Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kiria, The Star Who Sings Pink Punk

I was thrilled to witness Kiria, the sensational looking 'pink punk' singer buying a copy of my novel Frantic in Celia Birtwell's shop when I went in there yesterday to sign some copies.

It must have been a case of delayed synchronisation, as I had been to her Radio album launch at 'My Beautiful Launderette' on Talbot Road in Notting Hill Gate last week.

This had been no ordinary music launch. The event was a glamour-puss stuffed klieg lit premier. And what made the event megawatt extra special was the spectacle of Kiria arrived in a convoy of twelve Harley Davidsons and a pink cadillac.

If all of this wasn't spectacular enough, pin up showgirls served pink champagne and cocktails in the pink back lit launderette, which was full of bubbles and ..... projections of Kiria's forthcoming video releases on the wall!

Kiria's current single is titled Jelly Baby which is guaranteed to stick in one's brain for an eternity.

I predict her next single Alright arriving in November, will also be equally as addictive. But, it looks like I might get hooked on Kiria's startling music (which she writes as well as playing her guitar). Her next single after that will be the waltz, titled Love Song. Aaaaaah!

It must have been kismet I bumped into Kiria inside Celia's emporium, because she also put me on red alert about her next gig: it will be this Friday, October 29th at the Cobden Club, London's 'favourite' membership club.

If Kiria's gig is anything as exciting as her Sex On Stage video clip,  I guarantee the entire audience will be throwing jelly babies at her and her band.

After I signed Kiria's copy of Frantic, I dragged her onto the 31 bus. She usually takes taxis everywhere, so the bus ride was an adventure for her. Especially, as an old lady next to us crooned 'would you like another Jelly baby?'

I went home and promptly downloaded the single AND the Radio album from - click here: iTunes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celia Birtwell Goes Literate

Celia Birtwell's magical shop (71 Westbourne Park Road, London W2 5PL), run by her daughter-in-law Bella Clark, her youngest son George, and their right hand/the shop manager Karen Cazabon has got a contemporary and comprehensive new website, which displays her sensational designs on its image stuffed pages.
Karen  Cazabon and Bella Clark

The singer Kiria dips into Frantic 

These includes Celia's original and beautiful  Fashion: her John Lewis collection, her unique fabric and wallpaper, Celia and Ossie Clark's priceless vintage stuff, her 'Must Have' designs for 'Indoor and Outdoor Living', her Accessories, stationery and Books.

The Books page includes 70s Style & Design by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop, Chequered Past by Peter Schleshinger, Wuthering Heights, for which Celia did the cover for and my novel Frantic, which Celia also designed the cover for (I am so lucky).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dr Yan Li is A Genius Acupuncturist

One of my Fave Raves of the month has got to be Dr Yan Li, a Chinese doctor (her company is True Traditions), who has practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine in countries like China and Slovenia for over twenty years.

I saw her in Neals Yard in St Johns Wood High Street.

I went in for a tin of their relaxing lavender bath salts, and after meeting Dr Li who practises  there, signed up for a course of her  acupuncture treatments -  after she  correctly promised she would cure my lousy digestion  in six sessions. (I was  fed up with having to abstain from gluten).

Dr Li, who has a soothing bedside manner doesn't hurt at all.  After she removed the strategically placed needles, she gave me a therapeutic massage,  and also did cupping on my back - never in my wildest dreams did I envisage I too would have cupping acupuncture after I ogled Gwynth Paltrow's livid cupping marks on her back when she wore a backless evening gown on one of her red carpet treks.

Also, for for seekers of eternal youth, Dr Li does cosmetic acupuncture on the face and body which truyly rejuvinates. It knocks centuries off.

 I should know as I tried it and came out looking like an inhabitant from  Shangri-La! Recommended!

Dr Li can be contacted at dr.li@truetraditions.co.uk or 0778 - 696 4866

Saturday, October 16, 2010

C. Morey de Morand Goes Indian

If you want to see paintings with marks made by monkey paw prints on the back of canvasses, head directly to the Nehru Centre, the Cultural Wing of the High Commission of India in London's South Audley Street.

The international artist, C. Morey de Morand, 'the modern day Mondrian' has an exhibition of her art which she physically created in India.

Born of French father and Russian mother, granddaughter of Gen Vladimir Sikevich (Lion of Ukraine), Morey de Morand travelled all over the world before she reached India.

During her Artist Residency in India alongside John Baldessari, at the Calico Museum, and the Sarabhai Le Corbusier House, in Ahmedabad, C. Morey de Morand created the series of painting assemblages, currently showing at the Nehru Centre (until 19 February).

These abstract painted, hand dyed and printed works were created with the assistance of the Calico Museum technicians, often working outdoors in a village with Indian craftsmen. The paints were made uniquely with the various mediums available and hand ground pigment. They were finally completed with further development in London in 2002 - 2006.

C. Morey de Morand in her studio 
These painting assemblages use the same grid allusions, layering and structuring physically with hand printed, hand-dyed cloths, hemp and metal as in the other more formalised works. In this case however, the rituals of spectacle and belief are used to give a structural meaning to unfathomable existence. Always present is the structuring of society, ceremonial rites, religion, celebration and ultimately death, the void, into which we disappear, The ultimatum.

'My work is my life, my own world where I belong. I make the rules and no one can tell me what to do there. There is something that I also want to give others,' de Morand told me when I was lucky to encounter her at the Nehru Centre during my visit.

Go see!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A load of Trash Art At St Pancras Crypt

There is a completely barmy exhibition titled "Flashier & Trashier" on at - wait for it - the St Pancras Crypt gallery.

This show, which is curated by the artist Sue Kreitzman and the photographer Peter Herbert is worth going to, if one is into ancient crypts or 'flashy trash.'

'Our paintings are not subtle. We ladle colour and excitement onto wood, canvas and paper. So the images leap off the surface and hit your squarely between the eyes.

'Marvel at this extravaganza of all things kitsch! Enjoy the thrills and chills of the St. Pancras Crypt, deep beneath the streets of the city. Be amazed by our glimpse into the murky voyeuristic past of often beautiful and extravagant days gone by. Enjoy memories and reconstructions of Old Fashioned Circus Side Shows,' Kreitzman enthused at the awed punters.

I especially appreciated one of the crypt's rooms which had been titled, 'Departure Lounge', (Maybe it should have been called 'Get Me Out Of Here?'). For fanatical daft art tarts, it consisted of ten men made out of suitcases standing next to pews which face the stairs leading out to a busy Euston Road.

Personally, I think the real star of this show is the actual crypt, so even if one isn't a rabid devotee of all things kitsch (I saw plenty of red stickers), the historically spooky space does this imaginatively curated show more than justice.

It's on now at the Crypt Gallery opposite Euston Station (Entrance on Duke Road) until October 24th.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Elvis, Nick Lowe and Co. Rock Around the Clock At Austin de Lone's Benefit for his son Richard

Bill Kirchen - guitar & vocals
Austin de Lone - piano, organ, & vocals
Ruth Davies - bass
Elvis Costello
Nick Lowe
Bob Andrews - piano, organ, & vocals
Paul Revelli - drums & vocals
Derek Huston - saxophone

'Elvis Costello sings Nick Lowe, Nick Lowe sings Elvis' was the ingenious theme of legendary pianist Austin de Lone's fourth annual Special Housing Project benefit concert for his son Richard, who suffers from the Prader-Willi syndrome.

Backing Elvis and Lowe at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall were a six piece band including: twanging guitarist Bill Kirchen and keyboardist Bob Andrews, who played alongside Nick Lowe with Brinsley Schwartz during the early 70s British pub rock movement. Incidentally pub rock in London was started by Austin de Lone's innovative band Eggs Over Easy.

Before the evening was over, all the other musicians sang their favourite Lowe and Costello songs as well, but what excited me the most was the delirious sight of my talented chanteuse/songwriter niece Caroline de Lone (pictured with Elvis and above), who opened the historical concert with her dad Austin.

Audience members who witnessed Caroline's mythical performance were the actors Kirsten Dunst, Peter Sarsgaard, and rocksters Bonnie Raitt, Mill Valley based Sammy Hagar and T-Bone Burnette. Aaaaahhhh!