Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Code of Colour

Lately, my mind has been preoccupied with colours. Lovely, dreamy colours. A simple, but fairly novel notion for someone who only last year (after a wardrobe colour co-ordination mission) had to make a definite resolution to stop purchasing solely black & white and step out into technicolour world.

Since then, I have welcomed colour into my life quite gladly. It's always a joyous occasion in the office when my pal & graphic design whizz(ard) Chris receives the newest pantone brochure, overflowing with inspiring palettes and this season's hues. For fashionista, tip-lovers out there, I'd recommend that you add the pantone website to your bookmarks bar, as it's one of the first places to spot next season's colour reports for both womenswear and menswear. If you're interested, you can find the current predication for Spring 2013, here.

Anyway, I stumbled across this on a website the other day and I'm a little bit hooked. I realise I'm about 10 years late to this game but I introduce: the Colour Code Generator. Essentially, it takes your photographs/images, half inches the colours and generates a matching colour scheme. I can't quite explain why I've spent so much time checking out the colour codes of 100 different images, but I like it. Not only does it inspire amazing colour schemes but it also feels like creating a list from a photograph. And, I like lists too. Moreover, the idea of combining colour with a numerical system makes the slight OCD freak inside me (I'm a Virgo) very, very happy. Addictive - especially when house hunting is in the pipeline!

sept_colourgen_3 sept_colourgen_2 sept_colourgen_1 sept_colourgen_4 sept_colourgen_5 sept_colourgen_7 sept_colourgen_6

Images sources: // Image 1 // Image 2 // Image 3 // Image 4 // (All the rest, property of Novella Afterglow)

| Lauren |

Monday, 24 September 2012

Better heads needs shut eye

It's Monday.  I'm tired. I need: a strong cup of tea and this, the first single from Stealing Sheep's debut album, on repeat, please.

James was given the album on vinyl a few weeks ago and I was instantly hooked by their buoyant acapello chants, the trance-inducing tribal beats and the swirling, folky harmonies. It's a stunningly, hypnotic tune from the all girl, three piece and without a doubt, lovely to listen to on a rainy morning.

It'll also be the only bit of sweet shut eye I'll be getting for the next eight hours at least. Enjoy!

| L + J |

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A space for sounds

A music studio is the palette and canvas for any musician and having a nice space to work in is so important to the creative process.

Having a studio in the box room in the house was great, but also limiting at times, whether it be noisy neighbours, or sleep times cutting off the recording schedule. I have now moved all my studio gear except for a few guitars, amps and a tape recorder, which will still be needed at home for little bursts of ideas.

The move is to a lovely farmyard in Northants, a quaint barn conversion, and a properly soundproofed control room. Lauren and I made the move at the weekend, and it took a few car journeys to get all the gear there. With everything set up (after about 3 hours) we listened to some of our favourite records, and got used to the new space. Looking forward to spending countless hours writing and producing in this room...

fair 4
studio 3studio_9studio 4 studio 2studio_13studio 1 fair 1 

| James |

I lost my heart at the fairground...

A car journey home; interrupted by the alluring jewel-toned illuminations of the funfair. Jumping out, armed with a (really bad) disposable we took some pretty, underexposed photographs and a had a quick ride on the twister. Best evening. Despite forgetting about the full tub of Ben & Jerry's we left melting in the car.
fair 16 fair 15 fair 17 fair 13 fair 18 fair 23 fair 14 fair 19

| L + J |

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Smoke Sirens

The use of a cigarette in photography has often sparked debate. In light of the recent smoking ban and decision to conceal all branding, more so than usual.

I can only guess that it's feared that the packaging alone has the ability to hypnotise the impressionable and accentuate the appeal of these smoky sticks. One must not even cast a quick gaze because the supreme power of the cigarette will not only suffocate innocent lungs but will inevitably, suck their victim into an inescapable life of vice and ruin. One can learn from comparatives in the Victorian era, that the fallen individual, outcast from society will spend the remainder of their life under the judgemental eye of respectable, non-smokers. Or something of equal hyperbole.

Whatever you might think of smoking itself, you cannot deny the charm of billowing smoke clouds on a soft focus image. The drama & naughtiness masquereded by a romantic, hazy, tranquility. To contextualise my over use of adjectives, here's a few of our favourite snaps that we've been loving over on pinterest this week...

smoke signals 1 smoke signals 2 smoke signals 3 smoke signals 4 smoke signals 5 smoke signals 6 smoke signals 7
More of the collection over on our pinterest board, 'smoke signals'.
| Lauren

Monday, 10 September 2012

Books V. Cigarettes


Yesterday - a Sunday void of any agenda - I decided to nest under summer's last breaths of warm air and make a start Orwell's collection of essays, 'Books V. Cigarettes'. If that sounds crazily self-indulgent, I can confirm that it was. I didn't move for hours and it was bloody marvellous. Incredibly engaging, I'd finished before the sun had left the sky.

I had the book on my wish list for a while, enticed in by the bold, mid-century print and intriguing title. It's the title's subject that dominates the first essay of the book, in which Orwell, prompted by an 1940s factory worker's exclaimation that, "Chaps like us don't spent twelve and sixpence on a book," attempts to evaluate whether or not reading books is an expensive hobby. Orwell, then goes on to comment that these are men that think nothing of spending a couple of pounds on a day trip to Blackpool, as well as analysing his own expenditure (£20 a year on books, £40 a year on cigs & alcohol... hear, hear!)

It's a subject that resonates with me, as it's something I've often thought about. Studying English Lit, leaves a girl with two things: a) a flipload of Blackwells rewards points and b) a rather vast book collection. Eighty per cent of which, I probably haven't opened up since their first (mandatory) reading.

The logistics of housing such a collection is quite frankly, a pain in the posterior and I'm sad to say they're all currently crammed into storage boxes while I'm in between houses. However, I don't think I'll ever be able to throw away a single one.  Additionally if like Orwell, I analysed my expenditure on books, in relation to how much I spend on clothes, going out etc, I'd probably actually feel like I need to balance the scales by buying more books! I'm sold.

The essay which I found the most enjoyable to read was 'Confessions of a Book Reviewer.' A delightful and very witty insight into the daily routine of a literary reviewer. Orwell hilariously describes the desperation of a disheveled reviewer, disillusioned by the reality of his career and stuck in an endless cycle of procrastination and demotivation. And of course, the fear-induced inspiration that wills the review to be written & completed, in the final moments before the deadline. It's a roller coaster of emotions I can most certainly sympathise. Also, for some reason, I kept picturing the reviewer as the scientist from the film, Wonderwall, (this guy). Made me chuckle.

The last third of the book is a big of a slog, dedicated to Orwell's recollections of his time spent at a public prep school. Unlike the other chapters, it's pretty long and reads like pre-war working class literature; detailing the hardships, the unnecessary cruelty from adults to minors, and predicaments caused by differences in social status & class. The tone is less comical than the rest but interesting nonetheless...if you're a fan of bleak things and teenage self-pity.

If you fancy taking a metaphorical meander through his work, Orwell's essays are available to read online, here. Go, go, go.

| Lauren

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Time to live in the scattered sun

Last month, James was working at a festival in Henley on Thames, so I decided to tag along. Although it wasn't entirely our cup of tea (eighties themed, too much neon, too many ladies screaming at Adam Ant & various members of Straits), it did house the most beautiful makeshift bar that we have ever seen. Styled to capture the smoke-filled atmosphere of a 1920s jazz joint, the bar was decorated with ornate art nouveau design with scattered round tables, where everyone could sit and absorb the live skiffle that was played throughout the day. 
Renowned for its annual royal regatta, the town itself, is a beauty from what we saw. If anything, a little too picturesque. If my knowledge of idyllic looking English country dwellings serves me right (read: midsummer murders) something untowards has to be going on. That said, definitely worth another visit... p'haps when the eightiesness has died down a little. 
For one who resents having to take off his jacket and another who has no tolerance whatsoever to the 35 degree heat that selfishly stifled the air, the relentless sunshine was unbearable so we retreated into the cave-like shade of the Moroccan lounge and watered ourselves with deliciously, refreshing coconut water. So, good. 
| Lauren |
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