Issue 1: Childhood Spring 2010
t’s Spring and the first theme is Childhood so it has to be the first issue of Brikolage. It just makes sense. Most people think of Spring and they think of babies being born, flowers blooming, pretty little birds and bees and a demented Easter Bunny chasing Bill and Ted down a corridor in the first level of hell. Or is that just me?
When we put the theme of Childhood to our contributors we expected lots of soggy memories dripping with nostalgia. But, like my mind going to Bill and Ted when everyone else’s are going to green meadows, not everyone thinks the same. Our first Brikolage proves this point with a selection of creativity ranging from poetry to photographs, illustrations to childhood imaginations; and all completely different. Exactly what we wanted. Be inspired!
This Spring we love... Rachael Macintyre
...red heads; baggy cotton scarves; dancing to “La Bottine Souriante”. http://www.bottinesouriante.com
...my tiffin tin; glittery makeup; the sun and clear blue skies; my electric blanket; “A Single Man”.
...my new marty McFly Junior cap; daylight; Erdinger beers; Beats in Space radio. http://www.beatsinspace.net/
...my new Topshop boots; Divine butterscotch chocolate; Cafe Gandolfi. http://www.cafegandolfi.com/
Front cover illustrated by Mina Braun
Photograph by Florencia García Chafuén
FAREWELL WINTER– WELCOME SPRING
Childhood means one thing to me:
Kids do everything fearlessly. Kids eat bugs, they climb trees,
they talk to strangers, they run around naked, they laugh at everything, almost defiantly. Fearlessness is the kid who climbs up the big cliffs in his home town, big cliffs that would have killed him if heâ€™d fallen off onto sharp coastal rocks. Fearlessness is the kid who speaks his mind. Fearlessness is the kid who invites another kid to join in the imagined game where they have crash landed on an alien planet. Fearlessness is the kid who talks back to the teacher because he doesnâ€™t understand whatâ€™s going on.
I’m sure we can all think back to our past and think of something we did that we wouldn’t have the stones to do now. Kids are fearless out of necessity. When we aren’t scared we take risks, when we take risks we learn, when we learn we grow. Growing is essential for everyone, not just kids. by Patrick Hare
Photo by Rorie Balloch
Make Believe by Rachael Macintyre
Photograph by Florencia García Chafuén illustion by Mina Braun
She runs down and round the spiral staircase; her skirts swooping behind her like a serpent’s tail. Gold flashes burst out as the sun from the tiny windows catches the material flying around inside the turret. Her sandalled feet appear completely bare apart from a golden hoop over her big toe, painted red, and a thin gold strap looped about her ankle. They quickly tap on the cold stone steps, taking one each as she moves swiftly down. Down. She moves with such determination and speed, but without a single thought. She doesn’t know where she is going; only where she is coming from. She reaches the bottom. She is out of breath. There is not even a tiny window at the foot of the stairs. It is dark and quiet. The only sound is her heavy breath heaving in and out of her small chest. In front of her there is a door. She can barely make it out, but as she reaches to touch it she can feel its thick wood. She runs her fingers along the rough surface. They jump across splinters and dip inside worn out grooves. At the edge she feels an iron hinge binding the door to its frame.
She wonders whether or not to go inside. She reaches for the handle of the door and turns it. It clicks before rolling round; letting her push open the door. Inside a group of men sit around a huge table. It stretches across the entire room and seats two hundred men of all ages and size. They don’t even notice the breeze from the open door as it brushes across the back of their necks. At the furthest end a man is seated on a throne of such ferocity. The arms are finished with silver claws splayed out as if to attack. The back of the seat rises up to 6 feet high and at the top silver teeth growl out from a golden lion’s mouth. The man sits there solemnly looking out across the table. He holds his copper beard in his left hand and the handle of his sword in his right. The men, his soldiers, laugh and eat the feast that is spread out in front of them. He turns down the meat and refuses the wine they offer him. Very soon there will be a battle and this one will be their last.
She sees a King at the head of a huge table. His men are feasting in celebration of a battle they have just won. They laugh and drink. But he does not. The King looks unhappy. She approaches him. Perhaps he is under a curse that only true love’s first kiss could lift? The man looks up from his dark thoughts and sees across the room a woman moving towards him. He frowns in disbelief. He wonders what a woman is doing here. How she survived the bloody battles fought around this decaying palace. He looks again and catches a light sparkle in her eyes. She is no ordinary woman. He remembered a story told to him when he was a boy. The voice of his storyteller was unclear, but the legend remained deep in his memory. Thousands of years ago a cruel army scoured the country; vanquishing everything that lay in their path. One town, his town of birth, remained. They were good people and his great grandfather led them with pride. But as their enemies approached he knew that he would not be able to lead his town into victory. He grieved for the loss of his people as if they had already gone. He sank deeper and deeper into sadness, saving the little energy he had left for his final battle. One night he sat by the fire with a book in his hand. He was too tired to read. He had begun to drift into sleep, the fireplace was left with only embers, when a loud crack snapped him awake and before him stood a beautiful woman with eyes the colour of the sun. She told him she was a warrior and would fight by his side in their battle. Of course his great grandfather refused, but she insisted;
claiming he had nothing to lose. There is no explanation as to how, but the next day they fought the dreaded army and won. As soon as the last blow was struck she disappeared. She reaches him. She stretches out her hand towards him. Her soft fingers touch the back of his hand and move up towards his wrist. She leans forward and presents her cheek to him. “What’s that for?” “A kiss my Lord. The whole country knows of your sadness and I thought I may be the key.” “So you are the Warrior! You will help me fight for the freedom of my people!” “What? No! We’re going to have our true love’s first kiss and get married and have babies. I want to play families” “Ugh! No way. We’re fighting a battle.” “No we’re playing families.” “Battle!” “No!! That’s it I’m not playing anymore.” She fled from the great hall, back up the staircase, her skirts sweeping the stairs behind her. She did not hesitate. She flung open the door to her room and collapsed on her bed. Her golden dress floated above her as she fell and landed slowly around her. The room was covered in gold. She sobbed into her folded arms and vowed never to play with her stupid brother again.
Creative corner by Indira Kemp
I was home for a nice family dinner and stumbled upon my first ever school notebook:
And so on and so forth, each letter another joyful crayon colour in the concentrated, wobbly writing of a keen-to-learn five year old. And at the bottom of the page, in clear, crisp pen: “Don’t write in crayon!” For me, if I had to find the energy that really sums up childhood it would be the energy of creativity. Unfortunately, as evidenced on the
first page of my first school notebook, it seems that our school system is terrifyingly destroying our creativity! (Search for Sir Ken Robinson on TED.com if you’d like an academic view on it...) Rather than feel glum that our inherent creativity was squeezed out of us over the course of 13 years, I’d like to take this opportunity to prove that we can reclaim that energy, by celebrating those who have. Knitty Jewellery Take a glance at Knitty Kitty’s website to see jewellery that is surely a celebration of child-like creativity. Kitty creates pieces of jewellery that are so joyful you can’t help but crack a smile – necklaces, earrings, brooches and hairpieces made from found objects ranging from Mario toys to Barbie shoes, Spirograph pieces and bits of Lego. Afraid her personal voice would be stifled by going to Art College, Kitty chose to carve her own pathway, which certainly seems to have
photos taken from www.knittykitty.org.uk
photos taken from www.bluemarmalade.co.uk
paid off - her work is playful and unique. She also works on commission to save allthose favourite jumpers from being reluctantly thrown away when they’re just too threadbare. Knitty Kitty – www.knittykitty.org.uk Marmalade Goodness With the self-belief of a well-rounded four year old and determination to back it, Trent Jennings and Tom Marsh established Blue Marmalade after graduating and haven’t looked back. With a strong environmentally-friendly ethic, they design and create pieces of furniture and products that are, in their own words, deceptively simple. Several of their pieces are bi-products of others – take for example the Bi-Clip, made from the holes cut out for the light fittings in their lighting products such as Hollow – and all their products are made from a “handful of components” cutting down production processes. Blue Marmalade have managed to combine a child-like celebration of colour with clear, contemporary lines resulting in pieces that
manage to bridge the gap between creativity and functionality, while caring for the planet. Blue Marmalade – www.bluemarmalade.co.uk
Threads for Kings Stepping into Threadbare is like walking into a dress-up box. It’s the kind of place you could easily spend an afternoon in, and come out pounds lighter (and no, I’m not talking about weight-loss). It’s a magical experience, with every corner holding a new delight. Some pieces are for show only – costume pieces from Royal Scottish Ballet; a pair of golden boots with a leopard face peering from the front. Cecile Paul, owner of Threadbare has started to design and make her own pieces for the shop, as well as selling vintage and re-worked pieces of clothing. Keen to support budding fashion designers, Cecile commissions work from We Love Pumpkin, a men’s label headed by: Donnie and Colin - www.welovepumpkin.com Threadbare – www.threadbare-edinburgh.co.uk
n Our fairy stories tell us all we ever need to know. Why buy a paper, turn on TV or listen to a radio?
hil dr e n
when we’ve infantile tales acted out by adults for god-like pay.
Our annual pantomimes stage the fables we shouted-out as child’s play.
We could learn to yell “Cinderella” at tales-of-the-unexpected when abuse produces grace.
by Artnoy Dosh
Or chant “the emperor is naked” watching our patrons lie through their smiling faces. “Eat my brother” gruffly spoken would greet the hunt for this week’s scapegoat as we channel-shop the wannabes. “What big teeth you have” we’d all chorus when sit-coms’ slickness make us nauseous and over-actors shout and preen. So it’s time we let the child within come right out, let it win. It’s surely proved its wisdom. Illustration by Paul Derham
I like to imagine that Minaâ€™s elfin looks provide her with a portal into a magical land where she gathers images with a butterfly net and brings them back into our world. Her drawings are enchanting, original and unique.
Inspirations include folklore, fairytales and mythology, which led her to set up Fairy Tale Forest with some colleagues in 2007. Fairy Tale Forest was an outdoor exhibition at the Hermitage Woods near Blackford Hill and took inspiration from Scottish fairytales. Deep in the darkness of the woods, for one night only, the exhibition scattered amongst the trees combined with poetry, ballads and spoken word to create a magical atmosphere fitting of our rich Scottish folklore.
Artists That Inspire Mina:
Tove Jansson Keiko Minami Klimt Hundertwasser
Previous work includes: Orkestra del Solâ€™s first album The Moveable Feast James Yorkstonâ€™s The Year of the Leopard Big Man Walking illustrated graphic novel
To contact Mina, or follow her current projects, see: http://www.minabraun.com/ email@example.com http://minabraun.blogspot.com/
My Very First Decade in Song by Hannah Reade
Age ten Singing a clapping rhyme in our school music class – I was secretly enjoying the enforcement of childishness. Age nine Singing in harmony with the boy whose name was written on my foot. Age eight Our girl-band wrote a cover version of Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ replacing the words with ‘Bye bye Princess Di’. Two days later Princess Diana was killed. The band was over. Age seven ‘I feel like chicken tonight’, a song I had picked up from friends who had televisions. Age six At my birthday party my friend tried to record over a tape I had made a radio programme on. I nearly throttled her.
Age five I wrote a song and performed it to my mum and brother. The lyrics were ‘I am dying, so are you’. Age four In a song group, in order to learn about rhythm, we passed around cuddly toys and said their names as we held them – Mickey Mouse, Shona, Mickey Mouse, Shona. Age three I sang myself to sleep. Age two My brother would play his 60’s mix tape again and again. There was no pause between songs, they were merged together, he knew it by heart as one long song. Age one Guns ’n’ Roses had a hit with ‘Sweet Child of Mine’– nothing to do with me. Illustration by Alex Judd
The Hill By Jenny Rush
Illustration by Paul Derham
The sun always shone When I was small, Or so it seems looking back. The sky was more blue, The grass a more vibrant shade of green And there were days that ran on and on and on, Fading slowly into a perfect dusk. As we played, our silhouettes Grew long behind our backs And promises to be home in time for tea Hung, ignored, in the darkening sky. Do you remember the day I fell off my bike? You had left me, just for a minute, to go inside. Me â€“ The daredevil. You â€“ The sensible one. In your absence I inched higher and higher up the hill, Until bloodied and semi-conscious You returned to find me, Sprawled in the road And carried me home as best you could, Back to the waiting arms of our parents.
The Catcher In The Rye
By Adam Behr
Photograph by Florencia García Chafuén
here’s been a good deal of coverage expended on the death of J.D.Salinger. If this seems inordinate for an author who hadn’t published anything in forty-five years, and whose fame rests significantly on his own attempts at hermitage in the wake of the enduring reputation and popularity of one novel – it’s worth considering why.
to teenagers who carried it with them into adulthood. Salinger managed to singularly convey a moment in modern Western urban life. Adolescence is difficult enough to undergo at the time; it’s a blurred zone of consciousness where a child’s immediacy of apprehension of the world around it collides with an adult’s sophistication of expression.
One of the keys to creating a character is to have a degree of empathy with it. But our empathy, if not sympathy, with childhood The Catcher in the Rye still sells in the degrades with age. Salinger’s achievement region of a quarter of a million copies annually. Salinger famously rebutted attempts in The Catcher in the Rye hinges on straddling this paradox. At the core of the novel is to adapt the novel for the screen although Holden’s dream of being the titular catcher his disappearance from public life seems to – there to rescue the accidental stumblers have done little to dent its enduring charm. over the rye field on the cliff, falling into Arguably, this was founded on its appeal
adulthood. The shift into the complications and compromises of adulthood is, of course, inevitable. Hence Holden’s insurmountable quandary and the book’s success. The ‘Catcher in the Rye’ is an untenable position to hold in real life–but the literary achievement in hand is to capture the tension between unreasoned emotion and articulate expression that marks the transition. The teenager, as a socio-economic phenomenon, was in many ways the product of the post-war twentieth century. It’s likely that Holden’s specific concerns no longer chime with digital generations whose ways of engaging with the world are as far from the jazz age and radio city as his own were
from the blacking factories and workhouses of the industrial revolution. It’s also plausible that his modern day counterpart would decry his own complaints as ‘phony’ – just as he berated his own precursors. Perhaps Catcher’s continued presence on reading lists has done more to hurt than nurture its reputation. But in tone, if not in detail, his erratic narrative manages to nail a central tension inherent in moving away from childhood. ‘Act your age’, we’re often told as we grow up railing against a world that now contains expectations but few enough rights and privileges to balance them. The irony is that the obvious answer, ‘I am, I’m fifteen’, never occurs until it’s no longer apt.
Thank you to all of the Brikolage team who worked so hard in making the first issue happen. Thanks also to our contributors
who spent time creating something unique and wonderful for us to use. And a final thank you to our anonymous team member who is helping us with the website which has been harder than we thought it could ever be to set up. The editorial and design team inspire its contributors with an imaginative and solid theme allowing for a vast scope of coverage; all with one strong link. Each issue is fresh, vibrant and unique, yet throughout the year each issue correlates with one another. This yearâ€™s theme is Age. After Childhood comes Adolescence. Weâ€™re looking for contributors for our Summer Issue based on the theme of Adolescence. Whether your creativity comes out in film, words, clothes or through the end of a paint brush we want to see how our theme inspires you. It can be anything from an argument to an emotion. Get in touch with Rachael Macintyre or Indira Kemp for more details. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=49673676523&ref=ts