Saturday, 31 March 2012

vInspired Awards 2012


 

Just a short stroll from London Waterloo, the BFI IMAX welcomed the largest volunteering awards in the country. Into its third year the vInspired Awards have already congratulated and recognized over 160 young volunteers (aged 16-25) for their efforts via star studded ceremonies as the Indigo O2. This year Big Brothers Bit On The Side presenter Emma Willis and Comedian Eddie Kadi hosted the event, with the help of a mixed bag of well known faces from sport, film, music and politics. Emma brought her down to earth warmth to proceedings, looking impossibly flawless in a plum tiered dress, with Eddie offering cheekiness, cracking dance moves and light relief to the highly emotional evening.
Prior to kicking off I lingered in the press room to try and grab chats with some of the nights performers and presenters. Not wishing to disturb  Trevor Nelson, who was busy chatting to host of people connected to the wonderful awards including the lovely people from FairShareMusic, I waited till one of the nights performers came down. I must admit I spent a while trying not to get distracted by Danielle Brown's killer body, which had been showcased marvelously by a body conscious gold mini dress.
Angel singer
First up I got to have a quick natter with charming soulful singer Angel, whose song ‘Go In, Go Hard’, featuring Wretch 32 is currently on release. We would see the duo unite on stage during the evenings festivities, receiving head bobbing approval for urban music legend Nelson, who was sitting two rows in front of me. Next I managed to steal a few fun minutes with the vibrant beauties from girl group of the moment Stooshe. They were such lovely bubbly company  I almost forgave them for making me feel like an utter frump when situated amongst their outlandish outfits. We chatted about new found fame, the horrors of being spotted and stalking celebrities at festivals. Despite admitting to always feeling apprehensive before heading on stage the girls had no need to worry on this occasion, putting on a mood lifting mini set in-between awards - although I had noticed that one of the girls had replaced her super high heels for the safety and comfort of DM's, a wise decision considering the hazardous route to the stage!
Also adding a suitably celebratory musical element to the evening was the diminutive Tinchy Stryder who also gave out an award as well as closing the ceremony. Having stolen my affections after his numerous appearances on some of my favourite panel shows I was hoping to catch up with the urban-pop star, sadly he was suffering from a jippy tum and was indulging in a dose of Nandos in the hope it might help give him a much needed boost. The young audience were of course lapping up his renditions of the Dappy collaboration single ' 'Spaceship' as well as the classic, 'Number '1. I was surprised to see some of the older attendees remaining in their seats for his segment of the show, but whether it was out of duty and politeness rather than pure enjoyment remains a mystery.


Being the emotional wreck I am I fully expected the tear ducts to utilized during the evening. I joined an equally soft Emma Willis in shedding my first tear to the story of Joanna Mayes, the courageous young woman who won an award for bringing communities together. I caught up with Joanna after the ceremony to see how she would celebrate her win.
Seeing as he is now an inspiration to many youths of the UK with his drive, initiative and entrepreneurial spirit, SBTVs Ceo Jamal Edwards was an obvious choice to present an award, and chose to speak words written on his iphone as a fresh response to witnessing the individual volunteer stories during the evening. I managed to catch the successful young man for a chat before he left the venue. It would turn out that he was also celebrating his own landmark achievement.
The main points, enhanced articulately and passionately by Terry Ryall, CEO of vInspired, is that the people we celebrated during the evening haven’t asked for a pat on the back, but that the many good things youths are doing and achieving in the UK should be recognized by events such as this. All too often society and the media concentrate on the negative stories and statistics instead of encouraging all of the positive movements, initiatives, and individual triumphs happening across the country. The other factor that was clear from hearing all of the stores was that in helping others, they had also helped themselves - whether it’s given them the confidence they lacked previously, given them a purpose, goal and drive, a distraction or direction away from an alternative troublesome route, a chance to pursue a dream career or just make some great new friends.
In the world I work it is all too easy to get engrossed in the superficial. I am grateful for nights like this, that bring you back to earth and remind you what is truly important.
The Winners were.....
Best new volunteer: Zoe Burden, from Lowestoft, has been volunteering for Brighter Futures for the past year, taking children in care on day-trips and giving them opportunities to socialize – a cause very close to Zoe’s heart as she is currently living in supported accommodation and has, herself, been in care for the last three years
All round commitment to volunteering: Danika Hamilton, from Hulme, is a passionate and committed volunteer who credits volunteering with changing the course of her own life.  Having experienced coping with homelessness and depression, volunteering has given her focus and determination to help others
Bringing communities together: Joanna Mayes, from Biggleswade, volunteers for NACRO as a football coach.  She has overcome a very traumatic time in her past and feels that volunteering has helped her along her road to recovery
Team Activity: The Co-operative StreetGames Young Volunteers programme team in North Tyneside takes on a large group of young people drinking in a local park on Friday nights by setting up street football sessions
Outstanding Contribution by a Youth Worker: Barry Clark, from Hatfield, has been working at the Hatfield centre for more than 40 years, providing a variety of volunteering activities for young people depending on their interests
Most Outstanding NCS Team: Harrow National Citizen’s Service (NCS) team aims to promote a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society by bringing young people from different backgrounds together to make a difference in their communities.



The vInspired national awards celebrate young volunteers for the inspirational work they do, for more information please visit www.vinspired.com
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My interview With Natives at Takedown 2012


Here I chat with Jim and Jack of the newly named Natives. We discuss the band name-change, their new sound and working with Jon Feldman.

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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

My interview with Enter Shikari


My chat with Rob and Chris prior to their final gig of tour at Hammersmith Apollo.

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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Kensington Palace - Press Preview


Last week I had the privilege of attending a press preview of the reopening of Kensington Palace - an activity made even lovelier by the rare appearance of the sun which successfully enhanced the already impressive scene. I decided to bring along my mother, a National Trust friend and someone who has knowledge of the palace in its former, lesser glory. The first thing my mother noticed from the 12 million pound restoration was the new open and grand entrance, relocated to draw in visitors from the busy Broad Walk and Round pond area of the park. Previously tourists had entered via a fairly hidden side entrance, one that lacked suitable prestige for a place steeped in such important British history.

Of course as Fashion Editor you can guess which part of the tour and renovation I was most excited about. Apartment 1A, which will be handed over to Duke and Duchess of Cambridge next year, is home to an exhibition of dresses worn by William and Harry’s late mother, named Diana: Glimpses of a Modern Princess. Lining the wall that the leading up to the exhibition room is some striking wallpaper depicting the Princess’ most iconic photographed moments and memorable fashion choices. Exhibition designer, Interior stylist Finola Inger commissioned Fashion illustrator Julie Verhoven to create the beautiful watercolor illustrations, which while modern and bold work as a tasteful introduction to the space and a rightful nod to our favourite royal fashionista. Deirdre Murphy, the curator has said that she didn’t want it to feel too museum like, and I think that has been achieved. That said al I must admit I was a a tad disappointed with the amount of gowns on display. I had envisioned a V & A type array, but perhaps that is actually the issue. Anything that Diana wore is hot property so may be owned by other parties or housed in other locations the world over. That said we do get to get up close and personal to the black silk chiffon Versace evening dress, a design which created one of her sexiest fashion moments for the Apollo 13 premiere. We also see a dress which you can hardly believe could be described as controversial, but back in 1981 the black taffeta gown she wore to announce her engagement to Prince Charles caused quite a stir. A stunning ivory column gown and a black and white Bellville Sassoon dress complete the monochrome collection. Adding a splash of colour to the sultry room is a second dress by one of her most loyal designers, Catherine Walker. The Magenta and purple Sari inspired silk-chiffon dress was worn during a royal tour of Thailand in 1988 and stands as a reminder of both her ability to adapt to her given situation or location, as well as her willingness to take risks.

 The rooms where Queen Victoria grew up have been renovated with a new major exhibition called ‘Victoria Revealed’ which aims to details the fascinating and at times heartbreaking stories of her life. We are able to tread the same floors she did as a child and learn about the many stages of her life through fashion, photographs and objects. The room which marks the death of her beloved Albert is purposefully simplistic, the darkness of the interior and the few objects featured poignant enough to mark the tragic event that shaped the rest of the Queens life. While there are the opulent rooms with all the grandeur expected of a palace, as well as those kitted out in theatrical extras, there are also a number that are intentionally minimal just featuring a few choice objects with quotes painted on the walls that help mark a particular era or event. Rather than just a straight-forward renovation, either transforming rooms into great exhibition spaces for visitors or making sure the rooms look as they did when inhabited by former monarchs, they have added another facet to the Palace experience. By working with theatre-makers Coney, they have transformed the State Apartments using installations, sound affects and objects to reveal the secret lives of some of our most interesting monarchs. The use of shadows, paper cut-outs and artifacts ,particularly on the impressive stairways, definitely created a mood and drama, one that would be most appealing to children who quickly tire in surroundings that lack interaction and opportunities to touch. What is obvious about the choices they have made when it comes to restoration is that not only did they want to give it a modern edge, but they clearly had an aim to encourage families to come - aided by their kids go free initiative. When successful in luring them to the Palace they also wanted to ensure there were plenty of objects and activities for children to enjoy. The lack of written information about the history and artifacts may be a negative for those who make such visits to educate themselves and absorb as much information as possible. The modern and quirky additions also may act as a slight repellant for traditionalists who just want to see the palace exist as it was previously intended. Whatever the majority opinion ends up being in regards to the modern touches, there can be no arguments when it comes to the quality of the work completed, and the vast improvement on its previous standing.

With the Olympics imminent I am often considering how our great capital will be perceived by international visitors and those watching via television and internet streams across the globe . The major works on the project began in june of 2012 and have been completed in time for the Queens Diamond Jubilee ( as well as the Olympics). With it’s thoughtful additions, up to date facilities and its incredible new landscaping and gardens this is now another wonderful Historic Royal Palace to be proud of, and another great advert for the city of London.

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Enter Shikari / Young Guns at Hammersmith Apollo

Friday I headed to the Hammersmith Apollo to chat to Rob and Chris of Enter Shikari - Interview Coming soon. As Young Guns were supporting I got a few minutes to imagine what it would be like if I was headlining such a venue.... the empty floor and balcony a fair representation of what would happen should I announce a musical performance. I got to check out the pretty impressive production both bands have in store for audiences on this tour. Reports suggest that the light/laser display is capable of temporary blindness... what more could you want from a gig!
















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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Takedown Festival - Teaser





Full interviews live at www.cheerupclothing.com
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My Interview with Futures


Buckinghamshire’s Futures have been gigging and grafting relentlessly for the last few years. Since their formation in the wake of the decision to close the book on former venture Tonight is Goodbye, they have graced many of the UK festivals and received consistent praise for their performances and catchy melodies. When their mini album ‘The Holiday’ was given away free with Rocksound magazine in 2010, it was clear that these were boys in demand when the issue became the best selling in two years. The eagle eyed industry folk were not blind to this feat, making the band hot property and in a healthy position to step their musical career up a notch… or three. In June 2010 it was revealed that they had been signed to Mercury, a major record label with the means to gift the band with a awareness building support team (with the ability to get their sound out to the masses), with new opportunities and budgets like never before. Their acceleration is set to hit a major peak in 2012 with endless exciting landmark events on the band schedule…
If you want to see what the all the fuss, hype, buzz and media attention is about you can catch the guys on their ‘Start a Fire’ tour which kicks on at The Haunt in Brighton on April 17th. They have been awfully coy about this years festival appearances.. but I predict you will have also more than a few chances to enjoy the futures live formula come summer. This year will also see the long awaited and much anticipated release of their new album, a culmination of songs reworked, honed and whittled down over the last couple of years, something which will really cement their position within our talent filled young UK rock scene. I chatted to Ant West (Vocals/Guitar); Casey Roarty (Guitar); Christian Ward (Bass); George Lindsay (Drums) at their label head office in Kensington, to find out a bit more about their writing process, how they feel about impending fame/success, while trying to find out a few of those funny random tit bits. In keeping with the off-subject style of Hit The Floor interviews it was only right that I asked the boys a few Valentines related questions seeing as I was in their company on Feb 14th……


 


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Monday, 19 March 2012

Takedown Festival - Instagram Spam


So Yesterday myself, Edward and Samsun headed to my old uni town of Southampton for Takedown Festival 2012 - our first major musical event of the year. We wanted to grab chats with some of our favourite acts on the line-up many of whom happen to be good friends of Cheer Up Clothing. Sadly this meant we were stuck in the press room all day and unable to actually watch any of the cracking music, but hopefully the graft will be worth it and you will enjoy watching some of the 8 interviews we managed to capture on the day. Although it was essentially 'work' on a Sunday, it actually proved to be a delight. Everyone was in a great spirits, banter was at an all time high and the bands we got to talk to were all of the lovely variety. 

Keep checking back as soon I will be posting footage of my chats with Don Broco, Canterbury, Polar, Natives, Proxies, Deaf Havana, Evarose and Skindred. 


Deaf Havana


Don Broco


Canterbury


 Mic Check 1, 2


Deaf Havana



 Deaf Havana, Ed, Samsun and I

Polar


Don Broco
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Friday, 16 March 2012

WeSC Refit Opening Party



With a DJ soundtracking the event I had a mooch round the store and took a peek at the sping/summer collection. They have a great mix of street and utility wear alongside ultra wearable staples like jeans, beige/navy casual trousers, simple tees, nautical stripes and Macs. 


































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