whathappensinlondon

Posts Tagged ‘florence massey’

Storyteller

In Day to Day on January 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

Seeing as the wonderful exhibition Tim Walker: Storyteller finishes today, I thought it was a good time to publish my review of loads of reasons you should go, and just one why you shouldn’t.

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You don’t have to be an avid reader of Vogue, or any of the other huge fashion names associated with Walker’s photography to appreciate his brilliant approach, as it’s his creativity and boundless imagination which makes his work so captivating. As well as photographs, of course, the fairly small exhibition features a selection of the huge props he has used over the years, from an insect playing the cello, to a fairly creepy giant doll waving you off as you leave the last room.

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Drawing comparison to Annie Leibovitz, his talent lies in creating incredible sets and stories – the photograph merely captures this in a perfect image at the last moment.

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Tim Walker insect

In my opinion, it’s his take on Edward Scissorhands and the recurring theme of skeletons that really show how he manages to use some of the more sinister aspects of the world of fantasy to show off beautiful clothes.

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And the one reason you shouldn’t go? The Rizzoli gift shop is SO disappointing – for £3 a postcard, I expect at least more than one choice (the Humpty Dumpty image used in all the advertising for the exhibition). Same goes for the posters. With such an incredible range of work on display in the actual exhibition, it would be nice to see some of the same variety in the shop. But that’s it, my only complaint, you should definitely get up and go to the exhibition right now.

They might even reduce that postcard as it’s the last day…

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All aboard the Big Red Bus

In Day to Day on October 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm

DEPTFORD

And I’m not talking about one of those sightseeing tour buses. The Big Red pizza bus is the antithesis of a London bus: it’s fun, it’s relaxed, you have s-p-a-c-e and you don’t have to pay to get on it. Oh, and it doesn’t go anywhere.

Selling pizzas, beer and delicious mojitos this place is definitely one you should add to your list should you find yourself in the area. Too often, I get so bored with the chain restaurants in Blackheath and Greenwich and this is a good alternative, tucked away at the end of Creek Road next to The Bird’s Nest.

I’ve already written a post about the best pizzas in London, and I’m annoyed I hadn’t discovered these ones when I wrote it. They are delicious. Not too thick and they don’t skimp on toppings (although I’ve read reviews that say each time you go the toppings on the pizzas change – I think this is a good thing but I suppose if you order something once, you’d expect it to be the same the next time you order it).

It’s cheap, too – an average meal with a drink and side/starter comes in just over a tenner. Try the Flamenco, which has Italian chorizo and lumps of morcilla, which is like black pudding – they’ve also got Meantime beer, side salads and a selection of desserts. The one thing on the menu I wouldn’t recommend is the bread and dipping oil, simply because you don’t get enough.

I was pleased to see that there’s room for loads of people in the number 30, which is good now the weather’s turned colder, but their outdoor area is covered in awning with lots of comfy sofas and blankets for the braver among us.

The location is what does it for me. Although Deptford is enjoying a bit of a regeneration at the moment, there are still parts of it that belong on Derelict London and by being situated underneath the DLR, on a main road, the area occupied by Big Red feels random and totally out-of-the-way. Actually I tell a lie, the mojitos are what do it for me…

I’m even more likely to go back now I know there are plans to park a truck next to it and to create a cinema.

How to enjoy the Thames

In Day to Day on May 27, 2012 at 10:21 pm

SOUTHBANK AND FURTHER ALONG

Ah, the Thames… I’ve got a massive problem with it.

Featured in so many films as a romantic river, meandering innocently through London, it’s not what it seems. Cutting our city in half, it creates the North/South divide whilst at the same time makes getting from one side to the other at the end of any ‘I’ve-had-a-night-that-lasted-past-the-last-train’ nigh on impossible.

Films particularly guilty of making the one of the country’s dirtiest rivers look more exciting/dramatic/interesting/romantic than it is include Love Actually, James Bond and 28 Days Later. So… how to make the most it?

Here are some photos of what it is not like…


Go to the Southbank and visit the Festival Hall. While you’re there, stop off at Skylon and drink loads of their delicious cocktails. They’re expensive, but so worth it – when we go, we always forget the menu and ask the bar staff to recommend their own, but all the classics are all there if you don’t feel like going rogue (just be prepared for a disapproving look when you dare ask for a mojito).

I haven’t had the chance to eat there, but as the bar is located right in the middle of the restaurant, I would still recommend getting dinner. The atmosphere is great, there’s always a nice mix of work groups, families, couples, friends and all the food looks amazing. Also, despite the introduction to this post, the view is pretty spectacular, albeit grey.

The next stop isn’t far away. All through summer (even though it doesn’t feel like it will ever BE summer), there will be a Pimm’s stall outside the Festival Hall with plenty of tables for after-work drinks, dates and post-show chats. One of the best things for me about sitting out on the Southbank (weather permitting, of course) is watching all the runners slogging past as you sip on your fruit infused, ice-cold jug of cocktail. HA.

Pizza in London

In Day to Day on May 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

GREENWICH/GOODGE STREET/LEICESTER SQUARE

Everyone is a bit burger mad at the moment. Every since The Meatwagon  (now MEATliquor) set up shop in New Cross with its (admittedly delicious) Meateasy pop-up, the craze to find the ‘best burger in London’ has grown into a city-wide obsession. Food critic Marina O’Loughlin nailed it when she said of the joint-de-jour: “If the word means nothing to you, you’re clearly not a burgerphile internet obsessive: it’s been everywhere, like a meaty rash.”

Meateasy

Burgerphile internet obsessive I am not; however I do like the lure of seeking out ‘the best… something’. I can’t really remember what I was looking for when I discovered the Slice Harveseter, but whatever it was became moot once I started reading. Also known as Colin Hagendorf, the 28-year-old New Yorker  has tried a slice of pizza from each and every one of the 362 pizza joints in Manhattan. He told the Wall Street Journal online about the perfect slice:

For Mr. Hagendorf, the best slices display balance above all, cheese and sauce used in moderation upon a solid yet supple crust. He disdains many of the new wave of recession-friendly dollar-per-slice outlets. He also scorns purveyors of Texas-size slices.

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Two of my extra favourite things about him (apart from devoting two and a half years to eating pizza) are that he used to be a puppeteer and that he describes the start of his expedition as seeking out a project that meant he could “work as little as possible”… whattaguy!

Slice Harvester

I digress. I’m not trying to try every pizza place in London. I don’t need to because I’ve already found two of the best, with a possible third on the way.

First up it’s Bianco43 in Greenwich, South East London. Fairly new, and taking over what used to be a pretty rubbish all-you-can-eat Indian restaurant, the pizzas are excellent and the service is faultless. There are a few good restaurants in Greenwich/Blackheath but as far as Italian food goes, this is the only place I would recommend.

Second, it’s Icco Pizza Restaurant on Goodge Street. Admittedly not the best pizza you will have in your life, it should always be praised on it’s merit of being amazing value for money, especially in a location when they could get away with charging far more. Serving most of their generously sized pizzas for £4, you’d be hard pushed to find anything as cheap that matched up to their standards. I went with a friend who had, for weeks, gone on and on about how mind blowingly good the pizzas were, so my expectations were very high. Much like a canteen, with the noise and chatter to match, they are quick, tasty and best of all, use a buzzer paging system to let you know when your pizza comes out of the oven.

The third is Sartori. I’ve recently discovered the Pizzandevelopment blog and this Italian restaurant just off Leicester Square is their top recommendation. Billed as the ‘best all-rounder… offering stunning antipasti (try the fried Smoked Scamorza), pasta and of course pizza’, I can’t wait to try it out.

Don’t get that in Pizza Express, now do you?

The Old Vic Tunnels

In Day to Day on April 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm

WATERLOO

The first night I went the Old Vic Tunnels was just incredible. I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to one of their Boom Boom club events at short notice and for once I was glad people know I’m likely not to have plans on a Saturday night.

From the minute you queue up opposite the violinist in full makeup and twiddly moustache, to when you stumble out at the end of the night, these events literally feel like entering a different world.

Any excuse to visit The Old Vic Tunnels should not be missed – even watching paint dry inside the labyrinth caves below Waterloo station would be a worthwhile endeavour. Since acquiring the vast and cavernous space in 2010, the venue has held everything from prohibition parties, to summer camp festivals and of course, the legendary Boom Boom.

Never Give Up

Mixing fantasy with reality to awe-inspiring effect, their next biggie is the 2nd Annual Goblin Masquerade Ball. The fantasy themed night of mischief and revelry is sure to be a good-un (just check out the photos from last year if you need convincing). Goblins, Ogres, Bad Faeries and so much more, it’s dress up time in London’s leading undergrounds arts venue. For this post, I’m going to let the photos do the talking.

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One last message we received after buying our tickets: Dearest Revellers, cast aside your thoughts of the next day and abandon yourselves to the mystical excesses and delirious cacophonies of The Goblin King’s Theatre of Trolls…

Masquerade Ball

Reach, Climb, Run

In Day to Day on March 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

WOOLWICH

I’m not a typical ‘exercise person’. At school, being forced to play hockey, netball or tennis was my worst nightmare come true and I hated every minute spent running round an astro turf  wearing silly bright blue socks. One aspect of my school sporting calendar I did love, however, was the much loathed bleep test  – the competitiveness, the increasing pressure, the sole focus on running…

Sports day was the culmination of this weekly punishment and the ultimate in humiliating experiences. I went to an all girls school, where, unsurprisingly, there weren’t many takers for spending a whole day wearing uncomfortable kit and waiting in the Crystal Palace stalls to go and jump in a sandpit. The older we got, the less we went until…it was made mandatory. We all had to pick something. I got lumbered with the hurdle race and shocked myself when I came first.

Since then, running has been my favourite exercise and I try and go at least three times a week. Where I’ve found running a basic way to keep fit, I enjoy challenging myself more by entering races (Run to the Beat and the British 10k), and wanted to find another way in which to tone up other areas of my body.

Enter climbing.

Railay Climbing

After trying rock climbing in Railay, Thailand, I came back last year full of promise to start doing it regularly and become a total pro. Some months later, I found The Reach and enrolled on the beginners course. Exhausting, challenging and exciting, it was exactly what I had been looking for and I honestly can’t recommend it enough for someone seeking something new.

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For £35 you get two three hour sessions of teaching, shoe and equipment hire. Our instructor, Kevin was brilliant, even better when he told us that teaching indoor climbing wasn’t his ‘day job’ and that he was in between tours of showing people how to climb ice caps. With an eight people maximum per beginners class, there is more than enough opportunity to make the most of having an experienced instructor at your disposal. Make the most of this. At the end of the class, so long as you know how to tie a knot, belay your partner and fasten your harness properly, you can become a member for £4.

I’ve been twice a week for three weeks since the course and my only regret is not going sooner. The one problem I’ve found is that when you get to the top of the walls, you can easily smell the delicious food cooking in the cafe and if you’re anything like me, get easily distracted.

The Boy with Salt Beef on His Face

In Day to Day on March 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm

SHOREDITCH

“You want to go for a night out in Shoreditch? To a Moroccan bar? And see a silent comedian?!”

Er…yes is the answer. It was actually a great night out, and despite being in scene-kid central, it was far from posey or up it’s own arse. Myself and 4 friends stopped off at a bar before the comedy night – even though I’ve worked and been out in Shoreditch before, I have limited knowledge of the good bars to go to so this was a suggestion from a friend.

Casa Blue, at the top of Brick Lane, was a good pick. Small, so small it looks a bit like a cafe, the decor looks like Car Booty exploded all over the walls and tables – rifles, lanterns, candles, fish bowls, posters, film memorabilia, records – it’s camped up Eastern chintz mixed with some good old fashioned market ‘antiques’. The look was so over the top that I liked it, especially the completely mismatched sofas, chairs and tables (all very worn). Bottles of beer and spirit/mixes were reasonably priced for the area but the fishbowls were £28, which is ridiculous.

And beware of the toilets, they are awful.

Next, we headed to Rich Mix to see my current favourite-comedian-of-all-time, The Boy with Tape on His Face. Ever since seeing him at the Old Vic Tunnels last year, I’ve been desperate to see him again, so when I saw he was headlining at Rich Mix for £10 a ticket, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do with a Friday night.

Using audience participation and hilarious facial (eye) expressions, he is excellent. Other comedians on the bill that impressed me included Tony Law and Cardinal Burns. Despite getting there late, I feel that we got the best seats in the house, rather than being cramped downstairs we were ushered up to the upstairs viewing gallery, which was almost completely empty and a much better vantage point. The event was well organised and the drinks were cheap – pretty much the perfect night, no?

No. Because, being in Brick Lane it was missing one thing and it wasn’t a curry…

The salt beef bagels from the Beigel Bake are NOT TO BE MISSED. Open 24 hours, I’ve never been here without having to queue, they must churn out hundreds of the damn things on Friday and Saturday nights. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone order anything but a salt beef bagel, but that may be because I get slight tunnel vision when I walk in there and focus on the h-u-g-e pile of beef they cut from.

The portions are beyond generous, with the option of mustard sauce and a gherkin for 20p. Just thinking about it makes me want one and I cannot stress enough how much you should try one if you are visiting or living in London…

I would say that that was the end of the night, and that we all went home, bellies full, content. But that would be a lie.

We went to the Cactus Pit.

The less said about that the better.

Tatty Devine vs Claire’s Accessories

In Day to Day on February 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm

LONDON/A FACTORY

A double-edged sword, social media now has the power to escalate a bad situation to the point of no return. Last week, independent cult jeweller Tatty Devine, blogged about the copycat designs Claire’s Accessories were carrying as part of their 2012 range. It transpired that, shockingly, the high street chain had brazenly duplicated a number of their unique acrylic and Perspex jewellery pieces.

Within 24 hours, the Tatty Devine site had crashed due to the spike in visitors to the page, and #ClairesAccessories had begun to trend on Twitter. In the post, Tatty Devine added photos of their own original pieces; next to those that Claire’s Accessories were selling for a fraction of the price. You only need to glance at them to realise they had been completely matched; detail for detail and that a serious case of plagiarism had taken place.

Even more shocking to me was Claire’s Accessories response (or lack of). Despite trending on Twitter, their page featured no statement and no comment on the increasingly disastrous situation, until later the next day. Their Facebook page was worse. I looked at the page at 4.56pm on 23rd February and liked a comment someone had written about the scandal – by 4.59pm the comment had been deleted and I had been blocked from writing on the page. Below is an example of the sort of comments that were repeatedly deleted for 2 days…

I watched as the page refreshed with more negative comments…which were again deleted within minutes. Not only does this make people angry and upset, it also makes Claire’s Accessories look incredibly unprofessional and naive. Social media is a public forum and if they, as a company, are willing to enjoy the positive aspects of this (their page has over a million fans), then they also need to use it to respond to the negative.

Handily for this post, Social Media Week was only a week ago and is still fresh in my mind. During which, I went to a very insightful workshop led by social media management company, Tempero, on protecting your brand. They’d even brought in lawyer, Tim Pinto to answer the trickier questions. One of the main points raised by Tim and Tempero was that when faced with situations that have spilled into your brands social media presence, ‘don’t’ panic and react quickly’.

Claire’s Accessories take note – ignorance is NOT bliss. By ignoring the situation, and actually deleting criticism you open yourselves out for more of the same. As a result prolific bloggers including Liberty London Girl picked up the story, plus the Guardian, The Independent and Stylist Magazine ran their own articles online following how poorly it was handled from a PR perspective.

Stylist Magazine published this response from Hind Hadj, Head of European Marketing & PR for Claire’s, “Claire’s is aware of the blog post yesterday on the tattydevine.com blog and is currently investigating these comments.”

Claire’s Accessories have also released this statement on their Facebook page:

Claire’s Stores, Inc. is a responsible company that employs designers, product developers and buyers, and works with many suppliers to provide innovative collections that bring customers all the latest fashion trends. As such, we take any allegations of wrong doing seriously. We are looking into the matters raised.

A similar, shorter one is on their Twitter page. However, this all feels very much too little too late from Claire’s and I hope that Tatty Devine manage to resolve this with them, I’m sure that they will update their blog page with any developments. For more info, here is the original blog post, here is Liberty London Girl’s personal blog post about the scandal and here is the email you should use should you want to send anything to Claires Accessories: marketinguk@claires.co.uk

I really don’t want to go…

In Day to Day on October 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm

COVENT GARDEN

It’s always the fall back – the mid meeting place that seems like the easy option, failsafe plan b, c or d. For me however, going to Covent Garden always smacks of returning to my 12 year old self (jaunts up to London with my girlie friends, the day would consist of ‘shopping’ around Covent Garden and meeting up with other people (boys!) that we could have just met up with locally). When I say shopping, what I really mean is browsing through Paperchase, Quiksilver and Octopus and coming back with a funny jelly watch, a pair of tie dye jeans or some hilarious writing paper.

Anyway…less reminiscing and nostalgia and more reviewing. Covent Garden is very touristy: lots of mimes painted in silver, gold and white as well as plenty of other performers commanding large crowds by riding round on unicycles with a mic and large ego. One such performer, who I haven’t seen in CG but really wish I had, is Sam Wills

I discovered him at The Old Vic Tunnels (review here) as his alter ego, The Boy With Tape on His Face and am now slightly obsessed with seeing him again (should you wish to, his next London date is at the Underbelly Festival).

I’ve been to the Punch and Judy, which overlooks the performers, numerous times after making plans to meet friends and said plans being finalised so late that last resorting has called for 4pm desperate emails of ‘OK, we’ll meet in the Punch and go from there’.

From there usually means the Roadhouse (I know), the now defunct Garden Club or, if common sense and the motivation for a longer walk prevails, Gordon’s Wine Bar. My favourite by far, I have reviewed Gordon’s and praised it’s offer many times that maybe I should stop; also, I suppose it’s not really in Covent Garden, is it?

Other options include Walkabout, or The Chandos. I have ended up in the  Chandos with people visiting me in London, colleagues, friends and just about everyone else on my radar that has passed through the Charing Cross – South East London migration path on Thursday and Friday evenings. A favourite because it is cheap, friendly and very central, go to the upstairs bar for a seat because most people don’t even know it exists so shhhh! I have to this date, only even been in Walkabout once and intend to keep it that way.

London Fashion Week

In Day to Day on September 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

SOMERSET HOUSE

This is a rather delayed post, considering we are now on the last day of London’s most fashionable week – with shows including Mulberry, Clements Ribiero, PPQ, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Jaeger and Marios Scwab having shown their catwalk collections. Rather than a run down of the catwalk shows and reports, this piece acts to encourage anyone who Happens to be In London (see what I did there?) during fashion week, to go. It is an experience not quite like any other, and a chance to see some amazingly dressed people while you’re there.

For me, the enjoyment lies in watching new season collections stomping past and looking for new trends as well as admiring what everyone else has turned out in. Even if it is just to stop outside Somerset House and look at what everyone is wearing, or to try your hand at some celeb papping, there is nothing that quite matches up. Once you have your exhibition pass, make the most of it and take a look around Somerset House, as well as the shows you have tickets for.

Something that often gets left out are the exhibition rooms around Somerset House – I urge you to look around these as they are a fascinating opportunity to see examples of design and creativity up close, plus talk to the designers in person about the collections. My favourite is usually the Headonism room curated by milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones – this year on the ground floor (rather than the lower ground) and right next to the BFC Press Lounge. The milliners showing in the East Wing for SS12 include Charlie Le Mindu, Piers Atkinson, Noel Stewart and J. Smith Esquire and the stands (although crammed into quite a small room) are beautiful.

On the Lower Level, you will find the BFC Screening room and the BFC Elle Talent Launch Pad – this year with Sophie Hulme and Claudia Catzefils. Hulme is one of my favourite emerging designers, with fond memories for me as I wrote this piece about her many months ago when I started this blog. I love her classic pieces with gold accents and amazing jewellery – so go and see her stand!

Fashion week poses the rare opportunity to glimpse into the future and see the trends we will be wearing come next summer, plus really appreciate some truly amazing British design and homegrown talent.