Wednesday, 27 April 2011

My friend Elaine Chalmers has a great eatery on Kingsland Road, east London, what would A LITTLE OF WHAT YOU FANCY  serve up over this right royal bank holiday weekend? Personally I'd eat everything they've got, but here are some of their specialities!
A seasonal salad.
Lunch could be chestnut and chorizo soup, porcini mushroom risotto, sweet potato, red pepper and spinach fritatta, roast chicken with lemon garlic and herbs... a favorite.
Artisan bread.

I'm very keen on Elaines flourless chocolate cake, she made me one for a birthday and I was absolutely thrilled. Also her quails egg scotch egg,what a tasty mouthful. I'm always keen for a slice of welsh rarebit, hers has got tomato chutney on the side.
Herring and all the trimmings.
I've got to go now, I'm starving....

Daily/ seasonal salads

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Jon 'Pleased Wimmin' Does Pop Art Tart

Jon Cooper aka 'Jon Pleased Wimmin' is known as a DJ, music producer and club promoter for his monthly Edinburgh night Dare, which I hasten to add comes to London on a regular basis...  adding a new string to his bow Jon has launched a rather enterprising art project. Centered around musicians, various stars and celebrities (there's a thread of the Warhol's to them) Jon has been busy printing limited editions of his art work, not sure how he does it but there seems to be a formula to his work.
Patti Smith

Inspired by the idea of instant art, his portrayals are immediate and colorful, playing with notions of iconic imagery. He invites you to to become part of his gallery with personal and bespoke commissions.

To find out more enter Jon's web site...  POP ART TART.COM 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

'HELP!' (A comedic tale of two flatmates who receive an unexpected visitor)

Dark days, dark days indeed, 'Help' is a satirical play about three friends who irritate the fuck out of each other but ultimately love each other. This is a twisted tale based on (and I'm guessing) on some real life experiences. Matthew Hickey, Ryan Styles and Russell Graham take on meaty roles playing themselves... or are they? The scene takes place in a loft apartment which Ryan and Russell share, the bickering banter is swift and witty, the repartee leaves the audience with mouths agog.

The domestic scene is disturbed by the arrival of Matthew, who it seems has fallen on bad times, caught up with his addictions and hustling to make ends meet. It's a situation one can easily relate to, I often say it's a fine line. The plot moves along when it is revealed that Matthew and Ryan were once a love interest, Russell is caught in the firing line trying to unravel their past. He does it with a series enquiring assumptions delivered  in overtly camp fashion, the suspense is akin to tightrope walking as Russell seduces information from the pair by producing a 'jaffa cake' cake, donning a wig and screaming at Matthew as he pretends to 'use' the toilet. But Russell's is character is savvy, he knows what's really going on.

Ryan and Matthew seek some sort of closure to the situation in the second half, their own seduction ends in macabre fashion... the final line is crossed as Matthew's character takes control...
(You'll have to go and see it to find out what exactly happens! On tonight, 14th at the Bistrotheque cabaret room).

Curtain down.

Written and directed by Tess Christian
Additional Material: Matt Hickey, Ryan Styles
Scenery: David Shenton
Set bulid: Rocky Alvarez
Lighting/sound: David Thackery

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Why Kylie's Still Got It

This week I went to see Kylie Minogue's Aphrodite Les Folies Tour 2011 at the 02 Arena, a few months ago I went to interview her for Ponystep whilst she was busy preparing for the tour. Matt Irwin took the photos and our Miss Minogue was on top form... you have to get the magazine to read our chat!

Kylie looking fab!

Back to the show and Kylie is really quite remarkable, the thing I'm always quite intrigued by is the pure popness of Kylies voice, there's no one else can sing like that without being sped up! On stage Kylie shines, she was born to it, she lights up, her eyes twinkle... her spectacular and camp shows have become her forté. Apparently this is the most lavish and expensive show ever staged, full of entrances, boys in fish tanks, boys as gladiators, girls in surrealist pom poms, sculptural mesh, sequins, honestly this show is a visual treat. Creative director William Baker really has pulled out all the stops for Aphrodite, this is his dressing up box come to life.

Kylie really engages with her audience, I've seen quite a few of them and I was mortified (in a good way) when she suddenly saw me in the audience and called out my name from the stage for not dancing! Lets face it you really do have to get up when Kylie belts out her major hits! (I even caught myself mouthing along to the choruses the other night.) We've grown up with her and somehow she is like the girl next door, even though her shows are staged she chats away on a personal level noticing handmade banners and loyal fans. And that's what she's really like...

Live phone pic of the 2011 show.

Is Kylie a style icon? Yes she is, her thing is about embracing the dressing up part of the business of show. She takes on each 'look' enjoying every moment. She's not freakish, her allure is sexy and provocative. She taps into old school glamour and pushes boundaries with it,  plays with it and it's so captivating you ultimately end up fancying her without realizing why or how, the saucy minx!


It's really the whole package Kylie projects, her timeless 'lolita-esque' qualities, she's a girl in her early 40's but I bet when she's 70 she'll still have that same indefatigable energy...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Alchemist Presentation A/W 2011

I never forget how industrious my friends can be, take said Lyall Hakaraia, last week he invited me along with a small gathering of 20 people to fine dine two doors up from his homestead of Vogue Fabrics. Two doors up happens to be a labyrinth of connecting rooms known as MC Motors Warehouse, that on this particular evening became home to  Hakaraia's latest presensation for a feast, performance plus a personal tour of his current collection of accessories. These 'accessories', and I'm sure there must be another word to describe Lyalls feats of adornment because really they're more like sculptural spector's consisting of transparent neck pieces, cuffs and bodices made grey ponyskin, patent leather with brass and magnetic fastenings. The overall effect has a modernity attached to it but the reference points have a powerfully glamourous twist. Nipped in and snapped to the body seems to be the primal focus. Ecru coloured lycra gloves, body formed cut out pieces dipped with a blush of taupe form the basis of Lyalls vision on. 

At first I hadn't the faintest idea of what Lyall had in store for us us as I devoured the main course of lamb tergine, one of A Little Of What You Fancy's delicious dishes from the set menu for the evening. Lyall then informed us a performance was about to commence in the adjoining room... we filed in whilst in the dim light a body hung, two assistants pushed the androgyne back and forth,as she unwrapped, swayed and stretched, limbs flaying. Piece by piece, a ceremony of removal took place, carefully unbound the figure was stripped bare. 

This is Lyall Hakaraia's A/W 2011 collection named 'The Alchemist', he's keeping things very precise, although Lyall is known for creating couture and costumes for many of our contemporary dressers, which you can find out about at

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


Seeing as I'm partial to a tipple when GQ Style sent me to go and sample a few of the best in town I really couldn't say no! Well it would be rude not to... 


The passion for concocting cocktails that slip down a treat is not lost on Denis Broci, cocktail creator at Claridges. He measures aromatic botanicals, Campari, Koniks Tail Vodka, Tanqueray Gin, Creme De Mar and pink grapefruit juice  to create an invention of his own making... the 'GQ Style'! Flattery will get you everywhere and I'm fascinated as he 'washes' ice with Campari, stirs, fine strains and finally pours the delicate pink and translucent mixture into a signature Claridges bevelled John Jenkins glass. Denis tells me, 'The drink itself is quite masculine', and as I lift glass to lips a heady aroma takes over my senses! 'It's got a kick!' Denis exclaims knowingly. 
Drinking cocktails with Denis is a flirty process and the role of bartender could be seen as part confidante, part entertainer as the pop and fizz of Champagne merges with Creme De Cassis, strawberry's and crushed ice to become Claridges classic 'The Flapper'. Delving into The Flappers past is daunting, but I think we can safely assume it's namesake must surely be attached to the roaring 1920's Flapper girl. Perhaps interior designer David Collins payed homage to this deep cerise classic when designing the Claridges bar, upholstered in The Flappers resulting vibrant shade,  it's simple to make and gorgeously attractive in it's crystal champagne flute, set off jauntily with a seductive strawberry embelished flourish. Quite fitting as the juiciness, sparkle of champagne and strawberry's evoke a real sense of occasion.


'Malecon' is the very charming Erik Lorincz's award winning elixior in the Legacy Cocktail competition. Named after the promenade in Havana, Cuba, Lorincz has somewhat of a philosphical attitude explaining the concept he has successfully endevoured to conjure up within a crystal coupette. He assembles the elements that go into his molten bowl of luxurient liquors, each ingredient appearing to symbolise and represent an attitude of celebration, the main inspiration originating from the passion of the Cuban people. Part of the fun is watching the process, Erik takes a huge chunk of clear ice and splinters a perfectly formed shard ready for the final touch. The cocktail itself consists of Oloroso Sherry, Bacardi Superior Rum, tawny port, lime juice, caster sugar and a few drops of Peychaud's Bitters.  Malecon is surprisingly fruity and after some jazzy moments with a cocktail shaker I'm urged to savour the final pouring, ice seductivily glistening amid a pool of  potent liquid. 'Look at it, hold it, take a little sip', Erik suggests. I do as I'm told and enjoy the sensation flooding my tastebuds as the golden nectar trickles over my tongue.
31 year old Lorincz has become a force to be reckoned within the bartending world winning DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS Bartender of the year in 2010 he regards his work with creative artistic integrity saying, 'Perfect cocktail moments are art forms for me'. And believe you me sherry and twany port never tasted so good! 


As Alessandro Palazzo creates the signature Dukes 'Vesper' with an inventive twist he recalls the history of this classic vodka martini, shaken not stirred... if you get my gist. Indeed this was the favoured tipple of James Bond author Ian Flemming who used to swing by Dukes on a regular basis. Consisting of Lillet, Potocki Vodka, Gin, Angostura bitters stirred and set off with a sliver of lemon peel, 'That's what gives it a ladies appeal!' Palazzo continues to inform me as he measures each component carefully and pours into a martini glass. Over the years the Vesper has created many a heated moment of debate but Alessandro has kept as true to the original as he can be, 'I changed it because quite simply some of the ingredients don't exist any more'. This Homage to Flemming represents both the masculine and feminine slant's to the glamourous characters conjured up in Flemmings books and films but is specifically named after secret agent Vesper Lynnd in Casino Royal.
'The best things are always the simple things', 53 year old Palazzo states with the wonderfully jovial attitude of a seasoned bartender. Infact the experience of cocktail hour pivots not only on the drink itself but on the decadence, ambience and good humour involved.  Simple, elegant and glamourous are the notions the Vesper evokes as she sits upon the bar, the clean, sharp tang is at once refreshing and somewhat intoxicating. No one can denny her allure, it's a sexy little drink that exudes class. 


You know these mixologists are an inventive lot! International Bartender of the Year in 2010 Agostino Perrone or Ago as friends and regulars call him, cheekily invented his 'Marcharita' the day before the shoot. 'This one is for Tequilla lovers',  he tells me, and further explains how his intention was to merge modern and classic notions into his latest creation. Born and raised in Lake Como, Ago shakes and strains a lime green concoction consisting of green tea cordial, Tequila and lime juice. Presentation is everything and Ago's fancy engraved coupette rimmed with black sea salt sets the tone with a contempoary flourish, the salt positvely dances off the glass creating a fabulous contrast of modernity. The crunch of black sea salt, kick of Tequilla and sweetness of green tea cordial is quite mouth watering, but it's the arresting hue of the vibrant green contents which is really a talking point. Sophisticated and fresh with a quirky dash of good humour, Ago seems to have hit on a most alluring combination.


It's quite apparent Bostonian born Brian Silva is a legend in the bartending world. With a history in the biz spanning back 30 years, with residency's at Scotts and The Connaught Silva's aura of calm and knowledge exudes with it a sense of concentration and precision... quite simply put, Brian Silva does what he loves doing best, namely make amazing cocktails! Splashes of guava lime juice, soda, rum, green chartreuse, crushed ice with parcels of shredded mint leaves sit atop of his  'Mojito', a concoction generally affiliated with Cuba but historically attributed to pirate Richard Drake in the 1500's. Suddenly an alluring tower of tantalizing refreshment materializes in a flick of an eye. Brian's focus and vision is all about balance, 'There are percific rules', Brian tells me as he lovingly measures, layers and crushes down each  summery and fragrant component into a high ball glass. 'And there is some theatre to it', he adds, 'It's all about the drinks and we change the top 10 drinks list regulary at Rules'. Brian's 'Mojito' is sumptuous, elegant and rejuvenating. A joy to behold, but not for long as I quickly ask for for another one.


Originally from Liverpool 22 year old Lauren Shaw is a relative newcomer to the scene, she's currently months into her residency at Soho's Dean Street Townhouse having spent 3 years honing her craft in Nottingham's 'The Livingroom'. Her choice of cocktail is a spin on the classic 'Breakfast Martini', she's renamed it the 'XX Breakfast Martini', Lemon juice, gin, ginger, marmalade and cranberry juice go into this refreshing, remarkably light but punchy classic gem of a drink, garnished with a swirl of orange peel. The ginger gives it a real kick and makes it almost detoxifying, am I kidding myself here? Lauren goes into the history of the drink as she grates the fresh ginger and spoons a tasty dollop of delicious marmalade into the bottom of a martini glass... originating as the 'Marmalade Martini' by Salvatore Calabrese at the Lainsbourugh Hotel in 2000, it's roots can be traced back to the 1920's as the 'Marmalade Cocktail' by Harry Craddock first published in The Savoy Cocktail Book. Finally as Lauren finishes the final touches to her perfect appertiff and hands over her delightful tipple, I take a mouthwatering gulg and immediately get an uplifting sense of exhilaration. 

Princess Julia for GQ Style 2011