Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A perfect Venue For A Book Launch

Gregory Sams' lectures, which elaborate on his classic book Sun of gOd (top pic) seem to habitually coincides with no-sun-show weather.

I failed to attend Greg's last talk at the Moot With No Name in February due to the ice age climate. Last night, I was tempted not to battle it out on the tube for the same reason. But I'm pleased I managed to haul my carcass in the pouring rain to Holborn's October Gallery (pictured) where Gregory had been booked in to appear.

His fascinating talk was a sell-out and its general theme, 'the Sun is a conscious, living organism residing in a thriving galactic community, thinking stellar thoughts that span the entire universe,' goaded the earnest audience to ask lots of probing scientific questions afterwards, including the old chestnut: 'do multiple universes exist?' (Gregory eloquently disputed this theory, humorous details of which are in his book).

In the audience, I spotted Rupert Sheldrake, the famous biologist discoverer of 'morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory', and dancer Stefani Crone (pictured with Jeff Dexter) who gave me a guided tour of the gallery.

Endangered species included the iconic photographer John 'Hoppy' Hopkins (pictured with Jeff Dexter's back), one of the founders of London's underground during the 60s. (His hippy credentials include founding International Times, setting up the London Free School and starting London's first psychedelic club, UFO). The bottom photographs including the one of Chili Hawes, the October's director plus Gregory were snapped by him.

Greg's successful talk inspired the rabble to buy Sun of gOd, which should be in the school curriculum. But, authors and publishers take note: what interested me was that the October art gallery, which was founded in 1978 and specialises in exhibiting art from diverse cultures from all over the globe is an ideal venue for a book launch, especially as it has a vast courtyard, perfect for esoterically minded smokers (Greg's book was launched there last year).

Monday, March 29, 2010

Andrew Logan Delivers

Thank goodness I'm wearing waterproof mascara. I've just received a surprise birthday present from Andrew Logan (the cover of his biography An Artistic Adventure is pictured) in the post.

Luckily, Andrew's gift (a pair of his unique one-off earrings and a matching broach) arrived safely, even though it hadn't been escorted by Fort Knox styled security.

It's so handy being friends with  a  sculpturist who prolifically creates original jewellery. (His jewels can be bought on line from his Andrew Logan website).

Incidentally, I first ogled Andrew during the early Seventies in Gillian Gregroy's tap dancing class at the old Dance Centre in Covent Garden's Floral Street. Andrew was one of the best dancers in the class and was a permanent fixture in the front row. I made sure I stood behind him, copying his every tap move. We've been buddies ever since.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Surprise Promenade Plan for London

Michael Davis (pictured by Piers Atkinson)  is an ingenious designer, who has created some of the most innovative pads in London including ones for Zandra Rhodes and Andrew Logan (thanks to Michael's vision, his unique S.E.1. studio is extraordinary).

Michael's mission in life, which started when Ken Livingstone was the late mayor of London consists of battling to  get his ingenious London Promenade idea off the ground.

Michael's genius plan (Michael, send me my payola fiver via PayPal!)  consists of an extension to the existing river walk along the south bank of the River Thames, via Bankside, Borough Market, and the Pool of London to Butler's Wharf. The promenade would create  a new extension to the existing promenade at the South Bank Centre, eastwards from Gabriel's Wharf, along the south bank of the Thames, via Bankside, Borough Market and the Pool of London, to connect with the existing jetty at Butler's Wharf.

'It would be the logical conclusion to the successful but partial and piecemeal improvements to the River Walk over the last decade. Significantly enlarged, incorporating jetties and piers, over the water and under bridges, the London Promenade would benefit the capital as a whole by creating a new, accessible, major waterfront park for the 21st century,' Michael enthuses.

Although the construction of the promenade would cost millions and involve four new piers, at Oxo Wharf Tower, at the west entrance of the Tate Modern, at Borough Market and at Potter's Field, it seems a logical plan. For it is estimated that it would bring a further 30 million people to the riverside and an extra £650 million in per annum.

Thanks to Michael's persistent and fervent crusade over the years (I wouldn't have been surprised if he had resorted to parachuting into London's City Hall with a bribe box of Cadbury's Milk Tray for Ken or Boris), according to the Twitter updates on the London Promenade blog, it finally looks like his promenade idea could actually happen in time for the Olympics.

Friday, March 12, 2010

John Lewis Changes Its Spots

Shoppers at John Lewis, watch out! Celia Birtwell's new collection for the store is to be launched on its first floor next week.

I've been a fanatic of Celia's original designs for decades. I'm not the only one. I was a witness when Karl Lagerfeld announced she is the best textile designer in the fashion industry.

I 'revered' Celia's unique prints which adorned her then husband, Ossie Clark's clothes, and was eternally grateful to her during my party going gossip days in the late Seventies.

After I was forced to change into an evening gown behind a tree at the Berkeley Square ball, as I hadn't had time to go home and change, she designed a costume especially for me. It was a black and white reversible costume with a Cocteau-esque print, which was suitable for night or day. If it hadn't rotted from prolonged over use, I would still be wearing it day and night today.

When Celia invited me round to her house this afternoon to ogle her new John Lewis collection, I raced over for an exclusive preview. The experience was much more civilised than when I lined up at dawn alongside the greedy hoards outside Topshop, who fought and killed to buy her stuff, all of which sold out completely in the first five minutes.

I have no idea how Celia dreams up the names for her colourful clothes. There were (reasonably priced)  "Pussybow Cherry Spott" silk dresses, "Cherry Spot" print dresses, "Romania Dancer" and "Romanian Spot frocks" galore (I love the title for her old classic 'animal beastie' print the best). I adored the "Cherry Spot" Smock blouses and the "Pussy bow" silk dresses, but best of all I craved a pale eau de-nil printed silk blouse, which I would take good care of in case the Victoria and Albert museum needs it for one of their future exhibitions.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Facebook Has Its Uses

I was just about to go cold turkey and quit the addictive Facebook for the rest of eternity, when my sister Lesley called to report she had just dutifully gone to see her husband/my brother-in-law Austin de Lone play in the Barry “The Fish” Melton Band in Monte Rio California.

After the gig, she met the legendary Barry Melton, the co-founder and original lead guitarist of Country Joe and the Fish (Barry 'moonlights' as a criminal defense laywer and last year retired as Public Defender of Yolo County), and informed him I was on Facebook. As a result we have linked up.

When I was a teenager, Country Joe and the Fish's hypnotic first album Electric Music For the Mind And Body was mind blowing! Not in a million years, would I have foreseen that ex-Dinasour Barry Melton would one day be a cyberspace friend when I relentlessly played the album at top decibel volume to my bemused aunt and uncle (Frank Sinatra fans) in their house in Beverley Hills.

Immediately after I linked up with Barry, I called up the 60's DJ Jeff Dexter to ask him if I saw Country Joe and the Fish play at his psychedelic music clubs, Middle Earth and the Roundhouse. Jeff joked if I couldn't remember seeing them, then I must have been there!

I'm sure my memory will be revived when I see Melton perform in the summer as his band will be touring in the UK then. And as I sold my last vinyl collection centuries ago, I shall now officially download Electric Music For The Mind And Body for a trip down memory lane.

P.S. Although I'm not officially Barry Melton's PR (!), his next gig is on March 13th at The Saloon. Austin will be on keyboards, another old musical hero: ex- Big Brother and the Holding Company's Peter Albin will be on base and Roy ("The Blues Project" and "Seatrain") Blumenfeld will be on drums. I do hope this plug will guarantee me a seat.