#Tribe17 International Arts Festival

Conference season is over, and the politicos have all returned to their occupations, or went to their own beds suffering from the effects of the infamous Conference Flu, which in my case predates conference but the in-out from hot and busy buildings into the cold and damp air of Manchester definitely didn’t help. Anyhow, it is back to Croydonia and the hustle and bustle of the local elections, somewhat re-energised in spirit from the proceedings of party conference in a way that my significant lack of physical energy would never suggest. The change in the PM now that the closest team has changed is very tangible, she seems more positive and more human and her husband is lovely, by the way. I feel like I need to make a point of it because when the PM is a man married to a woman the first lady gets so much attention, although a lot of it is negative and from the Daily Mail judging her clothes and how much weight she put on or lost. I think he deserves some positive attention too, as he has the difficult role of being the spouse of a powerful person, and that’s one supportive role if ever one was written (having said that, I have watched S01 of The Outlander while ill and Black Jack Randall is a brilliant character, and Tobias Menzies is brilliant in it, although I could have done without the TMI in ep16…). Anyway, contrary to the narrative in a lot of the media, the conference was largely a success, the fringes were swinging as always, the overpriced G&Ts at the lobby bar were flowing and the free wine was at every reception (including back at the Youth Reception, which was packed). We intend to soldier on and do what we do best, get on with the job. Grant Shapps included, although nobody is entirely clear what his job is anymore…the jester?

However, if you miss being in a big space with a lot of strangers and are in London fret not, I have the remedy for you. And if you aren’t a politico with conference blues you might be interested in this as well. Over the next few days (12th to 15th October, from 10 to 6pm) the #Tribe17 International Art Festival will be taking place at the OXO Bargehouse (which isn’t the tower, be careful). In its 3rd year, this festival run by Chrom-Art (a social enterprise whose aim is to connect emerging artists and art enthusiasts, and make the arts market more accessible) will be showcasing “over 200 international and UK-based artists from the world of contemporary art, music, and performance” in what sets out to be an energy-filled, family-friendly, cross-disciplinary show. I know what you are thinking, the Tory girl who is basically Roger Scruton talking about modern art and an exhibition that isn’t snobs, champers and canapées? Indeed I am. While my opinion of so-called artists with no aesthetic merits trying to be edgy and creative for the sake of it, with no meaning behind it, is nothing new, I’m also a known fan of Jackson Pollock and anyway I don’t think that anything made after 1860 is rubbish a priori. I can be wowed by a light installation as much as the next person (if not more, I really like lights…). There’s a painting of a fox kept at Matthew’s Yard that is just so good, but I digress…

This year’s theme is love, and as much as I made a profession out of being single, I am quite enamoured (pardon the pun) with the concept, the theory and all the romantic drama of the poets and dramaturgists (yes, I know Romeo and Juliet were just horny teenagers…). So that’s already a plus for me. Their concert, in which you will experience sound and spatiality around a philarmonic orchestra playing pieces about love from our most beautiful musical tradition sounds like a great event (Saturday at 4pm). It may be unusual compared to sitting in the Royal Albert Hall but maybe it’s fun. It reminds me of the episode of Downton Abbey when they tried to show Downton on parade and ended up with an indoors pic-nic, which is comedy gold by the way. If you haven’t watched it you should.Anyway the catalogue itself contains some gems. To look out for, in my not-so-humble opinion the work of Izabela Kulman, Nicolas Eftychiou, Plácido Rodríguez, Sal Jones, Samantha Reilly (if you want a bit of a 1976 throwback), Amy Oliver, Andrea Chisesi and Aneta Kosin in particular, but I’m sure there’s more to enjoy or critique. There are still some free tickets for the 10am sessions, so it looks like it’s going to be a popular event.

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