Lifestyle and Culture

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Tattooing’s Last Taboo

The BBC examined the increasing popularity of tattoos amongst ‘normal people this week declaring ‘would-be prime ministers' wives have them. Lawyers have them. Doctors have them. So how did tattoos become so acceptable?’

BBC writer Finlo Rohrer suggested tattoos are now an ‘everyday thing’, particularly for women and interviewed sociology professor (and tattoo expert) Katherine Irwin, who pointed out that many new tattoos are wimpy generic concealed ones which in reality are nowadays ‘middle class symbols’.

"They (middle class people) like to play with fringe identities without sacrificing their middle class status,” Professor Irwin suggested, “They get a tattoo that is thumbing their nose at middle class society in a way that is so mainstream that it would be hard to push them out,” she said.

Skrufff man-in-Bangkok Bee, who has well as having his entire back covered by a giant centipede, has a face tattoo, was unimpressed with the general trend, declaring ‘tattoos are no longer a statement now unless it’s a fashion statement.’

“Though I don’t mind normal people getting them,” Bee added, “Anything that makes ‘norms’ more colourful is a good thing.”

The British born DJ and guitarist has long based himself in Bangkok where he DJs and plays with Futon and spoke proudly of his face tattoo, which he’s continued to gradually expand, he said.

“My first face tattoo was three white lines on my cheekbone in the mid eighties and since then I have had 2 beauty spots and a blue /jade coloured rune added,” said Bee.

“Charles Manson drew an X on his forehead to cross himself out of society; I guess my face tattoos were a similar statement. The blue Vikings used the rune I had done, they believed it could make them invisible in battles. It has worked for me in several other situations,” he added. “Facial tattoos are the last bastion of tattoos that have any effect on other people,” he said.

Despite admitting that he was barred from several gyms recently when on tour in Japan, Bee said even his face tattoo is no longer so shocking.

“Most people don’t think my blue rune is a real tattoo because they have never seen anything like it before. Either that or they can’t see me coz I am invisible,” he laughed.

He also chatted happily about his massive centipede tattoo that took 87 hours of work to be inked onto his back (spread over a year).

“I had it all done in Thailand by a Thai tattooist and his wife. It's kind of a homage to William Burroughs (he had a centipede phobia),” Bee explained, “It teaches me to overcome my fears.  Plus centipedes are such beautiful ferocious creatures.”

Bee offered one piece of cogent advice for anyone thinking to follow in his footsteps; ‘never bargain the price of a tattoo down’.

“You want to be tattooed by a happy tattooist,” he laughed.

Tatttoo fanatic Judge Jules also urged caution when deciding to be inked, advising sober reflection before making the decision.

“I've got a mate who's a tattoo artist, and I was in his studio watching people come in and make five second choices from a book full of designs.
They were making rapid fire decisions about something that would be with them for the rest of their lives,” he told Skrufff.

“In my case he did a number of different bespoke designs especially for me, and I chose one after rejecting a number of his sketches as unsuitable.  At best tattooists are great artists, and I'd like to think that mine count as such.”

Futon’s new album Painkiller is out now. To remix their music, click here:

Article by Jonty Skrufff

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Global Warming & Mosquitoes Menace Manhattan

US scientists warned this week that rapidly melting glaciers could raise sea levels dramatically ‘in single years’ prompting ‘catastrophic effects and devastation’ to low lying cities like New York and Miami.

Top US scientist Professor Correll from the Heinz Centre in Washington told Alternet reporter Paul Brown that he’s personally witnessed one glacier moving 5 km in 90 minutes and said global warming estimates of 60cm rises in sea level are already ‘conservative.’

In more alarming US news, a 35 year old Scottish painter and decorator was reportedly lying in a coma in an Edinburgh hospital this week after contracting the Eastern Equine Encephalitis or Triple E virus while holidaying in New England this summer. Michael Nicholson reportedly contracted the disease after being bitten by a mosquito when fishing in New Hampshire, prompting his sister to urge US authorities to warn tourists visiting the States.

“There is no cure and there is no vaccine, so all you can do is try and prevent yourself being bitten,” Sharan McKenzie told the BBC, "You don't think there is going to be a risk if you get bitten by a mosquito in somewhere like the US, or Spain,” she pointed out.

Ireland’s Tropical Medical Bureau meanwhile warned of a global outbreak of dengue fever this week, citing 160,000 cases in Indonesia as well as massive rises in Malaysia, Thailand, the Caribbean and even Rio de Janeiro (where an epidemic struck in 2002).  The bureau warned that no vaccines exist against the disease, with avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes the only surefire way of protection.

“Dengue mosquitoes bite by day whereas malarial mosquitoes bite by night,” the Bureau added, “The condition is characterised by the sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle and joint pain.”

Article by Jonty Skrufff

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DJ Lifestyles Match Delinquent Definition

Wanting to party non-stop is one of the key factors that makes a person a criminal, according to a new book on the rise of the Hells Angels.

‘Angels of Death’ claims people join gangs ‘because living the life of a criminal allows them to perpetuate their party lifestyle’, and cites top criminologist Maurice Cusson’s study ‘Why Delinquency?’ to prove its point.

“It’s not the fact that they like to party that distinguishes delinquents from common humanity. What separates them from the rest of us is that they make partying the centre of their existence,” the Canadian scientist suggests

UK Hed Kandi founder and club pioneer Mark Doyle, chatted to Skrufff several years ago about making partying the absolute focus of his own high octane life, though said he channelled his own relentless 24/7 lifestyle towards work.

“I’m an obsessive compulsive that needs to work seven days a week,” said Mark,  “It’s just one of those things that happens; the more you get immersed in music, writing about it, playing it and being interested in it, the more it takes over and that’s what a DJ is essentially.”

“A DJ isn’t just someone who goes out and plays records,” he continued, “A DJ is a person who has a genuine interest in music and that genuine interest at some point transfers from being someone who’s happy to play the occasional album at a dinner party, to wanting to play music to people all the time,” he added.

US hip hop/ house pioneer Jazzy Jeff applied a similarly obsessive approach that brought him millions as well as an unanticipated obsession with hi-tech gadgets, he told Skrufff in 2005.

"My spending sprees used to be crazy because they were spending sprees on equipment. I've never been the guy saying "I'm gonna buy a $25,000 watch', I'd rather buy a $25,000 television that can turn itself on and off- I'm a gadget fanatic,” said Jazzy.

“Will (aka bandmate Fresh Prince aka Hollywood superstar Will Smith) was somebody that wanted seven or eight cars whereas I was like, give me one car, but give me a $50,000 sound system in that car that has everything you can ever imagine,” he recalled.

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Hugh Hefner Snubs Spektrum

Lawyers from Hugh Hefner’s Playboy organisation reportedly threatened to sue London electro band Spektrum this week over the band’s decision to dress singer Lola Olafisoye in bowtie, rabbit ears and tail for their new video for single ‘Don’t Be Shy.’

StopStart label manager David Halliwell said the legal note warned that ‘the right to wear those three things in combination is the property of Playboy’ and criticised the ageing lothario’s actions.

"To be censored by Playboy after Hefner has spent nearly 50 years in court fighting against censorship laws is ludicrous,” he complained, “Saying that, this case is based on money not morals and Hugh Hefner has a lot more of the former than the latter,” he said.

His angry retort differed markedly in tone with the views of Defected DJ Dimitri From Paris, who in 2003 told Skrufff in an interview ‘I thought Hugh Hefner was the last real gentleman I’ve met.’ The French DJ mixed two compilation CDs for Hefner’s Playboy organisation at the beginning of the decade and was effusive in his praise for the notorious publisher.

“We just shook hands, but he gave me a very good impression,” he recalled.

“He was a real gentleman, in fact. Especially being in the area he’s in, the sex business… but he was delightful. I also like what he’s done with the magazine, it’s tasteful, not vulgar, and so I have a lot of respect for him.”

Gigolo Records boss DJ Hell also bigged up Hefner several years ago, after also linking up for a Playboy mansion mix CD.

“I have huge respect for both P Diddy and Hugh Hefner and people like them generally. Because I see what these kind of people have created in their lives,” said Hell, “They live their dream and nothing else, so I think I’m on the right path myself,” he added. (Spektrum censored)

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Walk Like A Man

Casual observers are able to correctly detect whether strangers are gay or straight by the way they walk, according to a new UCLA study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Volunteers were filmed from behind walking on treadmills for 2 minutes and the videos were then played to 112 students who guessed people’s sexual orientation to accuracy levels of 60%, reportedly using body shapes and gaits (such as hip-swaying for gay men) to make their judgments.

"We already know that men and women are built differently and walk differently from each other and that casual observers use this information as clues in making a range of social judgments," UCLA study chief Kerri Johnson told Science Daily.

"Now we've found that casual observers can use gait and body shape to judge whether a stranger is gay or straight with a small but perceptible amount of accuracy,” she said,

"Once you know a person's sexual orientation, the fact has consequences for all subsequent interactions, and our findings suggest that this category of information can be deduced from subtle clues in body movement," Johnson added.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Daily News hailed ‘new, super-masculine men’ this week in a feature celebrating the apparent re-emergence of ‘real men’.

“But it's not enough to walk like a man: You've got to talk like one, too,” the Post added, “Scientists have found that men who speak deeply are likely to father more children than guys with high-pitched squawk boxes. One theory: Women use a man's voice to judge masculinity. Deeper equals manlier,” they suggested.


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5-Star Off-Site Catering Service
Excellent Choice for Yacht Parties and Other Functions

With the end of summer comes the sweet smell of fall. Autumn brings not only nice weather, it is also a hot season for all sorts of outdoor parties. Fabulous food is definitely a party essential. On top of its excellent cuisine, Royal Plaza Hotel also offers impeccable service which will certainly impress your guests while saving your own precious time.

Royal Plaza Hotel has an extensive outside catering menu, ranging from deluxe appetizers, sumptuous main courses to mouth-watering dessert. Off-site catering for groups of up to 300 guests can be accommodated. Whether it is outdoor or indoor, a formal party or casual gathering, Royal Plaza Hotel is dedicated to making your dining experience superb and unforgettable.

Our Event Specialists are expert in designing your event and will be able to assist you in all stages of planning and execution while our experienced Chefs are in charge of the preparation of culinary delights. No matter if you are hosting a wedding, birthday party, anniversary celebration, corporate event, holiday gathering, bridal shower, baby shower or yacht party, Royal Plaza Hotel is committed to serve you better and ensure your total satisfaction. 

Food - Depending on the menu selected
Staff - Chef, Waiter or Bartender at HK$150 per person per hour
  (minimum 4 hours per person)
Delivery - Hong Kong Island (Single Trip) HK$200 net and up
 Kowloon (Single Trip) HK$180 net and up
 New Territories (Single Trip) HK$250 net and up

The delivery charges and staff rates are subject to the location and set-up requirement of event.

Reservation hotline/ email:2622 6221/

(information provided by the hotel)

MTR Corporation today unveiled its flagship retail project ‘Elements’ as the jewel in the crown of Union Square, the largest integrated mixed use development in the world. MTR Corporation is an 81% shareholder in Elements, alongside Sun Hung Kai Properties who hold the remaining stake.

Due to launch in end-2007, construction is well underway for a 1,000,000 square feet upscale yet holistic shopping, wining, dining, entertainment and cultural experience of grand proportions. Drawing its inspiration from nature, the striking Benoy-designed waterfront destination will be an urban oasis comprised of themed zones inspired by the five elements*, creating an exhilarating environment for urbanites.

The vision for Elements is to set new standards in international retailing by seeking out an eclectic, dynamic and creative mix of retailers to gain recognition as Asia’s most innovative conceptual retail experience.  Elements will define itself by bringing the best the world has to offer to Hong Kong, attracting many ‘firsts’ to this market and also flagship stores of recognized brands, against a backdrop of unprecedented design.

According to Mr. Thomas Ho, Property Director of MTR Corporation, “Elements will redefine the social landscape of Hong Kong. Its eclectic, dynamic and creative approach to retail, dining, leisure and entertainment will make it an international example of excellence and add a quality offering to the life of the people of Hong Kong.”

Mr. Thomas Kwok, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Sun Hung Kai Properties, joint venture partners in the development of Elements, commented, “This is one of the most important projects we have ever been involved in, and is a very substantial investment in the future of Hong Kong.  It will incorporate many notable firsts for Hong Kong and Asia and redefine the profile of West Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui as a whole.  Standing at 118 storeys tall, International Commerce Centre will be the territory’s tallest building and the world’s third tallest, with Hong Kong’s first downtown observation deck offering unparalleled views of the city.  Together with Two IFC on the opposite shore, it will form a stunning Victoria Harbour gateway reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as a focal point for international business.” 

Miss Betty Leong, Chief Retail Development Manager of MTR Corporation who is spearheading the leasing and marketing of Elements also added, “A nature- inspired lifestyle destination will present a new proportion to the retail market in Hong Kong.  Nature will permeate every aspect of Elements, bringing the outside in and promoting a relaxing and bonding “shopping in the park” experience.”

Elements is founded upon a solid business case.  Six thousand families earning ten times the average monthly Hong Kong salary will reside at Union Square’s luxurious apartments. This number will swell during weekdays to include the 30,000 executives who will work at Union Square’s premium office tower, International Commerce Centre (ICC). Business will also be generated by visitors to ICC, the future West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) and guests staying in the world-famous ‘W Hotels’ and the world’s highest The ‘Ritz-Carlton’, together with population from the extensive catchment area of Elements.

Strategically placed at the epicenter of a transport hub, Elements will be easily accessible from different parts of Hong Kong for both locals and for the 23 million tourists that visit Hong Kong each year.  Elements will be served by an extensive transportation network, including the Airport Express, MTR Tung Chung Line, cross border coaches, buses, minibuses, and excellent road access to nearby ferry terminals and other parts of Hong Kong.  The locational advantage will further be strengthened upon completion of the KCR Kowloon Southern Link connecting both East Rail and West Rail at a single stop, together with the Express Rail Link.
This revolutionary concept is a strong demonstration of MTR Corporation’s commitment to providing Hong Kong with the ultimate in sophisticated high quality urban living.  To underscore this commitment, the launch of Elements will be supported by an extensive marketing campaign.

Details of signed up tenants, innovative architectural features and more information on the retail concept will be revealed in due course.

(information provided by the pr company)

Fur Flies In London Drag Explosion

The Independent published a three page special on London’s thriving gender bending alternative mixed club scene this week and suggested cross-dressing in the city ‘has become a high-fashion, highly competitive affair’.

The paper based their argument on the exploits of bearded Hoxton Trailer Trash show girl Jonny Woo who said London’s new queens have been inspired by late 80s early 90s New York, though with the emphasis firmly on dressing up rather than dancing.

“Sadly we can’t vogue for toffee,” Woo told the Independent,” We’re like a bunch of cockroaches flailing on the floor.”

The Independent article was published simultaneously to another drag special in the Sunday Times centred around club kid scenester Jodie Harsh. The Style section labelled her as ‘the cross dresser who became the height of cool’ though the 23 year old club star stressed she’s ‘a businessman before I am a man dressed as a woman.”

The door whore turned clubland phenomenon also chatted about bitchiness from rival London queens, recalling being told just two years ago ‘know your place is at the bottom of the ladder’. 

“A year later, she says, “that person is f**ked up on drugs and going nowhere.” The Sunday Times added.

London’s cross-dresssing craze looks unlikely to return Stateside, certainly not to Atlanta, Georgia where local politicians this week proposed new legislation banning the display of bras, boxer shorts and thongs this week, to tackle an ‘epidemic’ of low slung trousers.

'Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing,” councilor CT Martin explained, “I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future,” he added. (Metro, UK)


Article by Jonty Skrufff

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RED DOT delves into the world of the clinically insane this season… Loonies, Mentalists, Loopers, Psychos…you know the sort.

Owner Kieron Hurley and Design Director Tom Pike have declared the London-based socialite, Paper Dave, as the new face of RED DOT. The comical advertising campaign sees Paper Dave snapped at various locations around London’s West End area, from the park to the supermarket, at a strip club and out shopping.

The new collection — loosely based around Pike’s experiences as a patient at the Goldsmiths Mental Correction Facility — contains popular elements from previous seasons as well as a number of innovative new ideas, taking their trademark 3-D prints another step forward.

Highlights include:
* Aerial Photomaps cunningly disguised as camouflage jackets;
* Padded Cell printed hoodies;
* Patient Uniform Mac jackets, made from soft-fleece, in “civilian-style”;
* Looney Printed T-shirts, full of hidden humour and outright cheek, in typical RED DOT fashion.

RED DOT’s Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection is now available EXCLUSIVELY at D-mop stores.

(information provided by their pr company)

Inspired by the style and shapes of 1960s retro, the new Evisu eyewear collection is cutting-edge yet full of vintage cool. Highlights from the nine-piece range are four sunglasses designed together with the team at Linda Farrow, the ultra-luxe label shading the eyes of the famously fashion-forward since 1970.

Although broadly a unisex collection, the standout women’s offering is one of the Linda Farrow collaboration pieces: a bold ’60s rectangular shape in rich buttery hand-polished acetate, with real Japanese printed silk trapped inside the temple pieces. Other styles feature tortoiseshell frames in warm and woody browns, and super-cool black wayfarer shades that echo Dolce Vita sophistication. There are also unisex cat-eye styles in ’60s mod shapes and some sleek aviator styles.

True to Evisu’s heritage of highest attention to detail, most styles are equipped with a spring-hinge system, for a comfortable and easy fit, and photochromatic MUVER lenses, which self-adjust colour according to brightness. The frames are made in acetate from Italy. Further design details include the classic Evisu kamome, or seagull logo, in wood set into the outside temples; a racer kamome at the end of the arms; and “the best of the better sunglasses” inscribed on the inside arms.

The Linda Farrow collaboration sunglasses come in a Japanese fan-print case, packaged inside a glossy black-lined, embossed box. The other styles in the collection are presented in their own wooden box featuring the Evisu Godhead logo sporting the same iconic shades.

The Evisu eyewear collection and the Linda Farrow collaboration range is exclusive to Evisu stores globally and available at selected first-class fashion boutiques and eyewear shops in Hong Kong.

(information provided by the pr company)

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