Friday 24 July 2015

Friday 24th July: Station to Station at The Barbican Centre

When I got a text message from Marawa that something colourful was happening at the Barbican at 4 o'clock one Saturday I knew I had to go and see!  It turned out to be this multicolour smoke bomb performance by Olaf Breuning as part of Doug Aitken's "Station to Station" 30 day happening.  We then explored the rest of the show which is totally free and packed full of really fantastic finds.  As I explain in the post below, there is a recording studio and mobile vinyl pressing plant.  There is also a studio for the vinyl record sleeve artwork where guest graphic designers come in to make limited edition packaging.  It's a process led curation so you can witness screen-printing, wood-block printing and see Olaf Eliasson's mechanical works from the original train journey.  Outside of the main gallery are individual yurts holding installations such as director Kenneth Anger and this white "HoneyMoon Suite" by Urs Fischer.  The emmense schedule of gigs, performances, seminars & workshops is coming to a close this weekend with a grand finale featuring musicians from the project.  I 100% recommend visiting and attending Marawa's hoop class btw 3 - 4pm ! 

Friday 24th July: Nozinja / The Vinyl Factory at Station to Station, Barbican

For the record shop part of my exhibition at KKOutlet last year, we included Nozinja's debut album in the selection curated by Todd Hart.  So I have been aware of the South African Shangaan Electro producer for a while now and seen a performance at London's Elecrowerkz.  Now the second album has been released on Warp and is well timed with the Station To Station project at The Barbican Gallery.  For the last two days Nozinja has been resident in the gallery's temporary recording studio courtesy of The Vinyl Factory.  The rotating roster of artists for the month are taking turns to use the resource and turn the recordings into physical records for the gift shop.  Here is the onsite pressing plant where vinyl is patted into ball, squished between the grooved plates, cooled, trimmed, branded and boxed.  I felt like Charlie in The Chocolate Factory watching each stage and the mechanics of this original technique.  Its incredible how something so lo-fi produces the cleanest sounds.  As a vinyl collector I've always wanted to know how its done, so I feel pumped to have had the privilege to witness it first hand.  
Micachu was also in the recording studio with Nozinja and here she is with Tirzah supporting Nozinja's 100th live performance last night in the gallery.  The BPM (beats per minute) of this electro are actually faster than jungle so the dancers moves are like speed lightening and too fast to capture on camera............. or keep up with dancing yourself!!!  So, so good.  So fresh and fun, a must-see if you haven't already experienced the spectacle.

See more info here.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Wednesday 22nd July: Yoga Retreat to Ibiza with Stretch

Here is my visual diary for last week's escape to Northern Ibiza for a yoga retreat with my friends at Stretch London.  Ive written up the experience for my Fitness blog on Hunger Magazine - head over here or read below:


If you are in the throws of frantically finding a last minute Summer holiday or planning ahead for some Winter Sun – heed this.  I’ve just returned from my first ever yoga retreat experience and it totally exceeded all expectation.  I can’t recommend it enough and I cant wait to book another.
It’s a chance to totally escape your routine reality by literally leaving the country and secondly freeing your mind.  My week away was spent with Stretch Studio instructors and ten other yogi’s signed up for Ibiza escapades.  It had occurred to me that travelling with strangers could potentially turn out a bit Pete Tong but it had the complete opposite outcome.  Harnessing the energy from everyone around was just as crucial as time spent honing our skills.  Perhaps yoga attracts Zen souls?  But we clicked, made each other crack up and became so comfortable it was the perfect support for playing around with poses.  The best way to learn and improve is by fearless experimentation and having fun.  After five days of loliday with like-minded folk, it’s an encouraging space to push your practise as apposed to a regular packed city class.
Each day began with a guided meditation session on the terrace overlooking the pine green valley.  As the cockerels crowed, goats tinkled their bells and Mediterranean sun appeared behind the Mountain View, it was time to set the tone for a day of peaceful play.  From this still and tranquil space, we gently transitioned into the morning’s session of rise and shine energising yoga.  A second evening workshop completed each day’s tuition with the time inbetween free to explore the island.  Brunch was served after a blissful Savasana under the open-air blue sky canopy of sails.  Without wandering off into hippie hypothesis here, I think we were all in agreement that our chef was cooking with love because we could taste the pride in every multicolour morsel.  Not only did she engineer something exceptional for each sitting but also decorated it exquisitely with the Finca’s exotic flora.
However, before I digress down the Ibizian hippy dream, don’t be fooled into imagining it was some British Wheel of Yoga mellow movement.  This was energised, active, dynamic vinyasa flow.  The benefit of five days back-to-back yoga is building up strength of body and mind for confidence to push limits perhaps not reached at your regular weekly hour.  It worked such magic on me that by the end I was attempting turning a “crow” into a headstand in one fluid move.  I have improved leaps and bounds from finding inversions terrifying to undertaking unassisted upside down asanas.  I also finally picked up a sense of how to sequence poses to be able to undertake my own practice at home.  Accumulative learning like that really layers foundations for familiarity to get to grips with it.
Getting up the last few mornings now that I’m home has been mortifying.  It was such a treat to be able to roll out of bed onto a mediation matt rather than a Neanderthal hunch over a device on a London commute.  Far from the adventure trails we took to Ibiza’s secret beaches for swimming in azure blue coves and sandy caves.  If that doesn’t sound tempting enough to put down a deposit to their next get-aways to Portugal, Morocco or India, then you can just use that mental image of a slice of heaven on earth for your next yoga nidra.

(Thanks to Sally Graveling for the photos of me - see here in a headstand in the 1st pic)