Friday, July 24, 2009

Latitude: More than a music festival

Entering the festival site

OK! Where did this week go? Finally, here it's the promised post about Latitude! Because I know you've all been impatiently waiting for it!

Latitude's organizers market the event as "More than a music festival", and that's exactly what it is. Of course, music is a big part of it an it is part of what makes the festivals' atmosphere so attractive. They have great acts and many people come exclusively to see them. They have, after all, five music arenas, but there is so much more to see and do outside these areas: theatre, cabaret, literary talks, comedy, film, radio, a knitting surgery...

Knitting surgery

This is my favourite thing about Latitude. The amount of interesting shows, and the variety of it. You can watch a theatre play, then move to the Comedy tent to see an act, go and watch a short film in the Film and Music Arena before heading to the Literary Saloon for a debate on the future of the book and finally going to the main music stage to see Pet Shop Boys. There is so much happening that acts have to really try hard to captivate their audience. With so many other interesting things going at the same time, they can't afford to lose audience interest. And they very rarely disappoint.

Overview of the fields

The downside is that it'd be impossible to see everything you've planned to see. Inevitably your favourite things happen at the same time, or something is running late and ruins your schedule, or you forget about them in between all the other acts. The upside? If you let go of your schedule, you are very likely to find an unexpected gem, a new singer or writer you hadn't heard about!

It's funny how some people do their research before they go, grab a timetable as soon as they get there and then follow a plan all weekend, and others just drift from place to place looking for something they may like. Some simply camp in their favourite tent and spend a whole morning, a day, or even a weekend there. I'd love to say I'm one of the spontaneous ones, but I did lots of planning and research before I went, so I knew what I wanted to see. I did however allow for some free time and ended up discovering great surprises... the inspiring and slightly scary debate on climate change that took place in the Music and Film Arena, the absolutely brilliant and funny Jessica Delfino in the Comedy tent and the very young and very talented Ruby and her Whorses on the Poetry Arena.

Outside the poetry tent
Another thing I love about Latitude is that many of the people that perform over the weekend do it more than once and in different arenas. These artists are very difficult to classify, some appear in the Comedy tent first and the Poetry one later, or read their poetry and then sing in one of the music arenas. I love how there is music everywhere, even in the literary tent some of the acts manage to include music during their set. For me, great artists are those that express themselves in lots of different ways, that use many subjects and different tools, that simply follow their inspiration and let it guide them to the right media. On a personal level, this makes me realize that it doesn't matter that I don't know "what to do with my life", that maybe I'm meant to have more than one calling. That it's OK to want to write, take photos, make collages, that I can actually express myself through words and images whenever necessary. That I don't have to choose.

Outside the Literary tent

Going from tent to tent is so inspiring, there are so many ideas floating in the air, so many interesting people either performing or attending (sometimes both!), so many new things to learn, books to read, websites to check out, bands to listen to... It's impossible not to come back inspired to write that book, start that research project, or experiment with your blog... And I'm going to do all of those in the coming months! So wait and see!

But before, I want to tell you about some of my favourites from the weekend.

Comedy tent:
Mark Thomas: Ah, he should probably be the oficial ARWP comedian.
Shappi Khorsandi: Iranian-born, her family moved to England escaping the regime. She makes fun of politics, death threats, and race and can express better than anyone what it's like to belong in two different places, to be a foreigner at home... always with a laugh.

The theatre was seriously good. This tent was the first and the last that we visited at the weekend. We started with Is everyone OK? a play by the group Nabokov about being 30 and wondering "How did I get here?" (so appropriate!!) and finished watching an incredibly funny account of sudden loss of dignities. Check the Bush Theatre website for more. And if you have experienced a sudden loss of dignity, let them know! They may include your story in their next show!

Is everyone OK? by Nabokov
Literary Arena and Literary Salon
They had great writers at the Literary Arena, but what I really enjoyed was the Literary Salon, where there were debates on the future of the book, workshops on how to play outdoors or how to talk to strangers with The School of Life and talks about writing for the BBC. Well, you all know how much I like taking courses and workshops so as you can imagine I spent a great deal of time here. Also they had sofas!

A very tired me at the Literary Salon on the Sunday

In here, I was reminded that we should sit sill from time to time, let our mind wander, because than when the best ideas happen, and that we shouldn't let the fact that we are amateurs stop us from doing something. So what if my photos aren't perfect? I enjoy taking them and that's enough for now.

Film and Music Arena:
My favourite thing was Richard DeDomenici talking about plagiarism. Has everything been done? he asked, and although his presentation, tracking down the roots of many famous works in music and art seemed to say that yes, everything has indeed been done before, he ended up reminding us that there are new ideas around and it's up to us to find them! We also saw a fascinating debate on climate change. We were urged to make drastic changes to our lifestyles before it's too late, to commit ourselves with real action and to pressure our Governments to make a commitment to change in the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December. See where your country stands here.

All my favourite ladies were there (OK, Zooey Deschanel wasn't) I was already looking forward to both Bat for Lashes and Regina Spektor. It was the second time I saw Bat for Lashes live and she has grown and improved so much in two years. Regina was incredibly sweet, and she has such a strong and light sound at the same time, it was incredble watch her play the piano. The surprise of the Festival was Grace Jones who I didn't really know as any more than a famous name. She is an amazing diva and gave her everything to the public.

Grace Jones making a grand entrance

Also, The Doves were amazing, I'm not really a fan but there were great live and really engaged the public. Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, did an exclusive solo gig on Sunday morning, a mellow set that was perfect for a quiet Sunday morning. I also discovered and loved Sky Larkin. And The Pretenders! OMG, I heard I'll stand by you live!!!

Ufff, sorry for the long post. If you got here, thanks for reading!! I can't stop talking about it! And I can't wait for next year's Latitude!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Latitude teaser

I have to tell you all about the fantastic weekend we had at Latitude! There was music, of course, but there was also theatre, literary talks, comedy acts, film and play! I'll be back later with a proper post. For now, I'll leave you with a photo of the main stage before the fun began!

PS. Thanks so much for your comments on the unveiling and my 12 months of being 30.  I feel I'm opening up a bit more in the blog and your support is very important! You rock!

PPS. I came back from Latiude full of inspiration and ideas, some of which affect this blog, so as they say, watch this space...

Friday, July 17, 2009

12 months of being 30

As you all know (because I've been talking about it endlessly!), I turned 30 last month, on 17th June. I do think that turning 30 is an important milestone, and a perfect chance to reevaluate your life, think about what you've done and achieved and how close you are to where you want to be. I was trying to find a way to document my year when I found  365 days of being 30. Erin is doing a piece of art every day during the year she's 30 and posting them here. I've decided to copy get inspiration from her project and start recording my own year of being 30. So, every month, on the 17th, I'll post art journaling pages, writing, photos or whatever reflects what I've been doing and feeling during that month. 
In this month's pages I can definitely see a theme of doors opening, and the feeling that I'm walking somewhere, taking small steps towards a better place. My pages are surprisingly calm, which defintely doesn't reflect the month I've had (busy, busy), but maybe the place where I want to get.

PS. I've scheduled this for the 17th, so by the time you read this, I'll be at Latitude Festival! I'll tell you all about it when I come back and I'll try to twitter from there. Check my tweets here!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Corner view: The unveiling...

You've seen bits of me before... like my feet (and beautiful yellow shoes) and the back of my head...

You've seen me hiding behind a camera or my sunglasses....

For this week's corner view, we're all unveiling...

Nice to meet you! If we're in Spain, I'll give you two kisses; if we're in South America, it'll be only one kiss on the cheek; and if we're in England, there'll be a handshake, unless you want to prove you are cool and hip, in which case, we go back to the two kisses.

Corner view is organized by lovely Jane (go and see her unveiling) and there are more corner view unveilings going on here:
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad, caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t., jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, b, kyndale samantha, karen, kristina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, mcgillicutty, desiree, di, travelingmama, aimee, sunnymama, amanda, ali, jenell, guusje, britta, juanita, pamela, inna, daan, myrtille, cris, ibb, susi, jodi, lily, gillian, jeanette, athena, pienduzz, latisha, clairette, kelleyn

Friday, July 10, 2009

A creative summer

At the beginning of June I took one of Rachel Denbow's art journalling classes. We had to think about how we wanted to make the most of the coming summer and do some art journaling about it. These are the first three pages I made (more to come soon!). This was the first time I did art journaling, so, please, be nice :)

Prompted by The Fragrant Muse, who also took the course, I've recently came back to them and been thinking about summer. When I was a child summer meant time to play, no responsibilities, no homework, nothing to do until September. Although I can't exactly recreate that anymore (I need to work, after all), at least, I want to bring back the fun, and that feeling of having all the time in the world that it's so difficult to experience once you grow up. As I said in my pages, I want to make things, I want to spend time outside, I want to go for picnics and read on the grass, I want to dance, I want to write, I want to eat strawberries in the garden....

So these are just some of the things that I've planned and I'm looking forward to this summer:

Latitude Festival! It's next weekend and we are ready for three days of music, film, poetry, literary conversations, alternative theatre and lots and lots of fun!!! We went to Latitude two years ago, when it was still pretty small and unknown and absolutely loved it. I've been reassured that despite the fact that it's quickly growing into a big Festival, it still retains its charm. I remember thinking after the last time that I had seen more cultural acts in three days than during the rest of the year. I seriously CANNOT wait!

Jewelry workshop: I'm taking another silver jewelry workshop with a friend at the beginning of August. It'll be only the two of us and we're going to the artist's workshop to make a piece each. I'm going to make a huge pendant!

Workshops at The Make Lounge! I've been wanting to go to one of their workshops since Rachel took a bookbinding class there. They are not organizing any more bookbinding workshops, but I'm going to learn to crochet better than this and I'm going to make bags! By the way, Decor8 blogged about The Make Lounge today.

And of course, I'm looking forward to many picnics and days in the park! I really need the so-called heatwave (We call 32 degrees a nice summer day where I come from!) to come back.

Monday, July 6, 2009

In wonderland

There was a garden.

There were flamingo-looking umbrellas.  
There were tea mugs...
.... and some very tempting tea cakes. 

Oxford transformed itself into Wonderland to celebrate Alice's day on Saturday. There were celebrations all over town, and we chose to have a picnic in the Botanical Gardens, and watched a representation of the story.

I'm feeling a strong urge to read the book again, and I can't wait to see what Tim Burton makes of the classic. It looks wonderfully scary!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Randomness and links

Hello people! I'm still here, even tough I haven't been posting much, and not only because I've been feeling shy! Work is absolutely crazy, and there are other things going on in my life at the moment that I'll have to tell you about (good things that are making me feel all grown up!). I don't have the energy right now, but I'll soon be back with some planned posts about my awesomeness (because you know I AM awesome), my diary wreckage and, most important of all, my first dressmaking project. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a random list of random links.

Do you want to see some dreamy photos? Go to the Daydreaming images in the Rebecca Miller's portfolio. How would you represent daydreaming?


I'm still obsessed with yellow and I've found a couple of cool things in the blogospehre lately:

A yellow room from This is glamorous. Have you noticed the little office? Want.It.

And this lovely dress from my new favourite shop, Ruche. Go to their blog for more.


I'm sure you know Kerri Smith, the author of Wreck this journal. She posted this on her blog a while ago and I really want to remember. I always resist when I'm doing something outside my comfort zone, but, of course, those things I do turn up to be great most of the time and make for fantastic memories.


Have you seen this brilliant project about little people in the streets of London? It reminds me of a cartoon I used to watch when I was a kid, The littles. Do you remember it? More on the little people blog.


This is a lovely modern love moment that I saw in Le Love sometime ago. I just think it's perfect!

My mobile phone quit as I tried to let my wife know that I was caught up in traffic and would be late for our anniversary dinner. I wrote a message on my laptop asking other motorists to call her, printed it on a portable ink jet and taped it to my rear windshield. When I finally arrived home, my wife gave me a the longest kiss ever. "I really think you love me" she said, "at least 70 people called me and told me so.


I found this poster in Naturally Nina. What can I say? My thoughts exactly.

I'm loving the Disposable Memory project. Disposable cameras are released into the world for people to take some photos, pass them on, and finally send them back to the organizers. When we were in South America last year, my boyfriend and I used to have disposable cameras competitions from time to time. See the results here and here. And this is me, in Cuenca, Ecuador, snapping the winning photo in our second competition!