rss comments entries
   Log in

It was about time this Brexit-plagued country got an injection of vibrant colour and a sense of creative stoicism – and here it is, courtesy of a spectacular exhibition at the V&AFrida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up.

Frida Kahlo:Making Her Self Up

The genesis of the exhibition was a bathroom in her house which, for 50 years after her death, remained closed on the orders of her husband, the great muralist Diego Rivera. Then, in 2004, came the Open Sesame moment. Out tumbled 6,000 photos and 22,000 documents, plus 300 personal items, many of which form a touching and surprising part of the exhibition.

For the last 15 summers, London’s Serpentine Gallery has commissioned a temporary pavilion to sit on its manicured lawn in the middle of Hyde Park. With a bucolic backdrop of towering trees, winding paths, swathes of grass and of course the serpentine lake itself, the structure kicks off with a fantastic setting. Better still, this year’s worm-like or womb-like tent designed by subversive Spanish practice, SelgasCano (that’s José Selgas and Lucia Cano), is totally bewitching.


Iridescent colour shimmers and flickers over the semi-transparent surface with changing light and time of day, and at last night’s opening, the setting sun had a field day. Clouds came and went, the light intensified and shadows lengthened, altogether creating a mesmerising, surreal quality.

You can hardly call it fashion as Alexander McQueen’s soaring imagination knew no bounds. Savage Beauty, the exhibition dedicated to his peerless designs which just opened at London’s V&A, explodes with theatricality. At the same time it’s hauntingly visceral – in keeping with the man himself (1969-2010) who also designed his own tragic end.


Not being a fashionista, I shan’t indulge in any critique of this mesmerising show, merely say that if you’re anywhere near London between now and August 2, when it closes, make it an absolute priority. 200 tickets will be released daily, so there’s no excuse. Here are a few pics and pointers as to what awaits you.

The rhythm is relentless. We Brits, it seems, just can’t get enough of those tasty Spanish morsels that come under the ever-expanding umbrella of tapas. Another day, or let’s say, another week, and a new tapas bar opens. And they’re not always Spanish, as other nationalities have leapt on the bandwagon, but the best are, in my opinion, straight from the Iberian peninsula – but then I’m biased.


Yet another addition to London’s burgeoning Spanish gastronomy scene is alive and kicking in Lower Regent St. Ah yes, that WAS Lower Regent St, but a few days ago it somehow morphed into “St James – Regent St“. Could this be connected to the vast new upmarket development (St James Market) taking shape just south of Piccadilly Circus? Of course!


Last night’s commemoration of the outbreak of World War I exactly 100 years ago was followed in depth by UK media, as well as in formal ceremonies in Belgium, site of the battle-fields. It was moving, although bitterly ironic to glimpse news about the Gaza massacre at the same time. How times don’t change. But recompense came with LIGHTS OUT*, a nationwide remembrance of the outbreak of war – with London’s public buildings leading the way.



Funny kind of airport I thought. There it was, a stunning neo-classical church towering into another of London’s brilliant blue evening skies. And there I was, clutching my ‘boarding pass’ – destination: Andalucia (where else, followers of this blog might ask).


But this time my trip turned out to be a bit of a wheeze, a vaudeville-sprinkled cocktail (including those too) of staged cameo acts and surprisingly good food – eaten in the company of 50 or so other punters. This was a preview of 11 upcoming evenings designed for those jet-set Londoners who want the Andaluz atmosphere minus the angst-ridden travel. Behind it is Dine Mile High, a company that specialises in pop-up restaurants and themed events.

We’ve had Bob the Cat, now it’s George the Dog, a soulful-looking Staffordshire terrier who has helped his master out of a deep hole of poverty, addiction and homelessness. Here is George having an arty rest…


You may have heard of A Streetcat named Bob – in which the reformed junkie owner, James Bowen, recounts how Bob helped him conquer his addiction by sharing his life, joining him busking on the streets and giving him emotional continuity.

Last week I experienced a red tuna-feast. Or call it a fest, as it entailed a tasting menu of six little dishes, each one a metamorphosis of that old piscine stalwart – tuna. The degustacion took place at Hispania, a firm favourite of mine on the London tapas-bar scene (see my earlier blog), and in this case was courtesy of guest chef Mauro Barreiro backed up by Cadiz Tourism.


Little Water – how refreshing! Here at last is an independent restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden theatreland – and it’s about as chilled as they come. Even better, it’s welcoming and serves affordable, tasty small plates. But surrounded by big gun chain restaurants like Strada, Jamie’s and Loch Fyne, or well-established oldies like Orso and Joe Allen, it feels like a minnow. You just hope it won’t sink or get gobbled up.

Little Water Covent Garden