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Happy Birthday Vibe! Leisure editor remembers this year's highlights
Leisure Editor Nikki Jarvis remembers the best bits of Vibe's first year.
Vibe’s first year has been anything but boring.
From dressing up as a mermaid to take part in a Greenwich talent contest, to climbing over The O2 and ballroom dancing with pensioners, I have had an absolute blast.
The sparkly new leisure supplement had launched just three weeks before I arrived at News Shopper Towers, and it was entrusted to me straight away.
Working these crazy hours, reviewing countless shows and fitness groups, means I can’t have a puppy - so Vibe became my baby.
My aim has always been to give our readers a strong sense of what’s going in theatres, clubs, galleries and restaurants across Greenwich and Lewisham, and hopefully inspire people to get out and enjoy the arts in our patch.
And I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting and diverse area to cover.
It turns out Vibe Land is bursting with talented actors, artists, dancers and chefs.
I have felt privileged to watch emerging stars grace the stage at venues including The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, Greenwich Theatre and Catford’s Broadway.
Cutting edge, hard-hitting new plays have moved me to tears and remained in my thoughts for hours after the curtain call, while clever adaptations of classics have made William Golding and Frank Wedekind relevant to today.
Theatres in our area are fiercely passionate about helping young writers, actors and directors achieve all they can on stage – it’s a truly inspirational environment to be in.
Cuts have been incredibly harsh on the arts, but, from what I’ve seen this year, it’s almost as if they have brought out the best in people.
I love laughing more than anything, so going to see stand-up comics perform has been the ultimate perk of my job.
Greenwich Comedy Festival has been a real highlight, with utterly hysterical shows by Sean Lock and superstar headliner, Dylan Moran.
What a brilliant boon to our colourful patch!
The annual festival, run by Will Briggs and his sister Cass, takes over the stunning grounds of the Old Royal Naval College each summer and continues to go from strength to strength, attracting thousands of people in the name of laughter – what better way to spend July?
It’s not often I get scared running Vibe, but I have to say competing in Greenwich’s Got No Talent (organised by madcap character Mark Biddiss), was a bone-chilling experience.
After promising me all the contestants were useless, Mark persuaded me to dress as Ariel from the Little Mermaid and sing my favourite song from the Disney classic.
So, as I sat in The Morden Arms waiting for my turn, looking like a total loony, I grew more and more nervous as each incredibly talented contestant gave excellent performances – I had been duped.
Luckily, the man whose talent was to snort chilli powder took away some of my pain.
Despite vodka not given me the Dutch courage it usually promises, I forced myself to sing, got slated by one of the bitchy judges for apparently being too flat-chested, and became a runner-up.
And I have to say I loved every minute of it, terrifying as it was.
Although I am not a musical talent to look out for, the area is full of rising stars.
In particular, I urge you to look out for Dru Blu – aka rapper Andrew McHugh.
This inspirational, dedicated musician from Lewisham continues to do his hometown proud, and my gut instinct tells me he’ll be a household name before long.
Running around all over town to meet as many people as possible, see all the shows I can and try out kickboxing classes, running clubs and dance classes can be exhausting.
But every bleary-eyed morning is worth it if I’ve inspired people to get out and enjoy the extraordinary arts across Greenwich and Lewisham.
Happy Birthday, Vibe!