Speakeasy blog: the best of Newsworks at MAD//Fest
Missed any of the action from our MAD//Fest Speakeasy? Here are some of the highlights from our daily blog…
Day 1: Newsworks struts its stuff on opening day of MAD//Fest
With people queuing down Brick Lane to get in at 93 Feet East and filling our Speakeasy up to the rafters, our lunchtime fashion event was the hottest ticket in town.
And it’s no surprise, given how many of us love pre-loved clothing and visit the style pages of news brands to get the low down on the world of fashion.
Industry VIPs and fashionistas crowded the beautifully dressed room as the DJs set the mood with the chilled beats.
Fashion experts from eBay, Style, Fabulous — as well as a Love Islander — were on hand to give their fashions tips and share a few insider secrets: Have fun with pre-loved fashion. Don’t get too focused on the latest trends. Find the authentic style that’s right for you. Don’t be scared to get things altered. And, remember, all pre-loved clothes have a story to tell.
Those stories came to life with our pre-loved fashion show, featuring three competition-winning models from across advertising agencies.
Tass was “dressing for her culture” in a shimmering South Asian dress from an online vintage platform. Claudia wowed the audience with a tiered skirt and cropped naval jacket from a car boot show. But the biggest shout out – and a show of thumbs up cards from the audience — went to Charlie, who bossed the runway in his distressed leather jacket, beret and floral adornments.
Then the smiling crowd were off to the next session at MAD//Fest. One guest said on leaving: “I’m just glad I got in”.
Quite right too.
Day 2: Cheers, tipples and tasty nibbles…
During lockdown, many of us went online to seek out food inspiration, order new wines and try out the latest home-delivery boxes. Cooking a host of new recipes and maybe having one drink too many, we became even more of a nation of food and drink lovers than we were before.
We celebrated this affection we have for the food and drink pages of our favourite news brands with our second Speakeasy session of the week. Eager delegates once again crowded into 93 Feet East, greeted by tempting bottles of wine, serving plates at the ready and a fusion of upbeat tunes courtesy of DJ Emma.
With food and drink experts from Metro, The Telegraph, the Evening Standard and a celebrity TikTok recipe creator, we were ready for a smorgasbord of culinary delights.
The panel got our tastebuds going with talk of their favourite cuisines. Mexican, Japanese, Sri Lankan, Thai, West African, Middle Eastern and tapas all made it to the top table. And who knew that ‘Nan Food’ — those home comforts from our grandmothers’ kitchens — was actually a thing!
What about those cupboard staples that our chefs couldn’t imagine a kitchen without? Salt and chilli sauce, we were told, and lots of it. Garlic, lemon, Tabasco, fish sauce are also cooking essentials — along with salad cream, apparently.
But there’s only so much talking that can be done about food and drink before you have to tuck in to the real thing. So, glasses at the ready, the wine tasting started. A well-structured Sauvignon Blanc, an earthy rosé, and a cheeky chilled red from Spain were all sampled (or guzzled) with expert tasting notes from Metro’s drinks editor.
Proceedings ended with a live food creation: spicy water bombs. That’s pan puri, a bean filling and a spicy tamarind sauce. Bon appetit!
Once plates were cleared and glasses were emptied, punters headed over to the Hexagon Stage, where pop culture guru Chanté Joseph spoke to singer and presenter Jack Remmington about self-care in the 2020s.
It didn’t take long for the conversation to turn back to food — turns out they’ll pay any price for M&S prawns!
Day 3: Speakeasy crowds turn up and tune in
From hipster London catwalk, to chic East End eaterie, we now find ourselves taking our seats in Brick Lane’s coolest gig venue on the final day of Newsworks’ Speakeasy at MAD//Fest.
And it’s something a little bit special – a live acoustic set from one of the most hotly anticipated acts around, Tom A Smith. He may only be a teenager, but he’s just come back from wowing the crowds at Glastonbury, and has played with acts such as Sam Fender and Catfish and the Bottleman. Elton John, no less, has said “he’s going to be a big star”.
But before treating the packed audience at 93 Feet East to an exclusive gig, Tom shared a few gigging anecdotes, celebrity tales and insights into his song writing.
In no particular order:
- Elton John: he’s a true lover of new music and knows all Tom’s songs.
- Gigging disaster: Tom was attached by seagull after his chips, just before going on stage — the seagull won.
- Song writing: Tom writes two to three songs every week — and his dad listens to all of them.
- Advice for new artists: Work really hard. And just enjoy what you do.
And then Tom took to the stage with his guitar and played songs from his last EP, TikTok favourites, a song he wrote especially for Glastonbury and a lovely cover of ‘Déjà Vu’ by Olivia Rodrigo.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
What a talent. What a nice guy. And what a way to end Speakeasy at MADFest.