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The Lamours – Lola’s little (big) band kicks off.

Forget everything you know about Lola Lamour – when she performs with The Lamours it’s a whole new experience – and a great one at that 🙂

I’ve been a fan of Lola’s since I first saw her at Twinwood several years ago – it’s like she stepped out of the 1940s, with perfect vintage hairdos and outfits, and a wonderful singing style. This being my only experience of her when I heard she’d formed a 13-piece band last year I thought it would be a night out in her usual style.

lamours

Well that will teach me to actually read the blurb 😉 – the website is quite clear that her “youthful and energetic young band has an eclectic mix of music genres spanning seven decades done in their own unique style.  Contrasting styles and tempos combining fabulous melodies with hypnotic rhythms. Swing, Soul, Tango, Blues, Samba, and Rockabilly all amazingly but effortlessly follow each other and are connected beautifully.”

And they don’t disappoint – kicking off with Soft Cells Tainted Love, it’s an explosion of new and old sounds such as What Lola Wants, Love Potion No 9 and Chilli Dippin Baby interspersed with the Black Eyed Peas I got a Feeling, and Mick Jagger’s Satisfaction. There’s even a knock out version of Britney Spears  Oops I did it again. I never in a thousand years would have thought I would be mesmerized by hearing that tune but The Lamours fire it up in great style 😛

Seeing them begin their new season at The Stables, Milton Keynes on Saturday (23 March) was a thoroughly enjoyable night. The mix of rockabilly, swing, samba and twist on modern tunes is seamless and the skills of the individual band members are excellent. Spotlights for piano, electric guitar and trumpet highlight how talented these players are – and as for the scatting, well that certainly earned some well deserved applause.

I’ve never seen such a youthful group playing with the ease of old hands! They know their stuff, clearly enjoy it and you are getting a professional worth-paying-for night out – and of course lets not forget the lovely Lola. Her great comic patter certainly brings a smile to our faces and her voice and delivery are on fine form as she knocks out those tunes with showman style.

I would definitely go to see them again and highly recommend them – take a look at their website for just a taste of what they have to offer. And I’m delighted to find that they’ll be at Twinwood on the Sunday which is the day I’ll be going. Regardless of what they’ll be singing I know we’ll be in for a treat.

lamours night outSo what does one wear to an evening to listen to The Lamours? Well you can certainly go along in jeans and trainers if you like but I love any opportunity to dress up. I defied snow and ice (and nearly fell over twice – eek!) to wear my satin Vivien of Holloway Grace circle dress and was lucky enough to be complimented by not one but three ladies 🙂
Viva!

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Clothing, Events, People to follow, Reviews

 

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The Big Vintage Weekender

I  would never describe myself as a groupie – that always strikes me as rather “desperate and tasteless” yet I think I came perilously close when I saw Si Cranstoun kick off the Big Vintage Weekender.

Si came to my attention as his songs feature at my jive class – and after watching him through the wonder that is the iphone and YouTube I definitely added his CDs to my Christmas list. So when I heard he was performing at the Weekender I couldn’t resist.

What a brill night – Julie Jive and the Big Notes opened the evening with a really rocking number of tunes.IMG_0863 – I’m not one for the goth 50s look but she carries it off well and her voice, once it warms up, really is very strong and carries her songs well. The rest of the band are not as memorable with the exception of their bass player – now there’s a man who understands how to be a performer. Ever want to see a musician lying on his back with his bass in the air – how cool and so old school 😉

Si followed and it was non stop rockin’ with the dancefloor properly stacked in appreciation. Big hits such as Coupe De Ville, Lonesome Heart Bandit and Dynamo were followed with new tunes (to me) but defo ones to get you moving such as Ella Hula Hula. One of my favourites is rather aptly named Tweet on Twitter lol!IMG_0866

Fantastic delivery made each song a real joy to listen to and I was incredibly grateful when my beloved went off to buy me his CDs; Dancehalls and Supperclubs, and Alternative Floor Fillers. Si was kind enough to sign them for me too.IMG_0876

My thanks must indeed go to my beloved – who has no interest whatsoever in the 1940s/50s but fortunately likes any kind of live music and more importantly seeing the massive grin on my face when I am enjoying myself.

He drove me not only to the first night gig but also back again the next day so I could browse the stalls in the hall – a 200 mile trip for a gig and a boot sale according to him!!

Well boot sale or not I was in seventh heaven – at the moment I am fascinated by vintage brooches for my jacket collars and found some incredibly pretty (read that as sparkly!) ones. IMG_0890

I was also tempted by a new pair of swing nautical trousers by Miss Fortune, despite the incredibly ugly cream ship buttons. Needless to say a quick trip to haberdashery and I’ve replaced them with some simple white ones – so much better 🙂IMG_0874

Having listened to Si’s CDs several times now I must say I am seriously impressed by some of the quieter tracks like Bella Principessa, and Daddy’s Gotcha. Not a bad tune in the bunch so yep I am now officially a fan (but not a groupie!) 🙂

Viva!

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Clothing, Events, Music, Reviews

 

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Take a step back in time with Twinwood…

Well it’s taken a while and my apologies for not posting but it’s been madly hectic!! The good news is that what is undoubtedly the highlight of my year finally arrived – the Twinwood vintage music and dance festival took place as always over the August Bank holiday 🙂

If you have never been then you need to make this a date for your diary. We went on the Sunday and were blessed with sunshine. As usual we took a picnic table, folding chairs, blankets and a mouthwatering picnic. Settled in front of the main stage we watched John Miller (Glenn’s nephew) and his orchestra. I abserlootley love that big band sound – there’s nothing else like it on earth.

John Miller at Twinwood

A more modern take on that sound was given by The Jive Aces – these boys rock the house – and some of you may remember them from Britain’s Got Talent when they became the first big band of their kind to make it to the semi finals.

The Jive Aces at Twinwood

Apart from the main stage there are two marquees including one for lessons and another stage for smaller bands and singers – complete with obligatory dance floor and believe me there’s no need to urge anyone to get up and dance cos as soon as those tunes start the whole show is jumpin! I was really pleased to see some familiar faces from my dance class also out having a great time :-).

For those of us seeking a few additions to our wardrobes there are loads of stalls to choose from including familiar faces Freddies of Pinewood (I love those jeans and bought another two pairs!), Rocket Originals (yep – had to get another top!) and everything from shoes to petticoats to suits, hats, gloves – all new, nearly new or indeed vintage. I was lucky enough to find a beautiful new, white and red-spotted Betty Page circle dress at a wonderfully reduced price and as it was my birthday my beloved insisted on completing my outfit with a full red petticoat and some very pretty red checked wedge sandals, complete with hanging strawberries, from Miss Bamboo (I’m a lucky girl :-))

Another great new outfit!

If shopping’s not your thing then how about a bit of culture with the museum and the watchtower – both are filled with fascinating displays and images which are regularly updated to give a new focus to different aspects of a time forgotten. But it doesn’t matter how many times I see it I always learn something new and feel blessed to have benefited from the actions of such dedicated people during the war.

Of course if wheels and engines hold any sort of fascination for you then watch out for the lines of vintage cars  – pretty impressive and clearly lovingly restored.

The day wouldn’t be complete without chips and a hot cuppa (yes I know I had a picnic) from one of the many food and drink stalls around, or time in the bars.

……………Roll on August 2013 – Twinwood returns and I’m off to book my tickets 😉

Viva!

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Clothing, Events, Music, Reviews

 

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All the fun of the fair….twice!

As a child when I knew there was a fair coming to town I would be on tenterhooks for days as I was so excited. Then the day would dawn and accompanied by my mum I’d clutch my precious pennies in my hand and enjoy the mad, loud, brightly coloured and mystical world of the fair 🙂

So you can imagine how I felt when I’ve known for weeks that there was going to be a pop up vintage fair at Islington town hall on Sunday 24th June, particularly as this was my first pop up.  For some unknown reason when I got dressed in comfortable jeans, top and trainers – (I’d read somewhere it was best not to go vintage at fairs in order not to show your enthusiasm to sellers)- I found I was incredibly uncomfortable. It just didn’t seem right not to be properly dressed so out came the utility jeans, bowling shoes and fitted jumper and the outfit was completed with a tied headscarf and matching earrings – much better 😛

The fair proved to be small but well attended both by sellers and buyers/visitors. There was a good mix of clothing and jewellery and a nice smattering of oddities such as those involved in designing recycled stationery from old storybooks. I was delighted to have a chat with Jane Fairhead of Fairheads Headwear. Her hats and “frivolities” were so glamorous looking. My hair is the bane of my life and I have been looking for 1940s/50s headgear that will still be fit for 2012 living. I’ve yet to see many fine vintage examples of a particular headband design that sits at the back of the head like this or this – and so I was delighted upon Jane telling me that she can make designs to order – watch this space as I will definitely be in touch ;-).

The lovely Jane of Fairheads Headwear.com at Islington town hall’s Pop up Vintage Fair

Just when I was thinking about settling down to an afternoon tea courtesy of their pop up tea room, Jane mentioned that there was another fair on today! The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair at the Old Finsbury Town Hall was just 20 mins away so how could I say no! Fortunately my sister is very long-suffering and likes clothing so was more than happy to venture forth.

Ohhhhh it was like Christmas had come early 🙂 There were three rooms filled with clothing from all eras including my beloved 40s and 50s of course. Beautiful frocks – day and evening, suits, shoes and handbags to erm and ahhh over. If money had been no object I would gladly have filled my wardrobe.  The majority of the sellers were friendly and happy to chat although there were one or two who just seemed determined to be miserable – clearly it was all about the money with them and they just didn’t want to spend time with people just having a browse (strange attitude to take at a fair!!)

Just one of the packed out rooms of goodies at the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

I contented myself with those who were happy to chat and show their goodies such as the spectacles stall, or the vintage handbags and I know that I will be looking out for them again next time – and they’ll be the ones that I will want to buy something from. Having recently bought two new vintage dresses I couldn’t let the purse strings go so settled for some gorgeous jewellery accessories and resting my aching feet over a great cuppa, a well deserved toasted sarnie and some fab cream cup cakes from the tea room.

Some pretty brooches to liven up a few outfits

All in all a very good day out and I can certainly see these fairs being fixtures in my calendar!

ViVa!

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Clothing, Events, Reviews

 

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Anyone for a Shake, Rattle and Roll?

Today’s modern dance leaves a lot to be desired! I’m all for creativity and “getting down and doing your own thing” but I often think a girl takes her life into her hands and certainly risks a bruised limb or two if she’s near an over enthusiastic fellow dancer 😛

As a kid I spent a lot of time peering out of my bedroom window jealously watching the boys and girls attending the Peggy Spencer Dancing Centre. I dreamed of dressing up in the posh frocks and gliding across the ballroom. Strangely when I grew up and left home I found I wasn’t remotely interested in tripping the light fantastic.

However a few years ago I received an invitation to Maddy’s jiving school, run by Robin and Collete. Having no interest in visions of me being swung over someone’s shoulder it took a fair bit of persuasion to get me to class. But once it was explained that not all forms of jive involve such energetic turns and tumbles I was willing to give it a try – and was hooked 🙂

Maddy’s worked on the basis of ten basic and ten advanced lessons which I completed several times and was able to use to good effect when attending musical vintage events. I loved the cues, the twists, the turns, but was invariably left frustrated by not advancing more than the twenty or so moves I’d learnt. I was also really keen to keep attending just to sharpen skills but not necessarily keep repeating the class as it proves to be an expensive way of doing it.

I KNEW there had to be more – and I was right 🙂 I’ve kept my eyes and ears open and a friend recently waved a flyer in my face – By some lovely miracle the Adrian Marsh School of Dance began a new class on Friday nights in Woburn Sands, just a few weeks ago for the economy saving sum of just £6.50 per session.  I’m definitely a dedicated student once the hurdle of having to find a partner was overcome as the class is set up so everyone moves around and shares 😉

Adrian has a fantastically easy manner and is very clear, and happy to repeat instructions if he thinks we need it. We’re a noisy bunch but he keeps us in line with a smile. The lovely Sara and he recently got married (congrats :-)) and she’s great at really showing us girls how to move – and I think she has a lot of patience with the guys too :-P.

The talented Adrian and Sarah take a break from teaching

The music – ahh the music is brill and I find myself bouncing on the balls of my feet in anticipation of yet another great track. All in all I’m really chuffed to have found such a great class so close to home where the guys and girls are all easy to get along with, the teachers are fun and soooo talented, and where I feel I am finally learning some fun moves that will really help a gal to shake, rattle and roll!

ViVa!

PS Make sure you pop back and have another look at this page soon as my photos of my dance class will finally arrive.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Events, Music, Reviews

 

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