Art and culture

RIP Jason Molina

Jason-MolinaOver recent years, high profile deaths are something we’re acutely aware of. Thanks to the frantic online treadmill that is the dissemination of information in modern times, obituaries aren’t just something you read in the back of a Sunday supplement anymore. We know when someone vaguely famous has passed on, because they get their own… [Read more…]

The kindness conundrum

self deprecation‘Keep that wine flowing – when you’re drunk, I’m funny,’ crowed the compère at a recent comedy night, and the crowd roared with laughter. That wasn’t the only point in the evening that his self belittling quips drew snorts and guffaws – in fact each reference to his beer gut, hair loss and general inadequacy… [Read more…]

Death: A Self Portrait

death_self_portraitWhat better time to visit an exhibition exploring mortality than in the midst of an impending apocalypse? Dramatic interpretation of the end of the Mayan calendar meant that death was very much in the public consciousness on December 21, and as usual we were being nothing short of hysterical about it. So I wandered down… [Read more…]

The Master

Freddie QuellIt’s been thirteen days since I watched it, but countless review reads and several empty attempts at foraging for subtext later, The Master still doesn’t mean a lot to me. In the eyes of those that seem to know best, Paul Thomas Anderson can do no wrong. His back catalogue of critically acclaimed movies is… [Read more…]

Josie Long – Romance and Adventure

Having only ever heard snippets of Josie Long ‘doing funnies’ on the Saturday morning 6music show with Andrew Collins, going to see her perform at Soho Theatre this week was a bit of a gamble. However I surmised a three times Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee was bound to bring a few chuckles. I was… [Read more…]

Top ten teen angst pop from the 90s

It’s 1999, Britney Spears is still innocent, wanting to zig-a-zig-ah is a ‘thing’ and cargo trousers are the best thing since yellow bananas. I’m 14 years old and living on a diet of chips, Dawson’s Creek and broken dreams – life is complicated. Being a teenager in the 90s was tough. When the entire world… [Read more…]

Mr Brainwash

If you’ve seen Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop documentary, you’ll know a little about his protégé Thierry Guetta – the French born Los Angeleno who has taken over London’s cavernous Old Sorting Office with his bizarre brand of pop art. If you haven’t seen the film, this exhibition will tell you all you need… [Read more…]

Operation Freedom – A Veteran’s Story

Last week a lucky throng of children was positively starstruck when an 88-year-old Word War II veteran visited an east-end primary school. It was no Kim Kardashian, there was no red carpet, but a celebrity far worthier of the kids’ admiration arrived and the excitement was palpable. Veteran spitfire pilot Brian Bird came to Harbinger… [Read more…]

British Glamour Since 1950

Ever dreamed of waltzing down the red carpet in a floor length jewel encrusted couture number, stepping out at your (imaginary) debutante ball in a dazzling white gown, or graciously donating a few trillion pounds at a charity gala, while clothed in Alexander McQueen? Unless you’re the next Angelina Jolie these images are likely to… [Read more…]

Out of Focus

Out of Focus is an exhibition that truly lives up to its name, and not in a derogatory way. The first major photography exhibition at the acclaimed Chelsea venue sees 38 photographers from all over the world present a swirling cauldron of filtered, backlit, double exposed delights. It’s by no means any kind of structured… [Read more…]

The land where comedy goes to die

You’ve got to give it to the USA, they’ve come up with some gems over the years – like the Internet, rock ‘n’ roll and home delivered pizza. But lately there’s a more inferior collection of Yankee exports wafting across the Atlantic, in the form of very specifically titled, very specifically crap new TV shows.… [Read more…]

New gags for old rope

When it comes to being a guinea pig, I draw the line at drug trials and cosmetics testing. Having top comedians try out their new material on me, however, is something I can certainly cope with. This is the unique twist given to traditional stand-up at the Old Rope Comedy Night. The weekly Monday night… [Read more…]

British Design 1948-2012

If you love exhibitions that leave your neck stiff as an albatross and your feet sorer than Paris Hilton’s size 11s after an LA shopping spree, this is the one for you. The Victoria & Albert’s latest offering – British Design 1948-2012 – presents a smorgasbord of buildings, objects, images and ideas plucked from the… [Read more…]

Bang Said the Gun

Spoken word somehow knows how to reach deep into my soul, forage around for a bit, sling out any vapid debris I’ve picked up from crap TV, and replenish with spirit-nourishing, life-affirming verse. So when our host Dan proclaimed last evening’s festivities as ‘the poetry night for people that don’t like poetry’, I was worried.… [Read more…]

What the Dickens?

Londoners. If you’re anything like me, you may suffer a bit of a love/hate relationship with our fair city. Yes there may be something wildly exciting to do every night of the week and Gordon Bennett don’t we have enough art on our doorsteps to satisfy the most greedy of culture fiends? But alas, we… [Read more…]

London 2012: dragging art across the Olympic finish line

Humans have been subject to plunder throughout the ages. King Tut had tomb raiders, English mail trains had Ronnie Biggs, Jennifer Anniston’s hair had Angelina Jolie, and for the last few years UK arts funding has wrestled with 2012’s sporting goliath – the Olympics. While I’ve been pumping up my shot putt arm and nurturing… [Read more…]

Not so Iron Lady

My Meryl Streep obsession began as soon as I clapped eyes on her in Sophie’s Choice. It was love at first sight, and not of the ‘I love Madonna cos she’s awesome’ calibre, that dominated my teen years. This, dear readers, was a dalliance from a higher plane, a blinding admiration for astonishing acting skills… [Read more…]

Guilty pleasures

While most people were having their stomachs pumped for mulled wine and mince pie overdoses this New Year, I had other things on my mind. Ridiculously beautiful, filthy rich, shallow and mindbogglingly melodramatic American adolescent things, to be precise. No, I’m not a really rubbish paedophile. I’m talking about the new series of 90210 –… [Read more…]

Calling all art illiterates

Living in East London you’re never short of opportunities to check out contemporary art, and believe me a lot of it is spleen rupturingly awesome. Plus you get to wander around crumbling old warehouses deep in the underbelly of Hackney, and stare at trendy art types clad in ironic hats, which is always entertaining. However,… [Read more…]

Fancy a journey through the Valley of Crippling Self Doubt?

Sometimes I find writing an article feels like standing at the foot of a giant mountain while a gaggle of angry, flesh eating badgers snap at my heels.  Any notes/plans/article structures I produce can resemble a 36-car pile-up on the M25. Recently a good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of someone who… [Read more…]

Save our arts

After yet another amazing day spent wandering around a few of London’s best art institutions for free, soaking up some culture with a good friend, our conversation took a more sombre turn. ‘So how much longer do you reckon we’ll be able to do this?’ Silence. This wasn’t a rhetorical question but we decided to… [Read more…]

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