug

to go ahead with surgery. They removed

In 2005 K users began reporting blad-

While most drug enthusiasts previously

There are an estimated 100,000 Ket-

my bladder and built a new one from

der problems, and it was classified as

looked to Ketamine for the pleasura-

amine users in the UK, though most

part of my bowel.”

a Class C drug in 2006. By 2007 the

ble, trippy properties it offers in

first recorded case of serious urinary

small doses, many are now driven by

will never experience health problems. Acting as a warm, wonky dissociative

Whilst K is commonly branded a ‘club

tract damage from Ketamine use was re-

the intense dissociative effects de-

in small doses and a full-blown psy-

drug’, cases such as Jamie’s are ex-

ported in Hong Kong and in 2008 the

rived from sustained and heavy use,

chedelic

treme examples of the relatively new

first cases were recorded in the UK.

something Jamie can relate to:

appeal is far-reaching, from teenage

phenomenon

antisocial

Jules, 32, from London, has been tak-

novices

to

consumption of the drug, whose sur-

ing Ketamine recreationally since 2002

“I didn’t get a buzz from it towards

minis-

gical and recreational use dates back

and cites a change in the drug market

the end. I was just trying to constant-

some six decades.

and increase in availability as one of

ly keep myself as fucked as possible,

the reasons for the shift:

as far from reality as possible. The

in and

corporate ters.

greater hardened

suits

Jamie

and

explains

quantities, psychonauts Catholic what

K’s

initially

of

sustained,

attracted him: Ketamine’s history is a colourful one, **

only way to maintain that was to sniff

beginning in the USA in the 1960s when

“From about 2006 onwards there was a

more and more, and that’s what did the

it was used as an anaesthetic in the

big MDMA drought which created the de-

harm. It’s a vicious circle.”

other

Vietnam War. First sold illegally on

mand for all the legal highs and de-

drugs, was nearly always decent qual-

the West Coast as ‘mean green’ and

signer drugs that are everywhere now.

Jamie no longer takes K, but the phys-

ity. I started out smoking weed and

‘rockmesc’, it was championed in the

The laboratories in Asia that produce

ical damage is permanent. His restruc-

doing MDMA and coke, but K is a big

70s by US psychonauts Marcia Moore and

them were also manufacturing lots of

tured bladder will have to be replaced

part of the party scene in Bristol and

Dr John C. Lilly, and its popularity

K, so the availability increased as a

by the time he is 50, and he makes

kind of hard to avoid. I was 17 when

spread amongst New Age spiritualists

result and the price dropped. That’s

fortnightly visits to hospital to sy-

I started. I’d buy a gram for £20 and

and mind explorers.

when people started getting stuck in

ringe out the mucus from his bowel.

“It’s

cheap,

and

unlike

most

heavily, doing it away from clubs, on

be fucked up all night. That was much more appealing than spending £60 on

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that

weekdays. I saw friends turning into

“I feel lucky that I can still lead a

coke or some shit pills.”

the drug found favour in the UK, first

proper junkies.”

relatively normal life, but it’s hard.

appearing

on

the

underground

rave

Within a year Jamie had progressed from

scene. Techno DJ Jerome Hill remembers

snorting a gram a weekend at parties,

its impact:

to up to seven grams a day at home,

I’m much less able physically than I **

was, and my lifestyle has changed a lot. I can’t socialise with most of my

By 2011, a gram of K could be picked

mates, because they still take drugs.

Ketamine users can develop psychologi-

“It had a really negative effect on

up for as little as £10. As Jules ex-

I just hope they see what happened to

cal, if not physical, dependency:

parties in the 90’s - less fun, less

plains though, it was no longer just

me and make the right decisions.”

9


10


Words: Bianca Pascall / Images: Casey Orr

Casey Orr’s pictures present young women’s hair as a symbol of vitality and power

Throughout the history of love and attraction between women and men, distinction has been the main currency; even before conventional beauty. The way women style their hair has less to do with how they feel about men than it does with how it makes them feel about themselves. Urgency over style is sparked by reactions to our own images as we are caught in the reflections of others. Industry pundits know this too; this is why it takes little more than exposure to glossy images to ignite the kind of raging impulse which results in a lopsided pixie crop and a dodgy amber quiff. That’s right, the red crop that looked great on Rihanna; but you wished you never had. Saturday Girl is a series of portraits of young women as seen through their hairstyles, who portraitist, Casey Orr, identifies as having reached an age when they want to become visible in society. People are often tempted to think that young women experimenting with dyes and styling products is a phenomenon of modernity and the culture industry. The sociology of women’s hair is a popular topic for fem>>

11


inist social commentators, inclined to interpret radical hairstyles as a backlash against the drudgery of femininity in a patriarchal society. Orr declines to imply these hairstyles are derivatives of some ‘free-floating signifier’ of which the girls are unaware; neither does she detect there is a ‘political or intellectual undercurrent’ guiding their choices. Instead she suggests that, for young women, creative ways of expressing identity imply only a ‘tacit awareness of the culture industry,’ and the bent for distinctive hair is ‘passed down’ through history. In the twenty-first century, I too am reluctant to conflate hair with politics. The human need for change has no origin; moreover, it is subject to a rhythm in time. When pop culture embraces politics is when particular hairstyles make political statements. Historically, a woman’s disdain for the ordinary has been a force behind hairstyling; which is not necessarily a reaction to patriarchal oppression or capitalism. As far back as classical antiquity women have resisted being told how to style their hair, particularly by men. Ovid chided the ladies of ancient Rome for ruining their natural hair with chemical dyes, curling tongs and straightening irons. " ‘A crime’, I cried, ‘ a crime to burn those tresses! Spare them, iron girl, they’re as lovely as they are... Stop dyeing your hair. How many times I told you. Now you’ve none to dye, and you’re disgraced.” wrote the exasperated poet. Saturday Girl’s young women also draw attention to this dichotomy between the concepts of beauty and Bourdieusian distinction. Their boyfriends, they told Orr, >>

12


13


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prefer their natural beauty and disapprove of their big hair and make-up; while the girls relish creating wild and distinctive looks for themselves. Hair is beyond the physical nature of the body; it feels no pain, or comfort. It is a thing. For women, hair exists solely to be objectified, expressed in form, and brought to life with ornamentation. The intention behind big hair of unnatural colours has always been to turn heads, and the more shockingly the better. Amy Winehouse’s beehive had nothing on the barnet worn by Marie Antoinette in the eighteenth century, who celebrated big hair by teasing hers up to a height of three feet, powdering it white and loading it with ships, fruit and budgerigars. A young woman’s affiliation with her hair is determined by the capacity of creative styling to change her very being, and transform her in the eyes of her onlookers. As a woman, I am unwilling to accept that my hairstyle is a reflection of my personality. It is more a sum of our imaginations, and how we perform our femininity in relation to our places in society. Saturday Girl represents hair as a symbol of vitality and power; its appeal is mystical. Hair has the power of hiding who she is while, at the same time, advertising how she wants to be seen. The time-perfected hairstyles of icons such as Anna Wintour, Louise Brooks, Pam Greer and Susan Sontag are examples of how style becomes inseparable from the woman. A woman’s ostentatiousness for hairstyling is a true source of power. Once consummated, her style personifies her life’s accomplishments; a part of herself which she leaves behind to be celebrated, and passed down to her unwitting successors.

15


Words: Emily Segameglio Images: Linder Sterling

Female students are flocking to a website that promises to hook them up with wealthy older men. Is this a mutually beneficial arrangement, a typical sign of austerity Britain or simple prostititution?

The idea of a ‘sugar daddy’ seems like a hangover

Sugar Daddies, in which an oli tycoon is black-

from a less enlightened age: something from the era

mailed by a gold digger. Or he is a sad, inadequate

of Hugh Hefner, Playboy or Soho in the 1970s. Yet

figure, unable to attract women through personal-

in modern Britain, it seems to have come back into

ity or looks, too emotionally immature to form a

fashion, according to SeekingArrangement.com, a

relationship with a woman his own age, who relies

website which links cash-strapped students with so-

instead on his wealth.

called “sugar daddies”. Either way, a sugar daddy is a figure to be pitMaybe we should start by defining our terms. The

ied at best: not a term, you’d imagine, that men

dictionary describes a sugar daddy as “a rich older

would choose to apply to themselves. Yet, type

man who lavishes gifts on a young woman in return

‘sugar daddy’ into Google and you discover a host

for her company or sexual favours”. The phrase

of websites on which seemingly unembarrassed older

seems to go back at least a century and its use has

men look for ‘arrangements’ with younger women.

always been, to say the least, uncomplimentary. The

To judge by the sites, there seems no shortage of

sugar daddy is a sap or a mug, cynically used by a

women – styling themselves ‘sugar babies’ - who are

younger woman, as in the 1927 Laurel and Hardy film

prepared to take them up. >>

16


Girls of the World X, 2012, collage, 25.2 x 18.3 cm. Copyright the Artist. Courtesy Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London.

17


SeekingArrangement,com is one of these and it is

You can see the logic, perhaps, but it all seems a

SUGAR DADDIES DEBATE: A student and a wealthy busi-

trying to stand out in the crowded sugar daddy mar-

long, long way from true romance – and not terribly

nessman go head to head on the pros and cons of the

ket by courting UK students offering them free mem-

far from prostitution, albeit an upmarket, monoga-

sugar daddy lifestyle.

bership.The site claims to have thousands of mem-

mous version. MEGAN, 22, STUDENT: “To me, the whole idea of young

bers throughout the country, including 89 students at UAL. UAL is now ranked as the UK’s 12th biggest

I spoke to a 23-year-old UAL student who recently

women looking for sugar daddies is repugnant. Es-

‘sugar baby’ university, with the Universities of

joined the site, and who exchanged messages with

sentially they are offering sex for cash, which is

Kent and Nottingham at the top of the table.

one potential sugar daddy.

prostitution, pure and simple. If you look through

This data has been used to rank the top 20 UK uni-

“He was quite insistent and asked me a few times

unattractive: overweight, flabby, grey-haired. The

versities with the highest number of students using

‘what I was ready to do’ to make his money worth-

women who hang out with them and go to bed with

the site, according to new sign-ups for 2013. The

while. We hadn’t even met yet and I already felt

them are only doing it for one reason: cash.

list includes Cambridge University in fourth place.

that I had to comply with his desires”

The female students are seeking ‘arrangements’ with

After receiving an average of six emails per day

tion, shared interests, mutual respect and actually

wealthy men, who are usually much older than them

from prospective sugar daddies, the student, who

fancying the person you’re going to bed with. What

and are prepared, not just to pay for nights out,

wished to be known only as Chanel, decided to reply

do these girls have in common with the men they’re

weekends away and other treats, but to offer them

to the ones who looked ‘genuine’. She spoke to Arts

hooking up with? Very little.

an allowance, potentially of thousands of pounds a

London News about meeting a middle-aged man through

month. In return the men expect companionship and,

a Skype conversation: “I must say I felt pretty un-

And what about the men? I suppose they get some

naturally, sex.

comfortable speaking about money on my first Skype

sort of thrill out of being seen about with a

date with a sugar daddy. However, it is part of the

young, attractive woman but, really, what does it

The cold logic of the situation is that the typical

deal and let’s face it, it’s the main reason why us

say about them? If she’s only with you for your

student leaves university with debts of £53,000.

sugar babies are on the site in the first place. My

money, where’s your self-respect?

OK, you could get a job in a shop or a bar but that

potential sugar daddy and I concluded that if after

is barely going to make a dent in it. So why not

the first meeting we decided to carry on, he would

And if a relationship is built so nakedly on money,

look for something more lucrative?

pay me around £3,000 a month – plus extras. That

then is it really going to last - or is the woman

would mean meeting him a couple of times a week.”

going to move on to someone her own age?

to be made. According to SeekingArrangement.com

Of course, you can take a liberal view of this sort

It also says something pretty sad about our soci-

(who, remember, are trying to promote their site…)

of thing: that people are free to get together with

ety that students and other young women feel that

these sites, most of the men are frankly pretty

Relationships are supposed to be about love, affec-

And, on the face of it, there does seem to be money

they have to demean themselves like this. For some, I’m sure it is simply shortage of cash, because of the high costs of living in London and the whole student loan system. For others it’s probably something about the desire to buy nice things and go nice places and aspire to the kind of lifestyle that they read about in glossy magazines. Either way, it seems pretty shallow to me. There’s the average woman at university who forms a rela-

each other on whatever basis they like and that

nothing more depressing than seeing some young girl

tionship through the site gets an ‘allowance’ of

money is factor in many relationships, even if it

out and about with an old bloke. Fundamentally, if

£5,000 a month. For context, that’s more than twice

isn’t discussed quite so openly. And that’s proba-

you put money at the heart of your relationship,

the average wage. For further context, a sugar

bly true, but even if you don’t believe that sugar

it’s going nowhere.”

daddy who could afford £5,000 a month out of taxed

daddy/sugar baby relationships are just “prostitu-

income, would have to earn around £100,000 just to

tion 2.0”, it’s hard to deny that there is some-

ANTHONY, 55, BUSINESSMAN: “I don’t particularly

keep his ‘sugar baby’ in the manner to which she

thing depressingly cold and calculating about old

like the term ‘sugar daddy’ but I suppose that’s

is accustomed. Are there really that many rich yet

men and young women bargaining over monthly allow-

what I am. I enjoy the company of younger women and

inadequate men out there?

ances for regular ‘intimacy’.

I am happy to provide the kind of lifestyle that

Equally, the site claims to have more than one

There may be more serious consequences, too. In

million students on its books. Given that there are

February 2011 Marcelo Augusto Alves, from Flori-

2.5 million students (male and female) at British

da, was sentenced to life in prison for violently

I suppose I’m a bit of a traditionalist and I be-

universities, that figure seems hard to believe

raping a woman he met on SugarDaddyForMe.com while

lieve that a man should look after the woman in his

(even if you include private colleges, further edu-

in January 2013, New York sugar daddy Lakhinder

life and treat her well. If some people think that

cation institutions etc).

Vohra, 47, was also accused of rape after meeting a

makes me sound old-fashioned, well, I’m not ashamed

26-year-old student on SeekingArrangement.com, but

about that. Throughout history, women have looked

the case was thrown out for lack of evidence.

for men who can provide for them.

ures rather than active membership. For instance,

Angela Bermudo, Public Relations Manager for

The girls I’ve met through these sites aren’t

the site states that they offer free membership to

SeekingArrangement.com, said: “SeekingArrangement

gold-diggers. They’re nice, normal young women and

students who register with their school address,

is just as safe as any other dating website. In

our relationships are genuine, fulfilling and, I

thereby providing detailed statistics upon regis-

fact, we may even be safer, as we are one of the

hope, mutually rewarding. I know the girls that

tration of interest, but it’s not showing those who

only dating websites that offer background checks

I’ve been out with have had a good time. Even if

actually participate in the service.”

and regularly monitor messages for quality. Seekin-

the relationships haven’t always lasted that long,

gArrangementis a dating community, not a service

we’ve always parted on the best of terms.

they are looking for: clothes, trips abroad, nights

NUS Welfare Officer Colum McGuire said: “These

out, a financial allowance.

statistics seem to be based on registration fig-

But still, whatever scepticism we might feel about

where women are hired to perform a job. The sugar

the specific claims made by websites, there are

lifestyle is about mutually beneficial arrange-

It’s tough being young nowadays, what with the cost

sugar daddies out there and there do seem to be

ments. This means that each party gets exactly the

of living, uncertainty in the job market and stu-

women prepared to sign up for the deal.

same amount of benefits as they provide. Men are

dent loans. I’ve got plenty of money and I’m happy

exchanging financial stability and mentorship for

to help out, where I can.

One such is Francesca, a King’s College student,

companionship with an ideal partner,” she added. And, yes, people will point to the age difference,

who signed up to the site after a recommendation from her friend, and in the past two years has had

While some UAL students appear to have signed up

but throughout history, men have gone out with

two sugar daddies. Now she just has one who gives

for these sites, others have expressed their disap-

younger women. If women are seeking the kind of

her an average of £2,000 a month, enabling her to

proval. Arianna Luparia, a third year fashion de-

stability that an older man can bring, what's so

pay her rent, save money and pay off loans.

sign student at LCF said: “I think the rise of the

terrible about that?

fees will create situations like this which are not She says: “If you are looking for someone to take

safe for students. For some, it might be the only

You can call it shallow if you like and I’m sure

care of you and help, why not? It’s the same as

way to have the money to pay back their loan or to

that there will be people who make remarks, when

dating any man except there’s more to be had from a

live in London, which is really sad. The government

they see me out and about with a younger girl-

sugar daddy. I’ve never done anything I wasn’t com-

is partly responsible and they should find a solu-

friend but really, it’s water off a duck’s back to

fortable doing. If I don’t want to, I say so. You

tion for it or there will be more and more websites

me. People can say what they like I know people are

need to be honest when you get into these things.”

like this one.”

going to sneer but it really doesn’t bother me.”

18


Escort Series XI, 2012, collage, 27.7 x 21.4 cm. Copyright the Artist. Courtesy Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London.

19


Untitled (OG), 2011

Words: Dominic Brown Images: Gareth McConnell

20


Untitled (JW), 2003/13

Sun, fun, drugs, parties ‌ A work-hard-play-harder season in Ibiza is a holiday from the real world. But there’s a dark side.

21


“I came to Ibiza to work and party without limits” said Tammy, 25, as she took a break from dragging the eager holiday makers into Itaca bar on the San Antonio sea front. “The best thing about working in Ibiza was being able to meet some amazing people and share some amazing experiences with them. The worst thing about working in Ibiza was seeing people take too many drugs and in some cases die from that!” Ibiza has an international reputation as a party island yet, death is a very real threat. Any pill, any bag of powder, any crowded room could be potentially fatal. “It’s the best thing I’ve done. It has completely opened me up to so many opportunities and has freed me from the rut I had gotten myself into living in London.” Tammy explained that the fear of going home is something that had gripped hold of her and some of her fellow workers. “The hardest thing about doing a summer season is trying to remember reality because you tend to lose a sense of normality while being in this Ibiza bubble!.” If you have nothing to look forward to back in England the concept of returning home can seem bleak and often daunting. Standing on the roof terrace of Itaca bar on San Antonio beach I take a look around me at the array of bronzed young clubbers as a warm Mediterranean breeze flutters through the crowd. “Are you a worker or are you on holiday?” I ask one girl at Departure; a workers party. “A worker” she replies. “Oh that’s so cool, what do you do?” I reply. “Well, I don’t really have a job right now. I tried ticket selling, but couldn’t be bothered with it so I sacked it off.” These sorts of exchanges can frequently be heard amongst young people in Ibiza. Ibiza’s tourism industry relies on non-Spanish workers to occupy the job roles in bars, clubs and restaurants. People work tirelessly to support themselves for the summer and are rewarded with certain privileges as workers. These include access to sought after guest lists, cheap drinks and reduced ticket prices.

Bob Brown, an Ibiza Rocks chef, has devoted his summers to slaving away in the restaurant kitchen in 40-degree heat. He showed me how much work people are prepared to put in just to stay on the island for the summer. “Its a joke that because I’m stuck in the kitchen 14 hours a day I’m not able to hang around outside Viva getting wristbands and guest lists for nights, whereas the ‘workers’ who contribute nothing to the ibiza experience, or to the island, are able to reap the undeserved rewards.” Many people go to Ibiza to visit the Ibiza Rocks hotel for their celebrated live music events. “I’d like to think that people go away from their holidays and take fond memories of the time they spend in the bar. I hope that is partly down to the food I serve.” It is frustrating for these workers to see other people spending their summer on the island barely lifting a finger. “There’s nothing rewarding about spending days lying on the beach then getting off your head at night and then having to ring up your mum for another hand out when the cash flow runs dry.” Freddy, age 24, a ‘worker’ of three years admitted to me he had never worked more than a week at a time while in Ibiza but insisted he worked hard in the winter to fund his summer antics. He spends his days lying on Kanya beach and spends his nights gaining free entry to all his favourite house nights. “Ibiza can be quite a lonely and depressing place to be when you don’t have any money. People say this all the time about Ibiza but I guess it really is all about who you know. It is an expensive place to live so you need to get yourself on any guest list you can.” The problem for the actual workers is that for people like Freddy it easy to get on to workers guest lists because they have their days free to find club reps to put their names down. While people who are stuck in work do not have the opportunities to do so. **

The life of a worker relies on a work hard-play-harder ethos. And that is what makes it so rewarding. Ibiza workers are afforded discounts which allow them to enjoy club nights and drinks deals for discounted prices. Viva bar located on Ibiza’s infamous West End strip is home to workers, and offers cheap drinks deals to those with a ‘workers’ band. The tell tale signs of a worker are clear not only from the exhaustion written all over their faces but also the grubby ‘workers wristbands’ up and down their forearms. **

For those who have the time and the financial freedom to do so, a season in Ibiza is the ultimate escape from the real world. Whether it be escaping from a broken heart, overbearing parents or sheer boredom; Ibiza is the place to go. Although, Ibiza is only a short flight away from London the lifestyle could not be more different. It means waking up in the sun everyday. It means not having to wear a suit to work. It means seizing the opportunity to escape the everyday confines of life in the UK. It is truly freeing and so long as you know how to party and work hard to earn your keep it can be a really rewarding experience. Ibiza workers are able to live the dream that holiday makers can only hope to enjoy for maybe two weeks. Holiday makers might spend a whole year saving the money they need to enjoy a sun, sex and party fuelled holiday whereas a worker can support themselves with a job throughout the whole summer. However, when speaking to workers it is clear that some people are reaping the rewards of being a ‘worker’ without actually working at all. Speaking to members of staff at Ibiza Rocks in San Antonio, one of the busiest and most profitable venues on the island I seek to find out how they survive exhausting hours of work combined with endless clubbing. In recent years the Ibiza Rocks brand has established itself as one of Ibiza’s biggest attractions. The staff work tirelessly all season to cater to the needs of holiday makers and workers alike.

The dangerous thing about these ‘workers’ is that a lot of them will opt to sell drugs as an easy way of making money on the island. After all Ibiza has a huge party drug culture. With drugs in high demand it is easy to make a living doing next to nothing. However, there is a fear that without the stability of a job it is easy to lose yourself in all of the partying and drug taking. Bob explained “It is important that you have something to keep you grounded. Drugs are easily available in Ibiza and San Antonio is a lawless town. I’ve seen people unravel because they didn’t have a purpose. If you don’t have a reason to go to bed or sober up it is easy to let the drugs take over.” The phrase ‘fuck it we’re in Ibiza’ has been thrown around a lot to justify drug habits. The use of ketamine amongst workers is something that has exploded in recent years and it has become a daily habit for many of them and helps keep them out of it for hours at a time. For workers who really are working, almost every night of partying involves having to tear themselves away from a club or a party early to make sure they have time to catch some sleep before their next shift. For the ‘workers’ it can mean going for days without stopping. Which is why it is so easy to lose yourself. With no boundaries the effects can be damaging on young people. These ‘workers’, however, are famous for not lasting the whole season. Either their means of finding money runs out or they end up too mentally and physically exhausted to carry on. Faye, an Ibiza Rocks waitress explained “I used to believe that Ibiza had a way of spitting those type of people out. unfortunately some survived this summer. Everywhere you go has these types of people I guess. As long as they don’t bother me then live and let live. Although if I’m honest- Ibiza is my paradise, these people are what will ruin it in years to come.” If these people are tainting the experience for those who are really working hard to enjoy the benefits then is it really fair? “It doesn’t matter whether it’s fair or not. We’re all on that island for the same thing to party and have the best time of our lives!” >>

22


Above: Untitled (JL), 2009

Above: Untitled (NH), 2009

Below: Untitled (GS), 2002

Below: Untitled (GO), 2006/13

23


FROM ECSTASY TO DISAPPOINTMENT: AN INTERVIEW WITH GARETH McCONNELL “You’re constantly broke, there’s rejection, no money, you seem to be constantly exploited through our culture. Nobody wants to pay, everybody wants it for free. There’s a lack of creature comforts, psychopathic art dealers, rich cunt hedge fund managers, fashion events funded by Nazi gold….” Gareth McConnell is explaining why the life of a photographer is ‘such a fucking hard game’. The words come in a torrent down the slightly dodgy mobile phone line, a mixture of bile, frustration, eloquence, hyperbole and humour. He’s such an interesting man to listen to, as he talks about his work, his motivation and the disappointment (a word he uses again and again) when he, or his photographs, fall short of his ideals. So why does he do it, then? If it’s such a tough business being a photographer, why put yourself through it? There’s no hesitation in his reply. “It’s a compulsion – a series of disappointments with occasional flashes of rightness. It’s such a peculiar thing. I’d always do it: it’s just odd that it’s become my livelihood.” Gareth took the pictures of young ravers in Ibiza that accompany this feature. They’re from a series called Nothing Is Ever the Same As They Said It Was that he took between 2001 and 2011 on visits to the island. The image they portray is far different from the intense, hedonistic lifestyle of Balearic legend. The subjects are photographed alone in their rooms, rather than in clubs and bars. They seem blank, rather sombre; the atmosphere is restrained and subdued, there’s an air of sadness and disappointment. When Gareth first went to Ibiza in 1993, in his early twenties, it was an escape from life in Northern Ireland and it seemed to be a natural destination for someone who had grown up in rave culture. “I started to go to raves in the 80s and 90s and I was exposed to the whole E experience. We were all too skint to afford E so we we took acid – a fucking horror show. E was a complete epiphany, it opened you up to the possibility of the world and your spiritual being. Northern Ireland was shite, with the Troubles and all that and it just seemed that things would be better elsewhere. Ibiza seemed like a mythological place but in the end when we went there it was deeply disappointing. The summer of love was definitely over.” Gareth began to photograph people that he met, who, like him, had come to the island in search of some ideal, but found that reality had failed to come up to the mark. The pictures are a kind of documentary archive of the time and place, he says, but one that he has begun to rework in other ways, rephotographing contact sheets, Xeroxing images, effectively remixing them as a DJ or a producer might a tune. Some of this work appears in two books called Sex, Drugs and Magick: the revisited Ibiza images are grainy, monochrome and dark, creating a sense, even stronger than in the originals, of disappointment and desperation. Gareth seems content for people to find their own interpretations of his pictures but he offers an anecdote from his youth to illustrate his quest to find more than surface meaning in images and to penetrate what he calls ‘the unknowability of another human being.” “I went to an after-hours party in Leeds and I was completely off my tits. People were threatening me and it was awful and paranoid. Friends were saying all those guys are going to hurt you and we need to get out of there. So when I got back home, I got a camera and put it on self-timer – I wanted a picture that showed how terrified I was. But when I looked at the pictures I took, there was none of that there.”

24

Untitled (SB), 2011


Untitled (DI), 2005/13

25


26


The Tragedy of Festivals, Jeremy Deller, 2014, Courtesy of the artist

27


name dropping bands and DJs. And a lot of people

Boomtown is otherwise notable for the unparalleled

are feeling delightfully gritty because they just

strength of its weed/incense aroma, exuberant use

bought a bag of crushed up ibuprofen from a man who

of psychoactives, and a heavy steampunk contingent.

is probably wearing tracksuit bottoms and may or

Its license has been renewed following a formal re-

may not be called Pete.

view for exceeding noise limits last year, so buy a ticket if the idea of doing ketamine in a dystopia

Festivals embody everything nauseating and inane

appeals to you.

about youth culture. Squads of hair-extensioned, welly-wearing dunces garnished with crowns of plas-

2. Field Day / London: By rights, Field Day should

tic flowers; too-fat girls audibly chafing in too-

not be on this list. It offers almost unfeasi-

tight shorts and crop tops, in blind deference to

bly good line-ups - Blood Orange and SBTRKT in

Festival Chic. Onesies. Morph suits.

2012, Jacques Greene and Solange last summer, and Warpaint, Ghostpoet and Jamie XX this year. The

It can’t be the music that people like - it invar-

tickets are relatively cheap. The sight of a Cath

iably sounds second-rate. Because, a) the band is

Kidston tent is a logical impossibility (there’s no

even more pissed than usual, b) the sound system

camping). And if you, like nearly a quarter of rest

is arse, c) you are two kilometres from the near-

of the UK, live in London, then its location in

est speaker, or d) all of the above. Even Professor

Victoria Park is pretty convenient too.

George McKay, who wrote a book on festival culture,

Words: Isabella Smith

says so: "People don’t go to festivals for the

And yet, when it’s happening, nobody seems to be

music. They go because of the event itself. Some

having a good time. Perhaps it is the very strength

festivals are simply ‘cool’".

of the proposition that makes Field Day’s physical manifestation an almighty let down. Perhaps it’s

Isn’t it time we faced facts and admitted that most music festivals are overpriced parades of second-rate talent, attended by irritating show-offs? I have a confession to make. It’s something I’ve

Like a four-day corporate New Year’s Eve, there

the fact that many of the attendees are depressed

is relentless pressure to be having ‘the greatest

Deloitte workers. More likely, it’s because the

time ever, OMG take another picture of me so I can

festival is plagued with sound and logistical ‘is-

document my fun-loving persona on social media’.

sues’ and suffers from a profound lack of atmos-

But waking up in a piss-stained tent pitched in a

phere. Distressing line-up clashes and an unconsid-

Vodafone-sponsored wasteland of sixth-formers’

ered layout add to the air of deficiency.

discarded Stella cans is not my idea of great. Having weathered a rain of complaints in its first

been struggling to come to terms with for the past five years; a skeleton that I’ve confined to a

In December, eminently irritating Kiwi extraordi-

year, 2007, the organisers have since done lit-

closet. All in the name of, well, being a Proper

naire Zane Lowe announced Blink 182 as the head-

tle to shake off its sucky reputation: last week

Young Person. Social convention, if you like. This

line act for Reading and Leeds. The middle-aged

Drowned in Sound called it ‘the pantomime villain

confession is like admitting that you quite like

pop punks will be supported by Jake Bugg (#indie!),

of the festival circuit’. This year it expanded

Chris Brown, or that you think Bashar al-Assad is

which will surely have been rousing news for scores

from its humble Saturday-only beginnings anyway to

misunderstood (and kind of sexy, in a all-of-my-

of gap-yearers who until then had been slumping

become a proper all weekend event. Snap up a ticket

beaky-features-are-located-in-the-very-centre-of-

around in Camden pubs, gazing mournfully at their

for next year - they’re already on sale - and pre-

my-face way). It’s something you just wouldn’t tell

precious wristbands and wondering if they would

pare to be underwhelmed.

anyone about.

make it through the hollow pain of the winter to grace the next Festival Season.

know from daytime television, the first step to

3. Benicàssim - £170.55 / Costa Azahar, Spain: The Festival Internacional de Benicàssim takes place in

But I’m sick of this awkward secret, and as we all **

the town of the same name about 100km north of Valencia on the east coast of Spain. For a number of

recovery is admitting you have a problem. So here

reasons, it is majestically avoidable.

I am, admitting that I have a problem. With, [deep

Personally, I will be boycotting festivals forth-

breath], festivals. Not like, a ‘festiaddiction’,

with. But the season is in full swing and the

as Cosmo would probably call it (because it can’t

weather is set to stay fair. It’s prime time for

The camping is infernal. Temperatures bob jovially

be written about unless it has a crap portmanteau).

those stricken with social anxiety following the

in the high thirties, meaning that if you’re lucky

More like, that I don’t like them. I think I might

recent onslaught of festival themed Facebook up-

enough to be woken up (ie. you have actually been

even hate them.

loads to score some tickets before the supply dries

to sleep for an hour in spite of the incessant euro

up. In that spirit, behold my non-exhaustive mini

techno pumping through the campsite) by the sun as

guide to the most repellent music festivals...

you inevitably will be when it comes up just after

It’s not that I don’t like music. I like music,

6am, you get to experience a slow, withering half-

loads. All different kinds of music. It’s not even that I don’t like camping. I have voluntari-

1. Boomtown - £156 / Hampshire: Boomtown Fair was

ly, repeatedly, slept in a field without a tent in

six years old this summer, and for the latter half

February with the Army Reserve. Festival camping is

of its life it’s taken place at the Matterley Bowl

To alleviate this you might queue for one of the

veritable luxury compared to that. You don’t have

near Winchester. The self styled ‘UK’s Maddest

showers, which consist of a scaffolding frame

to poo in a bush. You don’t have to eat cold yellow

City’ is a purveyor of mostly ska, reggae, gypsy

punctuated by hosepipes. Said showers are open,

soup of an indeterminate flavour out of a foil bag.

punk and electro-swing, and presents itself as a

outdoor, and unisex, meaning that if you want to

‘neo-noir’ pseudo-world, whose convoluted fiction-

wash your bits properly during the eight days of

al history is chronicled in a 2,928 word literary

camping, you have to do so in front of a patrol of

haemorrhage on its equally nonsensical website.

pubescent Liverpudlians dressed as Where’s Wally.

**

death by heatstroke.

So in theory, I should actually really like them.

If this description of the stage Jimmy Cliff and

Apparently everyone else does. They collect and

Shaggy are playing on is anything to go by - "This

‘Beni’, as it’s affectionately known, is not

boast about festival experiences like Pokémon

bad boy stage is held in the district of Trench-

about the music. This year, in a line-up presum-

cards. They keep their crummy wristbands on, hoping

Town with Town Councillor BOSS MAN there to ensure

ably designed to attract the broadest demographic

that wearing physical evidence that they attended

a serious high skankin’ time is had from start to

of non-music-liking dullards, Tinie Tempah, Man-

T in the Park last year with their Vans constitutes

finish." - it’s going to be ‘next-level’, bro.

ic Street Preachers, Ellie Goulding and TRAVIS are playing. Rather than a music festival in the

edginess. A new addition last year was the arrival of the

traditional sense of the term, it’s an excuse for

And it’s that inescapable whiff of people trying

Arcadia Spectacular, which is basically a big hy-

young Brits to play an extended game of Embar-

really bloody hard that gets me feeling all bil-

draulic spider with acrobatic cybergoths and bad

rassing Ourselves in Europe. It is an exercise in

ious when I’m actually there. Everyone is wearing

dubstep. Think del Toro’s Hellboy, but in a musical

vest-wearing, inebriated inanity. It has no redeem-

An Outfit, instead of just clothes. Everyone is

theatre format, and with more pyrotechnics.

ing features. See also: V Festival, Wireless.

28


29


30


Words: Danielle Agtani Image: Jason Evans

A free room for the night, anywhere in the world. How couchsurfing is changing the face of international travel

I arrive at Grenada coach station

100,000 cities across the world. It

spending the next few days with him.

both good and bad reasons. The first

in Spain with a complete feeling of

sounds like a network asking for

On the second day I was there though

concern is that this was a bad idea

disorientation. I received a text

disaster, but in practice it appears

another ‘couchsurfer’ named Mikey

was that it was 30 degrees outside,

message from Tom saying he would

to work. Most users adhere to the

arrived to stay. He seemed friendly

the second was that I was not expect-

probably be 20 minutes late or so to

five basic values of Couchsurfing.

enough however at times he became too

ing to be hiking during my stay in

pick me up so I decide to walk across

You are asked to “share your life,

friendly and it made me uncomforta-

Spain so I was not well equipped. As

the street to a bar. I sit outside

create connection, offer kindness,

ble. One night he tried to come into

a result I was forced to hike up the

and order a tinto de verano (red wine

stay curious and leave it better than

my room but I managed to get him out.

mountain in my Converse trainers and

with lemonade). Along with my drink I

you found it”. Despite their opti-

He never forced himself upon me but

my longest shorts!

receive a tapa of albondigas, meat-

mism, the Couchsurfing team are not

it did ruin the fun time I was having

balls in a spicy tomato sauce. I sit

so naïve to believe that bad people

in Barcelona.”

mindlessly eating and drinking while

do not roam their website. They ad-

pretending to watch the Euro match on

vise users to check profiles careful-

the television, I am somewhat dis-

ly to ensure a user is verified and

tracted. My mind is running wild,

has references from people they have

Another common occurrence that many

to the top, the worst was not over,

what if he does not come? Where am

stayed with or have hosted. The more

users complain about on the social

we had to walk along the ridge to the

I supposed to go if he does not show

information on a user’s profile, the

networking website are forgetful

‘Buddha’ (a rock shaped like a Buddha

up? What if this is dangerous? My

better it is.

hosts, or hosts cancelling at the

which you sit on top and apparently

last minute. I can relate to this,

holds the best views of the Sierra

nervous stream of thought is inter-

As we cut through the dried up fields, the dry crops slashed against **

my legs leaving me with several cuts and rashes. When we finally made it

rupted by a fluid American accent and

I decided to get the perspective of

when I was staying in Madrid, my

Nevada). The side of the mountain we

a man in a rugged cowboy hat, his

couchsurfing from a seasoned profes-

host had offered to pick me up from

climbed up did not seem that high,

face wrinkled by the sun: “Hey, are

sional so I spoke to Gabriele Gal-

the coach station. I waited for an

the other side of the mountain though

you Dani?” I nod and greet him with a

imberti. Gabriele decided to travel

hour after arriving when she gave me

was at least four times as high as

huge smile on my face, half relieved

around the world using couchsurfing

a call saying she could not host me

the other and walking along this

that he showed up but still nervous.

as his form of accommodation. His

anymore. She gave no reason and I was

slippery ridge in Converse trainers

I pay for my drink and head off with

reasoning for using couchsurfing came

then under pressure to find somewhere

seemed like a death wish, so I decid-

Tom. This odd encounter is the begin-

down to more than just budget: he

to stay for the night as well as find

ed to crawl.

ning of my venture into the world of

wanted to discover a young, diverse,

my way around Madrid to a hostel I

couchsurfing.

multicultural, multiracial global

could afford.

**

community. I asked Gabriele whether Couchsurfing is a not-for-profit or-

he would have stayed in hotels if he

After all this context, I think the

After crawling along the ridge on my

ganisation created to allow everyone

had the money: “I wouldn’t change the

best way to demonstrate what couch-

scratched and bleeding knees, we fi-

to travel and share the widest pos-

way I have travelled the world, even

surfing is like, is to share my first

nally reached the Buddha. I was hot,

sible range of cultural experiences.

if I was super rich. The warmth and

experience of couchsurfing in Spain.

itchy and in pain, but as soon as I

The aim is to create a revolutionary

culture you get from staying with lo-

After staying in a hostel in Madrid,

sat on top of the Buddha, all of that

type of travelling: “We envision a

cal people cannot be matched by hotel

I travelled down to Granada where I

became irrelevant. The view was like

world made better by travel and trav-

rooms and their staff”.

stayed with Tom. Me being 19 and him

no other, I could see right across

being 55 I was slightly nervous and

the Sierra Nevada. It was breathtak-

el made richer by connection. Couchsurfers share their lives with the

After nearly ten years couchsurfing

a little sceptical. However as soon

ing. It was in this moment that I ap-

people they encounter, fostering cul-

has had its fair of horror stories.

as we met To. After looking at his

preciated the uniqueness of a network

tural exchange and mutual respect.”

There was the serial rapist travel-

profile, it was clear that he was

like Couch Surfing. I would not have

ling through Asia who created and de-

an experienced host and knew how to

had this experience or the chance to

As to how the website works, it is

leted several accounts to find hosts

make you feel welcome and at ease. He

see this view unless I had met Tom.

like most social media offerings. As

and so no person could leave negative

lived in a small village just out-

soon as you enter the site the first

feedback. Then there was the young

side of Granada, right by the Sierra

The positives of Couchsurfing over

thing you see is a warm welcome:

girl from Hong Kong who travelled

Nevada. The first evening he cooked

hostels and hotels are home cooked

“connect with travelers all around

through Europe using couchsurfing and

traditional Spanish tortilla and we

and traditional food, being guided by

the world”. You set up a profile de-

after staying with her host in Leeds,

chatted about philosophy and books.

someone who can show the lesser known

scribing yourself, your views, taste

England was raped.

Over the next few days I enjoyed the

local gems and of course, it is free.

quiet of the village after the hustle

Couchsurfing emphasise the fact that

in movies and music. Once joined, you can browse any members’ profiles from

Other users have less dramatic bad

and bustle of Madrid and long chats

it is a free service; no host should

all over the world and contact people

experiences to report. Lauren Boi-

with Tom about his music, more phi-

charge a person to stay with them. It

you may like to stay with, meet or

toult from Manchester stayed with a

losophy, his work and literature.

is social networking in an unusual

host yourself.

host in Barcelona: “He was really

form, the friends you make abroad are

lovely and had a beautiful flat with

He showed me around Granada and took

people you stay connected with and

beautiful architecture. I even had

me tapas bar hopping. On my final day

can visit again in the future. I know

a room to myself instead of a couch

we went on a hike up to the top of

Couchsurfing is not for everyone but

The organisation was born in 2004

so that was a bonus. We both got on

the Sierra Nevada. This is my most

for those with an adventurous streak

and now has seven million users in

well and I was looking forward to

memorable experience of Spain, for

it is worth a try.

**

31


Words: Zeus Simcoe Images: Luke Stephenson

In an office where I once worked we discovered a listening device in a potted plant. Nobody knew why it was there, though there had been an incident a couple of years previously in which an ambitious account executive had bugged the head of sales, discovered he was having an affair and forced him, through blackmail, to resign from his post. The account executive took his job and is today extremely senior in his industry. He remains one of the most unpleasant men you could have the misfortune to meet. The listening device that we found had been stuffed into the soil behind a leafy shrub of some description, rather like the one in Luke Stephenson’s pictures accompanying this piece. Whoever had put it there had taken very little care in concealing it, presumably figuring that nobody cares about or looks at office pot plants, so the device would go unnoticed. For our part, we reasoned that our conversation was so dull that any eavesdropper would be driven to distracted frustration by having to listen to it. So we left it there. We were bored half to death, why shouldn’t the bugger be too? It turns out that this is not a unique case. In February this year, the lingerie entrepreneur (‘bra millionaire’, in the words of the Daily Mail) Michelle Mone was sued by an employee who found a listening device in an office plant: he was awarded £15,000. A book called “Spy’s Guide: Office Espionage”, a kind of handbook for paranoid businessmen, gives advice on holding a confidential marketing meeting (“This isn’t any old marketing meeting: this is the King Daddy of marketing meetings”). “Secure the perimeter”, it barks. “Limit attendance to key personnel. Prohibit cell phones”. Point 7 on the list is “Remove all trash receptacles and potted plants. These objects are commonly used to conceal microphones.” Commonly, you see. They’re all at it. And maybe they are. Memoirs of ex-spies reveal that that bugs concealed in potted plants are a standard piece of tradecraft used by the Stasi, the CIA, the KGB and MI6, not to mention business rivals, bra millionaires and vengeful underlings. Potted plants are everywhere, but nobody ever notices them, somehow: the perfect hiding place. >> 32


Pachira, 2012

33


Strelitzia Reginae, 2012

34


It actually goes further. Scientists at MIT revealed this year that they have discovered that by making a high-speed video of a potted plant in a room where people are talking, they can monitor the vibrations on the leaves and convert them back into sound. The plants really are spying on us. People have been putting plants in containers and bringing them indoors since the time of the Pharoahs. A hundred years ago, in most self-respecting British homes could be found an aspidistra, a hardy south Asian plant that has a reputation for being almost indestructible. So commonplace was it in the Victorian era and the early years of the last century that it was used by George Orwell in Keep The Aspidistra Flying as a symbol of the values that his hero George Comstock believed had enslaved the bourgeoisie to money. “This life we live nowadays. It’s not life, it’s stagnation death-in-life.” declares George in a representative passage, “Look at all these bloody houses and the meaningless people inside them. Sometimes I think we’re all corpses. Just rotting upright.” The popularity of the aspidistra was the result of its ability to withstand neglect and neglect is something office plants need to get used to. Look at the ones in Luke Stephenson’s pictures, from a series called Foyer Flora. Yes, they are fed and watered (probably by a contract worker on minimum wage) but that’s institutional care at best. Nobody’s really looking after them. Nobody cares if they die. Scientists and Prince Charles know that plants need to be spoken to. In 1986 Charles revealed that he talked to his garden and it responded. He was richly ridiculed but a decade later, researchers uncovered evidence that he might be right: plants grow faster and more healthily if they can hear certain sounds, including the human voice. The plants in Luke Stephenson’s pictures are nobody’s plants. He alone has noticed them, pictured them, memorialized them – but the rest of us don’t even see them, even though they are everywhere. They are neglected, ignored, starved of company. Nobody’s talking to them (though we should never forget that they may be listening). Once upon a time – say forty years ago – a desk worker would have expected to have an office of his or her own or, at worst, shared with a one or two others. If he – probably he – was senior enough, there would have been a secretary sitting outside, guarding the lair. Over time, the worker, the executive, would add personal touches to the office. A picture of the family to start with, an industry award or framed certificate, a sporting trophy. Gradually the office became a study or a den, an extension of the home in a way. Sooner or later, a pot plant or two was added. The purpose was to make an anonymous space personal (though as with many such gestures of individualism, it turned out that everybody was doing pretty much the same thing). People were trying to make their offices a little bit more like home, to soften the daily grind with a bit of domestic comfort. Bosses tolerated it, even encouraged it, as a sop to staff morale. Then, came the 1980s, open-plan offices, corporate culture, the macho glorification of the twelve-hour >> 35


working day. Workers were ruthlessly decanted from their lovingly tended offices into vast impersonal open spaces. And into the open-plan offices came third-party suppliers that rent you your greenery and look after it for you. Office plant leasing is very big business: government departments spend around £50,000 a year on fauna: private companies are not obliged to disclose this information but doubtless spend far more. There is even some baleful management theory about this.

Research

psychologists

have

concluded

that

plants in the office boost workers’ productivity (their paper was titled “Restorative elements at the work station: a comparison of live plants and inanimate objects with and without window view.”). So potted plants are able to demonstrate a return on investment, to the undoubted satisfaction of corporate moneymen. In open-plan offices there is simply less space for workers to have their own plants. Some companies operate ‘clean desk’ policies, requiring work surfaces to be emptied of clutter every night and others ban employees from bringing their own plants into the office. Jeremy Paxman, the former Newsnight presenter, complained the other day that the BBC was patrolled by ‘goons’ whose job it was to check that nobody had polluted their workspace with a potted plant. Just as the individuality of the office has been supplanted by the impersonality of the vast beige open space, so the potted plant as employee’s gentle statement of individuality, has been replaced by a policy of corporate outsourcing in which foyer flora is leased in bulk. Is there a better symbol of the recent history of British corporate life? Once employees tried used pot plants to make their offices a little more like home, to make the daily routine a little more bearable. Now in the giant corporations they work for, perhaps by way of compensation, it has become usual for offices to have sofas, TVs, kitchens, showers. At Google there are even beds (futuristic sleep pods for ‘power naps’, but still). Offices are now more comfortable than most people’s houses and flats. And, as a result, people spend more time at work than they do at home, working far more hours than they’re paid for, arriving in the dark and leaving in the dark. Sometimes a plant is just a plant: but sometimes it is a symbol, like Orwell’s aspidistra. “There will be no revolution while there are aspidistras in the windows,” declares the fiery George Comstock. Today’s foyer flora seem to tell us something about the ruthless suppression of individuality, the rise of a dehumanising corporate culture, the commodification of plant life (and human existence), and the relentless blurring of the boundaries between the office and the home. If you view the history of office life as a war between bosses and employees (and you should because that is what it is: a generational, attritional, formless war contested by armies for whom the only certainty is that whatever they're fighting for isn't worth it) it turns out that plants can sometimes be spies. But they’re more than that: potted plants are, if not the front line, then a piece of endlessly disputed territory, bitterly contested for reasons that nobody fully understands.

36


Ficus Benjamina, 2012

37


38


Words: Diana Tleuliyeva Image: Juergen Teller

Eccentric, dramatic, flamboyant, depressive… The extraordinary Isabella Blow is famous for discovering Alexander McQueen, Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl – but who was she really? It was nearly five years ago, on

were talking about Alexander McQueen

the 11th of February when I was on

and the TV had grabbed my attention

holiday in London. I was in my hotel

fully. The images of McQueen and his

room, dressing up to leave to meet my

collections followed one another. I

friends. The TV was on, it was prob-

was paralysed by the news – the King

ably BBC News, but I didn’t pay at-

of British fashion was found dead in

tention to it. Then I heard that they

his apartment. Suddenly, the image of >> 39


a remarkable, flamboyant, eccentric

when I looked at the light projec-

Walking into another room, I felt I

woman wearing an bizarre hat was on

tion, I no longer could see a raven,

had seen it before. Looking closely

the screen. As I found out later, it

a rat and a snake – I saw Isabella

at the garments presented, I rec-

was Isabella Blow, the fashion icon

Blow’s profile with a feather hat on

ognised McQueen’s 1996 Dante col-

who ‘discovered’ Alexander McQueen in

the head. It was beautiful and roman-

lection: absolutely beautiful and

the 1990s. Intrigued by her extraor-

tic – it showed a different side of

romantic in comparison to previous

dinary persona and her role in the

her personality.

collections. The room was referencing the place where the show took place

life and career of a great designer, Issie Blow was born Isabella Delves

– Christ Church in Spitalfields.

Broughton in 1958 on the grounds of

McQueen was already under Isabel-

Typing ‘Isabella Blow’ into Goog-

her family estate, Doddington, in

la Blow’s wing after his graduate

le’s search bar, I was presented with

Cheshire. The family history and Is-

show but his early collections like

images of her breathtaking, whimsi-

sie’s childhood were imprinted on her

Highland Rape were receiving negative

cal hats: a Chinese garden hat, a

personality, influencing her future

responses from fashion press. Despite

ship hat, a jewel-encrusted lobster

work. Doddington Hall, where Issie

the criticism Isabella Blow never

hat, a hat with her last name spelled

always wanted to live, had been let

stopped supporting Alexander: she

in feathers. The way Isabella Blow

to a girls’ school when gambling of

knew that he would be the next great

dressed in unique clothes from up-

her grandfather, Jock Delves Brought-

fashion designer.

and-coming designers was as mesmer-

on, ended in the family’s bankruptcy.

ising as her headgear. Her daring

Jock himself committed suicide with a

style, often accompanied by a gash

morphine overdose after being charged

of blood-red lipstick and a pair

with the murder of the Earl of Errol,

As I walked through the upper gal-

of Manolo Blahniks, was gothic and

who had an affair with Jock’s second

leries, incredibly beautiful Philip

romantic at the same time. Isabel-

wife, Diana Caldwell. Although born

Treacy hats were on display – Isa-

la Blow wasn’t a ‘fashion victim’ as

in an aristocratic family, Issie’s

bella Blow’s iconic symbol of style.

many newspapers described her. She

family was still defined by econom-

Three years before Blow discovered

was a fashion role model, discover-

ic anxiety, which haunted Blow until

McQueen, she discovered Treacy at

er of fashion talent, mentor, styl-

the last day of her life. When Issie

Tatler magazine, carrying a green hat

ist and editor. She brought McQueen

was four, her little brother, aged 2,

he made. He eventually made her a hat

to prominence and also discovered

died in an accident when he fell into

for her wedding and the friendship

the models Stella Tennant and Sophie

a swimming pool. The family never re-

between two was born. Isabella Blow

Dahl. It seemed there were no bound-

covered from this tragedy, resulting

used to say that she used to wear

aries to her creativity: her fashion

in her parents’ separation when Issie

hats as armour to protect her from

photoshoots reflected her character

was 14. Isabella’s husband, Detmar

the world.

and often were compared with Dali’s

Blow, wrote in Blow by Blow: The sto-

surreal work. She was innovative, un-

ry of Isabella Blow: “It was literal-

Isabella Blow wasn’t just about

conventional - in her personal style

ly a handshake and then she was off.”

clothes and hats. Under fancy dress,

I was curious to know more about her.

**

there was a romantic and sensitive

and her ideas – eccentric and hugely influential, loved and admired.

Photographs and newspaper cuttings

persona. Video footage of Isabella

But her life ended in tragedy, with

of the young Issie in the first room

Blow and editorial work from maga-

depression and financial instability

showed that her sense of style was

zines are scattered throughout the

leading to suicide.

present even at a young age. Even

exhibition. Although many used to say

when she was little, she used to wear

that Isabella Blow was quite dramatic

hats, and Issie’s love for lipsticks

and depressive, these videos show the

was inherited from her mother, Helen

opposite: she was fun and exuberant.

Isabella Blow died in May 2007 but

Broughton. She often recalled the day

Isabella Blow was working in dif-

her influence lives on. Earlier this

when Johnny died: “My mother went up-

ferent fashion publications but one

year she was celebrated in a major

stairs to put her lipstick on...that

of the most remarkable examples is

retrospective, called Fashion Ga-

explains my obsession with lipstick.”

Sunday Times. She brought “drama” to

**

a conservative newspaper: she styled

lore!, at London’s Somerset House. Such was its popularity, and Blow’s

Issie’s fashion sense secured her

the photo-shoots in a way no one had

worldwide appeal, that this month, it

work for the designer Guy Laroche and

done before.

transfers to Toronto.

at American Vogue, where she was Anna

I had been anticipating the London

Wintour’s assistant. In 1986, she re-

Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy

turned to London to work for Tatler.

were not the only designers Blow discovered. She is credited for spotting

exhibition for months as an opportunity to witness Blow’s dazzling style

My journey continued to the next room

the talents of Hussein Chalayan and

in Alexander McQueen’s collections,

where the clothes that were a central

Julien Macdonald as well as the mod-

Philip Treacy’s hats and Manolo

part of Isabella Blow’s life were on

els Stella Tennant and Sophie Dahl.

Blahnik’s shoes. But it isn’t just

show. Her eye for talent was remark-

an exhibition of iconic clothes and

able. She was always on the look-

Before I finally tore myself away

accessories – it is the life story of

out for something new and exciting.

from the exhibition, I stopped to

Isabella Blow. As soon as I entered

She understood fashion like no one

watch Nick Knight’s short movie fea-

the first room of the exhibition, I

else. I was excited to see Alexander

turing Isabella Blow’s wardrobe worn

was invited into Isabella Blow’s fan-

McQueen’s first collection from the

by new fashion models, which was shot

tasy world. The room was dark which

St Martins graduate show, “Jack the

in Doddington Hall. The movie was ac-

brought mystery to Isabella Blow’s

Ripper Stalks His Victims”: a pink

companied by Bryan Ferry’s song When

life that I wanted to discover. An

frock coat and tailored black silk

She Walks In The Room.

infamous sculpture and a light pro-

jackets with blood-red linings. It

jection by Tim Noble and Sue Webster

was in 1992 when Isabella Blow dis-

At the end of her life, Isabella

grabbed my attention. This unusual

covered McQueen and introduced him to

Blow thought she didn’t matter in the

sculpture made of stuffed animals,

the fashion world. She bought the en-

fashion world and felt underappre-

wall and fake moss with a heel from

tire collection for £5,000 (paying in

ciated but this beautiful tribute to

Isabella Blow’s own Manolo Blahnik

instalments over the year) and wore

her proves it wrong. She was passion-

shoes and her lipstick was both dis-

his pieces for a self-styled fash-

ate about fashion and she is a huge

turbing and dramatic as it depicted

ion shoot that appeared in Vogue in

inspiration for anyone who wants to

Issie’s head as if on a stake. Yet

November 1992.

be in the fashion industry.

40


Words: Ed Oliver Image: Will Cooper Mitchell

DJ Food’s top tracks The renowned South London beatsmith and designer reveals the tracks that really matter to him

Camberwell College of Arts alum-

Beastie Boys – So What ‘Cha Want?

nus, world-renowned DJ, producer

(1992) “Regrouping after the commer-

and designer extraordinaire Kevin

cial failure of their ‘Paul’s Bou-

Foakes, aka Strictly Kev, aka Open-

tique’ LP, the Beasties came back

mind, aka DJ Food. has gone deep into

with the rawer, more band-based and

the crates to select 10 tracks that

less sample-orientated ‘Check Your

were influential and important to him

Head’ album. By melding rock and

during his student days.It’s a mix of

rap in a less obvious way than just

classic early 90s material he put to-

nicking AC/DC riffs this was anoth-

gether for a Camberwell reunion party

er of those records that united the

back in 2012 but has yet to see the

Metallers with the B-Boys at gigs and

light of day online.

parties and I remember seeing them with the Rollins Band at the Town &

Kev has been a hugely influential

Country Club during this tour. This

figure in the fields of music and de-

was during the heyday of DJ Muggs’

sign since graduating from Camberwell

career peak with Cypress Hill, House

in 1993. Having booked Coldcut’s Matt

of Pain and Funkdoobiest and he pro-

Black to VJ at the ‘Telepathic Fish’

vides a remix on this single too.”

ambient parties he hosted in the early 90s, Kev found himself working

Aphex Twin – Digeridoo (1992)

closely with the Ninja Tune label,

“This knocked me sideways when I

designing and art directing for them

first heard it as it was at least

from 1994 onwards before becoming

10 bpm faster than everything else

involved in the ‘DJ Food’ project.

at that time and it sounded like

Initially conceived in 1990 as a

nothing else. I immediately hunted

Coldcut side project, DJ Food expand-

down everything I could find by him,

ed to include a loose collaborative

which was about three 12"s as ‘Se-

team of PC (Patrick Carpenter), Paul

lected Ambient Works vol.1. hadn’t

Brook, Paul Rabiger and Issac Ellis-

been released yet and he was about

ton. However it was PC and Strictly

a year away from signing a deal with

Kev who became the DJ manifestation

Warp. I met Richard at a Shamen gig

of the outfit before PC quit, leaving

at Brixton Academy and later he came

Kev in full control.

and DJed at an ambient party I was bly the biggest design superstars in

was the one that kicked it all off

hosting at a squat in Brixton. I also

From his early involvement in the in-

the music world at the time with Warp

for them chart-wise (discounting

used his ‘Xylem Tube’ EP as the basis

fluential ‘Jazz Brakes’ releases, via

records, Pop Will Eat Itself and The

the Timelords’ novelty No.1). Their

for a sleeve design brief, printing

the cut-and-paste magnum opus mix/

Orb under their watch.”

‘Chill Out’ LP is still one of my

mutated type onto tracing paper for

favourites but ‘What Time Is Love’

a CD and cassette inlay that showed

documentary ‘Raiding the 20th Century’, through to the 2012 artist album

Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught

was the summer rave anthem of 1990.

parts of the design through when

‘The Search Engine’, Kev has contin-

Stealin’ (1990) “I was never a Jane’s

Jimmy Cauty’s bold typography on the

folded up.”

ued to hold his place at the cutting

fan but some of my best friends at

artwork was always recogniseable and,

edge of electronic music in the UK.

college were and I couldn’t resist

despite finishing KLF activities in

Galliano – Skunk Funk (Weatherall

the funk of this, later putting it

1992, they still remain legendary to

remixes) (1992)“The Acid Jazz move-

That’s enough of our chat, over to

on a mix CD, ‘Now, Listen’ for Ninja

this day.”

ment was a big part of things when

Kev with his ‘Rewind’ selections…

Tune. This was usually listened to

I was at Camberwell, with one of the

with the likes of Rage Against The

Primal Scream – Don’t Fight It,

tutors DJing with bands like Galli-

Deee-Lite – Groove Is In the Heart

Machine’s first LP and the first two

Feel It (1991) “‘Screamadelica’

ano and The Brand New Heavies. The

(1990) “I moved to London in 1990 to

Nirvana albums, the second of which

was the LP of 1991 for a lot of

Talkin’ Loud label was in its heyday

do my three year BA in Illustration

went stratospheric, of course, whilst

people, a big post-gig/rave come-

and Swifty’s graphics were a big fa-

at Camberwell College of Art and this

I was in my 2nd year. A big design

down record with that all important

vourite with a lot of people. Search

was just everywhere, a monster, mon-

influence around this time was David

Andy Weatherall touch and the Orb

out the Thames & Hudson book, ‘De-

ster hit and, justifiably, a clas-

Carson’s Ray Gun magazine with his

connection on ‘Higher Than The Sun’

sign After Dark’ as that was a kind

sic still to this day. Coming off

rough, distressed, anything-goes

– a huge crossover record between

of bible to me. By this time, I had

the back of the whole Native Tongues

style that brought texture to ty-

the indie and dance scenes. I always

swapped illustration for graphics and

movement with De La Soul, Jungles

pography after the cleanness of 80s

loved this more club-friendly track

wanted to design in the music indus-

Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest

design heroes like Neville Brody and

most (specifically the remix by 808

try. I had always done music and art

they took it that bit further with a

Malcolm Garrett.”

State’s Graham Massey). Again the

side by side but it took the course

sleeves of the Primals led me to

to make me realise that design for

808 State - Cubik (1990) “Proper

Factory Records, Peter Saville,

music was the direction that I wanted

The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds (1990)

heavy metal rave – ‘Pacific’ was a

Central Station Design and, later,

to pursue.

“The Orb were the stoner soundtrack

huge student record, but this first

Julian House.”

of choice in the early 90’s along-

turned up on the B side of the ‘Ex-

side the The KLF’s ‘Chill Out’ LP and

tended Pleasure of Dance’ EP that

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

in my list is for Andy Weatherall’s

Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’.. I

followed the LP. It was such a hit

– Television, The Drug of the Nation

remixes – I could have included

saw the Orb a number of times whilst

that they remixed it and put it out

(1991) “The Disposables only made one

so many different tracks of his as

at college and even took inspiration

as a single in its own right. I would

album but it was a killer. I remember

they were all long, lush and legend-

from this song for a design based on

hoover up any 12" I could, equally

buying it on the day of release and

ary. Future Sound of London’s ‘Papa

the words to ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’

enamoured with the design aesthetic

it’s sadly not too well remembered

New Guinea’, My Bloody Valentine’s

by printing in letterpress on layers

of the ZTT label that released them

but its day will come. ‘Television…’

‘Glider’, Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’

of tissue paper.

as the music.

was the lead single and its message

(not to forget the LP), Flowered Up’s

still rings true today. I saw them

‘Weekender’, Fini Tribe’s ‘101’ and

retro Pop image.”

The second reason for including this

Another reason to buy Orb releases

The KLF – What Time Is Love (1990)

play in Camden and they were using

‘Forevergreen’, The Orb’s ‘Perpetual

was for the gorgeous sleeves designed

“I was (and still am) a huge KLF

angle grinders on metal and showering

Dawn’ – it was just a seal of quality

by The Designers Republic – proba-

fan and 1991 was their year. This

the place with sparks.”

if his name was on the sleeve.”

42


Words: Ivo Aleixo Image: Corbis

Saint, sinner or both? Woody Allen may be one of the greatest film makers of the last few decades but his life has been dogged by controversy. Is it ever possible to separate the art from the artist?

A candid conversation about the wit-

ion of someone who was not there.The

ty, funny films of Woody Allen will

very phrasing of a question like “Is

inevitably turn into an uncomfortable

it possible to separate the art from

discussion about his personal life;

the artist?” seems to imply that the

more so than most other filmmakers,

artist has done something terrible

Woody’s private life seems to over-

and that we, as the audience, have to

shadow his half-a-century old, criti-

make a decision about how much we let

cally acclaimed career.

it bother us.

You could argue that, like a lot

Such a messy conundrum invites the

of notable artists in their later

question of whether you should – or

years, Allen's best work is now well

even can – separate the art from

in the past – Annie Hall and Manhat-

the artist. Should our interest in

tan, arguably his most famous films,

Allen begin and end with his films

both came out in the late 1970s. Yet,

or should we take a view about his

with his two most recent films, the

private life? Put simply, does a bad

consensus that Woody, now in his late

life invalidate good art?

70s, has returned to form has begun to crystallise.

And if you are wondering whether despicable people can go on to create **

great art, the answer is – however uncomfortable it might be – an unequivocal yes.

First Midnight in Paris in 2011, which won him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, was a

Salvador Dali supported fascism,

box-office hit and remains his big-

Richard Wagner was a raging anti-Sem-

gest financial success ever. Now

ite, and of the seven main women in

there is Blue Jasmine, his latest

Picasso’s life, two went mad and two

film, which has received wide praise

committed suicide; Norman Mailer once

from critics and is up for three

stabbed one of his wives, and William

Academy Awards.

S. Burroughs killed his wife by accidentally shooting her in the head.

It might be worth pointing out that

Yet, to a greater or lesser extent,

no one is less impressed by awards

all the artists are regarded (in some

ceremonies than Woody himself; he

circles, at least) as having created

doesn’t show up for any of them;

important, even great, work.

while Annie Hall was winning him four Oscars, he wasn’t there to give an

It might take a bit of getting used

acceptance speech because he was busy

to the idea that the history of great

playing the clarinet in a New York

artists is sometimes also an index of

club (Allen is an accomplished musi-

extreme nastiness and, in some cases,

cian with his own jazz band).

even criminal behaviour.

More importantly, this wave of praise

The question is also misleading for

for his recent films is coinciding with the renewal of damaging allegations about his private life – worthy of being an uncomfortable film in itself. Isn’t this the guy who left his wife and married their daughter? Well...not really. For what it is worth, some miscon-

Is a filmgoer who buys a ticket for a Woody Allen film indirectly supporting a paedophile and discrediting an abuse victim?

ceptions should be clarified: Woody

another reason – when it comes to judging a piece of art, words such as good or bad refer to its aesthetic merits, which morality doesn’t always play a part in. Great art can use horrible and awful things as its subject matter. Depicting something horrific – for instance, slavery in 12 Years a Slave – is by no means endorsing it. The more important point

Allen and Mia Farrow were never mar-

claims she is nothing more than a

the allegations may be false and

here, though, is that the whole sep-

ried; Soon Yi wasn’t their adopted

vengeful ex-lover holding a twen-

point to the fact there has not been

arating-art-from-the-artist issue is

daughter, just Mia’s; nor was Soon

ty-year-old grudge and that she has

a trial or conviction, and that he

not just complex – it is also some-

Yi underage when she and Woody began

exploited Dylan into making the alle-

may be wrongly accused.

thing we find uncomfortable.

their relationship.

gations by somehow brainwashing her into believing he did it.

Still, it’s all pretty messed up;

Legally, Allen has been cleared of

**

everything – but a cloud of suspicion

if you’re creeped out by the idea of

So how should moviegoers view the

remains, in some quarters at least.

In the case of Woody Allen, our per-

an old man sleeping with his girl-

allegations? Is the artist indis-

On the other hand, if the allegations

sonal decision of whether or not he

friend’s 19-year-old adopted daugh-

tinguishable from his or her art or

are true, the filmgoer who buys a

is guilty of committing a crime of

ter, welcome to the club.

should we, as the audience, place

ticket for Blue Jasmine is technical-

the most deplorable nature is ulti-

some distance between the two and

ly, albeit indirectly, supporting a

mately based on what we make of him

On top of that, now we have Woody Al-

view them as totally different en-

paedophile and discrediting a poten-

as an artist. The sad truth is that

len and Mia Farrow’s adopted daugh-

tities? Is an artist's private life

tial abuse victim. The fact of the

because we elevate artists to god-

ter, Dylan Farrow, accusing him of

even any of our business?

matter is we don’t know if he did it

like heights, their work can function

or not, so it all adds up to a vexing

as a protective screen around their

So how do you digest the allegation

she-said, he-said dilemma; with-

reputation that will stand even the

(which is hotly denied) that Woody

out knowing what actually happened,

most damaging allegations, and ulti-

Allen denies it and says it is a

Allen may have sexually abused a

whichever side we take to be true

mately coax us into glossing over a

strategy conjured up by Farrow; he

child? Perhaps you will stress that

won’t be anything more than an opin-

catalogue of heinous sins.

sexually abusing her in 1992, when she was seven years old.

43


Words: Luke O'Driscoll

Seeing the light

Angry young white men are being sent to prison and emerging as Muslims. What’s behind the wave of conversions?

To look at Jim, you wouldn’t know he

him pretty bad and I remember one of

Did Jim feel forced into convert-

reinforcing the idea that UK pris-

had just served three years in one

‘em looking at me and telling me to

ing? “I never felt forced but I did

ons are akin to what one imagines a

Britain’s toughest prisons. But then

watch myself. I’ve always been able

feel put on edge by their strength

terrorist training camp in eastern

again you wouldn’t know Jim was a

to handle my self in fights but I

at first. But it was me that made the

Pakistan or Somalia is like.

devout Muslim either. In 2009 he was

didn’t wanna mess with this lot, so I

decision to convert and only me. No

sentenced to six years, three with-

started to get to know ‘em, see what

one made that decision for me.”

out parole, for a particularly nasty

they were about. And a lot of what

assault after a boozed-up night out.

they were saying made sense, it was

Did he feel safer inside once he’d

rise in Muslim terrorists in British

He was 22 and in his own words was

a life I didn’t know existed, you

converted? “I did. But at the same

prisons. Home Office figures show

“out of control, just looking for

know one that seemed almost peaceful?

time I felt more content in who I

that there were only 121 prisoners

trouble all the time… drunk, lost I

They gave me a translated Quran, it

was. I’d chosen to accept Islam and

convicted of terrorist related charg-

guess you could say.” He’s short and

was the first book I read in there

there’s so much positive that comes

es currently serving time in UK pris-

stocky with a tightly shaved haircut

and it gave me a different outlook on

with that.”

ons in March of this year, and out of

and comes from a predominantly white,

my life so I started going to prayer

working class background.

sessions and within two or three

When I ask Gillan if he has any fig-

However, despite the right-wing rhetoric, there is not an unprecedented

those only 46% were Muslim.

months I was calling myself a Muslim

ures to reinforce his association’s

What is the relationship like for

He had little to no contact with oth-

and I’d changed my classification to

statement he draws a blank. He is,

a jailed Muslim between prison and

er races and cultures prior to being

one by the prison.”

however, full of fellow officers' an-

Islam? I spoke to Sheikh Tayeb Ali, a

ecdotes about the rise of Muslim gang

chaplain for various London prisons.

sent down, “apart from in the kebab shop and stuff like that,” he notes,

**

culture in prisons. And whilst these can’t be entirely discredited I tell

“Life locked up is obviously very

six months in Armley jail that he

Statistically Jim’s story is more

him the necessity of more than hear-

tough for anyone but Islam offers

tells me he became aware of Muslims

common than you might think. The

say to promote such a claim.

peace, it offers redemption for those

as “more than just terrorists off TV.

rate of increase of Muslim inmates

They were a big presence inside be-

in British prisons is growing eight

He doesn’t take very kindly to this

cause of the amount of ‘em always to-

times faster than that of the over-

and tells me a story that took place

Are we seeing a disproportionate rise

gether. It’s a lonely place inside a

all prison population. That equates

in Long Lartin prison last year in

in Muslim prisoners due to forced

prison, even if you’re surrounded by

to 11,200 Muslim prisoners currently

which a prisoner was purportedly

conversions and peer pressure? “We

people, you’re always alone in your

behind bars or 13.1% of the English

threatened at knifepoint for cooking

are seeing a rise in Muslim prison-

head. So seeing this big group look-

and Welsh prison population compared

pork in the Category A jail’s commu-

ers I believe not due to the pressure

ing after each other’s appealing. At

to only 6% in 1997. The general Mus-

nal kitchen.

of conversion but because the West

first you see ‘em getting more breaks

lim population of Britain only ac-

than everyone else and eating dif-

counts for 4%. Varying reasons can be

“The prisoner was terrified for his

Islam. Of all the negative press it

ferent food and you think to yourself

accounted for these figures such as

life. But what can we do in way of

receives it is having the adverse ef-

‘that’s what I should be getting.’”

the higher stop-and-search rate for

protection other than put him in sol-

fect of enlightening people who would

Asians and mixed races, who are twice

itary or advise him against cooking

otherwise have little understanding

as likely to be stopped than their

pork? There are no other feasible

of our faith.”

candidly. It was within his first

** After a year inside Her Majesty’s Prison Leeds Jim was a Muslim. I ask him if he ever thought about becoming a Muslim before he got sent down? “Never. It wasn’t because I wouldn’t of, it was because I didn’t know anything about Islam. I didn’t really know ‘owt about religion full stop, let alone Islam. I thought it was

that have done wrong in their lives.”

as a whole is becoming more aware of

“I started going to prayer sessions in prison and within two or three months I was describing myself as a Muslim”

something Asians did.”

What Sheikh Ali tells me echoes Jim’s thoughts on his conversion. I tell the Sheikh about the violence Jim’s friend witnessed at the hands of Muslims and the anecdotes Steve Gillan had been told by fellow officers. “This [gang violence] may well be the case, but we must not mistake gang mentality with our faith. If these so called ‘Muslim prison gangs’ were

white counterparts. The large number

options without causing unrest, with

as strong and powerful as many would

When I question how he ended up con-

of young people in the Muslim popula-

potentially catastrophic results, as

have us believe then surely the whole

verting he tells me a story about

tion can be seen as another factor,

the current prison system stands.”

prison system would be forced into

his cellmate: “We were playing pool,

70% are below the age of 40, compared

like everyone does, Muslims, everyone

to 50.6% of the general population,

on the wing, it’s something to keep

with the under 40s making up 69% of

you occupied. Then my cellmate starts

the British prison population. Add

Long Lartin Prison is one of seven

kicking off with one of the Asian

to this a myriad of other socio-eco-

like it that house what are deemed as

I meet Jim two weeks after out first

lads about whose go it was on the

nomic factors that mean Muslims are

the UK’s most dangerous prisoners,

interview. He looks happy, not as

table. He called the lad a ‘paki’ and

increasingly being put behind bars

including those sent down for of-

weary as when we first met. He’s

imitated hitting him with the cue.

and the statistics start to make more

fences connected with terrorism. Does

found a job through an agency.

And it was funny at the time, all the

sense, but this still leaves a gap

Gillan view extremism relating to

lads round were laughing.”

between Muslim conviction rates and

prisoners sent down for these charges

“I’m chuffed. Thought I’d be on the

registered Muslim prisoner rates.

as an issue within the UK system?

dole for ages. I think it helped that

“I did at the time, I use to use that

And whilst these figures don’t cate-

“Obviously Islam in the wrong hands

in the agency called me back the next

word all time for any Asian looking

gorically mean there has been an in-

has the power to inflict idea’s of

day after I’d been into fill out the

person, before I got to know some.”

crease in Muslim prison converts they

extremism onto others and I think

form and said I’d accidentally ticked

are being perceived by some as such.

that within our prisons, where these

my ethnicity as ‘Muslim’. I said that

The contradictions of peace and vio-

Steve Gillan, the Prison Officers’

men spend weeks, months and sometimes

wasn’t accident, I am one. She said

lence that define Islam today are ap-

Association general secretary, re-

years in close proximity with each

they rarely received applications

parent in what happens next for Jim.

cently issued a statement saying:

other, it has the power to be a very

from white British Muslims for la-

“there’s been clear evidence from a

serious burgeoning issue.”

bouring jobs and it might improve my

conversion. People are converting **

because they choose to, not because they are forced to.”

Did he think of Asians as ‘pakis’?

I’m a Muslim.” How so? “Well the lady

“I didn’t think more of it until the

variety of different incidents [that]

next day when six of ‘em [Muslims]

young men are being targeted and then

A quick search on Google brings up

call to say I’ve got a start Monday.

set upon him by the tables. They beat

coerced into converting to Islam.”

tens of results from daily nationals

It’s a confusing world we live in.”

44

chances. The next day I get another


Words: Corie Schwabenland Image: Mark James Works

The million-pound pop up Students at Central Saint Martins opened ‘the world’s most expensive pop-up shop’ as they try to find out what art is really worth.

In the art world, there’s a fine line between innovative and flatly ridiculous-- and artists have been toeing it with gleeful abandon for centuries. Historically, there was Duchamp’s Fountain - the glorified urinal we admittedly all snickered at at least once during basic history courses. In recent history, there’s been UAL’s own Clayton Pettet and his symbol-laden, albeit (SPOILER!) sexless “Art School Stole My Virginity” performance piece. Other frequent examples of questionable artistic merit: 1) abstract art, oft-mocked as empty/ugly canvases, and by-far the #1 stereotype for “are you sure this is really art?” 2) basically anything Lady Gaga ever does, ever. See, art is so lovable because it’s so violently subjective. There’s lots of room to create, to express, to expose meaning. Yet therein lies the downfall - if there’s no real right or wrong way to make art, how does one determine the values, both monetary and creative, of art itself? Fittingly, students from London’s famed Central Saint Martins chose to explore this question via their exhibition - Worth. **

in Spitalfields. At approximately

minimalist white frames. Cool, right?

about worth and value judgments with-

14:30, I walked completely past it,

There were items as intellectual-

in the art world. Explained student

Billed as “The world’s most expensive

expecting a flashy front more in kind

ly stimulating as “Temporary Tattoos

Tatiana Aspinwall: “The original

pop-up shop,” Worth wasn’t exactly

with the punchy green posters pasted

for Designers” posing great artistic

theme for the brief was ‘responsibil-

what comes to mind from a Year 2 uni

up around East London to advertise

questions, or board games designed to

ity’, and the idea of worth fits in

design project. Described as “a 4 day

the pop-up.

make you rethink the excessive usage

with that perfectly.”

long pop-up shop that questions what

of social media ingrained in society. **

value really is and brings meaning to

Location, here, is important. East

There were also some simple delights

the marketplace by turning the world

London is often stereotyped, not

like those upside-down glass bottles

of commerce on its head” - it’s cer-

entirely inappropriately, as hipster

fashioned into cups that you see on

Overall, Worth cleverly executed a

tainly set the artistic press ablaze.

central. Spitalfields is peripher-

Pinterest. And yes, there were some

playful and nuanced take on an age-

The gimmick lay in what started out

al to Shoreditch. It contains Brick

questionably priced items for you to

old art debate, perhaps at a scope

as a £1,000,000 price tag for every

Lane. It, as an area, is the very

pass judgment on-- namely an CD with

beyond what they had intended. The

single item in the store. Worth ad-

manifestation of innovation versus

one song on it, a beautifully de-

Spitalfields location? While this

vertised said prices via social me-

borderline, ridiculous excess. It

signed cover… and a £10 pricetag.

was chosen by the Worth team because

dia, and invited users to share their

is “too cool to care,” paying high

site via Facebook or Twitter. For

street prices to dress intentionally

With all of Worth’s products re-

them to engage passersby, it had an

each share, the price dropped incre-

lowbrow, hard-earned pounds on wa-

vealed to be, well, things you could

additional advantage. The gentrified

mentally. For the intentionally auda-

tered down cocktails, etc. etc. Also

see yourself buying at Urban Outfit-

East London location provided the

cious price tag to become more uni-

present, mere doors down from Worth,

ters, the initial £1,000,000 price

pop-up with a potent juxtaposition

budget manageable, users were tasked

is an Urban Outfitters - a.k.a. cool

tag seemed all the more jarring. To

with the very overpriced and over-

with inviting their friends to share

tchotchkes that you have no room to

be fair, social media sharing knocked

sold (albeit aesthetically pleasing)

the link as well, and it all sort of

pencil into your budget but no doubt

£999,949.88 total off of the initial

art-as-a-function-of-capitalism that

snowballed ...as is the nature of so-

ultimately will.

figure. With the most expensive item

their project riffed on. The Urban

in the shop priced at exactly £50.12

Outfitters I mentioned earlier that

The products at Worth were pains-

and most items priced around £10-20,

was merely a few doors down? It pro-

It’s worth noting that for most of

takingly hand-crafted, the kind of

anything you buy at Worth is prob-

vided a pricing anchor that made the

Worth’s PR process, there wasn’t any

fresh and lovely designs that one

ably quite a steal. Especially when

£1,000,000 price tag seem even more

art available to view. Unlike a mul-

would expect from budding BA Design

you consider that all proceeds earned

ridiculous than you had previously

ti-million pound auction at, say, So-

and Interaction students (a Graph-

will be financing the Graphic Design

thought possible.

theby’s, there was only the abstract

ic Design subset) from a prestigious

course’s 2015 Degree showcase, rather

concept of pricey, exotic art. Then

art school. There were teabags with

than being funneled into a faceless

If CSM students are carrying out such

came occasional Instagram snippets of

inspirational quotes knitted on to

corporation’s pockets.

creative exhibitions largely of their

Worth’s products ...and the sneaking

them, USB drives adorned with 3-D

confirmation that the hefty price tag

printouts of your very own face, kits

The point of Worth was never really

their program, then the design world

was every bit as exorbitant as one

to teach you how to hand-knit famous

to make a million pounds. The design

has much to expect from BA Graphic

could have imagined.

fonts (Helvetica, anyone?), notebooks

students behind Worth “just wanted

Design: Design and Interaction. After

fashioned from pieces of unwant-

to raise some money for the degree

a few hours spent at Worth, I’ll be

Worth went live to the public at ex-

ed artworks, “Phone/iPod autopsies”

show and make sure that we could do

watching their activities and hoping

actly 10:00 A.M. on 6th June, having

bearing outdated electronics disas-

it again the following year,” all the

that they go out with an even bigger

commandeered an unassuming storefront

sembled and carefully arranged inside

while making some thoughtful points

bang at next year’s degree show.

cial media these days.

it was a busy area that would allow

own accord, and only two years into

45


REVIEWS

Film

Undying love, a computer with a soul and a supernatural murder mystery

Amour

Transcendence

Oculus

Austrian director Michael Haneke’s powerful

Will Caster (Johnny Depp), a famous Arti-

I admit to not being a huge fan of horror

groundbreaking tale Amour, which won 2012’s

ficial Intelligence researcher, is working

films, but I made an exception for this

Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, is a

to create a computer able to combine the

particular one. Truth to be told, I ac-

moving and unwavering drama of great love

intelligence of everything ever known with

tually made an exception because of the

and intelligence.

the complete set of human emotions. The ex-

presence of Karen Gillan– aka Amy Pond from

periment, which has brought him renown, has

Doctor Who– in the cast.

The French film begs the eternal ques-

also made him the target of anti-technology

tion: does love last as we approach the

extremists, who would do anything to try to

So, my friends and I sat all on the couch

end of our lives? The movie begins with a

stop his project.

to watch Oculus by Mike Flanagan. The film is set on two different timelines.

flash-forward sequence, which attempts to engrave on our minds a devastating memen-

Unfortunately their attempts to destroy the

The first is in 2002 : 13-year-old Kaylie

to mori, controlling how we, the audience

computer becomes the very reason Dr. Caster

and her younger brother Tim have just moved

respond to everything.

succeeds in his own transcendence. After

with their parents, Alan and Marie, into a

the experiment is completed, Caster’s wife

new home. After their father buys a mirror

Georges and Anne are an elderly couple,

Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his best friend

to decorate his studio, strange events be-

played by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Em-

Dr. Waters (Paul Bettany), both research-

gin to happen to all members of the family.

manuelle Riva. They are educated, retired

ers, have to decide whether they should

music teachers with a musician daughter

help him to move the project forward.

The second line is set in 2013 instead. Tim (Brenton Thwaites) has just been released

(Isabelle Huppert) who lives abroad. Their worst fear is soon materialised as

from a psychiatric hospital where he spent

They live in an old neighbourhood in Paris,

Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into

the last 11 years for killing his father.

with Anne’s grand piano that is now left

a quest for power: the only thing that at

untouched. However, old age clearly does

this point is absolutely clear is there may

Waiting for him outside the institution

not stop them from being happy together and

be no way to stop him.

is his sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan). The first thing she says to him is that she has

loving each other. Wally Pfister, former cinematographer for

finally found their father’s mirror and now

One day, while having breakfast, Anne suf-

Christopher Nolan, makes his directorial

they can finally keep the promise they had

fers a stroke that left one side of her

debut with a film that portrays an ideo-

made years before: they can destroy it.

body paralysed. With courage, good humour

logical as well as physical battle between

and gentleness, Georges and Anne confront

technology supporters and its critics. The

Yet, after a decade spent in therapy, Tim

their destiny, and in the shadow of death,

initial purpose of Dr. Caster is to create

is convinced that he invented a story in-

their relationship is deeply moving. As

an artificial intelligence able to experi-

volving a paranormal evil mirror to try to

the situation progresses, Haneke shows how

ence the feelings of the human soul which

justify the murder he actually committed.

the outside world begins to fade away. Time

can then– through nanotechnology– perform

However Kaylie is convinced that a dark and

passes, and their home becomes a sort of

breakthroughs in science and medicine. But

malevolent force resides in the mirror and

prison, the solitude interrupted by visits

it is the “human” aspect that worries the

that it is responsible for a series of par-

from Anne’s former pupil and their daughter

saboteurs: if man can be easy prey of his

anormal events.

and son-in-law Geoff (William Shimell).

own instinct to control everything, what

The acting from these two legends of French

about a computer with a human soul? And

Horror fans have called Oculus ‘a pearl

then, can an AI have a soul?

of Series B horror movie’ and director Mike Flanagan has managed to build a good

cinema is raw and highly provoking, inviting tears and laughter from the audience.

Pfister’s goal was to create a film lead-

overall structure. The transition from

Trintignant’s performance as a dutiful and

ing the viewers to reflect on the potential

one timeline to another, which might have

yet irritated caretaker of his beloved wife

of technology and what could/should be its

caused problems or even slowed down the

is thought-provoking: he successfully over-

limits. Pfister shows great skills: the

pace of the film, is fluid.

comes losing his temper and while keeping

balance and the elegance of the scenes are

his cool. It is almost like a mission to

definitely a strength of the film.

The two parallel lines seem to flow without friction, and perhaps this comes from the

safeguard all his patience and energy. Sadly, the plot is not involving and the

experience of the director in film edit-

Amour is a film aimed at couples that goes

characters fail to convince, to the point

ing. However, what many have described as a

into rapture about the virtue of commitment

that it is hard to understand their moti-

surprising and captivating storyline, has

through thick and thin. There’s a valuable

vation and, in the case of Paul Bettany’s

not convinced me at all. Have I become com-

lesson there.

character, even their role in the story.

pletely numb?

Words: Yasaman Ahmadzai

Words: Beatrice Bosotti

Words: Beatrice Bosotti

46


Music

Games

Ecstatic post-rock in Peckham and Mercury-nominated electronica

Huge robot armies locked in battle

Oxbow Lakes

East India Youth

Awesomenauts

Hailing from Torquay, the close-knit quar-

William Doyle is East India Youth, his name

Opting for a 2-D side scrolling style Awe-

tet Oxbow Lakes, three of whom - Dan and

deriving from the East India Docks area of

somenauts is not really what most people

the two Toms - are currently living, stud-

London, where he lived during the recording

would expect from a Dota-style game. The

ying (guitarist Tom Morgan studies Sound

of Total Strife Forever, his debut solo LP.

overall movement of a character is considerably different, with more of an emphasis

Art & Design at LCC), working and chilling

on vertical gameplay.

in South London, whilst frontman Hugh is

It came out in January and has just been

to-and-froing between London and Brighton.

named on the shortlist for the Mercu-

Having known each other since their teen-

ry Prize. It’s an electronic, synthesizer

Awesomenauts’ character selection is im-

age years, it’s apparent that the chemis-

driven record, that calls to mind Kraftwerk

pressive and diverse, with each character

try between these boys correlates with the

and Eno, and Heroes and Low, the Seventies

bringing something new to the table along

tightness and ease with which they play

Berlin albums of David Bowie, that Doyle

with their own lore.

together. Characteristics of bands such as

cites as an influence. The thing that I found most appealing about

Modest Mouse, Jeniferever, Mogwai and Slint can be distinguished, but these do not in

There’s also, in the vocals especially,

the game is the lack of team pressure.

any way eclipse Oxbow Lakes' own richness

an echo of Doyle’s pre-East India Youth

Again Dota and league are notorious for

and originality.

days as the lead singer of a band on the

their high skill level and quirky commu-

indie circuit. It is perhaps that lega-

nity. In Awesomenauts you don’t feel like

On arrival at the Montague Arms, a recent-

cy that lends Total Strife Forever some of

your entire team is scrutinizing your per-

ly re-established boozer on the New Cross/

the warmth and intimacy that is not always

formance, willing to shout at you for the

Peckham border, the unperturbed atmosphere

present in synth-based music.

smallest mistake.

and thrift store-acquired board games, I

While there is experimentation on Total

The fact that this genre revolves heavily

was close to speculating that I had arrived

Strife Forever, there are also quite tradi-

around objective play does lead to frus-

at a locals-only steampunk séance. But the

tionally structured songs such as Dripping

tration and it takes something special to

room quickly filled up. Half of Torquay and

Down. Other tracks call to mind the poised,

remove or at least reduce it. It may be the

their London counterparts arrived in eager

sculpted electronic noise of Tim Hecker or

general simplicity of the game that dilutes

anticipation.

Harold Budd.

it to less noticeable levels in Awesom-

The band opened with their single ‘Redis-

Parts of the album are firmly ambient, like

tribution of Wealth’, its charming opening

the cool, arpeggiated opener Glitter Reces-

chords and rolling drums captivating the

sion. Other tracks would work well on the

Awesomenauts has a map pool of more than

room. The vocals set the somewhat som-

dancefloor, notably Hinterland which, from

1 map. Variants come with map specif-

bre yet enchanting ambience of the son-

a slow, warm start, builds into a pounding

ic features to add even more freshness to

ic journey ahead, snatching the attention

hard techno tune.

the arguably stale 1 map rotation we have

and lack of punters amongst the taxidermy

enauts. With less to go wrong there is less to worry about.

come to expect. Admittedly the maps in the

of everyone there. Even a few local coppers rolled in to sway amongst the crowd.

You could make a long list of William

game only consist of 2 pushable lanes which

London’s occasional reputation for stat-

Doyle’s influences: occasionally, per-

are compensated for, by teams only being

ue-like audiences wasn’t fulfilled tonight

haps, they are a little too obvious but,

composed of 3 champions and overall merged

– the room was in motion to Oxbow’s amiable

then again, it is a first album. But in an

roles in the team, reducing the complexity

sounds. Their sweeping chords and plucked

age when so much music is predictable and

of the game somewhat.

melodies, along with the occasional addi-

homogenized, eclecticism is a rare quality

tion of echoing vocals, don’t fall short

and one to be prized.

And this is where the game may turn some people off. The simplification doesn’t stop

of rousing sentiment. I watched a girl sat, eyes closed, mouthing her own lyrics into

If you heard the eleven tracks on Total

at team and map size. Awesomenauts' lack

an imaginary microphone as the quartet

Strife Forever separately, you could almost

of an item build system may be a blessing

fired their way through the band's anthemic

believe they were by two or three differ-

for some, but for those who already have a

track ‘Monaco’.

ent artists. Heard together, though, they

grasp of the genre may not find the sub-

somehow seem to form a coherent whole. It

stance they are used to. The lack of an

The band are set to play more shows in

is, as much as anything, an atmosphere that

item system reduces the importance of last

London this year, and in rejection of ra-

binds them together, a mood of delicate

hits and champion kills, and it seems that

dio-drivel and the ever-recycled monotony

introspection. It’s a very good album in

the game is aiming more for the actual ac-

of London club music I would urge anyone to

its own right and one that promises great

tion of gameplay then for the strategy that

check them out.

things for the future.

lies behind it.

Words: Fraser Thorne

Words: Alastair Brennan

Words: James Wood

47


SEEN ON CAMPUS

Students in black and white Five students tell us about their lives and their sense of style

Clockwise from top: Samuel, Foundation Art and Design, Leeds. “I’m trying to get away from how I dressed last year. It was all longline t-shirts and tight jeans, quite skatery, so this year I’m tucking my shirt in. I like that classic guy look.” Ronald, Hong Kong, A-levels “Maths is essential” Amy, Liverpool, Fashion Communication. “This is the proudest day of my life,” Jae, Tokyo, Foundation in Art and Design. “My mum wanted to be a fashion designer. She’s really good at drawing and designing, but she ended up being a chef. She helps me with my designs. She’s actually my best friend.” Luke, Guildford, Acting. “This look is called comfy chic.” Angie, Los Angeles, Fashion Communication. “I like colors, fun textures and prints. Sometimes I’ll be really, really into black -- obviously anyone that’s in fashion loves a uniform of black. I like to juxtapose a lot. Like with today’s outfit, I don’t like things that are too ladylike. I like to rough it up a little. I think fashion’s supposed to be fun, it’s not supposed to be a big, serious ordeal.”

Words and photographs: Isabella Smith

48


FREENESS

From Shoreditch to Bloomsbury London can be expensive so here's our guide to the best of what’s available free of charge.

FREE DRINKS, CHEAP SHOES AND MORE BOXPARK Shoreditch – check Twitter for details. Savvy Shoreditch-types know that the best resource for free booze BY FAR is @boxpark on Twitter. The shipping container shopping mall in East London keeps its edgy rep by having a ridiculously geometric building hosting seemingly one event with some kind of free alc every week, and that's not to mention free pizza, shopping discounts and other tempting offers. Coming up in the very near future is an in-store party for Victoria Plimsolls to promote their Autumn and Winter collection. Prices start at £30 and free drinks are promised along with 20% discounts and a chance to win a free pair of shoes. The date has yet to be revealed, though it is tantalizingly promised to be ‘soon’. Keep an eye on the @boxpark Twitter feed for details of this and other forthcoming events. Box parks are becoming a symbol of areas that are seeking to rebrand themselves and there's one opening up at the Elephant & Castle, too, on the site of the old Heygate estate. The boxes are in place but last time we looked, there was only a handful of tenants in situ. A ‘Shoreditch-style experience’ is explicitly promised, though, and we WHISKEY AND MOVIES

PHOTOGRAPHY, WALKS, TALKS AND MORE

food and, of course, free drinks… We

Various venues – Check Facebook

Various venues – check website

can't vouch for the quality of the

for details. The Jameson Irish Whis-

for details. At the more cultural

plae just yet but you can follow the

key people are falling over them-

end of the freeness spectrum is the

progress of South London’s answer to

selves to give away drinks to filmgo-

acclaimed East London photography

Shoreditch and watch out for offers

ers all over London. Their cult film

festival, which starts this month and

on Twitter @ElephantParkLDN

club runs free showings of interest-

runs right through until the end of

ing movies in a variety of venues

the year.

can only hope that that will include a plethora of discounts, cheap

Words: Alastair Brennan Image: Untitled, Charles Avery, 2014, courtesy the artist

around London (including the Union ROLL THE DICE: WIN YOUR ROUND

Chapel and a Soho car park) and they

There’s a host of free exhibitions,

hand out free drinks, too.

talks on photography and London-re-

Cat & Mutton, Broadway Market –

lated matters and guided walks, as

every Tuesday. The Cat & Mutton in

Previous showings at Jameson cult

well as a wide variety of launch

Hackney’s Broadway Market is hipster

film club nights have included clas-

parties for books and shows, where

central with its pub on the ground

sics such the science-fiction classic

guests might be lucky enough to grab

floor and speakeasy-style bar and

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, Fight

a free drink or two. For full de-

dining room on the first. It’s invar-

Club, Jaws and Anchorman 2: The Leg-

tails, visit the exhibition’s website

iably packed at weekends with drink-

end Continues.Other cult classics are

2014.photomonth.org.

ers spilling out on to the pavements

sure to follow,

on warm evenings. But if you’re in a FREE FILM

gambling mood and in search of free

The Jameson people also run a pro-

drinks, then Tuesday nights are the

motion with the Picturehouse cinema

night’s to head over to Hackney, if

chain to offer free drinks at certain

Grant Museum, Bloomsbury – October

you fancy trying luck with a roll of

showings around town – there are Pic-

28, 6pm. If you’ve ever wondered what

the dice.

turehouses in Clapham, Brixton, Hack-

happens in a museum when they shut

ney, Greenwich, Stratford and Notting

the doors for the evening, there’s

Hill Gate.

a chance to find out at the Grant

Tuesday is the night when the Cat & Mutton runs its Beat the Bar Tender’

Museum of Zoology in Bloomsbury where

promotion. How does it work? You head

Not surprisingly, the Jameson events

they are holding a very special party

to the bar and order your drinks,

are pretty popular and tend to get

night amid the specimens and skel-

then you roll a dice, the bar ten-

booked up well in advance so you need

etons, together with a free showing

der rolls a dice and if you get the

to move swiftly to get a coveted

of, entirely appropriately, Night at

higher score, the drinks are free. On

ticket. To find out what’s coming up

the Museum with Ben Stiller and

the other hand, if they get a higher

and when, join the Jameson Cult Film

Ricky Gervais. Check www.museum-mile.

score then you pay full price.

Club at their Facebook page.

org.uk for details.

49


LAST WORD

Fashion

We live in a multicultural society - so why is the catwalk still so white?

A host of long, pale limbs glide down

Words: Ebi Osuobeni

the catwalk, belonging to models of

Image: Pete Donaldson

the moment such as Cara Delevingne, Edie Campbell, and Sam Rollinson. All white. In fact, looking at runways across London Fashion Week, one would be excused for thinking that they belong to a more homogenous society-and not to a city that claims to be one of the most multicultural, multi-ethnic places in the world. The lack of racial diversity in fashion is not a new topic, and tends to rear its hotly contested and divisive head year after year with little change made. There are of course a few flashes in the pan with regards to black models. Supermodel Jourdan Dunn is a firm fashion favourite, walking for labels such as Burberry, Givenchy and Balenciaga. Leomie Anderson, another favourite, has walked for Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, and Tom Ford. But they are just two in a sea of white faces. Requests to diversify

often abstract “aesthetic”. Or are

on cosmetic products, so why isn’t

the runway often come from outside

the fashion bookers simply passing

the beauty industry tapping into and

the industry; but perhaps what is

the buck?

creating goods for that demographic?

needed is a call to action by an in-

Could it be that the reputation of

dustry giant-this is where a certain

Another explanation for the lack of

a company is upheld by the type of

Ms Campbell comes in.

black models is that white women sell

people that buy its products - and in

better and have “universal” appeal.

their minds, black women may harm the

Naomi Campbell, one of the most fa-

This barely seems credible: do black

prestige of a business? Sadly, I have

mous faces in fashion, has joined

consumers really prefer to buy goods

to conclude that the answer is yes.

forces with former supermodel Iman,

advertised by white people? Indeed,

Discrimination in the beauty industry

to support well-respected casting

in 2008, Vogue Italia released the

does not exist in a vacuum, it is one

director, Bethann Hardison in demand-

“Black Issue”, featuring only black

sector amongst many that are institu-

ing a change to catwalks around the

models and it soon became the best

tionally and socially racist.

world. Ms Hardison created the “Bal-

selling issue in the magazine’s his-

ance Diversity” campaign to bring at-

tory. One might attribute the success

tention to the absence of black mod-

of the issue to the fact that it was

els at fashion week and has written

something that had never been done

Instead of waiting for the tide to

an open letter to organizations such

before - the statement and excitement

slowly turn, shoppers should let

as the British Fashion Council and

it caused made black women want to be

their money do the talking and those

CFDA(Council of Fashion Designers of

part of the ‘movement’.

looking for variety should support

America) naming and shaming designers

**

black designers, cosmetic brands and

like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Victoria

However, it also shows that time and

publications. Black British women

Beckham, Alexander McQueen and Mul-

time again, black consumers will buy

spend six times more on makeup and

berry, that have either only featured

products and spend money if they are

hair products than their white coun-

one black model, or none at all. Iman

catered to. A common worry among

terparts - that is money that could

has noted that there were more black

brands is said to be that they will

be going into the development of a

models working in the 70s.

lose money creating lines for women

black-owned brand. These products are

of colour, but that couldn’t be fur-

not always as easy to find as they

ther from the truth.

might be – some high-street names

**

seem shamefully reluctant to stock So what exactly is going wrong? Why

Responsibility for the lack of di-

them - but the rise in online shop-

is it that the world of fashion seems

versity is shifted from sector to

ping takes away some of the difficul-

to shave such difficulty embracing

sector, but the reality is modelling

ty in attaining those products.

diversity and putting more black peo-

agencies, fashion houses, advertisers

ple in shows?

and magazines are inextricably linked

**

and must share the blame. Change canIn the fashion industry food chain,

not happen without a concerted effort

There is no easy solution to the lack

modelling agencies are the first port

from all groups. The conversation is

of diversity in the fashion world.

of call when attempting to find out

a continuous one within black cir-

Consumers do hold the power, but

about the lack of Black models. How-

cles (and rightly so) but every time

brands and fashion houses are provid-

ever, agencies and model bookers dis-

it hits the headlines, the fashion

ing a service. Expecting customers to

agree that the blame should fall at

industry seems to think that a token

cater to themselves is unfair, nev-

their feet, and instead explain that

model here and there will make things

ertheless it seems that the only way

they can only give what the fashion

better rather than really examining

Black women will see people who look

houses ask for.

their attitudes and practices. There

like us on the catwalks or in the

has to be an unremitting endeavour by

magazines is to “lead the charge”,

If this is true, it’s worrying that

the heads of industry (most of whom

whether that means starting our own

designers are excluding models be-

are white) to transform things. Valu-

businesses, supporting pre-existing

cause they feel that their race pre-

ing black female consumers is vital.

one or letting the big brands know

vents them from fitting in with an

Black women spend millions of pounds

what we think.

50


HAYWARD GALLERY 14 Oct 2014 – 4 Jan 2015 @haywardgallery #mirrorcity mirrorcity.southbankcentre.co.uk

Media Partner

© Jason Hawkes 51


Artwork of the month: FUCK YOU to the future (without me), Mathew Sawyer, 2014, C-type print, 118 x 77cm. Courtesy of the artist


Artefact 201014