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Meltdown 2012: What are you looking forward to?

The Antony Hegarty-curated Meltdown festival begins this week. Here's a look ahead to some of the programme highlights

This year's Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre in London is curated by the musician and visual artist Antony Hegarty. He first emerged from the New York underground scene with Antony and the Johnsons in 1998 and shot to prominence with the Mercury prize-winning album I am a Bird Now.

Since then, critical acclaim has followed each of his projects including the albums The Crying Light and Swanlights. He's also collaborated with several other musicians and performance artists. Here are some things coming up ...

Antony Hegarty: "We need more oestrogen-based thinking"

As Antony Hegarty prepares to curate this year's Meltdown event in London, he talks about the artists who have had the greatest influence on his life and career – and why "future feminism" will make the world a better place

Q&As with Joan as Police Woman, Lou Reed and Kim Cattrall

We've got lots of great interviews with members of the Meltdown lineup for you to read. There's Joan As Police Woman talking about the political side of Antony's music and the new songs she's written especially for the festival. There's Lou Reed praising the inventive Meltdown lineup and Kim Cattrall giving us a sneak preview of her speech on Cleopatra. There are also Q&As with Marina Abramović and Marc Almond too, not to mention a great Dorian Lynskey piece on the New York artists of the 70s and 90s who walked on the wild side.

Antony's Guardian music site takeover

For more Antony-related goodies, and to get more of an idea of some of the wonderful artists he's booked for the festival, head back to October 2010 when he took over the Guardian's music site. There's an interview with Björk, an audio slideshow of Antony's art and a mind-boggling piece of performance art as Claywoman pays tribute to Christopher Hitchens. Antony also commissioned our New Band of the Day series for the week, highlighting the work of artists on the Meltdown bill such as The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black.

Elizabeth Fraser: "I'm so excited to have made this decision to perform"

Since the Cocteau Twins split 15 years ago, their otherworldly singer has lived a quiet life in Bristol. But in August, as part of Hegarty's Meltdown festival, the one-time darling of the music press will sing her own songs for the first time this century. So what prompted her change of heart?

Meltdown 2012 Spotify playlist

To mark his Meltdown, London's Southbank Centre has put together the playlist below, which you can listen to if you have Spotify. It features several artists already announced for the festival, including the ex-Cocteau Twin Elizabeth Fraser.

The South Bank's Meltdown playlist: listen on Spotify

Meltdown – share your thoughts

We'll be heading to as many corners of Meltdown as we can manage but, of course, what we want to know most is how it's been for you.
If you're tweeting then tag your tweets #MeltdownFest and ensure we see them by posting to @GuardianMusic. We'll be publishing the best ones. You can also leave all your comments, reviews and wild opinions here on our open thread.

The Observer is Meltdown's media partner, and there's much more coverage here. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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