Sunday, 29 November 2009

Reverence @ the ICA: Part II

Headlining the final night of Reverence are Brooklyn-based The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Their sound harks back to 80s and 90s indie from the Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride and My Bloody Valentine, albeit with their own unique pop slant.

After seeing them earlier in the year at the Primavera festival in Barcelona, I had high expectations. They did not disappoint, playing a joyously enthusiastic set from their EP and first album. A sonic delight.

Reverence @ the ICA: Part I

For three nights this week, the ICA hosted Reverence, a celebration of shoegazing. A significant amount of my formative music-listening years was spent listening to the pioneering British artists in this genre; I even have an early-90s Ride gig to thank for losing the top range of hearing in my left ear.

Last night saw Ringo Deathstar take the stage, supporting The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. They were enjoyable enough, borrowing heavily from the Cure and My Bloody Valentine. Hell, even their lighting referenced the iconic Loveless cover.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Carnaby Street

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

View from the study


The Hummingbird

After a meeting in Bayswater yesterday, I headed to Notting Hill to treat myself to a cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery. As always there was a queue out the door. The moist red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is my favourite.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The September Issue

I had missed 'The September Issue' during its short cinema release, so today's storm presented the perfect opportunity to watch it at home while flicking through the Sunday magazines.

My favourite scenes were any with Grace Coddington, the Creative Director of American Vogue, who seems to be the only person in the documentary who challenges Anna Wintour's decisions on wardrobe selection and magazine narrative.

Grace is a fascinating woman with a strong creative vision based on both her own experiences as model and her vast knowledge of historical references. One of my favourite segments was where she fought - but lost - her case to include the 20's-inspired Galliano spread which she had styled and directed.

Catching up

My dear friend Caro was in town this week from New York for one night only after flying the red-eye from JFK the previous evening. We had a few hours to catchup over drinks and dinner so where better to meet than the very sexy bar at the Nobu Berkeley, which conveniently was across the road from her hotel.

With an extensive sake and cocktail menu, it took some time to decide on drinks. I went with the lime and lychee martini, a fine balance of sharp and sweet. At £12 it wasn't cheap but the elegant surrounds and helpful waiting staff made it worthwhile. A great location to impress a date.

For dinner, we headed to the Mint Leaf, just off Haymarket. We shared two starters (grilled lamb and paneer with apricots), two mains (chicken tikka and sea bream) and dessert (coconut brulee, recommended by our waitress). The food was delicious - all the meats were tender and spicy without overwhelming the palate. Service was pleasant and very efficient. The only downside was the music which was overly loud for a pre-8pm booking. All in all, a great venue for a birthday party with a large group of friends in tow.

Friday, 20 November 2009

You got that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby

After a recent ebay win, I'm looking forward to wearing these come summer...

A confession

I admit I'm about ten (probably closer to twenty) years older than the target demographic for the Twilight series but I indulged one of my guilty pleasures to see 'New Moon' today. Although there is some truly laughable dialogue, the film is fast-paced and features excellent CGI effects and a cracking soundtrack. The locations, including a key scene in Siena, were beautifully shot. Team Edward for sure.

(Image source: Vanity Fair)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

On the straight and narrow

Located in the Limehouse area of East London, the Narrow gastropub is part of the Ramsay empire. Over the years I've dined at many Ramsay restaurants and while the food is always good (though overpriced at times), the service can be a little stiff.

Our party of three ate a selection of dishes including the bangers and mash, steak pie, apple and pear charlotte and sticky toffee pudding. The pie was generously filled with large chunks of meat while the mash was buttery yet light and fluffy. Rounding the meal off was an excellent wine list and a large range of draught and bottled beers, many from small local breweries.

With a view of the river down to Canary Wharf, the Narrow offers generous, well-prepared and reasonably-priced food. I'll definitely be back in the warmer months for Sunday lunch outside in the sun.

(Image source: The Narrow)

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Food and games

Last night, the boy and I swung by the Xbox Collectives launch in Mayfair. We had a sneak preview at the new Xbox interface which allows users to social network via Facebook and Twitter, and access Zune and directly. The navigation is intuitive and very easy to use, even to a non-gamer like myself.

Headlining the event were Paloma Faith and TaioCruz, who performed separately and then duetted for the finale. Paloma looked ravishing in her 40s pin curls, deep red dress and yellow burlesque feather fan.

Earlier on, we had dinner at a hyped and very well-reviewed new Italian restaurant in Soho. Although the service was excellent, and the dining room gorgeous, the main courses were disappointing. I barely had four bites from my partridge as it was very rare and the boy's tuna was miniscule and overwhelmed by a strong vinegar dressing. The highlights of the meal were the starters of giant green olives, homemade bread and deep-fried mozzarella balls.

Overall, the experience wasn't worth the price and £5.50 for a bottle of beer is surely a record for a Soho joint. It was very telling that the Italian couple at the next table left half of their food uneaten.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday, 16:33

Vintage haul

Yesterday, I braved the 30mph winds and heavy rain to do a spot of vintage shopping. As I hoped, the shops were dead quiet as everyone was either at home or queuing at H&M for a ten minute shot at the Jimmy Choo section.

My first stop was Beyond Retro in East London and the very first thing that caught my eye was a 60's-style cream rabbit fur coat (very Margot Tenenbaum).

From there I headed to The Shop for a rummage, scoring a handknitted cream aran sweater and a Liberty shirt-dress. The pale blue print is in excellent condition and I'm looking forward to the first warm Spring day for its debut.


Thank you

Tuesday, 10 November 2009



The locals may say otherwise but it certainly does rain a lot in Manchester. So when blue sky appeared on a crisp Autumn morning, there was walking to be done.

First stop was the 'Prints from Hopper to Pollock' exhibition at the Whitworth Gallery. The collection was quite compact and there were some strange curating choices, such as breaking up a set of six prints on adjacent walls. That said, the gallery is set at the edge of parkland space and is lovingly maintained.

Next stop was the 'Angels of Anarchy: Women Artists and Surrealism' exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery. Featuring photographs, prints and paintings from numerous artists such as Dora Maar, Frida Kahlo and Lee Miller, the show highlights the breadth of work contributed by some of the twentieth century's most inspiring women. Seeing Dorothea Tanning's 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' always takes my breath away.


After seeing clogs in the Spring/Summer 2010 shows - particularly for Chanel - I was intrigued. I haven't worn clogs since I was a child; the closest I have come is the Gap Editions wooden soled sandals from Spring/Summer 2008 which I have worn to death.

Today at my local charity shop, I found a pair of Swedish wooden clogs for the bargain price of £3.50. Barely worn, the light nubuck is unmarked. With their comfortable 2-inch heel I'm going to wear them throughout winter with thick socks and then on their own, come summer. I think the boy is somewhat distressed by this development.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The taste of winter

Holy nutmeg, the gingerbread latte is back. Make mine a decaf skinny with cream on top.

Damien Hirst @ The Wallace Collection

Damien Hirst's new Exhibition 'No Love Lost' at the Wallace Collection, is a new chapter in his artistic undertaking, a back-to basics as it were.

Featuring 25 new paintings, the works feature an exploration of familiar Hirst motifs - skulls, butterflies, skeletons and dots, all painted on large canvases, with a thickly-applied oily black background.

Hirst's triptychs reference the great work of Francis Bacon, but they lack the visceral impact and the ability to leave the viewer breathless.

For me, the most interesting part of the exhibition is how these contemporary pieces have been curated in two rooms of blue silk-covered walls, with almost no differentiation between the classic baroque works that both precede and continue after the Hirst exhibition.

I enjoy the concept and humour in many of Hirst's creations and this is an interesting experiment. However, as an attempt to become 'one' with some of the great Masters of artistic tradition, it falls somewhat short.

(image source: The Wallace Collection)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

All I need for a perfect Tuesday afternoon

Inspired by Clint

Maybe it's because I watched 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' on the weekend (or it could be due to the dark winter evenings closing in) but I am really feeling the need for a large, cosetting cardigan that's almost a blanket.

These two from Monsoon certainly fit the bill.

Now, which one should I choose?