The Jazz Emporium

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Sassy Bearcat of the Week – Josephine Baker

 

So talented a singer was Josephine Baker that she was the main inspiration for Shirley Bassey. So striking and hypnotic in her dancing performances and style was she that she became the muse to countless artists including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso and Christian Dior – and Ernest Hemmingway who described her as “… the most sensational woman anyone ever saw.”

 

 

 

 

So socially and politically minded was she that she she was recruited as a spy for the allied forces, using her celebrity status to smuggle vital information crucial to the French resistance during the German occupation of France in WW2. So sharp was her civil consciousness that after Martin Luther King’s death, his wife approached Josephine with the request that she take King’s place as the leader of the movement. Such a responsible family figurehead was she that she turned it down in protest that her children ‘…were too young to lose their mother.’

She had 12 adopted children from multi-ethnic backgrounds which she named her “Rainbow Tribe” – Angelina Jolie has nothing on her!

 

For these reasons alone there need be no further argument as to why Josephine is this week’s sassy bearcat. More than her style – her presence alone seemed to radiate what the jazz hopes to emulate even to the minutest degree; an embracing of oneself and others around you. She exudes the carefree liberal nature of the 20s and glamour of the 30s, crazying up her stage outfits with huge feather hats (or nothing at all!) and accompanied at all times by her pet cheeta who sometimes escaped and terrorized the audience.

 

 

What a woman; especially bearing in mind aged 12 she was sleeping rough in the slums of St Louis, scavenging from bins and dancing on street corners. Well, we certainly think she’s some woman. And with a single glance at her infamous Banana Dance – her confident and outlandish character wouldn’t give two hoots if you disagreed…

 


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Guest Post by Jessica James: New Discoveries in Thriftland/Scotland

 I have discovered three new things this week…

Thing Number 1: Carboot sales are marvellous. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of junk present at these shindigs, but there are wee gems to be had as well. I went to the car boot sale in the omni centre, where I was mystically drawn to a pair of boots from across the crowded lot. My brain wheels were a-spinning! Were they real leather? Yes. Were they my size? Yes. They make me drool in a very unladylike way, with their lovely soft grey leather and buttons down the side, giving off a Victorian/steam punk flair. Just take a wee cheeky peek yourself!

They are defo the find of the month…if not the year!!      [Editor – OOOooooh they are awesome!!!]

Thing Number 2: A wise woman once said that mending = new clothes (thanks Vero). I’ve done a hefty amount of mending over the past week, which, according to Vero’s rule = new clothes at no cost! Also, while completing stage one cleanout of the closet of doom, I found an old busted straw hat. Said closet of doom has been nagging at my cleaning conscience and its chalk full of junk and gems from past tenants of my flat. To be honest, I’m quite impressed that so much stuff can be crammed into such a small space. Fortunately I’ve now completed Stage One Doom Diminishment, which resulted in 7 bin bags of rubbish, 4 bags to the charity shop, and one straw hat for yours truly. Stage Two is scheduled to take place next week.

Righto, lets get back on track with the straw hat repairs; a diamond in the rough. I stitched it up and put a bird on it (Hello Portlandia fans). No, actually I put a bow on it as I was fresh out of birds. Check it! Fashionable protection from the sun and it also makes me feel as if I’m wearing my Sunday best.

Thing Number 3: Keeping in the vein of goal accomplishment, I have wanted to discover Scotland since I’ve moved here. A majority of my time has been spent in dear Edinburgh with short jaunts over to Glasgow and up to Dundee. Last weekend I had the delight of taking a wee day trip from Dundee to Kenmore.

 

As you can see, the scenery was beautiful, and I’ve never seen so many sheep in all my days!! This made me a very happy camper. I had the pleasure of going into Scotland’s oldest hotel, not to be confuzzled with this fancy hobbit hole as shown below.

Next, I happened upon Europe’s oldest tree. For your information, that happens to be a Yew tree. Please see the sign below.

There were also some circles of ancient standing stones that are rumoured to be around. But time became scarce, and I was forced to move on. Oh well, I suppose I will just have to go back again, or actually make it all the way up to the Orkney Islands. On the plus side, I did see a waterfall!

What’s your new discovery?


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Song for Sunday: Electro Hangover Cure

This is a timed post, because I sense that the Jazz will be nursing a hangover after a night out in g-town! Does anyone else listen electro to prevent them from feeling groggy?

Not only is this new song from Hot Chip from amazing, but it’s endearing that essentially they’re just middle-aged men in dapper suits rocking out!


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Guest Post by Jessica James: Saving the Pennies One Face-Mask at a Time

I don’t know if you realize, but we are very nearly half way through 2012! This epiphany brought to mind the New Years resolutions I made over five months ago. Typically, one goal was to save money. Admittedly, I’ve been spending unacceptable funds on frivolous items i.e. wool and toothpaste. Last week I was considering getting some posh hair repair product, but this would clash with my desire to save money. Light bulb! Why not take a look into a more DIY-like approach? As I’ve discovered from personal research, coconut oil is very beneficial to the hair and skin. This is a relatively cheap beauty supply option, and can be used as a hair mask, conditioner, or a styling product.

The plan: apply to hair as a hair mask and leave in overnight. I scooped what I thought was a wee bit into a glass container to be heated in the microwave. If you are not familiar with coconut oil, when it is cool, it is white and waxy, kind of like a candle. As it is heated, the oil liquefies and turns clear. The few chunks turned out to be a truckload of coconut oil. My hair has been pretty dry since my transformation to a redhead, and I thought a bit of extra moisture would do no harm. It took a good few minutes to apply, starting with massaging it into my scalp while my flatmate and I were having our evening chats. Eventually my entire head was encased in an oily layer, and off to bed I went. In the morning I washed it out and the transformation was amazing. I didn’t even put any product in my hair, and my curls were well defined with no frizz. Coconut oil is defo a welcome addition to my beauty regime.

 

But, by the end of the day, my locks were a bit more greasy than usual, which is due to the truckload of oil I applied the night before. For the next application, I will not apply so bloody much! Live and learn.

My skin has been feeling a bit dull, and I thought it would be a good idea to invest in a new facemask. While perusing Lush’s loverly products, I felt inspired to make my own. Oats, brown sugar, lemon juice, green tea and honey all make for a drippy homemade facemask. I still had a few workable hours left to my evening, and what better way than to spend it concocting a witches brew to apply to my face. AND it costs pence!!

 

After applying a thin layer to my freshly washed face, I left it on for about 10 minutes before the rinse off. As this mask is so drippy and messy, I think it best used in a bath or with a bib. This mixture is highly susceptible to gravity and much of it ended up on the front of my hoodie, making me look like a ridiculously messy eater.


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All Sixes 17/05/12: Ladies Special

From Busty Girl Comics

Straight to the punch. Today’s All Sixes is dedicated to all the ladies. Just ’cause…

1. Busty Girl Comics. It’s not rude honest. This hilarious and quirky tumblr comic  series is centred round the problems of busty girls whatever their size.

2. Etiquette for the modern lady.

3. Our new fashion crush Hot Chocolate & Mint. Clashing patterns and a sense of humour – Diana has got style! Plus her shoe company makes tasty things for your feet.

4. Embrace all the womanly wisdom in the world with Letters for our Daughters.

5. Some of our favourite beauty advice comes from Sali Hughes over at The Guardian. Her columns are knowledgeable, comprehensive and down-to-earth.

6. Get off my Internets. No doubt you’ve heard of GOMI, with well known bloggers suing them left right and centre. This site with its strong honesty policy and nack for spilling the beans is sometimes a nice break from the glossy, often surreal world of fashion blogs where everything is hunky dory. If you’re a nosy wee besom* and a cat-loving lady then this site is for you.
*Besom is a Scottish word meaning a woman/girl whose attitude and behaviour we find unacceptable, who is annoying  or who you hate. The Jazz usually use it on lighter terms to mean humorously or fondly to a mischievous female.


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Guest Post by Jessica James: Scarecrows & Rainy Days

 

One week later, I am still suffering regret over not attending Elie’s first ever scarecrow festival. The very idea of it makes me chuckle…and then burst into ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow.’ Said festival took place over this past bank holiday weekend, and rumour has it, there was even a Spongebob related entry. Doesn’t it just sound like something out of a sitcom?? But alas, the weather kept me indoors, so I have no firsthand coverage to share, sad times.

Last weekend, there did happen to be a small window of opportunity to enjoy some beach time. I was shuttled off to Lunan Bay (voted the best beach in Scotland in 2000, oooolala) before the sun decided to disappear again.

 

After a bit of frolicking in the sand with a crazy pup named Ozzy, I had plans to sample one of Arbroath’s delicacies: an Arbroath Smokie. Upon entering the fish shop, I was under the impression that an Arbroath Smokie would be a portion of fish put into a wee container and ready for consumption directly. No. It is an actual fish. I was quite bewildered when the fishy mistress told me she would be happy to take the backbone out for me. Receiving this information, I was bewildered and admittedly, a bit scared. With all these tumultuous emotions running round, I deemed it best to exit the building without a backboneless fish. This situation proved only to further expand this gaping cultural hole, and I am now suffering from non-buyers remorse. I take it back I take it back! I want some Smokie action!

Gee wiz, all the things I’m missing out on!!! I shall just sit here in the knit shop with my diminishing container of carrots and hummus, and pout.

I would feel much better if I were drinking a flat white coffee in the sunshine. Fat chance of that! Rain, rain, GO AWAY. Okay, enough griping and moaning for one week, I do believe I’ve well surpassed the quota.

Onto a more positive subject, this past week I assisted with Imaginate; Edinburgh’s children’s theatre festival. I worked as a festival assistant last year, and eagerly volunteered to help out again. This has been the best volunteer experience I have ever had. The paid staff make their volunteers feel super-duper appreciated.  As a now and again philanthropist, I value my personal time. This being said, I am happy when my donated time and efforts are suitably recognized. Another thing that makes being involved with Imaginate so spectacular is the reaction of the wee audience members. Every single child that I witnessed attending a festival show has come out utterly delighted. Och, but I forget that there is always an exception to the rule. One little girl became quite frightened of a diminutive puppet lurking about the stage. And yet another reason why Imaginate is awesome: while loitering about the lobby during show time, I was able to complete this wee gem: a hot pink lacy vintage inspired number fashioned out of luxurious Harris Tweed wool. Yum.