Where have I been?

Not much activity on here lately I know, I’ve been super busy with my final year at uni, so over the next few weeks I’ll out up a few posts about what I’ve been doing. I’m finally a graduate now, with a BA (Hons) in Arts and Event Management, Upper Second Class Honours.   Pretty scary stuff!

Me (on the left) and a couple of my fabulous teammates for my final major project, Lucy and Cher at graduation

Looking forward to a summer of new projects and new adventures

I’ll try to keep his thing updated on the way!

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Typo

Alright I’ll hold my hand up and admit it. I’m a Typophile.

I know what you’re thinking, you filthy person, and no it doesn’t mean that. It’s a love and appreciation of Typography.

My unhealthy obsession with all things typeface is a mystery to me. Throughout school I’m pretty sure I never strayed far from Times New Roman for my essays and though, like many a starry-eyed teen, I doodled song lyrics all over my notebooks they were always written in my own rather childish scrawl. For a long time I’ve had an interest in graffiti and tattoo art, but only recently did it occur to me what it was about these subversive art forms that drew me in. Anyone who knows we will testify that I’m not in the least bit subversive or rebellious, so it certainly wasn’t a hidden need to undermine society. It was to do with the shape of the words themselves.

Since I began my degree, I’ve become increasingly interested in graphic design and branding, and with that comes a weird sort of hyper-awareness of font styles and usage. In the world of design the way the words look is as important as what they are saying. Any marketing guru will tell you its the first A in the marketing acronym AIDA. Attention.You might be holding the most incredible party, but if the invites were made with Office Word Art then who would want to come? A perfect example in my mind of a font fitting its purpose down to a T comes from my home town of Stroud. Known for it’s “alternative” culture and emphasis on local craft and trade, Stroud’s entire look and mentality is summed up in the work of poet, artist  and local character Dennis Gould, and the Stroud Letterpress. Dennis’s posters and flyers for events in the area have become synonymous with the “Stroudie” mentality, you’ll very rarely find a shop or noticeboard in town without one. Printed on scraps of thick paper, in dark, muted colours, the old letterpress leaves indentations, making prints that are far more textural and interesting than any laserprinted poster.

The styles of font I’m drawn to tend to be old fashioned in appearance, which is great, as it’s everywhere right now. The current vogue for all things vintage and retro comes out very strongly in terms of typeface, as brands seek to identify themselves as part of it, so everything from Victorian circus bills to 50s American signage is being pillaged for its shape and arrangement. Also the increasing popularity of tattoos, and their shift from subculture to mainstream (possibly in part thanks to shows like Miami Ink appearing on mainstream tv), seems to have prompted a resurgence in “flash art” style type, from flowing calligraphy to old school block lettering. I’ve always been too chicken to get a tattoo, (fear of needles and inability to make up my mind are two major factors here) but I love the style, and I can’t help but pick up any product, flyer or business card that uses it.

Feeding my love of all things type at the moment is an excellent photoblog called typeverything.com. Curated by about 10 different contributors, typeverything is a collection of excellent examples of creative use of letters, on everything from buildings and shop fronts to framed prints and furniture. I could literally browse for hours through all its wonderful images.

Another excellent website for any type geeks like me is The Ministry of Type (http://ministryoftype.co.uk/), which gives more detail and background info on the world of typefaces, including links to a video about using a letterpress, books on old scripts and examples of inspiring graphic design and art.

Now if only I could work out how to change the damn font on this blog…..

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Long time, no post…

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but never fear, I’m just involved with some exciting projects at the moment and I’ve been too busy to blog!

LOOK…over there! A GIANT DECKCHAIR!!!

Seriously though, this thing actually turned up on Bournemouth beach on Friday, drawing swarms of crowds and news vans from across the South. Anyone who knows me well knows I have a love for oversized, novelty items, and all things kitsch, so naturally, I had to get down there and take a few snaps!

The Dreamland Sessions

As I mentioned in a previous post, I spent some time this summer coordinating some acoustic sessions for Fieldview Festival, and I thought I’d write you a little post about them and what I did.

Making seat backs for our "loveseats". Sorry its all blurry. My bad.

There is an area of Fieldview that hides amongst the trees and only opens late at night. This crazy little world is known as Dreamland, and is run by the fantastically bonkers Lewis (who put together the little image at the top of this post) . The point of Dreamland (as I suppose could be said of festivals as a whole really) is to stumble upon things, from birdcages and bunting in the trees, to a dancefloor hiding under the crest of a wave and a secret doorway in the wall. Taking this whole idea to it’s logical conclusion, Lewis wanted to continue allowing people to stumble across things even after the festival had finished, and so the Dreamland Sessions came into being. These one take, one track acoustic sessions from 17 bands at the festival are being uploaded onto youtube one at a time allowing festival goers to relive the Fieldview magic and discover bands they missed while they were there. The original concept was to build our set in a small clearing next to Dreamland, but massive amounts of noise interference from the Barnacle Stage meant we had to reconsider, and ended up building the whole set in an empty shed at the back of the site. Festival handyman, the uber talented Ed Peel, waved his magic wand and created us a surreal living room with an aquatic twist.

Filming a session with Picture Book

The sessions were filmed by Jeremy from the fabulous Tinderflint productions, (plus a couple of extra hands from Two Fish Films‘ Rosie and Chris) , on two super shiny Canon 5D mk IIs and a 550D. I’m definitely a Canon girl, and the 5Ds practically had me salivating, but I wasn’t allowed to fiddle with them for obvious reasons! I was, however, allowed to use the clapperboard at the start of takes, which was about all the responsibility I felt safe having when it came to the actual filming!

Prior to arriving at the festival, Lewis had charged me with the task of emailing all the artists appearing at Fieldview to find out if they would be interested in getting involved, and scheduling them accordingly. I made a marvelous spreadsheet on google docs of all the time slots, working around performances on the main stage to minimise sound interference. In the end though, the Barnacle stage proved more of a sound issue and my timings went out of the window, causing a hasty reshuffle and a lot of frantic emailing from my “site office” (see pic below right)

My office @ Fieldview - the floor of my tent

Working on the floor of a tent is not the most comfortable of office spaces, but now I’ve  finally joined the 21st century and got a smartphone I can work from anywhere, and if I insist on working at events in fields in the middle of nowhere then I’ve got to learn to be super adaptable!

As the festival drew to a close and we were running out of time to fit all the awesome bands in, we packed up our little shed and stuffed the hay bales and standard lamp onto the back of a quad bike and snuck off to a nearby field to film our sessions with Sam Green and Beth Rowley. Despite a little noise interference from Laid Blak playing on the main stage we managed to capture a beautiful little festival moment, just before sunset with the campsites and flags in the background.

As I have a serious interest in film production it was the perfect role for me; I was able to see a side of the film industry that I hadn’t really been involved with before and was able to turn my skills to a more unusual task, whilst at the same time enjoying some incredible performances and a fantastic festival. At the moment there’s 17 videos up on youtube (a couple of which aren’t from the festival, so i didn’t have a hand in making them!) and we’ve got about 10,000 views altogether, which is pretty exciting for a novice film-maker like me! They all look pretty friggin’ awesome, thanks to the skillful editing of the Tinderflint guys and of course the masterful camera work of the crew, and it was great to be a part of the whole experience! All I can say is roll on Fieldview 2012!!

If you want to, you can have a look at the whole series of Dreamland Sessions over on our tumblr page. Do it, you might enjoy it.

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I do love projection mapping…

I still can’t get over how awesome it looks!

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Paris. Casual.

I went to Paris last week, (as you do) as a kind of “cultural experience” with my Uni course. It’s one of my favourite places in the world,  and even though we were only in town for 2 nights we sure as hell made the most of it, taking in a self-guided walking tour of the centre, a trip up the Eiffel tower, and, of course, drinking a lot of wine.

Thursday

After a 5.30am start, an epic coach journey from Bournemouth, and my first Eurotunnel experience, arriving at a hotel with a misspelled sign and covered in scaffolding in a rather unfavourable district of Paris wasn’t the most welcome of sights. I’ve definitely spent the night in worse, but its not the vision you have when you think of a chic, cultural trip to the most beautiful city in the world. Fortunately the evening’s plan didn’t involve staying in, so we hopped on the Metro and down to the Parc de la Villette for “Psy”, an incredible performance of contemporary circus from French-Canadian company Les 7 doigts de La Main.

The Grande Halle at la Villette is an incredible venue, converted from the former city meat market and abattoirs in 1985, and renovated again between 2005 and 2007. Within the original cast iron structure a vast and versatile space has been created, combining the elegant industrial architecture with a more minimalist, modern aesthetic, which proved the perfect backdrop for the multi-purpose set pieces of the 7 doigts.

Coming from a more traditional visual arts background, I’ve never really explored the world of contemporary circus before, so it was a totally new experience for me. Psychology and circus don’t automatically strike me as an obvious combination, but “Psy” explores various forms of mental illness through performance, in a way that is both funny and touching.  The show is a far cry from the traditional clowns and jugglers, as different circus skills were used to illustrate the symptoms and quirks of a variety of “patients” and the group therapy they engage in to help them deal with their problems. Despite the dialogue being almost entirely in French it wasn’t hard to follow the individual story lines, and it’s a testament to the strength of the performance that we had no difficulty figuring out each character’s issues. Seemingly superhuman stunts, a well thought-out concept and an excellent soundtrack (including Caravan Palace, The Avalanches and a surprising amount of dubstep) made this a fantastic introduction to the world of contemporary circus, and I would love the opportunity to see more of their work. If the idea of performance art leaves you a little cold, something like this with a strong theme and a bit more of an edge is really worth a try, as it puts it into a more 21st century context.

Have a look at this video and see what I mean!

Friday

Friday can really be summed up in pictures, as we practically ran from one landmark to the next! As I’ve been to Paris a few times before I wasn’t so concerned with spending hours in the Louvre or trekking up to Sacre Coeur, and I love just wandering round the city taking it all in. French food is also a definite perk of any trip to Paris, so I made the most of that as well!

There was a massive Christmas market in the Tuileries where I found some incredible jewellery   shaped like sweets. As I can’t eat macarons I particularly liked the brightly coloured rings and earrings made to look like them (although my restricted student budget meant I couldn’t actually buy anything so i just took a picture instead). We bought vin chaud and wandered down towards the Seine, stopping over on the Pont des Arts, a bridge covered in locks that couples have attached as a symbol of love. We even saw a couple get engaged!

I attempted to simulate a tilt shift effect on some of my pictures from the Eiffel tower. With varying degrees of success.

In the evening we visited the Pompidou Centre, and wandered around the museum of modern art. After a day walking around the centre of Paris one piece really struck a chord with me:

Saturday

An early start on Saturday allowed us time for a guided tour of the Opera Bastille before we began the long journey home. Although it looks a little dated from the outside, the interior is still standing the test of time, with incredible views across the city from the highest floors. What struck me most, however,  was not the impressive auditorium, but the sheer scale of the backstage areas, which combine to make it the largest theatre in the world (something our guide took great pleasure in reminding us!).  Next time I come to Paris, seeing an opera there is top of my to do list.

Before we got on the coach, it was vital we stocked up on food:

Aah Paris, I miss you already!

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Happy December!

25 days to go guys! Well, basically 24 as I’m writing this at 11.53pm…

In the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share this little musical gem with you as it’s been bobbing round my head all day.

I first heard it a few months back when my housemate was playing it in her room, and I forgot all about it until someone posted it on facebook the other day. Now I  literally can’t stop playing it, I must be driving everyone around me mad!

Originally I thought it was by Yeasayer, as it has a similar feel to Ambling Alp with that slightly eerie, distant-sounding voice, but in fact its the rather lovely Gotye. It also has a light Genesis/Peter Gabriel kinda feel to it, although again I think that’s to do with the vocals.

Do have a listen…

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Fieldview 2011

I’m a big fan of festivals. For me, no summer is complete without good friends, good music and hopefully good weather. This year I did a spot of work for a lovely little festival called Fieldview, which ended up being one of the best weekends of my year!

If I’m honest, I usually only go to larger festivals such as WOMAD and Glastonbury so Fieldview was the first “boutique” one I’d been to in a long time. There’s something gloriously homemade about the whole thing, which is run by two brothers, Dan and James, and entirely built by volunteers in a tiny village near Swindon. I got involved after going to a Bugsy Malone themed new year’s party run by the same crowd, and offered to help out in any way I could for the main festival. I was involved with making a series of acoustic session films with some of the bands at the festival, which I’ll write a post about later!

Umbrella jellyfish enjoy Martha Tilston on the main stageTickets for the festival were priced at £35 for two days of live music plus the 5th birthday celebrations on the thursday night, with 3 stages and a varied line up of local and nationally recognised acts. The friday and saturday included headline sets from Ben Howard and Fenech Soler respectively, as well as performances from Martha Tilston, Laid Blak and Tall Ships and a whole host of others. Although my role meant I didn’t have much time to see bands, the acts I did see were fantastic, and the quality of the performances we had at our acoustic sessions was astounding. As the festival is run by volunteers all the profits are gifted to charities close to the organisers hearts, with previous years  donations going to Oxfam and Water Aid. Isn’t that lovely?

The main stage

 

This year the three stages took on an underwater theme, and “Enchantment Under the Sea” fancy dress was encouraged for the Friday night. Light up octopus tentacles and a coral reef made from tree stumps were some of the quirky set pieces designed by the festival’s excellent handyman, Ed, for whom no job seemed to be too small. I was told to enlist his help in making a living room-like set for the acoustic sessions and he came up trumps with a garishly kitsch space including love seats made from hay bales and a standard lamp with eyes. Check out the videos to have a look at his handywork!

 

 

 

Ben Howard

I didn’t really know anyone other than those involved with the filming before I got there but as the festival has a capacity of just 2500 making friends is easy, particularly due to a clever little idea called the “Fieldview Fruit Machine”. Every paying guest has one of five fruit embroidered onto their wristband, and between bands games are arranged at the main stage that pit these fruit “houses” against each other (the competition to build the biggest human pyramid was my personal favourite). If you work there, your wristband has all the fruit on it, so you can join whatever team you like! (or whichever one is winning)

The food and drink at Fieldview is all kept as local and as reasonably priced as possible, something I found very refreshing. I’m used to paying through the nose at big festivals for even the simplest of meals and rarely consider buying drinks at festival bars due to the horrific mark ups but Fieldview is small enough to keep prices down without compromising on quality. The barbeque (run by the parents of the festival organisers) did a fantastic breakfast roll (egg,bacon and sausage) with tea or coffee for £4, and bar prices didn’t exceed £3 for their selection of local ales and cider. The super strength perry was definitely the best choice, at 7.5% it didn’t take many to get me tipsy! Once more the fruit machine came into play, with bar deals for different fruits functioning as a kind of “happy hour” throughout the weekend.

All in all I can’t recommend Fieldview enough. It’s small enough to feel safe and friendly and even if I hadn’t met them I would have thought it obvious how much time and effort the organisers puts into it. It’s a real labour of love, and you really feel it in every part of the festival. An emphasis on charity and supporting local businesses means Fieldview is good for your soul in more ways than one, and you’ll come home with a list of new bands to look up and new friends to facebook as well!

The festival does sell out and you can really see why. Once you’ve been there I doubt you’d want to think of a summer without it, and if you really can’t wait then their new years eve bash is sure to be an incredible night as well!

If you want to know more about the festival pop along to http://www.fieldviewfestival.co.uk/ and have a looksee, or find them on twitter or facebook.

And do check out the Dreamland Sessions while you’re at it!

http://dreamlandsessions.tumblr.com/

I could literally spend hours on TED….

Just thought I’d share this video. We’ve been shown it a few times in lectures and I think it has some excellent points about company ideologies and buying into a brand.

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Light Night

These days I spend the majority of my time in Bournemouth, where I’m studying at university. For the last few years I’ve bemoaned the sparse quantity of creative events taking place in the area, so I got very over excited about the new Arts Bournemouth festival, Arts by the Sea.

The festival itself is made up of more than 50 events in and around Bournemouth, spread over 6 weeks. One of the main focuses is Light Night, an evening of events, installations and performances taking place around the town centre, inspired by the Nuit Blanche concept that has taken off in major cities around Europe.

The Greatest Travelling Vaudeville Show in the World

We took a trip into town in the afternoon to observe some of the happenings, and straight away we came across a bizarre contraption in the middle of Lower Gardens. It turned out to be the “Greatest Travelling Vaudeville Show in the World”, quite a lot to live up to for 3 over excitable actors and a rickety stage on wheels. The half hour show was certainly whimsical, and wouldn’t have looked out of place on the streets of Edinburgh Fringe, but I did feel it was slightly lacking in something. If I’d been 8 years old it probably would have been more on my level but the toilet humour and musical comedy were a little too simplistic to keep all ages entertained. The set itself was quite impressive, something between a sultan’s litter and a 1950s caravan, with cubby holes and curtains transforming each side into the next part of the performance. We stayed for the whole performance, despite our reservations, then wandered off to examine the other sights around town.

Boscombe Vintage Market comes to Bournemouth

As part of Light Night the exhibition space in Lower Gardens had been taken over by the stalls from the monthly Boscombe Vintage Market, with all their lovely retro treats and knick-knacks. Here are a select few of my favourite things:

why did i not think of this?

Electric Hotel

One of the major features of Light Night was the Electric Hotel, a dance performance in a temporary structure built next to Bournemouth Pavilion. The concept was a surreal take on voyeurism and our collective fascination with people watching, with the audience observing the goings on of the “hotel” through the windows and hearing the narrative through headphones.

The performance was formed around a repeated cycle of people going about their day to day lives in a bland but slightly surreal hotel. Each cycle  focused on a different room of the hotel, and the lives and private fantasies of it’s occupants. As it progressed, the pattern of events changed, and actions began to have different consequences each time.

The monolithic temporary structure has already been taken to the Big Chill and Latitude festival before it’s appearance at Arts by the Sea, and it was the this that piqued our interest in the event to begin with. Great pains were taken to ensure the set, (made from a number of over-sized shipping crates), appeared as realistic as possible, right down to the fire extinguishers on the walls and the fully operational “hotel bar” underneath it.

Although I would never consider myself a fan of contemporary dance, I was interested in the way technology had been used in this performance. Until recently I had only thought of wireless headphones as a novelty, reserved for silent discos, but they are opening up a world of possibilities for the performing arts and the Electric Hotel was an inspired use. Despite the fact that we were all listening to the same thing, hearing it on your own makes the whole experience somehow more intimate, adding to the slightly uncomfortable sense that you are witnessing something you shouldn’t be. A performance of this scale would obviously not be possible without them, but even if noise pollution wasn’t an issue I think the feeling of it would have been very different.