In this world, there are two kinds of people: those who see how far we’ve come and those who are fixated by how far we still have to travel.
At the Ubuntu International Project showcase at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, I was unfortunately one of the latter. The show got off to a turbulent start, running close to an hour late and then frustrations growing as people jostled for seats. By the time the lights came down and Nelson Mandela’s voice rang out, defining the ‘ubuntu’ concept: “I am what I am because of who we all are,” my expectations were high but my patience was low.
The show got off to a good start with Clinton Lotter‘s collection of dogtooth shift dresses, fitted jackets, pencil skirts and finger gloves in black and forest greens. Fashion for sinister ladies-who-lunch. But soon I was more bemused than blown away. Jewellery by Frankli Wild was by turn both fascinating and – from the third row – somewhat reminiscent of a crafts project: all golf balls, copper wire and brightly coloured stones. By the end, I concluded that the show would have probably been be better appreciated with my eyes closed as I couldn’t fault the music but had no shortage of criticique for the designs. Read the rest of this entry »
One of my bugbears is the term ‘world music’. This all-encompassing genre, into which all music not in English and made in the global south, falls.
It’s a meaningless throwaway term that ignores that all music is inspired by other music. Cameroonian jazz saxophonist, Manu Dibango, has been sampled by everyone from Michael Jackson to Will Smith. Indie rockers, Vampire Weekend, borrow liberally from the electronic guitar riffs of Congolese music and on and on.
So I love this newly discovered South African act, The Brother Moves On, for being musical shape-shifters. Part musician, part shaman, their influences are diverse: rooted in South African music, yet spanning, Latin, electronic, dance, folk and even spoken word. In this TEDx Soweto video, it’s hard to tell at times whether singer, Mr Gold, is performing or actually evoking spirits.
Another day, another Twitterstorm.
Today, the BBC started #pandagate with its female Faces of the year 2011 list, that names a woman who made the headlines for every month of the year, topping it off, in December with…wait for it…a panda.
The list is a motley crew of victims (American congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for being shot in head or Nafissatou Diallo who accused the IMF’s former head and serial womaniser, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of rape) or women whose crowning glory has been to be in some way associated with a wedding.
In a year like most of us have never seen where two African women won the Nobel Prize and countless others were involved in pro-democracy or pro-equality movements, the best the Beeb could find in November was a certain Corporal Kelsey de Santis, who made headlines for being taken to the Marin Corps ball in Virginia by Justin Timberlake. Big whoop. Read the rest of this entry »