Monday, 29 March 2010

Fashion's Other Half

They say that behind every great man is an equally great woman but I would say that the same works both ways, particularly in fashion. The fashion world is full of wonderful female designers who have made a huge impact on the industry but interestingly enough, a lot of these women have the support of their husbands who are there to catch them when they fall. From Vivienne Westwood to Mary Quant and Alice Temperley these top notch fashion designers are just one half of fashion's super couples. A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal did a profile on Miuccia Prada and her husband and business partner, Patrizio Bertelli who they describe as fashion's most successful husband and wife pairing. It got me thinking about all the other women fashion designers who work hand in hand with their other halves to build their fashion empire. So I did a bit of digging around and this is what I have come up with.

Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli
Prada was founded by Mario and Martino Prada in 1913 and the company was handed down to Mario's grand daughter. Miuccia and her husband Patrizio in 1978. Since then the couple have turned the brand into a fashion powerhouse. In the 90s Prada was the name on everyone's lips with the launch of stores in Paris, Madrid and New York as well as the iconic Prada handbag which everyone wanted to get their mitts on.

Mary Quant and Alexander Plunkett-Grene
The original pop idol, it was her partnership with hubby, Alexander which led to the birth of Bazaar, the iconic clothes store on Kings Road. Mary then went on to make her own range of clothing and introducing the mini skirt and hot pants.

Barbara Hulanicki and Stephen Fitz-Simon
While Barbara Hulanicki entranced the world with Biba, it was her husband Stephen who acted as her rock and even gave her the idea to get into fashion. Biba was the aspirational brand of the 60s and every stylish lady wanted a slice of it.

Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren

It was punk maverick, Malcolm McLaren who spotted Vivienne's talents and set up shop with her on Kings Road. The premises on Kings Road went under many names such as Let it Rock, Sex, Too Fast to Live Too Young to Die and Seditionaries. The duo went on to launch a fashion label together. 

Alice Temperley and
Lars Von Bennigsen
The lady who put the ooomph back into Brit fashion with her collection of tea dresses. Former Saint Martin's graduate, Alice Temperley launched her label, Temperley London with her hubby, Lars Von Bennigsen. He is now CEO of a brand that consists of gorgeous boutiques across the world, a bridal collection a diffusion range called Alice by Alice Temperley as well as numerous A list celebrities as fans.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

In the Editor's Chair - Sophia Jackson

There are loads of magazine out there which act as a guide to life in London; some are good but some are quite brilliant. Enter Lime magazine which acts as a guide to cultural London covering anything from music, theatre, comedy, radio and TV from a multi-cultural perspective. The editor is Sophia Jackson who is a bit of a media maverick; she has worked on a variety of publications such as Blink, New Nation, The BFM and also edits the Screen Nation Awards magazine. She is also the founder and editor of Afrizidiak Theatre News which covers African Caribbean theatre. I caught up with her to find out more about Lime and life in the fast lane as an editor. 

How did you get into journalism? 
Journalism is something that I’ve always wanted to do, however, I dragged my feet and found myself doing various admin related jobs until I panicked and realised that if I didn’t take my dreams seriously, no one would. I did work experience at The Journal whilst studying for my BA in Media Arts with English. At the time, Barbara Campbell was the editor and I then went on to write reviews for various publications. This gave me some experience in journalism but I needed something more concrete. So for two years, I did a part-time course studying for a Masters in Journalism Studies at the University of Westminster whilst working full-time.  My lecturer, Alan Hiscock, sent out an email about doing work experience for the black news website, Blink, and I decided to go for it. Working with Lester Holloway, who was the editor of Blink, was a life-changing experience. He was the first person to give me a paid journalism gig, and gave me many opportunities to develop as a journalist. He was like a mentor to me and meeting him was invaluable to my journalism experience and career. I then joined him at New Nation as their listings editor. Since doing my MA I have been the editor of the Screen Nation Awards magazine three times, another life-changing experience and again, I’m grateful to Screen Nation CEO/founder, Charles Thompson for believing in me. It was the first time I’d been editor of a magazine and although it was daunting and hard work, I loved it – probably because my creative flair is tinged with elements of being a bit of a bossy boots. I’ve also worked for BFM for a number of years on their bi-monthly magazine as the sub-editor and entertainments editor. I’ve been editor of their website for just over a year. Now I’m editor and founder of Afridiziak Theatre News, a website celebrating African-Caribbean theatre and editor of Lime magazine.
Describe the concept of Lime magazine.
‘Lime’ is a word used around the Caribbean which in a nutshell means ‘socialising with your friends, family and having fun’. We felt this was the perfect word to describe the magazine as it is a multi-cultural events listings guide. We’re all about good times, going out and socialising so we want our readers to ‘Come Lime with Us’ at the many cultural events, gigs, plays, gallery exhibitions, community events and film screenings that London has to offer. We also have some of the hottest interviews around - from A list stars to up and coming talent. We combine all of this with engaging features and all the latest reviews.

The design is very contemporary, how did you decide on the art design of the publication?
Thank you. We have been getting positive feedback and I think it’s because each issue gets better and better because we keep tweaking and working on the strengths from the previous issue. Also, our publisher, Got Media has a super creative eye for design. We also work with talented designers who are at the top of their game. As a team, we all want Lime to stand out from the crowd – so far, so good. I think the re-design of our front cover style has helped strengthen our brand, also. I’m torn between whether this cover or the Idris Elba (Feb 2010) is my favourite, so far. 

Who is behind the magazine and how many members of staff work on Lime?
Team Lime is me, the editor. Dean Serieux, head of sales, Michelle Adabra, our features editor, Audrey Brown, our features writer and Jerome DeFreitas, our designer. Dean, Michelle, Jerome and I are all former New Nation employees. With New Nation going into Administration in January 2009 it’s great that we’ve been able to turn that around. Lime also has a team of contributors on board too which is brilliant for us as we’re pleased that so many talented writers, like yourself, who want to get involved. 

Describe a day in the life of Sophia A Jackson. 
If I was ever followed around by a film crew for the day, you would wonder how I managed to cram so much into one day. My life is a series of deadlines being carefully juggled, managed and negotiated. I am ruled by my inbox and unless I stay on top of my emails things could get messy, neglected and pushed down the priority list. My BlackBerry is like a limb I wouldn’t want to live without – it’s a part of me. It’s probably slightly unhealthy but I just love the fact that I don’t have to do everything when I’m stuck at a laptop or PC. A typical day involves liaising with Team Lime – we often communicate with each other several times a day. I am in regular contact with people who work in entertainment PR, arranging for a journalist to review a gig, play or event or setting up interviews etc. Or I am busy writing reviews, doing interviews, editing copy, thinking of creative ways to keep the magazine fresh with unique themes, chasing images, forward planning, updating the ever-changing flat plan, and keeping the website up to date. I also have to keep my own website, Afridiziak Theatre News up to date so you can imagine my life is hectic. But I do feel blessed. I’m doing what I want to do, it’s not perfect but I’m happy and if you can be happy in your work then you’re in a good place I believe. I love meeting new people and going out with friends and family, and having new experiences. Which is why it’s hard to sometimes say no to press nights, launches, invites etc but you can’t do it all. Now I’m happy to encourage other writers to go out and about as I don’t feel I have to do it all anymore.

Which blogs do you check out regularly?
Tricia Wombell’s Black Book News, Angel Smith’s A Taste of Angel Cake and yours, of course.

What magazines do you read? 
I absolutely LOVE the free women’s weekly magazine, Stylist. I think it’s a publication that fills a gap, the editorial is on point, interesting and well targeted. I also buy Pride magazine religiously out of loyalty because it’s the only black women’s publication in the UK which has survived over the years and I like that.

What tips do you have for anyone who wants to become a magazine editor?
Be prepared to work hard and only work for a publication you are passionate about and believe in. Be conscious of the fact that you need to have serious time-management skills, love communicating with different kinds of people, all day every day, learn the art of networking and relish the thought of meeting new people. You’ll also need to become a professional at maintaining your contacts because without them well... Lastly, keep your friends and family close because you need them to keep you sane in this crazy media game and to remind you of what’s really important in life.

The March 2010 edition of Lime magazine is out now: The Goddess Issue is a salute to all women in celebration of International Women’s Month.

Check out Lime magazine's website here.  

You can can follow Lime on Twitter here.


I came across iamthenublack a few months ago and asked them if they would like to swap links. I got a resounding yes from the founder, Gabrielle as well as an offer to be featured on the website. Not bad eh. The idea of iamthenublack is to highlight the efforts of the new generation of young talented creatives, entrepreneurs, musicians and writers of the African Diaspora. The funky name comes from the concept that our generation and those born to parents of the African diaspora have had a path paved for them by their ascendants.

Check out my profile on iamthenublack here.

Needless to say I am well chuffed.

Thanks Gabrielle.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Our Family Wedding

Ugly Betty may have been given the chop but it looks like America Ferrera’s career is set to run and run. She is starring in a new film called Our Family Wedding which demonstrates how planning a wedding can be a traumatic as well as a joyful occasion. America plays Lucia Ramirez who is getting hitched to Marcus Boyd played by Lance Gross who is her college sweetheart. The two are madly in love and cannot wait to spend the rest of their lives together and moreover they are really looking forward introducing their families to each other. The problem is that their fathers, Brad Boyd played by Forest Whitaker and Miguel Ramirez played by Carlos Mencia have met before during an altercation over a parking incident which left both men very pissed off. So needless to say the introduction dinner goes down like a leaded balloon. From then on the lead up to the wedding is very stormy with both fathers bickering all the way through the plans of the wedding. The Ramirez want a Mexican style wedding while the Boyds are determined to place an African American slant on things. The arguments, mishaps and drama all plays its hand in a very charming and funny film and I cannot wait to see it. The film is directed by Rick Famuyiwa who brought us the delightful film called The Wood which was also a wedding based drama starring Taye Diggs, Omar Epps and Richard T. Jones. However his most famous work is Brown Sugar which starred Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs. What can I say, the man has that magical gift of shooting a film that makes it look like magic which very few directors have. Nora Ephron has it as well as Steven Spielberg and now Rick Famuyiwa does.

Our Family Wedding hits the UK on 14th May.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

My Space - Nik Thakkar from mediacation

We all know that there are loads of fashion blogs, beauty blogs and celeb ones but there are not that many which focus on pop culture. At times I feel rather alone in blogsphere when ranting on about TV, magazines, books et al so I was delighted when I came across mediacation which covers all these topics in aplomb. Nik Thakkar describes his blog as a pop cutural zeigest through the eyes of an entertainment publicist. I caught up with him to find out more about his blog.

Describe the concept of mediacation
mediacation is essentially a pop culture blog, the content itself is totally accessible to everyone - but the detail appeals to a more media savvy audience. The blog comments on aspects of pop culture and the effect that media has had on it, or the effect that the content has had on media. Whether it be product placement in a Lady Gaga music video, critical reaction to a publicity stunt by a celebrity or simply something great that a fashion brand has done on the catwalk. The tone is quick-witted and what a friend once described to me as a "PR-smut-fest", but in a smart and zeitgeist kinda way.

Where do you scribe?
I squeeze writing in between ridiculously tight deadlines imposed through my job as an entertainment publicist, but mostly in the evenings when I have the opportunity to be more personally creative. My MacBook ends up being my best friend and worst enemy. Ideas for posts come to me on the underground or at the gym and I just note them down on my [enter gratuitous product placement here] Motorola MILESTONE Android phone (yes, Google Android is the future of mobile, even though I am an Apple-child born and bred). I also end up emailing myself ideas from work, if I don't have time to write them up in detail on the spot.

Why that place?
My place is everywhere. As long as I am connected to the internet in some way, I am content and know that my ideas can be saved and transformed into a post…eventually.

What is on your bed at the moment?
Nada. Although, when I have the chance to be messy, everything. Piles of magazines (I still love print, there is nothing like seeing a glossy feature or photoshoot from Paris Vogue, i-D or L'Officiel Hommes in print), my phone, iPod, MacBook…you get the picture.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall?
Nothing. Does that make me a minimalist, or just really uncreative? I tend to store inspiration digitally or in my head. In all honesty, I spend very little time in a place that I can call home, so I need to be able to take it all with me, like some kind of travelling data bank of Ellen Von Unwerth photo shoots and Pedro Almodovar films.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
Horrifically messy, it's shocking. Working in PR lends itself to reading a lot of publications, and my favourites end up living permanently on or under my desk. Collecting/hoarding style magazines has ended up becoming a bit of a hobby. POP, LOVE, Man About Town or anything imported - the fatter the better. 

You can read Nik's blog here.

You can follow him on twitter here

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Company High-Street Edit

While doing my weekly shop for food as well as magazines I came across this little beauty staring at me on the racks. I immediately snapped it up; as a mag junkie I am usually up on the new magazine launches but this one must have passed me by. I must be slipping and it is time to address that. Company High-Street Edit is a bi-annual spin off magazine from Company which focuses on high street fashion. The publication is quarterly and is edited by Victoria White who also heads Company and the ethos is to keep fashion lovers abreast of all the latest trends and more importantly where they can get their hands on them first. Company High-Street Edit is packed with fantastic features and stories but there are a few that really stand out for me. In Store Now which is a 14 page feature where PRs from stores such as River Island, Mango, Next and H&M present their spring and summer collection. A World of Fashion is a piece where the coolest designers from Australia, France, USA and Scandinavia are featured. To Clog, or not to Clog features fab bloggers such as Susie Bubble, Liberty London Girl, Ana Kinsella from Ripped Knees and Disney Roller Girl and quizzes them about blogging and fashion. Beauty Confidential is where beauty PRs from brands like Rimmel, Maybelline New York and Revlon give us an insight into the season's new looks. The New Fashion IT List is the result of a poll that was taken out on where readers voted for their fashion stars. The likes of Olivia Palermo, Whitney Port, Paloma Faith and Taylor Momsen are listed.
The publication does have a slight sales feel because it is very PR driven and therefore you feel that you are being sold to, however Company High-Street Edit gets away with this because of the creative way that the stories are presented. The look of the magazine is quite funky and it has a real scrapbook feel; I also love the recycled matt paper that the inside pages are printed on. A few bloggers have described it as a high street version of Elle Collections. As a lady who no longer has the time and desire to hit the shops I find this magazine totally essential because I can see what new fashion items are out and make my purchasing decisions then and there. So as well as my little mate giving me what I need it is really nice to know that I have options - Rachel Zoe eat your heart out. Moreover with The Look Show that took place in February it seems that the British high street can do no wrong. Company magazine has been struggling for a while now but this new edition might be just the thing to get them back on track. I can't wait to till September when the next issue comes out.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Nanny Returns

Do you remember the book The Nanny Diaries which was a sensation in 2002? It was inspired by the hairy experiences of former nannies, Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin and details their adventures working for the well heeled society of New York. The Nanny Diaries was the story of Nan, a twenty something lady who takes on the job looking after the four year old Grayer in order to pay her way through college. However she finds herself at the beck and call of Grayer's mother, the formidable Mrs X who proceeds to make her life a living hell. The Nanny Diaries was made into a film in 2007, starring Scarlett Johnasson, Laura Linney and Alicia Keyes but failed to set the world alight.  It was more or less a flop. Well eight years later we have a sequel to the book which is called, The Nanny Returns. It is set 12 years after Nan was sent packing from the household and a lot has changed. She is now happily married and about to set up her own business and everything is going swimmingly till she gets a visit from Grayer who is now a troubled teenager. He wants to know why she left so suddenly and with his parents embroiled in a bitter divorce, Nan finds herself wanting to protect Grayer and his little brother, Stilton from the animosity. Pretty soon she is sucked into the perils of Upper East negativity but will she survive it this time?

The Nanny Returns is out on 1st April and available to buy from amazon.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

My Space - Nneoma Ulu from twentyteneightyfour

One thing that fashion blogs have in common is their complete and utter passion for the subject. Nneoma Ulu is a pure example of this; her blog, twentyteneightyfour covers all things fashion in forms of fashion shows, magazines as well as trends. She also fills us in on her antics as a twentysomething London lady living an every so stylish life. I caught up with her to find out where she writes her scintillating blog. 

Describe the concept of twentyteneightyfour
I describe twentyteneightyfour as the musings of a twenty-something London girl that thinks about fashion before anything else. Too round to be a model, not creative enough to be a designer, so instead I write. Fashion is pretty removed from my day job (doing PR for a global oil company) so my blog is an outlet for my fashion thoughts. I blog about anything that catches my eye and bits I think are worth sharing with others. My blog is less about my individual style and more about anything that excites me.   

Where do you scribe?
Wherever I have internet access but mostly from my sofa or my bed. Blogging usually happens in my down time, mostly with my laptop on my lap in front of the TV with Glee, CSI or some other appropriate guilty pleasure in the background. These days I blog whenever I get a minute, whether that is on the move from my iPhone or on a quick break at work.  

Why those places?
Comfort is key for me. I think its a bit of an inside joke that most fashion bloggers write from the comfort of their bedrooms in big fluffy slippers and with a cup of hot chocolate. I tend to blog after work so I go for somewhere comfy.  
What is on your scribing position at the moment?
My laptop, a few magazines and bits I picked up from London Fashion Week, my diary and iPhone. Just stuff to get the job done.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall
I don’t really put things up on my wall, instead I use my diary. Every year I treat myself to an indulgently exquisite Smythson of Bond Street diary and I use it to collect my thoughts, little scraps of paper and bits I tear out of magazines and newspapers, inspirational quotes, photos and cards. By the end of the year it is full to the brim and is almost like a shoebox full of memories.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
I can only describe my working space as organised mess. I know where everything is but an outsider may consider my space messy (all my work colleagues do). But it totally works for me.  
You can read Nneoma's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Ethics of Ondo Lady

One of the things that came out of the Evolving Influence IFB Conference was the ethics that are employed by bloggers worldwide. When I started this blog in 2007 the idea was to produce an online portfolio of my writing work so I could have something to refer people to. During that time blogging was just something people did in their spare time and even though a few bloggers were getting small bits of media coverage it was nothing compared to the way it is now. Today the whole world is looking at bloggers to see what they do next. The Musings of Ondo Lady is a blog that covers pop culture in the form of books, films, TV. music. fashion and magazines. How I work is that if I see something that I like the souind of and I think it fits into the remit of my blog I will send an email to the relative PR asking for a review copy. If I get it, great buit if I don't no problem, I will simply head over to amazon to buy it. No matter whether the item is purchased or gifted to me I will write exactly what I think of the product. If it is rubbish I will say so and why I think it rubbish and vice versa if it is great. Some bloggers choose not to review a product if they have had a bad experience because they do not feel the need to be negative. Well that is their decision and I respect that but that is not how I operate; if I have a bad expereince with a product then I will say so. In terms of advertising, apart from a partnership with Glam (which I am ditching very soon) there are no adverts on my blog. This is because this is an area that I need to work on in order to find the right deal for me. However, I do not do sponsored posts or sell hyperlinks simply because I feel it cheapens the blog and puts my impartiality at risk. The one thing I will be changing coming forward is mentioning when an item has been suppied to me by a PR so my readers know where they stand. I like to think that I operate with the utmost integrity as most bloggers do however if you feel I haven't been then please feel free to drop me an email. Well that is all from me folks on The Ethics of Ondo Lady.

Friday, 5 March 2010

TGI Friday

Spring is finally here (well sort of) with a slight glimmer of the sun but it is still very chilly. I will be so happy when we put that nasty winter behind us. Once again here are the blogs that rocked my world this week.

Mademoiselle Robot
The legendary Todd Selby has launched his book in a pop up store at Collette in Paris. Mademoiselle Robot took a wander down there to check it out and the result was very positive.

Bangs and a Bun
This post made me a laugh out loud. The ever so spirited Lady Bangs provides us with an hilarious account why she no longer loves shopping.

Marian Kihogo
The ever so glam, Marian fills us in on how she started out as a stylist.

Kiss my Black Ads
Did you know that Jay Z has a documentary coming out which is sponsored by Absolut? No neither did I but the guys down at Kiss my Black Ads did and gives us the lowdown.

Fashion Editor at Large
We are in the middle of Paris Fashion Week which is always guaranteed to draw a glamorous crowd. However at every Fashion Week there is a team of people who hold things together and this post features Sara Blonstein who oversees the production of the fashion shows at London Fashion Week.

Pic taken from Mademoiselle Robot

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

My Space - Meghann Early from The Thrifty Fashionista

Since the credit crunch hit two years ago everyone has jumped on the frugal bandwagon especially the fashion industry. Not a day goes by without me seeing an article in a newspaper or magazine about recessionistas and how they are able to look stylish on a trim budget. Enter Meghann Early who a blog called The Thrifty Fashionista which offers an alternative way to updating your wardrobe. She started the blog back in 2007 with the goal to keep her readers informed about clothes swap, sales, bargains and free meets. The Thrifty Fashionista contains lovely images of Meghann dressed up in her new finds or out and about in the funky town of Williamsburg where she calls home. She took time out from her hectic bargain hunting schedule to have a chat with me about blogging and fashion. 

Describe the concept of The Thrifty Fashionista
The purpose of The Thrifty Fashionista is to show other woman that you don't have to make a lot of money to dress well, and to acquire brand name clothing. I talk a lot about swapping, thrifting, and re-sale shopping. I also do outfit post a couple of times a week - my style changes often and I like to have it documented.

Where do you scribe? 
I blog at home usually on my bed or couch.  Sometimes I even type up posts on my phone on the subway and email them to myself to be posted later. A lot of times seeing people outfits on the subway inspire me.

Why that place?
It is definitely where I am most comfortable. I love being home in sweatpants, writing.
What is on your couch and your bed at the moment?
My camera and USB cord is on my bed. My couch is covered in clothes I got at a bag sale yesterday.

What form of inspiration do you have on the wall ie photos, magazine cuttings or extracts?
I have a bound book I keep of clipping collages and I keep some on a bulletin board in my closet. I also have a folder on my computer of Internet pictures including other bloggers, etc.

Do you keep a tidy office or are you a messy worker?
I'm usually a mess, but I am just a disorganized person although i really really do try to not be. I have a feeling I will struggle with it for the rest of my life.

You can check out Meghann's blog here.

You can follow her on Twitter here.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Valentine's Day

I disliked this film immensely when I saw the trailer - I don't know what it was but it just looked really cheesy and cheap. The vast amount of characters in it just made me think that it was a rip off of Love Actually so I put Valentine's Day down as a film that I had no intention to see. However my interest was piqued by all the tweets raving on about how great the film was. Had I misjudged Valentine's Day? I decided today was the time to find out. Valentine's Day is a homage to love seen through a variety of relationships in very different stages. First dates, long term relationships, marriages, teenage love and even pre-teen love - it is depicted here in this fabulous film. The film is directed by Garry Marshall who is no stranger to chick flick having given us the ultimate chick flick, Pretty Woman in 1990 which went on to smash box office records. Since then he has directed films such as The Runaway Bride, The Princess Diaries and Raising Helen.
There are 20 characters involved but I guess you can say that Reed Bennett played by Ashton Kutcher is the main character. As the owner of Siena Bouquet which is a flower shop, his job is integral to all the characters in the film. Similar to Love Actually, the characters in the film are all connected to each other. The film starts off with Reed proposing to his long time girlfriend, Morley played by Jessica Alba. However his employee and friend, Alphonso played by George Lopez and his best friend, Julia Fitzpatrick played by Jennifer Garner do not think that Morley is right for him. Julia meanwhile is head over heels with the dishy Dr Harrison Copeland played by Patrick Dempsey. She is a school teacher to a bunch of lively 10 year olds whom include Edison played by Bryce Robinson who is determined to show his Valentine how he feels about her. Meanwhile Edison's grandparents, Estelle and Edgar played by Shirley MacLaine and Hector Elizondo who have been happily married for over 50 years face a crisis of their own. From mature love to teenage first love we have Grace played by Emma Roberts who is Edison's babysitter. She is dating Alex played by Carter Jenkins and the two of them plan to lose their virginity on Valentine's Day but alas nothing seems to go to plan. On the oyther hand, Grace's best friend, Felicia played by Taylor Swift is dating Willy played by Taylor Lautner and have decided to wait before they take the plunge.
Meanwhile sports reporter, Kelvin Johnson played by Jamie Foxx is given an assignment by his boss, Susan played by Kathy Bates to find juicy Valentine's Day stories around the city. Rather ironic considering that Kelvin hates Valentine's - the real story that he wants is about superstar quarterback, Sean Johnson played by Eric Dane. Sean's career is in crisis and the question on everyone's lips is will he or won't he retire. Therefore he really needs the help of his sports agent, Paula Thomas played by Queen Latifah and his PR, Kara Monaham played by Jessica Biel. Valentine's Day is a day that fills Kara with dread so she decides to tackle it head on by organising a 'I Hate Valentine's Day' party, the problem is that not one person has RSVPed. Kara is also close friends with Julia but sadly she is going to be out of town visiting her gorgeous Dr so will not be able to make the party. Liz Curran played by Anne Hathaway is Paula Thomas's assistant but moonlights on the side as a phone sex operator to pay off her huge debts. However things get a bit prickly when she meets Jason played by Topher Green who is a small town guy from Indiana. Meanwhile thousands of feet up in the air is US. Army Captain Katie Hazeltine who is on a long haul flight to visit her loved one. Sitting next to her is Holden played by Bradley Cooper, a dashing gentleman who Katie strikes up a bond with.

Los Angeles plays a perfect backdrop for the vibrant scenes in Valentine's Day with locations such as downtown LA, Malibu, Hollywood, Venice, Beverly Hills and San Fernando Valley looking very lush. There may be over 20 main characters in this movie but Los Angeles is definately the 21st. Remember last year when I was raving on about He's Just Not That Into You which contained a list of movie stars as long as your arm yet managed to pull it off with a great dialogue? Well Valentine's Day achieves this implicity with a cracking storyline along with a laugh out loud script. Garry Marshall, really got the balance just right and we are given enough time to get to know the characters and really root for them. Everyone from Taylor Swift to Jessica Biel to Julia Roberts are convincing in their roles and I really loved Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner's characters. Valentine's Day may indeed be Garry Marshall's love letter to LA but it has made me fall head over heels with it.

Monday, 1 March 2010

High Society

"I used to be a socialite and now I just write a lot" is a certainly a statement that makes you sit up and take notice. It was one of the first things that drew me to the blog and after reading a few posts I was hooked. Social Writers contains everything that I need in a blog; music (lots of it), films, TV, sport and entertainment news and it is also written from a lighthearted perspective but minus the snark.  It is produced by a close knit team of four people, three of which are freelance journalists and one who is a bloggert. The socialites aka Kaydine, Reah, Richard and Karlito who collate their stories from various sources in an attempt to keep us all entertained. I caught up with the four of them to find out what life is like post socialite life.

What is the concept behind Social Writers and how did you come up with the name? 
Kaydine: The concept behind Social Writers was that I am a freelance journalist and many people call me a socialite/social butterfly - so I combined the two terms and created Social Writers. So the blog combines the things we encounter whilst out socialising, whether it be at an event or on Twitter, and things we want to write about. 

What made you start blogging?
Kaydine: I started blogging to keep my creative juices flowing as I was making the transition from journalism to PR as my choice of career. A lot of publications were shutting down, so I decided blogging was a way for me to continue writing, and it gave me an opportunity to write about topics I was passionate about.
Reah: I wanted to write about the things that interest me, on a regular basis, in the hope that others would also find it interesting

Richard: I was introduced to blogging at University and took a short course in it which I enjoyed. The idea of giving anybody a platform for which they can tackle issues that affect society, culture or whatever their particular interest is, excites me.
Karlito: I've had an overly keen interest in everything to do with entertainment, and a very creative and over-active imagination. I also have no kind of journalism training whatsoever but I think sometimes you are presented with opportunites that you can't let pass by, so I decided to take a chance with Social Writers and I haven't looked back since. 

How many people are behind Social Writers?
Kaydine: There are four people behind Social Writers; Karlito, who turned into a blogger overnight with no experience in blogging or journalism, and two of my friends, Reah and Richard, that I went to university with who are also freelance journalists. 

How do you think bloggers have made an impact on the media?
Karlito: I think it gives a wider range of people a voice and also reaches out to more consumers as not everyone watches the news or picks up papers and magazines on a daily basis. I also think it keeps established writers in major companies on their toes as a lot of independent writers are better than them but just didn't get the same lucky break(s). I guess you could say bloggers (should) have one ear to the 'street' as they say and therefore could be more in touch.
Kaydine: Bloggers have become a big part of the media: people no longer have to turn to traditional media outlets to read a story, they can read a story on a blog seconds after the story has been broken. Blogs allow people to have a voice and to share views.Richard: Bloggers have had a major impact on media due to the fact blogging offers something quite rewarding that a newspaper cannot. There’s a true sense of freedom of speech when it comes to blogging because  when given a PC, a web page, YouTube, and some pictures, you can truly let the mind run free without anybody telling you cannot share your views.  The views can sometimes dangerous, and may not be everyones cup of tea but hey that’s the fun of it all.
Reah: Bloggers have made an incredible impact on the media. Blogging has created user generated content, people no longer have to rely on tradition forms of media outlets ( newspapers, the evening news ect) to inform them on worldly events. Anyone can become a blogger and write about things that interests them and other like minded people, that you may not find in your daily newspaper.  Thus creating the 'citizen journalist'. Therefore this has created a huge pressure on the media, because blogging has created an increase in the speed of how people actively receive news and as such, has placed a level of power in the hands of the average blogger. Not that I would want to go on any further... 

What do you do when you are not blogging?
Reah: Looking for things to blog, ( if I don't write, then I aint right! lol), listening to music, reading, eating, partake in the usual Facebook and Twitter banter,oh and I do a spot of living in between.
Kaydine: When I'm not blogging I'm getting on with my job as a Digital Liaison Officer (Online Publicist), tweeting away, or I'm catching up on all the TV shows that I've missed, dining out or socializing with friends. 
Karlito: I'm a youth and community worker so I do a lot of programme planning/activity organising for young people and help families with day-to-day problems/queries. Also partake in everything i write about, i.e.- music, films, theatre, fashion/shopping, clubbing & socialising etc...
Richard: When im not blogging im busy studying sports journalism, playing football, training at the gym, politicking about artists music and fashion, writing about artists music and fashion and generally living life like its golden. 

Describe a typical day.
Kaydine: Wake up, check my Blackberry for emails or Blackberry Messenger messages, make my way to work. Check my emails again, Twitter, Facebook etc and then I spend the rest of my day working on client projects, emailing/ringing bloggers, attending meetings and brainstorms and stuffing my face with food. After work if I don't have an event to work at or attend, I'll either go home and put my feet up in front of the TV, or you'll find me somewhere in central London dining out.Reah: I am up by 9.00am and washed and dressed. I check and reply to my emails. In between work, I roam the internet and hound my trusted news sources for the latest scoop. Check my favourite blogs and news site. Download music sent to me by my music affiliates via emails and blog links. Eventually I blog.
Richard: Wake up. Check the BBC site email accounts and media outlets for press releases. Try to write a to do list. Go for a 3 mile run. Return. Go to school. Read papers on the way for stories and depending on if those stories hold weight, blog in between lectures. Read more on train home. Hit the gym, then come home. Check email accounts. Sleep.
Karlito: A typical day usually consists of keeping up to date with the entertainment and gossip world, work deadlines and meetings, tweeting, catching up with friends. Going to sleep and do it all again the next day. 

Social Writers focuses on a lot of entertainment, where do you get your stories from?
Richard: There's a saying that once its happened, no news is news. We live in an age where its actually pretty hard to get ‘exclusives’ because those in the public are are so media prone that they will try their best not to step out of line. With this in mind I recycle stories in mainsteam media, press releases help as well. Furthermore I work as a freelance journalist interviewing artists, and so forth so I usually get the scoop from that angle as well. Kaydine knows her industry wise, Reah's got the scoop on music and me and Karlito do too. Trending topics on Twitter help as well. 
Karlito: Reading a lot of papers, the net, chasing up rumors and hearsay, friends and associates, friends in significant places and listening to music.
Kaydine: Some stories I get from press releases I'm sent, others are from newspapers and observations of my own, e.g. watching an awards show, and others are from people's discussions on Twitter
We blog about anything that interests us or what we feel may interest our reader, whether it be entertainment, culture, world news or fashion. Therefore where we get our stories from, varies. 

Name five blogs that you read religiously
Kaydine: Mad News, The Musings of Ondo Lady (every Friday),, and Social Writers.
Social Writers, Bossip, Necole Bitchie, Milk and 2 Sugars,
RealTalkNY, Bossip, WorldstarHiphop, Football 365, The VF Blog
Pinboard, Necole Bitchie, Eminence Grise, CWHATEYEC, Mad News 

How do you see Social Writers evolving over the next two years?

Reah: I want our passion for writing and our love for creativity to propel us to unimaginable heights!  
Kaydine: Maybe an addition to the team, with more of our own video content and hopefully we'll get out own website to host from.
Evolving to a .com site and eventually being the public’s first stop for all things entertainment. Simple.

You can check out Social Writers here.

You can follow them on Twitter here.