Artsy, Not Quite Fartsy

I remember grumbling a while ago about just how movie posters these days aren't so great to look at, which is a little strange now that I come to think of it because the really good ones nearly always seem to have fairly compelling images associated with their promo material. And it's odd I forgot about it for so long, but the above poster for the 1998 adaptation of Great Expectations is just one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I haven't watched the film in nearly ten years, but Alfonso Cuarón had an amazing eye for what his film had to look like- all green and gold and sunlight in gloomy houses- which is why I wasn't all that surprised this January when I was told that the paintings were by an actual artist by the name of Francesco Clemente. Being ignorant and curious, I googled him. And I think I've actually found my first true modern art love. I'm no competent critic, but it's odd, his work, if I were to be pretentious about it, just seems to me to connect in a way that nothing I've previously seen as modern art really does. I'm all for art generating controversy and debate, we'd be in a sad state if it didn't, but the feeling I get every time I look at the pictures is a little like the one I get after listening to Air for three hours. And even though I'm not a huge fan of Cezanne or Matisse, which is who he reminds me of a bit, it's just the oddness added to the mix that's been nailing it for me for the last five months.
(I'd suggest going and looking at the paintings for Great Expectations on the film's official site since they're on some form of flash player, and at the rest of Francesco Clemente's work on artnet and other google-reachable places)
House of Cards, 2001
Senza Titolo (untitled), 1983-84
Salman Rushdie, 2006


Kidding You Are, Right? Kidding Please Be..

They've appointed the twit in the picture above as fashion features editor for Vogue India. I don't know what Bandana Tewari has by way of skills as a stylist/editor, but they have to be a LOT better than the rubbish she turns out on that TV show of hers (where she just sounds like the kind of airheaded lady-who-lunches type that gives girls with an interest in fashion a bad name- I forgot the name of the show) if the magazine is to be any good at all. And what's with that faux-public-school accent? At least one positive thought I can get out of this is that if she's on the staff of a magazine, we won't have to hear her voice..
Here's where the news came from. I don't want to be negative about Indian fashion because it upsets some people's nationalist sentiments and there are designers in the country who deserve much more freedom than current circumstances can give them and will be stuck designing embroidered saris and salwar kameezes till hell freezes over, but I have to say this much: if you're going to be proud of where you come from and your clothes are a way of expressing that, don't be half-assed about it. Which is half the reason I can't stand most so-called Indo-Western clothing (the majority of the output of most Indian designers), it's just neither here nor there and I'm a girl who believes staunchly in absolutes.


Been Away, I Have. And Now Return, I Do.

Meg pointed out in the commentbox below that it's been five days since I last posted, and I know it's three since I even looked, which probably seems odd considering that I'm such a blog slut, but there are extenuating circumstances, I swear. And they extenuate me like no one's business-namely, having had papers to submit, too much to drink*, and now a tech law essay to try my hand at writing, since it's due tomorrow. Oh, and no sleep last night. Not so much as a tiddly forty winks (aforementioned papers were handed in this morning).
The sequence of events took place in roughly this order:
1. Papers to submit: all week. I just never got around to doing it and watched the entire Star Wars trilogy- the original one- instead, for the first time in ten years. Only this time I did it in an environment where being a Star Wars fan wasn't going to get me called names (in hindsight, my school was stupid- I had to get to college before I met another fan of the original trilogy in real life). And George Lucas is terrible at dialogue, but it still has Luke and Yoda and Princess Leia (who could probably kick the ass of all the idiot rom-com heroines that I've been getting to see lately. At least she has a life goal that involves something other than getting a guy- and if anyone says another word about the gold slavegirl outfit, may I remind you: she didn't enjoy it one bit. In fact, she enjoyed it so little that she ended up choking the creature who made her wear it)
2. Assorted things, like stuff I do in geek capacity: all week. I do quizzes. Like, those things where they ask you a question, and you know the answer and get points? I've been doing the kind where you sit around in a huddle with teammates and have intense discussions about guesses at the answer, and you're against other teams- since the age of eight. I'm not good at a lot of things, but I do have a talent for the retention of seemingly useless bits of information, which might turn out to be things we need to know, because sometimes, if you get lucky, you win money. And discount coupons for books at one of my favourite secondhand bookshops. And our quizzes are a lot cooler than the game show types.
3. Assorted aimless, highly involved conversations with my soon-to-graduate seniors, at least the ones I like: all week.
4. Between pretending to work, alcohol consumption: every night, or close anyway. We got into a bit of trouble because of a pile of booze bottles (empty as well as full- which fool wastes good stuff like that?) getting found in a classroom that had been making do as a green room for stuff. Needless to say, alcohol is banned on campus. The authorities then planned a raid, supposedly in the next few days after that, which meant that we had to dispose of our stash through the easiest way possible- down our throats. Friday was a bit of a high point- we thought the raid was going to happen then, so Joni (my roommate) spent major amounts of quality time hiding our full bottles, while I took the empty ones to the terrace and got them off campus by the simple and expedient method of lobbing them over the fence into the compost heap of the campus next to ours. No one got brained.
5. Party hosted by aforementioned graduating seniors, some of whom- including Daddy- I am very fond of: Saturday. As usual, there was enough rum/whiskey/you name it on the premises (off campus, thankfully) to combust half of Bangalore . I showed extraordinary wisdom for my years by opting to go in a knee-length dress (black, wide straps, square neck) and flats (pointy, aqua green, sparkly-bowed)- less risk of flashing, no risk at all of having my ankles scream for mercy by the time fifteen minutes had passed because the terrain was uneven and there were substances around. And I was well and truly blitzed by the end, if I'd tried blogging around that time or anytime yesterday all that would've come out would have been stuff in the vein of fire bad, tree pretty. Which, frankly speaking, only Buffy can pull off anyway. On the upside, I did get told I looked pretty while I was still sober.
6. Work: all day yesterday. I'm done with papers for now, but this week is actually not going to give me much time off.
The next three weeks or so are winding-down time for the univ, there are exams and vivas and whatnot that I've got to give, not to mention an essay to attempt to write, so this is it for now- I will post twice more in the course of the next ten days, or try to anyway. Maybe once we're in June I might fill out the survey over at Emma's because holiday time just kills my neurons- I didn't do it now cause I thought it was too long, but it's kind of rich of me now that I'm looking at the length of this post...I also need to sleep sometime, I'm on this weird high that being awake for a very long time can give you. It's a bit of a fun feeling now that I finished what I stayed up for. And there are bits of this week when I'll be in no condition to come near a keyboard too, my theme should actually just be Ninety-Nine Bottles Of Beer On A Wall...at least it's just beer. I do like shandy.

*only at the party and strictly speaking, it wasn't actually too much. Mixing varieties of alcohol is all right, as long as it stays neat- even the world's vilest Scotch** didn't do me in when I shot two fingers of it during the holidays. Things just go down easier when they're pure.
**I'll give you an idea of how bad: it smelled like stuff you might encounter in the school chem labs. Does anyone remember a gas named hydrogen sulphide? Avoid single malt from the Isle of Skye at all costs if you value your taste buds. And why doesn't bloody Blogger have footnotes?


Separated At...Conception?

I know Christopher Bailey supposedly got the idea for the SS07 Burberry Prorsum line from early Cecil Beaton photographs, but because I must draw links between things I love, here's where I think it (however derivatively or unconsciously) actually traced a branch of its roots to:
La Balançoire (The Swing), 1876 Burberry Prorsum Spring/Summer 2007
It actually looks like they sawed off the dress in the painting a bit above the knee, removed the blue bows (half the reason why I'm so fond of it) and made some trivial cosmetic changes. Even the hair looks like the style in the picture. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you, Renoir was and is one of my favourite artists and I don't care if people say his early work is too fluffy, pretty and sun-dappled- I still love it, and I still intend to have a print of Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette on the walls of my first apartment when I get one.


Belated, But Here Goes

...a very happy birthday to Sofia Coppola, director of some of my favourite films of all time and one of the very few people I unabashedly admire as a fashion icon, because her sense of what to wear (in a time of Rachel Zoes galore) is so completely her own, and, most importantly, for showing the world that intelligence and style can and do go hand in hand, and that women interested in fashion can be good at other things too.


Backstory....Unnecessary, But Still

...which I actually want to give because I think it's slightly sick and hugely hilarious that I named my half-assed bit of cyberspace after a snippet of rudeness* on the subject of human rights by a man whose dead body, sans head, has been on display in a glass-fronted wooden cabinet at UCL since 1850 (apparently the real head is still around but had to be removed from the cabinet because students kept stealing it). And he requested the preservation in his will. If that isn't batty, I don't know what is. And I now realise, political theory class is excellent fodder for angle.
*he called it nonsense on stilts. Guess what that turns into when one bored intern gets all fired up with blogging motivation after a three hour conversation re: clothes over coffee one Saturday evening. For all that I grumble about boys being so fashion-clueless, it's odd that this blog owes its genesis to one of the species, who incidentally cleans up quite nicely when he bothers to, and doesn't laugh at me because I like clothes even if I do get put in a headlock on occasion. Sample interaction being along the general lines of:
*one party smacks the other*
*other party turns around and tries to smack in return- which is, of course, useless if the aggressor is the better part of a foot taller*
P2: You started it!
P1: No, you started it.
P2: How did I start it?
P1: *makes like he's about to bite P2's finger*
P2: Stoppit!
P1: So what're you going to do about it, huh? *puts P2 in headlock*
P2: Daddy, gerrofme! (of course, this comes out greatly muffled by the fact that my head is under someone's armpit, and speaking while trying to separate your neck from an elbow is never conducive to coherence. Incidentally, there's also attempted kicking going on)
P1: *lets go, eventually, after he gets bored*
P2: *gives him the raspberry*
The best part? We're in our twenties.


It's Official: Menswear Is Hot On Both Genders

(picture borrowed from The Apathist)
I should've known Irina wouldn't disappoint...the girl does casual exceedingly well, but wearing something like this at an event where everyone and their granny mostly picked floor-length gowns of varying degrees of prettiness was a fairly genius choice. There are a million things that can go wrong with wearing menswearish stuff if you're a woman, and she's neatly sidestepped all of them. Let's see:



Excessive primness

Loose, typical Irina hair and about three-quarters (it seems) of the length of her leg being prominently on display.

Actually looking like a guy (as opposed to a pretty androgyne)

Bracelet sleeves, actual bracelet and aforementioned legs. Plus, neatly cut jacket.

Looking like a wannabe stripper (not that she ever could, but it’s a risk less cool people run)

No stripper would ever wear those clumpy shoes. And she’s Irina.

Did I ever mention that I love her?


Odd Ends

(picture from Le Portillon)
I'm in a weird sort of mood right now, as far as dressing myself goes. Having all but lived in and out of three skirts for the last month or so (white broderie anglaise, green ditto, black bell-shaped), I think I've reached skirt saturation point right about now. Despite the fact that skirts are more or less the airiest. comfiest things to be in right now, I've spent most of the weekend onwards in a red-and-white striped boys' shirt tucked into a pair of black straight-leg jeans. I'm also feeling oddly colourless- practically every item of clothing that comes out of the cupboard now is black, grey, cream or olive green. And I'm really feeling like wearing jeans- a mood that hasn't struck me in what seems like years, because I am of the opinion that they make my bum look huge. Odd, the problems a big fat shirt can solve. I don't even care that I got the fidgets in class and pulled off one of its buttons. Oddly, the desire for mutedness does not extend to other parts of my toilette - my shoes inevitably have some frippery or other on them*, the only sneakers I've got are a nice flaming crimson, and the urge to put funny things in my hair is growing day by day. I may just do it, considering that my last foray into that department wasn't met with too much pointing and laughing. A mere headscarf isn't that problematic anyway..
yesterday they were half-stuck with green felt flowers. Why half, you might ask. The answer is, my mum's friend's new puppy chewed the other half off and proceeded to slobber all over my legs in the process. Today's mad flatprint is three blobs of colour on the toe of each black shoe, in the shape of chicks.


R.I.P. Isabella, We Salute You

I just found out, off Vogue UK, that Isabella Blow died of ovarian cancer this Sunday at the age of forty-eight. The news is startling, to say the least of it. To those who don't know, she was fashion director at Tatler magazine and possibly the greatest fashion talent scout of modern times: among the people she discovered/gave a break to as rookies were Alexander McQueen, Sophie Dahl, Stella Tennant and Hussein Chalayan, and she was possibly most famous for her signature look which consisted of a hat and red lipstick. I don't think I've ever seen a photograph of her bareheaded- she wore little, whimsical hats all through the 90s (Philip Treacy was one of her discoveries too- the hats she favoured were mostly by him), before the fashion gods decided headgear was a good way to go for a look, and kept working right till the end. And I honestly have nothing to say, other than that I am going to dig out the coolest-looking approximation of a hat anywhere in my possession, and take it off in tribute to her. Failing that, I'll wear a turban. And if there is such a place as heaven, she's probably up there trying to make her halo into a hat shape.
It's hard to realise that so many of the figures we love to talk about and look at, our icons really, are in fact mortal. Including Carine Roitfeld, Anna Piaggi et al. Slightly odd in a world where everyone is or seems beautiful and indestructible.


The Wolf's At The Door

(thanks to Carissa for reminding me of Mr Wolf. Pictures courtesy of wikipedia)
I'm not a person who takes to new musicians all that easily. The better part of my iTunes playlist is firmly mired in c. 1995 and a piano rendition of Rossini's William Tell Overture, and somehow it's easiest to keep returning to those when I have nothing else to listen to. And there are only two ways I end up giving new stuff any sort of chance with my tympanum:
a) A friend shaking mp3s in my face going "you have to listen to this!", to which request I usually acquiesce fast enough unless it's metal, which (sorry to any metal fans reading this) I absolutely can't stomach.
b) Something popping up on Pandora, which is my Internet radio service of choice, which throws artistes at you one song at a time. The good part about that is you can give things a thumbs down and not have them play again if you don't like them.
This turned up via the latter method. I'd fallen in love with The Magic Position before I even heard the chap's voice, and given how much I loved the daft, kiddish beginning I wouldn't have cared if he'd sounded like a dyspeptic gorilla. And then, after reading Carissa on the subject of Mr Wolf, I hunted for more of his stuff off the net and found three songs, all of which were, putting it mildly, excellent. Musical loves have been based on less. And (important for a girl fashaholic) it doesn't hurt at all that he's cute and has hair just the colour I would like mine to be if hair dye wasn't one of my mortal fears. His look, in a weird way, matches his music (or at least what I've heard of it)- though reviews seem to say his earlier stuff wasn't as happy-sounding. In any event, it can't have been all that depressing if he's got a hula hoop (I want one) in his hand on the cover of his first album, even if it is called Lycanthropy (that always reminds me of Remus Lupin, who is heartbreaking every time he pops up on the page
. I sincerely hope he doesn't get killed off in Deathly Hallows- if that happens, I will cry). If this boy puts out a metal album, I might even give it a chance.


To Post Or Not To Post, That Is The Question

I'm probably going to be deprived of Internet access over the weekend and am feeling slightly cranky, having been subjected to thirty-degree heat, barmy old coots of teachers, annoying diva-like former friends who don't seem to remember that my name isn't sweetie, sweets or some corruption of that word (I can forgive your using that if- as is the case with most of the people who read this blog- you don't know what my name is), and the stark staring fact that I'm all out of clean clothes and was forced, as a result, to wear a frilly-looking white peasant top, camisole and skirt to class today, as opposed to the neat jacket, white shirt and trousers I would've liked to have on. Because here comes the confession: I'm really not that fashionable. Uneven terrain, extremely short get-ready periods and nasty heat, along with the moral brigade's objections to short skirts*, shorts and anything strappy** make life as a well-dressed college student, if you wanted to be one, an impossibility. Or maybe it just means I'm a fashion schizophrenic: my appearance might tell the casual observer I want to be Anita Pallenberg, while in actual fact whatever being in my head decides the things I like and dislike would rather have me look like Katherine Hepburn (not to knock Anita Pallenberg, but I just don't feel very rock n' roll right now. If I ever did). And it changes from day to day, and sometimes the idea of wearing yellow when what I really want to wear is grey, makes my fingers itch to get the offending garment off.
Does anyone else ever experience that? Fashion split personality, I mean.
*'short' here meaning anything that allows someone to see your knees, or the general region thereof (if it's a below-the-knee skirt). I am well and truly tired of having sluttily dressed wannabe Goths (going by the amount of eye makeup they have on at any given point in time, though maybe true Goths would be friendlier with fabric) telling me they love my 'miniskirts'- not one of which, except for the few that I keep to lounge around in, ends anywhere above my kneecaps. **and yet tight, low-necked tops, which have a far higher slut factor than my poor little camisoles, are ok to wear in the classroom.Where's the justice in this, I ask?


Polishing Up

My relationship with makeup is a contentious one, or at least it would be if I actually had one. I hardly ever indulged in the Mummy's-dressing-table type shehanigans, which was why she was more than a bit surprised when I bought my first pot of black nail varnish at eleven*. It's about the only variety of cosmetic I buy on a regular basis other than lip balm, the reasons wherefore are a bit of a long, dull story.
I'm not sure exactly how the nail varnish craze caught on among us tweens, but the only thing I can be absolutely sure of was that my school's strict no-makeup policy had quite a bit to do with it- all that forbidden fruit logic and so on. No matter- we just painted our toenails instead of our fingernails, and as for those I'm fairly sure acetone suppliers had an excellent time of it, what with all the goop we had to clean up and take off before going to school. As most good tweens across the world today seem to do, we favoured the sparkly, but for some reason red and pink- probably because they were seen as 'mummy colours'- were banned from use (I quite liked red sparkly polish, but given that not being a total social outcast in those days was dependent on not wearing naff things, I behaved as a good little sheep should and went right along)- and once my lot got tired of wearing plain blocks of colour, we began experimenting with nail spots and stripes and flowers- some of which required work with very thinbrushes that were subsequently ruined because the varnish dried onthe brushes. The freaky part? People actually volunteered to do it- spend hours painting each other's nails, I mean. They were short nails too, because school insisted on that**- but they still took ages to dry. And then we reached the eighth grade and- heaven knows how- nail colouring was consigned to the trend dustbin. We were supposed to be more grownup, so about five bottles of half-used nail paint in my possession were doomed to uncooldom, and I was an expert on how fast they dried and how long they lasted and just how to mix colours, and the knowledge was pretty much useless***. I still buy the pots now, though- mainly because I like to see them sitting on the shelf and they're the only vaguely girlie things around- I don't own so much as a kohl pencil (standard Indian college girl fare, as far as makeup goes). And lately I've been getting the urge to break out the sparkly silver polish again, only my twenty-two-year-old feet aren't anywhere near as pretty as my thirteen-year-old ones (Queen Michelle, you were right about the sun exposure. If I wanted to look at a living example of sun damage, all I need to do is look down.). And no neon on my nails, I don't care what Nu Rave thinks.

*those were the good old days when the word Goth didn't exist in my vocabulary (actually, it did- Germans in Asterix) and hipsters were trousers, not people.
**I've never been able to get over the conviction that long nails are dirty. I end up reaching for the clippers every time I get to see the edges of my nails over the tops of my fingers.
My mum was quite relieved, though- she hated my nail paint. But the bottles that remained did get put to good use- every time I got given babysitting duties for my then two-year-old niece, I simply put a coat of colour on her nails (it didn't take much time since they were so tiny) and told her to sit still with her hands out till they dried. It made a nice change from chasing her to make sure she didn't break her neck or anything else in the house.


Post 37 (Because I'm Tired of Trying and Failing Miserably At Thinking Up Catchy Post Titles)

Once I found some pretty shoes
With lovely pointy toes
They came in pairs made up of twos
Stuck under two big bows

The bows were sparkly green and blue
And silver stuck on grey
With what might just have been cheap glue
On bits of faux suede

Yet here's the rub, they were on sale
To leave them I was loath
So I was smart, did what was best
And simply bought them both.
I should probably just end this with a link to T Rex, who writes much better rhymes than the one above.

About Me

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Fondest of upbeat music and brightly coloured sweets.