The wait is nearly over as we visit the printer for the first time in 2016. Here’s a peek of what’s on its way in Oh Comely issue 29 where we talk about change.Photo: Naomi Shimada photographed by Francesca Allen
Cristina BanBan’s bold and bright illustrations open our chapters celebrating four women who changed the world. Our cover girl Naomi’s bright smile shines through the pages and we reread the books that changed us.
Illustration: Cristina BanBan
Thank goodness we’re too late to join the cries of New Year: New You! Green smoothies and exercise did not feature in our team challenge to shake-up our habits, instead we embraced rebellion and tried to sit up straight - you’d think this would be a doddle. It wasn’t.
We nattered to four generations to see into the future and five writers shared the turning-points of their past. The whole issue was put together with love and tears as we waved off our editor Liz Bennett and embraced what 2016 has in store for us. Plus interviews with Maxine Peake, jennylee and Daughter.
Photo: Liz Seabrook
Preorder Issue 29: Change here. Available on the newstands mid-February.
The office has been unoccupied for two weeks, the tinsel has been taken down, fairy lights retired for another year and I have an urge to clean. The type of cleaning that involves moving furniture and several trips to the recycling. I succumb to that urge. Oh what treasures were found lurking behind the sofa.
It started with stumbling upon a box of lost glue sticks and then the office just kept giving and giving; under every desk was an unlabeled box of joy! Notebooks designed by Owen Gent, Pin Badges by Kaye Blegvad, pots of glitter, knitting patterns, wrapping paper... a box of Issue 1 - JACKPOT!
With all these unearthed goodies the only logical thing to do was have a little sale! We’re letting you fill your bookshelves with 50% off issues and as for all the wonderful pieces from 2015, we thought we’d make you some mystery parcels! Because who doesn’t love a surprise?
There are two price options so you can choose to treat yourself a little or a lot. Every Mystery Parcel will contain wonderful pieces unique to Oh Comely from our collaborations of 2015 and will be at least a 25% saving. Although you can’t choose your items, we will try our very best not to duplicate items if you buy more than one!
So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Oh Comely Shop to fill your life with loveliness. Sale runs from 15th January until 1st February but be quick limited numbers are available.
2. Revitalise your space with geometric shapes and plants...
Changes of scenery are good for the soul, and small tweaks in how you present your belongings can make the world of difference. This Wall Display can be used as a simple decoration or as a display case for potted plants and cacti, notebooks or jewellery.
Scents are an important element to consider when building a space to match a mood. The sweet citrus aroma of lemongrass is known for its cleansing and rejuvenating qualities, making it perfect for rainy days at the home office.
Told through the eyes of Alexander (Jeremy Chabriel), an eleven year old on the cusp of discovering his own moral compass, Ariel Kleiman's debut film Partisan is a cautionary tale about the effects dogma can have on vulnerable minds.
Alexander's father Gregori (Vincent Cassel) is a charismatic ringleader of a closed community made up of eight seemingly abandoned mothers and their offspring. Children are shielded from the dangers of the outside world and warned that curiosity can create vicious fires. Denied permission to wander, they barely leave Gregori's side, except when he sends them out on assassination missions.
Although extreme, at its heart Partisan is a story about the inevitable moment when every child realises the adults around them are fundamentally flawed. It's heartbreaking and quietly fantastic.
We sat down with Ariel to talk about innocence lost, growing pains, and casting Vincent Cassel as the lead in his first feature.
What inspired you to create Partisan?
The original spark came from an article in the New York Times about child assassins in Colombia. Everything I’ve made has been inspired by an image, and in this case it was literally the image of a child gunning down a man. Not only was it disturbing, it was so surreal and absurd. I immediately knew I wanted to turn that gut reaction into a film, but I didn’t feel I was the right person to make that specific story about Colombia. What I was more interested in was the human drama behind the crime: the tragedy of adults passing their insecurities and fears onto children.
The film has an ambiguity that adds an almost magical element. You don’t state where it’s set, or in which time period. Why leave those details out?
I didn’t see this movie as being a realist work. I wanted it to feel more like a myth, or a fable. A lot of fables use extreme characters and stories to tell tales about very ordinary things. At most points, for example, Gregori is incredibly paternally motivated. That’s what Vincent connected with most in the script: many of Gregori's anxieties and motivations are scarily relatable.
Another big inspiration was the decision to tell the story from Alexander’s perspective. He’s growing up with blinkers on. Like any child experiences, as you grow up the blinkers slowly widen, and it can be a mind-altering experience, realising that the adults in your life are just people too.
It was great to see Jeremy Chabriel, this tiny person, holding his own against an actor like Cassel. How did you find him?
That was really daunting. When I wrote the script, I was pretty naive. Then it got to a point where I thought, “Shit, how are we going to find this boy?!” He’s the hero of the film, he's in pretty much every scene, and he has to go up against Vincent. We knew we needed someone remarkable and ended up finding Jeremy through a French school in Sydney. He’s a very sensitive young man. He’d never acted before and his audition tape was shot on a really average camera, but his eyes just kind of glowed and he held himself with this real maturity.
The other child actors weren’t all stretched in quite the same way, but as director you still had to communicate the story to them. Given the difficult nature of the film, how did you accomplish that?
Jeremy read the whole screenplay and knew what was happening, but we mainly kept the other children away from the themes. They were all so different, each with their own big imagination and personality. One girl would hug my leg every morning and wouldn’t let go, and there was another who was always asking when he was going to get more lines. Overall the girls were very easy to work with, very professional. The boys, on the other hand, were mainly troublemakers, pouncing around the place.
What was your thinking behind commissioning musicians like Jarvis Cocker and Metronomy to record original faux 1980s pop songs?
When we wrote the script and started to shoot the film it just didn't feel right to use pop songs that existed in our world, because people have existing memories associated with them. The setting is constructed as this nowhere land, so we went about crafting pop songs that would have been hits in our no man’s land, pop classics that no one has ever heard of. I basically made a list of artists I’d love to see tackle that brief, and amazingly, some of them said yes.
One of those numbers, “The Hardest Thing To Do”, is sung by Alexander at karaoke. The music video made for it is so much fun to watch – so ridiculous and reflective of 80s styling. Where did the idea come from?
I got a good friend who I knew could bring the cheese to make those videos. We talked a lot about a need to make them feel realistic.
The karaoke scene in the film was actually inspired by my travels in Asia. We were travelling through Vietnam and were lucky enough to be invited over for dinner by a Vietnamese family. After dinner, they had this ritual where they all huddle around the TV to sing karaoke. The kids sang with such sincerity and deep emotion. These songs were about love and heartbreak and whatever adult pop songs are about, but somehow it was incredibly powerful.
What was Vincent like on set? Partisan is your first feature film, so working with such an established actor must have felt exciting?
He was a nightmare. Really difficult and arrogant.
No, he’s a special, special guy. The second he came on set, you felt the energy of the whole crew shift. Everyone wanted to be at the top of their game, and he made everyone feel more confident. I’ve seen him portray menace and threat and foreboding, and he does do all of that effortlessly, but some of my favourite moments of him on-screen are tender and vulnerable. Those sad, insecure moments. The way he brought those aspects of Gregori’s character to life was really something.
Partisan is released in U.K. cinemas on 8th January.
Take a peek inside our delightful directory, where we've curated products crafted by our favourite independent brands to watch in 2016. We've thrown in some exclusive reader discount codes, too. Happy January!
From decorative diamonds, baubles and lampshades, Origami-est breathes new life into the ancient Japanese tradition. Feast your eyes on gorgeous pre-designed palattes in their collection, or get your craft on at one of their workshop.
Super Duper Things is an independent one-stop stationery shop worth swooning over. With a beautiful collection spanning books, prints and kits adorned with original graphics, you're sure to find something to love.
When we send each issue of Oh Comely to print, I almost always feel that there's a piece of writing in there that's changed me in some way. And my round-up consists of that sort of piece. It's no definitive selection of our best and most polished, and you can find plenty more to chew on in the Words section above.
Instead, here are a few bits of reading that made me laugh, or made me cry, or made me think in 2015.
Cooking For Others Can Be Selfish declares Sarah Miller's defiant longform piece about why she's never cooking again. Jason Ward's rambing interview with director Ana Lily Amipour was huge fun to read and discussed pretty much everything but her new Iranian-American vampire western. They pondered the pros and cons of dying at the hands of vampire. It'd be pretty magnificient, Ana Lily says.
The lavish illustrations of Owen Gent shepherd you through this issue, taking the casual flicker on a journey from rainy morning to clear night. I had the pleasure of interviewing our cover model, jeweller Saadiqah Rahman about the secret stories behind her pieces, and the septum ring she wears no matter what. Meanwhile, Jenny Jedeikin made us all cry with her tale of loss and unconventional parenthood, How I Came to Tie a Tie on a Boy (not online).
Skateboarder Lois Pendlebury grins toothlessly in her portrait by Liz Seabrook, holding a skateboard aloft. She's one of five inspiring interviews with women on wheels curated by Sadhbh O'Sullivan. Francesca Jane Allen's portrait story about two sisters, Coral and Tanisha, made a killer cover.
This issue, I asked writers to send me pieces anonymously, pieces that they couldn't have penned under their real name. This story about a secret nose-job was my favourite. Rosanna Durham's piece about moving house and so much more had sat in my inbox for a whole year and it was a privilege to finally print it.
The Secrets Issue was Tamara Vos' last at Oh Comely before leaving us (sad sigh) for a career in food styling. So it seemed too tempting a chance to miss to ask her to style some of your secret ingredients. We'll be serialising the photos and recipe ideas she created with photographer Sophie Davidson during December.
Jon Mee makes marmite korma.
Jon says, "When my girls were small they didn’t like spicy food, so we always had to have a mild korma curry. It was so bland that it needed an extra something, and Marmite was the only thing in the cupboard. It gave the curry a bit of beefy richness, an extra kick, and I’ve done it ever since. I love Marmite. I spread it on toast as thick as you would chocolate spread, and have it in every sandwich, even if it’s a tuna one. I used to make Marmite Korma every Saturday night when we rented out a film, but now everyone is grown up and I’m retired, so any night could be Marmite Korma night!"
Makers and dreamers are our kind of people at Oh Comely, and we believe that few days are as deserving of that extra finishing touch than your wedding day.
Here, we've hand-picked our favourite wedding pieces from the Folksy UK Catalogue. From feather crowns to ceramic bouquets, we're sure you'll find inspiration.
1. Swap a Traditional Veil for a Flower & Feather Crown
Chloe Haywood Millinery of Hatastic is the eco-chic brainchild of Chloe Haywood. Awarded 'Made in Britain' Fashion Accesory of the Year 2015, she rejuvenates the unused and unloved into beautiful creations from the bottom of her garden.
One-Off Ode to Camilla Bridal Headpiece, £85.00, available on Folksy here.
2. Modernise obligatory thank you cards with contemporary thread
Alison McIntyre hand-sews geometric patterns into a number of objects, including framed pictures, notebooks and brooches. Her thoroughly modern card designs play with colour and neon thread, adding a dose of contemporary style to the obligatory thank you card.
Hand-Sewn Thread Art Heart Card, £4.00, Available via Folksy here.
3. Skip breakfast at Tiffany's in favour of brunch with a bespoke maker
Rachel Lucie creates jewellrey featuring semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls and Swarvoski crystals. Oh Comely brides-to-be can get 15% off jewellery using the code XMASRACHELLUCIE (Valid until 6th Jan 2016).
Cassiopeia Pearl Necklace, £82.00, Available here. Other designs available via Folksy.
4. Opt for a ceramic bouquet to immortalise the moment
Jessica Catherine makes pretty, love-soaked pottery high up in the North Pennies. Antique lace is impressed into pure white porcelain and rustic stoneware, making each piece perfect for a wedding. Opting for ceramic flowers allows you to treasure an extra piece of your day.