Archive for August, 2009

UK Grime Flickr Group

August 28, 2009

As Grime continues to grow, I’ve decided it should have its own Flickr group. A collaborative image source of Grimes’ past and present for both fans and the media.


MSM Engineer Kristian S-C

UK Grime Group

I urge all Grime photographers to join and submit their images. Big up to Robin Bharaj for already joining!

Here are a selection of images submitted so far:


Chipmunk – Used courtesy of Robin Bharaj.


Tulisa (N Dubz) Kristian S-C


P Money – Used courtesy of Robin Bharaj

Kristian

The New Social Dynamic

August 28, 2009

In June of this year, leading technological blog TechCrunch released their analysis of the true value of social networking websites. Based on their model, the entire social networking industry is worth around $27.1 billion, with Facebook accounting for around 37%, or $10 billion. However, despite this seemingly thriving activity, it appears as though many peoples’ attitudes towards social networking are changing.

Whenever a new technology becomes available for the first time, many people tend to use it indiscriminately. In the 1980’s, with the advent of computer graphics, many television shows and films were saturated with basic CGI images as designers wanted to show off what their new instruments could do. This was often done with little regard for aesthetics or elegance; the use of the technology itself, in a way, becomes more important than the products that are created with it. However, as the initial novelty dies down, its use becomes more sophisticated and refined. Arguably, the same can be said for social networking.

In 2009, MySpace is steadily declining and Facebook has taken its place as the world’s most popular social network, boasting a fanbase of over 250 million people. Given that for many, social networking is an established and useful method of communication and with other ‘Web 2.0’ applications such as Twitter and WebEx becoming more popular, a new set of unwritten ‘etiquette’ rules are being established. Although the volume of use shows little sign of abating, given that a billion new photos are uploaded to Facebook every month, people are now more selective about where and when is appropriate to use social networking services.

New York is showing strong signs of anti-social networking sentiment; many of its more exclusive venues have placed bans on social networking when on their premises. Indeed, Milk and Honey, an enigmatic bar on the Lower East Side, reserves most of it tables for customers who pay to be a member, and also agree to anti-social networking restrictions. The bar takes this policy so seriously that new members must sign a contract agreeing that they will not blog, take photos or even tweet about the bar at all.

Surprisingly, such restrictions do not put off those who wish to attend – in many cases the ability to ‘switch off’ – whether they want to or not – is quite a liberating experience. Michael Malice, an American writer and blogger, is a co-host of Protocols, a bi-weekly, invite-only soiree which specifically states that all conversations are ‘off the record’.

In an article for the New York Times, Malice stated, “We are fighting against this whole idea that everything people do has to be constantly chronicled. People think that every thought they have, every experience – if it is not captured it is lost.”

Such ‘terms and conditions’ come at a time where the Prohibition-era speakeasy is seeing a resurgence, again particularly in New York. Obviously alcohol is no longer illegal, but people are drawn to the secrecy and exclusivity of such establishments; tired of queuing for hours behind velvet ropes, the social elites are looking to the belle époque years for their new chic hangouts.

It is perhaps due to this new desire for exclusivity that the social-network etiquette has come about; constant blogging, photo-taking and tweeting about a supposedly secret location would be counter-productive, something that the proprietors know very well. Many bar owners recognise that many of their regulars wish to relax without being surrounded by camera flashes and their picture all over Facebook; so much so that some offenders have been contacted and told to remove the pictures in question or face being barred.

Social networking remains as strong as ever; media reports about the top sites peaking back in 2008 seem to be unfounded as they acquire more users who upload more content, as well as media-savvy businesses who use social networking as an effective marketing tool. It seems as though social networking hasn’t left the party, it’s just learned some table manners.

James

Whose Got Lyrics, Who Needs Bars..

August 27, 2009

Jigga what?

Now, Hip-Hop has always prided itself on its machismo, and I for one, would always be first to defend it. When done right, its swagger Shakespeare. When done wrong however – it’s simply embarrassing.
The problem with trying to present yourself as Rambo Soprano on every track, is that your prone to some seriously questionable bars. Grime, I beg of you – please don’t follow suit…No Homo.

Jigga

“That’s gay. I ain’t into liking dudes. No way.”
Excuse Me Miss Again.

No-one said you did Sean, you got something on your mind.

“Roc-A-Fella is the Army… better yet the Navy.”
Takeover.

If your labels called Roc A Fella, don’t refer to it as the Navy.

Fiddy

“Yayo, bring the condoms, I’m in room 203.”
Piggy Bank.

I knew it!

Jada

“I might gotta take my shirt off”
Ghostface – Run ft. Jada.

Keep it at might Jada, keep it at might.

Kanye

“Magazines call me a ‘rock star’. Girls call me ‘cock star’.”
The Bounce.

“Girls call me the gobbler”. By the way, it’s not just the girls Kanye.

“I live by two words…f**k you, pay me.”
Two Words.

Two words, do math.

/

NERD

“I dare a motherf**ker to come in my face.”
Lapdance.

This one takes the metaphorical rugby biscuit. Dare or want, only Pharrell knows.

“Guess you ain’t heard that we swallow guys.”
Rockstar.

Want….

phar

Canibus

“You might got more cash than me, but you ain’t got the skills to eat a ni**a’s ass like me.” Second Round Knockout.

Okay, when battling someone, it’s best not to give them ammo for a retort. Number two, thats not a battle lyric Cani – you are now flirting. Number three, it’s not a skill, it’s a life choice. Accept that.

cani

Rick Ross

“Me and Dre do things.”
Chevy Ridin’ High

No we don’t Rick. Unless by ‘things’ you mean not respect one another.

“I f**ks Pianos”
Pushing Keys.

………………..

rick r

Dré

Sway – Soul Cellar, Southampton.

August 26, 2009

Sway Da Safo – UK Rap supremo, Akon’s Konvict label signee and all-round levels representer!

Designer Focus: Yohji Yamamoto

August 25, 2009

Philosopher, genius and ‘sexiest man alive’ are just a few of the ways Yohji Yamamoto has been described. Indeed, even fashion luminaries such as Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan have referred to him as a poet, an artist.

However, while these opinions are arguably subjective, it is fairly self-evident that the diminutive, chain-smoking, rock-band frontman is one of the most prominent and influential designers working in contemporary fashion.

Born in Yokohama, Japan in 1943, Yamamoto initially enrolled at Keio University to study law in order to appease his mother, who had been forced to become a seamstress following the death of his father during World War Two. Nonetheless, the desire to create proved too strong, and he dropped out to study fashion at the Bunkafukuso Gakuin College of Fashion in Tokyo.

By 1972 he had established his own clothing line and within five years had put on his own exhibition in Tokyo. His work was very much inspired by his upbringing; major influence came from the blue-collar workers and the utilitarian aesthetic of people such as his mother, in stark contrast with the opulent Western designs she was commissioned to emulate by her clients.

In 1981, Yamamoto journeyed to Paris, arm-in-arm with fellow Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, creator of Comme des Garçons. His collection was criticised by the French fashion establishment, who were simply not ready for the asymmetrical black shapes and flat shoes they saw emerging onto the runways. His pieces were disregarded as shapeless and meaningless ‘shrouds’; opinions that completely missed the textures and shading that Yamamoto wished to accentuate.

In recent years Yamamoto has embraced the concept of collaboration in a huge way, working with names such as Hermés, Mikimoto, Mandarina Duck and of course Adidas, an unprecedented relationship that combined two completely opposing worlds of apparel into Y-3, itself now a highly successful and prestigious label both on the runway and the street.

Yamamoto’s designs generally reject current trends, something which he has become fairly notorious for; however, a favourite inspiration of his is a traditionally Japanese ideal which prioritises concealment of the body, hiding the natural contours of the body beneath his creations. His 2005/2006 autumn/winter collection in particular emphasised volume, experimenting with differing weights of fabrics and textures to achieve the iconic and unconventional styling he has become so famous for.

Yamamoto, a man seen by many as being something of a poster child of ‘anti-fashion’, has managed to do what most designers can only dream of – hold court with the highest echelons of haute couture and at the same time design street-inspired sportswear coveted by proponents of urban culture – arguably sartorial democracy at its finest.

James

Assorted Phone Pics pt II

August 24, 2009

Here are the second batch of pics I have amassed on my Viewty phone. Not the usual quality, but they are a snapshot of my day-to-day comings and goings, and my weird observations.

Bow Road, E3, London. Grime mecca.

Sweet ride. Racing green FTW!

Women’s magazines are horrible. When they are full of bile like this, it makes me wonder how women can read them over a cuppa and a biscuit! *shiver*

I think there is a sale on…? If only Martin Parr was there to see this!

Urban swan. Shoddy visual contrast. Sorry.

Eastleigh train station. My second home.

First England flags, now flowers? Why do people put this crap on their bins?!

Kristian

Seb Lester

August 21, 2009

Educated in Graphic Design at London’s prestigious Central Saint Martin’s university, Seb Lester is one of the UK’s most prolific typographic illustrators. His professional clients include GQ Magazine, Dell and the New York Times, as well as Monotype, one of the world’s biggest font foundries.

His unique approach to ostentatious and sensual typographic design is a perfect juxtaposition to his conservative, corporate style fonts such as Neo Sans, Scene and Soho, highlighting Lester’s versatility as a designer. Drawing upon influences such as Edwardian gentlemen’s clubs, Renaissance art and ancient woodblock carvings, Lester manages to create intricate and charming imagery from even the simplest elements.

Lester’s work often contains risqué material – his flamboyant re-workings of choice swear words are a prime example. However, due to the expert way in which his pieces are completed, the viewer is perhaps unaware that they are looking at, essentially, a four-letter word.

A selection of his work is currently on exhibition at the Electrik Sheep gallery in Newcastle, running until the 29th August.

Seb Lester

James

Effects be Effective

August 20, 2009

This is quite simply, Dub as Dub should be!

Dub FX is a street performer who utilises effects pedals, looping his voice to create truly sonic music. It seems people forget that modern Dub evolved from the likes of Tubby and Scratch Perry, two gents who knew how to compose harmonious structured music, while at the same time, bring a baseline bordering on the brown note!

Now don’t get me wrong, Benga, Skream et al. are pushing Dub to a commercial avenue, to an audience who, for the most part – would never listen to the boom boom, Ket or no Ket. But let us not forget the melody that should underpin the genre, complimenting the basslines that define the music.

I know this video’s done a few rounds recently, but if you haven’t seen this, I suggest you have a ganders.

Dré

Assorted Phone Pics

August 20, 2009

Here are a collection of pics I have amassed on my LG viewty. Not the usual quality, granted, but they are a snapshot of my day-to-day comings and goings, and my weird observations.

Cranial Nonsense – A bright piece sprayed up at Fleming Park skate park by local graffiti artist Cerk.

Office workers stand up! Excel is the most miserable program on Earth. It’s official!

Crystal Palace train station, London. I love the brickwork and architecture there. Truly beautiful. [\anorak]

My Dad chillin’ in the garden, reading the papers. A true gent.

EN-GER-LUND! Some patriotic bins right there.

Freaky charity shop display. Eastleigh has more charity shops per square mile than anywhere else on the planet, I swear!

A mural by Russell, dad of my brother’s school mate Tim. He suffers with severe arthritis, and this was part of a collection of art displayed in my local shopping centre. Touching work and the portrait resembles Tim a bit.

D Double E murking Rinse @ Matter. Ourgh! Ourgh!

More to come!

Kristian

Nature Photography

August 19, 2009

Here is a small collection of nature shots, taken around where I live in Southampton. I’m starting to get sick of urban photography, so I thought I’d up something beautiful. Yes urban snaps are cool, and yes the cold bleak decay of Victorian London is wonderfully stark, but jeez is it boring! Take note London snapper types!

Nature can be found anywhere, and it is for this reason I think that photographs of it have been given less prominence in digital cultural media than urban ones. However, with nature photography, it is not what you take a picture of, but how you take it. There is a visual complexity to good nature photography that you just can’t get anywhere else.

These are my attempts to capture that.

Kristian