YOUR SOCIAL LIFE SORTED: The Muddy Guide 30 Aug – 5 Sept

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The Big Feastival, Kingham, Oxfordshire, 1 – 2 September
If your appetite for festivals and foodiness remains unsatiated after a summer of the stuff, I suggest you head over to the Big Feastival on Alex James’ farm in Kingham, presented by a certain Mr Jamie Oliver. Paloma Faith, Razorlight, The Noisettes, Gaz Coombes etc are all playing, Jamie and Valentine Warner are amongst the chefs tossing their pancakes and grimacing over their jus, and there’s the slightly cringey sounding ‘Little Dude’s Den’ to deposit your own mini Bodens to their fate of music, crafts – and slow food tasting (yeah, make the buggers try mussels and anchovies!). There are only 500 tickets left if you believe the website, so book soonish.
www.jamieoliver.com/thebigfeastival

Wallingford Bunkfest, 31 Aug – 2 Sept

Feeling on a bit of a downer after the Bank Holiday weekend? This will cheer you up. The Wallingford Bunkfest, now in its 11th year, gleefully combines a beer festival, craft and food fair, music concerts, fun fair, and children’s extravanganza all-in-one, involving the whole town in its madness. Totally free, apart from the singing boat and steam train rides (yes, really), it’s a real community event with pubs, bars, the Corn Exchange cinema and loads of other venues hosting a massively diverse range of events. The weather’s looking up for the weekend so grab a bunch of friends and make a day of it.
http://www.bunkfest.co.uk/

Glenn Brown exhibiton at Upton House, Banbury, 2 September – 6 January 2013

‘The Shallow End’ by Glenn Brown

This is the first time that celebrated British painter Glenn Brown’s works will be on show outside the major city centres and international galleries and the National Trust-owned Upton House is a stunning venue for the exhibition. The display will include new works from the Turner prize nominee, shown in parallel with Upton House’s outstanding art collection which includes works by Canaletto, Hogarth, El Greco and Stubbs. Known for his technique of appropriating the images of other artists such as Rembrandt, Fragonard, Auerbach and Dali, Brown then transforms the images into something else entirely.
Entry to the exhibition free of charge. Normal National Trust charges apply. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/upton-house

St Giles Fair, Central Oxford, 3 – 4 September


I’ve never been to this but it looks really fun, especially as it’s in the heart of the city. The St Giles Fair has evolved from its 1625 origins as a parish wake to a toy fair in the 1780s to a general fair for children by 1800. Are you enjoying the history lesson children? Then I’ll continue. By the 1830s there were amusements for adults too and by the end of the Nineteenth century the prudy Victorians tried to close it down for being too rowdy and licentious. Now it’s a family fair with a mix of the traditional (coconut shy, vintage rides) and more modern white knuckle pleasures. There’s very little info on timings, so I’ll make some calls tomorrow and add them to the post then but I imagine it starts sixish in the evening.

Little Creatures Family Festival, ZSL London Zoo, 1 – 2 September


A special event for Under 10s, this family weekend at London Zoo offers up its full gamut of hairy, crawly and scaly inhabitants, with added kid-friendly activities, such as facepainting and sack races, egg and spoon and tugs of war, an adventure playground, giant slides and crafty bits, and a gourmet food festival thrown in for the adults. All that’s missing is some babysitting and Mr Tumble.
10am-8pm on both days. £23 adult, £17 child. Free to existing ZSL members though booking recommended.

‘Lawless’ film screening and Q&A with Nick Cave/ John Hillcoat, Phoenix Picturehouse, Oxford, Wed 5 Sept


This film, a new collaboration between acclaimed director John Hillcoat and singer/songwriter turned scriptwriter Nick Cave has been well-received and worth cosying up to watch if you’re in an art-house mood.  Lawless is a tough Prohibition-set western about a family of hard-as-nails Ohio bootleggers at war with the law and rival gangsters. Muddy fave Tom Hardy (*sigh* – though stop eating all the pies Tom) stars as the monosyllabic heavy with a heart along Guy Pearce as the psychotic lawman Charley Rakes. After the film screening at Oxford’s bijoux Phoenix there’s a satellite Q&A with John Hillcoat and Nick Cave. Remember to ask Nick the important stuff like how does he keep his weight down? Where does he buy his necklaces? And of course, how the devil is Kylie? Vital stuff.
8.45pm start. www.picturehouses.co.uk

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