Saturday, December 19, 2009

…my head told my heart

…we are we are we are festive

We are supposed to be all festive at the moment, are we not? Well don’t party too hard or you may need to enter into some kind of rehabilitation facility in the new year to atone for ones sins. Oh who am I kidding? Go nuts but make sure you look as pretty as this whilst you are at it.










Styling-Samantha Murdoch

Model-Miss Anna Rennie

Clothes-Stylist’s and Model’s own

…the end is nigh, nay it’s today

We are getting mighty close to the end of the naughties, and I’m a little relieved. I mean, it has been great, but for the decade that bought us Big Brother, Idol, more George Bush than we wanted, too much war, a few really big fires, storms, earthquakes and tsunamis, I will shed no tears. It has been a frivolous decade where things have become too expensive, and human life not valued nearly enough. The 90s had activism and the internet and a touch of hope, but none of that is exciting anymore. We managed to become terrified of money in the Global Financial Crisis, but we are still not scared enough of what our planet will become if we don’t change our ways. So I say goodbye to 2009 thankful that old George Dubya is long gone, that people can still carry on after their world is swept away by disaster, and feeling pretty worried that just being a human on this planet makes us all complicit in our own destruction. Makes you a bit sad hey?


…no more sighs thankyou very much

Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More, Universal Records

available at all good music retailers or on iTunes for $16.99

sigh no more

I happen to love the banjo very much; strum me a few chords on one of those silly little instruments and I will do anything for you. Well almost anything. If you ask me to fall in love with Mumford & Sons debut album Sigh No More, then I will most definitely do what you ask. After all, you are not asking much because this record is tres’ lovable and oozing with banjo strumming.

Now look, just so you know up front, there is no way I can be a partial judge here. These boys are British, Londoners born and bred, they make lovely indie folk music and all four of the band’s members are very very cute. As I have already said, I have a weakness for the banjo, but among my many other weaknesses, cute British boys and indie folk music are pretty high on the list. I also go weak in the knees for Brazilian men doing anything at all, but anyway I digress.

So, indie folk music hey? Basically there are a bazillion different artists out there from all reaches of the globe who are making delicious indie folk tunes. Most well known would be those such as Sufjan Stevens, Devendra Banheart and the group Bon Iver. There is a little known (well here at least) Canadian group called Port O’Brien that are pretty rocken.

What I look for in a really great indie folk album is a mix of slow and melancholy and tracks that have such rushing crescendos that they grab you by the heart and pull you forward into musical bliss. Well the track I Gave You All pretty much ticks both boxes. Marcus Mumford has an amazing vocal strength that holds raw gritty emotion; you believe him when he sings of his heart being ripped away. These guys are making the kind of music that you don’t hear, you feel. The standout song for me has to be Little Lion Man which you should just listen to because it is that amazing. It is a four minute song that I wish went for twenty drawn out minutes. The chorus calls out to us “…it was not your fault but mine, it was your heart on the line, I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear? Didn’t I?” begging forgiveness and laying it all out for us to see. The banjo goes wild, behind a quick guitar riff and a wall of vocals; I get the shivers this song is so good. This track would be great live, as I don’t see how an audience could resist being worked up into a frenzy.

These boys are clever; with good lyrics backed up by guitar, organ and banjo they have produced an album that I will be listening to for a long while to come. It has substance and has obviously not been rushed out. It is well produced, with just the right amount of everything to get a good balance in each track. Even if you think you may not like this album, I urge you to have a listen and you may just be surprised. But hey, like said, I am no impartial judge.

Mumford & Sons will be playing two shows at Oxford Art Factory on Feb 2nd and 3rd which are sold out but if you can get your little hands on tickets lucky you. They are also playing the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney if you are going.

All text by Samantha Murdoch except where stated

All images by Samantha Murdoch except Sigh No More cover, courtesy of Universal Records

Merry Christmas, have a great new year everyone. Next post will be from the coastal region of northern New South Wales. x

Monday, November 23, 2009

…laser beams, rocket machines and evangelines


…don’t try this at home kids


It would be sick to time travel, wouldn’t it? I mean, aside from all the implications for our world and how us little humans interact with our universe, it would be just down right wicked to go backwards or forwards and just have a bit of a sticky beak around. I wouldn’t change things; I would just appreciate the chance to have a closer look at things from another angle. I am also inclined to believe that even if I really wanted to alter the past there are, well, a few scientists and philosophers out there who say it is impossible’ to travel through time. Although the idea that something cannot be done does not sit well with this optimist, I agree on this one, the sheer logic of it is difficult to argue with.


You see, there is this theory called The Grandfather Paradox which can be used to sort of prove that time travel is just never gonna happen. Ok, so take this guy (we’ll call him George) and imagine he has figured out how to go back in time. George has also decided that he is a raging psychopath and wants to go back in time and murder his grandfather, Stan, for reasons that are unknown to us. So, George travels back in time and kills his grandfather, but it turns out that he killed poor Stan before he had met George’s sweet Grandmother and made babies. What this means is that if Stan did not meet his wifey before his untimely death at the hands of his mental case grandson, then George could not in fact exist at all. But, don’t you see? George does exist, he has a mother and father and siblings and grandparents, one of which is dear old Stan; sixty or so years from the time that George travels back in time to, he exists.


Confused? Me too. The point is this: that the fact that George exists at all and is able to go back and kill Stan negates the fact that he went back and killed Stan. If George had figured this out, he would have realised it was easier to walk the ten blocks to Stan’s house and killed him then and there, rather than messing with the space time continuum.


There are many other examples that pretty much tell us that to travel in time to the past is just silly nonsense, especially if you have some lame reason to time travel, like murder or un-inventing the wheel. Check them out here, as well as other info:

All this so called proof about why it is impossible to take a trip through time does not deter people from writing, talking, and making movies about doing it. I’ve seen Michael J Fox and that pesky Doc mess with time and get themselves into a whole heap of trouble. I even came across a business card once that said ‘Time travel consultant’ and had a good chuckle. I recently read The Time Traveller’s Wife, which I found to be very interesting once you take away all the lovey dovey stuff which is put on a bit thick in places. In he interest of research I went and saw the film, but watching Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams smooch their way through what could have been a really good film, but was instead a sanitised love fest, was not all that fun. What I found exciting about the book, these people fumbling their way through weird circumstances and coming to out there conclusions about life, was missing from the bland film.

P.s I am SOOO not an expert on time travel, though my great grandfather’s name was Stan, so this fact does give this a touch of credibility, right?

Wikipedia Tags:


Text and Photos by Samantha Murdoch

…Cocteau Twins

Lullabies to Violaine, 2005, 4AD records


It’s perfect dream pop; sweet, breathy and ethereal with a slightly sharper edge just below the surface. Listening to the Cocteau Twins leaves you feeling like the music might just float away into dust and mist and that you might be soon to follow and end up on some far distant planet. Those other worldly vocals circle above rhythm and synth backing that sounds like it has been pushed through a very very pretty filter to render it all soft and gooey. There are far too many similes to describe this unique band and the music they produce, but I think they are like pink marshmallows dipped in a bit of booze; what’s not to love about that? I do like them very much, but I am biased. You see they are Scottish just like me so I feel a duty to my cultural heritage to embrace them, because, lets face it, the bagpipes are shit.

Lullabies to Violaine is a two volume set, each volume with two disks. I recommend both, but volume two features kick as versions of Frosty the Snowman and Winter Wonderland, yes that’s right kids, the Christmas songs. My favourite by far is Evangeline, the first track on this volume. The rest of the collection is lovely, with little surprises along the way such as Rilkean Heart. This track plays like a traditional folk song (sans bagpipes of course) with the strong Scottish accent of Elizabeth Frazer and melodic piano, but is actually a reference to the German poet Rilke.

Both volumes are available at


A song for remembering someone else
You find you know who you are at every age
Find treasure, and I will make it
I see me as other people see me


There is no going back
I can't stop feeling now
I am not the same, I'm growing up again
I am not the same
I'm growing up again
There's no going back I can't stop feeling now


I pledge to fantasise
There was a priceless moment that I couldn't keep
I pledge to hide from feelings
I see me as other people see me
There is no going back
I can't stop feeling now
I am not the same, I'm growing up again
I am not the same
I'm growing up again
There's no going back I can't stop feeling now
Feeling now


There is no going back, and
I can't stop feeling now
I am not the same, I'm growing up again
I am not the same
I'm growing up again
There's no going back I can't stop feeling now


I had to fantasise just to survive
There was a fear being silenced
Everybody took me seriously

Even those who were not close to me,


I had to fantasise just to survive

All text by Samantha Murdoch except the Cocteau Twins Lyrics "Evangeline"

All photos by Samantha Murdoch

Thanks again, next post will be much much sooner!

xoxo Sam

Thursday, October 29, 2009

…don’t be afraid little ones



She is a little bit freaky right?

…it’s a ghost, it’s a fatal disease, it’s David Ike

I think it is entirely possible that we are all capable of making up scary shit. Whether its convincing ourselves we have a terminal brain tumour, or that the scratching through the wall is, without a doubt, I mean there is NO WAY it is not, a ghost who either wishes us harm or just really wants to scare the wits out of us. As a kid this amazing imagination also means we can play shops and super fun games, as well as imagining the scary monster under the bed. When I was a kid I imagined all kinds of scary evil things coming to get me, but I also believed that everyday was my birthday but that everyone had forgotten to tell me. Back then, imagination meant I could make believe good exciting things along with the bad scary stuff. These days, and especially this week, it has all been about the bad scary stuff.


Ghostly white, but still pretty.

Ben is taking some very cool supernatural photos, so in the course of two weeks I have been both ghost and human, witnessed levitations of humans and chairs, seen ectoplasm spill from someone’s nose and seen ghosts linger around the stairwell of my house looking darn right creeptastic, and just a little too not translucent to be believable.


Wonder what she was like when she was alive?

I have also heard my friends talk about David Ike and his lizard people theories, which frankly, genuinely worry me. I keep imagining Kevin Rudd’s head splitting open and a snarling scaly lizard beast spilling forth screaming ‘I ruled you all and you didn’t even know it, HA, and you stupid people even drank the fluoride poisoned water, I control you all’. THIS, I tell you, does not make an insomniac’s job any easier.

I used to laugh at my adult male pals who get together once a week to play a game of good old fashioned Dungeons & Dragons, but I think I get it now. It’s amazing that they can use their mind and their ability to make shit up for good; for, dare I say it, FUN! I’m a little bit jealous and wish I could do the same. So, this Halloween, I will not be dressing as something scary, or evil, or dead; I will be something fun and light hearted. Now, let me think…

Text and Photos by Samantha Murdoch

…its FANGtastically tasty

This awesome red velvet vampire fang cake was a hit at out last party, recreate it for your Halloween festivities!


Looks gross, but it tastes SO mmmm good.

…you will need

  • 3 boxes of butter cake mix
  • HEAPS of red food dye
  • 3 bags glace cherries
  • Cocoa powder
  • 300g butter
  • 1 large bag icing mixture
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Vanilla essence
  • 1 deep rectangle non stick cake tin
  • A large foil or paper covered board

SO, if you don’t want to be lazy you can really make the cakes from scratch, but whatever floats your boat kids. Follow the instructions on the cake packets one at a time then add heaps of red food dye (trust me, it takes a lot to make it red and not a yucky insipid icky colour), a bag of chopped glace cherries per mix, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder per mix. Just so you know, the cherries are meant to be guts, and the cocoa powder helps the blood colour along and tastes good. It would be easier to bake both the cakes at once, but if you only have one tin that’s fine. Once the cakes are done, leave to cool completely, because, if you try and assemble it whilst its still hot it will break, I PROMISE YOU!

My icing never turns out great, so it’s is probably your best bet to find a butter cream icing recipe and follow that. Most of the icing mixture will be used for the vamps pearly whites, but put a bit aside and add tonnes more red colouring to make the blooooooooood that drips from the fangs.

em and bats

Going batty? Nah, it’s just really good cake.

To put the cake together you need to cut two of the cakes into single fang shapes and put on each side of the board with enough room in between for the other cake which forms the regular teeth. cut grooves into the other cake so people know they are teeth (this is just in case you have reeeeeaaally stupid people at your party). If it doesn’t look like fangs at this point, you are pretty screwed but feel free to cut pieces of here and there which you can stick on other places later with icing. Icing it is the heaps fun bit, so go nuts, channel your creative energies and get your artistic juices flowing!

You may have to tell your guests that it’s not in fact teeth or blood or guts they are eating, it’s yummy yummy cake.

Text and Photos by Samantha Murdoch

…step right up and check out these freaks


Liquorish allsort woman, watch out, she will get you with her stripy candy!


OH MY GOD it’s the man with half a face, don’t be scared kids, he is mostly harmless.


ladies and gentleman gather round and take a closer look at the woman with no face and a freakishly long arm.


Folks, steer clear of this sweet looking little lady, she is plotting your death!

Text by Samantha Murdoch
Photos by Samantha Murdoch and Benjamin Holdstock

Sunday, October 25, 2009

we have a secret, shhhhhhhh……






…we recycle!

Wardrobe recycling is fun and easy. One night Em and Sam found out that an everyday wardrobe can be transformed into something entirely different and interesting.

Actually: So, anonymous model, how would you describe your wardrobe?

Anonymous Model: Disappointing and difficult to manage. I really don’t know how I ended up with what I have!

Actually: Were you happy with the results of this little expedition into wardrobe recycling?

Anonymous Model: Yes! (model laughs) Um…it was cool to see how someone else might wear my stuff.

Actually: Would you ever wear those brocade pants in public? They are AMAZING.

Anonymous Model: (Model laughs) Would i wear them in public? I have, before they were altered, but it was dark!

Actually: Well thanks for letting us in to the dark depths of your clothes rack, its been fun!

Anonymous Model: You can get into the dark depths of my rack anytime!

Styling by Emily Hughes and Samantha Murdoch

Photos by Samantha Murdoch

Text by Samantha Murdoch and Emily Hughes

Model chooses to remain anonymous

…we love princess sparkle banana splits

You will need:

  • Bananas (well DERRRR)
  • Neapolitan ice cream (but only use the PINK k?)
  • Those sparkly pink sugar crystal thingos
  • Chocolate Topping or Ice Magic
  • Brown, White and Pink Cream Wafers
  • Crushed Peanuts

Cut open the bananas lengthways, place in bowl and add ice cream and topping or ice magic. Sprinkle over HEAPS of the pink sparkles (other wise its not a princess sparkle, is it?), crushed peanuts and one of each colour wafer.

WARNING: You may experience strange behaviour after consuming this, such as groaning, writhing and sugar induced hyper-ness. Eat responsibly.


Text and Photo by Samantha Murdoch

…we love cheap cds

$10 table, Fish Records, Newtown


massive attack cover big

Massive Attack is a band that has made an impression on me, but it has always been one song that has crept into my repeat play lists, never a whole album. Tunes such as Teardrop and Inertia Creeps (both from 1998) were staples of my adolescence, but I have never thought to appreciate the whole picture that their impressive back catalogue creates. Most people would know Teardrop, the haunting lyrics and THAT film clip, you know, the one with the foetus floating around all translucent like, but on closer inspection there is more than singing babies to be found.

Things you may not know? Well firstly, most of their music is what music nerds call trip-hop; they share this genre with others such as Portishead and Tricky. Secondly, they have had an extraordinary number of amazing guest vocalists and musicians; Tracy Thorn from Everything but the Girl does a stellar job on Protection (1994) and Elizabeth Frazer from Cocteau Twins sings to your soul on Teardrop.

In 2006 Massive Attack released Collected. It’s a best of, though I think it works well as a stand alone album, thematically and musically. The band has really stayed true to its beginnings, whether this was an intention or not it means that Safe From Harm from 1991 with its synth backing and soul vocals sits beside 2006s smoky Live With Me so well it would not be a stretch to assume that they were from the same album originally. Live With Me is a favourite of mine from this disk, featuring Cee-Lo Green of Gnarls Barkley, its eerie strings accompaniment the lyrics all about love, and a beat which is impossible to resist makes it a perfect song to kick back to.

It appears that Massive Attack is a 90s band that has managed to outlive its era, and with a new album expected to be released very soon, we may see more brilliance yet. I am completely excited at the idea of Hope Sandoval from Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions and Mazzy Star making an appearance with her ethereal vocals, and Damon Albarn of Blur throwing his hat into the collaborative ring.

SO, if you are like me and have always liked Massive Attack, never LOVED them, head to Fish Records on King street in Newtown and pick up Massive Attack: Collected (2006), and the infectious and primal rhythms will get you hooked . Get to know the trip-hop pioneers so you can fall in love with the new album.

Text By Samantha Murdoch

Image courtesy of Virgin Records

Em and Sam say thanks! We shall post again soon.