Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I Like... The Mushpit / "Pretty Gurl Bullshit"

Currently liking the output of The Mushpit - a cute, concise girly zine, hellbent on 90s nostalgia and Britney Spears. What's not to like?

Monday, 27 February 2012

I Like... Summer Camp / "I can't do this, anymore"

I like Summer Camp. It's no secret. I write about them and listen to them at any chance I get.

They continue their charm offensive with this adorable video, the making of which I wrote about a little while ago (Click HERE or scroll down - it really is your choice)

FYI I don't know why the nun that I make reference to didn't make the final cut.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Friday, 17 February 2012

DIGITAL WORDS / Making The Video - Summer Camp

Behind The Scenes With Summer Camp HERE

It’s a dull, drizzly, grey Thursday morning in Cambridge Heath, East London. Tucked away in a small, unsuspecting studio, with only a quickly scrawled sign on the door outside to signify it, Summer Camp are making their dream music video.

IDOL: “If money and taste were no object, what would the ultimate Summer Camp video be like?”

*(IDOL visualises our own dream music video; an out-of-this-world location, slick costumes and a life affirming dance routine of inimitable choreography – a Michael Jackson short film, essentially.)*

Elizabeth Sankey: “This. This is pretty much our dream video.”

The concept for the video all came from director Ollie Evans, whose previous work includes videos for Tom Vek, Foals and The Gossip amongst many others. A collection of rather dated and awkward looking year book photos serve as the key motivation for the shoot with the band and extras recreating those flinchingly embarrassing school photos we all wish were never taken. Elizabeth is using the memories of one particularly scarring school photographer who insisted she expose her teeth and braces with a wide smile, as her onscreen inspiration. The video has a distinctly retro feel to it, keeping in line with the band’s very defined aesthetics which they have established with the artwork of their music releases, the backdrop of vintage home photography that accompanies their live performances, and their previous videos which have heavily relied upon splicing together scenes from 60s and 70s coming-of-age movies such as Last Summer and A Swedish Love Story.

Today, however, the band are at the forefront of filming. Dressed in humorously dodgy matching Primark red polo neck jumpers, Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley deliver their solo performances head on to the camera with relaxed ease. For a band that generated so much early press by keeping their identities under wraps, how does it feel being in front of the camera and centre of attention when filming a video? Jeremy admits he’s not sure why they initially shied away so much, but now he’s pretty comfortable with the interest they receive and is glad that Summer Camp tend to attract the kind of fans who care more about what sounds the band are making rather than who they are or what they look like. But with Elizabeth’s glowing English rose complexion and exuberant comical takes lighting up the screen, *sound the cliché klaxon*, the camera loves her, darling.

The humour of the video is endearing, but certainly surprising for the song this will all be accompanying. Their next single release is the bittersweet, stichomythic Losing My Mind – arguably the standout track from their debut LP Welcome To Condale. Despite the distinctly cheerless tone of the song, which gives voice to a fed-up, fatigued couple on the verge of separation, the idea of making a downcast video didn’t sit right with the band. So when the director’s treatment for the video was presented to them, an idea he had been keeping to himself until the right song came along, all the elements just seemed to fit.

Numerous extras (totalling eighteen by the end of the day – including animals and children) file into the building which keeps the wardrobe and styling team busy as they work hastily to have make shift sets, thrifty costumes and a plethora of kitsch props ready to roll. As the candied whistling riff and 90s hip hop beats of Losing My Mind ring out for approximately the... actually, by late afternoon we’ve lost count of how many times the song has been played today or how many takes have gone by, it’s easy to visualise just how charming this video is going to be. Although Jeremy hopes to maybe one day produce a filmic short for a future single, right now the band are relishing the creativity of their latest video. And rightly so, after appearances from a knicker-flashing nun, a girl obsessed with her prized collection of troll dolls and a small boy pretending to be a dinosaur, we’ve got a few more ideas to incorporate into that dream video of our own.

Losing My Mind will be released on 19th March.

Welcome To Condale is available now.

Words by Kate Allen

Written for IDOL

Friday, 10 February 2012

I Hate... Being Robbed / Discontinued Beauty Products Lament

*Warning* This is a sad post. Brace yourself. It’s all about one’s that got away. I’m tearing up. When you find a cosmetic product that works for you (and I mean WORKS) it’s a joyous occasion; the beginning of a blessed union which should last forever. When your beloved is taken from you it hurts, bad. You miss them. You picture the good times you once had together and all that other sentimental torture. It’s tough when you are forced to go cold turkey by beauty brands who decide it’s okay to suddenly stop supplying the goods – they’re like the world’s meanest drug dealer. They lure you in, get you hooked and then cut you off. 

This is difficult for me, but I’m going to recall for you, dear reader, some of the best extinct beauty products I’ve come to know, love and then mourn. I just hope other girls can read this and know that there is life after the discontinued beauty product.

1) John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Spray
This was something of a trailblazing product in 2002, it may have been this way-ahead-of-its-time quality that lead to its demise. Before texture and sea salt sprays, there was this. It promised lived-in, gentle beach waves and it totally delivered, plus it didn’t dry out hair either. It was an oil-infused spray that gently mussed up hair and made it smell like coconuts too. There have already been appeals to John Freida to resurrect this much missed styling spray, but they’ve made up their minds, the glory days of Ocean Waves Spray are over.
Are there any survivors? Yes. There is one lone seller on Ebay asking for $150 for three bottles.

**UPDATE** It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

2) Marc Jacobs Rain
Hands-down, this is/was my favourite perfume ever. The scent so fresh, the bottle so large (10oz) – Marc Jacobs was really spoiling me. That is, until it was coldly discontinued and replaced with his latest larger-than-life fragrance collection, which was disappointing and inferior in every way to this scent, which combined and bottled the smell of fresh cut grass and warm tropical showers (typing that almost made me cry – your sense of smell carries way more memories that any of your other senses, y’know)
Are there any survivors? No. Some fragrance enthusiasts claimed that Rain would be the only perfume from the 2006 Splash collection (which also included Grass and Cotton perfumes) to stay in production, but that was a LIE.

**UPDATE** As of April 2012, Rain is back as part of Marc Jacob's Tropical fragrance collection. However, it is now only available in 30ml bottles for around £29. REJOICE.

3) Bobbi Brown Eye Brightener
The news of this unbelievably effective but lightweight dark circle concealer being taken from the shelves hit me hard. The shop assistant didn’t even look me in the eye when she broke it to me. This little pot of wonder has been replaced by Tinted Eye Brightener Pens, which is just insulting. The product names are so similar, but the pens contain only 1.5g of product whilst the pot held 7g and both were/are sold for £22. That’s easy maths – you’re being ripped off. Yes, the pot was really messy but it was my messy pot, and I miss it.
Are there any survivors? Well, you can try the pens, but they definitely do not contain the same concealer I fell in love with.

**UPDATE** Bobbi Brown are now selling their Tinted Eye Brightener in new packaging in the form of a clear tube with a "doe foot applicator". Also, it's available in way more shades these days. The new packaging is better than the pen but still not as good as the pot.

4) Maybelline Dream Mousse Shimmer
I hate Maybelline’s Mousse skin makeup products. The foundations just look so cakey and drying, so it was with some surprise that the shimmer from this godforsaken range was something of a revelation. It made for seriously easy highlighting; just smear (I hate that word, but it’s the only way to accurately describe the application process) in a crescent moon shape from the end of your eyebrows to the top of your cheekbone and an iridescent glow was yours. It came in two colours, the golden, lightly bronze one (‘Champagne’) was my favourite, but the pearlescent ballerina pink (‘Porcelain’) looked mighty fine too.
Are there any survivors? There are quite a few remnants on offer on Ebay and from Amazon sellers. However, I’m hesitant about whether the shimmers will have expired... I’ll investigate at a later date.

5) Clean & Clear Deep Cleansing Warming Scrub
Annoyingly, this is still listed on Clean & Clear’s website as being a product they sell. They don’t. They are taunting me something unmerciful. I’ve tried to move on, I’ve sampled other self-heating scrubs but none of them have matched up. The Clean & Clear one didn’t just warm up, it got HOT once worked into the skin and it stayed that way until washed off. Plus the exfoliating granules were particularly gritty and they left a light moisturising oil on the face.
Are there any survivors? No. Clean & Clear in the US offer a ‘Daily Pore Warming Scrub’ which I guess could be a potential replacement, but admitting I’ll never have the original back won’t be easy.

6) Benefit Pineapple Facial Polish
Another tragic loss in the realm of facial exfoliation came in 2008 when Benefit cruelly halted production and distribution of this dreamy skin buffer. It smelt, unsurprisingly, like a big ol’ juicy pineapple and the nourishing fruit enzyme extracts it contained meant that skin was given a definite radiance boost after use. My mouth is watering a bit just thinking about this one.
Are there any survivors? No. Benefit have wiped this astoundingly good product from their history as though it never existed, and their new skincare range really isn’t up to much when compared to this Zeus of skincare.

As this post comes to a close, I should have some kind of helpline you can call if any of the issues raised by this post have affected you or a loved one, but since I hate taking phone calls just leave a comment instead.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Find stockists HERE

Or purchase online HERE

"Insiders" is the theme, and the "insider" I had a chat with was Mairead Nash.
I'll post the interview in full soon...

Thursday, 2 February 2012