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Friday, 26 June 2009

Pick of the Week SPECIAL - Festival Guide 2009

If you’re in the UK and haven’t been hiding in a cave for the last few weeks, you’ll know that there’s something big going on in a series of muddy fields in the south of England this weekend. Yes, it’s Glastonbury time (haha listen to this), and right now you’re either there, wandering through the madness wearing wellies and a big grin, or are instead sulking at home/work, and wishing you were with the throngs of those eating overpriced festival food and losing their friends while watching some peculiar trapeze act. Well, banish that envy, Pick of the Week’s here to cheer you up… as with excitement and anticipation, we welcome you to Pick of the Week’s Guide to Summer Festivals 2009!

Here we present a selection of our favourite up-coming festivals, large and small (it’s all exclusive like, and not some bumper comprehensive guide), followed by some tried-and-tested tips for how to survive the ones you attend, personally passed on by the Artsbloggers. As well as being damn good fun, as advocates of high-quality creative activity we really do recommend you get yourself to a festival this summer. These magical weekends often provide a very unique space for liberation from ‘normal’ behaviour, and through this, can be particularly conducive to the fostering of new ideas and the partaking in of all things artistic. This shaking up of usual patterns of behaviour creates what cultural analyst Dragan Klaic calls ‘experimental zones of sociability’ – basically you talk others and participate in activities that you usually wouldn’t, thus opening yourself up to a whole host of experiences that would be beyond your reach in your everyday life.

A particularly good one for a proper out-of-the-ordinary experience is Secret Garden Party, which has been put forward for inclusion in the Festival Guide by Carly. Running from 23rd to 26th July this festival is all about getting back to nature and enjoying one great big playground in a field. Frolics aplenty as you participate in games, theatrical events, dressing up and having a laugh. Headlining are Rodrigo Y Gabriela who are A-mazing with a capital A. Carly saw them support Muse at Wembley, and they filled the Stadium with beautiful, fun and heart-racing classical guitar music. This will be a really relaxed and good time affair, she assures us!


For another festival that’s ‘more than just a music festival’ (their tagline), Lindsey recommends Latitude Festival in Southwold, Suffolk from 16th – 19th July. Now in its fourth edition Latitude continues to inspire and innovate offering the very best from the worlds of music, film, comedy, theatre, cabaret, dance, poetry, literature and art. With stunning individual performance spaces dedicated to each of the arts, the arenas are treasure troves of talent, with open doors and inviting atmospheres. Sit back and be entertained by over 700 performers or participate and learn a new skill in the many workshops on offer, there are new experiences round every corner. Latitude encourages you to open your mind, embrace the unknown and try everything; a fun-filled, cultural adventure by the sea – sounds like the ideal weekend away.

A bit further afield, Joanne’s recommendation is Dour Festival in Belgium, which she’ll be going to in July. Running from July 16th-19th, (uh-oh, it’s this one or Latitude then…choose wisely!) this promises to be a treat of music new and old, from dubstep to reggae and from rock to hiphop. The festival takes place on the planes of western Belgium, shaped by the legacy of the coal mining industry. Punters from all over Europe traditionally flock to Dour every year, meaning the festival-goers in attendance are an interesting and varied lot. Join them and discover a plethora of new music to brighten your year until next festival season.

For something a bit different, Richard recommends the New Works New Worlds festival at the Arches, Glasgow (which yes, he is performing at, but I’m sure his recommendation is entirely impartial!), from 1st – 4th July. This festival is an overtly political event, encouraging artists of any discipline to explore links to global and political contexts in their work. The emphasis is on grass-roots experimentation, with a series of unique commissions staged in the dramatic setting of The Arches – the cavernous space underneath Glasgow’s Central Station. The website commands you ‘dare to imagine the world anew’ – we heartily concur!

Rosalie’s pick is Shambala, a great, small, creative festival that takes place in Northamptonshire over the August bank holiday weekend – although exactly where it is won’t be revealed until you get your ticket. Over 100 music acts are lined up to play across the festival’s three stages this year, and there’s plenty besides the music too, with a Cabaret Village, Multi-Media Blackout tent, Healing and Craft areas and a whole are dedicated to campaigns, workshops, cinema and debates. Get involved in the traditional Fancy Dress Carnival, the gurning competition or get wet in the hot-tub field.

Whichever you decide on, each of these festivals promise to be a unique and highly entertaining experience, we hope you’ve found our suggestions inspiring. To finish off, some of our Artsbloggers have provided their own handy survivor tips to make sure you get the most out of all the festivals you go to this summer, and can dance your socks off without getting trench foot.

My tip top tips for any festival is pack hardly anything! Forget the outside world and indulge in the temporary commune! Get messy, walk around by yourself for a while and see who you meet. At Glastonbury my mate went to bed triumphant that he had managed to find his tent and awoke the next morning to find he was in somebody else's!

My number one festival tip is what I have dubbed, "The portaloo kit". First off, spring for some really nice toilet roll - not only does the nice stuff require that you use less, and therefore lasts longer, it's an excellent tool for booze bargaining when everyone else has run out. Second, invest in a mini deoderant/body spray - check out Boots or Superdrug for some good ones, and spray liberally in the portaloo before you go in. This is the only way not to suffocate in the heady mix of heat and unpleasant odour trapped in those things. Lastly, always takes baby wipes. Good for SO many things. Wiping the seat, wiping your hands, wiping your... self. These things will see you through the entire festival, not just toilet trips! Oh, and kids, always remember, never wear sandals in the portaloos. NEVER.

Always venture beyond the main stages. You can go and see people in concert any day of the week, but you will only get that festival feeling when you venture into the magical orchards, adventure into the falconry and get lost in trash city. If you are heading to Glastonbury (in which case you’ll most likely be reading this on your return), I highly recommend going to see YOU ME BUM BUM TRAIN, who’ll be setting up camp in Trash City… head over to the Plane and enjoy the magic.

A good tip when considering the long trek from car (/bike/coach) to campsite is that space in your rucksack is key…with this in mind, pack loo roll but take the roll from the centre out so that you can pack it flat. Also, bring a compactable jerry can, its great to have a big pot of water near you when you wake up in a boiling hot tent at 11am. Finally, don’t be fooled into thinking that Pot Noodles suddenly taste ok, just because you’re at a festival. They’re nasty! Instead, always bring a portable stove and food, you can cook amazing things at a festival with just a little imagination and a few cool boxes – saving yourself a bag of money in the process. We have made beef bourguignon and ratatouille and rice in the past… can you beat that this year?

Are these tips useful? Do you have a portaloo horror story? Or want to share your recommendations for the best, most secret, most wonderful festival that we’ve missed out? Leave your thoughts in the comments section, we’d love to hear them!

Touched By Michael Jackson


Tuesday, 23 June 2009


The first time I became truly aware of the ever troublesome relationship between the human species and its home planet was when, as a fifteen year old I watched Koyaanisqatsi - the Hopi Indian term for ‘life out of balance’. The collage of beautiful, rich imagery depicts the vastness and seeming impenetrability of the natural world contrasted with the rampant over consumption and needless wastage brought on by human activity. In the appendix of his book ‘The Rest is Noise’ Alex Ross describes the film as depicting humans as an ‘Insectoid Species’, I used to think this was spot on.

Koyaanisqatsi was released during the early 80's at a point when ecological changes were starting to become more widely known. Yet as was pointed out during 'My Dad's Strip Club' on Thursday night the changes we are bringing about are liken to the fuel spontaneously set alight in the hold of the Titanic on it's maiden voyage; we know the fire is there yet we're willing to take any number of reckless chances and disguise what is really going on. We'll just hope that non of the passengers find out.

Two-Degrees festival promised to be a challenging critique of the environmental predicament we currently find ourselves in and although I only made it to a couple of the events on offer, each of the artists involved bravely tackled aspects of something that is pertinent and hugely complex. The laboratory for Insurrectionary Imagination illustrated the urgency of this well – “This planet has no emergency exits”.

The ‘Lab of ii’ as they are abbreviated firstly allowed participants a glimpse into what skills might be needed for a post-capitalist (or post-apocalyptic) world. We were shown how to seed-bomb patches of wasteland, construct radical origami and (a skill that would be useful) construct AM radio receivers. We were then shown ‘Consensus Decision Making’

I confess I came to ‘The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination’ with many misgivings. When being introduced to Consensus Decision Making and given the choice of where to spend the rest of the evening, either in the Theatre, Spitalfields City Farm, or Bishop’s Square, I felt like I was making a large commitment in a short space of time in a decision making process that might take so much longer. having to make a choice about something that could have become a provocative act in one evening seemed difficult. I was won over though – during the large discussion many of the group expressed the desire to go to Bishop’s Square whilst sticking to the initial premise of the evening that we would have a “lovely time", eventually deciding to set up a temporary living space in the area using the modified wheel-barrows and lettuce plants supplied by the 'Lab of ii'.

We donned life-jackets (that felt more like portable hugging-machines), manned-up the wheelbarrows and headed for the square. Very soon we had the barrows on-end, bolted together so they formed frames for a canopy to go over and we had makeshift living spaces. We did have a "lovely time". What made it all the more special was how the authorities responded to us. What we were doing could have been interpreted as disruptive yet we shared tea with the police and security guards, it was explained what we were doing and they seemed fine with this.

What came across in the events, whether it be the workshops during the Lab of ii or Lottie Child's rediscovering of the city's green spaces is that we have choice. The two degrees rise in global temperature could be 40 years away, yet this isn't inevitable, it all depends on whether we really want to prevent it or not.

I started some work experience this week. By the lifts it states that 'A 15 second journey in the lifts uses as much energy as a 60 Watt light bulb does in an hour'. I took the stairs.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Pick of the Week - 19.06.2009

A short one this week, but nonetheless, there's some good stuff going on. Get yourself down to a carpark flea market, a sixth form art show, a lively latin night, or witness the power of nature with some outdoor art. All worth seeing...

Exhibition - Chosen by Lisa
Leyton Sixth Form College End of Year Exhibition
Essex Road E10 6EQ, 26th June, free refreshments from 4:30pm-7:30pm

Yesss, this is next Friday... but it's being recommended this week to make sure you don't make plans for Friday evening first. Three of our bloggers teach or study at Leyton Sixth Form College and we've been working our rear ends off to make a great show for you. See fledgling talent in fine art, graphic design, photography, fashion, 3D design, media and more and take advantage of the free booze offered from 4:30 onwards. This is the talent of the future, grab the chance to see it now, and be the first in know.

Market – Chosen by Holly
Hackney Wick Flea Market, Oslo House Carpark, Felstead Street, Hackney Wick
21st June 10am-6pm
There is no train service that day, take busses 26, 30, 236, 276, 388, 488

This is the second Hackney Wick Flea Market organised by VinylPimp, following the roaring success of the one on Bank Holiday Saturday. Got one of those Japanese rice bowl that no longer fits the theme of your contemporary kitchen, or want to get rid of that lovely old Dutch bike that you're giving up in all the hype of fixed gear madness? Set up a stall (all you need is an old sheet, a little stool and a trolly worth of goods), pay a fiver, and make a fortune! The £5 set up fee for sellers is used to pay for public loos and advertising, so it’s strictly non-profit for the organisers (hopefully as a seller you’ll be raking in the cash though!) There’s going to be a soundsystem by the lovely Chilli Sound too, playing tunes from 50's to now, so a browse in the sunshine looks like the ideal way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Exhibition - Chosen by Joanne
Radical Nature - Art and Architecture for a changing planet 1969-2009
Barbican Art Gallery 19 June - 18 October

The beauty and wonder of nature have provided inspiration for artists and architects for centuries. Since the 1960s, the increasingly evident degradation of the natural world and the effects of climate change have brought a new urgency to their responses. Radical Nature is the first exhibition to bring together key figures across different generations who have created utopian works and inspiring solutions for our ever-changing planet. Radical Nature draws on ideas that have emerged out of Land Art, environmental activism, experimental architecture and utopianism. This is the kind of inspiration we all need if we're going to tackle the ever-more urgent issue of climate change.

Exhibition – Chosen by Holly
Free Range Art & Design Degree Shows
Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
Until 20th July 2009, Free.

This is the 9th annual Free Range event – Europe’s largest graduate art and design show – at The Old Truman Brewery, London. Over the eight week period, thousands of students from the UK’s top art and design colleges will exhibit their work, giving you the perfect opportunity to talent scout for the next Tracey Emin or Rankin. Free Range was set up to showcase the works of budding designers and artists to both the public and potential employers alike, giving students the best opportunity to promote their work. Each year the show has increased in size and popularity, making it a destination point for thousands of Londoners and lovers of visual arts. Over 150,000 people visited the show last year. It’s free entry, and there’s such a diverse range of work on offer that you’re sure to find something that interests you. Themes change each week – this week it's photography - go and have a look!

Event – Chosen by Rosalie
Movimientos Live, Notting Hill Arts Club, 23 June
Featuring OnCartel, Nebula Starway, Monsalve, Lokandes, The Peronists, with Cal Jader and Aex Alfaro on Decks
Plus film screening, poetry and performance art.
7pm - 2am; £5

Fast becoming the essential Latin alternative night Movimientos Live continues apace with the most diverse selection of Latin acts from the UK and International guests plus the ultimate dancefloor shakedown with DJs playing classic Latin rhythms alongside the freshest urban & electronic beats. This month Movimientos celebrates the Andean Inti-Raymi Sun God festival with a very special performance from the Afro-Andino group Lokandes featuring some of London's top Latin musicians. More cosmic Latin sounds come in the form of Nebula Starway's fusion of funky dance rhythms with Brazilian drums and Berimbau. The line up also features OnCartel who combine consummate Jazz musicianship with some serious Latin and Bossa grooves, plus a debut show from Venezuela's Raul Monsalve and band playing some hot Afro-Latin Funk.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Mr and Mrs Lampshade

Mr and Mrs Lampshade is a gaze at a typical dysfunctional family, but the performance format is rather unusual; it’s non-linear, non-verbal and we don’t even get to see the performers’ faces. Instead, personalities are brought out through synchronised movements, dance, film and background music.

The comedic choreography demonstrates the loneliness of the child; her pants dropping whilst tap dancing, the sexually frustrated housewife, with her bottles of pills stashed in various nooks of the set, and the oblivious father, who wants nothing more than peace of mind, but who would occasionally have a waltz with the wife.

What is disconcerting is the fact that each is wearing a lampshade on their head the whole time. We are used to seeing performers with ‘neutral’ expressions, as a signal for us to concentrate on what they’re doing. Here, there is a lampshade (the style of which suits the character’s personality), leaving one baffled as to which aspect of the performance is meant to represent the personalities.

Eventually, all the elements merge naturally and in the space of an hour, it is as though you’ve witnessed the dynamics of a middle class family without the need to watch hours of costume drama.

I was really attracted to the idea of functioning while having your face covered. I’m considering making a ‘social curtain’, where a curtain that is attached to a head piece can be pulled across to cover my face whenever it feels necessary, such as in the middle of an awkward conversation.

Mr and Mrs Lampshade was produced by Dirtyfitgrannies; “An alternative dance theatre and events company based in Cardiff and Bristol”.

Official website =

Pics =


Friday, 12 June 2009

Pick of the Week - 12.06.09

The Artsbloggers have selected an incredibly diverse range of events this week, resulting in a Pick of the Week compilation that really does have something to suit everybody. Perhaps you’re in the mood for a Greek tragedy? Or would you rather stay up all night dancing to UK garage? Want to make some recycled furniture? Or how about going walking in an urban wheat field? Alternatively, get involved in a festival about art and climate change, pick from a photography show or an illustration exhibition about imagined books, or attend a series of intimate performances in three ordinary people’s own homes. It all sounds great, doesn't it?!

Exhibition – Chosen by Frank
Tom Hunter: A Journey Back
The Arts Gallery, 65 Davies Street.
13 June - 18 September 2009

This is the first UK retrospective of the work of UK fine art photographer Tom Hunter, and it looks like it's definitely going to be well worth checking out. The exhibition will encompass twenty two large format works which have never been exhibited together before, including two previously unseen works, altogether spanning four significant bodies of work. In the images, Hunter takes as his muse the people of Hackney, East London, and draws on the language of old master paintings, deploying their gestures, lighting and composition to imbue his subjects with a sense of drama and dignity.

Festival - Chosen by Mark
Two Degrees: Art, Activism and the Global Climate Emergency
16-21 June
Plane Food CafĂ© £5, A Peachy Coochy Nite in association with TippingPoint £5,all other events FREE
Toynbee Studios, Commercial Street, London

Two Degrees is Artsadmin’s week long programme of work by radical and politically engaged artists about climate change and our relationship with the environment. According to reports last month, a catastrophic 2C rise in global temperatures could be as little as 40 years away. In response to this, Artsadmin has brought together over 20 radical and politically engaged artists to create work that confronts climate change head on. A whole range of amazing activities and performances are planned, with as many events happening in the streets around the City of London as in the theatre at Toynbee Studios. Make sure you get involved, whether by sharing an organic picnic, exploring London’s forgotten waterways, sampling an airline meal or foraging for food in the City. Download the full programme here.

Exhibition – Chosen by Alison
Invisible Library, INK illustration at Tenderpixel Gallery
June 12 - July 12 2009

At Tenderpixel Gallery, INK illustration collective are creating a collaborative "Invisible Library" which holds books that don't exist (yet) but have existed within other books. What a bloody great idea! Collaborating with writers from the online periodical Real Fits and other writers/cultural figures such as Iain Sinclair and Saci Lloyd, the first and last pages have been written and the covers illustrated. Throughout the month there's going to be workshops and events that fill the pages. Check out their blog for updates.

Event – Chosen by Joanne
12th June at Visions Video Bar, Dalston
with GarageSpyro (Rinse FM), Emvee (Wireblock), Martin Kemp, Blazey (Bodynod/Sidewinder) v Shandy (Crazylegs), Ard Target, Luv's Tru Flavaz

Yes, yes, it’s Wifey, the bimonthly bassline house night, playing a mix of UK garage, grime, dub and techno to make you smile and dance. The makeshift basement club Visions Video Bar in London’s Dalston is a sight to be seen… you’ll either take one look at the grubby white-tiled dancefloor and storm out in a huff, or you’ll get right in there with the trendy haircutted and have the night of your life. I read some descriptions of Wifey that included the words ‘bling’, ‘boiz’ and ‘beeyatches’ (yes, spelt like that)… and yes, it's very cheesy, but if you want to grin and dance like an idiot, you'll swallow your pride (and quite a lot of overpriced beer) and get on in there.

Theatre – Chosen by Carly
Phedre, at the National Theatre and cinemas nationwide
25 June

Ted Hughes version of Phedre is playing at the NT - exciting in itself, especially since the beautiful Dame Helen and the popular 'Mamma Mia' star and 'History Boy', Dominic Cooper are in the cast. All very good, but that’s not even the best bit. On 25th June, in a miraculous display of technological wizadry, NT will be offering people across the country, and even the world, that chance to watch this exciting production without having to leave their town/city (although if you live in a rural hamlet with no cinema, even this can't help you). On the allocated day, you’ll be able to go along to your local cinema and watch the play live on the big screen for only a tenner! Now those of you in Newcastle, Wales and the far flung corners of the globe can enjoy this production from the comfort of your local, sticky-floored cinema. Although this raises those inevitable issues of the wonders of 'live' performance and how this will not be 'the same' (issues close to our hearts here at the Artsblog, after Artsblog Live Week’s intensive discussion on this very matter), ultimately this seems to be a great step forward in removing London's stronghold on high-quality theatre. Phedre for all!

Event - Chosen by Rosalie
C.R.A.S.H Contingency Wednesday 17 - Saturday 20 June 2009, 7pm
Toynbee Studios, London E1
Free, booking required, 020 7650 2350 or book online.

C.R.A.S.H Contingency is an experiment in three acts, for 48 people, 20 wheelbarrows and a mobile compost toilet. The event will start at Toynbee Studios, and although not a lot has been revealed about the actual content of the four performances, there's a high chance you'll end up out on the streets, involved in an exciting night time journey, and gain an insight into a different way of living. This project is the outcome of the C.R.A.S.H Course, a month-long series of workshops between a group of precarious and unemployed workers and a collection of artists, activists and permaculturists which has merged elements of popular education, live art and direct action. See what they've come up with at the C.R.A.S.H Contingency, and take the opportunity to get involved youself. Dress for walking and the weather, and expect to be inspired.

Live Art – Chosen by Joanne and Holly
my site / in space, 12th - 14th June, Hackney, East London
10 artists, 3 days, 2 flats, 1 walk

This is the fifth edition of an ongoing series of site-specific performances by Live Art / Experiental Theatre Company Switch Performance. For each edition, Switch hunt out an inspiring space and convene a group of artists, who then make a set of performances in response to the space, within the two weeks after first encountering it. The result is an ephemeral moment, made in a flash and never performed again. This time, they’ve opened up their homes to ten artists, and invited them to create performances there and in the walk between them.

Workshop – Chosen by Rosalie
Summer DIY Furniture Workshop, Casamarels, Barcelona
3 August - 14 September 2009

Barcelona Casamarles is a non-for profit organization that aims to provide affordable living and working space for artists and researchers, located in a little village called Llorenc del Penedes, 50 km south of Barcelona and 10 Km from the Golden Coast. Using old and discarded furniture, this workshop for artists and other creatives aims to explore ways of furnishing your house using recycling and DIY strategies. The aim being to foster creativity and promote alternatives to consumerism. Their website promises that participants can expect ‘traditional folklore, sun, good food (cooked between all of us), wine, trips to the beach and creative furniture’ as part of the experience, which sounds pretty great. To apply, interested individuals should email a CV, statement and three pictures of their work before the 25th of May.

Installation – Chosen by Phillida
Agnes Denes, Wheatfield – A Confrontation
15 July 2009 - 6 August 2009, free, open daily 2pm–10pm
Off Dalston Lane, Hackney, London (entrance between Ashwin Street and Hartwell Street)

A pioneer of environmental art, Agnes Denes makes interventions into the landscape that frequently take the form of powerful performances involving the planting of trees or crops. In Wheatfield – A Confrontation, 1982, Denes planted and harvested two acres of wheat in Battery Park landfill in New York, situated between the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Centre. It was an act of transplanting rural nature into the heart of an otherwise extremely dense urban environment. In July, Denes will restage the work for the first time since 1982, on the site of an abandoned railway line in Dalston, East London as part of the Barbican’s Radical Nature programme. A sight to be seen!


Friday, 5 June 2009

Pick of the Week - 05.06.09

In homage to the glorious weather that, until today, London has been basking in, this week's Pick of the Week is all about the outdoors. Buy some delicious bread and cheese at a French Market for a picnic , get involved in the creation of a new sustainable village, see some outdoor Shakespeare, go for a swim in a river, or watch some comedy on the banks of the Thames. Whatever it is that takes your fancy, it's really beginning to feel like summer. Make the most of it and head out into the heat (with an umbrella in your bag).

Market – Chosen by Rosalie
French Market, BAC, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN
Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 June, 8am – 4pm

If you’re in London and it’s nice weather next weekend, BAC’s first outdoor market will be the perfect place to pick up picnic supplies. Over 15 stalls will be coming across the Channel to set up on Town Hall Road (next to BAC), selling delicious French cheeses, an array of cured meats and freshly baked breads from an authentic Boulangerie. Sounds like a sandwich in the making… now all you need is a rug, a Frisbee, some Pimms, a batch of friends, and a nice spot in the park (Clapham Common and Battersea Park are close by).

Theatre – Chosen by Carly
Romeo & Juliet, Iris Theatre Company
St Paul’s Actors Church, Covent Garden, London
Daily at 7pm until Saturday 13th June, with additional matinee performances on Saturday 6th, Sunday 7th and Friday 12th June at 2.30pm.

Head to St. Paul's church in Covent Garden to catch this modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. A myriad of colourful cabaret artists and carnival atmosphere set in the beautiful gardens of this hidden church, this riotous show looks like an aesthetic delight for a warm summer's night (Shakespeare's got nothing on my rhyming skills). Tickets cost between £10-13, and if you fork out £2.50 for a programme, you’ll be rewarded with a free glass of wine. It’s had some great reviews already, with The British Theatre Guide commenting: ‘the Capulet's ball is a disco party with an acrobatic street dance...guest drag-act stripper and a hot-pant-wearing Lady Capulet. The first night audience loved it.’

Festival – Chosen by Lisa
Underbelly, Southbank, 27th of May - 19th of July 2009

A giant inflatable upside-down purple cow has been erected between the London Eye and the Royal Festival Hall. For the next month-and-a-half a huge range of summer shows will be taking place in this huge bovine tent, including comedy, circus, music, magic, theatre and children’s shows. Highlights include beat-boxer Beardyman, the Tom Tom Crew with their own unique blend of beat-boxing and circus, and singer Camille O-Sullivan. Click here for further information.

Art Event – Chosen by Rosalie
Linked Live by Graeme Miller
Leyton, Leytonstone and Wanstead
06 Jun 2009, 12-4pm, Free

This Saturday, take part in Linked Live and listen to a little piece of history while walking in the East London sunshine. Stretching from Hackney Marshes to Redbridge, the M11 Link Road was completed in 1999 after the demolition of 400 houses amid dramatic and passionate protest. In 2003, Artist Graeme Miller acknowledged this rich protest history by filling the empty spaces these buildings once occupied with a treasure trail of hidden voices, recorded testimonies and rekindled memories of those who once lived and worked where the motorway now runs. This Saturday, June 6th, the transmitters originally fitted for the project (which have been broadcasting continually ever since), will be accompanied by roving live broadcasts for one afternoon, adding new memories to the web of stories told in the air above the motorway. Join some of the individuals whose spoken recollections contributed to the original sound work as they broadcast new stories and memories, six years on. Visitors can collect a free map and receiver from a number of pick up points in the area on the day (click here for details).

Book – Chosen by Carly
Sarah Waters – The Little Stranger
Published by virago, ISBN: 9781844086016

Whilst ghost stories might not seem appropriate when the sun is blazing down on us, you will probably need something to read in order to avoid the Big Brother beast crawling back into our lives for a tenth year. Whilst nubile young wannabies on the verge of air-conditioning related breakdown infest our TV screens/ newspapers/ youtube/ social consciousness, poke your head into Sarah Waters new title instead. 'The Little Stranger' is an intelligently written novel focusing on the fortunes of the Ayres family in post-war England. As their handsome estate crumbles into dark, damp, disrepair, weird happenings start to haunt the family. What is lurking in the shadowy corridors of the house, and why is the Master of the Estate so cold and aloof? Currently only available in hardback, and half price at Waterstones right now, I thoroughly recommend it even if you've never read a word of Waters before. This novel seems to encapsulate her enthralling style and intimate characters brilliantly.

Find a nice shady spot, and prepare for goosebumps – although it may not be as scary as some of the goings-on in the Big Brother house…

Protest – Chosen by Mark
Creation of a new Eco Village, Hammersmith, London
Saturday 6th June

If you’re reading this from within the EU, did you use your vote in the European elections yesterday? Hopefully you did, but perhaps you felt that your vote wouldn’t make a difference, or that none of the candidates represented your voice. If that’s the case, maybe you want to do something a little more hands-on to make a stand about the state of our world today? This might be just the thing…

On June 6th 2009, hundreds of activists will converge on a piece of derelict land near to Hammersmith in south west London to create an eco-village community based entirely on sustainable technology and construction techniques. Open to all, the inspiration behind this idea comes from groups like The Land is Ours, who campaign peacefully for access to the land, its resources, and the decision-making processes. The film above shows the last Eco Village created in this fashion by This Land is Ours activists in Wandsworth in 1996. In that instance, the community created managed to survive for five-and-a-half months – take supplies if you go along to this one, as you might be in for the long haul! The exact location of the site will be revealed on the day, for more information contact Carolyn on 01727 812369 or click here. Otherwise, just turn up - to join in the fun, meet at the clock in Waterloo Station at 10am on Saturday 6th June.

Activity – Chosen by Sam
Wild/ Outdoor Swimming
All over the place! Free!

Britain’s rivers, lakes and waterfalls, secret coves, caves and beaches, and are cleaner, safer and more accessible than at any time in living memory and the health benefits of a wild swim or natural dip are also now well known. There’s nothing like that first plunge into the grey British sea (we used to go in for the first swim of the season in April! Bloody freezing!). Try the River Fowey at Cornwall’s Golitha Falls, the section of the River Cam that flows through the Grantchester Meadows – a spot where Rupert Brooke and Virginia Woolf apparently swam naked by moonlight while studing at Cambridge, or, in Scotland, head to Loch an Eilein for a wild swim to a ruined castle on an island. Alternatively, if you’re city-bound, Hamstead Heath Ponds are definitely worth a visit (a dip in the ponds is highly recommended when it’s raining – swimming in the pond with a light shower overhead is the most wonderful experience). Finally, if you’re in the capital and don’t fancy getting pond-weed tangled round your legs, all London Lidos are now open (my favorite is the Tooting Bec Lido, London SW16).