Friday, 25 October 2013

Ghoul Cool

Wonderland Wigs Shelby Black and Purple Curly Ladies wig £24.99
Claire Accessories Enchanted Lace Effect Mask £5.50
Bleach London and WAH Nails Bespoke Halloween Beauty Looks starting at £20.00 from Oct 27th to Nov 2nd at the Oxford Street Topshop
Models Own and Midori Limited Melon Scented Nail set £15.00
Bourjois Liner Clubbing Ultra Black £6.99
Topshop Leopard Cat Hat £10.00
No7 High Shine Intensive Lip Crayon in Sultry Kiss £9.00
In Your Dreams 'Your Afterlife' Lash £20.00
Mac Chromacake (for body painting) £20.50
Illamasqua Paranormal Palette £34.00
The Midori nail set above also comes with an idea on how to put a spell on your guests this Halloween....

Midori melon liqueur's fruity flavours and vibrant green colour makes for a delicious array of striking and spooky cocktails.Midori which literally translates to green in Japanese has created the ultimate Halloween cocktail, “Obsidian Green” which combines the sweet melon flavours of Midori with a citrusy zing of a flaming orange resulting in a tasty Halloween potion.
And don't worry it is actually very simple to put together.....
Glass: Large hollowed orange
40ml Midori
20ml Pisco
5ml lemon juice
1 dash chocolate bitters
Flames Orange,
Motel Surianna Oversized Sweatshirt in Dig It Black - See more at: Large hollowed orangeIngredients:40ml Midori20ml Pisco5ml lemon juice1 dash chocolate bittersGarnish:Flamed orange,
cinnamon stick,
8 cloves,
star anise,
crushed ice
Prepare orange by cutting top quarter off orange, hollow out. Cut ‘teeth’ pattern into top of orange, stud with cloves.
Heat Pisco until boiling in the microwave.
Pour into orange and ignite with flamed orange. Sprinkle cinnamon over the flame.
When the flames die down, add remaining ingredients; Midori, lemon juice, dark chocolate bitters. Top with crushed ice and garnish with cardamom, star anise.

Creep it Cool.....

Designers aren't fools. They know that every October there will be gothic/Halloween themes blogs and articles posted in their thousands. They're A/W collections more often than not will include claret, ghostly white, jewel tones and black. They'll also incorporate sheer, lace or velvet or iconography inspired by death and horror. We can't all find a suitable occasion to wear as opulent a dress at the Gareth Pugh style look , so I've done a brief round up of some other looks that may be easier to wear for us normal folk who want to get our ghoul on.

Missguided Jadalina Vampire Bite Bodysuit £14.99
Lazy Oaf Believe T-Shirt £38.00
Topshop Knitted Fluffy Crop Jumper £36.00
Motel Surianna Oversized Sweatshirt in Dig It Black £45.00
New Look Burgundy Faux Fur Clutch £24.99
Shop Dixi Moonwalker Ring £10.00
Asos Petite Exclusive Pencil Skirt in Metallic Leather £90.00
Bela Lugosi in a Spider Web Ipad Cover Sleeve £245.00
Charlotte Olympia Kitty Embroidered Velvet Slippers £465
Drop Dead Clothing Rabid Vest £30.00
BlackMilk 2.0 Haunted House Leggings $75.00
Outhouse Outlaw Ear Cuffs £180
For Love and Lemons Florence Dress $167.00


Monday, 21 October 2013

Interview with Zane Lowe at Relentless Live

 On Saturday I had the opportunity to speak to Zane Lowe ahead of his set at Relentless Live...

Write up on Culture Compass....coming soon


Interview with Radkey at Relentless Live

Here is me chatting the band prior to their performance at Relentless Live.
Live on Culture Compass soon....


Thursday, 17 October 2013

Breaking Bad...habits

For my birthday last year I asked for some pencils and paper. I hoped if I had the materials at hand it would encourage me to draw again. I always found it incredibly relaxing but for the last few years hadn't found the time to do it. I do three drawing, which I enjoyed by I then returned to my usual routine of watching Friends and napping in the small gaps I get from work.As my birthday approaches again I thought I owed the person who gifted me with the arty pressies another go. I am in the midst of catching up on Breaking Bad, so I thought I'd doing a chilled little sketch of the gorgeously lined face of Heisenberg...
It's not the best, but it did remind me of arts therapeutic capabilities. I will endeavor to pick up a pencil more often this next year... promise!

My Interview with Saorise Ronan for Wireless

 Click the ink below to watch my interview with the lovely young actress.....



One of the UK’s most compelling live acts and of my personal faves, Deaf Havana are confirmed as the latest top draw artist to perform as part of Original Penguin’s ‘Plugged In’ sessions. These sessions are renowned for bringing the most electrifying acts from each genre to intimate and unusual spaces.

On November 7th Deaf Havana will take to the stage for what is sure to be one of the hottest tickets of the year with just 50 fans scrabbling to get up close and personal with the band.

This six-piece are a collective that exude passion and spirit and this gig will confirm their widely regarded status as one of the UK’s most incendiary rock acts.  Deaf Havana recently released their top 10 album ‘Old Souls’, a boundary pushing record that showcased their flourishing song writing and expanding horizons and they will perform tracks from the album at this very special show.

Deaf Havana were acclaimed as one of the stand out acts at the recent Reading and Leeds festivals and having had the biggest main stage opening crowd ever in 2012, they progressed up the bill to a rammed NME/Radio 1 tent this year. This will be a very rare chance to see the band in such close proximity.

The ‘Plugged In’ sessions is an established series that has seen musical trailblazers take to the stage in intimate and often secret locations to create an experience that harks back to the first days before they were signed. Performing to their hard-core fan base in venues they could sell out ten times over, these are sweaty, boisterous affairs where the lines between band and audience are blurred.  Recent artists have included Jake BuggFrictionMiles KaneBenga and Devlin.
Since the birth of Original Penguin in the 1950’s when Rock & Roll dominated youth culture, the brand has always had strong links with music. Original Penguin continue to grow and evolve alongside the cultural landscape, embracing all musical genres from indie and rock to urban and electronica, inspired by the way music and fashion continue to influence each other as new waves of fans discover the brand. .
The event with Deaf Havana is one of the final Original Penguin sessions of the year.  Fans can stay up to date with all these and more by heading to the Plugged In website.

Entry via winning tickets from

For more information: to see the collection:

Interview with the Xcerts for Relentless Live

I have to ask about THAT Cold Crows Dead article (GUARDIAN). Honestly what was
your initial reaction when reading it?
I guess I was somewhat shocked. For a journalist that is held in such
high regard by the music industry I thought it was a pretty lazy piece
of writing in all honesty. The fact of the matter is Paul Lester would
not like my band so I wasn't even that fussed as to whether or not he
had listened to us. The thing that bothered me the most was that he
didn't write about Cold Crows Dead as a collective effort, he divided
the group in half and judged our work by how he perceived the record
to be written. He ignorantly dismissed the fact that everything he
likes about the record, I worked on, and everything he didn't like
about the record, Paul worked on. For some unbeknown reason he
targeted me due to the fact I'm in a rock band or at least that's how I perceived it.

What would you say to the journalist if you were face to face?
Do you need a hand getting down from your high horse?

Speaking of other musical projects outside of the Xcerts. You have been
best friends for years but is it ever awkward when someone broaches
embarking on alternative work?
This is actually the first time one of us has branched out. Jordan and
Tom are very close with Paul so it didn't feel awkward. The Cold Crows
Dead record was created and worked on when we (The XCERTS) weren't
touring so the two worlds never collided. The boys are in the live
band and I wouldn't want any other rhythm section in all honesty.
We're a tight knit group and we're all creative so everyone

Unlike the aforementioned article, I’d rather concentrate on the
positives of touring with huge acts like Biffy Clyro. What was the
most valuable thing you gained from these high profile slots?
No matter how big you get, always remember to stay passionate about
your craft. Every band we have toured with who we admire take great
pride in their work. We've played with bands that don't really give a
shit about anything other than what's happening on Twitter and if
anyone of any 'importance' is on the guest list . We aspire to be the
best band we can be and write the best songs we can and witnessing
other bands who have been together for years still feel and act that
way is incredibly inspiring.

How did you cope with the intense experience of SXSW. Would you do it again?
We would love to play again. We had a great time at SXSW and I think
we coped pretty well considering it was our first time playing there.
The festival itself is kind of indescribable, hectic and stressful are
words that come to mind but it's definitely a trip and a lot of fun.
The heat was actually the hardest thing for us to deal with!! Pathetic I know but we are pasty Scottish dudes that don't often see sunlight.

You’ve always been one of those bands that other bands call
underrated. You seem to get great reviews and are admired by many of
your peers. What are your goals and what do you think are the main
factors in terms of progress and growth?
Our goals and aspirations have always been the same, but only now are
we being a bit more vocal about it all. We want to be a very big band.
We have never said otherwise, we have just kept quiet and worked hard.
We want to be known for releasing great music and not how arrogant we
can portray ourselves in the press. Progress and growth to us means
keeping things interesting in terms of creativity and pleasing
ourselves first and foremost. I don't want to sing one line I don't
believe in. I'm glad people are starting to see through the bullshit
in rock music. For too long bands and musicians have treated their
following with little respect by releasing drivel they think will sell
or make some play list on radio. As long as we respect ourselves and
our audience we will always have that connection and in turn will grow
together and naturally. We just want to better ourselves as musicians
and songwriters. That's it.

Some so called ‘alternative’ bands have broken through recently,
scoring top ten albums and day time Radio 1 airplay. What do you think
seems to be the winning formula right now for guitar bands?
I'm not too up to date with charts and whatnot, but if you are talking
about who I think you're talking about then i genuinely believe it's
all down to a loyal following. The 'old fashioned' way of doing things
is alive and well, it just takes time. These bands have played in all
the small venues this country has to offer and made personal
connections with the people that attended the shows. Once you have
made that connection the following becomes a bit more passionate about
what you do and then word of mouth starts to spread and before you
know it you have a core following which is crucial if you want

You were playing new album material to audiences even way back in
February. Did the reaction drastically change any of the new songs?
Were you surprised about the ones that worked best?
We have only played 4 new songs in total to audiences and some have
changed quite a bit. You learn an awful lot about a song when playing
to a room full of strangers, not in terms of reactions but because you
notice little bits that can be improved by playing it night after
night. Every night on stage performing new songs is schooling for us.

How much have you factored in how enjoyable the songs are to play live?
We haven't actually given that much thought in all honesty. We are
just trying to write great songs and we'll worry about playing them
live later. Famous last words!

In an old interview you have said you want the new album to sound
classic with a modern twist? How have you got on with that?
It's been really interesting. This is the first time we have
conceptualised a sound and it's been really great for us to write
songs with such a specific sound in mind. We are definitely nodding to
the past in terms of influences but we want to keep things interesting
with a variety of different sounds layered within each song.
Experimenting in the studio is a necessity for our band.

You’ve mentioned that you have been enjoy Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty,
The Pixies - but have any more recent acts had an influence on what
you’ve created in your latest work?
Bright Eyes have always been a huge influence on me but perhaps the
influence is starting to show a bit more. By that I mean the more
aggressive pop style you sometimes hear with Bright Eyes. They aren't
even recent!! I'm struggling. Actually, we love a band called Colour
Revolt and in terms of sweet tones they have really inspired us whilst
writing this record. Brand New and Manchester Orchestra still remain
big influences but in all honesty the majority of our influences are
older acts.

Murray, you described Scatterbrain as ‘the sweet sound of a young man
losing his mind’. How do you think you could sum up this next album?
A dream like rock record about fixations with love, lust, death and
anxieties. Scrap that! We just want to make pop music cool and loud

Although the final result never seems hindered by lack of members. In
fact most three piece act I know at make a huge noise. How hard is it
when trying to progress a song when writing? Do you have to be able to
imagine all the elements that you would eventually want on the song?
Usually when writing a song I can hear all the other instrumentation
in my head. We try and make the songs sound as good as possible as a 3
piece in our rehearsal space but we are all well aware there will be
overdubs as well as a number of different sounds used on the finished
piece. Other times it's just a case of experimenting when in the
studio to suss out what's working and what's not, trial and error I
guess. I've always been told and stuck by the rule that if you can
play a full band song acoustically and still make it sound great then
you have succeeded in writing a good song.

In terms of ease of writing how does this compare to previous efforts?
The writing process has been really easy and relaxed as we've given
ourselves plenty of time to live with the songs this time round. This
is definitely the most prolific we have ever been. I didn't experience
the dreaded writers block which i have done in the past and i've been
writing pretty much non stop for the past year.

Have you got anything special prepared for your performance at
Relentless Live - production, covers, guests etc...?
We may very well have a lighting guy who will hopefully make us look
incredibly pro but apart from that it'll be a straight up good time.

Most recently played on your Ipod?
The self titled Delta Spirit record.

Music matters to me because....
It's cheaper than therapy.

Dream collaboration?

I'd love for us to work with David Lynch in some sort of capacity. I'd
want him to direct The XCERTS movie that will one day happen.

Any unusual past times outside of the band?
Jordan takes life drawing classes....that's not even unusual is it?
Different I guess.

Stage you’d most like to play?
Either the Music Hall in Aberdeen or the Barrowlands in Glasgow.

Dream music video if money was no object?
Something that looks exactly like one of the early Weezer music videos.

Goal for 2014?

Release a record that allows us to tour the world.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Mum and Me Coatwalk Launch

Emilia Fox and Joanna David, Mum & Me Coatwalk ambassadors, model coats from Jacques Vert Group’s collection of elegant British brands.

My mother has a vague understanding of my job as a journalist and what it involves. In fact it has become less vague of late due to her being on the listening end of numerous stressed rants about the difficulties of being a freelance journalist in 2013...I digress. 

She always enjoys hearing about the 'celebs' that I interview or share a space (and canapes) with at events - although more often than not I'm not entirely sure she knows who they they are. She also likes to coo at the extravagances offered to us - the goody bags and freebies that perk us up when stressed with deadlines. Last week I was gifted with a lovely opportunity to let Mum join me on a 'work' night out and give her a treat in the process. 

For Jacques Vert Group's Mum and Me Coatwalk campaign my mother and I were invited to the rather swish hotel The Lansborough to enjoy a lunch event with ambassadors and award winning acting duo Emilia Fox and her mum Joanna David.   Independent research* carried out by Jacques Vert Group concluded that almost half (46%) of those surveyed said shopping is the number one activity they spend time doing with their mums with 70% agreeing that they would be most likely to go shopping with their mum. The concept of the Mum & Me Coatwalk focuses on this special bond between mum and daughter.

When I was a teenager shopping trips with my mum usually resulted in a fall-out on a spectacular level. The hunt for school shoes was always the most volatile of quests - I wanted brands names, a platform (higher than the school allowed), a key that went in the bottom (Clarks Magic Steps), or a red and green sticker (Kickers). Mum of course wanted classic, reasonably prices and durable. 
We'd of course also have a difference of opinion when it came to flesh baring and certain trends that veered on the 'alternative.' But now, as I near my thirties (ugh), we have somehow met in the middle...(on the most part). I now see the value in classic items, particularly when it comes to winter coats and realize I don't I have to tap all the trends that emerge on the street/catwalk and are dictated as must-haves in the magazine. 

So after accidentally crashing another function when getting lost in the glamorous maze of halls and suites we finally got to meet the correct team who talked us through the collection on display. Knowing that we would get to choose one each for the collection to wear this winter we pondered the advantages of each design. The collarless designs tap in to that cute 60's trends, Camel is always chic, pink coats are the pick for this season, fur trims are luxurious and glam....etc. Mum decided on her winner first, the Jacques Vert Classic Black Full-Length Coat. Its the sort of coat that you see elegant women swishing while they walk through Paris arm and arm with a gorgeous male. I eventually plumped for the Jacques Vert Palamino Cape. i've never had a coat of that shape and I quite fancied the prospect of feeling the opulent fur against my neck this season.

 My Pick

So after we'd made our decision mum indulged in a few glasses of champers and more than a few grabs from the canape trays while we waited for the guests on honour. While mum was eager to see what Joanna David looked like in the flesh, while informing me of her the upcoming appearance in Downton Abbey,  I was eager to see Silent Witness star Emilia, having always envied her petite frame and fragile beauty. 

Once they arrived - I can also confirm Emilia's features are as delicately pretty in the flesh - we watched the amusing promotional video featuring both stars, who giggled along with invited crowd of mums and daughters. Their close and fun bond was evident and as they said their reasons for taking part in the campaign you saw the family duos laced throughout the room give each-other a knowing look or nudge. There were some other faces that my mum not only knew but got a little bit excited about being in ear-wigging distance of - including Angela Rippon, who mum ensured would be in the background of some of our self taken photographs. 

After posing on the press board for some mum/daughter photographic mementos it seemed about time to take mum home. She's not used to drinking champagne and it was starting to be obvious...if you know what I mean! So a very happy, but flushed, Mum and I ventured home feeling chuffed about our new winter coats and appreciative of having the opportunity to hang out together during a working week.

The campaign will launch October 2013, leading with an exclusive Mum & Me Coatwalk collection, inspired by iconic designs and current trends and featuring brands: Kaliko, Planet, Precis, Windsmoor, Minuet Petite, Jacques Vert, Dash and Eastex. The collection will mark Jacques Vert Group’s  largest ever investment in coats (20% increase year-on-year), and will include classic and contemporary styles to appeal to mothers and daughters, offering elegance, confidence, the highest quality and the best British designs. Prices will range from £230 to £299, available in sizes eight to 22. The Mum & Me Coatwalk collection consists of 156 different coat styles that will feature 12 hero coats from Jacques Vert Groups’, elegant British brands. . Debenhams will be exclusively selling the Windsmoor mid length Palomino coat, priced at £299, with a percentage of sales going to the breast cancer charity initiative Think Pink. 

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