Lauren Baker and Alex Haddow collage

Rediscover yourself this month at the hottest events of the year courtesy of Lauren Baker and Alex Haddow

Or #Seriouslygoodtimes

From wearing a friend’s dressing gown to dry off after getting soaked in a rainstorm to taking a knife to a gunfight at the O.K. Corral, I’m always inappropriately dressed.

Maybe it’s a sign of getting old or maybe it’s trying to impress the ladies so I don’t die completely alone but I’m trying to change this.

Lauren Baker - relaxing on a hoop chair in a minimal room
Lauren Baker enjoys a brief moment of calm as she prepares for the launch of her solo show Ten Days of Silence, at 99 Projects gallery (Picture by Fraser Mackenzie)
Alex Haddow dances on the stage while wearing a tartan dress at Indie Amnesty
Alex Haddow will be checking out who looks good on the dancefloor at Indie Amnesty (Picture by Roxi Rahmanzadeh)

And this month I’m trying to change this so I look like I belong at two events you simply must go to if you are anywhere near London (if you don’t live nearby then you should travel).

The first is Ten Days of Silence, a solo show by Lauren Baker which is on at 99 Projects in Kensal Rise from May 6th (aka Friday) to the 29th of May.

Regular readers of Fiskal Policy will know she’s my favourite living artist (with Andy Warhol being my favourite dead one) so will know just how excited I am for the show to open.

The artworks were inspired by her time spent doing silent meditation during a recent trip to Mexico and use neon light, mosaic and metal sculpture, as well as works on canvas and print.

All the pieces are a reflection of her inner journey, with the highs and lows she experienced.

Lauren Baker stands in the foreground of the photo with a very white piece of artwork in the background
You can tell how amazing this artwork will be in reality (Picture by Fraser Mackenzie)
Lauren Baker is on the floor putting a white neon piece together
A lot of work has gone in to putting the Ten Days of Silence show together (Picture from Lauren Baker’s Instagram)

Lauren Baker explained: “Many of us are afraid of silence. We’re always doing something – thinking, texting, music, TV – to occupy the space.

“Being quiet and taking space is fundamental to happiness, and yet we often neglect this.

She added: “The 10 days of silence I experienced, felt like a rollercoaster. My heart broke open. I cried tears of joy.

“My compassion grew, and my empathy grew. It felt like my vision expanded from tunnel to near 360 vision.

“The source of love is deep within us, and we make a daily choice to lift others with a word, an action, a thought – to bring joy. This is what I would like each person to experience through my
work.”

Lauren Baker puts a white neon circle in between two artworks to bring them together
Mixing textures of mosaic, painting and light (Picture from Lauren Baker’s Instagram)
Lauren Baker stands in front of her artwork holding the brim of her hat and wearing a brightly-coloured suit
As well as being an incredible artist Lauren Baker has an incredible collection of hats (Picture by Fraser Mackenzie)

I’m looking for a nice shirt to wear for my first visit to the show (something tells me I’ll visit quite a few times this month) as I’m increasingly convinced the nice silvery grey one I used to have got left in a closet in New York City.

The second event I’m shopping for is Indie Amnesty on May 13th and so I’m looking for something to reveal my inner 90s indie kid, without the melancholy and the infinite sadness of the 21st century

I’m thinking maybe a band tshirt but my skinny fit days are long gone. 

Taking place at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club it is organised by the world’s best comedian Alex Haddow (if you haven’t seen her do comedy you should definitely see her do comedy) and she’ll be on the decks on the night.

This means I need something to make me look good on the dancefloor (because I fear my moves won’t make me look on the dancefloor) while covering up the fact I won’t have managed to lose two stone in two weeks. 

The crowd enjoying themselves at an Indie Amnesty event)
The crowd at Indie Amnesty look a lot more relaxed than the people who frequented the Hemel Hempstead indie club in the mid-90s (Picture by Roxi Rahmanzadeh)
Two women embrace in the middle of the crowd at Indie Amnesty while a woman at the back wears a very sparkly dress
The woman in the background looks almost as sparkly as a Lauren Baker artwork and I’m 100% here for that (Picture by Roxi Rahmanzadeh)

It’s an indie night like those you may have experienced in Hemel Hempstead in the 90s (other towns are available) but probably without the violence when Nirvana and Rage Against the Machine came on.

Back then I didn’t know the machine they were raging about was an office printer.

Nowadays I’m just hoping Alex is the kind of DJ who takes requests but “accidentally” forgets to play them because she’s the queen of the decks and doesn’t need someone suggesting Oxygen by JJ72 (aka me requesting Oxygen) or Bees by Ooberman.

The other important thing for most UK people to do this week is vote.

Local elections are taking place on Thursday and residents of Croydon will also be choosing who they want to be their first directly elected mayor.

Save your death threats for someone else – I know Rage Against the Machine were angry at much more than the office printer
I think Oxygen by JJ72 would be a great track to play at Indie Amnesty

Some (mainly just me) will be interested to see how many votes Winston McKenzie will manage to get.

A potted history for those who aren’t aware of him: He’s been a member of every major UK political party and has also stood in quite a few elections as an independent or minor party candidate.

Back in 2014 he didn’t do himself any favours during a UKIP carnival when, as the party’s candidate, he called the town a dump. 

Alex Haddow wearing a red and green tartan dress at Indie Amnesty
Put on your dancing shoes for Alex Haddow’s Indie Amnesty on May 13th (Picture by Roxi Rahmanzadeh)
Indie Amnesty DJs pose on the stage
This could be a photo of an indie band with the aloof bassist/ songwriter doing his ‘thing’ of not looking at the camera, but it is actually a picture of the Indie Amnesty DJs (Picture by Roxi Rahmanzadeh)

Most Croydon voters will undoubtedly be choosing between the Labour candidate Val Shawcross and the Conservative hopeful Jason Perry.

Yes, it’s a choice between the party which has bankrupted London’s most populous borough or the party which is being fined for breaking the rules it created about Covid and illegal gatherings, by having illegal gatherings in Downing Street. Oh, what a time to be alive.

Stay safe for another week!