This week Coca-Cola admitted their sponsorship of the Sochi Winter Olympics was turning into a PR nightmare. The invitation to ‘Share a Coke with (insert your name here)’ on social networks backfired as anti-homophobic protests blossomed across the net with people hacking the name generator to vent their anger. Embarrassed, Coke flushed its campaign under the shame of a global spotlight. Also this week, it emerges that Coke and several other huge corporations knew there would be a backlash if they didn’t use their financial might to lean on Russia to repeal its oppressive new ‘legislation’ which is widely seen as an excuse to recriminalise free sexual expression. But nobody did a thing despite Stolichnaya vodka getting stung by a boycott in the summer.
The clock is ticking and it’s sure to be a countdown to scandal
Categories: Art, Design, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor
Tags: civil rights, Coca-Cola, Coke, Gay, Homophobia, Olympics, Putin, Sochi, sponsorship, Vladimir Putin
The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin is published in the UK today. This is the last episode in the famous Tales of the City series, and anyone who follows The Vibes will know I’m slightly obsessed with the compulsive chronicles of San Francisco.
A few years ago, at a Manchester book signing, I may have planted the seed of this novel by suggesting that Mr Maupin wrote more about his ingenious character, Mrs Madrigal. He visited this very blog and said I could have been an influence! Of course I’m not claiming any credit, I’m just very happy to be holding this wish-list book in my hand.
Full review to follow shortly, stay tuned!
Politics on The Vibes? People come here for pretty pictures, surely!
Well, here’s a pretty little thing for you. In response to the flagrant disregard for human rights shown by the Coca Cola Corporation, I’m publishing this image. We know that those who point the moral finger are usually on a countdown to scandal, and that strange little man in Russia, with his plastic surgery and spray-on hair who whips off his shirt to expose his saggy moobs is just digging himself in deeper. It’s the ones who shout the loudest. So why Coke should continue to sponsor the Sochi Winter Olympics is beyond me. People are being abducted, tortured and murdered in Russia in the name of bizarre and twisted homophobic ‘legislation.’ Coke has blood on it’s cans.
Categories: Art, Design, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor
Tags: abuse, Coca-Cola, Coke, Gay, Homophobia, Human Rights, murder, Olympics, Sochi, Vladimir Putin
In the spirit of the New Year, I’m going to show you something I created way back in 1999. Dreamy and windswept, it represents the breath of fresh air and the freedom I found when I emigrated from the dull greyness of Manchester to the electric circus that was pre-millenial Amsterdam. My head was firmly in the clouds as I flew to the ancient, crumbling city – impossible pioneer at the frontier of dreams. Of course my adopted spiritual home was a succession of wild adventures and not the elegant paradise which I’d hoped. Serenity and enlightenment were trumped by excess. When the excitement reached fever pitch, we appealed for sanity and packed our things, heading back to the calmness of old England. After an epic two years we returned to Manchester with fantastic and alarming memories. And sore heads.
Dope Angel was originally a paper collage. I tore model Steve Kenney from an old copy of Zipper magazine and cut him to pieces. Using an Estée Lauder advert from Vogue, I added the sort of renaissance-style background which best described my romanticised view of the world. Photoshop was unknown to me: the cut and paste involved actually getting your hands dirty. It’s funny how I manipulated the flowing silk and muscular limbs in exactly the same way with scissors as I would now with digital wizardry. The only difference was that I only had one copy of everything – so there was no room for mistakes. Limitation is the mother of resourcefulness, as I learnt.
Somehow I managed to preserve my work as a grainy photograph, and then promptly lost both the original and the photo. Like many artists, creating stuff comes naturally, but archiving your own work doesn’t. Paintings would be left in strange places and forgotten in favour of the next big project. Usually, nothing got finished. So there was always a post-it note at the back of my mind, saying “Find Dope angel and finish it, fool.” One day I found my ancient, rusting laptop which hadn’t been used since I was abroad. How I managed to get it working is beyond me: Widows 97 is like a history lesson of creaking hard drives and lego graphics. It would take 30 seconds to open a single picture, but there it was: Dope Angel! With all the finesse and clarity of a Roman mosaic. You could almost see the curling paper layers. Unfortunately my love of quality was challenged even further when I realised that I couldn’t extract the image because the laptop was obsolete tech. I had to take a picture of the tiny screen!
Originally it was meant to look like an old oil painting, so I fed the image into Photoshop to restore some detail and then produced a digital painting from the remaster. After 15 years, I finally finished my little collage. Hope you like it, and have a Happy New Year. For 2014 I resolve to speed up my productivity.
Categories: Art, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor
Tags: 1999, Amsterdam, digital painting, Estee Lauder, Gay, Homoerotic, iPad, painting, Steve Kenny, Vogue, Zipper Magazine
Somewhere amongst the madness of the Christmas crush, I bumped into a giant silver mannequin. And completely forgot what I was shopping for. Managed to get a rear view too. In shopping, as in photography, this is known as ‘trying to remain focused.’
On to the more genteel delights of Patisserie Valerie, and a decorative ceramic spoon dispenser.
Some of my loyal readers might recognise the Christmas Carousel in the background here.
And finally, a tribute to photographer Harry Goodwin, who snapped the great and the good on BBC’s Top of the Pops. His legend is preserved in Chorlton Precinct for ever. Or until they knock it all down to build a Tesco.
Categories: Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor
Tags: bbc, Carousel, Chorlton, christmas, Gay, Harry Goodwin, Manchester, Mark Wallis, Markets, Patisserie Valerie, Top of the Pops