I gave in

In the intimate surroudings of Dalston's beautiful art deco Rio Cinema, I watched Where the Wild Things Are. And I loved it unconditionally. Sure, it had faults and it was quite clearly one person's singular interpretation of the book, but it was a truly wonderful cinematic experience. Landscapes that let the heart and imagination soar, from verdant forest to windswept dunes, sucked you into the screen, and the plaintive emotions of the (quite obviously symbolic, admittedly) eponymous 'wild things' struck chords all over the place. Complex, simple, resonant for children and adults alike, and a thing of great beauty to behold: this is what the cinematic experience is all about. My congratulations, Mr. Jonze.

And we had a White Christmas

Firstly, a belated Merry Christmas to you all.
Secondly, as those fortunate enough to dwell in the many areas of Britain that experienced the fabled cultural-meteorological phenomenon will know, this year saw the first real White Christmas that I can remember. And most likely, the only one of my lifetime thus far. Though temperatures have now started to creep back above freezing point, much of the UK actually experienced real, cold, snowy winter weather for nigh on two weeks, and, come Christmas morn, I looked outside and, lo-and-behold, all was carpeted in white.
I have to admit, I didn't venture into the subzero air to fully embrace this glacial benediction on the great day itself, but when on the night of the 23rd my friends and I saw the snow begin to fall (I mean really fall) outside from the bar in which we were quaffing, we reverted to the children that truly everyone is deep down and frolicked, screamed and generally threw snowballs for a few minutes of festive bliss. In the centre of town - beats sophistication any day.
I also am proud to have contributed to quite a large ball of snow, which you can here see me stood upon.
Who would have thought precipitation could be such a source of joy?


The annual winter weather panic. Mon Dieu, les Anglais.

Despite my sometime attempts to distance myself as some kind of nebulous 'citizen of the world' or 'internationalist,' I guess that deep down we really all are a product of the place that we grow up in. And I'm British. It's snowing outside and I'm going to get excited about it. Okay, okay, so half an inch and a few blizzards isn't something necessarily worth getting all worked up about, but the fact that it's - gasp - December and it vaguely resembles a bad Christmas Card anywhere near to a Church, park or Old Building means that the entire country has been given free reign to wax lyrical, and as I presume we will see by the morning, turn into a state of mass panic. If we get the forecast four inches (eight on high ground), there will be transport closures, offices closed, emergency service shutdowns, blackouts... everything. For some reason major cities like Moscow and Montréal deal regularly with months of feet of the white stuff, but we can't seem to cope with a few hours or a light dusting. Changing from tube to bus at Kings Cross I ambled past assembled masses unable to take the train home, following general cancellations - all this from a little snowfall. I have to admit, as it doesn't directly affect me (yet, at least), I find it all very amusing. And who doesn't like a feeling of occasion? To fall in with the old Christmas song cliché, my feelings are: let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.



When the train announcer said "Next station: Stansted Airport," I realised that I had left my passport in my bedroom. I would have loved to tell you about Norwegian Christmas markets, Oslo's stunning new opera house, the beauty of the fjord surrounded by snow-capped fields, the stylish Norwegians and their boutiques and over-priced cafés, the festive joy of ice skating in Scandinavia... But I can't. Instead, I tortured myself by heading to the West End the second Saturday before Christmas and enraged myself by descending into the confused-tourist-and-shopper-filled depths of Piccadilly Circus station. Clearly I am a glutton for punishment.

Brick Lane today, however, was as spirit-lifting and comparatively-easy-on-the-wallet as always. (Though I couldn't settle on what to pick for a New Year's outfit.) At least life has its comforts and predictable pleasures.


I ♥ McQueen

Saturday dawned one of those glorious late autumn days: crisp air, a clear blue sky, and bright sunshine that still offered a little warmth. Better still, I awoke to the promise of an Alexander McQueen sample sale. Barely able to contain ourselves, my friends and I joined the melée in a crowded room in Clerkenwell. Whilst the men's section was somewhat meagre compared to the huge range of dresses and other pieces beautiful shapes and structures floating off the women's rails, there were still some sharp trousers, an industrial navy jumpsuit I desperate tried to think of an occasion I could wear on, a handful of shirts that were sadly not in my size, a luxurious burgundy blazer that fitted like a dream and cost a fortune, and a selection of wonderful shoes. I have wanted another pair of boots for a while, and the cherry creepers would have been perfect, were they not three sizes too big. Industrial silver DM-style boots caught my eye but bizzarely all six sizes had been cornered by two men who presumably have now sold them on at inflated prices. In the end though, I found my prize, a rhapsody in patent leather: a pair of dark forest green lace-up Oxfords. To say they fitted like a dream would be, at a size too small, an exaggeration; however after their first outing on Saturday night the leather had softened a little and they were definitely extremely comfortable. Now I just need a full McQueen suit to complete the outfit.


Wild Things and Shiny Rings

I have to admit, I have been loth to go and see Spike Jonze's adaptation of 'Where the Wild Things Are', because I am always dubious about film adaptations of books, and though it does look beautiful and my friends have loved it... well, I am quite attached to the images I have in my imagination since childhood of Maurice Sendak's dark and beautiful classic. One thing that I am enthusiastic about, however, is the Wild Things-inspired collection of faux fur delights for Opening Ceremony. Evoking the characters of the book/movie with lush, thick layers of surprisingly realistic fur, the collection manages to be fantastical whilst wearable, a real labour of love and artistry. http://www.openingceremony.us/p318.html

If you haven't heard of Dominic Jones by now, I don't know where you've been the last few months, but the London-based jewellery designer, whose muse is none other than rock-chic icon Alice Dellal, is making huge waves in the fashion world. His gutsy jewellery, which draws influence from punk and gang subcultures, as well as the animal kingdom, manages to be at once bold and aggressive and subtle and elegant. And I'm going to join the long list of people desperate to get my hands on a piece: a single or double (knuckle-duster referencing) claw ring, if I had to make a choice, would come just above the metal claw-detail leather gloves. Currently available at Matches Fashion but bound to be in every stylish boutique from London to NYC by the time winter is over. www.dominicjonesjewellery.com

Return to the Gothic Spires and Arctic Winds

It's funny how places take on a totally different face when you don't live there. After spending years bemoaning the cold, the grey, the small-town feel and the lack of anything remotely alternative in the Scottish capital, I return to find all these features somehow endearing. When you aren't accustomed to it, jaded by the wind, Edinburgh's beauty is striking, its gothic skyline full of dark allure, its weather almost, dare I say it, refreshing.

A weekend 'up north' couldn't have been better spent: celebrating Thanksgiving with one of my best (American) friends and her extended entourage of international acquaintances was a decadent feast and a great chance to catch up with people I haven't seen in months. The rest of the weekend passed in a haze - I didn't realise quite how many friends still lived in Edinburgh until I got there. But despite flitting around, indulging myself in mulled wine far too early in the afternoon and sleeping little, I still felt relaxed, nostalgic and heart-warmed. If, admittedly, a little on the chilly side.

(The first two photos are courtesy of my beautiful friend Jai)


The joys of springtime are back!

Vampire. Weekend.

Andddd you can download the obviously lovely 'Horchata' for free on their website,

The home page is now the video for the fantastic new single, 'Cousins' - which you can also view on youtube

Typically upbeat, with a sense of humour that comes through the giggling guitar and African-influenced percussion, this could almost be straight off their debut, but for a stronger, rockier sound that starts to come through. Whilst the humour and satire that has always permeated their lyrics remains fairly gentle, and I think we're all relieved that Koenig et al aren't exactly angry, it could be an interesting departure...

I personally can't wait til January to find out!