“Why moving out of London might be the best thing for your career and your life” my opinion piece in Metro

Why you don't need to live in London to have a successful career and be happy
Best. Thing. Ever. (Picture: Getty/Metro)

As someone who works in the media, and made the move from London to Stoke-on-Trent in 2009, I don’t think you need to be based in London to ‘make it’.

You can work outside the capital and still flourish.

‘There is a wealth of talent right across our country that all too often gets overlooked and Stoke-on-Trent is a prime example. We have a rich cultural heritage, a fantastic local workforce and we’re located right in the heart of the country,’ says Stoke-on-Trent North MP Ruth Smeeth.

METRO GRAPHICS
Is this really what you want from life? (Picture: Metro)

Since leaving the capital, I’ve been at the helm of a medical journal, written for most national newspapers as well as the Lancet, paid off my debt, bought a house with my partner and I am currently writing my first book.

Opportunity knocks on doors across the country.

John Lees, a careers expert and author of How To Get A Job You Love, tells me: ‘Jobs increasingly exist outside London, and often cost a great deal less in terms of housing, travel, and the wear and tear of commuting.

‘New technology is one key reason for this growing number of opportunities as we can now frequently work anywhere.

‘While these jobs can sometimes be harder to spot, for some, the rewards of finding the right role in a calmer and saner part of the country can be immense.’

I concur.

And there are thousands of success stories from people who have never lived in London.

Digital Nomad using laptop, Wat Jed Yod in the back, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Could you be a digital nomad? (Picture: Getty)

Matt Timmins, CEO of Simply Biz, is one such example.

According to him: ‘Success in life depends on the journey you take and not the city in which you reside.

‘Personally, I never considered that I would need to move to London to ‘make it’ and I have no desire to live there.
‘My success allows me a happy and fulfilled life with my wife, daughter and our dog on a six bedroomed farmhouse set in 15 acres and we regularly enjoy sunshine breaks to our villa in Spain.’

Beach with palm trees, Florida Keys, Florida, USA
The office (Picture: Getty)

Some people find success after struggling in London and then moving elsewhere.

Jemima Lord lived in London in her 20s, working in fashion journalism.

The competitive nature of the industry meant she worked long hours, and the pay was restrictive, so she needed the financial support of her husband to be able to stay in the job.

They moved to the South of France when she was 30, and now live in a rural village near Uzes, a medieval town in Languedoc-Rousillon.

She said: ‘I now run my own business, Lord Vintage, creating handbags and jewellery using locally sourced vintage and antique materials.

‘I’ve also been able to take time out to train as a yoga instructor, and now teach several weekly classes.

‘Moving somewhere far less expensive than London meant that my husband and I could afford to buy a property and we were able to create work spaces for us both, including my atelier as well as a yoga studio.

‘Being somewhere quieter than London has also been perfect for bringing up our children, and our work-life balance is so much healthier than before.’

Street in wine-producing village of Chateauneuf du Pape, in Provence, France.
Maybe the perfect life for you is in a rural village abroad (Picture: Getty)

Sarah Twyman, an account director for a PR agency in Manchester did the same.

She explained: ‘I’m originally from Kent but I’ve lived in London on and off since I graduated in 2001.

‘In 2010 I met my boyfriend on a night out in Manchester and after doing the long distance thing for around nine months, I took the plunge and decided to make the move north when I was 31. It’s not a cliche that the people are friendlier.

‘I’ve since bought a flat in the Northern Quarter and had a baby.

‘The fact that I can still walk to work means that I get home in time to give Lily her dinner at 6pm and put her to bed.’

Personally, I think the notion of success being the reserve of ‘perfume bottle cities’ should be put to bed too.

Read it on Metro UK now and see what others had to say!

Advertisement

It’s time to get creative and make a film about mental health on Positively Scottish

 

IFC awards still

If you want to change how mental illness is seen and talked about – get into film.

Now’s your chance to steal the limelight in the International Film Competition for the 2017 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. Entries, which are open to global applicants, close on March 31.

One tip for this year’s entries, says producer and film festival curator, Richard Warden, is to capture hearts and minds.

“We’re particularly keen to see films addressing mental health with personality and verve – work that is brave, open, and takes chances. ‘Challenging but accessible’ is one way I put it. But we consider all engaging approaches.”

Now in its 11th year, the competition provides its award winners (and selected other entrants) with the opportunity to showcase their films to festival audiences.

With winning films screened during the Scottish festival in October 2017, and honoured at the International Film Competition awards ceremony, it’s the perfect way to get your work out there and seen by the right people.

Competition is fierce. Last year, the festival received 1600 entries from over 100 countries. Speaking about the mass of global entries, Richard says it’s one of many highlights of his work on the competition. “It’s a privilege to view compelling stories from around the world. We had to start programming beyond just the winners, as there was so much more we wanted people to see. ”

Claire Lamond w IFC award still

But just by entering your film, you can also be part of the emerging, global discussion about mental health. Claire Lamond’s film All That Glisters won Best Animation in the 2012 International Film Competition, and Sea Front picked up the same award in 2014.

“It’s a fantastic forum to help film-makers and service users addressing important, sensitive issues and I can’t praise enough the political awareness-raising side of it,” says Edinburgh-based Claire (below).

“I know it’s said a lot but we need to talk about mental health: again and again and again and always. The stories that I am drawn to are about people striving to exist and making sense of the world around them. Wee stories about wider society. And this means that mental health often plays a part in the telling of them.”

Claire says film-making and studying creatively has helped her beat her own anxiety and depression; for a time she had to stop work. When she eventually began to recover, she attended Stepping Stones (now replaced by the Alma Project), an arts-based mental health project.

They had a film-maker in residence, Robbie McKillop, and with his support Claire made a feature that won Best Drama in the 2007 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival. “As I recovered more,” says Claire, “the project supported me to go study and I found myself at Edinburgh College of Art.”

For Claire, to have her films recognised in the competition was personally very empowering. “For me it was a testament to the power of art in healing and a personal lesson in the incredible work that arts projects are doing in the area of mental health.

“The actual awards ceremony is an amazing night. It’s such a treat to get to meet a whole pile of film-makers, all with something important to say. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for escapist dramas but that’s not my place,” adds the winning film-maker.

SEA FRONT stillLast year’s winners were shown at the CCA in Glasgow, Edinburgh Filmhouse and other venues, and accompanied by post-show discussions which Richard says is another highlight of his work.

“These conversations can involve film-makers, film subjects, those with lived experience, mental health experts – the audiences are wide-ranging, and the forum is an open one. They’re an opportunity to witness the immediate impact that cinema can have.”

So, what are you waiting for? Go on, enter. Perhaps you too can be an award winning film-maker and start up important conversations about mental health that win hearts and minds across the globe.

For more details on the competition, go here

Why schizophrenia need not rob us of a life in academia in The Guardian!

After opening up about my mental health problems, I received the help I needed to do my lecturing job well, writes Erica Crompton in The Guardian.

8198653122_568abd13fb_z

On an autumn afternoon in 2009, I was fired from my job as a university lecturer. I hadn’t declared my schizophrenia on an application form and this was treated as gross misconduct. Many years later, I returned to the lecture theatre – but this time I was open about my condition, to a much more positive response. I learned an important lesson: that if I’m open about living with a mental illness, I can receive the support and help that I need.

I’ve since continued to work and have found it good for developing my sense of self-worth. I’m not alone in experiencing this. Elyn Saks, who also happens to have schizophrenia, is a remarkably high achiever. She first fell ill in 1977 and joined the USC faculty in 1989. She is now a tenured professor of law, psychology and psychiatry and behavioural sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law; adjunct professor of psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine; and on the faculty at the New Centre for Psychoanalysis.

For Saks, who has also authored a book about her experiences of schizophrenia called The Center Cannot Hold, work has been key to recovery: “When I’m writing an argument or counter-argument, the crazy stuff recedes to the sidelines,” she says. “Work gives me a focus and a sense of self-esteem. And for me it is the last thing to go. As I have come to say, my mind is both my best friend and my worst enemy. Being an academic with schizophrenia has been largely positive.”

She wasn’t open about her condition at first, though. “I was closeted the first two or three years at USC. I then self-disclosed to four people pre-tenure; then another six post-tenure; and of course to the whole school on the publication of my memoir,” she explains. Her story ended up reaching even further when it became an opera.

Working it out

Processed with VSCO with 6 preset

She notes, however, that when it comes to achieving high she is not one of a kind. “People often tell me that I’m unique. But it’s just not true,” she says. For a paper on psychiatric services, she interviewed about 20 people with high-functioning schizophrenia, including high-flying doctors, lawyers and a chief executive. She says: “Our subjects described techniques they’ve developed to manage their symptoms – anything from challenging their problematic thoughts to manipulating their surroundings to engaging with spirituality.”

Stephen Lawrie, professor of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, agrees that hiring and working with people with schizophrenia is beneficial to their recovery. Through the Scottish Mental Health Research Network, his department works with people with schizophrenia, and other illnesses, to develop research ideas and projects that would be interesting to and acceptable for patients.

Lawrie suggests that work can help people feel useful and valued, while also helping others to appreciate the difficulties facing people with schizophrenia and their strength in the face of adversity. He says: “There are many benefits to employing people with schizophrenia. In general, if anything, people with schizophrenia are more kind, caring and considerate than the general population.”

There is also good evidence from clinical trials, he says, that a scheme called individual placement and support – which gets people into competitive employment with training and support on the job – can help people with schizophrenia get jobs and keep them. “By giving people jobs, employers would contribute to an increased understanding and acceptance of the condition,” he adds.

An example of such inclusive practice can be found at the University of Westminster, which hosts a Recovery College tailored to people living with mental illness. A peer support worker, someone with lived experience of mental illness, will work with professional staff to deliver training programmes to improve lives.

Francesca is one such senior peer support worker. She says working at the university is an opportunity that is beyond any expectations she had when she was unwell: “During my time in hospital I thought a lot about wanting to use my experience as a way of supporting others in future, in order to help them feel understood and less alone. At the time I never thought this role would exist… Doing this work gives me a sense of purpose, and has given meaning to the difficulties that I went through in the past.”

It also ensures she stays on track and practices self care. “I believe that my role keeps me motivated to keep well and look after myself in order to support others in doing the same,” she says. “This responsibility has added huge value to my daily life and future aspirations.”

 

Other universities use mental health first aid training courses to equip staff for dealing with mental health crises among colleagues and students. Caroline Hounsell, director of product development and partnerships at Mental Health First Aid England, says: “Academic staff are facing increasing working hours, with less resources, and more demands – which is taking a toll for those working in higher education. Our training seeks to support staff as well as students, because we recognise that both communities are facing unique challenges.”

Hounsell says there is a real need to educate people on how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and how to best support someone who might be experiencing difficulties.

None of this support was in place when I was lecturing and struggling with my own mental health. But I’ve kept in touch with one or two of the students I worked with during my ill-fated lectureship. One told me that I was the best lecturer she had, and her mother even took me out to lunch recently. So it’s important that people with schizophrenia have hope that they can achieve their ambitions and goals – greater recognition among universities of the need for added support is certainly a welcome development.

Join the higher education network for more comment, analysis and job opportunities, direct to your inbox. Follow us on Twitter @gdnhighered. And if you have an idea for a story, please read our guidelines and email your pitch to us at highereducationnetwork@theguardian.com

Down on the ‘free-for-all’ farm that offers a spiritual twist in Positively Scottish

thumb_img_1066_1024

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus.

For me, the invincible summer can be found in Lesmahagow, some 25 minutes south-east of Glasgow, just off the M74, writes ERICA CROMPTON, in Positively Scottish.

Here I discovered a spiritual eco-farm retreat through Worldwide Opportunities for Organic Farming (WWOOF), a global collection of farms where you can work the land in exchange for accommodation and food.

The Krishna Eco Farm in Lesmahagow, or Karuna Bhavan, is home to a community of over 30 people, made up Hare Krishna monks, families, volunteers and the wider Krishna community.

It sits atop a steep hill. If you’re coming by bus and walking here, expect to feel the burn as you reach the entrance. To begin with, you’ll find a navy and white sign letting you know you’re in the right place and acting as a gate to the women’s ‘ashram’ (ashram meaning home in Indian, where the Krishna religion originates). It’s in front of the men’s ashram (the two houses are divided as that sort of thing isn’t allowed here on the sacred grounds).

thumb_img_0997_1024Accommodation is basic, and shared, but often there aren’t many travellers stopping over so you may find you have a room to yourself like me. The heating is on, and my abode for the next five nights is stencilled with elephants and peacocks with plenty of floral fabrics in a rainbow of pastel and primary colours. I could be in India with all this 1970s wicker furniture and wooden floors…although a glance outside at the plump and heavy Scottish rainclouds reminds me I’m not.

You don’t have to be devout or don the tangerine robes to reap the spiritual benefits here, though many do after escaping the rat race or leaving behind troubled pasts. The WWOOF scheme means you can help harvest crops for six hours a day, five days a week in exchange for a bed, and the meals (much of which are made from the crops here).

13423885_10154315812036907_5156835934155131328_nVolunteers are a staple in the running of the temple. Head gardener Bhakti Vinode (above) says: “Labour on the farm has helped us in a big way and we couldn’t cultivate the amount of land without the volunteers – we’ve been depending on them and they bring life to the farm.

“Personally I feel enthused when I see things growing. I work hard to cultivate the land then plant the seeds, so it’s nice to see the seeds germinate after all the hard work. I feel I’m doing something for the world, like I’m contributing. Everyone needs food so I like to grow food and teach others how to grow food. We can feed the hungry but we also have to educate people how to grow food. Growing food gives me a purpose in life.”

Earn your keep, take a working holiday, or stay as long as you want while you get back on your feet if unemployed or homeless. It can even help those with mental health problems, says Bhakti. “We do some horticultural therapy here too. People with mental health problems come along and we encourage them to grow food as it makes them feel more positive.”

For those who don’t want to do the farming, you can pay £10 a night for the same deal and explore the surrounding areas. However you’ll be still be expected to observe the house rules, such as no alcohol, no meat, and no sex.

thumb_img_1060_1024Those rules are keenly observed by the monks and you can’t miss them dotted around the grounds in their orange robes, sometimes chanting “Hare Krishna”. They mostly cut lithe, warm figures with their shaven heads fully focused on their work. The farming is also known as ‘Bhakti yoga’. It’s done with devotion for the Hindu God Krishna and forms a crucial part of the devotees’ lifestyle.

Bhakti takes his spiritual name from Bhakti yoga. Of the practice, he says: “Working on the land keeps me fit and it helps regulate my life. I have to be there every morning to water, feed, and weed the seedlings. Most important is I love what I do. Practising Bhakti yoga means I grow food with love and whoever eats the food feels the love while eating.”

You’ll often find Bhakti working in one of two large greenhouses that sit aside the women’s ashram, a little further up the hill and framed by a winding path to the temple right at the top.

Chanting, meditation and yoga take place in this colourful and diminutive temple with intricate carved deities covered in garlands which are made on-site with the marigolds that Bhakti and the volunteers’ harvest.

The marigolds only add to the colour to the site. I also visited this summer for the Hindi Festival of Lights. With monks and friends, we threw coloured paint at each other while singing and dancing. The best part was sitting in the farm grounds around a campfire with sheep until late. But it’s not uncommon for a devotee to rise at 2am to start their mantra rituals.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner follow the early birds at 8.30am, 1.30pm and 7.30pm. The food is all vegetarian and much produced on site, such as the spinach and the potatoes. They call it ‘Prasadam’ and it tastes a little like curry – think saag paneer rather than vindaloo, as it’s all very mild.

Of the food, Bhakti says: “Prasadam means everything to me. It’s spiritual food, and when I eat it, I feel the love! I like to serve Prasadam to others. The Beatle George Harrison said he hopes in the future there will be Prasadam restaurants and takeaways on every corner and I can see that happening in the future, because it’s great food.

“Everyone that comes to the Krishna eco farm gets Prasadam and it’s always such a nice occasion sitting and eating it together – it’s enthusing to see after growing the crops and makes me feel happy and peaceful while bringing the love out in my heart. It’s so easy and everyone can take part.”

I, too, took part. Healthy eating was welcome on my stay and after five days without coffee, booze, and meat I do feel energised and not a little lighter (it must be all that bending and stretching over the spinach).

Sanctuary and peace don’t cost the earth on the Krishna eco farm. So free-loving, colourful summer vibes can live on through the wildest of winters.

For more information on the Krishna eco farm, go here.

 

Forget the church! Here are 10 more imaginative ways to get married

In case you haven’t already got the memo, you don’t have to get married in a white dress in a church.

Fancy flying to the moon for your wedding?

What about a traditional Thai blessing like Kate Moss and Madonna?

Or perhaps the ocean is a good metaphor for the depth of feelings you share with your fiance?

Whatever takes your fancy, there’s a weird and wonderful nuptial package to make your wedding album stand out from the rest and give your guests a day to remember.

From balloons and Vedic ceremonies to medieval hand-fastings and Buddhist blessings, here’s a round-up of some imaginative ways to tie the knot and celebrate your love for one another.

1. Balloon brides

An increasing number of couples are getting hitched in hot air balloons and there’s some stunning backdrops to choose from like in New Mexico.

The balloons can host up to 12 passengers and a small party might even spot cupid up in the clouds.

Just be sure to bring your minister and your witnesses.

 A couple of lovers sit on hot air balloon at Pablo Ecological Valley in Zhuzhen, Liuhe district
(Picture: Wang Xin/VCG)

2. Hand-fasting and jumping over the broomstick

For centuries, couples have ‘jumped the broomstick’ and promised each other friendship and fidelity in a hand-fasting ceremony that was traditionally Pagan.

It’s a fun way to celebrate your love and is still offered as a non-legally binding ceremony in the UK, such as at Tutbury Castle.

3. Vedic wedding

Don your best robes and flower garlands for a Vedic wedding, a traditional Hindu ceremony, at places like Bhaktivedanta Manor.

With water and fire blessings, these are tremendously opulent and will see the bride and groom together for several lifetimes (if you believe in that sort of thing).

Maharashtrian Indian Bride And Indian Bride Groom Perfoming Mangalshutra Vidhi In Wedding Ceremony.
(Picture: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

4. Tsok Puja

Celebrate the Tibetan Buddhist way with a social gathering, a Lama’s blessing and offerings of plenty of food.

A ‘Tsok puja’ takes up to about an hour and consists of chanting, and a little quiet time for some mantra recitation in the middle.

You can also enjoy the ceremony without the wedding, like at the Kagyu Samye Dzong in London.

5. Wedding on the slopes

Combine your love of skiing with your nuptials and hope to God your marriage doesn’t go downhill too soon!

Companies like Wed ‘n’ Ski offer packages for snow enthusiasts, with ceremonies taking place while they’re skiing or snowboarding.

There’s even an option in Switzerland to wed in an igloo. Go on, melt a heart.

Kelley McGhie , left, Sander Wyjad , both 30, of Nederaland, kiss together after attending a mass wedding ceremony at the top of Loveland Ski Area
(Picture: Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

6. Prisoner of love

Give a whole new meaning to the term ‘ball and chain’ by getting married in a former prison.

The Malmaison Oxford is based in a medieval castle and used to be a prison.

But it is also, I’m told, a beautiful venue for weddings.

7. Cabaret kisses

Fancy being a burlesque bride and a groom with glowsticks?

Then dance on to Cafe de Paris, a notoriously decadent London nightclub and cabaret spot that can be hired for wedding receptions, too.

Burlesque diva performing burlesque show act.
(Picture: Getty)

8. Cave wedding

The path to love doesn’t always run smoothly, so why not have your wedding among the Slovenian mountains?

Predjama Castle is set against the rocky backdrop of a towering cliff and is the largest cave castle in the world.

And, you can host your wedding inside the enormous cavern of its cave.

9. Thai long drum parade and a water blessing ritual

Kate Moss and Madonna both had Buddhist blessings to show their affection and cement their relationships.

The best place to go to have your own is Thailand.

There are a number of all-inclusive packages, including for a traditional Thai wedding at the Manathai Koh Samui.

10. At sea

Cruise lines often offer weddings at sea.

Norwegian for example, offers an itinerary featuring the exchanging of vows at the summit of an Alaskan glacier, helicopter ride, sparkling wine, flowers, and a wedding certificate and cake.

Go on, sail off into the sunset together.

See the original in Metro UK here!

Hip Trip Edinburgh Published in Fused Magazine

Edinburgh. It’s a culture vulture’s paradise with a festival for every fandom. Bookworm? Check (Edinburgh International Book Festival is on 15th – 31st of August). Comedy fan? Check times gazillion (The Edinburgh Fringe Festival falls on 7th – 31st August) Ghost hunter? They got the ghosts busted all year round (The Edinburgh Dungeons). Punctuate your trip with great food and drinks, and decorate with some of the world class art on display at one of the galleries or museums – the blue and white cross flag doesn’t seem to do this bright and colourful city justice, but the Fused Hip Trip guide should highlight some of the best it has to offer…

Hip-Trips

WHERE TO STAY…


Wallace Art House Surround yourself with art at this reasonable priced, unique B&B and enjoy the company of Wallace Shaw, the charismatic owner. 41-4 Constitution St, Edinburgh EH6 7BG 07941 343714
The Royal Britannia Less than 2 miles from Edinburgh Castle, this west End hotel is nestled on a riverside and just across the road from the National Museum Scotland. It’s also one of the few hotels in the UK where you can still enjoy smoking rooms. Behold and inhale! 69 Belford Terrace, Edinburgh 0871 221 0243

WHERE TO EAT…


Nonna’s Kitchen Established by Gino Stornaiuolo and family, Nonna’s Kitchen offer great food with a highlight being the pumpkin ravioli in gorgonzola and hazelnuts (drool at the thought). It’s modern and airy yet homely and intimate space plus the waiting staff have an uncanny knack for reciting long specials lists off the top of their heads! 45 Morningside Road, Edinburgh EH10 4AZ 0131 466 6767.

WHERE TO DRINK…


Treacle Head here for the best Edinburgh cocktails and a drinks menu that features an eclectic list of ingredients such as egg whites, sherbet with dipping lollipops and Hibiscus. 41 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3JU 0131 557 0627

THINGS TO DO…


The Edinburgh Dungeon Shiver through an 80 minute journey of 1000 years of Scotland’s haunted history with actors, storytelling, exciting rides and thrilling special effects. Features the tale of murderous twosome Burke and Hare as well as gruesome details of the plague in the city’s “Streets of Sorrow”.  31 Market St, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH1 1DF 0871 423 2250
The Fruitmarket Art Gallery Be sure to check the current Phyllida Barlow show (on until 18 October 2015) – it’s a dreamy, pink-tinged installation that brings the artists memories of the space to life and it gives you the feeling of entering the private parts of a woman’s brain (men take note!) 45 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DF 0131 225 2383
The Scottish National Museum of Modern Art Don’t miss the important paintings of modern art history on display here. Of note is Expressionistic artist Oskar Kokoschka’s Self-Portrait as a Degenerate Artist (1937), a long-term loan from a private collection. It was painted in response to the Nazi’s attack on modern art, which had deemed Kokoschka and others as “degenerates”. 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR 0131 624 6200

TIPS


The kindness of strangers Allow the friendly locals to show you around: ditch the guidebooks and official tours and let one or two kind strangers be your tour guides – they’ll have insider tips, doused in humour, to impart.
A Scottish tipple Get into the Edinburgh spirit with, errr….. a spirit! Try a highland dram of whisky such as The Ardmore Legacy, the perfect introduction to peated single malt whisky with notes of creamy vanilla, followed by smoky charcoal and savoury spices. Available in multiple retailers including Tesco and Morrisons (RRP £29.99).

The Swoon Story: Reminding Us How Extraordinarily Fun Dancing Can Be

tightrope

Once upon a time, way back in the 1990s, Swoon was dubbed “Best Friday night” by music bible Mixmag as well as by Pete Tong on his BBC Radio 1 show. It was always an effortlessly classy night with clubbers mimicking the smouldering 40s screen sirens on the night’s exclusive flyers.

Founded in February 1994, in its heyday it was filmed for Channel 4’s BPM and saw celebrity DJs such as Boy George, Graeme Park, Jeremy Healy, Masters at Work, and Judge Jules headlining – often globetrotting just to get to Stafford. The feel-good atmosphere, the friendly crowd, the excitement for a Friday night out are all difficult to sum up in words. But let’s just say Swoon has always had that je ne sais quoi!

And now the countdown to the next Swoon reunion is on, after a fantastic 1st year back and fresh on the heels of Swoon’s sell out anniversary show. Coming back to the Stafford venue on the anniversary’s spring night, after a twenty year break, was Roger Sanchez. With arms rising to the air like champagne bubbles, the DJ knew instinctively how to draw an utterly beguiling crowd (people talked afterwards of the brilliant atmosphere that’s even better the second time around!)

So, one year into the reunions and Swoon are now hosting a shimmering summer special on 31st July. Buy one of the few remaining tickets before they all sell out in 3, 2… weeks. The line-up for this summer special is almost as bright as the sun that’ll be setting as the DJs prepare for the night.

As well as Jon Pleased Wimmin, they’ll be Allister Whitehead, and residents Angel and Mark Rowley – all reunited under Couture’s giant glitter ball. Need a cold shower after that? Head on down to Room 2 with Sounds Collective, Mark Mac & Guests in for a cooling, more chilled experience.

While there’s no dress code, Swooners (as the promoters endearingly call them!) like to leave an impression. Swoon has always been a glitzy affair and the look harks back to glamourous grunge with metallic silver baby doll dresses, ankle socks and pigtails. The men like their tartan shirts (and many even go for tartan pants).

But Swoon has always attracted more women than it has men – indeed, it was one of the first nights to have a resident female DJ (Angel) and there’s never any trouble behind the glittering black doors.

As always, early bird tickets have sold out in record time and only a few limited standard tickets remain. Make sure you grab them whilst you can!

Swoon. Meaning: to feel a lot of pleasure, love, because of something or someone. Be part of it, come along!

Swoon nights are held at Couture, Stafford. The next reunion is on 31st July with Jon Pleased Wimmin, Allister Whitehead, Mark Rowley & Angel headlining. Tickets in advance, from £15.

%d bloggers like this: