Friday, 24 June 2011

Day 5: Brit-Watch at Wimbledon 2011

Flickr Creative Commons by Marc Di Luzio

So it's the end of day five at Wimbledon and once again the Brits were out in force.

Since my last Brit-Watch post Laura Robson fought back from a set down to win her first round match, whilst Heather Watson sadly lost out to Mathilde Johansson after sustaining an elbow injury. She should have one that match.

8th seed Petra Kvitova proved a class above Anne Keothavong crushing her 6-2, 6-1. But Andy Murray (what would we do without you) overcame Tobias Kamke to give us someone in the third round.

So as of today there were only three Brits left in the singles competition (which lets face it is all that really counts), so how did they do?

Firstly though I realise that of all the Brits I mentioned in my first Brit-Watch post I forgot to mention Katie O'Brien, who was the first player to be knocked out of the tournament by Date-Krumm. 

My first thought was 'oh she's beaten by a 40-year old, just give it up girl' but said 40-year old then went on to completely bring-it to Venus Williams and nearly caused a shock upset. So maybe O'Brien losing wasn't such a shocker after all. Here's a lovely red arrow for you Katie - we wouldn't want you to miss out.

Anyway moving on. First up today was Elena Baltacha, who faced 20th seed Shuai Peng of China. Baltacha took the first set 6-4 gaining a break late in the match but Peng came back strongly in the second round winning 6-2. 

The final set was a heart-stopper with Baltacha breaking twice only to be broken twice herself. Baltacha saved four break points but in the end Peng prevailed 7-5.

Meanwhile (and it was a real case of channel swapping at this point) Laura Robson stormed to an early 3-0 lead against Maria Sharapova. Sharapova found her champions spirit and battled back to take it to a first set tie-break. Laura Robson edged ahead in the tie-break early on but once again Sharapova came back, taking the first set. 

The second set saw Sharapova race ahead and although Robson broke back after an early break, Sharapova stepped up a gear to win winning 6-3. Laura did herself proud though and definitely deserved her wild card.

So, unfortunately, as predicted, Andy Murray was the only player to get through to the 3rd round. He took to the courts to play Ivan Ljubicic, the oldest man in the competition and came through in four sets winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 6-4 to book his place in the 4th round, needing a tie-break to beat his opponent.

Court 1
Flickr Creative Commons by Marc Di Luzio

So there we have it. Out of eleven British players there is only one left and it's Andy Murray. No pressure then Andy!
What do you think?

Short: Film Premiere - Robots of Brixton

I am really gutted that whilst I'l' be sunning myself on a beach in Puerto Banus tomorrow the premiere of the amazing looking Robots of Brixton will be showing at Brixton Village market. Okay so maybe not that gutted, I badly need a holiday after all but after hearing and becoming excited about this film it will be a shame not to see it. So someone please check it out for me!

Robots of Brixton is a short animated film, created by Kibwe Tavares, an architecture student from London. It depicts a dystopian future, years from now, when robots do man's dirty work and are discriminated against by human's. Tavares used the riots of Brixton in the 1980's as a reference point for the film and inspiration for some of the scenes.

He created the film for his Masters in Architecture and this shows in the impressive imagery (he would like to combine animation with architecture). The robots in the film live in shanty town like structures tacked onto buildings and Tavares has transformed the Barrier Block, AKA Southwyck House, in Brixton and the Town Hall. 

A imaginative reworking of the Barrier Block (Southwyck House)

The film has attracted lots of attention, the BBC even ran a feature on it and it would surprise me if we didn't hear a lot more from this obviously very talented young man.

The film will be shown tomorrow night, Saturday 25th June, at 7pm at Brick Box, Brixton Village (formerly Granville Arcade).

There is a short trailer from the film below. Check it out and let me know what you think of it?

From Kibwe Tavares on Vimeo.
What do you think?

Day 4: My Day at Wimbledon 2011

 I managed to get over to Wimbledon yesterday (well as a South Londoner it would have been rude of me not to) and after queuing for about two and half hours my brother and I finally managed to get ground passes.

The weather was a real concern beforehand, not helped by the Met Office's predictions of heavy rain but in fact it turned out to be a really nice day, with only a few short showers to interrupt the day. In fact, I awoke this morning to some quite impressive sunburn on my face - the run was really hot when it appeared from behind the clouds. Oh well of to Spain tomorrow so will top it up with a bit of Spanish sun. 

When I went a few years ago to Wimbledon we managed to get resale tickets to Court 1 quite easily so I was hopeful we might be able to get some again, particuarly as Laura Robson was due to play the last match. That idea quickly went out of the window once I saw the queue's though, which were stretching for about a mile and the thought of queuing again was just too much. 

Almagro v Isner

We did get to see some good matches though taking in the very tall John Isner V 16th seed Nicolas Almagro and Dmitry Tursunov against 11th seed Jurgen Melzer which was a good match until the fading light stopped play.

We also some of the all-Czech match between Lucie Safarova, the 31st seed who was beaten by Klara Zakopalova, who beat Brit qualifier Emily Webley-Smith in the first round. 

Henman Hill
The nice weather meant that we also spent some time sitting up on Henman Hill and took in Serena Williams match against Simona Halep, which Serena won after losing the first set. Stupidly we left the hill after Lleyton Hewitt was two sets to love up and 3-3 in the 3rd to try and get on one of the courts. Little did we know that Robin Soderling was about to come back and win the next three sets to take the match!


I managed to get quite a good picture of a forlorn looking Viktor Troicki after being beaten by Yen-Hsun Lu (also pictured) who was mobbed by a throng of Chinese fans outside the court as he left.

Unfortunately even though she walked right by me and I had a clear view I didn't manage to get my iPhone out, unlock it open the camera and get a photo of the beautiful Ana Ivanovic. I wouldn't make a very good paparazzi!

I also managed to get filmed for a quick vox pop..... how camp do I sound?! Lol.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Wretch 32 feat. Josh Kumra and Maiday: Don't Go (Listen)

In a bid to try and claw back a little credibility after raving about Nicola Roberts I thought I would post up another song that I have been playing on repeat recently (I am off work this week and the tennis hasn't yet started for the day - so time to kill).

In quite a departure from his previous song Unorthodox, Wretch 32's new single is Don't Go and features the vocals of the talented Josh Kumra who sounds a little Chris Martin like (in a good way). It's a much softer sound and shows the versatility of London's own Mr Wretch, AKA Jermaine Scott.

I love the female backing vocal on the track too by an artist I've never heard of call Maiday.

Let me know what you think.

What do you think?

Nicola Roberts: Dance in the Rain feat. CockNBullKid (Listen)

Okay, who'd-a-thunk-it but, whisper, I am actually turning into quite a fan of Nicola Roberts! I am absolutely loving this leaked demo of 'Dance in the Rain", which I hope will become a single and appear on the album 'Cindarella's Eyes', released later in the year. The song features CockNBullKid on backing vocals is a class apart from anything her Girls Aloud colleagues have produced. 

And if she's good enough to work with CockNBullKid, Metronomy and Diplo then she's good enough for me! Check it out below.

Update: here is Nicola Roberts B-Side on the physical release of Beat of My Drum - Disco, Blisters and A Comedown...

Update: here is a teaser from Lucky Day, Nicola's 2nd single. Think it is going to be a big hit. 

Nicola Roberts from Umah MM on Vimeo.
What do you think?

Day 2: Brit-Watch at Wimbledon 2011

Flickr Creative Commons by Marc Di Luzio

So it's the end of day two at Wimbledon and a host of British tennis players took to the courts today. There were 11 British hopefuls at the start of the tournament but how many remain now?

Yesterdays win for Andy Murray against Daniel Gimeno-Traver was unsurprising, although he suffered a bit of a scare after losing the first set 4-6 before coming back 6-3 and then winning the remaining two sets 6-0, 6-0. He now faces world number 83 Tobias Kamke in the second round.

Emily Webley-Smith, who received a wildcard put up a fantastic fight against the world number 38 Klara Zakopalova and after losing the first set the lowly 244th ranked Webley-Smith 6-3 came back to win the second 5-7. It was in vain though as she ended up losing in the third set 8-6. Still it was an honourable performance.

There were high hopes for James Ward after his heroics at Queens but he couldn't respond to 19th seed Michael Llodra's excellent serving - at one point the Frenchman had 81% of his first serves finding the mark. Ward lost in straight sets 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. He still has some work to do if he is to meet his aim of breaking into the worlds top 100. 

Britain's number four Dan Evans took his opponent, 20th seed Florian Mayer, to four sets including two tie-breaks (both of which he lost), before winning the third set 6-3 but was eventually overpowered and was yet another British casualty.

Another Dan (Cox), meanwhile lost in straight sets to world number 46, Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine the lowest ranked of the British male wildcard's opponents but still too good for the world 273. The result was 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Court 1
Flickr Creative Commons by Marc Di Luzio

Thank our lucky stars then for the all-British pairing of Anne Keothavong and Naomi Broady, which at least guaranteed us a British woman in the second round. Keothavong prevailed winning in straight sets xx xx against an inconsistent Broady - who although showed potential was no match for the higer ranked Keothavong. Next up Kvitova tomorrow, which will be a much sterner test for the British number three. 

Then came world number 68 and British number one Elena Baltacha who played German qualifier Mona Barthel. Baltacha looked nervous at times, this was after all the same court where she was knocked out a year ago against a lower ranked player, but she gritted her teeth and knocked out a 6-2, 6-4 win against the world number 114. 

Heather Watson and Laura Robson didn't get to play their matches so should be up tomorrow - so another day of nail biting and crossed fingers.

So there we have it. Out of eleven British players, three still stand and a further two are still to play a match. Not as bad as last year, so it's a step in the right direction and there's still a chance I could be proved wrong.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Finally Some Menswear for Brixton?

Brixton station
Flickr Creative Commons by markhilary
Great news for fans of men's fashion in South London. If rumours are true then the people behind Saloon 97, the brilliant women's boutique I wrote about in my article for Living South magazine, are to open up a men's store in Brixton Village.

Menswear is probably one of the few things now lacking at Brixton Village and in Brixton in general (unless you count H&M) so it will be great to have somewhere local to pick up something interesting and unique and if the store is anything as good as Saloon 97 then it will be a real treasure trove for us gents.

I look forward to checking it out once it opens and will post a review and some photo's.

Update: Just heard from one of the owners of Saloon 97 and it is going to open on the 1st or 2nd week in July.
What do you think?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Five of the Best: Men's Swim Shorts

The sun is out and it's time to get those legs out. Okay, it's actually raining as I write this so that might be a slight exaggeration but one can only hope...

I am jetting of on a brief holiday later this week so my attention has turned to swim wear - no budgie smugglers for me but neither those horrid long board shorts. For me it needs to be a nice mid-to-short length pair of swim shorts. 

So here are the top five swim shorts I came across on my search this week.... who cares if we don't look like the Aussie Bum models above.

1. The Simplistic: This black pair from J Lindeberg is simplistic but stylish with a tiny JL logo on the back and a contrasting white drawstring and the perfect length for catching some sun on those pasty legs without being too revealing. Available from House of Fraser. £60.

2. The Retro: I love these retro inspired Tricolor shorts from D&G. I am not usually a massive fan of this brand (far too ostentatious for me generally) but this pair is classy and the coloured side stripes add a sporty feel. Find them at the brilliant FashionBeans for £105.

3. The Lifeguard: These 'Pup' shorts from hot swim wear brand Orlebar Brown are perfect for those who have been working out and who want to show a little more leg, or those who want to don them with a yellow t-shirt for that 'life-guard chic' look. Check out the Orlebar Brown website. £85.
4. The Floral: I do love a pair of floral shorts. It is possible to go horribly wrong with patterned shorts so I always turn to Paul Smith to ensure I stay on the right side of tasteful. These 'Slim Classic' shorts can be found on the Paul Smith website and cost £75.
5. I always turn to Topman for something stylish that is not going to break the bank. These 'Red Candy Stripe' shorts from Topman will do the job perfectly and are only £18, reduced from £26.  
So there you have it, Mr Musing's top five swim shorts for men. Have fun in the sun! 

Oh and remember 'no carbs before Marbs'.....(that's Marbella, for those who don't sneakily watch The Only Way is Essex). 

What do you think?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

New Restaurant: Brixton Village Grill

Image Source:
On one of my regular strolls around one of my favourite places, Brixton Village market, this morning; we decided to have breakfast at Brixton Village Grill as a change from the crepes we usually go for next door a the brilliant Brick Box.

Recently opened it's a smart, portguguese eaterie with a look that is all chandeliers and bare plastered walls, which are adorned with Banksy art, including my favourite, "I can't believe you morons buy this shit!"

Image Source:
Brixton Village Grill, as the name suggests, features an array of grilled meats and fish - ribs, chicken, steaks etc. As it was only 12pm and having eaten at another Portuguese restuarant, La Casita, only the night before we skipped all of this and I went for the vegetarian breakfast.

The vegetarian sausage was delicious, no cardboard Quorn or Linda McCartney here, as is the case in so many places, and the creamy mushrooms were a nice surprise. It also featured good quality bread and real butter and the most perfectly shaped fried eggs, although the beans were a little cold. It was only a breakfast though, and although good, doesn't really give a sense of how good the main menu wil be, so I'll definitely be back to try it out, well the fish part of it anyway (I don't eat meat).

I think it will be good fun on one of the regularly busy Thursday nights at the market, when it is open until 10pm.

Unit 43-44
Brixton Village

What do you think?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Burberry Menswear Spring Summer 2012

I do love a bit of Burberry, the iconic British luxury fashion brand, which held its Spring Summer 2012 menswear show earlier today in Milan. It's going from strength to strength at the moment under the control of the brilliant creative director Christopher Bailley and has come a long way since Daniella Westbrook nearly single-handedly brought the brand to its knees when she and her daughter donned top-to-toe Burberry check.

Anyway moving swiftly on. Burberry has for the last few seasons taken to streaming its fashion shows live (which you can watch below) for those not lucky enough to bag a front row seat, which means we can now get a glimpse of the show as it happens.

So what's going to be hot next spring/summer?

Well cropped parka jackets teamed with cowl nek patterned jumpers in colours such as mustard, worn with short shorts and topped off with orange knitted/crocheted hats with bobbles (which I loved by the way). Okay so I am kidding, kind of, they did all exist but not necessarily all together. And they all looked fabulous. 

Bailley said of the collection, "this collection started with our iconic heritage as the foundation, we really wanted to emphasise this feeling of artisanal and decorative pieces that had been touched by hand, celebrating craftmanship but always with this playful element. We had taken our icons and played with texture to personalise and give them a real character and charm using colour to highlight the intricate detail that goes in to crafting them."

The models looked impossibly beautiful of course, as all Burberry models do, although in need of a bit of sunlight and a good meal.

I would happily take most of the pieces in the collection, particularly the macs. Oh how I dream of owning a Burberry Prorsum mac. I do also dream about eradicating poverty and world peace - honest!

What do you think?

Mr Musing's: Five Certainties for Wimbledon 2011

I am SO excited that Wimbledon is almost here. I happen to be off work for pretty much the whole tournament, which means that as well as trying to get along and get a ground pass so that I can catch some of the live action, I will happily spend hours watching every match on TV.

I am such a geek when it comes to Wimbledon, devouring all the statistics, reading everything on the BBC news website that is tennis related - rankings, head-to-head, form and completely useless tidbits.

I thought I'd share my five Wimbledon certainties with you. Every year the same anecodotes, debates and discussions happen and it's possible to check them off like a kind of tennis bingo.

1. Andy Murray will be the only Briton to get past Round two in the singles. 

However, much I would like to believe otherwise it just ain't going to happen this year. Even though we are guaranteed a British woman in the second round, as Anne Keothavong and Naomi Broady play each other in the first, the winner will face 8th Seed Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic. Double bagel anyone?

Elena Baltacha, who admittedly is playing the best tennis of her career, faces an as yet unknown qualifier in round one but if she comes through that unscathed faces Peng of China, the 20th Seed, who recently knocked out two Brits at Birmingham (Broady and Watson). Will she make it a hat-trick?

James Ward, who I got very excited about at Queen's has been pitched against Michael Llodra of France, the 19th Seed. Now Ward did beat players of a higher calibre at Queen's to make the semi-finals, so there is a slim chance, but it is very slim. Although if he did win he would probably face Ricardo Mello, the world number 90.

2. The British press will bemoan the lack of British talent in tennis. 

Following on from my first certainty and after Andy Murray is the only British player left in the singles the press will moan about the state of British tennis - why can we not produce the stars like other countries? Are our tennis players to pampered? There will be talk of a 'new crop' of young players coming up through the ranks (we have been having that same discussion for about ten years now - so where are they?) The words Fred and Perry will no doubt come up time and time again. 

3. There will be a debate about the 'grunting' in the women's game.

Comparisons will be made to aircraft taking off and pneumatic drills. This happens every year, without fail. Either ban it or get over it, the discussion is boring. I personally am not bothered by it at all.

4. There will be a debate about the state of the women's game. 

Questions about Wozniacki and her lack of Grand Slam wins, references to Safina - and discussion about the lack of consistency in the women's game, along with the way the seedings work and a general sense that it 'just ain't as good as it used to be'.

5. Hundreds of people will search for 'Andy Murray muscle', 'Andy Murray bulge' or 'Andy Murray body' and some will reach my site.

Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me that every time there is a Grand Slam, the traffic to my site increases loads due to people entering these search terms in Google. And I have never written about Andy Murray's bulge in my life (well until now).

So there you have it, my five certainties for Wimbledon this year. Let me know what yours are?
What do you think?
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