Listen to a Londoner: K Anderson

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

K Anderson, 28

K Anderson plays ‘lesbian music by a boy’ – confessional, conversational songs about the important things in life – getting older, bad sex, and needing a special someone in your life who can shave your back hair for you.

LLO: Which aspects of London life most influence your creativity?
KA: I think the randomness of London life is what is most inspiring. Turn a busy street corner and you could walk into a makeshift market, a film shoot, a drunken punch up or a protest march – you just never know. Speaking of random, the other day I ran into a girl who I went to primary school with on the other side of the world. My head is still spinning about that.

LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what brought you here?
KA:
This is always a bit confusing: I was born in Scotland, but emigrated to Australia with my family when I was 8, and then moved to London when I was 22. My friends in high school were obsessed with Oasis, and I was obsessed with the Spice Girls, so England was the obvious place for us to plot our escape to. I was the only one who actually managed to move here, though…

LLO: Tell us about the making of your video for “Shrug”. Lots and lots of feet…
KA:
I carried a video camera with me for a few months, and sheepishly asked all of my friends to dance for me when I caught them in a good mood.  I wanted a light and breezy video to go with ‘Shrug’, which is one of those toe-tapping songs disguising a sinister lyric. The hook of the song – ‘You want to call what we do love, I want to call it dirty sheets’ – keeps getting me into trouble with prospective romantic partners…

LLO: Favourite place in London to spend a Saturday night out on the town?
KA:
My favourite club night is ‘Unskinny Bop’, which is held at The Star of Bethnal Green. They always play totally random songs, and so you find yourself dancing to tunes you haven’t heard in years and years. Expect Betty Boo followed by The Temptations, Fuzzbox, and The Backstreet Boys. Amazing!

LLO: What’s the best part about living in your postcode?
KA:
I live in Stoke Newington, and although there are a number of pushchairs to avoid when walking down Church Street, I don’t think I would want to live anywhere else. There is a real sense of community here, and everyone I meet is fiercely proud of this little village. Oh, and there’s an amazing vegan stall at the local farmer’s market.

LLO: I hear you’ve been inviting people into your big new bed. Tell us more.
KA:
I’m slightly modest when talking about my music, but if you start me talking about my bed you won’t get me to shut up! It’s a super-king-size, and I have been madly in love with it since I bought it last year. I started a video series, ‘In Bed With K Anderson’ as a way of not only showing it off, but the talents of my many singer/songwriter friends. The premise is simple – people come over and sing a cover of a recent hit song in my bed with me. It’s been such an inspiring project for me, and it’s great to discover they way other people approach music making.

LLO: While you were in bed singing Rihanna/Eminem cover, you wore a t-shirt with iron-on letters that says “vegans make better lovers.” Are you vegan? If so, what’s your favourite place to go out for vegan food in London?
KA:
I am, indeed, a vegan. I would have to say that my favourite place to go in London for vegan food is RootMaster (www.root-master.co.uk/) – it’s an old routemaster bus which has been converted into a bustaurant (see what they did there?), and has delicious pizzas. Oh, and the cheesecake is quite delicious too.

LLO: What’s your favourite unique London discovery?
KA:
Candid Café, which is behind Angel station, is just lovely. In an area which is riddled with Starbucks, Café Nero and Pret a Manger, it is nice to find a little, unique space which sells plenty of varieties of teas and has proper, worn-in couches to spend an afternoon lazing in. What’s especially good about it is that there’s almost always a place to sit!

LLO: You just launched your album, The Overthinker. Why should we immediately pick up a copy and have you thought about what’s next?
KA:
‘The Overthinker’ is a snapshot of London life for an unsure 20-something year old; someone who is no longer cocky enough to believe the world will bend at his whim, but also not yet fully comfortable with the person he is becoming. It is at times awkward, brash, and comforting. At all times, though, it is honest. Perhaps too honest.

For the future, I am most looking forward to doing more writing – bringing out an album is hard work! Before that, though, there will be more ‘In Bed with K Anderson’ sessions and music videos to accompany songs on the album. I will also be hitting the road soon, visiting different parts of this country with my guitar on my back…

LLO: What’s your favourite place to play a gig in London?
KA:
I love playing at the cabaret venue Royal Vauxhall Tavern, because it has a proper stage, lovely sound, and a really appreciative audience. Oh, and it’s probably one of the only venues I play at in London which has its own dressing room. It may not be swanky, but it’s rather fun telling people that you have to go to the dressing room to get ready.

Thanks K!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

Listen to a Londoner: Abbey Stirling

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you want to be interviewed, email littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk. Always looking for new volunteers.

Abbey Stirling, 32

Abbey is a freelance arts and entertainment journalist living and working in London and Ibiza. She is the editor of webzine The London Word.com, and dabbles in feline frolics and fancy dress.

LLO: How long have you lived in London?
AS:
Twelve years almost to the day. I moved here from Australia (where I lived after leaving my native New Zealand) in the spring of ’98.

LLO: Tell us a bit about The London Word, what it’s all about and how it started.
AS:
Like many great things it all began at the pub. A mate and I were letting off some steam over a pint back in 2007. We were both working for an American website at the time, and our contrasting cultures and clashing views with the US office caused no-end of conflict. So, feeling disheartened by our jobs and believing London was misrepresented, we branched off on our own, taking with us everything we’d learnt from that experience.

Now, three years later, we have a team of about 30 contributors who publish articles on a daily basis. Readers can absorb daily postings on culture, food, drink, fashion, shopping, health and wellbeing. We interview a variety of colourful Londoners, from DJs, actors and musicians to tattooists, chefs and sportsmen.

But what I find the most rewarding is when readers voice their views, either via our Speakers’ Corner section or by commenting on each other’s posts. It’s heartening that people make an effort to get some online banter and debate going on our little site. It shows they’re passionate and they care.

LLO: What sets it apart from other London sites?
AS:
We never try to compete with other London sites like Time Out, although we’re certainly inspired by them. I think what sets us apart is that we provide a platform for ordinary Londoners to articulate their opinions, good or bad. We’re not a listings site, we’re an editorial-focused webzine where Londoners can express their experiences, whether it’s a nasty trip on the tube, or an amazing gig or restaurant they’ve been to. We encourage everyone to make themselves heard – in a colourful and eloquent fashion!

LLO: What’s the most unique London discovery you’ve made since the site started in 2007?
AS:
Personally, after interviewing Cryptozoologist Neil Arnold, I’ve discovered some things about Highgate Cemetery that have both deterred and intrigued me.

LLO: Which Londoner would you most love to interview on the site and why?
AS:
David Bowie would be my dream interviewee. He’s a London boy at heart and I’d just like to be in the same room as him. I think that’s a good enough reason!

LLO: What’s the best thing about living in your postcode?
AS:
I can walk pretty much everywhere from N1. All of the places I like to go – Camden, Shoreditch, Dalston, Stoke Newington and the West End, are all within walking distance. Sometimes I walk along the canal to Camden, which is really therapeutic. And most of my friends live in the vicinity, which is a bonus.

LLO: If I only had one night in London, where would you send me to eat and drink?
AS:
Mildreds, on Lexington Street in Soho, is my favourite place to eat in London. It’s vegetarian, which has put off a few of my carnivore friends, but they’re literally eating their words after the first course.

LLO: Is there somewhere in London you’d like to explore but haven’t had a chance yet?
AS:
The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.

LLO: Favourite place or activity to pass a summer evening in the capital?
AS:
Atop Primrose Hill with friends and wine.

LLO: Describe your perfect day in London.
AS:
A market, any market. London’s markets are so vibrant and chaotic but relaxing at the same time. I love going to Borough Market and then popping over to the South Bank for a stroll. Going to Columbia Road market on a sunny day is London at its best.

Thanks Abbey!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

Abney Park Cemetery: Watch Your Skin Peel

Here’s one place in London I have yet to explore: Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington. This photo added to the Flickr pool by trailerfullofpix makes me want to go!

watch your skin peel

The lettering was done by an artist called Anna Garforth, otherwise known as the “green graffiti extrordinaire” and is made of moss. Bit of an eerie message on a chapel wall.

London Art Spot: Emli Bendixen

This year started off well for Emli Bendixen as she was short-listed for Professional Photographer of the Year Award 2009. With a long list of clients like Wonderland, Vice and Dazed and Confused and a fascinating portfolio of images, this North London-based photographer – who was born in South Korea and grew up in Denmark – has the passion and vision to go far in her career.

For this week’s London Art Spot, she tells us about her approach to photography on a recent trip to India, where we can find a taste of Korean and Danish food in London and about some of the capital’s interesting locations to take a camera.

LLO: How did you end up in London and how long have you lived here?
EB: 
I first moved to London aged 19 after finishing school in Denmark. Being from a small town, I couldn’t wait to move to the city. I later went off to Glasgow and then to Copenhagen for university before returning to London where I have been ever since. I’ve lived in Shepherds Bush, Kennington, Old Street, Dalston, Stoke Newington and now Crouch End.

LLO: How does living in London influence your creativity?
EB:
 First and foremost it gives me access to some really exciting people. I’m curious and inquisitive by nature – and I can think of few places better than London to keep you stimulated and with so much to look at.

LLO: You’re from a Korean/Danish background. Where’s the best place in London to find a taste of Korean or Danish culture?
EB:
To be honest, I haven’t looked into either much. I’m here to check out all the other bits of culture that are different to mine… Although not entirely Danish, I do love the food at Elk in the Woods in Angel; and the Scandinavian bakery in Golden Square. For Korean food there are a couple of excellent places just next to Centre Point – and I really like Dong San in Poland Street.

LLO: Twitter tells me you went to India over Christmas and Flickr shows you brought back some great photos. Tell us a bit about your trip and the photos you took while you were there?
EB:
I went to Kerala in the South. It was an incredible experience. I was very aware of being a tourist, with a Western background, with a camera. I noticed that this role in relation to the people I photographed tinted my photographs with something not quite real – at best something very self-conscious, so I decided to break this process and instead forced myself to focus more on general impressions, the little and the big things… the view from our homestay in Periyar, our taxi driver from Munnar, and the dog that followed us down the beach in Varkala…The result is more personal – I suppose much like a diary – in that I spoke to almost everyone I photographed and walked the same mountains you see in my pictures. The food photography was part of a separate food diary, which my girlfriend was writing.

LLO: Which piece are you most proud of and why?
EB:
A portrait called Harmony.

LLO: Favourite place in London to take your camera?
EB:
The city is full of exciting locations – I’ve shot in pubs, clubs, warehouses, studios and council flats; next week I’m shooting in a friend’s house in Finsbury Park that’s in the middle of being renovated. Although I mainly shoot indoors at the moment, I love Hampstead Heath and Abney Park in Stoke Newington. 

LLO: Your largest set on Flickr is called “Faces”. What do you try to capture when you’re shooting a portrait and where do you find your models?
EB:
More often than not, I ask people I know to sit for me. What is most interesting for me in taking a picture is capturing some part of that person which may not usually be on display; so it’s about going beyond what immediately meets the eye. Again, it’s about curiosity… I just want to know a little bit more than I did the moment before that picture was taken.

LLO: What type of camera and lens do you use?
EB:
I normally use a Canon 450D and recently a Canon 1DS Mark III; also a Diana F+, a Holga, and a Minolta XD7.

LLO: Your client list already includes Dazed and Confused, Vice and Professional Photographer Magazine. Who is your dream client and why?
EB:
I would love to work for The Guardian and The Times; Monocle and Intelligent Life are also high on my list. I’m also keen to shoot more music photography – I’ve done press shots for bands such as Robots in Disguise for a couple of years which has been a great challenge and definitely something I want to get more into. I suppose generally I would be happy shooting portraits and lifestyle images that allow for a personal and aesthetic approach.

Thanks Emli!

For more of Emli’s work, check out her website: www.emli.dk/photography.html

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

London Art Spot: Bernadette Fricker

Berny is here from sunny Oz, selling her nostalgic jewellery in London shops and the market in Stoke Newington. Scouring charity shops for dusty books, she’s created a unique product by taking pieces of well known stories like Alice in Wonderland and turning them into earrings and brooches.

She’s taken a bit of time to share some photos of her work, tell us the story of how it all started and about the latest range of jewellery to look out for soon. Check out her website for more: www.folksy.com/shops/Skettie

“A baby deer was born. Oh my, there was so much excitement that day! Bambi necklace.”

LLO: How and when did you come up with the idea to make recycled jewellery from the pages of abandoned books?
BF:
Before I moved to the UK I found an old 1960’s children’s annual on a dusty shelf in a charity store in Melbourne. It was missing its cover and several pages but had the most beautiful illustrations and graphics inside and it seemed a terrible waste to just leave it sitting there lonely and abandoned on the shelf. I thought that it was destined for greater things and a measly 20 cents later it was mine. A few months later, when I moved to England, some of the pages managed to make the cut to be included in my excessively overstuffed suitcase.

“Quotation brooches 1, 2 and 3”

 

LLO: You have a bachelor degree in Landscape Architecture. Why the switch to making jewellery?  
BF:
When I moved over from Australia last May I was planning on looking for work  as a Landscape Architect but in an unfortunate coincidence I managed to time my move perfectly with the height of the recession so by the time I arrived there wasn’t a great deal of work around.  To keep myself occupied I decided to make something to sell at a local art market and since I had left my sewing machine back home in Oz, jewellery was the next thing that came to mind. Nine months later I’m still doing it and really loving every aspect of the work.

“Birds fly over the rainbow; Why then, oh why can’t I? – Selection of bird necklaces and brooches.”

LLO: Your shop on Etsy.com is called Skettie. What does that mean and where did the name come from?
BF: 
‘Skettie’ was my nickname as a young kid and it seemed appropriate as my designs are bright, colourful and playful and some of them even come from books or images which I enjoyed as a kid. 

“Cigarette card range.”

LLO: Would you consider working with other similar materials like magazines, for example?
BF: 
I started out making most of my pieces from the children’s annual I found back in Melbourne but since then I have found interesting materials in all shapes and sizes, including maps, magazines and even sheets of music. Most recently I found a stack of old cigarette collector cards with some great quirky images ranging from butterflies and birds to some extravagantly costumed figures which I have made into a range of earrings. I love the idea of taking something that has been damaged and neglected, whatever it may be, and transforming into an object that people can value and appreciate once more.

“Earrings created from Birds of England calender.”

“Where in the world – map earring range”

LLO: What books have you most recently recycled to make your jewellery?
BF:
I found a Judy Annual from the 1970’s in a charity shop in London which had a bit of water damage, but I have made a really fun range of quotation brooches from it. More recently I found a calendar with illustrations of English birds which have been made into a range of brooches and earrings.

“Floral cameo brooch”

LLO: Which shops are the best for finding suitable books?
BF:
There is a really brilliant second hand book store in Notting hill which has thousands and thousands of books and magazines. It has a huge basement too where everything is about 10p and I have found some great things down there. I love trawling through charity shops and flea markets to find interesting items; you never know what you will dig up. I even get people donating books to me that they have found and think might work. Another designer at a market brought me an old cookbook she had at home which had the most beautiful blue and white sketches of the architecture of Oxford. And a buyer from one of the shops where I sell my designs gave me two children’s books she had found at home which she was going to throw out.

“Floral earrings and brooch set.”

“Text cameo brooch”

LLO: Which creation are you most proud of so far and why?
BF:
At the moment I am working on a range of architecturally themed earrings which I quite fancy! The details in the church towers and the windows and doorways resemble wonderfully intricate lacework. I’m also working on a new range of designs inspired by cameo brooches which are due to hit the shelves soon.


“A selection of the architectural range.”

LLO: Which piece of jewellery has been the best selling since you started your business?
BF:
My earrings have been the best selling piece so far and come in two sizes. I had a range made from an old London tube map that proved very popular but quickly sold out and I have been on the hunt for another vintage tube map ever since. I don’t know that there is a particular ‘best selling design’ though as every single pair are unique, nearly all of them are one off images and its hard to know what individual people will like. I love that people get a real giggle out of a lot of the designs as they look through them all. Quite often they might recognise and reminisce over a design from a magazine or book they read as a child or will find a particular design that relates to a personal joke they have with a friend.

“Range of new cameo brooches”

LLO: Where can we find your jewellery in London?
BF:
You can find my jewellery in ‘Beyond the Valley’, just off Carnaby Street in Soho and in ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’. I also try to do as many markets as I can; some on the horizon include the monthly ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’ markets in Stoke Newington. 

“Selection of large earring range”

“Selection of small earring range”

LLO: Favourite London-based artists? 
BF:
There are some really talented designers whose work I’ve seen through markets I have done. I love Miso Funky’s ‘In case of emergency breakdance’ framed pictures and London Clay Birds is a favourite for her beautifully simple bird sculptures; I have two but want the whole flock!

“Where in the world – butterfly brooch”

Thanks Berny!

See more of Berny’s work here: www.ofcabbages.co.uk or here: www.beyondthevalley.com

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.