On My Radar: Lauren Laverne’s Cultural Highlights | Lauren Laverne

DJ and TV presenter Lauren Laverne grew up in Sunderland and started their career as the lead singer of Britpop band Kenickie. In 1998, she turned to broadcasting, with stints on MTV, Channel 4 and Xfm, where she was the first woman to host the station’s breakfast show. She now presents the BBC 6 Music breakfast show and has hosted Radio 4 shows Desert Island Discs since 2018. From June 22-26, she will host Glastonbury Festival coverage on 6 Music and BBC TV. She is married with two sons and lives in London.

1. Exhibition

Shaping Masculinities: The Art of Men’s Fashion, V&A, London; until November 6

An exhibit from the Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Photograph: Vickie Flores/EPA

I’ve been a longtime member and fan of the V&A – looking forward to its new premises in Stratford and the re-opening of the Young V&A. This is a thrilling dive into the fascinating and surprising history of menswear design. It was exciting to see such a diverse representation of men and how they have presented themselves over the years and the juxtaposition of designer pieces and famous outfits with historical portraits and objects from the V&A archives was cleverly done. . It also received the approval of my two sons.

2. Audiobook

Windswept and Interesting by Billy Connolly

Billy Connolly performing at the Secret Policeman's Ball, 1979.
Billy Connolly performing at the Secret Policeman’s Ball, 1979. Photograph: AA Film Archives/Alamy

I was brought up in Connolly comedy. My father was born in the Highlands and Billy was one of his heroes. Our conversations were peppered with our favorite lines from his stand-up (“These really are the guys for me!”). My dad has been gone for almost four years now, so it was moving to hear Billy’s life story in his own words. Of course, it’s funny. It is also intelligent, tender and beautiful. Listening to him made me feel closer to my windswept and interesting dad and very grateful that Billy was still there, as smart and tough and human as ever.

3. Book

Dickens’ London: Essays on London and Its People (Folio Society companion to the collection Dickens in Europe)

Black and white portrait of Charles Dickens.
“Bustling with life and personality”: Charles Dickens. Photography: Hulton Deutsch

A friend who totally understands me gave me this wonderful collection of essays exploring the ‘magic lantern’ and Dickens’ favorite character – London itself. Night walks is a fantastic winter read – dark, dreamlike and revealing – but this collection makes me feel like I’m in London at this time of year: bursting with life and personality. The city he kept writing about – rowdy, noisy, infuriating and lovely in the 19th century – will be intimately familiar to Londoners in the 21st century.

4. Television

Drag me down the aisle (CCM)

'Incredibly soothing': Drag Me Down the Aisle (lr) presenters Thorgy Thor, Alexis Michelle, Jujubee and BeBe Zahara Benet.
‘Incredibly soothing’: Drag Me Down the Aisle (lr) presenters Thorgy Thor, Alexis Michelle, Jujubee and BeBe Zahara Benet. Photography: Robert Evans/TLC

I’ll be honest with you: I really only plan on watching TV shows where people who really know their shit (ideally wearing great outfits) solve problems. Drag me down the aisle is without doubt the apotheosis of this genre and I find it incredibly soothing. The premise is as the title suggests: every week, four queens give an unhappy bride the wedding of her dreams, from an Amish lady having a dress-based nightmare, to one struggling to come to terms with her new form. and another who is too busy becoming a biochemist to plan her big day. It is a sparkling joy.

5. Scrapbooks

A part of me by Lady Wray

Lady Wray on stage
Lady Wray: “shines with moving warmth”. Photography: CBS Photo Archive/CBS/Getty Images

This record got stuck on my turntable – Through It All seems to me to be the song of 2022. In collaboration with the talented Leon Michels (producer and bandleader of El Michels Affair), American soul singer Lady Wray has created a record that shines with sincere analog warmth, full of poetic and lyrical glitter. Timeless is an overused word, but the big things – love, grief, compassion and hope – really are, as this album shows.

6. Event

Kaleidoscope Festival, Saturday July 23

DJ David Rodigan, who is performing at this year's Kaleidoscope festival.
DJ David Rodigan, who is performing at this year’s Kaleidoscope festival. Photography: David Levene/The Guardian

Alexandra Palace is my favorite place in London. I’m biased because it’s in my neighborhood but honestly, it’s amazing: a place that’s a charity that hosts everything from the Earthshot Prize to the Knitting and Stitching Show and Alice Cooper’s Night of Fear (the latter two were, if I remember correctly, on consecutive weekends). Can’t wait for his wonderful all-day family activity, set in beautiful 196-acre Ally Pally Park with city views, to return in July, with a bill including Orbital, Happy Mondays, David Rodigan on the 1 and 2, stand-up comedy, kids arts and activities and lots of spoken word too.

James C. Tibbs