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Coffee: Six Degrees of Caffeination

New York City’s love affair with the perfect cup of coffee

Coffee crazies: “Some people use coffee as a drug, and some people use it as a joy,” says filmmaker and Swallow Magazine founder James Casey. “I went from being the former – needing it when I was tired or as a digestif – to learning that, more than just a beverage, it’s a culture.” Casey’s rousing film captures the frenetic pace of caffeinated New York, featuring a cast of obsessives like Jesse Kahn of roasters and educators Counter Culture, and Oliver Strand, the pre-eminent New York Times coffee writer, as well as more casual sippers such as Nancy Whang, formerly of LCD Soundsystem, and Mission Chinese Food’s Angela Dimayuga. Coffee cultivation first took place in Southern Arabia; the earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in the middle of the 15th century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen. In the Horn of Africa and Yemen, coffee was used in local religious ceremonies. Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, India and Africa. The two most commonly grown are the highly regarded arabica, and the less sophisticated but stronger and more hardy robusta. “Coffee culture was far more prevalent in places like San Francisco, and there’s no defining aspect to coffee in New York because it is so broad,” explains Casey. “There’s everything from Scandinavian-style coffee in parts of Brooklyn to a prevalence for blue collar, dark roasted Italian coffee. I also learned that it is not just about taste, but that there’s a qualitative aspect with regards to the ethical question of coffee, fair trade, and what you are willing to support.” While I love great coffee, I have been known to settle for rubbish just to get a hIt of the black magic – I can not even contemplate my day until I’ve had a cup of coffee and I wouldn’t be giving it up for anything or anyone. Life is just way too short.

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‘Mad Men’ welcomes the Groovy 70s

'Mad Men' is back 5th April - First look pics

Mad Men isn’t sharing any details yet, but check out these exclusive pics by Frank Ockenfels and try to spot all the clues embedded in the new set of promotional pictures released this week. Little Sally is growing up and her hemlines are rising, Betty‘s taking it to the max(i), Megan‘s ruffled mid-drift is back and Don can always rock a jacket and slacks, whatever the decade. The pictures aren’t taken from actual episodes, so they don’t directly foreshadow any of the final season’s storylines but there are insights to be gleamed. From the looks of things, Don (Jon Hamm) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) seem to be in good spirits after working out the kinks in their mentor-mentee relationship at Sterling Cooper & Partners, Sally (Kiernan Shipka) and Betty (January Jones) are physically close to each other in each photograph without looking particularly touchy-feely, so don’t expect their mother-daughter relationship to get wrapped up with a bow. And Pete (Vincent Kartheiser) and Roger (John Slattery) seem to have found a shared taste in plaid blazers, so maybe the bitter and entitled Pete has finally found some common ground with his coworkers after all. Mad Men is an American period drama television series created by Matthew Weiner and premiered on 19th July 2007. The seventh and final season consists of 14 episodes that have been split into two seven-episode instalments, airing in 2014 and 2015. Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (later Sterling Cooper & Partners), located nearby in the Time-Life Building, at 1271 Sixth Avenue. According to the show’s pilot, the phrase “Mad men” was a slang term coined in the 1950s by advertisers working on Madison Avenue to refer to themselves, a claim that has since been disputed. The focal point of the series is Don Draper (Jon Hamm), initially the talented creative director at Sterling Cooper and later a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and the people in his personal and professional lives. The plot focuses on the business of the agencies as well as the personal lives of the characters, regularly depicting the changing moods and social mores of the United States across the 1960s, starting Season 1 in March 1960 and moving through to 1969 by Season 7. Since its premiere, Mad Men has received widespread critical acclaim for its historical authenticity, visual style, costume design, acting, writing, and directing, and has won many awards. Mad Men will air its final episodes starting 5th April. Here’s a tip – If you have never seen a single episode, we suggest you start binge watching now!

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Björk’s MoMA Retrospective

Björk’s first look teaser from her MoMA Retrospective

Björk’s Retrospective: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) have released the first trailer for Björk’s Retrospective which highlights a museum commissioned sound and video installation, featuring Björk’s song Black Lake from her new album Vulnicura. The exciting exhibit will reference from more than twenty years of the artist’s projects and eight albums with Björk’s career chronicled through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, and costumes. Björk is an Icelandic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and occasional actress. She initially became known as the lead singer of the alternative rock band The Sugarcubes, whose 1987 single “Birthday” was a hit on US and UK indie stations and a favourite among music critics. Björk began her career as a solo artist in 1993. Her first album, Debut, was rooted in electronic dance music, house, jazz and trip-hop, and is widely credited as one of the first albums to introduce electronic dance music into mainstream pop. Now in the third decade of her solo career, Björk has developed an eclectic musical style that incorporates aspects of dance, rock, trip hop, jazz, electronic, classical, experimental and avant-garde music. Björk has had 30 singles reach the Top 40 on pop charts around the world, with 22 Top 40 hits in the UK including the Top 10 hits It’s Oh So Quiet, Army of Me and Hyperballad, 11 in Ireland, eight in Italy, four in France, and two in Australia. Additionally, Big Time Sensuality, Hyperballad, and I Miss You were number one dance hits in the US. Music critics have consistently championed Björk’s body of work, praising her innovative approach to singing and composition, her pioneering use of electronic beats, her groundbreaking music videos, and, above all, her singular voice, describing her as “the most important and forward-looking musician of her generation”. The Björk Retrospective will be on display at MoMA from 8th March until 7th June 2015. For more info, click here.

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Mike Brodie’s ‘A Period of Juvenile Prosperity’

Photographer, Mike Brodie, documents the lives of vagabonds

Mike Brodie, a young, 21 year old photographer at the time, decided to pack up and leave everything behind to document the lives of American vagabonds in an amazing, thought-provoking and touching series of photographs taken between 2006 and 2009. These compelling images by Mike Brodie have now been published in his book A Period of Juvenile ProsperityA Period of Juvenile Prosperity leads us into the precarious daily life of these young people, jumping from train to train, sleeping and living rough all while traveling throughout the United States. Born in Arizona in 1985, Mike Brodie first began photographing in 2004 when he was given a Polaroid camera. Working under the moniker, ‘The Polaroid Kidd’, Mike Brodie spent the next four years circumambulating the U.S. amassing an archive of photographs that would go on to make up one of the few, true collections of American travel photography. Having never undergone any formal training, he chose to remained untethered to the pressures and expectations of the art market. Mike Brodie compulsively documented his explorations and as suddenly as he began making photographs, he left the medium behind. In 2008, Mike Brodie received the Baum Award for American Emerging Artists. A Period of Juvenile Prosperity published by Twin Palms was released in early 2013 and has been followed by numerous gallery shows. Mike Brodie recently graduated from the Nashville Auto Diesel College (NADC) and is now working as a mobile diesel mechanic in his silver ’93 Dodge Ram. Although he has stopped creating photographs, the body of work he developed in four short intense years has left an enduring impact on the photo world.

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Florence + The Machine – Video of the Day

Florence + The Machine's new video ‘What Kind Of Man’

Florence + The Machine are back: Dropping on 12th February 2015, we were so happy to watch Florence + The Machine’s new video What Kind Of Man which is taken from their forthcoming album How Big How Blue How Beautiful which will be officially released on 1st June 2015. Earlier this week, the band unveiled the album’s title track (and music video). On What Kind of Man, the group opt for a more classic rock firepower with searing guitar riffs weaved between Florence Welch’s high-flying vocals. We always knew the front woman had bite, but this track just might be her fiercest one yet. The video for What Kind of Man was directed by Vincent Haycock and choreographed by Ryan Heffington. How Big How Blue How Beautiful serves as the follow-up to Florence + The Machine’s 2011 smash Ceremonials. It was written over the course of two years in London and Los Angeles and recorded alongside producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Björk). It also features contributions from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, Paul Epworth, Kid Harpoon, and John Hill. Regarding the LP, Welch commented ‘I guess although I’ve always dealt in fantasy and metaphor when I came to writing, that meant the songs this time were dealing much more in reality. Ceremonials was so fixated on death and water, and the idea of escape or transcendence through death, but the new album became about trying to learn how live, and how to love in the world rather than trying to escape from it. Which is frightening because I’m not hiding behind anything but it felt like something I had to do.’ Can’t wait for this album to drop!
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R.I.P. Steve Strange

Steve Strange passes: We are very sad to learn that legendary Blitz club kid and the frontman of 80s band Visage, Steve Strange has passed away aged 55. His record label confirmed that he had died of a heart attack. His record label said in a statement: “We are extremely saddened to announce that Steve Strange died at 11.15 local time on Thursday, February 12 in Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital, Egypt. Steve Strange died in his sleep of heart failure – his family, band members and friends are all distraught at this sudden news of his untimely death. Steve’s family request privacy at this extremely difficult time.” Steve Strange, best known for his work with New Romantic band Visage had one of the biggest hits was the single “Fade to Grey” in 1980. However, Strange was also a leading style pioneer in his own right. He was at the forefront of London club culture in the 1970s and 80s, beginning with the Blitz – a Soho night which helped launch the careers of countless British musicians, including Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and Boy George. With his outrageous dress sense and out-there DIY costumes, Strange embodied the spirit of the New Romantic scene. As the doorman at Blitz, he was infamous for his ultra-discerning eye; he reportedly allowed David Bowie in, but not Mick Jagger. As news of his passing spread, former New Romantics lined up to pay tribute to the quintessential London club kid.

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Steve Strange

Banana Art by Stephan Brusche

And then there was ‘Banana Art’: So it would seem many artists are inspired by fruit these days including Dutch artist Stephan Brusche who continues to find creative ways of turning bananas into works of art via his new series of banana art entitled Banana Doodles. The artist first began by doodling directly onto the banana’s surface a few years back as a way of showcasing his creativity on Instagram. Since then, Brusche has incorporated the fruit’s shape and skin (through carving and peeling), continuing to find new ways to reimagine the same space over and over again. The 37-year-old graphic designer turns humble bananas into iconic characters such as Marilyn Monroe and Homer Simpson as well as animals and famous artworks and although the Dutch artist hadn’t expected his banana art to be so popular, positive feedback has lead him to release his very first book, Fruitdoodles, which documents his initial 50 banana art creations. He also has his own Fruitdoodle calendar with a different creation for each month of the year. Although Stephan has now found his banana art to be rather lucrative, the designer says that his famous fruit had very humble beginnings. ‘I took a ballpoint pen and just started drawing. I was pretty amazed how pleasant a banana peel is to draw on.’ Ba nah nah na indeed.

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Retro 90s Video Games Online For Free!

Retro 90s Video Games Online For Free!

90s Video Games Online

After releasing almost 900 classic, coin-operated arcade games late last year, the Internet Archive have released nearly 2,400 MS-DOS 90s video games online, free and playable in-browser… there goes the afternoon!

We’ve reached back into our teen brains and picked out a handful of our favourites.

Street Fighter II (1992)

Hadouken!!! Need we say more? Street Fighter & Super Street Fighter II are also there.

Play Street Fighter II

Disney’s Aladdin (1994)

If you have to play one Disney game it would have be Aladdin, but The Lion King is also worth a run.

Play Disney’s Aladdin

Lemmings 2: The Tribes (1993)

After countless hours watching (sometimes pushing) the original Lemmings fall to their death, we couldn’t wait for Lemmings 2 to come out.

Play Lemmings 2: The Tribes

Prince of Persia (1989)

Long before Jake Gyllenhaal pranced about in the sands of time, and before parkour was a thing, we bounced off walls and were leaping over pits in stunning 2D.

Play Prince of Persia.

 Bust-A-Move (1997)

Nothing to do with Young MC, Bust-A-Move featured Bub & Bob of Bubble Bobble fame in a proto-Bubble Witch Saga if you will.

Play Bust-A-Move.

Sim City (1989)

What can you say, Sim City, the game that launched an entire universe of pointless never-ending titles that continue to spawn to this day.

Play Sim City

The emulator is still in beta, we hit a few snags but for the most part they were all playable, you can view the entire collection of 90s video games online at the Internet Archive

Good Golly, Miss Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton gets snapped by Terry Richardson

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Terry Richardson posted these pics of Dolly Parton on his site that I assume he took for some kind of magazine, and they are in, what is now, the standard ‘Terry Richardson’ format. The photos were also being auctioned off for charity and people could bid on the prints, with all proceeds going to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which promotes early childhood literacy. Dolly Parton is an iconic singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music and is the most honoured female country performer of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, Dolly Parton has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist, 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. Terry Richardson is an iconic American fashion and portrait photographer who has shot advertising campaigns for Marc Jacobs, Aldo, Supreme, Sisley, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent among others. He has also done work for magazines such as Rolling StoneGQVogueVanity FairHarper’s Bazaari-D, and Vice and is renown for his portraits of a wide variety of models, fashionista’s, movie stars, celebrities and politicians.

Sweatshirt of the Day…

Tony Danza Sweatshirt

Tony Danza SweatshirtThe lyrics Elton John should have sung! This Tony Danza sweatshirt with the infamous misheard lyrics is super comfy, cosy and sure to get some serious laughs. Unisex Fit, 90% Cotton / 10% Polyester and comes in a range of different sweatshirt sizes, this would make the perfect Christmas gift for that oddball friend or relo. Hey, if in doubt, splurge and spoil yourself – it’s a must-have! Apart of the cakeworthy collection, this sweatshirt is available for purchase directly from the Nylon shop. Happy shopping!