Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Smoke Fairies & Princess Nicotine (1909)

"Princess Nicotine", aka "The Smoke Fairy", is a short film from 1909 that utilises various Melies-styled trickery to show how the naughty fairy can mess with your 'baccy and with your head!

Directed by one J Stuart Blackton it tells the brief, but entertaining, story of a sleeping smoker being visited by the eponymous Princess. Illustrative of the state of the art special effects lapped up by cinema audiences over a century ago, it looks like a mystical relic to modern eyes. Forget CGI, these are hand-crafted illusions!

One legacy of the film was to gift Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies with the name of their band. The Smoke Fairies play a unique style of home counties delta blues with ethereal vocals floating over increasingly compelling melodies. They channel numerous influences through a highly individual sound and are developing some beautiful songs...try "Summer Fades" or "Hotel Room" of their latest album, "Through Low Lights and Trees". As with the good Princess, everything feels hand-made and lovingly rendered. These fairies share a singular vision and they're out to make us feel...different!

Catch them live when you may just hear them play their currently-favoured encore, Killing Joke's "Requiem" of the most surprising and strikingly apt covers I've heard for a long time.

Go all you Fairies!

The Princess is downloadable here at the Internet Archive.

Summer Fades is simply gorgeous on YouTube, but just purchase Low Lights... at Amazon.

Find out more about the group and get a free download on their official site.

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