Saturday, 29 November 2008

Nevio Pellicci 1925-2008

I'm very sad to say that a good friend has passed away. Nevio Pellicci, owner of E Pellicci, or "Pellicci's Caf" in Bethnal Green, was a dear friend to me and countless others. Nevio, Neville or Nev Snr. to regulars, was one of the warmest, most dignified people I have ever met and owner of one of the East end's finest family businesses. He was one of those ageless people who's energy and joie de vivre transcended his years. Right now it sounds so odd talking about him in the past tense because he’s always been such a big part of my every day life and my positive outlook on the area I live in. I’ll really miss Nevio and I know many others will too.

I hope a little bit of his sparkle continues to live on through the cafe and his wonderful family who will no doubt keep it going. I wish them a lot of love.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

MIXTAPE- Portable DJ Mixer

Urban Outfitters in the US are selling a portable cross fader IN THE SHAPE OF A MIX TAPE!!!!

Although I'm not usually a gadget person, and I don't like using my blog to advertise stuff, (apart from me) I think this is ace. Unfortunately it only seems to be available online, and postage to the UK at $51 seems excessive for something that only costs $30. Urban Outfitters UK are really missing a trick because I'm sure this would be REALLY popular at Christmas.

I might get in touch with New York friends though...Perhaps I could use this as a tool in my project with Mr Dan. (Dan and I are swapping roles with him doing visuals and me doing music on a strange music video, or should that be a video-music? )

Saturday, 22 November 2008


I'm feeling quite inspired by all the art I've been looking at recently and am about to start working towards an exhibition of my own. Here are a few pieces I've done in the past.  I call these "Tarts". They were inspired by Hogarth's visions of London and my own imaginary London, which sinks slowly into the encroaching Thames like a dystopian Venice. I'm hoping to develop the theme further and to bring some of my own experiences into the mix for an exhibition next year.

I was really touched by Adam Neate's gesture of sharing his art with London for free. I'm disappointed by people selling it on Ebay though. 

If you are interested in art AND tarts, have a look at ART TART. The tartiest artiest tart around.


If you live in or around Shoreditch you might have noticed the work of Shuby on Commerial Street.

She's also just designed this album cover for Rough Trade Records. I think she's rather good. And I know a seceret about Shuby too...


Being dedicated, but not too dedicated (like the campers who've been there since wednesday, and scare me frankly), I started queuing early for my secret RCA cards. By 5:30am the queue already stretched right around the RCA building, down the side of the Albert Hall, into the small mews behind the college, round the courtyard, down a dead end alley and back out into the courtyard. People were armed with hot flasks and high spirits. It was good fun. Watch out for my queue-film coming to youtube near you.

I had a shortlist of about 90 of the 2, 700, that I genuinely liked. Narrowing that down even further, there were 20 that I especially liked. I'm happy to say that all the ones I got were in my top 10. Here they are.

..So I'm pretty happy with that. They'll look great framed as a set. Perhaps I'll go every year and build up a collection...

And who are they by? Well, that's a secret.

Friday, 21 November 2008


Tomorrow 2,700 postcard sized works of art go on sale at the RCA. The idea is that for £40 you could buy a Tracy Emin, Paula Rago or unknown RCA student. It's quite democratic really. There's also a raffle to win a place as one of the first 50 to take their pick. The exhibition has been open all week but there may be 100 other people who fancy the same piece as you, and it's first come first served tomorrow morning, It's limited to 4 pieces per person.

Here's some of my favorites as well as a picture of the tents that have been here since Wednesday. Spitefully I wish these tent people no luck because I suspect they are after the Emins and are missing the point somewhat. Maybe that's mean but I reckon this is about questioning the relationship between art and commerce, not being a slave to it.

I'll be down there tomorrow hoping to get a few that I like.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


Here's a link to "We are Here " a video I made for Language.

Sunday, 16 November 2008


Dear Adam Neate,

I hope you are well. You must be knackered after making 1000 pieces of art and leaving them all over London on Friday night. Just letting you know that I didn't find any, you must have forgotten to put one in my street, but I had lots of fun looking anyway. So thanks.

And just so you know, I made a proper effort and wasn't being slack or anything. I've compiled a little list of the places I looked, with some help from Charlie and our friend Neil who was round for dinner.

We synchronized watches at about 11pm, as soon as we'd finished our apple pie, which was really nice by the way. We then headed out to claim our prizes. We decided to stick to the East End, take a punt and commit so that we could be thorough. With Charlie on foot and Neil and I on bikes, just in case there was no art on the doorstep, we set out, zigzagging down streets and alleys, splitting up, regrouping, looking behind bins, falling in skips and that sort of thing. It was fun being on a mission, being special, feeling like the chosen ones, being part of art history and stuff.

To start off with I covered Back Church Lane, Boyd Street, Henriques Street (formerly Berner Street, the site of the murder of Jack the Ripper's third victim, Long Liz Stride). Next I did Ellen Street and Alie Street while the boys did Commercial Road. This was once considered a respectable area inhabited by tailors, shoemakers and dockworkers. I searched a strangely unlocked building site at Aldgate East before we regrouped at Whitechapel High Street and headed for the city, starting with Liverpool Street, via Petticoat Lane, down tiny back alleys. Neil did a couple of circuits of Liverpool Street with a Star Wars look on his face. I can't really describe exactly what this looks like but it's something like pure excitement in facial form and has a lot to do with being a chosen one. Next Charlie and I headed for Leadenhall Market, which we searched thoroughly while Neil cycled to Borough Market on the other side of the Thames (well worth a visit on Saturdays for food shopping). We regrouped outside The Bank of England (The BANK OF ENGLAND, topical, big. Common Adam Neate, this is a good spot!) Next we headed down Cheapside, taking in Saint Mary Le Bow Church, the bells of which you must be born within earshot of to be a true Cockney, on our way to the very impressive St Pauls Cathedral, one of London's most visited landmarks. Apparently Adolf Hitler once decreed a penalty of death for any German bomber accidentally flattening the place. Fortunately it remained in tact; unfortunately we didn't find your art there. Never mind, Amen Court soon cheered us up, a magical Dickensian U shaped close just off Warwick Lane. Apparently its late seventeenth century and once housed the canons of St Paul's cathedral. It looks the way London looks in films starring Hugh Grant, but without the inconvenience of Hugh Grant. Going up Newgate Street, where the Western gate of the City of London once stood, and gates are thought to have been erected since as early as AD 875, we passed the Law Courts where I once did jury service on a murder trial, and many a vagabond of yore has been imprisoned awaiting execution. Undaunted, we pressed on to Smithfield Market where we learned that 18th century men once sold their  unwanted wives alongside their usual produce. We had a quick peek in the churchyard of Saint Bartholomew the Great, which dates back to 1123 and overlooks some rare Tudor architecture at the back of fancy restaurant Club Garston. We thought this would have been a romantic place to put some art. We also noted that the queue outside Fabric was massive and wondered if those people had already found their art. We then made our way to Old Street, via Whitecross Street, where the master picture framer Anthony Guest does his work for The National Gallery and other important places. Taking the back streets we bypassed Old Street Station, where, if you get on the Northern line to Angel, and the light is right, you can sometimes see the disused City Road Tube station. We didn't do that though as were on a mission, which took us up Leonard Street, where the Dragon Bar was slain before it moved to Kingsland High Street, and where a Banksy once sat unsold on the wall for ages, allegedly. In Great Eastern Street we had a look outside A Child of the Jago, Joe Corre and Barnzley Armitage's inspired new menswear shop that I helped to decorate with Robert Pinoch, a modern day marvel of a man. There was no art here apart from the tailored creations, and the shop sign secretly created by Ben Eine, who's signature you can spot if you look ever so carefully. We had a look in Holywell Lane outside my studio at Village Underground, aka those studios on a roof in Shoreditch. Waning a bit, at nearly 2am,  we left Neil at Fournier Street where houses that date from the 1720's survived the Blitz and Gilbert and George can be seen daily swanning about being odd and friendly. We said our goodbyes and Neil cycled off undeterred down Brick Lane towards Bethnal Green and Weavers Fields where he lives.  We moseyed on home down Commercial Street feeling like we'd had quite a nice time and not minding too much that we didn't find the treasure.

Anyway, sorry to go on and on Adam Neate, but as you can see we did our best. We enjoyed the hunt. We were lovers, were were fighters, we were heros. Hopefully next time you'll take that into consideration. No pressure. Just have a nice time making some more pictures.

Love Ali, Charlie and Neil.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

LADYHAWKE- Live at The Coronet

Ladyhawke at the Coronet was really good last night. For me it was the highlight of a fun but otherwise average Antipodean night "Neverever Land" that's currently traveling the globe. I get the feeling Pip Brown is a bit overwhelmed by all the attention, but somehow that very fact gives her credibility. She's got a great mixture of effortless style, passion and an endearing awkwardness that makes her all the more likable and watchable. Her stage persona gives you the feeling she'd be doing her thing anyway, even if she were playing a bar in front of 20 people.

The sound is big and poppy, but there's something quite inspiring about it. I don't know why, but it's the kind of music that makes me see pictures; landscapes, animals, giant sea horses, flights through storm clouds on the back of something big... Love it.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008


The world as I know it breathed a sign of relief today with the election of Barack Obama as President of the USA. I must say I feel it's the best possible ending to the strange, borderline absurdist soap opera that's been centre stage for so long now. To be honest it baffles me that some of the characters (I mean candidates) are actually real people rather than the figment of a writer's imagination. But there's nowt as queer as folk I suppose.

What strikes me about Obama is that he comes across as a good guy. Don't worry, I'm not under the illusion that I'm making a really new point here. Bear with me. I'm aware that Obama's gift for strong reassuring rhetoric and his apparently warm character are a draw to millions of people all over the world. He's even quite good when he's being cheesy because he retains a credible dignity.  But I'm not here to talk about how great it is that Obama is president. I want to talk about goodies and baddies. In my memory American Presidents have always been... baddies.... There.... I've said it. Obama is the first "goodie" American president I've ever been aware of.

From an early age vilifying US premiers has been child's play. If you think about the presidents my generation have been exposed to and the media that we consumed it's easy to see why. It all started with Regan. I was born in late 1978, so Jimmy Carter passed me by completely. Ronald Regan came to power when I was 3 years old. I didn't even know what a president was, much less care. I was far to busy thinking the world revolved around me. By the time I was 6 years old though I'd been watching Spitting Image videos with my parents. I loved the silly voices and mindless violence but didn't much like the horrible big nosed baddie Regan man. My resolution that Regan was a villain was compounded by the fact that Spitting Image often portrayed him with Thatcher, sometimes kissing her, which obviously meant that she was his wife. And I knew SHE was a baddie because I'd been told so by my Mum. Maggie Thatcher according to Mum was "not a nice lady" and according to Dad she was a word I'd never even heard before. 

George HW Bush was a baddie because my English teacher said so and he knew everything. I was in my early teens and politicians, maths teachers, capitalists and meat eaters were all fair game. Bush looked like all of those things to me. He was also up for something called "THE NEW WORLD ORDER" which didn't appeal to me at all so he was definitely a good baddie.  Come to think of it, I might have been onto something. This clip from the famous New World Order speech in 1990 is straight out of James Bond. Just look how it zooms slowly into his face as he talks. Scary. Very scary.

By the time Clinton came to power I was 15. He seemed like a nice guy at first, but being 15 years old gives you license to dislike people for no reason whatsoever. So I did. By the time the Lewinski Scandal occurred I was 20 and as deeply conservative as I think I've ever been in my life. Endless TV coverage aired the dirty laundry and publicly scrutinised Clinton's morals. Whereas, I now see the odd stained dress as just one of life's occupational hazards (more or less depending on what your occupation is), at the age of 20 I was appalled, shocked, outraged. I was a feminist after all. Obviously. Yes Clinton was a baddie too, a very good baddie because he'd first pretended to be a goodie. And as everyone knows, this is classic villainous behaviour.

George W Bush....I don't think there's any need for me to go into this one. Just replace "NEW WORLD ORDER" with "WAR ON TERROR" and my preteen perspective with the realisation that "Yes, it really, really is very scary, even now I'm a grown up."

So as Obama becomes President, people all over the world rejoice for their various reasons, Paxman inexplicably interviews Dizzee Rascal, hundred year old ladies who remember Rosa Parks go on TV, and I'm just glad there's a goodie in this story.

Saturday, 1 November 2008


I didn't think it would be worth having a 30th birthday bash unless it was done in style. These days, what we lack in the ability to stay awake for days on end, fueled by cheap alcohol and excitement,  we make up for in sheer fabulousness (and the luxury of being able to afford a bottle of wine over the £2.99 mark.)  That said, the world is apparently falling apart at the seams out there and one needs to be prudent.  Gone are the days when inviting all your mates to a cocktail bar, where they will ultimately end up buying hundred quid rounds and starving for a week to compensate, is welcomed as a good idea. Come to think of it, it was always a crap idea and probably won't be missed anyway. 

 I must admit my inner socialist is loving every minute of this apparent financial and ideological shake up. I'll go into why as soon as I finish reading Das Kapital on my big leather sofa with a glass of champagne..  Anyway, I thought an old style house party was the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.  My friends are a creative bunch so I decided to go with the theme "Comrade or Capitalist" and leave the rest up to them. I wasn't disappointed.

Here a real life painter Emma, or should I say Frida, shows her solidarity with our communist brothers and sisters. I pose with her as a rather tarty "Russian Proletariat" 

Above Trotsky (aka Becca) pretends not to be eyeing up Frida's impressive painted plaster cast bodice.  We all know what you are thinking Trotsky.  Below the plaster cast bodice in its full hand painted  glory.  The artist spent most of the afternoon on her fabulous masterpiece. 

This dashing chap above known as "Dave" has not let the irony of the theme pass him by. No, he has harnessed it to good effect with an outfit I call "Capitalising on Communism." I'm not sure what he calls it but I like it.  I wish to thank Dave for this wry axiom and for being the first person to arrive and last person to leave the party. Well done Comrade. 

This is Comrade Trotsky again above.  I was VERY impressed with this look. Especially the moustache.  Below this Oil Man, known to other capitalists as Charlie, shows off his facial hair.  Yours may be more expensive but Trotsky's is bigger Dear Comrade.

Below Che Guevara (aka Luca) shows his communist colours with a proud smile. He's been eyeing up the table football and fancies challenging the capitalists to a match. 

Ms Kahlo continues to look fabulous throughout the night and appears to be enjoying her white russian cocktail. (vodka, kahlua, milk on ice.) She even queues patiently for bread and makes no mention of her paintings or injuries all evening.  At one point I see her chatting happily to a pair of hanged bankers and a lady wearing a $2800  price tag on her clothes.

According to Marx, capitalism will inevitably lead to disaster when capital is centralised in large corporations, eventually causing the demise of the middle classes.  In other words "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer." I'm not sure about the demise of the middle classes but this fine fellow below, known  as "Rich" (!) to his friends, arrived with a dapper entourage of free market ideologists all bearing chilled champagne.

Contrary to the stereotype of the miserly capitalist these real life bankers were very generous with the fizzy stuff. They could be seen openly mixing with communists and even offering them a "top up."

On the table footy however communism and capitalism battle it out tooth and nail.

As the evening evolved I began to discover more about various comrades. One ally, known variously as W.I.Z, Andrew or Johnny, if you please, had grown his facial hair to a precise communist length and wore genuine Spanish period clothing. The result, as ever, was rather fetching and divine. 

At one point Comrade Dave was photographing comrade Wiz photographing me. It was very postmodern but not at all bourgeois bohemian. 

Above this Sister of Socialism Mita De takes the theme to its  abstract and thoughtful  conclusion with her "worker bee" interpretation. Top marks for thinking outside the box Comrade.

A lady of untold beauty known as Constance, who has appeared in some of my films, shows a remarkable socialist profile.

Meanwhile, determined to attract the attention of the Oil Man, I transform myself into GOLD for the latter half of the soiree.  There's nothing like the power of pure ore to grab a prospector's  interest.

As you can see this works a treat and the Oil Man is lost for words. 

All in all the night was a success. Thanks to all Comrades and Capitalists who came, dressed up, dressed down, poured top ups,  created a scene and generally made it so much fun. More pictures to follow on flickr soon.  Feel free to send me pics too if you have some. 


2 oz vodka
2 oz lime juice
8 oz ginger ale

Mix ingredients in a highball glass with ice.

2 oz vodka
1 oz coffee liqueur
milk (or cream if you are a capitalist)

Pour vodka and coffee liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass. Fill with milk or light cream and serve.