An outsiders view ~

Living in London has its perks.

Being a metropolis and a cultural capital of the world, you literally have everything on your doorstep.

You have theaters, shows, museums, endless pop-ups (markets, restaurants, you name it), fairs, celebrations, events, cocktails on some rooftop….

But the thing is, when you actually live here, sometimes you get so caught up in your work life and yourself that you forget this city has all this and more to offer. Yes, London is very cosmopolitan, full of vibrant people and interesting places and activities but from time to time you sort of forget. For example… when do you, that live either on a small town or village or a huge city, go sightseeing? When do you go out, for the sake of it and be a tourist in your own home place?

You are so used to it being there. So close, just outside your door that you take it for granted. And then you stop going to the city center just because technically you can go there any  time you want. However, work is on the other direction, you you just pass by while watching funny videos on Youtube on your commute and it competently passes you by.

 

This happened to me. Like it does to all of us. But then, last week my parents were week. And boy, did I miss my health app to count my steps!

It was fantastic. I forgot what was seeing this city through the eyes of someone that does not live here. My parents, albeit of some age, they are used to travel. They were born in South Africa from Portuguese emigrants. Moved back to Portugal. Their honeymoon was a road-trip through Europe. They didn’t give us a lot of expensive gifts, instead they would take us travelling. Spain, France, Africa, all through Portugal, etc,… So they are more than used to travelling. But still, they were impressed. With the size of the buildings, the size of the city. The amount of bridges. The number of people. The speed of the tube and the number of lines it has.

I forgot how beautiful Southbank is on a sunny afternoon. All the street artists. The music. The street food. The people. The vintage fairs, the shows, the energy, the love I have for it.

Yes, it is hard over here. You work way too many hours, your friends live 1 hour and a half away even though they are in the same city. But then, you have sun over St Pauls and you are in comfy shoes crossing the Millenium Bridge and suddenly, it does not seem so gloomy.

Truth is, I do have a lot to thank for here. And I have to thank my parents for reminding me that.

So go out, explore and fall in love to where you live!

 

Claudia x

Jersey Boys

It is supposed to be a cultural blog. What is the thing you absolutely have to do when you come to London? Yes, yes, see all the tourist attrions, I know. But also, if you do have the time, pop in to the many London theatres and watch a musical. I have seen three during my four years – oh lord – in the capital. Not that many I know, but with all the work and all the excuses and everything, it’s not all pretty pictures and shows. Life happens. However, I know that I will be back for more, because I love them – yup, I am a sucker for those catchy songs and crazy dances and stories.

One of the first ones I have ever seen was Jersey Boys. I will be honest, I barely knew what they were and only had an idea of what the show was about.

True enough when someone asked it was always a familiar thing. Frankie Valli does ring a bell. In my house it was a name that often came up. But to be honest, I am bad with names. Who sings what, who climbed which mountain, who was famous for that… But I did!!! I knew almost every song sang in that show!! Do you know how amazing that feels?

In fairness, most of it I didn’t know it was theirs – slap slap – but I did recognize it. And what a great atmosphere. Everywhere I looked smiles were fixed on peoples faces like it took them to happy places and memories only they know.

That made me happy and if going to a musical does that every time, boy do I want to be there!

A LITTLE ABOUT JERSEY BOYS

For those of you who don’t know, Jersey Boys is about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their path to success and through all kinds of set backs they had to overcome.

The show has won 57 awards including the Olivier Award of Best New Show.

It will be on until February 2016 at the Picadilly Theatre in London and you can find all information on their website – www.jerseyboyslondon.com

Get ready for a fun night out, prepare your shower diva voice and go, go, go!

Claudia x

O Captain, My Captain

2014 has not been an easy year for my fellow celebrities.

No, this year already three people (well, there were many others, but to each their own) that I looked upon have passed away.

The one on everybody’s heart and mind today is, off course Robin Williams. There are two movies that I will always carry in my heart: ‘Good morning Vietnam’ and ‘The Dead Poets Society’.

I know, I know, he was mainly a comedian and a family movies actor, but I have, by far, watched more times Good Morning Vietnam, than all the other comedies together.

Another one was one of my favourite writers: Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I liked his books so much I have a few in Spanish, even though my Spanish is basically Portuguese with an accent.

Lastly: Philip Seymour Hoffman. I was so unbelievably sad when I heard about his passing. His movies, his acting, for me they are precious.

What strikes me the most is, every time an actor or musician or writer dies I think: wow, they will not live forever. I mean, I know that, and I know their work will be around for us to see, but people are actually going to pass away. I got to start paying attention to all these new people!!!

Anyway, I have attached pictures of people that I like and have perished this year.

Stay well, stay loved.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Robin Williams

Tommy Ramone

Harold Ramis

Claudia

Music Festivals in UK

festivals uk2013 will be the first year, since I was 18, that I won’t be setting foot in a Music Festival. Now, that just feels wrong. Specially because I’m the friend that always says: uh! I’ve seen that band live!

Besides travelling that’s really where I spend all my money. I don’t go just to one. Usually I try to go to two or three. Granted, I used to do it in Portugal, where a 3-day ticket with camping would match up with a one-day-festival here in UK.

Still, it’s sad. The first time I went, was a 3 day event by the beach in Lisbon. I watched Pearl Jam, White Stripes and Smashing Pumpkins as headlines – not bad for first time, huh?

Since then, every summer – even the ones spent in England – I pack and take a break for my music alcohol indulged retreat. It’s like when people go to spa’s or shopping; I go to dust covered places with fantastic views of the sea or mountains and lakes and just enjoy.

So, you can see how this year, being stuck at work, with this cloudy weather is making me blue.

But enough about that. I just want to give you a heads up for the main music festival events in the UK in case you are a lucky person with time and money to go.

In June, if you fancy some Sigur Ross and the XX’s, you can always pack your bag for a few days and go close to Cornwall to the Eden Sessions. This Festival is actually set in a park and it is all eco-friendly with some debate sessions going on about global warming and actions to promote awareness regarding the environment. It happens from the 29th June to the 14th July. Thumbs up! Read more about it on: www.edenproject.com/sessions/

The Isle of Wight is one those festivals that, to be honest, I didn’t know about before I moved to the UK. Mea culpa, I know. But again – I grew up hearing about Glastonbury and reading and Coachella and also, if I can, I would like to play the I’m-not-from-here card. Anyway, this festival has actually been a great surprise. First of: imagine the scenery!!! Second of all: have you heard the line-up? Stone roses, The Killers, Block Party, The Maccabees…. Plus, have you seen their website? It’s all funky and they have this submarine with the countdown for the days! Sadly for me, it’s starting this 13th of June and goes on during the weekend. What are you doing this weekend? www.isleofwightfestival.com

Overlaping the Isle of Wight is the famous Download Festival. Starts this Friday and finishes on Sunday. This is one of those even I heard back in my little corner of Europe. For rock lovers it has always been a pit stop. This year you get to enjoy  Iron Maiden, Queens Of The Stone Age, Motorhead, Alice In Chains, Mastodon, Rammstein, Slipknot, Bullet For My Valentine and more. I was just checking their website and even that is badass: www.downloadfestival.co.uk . Uh, I can just feel myself finishing off my ponytail with some headbanging – and I can do it without spilling the beer!

For a quieter and more Indie-Folk vibe, you have the Bushmills Live. It’s in Belfats and actually you don’t buy the tickets – say whaaaat? – Yep! Actually, you just enter a competition on Facebook and hope to get in. This event happens on the 19th and 20th of June at the Bushmills Distillery and I can’t even imagine a festival in a place like this, sponsored by whiskey and full of indie banjo music. Were I a whiskey drinker, this would be my kind of place. This years line up counts with Of Monsters and Men, Jake Bugg, Sons And Lovers, Foy Vance, Iain Archer, Willy Mason, Bear’s Den. It’s a bit hipster – even I don’t know some of the bands – but I’d still love to go. Read here on how to get in – be aware, you will need to prove you are off age just to get in the website – www.bushmills.com/BMBushmillsLive.html

Glastonbury – I get shivers just by writing. It’s on my bucket list – Glastonbury and Coachella. At least I’m already living in the country for this one. That’s a step, right? This year the line up doesn’t disapoint – does it ever? I dont even know how I’d be able to see half the bands I like! There are so many stages, and artists and I like all of it. (If someone really rich or kind would like to make me happy – please send me a ticket!). I feel sad thinking about what I’ll miss. Ok Claudia, breathe. This year you get to see bands like:  Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones, Mumford And Sons, Vampire Weekend, Elvis Costello, Portishead, The XX, Foals, Cat Power, Phoenix, Alt-J, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and so many more…. I think I’m going to take a minute and make a cup of tea so I don’t loose my mind and buy a ticket on an impulse. Feel free to have a look at the line up here: www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk . A friend of mine, once told me: it’s not just the concerts…. it’s the atmosphere. You just have to go there. And I will. One day.

Next, and now with a warmer heart  the Hard Rock Calling. The good thing about it is: I work in Mayfair, which is just a step from Hyde Park, which is where this Festival is on. Last year, or two years ago, I don’t quite remember, I was sitting under a tree listening to The Killers in the background. Not as good as being there, but good enough for me. This year I’ll have to travel to the former Olympic Park. Oh well. The head liners this year are: Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band, Kasabian, Paul Weller, Alabama Shakes, Miles Kane, Kodaline, The Cribs, Klaxons and many more. For more information: www.hardrockcalling.co.uk

In a months time, from the 12th to the 14th of July, Wireless Festival will be on. It has a more of a r&b / pop vibe. It will also be in the Olympic Park – in the Hockey stadium to be exact. I remember being in my teens and my friends talking about it. If you are in the mood for some Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Frank Ocean, Trey Songz, Emile Sandé, Calvin Harris, Rita Ora and Kendrick Lamar, this is your stop. www.wirelessfestival.co.uk

T in The Park is Scotlands biggets outdoors festival and it’s turning 20! Almost as old as me hey? To celebrate it they are mixing up a little bit expanding a little more from rock to pop. The big headliners this year are (I just felt like the Eurovision presenter giving out points!): Mumford & Sons, Rihanna, The Killers, Stereophonics, Calvin Harris, Kraftwerk, David Guetta. Emeli Sande, Dizzee Rascal, Foals, Alt-J, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more. I want to go to Scotland right now! It’s on from July 11th to July 14th. www.tinthepark.com/home.aspx

2000 Trees is probably the smallest festival out there. And yes, I’m counting the ones back in Portugal. It doesn’t finish as late as well – so if you have to travel home there is always transportation. The capacity of the venue is 4,500 so I guess it’s like a row of concerts in open air. There are concert venues that can accommodate more people, no? But then again, that’s what makes it so special isn’t it? More relaxed, you get to mingle, drink, talk, see some good concerts, head back home on the train from Gloucestershire…. And Mystery jets will be there too! Actually, I might be sounding a little mean but the line up is really good! there are 4 stages and 90 bands. 90!Frank Turner, Mystery Jets, King Charles, Stornoway, Funeral For A Friend, We Are The Ocean, Nine Black Alps just to name a few. Take a look: www.twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk

I didn’t know, due to it’s success, but the Latitude Festival is quite recent. It all started in 2006 – it’s as old as my festival history ah! – in Suffolk. I remember last year Bon Iver was performing and I really wanted to be there – got to see him later on in Wembley though. This year you’ll get to see all your artists from July 18th to July 21st.  Apparently the forest plays a big part as the scenery is enchanting and they actually have performing arts all around the festival site. The line up this year counts with: Foals, Bloc Party, Maccabees, Hot Chip, Cat Power, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Local Natives, Yo La Tengo, Jessie Ware, James Blake, Grizzly Bear, Rudimental, Stornoway, Modest Mouse, Alt-J, Beach House and more.( I really want to see Modest Mouse!). Check all about it on www.latitudefestival.com

Around that time, here in London (July 19 to 21) we get to enjoy a more pop vibe with Lovebox. It’s a three-day festival at London’s Victoria Park and you can expect good shows from Plan B, Goldfrapp, Azealia Banks, Jurassic 5, Flying Lotus, Hurts, Rudimental, Paul Kalkbrenner and many more.www.lovebox.net

In Cambridge – yes you guessed it – is the Cambridge Folk Festival. It is the biggest UK folk festival and it happens next month on the 25th until the 28th July. This year you’ll get to enjoy The Mavericks, The Waterboys, Bellowhead, Levellers, Amadou And Miriam,The Staves, The Rambling Boys Of Pleasure, KT Tunstall just to name a few. It is also a bit hippier (does this word exist?) and a laid back ambiance. http://www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk

From July 25th to July 27th the Secret Garden Party in Cambridgeshire will certainly make us fall in love with Regina Spektor, James Lavelle, Rodigan, The Strypes, Willy Mason, Big Youth, Wolf Alice, Django Django and more. It is described as bohemian, chic and hip. They have arts and crafts, theatre and performing arts. I expect The Great Gatsby this year will give it a boost! www.secretgardenparty.com/#!/home – even the website is cool!

Moving on to August we have the BoomTown Fair. Now, in Portugal we have Europes biggest ska/hippie festival. People from Germany travel all the way to enjoy our countryside, drugs (ups) and good vibe! This festival is called Boom. From what I’ve read this is a similar event. There seems to be a lot of reggae, ska and rave vibe to it. In the line up you will find Foreign Beggars, Lee Scratch Perry, Digital Mystikz, Gentleman’s Dub Club, Toots and the Maytals, Ozomatli, Mad Caddies, Mungo’s Hi Fi, Calyx & Teebee, Reso and more. www.boomtownfair.co.uk

The Wilderness festival has always captivated me. They have Shakespearean theatre and loads of art workshops and I just really like the sound of it. Plus, the line ups are always really good. Here what you’ll get to see this year: Empire Of The Sun, Noah And The Whale, Rodriguez, Michael Kiwanuka, Matt Corby, Tom Odell and many more. The event takes place in August from the 9th to the 11thwww.wildernessfestival.com

Now, a festival right up my alley – Set in Brecon Beacons (weherever that is) which is apparently it is one of the best settings for a festival we have the eco friendly, artistical and laid back Green Man. I did not know about it until a short while ago but I loved everything I’ve heard about it. Look at this line up! Kings Of Convenience, Band Of Horses, Ben Howard, Local Natives,  Veronica Falls, James Yorkston, Ólöf Arnalds and many more. Ah! I’ve looked it up and it is in Wales. Here is the website: www.greenman.net

Closer to me, in Essex is the V Festival. It aims to gather the biggest amount of people and they certainly have the names for it: Beyoncé, Kings of Leon, Stereophonics, The Script, Emeli Sandé, Calvin Harris, Beady Eye, Jessie J, Two Door Cinema Club, The Vaccines, Basement Jaxx, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith, James, Rita Ora, The Courteeners, Jason Mraz, Fun, Labrinth, Ellie Goulding, Travis, Kendrick lamar, Of Monsters And Men, Maverick Sabre, DJ Fresh, Jessie Ware, Maximo Park and plenty more. V puts together a brilliant show, gathering names from pop and rock. See more at www.vfestival.com

More to the rock side of life is Reading Festival and Leeds Festival. No artsy cratsy things in there. Good music, good crowds and, hopefully, good weather! , Alt-J, Phoenix, Green Day, Eminem, Biffy Clyro, System of a Down, Chase and Status, Nine Inch Nails, Deftones, Foals and Fall Out Boy are some of the artists you can watch in there. For more info and tickets: www.readingfestival.com and www.leedsfestival.com

If you are one to appreciate a little more DJ-ing than bands, then Creamfields is for you. The Prodigy, Avicii, Tiësto, David Guetta, Groove Armada, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, Above & Beyond, Paul Van Dyk, Eric Prydz, Knife Party are just some of the names but man… Groove Armada and The Prodigy in one venue: WOW! Read more about it here: www.creamfields.com

End of the Road is another relaxed, eco-friendly and well structured festival. It also benefits of an incredible line up of folk indie music that I love so much. Set in the Larmer Tree Gardens the line up is composed of Sigur Rós, Belle And Sebastian, David Byrne & St Vincent, Frightened Rabbit, Warpaint, Dinosaur Jr, Eels, Efterklang, Poliça, Daughter,Savages and I can go on but really, it’s just not good for the heart anymore. Can someone just take me there already? Here’s the website where you can buy our tickets: www.endoftheroadfestival.com

In the Woods is another Festival that has been driving me crazy: one – I had never heard about it this year. Two: the line up won’t be disclosed up until the event. Neither is the location. Whatever you read they say: just outside London. Where??? And who?? Past performances have names like Alt-J and Calvin Harris, so we know it will be good. I just want to know HOW good. The setting on the website is beautiful but tells me nothing. Grr. Here you go, find things out and let me now eheh www.inthewoodsfestival.co.uk

Turns up I write a lot. Just not frequently. Sorry. Feel free to buy me some tickets. If you’re going I wish you an awesome festival, sing, drink, dance and have fun for me!

Claudia