Category Archives: Hope

Conversations On A Banquette: Introducing Monarchy

Since late 2009, the blogosphere has been atwitter with speculation about the true identities of Monarchy, the mysterious London-based electro duo, whose trippy, synth-pop songs Gold in the Fire, Black, the Colour of My Heart, The Phoenix Alive (along with the accompanying space age-y video for it), plus remixes of tracks they’ve done for Fyfe Dangerfield, Penguin Prison, and Elie Goulding, have caused a veritable sensation, with everyone from the UK Guardian to The New Musical Express, and other breathless-with-anticipation critics, labeling them the new “It” band or “The Next Big Thing.” Monarchy’s sure-to-be-hailed latest, It Must Be love, is being released today. Have a listen, then judge for, and discuss, amongst yourselves.

NEW: Monarchy – It Must Be Love (below)

Our sound is cold comfort. The music is spacious, an arctic landscape with a pulsing life running beneath it. We have a certain love of synth-pop from years gone past, but we’re absolutely modern.” —Monarchy

Ok. Great tunes. But, still, who are Monarchy? Rather than engage in generic gossip, guessing games, or futile Google searches for hidden clues in their sound and look (some of which may or may not lead to plausible results), The Excellent People, as is our Outstanding habit and tried and true tenet, much prefer to go directly to the source, letting the top secret band speak for themselves. To read the full interview, please click here. (Downloadable PDF).

All hail the new kings of synth-pop: The mysterious Monarchy. Image via Monarchy and Brilliantly Different.

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Crystalline Excellence: Rogier van der Heide’s Dream Cloud

Presenting an image of Dutch architectural lighting designer Rogier van der Heide‘s “Dream Cloud,” an installation consisting of 1,500 crystals, some of them coated with transparent magenta and cyan paint, forming a surreal cloud floating above a field of genuine black tulips from The Netherlands. Says van der Heide: “I present Swarovski Crystal Palace in Milan as a dreamy cloud of crystals, a three-dimensional sculpture that expresses the natural, magical, imaginative and beautiful. “Dream Cloud” consists out of thousands, pure, untreated small crystals, floating in the air, transforming a black space by giving it a point of gravity: the epicentre of the visitor’s attention. And on the floor, moving clouds form a surreal, magical carpet. Guests wander through and realise that Swarovski elevates them above the clouds, where the shimmering crystals, bathing in cool blue moonlight, make a dream come true.”  The sculpture “is an interpretation of the crystals’ purest, most intrinsic features: how they spark our imagination, and make our dreams come true. It relies on the natural beauty of the crystals and has the magic of Northern Light.”

Roger van der Heide's "Dream Cloud' installation, presented at the Swarovski Crystal Palace 2010 in Milan.

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Developing Excellence: PX 100 Silver Shade/Flash Flush, The Impossible Project’s New Instant FIlm For The Polaroid SX 70

Capturing Outstanding imagery with PX 100 Silver Shade/First Flush, The Impossible Project‘s brand new PX Silver Shade Instant Film. “Astonishing monochrome material in a limited First Flush Edition. Optimized for the use in traditional Polaroid SX 70 cameras. First Flush Film is experimental material that will produce changing results depending on light conditions and temperature.” Quite Excellent, and photogenic.

Outstanding development: The Impossible Project's brand new PX Silver Shade Instant Film. Image via The Impossible Project.

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Excellency For Your Consideration and, Possibly, Reading Pleasure: Literature + Marc Jacobs = Book Marc

Presenting the temporary gold leaf window signage at Book Marc, designer Marc jacob’s Excellently-and cleverly-named, soon-to-be unveiled literary emporium, scheduled to open in Winter 2010 at 4oo Bleecker Street in New York’s West Village, formerly the home of the legendary Biography Book Shop for 20 years.

A Winter's tale: The temporary window signage at Book Marc, designer Marc Jacobs' soon-to-open literary establishment. Image via Jeremiah's Vanishing New York: AKA The Book of Lamentations: A Bitterly Nostalgic Look at a City in the Process of Going Extinct. Shop name previously revealed by's Meenal Mistry via Twitter.


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Remembrances of Excellency Past: The Scathingly Serious and Scintillating Social Satire of William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress

Presenting The Heir, part of A Rake’s Progress, the series of eight paintings by His Excellency William Hogarth, Outstanding 18th century British artist, social critic, pictorial satirist, printmaker and cartoonist. Hogarth, the pioneer of western sequential art, produced the canvases from 1732–33, then engraved and published them in print form in 1735. A Rake’s Progress charts the Excellent rise and the much less so fall of Tom Rakewell, the spendthrift son of a rich merchant, who heads to London where he chicly squanders his wealth on luxurious living, hookers and gambling. As a consequence, big spender Tom is ultimately locked up in the Fleet Prison and, finally, Bedlam, the notorious mental institution. In The Heir Tom has come into his fortune upon the death of his miserly father. While servants mourn, he is being measured for new clothes. He is also rejecting the hand of his pregnant fiancée, Sarah Young, whom he had promised to marry (she is holding his ring and her mother is holding his love letters). Ambitious Tom pays her off and moves on to more seemingly sophisticated others, but it is clear that she still loves him. Excellent karma takes care of the rest.

Excellently made-to-measure: A fitting outcome for Tom Rakewell, as depicted in A Rake's Progress by Outstanding 18th Century artist and social commenter William Hogarth.

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The Excellently Exquisite Adventures of The Chevalier de Balibari, Professional Gambler and Suspected Spy in the Service of the Empress of Austria, as Portrayed in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon

Observing The Chevalier de Balibari, expat Irishman, professional gambler and suspected spy in the service of the Empress of Austria, as he cheats at card games, assisted by fellow conniving countryman and social climbing, would-be nobleman, Barry (formerly Redmond) Lyndon, Esq., in the 1975 film Barry Lyndon, the Outstanding cinematic masterpiece, starring Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, and Patrick Magee, loosely based on William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, directed by His Excellency Stanley Kubrick. Upon their meeting, says the movie’s narrator, “The Chevalier was as much affected as Barry at thus finding one of his countrymen. For he too was an exile from home, and a friendly voice, a look, brought the old country back to his memory again.”

The luck of the Irish: Fellow conniving countrymen The Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee) and Mr. Barry Lyndon, Esq.(Ryan O'Neal) in an Excellently lit gambling scene from Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick's Outstandingly exquisite 1975 cinematic masterpiece.

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The Excellently Intense Complexity of Interpersonal Relationships as Played Out in Glamorous International Locales

Presenting Everyone Else, German diector Maren Ade’s new film, starring Birgit Minichmayr, Lars Eidinger, and Hans-Jochen Wagner, in which a young couple’s relationship is pushed to the brink while vacationing in the Mediterranean. On the surface, Chris, a brilliant architect, and Gitti, a publicist for an unknown rock band, appear blissfully in love while enjoying the sun and sand of Sardinia. But as they spend more time together, their playful teasing and silly games begin to unmask hidden fears and desires. When they accidentally run into another, seemingly happier and more successful couple (another architect and his artist girlfriend), the tensions between them erupt. Everyone Else is the quintessential breakup movie, which means the kindnesses, cute gestures, and happily-ever-afters of a typical screen romance are replaced by pettiness, ugly slights, backbiting, and the kind of hurt that only the most intimate are capable of inflicting on each other.

Secrets and lies: Lars Eidinger and Birgit Minichmayr portray a young couple vacationing in Sardinia in the German film Everyone Else.

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Quote, Unquote

I will regard this great honor not so much as an award for what I have achieved, but a standard to hold against what I have yet to accomplish.Eve Harrington, All About Eve

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Ephemeral Excellence: Jean Colonna’s Pop-Up Shop at The Joyce Gallery, Paris

Presenting the “Boutique Ephémère,” or pop-up shop, organized by His Excellency Jean Colonna, Institut Français de la Mode, and Galerie Joyce in Paris, open until May 30th, 2010. For the project, Colonna asked students from IFM’s 2010 graduating class, to customize a tank top from his 2010 collection. The legendary designer asked them to invent a utopian idea (a piece of clothing, images, words and sounds), based on his proposed garment, a silk tank top from Nepal (black or flesh toned). The 6 prototypes selected by Colonna, as well as a film documenting the process, are on view. Click HERE for more info.

Ephemeral Excellence: The Joyce Gallery in Paris.

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