Kim Il Mode

Fashion has always been perceived differently in all cultures and countries and perhaps there is yet to be a universal "cool" for both fashion houses and their customers/clients.
We may get outrageous icons like zsa zsa gabor, lady gaga, michael jackson, madonna, pink etc but never have they been universally acknowledged as cool but it seems North Korea may be the first country to sort this lack of recognition out, thanks to their dictator Kim Jong "ILL" (pardon my urban talk)

The TIME website which previously awarded him the 2nd worst dressed world leader better sit back and take notice as the communist newspaper Rodong Sinmun said his modest suits have been causing a fashion furore worldwide. "The reason is that the august image of the Great General, who is always wearing the modest suit while working, leaves a deep impression on people's mind in the world," it said.
A mystery French designer was said to have also claimed "Kim Jong-Il mode which is now spreading expeditiously worldwide is something unprecedented in the world's history.

Well it seems all eyes shall clearly be on designers at the next installation of Fashion week's all over the world to recapture that dashing grey zip up couture wear and who knows throw on those 5 inch platform shoes he wears and gangsta shades for the full "IL MODE" effect. "IL MODE" may not be your thing yet but if you're one of the lucky few to be invited into NK, please make sure you invest in one of the finest you can lay hands on.

Donald Earl

The Dream Exhibition?

This should have been my dream exhibition. Alas, I left feeling rather unfulfilled and upset. To be honest, I had very high expectations. I wanted to see Michelangelo drawings (and lots of them) in an exciting display, which would indulge my Michelangelo passion for hours. However, upon entering the grey and dreary room at the top of the Courtauld Gallery my heart sank. Nonetheless, one should not let atmospheric concerns distract from the masterful skill and beauty of Michelangelo’s creations.

The exhibition was centred around Michelangelo’s drawing Il Sogno (The Dream), executed in c.1533 as a presentation drawing for one of his close friends. Most likely it was made for Tommaso de’ Cavalieri, the young Roman noble whose beauty and intellect captured Michelangelo’s heart. The drawings elusive content encourages personal interpretation, for it is not based on any particular text or legend. The image shows an idealised, nude male reclining on a globe which rests on a plinth filled with masks. Dreamlike figures (traditionally linked with the vices) surround him as a naked winged-spirit descends sounding his trumpet and awakening the youth from his illusions of earthly vices. The drawing is a superb example of Michelangelo’s talent of observing and reconstructing the male form and charging it with his deeply personal neo-platonic beliefs on beauty, love, the soul and the divine. No criticism can ever be levied against Michelangelo’s outstanding artistic ability, and thus I can only quip about the piece’s presentation. As the highlight of the exhibition, this phenomenal drawing should have been afforded greater significance; instead, I stumbled across it as I made my way around the room in a circular motion seven pictures in.

Alongside Il Sogno, the exhibition displays four other celebrated presentation drawings given to Cavalieri by Michelangelo at around the same time; The Punishment of Tityus, The Fall of Phaeton, A Bacchanal of Children and The Rape of Ganymede. The most exceptional of these is The Fall of Phaeton (1533) on loan from the Royal Collection. The pyramidal composition is surmounted by the figure of Jupiter on an eagle who hurls a lightning bolt at Phaeton below. His chariot plunges out of control resulting in a twisting avalanche of horses, who are heading towards his distraught relations below and Eradinus, the reclining river god. The technical mastery of this picture deserves close attention, and one can happily spend time fascinating over the bodies of the horses. The exceptional fore-shortening skill and ability to make unimaginable poses a visual reality is startling.
Less inspiring, however, is the rest of the exhibition which seeks to locate Il Sogno and the presentation drawings in the wider artistic context, by including works on the theme of sleep, dream and allegory, by Dürer, Mantegna and other contemporaries. Whilst this extra body of work increases the size of the exhibition, the relationship between Michelangelo and these pieces is at times hard to identify. Using the exhibition as an excuse to fetch out their sixteenth century drawings, the Courtauld’s “Looking at Michelangelo” display in a separate room (accessible by passing through their permanent fauvist collection) is an unnecessary and uninspiring addition with little relation to the exhibitions key pieces.
The contextual additions take away from the magic of the Michelangelo presentation drawings, and even his resurrection drawings, which we are informed are there because of their “thematic comparisons”, do not visually link the exhibition or give it any sense of coherence.
I feel that the Courtauld should have opted for a more intimate exhibition with a deeper, more focused examination of the key pieces themselves, instead of trying to clutch at distantly related thematic and contextual straws. They could also have injected a bit of colour and vitality in to the display to engage and uplift the viewer. However, the privilege of seeing these pictures is always a pleasure and the chance to see Michelangelo’s most exquisite drawings is a dream one should not pass up.

The Courtauld Gallery, ends 16th May 2010.
10am – 6m. Adults £5, concessions £4.

Holly Bostock (

Camp Bestival Lulworth Literary And Arts Fun

Having recently announced Fairy Tales as this year’s fancy dress theme and a host of knee-slapping comedy turns, the Camp Bestival crew are turning their attention to all the incredible extra-curricular cultural pursuits and surprises that make Camp Bestival so much more than just a festival. As ever, Rob da Bank and his trusty team have worked long and hard gathering together a host of party favours and cerebral treats that will amaze and amuse to join our mind-blowingly eclectic musical line-up that includes the likes of Madness, Friendly Fires, Human League, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and Calvin Harris from July 3oth to August 1st at Lulworth Castle on Dorset’s dramatic Jurassic coast.

The cultural centre of this year’s Camp Bestival will be the East Lulworth Literary Institute. Set to be a hive of erudite amusements all weekend long we are very pleased to announce that legendary rock photographer Kevin Cummins is joining William Orbit, Andrea Arnold, Simon Raymonde and DJ Derek to share his insights into How To Be A Music Photographer. For those that enjoy the soothing sounds of narration we will have Author Readings so you can snuggle up and settle down for story time listening to readings from some of the best contemporary authors on the block, including: ‘Apples’ and ‘Ten Storey Lovesong’ author Richard Milward, Joe Dunthorne who penned the wonderful ‘Submarine’ and Jon Ronson who wrote ‘The Men who Stare at Goats’, which was recently made into a blockbuster movie starring George Clooney!

Poet and illustrator, Laura Dockrill (Dockers MC) is back at Camp Bestival by popular demand as part of Book Slam. Reinvigorating and reinventing the stilted world of book reading Book Slam brings literature into a more exciting social context borrowing a little rock ‘n’ roll ethos from the live music scene and transporting it into the world of spoken word and literature to create a unique ‘literary nightclub’ experience.

Speaking of Spoken Word, the cream of spoken word talent will be collected together by Camp Bestival favourite, Scroobius Pip to treat your ears to their latest offerings, with hip hop sensation Kate Tempest, politically-sussed refusenik Itch (King Blues) and tall tales and sonic sorcery from Ventriloquist plus Chris Hicks, Tim Clare, Ross Sutherland, Dizraeli, Sarah Olowofoyeku, Poem Inbetween People and of course, Scroobius Pip himself.

The scholastic and fantastic won't just be confined to The East Lulworth Literary Institute as we are delighted to welcome the Roundhouse Collectives for their debut festival performances! Over the past two years, Camden's legendary Roundhouse has launched and produced a number of creative companies, all under the age of 25 that have performed at the Roundhouse and at venues across the country. This year several of the Roundhouse Companies are coming to Camp Bestival and will be performing an array of Theatre, Circus, Caberet and Poetry

There will be a chance for 50 kids at Camp Bestival to take part in a live performance on one of the main stages! The Dulwich Ukulele Club, famed for creating The Night of 100 Ukes and The Camp Bestival Jug Band, are inviting the kids of Camp Bestival to join them for a mass performance to form the Camp Bestival Kids Chorus - an unforgettable chance to have a really rocking festival experience! Children can join on a first come first served basis.

Plus there will be A Chapter of My Life, which is a unique opportunity to tell your very own real life story to audiences at Camp Bestival. It could be funny, intriguing, unbelievable, moving or uplifting – share one of your personal experiences with the audience and let them into a chapter of your life! Stories should be submitted to before the festival and the best ones will be selected to feature in this special story telling experience. Stories should last 5-10 minutes each, all ages welcome!

We’ve still got tons of fun to announce including copious kids’ treats, the House of Fairy Tales and lots more off-the-wall entertainment that you won’t find anywhere else. To keep yourself up to date make sure you keep checking

Donald Earl