Thursday, 23 September 2010


"There's a storm a-coming!" That's what was shouted at me and a buddy as we braved our way through Williamsburg's less salubrious neighbourhoods to find haven in the kind of Mexican places that hipst-anic (hipster+hispanic) communities produce best: cheap tacos, good beer and all the latest underground tunes on the playlist. Despite making a return to summer today in NYC - hot pants were donned in SoHo and chiauauas shunned their tiny tapestry waistcoats due to the heat - I bore witness to an explosive lightning show in an overground train station in Bushwick this evening. Then the rain came. So it's a damp posting this evening.

Enough about the weather - evidently, I'm in the States now and people are far more likely to open a conversation about what their therapist said to them than what's happening with the climate. In the last few days since I posted various developments have taken place. I turned 22 in a wonderfully bizzare Indian restaurant in the East Village, complete with novelty thrift-store gifts and free candle-lit ice cream. Panna II prides itself on having look like a child with especially bad taste had been left to decorate a particularly naff Christmas tree in solely shiny and flashing things. They should have a sign warning epileptics off, except you can see it flashing from two blocks away. Having a birthday in a different time zone really is a win-win situation as you get a whole extra five hours of people wishing you a nice day. Therefore any fears of having it forgotten (a very real fear after spending my Sunday at the Lincoln Centre Film Society's John Hughes memorial day and watching Sixteen Candles) were dispersed as soon as I woke up to the ultimate of Maternal Inbox Treats: "you are probably asleep, but it's your birthday here, wakey-wakey!" and got into my office to find cake and post on my desk.

Last Friday I had my brain exploded a little bit twice. First by NY's American Museum Natural History, something which really does deserve its own post, but for which I will currently reference as 'GIANT SQUID SPERM WHALE BATTLE'. Secondly by Refresh, Refresh, Refresh - a relatively cultish comedy/storytelling night amongst funny media types in Chinatown. Headlining were New York's answer to a Twitter-happy Reeves and Mortimer, Wise and Cranky Kaplan, who were pretty hilaire in person, but whose tweet feeds continue to keep me LOL-ing inappropriately throughout the working day. Cranky's possibly my favourite, mainly because his sadistic tweets regarding tortoises remind me of similar boyhood antics that apparently went on between my late great uncle and my grandfather. Follow them both, though - American 'humor' never was so good.    

Friday, 17 September 2010

I want a Jeremy Scott meat dress, but made out of poptarts.

I'm averaging six hours of sleep per night at the moment. However, unlike the guilty, educationally-associated sleep deprivation I have bemoaned before, this type is from having ludicrous amounts of fun. I'll admit it, I love the 9-5 (or 10-6, whatever). Especially when the hours you're meant to be at work are spent at New York Fashion Week shows, or interviewing your latest girl crush, or running around NYC smuggling packed-lunches into swanky SoHo cafes.

My optimism in organising my internship around NYFW's S/S shows paid off - I managed to witness four shows in as many days this week. Granted, this is hardly a packed schedule in comparison to that of Susie Lau (whom I could spy sitting opposite during Sunday's Preen show), but considering I was turning up to every one in thrift-store finds, it's not bad going.

A 1982 SLR definitely makes me out as a serious fashion journalist and not someone who just blagged their way into a Preen show...
Exciting designer newbie Ann Yee's presentation in SoHo the next evening followed - inspired by Blade Runner, her pretty, accessible silk jumpsuits and crop-tops with flouro accents suggest that she'll be hitting the NYFW schedule in the next few years. The next evening saw Samantha Pleet's Chelsea presentation on behalf of green fashion week, which was breathtakingly beautiful. With a video starring this season's muse Victoria Legrand of Beach House forming the backdrop to a collection of vintage and fishing-inspired whimsical dresses, jumpsuits, blouses and bikinis named things like 'rust red walkabout shorts' and 'ivory moonbeam blouse', there was little else I could do but eat the free cupcakes and feel deeply inadequate - in a thoroughly inspired way, natch.

All of this intelligent, classy, accessible ready-to-wear was, however, blown out of the water by Jeremy Scott's celeb-tastic, 1970s NY homoerotic punk-inspired, screamy, pouty, sexy S/S collection. With guys built like tanks being sent down in bondage-style mankinis, girls wearing everything from bodega-bag-vests to meat dresses (Gaga, eat your heart out) and only a straight-jacket wedding dress pre-empting Scott's own lap of victory around the front row in an angel-tipped leather jacket and kicks, it was beyond amazing. Sitting opposite Kelly Osbourne and Kanye in the front row was pretty surreal, too.

To round of my celebrity-stalking in a more laid-back way, I caught up with newly-discovered girl crush Rebecca Schiffman. Full details on her greatness are to come in Nylon's November issue. However, two facts: she LOVES pigeons and bought me a hotdog. 'nuff said.    

For news about what I get upto when I'm actually IN the office, my first guest post for awesome aspirational writers website Wannabe Hacks made it up this week. As for now, my day off consists of far less glamourous things - wondering what's happening to my clothes at the laundromat up the road, contemplating what new flavour of poptarts I'm going to buy and itinerising my way around taxidermfest at the Natural History Museum... Oh, and happy Yom Kippur!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

losing various virginities.

So much for the daily blogging. Bowlface, like my normal diet, has been somewhat neglected over the past week. What used to be my sole output of journalistic musing has become a well-loved but ever-so-slightly superflous friend in these days of insane tipping rules, glossy magazines and wierd brown stuff in plastic cups that everyone carries everywhere. Think it's frozen coffee. They're attached to peoples' hands here at all times.

So, I left off at the Supermarket saga and I begin again after my first real day of culinary success and initiation. Initiation not into gross types of viscous cheese (once. never again.) but into real Mexican and then excellent home-cooked pescetarian/vegan cuisine. My tummy is beginning to love me back after the serial (ha, cereal, Dad joke) poptart incidents. Mexican corn on the cob is potentially my new obsession. Costing around two bucks, this vegetable treat comes tossed in a small amount of normal, solid cheese, chilli and lime - and I just found out there's an establishment selling them around the corner from my office. WIN.
See you at breakfast.

In between the struggle to fit in three meals a day this past week many more New York firsts have been ticked off. First $20 mani/pedicure (a dangerous habit, I'm sure). First under-Williamsburg Bridge rooftop nighttime impromptu photo shoot. First randomer calling me obscenities for no apparent reason in the street. First venture into 'real' Chinatown under Manhattan bridge. First standing up guilty $1 pizza-slice consumption. First 'real NY party' in a dingy club on the lower east side. First getting-on-the-wrong-bus-and-ending-up-in-Malcolm X-street. First time I've had to put on an American accent to ask for a bottle of 'waahh-derrr' to be understood. First buying-a-futon-off-Craigslist and shifting it up six floors. First visit to The Container Store. And, most notably today, first 9/11 anniversary. Those cloud-hitting lights which mark the position of the Twin Towers were the only sign of Manhattan that could be identifed from a placid Ridgewood barbeque this evening.

Plus, of course, my first week at Nylon. There's so much to be said about my experience of editorial internships in New York that to smush it in the bottom of this post would be frankly ridiculous. Furthermore, there's news of my first day coming up soon on an excellent website created by a few clearly success-bound wannabe hacks. I know it hurts, but you'll just have to contain your anticipation a little bit longer. However, to keep you tided over, one more first: my name on the Nylon blog. Right here.

Monday, 6 September 2010

'There's a new whole foods store here, they sell bio-degradable food'

Things have moved on considerably since the jet-lag hotel situation. Granted, I'm feeling a little dozy right now but I think that's from consuming a peanut butter sandwich, which, despite my best efforts to find bread without sugar in, was definitely considerably sweeter than a UK one and a whole load of grapes which need a couple of bites to eat without choking. My stomach's got a lot of sugar to deal with so it's nicking all the energy from my brain.

Enough of the pseudo-science and back to reality. Although, I'm still finding it difficult to believe I'm actually here - three mornings on and with a pretty hefty amount of Williamsburg and part of Manhattan investigated. Stuff I've got goonishly excited about so far:
- people gambling in the street under the railroad of Flushing Ave. Station on Broadway.
- Being able to buy a hotdog for $2
- Seeing the Empire State and Chrysler buildings from the warehouses of Kent St, near Brooklyn's coast to the East River whilst on my way to this.
- Seeing tiny pedigree dogs walked and carried EVERYWHERE.
- The fact that there's a stuffed deer head in my apt.
- Waking up to blue skies, bright sunlight and fire escapes on the buildings outside windows.
- The literal metres of choice of bagels and peanut butter and two 'Vincent' products in the supermarket.

The supermarket has been my latest conquest (shortly following the subway and the shopping streets of Upper East Side Manhattan). Not least because you have to squeeze through metal bars to get in, which considering America's obesity statistics is somewhat cruel. For all that popular culture can teach you about America, I was still left standing, gawping, staring at the shelves. I was Mr. Burns, picking up identical bottles of stuff and trying to decipher between 'Catsup' and 'Ketchup'.

Whilst I picked up an insane amount of asparagus for $1.69, buying a bag of Spinach would set me back double. A whole cooked chicken will cost you as much as some boxes of cereal. Poptarts come in every flavour except the 'produced for the UK' Choco-mallow. I picked up a box of 12 's'more' flavour ones, but after the sugar OD of sandwich and grapes I'm going to have to take a 'raincheck' on them. Strawberries are cheap, win, prepared salad leaves are not, fail. Journeying around Key Food I found my brain's feeble mathematical capabilities going into overload - not only converting everything into sterling, but creating a weird kind of food ratio, e.g: huge lump of Parmesan : one bottle of 'magic soap'; 'jar of pesto : 24 poptarts'. Maybe that's why I'm sleepy too.

Meeting other lovely Americans has also brought to light the most unlikely aspects of British vernacular which remain unrecognised in the US. British accents are pretty much un-commented on here; only when I asked if they stock Rimmel in Sephora (FAIL) and spent a good while trying to pay for a bottle of Snapple's Pink Lemonade (the addiction that started in California aged 11 has come back to haunt me) with change have my home county tones become apparent. However, words like 'fortnight', 'stone' (as in weight) and 'pastiche' are apparently Brit-centric, if not in need of definition. Fortunately so far my new buddies are cultured enough to know what I want when I ask for the loo, as yet the dreaded 'restroom' has not been uttered from my lips.

Some things, however, seem not to change across the pond. Yesterday a septuagenarian commented on my shoes, which then struck up a long conversation about dance footwear and comfort over style - this has happened at least three times before in Blighty, and it makes me feel all the more at home here.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn

So. I am in Jamaica - the one in Queens, NY, rather than the Caribbean island. It's 05.18 here, but my frustratingly consistent body clock had me up at 4am. After forty minutes or so of rolling around and huffing, I figured I'd do something constructive with myself and create a massive sleep debt with a little Bowlpost.

It seems a long time since the Fancy Nancy discoveries - since then I have packed, re-packed, taken out some definitely essential knitwear, denim and shoes, packed again and underwent varying tedious airport things. The flight consisted of me catching up on some heavy cheekbone-action from Tom Hughes' bad boy performance in the Gervais-Merchant hillaire that is Cemetery Junction, eating some not unpleasant airline food and sending myself off to sleep with a G&T. Once I'd got through the rigmarole of security, in which I repeated that yes, I was staying just in Brooklyn for 90 days, about eight times to three increasingly terrifying men in uniform, my bag had kindly fallen off the baggage carousel for me to establish that one of its straps had decided to retire to make the most of its 'vacation' in NY. I gather it was just very keen to be searched by blue-gloved hands unsuccessfully for something that wasn't clothes or Marmite.

A little wander down the dark streets of Jamaica, past a couple of Gentlemen's Clubs and even a Liverpool St and I arrived as a sweaty wonder in the hotel. Four hours of sleep later, and here I am.

NY fulfilled-cliches and discoveries so far:
- I am old enough to be called 'ma'am'
- A 'Bodega' is a corner shop.
- American people do say 'lift' instead of 'elevator', but they might just have been humouring me when I questioned its whereabouts.
- The aforementioned lifts are so far the same size as most of the bedrooms I've rented.

OK, fairly underwhelming list but if you check back: I've been in this country eight hours and asleep for half that time. I've not even switched on HBO yet on my insanely huge TV, which is directly opposite my insanely huge bed and in front of the insanely huge shower.

Just one hour until I can run downstairs and gorge myself on (hopefully insanely huge) pancakes. Excellent.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Fancy Nancy is BACK

Back, back, baaacckkk! Yes, FN Fans, she's been returned to the internet. In her righteous, 1988, authored by Ruth Craft, illustrated by Nicola Smee, glorious, old lady-battling form. I'm so in love with these books that I've semi-permanently attached them to my face so that I can type and be close to them at the same time.

This is possibly the most degree-relevant thing I've done since graduating - and I can't help but think that my Childrens' Literature tutor would be mildly proud and potentially distressed at the excitement I'm experiencing.

Re-discovering FN is also fairly life relevant round about now, as her noughties counterpart is New York based and I'm heading there on Friday to try and become a real journalist and eat bagels and whoopie pies. If I wasn't worried enough about people misinterpreting my love of irony for rudeness, or asking me to repeat words like 'snooker', or having to ask where the 'restroom' is, or indeed giving up within seconds and throwing myself under a yellow taxi the minute I escape from JFK - this Fancy Nancy business is enough to lose sleep over. Alas.

As a comfort blanket, then, I've scanned in the most life-affirming (and potentially influential) moments of FN. FN Gold, if you will. I've also picked illustrations where FN's mum is wearing similar clothes to those I favour - classic 90s mum.

Note excellent skipping and satchel efforts from Fancy Nancy and similarly pleasing cardigan/jeans/jazz shoe combo sported by Mum.

Fancy Nancy fights large overdressed lady for the elusive whale-covered bag.

Fancy Nancy befriends somebody else's animal on public transport. Standard.

That's better. Now I've shared FN's original greatness with the world I can happily tuck myself into bed with these fine publications and dream of a New York experience that involves dancing around in a star-spangled banner on a fire escape staircase whilst smothering myself in S'mores.