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This week

MON 14 - SUN 20 MAY 2018

Skipping gaily through May without a care in the world! Fancy going out this week?


Fragment, North Wall Theatre, Oxford, Wed 16 – Sat 19 May

Double Fringe First winner Iron Shoes bring gig theatre to Oxford with this musical voyage about love, loss and heartache. Set in Redcar, against the backdrop of the collapse of the steel industryFragment follows Lester Fall, a painter and decorator returning home to face his demons, and attempting to put back together the pieces of a broken heart.


Pub in the Park, Higginson Park, Marlow, Thurs 17 – Sun 20 May

Back again with its mix of world class chefs and live music, Tom Kerridge (unofficial mayor of Marlow) hosts his foodie extravaganza in Higginson Park this week. Bands include Texas, Soul II Soul, Razorlight and Stereo MCs – come on, that’s pretty decent! – but you’ll need some wire cutters to get through the fences to see these acts as they’re all sold out. But relax – tickets are still available for little Jamie Cullum. Let’s hope he doesn’t, you know, get a complex.


Joho Soho Pop-up, Cinnamon Kitchen, Westgate Roof Terrace, Oxford, now until September

The glam roof terrace at the Westgate Centre is well and truly open and if you haven’t been, now’s a good time with the launch of the Joho Soho pop-up outside Cinnamon Kitchen. Renowned chef Vivek Singh has teamed up with mixologist extraordinaire Ryan Chetiyawardana, aka Mr Lyan, to offer street food and ‘upcycled and recycled’ cocktails (think watermelon rind and pistachio shells – note to self, must check out the contents of my compost caddy) on the shabby chic terrace festooned with flowers, lanterns and comfy wicker chairs. And relax….


Henley Pop-Up Shop, Market Place, Henley, Thurs 17 – Tues 22 May

woman from behind holding pink red white shopping bags walking on stone pavement wearing yellow leggings white coat white boots

Need a last minute pressie or outfit for the Royal Wedding? Then head to this exclusive pop up boutique featuring Arzu Kara Designs, Liz Felix Millinery, Emma Alington Ceramics, H Skincare by Maia and Peachy Women’s Sportswear for one week only. The brainchild of six local businesswomen, 10% of sales go to a woman’s charity and if you need a pick-me-up after all that credit card flexing, trot along to Coppa Club Henley and they’ll give you a free cocktail when you mention the shop. Isn’t sisterhood a wonderful thing?


Oxford Art Weeks, various venues in Oxon, Sat 5 – Mon 28 May

Tommy Watkins at OVADA, Oxford

Into the second week of this fantastic local art extravaganza – grouped into geographical zones,  this week (12-19 May) the fun comes to Oxford city centre, plus south and east Oxford, Jericho, Headington, Wolvercote and Wytham. There’s a handy artist trail that will lead you around the areas dropping in on the various artists or do as I do and wait til the muse hits you as you walk past a door.


Lyric and Filter’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 15 – Sat 19 May

If you’re tearing your hair out with teens doing their GCSEs, here’s a fast track way for them to study one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays. A sort of anarchic, pantomime, rock gig version that’s won awards and critical acclaim that looks like a complete riot.


The Spin Jazz Club’s 19th Birthday Party, Oxford, Thurs 17 May

OMG I love these guys. John Etheridge is a massively admired guitarist (he’s worked with the likes of Andy Summers of The Police and John Williams so RESPECT) and he also happens to one of the funniest – his dry, self-deprecating ad libs between songs have had me giggling more than once. He’s bringing out the gee-tar once more to help his jazz night The Spin celebrate its birthday. Half price bubbles and free nibbles to entice you too.


Handmade Oxford, The Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, Oxford Town Hall, Fri 18 – Sun 20 May

Here’s your chance to buy directly from a large selection of skilled designer-makers of ceramics, furniture, jewellery, textiles and more. Learn about their processes, commission directly or buy one-off pieces, then as you’re in the centre of Oxford, go forth and enjoy.


Bike Oxford, Iffley Road, Oxford, Sun 20 May

If 2 wheels are more your thing than 4, you can hop on your bike this Sunday for Bike Oxford which starts and finishes at Oxford Uni Rugby Club on the Iffley Road. There are 25, 50 and 80 mile routes with timing chips, signposted routes, feed stations and medals. £36 for the long routes, £26 for the short and £15 for kids. Vaseline at the ready…


Twist Pop-up at The Sinolink Gallery, Oxford, Fri 11 – Sun 20 May

Hetty Haxworth

Twist pop-up sounds like a painful Zumba move but it is in fact a business whose remit is to find talented British artists for new or experienced collectors. Artists include Oxford born Hetty Haxworth, who studied at the  Glasgow School of Art and sculptor Wendy Freestone who exhibited at the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition last year. So if you’re looking to invest in the next big thing in British art, this could be a useful port of call.


Royal Wedding, Windsor, Sat 19 May

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement photos Frogmore House Windsor Berkshire

Image: Alexi Lubomirski

There is one ticket in town that everyone wants this month and it’s a FROW seat to the Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding. Invite got lost in the post? *Sniff* Mine too. Heading to Windsor, if you can’t get near the action, The Boatman will be screening the I dos, fizz and food by the river. Cliveden House is throwing a glam garden party and The Jelly Lounge Windsor has a day of royal themed fun.


 Rhythms at the Yurt, Didcot, Fri 18 and Sat 19 May

Take one mongolian yurt with panoramic views of the Chilterns (via the south side of the Wittenham Clumps), drinks and a firepit. Now add the FB Pocket Orchestra with its twenties and thirties ragtime, blues and ragtime and you’ve got yourself a groovy Friday night. More contemporary jazz is your alternative on Saturday evening.


Vintage Cinema, Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe, Fri 18 May

Don your leather catsuit (what do you mean you don’t have one?) and head on down the spooky Hell Fire Caves for some ‘cosplay’ (costume/play apparently – I know, the mind boggles). The film 9, a post-apocalyptic fantasy nightmare, starts at 7pm followed by The Matrix where you watch Keanu Reeves at his cardboard cut-out best. But who cares if he can’t act with glasses that cool?

Fancy a waterside view instead? There’s more outdoor cinema (plus streetfood and drinkies) over at The Swan at Streatley on the banks of the Thame this Saturday with Bridesmaids. 


May Late Night: Illuminating Movement, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, Fri 18 May

Freak out alert! Wander round the Pitt Rivers and Natural History Museum in the dark with all those spooky masks and stuffed animals. Take a torchlit trip round the galleries whilst listening to global music, poetry and stories. Watch shadow puppets and make a mini one to take home, as well as performances on the lawn. You even get to handle some objects from the collection. Audience participation encouraged so take the kids and embarrass the hell out of the them.

Pitt Rivers Museum


BBC Music Introducing Live, O2 Academy Oxford, Fri 18 May

Part of BBC’s Biggest Weekend Fringe Event, this showcases the new talent of bands Lake Acacia, Flight of Helios, Theo, Lucuna Common and Self Help (great name!). Tickets for around a tenner makes this a bargain basement night of great music.


1940s Vintage Hair & Make up Workshop, Bletchley Park, MK, Sat 19 May

It’s vintage this and vintage that at the moment so it’s off to the 1940s with you for a makeover of victory rolls, glamorous curls and red lippy. Dare you to draw a line up the back of your legs with eyeliner and get off with a man in uniform. (No seriously, I dare you!).


Stonor Supercar Sunday, Stonor Park, Henley, Sun 20 May

vintage car close up steering wheel

If you’re a petrol head or at least can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of a really flash or classic car, then cruise on over in your own charabanc to the beautiful Stonor Park for an orgy of metal and leather. Bring a picnic or browse the street food stalls and enjoy the scenery as the pristine front lawn is riddled with pioneering race cars, classic sport cars and modern ‘hypercars’.


The Family in Disorder, Modern Art Oxford – now until 27 May

modern art Oxford

No, this is not the Muddy office during the Awards but it could be a fair representation of my fried brain at the moment. Popping into Modern Art Oxford the other day I was stopped in my tracks by this dramatic art installation by Cinthia Marcelle, one of Brazil’s most significant artists. Having created two barrier-like structures out of a mix of materials, Cinthia then invited six local artists (Aaron Head, Chris Jackson, Kamila Janska, Andy Owen, Sebastian Thomas and Aline Tima) to destroy them and then rebuild one of the structures. Apparently it’s saying something about political protest against patriarchal structures in these troubled times. Right on, sister!

Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, OX1 1BP


Babylon Plants and Flowers Open Day (plus Afternoon Tea) Sat 19 May

Usually just open to the trade, the brilliant Babylon Plants and Flowers is opening its doors to the general public for the day as part of the Chelsea Fringe. Plants will be for sale at wholesale prices and there’ll also be homemade cakes and tea, vicar.



The New Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, London, Sat 19 – Sun 20 May

Ten years in the making and just in time for their 250th anniversary, The New Royal Academy links Burlington House and 6 Burlington gardens to create new exhibition and gallery space. To celebrate they’re going to PAAARTY all weekend and you can go for free. Drop-in creatives, music, a night of DJs, performance art, including architectural model making with Seb Harding, pop-up poetry with Apples and Snakes, and an art-filled after party with Born ‘n’ Bred. Banging!


Peter Pan, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London, Thurs 17 May – Fri 15 June

Photo by Tristam Kenton

The Open Air Theatre in Regents Park is such a magical venue and swooping in this summer is this reinvention of the Peter Pan story told through the lens of the First World War. Remembering a generation of Lost Boys, it’s promising swashbuckling and puppetry and Captain Hook played by Benedict Cumberbatch in incredibly tight leather trousers. (disclaimer: one bit of this sentence was made up).


The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, Wed 2 May to Sun 14 Oct

Antony Cairns, LDN5_051 2017 © Courtesy of the artist Antony Cairns

Just stepping into the Turbine Hall makes me feel all modernist and right on, but you can go one step further with this new Turner Modern exhibition, chronicling 100 years of photography and abstract art, and exploring the development of abstraction with photography from early pioneers to our 21st century digital innovators. Over 300 works by artists such as Man Ray and Jackson Pollock for your perusal before you step out and promenade along the South Bank.


The Design Museum, London, from Thurs 10 May to Sun 7 Oct

Fascinating exhibition of the sculptor turned couturier, Azzedine Alaïa, who found fans in Michelle Obama, Rhianna and Grace Jones, with his flair for couture and refusal to stick to fashion week deadlines.



Buckingham Literary Festival, Buckingham, Thurs 14 – Sun 17 June

There’s some great guests at this year’s festival – Chris Patten in conversation with John Bercow; Antonia Fraser, historical novelist extraordinaire; Frederick Forsyth of Day of the Jackal fame, Tim Bentinck who plays David Archer on behind the scenes of the iconic radio drama and many more. There’s even a Twitter workshop if you’re struggling to separate your tweets from your handles and hashtags.

Find more ideas here

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