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RAINY MILO

After Giles Peterson hyped her demo track ‘Bout You’, seventeen-year-old Rainy Milo became inundated with offers from record labels, but she took time to figure everything out. “I just wanted to do it properly, on my own terms,” she tells Notion.

The result was Limey, released last October. “It’s pretty scattered, I suppose,” she explains. “The material’s broad, I wrote a lot of it a year ago but some of it was older. It covered a lot of different feelings.”

Limey is remarkably mature, held together by pensive, window-gazing lyrics; ‘I always forget the bad stuff that he does, all too easily/I just hope he don’t regret me‘ she sighs, on ‘Don’t Regret Me’. Elsewhere, Rainy sings with a straight-up sass befit of Lily Allen, ‘betting all my heart on this shitty guy‘ on ‘The Other Way’ and praising a guy wearing a killer pair of Nikes.

Rainy draws inspiration from the sombre storytelling of Amy Winehouse and Corrine Bailey-Rae; “They bare it all, and it’s beautiful,” but she also loves Willow Smith. “I was listening to Willow and I just thought Oh My God… she’s just amazing, isn’t she?”

Her heartbreaking tracks are tied together with old jazz beats, but Rainy is no old soul; her Tumblr features street style, GIFs, dip-dyes and cats. She recently posted a shot of her squatting next to this year’s Lovebox poster, pointing at her name (she’s playing on The Fly Presents… stage as well as Ghostpoet, Big Deal and Splashh).

“I keep seeing it! It’s an amazing feeling,” she says. “I love the festival and to be a part of it is so cool. I had to share it. And why not? Tumblr makes me feel like a real person, with my feet on the ground. And I want it to stay like that.”

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Coves

The raw sounds of dreamy shoe-gaze band Coves take over Battersea power station

Battersea’s iconic power station is going through a bit of an identity crisis. Once a coal-powered station sitting comfortably on the south bank of the River Thames, later this year it’s going to be turned into a luxury hotel.

Until then, the huge, four-chimneyed building – pock-marked with shattered window panes, the inside raw and exposed – houses a sleek, shiny glass structure, where tonight Superdry are celebrating their 10th anniversary. Contrast doesn’t even come close.

That contrast resonates with Coves, who perform their dreamy, shoe-gazey indie in lieu of a DJ tonight, as toned catwalk models sweep across the stage. “If I had to describe the night I suppose I’d say… well, Super is a bit obvious,” says singer Beck Wood. “Energetic is good. There’s a lot of energy tonight. We’ve been here for a few hours and I haven’t got bored once. There’s loads going on. “It’s like organized chaos,” says instrumentalist John Ridgard thoughtfully.

Fashion and music aren’t total strangers, nor are Coves to the idea of fashion and style; Beck studied fashion at university, even having her work featured at London Graduate Fashion Week – but grew tired of the industry and dropped out to pursue music photography instead.

“Then me and John were out drinking and we decided to be in a band,” she says. “It was one of the best decisions we made.”

“It’s a continuing theme; we haven’t recorded any of the songs on the album without at least a bottle of wine. We’ve kept the drunk theme going,” John says proudly.

Coves’ signature sound – a kind of lethargic-chic that turns savage and sweet in tight turns – should feel out of place in the glassy castle within Battersea’s ruins, but taking to the stage in the brand’s latest premium collaboration with contemporary British tailor, Timothy Everest’s moddish, tailored jackets and brogue-boots gives the band a kind of sophistication that takes them beyond their two years together.

In much the same vein music and fashion sit comfy, so does music to Battersea; the station has been featured (and popularized) by The Beatles, Pink Floyd and, er, Take That, who rowed past it in their video for The Flood.

“I was reading up on it the other day,” John said. “Battersea Power Station has one of the best Wikipedia pages ever. The first thing I said when we got here was ‘Did you know this is the biggest red brick building in Europe?’ and [Beck] said ‘No, it’s the biggest brick building in Europe. Full. Stop.”

Superdry founder James Holder calls the band ‘raw and exciting’ earlier in the evening. “They’re a rare talent, they’re doing a great job representing British music at the moment and we’re thrilled to have them with us tonight.”

And for Coves, the venue has stood out as one of the most iconic venues they’ve taken their music. But where will they go from here.

“Maybe the top of the shard,” Becky says wistfully.

“Or failing that, we could play some tunes on the District Line,” John says, before the band button up their blazers and take to the stage.

Intoxica

As CD sales continue to decline, vinyl has seen something of a revival. Leave iTunes to the side for a moment – there’s nothing quite like going to a record store and spending an hour having a good rummage around. In London, there are loads of places you can pick up some new records, and here are some of our favourites.

Though Portobello Road might seem like the kind of area where residents buy vinyl just to hang on their walls, there are some good shops worth checking out. Intoxica! (the exclamation mark is mandatory) is no dusty old store; there’s huge tribal masks and bamboo everywhere. They have a really diverse collection of records, so it’s not a bad place to start if you’re new to buying vinyl or are just starting your collection.

Just down the road is Honest Jon’s, who specialise more in jazz, soul and reggae music. Founded in 1974, it’s gone on to spawn Honest Jon’s Records, a record label run in conjunction with Damon Albarn (his side-project The Good, The Bad & The Queen was released through them).

Not far from there in Notting Hill is the original Rough Trade. Originally specialising in US and Jamaican imports, they soon established themselves as a leading outfit during London’s punk scene. This store still has amazing artwork and posters from when it traded in the 80’s, and even if you don’t end up buying any records, it’s worth the trip here just to take in the atmosphere. In 2007, they opened a 5000 sq ft flagship store in the ultra-trendy Brick Lane, which has become renowned for its book collection and incredible coffee almost as much as it has for its music.

Soho is not to be overlooked either, with some of the best record stores in the capital located within a few minutes’ walk of each other. Phonicaon Poland Street and Reckless Records and Sister Ray, both on Berwick Street, are well worth your time.

Finally, in Islington, and Crouch Hill, there’s Flashback Records, with helpful staff and a great stock, ranging from new releases to classics of the 50s. Why not clear the afternoon and visit them all?

This article first appeared in The Telegraph on August 11th.

TELEGRAPH-suit

It shouldn’t just be the bride that gets jaws dropping on the big day. The groom, best man and ushers should look sharp too. If you want something different for your morning suits, follow our guide.

Choosing the right formalwear for your wedding is no small task, but thankfully you can get something smart and sophisticated in London without burning through your budget or resorting to the high street.

If you’re looking for something traditional, try Neal & Palmer in Piccadilly Arcade (between Piccadilly Circus and Green Park tubes). Whether you’re going for made-to-measure suits or just want off-the-rail pieces, they take a lot of care producing their garments, using hand embroidered fabrics and it’s good value for money too.

Buckleigh Of London is known as ‘Chelsea’s hidden secret’. The family run business offer bespoke tailoring, including formalwear for children and a great selection of brogues and patent shoes to finish your outfit. 3-piece suit hire starts at £90.

Moss Bros might be a firm staple of many high-streets, but rest assured their extensive range of tailoring at Moss Bespoke means you’re able to get something that’s more individual. Whether you want a classic black tailcoat, something with a bit more character (like the square-tailed frock coat) or an extravagant Ascot-inspired jacket, they’ve got you covered. Better still, their lighter-weight jackets will be perfect if you have a summer wedding planned.

This article originally appeared in The Telegraph on May 19th.


The Avengers sequel signs some new cast members

 

Okay, I’m going to be honest and admit I’m not ‘big’ on sports. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I like sports. Hate playing them thanks to a cruel jibe at my Year 7 Interform sports day. I used to be a good runner, especially 100m and 200m. I remember being so full of my own confidence (because I was best in my form) I threw myself into competitions and stuff.

Anyway I’m running, really fast, and I glance to the sidelines. It’s [NAME OMITTED]! Laughing, pointing. I get a bit distracted and wobble, but still win my race (I think I got 14.7s, I think? Is that good?) and later go to up [NAME OMITTED] because him and a clique of chain-smoking pregnant girls are pissing themselves.

“What’s so funny?”

“Mandle, Christ, you run like an absolute spastic.”

“What!?”

“So funny, like a fucking ostrich or something.”

Heartbreaking. I was so pleased, but I glance at my knobbly knees, already at 12 years old sprouting wiry hairs all over them. I go bright red. Do I really run weirdly? At a later date, I get a friend to film a trial run I. I watch the evidence. HOLY SHIT.

Now, of course, I jog infrequently, and make sure not to concentrate on how bendy-legged i am. Nobody looks great running, do they? But anyway, I used to be a keen sports person but it kind of went away that day.

So it’s for those reasons that I am surprised I’m enjoying the Olympics as much as I am. It’s amazing. The opening ceremony was pride-rousingly tongue-in-cheek in parts, with national treasures such as J.K Rowling, the NHS and Tom Riddle (aka Lord Voldemort) being wheeled out. Last friday, I wondered if the Orbit thing could be a Horcrux.

Probably the nicest thing about the Olympics this far in – despite the fact we’re doing really fucking good – is that nobody is too concerned about us doing really fucking good. It’s just a nice aside to the whole thing. When Tom Daly was harassed by a troll on Twitter, support poured in for him and the weirdo was arrested. When Frankie Boyle likened Rebecca Adlington to a dolphin, people naturally told him to do one. And last night I reprimanded a bartender in a casino for being a sexist dick about Jessica Ennis. There’s overwhelming moral support for the Team GB athletes; they all seem so humble, so deserving of whatever they get, and they make you feel quite proud.

Whenever footballers fail, there’s often a surge of vitriol from people, supporters or not. Footballers are not, generally, very liked. We like to see them fall because they earn so much money and generally, they’re just so easy to dislike. Look at Jon Terry and the ‘race row’ thing. And Wayne Rooney, who despite being talented and clearly an important player seems ambivalent towards being a role model.

But Olympic athletes? They’re so nice! Doesn’t Tom Daly come across as a sound guy. And when the rowing team started crying after winning their gold medal today, you just want to go up to them and shake their hand and say ‘you’re absolutely brilliant’. There’s no smugness, no attitude (well, there could be, behind the scenes, like maybe Michael Phelps demands a puppy to fuss over before each race, or a box of Celebrations with the Bounty ones carefully removed) and I think that, above everything else, is why we’re feeling more patriotic than ever during the London 2012 Olympics.

Once the preserve of country estates and exotic resorts, there are now more spas than ever in London, and although the city is built up, they’re a little more discrete than you’d think. Now you can get a massage or pedicure on your lunch hour without any fuss or trouble.

The Corinthia Hotel is a beautiful building a stone’s throw from Downing Street, and beneath its doors lies the Espa Life, for men and women. The dark corridors house a gym (managed by Stephen Price, personal trainer to the world’s athletic elite) and a hair salon run by Daniel Galvin, as well as an award-winning spa. Try the Shiatsu Inspired experience – a signature massage which works the whole body and exfoliation. You’ll feel brand new afterwards.

Spa treatments are perfect after a long day of shopping – thankfully the Agua Spa at The Sanderson Hotel is just a short walk from Oxford Street. Their citrus facial treatments will help rejuvenate your skin, while a hot stone massage will relax your nervous system and soothe sore joints.

Some spas are more traditional than others. Porchester Spa, in Queensway, men and woman are only allowed in on different days (alternating through the week, check the website for changes) – although Sunday night is for couples. They offer a traditional Finnish log sauna, therapeutic treatments and exercise facilities in an art deco setting. And when you’re exhausted? Cool off in the icy plunge pool.


© Makoto Yamawaki

First published in Scout London in May 2012.

At times, art can feel a little intimidating – especially for those without formal art education. The prospect of doing one’s homework before attending the latest must-see exhibition can be somewhat off-putting.

But the new exhibition at the Barbican, Bauhaus: Art As Life, will look at the history and innovation behind one of modern art’s biggest cultural movements in a way which goes beyond displaying the work.

The exhibition – the largest of its kind for 40 years – is a celebration of the diversity behind the 14-year life span of Bauhaus, with photography, sculptures, theatre and installations. Curator, Catherine Ince says that this multi-disciplinary aspect was what made Bauhaus so popular.

“What we tried to do with this exhibition was rather than paint a picture of the Bauhaus, we looked at the art school, what they made; what they worked on, the parties they had, the lifestyle, the relationships forged,” she tells Scout London.

“We weaved all the different things such as ceramics, furniture, photography and stagework together, because at the time, Bauhaus was a lifestyle.”

Staatliches Bauhaus was an art school in Germany, known for its marriage of fine art- and craft-work. After the German monarchy collapsed following the First World War, a new wave of expressionism grew from that which had formerly been suppressed. Young creatives, embracing radical aesthetics and new, exciting designs, rose to the forefront of architecture and art.

“People returned to appreciating art as a craft,” Ince explains. “And they appreciated the skill in the art.”

The exhibition will offer a unique insight into the Bauhaus lifestyle. Kite flying, for example, was incredibly popular and will be offered to Barbican visitors. There will also be costume parties, in recognition of the movement’s renown for flair and decadence.

“They were incredibly flamboyant,” says Ince. “But also thrifty; people would make a costume entirely out of plates and frying pans.

“We’re holding a costume workshop as part of the exhibit and Fred Butler, one of Lady Gaga’s designers, will be attending. It’s going to be really exciting.”

Bauhaus: Art As Life looks set to be an incredibly multi-dimensional exhibition; if you’re interested in discussions and talks, there are plenty on offer, with Peter Fischli offering an exciting insight into  his childhood with his father, Hans – a trained Bauhaus artist.

The movement’s cultural impact on London can be seen in a number of spots around London.. Notably, the Isokon Building on Lawn Road, Hampstead, which was built between 1933 and 1943 and is now considered one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the UK thanks to its Grade I Listed status. Premier crime novelist, Agatha Christie lived there during the 40s, apparently.

If you’d rather get out and see examples of the movement for yourself, the Social Housing and Bauhaus walk lets you see buildings inspired by Bauhaus throughout the city, specifically Golden Lane, Spa Green and the Finsbury Estates.

“I suppose it was the first modern artform,” says Ince. “They tried to unleash the individual’s creativity, and as constructivism gained ground, that started becoming more influential, too. Art aligned with industry, and in terms of creative education, Bauhaus was fundamental. People would go on to specialise their craft after learning about it.

“You could see it around you, you realise it’s influenced things around us like schools, buildings and furniture. It’s going to be a really exciting exhibit.”