Tag Archives: whats on

WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide 12 – 18 October

12 Oct
‘On the Road’, general release from Friday 12 Oct

It’s taken half a century to get this film from the pages of the Jack Kerouac original onto celluloid. Directed by Walter Salles, it stars Brit coolcat Sam Riley, American newcomer Garrett Hedlund and Twilight’s Kristen Stewart as the restless trio.  My local cinema Odeon Aylesbury is predictably not showing it as it’s not an American cartoon, but the local  art-house cinemas have better taste! Here’s the trailer.

Love Art Fair (Milton Keynes); London Frieze Fair – both Thurs 11 – Sun 14 Oct

London’s Frieze Fair

Two sides of the coin here, with the zero snoot-factor Love Art Fair launching in MK:Centre. Free entry to see scores of artists selling their works from £100 into the thousands. Alternatively, head to London’s Frieze Fair, billed as the contemporary art event of the year, to see international galleries from Berlin to Tokyo exhibiting their clients, and battling it out for the most innovative stand – the winner gets £10,000 so I imagine they’ll all be putting in considerable effort. The Frieze is held at Regent’s Park and tickets cost £27 (concessions available). www.theloveartfair.com; www.friezelondon.com

Pegasus Theatre celebrity playathon, Oxford, Saturday 14 Oct

Radiohead’s Phil Selway. No drum kit to hide behind this time Phil.

Sleeping Beauty, English National Ballet, Milton Keynes, Weds 17 – Sat 20 October

A second shout out for Milton Keynes this week, with this touring production of ENB’s Sleeping Beauty. It really looks fantastic – just loving the costumes – and there are two matinee performances, one on Thursday and the other on Saturday, if you want to take younger children. £10-45. Book tickets here.

As part of its 50th year celebrations, this fundraiser for the creative powerhouse Pegagus Theatre sees the likes of Radiohead’s Philip Selway, plus Scott Maslen (Eastenders) and actress Rachel Bavidge (see her here in My Favourite Places) and others with a Pegasus or Oxford connection taking to the stage for play-readings on Saturday. The playathon goes on all weekend so if you want to get up there and have a go at ‘Out damn spot!’ or similar, I’m sure they’ll be, er, delighted!

Apple Days, National Trust, ongoing

I mentioned this last week but for those of you who missed it, there are many more NT estates running apple pressing/tasting/picking days in the next week or two. Stowe (13 Oct), the lovely Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds (Sat 13-14 Oct)  Cliveden (20-21 Oct), Waddesdon (21 Oct – as part of its Autumn Fruits Fair), Bradenham (21 Oct) and others. A great incentive to gets your kids out and about. Go to the National Trust website for more details.

Homemade in Haddenham, Haddenham Village Hall, Saturday 13 Oct

Cranberry and white chocolate blondie, from Haddenham company Made By Mums

How could I not mention my lovely local food event? Haddenham is the biggest village in England fact fans, and there’s plenty of farmland around us, so this village food fair packs a punch bigger than you’d first think. You’ll see me there too, as I’ll be propped up for a few hours in the hall meeting the producers and you lot hopefully!


WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide: 4 – 10 October

4 Oct

The Big Draw, nationwide, until 31 October


The world’s biggest celebration of drawing has grown into a month-long festival throughout October all over the UK. In Bucks/Oxon it hits its stride this week with Modern Art Oxford’s free drop-in session on 10 October (1-4pm) about the power of the line, allegedly suitable for children and families. If that sounds a bit esoteric for your little darlings, the York House Centre in Stony Stratford (Milton Keynes) lowers the tone delightfully with its Ginormous Battle of Dinosaurs v Aliens  in a free workshop on Saturday 6 October (10 am – 4pm).

Kids can also help create a massive BFG at The Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden or try the new Drawing Packs at The Ashmolean on Saturday 13 October – with a little help from a certain Korky Paul, author and illustrator of Winnie The Witch. Check out the website here for a full list of events.

Waterperry Gardens, Apple Weekend, Friday 5 – Sunday 7 October

Had a rubbish harvest this year? Yeah, me too. Try to keep your apple envy in check as you head to Waterperry Gardens for its annual Apple Weekend.  Here’s your chance to enjoy free apple and juice tastings, tours of the orchards and fruit sheds and a test out of the different varieties of apple grown at Waterperry before buying a tree for your own garden.


Comma, online launch and 2nd birthday party, Saturday 6 October

I wrote about Comma last year, having stumbled across them whilst checking out Oxford’s Iffley Road. Lovely husband and wife team Sally and Dave produce a massive and brilliant range of witty/graphic tea towels (under the brand ToDryFor), notebooks, design nick-nacks and original cards, all of which you ‘ll be able to buy online from next week.  Combine a visit with a lunch at Michelin Bib-Gormanded The Magdalen Arms next door, or pop around the corner to check out the small-but-perfectly-formed Pegasus Theatre for a bijoux arty experience.

Comma, 247 Iffley Road, Oxford. OX4 1SJ Tel: 01865 202400

Little Missenden Festival, Little Missenden, Bucks, 5-14 October

Little Missenden Church. Check out those 12th century wall paintings.

This is a fab little festival is now in its 53rd year, with world-class classical music as its backbone but with jazz, art, folk and books thrown in for good measure. Folksinger Sam Lee, who opens the festival on Friday (5 Oct), has just been nominated for the Mercury prize for his debut album. Spanish guitarist  MILOŠ  has just received a four star Guardian review for his solo Albert Hall concert. Are you getting the picture?! Unless you’re local or a classical music nut you’re unlikely to make the evening events, but on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 there’s chamber music in the exquisite Saxon Little Missenden church at 2.45 and 3pm respectively if you want to go to your happy place for an hour or so.


Artists & Makers Fair, Waddesdon Plant Centre, Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 October

If you can’t be arsed trawling the shopping centres or even faffing about online for your Christmas pressies, this is a sure-fire winner. Printmakers, ceramicists, painters, silversmiths and other clever arty types are on hand to demonstrate, make, and importantly sell their wares. Set yourself a spending limit, then do what any sensible woman does and completely ignore it.
£3 entry plus normal charges to Waddesdon Manor. www.sallyevansevents.co.uk.

Thame arts & Literature Festival, Thame, 12-14 October

Will Gompertz. Someone have a word with him.

An early heads up on this incredibly popular festival, now in its 3rd year. It lacks the heavyweight literary punch of its neighbours Henley and Woodstock but it’s a thoroughly accessible festival, with popular choices such as Pam Ayres, Mary Berry, Jonathan Dimbleby and weirdy-haired BBC Arts Editor Will Gompertz (cut it man, cut it!). This year’s kids authors are Louise Yates, award winning writer/illustrator of Dog Loves Books and Penny Harper, the locally-based author of Lollipop and Grandpa. If last year’s kids events were anything to go by, these will be brilliant but over-subscribed so don’t wait too long to book.


Your social life sorted: The Muddy Guide 3 – 9 Aug

2 Aug

Crazy Bear Champagne Lunch, throughout August & September

They had me at ‘champagne’. Those lovely Crazy Bear chaps have come up with an ingenious way to entice us into their establishments over the next two months. From Monday to Friday in August and September, go for lunch at one of the Crazy Bear restaurants (Stadhampton, Beaconsfield, Covent Garden or Fitsrovia, pictured above) and you’ll get free champagne throughout the meal, as long as you drink ‘responsibly’ (I’m guessing this means not falling off your chair). I don’t know about you but I can do some serious damage to a magnum of champers over a couple of hours, so my advice is to choose your venue, select your poison (rose vintage or non vintage cuvee premium champagne) and get yourself absolutely, gloriously piddled.

National Trust Kids-Go-Free month. Nationwide, throughout August.

Does what it says on the tin, but if you enjoy the glorious NT castles, stately homes and beaches such as Pembrokeshire’s Broad Haven (above), now’s the time for all the family to enjoy Britain’s national treasures at a knockdown price.

Oxford Playhouse Plays Out, Castle Street Square, Oxford 2-3 August

The Oxford Playhouse continues its community tour by setting up their tent in Castle Street Square. Inside they promise brilliant shows for children, along with workshops, crafts and games, plus somewhere for frazzled parents to relax with a cuppa – all for free. If you can’t get to Oxford, fear not, it moves to Berinsford Village Fete on 4 Aug, then Millets Farm Centre Frilford 5-6 Aug, Kidlington on 8 Aug, and then Wilderness Festival from the 10-12 Aug. A dead cert.

Cartoon Science show, at Science Live Oxford, 6 August

I’ve written briefly about Science Live before, but if you missed it, it’s a fantastic, modern, fun facility in central Oxford that manages to enthuse kids of all ages (as well as adults if that’s your bag) about practical science. Usually you can rock up there and just let the kids loose on the soft play and simple experiments, but you can also book for special interractive shows – my oldest son has raved about the two he’s previously been to. The Cartoon Science show explores the weird and wonderful laws of physics that exist in the cartoon world, so it’s perfectly pitched at 8+ kids while the littlies barge about the main area. Booking essential.

Arthouse film delights, on general release 3 August

The Dark Knight Rises is all very well, and I love Hollywood as much as the next girl, but I like a bit of arthouse too. With this in mind, there are a couple of cool films you may be interested in (or if you’re not, I am, haha!). Design fans will love Eames: The Architect and the Painter, a brilliant documentary narrated by James Franco, exploring the creative and personal relationship between husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, still regarded as one of America’s most important design partnerships. I can’t find a local cinema brave enough to run that one so it may be a London visit (or if anyone knows different, please let me know). Also worth checking out is Searching for Sugar Man (playing at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse next week) a much-admired documentary that tells a gripping story of two music fans who go in search of early 1970s American singer-songwriter Rodriguez, discovering him in a rundown area of Detroit. They eventually persuade him to go on a comeback tour in South Africa where he’s now a national treasure. OK, that’s enough culture for one night, I’m off to read Hello! in the bath.  

The Muddy Guide to Going Out: 12-19 July

12 Jul

Art in Action, Waterperry Gardens, 19-22 July

I think this art fest is going to be brilliant.  Around 400 artists, teachers, musicians and performers are descending upon the gorgeous Waterperry Gardens to demonstrate (and in some cases sell) their art. A good place to start is the Best of the Best exhibition which offers a cross-section of the entire show with more than 150 artists and 44 tents showing the single piece of work they consider their best. Click here for the latest list of what’s on.
Family ticket £30 (2 adults, 2 children 9-17). Adults £15, Child (9-17) £5. Under 9s free.

Vale Harvest, XT Brewery, Long Crendon, 14 July

A quick nudge to remind any foodies to head along to the official launch of the wonderful Vale Harvest, a new collective in Ayesbury Vale whose aim is to help consumers connect with local producers, whether buying direct from a supplier or from a local retailer. Expect tastings, talks and demonstrations and, of course, lashings of local beer.
Click  here for the latest info.
10am-3pm, XT Brewery, Notley Farm, Long Crendon HP18 9ER. Tel: 01844 208 310.

Hamlet, Globe Theatre on Tour, Bodleian Library, Oxford, until 26 July

The Old Schools Quad at the Bodleian is the stunning setting for Shakespeare’s tragedy, with the stage designed in Elizabethan style (ie like a garden picnic – a couple of tarpaulins and some sticks!). Apparently the Globe Theatre know a thing or two about the bard and The Independent has described its performance as, ‘a wonderfully engrossing touring production’. So whether your a theatre afficionado, or would just like to inflict some intellectual suffering on your children in the name of GCSEs, here’s your chance.
In conjunction with the Oxford Playhouse. Tickets £18. There are matinee as well as evening performances. For a full list, click here.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, on general release from 13 July (2D or 3D)

The plot, you say? Who cares? All you need to know is that you can sit in semi-consciousness in the dark, with a tub of popcorn and an enormous vat of coke nestled in your lap, while your children stay in their seats for 2 hours without so much as a squeak in your direction. Worth every penny.

Antiques Roadshow, Stowe Landscape Gardens, 19 July

Dust off your family heirlooms, retrieve your old stamp collection, rummage in your great-aunty’s drawers while she’s making you a cup of tea. Yes indeedy, the Antiques Roadshow is pulling up at the jaw-droppingly lovely Stowe Landscape Gardens, hosted by Fiona Bruce. Entry is free, but in case you don’t feel like making the pilgrimage to Stowe with a whopping great sofa or painting, you can email pics across to antiques.roadshow@bbc.co.uk. If the experts like the look of the item, they may look in advance and organise its transportation to the venue.
9.30am – 4.30pm. Stowe, Buckingham, Bucks MK18 5EH

Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion, V&A Museum, London. Until 29 July

Paul Smith, Matthew Williamson, Gavin Turk, Nicholas Kirkwood, Jess Flood-Paddock, Matt Collishaw and other huge names in fashion and the art world combine their talents in this multi-media mash up, as part of the Olympic year cultural celebrations. Paul Smith and Charming Baker’s collaboration is suitably irreverent, Matthew Williamson and Matt Collishaw create something beautiful, and Hussein Chalayan and Gavin Turk make, um, an audio track. A damned good one though, I’m sure.
V&A, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL. www.vam.ac.uk

The week ahead – your social life is looking sunny!

23 May

Wallingford Food Festival, Saturday 26th May, Wallingford

The second Wallingford Food Festival makes its foody credentials clear from the off – it’s being opened by Gary Jones, executive head chef from Le Manoir. Held at the Bridge Villa Camping & Caravan Park (it’s probably nicer than it sounds!), attractions include all the usuals – cooking demonstrations, producer sales, plus added extras such as the Aston Martin’s Owners Club shining their cars for your pleasure, and a local sculptor exhibiting. Perfect sunny Saturday stuff.

Sky Local Ride,  Sunday 27th May 2012, 10.00am, Bucks Railway Centre, Quainton

Aylesbury Vale and Milton Keynes are two of the areas targeted by Sky Local Ride, the little sister to Sky City rides and a national campaign to get our wobbly bums back on our bikes. You can go out in groups with local ‘leaders’, go as a family, with women only or solo if you prefer – there are route maps, cycle clubs, news and support all on the useful website. 

There are loads of rides available, but on Sunday, there’s a 17.6 mile brisk ride from Bucks Railway Centre criss crossing Winslow and pretty North Bucks villages with a tea break at Claydon House. A National Trust cake *sigh*. It almost makes the saddle soreness bearable. www.goskyride.com/aylesbury www.goskyride.com/miltonkeynes 

Vauxhall Art Car Boot Sale, Sunday 27th May, 12-6pm, Brick Lane

Peter Blake car ‘licence’

This event was a massive success last year – snakes of people in the queue by all accounts – so get there early if you’re planning to go. Tracy Emin, Sir Peter Blake and Polly Morgan will be amongst the artists offering limited edition and one off creations from the boots of classic and vintage cars at this bonkers event. As well as art, expect live music, on-the-bonnet snail racing (I’m not kidding) and a hangbag disco, where you can be in with the chance of getting your hands on designer goodies while grooving to 1970s classics. 
Entry, £3.

Simon Astell live, Sunday 27th May, New Theatre Oxford
Is the ex-T4 presenter and Grandma’s House writer/actor a whipsmart comic or a self-obsessed navel-gazer? Which side of the fence you land on will dictate whether you buy up tickets for the only Oxford gig on his ‘Numb’ tour. Personally I like the man! Book tickets here.

Short Stories Aloud, 29th May, 7.30pm the Old Fire Station, Oxford
Inspire your children to read more than BeastQuest or go to rediscover the muse for your own incomplete novel (yes, readers, I too have one). The basic premise is that you go to the lovely arts venue The Old Fire Station in central Oxford to hear short stories read aloud by professional actors, followed by discussion with the authors. May’s show -‘Things are not as they seem’ – involves tales and discussion brought to you by authors Rebecca Makkai, Caroline Smailes and Guardian journalist Ben Johncock. If you need any further incentive, there’s cake too. 
Tickets £5 in advance from We Got Tickets. Twitter @StoriesAloud

Sun May 27Brick Lane Yard, Brick Lane (entry on the corner of Buxton St & Brick Lane), E1 6QN

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