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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Field Day

Victoria Park, London, 9th August, 2008

Written by Charles Drakeford

Down in Chicago a collective of environmentally aware artists have collaborated with curator Elga Wimmer to make a body of work responding to climate change. Entitled Nature Interrupted, erectile ambulance the exhibition details a wide range of approaches and concerns. We love the work of French artist Soazic Guezennec who has focused on pollution, prescription healing by tackling the idea of metaphors for acid rain which destroys Africa’s natural environment. The installation works with a disintegrated umbrella which allows water to pass through, unhealthy purchase collecting in a pool at the ground.

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Drawing inspiration from Giovanni Batttista Piranesi’s (1720- 1778) renditions of the collapse of Rome in depicting architecture being taken over by nature, Helen Brough works with a series of diagrams which lead to glass work. The enamel painted fired glass work with glass layers of flowing ink lines contained in acrylic boxes to simulate a peering window of the progression of time. Mixing ideas of the haunting potential realism of disaster films and unconscious dreams, iconic architecture is used which, with the progression of global warming, may eventually become ruins. Brough describes her outcomes as “imagined forecasts of moments.”

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Other featured artists tackle issues with recyclable materials from Joan Backes with the incredible construction of cardboard and paper houses, to Jon Brumit with a 35 ft cob made from 436 recycled bags, 6000 staples and a fan. Brilliant news to anyone who’s near Chelsea Art Museum, if not have a surf of their site.

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Cardboard and Paper house by Joan Backes

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The Monsanto Diet by Jon Brumit

I’ve only ever been to Brighton once. Which is ridiculous actually, buy information pills as I’ve been told it’s lovely. I think I must have picked the wrong day to show my New Yorker mate the seaside, about it which consisted of a wide variety of capped gentlemen screaming at some sort of sporting event. It must have been a really big deal, doctor because they all seemed to be angling to get arrested. Oh yeah, and my friend fell asleep once on the beach and got so sunburnt her face blistered! So to sum up, really great reviews methinks.

But seriously, it’s obviously awesome. Google told me that Simon Cowell, Natasha Kaplinsky and Des Lynam come from there and clearly they’re all making the world a better place. And so is the cute Brighton-based website Red Hot Ruby, literally. The online boutique of adorable t-shirts and bags are all ethically produced in Europe, with absolutely no funny business. And with free postage and packing to all of the UK and a re-usable mailing bag to boot, Katharine Hamnett would be seriously proud.

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And if that doesn’t get your organic knickers in a twist then you should really check out the products – from the new mini ice-cream design to the classic nautical anchor print on a variety of affordable t-shirts and tote bags for both the lads and the girlies. With a little bit of 1950s Americana thrown in for good measure, you can purchase a trashy novel clutch bag (my personal favourite thing – ever) and a Bettie page notebook. The website is also pretty darn helpful as well. There’s even a Ruby’s ‘Guide to Brighton’ section, clearly helpful in avoiding the hen parties and/or providing me with a more wholesome view of the place I’ll be visiting pronto, that is, after I check the sport listings…

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Monday 18th August

Lord Auch – Durr at The End, this web London
Menomena and The Week That Was – 93 Feet East, London

Tuesday 19th August

The Death Set – ULU, London

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Catch The Death Set on their apprently never ending tour. I really don’t know how they do it, i get tired just watching them.

The Cribs – King’s College Student Union, London
MGMT – Waterfront, Norwich
The Metros, Underground Heroes and The Pepys – The Macbeth, London
The Last Shadow Puppets – Guildhall, London

Wednesday 20th August

Future Of The Left and Fighting With Wire – Monto Water Rats, London
Dan Sartain and Gemma Ray – The Luminaire, London
Tokyo Police Club – Ruby Lounge, Manchester

Gig of the week

Pivot – Roundhouse, London

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Pivot are almost definately the best live band i’ve seen this year. They are a band that have something truly unique and there album is a fine body of work.

We Are Scientists – Academy, Oxford
Yeasayer and The Week That Was – King’s College Student Union, London
Selfish Cunt, No Bra, Pre and An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump – 100 Club, London

Thursday 21st August

Broadcast 2000 and Kinzli – The Lock Tavern, London
Cut Off Your Hands – Pure Groove Records, London
Das Pop – Hoxton Square & Kitchen, London
Noah & The Whale – Duchess, York
Finn Peters, Micachu and The Shapes and The Invisible – Cargo, London
Operator Please – Bar Academy, London
Pharoahe Monch – Jazz Café, London
The Ghost Frequency, The Clik Clik and Rosalita – Madame JoJo’s, London

Friday 22nd August

Bombay Bicycle Club – Koko, London
Underground Railroad, The Bleeps, Nayfo and Daughters Of Hendrix – 93 Feet East, London
The Wave Pictures – Joshua Brooks, Manchester

Saturday 23rd August

Cut Off Your Hands, Green Man Says Go and Swanton Bombs – The Macbeth, London
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Carling Academy 2, Liverpool
Holy Fuck – Push @ Astoria, London
Madonna – Millenium Centre, Cardiff

Man Like Me, Micachu, Popof and Joe and Will Ask – Secret Location, Shoreditch London

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For Man Like Me, Micachu and Joe and Will Ask, it may actually be worth going on a hunt around Shoreditch for this secret location.

Napolean IIIrd - Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London
Yacht – The Faversham, Leeds
So So Modern and Velofax – Proud Galleries, London

Sunday 24th August

LCD Soundsystem – The Medicine Bar, Birmingham

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This is perhaps not a gig i would most enjoy on a Sunday evening. LCD Soundsystem are just too much of a party, and The Medicine Bar can become quite a raucous and heated venue. I’m sure it will be lots of fun though.
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People sheltering from the rain under the band stand

For me, symptoms Saturday mornings are supposed to be about late rises and very large breakfasts; but the Saturday of Field Day was one very large exception. The coming of Field Day meant that I had to co-ordinate the meeting point of many friends at one spot in central London. With them all arriving at different times, I opted to solve it the only way that seemed reasonable. Tell them all to meet us there and bring drink so that we could wait for the rest to arrive. This seemed like the perfect plan, apart from the fact that the few I had already found and myself were then stuck under a tree, in the rain, drinking gin and tonic.

Finally we began our field day with a mad dash over to the Adventures In The Beetroot Field tent to get out of the rain. We were met with cheers, not for ourselves obviously, but for White Lies who had just taken to the stage. They played the few songs they have to a packed tent, but there was something a little lack luster about the show. We found ourselves talking, much like the rest of the crowd – finding ourselves easily distracted due to the less than deafening sound levels. Our growing interest in a plastic horse we had found served as proof that there really was no reason for us to linger.

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White Lies

We opted to brave the rain again, heading over to the main stage to catch the end of Wild Beasts. It seems like if you can stand Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto vocal assortments, you fall in love with them very soon afterwards. The ridiculousness of it all seeps away as soon as it’s teamed with structure of ‘The Devil’s Crayon‘, leading fans to a point of defense as soon as remarks like “He sounds like someone got him by the John Thomas” are made. I’m sad to say though, it was over all too soon, and we were forced to find shelter in the colourful bar/tent.

This was when horror stories of the previous years Field Day began to surface. Toilet queues, inaudible sound levels and sold out bars made it sound like a very traumatic experience, and I was comforted by the fact that apparently a whole host of sound and management experts had been roped in to rectify the previous year problems. Fat load of use they were though. The toilet queues stretched as far as the eye could see, and the noise levels, well, I’ll speak about that a bit more later – but to put it bluntly, two borrowers could have had a long and intricate conversation right at the front of the tents, without having to repeat themselves at any point due to mishearing.

The new village mentality idea was a bit of a washout. I’m sure it would have added some much needed fun factor to the day, if it hadn’t of been for the persistent rain. I couldn’t help feeling that perhaps they should have sorted out the lots of more basic aspects of the festival, before putting so much effort into something like this.

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The village mentality not really capturing people’s imagination

I then headed over to the Bugged Out tent to check out Modeselektor. The German duo have been on my to see list for ages and by the swelling mass of people at the mouth of the tent I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Perhaps one of the most bizarre things about it was that everyone seemed to have different ideas as to whereabouts in the tent would be best to actually hear the music. Some were trying to get as near to the front as possible, others opted to stand by the smaller speaker at the back.

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Modeselektor and the less than enthralled crowd

Basically, it was a shambles, and in the end Modeselektor stopped about halfway through their set announcing that, “if there is no bass, there is no point”. To which everybody was infuriated, yet understanding. The annoying part was that it obviously wasn’t the artist’s fault, and I don’t eve think it’s even really the organizers fault. It’s just a case of people wanting to kick up a fuss over nothing; I just wish people could be a bit more lenient in these kinds of situations. London is hardly a tranquil haven, how is a bit of music any worse than the cars, trains, tube and planes we have surrounding us?

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of Montreal being Fantastic

Well, now my rant is over I suppose I should speak some more about the music. One band that were a real treat from start to finish was of Montreal. A band I had heard a lot about, but hadn’t really been exposed to. A friend’s persistent statements on how he was longing to see them however won me over, and I’m very glad they did. If Patrick Wolf were to make NY-esque disco in a similar vain as Anthony Hegarty and his Hercules and the Love Affair shenanigans, it would sound like of Montreal. I know that’s probably a statement that some time fans don’t want to hear, but to me, that’s how it came across. The real treat of their show was the epic ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’. Clocking in at approximately half of their set it should have had people slowly filtering away, but instead the sound grew and grew around the same hook. People were transfixed, if not on the on stage performers, then on my friend who seemed to know every word. It was astounding.

The next few hours then disintegrated into catching bits and bobs of stuff, whilst persisting through the rain. Attempting to stay together soon became the least of our worries as a big effort was made to enjoy James Holden’s set. It was just impossible to get more than a few feet into the tent, and the sound was still pitiful. If Spinal Tap had amps that went up to 11, Field Day’s dials must have gone down to at least -1. But I think I’ve done enough moaning on that frontier.

Due to a rather hairy adventure trying to make my way out of the tent, I was only able to catch the last few songs of Les Savy Fav. I think it’s more than likely that half the crowd was purely there to see the lead singer and his distasteful antics, I certainly was. They were great nonetheless, and I’ll definitely try and catch them again, preferably somewhere drier and louder.

My choice of headliner was Benga, who proved almost impossible to find. He had been moved to a smaller tent where he was now headlining, but once we had found him I certainly wasn’t complaining. Once he had put his foot down enough for them to pump up the volume, the small tent was soon filled with the most ridiculous bass lines, and some dancing that you would usually find only in the earliest of hours. It was horrendous fun though, and although everyone would probably say they had wanted him to go on longer, I was completely exhausted by the end of it.

Overall, the whole event was perhaps one of the worst organized events I’ve ever attended, but also perhaps one of the most entertaining and fun. If the organizers ironed out all the faults, I think it could quite easily become the highlight of the year.

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