HIStory?

Eddie Cleaver | June 24, 2016

The Oxford English Dictionary defines history as “the branch of knowledge that deals with past events; the formal record or study of past events, especially human affairs”. It is the definitive record of human exploits throughout time.  We study history at school, we refer to it throughout life, we watch it in the making, we use it to learn lessons from the past, to use as a basis for progression and to record achievements, or failures. History gives us an opportunity to leave our mark on the world, to extend our story beyond our short lives. Being annulled into the realms of history allows us to live forever.

But isn’t history just a version of events? Recordings of those holding influence and power, those cultures who developed the written word, one of many versions of the reality of our past. There has been very little input into recorded history by 49.6% of the population for starters. To put so much reliance on historical record or to chase inclusion within it overlooks its most basic flaws. History is littered with inaccuracies, conflicting accounts, misinterpretation, personal influence, perjury, political and religious propaganda, guesswork even. To place so much emphasis on history seems absurd in today’s world of reliance on scientific study. Should it be put in the same category as story, fairytale, legend or religion? It would seem we should take history with a herculean pinch of salt.

Some influential humans live on, immortalised in history while others, many equally as influential, are forgotten. Why do we know of Darwin yet not Wallace, Tutankhamun yet not Hatshepsut, who was Cecilia Payne (the discovery of the elements which make up stars could seem to be of reasonable importance)?

Every scientific theory built upon the unrecognised steps of so many. Every war fought by the unquestioning loyalty of the humble infantryman or the advice of those less celebrated. What of the assistants and collaborators, mentors and supporters, those who often did the hard yards and dedicated their lives with little or no reward. They are lost in time, unable to be heard like ghosts searching for the afterlife.

There are many heroes, less so heroines, and always the obligatory villains. Often two sides of the same coin, just a change in lead characters. Who is the terrorist and who is the freedom fighter?

Do the realities of history even stand the test of time? We laud famous battles and leaders while forgetting the atrocities of war and colonisation. Are the achievements of a football team more important than those of Marie Curie? IMO they could be if that team is Liverpool FC. Is proving a somewhat tenuous genealogical link to Genghis Khan (a genetic test that is widely available) a badge of honour or a symbol of shame? Maybe it is an insight into the male psyche.

What if history tells us more than at first appears, what if history is more than a record of events over time. What if history is a record of what we want it to reflect, a reflection of our hopes and fears, our dreams and nightmares and most likely our egos and desires. It’s almost as if it was HIStory……….  

I’ve been writing letters lately

Mel Howard | June 22, 2016

 

To people I love and some that I don’t. To people who pop up in my heart or are caught in my throat. It’s cathartic. I’m expelling toxins and tensions that live mostly in my hips and head. Often when I’m writing I have to pause to happy-cry. I’m so grateful to have had a feeling so intense about the letters recipient.

I’ve been writing letters lately that I may or may not send. I started writing them for myself. Because I have things in my head that maybe aren’t okay to say out loud, or are and I’m just not brave enough. Writing for myself because since coming to this place, I’ve been shedding the weight of words and promises that hold me back. It’s confusing. It’s hard to know what actually is me these days.

So far, it seems I’m really smiley. And chatty, but I knew that already. I like making people smile with me.  I love lying in the sun and riding bikes. I love having a home space and filling it with candles and books. Books! even if I can’t sit still long enough to read them at the moment. So far I’m not writing much like I thought I would, but I’m also kind of okay with that right now. I can sing! I have a really horrible habit of saying I can’t and believing it when in fact, I can and usually, well. I miss acting. I miss creating. I miss the rehearsal room and the conversations it inspires. Although I love the feeling of lying in the sun, I love jumpers and beanies more. I can’t be alone for too long or I start getting sad. Or melancholic. Or heavy boots if you’ve read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, that’s the best way to describe it. I get heavy boots about life some days.

I’ve been writing letters lately that make me hold my heart up a little higher. That prompt photo searches through my archives evoking ridiculous all day/night smiles. That prompt proactive Google searches about doing things I’ve wanted to do forever, like see Gang of Youths.

I’ve been writing letters lately because I’ve been struggling to read like I used to and I’m trying not to watch so much Mad Men and Gilmore Girls, although the latter makes me so nostalgically happy and season five, episode five of Mad Men is possibly the best piece of television writing I’ve ever watched(!).

I’ve been writing letters lately because I’ve been journaling (almost) everyday for four months now and before that (almost) every other day while in Europe and that practice has made me think differently about what’s important to me.

At some point I chose to write in a specific order;

Firstly what I achieved today.

Simple dots points that aren’t in list form because lists have negative connotations for me, and can include any achievement. For example, biking, because I’ve only been doing it for a month and when I think about how far I’ve come in that month it really cheers me up.

Secondly, something I am grateful for.

Sometimes it’s simply wine, or more aptly red wine. Other times it’s wide windows or colder weather, having a home, possibilities of Asia. Often it’s family and friends and strangers who somehow make my day unbelievably wonderful.

Lastly, I write a few things that I might achieve tomorrow.

I’ve always been a list chick, but I realised how much pressure I put on myself when I have lists I tell myself must be crossed off. I feel guilt and disappointment when I can’t tick off washing because something else popped up, or worse, I’ll say no to something potentially wonderful because I have said list to tick off. If there’s no pressure in the way I’ve written the words, they may or may not happen. I get them out of my head and clear my mind for a little dreaming, then read approximately four minutes of my book before my eyes close without me and I’m rudely awakened by aforementioned book falling on my face.

I’ve been writing letters lately because I started titling each night’s entry and that spins them creatively in my mind. Gets the proverbial juices flowing.

I’ve been writing letters lately because my friends are far away and sometimes a phone call doesn’t cut it. Because I’m meeting people here that remind me of people I already love and that makes me miss them more.

I’ve been writing letters lately because we should tell people things like this all the time. We should tell ourselves too. Part of the reason I moved to Byron was to appreciate the good things, the simple things, and it’s become overwhelming.

I’ve been writing letters lately because letters are a beautiful thing to receive and to write. It is a blissful act to put words on a page because they are true and full of love. I take that love, rock it gently back and forth in my body for a while and throw it up and forward into tomorrow, each time taking a step not away from my old life but into my new one, my present one. My here today life, because it is bloody glorious and I’m spending so much of my glorious time looking back in love and while its very poetic and sometimes necessary, the forward momentum is starting to get some traction and I’m feeling like a self again.

The pieces of me are within grasping length. I can see them floating in different coloured bubbles, dancing to different fabulous songs and waiting to come together like the sweetest house party you’ve ever been to.

There are pieces of me floating on the sunny waves, I’ve finally got a board out and I’m ready.

I bloody love puzzles.

Tyler, the Creator’s Golf Wang Fashion Show

Juliet Sulejmani | June 21, 2016

Last week, Tyler the Creator, who is well known as a rapper, songwriter and producer amongst an array of other things, presented his first ever fashion show for his brand ‘GOLF’. At the show, he also announced his new footwear line called ‘Golf Lefleur’, meaning Flower Boy.

This is the second show of it’s kind, the first being Kanye West’s presentation of his last Yeezy Season Collection, where the designer not only presents their collection, but also performs for their guests.

For both shows, I was sitting front row, watching from my iMac monitor.

Guys, girls, some models and some not and a couple of younger kids, all of various backgrounds, body shapes and sizes were used to walk, ride or skate down the runway, which was designed as a skate park. Tyler explains that he is not following any rules, hasn’t ever attended a fashion show, but just loves creating and making clothes, and after collaborating with other brands, such as Vans, etc., he decided that it was time for him start his own brand.

The show was fun, happy and colourful. The collection is inspired by flowers, sportswear, and by LA which is where he lives, which you can tell from the vibrancy and summer feel of his clothing.

Tyler announced that his shoe line is still in sample stages however everyone who had purchased a ticket to his show would receive a free pair of shoes by the end of the year. Tyler also released his new song titled ‘Ego’ which sounded to me quite similar to Kanye West’s song New Slaves, which obviously was on purpose and quite fitting. Kanye was there to support his friend, along with many other celebrities and musicians.

I think Tyler’s show and Kanye West’s show, are very important markers in fashion history, because what they are doing is very different to what already exists in the industry. At a typical fashion show the designer merely peeps out right at the end, and quickly disappears back behind the curtain, whereas in this case, the designers (Kanye and Tyler) are used to being on stage. They are performers and great entertainers, and naturally they are comfortable with being front and centre, so this adds something extra to the overall experience. These designers also have quite a lot of creative control and freedom over the entire show, and they use this power to bring the audience even deeper into their story.

It is also important to take note that the designers have had to push through many boundaries, be it their success in other areas which binds them to only that arena, or their race, which if you notice, their aren’t many African American designers in the fashion industry. Even the type of clothing they’re creating is different from how people expect rappers to dress.

Another difference with Tyler’s fashion collection is that unlike other shows, where you have to wait pretty much a whole year for it to be released, Tyler’s is already available for pre-order on his website www.golfwang.com.

I like that the overall theme within Tyler’s collection portrays inclusivity and the everyday person, there is no discrimination just a celebration of life and the things you love. I am excited to see how these new designers will help to shape the industry in the near future.

Links:

All the books I read last month

Juliet Sulejmani | May 31, 2016

I literally could not put my reading books down in April. I just powered through each one and ended up finished eight books, which I think is the most I have ever read in one month.

May, on the other hand, has not been as successful in terms of book reading.

Here’s a list of all the books I read, with links included for the ones I have already written a post about.

The Post Office Girl by Stefan ZweigCLICK here to read my review

How to be Danish by Patrick KingsleyCLICK here to read my review

The Dry by Jane Harper – CLICK here to read my review

Why Fashion Matters by Frances Corner – CLICK here to read my review

The big 5 by Dr Sanjiv Chopra with David Fisher – CLICK here to read my review

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent – A kooky, typically French and romantic story. The protagonist, who reads random pages from books to the riders on the 6.27 train, finds a usb containing the diary entries of an unidentified girl. He then falls in love with this girl through her words and successfully tracks her down.

The Woman I wanted to be by Diane Von Furstenberg – This book is great value. You really get to know Diane, her life, her loves and her passions. She has some truly fantastic and enviable life experiences. DVF’s fashion story is also incredible. Diane goes through all the stages of her career and business, the beginning, the mistakes, the successes and all the in between parts.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – I honestly think part of the reason I haven’t read much this month, is because this book was so good. It’s still resonating within me. Burial Rites is Hannah Kent’s first novel and is based on a true story and set in Iceland in 1829. It is about Agnes Magnusdottir, a woman accused of murder for which her punishment is execution. You will have all the feels in this book. A much recommended read which will keep you eagerly turning the pages and googling ‘flights to Iceland’ at the same time.

Jx

Matt Corby @ The Palais Theatre

Gracie Crowley | May 10, 2016

 

Matt Corby @ The Palais Theatre 30/04/16

My Matt Corby addiction has only grown since the release of his album Telluric earlier this year, seeing him at the Forum back in November of last year was just not enough to keep me satisfied. Thank whatever god or otherworldly creature there is that the Palais Theatre is still up and running. It has a certain atmosphere as you enter, the old-school vibe is emulated inside as you are shown to your seats by the wonderful staff while admiring the rather spectacular interior as it all sets the perfect mood for the evening ahead.

The opening act was none other than Vera Blue, who only a few weeks ago was featured on Triple J’s like a version. Her sound gave a Florence Welch meets Flume vibe and the pulsating electronic base of her music captivated you until she introduced an acoustic element throughout a few songs, providing warmth to the synthetic accompanying instruments. Her cover of the Gorilla’s ‘Feel Good’ was a definite crowd pleaser and her original tune ‘Turn’ was powerful to put it lightly.

Matt Corby came to the stage in almost perfect timing, opening with the first track from his latest Telluric, Belly Side Up. From then the entire performance commanded complete attention as he lured you in, built you up then broke you down with his entrancing voice and sound that mixes soul and blues with funky guitar riffs, flute solo’s and then of course the impressive use of his own voice as the backing for Monday. Those that reviewed Corby’s Telluric as somewhat cold and ‘lacking depth’ can happily swim in the warm ocean of depth that Corby’s performance provided. Having seen him perform a few times now I have noticed that he has become more confident, seeming to be more at home on stage after the first couple of songs.  Corby replied jovially to the crowd’s yells of ‘I love you’ with ‘thanks mate’ and a little chuckle and he even returned for an encore this time. Yet even though he appears more confident Corby maintains a humble demeanour throughout his entire performance that cannot help but make you love him even more.

It is clear that Matt Corby has shaken the old image of former ‘guy from idol’ and has created a something that is both unique and personal. His sound and artistically written lyrics are more beautiful than the man himself. The vast amount of talent that his accompanying band possesses is impressive to say the very least and the Palais was the perfect venue for this performance. I truly cannot wait to see and hear what this impressive human does next.