The Arsenale – The Ultimate Toy Catalogue for Aspiring James Bonds

“Little Nelly got a hot reception. Four big shots made improper advances toward her, but she defended her honour with great success.” Bond, You Only Live Twice. I un-pouched TheArsenale from it’s bubble wrap cocoon. It had some weight, coated in black tactile alcantara. As I flipped through the pages, notes of linseed oil, maybe a dusting of teak hit my register. I stopped on a page about a DS designed UFO. I’m not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the thought of being abducted by a Citroen. But then, how narcissistic to think anyone would want to abduct little old me. I could only imagine the sweet sigh of disappointment when presented to the king bee on the alien mothership. Not handsome enough of a specimen for the super galactic keep-net. Plaintively he would wave me off with his long green fingers. Dismissively, I’d be disgorged and thrown back to the Oxmoor estate where I’d spend the rest of days telling tales to the locals of The Lord Protector how I was ‘taken’ …  by a Citroen. Sorry what the fuck was I talking about? Ah yes, The Arsenale. The almanac on independently designed…
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Inside Aesop Marylebone – Scrapbook

Aesop are coming up to a 30 year anniversary, so come April your column inches will be besieged with all things Aesop. How they build their shops taking the natural environment into consideration. I had something of a guided tour in their store on Marlyebone. The walls unadorned, the shelfs meticulously stacked with products such as Mouthwash (£15 a bottle) and some ointment or other that you put in the toilet to knock out poo vapours. I had my hands massaged with mint moisturiser and coconut balm. If only the guys on the building site could see me now, I thought. They’d mock the scent of citrus and cloves that have overpowered the smell of shit emanating from the cubicles. I would be ex-comminicated, forced to eat lunch in the car, my now lavishly smooth and odoriferous hands, quarantined. I’ll be talking more about Aesop in some upcoming features, but for now. Here are some pictures. Yes you heard right, £15 for mouthwash.  
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What’s Next for Sam and the Womp

Artful Badger return to the VAULT Festival in Waterloo for the 5th anniversary of their unrivalled annual Valentine’s Ball. Travel to the ends of the Earth and beyond, trek through solar systems and speed past stars as they embark on an outrageously amorous Galactic Love adventure! We spoke to Sam Ritchie from Sam and the Womp and he gave us the load down on what to expect:   Quick background on you.  I’m a trumpet player and musician and general party-goer. Started in 2009 just as an experiment, mixing genres, then it blew up in 2012 with ‘Bom Bom’ and we did the festival scene after that. I play guitar, bass, piano, very important to play more than the trumpet if you’re songwriting, but it’s a collective experiment it’s a large live band; drums bass sax, keys, etc It’s a seven-piece ensemble. We take the band where we can. The live thing is what it’s all about. A word on the organisers.. You have to experience an Artful Badger party (organisers), we’ve been doing gigs with them 7 years now. We headlined Secret Garden Party a couple of times through them. Although…
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70’s Themed Bar Bobby Fitzpatrick Opens on West Hampstead

“Know how to make a red-eye young Flannigan?” Doug, Cocktail. Bobby’s seventies party pad, Bobby Fitzpatrick to be exact, up West Hampstead, has an upright piano stashed in the narrow corridor that’s bookended by two drinking quarters. You can picture the wallpaper if you’ve ever seen an episode of Minder, Only Fools and Horses or have a relative that lived through the war. I pass a blonde in a two-piece Prince of Wales tweed suit and approach the neon lit bar that blew out muted streaks of plum and violet hues onto the floor. A guy in front of me, early twenties, with figure hugging jeans and sausage thighs busies himself attempting to get a flat-lay shot of his Alison Mahoney (Havana 3, spices, lime, ginger syrup) on the bar. I wait. He shows his initial attempt to a small girl next to him. They confer, he brings her glass of Sour Fritz (Bobby’s falernum, lime, egg white) in closer to his and he goes for a reshoot. I wait. More conferring. This time on which filter to use before posting to his social. I wait. I turned to the piano, apocryphally watching myself…
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Inside Tate Modern – The Good, the Bad and the Bollocks

Q: It always makes me feel a little melancholy. Grand old war ship, being ignominiously hauled away to scrap… The inevitability of time, don’t you think? What do you see? James Bond: A bloody big ship. – Skyfall. Of course I should have made notes. Read the tiny blurbs of text by each exhibit and digested how artists attempt to interpret dysfunctional elements of modern society. But I’m no existentialist. As I stare at Monet’s Water Lilies, my mind is already racing ahead to my next sardonic self-effacing quip on Instagram. In secret, I’m not sure I feel anything when I look at Monet’s Water Lilies. Mother loves Monet, she loves Impressionism, so she’s happy, which in turn makes me happy. Only it’s short lived as we soon realise that we’re in the wrong gallery and all the Monet’s are stashed over in the National Gallery. Never mind. Can’t say I’m much into Rothko, but I did sit in the Rothko room for a bit. Originally his work was intended for the Four Seasons but the lad went a bit off-piste and didn’t think they’d be suitable so he pulled out…
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The Savoy Cocktail that Travelled 41,000 miles

  ‘My name is Pussy Galore,‘ … Bond smiles to himself…  ‘I must be dreaming’. – Pussy Galore & Bond, Goldfinger. For the uninitiated, the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar is a darkened room – ornamented, and not by accident, with classical gold tints of trimmings that festoon the ceiling architraves. These mirror the gold studded chairs and the undulating wave motif on the carpet. The gold lamp lights shone modestly from the inverted arms of the Murano glass chandelier over a conclave of impeccably dressed Russian diplomats and business men. I’ve covered nearly 100 miles on my pilgrimage to The Savoy, but that’s small beer compared to the journey of the serve I’m here to sample has undertaken. The highly anticipated Age of Discovery, a specially created, barrel aged cocktail, is now available as an exclusive serve or by the bottle at The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar. Having travelled the globe on board Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2, the cocktail has now returned to The Savoy, a Fairmont Managed Hotel, where it was mixed, sealed and bonded for its world voyage many months ago. The drink, priced at £40, is served in a custom–made glass with a magnified base, atop…
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Ayii Anargyri Natural Spa Resort – Cyprus – Review

“Heaven. Simply, Heaven.” – Bond, The Man with the Golden Gun. The Ayii Anargyri Spa resort is buried deep beneath a valley of mature trees up the hills, 30 minutes north of Pafos. In the spring of 2009 Ayii Anargyri Spa resort opened its doors to present the world with a sublime experience. The resort offers a unique retreat, a place of profound calm and the opportunity to enjoy the health-giving waters which have benefited visitors for so many years. The Spa was first formally opened in 1649 by two brothers, Cosmas and Damianos. Their generosity in offering treatment often without thought of reward gave rise to the name Anargyri – without silver. They became known and loved locally for their selfless acts and affectionately known as saints. ROOM 35 Fifty six rooms offer luxury, charm and personal service found in only the most superior boutique hotels. As it’s a couples retreat, expect to have some amorous neighbours. The guy next to me fucked like a champ all the way through our stay. At times I was tempted to rattle on his door and say, “Look dude mind keeping it down, I can’t hear…
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The Rise of the Life Coach

A few years ago I was no longer enjoying the subservience of being led. Nothing to do with any form of repugnance towards my former employer, more towards the repugnance of my place in the world. That, on top of an instilled, yet not entirely justified sense that I was going backwards. Settling for the mundanity and affable securities that came with not taking risks. Unfortunately I couldn’t afford a mid-life crisis, soothing feelings of futility with the purchase of a shiny new car. But I could at least afford help from a certified Life Coach, someone who enabled me to crystallise my thoughts and help me directionally. Life coaching has its roots in 70’s American vogue for motivational talks and self-help books, (How to make everyone love you, How to date out of your league) which have always been notoriously sickly-sweet and upbeat in their mission to motivate the masses. Whilst Life coaching has matured in the US, British are stereotypically stoic and modest in nature, so reports suggests it takes on a much different guise over here. Introducing Sally Ann Law a personal and business life coach, based in North London. She…
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This is how we Drink Whisky in Soho

“Phew! Whoo! That’s the stuff! What was it?….Tizer. – Well, it does the trick! I’ll have another. – No, steady on, Richie.” Richard Richard, Eddie Hitler – Bottom, Series 2, Episode 1. FROM STILL TO BAR: A SERIES OF IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WINE & SPIRIT EDUCATION TRUST The experience is part of an initiative from the WSET who has teamed up with several bars around London, The Shotgun BBQ in Soho being one of them. This particular induction was centred around the flagship drink, Whisky. Upon entering I had a comical-skirmish with a velvet curtain that proved to be a worthy adversary, but was ultimately dispensed with. I addressed the elongated marble bar and stood poised equidistant to the counter flap and the hat stand at the stairwell end. I envisaged how suave I would look launching my straw trilby all of 10 feet onto the beckoning hooks, but sheathed the temptation. This is a whisky flight with a difference. The mixologist presented me with three whiskies whilst WSET Spirits Educator, Will Lowe, curated the key differences between each via a two-minute podcast which I listened to, diligently. (The full length…
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The Typewriter, A Love Affair

‘The world will read again!‘ – Thomas Tipp, Vanilla Sky The dull clanging of the letterbox rings down the hallway at the folks place. A scuffled flop of letters nestles at the foot of the front door. Utility bills, fines, court summons, (I had all three one day). That dull clanging noise that bisects my concentration is as welcome in this house as a curry-fart in a zorb-ball. That’s why I write letters. At least one a week. An ex bought me an old Brother typewriter from a thrift store a few years back. A Brother Deluxe 220. It doesn’t have the number 1 and it’s louder than my Dad getting up in the morning. But every writer needs a typewriter, like every fighter needs a punch bag. Before I write anything I read Fleming, write a few clever words down, then address the laptop whilst Chopin serenades my thoughts. However, when I want to write and run my mouth, I bludgeon the keys of the Brother Typewriter like a snarling prize fighter smacks the heavy bag. It never comes out pretty, often paltry, with entire passages I wish I never started. Sometimes it’s like being stuck…
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