Tuesday, 29 September 2009


I have constructed the moon into a lamp

So that it can bear its days without shrinking

Like a soap, but be a head proudly shaping

Over the clouds into the white vanity it deserves

For its force. Dragging seas and women

Behind its back in a heavy bridal veil,

Horses envy its strength. Corpses

Leave sleep in their graves to hold

their hands under that lamp again,

My lamp, my kitchen lamp.

Rebecka Mustajärvi

Monday, 21 September 2009

Rebecka Sharp

Rebecka Sharp, 20, lives in London and misses America. We hope to feature some of her B&W shots in issue 2.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Buonasera Bongiorno

As many of Nutshell's readers will be aware, legendary television host Mike Bongiorno died on Tuesday. How to communicate to those unfamiliar with Italian television the scale of his talent? I take the wikipedia entry for Mike Bongiorno and I run my eye down it. Quite quickly I arrive at this: "In 1963, Umberto Eco wrote an essay entitled Fenomenologia di Mike Bongiorno in which he used advanced academic theories to shed light on Mike Bongiorno and his way of communicating. Eco held that Mike Bongiorno was so good at portraying himself as no better than average in every respect, that 100% of his audience could feel good about themselves, could feel that they were more sophisticated in some way." Let us dismiss this false start.

How well I remember Mike Bongiorno's presentation of the San Remo festival. Who better qualified to introduce popular contemporary music to a new generation than a man in his late seventies? His co-host of the night, a spritely fifty-year-old, was under the impression Madonna would accept an interview in Italian. Though immediately evident Madonna's command of Italian didn't stretch beyond 'Buonasera, San Remo', this co-host laboriously persisted with question after question to a blank and increasingly annoyed Madonna. Of course it was Mike, Mike Bongiorno who saved the day, ushering Madonna away from her tormentor with promises to 'see you back in the States' in an impressive American accent. Mike, you did good work on Italian television and will be missed.

I cannot call to mind Mike Bongiorno without seeing the faces of other outstanding Italian presenters: Maria De Filippi; Red Ronnie. Still living? Surely yes. And surely not yet so antique they're ready to present the San Remo festival. Not yet ready, so I'm saying, to step into the shoes of one Mike, Mike Bongiorno. Maria De Filippi, wife of fellow television presenter Maurizio Costanzo, a man famed for his wit, though a wit of such subtlety it ran beyond my limited language skills to appreciate. How many long Saturday afternoons did I pass with Maria and her 'Amici', Roman juveniles with emotional problems and Invicta rucksacks? I cannot now recall, nor would I wish to.

Red Ronnie presented (still does I guess) an afternoon music show in which Italian teenagers would watch famous bands perform, and then submit questions to the band. One exchange I remember in particular. Following a performance by Suede of 'Beautiful Ones', which contains the line 'loved up, Doved up, hung around, stoned in a lonely town / shaking their meat to the beat,' an astute Italian girl asked Brett Anderson if the dove in that line represented the dove of peace.

Too big for afternoons only, Red also had an evening programme, during which he would tackle the main band on the show with an interview in English. During such occasions, which could be arduous affairs, I have to admit, I was always sympathetic towards Red who knew how to handle himself in a Q&A situation despite some notable revisions to the book of English grammar and syntax on his part. Alas, my sympathy was not shared by the army of Italian girls who would call the show on a routine basis to communicate to Red their opinion of his foreign language skills. But what did they know? Were any of those bilingual callers fronting a national television show? Are they now? Of course not.

We might have said to Mike Bongiorno arrivederci (or should that be a fussy arrivederla?), but young guns like Maria De Filippi and Red Ronnie survive him to carry his torch and perhaps in a decade or two, when of sufficient seniority, to present, as he did, the San Remo festival.


Ian McLachlan

Friday, 4 September 2009

So I...

...went to Italy for the late summer bank holiday to see my friends and family. BA is the only company to provide commuter friendly flights and since it was also a bank holiday weekend the tickets were a bit pricey. I had no other option so I booked them. When I checked in online I was annoyed to find I was sitting at the very front of the plane, row 3. It bothered me because in my irrational frightened mind the two ends are the ones that move the most upwards and downwards, while the middle stays nice and still. A bit like when you hold a pencil between your thumb and middle finger and make it oscillate, the middle bit stays still while the ends sway like crazy. It probably does not apply to planes really, but in my heart it does, so I was upset. It wasn’t until after the three course meal in crystal glasses and real metal cutlery that I realized that I was sitting in first class. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure of it until I asked the steward. So that was why I was sitting at the front of the plane for that flight! I should know from now on. What gave it away, though, was not the extra leg room - if you have met me you know I am perfectly comfortable with what ryanair offers in that aspect - or the fine bone china, or the metal knives (terrorists don’t fly first class, obviously); what gave it away was A: niceness and B: gold. The stewards and stewardesses checked our seatbelts were fastened ever so gently, then made sure we had just enough pinot and champagne, and always spoke to us in the sweetest voices before opening the little curtain and moving on to the rest of the plane barking orders and kicking people’s bags out of the way with deliberate nastiness. But the gold! Oh, the wonders one can only behold in first class! The women in first class might have been similar in shape and form to me but their every inch was covered in neon signs screaming MONEY. Peeping through the curtain I could see sensible grey and black jumpers and blue jeans, but next to me there was a peacock display of crimson silks and emerald green taffeta, silver leather handbags the size of parachutes (maybe the first class ladies are smarter than they seem), with solid gold lockets and chains and charms dingling at their every (bloody) move, hair blown to perfection in the softest, most precise careless waves, tans the shade of terracotta, heels that could puncture the plane floor and kill us all, and a tiny bolero cape made of cow foetus skin – charming. Needless to say they looked at me, my cheapskates-class grey top and jeans combo, my unmade-up face, and the sad, battered remains of the guardian weekend ‘Summer short story special’ magazine with disgust and contempt. What was I doing there? Why was I allowed the same niceness and salmon niçoise? Why the unneeded yet clearly undeserved extra leg room? I smiled at them politely and stuffed the unfinished miniature wine bottle in my bag before the same steward who had just thrown the horrid BA sarnies (which I kind of love) onto the inferior laps of the crappy-class passengers asked me in the sweetest voice if I was finished with the tray and if he could offer me any more olive bread or mango pavlova. I am not sure I need first class, I most certainly wouldn’t buy first class tickets deliberately, but it did feel good to be the only person there not burdened with their weight in gold and dead foetus’ skin; it made me feel good about myself and my bottom-of-career-ladder situation. And finally, it made me feel good about having to come up with more inventive ideas than a credit card to fund this magazine. I just hope those wee Nutshells out there are having a better time than my guardian supplement.


Thursday, 3 September 2009

Dear all,

Welcome to the latest addition to the Nutshell Magazine venture: the blog. This blog is our way to keep in touch and let you know that we’re still alive and well, and working hard to present you with a new edition of Nutshell very soon. After our glorious first appearance on the zine scene we received masses of excellent submissions, some great reviews, some donations and really warm words of encouragement – thank you! What we didn’t get was a big fat cheque from the Arts Council to make more Nutshells, but don’t worry: we have a plan. First of all we will continue to welcome your donations *here*, then we will miraculously multiply them by turning them into something else: our cover artist Siobhan Maguire is currently working on a design for our limited version Nutshell #1 T-Shirt! Only 100 will be printed and all funds will go towards issue two of Nutshell. So not only will you be buying a rare piece of wearable art, you’ll be producing a magazine at the same time! Imagine!

So add this page to your shortcut toolbar and stay in touch!