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MY FILM IS OUT! Nothing fancy but I hope you’ll like it. Cheers!

They used to keep horses in the mews in the 19th century. Now they keep cars there. And also live. And work.
View my slideshow on Mews of London on Flickr.
You will see:

1. Russell Gardens Mews (including a garage in former stables);
2. Bathurst Mews (including still operational Hyde Park Stables).

3.Interview with Philip Burke, antique specialist (lives and works in Russell Gardens Mews). (in the info/description box)

Here are some thumbnails:

Russell Gardens Mews 13Russell Gardens Mews SignRussell Gardens Mews 1Russell Gardens Mews 2Philip's AntiquesRussell Gardens Mews 3

Russell Gardens Mews 4Russell Gardens Mews 5Russell Gardens Mews 6Russell Gardens Mews 7Russell Gardens Mews 8Russell Gardens Mews 9
Russell Gardens Mews 10Russell Gardens Mews 11Russell Gardens Mews 12Russell Gardens Mews 14Bathurst Mews SignBathurst Mews 1
Bathurst Mews 2Bathurst Mews 3Bathurst Mews 4Bathurst Mews 5Bathurst Mews 6Bathurst Mews 7

Mews of London, a set on Flickr.

Summer is always a good time for music in the UK: lots of festivals going on, local and international musicians doing their summer tours. But in July 2011 something remarkable happened: London-based organisation called All Tomorrow’s Parties, known for promoting festivals, events and aspiring artists & musicians, held its first ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror‘ festival in the UK.

‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ is unique: all events during the festival (line-up, films to be screened) are curated not by promoters or public demand but by artists. This year it’s Portishead, which are known for their innovative approach to music and sound. They were the first big band of trip-hop but this genre faded over the years. They took a long break to come up with a new album ‘Third’ in 2008 which offered a truly original piece of electronica music played with live instruments. It is safe to say that Portishead today are really on their own, one of their later tracks descibed by ‘The Times’ Pete Paphides as a “glum death-disco“. 

The event was held on July 23rd and 24th at Alexandra Palace, a historic, 138 year old venue in North London.

I entered the venue just in time to see the headliners closing the first day of the festival on Grand Stage.

DOOM (aka MF DOOM aka Daniel Dumile), one of the most popular hip hop artists today, started his one-hour set at 6pm. He was born in London but moved to New York with his family. DOOM is known for his exceptional MC skills, creative lyrics and mysterious image (he’s never seen without a Doctor Doom mask).

DOOM’s set was quick and fun, powered by his exceptional technique that makes heads in the crowd shake in unison. There wasn’t much stuff on stage actually: a MacBook serving as a sampler/boombox, DOOM himself and his fellow MC, cheering the crowd and playing with his iPhone, taking pictures.

DOOM’s setlist included music from almost all of his career. Songs from his solo albums ‘Madvillainy’ and ‘Born Like This’ received particular praise from the crowd.

Next came Polly Jean Harvey, known to the music world as PJ Harvey. She’s one of the most experienced and respected performers on the modern British rock scene. Despite keeping herself on one side of the stage during the performance (while her band occupied the other side) her stage presence was strong. Dressed in black with feathers stuck in her head she had a haunting resemblance to a crow or a Black Widow spider.

During her set she was switching between autoharp (instrument rarely used for rock music) and white electric guitar, contrasting with her black outfit. The performance, relying on her last album, critically acclaimed ‘Let England Shake’, was powerful and gripping. PJ Harvey was nothing short of mesmerizing, taking her audience for an amazing journey to the world of her lyrics.

 

The final (and the most exciting) act of the night: Portishead. The band that was chosen by ATP to curate this festival, pioneers of trip-hop. Their set was backed by a huge screen which showed band members and some prepared video material, including light effects and a cartoon.All eyes were on band’s singer Beth Gibbons and for a reason: her voice is amazing, creating the same vibe and mood as on band’s 1994 breakthrough album ‘Dummy’ without losing any of its power. The crowd was ecstatic, roaring upon hearing first chords of Portishead’s iconic trademark songs: ‘Mysterons’, ‘Sour Times’, ‘Glory Box’. Truly a royal headlining performance by the band, fueled by visuals and impeccable technique, incorporating electronic drum beats and boasting masterful guitar playing by Adrian Utley.

Portishead finished with an encore around 11pm and the crowd was heading for the street to queue for the bus home, stumbling on the beer-soaked floor and excited for being at a great festival. I hope I will be able to see some incarnation of ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ in the future: it’s an exciting event and it’s really interesting how it can evolve and who will be on stage next time.

My review of Portishead show is coming, check out a little video slideshow from the concert:

US House of Representatives struggles to agree on a decision to establish US debt ceiling.

This debt ceiling has felt like a giant meteor headed toward us, except I understand what a meteor is.
SethMacFarlane
August 1, 2011
An illustration of United States of America’s debt problems; with national debt and unfunded liablities put into perspective. Showing One Million, 1 Trillion, 15 Trillion, 14.294 Trillion, 114.5 Trillion
Flo Hibbins
August 2, 2011
U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time

US National Debt Clock : Real Time U.S. National Debt Clock

On July 22nd 2011 a nightmare became real in Norway: around 3pm the capital, Oslo, was hit by an explosion which started a fire in several blocks. The government’s headquarters is said to be the target. Hours later a shooting occured at a youth camp on the island of Utoya. The gunman, Anders Behring Breivik, was arrested. He is also believed to be the bomber. Sadly, the world has grown accustomed to mass shootings after multiple similar attacks, but this one is different: instead of taking his own life, Breivik seems determined to use his case to promote his far-right views. Or something else?

But was he acting alone? Is it possible for an individual to unfold a massacre in the modern world? Who’s behind 21st century terrorist attacks: well-trained groups of people, powerful organisations or some troubled individuals?

For now the evidence suggests that Breivik was the only mastermind and perpetrator of these attacks (including his statements to the police, the content of his PC and Youtube postings). But is it sufficient to believe? Can it all be a hoax? Breivik could have made it all up: fabricate the evidence and justify his “reasons” to distract people’s attention from the real background of the story.

I think that, despite current belief, he wasn’t acting alone and there may be more that one part of the equation. The scale of the attack and estimated amount of preparations for it seem so big and complex that it’s hard to think that only one man managed to get it all done. Logistics of getting weapons and explosives may show that he had some support, probably from overseas.

He had a certain web presence: a number of forum posts criticizing Islam and a huge 1,000+ pages manifesto ‘2083: A European Declaration of Independence’. That would probably be enough to communicate his views, but, apparently, he has something to say in court. He may reveal some horrible truth about the act (like who is involved and what other targets were planned).

The interesting thing in this case is Breivik’s alleged connection with the English Defence League (EDL). Although almost everything that Breivik says is now described as “lunacy”, I think there is a possibility that he really had some links with the organisation (although it’s surely unlikely he had “hundreds of EDL members as Facebook friends”). EDL leader Stephen Lennon denies any connection with Breivik but he could have had numerous chat conversations with EDL members or maybe even meetings in England.

Far-right views and nationalism are on the rise today and, sadly, there are groups of people and organisations behind it and some of them are very powerful.

I think that Breivik had probably received some help before his horrible act and it is very important for the police to thoroughly investigate this matter before proclaiming him a “lone wolf”.

Exit Festival was held from the 7th to the 10th of July, 2011 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Click here for the official website.

‎45 mins of coverage of Exit Festival with performances from Jamiroquai, Magnetic Man, Grinderman, Editors and more…
Channel 4 / Monday / August 1st / 00:30 GMT

Channel 4

The Independent’s Laura Davis reviews Exit Festival.

Click here to read.

2011 Highlights uploaded on YouTube!

Click here to watch.

Photos from all Exit’s hot spots have been uploaded.

Exit on Flickr.

Russian sci-fi horror rock band Messer Chups surprises Fusion Stage.

Click here to watch.

Tickets for Exit 2012 are on sale!

Buy.

Daily Mail’s raving review of Exit 2011.

Read it here.

Sounds of Exit Festival 2011 by Soundcloud.

Listen.