Inner-city living builds for healthier, happier people, study determinesOne week ago
Residents of higher-density areas are more active, more socially engaged and less obese than people who live in the sprawl of suburbia
Contrary to popular belief, busy city centres beat suburban living when it is necessary to human wellbeing, as socialising and walking make for happier, healthier people, according to a new report.
Downtown residents- packed together in tight row houses or apartment blocks- become active and socially engaged than people who live in the sprawl of suburbia, according to a report that aims to challenge popular beliefs about city life.
Its authors said their findings should encourage legislators to promote the benefits of built-up city living.
” If we can persuade policy makers that this is a public health possibility, we can construct well-designed communities, and in the long term you have made a big difference in the area of health outcomes ,” its co-author Chinmoy Sarkar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
” With evidence, we can scheme multi-functional, attractive neighborhoods that promote physical activity, promote social interaction, and shield from negatives such as pollution and impression unsafe .”
The examine- by Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong( UHK)- showed that in 22 British cities people living in built-up residential area had lower levels of obesity and exercised more than residents in scattered, suburban homes.
” As cities get more and more compact, they become more walkable. In denser residential areas they are better designed and most attractive destinations. We are less dependent on our automobiles and use public transport more ,” he said.
Sarkar, assistant prof at UHK, said policies and planning needed to catch up with the data, rather than relying on urban myths about what attains cities work.
The study showed that areas of suburban sprawl with about 18 homes per hectare- such as poorly designed neighborhoods near motorways, where driving is the only option- had the greatest rates of obesity and lowest rates of exercise.
Suburban areas with few homes- often privileged communities with big gardens and open spaces- were healthier than this but lagged behind the most densely populated areas in inner cities.
Walking constructed the biggest change, said Sarkar, and social interaction and physical activity flourished best in compact communities.
The analyse compared more than 400,000 residents of cities- including London, Glasgow, and Cardiff- and procured the best health came in areas with more than 32 homes per hectare, the average density for new building in Britain.
This level, typical of developments of standalone semi-detached suburban homes, is less than a one-quarter of the density of Georgian terraces of London’s desirable Islington and Notting Hill neighbourhoods.
Sarkar called into question British policies- such as statutes to curtail suburban homes from dividing their plots and filling in more homes in gardens- which have sought to preserve suburbia’s open and emptier spaces.
In January the government announced it would construct 17 new towns and villages across the countryside in a bid to ease a chronic housing shortage. But Sarkar said policy makers should think again before building on green fields.
Despite spiralling home costs and government targets to build a million homes by 2020, Britain’s restrictive scheming system has prevented high-density, urban planning due to fears that it would lead to high-rise, low-quality blocks of flats, according to a government paper released in February.
London remains one of Europe’s most sparsely populated major cities, with less than half the density of Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, and below the level of Milan, Berlin and Rome.
The paper recommended local authorities to reverse their long-standing opposition to built-up residential areas by highlighting London’s mansion blocks and terraced streets, all of which promote a strong sense of neighbourhood.
On Wednesday the prime minister, Theresa May, said the government would give PS2bn( US $2.6 bn) to local government authorities to build 25,000 homes for rental in the social housing sector, which urgently requires new properties.
The the administration has invest a further PS10bn in a strategy that aims to boost home ownership by helping people buy a new-build home with only a small deposit.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
India court bans Islamic instant divorce in huge win for women’s rights1 month, 4 days ago
Controversial practice of triple talaq, which permits humen to dissolve weddings instantly, declared unconstitutional
An Islamic practice permitting humen to instantly divorce their wives has been proclaimed unconstitutional by India’s supreme court after decades of campaigning by women’s groups and victims.
The” triple talaq” has allowed Muslim men to dissolve weddings by pronouncing the word “divorce” three times.
The supreme court in Delhi took up the issue last year in response to a petition from seven victims and women’s groups. A majority of the bench proclaimed on Wednesday that triple talaq was ” not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality “.
Campaigners hailed the supreme court’s 3-2 decision as a huge victory for India’s 90 million Muslim women.
” It’s a very happy day for us. It’s an historical day ,” said Zakia Soman, the co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan( BMMA ), an activist group that was party to the legal battle.
” We, the Muslim women, are entitled to justice from the courts as well as the legislature .”
The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, also welcomed the verdict 😛 TAGEND
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: ‘Can people please stop telling me feminism is hot? ‘1 month, 11 days ago
The novelist has been accused of making equality mainstream: isnt that the phase? Plus an excerpt from her new Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was in Lagos last summer, teaching a writing workshop as part of an annual schedule that considers her period divided between Nigeria and the US. For much of the year, Adichie lives in a town 30 minutes west of Baltimore, where her Nigerian-American spouse runs as a medic and the 39 -year-old writes in the quiet of a suburban home. When Adichie is in Nigeria, where her parents and extended family still live, she has a house in the vast city she considers with the complicated love and condescension of the part-time expat.
Its an ambivalence with which many Nigerians regard her, too; last year, the workshop ended in a question-and-answer session, during which a young man rose to ask the famous novelist a question. I used to love you, she recalls him saying. Ive read all your volumes. But since you started this whole feminism thing, and since you started to talk about this gay thing, Im simply not sure about you any more. How do you intend to keep the love of people like me?
Adichie and I are in a coffee shop near her home in the Baltimore suburbs. We have met before, a few years ago, when her third novel Americanah was published, a book that examines what it is to be a Nigerian woman living in the US, and that went on to win a National Book Critics Circle award. A plenty has happened since then. Half Of A Yellow Sun, Adichies second and most well known novel, about the Biafran war, has been built into a film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton. Her essay, We Should All Be Feminists, accommodated from her 2013 TEDx talk, has remained on the bestseller listings, particularly in Sweden, where in 2015 it was distributed to every 16 -year-old high-school student in the land. The talk was sampled by Beyonc in her ballad Flawless. Adichie has become the face of Boots No7 makeup. And she has had a baby, a daughter , now 15 months old.
Adichie is still somewhat in the blast zone , not entirely caught up on sleep, but has published a short book, Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions, an extended version of a letter to a friend who, after having her own baby girl, asked Adichies advice on how to raise her to be feminist. I have had twin girls myself since our last meeting, so I am curious about her approach , not least because one of my two-year-olds currently identifies as Bob the Builder and the other as Penelope Pitstop. I would like to equip them to be themselves, while defying whatever projections might be foisted upon them. We depict each other baby photos and smile. Welcome to the world of anxiety, Adichie says.
The success of We Should All Be Feminists has attained Adichie as prominent for her feminism as for her novels, to the extent that now I get invited to every damned feminist thing in countries around the world. She has always been an agony aunt of sorts, the unpaid therapist for my family and friends, but having the feminist label attached has changed things, and not only among her intimates. I was opened to a certain level of enmity that I hadnt experienced before as a novelist and public figure.
This is partly why she has written the new volume, to reclaim the word feminism from its abusers and misusers, a category within which she would include certain other progressives, and to lay down in plain, elegant English her beliefs about child-raising.
Dear Ijeawele is, in some way, a very basic situated of appeals; to be careful with speech( never say because you are a girl ), avoid gendered dolls, foster read, dont treat marriage as an accomplishment, reject likability. Her chore is not to induce herself likable, her job must therefore be her full self, she writes in reference to her friends daughter, a selection Adichie has come to elevate almost above any other.
That day in Lagos last summertime, her friends were furious at the cheek of the young mans topic, but she instead liked his courage and franknes in asking it. She replied in the same spirit. Keep your love, Adichie said. Because, sadly, while I love to be loved, I will not accept your love if it comes with these conditions.
Having a newborn has built Adichie believe differently about her own parents, especially her mother. Grace Adichie, who had six “childrens and” worked her way up from being a university administrator to the registrar, taught her daughter to love manner as well as volumes, and was a very cool mum whom she idolised as small children. Nonetheless, and in the manner of most snotty young adults, young Chimamanda went through a phase of being very superior to her mom. Now, the novelist looks at her daughter and gulps.
Adichie recently came across her own kindergarten reports. My father keeps them all. You know what the educator wrote? She is brilliant, but she refuses to do any run when shes rile. I was five years old. She laughs. I couldnt believe it. My husband couldnt believe it. I must have been an riling child.
Its not as if she comes from a family of revolutionaries. My mothers are not like that. Theyre conventional, reasonable, responsible, good, kind people. Im the crazy. But their love and subsistence made that crazy thrive.
Unlike Adichie, who was raised exclusively in Nigeria, her daughter will be raised in two cultures and subject to somewhat diverging social expectations. Already, Adichie says with a laugh, friends and relatives from home are concerned that her mothering is insufficiently stern.
A friend was just visiting and she said to me, Your parenting is not very Nigerian. In Nigeria and, I suppose, in many cultures you control children. And I feel like, my daughter is 15 months, she doesnt have a sense of consequences. And I enjoy watching her. So she tears a page of a volume? Whatever. She hurls my shoes down. So? Its fun. I love that shes quite strong-willed. The joke between Adichie and her husband whom, to her intense aggravation, their daughter looks much more like is that her character cleaves to the maternal side. He says to me, Well, at least we know where she got her personality from. Shes quite fierce.
In the new book, Adichies advice is not just to provide children with alternatives to empower boys and girls to understand there is no single style to be but also to understand that the only universal in this world is difference. In terms of the evolution of feminism, these are not new lessons, but that is rather Adichies phase. She is not writing for other feminist writers, and demonstrates some annoyance at what she sees as the solipsism of much feminist debate.
That morning, on the way to see her, I had read a review of a new volume by Jessa Crispin, entitled Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto, a criticism of everything that is wrong with feminism today. If one can get over the eye-rolling aspect of volumes by feminists decrying the feminism of other feminists for degrading the word feminist by being insufficiently feminist, the book does raise questions about where 1 should be focusing ones efforts.
I’m American and devastated. Why did we vote for Trump? | Mariella Frostrup1 month, 15 days ago
One woman, frightened by her countrys results of the election, insures no chink of sunlight. Remember the millions, like you, trying to construct the world a better place, says Mariella Frostrup
The dilemma I am American; born, created and still living in New York City and I am, without exaggeration, devastated. I feel my country, in electing Donald Trump, has just been resulted down the road to extermination and mayhem. My disgrace, embarrassment, fear, rage, and sadness are unrelenting. I witnessed 9/11 from my school window as a adolescent, so I will never think of the US as a place of unending harmony or prosperity, but I cannot believe that so many people would allow this to happen.
I knocked on doorways, encouraged people to vote and donated money, but had I known the reality, I would have done much more. I know people in other countries are equally shocked, but do you have any wisdom to share? I would also like to tell those abroad that many of us here find this tragic and deep embarrassing( no one I know feels differently to me although I realise that is part of their own problems ).
Mariella replies My heart goes out to you. Many of us remain mortified by our nations recent political choices. We both live in countries that have experienced political shocks of a seismic nature in the past year and you are certainly not alone in your hopelessnes and embarrassment. That said, you cant take responsibility for the choices a nation makes any more than you can for a partner.
The best we can hope for is to try to understand why such selections were made and let that inform future dialogue. On the summer day we voted to leave the EU, plenty of us in the UK were as devastated as you are now, but period has encouraged a degree of sagacity. Pulling up the drawbridge to the UK has provided a salutary lesson to those on both sides, and neither seemed to be in step with voters. Believing youre the one in the right is no alternative to appreciating the concerns of others , no matter how alien their beliefs might feel.
Its a lesson as true in politics as it is in our personal lives. Being so convinced of the righteousness of your beliefs that you block your ears to opposing ideas is certainly not constructive. Never has the liberal left looked more out of step with the populist tune and I speak as a paid-up member of that fraternity. My belief and hope is that the referendum and election outcomes in both the UK and US respectively will animate us all out of our apathetic stupor. Weve been treading water for too long. Like partners in an unhappy marriage we needed things to hit rock bottom to force us out of our hapless ways.
The world as we know it has to change. It feels as though the divide between rich and poor hasnt been so pronounced since the Middle Ages. Along with our determination to claim whatever meagre bit of clay we consider our birthright, were becoming increasingly useless at the life skills essential to survival. My shameful Tv secret is that Im an Im a Celebrity viewer, a programme that are typically confirms my hypothesi that evolution is in retreat. Your future chairperson would have made a perfect contestant. I suspect you know how to light a fire, clean your socks and whip up a meal from basic ingredients, but that basic skill set is gradually attaining you part of a minority in the developed world.
Its a dangerous state of affairs. No wonder the proponents of dread are taking over. As a species we are scared witless and feel increasingly helpless about where we are heading. But instead of fuelling us to care better for our planet and its dwellers weve been wringing our hands and staring out the window.
Again, as in a relationship, its all too easy to identify where things are wrong and harder, but more constructive to identify where were getting it right. Our tally in attaining the world a better place is something we dont often add up. Instead our daily diet of failing is delivered through every media outlet, our excesses and brutalities writ big to capture the popular imagination. So its hard not to despair.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
How to talk to strangers: a guidebook to bridging what divides us2 months, 8 days ago
The more we do to interact with people who arent like us, the better off well be in the face of hatred that has become so visible thanks to Donald Trump
We seem to have lost the capacity to live with our differences in peace. The complex lines that divide us are now exposed, and they run deeper than we believed from what we see as the most pressing issues facing the country, to our values, to our understanding of race, gender and liberty. In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton herself find: We are a far more divided society than we realized.
In the Seattle Times, Nicholas Confessore and Nick Corasanti described the electorate as unprecedentedly segregated socially and geographically: About half of Americans now live near people more politically like them than not, whether in conservative rural townships or sprawling liberal cities. Few Trump advocates report having close friends voting for Mrs Clinton. Many Clinton advocates are more likely to see Trump voters on television than in person.
Republicans and Democrats have always been on opposite sides of political and social fencings. Whats new, what might feel insurmountable, is the degree of difference. The gap has widened very quickly over the past two decades. Weve arrived at perhaps the most difficult moment in recent history: approximately half the electorate have voted into the presidency of the United States an openly bigoted, racist, xenophobic, sexist, sexual predator. Divisiveness exemplified in an authoritarian leader.
In the face of pervasive, violent hatred that has become so visible and so normalized, people are struggling with “what were doing”, how to take action.
My midnight saunter with Ozzy Osbourne | Paul Rees2 months, 18 days ago
When writer Paul Rees was invited to Christmas dinner chez the Osbournes, he didnt expect to end up outside with Ozzy and a pair of night-vision goggles
In 1994, I was invited to Christmas dinner at Ozzy Osbournes home. Stone enduring wild man was emerging from self-imposed retirement and his return to action had been marked by the launch of his official website. Ozzys wife and manager, Sharon, had arranged for the first 20 fans to visit it to gratify their hero at the couples rambling estate in Berkshire.
The formidable Sharon hired a fleet of caterers to serve turkey and trimmings in a candlelit dining room adorned with a towering Christmas tree. I was dispatched by Kerrang !~ ATAGEND magazine to document the festive tidings and arrived to find Ozzy in a mutinous mood. Within minutes he had convinced himself I was a waiter and aloud demanded that I be put to work. Ignore him, Sharon soothed, adding: Hes a daft old sod.
A series of comic episodes ensued as soon as the over-enthusiastic American guests pitched up. Gaggles of them roamed the house in search of keepsakes, with Ozzy stomping after them. Sharon! the Brummie boomed from a far-flung wing, Someones nicked the bog roll.
After dinner, I joined Ozzy in the library for our interview. Skittish at the best of periods, he set off at once on a ramble and wholly libellous discourse meant to out a score of his fellow stone starrings as homosexual. I asked him instead what he did for a hobby. His eyes widened and he leapt up. Ive a fan who is a colonel in the US Marine, he enthused, hurling open a cupboard, and he gave me these. He showed me two pairs of infra-red, night-vision goggles.
And so it came to pass that on a frigid Decembers night, Ozzy and I embarked upon a stroll around the woodland encircling his home. In the inky blackness we viewed one another in a luminous green light. Rain had turned the ground into a thick, viscous bog and I indicated we might incurs Sharons wrath by trailing mud across her carpets.
Bollocks to that, Ozzy trumpeted. He had a mission in intellect. He entailed for us to seek out his herd of fallow deer, which remained altogether elusive for the hour that we fumbled about. Ultimately, at 2am, as we stumbled around in a bog, Ozzy shrugged and concluded in a baleful voice: Fuck em, lets go home. That was the real Ozzy: funny and bonkers.
When We Were Lions ( 18.99, Aurum) by Paul Rees is out now. To order a transcript for 15.57 go to bookshop.theguardian.com
Read more: www.theguardian.com
What are humen to do in the age of Trump?2 months, 19 days ago
Donald Trump represents far more than a setback for women. He also represents the failure of men to deal with their own questions of gender
Men: Period to Listen. So read a sign on the National Mall in Washington during the Womens March protesting against Donald Trump the day after his inauguration.
Now that the womens movement has become the spearhead of resistance to the Trump administration, a pressing question has emerged for half the population: what role, if any, are men to play in the crisis of gender politics that is inevitable over the course of the next four years?
The situation has, in one sense, simplified tremendously. The elaborate labyrinths of identity politics have disintegrated and left with basic questions of fundamental human decency. Trumps actions as chairwoman, more than his demeaning behaviour on the campaign trail, are intentionally maintaining females from power and attacking programs that promote their health, both in the US and globally. Feminism as humanism the very basic idea that females are people is now under threat. Any man who claims to possess a shared sense of humanity with women must stand with them.
The evidence has become too glaringly obvious. Who could exemplify more perfectly rape culture than a man who was elected president of the United States while boasting about sex predation? What more proof do you need that females face structural disadvantages in the performance of their duties lives than Hillary Clinton winning the popular referendum by virtually 3 million elections and still losing?
But Trump represents far more than a setback for women. He also represents the failure of men to deal with their own questions of gender.
Trump is new. He is not like the straight white males who came before him in the office of the presidency. He is a charade, a simulacrum of masculinity conjured by self-loathing and self-aggrandizement, a reflection of the tormented, contradictory state of contemporary men, the Red Pill constructed flesh.
Trump represents not masculinity in victory, but masculinity in decadence.
Two contradictory procedures are at work. One is the rise of women to predominance of the middle class; the other is the intractable continuation of male power at the top. Since 2000, girls have increased their workplace participation in most countries in the world. Across the OECD, the pay gap significantly decreased between 2000 and 2011. In the United States, the number of households led by women has been increasing since the 60 s and currently stands at around 40%.
At the same hour, girls are kept from the top postures. There are any number of ways to register this fact, from a comparing of the compensation for male and female movie stars, to the number of women who are full professors, to the scandalously few women who are equity partners in law firms.
These two contradictory tendencies create a world in which the relationship between gender and power is increasingly nonsensical. Masculinity remains emblematic of potency while it becomes, in daily experience, a condition of failure. In an essay for the Atlantic magazine two years ago, I described this turbulent contradiction as the hollow patriarchy. I can think of no purer icon of hollow patriarchy than Donald Trump.
The hollowing out of the patriarchy is set to increase. Trump has the most male cabinet since Reagan, and the decline of men in the middle class is going to continue no matter what that cabinet says or does. Two weeks after the election, Otto, the self-driving truck service lately purchased by Uber, successfully delivered 50,000 cans of Budweiser. Three and a half million truck driver are currently employed in the US, an overwhelmingly male cohort. A few weeks after that momentous journey, women became, for the first time, the majority of students enrolled in American statute schools. They now predominate post-secondary education. Men are not willing to take jobs that are not traditionally masculine. Women continue to enter humen fields.
Trump has emerged as a parody of masculinity and feminism is set back at the moment when the traditional male role of provider is about to vanish. This contradictory process is far from unprecedented. During the Reagan-Bush years, the pay gap shut from 64 cents to 77 pennies, a time in gender politics that Susan Faludi famously described as a backlash.
Feminism as we have known it since the second world war is insufficient to fight Trump because Trump does not simply represent the traditional patriarchy, against which females can oppose their own collective interests. His misogyny is not of that kind. The Republicans were offered more or less a complete array of traditionally patriarchal figures during the primaries. Jeb was old papa. Rubio was young papa. The Republican rejected them all for a human who possesses not a single traditional masculine virtue, a human who cannot even tie a tie-in without videotapeing it together at the back.
We have reached the point where the old conflicts, both intellectual and political, simply will not do any more. The incompleteness of the way we talk about gender is original and terminal. It is the inevitable result of thinking through gender by beginning and ending with the position of women.
Saying we need mens liberation is of course absurd look at Trumps cabinet. But men are literally preferring not to be providers rather than to take over womens work. This is disastrous for them, for women and for the wider economy. We cannot shape men until we have some kind of critical understanding of the mechanisms of masculinity. And simply put, we do not have that appreciation. The first alumnu program devoted to masculinity surveys in the US began in 2015.
There have been calls for men to join in the feminist movement from its beginning, with two main difficulties: the first is that feminism is inherently about girls. And so feminisms message to men has traditionally been pretty simple: behave better to girls. Gender analyses about masculinity are more or less totally subsumed in the question of mens relationships to females, rather than to themselves or one another. The humen at the womens march were defined by their relationships to females, too. They were there as parents, husbands, sons. Thats not enough.
The other problem is that humen do not talk explicitly about their own gender. Or instead they do talking here gender, but almost entirely under the encompas of talking about athletics and clothes. Traditional masculinity has been silent of the subject of itself because it presumed its dominance as an inalienable fact. Patriarchal masculinity believed itself to be an authentic norm; femininity was variable performance.
Trump induces such an attitude no longer feasible. He enacts his masculinity as a game of signs. His manliness is flamboyant and histrionic. Every human will be inundated for at the least four years with masculinity as a performance. There will be no conceal from the artificiality.
In that style, Trump represents an opportunity as well as a catastrophe. The single most shocking fact of the outcome of the 2016 election was just how little gender mattered to voters: 53% of white females voted for Trump and 63% of white humen. Trump took 33% of the male Latino vote and 26% of the female Latino vote.
Those facts, in themselves, reveal how far the way we talk about gender has deviated from its reality in American life. During a campaign stop for Hillary Clinton early in 2016, Madeleine Albright declared: Theres a special place in hell for women who dont assistance each other! a line that has appeared on Starbucks cups. Forty-two percent of American girls felt otherwise, as did 62% of non-college trained girls.
The sign I ensure at the Womens March Men: Hour to Listen was held up, somewhat inevitably, by a human. We need to listen. We need to listen to women. We need to listen to ourselves as well. I couldnt help thinking that there should have been a Mens March against Trump; he represents our failure after all. But who would organize it?
Gloria Steinem famously declared that womens liberation is likely to be mens freeing, too. Trump has clarified that the opposite women bondage, mens bondage is also applicable. It is men who need to say this is not us. But then we would have to think about who we are.
Stephen Marche is the author of the forthcoming The Unmade Bed: The Messy Truth about Men and Women in the Twentieth Century.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
The return of Memphis: how the 80 s design staple detected a new audience3 months, 7 days ago
Once derided, the design style that specialized in squiggles and DayGlo colorings is the subject of a new series of exhibitions shedding light on a loved, loathed and often misunderstood movement
The Memphis Groups design style is unmistakable. The output of the short-lived, divisive design collective, which debuted at the Milan furniture fair in 1981 and shut shop six years later, personified the garish appeal of the decade that style forgot. Their furniture was colorful, kitschy and overstated. They stacked slanted rows of cheap plastic laminates and called it a bookshelf. The group led by founder Ettore Sottsass decided that geometric shapes attained great table legs, and that black-and-white stripes altogether worked with lemon-yellow circles.
Over the course of the 80 s, the signature clash of busy patterns and synthetic materials imbued every aspect of popular culture. From a young Karl Lagerfelds chic Monaco apartment to pale imitations in the form of screen-printed Esprit sweatshirts and MTV graphics Memphis was unavoidable. Back to the Future IIs vision of the millennium development goals was directly influenced by the group and their designs served as the inspiration for the Max diner from Saved By the Bell.
The Met Breuers new exhibition Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical cuts through the glare of 80 s DayGlo to focus on Memphis, the philosophy. It charts the movements origins through its founders 60 -year career, presenting Memphis not as a passing fad, but the culmination of one mans decades-long mission of creating a more spiritual approach to design. The Memphis Groups main goal was to create objects that appealed to you on an emotional level, says the Met Breuer curator Christian Larsen.
Read more: www.theguardian.com
Moby:’ There were bags of drugs, I was having sexuality with a stranger’3 months, 10 days ago
He was the sober, Christian dance music innovator but then Moby discovered success … Now hes coming clean
Before I picked up Mobys new memoir, Porcelain, I thought of him as a small, bald, cheeky chappy who made tuneful dance music. I knew he had a few unconventional beliefs( wasnt he vegan? Hardcore Christian? Perhaps teetotal ?), but filed him as essentially harmless. After reading Porcelain, well Lets just say his volume is packed with incident. Lots of dodgy sex, oceans of alcohol, antics a-gogo. Plus: cockroaches, raves, demise, celebrities( from Madonna to Robert Downey Jr, but not in starry situations) and good old Top Of The Pops. Its a cavort of a book. Such outrageous fun, in fact, that Moby tells me hes “ve noticed that” people have regarded him differently after reading it.
They have a look, he says. Its odd being on the receiving objective of that appear. Its a seem of knowing, but its also a seem of fear. Like, Is everything OK?
The fact is, his volume constructs me like Moby more. For a start, he writes brilliantly, with none of the self-indulgence of most pop memoirs: I wanted each chapter to be like an anecdote youd tell in a bar, to have a punchline, he says. And also, theres something touching about who he was back then. At one point, he writes this, about some club children They were all doing obscene quantities of drugs and having sex with strangers, but they still seemed innocent and thats exactly how he comes across. Its quasi-Dickensian, he says. Naive boy from the country moves to the big city and things go wrong.
We are drinking herbal tea and eating( very tasty) vegetables in Mobys freshly opened vegan restaurant in blue-skied Los Angeles. Its a nice place and I am relaxed, but endearingly, Moby isnt. He picks up a fallen cushion and plumps it before putting it back on the bench; he asks me if Im too cold and alters the air con; he goes through the menu with me.
Moby has lived on the west coast for six years, but had no problem transporting himself back to his past for the book. Sometimes he would be used to describe being blind drunk in New York, contained within filth and squalor, and look up from his laptop and be shocked to see his swimming pool, bathed in sunshine. The writing felt true and current realities felt like fiction. It was like hour travel.
Lets zoom back in time with him, then. Porcelain contains general information with Mobys life between 1989 and 1999, from where reference is moved to New York to just before the release of Play, his fifth album, and the one that changed everything. Play was packed full of sample-heavy, catchy dance tunes, which interred themselves into everyday life. Even if you havent actively listened to the album, youll know the anthems: Honey, with its driving piano riff and Bessie Jones sample get my honey come back, sometimes; Natural Blues, featuring another blues sample( oh lordy, difficulty so hard ), this time from Vera Hall.( Moby sourced these samples, and others, from Alan Lomaxs folk music field recordings .) Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad ? has featured on the GSCE syllabus for music since 2008. Anyway, the big thing about Play was that every single one of its ways was subsequently licensed for ad or films. This was a huge bargain at the time, and a huge bargain for Moby. It moved him from the electronica shadows into the big league, changed him from a musician who scrabbled for a few thousand dollars to a fully fledged, in-the-spotlight, pop starring overlord. For a while, Moby was dance musics Adele: everyone liked his stuff.
Nipple pasties in New York: the return of Helmut Lang3 months, 28 days ago
Shayne Oliver, of Hood by Air, kicks off a series of guest takes on the designer whose looking has never gone away
It is 12 years since the designer left the Manhattan fashion scene in favour of life as a sculptor in upstate New York, but the Helmut Lang looking never went away.
Lang devoted the modern urban creative class its uniform: snake-hipped, flat-fronted black trousers with a tissue-thin white cotton T-shirt; a slip-up dress with biker boots; a bomber coat with paint-spattered jeans- all of these are classic Lang appears. They never went out of way, they just had a different name on the label.
Alexander Wang, Raf Simons, Vetements, Kanye West’s Yeezy: many of the most influential names of the past decades borrow something of their aesthetic and philosophy from Lang.
Hence the strategy behind the relaunch of Helmut Lang on its return to New York fashion week: let the hipster decorators who already pay homage to Lang on their own catwalks do so in-house, putting the Helmut Lang label back into the clothes and the cash back into the brand’s coffers.
Isabella Burley, the 26 -year-old British manner editor who is now leading the brand, will invite guest designers in-house for a season or two each. On Monday night, the first in the hot seat, ex-Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver, presented his take over Helmut Lang.
The challenge here is that no revamp of Helmut Lang could ever perhaps be as cool as the original Helmut Lang. Lang is the modern cool designer’s all-time favourite cool designer, the David Bowie of the manner world.
The Helmut Lang aesthetic diaspora means you can buy the look- a skinny Crombie coat, a filmy parachute silk dress, a black tank with a few fetishy straps here and there- anywhere. Helmut Lang the brand will succeed or fail on whether it makes a new generation want the Helmut Lang label and logo, as well as the looking. And that depends on building the name cool again.
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