Mustard Meadow by Ryan McGinley.
Johnny Flynn is an actor, poet, musician and songwriter of extraordinary (but in no way boastful) talent.
Most recently he has played Lady Anne and Viola respectively in Mark Rylance’s all-male productions of Richard III and Twelfth Night – long and very successful runs, first at The Globe and then at The Apollo. His band Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit released their first album A Larum in 2008, catching the revived interest in folk at just the right moment; their second album, Been Listening, was released in 2010: their third will be released this summer.
Last year Johnny wrote and recorded the soundtrack for off-the-wall American comedy A Bag of Hammers. He’ll return to the stage at the Royal Court this May in Bruce Norris’s The Low Road, a fable of free market economics and cut-throat capitalism.
In person Johnny is quiet, self effacing, watchful; on stage, something altogether else – and always worth catching. He was born and brought up in Pembrokeshire and now lives in London with his wife Bea and son Gabriel.
Dr Sally Bayley.
Few teas are as pretty and pleasing to look at as S. Africa Redbush tea. Pour it into a glass and watch it glow amber-to-red. Its natural sweetness makes it drinkable without milk, but it also tastes surprisingly good with soya milk (which doesn’t taste much good anywhere else), and the overall effect is faintly toffee-like without any of the cloying sugariness. Redbush tea has crept onto supermarket shelves in the last few years as a better-for-you rival to our regular builder’s tea or English Breakfast. Most popular tea companies are pushing their redbush brand; even Tetley has come out with some exotic packaging to promote their Redbush brand: a Turkish carpet design swirling across their red Redbush Tea box.
I want to defend Redbush or rooibos tea as an outstanding choice of alternative tea. Drawn from the South African herb, Aspalathus linearis, redbush is a rare and delicate plant whose brilliant yellow piney leaves harvested in the summer turns, during the Autumn months, a deep red colour…
Nico Renson is a songwriter and producer for the likes of Macy Gray and Kelis. He began his life in a distant corner of Belgium, his career in a less remote corner – where he graduated as a film director – whence he moved to London to pursue his ambitions in music. In a pair of skinny jeans he fronted a punk-rock band and played every pub within the M25 at least twice, but became disillusioned with the reality of band life and began writing for a solo album. His debut album, Play to My Own Tune, was released under his stage name, Bunny, in the U.S. and Japan.
Nico is very tall, thoughtful, serious but ironical in a Flemish escapee way, and has startlingly blue eyes. His music can be heard on his website, nicorenson.com
We’re very glad to have come across Veja, a company who combine high social and environmental standards with contemporary, everyday style. Founded in Paris in 2004 by Sébastien Kopp and François-Ghislain Morillion, Veja was born out a desire for a new kind of fashion – an ethically strong kind that would respect both the environment and human rights.
The company’s back-story is a fascinating one. Childhood friends Sébastien and François studied economics and management before beginning their careers at American banks. After just a few months, they realised that the world they wanted to shape was difficult to grasp from within these organisations. So they quit their jobs and instead offered their services to large French companies, travelling the world to audit corporate social and environmental projects. They visited Chinese factories, South-African mines and the Amazon rainforest looking for solutions to the problems of our times: massive deforestation, exhaustion of natural resources and labour exploitation…
Sipsmith, established in 2009 by Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall and Master Distiller Jared Brown, is the first copper-pot distillery to open within London’s city limits in nearly two centuries. Their distillery in west London is dominated by a gigantic, hissing but beautiful copper still known as Prudence, the fourth member of the Sipsmith gang. Their spirits are produced in small batches and the water used to distill them is collected from one of the sources of the River Thames in the Cotswolds…
Louis Eliot has been playing guitar, singing, writing songs, since his years could be measured in single figures. He was shown his way around a guitar by the Hawkwind guitarist; kept on course as a teenager when, walking home after a gig for which he’d had to battle nerves, a familiar voice came from the shadows: ‘nice singing, Lewis’. The voice was Joe Strummer’s.
Through the 90s he fronted top-20 album band Rialto; played bass for Evan Dando; played guitar with Skye from Morcheeba. He now lives with his family in Cornwall, his native county, and leads Louis Eliot and the Embers – though occasionally taking to the road to play guitar for Grace Jones. If you think his surname might reveal a connection to the Port Eliot festival – you might be right.
Joe Strummer was right about his voice – a clear, light tenor with just a hint of fallen angel about it. On stage with the Embers he disappears into his songs – and the band fly. Their album is called Kittow’s Moor, a blend of folk, country and rock’n'roll that can’t help itself from rocking. We recommend it – our current music of choice, Friday evenings, to remind us that the weekend nights are for dancing. Listen to it, buy it at louiseliot.com or iTunes or all the usual suspects.
This August Toast will be travelling to Oxfordshire to curate the spa at Wilderness Festival for the third year running. We will be packing bags, boxes and vans with our favourite outdoor things - deckchairs, firebowls, storm lanterns, blankets and installing ourselves near the lakes of the Cornbury Park Estate. The spa is a place to relax and enjoy a few moments away from the noise and hubbub of the rest of the festival – a place to soak in cedar hot-tubs under the sun and stars, steam in saunas, sip champagne and allow the world to revolve slowly without any input for a few moments…