Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Wrinkles of the City - La Havana

I'm on a quest at the moment, looking for new things to read, watch and do; to inspire and inject creativity in my right brain (which hasn't been nourished as much as I'd like recently).

Tonight I came across a short film/documentary that did just that: The Wrinkles of the City - La Havana. The documentary is about two artists (JR and José Parlá) who collaborate on a photography and street art project for the Havana Biennale.

The Havana Biennale is an Art Exhibition that takes place in Havana every two years, with the aim of promoting the Third World contemporary art. The Biennale is considered a really important forum for underrepresented voices, and artists from all over the world submit their works, although Latin American and Caribbean artists have priority.

In the film JR and José conduct a series of interviews and portrait photographs, 25 in total, with randomly selected senior citizens who lived through the Cuban revolution. The subjects' portraits are then blown-up, pasted on the deteriorated walls of Cuban buildings and interlaced with palimpsestic calligraphic writing, offering commentary on the live's of their subjects.

These huge mural installations are right up my street, as I've always been a fan of taking art away from paper and I worked in a similar way during my Fine Art A Level. The portraits are stunning and it's refreshing to see everyday people celebrated this way and in such a large scale. I defy you to say these people aren't beautiful.

The film is 30 minutes long, but don't let that deter you from watching it. Grab yourself a cuppa, turn off the mind-numbing TV programmes you usually watch, and let yourself be transported overseas to another world. A world where there's no advertising on the streets and mesmerising Cuban music echos everywhere...

And if you like what you've seen, there are more 'Wrinkles of the City' projects in LA, Shaghai, Berlin and Cartagena to be seen, as well as other projects such as 'Face to Face, Israel & Palestine' over on JR's website:

Buenas noches!


Monday, 27 October 2014

Cameron's Conference Rap by Cassetteboy

To follow on from my recent post: A message for David Cameron & his marketing team and because of my new found interest in politics, I thought I'd share a brilliant video I came across at work today.

'Cameron's Conference Rap' is by the mashup king Cassetteboy and was created as a way to thank Cameron for making parody videos exempt from copyright laws at the start of this month.

Cassetteboy has done a grand job on Cameron, rearranging and stitching together his party conference speeches, to highlight the many reasons why it's time to get this party out. And to one of my favourite raps from my school-days: Eminem - Lose Yourself.

The video is not only creatively brilliant but it also supports my views on the conservative party. I've taken the time to note down the lyrics, so have a read - it's easy to miss the gems in the video.

Thank you... Thank you...
We've been recording a music video and it goes like this...

I'm hardcore and I know the score, and I am disgusted by the poor, and my chums matter more, because we are the law and I've made sure we ready for class war.

Taking money from the man who works long hours, giving power to the tycoon in the glass towers. That is why I can look you in the eye and say this is the party of the mother f****s, we don't care about the mother suckers because this is the party of the mother f*****s, and no, I don't think that's a dirty word.

So let the beat drop...

I come here with flows right from the top, everybody knows if you work in a shop we won't help you and you know what people rising from the bottom to the top, has got to stop. We have the bravery to bring back slavery, working in a supermarket is just the start of it.

My friends there is no job at the end of it. You'll be working for your benefits forever.
Let me get this off my chest, saying yes we are selling the NHS, and we'll give you less and that's just for starters, even after privatising sticking plasters, it is a social disaster that makes own heart beat faster.

Now I am your master, the last thing this country needs, is us the conservatives, worst than the alternative. We don't care if you're driven to despair don't you dare, say it's not fair. 

I'm not saying it's not funny, it is for me, I've got loads of money. This is the party of the mother f*****s, the country is run for me and my mothers. This is the party of the party of the mother f******s. We just don't care about the mother suckers.



Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A message for David Cameron & his marketing team

Today I noticed that the Conservative marketing team was audience targeting me on Facebook with its xenophobic propaganda (disguised as a market research survey).  Probably because I keep posting negative comments about the Torys...

I wasn't impressed. See what I mean:

Since Mr Cameron is so interested in hearing my opinion, I'll tell him some things I strongly disagree with:

1- MPs getting a 9% pay increase (because they can no longer fiddle their expenses).

Our MPs should be leading by example and showing solidarity with the rest of us, many of whom have seen a drop in our living standards.

Read more about this here:

2- Tax avoidance
The wealthy avoiding paying tax and moving their profits off-shore – and the government smoke-screening these wrongdoings (because they have vested interest in some of these businesses) by focusing on the ‘massive benefit fraud’. For those of you that don't know 'for every £1 swallowed up by benefit fraud, £4 disappears because of people like Gary Barlow'.

Read more about this here:

3- Zero-hour contracts
At least 250,000 people in Britain (and possibly over 1 million!) are being exploited on zero-hour contracts (forcing us to top-up wages with low income support, so that people have a liveable wage). Question? *Destiny's Child style* Why are we supporting these businesses making billions of £££s profit that they then take out of the country & keep it at the top of the organisation?).

Supporting research here:

4- Privatisation of public services
Fat-cat directors, with no idea what's needed to run an organisation effectively cutting budgets, so that hardworking nurses, midwifes and probation officers are expected to do the job of three people without well needed breaks.

Want to know why privatisation is bad, read more about it here:

I could go on... but then I'd be ranting.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Thailand Travels: 1 month (31 days) in Thailand... in 6 minutes

Over four months ago I set off on a solo travelling adventure around Thailand. It was the most exciting and scary thing I've ever done in my life but it was certainly the making of me!

Before I travelled I had been battling with depression for a year and I had a really low sense of self worth. However, travelling solo built me back up to the happy, confident can-do person I used to be before the depression and for that I will forever be grateful.

 I spent 31 days travelling Thailand covering, Bangkok, Chiang Mia, Khao Sok National Park, Koh Samui, Ko Tao, Koh Phangan, Ko Phi Phi and Railay Beach!

Each day I tried to record a few seconds of video and now (FINALLY) I've collated all my recordings to make this mash-up video of my adventure. The video is just over 6 minutes long and mostly contains 3-5 second clips (unless the footage was too good to be cut and then it's more like 10-15 seconds!)

I meet some incredible people along the way and made memories I'll treasure forever. It really was the BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE (so far) and I want to thank all those that star in the video, for bringing a massive smile back to my face!

Every time I watch it I remember how lucky I am to have the chance to do this and how much you can do in 31 days if you put your mind to it!

Thailand I ♥ You!


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Thailand Travels: Day 26, Pee Pee Viewpoint & Bob's Booze Cruise

Waking up in my treehouse was as exciting as the day I arrived. This time the sun was beaming through the french doors and I could see the whole of the bay in all it's glory. The tide was now in, and the sea resembled a spilled paint pot, with turquoise blue shades running into a vibrant sky blue ones. It was serious postcard material and felt like the perfect time to write the stack of postcards I'd bought last night.

After that it was time for breakfast and there were 3 options: full American/English, scrambled eggs on toast or beans on toast. I went for full English, but unfortunately it was cold. Also like everywhere I've eaten in Thailand, the bread and butter tasted sweet and like it had sugar in it. Weirdly they also brought jam to have with the full English! The breakfast area was stunning though, looking out over the bay with parasols to shade you from the intense morning heat.

Yesterday I signed up for Bob's Booze Cruise, a recommendation from a guy from my full moon hostel. The cruise due to start at 1pm which meant I had the morning to myself. I decided that I wanted to try find Pee Pee viewpoint, which I didn't know at the time... was a very long uphill trek with lots of steps. Using the map, I found Phi Phi viewpoint 1 which is the first viewpoint. It was pretty blinding, but I knew that the next level would be even more spectacular.

On my way up I started chatting to three very hungover English guys, it was funny because they were obviously struggling a lot more as a result of the hangover and one guy even gave up just 10 minutes before the second summit point!

Despite dripping with sweat and struggling to gasp air in, I didn't give up and I made it to the top! Unfortunately I only had about 10 minutes to appreciate the view before I realised I had to make my decent back to the pier to meet for the booze cruise. Coming down was obviously a lot easier and 20 minutes later (half the time it took to climb up!!) I was at the pier.

I was a little early so I took the chance to snap some photos of the beautiful white sandy bay and all the long hosts that were lined up along it.

At 12:50 it was time to meet. The cruise was very full so we had to have two boats to carry everyone. Luckily I got to go on the yacht which was very cool and felt more like proper sailing as we had a sail and a boom.

The cruise begun with cliff-jumping which I'd done before, but was a lot tricker! You had to don wet suit shoes before jumping off the boat because the cliff was so spikey, and to make things harder there were huge waves chucking you back and forth against the rocks as you tried to get close enough to climb up.

I tried my best to climb up onto the rocks, but my shoes were too big and kept slipping off so I had to hold onto them whilst trying to climb. To add further to the challenge my bikini didn't want to stay up! I'm not a strong swimmer, so after 15 minutes of trying to tread water in the queue to get up the cliff, whilst the waves chucked me against the spikey rocks, I had to give up and swim back to the boat for fear of drowning!

Next stop was Viking Bay where Bob, our captain, explained how there was a drink made from bird snot which was worth lots of money. The bird snot was found in the nests at the top of the rocks in this area which were patrolled by the hunters.

After that it was on to Maya Bay, which is famous because 'The Beach', staring Leonado DiCaprio, was filmed there. To get from our boat you either had to swim or kayak over, since I wanted to take my camera, kayaking was my only option. Bob very kindly triple-dry-bagged my camera and paddled me across to the rope ladder where you had to climb over to get to Maya Bay. I'd heard Maya Bay was a tourist hotspot but nothing prepared me for the volume of tourists and boats on the beach. There were at least 10 speed boats full of tourists and around 10 long-tail boats as well. It was near impossible to get a photo without another tourist getting in the way! But I waited patiently determined to get a least one!

The last stop was an amazing cove between two huge cliffs, which just one other boat had found. There we found a rope swing, caves and a sound system playing party music. Excited to go explore we filled up our cups and grabbed new beers and kayaked across to the cove from the boat. Some oven group jumped off their boat wearing life jackets like nappies which was very funny to watch. The water was early warm and shallow so we were able to have a drunken game of frisbee in the water (we weren't very good but it was lots of fun all the same!)

Here the second boat joined us and we cranked up the music and partied until the sun started to go down.

As we sailed back to the pier the grand finale of the day was the sun setting gorgeous yolk and tangerine hues, against the silhouette of Phi Phi's cliffs.