Mini Internet Roundup

A few things of interest this sunny Thursday evening.

BBFC gets Railway Children complaint

Health and safety gone mad! This article made me chuckle.

Art Everywhere: A very very big art show

An exciting initiative that aims to see tens of thousands of billboards across the country transformed into British masterpieces.

Why the humanities? Professor of history discusses the value found in humanities courses

Martin Jay makes a compelling argument for the humanities:

‘the humanities can compel us to reflect on the premises we take too quickly for granted and the values we uncritically accept.’

A recent graduate in English Literature and History of Art, this topic is very close to my heart. Here’s hoping future employers are reading this…

Hiatus Kaiyote

I’m currently on my way to see this band in London. The link takes you to a YouTube clip of Nakamarra.

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Glastonbury 2013: Unexpected Highlights

The huge hubbub around Worthy Farm at this time of year means that writing something interesting about Glastonbury becomes increasingly difficult. Rather than write about everything I enjoyed and the headline acts that you’re probably bored of hearing about, I have decided to just include the acts that took me by surprise over the weekend. In a good way…

Acts are listed according to order of appearance, not preference.

Kodaline

The lead singer of this band has such a beautiful voice. Mesmerising is a suitable word to describe it. Kodaline grabbed my attention even from the very edge of the John Peel stage on Friday afternoon.

Solange

It can’t be easy being Beyoncé’s younger sister but Solange’s pop voice backed up by a seriously funky band made her chilled-out set really special. The crowd even came up with their own dance routine.

The 1975

A seriously fun set. Highlights were their more pop-like numbers, Chocolate and The City.

First Aid Kit

Beautiful harmonies and a lovely set from the sister duo. Check out The Lion’s Roar.

Tom Odell

I didn’t expect Tom Odell to make this list. Winner of the 2013 BRITs Critics’ Choice Award and with so much talk about him at the moment I had already expected him to be great. But backed up by a really great band Odell blew my already high expectations out of the water with a fantastic set on the John Peel stage. His humility and astonishment at such a great reception from the crowd was also very lovely to see. Beautiful voice, beautiful piano, great artist.

James Blake

I spent an entire hour staring open mouthed at this 24 year old musician and his amazing band (just a guitarist and a drummer, if you can still call them that with all their gadgets and gizmos). The three of them blew my mind with their incredible musicality and songs like Retrograde. Definitely one to see live if you ever have the chance.

So there we have it. This list by no means covers the acts that I enjoyed over the weekend, just those whose brilliance I had not quite anticipated. I think you should research them all. Enjoy!

Wychwood Festival

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Big Top

I made a fleeting visit to this ‘family friendly summer festival’ for a sunny Friday afternoon and not really knowing what to expect, I had a good look around. Set in the Cheltenham Racecourse surrounded by idyllic rolling hills, the festival offers three live music stages and a host of small arts and crafts tents, food outlets and more.

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Bubbles at Wychwood

The festival really lived up to its family-friendly reputation as parents danced alongside their children and even their teenagers. Here are some of my personal highlights.

John O’Connor

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Artists and Makers tent with John O’Connor Sculpture

Making my way to the Big Top I was stopped in my tracks by the large figurative sculptures for sale by John O’Connor. Some of them were simple figures standing still which reminded me of Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ (which is perhaps why I liked them – see my earlier post on Antony Gormley). However O’Connor’s sculptures are not as human as Gormley’s figures and carry an air of intrigue. See more of O’Connor’s work here: www.johnoconnorsculptor.co.uk/artwork

Victoria England

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Upcycled Bunnies by Victoria England

Inside the Artists and Makers tent was a stall of unique items made by Victoria England. Mostly producing handbags, all of England’s stock is made from 100% recycled retro and vintage materials. I particularly liked these bunnies!

Not A Full Shilling

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Recycled Penny Pendant by Not A Full Shilling

Stuart Andrews calls himself a ‘recycler of old coins and silver cutlery’ and creates these striking pieces. His tent was full of cufflinks, wind chimes, necklaces and more all made from recycled coins and cutlery.

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Half Crown Pendant by Not A Full Shilling

 I really enjoyed looking at all the different designs on display and you can even design your own piece. Have a look at their website for more information and unique pieces: notafullshilling.co.uk

Emily and the Woods

The main reason I went to Wychwood was to see these guys play in the Big Top. Emily and the Woods are a four-piece band headed up by gorgeous vocals from Emily. I should say upfront that I may be a bit biased having grown up through school with the three boys in the band. However, hear me out: they are no average-kind-of-alright-and-I’ll-just-like-them-because-I-know-them kind of band. If you want proof then check out Emily’s beautiful voice here: emilyandthewoods.com

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Emily and the Woods (sorry for the awful quality)

The crowd loved their set at Wychwood and shouted for another song when the band ran out of time (which the sound man thankfully allowed). We were treated to their brand new song ‘Helios’ which had a more dancey feel and the whole set was just lovely!

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But don’t just take my word for it, go and see them for yourself – they’re going on tour later this month!

All in all Wychwood Festival was a great day out. The sun was shining, there was a friendly atmosphere and lots going on. I loved all the little stalls showcasing some beautiful arts and crafts and innovative recycling ideas. Find out more information about the festival here: www.wychwoodfestival.com

Internet Roundup

Currently in the very last week of my university finals, I am barely leaving my house. I have therefore comprised a list of ten internet articles and videos on music, dance, visual art and architecture that I have enjoyed this week and hope you do too.

Visual Art

1. ‘Justin Rowe book art opens British Academy Literature Week’

Justin Rowe (image taken from BBC article)

Justin Rowe (image taken from BBC article)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22597417

This is an article about an artist making beautiful stories out of books from charity shops. Upcycling at its best!

2. ‘Exchange: 1,000 Good Deeds at the Foundling Museum’

http://www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk/events/view/exchange-clare-twomey/

I’ve been meaning to visit the Foundling for a while and I will now make sure that I visit between 14th June and 15th September. Artist Clare Twomey has designed this simple concept: an individual can take away an exhibited teacup as long as they do the good deed hidden underneath it on the saucer. A simple exchange, and one that will hopefully see lots of lives affected in a positive way.

The Foundling Museum is now welcoming suggestions for good deeds to include in the piece – send them any ideas on their website.

3. ‘Baroque The Streets: world artists unleashed in South London’

Pablo Delgado (image from Evening Standard site)

Pablo Delgado (image taken from Evening Standard article)

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/baroque-the-streets-world-artists-unleashed-in-south-london-8623245.html

I love a bit of (good) street art and this project is a collaboration between Dulwich Picture Gallery and Street Art London to bring an array of great work.

4. Will Gompertz ‘Too Famous to See?’

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-22595987

This one is for the art historian in me. Gompertz discusses the implications of an artwork becoming iconic and assesses the way in which a piece may lose its original meaning, becoming instead a tick box on a list of must-see artworks.

Music

5. ‘Newton Faulkner & Sam Brookes cover of Daft Punk – Get Lucky’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36sOvS3M_1M

If you’ve been anywhere other than under a rock recently then you will have heard Daft Punk’s new single ‘Get Lucky’ ft. Pharrell Williams. This is an acoustic cover: two guitars, two voices and gorgeous harmonies.

6. ‘Mala – Introduction’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyADdq04xJQ

I was recently introduced to this song and it has featured heavily in my week. I intend to find more of his music soon.

7. ‘will.i.am – Bang Bang’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tqjl4nRSorM

This week will.i.am released his video for his new single ‘Bang Bang’, the third track on the hotly anticipated Great Gatsby soundtrack. I generally begin with a strong dislike of music by will.i.am but then come round to it as I hear it repeatedly played. However, I have to say, I enjoyed this song from the start. The video is very entertaining too. If nothing else, will.i.am’s work is an excellent lesson in branding – count the number of times you spot his logo in the video!

Dance

8. ‘Watch: Jon Bausor on designing for opera and ballet’

http://www.roh.org.uk/news/watch-jon-bausor-on-designing-for-opera-and-ballet

The Royal Opera House has posted a video interviewing Bausor about designing stage sets. Beautifully put together and highly informative, this is well worth a watch.

Architecture

9. ‘Are these the UK’s worst buildings ever?’

http://m.bdonline.co.uk/buildings/carbuncle-cup/are-these-the-uks-worst-buildings-ever?/5054729.mobile

Nominations for the 2013 Carbuncle Cup, given to the ugliest building, are now open. The previous winners can be seen by following the link above. Any ideas what might win this year?

Just For Fun

10. ‘iPhone 6’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbT0xy_Jai0

Obviously this is not a real product. But the video is so well done that I just had to include it in my roundup. Dramatic and epic are two words that come to mind.

Jazzlines at Symphony Hall

Taken from THSH promotional material

Taken from THSH promotional material

I went to my first Jazzlines Free Gig at Symphony Hall this Friday: Jazzlines Trio and the Jazzlines Ensemble. If you are after a bit of fun, relaxation, talent or culture in your Friday evening then Symphony Hall Cafe Bar is the place to be.

The upbeat start from the Jazzlines Ensemble turned a grey, Friday afternoon into what felt like a carnival (albeit a fairly stationary one) and there were smiles all round. The Jazzlines Ensemble is a group of young musicians who attended the Jazzlines summer school. Their playing was generally tight and together but what struck me the most was the incredible confidence of the young people.

Clearly the informal setting provided a great space for the young musicians to experiment and make mistakes in a supportive and encouraging environment. Not that there were many mistakes made: in their third song ‘Centerpiece’ one of the boys played a stunning flute solo (this guy also showed his skills on the saxophone in other pieces) and the laid-back attitude of the whole ensemble was a real joy to watch.

Jazzlines Trio

Jazzlines Trio

The Jazzlines Trio took to the stage next and was truly fantastic. Comprised of a double bass, a piano and drums, the group was later joined by a trumpeter, saxophonist and singer and the entire performance was stunning. I hurt my head trying to keep up with the drummer’s insanely complex rhythms and the Trio really showcased its skills playing one of pianist Reuben James’ own compositions which was tranquil, beautiful and a delight to listen to.

Jazzlines

Jazzlines

However, perhaps my favourite observation of the night was the amazing atmosphere in the space and the hugely diverse audience. From school children to OAPs to professionals there was a great mix of people in Birmingham early on a Friday evening, coming together just to enjoy a bit of jazz! I would absolutely recommend it and hope to go to many more of these gigs, which happen every week by the way!