UnBroken

My perception of hairdressing penetrates further than surface level. I view my craft as an art form, I am a designer, I adapt a natural material to create a bespoke style to suit the wearer which can essentially make their day easier, promote self confidence, empower individuality and embrace endless possibilities.

I am also a confidant, I have an ear to lend and it is my upmost responsibility to advise the best care for the hair and scalp. Underlying illness or stress are often determined through fragility in the hair and hairdressers can often predict low health on regular clients and can offer support, guidance or advice to seek necessary medical attention.

Everyday I meet concerned women and men who feel the health or fragility of their hair is being affected. Hair loss is a concern that features frequently and surprisingly affects more people than you think. An estimated 8 million women in the UK have experienced hair loss which in a majority of cases can have devastating results.

For women there is a social stigma attached to thinning hair. Hair loss can affect your sensuality and how you perceive yourself. There are emotional trials and tribulations involved. Some women question whether their partner will still love them, while I’ve known others to become socially reclusive for fear of their condition being discovered. The psychological impact of hair loss can have a detrimental effect on everyday life.

Promoting positivity around this negative situation can often have promising results.

The opening evening of the Duncan of Jordanstone Art, Design and Architecture Degree Show always has an incredibly uplifting atmosphere, this year was no different and I enjoyed winding my way through the corridors picking out my favourite pieces from eye catching exhibits. Having friends graduate in textile design I made my way to the department, excited to see the final pieces they produced. Caitlin Miller’s kitsch prints had the fun appeal and I instantly fell in love with her vibrant silk kimono which was printed with swirls of naked Barbie. Shauna McGregor explored the art of expression and self identity with her bold and colourful prints. Creating a delicate yet handsome array of silk scarves, oversized bomber jacket and on trend culottes, the unisex street wear challenges gender issues and allows the wearer to feel completely unique.

It was the Jewellers that really caught my eye, especially Katie Wightman.

Hailing from a small town on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Katie originally ventured to Dundee to study a degree in psychology. Two years into the undergraduate course, a change of heart found Katie pursuing a childhood dream of becoming a jeweller. As a kid she would sit for hours creating beaded bracelets and other masterpieces and you can instantly tell from the quality of her work that she hasn’t lost that focus.

Having been diagnosed with severe E-Coli half way through her fourth year at the prestigious art school, Katie found herself back home under the supervision of family and friends. Unsure of recovery time, the possibility that Katie may not complete her final year loomed over the 23 year old jeweller and regular meetings with tutors proved that Katie’s health should ultimately be priority.

Illness and stress had varying side effects including dramatic weight loss which made Katie’s petite frame weak and tired. Not allowing herself to be overcome or defeated she generated enough energy to complete her dissertation on time and she began to research the foundations of her degree show collection.

Using the fragility of her own body as a template to cast and create delicate armour was the first exploration Katie made when deciding to emphasize the experience of her illness within her artwork and when her hair began to fall out she was encouraged by someone close to turn this discomforting, disconcerting situation into a positive message for others.

Using silver, resin and hair, Wightman pushes boundaries and has triumphantly succeeded in producing utterly beautiful pieces of jewellery from what may be consider a grotesque material. Having gained sponsorship from Great Lengths a leading hair extension company who can guarantee all hair provided is ethically sourced has allowed Katie to broaden her horizons and create delicate necklaces, chunky rings, tasseled broaches and my favourite long drop earrings.

I had the pleasure of meeting the designer and I was blown away with her determination and passion for her heart felt exhibition which gained her a first class honours degree. I think she’s a genius and has absolutely achieved what she set out to do, raising awareness on a subject that many others are afraid to unearth and screaming at the top of her lungs- this is happening to me and it’s ok if it’s happening to you too!

Katie will take her work along with others from Duncan of Jordanstone to New Designers in London which runs from 24th-27th June at the Business Design Centre.

Full collection can be found on http://www.katiewightman.com

Long live the VEF and we should all face our fears QUEEN!

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TRUE BLUE BABY, I LOVE YOU 💙

There is always an immeasurable air of excitement surrounding Hayley Scanlan’s fashion show and the launch of 2015’s Spring/Summer H.S collection was no different.

Dundee Contemprary Arts Centre was the venue chosen for an exclusive catwalk show by Hayley for industry insiders, loyal customers and press. The unique event was strategically integrated amongst art, photography, film and fashion exhibitions currently on display within DCA, including work by celebrity stylist Maripol, whom in the 70’s and 80’s worked alongside superstars including Madonna, Debbie Harry and Grace Jones.

Scanlan”s latest offering ‘True Blue’ draws refreshing similarities as the new collection is inspired by iconic female heroines of the 1970’s. A childhood infatuation of Mairpol’s muse Madonna solidified the collaborative event which was held on Saturday 9th May 2015.

Hayley continues to make an impact on the UK fashion scene and is still consistently impressing customers, bloggers and stylists with her unique silhouettes and cutting edge prints. Dressing muscians including Pixie Lott, The Saturdays and finalists on The X Factor tour amongst other top celebrities and fashionistas.

The Scottish Fashion Awards ‘Young Designer of the Year” winner is set to create a fashion fuss in her home city and beyond with the launch of the spring/summer diffusion line which is readily available to purchase online now.

Hayley’s garments were complemented completely by volume, texture, plaits and waves created by award winning McIntyres Salons, giving each individual model a unique hairstyle. Bronze, sun-kissed make up by Jill Sime and Carol Patterson finalised the fun yet sophisticated look. Strutting down the catwalk to Stevie Nicks, The Rolling Stones and ‘Beam Me Up’ by Midnight Magic, the models were flirty and playful. The engaged audience excitedly whispering to friends, pointing out what might be their next purchase.

Shirt dresses in blue and white denim stood out for me, very easy to wear and complementing for both day and evening. My summer events will be polished with the unique lace garments including a full circle skirt and dress. I am also placing my order for the show piece ‘True Blue’ embroidered raglan jacket that I pleasurably adorned at the close of show. All of Hayley’s pieces have striking emphasis on detail including chunky silver hoops and her signature punky zips making the collection pretty yet far from plain and each silhouette is designed to complement the female physique considerably.

Check out the latest H.S ‘True Blue’ collection now. Online at hayleyscanlan.com

Long live the VEF and she did it again, Hayley Scanlan, Scotland’s Fashion QUEEN.

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Images by TShawts (Tammy Lyn Shaw). Film by Son of the Sea (Dylan Drummond).

NEW YORK, NEW YORK! 

‘There was once a little red lighthouse. It was very, very proud. Everyday a man came to turn on his signal and he helped guide the ships up the Hudson River. 


One day more men came and began to dig and build. They built a HUGE grey bridge and the red light house felt very, very small. 


The great grey bridge had flashing lights and made the lighthouse feel useless and unloved. The man had not been to switch on his signal. 


A huge storm approached New York and a boat crashed into the rocks just by the lighthouse and smashed into tiny pieces. 


The little red lighthouse was really, really mad with the great grey bridge and screamed- ‘WHY DIDNT YOU HELP!?’

To which the bridge replied-‘Little brother it is your job to guide the ships, my lights are for aeroplanes. You look after the water and I look after the sky.’ 


The little red lighthouse felt worthy again but sad he couldn’t help the wrecked ship. The man in charge came running towards the lighthouse, angry and upset as kids had taken his keys and he promised that the little red lighthouse’s light would never shine out again. 


From then on The Little Red Light House shone brightly next to his big brother, The Great Grey Bridge. 

 

If you don’t believe us then go visit for yourself.’ 


A summary of ‘The Little Red Lighthouse and The Great Gray Bridge’. Written at JFK Airport by Ruby Scanlan 05/17/15. 


The first day we arrived in New York City, we met a very helpful man. He told us of a very famous book written in 1942 by Hildegarde H. Swift and Lynd Ward, The Little Red Lighthouse and The Great Gray Bridge. The man suggested we find a copy of the book, search for the little red lighthouse and read it under the great grey bridge. 


We found ours in Chelsea Market and on our last day in New York, we travelled by subway to W175th street, to the banks of the Hudson River. We read the most inspirational story at the most picturesque location. We thank the man for the most beautiful idea, it was the perfect ending to a holiday of a lifetime. 


New York we love you. 


Long live the VEF and thank you to my dad, for without him our adventures may have not been half as exciting, it may have only been a dream QUEEN.  


Ruby’s Top Ten Places to Visit if you’re a Kid Hanging Out in New York. 


10. CHINATOWN. The ornate street decorations are very beautiful and the streets smell good. 


9. THE SMITH (restaurant) E51st.

The best pancakes and maple syrup. 


8. BROOKLYN ICE-CREAM FACTORY. Yummy ice-cream, a nice building and a cool, cool bridge. 


7. PLAZA HOTEL. It featured in Home Alone 2 you know! They also had a nice kids menu and delicious chocolate brownies. 


6. CRACK IS WACK PLAYGROUND. If you like art, Keith Haring’s original graffiti is the best you can get. 


5. STATUE OF LIBERTY. I like how she is blue and you get to go on a boat to visit her. 


4. TOYS R US (Time Square) FAO SCHWARZ (Park Ave). The biggest toy shops I’ve ever been in. 


3. CENTRAL PARK. Strawberry Fields is so beautiful as is all the park, my mum likes it here.


2. AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY. If you like Night at the Museum go see this, especially The Hall of African Mammals. 


1. THE LITTLE RED LIGHTHOUSE AND THE GREAT GRAY BRIDGE. You can pretend your in the story book and the lighthouse looks just as I imagined.    


Ruby Scanlan 

   

                                     

‘I am not strange. I am just not normal.’ -Salvador Dalí

Yesterday was one of those days. We had grand plans of visiting the Museum of Modern Art and then on to Luna Park, Coney Island. 


With no map but a rough idea of where MoMA is situated, we set off. The women in the gift shop the previous evening told us 86th and 5th so we trekked through Central Park towards our destination. Upon reaching 86th street we understood not only were we at the wrong side of the park we were 30 blocks north of our desired location. A hunt for the nearest subway found us on Museum Mile and we made the decision to head for Coney Island, bypassing our previous plans. 


Our blisters, blisters had blisters and the heat had disfigured my hands into resembling bratwurst sausages, the subway train South was a welcome escape. We may have been on the train around 20 minutes before I realised our direction, a horrible feeling of disorientation left me panicky and helpless as we discovered we had certainly left Manhattan but were now in Queens the complete opposite direction of where we should be going. My previous encounters outside the UK have always been in the company of other adults, it’s easy to decipher tricky situations when sharing the load. Think logically. 


Managing to find our way to Grand Central Station was a blessing in disguise. I had visited before and didn’t think it would have been of interest to Ruby. I was wrong, she stood gazing at the astronomical ceiling in the main concourse and enjoyed split leaping through the stations vast space. Downing a glass of wine and regaining my strength and composure, we correctly located the Museum (which turned out to be only two blocks from our hotel.) and decided to revert back to plan A. 


MoMa is just the right size with the most perfect collection of art from the worlds most idolised artists. I have an emotional connection with Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo is an artist I have studied and admired for a long time. I’m completely obsessed with Warhol and Pollock, whilst Rivera makes me think and reflect. Dali made me stop and get lost in his work and I was overwhelmed with the size and the pastel colours of Monet. 


You can converse with Ruby about most things and art is one of them. She soaks things up and remembers every small piece of information. Whilst learning about primary and secondary colours in her first year at school, she was introduced to Kandinsky and has since discovered more on the Bauhaus movement, she can tell you more than many on colour theory and her favourite artist is Paul Klee, she was excited to see the original Cat and Bird along with other pieces of both Klee and Kandinsky’s work.    


We spent the entire evening at MoMA and then onto Uniqlo who collaborated with the museum in producing some great art T-shirts. A few purchases made then we retired to the hotel for an evening of white wine, dim sum’s and jenga. 


All is well that ends well. 


Long live the VEF and we ended up in Queens QUEEN.  

                                                                                     

“Sweet Child O’ Mine”

I would like to announce that Ruby and I have came to the conclusion that there will be no need for the pair of us to return to the United Kingdom. We are perfectly at home here. We have mastered the subway and are well aware to tip everyone and anyone at 20%. We survived an unguided trip through Harlem and figured out the ATM. We are professionals at attracting free gifts in uber cool shops and we worked out alone that Avenue A is a completely different street from the Avenue of Americas. 


We caught subway 6 to 125th street, East Harlem. We emerged from the underground station, greeted by a crew of B boys dancing. An elderly man with greying dreadlocks paced up and down the block carrying a ghetto-blaster with hip hop tunes blaring. Sounds typically cliche but this is what we found on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr Avenue. 


I had preconceptions that I might be a little scared or intimated venturing so far north of Manhattan, unguided and with an eight year old child but that certainly was not the case. I’ve come to the realisation that native New Yorkers instantly fall in love with Ruby, how she looks and how she carries herself. Despite the neighbourhood we have been inundated with admirers and Harlem was no different. Phrases such as ‘Daaaamn guuuurl’ and ‘you working that out’ put incredibly large smiles on our face and sniggers in our throats as we soaked in the atmosphere of our cultured surroundings. 


Making our way towards Harlem River Drive and on the hunt for the Crack is Wack playground. Particularly easy to find, we both broke out in a sprint as we saw from a distance the mural by one of our favourite artists. 


I can’t remember when I was first introduced to Keith Haring’s art, I believe it may have been by my big sister. I’m an 80’s kid so stars like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper made a huge impact in my younger years. As I got older I discovered reasoning behind Haring’s art and I appreciate the social and political meaning behind each piece and his progression in raising awareness of homosexuality and AIDs. I’ve influenced Ruby who is too young to understand Haring’s philosophies but finds pleasure in his simple, abstract design. She has many Haring prints at home including IPad covers and a suitcase which she purchased in Paris last year. We spent some time in the playground distorting our bodies into different ‘radiant baby’ shapes and taking cool pictures. 


Venturing across the Harlem streets we caught the 3 Subway to Chelsea Market for lunch. A melting pot of desirable street food, including opulent lobster bars and cute ice cream vendors. We grabbed some corn tacos and made our way to the high line park to relax. 


 The High Line is the New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line. It stretches through the Meat Packing District and Chelsea and offers brilliant views of downtown. It’s an amazing place to hangout with plenty of eating and lounging space. 


We moved onto Greenwich Village and instantly felt at home with the bohemian vibe. We visited thrift shops and flee markets and I was gifted a fishnet eye mask from an eccentric shop owner. We ate snow-cones in Washington Square Park and dreamed we were part of the Beat movement. We strolled along 8th Street and onto St Marks Place and the East Village which is alive with punk boutiques, tattoo parlours and fetish shops. 


‘Trash and Vaudeville opened in 1975, and has been providing Rock n’ Roll to wear ever since. 


Born out of the 1970’s rock and punk scene on St. Marks Place in New York City, Trash and Vaudeville has always provided a wide variety of alternative fashion for Rockers, Mods, Punks, Goths, Rockabillies, and everyday working class heroes who just wanted to walk and dress on the wild side. 


Trash and Vaudeville was founded by Ray Goodman in June of 1975. Ray discovered St. Marks Place at the age of 13, and never left. He was immediately attracted to the incredible energy that surged throughout the block. Whatever the scene was – Beatniks – Hippies – Glam – Punk – it was all going down on St. Marks Place.’ 


We had another surreal moment in this store as we were greeted by Ray himself. Bleached feathered hair, every inch of his body covered in brilliant tattoos, a leather waistcoat and a pair of studded winklepickers. If I can choose anyone to be my grandfather it would be him. I was in Punk heaven and snaked my way through the rails of straight jackets, rubber tshirts and bondage trousers. Happy with the garments I had chosen I made my way to the cash desk. Ray was taking a call so I patiently waited for service. Rudely listening in to the conversation where Ray was using the word fuck a lot, he was furiously trying to explain to the receiver that Rod Fucking Stewart has done a Fucking lot and where the Fuck would anyone be without Fucking Rod Fucking Stewart! (I was laughing hysterically inward.) he hung up and I had his attention, to which he then informed me ‘that was fucking Slash man, I’m gona stay at his at the weekend, fucking Rod Stewart man’. Oh my god, I just smiled and nodded I don’t believe a reply was necessary. 


Ray joined the Ruby Admiration Society and told her, he didn’t like kids but she was adorable then gave her a free pair of ‘kitty’ socks. I left the shop bewildered, mind blown at said events.   


Ending up at the Samuel Cox statue and another picture perfect moment as we reenacted the famous shot of Jack Kerouac taken by Allen Ginsberg in exactly the same place. 

A long walk (we lost our map) back to time square and a spot of well deserved toy shopping for Ruby. A  gourmet burger and beer at the Rockefeller Plaza then onto Broadway to see ‘Finding Neverland’ a new production starring Kelsey Grammer and co written by Gary Barlow. The start was incredible, I didn’t see the rest, I fell asleep! 


Long live the VEF and I’m a PUNK so GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.  

                  

 
   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

   

  

  

    

  

  

  

  

                              

”Some people’s beauty lies not in the features, but in the varied expression”

I did it again, the non tipping thing. This time it was on Tuesday, during our street tour. It was only yesterday once we had completed a tour of Brooklyn and our fellow walkers showered our guide in 20 dollar bills that Irealised. It was his business partner we met on Tuesday and I politely thanked him with an almighty shake of the hand then walked away. I’m so ashamed, they should warn you of these circumstances, they should write a guide book. We have another tour today, Greenwich Village, I really want to go, I’m forcing myself and plucking up courage to go ahead with the arranged plans and to whole heartedly apologise for my lack of curtesy, rudeness and inability of thought at times. I will obviously make it up to him with a big fat tip at the end of the tour and I might even give my first trip advisor review just to put my mind at ease. 


I guess I never expected Brooklyn to be so beautiful, it has Manhattan charm with more space therefore feeling less claustrophobic. We visited the area of DUMBO, which stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass. 


During the turn of 20th Century DUMBO was predominantly industrial, a manufacturing area with factories that made paper, paper boxes, Brillo pads and the cardboard box was invented in Robert Gair’s factory by Robert Gair himself, a Scottish immigrant who became so famous for his work in the area, it was named Gairsville for a very long time. The Gair’s building is now occupied by Etsy. 


In the late 1970’s the factories started to develop into residential spaces and were occupied by artists looking for a lot of space with a limited amount of money. The acronym DUMBO arose when said artists wanted to come up with a name for their new abode, a name which would deter developers. Their plan worked as the area served mainly as an enclave for artists right up until the end of the 20th century. With perfect views across the Manhattan skyline It is now one of the most expensive places to stay in Brooklyn. 


Brooklyn Heights, an area filled with picturesque townhouses, painted in an array of muted colours felt safe and inviting. A house once inhabited by Truman Capote, where we had written Breakfast at Tiffany’s has just sold in this area for over thirty two million dollars, the yellow painted townhouse has eleven bedrooms and was undergoing renovation when we passed. 


We ended the tour on Fulton Ferry Pier outside the famous Brooklyn Ice-cream Factory and Ruby and I decided to walk the Brooklyn Bridge back. 


The Brooklyn Bridge looms majestically over New York City’s East River, linking the two boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The building of the bridge has quite a story to tell it’s self as John Roebling  a German engineer with a reputation in designing suspension bridges was commissioned in 1867 by New York legislators to build the very first steel suspension bridge. Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few final compass readings across the East River. A boat smashed the toes on one of his feet, and three weeks later he died of tetanus. Washington, Roebling’s son took over his fathers plans and construction until tragically Washington himself contracted “caisson disease” or “the bends”: excruciating joint pain, paralysis, convulsions, numbness, speech impediments and, in some cases, death. The bends would occur from inhalation of compressed air in underwater chambers used to carry workers down to the river bed in order to lay foundations of the bridge. Paralysed and bed ridden in a room looking over the East River, Washington continued to oversee the completion of the bridge, and construction was now in the hands of his capable wife Emily and the bridge was spectacularly unveiled in 1883. Emily emphasising that behind every good man there is a great women. 


I’m always completely honest so I have no concern in telling you that I hated walking the bridge. I have never known myself to suffer vertigo but I do and no one bloody told me the floor was wooden. The slats were not even one centimetre apart but I spent the whole journey completely paranoid my phone, my sunglasses or even Ruby would fall through. I seen the waves splashing underneath and the wind frantically whipped my hair around my face, those idiotic travellers on bikes, rattled the slats and just in front of us protesters marched heavily waving banners in the air and banging their big feet on the fragile surface. The only bit I enjoyed was the concrete at the end, a beautiful bridge in which I don’t plan to walk over again. 


Bowery is by far my favourite street in Manhattan, from Union Square to Bleecker Street. I’m a punk and I feel at home, I picture myself outside CBGB’s and try to imagine what it would have been like to be part of such a prolific scene. From the smells as you stroll through Chinatown to the repair shops, the newly renovated coffee outlets to the colourful graffiti and street art, the Bowery hasn’t lost it’s vibe. 


There is a great spot on the corner of Bowery and Spring, we stopped for photos when a passer-by commented that Ruby was cute. I politely thanked her and continued to take photos of my beautiful daughter pulling her best punk pose, behind her a building thick in colourful graffiti. The women patiently waited until our shoot was done and introduced herself as a model scout looking for kids to model in campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Gap and Uniqlo. I have mixed feelings about putting Ruby forward for such work, the last thing I would wish was for my child is to feel exploited, on the other hand I would not want to hinder what may be a successful career. We discussed my concerns and having kids of her own she completely related to where I was coming from. I have her card and we will discuss options and opportunities when we are home. Continuing our Bowery path I chatted with Ruby about what would be involved if it was a path she would like to take. 


We arrived at Patricia Field’s House of Field, which is by far one of the coolest shops in NYC. We were greeted by none other than Patricia Field herself… 


‘Patricia Field is a native New Yorker and one of fashion’s greatest visionaries:

Known for changing the way women dress through HBO’s television series “Sex and the City”, she is also an Academy Awards nominated, Emmy Award winning costume designer for film and television.’ 

 

Finding Ruby utterly adorable Patricia along with her assistant Jonny kindly showed Ruby and I around her famous store and gave us an exclusive glimpse of the kids range she has coming out this year, allowing Ruby to purchase a cool fuchsia T-shirt with a hand painted Andy Warhol print. House of Field is one of those shops where you can’t buy anything because you want to buy everything! I eventually settled on big gold initial ‘H’ earrings and a cute Betsy Johnson bag and along with her T-shirt Ruby bought a stretchy black choker. 


New York is a huge place and your busy all day everyday, that can take it’s toll especially on an eight year old kid. A slight fever and a feeling of lethargy found Ruby in bed at 4pm, only to awaken early evening to squeeze in a burrito before bed. She makes me the proudest person ever. 


Long live the VEF and I can’t stop gushing over Ruby my wee FASHION QUEEN.     

  

   
                                                                                         

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt. 

The guys at my regular coffee spot have progressively changed their attitude towards me, becoming less chatty and frankly quite rude. It was only this morning whilst preparing for my journey round the block I realised I had never tipped them. Do u tip in Starbucks? But this isn’t Starbucks, it’s the little star cafe and I’m certain those servers rely on customer gratitude. I feel terrible and march around the corner, greeted by a stoney face, I order my hot drink, lay down 10 dollars and run, embarrassed by my previous visits to the traditional diner. 


Our second full day in Manhattan, a big breakfast of avocado, poached egg and greens prepares us for the day ahead as we set off on foot along Fifth Avenue towards Central Park. Our destination is the American Museum of Natural History but we take in the vibe of Mid-Town en route, enjoying the grandeur of couture shops and plush hotels. Our first pit stop, the famous FAO Schwarz toy store, where Ruby finds it difficult to regain posture and a sense of calm as her eyes dart from ceiling to floor, excited at the prospects of what this magical place can bring. Plushies of every animal Imaginable, a candy store filled with Wonka, Hershey’s and M&M’s, enough paint and art materials to paint Trump Towers twice over and not forgetting the ‘Big Piano’. 


I only just managed to prize Ruby away to continue our journey and we marched forward towards Strawberry Fields. It’s obligatory to visit this small homage in Central Park which is just in line with the Dakota building, where Lennon was assassinated. You do not have to be a Beatles fan to feel the atmosphere surrounding the beautiful mosaic gifted to New York by the city of Naples, Italy. 


My last visit to the shrine was much of the same experience and I bought a framed picture of the Imagine mural. The same guy at the same cart, selling the same merchandise and we are having the same conversation, four years apart. He’s a fan of The Average White Band and is delighted to hear my Dundee twang. We discuss the bands recent tour and he gifts me with a free Lennon portrait and gives Ruby some NYC magnets. What a cool guy. 


With a spring in our step we race on towards the museum, which is the setting from one of Ruby’s favourite New York movies, ‘A night at the museum’. 


I’m utterly astonished as Ruby informs me that she has memorised the floor plan (how many times has this kid watched this film.) so we head straight towards the hall of African Mammals, on a hunt for a Capuchin Monkey named Dexter. As we snake around the museum, I realise I learn more from Ruby than I do the exhibitions as she tells me tales of Teddy Roosevelt, his explorations and his time as US President. 


Lunch in the park, in Shakespere’s garden to be precise and it’s implicitly impossible to believe that such an idilic and green location can be set in the heart of such a populated city.  A stroll through the ramble, over the lake and past Alice in Wonderland we make our way to the ding-dang-dong Plaza Hotel. Once more Ruby has a moment, a wee girl standing in the set of another favourite movie. We take selfies in the elevator, lay opulently across the chaise lounge in the loos and pretend to be Kevin McCallister in the lobby. We stay for drinks and chocolate brownies and have an hour pretending to be posh before catching the subway south to Soho for some shoe shopping. A large purchase in the Dr Marten store and a visit to the famous Goorin Bros bold hat-makers, finds us stampeding towards Little Italy for some famous New York pizza slice. 


The subway home (which he haven’t quite mastered) and again asleep for 9pm. It’s tough and it’s tiring in the city that never sleeps. 


Long live the VEF and Ruby Scanlan the American History QUEEN.