Friday 22 June 2018

The Waterloo Festival, St. John's Church, Waterloo, Central London

There were some quirky and eye-catching exhibits in the 2018 Waterloo Festival, which is hosted in and around St. John's Church.

Thursday 14 June 2018

World Cycling Revival Festival, Herne Hill Velodrome, South London

Seemingly modelled on the Goodwood Revival vintage car festival, the ambitious World Cycling Revival Festival attempted to conjure up a bygone, golden era of two-wheeled travel at the historic Herne Hill Velodrome. Although it promised jazz and swing music, period costumes, a temporary museum and a plethora of cycle races, the festival was poorly attended on the Thursday and Friday.  That could have been because most people have to work on weekdays and the standard entry price of £38 was far too high to justify a few hours in the evening. Still, it was quite easy to source cut price tickets and the (too limited) live music and wacky track races were actually pretty entertaining.  An energetic sundown performance by King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys, accompanied by dancers in 1940s dress, was scintillating. It's a pity there were so few people there to enjoy it. 7/10 

Monday 11 June 2018

Translations, the National Theatre, the South Bank, Central London

Images from the National Theatre web site
A poignant and passionate play, Translations immerses you in rural Donegal in the 1830s. A small Gaelic-speaking subsistence community is gradually unpicked and uprooted by the arrival of a squad of red-coated English sappers charged with mapping the county and replacing the Irish place names with Anglicised alternatives. The action focuses on a hedge school, which teaches Greek and Latin, but not English, to potato farmers living off a rugged landscape lashed by rain. This warm and engaging production brings to life the subsequent war of words and languages, while the threat of a real conflict looms large in the background. A returning son tries to bridge the broad gap between his earthy, yet erudite, compatriots and an earnest English captain, while a young lieutenant is enthralled by the lusty lyricism of the locals.

Sunday 10 June 2018

The Floacist at the Hideaway, Streatham, South London

A heady fusion of neo-soul, rapping, poetry, comedy and attitude, the Floacist is a regular at the laid back Hideaway jazz club in Streatham. In a diverse, two-part set, Natalie ‘Floacist’ Stewart and her talented band intersperse short tributes to Soul II Soul, a beautiful rendition of Bob Marley's Redemption Song and other classics, with more experimental music, that still seems to draw on familiar melodies. As a local girl, Stewart attracts friends and family to her Hideaway gigs and they form an impressive choir, as she implores the audience to join in with the better known numbers. You'll find your fellow punters on their feet swaying along to the music, while sometimes swapping banter with Stewart. Switching effortlessly between London, street and Jamaican accents, Stewart likes to deliver homilies on positive thinking and self-belief during the gaps between the tracks. Although the interval is a tad too long and the set a tad too short, this is a gig that emanates energy and warm hopeful vibes. 8/10 

Monday 4 June 2018

Rue Victor Lefèvre, Brussels

Largely built between 1907 and 1913, and named after a local writer, Rue Victor Lefèvre features a mix of Renaissance, Art Nouveau and Art Deco-style dwellings.

The Arch, Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels

The triumphal arch is the centrepiece of a U-shaped complex of nineteenth century buildings in the heart of the 30 hectare Parc du Cinquantenaire. They were built, under the patronage of King Leopold II, for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence. The complex now houses a clutch of museums.