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The Muddy Guide: Your social life sorted 1 – 7 Feb

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I couldn’t quite figure out why I felt so flat and bored in January.  It’s so easy to sit in front of the TV watching Holby City (hmmmm, guilty as charged on that one) but this week I finally hauled my bum off the sofa, went out and actually feel a lot more perky for it. Maybe it will work for you too. Here are some fun things to do this week if you’re the mood.

State of the Art gallery, Witney, opening 2 Feb.

flora - stained glass

The perfect excuse to mooch around the lovely market town of Witney. State of the Art gallery, just off Market Square, opens tomorrow with an Exhibition of Love (2-15 February) featuring 50 Oxfordshire artists – and judging from the website, the exhibitors do look really good. The artist featured above is by Floras de Ospina, a glass designer from Eynsham. On the closing day of the exhibition there’s also a live demonstration promised by artist Graham Rice. I’m presuming it’s not X-rated, but you never know your luck.

State of the Art, Langdale Court, Witney. 
Open daily 9.30 – 4pm, Sunday 10am-2pm. Free entry.


Bossaphonik, The Cellar, central Oxford, Friday 8 Feb.

congolita 2
Live music and dancing seems to fall off the radar the busier we get, but this is a chance to check out a night with a great reputation. Bossaphonik (the second Friday each month at The Cellar) promotes jazz, world music and a whole lot of dancing in both live and DJed sets. In an area that always feels either a bit foot-tappy or overly-studenty, it sounds like it has some real energy to it. Next week Congo dia Ntotila play (above), a UK/Congolese fusion band with elements of jazz and Latin styles and a line up that includes multiple vocalists, a three part horn section, sections and blistering rhythms. Check it out and see what you think – if it’s not for you, there’s always Jamie’s Italian around the corner!

The CellarFrewin Court (Cornmarket Street), Oxford, OX13HZ.

Toddler Time, at the Phoenix Picturehouse (Oxford) and Rex (Henley), every Thursday

phoenix picture houseWhy tread on popcorn-strewn floors in the multiplexes when you can introduce your toddler to the big screen in more genteel surroundings? These 30 minute screenings, new from this week, are free for under ones, and designed to indoctrinate small people to the art of staring at a screen (like they need any help!). The films are less Tarantino and more Thomas the Tank Engine, and of course afterwards you’re in the perfect location to do your errands. And, ahem, buy some clothes. Just saying.

Tom Dixon – Friends and Family Sale, until 3rd Feb.

tom dixon off cut bench £50 (was £165)

Ooh, this sales is gooooood. With up to 80% off selected Tom Dixon furniture, lighting and accessories, this sale started just yesterday so plenty of bargains still to snap up, including  Offcut benches (pictured, reduced from £165 to £50), Step LightsLink Tables and Peg Chairs are all heavily discounted – even his iconic Wingback Chair is up to 50% off.  Click here to go visit the sale online.

The Shard, London, opens today (1 Feb)

the shard
Yippee, a new excuse to head into London! The View from the Shard, which opens to the public today, is almost twice the height of any other viewing point in London. The 360-degree two-level deck (one enclosed, the other partially open) on floors 68-72 of this controversial building is all teched up to give a really ‘modern’ tourist experience. High speed lifts taking just 30 seconds to reach the viewing areas, and digital ‘Tell:scopes’ with large touchscreens so that visitors can identify famous landmarks around the city, plus there are multimedia displays and installations and digital maps of London.

It’s expensive – from £25-30 for adults and £19-25 for kids (0-3s go free) for one hour’s entertainment – and you need to book 24 hours in advance to ensure you get the more reasonable prices. So choose a sunny day, watch your children peering excitedly down 244 metres to the ground, and manage your creeping vertigo in sweaty silence.




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