Monthly Archives: June 2015

90s/00s Spotlist

Early 90s loved up, happy dance music is a well-trodden path of nostalgia but for good reason – this Spotlist pretty much compiled itself, such is the wealth of day-glo, jump-up 90s/00s tunes that tug on musical memories. There may be a few that you’d forgotten here. There’s everything from dark dance to undeniable mid-noughties RnB; drum and bass to dream-pop classics; the garage-pop majesty of SFA (Sweet Female Attitude) to Southern hip hop. Fancy a trip down memory lane?

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Street Summer

The high street has an embarrassment of riches to make you look as irresistible as the rare rays this summer, for any event you care to attend.



The textured weave fabric and bold, bright paint-like pattern give a designer look to this reasonably-priced dress. Wear with simple pearl studs and neutral shoes to ensure the dress is the star.

Sleeveless dress £29.99, H&M

Pearl effect stud earrings, £4, Marks and Spencer

High heel leather sandals with ribbon, £45.99, Zara

Pimm’s o’clock

Another exquisite pick from H&M. The beaded embroidery and tulle is reminiscent of Giambattista Valli. Continue the bling but subvert any girly tweeness with a dramatic skull bracelet. Wear with simple accessories – maybe even a beaten up denim jacket to bring down the frou-frou.

Tulle dress, £49.99, H&M

King of the skulls crystal bracelet, £32,


All eventualities are covered here: keep your hair back, eyes protected, neck em-blingened, clothes covered lightly, feet comfy and your party intentions emblazoned across your chest with this stylish yet practical look.

Embroidered headband, £2, Topshop

Clove Clubmasters sunglasses, £18, Topshop

Curb chain necklace, £35, & Other Stories

Sleeveless parka jacket, £52, Topshop

Coin bag, £10, Topshop

T-Shirt with sequin slogan print, £55, Religion

Shorts, £13, Primark
Adidas Superstar Gs, £49.99, Office
Picnic in the park

This delectable dress, with on-trend guipure lace stars, creates an air of whimsy perfect for whiling away lazy hours in the park. Team with equally bohemian accessories.

Guipere stars dress, £39.99, Zara

Fringe leather sandals, £34.99, Mango

Beaded purse, £15, River Island


Get more design for your buck with these simple yet strikingly chic pieces. If you’re feeling brave clash the blue dress with red colour-pop flats, if not, go for neutral.

Sweetheart neckline dress, £79, & Other Stories

Steelcat sunglasses, £30, Quay

Pointy leather flats, £55, & Other Stories

Out and about

A boilersuit is easy to wear yet very high in the style stakes. The clean, modern and feminine design of the sandals add interest and soften the utilitarianism. The chain necklace from the festival outfit would go very well here too.

Moto ecru boilersuit, £65, Topshop

Asha sunglasses, £30, Quay

Leather sandals, £65, & Other Stories

Coffee and brunches

Being comfortable and dressed down doesn’t mean you have to be any less sexy: just look at this outfit in understated jersey, which is ramped-up with a viciously fierce earring and striking ring.

V neck shirt, £19,

Jersey skirt, £45,

and dangling rhinestone pendant earring, £12, all & Other Stories

Strap cord sandals, £19.99, Mango

Lucite agate and amethyst sterling silver ring, £45,

Fringe leather bag, £59.99, Mango


Clean, light separates are lifted with quirky gold and coloured accessories.

Denim pocket shirt, £45, Topshop

Linen blend straight leg trousers, £31.60, Marks and Spencer

Lion head cross body bag, £25, Topshop

Glimmer stone bangle, £14.40, Marks and Spencer

Zip up leather flats, £79, & Other Stories

Coral and shell necklace, £15.99, Zara

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Ooooh. Channel 4 obviously have faith in this drama, a remake of a Swedish series Real Humans, as they’ve been advertising the heck out of it. You can’t use the internet at the moment without seeing Gemma Chan’s flawless face. The first episode did not disappoint and raised many questions. Where was Anita going with the little girl at the end? Why is the elder daughter such a bitch? Why have two redhead parents produced dark-haired children when that is not genetically possible?

So, troubled family – distant Mum Laura (the wonderful Katherine Parkinson) is obviously not too happy and her husband Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) and eldest daughter Matilda can sense it. So Joe purchases “Anita” (Gemma Chan) to help round the house, mainly with the stuff their bratty kids refuse to do, but immediately finds his eyes drawn to her bottom, no doubt storing up trouble for later on. Anita is eerily beautiful and likes to creep about the house and laugh in a most unnerving way (that bit was good). Laura is not happy and takes to baiting her philosophically, glass of wine in hand. Anita is not all she seems however, as she is part of a band of rogue synths – lead by her human boyfriend – who have developed sentience. She was captured while on the run along with two others, one of whom, Liszka, is nightmarishly confined to a lurid sex-cell where the only exit is via a button she can’t activate.

We also meet an ageing doctor who is fiercely protecting his outmoded, befuddled synth while being threatened with an officious medi-bot named Vera by the local authority. Initially, I found his devotion to poor, apricot jam obsessed David poignant until he tried to do him in with a mallet. What does he know that warrants that? There is also a detective from the synth squad whose own wife is being well attended to by a physio-bot named Simon, whose name she giggles. Yeah, that’s probably not going to end well.

It was a thought-provoking and timely piece, given that South Korea has developed a robot that actually looks like a human to a certain extent (it’s still in the uncanny valley though, where something looks humanoid, but not human enough and freaks us out). The thing is though, I don’t know why we want to. Culture has been most unequivocal about this, from Philip K Dick to Terminator, the robots always try to kill us in the end. The problem is if they’re not good enough, they are pointless – see the tiny robots on last week’s Gadget Man, who made a complete pig’s ear out of a simple cup of char. And if they are good enough to perform complicated processes of which a human is capable, they will eventually render us superfluous. I think we underestimate just how complicated our physiognomy is: just simple tasks like standing, walking and breathing require so many different mechanisms of which we are of course unaware. If we were, it would drive us mad. I don’t know if we can replicate that. And even if we can, does it mean we should?

This Week’s Spotlist

This Spotlist has an experimental air. Some of it may or may not have been inspired by Radio 6’s Sunday scheduling, I couldn’t possibly say. Those of a delicate disposition may be freaked out, especially by Die Antwoord, a vaguely terrifying South African performance art duo I have just discovered. I wouldn’t want to meet that woman in a dark alleyway but the music is undeniably arresting.

Lindsay Lohan Designs


Lindsay Lohan is the cover star of today’s Sunday Times Style magazine, promoting a collaboration with British label Lavish Alice. The clothes are not great, it has to be said. The lead outfit is a kind of saggy, grey-marl jumper and flares combo which looks like it’d be unflattering and hard to wear. By which I mean the cotton, spandex and polyester mix looks like the arse would go saggy after a few hours of wear. There are lots of non-descript tasselly things and a striped blazer and shorts combo which is just about the only wearable thing. Lavish Alice is obviously expecting to be inundated with orders with the disclaimer: “Please note, due to extremely high demand, your order may take longer to dispatch than usual.” Is this reverse psychology?

Lohan mysteriously – ominously – has her right eye covered in all the promotional photos. Uh oh, what happened? Or is this a look?

The interview, the first since her surreally interminable probation finally ended, was a master class in damning by faint praise. Giles Hattersley describes her as smelling like “trouble, but you’ve got to love it.” He concludes “I’ll say this for her: at least she doesn’t seem tragic.” God, that is the epitome of damned by faint praise. How would you feel if someone said that about you?

I’m fascinated by Lohan. Because she was so pretty and now looks like a 40-something divorcee addicted to fillers. Because she has a big chest and seemingly refuses to wear a bra, which, as someone who also has a big chest, I find curious. It’s not about aesthetics, it’s just uncomfortable not to. Because she seems so lost and seems to want to destroy herself. Because she has been ravaged by the press like other young women who dare to be talented and not “good”. She is continually castigated by the press and, yet, they can’t look away. Every article about her comes with the obligatory Mean Girls shot. That was 11 years ago, we don’t really care about that. It was a good film but come on. What we care about is the vicarious, visceral thrill of watching someone’s life unravel. She is all that is dangerous about modern fame personified and she seems so defeated already. I wish her the best – I hope she starts getting attention for her talent again and not her chaotic life that seems to prompt smirking superiority in all those who witness it. Whatever money she was paid for that interview, it wasn’t worth it.

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Animal Anxieties

There is a sweet little piece in The Observer today which illustrates little-known animal facts, imagining the anxiety they might cause. The images are from Brooke Barker’s series Sad Animal Facts. I especially like the bee and alligator ones.

animal animal10 animal11 animal12 animal2 animal3 animal4 animal5 animal6 animal7 animal8 animal9

All pictures courtesy of The Observer and Brooke Barker.


Saturday Style: Quirk

Quirky is always in, especially in summer when we all feel a bit more playful and light. I highly approve of the collab between Wall’s and Asos, not least because I can now wear my surname emblazoned on me if I buy the dress and also, who doesn’t like a good rocket lolly print? Rihanna was seen this week wearing a T-shirt as a dress with a Catwoman design on it. The good news it costs only $45, the bad news is I’m not sure if it’s available in the UK.


Rihanna in Greg Guillemin Cat Pacifier T-shirt.

lolly skirt

Co-ord A-line skirt in Wall’s lolly print, £25, Asos

Lolly dress

Wall’s mini-dress in scuba with glitter starship print, £40, Asos

zara necklace

Necklace with mesh and fluorescent tubes, £25.99, Zara

zara shoe

Printed leather court shoe £69.99, Zara

Tropical ring

Tropical ring, £17, & Other Stories


Off-the-shoulder stretch-wool crepe playsuit, £1,180, Haider Ackermann

peach bag

Peach bag, £18, Asos

zara sunnies

Sunglasses with faux-tortoiseshell arms, £17.99, Zara

TFI Friday Comeback Review

Last night saw Channel 4 air a two-hour resurrection of 90s show TFI Friday; whether the show was the send-off Chris Evans denied himself the first-time round (in his own words, he went mad and left the series with seven shows still left to film) or a clarion call for it to be reincarnated in 2015 was unclear. Perhaps it was both.

The original TFI was like a who’s who of 90s music. Last night they had, erm… oh yeah Blur but with Graham Coxon singing, Years & Years and a Liam Gallagher-alike duetting with a Roger Daltrey-alike on My Generation. Bemusing. So, it fell in the music stakes. But it still had the fun and chaotic edge, with swirling cameras and a drunken audience. Evans himself appeared to have reinvented himself from berserk ginger jester in an array of disturbing, disturbing suits to benevolent Grandad. He was still a likeable and relaxed presence. He appeared to hand the gauntlet over to Nick Grimshaw should there be another full series, but he is a little too arch and cool for the show. In a related note, can people please, please, please stop booking Rita Ora.? I don’t get why people seem crazy about her, nothing she says ever makes sense.

It was undoubtedly fun to revisit Freak or Unique (remember that?) – the guy blowing smoke out of his eyes! The girl who cried milk! The man who made his stomach into an elephant! Posh Spice smiling! Oh no, sorry, that was another part of the show. Evans atoned for making kids have a staring contest to win their parents cars which was very cruel, the losers in tears. The little guy’s wobbly smile as he tried to fight back tears in front of the camera was one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve ever seen. Evans confessed again he’d gone mad at that point, it appeared he had become a megalomaniac in a clown suit. He got back the two losing kids (now an insurance broker and summat else boring) and gave them both holidays to Barbados, which was a nice touch.

They had a surfeit of guests – Shaun Ryder with tape over his mouth was always going to be good value. The big, end guest, Lewis Hamilton, was a little lacking in charisma. He may be an excellent driver and an excellent businessman and whatever else but an insipid over-achiever with a Trans-Atlantic drawl is not the most endearing of people. Amanda Seyfried’s appearance was confusing, was it meant to be funny?

However despite some bits not working it was still a functional revival. Not a disaster and a nice, clever bit of nostalgia. I was jolted back to how much I liked the show, how silly but clever the bits were, how fun it was. I liked the bit with the banker trying to buy more time, it was clever and just a little surreal, like all of the best bits of TFI.  And who couldn’t love the “It’s Your Letters” countdown?

Channel 4 seems to be having a 90s revival this summer: the ad breaks heralded the coming of This Is England 90 and a new series of My Mad Fat Diary. I’ve even got wind of The Crystal Maze returning – oh my god! My Mum and I once gave Richard O’Brien the wrong directions accidentally when living in Camden. I wonder if he put his Crystal Maze experience to good use in re-orientating himself.

Just what is it about 90s TV we miss so much? Well, it was fun, it wasn’t as po-faced and didn’t take itself as seriously as it does now. I can’t imagine Simon Cowell launching a bowling ball down a chute onto a wardrobe, can you? Now, everything is serious, a journey, a competition and rigorously stage-managed, palpably quivering lest anyone say anything that might cause a Twitter backlash. Did Simon Cowell and/or social media ruin live TV? Possibly, discuss.

This Week’s Spotlist

Sunshine songs

Albums of the Week

Jamie xx – In Colour

in colour


The producer’s debut solo album is just as accomplished and atmospheric as his previous work with The xx and Gil Scott-Heron. It opens with Gosh, which devolves into a synthline that sounds like a 2015 reimagining of Orbital’s Belfast. This is followed by the eerie swell of Sleep Sound. If sunshine had a sound it would be steel drums so they should be used wherever possible and they are put to good use on Obvs. xx’s work manages to encompass textured and lovely ambience but also songs to jump up to that are a cut above the rest (I Know There’s Gonna Be Good Times). The album ends with the Burial-like beauty of Girl. An album to get lost in – my pick of the week.

Florence and the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful



The human wind machine that is Florence is as understated as Ru Paul’s Drag Race. She has a monopoloy on her particular brand of mystical, histrionic banshee-pop. I say this as a fan. I like her strong aesthetic, her tremulous yet bombastic voice which belts and reaches the higher echelons with ease and the strength of her tunes. There’s the crystalline shimmer of Delilah – the bridge just begging to be remixed, the majesty of How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and the uncharacteristic quieter moment of Various Storms and Saints. Resistance is futile, this will be the sound of the summer. You can either come quietly or fight it, but either way Florence will be worming her way into your ears.


Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love

multi love

Has psychedelia and funk/soul been mixed to  such good effect before? There is nothing on the album to surpass the incandescent singles Multi-Love and Can’t Keep Checking My Phone but it continues in much the same vein – sweet voice, strong hooks.

Soak – Before We Forgot How to Dream


The 19-year-old Irish singer/songwriter’s debut album is lovely low-fi. The song titles are irritatingly type-faced but that is a minor niggle on what is an arresting debut, her distinctive folky voice guiding you through simple songs.

Major Lazer – Peace is the Mission

major lazer

The third album from Diplo’s side project is not a hot mess but it is hit and miss. The single Lean On is an obvious highlight, but there is also an annoying turn by Ellie Goulding on Powerful (how disappointing is she an artist – her first two singles were amazing but now all that remains is jarring affectations – why are you pronouncing it like that?). I’m perplexed as to why Elliphant, a white Swedish girl sounds like she’s from Jamaica but I kinda like her on Too Original. Blaze Up the Fire is suitably hectic. In fact, the whole album is pretty hectic, not always in a good way.

Melody Gardot – Currency of Man

melody gardot

Classy retro soul on the singer’s third album.


asap rocky

This is more cocooning and dream-like than a lot of rap albums but the lyrics are still clichéd and repetitive. The album is hypnotic but overlong. Everyday uses a Rod Stewart sample, his rasp accentuated by Miguel singing the chorus again, as smooth as a curling track. The track is disjointed but it’s an interesting sample to pick.