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Festival Preview: Standon Calling

Midnight parties in a cowshed, frolics in a swimming pool and not a sponsor in sight, Standon Calling has a magic line-up, and even fairies to get you going in the morning. Tis true!

Written by Cari Steel

Illustration by Donna McKenzie

Regular readers of Amelia’s Magazine will know that we covered the Maison Martin Margiela 20 exhibition last March, visit when it showed in fashion capital Antwerp.

But, price since it’s moved to our very own fashion capital, we thought we’d have another look, and get some of our wonderful illustrators involved!

Somerset House is quickly becoming a fashion hot spot, with the rehoming of London Fashion Week and the recent SHOWstudio sessions. It’s clear why, too – it’s bloody beautiful.

This is the third outing for the Maison Martin Margiela exhibition, after seasons in Antwerp and Munich, so actually it’s the label’s 22nd anniversary this year, but who cares? I’ll use any excuse to have a poke around a fashion archive.

Illustration by Louise McLennan

The exhibition, set in Somerset House’s lower galleries and you’d be forgiven for believing, if this building wasn’t centuries old, that the space had been purpose-built for this nostalgic trip down Margiela memory lane.

All but a couple of the rooms are white-washed in typical Margiela fashion, and while the exhibition allows us to explore the history of this conceptual and inspirational label, it still give nothing away about the elusive man himself.

Illustration by Amy Martino

Instead of being a chronological or nostalgic display, the aim of this exhbition is to explore the key themes of Maison Martin Margiela, including the inspiration behind each collection and the techniques used.

So it is the quirks that have made this brand truly unique that are given most attention. We begin with a look at the anniversary catwalk show, amongst a lot of polystyrene models, whilst mooching along a row of rather battered Tabi shoes.

Illustration by Donna McKenzie

The bulk of the exhibition explores varying collections and what made them stand out alongside so many other fashion designers of the time. Flat-pack clothing, XXXL oversized pieces, painted garments, narrow tailoring, the trench coat, and the re-visioning of old garments. We also see the evolution of Margiela’s elusivity – first it was a slash of paint across a model’s face, then a blindfold, and then the infamous sunglasses (which I was so tempted to lift I had to walk around with my hands in my pockets. Damn I wish I’d bought them – what a collector’s item).

Illustration by Farzeen Jabbar

One room is devoted to archive footage, film and photographs from across the collections – the room is dark and has white lounge chairs for you to kick back and revel in some of the most iconic fashion images of the last two decades.

Illustration by Zarina Liew

Whether you like fashion or not, I’m entirely convinced that you will love this exhibition – it breaks the boundaries of typical gallery design and it is incredibly inspirational – Go See It!

You can read a full review of the Antwerp exhibition (which was exactly the same exhibition, I promise) here.

For the all important details, visit our listings section.

Most bands have a limited shelf life, medicine especially the ones who are hyped. Although a review like: “The first band in a decade to lay serious claim to The Stone Roses throne” (The Guardian) can put you in good stead while you’re starting out, it can also set you en route Destination Doomsville, burdening you with a reputation you simply can’t live up to.

British indie rock band Delays have so far managed to defy the odds. They have gone from strength to strength, following the release of their debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’ in 2004. Six years on, the four-piece are set to release their forth record, ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel’ produced by Duncan Lewis.

In a tiny room in the basement of music venue Water Rats in King’s Cross – decorated with blue and white fairy lights, a few old shelves and an enormous brightly coloured abstract painting – I join spiritual front man Greg Gilbert (GG) and down-to-earth drummer Rowly (R) before they take to the stage at their sold out London gig, to talk about their latest album, town criers and livin’ it up at Glastonbury over lime-flavoured Doritos

How would you describe your new album in three words?
GG: Rustic, organic and psychedelic
R: I don’t like organic, it sounds a bit vegetably
GG: OK then; rustic, psychedelic and melancholic
R: Yeah, that sounds better – I second that emotion
GG: Or we could say “Our. Best. Album” – three words – succinct and to the point

What has inspired your latest album?
GG: Our last album had a lot of orchestral arrangements and there was a real urge between the four of us to strip the sound back and become a four-piece band again. With that in mind we started to go for long drives at night along the New Forest, making music to soundtrack the journey. We built the record from the ground up and it was just a case of being inspired by the environment opposed to any concerns about writing a single. We banned the words ‘single’ and ‘commercial’ from the studio.
R: We used to do it all the time; we would say: “I think this one’s a single”, which makes you approach making music differently. We spent a lot of time in Southampton, reacquainting ourselves with the city and each other again, which does come through on the record. The result is a much more personal and honest sound.

How have you found the audience’s response to your new material so far?
GG: We’ve found that people who wouldn’t have liked our previous stuff have been positive about the new album. They’re responding to the fact that it’s a more personal record – they’re getting from it more from us as individuals then a commodity. So far, the people who have heard our record think it’s the best one.
R: The new tracks are going down just as well as our old stuff. It’s a great feeling when the roar for a new song is as enthusiastic as for an old song, like ‘Long Time Coming’.

How do you think your sound has evolved over the years?

GG: The first album sounds like a beach, the second album sounds like a club, the third album sounds like a festival and this album sounds like the forest, with the roots growing underneath the city at night making the buildings shake whilst you’re asleep. The first album is quite delicate because we recorded that before we toured so there was a certain amount of discovery. For the second album we worked with Graham Sutton who is genius producer; he brought a real club edge to the record which had a raw but beautiful precision about it.
R: We wrote the third album with the approach that it would be amazing at a festival; it’s big and bombastic and sounds like you’re playing it to 100,000 people rather then making a record for headphones.
GG: This album’s much more abstract; you can hear this on a beach in Scandinavia at two in the morning with mist flowing in the morning. We were trying to create a record which maintained a mood and an atmosphere which carries you into different surroundings. I think the best records take you to different worlds and that’s what we tried to emulate.
R: It’s not necessarily one genre of music. There’s a certain atmosphere which you can’t quite put your finger on, but it works for late night drives with aerial views over the city.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
GG: To me it’s the fact that we’re about to release our fourth album and our songs are still playing on the radio. Very few bands get to make four albums so that makes me feel very proud. We’ve been around since 2004 and we’ve managed to sustain and grow our fan base in a way that has been pure because there is no hype now around what we do.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
R: I’ve been going to Glastonbury for years so to play there was amazing. I was really ill on the day and I came so close to calling the others to say I couldn’t do it, but by the time it came to going on stage I’d never felt so healthy in all my life – Glastonbury has that effect, it wakes you up. There was another time when we played in Mexico City; we were headlining on one of the nights at a festival called ‘Manifest’ and we had no idea how big it was going to be. There were 6,000 people crammed into a wrestling/bullfighting arena all chanting ‘Delays, Delays!”. We were slightly in shock for the first couple of numbers.

Did you have any ridiculous demands on your rider in the early days that you don’t feel embarrassed about fessing up to now?
R: I don’t think our rider has changed much since the start; just the same stuff: vodka, beer, water bottles. In the beginning we did have one thing that we thought would be great to collect, which was to have a picture of the local mayor from every town where we played. The only one we got in the end was from Gloucester where they gave us a picture of the town crier which they also got signed – that was ace!

Now that you have played with your long-term idols the Manic Street Preachers, who would you most like to support?
GG: I always come back to Prince. I’m also pretty obsessed with Scott Walker at the moment – he’s the musician I most admire. I’m not sure how we’d go down with his audience but he’s awesome.
R: It’s still The (Rolling) Stones for me. Apparently we did get an offer to support them in Vienna about three years ago but we were already booked in for a festival in Wales on the same day.
GG: Keith Richards is pretty much top of the tree when it comes to rock and roll. Hopefully the opportunity will come up again…

Delays release their fourth album ‘Star Tiger, Star Ariel on 21st June 2010 on Lookout Mountain Records, preceded by the debut track ‘Unsung’ on 14th June.

Now this one has us rubbing our hands together in excitement. It’s not just the music that is getting us hot under the collar – although the line up is pretty electrifying. Standon Calling has a well earned reputation for having its finger on the new music pulse, prostate and this years festival is no exception. It’s also because of the care and attention to detail that Standon has put into their event, pharm once again highlighting the difference between the sprawling, stuff amorphous and messy mega-festivals and their small -but perfectly formed boutique counterparts.

Danish collective Efterklang will be playing at Standon Calling

As will Telepathe, who we discovered last year. Read our coverage of them here.

Known for being keen champions of upcoming talent, Standon has put artists on the stage at times in their career when they still needed people to take a chance on them; case in point, Florence and the Machine, Friendly Fires and Mumford & Sons have all played at Standon a good year before they orbited into the festival stratosphere. So stay close to the stages this year, to see the cutting edge and critically acclaimed artists that everyone will be talking about in the next few months. Joining Metronomy, British Sea Power, Steve Mason, Jeffrey Lewis, Alice Russell and The Magic Numbers will be Danish collective Efterklang (who we will be interviewing shortly), Southend art-rockers These New Puritans, upbeat electro-popsters Casiokids, a DJ set by Tom Ravenscroft, one of Brooklyn’s finest exports, Telepathe, and a band who we will support until the end of time, Lulu And The Lampshades, (the lead singer is an ex-Amelia’s Magazine staffer). Of course, this list is but a drop in the ocean of the final line-up, check Standon’s website for all the details.

Look out for Casiokids, playing at Standon 2010

As we mentioned earlier, a lot of love, time and energy has gone into planning Standon and making sure that it not only meets, but improves upon the check list that a seasoned festival goer might have. Living up to their boutique credentials, the thoughtful folk understand that you can love music and still want to maintain basic hygienic standards, so they have laid on extra (and ‘top class’, no less) showers and toilets for the campers, and for those who are bringing water-wings – always be safe, kids – Standon are in the unique position of having a swimming pool at their disposal to offer up. But here’s what I like best about the Standon experience, and I could probably write a festival preview on this basis alone; the Standon ‘fairies’ leave a revitalising drink outside each guests tent in the morning. Seeing that my drink of choice at a festival is Vodka and Berocca, I can’t think of anything more thoughtful, necessary or appropriate for a three day festival. Note to other festivals, take your cue from Standon!

Pack your cossie for a dip in Standon’s pool

Standon Calling is held from 6th – 8th August, in Standon, Hertfordshire, around 40 miles outside of London. There are several options for tickets; a full adult weekend ticket costs £95 (a Sunday day pass is also available). Check the website for details on tickets and various options for camping, including tipis and yurts.

Standon Calling is also running a competition that will appeal to a huge section of our readers.They are inviting designers, artists and illustrators to design a t-shirt, with the winning entry being turned into festival merchandise. The competition will be judged by a panel of creatives and illustrators. Here’s a bit more information from the people behind Standon:

This year’s theme is ‘Murder on the Standon Express’ so think murder, mystery, mayhem and madness. A panel of established arts professionals will judge the designs, with the winner receiving two VIP festival packages including boutique camping, as well as seeing their T-shirt printed. The winning artist will also be featured on the festival website. This isn’t a money-making exercise, so any proceeds will be donated to charity.

How to enter
-Please email your design to before the 21st June 2010 as a moderately high j-peg (at least 1500-pixels wide). Although please note that the final artwork will need to be supplied as either a colour separated PSD file or a vector/bitmap based Illustrator file.
-Your design should contain a maximum of three colours.
-Your design should not contain any copyrighted material.
-Please don’t include any fancy pants printing techniques, such as glow in dark, fuzzy felt or marmite.


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