Sara Colohan Londoncalling.com interviews Banbury Cross, Burlesque star.

Banbury Cross: Cirque Du Cabaret InterviewBanbury Cross: Cirque Du Cabaret Interview

Banbury Cross is one of the most recognised and significant performers in contemporary burlesque. She exploded onto the London scene in 2009 and has enjoyed global recognition and praise since the 'Bullet Proof Blonde' brand took to the stage. From May 31st, she headlines Cirque du Cabaret's string of shows as part of the London Wonderground festival. London Calling caught up with her to find out what makes this particular bombshell tick!
London Calling: How did the character of Banbury Cross come about?
BC: Completely by accident, It was at a time in my life where I wasn't sure of my direction. Having graduated with a Theatre degree that was the path that I was trying to force myself down. Burlesque came along and swept me off my feet quite unexpectedly and I have never looked back. The onstage character itself is a mash-up of Marilyn, Mae West and Dixie Evans. 
LC: Where's the most amazing place you've performed?
BC: Anywhere in the US is pretty spectacular to perform at, The stages are HUGE, the crowds are rowdy and the performers are so supportive and complimentary! I hope to spend a lot more time there in the near future. The vintage Spiegeltent in the round is also a favourite.
LC: You are a vintage pin up model and burlesque star - surely you have some time out from the glamorous image . Do you ever have a day off lounging in a track suit?
BC: I’ll dispel the myth, yeah I spend the majority of my time in jeans and a t-shirt, or workout clothes, especially since it's been a long winter and I don't fancy dolling up. In the summer, though, I love to 'pin-up'… Most of my vintage and sex kitten wardrobe was made to be worn in the sun! 
LC: What music makes you want to dance?
BC: Anything and everything! From 20’s jazz, classical opera, dub step, metal, rockabilly, I’m not fussy. I even dance in silence wink
LC: I'm sure you have influences - and it’s impossible not to recognise your remarkable resemblance to Marilyn Monroe - but in the world of burlesque is there a living favourite star you admire?
BC: Kitten Deville, Dixie Evans and Catherine D'lish (to name a few). I'm lucky that so many legends from the 50s are still alive and I have had the pleasure of meeting them and talking to them about the heyday of striptease! 
LC: There's a real synergy between cocktail culture and burlesque and I’m sure you have a favourite but if LC was going to make a 'Banbury Cross special' what would it be?
BC: I suppose anything topped off with Champagne in it is a winner, not least because it’s my signature act– I strip and cover myself with champagne!  I also LOVE tequila so perhaps a variation on the margarita! 
LC: You are really going global in the last couple of years- What's next for you?
BC: I am incredibly honoured to have performed at several prestigious burlesque events including the fantastic New Orleans Queen Of Burlesque pageant and Viva Las Vegas. I have developed a little fan base state side now and hope that I keep getting invited back as it is such an exciting scene and I’m incredibly thrilled to have been invited into it. I’ve also been performing with Cirque du Cabaret since the start of my career so it’s nice to be coming back as one of their finale acts in the Spiegeltent this year.
LC: What is your most treasured possession?
BC: My engagement ring, a deco inspired platinum set 2 carat emerald and diamonds. It's perfect and I couldn't be more proud to wear it on my finger (though it’s currently being repaired so I feel a little, if not MORE, naked) 
Burlesque performer Banbury Cross stars in a series of Cirque du Cabaret shows on the Southbank this summer. See her perform with Cirque du Cabaret HERE
TICKETS are available here for performance dates on May 31st, June 28th, July 19th, Sept 20th and 28th:  Prices range from £17.50 EARLY BIRD, £19.50 and £22 for wonderseats
To enter our competition to win tickets to the show on May 31st and to meet Banbury herself then please click here.

Read more at http://londoncalling.com/features/banbury-cross-cirque-du-cabaret-interview#7Zb7qGPSFLw4cvO0.99 


Sara Colohan writes about Bart&Baker: The Godfathers of Electro Swing — LondonCalling.com

These French electro swing DJs will be getting you on your dancing feet at The Book Club!
Dressed in tuxedos and top hats, Parisian electro swing and vintage mash up DJs Bart&Baker certainly cut a dash. They are not the norm, by anyone’s standards and their homeland of France is certainly rather proud of these chic exports, christening them ‘The Godfathers of Electro Swing’. Bart&Baker only started to DJ professionally back in 2005; prior to that they had very different career paths but the love of music lured Bart from his marketing executive job and Baker from his medical profession. They haven’t looked back since.
The London club scene was quick to embrace their quirky Frenchness back in 2005 and they’ve been performing all over London since, including performances at Cirque du Cabaret in The Pigalle Club, White Mink ClubLove Box Festival 2010 and Bestival last year. This year they make a return visit to what they call their second favourite city, London (second only to their home town of course, Paris) and will perform at The Electric Swing Club at The Book Club. With lots of other DJ talent and some live performances, this internationally famous club night will create a unique fusion of Paris/London Swing.
We spoke to Bart about his particular style of production and taste in music: “We love reinvention, using elements that already exist like vintage music, performance styles and costume so we are able to please or uncover a love of swing with both vintage fans and modern kids. We’ve always been huge fans of London and it’s cutting edge club culture so to be accepted and given such support from so many people has just amazed us. We work with electro swing clubs, vintage themed burlesque clubs, the best of your festivals and it’s thanks to all our UK fans and collaborators for making our journey so exciting so far”.
Bart&Baker have released six mixed compilations on French music label Wagram since 2005, and to coincide with their London trip they have just released their first album of self produced tracks. Their recent collaboration for the album with founder of The Puppini Sisters, Marcella Puppini, resulted in a single Stop Googling Me which will be performed live with Marcella Puppini at The Book Club event.  Bart&Baker describe the song as a “feelgood mixture of Rock Steady & New Orleans sound blessed by some wonderful jazz vocals”.
Marcella Puppini says, ''The most delightful thing about Bart&Baker is that they are genuinely old school. Like Bertie Wooster, they know which hotel bar serves the best Martinis, and which club has the best swing dancers. I always look forward to spending time with them.”

London Calling readers can listen to samples from the Album Introducing Bart&Baker (released on Vinyl and Digital).
Stephen Tuesday Weld aka DJ Clerkenwell Kid seen as the first electro swing specialist in the UK and also famous for some of today’s biggest film scores will be joining Bart&Baker on Saturday April 20th at The Electric Swing Club. The upstairs area will house the vintage music legends from Shellac Collective and More Auntie Maureen’s headphone disco. £5 after 8pm, £10 after 10pm
If you don’t make it to their party in The Book Club, and you find yourself in Paris some night, looking for ideas – Bart&Baker have their own monthly residency at the world-famed Parisian club La Machine du MOULIN ROUGE. See more about the vintage loving duo on their site.
Album download and all Bart&Baker music HERE

Read more at http://londoncalling.com/features/bart-baker-the-godfathers-of-electro-swing#jsd7QkoGOQJQRGxS.99 


Sara Colohan writes about David Armand: Silent Not Deadly… — LondonCalling.com

Sara Colohan writes www.londoncalling.com

David Armand: Silent Not Deadly…

27 March 2013 | Sara Colohan | InterviewsLondon Life

David Armand isn’t exactly a house hold name, but show people a clip of his seriously funny mimes to contemporary songs and they instantly recognise him, and more often than not, instantly love him. Along with appearing in some of our favourite TV shows, April will see him perform at the Leicester Square Theatre as one of the headline acts for international cabaret show Cirque du Cabaret. London Calling’s Sara Colohan asked him a few questions about his interesting career path!

LC: I have a feeling you’d prefer this to be a silent interview – ok if we ask you a few questions?
DA: That's fine, but my voice will have to be spoken by an actor. I'll see if Alan Rickman is available.

LC: Most people know you from the telly Fast and Loose, How Not To Live Your Life and Peep Show – but you are also a cabaret performer and a rather ‘serious’ actor. Would we have seen you in anything recently?
DA: Despite my best efforts, I wouldn't say I was particularly serious, sadly. The most serious thing I've done recently was a play (Absent Friends) in the West End last year. I've been doing a lot of cabaret shows recently and have just starred in a pilot for BBC Three which should be out soon. I'm also a writer, and have been penning bits and bobs for a variety of TV shows.

LC: How did you form your style of mime act, was it an accident air guitaring at home late one night or much more measured?
DA: It couldn't be less measured. It's how I dance when I'm drunk. Always has been. I used to be part of a sketch group (The Hollow Men), and the other three members convinced me to put it in our Edinburgh show one year. I had my doubts that it would work - who wants to see a man flailing about to 90s hits? But it quickly became a huge part of the show. And then it started taking on a life of its own. I think it appeals because there are a lot of other people whose inebriated style of dancing is very similar.

LC: Is there a genre name within mime for what you do – like ‘literal choreography’ or are you unique in the mime world?
DA: I never really described it as mime, I always called it "interpretative dance" instead - which was meant as a joke but sadly wasn't particularly funny. Lots of people have done something similar - Lee Evans for example - but I think I'm unique in taking it so ridiculously seriously.

LC: You performed Torn with Natalie Inbruglia singing live - how did performing at The Secret Policeman’s ball come about? Probably not Natalie’s idea – did she need some convincing?
DA: I got a phone call asking me to perform at the ball, on one condition - that she sing it live alongside me. I thought they were kidding. I had always been terrified that she hated the whole thing and that when I met her she would sue me or punch me in the face or something, but it turned out that she was a big fan. She was incredibly lovely and I turned into a dribbling, squeaking 11 year old around her. It was her idea to join in the mime on the last chorus, and I ended up having to go to her hotel room the night before to teach her how to mime to her own song. It was the most surreal experience of my life. Even now I'm not sure if it only took place in my imagination.

LC: What events have you coming up in London?
DA: A load of stuff! Its all updated on my Facebook page. I’ll be headlining Cirque du Cabaret’s show over at the Leicester Square Theatre on April 20th – performing with some sword swallowers and burlesque ladies. That should be fun!
David Armand appears along with Banbury Cross, sword swallower Jewels and with live music from Elle and the Pocket Belles on April 20th - Leicester Square Theatre. For more information and to book tickets please click here.

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Scroobius Pip written by Sara Colohan for Londoncalling.com

Scroobius Pip: Keeping Himself Busy

21 March 2013 | Sara Colohan |

 EntertainmentLondon Life

Scroobius Pip: Keeping Himself BusyScroobius Pip: Keeping Himself Busy
Scroobius Pip is a Beat Poet, eclectic DJ and possibly the only man to sell his beard on E-Bay
His new Friday night DJ residency at The Book Club is a melting pot of musical diversity.
A night listening to Spoken Word (a form of literary art, where lyrics, poems and stories are spoken rather than sung or written) can strike the fear of God into many of us, conjuring images of being trapped in a basement surrounded by chin stroking beatniks in nylon polo-neck jumpers.
Cult poet John Cooper Clark came to the rescue of the genre in the 70’s and indeed still flies the cool flag for Spoken Word today. Seen as pioneering he was hailed as a genius Punk Poetas he braved the rough unchartered punk scene, reciting breakneck speed original poetry to what was often a hostile audience. He eventually won them over, creating an unprecedented cult status for Spoken Word poetry in the UK and worldwide.
Since John Cooper Clark paved the way, spoken word ‘stars’ have been thin on the ground but in 2006, the rare talent of Essex boy Scroobius Pip emerged. With the help of fellow Essex boy DJ Dan Le Sac he encouraged a whole new generation to acquaint themselves with a post-millennial spoken word scene.
Best described as a Beat Poet, he wrote the widely acclaimed Thou Shalt Always Kill which went viral (chalking up 3.5 million views on Youtube) eventually earning him a record deal with Rob da Bank’s label Sunday Best Recordings. His spoof for X Factor  with Dan Le Sac, created to promote their Letter to God single in 2009 also went viral and cemented their cult cool status.
Scroobius Pip’s solo album Distraction Pieces, was released late 2011 and since then, he’s been hard at work touring a solo spoken word show called ‘Words’ which he developed after his success as headline act in Latitude’s poetry tent 2012. That tour has led him to agreeing dates at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe 2013 and you can see him perform there in August.
‘’ Being a long time lover of stand up comedy I was delighted when comedians I am a huge fan of like Time Key and Brett Goldstein attended the tour along the way. When it was over I caught up with a few of them and they all seemed to feel ‘Words’ would work well at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’’
He will also be appearing at Hill Farm’s Truck Festival in July with dan Le sac.
Back in London, he’s enjoying his eclectic DJ monthly event in The Book Club, East London. Each month the diverse DJ line up changes and the music is as random and eclectic as you could hope for. Donning his lizard mask, the man himself plays a set each month and carefully chooses great warm up and closing Dj’s including Don Letts in April and Annie Nightingale in May to make the night a real gem in London. Remarkably, this night is free (free before 9pm open till 2.30am) So it’s official – there’s still a bargain to be had in Shoreditch!
For more information go to http://scroobiuspip.co.uk/

Read more athttp://londoncalling.com/features/scroobius-pip-keeping-himself-busy#BXDi04igPVymK4uf.99 


Rubberbandits, Soho Theatre January 2013

David Johnson, John Mackay & Soho Theatre present The Rubber Bandits
"The Daily Mail’s nightmare of a feral underclass★★★★ Guardian
"Just the right side of disturbing". ★★★★ Mail on Sunday

"Subversive genius"  ★★★★ Scotsman

Tue 15 Jan – Sat 2 Feb (no shows Sun/ Mon), 9.30pm   Soho Downstairs
15 – 16 Jan £10, 17 Jan - 2 Feb Tues – Thurs £15 (£12.50), Fri – Sat £17.50 (£15)
It hasn’t exactly been an overnight success for The Rubber Bandits, arguably the most potent and relevant Irish comedy duo since, um… Zig and Zag.

That reference really does them a disservice so maybe we can quote a review of their 2012 sell out Edinburgh show:
 ‘They're a Limerick version of Wales's Goldie Lookin' Chain, a pair of whippet-thin lads offering a pop culture and Irish history mashup, seen through eyes blurred by overconsumption of crack and MDMA.’
Brian Logan The Guardian

They’re lewd, crude 'n rude but truly essential comedy for anyone with a penchant for the unique and risqué. By no means is being Irish (the boys are from Limerick - a city in Ireland known by locals as Stab City, due to the high crime rate) a prerequisite to enjoy or understand the political references, comedic timing and clever parodies, however it does make it all the more deliciously irreverent, especially when you hear a song titled ‘Double dropping yokes (ecstasy) with Eamon De Valera’ .

Listen to their songs Bag of Glue (http://youtu.be/EYO2GffqnmI), Blackman (http://youtu.be/RaaZsBxWeiQ ) or Up the RA (http://youtu.be/iBT4ZWy6Lm4) and if you find them offensive, racist or pro IRA then you’re missing the huge dollop of subtext and irony laced in every song. This is current day burlesque, where these talented performers parody their local social discords and leave the audience singing along to their hilarious, ridiculous and often provocative songs.
Expect an audience split of Londoners who love to hear a strong Irish accent in song (or rap) and cool Irish who appreciate this niche satirical viewpoint from these oxymoronic sophisticated ruffians.
This is the very best of Irish humor for 2000's - raw, real and raucous.
 As their Twitter handle states:
" like the tortured breath of Bob Marley that bullies its way through the air and extinguishes the candles on Brendan Behan’s birthday cake" 

'Chalk it down' as unmissable.

SOHO THEATRE 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE
15 January -  2 February (no performances on Sunday/Monday)
Tues 15th & Wed 16th Jan: All tickets £10. Tue- Thurs  £15 (£12.50), Fri  - Sat £17.50 (£15)
Booking 020 7478 0100 www.sohotheatre.com

www.rubberbandits.com             TWITTER:  @rubberbandits