Monday, 15 September 2014

An Illustrated Roman Holiday for The House of Peroni by Jasiminne Yip

My illustration series 'An Illustrated Roman Holiday' commissioned by The House of Peroni is up on their website! I've been a supporter of The House of Peroni ever since its launch last year (and my boyfriend has been a supporter ie. great drinker of Peroni itself, haha) and blogged about The House launch in May.  Their website is an online showcase of the very best of the Italian New Wave in features, fashion shoots and articles that celebrate the vivacious spirit at the heart of Peroni Nastro Azzurro. The editor is a friend and one of the loveliest people I know, so when Ava asked if I would like to contribute to The House of Peroni with more or less and open brief I said Sì per favore. There, now you know why I went to Rome and The Vatican City, it was all in the name of research. 

You can see more of my feature on The House of Peroni website. An Illustrated Roman Holiday is also on my work website Jasiminne Yip Illustration which I urge you to peruse, should you be so inclined, and also add to your bookmark folder. I've got some exciting new projects in the works and I'm not the most tight-lipped person in the world when it comes to keeping mum about my work, so chances are if you 'Like' my Facebook page and follow me on Tumblr you might just catch me let something slip. Here's my indiscretion of the day; I had a chest infection over the weekend (and still do!) so I've been keeping busy with preparing for the move to my new studio. I've said enough, so I leave you to peruse these links at your leisure. Have a happy and illustrious week ahead. x 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Late Night with Rufus Wainwright (!), Prom 74 at Royal Albert Hall

Last night my emotions were running high when Henry and I spent an evening, or rather a 'Late Night with Rufus Wainwright' as he closed the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall. Rufus Wainwright, to put it simply, made my life bearable as an teenager. I was a fifteen year old with peers who simply couldn't comprehend my eschewing contemporary pop for classical compositions and my love of sweeping arias that in my mind expressed the sort of exquisite angst that I imagined to suffer. I sound like a savant, but I imagine that most young people of that age think themselves to be the greatest sufferer in a world of injustice and outcast in a society full of people 'who just doesn't get' them. Anyway! As a teenager growing up in Malaysia discovering music beyond the stuff fed to us by radio was an expensive and tedious endeavour---music on the internet wasn't what it was then. I remember Youtube being new and unchartered territory at the time and Spotify didn't exist yet---so trying and buying CDs at the music store (themselves offering a limited selection in Kuala Lumpur) was really the only way to discovering new artists and bands. It was a life-changing moment when, in 2001, I chanced upon Rufus Wainwright's second album in Kinokuniya in Singapore. Entranced by his illustrious mutton chops he sported in his cover photo and the song titles of tracks alluding themes of antiquity and classics, I parted with a CD of Poses tucked inside my red fetching leather jacket

And so begun a descend into a grandiose celebration of melancholy. I sighed with Wainwright as he longed for the beautiful Greek boy in Greek Song, imagined myself as The Consort to his master the Rebel Prince, and fantasised taking long, languid strolls of fashionable navel-gazing to Poses. Craving more I sought out his eponymous debut album and fell hard into his 'popera' world of tragic heroines, heartbreak, and demons. His classical compositions, wine-drenched nasal drawl, and vulnerable vibrato would comfort me throughout my painfully awkward teenage years and into adulthood. I used to trawl Limewire (remember that?) searching for fileshares of his songs and downloaded his many contributions to movie soundtracks (I love Stairway to Paradise, Hallelujah, and Complainte de la Butte which incidentally was the first French song I taught myself to sing). I collected his albums in CD form and eventually graduated to iTune when I bought my first (and only!) iTunes album Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. 

To put it simply, Rufus Wainwright's music was my constant companion throughout many years of (imagined or exaggerated in my young, angst-ridden mind) my unbearable darkness of being. So to finally hear him perform live after more than ten years of being in love with his music was, to put it simply, an experience. Bathed in the glow of the Royal Albert Hall, I shuddered with ecstasy, held back tears, soared with emotion, and sung (under my breath) to Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk accompanied by the instrumentals of Britten Sinfonia.

I was only feet away from Rufus and although I was on the 'wrong side' of the stalls I had an amazing view of his floppy hair, expressive gestures, and the starfish brooch he wore, a gift from Helena Bonham Carter. Oh, and I could also read the sheet music from where I sat and knew which songs he'd sing next because I could see the titles on the sheets!

Henry knows Wainwright's more recent songs, covers, and movie soundtracks whereas I was all about 'vintage Rufus' but nonetheless we both tremendously enjoyed his medley of showbiz tunes, newer songs from his latest album, arias from his opera sung by soprano Deborah Voigt, and of course classics from Poses.

To roaring applause and demands of an encore Wainwright came back to serenade us all with Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

It was a very emotional, uplighting, and exhilarating evening. Even as I type this now the gooseflesh and hair on my arms won't go away, and I won't be forgetting about this experience anytime soon.  Should you endeavour to discover Rufus Wainwright's 'baroque pop' for the first time may I suggest starting with the album Poses, seconding with his debut album, and then following with Want One and Want Two? Should all the melancholy be too straining, change the pace with his upbeat cover of Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall. Now if you will excuse me, I'm off to listen to all his albums back-to-back. Such an indulgence. x

ps. I'm very tempted to watch him in Hyde Park tomorrow with Earth, Wind and Fire. Should I? Should I?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Country Life Fair Royal Reception & Ball, James Gartshore-Boulter's birthday at Mahiki, Duck & Waffle, and...milk.

Summer in London, in my humble opinion, is unofficially over. The autumnal equinox itself will be happening on the 22nd but as far as I'm concerned as soon as the London Fashion Week Spring/Summer show and party invitations arrive the summer is officially over. After all nothing says new season than gentle prompts to start shopping for the season after next. Personally I adore autumn; summer is too hot, winter is too bitter, and spring is too rainy but autumn is crisp and just the right climate to wear a light coat with a fur-lined collar and boots. When it comes to transitioning seasons nothing makes the shift easier than shopping for lifestyle upgrades (sartorial, gastronomical, decor etc) and of course parties. Yesterday I had my fill of the latter; first at The Natural History Museum for the Country Life Fair Royal Reception & Ball and then at Mahiki for my friend James Gartshore-Boulter's birthday. Does 'breakfast' at Duck & Waffle and pulling a milk truck over on the way home to buy a pint count? Either way it's all one big party to me. 

The first stop from my night before, Country Life Fair Royal Reception & Ball. Country Life Fair took over The Natural History Museum and threw a bash to celebrate their launch. The guest of honour was HRH Prince Michael of Kent, and I observed much to my chagrin that a few youngish guests did not extend him the basic courtesy of a slight bow or nod. Appalling manners! The only letdown at an otherwise sophisticated soiree. I greeted HRH with a small curtsy but I supposed I'm old-fashioned that way. Guests were treated to live performances from The Blondettes and the Boisdales band, soprano Meeta Raval and countertenor Oliver Gerrish of New Georgian Opera, and Sister Sledge among many others. Henry and I met up with Luxy and Lottie early on in the night but immediately lost them to the crowds, the pop up casino, the tweed and country fashion shows, the pearl and diamond showcase, the Scottish get the idea. We were kept fed and watered with gin stations, vodka stations, endless rounds of canapés, an 'Homage to Fromage' and Ginkhana.

Note to self, never cross the dance floor to get to the bar while the Scots are reeling unless you want to die in a manner not unlike one attempting to crossing at street level to Arc de Triomph (take the underpass or go around).

I wore Michael Kors, an inspired version of that infamous For Love and Lemons dress, vintage Chanel purse, and Vivienne Westwood choker. 

Henry and I managed to get hold of Lottie and Luxy just as we were leaving. We bade our goodbyes at midnight and rode to Mahiki for James Gartshore-Boulter's birthday. I ran into Hannah outside and bemoaned how hungry I was and she fished home-baked brownies wrapped in tinfoil out of her little Chanel clutch! She never ceases to amaze me. Han stuffed a chunk into my mouth and laughed at my blissful expression.

Happy Birthday James!

India and Becca in matching tartan as befitting the theme of the night. Henry and Will matching in decidedly un-tartan get ups. And...treasure chests! The night was a throwback for all of us; I haven't been to Mahiki since 2009, and some of my younger friends haven't been there since they were 16. Oh the nostalgia, oh the treasure chests...!

Henry and Will 'bringing it around tooooown' with Henry's sexy (debatable) dancing.

Afterward Becca, Henry, and I decamped to my favourite spot for food after a night out, Duck & Waffle. I treated everyone to crispy pig ears in waxed paper bag, the foie gras mousse with lobster and brioche, and two, count 'em, two pots of dippy duck eggs with truffle and cheese. Is there anything more satisfying than hot slices of toast dipped in dippy duck egg after a night and morning of partying?

Henry seems to think so, and the answer according to His Feline Highness The Lord of Cats is a nice pint of milk. A milk truck pulled up beside our car and I tried reaching out the window to pick a pint from the open back of the truck but failed. Henry got the milkman to pull over, coins were exchanged, and we drove off with Henry sipping contently on his milk. He doesn't understand why I find it surreal that he's dressed in tails and drinking milk in an Uber at the crack of dawn, but then again he doesn't quite believe me when I tell him that most people I know developed lactose intolerance as adults. "You can't spell lactose intolerant without 'intolerant' and by God, I'm no racist!" he bellowed to Shoreditch as raced home. A suitably surreal ending to a beautiful evening and one of the best I've had in a while.


Monday, 8 September 2014

HAC (The Honourable Artillery Company) 105 Polo Invitational

On Saturday I made the arduous trek to the verdant wilderness of HAM Polo Club in Richmond* for the fifth annual HAC 105 Polo Invitational, a three match polo event in aid of the Regimental Charity 'The HAC Benevolent Fund' hosted by The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), the British Army's oldest surviving regiment. The teams playing were the HAC RegimentalHAC Veteran, HAC Saddle Club, Household Cavalry Regiment, Kings Royal Hussars, and the Army Reserves. For those whose interests were less invested in Polo and more about a socially acceptable setting for day drinking (ie. almost everyone under 30) we were kept entertained by marching bands and military displays from the Parachute Regiment, Yeomanry and HAC. I didn't stay long --- I rocked up at the club very late, barely catching the last chukka thanks to a massive detour (my Uber taxi which took me to Staines, yes, Staines, before detouring back to Richmond and charging me for the pleasure) --- and the whole time I felt the very uncomfortable combination of dehydrated, slowly stewing in the humidity, and very aware that my dress was snug. Very snug. So snug that I couldn't slouch ('tis probably for the better). Next time etiquette be damned, I'm wearing red trousers and boots to the polo. So while everyone stayed for the legendary after party hosted by Boneca to bid goodbye to the last of summer, I slunk back to Shoreditch but not before making a lovely new friend in Sufiyeh, catching up with my Luxy, and saying hi to a few familiar faces. x

Pro Blogger Templates by pipdig