Al Di Meola @ the Union Chapel 29/06/11

As an uber fan of Al Di Meola ever since I first heard ‘Friday Night In San Francisco’ (with Paco De Lucia and John McLaughlin), finally getting to see him perform was literally a dream come true!


Coquette @ Kettner’s 18/06/11

Coquette was back last Saturday with another day celebrating vintage femininity, with host Mr David Carter (of 40 winks beautiful boutique hotel fame) Lipstick and Curls and Benefit providing hair and make-up, Nails Inc providing manicures, Stop Traffic Clothing amongst other designers providing clothes and beautiful headwear, fortune telling, palm reading, swing dancing to The Polka Dot Dolls, beauty treatments, lessons on how to make cocktails, kiss, and even wiggle!  Don’t believe me?  See for yourselves!


Jazz FM’s Discovery Show @ Boisdale Canary Wharf – The Henry Armburg Jennings Quartet 15/06/11

First time I’ve been down to Boisdale in Canary Wharf since it opened…it’s HUGE, has an amazing whisky bar, a ridiculously well stocked cigar sampling room and of course Jazz FM’s Discovery Show…which that night featured the very talented Henry Armburg Jennings Quartet.


Fairytales & Monsters @ Kings Place 11/06/11

Crikey Saturday was a busy one!  Arctic Circle well and truly took over Kings Place for a day of fun for all ages, followed by the most extraordinary concert/exercise in seeing just how many people could actually fit on the Hall One stage ever!

During the day there were free events happening in the foyer, including face painting (provided by the lovely Maria -she makes seriously amazing cakes too, check out her website!), mask making courtesy of Minko and storytelling with Molly, all set to the atmospheric sound of ‘curious memories’ provided by Sone Institute, with a little help from his friends!

..there were also a few ticketed events throughout the day, including a Paper Cinema workshop, followed by a performance of their new story ‘Rock Charmer’….

…The Borrowers International Network:

“Borrowers who are small people living underneath the floorboards, first documented in the book The Borrowers by Ms.Mary Norton.

Ms Kazuko Hohki arrived in London from Japan in the late 1970’s in the hope of locating the little people depicted in Norton’s historical document. Unfortunately, she was distracted by co-founding the Japanese-American Toy Theatre of London and Frank Chickens, a subtle assault on cultural stereotyping in both directions between the “West” and the “East”. Some people didn’t notice the cultural analysis part of the work, because it was so much fun.

Now that Frank Chickens are lazy enough to perform on a more occasional basis, Ms Hohki has been able to start research work in earnest, with the cooperation of Mr Andy Cox, musicologist of the miniature, and unearth the truth that lies under our floorboards. Come and wonder at the painstaking reconstructions of Borrower instrumentation, beautiful objects in themselves, but enhanced by Hohki and Cox’s reconstructions of authentic Borrower music. A wide variety of musical styles coming at your ears! In miniature!”

There was also, in true Fairytales & Monsters style, a reading by Glen Duncan from his book, ‘The Last Werewolf’.

…meanwhile there was a whole lot of rehearsing and backstage chat happening…

…Finally it was time for the evenings performances to begin with Marcella Puppini and the Forget Me Nots, and a very special duet with Stephen Coates…

..followed by The Real Tuesday Weld

…then time for intermission, drinks and being accosted by Arctic Circle’s by now infamous members…

…finally…the enormous Age Of Not Believing Orchestra, which features members of Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo, Dom Coyote, Homelife, Dollboy, Dale from the Sleeping Years, Ted Barnes, Sam Amidon, Grasscut, and The Puffin Voices…performing songs inspired by Fairytales & Monsters including ‘My Beloved Monster and Me’ by the Eels, Hushabye Mountain’ from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and ‘ Pure Imagination’ from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…with live visuals provided by Nick from Paper Cinema…

MASSIVE ARCTIC CIRCLE THANKS to everyone who took part, both on and offstage…particularly composer/wizard Harry Escott for arranging all the songs, and working tirelessly along with all the fantastic musicians and the choir  to create such a magical performance…

..thanks also due as ever to Neil on sound..

…Mike on visuals….

and the man who dreamt this entire festival up in the first place…Ben Eshmade!


Fairytales & Monsters @ Kings Place – A Tribute to the World of Oliver Postgate (North Sea Radio Orchestra plays the music of Vernon Eliot)

Day 2 of Arctic Circle‘s Fairytales and Monsters series at Kings Place.

In Hall One, a celebration of the much-loved music Vernon Elliott composed for Oliver Postgate/Smallfilms productions. A step back in time into the worlds of The ClangersIvor the EnginePogle WoodNoggin the Nog and more. Also featuring specially commissioned music arranged by Craig Fortnam and Laura Rossi. In honour of Postgate, the concert will feature an arrangement of the songs and music from Bagpuss. Hosted by Johnny Trunk. Produced in association with Trunk Records.

There was even swannee whistle-accompanied Postgate visuals and a special rendering of music from Bagpuss!

At the same time in Hall Two, Geese played with special guest Adem instead of Adrian Crowley (get well Adrian!), followed by the ethereal voiced Serafina Steer


Fairytales & Monsters @ Kings Place – Moondog! 09/06/11

So it begins!  Last night was the first in a series of concerts at Kings Place put on by the ever whimsical Arctic Circle under the banner ‘Fairytales & Monsters’.

In the words of Chief Penguin:

” Here at the Arctic Circle we have always run on 95% pure imagination (plus 5% cake) and readily admit to being fanatical about the fantastical, so it is with great delight, and not a little trepidation, that we present for your spine tingling pleasure this concoction from the land of Fairytales and Monsters.

Beware the many hornéd things and that which goes bump in the night, fall under the spell of childhood tales…”

This concert brought together the combined forces of the Guidhall Saxophone, Percussion and Recorder ensembles performing an original work on the theme of monsters and things that go bump in the night, as well as the music of Moondog arranged for this one-off event.

The Guidhall Saxophone  Ensemble was founded in the early 1990s with the intention of providing an environment in which the Guidhall saxophone students could develop as players, composers and arrangers.  The group has always sought to create repertoire which is off the beaten track in order to avoid the cliché of saxophonists simply churning out ‘Bach to the Beatles’ performances.  This philosophy led to a long stnding collaboration with New York composer Louis Hardin, aka Moondog, who worked and toured with the group during the 1990s.

Just time for a quick interval to get the audience into the spirit of things with beautiful handmade paper viking helmets designed by the wondrous Miho…

and of course top up on sugar with the specially sourced Arctic Circle rider…

…before returning to Hall Two for the second half, conducted and arranged by Christian Forshaw…

So there you have it…an evening of music, magic and Moondog!  Thanks as ever to Neil and Mike on audio and visuals!

Tonight Arctic Circle puts on not one but 2 events at Kings Place: Serafina Steer with Geese, and A Tribute to the World of Oliver Postgate (North Sea Radio Orchestra plays the music of Vernon Eliot) so what are you waiting for? Get your tickets and join us!


Gill Sandell

I first met Gill through playing as part of The Red Clay Halo with Emily Barker…but since she has now also released her own debut album ‘Tarry Awhile’ (buy it why don’tcha?  It’s beautiful!) we headed down to the Union Chapel to get some more shots for press and publicity…and here are some of the results!

We found a sliver of sun shining through one of the Union Chapel’s beautiful stained glass windows…

…were interrupted by the arrival of a baby pigeon being rescued from the eaves of the chapel…

…before getting one last shot with a moodier atmosphere…

…seriously, the album is delicately beautiful…go see her perform either solo of with Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo soon!


Introducing Miss Pinchbeck!

Last month I was asked to take some shots for the lovely bikini designer extraordinaire Miss Pinchbeck for her ‘About Me’ section on her upcoming business website – Bikini Fling.  I have great admiration for this girl, starting your own business takes drive, determination and in this case creative flair…all qualities she has by the bucketload…keep an eye on her facebook page to watch her progress and now that the sun’s becoming a more regular occurrence, why not join her for a bikini fling yourself?!


Daylight Music at the Union Chapel 4/06/2011

This week, Arctic Circle curated Daylight Music put on not 3 but 4 acts for free in the Union Chapel…we slightly over ran time-wise but it was definitely worth it for the mad antics City Shanty Band provided!

First up, the lovely Rozi Plain…by now an Arctic Circle regular because we are fans…you should be too…

…followed by  Manuela Barczewski and her folk/electronica mixture…

Orlando Seale and the Swell really picked up the tempo, with sounds mirroring the sea….from the roaring ferocity of waves crashing against cliff faces to the languid stillness at low tide…

…finally The City Shanty Band surprised and delighted us all with their urban take on traditional and original shanties (including a hilarious tune about Spearmint Rhino) before grabbing audience members up on stage for a jig!