Monthly Archives: February 2008

Dinner Party at The Engineer

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Last night I went with Pj to a dinner party/birthday party for one of her course-mates.  Karin is an austrian dancer who founded a very successful dance company (Ricochet) in London for a number of years and is now taking a break while she completes the masters course at Central.  Karin is married to an Israeli businessman who is a gem.  We gathered upstairs in a lovely gastro-pub in Primose Hill complete with chandeliers and tulips.  It was sort of a ridiculous night as we conversed with people and artists from all over the place.  (After every course the fellows had to move down the table).  I talked with a young friend of the family who just completed his service for the Israeli military, a women who runs Leaders Quest that takes business people all over the world, a swedish photographer/video artist, and a Taiwanese dancer married to an Italian mathematician.  It was quite surreal and another reminder that the world condenses in London with intensity.  As well, I think that Obama went 8-8 out of the people I talked to.    

Flat White

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Did anyone know that the best coffee in London is from a shop run by a group of Kiwi’s?  Flat White, a lovely boutique style coffee shop in Soho was voted London’s best Coffee shop in 2007.  For some reason this came as quite a shock to me when I heard about it last week.  So shocking, in fact, that I’ve been doing research into it.  What is it that makes their coffee any different?  How can their coffee be better than the local italian shops?  Better even than coffee at the Algerian Coffee Shop down the street.  First off, a ‘Flat White’ is a particular kind of coffee that is the standard drink for most New Zealanders.  They will simply refer to it as a ‘flattie.’  According to Wikipedia, a Flat white is “one part espresso with two parts steamed milk, but no foam, usually served in a cappuccino cup. This is a specialty of Australia and New Zealand, particularly favored in the latter. The difference between a flat white and a latte is that a flat white is usually stronger, served in a smaller cup, and has no foam.”    New Zealanders love their coffee and have had a couple of barista’s in the top ten of world barista’s in the last many years.  Well, I’m quite excited to visit there this week. After all, we American’s were the first to declare coffee a national drink (after we boycotted those british tea drinkers! 🙂

The Grammy’s were last night?

Shiny Toy Guns

The Grammy’s were last night.  We read about it on BBC news this morning.  Seems like Amy Winehouse did really well…which is funny because she is a daily part of everyone’s household here.  We read about her in the free tabloids every morning and every evening.  I don’t even know her music that well but I could tell you an awful lot about her life…rehab, different hair-do’s, husby in the slammer.  On an upbeat note, Feist got quite a few nominations as well as Shiny Toy Guns.  A few years back Emory Salem opened for them in Indy when they were touring this album.  I think it came out originally in 2005.  Pj made friends with the lead guitarist’s wife when they were both selling merch.  Ah, the glory days. 

450 Characters and 27 Actors

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Pj, Shane O’Hara (a dance prof of pj’s from JMU), and I went to see ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other” at the National Theatre on Saturday night.  “The Hour We Knew Nothing Of Each Other” is a one act play without words written by Peter Handke. The play has 450 characters and focuses on a day in the life of an unspecified town square.  It was a pretty incredible experience for those of us who love the art of crowd voyeurism.  And there were vignettes thrown in throughout that were specific to Londontown.  The omnipresent street sweepers, the old ladies with pull carts, and the sounds of airplanes overhead.  

London-Based American Vote!

americanvote.gifHere’s a bit from the free LondonPaper…”Hillary fans tried to out-cheer backers of Barack Obama in London Tuesday night as they voted in the Super Tuesday primaries.  Police were earlier called to keep order as excited crowds wielding placards queued to get into Prochester Hall in Bayswater.   It the first time the 200,000 London-based Americans had been able to vote in live polls.  Previously they had to have ballots posted.  Turnout was higher than expected at 1,547.  Democrats Abroad spokesman Daniel Rivkin said: “The turnout has been fantastic.”  Provisional results saw Obama trounce Clinton with 871 votes to 422.”  …I think the vote count definitely seems to square as well with how many Brits feel about the election.  They seem more curious and interested in Obama than Clinton.  Although they feel the excitement in the novelty of either one of them being nominated.   

The American Football “Superbowl”

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I did it.  I stayed up until after 3 o’clock in the morning to watch the entire Superbowl on BBC2….and boy am I glad I didn’t doze off during the geriatric half-time show (what’s up with the old rockers half time shows of late?)  The game was a bit slow for three quarter aggravated by amazingly bizarre commentary from BBC2 during all of the commercials breaks.  The BBC doesn’t air any commercials so I had to watch them all on Youtube today.  I was crashing at the Strains place where David was getting in deeper then he knew while I led him in strange american rituals of domino’s pizza, doritoes, and yelling at the referees. I didn’t really have a clear favorite at the outset.  My family has always rooted pretty faithfully for New England since the winningless 80’s….although I was pretty jazzed about supporting Eli Manning, brother of Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning.   In the end, I went with the Giants.  They just seemed to want it more.  Their defensive play was amazing and the BBC2 commentators were unflinchingly biased towards New York.  I was telling my colleagues about my evening and my polish co-worker wondered why they call it the ‘superbowl’?  I wasn’t really sure.  The nearest I can imagine is that football stadium’s look like giant “bowl’s”….like it’s a competition between what team has the biggest stadium.    

A Great Valentine’s Day Mix

valentine_poster.jpg <>Hi everyone,So this comes a little early for me…but a friend sent me a link for this little Valentine’s Day mix that you can download for free and give to your loved one (hint, hint)and I just had to pass it on.  One of the artists is a fav of pj’s from Virginia “Devon Sproule” who toured through here recently.  The photography from the website was done by a guy I knew from high school Aaron Farringdon.   Great stuff all along!  Get it HERE: