Guitar Guinness World Record bid

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Putney

A Guinness World Record attempt to hold the longest ever guitar lesson is taking place today at London City Island. 

More than 200 Londoners will take part in the 24hour lesson at Trinity Art Gallery before moving to Trinity Square for a mass gig where the final song will be played in unison. 

Open to all levels and abilities funds raised from the project will allow The Guitar Social, which is hosting the record bid, to extend a course specifically designed to help the visually impaired learn to play the guitar and experience the joy of making music. One such beneficiary is 96-year-old Mary who is partially blind and has just played her first gig. 

Thomas Binn, founder of The Guitar Social, says: “Our classes are about reducing social isolation, raising self-esteem and connecting communities that are too often ignored by the arts world. 

“We decided to use this event to showcase the power of music and to rally support for those who really need it. We hope Londoners will come and join in the fun of this momentous occasion!’’  

The Guitar Social works to get novice musicians out of their bedrooms and on to a stage. 

Get involved:

The record attempt starts at 6pm today (18th) and runs until 6pm on Friday 19th. 

For more information and details about how to get involved, visit Guitar Social

Zip Now

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Putney

Whizz over the city with Zip Now London this summer

Calling all thrill seekers – if the idea of being 35m up in the air in central London, whizzing at speeds of up to 50kph over a distance of 225m appeals then read on…

Zip Now London returns to the Southbank for its third summer season today (12th) until 15th September.

This year it’s set to be bigger and better with a fourth line offering even more highflyers the chance to enjoy the views and the exhileration.

After launching from a 35-metre high tower you’ll whizz past the London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the Gherkin, Lambeth Palace and The Shard.

Real adrenalin junkies will be able to add on the option of a free-fall mega drop if they think they’re up to it!

Zip Now CEO Barry Shaverin said: “Zip Now London is back and better than ever offering a huge rush of adrenaline without needing to leave zone one. This year we’ve added a fourth line to meet the huge customer demand for people to fly in groups with their families, friends and colleagues.”

Zip over London Monday to Friday 11.30am to 7.30pm; Saturday 9am to 7.30pm and Sunday 9am to 5pm.

To book and for more information visit Zip Now

How to spend a day in

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Putney

Whether you’re a tourist or just curious about our capital, spending the day exploring London can be an amazing experience.

Danny Horwood, from urban scavenger hunt innovators Foxtrail London, shares his advice for what to include on your to-do list.

Much of London’s diverse landscape is made up of buildings that have made it through the Great Fire, the Blitz, and the many other threats since the city was founded more than 2,000 years ago.

A great place to start is London Wall, while mostly in ruins, is estimated to have been built in 190-225 AD and is widely considered the oldest building in London. London Wall is conveniently close to the major landmark Tower Hill, famous for its gruesome executions, and the even more iconic Tower of London, so you can pay a visit to the Crown Jewels, ravens, and Beefeaters while you’re exploring the area.

 

Modern London

Modern London is diverse, influential, and packed with culture, so there’s always plenty of new landmarks to discover – some are bizarre, like the world’s longest tunnel slide at the UK’s tallest sculpture, the Orbit, and some are impressive, like the Shard and it’s 244-meter-high observation deck.

While not the newest addition to London’s skyline, the London Eye has become an icon in its own right to rival Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, despite originally being designed as a temporary feature. With some of the best views in the city, it’s ideal for taking in all the sights of London at once and a great option for time-pressed tourists.

 

Don’t miss…

London is home to some of the world’s greatest eating, drinking, and shopping experiences, but there are so many more unique attractions to explore. Madame Tussauds, the London Dungeon, and Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station, for example, are world-famous must-sees. London’s most popular attraction, the British Museum, boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive displays of world history, if galleries are for you then the V&A museum of art and design has something weird and wonderful for everyone to enjoy, including fashion exhibitions.

If you’re only in London for a short while, it can feel a waste to spend it indoors. Simply strolling down the many famous streets of this old city, there is so much to see and discover including more major landmarks, hidden treasures, and other curiosities.

Why not take a guided tour to get the inside scoop on the rich history of the buildings around you, or take part in an organised scavenger hunt to interact with the city? Getting the family involved in a treasure trail is a great way to have fun, work as a team, and learn through experience.

  There’s so much to see and do in London, just get out and explore!

Green Day’s American Idiot

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Putney

Here’s why you should catch this powerful musical at Reading’s Hexagon between now and Saturday, 4th May, writes Peter Anderson

Three childhood friends in post 9/11 America are each seeking for a meaning. That was the inspiration for Green Day’s Grammy winning album, fifteen years ago “American Idiot”. Ten years ago, came the musical with lyrics Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong and a book by Billy Joe and Mike Mayer. The musical won two Tony awards and another Grammy award for best show album. Now the musical is touring the UK and comes to Reading and Wimbledon as part of the tenth anniversary tour. The show stars singer-songwriter Luke Friend (X-Factor), Tom Milner (The Voice and Waterloo Road) and introducing Sam Lavery (X-Factor and Capital FM) as Whatsername.

Peter Anderson caught up with the lovely Sam and asked how she discovered her love and talent for singing. I had often sung around the home as a child, then we had a school trip out to Holy Island that included a talent competition. A lot of the lads did football tricks, some of the girls did dancing and for some unknown reason I had a go at singing. From that moment on that was the way I wanted to go, when I came back from the holiday, I started singing lessons and entered competitions.

Whereas unlike Tom she did not have the chance to sing for Tom Jones, one of her relatives and her inspiration has. “I only have one inspiration, my grandfather. When he was younger, he was a backing singer for a while for Tom Jones and could have made a career of it. But that career would have been in London and he had a young family in the North-East. He decided to forgo the possible career and go down the mines to look after his family. I am so glad that he can now enjoy my success and see what I am doing, and he has been very supportive to me.”

So, what can audiences look forward to in the explosive rock musical that is “Green Day’s American Idiot”? “Very like a gig combined with an emotional roller-coaster ride, we have a live backing band between the three of us. I think it is the kind of show where you leave it humming the tunes and then slowly the issues that the musical also raises dawn on you.”

The three of you are more known as singers than for acting, how did you work on the characterisations? “All three of us major characters have been given a lot of help about the research to do with the complex issues the songs raise. The other idea that I really found helpful was that we were made to read the lyrics time and time again without the music. This gave us the time to really grasp the meaning of the words and who we were singing them to.”

For your chance to see this powerful musical that has introduced a new generation of theatregoers to Green Day’s music the show comes to Reading this week and Wimbledon later in May. It is at the Hexagon from Tuesday 30th April to Saturday 4th May, and the New Theatre Wimbledon between 14th and 18th May.

  For full information on performances and tickets visit www.readingarts.com or www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbedon-theatre.

Moonwalk London

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Putney

Thousands of people will take part in the iconic MoonWalk London to improve the lives of those with cancer.

Frances Flaxington from Lambeth is preparing to take on her 11th MoonWalk London, organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk.

At Midnight on Saturday, 11th May, she will join thousands of women and men wearing decorated bras walking either a Half Moon (13.1 + 2 miles) or a Full Moon (26.2 miles) through the streets of London, to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Both distances start and finish at Walk the Walk’s huge pink tent on Clapham Common.

Frances first heard about The MoonWalk from a friend who had taken part – she had always loved walking and wanted to do something in memory of her mum who passed away from breast cancer. She has now completed an incredible 10 Full Moons, with the first back in 2005. Since then, Frances has been treated for ovarian and stomach cancer, and underwent a preventative double mastectomy because of the very high risk of developing breast cancer herself.

She says: “I am lucky my flat is on The MoonWalk route, so every year I pop home to go to the toilet, rather than having to use the portaloos! Every year, when you are walking along The Thames, it is so emotional as you watch the stream of people all doing The MoonWalk for the same purpose. It is great that cancer is no longer the ‘Big C’ scary word it once was. Life does go on after a cancer diagnosis. You don’t ever forget that you’ve had cancer, but life changes, in a good way – it makes it more valuable.

“I would encourage anyone to sign up to take part in The MoonWalk – it is a great cause, a personal challenge, and brilliant fun!”

The MoonWalk London is the flagship event organised by breast cancer charity Walk the Walk and has helped the charity raise an incredible £128 million for vital breast cancer causes over the last 22 years. The MoonWalk is a unique, fun night out – this year’s theme is Disco Inferno, so think Saturday Night Fever, glitterballs and all things disco! Sign up on your own or maybe get a team of friends and family together to celebrate a special occasion.

The minimum age for taking part in the MoonWalk London is 13 and hundreds of men take part every year – did you know that men get breast cancer too?

Photos from The Moonwalk London 2018

Raise money, raise awareness, get fit and have fun. Please sign up for The MoonWalk London now or donate here

Chelsea Blues Festival

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Putney

Under the Bridge: a great night of live music is on the bill at Chelsea Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival.

Enjoy a night of bluesy rock action Under the Bridge at this Fulham Road festival with leading musicians, many of whom have learned their craft from the best.

Brought to you by one of the leading blues and rock organisers in the country, Solid Entertainment, Chelsea Blues Festival is packed full of blues, as you might expect, rhythm and rock – pretty much as it says on the tin.

Among the acts on stage will be Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre and his band.

Martin has been the guitarist of Jethro Tull for 43 years. His sound and playing have been a major factor in their success with album sales exceeding 60 million; the band are a key part of rock history.

As well as several Jethro Tull albums, Martin has worked with legends of the music industry such as Paul McCartney, Phil Collins and Gary Moore and shared a stage with Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac.

Martin has put together a band to play music from Tull’s catalogue which includes musicians from a similar background.

Also on the bill are the Stevie Nimmo Trio; Stevie is one half of Scotland’s Nimmo Brothers with his roots firmly in the blues and er, roots world.

JFK Blue are a stylish blues/rock band and have been described as having a Southern rock feel, and you’d imagine that’s the kind of vibe Bourbon Street Revival are channelling too mixing contemporary with rare and well-loved classics.

The line-up is completed by Deep Sea Blue who pride themselves on being a “new wave of indie blues”.

More acts are set to be announced but whoever else joins the bill it sounds as if it’s a night not to be missed on Saturday, 30th March, at Under the Bridge, SW6 1HS. Tickets £29.

A mini marvel

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Putney

Mary Quant and models at the Quant Afoot footwear collection launch, 1967 © PA Prints 2008

A new exhibition at the V&A showcases the fashion revolution launched by Mary Quant.

Miniskirts put Mary Quant on the map, it became a fashion icon and came to symbolise a new era for women.

The little skirt which made a big difference will no doubt be a stand out attraction in a new exhibition at London’s V&A showcasing the work and influence of the designer.

Examples of her famous designs from across the 1960s and 1970s will highlight the way in which she launched a fashion revolution on the high street. More than 200 items of clothing and accessories, including unseen pieces from Quant’s personal archive will form part of the exhibition.

Satin mini-dress and shorts by Mary Quant, photograph by Duffy, 1966 © Duffy Archive-WEB

Satin mini-dress and shorts by Mary Quant, photograph by Duffy, 1966 © Duffy Archive

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Model holding a Bazaar bag c.1959 © Mary Quant Archive

Born and brought up in Blackheath, her Welsh schoolteacher parents refused to let the young Mary attend a fashion course so she studied illustration instead at Goldsmiths where she met her future husband Alexander Plunket Greene. After graduating in 1953 she began an apprenticeship at a high-end milliner.

Together with Plunket Greene and a friend, the three opened a restaurant in the basement of a house Plunket Greene bought in King’s Road, Chelsea, by this time fast becoming “the place to be”. But it was the boutique she opened on the ground floor, Bazaar, that was to pave the way for Quant’s career and change in fashions.

Starting with clothes bought wholesale, she soon switched it up a gear after the success of a pair of lounge pyjamas she had designed for the opening and began stocking the boutique with her own designs.

Working overnight to produce new stock for the shop, which continually offered new lines, customers came in search of the unique items at competitive prices.

Bazaar was making a name across London as one of the few shops selling an alternative to the more “mature” designs of traditional high fashion. And it wasn’t just the clothing that brought about the different approach – the boutique offered loud music, free drinks, extravagant window displays and extended opening hours that all helped to attract shoppers.

She drew her influences from the musicians, dancers and street chic as well as the Mods who were shaping London’s youth culture. Quant’s initial collections were modern, simple and wearable, she wanted “relaxed clothes suited to the actions of normal life” as epitomised by the miniskirt, named after her favourite make of car, the mini.

Bright colours were a feature of her designs too drawing on clothing she’d worn as a child at school and dance classes and soon coloured tights were seen all over the capital, often with one of her high-hemline skirts.

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Kellie Wilson wearing tie dress by Mary Quant’s Ginger Group. Photograph by Gunnar Larsen, 1966. © Gunnar Larsen 

Mary Quant (1934-), British fashion designer and fashion icon. Ca. 1970. (Photo by adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty Images)

Mary Quant, photograph by Ronald Dumont, c.1967. (C) adoc-photos/Corbis Premium Historical/Getty Images

By 1957, the popularity of her clothing led to the opening of a second Bazaar in the King’s Road designed by another design icon Terence Conran.

And her originality didn’t end there – in 1966 as the nation was celebrating England’s World Cup glory, she invented hotpants, a garment even shorter than the miniskirt. The designer was also honoured with an OBE in this year.

She went on to sign a contract with American retailer JC Penney and expanded into the UK mass market with a cheaper line, Ginger Group.

By the end of the sixties, it is thought as many as seven million women had at least one Quant in their wardrobe while her cosmetic range was worn by thousands more.

The beginning of the next decade saw her empire grow to include homewares, swimwear and jewellery and even a skincare range for men.

In 1990 she was awarded the Hall of Fame Award by the British Fashion Council and in 2015 became Dame Mary Quant in the New Year’s Honours.

Co-curator Jenny Lister received an overwhelming response to the request for items for the exhibition. She said: “Quant is a fashion icon and one of the UK’s most well-known designers, so it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to fully celebrate her contribution to global style.”

• The Mary Quant exhibition, sponsored by King’s Road, runs at the V&A from 6th April until 16th February 2020.

Tickets £12. To book and for more details visit www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/mary-quant

Spring clean

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Putney

Everything in its place or life in chaos? Putney’s Victoria Nicholson tells Liz Nicholls how she discovered the joy of decluttering and helping others achieve the same…

Such is the chaos of my life that I’m both jealous of and intrigued by serenely organised people. So, after confessing my messy shame to Victoria Nicholson, founder of My Wardrobe Zen, I’m surprised to learn we have much in common…

“Growing up and as an adult I was really untidy,” she says. “I used my creative mind as an excuse and that there was much more to life than something as mundane as tidying. I’ve always been messy. It’s not that I didn’t want to be tidy; I dreamed of neat shelves and clean stationery… but no matter how much I tried, my mess was always shifted from one area to another.

“It wasn’t until the death of my parents when I had my ‘Eureka’ moment. When sorting through my parents’ belongings (there was a lot, in fact so much that we ended up on two episodes of Storage Hoarders), I had to get through everything in a short space of time so I scanned for items that I wanted to keep or that my sister would want. Everything else went in a big van destined for a women’s refuge centre.”

You might have seen the Netflix programme and heard of Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying about identifying which items in your home truly “spark joy” and eliminating the rest. Victoria, a mum of one who has a background in hotel management and as an office PA, read it in 2015. “It resonated,” she says. “I’d tried traditional decluttering but it was always a quick fix and nothing stayed tidy.”

The KonMari™ method from Japan boasts a 0% relapse rate and has a positive, nurturing approach that Victoria wanted to share. Now a certified KonMari™ consultant and APDO member, she offers local residents a free 20-minute consultation.

“By having a place for everything, tidying up daily is much quicker and by keeping ‘like with like’ it’s easier to find things. It’s important if you’re sharing a home to also let them know where everything is and store items logically. When I completed my tidying marathon I had clarity.

“My husband asked me to help him too and loves the results – he says it’s like looking at a nice shop display every morning.

“It was amazing to meet Marie [pictured] at the London KonMari seminar last year. I knew she was petite but not until she glided in did I appreciate how delicate she is. Yet she commands a huge presence that exudes inner strength.

“I’ve yet to be shocked by a client’s mess – we all lead busy lives and I know how easy it is for things to get out of hand. In some cases fear of letting go of the past or fear of the future or change has an impact on our environment.”

Pictured: Victoria and Maria Kondo

Visit Victoria’s website www.mywardrobezen.co.uk

Bedded bliss

Round & About

Putney

Liz Nicholls goes undercover to help you create your dream bedroom and get a good night’s sleep in National Bed Month.

Creating the perfect boudoir is a labour of love. And this month is the perfect time to lavish love on your bedroom, and yourself, to get a better kip…

Delightfully for fans of 1970s decor such as myself, one of the hot trends of the year is a celebration of retro shapes, especially the lozenge, with glitz points ramped up even higher if it’s in velvet. For a sumptuous example, check out Danetti ‘s Rene king size bed in navy blue (pictured above right) or Living It Up’s Harmonia platform bed in emerald green (above). If you want to go “full princess” (I mean, who doesn’t?!), also check out the chic hotel-worthy beds and accessories from French Bedroom Company, including the plushious throw (jewel-hued velvet again). See our competitions page, too!

March is National Bed Month when bed brands, including many based in Chelsea’s buzzing design quarter, are offering advice and deals on new beds and bedding, to encourage us all to sleep more soundly and deeply. Check out And So To Bed, Sweetpea & Willow, Original Bed Company, Button & Spring, Button & Sprung, Feather & Black, Darlings of Chelsea and Made.

For all you fellow insomniacs out there, Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams is well worth a read. The bestselling author’s latest tome is helping debunk unhelpful sleep habits. Notably; keeping a regular bedtime routine (including evening meditation if possible, Calm and Headspace apps are well worth checking out) and avoiding caffeinated drinks after 12noon and naps after 1pm.

Don’t underestimate the power of a dark, cosy bedroom interior to lull your body into healthy circadian rhythms – this encourages REM-rich sleep to replenish energy levels. As you can see from the range of bedroom inspo pictures here, dark and moody colours are hugely on-trend at the moment. I’ve gone for Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue on my boudoir walls, set off with a soft Middleton Pink on the ceiling and copper accents. It’s not as mad as it sounds – the effect is gentleman’s-club-meets hotel getaway. I can’t recommend a bold, dark hue highly enough – check out Annie Sloan’s new range.

Switching off electronic devices, especially blue-light emitters, is a must for a good sleep, as is avoiding clocks or looking at the time during a wakeful night. If our brains are over-saturated with artificial light, this disrupts the release of melatonin, so echew overhead lights in favour of lamps; we love the infinity star (£9.99) and more by Lights4Fun and dimmable options.

Research shows, too, that most of us set our bedroom temperature too high to help you drop off soundly – 18C is ideal for most people.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of great bedding to help you get a good kip! Senso-Rex, the company behind www.gravityblankets.co.uk, was founded in 2013 and its products have recently been winning rave reviews for easing stress and anxiety. State-of-the-art gravity blankets are tailored to your height and body weight to provide the sensation of being hugged or embraced and ensure a dreamy sleep. The Snoooze travel pillow has also been designed to give you perfect comfort and convenience when travelling. This revolutionary travel pillow, with zip compartments which enable it to expand and create a soft, bouncy luxurious feel, comes with a 100% cotton pillowcase and its own bag for easy transport .

Sweet dreams! @LizxNic @randamag

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair

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Putney

The winter edition of The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, the first of three in 2019, will welcome you to Battersea Park between 22nd and 27th January.

Inspired by fashionable 1950s and 60s nightspots, with a touch of deco glamour, the winter fair will showcase The Cocktail Hour as its foyer display – showing visitors how to create a contemporary space for parties or a modern club room vibe.

The Cocktail Hour will incorporate diverse seating, side tables, lighting and decoration of all periods for a fresh look, accessorised with 20th century cocktail sets and antique drinking paraphernalia. Bar carts and trolleys are still enormously popular, and stylish examples will feature, alongside cocktail cabinets, serving trays, champagne buckets and glassware. All items in the fair display come from exhibitors and will be for sale.

More than 150 dealers from the UK and Europe will take part in the fair, bringing a beautiful variety of antique and 20th century design drawn from sources around the world. Interior decoration dates from the early 1700s to 1970, by designers and makers from the British Isles, Europe, Scandinavia, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

Furniture, lighting, textiles, ceramics and porcelain, glass, natural history items, architectural elements, and garden artefacts and seating are all on display. Works of art from all periods to the contemporary – paintings, prints and sculpture – are all in the mix.

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair is also the perfect place to find a wealth of accessories, especially mirrors of every style, and lighting; from antique to mid-20th century table lamps, floor lamps, wall lights, modernist ceiling lights and crystal chandeliers.

Finishing touches can make all the difference and at the fair, buyers love the choice of collectables that work in decorative groups, often presented by dealers in an inspirational fashion on their stands.

A wealth of specialist dealers offer antique and vintage glassware and ceramics for everyday use, colourful Scandinavian glass vases, and collections that make wonderful “tablescapes”, eccentricities such as antique dog collars, brass candlesticks and sets of decorative antique books.

Visitors to the fair can also enjoy home-coooked food and baking at The Kitchen and while visiting the winter fair why not pop into the London Antique Rug & Textile Art Fair which is taking place on the mezzanine.

  For full details visit www.decorativefair.com