Saturday, May 25, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Read + listen + watch #2

We have surrendered to the glittering energy of the 20's, so this second edition of our "cultural" blog feature will be dedicated to the theme/film that is on everyone's lips at the moment: The Great Gatsby!

1. The first suggestion couldn't be more obvious: The Great Gatsby! Baz Luhrmann's 2013 adaptation of this great American novel might, according to some, fail to deliver the subtle layering of subtext conveyed in the original story, but it succeeds in portraying the rackety energy of a glittering decade. For us, the film is an unparalleled source of inspiration for future collections!

2. To the generation that Gertrude Stein described as lost belonged not only F. Scott Fitzgerald and its Great Gatsby, but also T. S. Elliot, Erich Maria Remarque and Ernest Hemingway. The Sun Also Rises, first published in 1926, portrays the atmosphere that surrounded Ernest Hemingway and this lost, yet promising generation: Paris during the twenties, expatriated young and talented people wrestling with post-war uncertainties, frenetic Spanish fiestas, enigmatic women and complicated love affairs.

3. Instead of diving into the frenetic notes of the Jazz Age, I am going to suggest you to step back and listen to the style that inspired the roaring sound of the 20's: ragtime (in this particular case: Scott Joplin's piano rags). Ragtime had been around since the turn of the century, and it continued to flourish til around 1917. Its syncopated rhythmic compositions required jazz-like musical skills, and the transition from a lonely one-man piano show to a full scale orchestral jazz groove was a much expected and welcomed evolution.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

With Love From Sri Lanka

Hello everyone, we are back from our trip!
As some of you might know, this wasn't a mere holiday escapade. In fact, our Asian adventure was a postponed honeymoon which G and I have been planning and anticipating for a long time!
It was absolutely perfect.
I am no travel writer, so to summarize the whole experience I'll summon the assistance of a travel article from The Observer1: "It's cocktail hour at Helga's Folly, and the moths are circling the candelabras. The dusk frog chorus filters through the open French windows, competing with the warblings of Edith Piaf from the gramophone. I settle back on the sofa, sip a coconut arak, open the guest book and read an entry from an Australian couple who had checked out the day before: 'This is a place of enchantment.'
For me, the spell was cast long before I checked into this eccentric hotel perched high above the old Sri Lankan capital of Kandy. It started minutes after I stepped out of Colombo airport into a wall of damp, sweet air and witnessed an elephant strolling sedately along the high street amid the rush-hour traffic."

On a more professional note, this trip couldn't have been more eye opening. We had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time (twice!), witnessing two traditional Sri Lankan weddings! Deep inside the Royal Botanical Gardens of Kandy the couples embarked on traditional Buddhist ceremonies, which normally last for two days. On the first day the main colour is white, which stands for purity and spirituality. This is followed by a homecoming ceremony during which the bride, now a married woman, is expected to wear red. The flowers, the patterns, the jewellery, the colours and the aromas... I was fascinated by whole ritual, and with the passing of the days my curiosity about Sri Lankan culture grew even more.

G and I ventured to visit to the Dambulla cave temples, a place that would take Indiana Jones' breath away! Dambulla's intricate hand painted patterns and images are spread over the walls and ceilings of 5 impressive caves. The sparse light imbued the underground passages with a dim blur, making the stone look irresistibility smooth. Walking through those caves while breathing that moist subterranean silence was one of the most soothing feelings I have ever experienced!
We continued our travel by heading up to Sigirya to see the mysterious hand painted damsels. Who they are and what secret messages they carry nobody can reveal, but one thing is for sure: they'll never cease to amaze art lovers like us. But our trip was not just about romance and adventure: there was also time to burn some serious elbow grease while helping at a 'batik' factory! What an assault on the senses!
Now, back at home, it is time to pour all these experiences into a special headpiece for a very special friend.... but I'll tell you more about that next time.

1An eccentric Eden teeming with life and colour. This article appeared on p10 of the Observer Escape section of the Observer on Sunday 14 November 2004.