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We all got (vintage) baggage

April 11, 2011

Have you been [hypothetically] waiting for 3 years for Steamline to actually re-stock or re-release their beautiful luggage? Yeah, me too!  Er, of course! *shifty eyes* (Kidding myself that I’d ever spend money on this…). Turns out they have a few more pieces available now but they’re mostly shipping to the US only. Let’s just get frustrated here, shall we? Torture:

High on the list of ‘Rich People Problems’ (I’m not rich but I don’t really have any other negative issues to grapple with – happily married, good job, satisfactory friends and family) and ‘Shit I Don’t Need By Any Stretch of the Imagination’ is pretty vintage-style luggage. The worst thing about genuine vintage luggage is that you gotta carry the bugger – it’s got no wheeeeeels! If you’re a noodly-armed 90lb weakling like me, you’ll not be [hypothetically – like I can afford it] wanting to do that one. Rather unbecoming. You need (course you do) the mod cons like pull out handles and wheels, which these badboys have. Anyway it’s not like I have any money, so this is a pie in the sky wantlist. I certainly wouldn’t dream of spending hundreds of pounds on reproduction luggage when there are simply way more important things in life.

So, bored of [hypothetically] waiting for Steamline to pull their thumbs out their butts anytime soon, I’ve rounded up these potential moneywasters. My my, they are pretty. And quite unnecessary. I’m sure they’d get screwed to hell in the hold or on the luggage carousel. Basically, something to buy if you have tons of money to burn and can afford two sets of luggage!

Go see Alstermo Bruk luggage – made in Sweden. It’s delicious. I could eat it.

From Alstermo Bruk

From Alstermo Bruk

From Vogue.it

And furthermore, see  Uppercase Luggage. Also, go eat it (you might have to just chew on leather for nutrition – can you even afford food now?). So beautiful.

Uppercase

via Thisnext.com

Barley brown Uppercase

Now, go do your Poirot LARPing (or is that just me?).

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Stress relief and cycling in Sheffield

March 23, 2011

Reduced to a near-gibbering wreck on the pavement outside my house on Monday night, I really started to wonder why not being able to parallel-park our car on a hill had brought me quite so close to tears. First, I’d like to blame the car – a Punto is simply no comparison to my old growling Mini Cooper Sport. There’s just not the meaty feedback. Secondly, I’m going to blame my almost-breakdown on riding a fixed gear track bike in safe but hilly Sheffield.

Yeah, weird. Why? It’s a convoluted explanation.

Coming from London, where almost every day I’d cycled 8 miles to and from home in Shoreditch to work in Westminster, I was used to getting into a screaming rage on a regular basis. Now, that’s not because I ride like some brakeless pretentious twat who thinks they’re in Mash. I’m not a messenger, and I’d never want to be. (Hey, I’ve ridden fixed since 2007. I’m allowed to! Why are fixies like tampons? You know the answer.)  I’d get into a rage because every cyclist in London, every day, whatever they ride, has to battle to be seen and respected on the road.

Not so in Sheffield. Sheffield is the loveliest place to cycle – we have great cycle networks and bus lanes, and almost every vehicle will slow or move around you. In short, you are visible because you are unusual. Because you’re not everywhere, causing a ‘nuisance’ by mere virtue of your ubiquity.

Sheffield is gloriously safe to cycle around. I’m lucky that I no longer have to fight White Van Man at the lights, or get harried by some moron on a full-sus mountainbike tailgating me all the way along Embankment and then trying to chat about the weather while I’m trying to get away from him. I don’t have to deal with Dulwich Mum wobbling all the way out into the middle of the road without warning, or dickfaces running reds with gay abandon. Or Mr Brompton who’s in such a rush that he’s going to risk his life by undertaking a HGV at a junction. I no longer feel that I’m minutes away from witnessing the death of a cyclist.

Which is all very well, but I’m basically a selfish fucker, and clearly something is wrong with my cycling here: I’m not getting mad enough when cycling in Sheffield. Seriously. In London you can ride fast and assertively (which is obviously different to riding like a dick) – partly because it’s pretty flat. In London, you can bang on the passenger window of some hapless SMIDSY motorist and hope that he’ll learn to look out for other road users in future. You can ring your bell and be 50% confident that this here pedestrian is going to look before he runs out into the road. You are RIDING.

And you can spin aggressively. It makes no difference if you’re a masher or if you have souplesse, because it’s just awesome to travel at speed and HAVE to keep living 15 seconds in the future, and keep going faster.

I don’t get to do this in Sheffield. My commute is the most boring 7 minute ride down a straight road in a bus lane, with my legs spinning like billyo because I have to ride a fricking polo gear in order to take the hill on the way back home. In London I always pushed a pretty high gear (hallo muscles!), so while I wasn’t the quickest off the lights or the skippiest to skid-stop, I was keeping a decent pace, always pushing to go faster faster faster, and I had to anticipate every kind of hazard.

I’m not being flippant about cycling safety or saying I would like a taxi to pull out on me without looking, or that I enjoyed being squeezed and intimidated off the road by lorries. Instead this rant is about how a landscape allows you to ride.

I’d just like the chance to ride aggressively, to say ‘yeah I got across London in 15 minutes’ and come through the door buzzing and full of adrenaline after shouting at some shonky-haired Kamikaze wazzock. To push harder, to go faster, and ride hard right until the very last 50 yards of my commute, not to push (as I do now) until my heart pops just to very slowly cycle up a steep incline. You think you’ll be able to mash your bike up a hill and just get all your stress out. No, Sheffield hills say ‘here, just have a slap in the face and get over it, puny human’. And so I arrive at my hilly home, having actually cycled up to my door a total of 4 times since January, not steaming and like ‘rawwwwr TRAFFIC’ as I used to, but instead listlessly half-dead from the ascent.

There is no ‘ride hard’ here. There is none, because I ride a fucking mono-geared bike. I have to ride a tiny gear to get up that hill, so on a fixed gear I’ll never again be fast, my legs won’t feel powerful and I’ll never again feel like I’m elegantly cruising in slow motion.

In order to ride harder and release all that 9-5 stress, I have to get a geared bike.

And this is why I’m bursting into tears at really tiny things like not being able to have a pancake, watching the first season of ER or realising I’ve become 80% deskilled in driving a car.

Interview with Rich Perusi of The Dedication, 2002

March 18, 2011

Rich Perusi is probably the best and most helpful guy I have ever interviewed – I was blown away by The Dedication back in 2002 (?) and I will never ever stop listening to Youth Murder Anthems. We did this interview through email (again, I think in 2002 – after The Dedication split) for another zine that didn’t get off the ground: Turn and Run. (That was basically a total fucking disaster from start to finish, much like the interaction with my dear co-publisher, who’ll remain nameless. Let’s just call him the Hardcore Emperor.) I think it did actually get printed one time but the print quality was awful, so I’ve no idea what ultimately happened to it.

I was lucky enought to meet Rich at Posi Numbers in 2003 but I was incredibly shy (and my love of hardcore was quite rapidly being destroyed), so we didn’t talk much. We kept in touch for maybe a year or so after that but that eventually lapsed. I’m just really bad at keeping in touch with people, there’s no excuse for it, really. But Rich, dude, I still look for that Sole Campbell James Brown Arsenal shirt you were after…!

All the reference to ‘Lights Out’ can be interchanged with ‘Sex Positions’ – which is what LO changed their name to – they were fricking legendary too.  Rich later sent me the tour edition of the Sex Positions 12″ and then screened me a SP t-shirt especially. He also gave me the Stop and Think demo and the Jaguarz demo – both brilliant, of course. What a guy!

[Explanatory note – Deathwish in 2002 wasn’t the behemoth it is today. In the midlands, it was still the new kid on the block.]

– As an introduction, Deathwish bands aren’t too well known here in the UK, so how would you describe the music of The Dedication to someone who’d not heard that kind of style before?

Rich: Hmmm – this is a really hard question. Basically I don’t think of a specific sound when I think of what The Dedication was. It was more like a progression on what we love, which is hardcore. There was no specific sound we are/were trying to achieve, we did what we thought sounded good. Melodic, driving, chaotic at times would be words I would use, looking back.

– How did you get together as a band, and who plays what? Were you in other bands prior to The Dedication?

Rich: We got together because Eric (guitar) and the two brothers (Shaun and Mike) had known each other growing up in the Boston area and going to shows. They decided they wanted to do a band so they made it happen. Larry joined us after our initial drummer left due to an interest in high school girls and football games (American football). I joined out of just being friends with Eric and knowing that we wanted to do a band together. We have all done bands in the past, Eric was in Bound by Nothing, Shaun and Mike did a straight edge youthcrew band called Make It Last, and I previously played drums in an oi! band called The Reformed. None of those bands really amounted to much other than local shows, and demo tapes.

– An oi! band? Your screaming couldn’t be further away from that kind of style. Does it feel strange having been in two such different styles of bands?

Rich: It doesn’t feel weird. I have a soft spot in my heart for oi! and always will, I started out going to punk shows for probably a year before I started even going to hardcore shows when I was younger. As far as the way I sing – I don’t think it would reflect to the kind of music I listen to most, because I don’t listen to a lot of older screamo or anything like that.

– In regard to that, can you describe the musical influence that evolved into the sound of your band? There’s not many bands sound like yours…

Rich: Basically musical influences come from everywhere from David Bowie to the old Dangerhouse bands, to Embrace and the old DC stuff, to NYHC. We wanted to prove that hardcore can progress and be something other then fast parts, buildups and mosh parts. We were a hardcore band; we didn’t try to claim to be anything more.

– How did you get into hardcore, in the beginning? What sparked it all off, for you?

Rich: I got into hardcore through punk rock. There was a kid in my homeroom class in the 9th grade who decided that I should play in a band with him. So that’s how it basically happened. We were called Tried And True. We only released a demo and were heavily influenced by Underdog, and the such like. But I loved punk rock because of how it seemed dangerous and like something totally new compared to the world I was living in previously.

– I suppose I have a preconceived idea of a typical Deathwish band’s sound. The Dedication surprised me. Do you think you stood out from other bands on the Deathwish roster?

Rich: I think we did. Perhaps not so much now with bands like Knives Out and Horror Show on the roster. I think we stand out with most hardcore crowds, we don’t really fit a specific genre and I like that. Transcending is kind of cool, I think.

– How did the deal with Deathwish come about? Who put out your demo, prior to the “Youth Murder Anthems” EP? Was that self-released?

Rich: Tre (co-owner of Deathwish) had seen us open up a few shows around Boston and Philadelphia for bands he was roadieing for. He then approached us about doing a record. Apparently he had been a fan of ours for a long time. We had been playing on our demo for over a year and were ready for something new. The demo was self released: about 1,000 copies made on our tape decks – mailed out and brought to all of our shows previous to our EP coming out.

– At times you remind me of early Ink and Dagger. What did you think of them? I’ve only seen photos of you guys, not being rich enough to ever get over to the US to watch your shows, but it looks like you all wore zombie make up? Where did that idea come from? Was that at all Ink and Dagger-inspired? Can you give me some make-up tips?

Rich: I love Ink and Dagger – they are one of my favorite bands. Definitely innovative, I love innovation and progression. We didn’t all wear zombie makeup – sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t. I personally did it once for Halloween.

The make-up wasn’t really Ink and Dagger inspired it was more zombie/ death-inspired: basically you would have to talk to Larry and Mike about it. They loved make up.

– How hard did you find it as a relatively underground band in Boston? Your last show was headlining over The Hope Conspiracy, how did that feel? Do you know those guys well?

Rich: In the beginning I felt that no one would even give us the time of day. I guess we weren’t really playing to our crowd. The hardcore crowd was receptive after we played to them and showed them we could rock just as hard as anyone. We played shows with every kind of bands from The Locust to Piebald, (for more well known bands), we played in basements and played in huge halls. I prefer basements – Boston does not have a permanent all ages venue and didn’t while we were a band, so we took what we could get when it came up. As for headlining over The Hope Conspiracy – they are friends of ours who we have played with and just know from living in the city. Basically I booked the show with my friend Matt Galle, and I felt that since it was our last show I wanted to headline – The Hope Conspiracy were fine with us headlining and the show was incredible.

– Why did The Dedication break up? And how are your plans going to record and put out your final LP? Has it been recorded yet? Can you tell me a bit about how it’s going to sound? Is that going to be with Deathwish?

Rich: The Dedication broke up for personal reasons – some people felt that creative differences and friendships were more important then being a band. We didn’t want to do the band and not have fun and be so excited for every show that we couldn’t sleep the night before. That was always important to me – I don’t want to be part of a band that I dread going to shows and practicing. Some members couldn’t deal with being in the band and touring and going maybe to the next level (taking on a booking agent) etc., so we broke up leaving a good thing how we wanted to remember it: as the most fun we have had in our lives up to that point.

The LP will probably never be released or recorded. The songs aren’t all completed. We still talk about it sometimes when we see each other. Eric, Larry and I have a new band called Lights Out. Shaun is doing his own things and trying to get settled back in Boston. Mike will probably continue to blow people’s minds with his music – maybe one day it will come back together if that’s the course it takes but I am not going to worry about it or push it. I accomplished everything I could imagine and ten times more with The Dedication.

– Your lyrics were pretty pissed off. Would you have described yourself as a negative hardcore band, in retrospect?

Rich: No – I don’t think we were a negative hardcore band. Maybe we didn’t have a positive message all the way around. But I think we were trying to affect hardcore in a positive way. Maybe all bands are trying to do that, I don’t know. We were just trying to make kids open up their minds a little more, search within themselves for answers instead of relying so much on other people.

– Everyone has splatter artwork now. What’s your opinion of the growing trend towards horror-core?

Rich: We didn’t initially intend to have splatter artwork – Jake Bannon (who did the layout – and an INCREDIBLE job) decided it would fit our sound. Personally, I wouldn’t have used it. But I am not a graphic designer. I don’t really know what you mean by horror-core. If you mean bands like AFI, and Pitch Black and stuff – those bands I guess have a specific image or message maybe it is dark, but they aren’t The Misfits so it doesn’t faze me.

– I also heard something about you being in the now defunct Stop And Think. Is that true?

Rich: Yes. I was the drummer.

– I saw Stop And Think’s demo was on Standhard’s (of Right Brigade fame) label. How did that come about? What’s he like as a person, and why did you release it with him?

Rich: Standhard was good friends with everyone in the band. We live in the same city – hang out with the same kids, go to the same shows. We were doing the demo – and Jesse asked if we wanted him to handle all the mail order and put the SHR stamp on that shit. And it happened. If you want to know what he is like as a person you should probably hang out with him – but I find him to be a pretty laid back guy. We released it with him because he is our friend, and the huge signing bonus of course.

– Weren’t Stop and Think going to release a 7″ on Bridge Nine? What happened there and why did it end? What are the rest of the band doing in the future?

Rich: We were going to release a 12″ EP of 8 songs. What happened is that we pretty much lost interest in the band – school, jobs, life got in the way. It ended because it was time, and Clevo (the bassist) was moving to Cleveland to move on with life. CC and Joey play in Invasion; CC also has a million other music side projects – he and I will do a band again. AJ is boxing and working. Joey is being fit, going to school, and wearing his Warzone hat.

– What’s the story with Lights Out, then? Where’s that heading? I thought you guys originally had a band called The Red and The Black, after The Dedication first ended?

Rich: Lights Out (now Sex Positions) is the band that Larry, Eric, and I started after The Dedication. Basically we are trying to capture many of the same interests but do our own spin on it. We have 100% creative input instead of the situation before where we didn’t really write a lot of the music. The band was originally called The Red And The Black – mostly just so I could flyer for our first show. Later we found out that there was another band with the same name from New York City, so we changed it to the next coolest thing. Plus our friend Mike D suggested it – and we thought that was cool.

– Didn’t you write the music for The Dedication? What’s the story there, what do you mean?

Rich: I personally had nothing to do with the song writing other then the lyrics. All the music was written by the brothers Kilfoyle. In Lights Out (Sex Positions) – it’s much more of a group effort. That’s the story, morning glory.

– What does the future hold for you, as Rich Perusi, personally? Are you happy?

Rich: The future hopefully holds me getting a degree from Boston University, getting a job. Touring with Lights Out. Reading a lot of books, playing some play station, hanging out with the new crew and the old crew, hanging out with my girlfriend. Going to shows. Am I happy? Well, probably not 100%, otherwise I wouldn’t be involved with such an angst-filled musical scene. I have a lot of problems with the way people act, I guess that makes me upset.

– People in the hardcore scene, or generally? Can you explain?

I guess generally – but I find hardcore to be a microcosm of the world at large. I basically think that too many people don’t think for themselves, read enough books, or attempt to expand their minds (and I don’t mean with LSD). People are much too content, that’s all.


Vans Authentic Lo Pro in leopard

March 2, 2011

I don’t know what to do with myself! I have no money as I just booked flights to Copenhagen to get my arm tattooed by the amazing Eckel in April, but look what popped up on HighSnobette yesterday….

Available from ExtraButterNY.com (yes, HINT)

Along with my bike, these are one of the few other things in the world that I’d not tire of licking. (Oh, so I just bought them, anyway.)

“The one who dies with the most toys is the one who wins” – I’m not ashamed of being a materialist. I know there are lots of problems in the world, and I refuse to opine about them on my blog. Soz. There’s plenty of other places you can go for that. Not here. This is for nice things that don’t relate to the real world in the slightest.

Now, on your way.

Bestest Boston terriers

February 28, 2011

Contrary to popular opinion, dressing up my future dog is not my main motivation here. I only wish that Bostons came up for rescue in the UK ever – I guess it’s good for them that they don’t. How do I counter helping dogs in need, being so obsessed as I am with a breed?

I adore their little faces. Both hilarious and cute. They’re all, like, ‘herperderpderpderp’ and yet ‘awwwwww’ at the same time.

All-time favourite home offices

February 25, 2011

Um, well, my life shifted rather monumentally recently. 200 miles to the north, to be exact.  Hence no blogging from me. It was a longterm plan that rather unexpectedly happened very quickly when a great new job (copywriting) kind of landed in my lap.  So, we’ve left London after five years there – I’m no longer an overpaid civil servant and Matt is self-employed now. It’s great, but it’s very different. I’m kind of still reeling.

Now we live in Sheffield, Matt is working from home so we have a whole room dedicated to The Home Office. None of this ‘sharing with a bed or junk’ business, which is what we had previously in our two-bed maisonette (although it is quite messy after the move still) . One day, one day, this new room’s arse is going to get whipped into shape, but probably no time soon.

It’s also become apparent that my husband really needs/should have his desk to himself now he’s freelance (well, I think so, anyway), and I need to stop fretting about his methods and instead concentrate on an orderly workspace of my own. One day I hope we’ll be able to work from home together, but no bank is going to give us a mortgage for that situation right now, so it’s going to be a while. At home is now the only time I have to continue with my BSI course, and get round to making a crafting space for myself, so I figured it’s about time I bought my own desk and concentrated on making it, like, FEMININE ORGANISATIONAL P[R]AWN.  (You know what I mean…)

This stuff is keeping my mind on the job:

 

Why do I get off on this stuff so much? I’ve always thought I could be a bit Aspergers-ish with my preoccupation with organising.

Living six seasons ago, sartorially

November 22, 2010

Runway shots from style.com

Stuff I shall always love!

Sonia Rykiel Spring RTW2008 (Paris) – I’m such a sucker for trompe l’oeil intarsia:

Marni Spring RTW2009 (Milan) – geek chic with green chiffon? I’m on it (oooh look, I’m so current, this show was only… two years ago!):

D&G Pre-Fall 2008 campaign – being part Sicilian Eurotrash myself, D&G is one of the few Italian labels I have a real affinity for. I loved their old bra-top corset dresses a decade ago, and when they started doing tartan and leopard print in this campaign, my latent rockabilly sensibilities were vindicated. Unfortunately I don’t think any of these looks ever went down the runway as is, as I can’t find plaid and leopard together on any of the shots:

Here’s a bit more mainline Dolce e Gabbana neon leopard print I’m presently enamoured of (these photos from Browns):