Friday, 20 January 2012

"I gave up the butt for you..." Californication is back!

Californication in all its fornicating glory has returned to my laptop screen. Hallelujah! I am slowly but surely being rehabilitated back into intelligent viewing after a season of scraping the bottom of the humanity barrel and watching TV gems such as The Lying Game!? (and Gossip Girl...and 90210...and anything that allows me to pretend I'm 16)
Californication-2
Do you think I would have let you sodomize me if I thought there was no future in it?...This man is a monster! He likes to fuck women in the ass and tell them he just wants to keep it casual?!
Oh how I have missed Hank (and the entire cast of amazing talent) Now I just need Mad Men and The Big C back and the circle of life will be complete.

How to Make It in America (the UK version)



How to Make it in America is a tale of how you can make your presence known in the city with a little muscle, a lot of creativity and some illegally sourced cash.
Post cancellation I find myself increasingly adrift without my only meaningful business model: How to Make it in America. (It was either that or Ivanka Trump: I'm not sure which option is more misguided) I don't care if the majority of HBO devotees thought that How to Make it in America was a budget version of Entourage. In fact, I hate Entourage, it has never held any relevance in my life, whereas this show seemed to perfectly capture the horror and ambition that can derive from realising you're pushing 30 and your creative degree has been ever so slightly useless and you seem to know less and less the deeper you get into whatever venture it is you somehow believe is going to make you a success story. RIP How to Make it...but here are the chronicles of how some of us are still trying. 

So it turns out I didn't get the editorial job i had been gunning for: a weekend and a half of frantic brushing up on copy editing marks did not pay off (unsurprisingly) and I am left feeling a little deflated at the prospect of more tests for me to fail/not shine in. I know that it was my first attempt and that I will grow accustomed to them but a little part of myself cannot help but wonder "when bitch?". I'm not getting any younger and I would like to find myself in the safe bosom of semi permanent employment some time before I hit 50 ya know?! At least I got a better (read more brutal) idea of who I'm up against. The candidates were no joke. As we sat in the deceptively bright and cheery waiting area it quickly became apparent that we were in fact awaiting literary torture. The potential future of book publishing shuffled and fidgeted in their chairs under the impenetrable gaze of the candidates who clearly had it in the bag and were regarding the day's proceedings as a prize winning fight. One of them accidentally on purpose related how he is working at Random House as we speak (he's probably still in the office reeling of copy editing marks I dare not dream of existing at this point in the game) on the way out of the test to the HR lady supervising us...he was letting us know he is a heavy weight...I got the message...and then I got some dinner...a lot of it...and some wine...a lot of that too...and then I just felt relieved it was all over. Until I got the email letting me know that yes it was all over and the over was permanent! 

  I have been considering my options. To be honest I have been considering them since I was informed I had been short listed for the job because as the time drew nearer to take the dreaded editorial test I wondered what I could justifiably do when I didn't get the job.

1. The seeds of the novel have been planted (or somethin')

I'm a few chapters into the novel that has had way too many incarnations to go into and now feels at home with itself and who I am. I'm no longer trying to write like anybody else. Im trusting that the right amount of black humour and beauty will permeate through to the final result ensuring I don't sound like a cheap and disconcerting imitation of Sylvia Plath/William Faulkner/anyone I have been forced to recognise the genius of in my years of academic essay writing. I also have helpfully decided that I would be more comfortable exposing my life experience, my personality through a figure who existed in real life and who I have found common ground with rather than directly writing about myself. I didn't seek out this person, I chanced upon her during my studies on tales of African Americans "passing" for white in modern American literature. I feel very connected to her story in spite of us having chosen to live differently and so I am writing a fictionalised biography of her life. Above all I'm concerned with depicting the life story of a woman with great creative potential that was never fulfilled in its entirety with some retrospective justice. She has been undervalued, she has been defined by association and her artistic legacy has been ignored and neglected for life choices that isolated her from the racial group America automatically assigned her as a mixed race woman. She's relevant, brave and rather post modern in her approach to life.  And hey! if random members of the Bloomsbury group can keep being resurrected from the dead so can she!

2. The combined power of The Marilyn Factor and her handsome partner in crime.

So I'm now fully onboard with my boyfriend in running a music and poetry night and we're looking to expand this year into publishing a couple of titles a year and into curation. We're on the verge of confirming a designer for our up coming website and we'll be providing a lot of visual content to tie in with the brand this year. We're also planning the tone of each event for this year rather carefully (HQ, ie: our yard, is filled with ideas nowadays) I'll be letting you more about forthcoming events and our progressive stumblings towards our very own "making it" in these entries.

  These are my main focuses for 2012 while I claw my way into the editorial world like a rather thirsty iguana. If I can't get the opportunities in the outside world I'm just going to have to make my own aren't I? Being self employed is the ultimate destination in most peoples's minds but getting to a state of comfort within that self governance is never an easy ride. It feels harder than being employed (err, maybe that's because our whole lives/imaginary children's lives depend on our not completely fucking our shit up so bad we can't afford to try again?!!) Sometimes I find myself fast forwarding towards both of us in crappy, poorly paid jobs that make us angry but then I stop myself by breathing in the happy entrepreneurial spirit (read potentially life crushing naivety) of the present: the willingness to invest whatever we have in terms of money, time and energy towards the progression of an idea that could grow so much bigger for poetry and for us two little individuals. And we're not alone in the need to make our own place in the world on our own times, everybody seems to be at it now! I don't know of any couples giving self employment a go within our circles of friends (probably because it's a crazy ass idea) but there are plenty of them to draw inspiration from on the inter web and I intend to highlight their coolness in these entries. 


  Creative ventures such as Splendid Willow  a Swedish Interior design blog that often draws upon her own gorgeous home and her family life. It has facilitated her launching her own online shop where she sells beautiful home accessories. Or the very cool Nectar & Pulse which is in short a personalised travel guide: they assess what kind of travel experience you want and match you to their choice of "local soul mates" who know all the cool places to eat, drink and be a dirty consumer and then you buy your soul mate's travel guide. There are many add ons to your personalised package available (there's even jewellery to exchange with your "travel mate" to immortalise your journey together) It sounds bougie, and maybe it is, but I like their conviction! What is wrong with enhancing the travel experience? I admire the way they're trying to tap into a young and diverse market who are hopping across Europe regularly for work and for fun and want to be led straight to the source of their lifestyle. It's clever and beautifully presented and I find myself perusing their soul mates with more intense scrutiny than I would probably dedicate to finding a mate to share a lifetime with! Travel mates, travel soul mates..it's far more exciting than rummaging through the Guardian's online dating service! I'm frankly rather aroused at the mere hint of labels/opportunities to eat more/art galleries that I can't find in the first 20 results for a city on Google! (I got too much shit to do to trawl through the next 20!)

 Check both entrepreneurial endeavours out when you're feeling lacking in the inspiration department!



Inspiration board

You've really lived if you've managed to change people's minds about you.
Anonymous 




How to Make It in America (The UK version)



How to Make it in America is a tale of how you can make your presence known in the city with a little muscle, a lot of creativity and some illegally sourced cash.
Post cancellation I find myself increasingly adrift without my only meaningful business model: How to Make it in America. (It was either that or Ivanka Trump: I'm not sure which option is more misguided) I don't care if the majority of HBO devotees thought that How to Make it in America was a budget version of Entourage. In fact, I hate Entourage, it has never held any relevance in my life, whereas this show seemed to perfectly capture the horror and ambition that can derive from realising you're pushing 30 and your creative degree has been ever so slightly useless and you seem to know less and less the deeper you get into whatever venture it is you somehow believe is going to make you a success story. RIP How to Make it...but here are the chronicles of how some of us are still trying. 

This week has been reality check time. Amidst dreams of certain plans that will remain quiet for the time being there has been the stark 6.30 am wake up-you're-a-bloody-grown-up-so-act-like-it call. You know that call that rings out in the middle of the night, the call you dread more than the one that features much later in life and involves your daughter having been arrested in a car full of boys and substances that used to have different names back when you tried 'em. At this very moment the boyfriend is frantically typing away various emails that fit his 5000 job descriptions. He teaches at a university, he's in two bands, oh and he runs a music and poetry night with me. Well, I'm new to the game, not the PR part (I'm the Pat Butcher of PR, I've been around the block mate) the night is his baby. Anyway, our nights comprise of disjointed how to make it chats in-between soup cooking (it's bulk food all the way at this point, I ain't got time to be making something fabulous every night) and calendar comparisons and it's exciting and a little frightening as we find ourselves taking turns to freak out: 'it's all hit me at once!', 'what if no-one ever employs me again?' we cry at each other from behind the fridge momentarily dejected and wondering when it all got so complicated. So we plan the expansion of the business into curation and publishing, I wish upon a star for a publishing 9-5 that will pay our expanding tax bracket (once he's officially moved in, we're officially paying more council tax) and help us afford a child one day (...just got new curtains...and carpet...and everything...children are looking less attractive all of a sudden) Anyway, we have a lot to organise between us and hope for in order to put this dream of a creative resource for poets and musicians that will have an enduring impact into gear. We just want to exercise all of our muscles in ways 9-5 jobs won't let us. I took my first editorial test last week at a top 6 publishing company and found myself feeling well and truly stupid on realising I didn't know what to expect. I do now of course but it was a sobering moment nonetheless: being confronted with the fact that a Masters degree and all the things you've seen and done and how they have made you ready for your big break won't necessarily get you there. 


Spike Lee, Red Hook Summer

So Spike Lee has a new film awaiting a release date and a distribution deal (just like the old days of hustling' his wares to the studios for Lee ...it's like The Inside Man really didn't happen huh?)  called Red Hook Summer.



Spike Lee talks Red Hook and the future of film


I always have time for anything Spike Lee has to say. In my eyes he is mostly right...about everything... This is a good read that address the lack of black directors such as Steve McQueen and Dee Rees (an ex student of his), how he contributes to film and views the industry in general and more importantly how Viand the coffee shop and breakfast joint opposite Barney's is the most orgasmic morning experience you can have (ok so those were clearly not his exact words but I know what he was saying'! Me and Spike are tight, like two sides of one large and at times frustrating brain...this has been proved by the more than slightly tenuous link of breakfast that burns between us)


Here's me in Viand last year stuffing my gob with pancakes and maple syrup and bacon goodness with my girls...good times :)




See:

The Marilyn Factor's NY Tales

   I'm just glad to read about Spike living well! Getting calls from the President to hold a fundraiser in his cool house on the Upper East Side (oh you know it's cool! Just because I haven't seen it doesn't mean I don't know!! It'll be like a bigger version of Bleek's in Mo Better Blues, steeped in American history, i.e: jazz. It'll be a red brick and it will have humungous windows that stay open in summer and by which Spike likes to sit sometimes to watch passers by whilst bumpin' some Kanye in the background or to berate some marketing trustafarian on the phone Anyway, I can't wait to see his latest offering in what feels like forever, the documentaries on cable were wonderful as always but I need some old-skool tell it like it is and Do the Right Thing Spike Lee back in my life.


Steve McQueen in a discussion on a lack of minority and female directors

  Here is Steve McQueen going hard at the industry and repeating shameful...a lot! (I find myself saying "shame!" at pretty much everything now I have seen the new film of the same name but hey) in relation to the lack of representation of black and latino figures in American films. The silence his comments leave is deafening. Interestingly McQueen casts the lovely and relatively new face Nicole Behari in Shame as a love interest for Michael Fassbender's sex addicted character. She is new to mainstream audiences and her casting feels natural and doesn't provoke questions of plausibility/race issues. This observation begs the question why can't we see more of it? More mixing up groups of friends, more mixed relationships, more lead roles for ethnic minorities without race being agonised over. The more we see it surely the more everyone will become accustomed to it onscreen as they are in real life (if they don't live in a very small town in Texas perhaps) I mean come on that little bi-racial kid with the big lung power from The X Factor USA was adopted by two white parents...as was the big dude in that Sandra Bullock film that should have been called "Black People that Make White People in Small Town America Feel Good: The Movie" IT HAPPENS! and Steve McQueen is right when he questions how American directors, particularly those basing their films on city life,  can ignore multiculturalism. Woody Allen did it for years and I let it slide because I love me some Woody Allen and that is a fact (and in many ways I feel that Spike Lee is influenced by him and robustly responds to the aspects of New York life he doesn't attempt/avoids in his films) but everyone else needs some McQueen style interrogation over this.  I see Allen as zooming in on a microcosm of New York intellectuals and the inane neuroticism of their everyday lives and how relevant that is to everyone lucky enough to not be struggling on an everyday basis. I like to think he knew the people he portrayed were ironically close minded, snobby, and paranoid, and would not necessarily have had non white friends in their clique of like minded nit pickers/cripplingly well read people who have almost sociopathic tendencies and no way of surviving an actual hardship.

   I can't wait to see more from McQueen: as much as I love Spike and Woody it is time to witness a new generation of film makers being allowed to make race not an issue rather than a glaring absence or an unavoidable constant. Then we can experience life via film in a more real sense of the modern world's reality which oscillates between all three states of being.






R.I.P. Jamesetta Hawkins (Etta James): A woman with a lot of blues to bear.


 'I wanted to be rare, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be exotic as a Cotton Club chorus girl, and I wanted to be obvious as the most flamboyant hooker on the street. I just wanted to be.'

via (Last.fm)



The grand dame of soul has finally left us. Etta sung about loss and love and jealousy with a violence and depth that few singers could match. Which is why I suppose Etta and myself never could quite get down with Beyonce's version of her in the ham fisted biopic Cadillac Records. It goes without saying that you can't fake authenticity people. I would love to see her story immortalised on film the right way (not as a vehicle for another singer) because her relationship with her mother and herself provided a lot of the grief she was so wonderful at imparting, that and the multitude of problems her beginnings led her to. 


Here is a lovely account of Adele meeting her idol and what she has meant to her:


Adele on a singer who makes you believe in her every word.


Must buy of this month definitely goes to James's autobiography Rage to Survive. She never got the recognition she deserved and it would be great to see how she represented herself through this medium.  In later years she was denied these opportunities, in 2009 Beyonce (again!) was chosen to sing her signature song and be part of the great honour that was the inauguration of America's first black President: something I feel she deserved to witness first hand after the experience of race in America she had endured.


R.I.P. Miss Peaches. Coquettish and tough all at once. You were my kind of lady.



Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Who the hell is Danny Brown anyway?

Interesting bio on Danny Brown (underground hip hop's wet dream) where he breaks down his musical and personal influences to Complex.

(via Complex)

Take a look-see at "Who is Danny Brown?": Interview with Complex

I like him a lot. Mostly because he is of my generation and has grown up going through the same hip hop phases as me, minus actually throwing on a pair of Timbs and a puffa jacket a la Wu Tang (although I'm pretty sure I shared some regrettable common ground wardrobe wise with Charli Baltimore/Lil Kim/Foxy Brown at some point in the past...I don't know kids, it's hazy)

Anyway anyone who has the foresight to recognise the genius of Dizzee Rascal's Boy in da Corner from thousands of miles away from an estate in London is alright with me.


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