Blue is the Warmest Colour – Palme d’Or Winner

Being proud advocates of LGBT culture (we have spent a lot of time in Berghain…) we were really excited when news began to trickle forth from the Cannes film festival 2013 – of the Palme d’Or winner ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’.

Based on a French graphic novel and garnering much critical acclaim all the way back in May – it has taken an age for it to hit our screens. But it is hard to avoid the vivid imagery scattered all over the underground stations in London.


The film is very visceral – real and intense in its portrayal of the ups and downs of modern day lesbianism. The acting by Adèle Exarchopoulos, ranging from a 15 year old discovering that her erotic feelings for boys are severly lacking, to a woman torn by her feelings for another female, are heartbreaking in their honesty and vulnerability.

Léa Seydoux, playing the sexually more mature and at-ease Emma, has had a liberal upbringing and is an artist – comfortable in her sexuality. Her flare and bright blue hair awaken feelings in Adèle that both excite her and make her feel welcomed to a life she didn’t realise she had been missing all along.

Yet the path to true romance never runs smoothly. The film raises questions of whether such erotic intensity can ever turn into something with durable longevity?

Blue-Is-The-Warmest-Color-2In the aftermath, what EVERYONE has been talking about (and over-hyping) were the supposed graphic sex scenes between the two women portrayed in the film. Director Abdellatif Kechiche has courted controversy – with critics claiming that the sex is too pornographic and not faithful to true lesbian encounters.

Even the author of the graphic novel has condemned the piece with the statements: “heteronormative [people] laughed because they don’t understand it” and that gay people “found it ridiculous”.

We found it neither of these things.

However, now both actresses have come forth to proclaim that they shall never work with director Kechiche again and have described the experience as “horrible”. There have even been suggestions that prosthetic vaginas were used.


I don’t know if we were the only ones NOT to be utterly shell shocked by such de-Hollywood-ised sex scenes?

But in many ways it was refreshing.

Three hours full of subtitled French cinema flew by.

We were mostly obsessed with the camera’s permanent gaze upon the girls’ mouths – there is definitely a lot suggested by this oral fixation on screen. We see them biting their lips in frustration, licking their lips, pouting, kissing, chewing – in fact Adèle is always seen to be open-mouthed – lips trembling, eating with her mouth full of food. or with a cigarette hanging from between her lips. I think we get what Kechiche is trying to suggest…

However, we found the more heart wrenchingly painful moments were the ones that stuck with us – the homophobic high school mob scenes, the tear-stained cafe encounter,…and the moment the man comes running out of the art gallery after Adèle leaves – where a moment’s hesitation leaves one wondering how many missed opportunities there are in everyone’s life.

Rating: ****

Anne x


Scream if you wanna shine brighter – House of Pain, Zenith House

House of pain

If you find yourself ambling around SE1 at any point before the 20th October, and discover that you have a spare minute, make sure that you pop into the House of Pain along Borough High Street. I accidentally stumbled upon this secret gem recently when pacing quickly down the street, a typical busy London commuter – and then…something interesting caught my eye.

Bright flashing lights, broken shards of glass, and high pitched screams came emanating forth from a derelict building – Zenith House. This is something to make any work-obsessed commuter stop in their tracks.

There is no huge advertising explaining what is going on, but being nosy and attracted to shiny objects, I crossed the road (dodging rush-hour traffic) to find out that unbeknownst to me MERGE festival is currently underway.

MERGE festival is a yearly celebration of the rich history and contemporary culture of Bankside. Taking place from 19th September – 20th October 2013 there is a flourishing of art, music and performance taking place around the area.

For further information, see here:

House of Pain is an art and light installation set in place by Marcus Lyall and Mark Logue. Currently residing in a derelict building it is open 5pm – 10pm Wednesday to Sunday.

The abandoned Zenith House is due for transformation into a hotel by Kings College London soon – and people are not happy. Opponents to the new scheme include English Heritage, The Victorian Society, The Georgian Group, The Ancient Monuments Society and Spitalfields Trust. The preservation of this building has caused a furore that Lyall and Logue have tapped into – a frustration with the modern, working age.

house of pain 2

Passers-by are invited to enter a darkened room on the ground floor and scream for as long and as loud as they like – as a way of exorcising their anger, fear or stress. The whiter the light the more high-pitched the noise, and my vocals chords certainly felt strained after a few minutes inside. Deeper, more manly groans caused an eruption of purple and pink lights to wash over the building.


Of course there is a lot more taking place throughout the month of MERGE festival…

Be sure to check out Candy Chang’s Before I Die.

There are two walls – one next to the House of Pain and another in Flat Iron Square. Here members of the public are asked to write their deepest desires on a large blackboard. These boards are covered in chalk scrawlings outlining what people aspire to do before their last breath.

before i dieIt is part of a much bigger project – there are, at present, 150 chalkboards for Before I die up around the world – and in 15 different languages.

It is a creative, worldwide project that can be found in such far-flung destinations as Thailand, Argentina and Israel (plus many more). It is a chance to gaze upon our fellow human beings’ creative outpourings, and Chang has managed to turn public places into art-filled, community-spirited wonders.

Our rating: ***

Anne x

Photos: MERGE (Tommophoto)

10 years of Bestival sure was a show-stopper!

Thursday night saw the super savvy and uber-cool MIA strut her stuff on The Big Top Stage – starting the festival with a bang. It was her first gig since 2010 and she did not disappoint with her wonderful fusion of style, image and songs – merging together all number of influences.
Bedecked in Hindu symbols and a headdress she made sure all her smash hits were all on the set list – Born Free, Bad Girls, Bucky Done Gun and Paper Planes. Her fourth album is due out later this year and we are super excited for what is in store!
Earlier on in the day – the first arrivals to the festival also got the chance to witness the alternative dance duo – ‘DJ Chucks’ and singer ‘Mr Bruce’ aka The Correspondents gave people a taster of electro swing and a multitude of other genres.
Friday’s favorites saw a scaled down version of Wu-Tang Clan hit the Main Stage with all the vigour one would expect of men who have been in the hip hop game for twenty years. The crowds hands’ were constantly in the air making the sign for ‘Wu’ and there was plenty of crowd interaction with the Clan before they played classics such as Gravel Pit, C.R.E.A.M and Shimmy Shimmy Ya  – which got everyone pumped up for the rest of the festival. Disclosure played the Big Top with a mammoth two hour set covering plenty of their chart climbing tracks off their number 1 album Settle. Playing at the same time on the main stage was Fatboy Slim who played a special Bestival Birthday Bash – fittingly because he was the first act to ever headline Bestival a decade ago!
Saturday we were treated to The Roots – a hip hop/neo soul collective from Philadelphia, featuring a euphonium player.  Their set went swimmingly (it was the nautical themed parade day after all – see the pictures!) and they performed covers including Sweet Child o’Mine and Jungle Boogie.
Old indie kings Franz Ferdinand drew a huge crowd to the main stage to perform their well known classics (Take Me Out) and  their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.
Later, as darkness set in The Knife played and their weird brand of kookiness did not disappoint – wearing black monk outfits, playing with experimental dancers and harps ringing out from under the Big Top awning…
Sunday, aside from seeing the return of the glorious Elton John, saw The Strypes, a four piece rhythm and blues band from Ireland return from touring Europe. One could hear the influence of Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stone and Dr. Feelgood. Critical acclaim has followed this band around and NME have hailed them as ones to watch.
James Blake then helped to close the festival with his soulful warblings, but unfortunately, being the Sunday – the end was nigh!
Other highlights that HAD to be squeezed in were trips to Lionel Richie’s head, HMS Bestival, the costume parade, the Wishing Tree, the closing fireworks and the Ambient Forest (with hidden slides, an ampitheatre, lakes and hidden “gypsies” leaping out from behind smoke machines and fairy lights).
Until next year Bestival! You were amazing.
Our rating: *****
Anne x
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio

Caravan Palace talk about their new album, going back in time and performing naked…


We had a chance to catch up backstage with Hugues Payen and Zoe Colotis after their amazing performance at Bestival last Friday. After touring around the world for the last few months, fans are now eagerly anticipating a third album. We chatted to the Parisian electro swing and gypsy jazz duo, and asked them some questions – with some very interesting results!

caravan p

How was the performance?

Zoe Colotis: Very warm!

Hugues Payen: It was very cool! Very early in the day, but very cool. It was the first time we have performed at Bestival. It is such a big festival to perform at in the UK.

You have also recently performed in London…

HP: Yes in Brixton. We had a British tour. But not much time to explore unfortunately. It was the hotel room mostly. We are trying to spend more time in the UK though.

ZC: We played a lot on tour last year so now we have to stop and complete our third album. Our priority is not to play anymore, it is to create new sound and then come back. And to kill it!

HP: Maybe we will have a chance to come back soon because the album will be re-released in the UK in December. We will see.

You’re influenced by swing and jazz. If you could live in the past, which decade would you choose to live in?

HP: I am not sure I would want to go back in time because we would not be able to do what we do musically, because of how times are at the moment. If not, we would not be able to make our music.

ZC: Let us just say that we like to live in this decade that we are in now but that we would like to take a vacation to the past – to say hi to Billie Holiday, but not necessarily live all our life there!

HP: Plus it is very good to have computers.

caravan lady

Are you working on the next (third) album? What is going to be different?

HP: We can’t tell! Not because I don’t want to tell you but because there is nothing to say – we are just at the beginning!

ZC: We have been on tour for months in Europe, the United States and Canada – then we go on to record the album. It is time to work now!

HP: Every day you have a different opinion about what you have to do. So it is hard to say what will happen.

How do you start the process of writing a new album?

HP: We have four good composers – she is not one of them [nudges Zoe playfully] – sorry! We all have our own opinions, then we send it to each other and if we don’t agree then your track must go in the garbage! That is how we work. It can take months to work on a song. To have the exact song we want. When just one of us does not agree with the artistic direction, we have to change it. That is part of the composing process.

What is the weirdest place you have ever performed?

ZC: We once played in a zoo in Portland with lots of giraffes around.

HP: Secret Garden Party was the craziest place we have been, people are very strange there.

ZC: But it was also about how we felt being there. Enjoying the festival… Oh yes, actually I remember the weirdest time. I remember! It was a cool concert in Germany: we had come back three times to do an encore and we didn’t have any more songs; so we started to get naked to have our showers but the crowd was still cheering outside “We want more!” We were like “Oh my god are they never going to stop?!” So we just put towels on and did another song naked on stage. Then people in the crowd took off their clothes too and came on stage, and everybody was naked – it was so funny! It was very special…

caravan both

Anne x

Photos: Ambra Vernuccio

20 Years of Wu Tang Clan


Last week, Wu Tang Clan played Bestival 2013, bounding around the stage clutching bottles of champagne. However only a few members managed to make it across to the Isle of Wight, with rumours surfacing that the others (Method Man and RZA) had issues with crossing the channel due to Customs Control. Undeterred, that did not stop mammoth crowds turning out to jump and fist pump to Wu Tang’s brand of old-school hip hop. The audience still got the chance to experience Gravel PitC.R.E.A.M and the deceased Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s Shimmy Shimmy Ya, among others. There was even a version of The Beatles’ Come Together – something completely unexpected – along with expert mixing and scratching by Mathematics, who spun discs with his elbows and even his feet.

As soon as Wu Tang came off stage, we were there to catch up on what has been happening during their 20th anniversary year.

wu tang 2

So, you are at a festival, have you ever been camping before?

Ghostface Killah: Camping? What, in a tent? Hell no! Is it good? Are there TVs in there? No air conditioning?!

How do you feel about the performance?

Masta Killa: Well, my job is to make sure you feel good about the performance. Did you feel good about it? Right, so ifyou feel good I did my job. The crowd were happy. That’s my job to make sure the crowd and everybody enjoys themselves. If you said I did a good job, than I am very happy.

wu tang 3

Happy 20th birthday! Do you ever get nervous?

MK: No. Never ever. 20 years might have something to do with it! Thank you for the happy birthday wishes by the way! Thank you, it is the thought that counts.

Have you heard of the Isle of Wight?

MK: The Isle of Wight? I think so… Oh so Isle of Wight is like quiet… People here would be confused by Wu Tang and the festival, right?

How did you get here?

MK: The boat. We flew to London, then got the ferry. “The ferry?” is that the right name? It was cool. We got here today.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever had thrown on stage?

MK: Weirdest thing on stage? Probably panties. Some panties. Yeah.

And the weirdest place you have performed?

MK: That’s tough. I have been to so many places. I can’t really say where is weird because when you are out there on stage, the love that you are shown for hip hop is amazing wherever you go.

wu tang 5

You recently performed in Brixton. Did you get a chance to explore?

MK: Yes. But it is mostly just hotel straight to the venue. I mean I’m here, on the Isle of Wight, gonna kick it with you for a while and then head back on the road. It’s very rare that I get a day off and be shown around. I don’t know when I am leaving. I am on standby like a doctor. I do what I am told, like a good boy.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

MK: What?! What is that? Nah. Haha. I don’t think so. I ain’t got none of that!

Any idea about the new (sixth) album? Even the name?

MK: I have heard of a few different titles but it depends on the music. That is the most important thing.

Are you going to have a big party for the 20th anniversary in November?

MK: A few big parties! Not just in America – everywhere! Even on the Isle of Wight. You never know!

Can you explain the Wu Mansions?

MK: Let’s get a Wu Mansion on the Isle of Wight! For real. Maybe for when we retire. Aw no, we are gonna be around forever. No retiring. I never plan on being old.

Can you speak in some Wu slang for me and translate?

Cappadonna: “Cos you be rubbin it in. Styley beaning [sic].”Translate? I can’t. It’s just a feeling. What did it make you feel like? That’s the best feeling ‘cause Wu Tang stands for: Witty, Unpredictable, Talent And Natural Game.

This year Bestival is nautical themed. What would you dress up as?

U-God: Never a mermaid! If I’m gonna dress up, I’m Dracula. Oh ok, sorry, sea themed. I would be a pirate. A royal prince of the sea! There are a lot of Somalian pirates out there right now taking over the seas…

wu tang

Even on the Isle of Wight?

Cappadonna: Hell yeah. They take over the ships. We would be Wu Tang rap pirates of the game. We get what we wanna get then keep moving. There are German Shepherds out there waiting for us and they wanna get our secrets but you gotta get through the 36 chambers first, like the first album [Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers]. You have got to get through all them chambers before you can reach the first secret! The secret of the ocean!

Can you tell us a secret?

Cappadonna: I am gonna let you in on a secret because you are very curious and you are trying to learn the way of the Wu, so I’m gonna give you one of the first secrets: knowledge of the self.

Anne Higgins
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio

Elton John Closes Bestival 2013

Unfortunately the rain came thick and heavy on the final day of Bestival 2013. Of course, this being a British festival, the crowd was in no mood to let the rain dampen their spirits. Especially as the legendary Elton John (at his first ever UK festival) brought Bestival’s ten-year anniversary weekend to a perfect close.


Two hours of Elton John was no less than the icon deserved. Bedecked in a luxurious dark blue sequinned coat, he played with vigour and covered plenty of hits from his 45-year career. The audience were thrilled to hear him warbling Tiny Dancer and I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues.

elton 3

His audience went truly wild for the foot-stomping I’m Still Standing. Anyone who had been hiding on the floor under rain jackets and umbrellas leapt into the air as soon as they heard the intro to the track. There was jumping, sing-alongs and large groups of people hugging (some still in their besmeared and rain tarnished nautical-themed costumes from the day before).


Up until recently, doubt was cast upon Elton’s ability to play the festival, having recently recovered from a bout of appendicitis, so many people were much relieved that they got to see this musical stalwart perform. His dedication to playing the festival was clear throughout the performance. He even admitted: “The only reason I’m doing this is because I was told it’s a brilliant festival to play!”

Of course, aside from his classics, Elton had a new album (his 30th solo album!) to promote. The Diving Board is due for release on 16th September 2013 and features the new single Home Again. The crowd took to it with vigour and, though the title suggested the nostalgic feeling of the coming morning, Elton ensured that no one wanted the festival to end.


Tear-jerkers such as Candle in the Wind and his final track Your Song saw families, couples and groups of friends swaying their arms in unity. The only fitting thing that could complement this wondrous set was the fireworks that burst forth across the arena as soon as Elton departed.

Our rating: *****

Anne x
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio

Chic bring the sunshine to Bestival 2013

For many of those only recently acquainted with Nile Rodgers via his collaboration with Daft Punk, the considerable size of his back catalogue will have come as a huge surprise at Bestival. Any sceptics, only aware of one or two hits, were soon proven wrong. The sun was shining and nothing could dampen the spirits of these disco kings and queens as Chic took to the stage.

chic 2

People danced in sync to some of the old tracks, almost creating a flash mob, the crowd metamorphosing into an irresistible, living, breathing disco creature. The lead vocals of Kimberly Davis were absolutely spectacular and cemented her status as a true diva who reached every note with style, glitz and glamour. Rodgers’ masterful guitar as he moseyed back and forth across the stage oozed pure cool. There was perhaps even a dig at Saturday night’s headliner Snoop Dogg who had covered a medley of other people’s songs as Rodger’s exclaimed “All this s*** you hear…is songs I wrote”. What was most flabbergasting was the sheer diversity of the songs he has written; Rodgers is certain to have expanded his fan base with massive kudos to this legend who has penned Bowie’s Let’s DanceLike a Virgin by Madonna and even Lady (Hear Me Tonight) by Modjo.


Chic’s own songs are funky and easily recognisable in their own right. The audience received the aural delights of Le Freak and I Want Your Love(1978), blasted from the stage. There was also the wondrous Sister Sledge track We are Family (1979), causing a beautiful moment in the crowd and compounded perfectly by the vivid rainbow that appeared behind the main stage as the band played. After a weekend of tumultuous weather Chic and Nile Rodgers shone brightly.

The set concluded with a recreation of Studio 54 onstage: scores of backing dancers, sound men, and women in glamorous regalia poured on, including a small child in the centre rocking out to Good Times. This familial atmosphere was a perfect ending to the summer and proved that Nile Rodgers appeals to all generations and will continue to do so for years to come.

chic 3Our rating: *****

Anne x

Photos: Ambra Vernuccio 

Hudson Mohawke drives fans wild at HMS Bestival

This year Bestival added a new element (it was their tenth anniversary after all) and that came in the form of HMS Bestival. The Port stage took over from the mammoth Arcadia of previous years and it did not disappoint! Bestival had commandeered an actual boat for the proceedings and it was the perfect place to see Hudson Mohawke drive his fans wild. Even from a distance one could see the lasers, the pyrotechnics, the seriously sexy dancers and the sporadic bursts of fireworks – a feast for the eyes. (Other acts performing at The Port had aerial silk dancers twisting around on a crane from a considerable height.)

For those that have not heard of Hudson Mohawke (yet), he is a 27-year-old music producer hailing from Glasgow, who started creating electronic hip-hop at the tender age of 15. His first album was released under Warp records and was entitledButter. Yet as time has gone by he has gradually gained well-deserved industry respect and is now also signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D music label.

Mohawke has recently achieved worldwide recognition having actually collaborated with Kanye West, and rumours abound that he is soon to be featured on a Drake song. The artist also has a side project underway entitled TNGHT (featuring fellow producer Lunice), which he always drops during his sets – and thank God he does because the material is just as epic as his solo stuff! The new Kanye West album features a sample of TNGHT on the track Blood on the Leavesand HudMo was sure to promote this new song during his Bestival set (although dedicated fans would probably rather have heard the full-length original than this version with Kanye West rapping over the top, which is interesting to say the least).

hudson-mohawkeThe drops in the tracks that he played caused an electrically charged atmosphere and added to the sheer chaos that was The Port stage. Higher GroundChimes and Lambo Furnace all elicited a mass of head banging and the crowd was so enthusiastic that often people were knocked to the ground. As headliner of The Port on Saturday night, Hudson Mohawke proved to be one of the highlights of the festival.

Our rating: *****

Anne Higgins

Snoop Dogg headlines Saturday at Bestival


On Saturday night the largest Bestival crowd of all descended for Snoop Dogg, a man who has only recently been allowed to perform in the UK due to previous convictions – something he referred to during his set, thanking those who had continued to support him and who had written letters demanding his entry to the country. This was a rowdy crowd – not for the fainthearted – pushing, shoving and leaping on each other’s shoulders, and stretching as far as the eye could see.

Recently Snoop has transformed himself into Snoop Lion (a reggae-styled Rastafarian version) with his most recent album Reincarnated released in 2012. However, it was clear that the audience were there for the dirty-mouthed, old-school hip-hop of Snoop Dogg , and there was no escaping the lull that descended when Snoop started swaying along to his reggae tracks. At points, unfortunately, hip-hop fans even left during these lesser known songs.

One thing that was inescapable was Snoop’s constant referral to marijuana: “Put your hands in the air if anybody is smoking weed out there!?” at which the crowd roared. Yet after the sixth or seventh reference (he ended with the words “My message to y’all is – SMOKE WEED”) it became a little wearisome.


The highlights were fabulous though – hits such as Still D.R.EDrop It Like It’s HotGin and Juice and PIMP were what everyone had been waiting to hear, and they sure got it! There was even a man in a dog costume wandering across the stage hyping up the crowd, proving there was life in Snoop Dogg (not just Lion) still. The definitive best moment came when Snoop dropped the Dre cover Let’s Get High – pandemonium reigned!

Recent collaborations with Katy Perry (sung by a strange voiceover) and covers of Akon, Calvin Harris and House of Pain were fun but slightly bemusing when most of us were expecting Snoop’s original material. The energy was certainly more muted for these tracks. There was also a bevy of scantily clad lap dancers grinding around Snoop (though he hardly seemed to notice).


This was an interesting performance from a man who has been in the industry for a long time. Many loved his covers and the unexpected element; however it was not what everybody expected. Perhaps slightly confusing for those that had loved him before his “reincarnation”.

Exportsnoop_dog_6W5A9395Our rating: ****

Anne x

Photos: Ambra Vernuccio

Bastille impress at Bestival

Over the last year Bastille have exploded into the mainstream, releasing their successful number two single Pompeii and two albums of innovative rehashes of old songs (Other People’s Heartache 1 and 2), selling out all over the country and even hurtling to number one in the charts with their hugely acclaimed album Bad Blood. On Saturday at Bestival they are on the main stage, with thousands of fans enjoying their charming vocals and catchy choruses.

Luckily for Bastille the sun was shining brightly during their set, and while those crammed at the front swayed their arms in admiration, those at the back (and it was way back, due to the number in attendance!) could revel in the glorious moment of summer and upbeat tunes.

Founder and lead vocalist Dan Smith bounded around the stage with boyish enthusiasm and spoke humbly to the crowd, thanking them for the band’s success. Lovers of the cover albums even had the chance to hear Bastille’s version of City High’s What Would You Do?, shrieking with joy as Smith pointed the mike in their direction: “Get up off your feet and stop making tired excuses!”

Bastille played on the costume day of the festival, and unlike many other acts they took a keen interest. Much to everyone’s delight, for the final song Smith introduced some backing dancers – dressed in full-scale crab costumes dancing in synchrony across the stage. A humorous twist to be sure!


Showing the band’s charisma and gratitude, Smith asked for one final moment to remain onstage and capture a photograph of him, surrounded by giant crabs and flanked by thousands of fans. Even with the band’s mid-afternoon billing the turn-out was incredibly impressive, with hits such as Flaws, the beautiful Overjoyed and Things We Lost in the Fire inciting mass singalongs. This is a band that deserve all the recognition they have received and more. Try to see them at some point (if you can get at ticket)!

Our rating: *****

Anne x

Future Cinema presents Dirty Dancing at Hackney Downs

One of the largest outdoor screenings of 2013 has been Future Cinema’s Dirty Dancing at Hackney Downs, with a run spanning three days (Friday 30th August- Sunday 1st September). Swarms of people gather in fancy dress, all in costume as Baby, Johnny, hula girls or bedecked in 60s headscarves.  The queues for entry are so long that bemused walkers in the park stop to ask “What on earth is going on?”

dirty promo 1

Dirty Dancing (1987) is part of the collective female psyche, and a seemingly feminine version of football hooliganism abounds. Once the film starts, malevolent characters are booed and vehemently heckled, yet when love scenes are beamed across the grass there is a collective intake of breath and whoops of joy. This is a film that people are passionate about. The vast majority of the audience are women who know the script word for word and leap up off their picnic blankets for every song and dance.

dirty dancing

What makes Future Cinema’s screening so special is its festival vibe. The Facebook event alone had thousands confirmed as attending, and the place is awash with people. The park resembles the main stage of a festival – except with people flash mobbing rather than moshing. Actors re-enact the scenes shown onscreen in the flesh: there is Johnny’s chalet (where the romance happens), the talent show, mass hula hooping sessions, art lessons – even a large replica of the staff quarters (the most happening place to be, with a real onsite disco) and the legendary ballroom where “nobody puts Baby in a corner”. No detail has been left untouched, and there is even a chance to hold the infamous watermelons, which is no easy feat!

dirty d rosie

Future Cinema has created a totally immersive experience, and recreating Kellerman’s Vacation Resort was a wonderful idea. Rather than forcefully thrusting the audience into the event, it invites them with food, drink, theatre, dancing, cinema and much more! At the end of the night, no one wanted to leave this rollercoaster of a holiday. From nostalgic tears at the memory of Patrick Swayze, to throwing beach balls into the air with wild abandon, this was a perfect way to spend one of the remaining days of summer.

Our rating: *****

Anne x

Suede play Live by the Lake

Kenwood House is hosting a majestic short festival over the coming days, entitled Live by the Lake. The first night saw Teleman, British Sea Power and Suede take to the stage. Although music lovers have been warned that the concerts are standing areas only, the greenery is so sprawling that people are happy to lie around and casually take in the surroundings. There are picnic blankets, jugs of Pimms, camping chairs and inflatable LED hands waving in the air.

This is a place for couples who fell in love with Suede before their hiatus, many of whom have bought their children along, held up on their fathers’ shoulders. It is a very peaceful setting despite the pounding music, and it is at the very upper end of the festival scale – drinks are not cheap and the queues are astounding – up until the moment Suede burst on stage in a whirling display of lights. Immediately the bar queue disappears and the crowd sprint towards the stage, arms laden with as much booze as they can carry.

Suede formed in 1989 and are considered by many to be the forefathers or early predecessors of Britpop – a label they clearly do not relish: Suede were more polished and glam rock than the laddish bands such as Oasis and Blur of the Britpop era. Despite changes in line-up, a hiatus and in-band tensions over the years, Suede are back with a new album (their sixth), Bloodsports. Band members taking to the stage on Friday night include Brett Anderson, Mat Osman, Simon Gilbert, Richard Oakes and Neil Codling. Yet the focus is on just one man – the camera never strays away from Anderson. The ultimate and original showman is as dapper as ever in his tight white shirt and trousers, looking as handsome at 45 and lithely leaping around the stage with impressive vocals.


Animal Nitrate gets the crowd excited. So YoungTrash and Beautiful Ones are definite favourites and, off their new album, one can’t help but enjoy the mellowness of It Starts and Ends With You. Anderson pours his heart and soul into the performance in a magical setting, but be prepared to spend a lot at Live By the Lake and don’t expect a charged atmosphere. The audience are relaxed to the point of either standing still in admiration or lounging on the slopes gazing at the stars.

Our rating: ***

Anne x

Photos: Krish Nagari

Wilderness festival – a review

We like festivals. A lot. Call them our addiction – this year we’ve been to too many to count (and will be seeping over how skint we are as a result until winter).

We especially like mixing it up a little bit by visiting, in between our trusted favourite festivals (Glastonbury, Bestival and Secret Garden Party), a new one each year.

This year we decided to check out Wilderness.

9ecb6b2201f911e3a73b22000aa80571_7Organised by the people behind Secret Garden, Wilderness promised amazing food, drink and festivities just outside of Oxford.

The weather was beautiful – absolute perfection – and in between catching Empire Of The Sun (psychedelic amazingness that was the perfect way to kick a festival off), we partied in beautiful summer climes.

wildernessHow pretty is that?! The food and drink was a dream – if a little bit expensive – but we’d rather spend £8 on a gourmet mezze platter than a dodgy burger any day.

wilderness 2It did become apparent quite quickly that the festival was VERY family-friendly – if you don’t like kids, then you might want to hide away during the day. This was a civilised festival, for sure, and ridiculously middle class, too (we got home to a report in The Times about a member of Parliament being present.).

But we wouldn’t have had it any different – Wilderness, with its chilled out music, beautiful surroundings, and awesome food, was a great place to nurse a hangover in the day – and we were always ready to party again by the evenings.

0876425802c811e399ae22000a1f9c95_7The festival really came to life in the evenings – we loved The Valley area – a crazy rave in a forest, curated one evening by The Box night club – and we found ourselves on the last night dancing like mad to Blurred Lines, amongst thousands of others – amazing. The only complaint from us? That everything wound down at 2am – when everyone descended to their tents – we’d have liked things to have carried on until dawn. But you can’t have everything – with weather, surroundings, and atmosphere this lovely, we had no other complaints. And we would gladly return, too.

We’ll be back for more next year – this is the perfect festival if you want to chill out in the daytime and party at night. We loved watching new music and one big headliner – we weren’t dashing from one stage to the other and missing sets – more ambling along – and loving the beautiful surrounding that Cornbury Park has to offer along the way (with a gourmet burger in hand, obvs).

Our verdict: ****

                                                                              Rosie x

Photos:  Jazmin Jackson and Wilderness Official

Canalival (well, the unofficial one)

We went to Canalival – a flotilla up Regent’s Park Canal – at the weekend, along with around 6000 other Londoners who wanted to make the most of the sunshine.

Well, actually, the official Canalival got cancelled a few days before – something about safety, despite thousands being raised for the event.

So what do you do when something you really, really wanted to go to gets cancelled? You turn up anyway, obviously. We’re young, don’t get mad!

It was an amazing day – sunny, good-natured, and drunken. And for once, we felt like we were connecting with other Londoners – there was a festival vibe to the day, and we spent loads of time chatting to others (mostly because there were so many boats we had no choice but to get to know our neighbours, but it was lovely). And it made us realise how reserved and British we are – why NOT set sail on a canal on a hot summer’s day?!

Check out the day in photos.






Canalival’s Facebook page is still rife with ‘discussions’, and many an article about the day has begun appearing in the Evening Standard and Time Out.

London’s still busy debating whether Canalival’s attendees are a bunch of ferocious, drunken, law-breaking hoodlums who made a right mess of the canal, or a jolly crowd of opportunists who took to Regent’s Park Canal on a sunny day and did something different. Rosie and Anne think the latter. But we would, wouldn’t we?!*

*And before you accuse of littering, we sorted our rubbish out. And donated our dinghy to a dinghy-less group when we left. Because we’re good like that.

Rosie x

Pleasure Principle Weekender

Luck was on the side of producers, Numbers and Dedbeat, when they kick-started the festival season with the Pleasure Principle weekender at the end of April. The weather was idyllic for the picturesque setting along the Cornish coastline, not far from the infamous stag weekend town of Newquay. Yet the summery vibes were not always a dead cert with the changeable English weather – hence the wise decision to set their new electronic festival among sprawling caravan sites, converting the usual holiday retreat into three stages, and have an indoor pool party hosted by the maverick mixer Jackmaster himself.

newquay 2

Notable acts that made it worth the journey were Oneman, with his new spin on old school garage anthems and sets infused with elements of dubstep and grime. Joy Orbison brought extra hype to the Friday night with his future garage tracks that have burst from the underground into huge festival favourites.

Despite the mammoth journey undertaken by many to reach the depths of Southwest England, it certainly proved worth it when the crowd waited with baited breath for headliners TNGHT to hit the Downtown stage on the Saturday. The pinnacle of their set was the intense club favourite Higher Ground, a massive trap track that filled the caravan park with the rumblings of hedonistic bass and catchy vocals. Up next was DJ EZ, champion of the UK garage scene, a man who always keeps his crowd constantly dancing with his selection of classics.


Sunday night saw the likes of the MBE-bearing David Rodigan bring the weekend to a climactic close. At the age of 61, Rodigan is able to party with the best of them and filled the converted stage into a booming cavern of reggae and dancehall.

With drink prices leaving one aghast (in a good way) and golden sandy beaches within stumbling distance, it would be silly for this festival not to grow with every coming year. And how could anyone resist the allure of caravan parties raging through the night?

newquay 3

Our rating: *****

Anne x