Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Party, Pumping Arty

Halloween is probably my favorite holiday of the year. Well, except for Christmas, I guess. No one really says this, but Christmas is everyone's favorite holiday because they get stuff. Fact. But after the age of about 14 it becomes cool to "hate Christmas" so everyone pretends it's just such a nuisance and isn't it awful, and oh it's so commercialized "these days" (as though this is a recent development) and ugh, I just hate my family so much, and it's so boring blah blah blah... WHATEVER. You all love it really, you just love complaining more.

Anyways, aside form the obvs number one, I adore Halloween. I loved it as a kid, and I love it as an adult - perhaps being American (where we know how to celebrate this shit...) helps. I had years of traditional trick or treating, whereas kids in England have a sad stroll up and down their ill-equipped English neighborhood in which about 2 people have bothered to get any candy and even then it's crappy ASDA gold coins or raisins. I remember at university we had trick or treaters come to our house; that was a sad scenario. All we could give them was some Tesco Value crisps, the shit flavors that had been left because no one liked them. It was heart-breaking stuff.

Anyways - beyond the trick or treating, I loved loved loved the costumes. My brother and I had great costumes, and I've kept up the tradition as I've gotten older. This element of Halloween is catching on in England, where they take fancy dress as seriously as Americans, though at the moment Halloween is still primarily pretty mundane stuff in London - unimaginative Slutoween girls dressed as whores (nurse/policewoman/French maid/cat etc), and everyone else dressed in regular clothes with "zombie" faces consisting of lots of black eyeliner, white face powder and fake blood around the mouth. It's so depressing. I miss real costumes, things with some thought put into it. These are starting to appear more, people are getting the message and if you hang out with the right folks on the night you should get some exciting outfits. Just avoid the Old Blue Last.

As well as the costumes and general national excitement from America, I really miss the house decor. People went to town over there, dry ice, cobwebs, a stereo hidden in the front yard playing an endless loop of rattling chains and ghostly groans. Scary stuff. But even if the house wasn't going the whole hog, you could at least be sure that every house on the block had a jack-o-lantern. I remember at University, again, we got a jack-o-lantern. Had a great time carving the pumpkin then roasting the pumpkin seeds. Proudly put it out on our little balcony. Only for some idiotic and likely bored teenagers to steal it the following day. Good work England, stealing a crappy 80p pumpkin. Way to get into the spirit!

Anyways, in honor of the day, I've been trawling around looking for some super jack-o-lanterns and boy have I found some gems! Join me on my trip down Lantern Lane...

--Where better to start then the traditional Jack-O's, these are your standard fare and probably the most heart-warming to me as they're just so classic:

This is usually the kind of thing I do, partics the one on the left - notice all the jagged edges and the still visible pen lines from where they were meant to cut? That's my kinda carving!

--Then there's the more advanced carving, these display far more technique and skill, without straying too far from the traditional scary pumpkin look:

--Of course then there's the people who just have to show off their skills...pumpkin carving means a lot to them, they expect your praise:

This is actually one of my faves simply because I really like the idea of carving a pumpkin onto a pumpkin. It's like wearing a t-shirt with picture of yourself on it. Something, by the way, which I've always wanted. So if anyone's stumped as to what to get me for the aformentioned Christmas, there's your present - get me a t-shirt of myself.

Okay, this is impressive and all, clearly took his time - but what the hell is it? Just random swirls and lines?? Are they meant to be Chinese throwing stars? And what the fuck is in the middle? Is that the stalk? There's something a bit tribal about the whole design, it has a sorta Lord of the Rings vibe going on and no-one wants nerdy fantasy/sci-fi shit on Halloween...Whoever carved this is the same guy who will be going to the Halloween party dressed as second tier character from Battlestar Gallactica.

--Then there's the turbo pumpkin carvers, people who look forward to Halloween purely to get involved in the carving extravaganza; it's the one time of year their skills come to life (a depressing notion). These are people who have their pumpkins carved by the end of September. They are often celebrities/movies/current events-based (the Presidential election is particularly popular this year) and they are probably for a local carving competition that no-one, aside from those taking part, ever hears about :
Wizard of Oz Jack O'Lantern by Jim Murphy.


E.T. by ladybugbkt.

VOTE!! by ladybugbkt.

Scariest pumpkin ever by _Avian_Security_.

--Then there's the trend pumpkins. For a while the biggest trend was the puking pumpkin, which I actually still love:

dyniowa        niestrawność  żołądkowa ...  :) by marcelek.

But recently, there's a been a trend towards cannibal pumpkins, very hip, very now:

--And of course, the comedy pumpkins! Sometimes simple, yet more effective than the rest. Often simply moronic:

IMG_3000 by cranberries.

Typography Pumpkin by scormeny.


Has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween or pumpkins. Just an abstract statement. This is almost pop art.

--And there's this. Not even a jack-o-lantern really. Just my favorite use of a pumpkin. And actually easy!
The Burger Pumpkin!!!

Alas I have no jack-o-lantern this year, so if anyone want sot get one and carve it with me I'm free before my party tonight. Be warned I have no artistic talent and will want all the seeds for myself.

Happy Halloween kids!

Blogged with Flock

Monday, October 27, 2008

Westfield Shopping Center!

Sounds like it should be a rap album. It's not. It's the huge new shopping center opening in Shepherds Bush, London this weekend. Can't wait to get my shop on!! This takes me back to the good ole days of my mallrat years, spending most of my weekends age 14 hanging around Lakeside mall in New Orleans. I can't wait to get down Westfield, see and be seen, wear my hottest outfit and check out boys while chillin in the food court. If only they had a Contempo Casuals and 5-7-9 it'd be perfect!

Here's some peeps chatting about making the mega advert:

Just saying - Bluewater can suck it now...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ever noticed

that The Sartorialist

likes really




As I don't live in the "chic and elegant" (read:BORING) color palette of white/grey/black, and am not part of the cultural elite, I will never be featured on his frustrating, yet compelling, blog.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, October 20, 2008

Election 2008!!

I got this in the post last week:

That's right kids, it's voting time in Chantal land.
So in honour of this momentous event, for this post I'm talking politics bitches!!

Let's get ready to rumble!

Well, I'm only talking politics a little; I'm not knowledgeable enough for heavy discourse so I'll only make 3 small points:

1. The Mythologizing of Barak Obama and Why It's Wrong. I like Barak Obama. I will be voting for him and if he wins I think he'll make a swell president. However, Barak Obama is not sent from heaven. Despite his rally cry of "Change!" and his obvious political distance from the current leaders, he is still just another politician trying to get elected. He has lobbyists, he has Big Business corporations vying for his attention and asking for tax breaks and should he get elected, chances are he will be playing nice with at least some of the same people as Bush does now. I'm aware of this, and I still think he's a better choice. I think he has better values, I agree with his policies and I think he better represents the future of America. But I know a lot of Obama supporters (especially those in their twenties) who seem to think of Barak as the second coming or a national hero. They exalt him as morally above all other politicians, of not having a corrupt bone in his body and of being a saviour-like figure who will rescue this dying relic of a country and resurrect it as the leader of the world. Not only is this naive idea unlikely, but it will lead to a lot of disappointed 20-somethings should Barak get elected. The country is in an economic shit-hole at the moment, and whoever gets elected is going to have an uphill battle trying to fix things. A big worry is that if Barak gets elected he will be scrutinized over how he deals with this situation and if he fucks up (which wouldn't be too hard) he'll be remembered as the president who led us into a recession. Four years from now, this is what the republicans will be saying in order to get rid of him.
For the sake of argument though, let's assume Obama gets elected and just totally takes care of the FUBAR economy. This mythologising of him is still dangerous. I read articles and hear people speak of him as though he is an almost otherworldly presidential candidate, someone so vastly different from what we've had in the past that he will completely shake things up and totally turn this country around. Sure, he's disparate compared to the current administration, but he is still a politician. He will screw some things up, do things for money not the better good, piss part of the country off, and be held up to ridicule. Which is fine - JFK wasn't perfect and neither was Clinton, who bizarrely is treated like Jesus amongst liberals (ironic considering how many of them are atheist) even though during his tenure he was impeached. I don't think we should be making Obama out to be a model of perfection; he's a normal human, he just happens to be smarter than most and a super presidential candidate. But that's it. If you're one of the deluded masses who thinks Barak would never do anything wrong ever and is just a sincere incorruptible Mr.-Smith-Goes-to-Washington character, you are in for a very nasty wake-up call if, and when, he gets into office...

2. Sarah Palin is Not Running for President. Has any other vice-presidential nominee in history been held up to this much scrutiny? Has any VP nominee ever been compared to the opposing presidential nominee this much?? Even Dan Quail didn't get this much shit. Of course, because I'm not a moron, I think Sarah Palin would be a terrible vice-president, and a terrifying president. With a few exceptions, I disagree with nearly every one of her policies and find it depressing that she is as close as a woman has gotten to the white house. Luckily for me, Sarah isn't on a winning team, and she is not running for president. Does anyone else know this? Why is she always being compared to Obama? I am aware that a vice-president has to be prepared for the presidency; this is the core role of their job description. Plus, I know - McCain is like SUPER old and stuff and if he dies, she's in charge and then we're fucked. But, as well as the somewhat despicable ageism on display in this type of thinking, McCain is hardly 2 steps away from the hospice people, he's only a couple years older than Reagan was when he stepped up to plate and that dude lasted well into his 90's. Palin should be compared with...ummm...what's his name? Oh yeah, Joe Biden! Remember him? He's the same as Sarah Palin in terms of potential power, yet the exact opposite in every other way. How many Biden interviews have you read? How many articles are written about him? Has no one considered that Obama, as one of the most polarizing candidates in recent memory, is ripe for assassination and Biden could be running this joint in a year or two? Are we all cool with that?? If not, maybe that's what we should be talking about when we talk about Sarah Palin.

3. Left-wing Media Has Just as Much Agenda as Right-Wing Media. This kind of goes hand in hand with the first point; for some reason lefties seem to think that liberal media/news sources, much like Obama, are above dirty tricks and smearing and only print the objective truth. This is a lie. Media is media is media. And as wonderful as the The Guardian is, it's also a business that needs to sell papers, just like The Telegraph. They may represent two different viewpoints, but they do so in very similar ways. Don't get me wrong, I read The Guardian (and The Observer!) and I think it's great. It's my favourite paper in England. But I don't see it as gospel and The Only Truth. I think sometimes it leaves out certain facts to make a point and I think it often falls prey to the same lazy journalism that befouls the rest of the news industry. I also it has an agenda, the editors may not ram it down our throats, but it's there. And anyone who seriously denies this is kidding oneself.
Take this article from a few days ago:
McCain was not tortured, PoW guard claims.

This is an article asserting that John McCain's well-reported claims of having been tortured for 5 years as a PoW in Vietnam are wildly exaggerated and that really, he didn't have it so bad. Who is the reliable and objective source The Guardian quotes you ask? A fucking Vietnamese prison guard from the jail he was held captive in. This is tantamount to getting a former Nazi who was at Auschwitz to tell us that really, the gas chambers weren't THAT tough. Now, I don't want McCain to win, so you'd think I'd be okay with this kind of smearing (even though it's sort of useless as it's printed in The Guardian, the readers of which are over-whelmingly pro-Obama, not to mention British and therefore unable to vote in any case) and in a way, I'm at least accepting of it. Smearing happens in politics, it's part and parcel of being in a party. What I hate is the hypocrisy of it; liberals tear apart Fox news (quite rightly) for offering one-sided, partisan views on EVERYTHING but we don't bat an eyelid when leftist media plays the same game. I'm not suggesting that The Guardian or The New York Times is anywhere near sensationalizing shit the way Fox does, I'm just saying they're not innocent hippies either. I view both sides of the news with some scepticism, I try to read news from politically disparate sources to get a full story and though I may prefer some news sources to others, this doesn't automatically make those I disagree with incredible. Nor does it absolve those I side with of any wrongdoing. Because as bad as it is for thick, conservative Americans to only get their news from Fox, it's equally as narrow-minded for smug, liberal Britons to only get their news from The Guardian and Jon Stewart.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Observer must read Chancentrate...

Anyone else see yesterday's Observer magazine?

If so, you may have come across this page:

Now, try to ignore the monumental prick in the main picture and focus instead on their "Dressing Up/Dressing Down" section, The Observer's version of that eternal magazine staple, the "What's Hot/What's Not" section.

Notice the second point on their Dressing Down list?

Sound familiar?

Am I one step ahead or what?!

Also, that The Observer can promote a book one week, then do a complete 180 and bash it the next is the greatest example of mercurial media opinion since Britney won all those MTV awards...

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Borebitch more like...

Continuing my critique of Observer's weekend supplements, we move now to their profile of Camilla Wright, founder of Popbitch, from Observer Woman (which, despite my criticisms, is the best woman's magazine in England at the moment. Fact.).

For those of you in the dark, Popbitch is a weekly mail-out of tabloid-esque UK-based celeb gossip, collated from the (severely under-developed) website's message board. Here is a look at last weeks edition:

As you can see it's essentially frivolous celebrity gossip, only half of which is likely true, which serves mainly to remind you that the weekend is around the corner (Popbitch is delivered on Thursday afternoons). So far, so shallow entertainment, right?
Unfortunately not.
The thing is, despite the Observer's protestations to the contrary, Popbitch is painfully un-hip. The celebrities they cover are eternally C-list (think vaguely famous footballers, page 3 girls, reality TV "stars" etc.), they insist on reporting endless asinine "sex" stories involving animals, and they seem to think Mick Hucknall is still newsworthy. Reading Popbitch is like being transported back 5 years to when Jade Goody was popular and X Factor wasn't pre-suicide viewing.
It seems clear their target audience is not the savvy, brutally fickle, finger-on-the-button 18-25 year old hipster demographic it was when they started. Rather, Popbitch appears to be aimed squarely at the nostalgia-hungry, kitsch-loving 30-something audience. People who think Snickers were better when it was called Marathon. People who have the Knightrider theme as their ringtone. People who had never heard of social networking sites until Facebook came into their lives. While Observer Woman would have us believe that Popbitch is the originator and leader of online gossip communities (yeah. right.), in reality Popbitch is to modern gossip sites what porn DVD's are to internet porn - out of date and soon-to-be obsolete, despite a small group of followers.

Consider, for example, that their biggest celebrity "scoop" thus far is STILL breaking the Beckham infidelity story 18 months before everyone else. Bear in mind that every other paper reported the scandal in 2004, which means Popbitch must have reported it in mid-2002. That's 6 years ago. Six long Britney/Anna-Nicole Smith/Amy Winehouse/Speidi filled years and they've not managed to top this??
Furthermore, the reason Ms. Wright is being interviewed for the article in the first place is to promote the publication of the first ever Popbitch book released next week; a publication which will likely join the likes of South Park T-shirts and Billy Bass the singing fish on Christmas lists for anyone who likes to live a good half-decade behind the times. For instance, inside this cutting edge tome of hot-from-the-press salacious gossip one can find a dress-your-own cut-out of this guy:

Pete fucking Burns.
He who was famous for about a week when he appeared on Celebrity big brother nearly 3 years ago. I mean Christ above, what are the dress-up accessories for him going to be? A Janet Jackson nipple ring? An Angelina Jolie vial of blood necklace? Hey Popbitch, did you also hear that BRITNEY AND MADONNA KISSED!?! omg!

Also inside the book is a stuffed animal recreation of the moment when Montecore the white tiger attacked Roy, of Siegfried and Roy. In case you've forgotten this wildly relevant celeb incident, that's because it happened 5 years ago in October 2003. I wonder what other shocking celeb revelations will be included - J-Lo spending a night in jail? Nicole Richie getting really thin? Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt DIVORCING?!
Popbitch is so stuck in the past it makes John McCain look like Nick Jonas. Do they not realize that gossip media, particularly web-based gossip media, has to be ridiculously up-to-date? Gossip sites are made and broken solely on their ability to get news stories just hours before their rivals. While the rest of the celebrity sites are reporting on the latest saga from The Hills, Popbitch are probably still wondering if Mandy Moore's new single will be a hit.

In a way it's not their fault, their type of gossip medium has been superseded. As they're released weekly, they haven't the immediacy of rival websites that are updated every 10 minutes or so, nor have they the exclusive pictures and tangible aspect of magazines. Essentially they have no unique selling point and this will be their downfall - which is why it's so strange that the Observer has chosen now to do a piece on them. I realize it's all marketing, PR and connection-based, but profiling the head of a dying breed is still an odd choice to make for a supplement so intent on keeping up with the kids and remaining fashionable. Why not interview the creator of Friends Reunited and the designer of the Mini-Disc while they're at it?

In all honesty, though I'm a subscriber, I barely read Popbitch anymore, I usually just skim to the bottom to see if they've any good links (rare) and to read the joke at the end, which can be surprisingly good on occasion. Plus, it's appearance in my inbox still has the aforementioned effect of getting me excited over the forthcoming weekend, so it's worth it for that alone. But Popbitch, I'm afraid your days are numbered, learn from the mistakes of your beloved Jade and Pete Burns - leave now why you still have your dignity.

On a side note, not to sound too snarky, but you'd think after 8 years covering celebrities, Ms. Wright would have learned a thing or two about posing to one's advantage for portraits. Clearly not:

Girl needs to start listening to Tyra ASAP...

Blogged with Flock

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dreams that Glitter - Girls Aloud Should Look Fitter

This is the cover of Sunday's Observer magazine, in which they made the otherwise attractive quintuplet of hardbodies in Girls Aloud look like before pictures for a drag queen makeup lesson:

At first glance you may foolishly think that the girls don't look too shabby - but take a closer look and you'll be struck with all the fug. Firstly, the cotton white dresses was a good idea, poorly put into practice. With the exception of Cheryl and Kimberly, the dresses do nothing for the girls, plus they've managed to make Nicola look 6 months pregnant and Nadine look as though she raided the closet of Madonna around the time of her "Music" video.
But the real travesty is their faces, a horror show of cosmetics. These are the kind of makeup nightmares one normally expects from a 13 year-old future single mother who thinks that copious face paint and blow-jobs makes one mature.
I've taken a closer look at them individually and offered suggestions for their girl-group afterlife based on these photos. Afterall, their shelf life can't be more than another couple years at the very most and no one wants to be the Mel C of the group...


Look at Kimberly's eye makeup. Really check it out. Winehouse Wings of liquid eyeliner, applied with a paintbrush by the looks of it, that inexplicably stop half way up her eyelid; layer after sticky later of mascara weighing down the copious fake eyelashes; her eye-sockets endlessly circled in kohl to within an inch of their lives. Her eyelids probably weigh about 5lbs. each, hence why she looks like she's on ketamine. Plus - check out her Paris Hilton-lazy left eye!
Then there's the pursed lips which looks surly and awkward - and what's with the lower lip line? Rather than the classic lip-enlarging technique of penciling outside the lip-line, the make-up artist has attempted to spark a new trend of making one's lips look smaller by penciling inside the lip-line. EDGY.
Also - way too much shit in her hair, it essench looks unwashed and about 2 hours away from greaseville.

Post-Girls Aloud Career Option: Batiste Dry Shampoo spokesperson.


Contrary to popular thought, I don't think Nicola is terribly ugly. She's not pretty either, she's just average. Thin, but average. However, since embracing her pale skin and gorgeous hair color, she is looking the best she's looked in years which is why it's almost impressive how bad they've managed to make her look here. I could go into great detail, but the over-riding impression one gets from this photo is that her face is melting. It's as though there's a landslide of skin happening on her face, everything is in downturn - including erections the world over when faced with this photo.

Post-Girls Aloud Career Option: Pioneer of controversial abstinence program "Misery Guts - Not Sluts", which promotes looking depressed and slightly Downs in order to prevent unwanted attention from the opposite sex.


Clearly the most offensive. There's so many things wrong with her eye area, the liquid eyeliner (AGAIN) - all over the shop, caked on, over-powering - seriously did they just let a 5-year-old ADHD kid roll around in tar and then punch each girl in the eyes?? It looks as though she slept in last night's makeup, then half-heartedly tried to freshen up in the morning, bleary-eyed and hungover. The "beauty" team has seemingly attempted to cover up this gaffe with her hair, getting as much of it a possible to cover her eyes. Alas this has caused her to squint uncomfortably, thus further emphasizing the eye-shrinking quality of all the black shit. This combined with her bizarre pout/snarl lip positioning results in an over-whelming expression of constipation. She needs to study pictures of Debbie Harry and Ellen Barkin - women who know how to pull off this look without looking backed up.

Post-Girls Aloud Career Option: ExLax spokesperson, all the promotional photography has been done for them!


Remember when Sarah looked sorta the same age as the other girls in the group? Well, these days...put it this way: if Girls Aloud were Sex and the City, she'd be Samantha Jones. She's the Madonna to the other girls' Miley Cyrus. The O.C. to their Gossip Girl. The Naomi to their Tyra. Simply put - girlfriend's looking OLD and dated. It's something to do with the hair; while on other girls it can look young and hip, on Sarah it gives her a unshakable mid-30's woman circa 1990 feel. She can't seem to pull off that hair without resembling Chyna Philips, a Melrose Place extra or a woman in an advert for tampons.
P.s. - Having said that, she is the only one to have gotten the eyeliner looking perfect...on one eye that is. Notice how her left eye looks perfect and her right eye looks like the tar-covered 5 year-old knocked her one as well? Jeez Sarah, you've had like a decade longer than the others to perfect this shit....

Post-Girls Aloud Career Option: Leader of BananaRama tribute band


And then of course we have Cheryl. Dear, lovely Cheryl. Showing the other girls how it's done. Although she hardly looks drop dead here, she certainly looks the best out of the lot, having seemingly avoided using the same makeup "artist". She's the only one of the girls to portray a warm facial expression (almost a smile!) and you can almost see her eyeballs, which judging by this photo, is more difficult than you'd think. She is arguably the best looking in the group, certainly the most famous and easily the most likely to go Beyoncé on the other girls and get down with a solo career. She also has the best shot of breaking America (even despite Nadine living in L.A.) having already worked with that Will.I.Am chap. She could SO fill Fergie's shoes....

Post-Girls Aloud Career Option: Victoria Beckham (except attractive, young and talented)

Go forth and prosper ladies!

(and never do a photo shoot for Observer again)

Blogged with Flock

Blogged with the Flock Browser