Scarlett Raven: ‘The Eleventh Hour’ Private view in Mayfair

2 Oct

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Central St Martins graduate Scarlett Raven was joined by celebrity fans and VIPs for the debut of her new collection at Castle Fine Art in Mayfair.

Last week, (Thursday 25th) fans and art lovers alike came together at Castle Fine Art, Mayfair to view Scarlett’s newly unveiled collection, which celebrates the meaning of flowers, in particular the humble poppy.

Scarlett was joined by TV personality, Kate Thornton, British singer songwriter Judie Tzuke, as well as Grammy award winning pop sensation, Duffy.

At just 27 years old, Scarlett is a rising star on the contemporary art scene and has already gained the support of celebrity fans such as Orlando Bloom, Take That and Lord Jonathan Marland, who are all avid collectors of her work.

The collection, which features thirty three unique pieces, includes a painting that will be donated to the Royal British Legion, and it will be auctioned to raise funds for the Poppy Ball on 30th October.

Working closely with Blippar, an augmented reality app, Scarlett’s Royal British Legion painting is an interactive piece of art, which allows audiences to experience the deconstruction and the processes behind her artwork from start to finish. This enabled guests and clients to experience Scarlett’s artwork through an engaging and immersive medium.

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Helen Roden, Castle Fine Art, Mayfair’s gallery manager, said: “We are so pleased to unveil Scarlett Raven’s bold new collection to our clients and fans of her work.

“It is particularly poignant in this, the centenary of the beginning of World War I that she has chosen the poppy as the centrepiece of her work.

“It is an incredibly emotive collection, so it comes as no surprise that Raven’s work has already had a lot of interest, including a growing celebrity fan base.”

Having already been cited as a ‘Van Gogh in the making’, Raven’s vivacious attitude towards life and nature is reflected in her artwork.

Her unique abstract technique of intricately incorporating everyday items such as rope, wood, fabric and wax into her artwork create pieces that hold the most fragile of meanings despite their heavy structure.

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Speaking of her debut, Scarlett said: “I can’t believe how incredibly lucky and thankful I am to be able to display my ‘Eleventh Hour’ collection at Castle Fine Art in Mayfair.

“This collection is my most emotive and ambitious yet and the growth of poppy fields amongst our fallen soldiers truly ignites the passion of the public and remains closely rooted in our consciousness as a symbol of remembrance.

“I am so overwhelmed and moved by the amount of support I have received during the launch of my collection and all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Scarlett Raven’s new collection is now on display at Castle Fine Art, Mayfair (address 24 Bruton Street, W1J 6QQ) and is free of charge to view until 11 October.

For more information please visit http://www.castlefineart.com or telephone the gallery directly on 020 3588 0011.

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Book Review: Playing my Love by Angela Peach

28 May

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If you like intense romance and well drawn out characters that you can actually care about – then Playing my Love is the book for you. A lesbian love story set against a believable back drop, Playing my Love is a down to earth romance novel and a massively engaging read.

Alison and her husband Grey have moved to the country due to a devastating change of circumstances which will impact both of their lives. As Alison comes to terms with how her life will change she meets the much younger student Darcy, who seems to understand and bring her out of her depression. A passionate attraction develops between them but also an all consuming love that neither of them expect. As their relationship develops tentatively – over some pretty hot guitar lessons – Alison must hold back due to her marriage to Grey and the secret she is keeping from Darcy about him.

Playing my Love is certainly a tender novel full of romance but also some laughs, and characters that made me read the whole book through in one sitting – I literally couldn’t put it down. The rocky journey of the two main characters, both holding back their feelings from each other, is an equally gripping story-line. Unfortunately there’s a couple of plot holes, or I possibly just didn’t relate to the character’s motives, but this didn’t stop my enjoyment of the book – I was hooked on Alison and Darcy’s whirlwind romance from the start.

The book has two alternate endings which I have to say I wasn’t a fan of, while they were both good reads they stopped the flow of the book and my engagement with the characters. 

Overall however Playing my Love is a great read, perfect for any holidays you’ve got planned lazing on the beach, or cheering up your afternoon on a rainy day in London!

Playing my Love is available through our bookshop!

http://www.girlguidelondon.co.uk

6 Signs You Should Run from the Bitch

19 May

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by Anisa Easterbrook

So you’ve found a new girl, she seems pretty cool, likes the things you like, your friends like her and you may even fall for the girl. Hold up. Before giving your all and promising her the world there are a few alarm bell signs that you should be aware of. Everyone has flaws, embrace them, but after a series of unfortunate relationships, I obliged to warn other fellow lesbians when it is time to just stop, think and run from the bitch.

 

1. Possessiveness

This should be an alarm bell but not to be confused with protecting or caring. BUT if your new girl is checking your phone and asking who you are messaging within the first few weeks of meeting, this is a sign that something is just not right. Possessiveness means insecurity and insecurity leads to all sorts of problems. When a girl is super insecure it means they are constantly on edge that you are going to leave them or cheat and there’s nothing you can do or say to make them feel differently. Everyone has their insecurities but just be careful to notice when it’s extreme or not.

 

2. Confused about their sexuality

I realise this may be an obvious one but just bear in mind if you are a girl’s ‘first’ you carry a lot of responsibility. It’s a confusing time for them, we’ve all been there but she could freak out and either completely latch onto you fast or more likely run away from both you and her sexuality. So hold back a bit, take things slow and try not to get too attached just yet.

 

3. Leaving shit in your room

Okay, so she may have just genuinely have accidently left something in your room but if you start to feel like it’s intentional and 3 days after meeting her – run from dat bitch man! In my experience, it can be anything from an earring, a top or even shoes. This is a controlling method of when they can next see you. They might be like ‘well I really need [insert item left] this back for work’ or whatever and therefore be the deciders of when they can and can’t see you.

 

4. Hard-core Druggies and Raging Alcoholics

Yeah. Stay away from them. And don’t try and do that weird thing where you think you can ‘save’ her. You can’t.

 

5. Sob stories on first date

If this bitch is crying to you about some horrendous, tragic life story within the first few times of meeting her and she is not wasted, it may just be time to run from the bitch. The sob story type of girl is constantly seeking attention and this will eventually get on your tits and you’ll tire of constantly being like ‘oh babe. I’m so sorry’. It’s weird. Most people will not share personal traumas until you know them really well.

 

6. Lesbians who enjoy male attention

If your girl has a small army of male followers be a little weary, they may just be her mates but mates don’t constantly flirt or make sex jokes with each other. If your girl is this type she’ll flirt with men on nights out and it’ll become really fucking annoying. Run from dat bitch.

 

So girls, the last bit advice of you I have to offer of surviving London as a lesbian is: if you’re serious about it, look at their past relationships; how long ago did they break up? Have all of their relationships been short-lived? If so you gotta wonder why. And.. listen and watch how I met your mother – I’m not kidding – The hot-crazy scale is a thing. Study it religiously. Make sure she’s hotter than she is crazy.

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Review: Miss Dynamite @ MissFit Easter Thursday

23 Apr

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The bank holiday weekend was heralded in by the MissFit girls in style with a special party featuring Miss Dynamite. We headed down there for some 90’s vibes, pop and DnB Miss Dynamitee-ee style.

MissFit put on a flurry of nights over the bank holiday in what must have been a tequila fuelled extravaganza, starting Thursday through to Sunday – not sure how they survived!  Miss Dynamite was the first of the parties at trendy Blueberry Bar in Shoreditch.

I’m afraid I have to say the £15 “early bird” ticket fee seemed a bit steep, especially as I have seen Miss Dynamite live for less… but in the holiday spirit I bought tickets knowing the night would be fun.

I wasn’t disappointed, Blueberry bar was a great venue and the music was pumping with top 90’s tunes by the time we arrived, getting everyone on the dance floor.

Unfortunately however the night got off to a slightly rocky start with a less than warm welcome from the lady on the door. After ignoring us as we came in were then shouted at for trying to enter the bar… She stamped each of our wrists and after putting our coats away we tried to enter the bar once more and were duly shouted at AGAIN – this time for not showing her the stamps she had just inked onto our wrists not two minutes before. I wasn’t impressed – when spending money on a night out I expect a nicer welcome!

But enough of that. The night certainly got better and soon enough I was dancing to some great tunes. There was a fun crowd there with girls chatting away and dancing, the bank holiday vibe clearly helping everyone to relax and enjoy themselves.

At about 1.30 Miss Dynamite came on and all of a sudden I found myself at the back of the room having been stampeded by a pretty eager crowd! Miss Dynamite didn’t disappoint – she put on an energetic and fun performance, opening with her classics  “Dy-na-mi-tee” and “It Takes More”. Then came some newer songs but still equally as popular with the crowd such as “What you talkin bout”. Some early sound problems held up proceedings but she handled them quickly and easily. There was massive helpings of Garage, Drum & Bass and of course soulful singing and rapping from Dynamite. Mid-way through the set an impromptu rap-come-poem celebrating women hushed the crowd; there was no music just words – it was a great moment. But then it was back to business as usual with Dynamite jumping and dancing around the stage, getting the whole crowd dancing with her.

All in all it was a great night out and a fitting, if slightly expensive start to the bank holiday.

Review: Lesbian Prom

1 Apr

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What can we say that hasn’t already been said about Lesbian Prom? We realise this review is late… to be fair it’s been all systems go in the Girl Guide London camp; we’ve been tweeting, attending events, checking out new sites (more on that later!) and by the time we realised we had shamefully not written our review of the Prom so many articles and praises had already been put out there. We could just not bother – it’s pretty late in the day – but this review has to be written, it needs to be written, not just for us but for you – we just have to say how much fun we had at Lesbian Prom!

Organised by the girls behind MissFit – Effi Mai Paul and Sandra Davenport, they brought their relaxed and upbeat vibe to the party, roped in some excellent acts and ensured the night was a success.

Taking over every inch of popular – and massive – London venue Scala, Lesbian Prom was an ambitious undertaking, but the MissFit girls nailed it. There were four rooms of acts and DJs, including the popular Boi Box (@BoiBoxSoho) with Adam All Drag and Apple Derrieres overseeing some great drag cabaret fun. Elsewhere the hugely talented Lauren Mayberry from fab band Chvrches DJ’d playing some corking tunes and keeping the crowds dancing.

The main room was a sea of dancing lesbians (this was definitely my kind of night!) and things really kicked off when Charlie XCX and band got going at about 1 am. The leading lady looked amazing wearing retro sunglasses indoors (as you do) and dancing around the stage insanely, the crowd loving it.

We managed to bag VIP tickets so of course had to check out the bar and enjoy our free glass of bubbly and goody-bag (complete with Sh! Women’s Store bullet – my kind of goody bag).

Coming down from our VIP castle, girls were having fun all over the venue, there were some fantastic outfits with partiers really making an effort and going for the Prom theme – so tuxes and pink dresses galore! I felt pretty swish in my silk bowtie and shirt I have to say!

All in all a fantastic success of a night! It’s great that MissFit are putting on these types of parties; Lesbian Prom was not only a crazy-fun night out just for us girls, in my opinion it’s helped put the London lesbian scene squarely back on the map. Bring on Lesbian Prom 2!

 

http://www.girlguidelondon.co.uk

Review: SHE Bar Soho

25 Feb

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Review by Anisa Easterbrook

As we all know and are truly sad about, our hometown Candy Bar closed down towards the end of last year. However, ‘out of the ashes’ a host of new bars and nights have opened up centrally, including ‘She’, launched in January. Run by girls only and found in the heart of Soho – the first lesbian bar on Old Compton Street – ‘She’ is helping save the Soho lesbian club scene.

I rocked up on Valentine’s Day to check out the new venue (and stop myself from drinking a bottle of wine to myself whilst crying to Adele). The door is discreet and if it weren’t for the queue of buzzing girls lined up I might’ve missed it. Everyone was excited to see the new go-to place.

The time passed quickly and soon enough I was heading down the steep stairs descending into what looked like a lesbian haven. So many girls.

Okay, so the bar is smaller than Candy, but it surprisingly fits a lot of people. Les-be-honest though, the smaller the venue the closer you can get to the hot girl you’ve been eyeing up all night.

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The bar is split into two different sections. It is a dimly lit bar and lined with cute little glass tables, candles and faux leather chairs creating a classy, romantic atmosphere. Walk into the next room however and you’ll enter a steamy, rammed bar and dance floor.

Drinks prices are reasonable for central at £4.20 for a vodka mixer and £3.70 for bottled beer. The bar also has a varied cocktail menu and Sunday to Thursday it is 2-4-£10 on selected cocktails!

DJ Hazel Soze was the lady of the night on the decks and she blared out some pop chart toppers which got everyone up and grinding.

While Saturday nights showcase top DJ’s, weekdays at ‘She’ are filled with the best of the old Candy Bar events, including indie night Chick Habit and drag cabaret party Boi Box. ‘She’ should be a great new home to those missing Candy Bar.

Soho, do not despair, ‘She’ has lived up to expectations and faith in the Soho lesbian community surviving has been restored.

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http://www.girlguidelondon.co.uk

Review: Winter Pride

12 Feb

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London’s first ever Winter Pride took place last week and we were there to find out what all the hype was about!

It was a long trip to Wapping Tobacco Dock where the party took place but we were definitely convinced it was the right venue when we arrived. Utilising every inch of the Tobacco Dock warehouse Winter Pride certainly did feel like a festival – indoors!

The warehouse was completely transformed with stages, attractions, displays and stalls. A games room complete with ping pong tables was flanked by a mini market and art instillation room. Walking around there were some fantastic acts on stage, dancing or performing burlesque in some amazing costumes. Over the top drag queens and performers roamed through the party giving the place a festival-magic feel.

A range of different rooms hosted some popular LGBT parties including Salsa night Exilio, One Love, Work and – my favourite –  Popstarz. DJ El Conchitas kept the party going in the Popstarz room playing some crowd pleasing pop, RnB and 90’s classics.

Refreshingly there were a lot of women at the party, in my view possibly outnumbering the men! This was pretty exciting for me, and is probably thanks to the hard work of event organiser Nicola Chubb (CODE, L-Wired), and her popular lesbian parties.

A couple of things let Winter Pride down in our opinion, firstly the lack of toilets! This was kind of a serious issue with only ten toilets to be found for well over a thousand people. The queues were long, but on the flip side I met some great people – nothing brings people together quite like a long wait in a toilet queue! Secondly the large venue meant that some areas felt empty, which didn’t help with the atmosphere. If Winter Pride carries on however we’re sure it will get even more popular, and these empty areas will be filled. Just make sure there’s enough toilets! (Have we talked about the toilets enough..?)

Overall however we loved the party and had an amazing gay-fuelled night. It was so much like a festival we thought it could have benefited from starting earlier and being more of a day event – with activities and attractions that went into the evening party. Just an idea guys!

We hope Winter Pride will be back next year. It was an awesome party on a scale I’ve not come across before and with so much effort and attention to detail! Organisers should be proud of themselves. They certainly gave Summer Pride a run for it’s money!

http://www.girlguidelondon.co.uk

Review: MissFit

28 Jan

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Review by Anisa Easterbrook, Photography: Tania Mundell

MissFit’s policy of ‘no dickheads’ does not reflect who can and can’t come through the door. East London’s new lesbian night held in the basement of Stoke Newington’s ‘Stokey Stop’ nightclub is open to straight, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

I don’t know if this is a problem for other lesbians, but living in halls my friends often complain about not being able to join me on lesbian nights due to strict door policies. This event is ideal for East London’s girls and their friends who do not fancy trekking half the city for a decent night out!

I arrived at around 11 while it was still pretty quiet but this allowed me to get a good look at the venue. Come 11:30 however, the floor was filled with stylish East end girls rocking snapbacks, spiked leather jackets, vibrant hair and bandanas. All round the club had a very chilled atmosphere created by the diverse crowd in both age and style.

The basement is intimate but not cramped. The dim lighting and comfortably sized room allows the crowd to rub elbows and chat a little bit more with each other.

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Being a student means I’m pretty broke all the time so if you’re in the same predicament as me, fear not, MissFit has free entry for the whole of January and after this month it will only be £3 at the door – so still super cheap. The drinks prices are also fairly reasonable at only £4.20 a vodka mixer, plus drinks deals on beers and cocktails.

The music is brought to us by Ruby Tuesdays resident DJ – Sandra D who plays a concoction of old school pop, 90’s RnB (yes Sean Paul came on) and chart music.  Also this week was guest DJ Caz Coronal who really got the party going with a great set – there were top tunes spanning from 90’s rock to current pop faves.

The night ends at 2 am but if you’re not ready to go home yet you can always head on down to an after-party at Dalston Superstore. Depending on the event, Superstore is usually open until the early hours of the morning.

If all this hasn’t sold you yet, there is a Dixie’s chicken shop directly opposite the club. That’s right, no travelling to get your drunken, cheeky fix of greasy fried foods.

So, Soho girls, if you’re looking for a change from your usual scene I highly recommend venturing away from central and checking out this quirky and alternative night.

http://www.girlguidelondon.co.uk

GGL Run down of 2013

28 Dec

It’s been a busy year on the scene in lesbian London! There’s been a lot of changes, highs and lows. Here’s our run down of 2013.

Theatre and Film

LGBT Theatre and in particular female leading casts and lesbian themed films were centre stage this year. Halbwelt Kultur was a hugely popular show based on the women of the Weimar Republic and dealing with some famous lesbian relationships, this show went from strength to strength this year. Then there was the Canne’s Palme, d’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour, a coming of age tale realistically depicting a lesbian relationship warts and all which wowed audiences everywhere. Other theatre mentions include Sappho and Spring Tide.

Candy Bar announces it’s closing

The iconic Candy Bar announced this year that it will be closing it’s doors in Jan 2014 after an increase in rent and the economic downturn meant that it could not feasibly stay open in future. Candy Bar has been open since the 1990’s and became the most popular lesbian bar in London. It has a variety of nights on appealing to a range of tastes and a few years ago featured in a documentary about lesbians in London, ‘Candy Bar Girls’. It was recently taken over by the Ku bar group and refurbished but despite all of this tough economic times still got the better of it.  Never fear however! Candy Bar will be moving to the Ku Bar on Frith Street! So no need to panic ladies, Candy Bar’s new incarnation will be with us soon with a host of parties in Soho for women!

New bars and nights

A host of exciting and innovative new nights appeared this year including the fun and fancy free TLC, the concept night, Create, and new east London night Culture Clash. Plus of course new bar Labels on Frith Street – another great space for lesbians in the heart of Soho.

Special mentions

Lot’s of exciting parties have been on for lesbians this year making 2013 a more eclectic one for lesbians looking for great nights out. Chica Bonita appeared at Candy Bar with it’s special brand of female party, celebrating women with some very talented dancers and performers. Unskinny Bop moved back to it’s spiritual home at the Star of Bethnal Green pub and is still going strong as one of the best queer nights on the scene. Live music night Chick Habit at Candy Bar managed to bag Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry for a DJ set, and band HAIM. Cabaret and queer nights took hold at Candy Bar with Adam All Drag’s (@AdamAll_Drag) special brand of party – Boi Box. Other nights still drawing in the London lesbian crowd in droves include our faves Southbank Surfing, Bijou Cocktail Social and Bar Wotever.

Looking forward

Next year should see some fantastic nights lined up including the Lesbian Prom in March – a huge event at Scala; plus the first ever Winter Pride from the L-Wired ladies. With Candy Bar moving to Frith street we can’t wait to see what nights they’ll have on for us there, plus who knows what’s in store all over London?? We’ll be sure to let you know!

Girl Guide London – the definitive guide to lesbian london

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Review: Blue Is The Warmest Colour

29 Nov

In my entire life, I’ve only ever seen four films with lesbian relationships at their core in a mainstream cinema. Four. So to say I was intrigued to see this year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Colour would be an understatement. A French coming-of-age love story between two women, the film has made headlines for its subject matter, its seven-minute sex scene and its harsh director. But I went into Blue Is The Warmest Colour with an open mind and an empty bladder – I made sure of this, what with it being three hours long…

Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue is the warmest colour

The story goes thusly: Adele is 17 and in her final year at school. She has a boyfriend but is struggling with her sexuality, confiding to a gay friend that she feels like “she’s faking it.” She goes with him to a gay bar and meets blue-haired Emma who’s in her final year of a Fine Arts degree. They develop a friendship, have intense conversations about philosopy and art (as only French films do) and eventually end up together and in bed, having frantic, volcanic sex in the film’s much-discussed extended sex scene.

I was dreading the sex scenes: after all, what does a straight director know about lesbian sex? But my fears were unfounded. Sure, the sex might not be entirely accurate, but it is raw, intense and alive and thus goes some way to depicting the overwhelming nature of a defining first love. Plus, it’s not at all what you take away from the film – that honour goes to heartache.

Despite what the reviews and the snide comments would have you believe, the film is not about sex which takes up around ten minutes of a 180-minute film. The film is about coming-of-age and realisation, it’s about a character-defining intense relationship that stutters to life, is all-consuming and then, gradually, falls apart, leaving its two key protagonists changed forever. It’s about that love in your life that you never quite get over.

Is it too long at three hours? Yes of course it is. It takes almost an hour for Adele to meet Emma but their relationship and their intoxicating passion is beautifully depicted by both actresses (Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos). The film is also packed with drawn-out close-ups and if you’re uncomfortable watching people eat, take a strong stomach as there are a whole lot of oysters and spaghetti involved.

In the end though, director Abdellatif Kechiche has managed to create a truly special piece of cinema, even if it is at times indulgent and overlong. Sadly, both Seydoux and Exarchopoulos complained about mistreatment on set and have stated they will never work with Kechiche again. Given that, it’s even more remarkable they were able to make the moving film they have.

Reposted from the Blog of Clare Lydon.  Please pop over and follow for more from Clare and/or to share –  Clare Lydon’s blog  >>>

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