Friday, October 28, 2011

Day Of The Deadly

At this spooky time of year, when pumpkins are the decoration du jour and dressing as a sexy {insert random profession/ fictional character here} is the default option for far too many, the people of Mexico are gearing up for Día de los Muertos. On the 1st and 2nd of November, family and friends gather to honour those who have died, with sugar skulls and flowers playing a large part in the tradition. La Cavalera Catrina (The Elegant Skull), an etching from 1913 which portrays an upper class woman as a skeleton has since become a staple of Day of the Dead imagery and is one of the most popular figures associated with the traditional holiday. She's also a fantastic character to take on for our own autumnal celebration, Halloween.

The original 1913 etching and Catrina figurines. Eat your heart out, Tim Burton. What an odd and Halloween appropriate phrase that is.

There are some really beautiful takes on the Cavalera Catrina look, with the illusion of sewn lips and a painted skeletal face executed in a very elegant and decorative manner. It's almost like an intricately floral voodoo zombie look, with a bit of New Orleans Mardi Gras and gypsy fortune teller thrown in for good measure.

In terms of a Halloween costume, I'm determined to take it on some day, as it makes for a gorgeous and creative look and just going back to the unnecessarily sexy costumes, anything's got to be better than this, right?

I'm sorry to say that your eyes are not in fact deceiving you. That is indeed a "sexy" Brian from Family Guy costume. A SEXY VERSION OF A CARTOON DOG. STOP IT.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fair City's Finest

You may remember that some time ago I designed EP artwork for the very lovely EleventyFour. Part of that design consisted of her new logo, a depiction of Eleventy driving a forklift against a Rubik's cube background in honour of her song Forklife, which concerns her stealing a forklift and using it to do good deeds.

Since then, the wheels of EleventyFour's plan for world domination have been well and truly set in motion, with her whimsical influence most recently reaching as far as...


I have been reliably informed that this charming young man is called Wayne. As someone who doesn't actually watch Fair City, I can only assume that he's something akin to Carrigstown's version of The Fonz.

Here we see Wayne heroically consoling his friend who is quite clearly distraught over his choice in cushion pattern. If Wayne had been there at the time, his cushions would be amazing. Because Wayne knows the entire Ikea catalogue off by heart.
Wayne about to rescue a barrel of puppies from rolling down a hill.

Considering I was excited to see something I designed on iTunes, I can safely say that it now pales in comparison to to the brilliance of SUPERWAYNE and his excellent choice in logo t-shirts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Storm In A Cupcake

Girls bursting out of huge cakes is such a common trope in films and TV at this stage that I reckon if you wheeled a giant cake into a room full of people and it turned out to be an actual cake the whole way through, the disappointment would be palpable regardless of demographic. I'm certain of it. In fact, if anyone wants to bake a giant cake for me to prove my point, please go ahead and I definitely won't eat it all instead of doing what I said I would. Definitely.

Ladies in varying states of undress (or gender, in the case of South Park) have popped out of cakes in everything from Singin' In The Rain, Boardwalk Empire, Cheers and even Xena: Warrior Princess.

What immediately comes to mind for me though is Erika Eleniak and if the name doesn't ring a bell then simply saying "that scene in Under Siege" certainly should. There must be VHS tapes of Steven Seagal's finest work strewn across homes in which Erika's interrupted cake dance has been reduced to fuzzy static due to excessive pausing and rewinding.

There she is now, with nobody to look at her bottom only Casey Ryback and he's got a battleship to save so put some damn clothes on, woman!

Anyway, in case you've ever wondered where this propensity for oversized cakes with a sexy girl filling came from, allow me to inform you. Towards the end of the 19th century, Gilded Age New York was rife with ridiculously wealthy gadabouts and grande dames, all trying to outdo each other with hugely elaborate dinner parties and soirees for the city's elite. Mamie Fish, a legendary hostess with a flair for divilment once held a dinner in honour of a mysterious prince, only for her guests to arrive and discover that the prince in question was a monkey dressed in white tie and tails. Equestrian enthusiast CKG Billings celebrated the opening of his stables in 1903 with a dinner on horseback in the exclusive Sherry's restaurant. For real. A room in the restaurant was decorated to look like the countryside, complete with grass on the floor, waiters dressed for a fox hunt, sterling silver menus shaped like horseshoes and specially designed saddles that incorporated trays fitted to twelve live horses.

Look at these mad bastards! Steps up to the horses and everything.

However, the most notorious stunt by New York's wealthy ne'er-do-wells was what transpired the night of a stag party organised by Stanford White, a well known architect. The dinner was attended by a host of American impressionist painters, Wall Street brokers, photographers, illustrator Charles Dana Gibson (creator of the Gibson Girl) and badass inventor Nikola Tesla. Apparently the dinner was a twelve course affair, with four banjo players and four singers providing entertainment and two girls to pour the wine, a brunette for red and a blonde for white. Classy. When dessert rolled around, the singers began to chant "Sing a Song of Sixpence" as a huge pie was carried into the room. At the line "Was that not a dainty dish to set before the king?" sixteen year old Susie Johnson burst out of the giant pie, accompanied by four and twenty actual birds and danced up and down the table with a stuffed blackbird on her head, feathered toe rings on her bare feet and while some accounts claim she was dressed in sheer black gauze, other stories say she was "covered only by the ceiling".

An illustration that appeared in a newspaper afterwards. I see they went with the non-nudey version of the story.

Although the guests and staff were sworn to secrecy, the story eventually made its way to a newspaper office and what became known as the Pie Girl Dinner exploded, lifting the lid on the shenanigans of the city's VIPs, scandalising the rest of the town and setting a precedent for dramatic desserts that has endured and adapted all the way to now.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Fuck Yeah Daenerys Targaryen

So, Game of Thrones eh? The Bear and I have just rocketed through the first series in a matter of days and have now joined the hordes of beleagured fans waiting impatiently for the next season. Although it's a bit confusing, (e.g. Hang on, who were their parents? So, who's after dying? Wait, that's her BROTHER? That dirty BITCH!) it's also riveting and bloody and sexy and brilliant. As Trace Dogg so cleverly put it, "it's like Lord of the Rings but set in a brothel 48% of the time". There's many a character I want to punch in the face, due to them being such complete and utter BASTARDS all the time. However, there are also fantastically likeable characters such as diminutive chancer and charmer Tyrion Lannister, fiesty nine year old tomboy Arya Stark and my definite favorite (and flipping nightmare to spell) Daenerys Targaryen.

Aside from being the ethereal, silver-haired and otherworldly RIDEBAG that she is, I seriously loved her transition from fragile, subservient bride, taking shit from her dickhead brother, powerless to stop the events determining the course of her life, to kickass, fearsome tribal queen, taking no shit from nobody, as it were.

Are yeh startin'?

She's also well able to rock an ensemble that looks like it was made out of some manner of potato sack as well as she rocks flowing silky maxi dresses, a rather impressive feat, I'm sure you'll agree.

So she's ridiculously gorgeous, a fierce (in both the Tyra and regular sense) queen, has a killer wardrobe to boot and ALSO has a trusty troupe of sexy handmaidens for backup. One of whom is rather well versed in the art of fucking and with a quick spot of educational dry humping, instructs lovely Daenerys how to cowgirl-shag her way to authority. Handy handmaidens indeed.


I won't go into the other reasons that she's the silvery bomb, as it would mean enormous spoilers for those of you who may not have seen it yet, but she's one ferociously badass lady and I can't believe I have to wait as long as I do for them to hurry the fuck up and make the second series.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

You Got It Wrong

A few weeks ago I was delighted to be asked by Billy Flag to design an EP cover for The Dead Flags. Seeing as I had so much fun designing one for EleventyFour not so long ago, I jumped at the chance. The band wanted something a bit Hitchcock, a bit Saul Bass and a bit retro in style. After a few listens to the tracks I zeroed in on the idea of using hands in the design, as each song is linked by references to either hands, touching or holding. And here's what the result was:

The finished CD case is a much brighter blue than the photo suggests (empty cider cans from last night's Presidential debate drinking game are just about out of shot) and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The EP features the bouncy, fifties rock 'n roll-tinged title track You Got It Wrong, the supremely sing-a-long-able What's It All About and a terrific funk-drenched remix of Let's Start A Fire Tonight by electro sexfunk overlord Jack Samson.

It's already been clocking up mighty favourable reviews on Pop Culture Monster, and MutantSpace, but don't just take their collective words for it, come along to the launch gig in Whelan's on the 26th of October! If you click attending on the Facebook event page here you'll even get a discount on the admission price and you can hardly say fairer than that now, can you? Head over to their website for more tour dates and a listen to the tracks. They're a tremendously fun live band and I for one will be found in Whelan's on the 26th, drinking on a school night and dancing my socks off.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Stormageddon Style

During last week's episode of Doctor Who, while the Doctor and James Corden were dashing around the place dodging Cybermen, I noticed that baby Alfie (or Stormageddon for fellow nerds) had superb taste in rainwear. For a character who didn't utter a word, he managed to steal the show entirely thanks to the Doctor's ability to speak Baby and a dynamite choice of coat.

Baby Alfie working that star pattern.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that I happen to own what is essentially THAT VERY COAT myself.

Me acting the maggot in my Dunnes raincoat after a bellyful of Odessa french toast.

You see what's happened here is that Alfie liked the look of my coat and got his own version, it's not that I dress like a giant baby. Just so's we're clear.