Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Swagger jumper

Well, given that we’re now just hours away from being legally able to listen to Mariah’s “All I want for Christmas” on repeat for 25 days solid, I feel it is only appropriate to do a little round up of Christmas jumpers for 2011. To many, the Christmas jumper, is just a polyester novelty item suitable only for a cheap laugh and to retain one’s Christmas turkey meat sweats like some ill-conceived human boil in the bag experiment gone fatally arwy.

 To others, like me, however, the Christmas jumper is an investment piece, a visual signifier that the festive season has begun, and an indication that we are soon to be playing Nat King Cole records, digging in to Fortnum & Mason’s hampers, and letting no wine go un-mulled. The Christmas jumper, Hanukkah sweater, Festive gilet, Crimbo knit... call it what you will is a key piece for December, and it seems the fash pack think similarly.

The reigning visionary auteur of the CJ is Ralph Lauren. Each year, their deep-pile chunky knit offering grows more complex. For 2011, Ralph steps into the realm of the Gothic, with a cheeky nod to Damien Hirst and Donnie Darko. Sultry and controversial. Love it.

Next up, a newcomer to the scene, Marcus Lupfer presents us with a kitsch stitch that wouldn’t look out of place on YouTube. Puppies, kittens and sequins, oh my!

Now, two CJ’s for the Mad Aunt in us all. Ideal attire for the annual sherry-fuelled family argument and a great kick-start to the Boxing Day migraine. Sonia Rykiel and Proenza Schouler.

And finally, if you insist on being the only hipster in the village, arriving home laden with Whole Foods bags, and little lovely things from Aesop, then this CJ will serve you well. Inspired by Nordic sea heroes, woven in Japan and native to Hoxton, it’s the clothing equivalent of a flat white.

Please send other super Christmas Jumper spots to me @CamillaStore. These aren’t just jumpers. These are Christmas jumpers.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Young Money

Last night I spent a few hours propping up the bar at the BFI, soaking up the scene that is the onedotzero audio visual festival. I'm lucky enough to work alongside many uber-talented motion graphics people, some of whom were featured in the festival, such as Simon Jones' collaborative film project, Resonance, and "rising star" Sam Blain's In Dreams.

I also got chatting to a recent graduate Hannah Blackmore, who made this beautiful film which poignantly captures the silent extinguishing of traditional retail going unnoticed in middle-England.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The weird turn pro

With all the buzz surrounding the release of The Rum Diary film, I've been imploring my friends to read the book before giving in to the visual delights of Johnny Depp. The novel, written when Hunter S. Thompson was still just a kid, is one of my greatest literary indulgences - a vivid depiction of anarchic escapism that I return to year after year.

I first read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was 16, sparking a near-feverish devouring of every bit of "Gonzo" and New Journalism I could get my hands on. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Armies of the Night, In Cold Blood, Hell's Angels, the articles of Tom Wolfe… after years spent wading through the tomes associated with English Literature GCSE, the realisation that writing could be this electric blew my teenage mind. But I didn't just want to write like Thompson, I wanted to think like him - to experience life through rolling eyes and be able to nail it still bleeding to the page.

I recently read Fear and Loathing in America - the collected letters of Thompson. From his long correspondences with friends, to stern notes to American Express, his gonzo style teeters constantly between powerfully charming and indiscriminately threatening. Across it all and most surprising, perhaps, is his organisation. With all the tales of drug abuse, politico baiting and cop taunting, it's easy to forget that Thompson was a highly successful and diligent journalist. Quite a lesson to writers who simply want to talk the talk; walking the walk, no matter how stumbling or crazed, takes a business-like dedication.

"Because what happens to anybody who gets into any kind of forced/regular writing is that he's bound to make a useless fool of himself now & then… and it's hard to set a price on that kind of reality."

Through all of Thompson's work runs his ability to overcome the most basic of human emotions, and one so raw in anyone attempting any form of creative endeavour - the fear of failure. Even at his most ranting, he possesses a self-belief which seems to transcend ego or arrogance. Incredibly, Thompson never fears or loathes his own opinion.

But while Thompson's journalistic style hugely inspires my own writing, he also stands - cigarette in one hand, gun in the other - on a great pedestal in my mind. In times of great stress or emotional turmoil, Thompson represents the promise of being able to go missing from one's own life, should circumstances dictate. As he wrote in The Rum Diary, "The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to those who see it coming and jump aside". There's great comfort to be found in the notion that - for the price of an airline ticket and large bottle of Habana Libre, one can abandon one's grocery shopping in the Whole Foods car park, leave a message at home to let them know you've "gone to take care of matters", and simply "jump aside" somewhere where the rum is cheap and the sea stays warm late into the night. Hey, The Bible may work for some, but I sometimes need something a little stronger.

"PS - I'm definitely in a writing mood these days; the angst has come to a head - let's not blow it this time."