Last night I watched Justin Krook’s I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. I happened upon it by accident as is the beauty of Netflix.

On the heels of The Get Down which I binged watched over the weekend from Friday, I was looking for something with either music or a love story at the heart of it. I wasn’t fussed what it was going to be. I just wanted something in the background as I made notes on the novel I’m writing. So when this documentary on the superstar DJ and music producer Steve Aoki started, I really didn’t know what I was in for.

You see, I’m stuck in a time warp. My book is inspired by the ’90s club scene and if there was anything I was getting excited about it was Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down: New York in the 70s and the history of hip hop with the legendary Grandmaster Flash thrown in? Yes, please!

But LA in the early 2000s, that wasn’t my scene so when watching I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead it was great to discover the world that Steve Aoki was responsible for through his label’s club nights: Dim Mak Tuesdays and Banana Split. And with the likes of Pete Tong, Diplo and will.i.am adorning Aoki with their respect, it’s difficult not to admire Aoki’s work ethic that makes you wonder if he is going to burn out anytime soon. It’s been 10 years and he still hasn’t.

Krook’s documentary doesn’t just follow Aoki around the world to parties in awe-inspiring places. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead also tells the story of Aoki’s background that was heavily influenced by his absent father, Rocky Aoki – the founder of the worldwide restaurant chain Benihana which can also be found on the King’s Road.

Whilst the documentary flagged up that I still haven’t visited Benihana, it also showed a man driven to prove his worth to his father. Rocky Aoki was a larger than life character; he was an adrenaline junkie and it’s not difficult to see that his son has a similar way of living.

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead is a good documentary to watch if you love music; you don’t have to particularly like Aoki’s music but you can’t ignore his influence on the club scene over the years. It’s also a great watch because it shows us what you can achieve if you’re hungry enough to make your dream come true.

It’s almost time to go back to school and this weekend there are a few summertime must-dos coming to an end.

*Exhibitionism at Saatchi Gallery closes on Sunday 4th September and whether you’re a fan of The Rolling Stones or not I recommend anyone who loves music to go see this fantastic exhibition. I wrote  a little something about it back in May, which you can read here.

*Not so rock and roll but definitely one of my favourite stories when I was growing up; The Tiger Who Came To Tea finishes its run at Cadogan Hall on Sunday too. I took my three year old along over the bank holiday weekend and he had a great time. The extremely tall tiger was a delight to watch and the songs are fun and memorable. The production lasts 50 minutes and Cadogan Hall is always a great venue to visit.

* It’s also the last weekend to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at the Science Museum. At the start of summer I had every intention of checking this out but I fear I’m going to miss this one because time is running out. You can find out more about Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius here.

* The Great River Race takes place on Saturday. It starts at London Docklands at 12.25pm and makes its way towards Richmond; passing Westminster and Putney. The race is due to finish around 3.20pm.

* And if you’re planning on staying in and in need of something to binge-watch then head straight to Netflix and put Stranger Things on if you haven’t already. A love letter to classic 80s movies this is an exceptional series with plenty of twists; interesting characters; fantastic settings and a gripping story. Plus, it has Winona Ryder and classic 80s actor Matthew Modine in it. There’s a reason everyone’s talking about it. It’s brilliant.

Anarchy In Knightsbridge!

As if cocking a snook at the surrounding glitz and glamour, I found this anarchic gem of a window by Gina on Sloane Street. Riffing on the iconic 1977 Jamie Reid “Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” album cover, Gina are clearly having a tongue-in-cheek moment with their “God Save Gina”, and “Anarchy In Knightsbridge” tag lines.

What an appropriate way to merge the heritage of the nearby King’s Road and the Sex Pistols’ fashion connection with Vivienne Westwood to Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday. Full marks to Gina for creativity and humour, my favourite combo.

Of course, when the original artwork for the Sex Pistols’ album came out it was hugely controversial. The record sleeve was originally intended to read “God Save Sex Pistols”, but  just before its release Steve Jones – the Pistols’ only functioning guitarist – provided an admonishment he’d overheard from a pair of fans and replaced it with “Never mind the bollocks”, meaning “stop talking rubbish”. Many of the mainstream record stores refused to carry the album, album charts refused to list it, and shops refused to display the artwork in their windows on grounds that the word “bollocks” was offensive.

Eventually the band was taken to court under the antiquated obscenity laws of the day, but were able to prove that in the context of the album sleeve it means something akin to “nonsense”. On trial for indecency and inciting moral outrage, they were acquitted on all counts.

Jamie Reid broke down the conventions of record sleeve design by pointedly not including a shot of the band on the cover. Instead, opting for an acid yellow background as offensive to the eye as possible and crudely cut out lettering. An artist’s two fingered salute to the storied traditions of typesetting and commercial graphic design.

The lurid yellow album sleeve, the ripped and safety-pinned Union Flag poster for “Anarchy In The UK” established an unforgettable visual aesthetic for the punk movement. A design language that was provocative and unsettling at the time has mellowed with age, and has become as comfortable and familiar as a favourite armchair. But it’s worth noting that this most recognisable of brand languages almost never saw the light of day. Amid a storm of controversy the Sex Pistols were dropped by their label A&M on the eve of the album’s release, resulting in thousands of already pressed “God Save The Queen” singles being destroyed. The band were subsequently rejected by CBS, Polydor, Pye and Decca until finally an eleventh-hour deal was struck with Richard Branson. With the ink still wet on their contract with Virgin, the record was rushed into production.

I’m not sure what Jamie Reid would make of the modern day commercial derivatives of his groundbreaking graphic art. Reid was involved with the Situationists, an appropriately left-wing anti-authoritarian movement attempting to critique capitalism. But then again, although shunned by the big retailers, the album sold extremely well through independent record shops in exchange for capitalist money tokens. So perhaps by now he’d regard Gina’s window with good humour and marvel at his design’s long-lived cachet.

It’s that time of the year again when the stores of Chelsea come alive with floral displays that bring vibrance and character to the streets. That’s right, Chelsea In Bloom is back!

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

And Monica Vinader’s gorgeous display (below) should give you an idea of this year’s theme if you don’t know it already.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

The theme is Carnival and I love how T.ba on Pavilion Road have been inspired by Carnevale di Venezia. This is such an exquisite display, I love it.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

And there are the Carnival animals of course, like The Little White Company’s beautiful elephant.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

Or No. 11 Cadogan Garden’s fantastic parrot.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

Last year’s Chelsea In Bloom winner, Sarah Chapman, has created yet another stunning display.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

And Liz Earle’s ‘Carnivearle’ makes you feel like you’re at a fairground when you see its wonderful spectacle. The attention to detail with all these displays is astounding.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

And to top it off, Sloane Square has been turned into a Carnival beach where you can dress up in a headdress; grab a free rickshaw ride to go round the displays; and enjoy a Bloom Gin cocktail at The Botanist’s pop-up bar.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

The pop-up bar will be open from Wednesday to Saturday (until 8pm everyday except Saturday when it closes at 5pm). Or, you can step into The Botanist for a Chelsea In Bloom cocktail. I’ve had a sneak taste of Bloom Gin’s cocktail that will be served outside and it is utterly gorgeous.

Chelsea In Bloom 2016

So with apparently the hottest summer this century round the corner and the Rio Olympics too, a cocktail on Sloane Square’s beach is definitely something not to be missed.

Chelsea Girl

Page 1 of 28
1 2 3 28