Welcome to The Cuckoo Jar, a blog by Nanna Koekoek - illustrator, music- and flea market junkie.
Head over to my website to take a look at my portfolio. And don't hesitate to get in touch!

25 April 2012

Bare Naked Beer poster

(click to enlarge)

Fresh from the press: the poster I designed for Cardiff based microbrewery Artisan Brewing to promote their monthly BAR OPEN event!

Somewhere hidden away in the leafy neighborhood of Pontcanna is a garage is filled with an impressive array of kettles, pumps, pipes and hoses. This is where Simon brews his fine beers according to traditional recipes from all over the world. He doesn't use any additives and the beers are vegan friendly (you might not know this, but some beers are filtered using fish swim bladder). To quote Simon it's "beer like nature intended".

Every first Saturday of the month the brewery invites people to come together in their courtyard and drink the Bare Naked Beers. You should come, it's always good fun.  The next BAR OPEN is on Saturday May 5th. There will be a barbecue and on tap are Helles Lager, Bavarian Wheat, Chocolate Wheat and their latest American IPA (which I sampled straight from the keg on on my last visit and I can tell you it's excellent!).  

Find the Facebook event here.

21 April 2012

To THEE Satisfaction

Seriously, this is the best thing I've heard in a while: THEESatisfaction - a couple from Seattle who have just released their debut album awE naturalE. Their music is an amazing mix of soulful vocals with spoken word like rap, funky grooves, loops, jazz, break beats and handclaps. And I am so happy I got to see them live with just a handful of people at record store Rise in Bristol yesterday!

THEESatisfaction - QueenS. Download it here or over at Subpop Records.

This convinced me to take the afternoon off and go on an hour long train journey to see them:

15 April 2012

Amadou & Mariam & Brixton

Just came back from another great weekend in London. I had the pleasure of staying with a friend in Brixton, South London for a few days and I had a superb time there. We just wondered around a lot, going to the market and the arcades, marveling at all the goods and men selling dancehall cds from tiny alcoves, passing steel drum buskers and stopping for food frequently. We had some delicious oysters (served with raw onions, Tabasco and lemon) at a little restaurant in the (rapidly gentrifying) Brixton Village arcade. An elderly lady served me one of the best roti breads I've ever tasted from a blue caravan. She rolled it up with a filling of pumpkin and (sweet?) potato and plenty of chilli. It was so good I wanted to lock her in her caravan, drag it back home and park it in my back garden.

I was  stupid enough to leave my camera at home, so I had to rely on my phone to capture it all. Unfortunately this resulted in just a couple of crappy snapshots...


The whole reason of going down to London was to see Amadou & Mariam at Sheperd's Bush Empire. Which was absolutely FANTASTIC!! The couple - according to Wikipedia also known as "the blind couple from Mali" - has been making music together for over 30 years. Working with Manu Chao on their 2004 album Dimance a Bamako gave their career a real boost and propelled husband and wife into stardom. Their latest album Folila proves how popular they now are with the (Western) (indie) musicians as well, with contributions of Santigold, Theophilus London, the guy from the Scissor Sisters, and TV on the Radio, to name a few. Check out the latter on the video for their single Wily Kataso:

Renowned DJs  have often remixed songs by Amadou & Mariam and in 2010 an entire remix album was (digitally) released. This is remix by Uproot Andy is one of my favorites and used to be a tried and true staple in my DJ sets.

Amadou & Mariam - Salabi (Uproot Andy Remix). Download it here.

10 April 2012

Bill Cunningham New York

Earlier this week I watched a lovely documentary on fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. Bill is 83 years old and has been photographing New York City street style for the last few decades. You see this kind of photography all over the place now, in magazines and fashion blogs, but Mr. Cunningham is its true godfather. Hardly anything was known about his personal life up until this documentary and it took the makers 10 years to make this movie, from which 8 were spend on trying to convince Bill to cooperate! In the end he gave in and the result is an amazing film about an amazing man; it didn't cease to amaze me!

Like, the man is the biggest workaholic ever. Every day, rain or shine, he cycles through NYC to capture the city's birds of paradise. During the day he snaps the extraordinary ordinary people on the street and at night he photographs the he rich and famous at charity events and galas for his weekly columns On the Street and Evening Hours in The New York Times. Uptown and downtown he goes and uptown again. He can't stop, he even takes pictures during his own award ceremony/party.

And like, the man has a backbone. He doesn't take money for his photographs, because "if you don't take money they can't tell you what to do". He doesn't care if the person in front of his lens is a celebrity or not; if he or she isn't wearing anything interesting he will not press the shutter. He will not tolerate that his photographs are being you used to ridicule people, to judge them and label them 'hot' or 'not'.

It's also remarkable that, as much as he loves beautiful, extravagant clothes, Mr. Cunningham looks rather inconspicuously. Always wearing  a very practical, janitor-like blue overcoat. He doesn't care for food (more than once we see him eating at Maccy D's), nor comfort - he has lived in a tiny apartment above Carnegie Hall for 60 years. His flat is filled with filing cabinets, containing his photos and film. Somewhere in between lies his bed (a mattress raised on magazines!) and there is no bathroom. Really, his life is his work (Bill: "it's not work; it's pleasure!"). He has his reasons for his lifestyle, and you get a hint of why at the end of the movie...

I won't spoil anymore of the peculiarities that this movie reveals on Bill Cunningham. Because you should watch it. It doesn't matter if you're into beautiful clothes or beautiful pictures or not, because that's not what this film is about. It really is "deeply moving and visually stunning".
∧ A few spreads from Bill's column On The Street in The New York Times. Bill also gives a weekly digest of what's going on fashion-wise on the streets of New York through an audio commentary and a slide show on the NY Times website. They are a joy!

Bill Cunningham New York is now screening in UK cinemas and is available on DVD.  Watch the trailer:

3 April 2012

Pub Carpet Crawl #2 - Now that the mist has cleared

I wasn't sure if the second edition of the Pub Carpet Crawl could top the magical first crawl, but much to my relief this edition has really lived up to the high expectations! To be honest, it was somewhat disappointing on the carpet side, but this has been fully compensated by other unexpected finds and happenings. Now that - after three days - the mist has cleared I can tell you our story...

For crawl number two we set out for the area of Roath, a lively neighborhood where lots of students live. This means plenty of drinking establishments, among which, fortunately, still some traditional pubs. Meeting point was the Ernest Willows, a large Weatherspoons pub. It has an interesting carpet, with a bold, large scale pattern. I think they had some sort of ale festival on and they had decorated the place with some hay to create a rustic ambiance?? 

The whole look and feel of the pub clashes immensely with the toilets, which I think are the grandest loos in Cardiff. It's like walking into a roman bath or a palace. There's even a seating area in the front (with menu's on the tables for anyone who would like to have their food in the toilets?) and a fountain in the back. 

With empty bladders we crossed the road to The Municipal Club. We had no idea what to expect when we went in. According to the sign outside it was going to be like the Black Chicken in Benidorm...

I've never been to the Black Chicken in Benidorm, but I Googled it and indeed it's not too far off (look here)! But with carpet. And lots of red velvet. 

To everyone's extreme excitement there was a carpeted pillar

 ∧ Please note all that booze in front of that old lady!

I think the interior hasn't changed since its clientele was our age... At first the locals were a bit suspicious (one of my friends overheard them referring to us as "those muppets"), but in the end they didn't want us to leave and some of the musicians among us got offered a gig and free rehearsal space there. Bless 'em! They were just about to start to playing bingo when we came in, so of course we played a round. It was so much fun!!

 ∧ The bingo caller: "Four and Seven, 47" "Two little ducks, 22","Same both ways, 69".

 ∧ Our competition, fully focused. I think the man put on his lucky waist coat for the bingo!

I wish we could have stayed for their entertainment that evening - "a great vocalist", but the other 15 pubs in the Roath area were callling. So on we went to the Poets Corner. Being in this pub felt like somewhere between being in a dollhouse and Alice in Wonderland, with lots of stairs and turns and nooks and corners. There was only one tiny area with carpet, plus a bit of carpet on the stairs. But hey, carpet is carpet. We followed the stairs all the way to the top, which led us to two pool tables.

Because some people wanted to finish their game of pool we got a bit dispersed on our way to the Roath Cottage (at this point there were 25 of us). A couple of us went ahead, but when I arrived at the scene we couldn't open the door... Turned out the landlady had locked the pub!! She told my mates, who had made it inside, the pub was "full" (which it clearly wasn't). Maybe it was for the best. The pub was filled with barely legal chavs and the staff was extremely rude. I wonder if the carpet was any good.

∧ Things getting rowdy inside the cottage.

Things could only get better at The Crofts, and indeed. It had a few nice surprises in store for us.

∧ Like a parrot (gotta love pub pets)!

∧ And some profound quotes in punched pockets

∧ Political correctness prohibited. Twat.

∧ Interesting decorations on top of the bar.

And hurray, at last a decent carpet again, also in the ladies room.

Unlike the next dive, the 147 Club. We broke the no-carpet-no-drinks-rule and more pool was played and more half pints consumed. I must admit that at this point things started to become a bit hazy. I can't remember this carpet at all. I think it must have been at the Roath Park's. 

Eleven o'clock was approaching quickly and we hastened ourselves towards The George and Varsity. I had good hopes these more studenty pubs would stay open till midnight, but alas, they had stopped serving by the time we got there. The only place nearby that was still open was Gassy Jacks. Apparently it has the highest ceiling of any pub in Cardiff, which doesn't necessarily makes it a very cosy place. Of course not having a carpet does not help the atmosphere either. And uh oh, one of us had the "up-close-carpet-experience"! I'm not going to spill the beans on who tossed his cookies, but I can tell you it wasn't me. Fortunately it was on the laminate floor in the hall; not having carpet does have it advantages.. So well yes, the Pub Carpet Crawl #2 ended in style :-)

 Next crawl is most likely to take place on Saturday June 9, June 16 so keep your diary free that night (and the day after..).