12 Apr 2012 - Maria Kivimaa


Long live vinyl. The iconic British independent record label/shop Rough Trade has confirmed new store openings in New York and Paris. Best news of the week, and just in time for the Record Store Day next weekend (more on this to come). Whoever thought that flipping through actual, physical albums is so last season, eat your Spotify and choke on it. Well, maybe not choke, as it is admittedly a bloody good service (and as it announced yesterday, expanding now to third-party websites with play buttons), but at least be ashamed.

Warhol of Japan. And now it’s my turn to be ashamed. I’ve never really thought extremely highly of Japanese visual art scene and labelled it consisting purely of animated school boys with plate-sized eyes and distressed school girls in miniskirts. Boy, was I wrong. Forget Pokemon and Hello Kitty, welcome Tadanori Yokoo. This 75-year-old man is apparently one of the most influential graphic designers in the world (never heard of him before, shame on me, again) and with his pop art-esque style and fearless honesty he conveys the hidden side of Japanese mentality to the public; he tells things about Japanese people that they don’t want revealed. He exhibited in London a few months ago, at V&A’s “Postmodernism: Style and Subversion: 1970-1990”.

What is happiness? According to Sir Alfred Hitchcock, the legendary British film director (The Birds, Rear Window, Psycho, Vertigo etc), it’s a clear horizon with… (hear the rest of his answer below). This might be one of the most engaging minute-long monologues I’ve seen, and albeit the question is impossible and somewhat subjective, and his simple answer is not revealing the secret of life or God or love, somehow, this just makes perfect sense.

Give designer a chance. Look Like Love are a small creative company who have a noble purpose: they are trying to make sure that as many recent graduate designers have the chance to showcase their work to a bigger audience. Knowing the harsh reality of any young talent desperately searching for their first career move (that’s not a 3-year unpaid internship as the official tea maker for advertising executives or as a door mat in an arsey design studio), this cause needs to be supported. And luckily, the perfect opportunity for this starts tomorrow! A two-week exhibition Pop Up People (by the way, when did the term “pop-up” start to mean everything that lasts less than a decade? Aren’t exhibitions always sort of temporary and in different locations?) launches tomorrow in Peckham, in a small studio space belonging to another rebellious design collective, The House With… (set up by three crazy friends of mine who will soon rock the currently lethargic interior design world), and displays the work of six young design graduates. This won’t be big or polished, more grass-roots and slightly gritty. Exactly how the real gems are found.

More music apps. Yawn. Tired of hearing about new “amazing” music sharing platforms? Not excited about new “innovative” mixing tools?  Full of new “groundbreaking” music discovery apps? Well, I’m getting bored. It seems everyone is giving it go at the moment, thus there’s inevitably an abundance of gimmicky, lame, pointless or just badly designed music rubbish out there. I came across two exceptions this week, not sure if they are game changers, but have a look. TastemakerX combines a sort of stock exchange with all the other usual interactive features, and Incredibox lets you mix your own track (spotted by one of our strategists, Alvaro!). At least the UI of the latter is pretty sleek. What say you?