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Writing for The Culture Trip

One of the biggest names in rock music history, The Rolling Stoneshave redefined music far beyond their own generation. Exhibitionism, the first international exhibition of the band, has debuted in London’s Saatchi Gallery, with full participation from current band members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood. With over 500 artifacts cleverly presented in nine thematic galleries, this is one not to miss — whether you’re an avid Stone’s fan or not.
The exhibition has evidently been meticulously curated with striking visuals, recreations, interactive features, and information. As you enter the first room you are immediately met with a burst of colour and sound, and you know you’re in for something special. Nonetheless you are simultaneously greeted with the band’s arrogant charisma, with proud statistics from the number of records sold, to the countries they have played at all over the world, to a to-the-minute total recording time. The adjacent room plays on 40 screens a lifelong audio-visual of the band; a stunning memento, which is unafraid to mention the bad times.
Next, you are taken on a journey from the beginning of the 1960s, showing how the band was formed. The first ever contract signed is there, along with prints of the first recording photo shoot, tiny diaries kept by members and, of course, an extensive collection of instruments. Continue on through Exhibitionism, and you will see how the band is depictedfocusing mainly on their performance, rather than each of the members’ personal development. But with moving and amusing quotes along the walls, short video excerpts and a room full of unexpected bits and pieces, fans won’t be disappointed.
One of the best aspects of the whole exhibition is the recreation of what have been some of the band’s key surroundings. You can walk through the Edith Grove flat in Chelsea that they first lived in together, with mould on the walls, clothes strewn all over the floor, fag butts and food wasting away in the kitchen whilst vinyls repeatedly sing blues influences on the record player. There is a recording studio, with interactive equipment for visitors to the exhibition to mix in and out instruments to the songs themselves. Top it off with a recreation of what it was like to be backstage at a Stones’ concert.
A large and truly deserving emphasis lies on collaborators. From artists and designers such as Andy Warhol and Alexander McQueen — with a considerable compilation of artwork and stage outfits — to musicians the band worked with, including Lisa Fischer whose sound has manifested in the music. A whole room is dedicated to the development of the big lips and tongue logo and how the idea began with Jagger and designer John Pasche.
As you put on your 3D glasses in the final room of the exhibition, you are temporarily transported to a recent Stones’ live performance, with never-before-seen footage. With overbearing music (what else), you forget where you are for a moment — likewise as the rest of the exhibition; it is a true spectacle.
Exhibitionism proves the impact The Rolling Stones have had on music as a whole, how they are the pioneers of live performances and sequinned jackets, and how their sound has resonated through British culture since they began.
Exhibitionism is on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London until September 2016, before embarking on a world tour.

London’s Newest Bars And Restaurants To Visit This Spring

London’s hospitality scene is forever evolving, and with this Spring comes an array of new and exciting places to eat and drink. Follow our guide and bag a seat at one of the most happening new places in town.

The Cocktail Trading Company

Enter this eclectic cocktail bar through doors embellished with golden revolver handles for a unique watering-hole experience in the heart of Shoreditch. The extensive avant-garde menu will have you drinking decorated cocktails in a way you never have before. Try the Instaspam (apple brandy, morello cherry, hazelnut liqueur, orange blossom and lemon juice served in a spam food tin), or the Bonsai Butterfly (Jasmine Martin Miller’s Gin, St Germain, fig-lime cordial and champagne, adorned with butterflies). With rustic yet eccentric decor and a welcoming staff, this bar is where all the cool kids will be hanging out this Spring.

Bánh Bánh

After their pop-up success, the Vietnamese street food specialists at Bánh Bánh now have a permanent restaurant near Peckham Rye. Bánh Bánh brings the best of Vietnam’s cuisine to London, serving authentic street food classics such as flavoursome pho, noodle broth, and their famous bánh mi on crispy baguettes. In the evening, dishes are larger and designed for sharing, and the menu includes dishes from fried snapper with mango and banh not to turmeric and coconut pancakes with prawns. Expect a relaxed atmosphere, cool decor, and the finest of drinks.

Black Rock

Listen up, whisky connoisseurs — the masterminds behind the Worship Street Whistling Shop are opening a new bar in Shoreditch called Black Rock. The interior will be intimate and minimalist, and with 250 varieties from around the world, the subterranean bar aims to reinvent the world of whisky. With roaming bartenders and an 18 foot, 185 year old oak tree trunk acting both as a centerpiece and a whiskey aging system, this contemporary environment is an essential spot for all whisky lovers.

The Lighterman

Granary Square in Kings Cross is gaining an innovative makeover with the opening of the dynamic pub, dining room and bar The Lighterman. Named after workers from the Victorian era who operated goods barges called ‘lighters,’ this three-story contemporary building includes both formal and casual dining areas and offers two panoramic views (one on on the top floor and one at their canal-side bar, which has an alfresco seating area). The interior is industrial and minimalist, and with a comprehensive list of beers, ales, cocktails, and wine alongside a good British grub menu, you will leave feeling utterly satisfied.

Barrio Brixton

Brixton welcomes the newest addition to the thriving Barrio clan, which offers a colorful new hangout for locals and Latin lovers alike. The menu is full of fresh creativity with new dishes like ‘The Way to Amarillo,’ which consists of salmon ceviche, Amarillo chili, tiger’s milk, avocado, red onion, coriander and chifles. The cocktail selection is full of creatively named libations like the ‘Wake Me Up Before You Man-Go-Go,’ which is a mix of bourbon, Aperol, mango, lime and orgeat. The bright interior will feature artwork from local artists, this spot will have an outdoor ‘El Patio area’ which is perfect for relaxing in the summer. For fun and delicious food and drink, look no further.

Flora Indica

An enticing combination of India and Britain comes together in this elegant botanical restaurant in South Kensington off Old Brompton Road. With decor featuring floral imagery, vibrant dyes, tweed and leather, Flora Indica’s unusual utilization of plants as ingredients creates a unique experience. Serving contemporary Indian dishes and offering a large malt whiskey selection, a cocktail bar, and a gin and punch bar, this enchanting Victorian-esque, industrialized restaurant is perfect for adventurous foodies. 

Counter Culture

Counter Culture will be opening next door in Clapham, enabling guests to have a truly personalized and enjoyable dining experience. Carefully sourced produce will form the enticing menu, with snacks such as hot smoked lamb ribs, miso aubergine, spiced fennel ferment, and St. Martin Bay mackerel, sweet celery, sour rhubarb and house yogurt. With only 15 seats in the room centered around the kitchen, great music, and a bring your own booze rule, Counter Culture recreates the lively San Sebastian pintxos bar vibe.

Origins Of

London’s tastiest new pop-up, Origins Of, will be a delicious blend of middle eastern food that twists classic recipes and ingredients to satisfy a new audience. Located in Spitalfields, in sociable Blessing’s wine and cocktail bar, Origins Of will have three main dishes on the menu – spice infused fried chicken, buttermilk soaked cauliflower florets and classic falafel. These will be served on mini flatbreads, in a basket or on sharing plates, with an array of vibrant and succulent sauces. With signature cocktails such as the Origins Of Sour, this pop up will be a real treat for East London.
Som Saa
For truly authentic Thai cuisine, Som Saa is the real deal. Initially a pop-up in Peckham, the restaurant now resides in East London in a fabric warehouse close to Spitalfields Market. The founders, who have spent many years traveling Southeast Asia, have brought together their passions for the cuisine and their discoveries of less well known dishes of regional Thailand, creating a menu that will combine seasonal British produce and the finest Asian ingredients. With a ‘chef’s selection’ varying daily, diners can enjoy sumptuous street food-style lunches or delicious and innovative larger dishes in the evening.

Heist Bank

Fresh, creative and cool — these are three words that only begin to epitomize the newest addition to the Urban Leisure Group. A renovation of an unused space in Paddington near the canal, Heist Bank is an innovative and trendy hang-out, focusing on sustainability by sourcing only from local farmers and fisherman. Flowers, pizza and beer make up this venue’s key elements, with an in-house artisanal florist, a wood burning pizza oven, and 12 local brews available on draft. With a Mr Whippy ice cream machine, rentable bikes, cocktails, karaoke, and so much more, Heist Bank is perfect for any occasion.

Cottons Restaurant and Rhum Shack

If you like Pina Coladas, head to the new Cottons Restaurant and Rhum Shack. Cottons has brought the best of the Caribbean to Camden and Shoreditch and is now opening right near the Notting Hill Gate underground station. Expect fresh, organic and authentic cuisine, plenty of vibrant and zesty cocktails, and the largest selection of rum in the UK (with over 300 varieties to choose from). With steel drum music, colorful decor, and a lively atmosphere, you’ll want to stay all night.

Humble Grape Wine Bar

Thanks to their successful first location in Battersea, the independent wine-merchant Humble Grape Wine Bar is opening a second spot just off of Fleet Street. Tucked beneath the vaults of Christopher Wren’s stunning St. Bride’s Church, this new bar will be able to seat up to 180 people and will offer an even larger, well-curated list of rare wines alongside cheese and cured meats. Enjoy the warm atmosphere, the friendly and helpful staff, and the wide selection of wines specially sourced from organic, sustainable, and unfamiliar vineyards across the globe.

Bao

Located just a stone’s throw from Tottenham Court Road, this will be the second restaurant from the team at Bao, and with more space comes more exciting ideas. Innovative new dishes such as cured ribcap, pickles and fermented chili bean dip, and crab with rice broth make great additions to the menu, which is famous for its delectable steamed milk buns and other Taiwanese dishes. Palatable milkshakes, cocktails, and sake are all present on the drinks menu, and with a cool and contemporary interior, the restaurant will be able to seat more customers than the Bao in Soho, but is expected to be just as popular!

Swingers

This spring, the Institute of Competitive Socialising brings you their exciting and ingenious Swingers, for ultimate crazy golf fun and frivolity. In a 16,000 square foot building close to the Gherkin, there will be two nine-hole crazy golf courses, five cocktail bars, three street food vendors, a double story clubhouse, and a gin terrace. There will also be 1,000 litre fresh tanks of lager and ale on draft and coffee served all day — so really, what more could you ask for? Be sure to purchase tickets in advance, as this venue will definitely get crowded!

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