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As you slave away in your dark hovels bent over your computer screens desperately trying to spew forth inspiration for your dissertations and projects, we’d like to thank you for finding the time to take a break by reading this. We can assure you that it won’t dissapoint; the cynics among you may question this, but allow us to soften your scepticism. In this edition you will find an interview with the beautiful Florence Welch from ‘Florence and the Machine’ as well as an interview with rising star Alex Clare. We learn the true value of equality with Richard Wilkinson, go running around the South Downs in retro 70s get up, and guide you through the etiquette of when to be ironic so as to avoid the pitfall of being a shmuck. Now, we understand that two editors suggesting that you read their own magazine sounds about as reliable a rickety old bridge over a desert canyon, so then don’t take our word for it. Read it. If you would like to involve yourself in next term’s shenanigans, ‘like’ our Facebook page, ‘The Pulse’, or follow us on twitter @thepulseonline to find out details of our next writers’ meeting. Alternatively send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for perusing these pages over the last year and making the many hours spent slaving in the Media Office worthwhile. Over and out. Mary-Rachel and Ariel Editors in Chief
Photo by Leah Jacques. From ‘Summer of Love’, page 33
VOLUME 17 ISSUE # 3 COVER FEATURE At Home With Florence
ARTS AND CULTURE Do you Want to come to my Vegan Crunk Night? 08 Charitainment 11 We Feel Fine 14 Politically Active Art at the Brighton Festival 17 Visuallising Climate Change 19 EXCLUSIVE Alex Clare
FASHION Grand Designs 25 Should we Close the Door on Dior? 31 Summer of Love 33 FEATURE Squatting: a guide to living in the Costa del Gratis 41 POLITICS The Politics of Fashion 46 The Coalition: One year on 45 Richard Wilkinson; Why equality matters 49 Are you Politicised by your Surroundings 51 FEATURE Semi Conductor 53
Interview by Grace Welch. Words by Mary-Rachel McCabe
Florence Welch has become a bit of a mythological goddess of late.
Her spine-tingling vocals, quirky melodies and poetry-like lyrics make for an epic soundtrack to whatever mundane task you happen to be embarking upon at the other end of your Ipod. The combination of harps and drums, choirs and stamping, love and death, engages you in an allencompassing, oxymoronic fairytale flight of fantasy - for the duration
of the album at least. Florence and the Machine’s debut album, Lungs, has been in the top forty album chart in the United Kingdom for ninety-six consecutive weeks, making it one of the best-selling albums of 2009, 2010 and potentially 2011. Having bagged the Critics’ Choice Award at the 2009 Brit Awards, she went on to win Album of the Year next time round and this year, the band was even nominated for a Grammy. Having been bestowed with the pleasure of living with her beloved younger sister, Grace, this year, I thought it would be rude not to delve
I get inspired a lot by reading and just really random things like street signs that I see... I also think it’s good to be inspired by the sort of halfway between being awake and being asleep.
into the topsy-turvy world of Welch and ask her to interview her awardwinning older sibling while I listened in for all you lovely readers of The Pulse. Florence grew up in Camberwell, South London, the oldest of three children. One of her earliest musical memories is singing in the choir at school, and hymns in school assemblies: “Bugsy Malone was the first lead I ever got but I never got offered a lead after that. There were two girls in the year above me who always got the lead roles – one of them is Jessie Ware who’s also now doing the singing thing…” By the time she left school, Florence had already written songs like ‘Kiss With A Fist’, and knew she wanted to make music but not how to go about it. So after a year working behind a bar she started an Art Foundation at Camberwell Arts College, making tents under the desk to sleep off her hangovers while trying to convince her tutors she was an installation, and eventually deferring to focus on her music. Her voice has been described as “Kate Bush meets Aretha Franklin”, and although a compliment, it seems a shame to make such comparisons. In this era of Simon Cowell-spawned karaoke pop, Florence Welch is
something increasingly rare and precious: an artist who has found her own, authentic voice. And as for those wacky lyrics, where does the inspiration come from, asks Grace, with a tone of journalistic earnestness. “Barack Obama” is the immediate response. A quick reprimand from her younger sister for “not taking this seriously”, and Florence’s professional air rapidly returns: “I get inspired a lot by reading and just really random things like street signs that I see – I made a song out of a
I woke up and I thought I was in hospital. I remember drinking some strange green liquid, and seeing that someone had written something in blood on the walls.
conflation of three street signs that I’d seen once -, graffiti, art installations, shop signs, conversations and arguments… just general living. I also think it’s good to be inspired by the sort of halfway between being awake and being asleep.” At the tender age of 24, Florence has already performed at the MTV Video Music Awards, the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, the Oscars, and alongside Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson at the 2011 Grammy Awards. So what has the highlight been? “I don’t know. It’s really weird because it all happened so quickly. The things that are high points - they also come with huge amounts of fear attached. So doing the VMAs was a big high point but at the same time it put me under so much pressure. But when it was over it was the best feeling ever. The highlights and the lowlights seem to come together at the same time.” Florence’s mother, Evelyn Welch, spent rowieex.deviantart.com
a number of years as a professor of Art History at the University of Sussex and held the position of Pro-vice-chancellor for teaching and learning from 2002 to 2003. Grace is a finalist here and her cousin is a fresh-faced first year; so wasn’t she ever tempted to be a Sussex student? “I never wanted to leave London. I think I still really wanted something to happen with the music and I felt that if I left I was going to miss out on whatever that opportunity was.” At this point Grace reminds her internationally acclaimed sister of the night she spent in her room in Lewes Court – did it make her regret not going to Uni at all? “I woke up and I thought I was in hospital. I remember drinking some strange green liquid, and seeing that someone had written something in blood on the walls. [University] is definitely an experience…but I think I got my Uni experience in that one night, thank you very much.” So if she weren’t touring the world and listening to thousands of people singing along to her music every night, she wouldn’t be drinking Red Stripe in Falmer Bar; but what would she be doing? “I’d just be in bed! Sleeping.” Another admonishment from Welch junior. “… Well, I’d have just graduated art school probably…so I’d be drawing and painting I suppose.” Speaking of art school, how has Florence’s music style developed since then? “It’s changed loads. It’s
got bigger. It used to be a lot more garage, rocky, punk, pop, rockabilly, bluesy, lots of guitars and drums – like ‘kiss with a fist’. It’s become a lot bigger and it’s become a lot grander, I think, musically. Well, not grander – it’s just that my aspirations for my music became a bit bigger. I wanted to make something that wasn’t just aggressive. I wanted to make something that was beautiful too.” With numerous awards under her belt, a record-breaking album, the ability to stay grounded, – “I have strong family connections” - an adoring boyfriend and a wardrobe that inspires even the most altruistic with envy, it seems that things can’t get much better for Florence Welch. But a tour of America this summer with U2, and a new album in the pipeline would indicate otherwise. And in ten years time…where does she reckon she’ll be? “I’d still like to be making music. I’d also like to have a big house in the country and kids and that kind of thing.”
Find out more about Florence on the band’s official website www.florenceandthemachine.net Florence and the Machine’s debut album Lungs is available to buy and download now. on set of the music video for ‘you’ve got the love’
Arts & Culture
COME TO MY VEGAN CRUNK NIGHT
hile I am loath to begin any piece of writing with a dictionary definition, in this case, a certain Canadian singer-songwriter has given me no choice. Yes, I am talking about you, Miss Morissette. I turn apprehensively to the OED, fearing that under ‘ironic’ I might find: ‘Pertaining to a situation where something is either a bit annoying, e.g. a black fly in your chardonnay; or utterly devastating, e.g. a death-row pardon two minutes too late.’ Alright it’s a cheap shot I know, and it’s old news that this iconic anthem of cosmic angst is a semantic nightmare. And calling the song ‘Catastrophic’ or ‘A Bit Shit’ or ‘Utterly Bizarre’ (ten-thousand spoons? Oh God yeah, yeah I hate it when that happens, when I really need a knife but there’s just ten-thousand spoons sitting there, laughing at me) would definitely
have meant relinquishing some of its awkward charm. The point is that irony is confusing. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that there are various types of irony. There’s situational or cosmic irony, where a situation occurs that’s the opposite of what you’d expect, and it feels like a higher power might be mocking you (I think that’s what Alanis was going for). Then there’s rhetorical irony, where a phrase or action deliberately literally expresses something that is radically different to the intended meaning. Crudely, it’s the opposite of sincerity. Rhetorical irony is pretty old, but in the last couple of decades it seems to have become the staple diet of popular culture (think T4’s Popworld). Some see it as an upshot of postmodernism, others argue it’s the consequence of our too-cool-for-school MTV-
generation deciding that sincerity is laaame. Or it could be that in ‘97 when the post-election euphoria wore off and Blair began to show his true neocapitalist, war-mongering colours, the reality was so unbelievably terrifying that everyone just assumed New Labour was one big ironic joke, and followed suit. Fans of irony argue that it stops us taking ourselves too seriously and it’s intelligently subversive. When the recession first kicked in and Gordon lowered VAT to get us spending, Modern Toss’s imperative to ‘BUY MORE SHIT OR WE’RE ALL FUCKED’ ingeniously highlighted the madness of a failing
economy desperately clinging on to a culture of borrowing and spending. Awkwardly there’s some situational irony here: the subversive message is undermined by the fact that you can actually buy all the Modern Toss shit with this slogan on. Antimonarchists with an ironic collection of royal kitsch might want to think twice before buying that Will and Kate teacup, because no matter how much you’re chuckling as you sip your fairtrade chai, you’ll still have paid money to support an establishment you’re supposed to be opposed to. Thus the fear espoused from the anti-irony corner is that not only does irony stop us taking ourselves
you know that fixed-gear bikes were cool for a while but then there was that video about hipsters being dickheads but now maybe it's ok if you just have a fixie ironically
Arts & Culture
Still from ‘Being a Dickhead is Cool’ artisticthings.com
too seriously, it stops us taking anything seriously. Picture the scene, you’re watching The X-Factor / Take Me Out. Obviously you’re watching ironically, because of course you’re not really into people’s hopes and dreams being exploited for TV, and you know that feminism and Take Me Out can’t be compatible. But then you realise that in this postmodern world, where irony is the default condition, taking on such a smug moral position would be embarrassingly sincere, so you just carry on watching in a zombielike daze of apathy and confusion. When it’s over you pick up a copy of Vice and flick through it and you can’t work out which photos you’re supposed to laugh
at and which ones are cool; you know that fixed-gear bikes were cool for a while but then there was that video about hipsters being dickheads but now maybe it’s ok if you just have a fixie ironically and what about wax jackets and aren’t you only reading Vice ironically anyway oh my god I don’t know and then your housemate comes home to find you perspiring trapped in this web of conflicting insincerities and she offers you a cup of tea to calm you down and you say ‘yes’ because if there’s one thing you can always be certain about it’s tea and then she hands you the cup and it has a swastika on and you implode.
The danger at present appears to be the celebrity manifesting into some kind of ultimate fountain of knowledge
Arts & Culture
‘CHARI-TAINMENT’: DIGRESSION OR PROGRESSION? PARIS CARR
hen Bob attempted to feed the world in crème de la crème such as Angelina, it adds an angelic ’85, an intimate, entangled relationship dimension to their ultra-human profile. But when it between celebrity and charity bore some- comes down to it, if the ratio of money generated is thing of a blue print. Whilst iconic names had long profitable is – as Kara Tointon put it – “everyone a flirted with aid in a variety of shapes and sizes, here winner”? was a specific formula that became revolutionary: in Comic Relief operates a “Golden Pound Principle” Live Aid a model was born. Celebrity + charity was whereby every pound goes directly to charity and an equation so simple that it begged to be replicated. over-heads are covered by investors, which does proAnd so it was, time and time again; if Geldof could mote an aura of transparency encouraging commenddo it with music, then... the sky was apparently the able credibility. Yet when we find our government limit. One of the first to follow suit was Comic Relief paying Alesha Dixon an ‘undisclosed’ amount to pose who have spent the last 22 years utilizing what has in a bath of condoms for an NHS campaign, it begs become an institution of donation. Last month saw the question- is this paving the way for a lucrative the BBC host it’s infamous and epic TV marathon career in the professionalization of celebrity endorsewhereby the glitterati of Britain were showcased in a ment? cabaret of “doing something funny for money”. If hu- ‘Chari-tainment’ with celebrity as protagonist is mour be the food of charity... gag on Davina McCall fraught with a myriad of double-edged swords. What -or writhe on the stage provocatively, whatever, this about the charities that weren’t chosen: those who is 2011 after all. couldn’t manage to bag a familiar face? A further conUncomfortable as it sometimes feels, the charity/ cern is the cosy mingling of elites, the political and celebrity construction is a permanent fixture on the the popular- surely a recipe for conspiracy? Whatever public and thus political stage. Essentially, in terms next, Blair, inviting Bob and Bono back to number 10? of cash generated, it is impossible to deny that big Well yes. Whilst such partnerships may bring help, names = big money. let’s not forget the potential hindrance of more inOur sensationalised charity culture frequently re- formed voices being drowned. Take for instance, the ferred to as ‘chari-tainment’ is a diverse market: be it discussions between Obama and George Clooney; erratic adoption, UN ambassadors, heart wrenching surely there were plenty more deeply aware, approvisits to orphanages, “the-hardest-thing-I-have-ever- priate people for the President to discuss the Sudan done” treks, or ‘down with the (disadvantaged) kids’; Partition Vote with? Like it or not, chari-tainment is celebrities have it covered. Fundamentally these peo- ubiquitous. And in utilizing the good comes an inple are in positions of influence and do attract a fol- evitable balancing act in drawing the boundaries that lowing. A role the likes of Eva Longoria have revelled separate the bad. The danger at present appears to be in: on her twitter page ‘actress’ is closely followed by the celebrity manifesting into some kind of ultimate ‘activist’ as her occupation. Whilst of course there fountain of knowledge, an illusion somewhat indiswill be some who are genuine, does it even matter if tinguishable from the cause. Fine, celebrity as the there are often ulterior motives behind those watery tool, ok. But star of the show? No. eyes? To be cynical, it’s always going to boost the Words that particularly resonate today are those of profile of an ex-coronation street star who has re- the early 20th century French philosopher and activsorted to Iceland adverts. And when it comes to the ist, Simone Weil: if “attention is the rarest and purist form of generosity”, I wonder what she would make of our sensationalised attention-culture, marinated in a Hollywood glaze?
WE FEEL FINE HANNAH CHETWYND ‘I feel a constant need to share with the rest of the online world’ - Alex, Netherlands (2011) Blog: ‘My Life and Others X’
itizens of England and Wales were united on March 27th 2011 by the legal obligation to sit down, blue or black pen in hand, and painstakingly ponder over the 201st Census. Set to cost the taxpayer an enormous £500 million (in a year in which arts funding has taken a significant beating), it seems pertinent to question, in our digital age, whether the endless laborious forms we all loathe to complete still bear the same importance they once did? Moreover, with April marking the advent of David Cameron’s plans to begin measuring our subjective wellbeing, we must query if there is already enough information about us online to call for the end of these time-consuming, economically and environmentally draining formalities? The information we now broadcast about our identities online stretches far more deeply and personally than simply disclosing our ASL (age, sex, location), an acronym synonymous with the MSN era. The internet has fast become a social domain where expressions and activities that were once deemed strictly private are quickly becoming increasingly public. The time of the memory box, family photo album and private diary has faded and been replaced with public blog posts, Facebook friendship pages, online photo sharing and incessant tweets. In light of this, the web now hosts a mass archive of human communication and emotion, containing vast amounts of valuable information at the fingertips of the internet user.
Arts & Culture
The intimate thoughts and sentiments of tweeters, bloggers and many more are then visually represented in a stunning and strangely poetic manner.
In addition to the array of data available on the web, mobile social media devices, such as the iPhone app Mappiness, enable the user to donate a dynamic and complex set of personal data to the public domain. Mappiness asks the user to rate their happiness levels over the course of the day and in the context of their current environment, mapping happiness across time and space. Despite the fact that iPhone users do not represent a particularly large cross-section of our population, it seems that the development of new social media devices is paving the way for revolutionary methods of data collection which may ultimately put an end to the arduous and static questionnaires of today. Representing a far wider, although by no means complete demographic, artists Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar created the online piece, We Feel Fine. The website scans the internet every couple of minutes searching through social networking pages and pulling out sentences which contain the words ‘I’ and ‘feel’. The intimate thoughts and sentiments of tweeters, bloggers and many more are then visually represented in a stunning and strangely poetic manner; every feeling becomes a colourful particle whizzing around the screen and each particle can be clicked on to reveal the thoughts of the faraway blogger. The sheer quantity of the particles conveys not just the vastness of the web but also the enormity of different human emotions, rendering the notion that emotional wellbeing could possibly be quantified by anything but the arts almost laughable. Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin’s Listening Post, currently being exhibited in London’s Science Museum, displays uncensored text fragments taken from public internet chatrooms and blogs on LED screens, the content of which is read out to the viewer in an electronic drone. Listening Post explicitly showcases the wealth of personal information that is being donated to the ether in real time, creating a contrasting feeling to We Feel Fine. As the information obtained seems impersonal, the vast void of human expression is conveyed. These two dynamic projects allow for a deeper look into the nature of human emotion. The opening up of space much bigger than a tick box, combined with the anonymous element that new social media provides, results in an abundance of fascinating and intimate contributions with real time relevance, a feat which neither Cameron’s soulless well-being index nor the decennial census could ever expect to keep up with. www.wefeelfine.org
Arts & Culture
use your liberty to promote ours
he 2011 Brighton Festival is fast approaching with guest director, pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi curating this year’s events. Artist Anish Kapoor was the Festival’s first ever guest director in 2009, followed by musician Brian Eno, but 2011 will be the first year where a political figure will be asserting their influence. The Nobel Prize winner will not be attending the festival in person but has stated, “It is especially pleasing for me to see, albeit remotely, Brighton Festival taking shape.” In honour of the guest director, the festival’s cultural events will be celebrating the fundamental human rights that she herself has so famously been denied, and which Ms Suu Kyi wishes to establish in her home nation: Burma. Events are also set to include a highly anticipated discussion with WikiLeaks director Julian Assange, centering on the Freedom of Information and the ‘Right to Know’; issues that came to prominence with the WikiLeaks scandal last year. In addition, other events have been scheduled to accommodate Ms Suu Kyi’s taste, such as Beethoven’s opera ‘Fidelo’ of which the guest-director is a big fan. It has been a source of consternation for some that the position of guest director had taken a political turn this year. Politically charged art has had a reputation as being alienating in the past, with some artists conveying a strong statement that only resonates with small groups of people. I for one have avoided certain exhibitions for fear of unwanted indoctrination! However Brighton Festival’s listed events have proven popular, with bosses
experiencing record-breaking ticket sales, and the variety of events across the festival remains broad. This popularity could well be the result of Ms Suu Kyi’s democratic vision being all the more relevant and current given the recent uprisings in Egypt, Libya and beyond. Certainly Sussex students are taking a great interest in issues of liberty and democracy across the world, as shown by the huge turnout to a Q & A with Egyptian scholar Ramy Aly concerning the current state of Egypt and the Middle East. The issue of Human Rights is of course relevant to everyone and Aung San Suu Kyi works to promote globally those freedoms that already ground our modern concept of art in the West. Suu Kyi has appealed to festival goers to, ‘use your liberty to promote ours’, and so has set a strong political tone. But does this year’s festival risk becoming more of a political platform rather than an artistic one? Green Week succeeded in melding art and politics together on Sussex campus, however most notably through mutual appreciation of the bouncy castle in library square. Some may question the suitability of the focused political theme for a festival that prizes itself on diversity in art, but with many events sold out it would seem that Ms Suu Kyi’s influence has been fully embraced. Festival bosses may be chuffed with the ticket sales but whilst festival goers’ interests have clearly been piqued by this year’s themes, only time will tell how the politically charged events will be received by the Brighton community and beyond. Brighton Festival 2011 will run from 7 – 29 May.
Arts & Culture
V I S UA L I S I N G CLIMATE CHANGE ROBBIE WATT
he earth from space is the classic environmental image, telling us that this world is precious, fragile and to be handled with care. Our astronautic back shot also informs our views on climate change, the world's most pressing environmental problem which threatens the ecology that makes the picture so beautiful. But to say more about global warming in particular, journalists, activists and artists are plugging images more direct and climate-specific than the planet panorama. In our attempts at realism, drama, profundity and immediacy, our cultural diet has typically been fed on just a handful of images, mainly of a couple of wellgroomed stray polar bears and a patch of colourful dried-out earth, location unknown. So what are our visions of climate change, why do we have them, and how do they affect us? Two people in Brighton attempting to answer these questions are media studies scholar Julie Doyle and artist David Harradine who have a project to explore the visual dialogues of climate change and to create new images that provoke different kinds of engagements. During Green Week, Julie and David treated a select audience at Sussex to a lecture on some of their early findings. True to their backgrounds, their presentation was somewhere between academic seminar, punchy news feature and performance art. Julie and Davidâ€™s concern is that our visions of climate change are disembodied, making our climate seem alien to us, and that they are disempowering. Polar bears are the classic case of a disembodied image. We have not met these ferocious animals, nor could we, and we will never go to the Arctic. Given their complete removal from our culture, the polar bears can be easily dismissed as irrelevant to human society. Just as it is easy to plaster the bears up, it is equally as easy to denigrate them. The bears have even appeared
crudely on X-Factor, at which point Simon Cowell got stick from his fellow judges for ‘distracting’ the audience. In riposte, Cowell said we should focus on his wannabe pop-star’s career and forget about the ‘stupid polar bears’. In pictures of devastation during floods or tropical storms, which regularly feature embodied but ruined human victims, disempowerment is the problematic effect. The wild weather is so powerful it seems uncontrollable and untamed; the meagre bodies can do nothing about the surging torrents. In the picture this is true: those victims really are powerless. In climate change, away from the picture, the message is entirely different. The argument is rather that by recognising our own power we can reduce emissions and avoid the more frequent and intense storms that are predicted. Moreover, by adapting to climate change we can prepare ourselves for extreme weather in advance. This kind of control is too mundane for most art, which prefers outlandish drama such as the exceptionally improbable overnight collapse of the Greenland ice sheet in the blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow. Concerned about the prevailing culture of disconnection from reality, Julie and David want to create more grounded art. Where something is portrayed as elsewhere, whether in time or space, they want to make it present. Where visions have really just been visual, they want to bring in all the senses. Where utopia has battled dystopia, they want to say ‘enough’. Where humans have been seen as separate from nature, or even separate from each other, they want to bring us back together. I admire their vision; I just hope that we can share it. A blog about Julie and David’s work can be read at http://heretodaymovingimagesofclimatechange.
e’s a twenty-something year old musician from South London. He sings and H writes songs but we’ll take a wide berth from that word which conjures up
names like James Morrison or Damien Rice, neither of whom Alex Clare is anything like. Pigeonholing him is about as pointless as trying to catch a fly with chopsticks (unless you’re Mr Miyagi), but we’ll try anyway: Alex
Clare sounds like the love child of Bill Withers and Dan Auerbach over dancehall beats and dubstep bass…some of the time. If you’re lucky you may have caught Zane Lowe playing him on the radio, or heard him perform ‘Getting Nowhere’ with Magnetic Man on Radio 1’s live lounge. The Pulse caught up with him ahead of his performance at ‘The Great Escape’ music festival to talk about music, cooking and other things. It didn’t start too well. In another life Alex was a Chef, so how did he go from cooking up meals to cooking up tunes? “(Laughs) that’s a terrible question, write that down!” oh dear, “It’s a funny one; I’ve been asked that before. There is no direct connection between music and food… apart from Paul Oakenfeld and Raekwon - who were also chefs - and myself. however, I think if you’re a fairly emotionally sensitive person, as most song writers tend to be, music and food can be quite strong stimuli; they can conjure up quite strong feelings in people.” His vocal teeth were cut on stage, “I used to play drums in bands and people would get me to sing backing vocals and they’d want me to sing harmonies, I can’t sing harmonies man, I’d just sing over them”. If you’ve heard Alex’s music you’ll have
noticed his voice, it’s big and a tad gruff, not like Charlie Patton, but you can hear his roots lie in that direction. It came from “listening and singing to a lot of Blues and Soul and even Hip Hop and Rock ’n’ Roll, I still am into a lot of Blues and Soul, from Ray Charles to Donny Hathaway and even Jimmy Hendrix, even though I’m not a very good guitar player, the way he sung, he had very good delivery.” Songs you may have heard include ‘Up All Night’ with its dancehall beat
and ‘Too Close’ with its Dub Step style drop, they all feature on his upcoming album, ‘Lateness of the Hour’, which is being released on the 11th July. “Musically speaking it covers a lot of genres and a lot of bases, obviously there’s a lot of ‘nasty’ or ‘crunchy’ bass lines (words I used) but we also have a new Orleans Go-Go style song and some Reggeaton, a lot of the album is slower and more stripped back than a lot of people might expect. There’s a piano Ballad at the very end. at first my A&R man didn’t want it on, then
as a hidden track, then I played it live and he had a little cry so we put it on, it’s probably the most sincere song on the album.” You might be thinking; ‘it takes some balls to write a piano Ballad’; but “if you write a song, you have to play it in the medium that respects the song, and some songs were made to be piano songs. Emmylou Harris said that the mark of a good song is whether you can strip it back to just one instrument and a voice and it still works, I’m a believer in that. Less is more.” Amen to that. You’ll be interested to know, and probably quite excited to hear that the album has been produced by Diplo & Switch (aka Major Lazer) “They’re both great, I spent a lot more time in the studio with Switch, but having said that, if it wasn’t for Diplo we wouldn’t have the nasty bass line on Too Close or the beat on Up All Night” so which one is pinkie and which one is the brain? “Switch is the Brain”. So there you have it, a Pulse exclusive, Diplo is Pinkie. Not only did Major Lazer give the album their Midas touch but it was also, largely, recorded and written in New Orleans, LA
also have a “ we New Orleans Go-
Go style song and some Reggeaton
and Jamaica (alright for some). With all those places steeped in musical history, some of the local traditions must have seeped into the record. “Very much so, well not so much the traditions, but the environment,
Relax My Beloved is a real nod to the darker, old New Orleans Soul and Jazz records, St James Infirmary and House of the Rising Sun. And in Jamaica I wouldn’t have written Humming Bird if I hadn’t seen one above my head outside the studio.” We finally got round to the Brighton connection (everyone seems to have one). Alex, now residing in North London, actually
you write a song, “if you have to play it in the medium that respects the song
lived here for a while, “I love Brighton, seriously, I miss the sea, I wake up in the morning and wish I could go jump in the sea and go
fishing, not only is the sea right on your door step it’s an amazing town, the most tolerant place in Britain”. We couldn’t agree more.
Alex Clare will perform at The Green Door Store (7th July), his album ‘Lateness of the Hour’ is released on the 11th July. Singles ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Too Close’ are currently available on Itunes. For more info see – www.alexclare.com
Words: Ariel Cohen
Alex Clare in Studio with Diplo
grand designs By Ruby Green
news.dphotographer.co.uk - Dirk Rees
and buildings are the two most basic forms Coflothes shelter. Yet we crave more than mere utility: the disciplines of fashion and architecture have always served to make our respective protections more attractive. Not only do they both act as bodily shelters, but both architects and fashion designers
“architectural adolf loos dress as the shelter
theorist recognised foremost
have to create space and solidity out of flat, two-dimensional materials. This is style engineering in action.In his 1898 essay ‘The Principle of Dressing’, the architectural theorist Adolf Loos recognised dress as the foremost shelter, and advised architects to work with textiles first in order to truly grasp the ideas and construction of architectural forms. Although the Victorian Loos prefigured the architecture-fashion style marriage way back in the nineteenth century, this particular artistic parallel has always been overshadowed by the art/ fashion and music/fashion dialogues which have attracted much more attention. It’s high time we amended this imbalance. If we consider the shapes and structures of fashion throughout history, many of them have reflected the architectural patterns around them; from the black ‘stovepipe hats’ of the Industrial Revolution mirroring the epoch’s chimneys, to the nineteenth century glamcult.com
penchant for the circular crinoline dress paralleled in the glass dome structures of the Great Exhibition buildings. More recently a wave of contemporary architects and fashion designers has been engaged in a more direct exchange of technique and style. The shiny, scrunched-up metal facades of Frank Gehryâ€™s buildings have distinct echoes in the complex, asymmetric folds and crinkles of an Issey Miyake dress, while the Chrysler Building prints on Holly Fultonâ€™s Art Deco inspired collections also suggests a flourishing relationship between fashion and architecture.However one recognisable difference between these two cultural monuments remains: whilst architecture is secure and static, usually staying in its place for hundreds of years, fashion is by definition much more transient. But with conceptual designers such as Miyake, Maison Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan (see his dress that transformed into a table on the catwalk), warranting lone exhibitions documenting their similarities to architecture, it seems that fashion is proving itself as worthy of museum collections and here to stay. A natural progression from all of this interdisciplinary work is a designer like Mary Katrantzou, who has been creating collections exploring interior design,
buildings, fabric and furniture. Katrantzou has taken the opposite learning path to what Loos advised; born in Greece to an interior designer mother and textile designer father, she originally planned to be an architect, before pursuing textiles at that Temple of Fashion, Central Saint Martins. Since she recently graduated, each of her collections have captured the imagination of the fashion world – one dress alone might reference eighteenth century society paintings, Fabregé eggs, Surrealism, coromandel screens, Diana Vreeland’s apartment, Helmut Newton’s photographs, Architectural Digest magazine, Victorian lampshades or the Qianlong Dynasty of ancient China. She is the definition of a style magpie. This year her Spring/ Summer collection had a Magritte-esque theme, entitled ‘C’est ci nes pas une chambre’ – ‘This Is Not A Room’ (just so you know). Referencing the seventies glamour of Guy Bourdin’s fashion photography, one
seems that fashion is proving itself as worthy of museum collections and here to stay.
dress seems to takes us on a Kerouac road trip from the East to the West coast of America. The top half has been printed with an image of a dreamy Palm Beach Hotel vista, with seventies oranges and browns fading into a night lit cityscape from a trendy L.A apartment on the bottom skirt. Such attention to detail is rare in ready-to-wear these days, where wearability and sellability are the two driving market forces. Just as interior designers dress rooms to make them appear more spacious and luxurious, Katrantzou uses elements such as necklaces made from chandeliers or elaborate candlestick holders, to make the model appear like an extravagant arbiter of taste. A particularly ‘inter-disciplinary technique’ used by Katrantzou is the use of pelmets (the frilly borders of cloth that hide curtain fittings) on the shoulders of her dresses, making a surreal but flattering slash-neckline from which material flows, imitating the curtain hangings. Katrantzou uses the interiors, exteriors, windowframes and furniture of inspirational rooms such as the ‘Garden in Hell’ living room of Vreeland’s
apartment, and splices these different elements together, fading and merging the prints to create a new visual, architectural space and aesthetic that is described in every column written about Katrantzou as her ‘hyper-real’ vision. French philosopher Jean Baudrillard famously explored the postmodern concept of the hyper-real and defined it as the ‘simulation
of something that never existed’. Without getting in to the dark depths of his avant-garde brand of semiotics, the hyper-real is the modern consumerists’ state of consciousness wherein the differences between reality and fantasy are weakened; so air brushed and photo-shopped photographs, holograms on catwalks
“ Baudrillard that the is fed by technologies
emphasises hyper-real advancing
and Katrantzou’s printed dresses, become the new, overtly ‘real by proxy’. Baudrillard emphasises that the hyper-real is fed by advancing technologies – the computer aided design programmes that inform fashion and architecture, particularly in Katrantzou or Christopher Kane’s printing, knitwear or leatherwork are now commonplace. If Katrantzou continues to push print to the limits and create collections this illusory, beautiful, vivid and excessive, I am happy for her fiction of the real to trick my consciousness.
By Sally Crampton
Whilst the rest of us were busy gawping
at the recent Sheen-athon, there was a serious tremor in fashion land. John Galliano, the anglophile revolutionary in disguise and the dandified piratecum-matador designer for uber fashion house Christian Dior, is the latest celebrity to be put in the dock. Hailed for his exquisite tailoring and otherworldy couture, the British designer was filmed slurring antiSemitic remarks in a Parisian bar. The incident took place at the start of Paris fashion week, and has been described as a “potentially disastrous blow” for the fashion house. Caught on camera, Galliano made Sheen’s recent outburst look positively angelic.The shocking
Galliano made “Sheen’s recent out-
burst look positively angelic.
footage sees a half cut Galliano make remarks such as “I love Hitler” and anti-Semitic references to gassing of Jews. For a designer who has shown so much interest in European history in the past, with collections such as ‘Napoleon and Josephine’ (S/S 1992), this comes as quite a cutting statement. Galliano was taken in by police for questioning and later
sacked by Dior, after a fourteen-yearstill be stocking Dior. Moreover, it stint as head designer. At the bottom ofseems that the spotlight has shifted all the scandal, remains this question:from Galliano, who is in ‘rehab’ is it acceptable to still buy into theseeking to mend the errors of his Dior brand? “No, no, no” says Guardianways (as if some green tea will cure a racist?!) Instead, focus has moved onto who will be replacing him, and what new talent JG’s absence might bring to Dior. As the storm calms, and the ink dries on what can only be described as a truly unfortunate page of events, let us hope that the fashion house can manage to escape from the label of “damaged goods.” And as for Galliano, it’s Dior, no more.
light of the recent “ Inscandal, it seems Dior’s brand has escaped relatively unscathed
journo queen Hadley Freeman. “It is not OK to wear Dior.” Dior’s recent fashion week show, where the guests had black ribbons tied to their seats and models were cloaked in tumultuous heaps of black, certainly had a funereal air. But one end is just another beginning, non? The scandal is seen by some fashion bystanders as a way in which new designers can infiltrate Dior’s iconic history; such as Haider Ackermann, who, alongside Riccardo Tisci, Creative Director at Givenchy, has been rumoured to be replacing him Galliano at Dior. In light of the recent scandal, it seems Dior’s brand has escaped relatively unscathed. Certainly, Galliano’s own label has suffered at the hands of his outburst, with Saks withdrawing his menswear clothing line from all of their stores. They will, however, http://media.onsugar.com
Summer of Love
styled by Lucy Morris, Photographed by Leah Jacques & modelled by Alice Butler and Lauren Kane. With Thanks to Wolf & Gypsy Vintage
A guide to living in the Costa del Gratis. Jonno Ghoreman
A few weeks ago, a group of squatters moved into Said Gadaffi’s 10million pound North London pile and declared that they were taking it back to demonstrate their “solidarity with the people of Libya, the people of Cairo, the people of Saudi Arabia”. This act of defiance intrigued me as to the peculiarities of U.K law, which allows people to move into unoccupied houses and live there, free of charge, until the matter is brought before a civil court. As a seriously broke student, renting in Brighton is a total drag, so the idea of not gilding the pockets of the villain that is my landlady got me more than a little excited. Squatting is a phenomenon that, in the U.K at least, dates back to the mid 15th century, when a group called the true levellers occupied common land in Surrey and started to plant and grow crops on the land hoping to gain a following. Apart from later inspiring the name of a three piece soft rock band, the true levellers lit a spark in the British psyche that was destined to burn for the next 460 years. The idea of squatting has burgeoned since the turn of the last century with squats proving to be the sole answer to Britain’s housing crisis post World War 2, when thousands of people moved into a variety of occupancies all over the capital. As the Advisory Service for Squatters writes, ‘Squatting is legal because trespassing is
not a crime in English and Welsh law. Trespassing is a civil issue, a dispute about who has the right to the land or property, to be settled between two individuals in a civil court. It has nothing to do with the criminal law,’- which is why it has proved to be a successful means of occupation over the years. Modern media coverage of squatters pegs them as smelly, dreadlocked, drug addled freeloaders, which has led to widespread
public misanthropy being levelled towards them. We are led to believe that they trash houses, ruin local communities and are a blight to society, but this generalisation is almost always unjustified. The main pull factor of squatting is a widespread lack of affordable housing, and the refusal to abide by a system that allows property to lie empty, when there is nationwide need for it. From the True Levellers, to the WW2 overspill, right up to modern day art collectives such as !WOWOW!, many sections of society have relied on unoccupied locations to live, exhibit and work in. Almost universally governments are taking action against the proliferation of squats, attempting to change laws that allow squatting as they aim to put a stop to the activity. Quite probably due to the economic downturn and widespread governmental cutbacks, empty properties are seen as a means to an end in terms of the housing crisis and revenue streams for the governments, and so hoofing out the crust punks and hipster art type settlers seems perfectly justified to them. So what of Said Gaddafi’s £10million
People have been “doing it for years and
lamentable major decisions thus far have resulted in the most widespread riots and feeling of unrest since dear old Maggie’s poll tax debacle. Squatting as a form of direct action seems the very least deserved of such vile miscreants as the Gaddafi clan. In the wider instance though squatting is, in the words of Karley Sciortino (of Slutever, VICE and Platform fame), ‘ingrained into the culture. People have been doing it for years and years. The Clash lived in squats, Boy George lived in squats. All these famous creative characters are known to have lived in squats around London, and there’s a lot of positive squatting press. People use squats as galleries, or studios. In New Cross there were squat bookstores, and these places get written about and the people get pegged as, you know, “squatters doing something positive for the community”’ How else is anybody who doesn’t live in London, but needs to intern, or desires an art studio, ever going to afford to do so? Is the prospect of couch surfing and staying with relatives any more appealing than squatting? At the end of the day - like most things - if it’s good enough for Boy George, it’s good enough for me.
years. The Clash lived in squats, Boy George lived in squats.
Hampstead mansion? Well Topple the Tyrants - a group of masked, leafy suburb insurgents “do not trust the British government to properly seize the Libyan government’s corrupt and stolen assets so we have decided to take matters into our own hands.” And who can blame them? I don’t trust the letting agents in charge of my house - not dissimilar to the Gadaffis though admittedly lacking the genocidal, megalomaniac tendencies of the Libyan General. And we can hardly have confidence in this government of ours, whose
photos: Advisory Service for Squatters
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