Monthly Archives :

May 2016


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Scorpio Horoscope: You have come into some ‘moollah’ but spending it on frivolous pursuits would not be sensible. Use your money wisely because times ahead will be hard, emotionally and nancially.

Getting in contact with someone in a hot place (even if that means the kitchen) will open new doors today. Reconnect with a friend in the south of France and if you don’t have a friend in the south of France it’s highly likely that your life will never change. You’ll realise that you’ve wasted your youth.

Ba ing Bubbles top tip: Wear sun cream and you’ll meet a hot encounter. 

Have You Seen the Ventnor Mer-Monkey?

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Have you seen the Ventnor Mer-Monkey?

In a magical setting overlooking the bay of Ventnor, artist Isabel Rock treated an intimate audience to her fantastic stories. Sparkling wit went hand-in-hand with laughter and unexpected moral twists.

Listeners found themselves entangled in a world with outrageous characters and creatures. The laugh-o-meter rocketed skywards and left the audience with some wet pants.

If you have the chance, I can highly recommend that you catch the reading Friday evening at 6pm on the rock of Belgrave Rd and find out more about a mer-monkey on his mating adventure.

Article contributed by VFringe goer Bea Holden.

The return of Seska!

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Seska visits Caty and Miri at the Exchange all the way from Izbekistan to tell us about his show ‘Seska and the Magic Beard’. He’s been up to a lot since last year’s Fringe including meeting royalty, the mayor of Reading and sawing a woman in half (unsuccessfully).

Listen to the podcast here!


Future of Fringe: The Forum

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A meeting of creative minds…

The Fringe Forum was joined by Bruce Webb, Ray and Caroline Foulk and hosted by our supreme lord and master, Jack Whitewood.

There were some interesting notions from Ray Foulk towards the idea of expanding the Ventnor Fringe; similar to Edinburgh Fringe. Though it seems that there is little desire or ambition to take anything away from our small town.

“I don’t see Ventnor Fringe leaving Ventnor” says Jack.

There was then a mention that Ventnor is a very different place to the rest of the Island, which to its credit, it is. The discussion moves onto how Ventnor has had a quick succession of events and venues spring up in a short time and this marvellous seaside settlement is regarded as a cultural hub of the Island. Bruce explains that he lives in Sandown and despite having lots of creative friends there, Sandown is not regarded as high on the list of places to stay. Thus bringing the idea of expanding the Fringe back around. The natural succession of conversation then turns to the substantial lack of accommodation here in Ventnor. It is noted that places like Sandown and Shanklin have it in abundance; thus a way to extend the tourism benefits of the Fringe.  

The problem with accommodation is also largely down to the time of year. The height of summer is a notoriously difficult time to book accommodation. It is especially difficult to find rooms for 400 performers in this town of 6,000. They dismissed the idea of moving the Festival to another month to remove this problem; as such this will be an on-going problem. 


Concerns were raised that with growing popularity and  demand, people are worried that VFringe would lose its friendly boutique-esk atmosphere. These concerns were met with an uncertainty on how they plan to deal with demand but Jack explains that they have no interest in expanding to a commercial level. There were laughs toward the idea that Fosters would ever sponsor the event; they never will. Jack feels that the accessibility of the Fringe is something they wish to maintain and develop.

Bruce highlights the IOW Film Festival outlook; That even if they wanted big films, they don’t have the facilities in Ventnor and because of this, they’d rarely succumb to any kind of sponsorship. This means that the threat of the Fringe accepting any unethical financial backing (becoming inaccessible; particularly to non-theatre goers) is made redundant.

There was an interesting correlation between Ray and Jack’s very different festivals. Despite Ray’s original IOW Pop Festival being on a very grand scale, he still maintains a distinct passion to share music with the world. It seems his interest in the Fringe stems from the organisers’ similar thirst for all forms of art and culture. Both trying to stay away from the world of big conglomerates, though I think our Fringe has a little way to go before Dominoe’s come a-knockin’.

It’s Vaguely Sunny

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An interview with VFringe veteran, all round legend and founder of Vaguely Sunny, Vic King…

Q. For those who don’t know, what is ‘Vaguely Sunny’? 

A. It’s an organisation. Well I say that, that makes it sound a bit grand. It’s a partnership of a small amount of people. We’ve been around for just short of 20 years.

We started by writing a book about the history of rock music on the Island. It came out in 1995 but was only done as limited edition which sold old out quite quickly so since the year after that we basically became music promoters. We mainly put on small-ish acoustic style gigs although we can branch out into other areas. We’ve put on plays, operas various other things, lectures, but the acoustic gig is the main theme that we do. Two examples of which we’re doing at the fringe, those are two typical Vaguely Sunny gigs.

Q. Why did you choose to call the organisation Vaguely Sunny?

A. I think if we sat around all day we’d never of chosen it! Luckily, and it’s a Ventnor story. When we did the book it was published under the business name ‘Isle of Wight Rock Archives’. If you’re putting up a poster, which we started to do, it’s not a great name for a promoter – people thought we were geologists or something!

So we were looking for a more snappy name, and while at Salisbury Gardens (then a council office), where I worked with a lovely lady called Lynn Clark. One day she was on the phone to someone asking about the weather, and after looking out the window she replied “well, vaguely sunny” and I thought Ah, that’s the name! It suits the weather, people’s personalities… We like the name! Lynn’s the originator of it, which we still remind her of.

Q. What inspired you to start Vaguely Sunny?

A. It’s all coming back to me now; doing this book gave us some money to work with. Now looking back at the end of 1995 there was little live music, nothing like the fringe back then, no hope of the Isle of Wight Festival coming back, no national bands coming around.

But the council published a document that set out what they want to do with planning etc. There was a clause tucked in somewhere saying there should be a permanent festival site- that was unusual as there were attempts in the mid 90’s to get the festival back but it was all very negative.

The applications were turned down largely because of, surprisingly, effects on tourism. Every time something big like that was proposed, people got scared and worried about drugs and sent letters of objection. So we thought let’s try to get people to send letters of support so we put this gig on at Newport FC in 1996 to flag up the issue. It was with Island bands and it when quite well and we’ve been doing it ever since.

Q. When did you first hear about the fringe?

A. We’re Fringe veterans, we heard about it a year before it started! Mhairi used to put on gigs as part of the Country Club. She helped us put on a gig for a Brading duo we were working with called the Adventurers. They wanted to tour the Island on bikes with a little trailer behind towing their instruments but it didn’t work out as there was far too much cycling!

I remember she said there was this chap called Jack Whitewood and he’s going to start something called the Ventnor Fringe, so I thought that sounded really interesting, and so it has been!

Q. How did you sell the idea of the Fringe to this year’s artists, Boo Herwerdine and the folk duo Josienne Clark & Ben Walker?

A. Boo has been here before so he knew who we were and what he was dealing with. With Josienne Clark & Ben Walker, that was interesting as for the first time I was involved in programming Rhythmtree Festival- which I thought would suit them well. Just after I thought why not book them for the Fringe? Artists like the idea of coming here, they’re well looked after, it’s a slightly different Festival and the idea of coming (to the island) is always appealing.

Q. What are you looking forward to at this year’s fringe?

A. Tuesday is our day, looking forward to The Millennium Plays, and a couple musicians we know, Mark Hickman & Karen Tweed, afterwards. And I can’t not mention Undecided! I think they’re a crazy bunch but really original work; really looking forward to Undecided.

Q. What’s next in the pipeline for Vaguely Sunny?

A. Ah, it’s quite an ambitious thing that we got asked to help with last year and went really well. It’s the Harp Festival in Ryde, 7th-11th October; just music of the harp any connection with the harp, jazz, Scottish music. Got people from America, someone from Senegal and lectures- takes a lot of work but good fun.

Q. Any thoughts as to bring out a second album of Island Music?

A. Wouldn’t think so, how Island music has organised itself since then (the first album released in 2000); everybody’s got much more scope to put stuff out now. It’s not priority at the moment.

Q. What are you currently listening to?

A. Changes all the time! Just come back from Conway, Ireland, where there’s a big arts festival and some bands gave me CDs, [including] a quirky band called My Fellow Sponges, so listening to that… Digging out some Boo Herwerdine; my taste can change, I’m a bit fickle!

Q. If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one thing you would have?

A. Record player! Some means of playing music, it would help the frustration.

Q. Any advice for young people looking at the music industry?

A. Keep all the music yourself, keep control of all the stuff yourself, do the music at your own speed. Keep control of it don’t give it a way to some nasty shark whose going to make a million and you won’t.

By Evan Wragg

Fringe’s Fashionista

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Attention all fashion boff’s and vintage toffs. Today is the day of the “Vintage, Retro and craft fair” kindly put together the fabulous Events co. & The Travelling Tea Rooms… We spoke to Khia Janzen – Owner and Director of the company about what to expect over the next few days. 


– Most importantly, tell us when and where can we find the vintage fair ?

“We’re based at Ventnor Winter gardens – (right at the top of the esplanade) and will be open from 10am – 4pm today and Saturday. 


-What kind of things can we expect to find at the Vintage Fair today ? 

“Honestly, there’s so much going on, stall’s and traders selling retro trinkets and collectables, cream teas (or boozy coffees!) and of course the “Oh So Vintage” fashion show.”


-What time will the fashion show be kicking off ?

“Our models will be hitting the catwalk at 1pm sharp on both days. We’re incredibly lucky to have the fantastic “Oh So Vintage” lending out their garments to us, it’s going to be a real treat!”.


-Has Vintage culture always been a great love of yours?

“Yes definitely, when my business partner and I started the company I would say I was the main driving force for the vintage aspect. The Travelling Tea Rooms are all kitted out with over 170 different kinds of 60’s – 80’s china wear. Anything made after then just doesn’t stay in one piece. Vintage is quality!”


So Fringers, 10am – 4pm tomorrow. Fashion show kicking off at 1pm, be there or be square!

Hollie’s TOP PICKS

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  • Scena Mundi’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard II & Marlowe’s Edward II in Holy Trinity Church @ either 2.30pm or 7.15pm everyday except Sunday
  • Birthday Lock-In with JJ Bola & Rex Domino in The Woodland Bar @ 10pm on Thursday
  • The Diamond Age in Ventor Arts Club @ 10pm on Saturday
  • Screening of Pride in The Outdoor Cinema @ 9pm on Thursday
  • Shakespeare’s Rattle and Roll in Ventnor Arts Club @ 6pm on Saturday


Blinded by Moles

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The most auspicious of all events is the Blind Mole’s Ball.  It seems that this wildly unexpected event has drawn so much attention that it is nearly sold out. While you read this the last ticket may be handed over the counter to its final unknowing contestant.

To say the least I am beside myself with frustration that I am most likely to be confined to the office on this most propitious of events. Those who choose to tread water and indulge themselves in this evening of historic cult following will define this as an experience that should not have been missed.

The evening will commence with a Poirot style investigation and proceed to become a mixture of American sorority phasing and English theatre.

If this ominous description weren’t enough to tempt the wondering mind… the heavens have transmitted the message of this historic meet and are said to shower the skies with a blanket of shooting asteroids on this night. 

I really can’t say more than that.

My possible tip would be to stay calm and wear flat shoes and if you see a mole, approach with caution. 

Boogie In The Basement

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Last year’s secret set from Boogie Belgique began much like a Stephen King horror story for our unsuspecting audience. The evening set about in the Ventnor Exchange, where groups of 15/20 people were taken on a theatrical journey to a dimmly-lit area.

Having travelled along a narrow alleyway to a car park, spectators were then met by an actor dressed in black waiting ominously in the dark. A few thought something had gone horribly wrong as they were ushered into a mini-bus with tinted windows.

The van took many twists and turns until it came to an abrupt stop in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. The doors were forced open by the blacked out gure with a raised hand; pointing towards a candle-lit path. Our moderately sized groups then had to manoeuvre themselves towards the sound of music within earshot.

Down a narrow staircase and

underground, where colours were projected onto walls with moving cityscapes dancing against the late 1800 brick walls.

Many described this journey as a scintillating experience.

This year will be a similar exploration without the menacing blacked out silhouettes. This network of underground tunnels, no longer a secret will once more be illuminated by naked ames and colourful lights for the Blind Moles Ball.

It’s di cult to liken Oswald Cromheecke (producer of Boogie Belgique) to any previous artists as he’s essentially created an entirely new genre, drawing elements of electro-swing, jazz, funk and hip hop. Expect to hear trumpets, sax, keys and a bombardment of euphoric electronica.

The Vault can be located at the far end of the Botanic Gardens car park, can’t miss it, I don’t know if I mentioned, it will be lit up with candles.
Catch Boogie Belgique tonight at 9.30pm. 

Lairy Tales

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If you’re in the mood for something a little bit filthy, the Arts Club will be hosting three nights of bawdy duo Unruly Baps’ new show Lairy Tales and Crappy Ever Afters. Retelling our most beloved bedtime stores with a boisterous twist, this cabaret based show proves to be one not to be missed. 

    Reminiscent of French and Saunders, or perhaps more Vic and Bob, Unruly Scrumptious and Lady Baps have been working together for a while. They met at the Rose Theatre in London where they started writing sketches together. The sketches went down so well that they decided to start promote themselves rather than other people. Their work is centered on their relationship and more importantly, one-upmanship. 

    Lairy Tales started as a scratch performance, developing into the show it is today, including Red Riding Hood’s slutty Grandma, a northern Cinderella and a lecherous Rumplestiltskin.  When asked to sum up their show in three words there were a lot of phrases thrown around. The most intriguing of which: “Mild nut allergy”.

The show will be anarchic, brilliant and not for the faint of heart

Fri/Sat/Sun 10pm @ Ventnor Arts Club


By Matt Hitt