Banksy’s Dismaland: all the glum of the fair

It’s like Stalin’s NKVD have been reborn.

‘Don’t smile!’ snapped the young woman at the airport-style entry to paradise complete with cardboard full-body scanner. Of course, you smile, especially having waited hours to get in. I was delirously chuffed. Again, she growled: ‘Don’t smile!’

The tone was set.

Continue reading Banksy’s Dismaland: all the glum of the fair

Dakh Daughters Band, Lviv

dakh Second time around, and it’s still the best show in the world.

Dakh Daughters Band headed to Lviv in Western Ukraine to play two concerts in what is regarded by many as the spiritual capital of the country.

Here Ukrainian is more widely spoken than Russian than in the east, which is regarded as more Russian.

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The road trip

Up the A4058 from for the latest National Theatre Wales production. Tickets £8. Bargain.  Drive through Ponty along a route through never-ending valley villages, all look the same – where’s the join, why do they have different names? A relentless ribbon of squat miner’s homes, grey pebble-dashed terraces.

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Freaky deaky Dakh

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If this collection of curveball Kyiv kooks and crazies isn’t the best girl band on the planet then my name’s Yuliya Tymoschenko and I demand to be let out of clink.

Don’t think I’ve ever seen such an awe-inspiring show. It was billed as фрiк кабаре – freak-cabaret – and that would seem about right.

In a dark, dank, dilapidated den of a venue seven soulful sisters systematically smashed out a brilliant mix of melancholy gloom and soaring hypnotic vocals and acted out the songs they sang.

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En garde!

No self-respecting blog anywhere should be without a swashbuckling, swaggering swordfight somewhere on its pages.

So here’s one I filmed last June in Kyiv on the day of the England v Italy game. It was part of the folk football festival held in Podil.

It was a bloody cracker!