Baking trials for Valentine’s Season

It’s romance season again – well, for some folks anyway! For me it is an excuse to try making some new cupcakes and decorating them with hearts and such.

Whist Nic was doing her usual magic creating vegan ‘cheeze’ and onion pasties, baking up some sos rolls and getting all the other cakes ready for the week, I took a few hours whilst we were closed to try a new recipe. Before I get onto that, feast your eyes on what Nic has added to ‘Cake Island’ this week:

These yummies will be available Weds 11am – 3pm and 6 – 9pm, Thurs 11am – 3pm and Sat 11am – 3pm

Today’s kitchen trial bake involved turning our usual vanilla cupcake recipe into Red Velvet cupcakes and making little vegan choccy hearts to go on top.

The ‘Moo Free’ choc was a total wipeout, it didn’t melt very nicely and I found it too sweet, it also had a weird aftertaste. Sad, because this choc was from advent calendars that came to us through the pantry and won’t last until next Christmas. I expect we’ll find another use for the chocs, but on their own they weren’t very nice at all.

Our vegan white choc coverture buttons worked a lot better, although they didn’t look so great on the white icing of course, so I had to switch to chocolate icing (the trauma) with red velvet dusting on top.

We’d had some electrical not-worky drama in the Grove area near the kitchen, so our lovely sparky Alex popped in and luckily it was a simple fix, and he was happy to take a cupcake as payment – what a legend. Bik was in doing maintenance so he got one cupcake that got squashed. We do spoil him.

So anyway, from this weekend we will have these little lovelies on sale and, if I can get timings worked out for collection, you may even have a limited chance to preorder some for the weekend before Valentine’s day! Join our mailing list for info nearer the time.

All proceeds from buying these tasty little numbers go towards the running costs of our community pantry, so these cupcakes show love in more ways than one.

You can also enjoy one of these yummy soups – green bean & tomato or leek and potato, both made using supermarket surplus and served with yummy bread also diverted from becoming waste. Our soup is pay-as-you-feel and you also have the option to pay one forward for somebody who needs a hot lunch.

Enjoy these pics – and come in and have the real thing! Lots of love to you from today’s kitchen crew – Nic, me (Jani) and Missy Boo – who was not allowed in the kitchen, of course, but was a Very Good Girl about it.

Posted in Behind the scenes, community pantry, Our crew, Recipes, Specials, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gig Announcement: Mark Jenkins presents TUBULAR BELLS + DARK SIDE OF THE MOON on MOOG

Mike Oldfield’s TUBULAR BELLS + extracts from Pink Floyd’s DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

for the MOOG SYNTHESIZER 50th Anniversaries

Live solo performance by MARK JENKINS with computer graphic projections


That spine-tingling theme from “The Exorcist” is Mike Oldfield’s “TUBULAR BELLS” – an epic of rock music celebrating 50 Years in 2023 alongside Pink Floyd’s “DARK SIDE OF THE MOON”. Between them, the two albums have sold 60 million copies.

Now music tech journalist MARK JENKINS has arranged “Tubular Bells” for a solo live performance using the latest music technology plus a spectacular synchronised video and laser show. Experience this stunning melodic album as you’ve never heard it before, and enjoy extracts from “Dark Side of the Moon” complete with great vocal performances in massive computer graphic projections.

See the preview video and celebrate the complete “Tubular Bells” and tracks like “On The Run”, “Eclipse” and of course “The Sailor’s Hornpipe”.


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That annoying friend who sees all the big bands before they get big

You know that friend who can boast that they saw an act before they became famous, in a small venue where they were up close and got to have a chat afterwards?

Thing is, you only get to be that person if you take a chance on somebody you’ve never heard of before.

Here’s what one of my friends had to say about Teenage Sequence, who will be here on our stage on Friday evening:

“……..anyone reading this should definitely go 😃 they are amazing and they’ve been featured on radio one’s introducing show, so they are about to get big and now’s your time to see them at an intimate venue! Their songs are catchy, and funny, and have a proper meaning too. Dewan himself is a sweetheart so everyone should come down and support them”

Of course we are going to say any act we book is brill – we wouldn’t book them otherwise – but this is from somebody who has seen them and has no vested interest other than letting you know this is an act not to be missed.

You can join us online if you can’t make it in person – it’s going to be a brilliant night!


We have low waged tickets if you are stuck for cash this week – just come 🙂 when was the last time you regretted going to a gig instead of staying home? 

Teenage Sequence is joined by local acts Tiniuc and Silver Tower.

Posted in Community news & views, Electronica, Getting involved, Gig announcements, LGBTQ, Local music, What's on | Leave a comment

Gig Announcement! Pip Summers acoustic music showcase

Come on down to the Art House and join Pip Summers and friends for an evening of stripped-back acoustic sets from some of the best songwriters and musicians that Southampton has to offer!

Pip Summers

Southampton-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Pip Summers was spat out of a deep hole in the Earth in 2000, and has wandered aimless ever since. Rest assured, however, that wherever there is music and good vibes you can find Pip somewhere close by, singing her heart out as hard as she can to a small but growing crowd of appreciative listeners and friends.


Hailing from the South Coast of England, Siobhán began her career as a solo singer-songwriter telling her own tales of love, loss and lessons learned. Having just released her debut EP “Playing the Part”, with her her collective band of friends, known as ‘The Sunset Haze’, she’s back and ready to bring her indie-folk-rock fusion and good-hearted live show to new heights.

Carmen Lemade

Hailing from a rural Spanish town called Cabra – meaning ‘Goat’ – Carmen Lemade’s world is about nature, family, rural life, drawings, music, simplicity, honesty, feminism, creativity, friendship, birds, women, and love. It is dreamt, colourful, quirky, masculine and feminine, introspective and weird. In this world, music is the main language. The attitude of the voice is empowered and smiling, achieving a critical and ironic message.

+ Felix Russell

Nonbinary songwriter who loves writing about every big feeling they have (and there are a lot).

Book here

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We have a problem

We had a lovely person who came to The Art House to use our Pantry for the first time last Thursday – they’d just arrived in the city from the West Country.

They split up with their family some time ago and are homeless.

We gave them paid-forward soup (and soft bread because most of their teeth were gone.) They were so happy to find somewhere safe and friendly to get warm for an hour or so. We are able to do this because of our one-off pay-it-forward pepes that cover our costs but especially because of our Patrons on Patreon who donate regular amounts to make sure the lights stay on.

But we have a problem. We may have to stop opening on Thursdays very soon as we just can’t afford to – rising costs of energy, staffing costs and lower city centre footfall make it difficult to fund the three daytimes and one evening we currently do if we rely solely of donations from pantry users (many of whom are struggling financially and don’t have much to spare) and folks dropping in for coffee.

So, if you are able to, would you consider becoming one of our Patrons, donating a regular amount each month to help us keep our doors open longer for people like the one above, who need us? You won’t see a more transparent and obvious use of your hard-earned cash being put to good use.

Find out more and join our Patreon community here

If you can’t afford to commit to a monthly amount, we understand – money is tight for a lot of people at the moment. Here are some other ways you can help:

Share this post on your social media – this increases our reach and lets new people know about what we do.

We need volunteers for the cafe and pantry on Wednesday daytimes and evenings, Thursday daytimes and Saturday daytimes – let us know you are interested and what days/times you can do here:

We also have other ways to donate and non-cash donations we need regularly.

Thanks for reading!

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We’ve added new shows to our listings!

Take a look here for the new things we’ve just added

Posted in Community news & views, Events, Future plans, Getting involved, Gig announcements, Local music, Poetry, Spoken word & theatre, What's on | Leave a comment

Gig Announcement: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman (BBC 2 Radio 2 Folk Award)

Twice winners of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Duo, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman grace our stage at The Art House. Enjoy this stunning duo in the intimate, close-up setting of our #Bunker178 performance space, with top quality sound – or watch from home via live stream.


The couple’s intimacy and strength of passion on stage have won them many fans and an enviable reputation as ‘songwriters par excellence’ – fRoots

“These guys are something very special” – Acoustic Magazine

“A duo right at the top of their game” – Rock n’ Reel

The multi award-winning husband and wife duo exude timeless class with their exquisite brand of traditional and contemporary music.

Duos come and duos go… and some nurture and fine tune their art and watch it grow into something totally original and captivating. For over a quarter of a century Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman’s partnership has proved personal, permanent and pivotal.

From early days in folk supergroup ‘ Equation ‘ through to their most recent work, acclaimed as ‘Their best yet’, with a nod or two along the way to their extra-curricular musical adventures, the evening promises a whistle-stop tour through their artistic journey to date.

This event will be live-streamed on a private YouTube channel free to our Patreon supporters or you can buy an online ticket via the link above, pay what you can, if you wish to join us from home.


Posted in Events, Folk music, What's on | Leave a comment

How to get free live streams from our House to yours!

When the lockdowns were coming to an end and restrictions lifted, a lot of online shows and options to join live events online disappeared. Our audience let us know that they would really miss being able to join us from home, any time, if they couldn’t make it in person.

From disability to chronic illness, to caring duties or social anxiety, there are a lot of reasons why online events are more accessible to so many.

We are still live streaming most of our performance events, giving you the chance to watch from home live, or watch the playback. It’s a great alternative to Netflix binging, and you can have the stream playing whilst you read, craft, chat or go about doing chores.

All of our regular monthly supporters get these streams and early notifications of ticket releases, whatever your level – starting from as little as £2 monthly. Every penny goes to keeping our community pantry running, feeding those in need, reducing food waste and building strong communities through food.

Click here to find out more about joining our Patreon community.

Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, community pantry, Covid Updates, Events, Fundraising, Future plans, Getting involved, Local music | Leave a comment

Event Announcement: Twenty-Eight book launch & Q&A

In May 1988 a law was passed that made ‘promotion’ of LGBTQI+ identities illegal across the United Kingdom. Until the early 2000s, young queer people in the UK grew up in the shadow of this oppressive law.

Now, 22 years after the law was repealed in Scotland and 20 years after its repeal in the rest of the UK, twenty-eight LGBTQI+ creatives whose upbringing was scarred by this queerphobic legislation share their phenomenal stories.

Join us as we celebrate the launch of this groundbreaking book and the incredible people who have contributed to it. This event takes place in Southampton and will feature readings from several of our contributors as well as a Q&A.


Posted in Community news & views, Events, LGBTQ, What's on | Leave a comment

5 ways to support small venues post Covid restrictions

In 2020, NME wrote an excellent article on how you can do your bit to help save the future of live music in the midst of the pandemic lockdowns.

Two and a half years on, all restrictions have been lifted, Covid is still very much out there and we have been catapulted into a cost of living crisis, dashing all hopes of a post-pandemic surge in gig goers.

According to an article in Time Out, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), a trade body which represents the industry, has released new figures from the Night Time Industries Association last year show the number of nightclubs in the UK has dropped by around a fifth since the start of the pandemic – and with the end of any government help and the lower audiences due to the cost of living crisis, this is likely to get worse.

This means that around a fifth of UK nightlife venues have shut down since the start of the pandemic. The number is even worse in some regions, with the Midlands seeing a closure of 30 per cent of clubs.

So, what can you do now to ensure that your local live music venues are still here for you this time next year?

1. Get thee to a gig!

Well, it’s obvious, but the first thing is to go to a gig! Even pre-pandemic, running a live music venue was an act of faith in a very up-and-down market. Football fixtures, bad weather or even something popular on TV can turn a normally sure thing booking into a night that makes a loss. Live music is like nothing else on earth – a chance to really immerse yourself in sound and words, interact directly with the artist and meet likeminded people.

A lot of us are still feeling a level of anxiety about Covid (and rightly so, it is still very much out there) and many are suffering from levels of social anxiety after so long in lockdown. Small venues can be a great way to dip your toe back in the water of going to live events.

The best way to hear about all of our upcoming gigs is to join our mailing list – social media is too sketchy! Speaking of – here’s another way to help…

2. Interact on social media

Facebook et al have become ever more tricksy when it comes to getting posts seen. We have regular comments and messages from people who see posts about our gigs three days after they’ve happened – which is infuriating for us and for our potential gig goers! If you see a post from your local live music venue, like it and give it a share.

3. Tell your friends

Humans are social creatures and we rely on recommendations from friends to encourage us to do new things. If you book tickets for a gig, take 10 seconds to post on your socials that you’ll be going to the gig and encourage others to meet you there. Who knows, it might be a good way to reconnect with one of those folks you haven’t seen since before you-know-what aka March 2020!

4. Post when you’re there

Remind people of the joy of live gigs by uploading a photo of the band, or a selfie of you enjoying the show. Again, humans do what they see other humans doing – and the culture of supporting live music in person has been eroded by the lockdowns, so do your part to build it back up again.

5. Find and support campaigns to make live music more sustainable long term

Support the Music Venue’s Trust ‘Own Our Venues‘ campaign. A long term plan to buy the Freeholds of key music venues to secure their future from the vagaries of the commercial property market.

We can’t write this post without acknowledging that many disabled and chronically ill people are still in a lockdown state most of the time. For this reason, we still livestream most of our events and have tickets on a pay-as-you-feel basis – our livestreams are also free to all of our Patreon supporters.

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