H&M celebrates their tenth year of designer collaborations with one that got my heart beating fast when it was announced two days ago: Alexander Wang for H&M. For those of you not aware of this amazing designer, Wang is American, hailing from San Francisco, and just thirty years old. He launched his first collection in 2007 and is most famous for his “off duty model” clothes – think downtown cool with a luxe twist. He also is Creative Director of the venerable French house, Balenciaga, and has a successful diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang.

I have blogged before about the H&M collaborations, which run from household names like Karl Lagerfeld to more cultish designers like Isabel Marant. I was lucky enough to DJ at the launch of Isabel Marant pour H&M in Dublin last year so am already crossing my fingers that I’ll be on the decks again at this launch!

I’ve posted some of my favourite Wang designs below; perfect examples of his signature studded bags, relaxed leathers and slouchy sportswear vibe. Hopefully these are the kind of things we can expect when the collection launches on November 6th.

The Rocco tote in black textured leather with rose gold studs

The Rocco tote in black textured leather with rose gold studs

Johanna sandals

Johanna sandals

Cropped leather camisole

Cropped leather camisole

Drawstring crepe tapered trousers

Drawstring crepe tapered trousers

Two-tone neoprene bomber jacket

Two-tone neoprene bomber jacket

Silk tank dress

Silk tank dress

Picture it: you’re in the cinema waiting for the main feature, your popcorn is still warm in your lap and then the lights dim for the previews. A trailer comes on for a film that looks AMAZING and you and your cinema-going partner turn to each other and say in unison, “we have to go and see that!” A while later you go and see the film you’re excited about and when it’s over you realise that the trailer was actually the greater artistic achievement, as they have managed to make a terrible film seem like something you’d actually watch. Honest Trailers to the rescue!

Honest Trailers by Screen Junkies is a channel on Youtube that does what it says on the tin; create trailers that are a tad more honest than the ones made by the marketing department in the film studio. Their trailers are well-produced and pretty hilarious. I’ve posted a couple of classics here for your entertainment and you can find lots more on the Screen Junkies Youtube Channel.

 

 

 

Don’t confuse Jillian Banks with Azealia Banks; the former, who likes to go by her surname only, is a twenty-five year old singer-songwriter from Los Angeles currently generating a lot of international buzz on the back of two EPs and two singles. She has been nominated for a Sound Of… award by the BBC and a Brand New Nominee by MTV, amongst others. “This Is What It Feels Like” is my favourite of her tracks and it’s taken from her London EP released in September last year.

I can hear 90s Bristol triphop all over her songs (perhaps due to collaborations with English producers Jamie Woon, Lil Silva and Totally Extinct Dinosaurs) with definite hints of Tricky and Portishead. These influences combined with cutting edge production and haunting layered backing vocals give her a unique sound.

She dresses entirely in black explaining recently to Vanity Fair that, “I wear all black because I feel comfortable in it. I feel feminine, strong, and a bit sexy, like a goddess witch…” Given that a lot of female singers (Beyonce, Gaga, Miley, Britney, Katy Perry, Nikki Minaj, etc.) feel that they are fully dressed in a corset and thong, it makes a nice change to see someone who covers up and puts the focus on her considerable talent.

Check Banks out on her website and have a listen to “This Is What It Feels Like” below. You can also check her out live at the Longitude Festival in Marlay Park in July.

 

Jean Paul Gaultier is renowned as the “enfant terrible” of French fashion and his street-wear influenced designs have become iconic. From man skirts, to Madonna’s famous conical bustiers, Gaultier redefined couture in the 80s. He used unconventional models in his shows – older men and women, heavily tattooed or androgynous models – and in the conservative world of couture he was seen as controversial and provocative. 

To coincide with a major exhibition at London’s Barbican (running until August 25th this year), Matches have an exclusive selection of Gaultier pieces for sale from archives of LA vintage store Decades. Customers will be buying a piece of fashion history, a garment that’s an investment, and many of the items are already sold out.

I have long adored Gaultier’s corsets and if I had the means they would be my pick of the collection. They’re the signature Gaultier pieces and will never go out of style. Some of my favourites below and you can see the full collection here.

 

Silk  Bustier Top

Silk bustier top

Crepe pleated-skirt pant

Crepe pleated-skirt pant

Buckle-strap corset top

Buckle-strap corset top

Lace babydoll dress

Lace babydoll dress

Pinstripe wool corset top

Pinstripe wool corset top

Internal-corset trench coat

Internal-corset trench coat

 

(Hulton Archive/Antony Di Gesu/San Diego Historical Society/Getty Images)

J. D. Salinger, November 1952. (Hulton Archive/Antony Di Gesu/San Diego Historical Society/Getty Images)

“There is a marvelous peace in not publishing … I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.”

- J.D Salinger, interviewed by the New York Times, 1974.

On paper, a documentary about JD Salinger, known for being the most reclusive author of all time, would seem to be a very limited and potentially dull film; how much can we really know about a man who was so insistent on privacy? However Shane Salerno’s 2013 documentary Salinger turns out to be a very compelling and thorough look at the author of one of the quintessential Great American Novels.

Jerome David Salinger is most well-known for writing The Catcher in the Rye; at a rate of 250,000 sold per year it’s is one of the best-selling books (60 million copies so far) of all time. In addition to Catcher, he also produced three other works: Nine StoriesRaise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, and Franny and Zooey. Salinger was convinced of his own talent, saying that he and Melville were the only two good American authors and publicly dismissing everyone else including Drieser, Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway (even though Hemingway was in fact his literary hero and his encouragement of Salinger was one of the great moments of Salinger’s early career).

The documentary gives a fascinating account of his experiences in the Second World War. Salinger was in the Counter Intelligence Corps and his first day in combat was D-Day, landing on Utah beach. He was present for the liberation of Paris and was part of the company that liberated the Dachau concentration camp. As a result of the trauma and suffering he witnessed, he was hospitalised for combat stress reaction for a few weeks. Many veterans talk about difficulties relating to those who have never seen combat and how their war experiences stayed with them for the rest of their lives. Salinger was in all likelihood no different which perhaps partly explains his later need for isolation.

The tone of alienation and disaffection prevalent in Salinger’s work and typified by Holden Caulfield was a direct result of his experience in the war, which he also used for subject matter. After seven years of repeated rejections by The New Yorker, Salinger finally achieved his literary goal of publication in the magazine with “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”, a story about a veteran struggling with the emotional aftermath of combat.

Salinger believed that an author should be known only through their work therefore he refused to do book tours and even asked that his photograph be removed from the cover of The Catcher In The Rye. The impression is that his work was the only important thing in his life and he needed peace and quiet to do it; publishing did not matter, the literary glitterati were of zero interest, and he hated being recognised. He began to retreat from public life in 1953 and from then until his death in 2010, he was seen very rarely. In his later years he was frustrated by fans from all over the world who hounded him, seeing him as a counsellor, wise man, the only one who truly understood them. Salinger was often impatient and told them that he was “just a fiction writer”, demonstrating his staunch refusal to buy into his own myth.

The documentary is an impressive exploration of Salinger’s life and work. As well as interviewing many people who knew him (including the women who was the inspiration for the character of Sybil in “…Bananafish”), it also contains interviews with celebrity fans, including John Cusack, Martin Sheen, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Frank, Edward Norton and Judd Apatow. As regular Multiverse readers know I love watching documentaries on writers and this is one of the best I have ever seen. Definitely one to watch.

 

I fell in love with Hozier’s first EP when it was released last year and his second EP From Eden has been on heavy rotation in my house for the last couple of weeks. If you loved Take Me To Church you will find more to love on From Eden: “Arsonist’s Lullaby” is filled with foreboding via pounding drums and dirgelike guitars; “To Be Alone” (recorded live) is slow pared-back blues; and the title track is a joyous one with Hozier’s vocals soaring over the top.

Hozier is just back from a small tour of the UK and he’s on tour in the US in May, with his gigs in New York and L.A. already sold out. I didn’t manage to get to see Hozier at Other Voices last year nor did I see him at the Pepper Canister Church before Christmas as it was sold out, so my mission is to get front and centre at a gig this year!

From Eden is available to buy on iTunes now.

Even though I posted about wanting a skull ring waaaaaaaaaay back in 2009, I still haven’t managed to get my hands (fnar!) on one. It’s been so long now that I think I’ll just save up a small bit of cash and fulfill my desire in The Great Frog, otherwise known as Mecca for Skull Rings!

The Great Frog is located just off Carnaby Street in London and has been in existence since 1972. Their original clientele were bikers and “those on the edge of the mainstream” (as their site says) and over the years this has grown to include famous rockers like Slash and members of Metallica and Aerosmith, to Kate Moss and Lady Gaga (check out the full list of famous customers here).

I was in the shop about six or seven years ago and I can attest to the quality of the pieces; all handmade from sterling silver with great attention to detail and beautiful work. The staff are also lovely and know their stock very well.

My favourites are below and next time I’m in London I’m determined to make this particular jewellery dream come true!

Medium Anatomical Skull Ring

Medium Anatomical Skull Ring

Skull and Crossbones with Rose Gold Banner

Skull and Crossbones with Rose Gold Banner

Small Skulls Band

Small Skulls Band

Star Eyed Skull

Star Eyed Skull

Thin Skulls Bangle

Thin Skulls Bangle

Small Skulls Bracelet

Small Skulls Bracelet

As regular readers may remember, I raved about the documentary Nuala when it was first shown over two years ago on RTE. The film has since gone on to win many accolades at home and abroad, including awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival and the Dublin Jameson International Film Festival.

 

 

After we watched the film, my father bought a copy of O’Faolain’s memoir Are You Somebody? and when he had finished reading it he passed it on to me. It languished on my shelves for over eighteen months until I took it down a couple of Sundays ago, having nothing by my bedside to read.

Are You Somebody? (first published in 1996) tells Nuala’s story from her beginnings as one of nine children growing up in genteel poverty with her alcoholic mother and absent father, to her days as a student in Trinity and her early love affairs, through to her later days working as a producer and journalist in Dublin and living with her partner Nell McCafferty. The memoir also details attitudes to women in Ireland at the time. The only option for women in patriarchal Ireland of old was breeding and slavery in the form of marriage and housework. O’Faolain wanted more for herself. She wanted a life of the mind, she wanted to be free to have adventures, and she consciously decided not to have children in order to facilitate her dreams.

Although I knew much of this information from the documentary, it’s a whole other experience reading it direct from Nuala. Her warmth and lack of self-pity, her humility and great capacity for humour make it a very enjoyable book. I especially loved the sections where she rhapsodises about literature and its healing effect on her spirits; how she could be transported by a piece of epic poetry or a classic novel. It’s rare to read about another person’s passion for literature and O’Faolain’s enthusiasm for the written word is contagious.

Are You Somebody? is as much a mirror of the times and society O’Faolain lived in as it is a personal memoir. This particular period of Irish history filtered through O’Faolain’s inquisitive, rebellious and charismatic personality makes for a very engaging read. Highly recommended.

Tensnake’s debut studio album Glow was released on 7th March this year and he has collaborated with a host of names including Fiora, Nile Rogers, MNEK and Jamie Liddell. I picked up “Feel of Love” on iTunes last week which features Liddell on vocals and disco influenced production courtesy of Jacques Lu Cont.

Here’s the thing: if someone told you this was was a lost 1999-era Prince track you’d totally believe them. It begins with very mixable 4/4 house beats and an 80s electro-synth feel, and as soon as Jamie Lidddell’s vocals kick in, it’s like an homage to Prince. This is not a bad thing; after all if you’re going to do an homage to anyone, Prince is a good choice.

Anyway I like the upbeat disco vibe and have been playing at gigs recently. Enjoy!

Ellie Goulding’s pop music is not generally to my taste being a bit too euro-dancey so I was bowled over when I heard her cover version of Alt-J’s “Tessellate” from last year. Her ethereal vocals are perfect for the track and it’s just beautiful. Plus it’s got a sax solo; they’ve been unfashionable since the 80s but I have a place in my heart for a good sax solo given the fact that my Dad is a horn player!

 

 

It got me thinking about cover versions I’d like to hear. Herewith a partial list:

Kanye West – “Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap

If Kanye has a sense of humour he hides it well, so it’s unlikely that he’d ever consider something like this, but this famous Spinal Tap tune would lend itself perfectly to a hip-hop cover version. Plus, who doesn’t want to hear him sing, “talk about mud-flaps my girl’s got ‘em”? Preferably at his upcoming wedding.

Willie Nelson – “Hits From The Bong” by Cypress Hill

This one just writes itself. Noted toker Willie could give this stoner rap anthem a country feel and sing instead of rap the lyrics; “Inhaaaaale…exhaaaale…”

Justin Beiber – “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus

I have successfully managed to avoid ever listening to a Justin Beiber song in its entirety, and his antics of late haven’t exactly endeared him to me or anyone else. This song might not be the best PR move but then Justin doesn’t really seem to care about that, does he?

Lindsay Lohan – “I Fought The Law” by The Clash

Lindsay’s trying to revive her film career and her current reality show on Oprah’s network OWN is her springboard. While she’s at it, perhaps she could record this iconic track. (Music trivia fans: it was made most famous by The Clash but they actually covered it – it was written by Sonny Curtis of The Crickets, post Buddy Holly.) It would be a tongue-in-cheek reference to her legal woes and Lindsay’s husky vocals would give the lyrics a lot of authenticity.

Rihanna and Miley Cyrus – “Push It” by Salt N Pepa

Rihanna and Miley are two girls intent on selling themselves with huge emphasis on sex, nudity and controversial behaviour. (In fact I think their actual talent takes second place to their sexuality.) They could brilliant update this 80s hip-hop tune with crisp production and crunchy beats, and then twerk along to their hearts’ content. In fact this one’s so obvious I wonder why they haven’t done it already.

What about you, dear readers? Any songs you’d like to see covered and if so by whom? And what are your favourite covers? (Another one of my favourites is “Word Up” originally by Cameo and covered by Willis. In her hands, the song is slowed right down with a country feel and gorgeous warm vocals. You can check it out here.)

The Multiverse

is a blog from an Irish writer and DJ which takes in a wide range of subject matter as follows: Monday’s blogs are related to literature and writing; Tuesday is fashion, style and beauty; Wednesday is music; Thursday is TV and cinema; and Friday is a miscellany.

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So I was only having you all on about not wanting kids...The adoption papers came through...Surprise! Deeefreakinlicious brunch in The Farm, Leeson. #Dublin #Brunch #TheFarm DJing! #DJlife #Dublin #AirbnB #Catapult Air BnB launch... Catapult have outdone themselves yet again! #DJlife #Dublin #AirbnB Driven to my gig in style by @davehumphries! #AudiA8 #AudiIreland My nephew is obsessed with cars! #cars #child #cute

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