Top image: Aladdin Sane by Brian Duffy
We bring you our guide to living well in the world’s capitals, from exhibitions to cinema, food, drink, fashion, music and beyond. Just call it culture and take it, it’s yours.
LONDON, FRIDAY 29th APRIL – SUNDAY 1st MAY 2016
“We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now!”
familiarise yourself with Withnail (Richard E Grant) and I (Paul McGann), two struggling actors living in their Camden squalor who jolted straight out of the mind of writer-come-director Bruce Robinson and into our cultural consciousness back in 1987.
One day fed up of being skint, bored, and hunting mice in the kitchen, the pair persuade Withnail’s rich uncle Monty (Richard Griffiths) to let them spend the weekend at his cottage in Cumbria. Amongst Britain’s green fields for the first time, the city dwellers find their plans for relaxation and indulgence thwarted by rank weather, unfriendly locals, the sexual advances of Monty, and a randy bull.
The perfect example of a British cult comedy, Withnail and I disgust and charm in equal measure. And talking of measures, the film comes with an exclusive drinking game: see if you can match the two lead characters shot for shot, from whiskey to wine via a bottle of lighter fluid. It’ll turn into a night to remember…or, perhaps not.
Withnail and I is being shown at Hackney Picturehouse at 8pm on Friday April 29th
Last week came the devastating news that Prince had passed away at the age of 57.
The best way to mark the passing of such a cultural legend? By celebrating his prolific and exhilarating output, of course. So play those Prince records loud and proud, blast out the funk and break out the dance moves. Prince’s legacy deserves to be yelled from the rooftops.
Away from his immense musical oeuvre, Prince was also a dab hand with visuals. Take his 1984 quasi-autobiographical film Purple Rain for instance, a visual and sonic adventure chronicling Prince – known as The Kid – and his attempts to gain a foothold in Minneapolis’s competitive music scene.
Pulling in an almighty $68,392,977, and only costing $7million to make, the film highlights another angle of Prince’s creative dexterity. This weekend Hackney Picturehouse are screening a Purple Rain double bill on Saturday and Sunday – the perfect excuse for some Prince-based indulgence.
Purple Rain is being screened at Hackney Picturehouse on Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May
He’s dark and mysterious with an ear for the delectable, Dan Sartain is the cultish figure you may not – but definitely should – have heard of. With eight full-length records to sieve through, you’ll find yourself fishing for gold and emerging for air shimmering in golden gems.
A purveyor of downtrodden blues rock ‘n’ roll, Sartain is constantly evolving his sound yet always retaining that biting drawl and those snake-hip melodies. Then at the beginning of 2016, Sartain threw an ice-pale curveball into the mix via his latest release, Century Plaza. Here is a place where a constant mist shrouds visual engagement and flickering neons are your guides, leading you to places that’ll leave your id feeling sufficiently plush.
With this sonic venture comes a live show to match. Unpredictable, uncompromising and utterly malevolent, the Alabama-born holding court in London town for one night only, so untwist those knickers and pop those buttons. Welcome to the pleasure dome, Mr Sartain will see you now.
One morning in 1979, following a question from one of his assistants about the lack of toilet paper in the studio, iconic 60s photographer decided he’d had enough. He recalls in a BBC4 documentary, “Suddenly I realised that I was making decisions about toilet paper. And I thought, ‘This has got to end.’ Either by me murdering my staff, killing myself, or setting fire to the whole fucking thing.” So he (probably sensibly) took the latter option and gathered every negative and transparency he had ever shot and burned them on a fire in his back garden. After that, he never took another picture.
But, through his incredible catalogue of work, his legacy was already cast in our collective consciousness. Together with David Bailey and Terence Donovan – dubbed “The Terrible Trio” by The Sunday Times – Duffy encapsulated the 60s with his vibrant, candid shots.
Familiar with David Bowie’s iconic Aladdin Sane album cover?? Of course you are. Bowie all bare-chested with orange, spiked hairstyle and that lightning bolt make-up (actually inspired by the logo on a rice cooker in the studio kitchen) zig-zagging across his pale, white face. That was Duffy. A new exhibition at The Hospital Club traces Duffy’s output, predominantly his work with Bowie and Pirelli – he shot three editions of its iconic calendar. Think rubber latex and plenty of bare flesh…sold? Of course you are.
Duffy Pirelli Bowie runs at The Hospital Club between 28th April – 3rd May 2016
London-based artist Angel Rose creates with a sharp-tongued, quick-witted flair for the unusual. Injecting her personal aesthetic into her work, Rose is known for her video and live art installations.
For her premier solo show, Sick Bag, she explores the world of DIY zines, presenting her own unbound Sick Bag zine and it’s a real eclectic goody bag inspired by the artist’s upbringing in the Los Angeles punk scene. Packaged inside a customised brown paper bag, are nine double-sided post-cards featuring images of “sick chicks.”
Formed around a female ‘give-zero-fucks’ cartoon protagonist, Rose creates a mini world that will charm you in, spit you out, and leave you craving more.
Angel Rose: Sick Bag runs from 29th April – 29th May at The Residence Gallery, E9 7HD
Allow us to make a suggestion, head south of the river and soak up the sun (optimism never hurt anyone) at Pop Brixton.
With their fingers crossed, the Brixton-based shipping container village is removing the roof and beckoning summer our way. With a mouth-watering and belly-grumbling selection of food and drink on offer, thirsts will be quenched and heads will be sore – for what is a bank holiday weekend without a monday morning hangover? That’s not the British way.
Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Rd, SW9 8PQ
Rum and ting
And if you’re craving new surroundings, wander beneath the Deptford station arches for a little taste of Jamaica. Buster Mantis – named after Sir Alexander Bustamante, the British born MP who became Jamaica’s first Prime Minister – is a multi-disciplinary arts and creative space, with bar and restaurant serving up a range of iconic and unexpected Jamaican food.
Here’s our tip; try the rum punch, Mandeville style – the part of Jamaica where Gordon grew up –, it’ll blow your socks off.
Buster Mantis, 3-4 Resolution Way, SE8 4NT