Friday, 14 January 2011

Secret Garden Party’s Lost Lovers Ball at Battersea Power Station

I love festivals. Where else can you go, act like idiot for three days, listen to your favourite music, generally act a bit silly and only surround yourself with your friends? I’ve been to a fair few and Secret Garden wins by miles. There are the most beautifully random installations that manage to live in their environment without being pretentiously placed at all but are there to be enjoyed.

I got a bit excited when I found out about The Lost Lovers Ball which the company are holding in February. They’ve managed to get hold of Battersea Power Station (my favourite building in London ever) and are making use of their time there with three nights of activity.

For £50 you choose one of these three nights (11th, 12th or 13th February) and prepare to entertained by some of Secret Garden’s most delectable entertainers including Bearded Kitten and Tax Deductible, as well as some of the best of the talking and debating stages, people like Guerilla Science and The Forum. Get tickets here.

If you know anything about SGP, then it will probably be that you will look really out of place if you aren’t dressed up. I don’t really ‘dressing up’ is really the right term for these chaps though. It’s more a sort of alternate persona that you have to adopt when you’re there. It’s the same escapism as the festival. Except this time, I can walk home.

For good measure, and because I could never get enough of them, here are some of my photos from SGP10.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

H.A.M Kanye and Jay Z

Long awaited and highly anticipated. To be completely honest I hadn't heard about this until last week but what is there not to be excited about in a Kanye West and Jay Z collaboration?
H.A.M is the first single, dropped today, from the forthcoming album Watch the Throne. The whole album will be released in March. It's a big space to watch, but I've got my eyes peeled. Apparently they recorded the whole thing in a week. So much swagger they don't have to spend time on it to make it hardcore.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

CHERYL comes to London. No not that one.

There are a lot of events companies in London. I like events nights, if you find a good organisation that hasn’t got too pretentious yet, then as a rule, they are well-un by people whose main ambition is that you and your friends have a good time. That’s definitely not an invite that I would turn down.
My first experience of an events company in London was from The Last Tuesday Society. I really enjoyed the first masked ball in October 2009, then spent a really fun Near Year with them, my friends and some wonderful folk music at Liverpool Street, from there I’ve been to nights at the V and A, twice to their private club just off The Strand and others that are all as memorable as each other; they’ve done a bloomin good job and I’ve enjoyed every minute.
On The Handpicked Collection blog I posted an article a couple of months ago for events for Halloween. I ended up going to another Last Tuesday event, but second on my list was the more vulgar and frightening night organised by the Torture Gardens. This events company made it big with that Halloween gig and now it doesn’t seem as weird that normal people want to go to a night that fuzzes the border of mad party with bondage, freaks and ‘scenes of a sexual nature’. I suppose the only way is up after the abundance of parties that are to be had in the capital. How else to make something different?
Maybe it’s just good marketing. This month sees a transaltlantical force from CHERYL. No, not that one, and she’s got the wrong idea anyway. Chezza C may be leaving her Geordie roots for the American Dream, but this events company is making the much appreciated hop to our side of the pond. Originally starting out in NYC, they’ve recently hosted events in MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum.


‘The dance party that will ruin your life’ is coming to The Star of Bethnal Green. It sounds like a good night already, the website is full of strong images and the past events look brilliant. But mostly, I’m pretty curious to see if the New Yorkers have what Last Tuesday have, what Torture Gardens have, what an underground club in Soho has or what a gay club in Vauxhall has; some ingredients are blindingly obvious, good music, reasonable entry and drinks, but the best ones have an organised leniency and interesting surroundings. Last Tuesday has beautiful venues; in Adam Street you have to walk down about four flights of tiny stairs and bend under archways before you get to another big beautiful room with huge arches that run under the street. A bitch if you’re a smoker, I’ll tell you. Another company, Planet Angel, had an art gallery showing works by whoever wanted to exhibit. Half of the exhibitors were dancing to dubstep in the next room.
Cheryl is coming to London and I’m excited to see what they’re bringing!

Cheryl Saturday 22 January from 10pm.
Tickets are £4.00. Go to the fb for more info here

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

As usual I have far too many unrealistic resolutions, one of which is to take further advantage of exhibitions etc. in London. So far (one weekend in) it seems to be going well.
Running from September until the end of this month at the V and A is the Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes. This is how i chose to spend my morning of the bank holiday Monday yesterday. Unfortunately, the usually dodgable 'No Photography' rule was rather strictly enforced and my grainy BlackBerry shots are nothing special of which to speak. I've used the ones from the V and A website instead. Thank you very much.
Diaghiliev (1872 - 1929) it seems was a bit of a character. Some of the first material to see on entering the exhibition are quotes from his contemporaries noting his qualities as a human being. Most along the lines that he is brilliant but 'terrible'. It appears that he was a difficult person to work with. He had many areas of expertise, philosophy, sorcery apparently and most famously a business and incredible creative for his dance company.
The exhibition is laid out chronologically, beginning with 'The first seasons'. This first room was the one i spent the majority of my time in (perhaps because at this point i was unaware of the five following rooms). I'm a sucker for hand stitching, and the costumes, created by the Russian-born Leon Bankst are phenomenal. There are lots of cultural influences. Some of the incredibly detailed handmade costumes looked nearly African with bright colours and what could be batik markings. Bankst also shows his sketching and painting ability with beautifully detailed costume designs and Egyptian and Arabic paintings using similar colour palettes. i don't really think Bankst had enough credit shown to him in the exhibition. Artist, set and costume designer - frankly sounds like a lot of work.
Another room which I loved was that containing the construction method and finished product of the backcloth for The Firebird; a 1913 production from the Ballets Russes.
It's huge, and looks a wee bit cramped in the triangular room the V and A have given it. The construction diagrams in the preceding room are just as fascinating. It's created in columns, first on large, scaled down but intricate and accurate drawings. The colours again remind me of spices and Arabic culture with the bright golden onion domes, reds, oranges and browns. These are translated magnificently onto the huge backcloth in the next room.
This image is from Little Design Book.