Last week I was bummed out because the opportunity to see the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. The play was being performed at the School of Oriental and African Studies and was kicking off and ending the Ain't I a Woman? What's Race Got to Do with It? event, hosted by the SOAS Women Society. Instead of going to the play I went to the panel discussion Black (Mis)Representation in which we were immersed in a many number of topics: Mainstream feminism and Black Feminism; mainstream representations of Black mehiwomen; shadism; Black masculinity.
The subject of miscarriage is not one to be taken lightly. According to the charity Tommy's while it is hard to ascertain an accurate figure, out 1 in 7 recognised pregnancies end in miscarriage, while the incidence of spontaneous (unrecognised) miscarriage is estimated to be 50% of all pregnancies. Paying homage to the old 'if you don't laugh, you'll cry' writer and actress Emma Deakin has written a play on the subject of miscarriage, Expectations directed by Stella Duffy. Expectations deals with the subjects of miscarriage, unplanned pregnancy, IVF, bodies and gay best friends (yes a bit in the style of a Madonna film with Rupert Everett) that allows for both laughter and tears.
Home is where the art is. This weekend saw the city of London open its front door(s) and hopefully a few more minds. There was not one but two major arts and culture events on the go. Open House London and London Design Festival both vied for my attention. One won out, satisfying my ‘nosy neighbour disorder’ as well as my imagination. I found myself at the latter but still at an open house, a South Kensington bedsit. Bare concrete stairs that back on to a pristine white façade lead down into something a little darker and a lot more interesting…
Last August Squeamish Louise was looking for an Edinburgh Festival style comedy action in London as an escape from the Olympics. She found it with Rosie Wilby and the show How (Not) to Make it in Britpop. I like to think the show contributed to the explosion in 1990s revival fashion - it was a real slow burner to begin with to convince people to wear backwards baseball caps and tiny round sunglasses but itâs finally happened.
It certainly inspired Squeamish Louise to dig out some old Britpop albums and gear (of the fashion variety), How (Not) to Make it in Britpop made her: "pine for 90s fashions of jeans, t-shirts, feather boas and stripey shirts. Damn." I, however, never got to see the show in spite of the sage and specific advice from Squeamish Louise "Just go and see her. Seriously."
Isadora Duncan had a penchant for floaty scarves. Back in the late 19th Century the American dancer had made quite the name for herself in Europe, as she reclaimed dance and movement as high art. She was exiled from America due to her Soviet Union sympathies and resided in Europe until her dramatic and tragic death. In September 1927 Isadora was holidaying in Nice, France. In the seat of a convertible next to her lover who could have known her long and delicate accessory (scarf, not man) would be the cause of her demise?
I'm a sucker for a bad pun, so Tits 'n' Giggles started off on a positive note with me. A night of comedy to raise money for breast cancer awareness - really, what's not to like in that sentence?
Well, when I first heard about CoppaFeel! the charity - the gig was raising money for - last year, I wasn't so sure. I've known people who have had breast cancer, and my day job occasionally involves working with people who have or had cancer, and the advertising campaign I saw didn't sit well with me. It used young women, in what seemed like sexualised poses. Is that really relevant to the average person with breast cancer when the usual age of diagnosis is over 50?
The great thing about David Bowie is he is a lot of things to a lot of people. He has appeal that transcends decades and encompasses more than his music. Bowie's chameleon-like nature and infinite creativity has given us characters, costumes, lyrics and iconic images that have become works of art in their own right. No wonder one of Britain's most acclaimed musicians has his own retrospective and he doesn't even have to be dead to make it the most popular exhibition in town.
The Victoria & Albert Museum poster for David Bowie is dons a world famous image of the man as his most well know creation. Lightening bolt make-up splits the porcelain face of a flame haired Ziggy Stardust. Immortalised by photographer Brian Duffy, Ziggy stares back at you from the Â£4 print. I wanted one of these posters more than anything on Earth, but as always you exit though the shop and I had a whole exhibition to take in.
The set of Scales! image: Future Atlas
It was a soggy Sunday night when I agreed to meet my friend Rick in Angel for a pint and instead a packet of crisps, some improv. When I got the The Old Red Lion. It looked like a good hearty pub. Footie on the flatscreen, fruit machine blinding me with its flashing lights and a box office booth next to the men’s toilet. It was a bit of a David Lynch oddity, with a little smiling man with a clipboard nesting inside. We picked up our tickets and right before we ascended the stairs I asked, “So what’s this all about then Rick?” He replied “We’re going to see Music Box
they perform improvised musicals.” Oh dear, I thought, oh dear.
I was a bit dubious of the whole musical theatre improv thing, I like songs and, hell, I like theatre too. But I am not a fan of awkward silences and narratives that fall flat on their face before they even get to their feet. I was preparing to cringe; Music Box's primary coloured outfits and beaming smiles were already setting off my ‘Glee’ alarm bells.
I didn't really know I was into Britpop until it was all over. Despite the fact that the first album I bought was Pulp's Different Class, and I vividly remember Newsround reporting on the Blur / Oasis rivalry, I was too young to really appreciate the music. My 90s was more about crimpers and school sports days than new drugs and music. Dammit.
But I did fall in love with Britpop, both then and retrospectively, which is why I decided to buy tickets to Rosie Wilby's show How (not) to make it in Britpop
If you want to watch comedy right now, it probably helps to be in Edinburgh. Which I'm not. But it turns out there is more on in London right now than the sport. It's just unfortunate no one told Londoners that... I ended up in an audience of 6, in what should have been a sell out show.
Egusi Soup is a West African Soup which is thickened with ground seeds, there is much local variation within the dish. It is also the name of Janice Okoh’s play and centres around a Nigerian family who are packing for a trip back to Lagos. They are travelling back to Nigeria to attend the first year memorial service of their departed father and husband.
Mr Anyia is gone but certainly not forgotten, Mrs Anyia wears a photo of him on her commemorative t-shirt and his absence is made tangible by an empty leather chair in the corner of the room. No-one is allowed to sit on the chair as it has not “even been up to a year” since he died.