It’s that time again. Time to lament that Glastonbury is once again over for another year. But it’s double sadness this year as my favourite festival will not return until 2019. Massively sad times.
I love the countryside. For me, there is nothing better than wrapping up warm with a hat, scarf, and boots on and crunching through the countryside on a winter’s day. I’m very lucky that I grew up surrounded by countryside and it’s something I cherish every time I’m back oop North.
A German word that denotes the relationship of a human being toward a certain spatial social unit
It was whilst listening to a French conversation on an Austrian radio station when driving around the German-speaking region of Italy that I truly appreciated the wonderful diversity and homogeny of the European continent. South Tyrol is the northern-most region in Italy with a diverse culture and history, and visiting the region this autumn was an eye-opening experience to values of togetherness, collaboration, and the pure joy of different cultures merging. It’s something I cherish; no (wo)man is an island after all.
This weekend, myself and my friends went to Kent for the weekend and it was simply lovely.
We went on a bit of a tour around the county to get out of London (I know I’ve only just got back!), get into to the countryside, and see the sea. It was brilliant, even if the weather wasn’t.
Hello! Or should I say bonjour!
I have just returned from Val Thorens in the French Alps, home from my first skiing holiday!
It was amazing – I’m hooked. I’ve got the bug, and anyone who has been skiing will know exactly what I mean when I say that. This is a massively picture heavy post, so sit back, press play on the video below (song of the holiday!) and enjoy whilst I show you around Val Thorens…
This year marks the 100 year anniversary since the start of the First World War. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the installation created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper. Together he created 888,246 ceramic poppies which have filled the Tower’s famous moat, one for each of the British casualties in the First World War.
In a set that was plagued with crowd interruptions, The Libertines’ reunion was filled with energy, controversy and compassion – it was everything the crowd wanted from the band whose history has been so filled with drama.
The set was called to a halt three times due to crowd crushing (one person passed out), flare throwing and the crowd climbing the camera towers. After a patchy stop-start for the first few songs, Carl, Pete, Gary and John got into their stride and revived the audience with a roaring version of ‘Horrorshow’ followed soon after with a raucous ‘The Ha Ha Wall’. Deafening crowd sing-alongs then came in the form of ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ and ‘What Katie Did’.
The guitars were tight, the bass solid and dependable and the drums kept everyone together. Each Libertine played brilliantly, and Carl and Pete sung as well as they ever have. The sound quality, which was at times patchy (as has often troubled Hyde Park concerts) couldn’t distract from the show of talent on the Main Stage.
When ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ came round, a song which used to be filled with such anger during their troubled times, Carl and Pete simply sang it to get past it. There was little dwelling on the song which became the theme song to the Libertines’ breakup. Instead the set focused on the happier times – archive images of the band filled the screens behind them adding to the sense of nostalgia.
The Libertines finished with a riotous ‘I Get Along’. Pete and Carl sharing mics and singing to one another made for an emotional end to a thrilling set, hugging and celebrating at the end until they were on the floor. Pete led a singalong of the hokey cokey before praising the crowd and the armed forces, and with Carl, performed a rather beautiful rendition of Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem Suicide In The Trenches to finish. The frontmen were back as one once more.
There was high expectation on this gig after the success of the Glasgow warm-up shows and the boys in the band definitely delivered. Carl and Pete played with a confidence which was lacking in their 2010 reunion – they seemed more focused and much more comfortable together. The announcement of two more dates in London later this year confirms the band’s commitment to one another and hopefully rather than a reunion, this becomes a revival in the Libertines’ history book.
The Libertines at British Summer Time 2014 set list:
‘Boys In The Band’
‘Campaign Of Hate’
‘Time For Heroes’
‘The Ha Ha Wall’
‘Music When The Lights Go Out’
‘What Katy Did’
‘The Boy Looked At Johnny’
‘Can’t Stand Me Now’
‘Last Post On The Bugle’
‘Love On The Dole’
‘Death On The Stairs’
‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’
‘Tell The King’
‘Up The Bracket’
‘What A Waster’
‘I Get Along’
Photos from my Virtual Festivals article (and my iPhone)
Did you go to the Libertines? What did you think? I loved it!
Myself and my friend Gill went to visit Kew Gardens the other day and it was bloomin’ marvellous. (Warning: There may be a large amount of horticultural puns in this post!)
It was a glorious day and as the sun shone over London we made our way along the Thames to Kew. The area around Kew Gardens is beautiful and oh so typically English – we passed the cricket green on the way – it was delightful.
Once you arrive at Kew you are faced with 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses. It is a gardener’s paradise! But what I found most amazing at Kew, is that whatever your expertise on plants, it is so accessible to everyone. If you don’t want to read the plaques and information you can just wander around the stunning gardens. If you want to learn all about a particular type of plant, the chances are it will be at Kew as the Botanic Gardens plays host to the largest collection of living plants in the world. In the WORLD. It is simply staggering.
One of my favourite parts of Kew was the Princess of Wales Conservatory which recreated ten different climate zones. The cactii were brilliant but the iguana which was roaming free frightened the life out of me!
Another highlight was the bar… There was a huge display of herbs and plants which are used in bitters and tonics – often found in cocktails (a particularly passionate hobby of mine…!)
Kew costs £16.50 for an adult (with a £1.50 donation) but a membership is only £72 per year. If you live nearby I’d get a membership and go whenever the sun pokes his head of out a cloud!
Kew Palace is also situated within the grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It was the home of George III in his youth and has been a resides of the royals for many years. Now, however, it is open to wander around.
I think these pictures prove just how beautiful Kew is. I absolutely fell in love with the place. It feels like you’re out of London, in your own perfect paradise. As a Northerner stranded in the South I often find I miss greenery, countryside and, you know, space – but Kew has it all. It was wonderfully tranquil and reminded me of home. I can’t recommend it enough.
Have you been to Kew? What did you think of it? Leave links and comments below!
I write this from my bed. So far today I’ve managed to get in the shower, make some toast, have a cup of tea and get back into bed. It’s 4pm.
The reason for this most unproductive of days? Rebel Bingo.
It’s not just a game anymore
Rebel Bingo is bingo as you’ve never seen it before. It’s a massive party with loud music, alcohol and a lot of red pen. It was an amazing night and you should definitely try and get tickets for the next one if you can (be quick, it sells out super quick!). I really don’t want to give too much away but here are a select few photos from last night: