Archive | June 2012

Would you get married in a Bournemouth beach hut?

Nowadays when old methods are replaced with quirky new crazes, Hannah Smithson visits Bournemouth’s annual Wedding Show  to find out what’s traditional and taboo this leap year…

Onlookers gaze at the amazing array of wedding dresses at the annual Bournemouth wedding show

According to tradition, on the last day of a leap year in February, which happens to fall at the end of this month in 2012, the ‘normal’ order of proposals is reversed and women can pop the question to the men. So ladies, will you be defying convention and asking your man the big question this leap year? There are hundreds of websites giving advice on the best way to do it, where, when and how but what happens once the question’s been asked and the answer’s ‘yes’…

Wedding planning- that’s what! Hundreds of couples and brides-to-be flock to Bournemouth’s International Centre’s Wedding Show every year, to get inspiration and ideas throughout the weekend for their special day.

Boasting to be the largest wedding exibition on the South Coast, over 130 local and regional exibitors turned up to showcase their wide range of luxury services and accessories to help you enjoy the big day.

A programme of features, included choreographed fashion shows, live performances from singers and musicians revealing that there is much more to a wedding show than one orginally thought. There was even a BH live fitness zone giving advice on how to slim down to fit into that all important dress and a ‘de-stress’ zone offering free ‘mini-treatments’, specialising in hair, health and make-up. To entertain those more concerned with music than make-up there was a ‘grooms zone’ offering a mobile fun casino and new for 2012, a champagne and Pimms bar.

From photo booths to ice sculptures this year’s wedding show had all the new trends and accessories to enhance your special day

With hundreds of options of photographers, venues and wedding cars available, its easy to see that one could get overwhelmed. Each Bridezilla was eagerly investigating to find the finest food, negotiating to get the best deal and dreaming to find the most magnificent gown. In the effort to create the most unique wedding event, businesses had come up with new ideas to entice their excited guests.

Photo booths, seemed to be all the rage this year, as I spoke to Oliver Reed, Director of ‘Say Fromage’ Photo Booth’s who said he came up with the idea four years ago when there seemed to be no one else doing it. He said: “It was a business I set up after University, I did my degree in photography and wanted to make some money out of it but had to be inventive.” He explained how photo booths were a great idea for weddings as it gave the power of the photo to the people in it. “People often cringe after a photo’s been taken but being able to take the photos yourself again and again with multiple free prints is great.” He likened photo booths to the modern day polaroid and showed me how you could dress yourself up with props, making for very silly pictures indeed. He said: “It’s great when you can get your own photos at weddings with great uncles and aunts you haven’t seen for years.” Say Fromage seemed to be the cheapest deal around with the hire of the booth, including free prints and props for just under £600.


Travel in style to your beach wedding in this converted luxury beach camper

How about this one- getting married on the beach in Bournemouth? Oh yes, there seems to be a business claiming to offer the first ever beach weddings in the whole of the UK on the sunny beaches of Bournemouth, the Uk’s very own version of Californian sands. But would it actually be sunny? Given Englands reputation for weather, I asked company director of Beach Weddings Bournemouth, Melanie Kiani– what happens when it rains? She assured me that there was a marquee in the event of bad weather and the reception would be inside whilst you’d actually get hitched under the roof of one of Bournemouth’s famous beach huts.

Following a success that saw seven million viewers tune in per episode, the cultural phenomenon, My Big Fat Gyspy Wedding is back this month, and with it the dresses! The popular channel four show returns to our screens and this time the ceremonies are even more outrageous and the pantomime style dresses have got even bigger. The modes of transport have likewise increased in size and style to fit the bride. Bournemouth Wedding Show didn’t quite have the dresses as seen on TV but it certainly had some alternative modes of transport- from carriages to Volkswagen surf vans.

So if you’re looking for a unique way to spend your special day this year then there is certainly inspiration to be found at the largest wedding show on the south coast or alternatively, catch the next episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on Channel 4 at 9pm on Tuesday 21st Feb!


Bournemouth Hip Hop Group Celebrate ‘All Elements’

 A pinch of attitude, a lick of style and a great big dollop of cool makes up the recipe for Bournemouth’s own hip hop group All Elements. Hannah Smithson takes a look into the world of hip hop culture from the the Bronx to Boscombe, sussing out the mood from Bournemouth’s own hip hop artists…dude

I first ran into one of the All Elements members during a bike shop opening launch in Landsdowne last summer. There were b-boys and b-girls breaking (I later learnt was the slang for female and male break dancers) and I was unsure at the time of who these people were. I sensed a comradary, a unity, a connection to the cool and that’s when I began my journey discovering what hip hop was and what it wasn’t.

Hip hop group All Elements left to right Simon Frankland (Shun) to Paul Spencer (Lacemaster) picture by Paul Spencer

Bringing back hip hop from the Bronx to Boscombe

I met Paul Spencer or ‘LaceMaster’ as his fellow hip hop friends know him, which he later explains is because of his big, colourful chunky laces that he still wears on his trainers. Paul took me back to the time and place where hip hop first originated. He explained that hip hop, one of the most powerful pop culture influences of the 20th century was born from the progressive musical culture that grew out of the tough Bronx neighbourhoods in New York in the 1970’s.

Paul grew up in Boscombe, recently highlighted as the most deprived area in the South West of England. In 1987, he helped organise the first Vile Style event in St. Stevens Church Hall in Bournemouth, along with John Isaacs, a.k.a. DJ Junk from the British Second to None hip hop group in the early days. “We would go to gigs round the country – MC nights, graffiti events and not a lot of it was connected but what did unite it all was music.”

All Elements are now celebrating their first year as a constituted charity and non-profit organisation, with their motto being ‘peace, love, unity and having fun’.

“That’s what we’re trying to do is unite all the arts of our culture- we help each other, build our community and identify all the other members so we can relate to each other.” Twenty years later the Vile Style event then became more frequent and happens once or twice a year now, with All Elements hoping to secure funding from Bournemouth Pavillion this year as their host venue and all the sales from the tickets going to the b-boys and b-girls competition.

DJ Mad money at Boscombe Tea Party Picture by Paul Spencer

The charity consists of a group of trustees who have had years of experiencing the hip hop culture- break dancers, house DJs and MC’s. “We’re not here saying we can develop you into this – we just say we’re like minded and if you need help we can suggest help to you.”

“Hip hop is about sharing knowledge but it’s not about teaching you about it- there is no school of hip hop.”

‘Urban Recreation’

 Speaking to Simon Frankland a.k.a. Shun, a local graffiti writer and hip hop music producer, he explained it as an urban recreation that people can do without having to spend any money. I asked if there had been a resurgence in hip hop since the recession in the UK and he relates it back to the Bronx, saying: “People were unemployed, the place was a mess and people do want to do things, they wanted to be creative, they wanted to be better than the next person.”

“Rapping and graffiti writing doesn’t cost anything and in these times it’s definitely an opportunity for that because it’s so accessible to everyone.”

Misunderstood- Graffiti- an artform or a crime?

Originally born and bread in Bristol, Shun found the city really multi-cultural, “everyone was separated but when hip hop came along no one seemed to care- they all embraced each other, which I think was a huge turning point.

“Now everything is a little more separated again but it’s the likes of what Paul’s doing that is trying to bring everything together and feel connected to all the elements.” There used to be a lot of stigma surrounding graffiti but Shun explains that these days the way society sees it means it has gained some legitimacy. “There are legal places you can go and paint, like the walls in Boscombe. Councils even commission murals nowadays. Art buyers like graffiti and so it has become appreciated as an art form.” He points out though that although there are graffiti walls in Boscombe he wonders if there would be graffiti walls in Canford Cliffs.

Grafitti cans lined up for the wall  Picture by Paul Spencer

All Elements were invited along to Boscombe Tea party last year and went on stage with all the elements; rappers, breakers, beat-boxing, Djing and graffiti artists. “It was really successful and we had a crowd of about 150 people there”, says Paul. The next All Elements event will be Vile Style will be on Sunday 26th August. See All Elements- Dorset Hip Hop Facebook page for more details.