Monday, 29 March 2010

In praise of people who can style themselves

Stylists are not necessarily bad people, but it is their job to impose their own notion of how one should dress onto others. This might, in principle, be a good thing – many people would indubitably look better after having been gone over by a stylist. But it is nonetheless inevitable that the stylists' work will homogenize how people look. In other words: Make the world a less interesting place.

To make matters worse, stylists tend to be very focussed on what happens to be "in" at the moment. Perhaps they should be called "fashionists" instead of stylisys, as style and fashion (at least according to Lord Bassington-Bassington) are not only different things, but in many ways polar opposites.

Enter photographer Anthony Lycett, who came up with a wonderful idea: To simply photograph a lot of people who know how to dress themselves, and do this far better than any stylist would be able to. The result is Self Styled London, a collection of pictures of people who simply ooze style - and a healthy disregard for the dictates of fashion.

Another interesting theme is how many of these people incorporate stylistic elements that display a sense of pride about their ethnic heritage. Something that often contributes to a personal style in an increasingly globalised world.

Imagine what it would be like to go to a café or club full of people dressed like this, instead of the t-shirts and jeans which everybody wears these days - ironically, to show how individualistic they are...

You can find more pictures at Mr. Lycett's web page and at Self Styled London's Facebook page.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Announcing: Café Grössenwahn

There’s been whispers in the shadows, absinthe fountains have been purchased, bands have been approached, some of Norway’s most exciting designers are working on the graphics, but only now can it be made official: Norway’s first club devoted to neofolk (and related genres) is now a reality. The name is Café Grössenwahn, which translates as “Café Megalomania” and is a nod to the several gathering places in inter-war Europe where dreamers, eccentrics and decadents have gathered.

We’ve secured an amazing venue in central Oslo, where we plan, a few times a year, to create an atmosphere where extravagantly attired ladies and gentlemen (and perhaps a Basset hound or two…) hobnob over glasses of absinthe and fine beer, while truly initiated DJ’s and fine live acts provide the entertainment.

The opening night will be on Saturday, April 24th, where Duo Noir, the stripped-down acoustic version of Sol Invictus, will provide the entertainment, and other, exciting bands are being booked as we write.

The bad news is that the events are only open to card-carrying members of the Norwegian Society for Megalomania. The good news is that the society is accepting (indeed, soliciting!) new members, and is looking for people with a minimum of manners (as the club will mostly have acoustic performances), who understand that importance of dressing up to create the right atmosphere, and are not cheap, as these events will depend upon the venues having a certain turnover in the bar.

In principle, the Society is open to anyone who fulfills these criteria, regardless of religion, politics and so on, but because of the sad state of affairs here in Scandinavia we feel the need to very explicitly distance ourselves from right-wing extremists. Such people will be refused membership.

Prospective members are hereby invited to drop a line to neofolk (at) zog (dot) no.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A pastoral note, or: How to wear a dog collar

While it's good that the Bassington-Bassington Chronicles has its own Mullah, we like to play it safe here at the Chronicles, and felt the need to expand our clerical base a bit. So we are happy to announce that we have now appointed ourselves a Pastor.

Pastor Aarebrot is pastor of the Oslo-based (but expanding) congregation Subchurch, and also an ex-member of Gothic rockers The Crest. Not is Pastor Aarebrot a very interesting theologian, embodying the mix of spiritual honesty and social conscience that characterizes Christianity at it best, but as you can see, he also really knows how to rock a dog collar! Which might be one reason why Hounds such as Lord Bassington-Bassington likes him so much.

We here at the Chronicles are now very happy that we have representatives of two Abrahamitic traditions advising us on spiritual matters. And if a conflict should ever arise between them, we will take the advice of the spriritual leader which asks us to buy more shoes...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sufi haiku

With our support for Caninism, we might not be very religious here at Bassington Manor. Still, we believe that any blog worth its salt should have its own Mullah. And indeed The Chronicles does.

The Mullah goes by the name of Hastur, and though he likes to title himself as “the Mad Mullah” and we do not like to question his wisdom, the good Mullah’s fatwas (religious advice) seem both sane and sensible to us. And as long as our Mullah issues fatwas that suggest we join English clubs and purchase fine footwear, we stand solidly behind him.

Recently, the good Mullah proclaimed a competition to honour him (and win the picture at the top of this post, created by the wonderful Tini Malitus), and we here at the Chronicles jump at the opportunity and thought we’d go for a poem. No, not the unique genre of "gothic slam poetry" we’ve developed here at Bassington Manor (more about that later...) but rather something more more traditional. That is to say, a combination of two traditions, namely by Japanese haiku and Sufi poetry.

So this short Sufi haiku is our humble contribution. We call it "Mevlana mullah".

Mevlana mullah
Skirts swirling, beard twirling
The head of a pin

This might not perfectly adhere to the formal rules of a haiku, but our love and devotion for our Mullah transcends all man-made boundaries. Lord Bassington-Bassington would like to express his desire to join his Mullah in the whirling dervish dance, his ears flapping to the glory of Allah.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Italian Neofolk: Foresta di Ferro

While Foresta di Ferro is not strictly an Italian project (Richard Leviathan of Ostara, who also participates in the project, is certainly no Italian...) there is no doubt that the driving force behind FdF is Como-based Marco Deplano. Which makes Foresta di Ferro ideal for our little series on Italian neofolk.

While Mr. Deplano is also the leather clad head honcho behind power electronics outfit Wertham, Foresta di Ferro have dabbled in many styles of post-industrial music, and released a small string of nice records. This little ditty is from their split double seven inch with Novy Svet, Bulli E Pupe, and Lord Bassington-Bassington, who owns all of Foresta di Ferro's other releases, was moved to venture onto to secure a copy of this release.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Last Hound on the Left

Film magazine Empire have published a series of posters substituting canines for the usual boring creatures found in films (sharks, humans etc). While the idea is brilliant, most of the posters fall short of the mark, as they fail to include Bassets. However, this one hit the nail on the proverbial head.

Now we're only looking for horror classics such as Hound by the Cemetary and Hound of Whipcord.

Thanks to Dork Lord Kokos for the tip. And you might want to join his brilliant Facebook group, Ridiculous Scandinavian accents in films, TV shows and games.