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CONGRATULATIONS to Prince William and Kate Middleton on their big day!
It’ll be information overload for a few weeks. But here are the facts you really want to know! (Perhaps. ).
* Although only 29 years of age, Kate will be the oldest bride to marry into the Royal Family. Princess Diana, was barely 20 years old when she married Prince Charles in 1981. Statistics show that marrying at this age means that Will and Kate are less likely to divorce.
* William and Kate are 12th cousins once removed according to The Daily Mail (!) (ancestor Sir Thomas Leighton) or 15th cousins (descended from Sir Thomas Fairfax) according to other sources – from the 16th century.
* David Cameron wants the nation to “get on and have fun and celebrate our country” this Friday, advising councils to allow the British public to throw street parties. Around 4000 applications for street-party licenses were received and an estimated 2 million people will be celebrating on the streets.
* Among the 1,900 guests include (make of this what you will!) Victoria and David Beckham, rugby coach Clive Woodward, comedian Rowan Atkinson, director Guy Ritchie, Kanye West, the landlord of Kate’s local pub, TV presenter Ben Fogle….as well as two of Kate’s exes and four of William’s (including Jessica Craig, Olivia Hunt, and Rupert Finch…heterosexual pairings btw! ).
* Around 40 foreign royals have been invited, including the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the Sultan of Brunei, the Emperor of Japan, and kings of Malaysia, Tonga, and Thailand.
* President Obama has not been included due to the high costs of additional security, but will visit the UK in May for a royal dinner and ball to pay his respects to the newlyweds. Sarah Ferguson has also been snubbed, oh dear. :-/
* Senior Royals and dignitaries will be shuttled between Buckingham Palace and Westminister Abbey in minibuses…not Prince Charles though, he’ll be chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce style. (Get him! ).
* Male military guests will be required to wear their armed forces dress uniform, while women have been advised to wear elegant afternoon dresses with or without a smart coat or hat.
* Prince William’s Mum got married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. Like Princess Diana, Kate is following in her would-be mother-in-law’s footsteps by not promising ‘to obey’.
* The Wales-Middleton union will be the 15th royal wedding conducted during the 1,000-year history of the Collegiate Church of St Peter, Westminster, to give Westminster Abbey its formal name. Victoria’s granddaughter, Patricia of Connaught, chose to marry her naval aide-de-camp Alexander Ramsay in 1919. Only then did the trend for 20th-century royal weddings begin.
* Prince William and Kate Middleton are said to have chosen the abbey for its beauty, historic and recent personal royal connections and intimacy.
* In particular, Prince William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales had her emotional funeral service here. 29th April 2011 will surely be an important day for him in many ways when he places a wedding ring next to his mother’s engagement ring on his bride’s finger.
* After the royal couple’s first press conference, Kate wants to be known as Princess Catherine. If she and William make it to the throne, Kate will be the sixth Queen Catherine of England. (Get her! ).
* William and Kate are allegedly going to be the first royal couple to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement.
* William and Kate’s wedding reception will have 600 chosen guests enjoying a lunchtime buffet – his parents celebrated with a 120-guest breakfast hosted by the Queen.
* Kate will spend her last night as a single woman at The Goring Hotel in Belgravia – the Queen Mother called it her favourite hotel and in 1952 most Royal guests for the Queen’s coronation stayed there.
* William will not wear a ring but Kate will wear a gold ring passed down to William from the Queen, traditionally sourced from the Clogau St David’s mine at Bontddu in North Wales.
* Lookalike agencies can be in huge demand. And having ‘Wills & Kate’ on the books could be the holy grail of all lookalikes. Easyjet recently ran a competition, the 2 winners of which winning free flights for a year (Wills & Kate on Easyjet?!) Out of 20 finalists, Simon Watkinson, 29, from London and Orsola Rossi, 29, from Milan have been crowned the most convincing Prince William & Kate Middleton lookalikes across the whole of Europe. Simon and another Kate lookalike – Jodie Bredo – feature in this T-Mobile Royal Wedding viral ad…love the song choice!
* It’s the Royal wedding of media firsts — first to be announced on Twitter, have a soundtrack released online within hours of the service and the first Royal wedding to have its own flood of smartphone apps. But no 3D… this time. All guests have been warned to switch off mobiles during the service and NOT to update Twitter. (Ha! Hopefully! We’ll see! )
* The royal couple have asked their guests donate to charity instead of buying gifts – one of 26 charities. Click HERE to see them!
* The Metropolitan Police have been carrying out extensive security checks around Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. Police have been checking every possible threat from the inside of traffic lights to inside the street-gutters. The operation is costing an estimated £20 million.
* 80,000 commoners will flock to London to cheer on the happy couple, up to a billion are expected to tune in at home. It’ll be a media beast — 8,000 TV and radio journalists, CNN is drafting in an extra 50 US staffers to add to its London desk of 75, the BBC has stationed 850 staff and Sky and ITV have 460 between them.
* The Queen is said to have sent out ‘save-the-date’ invitations via fax machine. Cute!
* Kate might get called a tart – it’s a tradition for Royal brides to get a pudding named after them, in 1947 there was the Bombe Glace Princess Elizabeth and in 1923 the Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth.
* William has invited several individuals recently saved from homelessness by his late mother’s charity, Centrepoint. He apparently wanted to include those who have touched his life in some way.
* According to it’s statistics, the alumni of St Andrew’s University, where the pair met, have a 10% chance of marrying a fellow alumnus.
* Kate has shunned riding to the Abbey in the glass carriage used by Princess Diana on her wedding in favour of taking a car — either a 1950s classic used by the Queen or the Phantom IV used by Charles and Camilla during the infamous incident at the student fees protests last year. But the newlyweds will take Charles and Di’s carriage on the ride to Buckingham Palace.
* The Royal Wedding route will include The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall and Parliament Square.
* Burglary is expected to rise significantly on Friday due to the mass public partaking in street parties while forgetting domestic security. Thieves are likely to use the occasion as a prime opportunity to target people’s houses. Be careful people!
* If William had wanted to marry before his 25th birthday he would have required the consent of his grandmother The Queen!
* Gamblers can take a punt on all things Royal wedding — topping the polls at the moment are bets on whether Harry will lose the rings (38/1) or end up drunk (33/1), and what colour of hat will be worn by Her Majesty.
* The organizers of the Rugby World Cup have invited the couple to spend their honeymoon at the tournament in New Zealand.
* When (assuming so!) he becomes King, William, at 6ft 3ins, will be the tallest monarch ever.
* The economy is set to experience a hefty boom due to amount of consumers spending on celebration products such as: bunting, decorations, alcohol and party equipment. This is estimated to generate an extra £480million to retailers across the UK…!!!
* Memorabilia Meltdown!!! Fridges embossed with a giant photo of the Royal couple, a Kate and Wills meat pie and a limited edition Princess Catherine engagement doll, who has her own Facebook page and sold at Hamleys toy store, are just some of the options. Japanese toy line Sylvanian Families has designed rabbit replicas of the royal couple, to go on sale in the UK around the time of the wedding.
* The see-through Charlotte Todd dress that Kate wore in a charity fashion show at St. Andrews University back in 2002 was recently auctioned off for £78,000. It is supposed that this modelling moment for Kate was how she first caught the attention of the young Prince.
* The Royal couple have opted for wedding music that includes Westminster Abbey Choir, Chapel Royal Choir and the London Chamber Orchestra over celebrity performers.
* The wedding flowers will be white gardenias, lily of the valley, delphinium and roses — all grown in Britain — and will stay in Westminster in the week after the service to be seen by the public. Kate’s bouquet will include a sprig of myrtle, known as ‘the herb of love’, in keeping with a tradition started by Queen Victoria in 1840. The wedding bouquet will go on the tomb of the unknown soldier, a tradition started in 1923 by the Queen Mother on her wedding day.
* Michelle Mone from Ultimo wanted to design the wedding day lingerie and even sent designs to Kate, but the regal bride is more likely to be supported in undergarments by Rigby and Peller, the Queen’s corsetières.
* Some pop stars will feature on the DVD of the Royal Wedding. Spandau Ballet’s Tony Hadley has recorded a duet of ‘True’ with Irish pop princess Carol Anthony.
* William’s no-bake chocolate crunch cake, a childhood favourite, will contain 1,700 McVitie’s biscuits and more than 18kg of dark chocolate.
* Two of the horses taking part in the ceremony are named after Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The horses are part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
* The couple WILL re-enact a kissing photo-op on Buckingham Palace balcony.
* Despite not making it on to the guest list, rapper Snoop Dogg (left, below the Beckhams), sent William a wedding gift, a song called Wet, which he composed for the stag do.
* Four stylists — James Pryce, Richard Ward and their two assistants — have been drafted in to monitor Kate’s hair throughout the day.
* Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, who will marry the couple, is hard of hearing in one ear, unable to drive and at school had a note permanently excusing him from PE.
* The bride has commissioned four pairs of shoes for the day with varying heel sizes but will walk down the aisle in a pair of silk slipper flats.
* Cake-maker Fiona Cairns, behind the multi-tiered wedding cake iced in 16 different blooms, first met Prince Charles 10 years ago at a Fortnum & Masons event in London when his opening chit-chat was “Do you do wedding cakes?”
* A recession-conscious Queen has opted for ‘two bite’ buffet canapes for her 600 guests at the Palace rather than a sitdown meal. The lucky 300 guests invited to Prince Charles’ do later in the day will be treated to an organic three-course meal served up by award-winning Swiss chef Anton Mosimann.
* Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, is the name emerging from royal quarters as the designer of Kate’s dress.
Happy Royal Wedding Day everyone! XXX I wonder if they’ll be dancing to this?…
I think a life without art would be a life less lived. Music’s my passion, but I would love to be able to paint a masterpiece.
I’m lucky enough to know a few friends who, when putting brush to canvas, or even pencil to paper, create beauty. I’m totally in awe of them!
I’m not a painting aficionado, but I think I can appreciate talent. And I reckon anyone who sees Lorna Wadsworth’s pieces would no doubt say the same.
Throughout school and university, she has honed her unique skills in capturing the human form in charcoal or oil paint. She has a natural eye for capturing detail to photographic-like quality. And her technical skills match her artistic flair, by employing a vast array of painstaking methods to create work taking hold of your senses.
Most of her recent work is big and covered in gold leaf, and therefore expensive. To make her Art available to anyone who might want to start a collection she had the idea of launching a ‘Diffusion Line’, almost like D&G to Dolce and Gabbana, as a way of making art affordable to all.
100 PICTURES, 100 POUNDS!
Called ’100 Pictures, 100 Pounds!’ the idea is as simple and brilliant as it sounds. You can have a look at her pop up website http://www.100pictures100pounds.com, although I’m not sure how longer the project will be live, so get clicking fast!
While most world-renowned artists are all highly talented, it seems luck seems to play a big part. ‘Hyping-up’ of artists, creating a ‘buzz’ around a particular exhibition, and a few well-placed media stories can create a seemingly exponential projection of the chosen few into the media stratosphere. But becoming the word on everyone’s lips doesn’t seem all that fair when such methods serve to not only grossly inflate art prices, but also deny many artists at least as talented the chance to succeed. Often all it takes is circumstance, a lucky shot.
Lorna’s experiences as an artist have led her to some exhilarating and unique encounters, from capturing scenes in the urban jungle, painting random men who take her fancy, being commissioned to recreate The Last Supper for a church, to portraits of well-known figures, with Margaret Thatcher, Derek Jacobi and Rolf Harris to name a few.
But the art world can be difficult to crack. Studio prices are high, and spaces for exhibitions are also expensive and oversubscribed, and can take hours of multi-tasking to put together.
Lorna’s well due her big break, so I wanted to help by doing a little blog!
I first met Lorna when I went to her exhibition called Beautiful Boys in October 2007. She wanted to get a strong female’s perspective on the male form, challenging and matching the centuries-old notion of male painter’s gaze and female muse. The boys featured were either people she knew or random passers-by in the street, whom she ran upto and told them of her project! As well as paintings on display there were charcoal sketches, some of which she did live before our eyes. It was amazing to see how quickly yet accurately she could take the likeness of someone and transfer it to paper, and after (much too kindly!) sketching me it was eery to see ‘me’ in her drawing.
A LAST SUPPER
After irregular contact our paths crossed again a year or so later. Having contacted me to ask for my help in a portrait, I hadn’t heard back after replying, until a few months later in early 2009 when I tried again. Apparently she never received a reply, and was nearly finished, but desperately needed my help still! So we arranged a time when we were both free, and I was to meet her over the course of a few weekends in a studio in Hackney. I was very intrigued to say the least!
We met, and making our way to a dilapidated building, she introduced me to her makeshift studio; paints, fabrics and clutter all around, but it was a space she was able to paint with. It might be taken for granted, but I realised how hard it was for artists to have somewhere to store and create and not be charged extortionately for it, especially in London. And then she told me about the project.
‘A Last Supper’ – a modern interpretation of The Last Supper – was to be painted as an altarpiece for St. George’s Church, Nailsworth, Gloucester. A late parishoner, Alan Denman, who left a sum of money as a bequest, had a vision of this story to be on show at his church. Following her Beautiful Boys exhibition, Lorna thought it would be a great progression to get some of the guys from this together for it, on the condition that the commission was expenses only but she had complete artistic control. So she set about creating her masterpiece, with Jesus as a striking black figure, and the various disciples surrounding him all with their unique features. There was one left to paint, and I was humbled to help…particularly as embarrassingly all the other guys were models and I was anything but in comparison! I was to be St. Peter! And a gay Muslim at that! (OK, neither point actually matters, but I couldn’t help smile ).
So over 3 weekends, I helped her. Amazingly, she painted the piece completely from life; all the people who contributed she painted in person over the course of a few months. And all thirteen people could not come together simultaneously. So she set about painting each figure, one by one, adding slowly to her masterpiece. Remembering the positions of the ones before, along with the shadows cast, the looks exchanged, all at a particular time of day so the sunlight could be recreated.
I had never before bore witness to an artist in the throws of their creation; it was fascinating to see what goes into it all. Following a mainly academic route myself career-wise, I really respected her dedication to her work. Hearing about her previous works, it was evident she is not only talented but also highly-skilled with a variety of technical know-how. And this piece was a complete labour of love. From getting up early, to painting long hours, trying different styles, to revisiting different parts of the growing masterpiece. So holding statuesque still, half-robed, gesturing and maintaining a particular facial expression all at the same time was the least I could do to help her create St. Peter as painlessly as possible, even though it was agony at times!
It was great bonding experience too. We shared a lot. She told me about what she’s been upto, heartache, successes, ups and downs. She was going through a particularly difficult time when we met and I could see how such emotions can be reflected in or even influenced by painting. Although Lorna tells me she doesn’t strive to recreate what the camera sees, which flattens colours and simplifies form, and has only one focal point. She paints from life as she believes painting can capture what photos can’t, and her Last Supper pulstates with life and energy as though the figures were all about to start moving and turning towards you. And I think the end result was positive and cathartic for her.
And the experience became important for me to. It was the first time we had seen each other since we first met that October 2007 – and that day was forever etched in my mind, because I was on the way home to see my Mum and family. And that was the first time I saw just how ill my Mum had become. Mentally, she had been under too much pressure, and I saw the beginnings of her unravelling before us. It was heart-wrenching. Nothing could prepare us for her untimely death a couple of months later. But I remember on that day, I told her about where I had been…that this random lady had done a life-like drawing of me! Like all Mums, she was thrilled and was looking forward to seeing a copy that Lorna said she would give, but of course, she sadly passed-away.
So it was quite an experience to meet Lorna again, having not seen her since my Mum was alive, and sharing stories about my family, about changes in relationships that I had, and career since then too. On the last day, after I had helped all I could and Lorna had pretty much wrapped up that aspect of the painting, I was surprised to see she had brought me something. And it was the original charcoal sketch when we met that day, plus different sized copies. I’m no oil-painting I know! But for an artist to give her original work was really nice. And it was because it signified an important association with my Mum on that day that she gave it. It’s quite a bittersweet possession for me, and I thought it was really sweet of her.
SACRED OR PROFANE
At Trafalgar Square, Lorna also had another exhibition. ‘Sacred or Profane’ is a modern interpretation of Zurburan’s shadowy robed monks, recast as the modern-day ‘hoody’, including St. Francis of Assisi’s infamous kneeling image. From her website: ‘Reinterpreting great themes of art of the past for the post religious modern world, Wadsworth’s paintings address the aching spirituality still endemic to the modern world’.
Lorna’s currently been working on a whole new collection of paintings, and is trying to get an exhibition sorted, and as usual is still working hard, especially when getting an exhibition together can be such an ordeal.
So make sure you check out her works of art on sale in the link above and at the top. And if you like them, make sure you grab them, they’re going fast!
And after that, check out her website below. Lorna May Wadsworth – a great talent!
ALL PAINTING IMAGES COPYRIGHT OF LORNA MAY WADSWORTH.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year all!
Hope everyone enjoyed time with loved ones and ate loads.
I had Christmas on my own this year. It’s normally a time for families of sorts to come together. I had a reflective one.
And I also took part in something I had wanted to do for a while.
Sadly we’re all no strangers to seeing homeless people on the streets. And maybe for some Christmas can be particularly difficult.
Crisis is a charity for homeless and rough sleepers. Like other such charities, they work year round to help provide accommodation and improve lives for those affected in this way. At Christmas, many charities have a particular push, and for the past 39 years Crisis have launched an increasingly successful campaign.
From 23 – 30 Dec, Christmas Centres are opened across London that offer vital companionship, food, warmth, and a variety of important services that homeless people often are unable to access.
The charity estimates that this year, more than 2,500 guests will visit their nine centres across London; for some this might mean leaving homelessness for good.
After applying online, I found out that there are different volunteering roles. I had wanted to be a ‘service volunteer‘ – those who provide a particular service to the homeless guests, such as hairdressing, podiatry, legal advice to name a few. Many guests are also in urgent need of dental treatment, which is what I offered. However, luckily for the guests (but sadly for me!) I was informed that this was full, I had applied too late!
So, I plumped for the ‘general volunteer‘ role, and as this was my first ‘Crisis at Christmas’ I was more than happy. This includes greeting guests, providing companionship, giving out clothing and toiletries, feeding guests and more. You have to do a minimum of two 7-8 hours shifts on different days, and so after picking my days and submitting all necessary details, I was set!
My first shift was at a Day Centre in Stratford. After an introduction, we were allocated different roles randomly. It was a great to see so many people eager to volunteer. And it was clear to see that the senior volunteers were really passionate about bringing everyone together, and it was nice to be part of a team. And the place was teeming with guests; chatting, watching performances, playing games, eating, having a wash or just chilling. It was nice to see so many people happy, but sad that there were so many.
So…my roles! First up!…toilet duty. (Great!) Well, someone has to! We were all rotated at 1.5 hourly intervals and worked in pairs. So I cleaned the toilet-rooms, and then monitor the cloakroom, help carry food and equipment, and man the registration desk. In between I had a chance to speak with the guests. That was the best bit for me. It was great to chat together, especially when so many repeated the same thing, ‘we only ever see people’s knees’. If I don’t have money I apologise and say so, and was told that is so much better than just being ignored. But even when I give change, after hearing of some of their stories, it can feel like just a drop in the ocean.
Crisis also have Residential Centres over the same period where people can stay over night. As you can imagine, these are hugely sought after, and sadly after just one day there were no more spaces, leaving the rest to take comfort in the Day Centres, but from which they must leave come nightfall.
The Day Centres close at 9pm. Transport is often arranged to take people back to an easier location. This bit sucks. As much as they appreciate somewhere to stay in the day, you can feel rotten knowing they’ve got to go back to the streets at night. But they were cheery all the same, singing songs and making jokes (some very blue ones at that!).
So my first shift was over. Volunteers are normally required to do all their shifts at the same centre. But hit by a bad cold over Christmas, the thought of also travelling to Stratford again but with limited public transport wasn’t exactly appealing when I just wanted to stay at home and make the most of the 4-day weekend! If you’re ill you can of course stay away, but it wasn’t a flu and I felt I made a promise. And what I felt was nothing compared to how some of the guests sometimes feel.
The Day Centre in Bermondsey was supposedly fully-staffed…but as I live in Bermondsey, was a bit poorly but wanted to volunteer, and it was a possibility that some volunteers might cancel (as is the way), it was seen as probably totally fine if I go there first thing in the morning and explain.
So at 8:30am, Christmas Day I rocked up to the Bermondsey centre (having slept at 5am from a fun night at the 2 Brewers before…! :-/ ). I was told I could of course stay – hoorah! But even better…some of the dentists were based here. Explaining I was a dentist, I was warmly encouraged to make myself known to the clinicians, and luckily for me this time, I was informed they were actually under-staffed. Win-win!
I got to do what I had wanted originally after all! And as a bonus, I met a friend and fellow dentist – Soureya – who also happened to be volunteering her services (and who also had a cold!). Oral hygiene & dietary advice, smoking cessation information, scaling & polishing, restorations and extractions was what I achieved for the different guests over the whole shift. It was good to see the difference it made, and hear about the other services they had that made them feel good, whether a haircut, podiatry or even massage. The government have recently launched centres making it easier for the homeless to access dental care, starting in London, so it’s nice to know that when Christmas is over hopefully dental services for the homeless won’t be.
After the shift, I made it just in time for a late Christmas lunch at Balan’s restaurant in Soho. At the window, I coincidentally saw a homeless ‘Big Issue’ seller. I looked at the mince pie and christmas cake left on my plate which I was too stuffed to finish, and hoping I didn’t appear patronising, signed to ask if he wanted it…I was glad he said yes! His name was Jay. We had a chat after, and I gave him some change on leaving. Not expecting him to jump for joy – I was after all buggering off to a home and yet he was still on the streets – I nevertheless thought he looked a little disappointed. I had to turn back.
‘Sorry, that’s all I have. Is that OK?‘
‘Oh thanks, it’s just I needed some more.‘
I told him about Crisis and where I had been in Bermondsey, and I wondered to myself if there was anywhere similar nearby (there wasn’t unfortunately). Bless him, I knew he was wondering if I could take him there, and I explained they close at 9pm, and so I wouldn’t want to take him there if he’d be stuck with nowhere to go.
‘Oh, no problem. I just need £18 for a place I know at Victoria where I can get food and a shower and somewhere to stay overnight.‘
‘Oh, sorry, I’m out of money!’
‘OK, well, if you have a card and draw out money, I could wait?‘
‘Oh, it’s just I’m in a rush!’
‘OK, well, would it affect your life much if you were £18 less off? It would make a huge difference to me.’
Hmmm. Being 100% honest, I was trying to think of an answer! LOL. But I couldn’t. He was right. And even if he was lying about exactly why he needed £18, it would help him much more than I needed it at that point.
‘OK. Just stay here, I just need to get to my car. I will draw out money for you and come back, don’t move!‘
I got to the car and was about to pull-off, when there was a knock at the front passenger window, before the door opened. It was Jay.
‘There’s a cash machine just there!‘
And he sat in and closed the door. I won’t lie…I did think, ‘Oh goodness…I bet this looks great‘. But, who cares! He looked so comfortable, bless him. I drew out £20 for him and dropped him off at the corner. He gave me a ‘thousand blessings’, and we shook hands and wished each other a Merry Christmas. Driving off back to my flat, I thought it a funny coincidence meeting him after volunteering. I wondered what he would do over this period and felt sad, but after our encounter I did feel a little less alone over Christmas.
This is kinda off the record, but there was a lady I met there who’s story particularly touched me. She’s American, hasn’t got on with her family there, and came to the Stratford centre having just had an operation in London which she owes the hospital money for. She’s got by with some donations from people she knows here. I got her email address and promised her I’d try and help her out too…so if you’re interested in donating and want to know more, feel free to contact me! But otherwise, if you fancy doing something different next Christmas, or even throughout the year, you must check Crisis out! They are always looking for help and it’s great to see a good difference being made. www.crisis.org.uk
Albert Kennedy Trust
This is a great charity that for many years has helped lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans young people to live in accepting, supportive and caring homes, providing services to help individuals who would otherwise be homeless or in a hostile environment. www.akt.org.uk
Since 1966, Shelter has helped the homeless by giving advice, information and advocacy, and by campaigning for political change to ensure a world where everyone has a home. www.shelter.org.uk
HAPPY 2011 ALL. Have a happy and healthy year! XXX