Amelia’s Magazine | Festival Preview: Latitude

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Viveka Goyanes
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Kim Seoghee may not be Flemish (I’m gonna bet he isn’t) but his work sure as hell feels the touch of Belgium. With a team of skinny stoney faced pretty boy models and ethereal girls, visit web Kim showed us a classic example of the sulky European genre. Eyes emphasised with kohl, visit this the models lined up to show Another 7th Day, prescription a pick ‘n’ mix collection in black, grey and cream. Amongst the upbeat surroundings of Alternative Fashion Week their cool collective attitude stood right out, but they’d fit right in at Paris or London fashion weeks proper.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Kim Seoghee
Kim Seoghee with his models.

Laura Panter showed a clever collection – ‘This collection cries adolescent’ – God knows what being a teenager had to do with it though. The clothes were a curve enhancing mix of pastel chiffon and wool with bondage inspired straps and belt features.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Panter
Laura Panter.

She was followed swiftly by the work of another Laura. Laura Fox had put together a cute series of outfits inspired by ‘British Heritage, Harris Tweed and Oilskin’ – with the aim of promoting manufacturing in the UK. Her love for classic British designers such as Christopher Bailey for Burberry were clear in what I thought was a sweet and mature collection, and that was before I discovered that Laura is wheelchair bound. She has a good web presence with a Carbonmade website and a twitter feed so she clearly hasn’t let a little thing like a disability stop her from keeping busy. And my friends over at Creative Boom have also blogged on her here. Dead impressed.

Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Alternative Fashion Week Day 5 2010 Laura Fox
Laura Fox had business cards to hand: the way it should be done!

Sarina Hosking showed a couple of pieces titled Beauty and the Beast. I have to say I’m not surprised by the title – during a week when titles often bore abstract relevance to the collections they were attached to (at best), this did exactly what it said on the tin. The girl that really got all the photographers salivating was a sexy grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood, complete with red lacy veil. An elegant gent in wolf mask looked on. They were a distraction from the rest of the collection but heck, why not mix and match your fairytale references? According to her myspace Sarina is principally a theatrical designer, so it all begins to make sense.

Transform by Elizabeth Wilcox was described as ‘Sportswear creating capsule wardrobe’. It was certainly sporty but I am not sure I was feeling the marl grey highlighted with neon sculptural thing.

Viveka Goyanes put together cutesy cream printed shirts with carefully styled black and white tailoring to present a mature collection called Brummella the Dandella. I particularly loved all the little touches, like the ripped and accessorised socks. It always pays to look down!

The first festival I ever had the fortune to attend was Latitude 2007. Still a fresher at university, page still fresh-faced and just a little naïve; a small hatchback, viagra order four friends, and every nook and cranny jammed with our camping equipment. We were green, and we didn’t know that you wouldn’t need six sets of clothes, nor a full foldable mattress, nor (as one of our group, bizarrely, thought) a full set of crockery. It was only due to our general keenness that left us arriving early and managing to snag a camping spot both close to the site entrance and (crucially) within 600 yards of the car park. That was, I discovered, exactly the limit of my stamina for being able to carry my own weight in paperbacks and camping stoves (three!) and several pairs of shoes. Oh, idle youth! These days I can take five nights of living in muddy squalor like a medieval serf in my stride, but that’s only down to training myself; I had to ween myself off such modern luxuries as soap, razors, and fresh underwear.

But I digress – this is meant to be a preview of Latitude 2010. The background: Latitude occurs every year in July in Southwold in Suffolk, and operates under the banner of Festival Republic (formerly Mean Fiddler), that gargantuan promotions company with fingers in many pies and still perhaps best know for the carnival of the damned that is the Reading and Leeds Weekender. Latitude is something of a pet project for Festival Republic, who felt that British festivals had lost track of what made them so culturally important in the first place – not just the bands but the atmosphere, the vibe, the performers on stilts and the chance meetings in the dark under the boughs of some off-to-the-side willow. Glastonbury has become something of a behemoth, but it used to be a small and intimate affair; Latitude’s raison d’être is to mimic what Glastonbury is suppose to once have been. My verdict, taking my experiences of 2007 into account, is that they have succeeded admirably, though it would be churlish to say that it’s exactly as the same. Many of those ideals that the hippies celebrated at the solstice three decades ago – appreciation of the earth, appreciation of humanity – have arguably seeped into the larger (regular) festival-going public, but these days we’re much, much better at recycling.

Capacity is relatively small, as far as festivals go these days, capped at 25000 since 2008, and the wondrous thing about Latitude is that you can go the whole weekend without seeing a single band. There’s a strong lineup of comedy acts, theatre performances, literature talks and other cultural oddities that mark it out as unique in the British festival scene. I’ll run through some of the things to look forward to this year, for those that are going, and if you’re not then be quick, because it’ll sell out soon.

There are several music stages scattered about the site. The largest is the main Obelisk Arena, this year headlined by Florence & the Machine, Belle & Sebastian, and Vampire Weekend. Other artists worth seeing include folkster Laura Marling, indie legends Spoon, insanely talented Mexican acoustic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, gorgeous melody act Dirty Projectors, and even a recently-reformed James. They’ll probably sing that song about sitting.

Move across to the second stage and you’ll find the Word Arena, headlined by the National, the xx, and Grizzly Bear. The first is one of the best bands in the world, without question, and if you go you’ll probably find me there too, undergoing some kind of trembling transcendental spasm attack. I love that band. Oh god how I do. The xx are an interesting choice of headliner as their music, so heavy with meaning and yet so utterly minimal, might struggle to hold a headlining slot on a festival stage. I’ve seen them live before and they were bloody fantastic, so I’m sure they’ll be fine; I won’t be seeing them at Latitude, though. My reasons involve a broken heart, a worn mixtape, and shattered promises – I won’t burden you any further than that, but know that it was horrid. Grizzly Bear are sick, and will absolutely suit the beautiful site that Latitude is situated within. Also playing the Word Arena are Wild Beasts, Richard Hawley, the Horrors, and Yeasayer, etc. etc..

Then you’ve got your Lake Stage, which is (no surprises here) situated next to a lake, as well as the Sunrise Arena deep in the woods on the edge of the site. Exactly who shall be playing where on these stages hasn’t been announced yet, but what is know is that artists and bands such as the Big Pink, Black Mountain, Girls, These New Puritans, Tokyo Police Club, and a bunch of others. I’ve been looking back through past years and Latitude 2010 looks like being potentially the best ever with regards to the music acts (though 2009 was also pretty sick – Nick Cave!). But it’s not all about the music, of course, otherwise it wouldn’t be quite as sweetly unique as it is.

In the Comedy tent there are sets from Richard Herring, Emo Philips, Rich Hall, Phill Jupitus, Mark Watson, but also many smaller acts such as Mark Oliver and Doc Brown. In previous years this tent has had a propensity towards overcrowding when the bigger names have appeared, but hopefully they’ll have ironed out the creases there. We’ve already covered the Literature tent on Amelia’s Magazine, somewhat, but I’ll add that Jon McGregor is also giving a talk. He’s the author of If Nobody Speaks Of Remarkable Things, a novel that is in itself extraordinarily remarkable and one of the finest examples of prose-poetry I’ve read in the past decade. Also of note here is that Dan Kitson, who probably blushes when he gets described as, “perhaps the finest standup comic of his generation,” all time, will be telling a story for an hour every night at midnight on the Waterfront Stage. His work is rarely available on video as he doesn’t like the idea of his shows being pirated, so please take this opportunity to see him in the flesh.

John Cooper Clarke is in the Poetry tent – one of the towering figures of modern performance poetry in this country should be reason enough to raise some curiosity there, but there are also appearances from important figures on the British poetry scene like Luke Wright and John Stammers. Eddie Argos, of Art Brut fame, will also be doing a set – if you’re familiar with the man then you’ll know that’s an intriguing prospect.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here – there’s a Cabaret tent that parties on into the early hours of the morning, there’s the Film & Music Arena showcasing some unique new audiovisual shows (as well as more irreverent stuff from the likes of Adam Buxton and the Modern Toss crew), and there’s also a chance to wander into the woods to find both the opera performances and the In The Woods area, a woodland clearing set up for late night raving. There are numerous plays put on at the Theatre Arena, including performances from the Royal Shakespeare Company and Everyman Playhouse. There’s a huge childrens’ area that’s almost like a playground.

Hell, the whole thing is like some gaudy carnival from the middle ages transported through time for our enjoyment. There’s a parade at some point, there’s giant painting projects, you can row boats in the lake, you can watch a jazz band play all day on a floating stage on the lake, and so on, and so on. The beauty of the site just completes the package, and thankfully the Latitude team are very good at maintaining it. They’ve got a well-developed set of environmentally-friendly policies that have managed to recycle most of the waste from past festivals, including designated recycling bins, bags handed out to campers for sorting their recycling, and everything you can buy on site is sourced so that it won’t damage the environment both getting there and if it’s thrown away. Sorted.

So that’s Latitude 2010. Three days almost doesn’t seem enough, does it?

Categories ,2010, ,Adam Buxton, ,Art Brut, ,Arts, ,Belle & Sebastian, ,Black Mountain, ,Cabaret, ,comedy, ,Dan Kitson, ,dirty projectors, ,Doc Brown, ,Eddie Argos, ,Emo Philips, ,environment, ,Everyman Playhouse, ,festival, ,film, ,Florence & the Machine, ,girls, ,glastonbury, ,grizzly bear, ,ian steadman, ,James, ,John Cooper Clarke, ,John Stammers, ,Jon McGregor, ,latitude, ,Latitude Festival, ,Laura Marling, ,leeds, ,Luke Wright, ,Mark Oliver, ,Mark Watson, ,Modern Toss, ,music, ,Nick Cave, ,opera, ,Phill Jupitus, ,rave, ,Reading, ,Rich Hall, ,richard hawley, ,Richard Herring, ,rodrigo y gabriela, ,Royal Shakespeare Company, ,Spoon, ,Standup, ,the big pink, ,the horrors, ,The National, ,The XX, ,These New Puritans, ,Tokyo Police Club, ,Vampire Weekend, ,Wild Beasts, ,Yeasayer

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music: Interview with Tennis

Tennis by Jane Young
Illustration by Jane Young

Could you introduce yourself please?
This is Alaina from Tennis.

Where are you from?
My husband Patrick, link our drummer James and I are based out of Denver, more about CO.

Could you describe you music?
We like to describe our music as minimal, viagra order vintage pop. We like to write and record with limitations and use mostly analog equipment, and draw most of our inspiration from 50′s and 60′s pop–not anyone in particular just the general aesthetic of the times.

Do you write it yourselves?
Patrick and I write all of our music.

What are your songs about?
Our album Cape Dory happens to be specifically about a sailing trip Patrick and I took in 2009. We learned to sail and live aboard a boat together, it was such a life-changing experience that it inspired song writing for the first time.

Who/what are your musical influences?
50′s and 60′s pop, musicals, Grandaddy and Todd Rundgren.

Tennis Tiff 2

Where/what else do you draw inspiration from?
From life experience. We make it a priority to live a life full of new experiences that are challenging and unfamiliar. For us creativity comes from uncomfortable and new situations. Patrick and I began writing music after spending seven months living on a boat and sailing the Atlantic coastline together. The first pieces of music we wrote were dripping with nostalgia for the coast, for sailing, for sleeping under the stars. We missed the life we left behind so much that song by song, we catalogued our experiences, so that when we wanted to reminisce we could just press play.

You sing of places; e.g. South Carolina, Bimini Bay – why is this? Are locations/ and particularly these places important to you?
These places were important to us while traveling. We spent a considerable amount of time in both places and writing songs about them occurred quite naturally.

How did you get together?
Patrick and I met in college. We were philosophy majors and our paths crossed.

Is it true you purchased a yacht and sailed around the east coast for eight months?
Hardly a yacht, it’s more the nautical equivalent of a Honda Civic. But yes, we did purchase a sailboat and sail around the east coast for seven months (we lived aboard for eight).


What was this like?
Learning to sail and live aboard a boat was the greatest adventure of our lives. It was the experience that made us want to create something. We didn’t know it would be music at the time, but it was the catalyst that made us realize our creative potential.

Do you enjoy adventure?
Absolutely, we think adventure begets creativity.

And touring? What is it like?
Touring has been a difficult adjustment for us. We love to travel but touring is quite different. Fortunately we are very close as a band. We are supportive and caring of each other, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our music.

Do you plan on playing in the UK? …Any festivals?
We were just in the UK in January and had a wonderful time. I’m not sure when we will be in the UK but we will be playing Primavera Sound in May.

What’s next for Tennis?
Quite a bit of touring, followed by a break this summer to write and sail again.

Tennis‘ first album, Cape Dory is out now on Fat Possum Records.

Categories ,Alaina, ,Atlantic, ,Bimini Bay, ,Cape Dory, ,Denver, ,Fat Possum Records, ,Granddaddy, ,Helen Martin, ,James, ,Jane Young, ,Patrick, ,philosophy, ,South Carolina, ,Tennis, ,Todd Rundgren

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Amelia’s Magazine | Latitude Festival 2010: Saturday Music Review

Latitude 2010-Florence crowd by Amelia gregory
The Kissaway Trail by Natasha Thompson.

The music at Latitude can feel like a bit of a byline given that there are so many other options for entertainment. But that doesn’t stop the calibre being suitably high. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Latitude 2010-Martin Creed by Amelia Gregory
Martin Creed by Paul Shinn.

Our first stop on Friday was a musical performance piece from Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and his merry band of sexy young things. Notably all female. I was initially sceptical – I’ve seen Bob and Roberta Smith perform at the ICA and was less than impressed by the cacophony. But this was actually entertaining, viagra especially when Martin sang “What’s the point of it” and “If you’re lonely then this is for you” and “I don’t know what I feel, what I want” against a projection of smashing flower pots, a penis in the process of erecting and a man’s bottom. Combine this with the random movements of a ballet dancer and you pretty much had the ultimate manifestation of middle aged male angst. Brilliant.

Latitude 2010-Kissaway Trail by Amelia gregory
Latitude 2010-Kissaway Trail by Amelia gregory
The Kissaway Trail by Natasha Thompson.

The Kissaway Trail were a band I’ve not really warmed to on CD, but the live performance was a whole different deal. This unbearably cute bunch of Danish boys smashed the Word Arena with their Scandinavian take on epic indie pop. And they even have their very own version of Bez – a hyper excited braces-wearing tambourine player. A real find.

Latitude 2010-Kominas by Amelia gregory
Latitude 2010-Kominas by Amelia gregory
middle age mosh pit by Matthew Ellero
Middle Age Mosh Pit by Matthew Ellero.

Back in the Film and Music Arena US punk Muslim outfit The Kominas entertained a load of rowdy young men… and a very enthusiastic middle-aged woman, who proceeded to fend off the moshpit with the legs of a chair, before beating the youth to the free t-shirt thrown into the crowd. Thoroughly entertaining.

Abi Daker - The Villagers
Villagers by Abigail Daker.

I recently gave the Villagers’ debut album a glowing review, so I went to check out the imp-like Conor J. O’Brien and his merry band of men – of particular note was Conor’s live rendition of Pieces, his wolf howls given that much more stamina in the flesh. Conor has the air of someone heading for major success.

Andrea Peterson Empire of the Sun
Andrea Peterson Latitude Swordfish
Empire of the Sun by Andrea Peterson.

I was thoroughly miffed to have missed an early promo of the Empire of the Sun album- discovered during a clearout to have made it no further than the interns’ office: if I’d heard the album back then I would definitely have been more on the case of this fabulously over the top retro 90s pop electro… down on the Obelisk Stage lead singer Luke Steele looked resplendent in smeary facepaint and a range of over the top Samurai and Aztec/Inca influenced accessories. No expense was spared on the production of this show, which wasn’t even a headline act. The four dancers went through frequent costume changes, my favourite of which was some very cool blonde swordfish. A lot of fun.

Latitude 2010-empire of the sun

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Florence and the Machine. I sort of think I don’t like her very much and then I realise I’ve been listening to her album on repeat all day. So a little conflicted then. This was the first time I’ve seen her perform live since I first met her as a bolshy unsigned artist doing a solo acoustic performance at a PPQ store party. Which doesn’t actually feel like it was that long ago. Three years?

Florence and The Machine by Natasha Thompson.

The curtain dropped and there she was: flowing vermillion locks, check, flowing cream dress, check, massive drum, check. Without further ado she launched into a bunch of songs that I could happily hum along to (I’ve never really been one to listen closely and learn lyrics) pausing only to sing happy birthday to her little sister Grace, who was dragged on stage with their brother – both dressed in animal costumes. It was really rather cute. Predictably You’ve Got the Love was the biggest crowd pleaser. Isn’t it funny how the 90s have crept up on us again without us even realising it? One new song got an airing, and sounded, well, typically Florence. That girl has a super powerful pair of lungs but you’ve got to wonder – does all that caterwauling ever render her speechless?
Latitude 2010-Active Child by Amelia Gregory
Active Child. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

The falsetto sounds of Active Child were our new discovery for Saturday morning. American Pat Grossi alone on stage with just his mixer, ed computer… and harp: another lone electro maestro. Soporifically beautiful.

James by Jenny Goldstone.

James were our mid afternoon treat over at the Obelisk Arena – but we didn’t just sit down, rx we lay spark out and enjoyed a full tour through their back catalogue of hits from a horizontal position. I was somewhat surprised to note that the lead singer is now bald of bounce and goatee of beard when I am sure he used to have lots of curly locks and a clean shave – oh the perils of ageing.

Latitude 2010-kids by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-family by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-girls by Amelia Gregory
Latitude 2010-chips by Amelia Gregory

We were surrounded by lots of families, parents obviously revelling in a favourite from their youth, whilst even the teens next to us could sing along to the band’s most famous tune. And it seems we weren’t the only ones having a relaxing time.

Latitude 2010-gaggle choir by Amelia Gregory

In the woods we encountered a bunch of singing girls in wonderful outfits. Now why don’t all choirs dress like the Gaggle? I couldn’t really hear them, but darn it, who cares when they look this good?!

faye skinner FIRST AID kit
First Aid Kit, protected by a burly security man, by Faye West.

I love it when a band I’ve loved forever starts to gain widespread success, and First Aid Kit have now reached a stage where they could draw suitably impressive crowds to the wooded environs of the Sunrise Arena. If you haven’t yet seen them live, then why the hell not? You can read a previous review of their gig at the Union Chapel here.

Crystal Castles by Mina Bach.

Over on the other side Crystal Castles arrived to a cascading wall of squelching beats that had the middle aged couple next to me pulling somewhat bemused faces at each other. Goodness knows what they made of Alice’s performance thereafter. Whilst slugging on a bottle of Jim Beam *rock n roll* she declared that gang bangers should “all be castrated” – the first inkling I had that all was not well at Latitude. Thereafter she was hellbent on crowdsurfing through the entire set, which mainly involved flinging herself into the rather excited male audience down front and then punching them if they grabbed her inappropriately, before being dragged back by security. Oh how the burly men in uniform love it when the singer does that. Rather inexplicably one fan insisted on giving Alice a placard featuring the immortal word TOAST and, yup, you got it, a picture of a piece of toast. There’s been much grumbling online about Alice’s performance but I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it did look rather like she had to yak at one point.

Latitude 2010-belle and sebastian by Amelia Gregory
sarah martin belle and sebastain by kate blandford
Sarah Martin of Belle and Sebastain by Kate Blandford.

The pace changed down a gear with the arrival of headliners Belle and Sebastian, playing their first gig in many years. First comment from those next to me? “She looks a bit mumsy.” And so what if Sarah does? Belle and Sebastian are not exactly in the first flush of youth, a fact which frontman Stuart Murdoch picked up repeatedly as he declared “they promised us an old crowd” – as usual the front was of course packed out with teenagers whilst the oldies (that seems to include me these days) hung back for a bit of air. Not that I’ve ever been a massive fan of the mosh pit. At one point Stuart threatened to take his top off (he was looking rather fit) which caused a fresh round of adolescent screaming “it would be like walking in on your dad in the shower” he laughed. It was a delightful set that featured an impromptu rendition of the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash and finished with a gaggle of very happy teenagers dancing around on stage in front of the wrinkles and their orchestra. “You just made an old man very happy,” laughed Stuart in his lilting Scottish brogue, “now get off.” You show them who’s boss round here!

Read my Sunday music review here.

Categories ,Active Child, ,belle and sebastian, ,Crystal Castles, ,Falsetto, ,Faye Skinner, ,Faye West, ,First Aid Kit, ,Gaggle Choir, ,James, ,Jenny Goldstone, ,Kate Blandford, ,Latitude Festival, ,Mina Bach., ,Obeslisk Arena, ,Pat Grossi, ,Sunrise Arena, ,union chapel

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