Sunday, 31 October 2010


....It seems that this year's was more hotly anticipated and celebrated than others I remember. I am not sure why, but with Hallowe'en falling on a Sunday, the dressing up began as early as Friday on the streets of London.

Kelly and I were invited to a Hammer Horror themed night. But starved of horror films as a kid, I had to research what the potential Hammer options were.....and rather then the more obvious Dracula or Frankenstein, I adopted a more lateral approach. The Snorkel from 1958, (in which the victims are asphyxiated whilst the killer survives by wearing a snorkel), was my choice.

Kelly was a glamorous, runaway victim of The Mummy.


Chris hosted a great night in his fantastic warehouse / studio / flat. I must say though, the theme hadn't been strictly adhered to and I was a little disappointed that my outfit wasn't instantly recognisable to all(!)

Phil, (anon), Chris

Gemma, Nico, Kelly, Branca

A fun night and one that has opened up a whole horror genre that I feel compelled to explore further.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Stewart Lee, Vegetable Stew....

....As a belated birthday present to his brother Stevie, Richie treated him, and brought Liam, Doug and I along, to Stewart Lee's 'Vegetable Stew' tour. The gig was at Leicester Square theatre and got underway after some dinner in China Town at Far East restaurant.

Richie, Stevie, Liam, Roy

A few of us had seen Stewart Lee before, at the same venue back in January, but this tour was testing new material ahead of filming for the 2nd series of his 'Comedy Vehicle' on the BBC.

The show was broken in to three parts, named, 'Charity', (90 benefit gigs a year and lots of free crisps) / 'Adrian Chiles', (a face like a Toby jug full of hot piss) / 'The Government', (David Cameron asked me to put on a gig / Gentlemen bombers).

Lee also weaved in a couple of songs, with a particularly memorable ditty mocking Russell Brand's recent wedding. Short of being funny, it reminded me again how much I actually like his singing voice! Lee's subversive comedy, (perhaps more so tonight, on what was press night), has a way of leading you down a garden path. Surreal, rambling fictional stories heading nowhere, until a hook, (or a 'call-back' as he rightly tells us), brings us back in the picture and splits our sides completely.

This second helping of 'Vegetable Stew' will likely be my last, but I cannot recommend him highly enough. If there are still tickets available, go. If not, hang about until early next year when he'll be back in your living room via your telly box.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Social Network....

....Kelly and I went to see The Social Network tonight and in line with the critical acclaim it has received to date, we enjoyed it very much.

However, I found it a slow starting film, as the story is set about computer whizz kid Mark Zuckerberg, with his friend Eduardo, and their creation of what we now know as FaceBook. This pedestrian beginning had me twitching slightly, as did some lazy camera effects, showing clearly that in one scene, freezing condensation from the mouths of the actors was computer generated.

But from them on, the film is well shot and the very fact it is based on reality, is fascinating. In fact, I am not certain that the positivity toward the film from all angles, is not simply down to being given an insight in to the making of a $25billion business. For director David Fincher, this was a fairly subdued directorial piece, but classy and convincing all the same. In fact the only scene that noticeably smacked of his touch, was the Henley Regatta scene, where use of soft focus and tightly cropped camera angles, added intensity and beauty to a piece that didn't even necessarily need it!

The cast were all superb, with Jesse Eisenberg entirely convincing as the genius, but fairly unlikable, Zuckerberg and I was also impressed with Justin Timberlake as smooth talking womaniser Sean Parker.

The more I post rationalise the film, the more frightening I find it. The reality of it all, that is. On getting home and writing this up, it has left me feeling both modern, (to live in this technological era), and a machine, (to be a slave to it). I feel I'm looking at my laptop screen in an altogether different way.

A very good and intriguing film, but one that also made me glad I'm not on FaceBook. But, boy, am I in awe of its power. It is insanely is Zuckerberg, and this film only marks the relative embryonic beginnings for both that man, his business and their plausible bid for world domination.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Clementine Ardagh is two....

....Not to be outdone by all the adults turning 30, Clementine celebrated her own 2nd birthday this weekend.

Make a wish!

Showered with gifts and cake, Clem received plenty of Iggle Piggle items - this umbrella in particular going down a storm.

We bought her a gift with longevity, we hope! A design classic by Luigi Colani, in the guise of an elephant shaped money box.

Clem's more interested in handbags than money boxes

The gift

It was lovely to see Clem and other members of the Ardagh / Soward family. She's growing up mighty quick and it seems her favourite current word is, "Mine!". Indeed. Many happy returns Clem.

Cliona hits 30....

....This time it was Cliona's turn to reach 30 and she celebrated with friends at the Bathhouse. In the beautiful former Turkish Baths, turned restaurant and club, we had an area set aside for food and ultimately dancing.


Cli's family were over from Ireland, and dad said a few words for the gathered friends.

Kelly & Cli

Joss, Nick & Kel

As the night wore on, the cheesy tunes pumped out and much dancing was witnessed.

A great night, happy birthday Cli.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Fromage a trois....

....Well, it would have been so, had I left Nick, Rich and Liam to their planned French themed evening, drinking the red wine bought during their cycling trip in the summer. Instead it was more quatre fromage, after I gatecrashed somewhat. Richie had bought some incredible meat from favourite, The Ginger Pig and a whole host of cheeses from La Fromagerie.

On the griddle

He and Nick then cooked up a meal fit for kings, whilst Liam and I brought extra wine and condiments for afters.


The steaks were incredible and the St. Emilion wines, one 2008, one 2005, were fantastic. (Either side of which we drank my shop bought, considerably cheaper, French plonk!).


Undaunted by the prospect of more food, after such a feast, we got out the cheese whilst Edith Piaf still filled the airwaves around us.

We, urm, really enjoyed it?!

After retiring to the lounge to rest up, Joss and Cli returned home after celebrating his birthday proper. And a birthday wouldn't be a birthday without Cli's home made Guinness cake. And of course a birthday wouldn't be a birthday if we didn't have some.

So we did.

A great, hearty evening - thank you for an incredible dinner and letting me get away with joining in!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Yeasayer, Roundhouse 21.10.10....

....Kelly and I joined Sarah and Sandra at the Roundhouse for this anticipated gig.

Sarah, Sandra, Kelly, Roy

Having previously seen Yeasayer, outdoor at LoveBox, earlier in the year, I was keen to see if an indoor, more prestigious environment would alter my perspective. It did to an extent, in that I felt their more slow, broody songs really held up, with the vocal arrangements even more startling in their execution. However, the more upbeat numbers around which Yeasayer's reputation has grown, (and where they triumphed outdoor), felt a little bit hollow and subdued. Or maybe we, as a crowd, just weren't on form.

I didn't think it was helped by a lack of stage theatre. For all their well thought, innovative artwork and often bizarre videos, a simple white cloth is all that adorned the stage.

Album artwork for Odd Blood

The lighting was fairly one dimensional too - which is a shame as I've begun to realise the importance of such factors, alongside the live music itself.

The set was quick, interspersed with genuine humbled words from lead man Chris Keating, at playing such a great venue. As the band rolled out for the inevitable encore, they hit us with the magic '2080', but I was hugely disappointed not to hear 'I remember', for me the stand out track on 'Odd Blood'. A good gig, but with room for improvement, from a band I think can be truly special.

Joss hits, erm, 29.....

....Joss reminds us he's still a young thing, by celebrating the big two nine.

Beardy talk between Eoin & Joss

Gathering everbody to a quiet corner of the Sailsbury Arms on St.Martins Lane, we sat, ate and were merry.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Chris hits 30....

....I told you the thirtieth birthdays were coming thick and fast. This time Chris turned 30 and celebrated by gathering friends to the Big Easy on Kings Road.

Numbers meant we were spread between three tables, but Chris, in his pseudo maitre de outfit(!) was the perfect host.

The food was fantastic - particularly considering both floors of the restaurant were packed, but it arrived quickly and beautifully flavoursome.

We went for a few night caps at the Cadogan Arms just down the road before cycling home. Happy birthday mate.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The thin blue line....

....A rather incredible, beautiful and strangely moving film captured from a camera (and iPhone) sent in to the Earth's atmosphere, by a father and son in New York.

You are the big picture....

....My second advertising post in as many weeks, this time is slightly closer to home. AMV's own 'Big Picture' campaign for Aviva, where the public are encouraged to upload their picture online. The result is to have it projected on to the side of a building in a major international city, or at the very least receive your own unique film showing how it might look. In return Aviva will pay £1 to 'Street to School' for every new picture uploaded, with the aim of reaching a total of £250,000. It's worth getting involved both for the fun, but also the good will - I was obviously attracted to seeing myself on the side of a building, so the following film was the result!

It's an incredible tool, that takes place before our eyes after uploading your image. It is one part of a huge, exciting Global campaign that encourages social interaction from the outset.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Close contact....

....Over the weekend I had my first lesson in how to insert my contact lenses. I thought after watching dad insert and remove his every day, that I'd be a dab hand, but it's a pretty unusual experience.

Not the tried and tested way to inset two lenses

I have got them purely for sporting activities, but it was a strange coincidence that on the day I got fitted for contacts, Dad finally got prescription lenses in his Roy-esque vintage glasses.

Dad's gone all Ronnie Barker, rather than Neil Barker

Doctor, Doctor! Nick treads the boards...

....Sunday night saw Nick make his stage debut in Moliere's classic, The Doctor Despite Himself. Performed by the Morley Acting Company in the White Bear theatre on Kennington Park Road, it was a small production, but a convincing and humorous enough modern take on the play.

It was wonderful to see him looking happy and comfortable on stage - playing the lover Leandre - and even managing to throw in a stage kiss!

Nick, not on stage. I don't think.

Well done Nick, if not to anyone else, you were certainly the star of the show for me and our all your friends. Here's to many more.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Cancer Research 10k, Victoria Park....

....Kelly and I signed up to the Cancer Research 10k some months ago. We did it as much as a challenge to ourselves, as to raise money for the cause. We were fairly disciplined in our training so felt pretty good on the day. And what a day - glorious sunshine glistened over Victoria Park, where 3743 people gathered together to run and raise money for those who have lost or overcome their battle with cancer. Only then did it hit home, the real reason for the run and what a great cause the money you have all generously helped Kelly and I raise, will go towards. The race itself was enjoyable and I surprised myself with a good time of 36m 40s, with Kelly coming home in a very good 51m.

Gemma, Nicolas, Kelly, Roy, (post race).

Our sponsorship page is still open, so click here if you'd like to make a donation.
After the run we went for a well deserved roast at The Hemingway nearby, before heading home for well deserved rest.

Nico, Liam, Nick, (Gemma at the back), Kelly, Roy

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Ems hits 30....

....The 30 season rolls on, with Emma the latest to reach the curious landmark. She and her brother, Tim, hosted a lovely evening at the his beautiful house Richmond.

Ems, Kelly, Roy

Nick and Kel

The food was lovely, highlights being the autumnal rolling of summer rolls, the salmon cured in beetroot and the incredible red velvet birthday cake from the Hummingbird Bakery.

Red velvet cake

Happy Birthday Ems. x

Birthday wishes

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


....Footage of the first of the trapped Chilean miners to be brought back to the surface and to his family. Watch it without getting a lump in your throat. (And I'm pretty sure Spielberg'll have a keen interest too.....)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Be Independent....

....A superb ad for The Independent from when advertising was good. I don't usually feature a whole load of ads on this blog, but being in the industry I find it remarkable that one of this length, quality and level of risk was ever bought by client. And that it is still totally relevant today is testament to it's calibre. Top marks, (again), to Charles Inge and Lowe. Spotted on an advertising blog no less, here.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond....

....Kelly suggested we go to Richmond this weekend, without, I suspect, giving a great deal of thought as to the distance involved. Particularly as we planned to do it by bike. But, on waking up with the sun raging unusually in the mid-October sky, we went through with the 33mile round trip. And it was totally worth it. Our destination, initially, was in fact not Richmond Park, but Petersham Nurseries just down the road.

We had been recommended to stroll around the plants, beautiful garden furniture and homeware, (all entirely unaffordable), but also to eat here.

There are two options, the greenhoused restaurant, (a bit chic for a lazy Sunday afternoon, but looked wonderful), and the al fresco cafe. We did the latter.

Al fresco

It was great - salad, soup and a sarnie followed by good coffee and incredible home baked cakes.


Parsnip cake with maple syrup/clotted cream centre

After a look around, (including a C-list celebrity spot, in Holly Willoughby), we headed up to the park itself.

It is a vast place - reminding me a lot of New York's Central Park - with London's metropolis sprawled as a backdrop to the green expanse. I had been told how deer freely roam here, but was surprised they seemed so at ease with the public nearby, with only a mildly watchful stag, (complete with incredible forked antlers), showing any interest.

We passed through, lapping up the all too brief respite from London City, before heading home in the fading sun. In all, a fantastic suggestion by Kelly, that proved truly enjoyable.

Full reel here:

(By the way, I wanted to trump the earlier C-list spot, with what I consider to be an A-list spot at the start of our journey. Vivienne Westwood at a bus stop, working out her route, in Old Street. Spot!)