So, we started off with an anarchic trip to Dazed and Refused - the rebellious off-shoot of an exhibition, containing only artists who were refused (better word than 'rejected') from this year's BP Portrait Award.
It's the brainchild of 'Fish brothers' Laurence and Jessett, both former refusees...now they're refusniks. With a mission. Called 'Salon des Refuses', there will be about 50 artists exhibiting.
The website has already had more than 200,000 hits:they want it to be a new opportunity for creativity to be seen, rather than an angry old reaction to being a bad loser.
Just like the BP Portrait Award, the exhibition opens on 16th June (for a private view), running til the 10th July, and can be found at Hurwendeki, 299 Railway Arches, Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9HA.
Next! An alternative way of describing the innovation known as Pop-Up-Shop, which is a good idea, but I've said the name so many times, it's starting to wear my pea brain down a bit.
Flash shop. So much better. For now.
It's a gathering of east London fashion designers - a host of independent labels will be selling their wares on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June. Womenswear, menswear and childrenswear from: Keiko Cato, Shu Shu, Hilda Rocket, Room 39, Girl with Beads, Name Studio, The Bees Knees, Queenie and Ted, SABEL and The Illustrated Ape...
Happening at the Old Glass Factory, 15 Hoe Street, London E17 4SD. (If you've gone to any of the E17 designers' photography exhibitions, you may have been there already - it's an old glass factory, really, from Victorian times, transformed into a very cool space).
It's a bit of a party on the Friday night, they say, with a DJ (Ol’ Monkey Hips), and cocktails. If you get there early, you could be one of the first 50 through the door - which will earn you a free “extraordinaire” classic French macaroon from French Made, another independent company there, who'll be selling yummy confectionary, all packaged nicely. (Also: vintage makeovers, vintage hair specialist, portraiture photographer - if you want to look like you're not of this age, Claire Cross will transform you into a creature from the Twenties to the Sixties, click here and book an appointment, from £30).
Something else you should POP down to - it's called SHO-OP, and Andrew P Childs, who is one of the organisers who told me about it, blessedly called it a 'short term' art gallery which I enjoyed. (Thank you APC for adding another alternative to my shopping lexicon). It opened on 28th May, and is running for 3 to 4 weeks - they haven't decided yet, that's just how free wheeling they all are down there.
It's at 19 Swaines Lane, and the shop is vacant at the moment, so the owners have let local artists have the run of it. Expect video installations, oil paintings, chewing gum miniatures, giant drawings, tiny films, glass sculptures, cake art, and some very special photography. They promise a 'happening' each weekend.
It just feels symptomatic of a creative spirit that is prevalent at the moment - every week, there's something going on that isn't driven by big business or some sort of Big Society banner-wave. Even though we need to find a new language for this Pop Up thing, it's indicative of something very special that's happening. People really are flourishing creatively, and it feels important to support it.
Next, a new British interiors brand called House of Hackney which is quite a cool and interesting business. It's run by a husband and wife team Frieda and Javvy who live in Dalston, and the team of creatives they use are predominately from the world of fashion, which makes some sense when you think that Frieda was formerly a buyer for Topshop. It's fair to say that they have their finger on the pulse, and their products - wallpaper, tableware, ben linen - are a good take on traditional homeware.
The ethos behind the design is important too, of course, and that's one of the attractive things about this company. Working with traditional British manufacturers is their starting point - so the fine bone china they've designed is made in Stoke On Trent, the wallpaper is produced in Loughborough, the furniture pieces are traditionally made in Scotland, its eiderdowns are made in the last eiderdown factory in the England (which is in Clacton on Sea, in Essex)...
Have a look online to buy; let me know what you think.
Since we're an upmarket show, I talked about upmarket ties next. Yes, very me. But probably a bit more Robert.
E. Marinella is, they tell me, the worldwide renowned Italian brand of first-class handmade ties and symbol of traditional tailoring. Is this the case? Tie-fans, tell me. It just opened its first boutique in London this month; at 54 Maddox Street, Mayfair.
The brand was founded in 1914 by Don Eugenio Marinella, a passionate importer of British clothing articles and textiles that soon become fashionable among Naples’ upper-class, and it's a nice circularity that almost a hundred years later, his grandson Maurizio is opening the shop here.
Apparently "crowned heads, statesmen and public figures" are admirers of these ties, which is why I thought Robert would fit right in.
Quick note: Marks and Spencer are currently having a 20% off sale on children's school clothes. If you are the type to think ahead.
And then! The Art Car Boot Fair, which rolls around with frightening regularity, even though I'm sure it's only twice a year.
They promise that this year, they really have raised their game, which you'd think would be hard, until you see the line up.
There will be over 60 'car boots' there, with luminaries manning their pitches, that include Sir Peter Blake, Gavin Turk, Bob and Roberta Smith, Pam Hogg, the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and Billy Childish for starters.
There are prints from Damien Hirst and The Chapman Brothers.
The much lauded taxidermist Polly Morgan will be presenting a one off edition for the day.
There will be limited edition notepaper from Tracey Emin.
The Art Improvement Clinic lets you "bring along any old art" and a crack team led by Oliver Guy Watkins will "improve it for a fiver". That's called upcycling now, BTW.
Eat Ox Heart buns from St John Bread & Wine and drink cider from The Southampton Arms.
That all sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Sunday 19th June. All the information on the website.
And then, many a sale! It's the summer, or at least it was for two minutes at the end of May. So this is what you can expect:
Liberty summer sale from 15th June (unless you're a loyalty card holder, in which case you should be shopping, because you get a preview from now until the plebs are allowed). There will be up to 60% off. Here's the website.
The beloved window-shop of mine, SCP, are starting their summer sale on 25th June, and it will continue until 31st July. There will up to 50% off discontinued lines and ex-display items, 20% off all new SCP upholstery, furniture and rug orders, 15% off all other upholstery and furniture orders, and 10% off all lighting and rugs. There are shops in Shoreditch and Notting Hill, and you can buy online too. Look on the website for specifics www.scp.co.uk
And then sample sales - so many around town at the moment. Here are the ones that look alluring:
Hermes sale. Gulp. Started yesterday, and continues today (Saturday 11th June). It's at The Music Room on South Molton Lane, and is on until 6pm. It's free to get in, and the goods are promised at up to 60% off. No leather goods, but plenty of clothes and accessories.
Junior Style sale. I don't like the name, because I don't really think juniors or their parents should worry about very small people looking 'stylish', but there are clothes in this sale that will be brilliantly appropriate, and long-lasting. And will look nice, yes, they will. But for much less than that would usually cost (and hopefully, at high street prices, therefore justifiable). Brands like Kenzo, Petit Bateau and Ralph Lauren will be there, with up to 70% off. £1 entry, and the organisers have been kind enough to organise children's entertainment and a play area! Way to go.
Finishes today at 4pm. Go to Alphaville 2, 14 Shepherdess Walk, N1 7LB (Old Street is the nearest tube). Good place to get presents for newborns...
All the information can be found here.
And, finally, a bit more oily but no less salubrious, it's the Bicycle Jumble, which is arriving at Muswell Hill as part of a jaunt around the country. If you're a cyclist, and you live nearby, because it's on as we speak, this is for you: go to the church of St Mary with St George, which is on the corner of Park Road and Cranley Gardens (postcode: N10 3AH, closest tube: Highgate), and there you'll find a dream. As well as contemporary bikes and accessories and bits and pieces of bikery, you'll find vintage things and all kinds of cycling fripperies.
You'll also find bacon butties and cakes, if that spurs you on.
It started at 9am, it's on until 1pm, and it's £1 to get in.