149 episodes

Country & Town House’s culture editor, Ed Vaizey, and associate editor, Charlotte Metcalf discuss the week’s cultural offerings with a brilliant edit of what you should be watching, reading, listening to, booking and visiting each week. Their roster of high profile guests adds illuminating insight to the current cultural landscape.

Break Out Culture With Ed Vaizey by Country and Town House Country & Town House

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 40 Ratings

Country & Town House’s culture editor, Ed Vaizey, and associate editor, Charlotte Metcalf discuss the week’s cultural offerings with a brilliant edit of what you should be watching, reading, listening to, booking and visiting each week. Their roster of high profile guests adds illuminating insight to the current cultural landscape.

    138. A Joyful Musical Christmas - with choir masters Ben England & Mark Strachan

    138. A Joyful Musical Christmas - with choir masters Ben England & Mark Strachan

    In this final edition, we’re talking to two of the Britain’s most passionate advocates for singing in a choir.  Ben England and Mark Strachan collaborated during the pandemic on the Self-Isolation Choir when thousands joined online from round the world to sing.  Both were awarded British Empire Medals as a result. 

    Today they tell us about Choir of the Earth, which grew out of the Self-Isolation Choir, and all the Christmas festive singing you can join in with. Looking ahead to next year, we hear about the 24-hour Handel’s Messiah in St. George’s Hanover Square and the 24-hour Mozart’s Requiem at St. Gabriel’s Church in Pimlico.  Anyone is welcome to drop in and sing for a small fee to raise money to help rebuild St. George’s crumbling portico and for the Pimlico Music Foundation which encourages children from all backgrounds to sing.  Mark and Ben have gathered a raft of exceptional musicians and conductors, including John Rutter and Laurence Cummings, to join them on these two marathon events.

    We also hear about Game Choir, set up my Mark to encourage gamers to sing and we’re treated to a snippet of Game Choir singing ‘Sweden’ from Minecraft, arranged by St. George’s brilliant organist Richard Gowers. This will raise money for Specialeffect to help people with physical disabilities continue to play video games.  

    Don’t fail to tune into this fascinating discussion about the cultural significance of gaming and the glories and benefits of singing and what Mark and Ben have planned to delight us all this Christmas. 

    • 35 min
    137. Dreamland - A new exhibition exploring fame at the Maddox Gallery with artist Russell Young and curator Maeve Doyle

    137. Dreamland - A new exhibition exploring fame at the Maddox Gallery with artist Russell Young and curator Maeve Doyle

    This week we’re at the new Maddox Gallery on Mayfair’s Berkeley Street, talking to the British-American artist Russell Young about his new exhibition ‘Dreamland’, in which he dissects   the American dream and the dark side of fame.  Also with us is the renowned art critic and broadcaster Maeve Doyle, Global Artistic Director of the Maddox Gallery Group.  

    Russell describes how he appropriates iconic images of famous movie and music stars, many from photographer Terry O’Neill’s archive, then transforms them, using Warholian silkscreen printing techniques and his secret ingredient – diamond dust.  Reimagined images include Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Mick Jagger and Kate Moss.  Russell is known as the pre-eminent interpreter of images of American film and music history and in ‘Dreamland’ he’s looking at themes of seduction, desire, beauty and tragedy under the gloss and glitter of famous icons.  

    It's a fascinating discussion about how America has changed, Russell’s own life and influences (he was born in the north of England) and how the very fame people seek is often their downfall.  

    Russell Young: Dreamland at The Maddox Gallery, Berkeley Street till 7th February

    • 20 min
    136. Gainsborough, Gillray & more - with Rebecca Salter and Tim Clayton

    136. Gainsborough, Gillray & more - with Rebecca Salter and Tim Clayton

    This week we’re at Gainsborough's House in Sudbury, Suffolk. We’re always delighted to discover a true gem away from London and this most certainly is one. Housed in the home where the great 18th century portrait and landscape painter artist Thomas Gainsborough grew up, this is now Suffolk’s largest art gallery and a global study centre for Gainsborough’s work. The house has recently opened its new wing with three new superb and spacious exhibition spaces. 

    We’re talking to Rebecca Salter, the President of the Royal Academy (and the first ever woman to hold the role) about her exhibition of beautiful Japanese-inspired works on show there.   We’re also talking to Tim Clayton, the award-winning historian and broadcaster, who has curated a second exhibition on Gainsborough’s contemporary, James Gillray, ‘father of the political cartoon’. Tim is also Gillray’s biographer and has lots of fascinating insights into Gillray’s life and work.

    The historic house itself is beautifully restored to give an insight into how Gainsborough lived.    There’s a beautiful garden, complete with ancient mulberry tree (given Sudbury is the home of silk), a print workshop, a café and a very good shop.  Plus, there’s a top floor studio to the new wing with panoramic views over the garden and Sudbury. With this meticulously curated collection of Gillray’s prints and Rebecca’s beautiful,  meditative, calming paintings on show, it’s truly worth a visit.

    In View:  Rebecca Salter until 10th March

    James Gillray: Characters in Charicature until  10th March 

    • 23 min
    135. Edward VIII Reassessed - with Jane Marguerite Tippett

    135. Edward VIII Reassessed - with Jane Marguerite Tippett

    We talk to the young American archivist and writer who stumbled across hitherto unused material from Edward VIII’s personal archives and autobiographical notes, including his scribbled opinions about Wallis Simpson.  

    Jane Marguerite Tippett’s  new book about, ‘Once a King: The Lost Memoir of Edward VIII’ has been published to much acclaim, for being beautifully written, immaculately researched and for drawing timely parallels between the situations of Edward and Wallis and Harry and Meghan. She’s also ruffled the feathers of more established biographers of Edward VIII for being the first to recognise that pencil notes in the Charles Murphy Archives at Boston University and in the Royal Archives had not been mined before.  Coming across it changed the direction of the book she set out to write and she says the newly discovered material speaks for itself, presenting Edward VIII in a new light.  Listen in to find out how.

    • 30 min
    134. WOMEN IN REVOLT! Tate Britain’s new exhibition with curator Linsey Young and artist Marlene Smith

    134. WOMEN IN REVOLT! Tate Britain’s new exhibition with curator Linsey Young and artist Marlene Smith

    ‘Women in Revolt!’ is an important and exciting new exhibition featuring work by over 100 feminist artists created between 1970 and 1990. Alongside work by well-known artists is work rarely seen before, by women who have been marginalised or left outside the artistic narrative. With us to tell us all about the exhibition are Linsey Young, Curator of British Contemporary Art at Tate Britain since 2016, and British artist and curator, Marlene Smith, a key figure in the British Black Arts movement.  

    We discover what drove Linsey to mount this exhibition and why it’s been arranged in chronological order, beginning with the first National Women’s Liberation Conference in Oxford and the Miss World Protests and ending during the Thatcher administration.

    This is a furiously vibrant, joyful, exciting and explosive exhibition that shows how women artists changed the face of British culture, paving the way for a new generation. Not to be missed!

    ‘Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK 1970-1990’ at Tate Britain until April 2024

    • 24 min
    133. Beyond Theatre - with Robert Bathurst and Trish Wadley

    133. Beyond Theatre - with Robert Bathurst and Trish Wadley

    We’re at The Coach and Horses in Soho with actor Robert Bathurst, much loved for his roles as David Marsden in Cold Feet, and Mark Taylor in Joking Apart, and with theatre producer Trish Wadley.  Robert is reprising his title role in Keith Waterhouse’s Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and tells us what fun it is to perform in the very venue where the late Jeffrey Bernard spent much of his later years propping up the bar.

    Trish Wadley has long championed immersive theatre, staging the Tennessee Williams hotel plays in three different rooms in a Holborn hotel before transferring them to the Langham Hilton.  She’s the first producer ever to stage a play inside London’s Natural History Museum and persuaded them to build a 350-seat venue for a play about Charles Darwin.  She also staged Insignificance, about an imaginary meeting between Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein in a Fifth Avenue hotel - in a Fifth Avenue hotel room.  Ever inventive, her company Trish Wadley Productions has just produced a lean, mean, fast and furious version of Othello with Iago’s complex and conniving character played by three actors on the stage at the same time.

    Trish and Robert enthuse about how liberating and interesting it is for audiences and performers alike to be outside the restrictions of conventional theatre.  And if Robert’s stories are anything to go by, playing Jeffrey Bernard in The Coach and Horses has its fair shares of excitements and hazards too.

    Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell plays at the Coach and Horses until 21st November http://www.defibrillatortheatre.com

    https://trishwadleyproductions.com

    • 25 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
40 Ratings

40 Ratings

Jennisprudence ,

Gem

Have just found this podcast and it is such a gem! Love that this space exists

Vivien7700 ,

Another excellent episode. #5 + all the rest!

Still enjoying this podcast immensely after a year. So many interesting guests! Charlotte and Ed interview everyone in such a friendly way teasing out all sorts of fascinating information from them. Brilliant! VM

Well done on another excellent episode! You certainly get some good guests to interview and these two didn’t disappoint. They were both extremely interesting and also seemed like very nice people.

Thanks for alerting me to Missan Harriman and his work. What a great person he is. I am also looking forward to visiting Eltham Palace which I’ve only so far seen on Antiques Roadshow and I’ve downloaded the Blue Plaque app - what a great idea to be able to get more information about the individuals commemorated.

Looking forward to the next episode!

Fi dog ,

Such Fun

In the midst of miserable lockdown, I get my weekly injection of interest/amusement/culture to inspire and cheer me along. A walk along the Thames with Charlotte and Ed on my AirPods, making me laugh out loud and scurry home to check out their recommendations on the internet, and a fantastic source of discussion with friends and family when frankly there isn’t much news or interest apart from cases and deaths and vaccines.
Ed and Charlotte add a personal dynamic to the discussions which give you the impression that anything could be said, and interviews fly off on wild tangents -I suspect this is an illusion as the whole show flows professionally and some one (charlotte?) obviously does a lot of research to unearth new and exciting material. I hope they keep going when we do actually break-out!

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