Thursday, 16 June 2011

As “gor blimey me old china” is rapidly replaced with “what’s up bruv”, I go in search of the capital’s cockneys - and  discover some refreshing signs that the original London street culture isn’t being entirely lost...


Marawa the Amazing

With performance art and cabaret fast becoming a staple of London nightlife, it’s only right that there should be an annual showcase of emerging and established artists from the scene. Cue Postcards Festival, which is being held for the first time at Jacksons Lane Theatre. 

Expect acrobatic dancing, avant-garde clowning and accordion playing galore. Aerial duo ‘Collectif and then…’ will have you mesmerised with a death defying performance – which includes dangling from their hair (!) And watch out for hula hooping sensation Marawa the Amazing: pouting and fabulous in blue glittery heels, she strikes a winning balance between humour and sass.  

The launch night proceedings were a tad rough around the edges, but with the creases ironed out, Postcards Festival should be lots of fun – hopefully for many years to come.

Postcards Festival runs until  20th July 2011 at Jacksons Lane Theatre. Visit This originally appeared on The Cultural Exposé


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Less of a detour and more of a main parade! Brilliant turnout for Slutwalk London on Saturday, with women (plus a fair few men and transgender people) of all ages taking to the streets to challenge the notion that survivors of rape or sexual assault are ever to blame. Sound like stating the bleedin' obvious?  Well yes, but it's disturbing how pervasive such an attitude still is.

The Slutwalk movement was sparked in January 2011 in response to a statement by a Toronto policeman, who said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized". Though voiced in particularly blatant language, this argument is ever present as an insidious backdrop to everyday life in the city. I can recall countless times crossing the road, looking away, putting up my hood or otherwise regulating my own behaviour when walking alone in order to avoid unwanted attention. 

Stigmatising women (or indeed anyone) because of how they act or dress, is dangerous for the whole of society - the onus should be on teaching that it's never okay to sexually harass, assault, abuse or rape another person

For more information on Slutwalk London, visit


Excuse the slight digression but I can't resist alerting you to the fantastic new city guides on the Guardian travel website. They include all the best places to eat, rave and hang plus recommended films, books and soundtracks to each city. I'm currently helping to produce the Amsterdam guide, which is coming out next week. Much fun but very itchy-feet inducing. Take a moment to check out the guide to Barcelona, which went live last Wednesday - preferably while listening to this banger:

Oh and there's one for New York, Paris and, best of all, London


Monday, 6 June 2011

Strolling down Essex Road, you're in for an unexpected visual treat. It may be boarded up and flanked by chicken shops, but with its delightfully theatrical façade, this grade 2* listed building still turns heads

The building first opened to the public as 'Carlton Cinema' in 1930. You can see how it originally looked here. In its most recent guise, a Mecca Bingo hall, the space resounded with shouts of 'two fat ladies' and 'rise and shine'. But since closing in 2007, it has been left to rot. 

A proposal last year to redevelop the bingo hall as flats, a place of religious worship, a private theatre, private cinemas and a banqueting hall, was successfully blocked by the community, who argued  - quite rightly in my view - that it wouldn't serve their needs. 

For now, like Wilton's Music Hall in Hoxton, which just lost a Lottery bid for desperately needed restructuring work, the future of the Essex Road bingo hall remains unclear. 

Check out the treasure trove of a blog, Derelict London, for more examples of the capital's decaying architecture


Saturday, 4 June 2011

The capital’s b-boys and fly girls were out in droves last weekend, celebrating the best of London street culture and soaking up the sun in a Shoreditch car park. From manicures and an independent clothes market for the pink-haired fashionistas to a 32ft purpose built ramp for seasoned skate kids, there was something to please all sorts at Streetfest 2011.

Arty types ogled graffiti walls painted in situ by the likes of Toasters, Blam, Best Ever and my new favourite artist George Morton-ClarkB.supreme hosted a hiphop dance battle so high-octane that one of the finalists did her knee in, while a steady stream of DJs and live acts kept heads nodding throughout the day. A special shout out goes to dubstep beatbox champ Reeps One for a truly electrifying performance – I swear that boy has a bass bin for lungs!

Originally published on The Cultural Exposé, alongside Alan Tang's Streetfest 2011 photo gallery.

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