20,000 Days on Earth

A keen keeper of diaries, Nick Cave scribbled a calculation determining the number of days he had spent on earth. Directors Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard took this idea and created a film that featured a fictionalised 24 hours in the life of Cave on the 20,000th day. The results? A beautifully made film.

Nick Cave looks like a modern Elvis with long dyed black hair, gold-rimmed sunglasses and bloodstone rings. His uniform is a white crisp shirt, top 3 buttons undone and a dark blue-black jacket and trousers that glitter gently when he has mic in hand. His speaking voice is higher in tone than his singing voice and his earthly sense of humour belies his songs of violence and anger. He’s a mixture of moods collated on his 20,000th day on earth, under the changing colours of Brighton’s skies.

No spoilers. You should see the film.

Here’s a scene of a Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds gig cameo in the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire which I wrote about here.

Nick Cave over the years:



nick cave pj harvey

kylie and nick cave

nick cave older


Gender Equality – Emma Watson speaks at the UN

In this moving speech, actor Emma Watson delivers an emotive speech inviting not only women but men to the discussion over gender equality, since it affects everyone. As someone who has shied away from the word ‘Feminism’ in recent times for it’s prolific presence in the columns of The Guardian, I have to say this is the best case for feminism I have heard so far. Please watch!


Louis Kahn’s son Nathanial in a film ‘The Power of Architecture’ is celebrating his father, an architect, who found his professional footing in his 50s. The film was screened at RIBA on 22nd July.

I’d never heard of Louis Kahn before but on first glimpse, his Warhol blond/grey hair, pointy face and round glasses made him a figure that you’d associate with the creative 1960s. Dark suit, bow tie, pacing around drawing boards and re-writing the course of architectural history, his influence on the world of architecture has been illuminating for design intent over commercialism.

According to his son, whose relationship with Kahn was fragmented split between stolen evenings and unexpected visits (Kahn was married to another woman), Khan never made any money. Architect Philip Johnson claims Kahn had “more of a free spirit” than he whilst Frank Gehry states Kahn’s profound influence on him as an architect. Those are some testimonials.

Louis Kahn

A Jewish Estonian, Kahn formerly named Itze-Leib Schmuilowsky, founded his own architecture practice in Philadelphia in 1935 and became a professor at the Yale School of Architecture from 1947 until his death in 1974. Facial scars resulting from his curiosity as a child for burning coal, gave him the characteristics of an unusual person who was both small in size with a voice to match. These physical qualities were superseded by his mental strength, working late hours and corralling his employees to do the same. Although married until his death, he appeared to have no roots, travelling the world and conducting affairs with his female architectural colleagues who worked with him closely.

His nomadic life took him to India where he designed the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad to his unbuilt Herva in Israel, a Jewish synagogue.

Indian Institute of Management

Indian Institute of Management


Design for Herva synagogue in Israel

His piece de resistance lies in his monumental building in Bangladesh Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Assembly Building) that took 12 years to build and was completed in 1974, the year of Kahn’s death. He never got to visit the completed building. The circles and geometric shapes that let light into the building is the stuff of modernity and its affect on the people who work in the building is tantamount to its values of leadership and democracy. If buildings could give people voices, this would surely be the example. It’s the place where his son Nathanial feels that he had found his father.

Outside the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban

Outside the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban


Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban_inside

Inside the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban

Built after the film’s production, The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park designed by Kahn and built in 2012 is a four-acre memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Located in New York City at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, in the East River between Manhattan Island and Queens, it is missing from the film’s content but has particular resonance.

In a 1973 lecture at Pratt Institute, Kahn said:

“I had this thought that a memorial should be a room and a garden. That’s all I had. Why did I want a room and a garden? I just chose it to be the point of departure. The garden is somehow a personal nature, a personal kind of control of nature. And the room was the beginning of architecture. I had this sense, you see, and the room wasn’t just architecture, but was an extension of self.”

Roosevel four freedoms park

he Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

A year later and in the same city, Kahn died of a heart attack in Penn Station. As his address was crossed out in his passport, he had just returned from India, his family members were only notified of his death two days later.

An exhibition of Kahn’s work is currently showing at the Design Museum in London until 12 October 2014.


spam 2

11 August Stokey WI meeting – Artist talk with Lucy Sparrow ‘The Cornershop’

Join the Stokey WI for a talk with artist Lucy Sparrow about her exhibition ‘The Cornershop’, an installation of a shop made entirely out of felt.

Each item – from the bean cans, to the cigarette packets and chewing gum – will be made entirely out of felt: each item meticulously hand sewn, stuffed and priced. Artist Lucy Sparrow will be coming to the Stokey WI to talk about the exhibition, bringing samples of some of the felt items, showing pictures as well as giving an insight into the meaning of the high street and the cornershop.

You can attend the event by clicking here (free for Stokey WI members, £5 for visitors):

TheCornershopFlyer (1)

During the month-long installation in August, held at 19 Wellington Row, E2 7BB, The Cornershop will be visited by both local passers-by and art audiences. Once inside the shop they can not only view the products, but can handle, and even buy them. They will also be able to watch live-sewing events, participate in workshops and can even be drawn into improvised performance works that make them reflect on our taken-for granted shopping behaviours.


rik mayall

#FlashYourCashForRik and make ‘Noble England’ no. 1 for the World Cup

RIP Rik. You brought many tears of laughter into my life, much to the confusion of my parents (yeah!)

Rik Mayall’s Facebook fanpage have set up a JustGiving page for the head injury charity Headway, in memory of Rik. You can donate here:

Also, let’s get Rik’s ‘Noble England’ to number one for the World Cup! You can download the song here:




12th May – Stokey WI – Join us for a talk by the Refugee Women’s Association

12th May AGM meeting at HOMA

71-73 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0AS

Come and join us for a talk with the Refugee Women’s Association in the lead up to our charity bake sale on 7th June in aid of the charity. If you would like to bring cakes and biscuits for the charity sale in aid of the Refuge Women’s Association on the 12th they would be very welcome! Click here to attend the event.

 The Charity Tea on Sat 7th June 2014 will be held at Community Cafe, St Peter’s De Beauvoir, Northchurch Terrace, London, N1 4DA

The event on 7th June is £10 per ticket includes full tea, homemade cakes by local WI ladies, sandwiches accompanied by live musicians songs and piano with Bee & Tea goodies and homeware for sale.

Come and have a fabulous relaxing tea and donate to a good cause for only £10 per ticket.



Stoke Newington Women’s Institute – next meeting 14th February at White Rabbit Cocktail Bar, N16

Local author Debora Robertson shares her passion for cooking with us as she talks about her book ‘Gifts from the Garden: 100 homegrown presents’

Monday, April 14, 2014 from 8:00 PM – 10:30 PM
at White Rabbit Cocktail Bar, Church Street, N16

Debora Robertson’s book contains a range of fabulous and varied ideas from pesto to soap, from bouquet garni to dog biscuits. As well as writing this beautiful book full of amazing things to make, Debora is an accomplished cook and has worked with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at the River Cottage. She will be coming in to talk to the Stoke Newington WI on 14th April. Click here to book your attendance.
Entry fee for non-members is £5. If you are not yet a member and wish to join us, we will deduct the entry fee from your membership should you wish to join. Memberships close before the end of March 2014.

More news from the Stoke Newington WI:

longwave ladies

Talking to the Shoreditch Sisters on Longwave Ladies radio

I volunteer at the Stoke Newington Women’s Institute as secretary and have been doing so since the beginning of the year. Myself and president, Bridget Chetwynd were invited to talk to the Shoreditch Sisters WI on their monthly 1 hour radio show, hosted by, about why we joined the WI and what’s ahead. If you’re interested in listening, you can stream the show here (interview starts at 48:33).

Longwave Ladies Show TEN by Longwaveladies on Mixcloud

The Shard

From the Ground Rise Great Stories

Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Terry Farrell and Michael Hopkins make up just some of the names who have designed and constructed some of England’s, if not the world’s, most famous buildings. The story of their professional lives, retold via the impressive BBC series The Brits Who Built the Modern World is a must see for anyone who has an interest in architecture. There is also an exhibition open at RIBA.

Below: A lego scaled model of Centre Georges Pompidou designed by Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini at the RA Richard Rogers exhibition in 2013.

Working at a design consultancy on the Southbank, that deals mainly with wayfinding and interior design for public destinations, has opened up this multi-layered world of architecture to me much more. I have been privy to witnessing the creative process from concept, development, specification and artwork on many a project and it’s this process that is, in itself, the architecture of creating something fit for purpose.

I have seen floor plans, elevations, interior design sketches and impressive renders of spaces that are intended for the flow of people, as they navigate their way through shopping centres, residential developments and public realm areas. There is a strategy behind knowing how a person finds their way from one place to another. Making utilities easier to reach, shop spaces more appealing to visit or lease, and areas to eat more relaxing, whether they are indoors or outdoors, is the general aim. Designing something new yet functional is always the best outcome.Travelling around London, either going to work or investigating a new area by foot opens up all kinds of visual treats. There is no end to the sense of surprise at discovering another angle of The Shard that you had not seen before as you catch a bus home on Southwark bridge. Renzo Piano’s piercing creation is, in my mind, a statement about London’s ability to make a mark on business, culture and dare I say it, the political landscape. London has always been cutting edge, be it the pioneer of new movements in music to incising its way through economic trauma. It’s almost a symbol of the City’s determination to elevate itself both physically and ideologically.

It’s not just new buildings that tell us something about our future but those that are old and decrepit. Taking a walk through Tottenham Marshes towards Walthamstow, you may come across an old factory building with smashed windows lying dormant in a canal-side industrial estate. The white cement buildings opposite are accented only by the bright colours of their doors, marking a difference between the old and the new style of factory building. The difference in these style of buildings marked by their age and use and it’s these differences that make walking the best way to truly understand the environment we live in.

lou reed top hat

LOU REED – TRANSFORMER night at the WARHOL FACTORY 15th February

Saturday February 15 from, 9pm – 3am
Resistance Gallery 265 Poyser Street, Bethnal Green, E2 9RF

Walk on the wild side and get Vicious at our Satellite of love, celebrate with us the life and musical inspiration of Lou Reed and Velvet Underground at this Factory party extravaganza.

Dj’s Toby Woby and Gemma O’Brien will take you on a transforming musical tour of the Factory, Max’s Kansas City and Studio 54 – featuring a large sprinkling of Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, Bowie, Nico and Iggy pop, etc.

Warhol and Lou Reed films will be shown and Mick Rock inspired – Lou Reed artwork on display.

Featuring special guests:

  • LUC SEACROFT – singing songs inspired and by Lou Reed
  • JACK PSYCHOSIS – giving a psychedelic flair to Lou Reed songs
  • PHIL BLACK – performing fabulous selected tracks from TRANSFORMER
  • BART BARTON as SPiRIT of ANDY WARHOL portraying visual interpretations of Lou Reed songs KASSY MOORE – ex Cuddly Toys, Sweet and Cock sparrer singing Femme fatale and more

Exclusive performance VICTORIA GUGENHEIM – World class body painting artist – transforms a human canvas into a living work of art – installation and performance

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE competition with prizes for best outfits and dancers

Dress code striped t-shirts, shades, boas, feathers, leathers jeans and glam and shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather

£5 before 10.30 £7 after 10.30

Facebook event