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This week

MON 4 - SUN 10 JUNE 2018

FILM: L’Amant Double, Curzon Cinema, Oxford, Mon 4 – Thurs 7 June

If your week ahead looks a bit dull, why not spice it up with an erotic thriller? Works for me every time…Director, Francois Ozon, earns L’Amant Double its 18 certificate in the opening scene in a film described as filthly, flamboyant and a whole lot of fun. Double Lover tells the tale of an unemployed young model who embarks on an obsessive love triangle with identical twin pyschotherapists. So steamy it’ll fog up your glasses but by all accounts, it’s a clever movie with nods to Hitchcock and Cronenberg so you can totally justify going to see it.


THEATRE: Mischief Movie Night, Oxford Playhouse, Wed 6 June – Sun 10 June

You’ve gotta hand it to the Mischief Theatre Company, a group of drama students who, unable to find work, decided to devise their own show. It became The Play That Goes Wrong which is now on Broadway and in the West End. Similar successes have followed so this improv touring Mischief Movie Night is bound to be a hoot. The audience suggest a movie title, location and genre and the talented cast run with it, including rewinds, fast forwards and a live music score. Great to see improv back on the stage (I’m never convinced on telly shows that it hasn’t been scripted somewhere along the lines).


FESTIVAL: Gap Festival, Streatley and Goring, Fringe Festival, Thurs 7 – Wed 13 June, Main Festival, Thurs 14 – Sun 17 June

Mica Paris

Heads up for this jam packed festival of music, arts, talks, family activities, comedy, theatre and more in Goring and Streatley that kicks off this week with a pre-festival fringe. Live music in pubs and hotels, a Wind in the Willows day at Withymead Nature Reserve, a children’s drama day, heritage walks and workshops get you ready for the main event, starting on Thurs 14. Mica Paris headlines in the festival marquee on Sat 16 with a family festival fun day on the Sunday. Such is the variety on offer here that you can learn what it takes to make a Chelsea Gold garden with Joe Swift,  join talented 2016 Funny Women Award winner Harriet Braine for a comic history of art lesson through song, amble round the open gardens or try a drumming workshop. So much to do, so little time.


MUSIC: 91 Nights, Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, Fri 8 June

Ahhh, the romance of a yurt (as long as I don’t have to spend the night in one). This is how I like to indulge in my yurtygurtyness – an evening listening to local band 91 Nights whilst scoffing lamb flatbreads made in the Strawberry Cafe with pop-up brewery Mad Squirrel plus a spirits/wine bar. 91 Nights are billed as an ethereal dream up-and-coming pop band which sounds relaxing and soothing, just the ticket for a Friday night. Food is included in the price of admission (£10) plus you’ll be entered into the prize draw to win two pairs of tickets for a Mad Squirrel Brewery tour with tutored tastings and pizza (boom -Father’s Day sorted!).


OPERA: Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, Stokenchurch, until Sun 22 July

garsington exterior night

The bucolic Wormsley Estate is the setting every year for a spot of warbling of the highest form. You can arrive from 3.30pm to roam the grounds and take afternoon tea before the main event in the evening. Mozart’s much loved The Magic Flute kick starts the season (and goes through until July); Strauss’ final opera, Capriccio, runs throughout June; and from Sat 16 June until 22 July, Verdi’s comic opera Falstaffwill be performed on various Saturdays. The food and drink at Garsington is top notch and thanks to the bus transfer service to and from High Wycombe station (no fights over who’s in the back row) you can indulge to your heart’s content.


POP-UP: Secret Supper Society Season Starts, Somerton, Oxon, Fri 8 June

Jules Thomas’ love of cooking induced her to run restaurant nights from her own home in a pretty village in North Oxon, and in the summer she takes it all outside to a woodland dell in her garden. With visits from Mary Berry and Raymond Blanc she certainly knows her onions and only asks for a donation towards ingredients and preparation. Jules and her husband, Nick, are hosting a series of dinners throughout the summer so if you fancy a relaxed vibe with great food at a fraction of the price of a restaurant, get yourself booked in.

FESTIVAL: Love Marlow Festival, Fri 1 – Sun 17 June 

church spire boats ducks on river

Yes, we do love Marlow. The river, the restaurants, the shops, it’s certainly a happening town that Muddy likes to frequent.  The Love Marlow Festival has a list of events as long as your arm with the aim to ‘strengthen relationships, promote kindness, volunteering and fun’. Fun stuff includes taster sessions of watersports at Longridge Activity Centre, Kids Fun Cycle, Princess and the Pinot Pop-up wine bar (my ears prick up) and Coopers Love Marlow afternoon music session. Marlow is gorgeous of course and there’s a great community spirit in the town so it’s definitely worth checking out.


THEATRE: Giffords Circus, Blenheim, Thurs 7 June

gifford Circus workers in red jackets outside big tent

Giffords Circus is celebrating 250 years since the birth of the big top with its new summer show My Beautiful Circus in a new handmade tent with plush red velvet seats – no more achey bum cheeks from the wooden benches! As well as the regulars such as the Cuban acrobats, Nell on horseback and Tweedy the clown, I’m liking the sound of the Russian dachshunds and a talking turkey (could be a useful skill come Christmas). Plus on June 21 at Oxford Uni Parks you can question Nell Gifford herself at a special Q&A after the show.


EVENT: The Great British Dog Walk, Stowe, Sat 9 June

I’m the only person in Oxfordshire not to have a dog so this doesn’t apply to me, but if you want to walk your dog somewhere totally beautiful and geared up for the four-legged, head up to Stowe Landscape Gardens today. Apart from the Capability Brown grounds there are dog agility shows, stalls, face painting and activities, all in the name of the Hearing Dogs charity.


SPORT: Oxford Bike Week, Oxford various locations, Sat 9 June – Sun 18 June

group cyclists on road hills

Don your lycra for a week long celebration of cycling with various events taking place throughout Oxford and the surrounding countryside. It kicks off this weekend with the Big Green Day Out on Broad Street with loads of stalls (not all cycling related) and entertainment. On Sun 10, you can take a gentle ride with the Condors Newbies meeting outside Beeline Cycles on the Cowley Road at 9.45am or a longer ride to Bridewell Organic Gardens. Meet outside Costa in Summerton at 1.15 to head to the gardens for afternoon tea. All events are free so say pah to Oxford’s notoriously bad traffic and get on your bike.


RETREAT: Be in Art Yoga & Art Retreat, Rippon College, Cuddesdon, Sat 9 June

Where Muddy leads, Vogue follows. Jane Beinart (featured in this month’s Vogue, apparently) wants to encourage everyone to get creative whether you’re a seasoned artist or never picked up a brush. She runs most of her classes from her studio in Headington, Oxford, and focuses on experimenting, making a mess and seeing what happens. She’s running various workshops and courses over the summer and even a one day Yoga and Art retreat on June 9 so you can downward dog and daub to your heart’s content.


ART: Conserving Michelangelo, Christchurch Picture Gallery, Oxford, now until 18 June

Looking for serenity? A trip to the very special Christchurch Picture Gallery will soothe the soul and broaden the mind. The only college in Oxford or Cambridge to possess a unique collection of Old Masters is displaying a Michelangelo drawing from its vaults, recently restored by The Met in New York. The design for a facade on one side and sketches of angles and shadows on the reverse – it’s a beautiful piece of art history right there. The exhibition gives insight into how the restoration was done which is fascinating but take your time and view the whole stonking collection whilst you’re there. 


MARKET: Bitten Street Food Market, Sat 9 June and Etsy Market, Sun 10 June, Oxford Castle Quarter

Oxford’s street food market, kicked off back in 2014, but with the Westgate taking over the Castle Quarter to construct their shiny new shopping heaven, Bitten Street food market (named one of the best street food markets in the country not once but twice) only returned last month. I know the Bitten girls a bit and they’re fab, friendly and really know their food, so you’ll get great food and entertainment, PLUS the market has extended into local crafts and produce. Cue my hummus-y hands all over the handicrafts. On the Sunday, their Etsy market lets you get your mitts on all sorts of handmade items from Oxon Etsy sellers. Usually only available online or at occasional pop-up shops, it’s a great way to meet our local artists and crafters and take something really original home with you.


ART: Bucks Arts Weeks, various locations, Sat 9 – Sun 24 June

Photo: Alexandra Buckle at Claydon Gallery

Didn’t get round to seeing any of Oxford Art Weeks? Naughty! Well, here’s your chance to redeem yourself with the launch of Bucks Art Weeks with exhibitions, events and artists’ studios open to the public. There’s the full range of artistic endeavours from linocuts (above), paintings, ceramics, jewellery, glassware, photography, textiles – and even paintings created on an iPad (check out Nancy Taylor in Naphill, High Wycombe). You can plan your visits on their website but I prefer the magical mystery tour approach and to stop off at random places when I see the sign. Being nosey and mooching around some lovely gardens and studios is half the fun.


POP-UP: Pizza & Pinot Night, Chafor Vineyard, Gawcott, Bucks Fri 8 June

No need to cross the Channel for authentic fresh pizza from a wood fired oven and chilled Pinot Rose from the vineyard in which it was made, non, non, non, just head to Chafor Vineyard in Bucks and enjoy a Summer’s eve sipping and scoffing the English way.


MARKET: Jericho Street Fair, Oxford, Sat 9 June

Jericho Street Fair

If you’re going to go to a local fete, it might as well be a chi-chi one. Trendy Jericho in Oxford will be packed from 12 noon with live music, kids entertainment, street food and, er, sumo wrestling. 12pm – 8pm.



FESTIVAL: The Daylesford Summer Festival, Kingham, Glous, Sat 9 June

Daylesford Festival sign

The Rolls Royce of farm shows where you can focus on delish drinkies and nosh from an Airstream, Shepherd’s Huts or Argentine barbecue fire pits or head down to the crayfishing river for a wild feast by sister restaurant, The Wild Rabbit, whilst the kids are entertained with circus acts, falconry, sheep-shearing, dog shows, tractor rides and face-painting. There’ll be vintage cars for everyone to drool over plus cookery demos, floristy workshops and pottery if you fancy getting crafty. Entry is free but £5 to park.



ART: Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V&A Museum, London, ends Sun 10 June

v and a museum ocean liners exhibit empress of Britain poster white ship

These days the nearest I get to ocean-faring is a packed P&O ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg but in the early 20th century travelling by sea was fabulously glamorous and romantic. The V&A’s major Spring exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style celebrates the golden age of the big boats, looking at their design and cultural impact. Exhibits include Goyard luggage once owned by the Duke of Windsor, 1920s bathing suits and a door panel from the first class lounge of the Titanic.


BOOK NOW: Kiefer Sutherland, O2 Academy, Oxford, Mon 25 June

heifer Sutherland

Kiefer sure knows how to pack a lot into 24 hours and here he is gigging in Oxford with his band. Apparently, his shows sold out in the States after the release of his album Down in a Hole so if country rock is your sort of thang, get your tickets (£31.50) now.

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