Vault Festival * Paul Klee


Vault Festival, Waterloo tunnels

‘Oh my god, I knew it!’ shouts Mark in Peep Show. ‘Everyone IS secretly f*cking behind my back!’ This is close to how I felt on Friday night: I knew it! There is a non-stop late-night live jazz party going on underneath London! and it’s called the Vault Festival. It came to my attention through a mysterious text from a friend who happens to be volunteering there (making the entrance fee a much friendlier £1.50) and we somehow managed to shepherd an entire dinner party of cocktail-addled students, in the pouring rain, from Islington to Waterloo by 1am. Once at the graffitied mecca, we entered the tunnels of Vault Lates and found ourselves through the looking glass.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the Vault

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas at the Vault

Stumbling through the manically decorated corridors we first encounter a roulette table and rather surly croupier. The second room is dark, playing motown and smooth jazz and presided over by a giant swinging clock and various items of trendy junk behind an ominous veil. It’s also FULL of couples. So far, so casino-come-houseparty, so good. Saving further exploration of that for later, we finally find the heart of the place, a live packed dance floor and bar with a full live jazz band. Twisting and swinging the night away, it feels like you might have wandered into someone’s wedding reception, but one with excellent taste and no weird relatives. Especially in our dinner party finest, no one could resist the jazz and reasonably priced mescal shots.  As a London cynic with a terrible record for enjoying its nightlife, I found this an arty, ridiculous and fantastically camp gem of a night.

[Definitely worth checking out the earlier portion of the festival as well: showings of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Cement Garden this week.]


Comedy, Paul Klee (1921)

Comedy, Paul Klee (1921)

Crawling to life at 2pm the next day, I panicked that I wouldn’t be able to make my date with Paul Klee. The Tate Modern,thankfully, is open till 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, very civilised for an art gallery. The exhibition did what the Tate does best – simple, informative and full. Klee’s art fills room after room, chronologically backdropped by world war two, but left entirely to its own devices. Mates with Kandinsky (my favourite), Klee’s experiments with shape and colour are refreshingly masterful, with a subtle and surprising sense of humour. The famous ones – like portrait of an equilibrist and his characterful fish – are placed next to more obscure but unmissable pieces.

Der Goldfisch, Paul Klee (1925)

Der Goldfisch, Paul Klee (1925)

Go, read, and buy the postcards, then head over to the Vault festival round the corner when you’re done. Enjoy the quirky artistic wonderlands of London until 8th March.

 By Amber Segal

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