Published in The New York Times February 3, 2019
The stage filled with women in Princess Diana masks, smashing VHS cassettes with hammers. A dancer wove her way through a bar, muttering about kittens. A figure wrapped in a filthy comforter emerged from a tent, crawling among clubbers dressed in fetish gear.
I wrote about The Yard – London’s only theater-slash-nightclub – for the New York Times. You can read the full piece here.
When you think of LSD, a very specific aesthetic probably leaps to mind: the psychedelic pink-and-orange swirls of the 60s; naked people with flowers in their hair; the shimmer of a sitar. After its psychedelic properties were accidentally discovered in the lab by Albert Hofmann in 1943, the drug was banned in the UK in 1966. LSD is still most strongly associated with hippies who embraced its mind-expanding properties. Continue reading “How LSD influenced Western culture”
When playwright Gary McNair was asked who should provide the music for his new play Square Go, there was only one answer: Frightened Rabbit. He’d been friends with the Scottish indie rock band for years – as well as being a huge fan – and had been waiting for a chance to work with them on the right show. Continue reading “‘It was therapeutic’: How Frightened Rabbit found solace making music for a new play, following the death of Scott Hutchison”
Womad’s great strength is its eclecticism: there are bands from right across the globe, offering glimpses into lesser-known musical traditions from more than 50 countries, or slamming them together in unexpected combinations. Continue reading “Review: WOMAD festival, Charlton Park”
In 1968, The Beatles got in a yellow submarine and sailed away to the sea of green – on screen at least – in an animated caper designed to fulfil their three-picture contract for United Artists, without much effort on their part. Continue reading “Why The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine is a trippy cult classic”
Choreographer Botis Seva was born in south London in 1991 and raised in Dagenham. After training with hip-hop dance company Avant Garde, he set up his own company, Far from the Norm, whose work blends hip-hop with experimental theatre and dance. Continue reading “Botis Seva: ‘We need a massive shift in the dance work put on stage’”
“I have been fighting for vaginas for a very long time now.” Rhiannon Faith is smiling, but she’s also completely serious. The choreographer’s work, too, exists on this tightrope: her latest show is an immersive dance party about domestic violence. Continue reading “Smack That: domestic violence survivors celebrate resilience in dance”
I am sitting on the floor of a church in Shoreditch, a shaker in my hand, attempting to respond musically to a series of abstract, contradictory statements: making a hard sound that is soft, a private sound that is public, and so on. Initially self-conscious, as others join in, I soon find myself fully focused and absorbed. Continue reading “Are you listening mindfully? How meditation is changing music”
“A eus le rag hwedhlow dyffrans?” So goes the first track on Le Kov, the second album by Welsh singer Gwenno Saunders. But it isn’t Welsh: it’s Cornish, a minority language spoken by fewer than a thousand people. The line translates as “is there room for different stories?” – and this is the question at the heart of her record, which celebrates variance in language, culture and identity. Continue reading “Welsh singer Gwenno’s new album is in Cornish. It’s one of many ‘lost’ languages being reborn”
When Soprano Danielle de Niese was asked to present a televised singing competition, The Glyndebourne Opera Cup for young performers, the decision was a no-brainer. “Of course I was going to say yes. I am literally married to this place: in my heart, artistically, and also because of Gus.” Continue reading “Opera star Danielle de Niese: ‘It’s good to put a modern face on opera’”