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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Latitude Festival 2010: A Review of the Poetry, Ballet and Cabaret.

A review of random other stuff that I discovered at Latitude, including poets Sabrina Mahfouz and Alex Gwyther, the Mark Thomas Community Quiz, cabaret act Frisky and Mannish and lots of goodies from Duckie's Masked Ball.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Sometimes, find Jenny Robins wears all the necklaces she owns at the same time.

She hails from a medium sized village near Brighton, help where people greet each other on the street. She studied illustration at Southampton Solent where she mostly got away with drawing what she wanted, honing a strong immediate style specialising in birds and hand-drawn text. Then she went travelling round the world for a bit, doing plenty of drawing on the way. She has been living in London for a while now.

She has done comics for Bedlam Magazine and Patchwork Comics, plenty of editorial work mostly for Amelia’s magazine, T-shirt designs for the Social Fabric at Topman and collaborative projects with small labels, posters for Fairtrade societies and sought after live drawings of bands. She makes really amazing greetings cards too.

Currently she is doing an epic project drawing every single one of her facebook friends.
www.jennyrobins.co.uk
Twitter: @jennyrobins

Sometimes, click Jenny Robins wears all the necklaces she owns at the same time.

She hails from a medium sized village near Brighton, discount where people greet each other on the street. She studied illustration at Southampton Solent where she mostly got away with drawing what she wanted, approved honing a strong immediate style specialising in birds and hand-drawn text. Then she went travelling round the world for a bit, doing plenty of drawing on the way. She has been living in London for a while now.

She has done comics for Bedlam Magazine and Patchwork Comics, plenty of editorial work mostly for Amelia’s magazine, T-shirt designs for the Social Fabric at Topman and collaborative projects with small labels, posters for Fairtrade societies and sought after live drawings of bands. She makes really amazing greetings cards too.

Currently she is doing an epic project drawing every single one of her facebook friends.
www.jennyrobins.co.uk
Twitter: @jennyrobins

Sometimes, medications Jenny Robins wears all the necklaces she owns at the same time.

She hails from a medium sized village near Brighton, case where people greet each other on the street. She studied illustration at Southampton Solent where she mostly got away with drawing what she wanted, try honing a strong immediate style specialising in birds and hand-drawn text. Then she went travelling round the world for a bit, doing plenty of drawing on the way. She has been living in London for a while now.

She has done comics for Bedlam Magazine and Patchwork Comics, plenty of editorial work mostly for Amelia’s magazine, T-shirt designs for the Social Fabric at Topman and collaborative projects with small labels, posters for Fairtrade societies and sought after live drawings of bands. She makes really amazing greetings cards too.

Currently she is doing an epic project drawing every single one of her facebook friends.
www.jennyrobins.co.uk
Twitter: @jennyrobins

Natasha-Thompson-Kissaway-Trail-Latitude-2010
The Kissaway Trail by Natasha Thompson.

The music at Latitude can feel like a bit of a byline given that there are so many other options for entertainment. But that doesn’t stop the calibre being suitably high. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Latitude 2010-Martin Creed by Amelia Gregory
Paul-Shinn-Martin-Creed
Martin Creed by Paul Shinn.

Our first stop on Friday was a musical performance piece from Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and his merry band of sexy young things. Notably all female. I was initially sceptical – I’ve seen Bob and Roberta Smith perform at the ICA and was less than impressed by the cacophony. But this was actually entertaining, symptoms especially when Martin sang “What’s the point of it” and “If you’re lonely then this is for you” and “I don’t know what I feel, what I want” against a projection of smashing flower pots, a penis in the process of erecting and a man’s bottom. Combine this with the random movements of a ballet dancer and you pretty much had the ultimate manifestation of middle aged male angst. Brilliant.

Latitude 2010-Kissaway Trail by Amelia gregory
Latitude 2010-Kissaway Trail by Amelia gregory
Natasha-Thompson-Kissaway-Trail-Latitude-2010
The Kissaway Trail by Natasha Thompson.

The Kissaway Trail were a band I’ve not really warmed to on CD, but the live performance was a whole different deal. This unbearably cute bunch of Danish boys smashed the Word Arena with their Scandinavian take on epic indie pop. And they even have their very own version of Bez – a hyper excited braces-wearing tambourine player. A real find.

Latitude 2010-Kominas by Amelia gregory
Latitude 2010-Kominas by Amelia gregory
middle age mosh pit by Matthew Ellero
Middle Age Mosh Pit by Matthew Ellero.

Back in the Film and Music Arena US punk Muslim outfit The Kominas entertained a load of rowdy young men… and a very enthusiastic middle-aged woman, who proceeded to fend off the moshpit with the legs of a chair, before beating the youth to the free t-shirt thrown into the crowd. Thoroughly entertaining.

Abi Daker - The Villagers
Villagers by Abigail Daker.

I recently gave the Villagers’ debut album a glowing review, so I went to check out the imp-like Conor J. O’Brien and his merry band of men – of particular note was Conor’s live rendition of Pieces, his wolf howls given that much more stamina in the flesh. Conor has the air of someone heading for major success.

Andrea Peterson Empire of the Sun
Andrea Peterson Latitude Swordfish
Empire of the Sun by Andrea Peterson.

I was thoroughly miffed to have missed an early promo of the Empire of the Sun album- discovered during a clearout to have made it no further than the interns’ office: if I’d heard the album back then I would definitely have been more on the case of this fabulously over the top retro 90s pop electro… down on the Obelisk Stage lead singer Luke Steele looked resplendent in smeary facepaint and a range of over the top Samurai and Aztec/Inca influenced accessories. No expense was spared on the production of this show, which wasn’t even a headline act. The four dancers went through frequent costume changes, my favourite of which was some very cool blonde swordfish. A lot of fun.

Latitude 2010-empire of the sun
Latitude 2010-Florence crowd by Amelia gregory

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Florence and the Machine. I sort of think I don’t like her very much and then I realise I’ve been listening to her album on repeat all day. So a little conflicted then. This was the first time I’ve seen her perform live since I first met her as a bolshy unsigned artist doing a solo acoustic performance at a PPQ store party. Which doesn’t actually feel like it was that long ago. Three years?

Natasha-Thompson-Florence-and-the-Machine-Latitude-Festival-2010
Florence and The Machine by Natasha Thompson.

The curtain dropped and there she was: flowing vermillion locks, check, flowing cream dress, check, massive drum, check. Without further ado she launched into a bunch of songs that I could happily hum along to (I’ve never really been one to listen closely and learn lyrics) pausing only to sing happy birthday to her little sister Grace, who was dragged on stage with their brother – both dressed in animal costumes. It was really rather cute. Predictably You’ve Got the Love was the biggest crowd pleaser. Isn’t it funny how the 90s have crept up on us again without us even realising it? One new song got an airing, and sounded, well, typically Florence. That girl has a super powerful pair of lungs but you’ve got to wonder – does all that caterwauling ever render her speechless?
Latitude 2010-Mumford and sons by AMELIA GREGORY
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Sunday afternoon belonged to Mumford and Sons – it was an absolutely glorious summer afternoon and it felt like the whole festival had turned out to see the current darlings of the indie folk crossover scene.

Latitude 2010-Mumford and sons by AMELIA GREGORY
Latitude 2010-Mumford and sons by AMELIA GREGORY
mumford and sons by fritha strickland
Mumford and Sons by Fritha Strickland.

I haven’t seen them live before and was massively impressed by lead singer Marcus Mumford, cost who appears to be able to play every instrument under the sun.

Latitude 2010-Kirstin Hersh by Amelia gregory

I decided to see Kirstin Hersh after a tip off from Robin Ince (in this interview) but I guess you would need to be a serious Throwing Muses fan to enjoy her particular brand of melancholic guitar grunge. She didn’t really float my boat.

Latitude 2010-rodrigo y gabriela by Amelia gregory
Rodrigo y Gabriela by Sine Skau
Rodrigo y Gabriela by Sine Skau.

I first discovered Rodrigo y Gabriela at Latitude in 2007, capsule and this year they brought they virtuoso guitar playing to the main stage. Although it dwarfed their tiny figures they more than held their own and no doubt converted a whole new batch of fans with their awesome musicianship. To watch those calloused hands up close is something else.

jonsi birgisson by jenny costello
Jónsi by Jenny Costello.

In order to miss the traffic our last stop of the day was Sigur Ros front man Jónsi, playing in the Word Arena. Once again showcasing a popular propensity for the wearing of tribal influenced regalia, Jónsi created a falsetto wall of sound that was the perfect end to a pretty damn near perfect festival. Just gorgeous.
Latitude 2010-Active Child by Amelia Gregory
Active Child. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The falsetto sounds of Active Child were our new discovery for Saturday morning. American Pat Grossi alone on stage with just his mixer and computer, decease another lone electro maestro. Soporifically beautiful.

JAMES-LATITUDE-JENNY-GOLDSTONE
James by Jenny Goldstone.

James were our mid afternoon treat over at the Obelisk Arena – but we didn’t just sit down, we lay spark out and enjoyed a full tour through their back catalogue of hits from a horizontal position. I was somewhat surprised to note that the lead singer is now bald of bounce and goatee of beard when I am sure he used to have lots of curly locks and a clean shave – oh the perils of ageing.

Latitude 2010-kids by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-family by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-girls by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-chips by Amelia Gregory

We were surrounded by lots of families, parents obviously revelling in a favourite from their youth, whilst even the teens next to us could sing along to the band’s most famous tune. And it seems we weren’t the only ones having a relaxing time.

Latitude 2010-gaggle choir by Amelia Gregory

In the woods we encountered a bunch of singing girls in wonderful outfits. Now why don’t all choirs dress like the Gaggle? I couldn’t really hear them, but darn it, who cares when they look this good?!

faye skinner FIRST AID kit
First Aid Kit, protected by a burly security man, by Faye Skinner.

I love it when a band I’ve loved forever starts to gain widespread success, and First Aid Kit have now reached a stage where they could draw suitably impressive crowds to the wooded environs of the Sunrise Arena. If you haven’t yet seen them live, then why the hell not? You can read a previous review of their gig at the Union Chapel here.

Crystal-Castles-Latitude-2010-by-Mina-Bach
Crystal Castles by Mina Bach.

Over on the other side Crystal Castles arrived to a cascading wall of squelching beats that had the middle aged couple next to me pulling somewhat bemused faces at each other. Goodness knows what they made of Alice’s performance thereafter. Whilst slugging on a bottle of Jim Beam *rock n roll* she declared that gang bangers should “all be castrated” – the first inkling I had that all was not well at Latitude. Thereafter she was hellbent on crowdsurfing through the entire set, which mainly involved flinging herself into the rather excited male audience down front and then punching them if they grabbed her inappropriately, before being dragged back by security. Oh how the burly men in uniform love it when the singer does that. Rather inexplicably one fan insisted on giving Alice a sign featuring the word TOAST and, yup, you got it, a picture of a piece of toast. There’s been much grumbling online about Alice’s performance but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it did look rather like she had to yak at one point.

Latitude 2010-belle and sebastian by Amelia Gregory
sarah martin belle and sebastain by kate blandford
Sarah Martin of Belle and Sebastain by Kate Blandford.

The pace changed down a gear with the arrival of headliners Belle and Sebastian, playing their first gig in many years. First comment from those next to me? “She looks a bit mumsy.” And so what if Sarah does? Belle and Sebastian are not exactly in the first flush of youth, a fact which frontman Stuart Murdoch picked up repeatedly as he declared “they promised us an old crowd” – as usual the front was of course packed out with teenagers whilst the oldies (that seems to include me these days) hung back for a bit of air. Not that I’ve ever been a massive fan of the mosh pit. At one point Stuart threatened to take his top off (he was looking rather fit) which caused a fresh round of adolescent screaming “it would be like walking in on your dad in the shower” he laughed. It was a delightful set that featured an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash and finished with a gaggle of very happy teenagers dancing around on stage in front of the wrinkles and their orchestra. “You just made an old man very happy,” laughed Stuart in his lilting Scottish brogue, “now get off.” You show them who’s boss round here!

Read my Sunday music review here.
Latitude 2010-Active Child by Amelia Gregory
Active Child. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The falsetto sounds of Active Child were our new discovery for Saturday morning. American Pat Grossi alone on stage with just his mixer and computer, sildenafil another lone electro maestro. Soporifically beautiful.

JAMES-LATITUDE-JENNY-GOLDSTONE
James by Jenny Goldstone.

James were our mid afternoon treat over at the Obelisk Arena – but we didn’t just sit down, help we lay spark out and enjoyed a full tour through their back catalogue of hits from a horizontal position. I was somewhat surprised to note that the lead singer is now bald of bounce and goatee of beard when I am sure he used to have lots of curly locks and a clean shave – oh the perils of ageing.

Latitude 2010-kids by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-family by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-girls by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-chips by Amelia Gregory

We were surrounded by lots of families, parents obviously revelling in a favourite from their youth, whilst even the teens next to us could sing along to the band’s most famous tune. And it seems we weren’t the only ones having a relaxing time.

Latitude 2010-gaggle choir by Amelia Gregory

In the woods we encountered a bunch of singing girls in wonderful outfits. Now why don’t all choirs dress like the Gaggle? I couldn’t really hear them, but darn it, who cares when they look this good?!

faye skinner FIRST AID kit
First Aid Kit, protected by a burly security man, by Faye Skinner.

I love it when a band I’ve loved forever starts to gain widespread success, and First Aid Kit have now reached a stage where they could draw suitably impressive crowds to the wooded environs of the Sunrise Arena. If you haven’t yet seen them live, then why the hell not? You can read a previous review of their gig at the Union Chapel here.

Crystal-Castles-Latitude-2010-by-Mina-Bach
Crystal Castles by Mina Bach.

Over on the other side Crystal Castles arrived to a cascading wall of squelching beats that had the middle aged couple next to me pulling somewhat bemused faces at each other. Goodness knows what they made of Alice’s performance thereafter. Whilst slugging on a bottle of Jim Beam *rock n roll* she declared that gang bangers should “all be castrated” – the first inkling I had that all was not well at Latitude. Thereafter she was hellbent on crowdsurfing through the entire set, which mainly involved flinging herself into the rather excited male audience down front and then punching them if they grabbed her inappropriately, before being dragged back by security. Oh how the burly men in uniform love it when the singer does that. Rather inexplicably one fan insisted on giving Alice a placard featuring the immortal word TOAST and, yup, you got it, a picture of a piece of toast. There’s been much grumbling online about Alice’s performance but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it did look rather like she had to yak at one point.

Latitude 2010-belle and sebastian by Amelia Gregory
sarah martin belle and sebastain by kate blandford
Sarah Martin of Belle and Sebastain by Kate Blandford.

The pace changed down a gear with the arrival of headliners Belle and Sebastian, playing their first gig in many years. First comment from those next to me? “She looks a bit mumsy.” And so what if Sarah does? Belle and Sebastian are not exactly in the first flush of youth, a fact which frontman Stuart Murdoch picked up repeatedly as he declared “they promised us an old crowd” – as usual the front was of course packed out with teenagers whilst the oldies (that seems to include me these days) hung back for a bit of air. Not that I’ve ever been a massive fan of the mosh pit. At one point Stuart threatened to take his top off (he was looking rather fit) which caused a fresh round of adolescent screaming “it would be like walking in on your dad in the shower” he laughed. It was a delightful set that featured an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash and finished with a gaggle of very happy teenagers dancing around on stage in front of the wrinkles and their orchestra. “You just made an old man very happy,” laughed Stuart in his lilting Scottish brogue, “now get off.” You show them who’s boss round here!

Read my Sunday music review here.
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer burlesque dancer by Amelia Gregory
Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Following the Graduate Fashion Shows Coco de Mer also hit the Latitude Waterfront catwalk with a range of fun sequinned swimsuits, order little tailored jackets and hats by Victoria Grant. Inspired by a Victorian circus ringmaster, store sales of this bespoke collection will raise funds for the Circus Child charity.

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Coco-de-Mer-Circus-Child-by-Mina-Bach
Illustration by Mina Bach.

Andrea Peterson Latitude waterfront fashion coco de mer
Illustration by Andrea Peterson.

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
james_clare_Coco_De_Mer
Illustration by James Clare.

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer Circus Child by Amelia Gregory
james_clare_Coco_De_Mer
Illustration by James Clare.

The skinny Elite new faces were completely overshadowed by the fabulous wriggling coquetry of the Burlesque artist who flounced down the catwalk with a pair of huge red feathered fans and a whole lot of sassiness. Now that’s what fit and healthy girls should look like with their clothes off.

Latitude 2010-Coco de Mer burlesque dancer by Amelia Gregory
Olivia Haigh Literary luminaries
Literary Luminaries Sebastian Faulks, visit web Paul Greengrass and Richard Curtis by Olivia Haigh.

On the downside I saw less talks, clinic performance and poetry at Latitude than I would have liked, link but on the plus side festivals are a great leveller so I got to hang out with the literary glitterati in the same morning coffee queue. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Latitude 2010-Sabrina Mahfouz by Amelia Gregory
Alexis-West-Sabrina-Mahfouz
Sabrina Mahfouz by Alexis West.

Of the spoken word that I caught in the Poetry Arena one standout was the sleek Sabrina Mahfouz, who adopts character voices to describe girls in nightclub loos and the pressure to physically conform to mens’ desires.

emma_block_latitude_alex_gwyther
Alex Gwyther by Emma Block.

Another poet that caught my ear was Alex Gwyther, a chirpy lad from Staines with a caustically observed view of male youths in the suburbs. Cheap pints, brawls, visits to the chip shop. It could only be the UK.

Latitude 2010-alex gwyther by Amelia Gregory

Most of the time I simply couldn’t be bothered to brave the huge crowds spilling out of the Literary Arena, but we did manage to catch the tail end of David Aaronovitch (I’ve looked after his kids on Forest School Camps, fact fans) talking about his new book Voodoo Histories which takes a look at “The Role of Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History”. David ascertains that the paranoia of conspiracy theorists is fuelled by a desire to think that someone, anyone cares about them. During the Q&A someone made the very good point that no one bothers to uncover the “dull mundane local government” fuckups that are probably happening year in year out. No, they usually go for the biggies: 9/11 being the most recent and well known. “It tends to be a guy thing,” said David. I’ve met a few conspiracy theorists and he’s right about that. Voodoo Histories sounds like a thoroughly good read.

Latitude 2010-mark thomas by Amelia Gregory
Abi Daker - Mark Thomas
Mark Thomas by Abigail Daker.

Now, I tend to think that I have a large amount of knowledge when it comes to certain things. Like the best new indie bands, or the most talented up and coming illustrators, for instance. But when it comes to general knowledge I know shit all. Yup. Put me in your Trivial Pursuit team and watch us loose. So it was with heavy heart that I agreed to be part of a team at the Mark Thomas Community Quiz, held in the Literary Tent on Friday night. Needless to say we managed a particularly unimpressive score, but I did learn one extremely interesting fact: 23 of 29 out of our current cabinet MPs are millionaires. Oh yes, chomp on that one. It certainly got a collective gasp from the audience.

Latitude 2010-ballet black by Amelia Gregory
It’s like Where’s Wally? isn’t it?

caroline coates ballet black
Ballet Black by Caroline Coates.

The Waterfront Stage hosts an odd variety of things, but it’s limitations as a venue were highlighted by the Ballet Black performance. We watched from the far side, where our view was marred with… well… how can I put this? Too many happy shiny festival faces creating too much visual noise. It makes you realise why ballet is usually staged against a plain backdrop: so you can see the damn thing! I’m sure it was a virtuoso performance but I had to concentrate way too hard for it to be fun.

Frisky and Mannish by Amelia Gregory

Cabaret act Frisky and Mannish were another of my top tips from Robin Ince and are cut from a similar mould to the fabulous duo Bourgeois and Maurice. Against a background of plinky plunky synth they picked apart the construction of famous pop songs with brisk aplomb. Frisky has a stunning voice that brought the house down on more than one occasion, but some of the humour was lost in the speed of their approach.

Latitude 2010-duckies hostess by Amelia Gregory

On Saturday night the Cabaret tent hosted Duckie’s Masked Ball. Duckie “purveyors of progressive working class entertainment” famously hail from the Vauxhall Tavern and our hostess seemed most bemused to find herself in rural Suffolk.

Latitude 2010-hulahoop duckies by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-hulahoop duckies by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-hulahoop duckies by Amelia Gregory

We were treated to a hulahooping stripper, a rapping granny in the form of Ida Barr, (another) striptease by Ursula Martinez *oooh, were’s my red hanky gone now?* and a revolting release of blood and guts from the stuffed breast of Scotee – who most definitely pushed to the limit my definition of entertaining, but then I guess that was the idea.

Latitude 2010-ida barr by Amelia Gregory
Ida Barr.

Latitude 2010-ursula martinez by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-ursula martinez by Amelia Gregory
Ursula Martinez.

Latitude 2010-Scottee by Amelia Gregory
Scottee.

We were then all led, hushed, outside; where we gathered around a huge lit up oak tree as the heavily pregnant and magnificent Burlesque performer Lucifire stripped to her nipple tassels and cracked a firey whip across the arse of her lover. The denouement saw fellow performer Fancy Chance hoisted by her hair into the air, where she twirled like a magical geisha doll in a slowly unravelling white kimono.

Latitude 2010-lucifire by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-lucifire by Amelia Gregory
Lucifire.

Latitude 2010-fancy chance by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-fancy chance by Amelia Gregory
Fancy Chance.

Flabby men dancing in pink spandex leggings, art in the woods, knitting clubs and so much more was never fully experienced or found at Latitude. But hey, that’s the beauty of a festival – everyone’s experience will be totally different and unique.

latitude pink spandex by Amelia Gregory
latitude art in the woods by Amelia Gregory
latitude art in the woods by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-knit by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-knit by Amelia Gregory

Aided and abetted by the fantastic weather Latitude 2010 was an absolute blinder – but please, organisers, limit your greed (numbers) next year, or think properly about how you’re going to accommodate us all comfortably. Oh, and what was with the lack of food options for veggies and the £8 souvenir *book* with no cheaper way to know the line-up? Sort it out.

latitude sheep by Amelia Gregory
latitude waterfront by Amelia Gregory
That’s all now folks. Phew.

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