Annie Lennox at the V&A, The Hummingbird Bakery and ghosts that say "boo"

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Tuesday 18th October 2011

Goodness knows why, but I was once invited to be a guest on a local radio show. In amongst the chat about books, they played four of my favourite music tracks – like an inferior sort of Desert Island Discs, I suppose. Anyway, the first song I chose was the Annie Lennox number, No More I Love Yous, which I still adore.

The memory of sitting in that dungeon-like Leeds radio studio struck me forcibly this week when I went to the Annie Lennox exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The former Eurythmics star has helped to curate a collection of her work at the V&A – and it’s well worth a visit.

Over the years, Lennox has kept cuttings, ideas for lyrics, photographs and outfits galore, and loads of them are now on view at the exhibition. She’s always been feted for her bold, theatrical look and chameleon-like image so it’s fantastic to see some of her show-stopping costumes for real. Remember that amazing Union Jack suit she wore to the Brit Awards in 1999? It’s there, along with a stunning gold lamé corset and matching fingerless gloves she sported in the late 70s when she was lead singer of The Tourists, and many more.

Standing in the museum, with black and white videos of some of Lennox’s most famous performances playing on the screen above my head, I was impressed by how prolific she is. As well as her platinum discs, awards and humanitarian work, she’s even won an Oscar for best original song – for a track she wrote for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King with Fran Walsh and Howard Shore.

The best bit of the exhibition is a desk (below) showing snatches of Lennox’s work in progress. In amongst the pens, highlighters and scraps of paper, it’s inspiring to see notes of her most famous lyrics, all scrawled in capital letters. There are also a few of Lennox’s own books dotted around, an eclectic collection with The Art of Seduction alongside I Don’t Know She Does It, Allison Pearson’s novel about working mother Kate Reddy.

PS: For years, no trip to London has been complete without a trip to The Hummingbird Bakery. Everything about this bakery is gorgeous, from the exquisitely-decorated cakes to the chic pink and brown boxes they’re packaged in. With Halloween just around the corner, the South Kensington branch has excelled itself. The windows (above) are filled with cut-out paper pumpkins and the cakes come decorated with scary witches, broomsticks and ghosts that say “boo.” I brought a spider’s web cupcake home for my son and as you can imagine, it was gobbled up in double-quick time. The Hummingbird Bakery now has four shops – in Notting Hill, South Kensington, Soho and Spitalfields – and look out for their two gorgeous books too, The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Book and The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days.

The House of Annie Lennox is on at the V&A till February 26 next year (2012).

6 comments so far

  • I enjoyed this post. The Victoria & Albert is one of my favourites and I often pop in, especially as the entrance is free.

  • Thanks so much for commenting, Barbara. As well as the Annie Lennox exhibition I’m looking forward to the Private Eye one, which starts this week.

  • I am definitely going to make sure I go to the V&A more often, so great that it’s free and there’s so much to see. The Private Eye exhibition looks really interesting so will definitely go to that. I’ve heard that the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is meant to be good as well so will have to go there soon as well.

  • Thanks Tom. I haven’t tried the choclate cake but the halloween cupcakes are delicious!

  • I haven’t been to the V&A Museum of Childhood either, Lottie. Will definitely go at some point though.

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