Mon 18 - Sun 23 Nov
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
EXHIBITION: Cool Britannia, Dantzig Gallery, Woodstock, until 29 Nov
How cool is this pop art piece currently on display at the brilliant Dantzig gallery in Woodstock? It’s part of the gallery’s Cool Britannia exhibition which celebrates post-war British art with works from big shot artists. It’s not often that we see major players from the art world in Oxfordshire but this collection features hand-signed works from big shot artists like Barber Hepworth, Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin as well as groovy up-and-coming young guns like East-London based painter Tommy Fiendish. Go see! dantzig.uk
MUSIC: Scouting for Girls, O2 Academy, Oxford, 18 Nov
On our musical speed dial this week is the number for O2 Academy, Oxford as Scouting for Girls are touring their new album The Trouble With Boys.
OPERA: Welsh National Opera, New Theatre, Oxford, 19 – 23 Nov
Any fellow opera fans out there? I grew up going to the WNO with my dad in Cardiff, so – call me biased! – I’m really looking forward to the arrival of the Welsh National Opera at New Theatre, Oxford. Three world class shows coming up this month for our delectation, – Verdi’s Rigoletto, Bizet’s Carmen and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
COMEDY: Ben Elton, Aylesbury Waterside, 19 Nov
Ho ho ho! (sorry, too early?) If you missed Ben Elton’s return to the stand up scene, at Wycombe Swan at the start of the month, you can catch him comedian in Aylesbury this week. The iconic comedian hasn’t toured in 15 years, with his new material promising to attempt to make sense of a world that he thinks has gone mad (fair point).
SHOP: Country Homes & Interiors Christmas, Stonor, Henley, 21 – 24 Nov
Stonor is hosting a boutique-style shopping event in marquees on the lawn, with a selection of festive goodies, homewares and lifestyle products. See you there!
FESTIVAL: Oxford Think Festival, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Broad Street, 9 – 21 Nov
A partnership between Oxford University Press and Blackwell’s Oxford, this totally free event celebrates knowledge with a series of talks about the big issues and ideas of our time. The main event was last weekend but there’s still time to join in with this closing World Philosophy Day event. Events are free, but booking advised.
XMAS: Illuminated Light Trail, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 22 Nov – 1 Jan
Blenheim is kicking off festivities this week with its annual Illuminated Light Trail – over 100,000 for the Tunnel of Light, a Laser Garden, scented Fire Garden and light finale on the Water Terrace and front of the Palace set to music. For kids there’ll be a Victorian-style fairground and Santa.
DRINK: Prosecco Festival, Oxford Town Hall, 22 – 23 Nov
Fancy some Prosecco? Silly question. The UK’s largest Prosecco Festival is coming to Oxford Town Hall this month with 40+ types of Prosecco and fizz, street food and live entertainment. A ticket will get you a free drink and glass to carry round the festival to refill at boozy pitstops. New for this year, there’ll also be a gin offering.
THEATRE: Jane Eyre, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, 22 – 23 Nov
For literature buffs there’s Jane Eyre at Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, in all her Gothic glory.
KIDS: The Snowman and The Snowdog, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, from 23 Nov
The River & Rowing Museum, in Henley, has a fantastic programme of activities (puppet shows, story corners) for the festive season all themed around The Snowman. Also on display will be over 40 original illustrations from the charming film, plus behind-the-scenes drawings, preparatory sketches, artwork and screenings. The museum always excels in creating interactive elements for kids, so sure to be a hit.
BRUNCH: Bellini Brunch, Hartwell House, Buckinghamshire, 23 Nov, 15 Feb, 14 Mar
Hartwell House is introducing a new Bellini Brunch in the elegant Soane dining room, above, this month with three courses designed by Executive Head Chef, Daniel Richardson and bottomless Bellinis. I’ll take 12, please.
SHOP: Ruby’s Vintage and Retro Fair, Millets Farm, Abingdon, 23 Nov
Ruby’s Vintage and Retro Fair, which travels around Bucks, Oxon & Berks, returns to Millets Farm in Abingdon armed with quirky clothes, jewellery and accessories. You can also catch the fair in Abingdon Guildhall later in the month (30 N0v).
NEW EXHIBITION: ICON, Old Fire Station, Oxford, until 23 Dec
ICON at Old Fire Station will be exhibiting iconic photographs that have been recreated by Rory Carnegie and artists who have experienced homelessness. I’m absolutely loving this idea! Plus on 30 Nov you can book in to have your own group portrait taken by artists who’ve worked on the project.
XMAS: Santa’s Grotto, centre:mk, Milton Keynes, until 24 Dec
Ho ho ho! centre:MK’s Xmas grotto is open for business where kids will meed the big red man himself as well as his chief scientist and creator of snow fuel! And what would mummy like for Xmas? A lie-down and a Valium, please Santa.
NATIONAL TRUST: National Lottery open day, various venues, 23 – 29 Nov
We’re spoilt for choice in Bucks & Oxon for gorgeous National Trust sites. If you’re not a member of the NT, this is the month you can blow raspberries at everyone who’s bought an annual pass – to celebrate the National Lottery’s 25th birthday, you can enter some of the venues for free if you bring along a National Lottery ticket (plus, if you actually win the lottery you’ll be able to buy one, so it’s kind of like house hunting).
XMAS: Christmas at Waddesdon, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, until 5 Jan
Love a festive display? Waddesdon has started it’s Christmas season pretty early this year with the Manor decked out with festive accessories and a light trail around the Aviary combining light, sound colour and movement. There’ll also be two light shows performed on the facade of the Manor.
ART: Off The Wall Art Fair, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, until 7 Dec
If you’re looking to buy some art, head over to Off The Wall Art Fair at Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury. Now in it’s 10th year, the fair exhibits contemporary art, sculpture, jewellery, photography and more by 30 artists, at a range of prices.
MUSIC: STEPBACK! 90’s VS 00’s, Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, 23 Nov
How about a throwback? STEPBACK! 90’s VS 00’s, the world’s biggest Noughties and Nineties concert returns to Milton Keynes, with a stellar pop line-up of B*Witched, 5live, East17, Blazin’ Squad, S Club and more. I bet you £50 you’ll have lost your voice by the end of the concert.
SKATE: Ice skating, Millets Farm, Abingdon, from 16 Nov
Millets Farm’s sweet covered ice rink returns for another year – all ages are covered with skates that strap onto shoes with twin blades for smaller children, plus push along seals (I think I might need one of those too).
Ongoing must-see exhibitions include The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective, on display at Banbury Museum which is a collection of JMW Turner’s work from the 1780s to the 1810s, on loan from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections (until 12 Jan); George Stubbs: ‘all done from Nature’ , at MK Gallery, the first first overview of the British artist’s work in the UK for over 30 years (until 26 Jan).
In central Oxford you can see a Kiki Smith show ‘I Am Wanderer’ (until 19 Jan), at Modern Art Oxford, which promises to take visitors on a mythological and folkloric journey in her huge tapestries to her exquisitely-fashioned gold shells; the Ashmolean’s current display, Last Supper in Pompeii, with 400+ exhibits from the ancient Roman site buried by the enormous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD (until 12 Jan); First Animals, an interesting exploration of the first life on earth at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (until 24 Feb). And finally, it’s last call for sweet children’s exhibition Bears! at River & Rowing Museum in Henley which finishes on 3 Nov (Muddy review here).
EVENT: Funk and Soul Christmas Party, Ashmolean Museum Rooftop Restaurant, Oxford, 4 Dec
Party at the museum, anyone? This festive evening, held at the Ashmolean’s gorgeous rooftop restaurant, kicks off with spiced rum punch cocktails, gourmet soul food stalls, homemade cocktails followed by brilliant funk and soul tunes blasted until late.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton (below), Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.
Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.
Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.
Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.
And finally, playing “spot the Angel Of The North” as we drive up the A1 to Newcastle is a family ritual in our house (Geordie in-laws, you see), so I’ve got a soft spot for Antony Gormley’s striking sculpture. His new show at the Royal Academy (until 3 Dec) is billed as his most ambitious in a decade and involves six tonnes of steel mesh, eight km of coiled tubing and a gallery flooded with clay and sea water.