Review: Jaswant Bhachu
Our Editor-In-Chief Christopher Sims is off to India for 2 weeks on a work trip so we thought we would all get into the mood with a beautiful Indian classical music concert this Sunday.
With the forecasted hot weather, it is the perfect time to experience magical music in the beautiful surroundings of Belgrave Hall and Gardens, Leicester.
Sip on a hot cup of chai on a warm summer’s evening and immerse yourself in ‘ragas’ and rhythms. Bring along your picnic blanket and unwind. Sitar Music Society brings us this event in association with Leicester City Council, An Indian Summer and festival sponsor Sony TV.
For more information and tickets follow the event here.
ADVENTURES OF A SEX AND DRUG ADDICT
REVIEW BY SARA DARLING
Following a successful career in brand communications, Ruth Phypers now works as a holistic healer, devoted Buddhist and yoga practitioner, and that is how I happened to meet her, without realising anything of her past.
Working on me using Low Laser Light Therapy to target my fine lines and wrinkles, we formed a bond, and I was intrigued when she shyly offered me her first penned book to read. We all have back stories, but certain people have faced one too many battles and overcome adversities to make them interesting enough to share.
Reading biographies of people you don’t know can sometimes seem a bit pointless. Who are these people and why is their story more interesting than mine? However if it’s someone who has turned their life around and writes with eloquence and honesty, it’s like reading fiction. And with the strap line, ‘Adventures of a Sex and Love Addict’, there was no doubt I was intrigued by a voyeuristic insight into someone else’s life. However do not expect don’t expect throbbing bodies and sweat drenched elicit soirees, Phypers provides a no holds barred peephole into her relationships that were dangerous, painful and questioned her own sanity.
Searching for affection since childhood, Phypers has always been attracted to both men and women; And suffering sexual abuse from a male teacher who was also a family friend, aged eight, meant her subsequent relationships fell into the cycle of manipulation and psychological abuse. Her relationship with her religious father was also tense, and without any support she fended for herself in the only way she know how- by seeking affection.
Leaving home and moving to London where she discovered drugs, was a spiral downwards, and she formed hedonistic relationships with countless men and women; All failing in part due to paranoia, dependency and trust issues, which lead lead to a repetitive cycle of depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts and crippling anxiety around relationships (both intimate and professional).
But with all addictions, the addict has to be the one who wants to quit, and it is the honesty of realising that she is an addict which is the most touching.... After failed relationships, careers and mental breakdown, Phypers almost admits defeat, but eventually finds solace in a Sex Addiction help group; Like AA, there is support from other members who have experienced a self-destructive circle of unavailable partners and short-lived affairs.
The recovery programme taught her that she was a worthy human being-worthy of love, and along with Buddhism is her key to finding inner peace. This along with chanting and yoga is an uplifting finale which brings closure on her self-inflicted shame and culminates in optimism and is an uplifting read for anyone who is on a path of transformation from suffering to self-realisation.
MEXICAN FOOD THE WAY MEXICANS COOK IT!
BY SARA DARLING
I love spicy food, and my heart did a teeny flip when I was invited to the first birthday party at Mestizo Market (adjacent to the established restaurant and tequila bar) on a busy main road near Euston….Little did I know that NW1 is hugely popular with our Hispanic cousins!
A multi-level Mexican restaurant, bar and marketplace, Mestizo Market is a slice of real Mexico, with a huge range of ingredients, sauces, crafts and artworks, shipped in directly from independent sellers and makers in Mexico, along traditional and cultural artefacts, and a healthy dose of Frida Kahlo merch for a total Mexican shopping experience. And tequila. Don't get me started on that!!
Set out in themes, the store celebrates vibrant Mexico, with art, fashion, cookware, pottery and homewares, delightfully displayed in a riot of colour; Even the range of food and drinks are worth a gander in their colourful tins and logos.
Founded by a group of friendly Mexicans who moved to London but couldn’t find food they liked, it seemed the obvious choice to import their much loved larder essentials from Mexico. Beginning life as a restaurant (which was in full service on a balmy Tuesday night) the demand for customers to be able to source the original local ingredients led to the launch of the adjoining grocery store in 2017.
With August being a Margarita month, much tequila was consumed at the birthday party in the private ‘Downstairs’ tequila bar in the basement. but it helped soak up the vegetarian and vegan nibbles which kept on coming...
If you like your food hot, and your tequila authentic, this central London joint is definitely worth a visit. Proper Mexican and not a sniff of Tex Mex in sight! Sauteed cactus anyone?
And with everything from Wheat/ gluten /nut free, lactose intolerant , burritos and brunch on the restaurant menu, who knew eating with special dietary requirements could be some much fun!!!
With one year under its belt there is definitely a market for stocking up on spices, and traditional burritos, tacos and enchiladas to pozole rojo, mole verde and filete arriero.. Just pop a sombrero, poncho and fake moustache in your basket and ole- party at yours!
Check it out for yourself
103 Hampstead Road
By Sara Darling
Are you a twin? Do you know any twins? Do you like art house thrillers?
A confusing, thrilling and arousing movie, ‘Double Lover’ is a gripping, psychological sex romp starring identical twins (or are they?) It is French after all! So ambiguity, and lots of nudity is guaranteed. And for anyone who gets excited by threesomes, be prepared to writhe in your seat!
Opening with a beautiful, slightly neurotic and seemingly sexually inhibited young woman Chloe (Marine Vacth), who is baring all to her doctor, *quite literally. The tummy cramps she has been experiencing are dismissed by her GP as she is referred to a shrink to delve deeper into her delicate, mental state and unearth how her symptoms might be connected to her past At this stage, you might expect is to be a straightforward doctors and nurses fantasy scenario, however Chloe is deeper than the pretty puddle, that she appears.
On first meeting with her her psychoanalyst, the screen cackles with sexual tension. Intimate eye contact, heavy breathing and laden silences add to the chemistry- although the therapist Paul (played by Jérémie Renier) tries his best to remain professional. However the sessions expose vulnerabilities on both parties, and Paul finally admits he cannot see her in a professional capacity any more as he won’t be able to control himself.
It appears that the singletons do the right thing by casting aside the working relationship, and fall in love. Is this the start of Chloe’s recovery? It would be easy to get sucked in by the happy ending, although the movie has only just begun! However after a shogun romance, the smitten couple move in together, to the distaste of Chloe’s faithful cat who from the outset has a problem with Paul. Is this a warning sign? Probably, but when Chloe finds ID with another name, the beacon is definitely flashing a red alert on her beau.
With a bit of amateur detective work (perhaps as she has too much time on her hands since quitting her modelling career) she manages to track down another psychiatrist with a matching name.. Now the situation starts to get saucy. This new shrink is the spitting image of her lover (and is in actual fact his identical twin- played again by Jérémie Renier, with his hair combed differently).
Dr. Louis Delord is the brother Paul refuses to acknowledge, and of course Chloe is intrigued as he does not talk about his past…. Creating a fake identity for herself, she books in for an appointment, and begins a series of addictive therapy sessions with Louis (who thinks he can “cure” her of her sexual frigidity by partaking in actual aggressive sex). Knowing that Chloe is actually her brother’s lover and she is getting what she needs from him, adds to his thrill and the tension of the meetings. The complete opposite to his brother Paul, sexually liberated Louis uses practical methods to unblock his patient, and Chloe unleashes a pleasure she has not experienced before.
However, Chloe is in a dilemma. Trying to fight off her basic instinct to remain faithful to her live-in-lover, she can’t succumb the temptation of ‘therapy’ with the brother- where she confronts her most deeply buried secrets and desires.
With both men claiming a part in her life, she can’t refuse either sex, and when the home loving Paul straddles her for a missionary wham bam, a second version of Paul (or is it Louis?) comes into the bedroom to watch the proceedings... and the real Paul beckons the other him over to join in; Starting with a kiss, the foreplay soon turns more aggressive, which seems to please them both. With Chloe watching, both males start to caress her, kissing, sucking, licking with two mouths for double the pleasure. Cue arty French movie klaxon- as Chloé’s wanton pleasure causes her body to split from the breasts to form a second head of her own, in order to get satisfaction from both lovers.
This dreamy, erotic scene does noting to clarify which lover Chloe should be with, as she wantonly continues a relationship with both, however it has released some of her inhibitions as she livens up intercourse with Paul by pleasuring him from behind with a dildo in front of a mirror.
Unsurprising, with unprotected intercourse, Chloe discovers she is pregnant but how can she be sure who the father is? The finger points at no-one, but flashbacks to the past indicate that this situation has happened before with the two brothers, but which one is she to believe?
A tense reunion of the lovers, where we don’t know who is real or fake is confusing, and along with the screen of mirrors, the resulting gunshot is as expected as it is unexpected. One twin is eliminated; But is the right one or the wrong one? Do we have a favourite? Are we supposed to? There is no time to digest these questions, as Chloe is rushed off to hospital. Presumably to give birth or have a miscarriage.
On waking her absent mother is waiting, with boyfriend Paul. In a resolution (of sorts) it turns out the stomach cramps that had been plaguing her turned out to be a cyst brought on by her sapping up her own twin’s placenta whilst in her mother’s womb; So for her first twenty five years she had been carrying round a sibling’s embryo- which suggests her fascination with twins.
No happy endings, but a compulsive and more-ish film nonetheless.
In cinemas on June 1st
BY SARA DARLING
David LaChapelle goes solo in Groningen
If you need any convincing to pop over to the pretty city of Groningen in Holland, the David LaChapelle exhibition should sway you in the right direction. Not the most obvious place to showcase the photographer’s raunchy images (after all, he has a history photographing Beyonce, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga), but this latest anthology returns to his artistic roots, and complement Groningen’s old town juxtaposed with modern buildings, which nestle on the canal in the north of the Netherlands.
Known for producing experimental fashion editorials, commercials and music videos for high profile clients, LaChapelle has worked with every big name in the industry, and is one of the most respected and in demand photographers around the world; So it is interesting to find that the Gronginger Museum, already owns one of his controversial, hyper stylised works, and is the place he chose for his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands.
To the broad minded Dutch nation- naked bodies, interracial relationships and liberal religious views are widely acceptable, and a show that comments on sexuality, birth, death and nature in an idyllic, utopian world would appear to be the perfect partnership. Taking over the modernistic Museum (which was redesigned by Philippe Starck and Alessandro Mendini) adds a unique, modern focus to the university town. Situated in a central location on the canal, and directly opposite the ancient architecture of the train station it offers a juxtaposition of eras, but this is something that works so well in Holland.
A bit of a rebel himself, LaChapelle ran away to New York aged 15, and worked as a busboy in Studio 54. Immersing himself in glamorous New York disco scene, he got to know the “It” crowd and partied with the movers and shakers of the eighties pop art scene including Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. It is also where he was introduced to Andy Warhol and his infamous “Factory”. Already photographing people, LaChapelle soon gained recognition for his uniquely raw images. Snapped up by Warhol, he became the photographer for ‘Interview’ magazine and exhibited alongside other 80s pioneers Doug Aitken and Karen Kilimnik.
His style emphasising lewd, larger than life subjects became him trademark, and he embraced the flamboyant characters of the nineties and noughties. Celebrities, high fashion magazines and advertising clients were queuing up to get immersed in La Chapelle’s irreverent gaze- where anti-perfection was approved and surrealism encouraged. However, the celebrity bubble seems to have peaked for LaChapelle, as his more recent work is a much more personal representation of transfiguration, regaining paradise, and the notion of life after death.
Breaking boundaries, La Chapelle uses fine art as a basis for his work and is the first to admit he explores the darker side of reality. Often using props, he is the master of creating make believe worlds where anything is possible. The hyper-real landscapes blend urban and suburban environments to create a make believe setting which is also super real and accessible. This form of art is contrary to what other commercial photographers were presenting, and opened up a niche market for emotions.
In fact, after shooting every celebrity (and their dog) in 2006, he stepped away from commercial work, retreating to an isolated former nudist colony in Maui, Hawaii to focus on fine-art photography and farming. Whether this break was a rejection of the fast moving lifestyle where celebrity photography comes with its own celebrity or it was a time to reflect as he openly talks about his friends who died of AIDS, his consequential work has a more personal influence.
‘Good News for Modern Man’ is filled with sins and redemption is a deeply personal insight into LaChapelle’s life. With over 70 pieces, the narrative is as jerky as it is unanticipated, yet it seems to flow. Clearly inspired by fine artists Edward Hopper, William Blake and the Old Masters, LaChapelle has a knack of combining the two disciplines -fusing photography with art; Resulting in large scale representations of joy, lust, and paradise which are symbolic and timeless.
Mostly, these works reject the material world and are deeply spiritual or religious, with obvious reference to the greats. In particular, you can recognise Michelangelo's ‘Renaissance’ in ‘The Deluge’ series. An immersive piece of art which engulfs the viewer in the ginormous seven metres wide span. On closer inspection you can see the sitters are big names from celebritydom, with Kanye West as Jesus, Lil' Kim as the Virgin Mary and Naomi Campbell as Venus, which might be highly irreverent for some.
Part of LaChapelle’s work is tongue in cheek. Courting exploitation, he chooses religion to express popularity; Nothing is sacred or forbidden and his modern day representation of religious icons brings a new dimension to opinions of life after death and questions the metaphysical side of life.
With a clear shift in focus from commercial commissions, this exhibition displays LaChapelle’s personal and intuitive concepts. Split into categories. ‘New World’ shares his personal search for Eden using thinly disguised biblical references which have the background of his sanctuary in Hawaii. However these pieces are seen more as art than photography as the two disciplines are fused to produce hyper-surreal images which burst into thousands of colours in front of you.
With most of this work referencing modern day culture, it is impossible to ignore the symbolic references. ‘Icarus’ dictates a disgust at the addiction to laptops and smart phones, whereas ‘Birth of Venus’ is a beautiful (if not raunchy interpretation of Botticelli’s symbolic nude, creating a modern pastiche of model Hana Soukupova in a tropical setting. Even the Nativity (2012) gets a makeover as a 21st century work of art, controversially representing the birth of Jesus in Africa.
The exhibition, will no doubt question the viewers spiritual beliefs, and LaChapelle even questions himself, on how long modern art actually lasts. It is a must see for anyone with an inquisitive nature as the show is not just about the artworks, but is an important slice of history which makes a profound commentary on the contemporary world.
The exhibition LaChapelle: Good News For Modern Man can be seen from 21 April to 28 October 2018.
Head to Groningen for the exhibition and stay the weekend. This up and coming city is well worth a visit and only two hours from Amsterdam, you can have the perfect weekend away!
Museumeiland 1, 9711 ME Groningen
A pretty, listed 4star hotel, dating back to the 15th century.
NH Groningen Hotel de Ville
Oude Boteringestraat 43-45, 9712 GD Groningen
The perfect way to see the city without walking across the cobbles.
Stationsweg 1012, 9726 AZ Groningen
Delicious, healthy modern cuisine. Open late, but must book.
Folkingestraat 42, Groningen
DO WE ALL HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO MURDER? THAT IS THE QUESTION RAISED IN 'BEAST'
By Sara Darling
We all have a beast within; Whether we acknowledge it or not is a different kettle of fish, and Michael Pearce’s directorial debut, Beast plays upon this ambiguity with dangerous consequences.
A contemporary love story, the film is set on the sleepy island of Jersey, where everyone knows everyone’s business- or so it seems on the surface. However, dig a little deeper under this chocolate box town, and the locals are hiding a dark secret- a spate of young girls who have been raped and murdered, by the same suspect.
Cut to Moll, played by Jessie Buckley. Angelic in appearances- a shock of red hair, sensible clothes, younger looking than her 27 years. She looks like butter wouldn’t melt- but she has a violent past. Still living at home with a monster of a mother played by Geraldine James (and Alzheimer's riddled dad), she is trapped in her in her cultish family ways, of curfews and choir practice and saccharine sweet sister and golden boy brother.
When Moll is serving drinks at her own birthday party, you know something is about to explode. Her sister’s carefully timed announcement of expecting twins is the catalyst to push Moll over the edge, as she escapes to free herself with un abandoned passion and alcohol at the local club.
However our lead girl is no slut, and rejects the advances of her drinking partner, which could have turned sinister, had she not been saved by her knight in shining armour- the mysterious and brooding local Pascal, who is so neanderthal, he almost grunts!
This meeting provides Moll with a focus that is completely distanced from her regimented family. The shady Pascal fills her with intrigue and escape and the relationship she develops goes against all her familial values, and can be seen as a reaction to her snobbish, judgemental family, where our romantic hero saves her. But is everything always that simple?
As the relationship flourishes, the police discover the corpse of the fourth young woman and paranoia around the island is intensified. Fingers are pointed not so subtly at outsider Pascal, as the story unfolds as to what he was doing on the night of the last murder.
As any thriller, there is no such thing as black and white, and it is this clever tango which makes you uncertain who to believe. Pascal continues to proclaim his innocence, and Moll’s defense of him increasingly makes her a social outcast. How much she believes her own denial, and whether she is reacting because of her brush with crime as a youth sets a heavy ambiguous tone.
Choosing to pursue a relationship with Pascal, over her family, she is putting herself at risk. Fistly as a vulnerable woman- after all if he is the murderer, who is to say he won’t finish off his lover? But also by falling in love.
With fraught scenes, which will resonate with anyone that has been in a relationship, the two have real life chemistry, and their bickering is almost voyeuristic. The viewer is taken on a journey, where they don’t know who to believe, or want to believe and it is just as important what happens next, as what has happened in the past.
There is a moment Pascal shows his monster instinct, when Moll pushes him to move from Jersey, to begin a new life. His reaction is fierce and violent, and once again the mind switches to thinking he could be the murderer after all!
It’s very much a movie to keep you on the edge of your seat; Not easy to watch, but extremely watchable. Written in a way that you can’t not like Pascal, even though, you like Moll are suspicious; His charisma and confidence make you want them to work it out. When they reunite at a beachside restaurant, this is an heavily loaded scene where the air cackles with tension. Pascal’s enigmatic, evasive energy and Moll’s determination to find the truth.
It is questionable whether we need to know the truth, but the cat and mouse tension which has been an undercurrent throughout is finally exposed. We all have a beast within. Watch this for reassurance!
Out in cinemas nationwide on 27th April.
BY SARA DARLING
Mention the name Gianfranco Ferré, and his pristine white shirts might spring to mind. In fact, his career as a fashion designer is far more celebrated than his work as a jeweller. With a degree in architecture, his conceptual jewels and highly structured fashion complement each other in their diversity. Using precious stones, his jewellry interprets his clothing collections, cleverly intertwining an element of reference. Particularly utilising eye catching ornaments for the neck wrists and the waist.
His fashion credentials established when he designed his first collection in 1974. In 1978, he founded his own company and in1989 became artistic director of Christian Dior. Ferré designed haute couture and women's prêt-à-porter collections for Dior until 1996, when he returned to working exclusively for his own company.
Ferre’s trademark reinvention of the white shirt in the nineties, allowed him to enter the realm of every woman's wardrobe, and his incentive cuts reflected his passion for travel, with later collections inspired by cultures from all over the world consisting of highly structured garments with trademark, strong, prominent seams.
Dubbed the Frank Lloyd Wright of fashion, which is a reference to his architectural roots, he blended his love of practicality seamlessly into fashion design; Declaring ‘fashion is logic’ his jewellery is made with a much more experimental eye.
Choosing to work with unique and unusual jewels, his catwalk jewellery collections are intensely detailed, and using pearls, polished shells, crystals, corals and painted wood, the avant-garde creations are like no other. Not bound by any constrictions, the jewellery is timeless as it does not fit into one particular style.
In the mesmerising coffee table book, Gianfranco Ferré: Under Another Light. Jewels and Ornaments, over 100 colour photographs have been catalogued into a digestible slice of the glamorous world of couture jewellery. Art directed by Vogue Italia’s Luca Stoppini, it is perfect for jewellery and fashion lovers alike
Order a copy here
Beatrix Campbell book release that joins the dots between neoliberalism and sexism, between equal pay, war zones, the veil, The Wire, the web and welfare states… a new way of thinking about where we’re at.
Among liberal thinkers, there is an optimistic belief that men and women are on a cultural journey toward equality - in the workplace, on the street, and in the home. But observation and evidence both tell us that in many ways this progress has stopped - and in some cases even reversed. In "The End of Equality", renowned feminist Beatrix Campbell argues that even as the patriarchy has lost some of its legitimacy, new inequalities are emerging in our culture. We are living, Campbell writes, in an era of neopatriarchy in which violence has proliferated; body anxiety and self-hatred have flourished; rape is committed with impunity; sex trafficking thrives; and the struggle for equal pay is at an end. After four decades observing society, Campbell still speaks of the long-sought goal of gender equality. But now she calls for a new revolution.
Available at Foyles
Article: Craig Murray
Evidence submitted by the British government in court today proves, beyond any doubt, that Boris Johnson has been point blank lying about the degree of certainty Porton Down scientists have about the Skripals being poisoned with a Russian “novichok” agent.
Yesterday in an interview with Deutsche Welle Boris Johnson claimed directly Porton Down had told him they positively identified the nerve agent as Russian:
You argue that the source of this nerve agent, Novichok, is Russia. How did you manage to find it out so quickly? Does Britain possess samples of it?
Let me be clear with you … When I look at the evidence, I mean the people from Porton Down, the laboratory …
So they have the samples …
They do. And they were absolutely categorical and I asked the guy myself, I said, “Are you sure?” And he said there’s no doubt.
I knew and had published from my own whistleblowers that this is a lie. Until now I could not prove it. But today I can absolutely prove it, due to the judgement at the High Court case which gave permission for new blood samples to be taken from the Skripals for use by the OPCW. Justice Williams included in his judgement a summary of the evidence which tells us, directly for the first time, what Porton Down have actually said:
16. The evidence in support of the application is contained within the applications
themselves (in particular the Forms COP 3) and the witness statements.
17. I consider the following to be the relevant parts of the evidence. I shall identify the
witnesses only by their role and shall summarise the essential elements of their
i) CC: Porton Down Chemical and Biological Analyst
Blood samples from Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal were analysed and the
findings indicated exposure to a nerve agent or related compound. The samples
tested positive for the presence of a Novichok class nerve agent OR CLOSELY RELATED AGENT.
The emphasis is mine. This sworn Court evidence direct from Porton Down is utterly incompatible with what Boris Johnson has been saying. The truth is that Porton Down have not even positively identified this as a “Novichok”, as opposed to “a closely related agent”. Even if it were a “Novichok” that would not prove manufacture in Russia, and a “closely related agent” could be manufactured by literally scores of state and non-state actors.
This constitutes irrefutable evidence that the government have been straight out lying – to Parliament, to the EU, to NATO, to the United Nations, and above all to the people – about their degree of certainty of the origin of the attack. It might well be an attack originating in Russia, but there are indeed other possibilities and investigation is needed. As the government has sought to whip up jingoistic hysteria in advance of forthcoming local elections, the scale of the lie has daily increased.
On a sombre note, I am very much afraid the High Court evidence seems to indicate there is very little chance the Skripals will ever recover; one of the reasons the judge gave for his decision is that samples taken now will be better for analysis than samples taken post mortem.
This website remains under a massive DOS attack which has persisted for more than 24 hours now, but so far the defences are holding. Some strange form of “ghost banning” is also affecting both my twitter and Facebook feeds. So please
a) Feel free to repost, republish, translate or spread this article anywhere and anyway you can. All copyright is waived.
b) If you came here by Twitter, please retweet but also in addition create a new tweet yourself containing a link to this post (or to any other site on which you have placed the information)
c) If you came here by Facebook, again please share but also in addition create a new post yourself which contains the information and the link.
The state and corporate media now have evidence of the vast discrepancy between what May and Johnson are saying, and the truth about the Porton Down scientists’ position. I am afraid to say I expect this to make no difference whatsoever to the propaganda output of the BBC.
See more of Craig Murray works.
Reporting on cultural and creative events along with a broad view of social issues.
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