Thursday, 13 November 2008

La Clique

This weekend I took my sister to see La Clique at The Hippodrome. Its not cheap, but if you have 30 quid to spare before Christmas, you should definitely go and see this. Its a weird and wonderful concoction of physical skill and eccentric entertainment. Highlights include a double jointed man who dislocates some of his bits in order to squeeze himself through the head of a tennis racket. If you're fearing the current unemployment apocalypse, this should definitely give you hope- just find something really strange to do with your body. Other highlights include a mind boggling magician lady who takes off all her clothes to prove she's not hiding the handkerchief up any sleeves. She is hiding it up somewhere though-be warned- this is not a show for the shy. Absolute best bit though was the man in the bath-pictured here. With the body of a GOD, er, I mean gymnast, this Adonis has a bath in his jeans and performs incredible aerial gymnastics on a couple of leather straps. There's a lot of clinging denim and writhing and splashing and stuff, so that you don't have to be sitting in the front row to get pretty wet. Unless you're one of the straight men in the audience who seemed to be regretting bringing their dates to see the sexiest man this side of Johnny Depp.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Obamarama





Its not often that I'm jealous of Americans, but right now I'm pretty green about the whole election thing. How exciting must it be to vote for someone you'd actually like to win? Every experience I have had of voting so far has involved choosing the least gittish of a bunch of gits, or choosing the git most likely to stop the biggest git being elected. Not exactly inspiring. Anyway, dead jealous of all the lovely bonding going on in the cities of America. Don't really see why we shouldn't get a vote too, since whoever runs America ends up with a fairly big say in what happens to us too. I have been getting involved with all the hype on my favourite site Etsy, where avid creative types have been putting their cutting and sticking skills to good political use. Anyway, if you want to get involved in the election fun, there are apparently a few USA friendly spots in London who will be open at unsociable hours-The Knightsbridge Chicago Rib Shack is open all night until breakfast.The official American -expats- living- abroad knees up is at The Light in Shoreditch-unlike most of the scheduled events its free and with at least 700 guests already confirmed, its going to be a big one.


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Halloween




It seems that some British establishment (probably the queen) is trying to distract us from Halloween this year by releasing the new James Bond film on the 31st October. Despite being bombarded by Daniel Craig from left right and centre; his gravelly voice on the radio; his chiselled jaw on that high definition tv ad and those piercing blue eyes staring at me from the side of the bus.. but no! I will not go to the cinema tomorrow night! I will dress up and have scary fun and banish all thought of Mr Bond until at least Saturday afternoon. Nothing to dress up for?Try one of these:
  • Viva Cake- creatures of the night.Highlights include FREE CAKE, burlesque, Tarot readings, face painting etc all in typical Viva 1950s stylee. www.myspace.com/vivacakebitches
  • Razzlemadazzle- Mexican Day of the Dead style celebrations at The Jamm in Brixton, complete with snake dancing and a bespoke hat stall... www.brixtonjamm.org
  • Danse Macabre- Originally sold out, but The Last Tuesday Society's Halloween ball has now been moved to the 1st November, so there might be returned tickets available.. www.lasttuesdaysociety.org


Monday, 6 October 2008

Cultural Olympiad was launched!no really, it was.


So, a couple of weekends ago it was the launch of the Cultural Olympiad-bet you didn't know that, right?Thats ok-nobody did!Despite the fact that hardly anyone in the press and few of us in the arts industry really know what the big CO is about yet, it went and launched itself, sort of.I went to Gold, a festival in Shoreditch town hall that hopes to become 'a fringe to the cultural Olympiad activities staged by London's major institutions'. The night was a lovely mix of the eclectic and alternative sides of the British art scene, but sadly, their was hardly anyone there. But there were still some good bits:in the basement there were Ghost stories told in the dark by  Giles Abbott, puppet shows and The House of Fairytales' amazing ocular tableau vivant- a tiny window into a room full of real life fairytale characters; just magic. (I'm talking to Deborah Curtis at the moment about working with her and Gavin Turk on the next HoF project-fingers crossed and watch this space!)Viktor Wynd's basement experience was run by The Last Tuesday Society- a wonderfully crazy bunch who also invited the wacky You, me bumbumtrain to feature in the evening's shenanigans. This would all have been awesome if they'd been anyone there. Upstairs I found Jessie Chorley and Buddug,(pictured) creators of gorgeous vintage style accessories-you may have seen them at the Sunday market off Brick Lane.They now have a shop on Columbia road-check out openings etc on www.jessiechorley.com or www.buddug.com 
On Sunday I went to the HungaMunga festival to interview artist Tinsel Edwards for Dazed and Confused.We got cutting and sticking, but unfortunately she made a card for a friend whose party she was going to, so I was unable to whip any ebayable art work for my future children's trust funds.
Concrete and Glass was yet another East London art festival that kicked off last week.Though the music bits are all over, the artwork is on for another week or so, so go and check it out if you can't face the crowds at Frieze and Zoo. www.concreteandglass.co.uk
Only other news really is that I have quite my job to become a real life writer!Desperately in need of a large dose of discipline, but hopefully I will get into the groove and churn out a book before I'm 30. Went to register for the course I'm doing at Goldsmiths and tried not to be influenced by the overwhelming feeling that I am well past it now, and that blonde was a real cop out colour to dye my hair when obviously pink or blue would be a lot more appropriate.I am hoping I can get this course done before they notice I'm not cool enough to be there.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

A Shuffle and a Whoopee.































This weekend I headed over to Cordy house for the Shoreditch Shuffle. Apart from the really utterly Great Cake Escape at Kemistry (see my review for Amelia’s magazine here: http://www.ameliasmagazine.com/amelias_blog/2008/09/the_great_cake_escape.php)
the rest of the shuffle was a bit shit. Pearl Lowe was supposed to be showing her new collection of vintage inspired lace dresses, but was a no-show- apparently due to illness-must be that mystery bug that always seems to swipe celebrities scheduled to appear at low key events. (Karma please note: I take all my bitter cynicism back if anyone was actually sick)Anyway, there was still 'I lust Brick Lane'; a catwalk show of outfits from the various vintage shops in the East London hot spot. All outfits painfully cool and pretty unwearable, likewise all the art on display in Cordy house was heavily reliant on shock tactics-Dave Hilliard’s glittery cocaine, piss and puke being just a tad tasteless but oh so Hoxton.
The Whoopee Carnivale at The Scoop was refreshing after the pretences of the Shoreditch crowd. With Johnny Woo hosting the event and managing to keep nearly all the sexual innuendos flying over the heads of 2 year olds in the crowd. There was some great acts like the So and So circus and some decidedly dodgy acts involving stuffed swans on wheels and, well, we’ll say no more about that. Miss Lily White performed a sparkling burlesque piece as the finale, before DJ Hitman Hearn spun some tunes to get everyone dancing. This is the kind of free London event that makes the price tag of Shoreditch Shuffle seem pretty unjustified.
On a final note-If you’re around Selfridges anytime today, head to the Wonder room where Vivienne Westwood is launching her fashion soundtrack to mark the beginning of London Fashion Week.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

In with the old...


Frock me Vintage Fashion Fair set up its stalls and tea room in Chelsea Town hall today, a gorgeous venue for a lot of really gorgeous stuff. Unfortunately, shopping at these fairs is mostly a spectator sport for me, as I am neither a size 0 nor brandishing wads of cash. Lace, sequins, silk and satin dresses dating from the turn of the century to more recent vintage 'style' pieces line the walls of the town hall,along with accessories like hats, fans, shoes, gloves and suitcases. If you're the creative type, then this is the ideal place to get vintage buttons, sequins, lace, ribbons and decorative pieces to embroider onto your clothes. Buttons and stuff were almost all I could afford, as the truly lovely vintage pieces were all pretty pricey. There were exceptions though-I came across a great vintage style Marc Jacobs slip dress for £40. And if you're going to a fancy dress party, its a great place to get the hat or fan that will make your outfit, even if you don't have the tiny post-war figure or the big, pre credit crunch budget to buy your dress there. As long as you're not worried about the size of your waist, pop into the tea room for tea, scones and deliciously iced cupcakes. Next London date for the fair is October 26th, check out their site here: www.frockmevintagefashion.com
 The London photo fair also hit town today, a really great little get together of vintage photo dealers for a wide range of budgets- selling everything from old postcards to one off prints. This is basically like visiting a gallery exhibition of historic images, but here you're allowed to touch and even take home what you see. The next show is in November, register on the website and they'll send you an arty postcard to remind you its coming up: www.photofair.co.uk

Wednesday, 27 August 2008




To start off with, I'd like to mark this moment in time by quoting Yahoo's top news stories today:

Miliband warning on new Cold War
Millionaire missing after 'arson'
Fifth man held over Brown plot
Glitter 'spotted in orange wig'
No excuse for obesity, claim Tories
Archaeologists unearth 1,300-year-old mummy
Man found living with over fifty snakes

Just off the list there is also the Brass-eye-esque classic 'Paedophiles offered castration'.No joke.Yeah, so, I just wanted to point out that everyone has gone mad.

On a happier note, tomorrow night is the special Viva Cake doll's tea party at the Viktor and Rolf dolls exhibition at the Barbican.Woohoo!hoorah for cake, dancing and waitresses on roller skates!We are being overrun by obese, snake loving, wig wearing, paedophile arsonists, but at least Viva still know how to throw a great party. Get your 50s kit on and head over there.http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=7700

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Sew Vogue































Moving in with my boyfriend has required certain compromises from us both. Whilst he has had to learn to put up with my hair getting everywhere, (I malt like a cat) I have had to cut down on the amount of useless clutter I accumulate. I admit to having a bit of a magazine fetish, and whilst in my old house the girls I shared with would love the fact that I indulged in say, 5 or 6 mags a month, my man despairs of the piles and piles of glossy dead tree now lining his previously tidy surfaces. I have tried to cut down, honestly; and have even resorted to binge reading where I buy a magazine, read it on the bus, tear out the stuff I like then
 leave it for someone else to find. I've also started to do a monthly clear out where I chuck out old copies. This is new to me- at my family home I have cupboards full of issues of Marie Claire dating back to the 90s. (this is not my fault, its a hereditary thing; my mum has every Country Living since 1985) Anyway, yesterday I was flicking through a copy of Vogue from the 
 Spring, tearing out anything I couldn't bear to chuck, and I came across Kate Talbot's fantastic creations. Checking out her site, (www.hungdrawnandquoted.co.uk) you can see she's created some wonderfully witty woollen creations-all her images can be bought as prints, or if you're feeling flush, you can commission a bespoke piece; a cuddly iphone pehaps, or your favourite film poster stitched to scale?If this inspired you to get out a needle and thread yourself, head to one of the classes at Prick your Finger: www.prickyourfinger.com

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Make Stuff, Make friends, Make a mess


Sunday night is an unconventional time for partying, but then Hunga Munga is a pretty unconventional set up - 'make stuff, make friends, make a mess' is their motto; nostalgically nursery school- like, but with lots more booze.Tomorrow night is The Hunga Munga menagerie- an art and crafty celebration of all the best creatures-dress up, make up and win prizes. Animal inspired artists performing musical delights include Lucy and the caterpillars, and Gaby Young and other animals.£6 buys you entry and all the artistic materials you'll need to bond with other arty types whilst peeling gluey film off your fingers; priceless.
  In fact, Hunga Munga has orchestrated a one-off weekend festival at Bethnal Green Working Men's club, dedicated to arts and crafts, live music including Nizlopi, comedy from the likes of Josie Long, raffles,knitting, scones and all other party essentials. You can buy £25 tickets for the whole weekend, 27th and 28th September or for either day separately- go to www.hungamunga.co.uk.
HM isn't the only festival bringing up the rear of the season, that same weekend East London will also be hosting Gold; a new music and arts event coinciding with the official launch of the cultural Olympiad.Highlights include Orange prize winner Linda Grant who'll be talking about fashion in literature, music from  Turner Prize winner Martin Creed's band, tea and gay bingo with Jonny Woo, and a tour of Shoreditch street art from Time Out visual arts editor Ossian Ward. Dr Sketchy's anti- art club will be hosted by Dusty Limits, giving you the chance to draw burlesque dancer, Fancy Chance. I'm particularly excited about The Last Tuesday Society who'll be hanging out in the Town Hall crypt and promising tales, tears, ghosts and Punch and Judy....Get your early bird tickets for £15 now at www.gold08.co.uk, and keep the summer festival season going till the end of September; then we can start planning Halloween.

Friday, 25 July 2008

The greatest show on earth



Tonight I am off to the Cotswolds to see the tiny, family-run Gifford's Circus. I have been a huge fan since seeing their first show and have been every year since, even hosting my 21st birthday party there. Nell Gifford left Oxford university to set up her own travelling circus, and from these humble beginnings the Giffords experience has gone on to be described by Vogue as 'possibly the greatest show on earth'.Despite rave revues and massive popularity, the show still has a maximum 300 audience capacity, which maintains the magical intimacy of the performances.Nell travels the world looking for new acts, and trains her own horses who appear in the shows. After the event, you can join the troupe for a beautifully prepared dinner 'backstage' in a fairy-lit tent. Served on star strewn pottery painted by Nell's sister Emma Bridgewater, the atmosphere of the meal is always just as exciting as the show.Every detail is perfect, from the dazzling costumes, to the live music, to the fairground swings to ride in the interval. Here are some photos of years past; photography is no longer allowed so I don't have any recent images.Check out the website, also a work of art: http://www.giffordscircus.com/
At the organisation where I work, I heard Malcolm Clay, head of the association of British circus proprietors describe Giffords as 'the jewel in the crown of British circus'. But even if you think you don't like circus, give it a go. In fact, unless you don't like fun, I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy it. I have taken pretty much everyone I know, including my grandma, my boyfriend and my 6 year old sister.Somehow Giffords manages to be both innocent and quintessentially English, but also at times erotic and wonderfully exotic.If you're 18, have left school and don't know what to do with yourself, Gifford's are currently taking on interns...

Saturday, 19 July 2008

EAR at Southbank



I cut short a somewhat frightening family trip to Cornwall this week to catch my boyfriend's band Emunah playing at the EAR (emerging artists in residence) gig at the Southbank Centre last night. They appeared courtesy of Meg Hamilton, their violinist and current EAR.They, of course, kicked ass, as did many of the other acts, especially Catherine Ann Davies whose performance actually made the girl sitting next to me cry.In a good way obviously.Check out her blog and the other artists' details at http://eartypepad.com/blog. 

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Central Saint Martins Private View


Friday night I took a deep breath before plunging headfirst into the depths of the art students' midst at CSM. For anyone who hasn't ever found themselves knee deep in art school graduates, let me tell you, its a daunting experience. Few of them are willing to pass up the opportunity of using their body as an extra canvas, hence the onslaught of cutting edge tattoos, hair colours and styles plus any number of weird and wonderful clothing combinations. Whether its due to their creativity or confidence, they manage to pull it off ,which is why I usually end up feeling a bit like a sparrow who's accidentally been caged up with a load of exotic birds. Of course, a lot of these kids have one major advantage in both the looks and talent stakes;great genes(and I'm not talking denim). Students who have photographed model/Agyness Dean's mate/Mario Testino's god daughter Alice Delall for their dissertation fashion magazine have obviously inherited a much fatter little black book than most 18 year olds, and in this business more than most, its all about who you know.Tips for the top? Some gorgeous prints from Athena Adomaitis in the fashion school,Catherine Dwyer Harvy's 1950's pin-up photography and the very Stella Vine-esque Tinsel Edwards (pictured).Tinsel's own private view is on 26th June at Pure Evil gallery.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

No Fit State





Last night I dragged the girls to Victoria Park for the opening of the Paradise Gardens weekend, a celebration of circus, Victorian village fetes, tea dances and general outdoorsy bank holiday fun. We went to see Tabu by No Fit State Circus- a company described by The Guardian as 'Cirque du Soleil without the Disney and the disinfectant'. And it didn't disappoint. An incredibly attractive, multi-talented cast performed an array of aerial arts using beautiful costumes and the elements of fire and water to create a visually dazzling experience. There's no seating area, you're just jostled about amongst the performers which adds a really atmospheric intimacy to the whole thing. Particularly given the amount of snogging that goes on. I'm pretty sure that every woman there left wishing her job involved such a lot of corset wearing, adrenaline rush and naked torso grasping. What is it about circus men?Is it really just that they're everything your mother ever warned you about-dirty, hairy, muscular, tattoed and certain to be in another city by tomorrow morning?There's plenty for the lads too though, including a tightrope walker performing in 5 inch heels, before stripping and rolling a cigarette whilst suspended above your head. I'm really questioning my career choice.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Florence and The Machine


Popped along to the Astoria on Thursday night to see MGMT, but was really pleasantly surprised to catch the warm-up act, Florence and the Machine. Florence has one of the most powerful voices I've ever heard come out of such a tiny white girl, and not in a pretentious pseudo-soul Joss Stoney kind of way, just raw, gutteral power. With glittery eyelashes and a lot of gangly girlishness, Florence channels much of the kookiness of other charismatic frontwomen like Lovefoxx(CSS) and Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes). Lyrics like 'a kiss with a fist is better than none' (and a whole song about eating a bird thats sees her do a bad thing and then its song coming out of her mouth and giving her away) recall Regina Spektor's quirky ramblings, but before I condemn her with too many comparisons, check her out yourself on myspace.
I'm a massive Indian Jones fan.I even did a degree in archaeaology. The disappointment I felt at university when I found out none of my lecturers looked remotely like Harrison Ford was echoed last night when I saw the latest Indie offering.Spoiler alert! Though its not nearly as bad as some critics have made out, I just felt the whole package was some forced, plasticky substitute for the real thing. There was the standard modern Hollywood error of investing massively in special effects, whilst scrimping on script.There's a chance they didn't even have one. And despite all the normal Indie ingredients that are ticked off like a checklist: waterfalls; check, bugs; check,monkeys, snakes, temples, treasure with paranormal powers, truck chases, whip and hat action;check. It just wasn't the same. Maybe this has a lot to do with us not being the same, or our expectations being too great. Whereas Nazis and the power of God were fear factor enough in the original films, the crystal skull has Indie surviving a nuclear explosion in the first five minutes, after which nothing really shocks.Well, actually; some of it is still pretty shocking, but not in a good way.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Rob Ryan and Tatty Devine


There are days when I wonder how anyone has the will power to be a writer. As one soon to be published authoress described her writing technique in Time Out last week,(watching Deal or No deal, writing a bit,eating a biscuit, having a nap, maybe write a bit more), at least I know I'm not alone. Deciding to make a proper go of something that so few people succeed at takes some guts.I, myself, am taking the gutless approach by keeping my day job and thus not actually ever getting round to writing very much, but at least being able to pay the rent and afford basics like food, soap, Vogue,toilet roll, cake etc. I therefore am in awe of someone who decided to make a living out of cutting holes out of bits of paper, and has managed to make an enviable career out of it.Rob Ryan cuts pictures and poems out of paper in the way we used to snip snowflakes out of the white stuff at nursery. Rob's delicate creations are both ridiculously simplistic but also incredibly intricate, and his latest collaboration with the jewellery makers Tatty Devine perfectly complements both their quirky aesthetics. Tatty's jewellery is the definition of kitsch (I challenge you to come up with its actual definition)-her most famous pieces include necklaces designed to look like crisps, plectrums, fishbones,moustaches and so on. As well as working with Rob on a few limited edition designs like this 'story told through tears' necklace, currently being exhibited at the Brick Lane store , Tatty has also teamed up with artists Gilbert and George for her latest range inspired by their Art. Check out her site at tattydevine.com

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Sloth


Whilst I may be a fan of all seven, my favourite sin over the last few months has undeniably been sloth. Having moved in with my boyfriend, we now spend most of our time cooking/eating/playing Mario kart/watching his new boxset of Six feet Under. Times I used to dedicate to writing have been reallocated to TV watching, magazine reading and basically just floomphing about. With this blog, however, I intend to turn over a new leaf, and at least document the few hours I manage to make it out of the flat each week.
   Last weekend I blew my birthday budget on my first piece of Art. Trying to find something that would look good on your wall, is affordable, but isn't from allposters.com is harder than it sounds. But in East London I managed to pick up a signed limited edition print of one of Dan Hillier's creations. I opted for one of the more traditional nude portraits on a bright blue background, but plenty of his work is much more darker, with skulls and octopus tentacles his favorite decorative features.Check out his work at the link: www.danhiller.com
I also braved the most talked about show  of the London Dance world this Thursday, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's Myth at Sadler's Wells. The choreography credited both martial arts and anime asinspirations, and the dark, shadow figures with their flowing limbs, dreadlocks and black drapery reminded me of the spidery black creatures in the Zelda computer games. Both sinister, yet funny, spiritual and experimental; this is the cutting edge of modern dance. I can't deny that enjoying it took some work-this is definitely not one to bother with if you're only notion of dance involves a tutu and tights.
www.sadlerswells.com

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