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Ai Weiwei exhibition, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock,until 14 Dec

Ai Weiwei's He Xie – the sea of porcelain crabs refers to censorship, playing on the similar-soundin

The brilliant Chinese artist, famous for his Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern in 2010 that caused a sensation is unable to leave China due to the state’s attentions, but from his Beijing studio has created a full-scale exhibition at Blenheim Palace full of wit and bite that’s getting rave reviews already. A must-see.

 

Henley Literary Festival, Henley, until 5 Oct

henley-on-thames

This lovely local fest continues this weekend, and the whole town gets behind it. Check out the full schedule here, and make sure you stop off in Market Square for The Quince Tree’s pop up cafe from Friday until Sunday for essential literary sustenance.

I’m a bit in love with Henley in general and this Literary Festival is another string to the town’s bow. The line up is best termed eclectic, some commercial big hitters like Jojo Moyes, Tony Parsons and Lisa Jewell, national journos and broadcasters like columnist Bryony Gordon, Craig Brown, The Guardian‘s Nick Davies (who broke the phone hacking story), and Kirsty Walk, then there’s the likes of Nicky Haslam, Princes Michael of Kent, Dawn O’Porter!  The mind fair boggles. Take a look at the full schedule here, you’ll no doubt find something fun to see. – See more at: http://www.muddystilettos.co.uk/2014/09/26/whats-on-the-muddy-guide-25-sept-1-oct/#sthash.NgLKZ1jH.dpuf

 Barnum, Wycombe Swan Theatre, High Wycombe, 7 – 11 Oct

barnum
When I think of Barnum it’s always Torville and Dean that come to mind (loved that routine *sigh*), but Brian Conley is taking the title role in this touring version of the musical, showboating its way to the Wycombe Swan early next week. I’ll review it on opening night for you if you want to wait for an official verdict, or book now if you’re feeling brave!

Tickets £23-39.

Oxford Photography Festival, 14 Sept – 5 Oct

Philippe Lopez

Image by Phillipe Lopez

This inaugural photography festival  is really superb – not only the photos themselves, but the beautiful places in which they’re exhibited (the likes of Wadham, St John’s, The Story Museum), the films included in the programme – mostly at the supercool Ultimate Picture Palace – and the workshops and discussions. Big like from Muddy.  Entry is free.

‘Gone Girl’, on general release

Nick Dunne (Ben Afflec) in Gone Girl

My movie pick of the month. (I know it’s only the beginning of October but I’m that confident!) I saw this last night with Mr Muddy – I wasn’t quite sure it would be great marital viewing, as it’s an uncomfortable dissection of a marriage in bitter freefall – but flip, it’s fantastic. It stars Rosamund Pike as Amy (and OMG she’s beautiful) and Ben Affleck as her husband Nick, as a couple whose supposedly perfect marriage is exposed as a fraud when Amy disappears and Nick is suspected of her murder. It’s funny, awful, uncomfortable and a bit gruesome in places, but totally brilliant. Go see it.

A Touch of Luxury Wedding Fayre, Poundon House, Poundon, Sun 5 Oct

Poundon House

Ah, I love a good wedding! If you’re planning your own, your son or daughter’s, or you just want to prompt memories of your own happy day, get ye to A Touch of Luxury Wedding Fayre at Poundon House in Poundon (Nr Bicester). I wrote about Poundon years back when I chanced upon it while zipping around the area. Since then, the lovely owners have made it into a great wedding venue, so I’d expect this fayre to be a goodie. It promises a wide mix of wedding industry pros, goodie bags, complementary drinks and nibs, live jazz and classical music and the chance to win a £400 wedding day co-ordination package. All that’s missing is an embarrassingly drunken wedding speech but don’t worry, I can do that bit.

Bitten Street street food festival, Oxford Castle, 4 Oct

Bitten-Oxford-Street-Food-Festival
Feeling the hunger this weekend? Bitten is launching Oxford’s first street food festival on Saturday, taking over the much-under-rated Oxford Castle quarter, with over twenty vendors cooking up a storm and, food served from 12 noon to 5pm. Sounds worth the diversion.

Banbury Canal Day, 5 Oct

Banbury Canal Day

Banbury Canal Day

Banbury Canal Day attracts boaters, crafters, traders and visitors from all over the country but you can still enjoy the day as a landlubber. The Mill Arts centre is open for entertainment, there’s a free folk concert next to the towpath, there are boat rides, engine and boat displays, a fairground, falconry displays. I think Banbury throws the kitchen sink at this free event, so give it a go if you’re in the area.

Juliet Kelly, The Spin Club, Oxford, 2 October 2014

Juliet-Kelly-jazz-listing
I’m a big fan of this tiny jazz venue, and this sounds like a fab gig. Juliet Kelly came to people’s attention has worked with Courtney Pine for BBC’s Jazz Brittania series and has ince worked all over the world. She will be playing the London Jazz Festival but you can catch her in this intimate venue first.

Doors open 8.30pm/band on 9pm. £10 tickets, £6-8 students/concessions

spinjazz.net/events

Page Turner Singles Evening, The Story Museum, Oxford, 3 Oct

open-book-on-top-of-pile-of-books
The last in this series of singles events at The Story Museum , for literary-minded lovers in their twenties and thirties. Bring your favourite book as a conversation starter, and keep your Lett’s notes in your handbag for sneaky reference whilst on make-up touch-up duty in the loos.

6.30-8.30pm.

 

 

 

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