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A Selective Attention Test With The Free Help Guy

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Before reading the interview, do this test. Do it. Seriously.

How did you get on? Did you get it right?

This illustration of our selective attention (originally developed by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris) represents an interesting psychology and an almost unnerving duping of the brain.

In this video, The Free Help Guy created a version a bit bolder, a bit deeper. And it’s true: busy we are, busy we claim to be. Whereas very important people and topics are around us, we might lose ourselves in the daily bread.

We had the chance to interview T., the man behind The Free Help Guy, a very interesting platform, connecting free helpers. In a world where we don’t talk much to our neighbours, there might be a need to re-shape social links…

Many experts talk about the fact that attention economy is the new playground for humans; time should be more valuable than money itself. Do you think that basic reactions like empathy, trust, caring, are dismantled by the noise which tries to grab our mind?

I think you’re right. Attention economics looks at our attention as a scarce resource which is exactly what it is, increasingly so, in modern society. As with anything scarce, its value is increasing but I fear we’re most likely to spend this attention on short term gain and instant gratification, whether it be box sets or booze. Empathy, trust development and the act of caring for one another is not a short term game and it’s rarely instantly gratifying, so they’re demoted down our attentive ‘to do’ lists. The aim of our film is to challenge this. To suggest to the viewer that our attention selection can be duped and that there’s often a cost to this – in our case the cost of ignoring the issue of suicide in the UK.

Suicide is a social issue; it’s not that easy to properly identify when someone’s about to commit it. What should we do in order to help, or at least be more vigilant?

Each case of suicide is as individual and unique as one person is from another. But as a foundation to it all, we have to be more aware of the problem and consequently much more open, accepting and pragmatic about its many influencing factors. I think this starts with the everyday person. I’ve heard too many people say whilst shrugging their shoulders that it’s an ‘irrational act’, yet I’ve heard from people who have described the most detailed, measured and rational means by which loved ones have taken their lives. Assuming it’s irrational is a way for that person to shirk their potential to empathize and understand and without this there’s no openness, accepting or pragmatism. If society as a whole started paying attention then there’d be a greater likelihood of people considering committing suicide coming forward and seeking help before they do.

This initiative is part of a more global goal for the Free Help Guy: could you describe your purpose?

I have a hunch that traditional social enterprise and charity work the wrong way round. Organisations develop solutions and then find beneficiaries for them. They but be right and it’s certainly a more obviously scalable approach but the cost is that each issue is dehumanized. I want to explore the alternative, which is taking one person and their problem (or request for help) and creating something that works for them but hopefully helps more in the process at the very least through informing and inspiring a wider audience through documenting each instance of helping. Whether you’re me, a collaborator or simply just a reader of my blog, there’s a real person with a real problem to engage you with each issue and I think this is powerful. Either way, my goal is to do all I can for those who approach me needing help whilst mobilising others to do good in the process – and doing this anonymously!

What can we wish you?

Collaboration. This is what I wish! Individuals, agencies, charities, whoever you are, if you believe in doing good differently then I’d love to hear from you.

To know more how you can help, go visit the dedicated page.

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An inteview with JUDY WU: “Creating a collection is like a trip into the unknown”

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If you haven’t heard yet about JUDY WU, mind the gap.

Raised in Shanghai, before graduating from Central Saint Martins, the rising talent then developed her techniques for House of Holland among other great Maisons. She’s part of this new “Born in China” / “New Made in China” trend (like SIMONGAO) that you’d better watch carefully as this bunch of creators is changing the fashion rules. An arty interpretation of a strong womanhood we adore.

Let’s chit-chat with JUDY WU.

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There are new designers coming from China, who are definitely changing the game in fashion: do you consider yourself as part of this movement?

It is great to see quite a few Chinese faces at LFW this season. I am always proud of my cultural background which provides me a great source of inspiration and strength, although the brand JUDY WU has always being based in London. Chinese designers are definitely gaining more and more exposure on the international stage. There are many very talented Chinese designers who are working extremely hard to make their voice heard and I am glad to be able to contribute to it.

 

London seems to be the perfect place for rising talents to launch their collections: what’s the secret weapon of London?

London is a very international and multi-cultural city which provides many platforms for talents regardless where you are from. The creative industry here allows young talents to fully express their creativity. The industry and media here are always looking for new ideas instead of only driving the big names. There are also some great art and design schools such as Central Saint Martins, Royal College of Arts, London College of Fashion… etc. Those schools bring up young talents at a very high standard for the creative industry all over the world. London is a magical place!

 

Your collection is both a mix of traditional tailoring, with a twist of fantasy, and in the meantime it’s very wearable by women on a daily basis: how do you manage this tricky balance between style and “ready-to-wear”?

My aim is to create a lifestyle wardrobe for a modern independent woman who also has a free spirit. Having the image of my muse in mind, keep adding or deleting to each of her looks until they reach a balance.

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Where do you find your inspirations?

There are a lot of things that are inspiring to me such as art, music, nature, movies…etc. There is always something new to learn about this world which sometimes makes me feel rather ignorant. Creating a collection is like a trip into the unknown. Learning is the fun part of the journey.

 

Fashion can change the world: do you agree?

Designers are quite sensitive to the world that is around them. They express their thoughts through their work and hope to change the world to if not better then to a prettier place.

 

What are the next steps of your story as a designer?

Focusing on my next collection and telling my story to the world.

judy wu fashion designer

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What’s It Like to Work In The Fashion Industry? #BoF500

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Imagine interviewing some of the most influential people in fashion. And imagine if they were sitting in your office, for a bit. Sharing thoughts ideas, inspirations, eccentricity.

It’s now done. Fashion at Work, the new i-D film, supports the new #BoF500 rankings; on the platform, you can discover every day a new interview; we can’t wait for Alexandre de Betak one, on October 7.

Whether you like or hate Alexa Chung, Carine Roitfeld, Katie Grand, Renzo Rosso, Binx Walton etc. you can have a look at influential people.

Inspiring.

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Reductress: badass magazine for badass women

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Imagine a bunch of women who would like to change the  way “women media” are made. Fed up with diet articles, celebration of the same stars, tips to be  “perfect”? Well, you have to read Reductress, a sort of hybrid webzine; as if Reddit had met a DIY group on Pinterest (yes, we wrote that). We had a chance to ask 5 fire questions to their founders. And they rock.

 

Reductress seems pretty cheeky and pretty badass: do you already have some enemies?

We made a point of bringing enemies to the table right from the start. The mistake a lot of people make is trying make enemies along the way en route to success. The sooner you make enemies, the sooner you have the searing motivation of hate to guide you. Some of our enemies include: the patriarchy, harem pants, climate change, carbohydrates, and Josh Groban. Just kidding, we love Josh Groban and the patriarchy.

Do you consider yourself as feminist? How could we guys help feminism? 

We’re feminists with a capital ‘F,’ by which we mean we’re the pretty kind that people like. Just think of a cool woman you know who’s doing cool things for womankind and we’re basically that. Some ways that guys could help feminism would be: giving us more compliments on the street, telling us what we want, and taking care of all those boring jobs in society by being CEOs and politicians so we don’t have to be. Thanks men! XOXOXO

What was your biggest achievement so far with Reductress?

This interview is up there. Also, one time we were eating at a restaurant and Alec Baldwin sat down at the table next to us. True story. Call his agent.

Fashion can change the world: do you agree?

Yes, theoretically if someone “fashioned” a device to resolve poverty, global warming, and corporate greed, then yeah, fashion could change the world. And if you think about it, chambray shirts come pretty close to achieving all of those things. But seriously, all you have to do is look at Beyoncé or Lupita Nyong’o and it’s like, “Fashion is worn by people who are making change in the world.” And if we’re still talking about them, let’s throw Michelle Obama’s arms in there.

Last words?

Visit our website at reductress.com and click on all the advertisements while you’re there. You won’t regret it.

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In the bag of: Quy Nguyen (ELLE Vietnam)

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Meeting Quy and a bunch of other encounters in Vietnam made us want to launch this crazy project: meet all the Creatives in Vietnam under 30 and report about the Trend.

Nguyen Danh Quy is one of this rare breed nowadays in Ho Chi Minh City. Well-cultured, well-traveled, professionally ambitious and demanding, yet incredibly cool and humble. After a few years studying in Germany, he was offered a position as Deputy Managing Editor at Elle Vietnam. In a blossoming economy – still partly hit by the worldwide recession, Quy is a learner. Passionate and dedicated to researching, understanding the fashion industry, he also aspires to transmit these pioneering know-how and knowledge to students finding Fashion Marketing Bachelors barely starting to exist since 2012.

Our talks have led to a common lecture at local elite university RMIT for a class of Fashion Market, and more to come. Here are the man’s answers to a couple of questions.

-          When did you decide fashion was your way?

3 years ago when I was staying in Germany, I got an offer to be Deputy Managing Editor of Elle Vietnam magazine. My passion for fashion and luxury industry has grown very much since then, as well as my knowledge of fashion industry. There’re still so many things to learn about the industry, all the creative people, super talented designers etc. and all that keeps me staying in fashion.

-          Which brand impressed you the most and triggered your passion?

I always have the tendency for brands with minimal aesthetics and casual chic such as Jil Sander, COS, Bottega Veneta, Hermès. However, since the last three years, I have been totally in love with everything Phoebe Philo created for Céline. I think I’ve found what I truly love and the beauty I believe in. She has reinvented Cool and all of her designs, including accessories, represent what I envision cool and beautiful are.

-          How do you see the future of fashion design in Vietnam?

I see the determination and great efforts of everyone (from fashion magazine people to designers, creative directors, buyers, retailers) to make local fashion industry be more professional, more active – in general, for better. I also think fashion design in Vietnam has a bright future, if it can be more international and follow certain rules of the industry as other professional fashion industries in the world.

-          What do you bring from your experiences abroad?

Fairness, Professionalism, Open-mindedness – I try to bring different perspectives of aesthetics (Western view vs. Asian view) into my work. Additionally, when I view photographic work, I also try not to forget to look for emotions, something new that those images can evoke.

-          What would you share from Vietnam to the world of fashion to improve it?

​Our readers are very flexible and open to new ideas, ​new ways of seeing, feeling and portraying beauty. They can love a local celebrity and/or a model as much as an international ones. I think, they are all very eager to learn and experience more from the fashion world. Therefore, I hope there’d be more and more luxury brands coming to Vietnam in the time to come.
Now let’s have a peek into Quy’s quite fashionable bag. 
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Tess Rees: fun clothing for the fanciful

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London has this bubbly energy you can’t defeat. And when it comes to fashion meeting culture, the British capital is massive.

We’ve recently met Tess Rees for a secret project (we swear we’ll share the secret soon :) ) and we’ve discovered a very interesting designer. Student at Central Saint Martins, Tess is a Fine Artist who says that she “creates fun clothing for the fanciful“.

Something we’re very, very keen to buy as we think that fashion can change the world. And that smiling and dreaming should be written in the fashion Bill of Rights.

All pieces are 100% lovingly handmade, unless otherwise stated as vintage and all fabrics are sourced in London. All tops are one size only at the moment, this size fits a Size 10 snugly and a Size 8 loosely. As well as producing handmade clothes, Tess aims to find and sell vintage clothes at affordable prices. About 75% of the vintage pieces are found in Charity shops. So whilst spending your money in our online shop you can have peace of mind in knowing you have made a donation to a worthwhile cause.

How do you create “fun” clothing? Do you need to enter a specific state of mind?

Working creatively everyday makes generating ideas and designs seem like second nature so I wouldn’t say It’s a specific state of mind, it’s more when I think of something I want to wear and can’t find it!
tess rees

Where does your inspiration come from?

So so many places, I’m constantly doing research for my Fine Art degree so colour and form are always on my mind and this definitely feeds into my clothing and the vintage I search for. Inspiration also comes from my friends and the people around me, I often take what I love most about their styles and try to create something I love and hopefully they would want to wear too! My Granny is also a major influence, she gave me an Ostrich feather fan and a gold chain mail handbag last Christmas! An enormous stack of Vogue Paris’ sit in the corner of my bedroom that remain as a souvenir of a subscription she gave me years ago and I still look through them occasionally.

 

Your T-shirt can give a super-power to a customer: what is it?

Oooh if I could create a top that doubles as an invisibility cloak I would be one very happy lady.

What’s next for your young brand?

I’m currently working on some content for the  website which will hopefully be launching very soon. Long term plans are to develop a recognisable visual style that will hopefully result in a collection rather than sporadic designs being made here and there!
Thanks Tess! you can follow her on Instagram, buy on her website, fall in love on Twitter, like her on Facebook.
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The art of shoe shining by Steven D.R Skippen

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It had been a while since I didn’t have a breakthrough momentum in London. Not that the place is not energetic anymore, but things tend to sometimes look a bit the same…
And there came Steven D.R Skippen, Founder and Shoe Artisan at Shoeshine UK that I met at Monsieur London.  I had never experienced such a sensation on my feet, through my shoes; I had only used automatic machines in some hotels here and there. Then I understood what bespoke and talent mean. With his own hands, Steven knows how to transform your shoes into YOUR shoes.
We can make a bet: if I were a brand collection director, I would directly hire Steven to create a capsule collection.
Hi Steven: when did you star shining shoes?
I started shining shoes over 14 years ago I literally fell into it as a stop gap but to this day am still shining shoes. For 13 years my big red chair has been installed in the lobby of The London Hilton on Park Lane, my hands have had the opportunity to dwell on the shoes of the Sultan of Brunei, The Dalai Lama, Mike Tyson, the King of Jordan, Jean Claude Van Damme and the great football star, George Best.
I started Shoeshine UK in October 2000“originally at The London Hilton Metropole but quickly transferred to The London Hilton on Park Lane. I brought a style of shoe care that the UK had never seen before and have cared for many icon’s shoes”.
Using just our bare hands and the best products available regardless of cost we are revolutionising the industry and need people to understand the difference in what we do to others.
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It requires very strong skills as you have a pretty unique approach: you use your own hands. How did you learn?
I only received one weeks training as to do what I now can achieve takes years of trial and error. I have perfected The Art of Shine and patina (colouring of leather with dyes) in effect never accepting that I can never improve and always striving for perfection.
I do all my work with my bare hands a skill not seen in Europe and achieve far superior results because of this.
Shoeshining is an amazing bespoke service: can we “book” you for special events?
Yes I do many private events my past CV includes Tommy Hilfiger, Esquire magazine, Browns fashion and Monsieur London. As you can imagine we are a very sought after service due to how unique we are.
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What are your favourite products for shoeshining?
I only use the finest ingredients Saphir and Angelus products renowned as unbeatable in our profession. It begins by feeding the leather with three different creams a combination of Beeswax, mink oil from Saphir, Lord Sheraton leather balsam and Ultra Creme, then a leather massage, followed by applying a multitude of colours at each location of the shoe; this can darken and lighten at will to emphasize the slenderness of the foot.

Brushes to me have no effect. If you applied cream to your face would you use a brush? I like to penetrate the leather with my bare hands giving care and a deep shine at the same time”. Believe what you see not what you read, redefining a dying artform.

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before / after colourization work
I know you have dozens of projects: when will we see your own range of products? :)
You are right my projects are endless. Establishing my patina service is paramount and trying to make people understand that not all shoeshiners are the same.
Regarding a product range this is just around the corner and has taken a long time due to getting it perfect.
What can we wish you?
Why use a service that gives you a result that you could get yourself at home when you could use a service that would change your perception of shoeshine forever?  The public are not aware of the differences and this is why shoeshine is sadly at the lowest point it has ever been. Its time people saw what shoeshine really could be like”.

 

Steven D.R. Skippen in brief:

 

Years in profession -14 years

 

Favourite shoe company – Berluti, Santoni, Gaziano Girling, Giacopelli, Pierre Corthay, Stefanobi, Septieme Largeur, Edward Green, JM Weston, Cleverley, Marc Guyot, Carlos Santos, Aubercy, Emling and Loding
First job in profession – London City Airport in 2000
Favourite products-Saphir, Angelus, La Cordonnerie Anglaise and Lord Sheraton
Greatest inspirations – Dandy Shoecare, Landry Lacour and JM Le Gazel for patina and Stephen Reynolds for shoeshine.
Experience – London City Airport, Bloomberg, Lehman Brothers, KPMG, Harbour Exchange Tower, London Hilton Metropole, The London Hilton on Park Lane, Dunhill, Marks club, George club, The Office group, Whites Club and Goodwood festival.

 

 

Steven D.R Skippen
Founder and Shoe Artisan
Shoeshine UK
The Shoe Whisperer
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5 minutes with Georgia May Jagger: beyond fashion

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Meeting Georgia May Jagger was one of the biggest privileges I had as a style blogger. As the face of the Mercedes-Benz GLA campaign, we met her backstage before SIMONGAO catwalk, who’s supported by the German brand as he won the China Young Fashion Award, 2013.

I was expecting a tense meeting, overwhelmed by pushy PR people – it had nothing to do with that. Georgia May Jagger is a beautiful and simple young woman. With dreams, expectations, stories to tell…and a lot to come.

Born as the youngest daughter of Mick Jagger and supermodel Jerry Hall, Georgia May could have been another rich kid on the block. But she’s far more than just a bright heiress. She’s only 22 and she already has this magic glow of big, big stars. Bay Garnett who arranged one of my favourite shootings with GMJ probably summarized the aura of the stellar Jagger:

“I love how Georgia looks like a girl as opposed to a model in the pictures”

Georgia May Jagger by Venetia Scott for Vogue UK October 2013

How do you get ready for a shooting?

I just try to entertain myself. I’m laughing about whatever I’ve done before.

© Flavie Trichet Lespagnol

The last Mercedes Benz campaign is called “always restless“. A perfect match with you as you seem to be a nightbird but not necessarily a party-girl. What is your favourite moment of the night?

I love sunrise, I love 4 in the morning. If I don’t go for sleep for 3am, I stay awake as it’s my witching hour. It’s been a tough week because I need to wake up at 5am thus.

I watched the New Year’s Day’s sunrise. I like to start the New Year fresh with the new sunrise.

After modeling, is there a specific creative field you want to explore?

I went to a school for arts and specifically photography. We call it modelography: models take photos of the models. Hopefully I’m going to go into that. I’m not really into the fashion side of it, I’m more into portrait. I stopped last year when I started start full time modeling. I like Helmut Newton for fashion pictures as it goes beyond fashion, there is a scene… I like Richard Avedon as well!

What’s your power song at the moment?

I have a ladies playlist, Mr Big Stuff, Donna Summer, I like a good disco tune.

You’re also involved in the new Vivienne Westwood campaign “Save The Arctic” that features A-list actors, musicians and models: how do you feel about that?

It’s incredible for me to just be asked to help!

 

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An introduction to British fashion with Beatrice Behlen (Museum of London)

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We were pretty impressed by the commitment of the Museum of London during London Collections: Men.  As if there was (finally!) a city which tries to gather the general public with the world of fashion. A statement which is confirmed by the massive involvement of the Museum of London in social media: a new role for cultural institutions seems to rise; becoming and documenting the pulse of a city which tends to consume history.

Beatrice Behlen, the Museum of London’s Senior Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts, accepted to offer us some clues on London and Great Britain fashion history…enjoy.

How do you think British fashion is positioned regarding the other main places (Paris, NY)? what makes British creation so singular through history?

I think that despite globalisation, Paris, New York and Milan still have a distinctive identity and style. British fashion is more fun, more irreverent, more influenced by the street than American and continental fashion in my belief. I think that’s been pretty much a trend since London was swinging in the 1960s. Earlier – from around the mid-19th century onwards – Britain was known for tailoring. But not just for men. Women came here to order their country tweeds and riding outfits. Even before that there were periods – particularly in the eighteenth century – when Britain and the rest of Europe were heavily influenced by French styles. But even then English fashions were different. They were more influenced by a love of nature and the countryside, rather than the urban.

Would you call Savile Row history?

I think Savile Row is very relevant at the moment. Even though few people can afford a bespoke or even a made-to-measure suit, it sets a benchmark in terms of fit and craftsmanship, but also provides something to rebel against and subvert. We live in rather conservative times and it is not surprising that the suit and Savile Row have made a comeback. Not that the suit ever went away, but it seems to be more readily adopted by a younger audience these days.

© London Evening Standard

Will the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfits end up in an exhibition at the museum one day?

The outfits of the Duchess of Cambridge will certainly be displayed in the future. We would not say no if they were offered to the Museum of London! But I doubt they will come our way. The Royal Collection is all too aware of the appeal of fashion exhibitions and has staged a number of these over the past few years at Buckingham Palace – including a display of the Duchess of Cambridge’s infamous wedding dress. I think that is where we are most likely to see these garments go on show. I would almost be more interested in clothes worn by fans of the Duchess. A dress, say, that someone bought because the Duchess had worn something similar. It’s the stories behind and attached to garments and ensembles that interest me.

What’s the role of a museum in the British fashion industry: is it a promoter or is it a curator?

Museums can be both promoters and curators of fashion. We want to be able to tell the story of the development of fashion, but also more generally, every day wear. As such, some of our work involves making sure we collect and preserve the right objects. Obviously, putting contemporary design on display also promotes it. The jewellery designers in our Made in London: Jewellery Now exhibition are also represented in our museum shop. But when planning for the design of the exhibition, we were adamant that it should not look like a jewellery shop display. We wanted to create mini-installations allowing visitors to step inside the mind-set and creative worlds of these seven young London designers. There is a slight danger in being too involved in what’s going on at present. You don’t want to lose your critical distance.

What has changed in the way you curate fashion?

There is more emphasis on contemporary fashion now. Especially over the last twenty years. It is shame that there are not as many exhibitions about nineteenth century dress, or indeed dress from earlier periods in London. This is something that seems to be more prevalent in France and Germany for example. There seems to be a view that visitors will not be interested in clothes they cannot relate to now. Yet I’m not sure I entirely agree. The use of moving images is another big change. I realise that it seems so natural now, but even twenty years ago the technology was too clunky to achieve this easily or to a large scale. I really like that you can now see clothes moving next to the actual object. That’s always been a big problem with fashion: you have to display it on a static mannequin. The challenge is how to overcome the restrictions that this can place on the dynamism of display.

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The Home Current: the DJ you need to know in London

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I’ve listened to Martin aka The Home Current two times. The first time during a vernissage for the launch of Ghosts of Gone Birds’ brilliant book by Chris Aldhous. And the second time for The Jacuzzi Club. Amazing vibes, tribal samples, a very eclectic DJ who could be the right fit between Carl Craig and afro-beats.

We had a chance to ask him few questions. Enjoy.

Hi Martin: who are you by day and who are you by night?
By day a conservationist working for Thames21 to protect the waterways of Greater London. By night co-founder/owner of record label Second Language, DJ, musician and vinyl collector.
The Guardian talks about a “slashers” generation: do you consider that you’re one of them / us?
I believe quite a lot of people qualify as so called ‘slashers’ and I would have thought this would have been the case for decades if not centuries. Look at George
Washington: General, president, visionary, break-dancer. It’s hardly a new thing.

Where do you get your inspirations?

From different people, cultures and sounds. And from nature. Oh and from the internet.

What do you think when you mix?

Usually something along the lines of “did I close the window/disconnect the iron before I left?”
What can we wish you?
A long, healthy and happy life – and that I come across an affordable copy of Lata Ramasar’s The Greatest Name That Lives 12″
You can follow Martin on:

www.secondlanguagemusic.com

and twitter: The Home Current

Discover Martin’s top 20 album list for 2013:

1. TM404: S/T (Kontra)

2. Musiccargo: Harmonie (Emotional Response)

3. Special Request: Soul Music (Houndstooth)

4. Patrick Cowley: School Daze (Dark Entries)

5. Who Is William Onyeabor: S/T (Luaka Bop)

6. Serafina Steer: The Moths Are Real (Stolen)

7. Hailu Mergia & His Classical Instrument: Shemonmuanaye (Awesome Tapes From Africa)

8. Woo: Whichever Way You Are Going, You Are Going Wrong (Emotional Rescue)

9. Finis Africae: A Last Discovery, The Essential Collection, 1984-2001 (EM Records)

10. Studio Ghibli: Kokyo Kyokushu (Mondo)

11. Karl Hyde: Edgeland (Universal)

12. Express Rising: S/T (Not On Label)

13. Boards Of Canada: Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)

14. Craig Leon: Nommos (Superior Viaduct)

15. Grazia: S/T (Fortuna)

16. Gunnar Haslam: Mimesiak (L.I.E.S.)

17. Angéle David-Guillou: Kourouma (Village Green)

18. Dickon Hinchliffe: Red Riding, In The Year Of Our Lord 1980 (Blackest Ever Black)

19. Rauelsson: Vora (Sonic Pieces)

20. Forest Swords: Engravings (Tri Angle)

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