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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts

Glastonbury, 25th-29th June

Written by Charles Drakeford

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This month, physician more about daydreams can be dedicated to Loulou Androlia. At 27, the Camden based designer has tumbled, head first into her own Alice in Wonderland fairytale.
Just last month, Loulou Loves You, was just another great, one-woman DIY design outfit, with Loulou cutting and crafting her way round the indie e-shop block. Her handmade lingerie and giant silk hairbows won her fans and friends aplenty across the usual social networking sites, but it wasn’t until she was contacted by Agent Provocateur, wanting to use her bows in their current window display, that things really started to get curious.

“The June windows were to have an Alice in Wonderland theme,” explains Androlia. “I think a quick Google search revealed my designs and so the lovely lady from display at Agent Provocateur got in touch.”

Testament to the powers of the Internet, Loulou then wasted no time in fashioning up a series of her oversized, surrealist bows fit for the fashion worlds most notorious window display designers.

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Babydoll colourways. Cartoon Proportions. Salacious Silk. These creations were never going to look out of place amidst the forthright, frilly and downright fabulous subtext of Agent Provocateur’s own, renowned, window display drill. And now Agent Provocateur stores from London to Los Angeles will have their windows adorned with Loulou’s playful accessories.

While the Alice in Wonderland theme continues to conjure up contradictory readings around rule breaking and reality, Loulou’s designs symbolise carefree, childlike charm, albeit with a slightly naughty, Lolita edge. Androlia admits her designs being featured in Agent Provocateur’s latest display is her biggest project to date.

“It’s just been really exciting. More people than ever are starting to recognize what I do, and recently stylists have picked up on my work for use in photo shoots” she says.

Loulou’s designs offer a modern mix of fantasy and parody. Her story offers the perfect anecdote to another season of celebrity infested clothing lines and copycat creations. Still she remains indebted to the independent design roots that led Agent Provocateur to find her in the first place.

“I get a real buzz out of discovering a tiny e-shop that might be run from another home thousands of miles away,” she says, clearly excited at the possibility of finding the next Christopher Kane in his bedroom, stitching and sewing his way to fashion superstardom, via an online universe.

Quirky and Curious. Loulou Androlia. She’s just like Alice after all.
Last week I popped into transition gallery in east London to view FAN FAIR. Being somewhat of a disaster with map reading and directions in general, tadalafil I was surprised to find that I found the exhibition space relatively quickly.
On entering the exhibition room, information pills which was relatively small, price I was immediately struck by the frivolity of seaside pleasures. The pastel colours of folded hankies hanging from a wall, a candy walking stick, letters, a shed with a mystic inside, painted skittles, metal scuba-diving head and deviant helter skelter made for a varied showcase. The handkerchiefs, knitted in cutesy pink colours you can only imagine being made by your nan, were pieces with a rather anti-cutesy message! One read, ‘Cum inside/ Candy floss/only £1.00/adults only.’ Fun and fruity messages continued.
The helter skelter was made from stolen road signs, fairie lights, vintage flags, treasure chests, lobster figurines and little toy figures probably picked from charity shops and car boot sales. Crowned with a disco ball; this all made for a cluttered, wonderful assortment of the fantastical and perverted. Barbie dolls in playgirl positions, blowjobs by ken dolls, ‘alcohol restriction zone’ signs, a ship floating in an imagined journey through air; this all reminded me of the drunken pleasures of a 15 year old on alcopops (although probably a bit more risqué)!
Intricately painted ceramic skittles altered the intoxicated landscape of excess with a rather muted addition. The painted flowers had an oldsy feel like those found in 1950s agriculture magazines.
The ‘deep sea diver’ statue painted gold and turquoise felt almost too solid compared to the other fantastical musings. However, the bold colours and rigid reluctance to fade into the background made me think of arbitrary images from dreams that randomly peep into focus.
Next door to this stood a walking stick made of pink rock. I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe these should be a new invention for those that need sugar rushes on journeys (just imagine all those granddads on buses licking their walking sticks- A strange sight indeed)! As part of the piece, there were postcards from two corresponding artists in the transition group. They contained ideas for the collaboration, which were written months ago. One postcard was scrawled with, ‘I’d really like to discuss working with you…Filling the gallery with home made seaside ephemera. Snow domes, sticks of pink rock, postcards. Totally bespoken horse shite’- (nice to see a humble account of their work)!
Last stop was to enter the mystical shed where the virtual Madam Sosostris lay in wait. On entering the small enclosure I realised Madam S was reading cards from a TV set. With a pack of tarot cards in front of me she told me to start dealing. Not one to mess with a virtual mystic on a TV set; I did what I was told. I ended up with a card that said something about being more brave and taking more chances, but I was just relieved I didn’t get the death card!
FAN FAIR took about 15 minutes to view merely because it is such a small space. Yet I’d recommend it for those who want a serving of seaside fantasy with the supernatural; and you even get a session with your very own virtual mystic!

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Last Saturday, cheapest my friend and I ventured to Tate Modern for the raw canvas ‘Tate Takeover: London Calling’ in the café level 2. With a flyer that promised performances from Poeticat and ORIGAMI as well as ‘cellar door sound, magic, charly flynn, illustrations and more..’ we had high expectations.
Arriving to find my friend making friends with a cat near the entrance of the Tate (I was late- he is sane, I promise), we made our way in. Having sauntered in an hour into closing time we were a tad confused to see people on the floor making boats out of newspaper. Most of people were involved in making houses and other creative masterpieces. So, sitting down on beanbags we decided to attempt a hat. But alas our arty skills were thwarted by the fact that neither of us are any good at origami-but we did enjoy looking at others like fascinated kids at the zoo.
The next room had a guy painting a black and white landscape that he was absorbed in. The main café/bar area also had a live performance from Poeticat who we listened to whilst chatting. The ambiance was chilled and the people who sat around were mostly young people who were obviously friends of the raw canvas team. But the event was inclusive and had a mixture of people and age groups involved.
The evening was certainly ‘raw’ with excitement and a blank ‘canvas’ for ideas to be penned, inspiring young people back into art. My friend and I certainly enjoyed the laid back arty evening. Here’s to the next one.

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Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeron, approved aka Viktor & Rolf, ampoule got skills. This summer sees the highly acclaimed fashion designers present their entire time together in an exhibition at the Barbican, and what an exhibition it is.

It’s rare that fashion designers present their collections in galleries – since Vivienne Westwood’s retrospective at the V&A in 2004, there has been little to celebrate the makers of fashion as we know it – especially on this grand scale.

The exhibiton showcases their work from humble beginnings in 1993, when the pair launched their first collection, aptly titled ‘Launch’ – to varying acclaim. Never to follow the norm, the duo presented this collection entirely in minature – with models (of the replica sense) of a catwalk show, the pieces they had designed and even the simultaneous advertising campaigns.

It seems, then, that V&R have come full circle, presenting to us here their collections in their stunning lifesize glory AND in model replica. On Level 3 of the Barbican (the one with rooms spanning from the balcony), you might think that this exhibition space had been purpose built to display fashion collections, but this is not the case. Thanks to exhibition designer Siebe Tettero and the ready state of this 1960s brutalist masterpiece of a building, the space has been transformed to allow viewers to freely move between collections. The centrepiece of the show is a stunning three storey Georgian doll’s house which fills the centre of the room. Each room in the house has no exterior wall, and has a different doll of about 1 or 2 feet tall, wearing an exact replica of dresses from each collection. Incredible. Silver binoculars are provided to view the detail of the pieces from the viewing platforms. The V&R emblem is brandished (no pun intended) at the top of the house, and some of the dolls even look longingly in the direction of their life size counterparts.

On Thursdays, as part of the Lates season of late night art events, the Barbican presents different workshops and talks about matters surrounding the duo and fashion in general. The first featured talks about themes in the collections, and I had the enviable pleasure of meeting Emma Cammack, a body artist who had been commissioned to produce two bodies based on themes from V&R’s collections. Emma has worked for a variety of high profile clients in advertising, fashion and film, and it was a joy to see the models come to life.

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Highlights from the exhibition, in no particular order, include: Flowerbomb (SS05) which tied with the launch of the duo’s first fragrance. Black chiffon dresses with bow details and black bicycle helmets were presented on the catwalk, with the models stalling at the back of the stage. When all models had taken their turn, the stage revolved to reveal an almost identical collection but in baby pink. Following this stunning piece of theatre was never going to be easy, but then came Bedtime Story (AW05-06) where V&R took the bed to the catwalk, with the infamous mix of duvets and sheets. Duvets became extravangant dresses with ‘I love you’ spralled across, mostly in white with red defining features. The collection relies on quilted fabrics and takes on board old bed linen processes such as broderie anglais, a specific type of stitch.

The most stunning aspect of the exhibition is the realisation that Viktor & Rolf are capable of concept after concept, and no two seasons are the same. The ‘One Woman Show’ collection of AW03-04 is the work of geniuses. After a chance meeting with actress Tilda Swinton, the pair were so enthralled by her presence at unique style that they devoted an entire collection to her – with even the models made to have her stark, androgynous appearance. Sharp tailored suits emphasising and advancing the human form were presented to reflect the theme of androgyny. This is the complete opposite of the very feminine ‘Silver’ collection of AW06-07, featuring more feminine shapes like the Dior silhouette popularised by the New Look collection of the fifties (low busts, small waists and large skirts). nude lycra tulle number with oversized embroidered stars shows the designer duo’s ability to challenge fashion norms.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you gush with envy or start saving for the ‘I Love You’ wedding dress, take the ‘The Fashion Show’ collection of AW07-08. V&R make the model a walking fashion entity – they each have their own outfit (featuring traditional Dutch checks and pleats with a contemporary twist), lighting (the models wear scaffolding above their heads, rigged with lights, which presents the silhouette of a ancestral Dutch milk maiden) and music (said rigs were fitted with individual music systems, and speakers). This metal structure not only provides the support for sound and light, but on a more artistic scale enhances the silhoutette and modifies the human form we are accustomed to – a key theme throughout V&R’s luminescent history.

Viktor and Rolf’s first UK exhibition is an inspirational tour of their illustrious history, even for those not overtly interested in fashion. So switly decide between your nude tulle number or your duvet, brush your hair over a pillow, pick out your favourite clogs, and head down to the Barbican for what might be the best fashion exhibition we get in 2008.
This Anglo-NY quartet is hardly breaking any new ground here. After a largely unnoticed but well received first album, adiposity ‘Speak Your Own Language’ sees Five O’Clock Heroes making a second stab at success. Priding themselves on their simplicity, prostate this back to basics affair sees them dusting off their Dad’s old Clash LPs and splicing them with both the UK and New York’s finest musical alumni but not really going anywhere with it. Singer Antony Ellis switches between New York New Wave and Brit bravado, decease hiding his Northampton roots and doing his best impression of an inner-city urchin while the rest of the band try their hardest to recreate their very own piece of 70′s underground London, at times treading clumsily over the fine line between ‘influenced by’ and ‘stolen from’.

Flirting with the media on new single, ‘Who’, model du jour Agyness Deyn sprinkles her sugary vocals over what would otherwise be another non-descript slice of indie pie. This aptly timed marriage of convenience has succeeded in raising both the bands profile and proving Ms. Deyn is more than just a pretty face, but it leaves a slightly cynical after taste and leaves you wondering if without the models presence this one would have just silently slipped away.

They come into their own on the more upbeat songs with creeping tinges of reggae that will have you secretly tapping your toes and not caring who sees you doing so. Top of the guilty pleasures list is ‘New York Chinese Laundry’, a perky crowd pleaser scoring highly for its irresistible use of tambourine and sparkly melodies. I’m also a sucker for a hand clap and ‘Everybody Knows It’ definitely fulfils my quota, bouncing along like Joe Strummer’s well spoken, radio friendly cousin from the country. Maybe they’ve taken this whole Clash thing a bit too far, especially when I just can’t help but sing ‘London’s Calling’ over the top of ‘God And Country’.

Attempts at the heart felt and lovelorn fall rather flat, with their efforts being more reminiscent of an overblown power ballad rather than anything really capable of singling them out from the sheer hoard of similar sound-a-likes. For a band who say it’s their sole intention to create memorable tunes, much of this album merges into mild mannered mediocrity. Not quite catchy enough to be instantly loved, and not subtle enough to be a slow burner, but still agreeable enough to warrant a listen. This clean cut courting of mainstream success leaves me thinking that the trouble with these pretty boys is they just don’t want to get too dirty.

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With Charles our music editor off on a four day break in Glastonbury, help I thought this would be the ideal time to talk about an email I received from a guy called Nigel who was promoting his online eco store and range of ‘eco friendly festival and camping survival products‘. An illustration at the top of the page showed a man waving with an arm which had unintentionally been drawn on back-to-front. I found this so incredibly amusing that I just had to click onto Nigel’s website to see what else he had to offer. Not expecting very much, order I have to admit the range of inventive yet very useful eco-friendly treasures impressed me. Nigel’s store is a like a 30 year old mans idea of paradise – full of interesting little gadgets that you wonder how you ever lived without.

Picture this – you arrive at Glastonbury full of anticipation for the festival ahead of you. The weather has miraculously been holding up well recently, remedy so you ditch the wellies and opt for a pair of Nigel’s fair-trade, 100% cotton Ethletic trainers, which, I must add, are available in plain black, pink, turquoise, green and white. After setting up tent (I’m afraid there’s no clever Nigel alternatives for that), the first thing for any festival goer is to check out the bands on stage. However this time there’s no need to worry about your camera running low on battery as Nigel’ store has the Freeloader portable solar charger, which can power everything from mobile phones to game machines – apparently!

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Eddi Reader not quite up to scratch, fancy a bite to eat, but a little strapped for cash? Why not bring your food along in one of Nigel’s eco mini fridges, which doesn’t use any refrigerant and consumes only a mere 33 watts. While you’re chomping down on your fresh salad and chilled beers, you can make your own fun with the Babylis wind up and solar powered radio. Not only does it include a built in phone charger – random I know – but it doesn’t require one of those annoying external antennas that you have to spend half and hour fussing around with.

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Other eco friendly delights include a brilliant toothpaste free toothbrush and a wind up Mp3 player.

Now – perhaps I’ve exaggerated a wee bit in terms of the usefulness of these little bits and bobs, but I definitely recommend you check out Nigel’s online eco store. I guarantee you, there isn’t one person who reads this bog who wont find something on there that makes them say ‘ooh – that’s good!’.

Last Thursday evening the lovely work experience peeps and myself strolled down to Tatty Devine to view the ‘Jane amongst the birds’ exhibition and then the opening of Rob Ryan’s shop. Trying to explain the concept of the Tatty Devine exhibition, check which was inspired by a 1959 ‘Best Budgerigar & Foreign Bird Competition’ at All Saints’ Hall in Haggerston, visit confused the others. Admittedly, I was unsure of what to expect myself.
On arrival we made a beeline to the free tequila and lemonades on offer (our priorities are really in order)! With drinks in hand we began viewing the budgie exhibition, which amounted to 4 photos on the wall, some cute budgie necklaces and a few posters. However, browsing the shop is enough to intoxicate the senses. Tatty Devine reminds me of being at that teenage stage where accessories are the best thing ever; when experimenting with your mums 1970s shoes, free pink Mizz Magazine lipstick and New Look plastic hair bows makes you feel all unique and individual. Tatty Devine definitely taps into a young market- think of those indie-Betty Boo type girls with printed dresses and ruby red lipsticked, who always manage to look effortlessly on trend.
After another few tequilas and a lot of wandering round the shop ‘oooo-ing’ and ‘ahhh-ing’ at all the bright and fun accessories, we headed down to Ryantown. We were all excited as Rob Ryan designed the cover for Issue 02 of Amelia’s mag, so we felt we had a ‘personal link’ to his work. What I loved about all the printed illustration pieces in the shop were the beautifully optimistic yet sometimes sad sentiments. There is a soft and slightly feminine quality to his pieces, as everything is quaint and muted, like quiet side thoughts scribbled in a notebook. One such design was printed with the words; ‘You were in my head, now you are in my heart.’ There were tiles, t-shirts, dresses, illustrated keys and prints being sold. We even drank wine from glasses illustrated with Rob Ryan designs.
After circulating the shop and getting dizzy with all the wonderful illustrations, we were ready to go (not before taking a pit stop at a near-by pub to use the loos). Both Tatty Devine and Ryantown are shops that you should take a minute to pop into, to wonder at all the cool designs. If you’re looking for something fun and kitsch go to Tatty Devine and if you’re after something you’ll always treasure, go to Rob Ryan’s shop. I promise you’ll not be disappointed in either case.

us at tatty devine:
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us at ryantown:
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MONDAY 30th JUNE:

ICA, more about ‘Nought to Sixty’, ambulance Juliette Blightman, Andrea Buttner, Will Holder & a host of other artists and performers: 5 may-2nd Nov.
ICA, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH.
60 projects by emerging artists based in Britain and Ireland over 5 months exploring a multifaceted portrait of the emerging art scene in both countries. The exhibition consists of: performances, screenings and talks.
Special exhibition viewing every Mon 7-10pm. Monday evening’s performances, screenings and talks at 8pm are free. Included is Blightman’s ‘Please Water the plant and Feed the Fish’ which consists of placing objects in an empty gallery and getting her brother to fulfil the task of the work’s title each day. Hmmm…interesting.

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Royal College of Art, ‘SHOW SCULPTURE‘: 25th June- 5th July.
Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU.
Get your skates on and don’t miss works that ‘push the envelope’. With a giant fish tank to a giant plaster grotto, the 18 up and coming artists will surely be making headlines shortly. Watch this space.

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Folkstone, Kent, ‘Tales of Time and Space’: Batchelor, Boltanski, Chodzko, Coley & others:14th June-14th September.
Three-yearly exhibition of works commissioned for public spaces throughout Folkestone responding to Kent and it’s occupants. Featuring: David Batchelor (whose work is made from thousands of cheap, brightly coloured plastic sunglasses, bought in Sao Paulo, Brazil.), Christian Boltanski (showcases a sound installation sited at four benches on the Leas), Adam Chodzko (whose film is entitled: “the creation of a myth”) and others. Sculpture, photography, film, installations, sound-work & performances inspired by Folkestone’s past, present and future. Presented in public spaces – the beach, the harbour, parks, the marine promenade and historic buildings.

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Pollocks London, ‘Blank Canvas‘: 27 June-5th July.
Carnaby Street, London, W1.
Fashion, art and photography splash onto Carnaby street allowing a creative platform for emerging artists. Selected work will feature alongside sculptor Mark Quinn, singer Annie Lennox, fashion photographer Levi Palmer and photographer Rankin. Get active and make your mark on collaborative blank canvases, where you’ll get to dabble in some arty fun as well as listen to open mic sessions, and daily performances from 6.30pm, from beatboxers, Beat Poetry and DJ sets from Flash Louis. One not to miss!

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TUESDAY 1ST JULY:

Michael Hoppen Gallery, ‘BUNNY‘, photography exhibition by Polly Borland: 25 June-31st July.
3 Jubilee Place??London SW3 3TD.
Borrowing surrealist ideas of Claude Cahun, Hans Bellmer and Man Ray to create haunting femininity avec a bunch of photos of a skinny girl in a bunny costume (think an indi-esque playboy fantasy gone eerie).

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Café Gallery Projects, ‘SILENTIUM‘: Alexander & Susan Maris:25th June-27th July.
Centre of Southwark Park, London SE16 2UA.
Dream like sequences following a river’s journey, which is meditative, lyrical and spiritual; retracing a primal search for silence. Influenced by Benjamin Britten who was profoundly inspired by the Suffolk region. Film clips evoke the temporality of time.

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Photographers’ Gallery, ‘Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed’: Boris Austin, Rebecca Ayre, Philip Ewe & other photography winners:21st June-6th July.
5 & 8 Great Portand Street, London WC2H 7HY.
This show marks the launch of this annual exhibition, presenting dynamic new work by visual arts graduates from BA and MA courses across the UK.? ?

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WEDNESDAY 2nd JULY:

Hales Gallery, ‘Interior’: Beth Campbell, Laura Letinsky, Laura Oldfield Ford, Courtney Smith, Jessica Stockholder, Amy Yoes: 20th June-26th July (weds-sat 11am-6pm).
The Tea Building, 7 Bethnal Green Road London E1 8LA.
6 female artists explore the ‘interior’ use of space as a metaphor and expression of materiality. Unique approaches to mixed media works of; stop motion animation, painting, diagrammatic drawing and sculpture.

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THURSDAY 3rd JULY:

Concrete Hermit Gallery, Brick Lane ‘More Of Less’:Kate McMorrine and Alec Strang:3rd July-3rd August.
5a Club Row
E1 6JX

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The Old Boys Club, ‘KoRo’: Satoshi Date: 3rd-6th July.
68 Boleyn Road, Dalston, London N16 8JG.
‘KoRo’ or ‘Personal Filter’ refers to each individual’s experience of perception, coloured by unique experiences. The mixed media collective of art, fashion, art, music and video ensures a comprehensive study of the arts. And there will even be Japanese organic biscuits (yum yum) and teas to accompany your viewing (perfect)!

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FRIDAY 4th JULY:

Gallery 32, ‘RAW’: Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Brasil Arquitetura, Sérgio Roberto Parada & others: 21st June-18th July.
32 Green Street??London W1K 7AT.
As part of the main programme of this year’s London Festival of Architecture, the Embassy of Brazil will host the exhibition RAW – New Brazilian Architecture. The exhibition will focus on buildings and daring spatial experimentations, challenging traditional concepts of space and design; forging a new vision of the future and the way Brazilians live.

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The Aquarium, ‘Stolen Recordings‘:4th July-10th July
L-13 Gallery, 63 Farringdon Rd. EX1
A group show of art, objects, fragments and documents made by musicians including: paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, video, posters, books and flipbooks, fanzines, compact disks and vinyls. A pick ‘n mix bagful of arty fun.

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Utrophia Project Space, ‘Cwmpilation 04 Launch’: Beck Rainford and friends: 4th July, 8pm-late.
136 Tanners Hill, Deptford, London, SE8 4QD.
Come and celebrate Utrophia’s new cd-r compilation release, tipping its hat to Utrophia’s annual CWM festivals. Tracks from Utrophia fav’s such as Yeborobo, Serafina steer, Limn, Now, Tile and many more. All set in a mountainous installation created by set designer Beck Rainford. Food, wine, drink & music-what more could you want from an evening?

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SATURDAY 5th JULY:
Tenderpixel Gallery, ‘IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU NO ONE CAN’: Jenny Pickett &Sunshine Frere: June 27th-July 16th.
10 cecil Court, London, WC2N 4HE.
The exhibition will ‘dabble with the decaying nature of desire that compels us to throw our cash into the degerative black holes of our capitalist machinery.’

The chocolate factory, ‘Open Studios Weekend’: Alexandra Blum,
John Butler, plus rude prints & others: 5th-6th July.
Farleigh Place, Stoke Newington, N16 7SX.
Come and discover new art up for sale (cash and cheques only).

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SUNDAY 6th JULY:
Topshop, ‘Fabricate’: A map of London Style, INK Illustration:1st-15th July.
Topshop, Oxford Circus.
Monday 30th June
Goldfrapp and frYars – Royal Concert Hall, order Glasgow
Erykah Badu – Brixton Academy, viagra sale London
Joan As Police Woman and Peter Greenwood – Borderline, London

Tuesday 1st July
The National – Metropolitan University, London
Black Kids – Thekla Social, Bristol

Bound to be a certified hoot. Black Kids seem to make the catchiest tunes around at the moment.

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Vessels and Maths Class– 229, London
Kid Sister – Hoxton Square Bar & Grill, London

Wednesday 2nd July
Errors – Tyne End Bar, Newcastle

Gig of the week

Beck – Apollo, Manchester

It’s beck. If this is bad then I’ll eat my own hat, with no condiments or dipping sauce or anything.

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Brian Wilson – Royal Albert Hall, London

If you long for some sort of British summer then turn to the warm indoors of the Royal Albert Hall filled with the summery songs of the Beach Boys legend. It’s bound to be full of dancing dads, and that may prove to be very entertaining.

My Bloody Valentine – Barrowlands, Glasgow
Ghostwood, Barringtone and Underground Railroad – Buffalo Bar, London
Metronomy, They Came From The Stars and thecocknbullkid – The Barfly, London

Thursday 3rd July
Scanners, Fangs and The Electric City – Hoxton Square Bar & Grill, London
The Answering Machine and The Golden Silvers – Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London

A couple of months ago I was getting very excited about The Answering Machine, and recently I’ve been getting even more excited about Golden Silvers. So I’ve pretty much spent the last few months getting very excited. If I can calm down for just a minute then I’m sure this would be splendid, especially if you decide to indulge in a bit of bowling as well.

White Denim – Cargo, London

Friday 4th July
Wild Beasts – Cockpit, Leeds
Jeremy Warmsley, Absentee, So So Modern and Esser – Zodiac, Oxford

I saw So So Modern in a very small venue in my homeland of Coventry about a year ago, and they blew me away. They need to be checked out.

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Ox. Eagle. Lion. Man, Maps, Johnny Flynn – Matterley Bowl, Winchester

Saturday 5th July
BjorkWild In The Country, Knebworth House, Hertfordshire
Jaguar Love – Barfly, Brighton
Bad Science, Samsara, Mouthwash, Yes Sir Boss and Abstract Genius – Rhythm Factory, London

Sunday 6th July
Applicants – Westhill Community Centre, Brighton
Neon Neon, Willie Isz and Heartbreak – Hearn Street Car Park, London

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The second in the series of the Barbican Fashion Lates, treatment presented by the Fashion Illustration Gallery (FIG) hosted presentations and an informal discussion with three of the world’s most renowned fashion illustrators.

While I entered the small, illness grey, visit web less than fabulous conference room on the building’s 4th floor the tight corridor outside held an array of individuals holding out all hopes for absent ticket holders in order to gain a much wanted seat at this sold out event. As usual though it was who you know, not what you know as a group of Gladys Perint Palmer’s acquaintances were let in without having splashed out a penny on the £3 tickets.

Gladys Perint Palmer, David Downton and Francois Berthoud were the brilliant fashion illustrators who graced us with their presence. Michael Ling from FIG introduced the artists while first discussing if fashion illustration should be classed as art. Of course he is ridiculously biased, making his living from such work. There were a number of plugs for his website as he encouraged us to buy, buy, buy, “now is the time” he said. At the end his children were stuffing flyer upon flyer for FIG in to my hand. Never the less, an illustrator myself, I do agree with him in that of course, all illustration is art. Desirable, museum worthy and collectable it’s as valid an art form as any other.

David Downton went on to state his belief that fashion magazines are richer for including hand drawn images. Without drawings a magazine is purely a catalogue whilst illustrations make you stop and look, whether you like them or not. His view was we have been all the poorer in recent decades for having lost fashion illustrations in couture magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Downton, close friends with Erin O’Connor and the like, is perhaps most recently famous for his work with Marks and Spencer. Those lovely ink and brush drawings of Erin, Twiggy and Lily Cole adorning many M&S bag’s for life, that’s all the work of Downton. His beautiful brush strokes, selective use of colour and simple lines have made him one of my favourite illustrators, whom I have admired for quite some time. If you’re not so familiar he is definitely worth a Google search at least!

Gladys Perint Palmer works at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. Much older than the other two illustrators present, she is still working hard, recently selling successful publications at both the London and New York Book Fairs. She mixes humour, text and image, and her work though perhaps not as beautiful as Downton is far more fun with an air of passion and excitement.

Francois Berthoud began his career in comic strips before he got his big break from Anna Piaggi to combine all his passions within fashion illustration. Not a born presenter, audience enthusiasm began to dwindle at this point as he mumbled his way through a handful of images. Berthoud has done much work for Viktor & Rolf, including Flag Woman 2000 included in V&R’s first ready to wear collection “Stars and Stripes”. His work shows more vector based imagery and is less like the hand drawn work of Downton and Perint Palmer. His illustrations are more graphic and experimental in medium (e.g. the famous x-ray image for V&R where line images of the whole collection are layered on top of one another). Far less of the brush and ink approach.

Afterwards we were all invited to the Level 3 gallery where Tanya Ling was conducting a live fashion illustration performance. Her table was full to the brim with paper, brushes and a rainbow of acrylic paints. She was producing vibrant pieces in minutes, painting from a book of V&R collections. Although the illustrations were not realistic they captured the essence of V&R perfectly each showing energy, flow and life.

As an extremely interesting and thought provoking evening I would definitely recommend any of the Late Night events. I was thoroughly inspired, and began sorting out my paints as soon as I returned home!

The only downside of the evening for me was when I simply enquired how much Tanya Ling would sell her images for “I don’t think they’d be in you budget” replied her husband looking down his nose at me. I may not have been designer clad but I had made quite an effort I thought! He was right though… £1250 a piece.

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Blue Hands is the Welsh quintets follow up to Under the Crooked Moon and marks the departure point both in sound and inspiration. Showcasing an array of influences from just about every source, try David Bowie, Neil Young, Kraftwerk and Edith Piaf are all apparently present, as is the Old Testament! Even Hollywood actress’ of the silent movie era are drawn upon. Orphans of The Storm tells the story of the silent actress Lillian Gish‘s near death experience filming the movie of the same name.

But, there is something about this showcase of influences that doesn’t quite ring true and sounds more like PR spiel. Is citing the aforementioned Miss Gish and John the Baptist really evidence of ‘Hollywood Reporter meets the Old Testament’. In some instances, references seem to be thrown in for no particular reason, on King of England the serial killer Son of Sam is name checked right next to Fred Astaire.

At least, The Hot Puppies are not playing it safe and have tried to experiment, even if the results are not always successful. In the alleged Kraftwerk influenced, How To Choose a Wife synthesizers have indeed been used, but the end result is confused, and sounding in places like a programmed demo on a Casio keyboard. Again, on King of England it feels like the same Casio keyboard has been dragged out and just left to play. However, the experimenting does pay off on the seemingly two separate sounding songs that make up Secret Burial.

The most successful tracks appear where singer Becki Newman is allowed to showcase her yearning vocals without the addition of synthesizers. On Dear Brutus Newman is initially accompanied on pianos and it seems like The Hot Puppies have found their niche, but then the synthesizer comes in and competes for attention. Elsewhere, Newman’s voice soars on Somewhere, sizzles on Where the Werewolves Meet, and is powerfully heartbreaking on Blue Hands, the strongest track of the album. Other nice moments on the album are provided by the sing-a-long catchy chorus Disney would be proud of, on Clarinet Town and Orphans of the Storm showcasing the whispered subdued lead vocals of Luke Taylor.

With their burgeoning ability to straddle genres, The Hot Puppies could have music critics eating out of the palms of their hands. But, it seems they can’t decide whether they want to record ballad quality songs or live out all their synthesizer fantasies. So, The Hot Puppies have settled for doing it all and therefore suffer the consequences.

Recently the levels of exposure regarding ethical and environmental issues have reached an explosive high. On a daily basis, treatment newspapers and magazines, exposing documentaries and worthy speeches (from well known celebrity faces) have been pummeled into our consciousness. There are a few consumers that seem to have jumped on the bandwagon of Eco=cool (which unfortunately may mean short lived changes until the next cool trend emerges), but for the most part I have seen a more thoughtful approach in the minds of many avid shoppers.

Our knowledge of the dangers that face the environment and the revelations of high profile shops unethical working conditions compounded with the dismal credit crunch, have lead to myself and many others reconsidering their well heeled shopping habits.

As someone who has often been rather tight on the purse strings and known to frequent high street stores, I have often bought items on the basis of their low price tag. My love of fashion and design has meant that I generally only bought the essentials from the budget stores (plain white shirts, tracksuit bottoms, strappy tops) wanting to discover unique statement pieces from vintage stores, charity shops and car boot sales to ensure I wasn’t yet another clone.

It’s a great feeling going to a social event without the fear of being faced with someone in the same outfit (even worse when they look infinitely better). I think more and more fashion fans are cottoning on to the fact its good to be unique and being able to answer the question ‘where did you get your … from?’ with the comforting knowledge they won’t be able to go and buy one themselves.

Currently I am keeping my eyes peeled for any shops that have an eco/environmental slant that can also maintain my need to ‘feel special’ in an outfit.

Poppy Valentine in Portobello, Notting Hill, have listened to their customers worries and the climate of ethical/environmental awareness and have involved themselves in the research and development of a new bio leather which will reduce environmental harm.

Their newest bags in the popular Hepburn range are made from vegetable tanned leather which uses less harmful chemicals and no chrome during production. As well as the aforementioned benefits of their process, it also gifts the bags with a beautiful soft and slouchy appeal which is far more favourable for a day outing than the rather rigid, boxy examples that are around in many of the high street stores.

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You may already be aware of Poppy Valentine through their printed/vibrant clothes and accessories that are completely individual and made from fabrics that the designers have sourced over many a dedicated year: trawling through thrift stores and antique markets. Undoubtedly there will be something in their store to suit people who seek inspiration from different fashion eras from the 40′s (which with the release of Edge of Love is an era sure to be emulated by many a fashionista) to the psychedelic 70′s. Their choice of fabrics also capture trends of the s/s 08 season with both ditsy and bold floral print and abstract print dresses, bags, and blouses.

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Initially the plain leather bags in their contemporary collection don’t have the wow factor as they do not feature any intricate embellishment, unusual design features (such as the gold frog a la Marc Jacobs) or capture any of the major bag trends of this season (over sized clutch, ruffling, tassels) but this isn’t important. They are unarguably usable, long lasting and wearable and that is vital in these times of money woes.

I appreciate a bag that is honest, it does exactly what bag is meant to do, the slouchiness of the material makes it comfortable to bash against your side on a days jaunt, the bold but plain colours (oyster, red, black) make it a bag that will go with many an ensemble and it isn’t emblazoned with tacky logos. It’s a bag that won’t go out of fashion and will look great against some of the multi-coloured prints around this season and why must functionality be a bad thing!

The other bags in the collection combine their ‘Blossom Print’ with their leather and carry a sweet retro feel which will look fun in the summer, but not as useful all year round.

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We have to come to the realisation that a lot of the clothes and accessories we have bought in the past, with their shockingly low price were so wallet friendly for a reason. In a sense, many of us will have to retrain ourselves with new knowledge of what is acceptable to pay for an item, which may mean spending more. The knowledge you aren’t contributing to a system that harms people or the environment makes it more than worth it.

I think the Poppy Valentine leather bags are very reasonable at £120 and you aren’t getting a fad item that you will regret and keep hostage in the fashion graveyard at the bottom of your wardrobe next year, it will come out day after day, year after year, a classic bag that isn’t a gimmicky show off.

A visit to their shop will inevitably give you a hint of the rush you feel when searching for one-off treasures at car -boots, markets, and take you away from the hoards of crowds that still flock to the high street budget stores rifling through piles of garments and trampling on items fallen from the hangers.

I look forward to seeing the next collection – I’d love to see some more soft leather bags with more design detail, interesting pockets and straps.
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Glasgow four piece Errors are a band of precision – being on a label run by Mogwai, more about it’s no surprise that their music has a similar ability to pull cold beauty from a tool – like discipline, drugs fashioning smooth, there sleek and slippery surfaces from rugged terrain. The album often drifts into a post-rock glaciality with a Warp-esque glitch like a more humane Squarepusher. It often resembles almost any album from 2003, and at its least successful it illuminates how far we have moved from the implied seriousness of five years ago into a much less consistent and more creatively free era. Here Errors can sound overtly studied, like four intelligent men working their way through a BA(Hons) in Structurally Complex Musical Ideas at the Battles University.

Album opener Dance Music sets the pace for what’s to follow, blurring the line between a live and a studio-textured sound. A series of evolving motifs played with cold clarity, drums mutate between fixed live grooves and laptop spluttered electrical showers – while the guitars remain glassy and spidery.

There is a real depth of ideas to Errors music that feels like it is yet to free itself from an unnecessary adherent to musical disciplines. Definitely a 2.1 dissertation in Mathematical rock yet it would be great to hear these chaps a little after Graduation, nine months into menial jobs and a few heartbreaks later. Then, maybe we could hear a band managing to structure their inventive, texturally fascinating ideas into something more idiosyncratic, more individual and certainly more unfamiliar than their only standout track Pump – in all its echoes of a cut loose acid New Order strives for.
Everybody’s heard that famous Tesco slogan ‘Every Little Helps’, viagra 60mg what I didn’t realise is that it means much more than shaving a few pence off our fruit & veg each week.

Throughout 2008, page Tesco has been supporting Marie Curie Cancer Care. And to help raise money for the cause, approved they have called on the assistance of London based designer Cath Kidston.

Cath Kidson?” commented a friend of mine. “Isn’t she the one that designs all the countryside kitchenware?” This is true, but Kidston, famous for her floral prints, is no stranger to leaving her mark on the big retailers.You might remember the Carphone Warehouse Nokia range, girling-up the phones with flowers and stars, making the previously dull handsets look fab. And she’s now worked her magic on Tesco too.

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Now I for one am all for saving the environment, and I do try to avoid using too many plastic bags when I go shopping. This has, however, proved a problem for me in the past with the regular ‘bag overload’, which has lead to the embarrassing ‘wine bottle smashed all over pavement’ incident on more than one occasion. Oh dear.

There is a solution to this, but I have to put my hands in the air and admit that I’ve never fancied carrying around those huge, rather hideous looking eco-shopping bags that you can buy at the tills. So imagine my delight when I found out about the Cath Kidston range of eco-shopping bags!

There are two designs available at the moment, the pretty multi floral print, and the classic blue and white dotty design. Then over the next six months, four more hot designs will be released. All are made entirely of recycled plastic bottles, so they are eco-friendly and strong, as well as being stylish, with Kidston’s girly-retro feel.

The great thing about these little gems is that neither Tesco, nor Cath Kidston are receiving any profits. The sole purpose of the new range is to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, while changing our consumer habits of using single-use plastic bags (or wine-smashers as I now like to call them).

The bags are big enough to carry the bulk of your shopping, rather than having to negotiate about eight wine-smashers at the same time. Just two of these eco-friendly delights will mean you can effortlessly breeze out of the shop, leaving all the less gracious-looking shoppers struggling behind you.

I think the multi floral design is lush, and the best thing about my new find is that the ‘Tesco’ logo is tiny rather than being splashed all over it, meaning that I’m not restricted to just taking it to the shops. I’m off on my summers hols this week and I’m all set to use my new bag on the flight, on the beach and even when I’m wandering around in the Greek sun. And for just £3.50, why not buy all six designs? As Mr. Tesco says, ‘Every Little Helps’.

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Art Editor, Tanya

If You Could is a project by London design studio HudsonBec, physician showcasing professional illustrators and designers as well as emerging new talent. This month sees the production of two beautifully hand crafted pieces from Tom Gauld and Letman which will only be available to order until 31st- so if you’ve got the cash, ed get your mits on a print snappish! Other projects include the transformation of the new Pure Groove record store in Clerkenwell, East London next month as well as this year’s V&A fete.

Tom Gault’s print design:
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Letman’s print design:
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Photo: Sam Butler

Around this time last year, page I spent a very depressing weekend staring at a television getting progressively more annoyed at the presenters on the BBC’s coverage of the hallowed Glastonbury festival. As Lauren Laverne, treat or whichever doofus it was, discount complained about the rain, me and the handful of my friends who were also unable to get tickets sat in a living room, sat inside a children’s play tent, gawping at what looked like more fun than an Olympic sized ball pit.

This year was definitely less of a sob story – thank god for Jay-Z and trench foot I say. I was finally able to experience my first Glastonbury and with the added bonus of being with the overwhelming majority of my chums.

We arrived around midday on the Wednesday due to our eagerness to make the most of the very expensive weekend. Our camp, in a prime location near the park, was filling nicely by late afternoon and everybody was in a party mood. Muchos kudos to my friends who brought a tent the size of a small aircraft hanger, it’s fair to say it served us well.

What struck me first of all as something that sets Glastonbury apart from any other festival i’ve been to is the amount of effort they put into making it look nice. There is art literally everywhere, making it such a pleasant place to be. The whole time I was there I was literally not bored once.

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The first night was filled with overly excited antics mainly consisting of running around near the stone circle meeting plenty of ‘interesting’ people and enjoying the frankly breathtaking view. The highlight for me however was the steward who entertained us for some time by speaking to his boss through what he believed to be his mobile phone (it was actually a copy of Observer Music Monthly).

Thursday saw the start of music, even though it came in dribs and drabs. The highlight for me was a fantastic cinematic show put on by DJ Yoda. The phenomenon that is a silent disco is one I have enjoyed before, and if you haven’t experienced it, it’s basically a normal disco but you hear the music through headphones. This is fun mainly because of the obscure sing-a-longs with impeccable timing that can be heard in the queue outside. You find yourself severely confused as to why on earth so many people are singing ‘Kids in America’.

Friday

A sore head was nourished back to health by a large breakfast and the sound of Santogold working its way over to our campsite. We hurriedly mooched over to the park stage to catch the majority of her set in what was probably the worst downpour of the festival (this was actually just a bit of drizzle, but I wanted to make it sound a little more dramatic). Her big beat drums and wonderful melodies instigated sporadic screeches of the intro to ‘Creator’ throughout the day.

Next up was the delightful, yet immensely over hyped, Foals. They did however entertain me enough to make me late for Hercules and Love Affair. After being so infatuated with their album, I simply couldn’t miss them. They transformed the tent into their own little New York nightclub, with sassed out horns and infectious riddims. I was a fan of Anthony and the Johnsons, but I think Antony Hegarty’s vocals work a lot better in what he is calling his side project.

MGMT was next and they were definitely the most festival band of the weekend. They just have an anthemic sound that suits big crowds full of flag waving and people willing to shout along to every song. After being on the go all day a good sit down with refreshment in the form of beverages was needed, and by the time we had found a good spot for headliners Kings of Leon I was really quite merry. Seeing one of your favourite bands of all time on the mythological pyramid stage is really something else. It really was a memorable show for me.

What made the night even better was hearing the last few songs of Pete Doherty’s set on our arrival back at camp. I wouldn’t have like to go and see him as I try to maintain my mental image of how good he used to be, but taking the weight off my feet to the sounds of Albion really was quite enjoyable.

Saturday

After a fairly decent sleep I was ready to check out the winners of this year’s New Talent Competition, Golden Silvers. Having seen them before only a couple of weeks ago I was in doubt they were worthy of this title, and they proved so even more. I simply love the simplicity and brilliance of all their songs. A long trawl followed this as we headed back to the park area to catch Lykki Li. It was definitely well worth it though, sitting on the grass letting the Swedish star’s set wash over us was a welcome relaxing break from all the walking we had done that morning.

I decided to catch Metronomy’s set after being relatively impressed by their second album. I’ve some how managed to see them quite a few times, and this was probably the best time I’ve seen them, and I’ve realized that there is definitely still a lot of good stuff to come from Metronomy.

Another band that I have seen countless times is Hot Chip. After being forcefully subjected to their first two albums, I had grown tired them. Then I gave their fantastic new album a listen. The arrival of which has rejuvenated my taste for them, and the new tracks were amazing live. Also, the appearance of Wiley for a cover of Wearing My Rolex was quite a spectacle. Even though it sounded rubbish and Wiley was less than on form, it was just one of those things that had to be seen.

The realization that it was unlikely I would be able to catch much of MGMT and Battles due to the amount of travel it would involve led me to go straight to Jay-Z. I was determined to see whether all the hoo ha was justified. I’m probably the last guy to be found enjoying hip-hop, but I was definitely impressed by the amount of effort that had gone into his live show. Kicking off with a montage of comments against his appearance and an Oasis cover gave the show the much-needed badass attitude. There was no way that his appearance wasn’t going to be entertaining after all the controversy, although I was disappointed that there were no special appearances. Not that I’d get all giddy over the appearance of Linkin Park or Beyonce, it’s just that there had been so many rumors flying around that I was just expecting it.

Sunday

Due to severe weariness after four days of festival I was pleased to see the line-up for the nearby park stage was very tempting indeed. The incredible White Denim were very impressive and certainly woke me up with their psychedelic blues-rock. In fact, they rocked the most, and were even nice enough to give a little shout out to some of my friends who had met them the previous night.

A trip to the Hare Krishna tent for a spot of lunch was my only option due to being a little too lavish with my funds. Much better than the food however was all the singing and dancing that goes on around you while you eat. It’s a bit like a spiritual version of one of those family diners they have in America where they sing to you if you order the biggest steak on the menu. I didn’t stay too long though, as i’m a very busy person and I didn’t want to get converted due to fear that all the meetings and stuff would eat up all my free time.

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I then headed back to the park yet again to see Mystery Jets, Laura Marling and Caribou one after another. Mystery Jets seem to have almost abandoned the tracks on their first album, I can only really remember them playing ‘You Can’t Fool Me Dennis’, and this was still overshadowed by every track they played off of Twenty One. I’m sad to say I only really saw Laura Marling’s set from afar as some of my friends were far more interested in the nearby bar area, but I did manage to tear them away in time to see Caribou. I’d not even heard of them before, but they had been heartily recommended to me, and I am so glad I didn’t miss them. The most fantastic live drum spectacle I’ve ever seen; they wowed the few and far between that had stuck around for them. We all left gob smacked by how good they were and all with mental notes to follow them up when we got home.

For the rest of the day are plans were left very undecided. Not really what you want on the last night of a festival, so we settled for the idea of heading back to camp to ‘mentally prepare’ for the night ahead.

We made our way down to Groove Armada in the hope of at least a good light show, and something we could have had a bit of a dance to, and we got what we asked for. It was one of those gigs you don’t expect to be that great, but it was actually surprisingly fun. We did get a little bored about half way through though and checked out Benga & Skream in the form of their alias Magnetic Man on the rather garish G stage. It was interesting to say the least, though the state of some of the people there began to scare us, so we ended up heading back to the other stage in time to catch ‘Superstylin’.

The rest of the Sunday is a little bit of blur, though judging by the epic struggle which was the journey home, I’m guessing I had a pretty good time. I just hope I don’t set up a tent inside next year as well.

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