Thursday, November 16, 2017

Album review: REPUTATION (Taylor Swift)

A month shy of turning 28, Taylor Swift has been around the block and suffered a few knocks to her standing (not to mention her heart) for her troubles. Her sixth album comes at some time when some self-reflection is much-needed.



With a title like ‘Reputation’, she’s certainly cognisant of that artefact. It would be trite to dub her 15-track album as a ‘confessional’, as she’s always been very forthcoming about wearing her heart on her sleeve, and channelling her painful life experiences into song-writing inspiration, but there's a salient self-awareness in this album that was perhaps lacking in her previous work.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: Hans Zimmer Live in Prague DVD

For me, the score can make or break a film. A good film can be elevated into the realms of greatness by a standout score, and even a poor film can be rescued from being a total disaster if it has some nice music.



Hans Zimmer is a composer who has an impeccable handle on what it means to write music for films. His soundtracks always suit the style, tone and theme of the films they are in. The pieces are easy on the ears and catchy, but they aren’t so carried away with pomp that they draw attention away from the film. Rather, they capture the essence of the story.


Thursday, November 09, 2017

Bar review: PIANO WORKS BAR (Farringdon)

I love singing. Whether it be Disney songs, RnB, Broadway showtunes, power ballads, I’m happiest when I’m warbling along to music (and often getting the lyrics wrong in the process). Piano Works allows you to do this to live piano music, along with a percussive and jazz band, and a lead singer, whilst dancing in a night-club-style venue. That was my Friday night sorted, then.

The band played their instruments really well, with flamboyance from the electric guitars when the occasion called for it, and more nuanced accompanying for other songs. The band shrewdly rotated singers depending on the flavour of the song. Sometimes, as was the case with Kanye West’s Goldigger, more than one person sang at a time. They had a fantastic female singer who belted out How Far I’ll Go from Moana. Given I have recently just watched Moana and the song is fresh in my mind, that in itself made that Friday one of the best nights out I’ve had in a long time.

The song choices at Piano Works were on point. They played Uptown Funk, Piano Man, American Boy, Grace Kelly… basically, crowd pleasers. And the crowd was very pleased. Here’s a clip of their performance of What Makes You Beautiful. The One Direction song is only my fourth favourite of all-time, so I had a whale of a time dancing to it!

Professor Marston and the Small Screen.

I'm very excited about Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. Luke Evans aka Gaston plays the title character, a psych professor who created the Wonder Woman character, who was inspired by two women: his wife, and his wife's girlfriend. 

His missus is played by the fierce Cambridge alumni Rebecca Hall, and their lover is played by Bella Heathcote, who's striking good looks were one of the few redeeming factors of that trashy The Neon Demon.

The film opens in UK cinemas this Friday, and in booking my seat, at one of Leicester Square Odeon's studios, I was struck by how tiny the cinema (and thus, the screen) was!


5 x 6 = 30, + 3 = 33.

A cinema which seats merely 33 people!

Is that the smallest cinema you've seen, or can you go even lower?

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Restaurant review: COPPA CLUB (Fitzrovia)

The hustle and bustle of shoppers clambering around Oxford Circus can prove stressful, especially now, in the lead-up to Christmas. Should you crave momentary respite from crawling through a sea of shoppers, step down a side street in the direction of Soho, where you’ll find a collection of cafes, bars and restaurants. Coppa Club, a clean-lined restaurant with a bistro vibe, is amongst them.

I went to Coppa Club when I was quite hungry, on a Saturday evening. As a consequence, only one item on the menu jumped out at me: the hearty sirloin steak. As with all the steaks I’ve reviewed on my blog (exhibits A and B and C and D), I had mine rare.



Sunday, November 05, 2017

Film review: MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (Kenneth Branagh, 2017)

Renowned sleuth Hercule Poirot finds himself in the first class carriage of the Orient Express, due from Istanbul to London. In torrid and icy weather, the train gets derailed, after which he discovers that Ratchett (Johnny Depp), an indecorous art wheeler dealer who was travelling on the carriage, has been murdered, by 12 stab wounds, spread indiscriminately around the body. 

In isolating the suspects to the cohort of first class passengers, he interviews each of them to find out whodunnit. However, each person he speaks to happens to be, rather inconveniently, being imprecise with the truth.

I like how Kenneth Branagh's gone for the pretence of wanting alphabetical billing, yet conveniently abandoned that idea when it comes to Lucy Boynton. I wonder why?