Monday, 25 July 2011

Nicola Roberts: Lucky Day Teaser (Listen)

Update: Full Video now out!

I just can't get enough of Nicola Roberts at the moment. Today she released another Through Nicola's Eyes  feature, which has a teaser of her second single 'Lucky Day'. 

I think this one is going to be HUGE! It's a brilliantly catchy pop song that has a real summery fun feel to it. I hope that her record label gives up on On Air On Sale to give this a chance of doing well in the charts.

Check it out below!

Update: Nicola's record label have taken the Through Nicola's Eyes feature down as apparently it was released too early. Damn them!... Oh well you'll just have to make do with an unedited version of her video instead....massive thanks to the original uploader.

What do you think?

Saturday, 23 July 2011

RIP: Amy Winehouse Found Dead At Her London Flat

Amy Winehouse, the amazing singer, who had a well publicised battle with drink and drugs for a number of years has been found dead at her flat in Camden, London. There are limited details available, even on the BBC website at the moment.

Aged 27, she joins a long list of talented stars who have died of drink and drugs at that age - Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison.

I can't quite believe it, it is such a shock, she was such an amazingly talented woman, who made the most beautiful music and I had really hoped she would turn a corner.

RIP Amy, you will be sorely missed. May you light up heaven with the sound of your wonderful voice!

What do you think?

Five of the Best: Men's Sunglasses

We are not exactly having a classic summer here in Britain but who needs constant sunshine to don a fabulous pair of shades?

A good pair of shades can transform a person from so-so to so hot and there are so many great ones available at the moment I felt I needed to do one of my five of the best features. 

The wayfarer and the aviator are still big and coloured lenses seem extremely popular - think greys and olives though rather than garish Elton John esque monstrosities. Here is my Five of the Best.....

3. The Budget Breaker
I have been dreaming about these Tom Ford 'Henri' glasses for a while now (they will be mine, they will be mine) and I just love the shape of them and the signature Tom Ford metal detailing at the temples. In fact I could have featured a dozen of his glasses, particularly the 'Pablo'! With the 'Henri' I would definitely go for the black pair as they are classy and understated and very very cool. Oh and expensive. $360

2. The Chic Italian
You can't go wrong with a pair of Persol sunglasses. This chic Italian brand has been famously worn by the likes of Steve McQueen and ignores trends and fads to produce classic shades that can be worn for years. These 0649's just ooze class. £168

1. The Retro
Topman are always a good bet for sunglasses, particularly if you want to go for a style that you fear might not look quite so hot in a couple of seasons, as they are reasonably priced and a decent quality. These Tortoiseshell 50's sunglasses are perfect for tortoisshell virgins, with just a smattering to give that retro edge, and are a bargain at £45.

4. The Sporty
I never thought I would like a pair of white sunglasses but these Lacoste 'Tolouse' sunglasses are just fabulous. Perfect for wearing during a game of tennis on a summers day, or when doing anything vaguely sporty. Reduced to $99

5. The Colourful
If you want to stand out from the crowd, in a good way, then you might fancy these colourful matt yellow sunglasses from Sunpocket, which fold in half for easy storage. They are reasonably priced too at just £50, from Urban Outfitters.

So there we have it, five pairs of fabulous shades that are so cool they don't even require sun. Let me know what you think of them. Also, check out my other 'Five of the Best' features ...  man bagsswim shorts and hi-tops.
What do you think?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Keisha Buchanan First Solo Concert: Jacques Townhouse London 2011

What is it about me and ex-girl-band members? I can't seem to stop posting about them! Well I was very pleased to see ex-Sugababes member Keisha Buchanan returning to the stage singing songs from her new album (still in progress - hurry up Keisha) at the Jacques Townhouse in London the other night. 

To me, Keisha was the sugababes (well her and Mutya) and I have been waiting what seems like ages for her to come out with some solo stuff. There's been loads of 'leaked' tracks available on the Internet but the fact she is now doing solo gigs means that her first single can't be first off. Here's hoping anyway.

Apparently Keisha was very nervous about her gig and whilst I have to admit there were a few bum notes (or painful ones), particularly on track 'Carried Away', I am just pleased she hasn't faded into oblivion. Hopefully she will set the charts alight once more.

As well as treating fans to some of her new music, such as the brilliant 'Beautiful Mess', and 'Fearless' and she also covered Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep' along with a mash-up of Beyonce's 'Run the World' with Cyndi Lauper's 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun'. She even through in a couple of old Sugababes favourites, such as 'Overload'/'Push the Button'

Check out some of her songs below.

What do you think?

Friday, 15 July 2011

Leona Lewis New Song 2011: Collide (watch)

I am SO excited that Leona Lewis is back (sad I know) and guess what, she has come out with something that is not a ballad - it actually has a bit of an upbeat feel to it! Go Leona wid ya bad self!

Collide will be the lead single from her third album and after a lukewarm reception to her second (well in relation to her first album anyway) she will be hoping that the single will catapult her back to the top of the charts. The song was premiered on Radio 1 earlier today and will be released in September.

The song itself is a builder of epic proportions, with a happy piano melody and of course Leona's massive vocals. It's written by the same writer as Alexis Jordan's Happiness and it shows but in a good way. I like it and think it will be a grower.

But in a move that will only serve to give the song more publicity, Ministry of Sound have claimed that the song is a rip-off of an instrumental song by it's artist Avicii (a Swedish DJ), entitled Penguin. I have to say it does sound remarkeably similar. Maybe Ministry should just get Leona to sing over the track and everyone can be friends.

Does anyone else think it sounds like it could be the theme tune to the world cup or something?

Check it out below.... I've added a youtube and a remixed soundcloud version in case one gets taken down.

I'm really interested in what you think of it, so let me know in the comments section.

UPDATE: the video is finally here - woo hoo!  

What do you think?

Monday, 11 July 2011

Piss Off Flying Ants And Take Your Mid Air Orgy Elsewhere!

I can safely say that this day is the worst day of my year. Every year, without fail. It's always the same. One minute I am enjoying the lovely weather outside on a sunny summers day and the next I notice them, larger than usual, crawling around on the floor and flying around with no apparent purpose. I am of course talking about Flying Ants, those horrid little creatures that plague us on an annual basis.

"Am I in the minority in my hatred of these little bastards?"

Am I in the minority in my hatred of these little bastards? Walking through the streets of London this evening, people were casually strolling along looking like they didn't have a care in the world, whilst I was flapping about like a mad man brushing them off me trying to restrain my squeals as they were bumping into my face. 

I did a quick Google search and the flying ants are just the regular black ants you see in gardens and parks, going about their business. 'Lasius Niger' as they are otherwise known. 

Now I don't generally mind an ant, I mean they are so small that even someone like myself, with an aversion to pretty much any insect/creepy-crawly type thing, can just simply ignore them. But not these beasts. They seem to quadruple in size and have a tendency to stick to your hair and fly in your ears. 

Apparently they grow wings so that they can take to the skies and mate with one another in one big orgy. Now I am not a prude but can't these ants just get a bloody room? Do we really need to be party to their sordid little sex games and must they copulate in my hair? My god, they've got me coming over all Daily Mail!

 "I can't think of anyone I would want to shag so badly that I would be willing to die immediately afterwards."

The thing that makes it worse is that the male ones die immediately after they've 'finished', falling from the sky, discarded by the Queens quicker than a News of the World Journalist.

You'd think someone would tell them - these males? I can't think of anyone I would want to shag so badly that I would be willing to die immediately afterwards. Well unless it was Tom Hardy and I was 90 and on my last legs.

As much as I hate them, I do tend to forget about them after a while and it's not until they take to the air that I am horribly reminded of their existence. With all the technology and science that we have in the world though, why-oh-why can't someone warn us? Then I could stock-up on provisions and lock myself away for a day or two until the plague has past.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Hidden Treasures: Brixton Village Market

It's a bit of a hassle accessing my article on Brixton Village Market on the Living South website so I decided to post the text up here so it can be seen on my site too.... 


Hidden Treasures

By Darren Ingram 
April 2011 

The last few years have been a roller-coaster ride for Brixton Village. The thriving 1930s arcade is defiantly bucking the trend of London’s declining markets - but it could have been a very different story.

In 2009 the near-empty market faced demolition, which campaigners successfully battled against. Then along came Space Makers Agency with its vision to better use the empty spaces in our towns and cities. Working with the market owners they offered free short-leases, encouraging local artists, foodies and entrepreneurs to set up shop.

Fast-forward a little over a year and many of those traders are still here, lining the now Grade II listed avenues with an exciting array of new shops, caf├ęs and restaurants. The market, full for the first time in years, now offers Sunday shopping and is awash with music and performance, when it opens until 10pm Thursday to Saturday.

Upping the style stakes is newest arrival Saloon, where Janine Buntman, Kamilla Thorsen and Eva Sykes have created a wonderful women’s retreat. Find striking print dresses from label ‘Anami and Janine’, which attract a celebrity following. “Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton have worn them”, says designer Janine, who describes her creations as, “quirky and feminine, for a woman who knows her style.”

Kamilla’s hand-made jewellery uses vintage gold and silver and delicate antique French beads. Engraved Plexiglas bangles feature her signature butterfly detailing. Meanwhile Eva brings some old school glamour with her selection of vintage furs, designer finds from Biba and Vivienne Westwood and her re-worked vintage-for-modern pieces.

Continuing the vintage theme is Margot Waggoner, who opened her boutique, Leftovers, after hearing about the Space Makers project. She sells unique lace collars, corsets and a variety of clothes and accessories from France, dating from the 1850s to the 1950s.

Margot sources everything herself, travelling regularly to Paris and the South of France, buying from vintage markets and antiques shops. “It’s the best part of what I do, I get to hear the interesting stories behind the items and I write them on the tags, so people can see them”, she says.

Another Space Makers success is Georgina Jarrett, owner of old-fashioned sweet shop Sweet Tooth where brightly coloured jars of nostalgia-inducing confectionary line the walls. Sweet Tooth has all the traditional favourites, such as Bon Bon’s, Rhubarb and Custard’s and locally produced fudge. Lesser-known treats, like Nigerian Hot Ginger Sweets and Island Drops from Jamaica are a nod to the area’s rich diversity.

Georgina also stocks Martha Mitchell sweet-themed ceramics and prints. “Oh and during the school holiday’s kids can come in to make book-marks and badges from old sweet wrappers, at our arts and crafts workshops”, she says.

When Binki Taylor and Tabitha Rout wanted to create something unique with their store, Circus, they turned to Clapham designers, Studio DB. Now, delicate antique ceramics and coloured glassware balance on shelves made entirely from cardboard. In fact, much of the shop is made from the material.

Men can pick up a copy of Manzine and for women there is hand-made jewellery by Sarah Hodgson. There is something for everyone with books by Herne Hill poet and performer John Bentley and intricate drawings by local artist Julia McKenzie. “We really try hard to support local artists”, says Tabitha, a sentiment echoed by many of the traders.

Even coffee gets the artistic treatment. Every latte or cappuccino sold at Federation Coffee is adorned with latte-art, featuring trendy tulip and Rosetta designs. George Wallace and Nick Coates gave up careers in the city to follow their dream of opening a coffee shop and their passion shows in their attention to detail.

Federation is one of the few London coffee shops to roast their own beans, which are seasonal and come from El Salvador, Ethiopia and Brazil. Their passion extends to homemade cakes, biscuits and savoury snacks, including pumpkin and feta muffin loaf.

Proving that old and new businesses can get along together, Etta Burrell buys much of the fish and other ingredients from within the market. Her restaurant, Etta’s Seafood Kitchen, offers a regularly changing menu featuring mussels, lobster, crab fritters, fish curries and her signature seafood linguini.

After being featured in the Sunday Telegraph, people come from far and wide to sample Etta’s food, particularly her energising sorrel and ginger drink. “They travel from all over London, bringing copies of the article for me to sign”, she says beaming proudly.

If you take a liking to sorrel, you can also find it as a dipping sauce, nestled on the shelves amongst the homemade mustards, jams and pickles at Brixton Cornercopia. Part delicatessen, corner-store and restaurant; Ian Riley and his partner Anne Fairbrother have created a place to indulge their passion for local and seasonal produce. Dishes have included nettles picked from their garden, wild garlic from Sydenham and pork sourced from the butcher in the market.

Ian was one of the pioneers; arriving when the market was still desolate and says: “It’s changed a lot. The progress with the market has been driven by the traders, we’ve just had one of the coldest winter’s ever but it’s going to be great in the summer.” 

Brixton Village Market, Atlantic Road SW9 8PS
What do you think?
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