Monday, 8 August 2011

Vintage At Southbank

Hello there! Finally blogging about Vintage-by Hemingway-On-The-Southbank. Sorry I have been away from ye olde steam powered PC for a while, I've been gadding about like an irresponsible fool in the few weeks before I buy a tumbledown abode and become one of those boringtons always talking of the price of windows and the B&Q sale...

Royal Festival Hall Entrance

This also means that I have been extra thriftalicious of late, and being ripped off has been more irritating to me than ever before. Which we shall come to later. Oh yes we shall. (Steely, chastening look to audience).

We went on Saturday. As you can see, I wore my Jean Varon from Penny Dreadful, it attracted lots of admiration, snaps and questions from fellow 60s-70s fans and sadly- within 10 minutes of arrival- one filthy look, wrinkled nose plus some 'very obvious to everyone' bitchy edging-away from a bird in the ladies' loos. I kid you not! Of all the places to get vintage-hate, mine was in the toilets of a festival called 'Vintage'. She was in very, very expensive repro 50s flashing about her MAC like a proper wannabe Dita, and I can't for the life of me work out why she did it. Maybe she thought real vintage smells (this dress most certainly doesn't, let me assure you 100% it is highest quality and scrupulously clean) or has that curious across-the-pond attitude that 60s/70s is not 'proper'. I dunno.

Err - have we come on the right day?

Anyway, I came out all cross and bothered. Luckily, there were girls handing out free icecream. If people did that more regularly I wouldn't have a perfect Paddington-Bear-Hard-Stare. Noms. I felt all happy and smily again. So we went for a look around. The problem was, there seemed to be hardly anyone there! All the stands were nicely set up (albeit with some irritating slips in detail- e.g. the fascia on the North South Divide Pub didn't reach to the end, and they'd just used the regular tables and chairs with no covers...) and there was plenty to do, with no queues but the emptiness drained the vibe from the place. Some bloggers have described it like a quiet airport, very apt: lots of walkways with folk dressed up, on their way somewhere. Oh, and some lost tourists (because at £20 a pop, not the £75 we paid, it's worth wandering in off the street. There I said it. I was emailed by Vintage about it 'selling out' and like a fool I bit. Now, let us never again speak of my shame again. Bar to say, had I paid £20, this review would have been glowing- because that is what it was worth. Well, £30 even. But not £60 + £15 for the revue-which-most-festivals-include-free).

We wandered outside in search of human life, and discovered a fantastic vintage market and some cool cars, with which I capered like a silly fool. It was actually the best bit (and free!) - we also looked for The Chap folk, unfortunately, the undertrained Vintage staff insisted several times that they weren't there that day. I kept protesting that they'd tweeted - but the reply was 'no'. It was only when we met up with fellow bloggers Margaret of Penny Dreadful and Charlotte of Tuppence Ha'penny that we found out they were indeed there, doing that eccentric glam thang they do so well. However we were too late and missed the umbrella jousting and so forth. So you will have to settle for more photos of me, this time capering about outside.

My other car is a clapped-out Focus.
Woop! Found the other PEOPLE!
We went back in and on the recommendation of the Vintage experts, visited the one room which I must say was perfectly decked out, had plenty of folk in it and brilliant music from start to finish. The Charity Shop DJ in the charity shop bedecked and furnished room. No snobby peeps in here, just cheesy choons and fantastic fun: lucky dips, old records, curated finds, people's memories on cute luggage tags and a chance to get crafty. My kinda place.

I OWN that dancefloor
In contrast, some of the other rooms had rather muted decor and, well - no punters:

Including me, 7 people in the classic album lounge. Epic fail.
Apart from charity shop heaven, we did enjoy (watching) the fantastic dance classes then the amazing fashion show in the main 'club', and listening to the swing bands. All excellent indeed. And as the afternoon went on, more people turned up, making the atmosphere immeasurably better (as did Martinis, which weren't on the menu at the champagne bar, but the bartender would make them if like His Lordship you had no shame and just said 'oh go on...'). So by the time we had to go into the revue (which we had paid for, which was half empty and which they wouldn't let people working the stands into after a hard day's work: unfair) we actually wanted to be out in the rooms with our blogchums having a pint and maybe a boogie. It's a funny old thing.

Watching leggy ladies dancing, drinking a martini.

Look! People! We're saved!
And looking back, it was a nice day. I'm not sure it was worth what I paid and I am really rather miffed that I could have got the same fun for £20. To be honest I got the feeling they'd bitten off more than they could chew with the RFH - I'm not sure if they should use such an expensive and hard-to-navigate venue - so let's just say if they learn from this year's gripes (expressed by many folk online- they must realise!) I will consider going again. Oh, and I'll be buying my ticket the day before.


  1. Well I think your dress is stunning and you look gorgeous. What a place to feel the hate vibes?! Glad you can pull some good points out of the day. We live& learn!

  2. I can't stand bitchy women! How dare someone give you the look up and down in the loos?! Grrr! You looked fab anyway, so balls to her! Having read everything about this event, this year and last, I can categorically say that it will not be something that I will be visiting!!

  3. You should have punched that woman. With my business card. xx

  4. I cant cope with unnecessary bitching, she was obviously jealous of your gorg dress. After hearing about the last Vintage and now this one it is some thing I will be steering well clear of, I would get onto them and ask for a refund!

  5. hahahaha,Margaret's comment is killer!A girl after my own heart!!
    Darling,you looked MEGA HOT! Lve the frock,love you IN IT! Well,you can't say you didn't make an effort,and it sounds like you got the best out of it that you could.Gawd,I'd be happy enough if we at least had some kind of vintage event!
    Yeah,there is asnobbishness about 60's/70's,especially 70's.PAH!

  6. I went to Vintage at Goodwood last year but decided to give this a miss when they said it would be in London. I am glad I did now, it all sounds a bit disappointing.

  7. Ha! If you didn't do what Margaret suggested then I certainly hope you accidentally-on-purpose jogged her elbow so she poked herself in the idea with her makeup. What a snotty moo.

    You look absolutely gorgeous. V. jealous of your splendid frock.

  8. I would enjoy whipping the ass of any bitch who sneered at my Varon...WITH my Varon. That's what the excessive volume is for, spare material for whipping... Thanks Mr Bates :) xx

  9. I've heard it all now, vintage bitches at a vintage festival. What is wrong with people. Paddington-stare her to stone sweetie.

    You look divine. Sadly I haven't read anything about the Vintage festival that made it sound worth the spend

  10. That dress is fabulous on you. The fake vintage biatch obviously didn't know the real thing when she saw it. x

  11. You look aceness.

    I have to say I'm glad I didn't pay to go though!

  12. You look fabulous! Bitchiness is always about jealousy anyway...

    I didn't go and I'm quite glad I didn't, I would have been very angry if I'd paid full price!!

  13. I think you look simply divine.

  14. Thank you for taking the time to write a fair and honest review of your experience, it's good to be able to read up on this sort of thing. I don't know what that woman's problem was but as others have said I think you look fabulous.

  15. What a horrible biatch , You should wrote all over her face with her lipstick.
    You look gorgeous in your vintage blue frock. I'm a cheap ass so you wouldnt catch me at those places. at least you found a free one amor.

  16. Everyone's already said it, but I 16th the notion that you look great. What a weird girl. Are you sure you weren't her arch nemesis at school or something?

    All reports I'd read seemed to mainly focus on the market outside so it was good to get your opinion on the inside of the festival itself. I don't blame you for being so pissed off about the ticket prices - have you emailed them since?

  17. What is wrong with some people! The festival sounds a bit disappointing. I was offered a ticket by Princess Julia for the Saturday but didn't really have any money and I know what it's like at these things. Plus I can spend money in an empty room.

    You look fabulous, I love that dress on you xx

  18. Hell, everyone else has said it but I shall too- you look amazeballs! That dress is a beat, so screw the sneery snooty "lady" and her snobbiness for actual vintage.
    I'm an now quite glad I never bought a ticket for the festival now, though I did not know they had started selling them for £20- the bloomin cheek!
    I spent a good length of time in the free vintage market, but even I was hearing reports from annoyed stall holders about the price of a pitch and the treatment they recieved. Boo!
    Ps good luck with the moving!

  19. Great frock & you look fabulous. That stuck up old trout is clearly clueless. love the reference to paddington Bear hard stare ha ha xxx

  20. Hello! Thank you for commenting on my blog about your experience too, it's such a shame that so many people have come away feeling disheartened. I sent a formal complaint to the Southbank centre and whilst they are offering 2 tickets to the Hayward Gallery (exhibition of our choice), unfortunately there were 4 of us in our party, and none particularly interested in anything on offer. Plus the cost in travel to actually get back to London, just wouldn't be worth it. Such a shame. I've added a link on my blog to your post here on Dearest Jackdaw. PS, you looked beautiful on the day!!

  21. What a cow! That's one of the best dresses I've ever seen and you look amazing wearing it!


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