New Filtering: Oslo Bombing

Image of the aftermath of the July 22 attcks

  • The BBC reported that Anders Behring Breivik’s list of demands are unrealistic. These demands range from the “overthrowing of Norwegian and European societies” to cigarettes and Japanese mental health specialists beacse he believes “the Japanese understand the idea and values of honour”.
  • PBS stated that Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s attorney, believes he “was under the influence of drugs at the time of the shooting spree” and that the “whole case has indicated that he is insane”. 
  •  According to The Huffington Post, the former Norwegian Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, was in tears at the funeral of one of the victims.  He was quoted saying, “the loss of a young life can never give any meaning.”
  • TIME reported that Norway’s current prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg’s response the the attacks is “more democracy”.  He was also quoted saying that “Norwegians will defend themselves by showing they are not afraid of violence”.
  • Anders Behring Breivik’s 1,518-page egomaniacal manifesto reveals that the ‘privelged youth’ began “fostering a hatred for Muslims at an early age” according to CNN.   
  • A memorial for the Oslo attacks has been cleared.  BBC News stated that, “the flowers began appearing the day after the killings and grew to carpet an area about 50m (164ft) by 30m (98ft) in front of the capital’s cathedral”.
  • Criticism about Europe’s security was revealed by The Associated Press in an article stating that “Anders Behring Breivik visited 20 drug stores a day for four days and bought three packages of aspirin at each stop…ordered six tons of fertilizer, chemicals and a semiautomatic rifle…he still largely escaped attention”.

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The Great Debate: Is Fashion Art?

“ART – the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance,” is the definition of art from  Granted the debate about what is art has been going on since art itself, but I think this definition is a good one because it is pretty open.

Most would agree that there are great differences between different types of art, for example we have cave paintings, ancient pottery, statues and paintings from the Renaissance, modern art and even architecture.  All have been taught in art history classes for decades.

The National Gallery

Wandering throughout London, from gallery to gallery, it is hard not to notice all the amazing art. With museums like the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Gallery (shown to the right) and the National Portrait Gallery, it is easy for it all to start looking the same.  Stumbling into yet another museum, the London Museum, I was happily surprised when I reached the bottom floor, which is dedicated to the history of London and how it has changed over time.  The pieces that stuck out the most to me in this exhibit were the clothing.

 It was amazing to see how fashion has changed and inspired new trends throughout the years.  The same is done in art.  We observe the different trends; how one movement was inspired by another. I had never really been to a museum that was dedicated to simply fashion, so seeing it compared the same way art is was very interesting. Why then is fashion not considered art?

Acclaimed fashion designer Zandra Rhodes stated that, “fashion is an art form – you might call it decorative or applied art as opposed to fine art, but what’s the distinction? Because the same amount of artistic expression goes into clothes, a piece of pottery or a painting.” The definition art is so wide that fashion should be included in it.  Fashion contains any different formal elements of design similarly to paintings and sculpture. 

Christian Dior: "Junon" dress 1949–50 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For example, The Junon dress (shown to the left), designed by Christian Dior in 1949-1950 contains repetition as well as symmetry in the skirt.  This is created with layering and beading. The dress has a movement about it; the variations of fabric help to create differing lines for the eye to follow, similarly to the movement throughout a painting created by contrasting brushstrokes. 

 One argument people make against fashion being art is that clothing is a necessity; it is created for a purpose and therefore is not created purely as art.  However many pieces of art we learn about in school were once created for a specific purpose. These mainly include prehistoric pottery or cave paintings.  Every art class I have taken as mentioned cave paintings as the earliest form of art, the first being found in 1994 in the Chauvet cave of south western France (pictured below).

Big Horn Rhino, Chauvet Cave
Yes these cave paintings are artistic, but they were not orginally created to be aesthetically pleasing.  They were used as a form of communication. 
Another great example is architecture.  Most buildings are created for some purpose or use, however that does not mean they can’t be beautiful pieces of art as well. 

Many people also argue that simply putting an outfit together can in no way make you an artist.  While I am not saying every time you get dressed in the morning you are making art, but it can be a form of expression, which is tied into the very broad complex definition of art. 

One could argue that it is no different than photography.  Does being able to push a button make you an artist? Well, no, but being able to visualize an interesting and unique image or scene and then capturing it on film does. 

Duchamp's Fountain

How about Marcel Duchamp’s readymades.  Foutain is a urinal that Duchamp signed “R. Mutt” and entered it into a exhibition.  This paved the way for modern art all over.  There is nothing he physically made with his hands, yet it is still art.

The same goes for fashion.  You can create different outfits that can be beautiful, unique and creative while expressing your individuality. You may not physically be sewing the clothing but that doesn’t mean you aren’t artistic. 

The definition of is art is a complex one.  People have been debating it since the beginning of time.  Is fashion considered art? I think it can and should be. Others may disagree.  Everyone has their opinions when it comes to art.  To me art is everything and anything that is a form of expression. There is genius involved in painting, there is genius in scuplture, there is genius in fashion as well.  Perhaps famous art philosopher Ernst Gombrich got it right when he stated, “one cannot explain the existence of genius.  It is better to enjoy it”.   
If you are interested in visiting some museums dedicated to fashion here is a list of the top four in the world!
  1. The Fashion Museum in Bath, England
  2. Museum of Bags and Purses in Amsterdam, Holland
  3. World of Wearable Art in Nelson, New Zealand
  4. FIDM Museum in Los Angeles, California

For more information about these museums click here.

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Slideshow: Camden Town London

One of our assignments for my multimedia class was to explore a London neighborhood and document it through pictures.  I chose to explore Camden Town, which is more recently known as the home town of the late Amy Winehouse.  Camden Town is also well known for its outdoor markets, the most popular being the Camden Lock Market.  Click the link below to access the slideshow!

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Q&A with Rohan Draft

Rohan Daft

Yesterday I had the chance to get a more in depth understanding of what it is like to work  in the new age of multimedia journalism by interviewing Rohan Daft, a journalist.   Daft, 48, was born in the town of Cheltenham, which is in western England near the city of Bristol.  He currently is in charge of managing a professional blog:  The Row|Richard James.


How did you first get started in journalism?

Well, I didn’t go to University.  I just stumbled into it.  I had a friend, who I’d meet for lunch and tell her things.  I started getting these checks in the mail from the Evening Standard.  She was submitting my stories and eventually convinced me to go work there.  I started in the Londoners Diary gossip column and was there for five years. Then I became a general feature writer.

If you stumbled into journalism, what did you want to be as a child? 

I always wanted to write.  I didn’t know what, but I always liked writing.

What was it like writing a gossip column?

It was tough. You have to find your own story, you don’t follow a news agenda.  It’s more trivial, many don’t last one day.  It is not as much about your writing ability or structure, but your ability to be ruthless and find the story.

What was the pressure like? 

At the time you don’t realize but there was a lot of pressure.  It was fun and exciting, which distracted you from it.  There’s a fantastic sense of achievement involved; to see your work in print is a fantastic feeling.

Did you ever worry about offending people?
If the news is in the public interest, I think it is ok to offend people.  I was hit once, it’s like a badge of honor if someone hits you in the face.  But in all seriousness, I’m not a bad person.  I don’t set out to offend people, but I have a sense of mischief, which is important to have in journalism.
After you left the newspaper, what did you do? 
I became a freelance writer and moved to Spain for about 6 years.  I got commissioned to write a book about Spanish food, so I spent a year travelling around Spain eating. 
What’s your favorite dish? 
Depends where I am and on the weather.  Gazpacho with rice paella and clams if I am in Spain and it’s hot. And if I’m in a cold place, I like vodka and herring.
What do you think are the benefits of a professional blog?
A blog is immediate.  The fact that you can see something that is beautiful or hear something instantly is incredible. A professional blog allows for advertising as well as promoting your brand or products in the way you want them to be seen.  Also, it isn’t just about selling clothes, but showing your customers the type of company you are.
Were you interested in fashion before this job?
Yeah I was.  I think it is a lot easier, and the results are better, when you are writing about something you are interested in.
Do you get your suits from Richard James suits?
I can’t afford those suits.  They would give me a discount, but there is some loyalty to your tailor.  I’ve had the same tailor since age 18.  A tailor is like your doctor, they never tell others about you. They keep your secrets.
Do you prefer blogging or print journalism?
I prefer the print. It was tough, it was fantastic and taught me a hell of a lot; to know what a story is, to recognize a story. There can be stories in front of you that you miss. At Richard James they say how do you think of things everyday to put on the blog and for me it’s very easy.
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Billy Elliot Review

Billy Elliot is a comedy musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is written by Sir Elton John, and book and lyrics are by Lee Hall. In 2005 the musical premiered in London’s Victoria Palace Theater and won four Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.

A Brief Summary: 

The musical is set in the mid 1980s, during a miners’ strike in the  village of Easington. Easington is a mining town, where all the boys are expected to become miners like their fathers and grandfathers.

Billy, played by Adam Vesperman, stumbles into a ballet class instead of his usual boxing class and secretly joins it.  Afraid no one will understand, Billy only confides this to his friend Michael (Connor Lawson), the comical cross-dressing character.

When his father, Jackie (Martin Marquez), finds out that he has been taking ballet instead of boxing, he forbids Billy from going back to class.  However, Mrs. Wilkinson (Genevieve Lemon), the ballet instructor, offers to help Billy train for an audition for the Royal Ballet School for free.

As the strike seems to be hitting its peak, Billy’s father finds him expressing his deepest emotions through dance.  Jackie realizes his son’s love for dance as well as his talent.  He goes to meet with Mrs. Wilkinson to find out more information about the audition. He decides to do anything to help Billy make his dreams come true even if it means breaking the strike.

Tony Elliot (Tom Lorcan), Billy’s older brother, finds out his father is planning to break the strike and enters a rage of fury.  In order to prevent this, he convinces other strikers to help pool together the little money they have to pay for Billy to go to the London auditions.

Billy Elliot is a wonderful musical about discovering your identity and staying true to your self even when times are tough.


I absolutely loved Billy Elliot the Musical.  I thought it was wildly entertaining while at the same time able to cover deep issues about identity and ideology.

Perhaps one of the most entertaining characters is Billy’s gay friend Michael. One of my favorite scenes is when the charismatic Michael is dressing up in his sister’s clothing while dancing around the room.  He is able to convince Billy to dress up and tap dance around the room with giant dresses.  The scene is intended to be funny, however it is also an ode to individuality.

The musical does a great job of creating an enjoyable atmosphere while also highlighting the sadness of the characters’ situations.  This is best seen through the character of Tony, Billy’s older brother.  Tony is a tortured soul who is deeply upset by the miners’ strike.  He seems to be a hothead and loses his temper easily, allowing the audience to really understand the frustration of the life of a miner at the time.

Along with the amazing music, the choreography is intelligently planned. It is amazing how much information is depicted through dance.  For example in the scene where the police and the miners break into a folk dance is successful in showing the audience how these two groups are conflicting but at the same time share the same culture of the working class.  Another great example is when Billy is dancing with the older version of himself.  The choreography is simply amazing and mesmerizing.  The viewer gets lost in Billy’s movements and can understand his deepest emotions and dreams. We get an understanding of his past and his struggles as well as seeing who he is destined to become.

Overall Billy Elliot the Musical was a show I enjoyed greatly.  It had the perfect mix between humor and seriousness.  Not only is the writing flawless, but the upbeat music by Elton John matched with the amazing choreography make for a great musical

[View the story “Billy Elliot the Musical Review!” on Storify]

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True Friends of Winehouse Come Forward

Osbourn at Winehouse Funeral

Osbourn at Winehouse Funeral. Image from BBC Newsbeat.

Kelly Osbourn has recently been critizing ‘friends’ of Amy Winehouse, saying that they lack ‘dignity’ while dealing with the press.

Osbourn tweeted yesterday that “Any ‘friend’ of amy’s talking 2 the press/tv are not her actual friends.  Her real friends have more dignity then to get $ 2 talk about her!”

A long time friend of Winehouse, Osbourn was in attendence at her funeral two days ago.  According to BBC Newsbeat, one celebrity Osbourn may have been critizing is former Big Brother contestant Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace.  Wallace has come forward and “made an emotional appearance on ITV’s This Morning on Wednesday but did not attend the funeral the previous day”. 

Other close celebrities to Winehouse include British comedian Russell Brand as well as singer Adele.  Brand tweeted a link to his blog with a special post titled “For Amy“.  Adele also tweeted a link to her blog stating that, “Amy paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about british music again… i don’t think she ever realised just how brilliant she was and how important she is… although im incredibly sad about Amy passing im also reminded of how immensely proud of her i am as well. and grateful to be inspired by her”.

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Video Diary Week 1

Here is a short video diary of my first week in London.

I went on the London Eye which is a giant ferris wheel overlooking the city.

I also talk a little bit about the play 39 Steps.

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