SOUND & VISION

Recently, all I’ve been listening to is the sound of my fingers hitting the keyboard and the rustle of pages as I turn them. As a soon-to-graduate serial intern suffering something of a quarter-life crisis, I’ve decided to tear myself away from the library and re-immerse myself in the audiovisual Now. The sun is getting sunnier, the days are getting dayier, and summer is pretty much upon us; therefore, having acquired a foot tan through your Birkenstock straps, take a while to enjoy what the internet has to offer in the way of #totallyyoungandcool sound and vision:

KNOW WAVE

Online radio station Know Wave is the project of Aaron Bondaroff, founder of L.A.’s OHWOW gallery. You’ll find an interview with Bandaroff in the latest issue of i-D, during which he describes Know Wave as a way to ‘tap into conversations, into atmosphere’, bringing together interesting people and interesting music. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s growing: having begun in L.A., the station now has an established outpost in NYC, and there is one set to open in London. As a fan of writer/blogger Karley Sciortino and photographer Petra Collins, the first thing I listened to on Know Wave was their one-hour show, Sex Logic. Check it out below.

 

PURE FLESH / ALLDAYEVERYDAY

Pure Flesh is a series of DJ mixes found on Alldayeveryday, an arts blog and purveyor of “creative services” with clients ranging from Nike to Alexander Wang. Maybe I’m just a technologically inept and my research skills are failing me, but I can’t seem to work out what or who Pure Flesh actually is. Maybe its just a blog by Alldayeveryday; maybe its a DJ; maybe its a top secret government organisation. I just don’t know, but I like it, and that’s what’s important. The mix below was released three days ago, and has some good summer vibes (original post here). See all previous mixes here.

 

VFILES’ SUCH FASHION

The greatest export of VFILES, that uncategorisable fashion brand/shop/channel/social network/thing, is its videos. VFILES series Model Files (starring Preston Chaunsumlit) and What the F*shion? (starring Casey Jane Ellison) make my life worth living, and are possibly the best things on Youtube (WATCH. THEM.). Attempting to fill the gaping hole their absence has left in my heart is new series Such Fashion, which debuted on Tuesday. I have no idea what it will have in store over the coming weeks, but chillis and tanned abs are a good start. This video is basically like looking in the mirror for me, though, so I hope they’ll push the envelope in coming episodes.

 

JAMES ST. JAMES’ TRANSFORMATIONS

I watch notorious club kid James St. James’ Youtube show Transformations every week. The premise is this: each week, someone well versed in the art of makeup visits the studio and paints all over James’ big, smooth, hairless, slightly lecherous-looking face. Recently his guest of honour was Rupaul’s Drag Race royalty Alaska Thunderfuck. If your not familiar with her increasingly slow valley girl vowel-sounds, make their acquaintance here. And here.

 

M.I.A.’S BEYONCÉ REMIX

M.I.A. dropped her remix of Beyoncé‘s ‘Flawless’ just a couple of days after the internet went all-out mental over a video showing Solange and Jay-Z fighting in an elevator. Being released during the four days prior to any official statement about the video, which saw the entire world suspended in a suffocating jelly of emotional confusion, I like to think it capitalised on the new attention directed at Bey (even more than usual, if that’s possible). I am totally in love with it, and listening to it whilst watching a loop of the aforementioned video is a real winner. Try to time it so the beat drops exactly when Solange drops the shit and gets real.

 

THE 90S BUTTON

Click on the button, watch a 90s music video.

90sbutton

 

B E Y O N C E

I’m seeing Beyoncé live this week, and I’m really, really, really excited. I don’t care if she makes questionable styling choices, relates every single conversation topic back to ‘God’s plan’ like she’s reading from a script written by a mormon PR team, and sings ridiculously contradictory pseudo-feminist lyrics which may or may not have Simone De Beauvoir rolling in her grave (“Who run the world? Girls” vs. “I’d rather not live at all than live my life without you”). I love her anyway, along with most of the planet. I don’t even care if I’m subconsciously conforming to the worldwide hysteria just to feel part of something and fill a loveless void in my hardened soul. I LOVE HER AND I’M SEEING HER LIVE AND YOU’RE (probably) NOT SO I WIN.

I was initially a little dejected when I read that Queen Bey had joined Taylor Swift in the ranks of pop stars who reject the term ‘feminist’. I thought that the days in which feminists were considered hairy-legged, monobrowed, birkenstock-fetishizing man haters were long gone. That made me and my English student feminist credentials really mad. But then I realised that Beyonce isn’t an academic or a philosopher or a politician or any kind of lofty thinker. She’s a singer, and I love nothing more than shutting my bedroom door and dancing like a coked-up pond skater to her music. So, I decided to ignore the fact that her views on feminism will strongly influence millions of young children who don’t even know what academics, philosophers or politicians are, and decided to enjoy her for what she is. As with most problematic things in life, genocide and Miley Cyrus’ short hair aside, laughter is the best form of combat. And remember, God has a glorious and beautiful plan for you in the promised— Okay, no, I can’t even do that shit ironically.

Why don’t you just sit back and enjoy these prime Bey moments.

What’s better than Beyoncé? Multiple Beyoncés!

DRAG

Octavia St. Laurent

I’ve already exposed some of the creative output of my cringeworthy childhood self, but recently some more long-forgotten videos have come to light and opened a whole other can of gender-experimental worms. Judith Butler smiled upon my childhood.

The first video is the result of an aborted attempt at a Scary Movie style horror spoof, in which I played a sort of dumb, huge-titted valley girl (or ‘a blonde who doesn’t listen to what she is told’) and my friend was a crazy-haired cross between our GCSE spanish teacher and a low budget drag queen.

Sure, it was never going to take the Oscars by storm (note the inexplicable disappearance of Petula’s jacket at around 45 seconds, the dubious editing, and the use of a particularly hideous font which I think became an obsession soon after I discovered dafont.com), but, and I think you’ll agree, it’s ultimately a clever dissemination of the performativity of gender and its exploitation in the horror genre. Also, I look surprisingly hot as a 14 year old transvestite, don’t I? Is it bad to use myself for thinspiration?

Incidentally, drag is something which has been on my mind a lot recently, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably try it out myself, just once. Or twice. I refuse to believe that there is anyone on the planet who wouldn’t enjoy completely forgetting themselves under several kilograms of prosthetic hair, fake lashes, makeup and sequins. I think I’d go for something drawing on Tilda Swinton, Marie Antoinette and Greta Garbo, if that could ever actually exist.

I’m struggling to keep my eyes open, so the thought of listening to Strauss in bed is much more attractive than writing several more paragraphs about why I love Jennie Livingston’s documentary Paris Is Burning, so I’ll just say this: it’s essential, and if you haven’t seen it then take the opportunity to view its entire length on YouTube. It’s enjoying a huge renaissance as of late, especially on the rap scene with the whole ‘gay swag’ thing which is blowing up. If that sounds like it would float your boat, then have a mooch on YouTube for Mykki Blanco, Le1f, Zebra Katz, Azealia Banks etc.

Now, don’t expect any further quips or revelations; this is a really lazy ending.

P.S. Be sure to check out this bafta-worthy animation which took the school talent show by storm way back when.

OH AND ALSO:

HOW TO BETTER YOURSELF

A lot of people don’t want you to know this, but becoming who you want to be isn’t always about eating kale, responding to your partner’s sexual needs and getting in touch with your soul via horoscope hotlines. The Zemblan is here to show you the easy way out; the elevator bypassing the stairway of life, the no-win no-fee 0% typical APR path to your dreams, a shortcut to spiritual contentment. First, decide exactly who it is that you want to see in the mirror every day. Remember, you can be absolutely anyone you desire (as long as they’re one of three included in this little list — if not then sorry, I can’t help you).

1. THE SUAVE LITERARY FRANCOPHILE 

LISTEN: To early Serge Gainsbourg and pretty much everything pre-1960. Anything after that is out, unless Yoko Ono or Björk had something to do with it. Expect to say things like: “Oh, I wouldn’t know; I don’t listen to the radio.” “Rihanna? Who’s Rihanna? Is she a hairdresser? Because I think a girl called Rihanna did my short-back-and-sides last week.” and “let’s get naked and listen to the final movement of Tchaikovksy’s Symphony Pathetique over a glass of merlot.”

HANG: At Shakespeare and Co. in Paris. If you can’t afford the travel then The Book Club in Shoreditch will have to do, I suppose. But only if you really really can’t afford to cross the channel.

WEAR: You need to strike a delicate balance between looking characterfully unwashed and sartorially sharp. Think expensive but unironed shirts, scuffed brogues, second-hand suits and a vetiver-heavy fragrance that will make you choke when you spray it. Oh, and you always need a cigarette between your fingers.

READ: Kafka, Nabokov, Borges, Ginsberg, Foucault, and various obscure first-edition novels which will jut scruffily out of your jacket pocket and can only be found in smoky second-hand bookstores; preferably one with a fat, bespectacled owner splayed out on an armchair scrutinising your choices. Learn from him, because you’ll need to master the art of the judgmental stare.

WATCH: Truffaut, Truffaut, Truffaut, Truffaut, Truffaut, Truffaut, Bergman, Truffaut, Truffaut, Haneke, Truffaut, Truffaut, Truffaut, Buñuel, Cocteau, Cocteau, Cocteau, Truffaut.

EAT: Anything that sounds unusual but tastes delicious and sort of Autumnal, eg. venison and hazelnut, pork and chocolate,  lamb and lavender. If you can’t afford the type of culinary artisanship which you so require, you’ll have to settle for some miserly porridge and dream of the day when your literary talents are finally recognised and you’re bagging six figure book advances.

2. THE GIRL WHO GETS HER PICTURE ON THE SARTORIALIST

(video by Adam Levett and Chloe Wise)

LISTEN: To all those, like, super-hot, sort of indie-ish hipster-ish bands that explode onto the scene in a cloud of frenzied PR girls and hack journalists before disappearing into obscurity once we’re all bored of them, and realise that they sound exactly like that one band that did that thing that they’re doing now way back in the 80s.

HANG: On the street. You don’t want to get caught doing anything but walking across roads or standing outside pretty old buildings and fashion shows. You’re going to have to employ a PA to get that coffee which is eternally glued to your left hand, because what if you miss The Sartorialist’s roving eye as you dash into starbucks for a skinny frappuccino?

WEAR: Now, this is a tricky one. Firstly, you need to spend several days trawling through all the street style blogs on the web, absorbing each and every style, trend and minute detail into your mind (a bit like this). Then, you should spend every penny you own on JW Anderson, Christopher Kane and Acne, combining them with vintage clothes that would be ridiculed were they new, but are ultra-stylish due to their old age. Or, you could take the Susie Bubble approach and run through Opening Ceremony covered in superglue. Next, lurk outside fashion shows for all your worth with a cigarette in one hand and an iphone in the other. Sure, it looks like you might be organising a meeting with Grimes’ ‘people’, but you’re actually playing Angry Birds and waiting for Tommy Ton to tap you on the shoulder.

READ: You don’t really read, but you’re really into, like, looking at the pictures? Your coffee table is a treasure trove of thick hardbacks filled with black and white photographs of Hollywood icons. Oh, but Grace Coddington’s autobiography is a big fat exception to your no-words rule. It’s okay, there’s no need to panic; it’s printed in extra big letters so you don’t even need the help of that magnifying glass you got in a super-cute little vintage christmas cracker last year!

WATCH: Anything by Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, or starring Tilda Swinton. Like, films that really, you know, connect with your emotions and stuff. Plus Gwyneth Paltrow is SOOO cool in The Royal Tenenbaums. Don’t you totally want to be her?

EAT: Nothing, unless that little voice starts telling you to go towards the bright light, in which case you curb your hunger with half an almond. Your instagram followers don’t need to know this detail, however, and you can successfully jade them by photographing the pages of Nigella’s new cookbook and passing off her creations as your own.

3. THE WORDLY, RICH CREATIVE

Fred and Marcia Weisman by Hockney

LISTEN: You’re not fussy. You’ll listen to anything as long as it’s GOOD, you know, none of this auto-tuned  electronic nonsense which everybody is so caught up in these days. You love all the great singers with whom we’re on first name terms, like Ella, Billie, Nina, and Barbara, and though you don’t like to admit it, Cher. You’re also partial to a little Depeche Mode at times, or maybe a little Siouxsie and the Banshees. What really rings your bell, though, is classical. Think Wagner, Richard Strauss, Puccini and Verdi. You saw the most fabulous production of ‘La Traviata’ at the Royal Opera last year, and you’ve got a couple of seats booked for ‘Lohengrin’ in the winter.

HANG: In your spacious old house in Chelsea. All of the walls which aren’t bookshelves are painted white, and your living room is so big that the sofas don’t even touch the walls. Instead, they’re back to back with antique wooden chests covered in Diptyque candles and letter-writing apparatus given to you by the Norwegian Ambassador after you dined with him at Glyndebourne.

WEAR: Your clothes are exceedingly pricey and only the best, but you don’t like to shout about it, so you stick to simple cashmeres, chambrays and jerseys. You always cut a classic silhouette, and your chosen outfits have been stylish for about a century, already. You’re happy, however, to take things up a notch with a Cartier piece when you go out for dinner with your friends at a private members club (you’re welcome in several, but some of them are becoming terribly trendy, attracting all those insufferable internet types).

READ: Everything. You’re extremely clever and you’ve been devouring novels since before you could walk. What’s more, you’ve still got the money to shop in Foyles, which is always a treat. To you, the word ‘amazon’ only brings to mind that sprawling South American jungle and an ancient race of burly female warriors. You’ve read several books about both. Oh, and remember to subscribe to The Paris Review and the TLS — you need to keep up with things in the literary sphere, if only to rush out and buy everything shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. You never know when Hilary Mantel might enter conversation at a dinner party.

WATCH: Hollywood classics, Shakespeare adaptations, occasional BBC thrillers and a large dose of Hitchcock. They don’t make them like that anymore.

EAT: You’ve become very well-versed in fine dining over the years, so you know what you like. You employ a cook to deal with these matters, but when you’re in the mood you do like to step into the kitchen and cook up a rich, boozy casserole, or just a smoked salmon salad when you’re only a little peckish.

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NABIL INTERVIEW for WONDERLAND

You might not know Nabil Elderkin‘s name, but you’ll definitely have seen his work as NABIL. The Australian photographer and filmmaker extraordinaire is behind some of the most iconic photos and music videos of the past decade, including Antony & The Johnson’s ‘Cut the World’ and Frank Ocean’s ‘Pyramids’Wonderland get into the mind of this image-maker extraordinaire.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a couple of personal photo projects, going through my photo archive and I’m going to update my website in the next month. I’m working on some ideas for videos for Kanye and some others, a photo shoot for Jeremy Scott, reading movie scripts and stressing as per usual – but I’m still very happy.

Movie scripts?

Yeah, I’m just really starting to put my brain in that direction and connect the dots. It’s always been my goal. I like things to come together naturally and they are. It’s very early stages. I want to make something of quality. Basically I want to make a film that is emotional with a good story and great acting.

You work with a lot of big stars – do you get star struck?

Not really. I’ve had moments, but that was with people like Mandela and Michael Jackson. I was definitely in awe of those two. It was surreal spending time with them. I snapped a few photos but it was more of a moment to enjoy rather than capture.

READ  MORE OVER AT WONDERLAND…

Or check out my other content for their site.

JUST A GIRL

Once again, here’s a post I wrote for Exeter Fashion Society:

It’s official: No Doubt are back on the scene. You can listen to their new single, ‘Settle Down’, here, and its video is set to premiere on E! tonight. Here at EFS (between frothing at the mouth over £1000 jackets, not eating carbs and just being generally really edgy) we’ve been listening to the track on repeat all day and can hardly contain our excitement.

To mark the occasion of Gwen Stefani’s reunion with the band that brought us ‘Don’t Speak’ and ‘Hey Baby’, I thought I’d provide you with a brief celebration of their front-woman’s oh so 90s style (that is before she accessorized with Harajuku girls and Akon).

THE GLITTER BINDI

It would be difficult to traverse East London’s hipster watering hole, Shoreditch, without seeing a fair amount of glitter bindis, artfully drawn eyebrows and pin-up girl fringes. It’s so wrong (and possibly offensive to the Hindu community) but SO right, and Gwen was working it way back when like only she can.

THE MIDRIFF

I hate to imagine the sort of fitness regime that warrants those rock hard abs. They’re solid enough to break rocks on, and if you’ve got them, why not flaunt them? That’s exactly what Gwen Stefani did, and we’ll even forgive her for questionable striped bras and white cargo trousers, because we just love her that much.

THE HAIR

Stefani has always committed to her many changes in style, and hair colour is just another accessory to play around with. Although she’s most famous for platinum blonde locks and bright red lips, these blue and pink looks are winners for me. Move over Katy Perry, you’re trying too hard. This is how it’s done.

That’s all folks!

WHITE BITCHES

Kreayshawn + Iggy Azalea

Iggy Azalea, Kreayshawn and Yo-Landi Vi$$er (of Die Antwoord) have attracted a lot of attention for their raps – some good, some really shitty. Apparently being female and white isn’t the easiest burden to carry into the hip hop industry. White people have flat asses, no swag and everything comes easy to them, right? And who wants to be a woman!? They’re irrational, superficial and use their wiley powers of seduction to prevent men from running the world. Just ask the Pope and the writers of The Walking Dead. Nonetheless, there’s a new generation of rhyme-busting white bitches on the scene. Enter a crowd of disgruntled would-be activists ready to rip them to shreds. The youtube community, ever the intellectual social commentators, had these nuggets of wisdom to share on the much-tumblred white princesses of hip hop:

On Iggy Azalea:

I would like 2 fuck her pussy!!!

truthbesaid101 13 hours ago

she is sunburt because she’z too used to fucken riding kangaroos and hunting ostrich meat.

iFuckdYourMom9tyms 1 day ago

(That guy fuckd your mom 9 tyms!!! Valid comment alert!!!!)

On Kreayshawn:

Kreayshawn is a DUDE!!!!

qdavillian 1 day ago

i thought she was a black girl when i heard the song, now this song is a lot worse than i thought it was now that she is white and that blond girl with her, wtf is the point of her being in the song?

dopeylongstalkings 2 days ago

Sexual aggression and xenophobia aside, there is an issue here. A lot of people are quick to point out that Iggy Azalea comes from Australia, land of the oppressed Aboriginis, and Die Antwoord come from South Africa, land of the apartheid. But does this make them racist? Rap and hip hop were movements focussed on the emancipation of African Americans when they began. That was great, but now it’s 2012, and makes sense that a genre of music should move beyond limitations of race. Black emancipation is still important, very important, but racing and gendering music only exaggerates the prejudiced divides between white, black, male, female and everything in-between. So, maybe that’s where these girls are going wrong. When they make their lyrics so pointedly about their own whiteness it’s difficult not to wonder if they really have the right to complain.

Kreayshawn’s ‘Gucci Gucci‘ was the subject of an article over at The Crunk Feminist Collective (who I have a whole lot of respect for, btw. Check out the whole article). They had some really interesting stuff to say:

‘Kreyashawn is the perfect accoutrement to the tortured misogyny of her friends and co-signers Odd Future. For her, calling women bitches and hoes is funny, a category she is somehow exempt from via her whiteness and sometimes queerness. She’s got swag because she fucks bitches too, though she’s quick to point out she’s “not a raging lesbian.”’

Ok, so the Kreayshawn rap in question doesn’t possess a whole lot of lyrical integrity, and I suppose some people see her use of ‘bitch’ and ‘hoe’ as if she was harping the N-word. But those words, to me, are about misogyny, and for women to use them is to claim them back. Think how it worked for ‘nigger’, ‘queer’, and (sort of) for ‘slut’. What I’m really trying to say is come on people, let everyone bust some rhymes if they feelin’ it. In fact, bring on the white rappers, gay rappers, trans rappers — how about a post-op white lesbian rapper (do those exist?)  just to really mix things up. I’ll be first in line for her mixtape.

I’m aware that I just rambled on about a whole lot of contradictions and confusing (+ probably offensive) opinions, but I guess that reflects just how daunting and complex issues like this are. Thanks for listening. Here’s Yo-Landi being bad.