Archive | December, 2011

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Bird of Paradise Dress

A little something for the party season!

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Rectum. I mean, Aquum.

Apparently we can no longer go to the pub for a few drinks and be content with going home straight after. The last bell goes and you’re left with that bitter taste of jaeger in your mouth after downing two, three, maybe four, shots in a row before the clock strikes 11. The last bell goes and all you can think about is that it’s too early to go back to reality and sobriety. It’s as if it were nearing the end of time and you needed to be heavily sedated, in a comfortable boozy state of mind to spend the rest of eternity in limbo.

It would probably be sensible to make a quick escape at this point, less money spent, less likelihood of liver failure and the chances are that you’ll manage to get enough sleep to feel relatively fresh in the morning. Problem is, though, that you’re way past the threshold; the tiny you on your left shoulder is being so much more persuasive than a couple of hours ago and keeps egging you on to “have another one” and telling you that “you only live once”, until it’s all you can hear and there’s no turning back. You are now on a mission to get wasted, maybe have a little dance, and probably hook up with someone, which you may regret the next day.

But where to go? The Surrey suburbs don’t really cater for a 20-something’s urge to party. Any place worth going means expensive cab rides and, to be honest, it’s usually way too much hassle because it means leaving the two mile radius around us, which includes our local pub and most of our homes – this is a sort of self-imposed rule that me and my friends tend to follow. Then about a year ago, a place called Aquum opened on Esher high street (within the radius). Word got around, people started going there and getting frisky, and now it’s a prime destination for some after-hours banter.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

Wrong. It’s the most heinous place in the world – or at least in the two mile radius. I don’t really know what possess us to go. The reasons stated above really don’t seem like enough. It’s about the size of a shoe box with tacky all-white décor, rude bar tenders and shit music. Because of its absolutely ridiculous size, the capacity is of about 50 people, so if you get there after 11 on a Friday, chances are you won’t be let in, which in itself defeats the purpose of an after-pub activity. You probably have to skip the pub all together if you want to go.

Walking through the doors of that place you get struck by that stale sweat smell that comes courtesy of all the over excited creepers trying to grind on anything with a vagina. The blue and purple bulbs make for some pretty unflattering lighting, which is probably why the girls are way too over-dressed and heavily coated in makeup and towering in 7-inch heels. As a girl, I love putting my good dress and my face on, but there is a time and a place, and it is not Aquum on Esher high street on a Thursday night. There are bottles of Dom flying around with sparklers. Drinks don’t need sparklers; if you really want some sort of glass wear adornment, get a little umbrella. All you can think of as you sip your drink is, who the fuck hired this DJ? You start getting a little pissed off that you even bothered to come, but as the shots keep coming round, so do you.

The absolute worst thing about this god-forsaken place is that you succumb to it, to the dark side. Before you know it, you’re tapping your foot to a JLS song and as if by magic you know all the fucking lyrics which come to you like word vomit. Shortly after you’re backing your ass up on some cutie in the corner or alternatively dancing on the couches, which you know are meant for sitting, but you’re such a rebel at this point that you just don’t care. Then you shimmy to the bar and you’re ordering a bottle of champagne. Why? Why get a bottle of champagne when you’re on the doll, unemployed and living at home with the rents?

Only in Aquum.

Written by: Nicole McLennan

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Ben Charles Edwards: King of the Dark Arts

There is a lot left to the imagination when you watch one of Ben Charles Edwards’ short films, just as when you admire his photographs. His work is so wicked and deliciously macabre, filled with creative genius and valid social commentary. Nicole (my partner in crime) and I Googled him when a friend of ours mentioned he’d be up for doing an interview and immediately we wanted to know more. Who was this guy? Why was he making shorts about banished pig boys with an insatiable fetish for high heels? And why do all his pictures depict the wrath of mankind with satirical overtones and over saturated colours? Everything he creates is full of drama, of morbid hilariousness, and I really couldn’t imagine what he would be like in person. But I really couldn’t wait to find out.

After trekking it from work, I finally made it to Old Street tube station in Shoreditch, and I found myself thinking about this hub of artistic and talented people that populate this side of London, and how appropriate of a backdrop it is to meet this Ben character. Running up the stairs to Bens flat, I was devastated that my other wing (Nicole) was missing. A little sweaty and out of breath from the long walk/jog, I give a little knock on the door. Expecting to see just Ben and our old friend Burns, who initially introduced us to him, I was surprised when I walked in to find quite a few other bodies there. I was slightly taken aback and a little wary of the video camera in my hands, I half expected a few eye-rolls or awkward looks but I felt none of that.  They were all so welcoming and friendly, I felt very much at home.Feeling like I’d stepped into Andy Warhol’s studio from the 70’s, with a larger-than-life artist surrounded by inspiring muses, I was fascinated by the creative buzz in there. There was a big projector screen in the living room used for spontaneous screenings and slide shows; some of Ben’s paintings and crazy objects hung from the walls.  Ben graciously glided across the room and introduced himself to me, poured me a gin and tonic and sat a few of us down for a screening of his newest creation ‘Animal Charm’.

Ben began his career as a nightlife and celebrity photographer in London and L.A. After a living in California for a while, he decided to jump back across the pond to his hometown of Woking in Surrey – quite the contrast. The glam and glitz of the Hollywood hills is scarce, or pretty much non-existent, in the dull and dreary Woking town centre. Beautiful people and gorgeous weather were no longer in the agenda. “I love Woking”, he says. “It’s wonderful for what it is but there’s a lot of women in velour tracksuits and worn out trainers.”

It was here that he met the fat girl who would inspire his short film ‘The Town that Boars Me’.  People watching, sitting on a bench in Woking, Ben suddenly saw this huge, 20 stone woman bounce past him in a pink tracksuit.  I guess he must have been staring a little too much because she turned around and yelled in that comical cockney accent, “What you looking at? You want a photograph?”  Well yes, that’s exactly what Ben wanted and exactly what he got!  Still good friends today, Ben took masses of inspiration from the fat girl in pink.  “I didn’t even know I wanted to make film, I was quite happy taking silly pictures.” But before he knew it he had met this girl, got inspired by the picture he took of her, and thought, “I need to see you in motion!” And thus he made the transition into filmmaking. The stills were no longer enough, and he co-wrote and directed his first creation in 2008.


Asking Ben where he gets his inspiration from brought out a series of hilarious and fascinating comments.  He started by saying he didn’t really know the origins of his ideas, and that’s a fair answer because it is quite an unconscious thing when you’re inspired by something.  “As a child, I liked things like ‘The Hilarious House of Frightenstein’,” he reminisces. “I have these memories of ghoulish people and things in the shadows.”  He takes a lot of inspiration from his surroundings, the people he hangs around with and the things that he likes, especially music. Ben also has his fair share of small obsessions; it could be an image, a feeling or a particular line in a song.  “There’s a Paul Simon song called ‘Call Me Al’ and I was obsessed with it for maybe 2 years, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I get these obsessions with things, this one got so bad I decorated the lyrics down the whole stairwell of the house.  I painted over it cause people assumed it was a bit strange!” Strange? Perhaps. But that’s one of the coolest things about Ben. He carries through with whatever is on his mind, as if he needs to see it take shape and form into something that is tangible and visible. A true artist.

Ben has an uncanny ability to look at everyday moments and transform them into something larger than life.  He takes simple ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily think twice about and turns them around to mean something profound. For his most recent project, Ben has made a series of short films for the Balenciaga museum in Spain, one of which is called ‘Appetite’ featuring Princess Julia.  The moment that sparked his inspiration for this film was when he saw a dirty old man in a café gorging on a plate of greasy sausages and bacon.  Any of us would probably just have winced and turned away, but Ben turned this moment into something creative.  He juxtaposed the situation by filming a beautiful blonde woman in a gorgeous ball gown going to town on a plate of sausages and bacon in front of her, eating them, rubbing them over her body, seemingly enjoying it.  Ben likes to create these contrasts verging on the ridiculous. He likes to push that boundary to make people think.  This short film, ‘Appetite’, he explains, came from a mere “..interesting thought.. just a moment” but he has managed to turn it into a piece of art that makes the audience question notions of beauty and stereotypes.

One of Ben’s muses is Al Joshua, who just so happens to be his flat mate and close friend. Al does a lot of Ben’s music but is also a musician in his own right.  He is the lead singer and guitarist of the band Orphans & Vandals.  Ben describes Al’s music as “somewhere between Tom Waits and Bob Dylan”, and he’s not wrong.  On the recurring topic of the evening, inspiration, Al says, “you have to be like a magpie, anything shiny that catches your interest you have to pick up on, its all about chance and instinct.” A little more reserved than Ben, they compliment each other perfectly.  They have big plans to do some collaboration and are in the process of writing a synopsis for a feature film called “Set the Thames on Fire.”

Regardless of my prodding, sadly they didn’t want to divulge any information about the feature.  I can say, however, that we can expect more of Ben’s signature visual style, but apparently the stories won’t be as crazy as his previous films.  Less pigs raping prostitutes and fashion designers killing their competitors and making coats out of their skin.  “It’s fun for a short and it’s fun while your young because you get away with that nonsense, but sooner or later I’m going to have to make something that people want to pay attention to.”  Well if all this has just been him having fun, imagine what he can be capable of in the future.

Ben talks about his work very passionately and you can really see that he loves what he does.  What strikes me the most about Ben, though, is his personality; he is so captivating that it really makes you want to know more.  He’s very at ease with himself, very confident.  I asked him how he would describe his work in three words and half joking, half not he came out with, “very, very, good!”  Obviously he laughed it off afterwards but maintained that, well why would he waste all his time doing it if he didn’t like it?  If he saw his work somewhere else he’d think, “fucking hell, that’s good!”  And he is exactly right, if you don’t like your own work, why bother?

Ben’s personality, as well as his talent, has gotten him to where he is today.  He has gotten so far and knows so many influential people that want to work with him because he is so charismatic and infectious. It’s an exciting prospect to see what he will come up with next, and Little Wing will most definitely be keeping an eye on this guy because he is set for a meteoric rise.

Written and Filmed by: Hana Difrawy
Photography by: Chris James Edwards (iiinside.com)

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Truly Unbelievable 3D Pavement Drawings

The Personal Thoughts of Hana Difrawy...

On a daily basis, I am on the lookout for things that inspire me; a lot of things catch my eye.  People never fail to be the ones that impress me, whether they are musicians, artists or just fabulous characters; extraordinary things really make me smile.

It is slightly rare though that I am as taken aback as I was when I witnessed Julian Beever’s work for the first time.  This artist has truly taken chalk drawings on the pavement to a whole new level, and that level is 3D.

I mean we all ventured into a little bit of pavement art when we were young, hop-scotch, the odd bumble bee drawing and all that jazz, but I never would of thought of making it into a career; clearly I should of.  I would love to witness one of his drawings in person and get one of those cool pictures interacting with the drawing.

As you can see, there are all different types of drawings that he does, from coke bottles and laptops that appear to be popping up out of the ground to full on scenes that look as if the pavement has fallen in to reveal a terrific fantasy world below, a world which would be perhaps much more exciting than what's above ground in our reality.

Complete awe is what I feel when I see Beever’s new 3D creations, at first I simply couldn’t fathom them in reality, but he has made a believer out of me, a believer that geniuses do exist!  Julian Beever, you are quite the genius, you have left me quite speechless.  I would relish the opportunity to meet this man and discover what goes on in that brain of his for him to produce such masterpieces.

He has managed to gain almost 9000 likes on facebook and everyone seems to be talking about him, globally!

This is one guy that Little Wing will continue to follow, I don’t think I could ever get tired of his 3D pavement drawings, it is just such a spectacular idea and he executes each of his masterpieces with such class.

Follow this link to discover more of his work

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