NTS & Tailored by Umbro | Creative Communities

Posted: September 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Community, Culture, Marketing, Music, Trends | Tags: , , , , | No Comments.

NTS: a new community radio station based in Dalston, launched in April this year. The community in this instance is the bubbling sub-culture of electronic music influenced by a staple of soul, funk and jazz amongst others.

Their recent short gives you a glimpse into the beginnings of the station, their developing culture and a five-a-side football team. Que Umbro’s involvement and the second reason for my musings.

Umbro having taken tips from Adidas and Puma, have been quietly repositioning the traditional football gear company as a lifestyle brand, producing content featuring musicians Chase & Status, Liam Gallagher and Murkage and other sports stars.

En route to embedding themselves in pop culture, the Umbro Industries campaign focuses on supporting fledgling creative entrepeneurs in Manchester with £10k bursaries.

The trend of courting creative communities looks like one that will last for a while for culture savvy brands, ensuring buy in from taste makers and all that goes with it. Thus giving creatives alternative forms of investment from financial to profile raising.

A salute to David Rodigan, Soundsystems & the Beeline

Posted: July 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Music, Trends | Tags: | No Comments.

If you’re an avid culture vulture then you’ll know that art, music and style are cyclical: the old becomes new, and the new inevitably becomes the old.

Whether any of the above are in sync with ‘now’ or not has little bearing on the notion of something actually being good or not. Having said all that, I do love to spot a trend or two. And one bubbling under the radar is the returning influence of reggae and dancehall culture.

Maybe it has been the impact of Dubstep that has seduced audiences into the heavy bass lines, but another thing I’ve noticed and been quite happy about is the resurgence of Reggae & Dancehall legend DJ David Rodigan. Recently I can’t turn for the mentions of ol’ DR’s upcoming gigs and features. Whether it be with Urban Nerds, Giles Peterson or his upcoming show that starts this week Thursday on BBC Radio 2 as part of a ten part special on the origins and current stars of Reggae music.

So why am I excited? Because Rodigan was one of the first DJ’s I followed as a kid. My fingers were always on standby to press play & record on the tape deck whilst listening to his evening time slots on stations such as Capital and Kiss. Later on I would go on to hear his live sets at sound clashes and at parties I probably shouldn’t have been at (sorry Dad!).

Looking like a cross between an accountant and a trendy granddad, when he gets on the turntables his skilful selection and feisty wit going toe to toe with the dancehall establishment is a sight to behold.

With a career that has spanned over the last three decades, what has made Rodigan an enduring force within music is his palatable energy, knowledge and enthusiasm for the music he so dearly loves. Here’s hoping that it will keep him going a few decades more. We salute you David Rodigan!

Intel | Museum of Me

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Comment, Culture, Social Media, Society | Tags: , | No Comments.

Wow, we’re living in interesting times aren’t we?

We have a generation of young folk who have acquired touch-typing skills any Executive PA would be proud of, through constant texting/BBing and social media updates. Then on the other hand – an older generation who book holidays and pay bills online, happily declaring themselves as silver surfers.

The virtual world is here to stay. However, with the good there’s always the bad and the virtual world wouldn’t be in equilibrium, but spinning off its microchip axis.

With the genuine revolution of communication via the Internet, it’s also managed to feed the deeply narcissistic tendencies of human nature (along with celebrity obsessed culture, but that’s whole another conversation). Roll on social media, a place where everyone can feel a little loved, or indeed hated and maybe make up for those years of not being the most popular kid in school with 600+ virtual friends.

To help people celebrate and look over those vast ‘social media’ memories, Intel have created an app that allows Facebook users to create their own virtual museum. Now I do not have a personal FB account so haven’t tried it out personally. But because of the wonder of social media, I didn’t have to, I just needed to look at the inevitable YouTube uploads.

As I expected it looks like a super swish, stylish piece of work, making everyone’s ‘social’ life look like it could be entered for the Turner Prize. The things is that it needs to be slicker than the average. Clearly shot with Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind in mind, the Blue Sky thinkers who saw the opportunity to create an emotive connection with the device that ‘powers’ all this interaction – the Intel core i5 – what they’ve actually developed is a virtual stalker masquerading as gallery curator.

Our Sam in the office signed up, and felt a little disturbed by both how much he’d posted up online, and the things this Museum actually had access to. For many though, this app will achieve the desired effect, despite making us perhaps a bit more self-absorbed and a tad more virtually insular, as summarised by a quote on the Museum of Me YouTube page;

“This App is AWESOME. It’ll make you feel special and connected even if you think you’re not” – BiscuitXT 2 days ago

Dalston Roof Park

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Community, Culture, Events, Green | Tags: , | No Comments.

Last Friday evening the distinct waft of bbq deliciousness and booming speakers was my cue to leave the office. That’s one of the bonuses of having a roof top garden on your building.

The Bootstrap Company recently launched the Dalston Roof Park, which will be hosting a variety of cultural events for the community over the summer.

Unfortunately I missed out on a tasty burger from Meat Wagon as the queue was a tad too long for me to make it in time for a date with my cutie god daughter.

If you’re in the E8 area in the next few weeks though, pop in and visit; it’s dead nice.

. . .

Garden Opening Times: Monday – Friday 09:00 – 23:00, Sat 13:00 – 24:00, Sun 13:00 – 22:00
Bar Opening Times: Monday – Thursday 17:00 – 23:00, Sat 13:00 – 24:00, Sun 13:00 – 22:00

Leah Gordon | Kanaval

Posted: May 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Events, Photography | Tags: , , , | No Comments.

Leah Gordon presents an exhibition of photographs at the Side Gallery in Newcastle taken from the book Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the streets of Haiti .

Published by the stella Soul Jazz Records, this book promises an insight into a cultural event unblighted by threats of gentile Hyde Park routes and fizzy drinks sponsorship.

Notting Hill Carnival this certainly ain’t.

Black Atlantic | Moodymann and Joy Orbison, 28.05.11

Posted: May 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Events, Music | Tags: , , | No Comments.

The Black Atlantic crew are going in hard this coming Saturday with Detroit legend Moodymann, the mighty Joy Orbison & guests at a secret location somewhere in Londinium.

When you’ve quality like these artists on DJ duties, a little bit of secrecy adds to the mystique, not to mention demand. Needless to say, tickets are running out fast, so you know what to do.

Black Atlantic | Modeselektion, London, 30.04.11

Posted: April 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Art, Culture, Events, Music | Tags: , | No Comments.

The joys of Spring brought new faces to the office recently in the form of the Black Atlantic crew. When it comes to the club / cultural experience, Tom and Ben are raising the bar to create the equivalent of a pole vault event.

Only innovators need apply, and this weekend Berlin based producers Modeselektor will be joining Mala, Siriusmo and more at a secret warehouse party (location TBA).

Judging by the two wind turbine sized fans perched by their desks they’re expecting a bumper turnout, and with good reason it seems.

The Insomniax Radio Show on Nasty FM

Posted: April 18th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Music, News, Youth | Tags: , | No Comments.

The Insomniax Radio Show on Nasty FM is a weekly musical journey that covers everything from Grime to Soul, Indie to Electro and Dubstep to Hip Hop.

You can catch them tonight and every Monday night from midnight til 2am, but if you have problems staying up past your bedtime, then simply pop to Mixcloud, where you can catch up on a months worth of shows.

Behind The Smile | J Dilla’s Donuts

Posted: February 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Music, Photography | Tags: , , , , | No Comments.

There’s a beautiful story behind the late great J DIlla‘s album cover photography. Video director Andrew Gura tells the full story here, but the long and short of it is that Stones Throw Art Director guru Jeff Jank needed photography for the 2006 Donut’s EP. J Dilla was in no position to provide any due his ailing health, and that’s where Gura’s video-shoot offcuts came in.

Gura provided 3 stills from that shoot for possible inclusion on the cover. In turn, what at first might look like a generic shoot spawned what even J Dilla’s mother considered to be the perfect encapsulation of her son’s spirit.

Behind the smile lies a beautiful story indeed.

More Muppet love | Sesame Street & hair politics

Posted: January 29th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Culture, Politics, Society | | No Comments.

Another one of my childhood fav’s tackles the social and political issue of ‘black hair’.

It may or may not have come to your attention that many black women in the western hemisphere wear what we call weaves: hair made from artificial or human hair that is literally weaved or plaited into their own hair.In an effort to help young black girls feel good about their natural afro hair, Sesame Street created a sketch of a happy young lady singing about her wonderful afro and her various hair styles.

This is a subject that I could quite easily write a thesis about, but for the sake of keeping it short and sweet, it’s an interesting state of affairs when a children’s show feels it has to create alternative representation for authentic afro hair (albeit on a muppet).

Great to see a children’s programme consistently not afraid to tackle the social and political.