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 | Festival Review: Green Man

Naomi Campbell wears Vivienne Westwood (1993), viagra approved illustrated by Krister Selin

It isn’t very often that a specific fashion designer is singularly celebrated for their contributions to fashion; when the V&A presented the Vivienne Westwood retrospective in 2004, fashion fans were delirious at the opportunity to revel amongst the creations of our most fashionable Dame. This month, the team at Selfridges reopen the Westwood archives and present a glorious exhibition devoted entirely to Vivienne Westwood’s revolutionary footwear.

What began as a calm stroll into central London on a bank holiday Monday soon descended into chaos – it was absolutely heaving (and to those of you shouting OF COURSE IT WAS YOU BLOODY IDIOT at the screen – yeah, I know). A text to remind me I was going to a party at Shoreditch House as early as 6pm didn’t help either, so me and the other half legged it down Oxford Street to catch the exhibition, and thank heavens we did.

Located in the chic Ultralounge on the lower ground floor of Selfridges (where previous exhibitions and pop-ups have occurred, including the brilliant 100 years of Selfridges display), the room features long rows of glass cabinets holding a huge selection of Westwood footwear from over the years. The black walls are sparse, with a few large images from advertising campaigns and of Our Viv herself dotted here and there, and a show reel of some of Westwood’s awe-inspiring catwalk shows at the back of the room, featuring a soundtrack of sexed-up national anthems and punk hits. It is, however, row after row of shoes displayed like the crown jewels that capture the imagination the most.

Ordered chronologically, the exhibition charts the literal rise and rise of Dame Viv’s footwear, from surviving examples from SEX and Seditionaries, (including leopard mules worn by SEX shop assistant Jordan) right through to Propoganda pirate boots (worn mostly by the gays and people from Leeds) and pairs seen at the most recent fashion weeks. The most interesting comparison drawn when you’ve seen every pair is that there isn’t much of a comparison at all – similar shapes and themes are echoed through the ages, and these shoes have been consistently daring and innovative.

There must be over 100 pairs on display, all of which are a delight to view, but here are some of my favourites:

The exhibition is supported by Melissa, the wonderful Brazilian-born ethical label that champions Melflex®, the recycled plastic phenomenon that uses sustainable and environmentally friendly production processes. Beginning with plastic versions of iconic Vivienne Westwood shoes, the collaboration has grown to include many of the archive styles on display at the exhibition (re-imagined in plastic, of course).

Exhibitions of this calibre, celebrating our fashion designers and presented so brilliantly, don’t come around very often. So if you’re in London and anywhere near Selfridges, do check it out – you won’t be disappointed.

Until 22 September, admission free.

Get all the important details here.

Photography by Amelia Wells.

So it turns out, cheap the grass is greener where you water it, and Green Man certainly was abundant with green green grass and wet, wet rain. Many were the wishes written on the wish tree which went along the lines of ‘an anorak. Please!’ Among them, mine. Who, heading out to a festival in August, remembers to take a rain coat? I had my sun cream, poi and a bag full of Bourbon biscuits, but no wet weather gear. Should have remembered that Wales, actually, is pretty notorious for being ridiculously rainy, and the Brecon Beacons even more so.

Our priority on Friday morning then, was to seek shelter. We passed a couple stood under a tree, tearing the wrapping from a pair of plastic ponchos with their teeth, and begged to know the source. They pointed across the already inches deep in rainwater road to a thick hippy jacket stall which was certainly cashing in on the rain that weekend. Plastic ponchos: £2. And so equipped, we set off to enjoy the festival.

Only having the faintest clue who was even playing over the weekend, and being too cheap to purchase a £6 programme, we spent our days cadging information from unsuspecting audience members, foolish enough to have their programmes in plain sight, and bumbling from place to place, exploring the ins-and-outs of the beforested set-up. One of the first things we discovered was a giant transparent bubble, in which figures flashed torches up, down and around through dry ice while beeping noises implied a containment area, possibly one which might be inhabited by…aliens? We never found out though, and were told this was only a dress rehearsal and to come back later. When they might have found what they were looking for. We didn’t, since what we were looking for, was music. Which we found! Eventually.

The Green Man pub area seemed a decent sort of place to hang out in the rain for a moment or two, and we heard Hail the Planes go through their sound check, the guitarist asking for a ‘little more talent in his monitor’. Mellow folk is all very well in its place, but when that place is getting progressively damper, one soon wishes to move on.

Einstein’s Garden was tucked away neatly behind a magic door in the high stone wall and contained many wonders! On the solar powered stage near Peaceful Progress (a chilled out organic café tent) we found the animal man, courtesy of Party Animals, was passing around frogs and lizards and snakes while chatting at double-speed about the difference between venomous and poisonous creatures amongst other interesting facts. Did you know it’s impossible for a snake to eat a human because of our shoulders? However, we will still suffocate inside the snake’s neck. The more you know! We poked our noses into the teeny Cinema Shed, this year showing TED talks, which was almost always full thanks to the rain (and the TED talks. Probably.), browsed the book stall, hooped with GIANT hoops, followed the molecule trail and watched other people try to recharge their mobiles through cycling. Also, for £10, you could make your own hook on a forge! Tools for Self Reliance had a child-pedalling-powered forge and an anvil whereupon you could smelt some iron and bash out a hand-tool. The organisation itself sends old and unwanted tools to rural areas in Africa for the use of locals and the reinvigoration of the local economy. Around the tent they had a piece of string with the journey of the crates hung upon it; every instance of transport tax and *cough*bribes*cough* detailed so that you know just how difficult and expensive it is to transport these crates. They’re based in mid-Wales, so if you fancy having a hammer away at something solid for a good cause, check them out!

After a brief nap, we dove back into the festival atmosphere (drizzly. Grey.) and were welcomed with a nice bit of Caitlin Rose. Since the Mountain Man had been held up, the lovely Nashville lass had been bumped to the Main Stage from the Green Man pub stage, and lucky for us! Her mellifluous voice was hypnotising as she recounted her past heartbreaks to the rapidly increasing and soggy crowd. Feeling the need to explore a little further, we found the Chai Wallah tent and The Boxettes! The Boxettes! We love them. Five girls, no instruments, all voice. Oh, and the female beatbox world champion, Bellatrix. Not only were they ridiculously talented, but chatted warmly with the audience, and each other, between songs, bringing a real friendly vibe to the tent. We wanted to, and did, dance to the beats, but it seemed like they were on too early in the day to really get the crowd moving.

The Chai Wallah tent was home to some awesome sounds over the weekend, and overhearing someone at the end saying ‘There need to be longer gaps between the main stage bands so we can spend more time at Chai Wallah!’ just confirmed that a lot of bands performing there, my favourite (of the entire festival!) being The Boexettes, deserved a MUCH larger audience. I would have thought them suited to the FarOut tent which became the dance tent at night.

Speaking of which! Solely based on the fact that their name is Fuck Buttons, I dragged my friend to the FarOut tent and listened to the electronic glitch perfection that is the Bristol-based two piece fucking with some buttons. Does that ever get old? I think no. Definitely glad we made the trek up the increasingly muddy and slippery hill for that one. The evening saw us back at the Main Stage for Beirut, who sounded pretty much exactly like they do on their albums. Slightly removed from enjoying myself as some chap was trying to chat me up by telling me that I was more attractive than my friend, and offering to buy me a drink if I called his mates “girly fairies” for getting down with some country dancing. Just a tip: trying to chat up a girl and yet implying that being ‘girly’ is a negative trait? Just…no. So, we skipped Beirut and traipsed through the mire to FarOut to enjoy DJ Yoda and Hexstatic who played some dirty dubstep to the backdrop of funky video graphics. Plenty to do AND see! We danced ‘til about four in the ay em before dropping soundly off to sleep and waking pretty late the next day.

The highlight of Saturday was discovering that John Cooper Clarke was performing in the Comedy and Literature tent! Which says something about the performance itself? I had assumed that it would be mostly comprised of his poetry, which I enjoy, but he only recited three or four poems, ChickenTown as his encore, and mostly tried his hand at stand-up comedy. I’m not sure if stand-up comedy is a usual part of his act, but, uh, I did not find it so funny. Sorry, John Cooper Clarke! At least you have that thing where you don’t seem to ever age to console you. Robin Ince also showed his face up there, touting his routine about the GIANT KILLER CRAB books and also taking some time to educate young women on how to get a man. There are books about it, dontchaknow? Books with titles such as ‘How To Get The Man of Your Choice’ – “because you can choose now ladies! Lucky!” Apparently cleanliness is very important in trapping…uh…gaining a man, so we were pretty fucked for that being ankle deep in mud. Oh well! At least we still had the option of going to work in a boat yard (as a secretary, presumably, rather than, say, an engineer?) in order to meet a man who owns a boat! Hearing Robin Ince read Danielle Steele’s ‘romantic’ poetry is an education worthy of Einstein’s Garden, let me tell you. (It doesn’t help that he read a poem called Jam and all I could think of was the teevee show of the same name, which is epically crude.) So. Jam! It’s…sexy? A man-trap? To be taken at breakfast after the sex you’ve had, which is NEVER MENTIONED? Hmm.

The Flaming Lips headlined Saturday and all day we were wondering if they had already played, but realised that we were just hearing teaser songs from the festival radio which was pumped out across some areas of the campsite. The radio, actually, was adorable, with the tone of someone who isn’t quite sure anybody is listening so they can pretty much say what they like, right? Except, what if someone is listening?! But then, probably nobody is…Well, slightly nervous man, we were listening. We clambered over the entrance stairs and descended into a confetti covered crowd, all reaching up to bounce giant balloon balls back towards the stage while a curly haired gent shouted “C’mon motherfuckers!’ between songs. I confess to not having heard much of the Flaming Lips but being approving of the bits I have listened to. However, being coerced into having a good time by having a stranger call me a ‘motherfucker’ wasn’t really what I’d expected from Green Man, so it put me off enjoying the show a little. BUT! He had a gong with shiny lights all around it, which made it okay in the end.

The next morning we accidentally saw Darwin Deez, another curly headed singing and guitaring man, who managed to put on a better show than The Flaming Lips by having dance routines between each song. ‘Why can’t every band do that!’ my friend cried. Well, then it wouldn’t be quite so awesome. Waking up to revenge songs always put a good tone on the day, also.
Back at the Solar Stage we watched a break-dancing workshop which some little kids were taking very seriously and, despite not taking part, resolved to become beat-boxing breakdancers by the end of the year. Or next year. At some point, anyway. What those guys can do with their bodies is ridiculous! A couple of mums were getting in on the act as well, but one of the dads gave up when it became apparent that he would have to put his hands on the floor.

The evening was dominated by ‘one-girl-and-her-instrument’ sets with Laura Marling getting the crowd to whistle along with her in the middle of Night Terror and Joanna Newsom telling the story about her drummer’s naked swimming escapades! Since we were only interested in seeing these lasses that day, we spent most of it in search of food. Being vegan it’s often slightly awkward to get fed while out and about, but hey, this is Green Man! Just outside the entrance was a vegan food cart, which did the meatiest, most filling burger I’ve tasted for a little while. Many of the stalls inside also had veg*n options in portions which were large enough to be shared and still sufficient for allaying hunger pangs. We noshed on tempurah veg, chickpea and spinach dahl, gingered rice with tofu and noodles and snacked on cardboard cups full of sundried tomatoes, olives and things, from, uh, Olives & Things.

After filling our stomachs, we naturally needed to empty them, and so, we come to the part of the festival I was most excited about; the compost loos! The last time I used these was at Boom festival, in Portugal, where they also had tubs of sawdust for the girls to be peeing in! I tell you, I got pretty close to the girls I travelled there with. The compost loos are compartmentalised, however, and basically consist of a hole over a wheelie-bin. From there, your excrement is wheeled to a place where it will be used as compost! I don’t know what happens to the poo that you poo into portaloos, but I’m pretty sure it gets covered in chemicals, rather than straw, and then treated in a chemical plant rather than having the goodness put back into the ground so that we may grow our food from it. Until next year, Green Man, eat shit!

Categories ,Brecon Beacons, ,Caitlin Rose, ,camping, ,Chai Wallah, ,Darwin Deez, ,DJ Yoda, ,Einstein’s Garden, ,fuck buttons, ,green man festival, ,Hail the Planes, ,Hexstatic, ,Joanna Newsome, ,John Cooper Clarke, ,Laura Marling, ,Peaceful Progress, ,Robin Ince, ,TED talks, ,The Boxettes, ,the flaming lips

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