Collected Electric

April 15, 2009, 10:57
Filed under: Uncategorized

The wonderful Susie Bubble has drawn my attention to the fantastical WORN.

WORN is a fashion journal. Yep, that’s right, JOURNAL. An intellectual take on fashion? Let’s hope it’s not a trend.

WORN is an unfunded, independent, self-published journal interested in fashion, the history of clothing and just about any interesting apparel related stuff.


After reading the website I immediately subscribed. What better way to spend the new loans?

Unfortunately it’s in Toronto, and the delightful offers of internships aren’t really a possibility for me. (Maybe next year?)

Take a look. Especially at their linked Etsy shops- Norwegian Wood is fast becoming my new addiction.



Port Eliot Lit Fest.
April 11, 2009, 12:14
Filed under: Uncategorized

The summer before I started university my best friends took a month-long trip around Europe. I stayed at home. 

I choose going to work at Port Eliot LitFest instead, and it was worth it.


Port Eliot is not your usual literary festival, nor does it aim to be. Famously described by the Guardian as ‘Glastonbury with less focus on the music’, Port Eliot is indeed a magical land, complete with castle. Well, actually it’s a stately home, but it’s pretty damn impressive. You can wonder around and stumble into a seance, an out door disco, art installations or a michelin starred restaurant. And that doesn’t even cover the official line-up.

The line-up this year is outstanding in its quality and diversity, coveri ng music, art, comedy and of course, literature. It also has plenty for kids with the house of fairy tales, and various games and workshops throughout the weekend. Whether you’re there for contemporary fiction writers of extraordinary talent (Hanif Kureishi, Marcel Theroux), performance poetry (Mucking about with words), cultural icons (Micheal Eavis) or fashion greats (Barbara Hulanicki, of Biba) Port Eliot has it covered.

Camping is great, I mean look at it:

I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough, especially for those people who’ve been attending big gun festivals (Reading and Leeds, V, Glastonbury, T in the Park etc) for a while now and want to branch out. Don’t be put off if you don’t immediately recognise acts on the line-up. In a magical place like this, all the fun is in the exploring.


Port Eliot Lit Fest will be held in Port Eliot, Cornwall on the 27th-29th of July.

The website can be found here :

And tickets can be bought here:


It’s Back and It’s Blitz
April 10, 2009, 14:50
Filed under: Uncategorized


Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s Blitz


After a heart-wrenching absence (well, for me at least) YYY’s are back, YAY! Their third studio length album, It’s Blitz, marks another progression for a band renowned for pushing out of the comfort zone and continual into unknown ground. Except, the synth-driven, pulsing throb of ‘It’s Blitz’ isn’t unknown. This is ripped up retro 90’s dance music, but chewed up by Karen O’s schizophrenic vocal and passive-aggressive guitar riffs.

In a good way.

Fans who proclaim ‘Fever to Tell’ as the band’s finest hour might not be impressed, but whilst ‘It’s Blitz’ shares more in common with the slow-burner that was ‘Show Your Bones’, the more subtle and crafted sounds of this third outing does not mean the album lacks danceability.

The lead single ‘Zero’ opens the album and is a delightfully sleazy wee tune that showcases Karen O’s new, tightly controlled vocal prowess. Not the roars or screeches of ‘Fever to Tell’ but these honed vocals perfectly give way to waves of synth and just a damn sexy beat.  ‘Heads will roll’ continues this glam-sleaze vibe, starting pretty low key before O’s trademark moaning (although slightly less ‘organic’ this time around’ leads it into a full on disco stomp. This track simply demands disco balls. And sequins… MANY sequins.

Of course, we all know that the New York trio can bash out some great 3am cider/gin/WIIIIINE moment tunes, but often they are at their most interesting, and innovative, when they reign themselves in and explore their delicate side. ‘Hysteric’ has O barely whispering ‘you suddenly complete me’ over such a beautiful soundscape that no other band could pull off; and I’ve not even begun to blabber about the weird, etheral celtic-vibe of Skeleton.

Navigating somewhere between trip-hop, shoegaze, disco, dance and pop, the luscious sounds of this album are great ear fodder for new fans and old. But beware, leave your preconceptions at the door. YYY’s are always going to challenge the listener, and this tightly crafted songs, may not seem to have the explosion of ‘Fever to Tell’, but they WILL get you.



StAnza Poetry Festival 2009
March 24, 2009, 17:07
Filed under: Poetry

With Caroline reluctantly carted off down south last week, there was only little old me to stay in St Andrews for the annual poetry festival, StAnza — an internationally recognised event and a distinct highlight on the Scottish literary calendar. Sadly, I was snowed under with academia this week, and saw very little…though what I did see deserves to be reported. I spent four hours on Saturday meandering around the foyer of the Byre theatre, dressed absurdly in a Victorian costume for what the organisers termed ‘poetry theatre.’ Essentially, it was my job to offer patrons of the festival a poem, if they so desired. I went armed with a retinue of contemporary poetry (ie. Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath) to recite when asked. I made the slight error of adding a piece of my own to the menu — the festival-going Public, being a polite and generally good-natured entity, tended to ask to hear my own amateur efforts over the published work of actual poets (though I did read Plath’s You’re to a pregnant lady, which was nice). Feedback was all positive and charming (all very British), but it gets tiresome reciting the same lines all day, especially if they happen to be your own.

The modern literati were of course out in force at the festival. In that one day, I spotted Ian Rankin, Simon Armitage, Patience Agbabi and Carol Ann Duffy milling around the Byre. Ian and Patience both vanished before I could work up the nerve to offer them a recitation.

Towards the end of our evening shift, I managed, along with Harry Giles, my poetry theatre comrade, to score a last-minute ticket to the 8pm poetry reading by Patience Agbabi and Carol Ann Duffy. Both poets were phenomenal; they gave nuanced performances full of quiet power. Patience delivered a diverse range of pieces (from her most recent book, Bloodshot Monochrome), from experimental sonnet forms to striking epistolary vignettes and great, sweeping tales merging nursery rhymes and modern poetic anxieties seamlessly. Carol Ann proved herself as a true master of her craft, conjuring breath-catching visions of love and loss from her latest collection, Rapture, with a simple yet baffling elegance. The pieces she read from her older volumes displayed a level of talent I’d never heard live before. Her skill with humour and pathos had me winging from laughter to awed silence in minutes.

Before the reading, I’d managed somehow to summon the courage to read my own poem, Cartography, to Carol Ann while she relaxed in the Byre bar. I was nervous as all hell, and consequently gave a dull, flat and monotonous reading. In spite of this, Carol Ann was complimentary and kind, signing my copy of Rapture with an instruction to “keep writing”…I must have seemed a gibbering idiot. Still, I’m proud that such an acclaimed and prodigiously gifted poet could have anything nice to say about my work.

Regardless, I think I’ve rambled on enough…StAnza seemed an appropriate opportunity to kickstart the blog, even if I only attended one reading. Hopefully more soon, either from myself or Caroline.

— Chris