All posts filed under: Culture

The Old Fashioned

adjective: old-fashioned 1. In or according to styles or types no longer current; not modern. 2. Favouring traditional or conservative ideas or customs. noun: old-fashioned 1. A cocktail consisting chiefly of whisky, bitters, water, and sugar. The origins of the cocktail has been greatly contested and little has been documented, but what we do know is that back in the eighteen hundreds a letter was written to a New York newspaper asking what a cocktail is. The newspaper responds with these four elements… A mixture of spirit – any spirit – plus water, sugar and bitters. Therefore, ‘The Old Fashioned’ is the original old fashioned cocktail. No one really knows if the first old fashioned cocktails contained rye or bourbon, but it seems that most bars prefer to reach for the bourbon sooner than the rye. However, there seems to have been a surge in Old Fashioned variations in bars all over the world. I guess you could call it ‘a modern old fashioned’. One reason that could be said for this recent interest in modernisation …

Archigram – ‘every generation must make its own city’

Sketches and collages from ARCHIGRAM are a recurring reference point for Fat Nancy. The magazine dominated the architectural avant garde in the 1960s and early 1970s with its playful, pop-inspired visions of a technocratic future after its formation in 1961 by a group of young London architects – Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron and Michael Webb. “A new generation of architecture must arise with forms and spaces which seems to reject the precepts of ‘Modern’ yet in fact retains those precepts. We have chosen to by pass the decaying Bauhaus image which is an insult to functionalism. You can roll out steel – any length. You can blow up a balloon – any size. You can mould plastic – any shape. Blokes that built the Forth Bridge – they didn’t worry.” So wrote David Greene in a poem published in the first issue of Archigram magazine or, as Greene’s co-editor, Peter Cook, called it “a message, or abstract communication”. It was published in 1961 on a large sheet of the …

Cover Story – Part VI – ZE Records

ZE Records (always written with two capital letters) was originally a New York-based record label, started in 1978 by Michael Zilkha and Michel Esteban. It has been re-established by Esteban since 2003. Michael Zilkha (b. 1954) is a British-born Oxford graduate of Iraqidescent, the son of Selim Zilkha, former owner of Mothercare, a major UK retail company, and the stepson of Cabinet member Lord Lever. In the mid-1970s, Zilkha worked in the New York publishing industry and was a contributor to the Village Voice. Michel Esteban (b. 1951) studied art in Paris and at the School of Visual Arts in New York, before returning to Paris in 1975 and opening the shop Harry Cover (a pun on “haricots verts”), which specialised in current rock music merchandise from the US and UK. The basement shop quickly became the rehearsal place for Parisian new wave bands. Between 1975 and 1976, Esteban published Rock News, which covered the birth of the punk rockmovement in London, New York and Paris. In 1977 he published Patti Smith’s books Witt and The Night, and Lizzy Mercier Descloux’s first book Desiderata. In 1977, Esteban signed French new wave band Marie et les Garçons, and asked John Cale – who had been introduced to him …

In The Words of Sparks …

In The Words of Sparks … Selected Lyrics Sparks – the long-running duo of brothers Ron and Russell Mael – are among the most respected songwriters of their generation, their songs ranking alongside those of Ray Davies (The Kinks having been a formative influence), George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. Formed in Los Angeles in 1971, Sparks have issued over 20 albums and scored chart hits with songs such as ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us’, ‘Cool Places’ and ‘Never Turn Your Back on Mother Nature’. While their musical style has changed dramatically over the course of 40 years – embracing the British Invasion sound of the 60s, glam rock, disco (they teamed up with Giorgio Moroder for 1979’s ‘No. 1 in Heaven’) and even techno – their work has consistently stretched the boundaries of pop music and the song form. Sparks continue to break new ground: they are currently working on a project with filmmaker Guy Maddin and are soon to embark on a world tour. Now, for the …

Moon River and Buffalo 66 – what is it about Vincent Gallo?

One of our all time favourite films is Buffalo 66, one of our favourite songs is Moon River. So when last trawling the web, researching said Buffalo 66, it was an absolute pleasure to find this gem: For those of you who haven’t seen Buffalo 66, here’s a summary: having just served five years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Billy Brown (Vincent Gallo) kidnaps a young tap dancer named Layla (Christina Ricci) and forces her to pretend to be his wife. Layla allows herself to be kidnapped and it is clear she is romantically attracted to Billy from the start, but Billy all the while is compelled to deal with his own demons, his loneliness and his depression. The subplot of Billy seeking revenge on the man indirectly responsible for his imprisonment, Scott Wood, is a reference to a former Buffalo Bills kicker, Scott Norwood, who missed the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXV against the New York Giants in 1991. The balance struck between a haunting  vulnerability and dry …