Warum haben wir diesen Namen?



“What’s in a name?” // “Was ist in einem Namen?”

(from Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet – Act II, Scene II)

Explaining our name…


You might find yourself asking why this website is not entitled in the conventional German of “Wir sind die Kinder vom London Stadt” (“We are the children from London town”).

Well, aside, from the URL being ridiculously long and confusing for anyone who can “nicht sprechen Deutsch” it is to do with one city, one book, one film, one song (Bowie’s Heroes) and one woman. That woman being the protagonist from Ulrich Edel’s cult film Christiane F – Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo (1981).


Yet Christiane is no fictional character, living in West Berlin during 1975, during the height of the divided city and the wall, she became embroiled in a world of drugs – hashish, LSD, pills and heroin. What makes this tale so shocking is that her decline into depravity began when she was only 12 and by the time she was 14 her heroin addiction was so strong that she was a full time sex worker. This was a decade, documented in both Stern magazine and Edel’s film, when teenage drug use and child prostitution were rife.


The pivotal axis upon which the film turns is that of David Bowie and his input – both acting as himself and providing the musical soundtrack. Christiane maintains that her first heroin experience was at a Bowie concert – a scene that is re-enacted in the film and which exposes a 14 year old girl’s adoration for the singer.


There is also a fucked-up but tragically emotive love story between Christiane and the (gorgeous) Detlef who she meets at the infamous nightclub Sound. It is her love for him the leads her into a whirlwind of drugs and crime – all in an attempt to be closer to him. Detlef introduces her to the sordid underworld of the sex and drug scene at the Bahnhof Zoo train station – yet it is here that she learns her lover and best friend is also engaging in homosexual prostitution behind her back – his yearning for heroin is stronger than his love for her.


Be warned – Stealing from family, performing underage sex acts, junkies overdosing and graphic withdrawal is shown in lurid detail.

Modern day Berlin is not typified by this film – where the cinematography is dark, unclean and rundown. Former landmarks used in the film no longer exist and the child actors used in the film (most of whom were still in school) have never gone on to great fame.

David Bowie’s Heroes is a song that resonates through the soul, however, very few know of Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo and the warning that Bowie was trying to give – having struggled with his own demons during his Berlin Years of 1976-79.

Christiane F. is not an easy watch, despite the unfounded promise that the real character went on to live happily ever after…

This is a gritty bildungsroman, showing that life is never easy, but this film is a piece of history and an artistic expression that is not to be ignored. Indeed, it is by observing literature, music and cinema (in this cult classic and in general) that one sees reflections of life – both the highs and the lows. Wir Kinder Vom Bahnhof Zoo stays with you long after you have finished watching it. Perhaps it will inspire you in some way to make something of yourself no matter what life throws at you.

“At 12 it was Angel Dust. At 13 it was heroin. Then she took to the streets”


“The Image of a Generation”
Anne x
Photos: Stills & promotional shots from Christiane F © Euro Video

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



It is hard to find eloquent words that befit the way we both feel about Amy Winehouse and her music. Even thinking/talking about her now gives us goosebumps and brings tears to our eyes. Many a’night we have spent warbling away to her heartbreaking and moving lyricism and soaking up her feisty attitude. Of any troubled celebrity it was ALWAYS her that we prayed would rise like a phoenix from the flames. Yet that was not to be. So in the absence of articulate expression we have found two writers that beautifully express our feelings for this talented young lady. One thing that is for certain – any future generations of our families will be forced to listen to the Winehouse back catalogue for years to come. Musically, she is an artist that we should all feel lucky to have had a chance to witness to in our lifetime…

“Pop music had often cast women as sweet, bright creatures, but Winehouse’s lyrics revealed something mulchier, messier. Here was a woman who refused to conform – not in the eccentric mad woman in the attic mould of Kate Bush or Björk, but a woman who chose to live a little wild, follow her heart and sing of the simple stew of being female. Her songs were filled with broad talk, cussing, drink and drugs and dicks, songs that could hinge on one magnificent, unladylike question: “What kind of fuckery is this?”

amy copy

Reposted from Tuesday 26 July 2011 


“Of course nothing lasts for ever, but some things endure, even as, and maybe because, they haunt . To find a lasting treasure in all the momentary pleasures of the Winehouse oeuvre, all you have to do is listen harder. And then do it again, and keep doing it, until you feel life changing around you”


Reposted from Sunday 8th September 2013 theindependent.co.uk

Photos:  Max Vadukul©  & Abél Caldéroné©  

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


Best Books (part 1)


My favourite books, from top to bottom (and in some kind of vague chronological order): Evelina by Frances Burney, Maria: Or, the Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, The Adventures and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse, Room at the Top by John Braine, 26a by Diana Evans, and In Other Rooms Other Wonders, by Daniyal Mueenuddin. (I am actually quite devastated that another of my absolute favourites seems to have disappeared into the depths of my house – The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. I am going to go on a manhunt for it – I am very precious about my books. They are my babies.)

As you can see, I have a thing for tragedy, and the gothic – basically, the genre known as Fin de siècle, which is the stream of books written in the 1890s. At the turn of the Victorian century, people got paranoid and scared about the future, and what resulted were classics by Hardy, Conan Doyle and Wilde – books obsessed with disease, degeneration, crime, and decay. Totally depressing, chilling stuff. I love it.

Apart from that, I am a massive fan of the Victorian (Dickens and the Brontës, especially), and prior to that, the eighteenth century, which I am quite obsessed with as a period in general. I love strong women (Woolf and Wollstonecraft) and the angry young men of the 1960s (Braine and Waterhouse). I also like contemporary black and Asian writing, such as Diana Evans, and Daniyal Mueenuddin.

I’m obsessed with Oxford Classics – Penguins will not do. Oxfords are white, and they always have the best covers (i.e. the Woolf, Burney, and Hardy above). Penguins are black, and the spine always gets cracked and they end up looking shit after a few weeks (again, you can see that above. I didn’t buy those Penguins. I wouldn’t ever buy Penguins).

My English degree and really opened my eyes to literature. One of my favourite things about reading, apart from the feeling of peace and calm I get I lose myself in a book, is identifying parts of my life with certain books – I’ll always associate reading Tess of the D’Urbervilles with a magazine internship I once did, for example, as I’ve been reading it again over the last few weeks. And Jude the Obscure reminds me of winter: it’s a thoroughly depressing book, and I read it in January, when it was snowing and London was at a standstill. It was very eerie. I really feel like I’m living my life more when I’m loving a book.

Rosie x

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


Justin and the Knights of Valour – Film review

Once upon a time there was a young lad determined to follow in the traditions of his forefathers – to venture on a quest and return a hero to his kingdom. Along the way he encountered a motley crew of folk and rescued a damsel in distress…


This is a tale told from generation to generation – in this instance it is Antonio Banderas’s retelling of the stock tale in animated 3D format, with the help of the Academy Award nominated Kandor Studios.

We meet Justin (Freddie Highmore) as he rebels against his father’s wishes to become a lawyer and escapes to a training camp run by monks for the Knights of Valour (of whom his grandfather was one). Far from being a handsome and robust youth, Justin is a bumbling and slightly pitiful animation – more of a village idiot than hero-in-training.

To balance the good versus evil continuum, the audience are presented with Heraclio, a dark knight threatening to overthrow the queen, and his camp sidekick Sota. Sota’s vanity and ostentatiously effeminate gesticulations match Rupert Everett’s voiceover perfectly. There is also Sir Clorex (Banderas himself), a false knight with a penchant for the ladies (adults may note that it is perhaps no coincidence that his name is reminiscent of a brand associated with male virility).


Moments of slapstick humour ensue from comedian David Walliams who plays Melquiades – a soothsayer with a split personality, who mutters to himself like a Gollum-esque madman. There are laugh-out-loud scenes, for children at least, due to the sheer buffoonery and calamitous actions of Walliams’ character.

The animation is spot on, and Granada-based Kandor graphics have made every effort to incorporate cartoon versions of the stereotypical fairytale landscape, although the characters all look a bit like mythological versions of Bratz dolls. 3D splashes of rain fall from the sky, castles crumble around you and there is a flying crocodile masquerading as a dragon called Gustav (which sounds funnier than it sadly is).

On the topic of dragons, fans of animation are predicting that Banderas’s film is a direct attempt to mimic the success of 2010’s hugely popular How to Train Your Dragon. Let’s hope that this film is more successful at soaring to success than poor croc-in-disguise, Gustav.

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


Amy Winehouse Exhibition – “A Family Portrait” at the Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum is the perfectly understated venue chosen by Alex Winehouse to display intimate possessions of his late sister Amy. This is no overblown, invasive peep-show depicting the caricature created by the press; this is a tribute to the person Alex spent his childhood with – a person who was not a modern day martyr but a normal girl with an extraordinary talent thrust into the limelight. This exhibition steers clear of the destructive end that befell Winehouse and instead stoically focuses on her heritage and what made her the person she was.

Walking in, it is uncertain whether one will be exiting with tear-filled eyes, yet this is a family affair and an attempt by a sibling to show that behind all the hype was a normal North London Jewish girl. Its motivation is to explain the amalgamation of positive influences that shaped Winehouse – not the tragic, doomed waif that the public judged, pitied and mourned.

The music filling the room is not Amy’s, it is a playlist she created of her favourite songs – songs by Ronnie Scott, Sarah Vaughan and 60s girl groups. It is these songs that shaped her musical and fashion style, her beehive, her tattoos, her strikingly individual voice and poetic lyricism.

Winehouse’s application to Sylvia Young lines the walls, her childlike scrawl poignantly revealing the now famous quote “I want people to hear my voice and just… forget their troubles for five minutes”. We gaze upon school uniforms and family photos – not just of the singer but of her Jewish ancestry and her much loved Grandma Cynthia.

Clothes (revealing just how tiny she was) are in display cases: her Glastonbury dress, her dress from the Tears Dry on Their Own video, and more. It is disquieting to be gazing at clothes worn by a woman who should only be turning 30 this year.

By the exit are decorative bird cages owned by Winehouse. One can’t help but feel that this is a metaphor for the life she was forced to lead. Recently Alex Winehouse, speaking publically for the first time, has been quoted as saying Amy “was pretty much shut in the house and couldn’t go anywhere” due to press. Sarah Vaughan’s lyrics (covered in October Song) now ring true: “lovebird, my beautiful bird/ spoke until one day she couldn’t be heard”.

Our rating: ***** (obviously)

Anne x


As Is at the Finborough Theatre

as-is-mainIn 1985 William M Hoffman’s As Is was one of the original plays to deal head-on with AIDS, while the disease cast its dark cloud over the gay community of New York. Critically successful, it ran on Broadway and came to the UK in 1987. 25 years have passed and the Finborough Theatre is now giving audiences a chance to witness the devastating impact of AIDS upon this gang of friends once more.

The star-crossed lovers are Rich (Tom Colley) and Saul (David Poynor). During an argument over their recent break-up Rich reveals to his former lover: “I have IT” – it being the “plague” of AIDS that has begun to sweep across the sexual landscape of the city. Through a series of short scenes we witness numerous characters react to the diagnosis; in one emotive scene Rich crumples to the floor as he is overwhelmed by the other cast members’ responses, with his family thrown into dilemma. All are universally united in their terrified reaction: “Don’t touch me!”

as isHoffman’s script is full of humour as well as sadness, refusing to bend to the devastating ravages that “turn a fruit into a vegetable”. Tom Kay, Jordan Bernarde and Anna Tierney shift seamlessly into a myriad of roles and transform the stage from a nightclub full of rampant promiscuity into a hospital deathbed. We are presented with AIDS hotline workers inundated with calls that range from the incessant to the hilariously absurd, as hysteria rises and more die.

We are compelled to hope for a new age of acceptance. Rich and Saul take solace in their love and an anonymous hospice worker (Clare Kissane) tells of her affection for a patient – a poor soul close to death whom no one will approach. It is the human spirit that imbues the play with hope for AIDS victims, and Colley poignantly enacts Rich’s determination to live. As the play draws to a close, the milk of human kindness displayed by the hospice worker is touching as she tells how she comforted a shunned and dying man by painting his nails a scandalous red – fighting until the very end.

As Is leaves audience members reeling with pathos for their fellow man, while still providing bittersweet laughter throughout.

Our rating: ****

Anne x