Tiffany Anne Tondut, poet. Photo L.Apichella
On Friday 1 July I was happy to be at ‘Future Vintage’ a live poetry and music event, part of Southbank Centre’s free Friday Lunch series at the Central Bar in Royal Festival Hall.
‘Future Vintage’ – an oxymoron I hear you exclaim?! Not so – as proved by poet Tiffany Tondut and gypsy swing band Ta Mère; both looked to the past for inspiration but who’se infectious live performance was totally tomorrow! As an intern at the London Literature Festival I have had the privilege to see behind-the-scenes of many events – and to date – this has been my favorite!
I walked in to the sound check of this London based gypsy swing jazz band I was transported into the world of tea dresses, silk stockings and natty hats. My foot was tapping from the get go and I loved how all the performers stayed in character throughout the show.
Tiffany Tondut, complete with Veronica Lake curls, sashaying skirt and red-stained mouth started proceedings with a number of her own poems bringing vintage themes relevant to 2011. ‘The Black Lace Dress’, a self-proclaimed parody, started as a period story of possession and seduction. Tondut read with the theatrical voice of a 20s stage actress – the audience leaned forward, captivated.
‘When she wore the black lace dress,
oil lamps hissed as darkness crept:
dusk at noon, midnight at twooooo‘
but as the poem rushed to its close her voice changed, the round tones and glottal stops gone, replaced by the voice of a modern-day lass who couldn’t give a damn:
‘when the black lace dress became worn and torn,
exhausted and forlorn, she shrugged it off
and dressed instead a pair of denim shorts
teamed with a t-shirt she won in a pub quiz of ’99.’’
“The Black Lace Dress” (Published by Forest Poets, 2010) Copyright Tiffany Anne Tondut
Tondut is a regular on vintage and poetry scene and is a captivating performer – follow her blog and see her live for witty, acerbic poems delivered with panache.
Ta Mère performing at Future Vintage. Photo L.Apichella
Nicely sandwiching the poetry were the musical talents of Ta Mère (French for “your mother”) who masterfully manipulated the violin, bass, guitar, harmonica, drums and double bass to fill the Southbank foyer with happy tunes. Even the sound technicians leaned over the balcony to get a good view, and passers-by were drawn into the space by the cheerful energy they emitted. The boys played classic favorites ‘After You’re Gone’ and ‘Is You Is’ accompanied with charismatic violin dancing and arm waving – you should have been there!
Check out their website to hear just how ‘jump up and dance’ their music is. Frontman , Sean MacGloin might have put his finger on why they work so well today: ‘Great music has always been played during hard times. During a recession, music is the one thing that uplifts people and reminds them of the good times.’
This Future Vintage event was attended by all generations and there were few people not dancing in their seats by the end of the set.
If you missed Future Vintage but love all things retro – check out Vintage at Southbank Centre – a three-day party, a big dressing-up box and a collector’s dream, celebrating the 1920s to the 1980s. Friday 29 July to Sunday 31 July.
Also – Win a limited edition dress from iconic 50s textile and dressmakers Horrockses Fashions! (Deadline 11 July)
Filed under: London Literature Festival 2011 | Tagged: band, Literature and Spoken Word, live music, London Literature Festival, Poetry, Southbank Centre, spoken word, Vintage | 1 Comment »