Barnacle-like sleeping pods provide shelter to London's homeless

From hip urban lofts nestled into disused railway arches to impossibly thin apartments sandwiched in between existing buildings, Poland-based global skylight/roof window manufacturer FAKRO has previously thrown its weight (read: contest prize money) behind innovative housing concepts that harness the overlooked nooks and crannies found throughout increasingly cramped major cities.

The latest housing-minded urban infill concept to be championed by FAKRO addresses a pressing social issue. Designed by young British architect James Furzer, “Homes for the Homeless” provides temporary shelter to London’s rapidly growing number of “rough sleepers” — that is, someone who sleeps on the streets.

Furzer’s big-hearted concept, a concept revolving around "modular parasitic sleeping pods" constructed from plywood that attach — and detach, when needed — to the vacant facades of existing buildings, was recently announced as the first-place winner in FAKRO’s sixth-annual Space for New Visions design competition.

Held in partnership with A10 Magazine for European Architecture, Space for New Visions challenges entrants to conceive functional, eco-friendly and light-strewn design proposals that incorporate available FAKRO products. The recipient of a 5,000 euro cash prize, international press and plenty of good vibes, Furzer beat out a total of 56 other entrants hailing from around the world....more 


Photography by Owen Perry (Circa 1983)

Young women, give up the vocal fry and reclaim your strong female voice

Patriarchy is inventive. The minute a generation of women has figured out how to not be enslaved by Ideology A, some new cultural pressure arises in the form of Internalisation B, making sure they don’t get too far too fast. The latest example: the most empowered generation of women ever – today’s twentysomethings in North America and Britain – is being hobbled in some important ways by something as basic as a new fashion in how they use their voices.

This demographic of women tends to have a distinctive speech pattern. Many commentators have noticed it, often with dismay. Time magazine devoted a column to the mannerism called vocal fry, noting a study that found that this speech pattern makes young women who use it sound less competent, less trustworthy, less educated and less hireable: “Think Britney Spears and the Kardashians.”

“Vocal fry” is that guttural growl at the back of the throat, as a Valley girl might sound if she had been shouting herself hoarse at a rave all night. The less charitable refer to it privately as painfully nasal, and to young women in conversation sounding like ducks quacking. “Vocal fry” has joined more traditional young-women voice mannerisms such as run-ons, breathiness and the dreaded question marks in sentences (known by linguists as uptalk) to undermine these women’s authority in newly distinctive ways. Slate notes that older men (ie those in power over young women) find it intensely annoying. One study by a “deeply annoyed” professor, found that young women use “uptalk” to seek to hold the floor. But does cordially hating these speech patterns automatically mean you are anti-feminist?

Many devoted professors, employers who wish to move young women up the ranks and business owners who just want to evaluate personnel on merit flinch over the speech patterns of today’s young women. “Because of their run-on sentences, I can’t tell in a meeting when these young women have said what they have to say,” confided one law partner....more 

SoundCloud is losing money and it's all about the major labels

Digital Music News has reported that a number of "sources" and "insiders" are claiming that SoundCloud is losing money. To be exact, the streaming service is allegedly "dangerously low on cash", despite having been recently valued at over $700 million. The blame, according to those in the know, lies with major labels; as one insider put it: "Investors want to see what happens [with the majors] before they put more money into it."

They've been paying lawyers instead of focusing on expanding the business, something that is always certain to help a company haemorrhage money any day; although there's a deal (and a 5% stake in the company) worked out with WMG, both Sony and UMG are threatening to sueSoundCloud. Another source mentioned that Sony had demanded $35 million in negotiations with Tidal, hinting that perhaps the same sort of thing had been levelled at SoundCloud, too....more 

Tomas Barford on Touring Without Going Broke

We Have Just As Many Fans as Pomplamoose. But We Aren’t Losing Money On Tour…
The following comes from Tomas Barfod, drummer in the band WhoMadeWho.
Pomplamoose wrote a nice, well-written and honest article about their 28-day US tour which ended up costing them more than $10,000. And I get it, they are a studio duo that wanted to make a great show for as many fans as possible.
I’m fortunate to be part of a band that has around the same crowd size as Pomplamoose, but the difference is that we in Whomadewho have been making a profit from our first show and have supported 4 (including our manager) full-time salaries for many years now.

Firstly, we have always traveled light (mostly just a guitar, a bass and some drumsticks). Lately we have added a sound engineer and a bit more equipment, but we still fly around without paying overweight.

Second, a few years ago we started getting good at analyzing our career, which kept us from doing many of the things that everybody said was the ‘thing a band in our position should do’. So when a label told us to make Franz Ferdinand-like hits, we made a dark, partly-instrumental album, and when we where told that we could only get a certain amount for gigs, we said okay, but we’ll only play for double now, and somehow we started getting those fees.

I’m not saying that everybody should do that, but the music scene in this era is not something fixed, you don’t have to tour in a mini-van, you don’t have to have tour manager, you don’t need to play all cities in whole world. Some don’t even have to tour, but for most it’s an amazing way to meet the fans and get more.
For Pomplamoose, I’m sure they could have cut down 50% of the 28 gigs, but still have gotten 80-90% of the income and pr value (if we take the spin-off from their article out), and
be making a profit.

I don’t know their specifics, but I have tried this myself so I know the drill. A band like Pomplamoose, even though playing 900-1,200 capacity venues in some cities, might have been playing 50-100 people at other gigs. Those people are still important, yes, but sometimes after a gig like that I’ll do the calculations, and in some cases, It would have been cheaper for us to pay every fan at the venue $30 each than actually showing up and playing....more 

MUSIC: Claptone - Puppet Theatre (Feat. Peter, Björn And John)

MUSIC: Alfa Mist - Dreams (Feat. Carmody)

MUSIC: Faithless 2.0 - Bombs (Claptone Remix)