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What’s on: The Muddy Guide 15 – 21 Jan

Ready to go out yet? 2015 is starting to pick up, with plenty on this week to rattle your social cage. Have fun and, as ever, if you try something out, please let me know what you think. Knowledge is power, peeps!

Tedx Oxford, New Theatre Oxford, Sun 18 Jan


Everyone knows about TED talks, the platform for sharing idea across everything from science and business to global issues so if you want less fluff and more thought in your 2015, here’s a good place to start.TEDxOxford is the largest independently organised TEDx event in the UK, with previous speakers including Camila Batmanghelidjh, Susan Greenfield and Vidal Sassoon. This year, they’re promising to fly in speakers from all around the world. Tickets are sold out, but you can put yourself on the waiting list by contacting the New Theatre directly on 0844 871 3020.


BBC Introducing Live, Oakwood Social Club, Wed 21 Jan

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 22.37.08

A groovy little venue that runs BBC Introducing live, a night that supports undiscovered and under the radar music. Probably some toads but always the chance of pop royalty too.

8pm – 2am.

Ed Paschke exhibition, The Ashmolean, Oxford, from 17 Jan

Two Screaming Ladies (c) Ed Paschke

Part of a group of artists known as the Chicago Imagists who emerged in the 1960s, Ed Paschke (1939–2004) was strongly influenced by media imagery and popular culture – newspapers, magazines, advertisements, film and television. In works like Hilda (1973) and Mannish Boy (1970), his brilliantly coloured, provocative and surreal paintings of circus freaks, tattooed ladies, transvestites, wrestlers and hairy wingtip shoes, explore the underbelly of urban life and a dark side of Pop Art.

I have to confess I didn’t know Paschke at all, but my interest is piqued by Ed Paschke: Visionary from Chicago, 1968–2004, the third in the Ashmolean’s series of exhibitions of post-war and contemporary art in collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation (USA). It’s parental guidance advised so great aunts with dicky hearts or your impressionable children should give it a swirve!

Ed Paschke: Visionary from Chicago, 1968–2004, from 17 Jan 2015 to 5 Jul 2015.

Waterperry Gardens, Free entry through January


Make the most of Waterperry Gardens – it’s free this month!  A Muddy favourite, it’s a lovely flat walk along elegant borders, over a bridge or two, and with a beautiful historic house in the background. There’s also a garden centre, gift barn and gallery there, plus a cafe with a pretty aspect, so you’ll easily while away an hour or two there.

Ray Gelato and The Giants, Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot, Sat 17 Jan

What you lookin at? Flippin eck it's Robert de Niro!

Who you lookin at?

Fresh from selling out Ronnie Scott’s and the Blue Note in Milan, Ray Gelato jazz great and part time Robert de Niro impersonator (well he should be!) brings his supercharged swing, rhythm n’ blues and jumpin’ jazz to, um, Didcot! Sounds like a winner.

£15, 8pm.

 William Blake Festival, Oxford various, from Fri 16 – Sat 31 Jan



Two weeks of talks, exhibitions and cultural thingymajigs at this Inspired By Blake festival, run in conjunction with the William Blake exhibition Apprentice & Master at The Ashmolean. There’s loads going on, from printing press demonstrations to poetry recitals. Dip into it if you happen to be in Oxford. Check out the full schedule here.

Terrific tortoise fingerprint art, Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, Sat 17 Jan

roald dahl museum 2

The success of Esio Trot on telly at Christmas has done the Roald Dahl museum no harm at all, so expect this event for little people (4+) to get booked up quickly. Using Esio Trot as inspiration, it’s a fingerprint art event that – it says here – will get ‘marvelously’ messy (yeah, but they don’t have to wash the clothes!). Still, at two quid a pop on a cold day it’s a sweet way to occupy your kids for an hour.

2.30pm and 2pm. £2 per child.

Triple Oxford theatre


There’s a lot of unusual, interesting board-treading this week in Oxford,  so in no particular order…. Too Much Too Young at the Burton Taylor Studios (Oxford Playhouse) on Fri 16 – Sat 17 Jan sounds like a good one to take your teenagers to (or maybe just try to work them out for yourself). Jack Bennett, a National Theatre alumni, writes and stars in a musing about what’s the rush to be grown up, what’s learning for, why can’t politicians agree on anything.

Also in the city, the Oxford Saturday Matinee Company is a new theatre group committed to making quality, accessible, affordable theatre, performed by professional actors around Oxfordshire (huzzah for that).  It’s putting on Collider by Shaun McCarthy at The Old Fire Station on Sat 17 Jan and Sat 24 Jan, a play that explores the unravelling personal lives of four characters present at the ‘Collider’, the biggest scientific experiment in history: two scientists, a visiting evangelical American church pastor, and his wife. I love the fact it’s on at 12.30pm! No word on whether I can wear my slippers and bring a cocoa flask to the theatre but I’ll keep you posted.


Finally, Like Rabbits (above) at The North Wall on Sat 24 Jan is a piece of dance theatre (so be warned giggly husbands) described by The Guardian as ‘a strikingly elegant and funny piece of dance theatre’. Written by Lucy Kirkwood, Britain’s brightest young stage writer so says The Independent, it focuses on a man and woman who meet in the city, and fall deeply in love and hurtle towards tragedy. ‘Not terribly cheerful admittedly, but with great promise’ says, ahem, inter-galactically respected superblog Muddy Stilettos.








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