Edge Only

Edge Only is a new jewellery brand from Jenny Huston launched earlier this month. Jenny is most well known as a radio DJ and author and this is her first foray into designing. She explains her reasons for this new career direction:

‘I created Edge Only out of frustration. While out shopping, I would find a cool piece of jewellery that was gold or silver coloured, and then after wearing it for a while, the plating would wear off and the ugly base metal started to show through. That great ‘bargain find’ now just looked cheap and had to be thrown out or sent to the charity shop. So I decided to stop wasting my money on disposable costume jewellery and started looking for real, solid silver and gold replacements. Disappointingly, I found that most jewellers had luxury pieces that were suitable for black tie events and very large wallets, or the same old conservative, delicate, pieces. Where was the edge?! Where were the affordable cool contemporary pieces for everyday wear?’

As you can see from the pictures below and from the website, Edge Only is a brand that focusses on contemporary design; clean lines, both matt and polished finishes, rock and roll inspired items, and geometric statement pieces. Every aspect of production takes place in Ireland by highly skilled Goldsmiths and members of the jewellery trade and each piece is hallmarked, which is a guarantee of precious metal content; you won’t find gold plate, vermeil or gold fill in Edge Only pieces.

Edge Only collections are made with sterling silver, 14 carat gold and 18 carat gold as standard, but they can custom-make pieces in rose gold, white gold or platinum. Some of my favourites from the collection below. As always, click on the pics to be taken to the items on the original site.

Plectrum Pendant - €125.00
Plectrum Pendant – €125.00
ROCK pendant - €125.00
ROCK pendant – €125.00
Pointed Lightning Bolt Earrings - €80.00
Pointed Lightning Bolt Earrings – €80.00
Parallel Ring - €120.00
Parallel Ring – €120.00

In Bloom

I included Irish radio presenter Jenny Huston’s debut book In Bloom as part of my Christmas Recommendations post on Monday.  I recently had the opportunity to interview Jenny about the book and have reprinted below;

How did you first become interested in music as a career?
I was approached by the university radio society at clubs day in my first year at college.  I loved music but had never considered radio or being a DJ before.  Presenting an afternoon rock show was infinitely more fun than studying for my Psychology degree and I was soon hooked.
When did you first decide to write the book and what was the catalyst?
I was approached last Christmas by Jo O’Donoghue at Currach Press asking me would I be interested in writing a book on emerging Irish bands but I was very unsure about the idea.  One day someone asked me whether Bell X1 had broken up because things seem really quiet for them.  I was really shocked, because Bell X1 had just done four tours of North America and had been on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and Craig Ferguson, all prime time American shows.  I realized that there was a huge gap in information; once a band left Ireland to tour elsewhere many fans assumed they were doing nothing.  The bands needed someone to brag about them and complete their stories.  We don’t celebrate other peoples successes enough in Ireland and I wanted to write about how well our bands are doing, not just on their home turf, but their progress internationally. 
How do you discover new bands and music?
I receive a huge amount of CDs in 2fm. They are my first port of call, but if I miss anything generally a friend or fellow muso will tell me what they are excited about.  We all talk and trade hot new favourites!

Do you think the music scene in Ireland is in a healthy state, both creatively and in terms of infrastructure?
We have a ridiculous amount of creative talent in this country.  I think sometimes there is a lack of marketing regarding the support that is available to musicians.  There is great help and advice available, if you know where to find it. IMRO and FMC are two organizations all musicians should be aware of and in contact with.  I also think it would be great if popular music in Ireland had the same financial support as is given in countries such as Holland and Canada.

Having spoken to so many bands for the book, do you find that they have anything in common?  Are Irish bands having the same experiences on the road to fame, and what are they, if so?
The main thing they all share is work ethic; you just cannot succeed in the music industry without working your butt off, talent is only part of it.  Most of the top bands I interviewed take a huge interest in the business side of their band.  Updating their websites, blogs, sending out newsletters to fans, printing t-shirts and posters for gigs.  They don’t wait for or expect anyone else to do it for them.  They share responsibilities amongst themselves.  Most of them have had real struggles with confidence also, something that surprised me a little.  You never expect talented people to be so normal!
Finally, what are your music recommendations for Christmas?  Any albums or music related books or movies you’ll be buying as pressies?
I am a fan of  re-issues and re-masters.  Nirvana’s Lithium is out as are all of The Beatles albums.  You can’t go far wrong with either of those!  I am loving the Newfoundland band Hey Rosetta’s album Into Your Lungs, Them Crooked Vultures and Local Natives. I still love The XX, Temper Trap, Passion Pit, Wild Beasts and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Many thanks to Jenny for the interview and if you haven’t checked out In Bloom it’s in all good Irish bookstores and online at Amazon, so have a look!

Christmas presents…

…of the book variety.

Due to my reputation as a book worm/word nerd, and also due to the existence  of my superhero alterego Grammar Girl (“saving the world, one apostrophe at a time”), I am often consulted at this time of year for suggestions for Christmas presents.

I firmly believe that everyone is a reader; they just have to find the books they like.  Bookshops can be intimidating places for the uninitiated and I think people get put off.  If you know someone well enough, you’re bound to be able to pick a book that will keep them entertained even if they claim they don’t like to read.   Books are also relatively cheap and in the “current economic climate” (yawn) I’m sure everyone wants to keep present costs down.

So, for what it’s worth, I thought I’d offer some suggestions for Christmas presents for your nearest and dearest.  I have most of the below and so can recommend highly!

For the Music Lover

There are some fantastic biographies out at the moment.  You could buy this lurid, warts and all, biography of Led Zeppelin.  For dance music enthusiasts, this great history of the legendary Hacienda club in Manchester is a must read.  For those who love jazz, But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer is a tour de force.  And for Irish readers In Bloom by Jenny Huston is a great guide to up and coming Irish bands.

For the Fashionista

Scott Schuman has been taking street style photographs for four years and his blog, The Sartorialist, is a must-read for those in the fashion industry.  The best of the website has just been compiled in this gorgeous book which would make a great gift for any clothes obsessed person in your life. Alternatively they might enjoy Fruits or Fresh Fruits by Shoichi Aoki, Dior by Christian Dior, or the Purple Anthology by Olivier Zahm.

For your little sister

I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith probably has one of the best opening lines ever written, and is the charming tale of Cassandra, her eccentric family and their decaying house in England.  This will be guaranteed to keep a girl quiet for days!   Alternatively she might prefer this beautifully illustrated version of Alice in Wonderland.

For your Mum

One Christmas I bought my Mum Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and Love In A Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford.  All I heard for the following few days were snorts of laughter and giggles coming from the corner of the couch.   Hysterically funny stuff without the need to engage your brain too much, which anyone’s Mum will appreciate after all that seasonal stress!

For the serious reader

It’s always difficult to buy books for the serious reader as you’re never quite sure if you’re buying something they already have.  My recommendations would include A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley, which is a brilliant but almost forgotten work of genius, this fantastic biography of Richard Yates by Blake Bailey, as Yates has undergone a serious resurgence thanks in no small part to Leo and Kate in Revolutionary Road, and The Stories of Richard Bausch, a brilliant American master of the short story.

Seasonal Favourites

I’m always delighted when I can buy a seasonally appropriate book by one of my favourite authors as a Christmas present.  Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story is a beautiful Christmas tale and this Faber and Faber edition is a great stocking filler.

A Christmas Memory is a gorgeous if somewhat sad story by Truman Capote.  Largely autobiographical, it tells the story of a very young boy making Christmas cakes with his cousin.

Another book I seem to give to many people as a present is True Tales of American Life, which is edited by Paul Auster.  It is possibly the only book that has ever made me believe in the existence of God, or some divine presence.  Kinda appropriate for the season that’s in it.

Happy shopping!