Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Tea and tears

Well the tears are a bit of an over exaggeration, but it was flippin' difficult I tell you. 

This project, was a tough one, a tough one indeed. We were to create an Ident for a TV station of our own creation  through the means of Adobe After Effects. I had used the software to edit video clips before, but I had never used it to create animations. As much as I enjoy the challenge and will continue to experiment with the software, it was difficult to produce exactly what I wanted as I had very little knowledge of After Effects.

Please excuse the quality, Youtube have ruined it and I'm quite tempted to go over to Vimeo

As a bit of an insight into the channel, I wanted to make a channel that you could watch whilst drinking tea. The channel would be 24 hours and be in the freeview guide at about number '112' and would rival the all night casino channels and QVC. All the idents and programming for the channel  to be chilled, relaxed and easy going—hence the jazz soundtrack.

All the colours are warm and soft, with the animations matching the soft nature of the channel. The audience I am aiming for would be anyone that is taking a break, with a cuppa and wants some distinctly boring, yet easy going programming to mindlessly sip away to.

The ident still needs a little work to display what shows are coming next and a few other bits to support the branding, such as showing the logo in the corner, program adverts and on-screen sprites.
I'm under a serious deadline, so I'll see what I can produce.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Vincent Walden's not-so-professional reviews: The Lucid Dream

Last night, I saw a gig—and now I'm starting a new feature for this blog, of which I review things in a 'super professional' manner.

We had a line up of strange and wonderfulness for the evening, which included overly-high singers, moshing and songs that extended longer than the fictitious length of a lad's genital area. 

The night kicked off with a DJ of great skill; I doubt he's the world best DJ but he has a bloody impressive record collection, ranging from Dub classics to Wilson Picket.

After about 15 minutes the first band entered the stage, they were "The Postcard Band" who were what I would describe as 'Dad Rock', playing songs about public transport, with no drummer and a pint chugging keyboard player. This sounds derogatory but they were rather good, although not to my taste at all. They were a good but I wasn't all that taken away, so I'll leave off the review on for them now and press on.
A strong 6/10.

After a short spell of  art rock records, of which I couldn't decipher a word, we could slowly began see the next band begin to set up their things—all the whilst accompanied with amazing drum test solos and the odd tap of a unplugged microphone.
 The next band were "The Purple Heart Parade" who looked and acted like the real-deal art rock band, with beer bellies, long hair and overly skinny lead singers. Now, on the subject of the lead singer; I have honestly never seen anybody so bloody high in public at any point ever. I mean the guy wandered around the stage looking at his microphone stand as if it had come to life and started whispering words of offence to him. He stood as if the floor below him was being shaken whilst see stared fiercely at the members of the crowd; especially the guy at the front of the crown who looks suspiciously like my tutor David Robert, except rather than being at home enjoying a good film, this guy was rapidly shaking his head to and throw like he's seen something on the floor that keeps sporadically moving up and down and he just can't quit seem to loose his gaze upon said thing.
Then suddenly, mid set, the singer jumped into the crowd and crouched onto the floor (beside the avid moshing man), with his butt crack showing, as he screamed in waves of distortion, all accompanied by the trashing sounds of delay pedals.
8/10, would of been higher if he was higher. I'm joking children, it's impossible to be higher than that man.

Once our ears had been well warmed by the sound of being repeatedly attacked by a Gretch attached to the devil's pedal board; we could see the infamous, the anticipated, the locals, The Lucid Dream. 
Mid set-up, I thought to myself, I recognise some of those people on stage, actually I recognise all but one of them. Turns out, I knew half of them, without actually knowing. Even though that doesn't really matter.

Anyway, They were flipping brilliant!
They were hard to put a label on, like some kind of crazy mix between Dub, Metal, Punk and Psychedelia. There was no way to tell that one song had ended and another had started, other than the claps and cheers coming from the audience; whether mistimed or not. The performance was like being hit by a wall of sound, except this was so massive and distorted, it felt like being hit by the great wall of china of sound, with each brick being a riff that pierced your ears like a parasite of beautiful feedback.
To accompany the sound that would be enough to scare a small child half to death, there was a light show that was almost as disorientating as the music itself. 
The lights were so ridiculous that they could reversed photosynthesis, stopped superman in his tracks and blind a bus-full of elderly folk.
9/10—bloody feckin' brilliant. Thank you.

Ben 'Otter not of ill health' of Gomez

When is the best time to do a super quick poster? Friday lunch of course!

It's 11:58am on Friday and I'm cracking out my shiny wrapped sandwiches, with the exotic mix of cheese, ham and salad (pretty adventurous right). I get a buzz on my phone and who would it be if not Mark '90's boy-band haircut' Howlette, with a polite text message asking me if I can have him a poster done by that evening—but I thought I'd do him one better.
The poster in question is the one above, and is for the male man that is Ben Ottewell and the gig he is going to play at The Brickyard in April. I had a look at his website, a listen to his solo music and attempted to browse previous posters for his performances. This didn't help all that much, so I tapped into my memory bank and thought—what do I like, what might suit him and what can I do quickly?

The outcome was some kind of mix between, the red & blue colour palette, the font Futura and the London Underground map as designed by Harry Beck. The poster took me 32 minutes exactly and I really do like it; despite the fact I bet it's got a spelling mistake in there somewhere.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Behance Biatch

Not much to write, just I'm trying to get my Behance a little stronger so I'll be posting here and there and basically spamming all social media sites with links to it. Go have a look! Please.

Stay cool kids.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

London Adventures #13 - They were the first of days, they were the last of days

I am now home and this blog post is rather late but at least I've incorrectly quoted Charles Dickens.

So Friday was my last day in the haven of culture, wealth and poverty that is otherwise known as London. It included 6 hours of missed sleep, 4 hours on trains and the final hours at NME. The evening before (Thursday night) I spent far too long awake chatting to Zac and the ever mysterious figure that is my good friend Harrison French; there would of also of been a rare spotted Paula but it turns out she's sick as a dog and more contagious than a cold in a crowded bus.

Today (Friday 13th) was an odd one. Even though I only slept for about 5 hours, I woke up fresh as the dickens. I hadn't any food left as we had cooked it all the night before so I settled with no breakfast and just another scolding hot shower. I think the shower knew I was leaving because I felt like a kettle and a volcano made a devil spawn of a boiler and it wanted to curse me with dry skin for my leaving gift.

So after triple checking I had everything packed, I left the door with a massive handheld case and a huge backpack, looking like the world's most middle class backpacker. Let me tell you, the tube is awkward when you require the space of three people. But anyway, despite all the awkwardness of my journey, it actually went off without a hitch and I arrive, on time. Bloody exhausted though.

Being that it was the last day there everything felt a bit strange, the cut outs that I was doing seemed more sad, the tea tasted more sour and the day seemed more grey. Even with the fact they often didn't have work to give me, I have still really enjoyed my time there. It's such a refreshing change to see an office that didn't have a single suit in it. I really did enjoy every hour spent there; so I would like to thank the whole office but most importantly, the design team—because that's where all the cool dudes hang out n' stuff. So thank you to: John, Dani, Becky, Tony and 'head honcho' Mark.

To show my gratitude to the team for putting up with me and giving me the opportunity to join them for two weeks, I did the only sensible thing; buy a shite tonne of cake.

In this rare image, Tony is instructing another member of the office that they were to eat the cake otherwise they were to never see their family again.

As you can see in the image above, the ever carnivorous Tony Ennis brutally dissected Colin the Caterpillar of which I had bought for the office to give thanks for my time there. Once he had been cut into pieces he then force feed the dismembered insect to other members of the design team – myself included – all the while doing this on the desk belonging to Jon, the digital designer. (Sorry Jon)

After the brutal ordeal was done with, I then had to pack up all my things and bid the team goodbye; which honestly really sucked. I had been so kindly welcomed in; even through all my pestering of Dani and Tony they still waved me off, albeit that Dani had already started cheering at the fact the seat next to her would not be constantly be asking for cut out jobs for at least a weekend. Well, not really, but she was throwing a knife at a picture of my face. Only kidding. It was Tony.
I now fear for my life.

So this is the last part of today's post and the day ended with a massively long train journey, of which I hate the kind. So I over-dosed on rescue remedy and sat on the train feeling like a hippy on a downer, sat at Woodstock, but somehow on a train. But I image half of the crowd of Woodstock probably thought they were somewhere other than a field on the outskirts of New York.

To end this, I'm going to make a final note and basically sum up my time in London.
When I first arrived, and even before that I was very naive toward London. I had very strong views against the place and it was mostly upheld by the short amount of time that I had spent there. I found from my time, that a lot of things I thought about London were correct, but what I learnt was the small portion that were incorrect were so distinctly false that it had completely skewed my view, and blinded me with ignorance.

I found that the capital of poverty was also the capital of community, but to find that you had to just open your eyes more to what is around you. I found that there are so many things about London that stress me out and that I cannot stand, but alongside with that is all the culture, food, music and people that make me love the places I have visited. And finally I found that, if you expect to find something you'll make almost any excuse to make sure you find it; but when you don't expect anything and open your curiosity you will be pleasantly surprised.

Vincent Walden's Professional Capital City Review: London – 8/10

That concludes these posts; please stay tuned for up coming ignorant & observant posts about other places on this planet. Thank you if you've read all 13.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

London Adventures #12 - MEZE

After a week and a bit of Zac's house mate Ella exclaiming "MEZE FOR TEA" whilst producing only Fish Fingers, we are final making a Meze this evening. Oh and having beer too.

So before I tell you too much about this evening, I should probably tell you about my day. The day started with a tonne of confusion, because once again—they had switched platforms on the station without any real notice. I mean they do have a board that occasionally says "No service" between the times of each train, but in no way does that indicate that the platform is not active and the trains showing for the particular platform are arriving on the platform to it's right.

So I stand there, watching trains pass by me, completely unaware that they are the trains that are scheduled to arrive on the platform I normal wait at. Sort yourself out TFL.

Anyway, when I got over my mild rage, I got on the correct train and began to zone out to 'Madvilliany' as I do most mornings. There is something calming about the escapism I receive from that album that makes me forget where I am and allows time to pass by me whilst I focus on the beats and samples; not to mention actually interoperating MF DOOM's lyrics—that man is a word smith of the rap world. This morning, I snapped out of my commuting daze to recognise something I awe at most mornings.

On station platforms for northern stops on the Northern Line, there is a repetition of beautiful typography on the polished tiles that are the curved walls.  The words on only the names of the stations, but the letter forms are just so beautiful, a great example of a well kerned, really well drawn serif font. I look at them each morning and always admire them but have never thought to actually feature them in any of my blog posts—and it struck me that these masterpieces of lettering would otherwise just be words to most people; and yet, to me they are symbol of everything I wish I could be and the quality I wish I could design letterforms to.

I haven't a picture for you as they are tediously difficult to get images of, moving and all. But just believe me, they are perfection if it had the possibility to exist.

Today was a slow one, there wasn't much work for me so I spent a lot of my time just asking for little jobs here and there, and cutting out and range of people for other spreads. But even with the lack of work, it was still such a nice day. The only thing spoiling my day is the fact, I'm having to leave the friendships, workplace and food tomorrow and the fact of that was hanging over my head all day, like dark cloud of realisation. As much as I'm dying to get home and just flop on my bed, I've found just great love for a lot of aspects of London.

This was ever more apparent when I went for my lunch break today. I thought I'd go sit outside the Tate and look over the river whilst I eat my sandwich; which I did in the company of a lovely elderly woman and a bunch of annoying over-confident pigeons. And as annoying as they were, I kind of love that too—that even pigeons think they are big-shots when they are in London.
So I sat down, said thank you to the woman next to me for moving her bag and just sort of took in the landscape, staring at the beauty of surrounding architecture (mostly the Tate's) and just then I heard the unmistakable bellow of a trumpet.

Just down the path, there was a duo playing Jazz. One with a trumpet and the other an accordion. It's bloody freezing, I'm looking out over a smoggy day and I've got a pigeon trying to steal my sandwich but I'm in constant company by the sound of this brass jazz; blowing towards me like a ray of sunshine, carried by the wind. It was lovely! The fact that on a grey day, over-shadowed by some of the countries best architecture, that these to men of little means are just there creating such a beautiful sound that blanks out the rest of the world for me. I just love it.

I couldn't take an image straight on for feeling like a fool, so I took it from here and it made a lovely photo in the end.

So thank you, you two gents—I wanted to give you some change but I had none. I then hottailed it to M&S because I wanted to get some chocolate for the guys (and girls) at NME for being so lovely to me and allowing me to have a small insight into their working world. So for all this thanks I wanted to give, I wasn't just buying a chocolate bar; oh no. I bought a 'Colin the Caterpillar cake' and two tubs of what looked like extremely sickly chocolate treats. I think they liked them.

Now we move onto the exciting bit; the bit about beer and meze! Tonight we are cooking up the rest of my remaining food along with some other things in which to make the ultimate 'Not-At-All-Greek-Meze-Of-Doom' and I am excited as hell for it. Mostly for the food but also because I stopped by a craft beer store on the way home and got myself four beautiful looking beers that I will review and post on my final London post. But look what I found in there.

Moon shine baby

Among all the beautiful beers, I came across a shelf and this is what it held. I jam jar of Moonshine, bloody moonshine! I wanted to buy it but then realised it was £30, so I thought, screw that.
But this shelf was lined with a range of assorted moon shines, ranging in strengths and flavours, 60% to roasted marshmallow. Oh I was so tempted.

Last day tomorrow, both for NME  and the household I've been calling home for two weeks but also the day I get to see Gaby, the kittens and my bed.
Sad days and happy days—back to back.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

London Adventures #11 - A day for dedication

Holy crap, Zac's shower is so bloody hot.

Every morning, I take off my clothes and jump into the shower, completely forgetting that every time I keep scolding myself with the liquid lava that is the hot water that flows from the brass spout that is the head of his shower. I commend him and his house mates for the shear strength and determination they show each day; plundering them selves under water heated by the devil himself.

And that is what I saw a lot of today—pure and strong dedication. I saw dedication to religion and dedication to work; and to all those people that this is about but will likely never read this, today you were seen by a 20 year old male, and it made him smile. So thank you.

This morning, I noticed something that I guess not may people would really notice. They'd see it, but I doubt they'd really feel thankful for what they saw. I got on the tube at Golders Green (on the Northern Line) at around 9:48am heading towards Edgewear; as the train pulled in, I noticed it was different from most day. Today it was sparkling clean, like really clean and shiny—of which I hadn't seen on a London Underground train. Looking at it, I thought to myself, someone has cleaned this, and that is likely somebodies job, and it's likely not all that fun; but this person has put there all into this and it's likely to go unnoticed because everyone is so busy here. So whoever you are, the person who cleaned that train; you very strangely made my morning that bit better.

As I rode the tube, I felt myself falling into a trace and my thoughts got really rather deep. I started realising my surroundings, and thought to myself "Three years ago, I was likely sat in
the common room of a fishing town's Sixth Form and now I'm halfway through university, I've done a fountain of design and I'm now swanning around London, learning at NME." And there isn't more I can say than that, but I was just blown away by how much has changed in my life, just in education; nevermind the rest of my life.

So, I went into the offices and carried on with the feature I had been set. I worked on it, with one tea break right the way through to lunch at 1pm; and I left for lunch on a point where I was quite happy with it. For lunch, I was once again whisked away to the pub with my fellow editorial warriors. Treated to a pint twice in two weeks? Best internship ever. At the pub, I met a nice fellow by the name of John, who I was informed is the creative direction at 'Sport' the free magazine handed out in London. I had a lovely Pale Ale and headed back with 'da crew' to the office, to finish off the feature I'm working on.

I feel that I cannot talk about the feature as it will be coming up in a future issue; and speaking of dedication, I feel that I have put a lot of hard work into the 6 pages that I have been given to design and dedicated a lot of time to make this the best I could. Unfortunately, as hard as I've tried, I think my version isn't going to print as I've seen alternate versions of the same article printed off around the office. Clearly I'm not disappointed or annoyed because to get something printed in NME just off the back of and internship would be nothing short of a miracle, but my gosh I do wish it could be. I'm bloody over the moon they printed my name in an issue and the fact I even got the chance to do any of the work I have done, or even to be considered to have the internship is just a massive accolade for me.

So here's to hoping, that by some chance they love my work so much that they want to put it in print; or even make a statue of me—either will do really. So the working day ended and I had just finished the feature article, showed Tony and Mark and headed on my way back to warmth of home and my laptop. I got all the way back to zone 3 with nothing really taking my interest, but as I got off the train I saw something that both made me feel a great amount of respect and happiness.

It's 6pm on a winters evening, and I'm looking at a dark wet patch of grass, inside the grounds of a train station. There is a man kneeling with his shoes by his side, shadowed by a large tree on this minimal patch of grass. He is clearly an employee of the underground and is using his break, in which to pray. There is clearly no space for him, and he is praying next to a really busy road, but none-the-less he is so dedicated to his faith that he won't allow his improper surroundings or even cold weather deter him from praising his faith. And although I am an atheist myself; I have such a great amount of respect for this man. 

Just the sight of a prayer mat in England carries a large amount of stigma, most due to false political idiots like the EDL and Britian First. And this man, is saying fuck you to all that because he is so dedicated to his religion. And I respect the hell out of that, because I don't feel I've even been that dedicated to anything in my life.

(SORRY) I didn't take any images today, so here's a Eric Cantona-esque quote I thought of on the tube today: Creativity is formed from the lack of it's existence.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

London Adventures #10 - All spread out.

Oooooo saucy title indeed!

Actually, I could very well be butt naked, but because of the magic of the internet, you'll never know. You'll also never been scarred, like Harry Potter, with the image of my bare skin crouched over a cheap laptop. That's one for the photo albums.

Moving swiftly on—Today is Tuesday and I spent almost all day listening to Jazz whilst I did my work, and oh boy, I have enjoyed that. I do now have a gruesome headache but I've chugging water like an elephant on ecstasy, so it should be gone soon enough. I doubt this is related, but my headache started right after lunch, and at lunch I could smell something rather strange.

So there I am, minding my own business eating a sandwich on the roof garden, and I can smell something, something I wouldn't usually associate in a building worth millions of pounds, 11 stories up in the air. I can smell really, really strong weed and it's coming from the bush behind me. Now it's very unlikely that I have a headache through excessive inhalation of secondary weed smoke, but bloody hell; someone was having the 'doobie' of a lifetime behind me.

So, not wanting to return to my desk smelling like Bob Marley's sofa, I went down to ground floor and decided I'd try the 'Leon' cafe which has been taking my fancy the past week. In short, bloody lovely design—but expensive as hell and painfully mediocre (or at least my mostly cold fries were). I must say though, if I could eat their packaging, it would of likely been the best lunch I ever had.

The Tate's new building—outside the offices and I thought would make a good space filler.

As I got walked back to my desk, pink stripped pink bag and coffee in hand (from Leon) I decided to take a detour past the other magazines working on the same floor as me. Turns out it's mostly boating ones; "Boat World" "Yachts and Superboat" "Bloody Huge Yacths n' Crap". Okay, that last one is made up, but there is about 8 different magazines all pumping out nautical publications, and they all have one thing in common—the overwhelming smell of expensive suits and male BO. That place smells like Hugo Boss' sweatshops.

Once I had bypassed the boating section, I got to my desk and received two things of great pleasure to me. Firstly, a free copy of NME, which I had worked on the previous week. And aside from all the little bits of editorial and editing I did, do you know what I found on the final page (which I also deigned). This little beauty.

I highlighted it to save you lazy sods from having to read any more.

My name. Printed. On paper. In NME. SO BLOODY HAPPY.
So after I had calmed down and my smile no longer streched my face to look like some like of mass muderer, I asked Tony (as I do about 20 times a day) "Do you have anything else you'd like me to do?" and his reply, with a pointing finger of enthusiasm "Yes, I've got a feature for you to have a shot at". I almost died. Or maybe I actually did; either way, it's no definitely going to print but there is still a chance, so for all I know I could be chilling with God on a cloud right now.

So, that is all I had to say for today, but like yesterday I'm going to make a final note. This final note is not about me though, it is about another intern.

Final note: Meghan White, I think that is the name I heard you bellowing at a courier; you keep doing whatever you are doing. You may never read this, but I have remembered your name and I'm terrible at remembering names. You've been in the NME office for a total of 12 hours (two days) and you've already done more work and more walking that I have achieved in 20 years of life.
If I was even half as confident, loud, or useful as you—I'd be at least twice as successful. So if there is a glass ceiling, this girl has walked up and down that corridor so hard that the shards of workplace inequality are being crushed under each strut of her leather boots.

Tea-V Update

Just an update, to remind me where to go, to keep clips and to show my tutors.

I've added text and not much else, it's a bit difficult to produce anything without much focus or knowledge of the software. I'm really happy where this is going, but it's proving really difficult to actually produce—not less being distracted by NME.

Monday, 9 February 2015

London Adventure #9 - Peace on earth

Good day! Today was a good day!

Despite how good today was, I was late. Partly my fault, partly not.
I woke up late, which stalled me a little but didn't actually make me late; I got to the station and it turns out that the platform I usually leave from was 'secretly' out of action and all the trains I usually get were leaving on the platform behind me. Probably just my stupidity that caught me out, but screw you anyway TFL.

I got to NME and realised, oh crap, I didn't make any lunch. I had a little cry and then realised I'VE GOT A BLOODY STUDENT LOAN! Lunch out it is then, my treat. Oh why thank you Vin.
After a bit of time it struck 1pm and I was right out the door to see what Borough Market could rustle up for me. I wandered around and found something that really took my fancy; A hog roast sandwich, with honey mustard glaze and a bit of salad. Twas' bloody lav'ley. Thank you me.

When I got back, I had a lovely offer waiting for me. "Would you like to have a shot at designing your own take on a feature article?" It's like they know already; tears in my eyes, I grasped Tony by his hand, shaking it vigorously with delight, mumbling through the tears of joy, "I've waited my life for this". Okay, well actually I just said yes please, but lying never hurt anyone.

I spent the rest of the afternoon piecing together my own feature page, from the previous text and imagery used on the past article on Peace. I finished it just before home-time and got chance to show it to Mark and Tony. To my surprised they seemed rather impressed by what I had done—and there is no definite outcome, but keep your eyes on this blog, I could have some big news soon!
I know I'm being very secretive, but that's how it has to be my dear.

Last notes for the day—Elevators are awkward as hell & here is a lovely sign I found.

Last last notes of the day; I'm starting to realise that London isn't odd, it's me that doesn't fit in. There is more community when you scratch the surface and actually look around. There is humanity when you see how much residents give to the homeless and there is respect towards anyone that rightfully deserves it—it's just so busy and full that I've never really had to chance to realise it.

Motown & Soul—April

It's that time again! Get out your afro comb and dancing shoes, there is another Motown & Soul night coming up!

I honestly don't know what to say, and I've already explained the re-design and this poster is rather similar to the last. But this one, this one does feature the Jackson Five!
So as more of a public announcement, than a blog post, Motown & Soul night, The Brickyard, April 25th. 

See. You. There.

London Adventures #8 - Russian Around

Galleries and Gigs, the actions of a design rockstar.

That is what my day consisted of; well mostly anyway. I started the day really, really, really slowly.
Somehow I managed to sleep in until about 11am—which was about 11 hours sleep, and really rather impressive for me. I woke to find that Ella – one of the humans that lives in the house, the house that hosts the sofa I'm calling home for these two weeks, was still in after feeling too sick to go to work. We had a sort of lunch/breakfast thingy-ma-bob and set off out, as I was heading for the Saatchi Gallery and she needed to go to the Library, so could act as a guide for me.

On the way, we made a stop at Central Saint Martians for free coffee (thanks girl) and a browse of a canal boat book shop; yeah I know, I didn't believe it either. But it exists; and it's gorgeous.

It was lovely inside, with lots of old books, a few rarities and more importantly, a loud sound system playing what sounded like Charles Mingus—of which pleased me greatly. We only had a quick look around because my motion sickness got the better of me and within minutes I felt like a shaken Martini being slowly poured down the throat of ill health. 

As you may be able to see from the photo, for some reason London was bloody lovely today, it was like 8 degrees and sunny as anything. MADNESS! Anyway, from there I got back on the tube and made my way to the Saatchi Gallery, walking down the worlds poshest road in the process of reaching there.

Vincent Walden's Professional Gallery Review - Saatchi Edition:
Venue: Rather nice, if not a bit posh
Artworks: Really interesting and rather different
Overall opinion: Because of free entry, strong subject matter and well executed 8/10 

From there, I then trecked to the Tate Modern in search of more interesting things to look at, and there I found something quite odd. Both galleries focused quite a lot on Russia and it's militant past. Other than current affairs and the shear beauty of the harsh reds and strong politics, I'm not really sure why.

Excuse the terrible photo, but bloody hell that is some good type.

Vincent Walden's Professional Gallery Review - Tate Edition:
Venue: Bloody brilliant
Artworks: Mostly shite with a few exceptional pieces
Overall opinion: Full of crap, but saved by some brilliant free pieces 7/10 

I won't waffle on, but the photography there was flippin' fab and then the rest of the rooms were full of general Tate crap. Excluding the little bits of photography and typography.

I wasn't allowed to take images, but this was worth the risk.

I did so much today, and this post is already super long so I'll move on. I met up with Ella again after being at the Tate and she said took me to find a gallery in Shoreditch/Bricklane—which was a really good exhibition, but I may just think that because I'm a mega-hipster-tron 5000.

To end the day, we spontaneously decided to go to yet another gig—this time we decided to go all the way to Shepards Bush to go to a gig of Milky Chance. Instead of being prepared and having the tickets ready, we had to haggle a man outside for the tickets, but that didn't make it less enjoyable at all.

I didn't originally know the band or the music, but I have to say they were very enjoyable; very enjoyable indeed. The music style is sort of chilled, ambient, elctro-indie, and all supported by a strong German accent. They had a strong stage presence and they brought a bloody brilliant support act with them by the name of Kafka Tamura. Both bands had the crowd slowly bopping along, with the three hours spent there feeling like a relaxed slip into an electronic nirvana.

Let's see what NME has to throw at me tomorrow, night y'all!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

London Adventures #7 - Soho, So good.

IT'S THE WEEKEND! and I've got nothing to do.

Today, I had a huge lye in and left the house for pretty much dead on mid-day. I left with the idea I'd find Soho and explore it's 'modern-bohemium' wonders. Turns out it's not as wild as I may have thought; I was expecting baggy floral trousers, the constant taint of weed in the air and just flowers everywhere! and instead I was confronted with a sickening amount of beards and it really hit me that it was no longer the 60's.

This isn't putting it down in any way, because although my expectations were really ostentatious and odd, the place is bloody brilliant—and it's not much of an accolade, it's definitely my favourite place in London. As I walk around, I can see shop after shop with gilded windows and hand painted signs, I can smell cafe's cooking up some delicious lunch but most importantly I can hear all the record stores blasting out some seriously good soul tunes.

The area is just so nice, I only passed a few shops that weren't beautiful or selling beautiful things and most importantly, I found all the people that were walking around weren't dicks and just constantly trying to walk right through me (which was a nice change). The main thing about Soho that confused me was the huge amount of money that it had residing in those streets—I expected people making great things out of minimum means, but instead I saw Prada bags and builders working in Stone Island clothing.

Some kind of crazy shopping place, thing.

I was originally going to Soho to meet my friend Lewis, as I knew there were record shops galore in Soho and I think mine and Lewis' main shared hobby would be incessantly collecting sound waves pressed onto plastic, stored in printed pieces card. 

We met in the infamous Sister Ray, and I quickly realised that all the prices were either completely ridiculous or just above the actual value, so although it was a marvel to see how much rare and new vinyl they had, it was just to expensive for me. I also went to Reckless Records, which although I didn't look around much, they have a large range of really cheaply priced Blue Note records. (I had to leave before I became bankrupt)

I then went in another three record shops, of which I cannot remember the names of; but one was an old, run down, 'real' record shop and totally my style. It was brilliant and although compared the the prices of my local record shop it was a little expensive, the stock was bloody brilliant.

Vin's Pro Tip: Look in the smaller and more run down stores, better records and bargains to be found.

Look at this bloody thing! I bought myself, a rather expensive, really, really, really rare LP.
Like, this thing is a rare release of early Miles Davis, then released in Japan on the label's splinter company—and on that released it because extended, hard bound on the spine and a double LP booklet. I am so happy to get this, and it's going straight on the turntable when I get home.

So with record in hand, I had to bid Lewis goodbye because he was off somewhere else and I thought I'd go for a wander to find a good bookshop to burn a few hours away, pressing my nose into an old book. I was not disappointed, but as far as bookshops go, they aren't that exciting and I imagine they'd be even less exciting to read about on a poorly written blog post; so I won't go on.

So as a final note, I'll go a little more serious. As I walked around the enormous crowds in the areas of Coven Garden and Leicester Square, I noticed myself feeling more and more lonely. I felt that as I wandered around, with my thoughts as my only companionship, even in a city with millions of people and thousands of cultures, I've never really felt more alone.

It may be because I'm away from my home but  I just didn't feel that even when masked by a crown of people, I just didn't fit in. I felt like the footstep in a patch of virgin snow. I felt like, when the snow is all together it looks correct, peaceful and harmonious—but when the footstep is there, it's not any less what it was, but there is still something slightly missing and it's no longer truly 100%.

Basically, I miss my family, I miss my cats, I miss my girl. But I'm okay, and still smiling so I'll just look forward to them next week.

Friday, 6 February 2015

London Adventures #6 - A Violet Afternoon

If this is the 6th post of this kind you've read—I commend you, if not, turn back before it's too late!

Today is Friday, and it's been an odd one—you know those days where you drink 4 cups of tea in a morning, join the Pret cult and spend an afternoon hanging out with a band named after sweets.
Yeah one of those days.

The morning started as all do, cuppa, cereal and slowly trying to reach somewhere whilst I try to drown out constant traffic noises with my jazz collection. At the office, it's almost time to hand over the spreads to repro, so there wasn't much work for me to do other than cut outs for the spreads.

Lunchtime soon came around and I decided I'd venture again into Borough market to get myself some lunch as I had run out of sandwich stuff and was a hungry boy. After looking for a cashpoint that didn't have a massive que for about 15 minutes, I gave up and looked for somewhere I could pay on card.

I also found this beautiful sign.

After looking around for a while, I became aware of the terrifying truth—if I want to eat, I have to join the cult; THE PRET CULT. This is how they get you, they look for busy people that don't have constant amounts of cash on them and enjoy feeling that their fast food is better than other fast food brands. Not really but I though I should try it as I have slated it only the other day.

So here is my 'professional' review of my Pret A Manger experience: (in breif)
Coffee is pretty good, food is mediocre, I must report to my cult master.

Now we jump to the afternoon!

Photo umbrellas and long hair.

This was my afternoon, helping out on a cover shoot with Mark; Helping out on a shoot with the Palma Violets! Holy crap son I was pretty starstruck. To add to it, as I looked around I could see that they had the same XOYO stamp on their hand as me. Meaning that not only did I spend my afternoon with them, but it's also very possible I partied with them last night. London is crazy.

Also, the guys are really rather nice—and chilli has a fecking great suit.

London Adventures #5 - Freebies

Thursday is the day of freebies.

Didn't get lost at all today, think I'm getting the hang of this general direction thing.
I did also get to the office on time but unfortunately there was very little work kicking around, and I spent my day pestering for work and being a general annoyance—but somehow; I mustn't of been that annoying because I got a lovely offer to go to the pub for lunch!

Look at this lovely place—and those lovely beers.

The pub was lovely, small and covered in what looked like 16th century mosaic; but screw long standing art, culture and architecture, I got two free craft beer pints . YEAH BOY!
But yes, the pub was blooming lovely.

So after an elongated lunch period (shhhh, don't tell the boss) I got asked the question "Do you like childhood?" and my initial internal response was "Hell yeah!, Pokémon cards and no self-confidence issues"; turns out he was on about the band. So I said yeah, I've heard of them, and he threw me the sacred question of the NME office "Do you want some free tickets?" Damn right I want free tickets.

Long story short, I met Zac in Covent Garden for about 6, got Gaby's present, a bowl of noodles and headed for the club titled XOYO. Don't ask me to pronounce that as I have no idea how to.
Anyway, we got there and it kicked off almost instantly; well actually I had to buy some seriously overpriced lager first.

Firstly we had Lusts, who are a Royal Blood-esque duo. There is a drummer and a guitarist/singer, they were very Lo-Fi and slightly punk. I rather liked their deep singing voice, mixed with the low tones and heavy feedback and although they were a bit rough round the edges, a solid 8/10. Following that we had OSCA who were, dangerously similar to Coldplay, with a attractive frontman/singer/pianist and a similar sound—I wasn't crazy about them but they had a lot of talent.
For me personally, I'd give them a 7/10 because I wasn't all that keen, but I' pretty sure 90% of the female audience would of given straight 10's.

And now we move onto the final event; around half an hour later than scheduled and well worth the wait. Even with a heavy ass, super huge bag on my back this band still blew me away. Childhood were anything other than childish, they were brilliant. They were what I would describe as Heavy Psychedelia with hints of punk and metal thrown in the mix. There was soft sections, hard breaks and a tonne of thrashing and they had a really strong stage presence.

The lead singer had an afro perfect enough to make any woman 'hair jealous' and from what I could see of one member of the crowd, he clearly made one drugged up teen basically jizz in his underwear whilst he jumped around singing every word in a half broken post-puberty voice.

The band were really into it and put on a really good show, that left my ears ringing till late on in the night. Of course the front-man was brilliant but I need to make note of the Keyboard/Synth guy who was turning this band of heavy riffs and distortion into what sounded like so LSD Rock wet-dream.
Hats off to you, whoever you are!

Anyhow, I can't remember anything else, but it was a great day of freebies. Thank you very kindly Tony, Mark and the NME office!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

London Adventures #4 - Pret Is A Cult

London, the place where everyone is; more beautiful, more stressed, more healthy and more addicted to tobacco than me.

I'm not kidding, there is bloody tobacco everywhere—in the bars, out the bars, in the office, on the 'award winning' roof garden and even outside the children's primary school. The only thing I see in peoples hands more than tobacco are faded red, thick paper bags with the slogan "Pret a Manger".
I see it everywhere, but none more that in the hands of employees strutting in and out of the offices of The Financial Times, thus bringing me to the only logical conclusion. Pret a Manger is some cryptic slogan as adopted by a 'wholefood', upper class cult.

I fear my safety is at risk just posting this but people of the world need to be aware of this. All the cult members seem to have crease-less suits and walk in an almost 'day dream' like sense of self-worth; I fear they may have been capitalistically brainwashed and find each day a gruesome dredge until they can crawl out onto the high street at 1pm to get their fix of £8 sandwiches and faux-french chalkboards.

Anyway, moving swiftly on—today I did not get lost! At last there is hope! I found myself at the office, on time and not totally embarrassed. The majority of the working day went off without a hitch, and because of todays geographic successes, I felt adventurous, so I thought I'd go have a browse of the Borough market in my lunch hour; and what did I stumble upon? (I hear you ask)

Rough translation "City of Vin"

As you'll clearly see from the photo, just off Borough Market is a modern, well established, underground city named after me. I knew it must exist somewhere, but central London wouldn't of been my first guess. So after taking a moment to calm down from my initial shock, I marched towards the door, slammed them open, arms in the air and exclaimed "No worries my citizens, your lord and saviour has returned!". The initial look of shock on their faces made me feel like the god-like figure they must have portrayed me as; until I saw bottle after bottle of expensive wine and the disgusted look on the face of the bar attendant—I realised it was not my promised land but instead a now mildly disrupted wine wholesaler.

Once again, moving on. I finished up the day by searching through the NME archive and doing little bits of editorial which was really rather fun indeed. So a pretty good day really.

p.s. I made most that crap up—but you couldn't tell.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

London Adventure #3 - Lost & Enraged

Right, so today is Tueasday and my second day at NME, and although this may be uneventful for most—it's been quite a weird day for me.
The day started with a very small amount of snow, like a very measly amount of snow, of which unfortunately didn't deter the average London douche-bag. It's 9:30am, -1 degrees and laden in snow and yet there is still some middle-class, below-par business man stood on the platform wearing his expensive suit jacket and a pair of bloody sunglasses; SUNGLASSES! IT HASN'T BEEN SUNNY IN MONTHS YOU POMPOUS COCK! YOU DON'T COOL! WELL MAYBE YOU DO BECAUSE IT'S BLOODY FREEZING BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT I'M MAKING!

So then, as I walk to the office of NME I find myself painfully lost, asking a builder for directions to the Tate Modern (as that is the closest landmark to the office) and of course this builder speaks very minimal English. He speaks very quickly, speaks in a language that I don't understand and points at the skyline of The Shard.
Thanks buddy!

Then shortly after, I trace back my steps and find my way to the office and actually spend a good morning playing around with images and doing little bits of editorial. Now that's all well and good until it comes lunchtime—and now where does a boy who is afraid of heights eat his cheese and ham sandwich? On the tenth story, windy ass roof garden of course. Bloody hell vin.

So after a day of doing bits of design here and there, I left for the day, and got on the tube to head home. And what did I get confronted by? Bloody crappy wheely suitcases. Oh women with your pointlessly small suitcases; I despise you.

Now finally, after I get home and scran some chocolate, myself and Zac headed into Camden for some food and some drinks. After spending about 2 hours waiting for promised live music in a pub, we found ourselves wandering down the high-street, into Camden Stables. And here were found the holy grail of Tuesday night life.

It was a Cuban bar, with crazy cocktails and live salsa dancing. Oh my, what a bloody brilliant place.
I would go on, but basically Zac had something with Absinthe and it was bloody well strong; I tried some and now I only vaguely remember it. Even the smell was enough to give you week long amnesia.

So I'm going to bed and hoping that tomorrow will be just as unusually frustrating, exciting and lovely.


Monday, 2 February 2015

London adventures #2 - First Days

So today is my first day of the internship and my second day here and to be honest I'm blown away.

I'm not a city person but at the moment, I'm not feeling too worried even though I probably should be as I'm eating a 'Turkey Milanese' at 11 stories in the sky.
(Don't ask what that is, I don't know either but it's bloody tasty)

I'm right behind the Tate Britain building, which is ever most overshadowed by the imperial structures that surround it.
And being this high I can see right across the landscape of London—although I personally feel this city should be renamed to Cranes and Hi-Vis because I have several miles of vision on a clear day, and that's all I can bloody well see.

And if it's not strange enough for the 'Lancashire come Cumbria boy' to be eating chef prepared Turkey at the highest point he has ever eaten Turkey, he also got here by walking through a Borough Market, scaling the Tate and colliding with a supporting wall of the Globe Theatre. So even getting here was quite mind blowing, if not sore and confusing.

As yet I'm not missing home too much because there is so much affluence, culture and food, clashing with the abundance of poverty and depression—it's taking me a while to take it all in.


But for today as a day of work – oh, I feel so grown up saying that – although it's been slow as they hadn't much work to give me, I've already prepared two layouts and sorted some of the text for future spreads. With little to do as it's a Monday and there isn't much work kicking around; I spent much of my day kicking my heals but I'm looking forward to getting more involved in coming days.

But now, I've just got some food, and a cup of Yorkshire Tea. So the crappy hour getting back, and of smelling mildly obese men on tube whilst they glare at you for reading the underside of their free copy of Metro, is kind of worth while.
Let's see what tomorrow brings!

London Adventures #1 - Travel

So today was the first day I headed down to London for my internship at NME. Today hasn't been all that exciting as it's mostly consisted of trains and listing to 2/5 of my phones music library.

But, I promisingly started the day record shopping—picking up some funk and a bit of Motown and then headed, with two full bags, for the train.

Feeling partly sick and otherwise painfully bored, the train journey was painfully boring.

But I've arrived, safe and sound and I've just had a lovely meal cooked for me, thanks Zac!

And now, I'm setting up my sleeping bag and planning my route for tomorrow.

P.s. Look at this relic!

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