Thursday, 28 February 2013

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

the mormons are coming

I was intrigued by The Book of Mormon. I'd noticed a few billboards around town splashed with the phrase 'The Mormons are coming!' in giant black letters, but I hardly knew anything about the show or its plot, apart from the fact that it'd won a whole host of awards in the US for its achievements on Broadway... Believe it or not, I'm not a particularly avid fan of musical theatre, but a musical about Mormons? Could be good. So with a sense of curiosity, I popped along to the Prince of Wales theatre on Monday evening for the preview showing. Nothing could have quite prepared me for the experience. In summary, the show follows a pair of Mormon boys sent on a mission to Uganda, where they find the local tribes are too worried about war, famine and AIDS to care about religion (fair enough)... The satire was biting, the songs filled with blasphemy and obscenity, the costumes completely wonderful and the sets a marvel. It was utterly spectacular. In other words: go go go. (Unless of course you're the easily offended type... O ho.) It was the smiliest, campest thing I've ever come across, and I completely loved it. Find out more and book tickets here.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

a fair isle slipover

A new jumper to add to the collection - a Fair Isle slipover - picked up in the Margaret Howell sale. The most brilliant colours and pattern, no?

Friday, 22 February 2013

from the vaults: swans and tulips in dorset, 2012

Back in June, we spent a couple of days at our friend Ben Pentreath's home in Dorset. We drove down from London late on a Friday night and, as I recall, enjoyed a midnight feast of cheese and fruit before bedtime. We slept like logs that night, waking to a beautiful and bright Saturday morning. With mist still clinging to the valleys, we headed into the nearby town of Bridport, where we picked up groceries (as well as a few antique books), and spent the rest of the weekend reading, eating, drinking and exploring the Old Parsonage in which Ben lives (when he's not in town), and its enchanting surroundings. Ben's garden is an utter delight - I remember sauntering out into the vegetable patch at twilight, glass of wine in hand, to gather handfuls of rosemary for our supper.

balthazar

You know, I've never been to Keith McNally's original Balthazar in New York's Spring Street, but my friends tell me it's loved by everybody in the neighbourhood. So, naturally, I was pretty excited about the bistro's arrival in London's Covent Garden. We went along for supper on Monday and I loved the place. Somehow warmer than Brasserie Zedel in nearby Piccadilly, walking into Balthazar felt like greeting an old friend. They serve up delicious brasserie-inspired food you can rely on. I had a kir royale and oysters and steak frites and very good it all was too.

Monday, 18 February 2013

johnny flynn

Thoroughly obsessed with Johnny Flynn's soundtrack for the 2011 film A Bag of Hammers. A really beautiful collection of songs. And as if by magic, here is Johnny, shot by Neil Gavin, for Toast's spring/summer 2013 menswear collection... (Coming soon. Just keep your eyes peeled.)

at the market

I cycled on over to Broadway Market on Saturday. I had a haircut, bought postcards and a copy of Death in Venice from the bookshop, devoured a very excellent Scotch egg, straight from the oven, and generally just felt very happy and alive.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

more pig

I recently blogged about my trip to The Pig hotel and restaurant in Hampshire (here). I wrote a much longer piece about my stay for Toast Travels, which you can read, if you feel so inclined, here.

bach on a sunday

After a very cold and wet bicyle ride through Regent's Park on Sunday, I joined a friend at the Royal Academy of Music, where we took our seats in the warm and listened to one of Bach's cantatas. What a wonderful way it was to start a Sunday afternoon, and look at that room! I can highly recommend... The Royal Academy's odyssey through Bach’s cantatas is now in its fourth year, with students from the academy performing monthly Sunday concerts made up entirely of Bach's choral works.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

the judas kiss / no quarter

We finally got around to seeing David Hare's The Judas Kiss in the West End last night, after missing its original running at the Hampstead Theatre back in autumn last year. Hilarious, haunting and heartbreaking in almost equal measure, The Judas Kiss is a compelling drama about the power of all-consuming love and the cruelty of betrayal. Rupert Everert, playing Oscar Wilde, was utterly mesmerising. Perhaps it would be a cliché to say so, but Everertt was surely born to play this role!

Talking of theatre, we also went to see our friend Polly Stenham's brilliant play No Quarter at the Royal Court a couple of weeks ago. It was a real triumph - a heady cocktail of unhinged characters, good jokes, chaotic larks and brilliant set design. Make sure to pick up a copy of the text, published by Faber and Faber. (Cover illustration by the very talented Fee Greening.)