Friday, 28 June 2013

DIGITAL WORDS / BEAUTIFY: Charlotte Tilbury’s House of Rock ‘n’ Kohl

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Last week saw legendary make up maestro Charlotte Tilbury stage a store take over at Selfridges, London.
Contained within her own concept boutique, Charlotte Tibury’s House of Rock ‘n’ Kohl, Tilbury hosted a seven day beauty fest which was plentiful enough to satisfy even the most fervent of beauty junkies.
Inside her House of Rock ‘n’ Kohl there were transformative makeovers on offer courtesy of Charlotte’s personal team of artists, nail art manicures, a gallery of magazine covers whose famous faces Charlotte had worked her magic on, and a carefully curated selection of products featuring such staples as Shu Uemura eye lash curlers, NARS makeup removing water and Bobbi Brown’s Tinted Eye Brightener.
The week’s events were kicked off in style with the unveiling of a light installation portrait of Kate Moss and a grand opening event that was attended by the real Ms Moss herself. Following on from this were daily panel discussions featuring the likes of Lisa Eldridge, Camila Batmanghelidjh, Alice Temperley and Laura Bailey talking on subjects such as using beauty as a force for good and the lasting influence of British style and beauty.
However, the talk that was not to be missed was Saturday evening’s “Rock ‘n’ Kohl Legends” which saw Tilbury talking about her favourite and signature makeup look – the “rock chick” – with super stylist Bay Garnett (who just months earlier styled the ‘70s groupie inspired Vogue shoot “I’m With The Band”) and the original rock ‘n’ roll muse, Anita Pallenberg.
Although she only stayed for half of the discussion – she received a phone call from fellow Rolling Stones romantic mainstay Marianne Faithfull telling Pallenberg to come to her gig at South Bank – Anita was full of anecdotes about the origins of the paired down, rock look she pioneered in the ‘60s.
Reacting against the six hours of makeup she had to endure whilst filming Barbarella and contemporary ideas of glamour, Pallenberg spoke of how she ditched thick pan cake make up for a totally natural face enhanced only by a smudge of kohl, a slick of Vaseline and licking her finger to then push up her eye lashes into a curl. She also revealed that she always has and still does give Keith Richards a black Guerlain eyeliner to use and that when she saw The Beatles play in Hamburg she was turned off by their “preppy” matching outfits so was drawn towards the Rolling Stones instead who would borrow her clothes as they were all the same size.
Following Pallenberg’s departure, Charlotte then described the faces she refers to when creating her own rock chick inspired looks. Name checks went to Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Anita and Marianne, and Bridget Bardot. But the ultimate personification of the rock chick, in Tilbury’s opinion, is Kate Moss.
With the floor opened up for questions from the audience, most chose to grill Tilbury on how exactly to achieve the rock chick look. Her essential tips were to create a feline eye shape with an easy-to-use eye liner, to keep skin looking real and fresh and to top it all off with pale lips.
Charlotte also went on to divulge details of her forthcoming makeup range which is due for release in September. She promised “revolutionary formulas” which will make that undone rock ‘n’ roll look accessible to everyone. Tilbury stressed how much she believes an eyeliner she has created will allow even eye makeup novices to create a perfect cat eye flick due to it being a kohl style pencil with the payoff of a lasting gel. She also let slip that she will be releasing a lipstick shade called “Nude Kate” which is a custom colour that she has been mixing and applying to Kate Moss for years.
Aside from these insights into the cosmetics Tilbury will be releasing later this year the other product everyone just had to know about is Charlotte’s Magic Cream. Known to beauty enthusiasts the world over as a highly guarded custom made formula that Charlotte uses to create that supermodel skin glow that we mere mortals strive but fail to recreate, Charlotte’s Magic Cream is finally being mass produced and sold to the public.
We got our clawing hands on to a sample jar and can confirm that the cream does indeed produce magic results, giving skin an instant illuminating lift and acts as the perfect dewy base for enhancing a naked face or for prepping it for glowing foundation application. It’s a thick cream which encourages you to massage the product into skin but is easily absorbed and leaves a moisturised radiant sheen and has a luxurious scent which comes from the inclusion of nourishing ingredients such as camellia oil and damask rose water.
We’re seriously hoping our 15ml pot of this superlative skin cream will last us until its September release date…

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Monday, 24 June 2013

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

DIGITAL WORDS / iamamiwhoami's Jonna Lee Interview

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Mystique and intrigue are difficult aims for any artist who wants to succeed and thrive in our voluntary Big Brother media and society, but the electronic multimedia project iamamiwhoami nobly took on the challenge. At the core of iamamiwhoami is Jonna Lee, a fact that was not confirmed until August 2011 which was almost two years after iamamiwhoami shared a series of mysterious videos. Eventually the shadowy blonde figure featured in a series of ambient synth-pop shorts was named. Now, with the release of bounty, the audiovisual prologue of iamamiwhoami's debut release kin, we spoke to Jonna Lee about her enigmatic reputation.

Firstly, tell us about the name. Where did it come from? Were you worried about such a tongue twister perhaps holding you back?
People started referring to us as iamamiwhoami due to the name of our channel where our work is published. So it became our name through that. It reflects our constant evolution and development of identity. And it really isn't stranger than any other foreign name or word. You just need to make an effort to get it right at first.

It seems like we’ve been hearing your name for a long time. We remember reading a piece about iamamiwhoami in NME years ago when no one knew who you was behind the name. One of the guesses as to who you were was Christina Aguilera – were there any rumours that made you laugh before you revealed your identity?
It could have made me laugh. But I take our work seriously. And the talking didn't have any relevance to the actual work we displayed, so instead I focused on making music and film. I was always visible and hearable. I just chose not to comment on my motives for this project until I felt there were words to describe what we are doing.

Do you think it’s possible for artists to retain an air of mystery anymore in our access-all-areas internet age?
If you choose to yes. But as gradually people get used to easily accessing more and more information, with that often comes adaptation to it that turns into the normative. And the conventions of normative ways often kills all creative lust.

Your album bounty has just been released – how long has this album been in the making?
bounty is our first series released in 2010 that is now getting a physical release. It's the prologue to our series kin and it reflects the start and first steps of iamamiwhoami. I wanted bounty to have the same physical weight as kin was given. It's wonderful to be able to deliver it to the audience now. All audiovisual pieces of it are equally important to me in different ways.

Your debut kin was very warmly received by critics. Did you have any fears about following it up? Or do you avoid reading your own press?
Fear is a thrilling emotion. But no. I'm proud of our work. Others opinions are relevant to those who tries to understand it. The work we have done is what it is to me no matter what.

kin was an audiovisual album. Which is more important to you – the visuals or audio of your work? Does one tend to come before the other for you or does it alternate?
All our work is audiovisual up to this point. But it all starts with music, being the core of us. I have a passion for playing with ways to expand it. It's a search to realistically reflect my experience of making it to the audience.

How are you feeling about playing Latitude? It will be your first UK festival appearance.
It feels exciting. I'm looking forward to showing bounty in it's best light and to see the audience again.

Who are your idols?
Anyone who dares to lose it all and take the fall for it.

Bounty is out now through  to whom it may concern via Cooperative Music on CD/DVD and LP/DVD

 iamamiwhoami play Latitude Festival on Sunday 21 July

Interview by Kate Allen

Written for IDOL

Friday, 14 June 2013

DIGITAL WORDS / Stop Working For Free

You may be aware of a spreading manifesto urging all freelance content providers in the creative and media industries to stop working for free. If you are unaware, you should read it now.

This manifesto and unofficial movement has been written and ignited by legendary music journalist Barney Hoskyns and, with the support of musician and photographer Mark Pringle, has set up a popular and lively Facebook group that has quickly amassed a large (and growing) number of enthusiastic supporters.

Fortunately for me, I work for these two outspoken guys at Rock’s Backpages where we believe the written word and those who have written them have fiscal worth – hence our online library of music journalism being behind a pay wall – and it was only when I began working for Rock’s Backpages that I realised that me, my time and my work was worth something too. This week marked my one year anniversary of being employed by Rock’s Backpages and finishing my English Literature degree, and in that time my attitude towards working for free in the field of music journalism has undergone some serious alterations.

Believe me, I’ve done my fair share of working for free in the form of long term internships, short stints of work experience and giving my writing away for no money in return, and sometimes, no thanks either. So when young, aspiring students and graduates wanting to work in media raise their objections to Hoskyns’ rallying cry for a unified movement against unpaid labour of, “Well how else will we crack our way into the industry?” they should know that their response is an expected one, and it’s an issue that requires sympathy and reform.

I first began taking on unpaid work experience whilst I was at college and studying for my AS-levels. I began by working as an unpaid but credited researcher on a music documentary which then led to a contact at a national music magazine who offered me a week of work experience. From that point on, throughout college and university, I used my Easter, Christmas and summer holidays to take on more unpaid work placements – some good, some bad and some ugly. One work placement saw staff laughing about previous interns to me, with me knowing they would most likely do the same about me to their next nameless minion. Another asked me to take a spelling and grammar test before being allowed to write picture captions, which would have been fine had the answers to their own test been correct. A further low point was when one major publication failed to provide me with a desk or chair to work at for the duration of my time with them.

So far, so The Devil Wears Prada and at the time, whilst I was a student and embroiled in these experiences, each one did seem important and utterly vital to me ever achieving any success. But were they? No, not all of them. What I found most useful was the free advice I was soliciting from music journalists I was coming into contact with, rather than the free work I was handing out to them. The unflinchingly honest advice one journalist in particular gave me about my writing was more valuable than any work experience could be. Following his criticism I wrote a review that won me a Record of the Day award which proved to be a pivotal advancement for me being able to leave unpaid work behind.

The final nail in the coffin came when a magazine asked me to tally up how much they owed each of their freelancers who had contributed music reviews to their current issue. So when I began writing for them following the end of my work placement I knew exactly how much money I was not being offered.

To those who are currently being exploited or are afraid of backing away from the lure of internships, there are ways one can gain useful writing and media experience without whoring themselves out to the big boys of publishing. Contribute to websites or magazines that you are happy to dedicate time and work to simply because doing so gives you some creative satisfaction. Art for art’s sake and all that. If you’re going to voluntarily take on unpaid work, do so for non-profit organisations where everyone involved is on the same level, therefore no one is exploiting anyone – student newspapers being the perfect example. Thanks to the good ol’ World Wide Web there is now an infinite amount of space available to be filled up with content by unpaid and undervalued creatives and there will always be a corporation willing to exploit you. So if you are going to give work away for free at least bestow it on someone who cares, who is appreciative and not themselves financially benefiting from your efforts whilst you miss out.

What current upcoming writers need to realise is that as scary as the premise of rejecting unpaid work may be is that the success of this movement heavily relies on them as they are the target group companies want and are able to exploit. If people think they have no choice other than to work for free, that’s because they’ve been conditioned to feel that way. Only by a mass refusal to accept the prevalent notion that young, enthusiastic potential employees are not worth paying will any kind of change to the current conveyor belt system of internships be possible. Only by snubbing internships can the joke that such arrangements have become be reversed. Without queues of willing students offering themselves up major magazines will no longer be able to offer unpaid work experience as competition prizes, nor will the stereotype of the feckless intern be perpetuated by faux reality shows like MTV’s ‘I’m From Rolling Stone’, ITV2 and Bauer’s joint ‘The Exclusives’ and Style Network’s ‘Running In Heels’.

By breaking the presently accepted revolving door structure that most publications have in place for their internship programmes they will have no choice but to review and react. Rather than inviting an endless stream of short term interns, why not invest time (and money) into one star candidate who they believe has true potential? If you can’t afford to take on and train new staff then don’t advertise any openings at all. By eternally offering temporary insights into the world of media and journalism young hopefuls are being forced into a carrot and stick situation, forever chasing that elusive promise of eventual payment and perhaps employment. If internship schemes cannot make any guarantees when it comes to payment, future prospects or tangible learning then they should cease to exist.

As Barney Hoskyns has respectfully pointed out, no one has anything to lose by saying no. 

Written for Record of the Day's Weekly Magazine

Thursday, 6 June 2013

I Like... New Michael Jackson T-shirts / "My attitude is if fashion says it's forbidden, I'm going to do it."

This is my favourite of a number of brand new, exclusive, official t-shirts being sold by The King Of Shop

They have a number of other you-can't-get-these-anywhere-else tees available HERE (scroll to the bottom on the page to find the new designs).

Just to stress, these are OFFICIAL ITEMS. So buy without reserve. They're legit.