Monday, 3 October 2011

Breaking News: Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito Acquitted at Re-Trial

Meredith Kercher - RIP
20:20 I am sitting at home watching BBC News, waiting for the announcement of whether Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito will be found innocent or guilty of murdering of the beautiful Briton Meredith Kercher at the re-trial that has taken place over the last few months. 

I am interested in the result, as are many people around the world, but as I type this I can't help but wonder what is going through the minds of Meredith's family who have flown over to Italy to hear the verdict.

Amanda Knox

20:25 The re-trial must be such a painful experience for the Kercher's - re-opening all of the wounds and emotions that they have already been through as part of their grieving and during the first trial. I can't imagine what they are going through right now.

20:30 I'm still not actually sure what I believe to be the facts, whether the stories of a sex game gone wrong were true, if it was something more sinister or if they were innocent. I don't even think I have a gut feeling. 

Rafaele Sollecito
Whatever the outcome, I hope the media are respectful to the family of Meredith - who surely only want justice for the horrific crimes committed against her.

20:35 Knox and Sollecito have now been in prison for almost 4 years and this appears to be their last bid for freedom. The case has been brought for a re-trial due to the defence challenging the forensic evidence.

I think it is very strange to have the media allowed in the courtroom - this is not something that is allowed in the UK. I am not sure I feel it is appropriate - ironic maybe as I sit her watching it and typing away. 

 20:40 It looks like the announcement will be made shortly now. 'Foxy Knoxy' is trending on Twitter! One of the things that has been very interesting about the public response is that Amanda Knox has had so much more publicity than Rafaele Sollecito. In fact I didn't realise at first that the re-trial was for both of their cases. Is this because she is an attractive young woman?

20:48 The judge and the jury are entering the court-room. It all sounds very complicated!

20:50 BREAKING NEWS - Amanda Knox and Rafaele Sollecito are freed - they have been acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. The Knox family are being quite muted - hopefully out of respect. 

My thoughts are with the Kercher family - they look quiet and dignified. I can't imagine what they are feeling now but my thoughts go out to them. 

RIP Meredith Kercher!
What do you think?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Cher Lloyd Second Single: 'With Ur Love' (Watch)

I loved Cher Lloyds first X Factor audition so much I played it over and over during the audition stages but by the time it got to the live shows I had started to go off her. I didn't dislike her, as I did Katie Weasel, but she had started to act way too diva-like for me.

I had mixed views during the live shows. Some weeks she nailed it and others left me cold. By the final I had warmed to her again but at this point wanted Rebecca Ferguson to win. 

Then she released the absolutely awful 'Swagger Jagger' which somehow got to number 1 in the UK. I really hoped this wouldn't set the tone for the type of music she was going to release and so was pleased to hear her new single 'With Ur Love', which is a massive improvement. 

To me 'With Ur Love' has got a very M.I.A kind of sound to it. She's still using the word 'swag' (get over it now please Cher) but none of the annoying 'rapping' - it's much more melodic this time round and you can hear her voice more. 

The video is uplifting, featuring heart shaped balloons floating around the city and sees Cher with an Amelle (from the Sugababes) undercut, which suits her. 

The video also features Mike Posner who sings the line ' I don't even care if you sing my songs wrong' a reference to her  performance at Judges Houses on the X Factor where she couldn't finish the song due to losing her voice and messed up some of the words.

What do you think of the song and video?

What do you think?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Restaurant Review: Polpo (Soho, London)

Choosing to go to a hugely popular restaurant that doesn't take bookings, in the heart of Soho, on a beautifully warm evening where the streets were packed with people enjoying a last stab at a summer wouldn't normally be advisable. Somehow though, despite all this we managed to get a table at Polpo relatively quickly.

Quickly, but not immediately, so we first took advantage of the bijou basement Campari bar. Our pre-drink at the nearby Alphabet Bar proved to be a mistake, as we each tucked into two of the most deceptively lethal cocktails I have had in ages. Lethal but delicious all the same; well mixed and presented in cute little glasses. Don't be fooled by the size though.

I went for a 'Sidecar' (Vecchia Romagna - an Italian brandy, triple sec and lemon juice) and the Grumpy One had an 'Old Fashioned' (Four Roses bourbon, orange zest and bitters) - fitting I thought, as we were celebrating his 45th birthday.

By the time our table was ready, we were both a little sozzled to say the least. And ravenous. So we trotted upstairs to the restaurant proper, fitted out in a welcoming slightly down-at-heel, downtown New York, shabby chic sort of way. I particularly liked the ceiling, tiled with rusted tin panels.

Polpo, if you don't know, is a Venentian bacaro - which is essentially Italian tapas. Dishes consisting of small plates designed to share. We chose 7 dishes between us, which turned out to be the perfect amount. 

Highlights for me included the anchovy and chick pea crostino (the balance between the salty anchovy and the chikpea was perfect) and the runner beans with red onion and pecorino. Who knew runner beans could be so fricking sexy? They were dressed to perfection and worked brilliantly with the pecorino. I couldn't get enough of them. In fact I would go back just for that dish alone. 

The grumpy one wasn't that keen on the wild mushroom piadina. I thought it was delicious - but having now moved onto to white wine my ability to find fault with any of the dishes was diminishing by the minute. Anyway he thought the bread to crispy, for me that is what I liked about it. We both liked the mushrooms though.

As I don't eat meat I didn't try the calves liver but the feedback from the Grumpy One was good. I think I remember the word succulent being uttered. He devoured the chicken liver crostino before I had even had the chance to see what it looked like. 

We left room for dessert and I decided to throw caution to the wind and order the one item on the menu I didn't recognise, a sgroppino - expecting someting interesting to tickle my taste buds. I got a sorbet; which was actually delicous, refreshing and light but still just a sorbet. The Grumpy One went for his 'favourite'  - the affogato al caffe - and then realised it wasn't the one with the nougart! He still polished it off though and I only just managed to get a taste. 

Polpo has a concept I like very much - small Italian dishes, well made, well priced (the meals with cocktails, wine, water and service was a very reasonable £90) and delivered in a friendly and welcoming environment. I'll definitely be back - once I have tried their sister restaurants Sputino and Polpetto.

Polpo. A bacaro in Soho.
41 Beak Street
London W1F 9SB.
020 7734 4479. 
What do you think?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Brixton To Get A New Theatre: Brixton Empire

My beloved Brixton has many great things going for it - concert venues large (O2 Academy) and small (Electric Brixton), a great cinema (Ritzy), clubs (Plan B, Mass, Brixton Clubhouse Terrace & Bar and Jamm to name just a few); and more bars, cafe's and restaurants than I have the time to list. 

Throw in the wonderful markets, Brockwell Park and the Lido and it really has everything. Well nearly everything; what its lacked is a great theatre space. Until now that is.

St Matthews Church
I am very excited that Brixton is now to get its very own theatre space. Opening in October, Brixton Empire will be situated in the vast St Matthews Church building - which also hosts clubs Mass and Babalou as well as being the venue for the brilliant Samba classes run by Paraiso.

Brixton Empire, will have a capacity of between 150 to 200 people, with plans for a cafe and bar and even an extension into a bigger studio (with a 400 capacity) if all goes well. 

Brixton Empire is the brainchild of Daljinder Singh, who directs the opening play 'when the chickens came home to roost', a play about Malcolm X, set in the 1960's and written by Laurence Holder. It featured Denzel Washington as Malcolm X long before he played the role in the Spike Lee film of the same name. 

The play is a taste of what is to come from the Brixton Empire it seems. Speaking to 'The Stage' magazine, Singh said; "We're not going to be programming very traditional work - for instance period pieces, Chekhov or Shakespeare. There are fantastic companies out there that do that work superbly, so we're looking at other kinds of work that have that unique edge to it that symbolised the spirit of Brixton. We chose this play because we thought it was a fantastic play and despite being set in the Sixties it very much reverberates into the present - there are many parallels with the issues that are coming up today."

The theatre is currently looking for front of house volunteers, who will benefit from getting to see plays for free. If you are interested in volunteering check out the theatre's Facebook page.

'When the chickens came home to roost' is on from October 5 to November 4. Details can be found here. Tickets can be bought here. Get out and support this new local theatre!

Brixton Empire
St Matthews, Brixton Hill, SW2 1JF

I'll be reviewing the the theatre space and the play here on Mr Musing soon.
What do you think?
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