Tag Archives: travel

eyeliner is not just for eyes

22 Feb

I know I promised you a juicy flog post all about my long weekend in Denmark, but…  The vodka and energy drink has erased my memory of most of it, and my camera had a nice relaxing holiday in Kastrup airport’s lost property office for the whole 5 days I was away, so there is no pictorial evidence either.

Apart from phone-photos.  And this is the type of photo I take on my phone.

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So today’s flog post is STORY TIME, from the What I’ve Learned archive.

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This, flogstars, is a photo of my free ticket to the Steel Panther concert.

Irene and I didn’t have regular tickets, because we’re fucking hustlers and also really disorganised and forgot to buy them in time.  So, humiliatingly, on the night of the concert we were stationed out the front of the venue, next to a bunch of strippers handing out flyers.  (The strippers were handing out flyers, we weren’t.)

We were begging people on their way in to the venue.  Irene and I were hoping people would have spare tickets to sell.  One person had one.  One.  So we bought it for 250DKK, then swiftly resold it for 300DKK because we are dirty dirty scalpers.

We wisely used that 50DKK profit to buy two mostly-empty beers (pictured) from a couple who had already been inside, and they also kindly threw in a look at their wrist-stamp too.  I scanned the stamp with my photo-laser eyes, took my eyeliner out of my purse and replicated it on our wrists.

Then we marched right on inside with our beers held high to signify that we had already been in, flashing our ‘stamps’, and quickly melted into the crowd.

we knew our place: up the back BEHIND all the paying-people, spending lots of money at the bar to atone

we knew our place: up the back BEHIND all the paying-people, spending lots of money at the bar to atone

Stealing from performing artists isn’t cool, kids, but the fact of the matter is that I am practically a shareholder in the Steel Panther franchise, having paid to see them live thrice and having bought five copies of their first album and 3 of their second album (I’m not even kidding – copies for each vehicle in my fleet plus gifts to friends).

So while I’m not suggesting that you start pirating about all over the place, that’s how to sneak in if you ever have the need.

Next in the What I’ve Learned series: How To Get Backstage.  Here’s a sneak preview.  Step one – have blonde hair and big boobs.  Step two – just go back there, seriously, there’s usually nothing or no one to stop you, and if you’re not screeching/being a dick/stealing their beer, they’ll usually let you stay.

You’re welcome.

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I hate to be a pain in the portfolio…

19 Feb

… but if, like me, you’re doing a shitload of TFP (time in exchange for pictures) shoots, you’ll be working with professional photographers, models and possibly stylists or other creatives, and at the end of the (long, hard day in the freezing rain) you all want the same thing – shit-hot photos for your portfolio.

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models: Ieva at Model Team and Lauren at Superior Model Management
makeup by me, photography by Bryce Powrie, threads by One For The Wall

All of us – the photographers, models and makeup artists – all need up-to-date pretty pictures to show off our mad skillz.  Which is why lots of us spend half our lives running around like blue-arsed flies on these TF photoshoots.

They’re great fun, and there’s something nice about a wee gang of you working together with the same vision, not for money but for the love.  Not to say we’re not all getting something out of it, but anyone doing anything for free is displaying some level of dedication, and that’s nice to be around.

All the pretty pictures for me are ending up in my portfolio, which is actually an official thing getting assessed at college next week.  With an interview and all.  We need a minimum of 8 photos from a minimum of 4 photoshoots.  I’ve done 6 photoshoots and pics from 5 of those are going in my portfolio.

I think if I didn’t have a clear idea of what I needed, and if I hadn’t been lucky in landing shoots with reasonably experienced and professional people, that number might not be so high.  As it is my final task for portfolio production is showing some uncharacteristic restraint and editing down my selection to best highlight my makeup work.

None of this putting photos in just because they’re cool and I like them.  Is it a photo that showcases my makeup work, or do I like the photo because the model’s hair looks swishy or because there’s a cute puppy or because the clothes they’re modelling look really good?  All wonderful things, and important components of a good photo… but FOCUS, IMOGEN!

example of a photo that doesn't reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.  BUT PUPPY!   photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

doing the no-makeup-look on a guy is harder than you think, but you’re not even looking at him are you.  This is an example of a photo that doesn’t reeeeeally do my makeup work much justice.
photo by Bryce Powrie, model Nicolas Garcia-Minaur, puppy not mine sadly

Which led to me Googling “how to have a not-shit portfolio” which took me all sorts of interesting places on the internet.  Here is one of the more useful things I read, copied and pasted because you’re more likely to read it if I do it like this, aren’t you.

Get Usable Image Files From A Test With These 6 Questions

A test shoot is a collaboration in which all parties involved should benefit from the pictures received. I don’t go in for contracts or think you should come across like a demanding diva when approached about a test shoot but you do need to discuss a few things with the photographer before the shoot so you can be sure what you receive later will be useful to you.

Here are some questions you should have answers to before any pictures are taken to insure that the image files you receive after the shoot are suitable for printing.

1. Can you get some close up shots of the makeup?
Always ask the photographer to get some close up shots of the makeup as part of the deal and remind them on the day that you need some head shots. A great beauty shot next to a full length image can look fantastic in your book and will show your skills as a makeup artist more clearly.

2. Can you start the day off with a really clean beauty look?
You should be focusing on clean beauty when you start building a portfolio so if you get roped into a test that doesn’t involve clean beauty see if you can do a quick beauty look at the start of the day which you can build on after to achieve something more adventurous. This way everyone should get something usable for their books right from the start and you get more looks out of a days shooting.

3. Will you get Hi-Res files?
Make sure the photographer is going to provide hi-res files so you can print nice sharp images for your book. Low-res files are only suitable for posting online so they don’t take too long to load.

4. Does the photographer have watermarks on all his/her images?
If the photographer you are working with uses watermarks on his/her images check that getting files without the watermarks won’t be a problem so you can print the images for your book.

5. How many images should you expect to receive?
Discuss how many images you should realistically expect to receive and whether these files will have been retouched. Unless you are shooting a big editorial story it is unlikely that you would really need more that 5 images from a shoot.

6. Will you have any input into the final picture selection? 
Often all parties involved are looking for something different for their books so it’s great if you all have some input into the final image selection. If you are given a choice of images think about the composition in your book so the images you pick go together on a double page.

If you are unsure about any of the following points discuss them with the photographer in an email. Emails are great as it gives everyone a record of whats been agreed on to refer back to.

I stole that from http://whattheprosdo.blogspot.co.uk/ – which sadly hasn’t been updated in nearly 5 years, but still has loads of really handy tips for the nascent makeup artiste.
It’s a UK based site however a lot of the stuff on there would be useful for anyone starting out – things like what to think about when putting together your website and business cards, what to carry with you (bottle of water and a banana because no one feeds you on photoshoots – so true, and the reason my makeup kit is a suitcase is really so it can fit all the muesli bars in it that I require for a half-day on the go).
So there you have it flogstars, a bit of practical know-how for ye.
Here’s Steel Panther with The Burden of Being Wonderful.  Watch it and next post I’ll tell you all about the weekend I’ve just had in Denmark partying at them.  Not with them.  At them.

a journey through space and time

9 Jan

It was weird being back.  People who have lived away from home for more than a year or two will know what that’s like.  But while a lot of people have travelled, not many have stayed away.

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I didn’t mean to stay away, it just kind of happened.

Leaving, and then being away, were really hard at first, then ‘travelling’ turned somehow into ‘working’ and ‘routine normal life’, and I made real friends, and put down tentative roots, and being here was easier than going back.

On my first visit back to Adelaide, after a year away, I brought my makeup kit back to Scotland, so you might say things got kind of serious at that stage.  However, now at the 6-years-away mark, I’m still on PAYG mobile.

It’s a surprisingly complicated thing to talk about; every time in the last six years, when I’ve been asked by an Adelaide friend or relative when I’m coming home, I have to pick my words so carefully.  I like it here, in Scotland.  Which is not to say that I don’t like Adelaide, and that I don’t want to be there, or even that I like Scotland more than Adelaide.  Shock!

What it feels like I am being asked, really, is why we – Adelaide, your friends, your family – aren’t enough to keep you here?  What’s so good about Scotland, with its shitty weather and tiny wages and the fact that it’s not Australia?  It feels like people take it personally, and are offended, that I choose to live in a damp, malnourished bog instead of in their golden land of milk and honey.

As you can see, I also find it impossible to talk about this without slagging both Scotland and Australia off.

It’s not that Scotland is better than Australia or Australia is better than Scotland… it’s all about me, flogstars.  I’m better in Scotland.  I love it here, and I love it in Australia as well, in fact I am very jealous of everyone who lives in Australia, casually BBQing on the beach without a care in the world apart from the poisonous wildlife winding around their ankles.

Here in Scotland I am regarded as a brave but foolhardy soul, choosing to live thousands of miles away from all that is familiar, braced against year-round 90mph winds and driving rain.  The Scots think that if I can put up with all of that, then I must really love them and their country, and right there’s an easy brownie point.  People like to be liked.

There’s something about living somewhere you’re not from.  That concept is plenty of people’s idea of hell, from what I understand.  But it’s great.  As I’m not from here, I can excuse myself from all that is wrong with the place (wasn’t me!), and equally enjoy all that is right with it.  That line of argument weakens with every election that comes and goes, and I think will be completely void after September’s independence referendum.  But anyway, because I have (for now) passed up my right to live and work in Australia, land of sunshine and reliable yearly dominance of World’s Most Liveable Cities lists, my decision to live in Scotland is conscious, deliberate, and dedicated.

So in that way, when a Scottish person asks me, goggle-eyed with disbelief, why I choose to live in Glasgow instead of Adelaide, it’s easier to answer than when I’m asked the same question by an Adelaide friend or relative.  I’m complimenting them and their country, and covertly insulting my own, aren’t I?

Visits back are like re-entering a house that was abandonned mid-morning, years ago.  Evidence of who I was and what I was doing are everywhere, cluttered in boxes at my parents’ house, spoken in questions from loosely-in-touch friends.

While my Australian life has laid dormant for six years now, life in Australia has obviously not.  People have children, different jobs, different relationships with me and each other, different priorities.  When I am plopped right into the middle of it, it is a perhaps eerie reminder for all of us, what it was like – what we were like, what life was like – six years ago when I was still there.  Evidence of the passage of time is often unsettling and seldom welcome, I find.  Maybe I am imagining it, but I can’t be the only one who is terrified at how fast six years can just … go.

It is easy enough, in essence, to pick up where you leave off with most people.  Some (MUM) might say that I am rubbish at keeping in touch.  Most of you reading this are probably real life friends/relatives/acquaintances, and got here through a link on my Facebook.  If we do know each other, maybe we chat online from time to time, maybe you’re one of the tiny handful that I email or post things to or text when I’m pissed.

Maybe you just watch me and we don’t really talk.  The Imogen Maxwell Experience has become quite the multi-media spectacular.  If Facebook, Instagram or this flog are the main picture you have of me, the jetlagged, disorientated, short-tempered, teary and easily startled version before you during my visit to Adelaide must have been somewhat of a letdown.

So how was my Christmas, did I have a good time back home?  What are visits to Adelaide like for me, after 6 years away?  At risk of sounding even more defensive and self-pitying than I already do, they’re bloody hard going.  I’m too jetlagged to try and think of another way to say ’emotional rollercoaster’.

Seeing my friends and family, the perfect weather, the foooooood… it was all wonderful.  Overwhelmingly so.  Yet I felt under a huge amount of pressure.  I felt guilty, and resentful of that guilt.  I had nowhere near as much time or energy as I would have liked.  Feeling these simultaneous extreme highs and lows is exhausting, travelling to the other side of the world to jump straight into almost constant socialising is exhausting, especially after months without a day off.  Being plucked from the comfort of routine and dropped blinking into an opposite climate and schedule, waking up starving hungry at 4am unable to get back to sleep, ready to lie down on the ground and die from fatigue by 3pm, trying hard to slap on your game face while your nearest and dearest just don’t understand why you can’t just smile and enjoy yourself and be grateful.  Feeling misunderstood.  All the tiny details of your former daily life that are familiar and unrecogniseable at the same time.

I started this post to try and articulate what it’s like, these visits home.  I thought writing this post would sort out in my own mind, and help me to explain better to people who don’t know what jetlag feels like, who can’t understand why – when they ask me if I enjoyed my 2 weeks back home – my answer is “…yes?…”  The same people who don’t understand how it is I can be away from my friends and family for so long.

Although I now think it’s really me who needs those answers.

Happy birthday, David Bowie

8 Jan

Just over two weeks ago, I flew out of Glasgow, this dear green place.  After what felt like one million hours in transit, I arrived in Adelaide and spent the festive season eating real fruit and vegetables (none of your painted rocks that you call ‘avocado’, ‘cherry’ and ‘mango’, Scotland), marvelling at the healthy and attractive Australians just wandering about the place all tall and tanned, and running around like a blue-arsed fly trying to catch up with every single person that I have ever met.

It was a pretty big two weeks, flogstars.  I arrived back in Glasgow less than 24 hours ago.  What would be hilarious, is if I tried RIGHT NOW to write a post that made sense.

It’s been an impressively productive 24 hours, mind you – I’ve done a load of washing, had my tranny-nails removed and replaced with a dark shimmery purple Shellac job…

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real reason I didn’t flog while away – I couldn’t type

…attended to some overdue facial threading (everything really DOES grow faster in the warm weather), been to the supermarket twice, went for a hour-long walk, done a shift at the Qwik-E-Mart, and slept for 10 hours uninterrupted.  I’ve also already made serious inroads into plans for my next holiday.

Australia feels like a distant dream already.  Luckily I took a billion pictures so I know it did actually happen.

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so trusting!

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So, January…  2014!  This bleakest of months, where we are encouraged to take a good, hard, critical look at our lives, dwell on our various failures and inadequacies, and make vague/unrealistic resolutions to BE MORE BETTER.  I’ve been asked a few times what my new year’s resolutions are, but as I’ve never really been into deadlines, I haven’t come up with any yet.

Also, why mess with perfection?  I’m still basking in the glory of successfully adhering to last year’s, which were “spend more time and money on makeup”, “buy (minimum) 1 x CD per payday” and “take every possible opportunity to see a live band.”

I slipped up on that last one when I didn’t go see The Who, but as I am so good at buying 79p classic rock albums second hand on Amazon, this wasn’t such a huge problem.  Sometimes – if seeing The Who involves spending money you don’t have – you have to let it slide, flip through your millions of CDs, and listen at home instead.  Ah, home.  Where Keith Moon is still alive, beer doesn’t cost £6/pint, and there’s no queue for the toilet.  Rock n’ roll.

There are important life-improvement lessons for all of us in that anecdote, flogstars.  Know what you want!  Be specific!  Be realistic!  Cultivate and nurture interests that make you happy!  Be #YOLO, but not so YOLO that you can’t pay the rent!  Be prepared!  I’ve got it all SO figured out.  Have a read of this Vice article about how to be less broke in 2014 – while I suspect that the guy who wrote it probably wouldn’t like me much, he does make some constructive points.

Despite being on an extremely winning life formula, I can admit that I need to be better at keeping in touch with friends and family back in the land of Oz.  I have no intention of swearing less, drinking less, eating less, playing with my smartphone less, or partaking in any of the other most popular ways to be miserable, so “install Skype” it is.Here’s Har Mar Superstar, that’s right, TWO songs in one flog post.  Lose control with me.

See you on the other side of jetlag, lovers!  xX

so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodbyeeee

19 Dec

That’s me off to Oz, flogstars.  At time of scheduled publication, Chloe and I will be kicking back in the business lounge at the Glasgow International Airport, supping down free cocktails and eating all the free cheese and chocolate like the high-rollers we are.

See you again in January.  Maybe I’ll flog while I’m away, maybe I won’t.

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Don’t miss me too much 🙂

A very good tune for the beginner air-drummer.  Enjoy!  And seriously, don’t you forget about me.
xX

return of the tranny-mani

17 Dec

Admire my Santa-claws.

I accidentally scratched the cashier at the supermarket on the way home

I accidentally scratched the cashier at the supermarket on the way home

After tomorrow, I’ve got three weeks off from my Qwik-e-Mart job, so thought I’d get my bitch slappers buffed and primed for the festive season down under.  Anyone who has a job that involves doing stuff or touching things knows that it can leave one’s mitts looking less than glamorous.

before

before

I kind of wish I’d packed before getting my nails done.  Also typing this is really hard.

Speaking of packing, I’m starting to think about panicking about it.  I just feel… so organised.  In that peaceful way you do when you find yourself with an unexpected free day, before realising at 5pm you’ve missed a christening or something.  (Just kidding, friends with kids.  I might have drunk a 12-pack at a baby shower once but I’ve never missed a christening).

deer me

deer me

I have gifts for the immediate family under control, all my laundry is done… apart from the ongoing problem of not knowing what to actually wear in forty degree heat, I’ve done everything I can.  Super organised.

Not really sure what/how much makeup to bring either.  Just the basics?  LOL.  I’ve got the tiger facepaint in already, and made a shortlist of the top five foundations.  I reorganised my makeup the other day actually and geez I’ve got a lot.  A collection spanning many many years.  

Chloe sometimes looks at me rummaging through it all and says “don’t pretend you know what you’re looking for in there” – referring in particular to a massive glass salad bowl I have, filled with identical MAC lipsticks in their beautiful black matte tubes.  But I do know them all, I do.  Their names, their finishes, their colours.  Don’t worry, I’m not about to call a bunch of lipsticks ‘my babies’ or anything vom-worthy like that… but my love is real.

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Anyway I really had better make a start on this packing business. Here is a CD I won’t be listening to while I do it:

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As you can see I really made an effort to get into the spirit of things, but if I still hate carols even when they’re sung by the greats of classic rock and metal, then it’s just not going to happen.

Hope your pre-festivus run up is fun and stress-free etc.  Don’t forget to call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while and give some money to homeless charity too, just so it’s not all about unimportant things like whether the tinsel clashes with the baubles or whatever.

Here’s The Darkness with Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End), because this one’s not so bad.

what do Australians wear?

7 Dec

I must admit I’m almost as out of touch as Tony Abbott… when it comes to matters of what to wear ‘down there’.  In Australia, I mean.

Big chunks of the conversations I have on a daily basis centre around my Australianism.  Obviously, once people tell me I’m tall and I reply with “yes I know”, the cat’s out of the bag – they’ve heard my accent.  They then tell me they have a friend or relative who emigrated to Australia, can’t remember the name of the place, something creek?  Something hills?  Something flat?  Near Perth, or Melbourne.  Are Perth and Melbourne near each other?  …and look at me expectantly.  Sometimes, people just recite lists of well-known Australian people and things to me.

“Vegemite!  Cathy Freeman!  Sydney!  Koalas!”

You’ll have noticed, cos you’re clever like that, that people like to TELL me things about Australia, not ask me.  Which is fine, whatever.  What I really need right now, though, is for a personal stylist to materialise and tell me something about Australia that I’m dying to know – what to take with me for my holiday.

You see, in less than two weeks, Chloe and I fly back to Australia for Christmas.

christmas in australia

This marks the first time in FOUR YEARS that I’ll be in the same place at the same time as both of my sisters.

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And the first time in 4 years that our family – Mum, Dad, us 3 girls – have been all together, although there was no suitable cat GIF for that.

Courtest of awkwardfamilyphotos.com (not my actual family)

Courtest of awkwardfamilyphotos.com (not my actual family)

Anyway.  I have lived in Scotland for close to six years now.  In that time, I haven’t aged a day obviously, but I’ve gone blonde, lost three stone, gained one back, and completely forgotten what to wear in temperatures above 15 degree celcius.

Scotland is cold.   Even in Scottish summertime,  the water that comes out of the cold tap… is cold.  It’s rare for me to be bare-armed… ever.  I can actually tell you the last time I wore something sleeveless, I felt so naked.  I remember it vividly.  It was when Chloe and I were in London for the David Bowie Is exhibition at the V&A.

let's GIF just quickly

let’s GIF just quickly

the abominable snowman

the abominable snowman

It was hot that week in London; it actually soared to 34 degrees one of the days we were there.  And boy did I feel it.

So forgive me, Australia, for returning to your golden shores looking every inch the Brit abroad, ill equipped to deal with the heat, paler than a fish belly.  And forgive me, Scotland, my home away from home.  I love you, I do, but I’m really looking forward to thawing out for a couple of weeks!  Rest assured, all of you – whatever I end up wearing (or not wearing, waaaaaaaa-heeeeey) down under, I’ll be very vocal about how effing hot it is.

In terms of partaking in the UK’s treasured national pass time of complaining about the weather, I’ve gone native.

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